MOV080: “If you weren’t such a goddamn puff, we could all be happy!”

Join us on this brand new reel of COL: Movies as we step back to look at 2009’s “A Single Man” A Sad but beautifully poetic film based on the 1964 novel of the same name. Some feel its beautiful, some feel its depressing. Will we enjoy it or feel like throwing ourselves off a bridge? Next we Jump into the present to watch “Immortals” a movie helmed by “The Cell” Director Tarsem Singh, and “300” Producers Gianni Nunnari and Mark Canton. Does it live up to its predecessor? Or do we wish it was buried under Mount Tartarus? Finally we look at the upcoming “The Darkest Hour” This Alien invasion Film is set to invade theaters on Christmas day, will we be rushing out to see it? All this plus movie news and more so grab your kleenex and your xiphos and join us for this reel of COL: Movies “If you weren’t such a goddamn puff, we could all be happy!”

News:

The Past: A Single Man (2009)
Rotten Tomatoes: 85% Fresh, 78% Audience

Director: Tom Ford

Starring: Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Matthew Goode

Trivia:

  • Tom Ford’s directorial debut.
  • Despite having produced many movies, this is the first time Chris Weitz has worked as a producer on a feature film, without his brother Paul Weitz’s involvement.
  • Victoria Silvstedt auditioned for a role.
  • Colin Firth was originally not available for the role and someone else was cast. Then there was a shift in the movie schedule and Firth was eventually able to take the part.
  • Tom Ford revealed in an interview that the role of Kenny was originally given to a more famous actor (an article with E! Online states the original casting choice was Jamie Bell) who then didn’t show up to the costume fitting five days prior to shooting. Ford then remembered an audition tape by Nicholas Hoult.
  • Don Bachardy, the long-time partner of Christopher Isherwood (on whose novel this film is based) makes a cameo appearance. According to Tom Ford, in a December 14 2009 interview with Terry Gross, Bachardy was a huge help all through the writing of the film and, in the scene, is wearing a pair of lucky red socks that belonged to Isherwood.
  • Tom Ford explained in a Fresh Air interview that he created a back story for George’s suit based on the George character. He decided that George would have had his suit custom made on Saville Row on a trip home to England, which informed its cut and color. He also decided that, since ‘old-school’ British people of wealth tend to be thrifty with clothing, that his suit was a few years old. Ford even went as far as putting a label on the inside of the suit with his name and the date that it was made for him (1957).
  • Tom Ford financed the film himself.
  • The film was shot in just 21 days.
  • In the original novel, George is only known by his first name. The original screenplay gives him a full name: George Carlyle Falconer. “Carlyle” is also director Tom Ford’s middle name while “Falconer” is both the surname of Ford’s first lover – illustrator Ian Falconer – and the name of a brand of sunglasses Ford’s company makes.
  • In his acceptance speech when he won a BAFTA for Best Actor on 21 February 2010, Colin Firth revealed that he had been on the point of turning down the part and had the email to director Tom Ford in his outbox, waiting to be sent. Then a man arrived to repair his refrigerator and Firth reconsidered. He thanked “the fridge guy” in his speech.
  • A scene in the film shows a large drawing by the artist Don Bachardy, the longtime companion of Christopher Isherwood.
  • The scenes set at the college where George teaches were filmed on the grounds of what was once Ambassador College in Pasadena. Ambassador College was founded during the 1940s by then-famous radio preacher Herbert W. Armstrong to groom students for lives of service to their churches. Throughout the 1960s and ’70s, enrollment rose enough that other branches of the school were opened in the UK and Texas, but by 1990, enrollment had fallen so much that the Pasadena campus was closed (all campuses had closed by 1997). Since 1990, the former Ambassador Pasadena campus buildings have been periodically used by a high school, for church services, and by the A Single Man film crew, and the property has been the subject of a long-stymied mixed-use apartment and commercial development attempt called “Westgate Pasadena.”
  • “India”, the dog that George sees in the car, belongs to Tom Ford.
  • The glass-and-wood home that George and Jim shared is a real house in Glendale, California: The Schaffer Residence, built in 1949 by the mid-century Modernist architect John Lautner (1911-1994).
  • During the DVD commentary, Tom Ford says that when Jennifer (the little neighbor girl) speaks to George in the bank, some of what she says is based on Ford’s own childhood. For instance, she has a pet scorpion because Ford and his sister also had a pet scorpion when they were little; her older brother is named “Tom” because Ford’s own first name is Tom; she speaks of her brother Tom giving her hair treatments with eggs because that was something Ford did for his own sister many times; and she obliviously says that her brother Tom is “light in his loafers” (a slightly derogatory euphemism for being gay) because Ford is himself gay.
  • While reading on the couch, Jim shows that he is reading ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ by Truman Capote. Cast member Lee Pace appeared in Infamous, which chronicles Capote’s life during the writing of In Cold Blood.
  • Colin Firth is the only British actor playing a British character. His American partner and student are played by British actors Matthew Goode and Nicholas Hoult, respectively, while his British friend Charlotte is played by American actress Julianne Moore.
  • Several times, George and other characters refer to their “invisibility” as a minority (in their cases, as gay men in early 1960s American society). George is referring here to the concept of social “invisibility” of black people put forth by Ralph Ellison in his classic novel ‘The Invisible Man’, which was first published about ten years before the events of this movie take place.
  • Contrary to popular belief, Tom Ford did not design the costumes of the film. Arianne Phillips did.
  • Tom Ford had Colin Firth wear Creed’s Bois du Portugal aftershave during the shooting of the film as Ford believed it would help Firth get into the character of George Falconer.
  • Colin Firth’s character George mentions in a conversation with Nicholas Hoult that he once took mescaline and ended up shaving off one of his eyebrows. This actually happened to director Tom Ford; he was taking the drug with Stephen Spender when he went home, looked in the mirror and “thought it was taking over his face”.
  • George’s pistol is a Webley revolver, which was a standard firearm issued to British and Commonwealth troops for three-quarters of a century, from 1887 to 1963 (the year after the movie takes place). Firing the .455 caliber Webley cartridge, it was one of the most powerful handguns ever made.

Talking Points:

  • Wait, did they actually sleep together?
  • Depressing, Beautiful, or both?
  • Julianne Moore gave us a mix of Patsy and Edina
  • Mr. Potter – lol
  • Steve – I hate Fuzz for picking this movie this week…I’ll explain why.

What We’ve Learned:

  • Only Fools greet the day with a smile, and only fools could possibly escape the truth that now isn’t simply now.
  • When living in a glass house… Curtains can be REALLY important.
  • You can’t live in Los Angeles and be afraid of cars.
  • Sometimes awful things have their own kind of beauty
  • Lovers are like buses, sometimes you just have to wait a little while and another one comes along.
  • Most things don’t work out the way people plan.
  • One must always appreciate life’s little gifts.
  • Experience is not what happens to a man, but what a man does with what happens to him.

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: Kinda depressing but tugged at my heartstrings. I have mixed feelings, but still think it’s a worth see.
Ray: I found this film to be one of the most beautiful and sadly poetic things I have seen in quite some time. I can see how some people perceive it as being depressing, but really it has the opposite effect on me.
Steve: Definitely shows that people who think they’re at the end of their rope should open up their eyes to everything that is around them before giving in. If it were only that easy… Well acted movie, even though it was on the depressing side.

The Present: Immortals
Rotten Tomatoes: 36% Rotten, 75% Audience

Director: Tarsem Singh

Starring: Henry Cavill, Mickey Rourke, John Hurt

Trivia:

  • The film was previously named Dawn of War and War of the Gods before being officially named Immortals, and is loosely based on the Greek myths of Theseus and the Minotaur and the Titanomachy.
  • Director Tarsem Singh said that he is planned the action film using Renaissance painting styles. He then went on to say that the film is “Basically, Caravaggio meets Fight Club. It’s a really hardcore action film done in Renaissance painting style. I want to see how that goes; it’s turned into something really cool. I’m going for a very contemporary look on top of that so I’m kind of going with, you know, Renaissance time with electricity. So it’s a bit like Baz Luhrman doing Romeo + Juliet in Mexico; it’s just taking a particular Greek tale and half (make it contemporary) and telling it.”
  • The film had a production budget of $80 million ($75 million after tax rebates) to $120 million and cost “at least” $50 million to market.

Talking Points:

  • mmmm…Kellan Lutz (aka Posieden)
  • The Cinematography of the Action scenes vs Everything else. “Renaissance time with electricity”
  • What did you think of the movie’s telling of the myths?

What We Learned:

  • The Gods wear a lot of crazy jewelry and head pieces.
  • Mickey Rourke is truly typecast as Mickey Rourke in every movie he’s in.
  • That bull shaped oven is a crappy way to go.
  • Reminder ladies…you can get pregnant the one and only time you have sex.
  • Leave the titans be!

Trailer:

Recommendations :
Jeff: THIS IS SPARTA! All over again. I agree with both ratings of this movie. The critics are right and so is the audience, this was a fun action movie to watch, but they could have used the bow more and developed the story more.
Ray: Action Scenes.. Yay… Almost everything else… Booo.. unfortunately the Boo To Yay Ratio was much too High.
Steve: Solid mix of 300 and Clash of the Titans. Mickey Rourke was a surprise, but all in all I enjoyed it. Definitely has an epic feel and the 3D was well done.

The Future: The Darkest Hour

Director: Chris Gorak

Starring: Emile Hirsch, Olivia Thirlby, Max Minghella

Summary:

The story tells of a group of five young people who fight to survive in Russia after an alien invasion, the catch being that the aliens are invisible energy lifeforms.

Trivia:

  • Production was suspended for a planned two weeks due to the extraordinary air pollution caused by heavy smoke from the wild fires surrounding Moscow in August 2010. It eventually resumed three weeks later

Talking Points:

  • Another Skyline?
  • New TV spot and picture gallery – http://www.cinemablend.com/new/TV-Spot-Stills-Sci-Fi-Thriller-Darkest-Hour-28029.html

Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: Meh, another sci-fi invasion movie. Neat concept for the invading aliens but feeling this will be a bad movie.
Ray: Cautiously optimistic……Timur can be hit (9,Wanted) or miss (Apollo 18, XXX Watch) with me…
Steve: Has the potential to be good. I like what I see from the trailer. Invisible predators are always creepy.

Coming Attractions

The Past

The Present

The Future

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MOV079: “I don’t know, he’s on everybody else’s, why shouldn’t he be on mine?”

In the 79th reel of COL Movies, the boys go back in time to solve the mystery of 1985’s “Clue”. After the FBI breaks that case, they head to the theater to watch Leonardo DiCaprio play the originator of the FBI in “J. Edgar” (or Jedgar). Since Leo looked so much like a Muppet with all of that make-up on, they decide to review the trailer for the revival of “The Muppets”. In news, they talk about the possibility of the Dr. Who movie, a live-action/CGI Lego movie, and Eddie’s out and Billy’s in for the Oscars. It’s the 79th reel of COL Movies…”I don’t know, he’s on everybody else’s, why shouldn’t he be on mine?”

News:

The Past:Clue (1985)
Rotten Tomatoes: 70% Fresh, 85% Audience

Director: Jonathan Lynn

Starring: Tim Curry, Madelin Kahn, Christopher Lloyd, Martin Mull

Trivia:

  • Prof. Plum indicates at dinner that he works for the World Health Organization, part of the United Nations Organization. This means he works for UNO WHO.
  • Three endings were shot, and a different one shown at each theater. All three are included on video. The DVD, however, aside from all three endings, also offers the option to play the movie with one randomly selected ending. In some cities, the newspaper print ads indicated which version (“Ending A”, “Ending B” or “Ending C”) was being shown at each theater.
  • The parquet floor in the Hall resembles the ‘Clue’ game board.
  • There are few departures from the original board game; in the movie the hall has been transformed into part of the playing board and has been replaced by the front doors. This was probably done so that the rooms didn’t have to stand alone.
  • Eileen Brennan also starred in the film adaptation of Murder by Death, Neil Simon’s parody of murder mysteries.
  • Differences in two weapons in the film include that the revolver in the board game is most commonly a pepperbox revolver (an early 1800s revolver with the six bullet chambers jutting out from the main gun parts). However, it is changed to a regular .38 caliber revolver to possibly keep up with the modern time period the film is set in. The lead pipe in the game was also bent at an angle, to emphasize the fact that it was (possibly) used in Mr. Boddy’s murder; the film shows it completely straight.
  • The first movie based on a board game.
  • in the movie, “Hill House”, was named after the producer of the movie, Debra Hill.
  • Madeline Kahn ad-libbed the short monologue about her hatred for Yvette the French maid.
  • The screams heard when the characters rush to the maid in the billiard room are not from the actress playing the maid. They are from the actress playing Miss Scarlett, from the scenes where the dead body of the cook and the live body of Wadsworth fall out of the meat locker.
  • There is an inscription over the fireplace which reads “Nouveau Riche Oblige”.
  • The color of each characters car is the same color as their playing piece in the game.
  • The term ‘Schtupping’ is actually a crude German/Yiddish word for the sex act; this is why Madeline Kahn’s character in Blazing Saddles is named “Lilly Von Schtupp” for rather obvious reasons.
  • The actor playing Mr. Boddy is the front man of the punk rock band Fear, and was chosen because his name is Lee Ving – Mr. Boddy will be ‘LeaVing’ soon.
  • Kellye Nakahara’s movie debut.
  • The line “And monkey’s brains, although popular in Cantonese cuisine, are not often to be found in Washington DC” appears in two of the filmed endings.
  • During the scene in the kitchen at the beginning of the movie where Wadsworth is checking on dinner, you can see the Senator McCarthy hearings playing on the television. Thus another of the movie’s references to the communist scare during the 50’s.
  • The murder scenes from the movie are an adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians.
  • In the theatrical trailer, John Morris’ score is not used. In it’s place is Elmer Bernstein’s score from Airplane!.
  • The song Yvette is dancing to in the beginning of the film, “Shake, Rattle, and Roll” is the version recorded by Bill Haley & The Comets, only it is sped up with the pitch increased. This trick was also used in Airplane! in which the BeeGees song “Stayin’ Alive” is also played in a sped up version.
  • In the board game, only Professor Plum and Colonel Mustard any identifiable backgrounds given their titles. All of the other characters’ backgrounds are left ambiguous. However, on some editions of the board game, the covers show Mrs. White dressed as a maid.
  • In an interview conducted in November 2009, Jonathan Lynn stated that he had cast the film himself. He said that whilst actors were recommended to him via the casting department, it was his final decision on whom he would cast.His original choice for Wadsworth was British actor Leonard Rossiter, most famous for the role of Rigsby in Rising Damp, but he sadly passed away in 1984 just prior to pre-production, he was followed by Rowan Atkinson who was well known in England for his roles in Not the Nine O’Clock News and The Black Adder, but the studio felt he was to unknown to American audiences to be the leading actor in an American Production. Ironically Atkinson would go on to huge success with his character Mr. Bean in America some years later.Jonathan Lynn had known Tim Curry since they were teenagers, and personally asked him to be in the film.
  • The phone in the lounge lists the number as YL-7091. The corresponding number prefix (95) was reserved for radio station use in the 1950s.
  • John Cleese was considered for the role of Wadsworth.
  • According to an interview with writer Jonathan Lynn, after a screening on the 25th Anniversary of the film’s release, Carrie Fisher was originally to have been cast as Miss Scarlett, until she ended up in rehab four days before filming started. Lesley Ann Warren was a last-minute substitute.
  • Mrs. Peacock’s car is a Packard.
  • One of the photos burnt is a photo of Colonel Mustard and a soldier, both in US Army dress uniform. The soldier is likely his driver and the Motorist.
  • The film takes place in “New England,” as revealed in the opening scenes. Soon after, Miss Scarlet is picked up by Professor Plum and explains that she is on her way to Hill House, which is “off Route 41.” In real-life New England, there is a Route 41 that spans the northwestern section of Connecticut, continuing through the southwestern section of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. So, Hill House, story-wise, is located in either of these two New England states.
  • In the opening scene when Wadsworth checks on Mrs. Ho the cook, the live-televised Army-McCarthy hearings are on the kitchen’s television. One phrase spoken by Senator Joseph R. McCarthy that can be heard clearly as Wadsworth departs, is “…professors and teachers, who are getting their orders from Moscow…” This Senate hearing is also the same one in which the famous quote of ‘…Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?’ is spoken by Head Counsel for the Army Joseph Welch. With the coverage of the hearings taking place on live television, the events of the movie take place on Wednesday June 09, 1954.
  • After the production concluded, the mansion set was bought by the producers of Dynasty, who used it as The Carlton Hotel.
  • While all the other rooms in Hill House were constructed on a sound stage, the room used for the Ballroom was actually located within the house used for the establishing matte shot, 160 S. San Rafael Avenue, Pasadena.
  • The painting behind Mr. Boddy’s chair in the dining room depicts Mr. Boddy in a butler’s uniform, foreshadowing the revelation in Ending C that Mr. Boddy was the real butler.
  • Originally, there were endings in which each character killed off everyone once, and then the ending where they all did it. However, the final cut would have made the movie over two and a half hours, and director Lynn thought it to be excessive, hence the three endings that are in the final cut.
  • When walking through the hall to the library, Col. Mustard pauses to look up at the chandelier that later in the film, almost kills him.
  • There was actually a fourth ending scripted and shot, in which Wadsworth committed all the murders out of a twisted need for perfection in his life. He reveals that he poisoned everyone with a slow-acting toxin in their drinks. It ended with Wadsworth being killed by dogs as he attempted to escape by car from the house. The rather grim nature of the ending is probably why it was never released. It was never shown because the film makers thought the ending would have been too obvious – it only survives in the novelization and the storybook, which features but a single photo from that ending (the Chief punching Wadsworth in the stomach).
  • The line, “Communism was just a red herring,” is said in all three endings (twice by Wadsworth and once by Miss Scarlet), and it is a pun. Particularly after World War II, the Russian communists were frequently called “Reds”, for example in the anti-communist slogan, “Better dead than Red.”
  • When Wadsworth cuts the power to the house during his solving of the mystery, it represents the point of divergence of the three endings.
  • We learn that Mr. Green is being blackmailed because he is a homosexual working for the government. Later on, J. Edgar Hoover calls the house. In “Ending C” where everyone is guilty, we learn that Mr. Green is really an FBI agent sent in to infiltrate the blackmailer. In a couple of ironic twists, J. Edgar Hoover has long been suspected of being a homosexual and in the 1950’s, Hoover started a case called “Operation: Babydoll” in which he gathered intelligence on possible homosexuals working in the federal government.
  • In Ending A, there is a discussion between Wadsworth, who believes the Revolver had been fired six times (he says “1 + 2 + 2 + 1”) and is empty, and Miss Scarlett who says there had been only five shots (she argues “1 + 2 + 1 + 1”). Wadsworth is proved wrong, and in the last line of Ending A he reviews his calculation: “1 plus 2 … plus 1 …” The camera cuts away as he continues speaking, so it is often unnoticed that the sum he actually utters is neither six or five, but seven.

Talking Points:

  • Didn’t do well in the box office – but received a cult following
  • Favorite ending(s)
  • The point of distributing the movie with three different endings.

What We’ve Learned:

  • Cars Get Frightened?
  • The double negative leads to proof positive
  • J Edgar Hoover is on every one’s phone.
  • Monkey Brains are a Cantonese delicacy

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: One of my favorite movies of all time, well put together, well acted and cleverly written. It hits all my buttons. Everyone should see it at least once.
Ray: Tim Curry shines in this.. but it’s hard not to shine when the rest of the movie is so dull. The Cast looks incredible on paper.. but fails in execution. Ill take “The Private Eyes” over this one any day.
Steve: I’ve always enjoyed this movie. The variety of characters are fun and I really enjoy Tim Curry’s performance. It’s campy fun.

Intermission:

The Present: J Edgar
Rotten Tomatoes: 41% Rotten, 66% Audience

Director: Clint Eastwood

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Armie Hammer and Naomi Watts

Trivia:

  • Joaquin Phoenix was rumored to play Clyde Tolson, but the rumors were denied.
  • Charlize Theron was originally cast as Helen Gandy, but dropped out to do Snow White and the Huntsman. Amy Adams was then considered, but Naomi Watts was ultimately cast.
  • Armie Hammer, who plays Clyde Tolson, is the great-grandson of Occidental Petroleum tycoon Armand Hammer. In his biography of Hammer (the tycoon, not the actor) called “Dossier: The Secret History of Armand Hammer,” author Edward Jay Epstein reported that the tycoon had a multi-decade history of being scrutinized and suspected of Soviet ties by J. Edgar Hoover.
  • Shipped to theaters under the code name “Lawman”.

Talking Points:

  • Relevance to today’s political / social climate
  • Theme of secrets?
  • GLBT Theme & brief mention of cross-dressing – did you expect it?
  • audience response to kiss

What We Learned:

  • Fame if unchecked, leads to villainy
  • What determines a man’s legacy is often never seen
  • The Ladies appreciate facial hair
  • Senator McCarthy was an opportunist not a patriot
  • Sometimes you need to bend the rules a little to keep your country safe.
  • Admiration can’t fill the spot love goes, or warm your bed
  • Solid weight looks good on a man

Trailer:

Recommendations :
Jeff: This movie surprised me in how much I ended up enjoying it. Still a little iffy on Di Caprio’s vocal performance but enjoyed it overall. Also surprised on all the homosexual references and undertones. I think it’s a worth see but pretty sure will be put in the GLBT category for subject.
Ray:I found the pacing extremely slow, and the structure a little confusing. The Makeup was a huge distraction for me as well. I find the message of this movie is still relevant today… just replace the word “Radical” with “Terrorist” but ultimately I was disappointed with this because I felt if focused too much on his actions and not his motivations.
Steve: The first 45 mins to an hour were utterly boring to me. After waking up, I enjoyed the rest of it. I like biopics to a point, but would have been much more interested in seeing more about the FBI versus just all the “secrets” about him and those he held about others.

The Future: The Muppets

Director: James Bobin

Starring: Amy Adams, Jason Segel, Chris Cooper

Summary:

When 3 Muppet fans learn that Tex Richman wants to drill under the muppet theater for oil Gary, Mary and Walter set out to find the Muppet’s who have been split up for years

Trivia:

  • First theatrically-released Muppet film not to include Frank Oz or Jerry Nelson as Muppeteers.
  • Of all the actors and actresses making cameos in this film, ‘Liza Minnelli’ and Alan Arkin are the only ones to ever appear on The Muppet Show, back in 1979. Although Whoopi Goldberg appeared in an episode of the follow-up series Muppets Tonight in 1996 – a series set in a TV studio, not the classic Muppet Theater revisited in this film.
  • When not being used the Muppets got placed into a large bed so that they are simply “sleeping”. One day a group of young schoolchildren visited the set and, when the characters didn’t respond to them, they immediately began sobbing and were certain that the characters were dead.

Talking Points:

  • Will being a Disney franchise possibly change the “feel”?

Trailer #1:

Trailer #2:

Excitement:
Jeff: THE MUPPETS!!!! YEY!!!! *giggles like a 5 yo*
Ray: I wouldn’t be running out to the theater to see this if it wasn’t for this show.. but it makes me happy that the Muppet’s are still going. I hope the movie is successful if only so that they can continue and be introduced to new generations.
Steve: I’m glad that they are coming back, for sure. I have always loved the movies, although I can’t say that I’d run out to see them in the theater. Muppets have always been a fun at-home experience for me. I am interested in seeing how they update them for today’s audience, though.

Coming Attractions

The Past:

The Present:

The Future:

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MOV078: “Was It As Good For You As It Was For Me?”

The boys head back in time to review Quentin Taratino’s directorial debut in 1992’s “Reservoir Dogs”. After hearing the f word 272 times, they head to the theater to see “Puss In Boots”. In trailer-land, they check out the January horror release “The Devil Inside”. In movie news, they talk about the most likely candidate for the bad guy in JJ Abrams next installment of Star Trek and how you – yes you – can be a part of “Dark Knight Rising”. This is the 78th episode of COL Movies – “Was It As Good For You As It Was For Me?”

News:

The Past: Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Rotten Tomatoes: 96% Fresh, 93 % Audience

Director: Quentin Tarantino

Starring: Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Chris Penn, Steve Buscemi

Trivia:

  • The film contains 272 uses of the word “fuck”.
  • Quentin Tarantino originally wrote the role of Mr. Pink for himself. Steve Buscemi originally auditioned for the part of Mr. White. Michael Madsen originally auditioned for the part of Mr Pink. George Clooney read for the role of Mr. Blonde/Vic Vega but was turned down, and Christopher Walken refused the same role. Vincent Gallo turned down the role of Mr. Pink. Samuel L. Jackson auditioned for the role of Mr. Orange. Once Tim Roth was cast, Quentin Tarantino originally wanted him to play Mr. Blonde or Mr. Pink. Robert Forster and Timothy Carey auditioned for the part of Joe Cabot, and the film is dedicated to Carey.
  • David Duchovny auditioned for a part.
  • The final answer print of the film came back from the lab just 3 days before its world premiere at Sundance.
  • During filming, a paramedic was kept on the set to make sure that Mr. Orange’s (Tim Roth) amount of blood loss was kept consistent and realistic to that of a real gunshot victim
  • To avoid alienating the film’s backers, producer Lawrence Bender had the tamer scenes shot first, so that the dailies would strengthen the backers’ confidence before getting to the nasty, violent scenes.
  • The warehouse where the majority of the movie takes place was once a mortuary, and thus is full of coffins. Mr. Blonde doesn’t sit down on a crate, it’s actually an old hearse he perches on.
  • Directly prior to the scene showing the colored bottles of soap, you see two shirts hanging on the wall, and a rag in the distance on the floor. These are appropriately in sync with the surnames of the characters in their present states. Mr. White and Mr. Pink are upright and close to each other, corresponding to the two shirt colors, while the orange rag laying in the distance would be the position of Mr. Orange in the next room.
  • Michael Madsen had difficulty filming the torture scenes. He was particularly reluctant when he was required to hit actor Kirk Baltz. When the cop, pleading for his life, says that he has a child at home (a line not in the script), Madsen, himself a new father at the time, was so disturbed by the idea of leaving a child fatherless that he couldn’t finish the scene.
  • At several points, Tim Roth had lain in the pool of fake blood for so long that the blood dried out and he had to be peeled off the floor, which took several minutes.
  • WILHELM SCREAM: The famous scream is heard when Mr. Pink pushes a pedestrian on the sidewalk while being pursued by cops during his escape from the failed jewel heist.
  • Mr. Orange’s apartment was actually the upstairs to the warehouse where most of the movie takes place. The filmmakers redecorated it to look like an apartment in order to save money on finding a real apartment.
  • The theatrical release of the film contains no female speaking parts. There are some in the 10th anniversary DVD, including Nina Siemaszko as McKlusky.
  • Voted best independent film ever by Empire Magazine. It also was voted most influential movie in the past 15 years by the same magazine.
  • For the European release, the distributor used one sheet posters for each of the main characters. This was quite a novel strategy at the time, and has now become very widespread.
  • The suit Harvey Keitel wears was his own. It had been a specially made gift from French designer Agnès B..
  • This movie has no orchestral score. All the music you hear are prerecorded tracks.
  • Premiere voted this movie as one of “The 25 Most Dangerous Movies”.
  • Kirk Baltz recalls that a more graphic version of the ear-cutting scene was filmed, involving a tube running up to his ear that squirted blood. Michael Madsen, however, has said he thought it was “rather tame”, after seeing the scene play out that way.
  • The film’s budget was so low that many of the actors simply used their own clothing as wardrobe; most notably Chris Penn’s track jacket. The signature black suits were provided for free by the designer, based on her love for the American crime film genre. Steve Buscemi wore his own black jeans instead of suit pants.
  • Armed with $30,000 and a 16mm camera, Quentin Tarantino was all set to make the film with a bunch of friends, including his producing partner Lawrence Bender who was going to play Nice Guy Eddie. It was then that Tarantino received an answerphone message from Harvey Keitel, asking if he could not only be in the film but help produce it. Keitel had gotten involved via the wife of Bender’s acting class teacher, who had managed to get a copy of the script to him. Keitel’s involvement helped raise the budget to $1.5 million.
  • Madonna – who is the main topic of the opening conversation – really liked the film but refuted Quentin Tarantino’s interpretation of her song ‘Like a Virgin’. She gave him a copy of her ‘Erotica’ album, signed “To Quentin. It’s not about dick, it’s about love. Madonna.”
  • Kirk Baltz auditioned four times for the film.
  • Quentin Tarantino wrote the first draft in three and a half weeks.
  • In Mr. White’s flashback, Joe asks him about a girl named Alabama. This is a reference to Patricia Arquette’s character from True Romance. Quentin Tarantino has stated that he originally intended this character to meet up with Mr. White and to become partners in crime. When “True Romance” was released a year after this film, the ending was changed and so this backstory became inconsistent because Alabama never went on to meet up with Mr. White.
  • Robert Kurtzman did the special make-up effects for free, on the condition that Quentin Tarantino write a script for From Dusk Till Dawn based on a story by Kurtzman.
  • The line where Mr. White tells Mr. Pink, “I need you cool. Are you cool?” was added into the script after a conflict between Lawrence Tierney and Michael Madsen. To break the scuffle and continue shooting, Quentin Tarantino said to Tierney, “Larry. I need you cool. Are you cool?” This line, and some from Pulp Fiction were sampled by Fun Lovin’ Criminals in their song “Scooby Snacks” (1995).
  • According to an interview on the DVD, Michael Madsen says that Kirk Baltz asked to ride in his trunk to experience what it was really like. Madsen agreed, but decided as he went along that this was time for his own character development. So he drove down a long alley with potholes, and then a Taco Bell drive-through before taking Baltz back to the parking lot and letting him out. The soda he ordered at said drive-through is the same one he can be seen drinking during his character’s first appearance in the warehouse.
  • In then commentary of the True Romance DVD, Quentin Tarantino says that Tony Scott read both the “True Romance” and “Reservoir Dogs” scripts and told Tarantino he wanted to direct “Reservoir Dogs”. Tarantino told him he could have “True Romance” but that he himself was going to direct “Reservoir Dogs”.
  • Mr. Blonde’s Cadillac Coupe de Ville actually belonged to Michael Madsen because the budget wasn’t big enough to buy a car for the character.
  • Quentin Tarantino was considering using “Ballroom Blitz” by Sweet as an alternate song for the “ear” scene, but went with Stealers Wheel “Stuck in the Middle with You”.
  • Terry Gilliam is thanked in the credits in gratitude for advice he gave to Quentin Tarantino during a Sundance workshop.
  • The first draft script called for Pink Floyd’s “Money” where “Little Green Bag” is now. It was later changed because Quentin Tarantino heard “Little Green Bag” over the radio and became extremely nostalgic.
  • The title for the film came to Quentin Tarantino via a patron at the now-famous Video Archives. While working there, Tarantino would often recommend little-known titles to customers, and when he suggested Au revoir les enfants, the patron mockingly replied, “I don’t want to see no reservoir dogs!” The title is never spoken in the film, however.
  • Mr. Pink’s numerous references to being “professional” are a reference to movie director Howard Hawks, a favorite of Quentin Tarantino’s.
  • The film was released in America with almost no promotion, so it did not do that well at the box office. In England, however, it was such a huge hit that Quentin Tarantino would be mobbed as he walked down the street in London. British filmmakers have been “influenced” by it since.
  • Mr. Blonde’s real name is Vic Vega. This is the same surname as Vince (John Travolta) from Quentin Tarantino’s other film, Pulp Fiction. Tarantino has revealed that are Vic and Vince brothers. He also intended to do a prequel to both films called “Double V Vega”, which would star the Vega Brothers, but Madsen and Travolta eventually got too old to reprise their roles, and Tarantino has since abandoned it.
  • Edward Bunker, a former career criminal, was the youngest felon to be sent to San Quentin. (He was 17.) He was a novelist and also played cons in other films – Runaway Train, The Longest Yard and Straight Time (which was based on his novel) and worked as a technical advisor on others – Heat, for instance. Jon Voight’s character in ‘Heat’ was based on Bunker.
  • Quentin Tarantino released this, his debut film, in the same year that Robert Rodriguez released his debut, El mariachi. Since then they have collaborated on numerous projects.
  • Quentin Tarantino has the first line of dialogue at the beginning.
  • Editor Sally Menke’s agent originally lobbied for her not to take the film. Menke disagreed and went on to edit Quentin Tarantino’s first six movies.
  • Monte Hellman was originally tapped to direct the film as Quentin Tarantino was a complete unknown. However, when Tarantino sold the screenplay for True Romance for $50,000, he lobbied hard to direct the film himself. Hellman took on an executive producer role instead.
  • Quentin Tarantino was originally going to play Mr Pink, although he made a point of letting all the other actors audition for the part. When Steve Buscemi came in to read for it, Tarantino told him that he really wanted the part for himself and that the only way Buscemi could possibly wrest it from him was to do a killer audition. Buscemi duly complied.
  • Tim Roth refused to read for the film. He did insist on going out drinking with Quentin Tarantino and Harvey Keitel. He agreed to read for them when they were all drunk.
  • Quentin Tarantino and his producer Lawrence Bender used to joke that they were the most inexperienced people on the set. They were probably right.
  • The budget didn’t stretch to obtaining police assistance for traffic control so in the scene where Steve Buscemi forces a woman out of her car and drives off in it, he could only do so when the traffic lights were green.
  • Quentin Tarantino’s mother loved the cop torture scene.
  • While driving in the car, someone mentions Pam Grier. She would later star in Quentin Tarantino’s third film, Jackie Brown.
  • In an interview on BBC in 2009 Quentin Tarantino said he was proud the movie is often on top ten heist movies even though you never actually see the heist.
  • Seymour Cassel and Steve Buscemi went to the audition together. Steve auditioned for Nice Guy Eddie and Seymour auditioned for Joe.
  • Note in the opening conversation about Madonna (ex-wife of Sean Penn) that Chris Penn doesn’t really take part, mainly out of deference to his former sister-in-law.
  • On a day off during the shoot, Lawrence Tierney was arrested for allegedly pulling a gun on his nephew. According to Quentin Tarantino, Tierney “was taken from his bail arraignment to the set.”
  • At the end of the scene where Mr. Orange (Tim Roth) is talking to the other undercover cop in Johnnies restaurant they are talking about the comic character “The Thing” immediately after he says that it cuts to him in his apartment answering a phone. As he reaches to pick up the phone, he knocks over an action figure of Ironman, and the action figure of the Thing is visible at he edge of the table.
  • When Steve Buscemi gets hit by the car you see an LAPD set cop directly behind him holding the intersection and an LAFD fire engine passing by that if there was such a situation would obviously been stopped to help out.
  • Filmed in 35 days.
  • The promotional posters for “Reservoir Dogs” say “Five strangers team up for the perfect crime…”. The criminals in the movie – Mr. Pink, Mr. White, Mr. Orange, Mr. Blonde, Mr. Brown and Mr. Blue – are in fact six strangers.
  • [long take] While torturing the cop, we follow Mr. Blonde continuously from the warehouse to his car outside, back into the warehouse again.
  • [trunk] Before the audience sees the contents of Mr. Blonde’s trunk, the camera looks up at Mr. White, Mr. Blonde, and Mr. Pink from inside the trunk.
  • [red apple] Tarantino avoids product-placement in his movies as much as possible. This is why anyone who smokes is smoking a pack of “Red Apples”, a brand Tarantino made up. This is also why any cereal in his films (Fruit Brute, Kabooom!, etc.) are all brands that died out in the 1970s and no longer exist.
  • The total death count in this film (onscreen and off) is at least 17. Four clerks in the jewelry store, five of the six crooks (Mr. White, Mr. Orange, Mr. Blonde, Mr. Blue, and Mr. Brown), Joe Cabot and his son Nice Guy Eddie, the two cops Mr. White shot, the cop in the trunk (Marvin Nash), the cop Mr. Pink shot, the woman Mr. Orange shot, and the “black girl” Mr. Blonde shoots in the bank. The number of police officers Mr. Blonde had to shoot to escape the jewelry store is not mentioned. It can be assumed that Mr. Pink is not shot after he flees the warehouse; although you hear gunshots, he can be heard very faintly yelling something to the effect of “give up” shortly thereafter.
  • Although he supposedly killed more people than any of the other characters did, Mr. Blonde is never seen killing anyone on-screen.
  • When Mr. White and Mr. Pink are in the washroom talking about what went wrong with the job, there are seven bottles on the shelf behind them. One of them is filled with a white liquid, three of them are filled with pink liquid, and there are three of them filled with a orange liquid. The white and pink bottles are close together and the orange bottles are by themselves. During this time, Mr. Orange is passed out by himself is the other room.
  • According to cast member Edward Bunker, there was a scene that would have shown exactly what happened to his character, Mr. Blue but the scene was cut due to the limited budget. He also said actor Lawrence Tierney could never remember his lines, so Tierney’s scenes took a while to shoot.
  • Chris Penn’s blood squibs accidentally went off too early in the big stand-off scene, forcing him to fall to the floor. There is not, as is commonly believed, a mystery round being fired off-screen.
  • In the scene where Nice Guy Eddie talks on his cell phone about the botched robbery, an orange balloon can be seen floating past the car. Some believe that this was intentional, as to foreshadow Mr. Orange as the rat. However, Quentin Tarantino claims that it was accidental.
  • According to Quentin Tarantino, Mr. Pink does in fact survive. You can verify this by increasing the volume of the background sounds: When Mr. Pink runs out of the building with the diamonds, police officers can be heard shouting at him to put his hands on the ground. Gunshots can be heard, then Mr. Pink shouts that he has been shot. You can then hear the officers talking to each other as Pink is arrested.
  • The actress who plays the lady Mr. Orange shoots was Tim Roth’s dialect coach. Roth insisted that she take the role, as she was very hard on him.
  • The opening scene in the coffee shop contains subtle foreshadowing about the identity of the “rat”. When Joe demands to know which crook didn’t contribute to the tip, Mr. Orange is the one who snitches on Mr. Pink

Talking Points:

  • The References to other projects “Alabama” “Vic Vega”
  • Why do you think Mr. Orange told Mr. White he was a cop?
  • Tarantino-isms

What We’ve Learned:

  • Cop’s are not real people
  • A Psychopath ain’t a Professional
  • An Undercover Cop has got to be Marlon Brando
  • What a White Bitch will put up with, a Black Bitch won’t put up with for a second.
  • You don’t need proof when you got instinct

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: I have mix feelings about this movie. I appreciate it for how well made it was, the acting was great, but for some reason, I’m just meh about it.
Ray: The Movie that launched QT’s career.. some say the best he’s ever done. Not sure I agree with that, but wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this to someone (who can handle the violence)
Steve: It is a Tarantino movie, through and through. If you like his style and can handle the violence, you’ll love the movie. I like it a lot!

The Present: Puss In Boots
Rotten Tomatoes: 81%, 80% Audience

Director: Chris Miller

Starring: Antonio Banderas, Salma Heyek, Zach Galifianakis, Billy Bob Thornton, Amy Sedaris, Constance Marie

Trivia:

  • Originally planned as direct to DVD.
  • This movie marks the fifth collaboration between stars Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek. They previously worked together in past films such as Desperado, Frida, Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over, and Once Upon a Time in Mexico.
  • The main character, Puss (voice by Antonio Banderas), makes a “P” as his signature; a signature very similar to the “Z” El Zorro makes. Antonio Banderas played El Zorro in The Mask of Zorro and The Legend of Zorro.
  • Antonio Banderas participated in a viral marketing event for the film by posing in photos of himself at a screening surrounded by cats.
  • Mother Goose appears in the film. “Puss in Boots” was originally published as a story in the “Mother Goose Fairytales” by Charles Perrault.
  • Amy Sedaris, who voices Jill, also voiced Cinderella in Shrek the Third.

Talking Points:

  • I thought the 3D in this movie was excellent
  • The Trailer didn’t give anything in the movie away
  • Why do you think they chose Humpty as the bad guy?
  • Too “sex laiden” for children?
  • Lady Gaga! and Rodrigo y Gabriela!

What We Learned:

  • The first rule of bean club is you do not talk about bean club!
  • Dogs spread rumors.. especially about cats
  • Even cats think cat people are crazy
  • Plants have feelings
  • Humpty dumpty does not wear underwear (and isn’t very modest)
  • Catnip is good for Glaucoma

Trailer:

Recommendations :
Jeff: This was a joy of a movie to watch. While it had it’s slow points, the jokes were well thought out and timed. It’s enjoy about for kids and definitely has it’s adult jokes that might go over the kids’ heads.
Ray: I was soooo not looking forward to this, despite my love of animation. I’ve never been a fan of the “Puss” character in Shrek for the most part and didn’t think they would be able to pull off an entire movie based around it. Well.. I was wrong It was funny and entertaining for Kids and Grownups. The 3D was amazing, and I will buy the 3D Blu-ray as soon as it comes out.
Steve: I let go and enjoyed it a lot!! It was super entertaining! Definitely a fractured fairy tale…but with a lot of interesting characters.

The Future: The Devil Inside

Director: William Brent Bell

Starring: Fernanda Andrade, Simon Quarterman and Evan Helmuth

Summary:
In Italy, a woman becomes involved in a series of unauthorized exorcisms during her mission to discover what happened to her mother, who allegedly murdered three people during her own exorcism.

Trivia:
The film was shot in several different locations including Bucharest, Romania, Rome, Lazio, Italy, and Vatican City.

Talking Points:
What are you expecting from seeing the trailer?

Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: Another creepy exorcism movie. Gee thanks, just what I need.
Ray: The Rite.. with a little Paranormal Activity thrown in maybe? I’m down
Steve: The trailer had me in the theater the first time I saw it…I’m am all over this!!

Coming Attractions
The Past:

The Present: J Edgar

The Future: The Muppets

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MOV077: “Beauty Always Gives Me A Hardon”

On this reel of COL movies.. The boys skirt the very limits of decency delving into John Waters crazy, campy and raunchy dark comedy “Female Trouble” Was it divine? or make them feel like throwing acid into their own faces? Next up the boys jump into the present to talk about the….. 30th attempt at the now classic french story, “The Three Musketeers” After so many attempts have they finally gotten it right? And Last but not least they look into the not so distant Christmas movie season future to talk about the upcoming Spielberg World War One epic “War Horse” Will we be galloping into the theaters this Christmas to see it? Or will we be bringing ol’ trigger to the glue factory? All this movie news and more, so mainline some mascara and strap on your Cha-Cha heels and join us for the next reel of COL Movies # 77 “Beauty always gives me a hardon”

News:

The Past: Female Trouble
Rotten Tomatoes: 79% Fresh, 84% Audience

Director: John Waters

Starring: Divine, David Lochary and Mary Vivian Pearce

Trivia:

  • The film is dedicated to Manson Family member Charles “Tex” Watson. Waters’ prison visits to Watson inspired the “crime is beauty” theme of the film and in the film’s opening credits, Waters includes a wooden toy helicopter that Watson made for him.
  • The lyrics to the title song of the same name, sung by Divine, were written by Waters and set to a pre-existing piece of music.
  • A scene was filmed in which Concetta (Cookie Mueller) burst into the courtroom in an attempt to rescue Dawn Davenport (‘Divine’). According to John Waters, the scene was “technically bad” (visible boom mic, light poles, etc.) and not included in any released version.
  • Dawn Davenport’s stage performance is based upon an act performed by Divine at San Francisco’s Palace Theatre. Divine would wheel a shopping cart full of mackerel on stage and hurl them into the audience while claiming responsibility for various high-profile crimes.
  • Many of the principal actors’ and crews’ parents played the jurors in the final courtroom scene, including the mother and brother of David Lochary (Donald Dasher) and the mother of set designer Vincent Peranio.
  • John Waters still has the “lectric’ chair” and keeps it in his Baltimore home.
  • The female prisoner kissing Dawn in her cell at the end of the movie previously appeared in Pink Flamingos as “Chick with a Dick.” The actress is a male-to-female transsexual.
  • This film marks the last time that John Waters would work with his friend and regular David Lochary. Lochary bled to death while under the influence of PCP before he could appear in Waters’ next picture, Desperate Living.
  • Although released in 1974 the copyright date at the end of the credits is MCMXCIX or 1999.
  • At the time that the electric chair scene was filmed, the death penalty had been banned in the State of Maryland. The day before John Waters had his “sneak world premiere” at a prison, Maryland reinstated the death penalty.
  • Although Dawn Davenport was executed at the end of the film, US capital punishment was suspended from 1972 to 1976 due to the Supreme Court’s ruling in the case of Furman v. Georgia. Maryland didn’t formally reinstate capital punishment until July 1, 1975 and its constitutionality wasn’t passed until 1976. Furthermore, asphyxiation in the gas chamber was the authorized method of execution, not electrocution.
  • The birth scene was saved until the end of shooting, when Dreamlander Susan Lowe gave birth to a son. The umbilical cord was fashioned out of prophylactics filled with liver, while the baby (Ramsey McLean) was doused in fake blood. The scene created quite a scandal for Lowe’s mother-in-law, who arrived on the set in a state of confusion.
  • The unique production design is by Dreamlander Vincent Peranio, who created Dawn’s apartment in a condemned suite above a friend’s store.
  • Divine chose to perform his own stunts, the most difficult of which involved doing flips on a trampoline during his nightclub act. Waters took Divine to a YMCA, where he took lessons until the act was perfected.
  • On the 2004 DVD Director’s Special Comments, Waters states that the original working title of the film was “Rotten Mind, Rotten Face”.

Talking Points:

  • Do we have a Modern Day John Waters?
  • NC-17 rating… deserved?

What We’ve Learned:

  • Nothing says Merry Christmas like Running away from home and screwing some random stranger in the woods.
  • There’s no need to learn about, the presidents, wars, numbers, or science. ‘
  • Feel depressed? Just get your hair done.
  • If they are smart, they’re queer and if they are straight they’re stupid.
  • Nice girls don’t wear Cha-Cha Heels.
  • Bumping Pussies is a violation of jail rules (Eww-Jeff)

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: Wait, I think I found a movie worse than “Starbooty”.
Ray: I think this is the movie that “Starbooty” was trying to be.. and failed miserably. You are a John Waters fan.. or your not. It’s not something i’d recommend to just anyone.. but I did think it was funny.
Steve: I tend to love wacky stuff like this, but I was honestly just bored to tears. It did nothing for me. I feel like my gay card should be taken away…

The Present: The Three Musketeers
Rotten Tomatoes: 24% Rotten, 49% Audience

Director: Paul W.S. Anderson

Starring: Logan Lerman, Matthew Macfadyen and Ray Stevenson

Trivia:

  • At the beginning of the movie, the map of Europe shows several states and kingdoms of that era. However, in Germany, a fictional kingdom west of Bavaria called “Wurzburg” is shown (slightly misspelled, as the original spelling is “Würzburg”), the name of a Franconian city where major parts of the movie were shot.
  • The substitute for Versailles in the movie is a German palace, the Fürstbischöfliche Residenz (the prince-bishop’s palace) in Würzburg, Lower Franconia, Bavaria.
  • Christoph Waltz (Cardinal Richelieu) has the same birthday (October 4) as Charlton Heston, who played Richelieu in The Three Musketeers/The Four Musketeers.
  • Playing Rochefort, Mads Mikkelsen in this movie wears an eye-patch over the very same left eye that his Le Chiffre character wept blood in Casino Royale.
  • A sizable proportion of the funding for the film came from German sources: $4 million from Bavaria’s bank fund (BBF) and film and TV fund (FFF), about $1.3 million from the federal German Film Board, about $10 million in tax rebate cash from the German film fund, the DFF and $1 million (€800,000) in subsidy financing from the Berlin-Brandenburg Medienboard. The production budget was $90 million.
  • Milla Jovovich criticized Summit Entertainment for not “promoting [the film] properly” as a “family film” in the United States. Deadline.com reported that Summit responded with “She doesn’t know what she’s talking about and we don’t know where she’s coming from.” and that “Wouldn’t you think she would call us first about this? It’s frustrating. It’s not the right way to behave. If she has a problem then come to the studio and talk about it”.

Talking Points:

  • Use of the super slo-mo over used?
  • Is this trying to cash in on the popularity of Sherlock Holmes, and the release of the sequel?
  • Annoying variety of accents (Steve)
  • Steampunk and period films? Really? (but not as prevalent as others)
  • Anyone else think the king was going to come out? Or kiss D’Artagnan?
  • Do we think there will be a sequel?

What We Learned:

  • French Spies are arrogant, foolish, and sexy!
  • Trust no one, especially women.
  • Never bring a sword to a gun fight.
  • Dignified and Dashing are equally important
  • Evil is just a point of view.
  • History isn’t written by heroes it’s written by victors.
  • Green is sooooooo last year.
  • Oh, Porthos. *dreamy sigh*

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: It was alright. I supposes. Oh, Porthos. *dreamy sigh*
Ray: I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would… Although I think the pacing got really slow towards the end…and it ran a little long.
Steve: Enjoyable. Not Shakespeare, but fun. Felt like it had elements of Sherlock Holmes and the Wild Wild West. What is it with steampunk in these kinds of movies?

The Future: War Horse

Director: Steven Spielberg

Starring: Jeremy Irvine, Emily Watson and David Thewlis

Summary:

In Devon at the outbreak of World War I, Joey, young Albert Narracott’s beloved horse, is sold to the cavalry and shipped to France. He serves in the British and German armies, which takes him on an extraordinary odyssey, serving on both sides before being alone in No Man’s Land. But Albert cannot forget Joey, and, still not old enough to enlist in the army, he embarks on a dangerous mission to find and bring Joey home

Trivia:

  • Steven Spielberg’s first film to be edited digitally. He has famously held onto editing traditionally, by cutting films manually on a flatbed editing table.
  • Based on both a children’s novel of the same name set during World War I, by Michael Morpurgo, first published in the United Kingdom in 1982, and the 2007 stage adaptation, also of the same name.
  • In 2009, film producer Kathleen Kennedy saw the critically acclaimed production of War Horse in London’s West End with her husband, fellow producer Frank Marshall and their two daughters. They were very impressed by the story and Marshall has recalled how he was amazed that no-one had already bought the film rights to the book.
  • Steven Spielberg was told about War Horse by several people, including Kennedy, who was his colleague at Amblin Entertainment. It was announced on 16 December 2009 that DreamWorks had acquired the film rights for the book, with Spielberg stating: “From the moment I read Michael Morpurgo’s novel War Horse, I knew this was a film I wanted DreamWorks to make … Its heart and its message provide a story that can be felt in every country.” Spielberg saw the London production of the play on 1 February 2010 and met some of the cast afterwards.
  • Spielberg films are renowned for the levels of secrecy and security during filming, and War Horse was no exception: filming took place under the codename Dartmoor.
  • Filming of War Horse began with the cavalry scenes being filmed at Stratfield Saye House in north Hampshire, the estate of the Duke of Wellington, where incidentally Wellington’s war horse “Copenhagen” is buried.
  • Filming on location on Dartmoor, Devon started in August 2010. Dartmoor locations included the small village of Meavy, and near Widecombe-in-the-Moor. Ditsworthy Warren House, an isolated Grade II listed building near Sheepstor on Dartmoor served as the Narracott family’s farmhouse.
  • Working with horses on this scale was a new experience for Spielberg, who commented: “The horses were an extraordinary experience for me, because several members of my family ride. I was really amazed at how expressive horses are and how much they can show what they’re feeling.”

Talking Points:

  • Do you feel that the trailer conveys any of the story we are going to see?

Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: Sweet, epic, war movie feel to it, just something doesn’t work quite right. It’s feels like it’s trying to get me to watch Seabiscuit. Which means I don’t want to see it. I dunno, just doesn’t work for me.
Ray: It exudes that certain… “Spielbergness” that you come to expect from his movies. If anything some of the visuals make me interested in seeing this, and the fact that its set in WWI which we don’t get to see too much of these days.
Steve: The setting looks beautiful and I’m sure it will be shot extremely well. But, it won’t be on my Christmas list…unless I want to take a long nap.

Coming Attractions:

The Past

The Present

The Future

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MOV076: “If You Put It In Your Mouth, Then You’d Be Sure Not To Miss.”

In celebration of Halloween, the boys head back in time to revive John Landis’ classic “An American Werewolf in London”. They head to the theater to see if “Paranormal Activity 3” produces as many scares as the previous PA movies (heehee…I said PA). As for trailers, they review “Contraband” – an upcoming Mark Wahlberg and Kate Bekinsale heist movie. In movie news, Redbox increases prices, Channing Tatum relives his life as a stripper, Tim Burton gets back into animation, and more news about the “Evil Dead” reboot. It’s COL Movies Reel 76…“If you put it in your mouth, then you’d be sure not to miss.”

News:

The Past: An American Werewolf In London

Rotten Tomatoes: 88% Fresh, 76% Audience

Director: John Landis

Starring: David Naughton, Jenny Agutter and Griffin Dunne

Trivia:

  • All the songs in this film have the word “moon” in their titles.
  • At the close of the credits is a congratulatory message for the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana (as Lady Diana Spencer). It was included because during the scene when David is trying to get arrested, he shouts, “Prince Charles is gay!” The film was shot months before the preparations for the couple’s July 1981 wedding.
  • John Landis originally wanted three other songs to add to the soundtrack: Cat Stevens wouldn’t allow “Moonshadow” to be used because he had stopped allowing his secular music to be licensed for films following his conversion to Islam; Bob Dylan wouldn’t allow his version of “Blue Moon” to be used in an R-rated film, as he had just begun his brief conversion to Christianity; and Elvis Presley’s version of “Blue Moon” proved unavailable due to the ongoing lawsuits involving his estate.
  • The legal disclaimer in the closing credits reads, “Any resemblance to any persons living, dead, or undead, is coincidental.” This was also placed at the end of another John Landis project: Thriller, which was reportedly inspired by (and held several allusions to) this film.
  • David Naughton was reportedly cast because John Landis had seen him in a television commercial for Dr. Pepper.
  • In 1997, the movie was re-recorded as a Radio drama by Audio Movies Limited for BBC Radio 1 in Britain. It was broadcast during Halloween that year, in short snippets throughout the day. Brian Glover, John Woodvine and Jenny Agutter reprised their roles from the movie.
  • Studio executives hoped John Landis would cast Dan Aykroyd in the role of David and John Belushi as Jack. John Landis refused.
  • John Landis wrote the screenplay for this film while he was a gofer on the Kelly’s Heroes shoot.
  • John Landis came up with a film following an incident while shooting Kelly’s Heroes in the countryside of Yugoslavia. While driving along a country road with a colleague, Landis encountered a gypsy funeral. The body was being buried in a massively deep grave, feet first, while wrapped in garlic, so as he would not rise from the dead.
  • The scene when the werewolf runs riot in Piccadilly Circus was filmed at that busy intersection when police stopped the normal traffic and the public. Everyone took their places, it was filmed with multiple cameras and it was all cleaned up within the half hour. It was the first time in many years that filming had been allowed in Piccadilly Circus, due to lingering resentment over an unannounced smoke bomb which director Michael Winner set off while filming a scene for The Jokers, after which he sped off in a taxi with the film magazine while other members of the crew were arrested; however, John Landis’ cordial experience in working with the Chicago police on The Blues Brothers helped overcome official reluctance to approve the filming, especially as he had completely worked out a plan, using a scale model of the area, whereby traffic would be minimally disrupted.
  • When trying to call home, the telephone number that David Kessler gives the operator (516-472-3402) contains a Long Island, New York, area code. It is also an unusual case in which an actual phone number is used.
  • The London Underground station used in the film is Tottenham Court Road. It was refurbished in the late 1980s. The platform with the train arriving and departing is the northbound Northern Line platform. This is NOT Aldwych station as previously reported.
  • The tube station used in the film is Tottenham Court Road, Northern Line branch. The sign for Tottenham Court Road can clearly be seen in some shots.
  • The location filming of the front of Alex’s flat and surroundings was filmed on or around Lupus Street in Pimlico, London (lupus is Latin for wolf).
  • Humphrey Bogart can be seen in two posters in Alex’s apartment. There is one for Casablanca on the front wall in the living room, and there’s a black-and-white solo shot of Humphrey Bogart in the kitchen.
  • The episode of The Muppet Show playing on the television during David’s nightmare sequence is indeed a real episode, but the portion shown was never shown in the US. This is why it was considered a fake episode and why Miss Piggy (Frank Oz) and Kermit the Frog (Jim Henson) are credited.
  • The wolves used in the London Zoo scene were kept privately by Roger Palmer in the UK and appeared in several TV programmes and in adverts. Roger went on to found the UK Wolf Conservation Trust which keeps wolves to this day.
  • Because of this film, makeup and industry technological contributions became recognized by the Academy Awards in 1981. Makeup artist Rick Baker was the first to receive an Oscar in the new category. William Tuttle was the first makeup effects artist to receive an Oscar (being an honorary one) for his work on 7 Faces of Dr. Lao.
  • This is the first film to earn the Academy Award for Best Makeup. That category was created in 1981.
  • The final look of the werewolf beast was based on make-up creator Rick Baker’s dog Bosko.
  • When David calls home to speak to his family, he speaks to his sister Rachel. During the conversation, they talk about their brother Max. Max and Rachel are the names of Director John Landis’s children.
  • David Naughton reported that the hospital bed in the forest scene was the most difficult and painful one. Back then, they used glass contact lenses.
  • In an interview with Mick Garris on “Take One,” John Landis stated that in a preview, he included a scene in which you saw more of how the three bums in the junkyard were killed. People reacted so strongly, and loudly for the rest of the preview, that he was afraid that people would miss some of the key plot points at the end of the film. He added that he felt it was a bad idea because it might have made the movie stand out more.
  • John Landis has reported that when he was approving a high-definition transfer of the film for DVD in the mid-2000s, he was taken aback by how gory the film actually was.
  • John Woodvine was cast at short notice after the first two choices left the project.
  • The total duration of composer Elmer Bernstein’s original score for the film is a total of seven minutes much to the surprise of film music aficionados who have wanted for a release of this music for years. The music is more in the vain of transitional orchestral cues in between the pre-recorded songs featured throughout the film to give the film more dramatic weight where needed.
  • The scene inside the subway (or train) while the commuter is running from the werewolf one of the movie posters on the wall is Dance Craze, the documentary of the British ska music scene that was going on at the time the move was filmed.
  • The hospital scenes where David was brought to after he was attacked by the werewolf, were filmed in a disused hospital. Room 21, Floor 4, Princess Beatrice Hospital, in London. Now used as a homeless clinic.
  • The Werewolf howl that was used for the film was a combination of a actual wolf and an elephant, it was also said it was played backward by the producer George Folsey Jr. in the “Beware the Moon” documentary. Director John Landis also stated in the documentary that the Howl was a combination of seven or eight different animals.
  • While John Landis was trying to get this film made, Rick Baker became tired of waiting (over eight years) and decided to use what he had been planning for this film on The Howling. Eventually Landis called Baker and told him, “I have the money. Let’s make ‘American Werewolf’!” to which Baker replied that he was already doing a werewolf picture. Landis started yelling at Baker over the phone. Baker decided to leave The Howling in the hands of his protégé Rob Bottin and would only consult on that film, leaving him free to do this one. Reportedly, Rick Baker’s initial decision is something for which John Landis has never forgiven him.
  • At one point David screams, “I’m a fuckin’ werewolf, for God’s sake!” For television, David Naughton screamed, “I’m a famous werewolf, for God’s sake!” The latter phrase was looped in post-production.
  • During a preview of the film the marquee said, “From the Director of Animal House.” Because of this, many people in the audience thought they were seeing a comedy. Reportedly, people ran out of the theater when they discovered it was a horror film because they were frightened.
  • Michael Jackson was so bowled over by this movie – most especially by the the makeup and special effects – he insisted on hiring the responsible personnel for his planned music video Thriller. When John Landis agreed to direct (his first music video), he brought on board his foremost “werewolf” crew including, Robert Paynter (cinematography), Elmer Bernstein (“creepy” music), Rick Baker (special makeup effects) and his wife Deborah Nadoolman (costume design).
  • The clip from The Muppet Show shown in the film is the one in which puppeteer and ventriloquist Señor Wences was the guest star.
  • Unlike most motion pictures it was filmed in sequence, with the opening scenes filmed first and the closing sequences filmed last.
  • The opening scene of the movie – also the first scene filmed – depicts friends David (David Naughton) and Jack (Griffin Dunne) on a walking tour of Yorkshire, Northern England, traveling on foot toward the nearest town. Because of the cold and dampness of the location, Dunne’s nose was running. While delivering a line of dialogue, Naughton glanced over at Dunne just in time to see Dunne catching and wiping away a stream of snot running from his nose. Naughton laughed at the sight of Dunne’s discomfort, making Dunne begin to laugh while responding to Naughton’s line of dialogue. Because of the spontaneity of the shot – and because the scene was largely improvised anyway – director John Landis decided to use that imperfect shot in the film’s release print.
  • Only four American work permits were requested of the British government for the production: for director John Landis, makeup artist Rick Baker, and actors David Naughton and Griffin Dunne. The first three work permits were granted by the British government without question. But the British office of Actors’ Equity questioned the necessity of a work permit for actor Dunne, claiming that there were already plenty of young American actors living in Great Britain who could portray the role of Jack. It was only when director/screenwriter Landis threatened to rewrite the script and re-title the movie “An American Werewolf in Paris” that the equity office reconsidered the application and granted Dunne his work permit.
  • Much of the British cast, including actor John Woodvine, playing the role of Dr. Hirsch, were appearing in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s London stage production of “Nicholas Nickleby”, simultaneous to the film’s production.
  • John Landis sought the permission of musician Cat Stevens to use the performer’s hit song “Moon Shadow” on the soundtrack. Stevens refused, reportedly because of a belief in the occult that included acknowledgment of the actual existence of werewolves.
  • Jenny Agutter, John Woodvine and David Schofield went on to rejoin John Landis for Burke and Hare almost 30 years later, on yet again, an exclusive UK location shoot.
  • Director/screenwriter John Landis advised actor Griffin Dunne that the key to the character of Jack Goodman was that he was always to be encouraging, optimistic, and cheerful as a member of the undead, no matter what his stage of ghastly corporal decay, deterioration, and decomposition.
  • John Landis initially wanted to keep the werewolf’s screen time to a minimum, having it only appear in a couple scenes, just enough to give an impression of something huge and ferocious. The long shot of the werewolf cornering Gerald Bringsley on the Underground escalator was an example of this. Landis’ decision to show the werewolf as much as it was shown was based on the fact that Landis loved Rick Baker’s design of the monster.
  • Griffin Dunne helped puppeteer the “zombified” version of his character Jack in the porno theater scene, saying his lines at the same time.
  • Rick Baker and John Landis had several disagreements over what the design of the werewolf should be. Baker wanted it to be a two-legged werewolf saying he thought of werewolves as being bipedal. Landis wanted a “four-legged hound from hell”.
  • John Landis: appears briefly near the end of the film. He is the bearded man who gets hit by a car and thrown through the plate glass window in Piccadilly Circus.
  • The porno film showing when David meets Jack and his zombie friends. A poster for the film appears in the London Underground when the man is killed.
  • Frank Oz, The Miss Piggy/Yoda creator/voice talent plays Mr. Collins of the American embassy, who attempts in vain to console David. His voice is also heard later, during a Britian-only excerpt of The Muppet Show. He appears in all of Landis’s films as a good-luck charm.
  • When Jack is killed by the first werewolf, makeup artist Rick Baker told Griffin Dunne to be careful with the wolf’s head as it was new and quite delicate. During the first take Griffin rip the foam rubber off the head. Rick was so irritated by this that he considered putting hard teeth in the wolf but instead used the backup head to ‘beat the crap out of Griffin’.
  • The woman whom David runs into at the zoo was not told that David Naughton would be nude, but she was told that a man would come out and say something.
  • Rick Baker performed the action of the werewolf biting off Inspector Villier’s head.
  • John Landis had a bit of a communication issue on the set with the effects crew. He told them to take the head of Inspector Villiers and throw it across the hood of a car. They looked at him in puzzlement, and after he picked up the head and threw it himself, they replied, “Oh, you mean the bonnet.”
  • Dr Pepper Commercial.

Talking Points:

  • The practical effects!!!
  • Comedy vs. Horror

What We’ve Learned:

  • Stay on the road. Keep clear of the moors. Beware the moon, lads.
  • If you put it in your mouth, then you’d be sure not to miss.

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: Meh, it was okay, but just okay. Gotta admit, if this was the reason John Landis got hired to do the Thriller video, it’s gotta be good. See it at least once.
Ray: Classic, looking a little dated these days, but was in a league of its own originally.
Steve: Classic! Practical effects are great! Of course, it’s kind of confusing being a bit of a comedy, but still one that is memorable. Definitely one a horror fan has to see.

The Present: Paranormal Activity 3

Rotten Tomatoes: 70% Fresh, 69% Audience

Directors: Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman

Starring: Chloe Csengery, Jessica Tyler Brown and Christopher Nicholas Smith

Trivia:

  • Towards the beginning of the film, Julie takes a picture of young Kristi standing in the driveway shortly before a group picture is taken. The photo being taken appears in both Paranormal Activity and Paranormal Activity 2 as an indication that the demon has started haunting them.
  • Mark Fredrichs previous played the Psychic in the first Paranormal Activity, which took place nearly two decades after the events in this film.
  • Most of the scenes in the trailers are not in the actual movie.

Talking Points:

  • #2 was 52% rotten & 52% audience, #1 was 82% Fresh, 56% audience
  • Use of camera angles, like the “fan” camera
  • More standard scares?

What We Learned:

  • Believe your children!
  • Don’t play Bloody Mary.
  • Don’t piss off your kid’s imaginary friend.
  • If the baby sitter runs out of the house when you get home, assume something went wrong.
  • If your mother-in-law looks like a witch, she probably is.

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: I was absolutely terrified during the entire movie. If you like that, go see it, if not, stay away.
Ray: I loved it up until the end… then it lost me!
Steve: Enjoyed it, but not as much as the others. Think they’re trying to force scares now. Also…the audience makes a huge difference for this kind of film.

The Future: Contraband

Director: Baltasar Kormákur

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Giovanni Ribisi and Kate Beckinsale

Summary:

Chris Farraday long ago abandoned his life of crime, but after his brother-in-law, Andy, botches a drug deal for his ruthless boss, Tim Briggs, Chris is forced back into doing what he does best;running contraband-to settle Andy’s debt. Things quickly fall apart and with only hours to reach the cash, Chris must use his rusty skills to successfully navigate a treacherous criminal network of brutal drug lords, cops and hit men before his wife, Kate, and sons become their target.

Trivia:

  • Remake of Reykjavik-Rotterdam (2008)
  • Filming took place in New Orleans, Louisiana and Panama City.

Talking Points:

  • Same ol, same ol?
  • Had no idea that was Kate Beckinsale!

Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: Same old, same old, schtick. Guy goes legit, is brought back in to do once last job to protect family. While I wanted to see Gone in 60 Seconds, this one doesn’t have the cars.
Ray: Lol, at first I was like… is this “The Fighter 2?” Yawn.. maybe if it gets decent reviews, but I’m not jumping to see it.
Steve: Woo hoo…a heist movie involving someone who got out of the game, but gets pulled back in to do “just one more”! Never seen one of those before. (yeah, that’s sarcasm)

Coming Attractions

The Past:

The Present

The Future

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