MOV107: “Come In, We’re Aladeen.”

On this reel of COL Movies the boys get ready for the summer blockbuster Prometheus by stepping back into 1979 and to what some consider the Birth of modern sci-fi horror Ridley Scott’s “Alien”. We jump to the present to discuss Sasha Baron Cohen’s next attempt to offend as many people as possible, “The Dictator” Will Jeff have anything to say about it? Last but certainly not least we take a look at a little known indie film released at this years Sundace Film Festival “Safety Not Guaranteed” to discuss what happens when you base a film on a 1997 Internet meme. All this plus lots of news about movie villains and a followup to the recent postponement of G.I.Joe. Join us for the 107th Reel of COL Movies: Come in were Aladeen.

Warning: Some parts of this episode has been censored by our Supreme Leader of Wadiyan Aladeen. Some. I mean all. Enjoy.

News:

The Past: Alien
Rotten Tomatoes: 96% Fresh; 90% Audience

Director: Ridley Scott

Starring: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, John Hurt

Trivia:

  • Originally to be directed by Walter Hill, but he pulled out and gave the job to Ridley Scott.
  • Veronica Cartwright was originally auditioned to play Ripley, but producers opted for Sigourney Weaver.
  • An early draft of the script had a male Ripley, making this one of at least three films where Sigourney Weaver played a character originally planned to be a man. The second is The TV Set and the third is Vantage Point.
  • All of the names of the main characters were changed by Walter Hill and David Giler during the revision of the original script by Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett. The script by O’Bannon and Shusett also had a clause indicating that all of the characters are “unisex”, meaning they could be cast with male or female actors. However, Shusett and O’Bannon never thought of casting Ripley as a female character.
  • Conceptual artist H.R. Giger’s designs were changed several times because of their blatant sexuality.
  • Much of the dialogue was developed through improvisation.
  • The front (face) part of the alien costume’s head is made from a cast of a real human skull.
  • During production an attempt was made to make the alien character transparent or at least translucent.
  • Three aliens were made: a model; a suit for seven-footer Bolaji Badejo; and another suit for a trained stunt man.
  • The models had to be repainted every evening of the shoot because the slime used on-set removed the acrylic paint from their surfaces.
  • The rumor that the cast, except for John Hurt, did not know what would happen during the chestburster scene is partly true. The scene had been explained for them, but they did not know specifics. For instance, Veronica Cartwright did not expect to be sprayed with blood.
  • “Nostromo” is the title of a Joseph Conrad book. The shuttlecraft is called the “Narcissus”, from the title of another Joseph Conrad book. See also Aliens.
  • Many of the non-English versions of the film’s title translate as something similar to “Alien: The 8th Passenger”.
  • The alien’s habit of laying eggs in the chest (which later burst out) was inspired by spider wasps, which are said to lay their eggs “in the abdomen of spiders.” This image gave Dan O’Bannon nightmares, which he used to create the story. But spider wasps (pompilidae) lay eggs on their prey, not inside them, after which the wasp maggots simply snack on the sting-paralyzed spiders. O’Bannon may instead have been thinking of either ichneumon wasps or braconid wasps. The ichneumon drills a single egg into a wood-boring beetle larva, whereas braconids inject eggs inside certain caterpillars. Both result in fatal hatch-outs more alike to O’Bannon’s alien.
  • 130 alien eggs were made for the egg chamber inside the downed spacecraft.
  • Conceptual artist H.R. Giger would successfully sue 20th Century Fox 18 years later over his lack of screen credit on Alien: Resurrection.
  • Ridley Scott’s 2003 director’s cut largely came about when over 100 boxes of footage of his 1979 original were discovered in a London vault.
  • Many of the interior features of the Nostromo came from airplane graveyards.
  • For the awakening from hypersleep segment, Veronica Cartwright and Sigourney Weaver had to wear white surgical tape over their nipples so as not to offend certain countries.
  • To simulate the thrust of engines on the Nostromo, Ridley Scott had crew members shake and wobble the seats the actors were sitting in.
  • H.R. Giger’s initial designs for the facehugger were held by US Customs who were alarmed at what they saw. Writer Dan O’Bannon had to go to LAX to explain to them that they were designs for a horror movie.
  • The chestbursting scene was filmed in one take with four cameras.
  • To get Jones the cat react fearfully to the descending Alien, a German Shepherd was placed in front of him with a screen between the two, so the cat wouldn’t see it at first, and came over. The screen was then suddenly removed to make Jones stop, and start hissing.
  • Dallas’ pursuit of the alien down the ventilator shafts, and the intercut scenes of the rest of the crew urging him on, was shot in one day.
  • It was conceptual artist Ron Cobb who came up with the idea that the Alien should bleed acid. This came about when Dan O’Bannon couldn’t find a reason why the Nostromo crew just wouldn’t shoot the Alien with a gun.
  • Ridley Scott did all the hand-held camera-work himself.
  • The creature is never filmed directly facing the camera due to the humanoid features of its face. Ridley Scott, determined at all costs to dispel any notion of a man in a rubber suit, filmed the beast in varying close-up angles of its ghastly profile, very rarely capturing the beast in its entirety.
  • Carlo Rambaldi constructed three alien heads based on H.R. Giger’s designs: two mechanical models for use in various close-up work, and an elementary model for medium-to-long shots. Rambaldi was not available to operate his creations on the actual shoot, though he did spend two weeks in the UK as a technical advisor to Ridley Scott and his crew.
  • According to Ridley Scott, the mechanism that was used to make the alien egg open was so strong, that it could tear off a hand.
  • Jerry Goldsmith was most aggrieved by the changes that Ridley Scott and his editor Terry Rawlings wrought upon his score. Scott felt that Goldsmith’s first attempt at the score was far too lush and needed to be a bit more minimalist. Even then, Goldsmith was horrified to discover that his amended score had been dropped in places by Rawlings who inserted segments from Goldsmith’s score to Freud instead. (Rawlings had initially used these as a guide track only, and ended up preferring them to Goldsmith’s revised work.) Goldsmith harbored a grudge against the two right up to his death in 2004.
  • The character of Ash did not appear in Dan O’Bannon’s original script.
  • Dan O’Bannon first encountered H.R. Giger’s unique style when the two were briefly working on Alejandro Jodorowsky’s ill-fated attempt at making “Dune”.
  • The screen test that bagged Sigourney Weaver the role of Ripley was her speech from her final scene.
  • The genesis of the film arose out of Dan O’Bannon’s dissatisfaction with his first feature, Dark Star which John Carpenter directed in 1974. Because of that film’s severe low budget, the alien was quite patently a beach ball. For his second attempt, O’Bannon wanted to craft an altogether more convincing specimen. The goofiness of Dark Star also led him in the direction of an intense horror movie.
  • The writing partnership between Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett came about when Shusett approached O’Bannon about helping him adapt a Philip K. Dick story that he had acquired the rights to. That was “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale” which later became Total Recall. O’Bannon then said that he had an idea that he was stuck on about an alien aboard a spaceship and that he needed some assistance. Shusett agreed to help out and they tackled the alien movie first as they felt it would have been the cheaper of the two to make.
  • The original title was “Star Beast”.
  • Walter Hill and David Giler’s contribution to the script was to make Ash a robot.
  • There is no dialog for the first 6 minutes.
  • 20th Century Fox doubled the budget from $4.2 million to $8.4 million on the strength of seeing Ridley Scott’s storyboards.
  • Ridley Scott was keen to take on the project as the one that he had been previously working on at Paramount, Tristan + Isolde, was stuck in development hell.
  • Three Nostromos were built for the production: a 12″ version for long shots, a 48″ version for the landing sequence and a seven ton rig for showing the ship at rest on the planet’s surface.
  • The producers of the 1950s potboiler It! The Terror from Beyond Space considered suing for plagiarism but didn’t.
  • The original name for the spaceship was Snark. This was later changed to Leviathan before they finally settled for Nostromo.
  • According to John Hurt in the DVD Documentary, he was considered at the beginning of casting to play Kane but had already committed to another film that was set to take place in South Africa, so Jon Finch got the role instead. However, two separate incidents occurred which got Hurt the role. First was the fact that he was banned from South Africa because the country mistook him for actor John Heard who strongly opposed the Apartied (Hurt points out that he was opposed to it too, but was lucky enough not to get blacklisted) so he was unable to do the other film. Second, Finch became seriously ill from diabetes and had to pull out. Ridley Scott immediately contacted Hurt, pitched him the script over a weekend and Hurt arrived on the set Monday morning with little to no sleep to begin filming.
  • The blue laser lights that were used in the alien ship’s egg chamber were borrowed from The Who. The band was testing out the lasers for their stage show in the soundstage next door.
  • The stylized artwork that Ridley Scott used to create the storyboards that got Fox to double the budget were inspired by the artwork of famed comic book artist Mobius.
  • The screech of the newborn alien was voiced by animal impersonator Percy Edwards. He was personally requested by director Ridley Scott to do the sound effect and it was recorded in one take.
  • Veronica Cartwright only found out that she wasn’t playing the part of Ripley when she was first called in to do some costume tests for the character of Lambert.
  • The Nostromo is supposed to be 800 feet long, while the craft she is towing is a mile and a half long.
  • The spacesuits worn by Tom Skerritt, John Hurt and Veronica Cartwright were huge, bulky items lined with nylon and with no outlets for breath or condensation. As the actors were working under hot studio lights in conditions in excess of 100 degrees, they spent most of their time passing out. A nurse had to be on hand at all times to keep supplying them with oxygen. It was only after Ridley Scott’s and cinematographer Derek Vanlint’s children were used in the suits for long-shots and they passed out too, that some modifications were made to the costumes.
  • At the start of production, Ridley Scott had to contend with 9 producers being onset at all times, querying the length of time he was taking over each shot.
  • The first day that she shot a scene involving Jones the cat, Sigourney Weaver’s skin started reacting badly. Horrified, the young actress immediately thought that she might be allergic to cats, and that it would be easier for the production to recast her instead of trying to find 4 more identical cats. As it transpired, Weaver was reacting to glycerin sprayed on her skin to make her look hot and sweaty.
  • After the first week of shooting, Dan O’Bannon asked if he could attend the viewing of the dailies, and was somewhat staggered when Gordon Carroll refused him. To get past that ban, O’Bannon viewed the dailies by standing beside the projectionist whilst he screened them for everyone else.
  • Among some of the ingredients of the alien costume are Plasticine and Rolls Royce motor parts.
  • While he was working on the visual effects for this film, Brian Johnson was simultaneously working in the same capacity on Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back.
  • The space jockey prop was 26 feet tall.
  • In the wide shots of the Space Jockey prop, Ridley Scott used his two sons to make the prop seem bigger.
  • A sex scene between Dallas and Ripley was in the script, but was not filmed.
  • A scene originally cut, but re-inserted for the Director’s Cut shows Lambert slapping Ripley in retaliation for Ripley’s refusal to let her, Dallas, and Kane back on the ship. According to both Ridley Scott and Veronica Cartwright, every time she went to slap Sigourney Weaver, Sigourney would shy away. After about three or four takes of this, Scott finally told Cartwright “Not to hold back. Really hit her.” Thus the very real shocked reactions of Weaver, Yaphet Kotto, and Harry Dean Stanton.
  • The dead facehugger that Ash autopsies was made using fresh shellfish, four oysters and a sheep kidney to recreate the internal organs.
  • The decal on the door of the Nostromo is a “checkerboard square”, the symbol on Purina’s pet food label; it designated Alien Chow.
  • According to a quote from Veronica Cartwright in a film magazine, in the scene where the alien’s tail wraps around her legs, they are actually Harry Dean Stanton’s legs, in a shot originally filmed for another scene entirely.
  • The embryonic movements of the facehugger, prior to bursting out of its egg, were created by Ridley Scott using both his rubber-gloved hands.
  • In The Blue Planet, David Attenborough said the Alien monster was modeled after the Phronima, a creature spotted by submersibles at great depths. However there is little evidence to support this claim – the original Alien design was based on a previous painting by H.R. Giger, Necronom IV, which bears little resemblance to the Phronima. Giger’s agent, Bijan Aalam, claims “He never inspired himself by any animals, terrestrial or marine”.
  • The computer screen displaying Nostromo’s orbit around the planet contains a hidden credit to Dr. Brian Wyvill, one of the programmers for the animation. Within the top frame entitled Deorbital Descent, it is possible to isolate the letters “BLOB”, Dr. Brian Wyvill’s common nickname.
  • The grid-like flooring on the Nostromo was achieved using upturned milk crates, painted over.
  • In an interview for Métal Hurlant, Ridley Scott revealed that to make the action more realistic, the flight deck was wired so that flipping a switch in at one console would trigger lights somewhere else. The cast then developed “work routines” for themselves where one would trip a switch, leading another to respond to the changes at his work station and so on.
  • The original design for the Alien by H.R. Giger had eyes, which were eliminated to make the creature look even more menacing.
  • Originally, no film companies wanted to make this film, 20th Century-Fox had even passed on it. They stated various reasons, most being that it was too bloody. The only producer who wanted to make the film was Roger Corman, and it was not until Walter Hill came on board that it all changed. 20th Century-Fox agreed to make the film as long as the violence was toned down; even after that they still rejected the first cut for being “too bloody”.
  • The original cut of the film ran 3 hours and 12 minutes.
  • Despite releasing a new version of the film titled “Alien: The Director’s Cut”, Ridley Scott wrote in a statement in the film’s packaging that he still feels the original Alien was his perfect vision of the film. The newer version is titled “The Director’s Cut” for marketing purposes, featuring deleted scenes many fans wanted to see incorporated into the film (such as the scene where Lambert and Ripley discuss whether or not they’ve slept with Ash, suggesting there’s something not quite right about Ash). He also deleted as much material from this cut to maintain the movie’s pacing.
  • Director Ridley Scott and composer Jerry Goldsmith were at odds with each other on the usage of the original music score. As a result, many crucial cues were either rescored, ill-placed, or deleted altogether, and the intended end title replaced with Howard Hanson’s “Symphony No. 2 (Romantic)”. The original intended score was featured as an isolated track on the now out-of-print 20th Anniversary DVD.
  • The vapor released from the top of the spacesuit helmets (presumably exhausted air from the breathing apparatus) was actually aerosol sprayed from inside the helmets. In one case, the mechanism broke and started spraying inside the helmet.
  • A closer look at the alien eggs in the scene right before the facehugger reveals that slime on the eggs is dripping from bottom to top. Ridley Scott did this intentionally by shooting with the camera upside down.
  • 20th Century Fox Studios almost did not allow the “space jockey”, or the giant alien pilot, to be in the film. This was because, at the time, props for movies weren’t so large and it would only be used for one scene. However, conceptual artist ‘Ron Cobb (I)’ convinced them to leave the scene in the movie, as it would be the film’s “Cecil. B. DeMille shot”, showing the audience that this wasn’t some low-budget B-movie.
  • Yaphet Kotto (Parker) actually picked fights with Bolaji Badejo who played the Alien, in order to help his onscreen hatred of the creature.
  • Bolaji Badejo beat Peter Mayhew to the part of the alien.
  • Copywriter Barbara Gips came up with the famed tagline: “In space, no one can hear you scream.”
  • The engines of the Narcissus coming to life was created by having water pour out of showers with strong arc lights around it. This gave the illusion that it was plasma.
  • Bolaji Badejo who plays the Alien in the movie was a graphic artist who was discovered at a pub by one of the casting directors. He was about 7 feet tall with thin arms – just what they needed to fit into the Alien costume. He was sent for Tai Chi and Mime classes to learn how to slow down his movements. A special swing had to be constructed for him to sit down during filming as he could not sit down on a regular chair once he was suited up because of the Alien’s tail.
  • The slime used on the Alien was K-Y jelly.
  • During the opening sequence, as the camera wanders around the corridors of the Nostromo, we can clearly see a Krups coffee grinder mounted to a wall; this is the same model that became the “Mr. Fusion” in Back to the Future.
  • Many producers have professional “readers” that read and summarize scripts for them. The reader in this case summarized it as “It’s like Jaws, but in space.”
  • Roger Dicken, who designed and operated the facehugger and the chestburster, had originally wanted the latter to pull itself out of Kane’s torso with its own little hands, a sequence he felt would have produced a much more horrifying effect than the gratuitous blood and guts in the release print.
  • A lawsuit by A.E. van Vogt, claiming plagiarism of his 1939 story “Discord in Scarlet” (which he had also incorporated in the 1950 novel “Voyage of the Space Beagle”), was settled out of court.
  • Potential directors, who either were considered by the studio or wanted to direct, included Robert Aldrich, Peter Yates, Jack Clayton, Dan O’Bannon and Walter Hill. Aldrich in particular came very close to being hired, but the producers ultimately decided against it after they met him in person, and it quickly became apparent that he had no real enthusiasm for the project beyond the money he would have received. According to David Giler, the moment when Aldrich talked himself out of the job came when they asked him what kind of a design he had in mind for the facehugger; Aldrich simply shrugged and said “We’ll put some entrails on the guy’s face. It’s not as if anyone’s going to remember that critter once they’ve left the theater.”
  • The inside of the alien eggs as seen by Kane was composed of real organic material. Director Ridley Scott used cattle hearts and stomachs. The tail of the facehugger was sheep intestine.
  • Bill Paterson turned down a part.
  • When casting the role of Ripley, Ridley Scott invited several women from the production office to watch screen tests, and thus gain a female perspective. The women were unanimously impressed with then-unknown actress Sigourney Weaver, whose screen presence they compared to Jane Fonda’s.
  • Ridley Scott cites three films as the shaping influences on his movie: Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope and 2001: A Space Odyssey for their depiction of outer space, and Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) for its treatment of horror.
  • Shredded condoms were used to create tendons of the beast’s ferocious jaws
  • Entertainment Weekly voted this as the third scariest film of all time.
  • While the crew is eating, if you freeze the frame, you can clearly see the “Weyland-Yutani” brand on the can Dallas is drinking from. This is the name of the company that they work for.
  • The chestbursting scene was considered the second scariest movie moment of all time on Bravo’s The 100 Scariest Movie Moments.
  • A green monitor visible behind Ripley while the crew discusses Kane’s condition outside the kitchen shows nonsense characters as well as the word “Giler”, obviously a nod to producer David Giler.
  • Ridley Scott stated that in casting the role of Ripley, it ultimately came down to Sigourney Weaver and Meryl Streep. The two actresses had been schoolmates at Yale.
  • Ranked #7 on the American Film Institute’s list of the 10 greatest films in the genre “Sci-Fi” in June 2008.
  • During this production, only H.R. Giger and Bolaji Badejo were permitted to view the rushes with Ridley Scott, enabling them to better discuss and refine aspects of the beast’s look and movements.
  • Ridley Scott’s first exposure to early Alien drafts were sent to him by Sanford Lieberson, then head of 20th Century Fox’s London headquarters. Lieberson had seen Scott’s The Duellists and was adequately impressed to consider the neophyte filmmaker.
  • The literal translations of some of this film’s foreign language titles include Alien: The Eighth Passenger (Argentina, Mexico, Spain, Canada, Denmark and France) and Alien: The Uncanny Creature from a Strange World (West Germany).
  • In H.R. Giger’s original illustrations the creature has eyes. For the movie, Giger insisted that the creature have no eyes, thus giving the bleak appearance of a cold and emotionless beast.
  • The Hungarian translation of the title translated back is “The 8th passenger is the Death” and from that on, all 3 other Alien movies had such titles that end with the word “death”. Aliens: “The name of the planet: Death”; Alien³: “Final solution: Death”; Alien: Resurrection: “Reawakens the Death”. Furthermore, the alien is referred to as “death” in the Hungarian title of AVP: Alien vs. Predator: “The Death against The Predator”.
  • For the scene in which the facehugger attacks, the egg was upside down above the camera, and the operator thrust it down toward the lens like a hand puppet.
  • The production designers, in an attempt to cut costs while still remaining creative, constructed several of the sets in such a way as to make them usable in more than one scene. A good example of this can be seen in the “Space Jockey” room (the room in which to away team discovers the skeletal remains in the alien ship) and the “egg chamber.” The sets were designed so that the skeleton and the revolving disc on which it sits could be removed and the empty space then redressed with the “eggs,” creating, combined with a matching matte painting, a vast cavern full of potential alien spawn.
  • Kay Lenz auditioned for the role of Ripley.
  • As a child, Veronica Cartwright had appeared in The Birds, opposite Doodles Weaver, who was Sigourney Weaver’s uncle.
  • The first of four Alien movies starring Sigourney Weaver.
  • When the movie was broadcast in Israel, its title was changed to “The Eighth Passenger” in Hebrew.
  • The large Space Jockey sculpture was designed and painted by H.R. Giger himself, who was disappointed he couldn’t put any finishing touches on it by the time filming came about for the scene. Also, the Space Jockey prop was burned and destroyed by a burning cigarette left on the model. Los Angeles. The unfortunate event was covered by local TV news stations that evening.
  • Nostromo’s identification number is 180924609.
  • In a preview of the bonus feature menus for the “Alien Legacy” box set posted to USENET, the bio for Dallas had him as being born female and Lambert as being born male, suggesting gender reassignment before the events in the film. Fan reaction prompted this to be changed before production of the DVDs.
  • After the crew awakens from hyper-sleep, the navigator Lambert announces that the ship is “just short of Zeta 2 Reticuli”. Zeta Reticuli is a real double-star system about 39 light-years from Earth, and has figured prominently in UFO lore. In the 1960s, Barney and Betty Hill claimed to have been abducted by “gray” aliens from Zeta Reticuli.
  • According to Ridley Scott in the DVD commentary, he had envisioned a moment in the ending scenes of Ripley and the alien in the space shuttle in which the alien would be sexually aroused by Ripley. Scott says that in the scene, after Ripley hides in the closet, the alien would find her and would be staring at her through the glass door. The alien would then start touching itself as if comparing its body to Ripley’s. The idea was eventually scrapped.
  • Dan O’Bannon was hyper-critical of any changes made to his script and, to be fair, he defended some aspects of the film that ended up being most iconic (including H.R. Giger’s designs). Although he would come on set and nitpick, O’Bannon was generally welcomed by Ridley Scott until O’Bannon lost his temper and insulted Scott in front of the whole crew. The producers, including Walter Hill, had minimal respect for O’Bannon and largely ignored him, giving him little credit once the film became a success.
  • Dan O’Bannon requested that Ridley Scott and producer Walter Hill, both of whom had little knowledge of horror or science-fiction cinema, screen The Texas Chain Saw Massacre to prepare for shooting the more intense scenes. Scott and Hill were stunned by the horror film and admitted it motivated them to ratchet up the intensity of their own film.
  • Walter Hill’s re-write included to make two of the characters female (and to add a romantic subplot that was deleted) and to alter much of the dialogue written by Dan O’Bannon and Ronald Shusett. The original dialogue has been described as poetic but Hill assessed it as pretentious and obscure.
  • Director Trademark
  • Ridley Scott: [mothers] The Nostromo’s computer is named “Mother”. The incubation of the alien has also been interpreted as a metaphor for pregnancy.

Talking Points:

  • The importance of sound in this move.
  • Pacing – Nothing happens for about 45 minutes.
  • Does Ripley call someone a bitch in every movie?

Critic Notes

  • Positives: Doesn’t look it’s age, Proved that B-Movie Fodder can be handled with Finesse ; An old-fashioned story updated to space, Remains a Benchmark for extra-terrestrial Horror; Has stood the test of time and so much has been based on it…a pop culture phenom.
  • Negatives: empty headed horror movie filled with gimmicks; only made to score big bucks at the box office

What We Learned:

  • ​In the future, computers are incredibly noisy!
  • In the future, smoking in an oxgenated spaceship is totally ok. Guess it’s like it used to be on planes.
  • Star ships are designed with a minimum of normal lighting
  • Self Destruct sequences are way too complex.
  • Always double check your navigational heading before putting yourself in suspended animation.

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: Uber classic sci-fi movie but too slow. Not my favorite movie but it’s a total must see and definitely worth a buy.
Ray: This was my first exposure to sci-fi horror, and although some of the creature effects don’t quite hold up.. it can still scare the living crap out of you. This is a highly recommended one in my eyes, and probably always will be.
Steve: This was a film that really got me into scary movies. It still remains the standard that all of these types of films have to live up to. Beyond the look, it really established female heroines can be as tough as males.

Add To Flickchart

The Present: The Dictator
Rotten Tomatoes: 59% Rotten; 58% Rotten Audience

Director: Larry Charles

Starring: Sacha Baron Cohen, Anna Faris, Ben Kingsley

Trivia:

  • ​The Daily Show with Jon Stewart: Admiral General Aladeen reveals Aladeen’s first name to be Shabazz.
  • The photos of Aladeen’s other financially procured lovers in addition to Megan Fox include Lindsay Lohan, Halle Berry, Ellen DeGeneres, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
  • The language that Aladeen and Nadal speak on the helicopter tour is actually Hebrew, and not Arabic
  • In the film, the Republic of Wadiya location is actually the real country of Eritrea
  • In February 2012, Internet rumors claimed the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences had banned Baron Cohen from attending the 84th Academy Awards in his role as Admiral General Aladeen, but the Academy said the rumors were unfounded, saying, “We haven’t banned him. We’re just waiting to hear what he’s going to do,” and specifying of the publicity stunt, “We don’t think it’s appropriate. But his tickets haven’t been pulled. We’re waiting to hear back.”
  • Sacha Baron Cohen attended the 84th Annual Academy Awards in character and full costume as Aladeen, accompanied by his “virgin guards”. While giving an interview on the red carpet to an unsuspecting Ryan Seacrest he brandished an urn he claimed to contain the remains of deceased North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il. Cohen then spilled the ashes all over Seacrest’s tuxedo. The ashes were discovered to be pancake mix.
  • Paramount said the film was inspired by the novel Zabibah and the King by Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, though The New York Times later reported this was not true.
  • Baron Cohen, who also plays Efawadh in the film, based his performance primarily on the Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
  • Kristen Wiig and Gillian Jacobs had been considered for the role that Anna Faris eventually played and which Variety said “calls for strong improvisational skills”.
  • Baron Cohen said the United Nations refused to let him film scenes inside the UN Headquarters and claimed they explained this by saying, “we represent a lot of dictators, and they are going to be very angry by this portrayal of them, so you can’t shoot in there.” Asked about it, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesman commented by saying only, “Sacha Baron Cohen has a wonderful sense of humor.”
  • Archive news footage of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and David Cameron in the beginning of the trailer are excerpts of their 2011 speeches condemning Colonel Gaddafi.
  • Baron Cohen appeared in character on the May 5, 2012, episode of Saturday Night Live during the “Weekend Update” segment, in which he appeared to torture movie critics A. O. Scott and Roger Ebert to give the film positive reviews, as well as seemingly holding director Martin Scorsese hostage.
  • The film has been informally barred from showing in Belarus,,officially banned in Tajikistan, described as “unlikely” to be shown in Turkmenistan, and shortened to 71 minutes by the censorship in Uzbekistan.

Talking Points:

  • WTF?
  • Compared to his normal ambush style? is this better or worse?
  • Soundtrack

Critic Notes:

  • Alladeens: Sharp and smart; Pushes the envelope; Timely and brings real issues to life; Cohen is effective in putting his crazy characters into the real world
  • Alladeens: “I didn’t laugh, I didn’t care, just stared at the screen”; rhythm was off, so the comedic timing didn’t quite work; It’s crass, disgusting, and vulgar; Time for Cohen to take on a serious role

What We Learned:

  • America was built by the blacks, and is owned by the Chinese
  • Anyone not from America is an “a”-raab
  • Mac Geniuses spend most of their time cleaning semen out of laptops
  • Crocs are a symbol of a man who has given up hope.
  • An educated woman is like a monkey in rollerskates, for us it is cute to watch, but they have no idea how ridiculous they are.
  • Ben Kingsley is obviously desperate for work.

Trailer:

Recommendations :
Jeff: I found a new category of movie for me. Movies I Refuse to Watch Again. This one is in that category.
Ray: I think this movie is Aladeen! :O) I love comedy that pushes the boundaries of offensive. Done wrong it can be horrible, but I think SBC manages to pound enough of a message while making us laugh at ourselves and our own social morays. If you don’t like his style of humor this is definitely not for you..or for anyone easily offended. I thought it was great though, I liked it much more than Borat or Bruno.
Steve: Truthfully, I was just bored. I love Anna Farris, but even her vacant surprise eyes throughout the entire movie didn’t do anything for me. I get what Cohen was trying to do with this, but it just didn’t resonate with me. I agree with the critics who say that they just watched it and didn’t laugh or cry…just felt “eh”.

The Future: Safety Not Guaranteed

Release: Limited release, US Date not announced

Director: Colin Trevorrow

Starring: Aubrey Plaza, Jake M. Johnson, Karan Soni

Summary:

Three magazine employees head out on an assignment to interview a guy who placed a classified ad seeking a companion for time travel.

Talking Points

Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: Dude, a minute into the trailer and I’m sold. Something about this just appeals to me and I’m really not sure what. Damn it for being limited release.
Ray: I thought this looked really interesting, and I hope that it comes out in wider release sometime. It seems to be getting great press and reviews!
Steve: Seems like an interesting movie. Makes me think of other movies like “The Fisher King” that helps someone “rediscover” themselves by thinking differently. Doubtful it’s really about time travel…but it’s an interesting concept. More something I’d rent than see at the theater, though.

Next Month = we kick off our annual June pride month tribute to LGBT movies for the Past

The Past:

The Present:

The Future:

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MOV106: “1.21 GIGAWATTS!”

It’s another “very special episode” (haven’t we jumped the shark, yet?) where we look back on the Zemeckis and Michael J. Fox “Back to the Future” franchise.  After just shy of 6 hours of movies, we head to the theater to check out the summer blockbuster based on a Hasbro game, “Battleship”.  Lastly, we take a look at the Tim Burton animated film based on his 1984 short film, “Frankenweenie”.  In news, Guillermo del Toro is taking on big budget SciFi, “GI Joe 2” is getting bumped back a year for 3D post-coversion, “Ted” takes GI Joe 2’s spot, “The Exorcist” and news on the “RoboCop”  remake.  It’s the 106th reel of COL Movies…”1.21 GIGAWATTS!”

News:

The Past: Back To The Future
Rotten Tomatoes: 97% Fresh, 88% Audience

The Past: Back To The Future II
Rotten Tomatoes: 64% Fresh, 80% Audience

The Past: Back To The Future III
Rotten Tomatoes: 73% Fresh, 74% Audience

Director: Robert Zemeckis

​Starring: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover, Mary Steenburgen

Trivia:

  • The first film was the highest-grossing film of 1985 and became an international phenomenon, leading to the second and third films which were filmed back-to-back and released in 1989 and 1990 respectively. Though the two sequels did not perform quite as well at the box office as the first film, the trilogy remains immensely popular after a quarter of a century and has yielded such spin-offs as an animated television series and a motion-simulation ride at the Universal Studios Theme Parks in Universal City, California; Orlando, Florida (now closed), and Osaka, Japan, as well as a Microsoft Windows, Macintosh, iPad, PS3 and Wii video game. The film’s visual effects were done by Industrial Light and Magic. All together, the trilogy was nominated for five Academy Awards, winning one (Best Sound Editing).
  • As of June 2011 the Back to the Future series is the fourteenth highest grossing trilogy of all time at the domestic market (adjusted for inflation), seventeenth highest grossing trilogy of all time at the domestic market (not adjusted for inflation), and the thirteenth highest grossing trilogy of all time, worldwide (not adjusted for inflation).

Talking Points:

  • ​Anyone notice anything they never saw before?
  • What is your favorite of the three?
  • Can you really see one without seeing the others?

Critic Notes

  • Back to the Future:
  • Positives: Great performances, story is well paced, fun mix of ingenuity and nostalgia
  • Negatives: Tries to be too clever, so it trips itself up at times
  • Back to the Future II:
  • Positives: Very screwy, but fun; Not as confusing as #1, giddy and fun
  • Negatives: Make ups at different ages were poorly done, tried too hard, overloaded
  • Back to the Future III:
  • Positives: Much more simple plot than #2, so refreshing and fun; Great nod to westerns
  • Negatives: Bland and forgettable, runs out of energy

What We Learned:

  • ​My God Back To The Future III had alot of facial hair
  • If Emmett Brown built his time machine in this day in age, it would have been a Tesla Roadster and he would have avoided alot of problems.
  • Whatever your parents said they did or did not do when they were your age? Don’t believe a word of it.
  • 2015 is only 3 years from now..and we still don’t have flying cars.

Trailers:

Back to the Future:

Back to the Future II:

Back to the Future III:

Recommendations:
Jeff: This has been always a classic trilogy to me. The first one is a classic and the best, the other two were just some extra added fun. I say it’s totally worth a buy as a complete collection.
Ray: So, I do love the first move, seen it hundreds of times. I think the second movie is ok, but you can only really watch it if you have seen the first movie, but to me other than some eye candy the third movie is totally skip-able.
Steve: Big fan of #1…the other 2 were somewhat throw aways for me. Watching them over, I realized how much I wanted to just fast forward through 2 & 3. I loved the concept and as a teenager in 1985, I wished I was Marty McFly!

The Present: Battleship

Rotten Tomatoes: 37% Fresh; 57% Audience

Director: Peter Berg

Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Rihanna, John Tui, Jesse Plemons, Tadanobu Asano, Gregory D. Gadson, Alexander Skarsgård, Brooklyn Decker, Liam Neeson

Trivia:

  • Jeremy Renner was cast as Alex Hopper, but dropped out in order to co-star in The Master, which he also later dropped out of.
  • The movie is based on the Milton Bradley game “Battleship” that has been manufactured since 1931. The original paper and pencil version of the game predates World War I.
  • Some of the artillery used in the film is shaped like the pegs used in the game.
  • Teresa Palmer and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley auditioned for the role of Sam.
  • Singer Rihanna’s feature film – and acting – debut.
  • The battleship Missouri was the key plot of the movie Under Siege, where it was about to be decommissioned. In Battleship, this boat is set as a museum.
  • The clips showing ‘the world at riot, coming to an Apocalypse’ are actual news clips captured during the riots in the United Kingdom in 2011.
  • During the filming of the soccer game sequence, an American and a Japanese warship each pulled into dock near the field. They were promptly drafted into being extras, and can be seen standing on the prows of their respective ships cheering and clapping for the game.
  • The scene when Alex Hopper breaks into the convenience store to get the chicken burrito is a spoof of a real convenience store robbery – the security video for which went viral on YouTube. The actual robber fell from the ceiling twice.

Talking Points:

  • So, is this movie bad? or are we just spoiled? Why would a movie make 200million overseas, but do absolutely terrible here.
  • Anyone get the “Top Gun” vibe from this?
  • So was it meant to be serious? or was it satire?
  • Was this a nod to Memorial Day? “Don’t forget our Veterans”-kind of movie? or just an advert to say “when the world works together, we can accomplish anything”?

Critic Notes:

  • Positive: Adrenaline filled fun, sincere salute to Naval veterans, it knows it’s big and dumb so it goes for it
  • Negative: 2 hour Navy recruiting film, preposterous, noisy and overbearing, just a big dumb summer movie

What We Learned:

  • ​Even though life evolved on a planet in the same distance from the sun as ours.. the inhabitants will be super sensitive to sunlight
  • Aliens apparently have the same uses for the colors red and green like we do.
  • The government somehow forgot how to put satellites into geosynchronous orbit
  • John Tui is fucking HOT!

Trailer:

Recommendations :
Jeff: While there are some weak points in the plot, the battles just kept getting better and better. I enjoyed this movie alot. The first part of the movie before we get out to sea when Hopper meets the girl could have been completed removed and it would not have changed the movie. Sure not the greatest action movie in the world, but I think they did a decent job. Theater is okay but waiting for rental is okay too.
Ray: This is the biggest budget syfi channel movie I have ever seen! If you enjoy those you will enjoy this. Otherwise stay away…far away.
Steve: Wow…I want to say I hated it, but I didn’t. Definitely just had to shut off my brain and watch the special effects, otherwise I would have been mad at myself for sitting through it. I have no reason to ever see this again.

The Future: Frankenweenie

Release: September 14, 2012

Director: Tim Burton

Starring: Charlie Tahan, Winona Ryder, Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short

Summary:

After the death of his beloved dog Sparky, young Victor harnesses the power of science to bring him back to life. Victor tries to hide his creation, but Sparky gets out and causes havoc in the town

Talking Points

  • Anyone see the original short?

Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: For some reason I’m completely non-plussed about this movie. Looks pretty good but I’m in the Meh camp here.
Ray: Something ill probably see, mostly because of my liking of Burton’s other animated films..not sure its a run out to the theater and see it kinda movie though.
Steve: As a “most of the time” Burton fan, I’ll probably see it on video (if possible). Seems like fun.

The Past:

The Present:

The Future:

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MOV105: “It Looks Like A Pulsating Beacon of Blood and Urine!”

In This Reel of COL Movies, It’s our 2nd Anniversary Episode! And the Cubs from Cubs Out Loud are here to celebrate with us. In the past we find out what happens when you put Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn in a movie where they just CAN’T DIE?!? Catfights and immortality combine in this 1992 film that–surprisingly–also starred Bruce Willis. “Death Becomes Her.”Just when you thought there couldn’t possibly be any more room for another vampire film, the curse of the Collins Family is back. Vampires, Ghosts and Witches, oh my! Tim Burton and Johnny Depp team up for a movie you can really sink your teeth into. It’s “Dark Shadows.” In the future, we find out if Milla Jovovich can finally put Umbrella Corp. in it’s place. Will Oded Fehr live down The Mummy Returns. It’s zombies and fabulous hair in “Resident Evil: Retribution.” We’ve got all that plus news about a Steve Jobs movie, Pee-Wee Herman, And how the Avengers is driving up not only box office receipts but apparently Shawarma is flying off the shelves as well! It’s the 105th Reel of COL Movies – It looks like a pulsating beacon of blood and urine!

News:

The Past: Death Becomes Her (1992)
Rotten Tomatoes: 45% Fresh, 58% Audience

Director: Robert Zemeckis

Starring: Meryl Streep, Bruce Willis, Goldie Hawn

Trivia:

  • ​The date when Helen drinks the potion (October 26, 1985) is the “present” date in Back to the Future, also directed by Robert Zemeckis.
  • In the scene where Helen sits down onto a shovel handle, she didn’t sit in the way she was expected to do, so the SFX people had to morph the image to make it look like the shovel handle was pushing up into her chest.
  • Meryl Streep accidentally scarred Goldie Hawn’s cheek with a shovel during the fight scene.
  • Catherine Bell was Isabella Rossellini’s nude body double.
  • In the scene where Madeline punches in the entrance code and enters the gate as Helen slips past her unseen, you get a brief glimpse of her license plate. It reads “2HYE305”, not “ZHEMEKIS” as previously noted
  • A pneumatic bra was built to create the effect where Meryl Streep’s breasts become higher and firmer after drinking the potion, but the effect didn’t look realistic enough. In order to get the shot Meryl Streep’s dresser stood behind her, out of sight of the camera, and pushed her breasts into position.
  • An edited picture from the original ending was used during Ernest’s funeral scene. The picture of him aged was actually a of him in full age makeup from the first ending. Bruce Willis’s aged face was used, but put on an actual picture of a mountain climber, which thus resulted in the end picture of Ernest at his funeral.
  • During the description of the plot to kill Madeline, there was a quick shot of the folder being stamped “case closed” at a desk. Also on the desk was a brain in a glass jar labeled “abnormal” – a tribute to the original Frankenstein.
  • Bruce Willis replaced Kevin Kline as Ernest.
  • In an interview Meryl Streep revealed that she assumed the role of Helen (Goldie Hawn’s character) was meant for her. Not the “song-and-dance” role of Madeline.
  • The three main character’s names are a play on words. Madeline, Ernest and Helen can be shortened to Mad, Ern, Hel, or “Madder ‘n Hell.”
  • At one point Lisle Isabella Rossellini asks Madeline Meryl Streep how old she thinks she is. Streep answers 38, to which Rossellini gives a dirty look. Rossellini was in fact 39 at the time of filming.
  • In the opening scene, Meryl Streep’s character is starring in a musical version of Sweet Bird of Youth, a play by Tennessee Williams about an aging actress who pines for her lost youth.
  • Director Robert Zemeckis is a good friend of Steven Spielberg. Production designer Rick Carter and cinematographer Dean Cundey both previously worked with Zemeckis on the Back to the Future sequels. They would both subsequently work with Spielberg on Jurassic Park. This led to writer David Koepp coming to Spielberg’s attention. He was hired to finalize the Jurassic Park script, and later became a regular Speilberg collaborator, having been called upon to polish the scripts for Men in Black, Twister, and to write the scripts for The Lost World: Jurassic Park, War of the Worlds, and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
  • The film underwent some major re-editing after negative feedback was received at test screenings. The entire ending was changed, and the role played by Tracey Ullman disappeared from the film completely, despite the fact that she was featured briefly in the trailer for the film.
  • In several scenes, references to deceased musicians and actors are visible. When Bruce Willis’s character falls through the glass roof and lands in the pool, Jim Morrison can clearly be seen with a girl. Later on, an extra playing James Dean turns around (with his signature hairdo) as Willis steals his Grey Spider.
  • Robert Zemeckis: The shots in the psychiatric clinic where Helen is brought look exactly like those in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
  • There are two scenes (both involving Ernest Menville) that foreshadow Madeline Ashton’s and Helen Sharp’s fall down the stairs outside Ernest’s memorial – when Ernest pushes Madeline down the stairs during the fight that ensued after she took the potion and when Ernest argues against taking Lisle Von Rhuman’s potion by speculating what would happen if he were “pushed”, rather “fell”, down the stairs. Their fall outside his memorial can be interpreted as his revenge against them for for their treatment of him in their ongoing battle with each other and for using him as a tool in their pursuit of everlasting youth and beauty.
  • Despite lackluster reception, it won an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects and Meryl Streep was nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance. The film opened at #1 at the box office with $12,110,355 upon the also opening weekends of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Bebe’s Kids. It went on to earn over $149 million worldwide.

Talking Points:

  • ​I remember this being a “how the heck did they do that movie” Does it hold up?
  • Plot hole!? If it mends a cut, why wouldn’t an extra dose heal them?

Critic Notes

  • Positives: the “bitchery” between Hawn and Streep is fun; Daring and risky; for the time, effects were amazing; Black comedy at its best
  • Negatives: there is no glee, simply narcissism and insult comedy; Younger audience won’t get it; too focused on the effects and some “serious” parts of the movie didn’t fit in the comedic overtone

What We Learned:

  • ​Bruce Willis knows how to rock a porn stache.
  • Happiness is a completely inappropriate expression for death.
  • Everyone that works in Beverly Hills salons has an accent
  • You can’t use ordinary paint on dead people
  • If your going to lie, do it QUICKLY.
  • A guy who sticks to his word at the cost of everything else is an idiot
  • Mind the stairs.
  • Death can be achieved in small, expensive doses

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: This has always been a classic to me. I mean, Meryl Streep, Goldie Hawn, Bruce Willis? How can this not be a good movie. Something is wrong with the Rotten Tomatoes ratings. I say a definite buy.
Damon: I always enjoyed this movie as it brought back memories of the campy movies of the early 90s. This was a pretty good movie with some interesting choices of actors. How could you go wrong?
Ray: This is one of those quirky little fun dark comedies that I love so much. Unless your a particularly squeamish person this is one that you should check out some time if you can.
Robert: Meryl is fabulous. Goldie is chilling. Bruce is one pedophile wind breaker away from being a tour de force. 10 out of 10.
Steve: Always been a fun one for me. Hawn and Streep give great performances as frenemies who eventually have to help each other survive. Clever and definitely displayed some state of the art effects for the time! Definitely memorable!
Ben: Nowhere do movie characters defy the laws of the physical universe as gleefully as they do in Robert Zemeckis’s films.

The Present: Dark Shadows
Rotten Tomatoes: 42% Fresh; 54% Audience

Director: Tim Burton

Starring: Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer, Eva Green, Johnny Lee Miller, David Selby, Jonathan Frid, Katherine Leigh Scott, Chloë Grace Moretz, Gulliver McGrath, Helena Bonham Carter, Bella Heathcote

Trivia:

  • ​There were 1245 episodes of the 1966-71 series. More than most shows on television even to this day.
  • This is Tim Burton’s eighth film with Johnny Depp, his seventh film with Helena Bonham Carter, his fifth film with Christopher Lee, and his second film with Michelle Pfeiffer (Pfeiffer had starred in Batman Returns twenty years previously).
  • Anne Hathaway, Lindsay Lohan and Jennifer Lawrence auditioned for the role of Angelique.
  • Kathryn Leigh Scott reported at the Dark Shadows Festival in Brooklyn (August 19-21, 2011) that she, Lara Parker, David Selby and Jonathan Frid were treated “like royalty” when they arrived on set for their cameos during the first week of July 2011, and that Johnny Depp walked up to Jonathan Frid and said, “None of this would be possible had it not been for you” referring to Frid’s original portrayal of the Barnabas Collins role and its impact on the success of the original series.
  • Chloë Grace Moretz (Carolyn Stoddard) and Gulliver McGrath (David Collins) were also both in the the film Hugo but shared no screen time together.
  • Jonathan Frid, Lara Parker, David Selby and Kathryn Leigh Scott, who played Barnabas Collins, Angelique, Quentin Collins and Josette DuPres in the original Dark Shadows, appear in the ball at Collinwood Manor.
  • To prepare for his role as Barnabas Collins, Johnny Depp undertook a weight-loss regime and a diet of green tea and low-sugar fruit, getting his weight down to 140 pounds.
  • Eva Green described her role of Angelique as “Bette Davis and Janis Joplin mixed together.”
  • Christopher Lee stars with Jonny Lee Miller in this film; decades earlier, Lee had appeared with Miller’s grandfather Bernard Lee in the 007 film The Man with the Golden Gun, which was based on a novel written by Lee’s cousin Ian Fleming.
  • This was Jonathan Frid’s last film.
  • Tim Burton, Johnny Depp and Michelle Pfeiffer were fans of the original Dark Shadows, having watched it when they were young.
  • Makeup artist Joel Harlow applied several layers of custom greasepaint to create Barnabas Collins’s chalk-white complexion.
  • When Michelle Pfeiffer heard about an adaptation of Dark Shadows, she called up Tim Burton to ask him for a part in the film, a practice she rarely does.
  • With no time for rehearsal prior to filming, Tim Burton found a way to put his entire main cast in the mindset of their respective roles: He gathered them together on the set for a photo session in which they replicated the famous image of the original Dark Shadows cast all standing in the foyer of Collinwood. This image evolved into the film’s teaser poster.
  • The producers scoured the UK and Maine to find an appropriate fishing village to film Collinsport in, but couldn’t find one that fit. Thus they constructed the whole town from scratch in Pinewood Studios.
  • For the sex fight sequence, the actors worked with stunt coordinator Eunice Huthart and wore harnesses that spun them through the air. Eva Green was not too fond of the sequence since she doesn’t like heights.
  • A 33-foot-high miniature of Collinwood Mansion was constructed, measuring 1/3 in scale to the actual set of the Mansion.
  • Production designer Rick Heinrichs designed Collinwood to reflect its maritime heritage (the mansion was close to the ocean, and its owners have a background in fishing); ocean motifs like fish and mermaids are present throughout the house and its furnishings, including seahorses in the fireplace along with statues of the sea god Neptune.
  • Tim Burton wanted the film to reflect the era of its setting, and showed cinematographer Bruno Delbonnel several 1970s vampire movies to help him understand the way the film should be shot.
  • According to costume designer Colleen Atwood, she designed the 18th and 20th century costumes and then overlaid and blended in elements from both to create a smooth, similar feel that suited the film.
  • Colleen Atwood created Josette duPres’s dress from nylon and aluminum.
  • Josette duPres’s ghost scenes were shot in an underwater tank.
  • The actress who played Dr. Julia Hoffman in the original Dark Shadows TV series was Grayson Hall, wife of Sam Hall, head writer of the show. In the same way, Helena Bonham Carter, who played Dr. Hoffman, is the long-time partner and fiancée of the film’s director Tim Burton.
  • Shipped to theaters under the code name “Night Moves”.
  • The trailer for the film premiered exclusively on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on March 15, 2012. That same day, the trailer made its online debut on Apple.com.
  • The film was again scored by long-time Burton collaborator, Danny Elfman.
  • The soundtrack features a score of several contemporaneous 1970s rock and pop songs, along with others from later and slightly earlier, including “Nights in White Satin” by The Moody Blues, “Top of the World” by The Carpenters, “You’re the First, the Last, My Everything” by Barry White, “I’m Sick of You” by Iggy Pop, “Get It On” by T. Rex and “Paranoid” by Black Sabbath. Alice Cooper, who makes a cameo in the film, sings “No More Mr. Nice Guy” and “Ballad of Dwight Fry”. A cover of the Raspberries’ song “Go All the Way” by The Killers also plays over the end credits.

Talking Points:

  • Does it even compare to the original stories?
  • ​Alice Cooper – boy he’s always looked that bad – “That is the ugliest woman, ever!” Barnabas Collins
  • Little bit of Amityville Horror (Bleeding Walls) and Death Becomes Her (Immortally young witch)
  • Bad trailer marketing?
  • Soundtrack
  • Is this like “21 Jump Street” – taking serious content to comedy in a remake?

Critic Notes:

  • Positive: Fun and offbeat; Great for fans of Depp;
  • Negative: Not what fans of “Dark Shadows” want in a remake; Can’t decide if it’s a comedy, horror movie, or melodrama

What We Learned:

  • ​Dreams really can come true!
  • Blood is thicker than water.
  • Blood can mean a life of privilege for some or a life of burden to others.
  • Family is the only real wealth
  • If the sexes were equal men would be unmanageable.
  • Ghosts are simply people who have shifted into another dimension.
  • A Curse takes devotion.
  • Every year you get half as pretty and twice as drunk.
  • A Vampire can drain a stout man in seven and a half seconds.
  • Balls are a symbol of power.
  • Alice Cooper is the ugliest woman alive.

Trailer:

Recommendations :
Jeff: Okay, okay, I admit this movie wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. But was it great? Nope, but enjoyable. I say wait for Netflix or rental.
Damon: Meh…I enjoyed this movie, but it didn’t really leave as big an impression on me. I liked the campiness and did laugh at points, but the story was too much to be in one movie. Understandable, there was a plethora of stories to draw from, which makes it hard. Maybe I’m just not a Tim Burton/Johnny Depp fan. Meh…
Ray: I was worried that this was going to be a horrible comedy, luckily this was a decent homage to the original, with the soap opera-ness turned down slightly and the humor turned up a bit. If you were a fan of the original series you will probably get a good chuckle out of this. It surprised me how much I enjoyed it.
Robert: Didn’t see it. The trailer looked … interesting.
Steve: At first, I thought I was going to pull my eyes out, but it kind of grew on me. I liked the verbal judo Depp used for the character, which made me listen intently. Thought there were too many characters in the film though. Would have liked to see how they would have made this a straight film rather than comedy.
Ben: A very nice retelling of the story, even if it has been told 3 times prior…

The Future: Resident Evil: Retribution

Release: September 14, 2012

Director: Paul W.S. Anderson

Starring: Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory, Michelle Rodriguez

Summary:

Alice is captured by Umbrella once again, and awakens in the heart of their operation facility; as she moves further in the complex, more of her past is unveiled and she continues to hunt for those responsible for the outbreak. Her quest takes her and her newfound allies from Tokyo to New York, Washington D.C. and Moscow. After a “mind-blowing” revelation, she is forced to rethink everything, finally finding out the truth about herself, and the Umbrella Corporation

Talking Points

  • Any thoughts about seeing past characters coming back?
  • Returning from the previous film are: Milla Jovovich as Alice, Sienna Guillory (Jill Valentine) and Boris Kodjoe (Luther West). Shawn Roberts (Albert Wesker) makes a cameo appearance. Colin Salmon who played James “One” Shade and Michelle Rodriguez who played Rain Ocampo in the first film return. Oded Fehr who portrayed Carlos Olivera in the second and third film also returns. There will be two “versions” of Rain, One, and Carlos; one being portrayed as “evil” and one as “good”. Game characters, Ada Wong (played by Li Bingbing), Leon S. Kennedy (Johann Urb) and Barry Burton (Kevin Durand) will appear in the film. Ali Larter (Claire Redfield), Wentworth Miller (Chris Redfield) and Spencer Locke (K-Mart) will not return and their absence will be explained by their characters being captured by Umbrella.
  • How about all the monsters this time…rather than just zombies?
  • An element from the fourth video game called the Las Plagas parasite will play a part in the film and will allow the undead to “run around, ride motorbikes, and shoot machine guns”.
  • What do you think about the obvious marketing campaign with Sony?
  • Random comment:
  • On October 11, a platform collapsed during the second day of filming and injured 16 people on the set. According to Toronto police, ten people were taken to the hospital for emergency treatment. Injuries included bruises and broken bones. Emergency workers had a difficult time determining which injuries were real since the people were dressed in zombie costumes with fake blood.

Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: Well, it’s a teaser. It’s Resident Evil. Bad movie, but will have fun with the action when i see it. If you’d looking for a dumb action movie you can turn your brain off for and watch women kick ass, that’s this movie.
Damon: Why do they keep making this movie? WHY? I saw the first one and asked for my money back. Didn’t get it, but oh well. The trailer is just lame. And 3D? What’s the point. I’ll save my money for porn.
Ray: Resident Evil movies are hit or miss with me. I sort of enjoy them more when they abandon the video game aspects and blaze new ground. I’m always happy to see Milla though.
Robert: Not very. The first one was okay. The rest were barely tolerable … and this is coming from someone who went and bought Milla’s album, The Divine Comedy.
Steve: Good times with Alice! While I love the series…the last one was lackluster. I hope that this will be so much better! I have confidence and am looking forward to some of the characters coming back and seeing where it goes.
Ben: Bleh!

The Past:

The Present:

The Future:

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MOV104: “We Have A Hulk”

Join us as we strap ourselves into a Jet Car and get our over-thrusters aimed at 1984 to look at the cult classic The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai across the 8th dimension. Does this Action adventure, sci-fi romantic comedy get the formula right and hold up, or will we wish it never made it out of the 8th..or in this case 80’s dimension. Next we suit up and assemble for the Comic Book Juggernaut that is Marvels The Avengers, Does this long awaited franchise deliver on all the hype it has generated? Finally we head out over the Pacific on the haunted flight 7500. Does this look like it’s going to scare the bejesus out of us, or going to be another snakes on a plane? We also have news about Kick Ass 2, Django Unchained, and Avatar 2, 3, and 4?? All this and more on the 104th Reel of COL Movies “We Have a Hulk”

News:

The Past: The Adventures of Buckeroo Banzai Across The 8th Dimension (1984)
Rotten Tomatoes: 71% Fresh, 68% Audience

Director: W.D. Richter

Starring: Peter Weller, John Lithgow, Ellen Barkin

Trivia:

  • ​When it came time to film the end titles sequence, where Buckaroo and pals are walking around a dry L.A. aqueduct in step to the music, the music wasn’t ready. Composer ‘Michael Boddicker’ told the film crew to use “Uptown Girl” by Billy Joel as a placeholder because it was the exact same tempo. Those scenes were filmed with “Uptown Girl” blaring from a boom box tied to the back of the camera truck.
  • Overall concept and several names appear to be taken from the Doc Savage pulp magazines of the 30’s and 40’s: both main characters are multi-talented surgeons, adventurers, and musicians; and both have an inner circle of sidekicks with nicknames (Renny, Ham, Monk, Long Tom, and Johnny, compared to Reno, New Jersey, Perfect Tommy, and Rawhide).
  • Jamie Lee Curtis played Buckaroo’s mother in a flashback, but this scene was cut. The scene is available on the recent DVD release as an optional prequel to the theatrical version, and as a special feature. Jamie Lee Curtis is visible in a photo on the dashboard of the jet car in the wide-screen version.
  • The latitude and longitude recited by the technicians during the “alignment” of the Oscillation Overthruster are the coordinates of Cape Canaveral, Florida.
  • The “oscillation overthruster” device reappeared as a “spectral analyzer” in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Pen Pals.”
  • The US DVD release includes a caption portion entitled “Pinky Caruthers’ Unknown Facts”, which actually adds to the storyline and character development of the film.
  • The “jet car” shown in the film (reportedly a 1982 Ford F-350 pick-up truck) included an actual Cold War-era General Electric turbo jet engine that was borrowed from Northrop University in Inglewood, California.
  • The end of the movie invites the viewer to watch for the upcoming film “Buckaroo Banzai vs. The World Crime League”. This was the real title for a sequel that Sherwood Studios planned to make if this film had been successful. Unfortunately, it was a box-office bomb, and Sherwood Studios went bankrupt. After its release on video and cable, however, BB became a cult favorite, much in the same way as Mad Max (which crawled from obscurity to spawn two sequels). Legal wrangling due to the bankruptcy prevented any other studios from picking up the sequel rights, and even years later MGM had to fight through a pile of red tape simply to get the OK to release it on DVD.
  • Some of the dialogue used in the Jet Car sequence is taken directly from Mission Control chatter heard during a shuttle launch countdown.
  • In the original script, Buckaroo was supposed to have an arch enemy named Hanoi Xan, who was never seen but referenced to by Buckaroo and the other characters. All scenes containing dialogue regarding Xan were deleted from the film’s theatrical release but are now available on DVD. Xan was supposed to be the mysterious head of a crime syndicate called the World Crime League and also the man who murdered Buckaroo’s parents and wife Peggy.
  • During the jetcar test, the computer screen that has the graphics shows three different words: SINED, SEELED, and DELIVERED.
  • Lord John Whorfin’s line, “Character is what you are in the dark,” is a quote from the 19th Century evangelist Dwight L. Moody.
  • Many names and terms were taken from Thomas Pynchon’s book “The Crying of Lot 49”, most notably the company name Yoyodyne. To this day, there is a yoyodyne.com, which serves as a fan site for the film. “Yoyodyne” itself was Pynchon’s thinly veiled reference to Rocketdyne, a major defense industry contractor and manufacturer of rocket engines, founded just after WW II to reverse-engineer German V-2 rockets – thereby also making this a further veiled reference to Pynchon’s novel ‘Gravity’s Rainbow’.
  • When John Whorfin calls collect for John Bigboote, he tells the operator he is calling “Grovers Mill.” Grovers Mill was a real-life community in New Jersey which was used in Orson Welles’ famous radio broadcast of “War of the Worlds” and is now a part of West Windsor Township in Mercer county.
  • The kanji lettering on Buckaroo Banzai’s headband as he drives the jet car reads “seikatsu-bi”, which appears to be Japanese, but does not make sense. The first two kanji mean living or lifestyle, but the second character, “bi” (not “bei” as has been reported elsewhere) or beautiful, does not add up to coherent Japanese. It seems to suggest the “beautiful life” but these 3 kanji together do not have a particular meaning in Japanese.
  • Banzai’s mentioned but unseen foe Hanoi Xan seems to homage Hanoi Shan. In the genealogical section of Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life (1973), Philip Jose Farmer added Hanoi Shan to the Wold Newton Universe. Hanoi Shan is an allegedly real-life criminal mastermind documented in the works of criminologist H. Ashton Wolfe. Farmer’s thesis was to make Hanoi Shan the same individual as Sax Rohmer’s totally fictional Dr. Fu Manchu.
  • President Widmark is clearly intended to look and sound like Orson Welles, who directed and starred in the radio presentation of “War of the Worlds” referenced in the film.
  • Between his escape from the insane asylum and his ransom call, the movie’s main villain, John Worfin, is not seen for more than 42 straight minutes – over 40% of the film’s runtime.
  • On “At the Movies” in 1984 just before the film’s release, Gene Siskel correctly guessed that the movie would attain cult status.
  • Both Peter Weller and John Lithgow went on to appear on the hit TV show Dexter. Lithgow played the Trinity Killer in season 4 and Weller played a corrupt cop in season 5.
  • John Lithgow’s dialect coach, Roberto Terminelli, was actually a tailor on the Fox lot with a heavy Italian accent. John had Roberto speak his lines from the script into a tape recorder, which he then used to practice the accent. John then got him credit in the movie as the dialect coach for his help.

Talking Points:

  • ​What makes a movie a “Cult” movie.

Critic Notes

  • Positives: 24+/10- on Rotten Tomatoes: Oddball in a good way, offbeat way to poke fun at pop culture, pure nutty fun
  • Negatives: Too many characters, non-flowing plot is hard to follow, comes off like being on a receiving end of an inside joke that you’re not an insider on, violates every rule of storytelling

What We Learned:

  • Ford F-350’s make excellent jet cars despite them having the aerodynamic properties of a brick wall.
  • No matter where you go, there you are.
  • A quadrillionth has a lot of zeros
  • Buckaroo Bonzai and the Hong Kong Caviliers sported hipster glasses before they were cool
  • Don’t leave the keys in your helicopter
  • There’s a long form and a short form declaration of war.

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: Irreverent, weird, random, awesome. A classic 80’s sci fi comedy, I’d definitely recommend a look see.
Ray: Well, this is a movie that I have fond memories of, however it’s not really holding up to my expectations.. it is a quirky strange look into B sci fi movies of the 80’s though. It might be fun to watch with a group of friends who are old enough to remember this one… but not sure I’d recommend it to someone who’s never seen it before unless I know for sure this is their kind of movie.
Steve: Not my thing. Too schizophrenic for me. I find no real plot in this movie and it’s just not my cup of tea. Skip it unless you’re in the cult.

Intermission: Flickchart

The Present: The Avengers
Rotten Tomatoes: 93% Fresh ; 96% Audience

Director: Joss Whedon

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson

Trivia:

  • Edward Norton was originally set to reprise his role from The Incredible Hulk but negotiations between him and Marvel Studios broke down. Norton was replaced with Mark Ruffalo.
  • The first Marvel film to be distributed by Walt Disney Pictures.
  • Before Mark Ruffalo was cast as The Hulk, Joaquin Phoenix was rumored for the part.
  • Morena Baccarin, Jessica Lucas, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Cobie Smulders screen tested for the role of Agent Maria Hill. Smulders was eventually cast.
  • Lou Ferrigno voices the Hulk in this film. He has played the Hulk in almost every live-action version since 1978: he played the Hulk in The Incredible Hulk and its subsequent three TV specials, and he voiced the Hulk in the big-screen The Incredible Hulk (he was seen in Hulk but it was a cameo role as a security guard, which he repeated in The Incredible Hulk ). He also has voiced the Hulk in various animated productions.
  • Chris Hemsworth had to increase and expand his dietary/food intake in order to maintain the physique he built up for Thor.
  • Mark Ruffalo describes Bruce Banner as “a guy struggling with two sides of himself, the dark and the light; everything he does in his life is filtered through issues of control.” He furthermore describes Banner’s alter ego the Hulk as “a loose cannon – he’s the teammate none of them are sure they want, it’s like throwing a grenade into the middle of the group and hoping it turns out well!”
  • Mark Ruffalo personally portrays the Hulk through virtual-camera motion-capture. Previous live-action versions have had Bruce Banner and the Hulk be played by separate people (Bill Bixby and bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno), or had the Hulk rendered into the film in computer-generated imagery.
  • Director Joss Whedon had earlier been considered to direct X-Men in the 1990s. A big fan of the X-Men, he even wrote a script, from which only two lines made it into the film.
  • Producer Kevin Feige compares the film to Transformers: Dark of the Moon: “It set a standard for that level of ZOMG-awesomeness and scale. We’re working to try to outdo that.”
  • Mark Ruffalo states it was an honour to take over as Bruce Banner from his friend Edward Norton: “Ed has bequeathed this part to me, I look at it as my generation’s Hamlet.”
  • The Science and Entertainment Exchange provided a science consultation for the film.
  • According to Joss Whedon, the film is strongly influenced by the early 1960s Avengers comics, which he was a fan of while growing up: “In those comics these people shouldn’t be in the same room let alone on the same team – and that is the definition of family.”
  • Tom Hiddleston spoke of his role as Loki in an interview by saying, “I can tell you that it’s all of them against me. I am the super villain. So it’s Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, Captain America, Thor, Hawkeye, Black Widow and Nick Fury forming a team because I’ve got so bad ass.”
  • After Loki is brought on board the Helicarrier, Tony Stark can be seen wearing a Black Sabbath T-shirt. Black Sabbath is better known for their song “Iron Man.” Although the song was not originally associated with the Marvel Comics character, it has since been referenced in the comics and the end of Iron Man when Tony quotes the lyric, “I am Iron Man.”
  • This film holds an unusually high number of Academy Award nominees in the cast/crew for a comic book movie, or most movies for that matter: Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Samuel L. Jackson, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, director Joss Whedon, and cinematographer Seamus McGarvey, possibly many others. This tops Iron Man 2, and Iron Man which each had four nominees a piece.
  • The cast became good friends while filming so if all the actors happened to be filming scenes together in the same place, they would go out together after.
  • Despite the fact that the studio had no involvement in producing the film, neither in marketing or distributing, the Paramount Pictures logo still appears in advertising. Despite Disney buying the distribution of Marvel films from Paramount (as Marvel is a Disney company), the latter studio will still receive partial box-office royalties for these projects. No reference to Disney is made until the very end of the closing credits, where “Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures” is credited for the film’s distribution.
  • The film was converted to 3D during post-production for the theatrical release.
  • Chris Evans once sent a text message to Clark Gregg simply saying “Assemble”, which is the tagline for the movie. Gregg stated that this was his favorite text message ever sent to him.
  • Tony Stark describes his group as “Earth’s mightiest heroes, that kind of thing.” This refers to the bold label that has appeared on “The Avengers” comic books since its 1963 publication. The phrase has also been used as the subtitle for The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, the most recent animated series before the live-action Avengers film.
  • This is the second time that Bruce Banner/Hulk and Thor have appeared together in a movie. They previously appeared together in The Incredible Hulk Returns.
  • According to director Joss Whedon, the original cut of the movie was over 3 hours long. There will be about 30 minutes of the excised footage included in the DVD Release, most of which revolves around Steve Rogers (Captain America). Whedon revealed that one of these scenes involved Rogers struggling to adjust to the modern world in his Brooklyn apartment and another revealed Steve Rogers’ reunion with Peggy Carter, his love interest from Captain America: The First Avenger.
  • Tom Hiddleston revealed in an interview with the Guardian that the code name for the film early in its production was ‘Group Hug’.
  • With Samuel L. Jackson’s role as Nick Fury in this film, he is now the second actor after Hugh Jackman (who has appeared in all X-men movies) to play the same comic book superhero in five different movies.
  • The Chitauri appear in the first story arc of “The Ultimates,” an alternate universe retelling of the origins of the Marvel superheroes. In the comics, their leader claims that they go by many names, including Skrulls. The use of the Chitauri name in this film, over the more popular Skrull designation, stems from complicated legal rights issues resulting from the licensing of the “Fantastic Four” characters (the series in which the Skrulls originated) to Fox Studios. At the time of production, Fox held the rights to all theatrical film versions of the “Fantastic Four” and their related characters; as such, Marvel/Disney had to use the Chitauri name for the aliens, as to not offend the previous agreement with Fox.
  • Thor spends most of this movie in his Asgardian armor but with bare arms, a nod to his early appearances in the comics. During his time on the Helicarrier, he is also seen without his cape, an allusion to his Ultimate Comics appearance.
  • The movie basically holds true to the comic book origins, save that Nick Fury and SHIELD did not create the Avengers. Also, founding members Ant-Man/Goliath (Hank Pym) and Wasp (Janet Pym) were not cast (Ant-Man had not appeared in a previous Marvel film and, therefore, had not been established for movie-goers, and Wasp merely appeared in a small cameo in Thor).
  • Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury is from the Ultimate Marvel Universe created in 2000 to re-imagine and update the Marvel heroes for the 21st century. Fury’s likeness was actually based on Jackson, who gave Marvel permission to do so. Subsequently, based on that likeness and his star power, Jackson was cast as Fury for all Marvel superhero films owned by Marvel/Disney.
  • Though Mark Ruffalo is the only actor not to appear in a previous Marvel Comics film as his character, Lou Ferrigno reprised his role as the voice of The Hulk from Edward Norton’s 2008 film. Ferrigno has voiced the hulk in virtually every incarnation since The Incredible Hulk television show with Bill Bixby in 1977. The exception is Ang Lee’s 2003 film Hulk version where Ferrigno played a security guard.
  • Complex legal issues prevented a number of “Avengers” characters from their inclusion in this film. Most notably, these include Quicksilver and The Scarlet Witch, the twin children of X-Men) villain Magneto, and frequent adversaries Doctor Doom (nemesis of the Fantastic Four) and Norman Osbourne/Green Goblin (the primary antagonist of Spider-Man). Though all characters are owned by Marvel/Disney, the “X-Men” and “Fantastic Four” characters had all been licensed to Fox Studios, and those of “Spider-Man” to Sony before work began on an “Avengers” film. Marvel has said that in the future they hope to regain the rights to all licensed properties, that the aforementioned characters might have a role in subsequent “Avengers” films.
  • In the movie, Captain America is a founding member. In the comics, Captain America was unfrozen in Avengers #4 when he was accidentally discovered when the team was looking for Namor the Sub Mariner.
  • To prepare for the role of Agent Clint Barton (Hawkeye), Jeremy Renner was trained by Olympic archers.
  • The crew hired 25 members of the Ohio based 391st Military police force battalion for the attack on New York city scene to add realism for the battle.
  • At the end all thats left of the Stark Tower sign is the letter A which reassembles the Avengers logo. In the comics Stark Tower later becomes the headquarters of the Avengers.
  • The battle cry of the Avengers, “Avengers Assemble” was not spoken throughout the film. However Chris Evans would say it behind the scenes to call out the rest of cast via text message to hang out off the set.
  • The final end credit scene was added after ‘Robert Downey Jr’. encouraged a rewrite of a previous scene. After Thor rips off Iron Man’s mask to reveal an unconscious Tony Stark, who had just fallen back to Earth, Tony originally awakens and asks, “What’s next?”. Robert Downey Jr. thought the line could be more interesting, and the idea of going to a local shawarma restaurant was born. The scene was added two days after the Hollywood premiere.
  • The outdoor scenes which were supposed to take place in Germany, but were filmed in downtown Cleveland, contained numerous Cleveland Historical landmarks including; Tower City, Higbee Building & Casino, Renaissance Building, and the Soldiers & Sailors Monument.
  • When they filmed the extra post credits scene after the premier, ‘Chris Evans (v)’ had to wear a prosthetic face to cover up the facial hair he had on his face that he needed for a film he was filming at the time. They also had him cover his face partially with his hands.
  • The Avengers, while on the Helicarrier, realize that they are being turned against each other via mind manipulation from Loki. This happens when Banner unknowingly picks up the staff that Loki has with him and uses to both shoot and turn humans into his minions.. The tip of the spear has a blue sparkling crystal at the end that many believe is energy from the Cosmic Cube…this is false. It is actually the Blue Infinity Gem that allows the user to control others and enter the thoughts of others. It is part of Marvel’s “Infinity Gauntlet” which involves the Avengers taking on Thanos, the character seen during the credits. After a long war spanning dozens of Marvel comics issues (including a canceled story line) the Gems are dispersed among superheros and mutants after Iron Man and Steve Rogers reclaim them. In fact, one of the Gems makes it into rival DC Comics story lines and is given to Darkseid, who is the DC equivalent to Thanos.
  • The “wishbone” section of the helicarrier where Banner’s lab is located is referred to in naval architecture as a “well deck”; it provides a sheltered docking area typically used for launching small boats or hover craft for carrying troops ashore.
  • All the scenes filmed in Ohio were originally to be filmed in Michigan. Planned production was moved to Ohio when it was revealed that Michigan’s film tax rebates were going to be revoked.
  • The first film to gross $200 million in its first three days in the USA.
  • Loki is described as being a king in the world from which he came. Shortly after this is mentioned he appears in Stuttgart to gain access to the stores of iridium at a laboratory, aided by ‘bad’ Hawkeye. When The Avengers ask for Loki’s location, Loki is said to be at “22 Konigstrasse”. Konig is German for “king”.
  • After Thor and Loki crash down on the mountain side, a large black crow flies by them as they are talking. In Norse mythology, their father, Odin, had two crows, Huginn and Muninn, who would bring Odin information from Midgard (Earth).
  • Alyson Hannigan, Cobie Smulders’s co-star from How I Met Your Mother, suggested to director Joss Whedon that he get Smulders to read for the part of Maria Hill. Hannigan had also worked with Whedon on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
  • A Shawarma is another name for gyro, correctly pronounced as “hero”.
  • Stan Lee: the old man being interviewed at the end of the New York battle.
  • The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
  • Tom Hiddleston describes Loki in this film as having evolved since Thor: “How pleasant an experience is it to disappear into a wormhole that was created by some super-nuclear explosion of his own making? I think by the time Loki shows up he’s seen a few things and has bigger things in mind than just his brother and Asgard….”
  • Loki brings the Chitauri alien race to Earth to help him invade it, thus requiring the Avengers to be formed to prevent this. This is in keeping with the comics, where Loki was also responsible for manipulating a chain of disasters which brought together the Avengers in the first place (incidentally, in the very first issue of their self-titled comic book series).
  • The Hulk only speaks two words during the battle with the Chitauri when he slams Loki back and forth at Stark Tower and says “Puny god.”
  • The Chitauri, the villainous alien race of this film, were the primary villains of the first volume of The Ultimates, a comic book re-imagining of The Avengers. Subsequently Loki was one of the primary villains of the second volume of The Ultimates, though his appearance had nothing to do with the Chitari.

Talking Points:

  • ​Favorite Fights?
  • Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk
  • Did you not like anything about this? Can someone explain to me whats up with the hulk?
  • Do we want a Hawkeye or Black Widow Movie now?

Critics:

  • Positives: 263+, 18- on Rotten Tomatoes, great spectacle, Whedon knew where to take the characters, Performances by all the actors were solid, well conceived and fashioned toward its audience
  • Negatives: (very few) Visual onslaught of too much computerized action, flat performances, seemed like Whedon was handcuffed too much by marketing execs to have characters and shots do certain things

What We Learned:

  • ​Doors, especially cosmic ones, open from both sides.
  • An ant has no quarrel with a boot.
  • Freedom is life’s great lie
  • War isn’t won by sentiment, it’s won with soldiers.
  • The unspoken truth of humanity is that we all crave subjugation.
  • Loki is a full tilt diva.
  • Dr. Banner is ALWAYS angry.
  • Sometimes to do great things, all you need is a little push.

Trailer:

Recommendations :
Jeff: Holy mother fucking Jesus Christ. This movie has been touted as the best superhero movie of all time and they are not freaking kidding. I actually CHEERED when Hulk Smashed that first flying monster thing and was giggling through most of the battle sequence. This’ll be a repeat viewing I’m sure.
Ray: Wow, Joss Whedon needs to direct more comic book movies, I was skeptical.. how could a movie be getting this good of word of mouth? But it’s true, this is probably one of the best if not THE best comic book movie I have ever seen. It’s going to be interesting to see how The Dark Knight Rises holds up.
Steve: Amazing! Saw it twice…at the drive in and in 3D at the nice theater. It was smart, sassy, and very Joss Whedon. Also very good job at giving each hero about equal screen time so the actors didn’t go all Christian Bale on him.

The Future: 7500

Release: August 31, 2012

Director: Takashi Shimizu

Starring: Leslie Bibb, Ryan Kwanten, Amy Smart

Summary:

The film follows a group of passengers who encounter what appears to be a supernatural force while on a transpacific flight.

Talking Points

  • So of course the immediate reaction is.. So instead of snakes, we got ghosts on a plane.

Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: It’s a ghost horror movie. It’s just taking place on a plane. Yeah, thrilling. (sarcasm)
Ray: I’m a fan of the original Japanese Grudge and not so much the American version.. So I am sort of torn by this, I know ill probably see it at some point even if Steve or myself do not put it on the list for this show.
Steve: “Get these motherfucking ghosts off this motherfucking plane!” I’m so there!! 🙂

The Past:

The Present:

The Future:

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MOV103: “They Be Climbin In Yo Windows Slicin’ Yo People Up”

In this reel of COL Movies, the boys head back in time to revive the original “Batman” movie from 1966. After that serving of cheese for starters, they head to the theater for a little murder mystery dinner as John Cusack plays Edgar Allen Poe in “The Raven”. Then, dessert is straight up beefcake as they review the trailer for Channing Tatum’s stripper movie, “Magic Mike”. In movie news, we’ve got some Avengers news, new pics of Spiderman’s Lizard, and some upcoming movie projects in discussion. It’s reel 103 of COL Movies.“They Be Climbin In Yo Windows Slicin’ Yo People Up”

News:

The Past: Batman: The Movie (1966)
Rotten Tomatoes: 83% Fresh, 51% Audience

Director: Leslie H. Martinson

Starring: Adam West, Burt Ward, Lee Meriwether, Cesar Romero, Burgess Meredith, Frank Gorshin, Alan Napier, Neil Hamilton, Stafford Repp

Trivia:

  • ​Originally planned as the pilot film for the Batman TV series, the movie was instead produced between the show’s first and second seasons. The producers took advantage of the larger budget to have a number of new Bat-gadgets constructed, such as the BatBoat.
  • The BatBoat was built especially for the film by the Glastron boat company. In exchange for their cooperation, the producers agreed to hold the film’s world premiere in Austin, Texas, Glastron’s headquarters.
  • The original trailer includes specially-shot footage of the 4 supervillains outlining their plans for the Dynamic Duo. Still frames from these sequences are visible when Batman and Commissioner Gordon watch a closed-circuit TV update on villains at large. The trailer also includes specially-shot footage of Batman and Robin addressing the audience about their first motion picture.
  • Julie Newmar (Catwoman in the TV series) does not appear in this film because she did not know about it and had signed to do another project. By the time she was informed, she could not get out of the other commitment in time to do this movie.
  • The entire second season had already been shot before the movie was, even though it actually came out before the second season.
  • Reginald Denny’s last movie.
  • “Plaisir D’Amour” by Johann Martini, is sung by a chanteuse in the cabaret scene, but neither the song nor the singer are listed in the credits.
  • The supporting character Aunt Harriet (Madge Blake) does not have a single line in the picture.
  • First movie project of Burt Ward.
  • Inside joke: Burgess Meredith’s line, “Run Silent, Run Deep” is the title of a 1958 submarine movie in which Frank Gorshin might have played a role had he been able to make it to the screen test.
  • In the final fight scene, a stuntman playing one of the villains’ henchmen dove into the water and hit his head on a metal stud at the bottom of the pond. He was knocked unconscious and had to be rushed to the hospital.
  • At the end of the film one of the delegates is seen banging his shoe on the table while yelling. This is a parody of Nikita Khrushchev’s famous behavior during a debate in the United Nations General Assembly in 1960.
  • The Penguin’s line “We shall hang together, or most assuredly we shall all hang separately” was a humorous phrase spoken by Benjamin Franklin when he was in danger of being accused of high treason by his fellow delegates.
  • Lee Meriwether was Miss America in 1955.
  • During his date with Miss Kitka, Bruce quotes Edgar Allan Poe, the first stanza of “To One in Paradise”.
  • The faking of sea outside a phony yacht window was a clever ruse inspiring a Hogan’s Heroes scene in which a kidnapped general is tricked into thinking he is aboard a plane flying at night to England.
  • Scenes shot in the arch-criminals’ headquarters lair were filmed at an angle. Rumors at the time were that this was intentional and was meant to show that the four (Catwoman, Penguin, Joker, and Riddler) were crooked.
  • As of 2010, this is the only live-action feature-length Batman film in which Alfred is not played by an actor named Michael. Michael Gough played the part in Batman, Batman Returns, Batman Forever, and Batman & Robin. Michael Caine took over for Batman Begins and The Dark Knight.
  • Bruce Wayne drives a Chrysler Imperial convertible, while the Batmobile is a 1955 Lincoln Futura prototype car customized by George Barris Inc.
  • The opening criminal lair, “Ye Olde Benbow Tavern” is an allusion to name of the tavern in which the the Robert Louis Stevenson novel “Treasure Island” begins, “Admiral Benbow Inn”. Commodore Schmidlapp is abducted by the fiendish foursome. The next novel by R. L. Stevenson is “Kidnapped”.
  • Filming of the movie began before Lee Meriwether was cast for the movie. As a result, Catwoman does not appear with the other villains in the first scene aboard the Penguin’s submarine.
  • The movie was originally intended to be an introduction to the TV series. When the series wound up being produced and aired months ahead of schedule, the movie was made to cash in on the show’s popularity.
  • A follow up film was at one point considered. The film would have been released between seasons two and three, and would have been used to introduce Barbara Gordon/Bat Girl, and make use of a Batplane. Due to waning interest in the series during season two, which resulted in budget cuts, plans for a second film were scratched.
  • Penguin’s line “Everyone of them has a Mother” (said as he and Catwoman swept up and collected the dehydrated pirates) was ad-libbed by Burgess Meredith.
  • Adam West agreed to do the film partly with a stipulation to have more screen time as Bruce Wayne.
  • Dick Grayson appears outside of his Robin persona only twice and very briefly in the film. First, at the very beginning, and later when Bruce returns to Wayne Manor after being kidnapped. Dick’s only spoken lines are in the latter scene.
  • Frank Gorshin’s last appearance as The Riddler for well over a year. Gorshin sat out of the TV series during the show’s entire second season, which preceded the film’s release.
  • Reginald Denny had previously played a separate character on an episode of the TV series. Lee Meriwether, Milton Frome and Maurice Dallimore would later play guest roles on the series.
  • First broadcast on Television in 1971 on the Fourth of July.

Talking Points:

  • ​Originally made to introduce the series…but wound up not being released until the 2nd season
  • Cheesiness…do you think it’s intentional?
  • This, Burton, or Nolan?
  • Critic Notes: Positives: Classic ,clever, campy, colorful, fun Negatives: too campy, unappealing to today’s youth

What We Learned:

  • ​In the 60’s everything was labeled.
  • Don’t get your shark repellent bat spray and your whale repellent bat spray confused.
  • Robin was packin’ some heat!
  • Salt and Corrosion are the enemies of crime fighting.
  • Some days, there’s just nowhere to get rid of a bomb.

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: I love this movie. Not because it’s good, but because it’s the super cheesy 60s Batman. He’s not my Batman but love this classic.
Ray: Pure cheese.. I know some people love it, but I have a real hard time watching this now. I used to love watching the TV show when I was a kid.. Perhaps if we turned this into some sort of drinking game.
Steve: I have never really cared for much than an episode of Batman at a time – so watching this was like forcing me to watch several episodes in a row, which hurt a little. Cute and campy, but just not how I want to see my superheros.

Add Batman To Flickchart

The Present: The Raven
Rotten Tomatoes: 21% Rotten ; 60% Audience

Director: James McTeigue

Starring: John Cusack, Alice Eve, Luke Evans

Trivia:

  • ​Ewan McGregor (as Edgar Allan Poe) and Jeremy Renner (as Inspector Emmet Fields) were originally attached to star, but dropped out.
  • Joaquin Phoenix was at one point in negotiations to star in the project together with Jeremy Renner. Phoenix would have played Poe to Renner’s police inspector Fields, but the deal fell through when Renner decided to do Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol instead. The Poe role later went to John Cusack, while Luke Evans was cast as Fields .
  • Noomi Rapace was offered the role of Emily.

Talking Points:

  • ​Was Poe really necessary for the story
  • Was his character like-able?
  • Critic Notes: Positive: Not much…well researched? Negatives: Not compelling enough, gory, formulaic, John Cusack

What We Learned:

  • ​The ways of God in Nature, as in Providence, are not as our ways
  • What Brandy cannot cure, has no cure
  • People love the gory ones
  • God gave Poe the spark of genius and quenched it in misery.
  • Life is so much less satisfying than fiction.

Trailer:

Recommendations :
Jeff: I was a little disappointed in the movie, didn’t feel as murder mysteryish as I would have like. However, it wasn’t half bad. Probably not worth seeing in the theaters though.
Ray: I liked this much more than the Sherlock Holmes movies, however I felt Cusack was the weakest link in the whole thing, and perhaps it would have been more entertaining without his character even in it. I’d drop $5 on it to see it in a matinee.
Steve: Very beginning and 2nd half of the movie were ok. But for a good 30 mins in the middle, I completely checked out. It wasn’t a total disappointment, but not as exciting as I thought it would be. Beginning felt very 1800’s SAW, then turned into a wannabe Sherlock Holmes (complete with some bullet time). Just didn’t get me.

The Future: Magic Mike

Release: June 29, 2012

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Starring: Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Olivia Munn

Summary:

Mike, an experienced stripper, takes a younger performer called The Kid under his wing and schools him in the arts of partying, picking up women, and making easy money. Mike also learns about life outside the world of stripping with the help of his protege’s sister. They work at the club Xquisite, which is owned by the former stripper, Dallas.

Talking Points

Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: It’s a Channing Tatum movie where he does what he does best, looks like a hunk. . . . . That’s it. I’ll pass.
Ray: McConaughey looks amusing. Thats about it as far as excitement goes.
Steve: Looks cute. I’ll probably see it just because it was filmed in Tampa and so I can see all the places they went. It’s not going to win any awards from what I can tell…but might be a good mental escape. The gays will flock simply because it’s a male stripper movie (and knowing Tampa people…just to see if they’re in it since some parts were filmed in Ybor – one of the gayborhoods here).

The Past:

The Present:

The Future:

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