MOV115: “Fear, Chaos, Pain”

In this reel of COL Movies, It’s another “very special episode” as the boys talk about the Dark Knight Trilogy. They kick off with the original Nolan-verse creation, “Batman Begins”, and move on to what they feel is the gem of the series, “The Dark Knight”. In theaters, of course, they review the conclusion of the triumvirate, “The Dark Knight Rises”. In trailer news, they look at the (spoiler alert) utterly forgettable preview of “The Expendables 2”. In brief movie news, we bring up John Favreau’s partnership with Pixar and Peter Jackson’s attempt at making “The Hobbit” into a trilogy! It’s the 115th reel of COL Movies…”Fear, Chaos, Pain”

News:

The Past: Batman Begins
Rotten Tomatoes: 85% Fresh; 90% Audience

The Past: The Dark Knight
Rotten Tomatoes: 94% Fresh; 96% Audience

Director: Christopher Nolan

Staring: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman, Katie Holmes, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Aaron Eckhart, Heath Ledger

Trivia:

Talking Points:

  • The flaw of the microwave emitter
  • When you first saw this did you expect it to be a trilogy?

What We Learned From Batman Begins:

  • The world is too small for a man like Bruce Wayne to Disappear
  • A vigilante is just a man lost in the search for his own gratification
  • Death is not considerate or friendly
  • We fall, so we can learn to pick ourselves up.
  • All creatures feel fear, especially the scary ones.
  • Invisibility is simply a matter of patience and agility
  • You always fear what you don’t understand
  • It’s not who you are underneath, but what you do that defines you.
  • Never go into business with someone without finding out their dirty secrets.

What We Learned From The Dark Knight:

  • What doesn’t kill you makes you stranger.
  • When your the Gotham D.A. if your not getting shot at your not doing your Job right
  • You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain
  • Criminals aren’t complicated you just have to figure out what they are after.
  • Some men just want to watch the world burn.
  • The night is darkest just before the dawn

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: Nolan has really taken an amazing approach to what has to be my favorite superhero ever. He stays relatively true the the Batman story but knows that it’s his universe and Batman does things differently in his world. Heath Ledger’s Joker was amazing and perfect for the world. I can’t recommend these movies more.
Ray: Anyone who is a fan of superhero movies needs to watch these, but the great thing about these especially The Dark Knight is that you don’t have to be. I consider The Dark Knight one of the best Crime Dramas to come around in the last 10 years, plus it’s pretty cool that Batman is in it too. Cemented by an amazing performance by Heath Ledger that also demands to be seen.
Steve: OK…I admit that I enjoyed the Dark Knight the most! Heath Ledger is awesome – although Maggie G just didn’t do a darn thing for me. That’s one time I missed Katie Holmes. Batman Begins just kind of set the stage for the rest of the films…and drags for me.

The Present: The Dark Knight Rises

Rotten Tomatoes: 86% Fresh; 93% Audience

Director: Christopher Nolan

Starring: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anne Hathaway, Marion Cotillard

Trivia:

Talking Points:

  • The tale of two annoying voices. – Bane – Raz al Ghul
  • The soundtrack.. good or bad?
  • The Ending – could it have been done differently?
  • Sequel in the nolanverse?
  • Wait! What? Talia’s in this movie!
  • Plot Holes!

Critic Notes

  • Positives: Production value was extremely high and Nolan knew the look he was going for and delivered it; the conclusion was a fitting end to the story and the epicness of the hero;
  • Negatives: “clunky”; an ordeal to sit through; acting was manufactured; hard to understand the dialogue; extremely stretched out because every recollection had to be done in flashback; overall Nolan tanked or dialed this one in.

What We Learned:

  • Detectives are not allowed to believe in coincidences
  • People don’t pay attention to you until you put on a mask
  • Hope is really the key to torture
  • A hero can be anyone

Trailer:

Recommendations :
Jeff: I was right. This movie did not pull out the amazing awesomeness that The Avengers did and I don’t expect it to perform as well in the box office still. It still was an incredible ending to the Nolan Batman story line but this was still I movie I could have waited for and just suffered from a pre-release lack of enthusiasm. I think it’s definitely worth seeing in the theaters but I wouldn’t say there’s much off a rush.
Ray: A good strong finish to the Trilogy but not my favorite of the three. This is very much the “Return of the Jedi” of the series for me, but instead of annoying ewoks, it’s got annoying vocal performances and plot holes. A must see if your a fan of the other two though.
Steve: Definitely not my favorite, except for Tom Hardy of course. Just didn’t have the same punch as the others and seemed like it was just there to wrap up the story. It was pretty though. I actually liked that they did bring stuff in from the previous movies – made it feel more complete than just 3 stand alone films.

The Future: The Expendables 2

Release: August 12, 2012

Director: Simon West

Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Bruce Willis, Liam Hemsworth, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Jet Li, Chuck Norris, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture

Summary:

After taking a seemingly simple job for Mr. Church (Bruce Willis), the Expendables find their plans going awry and one of their own is brutally murdered by rival mercenary Jean Vilain (Jean-Claude Van Damme).[2] The Expendables set out into hostile territory – with their new members Bill the Kid (Liam Hemsworth) and Maggie (Yu Nan) – to put a stop to a deadly weapon and gain their revenge against the people who killed their brother-in-arms

Talking Points:

  • Why are we reviewing this trailer? Did we not destroy the first film?

Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: Hey, The Expendables again. . . . Would love to see this on Netflix streaming.
Ray: Move along…nothing to see here.
Steve: Slept through the first one…I image it will be more of the same.

The Past:

The Present:

The Future:

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MOV114: “Looks like two pigs fightin’ under a blanket.”

The boys head back in time to review one of the “cultural classics” with “Steel Magnolias”. After putting down the tissue box, it was off to the theater for Oliver Stone’s crime drama “Savages”. In trailer-land, they check out the upcoming college acapella-based comedy “Pitch Perfect”. All of this, an update on the Bourne franchise and will the World of Warcraft film get off the ground? It’s the 114th reel of COL Movies – “Looks like two pigs fighting under a blanket”

News:

The Past: Steel Magnolias

Rotten Tomatoes: 68% Fresh; 88% Audience

Director: Herbert Ross

Staring: Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Olympia Dukakis, Shirley MacLaine, Darryl Hannah, Julia Roberts

Trivia:

  • This movie was based on a play written about a sister of Phi Mu Fraternity. Susan Harling was a member of the Kappa Iota chapter and her brother wrote the play on which the movie is based.
  • Winona Ryder was originally offered the role of Shelby.
  • When Robert Harling last spoke to his sister, he was telling her how hard it was to be a writer in New York and have people consider his work. His sister commented on how she wished she could help him somehow but she didn’t know what she could do. When she died after surgery, Harling wrote the play that this movie is based on in her honor, thereby making him an established and respected writer.
  • Daryl Hannah was originally turned down for the role of Annelle as the director thought that she was too attractive to play the part, she asked if she could come in and read for the part anyway. She arrived at the studio the next day dressed as Annelle and was so unrecognisable that security refused to let her in.
  • Meg Ryan was initially under contract to play Shelby, the Julia Roberts role, but the producers let her out of it to play Sally in When Harry Met Sally…
  • Is shot in the small Louisiana town of Natchitoches. Reportedly, the filmmakers placed such a great strain on the locals, particularly those who volunteered to be extras, that several years later, when the film The Man in the Moon was shot in the same town, extras were difficult to find, as so many townspeople had been burned by the Steel Magnolias crew.
  • M’Lynn’s home is actually two different houses. The Cook-Taylor House, owned by the Henry Taylor family and now a Bed and Breakfast in Natchitoches, was used for the outside front of the house, and most of the scenes inside the home and in the back yard. It is on Front Street by the river and can be easily located, as it is now known as “The Steel Magnolias Bed and Breakfast.” During filming, the Taylors moved out and rented an apartment.
  • There is no parish or town in Louisiana known as Chinquapin. “Chinquapin” is the name for a type of fish and a particular breed of oak tree. The town of Natchitoches in the parish of the same name served as the backdrop for the film. The town was named after the “NAKTOSH” Indians whose names means “chinquapin eaters”. Natchitoches actually does have a large Christmas Light Festival annually. Natchitoches was also the first settlement in the Louisiana Territory.
  • After a poor take, director Herbert Ross reprimanded Dolly Parton and asked her if she could act. She replied “No, but it’s your job to make me look like I can!”
  • On the DVD’s commentary track, Herbert Ross describes how Georges Delerue was not his first choice as a composer for this film. Another “well known” composer’s music was rejected but he fails to say who.
  • There was some initial resistance to casting Sally Field as M’Lynn, because the producers thought no one would believe her as the mother of a 22-year-old until she pointed out that, in real life, she had a 22-year-old son.
  • Dolly Parton and Daryl Hannah studied hair stylists so their scenes where they are doing hair would be real and authentic.
  • When Bette Davis saw the off-Broadway play, she thought it would be a great film for her, envisioning herself as Ouiser, Katharine Hepburn as Clairee, and Elizabeth Taylor as Truvy. However, when she contacted the rights holders for the movie adaptation, she found out that they intended to cast much younger actresses.
  • Opened on Broadway on Monday, April 4th, 2005 at the Lyceum Theater and ran for 136 performances.
  • Ouiser mentions that she and her friends used to dress up like nuns and go barhopping when they were young. Shirley MacLaine played a woman who dressed up as a whiskey-drinking nun in Two Mules for Sister Sara.
  • The title has been said to suggest that the main characters are delicate as magnolias but tough as steel, but this is not explained in the movie. The only references to the two words are Ouiser’s near accusation of Drum of stealing Magnolias from her tree, and then a later comment by M’Lynn that men are supposed to be made out of steel.
  • Between the six female principals are twelve Academy Award nominations and five wins. Only Daryl Hannah and Dolly Parton have not won, although Parton was nominated for Best Song from “Nine to Five” and “Transamerica.”
  • Writer Robert Harling has said that the film follows the last three years of his sister’s life.
  • In the original source play, there are no on-stage roles for men. Although the characters all spend a great deal of time talking about the men in their lives, no male character ever actually appears during the play.
  • Herbert Ross wanted an authentic feel to the hospital scenes, so he hired the doctors and nurses who tended to the writer’s sister (on whom the movie and play are based) during her last days in hospital to play themselves during Julia Roberts’ scenes on life support.
  • Robert Harling, the man who wrote the play ‘Steel Magnolias’ in honor of his sister, plays the pastor who performs Shelby’s wedding and then again her funeral.
  • Robert Harling’s mother was on set during the filming of the scenes while Shelby was in the hospital. During the scene when Shelby is taken off life support she was asked if she wanted to leave. She declined, saying that once the scene was over she wanted to see Shelby – Julia Roberts – get up and walk away.

Talking Points:

  • That was the most severe case of Diabetes I have EVER SEEN.
  • The ensemble
  • Which Steel Magnolia are you?

Critic Notes

  • Positives: ensemble performance was excellent; superficial yet endearing; it may have flaws, but I laugh and cry every time I see it (so sue me)
  • Negatives: cliche’ plot; main cast sounded like they were reading bumper sticker one liners the entire movie

What We Learned:

  • There is no such thing as natural beauty
  • If you can achieve puberty you can have a past
  • An ounce of pretension worth a pound of manure
  • Personal Tragedy should not interfere with your ability to do good hair.
  • Iced tea is the house wine of the south
  • 30 Minutes of wonderful is better than a lifetime of nothing special
  • The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorise
  • All gay men have track lighting and are named Rick, Mark or STEVE.

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Rick: This is one of those fun Chick flicky movie but for some reason I wouldn’t really call it a chick flick. Definitely a gay card stampable film. It’s a nice movie, see it at least once for your gay card and maybe again every couple of years or so.
Mark: Cute, sad, loved Sally Fields performance… It did seem a little extreme with the tone, but overall a decent watch.
Steve: I can never pass up this movie if it’s on tv. Maybe it’s a Southern thing, but I feel like it’s a big slice of culture that really exists and shows how the veil of perfection is maintained by prototypical Southern women – and how the truth is that they run the world while allowing their husband to think he does! You can’t help but laugh at the plethora one one liners and amazing performances. Can’t miss – can watch it with your girlfriends, your “gurl-friends”, your mom, or your grandmother.

The Present: Savages

Rotten Tomatoes: 54% Rotten; 61% Audience

Director: Oliver Stone

Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Blake Lively, Aaron Johnson, Salma Hayek, Benecio Del Toro, John Travolta

Trivia:

  • Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Garrett Hedlund and James Franco were considered to play Ben.
  • Jennifer Lawrence was originally cast as O, but pulled out in order to star in The Hunger Games. Before Blake Lively was cast, Olivia Wilde, Abbie Cornish, Amber Heard and Teresa Palmer were considered, and Lindsay Lohan expressed interest.
  • Oliver Stone began working on the screenplay adaptation before the book was published. So confidant he was of this story that he himself contributed to investing in the project.
  • Although this is the sixth time that Fernando Lara and Oliver Stone have worked together, it will be Lara’s first credited appearance in one of Stone’s films.
  • Not only did Demián Bichir and Benicio Del Toro co-star in Steven Soderbergh’s movies on Che Guevara, but Oliver Stone had previously filmed several interviews with Fidel Castro, whom Bichir played in the Che Guevara films. Gonzalo Menendez also played Castro in The Lost City
  • Taylor Kitsch received training from real Navy SEALs as a part of his preparation for the film.
  • Third time that Gary Stretch has acted under director Oliver Stone.
  • Originally scheduled for a Fall release, the opening date was immediately moved to July following the first screening for the studio.
  • Oliver Stone cast Taylor Kitsch after watching his performance in footage from Battleship, which was still in post-production at the time.
  • Oliver Stone instructed Blake Lively to take firearm training for her role. Despite not being experienced at the gun range, she hit center mass in her first three shots.
  • Oliver Stone wrote a new role for Trevor Donovan after the part he had originally auditioned for was cut out.
  • Taylor Kitsch performed his own stunts.
  • For legal reasons, all the marijuana plants in the film are artificial. The production designers visited legal medical marijuana growers to get the details right.
  • This is Oliver Stone’s first film in nearly 17 years to be photographed with Panavision anamorphic lenses. After Nixon in 1995, his 2.35:1 films were cropped to that ratio via shooting in Super 35. He was convinced to return to anamorphic by cinematographer Daniel Mindel, who has shot all of his features except Domino in the format. Mindel told Stone during their first meeting that if the plan was to shoot in Super 35 or digitally, then he wasn’t the right man for the job.
  • Uma Thurman was cast as Paqu, O’s mother but her scenes were cut from the movie.
  • Jake McLaughlin who plays Doc, is a real life Iraq war veteran.
  • Shipped to theaters under the code name “Paqu”.
  • The funny jingle and ringtone that La Reina uses is the theme song of one of the most famous and popular shows in the history of Mexican TV: El chavo del ocho.

Talking Points:

  • Individual Performances

Critic Notes

  • Positives: The movie may be aggravating and falters, but Stone made a solid film; Salma Hayek; the mood flips on a dime dependent on the situations in the film – not many people other than Stone could pull that off; Shows a ruthless energy; Stone showed his fearless side making this film
  • Negatives: The main characters are not good people and not worth caring about; botched ending; exceptionally flashy mayhem; juvenile fantasy; muddled storyline; utterly boring; predictable and strained

What We Learned:

  • Drugs are a rational response to insanity

Trailer:

Recommendations :
Jeff: You know, I thought this movie was going to have a lot more fighty fighty and blood and guts. It didn’t give me what I was expecting and while most of the acting was good, some was over the top and cheesy. There was something able Selma Hayek’s performance which felt phoned in. Travolta did a great job I though. Overall, it was decent, okay to see in the theaters but also okay to wait until rental.
Ray: Brutal, brutal movie. An interesting take on the onscreen love affair between 3 people. If you like a good crime drama with an interesting symmetry between the major players this is definitely worth a watch.
Steve: Salma Hayek was so awesome in this film and a total highlight. Otherwise, the first 30 minutes was totally uncomfortable for me and I literally didn’t want to stay for the rest. But once it got into the stuff between them and La Rena, it started to get interesting. Overall though, just not my kind of movie.

The Future: Pitch Perfect

Release: October 5, 2012

Director: Jason Moore

Starring: Brittany Snow, Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson

Summary:

Beca, a freshman at Barton University, is cajoled into joining The Bellas, her school’s all-girls singing group. Injecting some much needed energy into their repertoire, The Bellas take on their male rivals in a campus competition.

Talking Points:

  • The obvious Glee comparison
  • The world of competitive college acapella
  • Could be too niche to be successful
  • On The Rocks


Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: I’m actually excited to see this movie. Mainly for the songs. The rest of the movie is going to be complete and utter crap but the songs are going to be what makes this movie worth it. I almost hope there is next to no story and the scenes between the songs are just 1-2 minutes on only there to transition between songs.
Ray: Glee meets Step up + Bridesmaids? Trailer looks decent, but this would be a rental for me.. and no not because Id be ashamed to see it in the theater.. I own that I’m a choir geek.
Steve: As a former acapella group guy, I’m interested if for no other reason to see what they represent about the wacky world of college acapella. Otherwise, it’s all about supporting my fellow alum Brittany Snow (Go Gaither!) and to see what Rebel Wilson does!

The Past:

The Present:

The Future:

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MOV113: “Je doutais qu’il vienne”

This week we start off with a little known feature called Heavenly Creatures, a movie by lord of the epic movie quadrillogies, Peter Jackson and staring a then unknown Kate Winslet. Does this true crime biopic surprise us or is it just too bizarre? Next up we swing on over to the present to look at the long awaited reboot of your friendly neighborhood wall-crawler The Amazing Spiderman. Find out if we feel it’s truly amazing, or truly unnecessary. Finally we look to the future to talk about The Bourne Legacy. Does this not quite reboot look to live up to the Bourne Legacy? Or will we be Bourned out of our minds? All this plus news about Skyfall casting, An unexpected split of Mockingjay, and The Great Gary Mitchell controversy on this 113th reel of COL Movies: Je doutais qu’il vienne

News:

The Past: Heavenly Creatures (1994)

Rotten Tomatoes: 94% Fresh; 81% Audience

Director: Peter Jackson

Staring: Melanie Lynskey, Kate Winslet, Sarah Peirse

Trivia:

  • Based on a true life murder by the movie’s main characters – Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme.
  • Short video version also available on Investigation Discovery’s show “Deadly Women”, Season 3, Episode 8 – “Fatal Obsession”
  • Almost all locations used for filming were the genuine locations where the events occurred. The tea shop where Honora Parker ate her last meal was knocked down a few days after the shoot ended. According to director Peter Jackson, when they got to the location of the murder on the dirt path, it was eerily quiet; the birds stopped singing, and it didn’t seem right. So they moved along a couple of hundred yards.
  • Juliet Hulme was revealed to be mystery writer Anne Perry who came forward and revealed her real identity in 1994 during the making of the film, but all attempts to find Pauline Parker failed. In 1997, Pauline Parker was finally traced to a rundown cottage on a farm near Strood, Kent, England, where she currently runs a children’s riding school. Since assuming the name of Hilary Nathan, she has become a devout Catholic and devoted her life to handicapped children..
  • Orson Welles’ photograph in the stream is a reference to a similar shot in The Third Man.
  • All of the journal voice-overs are direct from real diary entries made by Pauline Parker. The characters in the stories (if not the stories themselves) and make-believe world are also authentic.
  • Kate Winslet was one of 175 girls who auditioned for the role of Juliet Hulme.
  • Melanie Lynskey was cast as Pauline Parker two weeks before filming began. Co-writer Fran Walsh discovered her at the last minute while scouring local high schools for Parker lookalikes.
  • A picture on the wall in Pauline’s bedroom is a photograph of the real Juliet Hulme.
  • The feature film debut for stars Melanie Lynskey and Kate Winslet.
  • Producer Jim Booth passed away shortly after the production was complete. The film is dedicated to his memory.
  • Co-writer Fran Walsh suggested the idea of making the Parker-Hulme murder into a film to director Peter Jackson. Walsh said she had a fascination with the murder since childhood.
  • Since the Parker-Hulme murder had been an infamous crime that was strongly sensationalized in New Zealand history Jackson decided rather than do a film that would be a historical look back at the crime to instead create a drama about Parker and Hulme’s intense friendship. In addition to reading Pauline Parker’s diary Jackson and company undertook a nation wide search for anyone who had known the girls and interviewed them to get a closer look at their life.
  • Melanie Lynskey and Kate Winslet were so strongly into their roles that they would interact with each other as their characters off screen.
  • Time listed this film as one of their 10 best films of 1994.
  • Most of the cast was selected because of their physical resemblances to their real-life characters.
  • Both Melanie Lynskey and Kate Winslet went on to find fame and popularity in roles with the character name of Rose: Lynskey in Two and a Half Men and Winslet in Titanic.
  • Peter Jackson makes a cameo as the homeless man kissed by Juliet outside the theater.
  • The special effects in the film were handled by the then newly-created Weta Digital.
  • The film has garnered critical praise, and was an Academy Award nominee in 1994 for Best Original Screenplay. It featured in a number of international film festivals, and received very favourable reviews worldwide, including making top ten of the year lists in Time, The Guardian, The Sydney Morning Herald, and The New Zealand Herald.

Talking Points:

  • Too bizarre?

Critic Notes

  • Positives: Jackson does an amazing job creating the world worth killing for; Outstanding performances from the leads; Powerful and evocative
  • Negatives: Very few negative comments, but – Jackson can’t decide what kind of movie he’s making, the switching from melodrama to “fantasy land” is abrupt and jarring; tension is high for most of the movie, but it fizzles out by the end

What We Learned:

  • A brick in a pair of nylons can be a murder weapon.
  • Affairs are much more exciting than marriages.
  • All the best people have bad chests and bone diseases.
  • Only the best people fight against all obstacles in pursuit of happiness.
  • Orson Wells is the most hideous man alive (well, was at time the movie was set).
  • Everyone should live by the motto: Eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow you may be dead.
  • The Fourth World… it’s sort of like heaven. Only better, because there aren’t any Christians!
  • Peter Jackson excels at making people look creepy
  • Homosexuality can strike at any time and is great for weight loss
  • “Je doutais qu’il vienne” is in fact the spoken subjunctive

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: Wow, was this a boring film. I just couldn’t get into it an just wanted to switch to something that was actually interesting. Definitely not a film for me.
Ray:It was really nice to see some of Peter Jackson’s earlier serious work. Having seen what he did with The Lovely Bones helps make this film make a little more sense.. It can be a little bizarre in that Black Swan sort of way..so if your not tolerant or don’t enjoy a bizarre look into the mind of someone who is disturbed… stay away.
Steve: I didn’t think I was going to like it as much as I did. Although I didn’t know it was a true crime, I picked up some hints that it reminded me about something I’d seen in the past and “bam”, I found the info. Once I knew that, I liked it a lot more. Winslet was awesome for this being her first film!

The Present: The Amazing Spider-Man

Rotten Tomatoes: 74% Fresh; 84% Audience

Director: Marc Webb

Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Sally Field, Martin Sheen, Denis Leary

Trivia:

  • In early January 2010, Sony announced that they cancelled their idea of making “Spider-Man 4” with director Sam Raimi and actor Tobey Maguire, who started their work together on Spider-Man, and instead decided to re-boot the Spider-Man franchise with a new story and crew.
  • On selecting Andrew Garfield to play Peter Parker/Spider-Man, director Marc Webb said, “Though his name may be new to many, those who know this young actor’s work understand his extraordinary talents. He has a rare combination of intelligence, wit, and humanity. Mark my words, you will love Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker.”
  • This film marks the first time Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans) becomes The Lizard on film. Although Curt Connors appeared in the original Sam Raimi films, played by Dylan Baker, the character never became the Lizard despite some strong hints.
  • This is the first “Spider-Man” film to not feature Spider-Man’s perennial love interest Mary-Jane Watson (in the original three films played by Kirsten Dunst). Instead, Peter Parker’s original girlfriend Gwen Stacy appears (who had been played by Bryce Dallas Howard in the third film).
  • All four Spider-Man films have filmed on the Universal Studios Hollywood back lot. Ironically symbolic of the series itself, portions of the back lot burned down on June 1, 2008, meaning that first three used the old back lot while this reboot uses the new back lot.
  • Originally the Daily Bugle editor J. Jonah Jameson had a place in the script and J.K. Simmons was going to reprise the role from the Raimi films; later John Slattery, Sam Elliott and R. Lee Ermey were considered for the role. However, with the shift of the focus to high school, the newspaper angle was removed from the script.
  • Rhys Ifans rejected his stunt doubles, and insisted on performing all his own stunts as the Lizard.
  • For his role as the Lizard, Rhys Ifans wore a special motion-capture suit: “I had a green suit on, and then this cardboard head, and these big claws. It was the most fucking insane thing I’d ever done…”
  • When first wearing the Spider-Man costume Andrew Garfield admitted to shedding tears.
  • In this film Captain George Stacy is strongly opposed to Spider-Man’s activities, and Gwen Stacy is both aware and supportive of Peter Parker’s role as Spider-Man. This is in stark contrast to the comics, where George Stacy was a strong supporter of Spider-Man, and confessed on his death bed that he was aware of Peter’s identity, while Gwen Stacy blamed Spiderman for her father’s death, and as such Peter never informed her of his identity.
  • To prepare for his role as Spider-Man, Andrew Garfield studied the movements of spiders and tried to incorporate them as much as he could: “Parker is a boy/spider in terms of how he moves, and not just in the suit.”
  • In this film Spider-Man uses artificial devices to shoot webs, inspired from the original comics where he possessed similar devices for his webbing (only later would he gain his more famous superhuman ability to shoot webs). Marc Webb explained the web-shooters were a creative decision to showcase Peter’s intellect: “We wanted to emphasize that these are things that Peter Parker made and that he is special himself even if he feels like he’s an outsider.”
  • According to costume designer Kym Barrett, the Spider-Man costume was specially designed to resemble an acrobat costume: “We wanted a design that would make the body longer and more lithe, someone incredibly agile; the legs of the spider-symbol on the chest were used to emphasize that.”
  • Denis Leary’s friend Jeff Garlin, a Spider-Man fan, said to him, “The first time I met you, I thought you were George Stacy!” This inspired Leary to audition for the role of Captain Stacy.
  • It was a creative decision by the filmmakers to have most of the stunts performed practically on rigs by actors/stuntmen, rather than extensively use CGI animation. Marc Webb explained they wanted to make the film more physical and thus more realistic. While filming in New York the crew built a whole rig hundreds of feet long over Riverside Drive in Harlem, and Andy Armstrong built a car rig with a series of wires to help with VFX which required an incredible wealth of acrobatics.
  • Released during the 50th Anniversary of Spider-Man.
  • During one scene in Peter’s bedroom, a photo of actor/comedian Donald Glover, is visible. In 2010, when the movie was first announced and initial casting for the role of Spider-Man was underway, Glover used twitter to somewhat jokingly campaign for an audition.
  • The famous line by Ben Parker “With great power comes great responsibility” is not once uttered in the movie, although it is alluded to when Peter and Uncle Ben argue about Peter forgetting to pick up Aunt May.
  • When Spiderman swings through New York at one point he yells, “Hey, I’m swinging here!”. This is in reference to the famous ad-lib by Dustin Hoffman in New York based “Midnight Cowboy”, “Hey, I’m walking here!”.
  • Kirsten Dunst, a Blonde, played the red headed Mary Jane Watson. Emma Stone, commonly a Redhead (though naturally blonde), played a blonde Gwen Stacy.
  • Just inside Peter Parker’s bedroom, next to his door is a wall decoration of a double helix DNA strand splitting at the bottom. Likely a nod to the earlier ‘Spider-Man (2002)’ trilogy where parts of DNA strands are replaced by spider DNA.
  • Wilhelm Scream: when Peter pushes Flash up against the lockers.
  • The Daily Bugle newspaper office (and all associated characters) do not appear in this film, a first for the Spider-Man feature film franchise. However, the newscast featuring the Lizard’s rampage late in the film has a Daily Bugle logo in the bottom corner of the screen.
  • The first live-action Spider-Man motion picture where the villain goes to jail for his crimes.
  • Marc Webb describes the theme of the movie as “the missing piece within all of us: Peter has no parents, and he fills that void with Spider-Man. Curt is not as strong as Spider-Man on the inside, but he wants to get back his arm and fill that void, and essentially he becomes a big bully.”
  • EASTER EGG: When Peter first enters Gwen’s room, there is a stack of books sitting right inside the window through which Peter enters. The book at the top of the stack is the novel “Seabiscuit.” ‘Tobey McGuire’, who portrayed Peter in the original trilogy, also played the lead character in the film adaptation of Seabiscuit. It is quite possible that this detail was included as a tribute to the original trilogy.
  • The link of the main viral marketing site was first revealed in the second trailer in February 2012. The official Twitter account of the same name of the website revealed a scavenger hunt by posting “Property of Peter Parker… Lost” with the longitude and latitude coordinates of direct markets in major cities in the United States. Discovered in these places was a JanSport backpack modeled as Parker’s backpack which contained many items. One of the clues, hidden in the backpack, was a link to a page on the viral site which unlocked countdown timers for the cities of Los Angeles, New York City, Atlanta, Denver, Seattle and Phoenix, Arizona. Once the countdown was up, each of the city-specific Twitter accounts for the marketing campaign would send out five different pick-up locations in each city. The given locations had a particular person stationed there to give the first person who had the password a package and the tag-name “operative”. To show their support of Spider-Man, these operatives painted the Spider-Man logo as a graffiti. They also had a chance to unlock the first scene of the film where Peter goes face to face with an intimidating doorman. The main viral website revealed hints to other websites such as a photo blog that was expressed from Peter Parker’s point of view. In the photo blog website, an unlocked puzzle revealed the words “evolve”, “through” and “engineering” which then put together led to another website with design sketches on how to build a web-shooter.

Talking Points:

  • There were so many “possibilities” for this film – changing from college to high school, not including Daily Bugle, not including Black Cat as originally reported, why do you think they made all these changes? To set up for more films?
  • What’s the deal with the post credits short? Thinking Kingpin? Green Goblin?
  • Did Peter reveal he’s Spiderman to May?
  • Fighting style
  • Does all Peter want to do when he’s around Gwen is kiss her?

Critic Notes

  • Positives: Grittier and more touching than previous visions of the hero; New and refreshing reboot; In the vein of dark reboots like Nolan’s Batman; Visually good, but the story is actually complementary if not better; Garfield’s Peter Parker and Spider-Man are very good – if not better than Toby Maguire’s.
  • Negatives: Nothing new or inventive is brought to the table – same old Spider-Man; Not charming as previous versions; too “slap-sticky”; In a summer of superhero movies, this one is forgettable

What We Learned:

  • If you’re going to steal cars, don’t dress like a car thief.
  • We all have secrets: the ones we keep… and the ones that are kept from us.
  • Cops don’t usually wear skintight red and blue suits.
  • It’s fattening and impractical to live in a chocolate house
  • You can get a great cell signal in the NYC sewers.
  • Doormen can be intimidating.

Trailer:

Recommendations :
Jeff: Oh. wow, this was great version of Spiderman, and the casting was great. Definitely would say this is a must see. Still think it would be better if this was done by Marvel directly.
Ray: Action sequences great.. everything else was pretty much a bore for me.. Cant stand the new “geek chic” emo hipster Peter Parker which you have to suffer through for almost an hour before any superheroing starts. For me this was a wait for Home Video title.. my couch is much more comfortable to fall asleep on. The sequel will probably be much more “Amazing” with all of this crappy Origin story out of the way.
Steve: I can’t say I was a huge fan of the recent Spiderman movies. However, there was something about this one that I really did like. I think it was the humor, although it threw me at times. I liked Andrew Garfield a lot, but not Emma Stone. The effects were cool and I liked the 3D, especially for the long swings and stuff (kind of like 3D rollercoasters). I’d give it a B+ overall.

The Future: The Bourne Legacy

Release: August 10, 2012

Director: Tony Gilroy

Starring: Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton

Summary:

Faced with the public and political fallout from the events of The Bourne Ultimatum, the CIA decides to shut down “Operation Outcome,” the successor to “Operation Treadstone.” Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner), an agent of Operation Outcome, and Stephanie Snyder (Rachel Weisz), a doctor who helped create the Outcome agents, must find a way to escape before CIA agent Byer (Edward Norton) can have them assassinated.

Talking Points:

  • How do you make a film without the knowledge of the guy who made the series famous?

Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: Fighty fighty, Jeremy Renner. I’m aboard.
Ray: I’m a big fan of the Bourne series and I think this looks like a really interesting continuation of that universe. Really curious to see how Jeremy Renner does when he’s the sole action star focus.
Steve: Looks pretty cool! I like this type of film and even though I might not run out to see it at the theater, I would definitely see it. I like the subversive world of clandestine operations and secret agent stuff. Legacy definitely looks like it’s going to deliver it.

The Past:

The Present:

The Future:

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MOV112: “A Long Time Ago In A Galaxy Far, Far Away”

In this reel of COL Movies, the boys head back in time to revisit 1977’s “Star Wars”. After that blast from the past, it’s off to the theater to see Disney/Pixar’s newest princess in “Brave”. In trailer world, they check out the Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix venture, “The Master”. In news, it’s some Spider Man, Mad Max, and more Dark Knight news. It’s the 112th reel of COL Movies “A Long Time Ago In A Galaxy Far, Far Away”

News:

Recent Facebook Likes: Mark and James

The Past: Star Wars (1977)
Rotten Tomatoes: 94% Fresh; 93% Audience

Director: George Lucas

Staring: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Sir Alec Guinness

Trivia:

Talking Points:

  • CGI added for the “special” editions isn’t holding up
  • The Star Wars Legacy…had George Lucas ruined it?
  • Watching it on Blu-Ray

Critic Notes

  • Positives: A stand alone epic; defined blockbuster; compelling back story; crosses genre lines (sci fi, western, road pic); great fight scenes
  • Negatives: The characters don’t have depth, they’re just fodder and props

What We Learned:

  • Droids are not allowed in escape pods or bars
  • The Jundland wastes are not to be travelled lightly
  • Stormtroopers are apparently only precise when they are firing at Jawas
  • Making a jump to hyperspace ain’t like dusting crops…….boy
  • You must be at least this tall to be a stormtrooper
  • Womp rats are not much bigger than 2 meters
  • Let the Wookie win

Trailer:
Original 1977 Trailer:

1997 Reissue:

Recommendations:
Jeff: Always a favorite and classic sci-fi movie. The special edition of this one to me only really screwed up with Han shooting second. Hence the reason I call the theatrical editions the Han-Shot-First editions and the only true edition. Worth seeing either version but to be true, see the theatrical . . . if you can find it.
Ray: My only recommendation is to try and only watch the original theatrical releases if you can. Messing with the story aside the CGI used in the “special” editions does not really hold up these days. And this should be the first one you watch… not episode 1.
Steve: Hadn’t watched in a while, so I found myself picking apart the spotty editing and expeditious storyline, wishing they’d gone into more detail to set the universe better. I don’t know that it’s held up as well as I remembered. The special edition CGI is just stupid. Regardless, it’s still a classic that should be watched. Also – this is STAR WARS – this “Episode IV: A New Hope” crap annoys me.

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The Present: Brave
Rotten Tomatoes: 76% Fresh; 83% Audience

Director: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman, Steve Purcell

Starring: Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson

Trivia:

  • Reese Witherspoon was originally announced as the voice of Princess Merida, but scheduling conflicts prevented from taking the role. Kelly Macdonald replaced her.
  • This film marks the first time a Pixar produced film has a female protagonist.
  • The original title of the film was “The Bear and the Bow”.
  • Originally 80% of the film took place in snow. When director Brenda Chapman left the project so did much of the white stuff.
  • The Pizza Planet truck, a fixture of nearly every full-length Pixar film can be spotted in the Witch’s Hut.
  • None of the footage shown in the preview trailer is in the finished film.
  • This is the first Pixar film to be a period piece.
  • Princess Merida is the first Pixar character to be included in the Disney Princess line.
  • The misunderstood dialogue that Young MacGuffin (voiced by Kevin McKidd) speaks is actually a form of Scottish dialect called the Doric that comes from Kevin McKidd’s hometown of Elgin, Scotland.
  • The character Lord Macintosh is a reference to the Apple computer. Steve Jobs was a co-founder of Apple and played a big role in Pixar.
  • In fiction, a MacGuffin refers to an object, goal, or desire that the protagonist is willing to do anything in order to achieve. Lord MacGuffin and his offspring are ironically the exact opposite, in that they (and the other suitors) are what Merida will do anything to do in order to avoid.
  • The chess set in Merida’s room is the famous Lewis Chessmen from the 12th century, unearthed in Scotland in 1831.
  • It took six years to make this film. Mark Andrews was initially the consultant, providing the Scottish themes for Brenda Chapman. However, by October 2010, Chapman left after four years of work with Andrews subsequently taking over but still keeping the intended story that Chapman wrote.
  • Brenda Chapman based Merida on her own daughter while Elinor was loosely based on herself.
  • Two additional software were specially developed for this film by Pixar in the period of three years. One of them allows simulation of Merida’s hair curls to move together with her movements.
  • Merida has 1500 strands of hair curls rendered.

Talking Points:

  • To intense for young children?
  • The breakneck pace
  • Some moments of photo realism

Critic Notes

  • Positives: Ultimately, positive reviews – but most were lackluster saying that it just didn’t hit expectations or potential; lots of “looked amazing”
  • Negatives: Slow pacing, patchwork storyline was hard to follow; Just didn’t have the “oomph” of other Disney and Pixar pics – no outstanding songs or characters; definitely for the kids and not the parents this time around.

What We Learned:

  • Legends are lessons that ring with truths
  • Never conjure where you carve
  • Following Will O’ Wisps can get you into trouble
  • Be careful what you wish for…you just might get exactly that.
  • The spell for changing your fate… tastes gamey.

Trailer:

Recommendations :
Jeff: This was . . . interesting. I thoroughly enjoyed the movie but wasn’t blown away by it. I did like the fact that the trailer didn’t tell you really what was going on but still showed a thread of the true story. Worth seeing, just could wait for the rental if you want to.
Ray: Not my favorite Pixar movie, but I think this still holds up in the Pixar line of films regardless of what some perceive as a disneyfication. It can be a little scary if you have young kids but the story is great (especially inspiring for young girls) and the technical aspects of this movie were amazing and exquisitely animated.
Steve: Not as exciting as I thought it would be. I still like the premise of the strong female lead taking her life in her own hands and all of that. However, it just didn’t grab me as other similar films have. Looked good though!

The Future: The Master

Release: November 9, 2012 (UK)

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson

Starring: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams

Summary:

A 1950s-set drama centered on the relationship between a charismatic intellectual known as “the Master” whose faith-based organization begins to catch on in America, and a young drifter who becomes his right-hand man.

Talking Points:

  • WTF?

Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: This was a random movie trailer I saw on Film State and just got intrigued. I’m still on the bench but could be good or not. Joaquin is good at crazy.
Ray: Intrigued, looks to be strong performances from both Phoenix and Hoffman. Definitely one to keep on the lookout for.
Steve: I don’t get it. Phoenix’s teeth creep me out.

The Past: Heavenly Creatures

The Present:

The Future:

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