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:

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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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MOV081: “Someday We’ll Find It”

In this 81st reel of COL Movies, the boys kick off the holiday season by bringing “The Muppet Christmas Carol” back. Conveniently, they then head to the theater to check out Jason Segal’s attempt to bring the beloved characters back into the limelight in “The Muppets”. Does it succeed? They then do a compare and contrast over the two upcoming Snow White tales, Julia Roberts’ “Mirror Mirror” and Charlize Theron’s “Snow White & The Hunstman”. Are fairy tales going to be the new “it” thing for 2012…sure looks like it! In news, we chat about Ridley Scott’s “Prometheus”, then discuss Cinemablend’s Top 25 Muppets list. It’s the 81st reel of COL Movies…”Someday We’ll Find It”

News:

The Past: The Muppet Christmas Carol
Rotten Tomatoes: 68% Fresh, 80% Audience

Director: Brian Henson

Starring: Michael Caine, The Great Gonzo, Rizzo The Rat, Kermit The Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire, Frank Oz, Steven Mackintosh, Jessica Fox

Trivia:

  • The first feature-length production in which Kermit’s voice was not provided by Jim Henson (who had recently died). Steve Whitmire took over the role.
  • This was the first major Muppet project after the death of creator Jim Henson. Henson had performed Kermit and the role was now being handed down to Steve Whitmire. According to Whitmire he was incredibly nervous about taking over such an iconic character. The night before he had to go record Kermit’s songs for the movie, he had a dream where he met Henson in a hotel lobby and told him how unsure he was. In the dream, Henson reassured Whitmire that the feeling would pass. After waking up, Whitmire was confident and able to do the part.
  • There is a store called “Micklewhite”. Michael Caine’s real name is Maurice Micklewhite.
  • Towards the end of the film, a tavern called “Statler & Waldorf” (named after the famous Muppet hecklers) can be spotted.
  • David Hemmings, Ron Moody, David Warner, and George Carlin were among the actors who
  • Michael Caine considers the role of Scrooge to be one of his most memorable (to him) roles.
  • SERIES TRADEMARK: At the conclusion of the song “One More Sleep”, Kermit is seen standing alone in the street and a shooting star can been seen streaking across the sky. In many (in not all) of the Muppet movies, a shooting star goes across the sky at some point when Kermit is on.
  • According to Brian Henson, the decision to use Gonzo and Rizzo to narrate the story was made because he wanted to incorporate the narration and prose of the Charles Dickens novel into the film.
  • In the film’s first scene, there is a shop sign that reads “Duncan & Kenworthy”. Producer Duncan Kenworthy was one of the creators of Jim Henson’s Fraggle Rock.
  • The movie is dedicated to the memory of Jim Henson and Richard Hunt. Henson, of course, was the creator of the Muppets. Hunt was one of the Muppet voice performers, perhaps best known as the voice of the character Scooter.
  • Jacob and Robert Marley surrounded by wailing cash boxes is a nod to Bob Marley & The Wailers.
  • Jacob and Robert Marley tell Scrooge to leave comedy to the bears. Statler and Waldorf, who play the Marley brothers, are known for constantly heckling Fozzie Bear for his poor comedy.

Talking Points:

  • Some of the muppets were CREEPY! Ghost of christmas past, kitty,
  • pacing…
  • Very classic telling of the take
  • Any fav Muppets?

What We’ve Learned:

  • December is harvest time for moneylenders.
  • Rat’s are versatile – bookkeepers, window squeege, fire bellows, chimney sweeps, Popsicles
  • Whispering = dramatic emphasis
  • Storytellers are omniscient
  • Rats don’t understand loneliness
  • Business.. its the America…er British Way
  • Never eat singing food
  • Life is made up of meetings and partings.

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: I’ve always loved this movie and many different versions of A Christmas Carol. Outside of this, I really liked the short Micky’s Christmas Carol which I’d also recommend to anyone. Both of these are Christmas Traditions to watch for me. I think this should be in everyone’s collection, something to watch with family on a cold winter evening.
Ray: It’s cute, It’s the muppets.. if your a muppets fan it should be in your collection. Best version of A Christmas Carol? not sure id go that far.. but it is good
Steve: I like it, but do find the pace a bit slow. Seems like a pretty honest telling of the story and Michael Caine is great! The ghost Muppets, especially future, are really cool. I need to show this movie to my nieces and nephew.

The Present: The Muppets
Rotten Tomatoes: 98% Fresh, 92% Audience

Director: James Bobin

Starring: Amy Adams, Jason Segel, Chris Cooper, Kermit The Frog, Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, The Great Gonzo, Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire, Eric Jacobson

Trivia:

  • First theatrically-released Muppet film not to include Frank Oz
  • Of all the actors and actresses making cameos in this film, Alan Arkin is the only one to ever appear on The Muppet Show, back in 1979. Although Whoopi Goldberg appeared in an episode of the follow-up series Muppets Tonight in 1996 – a series set in a TV studio, not the classic Muppet Theater revisited in this film.
  • A picture of Jim Henson appears on a poster outside of the Muppet Theater and a picture of him with Kermit appears on the wall in Kermit’s old office.
  • A hidden Mickey Mouse appears in the fireworks at the end.
  • During the Muppet Telethon, the chickens clucked a rendition of Cee-Lo Green’s “Forget You’. At The 53rd Annual Grammy Awards, Green performed the same song wearing a feathery costume that paid homage to Sir Elton John’s 25 October 1977 appearance on Elton John.
  • In the montage where the Muppets are retrieved from their current jobs, Scooter is shown in a Google reception area. At the time of release, this is indeed an actual office; it is the reception of Google’s office in Zurich.
  • At one point in the movie, a kid asks Kermit if he’s a Ninja Turtle. The Muppets were Made by Jim Henson, who also made the Animatronics for the Live Action Ninja Turtle film and its sequel.
  • The “standard Fame and Fortune contract” referenced several times in the movie (that would cede control of Muppet Studios and the Muppet name after 30 years), would seem to be a reference to the contract first given to the Muppets by Lew Lord (Orson Welles) in the very first Muppet Movie in 1979. After an impassioned plea by Kermit, Lew asks his secretary to “Prepare the standard Rich and Famous contract for Kermit the Frog & Company”.
  • An appearance by Elmo of Sesame Street was planned for a scene where lawyers would have nixed an attempt by the Muppets to have him host their show. According to Jason Segel, the cameo itself was forbidden by lawyers. Sesame Street characters had previously made cameos in The Muppet Show, The Muppet Movie, The Great Muppet Caper, The Muppets Take Manhattan and various specials, but have not done so since the purchase of the Muppet characters by Disney in 2004.
  • This is the first time that John Krasinski has been in the same movie as his real-life wife, Emily Blunt, although they do not share any screen time together.
  • Emily Blunt reprises her role from The Devil Wears Prada as Miss Piggy’s receptionist.
  • At the end of the film as the camera tilts towards the sky showing the fireworks, you will see that three of the explosions are in the shape of Mickey Mouse’s iconic head. This is likely due to the Muppet franchise being owned by Disney. It’s also no coincidence that the Muppet Theatre was placed next to Jimmy Kimmel Live!’s theatre – a show on ABC, owned by Disney.
  • Featured some Muppets not seen since the 1980s, including the evil henchman dragon Muppet, ‘Uncle Deadly’.
  • First theatrical Muppet film in 12 years.
  • On its first 5 days it passed every Muppet film except the first in terms of box office gross.
  • In Kermit’s Office, there are many pictures of him with different special guest hosts like Steve Martin and Sandy Duncan. One of the pictures is of Kermit and Jim Henson who originally performed Kermit until his death in 1990.
  • Bret McKenzie taught Chris Cooper how to rap and use typical rapper mannerisms.
  • Rashida Jones plays an executive for the CDE television network. CDE is “ABC” (American Broadcasting Company) if you move each letter up 2 letters in the alphabet. ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Company.
  • Jim Parsons (Human Walter) is the only actor whose cameo appearance was never announced or rumored.

Talking Points:

  • Did it have the nostalgia of the originals?
  • References to other Muppet movies
  • Voices
  • Human singers – without Muppets
  • Any fav Muppets?

What We Learned:

  • Kermit is a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle
  • Selena Gomez has no idea who the Muppets are…who’s she?
  • Kermit imagines the audience naked when he’s on stage.
  • Celebrities aren’t people
  • The Muppets aren’t bilingual
  • Neil Patrick Harris gets snotty when he doesn’t get to host
  • Ma Na Ma Na

Trailer:

Recommendations :
Jeff: I laughed, I cried, I felt like I was 6 years old again and enjoying every minute if it. I love the Muppets. Go, go see it. NOW.
Ray: I thought it was a nice re-introduction to the Muppets. I really liked seeing how the Muppets had moved on. The audience really seemed to enjoy this one. Everyone clapped at the end. I’d say if your gonna pick one family movie to see this Christmas this would be high on my list.
Steve: I am a huge fan of The Muppets and always have been. However, this one didn’t have me the whole way through. I really enjoyed when The Muppets were on screen, but there was too much human-only stuff that didn’t make i feel like it was a “Muppet” movie…just a vehicle for the actors.

The Future: Snow White & The Huntsman

Director: Rupert Sanders

Starring: Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth and Charlize Theron

Summary:

In a twist to the fairy tale, the Huntsman ordered to take Snow White into the woods to be killed winds up becoming her protector and mentor in a quest to vanquish the Evil Queen.

Trivia:

  • Angelina Jolie and Winona Ryder were considered to play Ravenna, the Evil Queen.
  • Charlize Theron dropped out from J. Edgar to do this movie.
  • Johnny Depp, Tom Hardy and Michael Fassbender were considered to play Eric, The Huntsman.
  • For months, Viggo Mortensen was in talks to star as the Huntsman, but negotiations fell through and Mortensen dropped out.
  • After Viggo Mortensen passed on the movie, the role was offered to Hugh Jackman who also declined.
  • Dakota Fanning, Saoirse Ronan, Riley Keough, Alicia Vikander, Bella Heathcote, Selena Gomez, Emily Browning, Lily Collins and Felicity Jones were considered for the role of Snow White.
  • All seven dwarves are named after Roman Emperors: Caesar, Tiberius, Constantine, Claudius, Hadrian, Nero and Trajan.
  • During filming Kristen Stewart accidentally punched co-star Chris Hemsworth in the face giving him a black eye.
  • Production of the film was temporarily shut down in October 2011 after Kristen Stewart tore a ligament in her thumb during an attack scene with the dwarves. Stewart also suffered from a foot injury sustained on set.
  • Filming began in the United Kingdom in October 2011.
  • Lily Collins auditioned for the lead role but lost to Kristen Stewart. She was later cast in the other Snow White movie, Mirror Mirror.

The Future: Mirror Mirror

Director: Tarsem Singh

Starring: Lily Collins, Julia Roberts and Armie Hammer

Summary:

An evil queen steals control of a kingdom and an exiled princess enlists the help of seven resourceful rebels to win back her birthright..

Trivia:

  • Saoirse Ronan was considered for the role of Snow White, but the age difference between her and Armie Hammer was too big.
  • Alex Pettyfer, James Holzier, and James McAvoy were all considered for the part of Prince Andrew Alcott.
  • The original script included a scene between a shirtless Prince (Armie Hammer) and the Queen (Julia Roberts) in which the Queen remarks how smooth his chest is. This line had to be eliminated when Hammer refused to shave the hair off his chest for the scene.

Talking Points:

  • Antz V A Bugs Life, and Deep Impact V Amaggeddon

Trailers:

Excitement:
Jeff: Very different takes on the Snow White story. I actually kinda want to see both of them. Snow White for the action/drama, and Mirror Mirror for the comedy.
Ray: The Huntsman is the one pulling me to the theater, but I prefer a dark fantasy over a comedy.. Mirror Mirror looks a little too Shrekish to me.
Steve: The Huntsman seems more in my personal wheelhouse, whereas Mirror Mirror looks as though it is going to be a bit schitzo – fighting the family friendly Disney-fied look with a sarcastic comedy edge. For me, Nathan Lane and Julia Roberts would be the draw for Mirror Mirror, whereas the dark edge of Huntsman and Chris Hemsworth would be the draws for that one. My money’s on Huntsman – especially since it’s got Twilight power.

Coming Attractions

The Past

The Present

The Future

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

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

News:

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

Director: Jonathan Lynn

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

Trivia:

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

Talking Points:

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

What We’ve Learned:

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

Trailer:

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

Intermission:

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

Director: Clint Eastwood

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Armie Hammer and Naomi Watts

Trivia:

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

Talking Points:

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

What We Learned:

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

Trailer:

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

The Future: The Muppets

Director: James Bobin

Starring: Amy Adams, Jason Segel, Chris Cooper

Summary:

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

Trivia:

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

Talking Points:

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

Trailer #1:

Trailer #2:

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

Coming Attractions

The Past:

The Present:

The Future:

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MOV034: “Ain’t That A Little Honey?”

Can DeNiro really drive a taxi? What was your favorite DeNiro movie? Did Marky Mark send out Good Vibrations in The Fighter, or should he taken a dive? Can James Cameron save the people trapped in the Sanctum? And what do these three movies have in common? All these questions will be answered plus the boys discuss whether you really need a Netflix button on your remote on this “very special” 100th review episode of COL Movies.

News:

The Past: Taxi Driver (1976)

Director: Martin Scorsese

Starring: Robert De Niro, Jodi Foster, Cybill Shepherd

Trivia:

  • De Niro worked as a cab driver for a month, pulling 12 hour shifts to prepare for the role.
  • Connie Foster, Jodi’s 19 year old sister had to play as Body Double for the then 12 year old Jodi for scenes that were too “Explicit” for her to be on set.
  • The Restaurant used in the movie is a real life cabbie hangout. The Belmore Cafeteria is on 28th and Part Ave South
  • The Girl Scorsese studied to prepare for the role of Iris played her friend on the street
  • The line “You talking to me?” was voted as the #10 movie quote by the American Film Institute, and as as the #8 of “The 100 Greatest Movie Lines” by Premiere in 2007.
  • Robert De Niro has claimed that the “You talkin’ to me?” scene was inspired by Bruce Springsteen’s banter with his audience at a mid-’70s gig
  • When Brian De Palma was attached to the project, he wanted Melanie Griffith to play Iris, but after two weeks of casting, both Griffth and De Palma were fired. Martin Scorsese replaced Griffith with Linda Blair. However, Blair also withdrew, and Scorsese later replaced Blair with Jodie Foster, but there were more than 200 applicants for the role. Scorsese said that Jodie had the ability to play a 12-year-old prostitute.
  • The story was partially autobiographical for Paul Schrader, who suffered a nervous breakdown while living in Los Angeles. He was fired from the AFI, basically friendless, in the midst of a divorce and was rejected by a girlfriend. Squatting in his ex-girlfriend’s apartment while she was away for a couple of months, Schrader literally didn’t talk to anyone for many weeks, went to porno theaters and developed an obsession with guns. He also shared with Bickle the sense of isolation from being a mid-Westerner in an urban center. Schrader decided to switch the action to New York City only because taxi drivers are far more common there. Schrader’s script clicked with both Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro when they read it.

Talking Points:

  • Anyone think that Rorschach from The Watchman might have been influenced by this character?
  • This movie was really “wet” was there a reason?
  • Do you think this movie is more social commentary for the times when it was made or just an interesting story?
  • Did anyone else think the music at the end of the movie.. the crane shot of the crime scene outside the hotel.. was a little over dramatic?

What We’ve Learned:

  • All the animals come out at night
  • In California, when two fags break up, one’s “got to pay” the other one alimony.
  • WE are the people is not the same as we ARE the people.
  • If a mob kills a stool pigeon they leave a canary on the body.
  • Porn Theatre is probably not the best place to take a date… well depending on the date..
  • women are like a union
  • Cybill Sheperd was really cute when she was younger.
  • OMG….Harvey Keitel was jacked in the 70s!
  • Only in NY can a cabbie almost kill a Presidential candidate, whack a bunch of mobsters, save a child prostitute and recover from a coma…then go right back to driving his cab!

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: Classic, this should be in your DVD Library.
Ray: If your into gritty modern film noir, its a must see. especially for De Niro’s performance.
Steve: Intriguing look into mid-70s New York and the issues faced by Vets returning from Vietnam. Well acted and very interesting characters. Definitely worth a look.

Intermission: Top De Niro movies

The Present: The Fighter

Director: David O. Russel

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams

Trivia:

  • Mickey O’ Keefe is a Sergeant for the Lowell police department in massachusetts and was the mentor of “Irish” Mickey Ward
  • Art Ramalho’s gym is the actual Lowell West End Gym and not a set. This is in fact where Micky trained and is still a functioning boxing gym to this day.
  • Mark Wahlberg sent the script to Martin Scorsese in hopes he would direct, but he turned it down.
  • Wahlberg started training for the role back in 2005
  • Darren Aronofsky was attached to direct, but left to work on Black Swan

Talking Points:

  • Who do you think gave the best acting performance?
  • Was it just me.. or were there a lot of UGLY people in this movie?
  • The sisters…good, bad, or (and) ugly?
  • The different style of shooting.. out of the ring was more cinematic.. in the ring was very documentary style

What We Learned:

  • Mtv Girls are into 3 ways
  • Dude, its just easier to use the front door, mom knows your in there.
  • The fancy art film, isn’t always the best place to take your date.
  • If you’re a drug addict and someone calls you to do a movie about you…say no!
  • Witness the power of denial….

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: Great movie. Unexpectedly enjoyable, must see in my opinion.
Ray: I went into this movie expecting to Hate it.. and I was really entertained.
Steve: Typically do not like this type of film, but I found myself really into it. It was engaging, almost like watching documentary. Definitely enjoyed and recommend it.

The Future: Sanctum

Starring: Rhys Wakefield, Allison Cratchley, Christopher Baker

Trivia:

  • Based on the true story of co-writer Andrew Wight. He once went cave diving and became trapped with fourteen other people in a cave for two days. Their entrance collapsed and they had to look for another way out.

Talking Points:

  • Does James Cameron being attached to this film provide any draw or excitement for you?
  • Based on the trailer, do you think 3D will be good for it?

Summary:

The 3-D action-thriller Sanctum follows a team of underwater cave divers on a treacherous expedition to the largest, most beautiful and least accessible cave system on Earth. When a tropical storm forces them deep into the caverns, they must fight raging water, deadly terrain and creeping panic as they search for an unknown escape route to the sea.

Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: Freaks me out.
Ray: Not very excited to see this movie.
Steve: Doesn’t do a whole lot for me. Sets look really good, though…and I like the Australian accents!

Coming Attractions

The Past

The Present

The Future

Download Podcast

MOV025: “Excuse Me Stewardess, I Speak Jive”

Jeff shows the love and Steve shows the Meh’s of Airplane! Why did Jeff walk out of Saw 3D? And are our sassy hosts interested at all with The Fighter? This and new on this brand new reel of COL Movies.

News:

The Past: Airplane! (1980)

Director: Jim Abrahams, David Zucker, Jerry Zucker

Starring: Robert Hays, Julie Hagerty, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Lloyd Bridges, Peter Graves, Leslie Nielsen, Lorna Patterson, Robert Stack

Trivia:

  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s role was originally to be played by Pete Rose, but he was playing baseball at the time of the filming, so the part went to Kareem. He was offered $30,000 to appear in the film, but he asked for $35,000 to buy an oriental rug
  • The film is mostly a parody of Zero Hour! (1957), a film that had a main character named Ted Stryker and such famous “not meant to be funny” lines like “We have to find someone who can not only fly this plane, but who didn’t have fish for dinner.”
  • “Stayin’ Alive” was sped up for the dance scene of the film. Permission from The Bee Gees had to be obtained to speed it up.
  • Nominated for 1981 Golden Globes Best Motion Picture – Musical/Comedy

Talking Points:

  • If this movie was made today, would it have gotten as good a reception post 9/11?
  • If this movie was released today as a new film, would it be well-received?

What We’ve Learned:

  • Don’t eat the fish on an airplane.
  • The white zone is for loading and unloading only. There is no stopping in the red zone.
  • The red zone is for loading and unloading only. There is no stopping in the white zone.
  • If you’re playing a guitar for a sick girl, watch where you’re swinging the guitar.
  • A polyester suit will always get you the girl on the dance floor
  • If the automatic pilot is failing, just blow him.
  • The doctor on the plane is the one with the stethoscope in his ears.
  • I like my coffee like I like my men.

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: If you don’t own this yet, what is wrong with you?
Ray: Mindless, you either dig this kinda movie or you dont.
Steve: Definitely a sign of the times it was made in. I find parts funny, but not the whole thing.

The Present: Saw 3D (2010)

Director: Kevin Greutert

Starring: Tobin Bell, Costas Mandylor, Betsy Russell, Dean Armstrong, Chad E. Donella

Trivia:

  • Kevin Greutert, along with writers Marcus Dunstan and Patrick Melton, attempted a comprehensive rewrite of the script a week before filming.
  • Due to the slow 3D process, filming was completed in 9 weeks as opposed to the usual 6 weeks for previous installments
  • The garage trap was written for an earlier film in the series, but the producers felt it was “too disturbing” to show in a film. For an unknown reason they finally allowed it to be filmed.
  • Had to be submitted six times to obtain an “R” rating from the Major Motion Picture Association of America, to avoid an NC-17 rating.

Talking Points:

  • Why and When Did Jeff Walk out?
  • What was the point of the 3D in this film?
  • It is necessary to see previous movies to understand this one?
  • Do we really think this will be the “final” SAW?

What We Learned:

  • Plot, is pretty unnecessary apparently
  • Its apparently fairly easy for a known accomplice to a serial killer, and EX POLICE DETECTIVE, to sneak into a police station relatively unnoticed.
  • The makers of this film clearly wanted to go out with a bang.
  • Let’s hope this is the last Saw film.

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: First movie I ever walked out of. At least I had my pizza and beer.
Ray: Although I say skip it altogether, if you’re going to see it don’t pay to see it in 3D.
Steve: I actually cringed at times. The stuff spraying at the screen is annoying.

The Future: The Fighter (2010)

Director: David O. Russell

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Melissa Leo, Jack McGee

Trivia:

  • Matt Damon and Brad Pitt were previously attached to play Dick Ecklund, but the role went to Christian Bale.
  • Darren Aronofsky was previously attached to direct.
  • Michael Fassbender auditioned for a role.
  • Emily Blunt turned down a role.
  • Art Ramalho’s gym is the actual Lowell West End Gym and not a set. This is in fact where Micky trained and is still a functioning boxing gym to this day.
  • The big fight filmed in Lowell at The Tsongas Arena had over 200 “dummies” (props – not people) in the audience to help fill up the stands.
  • Christian Bale reportedly lost weight to achieve the very thin frame of Dickie Ecklund by eating very little. He even went missing for hours at a time in preparation for his role.

Talking Points:

  • Why would you go see this movie?

Summary:
Life story of boxer “Irish” Mickey Ward and his trainer brother Dick Eklund, chronicling the brothers’ early days on the rough streets of Lowell, Massachusetts through Eklund’s battle with drugs and Ward’s eventual world championship in London.

Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: It’s a boxer flick. I’m a little intrigued.
Ray: Meh.. not my kinda movie. all i can think of is this “Who’s gonna train me!?”
Steve: Not really into biopic kind of movies. Wahlberg looks good, but not interested.

Coming Attractions – Jeff

The Past

The Present

The Future

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