MOV125: “Heeeere’s Johnny”

The boys kick off their month of scary movies with the King and Kubrick classic “The Shining”. In theaters, they head out to see the time travel action thriller, “Looper”. From there, it’s off to the trailer park for the 2012 remake of “Red Dawn”. In movie news we ask if you’re ready for a “Hungry Hungry Hippos” movie, if you’d care if “The Wizard of Oz” was converted to 3D, and whether or not “Lincoln” has any influence over your Presidential vote. It’s the 125th reel of COL Movies: “Heeeeere’s Johnny!”

News:

The Past: The Shining (1980)
Rotten Tomatoes 88% Fresh; 91% Audience

Director: Stanley Kubrick

Starring: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd

Trivia:

  • During the making of the movie, Stanley Kubrick would occasionally call Stephen King at 3:00 a.m. and ask him questions like “Do you believe in God?”
  • Stephen King was first approached by Stanley Kubrick about making a film version of ‘The Shining’ via an early morning phone call (England is five hours ahead of Maine in time zones). King, suffering from a hangover, shaving and at first thinking one of his kids was injured, was shocked when his wife told him Kubrick was really on the phone. King recalled that the first thing Kubrick did was to immediately start talking about how optimistic ghost stories are, because they suggest that humans survive death. “What about hell?” King asked. Kubrick paused for several moments before finally replying, “I don’t believe in hell.”
  • The Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood in Oregon was used for the front exterior, but all the interiors as well as the back of the hotel were specially built at Elstree Studios in London, England. The management of the Timberline requested that Stanley Kubrick not use 217 for a room number (as specified in the book), fearing that nobody would want to stay in that room ever again. Kubrick changed the script to use the nonexistent room number 237.
  • Stanley Kubrick decided that having the hedge animals come alive (as they do in the book) was unworkable due to restrictions in special effects, so he opted for a hedge maze instead.
  • There is a great deal of confusion regarding this film and the number of retakes of certain scenes. According to the Guinness Book of Records, the scene where Wendy is backing up the stairs swinging the baseball bat was shot 127 times, which is a record for the most takes of a single scene. However, both Steadicam operator Garrett Brown and assistant editor Gordon Stainforth say this is inaccurate – the scene was shot about 35-45 times. Brown does say however that the scene where Hallorann explains to Danny what shining is was shot 148 times, which is a world record.
  • Stanley Kubrick considered both Robert De Niro and Robin Williams for the role of Jack Torrance but decided against both of them. Kubrick didn’t think De Niro would suit the part after watching his performance in Taxi Driver, as he deemed De Niro not psychotic enough for the role. He didn’t think Williams would suit the part after watching his performance in Mork & Mindy, as he deemed him too psychotic for the role. According to Stephen King, Kubrick also briefly considered Harrison Ford.
  • Stephen King tried to talk Stanley Kubrick out of casting Jack Nicholson in the lead suggesting, instead, either Michael Moriarty or Jon Voight. King had felt that watching either of these normal-looking men gradually descend into madness, would have immensely improved the dramatic thrust of the storyline.
  • The scrapbook that Jack finds in the novel makes a brief appearance next to his typewriter in the scene when Jack tells Wendy never to bother him while he’s working.
  • Jack Nicholson ad-libbed the “little pigs” dialog towards the end of the film.
  • During the scene where Wendy brings Jack breakfast in bed, it can be seen in the reflection of the mirror that Jack’s T-shirt says “Stovington” on it. While not mentioned in the film, this is the name of the school that Jack used to teach at in the Stephen King novel.
  • Stanley Kubrick, known for his compulsiveness and numerous retakes, got the difficult shot of blood pouring from the elevators in only three takes. This would be remarkable if it weren’t for the fact that the shot took nine days to set up; every time the doors opened and the blood poured out, Kubrick would say, “It doesn’t look like blood.” In the end, the shot took approximately a year to get right.
  • During filming, Stanley Kubrick made the cast watch Eraserhead, Rosemary’s Baby and The Exorcist to put them in the right frame of mind.
  • All of the interior rooms of The Overlook Hotel were filmed at Elstree Studios in England, including The Colorado Lounge, where Jack does his typing. Because of the intense heat generated from the lighting used to recreate window sunlight (the room took 700,000 watts of light per window to make it look like a snowy day outside), the lounge set caught fire. Fortunately all of the scenes had been completed there, so the set was rebuilt with a higher ceiling, and the same area was eventually used by Steven Spielberg as the snake-filled Well of the Souls tomb in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
  • The Louisville Slugger baseball bat with which Wendy Torrance bludgeons Jack is signed by Carl Yastrzemski, Hall of Fame Red Sox player. Author Stephen King is a huge Red Sox fan.
  • Every time Jack talks to a “ghost”, there’s a mirror in the scene, except in the food locker scene. This is because in the food locker scene he only talks to Grady through the door. We never see Grady in this scene.
  • According to Stephen King, the title is inspired by the refrain in the Plastic Ono Band’s song, “Instant Karma” (by John Lennon), which features the chorus: “We all shine on.”
  • At the time of release, it was the policy of the MPAA to not allow the portrayal of blood in trailers that would be approved for all audiences. Bizarrely, the trailer for The Shining consists entirely of the shot of blood pouring out of the elevator. Stanley Kubrick had convinced the board the blood flooding out of the elevator was actually rusty water.
  • Because Danny Lloyd was so young and since it was his first acting job, Stanley Kubrick was highly protective of the child. During the shooting of the movie, Lloyd was under the impression that the film he was making was a drama, not a horror movie. He only realized the truth seven years later, when, aged 13, he was shown a heavily edited version of the film. He didn’t see the uncut version of the film until he was 17 – eleven years after he’d made it.
  • The throwing around of the tennis ball inside the overlook hotel was Jack Nicholson’s idea. The script originally only specified that, “Jack is not working”.
  • Outtakes of the shots of the Volkswagen traveling towards the Overlook at the start of the film were plundered by Ridley Scott (with Stanley Kubrick’s permission) when he was forced to add the ‘happy ending’ to the original release of Blade Runner.
  • The “snowy” maze near the conclusion of the movie consisted of 900 tons of salt and crushed Styrofoam.
  • Stanley Kubrick’s first choice to play Danny Torrance was Cary Guffey, the young boy from Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Guffey’s parents apparently turned down the offer due to the film’s subject matter.
  • Billie Gibson, the old woman in the tub, has been falsely rumored to be Ann Gibson, Mel Gibson’s late mother.
  • Neither Lia Beldam (young woman in bath) nor Billie Gibson (old woman in bath) appeared in another movie before or after this one.
  • There were so many changes to the script during shooting that Jack Nicholson claimed he stopped reading it. He would read only the new pages that were given to him each day.
  • Wendy Carlos and Rachel Elkind wrote and performed a full electronic score for the film, but Stanley Kubrick discarded most of it and used a soundtrack of mostly classical music. Only the adaptation of Hector Berlioz’s “Symphonie Fantastique” during the opening credits, the music during the family’s drive to the hotel, and a few other brief moments (such as Halloran’s plane trip) survive in the final version. Wendy Carlos once noted that she’d like to see the original score released on CD, but there were too many legal snags at the time. As of 2005, Carlos’ score for the film has been remastered, and is a part of “Rediscovering Lost Scores Volumes 1 and 2”.
  • For the scene in which Jack breaks down the bathroom door, the props department built a door that could be easily broken. However, Jack Nicholson had worked as a volunteer fire marshal and tore it apart far too easily. The props department were then forced to build a stronger door.
  • Anjelica Huston lived with Jack Nicholson during the time of the shooting. She recalled that, due to the long hours on the set and Stanley Kubrick’s trademark style of repetitive takes, Nicholson would often return from a day’s shooting, walk straight to the bed, collapse onto it and would immediately fall asleep.
  • Prior to hiring Diane Johnson as his writing partner, director/producer Stanley Kubrick rejected a screenplay written by Stephen King himself. King’s script was a much more literal adaptation of the novel, a much more traditional horror film than the film Kubrick would ultimately make. He was considering hiring Johnson because he admired her novel “The Shadow Knows,” but when he found out she was a Doctor of Gothic Studies, he became convinced she was the person for the job.
  • The making-of documentary shot by Vivian Kubrick shows that the hedge maze set, while nowhere near as large as the maze in the film (which was mostly a matte painting), was still large and complex enough to require a detailed map. In the commentary for her documentary, she notes that many crew members really got lost in the maze, dryly noting that it now reminds her of the lost-backstage scene in This Is Spinal Tap.
  • There was no air conditioning on the sets, meaning it would often become very hot. The hedge maze set was stifling; actors and crew would often strip off as much of the heavy clothing they were wearing as quickly as they could once a shot was finished.
  • Tony Burton, who had a brief role as Larry Durkin the garage owner, arrived on set one day carrying a chess set in hopes of getting in a game with someone during a break from filming. Stanley Kubrick, an avid chess player who had in his youth played for money, noticed the chess set. Despite production being behind schedule, Kubrick proceeded to call off filming for the day and engage in a set of games with Burton. Burton only managed to win one game, but nevertheless the director thanked him, since it had been some time that he’d played against a challenging opponent.
  • Stanley Kubrick wanted to shoot the film in script order. This meant having all the relevant sets standing by at all times. In order to achieve this, every soundstage at Elstree was used, with all the sets built, pre-lit and ready to go during the entire shoot at the studios.
  • To construct the interiors of the Overlook, Stanley Kubrick and his production designer, Roy Walker purposely set out to make it look like an amalgamation of bits and pieces of real hotels, rather than giving it one single design ethic. Kubrick had sent many photographers around the country photographing hotel rooms and picking his favorite. For example, the red men’s bathroom was modeled on a men’s room in the Biltmore Hotel in Arizona designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and the Colorado lounge was modeled on the lounge of the Ahwanee Hotel in the Yosemite Valley. Indeed, the chandeliers, windows and fireplace are nearly identical, so much so that people entering the Ahwahnee often ask if it’s “the Shining hotel”.
  • Steadicam operator Garrett Brown accomplished many of the ultra-low tracking corridor sequences from a wheelchair on which his invention was mounted. Grips would either pull backward or push forward the wheelchair, depending on the requirement of the shot
  • In the party scene, Stanley Kubrick told the extras to mouth their words.
  • One of the shots in the part where Jack is bouncing a ball against a wall took several days to film. This was because the shot entailed the ball bouncing from the wall onto the camera lens as it filmed. As Stanley Kubrick was so determined to get this precise shot, the camera kept rolling while the ball was continually hit against the wall in the hope of it bouncing back and hitting the lens. It took everyone on the entire unit having a go at it in between other shots before the shot was finally achieved after several days.
  • The famous opening scene was shot in Glacier National Park in Montana just north of St. Mary’s Lake. The road seen in the scene, Going-to-the-Sun Road, does actually close down during winter and is only negotiable by snowcat. Kubrick initially sent a second unit to the Rockies in Colorado, but they reported back that the area wasn’t very interesting. When Stanley Kubrick saw the footage they had shot, he was furious, and fired the entire unit. He then sent Greg MacGillivray, a noted helicopter cameraman, to Montana and it was McGillivray who shot the scene.
  • This was voted the ninth scariest film of all time by Entertainment Weekly.
  • The movie’s line “Here’s Johnny!” was voted as the #68 movie quote by the American Film Institute (out of 100), and as the #36 of “The 100 Greatest Movie Lines” by Premiere in 2007.
  • Much like the casting of the “Jack” character, Stephen King also disliked the casting of Shelley Duvall as “Wendy.” King said that he envisioned Wendy as being a blond former cheerleader type who never had to deal with any true problems in her life making her experience in the Overlook all the more terrifying. He felt that Duvall was too emotionally vulnerable and appeared to have gone through a lot in her life, basically the exact opposite of how he pictured the character.
  • The film was released in the United States on star Scatman Crothers’ 70th birthday.
  • The role of Lloyd the Bartender was originally to have been played by Harry Dean Stanton, who was unable to take the part due to his commitment to Alien.
  • Scatman Crothers was a friend of Jack Nicholson’s, and when he heard about the Halloran role, he asked Nicholson to talk to Kubrick about casting him.
  • The two tracked vehicles in the movie are the Activ Fischer VW Powered 4 Speed Snow-Trak (referred to and labeled on the vehicle as a “SnowCat”) and a Thiokol Imp Snow-Cat (this is the vehicle Wendy and Danny escape in).
  • During an interview for the UK’S The 100 Greatest Scary Moments, Shelley Duvall revealed that due to her role requiring her to be in an almost constant state of hysteria, she eventually ran out of tears from crying so hard. To overcome this she kept bottles of water with her at all times on set to remain hydrated.
  • The image of the two girls in the hotel corridor was inspired by the photograph “Identical Twins, Roselle, New Jersey, 1967” by Diane Arbus.
  • First film of Manning Redwood.
  • Approximately 5000 people auditioned for the role of Danny over a six-month period. The interviews were carried out in Chicago, Denver and Cincinnati by Stanley Kubrick’s assistant Leon Vitali and his wife, Kersti. Aspiring actors were asked to send in photographs of themselves, and from the photographs, a list was made of the boys who looked right, who were then called in to interview. Vitali would then have the boys do some minor improvisation on camera, and Kubrick would review the footage, gradually narrowing the list down.
  • According to Variety magazine, the film took almost 200 days to shoot. However, according to assistant editor Gordon Stainforth, it took much more, nearly a year. The film was originally supposed to take 17 weeks, but it ultimately took 51. Because the film ran so long, Warren Beatty’s Reds and Steven Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark were both delayed as they were both waiting to shoot in Elstree Studios.
  • When Steadicam inventor/operator Garrett Brown was hired to work on the picture, he was assured that there was no way the shoot would run over six months, as he had to be back in the US in six months time to shoot Rocky II. Six months into the shoot, less than half the film had been shot, and for several months, Brown worked one week in London on “The Shining,” one week in Philadelphia on “Rocky,” commuting by Concorde every Sunday.
  • To achieve the smoothness of the opening shots, cameraman Greg MacGillivray secured a wide angle Arriflex camera to the front of a helicopter, then balanced the blades to remove any vibrations. Even the shot where the camera comes down behind the car, passes it out, and goes over the edge is done via the helicopter.
  • The idea for Danny Lloyd to move his finger when he was talking as Tony was his own; he did it spontaneously during his very first audition.
  • For the scenes when we can hear Jack typing but we cannot see what he is typing, Kubrick recorded the sound of a typist actually typing the words “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. Some people argue that each key on a typewriter sounds slightly different, and Kubrick wanted to ensure authenticity, so he insisted that the actual words be typed.
  • The maze was constructed on an airfield near Elstree studios, by weaving branches to chicken wire mounted on empty plywood boxes. The maze was shot using an extremely short lens (a 9.8mm, which gives a horizontal viewing angle of 90 degrees) which was kept dead level at all times, to make the hedges seem much bigger and more imposing than they were in reality.
  • The only shot in the film not achieved in-camera was the slow zoom in on the model of the maze, with the tiny figures of Danny and Wendy walking around at the center. To achieve this shot, a model of the maze was shot from six feet above. Then the small central section of the maze was built to scale next to an apartment complex. Actors Shelley Duvall and Danny Lloyd then walked about in the central section whilst the camera crew filmed it from the roof of the apartment building. The two shots were then simply composited together.
  • The shot of the tennis ball rolling into Danny’s toys took 50 takes to get right.
  • The scene of Hallorann approaching the hotel in the snow-cat was shot in real snow approaching the real Timberline hotel in Oregon.
  • The scene towards the end of the film, where Wendy is running up the stairway carrying a knife, was shot 35 times; the equivalent of running up the Empire State Building.
  • The 1921 photograph at the end of the film was a genuine 1920s photo, with Jack Nicholson’s head airbrushed onto the body of another man. Stanley Kubrick originally planned to use extras and shoot the photo himself, but he realized he couldn’t make it look any better than the real thing.
  • Despite receiving generally unfavorable reviews upon its initial release, the film is today regarded as one of the best horror movies ever made. In 2001, it was ranked 29th on AFI’s ‘100 Years…100 Thrills’ list. In 2003, Jack Torrance was named the 25th greatest villain on the AFI’s ‘100 Years…100 Heroes and Villains’ list. The film was named the scariest film of all time by Channel 4 in 2003, and Total Film had it as the 5th greatest horror film in 2004. Bravo TV placed it 6th on their list of the 100 Scariest Movie Moments in 2005. In addition, film critics Kim Newman and Jonathan Romney both placed it in their all-time top ten lists for the 2002 Sight and Sound poll.
  • Jack mentions Portland, Maine to Lloyd in the bar. Portland, Maine is where Stephen King grew up.
  • Despite Stanley Kubrick’s fierce demands on everyone, Jack Nicholson admitted to having a good working relationship with him. It was with Shelley Duvall that he was a completely different director. He allegedly picked on her more than anyone else, as seen in the documentaries Making ‘The Shining’ and Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures. He would really lose his temper with her, even going so far as to say that she was wasting the time of everyone on the set. She later reflected that he was probably pushing her to her limits to get the best out of her, and that she wouldn’t trade the experience for anything – but it was not something she ever wished to repeat.
  • James Mason can be seen visiting the set of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining in Vivian Kubrick’s TV documentary Making ‘The Shining’. Stanley Kubrick did not usually allow visitors to his set, but made an exception for Mason, who had memorably played Humbert Humbert for him in Lolita.
  • Stephen King didn’t know that ‘redrum’ spelled murder backwards until he actually typed it. He loved the various connotations of the word.
  • Wendy swings the baseball bat 41 times.
  • According to Shelley Duvall the infamous ‘Heere’s Johnny!’ scene took 3 days to film and the use of 60 doors.
  • On the DVD commentary track for Making ‘The Shining’, Vivian Kubrick reveals that Shelley Duvall received “no sympathy at all” from anyone on the set. This was apparently Stanley Kubrick’s tactic in making her feel utterly hopeless. This is most evident in the documentary when he tells Vivian, “Don’t sympathize with Shelley.” Kubrick then goes on to tell Duvall, “It doesn’t help you.”
  • Stanley Kubrick had envisioned Shelley Duvall as his more timid, dependent version of Wendy Torrance from the very beginning. However Jack Nicholson after reading the novel, wanted Jessica Lange for the part of Wendy, and even recommended her to Kubrick, as he felt she fit Stephen King’s version of the character. After explaining the changes he had made, Kubrick convinced him that Duvall was the correct choice, as she best suited the emotionally fragile Wendy he had in mind. Many years later, Nicholson told EMPIRE magazine he thought Duvall was fantastic and called her work in the film, “the toughest job that any actor that I’ve seen had.”
  • This film was shot in the same film studio that was used for Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back. In fact, much of the same fake snow used for this film was used for the Hoth scenes. Stephen King visited the set of both films, and met director Irvin Kershner. This later became the basis for part of his book “It.” Kirshner had been nicknamed “Kersh,” and was directing the first Star Wars film to feature Yoda. In the book, It, there is a character named Mrs. Kersh, who we are told sounds like Yoda when she talks.
  • The outtakes link between this movie and Blade Runner was not the only element that connected the two. Actor Joe Turkel who plays Lloyd (the bartender who serves Jack), also played Dr. Eldon Tyrell in Blade Runner. Outtakes aside, Turkel is the only other common cast/crew link between both films.
  • The two Ray Noble and His Orchestra songs used were not actually from the 1920s: “Midnight, the Stars and You” (played in the ballroom) was recorded Feb 16, 1934, and “It’s All Forgotten Now” (heard faintly when Grady is talking to Jack in the bathroom) was recorded July 11, 1934.
  • Shelley Duvall is the only actor/actress playing a member of the Torrance family whose character name is not the same as his/her real life name – Jack Nicholson plays a character named Jack and Danny Lloyd plays a character named Danny.
  • For a TV commercial in 2010 for “Premier Inn” hotels (UK), British comedian Lenny Henry re-enacted Jack Nicholson’s “Heeere’s Johnny” scene (“Heeere’s Lenny”) in which he demolished a hotel bathroom door with an ax.
  • Despite the critical success of the film, it was nominated for two Golden Raspberry awards: Worst Actress for Shelley Duvall and Worst Director for ‘Stanley Kubrick’. It “lost” both awards.
  • There is a character named Richard Haloran in the film Dementia 13, about an axe murderer. It was produced by Roger Corman, who directed several of Jack Nicholson’s early films.
  • One of ‘Stanley Kubrick”s favorite films was Eraserhead, directed by David Lynch. Kubrick cited the film as a creative influence during the making of The Shining and screened Eraserhead to put the cast and crew in the mood he wanted to achieve for the film.
  • When Jack uses an axe to break through the bathroom door, he shouts “Here’s Johnny”. This is probably a reference to the catchphrase of chat-show host Johnny Carson. However an alternative explanation is that it is a reference to an incident that occurred in the 1960s when Johnny Cash used a fire axe to break a connecting “doorway” between two motel rooms that he and his band members were using while on tour, and then broke through one of the doors from the corridor to make it look as if a thief had broken in and trashed the rooms.
  • Stephen King got the idea for The Shining while his family were staying at the Stanley Hotel. They were the last guests before it shut down for the Winter. He saw a group of nuns leaving the hotel, and it got him thinking that the place had suddenly become godless. The King family stayed in Room 217, the haunted room in the novel but Room 237 in the film; a fire hose also resembled a snake (which doesn’t appear in the film but does in the TV mini-series), and King had already been playing around with a story idea about a boy with ESP, so he combined the two plotlines.
  • Jack tells Lloyd in the bar that Danny once messed around with his work papers. This mirrors an event in Stephen King’s life, when his son once started playing around with his writing notes. He felt like killing him.
  • The first of Stephen King’s books to be banned from school libraries because of the theme of wicked parents.
  • The script was constantly changing on set, sometimes several times a day. The cast got very irritated by this, especially Jack Nicholson. Whenever the production team would give the cast copies of the script to memorize, Jack Nicholson would throw his away without even looking at it, as he knew that it was only going to change again.
  • The book that Jack was writing contained the one sentence (“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”) repeated over and over. Stanley Kubrick had each page individually typed. For the Italian version of the film, Kubrick used the phrase “Il mattino ha l’ oro in bocca” (“He who wakes up early meets a golden day”). For the German version, it was “Was Du heute kannst besorgen, das verschiebe nicht auf Morgen” (“Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today”). For the Spanish version, it was “No por mucho madrugar amanece más temprano” (“Rising early will not make dawn sooner.”). For the French version, it was “Un ‘Tiens’ vaut mieux que deux ‘Tu l’auras'” (“A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”).
  • Kubrick originally wanted approximately 70 takes of the scene where Halloran (Scatman Crothers) gets killed by Jack Torrance, but Jack Nicholson talked Kubrick into going easy on the 69-year-old Crothers and stopping after 40. At one point during the filming, Crothers became so exasperated with Kubrick’s notorious, compulsive style of excessive retakes that he broke down and cried, asking “What do you want, Mr. Kubrick?”
  • Director Trademark: (Stanley Kubrick):[Bathroom] Wendy hides from Jack in a bathroom during Jack’s ax attack.
  • When first released, the film had an alternate ending: after the shot of Jack’s body, the film dissolves to a scene of policemen outside the hotel. It then cuts to a scene in a hospital, where Wendy is resting in a bed and Danny is playing in a waiting room. Ullman arrives and tells her that they have been unable to locate her husband’s body anywhere on the property. On his way out, Ullman gives Danny a ball – the same one that mysteriously rolled into a hallway earlier in the film, before Danny was attacked in room 237. Ullman laughs and walks away and the film dissolves to the move through the corridors towards the photo. Stanley Kubrick had the scene removed a week after the film was released.
  • Danny croaks “Redrum” 43 times before his mother wakes up and Jack starts to break into the apartment.
  • There is only one on-screen murder in the film.
  • The scene where Jack is chasing Danny through the maze took over a month to shoot. During the shoot, crew-members often found themselves lost and had to walkie-talkie for assistance.
  • Alcohol consumption was a federal crime between 1919 and 1933. The year Jack appears to have photographed for the last scene (1921), and the year President Warren G. Harding (in the book) ordered a case of Coors Beer from the bar (1922) would have occurred during Prohibition.
  • Stephen King was reportedly disappointed in this film. In an interview in the June 1986 issue of American Film he said “It’s like a great big beautiful Cadillac with no motor inside, you can sit in it and you can enjoy the smell of the leather upholstery – the only thing you can’t do is drive it anywhere. So I would do everything different. The real problem is that Kubrick set out to make a horror picture with no apparent understanding of the genre. Everything about it screams that from beginning to end, from plot decisions to the final scene”. In particular, King disliked the casting of Jack Nicholson as Jack Torrance. This was because he felt that in the novel, it was pivotal that Jack is initially a good man who is slowly overcome by the forces of evil and who is fighting a losing battle against alcoholism. King was of the opinion that due to the casting of Nicholson, who was well known for playing unstable characters, Jack in the film is very much on the edge when the story begins, and the character does not possess the inner goodness so vital to Jack of the novel. King wanted to cast someone who could play the character as more genial in the early stages; apparently he was very keen on Jon Voight. He was also hugely disappointed that the themes of the evils of alcoholism and the disintegration of the family unit were relatively unimportant in the film due to his own battle with alcoholism and because of this personal investment in that aspect of the novel he was largely disheartened by the film.
  • In the novel, The Shining, Dick Hallorann survives (though Jack attacks him with a croquet mallet, not an axe), and he, Wendy, and Danny escape together.
  • In the novel, Wendy is first attacked by Jack with a croquet mallet; in the movie, she serves the first blow to Jack with a baseball bat. Even more ironically, he never strikes her at all throughout the entire film; he becomes violent and homicidal with only one other character.

Talking Points:

  • Still Scary?
  • The Soundtrack (Done by Wendy Carlos of Tron fame)
  • The horror of it being all in the mind and not a “typical” horror film – more scary?

What We Learned:

  • Some places are like people, some shine and some don’t.
  • All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: I’ve always appreciated this movie, and other Stanley Kubrick movies for it’s technical value. The acting was great, the cinematography was great but the problem I have with it is its pacing. I always feel a little bored when watching this movie. It’s a movie for your what you haven’t watched and should see list, but it’s not on my rewatch list.
Carlos: My siblings and I would watch this film every time it was on, which happened always to be on Saturdays right before midnight. It succeeds because it is a slow paced horror film – it is one about atmosphere and tension. The entire film builds to the end when the craziness happens. It is also a masterwork of imagery, not fancy complicated, but powerful images that stop you dead and work into you. Everyone who has ever seen The Shining is affected by it, and that’s impressive even 30+ years later.
Steve: I’ve always liked this movie, but not loved it. It’s probably just that I was waaay to young to understand it as a kid and today it just seems to drag along. However, I love just about anything Stephen King puts out there and when put together with an epic director like Stanley Kubrick I would expect nothing less than a classic. Innovative and truly scary because it’s “all in your mind”.

The Present: Looper
Rotten Tomatoes 94% Fresh; 90% Audience

Director: Rian Johnson

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt

Trivia:

  • This movie marks the third collaboration between director Rian Johnson and lead actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, the first being Brick, and the second being a quick cameo in The Brothers Bloom as a bar patron with guitar
  • Emily Blunt revealed that she agreed to star in the movie after reading half of the script. She didn’t even know what her character was.
  • The incredibly large “Gat” pistols are actual production firearms, and not just a prop created for the film. It is a Magnum Research BFR (Big Frame Revolver) chambered in .45-70 Government, a rifle round originally adopted by the U.S. military in 1873. The BFR weighs roughly 4.5 pounds.
  • Bruce Willis fires two modern-looking submachine guns in one scene. These are examples of the FN P90, designed and manufactured by FN Herstal in Belgium.
  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt had prosthetics to make him look more like Bruce Willis in order to play his younger self. He also watched a lot of Bruce Willis films in preparation for the role so that he could impersonate some of his mannerisms.
  • Numbers are never shown on clocks/watches throughout the movie. Either symbols or no numbers are used on the clock-faces.
  • According to director Rian Johnson, Noah Segan (Kid Blue) took a number of classes to learn how to spin his GAT gun around his finger. Johnson told Entertainment Weekly that he filmed numerous takes of Segan spinning the 8-lb gun, but ended up using the one take where he accidentally flubbed and nearly dropped it, because Johnson thought it was funny.
  • A diner was built in the small town of Thibodaux, LA (about an hour north of New Orleans) where all of the diner interior/exterior scenes were shot. Locals saw the diner set and kept asking the film crew on when the new diner was going to open. Director Rian Johnson was later told that the diner set was still standing after Hurricane Isaac moved through in September 2012.
  • The scene where Young Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) falls off the fire escape was filmed on the actor’s 30th birthday. Gordon-Levitt was left hanging on the stunt wires while the crew sang “Happy Birthday” and wheeled out birthday cake.

Talking Points:

  • Was it what you thought it would be?
  • There is always something scary about children with powers

Critic Notes:

  • Positives: Original and fresh; Clever dialogue; There is enough left unexplained that the viewer has to contribute his or her own interpretation; Interesting characters
  • Negatives: The time travel aspects were not well defined and just seemed to be affectations; Too many things going on just made it mind-numbing

What We Learned:

  • Time travel will be invented 30 years from now.
  • Time travel fries your brain like an egg.
  • In the future, don’t go to Paris – go to China.
  • Never let your target escape, even if it’s you.

Trailer:

Recommendations :
Jeff: I’m assuming this was awesome and when I do see it, I expect to love it.
Carlos: I was amazed. Having the time travel movie be a shell for an entirely different story was mind-bendingly brave. There were a few images/moments in this movie that made me squeal. The time travel isn’t deeply thought through because 1. it just makes your brain hurt and 2. it’s a way of telling this particular story. Rian Johnson is one of my favorite films, as Brick is like nothing you’ll ever see, but this movie really blew me away in how ballsy and interesting it becomes from about halfway in.
Steve: I didn’t really know what to expect going in, so I found the story and plot twists very interesting and different. Definitely an action and cerebral thriller in one, so it sucked me in. All in all, kudos for an original concept!

The Future: Red Dawn

Release: November 21, 2012

Director: Dan Bradley

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Isabel Lucas, Josh Hutcherson

Summary:

A town in Washington becomes the initial target of a foreign invasion. Under enemy occupation, the town’s citizens are taken prisoners. A group of young people, calling themselves ‘The Wolverines’ (after their high school mascot), band together in the surrounding woods. There, they train and organize themselves into a group of guerrilla fighters in order to liberate their town

Talking Points:

  • Necessary?
  • Significance of changing to North Koreans? (1984 was Russia, Cuba & Nicaragua)
  • Timing – we were not “at war” when the first came out so it was a gut check

Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: Good little modern take on a classic movie. In some sense I wish they would have called it something different or not make it a “remake”. Maybe mentioned the inspiration for it, but not really being a remake. Does that make any sense?
Carlos: Lost him!! 🙁
Steve: I always loved the original, so again this will be something from my childhood that’s being redone with a new spin. I’m going to give it the opportunity to be good, but I don’t think I’ll have the same visceral reaction I did when I was younger.

The Past: The Exorcist

The Present: Pitch Perfect

The Future: The Host (2013 – Saoirse Ronan)

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MOV116: “Allow It!”

Up on this Reel of COL: Movies we do a double take of alien Invasions! First up it’s back to the not so distant past to watch 2011’s Low Budget Sci-Fi thriller “Attack The Block” Then we Dubstep our way to present day Glenview Ohio to watch ….The Watch. Finally we look to the not so distant future to discuss our excitement for the upcoming Time Travelling mind bender of Looper. All this plus X-men and Prometheus Sequel news, plus a follow up on some hobbits taking a very unexpected journey.. all that plus more on Reel 116 “Allow It!”

News:

The Past: Attack The Block (2011)

Rotten Tomatoes: 90% Fresh; 74% Audience

Director: Joe Cornish

Staring: John Boyega, Jodie Whittaker, Alex Esmail , Leeon Jones, Nick Frost

Trivia:

  • The movie takes place on Guy Fawkes night, November 5th, which is traditionally celebrated with fireworks and bonfires in England
  • Writer/director Joe Cornish was inspired to make this film after actually being mugged in real-life one night (much in the same way Sam was as portrayed in the film). He noticed his five young assailants were as scared as he was, and started researching their lives.
  • Writer/director Joe Cornish grew up and lives in South London, where this film is set.
  • Members of the gang compare the film’s aliens to various fantastical creatures, all British in origin, namely: Dobby the house-elf from J.K. Rowling’s series of Harry Potter novels; Gollum from the works of J.R.R. Tolkien; and Gremlins, who while they are now best-known for the two American films by Joe Dante, were born out of the imagination of RAF fighter pilots during World War II, and were initially popularized by author Roald Dahl in his first novel.
  • In the scene where the meteorite breaks open, a female alien cocoon is revealed. Director, Joe Cornish has expressed his wishes of keeping this prop as a back garden decoration.
  • The areas and surrounding roads are named after well-known British science fiction authors: Wyndham Tower (John Wyndham); Moore Court (Alan Moore); Huxley Court (Aldous Huxley); Wells Court (H.G. Wells); Clarke Court (Arthur C. Clarke); Ballard Street (J.G. Ballard); Adams Street (Douglas Adams); Clayton Street and Clayton Estate (Jo Clayton); and Herbert Way (Frank Herbert). James Street may allude to horror writer M.R. James.
  • In this movie, Nick Frost still wears the long hair he grew for Paul.
  • Writer/director Joe Cornish has stated that watching Signs and imagining what would happen if it took place in south London was an inspiration for Attack the Block.
  • Franz Drameh, who plays Dennis, was originally under consideration for the role of Moses.
  • Most of the teenage actors were found through their schools and online open audition calls.
  • The film-makers only used CG effects when absolutely necessary, and to enhance practical effects for the creatures rather than replace them completely. Even the smaller female alien that appears before the credits was a petite woman in a creature suit. A puppet-type head was used for some of the attack shots wherein Moses is suddenly bitten. The creature’s head was a carefully constructed mask that had no eyes, and even the glowing mouthful of large, carnivorous teeth were achieved by animatronics (including twelve “servos”) rather than added in post. The film-makers admit that it did help save money, but also had an unexpected benefit. The actors, rather than reacting to something that wasn’t there, admitted that they were genuinely and unexpectedly frightened by the look and movements of creatures actually present (especially during chase sequences when a creature/creatures would pursue them at full speed). Nearly every actor said they felt especially intimidated– many surprisingly so– by the physical presence in a way they would not have if the creatures had been added digitally later. The same went for the majority of the settings; the director said it added authenticity and atmosphere to shoot on a set rather in front of a green screen.
  • Feature film debut of director Joe Cornish.
  • All the interiors were done on sets.
  • Only two suits were built for the aliens.
  • John Boyega found out about this film from an ad placed on-line.
  • This film was pretty much shot in chronological order.
  • The marijuana cigarettes several people smoke in this movie were actually made out of herbal tobacco.
  • The scene in which Alex Esmail throws fireworks underneath a police van took three takes to get right.
  • Writer/director Joe Cornish interviewed various kids in youth groups in order to find out what kind of weapons they would use if an alien invasion occurred.
  • The walkway chase set piece took ten days to shoot.
  • Simon Howard did his own stunt when his character Biggz jumps on top of a van.
  • The scene in which the police van smashes into the BMW was done in a single take.
  • The bulk of this film was shot in 67 days.
  • Writer/director Joe Cornish did in depth research on language to accurately convey the way South London street kids speak.
  • The mugging scene was filmed on the first day of shooting.
  • Joe Cornish based the character of Brewis on himself when he was in his 20s.
  • Film debut of Alex Esmail.
  • Writer/director Joe Cornish had to remove fifteen pages of the script prior to the shooting of the film because of budgetary constraints.

Talking Points:

  • Did you find them hard to understand?
  • The Use of Practical Effects
  • The use of regular kids vs actors
  • The social satire

Critic Notes

  • Positives: brings wit, energy, cheeky insolence to the alien invasion genre; full of surprises; imaginative social satire; fans of British Sci-Fi and pop culture shouldn’t miss it; a good example of an indie film that tries to get a point across without taking itself too seriously; a decent younger sibling to “Shaun of the Dead” (same producers)
  • Negatives: Thin characters, weak dialogue, confusing ending; the heros are uninspiring; the monsters just aren’t great

What We Learned:

  • There is no FBI in England
  • Rockets go up before they come down
  • The proper pronunciation is Tesssticleeeeeeease
  • No one will call you Mayhem if your a pussy.

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: This is a mediocre movie, leaning towards good. The acting wasn’t so great, but still felt very British Sci-Fi TV. Which has it’s own charm. I think it’s definitely worth seeing once but not everyone is going to like this. I had a good time watching it.
Ray: Allow It. enjoy this film immensely although I am not intimidated as much by the strong urban south London accents. I think it’s a fun creature flick. I especially liked the believability of the kids they were not cringe worthy at all. Definitely worth a watch..If your having a hard time with the accent turn on the subtitles.
Steve: I thought it was cute, although I probably didn’t get some things because of cultural references. Films like this are funny to me because I always wonder what would happen if every day people got confronted by crazy situations like this – not cops, military, or survivalists…just every day kids.

The Present: The Watch

Rotten Tomatoes: 16% Rotten; 70% Audience

Director: Akiva Scaffer

Starring: Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill, Richard Ayode

Trivia:

  • David Dobkin was originally going to direct with Will Ferrell in the leading role, but the duo fell out in summer 2009.
  • Chris Tucker was considered for the role of Jamarcus.
  • The movie was originally titled “Neighborhood Watch”, but was changed due to sensitivity over the Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida.

Talking Points:

  • Phoning It in?

Critic Notes

  • Positives: It may not be all funny, but there are some memorable moments and it is a fun comedic “adventure” comedy with the boys; perfect for a boys night out; it’s just amusing, that’s all
  • Negatives: Lazy, predictable, and full of “penis” humor; uninspired, it’s just one long Costco joke that gets old; comes off as a long, annoying SNL sketch that doesn’t know when to stop

What We Learned:

  • It takes a couple of hours to put up police tape properly
  • Laughter is a common expression of grief
  • Doo-Wop Groups were all about closing ass
  • Death makes you ineligible for a Nickelodeon Kids Choice Award
  • Costco truly does have everything you need under one roof
  • Alien blood feels like cum

Trailer:

Recommendations :
Jeff: In general, I hate you Ray. However, the ending 10-15 minutes were okay and somewhat interesting. I still hate you, Ray. Stay away, folks.
Ray: I so wanted this to be good if only so more people could get to know Richard Ayode who was basically the archetype for Sheldon Cooper.. Unfortunately with the script and direction he was given his performance was the only thing even passing for mediocre in this mess. Unless you enjoy watching a train wreck, stay away or wait for it to come to netflix.. Watch Richard Ayode in The IT Crowd instead.
Steve: The mostly improvisational (or at least seemed so) dialogue was trite and most of the characters were very surface and annoying. However, I have to admit that I enjoyed it overall. Maybe I was just having a bad week and needed to laugh, but I didn’t hate it. Just be prepared for something just slightly above toilet and drug humor.

The Future: Looper

Release: September 28, 2012

Director: Rian Johnson

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt

Summary:

In the year 2042, a man working for a group of killers called “Loopers” (they work for the mob and kill people who are sent blindfolded back in time from the year 2072 by their bosses) recognizes a victim as himself. He hesitates resulting in the escape of his older self.

Talking Points:

  • A unique spin on the ol’ time travel plot device

Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: It wasn’t until some of the later trailers that I finally got into the mindset that this looks like a freaking awesome movie. Of course, it’s also a Bruce Willis movie, outside of The Expendables, I’ll see him in anything.
Ray: When I realized the somewhat unique premise of this film I got excited. It’s always interesting to see how smart particular writers are at explaining away temporal mechanics. I’m definitely excited to see it.
Steve: Interested in seeing what twists are going to be thrown in, but honestly not something I would personally run out and see on my own.

The Past:

The Present:

The Future:

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

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

News:

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

Director: Robert Zemeckis

Starring: Meryl Streep, Bruce Willis, Goldie Hawn

Trivia:

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

Talking Points:

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

Critic Notes

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

What We Learned:

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

Trailer:

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

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

Director: Tim Burton

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

Trivia:

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

Talking Points:

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

Critic Notes:

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

What We Learned:

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

Trailer:

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

The Future: Resident Evil: Retribution

Release: September 14, 2012

Director: Paul W.S. Anderson

Starring: Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory, Michelle Rodriguez

Summary:

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

Talking Points

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

Trailer:

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

The Past:

The Present:

The Future:

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MOV102: “All Mouth, No Trousers”

In this thriller-based installment of COL Movies, the boys don their creepy masks to stare in on 2008’s “The Strangers”.  From there, they launch into orbit with Guy Pearce as he attempts to save a damsel in distress stuck on a space prison in “Lockout”.  Finally, they try to decipher the reason there are so many damn trailers for the upcoming “GI Joe: Retaliation”.  All this, more about “Prometheus” and cell phone use in theaters, as well as some fun tidbits regarding some sequels you might be looking forward to.  It’s the 102nd reel of COL Movies – “All Mouth, No Trousers”

News:

  • The “Don’t Talk” Tradition – Tim League

  • Tim League Responds to the Don’t Talk PSA Craziness

The Past: The Strangers (2008)
Rotten Tomatoes: 45% Rotten, 48% Audience

Director: Bryan Bertino

Starring: Scott Speedman, Liv Tyler and Gemma Ward

Trivia:

  • it is based on “true events” – but not the ones you’d think. It’s based on the director’s memory of a knock at the door and someone asking for someone who wasn’t there. The rest of the film is artistic license, and the director is said to have been impressed with the amount of internet folklore building up about the “truth” of the murders.
  • Originally scheduled for release in summer 2007. After 2 delays, it was released May 30, 2008.
  • In one scene, Merle Haggard’s “Mama Tried” plays loudly on the record player. His band was “The Strangers.”
  • Mark Romanek was originally slated to direct the film.
  • Many theaters across the United States were sent faulty reels of the movie, containing sound problems, which made a few minutes to several scenes of the movie filled with nothing but static. Most movie-watchers didn’t even realize the sound was a problem, since the dark overtone and loud background music at some areas make the static seem like part of the movie.
  • Liv Tyler suffered from tonsillitis during shooting.
  • The script was originally titled “The Faces.”
  • Arguably based on the 1981 Keddie Resort murders in northern California, although this has not been substantiated by anyone connected with the movie, with the writer claiming it is based on a childhood experience.
  • The film was shot entirely with hand-held cameras or steady cams. Every shot has some camera movement.
  • According to Liv Tyler, the finale had much more interaction and dialog between the victims and the villains in the original script. It was cut to keep the intruders mysterious and eerie.
  • Bryan Bertino said the film was inspired by the infamous Manson murders.
  • According to director Bryan Bertino the film is partially based on an incident he experienced as a child. One evening, a stranger came to his door, asked for someone who wasn’t there, and left. Later, Bertino found out that other homes in his neighborhood had been broken into that night.
  • The song “Mama Tried”, which is heard several times during the film, is a 1968 hit by Merle Haggard and the Strangers.
  • Bryan Bertino said that at the end sequence there was more talking from the three strangers, but it was cut to make them more mysterious.
  • Shot in chronological order.
  • The exterior shots of the house were filmed at an actual farm house. The film makers were surprised to discover the property had a barn, garage, a forest and a long enough road.
  • The film makers tried to design the house as one that “your brother could have lived in, that you could have grown up in” in order to make the audience feel more attached to the film.
  • The movie was not shot inside of an actual house, the interior of the home was built on a sound stage.
  • During filming, in order to get an actual reaction from Liv Tyler, Bryan Bertino would tell her where to expect a loud bang from, but would then have the loud noise come from a completely different direction.
  • Before filming any scene after The Strangers begin terrorizing the couple, Liv Tyler would have to run laps, do jumping jacks, and other physical activities to get her out of breath. This was so she would have the panicky feeling the real life characters would have been experiencing.
  • The car crash sequence was filmed in three takes.
  • To make it look like he had actually been shot at point blank range, ‘Glenn Howarton’ had to ​sit in the makeup chair for three hours.
  • There were two special prosthetic makeups for Glenn Howerton. One of them was for fresh kill, when he was shot in the face by Scott Speedman, and the other was for 1 hour after death prosthetics.

Talking Points:

  • “inspired” by true events
  • “Because you were home”
  • did you watch this a little differently after seeing cabin in the woods?
  • The importance of sound in a “Scary” movie
  • Critic statements to ponder – “just another home invasion movie” and “torture porn”

What We Learned:

  • Always best to have a backup plan just in case she says NO!
  • unexpected knocks on the door at 4am are never good.
  • When arriving on a suspicious scene when someone has thrown an object through your windshield.. immediately call the cops and leave.. don’t go IN THE HOUSE.
  • Dick Cheney says, try not to shoot your friends in the face!

Trailer

Recommendations:
Jeff: This movie is one big horror trope, quiet and dark. Sure stirred up the fear in me like it should but really didn’t have the screaming payoff that I’d want from a horror movie. It’s terrible. Skip it.
Ray:Ok, for the most part, I loved this. Is it perfect? No. It suffers from some of the faults of all scary movies, otherwise rational people making dumb decisions that put them in danger…but because the rest of this movie is so well executed. I do not hesitate to recommend it. I spent the first 40 minutes fighting goosebumps. Watch it! Preferably in the dark, and by yourself or with one good friend to grab on to.
Steve: Love this movie! It’s the kind of “OMG…what is that in the background?”, “Don’t open the curtain!”, “What the hell are you doing?”, kind of movie that makes you want to yell at the screen. Even I have to look through my fingers at times or slightly look away because I’m anticipating what’s going to happen. What I love though…I they throw in some surprises along the way that throw me off. I like! It’s almost like you’re watching a “true crime documentary” versus a feature film…so screw character development, critics!

The Present: Lockout

Rotten Tomatoes: 35% Rotten ; 46% Audience

Director: James Mather, Stephen St. Leger

Starring: Guy Pearce, Maggie Grace and Peter Stormare

Trivia:

  • The main antagonist brothers are named Alex and Hydell. Alek Hidell was an alias used by Lee Harvey Oswald.
  • Snow remarks, “Contrary to popular belief, I’m not actually Houdini”. Guy Pearce played Harry Houdini in Death Defying Acts.
  • WILHELM SCREAM: The inmate who trips and falls right after coming out of stasis.
  • Luc Besson produced the film. Besson also co-wrote the script with James Mather and Stephen St. Leger. Leger directed the film.
  • Much of the filming utilized Green screens, rather than practical sets
  • The intended scenes were storyboarded in Dublin, Ireland to aid the actors in visualizing how the green screen scenes would appear after the completion of the CGI in post-production.
  • Principal photography took place in Belgrade, Serbia.

Talking Points:

  • American prison with lots of Irish people in it? (were the accents Irish though?)
  • Are you happy or pissed at Luc Besson?
  • How many Razzies are we talking for this one?
  • Halo jumping from orbit? Really?
  • Warning: Offensive T-shirt
  • Critics: Overall, entertaining, yet majorly flawed. Especially outlandish, cliche’, unappealing characters – saw no particularly positive or extremely negative reviews. Just “eh”.
  • Anyone notice the “Irish Producer” credit?

What We Learned:

  • When they say no guns in the prison, they mean no guns in the prison – idiot!
  • Creepy Irish convicts are way scarier than other convicts.
  • Be specific when you ask the prisoners to release a wounded female hostage.
  • If you work on a space prison, make sure you can crack the door in less than 2 minutes, or at least be prepared to be honest and witty about it.
  • Cryogenic freezing is not good for the brain. So freezing people who are already wacko is probably not the best method of rehabilitation.
  • The first family is more important than anyone else.
  • Fuck you is actually a proper Asian name.
  • Coffee and Motor oil make for an excellent hair dye
  • If a locked door won’t open, smash the controls. If a open door won’t lock, smash the controls.
  • Blow up the space prison. It would have saved us all some time.

Trailer:

Recommendations :
Jeff: Wow, what an incredibly mediocre movie. It was an okay watch if you want to see it. I’d wait for Netflix streaming though. It’s just a fun, dumb movie. At least it wasn’t bad.
Ray: I felt like it was trying soooo hard, but failing sooo miserably. I felt like I was watching all the full motion cut-scenes for an early 90’s video game on CD-Rom…
Steve: A big ol cheese plate. Tasty, but it will leave you constipated. Almost like wanting to get on a really awesome roller coaster, but you have to settle for one of those 3D rides where you strap in and stay put while the character on the screen leads you through something as the floor moves. The ​action was cool, but dialogue and story were just dumb. Put it on mute and enjoy!

The Future: GI Joe: Retaliation

Release: June 29, 2012

Director: Jon M. Chu

Starring: Dwayne Johnson, Channing Tatum, Adrienne Palicki, Bruce Willis

Summary:

The film will feature the G.I. Joe Team coming into a conflict with Zartan, Storm Shadow and Firefly, all serving under the newly released Cobra Commander. Zartan (who is last seen in disguise as the President of the United States) manipulates the U.S. Government and frames all G.I. Joe operatives as traitors, exterminating most of them and leaving a small group of survivors, the last of the G.I. Joe team, which includes Roadblock, Flint, Lady Jaye and Snake Eyes. Zartan and the Commander now have all the world leaders under Cobra’s control, with warheads aimed at innocent populaces around the world. Badly beaten, outnumbered and outgunned, the Joes make a desperate plan to overthrow Cobra Commander and take back the world, with their secret black operation called the “Second American Revolution”, which involves the original G.I. Joe General Joseph Colton

Talking Points

  • What are you expecting?
  • Tons of trailers out there…even more than we’re sharing. What’s that about?
  • From what you’re seeing, does this seem to entice you more than the first movie?
  • Going with the storylines? (original GI Joe, Renegades, Comics?)

Trailers (3 total):

Trailer #1:

Trailer #2:

International Trailer:


Excitement:
Jeff: This is going to be some explodey, ninja-y, fighty fun. I’m for it. Is it going to be good. Maybe not.
Ray:Based on trailer alone, I will say that I am somewhat excited to see this. But I’m having a hard time rationalizing that after suffering through the first movie.
Steve: I may have to look at some comics before seeing this because seeing some of the characters from the trailer, I’m not sure where they are going. However, looks like it will be cheeky, but not slapstick like the first one came off. Seems to me like they are putting more into the action – which is what we all want to see out of a GI Joe live action movie!

The Past:

The Present:

The Future:

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