MOV093: “Comparative Exponential Religiosity”

Steven is on hiatus and in the meantime he gives us a Nicolas Cage Spectacular. We start back in time with 2006’s “Ghost Rider.” You know that sounds like a movie that’s out. Oh, yeah, there’s the “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengence” movie. Does either movie have a ghost of a chance to sway Jeff and Ray, or will they just through it back into the pits of hell where it came from? Lastly we take a look at the Futures Past with “Seeking Justice”, a Nicolas Cage movie already released in Europe. This, news featureing Sacha Baron Cohen, The Weinstiens, and Magneto, and even more super hero talk on this the 93rd Reel of COL Movies, “Comparative Exponential Religiosity”

News:

The Past: Ghost Rider
Rotten Tomatoes: 27% Rotten , 56% Audience

Director: Mark Steven Johnson

Starring: Nicholas Cage, Eva Mendes, Wes Bently, Peter Fonda, Sam Elliot

Trivia:

  • Jon Voight was attached to the project at one point, but dropped out.
  • Nicolas Cage had to have his Ghost Rider tattoo covered with make-up to play Johnny Blaze.
  • A large group of on-lookers converged on a bridge in Melbourne to watch scenes being filmed in a nearby location. Over four days of filming at that location, the crowds grew so large they disrupted traffic, and public transport operators reported an unusual jump in passenger traffic to the area.
  • Some scenes were filmed near Flinders St Station, Melbourne’s busiest railway station in. Parts of the station were closed for filming, and some train schedules were changed.
  • Nicolas Cage’s hairpiece required three hours to apply every day.
  • The head-on shot showing Johnny Blaze crashing his motorcycle on landing after jumping a long line of trucks is identical to the famous shot of Evel Knievel’s crash after a spectacular jump at Caesar’s Palace on December 31, 1967.
  • Continuing a trend in Marvel Comics adaptations, this film features foes imported from other series. Blackheart debuted in Daredevil; Mephisto in the Silver Surfer.
  • Nicolas Cage’s computer generated skull was made from a three dimensional x-ray taken of his actual skull.
  • One of the bridges being used in Melbourne was months away from completion, so the studio paid to add tar, lines, and lights to the highway for filming. Afterward the work was ripped up and redone to meet Australian safety standards.
  • The shotgun used in the movie is a Model 1887 Winchester lever-action shotgun.
  • Nicolas Cage wrote sections of the script.
  • When Johnny Blaze and Carter Slade ride together to San Venganza, one shot shows Blaze riding in the foreground with Slade just behind him, and slightly off to the side, so both can be clearly seen. This scene pays homage to “Ghost Rider”, a painting by the late David Mann, that has nothing to do with the Marvel character.
  • After Blackheart absorbs the souls of the damned at San Venganza, he says, “My name is Legion, for we are many.” In the Bible, a man possessed by demons says the same thing before Jesus cures him (Mark 5:9).
  • The Johnny Blaze video game in the movie is actually a game called “Crusty Demons” (2006) developed by UK games company Climax Studios. The plot is somewhat similar to the plot of Ghost Rider. A group of hard-riding extreme bikers are killed while performing an insane stunt. Satan offers to resurrect them and make them immortal if they use their motorcycle skills to do Satan’s work. Climax Studios also developed Ghost Rider.
  • The Caretaker/Carter Slade Ghost Rider character is a tribute to the original Marvel Comics Ghost Rider, now called The Phantom Rider to avoid confusion. However, the character in the comics is a regular human who wears a white costume and rides a white painted horse, both covered with phosphorous for a glowing effect.
  • Director Mark Steven Johnson actually put forward his own money to make an action sequence in which Ghost Rider battles a helicopter.
  • When Johnny and Mack are on the tour bus and Mack is watching TV, the motorcycle rider shown is Travis Pastrana.
  • Originally planned for a summer 2006 release. Director Mark Steven Johnson asked for more time to complete more action shots, including the helicopter battle scene.
  • During the shoot, Nicolas Cage was the guest of Ferrari at the Australian Grand Prix race.
  • Sent to theaters under the name “Costly Pact”.
  • To create the Ghost Rider’s voice, sound designer Dane A. Davis recorded all of Nicolas Cage’s lines as the Ghost Rider, and then filtered them through three different kinds of animal growls (played backwards, covering three separate frequencies), then played them through a mechanical volumizer, before finally giving them a fiery crackle. Director Mark Steven Johnson compared it to “a deep, demonic, mechanical lion’s roar” and said “one thing is for sure, his voice will shake the theatre!”
  • Johnny Depp was interested in playing the title role. Eric Bana was also in heavy contention for the title role.
  • Barton Blaze calls Johnny “Hot Shot” in the first sequence. The French subtitle translates this nickname as “tête brûlée” – literally “Burned Head”.
  • One of the few Marvel Comic-based movies that Stan Lee does not appear in. He had absolutely no involvement in the creation of the original Ghost Rider.
  • Nicolas Cage is an avid fan of the Marvel comic, and lobbied furiously to play the part of Ghost Rider.
  • Nicolas Cage is an avid comics fan; he took his stage surname, Cage, from character Luke Cage. His son is named “Kal-El”, Superman’s Kryptonian name. He was previously considered to play Green Gobin in Spider-Man, and Superman in Tim Burton’s aborted film project, but Ghost Rider is Cage’s first role based on a comics character.
  • As the helicopters appear at Johnny Blaze’s stunt, Richard Wagner musical score “Ride of the Valkyries” can be heard playing. This is a reference to the war film Apocalypse Now, which was directed by Nicolas Cage’s uncle Francis Ford Coppola and had a scene with helicopters flying to that music.

The trivia items below may give away important plot points.

  • At the time of filming, the world record distance for a motorcycle jump was 277.5 feet, set by Trigger Gumm in May, 2005. On Dec. 31, 2007, Robbie Madison essentially performed Johnny Blaze’s “Goalpost-to-Goalpost” motorcycle jump in Las Vegas, setting a new world record distance of 322.625 feet.
  • Near the end of the film, Johnny tells Mephistopheles that he will be a “spirit of vengeance.” The plot of the movie centers around a cursed town called San Venganza, which can loosely translate as just that: “Spirit of Vengeance” (literally, Saint Vengeance).

Talking Points:

  • Too Campy?
  • Modern Western

What We’ve Learned:

  • The west was built on legends
  • You Can’t Live in Fear

Trailer
:

Recommendations:
Jeff: This was a fun comic book popcorn movie. It’s also a Nicolas Cage movie so I didn’t expect much from it. I think this is a streamer . . . if it ever gets on Netflix or Amazon Unlimited. Okay to pay the $3 rental from Amazon too, but only if you’re really intending to watch it.
Ray: This movie really inspired me to want to try to light my own head on fire..especially while watching it.

The Present:Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
Rotten Tomatoes: 14% Rotten; 41% Audience

Director: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor

Starring: Nicholas Cage, Violante Placiado, Ciaran Hinds, Idris Elba

Trivia:

  • Eva Mendes turned down the option to reprise her role.
  • The Ghost Rider’s skull has been redesigned for this sequel. The new skull appears to be black and charred, indicating that the skull is actually on fire as opposed to the clean fleshless skull simply cloaked in fire in the previous film.
  • Not screened in advance for critics.
  • The flashing image of the “devil” is Jerry Springer.

Talking Points:

  • The Directors.. Camera Work.. Trailer.
  • What the hell is with this series and picking the WORST looking bad guys EVER.

What We Learned:

  • There are some demons (and movies) you just can’t escape.
  • Jerry Springer is the Devil
  • Wear Your Seatbelt.
  • Twinkies are immune from any form of decay

Trailer:

Recommendations :
Jeff: Interesting . . . Okay, more reason to just go ahead and pay to rent the first one. Something to watch instead of this. I didn’t think it was god awful, just not worth my time.
Ray: To steal one of the awful one liners from the movie….. So… That Happened. Even if you LOVED the first one..and god help you if you did.. I would say avoid avoid avoid at all costs.

The Future: Seeking Justice

Release: March 16, 2012

Director: Rodger Donaldson

Starring: Nicholas Cage, January Jones, Guy Pearce

Summary:

After his wife is assaulted, a husband enlists the services of a vigilante group to help him settle the score. Then he discovers they want a ‘favor’ from him in return.

Trivia:

  • Formerly called “The Hungry Rabbit Jumps”
  • Released last year overseas.

Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: Hey, it’s another “deal with the devil movie” I think we have more of a theme to this reel. However, nothing in this trailer makes me want to see it.
Ray: This is not a new story, but the trailer at least looks interesting. I’m not jumping into the theater to see it but I’d definitely rent it

Final Thoughts

Coming Attractions

The Past:

The Present:

The Future:

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MOV087: “Even The Nazis Think This Guy Is Nuckin’ Futs.”

It’s a horror-filled week in January in this reel of COL Movies, where the boys kinda head back in time to see the uniquely released Kevin Smith film, “Red State”. In theaters, they head out to see if the Catholic church will have a spasm about the exorcism movie, “The Devil Inside”. In trailer-world, they check out Daniel Radcliffe’s post-Harry Potter haunted house remake of 1989’s “The Woman In Black”. In movie news, we talk more news about Kevin Smith, the potential sequel to Avatar, as well as the crappy plot to Resident Evil 5. It’s the 87th reel of COL Movies…”Even the Nazis Think This Guy Is Nuckin’ Futs!”

News:

The Past: Red State (2011)
Rotten Tomatoes: 58% Rotten, 58% Audience

Director: Kevin Smith

Starring: Michael Parks, Melissa Leo, John Goodman

Trivia:

  • The first draft of the script was dated 9/5/07.
  • Kevin Smith wrote the script around the same time he was writing Zack and Miri Make a Porno and presented them both to the Weinstein brothers. They immediately gave the green light to Zack and Miri Make a Porno, but declined on Red State fearing its story was too bleak to attract an audience. Had they green lit, Red State would’ve been shot back to back with Zack and Miri.
  • Kevin Smith wrote the role of Abin Cooper for Michael Parks after seeing his performance in From Dusk Till Dawn. Smith has said that if Parks had not agreed to be in the film, he would have dropped the project entirely.
  • Kevin Smith’s lowest budget film since Chasing Amy.
  • A first for writer/director Kevin Smith, he has stated this film is a strict non-comedy saying, “It’s a nasty-ass $4mil horror flick with few (if any) redeeming characters.”
  • This is the first feature Kevin Smith and his cinematographer David Klein shot using the all-digital Red camera.
  • Shot over a period of 25 days, using the all-digital Red camera system, director and editor Kevin Smith could edit the footage the day he shot it. Because of this between shooting scenes Smith would be editing almost non-stop. As a result, a mere 2 days after the last shot was done, Smith was able to show a fine-cut of the film to the entire cast and crew at the wrap party.
  • Kevin Smith had originally wanted to shoot the film on location in a real Red State around middle America. However, due to budget constraints he ended up shooting it all just outside Los Angeles.
  • The budget for the special effects department was $5000.
  • Samuel L. Jackson was considered for the role that eventually went to John Goodman.
  • The Westboro Baptist Church planned to protest Red State at its premier at the Sundance Film Festival. Kevin Smith in turn planned a counter protest which he and his fans took part in. At the premiere the counter-protesters heavily outweighed the handful of Westboro protesters who showed up. This occurred 12 years after Smith’s first film to tackle religious controversy, Dogma, drew protests from certain sects of the Catholic Church, one of which Smith jokingly took part in himself.
  • Little did Kevin Smith know Michael Parks was actually a country singer early in his career who sang with the likes of Johnny Cash. Many of the country-gospel songs sung in the film were suggested by Parks during filming. Later after the film was completed Parks re-recorded the songs onto an album.
  • There is no score for this film. The entire soundtrack consists of songs sung within the film itself.
  • At the premier of the film at the Sundance film festival, Kevin Smith said he would “pick the distributor ‘auction style'” immediately following the screening. After the screening he then pulled producer John Gordon on stage to conduct the auction. Smith then bid $20 for distribution rights and Gordon immediately sold it to him. Smith revealed it was his plan all along to self-distribute the film himself.
  • Canon 7D’s were used as B-cameras.
  • Released on tour in March 2011, Kevin Smith invited the WBC and specifically Megan Phelps-Roper over Twitter to attend the Kansas City screening and Q&A. Megan and around 15 other members of WBC attended the screening and some brought their young children along. Smith warned the family that the film’s content was for a mature audience and not suitable for children, but was promptly told off by the church members. Less than 20 minutes into the screening, the entire WBC audience attending the event walked out, outraged by the film’s content. Megan called the film “filth” and “a vulgar piece of tacky melodrama.”
  • After a screening of the film in Kansas City, Kevin Smith interviewed two life long Westboro Baptist Church members (Shirley Phelps niece and son) who had defected a few years prior. They both enjoyed the film and even complimented Smith on how realistic certain aspects of religious fanaticism are depicted.
  • The whole film was shot in sequence.
  • Casting director Deborah Aquila was moved to tears whilst listening to Kyle Gallner’s performance during the cage scene.
  • During filming Kyle Gallner suffered a panic attack whilst being tied to a cross, which the crew were unaware of at first, thinking he was still acting.
  • Kevin Smith stated on his podcast Hollywood Babble-On 55 that the name Abin Cooper comes from the Green Lantern character Abin Sur and a character from indie film The Reflecting Skin.
  • Kevin Smith has an quick off-camera cameo at the end of the film, as a prison inmate, yelling the last line in the film.
  • During filming Nicholas Braun suffered a concussion; when the CO2 squib fired, he fell back and the pressure from the squib knocked a box off a shelf and onto his head. According to Kevin Smith, when he showed up at the emergency room escorting Braun, the actor was still wearing a prosthetic gunshot wound on his forehead, sending the E.R. staff into a frenzy.
  • In the sequence outside the compound when Agent Keenan (John Goodman) yells at Sheriff Wynan (Stephen Root) to go back into his car, Root’s subsequent stumble and fall was unscripted. Root admitted that he was genuinely startled by Goodman’s performance, and was happy to have Smith keep the footage in the film.
  • Due to the limited budget, a number of the smaller characters were played by family members and friends of cast and crew. One of the youngest believers was played by Ivy Klein, daughter of the film’s cinematographer David Klein. Ivy was carefully prepped for the scene in which Cheyenne (‘Kerry Bishe’) tells the three young girls to go hide in the attic. However when it came time to shoot the scene, Ivy actually got scared and started screaming, which was not in the script. Smith got her parents’ approval to use the footage in the movie. Smith felt terrible for scaring Ivy, and offered her father some money to take Ivy to a toy store. Her father replied, “Add it to the pile”, as other cast/crew members had felt the same. According to Smith, the next time that Ivy saw Kerry was two days later at the Craft Services area. Ivy got a scared look on her face and said, “You’re not going to act again are you?”
  • Smith originally planned to have the first “prisoner” executed with a goat’s head on top of his own. The special effects director told him that he might be thinking of a ram’s head, because a goat is actually very small. Smith found out shortly thereafter that the ram’s head would cost $5,000 – his entire budget – and scrapped the entire idea. He came up with the plastic wrap and top-down shot because he thought it would contain the most “blood” and therefore not require much cleanup between takes.
  • Smith has said that there are ten “Easter Eggs” (hidden jokes or surprises) in the film. He plans to only discuss each one as they are discovered by fans. The first is that Sheriff Wynan “enters and exits the film with a shot to the face.”

Talking Points:

  • Horror?
  • Does it come across as a Kevin Smith movie?

What We’ve Learned:

  • Love thy neighbor
  • People just do the strangest things when they believe they’re entitled. But they do even stranger things when they just plain believe.
  • Crosses can be bought in dollars or common sense.
  • Be careful meeting someone in a trailer at night.
  • Teenagers can be really stupid.
  • The Feds fabricate things? That’s shocking!
  • Craigslist is Craigslist for people who want to get fucked.
  • When parents block porn sites, they make socially awkward kids

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: The acting was great, the shooting was great, the directing was great, the editing was great, the sound was great. With that being said, this movie was very . . . whelming.
Ray: Ultimately a disappointment for me.. Strong start, awful finish. I had high hopes for this one, that ultimately didn’t pan out. I guess it’s worth a rent, but don’t expect it to do anything unexpected.
Steve: Thoroughly enjoyed! Not exactly what I thought it was going to be, but I definitely thought the acting was amazing and the characters were extremely memorable. Lots of good ol’ shoot’em up action, too!

The Present: The Devil Inside
Rotten Tomatoes: 6% Rotten, 25% Audience

Director: William Brent Bell

Starring: Fernanda Andrade, Simon Quarterman, Evan Helmuth

Trivia:

  • The film was shot in 2010 in several different locations, including Bucharest (Romania), Rome (Italy) and Vatican City.
  • It is in the genre of “found footage” and so is a movie of a fictional story that tries to give the impression that it actually occurred
  • Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Steven Schneider brought the movie to Paramount Pictures, and their low-budget branch, Paramount Insurge acquired the film for the first release from that low-budget branch, hoping it would be its next Paranormal Activity.

Talking Points:

  • I want to apologize…I didn’t know it was found footage (Steve)
  • Found footage…has it officially jumped the shark yet?
  • The Ending.

What We Learned:

  • Science can’t explain everything…
  • When it’s a real possession .. you will know.
  • Different accents are like speaking in tongues.
  • The Church isn’t in the business of healing people.
  • Better restraints? yeah that might be a GOOD idea.
  • Stressed out? Drown an infant.
  • Possessed people need to be in the trunk.

Trailer:

Recommendations :
Jeff: Meh, had a couple of nice startling surprises. David was quite nice to look at. A little disappointed he blew his brains out. You know, I’m starting to get annoyed with these movies that have a tragic ending. I was hoping at least Ben would have survived and defeated the Devil.
Ray: I am officially over found footage films.. the Vatican doesn’t endorse film’s about exorcism.. with this one I can see why.
Steve: I am sorry about this one. While I liked the look of it and the scares, even I wasn’t impressed with it. Predictable, found footage, multiple possessions, and a crappy ending. All in a less than a hour and a half movie. I give.

The Future: The Woman In Black

Release: February 3, 2012

Director: James Watkins

Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Janet McTeer, Ciarán Hinds

Summary:

A young lawyer travels to a remote village where he discovers the vengeful ghost of a scorned woman is terrorizing the locals.

Trivia:

  • Mark Gatiss was asked to write the screenplay.
  • Adrian Rawlins –who played Daniel Radcliffe’s father in the Harry Potter series– played the same character in the 1989 version as Radcliffe plays in this film.

Talking Points:

  • onnnneeee twoooooo freddieees comming fooor.. oh wait wrong movie!

Trailers:

Excitement:
Jeff: It’s another haunting movie. Would be nice to see Daniel Radcliffe in something non-Harry Potter, but I don’t think this is it.
Ray: Trailer has me somewhat interested..only because I feel there might be an actual story to engage you. I could care less about Daniel, but I’m sure he will be a draw for some.
Steve: The story doesn’t seem new, but the environment set by the trailer really draws me in. I’ll see it!

Coming Attractions

The Past

The Present

The Future

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MOV084: “It’s So Overt, It’s Covert!”

This reel of COL Movies starts off with walk down memory lane with that “don’t stick your tongue on the frozen flag pole” and “you’ll shoot your eye out” film, “A Christmas Story”. After surviving the holidays, the boys head to the theater to see if Robert Downey Jr and Jude Law retain their magic in “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows”. From there, they check out the trailer for the 2nd installment of the “Ghost Rider” franchise. Do we think we’ll get more out of Nick Cage in this movie? That’s still to be determined. In news, they discuss a prison sentence for pirating X-Men, Daniel Craig’s potential monopoly on the Bond franchise, and details on the BluRay for Jaws? It’s the 84th reel of COL Movies…”It’s so overt, it’s covert”

News:

The Past: A Christmas Story (1983)
Rotten Tomatoes: 89% Fresh, 82% Audience

Director: Bob Clark

Starring: Melinda Dillon, Darren McGavin, Scott Schwartz, Peter Billingsly, Jean Shepherd (Voice)

Trivia:

  • To find an American city resembling an Indiana town of the 1940s, director Bob Clark sent his location scouts to twenty cities before selecting Cleveland, Ohio, as the site for filming.
  • The people of Cleveland were incredibly cooperative during filming, donating antique vehicles from every corner of the city. These vintage vehicles helped to enhance the authenticity of the production design.
  • Ralph’s school exteriors were filmed at Victoria School in St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada.
  • Singer/Songwriter Pepper McGowan was an extra during the mall scene.
  • Jean Shepherd’s book “In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash”, which the film is partly based on, is a collection of short stories that Jean Shepherd wrote for “Playboy” magazine during the 1960s, including the stories about the tongue sticking to the flagpole, and eating Christmas dinner at a Chinese restaurant. The subplot of the mangy dogs constantly harassing The Old Man was taken from another of Mr. Shepherd’s short story collections, “Wanda Hickey’s Night Of Golden Memories and Other Disasters.” In that book, the character of Ralph is about 17 years old.
  • The film’s setting is a town in Indiana, but was actually filmed in Cleveland, Ohio. The street the “Parker’s” live in is called “Cleveland Street”.
  • The movie was set in Hammond Indiana. References were made throughout the film to support this claim. Examples: Harding school (on 165th St.) where Flick stuck his tongue to the flagpole, Goldblatt’s department store, the mention of Griffith (a city that borders Hammond), Cleveland Street, Hohman Ave, and other streets that are located in Hammond. Although the movie was not filmed in Hammond the houses and look of the film is very authentic. Jean Shepherd (Writer) grew up in Hammond.
  • Parts of the movie, including the Christmas tree shopping scene, were filmed in Toronto, Ontario. One of Toronto’s trademark red trolleys can be seen driving by the shot of the outside of the tree lot.
  • The St. Catharine’s Museum owns some props used in the film, including two pairs of Ralphie’s glasses including the pair that was smashed, and two scripts.
  • According to the Daisy Air Rifle manufacturers on the Special Edition DVD documentary on the history of the Red Ryder BB Gun, the gun did exist except for one error in the story: The gun did not have a compass and sundial as mentioned in the movie. According to the historians, writer Jean Shepard confused the Red Ryder gun with another rifle that did have those features. But because the story and screen play were scripted to have the compass and sundial, guns had to be specially made for the movie.
  • Inspired the creation of The Wonder Years.
  • The film was released just before Thanksgiving and became a surprise hit. By the time Christmas rolled around, the movie had already been pulled from most theaters because it had been “played out”. After complaints were lodged at the theater owners and the studio, the film played on select screens until after the first of the year 1984.
  • According to Director Bob Clark, Jack Nicholson was given the script and was very much interested in the role of Mr. Parker, “The Old Man”. However, Clark didn’t learn of this until later and the studio didn’t want to pay Nicholson’s fee anyway, which would have doubled the budget. Regardless, Clark says that Darren McGavin was still the better choice and was born to play the role.
  • The “major award” was based on a real lamp: an illuminated Nehi logo.
  • The Radio Orphan Annie decoder pin that Ralphie receives is the 1940 “Speedomatic” model, indicating that the movie takes place in December, 1940. Different decoder badges were made each year from 1935-1940. By 1941, the decoders were made of paper.
  • The Department Store featured in the Santa scene is really Higbee’s in Downtown Cleveland. There were no Higbee’s in Hammond.
  • During the filming in downtown Cleveland, the antique automobile club members, whose cars were used, were given a route to follow on Public Square. They were instructed to continue circling the square until otherwise instructed. Road salt was a major concern for the car owners and the cars were pressure-washed after each day’s filming and parked underground beneath the Terminal Tower.
  • When the character of Scut Farkas first appears, the “Wolf” music from Sergei Prokofiev’s “Peter and the Wolf” plays in the background. The name “Farkas” is derived from the Hungarian word for “wolf”.
  • The Parker’s Oldsmobile is a 1937 Model 6, four-door sedan with Indiana license plate 56 498.
  • Mrs. Parker’s memory is correct. The Lone Ranger’s nephew, Dan Reid, rode a horse named “Victor”. He was the son of the Lone Ranger’s horse, Silver.
  • While reading the newspaper at the kitchen table the “Old Man” angrily mentions that the “Sox traded Bullfrog”. This is a reference to long time Chicago White Sox pitcher Bill Dietrich, who’s nickname was Bullfrog. He pitched during the 1930s and 1940s. Dietrich was never traded from the Sox, he was released September 18, 1946.
  • Ralphie says that he wanted the “Red Ryder BB Gun” 28 times.
  • The character of Red Ryder, whose name bears the BB Gun Ralphie is desperately trying to acquire, is a real comic book (and radio) character that existed in the 1930’s-40’s, akin to popular western heroes like Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, and the Lone Ranger.
  • The piece of music that plays after Ralphie says “fudge”, and after the lamp breaks for the second time, is the opening of “Hamlet” by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.
  • White Sox player Bill “Bullfrog” Dietrich (Bill Dietrich) is mentioned as being traded. He was traded to the White Sox in 1936 and from the White Sox in 1946. Since the family drives a 1937 Olds, it would imply it was the 1946 trade. This would be consistent with the soldiers present at Higbee’s corner window in the movie opening, since the war may have just ended. However, war-era versions of the decoder badge were paper due to the shortage and Little Orphan Annie was off the air well before 1946.
  • Bob Clark’s success with the teen-sex comedy Porky’s allowed him the ability to make a movie he wanted to make. Without Porky’s there would have been no Christmas Story.
  • For the scene in which Flick’s tongue sticks to the flagpole, a hidden suction tube was used to safely create the illusion that his tongue had frozen to the metal.
  • An elaborate fantasy sequence – in which Ralphie joins Flash Gordon to fight Ming the Merciless – was filmed but dropped from the final cut.
  • In 2005, the original home used for the exterior shots of the family home was put up for auction on eBay and avid fan of the movie Brian Jones managed to purchase the home directly from the seller for $150,000.00 USD. Jones then spent the following year restoring the home to the way it looked on screen. The exterior of the home was completely restored and the interior was renovated to match the interior of the home shown in the movie. (Parts of the interior was actually filmed in a Toronto studio) On November 25th, 2006, the famous home finally opened its doors as a tourist attraction. Jones spent close to $500,000.00 USD in preparation for this grand opening. In addition, Jones also purchased the house next door and converted it to a gift shop and museum dedicated to the film and the house.
  • Director Bob Clark mentions in the commentary on the 2003 DVD that he worked with writer Jean Shepherd for nearly ten years on the concept of ‘A Christmas Story’ before the film was made.
  • According to Peter Billingsley (young Ralphie) in the DVD Commentary, the nonsensical ramblings that Ralphie exclaims while beating up Scott Farkus were scripted, word for word.
  • In the beginning credits, the actress portraying Mrs. Parker is listed correctly as Melinda Dillon. In the ending credits she is incorrectly listed as Melinda Dillion.
  • A behind-the-scenes documentary named ‘Road Trip for Ralphie’ follows two mega-fans on a two-year quest to locate and visit every location used in the movie. Along the way, they uncover Miss Shields’ chalk board from a dumpster, discover all the movie costumes hidden in a Toronto warehouse, track down the antique fire truck seen in the movie and visit the forgotten location of the actual Chop Suey Palace.
  • In early December of 2008, there was a contest to see who can portray the best Ralphie, whether if it’s him in a pink bunny suit, or in his winter apparel in celebration of the movie’s 25th anniversary. Plus they revealed the house in Cleveland where the movie was filmed.
  • Clarkworld is a heart-warming documentary on “A Christmas Story” director Bob Clark. The documentary’s director, Deren Abram, worked with Bob Clark for over a decade before Clark and his 22-year old son, Ariel, were killed by a drunk driver in April 2007.
  • According to Director Bob Clark’s commentary on the Christmas Story DVD, the first actor he had in mind to play Ralphie’s father was ‘Jack Nicholson’. Jack was very impressed with the script and was interested in doing the movie, but there was no way Clark could afford Jack Nicholson’s salary, and went instead with Darren McGavin as the father.
  • The real house used during filming can be found at 3159 W 11th Street in Cleveland, Ohio. Pictures and a “Street View” of the house can be seen on Google Maps. A nearby street that intersects with W. 11th St is Clark Avenue.
  • ‘Don Geyer (I)’, who played the Scarecrow, was the head of Display and Fixtures at Higbee’s Department Store / Dillards. Santa’s throne in the movie is one of the actual chairs owned by Higbee’s and used annually for Santa. After his death in 1999, his co-workers reported seeing him on the loading dock, where he used to smoke and a few claim they heard his voice on the overhead paging system.
  • Although now the film is considered a Christmas classic, what’s interesting is that at the time, according to Peter Billingsley, not many major studios were interested in a Depression-era story about a little boy wanting a BB gun for Christmas. Billingsley also stated in an interview that director Bob Clark agreed to make a horror film for the studio in order to get A Christmas Story made.
  • The film is set in 1941, according to the reference made by Mrs Parker to Mr Parker about an upcoming game between the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears. These two teams met in a playoff game on December 14, 1941, a Sunday. It was their only playoff game against each other until January 23, 2011. The only previous time these two teams met during a regular season game in December was December 10, 1933. Throughout the 1940’s the second game of the regular season between these two teams all occurred in November, the two latest being mid-November in 1942 and 1948.
  • The LOOK magazine used by Ralph Parker to insert his Red Ryder promotion for his mother’s observation, was a December 21, 1937 edition with a cover featuring Shirley Temple pouring tea for Santa Clause. Based upon the optics of this prop it is quite possible the use of a brass decoder pin instead of the paper decoder pin used by Ralph in 1941 was chosen for its optics.
  • Since Jean Shepherd is listed in the opening set of credits, but is not in the more comprehensive end credits, the opening credits are used first in the IMDb cast list, followed by those in the end credits not yet in, as required by IMDb policy on cast ordering. In addition to being credited as “Ralphie as an Adult,” Shepherd also is uncredited as the Narrator/The Man in Line for Santa/Santa.
  • The Chinese restaurant is named ‘Bo Ling’s’. There is a neon sign across the top of the storefront that reads ‘Bowling’, except the ‘W’ is not lit.
  • There is a debate about when the film takes place. Evidence seems to point to 1939 because of “the wizard of oz” references. The decoder ring points to 1940. However, if you look at the calender on the wall (during the first dinner sequence), you can clearly see the first of December falls on a Friday. December 1st fell on a Friday in 1939. Not 1940 as what was previously excepted.
  • Jean Shepherd: writer/narrator, is the irate man waiting in the Santa line at the department store. The woman standing behind Shepherd is his wife, Leigh Brown.

Talking Points:

  • Even though I’ve seen this a million times I still remember the first time.
  • Do you think there will ever be a time when this movie stops being played so many times during Christmas?

What We’ve Learned:

  • The Kid year revolves around Christmas
  • The Lone Rangers nephew’s horse was a great character in American literature
  • Grizzly bears like to stalk candy stores
  • There is a black cloud of obscenity floating somewhere over Lake Michigan
  • Nothing trumps the triple dog dare
  • Don’t stick your tongue (or anything else wet) to a metal light pole in winter
  • You’ll shoot your eye out kid
  • Be sure to drink your Ovaltine

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: Okay, okay, the movies not that bad. But seriously, that Santa give me nightmares. I hate you A Christmas Story. Definitely a skippable movie for every year.
Ray: A movie plagued by it’s own popularity. Regardless of how good a movie it may or may not be.. it’s an overplayed joke at this point. Which is unfortunate. If you haven’t seen it, yes you should see it at least once..and then never turn your TV on during Christmas ever again.
Steve: Always worth a look, especially if you’ve never seen it. I don’t need to see it over and over every year, but it’s a little gem to find in your stocking every few years, if nothing but for nostalgia’s sake. It is very surprising to see how much this movie is in our popular culture though…images pop up everywhere if you look.

The Present: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
Rotten Tomatoes: 59% Fresh, 85% Audience

Director: Guy Richie

Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Jared Harris, Stephen Fry.

Trivia:

  • Brad Pitt, Gary Oldman, Daniel Day-Lewis, Sean Penn and Javier Bardem were considered to play Moriarty.
  • Both Robert Downey Jr. (Holmes) and Jared Harris (Moriarty) had acted in the Oliver Stone film Natural Born Killers.
  • Robert Morley and Stephen Fry have both played Oscar Wilde and Mycroft Holmes. In the Gyles Brandreth books where Oscar is a detective, his friend Conan Doyle states that Oscar was the inspiration for Mycroft.
  • Sophie Marceau, Audrey Tautou, Penélope Cruz, Juliette Binoche, Virginie Ledoyen, Eva Green, Marion Cotillard and Cécile De France were considered to play Sim before Noomi Rapace was cast.
  • Leslie S. Klinger, author of “The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes” and a consultant on this film, said in an interview that he suggested “Sherlock Holmes: The Grand Game” as a title.
  • Stephen Fry (Mycroft) and Jared Harris (Moriarty) share the same birthday.
  • Robert Downey Jr. came up with the idea for the disguise as a cross-dresser, which was originally a priest.
  • The bagpipers at Dr. Watson’s wedding were from the Leicestershire Seaforth Highlanders. Guy Ritchie contacted them as his grandfather was in the Seaforth Highlanders.
  • Due to Warner Bros.’ fast-tracking of this sequel, director Guy Ritchie was forced to drop out of an adaptation of Lobo, while Robert Downey Jr. was forced to drop out of Cowboys & Aliens
  • Stephen Fry is also set to appear in The Hobbit: There and Back Again. Also appearing in that film is Christopher Lee; who has played both Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes; as well as Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, who also appear together as the modern-day Holmes and Watson inc Sherlock.
  • At the beginning when Watson is typing, the camera pans over typed excerpts from Doyle’s stories, including “The Blue Carbuncle” and “A Study in Scarlet.”
  • Both Jude Law (Watson) and Stephen Fry (Mycroft) starred together in the 1997 film Wilde.
  • ‘Wolf Khaler’, who plays Doctor Hoffmanstahl, also played the King of Bohemia (Irene Adler’s former lover) in the adaptation of “A Scandal In Bohemia” from “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” with Jeremy Brett.
  • The medals Watson wears during his stag party are the Afghan War Medal (red and green ribbon) and the Kandahar Bronze Star (multi-colored striped ribbon), which would make Watson a veteran of the Second Afghan War (1878-1880).
  • The movie is primarily based on the short story “The Final Problem” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, but also shows aspects from other Sherlock Holmes stories: “The Sign of Four”; “The Greek Interpretor”; “Valley of Fear”; “The Speckled Band”; “The Dying Detective”; “Bruce Partington Plans”; and “The Second Stain”.
  • After Holmes refuses to ride the horse offered to him by the Gypsies, he is seen riding a mule. The music they play for that scene is the theme from Two Mules for Sister Sara from 1970.

Talking Points:

  • Again..does every action sequence have to be sloooowwweeeeedddd dooooooowwwnnnnnn (this movie would have been over a lot quicker)

What We Learned:

  • You can’t use the lavatory on a Victorian era train while its not moving.
  • Bagpipes make a most effective alarm clock
  • Horses are dangerous at both ends and crafty in the middle.

Trailer:

Recommendations :
Jeff: On par with the first movie. Added a couple of new things. I just like the Sherlock Holmes movie so I’m good. Sherlock and Moriarty’s fight was one of my favorite parts.
Ray: Was a game of snoozes for me, even with this really being about as far away from an actual Sherlock Holmes story…and despite all the action sequences, it couldn’t keep me awake in my seat. ZzzZzzZzzZZz
Steve: I like the action, although the bullet time and slo-mo got REALLY annoying over time. Was definitely action-oriented and was non-stop. The story was “eh”, but at least the visuals and action were worth seeing in the theater.

The Future: Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengence

Release: February 2012

Directors: Mark Neveldine, Brian Taylor

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Ciarán Hinds, Idris Elba

Summary:

As Johnny Blaze hides out in Eastern Europe, he is called upon to stop the devil, who is trying to take human form.

Trivia:

  • The Ghost Rider’s skull has been redesigned for this sequel. The new skull appears to be black and charred, indicating that the skull is actually on fire as apposed to the clean fleshless skull simply cloaked in fire in the previous film.
  • Eva Mendes turned down the option to reprise her role

Talking Points:
Trailer 2 gives much more about the plot

Trailers:

#1:

#2:

Excitement:
Jeff: BUUUUUUURRRRRRRNNNNNN!!!!!! He he, fire, fire.
Ray: I’ve always seen the Ghost Rider franchise as some sort of D-List comic penned to catch on to the Evel Knieval craze of the 1970’s thus my excitement for this movie, as was the first one..pretty non existent
Steve: If I was into motorcycles more, or if it weren’t Nicholas Cage, I would probably be more into this movie. Effects look cool…but I was not a big fan of the first one. He might need to use that chain to drag me to the theater.

Coming Attractions

The Past

The Present

The Future

Download Podcast

MOV068: “I Doubt Your Commitment To Sparkle Motion”

It’s an eventful 68th reel, as Steven’s on the road and Ray is out of power! Of course, Jeff is all comfy at home…boring! Anyway…let’s get to the “reel” (get it?) reason we’re here! The boys head back in time to hang out with a super-young and super-cute Jake Gyllenhaal, as he comes to terms with himself (no…not in that way!) in “Donnie Darko”. They head to the theater to see the ever-fabulous Helen Mirren playing a Nazi-hunter in “The Debt”, then check out the trailer for “Martha Marcy May Marlene” – an October release about a young woman escaping from a cult. It’s a very thought provoking week here at COL Movies…but even though…“I doubt your commitment to sparkle motion!”

News:

  • No news this week!

The Past: Donnie Darko (2001)
Rotten Tomatoes: 85% Fresh, 77% Audience

Director: Richard Kelly

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jena Malone, Drew Barrymore, Patrick Swaze, Noah Wyle

Trivia:

  • Richard Kelly said that the movie had a very difficult time finding a US distributor. Since the film embodied myriad genres and tones, distributors were confused by the movie’s message, and how to market it. Additionally, Kelly also claims that “Darko” was very close to premiering on the Starz network until Newmarket Films picked up the film for theatrical distribution.
  • Despite persistent rumors, Richard Kelly insists that none of the characters in this film are based upon USC teachers or students.
  • Someone at the house party jumps on a trampoline, wearing a Ronald Reagan mask. This is taken from a photo of Hunter S. Thompson doing the same.
  • During conversations about sex with his therapist, the script had Donnie’s fantasies be about Alyssa Milano. This had to be changed to Christina Applegate due to legal reasons.
  • In the movie theater scene, Richard Kelly originally intended to have Donnie and Gretchen going to see C.H.U.D.. However, there were problems with finding out who owned the rights to the movie. Finally, Sam Raimi came to the rescue by allowing Kelly to use and distort footage from The Evil Dead, free of charge. This scene was filmed at The Aero Theatre at 1328 Montana Avenue, Santa Monica, CA. The Aero closed in 2003 but re-opened in early 2005.
  • Noah Wyle’s character, Prof. Kenneth Monnitoff, is seen eating hard candy in some scenes because Wyle decided his character would be diabetic.
  • The black-and-white poster in Donnie’s room, of an eye reflecting a skull, is a reproduction of an etching by the artist M.C. Escher.
  • EASTER EGG: The DVD contains several Easter Eggs, or hidden items. Two are visible in the “Philosophy of Time Travel” book in the Special Features. On each of the appendix pages, press the up arrow on your remote and press enter. For Appendix A, the viewer gets a deleted scene about the flooding of the school, and Appendix B, the viewer gets a different trailer for the movie. Another can be found after selecting the “Cunning Visions” menu screen. At the bottom of the screen, highlight the Special Features menu entry, press the right arrow on your remote to highlight the icon, and press enter. This will allow you to enter a Web site gallery.
  • The original poster art for the movie had used an Arabic-style font, but this was changed to the more common Trajan typeface for the video release after the terrorist attacks on the United States on 11 September 2001. However, the font retains its original style in the film itself.
  • The first edit of the film ran 165 minutes. The director’s cut is very close to the version that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2001.
  • The movie takes place in 1988. Frank tells Donnie the world will end in 28 days, 06 hours, 42 minutes, and 12 seconds. If you add these numbers, the sum is 88. When Samantha asks when she can have kids, Donnie says: “Not until 8th grade.” Donnie mentions to his therapist that his dog Callie died when he was eight. (He is later seen holding a stuffed toy dog in her office.) Donnie jokes about the Back to the Future DeLorean which had a speed of 88 MPH. According to the television reporter, the fire at Jim Cunningham’s house was extinguished “sometime after 8:00 last night.” The red-eye flight that almost crashes is Flight 2806 which boards at Gate 42 at 12 AM. The climax of Donnie Darko occurs one week before the 1988 US presidential election, when George Bush won on November 8, 1988 11/08/88. The movie was shot (for a budget of less than US$5 million) in 28 days. There are 28 scenes in the director’s cut of this film.
  • The scene where Donnie corrects Gretchen was improvised because the actress could not say the name Prof. Kenneth Monnitoff, correctly.
  • According to the commentary by Richard Kelly, the Man in the Red Jogging Suit is an agent from the FAA, which was so confused by the jet engine event that they sent agents to monitor the family members. The Mystery Woman, seen during Sparkle Motion’s talent show performance, was a talent scout from Star Search.
  • Voted number five in the list of Australia’s 10 favorite movies.
  • When Donnie tells Gretchen he accidentally burned down a house, they are walking directly in front of Jim Cunningham’s house. The Life Line Exercise Card that Donnie reads is about a girl finding a lost wallet. Later, Donnie finds Jim Cunningham’s wallet on the sidewalk outside his mansion.
  • In the “Cunning Visions” infomercial, Jim Cunningham pats a child on his behind. The young boy who wants to learn how to fight at the school assembly is the same boy in Jim Cunningham’s infomercial (Larry Riesman).
  • Voted #9 in Film4’s ’50 Films To See Before You Die’
  • The main bully is named Seth Devlin, which sounds like devil. A sticker inside his locker reads: “What would Satan do?”
  • Adapted by director Marcus Stern into a live stage production that was produced in October and November 2007 by the American Repertory Theatre’s Zero Arrow Theatre in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
  • Some songs featured in the movie were substitutes for songs which the makers wanted but were denied the rights to. The dance performance was performed to “West End Girls” by the Pet Shop Boys (Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe), and Duran Duran’s “Notorious” was re-dubbed in post-production. U2’s “MLK” in the final scene is substituted Gary Jules’ cover of the Tears for Fears song “Mad World” instead.
  • When casting for the role of Donnie’s sister, it came to Richard Kelly’s attention that Maggie Gyllenhaal (who had few film credits at the time) would be available for the shoot. The agent who proposed her casting reminded Kelly of her scene in Cecil B. DeMented, where she drank urine. Though Kelly was slightly hesitant towards the idea, he did like the way she drank urine – and knew he wouldn’t have to work hard at creating a sibling rivalry between her and her brother, star Jake Gyllenhaal.
  • The song that plays as Donnie is riding his bike home in the theatrical version is “The Killing Moon” by Echo & The Bunnymen. As Gretchen waits for the school bus, a Volkswagen Rabbit vehicle quickly passes in front of her. When Elizabeth Darko is sleeping on the recliner, there is a stuffed rabbit next to her. As Donnie reaches for the car keys, there is a Polaroid picture of him and his sister in Halloween costumes on the desk. Donnie is dressed as a rabbit. When Donnie is talking to his sister after his mom leaves near the end, a “jack o lantern” bunny is seen on the table. Frank, the rabbit, often appears near a water source (sprinklers, water main, faucet).
  • The words “Cellar Door” are written on the chalkboard in Karen Pommeroy’s classroom. When Donnie asks about their meaning, she replies that “This famous linguist once said that of all the phrases in the English language, of all the endless combinations of words in all of history, that Cellar Door is the most beautiful.” In the director’s commentary Richard Kelly mistakenly attributes the phrase to Edgar Allan Poe, but it was actually J.R.R. Tolkien who, in his 1955 essay “English and Welsh”, said that “Most English-speaking people . . . will admit that cellar door is ‘beautiful’, especially if dissociated from its sense (and from its spelling). More beautiful than, say, sky, and far more beautiful than beautiful.”
  • Newmarket Films, the movie’s US distributor, approached Richard Kelly about doing a director’s cut. He accepted the offer and did the re-edit with editor Sam Bauer in a swift nine days.
  • Well out of his teens, Vince Vaughn reportedly turned down the part of Donnie due to his age. Mark Wahlberg was interested in the part, but apparently was only willing to play the part with a lisp. Jason Schwartzman was also strongly considered for Donnie, but dropped out due to scheduling conflicts. Tim Robbins was the first choice for the role of Eddie Darko.
  • Drew Barrymore’s character Karen Pomeroy is named for sex researcher Wardell Pomeroy of the Kinsey Institute.
  • Seth Rogen’s feature film debut.
  • Richard Kelly grew up in Midlothian, VA. This was used in one of the original scripts, but was later changed to Middlesex, VA.
  • There are many comic book references that show up through the film. Gretchen comments on Donnie’s name as sounding like a superhero, to which he replies “What makes you think I’m not?” Many characters have alliterative names (Donnie Darko, Cherita Chen, Frankie Feedler, Daye Dennis, Joanie James, Sean Smith, Donnie Dickson) like many comic book heroes (Peter Parker, Bruce Banner, Susan Storm etc.). Also, it is believed that Donnie is a superhero, as he has powers and he uses them to save others.
  • The short story ‘The Destructors’ (which Karen Pomeroy discusses in her class that seemingly parallels the events occurring at the time in the “real” world, and was discussed as inappropriate at the PTA meeting ultimately leading to Pomeroy’s dismissal) was written by Graham Greene. Graham Greene’s birthday is October 2nd (1904). October 2nd, 1988 is the day Frank the Bunny tells Donnie that the world will end in 28 days, 06 hours, 42 minutes and 12 seconds.
  • At the start of the movie, when Donnie rides his bicycle back into town, right after he passes the two ladies out “powerwalking”, its actually Frank passing by in his red Trans Am.
  • Frank says the world will end in “28 days 6 hours 42 minutes 12 seconds.” That figure is not random: it comes from adding or subtracting 1 from each part of the figure 27d 7h 43m 11s, which is the precise length of one lunar month (by one of the less-used definitions – sidereal instead of the usual synodic).
  • When Donnie’s mother asks Kitty if she has heard of Graham Greene, she replies that she has, since she’s seen “Bonanza”. However, Kitty is getting him confused with Lorne Greene, who appeared in the series. There is also a native Canadian actor, Graham Greene who has appeared in many films portraying native Americans including “Dances with Wolves”. Graham Greene, the author, had many of his books adapted for films, including, “The Quiet American” (twice), “Brighton Rock” and “Our Man in Havana”.
  • Jim Cunningham depicts drugs, alcohol, and premarital sex as “instruments of fear.” In the movie, Donnie smokes a cigarette, drinks alcohol, and engages in premarital sex. The climax of the movie occurs after he surrenders to all three temptations.
  • Jim Cunningham ends “Cunning Visions” with his lifespan; 1944-1988. “Philosophy of Time Travel”, by Roberta Sparrow was published in 1944.
  • Early in the film when Donnie is riding his bike home, he passes Frank’s car traveling in the opposite direction. This car later kills Gretchen, prompting Donnie to shoot Frank in the right eye (which Donnie had also stabbed through the water-mirror). Soon after, when time is “reset” and everybody wakes up to the Mad World song, Frank is wiping a tear from this eye.
  • Judging by what is seen and heard of The Evil Dead in the movie theater scenes, it takes the better part of an hour for Donnie to go from the movie theater to Jim Cunningham’s house, start the fire, and go back to the theater, just in time to catch the end of the film (listen for Bruce Campbell’s scream).

Talking Points:

  • Was this the first movie you can think of to sort of have….viral marketing (for its home video release)
  • Time travel… real or just the imaginings of a psychotic kid?
  • Anyone think it was an odd choice to set this move at the end of the 80’s?

What We’ve Learned:

  • When you’re famous, you gotta have a cigarette
  • Destruction is a form of creation
  • Soap is apparently the greatest invention of mankind
  • Smurfs are asexual
  • Cellar Door is the most beautiful phrase in the English language
  • Some people are just born with tragedy in their blood

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: Crazy Bizarre movie which is worth seeing once. Maybe seeing the regular one and the directors cut and trying to see the differences.
Ray: This movie kinda broke my brain when I first saw it. It still holds some fascination after repeat viewings. If you like sort of smart, very bizarre subject matter.. this is for you.
Steve: Hurts my head. But worth seeing with people who like wacky movies. Definitely a “let’s discuss” type movie rather than to pop in at a party.

The Present: The Debt
Rotten Tomatoes: 76% Fresh, 70% Audience

Director: John Madden

Starring: Helen Mirren/Jessica Chastain, Tom Wilkenson/Marton Csokas, Ciarán Hinds/Sam Worthington, Jesper Christensen

Trivia:

  • Originally scheduled for a December 2010 release, the release was rescheduled to August 31, 2011.
  • The 2010 American version is based on the 2007 Israeli movie of the same name (Ha-Hov or HaChov, in Hebrew). It was directed by Assaf Bernstein, and co-written by Bernstein and Ido Rosenblum. It was released in Israel November 29, 2007.
  • The central character of Rachel Berner was played by Gila Almagor (1990s “present day” scenes) and Neta Garty (in flashbacks to the 1960s).
  • The Israeli film was never released to theaters in the United States, although it aired on American television on the Sundance Channel in October 2010.
  • Before the official December 29, 2010, U.S. premiere, it was shown December 4, 2010, as part of the Washington DC Jewish Film Festival.
  • The film was one of two films that had their official opening dates delayed until 2011 as a result of a “transaction between [Miramax] owner Disney and soon-to-be new owners, construction magnate Ron Tutor and Tom Barrack’s Santa Monica-based Colony Capital (led by former Disney CFO Richard Nanula).”
  • Israeli papers reported that Helen Mirren was “immersing herself” in studies of the Hebrew language, Jewish history, and Holocaust writings, including the life of Simon Wiesenthal, while spending time in Israel in 2009 to film scenes in the movie. My character is carrying the memory, anger and passion of [the Holocaust],” she has said.

Talking Points:

  • Was it what you expected?
  • Pacing
  • Sam Worthington… acting or no?
  • Matching of Older to younger actors..
  • Sound
  • Word of warning before seeing this movie…be prepared for Hitler atrocities

What We Learned:

  • Never argue with an armed woman
  • You are supposed to pursue your goals in your 20’s
  • Always ALWAYS have your papers ready
  • God doesn’t plant car bombs

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: I was expecting more action in this movie but got something different. The balance of going from the past to the present was a little weird but worked well.
Ray: While sort of predictable, I enjoyed this movie. I went in expecting a plodding political movie, and got a well paced political thriller.
Steve: Enjoyed it, even though it was so predictable. Thought the acting was very good! Helen Mirren…that’s enough to get me there.

The Future: Martha Marcy May Marlene

Director: Sean Durkin

Starring: Elizabeth Olsen, Sarah Paulson and John Hawkes

Summary:
The film focuses on Martha (Elizabeth Olsen), a young woman who flees from an abusive cult in the Catskill Mountains that is led by an enigmatic leader, Patrick (John Hawkes). Lucy (Sarah Paulson), Martha’s older sister, receives a call from a pay phone one day from Martha, asking her to come and get her. Martha, who has been missing for months, slowly begins to assimilate into her sister’s family, but her increasing paranoia leads her to believe that Patrick and his cult may still be watching her every move.

Trivia:
It premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival in January, with Durkin winning the festival’s U.S. Directing Award for Best Drama. It also screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.
The film is set for a limited release in the United States on October 7, 2011.

Talking Points:

Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: Another psychological thriller. Just another psychological thriller.
Ray: I hope it’s a good psychological thriller. I’m all for movies that mess with your brain.
Steve: I don’t get it. But the synopsis makes it sound like it would be something I’d be interested in watching at home.

Coming Attractions:

The Past

The Present

The Future

Download Podcast

MOV038: “Fuck Me Your Majesty”

How beautiful do the boys think American Beauty is?  Is The Rite the right movie to go see, and do Cowboys and Aliens truely mix?  This, Superman, must see Best Picture Award winners, and more in this Reel of COL Movies.

News:

The Past: American Beauty (1999)

Director: Sam Mendes

Starring: Kevin Spacey, Annette Benning, Thora Birc

Trivia:

  • Terry Gilliam turned down the chance to direct
  • Jeff Daniels was considered for the lead
  • The Smiley Fast Food Restaurant is Carl’s Jr
  • The Spartanettes routine was choreographed by Paula Abdul
  • The Area Codes in Jane’s Phonebook are all 312, and the Realestate signs all have 847 area codes, both of which are Chicago area codes. The License plates of the cars are not Illinois plates though as the filmmakers made an effort to make the locale more generic the aerial shots over the town were filmed above Sacramento, California
  • The title of the film refers to a breed of roses that while pretty and appealing in appearance, is often prone to rot underneath at the roots and branches of the plant. Thus, the tagline “…look closer” tells the viewer that when they look beyond the “perfect suburban life” they will find something rancid at the root.
  • Executive Producer Steven Spielberg personally recommended Sam Mendes to direct this film
  • Director Sam Mendes personally filmed the pivotal POV shot of Ricky’s camera when he zooms past the figure of Angela to “look closer” at Jane’s smiling reflection in the mirror.
  • The first day-and-a-half of filming – including Carolyn’s open house scene – had to be thrown out after the film turned out too dark, making Annette Bening almost impossible to see; director Sam Mendes and cinematographer Conrad L. Hall concluded the problem had been their overly polite relations, and agreed to be more open with one another.
  • According to his Oscar speech, Alan Ball was sitting at the World Trade Center plaza when he saw a paper bag floating in the wind and was inspired by it to write the film, which was originally conceived as a stage play.

Talking Points:

  • Why do you think this film won they year it was nominated? “The Cider House Rules”, “The Green Mile”, “The Insider”, “The Sixth Sense”
  • Was Lester’s character creepy to you?
  • This movie was originally intended to be a stage play.. do you think it would have worked? or got the same awards as it did as a motion picture?
  • With so many twists and turns, what was the biggest to you?

What We’ve Learned:

  • Never underestimate the power of denial
  • Nothing makes you feel more powerful than firing a gun
  • Its Just a couch!

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: Might have to watch a couple of times more, I liked it but I didn’t all at the same time
Ray: A modern take on the deconstruction or destruction of the Modern American Family.. I love this film
Steve: I get the point and the performances are great. Just not my kind of sardonic movie. I’m more a “Juno” guy.

Intermission: Top 10 Best Picture

1. Silence of the Lambs
2. Schindler’s List
3. The Godfather Trilogy
4. Braveheart
5. Gone With The Wind
6. The Sound of Music
7. West Side Story
8. Casablanca
9. One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest
10. Ordinary People

The Present: The Rite

Director: Mikael Håfström

Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Ciarán Hinds, Colin O’Donoghue, Alice Braga

Trivia:

  • The first trailer for the film features music from Wojciech Kilar’s score of Dracula (1992), which also starred Anthony Hopkins.

Talking Points:

  • Was it what you expected?
  • This Film is getting blasted by critics.. do you think it deserves it?
  • Pacing made the “The Way Back” look like it was in a fast forward

What We Learned:

  • Rome is infested with cats
  • Rome is also infested with frogs.. which is odd considering all the cats
  • Always turn your phone off before beginning an exorcism
  • Bow your head, Keep Praying, and Good Luck!

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: Maybe a little bit too suspenseful with it’s pacing but a decent movie. Wait for the DVD to rent
Ray: Could have been a great exorcism movie..But it wasn’t.. Pacing was slow. Not sure I can recommend this
Steve: I wanted to enjoy this movie so badly! The exorcism scenes were awesome. However, the pace was waaaaay too slow. So much could have been cut out to make it a better movie.

The Future: Cowboys & Aliens

Starring: Daniel Craig, Harrison Ford, Sam Rockwell & Olivia Wilde

Trivia:

  • Robert Downey Jr. was set to play Jake Lonergan, but dropped out due to scheduling conflicts.
  • Daniel Craig was chosen because of his distinct likeness to Yul Brynner, who starred in the cowboy epic The Magnificent Seven (1960).
  • Daniel Craig recommended Eva Green for the role of Ella after working with her in Casino Royale (2006). However, Eva turned the role down and Olivia Wilde was cast.
  • An early draft of the screenplay was written by Hawk Ostby and Mark Fergus.
  • This is DreamWorks’s third comic-book adaptation, after Road to Perdition (2002) and Over the Hedge (2006).
  • The filmmakers cite Alien (1979) and Predator (1987) as an influence on the look of aliens in the film.
  • Screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman described the film as “Unforgiven (1992) with aliens landing.”
  • Director Jon Favreau was constantly harassed with demands to shoot/convert the film in 3-D, but he held his ground, claiming Westerns should only be shot on film.
  • Steven Spielberg screened The Searchers (1956) and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) for Roberto Orci and Jon Favreau so that they could get the atmosphere of the film.
  • Roberto Orci feels that the title, humorous as it may sound, will raise interest and put people off guard about the film, which will surprise them.
  • Harrison Ford wanted to go bareheaded in the film and not wear a hat (he is most famous for his performance in Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones films, where Jones wore a fedora), but since it was a Western film he was convinced to wear a hat.
  • Once again, with the involvement of Steven Spielberg, Harrison Ford is cast opposite a James Bond, in this case, Daniel Craig. The last time with when he worked opposite Sean Connery in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989). Craig has also appeared in ‘The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones: Daredevils of the Desert (1999)’.

Talking Points:

  • Does this have potential of being a schizo movie done right?
  • Casting…thoughts?

Summary:
A spaceship arrives in Arizona, 1873, to take over the Earth, starting with the Wild West region. A posse of cowboys are all that stand in their way.

Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: Really excited for this one, I’m expecting more than what the trailer is showing.
Ray: Excited! Lets hope its as good as the Trailer is hinting at.
Steve: Overall, looks to have promise! I like the idea and hope that it comes together.

Coming Attractions
The Past

The Present

The Future

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