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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MOV085: “How Much For That Mogwai In The Window?”

It’s 85th reel of COL Movies, and Carlos joins the boys in on the fun! They start in the past with the non-traditional Christmas classic, “Gremlins”. From one Spielberg film to another, they head to the theater to check out his first animated film “The Adventures of Tin Tin: The Secret of the Unicorn”. For the future, they review the new trailer for “The Dark Knight Rises”. Along with some updated movie news, it’s the 85th reel of COL Movies…”How much for that Mogwai in the window?”

News:

The Past: Gremlins (1984)
Rotten Tomatoes: 79% Fresh, 70% Audience

Director: Joe Dante

Starring: Zach Galligan, Phoebe Cates, Hoyt Axton, Howie Mandell (VO-Gizmo), Frank Welker (VO-Stripe)

Trivia:

  • Originally planned and scheduled for a Christmas release, the film was rushed into production shortly after Warner Bros. found out that it had no major competition against Paramount’s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom or Columbia’s Ghost Busters for the summer movie season
  • Generally credited (along with Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom) to influence the MPAA to create the PG-13 rating, as many felt the scenes of violence in both movies were too much for a PG rating, but not enough for an R rating.
  • This was the first movie in years to use Warner Bros’ “shield” logo
  • In Cantonese Chinese, mogwai means devil, demon or gremlin. The Mandarin pronunciation is mogui
  • The set for Kingston Falls is the same one used for Back to the Future. Both movies were filmed in the Universal Studios backlot.
  • Though he followed the basic outline of the script, Hoyt Axton is said to have improvised nearly all his lines.
  • After watching his earlier short films, Steven Spielberg considered Tim Burton to direct the film. But decided against it because at the time Burton had never directed a full feature length film.
  • Jon Pertwee and Mako were both seriously considered for the role of Mr. Wing.
  • According to Joe Dante and Michael Finnell, the original rough cut of the film ran 2 hours and 40 minutes.
  • In this film, the Amblin Entertainment logo makes its first on-screen appearance.
  • Within the story, Gizmo was capable of singing or humming. Jerry Goldsmith wrote Gizmo’s song as well, but Howie Mandel never sang it. A girl member of Goldsmith’s congregation was hired to sing Gizmo’s song, although she had never worked in films before.
  • The time machine prop from Time after Time can be seen behind Rand Peltzer when he’s on the phone with his wife, while attending the convention.
  • Chris Columbus’ script went through a few drafts before a shooting script was finalized. His original version had the creatures killing the dog and cutting off the mom’s head and tossing it down the stairs. These elements were never shot due to the fact that both, Joe Dante and Warner Bros. wanted the movie to be more family oriented.
  • Mr. Hanson, the science teacher, originally died with dozens of hypodermic needles stuck in his face. But, by request from Steven Spielberg, this scene was re-shot it with just a single needle in the buttocks
  • At the end, Gizmo pulls a window blind which exposes Stripe to the sunlight. But, originally, there are two window blinds and Gizmo pull the first one and then Billy pulls the second one. This scene was edited because Steven Spielberg believed that Gizmo was the hero of the movie and not Billy and therefore Gizmo would be the one responsible for the demise of Stripe.

Talking Points:

  • Non traditional Christmas movies (this movie was a summer release)
  • Intended audience and the addition of the PG-13 rating
  • The Logic Flaw
  • Practical Effects – hold up? (Creepy skeleton Stripe)
  • Voice actors (Howie Mandel & Michael Winslow…among others)

What We’ve Learned:

  • Having cable is not a successful way to pick up girls
  • Gremlins have perfect pitch
  • Suicide rates are always highest during the holidays
  • The smaller the animal the faster the heartbeat
  • Don’t expose them to light, Don’t get them wet and never feed them after midnight.

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: An incredibly classic movie but I didn’t feel like it held up. Still feels very dated. But getting past that, still love it. Made me want to watch the sequel.
Ray: This is one of my favorite non-traditional Christmas movies – I think its worth watching, but make sure you watch it yourself before deciding if if its appropriate for younger children to watch.
Steve: A great film. I still have my Gizmo 🙂 I love that it’s practical and even if it doesn’t stand up to the test of time, it’s a classic.
Carlos: This gets violent, and subversive, even for a well-known piece of holiday counter-programming. It has pieces of bitter chocolate even in all the Xmas happy.

The Present: The Adventures of Tin Tin: The Secret of The Unicorn
Rotten Tomatoes: 75% Fresh, 80% Audience

Director: Steven Spielberg

Starring: Jamie Bell, Andy Serkis, Daniel Craig, Nick Frost, Simon Pegg

Trivia:

  • Thomas Brodie-Sangster was originally set to play the titular character, but had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts. Jamie Bell, who had worked with Peter Jackson on King Kong, then came aboard to play Tintin.
  • The first animated film directed by Steven Spielberg.
  • In the early 1980s, Steven Spielberg hired E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial writer Melissa Mathison to write a draft of the script. Her script featured a battle in Africa between Tintin and ivory poachers.
  • After Simon Pegg had completed How to Lose Friends & Alienate People, Steven Spielberg invited him to the film’s set and offered him the role of Thomson.
  • Originally, Steven Spielberg was going to do a live-action adaptation of Tintin, and called Peter Jackson to ask if his VFX company Weta Digital would work on the film, in particular creating a CGI Snowy. Jackson, as it turned out, was a longtime fan of Tintin, and convinced Spielberg that live action would not do justice to the comic books, and that motion capture was the best way of representing Hergé’s world of Tintin. However, Snowy would still be CGI.
  • Steven Spielberg has always shot his films traditionally, but since he was going to film what he saw was an animated film he didn’t mind shooting it digitally.
  • Claude Berri and Roman Polanski were interested in directing.
  • Screenwriter Steven Moffat claims he was “love-bombed” by Steven Spielberg into writing the script for this film, with Spielberg promising to shield him from studio interference with his writing.
  • Steven Moffat finished a draft of the script, but could not polish it because of the 2007-2008 Writers Guild of America strike, and afterwards becoming executive producer of Doctor Who. Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson amiably allowed him to leave and fulfill his duty to the series (Jackson being a fan of the Doctor), and brought in Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish to rewrite Moffat’s draft.
  • This is Steven Spielberg’s first comic-book adaptation. He had earlier been considered to do Superman.
  • Steven Spielberg has been an avid fan of ‘The Adventures of Tintin’ comic books since 1981, when a review compared Raiders of the Lost Ark to Tintin. His secretary bought him French-language editions of each book, but Spielberg did not have to understand them: he immediately fell in love with its art. Meanwhile, ‘Tintin’ creator Hergé became a fan of Spielberg (reports say he “thought Spielberg was the only person who could ever do Tintin justice.”)
  • When the film was in development in 1984, Steven Spielberg wanted Jack Nicholson to play Captain Haddock.
  • This is Andy Serkis’s third collaboration with Peter Jackson, as well as his fourth motion-capture role (he had earlier played the creatures Gollum and King Kong in features directed by Jackson and Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes). Sometime after being cast, Serkis joked that he was worried Peter Jackson would cast him as Tintin’s dog Snowy.
  • To prepare for his role as Captain Haddock, Andy Serkis read the majority of the “Tintin” comics. He later commented that they had a surreal quality, similar to the Monty Python films.
  • ‘Danny deVito’ was considered for the role of Senor Oliveira de Figueira, but the character was cut from the script.
  • Daniel Craig (Red Rackham) had collaborated with Toby Jones in Infamous and Jamie Bell in Defiance, and appeared in the Steven Spielberg film Munich.
  • According to Steven Spielberg, when shooting he always keeps one eye closed when framing a shot, so that he can visualize the film in 2D (“the way viewers would”). But on this film he had both of his eyes open, as it was 3D and he wanted to treat the film like live-action.
  • During filming, Guillermo del Toro, Stephen Daldry and David Fincher paid a visit to the set.
  • Steven Spielberg’s cinematographer Janusz Kaminski was brought on to act as a lighting consultant for Weta, as Jackson wanted the film to look “film noir-ish, and very atmospheric.”
  • Steven Spielberg shot his portion of the film in 32 days (taking up March 2009). Peter Jackson was present for the first week of filming, and supervised the rest of the shoot via a specially made iChat videoconferencing program. Simon Pegg said Jackson’s voice would “be coming over the Tannoy like God.”
  • Steven Spielberg enjoyed working with the virtual camera so much, he did a lot of his own camera work in the movie.
  • Michael Kahn has collaborated with Steven Spielberg as an editor for over 30 years. He has always cut his movies on a Moviola and KEM when working with Spielberg. This will be his first movie that he will cut digitally with Spielberg using Avid (though he has cut movies digitally before, such as Twister).
  • Steven Spielberg is the first Oscar-winning director to direct a Nickelodeon film. Peter Jackson (the sequel’s director) will be the second.
  • Steven Spielberg has had the rights to Tintin since 1983.
  • This is Nickelodeon’s first involvement with Tintin in 20 years. The Nickelodeon channel originally aired The Adventures of Tintin.
  • The Crab with the Golden Claws’ is the most frequently filmed Tintin adventure. It was previously adapted to the screen in 1947 as a stop-motion puppet film, and adapted twice for TV: Once in 1959 and again in 1990.
  • During the final dock scene, a bunch of cans with a crab symbol falls from a crate. These are the same canned crabs that serve as a McGuffin in the original “Crab with the Golden Claws” album.
  • The crab with the golden claws from the Tintin tale of the same name can be seen on display in Sheik Salaad’s palace.
  • At the beginning of the movie, when Tintin is having his likeness drawn, the other likenesses posted in the background are of characters featured in various Tintin books and as shown in the inside covers of every Tintin book.
  • The credits, especially the opening ones, are in the same typeface as the books’ titles.
  • The Adventures of Tintin was released 30 years to the day Indiana Jones was released in 1981, also directed by Steven Spielberg
  • The movie fittingly starts with a closeup of a painter’s palette. On studiobriefing.net, Steven Spielberg said of his experience filming Tintin: “I did feel like a painter in a way, and that was exciting for me.”
  • The ship in the bottle and the Unicorn are based upon the “Soleil Royal”, a large French ship of the line that was launched in 1669.
  • The opening credits feature several references to Tintin books (such as the iconic rocket from ‘Destination Moon’). The departure board shown also features destinations from Tintin books.
  • The framed newspapers on the walls of Tintin’s apartment feature headlines and photos that recall his other adventures. Example: The headline “Tintin Breaks Up Crime Ring,” with a picture of several Egyptian mummy cases, refers to “Cigars of the Pharaoh.” The headline “Tintin Recovers Valuable Sceptre” refers to “King Ottokar’s Sceptre.”

Talking Points:

  • “First Look In 3D” at AMC
  • The Uncanny Valley, physics, story elements
  • Indiana Jones
  • Camera Motion
  • The Violence (gun play) and alcohol use

What We Learned:

  • American = all hair, oil, and no socks
  • The aggressive ones always seem to be the first to roll over on their backs
  • Police work is not all glamour and gunfights
  • There are worse things than sobering up
  • Realist is just another word for failure

Trailer:

Recommendations :
Jeff: I really liked this film. Something about the motion capture made things seem a little weird but it still ended up being fantastic. Reminds me of adventure movies like Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Ray: It was a fun film..although it dipped and weaved in and out of the uncanny valley – Way more violent then I expected it to be, so be aware before taking the kids. Overall though I’d recommend people go see it. 3D was done well but not necessary.
Steve: Didn’t hate it. I actually thought it looked better than other films, like the most recent Indiana Jones and Pirates movies. If think they should have done Young Indiana Jones like this. Didn’t particularly feel it was a “kids” movie…perhaps more PG 13, especially with the violence (swords, guns, etc).
Carlos: Probably the best directed of the cgi animated films. The camera roves around like some hyper but talented 14 year old. It’s an impressive achievement with some sincere emotional hits.

The Future: The Dark Knight Rises

Release: July 20, 2012

Directors: Christopher Nolan

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

Summary:

Eight years after the events of The Dark Knight, the terrorist leader Bane arrives in Gotham City, pushing it and its police force to their limits, forcing its former hero Batman to resurface after taking the fall for Harvey Dent’s crimes.

Trivia:

  • Christopher Nolan is the first director to complete a full trilogy of Batman films, but the second to direct a full trilogy of films on one superhero (after Sam Raimi completed his Spider-Man films).
  • Christian Bale has stated that he would not play Batman if Robin appeared anywhere in the trilogy. Christopher Nolan agreed not to include Robin as it would undermine the dark tone of his series.
  • Christian Bale is the first live action actor to portray Batman/Bruce Wayne in three Batman films. Kevin Conroy has played the character in seven animated films as of 2011 (including Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker).
  • Cinematographer Wally Pfister has expressed interest in shooting the entirety of the film in the IMAX format, as both Pfister and Christopher Nolan have expressed distaste for shooting the film in 3-D. Ultimately, the film would feature approximately 50 minutes of IMAX footage, while the rest was shot in a combination of 35mm and 70mm, as IMAX cameras proved to be too noisy for shooting the films dialogue scenes.
  • Eva Green, Angelina Jolie Blake Lively, Rhona Mitra, Charlize Theron, Abbie Cornish, Vera Farmiga, Jessica Biel, Natalie Portman, Gemma Arterton, Kate Mara, Charlotte Riley, Emily Blunt and Keira Knightley all auditioned for the role of Selina Kyle. After the initial audition process, Biel and Mara all screen tested. Ultimately, Anne Hathaway won the role.
  • Kate Winslet, Naomi Watts, Rachel Weisz and Marion Cotillard were considered to play Miranda Tate before Cotillard finally got the role.
  • Robin Williams was rumored to play the role of Hugo Strange.
  • There was much speculation in the press when Anne Hathaway was announced as Selina Kyle if the actress would actually portray Kyle’s costumed alter-ego, Catwoman. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey following her stint as host of the Academy Awards, Hathaway let slip that her character indeed would don the Catwoman costume.
  • According to Gary Oldman, Christopher Nolan told the actors the ending of the film verbally to avoid any leaks.
  • One of the reasons why Christopher Nolan cast Tom Hardy as Bane was because of his performance in the film RocknRolla. Hardy stated that he thought he was cast because of his role in Bronson. He arrived on set only to learn that Nolan has never even seen Bronson.
  • Around 10,000 extras were used to shoot the Gotham Rogues scene in Heinz Field. Some of the Pittsburgh Steelers played football players, including Hines Ward, who played himself.
  • Chloë Grace Moretz and Jennifer Lawrence auditioned for Juno Temple’s role.
  • According to The Hollywood Reporter, Anne Hathaway’s stunt double broke one of the IMAX cameras when she crashed the Batpod into it. This marks the second time an IMAX camera has been destroyed on a Christopher Nolan Batman film – a previous camera was smashed when filming the Joker’s underground truck chase in The Dark Knight.
  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt , Leonardo DiCaprio , James Holzier, Ryan Gosling, and Mark Ruffalo were considered to play John Blake. Gordon-Levitt was ultimately cast.
  • Anne Hathaway, who plays Catwoman, had been cast as Black Cat (Felicia Hardy) in The Amazing Spider-Man in 2010, which at that time was under Sam Raimi’s direction as “Spider-Man 4” and was going to feature the Vulture and Black Cat.
  • The character of Bane in this film is more reverent and closer to his comic-book counterpart, unlike Batman & Robin, which reduced him to a mindless henchman. In the comic Books, Bane is a general, a strategist and a one-man army, literally forcing Batman to meet his match (and upon their first encounter it would turn out to be the case).
  • According to Christopher Nolan, Bane was chosen as the film’s main antagonist “to test Batman mentally as well as physically.”
  • To prepare for her role as Catwoman, Anne Hathaway worked out five days a week on a regime that involved vigorous exercise, stunt training and dancing. She called it her most physically demanding role to date.
  • To prepare for his role as Bane, Tom Hardy gained 30 pounds in weight, and studied various fighting styles to use in the film.
  • Tom Hardy described Bane as an absolute terrorist: “He’s brutal, but also incredibly clinical in the fact that he has a result-based and oriented fighting style. The style is heavy-handed, heavy-footed… it’s nasty. It’s not about fighting, it’s about carnage!”
  • After The Dark Knight released, Aaron Eckhart expressed interest in returning as Harvey “Two-Face” Dent, as the film had left his role relatively open-ended. Christopher Nolan stated that Dent was definitely dead, and that his death would leave lasting repercussions across Gotham.
  • Composer Hans Zimmer collected online recordings of chanting to incorporate in the film’s score.
  • This is the third Batman film to feature Catwoman after Batman and Batman Returns.
  • Anne Hathaway previously appeared in Alice in Wonderland, which was directed by Batman/Batman Returns director Tim Burton and featured the previous Alfred, Michael Gough in his final role before his death.
  • Marion Cotillard previously appeared in Big Fish, which was directed by Batman/Batman Returns director Tim Burton. Danny DeVito played The Penguin in Batman Returns which, like this film, also features Catwoman.
  • Reunites Inception stars Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Caine, Cillian Murphy and Marion Cotillard.
  • Like Batman Returns and Batman & Robin, not only does this feature a female villain, but the villain is portrayed by an Oscar nominated actress. Michelle Pfeiffer (Batman Returns) was nominated for Dangerous Liaisons, The Fabulous Baker Boys and Love Field. Uma Thurman (Batman & Robin) was nominated for Pulp Fiction. Anne Hathaway (this film) was nominated for Rachel Getting Married.
  • This is the fifth film in a row that Christopher Nolan has worked with Michael Caine. The other films were Batman Begins, The Prestige, The Dark Knight, and Inception.
  • Is set eight years after the events of The Dark Knight.
  • With their appearances in this movie, Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Cillian Murphy and Gary Oldman will have each appeared in three Batman movies. Only Michael Gough and Pat Hingle have done the same thing.
  • Christopher Nolan picked Bane as the main villain. Coincidentally, with no known relation, the name of one of the creators of Bane for the comic books is Graham Nolan.
  • In the comics, Bane carried an apparatus that contains a steroid that amplifies his strength and fighting ability. In the film, the apparatus he carries contains an anesthetic as he is in constant chronic pain.
  • The filmmakers cite the “Batman” comics ‘The Dark Knight Returns’ (an aged Batman operates in a future Gotham), ‘Knightfall’ (Bane pushes Batman physically and mentally, causing him to burn out) and ‘No Man’s Land’ (Gotham descends into gangland territory) as major influences on the film.

Talking Points:

  • Did anyone contribute to the chant?
  • Has anyone seen the sneek peek before MI4?

Trailers:

Excitement:
Jeff: It’s nice to see more in this trailer. However, I’ve suddenly not as excited as before. It’s still one of the top movies on my list to see but something about the trailer, didn’t increase my excitement.
Ray: I was more excited by the sneak preview (Which is amazing) than the trailer.. so I am excited to see it but not because of the trailer.
Steve: Best Nolan-verse trailer to date. Finally one that excited me! OK, so perhaps it’s just Tom Hardy…but still. It’ll get me to the theater. 🙂
Carlos:

Coming Attractions

The Past

The Present

The Future

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MOV066: “Today’s word is……Expiation!”

Despite being listed as Reel 65 on iTunes, this is the 66th Reel of COL Movies! We recorded a whole show that was lost out there in cyberland. /cry. But moving forward, the boys head into the ethos and land in Maine where they join the people trying to survive Stephen King’s “The Mist”. Heading to the theater, they check out the excellent, yet controversial, civil rights era film “The Help”. In trailer news, they dissect Nolan’s final Batman film, “The Dark Knight Rises”. In news, they talk about a possible “Blade Runner” reboot, more “Man of Steel” news, the fate of “The Lone Ranger”, and are you ready for another “Austin Powers” movie, baby? Welcome to Reel 66…where today’s word is…expiation!

News:

The Past: The Mist
Rotten Tomatoes: 73% Fresh 64% Audience

Directors: Frank Darabont

Starring: Thomas Jane, Marcia Gay Harden, Laurie Holden

Trivia:

  • This isn’t William Sadler’s first time with The Mist. He played David Drayton in an audio version of the story.
  • To help save time on the tight schedule, the producers and director Frank Darabont hired the camera crew from The Shield, to shoot the film. This camera crew is able to move fast, due to the hectic TV production schedule. There was an “A” and a “B” unit, which cut down on production time.
  • In the opening shot of the film, David is painting in his room. The picture he’s drawing is a design from Stephen King’s Dark Tower series of the gunslinger Roland. Another design in the room is that of the poster of John Carpenter’s The Thing. John Carpenter also wrote and directed The Fog, which shares obvious themes with The Mist.
  • Besides the Gunslinger illustration at the beginning of the film, The Mist shares another direct connection to the Dark Tower series of novels, written by Stephen King. This is the line “My life for you,” spoken by Mrs. Carmody. This has been said by a number of villainous characters in the Dark Tower books, who had sworn allegiance to Walter o’Dim, one of the major antagonists. (Walter o’Dim made his first appearance in several earlier King novels, one the first being The Eyes of the Dragon, under the alias Randall Flagg, and the line is spoken there as well.) The Mist is one of the first short stories to refer to cross reference the Dark Tower. That same line, “My life for you,” is used by Trashcan in The Stand movie as well as the book. This is also a reference made to Randall Flagg although in a different book.
  • During an action scene in the film, a man runs into a wire rotating-book shelf in the grocery store. If you look carefully, you can clearly see that all the books on the shelf are written by Stephen King.
  • When the group is in the next-door pharmacy, David (Thomas Jane) can be seen taking a comic book as promised for his son – an issue of “Hellboy”. Later in real life, Jane directed the comicbook movie Dark Country which starred Ron Perlman, the star of the movie version of Hellboy
  • Frank Darabont agreed to make the film with Dimension only under the condition that no matter what, they wouldn’t change the scripted ending. They agreed.
  • Director Frank Darabont originally wanted the film shown in black and white. The 2-disc DVD release contains Darabont’s black and white version on the second disc.
  • The pharmacy next to the Food House store is called “King’s Pharmacy”, most likely a reference to author Stephen King. Coincidentally, Stephen King himself once had a cameo as a pharmacist in the film adaptation of his novel Thinner.
  • The Dark Tower poster being worked on by David Drayton was actually painted by Drew Struzan, an artist famous for his movie posters. (Star Wars, Indiana Jones franchise, Harry Potter franchise, The Thing, Blade Runner, etc.) All of the posters in the studio at the beginning of the film were painted by Struzan, as was the film poster for this film.
  • Despite the setting in Maine, the film was shot entirely in Minden, Louisiana. To Frank Darabont’s delight, Stephen King could not distinguish it from Maine when watching the film
  • Thomas Jane sat in for a better part of the editing process, since he was interested to learn about it.
  • When David grabs a comic from the rack in the pharmacy, you can clearly see an issue of “The Goon” towards the bottom. Eric Powell, the creator of this comic, is shown on the special features as a friend of Frank Darabont and crew for the day.
  • Director Frank Darabont wanted to cast Stephen King in a supporting role, but King turned his offer down. The role eventually went to Brian Libby.
  • In the pharmacy scene, when David Drayton is collecting a comic book for his son, Frank Darabont proposed to Thomas Jane that he should grab a copy “The Punisher: War Journal” since Jane played the Punisher three years earlier. Jane declined because he had a falling out with the producers of the The Punisher franchise and decided not to return for the sequel. He instead grabs an issue of “HellBoy” as a shout out to friend Ron Perlman.
  • Intially developed at Paramount.
  • Shot in the six-week hiatus of The Shield with its cinematographer, two camera operators, their editor and the script supervisor, all of whom the director has worked with when he directed episodes of the show.
  • The first film Frank Darabont has made that is set in the present, barring the opening and closing scenes in The Green Mile.
  • The third film Frank Darabont has adapted from Stephen King’s work. The other two are The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile.
  • Frances Sternhagen’s second appearance in a Stephen King film adaptation. The first was Misery.
  • Frank Darabont’s shortest film to date.
  • Shot in 37 days.
  • Stephen King says that he was genuinely frightened by this adaption of his novel; Frank Darabont described that as the happiest moment of his career.
  • Norm is wearing a T-Shirt from WKIT Radio in Bangor, Maine. This is one of three radio stations owned by Stephen King.
  • The partially toppled highway sign towards the end of the film is an actual sign on Interstate 295 in Falmouth, Maine, on the southbound side of the highway (a little north of the Falmouth Spur).
  • This is Thomas Jane’s second Stephen King movie. He played Henry in Dreamcatcher.
  • David calls his son “Big Bill”, a reference to the character Bill Denbrough from Stephen King’s ‘It’. Bill Denbrough’s nickname was also “Big Bill”
  • Spoilers
  • The trivia items below may give away important plot points.
  • According to Cinefex magazine, there is a favorite scene near the end of the book that was not in the script. In the scene, David Dreyton and the others with him in the vehicle, witness a giant, 6-legged behemoth walk over them. Darabont originally had excised this scene from his script. However, several of the people working with the special effects company CafeFX, convinced him to put it back into the film.
  • WILHELM SCREAM: When Cornell dies.
  • Frank Darabont originally wrote an opening scene showing the military scientist referenced to by Private Jessup accidentally opening the dimension portal that allows the creatures and the mist to enter our world. Over dinner, Andre Braugher questioned Darabont whether this scene was necessary. After thinking about it for a week, Darabont was convinced to scrap the scene, leaving the nature of the mist more ambiguous.
  • Frank Darabont’s “controversial” ending actually comes directly from Stephen King’s source material. Written in first-person, David entertains this notion in his mind as a distant possibility, noting there are three bullets and four people (Dan Miller doesn’t make it to the car in the novella), but he ends his journal and leaves it in a restaurant the survivors have sought refuge in before the car runs out of gas. Darabont felt this ending was too ambiguous and wrote the story to its finite climax, and ending that Darabont says in the DVD commentary was endorsed by King as the ending King wished he would have thought of.
  • When the hacked-off piece of tentacle is poked in the loading dock, it sizzles, turns black, and melts into a puddle of black goo. This process is exactly what happens to the bizarre creatures that appear in Stephen King’s novel “From a Buick 8”. Those creatures also were speculated to have come from another dimension, possibly the same one.
  • Amanda has an empty six-shot revolver and two full speed-loaders in her purse. This means there are twelve rounds of ammunition for the revolver. During the course of the movie, exactly twelve rounds are fired before the revolver is out of ammunition.

Talking Points:

  • People call this a “monster movie”. Is it? Or more of a “hero”/close scare/dark scare? What would you say?
  • The Post 9/11 Allegory
  • Frank Darabont – he likes things with the word The in the title.
  • Director/Writer/Producer – The Walking Dead
  • Writer/Director – The Green Mile
  • Writer/Director – The Shawshank Redemption
  • Director – The Majestic
  • Writer – The Blob
  • Writer – The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles

What We’ve Learned:

  • There’s no court of appeals in hell
  • Just because you’re a lawyer doesn’t mean you’re helpful in a disaster situation.
  • If you scare people bad enough they will turn to anyone who offers them a solution
  • Don’t use flaming mops as a defensive strategy unless you’re in the desert.
  • As a species we are fundamentally insane

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff:.This movie is fine. Well put together, good story, tragic ending. Recommend a look see, but not something for my movie collection at least.
Ray: An ok Survival/Horror flick saved by an awesome ending.
Steve: Such a good movie! Does a great job mixing the odd elements with down home people/situations. The ending is another Se7en-style surprise that just wrenches you in the gut.

Intermission: Flickchart

The Present: The Help
Rotten Tomatoes: 74% Fresh 93% Audience

Director: Tate Taylor

Starring: Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Octavia Spenser

Trivia:

  • Melissa Molinaro auditioned for the role of Celia Foote.
  • Costars Emma Stone and Bryce Dallas Howard have both played Gwen Stacy in a Spider-Man movie.
  • The book store in the film, Avent & Clark Booksellers, was named after Avent Clark, a production assistant on the film from Greenwood, MS.
  • Jessica Chastain, a vegan, ate soy ice cream melted in the microwave to gain weight for the role of Celia Foote.
  • Kathryn Stockett’s book on which this film is based was rejected 60 times before it was eventually published.

Talking Points:

What We Learned:

  • You is smart
  • You is Kind
  • You is Important
  • Write about what disturbs you, particularly if it bothers no one else.
  • Crisco is the most important invention since they put mayonnaise in a jar.
  • Love and hate are two horns on the same goat.
  • Oysters are a vehicle for crackers and ketchup
  • Courage sometimes skips a generation
  • I will never ever look at chocolate pie quite the same way again.

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: Wait? 2 hours and 26 minutes? Really? I didn’t even notice. This is definitely a go see movie. I can’t recommend it enough.
Ray: There was not one part of this movie I disliked. This runs the gamut from funny, to tearjerker. Sure its filled with stereotypes, but if it gets enough people in the theaters perhaps it can get people talking about the overall message the film is trying to convey.
Steve: Just a damn good movie. Looks like a chick-flick, but is just a good look at life at that time in Mississippi. There is some funny that helps us see positive in the negative of the time. But a good inspirational story about people taking a stand toward change.

The Future: The Dark Knight Rises

Director: Christopher Nolan

Starring: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Gary Oldman

Trivia:

  • Doug Jones, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, David Tennant, Johnny Depp, Neil Patrick Harris, Michael C. Hall, Hugh Laurie, Leonardo DiCaprio, and James Franco were all rumored to play the Riddler before it was confirmed that the character would not appear in the film.
  • In May 2010, director Christopher Nolan stated that the Joker will not return in this film. He previously stated that Mr. Freeze and the Penguin would not be in the film either. Later it was confirmed that The Riddler would not appear either.
  • The last installment in Christopher Nolan’s Batman series.
  • Christopher Nolan is the first person to direct more than two Batman feature films.
  • Christian Bale has stated that he would not play Batman if Robin appeared anywhere in the trilogy. Christopher Nolan agreed not to include Robin as it would undermine the dark tone of his series.
  • Christian Bale is the first live action actor to portray Batman/Bruce Wayne in three Batman films. Kevin Conroy has played the character in seven animated films as of 2011 (including Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker).
  • Cinematographer Wally Pfister has expressed interest in shooting the entirety of the film in the IMAX format, as both Pfister and Christopher Nolan have expressed distaste for shooting the film in 3-D.
  • Anne Hathaway, Eva Green, Blake Lively, Charlize Theron, Vera Farmiga, Jessica Biel, Natalie Portman, Gemma Arterton, Kate Mara, Charlotte Riley and Keira Knightley all auditioned for the role of Selina Kyle. After the initial audition process, Hathaway, Green, Biel and Mara all screen tested. Ultimately, Hathaway won the role.
  • Christopher Nolan is the second person to direct a trilogy of superhero movies, after Sam Raimi (Spider-Man).
  • Kate Winslet, Naomi Watts, Rachel Weisz and Marion Cotillard were considered to play the love interest of Bruce Wayne. Cotillard won the role.
  • Robin Williams was rumored to play the role of Hugo Strange.
  • There was much speculation in the press when Anne Hathaway was announced as Selina Kyle if the actress would actually portray Kyle’s costumed alter-ego, Catwoman. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey following her stint as host of the Academy Awards, Hathaway let slip that her character indeed would don the Catwoman costume.
  • It was reported by Gary Oldman that Christopher Nolan told the actors the ending of the film verbally to avoid any leaks.
  • This film contains direct references to the “Knightfall” saga in the comic books, where Bane spreads chaos in Gotham in order to lure and weaken Batman, and break him. It also references the “Legacy” and “Bane of the Demon” storylines, where Bane meets Ras Al Ghul, and both have their own visions of becoming immortal and dominant.
  • One of the reasons why Christopher Nolan cast Tom Hardy as Bane, was because of his performance in the titular role in Bronson. Hardy stated that he took up the same training regime for both roles.
  • Around 10,000 extras were used to shoot the Gotham Rogues scene in Heinz Field. Some of the Pittsburgh Steelers played football players, including Hines Ward, who played himself.

Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: I’m excited for this movie even without the trailer. Sad that it’ll be the last Nolanverse Batman, but hey . . . in anycase, this trailer just didn’t get me excited. It’s just a teaser, want to see the real trailer next year.
Ray: I hope they break him… for good.
Steve: Bane!! YUM. Otherwise, just looks like another Nolan Batman movie. I’m not a Christian Bale Batman guy…so I don’t get jacked to see him.

Coming Attractions:The Past
The Present
The Future

MOV055: “Ska-Doosh”

The boys kick off their Pride Month celebration with a review of “BearCity”, then talk about their favorite gay-themed movies. In the present, they check out “Kung Fu Panda 2” and then head to the future to discuss Hugh Jackman’s upcoming flick, “Real Steel” or as we call it – Rock Em Sock Em Robots: The Movie. All this and news about LOTR, Spider Man, James Bond…and the fate of 3D at the movies? Join us in this 55th reel of COL Movies!

News:

  • Its Lord of the Rings the return of the… Elf? Everyones favorite elf is back!
  • Peter Jackson confirms on facebook, Orlando Bloom confirmed for “The Hobbit” “Ten years ago, Orlando Bloom created an iconic character with his portrayal of Legolas. I’m excited to announce today that we’ll be revisiting Middle Earth with him once more. I’m thrilled to be working with Orlando again. Funny thing is, I look older—and he doesn’t! I guess that’s why he makes such a wonderful elf.”
  • The Amazing Spider-Man Swings into Comic-Con
  • Columbia Pictures will be presenting the film at San Diego Comic-Con 2011
  • Contest will pick one fan to be the “Face of the fan” and send them on an all expense paid trip to Comic-Con
  • To enter fans need to submit a 60 second video of why they believe they should be the “Face of the Fan’s” Correspondent
  • James Bond finally has a date!
  • Officers of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc., today announced that the 23rd James Bond film will commence production in late 2011 for a worldwide release on November 9, 2012. The UK and Ireland will be getting the movie two weeks earlier, on October 26.
  • Is the 3D fad finally dying?
  • The latest “Pirates of the Caribbean” installment disappointed with only 47 percent of tickets from its $90.2 million weekend booty coming from 3-D purchases. So-called “event films” tend to do more than 60 percent of their business in 3-D.
  • 3-D tickets accounted for only 45 percent of Memorial Day weekend release “Kung Fu Panda 2.” Meanwhile, ” The Hangover Part II ,” which avoided the 3-D fad, opened to a staggering $103.4 million last weekend
  • Still, international audiences continue to embrace 3-D films, where they remain a novelty. “3D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy” recently opened to $360,000 on its first day in Hong Kong, vaulting it past fellow 3-D picture “Avatar” to claim the record for the biggest single-day gross in film history there.

The Past: BearCity (2010)

Rotten Tomatoes: 57% Fresh; 47% Audience

Director: Douglas Langway

Starring: Joe Conti, Gerald McCullouch, Brian Keane, Stephen Guarino, Alix Di Dio, Gregory Gunter, James Martinez

Trivia:

  • On June 11, 2010, world premiere at NEWFEST to a sold out, standing room only crowd.
  • BearCity wins the coveted Los Angeles Outfest 2010 Grand Jury awards for Outstanding Screenwriting (Director/Co-Writer Doug Langway, Co-Writer Lawrence Ferber) and Outstanding Actor in a Feature Film (Stephen Guarino).
  • BearCity wins the Audience Award for Best Feature at the 20th Skeive Filmer / Oslo Gay & Lesbian Film Festival.
  • BearCity wins the Jury Prize for Best Feature Film (Fiction) at the 6th Andalucía (Spain) International Festival of Gay & Lesbian Cinema.
  • BearCity wins the Jury Award for Best Men’s Film at the 2010 Long Island Gay & Lesbian Film Festival.
  • BearCity wins the Jury Award for Best Film at the 2Jury Award for Best Feature Film 2011 Stella Artois QFest St. Louis LGBTQ Film Festival.
  • BearCity wins Best Bear Video from The Complete Bear’s Best Of The Bears 2010

Talking Points:

  • How representing of the Bear community?
  • BearCity 2 in production – Expected Spring 2012 according to http://www.bearcitythemovie.com

What We’ve Learned:

  • Vowels just don’t cut it for the gay generation
  • You don’t get any attention with clothes that fit.
  • The director has the ecstasy

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: I really enjoy this movie, it’s sweet, and charming. Great? No, but still an enjoyable movie to me.
Ray: While I found some of it entertaining, most felt forced and gimmicky… like we were a few deleted scenes away from a bear porn.
Steve: It’s OK. A snapshot, but not necessarily truth for everyone. Appreciate that it shows there are good and bad sides to the community…you have to make the most of whatever ‘“family” you choose.

Intermission: Best GLBT Movies

Jeff’s Gay Pride Month Movie Challenge

The Present: Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011)
Rotten Tomatoes: 80% Rotten; 87% Audience

Director: Jennifer Yuh

Starring: Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Gary Oldman, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, David Cross, James Hong, Michelle Yoeh

Trivia:

  • Kung Fu Panda 2 was screened at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival in early May before its commercial release.
  • In Kung Fu Panda 2, the production crew’s shown increased familiarity with Chinese culture. In 2008, after the release of Kung Fu Panda, Dreamworks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg and other Dreamworks members visited the city of Chengdu, which is considered as the “panda hometown.”
  • In addition to seeing real pandas, crew members learned about the local culture. Katzenberg has stated that Kung Fu Panda 2 incorporates many elements of Chengdu in the film.
  • The film’s landscape and architecture also found inspiration from those found at Mount Qingcheng, a renowned Taoist mountain.
  • Some critics noted the influences of executive producer Guillermo del Toro’s works in the film’s darker themes, and Jim Tudor of TwitchFilm.net describes that with del Toro on board, the film “effectively probes deeper into Po’s emerging hero’s journey and personal issues, evoking a truly fulfilling Campbellian archetype, but also remains fully viable as mainstream entertainment suitable for all ages.”

Talking Points:

  • Quality inconsistency, Great to Amazing and back.
  • Jack Black – another Will Ferrell?
  • Adoption theme?
  • 3D
  • Favorite scene?
  • Video Game?

What We Learned:

  • If you mess with the wolf, you get the fangs

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: I Loved it, minor point of goofiness timing I didn’t like but did not take away from my enjoyment of the movie.
Ray: Think I liked this one more than the first.. loved the use of experimental animation
Steve: I like it better than the first movie. I thought the 3D was great! Liked the adoption theme.

The Future: Real Steel

Director: Shawn Levy

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Dakota Goyo, Evangeline Lilly, Kevin Durand

Trivia:

  • Based on the 1956 short story “Steel” by Richard Matheson.
  • In the short story, Matheson illustrates a cold-feeling dystopia, but Levy chose to set the film in state fairs and other “old-fashioned” Americana settings that would exude nostalgia and create a warmer tone for the film’s father-son story.
  • Filmmakers built 19 animatronic robots to feature in scenes with human actors. For scenes when the robots brawl, motion capture technology was used. Boxing legend Sugar Ray Leonard was an adviser for these scenes.
  • Filming began in June 2010, taking place primarily in Michigan. Locations include those around Detroit and across the state.
  • While the film features boxing robots, Levy said he wanted to show in the trailer “the father-son drama, the emotion, the kind of rousing sports movie, the Americana of it”. He said, “We are very much the robo-boxing movie, but that’s one piece of a broader spectrum.”
  • Real Steel was initially scheduled to be released on November 18, 2011, but it was moved earlier to October 7, 2011 to avoid competition with The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn.
  • An episode of The Twilight Zone called “Steel” is also based on Richard Matheson’s short story.

Talking Points:

  • Rock’em Sock’em Robots: The Movie

Summary:

A future-set story where robot boxing is a popular sport and centered on a struggling promoter (Jackman) who thinks he’s found a champion in a discarded robot. During his hopeful rise to the top, he also discovers he has an 11-year-old son who wants to know his father

Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: Rock’em Sock’em Robots: The Movie and I LOVE IT! Not expecting a great movie though.
Ray: When i saw the first trailer.. i was not impressed, but this one actually has me interested.
Steve: Yawn…bite off of Rudy and Transformers. Oh Hugh, what are you doing?

Coming Attractions

The Past

The Present

The Future

Download Podcast

MOV053: “LeeLoo Dallas Multipass”

The boys kick off year two with a few new bells and whistles, while heading back in time to bring back “The Fifth Element”. After Jeff finishes his orgasm, they head to the theaters to check the post-apocalyptic vampire flick, “Priest”. If that’s not enough saving the world, they check out the new trailer for “Transformers: Dark of the Moon”. Will the Michael Bay train stay on track or will we be as disappointed as we were with Trans 2? The boys also bring you up to date on “Akira”, “Thor 2” and “Titanic” in 3-D? Doesn’t the boat sink the same in 2-D? For the heck of it, they also reflect on their favorites from year one. Whether a long-standing fan or a newbie, this is definitely a show you don’t want to miss! Leeloo Dallas Multipass

News:

The Past: The Fifth Element (1997)

Rotten Tomatoes: 72% Fresh; 84% Audience

Director: Luc Besson

Starring: Bruce Willis, Milla Jovovich, Gary Oldman, Ian Holm, Chris Tucker

Trivia:

  • The language spoken by Leeloo was invented by director Luc Besson and further refined by Milla Jovovich. By the end of filming they were able to have full conversations in this language.
  • The explosion in the Fhloston main hall was the largest indoor explosion ever filmed. The resulting fire almost got beyond control.
  • Early in the film, Gary Oldman’s character quotes Friedrich Nietzsche, “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger.” Oldman’s costar, Bruce Willis, released a record album on Motown Records with that title in the 1980s. 11 years later, Heath Ledger said a variation of the famous line in The Dark Knight (2008) (also starring Gary Oldman).
  • This is one of two science-fiction movies featuring Ian Holm in which there is a character by the name of Dallas. The other one is Alien (1979), which stars Tom Skerritt as Captain Dallas.
  • Ruby Rhod was not the original name for Chris Tucker’s character, it was Loc Rhod. The original name appears in the script and the movie novelization.
  • When Korben Dallas wakes up, the date can just be seen on his bedroom wall: March 18th, 2263. 18 March is director Luc Besson’s birthday (a day before Bruce Willis’).
  • The only phrases from Leeloo’s alien language that are included in the captioning are “mlarta,” “big ba-dah big boom,” “akta,” “seno akta gamat,” “san agamat chay bet. Envolet,” “danko,” “domo danko,” and “apipoulai.” Everything else appears as Unknown Language or, after it’s specified, the Divine Language.
  • When the Mondoshawan aliens appear in 1914 Egypt, the Professor, panicking, says, “A… A… Are you German?” In the German version he says “Sind Sie… hier von der Erde?” which roughly translates as “Are you from here… Earth?”
  • The hero (Bruce Willis) and the villain (Gary Oldman) never meet, nor do they communicate in any way.
  • Luc Besson wrote the original screenplay when he was in high school.
  • Leeloo’s full name is “Leeloo Minai Lekarariba-Laminai-Tchai Ekbat De Sebat”. According to the subtitles in English DVD Region 1.
  • At the time, this was the most expensive production in Gaumont’s history.
  • At US$80 million, the special-effects budget of the film was the highest of its time.
  • At the time, it was the most expensive film ever produced outside of Hollywood.
  • According to the Ultimate Edition DVD, Prince and Lenny Kravitz were sources of inspiration for the part of Ruby Rhod.
  • In every New York visual effects scene with flying traffic there is a flying bus with the Digital Domain (the facility responsible for most of the VFX) internal reference, or shot name, stenciled on the roof of a bus. The instructions for the visual effects team were to include one bus with the shot name but then all other buses and traffic could have personal references including birthdays, initials, etc. The front marquee for a bus’s destination and side billboards were customized by the artists at Digital Domain to reference, invisibly or subliminally, some personal stamp or message.
  • The flying traffic created by the visual effects team at Digital Domain allowed artists to create personalized license plates. Though never visible in the film, the state slogan printed on all license plates reads, “New York, The Fuck-You State.”:
  • The text scrolling across a Times Square theater marquee as Korben dives down through traffic is actually an excerpt from an e-mail dispute between several artists at Digital Domain. Other signs on digital and practical, miniature buildings contain similar in-jokes and references and the large cylindrical tanker truck that Korben’s cab almost hits at the end of his decent is decorated with the logo of a Venice, California, pizza parlor that was a favorite of Digital Domain artists.
  • The people populating the roofs, decks and windows during the visual effects sequences in New York are actually the artists and employees at Digital Domain who worked on the film.
  • Bruce Willis ad-libbed the line, “Whoa, lady, I only speak two languages, English and bad English.”
  • Luc Besson, an admitted comic book fan, had two famous French comic book artists in mind for the film’s visual style when he started writing the movie in high school. Jean Giraud (Moebius) and Jean-Claude Mézières. Both artists have long-standing comic book series in France. Moebius is best known for “Blueberry” and the (French) Magazine and (US) movie Heavy Metal (1981). Mézières is best known for the “Valerian” series. Both series are still in production today. Moebius and Mezieres, who attended art school together but had never collaborated on a project until The Fifth Element (1997), started renderings for the film in the early ’90s and are responsible for the majority of the over all look of the film, including the vehicles, spacecrafts, buildings, human characters and aliens. However, only Giraud is credited, and even then he wasn’t even granted a premium when the movie was eventually produced.
  • As Korben and Leeloo approach an intersection in his cab the camera whips forward to reveal to the audience that six police cars are waiting for him ahead. In the far background, behind the police cars, is a chase between a police car and a long black car complete with muzzle flashes to represent gun fire between the two cars. Ever an eye for detail, Luc Besson noticed the embellishment the first time the visual effects shot was reviewed, thought that it was funny and it remains in the final film.
  • Part of the song that the Diva sings is from the opera “Lucia Di Lammermoor”, and very often goes by the title “The Mad Song”, as it is sung by Lucia just after she murders Arturo (whom she was forced to marry) on their wedding day – Lucia is hallucinating that she has married the man she really loves; Edgardo, her brother’s nemesis.
  • When filming began, the production decided to dye Milla Jovovich’s hair from its natural brown color to her character’s signature orange color. However, due to the fact that her hair had to be re-dyed regularly to maintain the bright color, Milla’s hair quickly became too damaged and broken to withstand the dye. Eventually a wig was created to match the color and style of Leeloo’s hair, and was used for the remainder of the production.
  • Plavalaguna, Diva’s name, is actually composed of two words: Plava and Laguna. “Plava” in Serbian, Croatian, Montenigrin, Macedonian and Bosnian language means Blue (feminine, masculine would be “plav”). “Laguna” in same languages means lagoon, though Laguna is used in English as well as in Laguna Beach, California. So her name is Blue Lagoon. (‘Mila Jovovic’ also played Lilli in Return to the Blue Lagoon (1991).)
  • When composer Eric Serra showed soprano Inva Mula (who dubs the voice of the Diva) the sheet music for the Diva Dance, she reportedly smiled and relayed to him that some of the notes written were not humanly possible to achieve because the human voice cannot change notes that fast. Hence, she performed the notes in isolation – one by one, as opposed to consecutively singing them all together and they digitized the notes to fit the music. There are a few moments when you can hear the differences in the vocal tones of The Diva’s voice.
  • WILHELM SCREAM: Heard when Zorg blows up Right Arm at the airport and when Leeloo tosses two Mangalores out of the Diva’s room.
  • Nick Dudman’s creature crew created a group of spindly, long-nosed alien garbage collectors that never made it to the final film. In the scenes at the spaceport, there’s a huge pile of garbage which has gone uncollected because the garbage collectors are on strike (as explained in some dialogue). These creatures would have been seen amidst the garbage, holding sandwich board signs reading “On strike” if they had made it to the final cut.
  • While cartoonist Jean-Claude Mézières isn’t directly credited in the movie, he is indeed the confirmed author of most sets, as his album ‘My Fifth Element’ (Mon cinquième élément) was published at the same time the movie came out in France, reusing the movie’s logo on the cover. Similarly, at the time the movie was being shot, Christin and Mézières published ‘Les cercles du pouvoir’ which contained a hovercraft taxi (which led Luc Besson to rewrite the movie’s opening scenes) and a caricature of Besson.
  • Cartoonist Jean-Claude Mézières of ‘My Fifth Element’ also says that Luc Besson approached him for ideas, telling him: “I want to make a movie based on your visuals. But I am ready to pay you for the work.” The nuance is because there has long been a controversy that many elements in the Star Wars series (several aliens, Darth Vader’s costume, Leia’s golden bikini, Han Solo’s carbonite) were lifted almost unmodified out of Valerian (in particular ‘L’Empire des Mille Planètes’, published in 1971) – of which George Lucas is known to own several original editions, as seen during interviews in his study.

Talking Points:

  • Could anyone but Chris Tucker played Ruby Rhod as well?
  • Jean-Paul Gautier’s influence on the film
  • What is the fifth element?

What We’ve Learned:

  • You can’t drink a toast with water
  • If they don’t chase you after a mile.. they don’t chase you.. wait maybe that’s two miles.
  • Life comes from disorder destruction and chaos
  • If you’re going to transport Mystic stones for the ultimate weapon against evil, hide them inside the body of an alien opera diva
  • Ugly, big forehead. big ears, must be a Mangalore
  • Mangalores won’t fight without a leader
  • Flying a starfighter is like driving a cab

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: One of my favorite films of all time. This needs to be in everyone’s DVD/Blu-Ray collections
Ray: This is what I call the perfect storm… Sci Fi action comedy’s are hard to nail.. but this one does it repeatedly.
Steve: I think it’s alright. Creative, but a schitzo film. I do really like Bruce Willis and Milla Jovovich in it!

Intermission: Favorites of the Past Present and Future

The Present: Priest
Rotten Tomatoes: 18% Rotten; 49% Audience

Director: Scott Charles Stewart

Starring: Paul Bettany, Karl Urban, Cam Gigandet, Maggie Q, Lily Collins

Trivia:

  • Director Stewart says, “The priests of our story are like Jedi knights. They have these supernatural abilities to fight vampires and they saved humanity before the movie even begins. Now, a generation later, society has moved on from war, and the priests are like pariahs. They’re almost like Vietnam vets—they’ve been cast aside by society and they’re now reviled and feared.”
  • Gerard Butler and Steven Strait were originally cast.
  • The film is based on the Korean comics Priest by Min-Woo Hyung.
  • The film diverges from the comics in following a different timeline of events. The director described Priest’s vampires as not being human in origin, and humans bitten by vampires became familiars instead. There are different forms of vampires, such as hive drones, guardians, and a queen.
  • Since the vampires were intended to move quickly, they were fully computer-generated for the film. While vampires are harmed by sunlight in most lore, the film’s vampires are instead photosensitive, being albino cave-dwellers.
  • Director Stewart said, “They are the enemy we don’t really understand, but we fought them for centuries. They are mysterious and alien, with their own culture. You sense that they think and communicate, but you don’t really understand what they are saying.”
  • The Director also called Priest an homage to The Searchers with the title character being similar to John Wayne’s character and the vampires being similar to the Comanche.
  • Priest was panned by critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 18% based on reviews from 57 critics and reports a rating average of 3.9 out of 10. It reported the overall consensus, “Priest is admittedly sleek and stylish, but those qualities are wasted on a dull, derivative blend of sci-fi, action, and horror cliches.”
  • Priest was released in the United States and Canada on May 13, 2011. The film’s release date changed numerous times in 2010 and 2011. It was originally scheduled for October 1, 2010, but it moved earlier to August 27, 2010 to fill a weekend slot when another Screen Gems film, Resident Evil: Afterlife, was postponed. When the filmmakers wanted to convert Priest from 2D to 3D, the film was newly scheduled for release on January 14, 2011. It was delayed again to May 13, 2011 so the film could attract summertime audiences.

Talking Points:

  • Mad Max meets Bladerunner meets Blade – in a Western with a steam punk twist?
  • What’s it trying to say about religion?
  • What do you think the story is trying to say? (Return from war? PTSD?)
  • Sets are awesome!

What We Learned:

  • Being a priest sucks when there is no war against the vampires!
  • Want to prove there is a vampire menace? Throw the head of one at the Pope!
  • All vampire movies must have a red-headed female character named Lucy.

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: I love post apocalyptic action movies, especially if martial arts or other hand to hand combat is involved. Wish there was more action though. Not terrible, worth seeing in the theatre in 2D otherwise, okay to waive for DVD.
Ray: This movie bored me to death.. It seems like most of the action sequences were all shown in the trailers.. nothing new to see.
Steve: I liked it…didn’t particularly care for the “vampires”, but thought the concept was cool. Enjoyed the action sequences a lot. Found it pretty thoughtful as I watched.

The Future: Transformers: Dark Of The Moon

Director: Michael Bay

Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Tyrese Gibson, Frances McDormand, John Malkovich, Ken Jeong

Trivia:

  • Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, who worked on the screenplay for the previous two films, declined to work on this film due to schedules with other films and because they “risked getting stale.”
  • When Megan Fox dropped out shortly before filming began, Gemma Arterton, Ashley Greene, Brooklyn Decker, Miranda Kerr, Bar Refaeli, Amber Heard, Camilla Belle, Katie Cassidy, Heidi Montag and Anna Kendrick were all rumored to replace her before Rosie Huntington-Whiteley was cast.
  • This is director Michael Bay’s first threequel (third instalment in a series/trilogy).
  • The Autobots have upgraded their alternate modes: – Bumblebee has received an upgrade and is now a 2011 Chevrolet Camaro – Ratchet’s color scheme now includes white and his green is more grass-green than his previous neon/yellow green – Sideswipe is now a Chevrolet Centennial Corvette convertible
  • James Avery is the second actor from “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” (1990) to star in a Michael Bay film. The first was Will Smith, who did the Bad Boys series.
  • In view of the technology’s rising popularity, Paramount/Dreamworks were adamant to have this film either shot for 3-D or converted in post-production. Director Michael Bay was initially wary of the technology, calling it a “gimmick” in various interviews and noting the poor quality of post-production conversion. Vince Pace, the co-found of PACE 3D who developed 2D and 3D cameras with James Cameron reported in July 2010 that he was working on Transformers 3 and that it will be shot in on PACE 3D cameras. However, for scenes that required higher image quality or were in slow motion, traditional anamorphic 35mm film was used and converted into 3D in post production.
  • Optimus Prime’s trailer bears a resemblance to the original one from “Transformers” (1984) with the decorative stripe running along its side.
  • Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is playing Carly, a primary character that was introduced in the second season of “Transformers” (1984).
  • During filming in Washington, DC, the 2011 Chevrolet Camaro that plays Bumblebee was struck by an metro police K-9 SUV responding to a bomb alert. The police officer involved sustained minor injuries, and Bumblebee sustained considerable damage. Filming was able to continue, as there were copies of each automobile for shooting purposes.
  • A tilting office set was constructed to simulate a Decepticon attack.
  • The Wreckers take the alternate modes of NASCAR Chevrolet Impala automobiles, resembling those of Juan Pablo Montoya (#42 Target), Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (#88 AMP Energy/National Guard) and Jimmie Johnson (#48 Lowe’s/Kobalt).
  • The “dark of the moon” is defined as a phase (approximately three days) when the light of the moon is obscured, and thus absent (i.e. a no-moon time), and precedes the new moon and the beginning of a new lunar cycle. Symbolically, it represents a time of inner stillness and contemplation, and preparedness for a new beginning.
  • The Autobot Wheeljack’s alternate mode in “Transformers” (1984) was a Lancia Stratos sportscar, but this was revised to a Mercedes-Benz E550 automobile.
  • The idea of Apollo 11 being connected to the discovery of the Transformers had been previously put forth in the Transformers (2007) tie-in prequel novel ‘Ghosts of Yesterday’.
  • Production stalled in Chicago as Gabriella Cedillo, an extra was seriously injured driving her own car as background for a stunt shot. The stunt was taking place in the opposite lane and a metal object – rigging from a snapped cable – went flying through her windshield and struck her in the skull. Cedillo suffered permanent brain damage, included left side paralysis and limited vision in her left eye. Paramount Studios provided an undisclosed amount of money to cover the cost of her medical care.
  • Corey Burton, who voiced Shockwave in “Transformers” (1984) and “Transformers: Animated” (2007), was approached to reprise Shockwave for the film, but turned it down as he’d done that role too many times. He had earlier been approached to voice Jazz and Brawl for the first film.
  • Megatron’s alternate mode in this film is a Mack Titan tanker truck, his first Earth disguise. This was chosen to put him on parallel with Optimus Prime (the filmmakers described him as “a demented version of Prime”). This mode also pays homage to the “Transformers: Robots in Disguise” (2001) Decepticon Scourge (also known in Japan as “Nemesis Prime”), who is an evil clone of Optimus Prime.
  • Michael Bay described the tone of the film as “a homeland version of Black Hawk Down (2001) with giant alien robots.”
  • Sentinel Prime is primarily based on his role in the “Transformers” comics (Optimus Prime’s yellow-colored predecessor) and his lance and shield were taken from his “Transformers: Animated” (2007) incarnation, but his later form on Earth – a red Rosenbauer Panther fire truck – is a homage to “Transformers: Robots in Disguise” (2001)’s Optimus Prime, whose alternate mode was a fire truck.
  • Laserbeak’s alternate mode in “Transformers” (1984) was a tape cassette, but that was considered old-fashioned. He retains his robotic condor form throughout the film.
  • This is the first movie that starts with Megatron being conscious. In previous installments Megatron was awaken or resurrected.
  • A Decepticon attack leaves Simmons in a wheelchair. This is a homage to Chip Chase, a wheelchair-bound human from “Transformers” (1984) who was an ally of the Autobots.
  • Michael Bay compared Megatron to Colonel Kurtz in Apocalypse Now (1979): “He’s hiding in the jungles of Africa, nursing his wounds and vainly hiding his pulverized visage while plotting – what else? – revenge!”
  • Peter Cullen’s favorite moment in the film is when Optimus Prime meets with astronaut Buzz Aldrin.

Talking Points:

  • Lots of references to old school Transformers
  • Why do all of the Decepticons look the same?
  • Transformers meets V meets Battle: LA?

Summary:

The Autobots learn of a Cybertronian spacecraft hidden on the Moon, and race against the Decepticons to reach it and learn its secrets, which could turn the tide in the Transformers’ final battle.

Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: Ooo, shiney. Here’s my money.
Ray: Im going just to watch chicago burn.
Steve: I hate Shia, but I’ll still see it.

Coming Attractions

The Past

The Present

The Future

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