MOV072: “Are These Warm Nuts?”

In this episode of COL Movies, the boys celebrate the end of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell by watching the always questionable Jake Gyllenhall in “Jarhead”. They head to the theater to check out remake of the 1971 Dustin Hoffman film “Straw Dogs”. Does moving the setting from England to Mississippi, including the appropriate accents, make the film any better? Looking into the future, they review the trailer for “Battleship”, based on the Milton Bradley game that most of us will remember. Will critics and audiences sink this battleship before it arrives in 2012? The guys bring up the most recent Netflix/Quickster news and discuss the possibility of a sequel to “Wanted”. It’s the 72nd reel of COL Movies…”Are these warm nuts?”

News:

  • Netflix/Quickster Follow up
  • Stock Price at all time low
  • Lost 9 BILLION in market value since July
  • Rumors of Amazon or Google takeover swirl!
  • Wanted 2 in the works
  • Derek Haas,with writing partner Michael Brandt, adapted the 2008 original, tweeted the following this morning:Michael and I were just hired by Uni to write WANTED 2.
  • storyline will, “take off after the events of what just happened. Pick up Wesley a few years later and go back in for another round.”
  • James McAvoy maybe… no Jolie and no Loom

The Past: Jarhead
Rotten Tomatoes: 61% Fresh, 68% Audience

Director: Sam Mendes

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Jamie Foxx and Lucas Black

Trivia:

  • Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire originally vied for the lead role in the film.
  • Scenes filmed in the Imperial Valley had the mountains in the background digitally removed. Additional desert scenes were also filmed in Mexico
  • Most of Swofford’s “anecdotes” are based on Urban Legends of the Marine Corps. He has made his unit the basis for “Did you hear about that guy who…” for most USMC legends.
  • One of the pictures on the “Wall of Shame” (just left of center) is of porn performer Kitty.
  • The word “fuck” and its variants are used 278 times in this film (38 times with the prefix “mother”).
  • Christian Bale, Emile Hirsch, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Shane West, Josh Hartnett and Joshua Jackson were both considered for the role of Swoff.
  • Michael Keaton, Kurt Russell, and Gary Oldman were all considered for the role of Lt. Col. Kazinski.
  • The soldiers watch Apocalypse Now, which was edited by Jarhead editor Walter Murch.
  • Travis Aaron Wade was considered and read for the role of Troy.
  • According to Iván Fenyö, almost 70% of his performance was cut out. Two months before the release of the movie the director phoned Ivan and told him that the studio didn’t wanted most of the lines he had in the movie. According to the actor, some of his parts was about his notices as an East-European about democracy and the Gulf War.
  • Jake Gyllenhaal’s nosebleed during the prank branding scene was digitally added in post-production.
  • Staff Sgt. Sykes, played by Jamie Foxx, originally had a tattoo of a panther on the back of his shaved head. Foxx sported it during his award sweeps for Ray. The tattoo was eventually digitally removed in post-production by director Sam Mendes, because he felt it made the character too “hard core.”
  • John Krasinski (Corporal Harrigan) wrote all of his dialog.
  • All of the sex scenes were shot the same day, leading Sam Mendes to comment, “It’s so nice to have sex today after all this war and death.”
  • While listed in the credits as Swoff’s sister, Jake Gyllenhaal’s character refers to her as Rini, which is in fact the real name of the actress who played the sister.
  • Cinematographer Roger Deakins operated the Steadicam himself in many scenes.
  • All Marines are taught to think of each other as brothers, since the production of Jarhead has wrapped, Jake Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard have actually become brothers in the real world, with the marriage of Peter Sarsgaard to Jake Gyllenhaal’s sister Maggie Gyllenhaal.
  • The sex-video breakup scene is actually a well-known urban legend that has been circulating the American military since the late 1980s.
  • A great deal of the dialog is improvised. This was a deliberate choice on the part of Sam Mendes to be a little more organic after the stylization of Road to Perdition.
  • Sam Mendes rehearsed the film with his cast for 4 weeks.
  • The interviews with the grunts were all improvised. Lucas Black was particularly uncomfortable with this as he preferred to work off a script.
  • Jake Gyllenhaal’s toilet masturbation scene was the last one filmed for the movie.
  • Jake Gyllenhaal’s audition scene was the one where he points a rifle straight into the face of one of his comrades and has a mini-breakdown. When filming this actual scene, Gyllenhaal actually knocked out one of his own teeth when he turns the gun on himself, not to mention hugely upsetting his co-star Brian Geraghty who felt that Gyllenhaal had effectively brutalized him. This led to the later scene in the film where Swofford apologizes to Geraghty’s character, a scene that wasn’t in the original screenplay. The scene helped smooth over the tense relations between the two actors.
  • Shot almost entirely in sequence.
  • The burning oil wells were all computer generated. The oil that appears on the soldiers’ faces was a concoction made from molasses.
  • After hearing how effectively “Jesus Walks” by Kanye West played over the trailer, Sam Mendes was very keen to include the track in the film as well.
  • Producers Lucy Fisher and Douglas Wick optioned Anthony Swofford’s book even before it hit the streets.
  • Screenwriter ‘William Broyles Jr’ identified in particular with Anthony Swofford’s book as a former soldier who also had a son in the armed forces.
  • Jake Gyllenhaal was convinced he had blown his audition, especially after several months had passed and he hadn’t heard back from Sam Mendes. An impassioned message left on Mendes’s voicemail swung the decision in his favor.
  • The actors all went on a four day boot camp at George Air Force Base.
  • Filming lasted five months – which is the same length of time that the soldiers in the film spent in the desert.
  • The desert locations were scouted in the summer months. When filming actually began, it was in the winter after rain, so vegetation had sprung up on what was supposed to be barren land. All of this had to be removed, often digitally.
  • Sam Mendes’s first film without cinematographer Conrad L. Hall who had died in 2002.
  • At the time of filming, Peter Sarsgaard was not yet Jake Gyllenhaal’s brother-in-law. Sarsgaard first started dating Jake’s sister, Maggie Gyllenhaal, in 2002. The couple got engaged in 2006, the same year they had a daughter and were finally married in 2009.
  • Shot on 35mm film, Walter Murch then cut it on Final Cut Pro.
  • The first major studio production to tackle the first Gulf War.
  • Jake Gyllenhaal and Chris Cooper first worked together on October Sky, although they only share one scene in this film.
  • The original screenplay contained a more pointed political stance which Sam Mendes stripped out.
  • Although it’s never mentioned how Troy died in the film, in the book it was revealed that he was killed in a car accident.

Talking Points:

  • What was the message?
  • Standout performances?
  • Today’s version of Platoon?

What We’ve Learned:

  • Your hands remember the rifle
  • Don’t get lost on the way to college.. you end up in the Marines
  • It’s not an order, it’s an opportunity
  • If the marine corps wanted you to have a wife, they will issue you one.
  • When you are a marine, there is no such thing as speech that is free
  • Every war is different, every war is the same.

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: Jake Gyllenhaal doesn’t seem to keep my attention very often. Maybe it’s his acting style. Okay movie but just . . . meh.
Ray: I get it, war is horrible.. it changes you.. it stays with you..and I feel this movie conveys that very well, but ultimately this feels too much like a “me too!” story. I empathise and honor all the service men and women that have sacrificed parts of themselves and their lives to war, but I don’t know that I need a movie that shows me that for every major conflict in our nations history.
Steve: I like it…but I’m also a fan of similar genre movies. Kinda feels like Donnie Darko in the Marines at times. I think it’s worth watching!

The Present: Straw Dogs
Rotten Tomatoes: 36% Rotten, 42% Audience

Director: Rod Lurie

Starring: James Marsden, Kate Bosworth and Alexander Skarsgård

Trivia:

  • The film, a remake of the controversially violent 1971 movie, is considered fairly faithful to Sam Peckinpah’s original, though the location has been moved from Cornwall, England to the U.S. Mississippi Gulf Coast, and the hero’s profession has been changed from mathematician to screenwriter.
  • Dustin Hoffman, who starred in (and famously disliked) the original film, gave Rod Lurie his blessing.
  • The famous quote “I will not allow violence against this house” is not in the version shown in theaters.

Talking Points:

  • The strange Juxtopositions Rape/Hunting/Football
  • The Controversy of the original.
  • Comparison to the original

What We Learned:

  • Bic needs to wear less clothing.
  • Cash – what poor people use for money
  • Nothing goes together like God and Football
  • “God works in mysterious ways” is the most dangerous phrase ever uttered

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: While I can see it being technically put together well, the script and pacing were just not doing it for me. Bic should have been wearing to much clothing. Skip it.
Ray: From a remake standpoint, this was well adapted from what I have read about the original, however I felt it was searching for it’s “controversy”
Steve: Not that I thought the original was great, but I honestly think the original made more sense than this retelling. Acting wasn’t bad, but Alexander did not seem to fit in the movie at all. Worth skipping…unless you’re going to do a compare and contrast with the original. Some contrived scenes did make me jump.

The Future: Battleship

Director: Peter Berg

Starring: Alexander Skarsgård, Liam Neeson and Taylor Kitsch

Summary:

A fleet of ships is forced to do battle with an armada of unknown origins in order to discover and thwart their destructive goals.

Trivia:

  • Jeremy Renner was cast but dropped out to do Paul Thomas Anderson’s religious movie, and was replaced by Taylor Kitsch.
  • The movie is based on the Milton Bradley game “Battleship” that has been manufactured since 1931. The original paper and pencil version of the game predates World War I.
  • Some of the artillery used in the film is shaped like the pegs used in the game.

Talking Points:

  • Why the tie in with the old game??
  • Did anyone else think this was a trailer for another transformers movie?

Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: This looks like a terrible terrible movie. I can’t wait to see it.
Ray: If someone says “You sank my battleship” in this movie.. i will hurt someone.
Steve: Not at all what I thought it would be from the visions I get from thinking about MB’s “Battleship” game. But I have to say that it caught my attention. Do I expect greatness? Not at all.

Coming Attractions:

The Past

The Present

The Future

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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

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MOV056: “I Wish I Knew How To Quit You.”

This week the boys continue their celebration of pride month by traveling back to 2005 to watch 3 time Academy Award winner “Brokeback Mountain” Is it more than just that “Gay Cowboy Movie”? Or was Jeff’s dismissal of all the movie Hype warranted? In The Present we go back to the 1960’s to dissect X-Men: First Class, does the film jump to the head of the class or is it the first summer movie dud? Then Swing with us out of the trees and into the future as we talk about the upcoming Rise of The Planet of the apes do these damn dirty apes do the franchise reboot justice? All this and news about The Fighter 2, Romeo and Juliet, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, And a possible Tarantino / DiCaprio collaboration? All this and more on this 56th reel of COL Movies.

News:

The Past: Brokeback Mountain (2005)
Rotten Tomatoes: 87% Fresh; 77% Audience

Director: Ang Lee

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Heath Ledger, Michelle Williams, Randy Quaid

Trivia:

  • According to reports, Heath Ledger nearly broke co-star Jake Gyllenhaal’s nose while filming a kissing scene.
  • According to an interview that Heath Ledger gave to the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Steven Rea, there was a sequence that was filmed for the movie in which Jack and Ennis help some hippies get their car out of a river. According to Ledger, the scene took three days to shoot and was disliked almost immediately by everyone involved. The scene was written by James Schamus as an attempt to show Jack and Ennis in a heroic situation, but it does not appear in Annie Proulx’s original short story, the published screenplay, or the final cut of the movie.
  • There were 75 visual effects shots created for the film by the Canadian house Buzz Image Group. Of these, 15 were of CGI sheep. The film called for about 2,500 sheep, but only 700 were on-set, necessitating the additional woolly creations. Also created for the film were sky replacements, set additions, erasures and the hail in the hailstorm
  • Ang Lee struggled continually with the sheep during the shoot. Apparently sheep don’t drink from running water, only ponds and dams. Ang tried all day to get the sheep to drink from a stream, but they wouldn’t oblige. He had to give up on the shot. Also, American sheep carry a bacteria/virus that Canadian sheep don’t possess. The film’s scene where two herds of sheep become mixed up had some nightmarish real-life parallels, as the Canadian government had expressly warned them of dire consequences if they caused any disease to spread to the local animals from the south-of-the-border variety.
  • According to producer James Schamus, the movie cost so little to make that it recouped its cost during its first week of limited release.
  • Banned in China because homosexuality is considered a taboo subject there.
  • Over 90% of the footage was shot within 70 feet of a road
  • Among the actors considered for the male leads were Josh Hartnett, Colin Farrell, Matt Damon, Billy Crudup, and Ben Affleck.
  • Heath Ledger was only four years older than Kate Mara, who played his daughter Alma Jr. in the movie’s last scenes (for most of the movie, Alma Jr. was played by younger baby and child actresses; Mara only played her as an older teen once the Ledger character was supposed to be in his 40s).
  • The shirts worn by the 2 actors that feature prominently in the film were sold on eBay in February 2006 for $101,100. The buyer, film historian and collector Tom Gregory, called them “the ruby slippers of our time”. In 2009, Gregory lent the shirts to The Autry National Center of the American West, a Los Angeles museum that seeks “to explore the experiences and perceptions of the diverse peoples of the American West.” Their exhibition of the shirts is part of their larger attempt to examine representations of the Western LGBT experience in history and fiction.
  • The poster for the film was deliberately styled to resemble another romantic epic, James Cameron’s Titanic (1997).
  • In March 2006 Randy Quaid filed a lawsuit against Focus Features alleging that the company had misled him into thinking that Brokeback Mountain (2005) was a low budget, art-house film with no prospect of making money. He saw this as a ruse to get him to lower his salary. At the time of the lawsuit, the film had earned more than $160 million. Quaid dropped the lawsuit in May, seemingly after Focus agreed to pay him a bonus. Focus, however, denied that any such payment ever took place, and Focus spokeswoman Adriene Bowles was quoted as saying, “the circumstances of him dropping the suit are as mysterious as the circumstances under which he filed his claim.”
  • Universal made the rare decision to release the film on DVD when it was still playing in theaters. It was also the first film to be released as a DVD and a download on the same day.

Talking Points:

  • Snubbed at the Oscars?
  • Take on the ending – Was what happened to Jack real or just what Ennis imagined.
  • were they gay cowboy’s? or bi cowboys?
  • Anyone know a gay guy named Ennis?

What We’ve Learned:

  • If your gonna be a sheep Herder, best you develop a taste for beans
  • The only point of riding rodeo is the money
  • Rodeo cowboys are all fuckups
  • You dont have to know what the Pentecost is in order to believe in it
  • Spit works….

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: I really don’t see what all the fuss was about. This movie was boring to me. I can’t really give it a recommendation either either good or bad. It was just boring.
Ray: Beautiful photography, and a heart breaking performance from Heath Ledger that can only be described as “Once in a generation” I think this is a beautifully told modern day western that makes me cry every time I watch it.
Steve: Despite being slow (like The Way Back slow), it’s an interesting take on people coming to terms with who they are in a society who teaches them they have to be something else. Makes you think.

The Present: X-Men: First Class (2011)

Rotten Tomatoes: 85% Fresh; 88% Audience

Director: Matthew Vaughn

Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence

Trivia:

  • A telepathic battle between Professor X and Emma Frost was going to be in the film, but upon the release of Inception (2010) the concept was scrapped.
  • To prepare for his role as Erik Lensherr, Michael Fassbender studied Sir Ian McKellen’s performance as Lensherr in the previous X-Films, but also looked through the comics as he decided to make his own version of Magneto: “You want to respect what someone else has done, especially because the fan base really liked what Ian has done with it. But while I could have gone and studied him as a young man and brought that to the performance, I don’t think Matthew is very interested in that. So I’m just going my own way and working with whatever is in the comic books and the script.”
  • The filmmakers had only two choices for the role of Sebastian Shaw: Colin Firth and Kevin Bacon. They decided to go with Bacon as he was American and seemed more menacing than Firth.
  • This is the second time that January Jones has been cast in 1962 opposite an actor with a pork based name. The first was in “Mad Men” (2007) opposite John Hamm and then this alongside Kevin Bacon

Talking Points:

  • Anyone ready for a X-Men film that doesn’t have Magneto in it?
  • Kevin Bacon – I had no Idea the man was in the movie until I saw it!

What We Learned:

  • Mutation Is groovy
  • Sexy Lingerie can get you in anywhere
  • True Focus Lies somewhere between Rage and Serenity
  • I’m a mutant and I’m proud – where’s my parade?

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: This was a very refreshing prequel for the X-Men Movies. I felt a very different style to this compared to the previous films which was . . . . well . . . refreshing. Go see it.
Ray: Pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this film.. went in with LOW expectations and got my ass kicked. This is a promising start to the summer movie season!
Steve: I wasn’t sure about the film’s style, but I did enjoy the movie overall. I like origin stories like this – I don’t need a 2 hour one on a single character. Kept me interested.

The Future: Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes (8/5/2011)

Director: Rupert Wyatt

Starring: James Franco, Andy Serkis, Freida Pinto

Trivia:

  • The film is not based on any specific plotline from the original series, but instead takes elements from the earlier movies to create an original origin story.
  • In a segment of a video blog post, director Rupert Wyatt commented on the originality of the plot: “This is part of the mythology and it should be seen as that. It’s not a continuation of the other films; it’s an original story. It does satisfy the people who enjoy those films. The point of this film is to achieve that and to bring that fan base into this film exactly like Batman [Begins].”
  • Director Rupert Wyatt commented: “I think we’re ending with certain questions, which is quite exciting. To me, I can think of all sorts of sequels to this film, but this is just the beginning.”
  • Screenwriter and producer Rick Jaffa has also stated that Rise of the Planet of the Apes will feature several clues as to future sequels: “I hope that we’re building a platform for future films. We’re trying to plant a lot of the seeds for a lot of the things you are talking about in terms of the different apes and so forth.”
  • According to Rick Jaffa, a version of the spaceship from the 1968 Planet of the Apes will be featured under the name Icarus in Rise of the Planet of the Apes as a hint to a possible sequel.
  • Unlike previous films in the franchise, the apes in the film will be created digitally using CGI technology, by Weta Digital.
  • Filming began in July 2010 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Filming also headed to San Francisco, California, and around O’ahu, Hawaii.

Talking Points:

  • Another reboot! After the abortion that was the last attempt at a reboot.. are you ready for this one?
  • CGI monkeys… good or bad?

Summary: An origin story set in present day San Francisco, where man’s own experiments with genetic engineering lead to the development of intelligence in apes and the onset of a war for supremacy.

Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: It’s looking good. Really don’t have any expectations for it, just would like to see it.
Ray: Feeling rather indifferent about this one, I’m a big fan of the Heston era apes movies…
Steve: Not sure about this one…I think I get the purpose, but where the hell do all the apes come from to be in the city? That was a big-ass zoo!

Coming Attractions

The Past

The Present

The Future

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MOV047: “You’re A Sexist, Egotistical, Lying, Hypocritical Bigot.”

This week we check out the classic Nine To Five, the present Jake Gyllenhaal film Source Code, and look the Kung Fu Panda 2 trailer. This plus movie news all in this reel of COL Movies.

News:

The Past: Nine to Five (1980)
Rotten Tomatoes: 88% Fresh, 69% Audience

Director: Colin Higgins

Starring: Jane Fonda, Lilly Tomlin, Dolly Parton, Dabney Coleman

Trivia:

  • Dolly Parton’s first film
  • The TWA flight shown taking Roz to the Aspen Language Center was used in reality on the ill-fated TWA 800, which exploded off of Long Island, NY
  • Violets Fantasy Characters were to reference Snow White, and Robin Hood
  • A VHS Release was planned the same day as the Theatrical release, but was pushed back 3 months due to complaints from Theater owners.

Talking Points:

  • What 3 women would you cast if this movie was made today.

What We’ve Learned:

  • Xerox Machines can be operated by morons
  • Always check for a skull and crossbones when making your bosses coffee
  • Smoking in a hospital is always acceptable
  • Doctors don’t talk to candy stripers… piss off
  • Corpse Stealing, Kidnapping, Hostage Taking, Trespassing, Signature Forging, Credit Card Stealing are all OK as long as you get your boss promoted.

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: It’s a wonderful movie. Had a bunch of parts where I wanted to run and hide but in this case, it’s all good parts of the movie. I think I need this for my collection.
Ray: Another movie I watched over and over in my childhood…
Steve: One I hadn’t watched in a long time. Definitely smiled and reminds me of the female comedies of the 80s like Outrageous Fortune, Big Business, and similar.

The Present: Source Code
Rotten Tomatoes: 90% Fresh, 87% Audience

Director: Duncan Jones

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farmiga, Jeffrey Wright

Trivia:

  • The Voice of Colter’s father on the phone was none other than Scott Bakula, from TV’s “Quantam Leap” and he started off his conversation by saying “Oh Boy” his catch phrase from the show.
  • Colter Keeps saying “Everything is going to be ok” a line he also spoke in the Alternate Reality mindbender “Donnie Darko”

Talking Points:

  • Not that you guys would notice, but I kept getting distracted by the things in Chicago that were “not quite right”
  • Quantum Leap on a Train?
  • The Doctor’s character…annoying?

What We Learned:

  • Chicago has WAY fancy commuter rail lines with huge bathrooms!

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: It’s a nice way of doing the Groundhog’s Day thing. Everything was well put together and enjoyable, just not great.
Ray: Although a bit predictable in certain respects.. it was an entertaining film.
Steve: It’s alright. Entertaining. Jake acted well.

The Future: Kung Fu Panda: The Kaboom of Doom

Starring: Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, David Cross, Lucy Liu, Dustin Hoffman, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Gary Oldman

Trivia:

  • The teaser trailer was shown with both 2D and 3D versions of the films Megamind, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, Tangled, and Justin Bieber: Never Say Never. The trailer was then released on the Internet on November 7, 2010. Three posters have been released so far.
  • The trailer was shown numerous times during the commercial breaks of the 2011 Kids Choice Awards.
  • On December 30, 2010, DreamWorks released a fifteen second TV spot for the film.
  • On February 4th, 2011, a thirty second TV spot was released on the internet, and was aired during Super Bowl XLV, on February 6th, 2011.
  • A full length theatrical trailer was shown in front of screenings of Rango and Hop. This was later uploaded on DreamWorks Animation’s YouTube page.

Talking Points:

  • Jack Black is like Will Ferrell

Summary:

Po (Jack Black), now a kung fu master, is fighting to protect the Valley of Peace alongside with Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) and the Furious Five; Monkey (Jackie Chan), Crane (David Cross), Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Viper (Lucy Liu), and Mantis (Seth Rogen), when a new evil, the emperor albino peacock Lord Shen (Gary Oldman), emerges to take over China with a weapon so powerful, it threatens the existence of kung fu itself. Po sets out with the Furious Five to vanquish this threat, but must first confront his own mysterious past in order to find the strength to succeed

Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: Skadoosh!
Ray: Yes Yes Yes!
Steve: Loved the first movie…so I’m going to take the chance on this one, despite Jack Black.

Coming Attractions

The Past

The Present

The Future

Download Podcast

MOV041: “More Human than Human”

Do androids dream of electric sheep? Can an identity be stolen completely in just a couple of days? Can you really solve a mystery by jumping back to the last 8 minutes of someone’s life? All this and news on this week’s COL Movies.

News:

The Past: Blade Runner (1982)

Director: Ridley Scott

Starring: Harrison Ford, Rutger Howard, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos

Trivia:

  • While the film is loosely based on Philip K. Dick’s “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep”, the title comes from a book by Alan Nourse called “The Bladerunner”. William S. Burroughs wrote a screenplay based on the Nourse book and a novella entitled “Blade Runner: A Movie.”Ridley Scott bought the rights to the title but not the screenplay or the book. The Burroughs composition defines a blade runner as “a person who sells illegal surgical instruments”
  • Although Philip K. Dick saw only the opening 20 minutes of footage prior to his death on March 2, 1982, he was extremely impressed, and has been quoted by Paul Sammon as saying, “It was my own interior world. They caught it perfectly.” However neither Ridley Scott nor screenwriter David Webb Peoples actually read Dick’s novel.
  • Exasperated crews often referred to the film as “Blood Runner”.
  • Titles considered for the film include ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’, ‘Android’, ‘Mechanismo’, ‘Dangerous Days’, and finally ‘Blade Runner’. After the film had changed its name from ‘Dangerous Days’ to ‘Blade Runner’, Ridley Scott decided he didn’t like the new name, and tried to call the film ‘Gotham City’, but Bob Kane (comic book creator of Batman) wouldn’t sell the rights to the name, so it returned to being called ‘Blade Runner’.
  • Originally, the novel (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?) was set in 1992, although later editions brought the date forward to 2021. The film makers initially identified the date as 2020, but settled on 2019 because 2020 sounded too much like the common term for perfect vision, 20:20.
  • Ridley Scott cast Rutger Hauer in the role of Roy Batty without actually meeting the actor. He had watched his performances in Turkish Delight (1973), Keetje Tippel (1975) and Soldier of Orange (1977) and was so impressed, he cast him immediately. However, for their first meeting, Hauer decided to play a joke on Scott and he turned up wearing huge green sunglasses, pink satin pants and a white sweater with an image of a fox on the front. According to production executive Katherine Haber, when Scott saw Hauer, he literally turned white.
  • Ridley Scott actually turned down directorial duties on the project as he was about to begin work on another science fiction adaptation, Dune

Talking Points:

  • All the different versions, deleted scenes not withstanding do you feel the studio was right in insisting Ridley Scott put Harrison Ford’s voice over into the movie?
  • Theatrical Release
  • International Release
  • Directors Cut
  • Final Cut
  • Work-print
  • Was this the Inception of its day? (controversy wise, not popularity wise) Is Deckard a replicant or no? Even the cast doesn’t agree…. Scott says yes, Ford and Hauer say no.

What We’ve Learned:

  • In 8 years, Los Angeles will somehow merge into Detroit
  • In 8 years we will have flying cars
  • The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long
  • Nothing is worse than having an itch that you can never scratch
  • “It’s time to die!”
  • It sucks to only have 4 years to live.
  • Adama is good at Origami

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: A sci-fi classic. Must have for any geek.
Ray: A very cerebral sci-fi flick, I don’t think anyone has nailed sci-fi / noir quite as well as this movie. still holding up after almost 30 years!
Steve: Always an amazing movie. However…this particular cut leaves some WTF moments. All depends on which version you cherish.

The Present: Unknown

Director: Juame Collet-Serra

Starring: Liam Neeson, Diane Kruger, January Jones, Aiden Quinn

Trivia:

  • Principal photography took place in early 2010 in Berlin, Germany, and in the Studio Babelsberg film studios.
  • The bridge the taxi plunges from is the Oberbaumbrücke.
  • The Friedrichstraße was blocked for several nights for the shooting of a car chase.
  • Some of the shooting was done in the Hotel Adlon. Other locations include the Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin Central Station, Berlin Friedrichstraße station, Pariser Platz, Museum Island, the Oranienburger Straße in Berlin, and the Leipzig/Halle Airport.
  • According to Andrew Rona, the budget was $40 million. Dark Castle Entertainment contributed $30 million and German public film funds supported the production with €4,65 million (more than $6 million).
  • The film has received mixed to positive reviews, scoring 56% on Rotten Tomatoes, with an average score of 5.8/10, with the general consensus being “Liam Neeson elevates the proceedings considerably, but Unknown is ultimately too derivative — and implausible — to take advantage of its intriguing premise”.
  • Considerable praise has been placed on Neeson in the lead role and the unique premise of the film, and has comparisons with Neeson’s 2008 film Taken.
    * Richard Roeper gave the film a B+, reflecting “At times, Unknown stretches plausibility to the near breaking point, but it’s so well paced and the performances are so strong and most of the questions are ultimately answered. This is a very solid thriller.”

Talking Points:

  • So.. we figured this one out a long time ago.. but there was still a twist.

What We Learned:

  • Ask enough questions and the man who is lying will change his story
  • Germans are good at forgetting
  • Sentiment is always the first thing to go.
  • Don’t get your cyanide mixed up with your afternoon tea
  • There are obviously no patrol cars anywhere in Berlin

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: It’s a movie with a nice twist and resolution. Just wish it was better written.
Ray: Not Brilliant, Not Horrible, Once I got over the whole Total Recall thing and just relaxed.. it was entertaining. actors do a good job,… there is a twist at the end if you can stay entertained long enough to stay to the end.
Steve: I was a bad, bad movie reviewer. Life got in the way… I repent!

The Future: Source Code (4-1-2011)

Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, Vera Farminga

Trivia:

  • Topher Grace was considered for lead

Talking Points:

  • A dark version of groundhog day?

Summary:
An action thriller centered on a soldier who wakes up in the body of an unknown man and discovers he’s part of a mission to find the bomber of a Chicago commuter train.

Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: Interesting, feels like it might be a good movie, but feeling like it might go horribly wrong.
Ray: I think it looks entertaining, enough to go see.. which is why i put it on our list 😀
Steve: Very Groundhog’s Day meets Quantum Leap…but with a higher budget. Looks interesting and seems like something I’d enjoy.

Coming Attractions
The Past

The Present

The Future

Download Podcast