MOV110: “Gunter glieben glauben globen”

It’s the 3rd week into our annual pride month extravaganza, and this week we are double fisting it! First we take a double jump into the past, examining the life and times of 1970’s activist and first openly gay politician Harvey Milk in Gus Van Sant’s 2008 film “Milk” Next up we jump back to the present by examining the film version of the Broadway musical “Rock of Ages”. Was this film truly Built on Rock and Roll? or will it have us heading for a heartbreak? Finally we take a look at yet another remake as we strap ourselves into the memory blender of “Total Recall” Is this a total retelling or a total ripoff? Rob Zombie is finally making something other than a Horror film, Paul Verhoeven is gearing up to make a film about Christ, and Angelina Jolie gets in on the fairy tale action all this plus more on the 110th reel of COL Movies, ““Gunter glieben glauben globen”

News:

The Past: Milk
Rotten Tomatoes: 94% Fresh; 84% Audience

Director: Gus Van Sant

Featuring: Sean Penn, Josh Brolin, Emile Hirsch, James Franco,

Trivia:

  • Matt Damon was originally cast as Dan White, but had to back out due to scheduling conflicts with Green Zone.
  • Thousands of people agreed to take part in the film as extras for free.
  • The filming location for Harvey Milk’s business, Castro Camera, was the real storefront where the actual business had once been. At the time of filming (mid-2008), it was a gift shop called “Given”; the film crew worked with the owner of the gift shop to recreate the look of Milk’s camera store inside the space and restored it to its 2008 appearance after filming.
  • During a July 2008 interview with the Orange County Register about Pineapple Express, the interviewer told Seth Rogen and James Franco that he prepared for the interview by watching the classic stoner comedy Fast Times at Ridgemont High the night before. When he asked Rogen and Franco if they prepared likewise before making Pineapple Express, Franco said he prepared by making out with Spicoli (a reference to his having shot Milk, in which he and Sean Penn play lovers).
  • It was widely reported that while filming a scene at the old Castro Camera, some of the actors claimed that they saw a man come in and sit on a couch. After the scene was filmed, nobody else claimed to have seen the man, and the actors themselves went on to claim that it was perhaps the ghost of Harvey Milk.
  • Director Gus Van Sant has been involved with the making of Harvey Milk projects for over fifteen years. For his unsuccessful attempt to film The Mayor of Castro Street (2011) in the early 1990s, many actors were under consideration for the role of Harvey Milk including Robin Williams, Richard Gere, Daniel Day-Lewis, and James Woods.
  • Veteran police officer and actor Brian Danker, seen in this movie in his first speaking role in the homicide scene, actually served in Vietnam from 1970 to 1971 in the same unit as Dan White – the 173rd Airborne.
  • During the filming of the scene in which Dan White’s son Charles is christened, the real Charles White was on the set.
  • On Roger Ebert’s year-end list of the 20 best movies of 2008. Ebert did not rank his picks this year, opting instead for an alphabetical list. (He later said that Milk was the most deserving of all the Best Picture Oscar nominees.)
  • On the American Film Institute’s year-end list of the 10 best movies of 2008 (this list is decided by a group of film scholars, journalists, and professionals, including Jeanine Basinger, Mark Harris, Elvis Mitchell, Daniel Petrie Jr., Richard Schickel, Robert Towne, and Leonard Maltin).
  • Number 2 on Lisa Schwarzbaum’s Entertainment Weekly Magazine list of the 10 best movies of 2008.
  • Number 9 on Owen Gleiberman’s Entertainment Weekly Magazine list of the 10 best movies of 2008.
  • Sean Penn’s cosmetic transformation in the film included a prosthetic nose and teeth, contact lenses and a redesigned hairline. His makeup was done by Academy Award winner Stephan Dupuis.
  • Actor Denis O’Hare who plays anti-gay Senator John Briggs in the film is in reality openly gay.
  • The real Cleve Jones has a cameo in the film as Don Amador.
  • The apartment that was used in the film is the real apartment Harvey Milk lived in on the Lower Haight in San Francisco.
  • Scott Smith’s last name is never mentioned until the epilogue, and Jack Lira’s last name is only given in the credits.
  • When Gus Van Sant was planning a biopic of Milk in the early 90’s he offered the part of Cleve Jones to River Phoenix, who he had just worked with on My Own Private Idaho.
  • Sean Penn became only the ninth actor to win two Academy Awards for Best Actor after winning for this movie.
  • Josh Brolin doesn’t appear until 45 minutes into the movie.
  • The last public appearance of Harvey Milk’s life, two days before he was killed, was attending a San Francisco Opera performance of Puccini’s opera “Tosca” featuring the legendary Italian soprano Magda Olivero. Not only is this event depicted in the movie, but it was in honor of that appearance that the filmmakers chose to use “Tosca” for all the operatic music heard in the film.
  • After his first kissing scene with James Franco, Sean Penn texted his ex-wife Madonna saying, “I just broke my cherry kissing a guy.” (Her texted response: “Congratulations.”)
  • Bradley Cooper auditioned for the role of Scott Smith.
  • Chris Evans auditioned for the role of Scott Smith, but lost out to James Franco.
  • The movie starts out with Harvey talking into a tape recorder on November 18, 1978; that is the day that the Jonestown Massacre happened.
  • During the sequence dealing with Proposition 6, one of Milk’s friends says “Even Reagan doesn’t support it.” Former Governor Ronald Reagan was so opposed to the measure that he publicly went against the Republican Party on the issue, even though he had been mentioned as a serious candidate for the Presidential election in 1980 and risked alienating his conservative support base. His support was given a great deal of credit for Proposition 6’s defeat and contributed to his growing national profile ahead of his two elections as President of the United States.
  • Josh Brolin, who played Dan White, was welcomed by the gay community and given praise for portraying “The most hated man in San Francisco’s history”.
  • Carol Ruth Silver: The real Carol Ruth Silver has a cameo in the film as Thelma.
  • Dustin Lance Black: The screenwriter appears as one half of the couple that walks by the Castro camera shop after it’s closed, when Harvey Milk is inside and one of the men asks if Harvey was going to win this time.
  • Tom Ammiano: The California Assemblyman and former San Francisco Supervisor plays himself. He was a founder in the No On 6 Campaign.
  • At the end of the film, images of the actors costumed as their characters are replaced by photographs of the real people the actors portrayed. Many of these photos were taken by Daniel Nicoletta, who is the photographer played by Lucas Grabeel in the movie.
  • Daniel Nicoletta: The real Danny Nicoletta has a cameo in the film as the person in Harvey Milk’s office before Milk gets assassinated by Dan White. In real life, Nicoletta was the last person to speak to Harvey Milk in his office at San Francisco City Hall, just before his assassination.

Talking Points:

  • Do we need a Harvey these days?
  • Franco’s performance
  • The “we are going to pull you out of the closet” agenda
  • The Times of Harvey Milk

Critic Notes

  • Positives: Penn and the ensemble cast are amazing; A passionate history lesson; A master class in how a biopic should be done; The first solid film to discuss the gay rights movement
  • Negatives: Undersells the importance of the title character; How dare Hollywood take 30 years to show this important figure in history

What We Learned:

  • You can’t be both a political activist and a republican
  • If your gonna get elected in San Francisco you need the Old Queen vote
  • You have to give people a reason for optimism
  • You cannot live on hope alone, but without hope life is not worth living.

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: An extremely well done docudrama by Gus Van Sant with excellent performances all around. Definitely a must see for anyone.
Ray: I’m a bad gay for not really knowing the story of Harvey Milk prior to watching this film, but it is definitely a good film with some outstanding performances especially by Penn and Franco. I recommend everyone should watch this at least once.
Steve: While good, it dragged for me. I though Penn was awesome and I really felt for the struggle the whole group went through as they tried to make headway. I may not agree with all of Milk’s politics, but I appreciate that someone took a stand to try and make change.

The Present: Rock of Ages

Rotten Tomatoes: 41% Rotten; 64% Audience

Director: Adam Shankman

Starring: Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Russel Brand, Alec Baldwin, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Paul Giamatti, Tom Cruise, Mary J Blige

Trivia:

  • Will Ferrell and Steve Carrell were considered to play Dennis Dupree.
  • Taylor Swift was considered to play Sherrie, but Julianne Hough was cast.
  • Anne Hathaway and Amy Adams were offered the role of Constance, but both declined due conflicting schedule for a superhero film. Hathaway was busy shooting The Dark Knight Rises and Adams was shooting Man of Steel. Malin Akerman, who appeared in Watchmen, was ultimately cast.
  • Gwyneth Paltrow and Olivia Wilde were considered for the role of Constance Sack before Malin Akerman was cast.
  • Constantine Maroulis plays a record executive in this film. He originated the role of Drew Boley in the Broadway production and was nominated for the 2009 Tony Award for Best Leading Actor in a Musical for his performance.
  • The scene set under the Hollywood sign was actually shot on a garbage dump landfill in Pompano Beach, Florida.
  • In the “song duel” outside the club, the anti-rock protesters, who are obviously modeled on the Parents’ Music Resource Center (the group who imposed the “Parental Advisory” warning stickers on recordings), sing Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It.” In real life, Dee Snider of Twisted Sister was one of the PMRC’s most outspoken critics and testified against their proposals in the September 1985 Senate hearings.
  • Cameos
  • Eli Roth: the music video director for the Z Boyeezz’s music video.
  • Kevin Cronin: lead singer of the band REO Speedwagon, singing “We Built This City” with the people supporting The Bourbon Room.
  • Nuno Bettencourt: former guitarist/vocalist for the band Extreme (Who’s song “More Than Words” is featured in the film.), singing “We Built This City” with the supporters of The Bourbon Room.
  • Debbie Gibson: in the crowd of Bourbon Room supporters singing “We Built This City”.

Talking Points:

  • Did it feel like they were cramming as much music in there just to do it?
  • Emotional connections, or lack there of.

Critic Notes

  • Positives: Cruise has the outstanding performance of the movie; It’s just fun – don’t take it too seriously; The actors seem to be having a good time; The production value of the songs and situations is very good
  • Negatives: Nothing more than movie star karaoke; Only keeps your toes tapping rather than bringing the audience to its feet; Takes itself too seriously when it should be poking fun at the cheesy excess of the 80s rocker lifestyle

What We Learned:

  • Taxes are so un-rock and roll.
  • You can’t trap a fire phoenix
  • The devil’s not qualified to close vaginas.
  • Concrete balls are very heavy
  • Z is a very popular letter among 14 to 21 year olds
  • No matter who’s singing it or why… Jefferson Starship is NOT ROCK AND ROLL.

Trailer:

Recommendations :
Jeff: An extremely mediocre movie that is just fun to see reminiscing about the rock of the 1980s. Probably worth seeing for anyone who lived through the era and exposed to it via personally or through older siblings. Well done, but not good enough to say you have to see it at the theater.
Ray: Goes to show that no matter how hard your try (or don’t) good music (I’m a child of the 80’s) cannot save a horrible horrible movie. Mostly Hollow performances from the leads with the exception of Tom Cruise and a monkey. I would say avoid at all costs unless you watch it on netflix.
Steve: I think I would have preferred to see the play than the movie. It was cute, but I can see it more like a Rocky Horror sing-a-long type movie than a serious film. Baldwin should never be allowed to sing again. If you want to see it, just wait until it’s on video and sing along at your home.

The Future: Total Recall

Release: August 3rd, 2012

Director: Len Wiseman

Starring: Colin Farrell, Bokeem Woodbine, Bryan Cranston

Summary:

As the nation states Euromerica and New Shanghai vie for supremacy, a factory worker begins to suspect that he’s a spy, though he is unaware which side of the fight he’s on

Talking Points

Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: It looks kinda cool but not really thrilled to see it. I’d be okay to see it though, could be a nice comparison to the Arny version.
Ray: It’s starting to get some bad word of mouth on the net mainly due to the comparison trailer above, but I’m still pretty excited for this. I love Verhoeven though.. even cheesy horrible Verhoeven hopefully this film will do something to surprise me and keep me from comparing it to the original.
Steve: I just don’t know yet. I am very happy with the original and it’s cheesiness. Add in some bullet time and updated technology and that’s all I think that will be improved on the original.

The Past:

The Present:

The Future:

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MOV108: “White Trash Even Feels Sorry For Me!”

The boys kick off their annual tribute to Pride Month with a look back at Del Shores’ play brought to the big screen in “Sordid Lives”. From there, they head to the theater to see if Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones still have it in the 3rd installment of the “Men in Black” franchise. In trailer-land, you know it’s a Steve-based show when they are forced to see another trailer for a based on true events paranormal flick…and this time it’s “The Apparition”. All this and news about a Justice League film, all you need to know about the Alien universe before you see “Prometheus”, as well as a Foo Fighter gets a big role. It’s the 108th reel of COL Movies…”White Trash Even Feels Sorry For Me!”

News:

The Past: Sordid Lives (2000)
Rotten Tomatoes: 37% Rotten; 86% Audience

Director: Dell Shores

Starring: Delta Burke, Bonnie Bedelia, Leslie Jordan, Beau Bridges, Kirk Geiger, Sarah Hunley, Beth Grant, Ann Walker and Olivia Newton-John

Trivia:

  • The original stage play premiered in Los Angeles on May 11, 1996 and ultimately won 14 Drama League Awards.
  • This film contains many of the original actors from the long running stage-production, with the actors who originated the Bonnie Bedelia and Beau Bridges roles (Mary Margaret Lewis and Mitch Carter) playing the receptionist Ethel and security guard in the mental institution.
  • Delta Burke’s role was originally suppose to be played as a larger woman, but when she showed up on the set having lost a lot of weight, a pivotal scene was played as if she had lost the weight, but her neglectful husband hadn’t noticed. (The role was originally to be played by Patrika Darbo.)
  • To keep the stories going, Logo produced twelve episodes of Sordid Lives: The Series. The television version begins at a point before that covered in the film, with Rue McClanahan as the mother, Peggy Ingram. Much of the film cast returned, including Leslie Jordan and Olivia Newton-John. Delta Burke was replaced with Caroline Rhea, while the part of Ty Williamson, formerly played by Kirk Geiger, is now portrayed by director Del Shores’ husband Jason Dottley.
  • Dottley has been on the national tour of the stage production of Sordid Lives since September 2007.
  • The television series began airing in July 2008. It ended after one season.

Talking Points:

  • Does it feel too much like a play?…flow.
  • Acting.
  • Ty’s coming out story
  • Brother Boy’s role in the film

Critic Notes

  • Positives: A trainwreck you can’t help but watch, While the film has large flaws the laughs are just as big!
  • Negatives: Shrill and unfunny, clumsily acted, did not translate well from play to screen, the straight-to-video quality is apparent with poor set choices, overacting, and too much going on.

What We Learned:

  • Any man who hits a woman is no man at all.
  • If you’re gonna play a homosexual, don’t waste it on theater.
  • When escaping the booby hatch, make sure to wear flats.
  • When in the house of the lord, cover up your titties.
  • Thelma was the one with the shitty husband.
  • Turn on the light when you get up to go to the bathroom!

Trailer:

Trailer provided by Video Detective

Recommendations:
Jeff: *clears throat* “Good lord this has a star studded cast. One of the best parts about this film is that the actors know exactly what this film is and act it out exactly how it should be. This is a fun romp around a serious situation but you cannot help but enjoy the film. Olivia Newton-John’s part is minimal, seems like she’s just there to sing, but the little nuances she puts in there are perfect. I think this movie would surprise and delight most straight people as well. I can’t recommend this enough.” Hmm, how come I feel like I’m repeating myself.
Ray: I really enjoyed the story, and would have loved to have seen the actual play. The “Shot on handycam” feel was a bit of a bummer, but I’m able to overlook that. I kinda wish maybe someone would attempt to re-make this. Highly recommended.
Steve: It’s not a conventional film and that’s why I like it. I can look at this film and see characters from throughout my Tennessee family. Steel Magnolias in a trailer park! Love it!

Flickchart

The Present: Men In Black III
Rotten Tomatoes: 69% Fresh; 75% Audience

Director: Barry Sonnenfeld

Starring: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones and Josh Brolin

Trivia:

  • Michael Bay expressed interest in directing.
  • Screenwriter David Koepp, who was originally involved with Men in Black II but left to write Spider-Man, signed on permanently for this film.
  • Sacha Baron Cohen was considered for the role of Boris.
  • This is Will Smith’s first film in 3.5 years, since the release of Seven Pounds in December 2008. This is the longest he has gone without appearing in a movie since his film career started in 1993.
  • Gemma Arterton was originally cast as young Agent O, but scheduling conflicts prevented Arterton from taking the role.
  • Josh Brolin plays a younger version of Tommy Lee Jones’s character Agent K. Brolin’s wife Diane Lane appeared with Jones in Lonesome Dove. In the sequel Streets of Laredo, Lane’s role was taken over by Sissy Spacek, who played Tommy Lee Jones’s wife in Coal Miner’s Daughter and is the cousin of MIB co-star Rip Torn.
  • The previous film Men in Black II released the same year as Spider-Man. This film, the sequel, releases ten years later; the same year as the reboot The Amazing Spider-Man.
  • This is the second threequel Steven Spielberg produced that involves Apollo 11 in its storyline. The first was Transformers: Dark of the Moon which focused on a Transformer ship discovered by Apollo.
  • According to the trailer Agent J travels from 2012 to 1969, 43 years into the past. He wakes up and sees a young Agent K, played by Josh Brolin. Brolin is only 21 years and 5 months younger than Tommy Lee Jones, who plays the older Agent K.
  • Yuri Lowenthal, who voices Knuckles the graffiti alien, had voiced Ben Tennyson in the Ben 10 cartoons; the Tennyson family is connected to the Plumbers, an organization similar to the Men in Black.
  • Special makeup effects artist Rick Baker makes a cameo in the film as an alien with an exposed cranium.
  • Will Smith’s personal makeup artist Judy Murdock appears as a blue-skinned alien.
  • Nicole Scherzinger listened to Led Zeppelin to get her in the mood for the role of Lily Poison.
  • The number CRM-114 makes two appearances in this movie in the form of text that appears on the outside wall of the Lunar Max prison (seen after Boris breaks out) and the ID for the bunker on the beach at Cape Canaveral. These numbers are a nod to director Stanley Kubrick, who used this number in his movie Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb.
  • The zip line escape system shown at the Apollo launch pad really did exist. It was installed for the Apollo program and enhanced for the Space Shuttle program. In some pre-launch emergency scenarios, the crew would have ridden steel cages down the zip lines to explosion-proof bunkers. Astronauts practiced using the system as part of their training, but it was never used in an actual emergency.
  • Will Arnett plays J’s alternate timeline partner, Agent AA.
  • Lady Gaga appears on a holographic monitor as Agent J searches for Agent K in the MIB headquarters.
  • Director Barry Sonnenfeld appears on screen as one of the people watching the Apollo 11 launch on a couch, drinking a cup of coffee.
  • The film’s premise was first proposed to director Barry Sonnenfeld by Will Smith during the filming of Men in Black II in 2002, with Smith suggesting that his character, Agent J, travel back in time to save his partner, Agent K, while at the same time exploring Agent K’s backstory. Sonnenfeld said the idea “turned out to be a very long process of development, mainly because of the knotting [sic] issues of time travel…”.
  • Unlike the first two films, Men in Black 3 was filmed in 3D
  • For the film, the Ford Taurus SHO was selected as the MIB’s official car, replacing the Ford LTD Crown Victoria and Mercedes-Benz E-Class from the first two films. For the 1969 scenes, a 1964 Ford Galaxie was used as the MIB’s official car.
  • This is the first time Frank the Pug was absent in a Men in Black movie, as well as Chief Zed or Jack Jeebs. Zed is written in the story as having passed away and immortalized at MIB Headquarters. A portrait of Frank can also be seen in J’s apartment. An advertisement for Frank the talking dog can be seen as Agent J enters Coney Island.
  • Both Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones have said that they would “consider” appearing in a Men in Black 4. Director Barry Sonnenfeld joked, “…for Men in Black 4, Will is out and [his son] Jaden Smith is in.” Jones said it would be “easy to pick up where we left off. We know what we are doing, we know how to do it. It’s just a hell of a lot of fun.”

Talking Points:

  • Entertaining?
  • What was up with TLJ’s Face?!
  • Acting
  • Did the storyline (aka ending especially) surprise you?
  • How does it compare for you to the other 2?

Critic Notes

  • Positives: Entertaining, better than MIB2, Josh Brolin’s impression of Tommy Lee Jones was excellent, Nice shot in the arm for a dead franchise, Better than the first one! (Ebert)
  • Negatives: Lifeless and pointless, simply made to be a summer blockbuster to bring in cash, all the excitement of the movie and CGI could not make up for a pointless story

What We Learned:

  • There are things out there that you don’t need to know about.
  • To time jump, you really have to jump.
  • All models are aliens.
  • The bitterest truth is better than the sweetest lie.
  • Sugar (Regret?) is the most destructive power in the universe.
  • A miracle is something that seems impossible but happens anyway.
  • The secret to living a happy life is not asking the questions you don’t want answers to.
  • Trust the pie

Trailer:

Recommendations :
Jeff: I’m just a fan of the Men In Black movie. The Men In Black movies have a certain style which I always enjoy. I feel biased in saying, totally go see it. 3D is okay but there really isn’t much to it.
Ray: ugh. I had a hard time with this one.. it felt very much pieced together and sloppy. Josh Brolin was AMAZING as a young Tommy Lee Jones though. I’d say skip it and wait for Blu-Ray or netflix.
Steve: I found it to be entertaining and much better than the 2nd installment. Where the first one really set the tone, this one should have probably followed it so that you were more invested in the characters and their stories, before the 2nd movie came along. I have to admit I was surprise they decided to “reinvigorate” this franchise, but it’s a nice way to end it.

The Future: The Apparition

Release: August 24, 2012

Director: Todd Lincoln

Starring: Ashley Greene, Sebastian Stan and Tom Felton

Summary:

When frightening events start to occur in their home, a young couple discovers they are being haunted by a presence that was accidentally conjured during a university parapsychology experiment. The horrifying apparition feeds on their fear and torments them no matter where they try to run. Their last hope is an expert in the supernatural, but even with his help they may already be too late to save themselves from this terrifying force and death.

Talking Points

Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: Is it just me or do trailers for horror movies just make me yawn. Same old, same old.
Ray: Looks like it could have some good scares.. which to me is what it’s all about. The trick is not giving away all the good ones in the trailer. I would watch this, not sure I’d go out of my way to see it in the theater, but Id definitely watch it on the home theater system.
Steve: OK…it’s not anything amazing. But, I did like that it seems to take the haunting genre into a different place. I thought it was an interesting premise, although I doubt it will take it to new heights. I am over the “true events” side of things, though. If you can’t give me the background – leave it be.

The Past:

The Present:

The Future: The Hobbit

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MOV088: “This is no time to talk about time. We don’t have the time!”

In this reel of COL Movies, the boys go into the future to go back in time to play with the Borg in “Star Trek: First Contact”. Upon returning to the present, they head to the theater to see Mark Wahlberg’s “Contraband”. As for the future, they once again head to the present to go back in time to check out the trailer for “Men In Black III”. In news, they do some Muppet Blu-Ray release talk, and a crowd sourced Star Wars remake? All this and Steven has skype issues on the 88th reel of COL Movies, “Timeline? This is no time to talk about time. We don’t have the time!”

News:

The Past: Star Trek: First Contact(1996)

Rotten Tomatoes: 92% Fresh, 83% Audience

Director: Jonathan Frakes

Starring: Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, LaVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, Marina Sirtis, James Cromwell

Trivia:

  • For inspiration prior to filming, director Jonathan Frakes says he viewed the films Alien, Aliens, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Blade Runner, and Jaws.
  • The Borg makeup and suits had to be constantly touched up. Several of the Borg actors lost a considerable amount of weight while in costume due to the heat of the sets and temperature in L.A. during the shooting.
  • At the end of filming, actor/director Jonathan Frakes got the nickname: “Two takes Frakes” because of the efficiency of his style.
  • The deflector dish is labeled AE35, the name of a component of a satellite dish in 2001: A Space Odyssey.
  • The USS Defiant introduced in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was built for the sole purpose to fight and defeat the Borg. This movie features the only time the ship fights the Borg.
  • When Dr. Crusher says “In the 21st century, the Borg are still in the Delta Quadrant”, it was intended as a teaser for upcoming episodes of Star Trek: Voyager, in which The Borg were featured prominently.
  • The eyepieces of the Borg flash the Morse code of the names of people associated with the production.
  • Certain USS Enterprise bridge set pieces from previous Star Trek movies were built into parts of the Enterprise-E bridge. These pieces include the turbolift foyers, which are the only surviving parts of the set from the first Star Trek movie, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and the aft master display station, which was a piece of the Enterprise-A bridge set originally built for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.
  • The first Star Trek movie to receive an MPAA rating higher than PG.
  • In an early draft of the screenplay, the character Lt. Hawk (Neal McDonough) was gay, and therefore was to have been the first openly gay character in any Star Trek series or movie; however, any reference to his sexual orientation was excised from later drafts of the screenplay. Lt. Hawk was later confirmed as having been gay in the Star Trek tie-in novel Section 31: Rogue by Andy Mangels and Michael A. Martin.
  • The “first contact” in this movie takes place at a “missile silo in Montana”. Montana’s missile base is Malmstrom AFB in Great Falls, Montana, site of many of the more famous “UFO” sightings over the past few decades.
  • Cochrane asks La Forge, “Don’t you people in the 24th Century ever pee?” This is a reference to the fact that toilets are never shown in the series.
  • 5th April, 2063 – First Contact day – will be a Thursday.
  • The Borg Queen was created because the writers were having difficulty in writing dialogue for what was intended to be the Borg’s central computer.
  • The eyepiece of one of the Borg contains the front canopy of a ‘Star Wars TIE Fighter’ toy made by Kenner
  • The film was released on November 22, 1996, the anniversary of the date that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and the characters land on Earth on April 4, 2063, the anniversary of the date that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated.
  • In this film, the EMH says “I’m a doctor, not a doorstop”. This is a nod to Dr. McCoy from the original series. Whenever McCoy was given a non-medical task, he would say “I’m a doctor, not a… (bricklayer, moon shuttle conductor, escalator, etc.)”
  • One of only three Star Trek movies to have any swear words spoken. The others are Star Trek: The Voyage Home, and Star Trek: Generations. In each case, the cursing was a single use of the “s**t” word.
  • Alice Krige suffered much discomfort throughout the film. Her costume was too tight, causing blisters, and the silver contacts she had to wear were so painful they could only be kept in for four minutes at a time.
  • Geordi LaForge’s visor is replaced here with “ocular implants.” LeVar Burton lobbied for years to have his visor replaced so people could see his eyes. He always felt it limited his acting ability. His request was finally granted here.
  • One of the reasons Jonathan Frakes was chosen to direct was because the producers wanted someone who understood Star Trek. Indeed, amongst the cast, he was the show’s most prolific director. Reportedly, Ridley Scott and John McTiernan both turned down the chance to direct.

Talking Points:

  • Did y’all know that Lt. Hawk was a homo? The Character not the Actor.
  • Did this feel like a movie or an episode?
  • Did the Vulcan ship get moved?

What We’ve Learned:

  • Resistance is not Futile
  • Touch can change your perception of an object.
  • If your going to issue in an era of peace, pick something ironic to do it with, like a weapon of mass destruction.
  • Borg Implants have been known to cause severe skin irritations
  • Don’t go criticizing Counselor Troi’s Counseling Technique.
  • The Borg.. are definitely not Swedish.
  • With the safeties off even a holographic bullet can kill
  • Believing one self to be perfect is often the sign of a delusional mind
  • For an Android, 0.68 seconds is nearly an eternity

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: This is my favorite Trek movie followed closely by Wrath of Kahn. Almost wish there was more of the Enterprise in action but it worked very well for a TNG movie.
Ray: Not my favorite trek movie, but it was the first with the TNG cast that truly felt cinematic in it’s scope. I think this one is pretty accessible to non Trek fans even without knowing the whole Borg/Picard/Locutus back-story in detail.
Steve:

The Present: Contraband
Rotten Tomatoes: 46% Rotten, 75% Audience

Director: Baltasar Kormákur

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Giovanni Ribisi and Kate Beckinsale

Trivia:

  • Baltasar Kormákur, director of the film, was the lead actor of the original film, Reykjavik-Rotterdam, playing the same role as Mark Wahlberg.
  • This is Baltasar Kormákur’s first Hollywood movie.

Talking Points:

  • Giovanni Ribisi’s side burns and voice.
  • Shaky out of focus camera

What We Learned:

  • You got a spend a little money to make money
  • If you wanna make a run, you better pay your fare.

Trailer:

Recommendations :
Jeff: I actually enjoyed the movie. Which was a surprise since it felt a little Gone In 60 Seconds. Giovanni Ribisi’s side burns and voice annoyed me though. Not a waste of money to see in the theater but you can wait for the DVD.
Ray: Somewhat enjoyable, if not predictable. Yes it is the smuggling version of GISS. But nothing in it like Fancy cars to make it really enjoyable for me.
Steve:

The Future: Men In Black III

Release: May 25, 2012

Director: Barry Sonnenfeld

Starring: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones and Josh Brolin

Summary:

Agent J travels in time to MIB’s early years in the 1960s, to stop an alien from assassinating his friend Agent K and changing history.

Trivia:

  • Michael Bay expressed interest in directing.
  • Screenwriter David Koepp, who was originally involved with Men in Black II but left to write Spider-Man, signed on permanently for this film.
  • Sacha Baron Cohen was considered for the role of Boris.
  • Betty White was originally rumored to have a role.
  • This is Will Smith’s first film in 3.5 years, since the release of Seven Pounds in December 2008. This is the longest he has gone without appearing in a movie since his film career started in 1993.
  • Gemma Arterton was originally cast as young Agent O, but scheduling conflicts prevented Arterton from taking the role.
  • Josh Brolin plays a younger version of Tommy Lee Jones’s character. Brolin’s wife, Diane Lane, appeared with Jones in ‘Lonesome Dove (1989)(TV)’. In the sequel, ‘Streets of Laredo (1995)(TV)’, Lane’s role was taken over by Sissy Spacek, who played Tommy Lee Jones’s wife in Coal Miner’s Daughter, and is the cousin of cast member Rip Torn.
  • The previous film Men in Black II released the same year as Spider-Man. This film, the sequel, releases ten years later; the same year as the reboot The Amazing Spider-Man.
  • This is the second threequel Steven Spielberg produced that involves Apollo 11 in its storyline. The first was Transformers: Dark of the Moon which focused on a Transformer ship discovered by Apollo.

Talking Points:

  • Is this necessary? Did this franchise need a sequel.

Trailers:

Excitement:
Jeff: I’ve always been a fan of the MIB movies. Excited for another one.
Ray: Been a fan, but not sure the series needs another movie. I do like the fact we are getting a glimpse of the old MIB organization, just hope they can pull off the Tommy Lee Jones character and voice through the whole movie.
Steve:

Coming Attractions

The Past

The Present

The Future

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MOV033: “Shall we play a game?”

This Reel we take a look at WarGames, True Grit, and the trailer for The Rite. We also take a look at Cinema Blends Most Disappointing movies of 2010 and what’s coming up in 2011.

News:

The Past: WarGames

Director: John Badham

Starring: Matthew Broderick, Dabney Coleman, John Wood, Ally Sheedy

Trivia:

  • The studio had a Galaga and a Galaxian machine delivered to Matthew Broderick’s home, where he practiced for two months to prepare for the arcade scene.
  • The computer used to break into NORAD was programmed to make the correct words appear on the screen, no matter which keys were pressed.
  • When David comes home the day after the NORAD computer break-in, the newscaster on the television is talking about a prophylactic recycling center.
  • The NORAD command center built for the movie was the most expensive set ever constructed up to that time, built at the cost of one million dollars. The producers were not allowed into the actual NORAD command center, so they had to imagine what it was like. In the DVD commentary, director John Badham notes that the actual NORAD command center isn’t nearly as elaborate as the one in the movie; he refers to the movie set as “NORAD’s wet dream of itself.”
  • NORAD HQ set was built in the Cascades, the “Oregon” airport was really Boeing Field, “Goose Island” is really Anderson Island in the southern part of Puget Sound (all in Washington). The last ferry off the island really is at 6:30, and you really are stuck there if you miss it.
  • The delegation from the city of Birmingham, Alabama, visiting NORAD is a tribute to director John Badham’s hometown.
  • The original director was Martin Brest, and several of the scenes he shot are still in the movie. Martin Brest was fired as director a short while into production due to creative differences. He has stated that he took NORAD’S control center layout and did a scaled down version of it for “Beverly Hills Cop”‘s police control center.
  • When John Badham took over as director he changed the photographic process. It’s possible to see changes in the frame lines between old and new footage.
  • According to John Badham, the scene of the jeep trying to crash through the gate at NORAD and turning over was an actual accident. The jeep was supposed to continue through the gate. They added the scene of the characters running from the jeep and down the tunnel and used the botched jeep stunt.
  • The writers’ main inspiration for the character of Professor Stephen Falken was Cambridge Professor Stephen Hawking. Hawking was originally approached to appear in the movie, but he declined because he didn’t want the producers exploiting his disability.
  • When the message for the tour group in NORAD is activated, the sound effect that plays is actually used in the video game Galaga, and can also be heard if you listen carefully when David is playing it in the beginning of the movie.
  • The part of Prof. Falken was originally written with the idea of John Lennon playing the part.
  • First cinematic reference to a “firewall” – a security measure used in computer networking and Internet security. This does not predate the existence of the Internet, however, which is considered to have started in 1969.
  • The WOPR, as seen in the movie, was made of wood and painted with a metal-finish paint. As the crew filmed the displays of the WOPR, Special Effects Supervisor Michael L. Fink sat inside and entered information into an Apple II computer that drove the countdown display.
  • A video game version of this movie was made in 1984 for the ColecoVision, Commodore 64 and Atari 8-Bit Computer. The game started out greeting you as Professor Falken and you would play a game of Global Thermonuclear War. Your objective was to stop nuclear war from occurring by protecting the country with various military vehicles and weapons in a set time limit without reaching Defcon 1.
  • The NORAD Computer System (NCS) used 1950’s-era systems in 1983. After WarGames, visitors for the NORAD tour constantly asked to see the modern computer rooms. Partly driven by this, in coming years color displays (mostly on Sun workstations) started replacing the much older equipment. Incidentally, NORAD only detected threats. Strategic Air Command, until 1992, handled responses to threats.

Talking Points:

  • This film definitely set the trend for many technologically-based films in the future.

What We’ve Learned:

  • Given the chance to change grades, even the good girl will.
  • Yes, there was a time when you could smoke inside government buildings.
  • Everything goes back to Tic-Tac-Toe.

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: Classic movie. Honestly, don’t know how this past me by in my childhood.
Ray: This movie is one of the most influential of my childhood.
Steve: Love it! Classic movie. The technology is what I grew up with.

The Present: True Grit

Director: The Coen Brothers

Starring: Jeff Bridges, Hailee Steinfeld, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin

Trivia:

  • The original True Grit (1969) featured Robert Duvall. Duvall appeared with Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart (2009). His cousin Wayne Duvall appeared in the Coen Brothers’ earlier film, O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000).
  • The original True Grit (1969) starred John Wayne in the role of Marshall Reuben J. ‘Rooster’ Cogburn which is played by Jeff Bridges in this film. Both actors have very similar nicknames. Wayne is also known as Duke while Bridges is known as The Dude.
  • Michael Biehn auditioned for the role of ‘Lucky’ Ned Pepper but lost out to Barry Pepper.
  • Jeff Bridges and Josh Brolin have both played the character of Wild Bill Hickok in separate productions before starring in this film together. Bridges played Hickok in Wild Bill (1995) and Brolin played Hickok in The Young Riders (1989).

Talking Points:

  • Did this come off more as a period film than a “western”?

What We Learned:

  • Sleeping in a coffin for free is better than being out on the street.
  • Texas Rangers think they’re better than US Marshalls.
  • You’re not Labeef

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: Very well done movie, loved the entire cast, but like alot of westerns, I myself got bored. Still think that should win some Oscars.
Ray: I enjoyed it, and im not a fan of westerns. I think Mattie deserves some sort of award for this, gonna keep an eye on her in the future for sure!
Steve: Enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would. Mattie was annoying, but Matt Damon made up for it. 🙂 I’d be shocked it if it’s not nominated for Best Picture.

The Future: The Rite

Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Alice Braga, Ciaran Hinds & Rutger Hauer

Trivia:

  • The first trailer for the film features music from Wojciech Kilar’s score of Dracula (1992), which also starred Anthony Hopkins.
  • Supposedly based on a true story.
  • The film is based on the book The Making of a Modern Day Exorcist by Rome based Matt Baglio, which was released in 2009 over Doubleday. To research the book, Baglio participated in a seminar on exorcism by the Vatican.
  • The book follows Father Gary Thomas, an parish priest from Saratoga, California, who is tasked by the local bishop in San Jose, California, with becoming the exorcist for the diocese. Skeptical and reluctant, Father Gary becomes an “apprentice” to a Rome-based exorcist and his skepticism is soon replaced by the cold reality of evil and the ways it sometimes takes the form of demonic possession.

Talking Points:

  • This seems to be an interesting spin on the exorcism genre…what do y’all think?

Summary:

  • The Rite centers on a disillusioned young American priest. In the Vatican, he learns to carry out exorcisms and finds his faith renewed through encounters with demons.

Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: A new type of exorcism, I’d kinda like to see it.
Ray: I love anything that messes with or puts a spin on church history or theology.. im there.
Steve: With all the exorcism movies of late, this one seems to be one they are going to get right! I’m liking that it has a deeper “meaning”.

The Past

The Present

The Future

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MOV031: Super Duper Looper

The boy take a trip to the North Pole, Venice, and go back in time to the Wild West.

News:

  • Did y’all have Battle LA in front of The Tourist?

The Past: Santa Claus: The Movie (1985)

Director: Jeannot Szwarc

Starring: Dudley Moore, John Lithgow, David Huddleston

Trivia:

  • When Cornelia leaves the plate of food outside for Joe the can of Coke is positioned so the word “Coke” is showing. When Joe picks up the plate moments later the can has turned to show the words “Coca-Cola” in cursive on the other side of the can.

Talking Points:

  • Did anyone feel this felt like 2 movies smushed together?

What We’ve Learned:

  • Muppet Reindeer are creepy..not cute
  • A handsome man looks good in anything, but Green is not his color.
  • Santa is weight Conscious
  • If you give extra kisses, you get extra hugs
  • Puce is like Fuscia, but a shade less lavender and a bit more pink
  • Nothing gets your reindeer motivated to go faster like a little emotional manipulation

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Ray: Maybe good for a walk down memory lane, but I couldn’t recommend this to anyone over the age of 9.
Steve: Tolerable, but didn’t keep my attention all that much. Cute story on the origin, but the “current day” stuff was annoying.
Jeff: Favorite Christmas Movie Evar!

The Present: The Tourist

Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck

Starring: Johnny Depp, Andelina Jolie, Paul Bettany

Trivia:

  • Tom Cruise, and Sam Worthington were going to play Frank originally before it falling in the Lap of Johnny Depp
  • Charlize Theron was originally supposed to play Elise
  • Angelina admitted the only reason she agreed to do this movie was that it was going to be a “quick shoot” in Venice.
  • Remake of 2005 French Film “Anthony Zimmer”

Talking Points:

  • Predictable?
  • Romantic Comedy/Action Movie/Heist Movie? Another schizo movie!
  • Did Depp just seem like a more sober Jack Sparrow to anyone else?

What We Learned:

  • Math Teachers are not English Teachers
  • Interpol Agents are not very discrete
  • Nutcase? Probably an American
  • Swordsman = Player
  • Italians are big on keeping tabs on their wives
  • If you’re going to get in a gunfight, do it in a canal in Venice – no one cares.
  • Buy E-cigarettes because Johnny Depp uses them (Product Placement?)

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Ray: Entertaining, but predictable.. I felt disappointed by the performance of Depp
Steve: Enjoyed it mostly. Felt it was trying to be too many different movies.
Jeff: Enjoyable, that the greatest movie ever but nice

The Future: True Grit

Starring: Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin, Hailee Stienfeld

Trivia:

  • Remake of Original (1969) staring John Wayne, Glen Campbell and Kim Darby
  • The original True Grit (1969) featured Robert Duvall. Duvall appeared with Jeff Bridges in Crazy Heart (2009). His cousin Wayne Duvall appeared in the Coen Brothers’ earlier film, O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000).
  • The original True Grit (1969) starred John Wayne in the role of Marshall Reuben J. ‘Rooster’ Cogburn which is played by Jeff Bridges in this film. Both actors have very similar nicknames. Wayne is also known as Duke while Bridges is known as The Dude.
  • Michael Biehn auditioned for the role of ‘Lucky’ Ned Pepper but lost out to Barry Pepper.

Talking Points:

  • Seen The Original? The Duke vs The Dude
  • Girl = annoying?
  • Matt Damon = Southern Accent & teeth?

Summary:

Following the murder of her father by hired hand Tom Chaney, 14-year-old farm girl Mattie Ross sets out to capture the killer. To aid her, she hires the toughest U.S. marshal she can find, a man with “true grit,” Reuben J. “Rooster” Cogburn. Mattie insists on accompanying Cogburn, whose drinking, sloth, and generally reprobate character do not augment her faith in him. Against his wishes, she joins him in his trek into the Indian Nations in search of Chaney. They are joined by Texas Ranger LaBoeuf, who wants Chaney for his own purposes. The unlikely trio find danger and surprises on the journey, and each has his or her “grit” tested.

Trailer:

Excitement:
Ray: Westerns are not my thing, but I love the Coen Bro’s
Steve: Not a big Western person…and Matt Damon’s teeth bug me in this trailer.
Jeff: Excitedm feels like a true western to me.

Coming Attractions

The Past

The Present

The Future

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