MOV123: “He’s Almost Too Gay To Function”

It’s all about girl power in this in this reel of COL Movies, where the boys start off by going back in time to review the Tina Fey written gem, “Mean Girls”. After getting schooled (get it?), they catch back up with Alice for some more ass-kicking as she tries to take down the Umbrella Corporation for the 5th time in “Resident Evil: Retribution”. From there, we’re off somewhere over the rainbow with James Franco and a triumvirate of extremely talented female actors as the witches in Sam Raimi’s “Oz: The Great and Powerful”. In news, “The Hobbit” trilogy goes real time, Joss Whedon talks about why he isn’t exactly thrilled about “Avengers 2”, and the Looney Tunes are coming back to the big screen. It’s the 123rd reel of COL Movies…”He’s almost too gay to function”

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The Past: Mean Girls (2004)
Rotten Tomatoes 83% Fresh; 66% Audience

Director: Mark Waters

Starring: Lindsay Lohan, Rachel McAdams, Tina Fey

Trivia:

  • Nearly earned an R rating for explicit, risqué gags and jokes which were subsequently cut.
  • In the book upon which the movie is based, the most popular girl in a school is given the title “Queen Bee”. In the movie, the character who fits that description is named Regina – “queen” in Latin.
  • Amy Poehler who plays Mrs. George is only seven years older than her on screen daughter Rachel McAdams (Regina George).
  • Although the movie was not filmed in the rich north suburbs of Chicago known as the ‘North Shore’ (where it is said to take place), several real places in the area are mentioned. These include Old Orchard Mall in Skokie, Illinois (although the scene was filmed at Sherway Gardens in Etobicoke, Ontario), Walker Brothers Pancake House (the gift certificates at the end have the restaurant’s real logo), and Northwestern University. In addition, a deleted scene featured on the DVD mentions Hecky’s, a real barbecue restaurant in Evanston, Illinois. School scenes were filmed at Lincoln Park High School, Chicago. Exterior shots of the school were of Etobicoke Collegiate Institute, Etobicoke, as well as hallway scenes. Some scenes also filmed at a lake front park in Lincoln Park, Chicago.
  • Though set on the North Shore of Chicago, the film was mostly shot in Toronto, Ontario, Canada at Etobicoke Collegiate Institute and Malvern Collegiate Institute. Notable landmarks include the University of Toronto’s Convocation Hall and Sherway Gardens.
  • Kevin Gnapoor’s phone number on his business card uses the North Shore’s real area code, 847.
  • Amanda Seyfried, who plays Karen in the film, was initially supposed to play Cady, but producer Lorne Michaels thought she would be better as the “dumb girl”.
  • Initially, Lindsay Lohan was cast as Regina, but decided to play the “nice girl” so the public wouldn’t base her real personality on Regina’s. Rachel McAdams was chosen to play the “mean girl” because “only nice girls can play mean girls” according to the producer.
  • Tim Meadows broke his hand before shooting and had to wear a cast, so the explanation that his character Mr. Duvall had carpal tunnel was added.
  • Lacey Chabert was the first and only choice for the role of Gretchen.
  • In the scene where Cady was asked if her “muffin was buttered”, the line was originally going to be, “Is your cherry popped?” The same goes for the girl who “made out with a hot dog” this was going to be “masturbated with a hot dog”. These were omitted in order for the film to gain a PG 13+ rating instead of a R
  • This movie is based upon the book “Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and Other Realities of Adolescence” by Rosalind Wiseman, even though it is a non-fiction parental self-help guide with no narrative at all.
  • In the scene where Christmas candy canes are being distributed in the classroom Damien, dressed in a Santa suit, reads out the name Glenn Cocco, a good friend of Tina Fey.
  • Tina Fey and Amy Poehler coached Rajiv Surendra on how to rap for his on-screen performance in the school’s Winter Talent Show.
  • Cady’s mom gets tenure at Northwestern, which is Ana Gasteyer’s alma mater in real life.
  • Producer Tina Fey confessed that, when casting the film, she liked Jonathan Bennett (Aaron Samuels) because “he looked like Jimmy Fallon”.
  • The skirts for the Christmas talent show are made of plastic; the costume designer says they were made of that fabric to “represent the Plastics”.
  • The character Mrs. Norbury was named after a German teacher at Upper Darby High School, where Tina Fey attended.
  • The scene in which Cady walks in on Jason and Gretchen kissing at her party is much different in the first draft of the script. Originally, she walks in on Gretchen performing oral sex on Jason (no nudity, nothing graphic), but this was subsequently cut from the final print in order to achieve a PG-13 rating
  • Lindsay Lohan and Rachel McAdams play characters who attend the same school and are in the same grade, in spite of the 8 year age difference between the two actresses.
  • In the math class Kevin gives Cady his card. It says, KEVIN GNAPOOR MATH ENTHUSIAST/BAD-ASS M.C. 847-555-2148
  • Ashley Tisdale auditioned for Karen Smith.
  • Lizzy Caplan’s character was named Janis Ian as an homage to musician Janis Ian, the first Saturday Night Live musical guest (alongside Billy Preston). Ian’s song “At Seventeen” which can be heard playing in the background when the girls are fighting at Regina’s house. Other characters bullying Caplan’s character persistently call her a lesbian throughout the movie; the real Janis Ian is an out lesbian.
  • Lizzy Caplan was at first considered too pretty for Janis, to which Fey felt a “Kelly Osbourne-like actress” was necessary, but Caplan was picked for being the “most energetic”.
  • Rachel McAdams wore a blonde wig while filming the movie.
  • Cady gets very excited at the dance when she “actually recognizes” one of the songs being played. That song is “Built This Way,” which was performed and co-written by London-born singer-songwriter and DJ Samantha Ronson. About four years after the release of this movie, and after several years of press speculation, Lindsay Lohan and Ronson acknowledged they were in a romantic relationship.
  • The main character, played by Lindsay Lohan, is named “Cady”, which has a common pronunciation (“Katie”) but an uncommon spelling for an American girl’s first name. In keeping with the film’s theme of female empowerment, it is the same spelling as the birth last name of Elizabeth Cady Stanton, an 18th-century pioneer in the American Women’s Rights movement.
  • When Tina Fey planned to adapt Queen Bees and Wannabes into a film, she didn’t realize it was a guidebook with no fictional narrative. She feared she’d backed herself into a corner after finalizing the deal with Paramount.
  • Tina Fey envisioned backgrounds for all of the characters. If any of the actors had questions about their characters she could fill in the blanks for them.
  • The casting department searched through four cities to find the right actor to play Damien.
  • Unusual among Mark Waters-directed films in that there are no supernatural elements in the plot.
  • In her autobiography, ‘Bossypants’, Tina Fey says that she named the character Damian after “TV Guide” writer Damian Holbrook, who has been her friend since they met as teens in a summer theater workshop in their Pennsylvania hometown.
  • Cady’s friend Janis Ian is likely related to Janis Ian, the singer of “At Seventeen,” a song about realizing at age 17 the beautiful are favored. “I learned the truth at seventeen that love was meant for beauty queens … and those of us with ravaged faces, lacking in the social graces, desperately remained at home, inventing lovers on the phone.” The song is also playing in the scene when Karen tells Cady that she has a “fifth sense … It’s like ESPN or something.”
  • In its opening weekend, the film grossed $24,432,195 in 2,839 theaters in the United States and Canada, ranking #1 at the box office. It was the best Lohan film debut at number one. By the end of its run, Mean Girls grossed $86,058,055 domestically and $42,984,816 internationally, totaling $129,042,871 worldwide.

Talking Points:

  • Inevitable comparison to Heathers
  • The use of the internal thoughts
  • The bus
  • The Burn Book
  • The backhanded compliments during the intervention

What We Learned:

  • Foot cream smells like peppermint
  • Halloween is the one night a year when girls can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it
  • Everyone in Africa knows Swedish
  • Friends who secretly hate you are called “fraitors”
  • Homeschoolers are freaks
  • Jumbo tampons are helpful when you have a heavy flow and wide-set vagina
  • Don’t have sex because you’ll get pregnant and die
  • That is so fetch!

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: I was surprised by how much I didn’t run and hide for this movie. The quotient was so low and the writing so clever, how can you not like it? I loved it, watch it now.
Ray: Can you believe I’ve never seen this before? I really thought it was funny, and of course it’s set in the North Shore of Chicago, so what’s not to like? It’s definitely reminiscent of Heathers, just not as dark.
Steve: A great update of Heathers, with Tina Fey intelligence. Great characters, smart writing, and solid acting from a young cast, as well as some memorable cameos from SNL greats. Definitely worth watching and reminiscing about the good…um…maybe just days of high school.

The Present: Resident Evil: Retribution
Rotten Tomatoes 29% Rotten; 60% Audience

Director: Paul W.S. Anderson

Starring: Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory, Michelle Rodriguez, Aryana Engineer, Bingbing Li, Boris Kudjoe

Trivia:

  • Jensen Ackles was considered for the role of Leon S. Kennedy, but the role later went to Johann Urb.
  • The first movie of the series not to feature undead dogs.
  • The role of Becky was not considered to be hearing-impaired, but after an outstanding audition, the role was later given to Aryana Engineer.
  • During the car chase scene from the Las Plagas/Zombie infected Russian army the music playing during this scene is titled ‘Phantom Chase’ by tomandandy. This song particularly references music from the original Resident Evil (1996) video game. The name of the song that is referenced is ‘Second Floor Mansion’.
  • After the release of Resident Evil: Afterlife, director Paul W. S. Anderson was in discussion with Screen Gems of filming a fifth and sixth film back to back. But Anderson later decided to just focus on Retribution. Anderson explains that a sixth film will only be made based on the success of Retribution and will most likely be the finale of the series.
  • An element from Resident Evil 4, a parasite called Las Plagas plays a part in the film and allows the undead to “run around, ride motorbikes, and shoot machine guns.”
  • An action scene inspired by Resident Evil 5 where the characters are driving a Hummer while being chased by zombies is featured, but for the film the Hummer was changed to a Rolls Royce Phantom.
  • The film’s fight sequences were influenced by Asian cinema. “We watched a lot of Thai movies this time around because of the movies (Powell) has done” says Anderson. “He did The Last Samurai as well. He has worked with a lot of Japanese stuntmen and he has worked with a lot of Hong Kong stuntmen. But we felt the area that hadn’t been mined by western cinema much was that whole kind of high impact Thai style of fighting. So we just watched a lot of action sequences from a lot of Thai movies. There were moves and just a general feel that we thought we could infuse the movie with. You know, that kind of bone crunch where you really feel the impact. We tried to bring that into the movie, which is also good for 3D because obviously 3D makes it harder to sell those kind of fake phony punches because you see the distance between the fist and the face. So that kind of Thai style of fighting where you actually make contact is a lot stronger.”
  • Filming locations included Toronto at Cinespace’s Kipling studio facility,[5] Times Square in New York City, Tokyo, and Red Square in Moscow.
  • On October 11, a platform collapsed during the second day of filming and injured 16 people on the set. According to Toronto police, ten people were taken to the hospital for emergency treatment. Injuries included bruises and broken bones. Emergency workers had a difficult time determining which injuries were real since the people were dressed in zombie costumes with fake blood.
  • The streets of Red Square were cleared for a day and background filming was done in the Russian subway after it was cleared for five hours. Most of the streets were built into sets. The car chase scene was filmed in late November in Moscow.
  • The music group Tomandandy, who performed the Afterlife score, returned to score Retribution. Anderson explains that the score for this film will be a progression of Afterlife, stating that he “wants to kind of mesh their more electronic stuff with an orchestra this time. It still has that cool tomandandy feel, but it has a more epic scope to it.”
  • The first teaser trailer of the film, was attached to Underworld Awakening and released in January 2012, featuring product placement promoting Sony products such as the Xperia phone, the PlayStation Vita and the Tablet S before transitioning into a post-apocalyptic Washington, D.C., with Alice standing on the roof of the White House.
  • A viral website umbrellacorporation.net supposedly informed about Umbrella’s on a recruitment tour all over the world searching for “great minds to help them advance”. On several occasions, a video of Alice (Milla Jovovich) shows up, telling you not to trust Umbrella.
  • On August 10, 2012, a group of 27 people dressed as zombies “invaded” the Shibuya shopping district and handed out leaflets to promote the film.
  • Resident Evil: Retribution had its world premiere in Japan (where it’s retitled Biohazard V: Retribution) on September 3 and had its release worldwide on September 14th.

Talking Points:

  • Felt like a clip show right before the end of a reality series

Critic Notes:

  • Positives: While the director explains all at the end, it’s clear the big full blown nutty days are still to come; Anderson knows how to do a great fight sequence
  • Negatives: Same old, same old; got tired of the slo-mo; flimsy plot structure; “apparently zombie hordes have taken over the world, but there is an endless supply of black leather unitards”; At last, we thought Alice might say “we survived”, but alas no.

What We Learned:

  • This is Alice…and it’s her world
  • When trying to escape a zombie menace, go into the dark subway tunnels
  • Rain’s sister is not very nice
  • Clones wear leather unitards

Trailer:

Recommendations :
Jeff: Well this is a first, Usually I’m pretty good with an RE movie. It does something interesting and I enjoy myself. . . . this . . . didn’t. For the first time I’m just tired of Resident Evil Movies and they are going to do another one. Thanks, Paul WS Anderson but you need to stop. Right now. No more cliffhangers at the end of movies. This is enough.
Ray: This just confirms me suspicions that every single one of these movies since the first one has been made for the sole purpose of masturbating Japanese fans. The dialogue was delivered horribly, the acting was..not even passable, but it you take this and watch the dialogue from the very first resident evil games.. it’s almost exactly the same… I’d stay away unless you are a crazy die hard fan.. oh and everyone tells me skip the 3D
Steve: Kind of a best of the best moments from the previous films, so it had a “clip show” feel. While it isn’t Shakespeare, it’s good for what it is and the fight scenes were fricken awesome! Michelle Rodriguez ‘roiding up to right two guys and the fight between Alice and Jill were both pretty damn epic. Honestly, I was really hoping they would end it…but I guess we’ll have to wait and see if there will actually be a 6th installment.

The Future: Oz: The Great and Powerful

Release: March 8, 2013

Director: Sam Raimi

Starring: Mila Kunis, James Franco, Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz

Summary:

Sam Raimi’s film is set before the events of the 1939 film and the original book. When Oscar Diggs a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz, he thinks he’s hit the jackpot—fame and fortune are his for the taking… that is until he meets the witches Theodora, Evanora, and Glinda who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone’s been expecting. Reluctantly drawn into the epic problems facing the Land of Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar must find out who is good and who is evil before it is too late. Putting his magical arts to use through illusion, ingenuity, and even a bit of wizardry, Oscar transforms himself not only into the great and powerful Wizard of Oz but into a better man as well.

Talking Points:

  • Robert Downey, Jr. was Raimi’s first choice for the part of Oz. When Downey declined, Johnny Depp was linked to the role. By the end of February 2011, James Franco was in final negotiations to star in this film. This is the first time that Franco and Raimi have worked together following the conclusion of the Spider-Man trilogy.
  • Principal photography with 3D cameras for Oz: The Great and Powerful began July 2011 in Pontiac, Michigan.
  • The script was written by Mitchell Kapner and David Lindsay-Abaire with Joe Roth serving as a producer. In an interview, director Sam Raimi stated that Kapner used information about the Wizard from L. Frank Baum’s books, but the film will also “nod lovingly” to the 1939 classic film.

Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: Honestly, I don’t have much to say about this. It’s a Prequel to The Wiz but for some reason they decided not to get another Richard Prior, I really don’t see why? In any case, looks fun, but it’s looking so different than The Wiz.
Ray: I’m super excited to see this… I’ve always thought that even though it would be sacrilege to do it, one movie I’ve always thought would be worthy of a modern remake was Wizard of Oz, glad they went the prequel route so they don’t really have to commit to messing with that until this proves to be a success… I’m excited to see it. Franco is riding high in my head since Planet of the Apes.
Steve: Comes off way more “fantastical” than the original movie. It will be interesting to see how they interplay the original mythology in the prequel. The female cast of witches seems like a solid group of actors, so I hope that Franco holds his own and doesn’t just act like he’s high the whole time.

The Past: Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo

The Present: Dredd

The Future: Gayby

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

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

News:

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

Director: Robert Zemeckis

Starring: Meryl Streep, Bruce Willis, Goldie Hawn

Trivia:

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

Talking Points:

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

Critic Notes

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

What We Learned:

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

Trailer:

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

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

Director: Tim Burton

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

Trivia:

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

Talking Points:

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

Critic Notes:

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

What We Learned:

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

Trailer:

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

The Future: Resident Evil: Retribution

Release: September 14, 2012

Director: Paul W.S. Anderson

Starring: Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory, Michelle Rodriguez

Summary:

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

Talking Points

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

Trailer:

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

The Past:

The Present:

The Future:

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MOV044: “Pathetic Earthlings, Who Can Save You Now?”

The boys go back in time to check out 1980’s “Flash Gordon”. Is it still an inspiration or just a old flash in the pan? Then they head to the present to check out “Battle: Los Angeles”. Will it get a “oorah” or “wah-wah”? In the future, the boys look at the trailer for “The Tree of Life”. Was anyone able to figure what the hell this film is about? All this, including movie news and much more in this 44th reel of COL Movies!

News:

The Past: Flash Gordon (1980)
Rotten Tomatoes: 82% Fresh, 63% Audience

Director: Mike Hodges

Starring: Sam J. Jones, Melody Anderson, Max von Sydow, Topol, Ornella Muti, Timothy Dalton, Brian Blessed

Trivia:

  • There is a rumor that the monitor behind Hans Zarkov (Topol) as he is having his memory dumped shows scenes from Topol’s previous movies.
  • Dino De Laurentiis originally hoped that Federico Fellini would direct this film. The director had actually contributed to the original Flash strip cartoon during WWII.
  • Kurt Russell auditioned to play Flash Gordon. According to an interview with Russel in Starlog magazine from August 1981, Dino De Laurentiis really wanted Russell for the part, but he ultimately turned it down because Russell thought the character was lacking in personality.
  • Sam J. Jones was cast in the role after being spotted by the mother-in-law of Dino De Laurentiis on an episode of “The Dating Game” (1965)
  • At one point Ming the Merciless says when he destroys a planet, he calls upon “the great god Daizan”. Daizan is Japanese for “great cruelty”.
  • Max von Sydow’s Ming costume weighed over 70 pounds and he could only stand in it for a few minutes at a time.
  • The psychedelic color effects throughout the Ming universe were accomplished by swirling multicolored dyes through creatively-lit tanks of water.
  • One of the feast items in the Hawkmen’s Kingdom was Twinkies colored with food dye.
  • Nicolas Roeg was originally going to direct, but didn’t due to creative difference. One of his proposals was to excise the trademark cliffhangers and melodrama, seeing Flash as more of “a metaphysical messiah.”
  • Dennis Hopper was considered for the role of Dr Zarkov.
  • Mike Hodges was the eighth director chosen.
  • Director Mike Hodges, referring to the numerous production problems that plagued the film, once called it “the only improvised $27-million movie ever made”.
  • The insignia on Klytus’s uniform is based on Masonic symbols.
  • Princess Aura’s “pet” is named Fellini. Production Designer Danilo Donati worked on a number of Federico Fellini films.
  • George Lucas had hoped to remake the original Flash Gordon (1936/I), but when he learned that Dino De Laurentiis had already bought the rights, he wrote Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977) instead.
  • Mike Hodges considered commissioning Pink Floyd to compose the music.
  • First film of Jim Carter.
  • The backstory of Flash’s T-shirt was that it was a gift from an anonymous female fan. Flash wore it a lot in the hopes that he would eventually meet the woman.
  • In the original script, when Flash is sentenced to death by Ming, Dale bursts out that Ming is “absolutely merciless”. Ming is enthralled with the description, and immediately starts calling himself “Ming the Merciless”.
  • According to the original storyline, when Dale is entranced by Ming’s hypnotic ring, she is having a vision of being on an erotic picnic with Ming in a 1920’s setting.
  • Klytus and Kala, Ming’s two chief henchmen, were competitors for their ruler’s favor. Ming played them off against each other to keep them from teaming up against him. This was downplayed in the film to keep the storyline fluid.
  • In the original script, Flash and Dale first meet at a Canadian resort called Dark Harbor. Although they flirt with each other, they don’t become acquainted until they’re sharing the ill-fated plane ride to New York City. Dale later talks briefly about Dark Harbor during her tear-filled meeting with Flash before his execution.
  • Dr. Zarkov’s backstory was that he was a NASA scientist who was fired for his paranoid fantasies that Earth was going to be attacked from outer space. Sixty Minutes derided him as “A Poor Man’s Billy Mitchell”.
  • Ming’s attack on Earth was accomplished by bombarding the moon with force beams, knocking it out of orbit. The meteors which disrupt Flash’s airplane flight were burning chunks of lunar debris.
  • Sam J. Jones’ dark hair was bleached blonde for this role, and Melody Anderson’s blonde hair was dyed brown. Flash was also supposed to have blue eyes, but Sam could not wear the contact lenses.
  • Ming’s symbol (which Klytus also wears on his gauntlets) is borrowed from the Freemason’s square and compass. Ming also makes a Masonic gesture during the course of the movie.
  • The wristwatch Flash is wearing in the early scenes of the film is a Seiko automatic chronograph, model 6139-6002. The watch disappears when Flash gets to Mongo.
  • All the main actors were signed for multiple films but the sequels were never made since the first movie didn’t do as well as expected.
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger was turned down for the lead role because of his impenetrable Austrian accent.
  • Most of Sam J. Jones’s dialog was dubbed. This was down to the fact that Jones had had a falling out with producer Dino De Laurentiis over lack of payment and refused to go into the recording studio to loop his lines.

Talking Points:

  • Production value? (just above Barbarella or Star Trek…with techniques from Wizard of Oz)
  • Lots of Wizard of Oz connections – short people, flying, people melting when dying, over the “rainbow”, meeting the wacky characters that help him defeat Ming, “If I only had a brain…but I had it all the time”
  • Were early 80s movies all this bad? Not that it was BAD, but meaning looking
  • Deliberate rip off of Star Wars elements?
  • Dale’s role = women’s lib?

What We’ve Learned:

  • Don’t forget your toothbrush as you get on a rocket to counterattack an attack from space.
  • Ming’s storm troopers yell like Ewoks when they are shot
  • Becoming a man on Arboria involves a lot of grunting, men beating their sticks in a circle and thrusting your extremities into a dark mysterious hole.
  • Imperial War-Rockets are great at spotting 5 people 400 mongo miles away, but they will miss that Rocket Jet Ski thats right next to them.
  • You know you have a cult movie when Riff Raff from Rocky Horror shows up

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: A classic old style serial film. Love it.
Ray:Classic, I think the production values perfectly match the tone of the movie! This one would be hard to remake!
Steve: Not the best production value in the world, but who doesn’t like a home town boy helping save the world from evil oppressors who are out to destroy it? Cult classic…so don’t expect Shakespeare.

The Present: Battle: Los Angeles (Released 3/11/11)
Rotton Tomatoes: 32% Rotten, 71% Audience

Director: Jonathan Liebesman

Starring: Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez, Bridget Moynahan, Ramon Rodriguez, Cory Hardrict, Gino Anthony Pesi, Ne-Yo, James Hiroyuki Liao, Noel Fisher, Adetokumboh M’Cormack, Bryce Cass, Michael Peña, Neil Brown Jr., Taylor Handley

Trivia:

  • The film is inspired by the real life incident known as the Battle of Los Angeles, during World War II. On the night of 24-25 February 1942, unidentified aircraft were allegedly spotted in the airspace above Los Angeles. Suspecting it to be the Japanese, a blackout of the city was ordered and over 1,440 rounds of anti-aircraft ammunition was fired. Upon finding no evidence of the existence of any enemy aircraft, the incident was declared to be a “false alarm”. The event has since been chalked up to as being a result of “war nerves”, likely triggered by a lost weather balloon and exacerbated by stray flares and shell bursts from adjoining anti-aircraft batteries.
  • Very little of the film was actually shot in Los Angeles. Tax incentives brought the production to Louisiana where sets of Los Angeles streets were constructed.
  • Marines from Camp Pendleton helped train the actors for their roles, educating them in the Marine lifestyle. A number of actual marines also appear as extras in the film. To thank them, a sneak preview of the film was shown at Camp Pendleton on March 3rd, 2011.
  • The movie was released on 03/11/11. 0311 is the Marine Corps Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) for Infantry Riflemen.
  • Liebesman drew inspiration from YouTube videos of marines fighting in Fallujah for the look of the film. As a result the film was not shot in 3D as the director felt that combined with the handheld camera style of shooting would make the audience “throw up in two minutes.”
  • The film was shot for a PG-13 rating, as the director felt making the film overly gory did not suit the more suspenseful tone they were trying to achieve.
  • Sony Pictures Entertainment investigated the possibility of legal action against the filmmakers Greg and Colin Strause, who were hired to do visual effects work on Battle: Los Angeles through their special effects company Hydraulx. Sony Pictures suspected the Strause brothers had created their own Los Angeles-based alien invasion film Skyline, which would compete with the Battle: Los Angeles release, by using resources they had gained while working on Battle: Los Angeles without the consent of Sony Pictures. A spokesman for the Strauses responded by saying, “Any claims of impropriety are completely baseless. This is a blatant attempt by Sony to force these independent filmmakers to move a release date that has long been set by Universal and Relativity and is outside the filmmakers’ control.”

Talking Points:

  • Was this a 2 hour long commercial for joining the Marines? Or a timely/sympathetic reminder to show the world the hardships that our troops face? What do you think?
  • Michelle Rodriguez’s performance = is this her niche?
  • Elements of District 9, Cloverfield, and V, with better production value than Skyline
  • Would it have been better documentary style?
  • Shaky Cam! OMG

What We Learned:

  • Join the Marines! Hooah!
  • Veterinarians can autopsy aliens.
  • If you’re from Jersey, you can hotwire a bus.
  • If they are chasing and shooting at you.. they are probably not friendly.
  • Michelle Rodriguez is a bad ass.
  • Make sure that the exit is intact before you get on the freeway!
  • Marines don’t quit

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: Not bad. Much better than Skyline, but sometimes got confusing on who was who.
Ray:This movie is ok, much better than Skyline which is seems to be compared to..if I had to give it a rating, 2 out of 4 stars.. but it gets an extra star for letting me watch LA burn.
Steve: I liked it. Saving Private Ryan with aliens. I just let go and went with it.

The Future: The Tree of Life (limited May 27, 2011)

Starring: Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Jessica Chastain

Trivia:

  • Heath Ledger was originally slated to play Mr. O’Brien. Brad Pitt took over the role.
  • In 2005 Terrence Malick had talked to Colin Farrell about starring in the lead role.
  • Mel Gibson was considered for a role in this film.
  • The origin of this film goes back to the late 1970s, when after Days of Heaven (1978) director Terrence Malick was working on a project named “Q”, that would explore the origins of life on earth. He abandoned the project, but this film contains elements from it.
  • Production designer Jack Fisk drew inspiration from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
  • VFX supervisor Mike Fink described the film’s scenes of the birth/death of the universe as “not narratively connected, but thematically complementary pieces.”
  • The tree of life that appears in the film is a gargantuan 65000-pound live-oak tree situated at Smithville, Texas.

Talking Points:

  • WTF?

Summary:
The story centers around a family with three boys in the 1950s. The eldest son witnesses the loss of innocence

From the Director :

We trace the evolution of an eleven-year-old boy in the Midwest, Jack, one of three brothers. At first all seems marvelous to the child. He sees as his mother does with the eyes of his soul. She represents the way of love and mercy, where the father tries to teach his son the world’s way of putting oneself first. Each parent contends for his allegiance, and Jack must reconcile their claims. The picture darkens as he has his first glimpses of sickness, suffering and death. The world, once a thing of glory, becomes a labyrinth. From this story is that of adult Jack, a lost soul in a modern world, seeking to discover amid the changing scenes of time that which does not change: the eternal scheme of which we are a part. When he sees all that has gone into our world’s preparation, each thing appears a miracle—precious, incomparable. Jack, with his new understanding, is able to forgive his father and take his first steps on the path of life.

Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: The trailer has great imagery and is beautiful but still confused on what the movies is about.
Ray: The first time I saw this trailer, what immediately sucked me in was some of the awesome imagery I saw in the Trailer, and the content is just bizarre enough to make me want to see it.
Steve: I have absolutely no idea what this movie is about from the trailer.

Coming Attractions:

The Past

The Present

The Future

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MOV035: “We’re going to need more holy water!”

Should “The Neverending Story” be put to bed?  Should we collectively dance in hopes of quickly ending “The Season of the Witch”?  Should we just let the aliens blow up LA in “Battle: Los Angeles”?  Are our childhood Atari wet dreams coming to life in a live-action Missile Command movie?  Also, Bond, Trent Reznor, and the Bible are all in movie news!  This and much, much more in this episode of COL Movies!!

News:

  • Missile Command Movie?
  • Bond 23 on again! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/01/11/james-bond-23-new-007-film-announced_n_807556.html
  • Trent scores another movie http://www.slashfilm.com/trent-reznor-scoring-david-finchers-version-the-girl-dragon-tattoo/
  • Turning the Bible into soft core gay porn? http://www.cinemablend.com/new/New-David-And-Goliath-Movie-Will-Basically-Turn-The-Bible-Into-300-22506.html

The Past: The Neverending Story (1984)

Director: Wolfgang Peterson

Starring: Noah Hathaway, Barret Oliver and Tami Stronach

Trivia:

  • Author Michael Ende decided that he was unhappy with the film’s version of his story, and refused to have his name placed in the opening credits. A small credit appears at the end with his name.
  • The nighthob says a profanity in the opening scene where the rockbiter appears running down all in its path. This profanity is often dubbed over by the grumble of the rockbiter’s scooter, so that it can be shown as a children’s film.
  • Most of the film was shot in Germany in the summer of 1983. It was Germany’s hottest summer in 25 years.
  • The original Auryn for this film now hangs in an enclosed glass display in Steven Spielberg’s office.
  • Was the most expensive film ever produced in Germany at the time it was made.
  • Noah Hathaway was hurt twice during the making of the movie. During his horse riding training he was thrown off a horse which then stepped on him. Then during the shooting of the drowning sequence in the “swamp of sadness” his leg got caught on the elevator and he was pulled under water. He was unconscious by the time he was brought to the surface.
  • “The Childlike Empress” wasn’t just child-“like”. She was portrayed by Iranian born dancer Tami Stronach who was only 11 years old when the production started.
  • The film itself actually “ends” about halfway through the book.
  • The name of the mystical land in (the English translation of) the original novel was Fantastica, not Fantasia, but the original German name Phantásien translates more accurately into English as Fantasia.
  • The theme song was sang by Limahl, who was the lead singer of the pop band Kajagoogoo.
  • The makeup team on the movie tried to paint Noah Hathaway green, just as Atreyu is in the book. “It wasn’t believable. I looked like fungi!” Hathaway said.
  • Noah Hathaway almost lost an eye during the fight-scene versus Gmork. One of the claws on his giant paws poked him in the face. The robot was also so heavy that he lost his breath as well when he was hit to the ground by it. They only made one shot due to the risk that he would get seriously wounded.
  • You can “ride” on Falcor’s back on location at the Bavaria Filmplatz Munich, Germany.
  • The name that Bastian screams almost indecipherable into the night is “Moonchild”.
  • During filming in Germany, because it was an unusually hot summer one of the statues of the Ivory Tower actually melted. On other days, the crew were forced to shut down production because the blue backgrounds for the matte work refused to operate properly.
  • Falkor is actually a 43-foot long motorized creature with 6,000 plastic scales and pink feather-fur. His head his three feet tall and long, and has a long tongue in the mouth.
  • Tami Stronach was attending theatre classes in San Francisco when she got the audition to be The Childlike Empress. Her acting teacher was friends with the production executive and talent scout Anna Gross. Tami initially believed she was auditioning for a little play and had no idea it was to be for a major motion picture.
  • Noah Hathaway was due to appear in the Broadway show “Chaplin” alongside Gene Kelly and Ann Margaret, but opted to do “The Neverending Story” instead. He had been cast in the film, then the original director was fired, and when Wolfgang Petersen was hired, Noah was immediately re-hired.
  • Only the scenes in the city and at Bastian’s home were not shot in the Bavaria Studios in Munich, Germany, but in Vancouver, Canada.
  • Noah Hathaway (Atreyu) now owns and operates a tattoo parlor in Los Angeles, California with his wife.
  • Tami lost both front teeth shortly before filming and they made her fake teeth which caused her to lisp until she learned to compensate for them.

Talking Points:

  • Could you consider this the “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” of the 1980s?
  • Is this a depressing movie for kids or what?
  • Which character left you with the biggest impression – and why?

What We’ve Learned:

  • It’s ok to steal books! (as long as you leave a note that you’ll return it)
  • Schools in the 80s didn’t take attendance
  • Oompa Loompa’s ride racing snails
  • Limestone Rocks have a delicious bouquet
  • Ancient Turtles are pretty Emo.. and allergic to youth
  • People who have no hope are easy to control.
  • Who wouldn’t want a luck dragon?

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: Always a classic. Childhood flashback movie that is good for anyone of any age.
Ray: Its a favorite movie of mine, but can be a bit dark.. use your discretion before showing it to your kids
Steve: Definitely one of the most memorable movies from my childhood. It’s great to revisit as an adult, but you get a whole new perspective with adult eyes.

Intermission: Jeff’s Brief BearCity Review

The Present: Season of The Witch

Director: Dominic Sena

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Ron Perlman and Claire Foy

Trivia:

  • Development on the film began in 2000 when the spec script by screenwriter Bragi F. Schut was purchased by MGM.
  • The film had a budget of approximately US$40 million, and much of the budget was covered by Relativity with pre-sales to distributors outside the United States.
  • Filming took place in Austria, Hungary, and Croatia. Most of the principal photography took place in practical locations, with several days committed to filming on greenscreen.
  • Principal photography was completed by April 2009, but the cast and crew re-gathered a few months later to film additional battle sequences, filming on greenscreen to save on travel.
  • The art directors researched woodcuts and other artwork for classic demonic appearances. The filmmakers requested an entity “lithe and feminine”, and the visual effects crew designed a demon that had “cloven feet, a dog ankle and a fawn leg”. Designing visual effects for the demon’s wings was the biggest challenge since wings tend to get in the way or do not move convincingly. The filmmakers also requested holes in the demon’s wings, so the crew designed holes that appeared worn instead of ripped since ripped holes would require an added billowing effect.
  • The crew’s final visual effects shot was the death of the demon, and they researched previous films and terminology for how demons’ deaths have been designed.
  • Lionsgate scheduled Season of the Witch to be released on March 19, 2010, but five weeks before the date, the studio decided to pull the film from release. Lionsgate originally had an output deal with Relativity Media, but Relativity formed its own marketing and distribution arm in 2010. Relativity chose to release the film itself and in October 2010 set the film’s new release date for January 7, 2011. Season of the Witch will be Relativity’s first in-house production.

Talking Points:

  • Did it deserve the 5% on Rotten Tomatoes?
  • Odd acting – did it seem like the leads were present day Americans in period clothes, while the supporting cast was in actually performing in period?
  • Was this movie intended to be a farce or serious?

What We Learned:

  • Ron Perlman sports a pretty epic moustache
  • It doesn’t matter if your movie is set in the 14th century, and one of your actors speaks with a new york accent
  • If you’re going to be holding a giant rope to support the weight of anything, wear gloves!

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: Not a bad movie, not great either, but not half bad.
Ray: Not Shakespeare but not as bad as airbender!
Steve: Enjoyed the visuals of the movie, but the writing and acting was “off”. Liked the concept, just didn’t come together well.

The Future: Battle : Los Angeles

Starring: Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez and Bridget Moynahan

Trivia:

  • The film is inspired by the real life incident known as the Battle of Los Angeles, during World War II. On the night of 24-25 February 1942, unidentified aircraft were allegedly spotted in the airspace above Los Angeles. Suspecting it to be the Japanese, a blackout of the city was ordered and over 1,440 rounds of anti-aircraft ammunition was fired. Upon finding no evidence of the existence of any enemy aircraft, the incident was declared to be a “false alarm”. The event has since been chalked up to as being a result of “war nerves”, likely triggered by a lost weather balloon and exacerbated by stray flares and shell bursts from adjoining anti-aircraft batteries.
  • Very little of the film was actually shot in Los Angeles. Tax incentives brought the production to Louisiana where sets of Los Angeles streets were constructed.
  • The movie will be released on 03/11/11. 0311 is the Marine Corps Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) for Infantry Riflemen.
  • Don’t be fooled by the direct to DVD release “mockbuster”: Battle of Los Angeles – it’s not the same movie!

Talking Points:

  • Better than Skyline?
  • Is this just “V” in the movie theater? Original concept?
  • Use of Music in trailer

Summary:
A Marine platoon faces off against an alien invasion in Los Angeles.

Trailer 1:

Trailer 2:

Trailer 3:

Excitement:
Jeff: Yawn
Ray: Excited! Excited! Excited! Especially after seeing the newest trailer.
Steve: I really like how the trailer feeds on our fears. The music is great. I just really hope it holds up. I will see it, but don’t have any expectations.

Coming Attractions
The Past

The Present

The Future

Download Podcast

MOV017: “All Bones, No Bullshit”

The Dangerous Lives of Alter Boys, Machete, and Devil. Also it’s a slow news week. Yeah, that’s about it. But the show was good.

News:

The Past: The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys (2002)

Director: Peter Care

Starring: Jodi Foster, Emile Hirsch, Keiran Culkin, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jena Malone

Trivia:

Chris Fuhrman died of cancer before completing the final draft of the book. The movie is dedicated to him at the beginning of the final credits.

  • The final shot in the scene where the boys find an injured dog was actually just footage shot of the actors “resetting” after a blown take. It was kept in since it so clearly shows their fatigue and frustration.
  • In order to adapt the book in an effective way, Director Peter Care and Producer Jay Shapiro decided to use segments of animation throughout the film. Since most of the book is from Francis’ perspective and takes place in his mind, they needed to find a way to stay true to this “internal narrative”. “Animation seemed like a natural way to go in and out of this interior world and use that as the thread that ties everything together,” says Shapiro
  • Neither filmmakers nor Jodie Foster had planned on Foster also playing the part of the stern Catholic school teacher and headmistress, Sister Assumpta, as well as being producer. Foster was somehow attracted to the role, and called producing partner Meg Lefauve up with the offer to play this role, who graciously accepted, saying that it’s not “traditional casting to see a young beautiful woman in that kind of a role.”
  • Although the novel by Chris Fuhrman was set in 1970’s Savannah, Georgia, the filmmakers wanted a more “universal look” and decided not to specify a place. Most of the filming for the movie took place in Charleston, South Carolina and Wilmington, North Carolina. There was also a lot of debate about whether the characters should have Southern accents, but to keep with this “universal feeling,” the producers decided against any strong accents.
  • In 2002, the film and Director Peter Care won the award for Best New Filmmaker from the Boston Society of Film Critics.
  • In 2003, the film won the Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature.

Talking Points:

  • Does Keiran Culken seem to play the same character over and over?
  • Did the animation enhance the movie?

What We’ve Learned:

  • 3 full servings of distilled and reduced nyquil has no effect on the average house cat
  • Statues of Saints are much heavier than they appear, but magically get lighter once they reach the ground.
  • Nuns make excellent comic book villains
  • That’s a really thoughtful question
  • Always better to wait a few dates before dropping the incest bomb on someone

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: It’s a cute movie, the animated scenes were integrated well, recommendable but couldn’t keep my attention outside the animated scenes.
Ray: A very unique and interesting coming of age story, I highly recommend.
Steve: Stand By Me in the 80s, in a Catholic school…but liked the unique twists.

The Present: Machete

Director: Ethan Maniquis & Robert Rodriguez

Starring: Danny Trejo, Robert DeNiro, Jessica Alba, Steven Seagal, Michelle Rodriguez, Jeff Fahey, Cheech Marin, Don Johnson, Lindsay Lohan

Trivia:

  • The film was based on the fake trailer featured before Robert Rodriguez’s double feature for Grindhouse (2007), Planet Terror (2007), which was co-produced by Quentin Tarantino and is also the producer on this film.
  • Danny Trejo, Jeff Fahey and Cheech Marin who are featured in the fake trailer featured in Grindhouse (2007), reprise their roles for this film as well. Tito Larriva, one of Robert Rodriguez’s closest friends and who’s acted in several films was featured in the trailer but at this point not confirmed to be in this film. Fahey was also featured in Planet Terror (2007) which was written, produced and directed by Rodriguez.
  • This film marks the second time that Robert De Niro and Quentin Tarantino have worked together. They previously worked together on Jackie Brown (1997), which De Niro was part of the ensemble like this film and Tarantino wrote, directed and produced that film.
  • Cheech Marin and Don Johnson both co-starred in the hit CBS series “Nash Bridges” (1996), as well as the Kevin Costner golf film Tin Cup (1996). This is the first time they have been in a film together in 10 years, with the end of “Nash Bridges” wrapping in 2000/2001.
  • This film is being made because of the fake trailer’s popularity after being featured in the theatrical version of Grindhouse (2007) along with the other fake trailers and advertisements featured in the film. “Thanksgiving” is the other popular fake trailer included in the film and was directed by Eli Roth and is now in development to be made into a full length film.
  • According to some reports, Robert Rodriguez claims to have filmed half this movie while making the fake trailer to be included for the theatrical version of Grindhouse (2007). These have yet to be confirmed by Rodriguez himself.
  • Robert Rodriguez wrote the script back in 1993 after he wrote Desperado (1995).
    Actor Chris Cooper reportedly turned down a role in the movie saying “it’s the most absurd thing I’ve ever read” after getting the script.
  • Lindsay Lohan filmed her role in three days.
  • Steven Seagal’s first theatrically released film since Half Past Dead (2002).
  • This marks the third time Steven Seagal and Danny Trejo have appeared together in a movie. First, briefly, in Marked for Death (1990), and again in Urban Justice (2007).
  • While Steven Seagal has played an anti-hero on more than one occasion, this film will mark the first time he’s ever played a full-out villain.
  • A fake trailer for the film was released on May 5, 2010, through Ain’t It Cool News. The trailer opened with Danny Trejo saying, “This is Machete with a special Cinco de Mayo message to Arizona,” followed by scenes of gun fire, blood shed, and highlights of the cast. The fake trailer combined elements of the Machete trailer that appeared in Grindhouse with footage from the actual film, and implied that the film would be about Machete leading a revolt against anti-immigration politicians and border vigilantes. According to Fox News, critics of illegal immigration were offended by the contents of the movie trailer. Production of the film predates the legislation, however. Rodriguez later revealed the trailer to be a joke, explaining “it was Cinco de Mayo and I had too much tequila.” The official theatrical trailer was released on July 8, 2010.
  • Fake Trailer

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Talking Points:

  • Do you think the “Grind house” aspect of this is lost on typical audiences?
  • Why the hell would anyone bring kids to this movie?
  • Cheech Marin as a “serious” actor?

What We Learned:

  • How to steer a car with a machete through someones back
  • Intestines are 60 feet long and incredibly rope like
  • Weed Whackers make awesome weapons
  • Machete don’t text
  • DeNiro makes a more convincing Mexican than Seagal

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: It was confusing on what this movie wanted to be. Had good laughs and some good action scenes but was just too inconsistent, meh.
Ray: Loved it, cant wait to see the next “Grindhouse” movie, I will definitely own this one!
Steve: Enjoyed it. I realized I laughed out loud several times during tense moments.

The Future: Devil

Starring: Logan Marshall-Green, Bojana Novakovic, Geoffrey Arend, Chris Messina, Caroline Dhavernas, Jacob Vargas, Bokeem Woodbine, Matt Craven, Jenny O’Hara

Trivia:

  • In October 2008, Shyamalan announced, with the partnership of Media Rights Capital, that Devil will be made with the Dowdle brothers as the directors and Brian Nelson as the screenwriter. A year later, filming started on October 26 in Toronto. There was additional shooting for the film several months later in Los Angeles.
  • The film was set to have a release date on February 11, 2011 but was bumped up to September 17, 2010. The film’s trailer debuted online on July 13, 2010. The trailer is also attached with Inception, The Expendables, Salt, The Other Guys, and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.
  • On June 23, 2010, Shyamalan announced the second film in The Night Chronicles, currently titled Fourteen Seconds. The film is about a jury discussing a case dealing with the supernatural. Chris Sparling is set to write the script but there is no director presently attached.

Talking Points: The Night Chronicles- Movies Written but not Directed by M.Night… at this point is his name hurting these films?

Summary:
Set in an office building, five strangers are riding in an elevator when they suddenly find themselves trapped. After several terrifying and inexplicable events occur, such as the local fire department unable to open the elevator, the people begin to turn against each other when they begin to suspect that one of them is in fact, the Devil.

Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: Meh, Might be good but not that interested.
Ray: The first of the Night Chronicles… anything with M.Nights name on it makes me cringe, but the trailer does look interesting.
Steve: Trailer actually looks good to me. I like these “close quarters” kind of movies where everyone is a suspect. As long as I’m not able to figure it out right away, I’ll be happy.

Coming Attractions

The Past:  Indian Summer
The Present:  Resident Evil: Afterlife
The Future:  Gulliver’s Travels

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