MOV114: “Looks like two pigs fightin’ under a blanket.”

The boys head back in time to review one of the “cultural classics” with “Steel Magnolias”. After putting down the tissue box, it was off to the theater for Oliver Stone’s crime drama “Savages”. In trailer-land, they check out the upcoming college acapella-based comedy “Pitch Perfect”. All of this, an update on the Bourne franchise and will the World of Warcraft film get off the ground? It’s the 114th reel of COL Movies – “Looks like two pigs fighting under a blanket”

News:

The Past: Steel Magnolias

Rotten Tomatoes: 68% Fresh; 88% Audience

Director: Herbert Ross

Staring: Sally Field, Dolly Parton, Olympia Dukakis, Shirley MacLaine, Darryl Hannah, Julia Roberts

Trivia:

  • This movie was based on a play written about a sister of Phi Mu Fraternity. Susan Harling was a member of the Kappa Iota chapter and her brother wrote the play on which the movie is based.
  • Winona Ryder was originally offered the role of Shelby.
  • When Robert Harling last spoke to his sister, he was telling her how hard it was to be a writer in New York and have people consider his work. His sister commented on how she wished she could help him somehow but she didn’t know what she could do. When she died after surgery, Harling wrote the play that this movie is based on in her honor, thereby making him an established and respected writer.
  • Daryl Hannah was originally turned down for the role of Annelle as the director thought that she was too attractive to play the part, she asked if she could come in and read for the part anyway. She arrived at the studio the next day dressed as Annelle and was so unrecognisable that security refused to let her in.
  • Meg Ryan was initially under contract to play Shelby, the Julia Roberts role, but the producers let her out of it to play Sally in When Harry Met Sally…
  • Is shot in the small Louisiana town of Natchitoches. Reportedly, the filmmakers placed such a great strain on the locals, particularly those who volunteered to be extras, that several years later, when the film The Man in the Moon was shot in the same town, extras were difficult to find, as so many townspeople had been burned by the Steel Magnolias crew.
  • M’Lynn’s home is actually two different houses. The Cook-Taylor House, owned by the Henry Taylor family and now a Bed and Breakfast in Natchitoches, was used for the outside front of the house, and most of the scenes inside the home and in the back yard. It is on Front Street by the river and can be easily located, as it is now known as “The Steel Magnolias Bed and Breakfast.” During filming, the Taylors moved out and rented an apartment.
  • There is no parish or town in Louisiana known as Chinquapin. “Chinquapin” is the name for a type of fish and a particular breed of oak tree. The town of Natchitoches in the parish of the same name served as the backdrop for the film. The town was named after the “NAKTOSH” Indians whose names means “chinquapin eaters”. Natchitoches actually does have a large Christmas Light Festival annually. Natchitoches was also the first settlement in the Louisiana Territory.
  • After a poor take, director Herbert Ross reprimanded Dolly Parton and asked her if she could act. She replied “No, but it’s your job to make me look like I can!”
  • On the DVD’s commentary track, Herbert Ross describes how Georges Delerue was not his first choice as a composer for this film. Another “well known” composer’s music was rejected but he fails to say who.
  • There was some initial resistance to casting Sally Field as M’Lynn, because the producers thought no one would believe her as the mother of a 22-year-old until she pointed out that, in real life, she had a 22-year-old son.
  • Dolly Parton and Daryl Hannah studied hair stylists so their scenes where they are doing hair would be real and authentic.
  • When Bette Davis saw the off-Broadway play, she thought it would be a great film for her, envisioning herself as Ouiser, Katharine Hepburn as Clairee, and Elizabeth Taylor as Truvy. However, when she contacted the rights holders for the movie adaptation, she found out that they intended to cast much younger actresses.
  • Opened on Broadway on Monday, April 4th, 2005 at the Lyceum Theater and ran for 136 performances.
  • Ouiser mentions that she and her friends used to dress up like nuns and go barhopping when they were young. Shirley MacLaine played a woman who dressed up as a whiskey-drinking nun in Two Mules for Sister Sara.
  • The title has been said to suggest that the main characters are delicate as magnolias but tough as steel, but this is not explained in the movie. The only references to the two words are Ouiser’s near accusation of Drum of stealing Magnolias from her tree, and then a later comment by M’Lynn that men are supposed to be made out of steel.
  • Between the six female principals are twelve Academy Award nominations and five wins. Only Daryl Hannah and Dolly Parton have not won, although Parton was nominated for Best Song from “Nine to Five” and “Transamerica.”
  • Writer Robert Harling has said that the film follows the last three years of his sister’s life.
  • In the original source play, there are no on-stage roles for men. Although the characters all spend a great deal of time talking about the men in their lives, no male character ever actually appears during the play.
  • Herbert Ross wanted an authentic feel to the hospital scenes, so he hired the doctors and nurses who tended to the writer’s sister (on whom the movie and play are based) during her last days in hospital to play themselves during Julia Roberts’ scenes on life support.
  • Robert Harling, the man who wrote the play ‘Steel Magnolias’ in honor of his sister, plays the pastor who performs Shelby’s wedding and then again her funeral.
  • Robert Harling’s mother was on set during the filming of the scenes while Shelby was in the hospital. During the scene when Shelby is taken off life support she was asked if she wanted to leave. She declined, saying that once the scene was over she wanted to see Shelby – Julia Roberts – get up and walk away.

Talking Points:

  • That was the most severe case of Diabetes I have EVER SEEN.
  • The ensemble
  • Which Steel Magnolia are you?

Critic Notes

  • Positives: ensemble performance was excellent; superficial yet endearing; it may have flaws, but I laugh and cry every time I see it (so sue me)
  • Negatives: cliche’ plot; main cast sounded like they were reading bumper sticker one liners the entire movie

What We Learned:

  • There is no such thing as natural beauty
  • If you can achieve puberty you can have a past
  • An ounce of pretension worth a pound of manure
  • Personal Tragedy should not interfere with your ability to do good hair.
  • Iced tea is the house wine of the south
  • 30 Minutes of wonderful is better than a lifetime of nothing special
  • The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorise
  • All gay men have track lighting and are named Rick, Mark or STEVE.

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Rick: This is one of those fun Chick flicky movie but for some reason I wouldn’t really call it a chick flick. Definitely a gay card stampable film. It’s a nice movie, see it at least once for your gay card and maybe again every couple of years or so.
Mark: Cute, sad, loved Sally Fields performance… It did seem a little extreme with the tone, but overall a decent watch.
Steve: I can never pass up this movie if it’s on tv. Maybe it’s a Southern thing, but I feel like it’s a big slice of culture that really exists and shows how the veil of perfection is maintained by prototypical Southern women – and how the truth is that they run the world while allowing their husband to think he does! You can’t help but laugh at the plethora one one liners and amazing performances. Can’t miss – can watch it with your girlfriends, your “gurl-friends”, your mom, or your grandmother.

The Present: Savages

Rotten Tomatoes: 54% Rotten; 61% Audience

Director: Oliver Stone

Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Blake Lively, Aaron Johnson, Salma Hayek, Benecio Del Toro, John Travolta

Trivia:

  • Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Garrett Hedlund and James Franco were considered to play Ben.
  • Jennifer Lawrence was originally cast as O, but pulled out in order to star in The Hunger Games. Before Blake Lively was cast, Olivia Wilde, Abbie Cornish, Amber Heard and Teresa Palmer were considered, and Lindsay Lohan expressed interest.
  • Oliver Stone began working on the screenplay adaptation before the book was published. So confidant he was of this story that he himself contributed to investing in the project.
  • Although this is the sixth time that Fernando Lara and Oliver Stone have worked together, it will be Lara’s first credited appearance in one of Stone’s films.
  • Not only did Demián Bichir and Benicio Del Toro co-star in Steven Soderbergh’s movies on Che Guevara, but Oliver Stone had previously filmed several interviews with Fidel Castro, whom Bichir played in the Che Guevara films. Gonzalo Menendez also played Castro in The Lost City
  • Taylor Kitsch received training from real Navy SEALs as a part of his preparation for the film.
  • Third time that Gary Stretch has acted under director Oliver Stone.
  • Originally scheduled for a Fall release, the opening date was immediately moved to July following the first screening for the studio.
  • Oliver Stone cast Taylor Kitsch after watching his performance in footage from Battleship, which was still in post-production at the time.
  • Oliver Stone instructed Blake Lively to take firearm training for her role. Despite not being experienced at the gun range, she hit center mass in her first three shots.
  • Oliver Stone wrote a new role for Trevor Donovan after the part he had originally auditioned for was cut out.
  • Taylor Kitsch performed his own stunts.
  • For legal reasons, all the marijuana plants in the film are artificial. The production designers visited legal medical marijuana growers to get the details right.
  • This is Oliver Stone’s first film in nearly 17 years to be photographed with Panavision anamorphic lenses. After Nixon in 1995, his 2.35:1 films were cropped to that ratio via shooting in Super 35. He was convinced to return to anamorphic by cinematographer Daniel Mindel, who has shot all of his features except Domino in the format. Mindel told Stone during their first meeting that if the plan was to shoot in Super 35 or digitally, then he wasn’t the right man for the job.
  • Uma Thurman was cast as Paqu, O’s mother but her scenes were cut from the movie.
  • Jake McLaughlin who plays Doc, is a real life Iraq war veteran.
  • Shipped to theaters under the code name “Paqu”.
  • The funny jingle and ringtone that La Reina uses is the theme song of one of the most famous and popular shows in the history of Mexican TV: El chavo del ocho.

Talking Points:

  • Individual Performances

Critic Notes

  • Positives: The movie may be aggravating and falters, but Stone made a solid film; Salma Hayek; the mood flips on a dime dependent on the situations in the film – not many people other than Stone could pull that off; Shows a ruthless energy; Stone showed his fearless side making this film
  • Negatives: The main characters are not good people and not worth caring about; botched ending; exceptionally flashy mayhem; juvenile fantasy; muddled storyline; utterly boring; predictable and strained

What We Learned:

  • Drugs are a rational response to insanity

Trailer:

Recommendations :
Jeff: You know, I thought this movie was going to have a lot more fighty fighty and blood and guts. It didn’t give me what I was expecting and while most of the acting was good, some was over the top and cheesy. There was something able Selma Hayek’s performance which felt phoned in. Travolta did a great job I though. Overall, it was decent, okay to see in the theaters but also okay to wait until rental.
Ray: Brutal, brutal movie. An interesting take on the onscreen love affair between 3 people. If you like a good crime drama with an interesting symmetry between the major players this is definitely worth a watch.
Steve: Salma Hayek was so awesome in this film and a total highlight. Otherwise, the first 30 minutes was totally uncomfortable for me and I literally didn’t want to stay for the rest. But once it got into the stuff between them and La Rena, it started to get interesting. Overall though, just not my kind of movie.

The Future: Pitch Perfect

Release: October 5, 2012

Director: Jason Moore

Starring: Brittany Snow, Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson

Summary:

Beca, a freshman at Barton University, is cajoled into joining The Bellas, her school’s all-girls singing group. Injecting some much needed energy into their repertoire, The Bellas take on their male rivals in a campus competition.

Talking Points:

  • The obvious Glee comparison
  • The world of competitive college acapella
  • Could be too niche to be successful
  • On The Rocks


Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: I’m actually excited to see this movie. Mainly for the songs. The rest of the movie is going to be complete and utter crap but the songs are going to be what makes this movie worth it. I almost hope there is next to no story and the scenes between the songs are just 1-2 minutes on only there to transition between songs.
Ray: Glee meets Step up + Bridesmaids? Trailer looks decent, but this would be a rental for me.. and no not because Id be ashamed to see it in the theater.. I own that I’m a choir geek.
Steve: As a former acapella group guy, I’m interested if for no other reason to see what they represent about the wacky world of college acapella. Otherwise, it’s all about supporting my fellow alum Brittany Snow (Go Gaither!) and to see what Rebel Wilson does!

The Past:

The Present:

The Future:

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MOV106: “1.21 GIGAWATTS!”

It’s another “very special episode” (haven’t we jumped the shark, yet?) where we look back on the Zemeckis and Michael J. Fox “Back to the Future” franchise.  After just shy of 6 hours of movies, we head to the theater to check out the summer blockbuster based on a Hasbro game, “Battleship”.  Lastly, we take a look at the Tim Burton animated film based on his 1984 short film, “Frankenweenie”.  In news, Guillermo del Toro is taking on big budget SciFi, “GI Joe 2” is getting bumped back a year for 3D post-coversion, “Ted” takes GI Joe 2’s spot, “The Exorcist” and news on the “RoboCop”  remake.  It’s the 106th reel of COL Movies…”1.21 GIGAWATTS!”

News:

The Past: Back To The Future
Rotten Tomatoes: 97% Fresh, 88% Audience

The Past: Back To The Future II
Rotten Tomatoes: 64% Fresh, 80% Audience

The Past: Back To The Future III
Rotten Tomatoes: 73% Fresh, 74% Audience

Director: Robert Zemeckis

​Starring: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover, Mary Steenburgen

Trivia:

  • The first film was the highest-grossing film of 1985 and became an international phenomenon, leading to the second and third films which were filmed back-to-back and released in 1989 and 1990 respectively. Though the two sequels did not perform quite as well at the box office as the first film, the trilogy remains immensely popular after a quarter of a century and has yielded such spin-offs as an animated television series and a motion-simulation ride at the Universal Studios Theme Parks in Universal City, California; Orlando, Florida (now closed), and Osaka, Japan, as well as a Microsoft Windows, Macintosh, iPad, PS3 and Wii video game. The film’s visual effects were done by Industrial Light and Magic. All together, the trilogy was nominated for five Academy Awards, winning one (Best Sound Editing).
  • As of June 2011 the Back to the Future series is the fourteenth highest grossing trilogy of all time at the domestic market (adjusted for inflation), seventeenth highest grossing trilogy of all time at the domestic market (not adjusted for inflation), and the thirteenth highest grossing trilogy of all time, worldwide (not adjusted for inflation).

Talking Points:

  • ​Anyone notice anything they never saw before?
  • What is your favorite of the three?
  • Can you really see one without seeing the others?

Critic Notes

  • Back to the Future:
  • Positives: Great performances, story is well paced, fun mix of ingenuity and nostalgia
  • Negatives: Tries to be too clever, so it trips itself up at times
  • Back to the Future II:
  • Positives: Very screwy, but fun; Not as confusing as #1, giddy and fun
  • Negatives: Make ups at different ages were poorly done, tried too hard, overloaded
  • Back to the Future III:
  • Positives: Much more simple plot than #2, so refreshing and fun; Great nod to westerns
  • Negatives: Bland and forgettable, runs out of energy

What We Learned:

  • ​My God Back To The Future III had alot of facial hair
  • If Emmett Brown built his time machine in this day in age, it would have been a Tesla Roadster and he would have avoided alot of problems.
  • Whatever your parents said they did or did not do when they were your age? Don’t believe a word of it.
  • 2015 is only 3 years from now..and we still don’t have flying cars.

Trailers:

Back to the Future:

Back to the Future II:

Back to the Future III:

Recommendations:
Jeff: This has been always a classic trilogy to me. The first one is a classic and the best, the other two were just some extra added fun. I say it’s totally worth a buy as a complete collection.
Ray: So, I do love the first move, seen it hundreds of times. I think the second movie is ok, but you can only really watch it if you have seen the first movie, but to me other than some eye candy the third movie is totally skip-able.
Steve: Big fan of #1…the other 2 were somewhat throw aways for me. Watching them over, I realized how much I wanted to just fast forward through 2 & 3. I loved the concept and as a teenager in 1985, I wished I was Marty McFly!

The Present: Battleship

Rotten Tomatoes: 37% Fresh; 57% Audience

Director: Peter Berg

Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Rihanna, John Tui, Jesse Plemons, Tadanobu Asano, Gregory D. Gadson, Alexander Skarsgård, Brooklyn Decker, Liam Neeson

Trivia:

  • Jeremy Renner was cast as Alex Hopper, but dropped out in order to co-star in The Master, which he also later dropped out of.
  • The movie is based on the Milton Bradley game “Battleship” that has been manufactured since 1931. The original paper and pencil version of the game predates World War I.
  • Some of the artillery used in the film is shaped like the pegs used in the game.
  • Teresa Palmer and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley auditioned for the role of Sam.
  • Singer Rihanna’s feature film – and acting – debut.
  • The battleship Missouri was the key plot of the movie Under Siege, where it was about to be decommissioned. In Battleship, this boat is set as a museum.
  • The clips showing ‘the world at riot, coming to an Apocalypse’ are actual news clips captured during the riots in the United Kingdom in 2011.
  • During the filming of the soccer game sequence, an American and a Japanese warship each pulled into dock near the field. They were promptly drafted into being extras, and can be seen standing on the prows of their respective ships cheering and clapping for the game.
  • The scene when Alex Hopper breaks into the convenience store to get the chicken burrito is a spoof of a real convenience store robbery – the security video for which went viral on YouTube. The actual robber fell from the ceiling twice.

Talking Points:

  • So, is this movie bad? or are we just spoiled? Why would a movie make 200million overseas, but do absolutely terrible here.
  • Anyone get the “Top Gun” vibe from this?
  • So was it meant to be serious? or was it satire?
  • Was this a nod to Memorial Day? “Don’t forget our Veterans”-kind of movie? or just an advert to say “when the world works together, we can accomplish anything”?

Critic Notes:

  • Positive: Adrenaline filled fun, sincere salute to Naval veterans, it knows it’s big and dumb so it goes for it
  • Negative: 2 hour Navy recruiting film, preposterous, noisy and overbearing, just a big dumb summer movie

What We Learned:

  • ​Even though life evolved on a planet in the same distance from the sun as ours.. the inhabitants will be super sensitive to sunlight
  • Aliens apparently have the same uses for the colors red and green like we do.
  • The government somehow forgot how to put satellites into geosynchronous orbit
  • John Tui is fucking HOT!

Trailer:

Recommendations :
Jeff: While there are some weak points in the plot, the battles just kept getting better and better. I enjoyed this movie alot. The first part of the movie before we get out to sea when Hopper meets the girl could have been completed removed and it would not have changed the movie. Sure not the greatest action movie in the world, but I think they did a decent job. Theater is okay but waiting for rental is okay too.
Ray: This is the biggest budget syfi channel movie I have ever seen! If you enjoy those you will enjoy this. Otherwise stay away…far away.
Steve: Wow…I want to say I hated it, but I didn’t. Definitely just had to shut off my brain and watch the special effects, otherwise I would have been mad at myself for sitting through it. I have no reason to ever see this again.

The Future: Frankenweenie

Release: September 14, 2012

Director: Tim Burton

Starring: Charlie Tahan, Winona Ryder, Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short

Summary:

After the death of his beloved dog Sparky, young Victor harnesses the power of science to bring him back to life. Victor tries to hide his creation, but Sparky gets out and causes havoc in the town

Talking Points

  • Anyone see the original short?

Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: For some reason I’m completely non-plussed about this movie. Looks pretty good but I’m in the Meh camp here.
Ray: Something ill probably see, mostly because of my liking of Burton’s other animated films..not sure its a run out to the theater and see it kinda movie though.
Steve: As a “most of the time” Burton fan, I’ll probably see it on video (if possible). Seems like fun.

The Past:

The Present:

The Future:

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MOV096: “VIRGINIA!”

In this reel of COL Movies, Carlos returns. We head to the past to check out the southern woman drama “Crimes of the Heart”. In the present, we take a look at Disney’s “John Carter”. Is it a Mars Epic or an epic failure. Lastly we take a look at Intruders. Can you tell Steve picked out the movies this week? In the news we discuss reboots, remakes and sequels. It’s the 96th reel of COL Movies “VIRGINIA!”

News:

The Past: Crimes of The Heart (1986)
Rotten Tomatoes: 100% Fresh, 54% Audience

Director: Bruce Beresford

Starring: Sissy Spacek, Diane Keaton, Jessica Lange

Trivia:

  • Jessica Lange was pregnant during shooting.
  • The original Broadway production of “Crimes of the Heart” opened at the John Golden Theater in New York on 2/4/1981, ran for 535 performances and was nominated for the 1982 Tony Award for the Best Play. Beth Henley wrote the original stage play and the screen play on which this movie was based.
  • The play “Crimes of the Heart” won the Pulitzer Prize in Drama in 1981

Talking Points:

  • Identifying with the movie
  • Peanuts and coke!
  • Product Placement! Coke, Golden Griddle, Breyers Ice Cream

What We’ve Learned:

  • It’s a human need to talk about our lives
  • Having sex with a black teenager apparently makes you a liberal
  • Birthday wishes don’t count unless you have a cake
  • The more candles on a cake, the stronger the wish

Trailer
I got nothing.

Recommendations:
Jeff: This was a sweet southern chick flick. Not something I’ll probably think about watching again but if it interests you, check it out.
Ray: This is a generally enjoyable movie, although a bit dated.It feels like a lifetime movie of the week. It’s quite possible that I grew a vagina while watching it. It does do a good job of capturing a certain feel of the south, and of sisters interactions with each other which I really Identified with.
Carlos: sigh. This movie makes you sigh; it’s so exactly what it is. Revelations of the past, nosy neighbors, quirks, crying, death, love, odd moments of intimacy. It’s not that these kind of movies are bad it’s just that I’ve seen them so much I really need to be made to care. These actresses kind of made me care.

The Present: John Carter
Rotten Tomatoes: 49% Rotten; 72% Audience

Director: Andrew Stanton

Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Colins, Willem Dafoe

Trivia:

  • In 2004 – when the project was still known as “A Princess of Mars” after the book on which it’s based – Robert Rodriguez had originally been signed and announced as director and had begun pre-production early that year (it would have been his largest project to date with starting budget reported at $100 million). Rodriguez’ most notable contribution was to hire fantasy painter Frank Frazetta (whose most acclaimed works have included striking illustrations of Edgar Rice Burroughs novels, most notably the “John Carter on Mars” books) as production designer on the film. However, when Rodriguez resigned from the Directors’ Guild of America (DGA) the same year (due to a dispute over his film Sin City), Paramount was forced to replace him. The studio has a long-standing arrangement with the DGA in which only the organization’s members may direct Paramount films. He was replaced with director Kerry Conran, who had just finished Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow. In 2005, Conran left the project and was replaced by Jon Favreau just before the release of Favreau’s movie Zathura: A Space Adventure; Favreau was on-board to direct until around August 2006. At this time Paramount chose not to renew the film rights, preferring to focus on Star Trek, and Favreau left to work on Iron Man. In January 2007 Disney regained the rights (they had rights to film the story previously: in the 1980s with director John McTiernan), and enlisted Andrew Stanton from Pixar to direct.
  • “A Princess of Mars” was originally published as “Under the Moons of Mars” by Norman Bean (Edgar Rice Burroughs’ pseudonym) in The All-Story (six pulp magazine issues February – July, 1912). Burroughs was originally afraid that he might be ridiculed for writing such a tale, so he decided to use a pen name. The pseudonym was supposed to be a pun “Normal Bean” (as in “I’m a normal being”) to reassure people, but the man who typeset the text thought it was a mistake, so he changed it to “Norman”. However, Burroughs’ fears turned out to be unfounded: the story and its sequels, collectively known as the “Barsoom series”, were almost as popular (and arguably more influential) as those of his most famous creation, Tarzan.
  • Jon Hamm and Josh Duhamel were considered for the role of John Carter.
  • Probably holds the record for having the longest period of “development hell” for any movie, at 79 years. Preproduction for a film version first started in 1931, when Robert Clampett (director of ‘Looney Tunes’) approached author Edgar Rice Burroughs to make an animated feature out of the first book in the series, “A Princess of Mars” (the same story that this film is an adaptation of). Had plans gone through, ‘John Carter’ could have become the world’s first animated feature, beating Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937). The film finally left development hell in January 2010 when filming officially started in London.
  • The music in the first theatrical trailer uses two instrumental arrangements of “Kashmir” by Led Zeppelin. The first (starting at 0:53) was performed by Australian/British string quartet Bond, the second (starting at 1:25) was performed by Corner Stone Cues (this arrangement is called “Ten Years Kashmir Mvt II (Orch, Choir & Perc Mix))”.
  • This marks the third live-action film under the Disney banner to earn a PG-13 rating in the United States. The first being Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (not counting its sequels as they are of the same film franchise) and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.
  • Taylor Kitsch claimed to have suffered liver problems due to his rigorous diet and physical training for this film, 5losing 30 pounds in the process.
  • The Teaser features the song “My Body is a Cage”, originally written by Arcade Fire. The version used in the teaser is by Peter Gabriel, released on his 2011 album of cover versions, “Scratch My Back”.
  • The first “John Carter” story by Edgar Rice Burroughs made its debut in 1912 in a magazine serial. Thus, the 2012 feature film marks the centenary (100th anniversary) of the character’s first appearance.
  • The film was originally titled and marketed as “John Carter of Mars”, but director Andrew Stanton removed “of Mars” to make it more appealing to a broader audience, stating that the film is an “origin story… It’s about a guy becoming John Carter of Mars.”
  • Dedicated to the memory of Steve Jobs.
  • When Jon Favreau learned that Andrew Stanton had picked up the film, he gave him a call congratulating him and requesting that he could play a Thark. Favreau voices a “Thark Bookie”.

Talking Points:

  • Plot Holes??
  • Inconsistent physicality (Jumping Fighting Breaking Chains)
  • He can suddenly talk and hear martian how again?
  • Martians can tell an Earth human from a Martian human (even before the jumping)
  • Woola
  • The Cost of this film (just because you have the money, does not mean you should use it)

What We Learned:

  • Being a fool is a great luxury
  • War is a shameful thing unless a noble cause is taken up by those that can make a difference
  • Everyone thinks that their cause is virtuous.

Trailer:

Recommendations :
Jeff: I liked this movie. It was a little tough to get into at the beginning but once it got to Mars I was with it. Not that great of a movie so I can understand the critics rating but it still worth seeing. DVD would probably be fine though
Ray: I feel that this should have been named John Carter and the Plot Holes of Mars, a visually interesting film that ultimately and unfortunately fell flat in the plot and action departments for me. It felt a lot longer than it already was. I hear that the source material is wonderful though. I hope this black mark is quickly and quietly erased from Andrew Stantons permanent record. The one bright star for me in this was Woola! I want a Woola!
Carlos: I want more dogs. More dogs. I also want more information. Who was that? Why was this? I normally don’t care about holes…except when all you have is holes. But pretty, decent acting, just needs to be better. It’s makes it to decent, but from decent to good or good to great, it has a lot of work to do.

The Future: Intruders

Release: Limited March 30, 2012

Director: Juan Carlos Fresnadilllo

Starring: Clive Owen, Carice van Houten. Izán Corchero

Summary:

Two children living in different countries are visited nightly by a faceless being who wants to take possession of them

Talking Points

  • Not sure that the whole two different countries thing is really all that apparent in the trailer.
  • Release Date

Trailer:

Excitement:
Jeff: Oh, another scary freak me the “f” out movie. Great.
Ray: Not sure I’d go to the theater on my own to see this (not because it looks scary) but I think I’d be more scared watching this on my own at home.
Carlos: I’m confused. I just can’t decide.

Coming Attractions

The Past:

The Present:

The Future:

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MOV083: “If that’s normal, I don’t want it!”

On this reel of COL:Movies the boys hop on Santa’s sleigh and take a nostalgic look at Christmas past by watching Miracle on 34th Street. Did this Christmas classic live up to expectations? Is it something that still holds relevance to today’s audiences? Next the boys Trade in Santa’s sleigh for Santa’s spaceship, you heard that right kids from Christmas past to a somewhat technologically advanced Christmas present we discuss the modern Christmas tale Arthur Christmas. Did Fuzz’s surreal theater experience soil his enjoyment of the movie? Did Justin Bieber ruin Christmas? Next we take a look at a film scheduled for next year, Pixar’s Brave. The boys give us their thoughts on this movie and what they think about what seems to be a slight departure from the normal Pixar formula? All this plus thoughts on Movie sequels, Chinese censorship, and what its like to make out with Patton Oswald on this Reel of COL:Movies number 83

News:

The Past: Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
Rotten Tomatoes: 94% Fresh, 82% Audience

Director: George Seaton

Starring: Maureen O’Hara, John Payn, Edmund Gwenn, Natalie Wood

Trivia:

  • Despite the fact that the film is set during Christmas, studio head Darryl F. Zanuck insisted that it be released in May because he argued that more people went to the movies during the summer. So the studio began scrambling to promote it while keeping the fact that it was a Christmas movie a secret.
  • Maureen O’Hara was ultimately forced into her role against her will, as she had just returned to Ireland before being called back to America for the film. However, she immediately changed her sentiments upon reading the script.
  • There are 21 mail bags carried into the courtroom at the end of Kris’s hearing.
  • Thelma Ritter’s screen debut.
  • 20th Century-Fox studio head Darryl F. Zanuck was very much against making this film because he thought it too corny to succeed. He finally agreed to a medium-sized budget provided writer/director George Seaton would accept his next three assignments unconditionally. Seaton, who desperately wanted to get the picture made, agreed.
  • When Dr. Pierce explains Kris’ belief that he is Santa Claus, he offers for comparative purposes a Hollywood restaurant owner who believes himself to be a Russian prince despite evidence to the contrary, but rather conveniently fails to recall the man’s name. This was a reference to Michael Romanoff, owner of Romanoff’s in Hollywood, a popular hangout for movie stars at the time.
  • 2006: Ranked #9 on the American Film Institute’s 100 Most Inspiring Movies of All Time.
  • Ranked #5 on the American Film Institute’s list of the 10 greatest films in the genre “Fantasy” in June 2008.
  • The scenes of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade are of the actual parade held in 1946. As such, careful preparation was necessary for the shots as retakes were obviously out of the question. 20th Century-Fox had cameras positioned along the parade route at the starting line at 77th Street, on Central Park West, on the 3rd floor of an apartment building at 253 West 58th Street, in Herald Square and on 34th Street at 7th Avenue.
  • In the untranslated dialogue with the Dutch girl, Santa Claus asks the child what she wants for Christmas the girl says she wants nothing, telling Santa she got her gift by being adopted by her new mother
  • Both the actual Macy’s and Gimbel’s department stores were approached by the producers for permission to have them depicted in the film. Both stores wanted to see the finished film first before they gave approval. If either store had refused, the film would have had to been extensively edited and reshot to eliminate the references. Fortunately at the test viewing, both businesses were pleased with the film and gave their permission.
  • The scenes at Macy’s were shot on location at the main New York store on 34th Street itself. Shooting was complicated by the fact that the crew’s power needs exceeded the store’s electricity capacity and required additional power sources arranged in the store’s basement.
  • Received a ‘B’ rating (morally objectionable in part) from the highly influential Legion of Decency because Maureen O’Hara played a divorcée.
  • In 2011, Maureen O’Hara (Doris Walker) and Alvin Greenman (Alfred) are the last surviving major/semi major cast members.
  • The real R.H. (Rowland Hussey) Macy died in 1877, 70 years prior to the time of the film.
  • The house that Susan sees at the end of the movie that all three characters enter is, according to the Nassau County Tax Records, located at 24 Derby Road in Port Washington, New York.

Talking Points:

  • Did anyone else think Edmund Gwenn sounds like Michael Gambon
  • Colorization? Why do people pan the colorized version?
  • Does it hold up as a tale modern families would go for?
  • The trailer
  • So, was he or wasnt he?

What We’ve Learned:

  • Blitzen is always on the right
  • Donner’s antlers have 4 points not 3
  • A mans gotta do something to keep warm!
  • The Macy’s parade seemed a lot smaller in 1947
  • Kris Kringle is as old as his tongue and a little bit older than his teeth
  • Christmas isn’t just a day its a frame of mind.
  • Chewing gum and beards don’t mix!

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: Adorable movie and definitely a Christmas classic. Definitely welcome in my DVD collection.
Ray: A Christmas classic that I had never taken the time to watch due to my irrational aversion to films made prior to 1965 – I’m glad I did though, while not something Id watch every year it would definitely go into the rotation to break up the It’s a wonderful life / a Christmas story monotony
Steve: Classic. Love the old school acting and unrealistic characters. This is the first time I’ve watched this since I have worked at a Macy’s and visited the original one in New York. The questions raised are definitely interesting and warm hearted.

The Present: Arthur Christmas
Rotten Tomatoes: 92% Fresh, 82% Audience

Director: Sarah Smith

Starring: James McAvoy, Jim Broadbent, Bill Nighy

Trivia:

  • The second consecutive film written by Peter Baynham to have the name Arthur in its title, the first being Arthur starring Russell Brand.
  • Arthur Christmas was first announced in 2007, under the name Operation Rudolph. It was the first film made by Aardman in partnership with Sony Pictures Entertainment and its subsidiaries
  • Has already been nominated for 11 awards, mostly for best animated feature – and won 1 to date (San Diego Film Critic’s Society Award).

Talking Points:

  • This was one of the most bizarre.. and annoying theater visits (fuzz)
  • Good lord did anyone else have to sit thought the Justin Bieber Video?
  • Updating the Christmas myths

What We Learned:

  • Santa’s house does not show up on Google Earth
  • Milk and Cookies can be used as Biofuel
  • A whack on the head, and a dab of whisky on the lips will keep any child quiet
  • Christmas is not a time for emotion
  • Santa wears Designer suits
  • Reindeer can smell fear
  • Santa cuts through Canada because no one lives there
  • Make sure that auto save is on!
  • There’s always time for a Bow!
  • AMC Theaters really need to upgrade their computers!

Trailer:

Recommendations :
Jeff: Very cute movie and glad I went. The 3D wasn’t necessary though, but at least it wasn’t bad. Definitely worth taking the neice and/or nephew too. Oh, and if you do have kids, them too.
Ray: Besides my theater annoyances, I really enjoyed this. It does a great job of updating the Santa Mythos and is generally entertaining. Not only do I think you should watch this, this one will be in my collection.
Steve: Thought it was clever and cute. I haven’t always been a British cartoon fan, but actually got the humor in this one. Really enjoyed the references to how Christmas is celebrated in different countries.

The Future: Brave

Release: June 22, 2012

Directors: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman

Starring: Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly and Emma Thompson

Summary:

Set in Scotland in a rugged and mythical time, “Brave” features Merida, an aspiring archer and impetuous daughter of royalty. Merida makes a reckless choice that unleashes unintended peril and forces her to spring into action to set things right.

Trivia:

  • Reese Witherspoon was originally announced as the voice of Princess Merida, but scheduling conflicts prevented from taking the role. Kelly Macdonald replaced her.
  • This film marks the first time a Pixar produced film has a female protagonist.
  • The original title of the film was “The Bear and the Bow”.
  • Originally 80% of the film took place in snow. When director Brenda Chapman left the project so did much of the white stuff.
  • The Pizza Planet truck, a fixture of every full-length Pixar film, can be spotted in the Witch’s Hut.
  • None of the footage shown in the preview trailer is in the finished film.
  • Kelly Macdonald, Robbie Coltrane, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, Craig Ferguson and Billy Connolly have all been in movies based on book series. Billy Connolly was in “Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events” based on “The Bad Beginning”, “The Reptile Room”, and “The Wide Window” the first 3 books in the book series “A Series of Unfortunate Events”. Kelly Macdonald, Robbie Coltrane, Emma Thompson, and Julie Walters have all been in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” the final installment in the Harry Potter movies, based on the 7th and final book “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” from the Harry Potter series.
  • Four of the cast members (Kelly Macdonald, Robbie Coltrane, Julie Walters, and Emma Thompson) have worked on Harry Potter. Thompson and Macdonald have both worked on Nanny McPhee and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, however, in the latter they have no scenes together. Brave will be their 3rd film together.

Talking Points:

  • Pixar’s mostly human movie vs. animating toys, cars, fish, monsters, etc?
  • Female lead character?

Trailers:

Excitement:
Jeff: It’s another Pixar movie. I’m sure it’s already on the list or will be. I’m not super excited about it, but always know I’ll be satisfied when I go see a Pixar movie.
Ray: Um.. It’s Pixar.. yeah I’m excited DUH
Steve: Looks like it will be good, but kind of seems like a departure for Pixar. Not 100% sure I’m excited about it.

Coming Attractions

The Past

The Present

The Future

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MOV082: “The Things A Girl Will Do For A Mink Coat!”

In this reel of COL Movies, the guys head into the way back machine to review 1945’s “Christmas In Connecticut”. After spending some time with the old school, they head to the theater to see Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo”. After surviving…I mean sleeping through…I mean getting through that film, they check out the trailer for the highly anticipated…and by highly anticipated we mean spent almost 80 years in development hell…Pixar live-action film, “John Carter”. All this and more info on The Dark Knight Rises, Angelina Jolie and Luc Besson’s potential partnership, Robocop going boldly where no man has gone before, and a spoof trailer for the Angry Birds movie – you know you want to see it! It’s the 82nd reel of COL Movies – the things a girl will do for a mink coat!

News:

The Past: Christmas In Connecticut (1945)
Rotten Tomatoes: 88% Fresh, 77 % Audience

Director:Peter Godfrey

Starring: Barbara Stanwyck, Dennis Morgan, Sydney Greenstreet, Reginald Gardiner

Trivia:

  • The Connecticut home is the same set used in Bringing Up Baby,
  • The character of Elizabeth Lane was loosely based on the then popular Family Circle Magazine columnist Gladys Taber, who lived on Stillmeadow Farm in Connecticut.

Talking Points:

  • Man..who WASN’T getting married in this film..
  • Favorite Line? Or Scene?
  • The portrayal of African Americans from this era of film (waiter)

What We’ve Learned:

  • The ol’ MaGoo is different than baloney!
  • Nobody needs a mink coat except a mink!
  • The Sanctity of Marriage was alive and well in 1945
  • Babies like to eat soap
  • Its the woman that leads the man astray

Trailer:

Recommendations:
Jeff: I couldn’t get through this movie, I kept starting and stopping, muting. It’s not a bad movie in any way shape or form, it’s just not my thing. If you like a movie with constant embarrassing moments and classic movieness, watch it. I just can’t anymore.
Ray: It’s a cute little look at a 1940’s screwball comedy. I liked it even if the whole marriage thing annoyed me. I’d say watch! If only for Uncle Felix definitely not a catastrophe!
Steve: I will admit wholeheartedly that I screwed up.

The Present: Hugo
Rotten Tomatoes: 94% Fresh, 84% Audience

Director: Martin Scorsese

Starring: Asa Butterfield, Chloë Grace Moretz, Ben Kingsley, Sacha Baron Cohen

Trivia:

  • Martin Scorsese’s first feature film in twelve years not starring Leonardo DiCaprio. His last feature film without DiCaprio was “Bringing Out the Dead”
  • After a screening that James Cameron attended, he called the film a “masterpiece” and told Martin Scorsese it was the best use of 3D he had seen, including his own films.
  • The cam mechanism in the automaton is heavily inspired by the machinery in the Jaquet-Droz automata, built between 1768 and 1774.
  • Martin Scorsese directed the 3D cinematography by wearing clip-on 3D lenses over his prescription glasses
  • The train station depicted is the Gare Montparnasse. The real life Georges Méliès did in fact work as a toymaker at that station after World War I. The derailment scene during Hugo’s dream is a reference to the famous 1895 derailment at the station

Talking Points:

  • The Cinematography “Crazy Long shot at the beginning”
  • 3D? Anyone see it?
  • Will this really appeal to children
  • Was this what you thought it was going to be about?
  • Melodramatic character “Kingsley”
  • Anyone else feel like this was some ham-handed plea for film preservation?
  • Sacha Baron Cohen & all the older actors – pretty much a star cast (all from Harry Potter…lol)

What We Learned:

  • There are a whole lot of English people living in Paris (accents)
  • The secret is in the clockwork
  • The Library is the best place on earth, like Never-land, Oz and Treasure Island all wrapped in one
  • Everything has a purpose, lose it and you’re broken
  • Old Films make wonderful rubber heels
  • Happy Endings only happen in the movies.

Trailer:

Recommendations :
Jeff: This movie has some serious pacing issues. I thought the story wasn’t so bad and twisting it into something different then what I expected was nice. The cinematography was great, lighting, coloring, but just paced wrong. Maybe a worth see on rental, but seeing it on the big screen for some of those shots were great. Loved the shout out to the beginnings of movie making.
Ray: Ugh, totally bored me. Nodded off a few times. Felt like this was Scorsese just masturbating on film….If I was a kid I would have found this film extremely boring, My one shining star of the film..was only in it for 5 minutes, and for 2 of those he was dead.
Steve: Was snoring by 15 minutes in…and was out for at least 20 minutes. But once I woke up, I didn’t mind the story after it got to the part about filmmaking. However, definitely not my kind of movie and I wouldn’t see it again. I honestly thought it was going to be completely something else.

The Future: John Carter

Director: Andrew Stanton

Starring: Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Willem Defoe

Summary:

Transplanted to Mars, a Civil War vet discovers a lush planet inhabited by 12-foot tall barbarians. Finding himself a prisoner of these creatures, he escapes, only to encounter a princess who is in desperate need of a savior.

Trivia:

  • The first live action film that will involve Pixar
  • Probably holds the record for having the longest period of “development hell” for any movie, at 79 years, but would have been the first animated film ever made had it succeeded to be developed in 1931

Talking Points:

  • Trailer Music
  • Development Hell!

Trailers:

Excitement:
Jeff: Damn, this trailer got me excited to see this movie. I was luke warm hearing about it before but definitely changed my mind. I think it was John leaping a couple of stories into the air that helped hook me.
Ray: Man, I’ve been hearing about this film for at LEAST 17 years… yes that long. Hope its worth the wait. I am looking forward to it.
Steve: Looks really cool! I’m looking forward to it. I have no concept of the back story, but the trailer really pulled me in.

Coming Attractions

The Past

The Present

The Future

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