TOP 5: Desired Rereleases

One of the latest trends in Hollywood is rereleasing classic movies for a limited engagement on the big screen. Disney is the most active participant in this trend. The Lion King came roaring roaring back into theaters this past September, capturing a massive box office intake of $94 million. The financial success of this move prompted Disney to rerelease other classics in the coming years, including Beauty and the Beast, Finding Nemo, Monsters, Inc. and The Little Mermaid.

But Disney isn’t the only one rereleasing beloved movies. George Lucas is rereleasing all six Star Wars films in 3D starting next February. James Cameron’s Titanic also sails into theaters next year in 3D. AMC Theaters hosted special screenings of many films before their Blu-Ray release, including The Lord of the Rings, Top Gun, and Taxi Driver. My viewing of Taxi Driver just happened to be one my favorite movie experiences this year.

Seeing a movie on a big screen is a magical experience. There’s nothing quite like it. With that in mind, here are five films I would love to see rereleased on the big screen.

 

5. Aladdin 

Dinsey’s rerelasing The Little Mermaid instead of this? Aladdin is the second-highest grossing hand-drawn animated film of all time. It made nearly three times what The Little Mermaid did and stands among one of Dinsey’s greatest. Rerelease Aladdin. Ariel can wait.

4. Singin’ in the Rain

The greatest musical of all time, Singin’ in the Rain would have its audiences dancing in the aisles if given the big screen rerelease it deserves.

 3. Citizen Kane

The cinematography alone in this film merits a viewing on the big screen. Not to mention that that Orson Welles’s debut film is considered one of the greatest films of all time and continues to inspire filmmakers to this very day. I only have one condition should this film be rereleased: No 3D.

2. Rocky

My default favorite movie of all time. Seeing this on the big screen would be a dream come true.

1. The Godfather

It’ll be an offer you can’t refuse.

Fall / Winter 2011

The Summer blockbuster season is over, and with the announcement that Eddie Murphy will be hosting next year, the race to the Oscars has begun.

Daniel & I are looking forward to a lot of films coming out in the next few months, and thought we’d share our individual top ten anticipated films with you.

Feel free to agree, disagree, and share your own top ten in the comments below.

DANIEL’S MOST ANTICIPATED

10. J. Edgar

Leonardo DiCaprio is one of the greatest actors to ever grace the silver screen. The list of directors he has worked with reads like an All-Star Hollywood lineup — Ridley Scott, James Cameron, Christopher Nolan, and Martin Scorsese, to name a few. Now he has a new name to add to his resume: Clint Eastwood. Eastwood showed he had a skilled hand for historical drama in 2008’s Changeling. With Oscar-winning writer Dustin Lance Black (Milk) on board for his latest work, we could be looking at another fine film from one of the greats.

9. Moneyball

We haven’t had a great baseball movie since The Rookie. The sad truth is that baseball movies are few and far between these days, but Moneyball looks to be a winner. Co-written by Aron Sorkin (The Social Network), the movie tells the story of Oakland A’s manager Billy Beane and his radical decision to use computers to draft baseball players. Co-starring Jonah Hill, Robin Wright, and the always reliable Philip Seymour Hoffman, Oscar buzz for this movie seems inevitable.

8. The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn

I’ve never been the biggest fan of motion capture animation, but after seeing the trailer for Spielberg’s first animated feature, I was sold. The Adventures of Tintin is something I don’t want to miss. Every frame is alive with spirited energy and overflowing with vibrant life. It’s always exciting to see directors pushing the medium forward. Who knows, maybe Spielberg will do for motion capture what Cameron did for 3D.

7. Drive

After his terrific performance in Blue Valentine last year, Ryan Gosling seems to be getting more and more roles. His latest is a man simply known as Driver, a professional Hollywood stunt driver who drives getaway cars in his spare time. After a heist goes wrong, he finds himself targeted by powerful men. Nicolas Winding Refn (Bronson, Vahalla Rising) took home top honors for his direction on the film at Cannes and will continue to receive such praise as we head into Oscar season.

6. 50/50

Screenwriter Will Reiser tells the story of his personal diagnosis with cancer and the effect it has on himself and those close to him. With an incredible cast featuring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick, and Bryce Dallas Howard, this mix of comedy and drama is sure to be one of the year’s best.

5. The Ides of March

George Clooney’s Good Night and Good Luck remains one of the best films of the last decade, and I’m very excited to see what he brings to the table in this year’s Ides of March. Loosely based on Howard Dean’s failed presidential campaign back in 2004, the movie explores dirty politics in a presidential campaign. Boasting one of the best ensemble casts of the year (Clooney, Gosling, Tomei, Giamatti, and more), The Ides of March is bound to be a key player in this year’s Oscar race.

4. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Gary Oldman is garnering quite a bit of Oscar buzz for his role as George Smiley in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, an all-star thriller set during the Cold War. Oldman may be getting most of the buzz, but it’s the cast as a whole (Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, Toby Jones, and Mark Strong to name a few) that has me really excited for this movie. After learning that a Soviet agent has embedded himself deep inside MI6, Smiley comes out of retirement to find the traitor. I don’t know much about the original novel or the British television series it inspired, but I know I’m going to see this as soon as I can.

3. The Artist

The Artist promises to be one of the most unique movie experiences this year. The year is 1927, and the arrival of talking pictures is right around the corner. This poses a problem for George Valentin, one of the kings of silent cinema. While he  deals with the changes that Hollywood is embracing, he must also confront his interest in a young dancer by the name of Peppy Miller. The movie was a huge success at Cannes, and it looks to be a personal instant favorite. The biggest attraction to this movie is that it’s filmed like a silent film, the kind that we would have seen back in Valentin’s day.

2. Hugo

Is there any genre Martin Scorsese won’t tackle? He’s done biblical drama, period pieces, romances, concert movies, documentaries, and more. Hugo, based on the beloved children’s book by Brian Selznick, is the great director’s first family-oriented film. Scorsese transports us to 1930s Paris, where we follow a young boy named Hugo and his quest to discover the mysteries left behind by his father.

I can’t think of anyone else I’d rather have in the director’s chair for a proper adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. David Fincher’s work on films like Seven and Fight Club are perfect examples of why he is the right man for the job. I enjoyed the Swedish adaptation of the popular novel, but it suffered from budget constraints. I can’t wait to see what Fincher does with the material and a more appropriate budget. Its dark and haunting story might be too much for Oscar voters to handle, but it’s bound to be one of the year’s best.

 

JOSEPH’S MOST ANTICIPATED

10. Albert Nobbs


2011 is definitely a good year for strong female leads, even with Glen Close playing a woman character who dresses as a man. I’m really looking forward to her performance, which in my mind, is a follow-up to Steven Spielberg’s Hook. (Don’t believe me?)

9. My Week with Marilyn

Michelle Williams takes on the titular role of the celibritous Marilyn Monroe. Kenneth Branagh also stars, in a role envied by many a British actor, as Sir Laurence Olivier. Emma Watson, fresh off of the Harry Potter train, joins the cast as well.

8. The Rum Diary


I will admit that I haven’t seen Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (also based on a Hunter S. Thompson novel), but I have heard about this adaptation for many years. The hype has slowly been building in the back of my mind, and with the recently revealed trailer, it looks like this film has actually been filmed.

7. Drive



Reminding me of the genre-bending present in Hanna, Ryan Gosling stars in a film that, on paper, sounds like a knock-off of the Jason Statham vehicle, The Transporter. With that preconception in mind, the positive buzz from Cannes was confusing. The trailer for the film shows that yes, it shares the same concept, but is something else entirely (Apologies to Martin Scorsese for bumping Hugo from the list at the last minute). Also, I need to watch Bronson now.

6. The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn


I have fond memories of reading the American versions of The Adventures of TinTin, a comic book series by Belgian artist Herge. I had worries about it being translated to the big screen, but I think it’s in good hands with director Steven Spielberg. They seem to have a grasp on the overall tone and atmosphere that makes the series the period/modern/future swashbuckler that it is.

5. The Iron Lady


The theme today is performances, and The Iron Lady is no exception. I’d watch a movie starring Meryl Streep playing a woman who watches paint dry. (Paging Gus Van Sant) Streep stars as former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and as usual, chameleons her character well. I’m interested to see how Phyllida Lloyd (Mamma Mia!) does directing a period film.

4. J. Edgar


Leonardo DiCaprio has an impressive track record for quality acting, and has been busy for the last several years. His latest performance, as J. Edgar Hoover, teams him up with director Clint Eastwood (Million Dollar Baby) and writer Dustin Lance Black (Milk). If this isn’t a recipe for a road to the Oscars, I don’t know what is.

3. Moneyball


I love a good game of baseball, but as a spectator sport, I’d rather watch golf. So why, out of all the films coming out this year, would I want to watch this? Director Bennett Miller, writer Aaron Sorkin, and actors Brad Pitt, Philip Seymour Hoffman (woefully absent from the trailers), and Jonah Hill (hoping he does well in a non-comedic role).

2. War Horse


While at times sounding more like Lassy than Gone With the Wind, I’m excited about the latest from Steven Spielberg. (I loved Munich and enjoyed Crystal Skull) The story sounds moving, epic, and judging from the trailer, looks gorgeous. It stars David Thewlis, Emily Watson, Tom Hiddleston, and newcomer Jeremy Irvine in the lead role.

 

1. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy


This movie looks fantastic, plain and simple. Tomas Alfredson, who directed the magnificent Let the Right One In in 2008, returns with a film set during the Cole War. Alfredson has proved his skill in subtlety and atmosphere, and has surrounded himself with a steller cast, including Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, John Hurt, Mark Strong, Cieran Hinds…the list goes on. Watch out for this one.

 

Weekend Warrior: The Apes Change It Up

 

Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Directed by: Rupert Wyatt
Written by: Rick Jaffa / Amanda Silver
Starring: James Franco / Andy Serkis / Freida Pinto

The Consensus: Rotten Tomatoes: 88% Meta Critic: N/A

Negative Take:

I realise that action movies aren’t meant to be realistic but these characters needed to be far more interesting and believable if they were going to draw me in.

Matthew Toomey (The Film Pie)

Positive Take:

Audacious, violent and disquieting, “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” is a summer sequel that’s better than it has any right to be. This movie about how the apes rose up against the humans who would trap them, cage them and use them in medical experiments is a stunning job of back-engineering the familiar “Planet of the Apes” story and another leap forward in performance capture animation.

Roger Moore (Orlando Sentinel)

The Change-Up
Directed by: David Dobkin
Written by: Jon Lucas / Scott Moore
Starring: Jason Bateman / Ryan Reynolds / Olivia Wilde / Leslie Mann

The Consensus: Rotten Tomatoes: 35% Meta Critic: 49

Negative Take:

While the reliable Ryan Reynolds and Jason Bateman wring some laughs from a creaky but durable setup, playing polar-opposite buddies who find themselves by stepping outside themselves, the script takes R-rated gross-out humor to such forced extremes that its later bid for sentimental sweetness feels disingenuous and unearned.

Justin Chang (Variety)

Positive Take:

The idea’s old as the hills — wisdom won by literally walking in someone else’s shoes — and often the gross-out humor in “The Change Up” seems designed specifically for adolescents. But for the love of Peter Pan, stifle your inner censor and give this half-smart, deliciously transgressive mess of a movie a chance.

Kat Murphy (MSN Movies)

Let us know what YOU thought in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOP 5: Westerns

With Cowboys and Aliens hitting theaters this past weekend, we figured it was a good enough reason to list our top five westerns. Yee-haw!

 

DANIEL’S FAVORITES

5. The Man from Snowy River


I must have watched this movie a hundred times as a kid. The Man from Snowy River is a beautiful Australian film about an 18-year-old boy named Jim Craig and his journey to becoming a man. After his father dies in an accident on the family farm, Jim is forced to find work off the mountain until he can afford the farm again. The film features a wonderful score and breathtaking cinematography, with director George Miller finding a wonderful balance between human drama and comedy. It’s a great ride. If you’re still not convinced this film isn’t your cup of tea, then I should tell you that Kirk Douglas plays two roles as a pair of estranged brothers. Interested now?

4. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid


A blast from beginning to end, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is one of a kind. Paul Newman and Robert Redford are a blast to watch in a film that boasts creative cinematography, witty dialogue, memorable music (including the first use of “Raindrop Are Falling On My Head”), and exciting action sequences. It’s pure, unadulterated fun.

3. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

 

“You see, in this world there are two kinds of people, my friend. Those with loaded guns and those who dig. You dig.” What Western list would be complete without a Sergio Leone spaghetti western?  Leone’s one of the masters and this film proves it.

2. High Noon

 

Gary Cooper won his second Oscar in the film that should have won best picture in 1953. This movie is flawless from beginning to end. Cooper plays Marshall Will Kane, a man who decides to go up against an old enemy despite the fact that the whole town, including his new wife, refuse to back him up. The movie’s only 85 minutes long (and a lot of it takes place in real time), but it will keep you rooted from beginning to end. One of the greats.

1. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

 

It was extremely difficult for me to choose just one John Ford film to put on this list. He practically invented the genre. Personally, I think this film stands high above his others and is certainly the most memorable. Jimmy Stewart plays Ransom Stoddard, a man who believes that everything can be solved with his law books. John Wayne plays Tom Doniphon, a decent man who walks a fine line between violence and civility. He believes that a problem has to be solved with brute fist. It’s a wonderful commentary on democracy and John Ford reinvents the genre he practically invented. Ford and Stewart give some of their best performances, and the supporting cast adds to the magic. . To quote A.O. Scott, “the great insight of this film is that our society, which is founded on principles of truth and justice, is also rooted in violence and denial.” Pure art.


JOSEPH’S FAVORITES

5. The Searchers


While the 1957 Academy Awards was a tough year to beat (Yul Brunner, James Dean, Kirk Douglas, Rock Hudson, and Laurence Olivier were the chosen few), I still wonder why John Wayne wasn’t nominated for his role in The Searchers, where he turned in a powerfully emotional performance that was outside of his normal shtick. His closing scene is brilliantly conceived and executed, inspiring filmmakers for countless years to come.

4. Rooster Cogburn


Rooster Cogburn, the sequel to Henry Hathaway’s True Grit, puts Katherine Hepburn opposite John Wayne in one of my favorite buddy films of all time. The chemistry between these opposite characters is a joy to watch as they banter and bicker, and still holds up over 35 years later. The story is basic, and the villains are one-dimensional, but Hepburn and Wayne make Rooster Cogburn something special, and gives it a lasting power.

3. No Country for Old Men


After The Ladykillers, the Coen Brothers delivered the vastly superior No Country for Old Men, a film that I consider to be a contemporary Western. It shares common themes (good v. evil, personal law, justice), harsh landscapes, gunfights, ambiguity, and a masculine wardrobe. No Country for Old Men is infused with a Coenesque sense of humor, and they surround themselves with familiar craftsmen, and a talented cast.

2. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

Having only seen this film once (one of my favorite movie-going experiences), I’m hesitant to put it on my list. But it has had a lasting impact on me, which can’t be said for a lot of the other films that didn’t make the cut. Like Butch Cassidy, Andrew Dominik’s (Chopper) second film also goes “beyond the myth”, showing the life of famous outlaw. Casey Affleck shines as Robert Ford, the idolizing  fan of Jesse James, played by Brad Pitt. Both actors deliver sound, subtle performances in their titular roles.

1. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Expertly written by William Goldman (The Princess Bride), Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid is a film that adds some behind-the-scenes humor and reality to the mythos surrounding the infamous bandits. And yes, they are bandits. They’re the bad guys, but you can’t help but join the Hole in the Wall gang early on.

Weekend Warrior: Cowboys & Aliens, Crazy Stupid Love, The Smurfs, and Attack the Block

Cowboys & Aliens
Directed by: Jon Favreau
Written by: Roberto Orci / Alex Kurtzman / Damon Lindelof / Mark Fergus / Hawk Ostby / Steve Oedekerk
Starring: Daniel Craig / Harrison Ford / Olivia Wilde

The Consensus: Rotten Tomatoes: 43% Meta Critic: 57

Negative Take:

It’s a setup for an epic showdown. What we get instead is drained of daring, much the way Favreau reduced Iron Man to formula in sappy sequel. The mash-up of cowboys and aliens doesn’t do either camp any favors. How are we supposed to work up a rooting interest when both sides are shooting blanks?

Peter Travers (Rolling Stone)

Positive Take:

“Cowboys & Aliens” is exactly what it sounds like: a cowboy movie and an alien movie thrown together, a genre mash-up that’s more fun than good, but pretty good nonetheless. Which means, by extension, that it’s lots of fun.

Bill Goodykoontz (AZCentral)

Crazy, Stupid, Love.
Directed by: Glenn Ficarra / John Requa
Written by: Dan Fogelman
Starring: Steve Carell / Ryan Gosling / Julianne Moore

The Consensus: Rotten Tomatoes: 75% Meta Critic: 70

Negative Take:

The workmanship and effort are evident in every straining moment, but the end result is so completely phony as to be without value.

James Rocchi (MSN Movies)

Positive Take:

But as a Steve Carell comedy, it works. He plays the victim well, the guy romantically in over his head ever better. Surrounding him with people this funny — Ryan Gosling, who knew? — pays off in big, crude laughs of the kind he hasn’t delivered since he was a “40 Year Old Virgin.” Whatever the other cast members saw in this script, Carell stepping into “Crazy” shows him to be crazy like a fox.

Roger Moore (Orlando Sentinal)

The Smurfs
Directed by: Raja Gosnell
Written by: J. David Stem / David N. Weiss
Starring: Neil Patrick Harris / Katy Perry / Hank Azari / Jonathan Winters

The Consensus: Rotten Tomatoes: 0% Meta Critic: 0

Negative Take:

The Smurfs may be blue, but their movie is decidedly green, recycling discarded bits from other celluloid Happy Meals like Alvin and the Chipmunks, Garfield, and Hop into something half animated, half live action, and all careful studio calculation.

Keith Staskiewicz (Entertainment Weekly)

Positive Take: N/A

Attack the Block
Directed by: Joe Cornish
Written by: Joe Cornish
Starring: Nick Frost / John Boyega / Jodie Whittaker / Alex Esmail

The Consensus: Rotten Tomatoes: 92% Meta Critic: 84

Negative Take: N/A

Positive Take:

An entertaining thriller in the tradition of 1970s B-action films, with an unknown cast, energetic special effects and great energy

Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times)

Let us know what YOU thought in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekend Warrior: Captain America and Friends With Benefits

Captain America: The First Avenger
Directed by: Joe Johnston
Written by: Christopher Markus / Stephen McFeely
Starring: Chris Evans / Hugo Weaving / Stanley Tucci

The Consensus: With a 71% from Rotten Tomatoes, and a 67 from Meta Critic, Captain America is barely in the critical lead over it’s romantic opponent. This is the last Marvel film that leads up to Joss Whedon’s highly anticipated The Avengers in 2012, and the “first avenger” enlisted. Chris Evans stars, and it looks like a fun serial like the ones your pop used to watch in the good ol’ days.

Negative Take:

Ever feel as if this is a Marvel Cinematic Universe and we’re just living in it? If you’ve sought out comic-book-action thrills at the multiplex over the past few years, then you know what I’m talking about. And you also already know that Captain America: The First Avenger, for all its nostalgia-hued fun, is essentially just a set-up.

Jennie Punter (The Globe and Mail)

Positive Take:

Finally, a superhero worth rooting for.

With its mix of World War II nostalgia, Bam-Pow comic book sensibilities, underdog determination and red-white-and-blue battle scenes, “Captain America: The First Avenger” is the best Marvel superhero flick since the first “Iron Man.”

Tom Long (Detroit News)

Friends With Benefits
Directed by: Will Gluck
Written by: Will Gluck / Keith Merryman / David A. Newman / Harley Peyton
Starring: Mila Kunis / Justin Timberlake / Patricia Clarkson

The Consensus: Similarly, Friends With Benefits has a 70% from Rotten Tomatoes and a 62 from Meta Critic. It’s unfortunate that it’s being released after previous films that share a similar story (No Strings Attached, etc.). While the chemistry looks better in this film, and the cast is superior, this will probably hurt at the box office this weekend.

Negative Take:

Like true love, or even the pace of casual hookups, Friends With Benefits does not follow a smooth course. But the fault does not lie with its likable stars. It’s an uneven comedy that takes full advantage of the charm and palpable chemistry between Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis.

Claudia Pulg (USA Today)

Positive Take:

The jokes don’t all work and the topical references can be irritably hipper-than-thou, but at least director and cowriter Will Gluck (Easy A) aims high: this is patterned on the Tracy and Hepburn comedies, albeit with a lot more skin.

Andrea Gronvall (Chicago Reader)

Let us know what YOU thought in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

 

Help Support Jesus Fish

On the shores of “Tennessee’s only bio-luminescent lake,” the line between myth and reality is blurred. Would-be con artist, Timothy West, will walk this line, improvising one elaborate scheme after another to keep the money he stole from the church and pass himself off as a repentant miracle worker. With his adopted brother, Light, reluctantly at his side, Timothy seems bound to make a clean getaway, unless a certain legend turns out to be real.

Bryce McGuire and Colton Davie (Open Light Pictures) have worked together for the last three years, resulting in close collaboration and sound short films [see them below]. They are in the early stages of their next film, Jesus Fish, and need your help to  make this “southern mythological short” a reality. McGuire and Davie are upping their game with Jesus Fish, and they need your help. The short will be shot on film, they will be filming UNDERWATER, and the film stars Matt O’Leary (Brick, Natural Selection) in the lead role.

They still need $6,775 towards their $20,000 and they have four days to get it. Please consider helping, even if it’s just $5.

Every dollar helps, but whether or not you can donate, one of the biggest ways you can help is by spreading the word. Email your friends, post a link on Facebook, Twitter, or record your own shout-out video and put it up on YouTube!

 

You Dropped Your Quarter from Colton Davie on Vimeo.

Animals from Colton Davie on Vimeo.

Netflix Updates Price

The news that Netflix is once again raising their prices in September has been circulating the web, creating quite an angry stir from subscribers. While I like a low price as much as the next guy, I can’t hate on Netflix for moving forward with their company. Netflix has been working towards an online streaming model for quite some time, and this is just another step in that process. Their new monthly prices are roughly $8 for streaming only, $8 for 1 DVD at a time only, or $16 for both.

Netflix members are already watching more TV episodes and movies streamed instantly over the Internet than on DVDs, and we expect that trend to continue. Creating the best user experience that we can around watching instantly is how we’re spending the vast majority of our time and resources. Because of this, we are not creating any plans that are focused solely on DVDs by mail.

Netflix, November 2010

Last November when we launched our $7.99 unlimited streaming plan, DVDs by mail was treated as a $2 add on to our unlimited streaming plan. At the time, we didn’t anticipate offering DVD only plans. Since then we have realized that there is still a very large continuing demand for DVDs both from our existing members as well as non-members. [. . .] Reflecting our confidence that DVDs by mail is a long-term business for us, we are also establishing a separate and distinct management team solely focused on DVDs by mail.

Netflix, July 2011

Netflix realizes that the future is streaming content online, and is constantly transitioning in that direction. With the demise of Blockbuster, their main competitors are online (Hulu, Apple, Amazon, Google, etc.) With the price hike for DVDs-by-mail and unlimited streaming together, Netflix is seemingly encouraging their subscribers to consider switching to the streaming only option, while still maintaining their DVD option.

Both services are costly: Mailing costs, deals with the movie studios, and maintaining their servers.

With the new capital gained from the price increase, Netflix can focus on three important things:

  1. Making lucrative deals with the movie studios
  2. Bring more DVD features online (Language options, special features, commentary tracks)
  3. Creating original content

While I’m a huge fan of Netflix’s online content, DVDs are presently superior in picture quality and content, and the constant shuffling of titles available online is frustrating. My wife and I watched the first two seasons of Dexter online last year, and when we wanted to start season three last week, we discovered that Dexter was no longer available in Netflix’s online catalog.

Netflix still has a long way to go with their growing online catalog, and I’m hoping that there will be several improvements with their new income in 2012.

What do YOU think? Share your comments below.

 

Weekend Warrior: Harry Potter and Winnie the Pooh

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II
Directed by: David Yates
Written by: Steve Kloves
Starring: Daniel Radcliffe / Emma Watson / Rupert Grint

The Consensus: The last Harry Potter film has been racking up the positive reviews this week. It currently has a very fresh 96% score at Rotten Tomatoes, and a 90 at Meta Critic. I’ve been a fan ever since watching Chamber of Secrets in an airplane and eagerly devouring the first four books in short order. I got my wand at Hot Topic, my Gryffindor tie just arrived from Amazon, and I’m ready for the midnight premiere. (Yes, my wife and I are brewing butterbeer that night) I’ve never been in costume at a movie before, but I’ve grown attached to the Harry Potter characters/cast, and it seems a fitting way to join them one last time.

Negative Take: N/A (from top critics) at this point.

Positive Take:

It ends well. After eight films in 10 years and a cumulative global box-office take of more than $6.3 billion, the most successful franchise in the history of movies comes to an obligatory — and quite satisfying — conclusion in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2. Fully justifying the decision, once thought purely mercenary, of splitting J.K. Rowling‘s final book into two parts, this is an exciting and, to put it mildly, massively eventful finale that will grip and greatly please anyone who has been at all a fan of the series up to now. If ever there was a sure thing commercially, this stout farewell is it.

Todd McCarthy (The Hollywood Reporter)

Winnie the Pooh
Directed by: Stephen J. Anderson / Don Hall
Written by: Stephen J. Anderson / Don Hall / Clio Chiang / Don Dougherty / Brian Kesinger / Nicole Mitchell / Jeremy Spears
Starring: Jim Cummings / Craig Ferguson / John Cleese

The Consensus: I’ve been a fan of the older Winnie the Pooh films, which the latest iteration seems to take visual inspiration from, watching them on well-worn VHS tapes time and time again. I’ve seen moments of the attempted revivals of the classic characters, including the hideous CGI television series. This version looks to be a fun, nostalgic romp with old friends in the 100 Acred Woods. Rotten Tomatoes agrees with a 77% score, and a similar score of 72 from Meta Critic. With the Harry Potter behemoth breathing down it’s neck, I hope Winnie the Pooh does well at the box office.

Negative Take: N/A (from top critics) at this point.

Positive Take:

So definitive are the soft, simple, pastel evocations of the English countryside in E.H. Shepard’s original Pooh illustrations that revisionist versions would be unthinkable. Directors Stephen J. Anderson and Don Hall (director and a writer, respectively, on Meet the Robinsons) do nothing to rock the boat, delivering rich, beautifully rendered visual backdrops for the mild antics of the familiar characters.

Todd McCarthy (The Hollywood Reporter)

Let us know what YOU thought in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

TOP 5: Comedies

DANIEL’S FAVORITES

5. Superbad


This movie is a guilty pleasure for me. You either like this movie or you don’t. If you’ve seen this movie and like it, then you know what I mean. The characters are surprisingly endearing, and the movie is so much fun to quote. Yes, the objectionable content is through the roof, but so are the laughs. The movie follows three seniors in their last days of high school as they strive to fit in and take one last stab at winning the girl of their dreams. The resulting escapades amount to the best Judd Apatow film to date. If you don’t like this kind of humor, stay as far away from this movie as possible.

Evan: Stay calm, okay? Let’s not lose our heads. It’s… it’s a fine ID; it’ll… it’s gonna work. It’s passable, okay? This isn’t terrible. I mean, it’s up to you, Fogell. This guy is either gonna think ‘Here’s another kid with a fake ID’ or ‘Here’s McLovin, a 25 year-old Hawaiian organ donor’. Okay? So what’s it gonna be?
Fogell: I am Mclovin!

4. Liar Liar


Jim Carrey is the master of modern physical comedy,  and Liar Liar is the best example why. The movie essentially relies on one joke: when his son’s birthday wish comes true, a workaholic lawyer is unable to lie for 24 hours. Nevertheless, hilarity abounds from beginning to end, all thanks to the endless amount of energy Carrey brings to his role. Take, for example, the scene where Carrey tries to tell the prosecuting attorney his made up defense. Carrey’s facial contortions, muscular strains, and overwhelming frustration make us believe it is truly physically impossible for him to lie. The film was directed by Tom Shadyac, who also directed Jim Carrey in Ace Ventura and Bruce Almighty. In this author’s humble opinion, this is Carrey at the top of his game.

Cop: You know why I pulled you over?
Fletcher: Depends on how long you were following me!
Cop: Why don’t we just take it from the top?
Fletcher: Here goes: I sped. I followed too closely. I ran a stop sign. I almost hit a Chevy. I sped some more. I failed to yield at a crosswalk. I changed lanes at the intersection. I changed lanes without signaling while running a red light and SPEEDING!
Cop: Is that all?
Fletcher: No… I have unpaid parking tickets.

3. In Bruges

When a hitman botches a job and kills an innocent bystanding child, he must flee with his partner in crime to Bruges, the well-preserved medieval city in all of Belgium.  Comedy gold, right? In Bruges is a perfect example of a film that falls into more than one genre. It is a perfect of raw human emotion and side-splitting comedy. Colin Farrell gives his best performance as Ray, a man stricken with grief after murdering a child, but acts like a child himself. He’s in one of the most beautiful cities in all the world, but all he can do is pout and complain about being stuck in a boring city with his stoic friend Ken, played by the always-wonderful Brendan Gleeson. The movie also stars Ralph Fiennes as an eccentric mob boss. There isn’t a dull moment in the entire film, and I recommend it to any film lover.

Ray: A lot of midgets tend to kill themselves. A disproportionate amount, actually.

2. Bringing Up Baby

Comedic gold. Directed by Howard Hawks, this movie features Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn at their best. The movie follows the two as they struggle to take care of a leopard in Connecticut. Hilarity ensues.

David: The man who marries you is going to have a lifetime of misery!

1. The Big Lebowski

Only in a Coen Brothers comedy could a stoner, eccentric Vietnam war veteran, a group of nihilists, a feminist, and a billionaire with a trophy wife cross paths and give birth to one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen. This movie, which features my personal favorite performance by Jeff Bridges, has so many great lines and is suprisingly multi-layered. It may take two or three viewings to get its humor, but that’s only because there’s no other movie like it. The Dude abides.

Dude: Let me explain something to you. I’m not Mr. Lebowski. You’re Mr. Lebowski. I’m The Dude. So that’s what you call me.


JOSEPH’S FAVORITES

5. A Fish Called Wanda

 

With a few more viewings, I can see this moving up a slot or two in the coming years. It’s a hilarious crime comedy with A-game performances from Kline (who won an Oscar for his role), Cleese (who wrote the movie), Curtis, and Palin. A Fish Called Wanda is funny, smart, and has one of my favorite parallel montages put to film.

Ken: Otto t-t-tried to k-k-kiss me.
Wanda: I thought he might.

4. The Apartment


The Apartment is border-line comedy to be sure, but it deserves to be in the genre. Written and directed by Billy Wilder, The Apartment is proof that you don’t have to write comedies and dramas separate from each other. Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine play opposite each other perfectly, and Fred MacMurray again plays the ‘villain’ for Wilder.

Margie: ‘Twas the night before Christmas and all throughout he house, not a creature was stirring…nothing’…no action…dullsville!

3. Duck Soup

 

A comedy list of mine would be incomplete without the Marx Brothers. The machine gun zingers from Groucho, the unrelenting puns, and the slapstick duo of Harpo and Chico make this a must-see.

Rufus: I got a mind to join a lib and beat you over the head with it.

2. Monty Python and the Holy Grail

 

There’s a goldmine of comedy across the pond, and a lot of it comes from the messed up minds of the Monty Python troupe. Holy Grail should have an award for memorable quotes by people who haven’t even seen the movie. It’s totally absurd, episodic, and joyfully scales the fourth wall. Llamas.

Sir Bedevere: What makes you think she’s a witch?
Peasant: Well, she turned me into a newt!
Sir Bedevere: A newt?
Peasant:  … I got better.

1. Raising Arizona

 

This is a movie that I instantly fell in love with. The Coen Brothers know how to write an engaging, humorous story, and have a knack for surrounding themselves with just the right talent for their characters. This is my favorite performance by Nicholas Cage, who should return to more comedic roles in the future.

Evelle: These [balloons] blow up into funny shapes and all?
Grocer: Well no…unless round is funny.