Sunday, January 30, 2011

Netflix Instant: Cool TV & Movie picks

Jonesy here again for my picks for Netflix this week:

Earth is attacked my aliens in Tim Burton's spoof of campy 50's sci-fi movies.  This movie is absolutely ridiculous is the best way possible.  Plus, you will recognize almost EVERYONE in this movie. 

One of my favorite movies last year, Frozen does to ski lifts what Jaws did for the ocean.  It's man vs. the elements when three friends get trapped on a ski lift with no hope of rescue for three days.  Frozen is thrilling, frightening, and you'll find yourself forgetting to breathe.  Wonderful independent film.

One of the few Pixar movies available on instant, but perhaps one of their best.  Up is a good old-fashioned adventure story pairing two very unlikely people along with a talking dog.  Up is Pixar at its finest with engaging dialogue, stunning visuals, and enormous heart.  It's a movie that everyone can find something to love about it.

Now there is no excuse.  All six seasons of Lost are now on instant.  Everyday people are stranded on a mysterious island after a plane crash and must stick together to survive. You've heard the hype, now watch the show that captured millions for six seasons.  

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Oscar Nominations 2011-Reactions!

It's about that time again... the Academy announces its award nominees, and movie nerds all around Twitter and the Interwebs get riled up.  Here at WDYMS, we figured we'd jump on the bandwagon:
(Full disclosure: between both of us, we have not seen all of the movies nominated)

Javi: Whenever I compile my Top 10 list of the year, I try to think of what was good but  also something off the beaten path that might make someone appreciate films in a different way than what everyone else is saying.  The Oscars this year seem to have looked at the every movie site's Top 10 and just copy and pasted it.  There are very few surprises, but it was more surprising at what isn't there.  

The big issue this year is The King's Speech.  I haven't seen this movie, and yet I don't care to because this movie looks boring Oscar bait.  It is the cinematic equivalent of a finely crafted pop song ready to go to the Top 40 and night clubs, but in this case 100% more British.  There's a reason why I am anti-Clint Eastwood and to a lesser extent anti-Daniel Day Lewis; their strategies are always to release Oscar bait movies every year.  It is very repetitive and frankly, artistically dishonest, more Eastwood than Day-Lewis, although that might be a personal bias.  

But I regress. The real shame here is poor Christopher Nolan, who directed one of the best stories of this year, on a technical sense, and was completely left out of the race, even if INCEPTION was nominated for Best Picture. If I had to guess, the King Speech director nomination for Tom Hooper was put there just for the potential of letting this movie sweep the major awards. If it ends up winning a lot and since every other director was legitimate, I guess Nolan was seen as the easily expendable one.  Another big shame is not including Ryan Gosling for his performance in BLUE VALENTINE.  It was one of the most tragic and believable performances of this year, and to me nothing will top it.  

I will say, as a personal note, I am amazed that Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World did not get nominated for Editing, Sound Mixing, Best Original Song, or even Best Visual Effects.  For anyone that has seen the movie and can appreciate the technical aspects of it, you can see that it's true that some recognition was in order.

Overall, this year left me with the impression that slowly but surely the Oscars are getting to the point of being as political as the Grammys.  Their complete lack of recognition of anything not catered 100% to them makes it seem obvious that they are phasing out recognition for excellence across the world of cinema.  Just the tiny scope of what they want to see.  

JonesyFor me this year, there were some interesting choices from the academy.  First, I am very disappointed in Christopher Nolan's snub for director.  Unfortunately, the academy doesn't seem to care too much for pure action movies, so I guess Inception's movie nomination will have to be enough. 

I feel he was snubbed to make room for the new academy's golden boys, The Coen Brothers.  Now, I like their movies, I do, but like my cohort mentioned Eastwood above, the Coens seem to have a knack for only releasing toward the end of the year, once a year.  That doesn't mean I write off their movies because I still go into their movies with as open-minded as possible, and I may like it or I may not.  But it's just an observation...

The only acting race that will be interesting to see is Best Supporting Actress.  I think it'll be anyones game, but how fabulous would it be for Hailee Steinfeld to win?

Toy Story 3.  Where do I begin?  Here's what the academy needs to do...either get rid of Best Animated catagory since there are ten nominations or don't let animated movies get Best Picture nominations since they have their own category. 

I am surprised with the amount of nominations The King's Speech received, but I'm also shocked with how many True Grit received since it apparently missed the drunken Golden Globe boat a couple weeks ago.  How do you go from nothing to 10 nominations?  What if it beats Social Network and The King's Speech (the apparent front runners) for Best Picture? That'd be a fun twist.

All in all, the academy is not where it should be in terms of recognizing great non-bait movies (cough, cough, Scott Pilgrim).  However, they're leaps and bounds where they use to be.  At least there are no sweaping epic war movies this year.  In the past, little movies like Winter's Bone, The Kids are All Right, and 127 Hours would have never had a snow ball's chance in hell in getting recognized.  In fact, besides Inception and Toy Story 3, all the movies deal with either personal or family drama.  Interesting. 

On a happier note...Yay for John Powell's HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON score getting a nomination!

And here are the nominations:

Best Picture

“Black Swan”
“The Fighter”
“The Kids Are All Right ”
“The King’s Speech”
“127 Hours”
“The Social Network”
“Toy Story 3″
“True Grit”
“Winter’s Bone”

Best Direction
Darren Aronofsky for “Black Swan”
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen for “True Grit”
David Fincher for “The Social Network”
Tom Hooper for “The King’s Speech”
David O. Russell for “The Fighter”

Actor in a Leading Role
Javier Bardem in “Biutiful”
Jeff Bridges in “True Grit”
Jesse Eisenberg in “The Social Network”
James Franco in “127 Hours”
Colin Firth in “The King’s Speech”

Actress in a Leading Role
Annette Bening in “The Kids Are All Right”
Nicole Kidman in “Rabbit Hole”
Jennifer Lawrence in “Winter’s Bone”
Natalie Portman in “Black Swan”
Michelle Williams in “Blue Valentine”

Actor in a Supporting Role
Christian Bale in “The Fighter”
John Hawkes in “Winter’s Bone”
Jeremy Renner in “The Town”
Mark Ruffalo in “The Kids Are All Right”
Geoffrey Rush in “The King’s Speech”

Actress in a Supporting Role
Amy Adams in “The Fighter”
Helena Bonham Carter in “The King’s Speech”
Melissa Leo in “The Fighter”
Hailee Steinfeld in “True Grit”
Jacki Weaver in “Animal Kingdom”

Adapted Screenplay
Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy for “127 Hours”
Aaron Sorkin for “The Social Network”
Michael Arndt, story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich for “Toy Story 3″
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen for “True Grit”
Debra Granik & Anne Rosellini for “Winter’s Bone”

Original Screenplay
Mike Leigh for “Another Year”
Screenplay by Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson. Story by Keith Dorrington and Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson for “The Fighter”
Christopher Nolan for “Inception”
Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg for “The Kids Are All Right”
David Seidler for “The King’s Speech”

Animated Feature
“How to Train Your Dragon”
“The Illusionist”
“Toy Story 3″

Art Direction
“Alice in Wonderland”: Robert Stromberg (Production Design), Karen O’Hara (Set Decoration)
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1″: Stuart Craig (Production Design), Stephenie McMillan (Set Decoration)
“Inception”: Guy Hendrix Dyas (Production Design), Larry Dias and Doug Mowat (Set Decoration)
“The King’s Speech”: Eve Stewart (Production Design), Judy Farr (Set Decoration)
“True Grit”: Jess Gonchor (Production Design), Nancy Haigh (Set Decoration)

“Black Swan”: Matthew Libatique
“Inception”: Wally Pfister
“The King’s Speech”: Danny Cohen
“The Social Network”: Jeff Cronenweth
\“True Grit”: Roger Deakins

Costume Design
“Alice in Wonderland”: Colleen Atwood
“I Am Love”: Antonella Cannarozzi
“The King’s Speech”: Jenny Beavan
“The Tempest”: Sandy Powell
\“True Grit”: Mary Zophres

Documentary (Feature)
“Exit through the Gift Shop”
“Inside Job”
“Waste Land”

Documentary (Short Subject)
“Killing in the Name”
“Poster Girl”
“Strangers No More”
“Sun Come Up”
“The Warriors of Qiugang”

Film Editing
“Black Swan”: Andrew Weisblum
“The Fighter”: Pamela Martin
“The King’s Speech”: Tariq Anwar
“127 Hours”: Jon Harris
“The Social Network”: Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter

Foreign Language Film
“Biutiful”: Mexico
“Dogtooth”: Greece
“In a Better World”: Denmark
“Incendies”: Canada
“Outside the Law (Hors-la-loi)”: Algeria

“Barney’s Version”: Adrien Morot
“The Way Back”: Edouard F. Henriques, Gregory Funk and Yolanda Toussieng
“The Wolfman”: Rick Baker and Dave Elsey

Music (Original Score)
“How to Train Your Dragon”: John Powell
“Inception”: Hans Zimmer
“The King’s Speech”: Alexandre Desplat
“127 Hours”: A.R. Rahman
“The Social Network”: Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

Music (Original Song)
“Coming Home” from “Country Strong” Music and Lyric by Tom Douglas, Troy Verges and Hillary Lindsey
“I See the Light” from “Tangled” Music by Alan Menken Lyric by Glenn Slater
“If I Rise” from “127 Hours” Music by A.R. Rahman Lyric by Dido and Rollo Armstrong
“We Belong Together” from “Toy Story 3″ Music and Lyric by Randy Newman

Short Film (Animated)
“Day & Night”: Teddy Newton
“The Gruffalo”: Jakob Schuh and Max Lang
“Let’s Pollute”: Geefwee Boedoe
“The Lost Thing”: Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann
“Madagascar, carnet de voyage (Madagascar, a Journey Diary)”: Bastien Dubois

Short Film (Live Action)
“The Confession”: Tanel Toom
“The Crush”: Michael Creagh
“God of Love”: Luke Matheny
“Na Wewe”: Ivan Goldschmidt
“Wish 143″: Ian Barnes and Samantha Waite

Sound Editing
“Inception”: Richard King
“Toy Story 3″: Tom Myers and Michael Silvers
“Tron: Legacy”: Gwendolyn Yates Whittle and Addison Teague
“True Grit”: Skip Lievsay and Craig Berkey
“Unstoppable”: Mark P. Stoeckinger

Sound Mixing
“Inception”: Lora Hirschberg, Gary A. Rizzo and Ed Novick
“The King’s Speech”: Paul Hamblin, Martin Jensen and John Midgley
“Salt”: Jeffrey J. Haboush, Greg P. Russell, Scott Millan and William Sarokin
“The Social Network”: Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick and Mark Weingarten
“True Grit”: Skip Lievsay, Craig Berkey, Greg Orloff and Peter F. Kurland

Visual Effects
“Alice in Wonderland”: Ken Ralston, David Schaub, Carey Villegas and Sean Phillips
“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1″: Tim Burke, John Richardson, Christian Manz and Nicolas Aithadi
“Hereafter”: Michael Owens, Bryan Grill, Stephan Trojanski and Joe Farrell
“Inception”: Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley and Peter Bebb
“Iron Man 2″: Janek Sirrs, Ben Snow, Ged Wright and Daniel Sudick

Monday, January 24, 2011

The future of Kevin Smith's Red State

A few months ago, Kevin Smith announced that RED STATE, his new horror movie, would premiere at Sundance, but he was refusing to do press for the movie.  So, for press to gain access to tickets at the festival, they had to request tickets two days in advance for the slim chance of receiving a seat.  For someone who said he wasn't saving seats for press in his movie, when Red State premiered, my (Jonesy's) twitter was overrun with tweets from bloggers who had secured a ticket.  Interesting...

The real story of the day wasn't the movie (though many reviews are up at /FilmThe Wrap and HitFlix), but it was the events that transpired after.  Apparently, Kevin Smith was going to auction off for a distributor.  However, he prompted to by the movie from himself for $20 and said it would be self-released under Smodcast Pictures.“Selling my film would be like having a baby and then selling it to somebody else to raise,” Smith said.  “I can’t speak for the movie by myself. I’m not the only one. I’m just the writer/director." 

Before its release, Smith is planning a "Red State USA Tour" where Smith, personally, will travel across the US promoting the film and participating in a Q&A after every screening.  You can view tour dates here.  Smith claims he will not spend any money on conventional advertising, and just promote through the tour. Also, tickets for these shows are rumored to be anywhere from $50-$100.

Smith also announced, at a seemingly perfect opportunity, that Red State is his second-to-last film.  After his last project, entitled HIT SOMEBODY, Smith will focus on producing. 

For someone who is anti-press, Smith sure knows how to stir the blogger-sphere and get people talking.  I've heard more about the Red State before and after than almost anything else about Sundance.  Whether you agree with Smith's angle of distribution or even if you agree with his views on studio involvement and advertising, the man knows what he's doing.  He got everyone talking about it, interest is stirred, and I'm sure it will pay off in the long run.

Red State  is set to release October 17, 2011.

New Transformers: Dark Of The Moon Villain Revealed Through Stolen Toys

Oh no! It's Javi blogging about new Transformers stuff...again.  It's been a known practice that Chinese workers will steal early copies of upcoming toys and sell them on eBay for toy reviewers.  This has been going on for a few years, and thanks to this rather illegal practice, we now have the first view of the main villain of TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON.

Here is Shockwave courtesy of TFW2005, and ACTOYS.

Compare this image to his previous incarnation to the original 1980's cartoon, you'll see it's a good modernization of his character into the Michael Bay movies.  Unlike a lot of the more iconic characters, such as Starscream or Ironhide, Shockwave actually looks like his original design of a purple cyclops. In the original cartoon he turned into a Space Gun, and he was the Decepticon that stayed behind on Cybertron to keep things in check for Megatron, while the main cast of characters were stuck on earth.  For the movie, his alternate mode has been updated to an alien tank of some sort.

Hilariously, this shows Shockwave holding himself in Space Gun mode. Image courtesy of TFWIKI

What I like about this particular design is, like I stated before, all of his iconic characteristics are intact here.  You have the main purple body, the one-eyed faceless head, one of his arms being a gun and the hose that attaches to his back.  This is almost as close to an homage to the original as movie Optimus Prime was. 

As the main villain of the movie, he'll be a huge character, even if plot details are still rather sparse. We'll just have to wait and see. This is his main character description from TFWIKI
"Shockwave has been referred to as "a computer on legs." This is not far from the truth. Logic rules Shockwave's thought processes and is the source of his every inspiration. He sees emotion as a weakness and a distraction. His cold and calculating modus operandi is supported by his frightening and exceptionally powerful form.  Shockwave is possibly even more powerful than Megatron. Perhaps logic may one day dictate that the time to replace Megatron's flawed, emotion-fueled rule is at hand. After all, the only logical choice for Decepticon leader would be Shockwave himself."

TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON comes out July 1, 2011.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Tron 3 Rumors (SPOILERS)

I, Javi, was an adamant fan of Tron: Legacy. It did have its flaws, but the more I saw it, the more in love I became with that world, even if the execution was not all that great.  The movie did not set the world ablaze with AVATAR-level box office numbers, but Disney has invested way too much money in TRON: LEGACY to not make the most of it.

Well now Harry Knowles ,from Ain't It Cool News, has gotten word that the previous rumor that a teaser for TRON 3 will be in the TRON:LEGACY Blu-Ray is correct.  In an email Harry received, his informant described a couple of scenes of that were written and shot:
"One includes Bruce Boxleitner (as Alan) and Dan Shor (as Ram).   Turns out that "Ram" was apparently running the FLYNN LIVES campaign and he's frantically destroying all of that data and files, as Alan confronts him.....

Another has Quora showing up to ENCOM and getting acousted by the press because she's riding Sam's Ducati - and states that she just spoke with Kevin Flynn, yesterday!   

The last scene that was shot in this mini-shoot involved text screens where you see the Father and Son...  The Dillingers stating that everything is going as planned. "
All of this points to a very interesting set up for the next movie.  The fact that they're also including the RAM character from the original movie makes me excited. RAM was one of the original programs in Tron and was "derezzed" during the course of the first movie.  Like Harry says, it seems that at one point Flynn sought out the programmer of RAM and nicknamed him that in real life.  

The fact that the Dillingers will play into the next movie is very intriguing indeed.  The original Edward Dillinger was played by David Warner and his "Tron" world counterpart was the main antagonist, Sark, while his son, Edward, was the bit part played by Cillian Murphy during the board meeting scene in TRON: LEGACY. 

 And in Quorra's scene it seems that Flynn is alive again? I wonder to what extent people know about her, especially if she is riding in Sam's Ducati and is being sought at by the press.  
All of this seems tantalizing, and I really hope more movies come from it.  It still doesn't take away from the fact that TRON: LEGACY could have benefitted from NOT being a complete set-up for future installments. Well, this half of the blog (the self-proclaimed handsome one) is very excited for this news.

Follow the link to see the original article and pictures of the shoot.  

The New Phase In Movie Scores and Soundtracks

Javi here:

With the recent news that Dan Deacon would be teaming up with Francis Ford Coppolla on the director's newest film, TWIXT NOW AND SUNRISE, now felt like a good time to share some thoughts about this recent trend of contemporary artists creating movie soundtracks and scores.

Movies and rock artists have been coming together for some time already. Off the top of my head, my favorite is The Beatles' A HARD DAY'S NIGHT.  The album and the movie are just as iconic together as they are separate. While you can see how that the movie was just an excuse to see The Beatles running around and cracking jokes, it nevertheless produced a great soundtrack. Same goes for Simon & Garfunkel's contribution to THE GRADUATE soundtrack which are now iconic in cinema culture.  Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and others classic artists have all made a contribution to movie music, but they have always just been songs from their catalog and nothing original.

Even though there could be some argument, it really felt like the ever-popular GARDEN STATE soundtrack might have been the catalyst for creating the importance of how movie music and soundtracks are treated nowadays.  What director Zach Braff did by making the music in the movie not just a highlight but almost the focus, he showed not only artists but the ever-desperate music industry a way to further monetize in a time when downloading and pirating was at an all time-high. While we can always point to other soundtracks where artists are featured heavily, Garden State was one of the first ones in the past decade where the album sold millions of copies (it is now certified as Gold status), and its influence could be felt.  The catchy combination brought renewed fame to bands like Zero 7, Frou Frou, and directly influenced the rise of The Shins.

The next set of soundtracks seemed to be made along the lines of the Garden State formula.  Movies such as THE LAST KISS, NICK AND NORAH'S INFINITE PLAYLIST, and (500) DAYS OF SUMMER all had quite an emphasis on music, even to the point of making music a part of the plot. All these soundtracks had a style that was mixed contemporary artists such as Vampire Weekend with older acts like Hall & Oates.  Even the TWILIGHT movies have  featured unexpected artists such as St. Vincent, Bon Iver, Beck, and Grizzly Bear in their soundtracks as a potentially genius marketing scheme.

ONCE is the best example of bridging the gap between GARDEN STATE (songs that were the forefront in the movie) to something like THE SOCIAL NETWORK (where a rock artist is the one composing the soundtrack).  Lead actor Glen Hansard created many of these songs that were seen in the movie, all awhile in his then-former-band, The Frames, and while also writing some new songs along with co-star Marketa Irglova.  The effect of this movie was not only winning the duo an Oscar for their wonderful song "Falling Slowly" (FACT: Jonesy and I bonded over this band/movie), but it also helping with the career of The Swell Season, the group that Hansard and Irglova formed after the movie.

In 2007, we had Radiohead guitarist, Jonny Greenwood, scoring THERE WILL BE BLOOD soundtrack to much acclaim. Arcade Fire worked together with Spike Jonze on a short film, which will be released at the Berlin Film Festival.   Grizzly Bear was actually going to contribute original material to the BLUE VALENTINE soundtrack, but due to scheduling conflicts, they were only able to contribute instrumental tracks to the movie.  In my opinion, their music actually helped with the mood of the movie in a way I did not expect.  
As some people have stated rather sarcastically, Daft Punk's TRON: LEGACY was the best part of the movie.  Finally, we have learned recently that Trent Reznor will continue his working relationship with director David Fincher with THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, and with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross' win for The Social Network at the Golden Globes, I have a feeling that more and more artists will be scoring movies

This new trend is one I hope that continues, and I hope it creates great working relationships between artists and directors. Not only is it beneficial for the bands, but also, in a time when famed composers like Hans Zimmer, Danny Elfman, and Howard Shore are all starting to plagiarize from themselves, the competition might challenge these more traditional composers to create better scores.  Either way, the outcome can only mean a more rich aural experience for the viewers.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Netflix Instant Cool TV & Movie Picks

Javi back once again with a slew of awesome TV shows and movies to stream from Netflix!

Better Off Ted was a small little work place comedy that aired briefly on ABC that was 
unfortunately cancelled.  It's a shame too because it had a rather quirky sense of humor which reminds
me of great shows like Arrested Development and Community.  It's only two seasons long, so you'll go through all of the episodes rather quickly.

Yes, it is a cartoon for kids.  Yes, it was a horrible movie made by one of the most overrated 
directors of our time.  But if you take the chance with this show, you'll find it to be one of the most 
mature and entertaining series for adults or kids.  It's smartly written, well animated, and the themes that it explores are as deep as a Pixar movie.

This was one of my favorite movies that was screened at the Dallas International Film Festival 2010.
It was so much fun, wildly entertaining, and one of the most memorable experiences.
Following an idiotic thief pursued by a bad-ass villain and a noble law man, this movie has one of the best climatic battles I've seen on screen.

I love music, so this documentary is just a great watch.  Getting together three different unique guitarists, Jimmy Page (Led Zeppelin), The Edge (U2), and Jack White (The White Stripes), to talk about music, guitar, and their techniques, and ending with a jam session that would have been amazing to see in real life.  I think I've seen this movie five times just because it's that good. 

Ok! that's it for right now.  I'd love to hear some feedback from you guys to see if this is helping.  I can get weirder or more theme-specific if you want.  See you guys in two weeks! 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

It's official: Batman has its villian and villianess


Finally, all the casting rumors swirling around The Dark Knight Rises can be put to bed.  This morning LA Times broke the news that Anne Hathaway has been cast as Catwoman.  Christopher Nolan states, “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Anne Hathaway, who will be a fantastic addition to our ensemble as we complete our story.”

 Couldn't agree more!  I, Jonesy, have loved Hathaway since her debut in The Princess Diaries and loved her even more in her raw performance in Rachel Getting Married.  She will put a fresh spin on the role that was made iconic by Michelle Pfeiffer and Halle Berry made Razzie award winning.

 I, Javi, am not all that excited for this casting, but since I trust Nolan, I will be cautiously optimistic about it. My apprehension mostly comes from the type of character that Selina Kyle/Catwoman is, which is one of a seductress and a complete bad-ass.   Catwoman first appeared in Batman #1 back in 1940 and has had a varied history from going from a stereotypical villain where she was a cat thief (ha ha get it?), to an unlikely ally and even romantic interest to Batman.  I know that Hathaway is not all "PRINCESS DIARIES", and she is a very talented actress with a wide range, but it's the fighter/thief side of Catwoman's personality that I find it difficult to believe Hathaway could pull off.

She will be joining Tom Hardy, who has been cast as Batman's other villain, Bane.  Nolan said, I am delighted to be working with Tom again and excited to watch him bring to life our new interpretation of one of Batman’s most formidable enemies.”  Bane first appeared Batman: Vengeance of Bane #1 (January 1993). He was a prisoner that was experimented on and had a steady supply of venom, which endows him with super strength.  He is most famous as the enemy that broke Batman's back in the mid 1990's, and he has since become one of the more dynamic and rather interesting villains in Batman's Rouge's Gallery. After the atrocity that was committed during BATMAN & ROBIN, it will be interesting to see if Nolan will take advantage of the nuances and complexities of this character.

Finally, I, Javi, will say that it is interesting that both of these characters are first purely antagonistic towards Batman, but at certain points they both become either allies or anti-heroes.  I think that there is a lot of ground to mine from and it will be interesting to see where Nolan goes from here.  

The Dark Knight Rises is set to release July 20, 2012.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Dilemma- he said, she said

Directed by Ron Howard

Written by Allan Loeb

Starring: Vince Vaughn, Kevin James, Jennifer Connelly, Winona Ryder, Channing Tatum, and Queen Latifah

Synopsis: Right before the biggest break in their careers, Ronny (Vince Vaughn) catches his best friend's (Kevin James) wife cheating on him.

Javi: What did you expect going into this movie?

Jonesy: I expected a smart comedy because it’s Ron Howard, and I really enjoy him as a director. Unfortunately, I'm not sure what we got. All in all, I just expected funnier and more sophisticated.

Javi: For me, I thought they were going to go in a different direction. Due to the premise and from what the trailers showed, it seemed that the whole movie would focus on Ronny wrestling with the notion of whether to tell his friend the truth. Instead we got an unfocused movie. Also, the story was boring. That’s my biggest pet peeve about movies is when they’re boring. Although we didn’t get the movie that I thought we would, there were a few times where it did take me by surprise, but it was because those moments weren’t earned.

Jonesy: I honestly don’t know how this script got made. There is great talent on the screen, and they were just doing the best they could with the crappy script they were given.

Javi: But with all that talent, why wouldn’t you get the best script possible? How do you get to the point of just making do with what you have with Vince Vaughn, Kevin James, or Ron Howard? Why not get the top-notch script?

Jonesy: I think tonally it was all over the place. It reminded me of Funny People, where they didn’t know what kind of movie they were going for--a comedy or a drama. I think a lot of the confusion in the tone for me came from Vince Vaughn. Here he was just playing, surprise surprise, Vince Vaughn, but even Kevin James had a different character than himself. I believed him as a work-a-holic hiding from his problems.

Javi: I felt when Vince Vaughn was acting in some of the more serious parts, his performance worked. I don’t think the problem is his lack of personality or character. It felt more of lack of direction on Ron Howard’s part, and it’s true that the movie doesn’t know what it wants to do. It juxtaposes very serious psychological issues with this witty bromance banter. But what’s even worse is that the super serious parts don’t go with a really funny parts. The “funny parts” are never hilarious. What’s worse is that they think that the cliché “embarrassing speech” comedy trope actually works here…

Jonesy: NOBODY DOES THAT! No actual human being would ever make a crazy speech in an anniversary party, at a wedding, or a rehearsal dinner. I wish that writers would stop using that situation. Another complaint is that they mention certain traits of a character, then the traits don’t come up in the rest of the movie until the very end, and all of the sudden it's a bigger deal than it was set it up to be.

Javi: I think that the movie as a whole is really just a bunch of slightly funny moments that are strung together by really boring ones. I almost feel that if you had a 4-minute YouTube video could show you all of the funny parts that’s all you’d need.

Jonesy: I think the most underused character is Zip (Channing Tatum) who makes the most out of what could have been a crappy role. He is only in the movie about 20 minutes, and he made more of an impression on me than most of the other characters.

Javi: how about Queen Latifah?

Jonesy: She was a one trick pony though.

Javi: Her role could have been filled by any other sassy lady of comedy like Kristen Wiig or Maya Rudolph.

Jonesy: Her character was fun, but will be forgettable, just like this movie.

Javi: It’s not a bad movie just unfocusedly-mediocre. However, the cinematographer should get major props. He made this movie look gorgeous.

Jonesy: Everything from the hockey scenes to the city shots were amazing.

Javi: Whenever there were the tracking shots that showed off the city really captivated me. So would you recommend this movie to anyone?

Jonesy: No. Well, I guess I could recommend this movie to people I don’t like or people that thought THE BREAKUP was a good movie.

Javi: Or people that went to see SEX AND THE CITY 2, but then I think this would be too brainy for them, so never mind.

Jonesy: I think the type of people that would see SEX AND THE CITY 2... this movie would hit too close to home.

Javi: Oh man Burn Of The Day! But it’s not mindless or derivative; it just doesn’t know what it wants to be.

Jonesy: And that’s why I can’t recommend this movie to anyone.

Javi: Likewise.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

First pictures of Rooney Mara as Lisbeth Salander.

The name Rooney Mara is not a famous name now, but just like with Noomi Rapace wasn't until she originated the role of Lisbeth Salander in the Swedish film, THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, Rooney's fame will soon change.  She is set to star as the headstrong Lisbeth Salander later this year in the American adaptation directed by THE SOCIAL NETWORK's director, David Fincher.

Up until now, we have only seen paparazzi pictures of Roony Mara on set, but now thanks to a great article over at W magazine on David Fincher, his career, and his upcoming adaptation of a beloved film and book franchise, we got our first glimpse at Rooney.  I (Javi), for one, am really excited about this project, since Fincher has created some of my favorite films, and I really hope that he can bring something fresh, new and hopefully better to this pretty over hyped franchise. That fact they decided to change the ending and change parts of the characters makes me hopeful. Plus, the look of this new Lisbeth shows proof that maybe Fincher is heading in a better direction. 

THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO comes out December 21, 2011.

New Transformers:Dark Of The Moon characters revealed (SPOILERS)

Javi here giving you the latest about the upcoming Transformers movie:

If there's one thing that I've learned from watching the TRANSFORMERS movie franchise is that toys will spoil the hell out of any movie. We saw that happen with the last two movies, with GREEN LANTERN toys, and now with DARK OF THE MOON. 's posted a series of listings that give us more information about characters in the upcoming movie from site

The highlights from this list are:

Leader Sentinel Prime
Leader Bumblebee
Voyager Optimus Prime with Trailer
Voyager Ironhide
Deluxe Autobot Ratchet
Deluxe Autobot Skids
Deluxe Sideswipe
Deluxe Roadbuster
Deluxe Sponsor Car 2 (Wrecker)
Deluxe Arcee
Deluxe Air Ride
Deluxe Jolt
Voyager Military Helicopter
Voyager Megatron
Deluxe Starscream
Deluxe Barricade
Deluxe Crankcase
Voyager New Villain

This gives us further evidence that the robot found in the teaser trailer is indeed Sentinel Prime. He will be, at least, a semi-important character given that he will have a $45 toy. The identity of Roadbuster is unknown, but I have seen some people speculate that it could be the red Ferrari shown on the set.  The Optimus Prime toy with his trailer is no surprise to people; there have been Chicago pictures where the Autobot leader has his old 1980's trailer back.

The listing also confirms that the NASCAR vehicles will indeed be called The Wreckers. Air Ride is completely unknown but might be a misspelled Air Raid, who is a member of the Autobot flying team the Aerialbots of who Air Raid is a member of.

The Voyager Megatron is the tanker that has been known for a while to be his new vehicle mode (yay for an ACTUAL vehicle mode). What's interesting is that the police car, Barricade, will return as a toy even though he did not appear in the last movie. Could this mean that his mysterious disappearance in the first movie will be finally be explained? And the Mystery Villain will most likely be Shockwave who has been known to be the main villain of this movie for a while.

I will say that as a Transformers fan, the movies haven't been that great, but speculating about the movie and its characters is half of the fun for me.  The movie comes out in theaters July 1, 2011.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Awesome: Batmobile Through The Ages.

Now this is dedication. The good folks over at have teamed up with to show off the rather dynamic evolution of the Batmobile through its 60 year history with the poster beign designed by the folks at It's very interesting to see what all has influenced the designs and shows how versatile and downright awesome Batman and his gadgets can be.  Check out the image below, for the bigger image go to Autoblog.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Random, bizarre poster art

Early in this cold morning, I saw some of the coolest, if not most ridiculous, poster art from foreign countries I've seen.  Figured I'd share some with you beautiful people.

You can find these posters and many more right here. This article really made me think of how exciting this medium has the potential of being.  Nowadays, we get the character/face posters, and while some of the posters that were featured are downright cheesy and ridiculous, they have a certain charm to them.  That's not to say that there's not any good posters coming out. Just take a look over at Gawker for some great ones, but there's still a charm to the ones above that people should have a chance to check out.  

Netflix picks of the week

It's about that time, but this time Jonesy is giving us her Netflix picks:

Based on the acclaimed book and movie, Friday Night Lights is a poignant look at a small Texan town that shuts down every Friday for football.  This more than just a "football" series; this is one of the best character driven series on television.  Football is just a background to the human drama that is played on the screen.  Even if you're not a sports fan, Friday Night Lights has so much heart that it'll win you over.  Seasons 1-4 are available on Instant.

The 2010 maybe-documentary that took festivals and critics by storm.  A never-before-seen look at the world of guerrilla street art.  The documentary, made by Banksy, follows Thierry Guetta as Guetta initially starts a documentary about street art but then turns into a street artist himself.  The movie also raises the questions of the legitimacy of art and consumerism.

Ever wonder who stamps those ratings on movies?  This Film is Not Yet Rated takes a James Bond approach to researching this elusive group of individuals making up the MPAA.  A fascinating look at how and why some movies from big studios get "R" ratings, while smaller independent movies get "NC-17" ratings. 

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Our 2010 Movie Favorites

When initially thinking back, 2010 seemed like a pretty horrible year for movies. Between more TWILIGHT, a SEX & THE CITY sequel, the generic (PRINCE OF PERSIA), the boring (CLASH OF THE TITANS), and bad 3D post converted movies (ALICE IN WONDERLAND), the year was off to a bad place in history. That is until you look between the cracks.

This year we were lucky enough to help an all-around awesome fella Devin with the Dallas International Film Festival and got the chance to see a lot of great movies we wouldn't have a chance to anywhere else. Coupled with Netflix, and the constant screenings we went to, this was probably the most movie filled year we've had. When thinking back, it was an exciting time; we saw a seemingly mind-boggling movie become a big summer hit and some great original horror movies (which is usually such a boring genre for me). While some of each of our favorites won't be released here or were box office flops, we still present to you each of our favorites (not necessarily the best) movies of this year.

Javi's Favorites:

FROZEN- Prior to this year, I'd never heard of Adam Green as a director. I'm not too well into the horror community because frankly, horror movies bore me for the most part. If you've seen a lot, you can tell who will die, who the killer is, and the ridiculous obligatory "plot twist" at the end. However, what Mr. Green did was create a realistic and downright frightening intimate piece of horror. I remember this being the first of the horror movies that left me with a tired and intense feeling after walking out of the theater. It's haunting in its everyday feeling which made me really nervous to go skiing now. Not to mention it being beautifully shot, this was one of the true great horror movies this year. You can see our review here.

TRUE GRIT- The Coen Brothers never make a simple movie. Even their bro favorite THE BIG LEBOWSKI has more depth and meaning than it initially let on. The same holds true to their just-released Western which was based more off the book and less off the Oscar-winning John Wayne adaptation. Jeff Bridges has become a cooler Daniel Day Lewis-type actor coming out with a good Award winning performances each year but still acts in blockbusters like IRON MAN and TRON: LEGACY.  Make no mistake that while this movie has some of the coolest action pieces the Coens have done this is a big character driven story. The interactions between the Matt Damon, Jeff Bridges and Hailee Steinfeld are the meat and potatoes of this movie; and ultimately, the subtleties of a second and third viewing which make this gem of a movie come alive. You can see our review here.

THE SOCIAL NETWORK- "The Movie We All Laughed and Judged Too Soon" is one of the ways we can remember this movie while we admire the great dialogue and the compelling story dealing with ambition, friendship, betrayal, as well as how the Internet has changed business culture.  Jesse Eisenberg and James Garfield were impressive in their roles as the founders of Facebook, and director David Fincher tones down his normal style to serve the story in a very restrained yet successful way.  

ODDSAC- Animal collective is a band that is notorious in the indie music world as having been blamed for bringing both a renaissance and simultaneously bringing about its downfall.  When they announced that they would be releasing a movie, or as they put it, a visual album, I was excited as could be.  Bands nowadays don't have the ambition anymore to create something beyond a live DVD, but this was to be exclusive audio that you could only get in this release.  I went to the free screening of it at Good Records in Dallas, and I was completely blown away by what I saw, if not also completely confused as to the "plot" of the album/movie.  Suffice to say, it was one of the most complete mixes of sound visuals, and much like all of these movies I've listed is a completely immersing experience.

INCEPTION- In what some considered director Christopher Nolan's weakest effort, INCEPTION managed to captivate audiences in a summer that needed a shot on the arm. The super cynics will dismiss it, but just like many of my favorite movies this year, its impact is not diminished by repeated viewings but greatly enhanced by it. In what will be a greatly analyzed film, INCEPTION is a fun and interesting take on the caper film that is horribly entertaining even if its exposition gets ridiculous at times. Obvious standouts are my man crush Joseph Gordon Levitt as Arthur and Tom Hardy as the scene-stealing Eames. This is one of the movies everyone I know has seen which gives me hope for future challenging movies. You can see our review here.

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON- It would be true fortune that this movie was released the same year we got a puppy at the house.  The strange relationship and understanding one can have with any sort of animal is amazing, and this movie portrays that in the best way.  One of the few movies that I saw multiple times in the theater in 3D, and it is truly the best 3D movie ever released. Try to compare the flying scenes from this movie to AVATAR, one can really see which is the clear winner.  The story is familiar territory, but at the same time, the great writing help elevate it to something else. 

EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP- As a fan of arts in general, I'm always willing and excited to learn about a new world. Around the time I was reading the Juxtapoz art magazine, out comes an announcement that Banksy was going to get a movie. Not sure what to expect, I was pleasantly surprised at the funny, captivating, and all around entertaining movie that we got. Chronicling the unfortunate rise of Thierry Guetta, AKA Mr. Brainwash, as the "pop punk" of graffiti art who mimics the street art style but never the spirit. In his complete lack of understanding and respect for what he admires, he still makes for a compelling character study. It's a must watch for any art fan. You can see our review here.

THE LOVED ONES-This criminally unreleased Australian horror movie made me cringe and want to look away.  It is a testament to horror genre with a premise that is scary in its plausibility; this was a pleasant and shocking surprise when I saw it at the Dallas International Film Festival. There are rumors of this movie being released next year stateside.  When it does, be sure to be there. 

TOY STORY 3- Finally, we have a trilogy of movies that feels like it has a purpose.  Disney/Pixar could have ended with TOY STORY 2 and would have been okay, but this sequel brings an emotional and logistic close to this beloved series that a lot of us grew up with. 

BLACK SWAN- Aronofsky is a really gifted director.  All of his movies demonstrate this, and BLACK SWAN feels like the culmination of that skill. In what is one of the most beautifully shot movies of the year, he takes a subject full of ridiculous stereotypes and makes it compelling and scary.  The nature of performance art and perfection are put at the forefront of this story, and we witness how much can one person push their moral, mental, and physical boundaries. You can see our review here

SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD- If you follow me on Twitter or are my friend on Facebook, you’ve seen how many times I've seen/talked/gushed about this movie. I saw it five times in theaters, and I'm pretty sure a good 10 times since I got the Blu-Ray. Everything from the visuals, to the music, to the story was true to the comic Bryan Lee O'Malley told throughout the many books. It's a hilarious ADD metaphor for the troubles all of us go through when we meet someone that captivates us and the baggage we deal with when we do. It's a love letter to all of us that were born in the mid to late 80's. Here's my review!

Honorable Mentions: Shutter Island, The Last Exorcism, Kick-Ass

Jonesy's Favorites

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON- Like most movie goers, if an animated feature isn’t Disney and/or Pixar, I tend not to set my expectations too high. Even when I heard how great HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON was, I still didn’t go in with a Pixar-level expectations. However, I was completely taken by surprise. I fell in love with this movie. I saw DRAGON four times in theatres, including twice in IMAX 3D. I loved how much heart this movie had, and how much of the quirky relationship between Hiccup and Toothless I was invested in. I was jealous leaving the theatre that I would never be able to own my own dragon! This is also showed how 3D needs to be used movies. The effects made the flying sequences spectacular, and I found myself actually being scared (I have a little fear of heights). I can sit here and talk about this movie for hours, and I recommended it to everyone I knew the moment I saw it. It’s a near perfect film. My favorite of the year.

SCOTT PILGRIM VS THE WORLD- Sometimes a movie comes along that is a feast for your eyes. Last year, for me, it was Avatar. This year it was Scott Pilgrim. Scott Pilgrim is, at its core, a story about love set to a background of a video game with a pop-art motif. It’s fun, funny, romantic, and sort of insane. People fight and burst into coins when they’re defeated…let me repeat, burst into coins! How fun is that?! This movie demands multiple viewings to catch all the idiosyncrasies, references, and jokes. It’s a complete cultural love letter to my generation. See full review here.

FROZEN- A small independent movie that took what Jaws did for the ocean and made ski chair lifts flipping frightening. Three friends end up stuck on a ski lift when the resort shuts down for the weekend. With no connection to anyone but each other, they have to fight against the elements to survive. I was on the edge of my seat for the whole movie. I completely bought into everything filmmaker Adam Green threw at us. Proves you don’t need a lot of special effects to make an amazing thriller. See the full review here.

THE KING'S SPEECH- The most recent movie to make my list. Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush play King George VI and his speech therapist, respectively, during a tumultuous time in England on the brink of the second world war. Firth is effortless and brilliant as King George, who has to overcome a speech impediment and lead a country. The chemistry between Rush and Firth is nothing short of first class. The movie is funny, poignant, and heart warming.

THE SOCIAL NETWORK- Being in college when Facebook became the staple social networking tool, I was mildly curious when I heard this movie was being made. The main aspect I wondered was how could this story be THAT interesting? Aaron Sorkin’s snappy and smart script brings what could have been a lot of boring technical jargon to life. What I loved the most was how the story portrayed the evolving world of business and ambition.  A fantastic look at the website that seems to control most of our lives.

BLACK SWAN- I’m a dance nerd. So, I was a little biased going into Black Swan. However, Darren Arnofsky’s dark, twisted tale of a ballerina losing her grip on reality had me spellbound. This gorgeous thriller is a technical masterpiece, and a very interesting perspective of determination and obsession of one‘s art. Natalie Portman’s performance was nothing short of fabulous. Towards the climatic ending, I found myself forgetting to breath. I left the theatre shaking from the experience. This film isn’t for everyone, but it’s the best original movie this year. See full review here.

GET HIM TO THE GREEK- Probably my most ridiculous movie on the list, but GREEK is an absolute riot. I loved this movie. This was this year’s HANGOVER for me. I’ve never really been a Russel Brand fan, but I found myself actually caring about his character. He’s a washed up musician who has failed at all his relationships, and he finally finds solace in Jonah Hill’s character as they try to make their way to the Greek in California. Each situation they find themselves in tops the previous, and I’m not sure if their livers will ever be the same by the end of the trip. This was an absolute riot and had me in stitches. See my review here.

HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS, PART ONE- I’ve always wanted as much detail in the Harry Potter movies as possible because I love and adore the books. Though, I know that sacrifices in details must be made because a five hour movie would be crazy. Part one gave me and many obsessed fans what we wanted. The movie is the closest adaptation of the series. The film is beautifully shot with some amazing character moments between the trio. It’s a wonder to see the trio grow up on screen; we feel that they’ve become a part of our world too. I cannot wait until part two next summer! See our review here.

EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP- The only documentary to make my list; GIFT SHOP is a look at the world of street art and the elusive artist, Banksy. Now the film is marketed as a “Banksy” film, but we never know if the film itself is just a documentary about street art and "artist" Thierry Guetta, or the movie is an “art piece” by Banksy to show how street art has become just a bragging right for art collectors who value materialism.  Regardless of the intention behind the movie, GIFT SHOP is a rare and fantastic glimpse of this underground world.  See my review here.

TOY STORY 3- Trilogies can be scary because the magic of the series is usually gone by the third film. However, Pixar was able to show how to keep a series heart and soul throughout. Seeing TOY STORY 3 is like meeting old friends you haven’t talked to in a while, yet it seems that no time has passed. Most of us grew up with these characters, and I feel justified in saying we all received the closure we needed by the end.
Honorable Mentions: Inception, Tucker and Dale vs. Evil, The Loved Ones, True Grit, Kick-Ass, The Last Exorcism
We've had such a great year finding our way through the movie world.  We can safely say our love and appreciation of movies has grown exponentially since we started a little over a year ago.  We have some great ideas coming up for 2011, and we cannot wait to share!

Netflix Instant-Cool TV Shows

Inspired by Javi's great gift of Netflix to people this holiday season and frequent suggestions for great TV shows and movies on streaming, he thought it'd be a good idea to highlight some great Netflix Instant shows.  This time he will focus on TV shows because that's really where one can get a lot of value from Netflix. You can fly through a season in no time.  If this turns out to be popular, then we'll start highlight different themes, genres, or just random weird movies for you guys to check out.

As one of the better comedians working today, Louis C.K. also has the talent as a showrunner and director.  There has never been a better looking, well shot comedy show.  It chronicles his life as a single dad to two girls, working as a comedian, and just trying to get laid. 

Not sure what this says about me, but this whole series is a joy to watch.  It makes 
being nerdy about war strategies seem less ridiculous.  The amount of facts that you will learn is outstanding.

One of the best shows ever.

An amazingly fun British workplace comedy about a slick business woman forced to manage two socially inept IT techs. Think of it as a more tech savvy The Office.  All four of the seasons, pardon me "series" are streaming instantly.

So for every nerd out there, this is required viewing.  This follows a ragtag group of humans trying to survive after the 12 human colonies are nuked.  It is not so much a sci-fi show but a human drama that happens to have robots and spaceships.

Hopefully this helps you get started!