Monday, February 28, 2011

Oscar Reactions

Javi: Well the big day has come and gone. The Oscars are over, and now studios can go back to releasing movies that AREN'T about British people from the past with middling problems. It almost makes me look forward to the ridiculous summer movies coming up. Anyway, just a few thoughts about the show and then the winners and losers of the night.

First, the show. Apparently, a lot of the Internet hated the show, and they blame a lot of it on James Franco. He was tweeting, texting, and seemed overall distracted by the whole "hosting" thing. What's funny is that what people thought to be robotic and apathetic, I found to be part of his rather stoned composure. Then again, that's why I got so annoyed with Anne Hathaway's high school cheerleader act; she seemed to be trying to make up for Franco's attitude, but it got tiring so quickly for me. At first, the enthusiasm was slightly endearing, you could tell the young hosts were pretty excited to be in the presence of all of the invited stars of Hollywood, but by the time we saw that atrocious auto-tune number and Anne Hathaway seemed to be more amused about her dresses and being peppy, I was turned off by the whole affair. I get the reasons why people were turned off by James Franco's act, but I can't help but feel that maybe he was mimicking the way most of us actually feel about the Oscars and their "celebration" of film. I will say, this year was an experiment that failed, but please don't bring back someone safe like Billy Crystal.

Now, let's talk the actual awards. The big surprise for me was that there was no one movie that won a lot of awards. THE KING'S SPEECH and INCEPTION won four awards each, followed by THE SOCIAL NETWORK. It seems to speak volumes to me that there weren't any big sweepers this year. The Academy apparently couldn't decide between awarding originality or just going with the same old stuff. This trend started early in the night with Melissa Leo winning for THE FIGHTER. I am not knocking down her performance, but it would still have been amazing to see young Hailee Steinfeld win for TRUE GRIT. The fact that INSIDE JOB won over EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP continued the predictable trend for the evening, and it almost felt that the Academy did not want to deal with Banksy's antics. I will complete go all Armond White on Jonesy here and say the Auto Tune scenes from the movies would've been cool. A year ago. Just saying guys if that Home Intruder song hadnt been so big, it would've felt more relevant.

The big surprises of the night for me were the trophies for ALICE IN WONDERLAND, THE WOLFMAN, and a non-Pixar animated short winning (THE LOST THING.) With the Best Actor, Actress, and Supporting categories all being very obvious to everyone involved, the end of the night really came down to THE KING'S SPEECH and THE SOCIAL NETWORK. By snubbing David Fincher and THE SOCIAL NETWORK, the Academy has shown that progressive and original film making has no place in their ranks. I think that Spielberg said it best when he mentioned CITIZEN KANE, ET, and STAR WARS among movies that did not win Best Picture Oscars, right before announcing THE KING'S SPEECH as the Best Picture. A little passive aggressive, but it speaks volumes. With this, I leave you all with a very thought provoking article by Drew McWeeny. I'll be taking his advice next year. Although it's still kind of cool to say that I'm listening to Oscar winner Trent Reznor's Pretty Hate Machine from now on.

Jonesy: I remember when the Oscars use to be unpredictable. It was always up in the air who would walk out with a trophy. In the past few years, the Oscars seem to have taken a turn for the, well... boring. There never seem to be any upsets, you can always tell when it's a very political year (i.e. the Denzel Washinton and Halle Berry year), and they seem to never recognize anything truly new or innovative. It's all about the sweeping epics or personal dramas.

This "boring" trend is also apparent with the recent choice of hosts. Now, I understand the academy is trying to draw in young crowd with Hathaway and Franco hosting, but something just seemed off last night. The opening montage was a lot of fun, but once they got onstage, it seemed very lackluster. Franco didn't seem interested at all, and maybe he wasn't. So, Hathaway overcompensated with being overly bubbly, and in turn they didn't mesh well. Is that what the academy thinks young people relate to? Bubbliness or disinterested-ness?

The part I did enjoy the most was the short auto-tunes section. Then again, any chance to get Harry Potter more screen time makes me happy.

As for the awards themselves, I echo my cohort that I'm surprised no movie swept the awards. The academy appeared to spread the awards around. I was very proud of INCEPTION taking home four awards for all their amazing technical achievements. The acting awards, again, were predictable and boring. I was shocked that David Fincher was snubbed for Director. I figured he would win Director with THE KING'S SPEECH taking home Picture, that way both movies would get a taste of the big awards. However, when Tom Hopper's name was called, then I had, for a moment, a fleeting hope that THE SOCIAL NETWORK would take home Picture. However, then the academy went back to their old ways of giving the Director and Picture to the same movie. Again, boring.

Also, I remember when ALICE IN WONDERLAND came out last year, and I do not remember people loving really anything about that movie. Why in the world does the academy love it so much?? That was very surprising too.

I've read a lot of people giving the Academy crap because they don't recognize the truly great movies that come out, and that they seem to be getting more and more predictable. However, they do, somewhat, listen to outcry from the community. When THE DARK KNIGHT wasn't nominated, there was an uproar, and what happened? The next year we had ten best picture nominees. There are always going to be movies which should have won. Just like Speilberg stated at the awards shows, THE SOCIAL NETWORK will now join the ranks of STAR WARS and CITIZEN KANE, the latter considered the be THE best movie of all time. If we want the awards to be fun and unpredictable again, then we have to do what we're doing now. Writing about it and getting our opinions out there. Because like THE SOCIAL NETWORK says, the Internet is written in ink.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Our Oscar Predictions

As you get all fancied up this Sunday evening for your annual Oscar party or you're content to sit at home and watch it with your dog/cat/ferret/fish and a bowl of popcorn as you curse the heavens that Christopher Nolan wasn't nominated for Best Director, we've compiled our picks for this years ceremony (along with a few little thoughts here and there). Maybe this will help you decide who or what to pick on your ballot so you'll be the talk at the water cooler the next day (do companies really still have those?), or maybe you're set in stone that HARRY POTTER will win something dang it(!)...either way, here are our thoughts..for better or worse:

Cool Netflix Instant TV Shows & Movies- Criterion Edition!

I'm gonna get all fancy today. All of these selections are a precious commodity because they are titles from the Criterion Collection. I say that because the entire Criterion Collection will be exclusive to Hulu Plus by the end of the year. So check out these titles while you still can!

This is an easy entry into the world of Criterion as it is very similar to last year's ballet horror movie by director Darren Aronofsky, BLACK SWAN. It tells the story of a ballerina who is torn between her love of a laid back composer and her responsibility to her director and company that made her a star. The movie is shot in really beautiful bright colors, and lead actress Moira Shearer dances exquisitely.

This is the movie that was unfortunately adapted and butchered as NINE. The story tells of tired and artistically exhausted director Guido Anselmi (who is a slightly autobiographical character based on Director Federico Fellini himself) as he deals with creative roadblocks and dealing with his past lovers while being pressured to deliver the next big hit movie. Since it is in black and white, I suggest watching it in HD. Nevertheless, this is a fascinating account of the creative process in terms of movie making.

One of my all-time favorite directors, Guillermo Del Toro, has a very unique aesthetic and style. Criterion managed to get his first film for which I am so glad that they did. The story shows us aging antique dealer, Jesus, as he uncovers a very precious and mysterious artifact that grants eternal life at a cost. The production values don't match those of Del Toro's later works, such as PAN'S LABYRINTH, but you can see the seeds of themes he will explore later in his career, such as Ron Perlman, lovable monsters, children being made to witness horrible things, death, and damn creepy machinery. One of my favorite movies on Instant right now.

That's it for this week guys! As always comments are welcome. We're excited to help people discover their new favorite movies.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Hangover 2 teaser Trailer

Everyone's favorite boys are back for another installment. Earlier today, an official teaser trailer for The Hangover part 2 was released showing our favorite trio "The Wolfpack" walking the streets of Thailand. The trailer doesn't reveal too much except that Alan (Zach Galifianakis) is excited to have the trio together again. Oh, plus there's a monkey and Ed Helms is sporting a Mike Tyson-esq tattoo.

In “The Hangover Part II,” Phil (Bradley Cooper), Stu (Ed Helms), Alan (Zach Galifianakis) and Doug (Justin Bartha) travel to exotic Thailand for Stu’s wedding. After the unforgettable bachelor party in Las Vegas, Stu is taking no chances and has opted for a safe, subdued pre-wedding brunch. However, things don’t always go as planned. What happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas, but what happens in Bangkok can’t even be imagined.

THE HANGOVER PART 2 will be released Memorial Day 2011.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Music Nerds! At least one reason to be excited about PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES

I usually don't like to just reiterate what other sites write, but I am so excited for this, so I needed to share it. /Film receieved a press release from Disney stating director Hans Zimmer will team up with everyone's favorite Mexican-by-way-of-Sweden flamenco/metal guitar duo Rodrigo Y Gabriela to score their upcoming atrocity that is director Rob Marshall's PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES. This has me excited beyond belief and might be the only support I lend to this movie. As I stated before, the synergy between popular indie musicians and movie scores is becoming more lucrative for both ends. They are an amazingly talented duo, and I cannot wait to see what they do in a movie score format.

Check out a video of their performance of Led Zeppelin's Stairway To Heaven:

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES will be released May 20, 2011.

Brand New SUCKER PUNCH trailer.

Yahoo! Movies and Warner Bros. released another trailer for director Zack Snyder's new film, SUCKER PUNCH today. It looks like more of the same action that we have seen, but the effects and visuals are just downright amazing. I will say I've always had mixed feelings about this movie. The premise where a young girl (Emily Browning) takes refuge in her mind after being put in a mental hospital where along with her friends (Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, Vanessa Hudgens and Jamie Chung.) fight dragons, robots and everything in between all while shooting awesome guns, wielding swords, and wearing skimpy outfits. This makes it awesome and sound like some nerds half-assed fan-fiction. However, watching this trailer almost makes it appear like a darker, female-oriented SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD. Anyway, enjoy the trailer, let us know what you think!

Sucker Punch is directed by Zack Snyder, it stars Emily Browning, Vanessa Hudgens, Abbie Cornish, Jena Malone, and Jamie Chu. It comes out March 25th 2011 in 3D.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Brief Clip of Duncan Jones' Upcoming SOURCE CODE

IGN recently got an exclusive clip of director Duncan Jones' SOURCE CODE starring Jake Gyllenhaal. The clip explains the plot of the movie and why Gyllenhaal's character, Colter Stevens, is stuck in someone else's body.

My big concern for this movie is it will get bogged down with expositions and explanations as to how the world and the technology work. Then again, Duncan Jones is a very skilled director. It will be interesting to see how he does with a bigger budget and grander scheme as a contrast from his previous movie MOON.

SOURCE CODE will be released April 1, 2011. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, and Vera Farmiga. Directed by Duncan Jones
Moon [Blu-ray]


Ok, I'm a liar, and I'll probably be writing a whole lot more of TF:DOTM. But this stuff is looking so bananas, I can't help but share. As a huge movie tie-in, director Michael Bay, along with stars Josh Duhamel and Rose Huntington-Whiteley, were at the Daytona 500 race to announce the race, plus they got to show off the new Wreckers, which are actual NASCAR cars (is that how you would say that?) Either way, we got an extended TV spot that shares a lot of images from the Super Bowl teaser and adds quite a few interesting tidbits.

What I really enjoyed about this spot is it shows you the ridiculous gimmick called MechTech. In the new toy line, it is manifested as giant guns that you can attach and combine to make more weapons. In the movie, it seems that this will show up as well. In the trailer, you see Bumblebee deploying his guns and you see brief shots a few of the Wreckers with their guns out as well. Put it this way, this movie just got insane, unless the story is as atrocious as the second one, this might be at the very least, an amusing movie. Let us know what you think in the comments section!
Transformers (Two-Disc Special Edition + BD Live) [Blu-ray]

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Second Official THOR Trailer

We've seen one THOR trailer earlier this year, and a pretty awesome Super Bowl Trailer spot a couple weeks ago. Today Marvel Studios and Paramount Pictures released a second official trailer for THOR this time with more facetime for Natalie Portman and Kat Dennings. While the first trailer showed more drama, this one gave us a glimpse at some of the more comedic aspects that will be a part of the movie because a god-like figure crashing into middle of nowhere America has some real possibilities.

Check it out:

Thor will be released May 6th, 2011 nationwide.

CEDAR RAPIDS- she said

Directed by Miguel Arteta
Written by Phil Johnston
Starring: Ed Helms, Anne Heche, John C. Reily, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Alia Shawkat
Synopsis: Tom Lippe is charged with going to represent his insurance firm at the annual ASMI conference and bring home the Double Diamond reward.

There's always something special about the industry you work in whether it's teaching, insurance, sales or computers. Sometimes the people in your world annoy you, yet it's always comforting you have people to go to when they're problems, and they genuinely understand the ups and downs you may feel. CEDAR RAPIDS takes a look at the insurance world as our protagonist, Tim Lippe (Ed Helms), gets to go to the big ASMI conference in Cedar Rapids, Iowa after the sudden death of the top seller at his company.

Lippe is everyone's friend in his spec-of-a-town of Brown Valley, Wisconsin. He's probably has never left his town...ever. So what a thrill to represent his company and try to win the elusive Double Diamond award for the forth year in a row. He arrives and is shocked to find out that he's rooming with an African-American, oh snap! Because I guess he's never seen one in real life; only in stories. His other roommate for the conference is Dean Zigler (John C. Reilly) who almost becomes the cliche frat boy making many, many perverted sex jokes throughout the movie. Now, some of the jokes were genuinely funny, but the act got a little old. Anne Heche rounds out this group as Joan Ostrowski-Fox who settled down early, got a job, and the annual conference is the highlight of her year. Sad existence, but she makes the most of the cards she's dealt.

We follow the foursome throughout the conference and the antics that ensue from a conference talent show, scavenger hunt, Lippe's first time drinking and befriending local prostitute, Bree (Arrested Developement's Alia Shawkat). Because this is what one does at a conference. The charm of the movie comes from Lippe who's innocence is sad yet somehow likable. He even wears a money belt...a money belt in Cedar Rapids, Iowa? He's learning the ropes as the newcomer under the wings of his comrades, and like a kid away at college for the first time, cuts lose a bit. Helms lends himself as leading man material, yet I couldn't shake the fact I could've seen Steve Carell in this role. It was good but nothing special.

Overall I enjoyed CEDAR RAPIDS. It begins with laugh after laugh, then, like most comedies nowadays, turns to a more serious yet poignant tone. It's no Judd Apatow movie, but Helms and company's chemistry keep things interesting in what's really a lackluster story. The film reminded me of a Bloody Mary or Pina Colada because it's a drink that you enjoy every once in a while, but you don't drink all the time.

CEDAR RAPIDS is open in limited release.

Netflix Instant: Cool TV and Movies picks

This week's Netflix Instant picks have more of a musical theme because I (Jonesy) sure do love them....maybe too much. Theatre has always been a part of my life, so I hope to broaden many people's horizon and show that theatre/musicals can be powerful and moving.

Moulin Rouge

One of my favorite contemporary musicals, Baz Luhrmans's Moulin Rouge! tells the tale of a young writer trying to make it in the Bohemian Revolution but falls in love with a courtesan. Eye-popping, glittery, and colorful visuals coupled with modern music brings this love story to life in one of the best new musicals brought to the big screen.

Director choreographer extrodinaire Bob Fosse brings his semi-autobiographical musical to life in ALL THAT JAZZ. The story tells the tragic tale of director Joe Gideon, portrayed brilliantly by Roy Scheider, as a perfectionist who loses himself in his work, drugs, alcohol and women. The movie shows a glimpse of Fosse's own life as he trys to find balance in it all.

The Cove

THE COVE is an astounding documentary about the elusive cove in Japan where dolphins are hoarded in, sold to parks like Sea World, and the rest are slaughtered for their meat. Filmmaker Louie Psihoyos and his team make James Bond jealous as they use gadgets and espionage to get film of what goes on in the cove.

Warning: Very graphic images are shown, so animal lovers take caution.

Hope you enjoyed my picks for this week. Javi will be back next week with his!

Oscar Nominated Live Action Shorts

This past weekend we had the awesome opportunity to watch (at the amazing Alamo Drafthouse) the Oscar Nominated Live Action Shorts. Now, this category has people scratching their heads because if you're not a frequent of the festival circuit, when in the world would you ever seen/heard of these shorts? So, when you go to your Oscar party and fill out your ballot, you're picking the one that sounds the best or (hopefully) blindly choosing a winner. Well, thankfully more and more independent theatres are showing these shorts, so obsessed movie-goers have a chance to see this unique category.

Tanel Toom
A National Film and Television School Production
A young boy preparing for his first confession worries that he has no sins to report, so he enlists a friend's help in committing one.

Jonesy: As the most produced-looking movie of the bunch, THE CONFESSION explores the causes of our actions from the most innocent among us. The short looks astounding. The main boy, played by Lewis Howlett, reminded me of a young Haley Joel-Osment. Howlett has such power in his subtle performance and amazingly was able to create such a dynamic character in a short amount of time. This short will probably take home the gold statue.

Javi: I can't begin to tell you how moving this movie was. This short is the most stylistic in terms of production value. It conveys a great (almost) horror-movie-esque atmosphere that mimics the young boys' dilemmas and feelings. It features themes that resonate with anyone that has ever had to keep a secret or messed up as a kid. The sound design for this short is amazing, and the ambient noise is almost another character altogether in the way that it interacts with the boys in their struggles.

WISH 143
Ian Barnes and Samantha Waite
A Swing and Shift Films/Union Pictures Production
When a terminally ill young boy is granted a wish by a charitable foundation, he makes a surprising request.

Jonesy: My favorite of the shorts we saw. WISH 143 takes a look at a 16 year-old boy dying of cancer, and his final wish for his get laid. No Disney World trip or meeting a Futbol star. No, just sex. This movie is a roller coaster of emotions, yet it has so much heart. The boy only has a few months to live, and the air is thick with the impending end. The story brings to light the power that human connection has on everyone's life.

Javi: Oh man this was such a 180 from the previous short. The kid that was dying was hilarious; his character couldn't help but show bravery by laughing at death and constantly joke to the Make-A-Wish guy or to the priest/mentor. The rather humorous nature of the short doesn't prepare you for some of the more emotional sections where the weight of the situation really hits home. I felt the way that the boy finally deals with rejections, trying to get laid, and even his own feelings provided the most realistic and satisfying ending.

Ivan Goldschmidt

A CUT! Production
In 1994, as the Rwandan genocide spills over into neighboring Burundi, a bus is attacked by a group of rebels.

Jonesy: When I first realized the subject matter of NA WEWE, I was expecting a tragic tale. However, I was surprised at how universal the themes were and how smart the movie was. The dialogue between the rebels and the innocent was smart and witty. There were so many play on words that I only wish I was that sharp. This was the only short, however, that I felt didn't have a definite ending, and there were more ideas and character choice's I wanted it to explore.

Javi: This was a very uneven short. Like Jonesy said, it was a very odd at how it dealt with the character story arcs. It was very clever in that you needed to pay attention in order to understand what was going on.  But even with the clever dialogue, the story itself is very odd and it takes a while to get going, which says something when the movie was about 15 minutes.  Definitely, it's my least favorite of the shorts.

Michael Creagh
A Purdy Pictures Production
Eight-year-old Ardal has a crush on his teacher and is devastated to learn she has a fiancé.

Jonesy: We've all had that one teacher we've had a crush on, and the lonely, young Ardal takes his crush on his teacher to another level. When he finds out his teacher is engaged, he decides to take matters into his own hands. THE CRUSH is a cute yet somewhat tense short. It plays with the idea of the extremes someone would go to be with someone, but from the point of view of a child. The short ends up being somewhat frightening and twisted with an unsettling ending.

Javi: Here's where I wish that THE CONFESSION had not been screened first because it really changed the tone of this short for me, which I sort of resented.  It's actually a lot more lighthearted than it seems at first by the time the climax comes.  But the child, Ardal, is the cutest little kid ever, his mentality is both childish and yet more clever than that of most adults around him and it makes the short that much better. This was my favorite short of the bunch.  

Luke Matheny
A Luke Matheny Production
A love triangle between two musicians and a young woman takes a surprising turn when one of them finds a collection of magical darts.

Jonesy: This was my shouldn't-be-but-is-favorite of the five.  It was fun and whimsical, and I thoroughly enjoyed the portrayals of love.  The most stylized of the nominations, GOD OF LOVE has a smokey, jazzy vibe as a young 20-something is given the power of cupid.  The cinematography is reminiscent of (500) Days of Summer but with a jazz lounge feel.  The movie is a quirky and fun and lets you dive into a uniquely painted world. 

Javi: This is what was weird because I did like this movie, but I couldn't help but thinking a "Wes-Anderson-Fan-Film" when I saw this.  The black and white world coupled with the stylish musicians that have MacBooks, mopeds, and bow ties were very appealing, but it almost felt boring in that regard.  The story itself is really clever in the way that the protagonist is seduced by his magic darts and ultimately grows because of them.  This short was definitely the most fun of the bunch.

The Oscar Nominated Live Action Shorts are now playing at The Inwood in Dallas for a limited engagement.

Friday, February 11, 2011

TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON mystery mustache robot from the trailer revealed!(spoiler)

This might be one of the last TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON post until the movie comes out, but I'm not promising anything. Earlier today posted a link to (out of all places) Entertainment Weekly where they debuted a few images showing official pictures of the new body for Megatron, the new Ark spaceship seen in the trailer, and more importantly, Sentinel Prime! Check out the pics!
The Ark, which looks rather similar to the original, and a good TIE Fighter rip off.

This is the new Megatron, who use to be a ridiculous looking space ship/tank hybrid before this.

Here's the big guy, Sentinel Prime!

I will say that Sentinel Prime is my favorite Transformers design to come out of this movie, that's not Shockwave. He looks heroic, badass, and more like an experienced fighter and not a ridiculous, cantakerous old robot like Jetfire from the previous movie. I'm not sure how he exists because in the last movie, Jetfire said that all of the last Primes died fighting The Fallen. Plus the big deal about Optimus is that he is the last Prime alive and there's no one to carry on the legacy. And just as a cool little tidbit, the new article has Michael Bay saying that Megatron will be "hiding in the jungles of Africa, nursing his wounds, and vainly hiding his pulverized visage while plotting — what else — revenge."

TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON will be released July 1, 2011

Thursday, February 10, 2011

X-MEN: FIRST CLASS - Official Trailer

Today, 20th century Fox posted the first official trailer for X-MEN: FIRST CLASS. First Class will expand on the X-Men world which was originally brought to the screen by Bryan Singer. The story “charts the epic beginning of the X-Men saga, and reveals a secret history of famous global events.” Because when you can't afford all the original stars of the series, just film a prequel story! However, the trailer itself shows some pretty fun mutant-action, and First Class will undoubtedly drawn in the action-movie-going crowd for the summer.

X-Men: First Class will be released in theatres June 3, 2011.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Netflix Instant: Cool TV & Movie Picks

Hey guys, Javier, here with another round of awesome Netflix Instant titles. This week has been rather light, but I've managed to check out some rather ridiculous stuff. Hope you enjoy and please remember leave comments below, and let us know what you think!

A surrealist movie set in the dreamy and dirty streets of Tokyo, and the best way to describe this movie is an atheist's version of the afterlife. The whole movie is through a very trippy first person's perspective, Oscar.  You see his past, present and future as people in his life react to his death. Story is harsh at times, but it is worth watching.

I will admit at first I was very hesitant about this series. During college, I could not stand the ridiculous notion of paying for my friends through being in a sorority/frat, so when my girlfriend told me we should try watching it together, I did not care for it. Slowly but surely, I was won over by the characters and the dynamic writing. One of the things that I appreciate is the writer's attention to detail in regards to continuity and character traits.

I first watched this movie during last year's Dallas International Film Festival, and I loved this movie for all the sort of wrong reasons. The protagonist is a whiny, self loathing mope-bag that not even Morissey could come up with, and the story reminded me of a low budget (500) Days of Summer. But upon later inspection, I found it to be a not so much a story, but a slice of events in someone's life with no easy conclusion or beats. Just be glad you don't have Harmony as a friend.

Well that's it folks, hopefully that will add some spice to your queue this week. Jonesy will bring her picks next week.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

SUPER 8 Teaser!!!

Thanks to Harry over at Aint It Cool News for posting this unofficial, but apparently, best version of the SUPER 8 trailer. All I have to say is I am floored. Much like what Harry said, J.J. Abrams totally nails the tone that Spielberg and to a lesser extent Lucas used to achieve, where there's a certain sense of child-like wonder to it, even though there're horrible things going on. Either way, enjoy! And good luck trying to figure out what exactly is going on!


Here's a big old post with more trailers from the Super Bowl so far!

First up, is BATTLE: LOST ANGELES. This movie has me excited of being a different kind of alien invasion movie. It seems to have more of the gritty, urban warfare style. It's a welcome change instead of more wise cracking Will Smith movies. My only apprehension is SKYLINE looked just as cool if not more, and well...we know what happened there.

The CAPTAIN AMERICA teaser is very effective, showing quick part of the origin story with Chris Evans going through his transformation. The best part was the single image of Hugo Weaving as The Red Skull. I'm pretty lukewarm on this movie, as it reminds me of lower tier Marvel movies like DAREDEVIL and THE FANTASTIC FOUR.

RANGO, was a movie I was very apprehensive against, but I have warmed up to it. Once the earlier trailers hit and I got a feel for the style and the type of story it was, I'm more excited for what will be Johnny Depp's redeeming performance after ALICE IN WONDERLAND.

THOR was a particularly great teaser, and it gave enough action shots that make you wonder what the hell is going on. It's very well cut, and the scope of the movie seems to be epic on scale, that will probably be matched only by THE AVENGERS movie. Two complaints...what's Sauron doing here, and please don't let their be too much love/hate banter between Thor and Natalie Portman's character.


Wow is all I can say after seeing this trailer. Now, I am the most jaded person in terms of this movie franchise mainly because of how ridiculous Michael Bay has made the movies; however, even this trailer made me want more. I'll post my full thoughts later.

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

The Illusionist

THE ILLUSIONIST is a tale audiences have seen before, where the older, simpler ways are constantly being tested against the newer, flashier world. In this case THE ILLUSIONIST, directed by Sylvain Chomet, the master behind The Triplets of Belleville, follows a year in the life of a magician struggling to get by in the world. We had the great opportunity to see this with a Q&A with the producer Fiona Hall and animator Justin Hall last evening at the Angelika Plano hosted by's Mark Walters. The Q&A was really helpful in giving a better insight into the movie.

Javi: The big draw here is the visual style, and the bravery of having a hand-animated silent movie in this day and age. Thankfully, visuals add up, and you  constantly marvel at the detail of the backgrounds and the mannerisms of the characters as they progress through the story. We find the protagonist magician going through the motions of his act, during one of them, he gets hired by a kindly (and perpetually drunk) bar owner of a small island town. The bar owner asks the magician to come perform, and during his stay there, he amazes a young girl, Alice, who ends up running away with him.

It's at this point where a lot of the movie brings its charm full on showing us a goofy rockabilly band, an eclectic group of struggling performers, and a beautiful depiction of the town of Edinburgh. The story becomes a series of humorous sequences with the magician trying to stay afloat as he constantly tries to keep Alice believing in magic.

I would say that I would recommend this movie as a storytelling and technical marvel. There will never be a shortage of hand animated projects, but the amount of motion pictures is going the way of the magician in the story. This movie has the heart of Pixar with the old school style of Disney. The biggest drawback would be the lack of dialogue, which is off putting towards some people. Not only that, but the ending is not the most family friendly.  If anything, the movie seems to target more towards adults that appreciate animation than children. Either way, it's a great movie that should be seen. It has no chance at all to get the Oscar for Best Animated Feature, but it's a worthy entry nevertheless.

Jonesy: I'm a complete sucker for hand drawn animation.  In post Toy Story era, it's difficult for a studio to release an animated movie that isn't CGI.  However, as Fiona and Justin pointed out during their Q&A, Disney was able to generate some success with The Princess and the Frog last year, thus opening the door for The Illusionist. Hand drawn animation is a dying art that doesn't get enough recognition.  The amount of time and talent it takes to create a movie like this is unbelievable.  Justin Hall brought up an interesting point that all CGI animators begin their career in traditional hand drawn animation.  So, with all that talent out there, why aren't more studios making the move back towards traditional animation? Just a thought...

About twenty minutes into the movie, I realized that this would be a silent film.  Initially I was worried that I wouldn't feel for the characters or emotions would get lost, but I was shocked at how engrossed I became in the story.  The story is fairly simple, as my cohort stated above, but every feeling comes through because of the breathtaking animation.  The silent film aspect is definitely a different step for a modern movie, and unfortunately isn't for everybody. 

A bulk of the story is set in Edingburgh, Scotland.  I had the privilege of visiting Edinburgh when I was in high school, and The Illusionist captures the movement, beauty, and layers of the city perfectly.  The scenery was so breathtaking, it made me want to go back even more.  One observer at the Q&A described the movie as walking through a watercolor painting, and I couldn't have said it better myself.  You get lost in the movement, colors and wonder of the world created by Sylvain Chomet. 

Even though The Illusionist doesn't stand a chance against Toy Story 3 or How to Train Your Dragon at the Oscars, the nomination will hopefully bring some attention to this gem of a movie. 

THE ILLUSIONIST is now playing at the Angelika Plano and Dallas.  Check your local listings and go see it!

COWBOYS Vs. ALIENS Super Bowl Trailer

Just a quick post... Director Jon Favreau, has tweeted to the world that he will unveil the new COWBOYS VS. ALIENS trailer so everyone could see it before the Super Bowl.

Here it is guys:

Not gonna lie, as silly as the premise might be, I'm pretty excited for this. At least you get the campiness right up front, so we can enjoy the movie for what it is. Then again, Favreau has done quite a bit with a second tier character like Iron Man, so maybe he can make this movie even better.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Super Bowl: As Directed By Awesome Directors

I totally stole this from /film, but at least I'm willing to admit that I did.  Now anyone that knows me, I am the least sports-savvy fella and constantly emasculated by more sporty ladies all around me. So apart from Super Bowl commercials and trailers, which will abound in the next few days, I have zero interest in the Super Bowl, but this video had me laughing quite a bit.  Check it out below: