Thursday, March 31, 2011

AFI Top 100 Countdown #97: Blade Runner


Directed by Ridley Scott
Written by David Peoples and Hampton Fancher
Starring:  Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, and Edward James Olmos

Leonard Nimoy (Spock, William Bell) will voice Sentinel Prime in TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON

Well this came out of nowhere. The coolest guy to come out of the Star Trek franchise (I hate you for Priceline, Shatner) has decided to return to the Transformers franchise this summer as a voice once again!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Jonesy's Most Anticipated Movies for DIFF

As my cohort listed what he's looking forward to for the Dallas International Film Festival last week, I'd thought I take this time to tell you what I'm excited about.  (And yes, I'm excited for BEING ELMO as well).

Director Morgan Spurlock explores the world of product placement, marketing and advertising. The film was fully financed through product placement from various brands, all of which are integrated transparently into the film. Spurlock exploits the phenomenon to new heights, with everything from branded pizza boxes and in-flight film promotions to branded-everything in-film. -- David Courier, Sundance FF

I love Morgan Spurlock.  I think he's funny, witty, and brave.  He's one of the most recognizable documentary film makers working today, which is impressive since most could probably only name one of his movies (SUPER SIZE ME).  Here Spurlock's documentary takes a look at getting a product to finance the film about getting a product to fiance a film.  How meta and fantastic!

Across the USA, high school sports are regularly lavished with funding, publicity and scholarships, while theater departments struggle to put on the school musical hoping for some recognition of their own. Helping to settle the score are the "Freddy Awards," a live television event that celebrates excellence in high school musical theater. Illustrating that arts education encourages the same teamwork, camaraderie and confidence as sports, MOST VALUABLE PLAYERS follows three theater troupes on their creative journeys to the elaborate award ceremony – the "Super Bowl" of high school musical theater.

Being in musical theatre in high school, I have a biased affinity for the art.  So, when I heard there was a whole documentary covering musical theatre and the Freddy Awards, I am there!  A lot of people who don't know what it takes to put on a show have a hard time appreciating the time, talent, and sometimes grueling work that rarely reaps any awards.  By mainstream standards, musical theatre is viewed as cheesy and full of jazz hands and smiles.  Hopefully MOST VALUABLE PLAYERS will bring to light the sweat, tears, and success of these students' hard work. 


Go inside a year in the world’s premiere news source during a time when the medium itself faces turmoil and possible demise. In an age where 24-hour cable news and Internet blogging dominate the informative landscape, how can traditional newspapers endure? Andrew Rossi’s all-access look into The New York Times combines investigative journalism of headline news with the drama of keeping the paper viable.

We all heard about the death of the newspaper, yet somehow, through the age of the Internet, many are still surviving.  This documentary takes a look at the most formidable papers, The New York Times, and follows the ins-and-outs for a year.  I'm excited to see how someone likes the Times handles the ever changing digital age because if they can't make it work, who could?


In a remote mental institution, a beautiful but troubled young woman finds herself trapped in a hellish nightmare.

 Sure, the setting of a mental institution with an attractive young woman seems a little cliche, but I have faith.  Plus, it's director John Carpenter's latest horror film... so need I really say more?  

Now, these are only my most anticipated.  I'm expecting to see close to twenty movies over the festival, and I'm even more excited to find the gems of the festival.  Keep an eye out for our coverage of all things DIFF for the next couple weeks.

The DALLAS International Film Festival will run March 31 – April 10, 2011. Passes and tickets are currently on sale: available via online (, phone (214.782.9168) and in person at the FAUXCADES Box Office: 5321 E. Mockingbird Lane, Ste 100, Dallas.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

SUCKER PUNCH- he said/she said, Cool Gals Don't Look at Explosions

Directed by Zack Snyder
Written by Zack Snyder
Starring: Emily Browning, Abbie Cornish, Vanessa Hudgens, Jena Malone, Jamie Chung,
Oscar Isaac, Carla Gugino, and Jon Hamm
Synopsis: A young girl is sent to a mental institution, and with the help of her fellow inmates, they use their imagination and dreams to help them plan an escape.


To say that ONCE is one of my favorite movies ever is an understament.  It is one of the few "romantic" movies that actually feels truthflly and painfully romantic.  It has a great soundtrack and is a musical without being a musical.  Plus Jonesy and I have seen them twice in the years we've known each other.

Anyway, I had not heard of this movie at all until just today. It's a documentary about Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova's post-ONCE life as the band The Swell Season, it will debut at the Tribeca Film Festival later this year.  Let's hope this movie gets out of the festival circuit soon! Go check out the Facebook fan page for more information.

Friday, March 25, 2011

What I'm totes looking forward to in this year's DIFF!

Hey cats and kittens, Javi here.  Next week marks the beginning of the annual Dallas International Film Festival hosted by the Dallas Film Society.  As we stated before, we will be covering this festival for the site.  In the interest of trying to get people hyped up for this awesome 10 day event, I figure we could highlight some of the movies we're looking forward to this year! Oh yea since everyone else is doing it, I'm not going to include BEING ELMO, even though I am looking forward to it.  

Cult director Takeshi Miike (Ichi the Killer, Audition) delivers a bravado period action film set at the end of Japan's feudal era in which a group of unemployed samurai are enlisted to bring down a sadistic lord and prevent him from ascending to the throne and plunging the country into a wartorn future.

This movie is one of big buzz hits coming out of South By Southwest, but honestly, I'm just excited to see more Asian cinema.  During last year's DIFF Korean Western THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE WEIRD ended up being one of my favorite movies of the year.  After seeing so much lackluster action lately (AHEM SUCKER PUNCH), I'm sure this will be tons of fun. 

1937, Spain is in the midst of the brutal Spanish Civil War. A circus clown is forcibly recruited by a militia in mid-performance. Still in his costume, he is handed a machete and he single-handedly massacres an entire platoon. This absurd and disturbing scenario raises the curtain on a twisted tale of love, revenge, and psychopathic clowns.-Sarah Harris

Honestly, I've heard about this movie from my friend Carolee.  This sounds like a freaky movie, just like all of the Midnight movies this year.  I had a bit of a Guillermo del Toro vibe from this with the psychopathic clown and the Spanish Civil War background. As a Mexican that is not well versed with Spanish movies this sounds like a great movie.  

DE DIA Y DE NOCHE (By Day And By Night)
In a post-apocalyptic world where overpopulation has run amuck, genetic manipulation becomes the answer to humanity's problem: make people sensitive to day. That way, people splits between the dwellers of the day and the denizens of night--at once breaking families apart and challenging the definition of a normal life. - Alex Garcia Topete

I am not know much about Mexican cinema, but I know that apparently every single movie from Mexico has to be super depressing, and somehow has to deal with drugs, gang life, and poor people.  But this 
awesome movie, has sci-fi! in Spanish! 

Seventeen year-old Caroline Wexler (Kat Dennings) has just moved to a tiny, nowhere town where an industrial fire burns ceaselessly and a serial killer is claiming young victims. When Caroline realizes she has nothing in common with the permanently stoned kids that populate her new school, she pursues the one person she connects with - her handsome young teacher, Mr. Anderson (Josh Lucas).

Am I the only one that thought this was a documentary about Sonic Youth? Anyway, the premise of this movie sounds amazing, plus Kat Dennings in a less comedic role is always welcome.  This girl has always stolen the scenes in the movies she's been in and I hope that this is a good step into more serious roles.  

Well that's just some of the ones I'm personally looking forward to.  I'm sure as the festival draws nearer we'll have more must-see recommendations!  Stay tuned next week, we hope you're as excited as we are. 

Netflix Instant: Cool TV & Movie Picks

Hey cats and kittens, Javi here post-wisdom teeth extraction, waiting for the vicodin to kick in, I bring you some more suggestions for your Netflix queue!

Yet another Criterion pick by me, but this was such a beautiful movie, I couldn't not recommend it. To put it simply, it's the story of a little French boy and his big old red balloon.  It's weird because in a way, it reminds me of modern friendly monster movies like ET, THE IRON GIANT, and even LILO AND STITCH.  The relationship is what makes this movie.  At 34 minutes it's a great way to kill some time and feel good.  

This was a movie that I was always curious about, but never got around to watching.  It's got Amanda Seyfried as a rather classy hooker and Julianne Moore as a sad housewife fearing that her husband is cheating on her.  So instead of talking to the husband(Neeson) like a normal adult, she schemes against him and uses Chloe to flirt with him to see if he would cheat.  It's a gorgeous and a rather interesting movie.  Kudos to Seyfried for not just doing comedy.
This is totally nostalgia.  I know its seems trendy to pick a Muppets movie, ever since they seem to have been part of a resurgence with a new movie, various YouTube shorts, and a fan-made LCD Soundsystem video. But this movie is just a joy to watch, it is one of the many tapes that my grandfather made for me when I was a youngin in the old country.  I think I'll go rewatch it now!

Ok guys! That's it for me this week.  I'll be incoherently doped up the rest of the weekend, but hopefully catching up on our AFI countdown entries and gearing up for DIFF!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

2011 DIFF announces efforts to promote social change

The 2011 DALLAS International Film Festival has announced the festival intends to raise awareness of social issues and promote the need for change through a series of panels, new awards and partnerships with health organizations.


In what can be considered the biggest and most expensive marketing campaign ever for a movie (THE AVENGERS), we have now have the first look into the first of two movies that will lead up to the events of the biggest superhero movie ever.  CAPTAIN AMERICA's new trailer hit last night, and apart from the goofy looking pre-steroid Chris Evans, the movie looks so good.  The amount of action will be insane from the looks of it with a good ol' patriotic feel to it.  Anyway, enjoy guys!

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER opens July 20, 2011. It is directed by Joe Johnston, it stars Chris Evans, Tommy Lee Jones, Hugo Weaving, Hayley Atwell, and Stanley Tucci.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

2011 Dallas International Film Festival Coverage

Exciting news everyone...we here at We Drink Your Milkshake will be tackling the Dallas International Film Festival again this year!  We will be all over this year's amazing and eclectic lineup of screenings and galas bringing you exclusive coverage, reviews, news, and special events.  Screenings and events will be all over Dallas including the Magnolia, Angelika Dallas and Plano, Northpark Mall, and the historic Texas Theatre. 

The Dallas International Film Festival will run March 31 – April 10, 2011.

AFI Top 100 Countdown #98: Yankee Doodle Dandy


Directed by Michael Curtiz
Written by Robert Buckner and Edmund Joseph
Starring:  James Cagney, Joan Leslie, Walter Huston, and Richard Whorf

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Joseph Gordon-Levitt's role in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES Revealed! (SPOILERS)

It's not secret that I'm such a fan of twitter's own @HitRecordJoe or Joseph Gordon-Levitt, as he is known in other circles. When I heard earlier that he would be coming to the final installment of the BATMAN saga by director Christopher Nolan, I was even more excited. And now we have word from Variety about who exactly he will be playing. In the interest of keeping people as spoiler free, I'll put his role below. The character itself cold lead to speculation about the plot of the movie so be warned.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Netflix Instant: Cool TV and Movie picks

Hey guys, Jonesy here with my picks for this week with a little something for everyone:

I am not a Trekkie, at all.  I'm a STAR WARS gal through and through, so I wasn't very excited about seeing this a couple summers ago.  However, I was pleasantly surprised by how innovative and fascinating director J.J. Abrams made the STAR TREK world.  The movie is fun, funny, and you completely forget about any stigma that came with the STAR TREK lore. 

Can a man and a woman ever just truly be friends?  This question is pondered and explored in director Rob Reiner's comedy.  The movie is sweet and charming and explores the truths and consequences of that question.  Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan are fabulous in their best roles to date.  An actual romantic comedy that doesn't involve a mad dash to the airport!

LITTLE SHOP is one of my favorite musicals.  It's charming, witty, and surprisingly very dark.  A down-and-out plant shop worker hopes to boost his sales by purchasing an exotic plant all the while trying to win the gal of his dreams.  Plans go awry when the plant thirsts for more and more blood, and he's growing out of control!  If you're a fan of Burton's SWEENEY TODD, you'll enjoy this somewhat similar, yet lighter romp of a musical. 

Paul Review-He Said!

Directed by: Greg Motolla
Starring: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Kristen Wiig, Jason Bateman, and Seth Rogen as Paul.
Synopsis: Two best friends from England come to the US to attend San Diego Comic Con and see the most famous alien landmarks.  Along the way they pick up an actual alien.  Hilarity ensues.  

Two questions: are you nerdy and are you religious(ly uptight)? If you said yes and no, then this movie is for you! At this point, I'm pretty comfortable with how nerdy I am.  Shocking, right? And I'm glad that there are those people as Simon Pegg and Nick Frost that have been steeped in this culture making movies about people like us.  I'm not talking about that annoying trendy "G4" sort of nerd; I'm talking about the real ones.  I feel that Pegg, Frost, and director Greg Motolla have made a movie that feels as much of a love letter to geekdom and nerds as director Edgar Wright's movie SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD was.

The story begins with an awesome recreation of San-Diego Comic Con.  If you read Elisabeth Rappe's set report, you'll know that a lot of time and care was taken into recreating what has now become the overstuffed geek event of the year.  The minute you meet Greame (Pegg) and Clive (Frost) you can tell that they are not acting in these scenes of wandering around the Comic-Con floor room.  The first 20 minutes of the movie are nothing but geek fan service, and I swear there should be a medal if you can spot all of the references to all of these classic nerdy franchises.

Once you actually starting getting into the road trip part of the movie, that's where Pegg and Frost's relationship from so many years ago begins to show its benefits. Their chemistry is really loose and  feels like two friends hanging out, but not in that annoying way that Adam Sandler/GROWN UPS sort of way. The scene where the duo find Paul is pretty hilarious, and it's weird to see such a good sense of chemistry with two guys and an CG alien.

I do have a personal complaint about this movie, and maybe it's not so much the movie, as it is the culture which we live.  Throughout the movie, almost up until the end, you get various characters always questioning Clive and Greame on whether they're gay.  This annoys me to know end, and it's like all of the sudden because homosexuality is being accepted more, two dudes can't just be friends? That's ignorant, and from a writing point of view, it's a lazy way of writing in jokes.  

By the time they get into introducing Kristen Wiig's obvious romantic interest character, the movie gets in to some pretty interesting place.  You see, Wiig's character, Ruth, is a fundamentalist Christian, and when she encounters Paul, the movies gets pretty philosophical.  What would someone that has a strict definition of the Bible in their mind as the ultimate truth do after meeting an alien? I know this sounds very controversial, but seriously get over yourself.  It's interesting because when you see this movie, you will see two very opposing points of views regarding this question. I feel this was a bit of a risk to take, but it's one that it serves the comedy of the movie, while also making the movie have a bit more weight than just another road trip movie.

The little green guy is obviously the catalyst of this movie, so how does he hold up? Surprisingly well actually.  Apart from one flashback scene, you pretty much forget that he is not real. I really expected Paul to be like Mike Myers' Cat in the Hat character where you could not ever get into the movie since Myers kept on switching between Shrek, Austin Powers and whatever idiotic character he has portrayed before.  Plus, I remember not being too impressed with his work in MONSTERS VS. ALIENS, I will admit I was very negatively biased towards having Rogens' voice in this movie.   But, there's something to the character of Paul that Rogen's voice compliments.  Mind you, we're not talking Gollum levels of realism, but it's pretty close.

I'll also mention that as supporting cast members Jason Bateman, Bill Hader and Joe Lo Truglio were pretty plain.  None of them are not going out of their range. Bateman especially needs to get way from the uptight proper white guy routine he has done since the Arrested Development days.  A really frustrating thing about PAUL is that it has a tendency of having too many plot points going on at the same time. The amount of "bad guys" chasing them goes up to five at one point in the movie.  It's too much, especially when you consider that some issues are resolved in the most lackluster sort of way.  They could have pared this down and made the movie a lot leaner and it would've benefited greatly from it.

I realized after finishing the movie that it really is more about the relationships.  The friendship between Greame, Clive, Paul and Ruth is what holds this movie together. There is enough conflict and differences to keep it interesting, and there are enough nerdy references that only make the movie a bigger joy if you're a part of that culture.  This is probably the best movie I have seen in theaters this year so far. So go see it now nerds!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

AFI Top 100 Countdown #99: Toy Story

Directed by John Lasseter
Written by John Lasseter and Pete Docter
Starring: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, and Don Rickles
AFI Top 100 Criteria:
Critical Recognition: Formal commendation in print, television, and digital media.

* score of 100%

*“Watching the film, I felt I was in at the dawn of a new era of movie animation, which draws on the best of cartoons and reality, creating a world somewhere in between, where space not only bends but snaps, crackles and pops.”   Roger Ebert, Chicago-Sun Times

*“As Lion King did before it, Toy Story revived the art of American children's animation, and ushered in a set of smart movies that entertained children and their parents. It's a landmark movie, and doesn't get old with frequent repetition.”  Michael Booth, Denver Post

Major Award Winner: Recognition from competitive events including awards from peer groups, critics, guilds, and major film festivals.

*Academy: 3 nominations, 1 Special Academy Achievement Award: John Lasseter, for the development and inspired application of techniques that have made possible the first feature-length computer-animated film.

*Golden Globes: 2 nominations including Best Picture

*National Film Preservation Board: National Film Registry

Popularity Over Time: Includes success at the box office, television and cable airings, and DVD/VHS sales and rentals.

$30,000,000 (estimated)

$192,000,000 (USA) first release in 1995
$30,000,000 (USA) second release in 2009
$354,300,000 (Worldwide) ( January 1989)

$103,200,000 (USA)

Historical Significance: A film's mark on the history of the moving image through visionary narrative devices, technical innovation or other groundbreaking achievements.

*Toy Story had a large impact on the film industry with its innovative computer animation. After the film's debut, various industries were interested in the technology used for the film. Graphics chip makers desired to compute imagery similar to the film's animation for personal computers; game developers wanted to learn how to replicate the animation for video games; and robotics researchers were interested in building artificial intelligence into their machines that compared to the lifelike characters in the film.

Cultural Impact: A film's mark on American society in matters of style and substance.

*The film was selected into the National Film Registry as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" in 2005, its first year of eligibility.

Jonesy:   Now one fun aspect of watching all 100 movies is I get to see many movies that have been on my “list” for a while, and I get to revisit some classics I have seen maybe once. Then, there will be a couple rare exceptions where I get to watch movies that I can almost quote by heart. At number 99, TOY STORY became that quotable movie.

I was nine years old when Toy Story hit theatres, and I remember what a big deal it was because it was the first movie that was 100% computer animation. It also was one of the first animated films that I remember using A-list actors as the voices (a trend obviously never went out of style). But as a nine-year-old, I didn’t really care about all that. I was just excited to see the movie because it was Disney. I remember loving it, and the funny thing was, I remember my parents loving it too. Disney had also reinvented the mold for animation because they made Toy Story appeal to adults too. There were jokes in there that as a child, I didn’t understand. I learned it was okay to have an animated movie without every character breaking into song; a Disney movie without a princess in distress or an evil king/queen.

That’s why this movie has stuck with movie goers. It actually can appeal on some level to almost everyone. Of course, I’m looking at this as a purely nostalgic aspect. Toy Story is pretty much a flawless film in my eyes. Even the animation keeps pretty well to today's standards. Now, when I re-watched it for the top 100, my cohort pointed out how the hair on the humans and the dog seemed more animated than realistic, so Pixar animators have made improvements in some areas. Even with that, I still am thoroughly impressed with the level of realism they were able to create in 1995.

If I had been an adult seeing this for the first time back in the day, I would have been blown away at the world that animators could create now with computers. I probably would have wondered how in the world they were going to top themselves or could they even top themselves? Then again, this was before I would have known what Pixar was capable of. And we all know how that story ends.

Javi: This is a movie that I hold dear and near to my heart, and I was really pleasantly surprised that this cracked the Top 100. If I remember correctly, it’s actually one of the first movies I saw when I moved to Dallas, and I even remember the theater so well. This movie needs very little introduction. It’s the great-granddad of all of the great Pixar movies we have seen in the last decade. It’s also a technical achievement for its time that still looks better than some CGI movies done recently.

Looking at this movie in a critical manner is difficult, but I’ll try anyways. I say this because so many phrases and scenes are forever lovingly ingrained in my mind. A thing that impressed me the most was how well developed the world was. There are rules and ways in which living toys behave, and it’s all implied and never explicitly told, but there’s never a point I didn’t believe it. One of the best phrases in the film is when Woody tells all of Sid’s toys “We’re gonna break a few rules here” before their awesome revenge, it really cemented the “realism” of this world. The characters are all iconic by now, with Woody and Buzz being stand outs along with Slinky, Mr. Potato-Head, Rex and Hamm. All of these characters have a little certain something whether it’s Rex’s overall neurotic mannerisms or Potato-Head’s interchangeable facial features. You can even appreciate Sid’s monstrous creations if anything because of the creativity of the bizarre combinations that result from them, such as the infamous Spider Baby.

The story, which is strangely mature for a kid movie, is a relatable one. With Woody feeling resentment and jealousy at being replaced by Buzz in Andy’s eyes, we have a story that anyone from a small kid with a new younger sibling can relate to a person who could have a jealous significant other. One thing that does suck and I will not be so biased as to forgive is the hair textures. Sid’s dog Skud looks strange and alien almost due to the lack of hair texture. I’m mentioning this because there are older movies that do show their age in this list, and I figured it’d be too much bias to not mention flaws here. I will say that Andy takes horrible care of his toys if he cares about them so much, and he freaking loses them constantly and then doesn’t realize when they come back. (But this is just a personal complaint).

I can see how and why this movie is on the Top 100. It has consistently made money for Disney/Pixar, and the influence it has had on American animation is unprecedented because for better or for worse it started the animated CGI craze that many studios have used. It also helped Pixar stay afloat and become a contender among animation studios. If you haven’t seen this movie, do it now. Seriously where have you been this whole time?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Netflix Instant: Cool TV Shows and Movies

Hey guys, it's Javi once again, with a slightly delayed column. Usually we like to put this out on Friday so you can watch these great handpicked selections over the weekend, but this terrible "no sleeping" thing I've been rocking has kept me from being very productive this week. Anyway, here are my three picks for this week.

This is a fun documentary about the problems with the beer industry as narrated by Anat Baron. It shows you the nitty gritty of why the beer industry is the number one advertiser in this country as well as the politics behind it. It's a bit one sided towards micro-breweries as it portrays (and rightfully so) Annheuser-Busch in a very negative light with their predatory Wal-Mart-esque practices. A must see for any beer lover.

This is a beautiful, ultra-low budget science fiction movie set in the Northern part of Mexico six years after aliens come down to Earth and infect that part of the country. The big "gimmick" of the movie is the low budget which really colors your perception. I found it to be innovative if not a bit unbelievable at times in terms of the protagonists. The big problem is that the protagonists have a very forced chemistry that might be off-putting. Nevertheless, the world building is fantastic, the creatures look amazing and Gareth Edwards is a very promising director.

My sister got me into this show. It's just a very well written comedy show about two brothers that always build some ridiculous machine or theme park or whatever pops into their heads. Their older sister is always trying to ruin their plans, and their awesome snarling platypus is actually a spy. It's a clever enough show that it will appeal to just about any age group.

Ok guys, that's it for this week. Hope you enjoy the suggestions.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Battle: Los Angeles-He said/She said

Battle: Los Angeles
Directed by: Johnathan Liesbeman
Written by: Cristopher Bertolini
Starring: Aaron Eckhart, Michelle Rodriguez, Ramon Rodriguez, and Bridget Moynahan
Synopsis: When meteors filled with invading alien forces fall to Earth, a combat unit is tasked with rescuing civilians behind enemy lines.

Jane Eyre- She said

Directed by Cary Fukunaga
Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender, Judi Dench and Jamie Bell
Synopsis: A simple governess finds herself falling in love with her employer only to find out he's hiding a terrible secret.

Like Austen's PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, Charlotte Bronte's classic, JANE EYRE, seems to be remade every few years whether it be in a TV miniseries, movie, or play. This version, from director Cary Fukunaga, plays up the more Gothic elements of the classic story.  Even though the story is over 150 years old, the rich characters, sweeping scenery, and epic romance still hold up today.

We follow our heroine, Jane (played by Mia Wasikowska), through a troubled childhood where she is sent away to school by her aunt, and because of her unaltered and tenacious spirit, is constantly punished and scorned by her teachers.  Eventually, she becomes the governess of the manor, Thornfield, to care for Adele, the ward of the elusive Mr. Rochester (Michael Fassbender).  When she finally sits down to talk with Rochester, he abrasive manner doesn't faze Jane.  She sees right through his demeanor and verbally keeps up with his snippy remarks.  This fascinates Rochester.  He becomes infatuated with her and believes she's the one that can shine light into his dark world. 

Wasikowska and Fassbender are fabulous portraying these iconic characters.  Wasikowska's Jane is subtle yet strong.  She reminded me of a somewhat quieter Elizabeth Bennet from PRIDE AND PREJUDICE;  same amount of wit and charm but on a lower key.  She makes Jane Eyre a complicated, dynamic figure where we see her history and how it's shaped her internally.  Fassbender takes an interesting approach to Rochester.  In the book, Rochester can come across as extremely arrogant, which he is, but never really likable.  Fassbender shows his arrogance coupled with a flirty nature almost similar to "the guy" in high school that all the ladies longed for.  He humored them, but he was never interested because he was looking for someone deeper and more intellectual.  Then all it takes is one girl to match his wit and snarkiness, and he's infatuated and in love.  This Rochester was enjoyable and fit into the dashing, dominant, yet has-a-weak-spot-for-the-one-he-loves, Victorian gentleman perfectly.

While they individually embodied their characters, I never fully believed their chemistry.  This is to no fault of the actors.  When an epic novel rich in detail is adapted into a movie, it's very difficult to not only establish the relationship but wholeheartedly convince us of their love.  Even though the movie runs at a healthy two hours, I wanted Eyre and Rochester's relationship a little more developed, so that we feel the weight and tragedy when the "secret" is finally revealed.

Fukunaga makes use of the breathtaking manor and picturesque scenery of England.  The visuals alone are worth the price of admission.  Thorfield, the Rochester manor, becomes it's own character as it's so mammoth and ancient we almost hear every creak and movement throughout.  Fukunaga plays up the Gothic aspect and makes use of our imaginations when Jane explores the house at night with only a candle for light.  There is no extra light provided, so we're just waiting for a ghost or someone to pop out around any corner.

All in all, this adaptation will bode well in the Jane Eyre catalogue.  Will it be everyone's favorite? Probably not.  However, when taking such a classic novel and really taking to it with a fresh perspective, it makes the movie memorable.   

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

AFI Top 100 Countdown #100: Ben-Hur

Directed by: William Wyler
Written by: Lew Wallace, Karl Turnberg
Starring: Charlton Heston, Stephen Boyd, and Jack Hawkins

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The house from UP! flies...for real!

Sometimes a movie will touch us on such a deep level that we'll remember it forever. Almost two summers ago when Pixar's UP! was released, I remember feeling like a six year old again when I watched the movie. I loved the story, but most importantly, I wanted a flying house! Now, all of our dreams have come true! tells about the existence of the UP! house built by National Geographic.  The project was for the upcoming National Geographic TV series, How Hard Could It Be?, and the 16x16 house flew by 300 hundred helium balloons for one hour and at one point, reached 10,000 feet. 

As Gizmodo did, I can safely say we can file this story under the category of awesome.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Netflix Instant: Cool TV and Movie picks

As we recover from our post-Oscar madness and settle in before the big summer season, here are my picks for Netflix Instant this week:

Director Rian Johnson brings the film noir style back with BRICK. When his crush ends up dead, Brendan Fry (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who's Javi's man-crush) weaves through the social network of the high school drug world to find the killer. Beautifully acted and shot, BRICK competes with any classic noir film.

Another wild entry into director Christopher Guest's world, BEST IN SHOW takes all of his familiar faces and puts them into the world of competitive dog shows. The characters are quirky, the situations are insane, and the witty dialogue makes this such a smart comedy. Fun, fun, fun.

Arthur Miller's classic play which premiered on Broadway comes to the small screen. The tragic story of Willy Loman (Dustin Hoffman) as he comes to grips with a failed career and uninspired family. This tale is absolutely heart-wrenching yet so powerful. This is truly what acting is all about.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Abusive relationships. We have all seen them in our times. My own experiences have been those I observed mostly from having a lot of girl friends back in high school that apparently had low self-esteem. Is this a little too real for a movie news blurb? Not really when you consider the relationship that George Lucas has been having with fans of the STAR WARS trilogy.

Today the omnipotent reported: Lucasfilm Ltd. and Twentieth Century Fox announced today that the 3D theatrical launch of Star Wars: Episode I The Phantom Menace now has an official release date -- February 10, 2012! Set against the thrilling and exotic backdrop of a "galaxy far, far away," Star Wars is perfectly suited to the immersive 3D theatrical experience, and Episode I delivers some of the Saga's most stunning and spectacular sequences -- from the Naboo invasion to the Tatooine Podraces to the climactic lightsaber battle between Darth Maul and the Jedi.
Supervised by Industrial Light & Magic, the meticulous conversion is being done with utmost respect for the source material, and with a keen eye for both technological considerations and artistic intentions.

As a guy that will have a few STAR WARS tattoos in a while, I feel pretty mixed about this announcement. I love the idea of having the chance to see the STAR WARS in the big screen again. I haven't had a chance to do so since they did the atrocious Special Editions (Han shot first!!!!) back in the day while I was battling the flu. And since I'm not a super cool dude from Austin, and I can't get a 35 mm print of THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK, I love this.

On the other hand, I am so sick and tired of the blatant corporates thinking in regards to the STAR WARS saga. We get it George; you can't come up with anything else but the Force and tiny green beings with infinite wisdom (stop it guys, Jonesy isn't green), but stop trying to cash in on this beloved franchise. People are up in arms with the potential bastardization of the wonderful BLADE RUNNER franchise in the near future. But yet, thanks to all of the Laserdisc, VHS, DVD, and the upcoming Blu-ray releases of the franchise, STAR WARS feels like an artistically cheap money making machine, and that makes me sad.

Regardless, the 3D up-conversion is coming and there's nothing we can do about it. So let's prepare. I for one, will not be there. I'd rather not support George Lucas' further attempts to milk the cash cow. I'm pretty bummed it got to this point. 

The Adjustment Bureau- She said

Directed by George Nolfi
Written by George Nolfi
Starring: Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Anthony Mackie, and John Slattery
Synopsis: A politician falls in love with a dancer, but fate has other plans for them.

Matt Damon just had his world turned upside down. He catches a glimpse of the world behind our doors of fedora toting men who control everyone's fate by their Nook-type books. These men are The Bureau. Damon wasn't suppose to see into this world. None of us are. Our paths are written, and if we ever veer off our path, The Bureau steps in with a missed bus, chance encounter, computer outage, or spilled coffee. However, this doesn't bode well with Damon because he has fallen in love with Emily Blunt and will stop at nothing to be with her. The Bureau has other plans.

Thus our conflict is presented. David Norris (Damon) is a young, up and coming senator from New York. He loses his senate race, but meets Elise (Blunt) who inspires him to make the best concession speech I've ever heard. This boosts his popularity, and he is set to run again in four years. For his fate to be set, he is never suppose to run into Elise again; however, as chance would have it, he does. Now, The Bureau has to take drastic measures to keep them apart. Damon and Blunt have fantastic chemistry. I found myself wanting them to be together through all their trials.

Through the love story, the movie actually brings an interesting intellectual debate of whether humans have free will or if everything is planned out for us. Damon doesn't accept that he isn't suppose to be with Blunt, so he tries to outwit and outplay the fedora brigade with the help of a somewhat rogue agent (how convenient). The fedoras try to reason with him; if he doesn't see her again, he'll eventually become the President and she will be a successful choreographer, and if he doesn't listen, then their dreams won't come true. Tough choice.

I wanted the movie to go deeper with the philosophical questions of free will versus fate. Are humans even capable of free will? Or were we given that opportunity in the past but our own hubris and greed caused turmoil for the human race? If we were made aware of the fact we didn't have free will, could we learn from our past mistakes and given that opportunity again? But the heart of the story ended up being if love between two people can conquer any obstacle. Not nearly as interesting or discussion worthy.

The problem isn't with any of the characters but the wannabe Matrix/Inception love story. The ideas were there and could have grown into something truly unique. However, everything just seems to fall short by the end as we watch Damon fight for his love, and we're left with the advice that anyone with a hat could be messing with our free will.

Take Me Home Tonight- she said

Directed by Michael Dowse
Written by Jackie Filgo, Jeff Filgo, Topher Grace, and Gordon Kaywin
Starring: Topher Grace, Anna Faris, Dan Fogler, and Teresa Palmer
Synopsis: A young, aimless college grad pursues the girl of his dreams at a party with his best friend and twin sister as they all struggle to find their place in the adult world.

Scenario: Young adult graduates from college, and he doesn't know what he wants to do with his life. He ends up living at home, again, working at a local video store. His high school crush conveniently walks in one day and invites him to the party. You know, the party that happens after everyone graduates from college and turns out to be a mini high school reunion. That party (Not sure where these parties actually happen because I've never seen or heard of one in my area). He goes with his semi-overweight best friend excited to spend time with his long-term crush, yet still wondering what he should do with his life just waiting for an Epiphany. Can you guess what happens next? What if I told you the movie was set in the 80s? Does that change your view?

TAKE ME HOME TONIGHT is the typical romantic, coming of age comedy that has a few laughs but overall is very, very mediocre and predictable. The plot follows every cliche point of a modern day Rom-Com, just now the story is set in 1988. The movie doesn't even attempt to find the charm of a Hughes movie, and unlike HOT TUB TIME MACHINE which embraced the radness and the insanity of the 80s, TMHT uses it as a backdrop. I snickered a few times at a character's clothing choice or seeing Farrah Fawcett hair, but it lost its charm.
There was a real glimpse of hope for the movie because Topher Grace does well as a relatable, lost twentysomething, but his character gets lost in the muddled storytelling. Anna Faris, who plays his sister, had the most interesting storyline where she is forced to decide between marriage to her long-term boyfriend (who I swear looked like a modern day dude-bro named Chad) and graduate school. However, she is completely underused and forced into the background and unfortunately, ends up with a mediocre payoff. Dan Fogler, who has been described as the "poor man's Jack Black", is the loud, obnoxious best friend who somehow always gets into trouble, steals a car, and finds cocaine. Not sure why these two characters are best friends considering all the antics they find themselves in; the chemistry on screen between the duo is awkward and just off.

The bulk of the movie is Topher Grace trying to impress his crush, played by Teresa Palmer, by pretending to have a big kid job and finding himself in weird and almost implausible situations all the while wallowing in the fact he doesn't really know who he is or what he wants. The antics ensue throughout the night, and while you're expecting a breakthrough for the characters or a real insight to the troubled "after world" between college and adulthood, nothing ever really happens. It takes the safe route back to the normal Rom-Com formula, and we're left with a very forgettable movie.

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES plot points revealed. Possible spoilers

This is an interesting bit of news coming from the Batman front. Seeing as how we will know very little, it's great to hear new things even if they are rumors.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Jennifer Lawrence in the lead for Katniss Everdeen from THE HUNGER GAMES

 After a while of hearing rumors that TRUE GRIT's Hailee Steinfeld was a sure pick for the upcoming adaptation of The Hunger Games by director Gary Ross, Lainey Gossip has gotten word that Jennifer Lawrence, is up for the lead role.

Javi: I personally have not seen WINTER'S BONE (but Jonesy has) and having read the books, I was really rooting for young Steinfeld to get this part. For all of the characteristics that people praised Steinfled, such as her maturity and quick wit, the character of Katniss embodies that as well. She is still in the running though, so let's keep fingers crossed! Regardless, I have heard many great things of Lawrence. She single-handedly carried one of the best movies of last year. I am excited to see who they do end up casting though.

Jonesy: Ever since TRUE GRIT jumped to the screen, Hailee Steinfeld has been on everyone's mind to play the iconic Katniss.  I was even convinced she would be perfect.  Now, with this news that Lawrence is in the running, I'm shocked that she never crossed my mind.  Lawrence is brilliant in WINTER'S BONE as the sole provider for her family after her father has skipped town.  She brings a quiet, yet strong presence to the screen.  Hard accomplishment for someone so young.  Either actress would be fantastic in the role of Katniss.

The book series was definitely an interesting entry into the young adult genre. It presented some pretty harsh and brutal obstacles for Katniss in the span of three books. It will be interesting to see how they depict some of the battles should the movie go forward as a franchise. For those not in the know, here's a description of the Hunger Games:

The Hunger Games is a young-adult science fiction novel written by Suzanne Collins. It was originally published on September 14, 2008, by Scholastic. It is the first book of the Hunger Games trilogy. It introduces sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives in a post-apocalyptic world in the country of Panem where North America once stood. This is where a powerful government working in a central city called the Capitol holds power. In the book, the Hunger Games are an annual televised event where the Capitol chooses one boy and one girl from each district to fight to the death. The Hunger Games exist to demonstrate not even children are beyond the reach of the Capitol's power.

Thanks to the fine folks over /film for the set of news.

THE HUNGER GAMES is directed by Gary Ross and will be released May 23, 2012.