Thursday, February 28, 2013

Dallas Film Society Announces First Ten Films for 2013 Dallas International Film Festival

Lineup features new films made in Texas as well as films from around the world

The Dallas Film Society announced today the first 10 films chosen to screen at the 7th edition of the Dallas International Film Festival, presented by AutoNation Volkswagen Dealers on April 4 – 14, 2013. Overall, approximately 180 films from all over the world will be screened during the 11-day Festival. These first 10 films not only represent works from America, and Texas in particular, but also films from the United Kingdom, Canada, Africa and France — truly an international offering.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Trailer for CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 2 Drops! And Now I Want Some Cake

It took me a while to see the original CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS. I enjoyed the book as a child, but I couldn't see how in the world that would translate into a film. However, once again, my cohort sat me down on idle Saturday and made me watch it, and man I loved everything about this film: the world, the puns, and the Mr. T.

Now a mere four years later, we're getting our sequel. The original directors, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, are not back as directors, but they choose two men, Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn, who both worked on the first film, to direct the sequel.

Check out the synopsis and trailer (thanks Yahoo!) below.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

AMC's Best Picture Showcase Part 2 Rundown

The Oscars are over, and now we can finally prepare for the summer season. How angry were you about what films won? Did you bomb your Oscar poll because there was a tie?  Well there's always next year. We highly recommend participating in the AMC Showcase next year to get a grasp on the best picture nominees. Of course the real challenge is watching all the films in a 24 hour period, but as we mentioned last week in our rundown, Javi had a half marathon to run on Oscar Sunday (which he kicked its ass), so we opted for the two day showcase.

Here are our thoughts from part one. And now onto part two!

#Godzilla2013 Entry #4: KING KONG VS. GODZILLA

Directed by: Ishiro Honda
Written by: Shin'ichi Sekizawa
Starring: Tadao Takashima, Kenji Sahara, Yu Fujiki, Mie Hame and Ichiro Arishima.
Synopsis: A suspiciously familiar giant ape has to fight with a recently-escaped Godzilla after he is kidnapped by a couple of TV studio lackeys.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

For Funsies: Kid's Reenact Oscar Nominees!

We're almost out of Oscar season folks. We've made it. Then on Monday we can all take to the Internet to complain about how annoyed we are that this movie or that movie didn't win.

Well to get you ready, if you missed ZERO DARK THIRTY, DJANGO, ARGO, LINCOLN or BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD, don't you worry because this video will help fill in the gaps to get you ready for your Oscar poll. Oh yeah, the reenactments of the films are performed by children, who are all quite adorable.


Friday, February 22, 2013

Oscar Nominated Animation Shorts Breakdown

Over the few years that I have been going to movie festivals, Jonesy and I have sort of carved out our specialized areas of focus. For her, it's the documentaries, and for me it's short films. Some of the most memorable pieces of film that I have gotten to experience have been 15 minutes or less. I'm not sure what it is. Maybe it's working under a time constraint that forces most filmmakers to make the most out of their film. Whatever it is, I know that I always look forward to watching the Oscar nominated shorts, especially the animated ones. I got a chance to see all of them recently. When possible, I posted the films for you to watch and some of my brief thoughts.

The first three entries were not nominated but were still showcased.

 Director: Richard Mans

As a big Japanese robot fan, I think I enjoyed this one the most out of sheer appreciation for the design of the robots. We begin the short with a space pod landing on a desolate planet. From there, four pods emerge and then they transform into dragonfly like vehicles in search of something. Then the vehicles transform into another weird insect-like mode that fills up with green goo. Then in yet another transformation, the four robots go back to the pod, and transform into a four legged vehicle that uses the goo to explode and create a tree bursts with life on this planet. This scene in particular is gorgeous to behold. The short in general was ingenious in its design of the robots, and I hope to see more work from these filmmakers, either in another short or in a feature-length movie.

Directors: Johannes Weiland and Uwe Heidschotter

I believe this was the longest of the shorts but it was one of the best in terms of visuals. It’s based on a book by Julia Donaldson. This short appears to have been CGI, but it had a very Claymation feel and look to the characters. The story revolves around a rabbit telling her kids the story of the Gruffalo’s Child. The Gruffalo’s Child disobeys her dad and goes into the woods. It’s more a child’s story unlike a lot more of the “serious” animation shorts. The voice cast is surprisingly full of famous British actors and actresses like Helena Bonham Carter, Tom Wilkinson, and John Hurt.

Director: Léo Verrier

This was my least favorite of the shorts. It’s supposed to be a tribute to Jackson Pollock, but the way that it goes about is very strange. The set up is that this person can gain powers by eating paintings and being able to replicate their style. When he eats a painting by Picasso, he is able to turn into a weird monster. He obtains most of these paintings by stealing them, so he’s always on the run. Once he runs out of paintings to eat, he tries to make paintings himself and realizes he has no talent. Then he just starts throwing around paint on a canvas and is suddenly able to eat it. To me, it implies that Pollock was a hack artist, which has been a long-running argument, so I’m not sure why the director’s were trying to pay tribute to him this way. Visually, it looked to be CGI or Flash animation, but it looked super rough and low-res. I couldn’t tell if that was the intended effect but it really made a lot of the very creative transformations very blurry to see.

Director: Minkyu Lee

This was a beautifully animated silent short. It traces the "origins" of the wonderful thing that is the relationship between people and dogs. We see a dog going through his day trying to survive until he meets THE Adam in a field, and they strike up a pretty cool friendship. The backgrounds were my favorite part of the short. They were made so well and were full of details. My big problem with the movie is that there's no real plot. Things just happen, and then it ends.

Director: Pes

So damn funny. I was craving guacamole afterwards.

Director: Timothy Reckhart

Having seen AMOUR and having seen this, I think I have had my fill of old people in love. It's just too much to handle. The set up is that this long time couple is living in the same house, but one lives on the roof, and the other lives in the ceiling. The care of the detail that went into designing this house was outstanding. They have two fridges stacked on top of each other that can slide up or down so each person can get their food. And then the husband has pulls and levers attached to his chair in order to let the wife be able to vacuum the ceiling. An obvious metaphor on the way that people in long-term relationships can live together but still be apart, and the effort it takes to make a marriage work, HEAD OVER HEELS was very touching and fun to watch.

Maggie Simpson in THE LONGEST DAYCARE 
Director: David Silverman

I was surprised to see a Simpson short here. But this was s surprisingly smart. I feel that this is a testament to the socially satirical show The Simpsons once was. On the surface, it's a cute 3D story of Maggie having to deal with that weirdo baby with the unibrow. But then you see the way that it comments on the state of the education system coupled with a really cute attempt by Maggie to keep a caterpillar safe as it transforms into a butterfly, and you have a very sweet short.

Director: John Kahrs

My Fantastic Fest review is here, and most of my thoughts are still the same. I actually really think that this is the one short that needs to win. It has a great story and it's pushing technology in a very interesting way with the use of CGI and hand drawn animation.

For anyone else that has seen all of the shorts, I'd love to hear what you think! The Oscars are this weekend so keep an eye for them to see who wins this category.

Netflix Instant: TV & Movie Picks

This week I decided to highlight some notable new releases for Netflix Instant. It'll be a good break from all of the Oscar movies. I was going to write about more Oscar movies on Netflix, until I saw that most of the Oscar winning movies were not that great to begin with. Check out this other list instead after the break!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

AMC's Best Picture Showcase Part 1 Roundup

Every year we make the one trip to an AMC theater and sit down for almost a 24 hour period to watch their Best Picture Showcase. This year since Javi has a half marathon to go to the day after the 24 hour marathon, we decided split it up the event over two weekends. We just saw part one which included AMOUR, LES MISERABLES, ARGO, AND DJANGO UNCHAINED. Below are some of our brief thoughts.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

#Godzillla 2013 Entry #3 - GODZILLA RAIDS AGAIN

Directed by: Motoyoshi Oda
Written by: Shigeaki Hidaka, Takeo Murata and Shigeru Kayama (author of Gojira)
Starring: Hiroshi Koizumi, Setsuko Wakayama, Minoru Chiaki and Takashi Shimura
Synopsis: Godzilla comes back to Japan but this time, he fights another radioactive dinosaur. Hilarity ensues.

Thanks for checking out my thuird #Godzilla2013 entry. Before I begin, I need to give up mad props to one of main Internet homeys, Nik Sardos. Not only is he a dashing i09 featured artist, but he was kind enough to send me the copies of his Godzilla movie collection, so I didn't have to spend time tracking them down, and now I can see the original Japanese versions of the movies. You can follow him over at @t16skyhopp and @niks_animation on the Twittersphere. With thanks out of the way, here's my review of 1955's GODZILLA RAIDS AGAIN (Gojira no gyakushû).

Friday, February 15, 2013

Netflix Instant TV and Movie Picks

How was your V-day everyone? Awesome? Lonely? Well, it's behind us now, so you can stock up on your discounted candy hearts and heart-shaped peanut butter cups. For many people, a long weekend is coming up, and so I have a two small and quiet films, and one series that you can marathon.

I'm going to steal a phrase from my cohort by saying that clearly Jack Black has been trolling all of us with they type of comedy characters he's been playing. I know I use to write him off as a silly comedian, but BERNIE proves he has the restraint and acting chops to play serious. He completely steals this very odd film. 

I walked into this film during The Dallas International Film Festival knowing nothing about it. I was quite surprised how sweet and endearing it was. TEDDY BEAR is a Danish film that follows a hardcore body builder, Dennis, who travels to Thailand to find a wife. The problem with Dennis is even though he's a huge dude, he has the persona of a teddy bear and has trouble standing up for himself. By the end, you just want to give him a huge hug and hope he doesn't squish you.

HOUSE OF CARDS had me when I heard it was a series about politics and scandals, but then add in Kevin Spacey? Oh, I'm in. This is Netflix's first experiment at producing an original series and throwing it all on streaming at once. I've heard great things, and I can't wait to plow through it.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

WARM BODIES Review- Jonesy's Take

Directed by: Jonathan Levine
Written by: Jonathan Levine
Starring: Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer, Rob Corddry, Analeigh Tipton, Dave Franco, and John Malkovich
Synopsis: A zombie falls in love and saves a human girl from an attack, which sparks life in his undead body.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

ZERO DARK THIRTY Review - Javi's Take

Directed by: Kathryn Bigelow
Written by: Mark Boal
Starring: Jessica Chastain, Kyle Chandler, Joel Edgerton, Chris Pratt, Jason Clark and Jennifer Ehle
Synopsis: The story of the hunt of Osama Bin Laden through the eyes of a CIA analyst.


Pixar has been on a bit of a slide as of the last few years. Some would argue that this has happened since TOY STORY 2 remake TOY STORY 3 came out. With CARS 2 and BRAVE, I'm afraid that Pixar is getting too Disney-fied. When I heard that there was a prequel to MONSTERS, INC, I was skeptical, and now that there's a new UK trailer out, I'm still skeptical. Check it out below.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

#Godzilla2013 Entry #2 - Comparing GOJIRA and GODZILLA, KING OF MONSTERS!

This post is once again brought on by the wonderful folks at Criterion, and their awesome special features. You see, my Blu-ray of GOJIRA contains both the Japanese version (GOJIRA) and the American version (GODZILLA, KING OF MONSTERS!) that was re-edited to include American actor Raymond Burr as a new lead, Steve Martin, and giving the movie an overall different feel and tone. Check out the rest of my brief thoughts below.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Netflix Instant: Messed Up Love Movies Edition!

It just so happens that this week I get to write about Netflix and matters of the heart. This isn't some weird deal where that's all I think about, mind you. Anyway, this week's column is the one right before the ol' Valentine's Day so the theme will be "Movies That Have A Messed Up At Love." Check them out below!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

For Funsies: Join the Cobra Special Forces Team!

Guys. In less than two months, the greatest sequel of last year will finally be released... G.I. JOE: RETALIATION. We've seen multiple trailers over the past year and half, and now in the final months leading up to the release, it seems the marketing department has started a viral campaign.

Up first is a recruiting video to join the evil Cobra Special Forces.

So which side will you choose? Are you a Joe? or a Cobra?

G.I. JOE: RETALIATION will be released March 29, 2013, is directed by John Chu, and stars Dwayne Johnson, Bruce Willis, Adrianne Palicki, Byung-hun Lee, and Channing Tatum

THE LORDS OF SALEM Trailer Looks Stylish but Not Much Else

Maybe I'm just a little too negatively biased towards Rob Zombie seeing as I never liked his music, but I always look at his film projects with a lot of scrutiny after seeing how lame of a TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE rip-off HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES was. Him being such a big horror fan, I figured he'd be more a suspense guy. Instead, he has a pretty great visual style but not much else to back it up

With news telling us that he was going to pass up a remake for his own materials, I was a little more curious. Now, thanks to Apple's Trailer page, we have the second trailer of his new film, but it's not doing the movie any favors in my mind. I was floored by how great the teaser was. Then I saw this new one, and it just feels like a conventional Satan/cult/Satan cult story. Check out the teaser and the synopsis, and go to Apple's site here to compare the two trailers and you'll see what I mean.

From the singular mind of horror maestro Rob Zombie comes a chilling plunge into a nightmare world where evil runs in the blood. The Lords of Salem tells the tale of Heidi (Sheri Moon Zombie), a radio station DJ living in Salem, Massachusetts, who receives a strange wooden box containing a record, a “gift from the Lords.” Heidi listens, and the bizarre sounds within the grooves immediately trigger flashbacks of the town’s violent past. Is Heidi going mad, or are the “Lords of Salem” returning for revenge on modern-day Salem?

Now that I assume you've seen both trailers, you might understand what I mean. Visually, the movie looks to be stunning. There's some very cool imagery going on with the George Mellies moon, and that weird red cross, but the story about a Satanic cult just feels lame. I'm curious to hear what you guys think. Let me know in the comments below.

THE LORDS OF SALEM will be released April 19th, 2013, is directed by Rob Zombie, and stars Sherri Moon Zombie, Bruce Davidson, Jeffrey Daniel Phillips, Ken Foree and Patricia Quinn. It comes out April 19th, 2013.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Sportsball Bowl Trailer Watch: FAST SIX has planes and automobiles but is sadly missing trains

I'm not going to lie, I've actually disliked most of the FAST & FURIOUS franchise up until FAST FIVE. But 2011's FAST FIVE was such a cool thematic reboot of the series and it was probably one of my favorite movies of the year. It's no surprise that the Rock was called to GI JOE to revitalize the franchise since he was able to do so for with this franchise. Now, thanks to Hulu, we have the new trailer of director Justin Lin's FAST & FURIOUS SIX or as the COOL kids call it, FAST SIX. Check out the trailer as well as the movie's synopsis below.

Sportsball Bowl Trailer Watch: IRON MAN 3

This Beyonce show has some of the best commercials even if it has some weird sportsball dudes interrupting it. Anyway, the newest IRON MAN 3 trailer has shown up online. This particular trailer has an introduction by Iron Man himself, Robert Downey Jr.  Thanks to the Iron Man 3 Facebook group for posting this trailer online.

I know people are already bitching because the movie looks "dark and gritty" but I really think that writer/director Shane Black knows what's up.

IRON MAN 3 is directed by Shane Black and will be released May 3, 2013 starring Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Guy Pearce, Rebecca Hall, Jon Favreau, and Ben Kingsley.

Sportsball Bowl Trailer Watch: STAR TREK INTO THE DARKNESS

Next trailer for you to enjoy. This film is one of the most anticipated of the summer, and thankfully we are just a few short months away. J.J. Abrams is great about keeping mystery around whatever film he directs, and INTO THE DARKNESS is no different. The mystery surrounds Benedict Cumberbatch's villainous character. This spot doesn't shed much more light on the evil John Harrison, but it has definitely sparked my interest.

Check out the HD of the trailer at Apple here.

STAR TREK INTO THE DARKNESS will be released May 17, 2013 directed by JJ Abrams and stars Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, and Benedict Cumberbatch. 

Sportsball Bowl Trailer Watch: THE LONE RANGER

I hope the beer and buffalo wings are flowing right now for you! If you're not into the actual Super Bowl game, good thing there is always plenty of funny commercials and new movie trailers to keep your interest.  Here's your first trailer drop for today... Johnny Depp in the western version of PIRATES, I mean THE LONE RANGER.

THE LONE RANGER comes out July 3rd, 2013. It is directed by Gore Verbinski. It stars Armie Hammer, Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, and Tom Wilkinson.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Netflix Instant TV and Movie Picks Best Documentary Oscar Edition

Guys! I did it! I'm so proud of myself, and I know my cohort would be proud to. For my column this week, I am highlighting Academy Award nominees for Best Documentary films you can see on Instant. Now, two of these films are nominated this year, and the final one was nominated in 2011. I've already highlighted another documentary nominated for this year's Oscars, and you can see read about that here.

And now, onto the picks for this week!