Saturday, December 29, 2012

Worst Movies of 2012



Well it’s that time of year where everyone starts making their best and worst of the year lists so why should we be any different. 
This week we are going to post our bottom five movies of the year.  Next week we will do our top of the year 


First up is Steve.



First let me say since I did not see a whole lot of movies this year I was a bit picky about the ones I did see.  I have to say I did not see any really awful movies this year, so consider these my biggest disappointments.   They are good but not as great as either I hoped or as others said they were.

5.  The Grey – This was one of the first movies of the year to start getting reviews so I was excited when it became available on Netflix Streaming.  Maybe it was because I was distracted when watching it but I could not get into it.  The premise sounded like it would be cool and Liam Neeson is a great actor but it just didn’t work for me.

4.  Ted – The first time I saw the preview for this movie I laughed my ass off.  I could not wait to see it. But after watching it almost every funny part was in the Red Band trailer.  You pretty much knew what part was coming up next.  The movie was funny and maybe if I watch it again I will laugh more but I felt this was one of those movies were the trailer gave too much away.

3.  Skyfall – The Best Bond Movie of all time?  Not in my opinion.  Again this was a good movie but I had a few issues with it.  First off the movie was too long.  The characters and set up were great, but the action just wasn’t captivating.  Sam Mendes is a great director and this was his first action movie and it showed. 

2.  Beasts of the Southern Wild – This movie got great reviews out of Sundance and is on many top 10 of 2012 but for me it came up short.  The young actress Quvenzhane Wallis is phenomenal in it and deserves all the recognition she is getting. But I never really got the point of the movie or connected with the characters. 

1. Prometheus – My biggest disappointment of 2012.  Ridley Scott heading back into the Alien universe.  Sounded like it was going to be awesome.  But the movie was trying to make a statement about the origin of life and the pursuit of immortality.  It had some really lofty ideas but failed to make any sense.  The one stand out was Michael Fassbender as the android David.  He did an amazing job even though what his character was doing made no sense and his motives were never explained.  I don’t mind being challenged and made to  think by a movie but at least give me the pieces to put it together.  After the movie came out there were all these viral videos released that was supposed to help explain some things.  What help is that? I don’t want to have to watch YouTube videos before or after a movie.  Everything I need to know about a story should be in the movie.  If I need a piece of information to help understand a characters motive stick it in the movie not on the internet.  


Now, it's Chris' turn for his worst of 2012...


5.  Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter - Where do I even begin?  The story is just nonsense from start to finish.  The most painful part was the movie trying to make historical facts blend with the Vampire motif.  With action scenes pulled right out of the Matrix, we are lead to believe that Abe Lincoln is a martial arts expert and ace Vampire slayer.  No thank you.

4. The Watch - With a comedy dream team, this was supposed to be a huge blockbuster summer film. Instead, we got a very boring, plain, predictable action/comedy. The laughs were too far and few in between. Vince Vaughn is the same character he plays in every movie he is in. Same goes for Ben Stiller and Jonah Hill. Should it make a good movie if all 3 of them were together? Apparently not. Skip this bore fest, it's nothing we haven't seen a hundred of times.

3. The Raven - With John Cusack as Edgar Allen Poe, this looked like it would be a great mystery movie. Instead, we got a very dull, boring "what if" movie. Cusack was horrible as Poe with no mystery about him, he plays it too campy. The story and premise was very promising but, a poor script and weak acting brought this to its knees.

2. Wrath Of The Titans - If the was ever a movie that didn't need to be made, this is it. With a forced story and weak script, Wrath is just a shamble of a movie. This one proves that if a film makes a profit, sequels are coming.

1. The Dark Knight Rises - This isn't the WORST movie of 2012 but, it is the most disapointing. I had high hopes for Christopher Nolan's final outing with Batman. I was given a ridiculous story and an even worse ending. If you are a fan of Batman, this should be a slap in the face. Tom Hardy was a fantastic Bane..Until the end (you'll know what i mean.) With stupid plot points, The Dark Knight rose only my blood preassure.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Alternative Christmas Movies on Netflix



Hope everyone is having a Merry Christmas.  With lots of new movies in the multiplex’s you might be tempted to take one in. But if you feel like sitting at home and watching some movies on Netflix there are also lots of choices. 
There are the classics White Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street, The Polar Express, and National Lampoons Christmas Vacation.  Or maybe you are going to watch A Christmas Story marathon on TBS.  But maybe you’re like me and are looking for something a little different.  Well here is my list of Alternative Christmas Movie choices. 

1.  Rare Imports: A Christmas Tale – A Finnish horror movie about a killer Santa Claus.  For those that enjoy a little scare on your Christmas day this is the movie for you.  It is not a gory slasher movie like Silent Night, Deadly Night nor a cheesy movie like Santa’s Slay or Jack Frost.  It is just a well-made thriller.  It is definitely worth checking out if you don’t mind reading subtitles. 

2.  Becoming Santa- A wonderful documentary about a guy’s quest to be a Santa Claus for a season.  It is funny and touching.  The funniest parts take place at a Santa school.  Who knew there was a place where they teach you how to be Santa Claus.  I was glad I was able to catch this at the Milwaukee Film Fest a few years ago. 
.  

3.  Santa Claus Conquers the Martians-  If you like really cheesy old movies this is the one for you.  I have to say I have not seen this whole movie but from what I have seen it is pretty ridiculous.  The premise is that Martians kidnap Santa to bring back to Mars so their kids can have Christmas.  The movie is so bad that it even got its own episode of Mystery Science Theatre 3000.  If you’re in the mood for a double feature you can check out the MST3K episode on you tube.  
  
http://youtu.be/HnEJrwYXXsI
http://youtu.be/kYIl69BHzQM



-->

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Movie Review: The Queen of Versailles








The Queen of Versailles is a documentary that is currently streaming on Netflix.

This movie is a great example of how a documentary can start out being about one thing but due to being in the right place at the right time it can turn into something more extraordinary. The movie starts out as a simple documentary about the building of the largest house in America. David Segal is the founder and owner of Westgate Timeshares that has made him very wealthy. His wife Jackie comes from a working class town in upstate New York. They decide to build a new house in Orlando Florida that resemble the Versailles in France. After they get done adding everything they want to the plans (a health spa, indoor ice skating rink, baseball diamond) they have designed the largest house in America.

Jackie is the focus of the movie. A former model and Miss. Florida she is very outspoken. They have eight kids, a menagerie of pets, and a staff of nannies, housekeepers, and cooks. A lot different then her life back in upstate NY.

The movie takes an unexpected turn when the economic collapse of 2008 hits. While I don't understand all the financial stuff that happened the effects are quite clear. The family is losing money and the banks are not loaning any out. They are forced to make difficult decisions. Like after selling their private jet they are the a forced to fly on a commercial plane for the first time and the kids want to know why other people are on their plane. But the most entertaining is Jackie shopping at Walmart.

What is amazing about this documentary is it make you feel sympathy for the family that you normally wouldn't. They still live in a mansion and have food just no one to clean and cook for them. It is also sad to see how many other lives are affected because of their financial situation. One of the nannies is forced to live in the kids old doll house. As Jackie struggles to keep everything together David sort of becomes a recluse hiding in his office not wanting to eat with the family trying to figure out some way to save his business.

Overall 5/5 Stars. Entertaining and a fascinating look inside a wealthy family. Better then any real housewives episode you will ever see.


Friday, December 21, 2012

Movie Review: Any Day Now



I have to start by thanking Milwaukee Film for bringing another great movie to Milwaukee for its members. And it was the first time that I have been to a movie where tissues were handed out beforehand. While I did not need the tissues it gives you a pretty good idea what kind of movie this is.

Any Day Now is based on a true story of a gay couple who try to adopt a child with down syndrome in the 70’s. Alan Cumming plays Rudy a drag queen who lives in a rundown apartment. His drug addict neighbor has a down syndrome boy Marco that she neglects on a regular basis. Marco is left alone when his mother is arrested for drug possession and he is placed in a foster home. That night Rudy finds Marco wondering the streets as he tries to find his way back the apartment after running away from the foster home. Rudy feels sorry for him and brings him home and lets him spend the night and gives him some food. Rudy recently met Paul a lawyer in the District Attorney’s office who has not come out of the closet yet. Having no one else to help him Rudy turns to Paul for help. As Paul starts to come to grips with his sexuality he needs to make a decision if he should help Rudy and Marco. Every step of the way is difficult and more challenging. As they start to become a family they are forced into a confrontation with a discriminatory legal system.

The movie is both a love story between Rudy and Paul and a courtroom drama as they fight for custody of the abandoned boy. We are not told much about Rudy’s background but he seems to quickly jump into relationships and have everything work out ok. He ends up moving in with Paul after only knowing him for a few days and has Marco move in with them. It all seems a bit fast and odd. It is Alan Cumming’s great performance that saves the movie. While we don’t understand Rudy we really feel his bond with Marco and frustration with Paul for just accepting the discrimination as a fact that cannot be changed. Once the relationship of the three of them is established the movie tackles the hard issue of a gay couple trying to adopt a boy that no one seems to want except them. While the movie takes place in the 70’s you get the feeling that not much has changed and they would face much of the same discrimination today.

Overall 3 out of 5 stars. The relationships in the beginning seems a bit forced only saved by Alan Cumming’s performance. But the courtroom drama in the latter half of the movie is engrossing.


New Home Video Releases 12/21/12


With Christmas being on a Tuesday there are a bunch of DVD's that are being released today instead of the normal Tuesday release dates. Here are some you can get now.

The bicycle delivery movie Premium Rush
   


 The newest Resident Evil Resident Evil: Retribution
 

And if you want all 5 Resident Evil's in one box set here you go
.

 The Unrated Directors Cut of Killer Joe (Check out Chris's review here Killer Joe Quickie Review


Spike Lee's Red Hook Summer which is also available streaming on Netflix
.

 Richard Gere was getting some Oscar talk for his performance in Arbitrage now available.

And this one won't be released till Monday the 24th but figured I would list it here.
 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

New Releases 12/18/2012

Lots of summer movies are getting released today on Blu-Ray

The Total Recall remake got mixed reviews but now you can check it out at home c



The Clint Eastwood baseball drama Trouble with the Curve also arrives on Blu-Ray.


.
Pitch Perfect is a movie that had a limited release but people that saw it seemed to like it.




Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days the third movie in the series also coming out.



Sleepwalk with Me- an independent movie that got lots of great reviews.



Deathship



Fans of How I Met You Mother might want to check out Josh Radnor's new movie Liberal Arts with the youngest Olsen sister Elizabeth Olsen.



10 Years



And a few of my childhood favorites are being released on Blu-Ray and both are getting remade soon. So be sure to relive the classics.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from 1990 parts 1, 2, and 3 -the original heroes in a half shell.



Flight of the Navigator was just announced that Disney is remaking this movie. Watch it for Sarah Jessica Parker's best performance.


Monday, December 17, 2012

Movie review - The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

The Hobbit comes to life from director Peter Jackson in grand form. The story begins with an elder Bilbo Baggins (Ian Holm) writing his memoirs before his birthday party as seen in The Fellowship Of The Ring. Martin Freeman (Sherlock) is the young Bilbo, a very content Hobbit. Not one to cause waves, just living a relaxed life. Until, that is Gandalf (Ian McKellan) enrolls him on a very unexpected journey to save the Dwarve's homeland from a very nasty dragon that has taken up residence. This sets the stage for an adventure the likes never seen. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is the first of a 3 part film trilogy based on the work of J.R.R Tolkien. This is also the first film made using the newest film technology, the EPIC RED camera.


First the film, The Hobbit is nothing short of a great adventure film. Familiar characters return and the new characters are endearing.Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armirage) leads the group of Dwarve's to The Lonely Mountain. Much like the Journey in The Lord Of The Rings. Of course, they encounter trouble along the way. Goblins, Orcs, Trolls and Necromancers abound. Pacing can be a tad slow at times but, an epic action scene pulls you back in soon enough. There isn't much character development with the new group of adventurer's however. This is somewhat disappointing as, you really want to know more about them. Weta Digital, Jackson's special effects studio truly outdid themselves this time. The special effects are truly fantastic. Gollum's scene is an amazing standout. I wish there were more of him but, his scene is pivitol.

The Tech used to film this is the EPIC RED camera system. This films at 48 frames per second versus the standard filming of 24 frames per second. This produces a very sharp, fast moving image on screen. I'm not sure I like it or not yet. The picture is amazingly sharp, like an HD television. At times, the image moved a bit too fast, particularly during big action scenes. Watching Drawves' move so fast was almost like watching a Benny Hill skit. It can be compared to a made for TV movie or a soap opera kind of picture. I'm interested on if this will gain ground in hollywood. It wasn't bad per se, just new. The Hobbit is a great start for the trilogy, I just would have wanted a bit faster pace and more character development.


4 out of 5 stars


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOGsB9dORBg

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Sunday Spotlight: The Movies of Quentin Tarantino



When Reservoir Dogs premiered at Sundance the world was introduced to a new and visionary director.  Quentin Tarantino shocked audiences with violent images, vulgar dialogue, and non-linear storytelling. 

I love the quote from him about making movies.  When asked if he went to film school his reply is no he went to films.  Which is all you need to know about his directing style.  As a video store clerk he had the opportunity to watch lots of movies from lots of genres.  Taking something from each movie he liked he is able to craft something that feels different.  His movies borrow themes from past movies and it is not unusual to see various types of genres in one movie. 

After writing and  directing Reservoir Dogs he wrote screenplays for a couple of movies he did not direct including True Romance and Natural Born Killers  both which contained his violent and vulgar writing style. Although Natural Born Killers was rewritten and Tarantino only got story credit and not screenplay credit.  It wasn’t until Pulp Fiction in 1994 that he really broke out as a director.  Pulp Fiction was unlike any movie that had come before it.  While at its core it has similar elements to Reservoir Dogs it raises it to a whole new bar.  I remember sitting in the theatre watching it and just being blown away.  A lot of people got turned off by the non-linear storytelling and graphic violence but I fell in love with it.  The dialogue was funny and the violence was over the top.  It really led to a new way of storytelling that has influenced directors of today.  Tarantino has a way of casting people that seems to fit perfectly in the world he creates.  Every actor in Pulp Fiction seemed tailored made for the part.  I am sure anyone that saw the movie has a scene that sticks out in their mind which says a lot about how many great scenes are in the movie. 

After the success of Pulp Fiction Tarantino went on to work with fellow director Robert Rodriguez for a couple of movies.  Including Four Rooms where they each wrote and directed a segment and From Dusk till Dawn which Tarantino wrote and starred in and Rodriguez directed.  Tarantino then wrote and directed his next feature film Jackie Brown a homage to the 70’s Blaxploitation films.  Again showcasing his love of movies from the past and bringing them into the present.  While it did not have the critical praise as his previous movies it showed how talented he really was. 

His next project was the ambitious Kill Bill.  A story that he talked about with Uma Thurman while they were making Pulp Fiction.  The movie ended up being a long and violent revenge movie.  The movie ran so long that he decided to release it in two parts  Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Kill Bill Vol. 2.  A gamble even for a veteran director no one was sure how it would be received.  The first one opened to great critical praise.  But by the time the second one opened the praise was not as big.  But the movies have gone on to gain cult status. 

Tarantino then went on to team with Robert Rodriguez again this time to make a grindhouse double feature like the ones they grew up watching in the 70’s.  Each director made one half of the double feature.  Tarantino’s movie was Death Proof about a murderous stunt car driver.  This ambitious venture ultimately flopped in theatres.  I was lucky enough to get to see a sneak preview of the movie and thought it was a lot of fun (although I enjoyed Rodriguez’s Planet Terror a bit more).  The original release featured fake trailers before and between the movies.  These fake trailers were some of the funniest parts and went on to spawn their own movies. 

After the disappointment of Grindhouse Tarantino made a huge splash with his next movie Inglourious Bastards.  A WWII movie about Nazi killers was a more linear storytelling but still had the violence and dialogue that Tarantino is known for.  Released to critical praise it was his first movie to get nominated for an Academy Awards since Pulp Fiction.  The movie got nominated for 8 Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Screenplay and won Best Supporting Actor for Christoph Waltz. 

This brings us to Tarantino’s newest movie.  An homage to Westerns Django Unchained.  With an all-star cast including previous Oscar nominees  Leonardo DiCaprio (What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, The Aviator, Blood Diamond), Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction) and 2 previous winners Jamie Foxx (Ray) and Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Bastards).  The movie is already getting critical praise and looks like it will land Tarantino another Best Picture nomination and right now appears possibly another nomination for DiCaprio.  

For more fun movie stuff come like us on facebook at Milwaukee Movie Talk 






Saturday, December 15, 2012

A Few Thoughts on Skyfall

The latest James Bond movie has been out for over a month and making lots of money.  I finally found the time to go an watch it and wanted to give a few thoughts on it. 

While it is a good movie I am not sure it is as great as everyone else seems to think it is. 
First it is too long for a Bond movie.  I know they were trying to make this more of a grounded realistic Bond movie with a plot but at 2 hours 20 minutes it was a bit long. 
Second they made Javier Bardem’s villain and Judi Dench’s M well rounded characters  but Bond felt kind of flat.  I was never sure who or what he actually cared about. 
Third for trying to make it more realistic Bond seemed a bit too indestructible.    

Guess what I am saying there are certain expectations you have when you see a Bond movie and that is that there will be lots of action and cool gadgets.  The action was ok and there were no cool gadgets.  Maybe I would have liked this movie better if it wasn’t a Bond movie. 

Overall 3 out of 5 stars.  Good but not great. 

If you like to talk about movie come "like" us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Milwaukeemovietalk

Friday, December 14, 2012

Oscar Watch 12/14 Update


Well it has been a big week of announcements.  The LA Film Critic Association announced their awards on Sunday then the Critic Choice Award Nominations were announced on Tuesday, SAG Nominations on Wednesday, and The Golden Globe Nominations on Thursday.  What does this mean?  Well, each one had their little surprises but the list of Best Picture Nominees are starting to look a little clearer. 

The LA Film Critic Association is notorious for trying to be different.  So their pick of Amour as Best Picture is not that much of a surprise.  It gives Amour a slight bump in the Best Picture category but still think it will be nominated and win Best Foreign Film (which the LAFCA gave to Holy Motors).  The movie that has been getting most of the previous awards Zero Dark Thirty did not do very well and only managed to score a Best Editing and runner up for Best Director.  Not sure if this hurts its chances at the Oscars or not.  The biggest bump goes to The Master which scored Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, and Best production Design.  It was also runner up for Best Picture and Best Score.  It was a good thing it got that bump because it was going to get knocked down again later in the week. 

The Critic Choice Awards are nominated by movie critics all across the country.  While it is widely known that the critics usually disagree with the Academy voters this year’s nominees seem fairly predictable.  Lincoln received a record 13 nominations with Silver Linings Playbook and Les Miserables scoring multiple nominations also.  Probably the biggest surprise was the love for Skyfall.  Getting a Best Supporting Actor nomination for Javier Bardem and Best Supporting Actress for Judi Dench.  While I can see Judi Dench sneaking in I don’t think Javier Bardem will get an Oscar nomination.

The SAG Nominations are the most telling and had the most surprises.  Since the actors make up the bulk of the voting population of the Academy their vote can go a long way in getting a movie nominated and a win.  The equivalent to Best Picture at the SAG Awards is the Outstanding Performance by a Cast.  With  Lincoln, Argo, Les Miserables, and Silver Linings Playbook all making the list they have pretty much solidified their status as Best Picture nominees.  The inclusion of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel in that list was a bit of a surprise and while I don’t think it will get a Best Picture Nomination it might create some buzz for Maggie Smith as Best Supporting Actress.  While the movie was well received when it was released it has not had much buzz this award season.  The inclusion of Nicole Kidman as Best Supporting Actress for The Paperboy was a big shock since it was a movie I never even had heard of.  Also another nod to Javier Bardem for Skyfall which took me by surprise.  The biggest blow went to The Master and Django UnchainedThe Master only got one nomination for Phillip Seymour Hoffman as Best Supporting Actor and Django Unchained got zero nominations.  While Jessica Chastain was nominated for Best Actress in Zero Dark Thirty it’s lack of Best Ensemble might hurt its chances to win Best Picture.

Last but not least The Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced the Golden Globe Nominations.  With the categories split between drama and musical/comedy it is sometimes hard to decide who has momentum.  Also the HFPA is known for nominating movies based on star power and not quality (a probably reason for the complete snub of Beasts of the Southern Wild).  The biggest surprise of the nominations was the inclusion of Salmon Fishing in the Yemen which got 3 nominations Best Picture-Comedy of Musical, Best Actress-Comedy of Musical, and Best Actor-Comedy or Musical.  A movie that had zero buzz coming into award season I don’t think these nominations will do anything.  Nicole Kidman was also nominated for Best Supporting Actress in The Paperboy and could help her get a nom but I still consider her chances slim. 


Right now my predictions for Nominations based on Buzz not my opinion of what is best.

Best Picture
Very Likely Nominations
Lincoln
Zero Dark Thirty
Les Miserables
Silver Linings Playbook
Life of Pi
Argo

Probable Nomination
Beasts of the Southern Wild
Django Unchained
The Master
Moonrise Kingdom

Long Shot
Flight
The Sessions
The Hobbit

Best Director
Very Likely Nomination
Steven Spielberg (Lincoln)
Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty)
David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook)
Ben Affleck (Argo)

Possible Nomination
Tom Hooper (Les Miserables)
Ang Lee (Life of Pi)

Long Shots
Paul Thomas Anderson (The Master)
Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained)
Peter Jackson (The Hobbit)

Best Actor
Very Likely Nominations
Daniel Day Lewis (Lincoln)
Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook)
John Hawkes (The Sessions)
Hugh Jackman (Les Miserables)

Possible Nominations
Joaquin Phoenix (The Master)
Denzel Washington (Flight)

Long Shot
Jake Gyllenhaal (End of Watch)
Bill Murray (Hyde Park on Hudson)
Anthony Hopkins (Hitchcock)

Best Actress
Very Likely Nominations
Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)
Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty)
Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild)

Possible Nominations
Emmanuelle Riva (Amour)
Hellen Mirren (Hitchcock)
Marrion Cotillard (Rust and Bone)

Long Shots
Naomi Watts (The Impossible)
Rachel Weisz (Deep Blue Sea)

Best Supporting Actor
Very Likely Nominations
Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln)
Robert DeNiro (Silver Linings Playbook)
Phillip Seymour Hoffman (The Master)

Possible Nominations
Alan Arkin (Argo)
Matthew McConaughey (Magic Mike)
Leonardo DiCaprio (Django Unchained)

Long Shot
Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained)
John Goodman (Argo)

Best Supporting Actress
Very Likely Nominations
Sally Field (Lincoln)
Helen Hunt (The Sessions)
Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables)
Amy Adams (The Master)

Possible Nominations
Maggie Smith (Best Exotic Marigold Hotel)
Ann Dowd (Compliance)
Jacki Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook)

Long Shot
Judi Dench (Skyfall)
Nicole Kidman (The Paperboy)

Best Foreign Film
Amour seems to be the only lock and likely to win

Best Animated Feature
Very Likely Nominations
Wreck-It Ralph
Rise of the Guardians
Brave

Possible Nominations
Frankenweenie
Paranorman

Best Original Screenplay
Very Likely Nomination
Mark Boal (Zero Dark Thirty)
Paul Thomas Anderson (The Master)
Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained)

Possible Nominations
Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola (Moonrise Kingdon)
Rian Johnson (Looper)

Best Adapted Screenplay
Very Likely Nomination
Tony Kushner (Lincoln)
Chris Terrio (Argo)
David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook)
David Magee (Life of Pi)

Possible Nominations
William Nicholson (Les Miserables)
Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower)
Ben Lewin (The Sessions)
Lucy Aibar and Ben Zeitlin (Beasts of the Southern Wild)







-->

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

New Home Movie Releases 12/11/12

Out on Blu-Ray today are a few hits from the summer. Plus a few other interesting movies.But first if your looking for a gift for that movie lover check out our gift guide.




Ted-One of the most hilarious trailers of the year. The movie about a foul mouthed talking teddy bear. If you like family guy you will probably love this movie.



The Bourne Legacy – The fourth installment of the franchise and I have heard doesn’t quite live up to the previous movies.



Ice Age: Continental Drift 3-D – The fourth installment of this franchise also.



Following – With The Dark Knight Trilogy Christopher Nolan proved he has an eye for great spectacle and story. Here is his first movie Following getting a Criterion Release.



Miami Connection – Fan of movies that are so bad they are good this is the movie for you.



Gayby – A movie that played at the Milwaukee Film Festival about a girl who wants a baby so bad she convinces her gay friend to be the father.



Two Documentaries that are available streaming on Netflix are making their way to DVD.

Bill Cunningham New York – One of the most buzzed about docs from last year.



Mansome – One of my favorite documentarians Morgan Spurlock delves into the culture of men who like to look good.




Friday, December 7, 2012

Oscar Watch


So award season is in full swing now.  Two big awards were announced this week and the major players of the Oscars are really starting to come in focus.

First on Monday the New York Film Critics announced their awards.
The big winner was Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty.  It won Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Cinematographer. For a movie that not many people have seen it is a good start.
The other big winner was Lincoln which one Best Actor (Danial Day Lewis), Best Supporting Actress (Sally Field), and Best Screenplay. Rachel Weisz Best Actress  movie that has not been getting a lot of buzz Deep Blue Sea.  And adding to his buzz Matthew McConaughey won best supporting actor for two movies Bernie and Magic Mike.  Amour continues to be the go to movie for best foreign film.  The category that surprised me the was Frankenweenie winning Best Animated Feature over more critically acclaimed movies like Wreck-It Ralph and Brave.   The New York based documentary The Central Park Five won Best Documentary increasing it's profile but being of interest to New Yorkers not sure how it will play in the rest of the country.

Then on Wednesday the National Board of Review of Motion Pictures also named Zero Dark Thirty  Best Picture and Bigelow Best Director.  The NBR also named Jessica Chastain best actress.  Pushing Zero Dark Thirty to the top of the list for winning Best Picture.  What I like about NBR is that they name the Top 10 movies of the year.  So while their pick of winner doesn't usually match up with the Oscar winner but you can count on most of their top 10 being nominated.  A few of the surprising among the list are The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Looper, and Promised Land.  Probably the biggest shocker of the awards was the selection of Bradley Cooper for Best Actor over Daniel Day Lewis.  While I think Cooper will get nominated I still see DDL as the front runner for winning.  Leonardo DiCaprio won Best Supporting Actor for Django Unchained a performance I have heard little buzz about but that might increase as more people see the movie. 

Right now my predictions for Nominations based on Buzz not my opinion of what is best.

Best Picture
Very Likely Nominations
Zero Dark Thirty
Lincoln
Les Miserables
Silver Linings Playbook
Life of Pi
Argo

Probable Nomination
Beasts of the Southern Wild
The Hobbit
Django Unchained
The Master

Long Shot
The Sessions
Moonrise Kingdom

Best Director
Very Likely Nomination
Steven Spielberg (Lincoln)
Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty)
David O. Russell (Silver Linings Playbook)
Ben Affleck (Argo)

Possible Nomination
Tom Hooper (Les Miserables)
Ang Lee (Life of Pi)
Peter Jackson (The Hobbit)

Long Shots
Paul Thomas Anderson (The Master)
Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained)

Best Actor
Likely Nominations
Daniel Day Lewis (Lincoln) Still the favorite to win
Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook)
John Hawkes (The Sessions)
Joaquin Phoenix (The Master)

Possible Nominations
Denzel Washington (Flight)
Hugh Jackman (Les Miserables)

Long Shot
Jake Gyllenhaal (End of Watch)
Bill Murray (Hyde Park on Hudson)
Anthony Hopkins (Hitchcock)

Best Actress
Likely Nominations
Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)
Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty)
Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild)

Possible Nominations
Emmanuelle Riva (Amour)
Hellen Mirren (Hitchcock)
Marrion Cotillard (Rust and Bone)

Long Shots
Mary Elizabeth WInstead (Smashed)
Rachel Weisz (Deep Blue Sea)

Best Supporting Actor
Likely Nominations
Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln)
Robert DeNiro (Silver Linings Playbook)
Phillip Seymour Hoffman (The Master)

Possible Nominations
Matthew McConaughey (Magic Mike)
Leonardo DiCaprio (Django Unchained)
John Goodman (Argo)
Alan Arkin (Argo)

Long Shot
William H. Macy (The Sessions)

Best Supporting Actress- Unlike best lead actress this one is a crowded field
Likely Nominations
Sally Field (Lincoln)
Helen Hunt (The Sessions)
Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables)
Amy Adams (The Master)

Possible Nominations
Ann Dowd (Compliance)
Jacki Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook)

Long Shot
Judi Dench (Skyfall)

Best Foreign Film
Amour seems to be the only lock and likely to win

Best Animated Feature
Likely Nominations
Wreck-It Ralph
Rise of the Guardians
Brave

Probable Nominations
Frankenweenie
Paranorman


Movie Review: Lincoln (a second opinion)



So I finally saw Lincoln and it was worth the wait. It was a great movie.  Not sure what else I can add to what has already been said. Check out Chris's Lincoln Movie Review

I pretty much agree with him. Daniel Day Lewis gives a great performance along with Tommy Lee Jones. The only other performance I would highlight is Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln. You feel her heartbreak and her attempt to put on a brave face for the sake of her husband and country.

I guess what was surprising to me was how well rounded the movie was. It has it's dramatic sequences but also has it's funny moments. One specifically features excellent banter between Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones. The same can be said about the portrayal of  Lincoln himself. Someone asked me if the movie portrays Lincoln in a bad light.  The answer is no, it portrays him as a complicated person who can connect and motivate people, has a sense of humor, and knows how to play the political game. So, if you like to see Lincoln as infallible maybe this isn't the movie for you.

I have heard some find the movie slow and boring. I guess that can happen if you expect a Civil War action movie. But this is a movie about politics. So expect big fancy speeches not lots of shooting.

My take home message from this movie is that politics is ugly even for someone that is considered one of the greatest presidents. The division that we see today in politics is nothing new we just have to hope that history will look back and say we did the right thing.

Overall 4.5/5 some of the speeches might have been a little too fancy but the story always keeps moving.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Movie Review: Life of Pi


Life of Pi is a facinating movie that asks questions about faith and is beautifully filmed. 

Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) brings us the journey of Pi and Indian boy who ends up on an incredible adventure.  Pi grows up in India on a zoo. He is a curious boy and always wanting to learn about religion and at one point practices Hinduism, Christianinity, and Islam.  When his father decides to move the family to Canada they pack the zoo up and leave on a Japanese ship.  During the voyage the ship encounters a strom and sinks.   Pi manages to get in a life raft but is joing by some of his zoo animals including a zebra, an orangutan, a hyena, and a bengal tiger named Richard Parker. 

I saw the movie in 3-D and it was wonderfully done.  Ang Lee directed a beautiful movie.  It looks amazing and really enhances the spritual journey of Pi. The effects that made Richard Parker are amazing.  You can not tell the difference between the real tiger and the CG tiger.  I read somewhere that Richard Parker should get a best supporting actor nomination and I see why.  He really is the emotional tie of the movie.  Maybe it is because we know Pi lives since the older Pi is telling the story but we don't know what is going to happen to the tiger. 

At the begining of the movie he says that he has a stroy that will make you believe in god.  While I am not sure it does but it is a very spiritual journey and gives the view somethign to think about. 

Overall 4 out of 5 stars.  Beautifully filmed and great spirituals story. Some might not like the ending and I am not sure if Lee wanted us to feel more for the tiger then the humans or that is the nature of the story. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Movie Review: Holy Motors



Being a member of Milwaukee Film has its perks.  Every month they have a special screening for members.  This month that movie was Holy Motors and it is one bizarre head trip.

Lets start by saying this movie is not for everyone.  This is a movie not made for the casual film goer. It is made for extreme cinephiles and movie critics.  It is the definition of an art house movie.  That being said if you can just go with it and try not to over analyze it you can find some fun in this movie.  Since I spent the entire time trying to figure it out it took me a few days to really see the fun in it.

The movie follows Monsieur Oscar (Denis Lavant) as he makes various appointments.  He is driven to each appointment in a white limo.  Before each appointment he uses the limo as a changing room getting into different characters.  An elderly homeless women, an impish monster, and a dying man to name a few.  Each vignette tells a completely different story in a different genre.

At the end you are left guessing what was going on.  They never answer who sets up the appointments or if the movie is just a dream.  But like I said you just have to accept it for what it is.  There are lots of ways to interpret the movie and the most common way is that is is a movie about the modern movies.  The movie has been called David Lynchian and I guess there is some elements that feel Lynchian but it also feels like something different.

The best part of the movie is the acting of Denis Lavant.  He inhabits each role with conviction.  We get to see him get into the part and own it.  Why there has not been more Oscar buzz for him is beyond me.  I am also hoping that the Academy recognizes the make up artist.  Each role calls for a complete transformation and the make up makes Lavant unrecognizable from appointment to appointment.   The movie also has good performances by Eva Mendes and Kylie Minogue.

Overall:
3 out of 5 stars... Not for everyone but it has some great acting and worth checking out if you don't mind a movie that doesn't make sense.


for more great movie info come like us on facebook Milwaukee Movie Talk



Wednesday, November 28, 2012

2012 Award Season: Independant Spirit Awards

The Independent Spirit Award nominations were released today marking the start of the 2012 Award season that will not end till February 24th when the Oscars are announced. 
What do the nominations tell us about what could be nominated for Oscars? Not much.  Obviously being independent most of these movies are smaller budget and played in very few theaters. 
A lot of them are mostly festival favorites.  But let’s take a look at some of the highlights. 

The two movies that got the most nominations are Moonrise Kingdom and Silver Linings Playbook with 5 each. Pretty much securing them an Oscar spot. 

Moonrise Kingdom was nominated for Best Feature, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (Bruce Willis), Best Cinematography, and Best Screenplay. 
While the buzz on Moonrise Kingdom has been waning these nominations can give it a boost and it might get a Best Picture nom.  The biggest surprise here is the nomination of Bruce Willis.  He has not been getting much buzz for the role but I don’t think this nomination will increase his chances at the Oscars.


Silver Linings Playbook was nominated for Best Feature, Best Director, Best Male Lead (Bradley Cooper), Best Female Lead (Jennifer Lawrence), and Best Screenplay.
No big surprises here.  All these nominations are also front runners for Oscars and just reinforces them as the top contenders.  Maybe the biggest surprise is the lack of nomination of Robert De Niro for Best Supporting Actor which might hurt his Oscar chances.


The other movie that continues to get lots of buzz and will likely get an Oscar Best Picture nom is Beasts of the Southern Wild which had 4 nominations. Best Feature, Best Director, Best Female Lead (Quvenzhane Wallis), and Best Cinematography.


The biggest surprise of the nominations is the love for Matthew McConaughey who earned not 1 but 2 nominations.  First for Best Male Lead for the Killer Joe and Best Supporting Male for Magic Mike.  While there has been some buzz surrounding his performance in Magic Mike I am not sure anyone expected him to get nominated for Killer Joe.  The big question is will this increase his chances for a Best Supporting Oscar for Magic Mike


Another movie that has been getting lots of buzz (and one of my favorites of the year) The Sessions scored only 2 nominations for Best Lead Actor (John Hawkes) and Best Supporting Female (Helen Hunt) but failed to score Best Feature, Director, or Screenplay.  While I think the acting nominations are a lock for the Oscars the failure to get a Best Feature nomination could hurt its chances for a Best Picture nom Oscar. 















Other noteworthy nominations:
End of Watch which got very little buzz when released scored 2 nominations Best Supporting Male (Michael Pena) and Best Cinematography.  It could help give Michael Pena a little more buzz and he could get an Oscar nomination.


Jack Black increases his buzz for the little seen movie Bernie (another Matthew MConaughey movie) with a Best Male Lead nomination.  The movie is now streaming on Netflix and as more people see it he could get an Oscar nomination.


Amour seems like a lock for Best Foreign Film after it’s nomination. 












A few of my favorite movies that got some love were Safety Not Guaranteed, Sound of My Voice, and Compliance.  Although I think Compliance should have got more than just a Best Supporting Female (Ann Dowd) nomination as it is one of my favorite movies of the year.  I would love it if Dowd could get an Oscar nomination for the role but I doubt that will happen. 


Here is a list of the nominees.  Let me know your thoughts. 

Best Feature
“Moonrise Kingdom”
“Silver Linings Playbook”
“Beasts of the Southern Wild”
“Keep the Lights On”
“Bernie”

Best Director
Wes Anderson – “Moonrise Kingdom”
Julia Loktev – “The Loneliest Planet”
David O. Russell – “Silver Linings Playbook”
Ira Sachs – “Keep the Lights On”
Benh Zeitlin – “Beasts of the Southern Wild”

Best Female Lead
Linda Cardellini – “Return”
Emayatzy Corinealdi – “Middle of Nowhere”
Jennifer Lawrence – “Silver Linings Playbook”
Quvenzhan√© Wallis – “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
Mary Elizabeth Winstead – “Smashed”

Best Male Lead
Jack Black – “Bernie
Bradley Cooper – “Silver Linings Playbook”
John Hawkes – “The Sessions”
Thure Lindhardt – “Keep the Lights On”
Matthew McConaughey – “Killer Joe”
Wendell Pierce – “Four”

Best Supporting Male
Matthew McConaughey – “Magic Mike”
David Oyelowo – “Middle of Nowhere”
Michael Pena – “End of Watch”
Sam Rockwell – “Seven Psychopaths”
Bruce Willis – “Moonrise Kingdom”

Best Supporting Female
Rosemarie DeWitt – “Your Sister’s Sister”
Ann Dowd – “Compliance”
Helen Hunt – “The Sessions”
Brit Marling – “Sound of My Voice”
Lorraine Toussaint – “Middle of Nowhere”

Best First Feature
“Fill the Void” – Rama Burshtein
“Gimme the Loot” – Adam Leon
“Safety Not Guaranteed” – Colin Trevorrow
“Sound of My Voice” – Zal Batmanglij
“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” – Stephen Chbosky

Best International Film
“Amour” (France)
“Once Upon a Time in Anatolia” (Turkey)
“Rust and Bone” (France/Belgium)
“Sister” (Switzerland)
“War Witch” (Democratic Republic of Congo)

Best Documentary
“How to Survive a Plague”
“Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present”
“The Central park Five”
“The Invisible War”
“The Waiting Room”

Best Cinematography
Yoni Brook – “Valley of Saints”
Lol Crawley – “Here”
Ben Richardson – “Beasts of the Southern Wild”
Roman Vasyanov – “End of Watch”
Robert Yeoman – “Moonrise Kingdom”

Best Screenplay
Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola – “Moonrise Kingdom”
Zoe Kazan – “Ruby Sparks”
Martin McDonagh – “Seven Psychopaths”
David O. Russell – “Silver Linings Playbook”
Ira Sachs and Mauricio Zacharias – “Keep the Lights On”

Best First Screenplay
Rama Burshtein – “Fill the Void”
Derek Connolly – “Safety Not Guaranteed”
Nicholas Jarecki – “Arbitrage”
Rashida Jones and Will McCormack – “Celeste and Jesse Forever”
Jonathan Lisecki – “Gayby”

Someone to Watch Award
David Fenster – “Pincus”
Adam Leon – “Gimme the Loot”
Rebecca Thomas – “Electrick Children”

John Cassavetes Award
“Breakfast with Curtis”
“Middle of Nowhere”
“Mosquita y Mari”
“Starlet”
“The Color Wheel”

Robert Altman Award
“Starlet”

-->