Monday, July 29, 2013

Only God Forgive - The 5 Obstruction Blogathon Obstruction 2

Every time my mom comes and visits we usually try to see a movie.  The past few years we have seen movie that would go on to be nominated for Oscars like Life of Pi, The Help, and Inglourious Basterds.  This visit I decided we will do something different and rent Only God Forgives on VOD a movie that will not likely get any nominations come Oscar time.  And since this is the second month of the 5 Obstruction Blogathon I decided to interview my mom on her thoughts.

Only God Forgives is the latest movie from Nicolas Winding Refn the director of Drive and Bronson. He re-teams with Ryan Gosling who also starred in Drive.  In this movie Gosling plays Julian an American living in Bangkok's underworld.  Julian and his brother Billy run a boxing club that covers for a drug smuggling ring.  When Billy rapes and murders a young girl the cop on the case Chang (Vithaya Pansringarm) lets the victims dad kill Billy in return.  When Julian doesn't exact revenge on the dad because he decides that Billy got what he deserved his domineering mother Crystal (Kristin Scott Thomas) flies to Bangkok to take care of it.

I have to admit I have only seen two or Refn's work Drive and Bronson and have heard that this movie more closely resembles Valhalla Rising as far as tone and pacing. This is a slow and I mean very slow moving movie.  There is hardly any dialog and if you thought Gosling was quiet in Drive he pretty much mute in this movie, but nobody does silent brooding like Gosling.  Kristin Scott Thomas isn't in the movie for many scenes but she has the most dialog and she delivers a monster of a performance.  She is one of the best villains in a recent memory.  She controls her sons using any means necessary.  There are lots of hints that she had an incestuous relationship with both her sons, and she constantly puts them and everyone else down.

Besides the great acting there are a few things this movie has going for it.  Refn knows how to shoot beautiful scenes.  You get the feeling that every scene is very thought out and the lighting and shadows are all there on purpose.  It all looks amazing.  The other thing that Refn is known for is extreme violence and this movie has that.  There are several scenes that are very graphic.  Refn re-teamed with Cliff Martinez who scored Drive and the score in this movie might not be as good but is memorable.  

The big problem with this movie is that it makes no sense, and that is a very big problem.  You get the feeling Refn has something he wants to say but it never really comes across.  This is one of those movies that leaves you scratching your head and frustrated.  It leaves a lot to interpretation if you are willing to spend the time thinking about it.   I still haven't figured it all out.  Refn has said that the movie is about a man who wants to fight God and a man who thinks he is God.  The movie appears to take place in a mythical version of Bangkok.  Chang dishes his own brand of justice with a sword that he seems to pull from thin air.  An example is after letting the father kill Billy Chang cuts off the guys arm for letting his daughter become a prostitute.  Meanwhile Julian internalizes everything.  He appears to be a masochist.  He watches a stripper while his hands are tied down and constantly clenches his fists.  But he also has visions of Chang leading me to believe he knows his future.  In discussing the movie with others one theory is that the movie is about being a man and getting your hands cut off is symbolism for castration.  I think it is a story of atonement and Julian realized that his family must pay for their sins and even though he does try to save himself and his mom the final outcome can not be changed. But like the title says Only God Forgives and no one in this movie is God or forgiving.  There are no good guys in this movie only people that think they are doing what is right.

So watching a movie with graphic violence and incestuous relationships is odd with your mom.  But I was glad there were no graphic sex of nudity.  But since this movie was such an odd movie I wanted to get her thoughts on the movie.  So here are 10 Question with my mom about Only God Forgives.

First I wanted everyone to get an idea of what kind of movies she likes so I started off with a few easy questions.

What are some of your favorite movies?

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Life of Pi, Fiddler on the Roof, Dogma, Princess Bride, Young Frankenstein  and any movie that has Fred Astaire in it.  There aren't any movie I don't like. 

What do you in movies?

Action, music, good lines and happy endings.   

What did you think of Only God Forgives? and Why?

It sucked.  It was not entertaining at all and very confusing.  

How does it compare to other movies I have made you watch like Memento and Requiem for a Dream?

Even Memento had a better story line, and they weren't as graphic.  And neither one gave me nightmare.  

What did you think of the violence?

I didn't think the violence fit the crimes.  It was too over the edge.  Too graphic it gave me nightmares.  

The title is Only God Forgives. Some say the movie is a religious metaphor. What do you think?

Strange way to see God.  If that is what God is then I might need to become an Atheist.  

You said you liked Life of Pi which also had religious metaphors how do you think they compare?

Life of Pi didn't portray an angry or vengeful God.  Also, it told Pi's spiritual journey.  

The director Nicholas Winding Refn said this movie is about a man who wants to fight God and a man who thinks he is God What do you think about that?

Chang thinks he is God and doles out punishment.  Julian tried to avoid any confrontation and didn't want to be bothered.  He was no match for Chang and I don't even know why he asked for the fight.  

A lot has been said about the score and look of the movie. What did you think?

Music wasn't bad but not that memorable. Everything moved so slowly that I lost interest and didn't care. 

Would you recommend this movie to your friends?

No, I would recommend they don't waste their time.  

Overall: I would give it a 3 out of 5 but only for people wanting to put the time in to dissect the movie.
My mom would give it 0 out of 5 it is too slow and made no sense.

Monday, July 22, 2013

New on Home Video 7/23/13



 Welcome to the Punch


 The Ice Storm (Criterion Collection)


 Feast (Criterion Collection)


 New World


 Vehicle 19


 Kiss of the Damned




 Ginger and Rosa




Friday, July 19, 2013

Saturday Trailer Blitz

We got a packed blitz for you today so lets get started.

12 Years a Slave - the new Steve McQueen movie that tells the true story of Solomon Northrop a freeman who was sold into slavery.

The Fifth Estate -the new movies based on wiki leaks.

Rush - The latest trailer for Ron Howard's Formula 1 racing movie

Mandela: Long  Walk to Freedom - the new Mandela bio film starting Idis Elba

Nothing Left to Fear - The new horror movie that was produced by Slash

Last Vegas - Looks like The Hangover for old men.  But with a cast that includes Michael Douglas, Robert DeNiro, Morgan Freeman, and Kevin Kline it has the potential to be funny.

The Family - The international trailer for the new Luc Besson action comedy staring Robert DeNiro and Tommy Lee Jones.

The Wind Rises - The new animated movie from Hayao Miyazaki

Riddick the new red band trailer premiered at Comic Con this week.

Yurusarezaru mono - The Japanese remake of Unforgiven has its first trailer.  

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Favorite Sci Fi Movies of the past 10 years

What makes a good sci-fi movie? That is a question I have been asking myself since a coworker of mine said that Star Trek Into Darkness was everything he wanted in a sci-fi movie.  Since I did not like the movie as much as he did it got me thinking what do I like in a sci-fi movie.  As I was thinking of some of my favorite sci-fi movies of recent years I realized that two movies coming out this year are from directors whose previous movies are some of my recent favorites.  Gravity is directed by Alfonso Cuaron who also directed Children of Men and Elysium is directed by Neill Blomkamp  who also directed District 9Children of Men and District 9 are easily my two favorite movies of the past 10 years. So I decided to make a list of my 5 favorite sci-fi movies of the past 10 years and see what they have in common.  In making this list I did not include any comic book movies like Iron Man or The Avengers even though they are technically sci-fi in my mind a comic book movie is something completely different.  Here is the list.

1.      Children of Men (2006)- A post-apocalyptic movie that never really explains what happens but thrusts you into the dark world.  While some movies unanswered questions are frustrating this one does it in a way that works.  After I saw it in the theaters I didn’t know what to think, but the more I thought about it the more I liked it.  Why did humans stop having babies? What will happened now that a baby has been born? Who knows.  But the movie is brilliantly written and it got a well deserve Oscar nomination. 

2.     District 9 (2009)- This movie came out of nowhere and blew me away.  The movie felt new and original and at the same time had everything you would expect in an alien invasion movie.  It is a throwback to when sci-fi movies where metaphors for societal issues but updated with some amazing action.   

3.     Inception (2010)- One of the most original stories in a long time.  Love him or hate him but Christopher Nolan knows how to craft a fun movie with twists and turns that under further scrutiny maybe doesn’t make a lot of sense but it is fun to go on the ride.  Here he gets some incredible acting from Leonardo DiCaprio and Joseph Gordon Levitt and it just keeps you on the edge of your seat once it gets going.  Of course the ending is frustrating but I like that it leaves the viewer to come up with their own theories. 

4.     Attack the Block (2011)- Ever wonder what would happen if an alien invaded the hood?  Well this movie hilariously explores that idea.  It is one of the few sci-fi movies to combine humor with great action.  The movie feels really low budget but the aliens look awesome and scary. 

5.     Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)-Wasn’t sure what to expect from this prequel but it captured everything that was great about the first and still felt fresh. 

Honorable Mentions go to -Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), Moon (2009), Primer (2004)

Based on that list what does that tell me.  Well first off besides Rise of the Planet of the Apes none of them are sequels or prequels and  Children of Men is based on a book but the rest are purely original works.  Also, they all have action and a adventure mixed with a little humor.  But, I think what I like most about these movies and sci-fi in general is that they take an out of the world idea to expose truths of our society.  District 9 is probably the best example of this.  It takes place in South Africa and is about having aliens quarantined in a specific area.  It doesn't take much to realize that this movie is exploring  themes of apartheid and racism while having giant spaceships and crazy gadgets.  Afterward it leaves you thinking.  Not only can they be great fun but they can make you think.  Don’t get me wrong I like movies like Transformers because it is a lot of fun to watch giant robots fight each other but it doesn't compare to a movie that can explore complex situations at the same time.  I look at classic sci-fi from the 50’s like The Day the Earth Stood Still that was clearly about the dangers of nuclear war but at the same time it was just a fun movie.  Now just because you have a message in your movie doesn't mean it works for me either.  Avatar felt like the message was too in your face and the characters we too clich├ęd. 

So what do I think was lacking in  Star Trek Into Darkness?  It had the action and comedy but it didn't make me think.  It was mindless fun but not enough to get on my list.

What are your thoughts?  What movies do you think belongs on the list? I know I left off some pretty popular ones like Avatar, Looper, Wall-E, and Prometheus.

New Home Movie Releases 7/16/13


Evil Dead

Bullet to the Head


Black Sabbath (with Boris Karloff)

Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure

Monday, July 15, 2013

Box Office Wrap Up 7/12-7/14

Box Office Wrap Up- A lot to talk about this morning so a bit of a long post.

Well this weekend was a strange one for box office watchers.  Going into it no one knew what was going to happen.  Pretty much the only thing people could agree on was that Despicable Me 2 would come out in front making it the 4th weekend in a row that a toon held the top spot.  The two new releases had two different target audiences and no one was really sure which would draw the bigger crowd.  Could the big budget action flick Pacific Rim take second or would Adam Sandler’s first sequel get the silver.  It was a tough call. 

The Questions?

Big action movies are usually bigger in the summer and this summer has seen it fair share so the question was were people fatigued with action.  Last weekend proved that not even Jonny Depp could open an action movie and the weekend before Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx failed to ignite box office fire.  So how as a movie like Pacific Rim with no Hollywood stars going to do?  The stars of the movie were the special effects and that was how it was advertised.  Reviews were mostly good but would the fanboy turnout be enough? 

I have to admit I never saw Grown Ups and didn’t see anything appealing about Grown Ups 2 so I had very little expectations for the movie.  Live action Adam Sandler movies have been pretty bad lately and none of his movies have made very much money.  So I guess he decided to do a sequel to the last movie that was a hit for him.  With Grown Ups 2 most of the cast of the first one is reunited and ready for more antics.  Could Adam Sandler reverse the trend and prove he is still loved by millions? 

The Answers.

The answer surprised me. It turns out that people still love Adam Sandler and Grown Ups 2 finished right behind Despicable Me 2 with and incredible $42 million.  Pacific Rim had to settle for the bronze with an impressive but not stellar $38.3 million.  A $38 million opening is not bad by any means but when you have a $200 million budget you hope to do better.  But they sold people on the graphics and 3D screens made up 50% of the ticket purchases which is better than any other 3D movie this summer.  

The Consequences?

So what does it mean when two sequels are one and two and an original movie comes in third?  First results is expect more sequels.  Every summer people complain about the number of sequel, prequels, remakes and reboots that come out. But those are the movies that make money.  This summer only one original movie opened at number 1 and that was The Purge.  Every other movie has some kind of built in audience.  Not to say a movie with no built in audience can’t do well.  Now You See Me has been the sleeper hit of the summer and The Heat has done very well but the biggest difference is the budget.  I think the lesson learned is don’t spend large amounts of money on an original movie.  But I think the success of sequels this summer will only prove to Hollywood that is the way to go.  The big question now is will Adam Sandler decide to do more sequels? 

The Top 10 for the Weekend

1.  Despicable Me 2    $44.7 million
2.  Grown Ups 2    $42.5 million
3.  Pacific Rim   $38.3 million
4.  The Heat   $14 million
5. The Lone Ranger   $11.1 million
6. Monsters University  $10.6 million
7.  World War Z   $9.4 million
8.  White House Down  $6.15 million
9. Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain  $5 million
10. Man of Steel  $4.8 million

Just for the record here are the movies that topped the charts so far this summer.
5/3-5/5         Iron Man 3
5/10-5/12    Iron Man 3
5/17-5/19   Star Trek Into Darkness
5/24-5/27   Fast and Furious 6
5/31-6/2     Fast and Furious 6
6/7-6/9       The Purge
6/14-6/16  Man of Steel
6/21-6/23  Monsters University
6/28-6/30  Monsters University
7/5-7/7       Despicable Me 2
7/12-7/14  Despicable Me 2

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Saturday Trailer Blitz

Its that day of the week again where we give you the trailers you may have missed.  This week we got a little of everything. Movies with potential Oscar nominees and movies with just a lot of Oscar nominees in it. A movie about a porn star and a movie about a girl obsessed with Jane Austen books.  

Austenland- First up is what looks to me like a silly romantic comedy about a girl played by Keri Russell who is obsessed with Jane Austen and goes on some Jane Austen full immersion vacation.  

Oldboy - Next up is Spike Lee remake of the beloved Korean film Oldboy.  Looks like they keep a lot of what is loved about the original.  It is strange and creepy. 

Seventh Son - A high octane adventure movie that is based on a book.  I honestly don't know much about the book or the movie. 

Curse of Chucky- the new Child's Play movie is getting a direct to DVD release but check out the trailer here. 

Out of the Furnace - Any movie that stars Christian Bale gets my attention but unfortunately this movie looks boring.  

Saving Mr. Banks- An almost guaranteed Oscar nomination.  What looks like a funny movie about how Walt Disney got the rights to Mary Poppins. With Tom Hanks in full charm mode as Walt Disney. It is directed by John Lee Hancock whose last movie The Blind Side ended up getting a Best Picture nomination.  Interesting fact the writer Kelly Marcel's next project is writing 50 Shades of Grey

How to Train Your dragon 2 - The First teaser for the sequel that will be coming in 2014

The Grandmaster - What looks to be a really cool martial arts movie about the man who trained Bruce Lee.  

Lovelace- I am making an early prediction that Amanda Seyfried will get an Oscar nominee for her portrayal of Linda Lovelace the star of Deep Throat.  It looks like it will be a good movie.  

Monday, July 8, 2013

Home Video Releases 7/9/13

The Host


 Spring Breakers


 Dead Man Down


 Tyler Perry's Temptation




 Would You Rather

 The Jerk


Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Future of Film

Last month Steven Spielberg and George Lucas gave a talk at the University of Southern California talking about the future of cinema. The Hollywood Reporter had the story here. The two of them have created some of the most iconic movies of all time and are responsible for changing cinema. So, when they speak about the future of cinema and how it will implode people should listen.

What will this implosion look like? Well the first thing we will see is giant flops of big budget movies. We have already seen this a few times. Last year Disney lost a lot of money with John Carter and this year Warner Brothers lost a lot of money on Jack the Giant Slayer. Both studios were saved by comic book movies. Last year with the release of The Avengers Disney made back almost all the money they lost on John Carter in the opening weekend and this year with the success of Man of Steel Warner Brothers offset their losses with Jack the Giant Slayer. But neither The Avengers nor Man of Steel were slam dunks. Both could have been huge flops then what? If a studio gambles and loses with more then one big budget movie it will quickly get in trouble and that is what Spielberg and Lucas are talking about.

Their prediction is that after multiple flops studios will do a couple of things. First thing they will do is create a tiered ticket system. The highly anticipated big blockbuster movies like Man of Steel and Iron Man 3 will have higher prices then smaller movies like Spielberg's Lincoln. There has already been some evidence that this is happening. Just days after they gave this talk Paramount announced a World War Z Mega Ticket. The Mega Ticket cost $50 and would get you to see the movie a day earlier and include a digital copy of the movie when it is released on video. They only offered it in 5 markets and I haven't heard how successful it was but I think this is something we will see more of.

We are also starting to see a change in the way smaller movies are seen. Instead of getting released in theaters they are getting released on VOD and HBO. What does it say about the movie industry that a movie like Behind the Candelabra has to be shown on HBO because no one would distribute it. It has an Oscar winning director, an Oscar winning actor and an Oscar nominated actor. It is also one of the best reviewed movies of the year but it wont be seen on the big screen. Spielberg says that Lincoln was almost released on HBO which isn't too surprising since he has a history with HBO with shows like Band of Brothers and The Pacific. But how sad is it that the man who invented the modern day blockbuster can barely get his movies released in theaters.

As VOD becomes more and more profitable studios are starting to release more of their smaller movies there. They are even trying to come up with ways to increase profitability For example the Sundance movie Two Mothers had its name changed to Adore because in theory titles that start with A are more visible on VOD. Studios are also trying to see if they can charge more for bigger movies while they are still in theaters. Universal tried it with Tower Heist in 2011. They were going to offer it for $60 just 3 weeks after it was released in theaters. Theater owners complained that it would hurt their profits and Universal changed its mind. But Disney and Sony recently had a trial run in Korea showing Django Unchained and Brave 5 weeks after it was released there. No idea if it worked yet or if they have plans to start doing it in the U.S. but if it turns out to be profitable you know it will show up here sooner rather then later.

George Lucas also mentioned that movies will follow the Broadway model of releasing movies.  Meaning that fewer movies will be released and they would stay in theaters longer.  Which means movies like Iron Man 3 and Man of Steel would hang out in theaters for over a year. This model works for Broadway but not sure if it will work for Hollywood.  But as Spielberg pointed out E.T. was in theaters for over a year when it was released.  It's hard to imagine studios going to that kind of model at least in the near future but as things change you never know.

Cracked recently but their spin on the news here.

An aside:
One of the other thoughts that came to mind when I was writing about Behind the Candelabra was how sad that none of the people involved will get recognized come Oscar time.  I realize that they will get tons of Emmy nominations but imagine if Spielberg had released Lincoln on HBO Daniel Day Lewis would not have received his well deserved 3rd Oscar.  Which brings up the question if the way studios release movies should the Academy change their rules to allow these types of movies nominations or should studios like HBO release those movies in required number of theaters to qualify it before releasing it on TV.  Documentaries already have this pleasure.  If a doc plays in certain film festivals it becomes eligible for an Oscar even if it ends up getting released on HBO.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Saturday Trailer Blitz

New trailers of the week.

Passion- The new Brian De Palma film with Rachel McAdams and Noomi Repace


Ride Along

Inside Llewyn Davis


Afternoon Delight

Delivery Man

Cloudy with a chance of Meatballs 2

The Wizard of Oz IMAX 3D Special edition


The Smurfs 2

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Entertainment Weekly's Top 100 Movies

Here is the list of EW's Top 100 Movies that they released in 2013.

1.  Citizen Kane
2.  The Godfather
3. Casablanca
4. Bonnie and Clyde
5.  Psycho
6.  It's a Wonderful Life
7.  Mean Streets
8.  The Gold Rush
9.  Nashville
10.  Gone with the Wind
11.  King Kong
12. The Searchers
13. Annie Hall
14. Bambi
15. Blue Velvet
16. Singin' in the Rain
17. Seven Samurai
18. Jaws
19. Pulp Fiction
20. The Sorrow and the Pity
21. Some Like it Hot
22. Toy Story
23. Notorious
24. The Sound of Music
25. 2001: A Space Odyssey
26. Bicycle Thieves
27. The Maltese Falcon
28. The Wizard of Oz
29. North by Northwest
30. Sunrise
31. Chinatown
32. Duck Soup
33. The Graduate
34. Adam's Rib
35. Apocalypse Now
36. Rosemary's Baby
37. Manhattan
38. Vertigo
39. The Rules of the Game
40. Double Indemnity
41. The Road Warrior
42. Taxi Driver
43. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
44. On the Waterfront
45. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
46. The Adventures of Robin Hood
47. A Clockwork Orange
48. It Happened One Night
49. Goldfinger
50. Intolerance
51. A Hard Day's Night
52. Titanic
53. Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
54. Breathless
55. Frankenstein
56. Schindler's List
57. Midnight Cowboy
58. The Seventh Seal
59. All the President's Men
60. Top Hat
61. The Silence of the Lambs
62. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
63. Network
64. The Best Years of our Lives
65. Last Tango in Paris
66. The Shining
67. Rebel Without a Cause
68. Goodfellas
69. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
70. L'Avventura
71. American Graffiti
72. The 400 Blows
73. Cabaret
74. The Hurt Locker
75. Touch of Evil
76. Lawrence of Arabia
77. Dog Day Afternoon
78. Raiders of the Lost Ark
79. Night of the Living Dead
80. Dazed and Confused
81. Blade Runner
82. Scenes from a Marriage
83. The Wild Bunch
84. Olympia
85. Dirty Harry
86. All About Eve
87. La Dolce Vita
88. The Dark Knight
89. Woodstock
90. The French Connection
91. Do the Right Thing
92. The Piano
93. A Face in the Crowd
94. Brokeback Mountain
95. Rushmore
96. Sullivan's Travels
97. Diner
98. All About my Mother
99. There Will Be Blood
100. Sweet Smell of Success

Here are my thoughts. 
First you have your usual suspects Citizen Kane (1), The Godfather (2), Casablanca (3), Gone with the Wind (10). But they threw in some interesting choices. 

Bonnie and Clyde at 4 - I have seen Bonnie an Clyde on other lists but never this high.

Nashville at 9 a movie that doesn't usually get talked about and one I have never seen this high on the list.

Bambi at 14. Here is a movie that never gets talked about as the greatest of all time and it is higher then The Wizard of Oz (28) and they list it as the greatest family movie.

The Road Warrior never thought I would see a Mad Max film on a list like this.

Titanic at 52 the movie seems to be getting more love as time goes on.

The Hurt Locker at 74 is the most recent movie on the list.

Dazed and Confused at 80 loved the movie but again never expected it to make a top 100

and no Coen Brothers movies (Fargo, The Big Lebowski, No Country for Old Men) on the list. 

Come join the conversation over on Milwaukee Movie Talk's Facebook Page and let us know your thoughts. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

New Home Video Releases 7/2/13

Not much new this week but lots of stuff getting blu-ray releases.

 6 Souls


 Tai Chi Hero


 Tower Block





 E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial


 The Producers


 The Kentucky Fried Movie