Monday, October 31, 2011

"Can't you at least pretend to be scared?"

Another weekend that lacked any new movies I wanted to see and an unexpected snow storm meant I was able to catch up on DVDs I had not yet had a chance to watch. As a fan of Taylor Kitch on Friday Night Lights, I decided to check out his most recent film, The Bang Bang Club.

The Bang Bang Club is based on the true story of four South African photojournalists who captured the last days of apartheid, from when Nelson Mandela was released from jail to the 1994 election, on film: Kevin Carter, Greg Marinovich, Ken Oosterbroek and Joao Silva. It is based on the autographical book by Silva and Marinovich called The Bang-Bang Club: Snapshots from a Hidden War. The film premiered at the Toronto Film Festival in 2010 but was only ever in limited release in theaters.

The story was very moving. It did not give you a whole lot of background on the characters, but you get a glimpse of how they experienced the violence in South Africa between 1990 and 1994. These four guys are basically the way that the rest of the world knew exactly was going on in this country at the time. During this period, two of them won Pulitzer Prizes for their work. Unfortunately, also during this period, two of them lost their lives - one while taking pictures during a firefight and the other took his own life.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

"No one should be immortal if even one person has to die."

The big movies in theaters this weekend are: Puss in Boots, In Time, and The Rum Diary.

Based on the book by Hunter S. Thompson, The Rum Diary is about an American journalist, named Paul Kemp, who takes a freelance assignment for a newspaper in Puerto Rico in the 1950s. While there, he struggles to find a balance between island culture and the expatriates who live there. The cast includes Johnny Depp, Aaron Eckhart, Michael Rispoli, Amber Heard, Giovanni Ribisi and Richard Jenkins.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

"To me, being perfect is not about that scoreboard out there. It's not about winning....

It's about you and your relationship to yourself, your family and your friends. Being perfect is about being able to look your friends in the eye and know that you didn't let them down because you told them the truth. And that truth is you did everything that you could, there wasn't one more thing you could've done. Can you live in that moment as best you can, with clear eyes, and love in your heart? With joy in your heart. If you can do that gentlemen, then you're perfect."

The Philadelphia Film Festival is going on from now until Monday, November 3rd and last night I got the opportunity to see the film Friday Night Lights. After the screening, there was a Q&A with director Peter Berg and H.G. "Buzz" Bissinger, who wrote the book on which the movie was based, moderated by WIP radio host Glen Macnow. I thought I would share some of this experience with you.

I have to say, and I think I have said this before, I did not like the movie the first time I saw it. I watched it when I was in college and I just do not think that my taste in movies at the time was developed enough to enjoy it, if that makes any sense. And, even though I knew that it was based on a true story, the ending really irritated me at the time. I liked the movie much better after the second viewing. Knowing how it ended and understanding the pace and tone of the film from having watched the TV show really helped a lot. It is not your typical light-hearted sports movie, it is actually more realistic and genuine. If you have not already seen it, I highly recommend checking it out because it excellent.

If you are a fan of the TV show but have not seen the movie, you will see a few cameos. For starters, Connie Britton plays the coach's wife in both, although they are different characters. You also see Brad Leland aka Buddy Garrity as one of the Boosters and Timothy F. Crowley aka Coach Crowley as one of the referees in the championship game.

Monday, October 24, 2011

"This country was built on bandanas!"

None of the new movies out this weekend was particularly appealing to me. I think I will eventually see The Mighty Macs, but it is not on the top of my list. There are few other movies that have been out for a while that I would like to see first. One of those movies was the Footloose remake, which I saw yesterday.

For those of you born after the 80's or for some unknown reason have never seen the original, this movie is about Ren McCormick, who moves from Boston, Massachusetts to Bomont, Georgia to live with his aunt and uncle after his mother dies. When he gets to Bomont he learns that dancing in public and playing loud music are illegal. Ren challenges the law and in-turn makes an enemy of the local pastor, Reverend Shaw Moore, while simultaneously falling for the pastor's daughter, Ariel.

It has been a while since I have seen the original starring Kevin Bacon, but I really enjoyed the new version. It was a lot of fun. They really tried to reinvent the moments you love from the first movie without trying too hard to copy them exactly. While the dialogue was a little corny at times, I think they really captured the spirit of the original movie.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

"This is so unlady-like"

The movies out in theaters this weekend are: The Mighty Macs, Paranormal Activity 3, The Three Musketeers and Johnny English Reborn.

In the newest version of The Three Musketeers, young D'Artagnan joins forces with three former legendary Musketeers to defeat a beautiful double agent, Milady de Winter, and her evil employers, the Duke of Buckingham and Cardinal Richelieu. Buckingham and Richelieu are trying to take over the French throne and start a European war. It stars Christoph Waltz, Orlando Bloom, Milla Jovovich, Logan Lerman, Luke Evans, Matthew MacFayden and Ray Stevenson.

Monday, October 17, 2011

"All the reporters love you. Even the reporters that hate you still love you."

It took me a little longer than planned, but I finally saw The Ides of March and it was totally worth the wait.

Ryan Gosling plays Stephen Meyers, a press secretary for Democratic Presidential primary candidate, Governor Mike Morris, played by George Clooney. He takes a meeting with the opposition's Chief of Staff Tom Duffy, played by Paul Giamatti, and everything starts to fall apart after that. He finds out that his friend and candidate is not as perfect as he once thought that that sometimes you have play dirty to stay in the game.

Along with starring in the film, Clooney also co-wrote and directed it. We also see Philip Seymour Hoffman as Morris's Chief of Staff Paul Zara, Evan Rachel Wood as Meyers' love interest Molly Stearns and Marisa Tomei as journalist Ida Horowicz. It is based on the play, Farragut North, by Beau Willimon which was loosely based on the 2004 Howard Dean campaign.

Friday, October 14, 2011

"Gettin' knocked up and kidnapped kinda wipes the slate clean."

Sadly, my beloved Philadelphia Phillies have made an early exit from the post season. The only good thing about this is that I do not have to worry about catching up on all my TV shows because I am not watching any more playoff games, watching any baseball is just too heartbreaking :o(

But I digress...

Last week, I checked out American Horror Story on FX and I am not really sure what to say about this new show. Parts of it were interesting and parts of it were just weird. I cannot tell where the plot is going or how they are going to make an entire season out of it. I have not yet watched this week's episode, but I will give it another chance before I stop watching, if only because I really like Connie Britton and Dylan McDermott. As we all know, horror is not my thing, but if the story and acting are good, I might be able to enjoy this regardless.

Against my better judgement, and mostly only because I could fit it onto my DVR, I also tried to watch Last Man Standing, starring Tim Allen. I could not even get through the first episode. I made it to the first commercial break and then I had to turn it off.

As expected, I am loving the new seasons of Parenthood, The Vampire Diaries and Sons of Anarchy. In fact, Tuesday night's episode of Sons of Anarchy totally blew my mind. I am ridiculously excited to see what Kurt Sutter does with the rest of this season.

And I think I can now officially say that Prime Suspect is my favorite new show of the season. Maria Bello is fantastic as New York City Detective Jane Timoney. I especially love the scenes when she is antagonizing the ex-wife of her boyfriend, played by Kenny Johnson. I also enjoy the other detectives in her office played by Kirk Acevedo and Tim Griffin because they make me laugh a lot. I can also now say that New Girl, starring Zooey Deschanel, is my favorite new comedy and I am a little sad that it will not return until November because of the MLB playoffs.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

"They're men, dear. If they ever stop competing, they die."

The new movies coming out this weekend are: Footloose, The Big Year, The Thing and Fireflies in the Garden.

In Fireflies in the Garden, Julia Roberts plays the matriarch of The Taylor family. Decades after leaving college to raise her family, she goes back to school and on the day of her graduation, dies in a devastating car accident. The film is about how the family deals with the tragedy and shows us how even a family that looks perfect from the outside is often not-so-perfect on the inside. Along with Roberts, it stars Willem Dafoe, Ryan Reynolds, Emily Watson, Carrie-Anne Moss Ioan Gruffudd and Hayden Panettiere.

Monday, October 10, 2011

"You got me an old dog?"

Based on the true story of and written by Will Reiser, 50/50 is about a 29 year old guy named Adam who goes to the doctor because of back pain and finds out that he has a tumor and must undergo chemotherapy. It is about the way the he deals with his cancer and how the people around him react to his cancer. His best friend uses it to try and get girls, his girlfriend cannot deal with the pressure of being a caregiver and cheats on him, and his mother wants to move in with him.

I enjoyed the movie, but it was not as funny as I was expecting it to be. There were funny lines throughout the whole movie, but it was actually quite depressing at times. I would characterize is more as amusing than funny. However, it was well written and a very moving story.

I am not sure that anyone besides Joseph Gordon-Levitt could have pulled off the dark humor as well. Similar to his character in (500) Days of Summer, he is good at making light of typically sad situations, but can also transition very easily into more serious scenes.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

"I'm either coming with you or you're fishing for your keys in the sewer."

The big films in theaters this weekend are Real Steel and The Ides of March.

Real Steel is set in the future when the sport of boxing has gone high-tech and been taken over by robot boxing. Charlie, a former boxer and struggling promoter, thinks he has found a new champion in a robot he finds in the junkyard. With the help of his estranged son, Charlie teaches the robot his old moves and takes one last shot at a comeback. The film is based on the 1956 short story "Steel" by Richard Matheson and stars Hugh Jackman, Evangeline Lilly, Anthony Mackie, Kevin Durand and Hope Davis.

Monday, October 3, 2011

"He's heavy for half a guy."

For the past five days I have been visiting friends in the great state of Texas and was FINALLY able to go to the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin. For those of you who do not already know, the Drafthouse is basically a movie theater where they serve you food and alcohol in your seat during the movie. They show mainstream movies, but they also show the more artsy movies and cult classics. There are several of them in Austin, but there are also locations in Houston and San Antonio, as well as in Virginia and Colorado. Going to this place was number one on my list of things I wanted to do while in Austin and it totally lived up to my expectations.

Part of it living up to my expectations was the movie that my friend and I saw, which was Tucker & Dale vs Evil, because it was awesome!

Tucker and Dale are two good intentioned hillbillies who are headed to their new vacation home. While trying to fix up their cabin, they run into a group of college students who are camping. One of the girls ends up falling into the lake and hitting her head while Tucker and Dale are fishing, so they bring her back to their cabin to fix her up. The rest of the teenagers think that these hillbillies have kidnapped their friend and plan to kill her. While trying to save her a lot of funny misunderstandings occur, including several of the teenagers accidentally killing themselves and each other. Tucker and Dale are completely baffled by what is going on around them.