December 31, 2011

2011 Year in Review - Review List

Here are all our reviews, organized by theater:

AMC Clifton Commons 15: (New Jersey)
30 Minutes or Less
The Adventures of Tintin (coming soon)
Cars 2
The Help
Horrible Bosses
Jack and Jill
The Rum Diary
Super 8
Tower Heist

AMC Empire 25:
Cowboys & Aliens
The Ides of March
In Time
Like Crazy
Midnight in Paris
My Week with Marilyn (coming soon)
Our Idiot Brother
Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (ETX)
The Three Musketeers
War Horse (coming soon)
X-Men: First Class

AMC Essex Green Dine-In Theatres: (New Jersey)
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Cinema Suites) (coming soon)
J. Edgar (Cinema Suites)
Moneyball (Cinema Suites)

AMC Loews 34th Street 14:
50/50
Bad Teacher
Bridesmaids
Contagion
Drive
Green Lantern
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2
Immortals
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
The Sitter
Transformers: Dark of the Moon

AMC Loews East 19th Street 6:
In the Land of Blood and Honey (coming soon)

AMC Loews Kips Bay:
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1

AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13 & IMAX:
A Better Life
Coriolanus
The Descendants
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (coming soon)
The Iron Lady (coming soon)
Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (IMAX)
Mr. Popper's Penguins
Puss in Boots
Young Adult

AMC Loews Village 7:
Beginners
The Hangover Part 2

Angelika Film Center:
Take Shelter
Tyrannosaur
We Need to Talk About Kevin

Brooklyn Heights Cinema:
Meek's Cutoff
Project Nim

Cinema Village:
Margaret (coming soon)


City Cinemas Village East:
Another Happy Day
The Guard

Clearview Chelsea:
Attack the Block

Clearview Port Washington: (Long Island)
A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas
We Bought a Zoo

Cobble Hill Cinemas: (Brooklyn)
Anonymous
The Skin I Live In

Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center:
Albert Nobbs

Film Forum:
The Mill and the Cross

IFC Center:
Le Havre

Landmark Sunshine:
A Dangerous Method
The Flowers of War (coming soon)
Rampart
Tree of Life

Lincoln Plaza Cinemas:
Carnage

Museum of the Moving Image: (Queens)
Hugo
The Muppets
Shame
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
The Way

Nitehawk Cinema: (Brooklyn)
Martha Marcy May Marlene

Paris Theater:
The Artist

UA Court Street Stadium 12: (Brooklyn)
The Big Year
Captain America
Johnny English Reborn
Real Steel
The Smurfs

UA Westbury Stadium 12 & IMAX: (Long Island)
Arthur Christmas

VOD & Other:
I Melt With You (VOD)
Margin Call (VOD)
Red State (VOD)

2011 Year in Review - Mike's Top 10 of 2011

My Top 10 of 2011:

1. Drive
2. Margaret
3. The Kid with a Bike
4. The Guard
5. Le Havre
6. Tree of Life
7. Another Happy Day
8. Midnight in Paris
9. Rise of the Planet of the Apes
10. Hugo 

Honorable Mention: A movie nobody liked except me, whose many flaws I recognize but still for some reason I really enjoyed: Cowboys & Aliens

Beyond the top 10:

11. The Way
12. A Separation
13. I Saw the Devil
14. Take Shelter
15. The Muppets
16. Poetry (Shi)
17. The Trip
18. Shame
19. Beginners
20. Win Win

I also really dug:
-The hilariously absurd guilty pleasure New Kids Turbo
-Bad Teacher, one of the funniest films of the year
-The Skin I Live In, another outstanding effort from Pedro Almodovar
-Melancholia
-Margin Call
-Everything Must Go
-The Artist
-The Mill and the Cross
-The Descendents
-We Need to Talk About Kevin
-Moneyball
-Project Nim
-Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol

2011 Year in Review - Erica's Best of 2011

Erica:
It is extremely hard to pick the top ten standout movies of the year. It is even harder to rank them. Last year, I chose I Love You Philip Morris as my top choice. Do I regret that? No. I think that a lot of movies deserved to be in that #1 Spot last year but it is much more difficult this year.


BEST OF 2011

1) Hugo
I'm sorry Muppets. I love you but Hugo took my breath away visually, artistically, and I never in a million years thought this would take the top slot but it did. I read the book in an hour after I saw the movie. It was amazing.

2) The Muppets
There are my fabricated friends. They rocked it this year in their big screen comeback courtesy of the amazing Jason Segel. The addition of the sweet & charming Walter added a new dimension to the Henson world.

3) Attack the Block
OK I promise I am not being biased. I love Edgar Wright and met the director (Joe Cornish) at Comic-Con this year but I truly did enjoy this film. I didn't think I was going to enjoy it nearly as much as I did. For that it takes my number three spot. Mostly for being unpredictably good.

4) Beginners
This truly was a great, heartfelt movie. Plus the dog was really cute. Fun fact about the dog: Ewan McGregor adopted him so they really do live together now. Sweet ending... 


5) The Artist
Mike said it was overrated. I thought it was great. Plus I think we have to put Uggie vs Cosmo in a cutest dog contest. 

6) Drive
I think when I wrote my review I may have been a bit harsh. Looking back on the year that was, I did enjoy this movie. I loved it's Taxi Driver-esque qualities and apparently I am drawn to movies with people driving cars and gun violence....

7) The Guard
I am a sucker for movies starring British people. Plus, this was a great dark comedy and got a well deserved Golden Globe nomination for Gleeson. 

8) Bad Teacher
OK I will admit it. I am sure I am the only one who will have this movie on their 10 best list. I love Jason Segel and just found this movie to be funny. Purely funny without being offensive (yes Bridesmaids I am talking to you)


9) The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Not having seen the original Swedish version (yet. I want to know). I went into this thinking, great a 2hr 40 minute movie about solving a crime. Yet when it ended, I found myself saying 'It's over already?'


10) Carnage
I had The Ghost Writer on my list last year. This was another great Polanski film that showcases a lot of great talent in the ensemble cast.


Honorable Mention:
Red State
Midnight in Paris

December 30, 2011

2011 Year in Review - Erica's Worst of 2011

Erica:

Now children it is that time of year again for the best and worst lists.

Before we get to the cream of the crop, here are those movies where I wish I could have saved money and time...

**Note: We have not received Friends with Benefits from Netflix but I am sure it will be on this list.

WORST OF 2011:
1) TIE- Your Highness and Jack and Jill
For so long, Your Highness was at the top of my worst list, but congratulations Jack and Jill after you came out you made my top slot a draw. 
2) Just Go With It
Adam Sandler, you have not had a good movie year. Sorry.
3) Mr. Popper's Penguins
If I was a penguin, I still don't think I would have liked this movie. The fact that I got an injury when going to see this piece of crap makes it even worse. 
4) Green Lantern
Another actor whose had a terrible year is Ryan Reynolds. Between this and The Change Up, he should read through the scripts next time. 
5) Thor
6) Green Hornet
7) Captain America: The First Avenger 
I just think that it wasn't a good year for Super Hero movies altogether. Here's to The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises washing out 2011's crop of heroes.
8) 30 Minutes or Less
I enjoy Aziz Ansari on Parks and Recreation I did not enjoy him or anyone else for that matter, in this one.
9) Bridesmaids
I LOVE Paul Feig and am glad he finally found success with something, unfortunately it had to be this.



Honorable Mention :
Zookeeper
Larry Crowne
No Strings Attached
The Dilemma  
Hop
A Good Old Fashioned Orgy
The Change Up 
The Sitter 

2011 Year in Review - Mike's 10 Worst Films of 2011

In addition to writing a list of my favorite films each year, I also write a list of my least favorite films. Even though I know which films to avoid, there are still plenty that I seek out anyway. Either I'm curious or it stars someone I like... There was no shortage of bad movies this year. Note that I (thankfully) didn't see a lot of possibly even worse films, like The Art of Getting By, What's Your Number? and New Years Eve. But to start off, this year I've also decided to make a list of the most overrated films of the year. Films that were okay or decent or even fairly good but that have been showered with outrageously undeserved praise.


Top 5 Most Overrated Films of 2011:


5. The Artist
A fine film and very enjoyable and beautifully made, but the fact that it's getting all sorts of awards and nominations is absurd. The film is more than just a gimmick - it's a heartfelt homage, but too clever. Some gags involving the lack of sound are too obvious, as is the concept of making a silent film set during the silent-talkie conversion. When you get down to it, The Artist is really just a silent film for people who don't want to watch actual silent films - of which there are many great ones that you should see before this one.


4. Bill Cunningham New York
A nice documentary about a nice man, but why all this praise? We learn a lot about Cunningham and get to know him, but many basic questions go unanswered. It also failed to point out the irony of such an interesting and pleasant guy working in such a vapid, pretentious industry. So often, documentaries are lauded because of their interesting subjects rather than the actual merits of the film itself. Bill Cunningham New York is a prime example of this.

3. Rango
Unfunny, boring... it seemed to be a random collection of randomness collected on the screen. Psychedelic dream sequences might look cool but a film needs pacing, characters that are interesting beyond their looks, and an involving story.


2. X-Men: First Class
A decent superhero film that nicely adds a retro James Bond touch. But it still follows the superhero movie formula to a 't'. What bothered me even more was when people talked about how great it was and then said that it was maybe as good as the first or second one. I didn't think any of the X-Men films were all that great, so it's not exactly putting it in good company.


1. Bridesmaids
Bridesmaids was mildly funny, but far from great. And with a running time of over two hours, way way too long. I think the bar has lowered so much that whenever a decent comedy comes out, it's hailed as a classic by default. I don't think there was anything 'smart' about the script and its tired gross-out gags, and it's really just The Hangover with women, but not nearly as funny. Just because it's a woman instead of a man does not make fart jokes funny. Even more insulting is the Best Supporting Actress buzz for Melissa McCarthy - a character that had me cringing whenever she was on screen. I didn't find anything funny about the minstrel show-like fat girl jokes, and McCarthy's School-of-Disney-Channel-Sitcom overacting made it nearly unbearable.




The Worst Films of 2011:


1. Your Highness
2. Passion Play
3. Mars Needs Moms
4. Green Lantern
5. Sleeping Beauty
6. Sucker Punch
7. Atlas Shrugged: Part 1
8. Hop
9. I Am Number Four
10. A Good Old Fashioned Orgy

and beyond:
11. The Change-Up
12. The Three Musketeers
13. Zookeeper
14. Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 1
15. Drive Angry


Honorable mention: Jack and Jill, Just Go With It, Conan the Barbarian, Immortals, Straw Dogs, Johnny English Reborn, Gnomeo & Juliet, Battle: Los Angeles, Arthur, Kung Fu Panda 2, Jane Eyre, The Dilemma, Larry Crowne.







Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close- AMC Lincoln Square 13



Mike: I don't mind when films manipulate your emotions. After all, that's what films are supposed to do - they're supposed to mess around with how you feel. Overall I'm pretty tolerant of excess sentimentality - I like it when a film tugs at my heart strings. But sometimes the methods used are a bit too superficial. That's the case with Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (or is it Incredibly Loud and Extremely Close, or Extremely Close and Incredibly Loud? I can't keep it straight). The manipulation is all too obvious, and not just in scenes directly dealing with the 9/11 tragedy.

But I don't think most people are aware of that. I think anyone who enjoyed a film like The Blind Side a few years ago is likely to enjoy this film, or at least feel touched by it. And I think at its core it's a decent film, but there are some significant flaws that kept me from really liking it. The biggest problem of all is the main character. He's an asshole, making it hard to feel sympathy for him. I get that he's got some behavior issues - he sees everything in terms of logic. But man, the kid's a prick. At one point, he tells his mom (Sandra Bullock) that he wishes she had died on 9/11 instead of his dad (Tom Hanks). I couldn't help but think that if any of the three should have died that day, it really should have been the selfish asshole kid himself.

The other problem is the film's conclusion - there's a bit of a twist that I won't spoil which involves the Sandra Bullock character, but it's pretty absurd. There were some parts of the film that I liked, though. Like Max Von Sydow's mute character - a great performance by a great actor who we don't see much of on the big screen. Also, Sandra Bullock was fine and I thought Tom Hanks was very good, too, albeit a bit too Tom Hanksy at times.

Erica: I didn't love this film, yet I didn't hate it. The one major thing I didn't like is the same as Mike. The star of the film. Man that kid is obnoxious. Plus his name is spelled Oskar, for some reason using a 'k' in place of a 'c' annoyed me for two hours, but not as much as the kid did. The whole movie is centered around his relationship with his deceased father and the lack of a relationship with his still very much alive mother. This kid needs to stop being an obnoxious, arrogant kid and get some friends. 

Sandra Bullock was fine in the movie, but I feel like the mother could have been played by anybody. Hanks was good, he wasn't in it much but he was again fine. This movie to me was a bit Lifetime-y as well. Like We Bought a Zoo, this movie would have also have been perfect as a Lifetime Movie of the Week starring two random actors from eighties sitcoms and an unknown (maybe less obnoxious) kid playing Oskar. AND LOSE THE TAMBOURINE!!!

This is perfect for people who like those sappy movies about a broken family and seeing if they can mend their broken relationships. My suggestion, wait for DVD. 






2011 Year in Review - Highlighted Posts

We only started this site in May but there are a few posts that we especially enjoyed. Our highlights are below:

-Learn why we're in love with AMC's Cinema Suites Dine-In theaters - it's like flying in first class.
-We also liked Williamsburg's new Nitehawk dine theater.
-Learn why we also really liked AMC's much-needed effort to offer healthy food at the movie theaters.
-We explained why Regal's UA Court Street 12 is such a god-awful place.
-We got to watch The Muppets with Jane Henson.
-Mike compared We Bought a Zoo to a Disney Channel Original Movie.
-We kept score in the battle of the Times Square multiplexes - E-Walk vs. Empire.
-Erica explained the curse of the AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13 in three epic installments. Part 1. Part 2. Part 3.
-Mike was disturbed by Rosie Huntington Whiteley's weird-looking lips in Transformers 3.
-We thought AMC's ETX - Enhanced Theatre Experience - was not worth the extra money. Worst of all, the screen looked old and was obstructed.
-Mike watched Rise of the Planet of the Apes among apes.
-We were divided on The Artist.
-We discovered that Screen 4 at the AMC Empire 25 in Times Square might be the grossest movie theater auditorium in Manhattan.
-Mike loved the new Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center at Lincoln Center, but hates the long name.
-We saw a free preview screening of Attack the Block, and while we really liked the movie, it was such a gross, scroungy experience that we'll never do a free screening like that again.
-Mike was humiliated when his mother's phone rang - and she answered - while watching The Help.

December 29, 2011

2011 Year in Review - Erica's Introduction

Erica: For me, summing up the year 2011 in movies is disappointed. Sure there were the standouts I was expecting (The Muppets) and those that surprised me (The Artist) but a lot of movies I watched, I thought, this movie is alright or this movie is just awful. I had a harder time finding my top 10 standout movies of the year yet found myself having lots of titles on the worst list. The year wasn't a total washout, but it was disappointing nonetheless. To me, a category like Best Picture at the Academy Awards is a no-brainer, what I am unsure of is why a movie like Bridesmaids is getting any sort of nominations. The Academy has their work cut out for them this year, but I know what should be on their lists.

I honestly do not remember when I began a Best and Worst list but I am posting my list from last year below.

This year, I found it harder to rank the movies from 1 to 10, so as of right now, they are just written under Best and Worst, unnumbered because it is very hard for me to make a decision. I have been looking forward to The Muppets since it was announced but did I like Hugo better? Yes and No. The reason behind that answer is that I knew I was going to love The Muppets, I didn't know how I was going to feel about Hugo. I was pleasantly surprised by it, but what does that mean for its ranking? 

You will have to find out when I post my lists to see where they fall.


Hope you had a great 2011 and I know I am looking forward to the movies in 2012, especially The Dark Knight Rises.


2010
TOP 10
1) I Love You, Philip Morris
2) Scott Pilgrim vs the World
3) The Ghost Writer
4) Despicable Me
5) Get Him to the Greek
6) 127 Hours
7) Toy Story 3
8) Waking Sleeping Beauty
9) Inception
10) Exit Through the Gift Shop

BOTTOM 10
1) MacGruber
2) Yogi Bear
3) Catfish
4) How Do You Know
5) Hot Tub Time Machine
6) Kick Ass
7) Love and Other Drugs
8) Wolfman
9) Youth in Revolt
10) The Tempest

2011 Year in Review - Mike's Introduction

Mike: I think 2011 was a pretty good year at the movies, but there were no absolute stand-outs for me. At the end of a typical year, I'm deciding what to put at number one, having to choose between two or three films that I'm totally in love with. Or there's just one undeniable Top Film for me. This year, I had no trouble picking films to put in my top 10 - there were plenty of great films to pick from, and it was tough to decide which ones to leave out. Yet there were no films where, as I was watching it or after I finished watching it, I thought to myself "This might just be the best movie I've seen this year."

I don't get it when people say that there's nothing good out anymore. Yes there is. There are plenty of good movies, and the films of 2011 were no exception. People just aren't always looking in the right places.

There were plenty of times where I was certain I was watching the worst film of the year, though. I always make a Worst list to go along with my Best list, but it's tricky because most bad films I know to avoid without watching them. I'm not a paid critic and don't get invited to screenings, so there are plenty of films that I (thankfully) get to skip. Stuff like Big Mommas, Abduction, The Roommate, Monte Carlo, New Years Eve, Hoodwinked Too, I Don't Know How She Does It... That said, my somewhat OCD filmgoing habits still made me sit through plenty of trash like The Smurfs, Green Lantern, Atlas Shrugged, Jack and Jill, Zookeeper and Conan the Barbarian. I knew they were trash when I bought the ticket or pressed play, but that didn't stop me from watching. Why? Beats me.

I saw about 180 2011 films in total this year, 101 of which I saw in a theater. That doesn't count older films I saw on the big screen this year. And there's still a few I regrettably missed or just didn't get to and will be seeking out in the near future, including: Mysteries of Lisbon, Higher Ground, Pina, Pariah, Machine Gun Preacher, W.E., and Bucky Larson.

Over the next few days, Erica and I will be summing up the year, highlighting the best and worst of the 2011, as well as our favorite stories and a complete list of our 2011 reviews.

Every year I write a top 10 list and usually a bottom 10 list as well. I've been doing this every year since 1999. I thought I'd post some lists to put my tastes into context: 

2005:

Best:
1. The New World
2. The Squid and the Whale
3. Match Point
4. Me and You and Everyone We Know
5. The Upside of Anger
6. Crash
7. Brokeback Mountain
8. Broken Flowers
9. Good Night, and Good Luck.
10. Turtles Can Fly

Worst:
1. 9 Songs
2. Havoc
3. Kingdom of Heaven
4. Cursed
5. The Dukes of Hazzard
6. The Jacket
7. Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price
8. Deuce Bigalow: European Gigalo
9. Fantastic Four
10. Mindhunters

2006:

Best:
1. Children of Men
2. The Proposition
3. The Departed
4. Dreamgirls
5. Little Children
6. Letters from Iwo Jima
7. Half Nelson
8. Stranger Than Fiction
9. Black Book aka Zwartboek
10. Little Miss Sunshine

Worst:
1. Date Movie
2. Basic Instinct 2
3. Zoom
4. Lady in the Water
5. Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World
6. Slither
7. The Wicker Man
8. Crank
9. Beerfest
10. Stay Alive

2007:

Best:
1. There Will Be Blood
2. No Country for Old Men
3. 3:10 to Yuma
4. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
5. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
6. Atonement
7. Rescue Dawn
8. Juno
9. Into the Wild
10. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Worst:
1. Epic Movie
2. Evan Almighty
3. Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film For Theatres
4. The Brothers Solomon5. The Ex
6. Next
7. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
8. Rush Hour 3
9. Redacted
10. Reserved in case I ever see Saw IV (as of 2011 I have not)


2008:

Best:
1. The Dark Knight
2. Wall-E
3. The Wrestler
4. Let the Right One In
5. Rachel Getting Married
6. Snow Angels
7. In Bruges
8. Milk
9. Gran Torino
10. The Wackness

Worst:
1. The Love Guru
2. War, Inc.
3. In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale
4. Bankok Dangerous
5. 88 Minutes
6. 10,000 B.C.
7. The Day the Earth Stood Still
8. Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed
9. Vantage Point
10. The Happening 

2009:

Best:
1. District 9
2. The Escapist
3. Watchmen
4. Inglourious Basterds
5. Crazy Heart
6. Moon
7. Mammoth
8. Summer Hours
9. An Education
10. The Hurt Locker

Worst:
Didn't write a list this year (or can't find it)

2010:

Best:
1. Inception
2. Black Swan
3. The Ghost Writer
4. The Social Network
5. Exit Through the Gift Shop
6. I Love You Phillip Morris
7. Let Me In
8. Toy Story 3
9. A Serbian Film
10. The Next Three Days

Worst:
1. How Do You Know
2. Yogi Bear
3. The Tempest
4. Shrek Forever After
5. MacGruber
6. Agora
7. Love and Other Drugs
8. Extraordinary Measures
9. Twilight: Eclipse
10. Catfish

The Sitter- AMC 34th Street 14



Erica: We were not in a rush to see this movie, so we waited until we knew the theater would be virtually empty. This was about half full and of course, contained that one person who cackles when they laugh AT EVERYTHING. Being that it was directed by David Gordon Green, who directed the atrociously bad Your Highness, earlier this year, I had very low expectations for this. 

What was this movie? Terrible. Predictable. Unfunny.

I feel bad that Sam Rockwell is associated with this movie in any capacity. The kids are not funny, they are annoying. I wouldn't let Jonah Hill babysit a rock.

Mike: David Gordon Green used to make great dramatic films, but lately has been squandering his time with bad comedies. Pineapple Express was decent, but Your Highness was about as funny as a cancer diagnosis. His second comedy of 2011 is slightly more enjoyable but still a tragedy considering how talented Green is. There's so little to laugh at and ultimately we're left with an unmemorable 81 minute time waste.

 

December 26, 2011

Carnage- Lincoln Plaza Cinemas



Mike: We'd never been to the Lincoln Plaza Cinemas - an independent theater by Lincoln Center - and with Carnage playing there, we thought we'd take the opportunity to finally check it out. I'd heard about the play, but was under the impression that it was a lot heavier. I had no clue that it was more of a comedy. With a great cast and a director whose work I'm a big fan of, Carnage was a must-see for me.

First off, the movie is only 79 minutes long. 79. And no, it's not a Disney movie. And the entire movie is set inside a Brooklyn apartment. Despite the limited scope, Carnage is a hilarious story of two couples completely breaking down. The group dynamic is fascinating as it switches around among the four - at first the couples stick together, but then the wives gang up on the husbands.

Every combination is touched upon. It's a great acting showcase for Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, John C. Reilly and Christoph Waltz.

Highly recommended.


Erica: I thought this movie was great. Great performances by all four of the stellar cast members. I highly enjoyed Polanski's last movie, Ghost Writer, so I was looking forward to this. I believe there are Oscar Nominations in this movie's future. My favorite performance came from Waltz, as a man who has a love affair with his job through his BlackBerry while trying to be supportive of his wife while they figure out a solution to a problem between the two couples children. A lot happens over 79 minutes and you will be entertained the entire time. 

This theater is not terrible, it's a small, cash only theater, frequented by an older crowd but it seemed like the perfect place to see this movie.  

December 25, 2011

Albert Nobbs-Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center at Lincoln Center

  

Mike: Erica was too creeped out by the trailers to see Albert Nobbs with me, so I made my way to the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center at Lincoln Center to catch the film on opening day. It's a new film venue right across from the Walter Reade, and also part of the Film Society of Lincoln Center. No disrespect to Elinor Bunin Munroe, but if you have a name like that and someone comes up to you and says "hey, for all your dedicated service and contributions, we would like to name our new building with two movie theaters in your honor" you'd be flattered and honored and whatnot, but at a certain point, wouldn't you say "you know, that's very nice and all, but I have a long name and it's not the most pleasant one to pronounce... how about we just call it something else?"

Hey, I'm heading over to the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center to catch a flick... I don't think so. I'm just going to call it The Munroe Center. No offense, Elinor.

So anyway, this was my first time there and the facility is absolutely top notch. My compliments to everyone except the ones who picked the name. There's a nice cafe/restaurant attached, which I look forward to trying some day. And two really neat theaters, each with a unique look and feel. It's beautifully designed and the cool look of the whole place makes it a great place to go see movies. Seats are comfortable and leg room space seemed to be fine.

When I got there, the theater was about a third full. Mostly older ladies, deftly dressed. There's a back section and a front section, and the first row of the front section was mostly filled. A woman walked in and asked if the very middle seat was taken. Someone had put their coat and bags on the seat and said No, but pointed out a few other empty seats in the row. But the lady said "No, I'd like that one because I want to sit toward the center." So she walked over to the seat and the other lady angrily took her bags and fur coat off the otherwise empty seat. She was pissed, but thankfully the tension ended there. After the movie started, another older lady walked in and sat in a different row. This one wasn't quite as full, and she ended up sitting two seats away from a 40-something lady. Once she sat down, she started asking the 40-something lady questions. "Is this Albert Nobbs?" The lady responded Yes. "Is this the 3:20 showing?" Then came a loud "JESUS, JUST WATCH THE MOVIE!" "I'm just here to see the Glenn Close movie..." Thankfully, the audience was quiet for the rest of the screening, but I was amazed at the petty hostility.

As for the movie - it's okay. Glenn Close is very good, but not all that much happens. And why is the movie even about Albert Nobbs? Early on, she meets another woman played by Janet McTeer who also lives in disguise as a man. Her story is way more interesting than Nobbs - why didn't they make a movie about her instead?

Mission: Impossible: Ghost Protocol IMAX- AMC Lincoln Square 13



Erica: The cursed theater was not cursed today. We arrived early because we anticipated a packed house and boy were we smart to get there early. People were fighting for seats and there was a group in front of us where one guy was saving seats and got up only to help his mother-in-law up the stairs (what a great movie to take her to...) then his wife saved seats, gave up one of the ones she was saving, then kicked the guy out of the chair. 

NOTE: IF YOU CHOOSE TO SEE A POPULAR MOVIE WHEN IT IS RELEASED IN IMAX BEFORE ANY OTHER THEATER, PLEASE SHOW UP EARLY, NOT FIVE MINUTES BEFORE SHOWTIME AND GET ANNOYED YOU HAVE TO SIT IN THE FRONT ROW. 

Now, onto the cool parts. They showed the first few minutes of The Dark Knight Rises before the movie began. It was AWESOME! I just didn't want the preview to end. It looks awesome and I can't wait until July. 

I have to let Mike take most of the reign on this one because this is the only Mission Impossible movie I have seen in its entirety. The reason? Simon Pegg. I watched the parts he was in in the third movie but got promoted in this one. I was very excited.


  
Mike: A significant part of Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol was filmed in IMAX so, purists that we are, we had to see it in New York City's only true IMAX theater - the AMC Loews Lincoln Square. The rest of the IMAX screens in NYC - and there are plenty now - are faux IMAX, or 'LIEMAX' as they're being called nowadays. Theaters retro-fit their largest screen to IMAX's laxed specifications, pay the licensing fee, and voila - a new IMAX screen. But that's not the case at Lincoln Square, so that's the only place you'll find us paying a premium to see something in IMAX.
 
Tom Cruise has been in a slump lately, doing mostly crappy movies when not acting like a crazy person. I liked the first Mission: Impossible movie a lot, but didn't care at all for parts two and three. So suffice it to say, it wasn't a movie I was looking all that much forward to. A new Mission Impossible movie... did we need one? I thought No, but it turns out, this one's really good.
 
Under the direction of Pixar vet Brad Bird, we finally get a cool, fun, grand-scaled Mission: Impossible flick again. The IMAX scenes are beautiful and jaw-dropping. I had forgotten how cool landscapes and cityscapes can look on the full IMAX screen. It's an awesome film, and definitely on par with Brian DePalma's first M:I film. Tom Cruise is a bit older now, but here he proves he's still got the stuff. Not only that, he manages to revitalize the franchise, giving a much-needed boost of energy. Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol is perhaps the most fun film of the season.


I enjoyed this movie. It gave you a sort of rush that few movies can give. You definitely need to see it in IMAX to get the full effect. 

December 24, 2011

Young Adult-AMC Lincoln Square 13



Erica: Ah my favorite cursed theater. Two incident free screenings in two days here, things are starting to look up for me. With our recent experiences here, we went right for the front row as this movie has a 94 minute run time. The theater was pretty crowded, but well behaved. It contained mostly twenty and thirty somethings that knew how to behave (take note 34th Street...)

I am not a fan of Diablo Cody, since Juno but only because I have a huge dislike for that movie. This one seemed much more promising though. Charlize Theron plays troubled very well. Patrick Wilson is fine in the movie but nothing to write home about. The most surprising performance in this film is from Patton Oswalt. He gave the most honest performance and he was the one you felt sorry for. Theron went to her hometown to win back her old high school boyfriend who just had a baby. This is the perfect set up for learning a lesson. I thought this movie was good, but not great. They could have done more and parts of it seemed unbelievable, even in the movies.

Mike: Young Adult is a decent timewaster and it's unfortunate that it has been released smack in the middle of award season. Jason Reitman's last few films got lots of awards so it was assumed that his next would fall into similar acclaim. Young Adult is a nice character piece - even though Charlize Theron's character does despicable things, she's surprisingly likeable. My main problem with the film is that writer Diablo Cody puts way too much of herself into it. There's nothing subtle about it. We get it, she likes Sweet Valley High, so the main character is a Sweet Valley High-like young adult book series ghostwriter. And the film constantly calls back to the nineties, the time in which the characters were in high school and college. It's shameless nostalgia and I thought it went a little overboard in my opinion. All that said, Cody has a knack for creating interesting dialogue, and I found some of the back-and-forths between Theron and Oswalt to be priceless.  

Le Havre - IFC Center



Mike: I had long written off the IFC Center - it's not one of my favorite places to go. Screens are small, and it's pretty expensive to go here. But I really wanted to see Le Havre before it left theaters, and IFC Center was still playing it twice a day.

So I trekked over to West 4th Street (Erica wasn't interested) to see it. I regret my previous stance on the IFC Center. Yes, it has some small screens, but auditorium 1, where I saw Le Havre, is very nice. I'd been here before, but must have forgotten about it. seats are comfortable, it has a cool vibe, and the screen size is nice. The open ceiling is pretty cool, too. And also, the number of films showing at the IFC Center is pretty amazing. They give films an extra shot, or allow them to build an audience. Worthy of admiration, in my mind. And finally, they do have a pretty cool selection of late night classics.

I got to the theater a bit early and theater 1 hadn't emptied out yet, so the usher told me I could wait upstairs. There's a poster gallery upstairs (currently exhibiting Studio Ghibli posters as part of their Ghibli retrospective) which doubles as a waiting room with a window to look out over the street and a few comfortable chairs to sit and wait in.

Anyway, the movie started and to be honest, I had no idea what to expect. The only other Aki Kaurismaki film I had seen was The Man Without a Past, which I really dug. I guess I was expecting something along those lines. And the in first half of the film, that's sort of how it plays out. It's a drama about a man taking in a young boy who is an illegal immigrant and on the run. But around halfway, the film becomes odder and sillier, and ultimately, completely absurd. I couldn't believe what I was watching, and found it to be absolutely brilliant. The film had a weird 70s/80s budget euro cinema vibe, which made it oddly nostalgic. Hands down, one of my favorite films of 2011.

December 23, 2011

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows - AMC Loews Kips Bay



Mike: After surviving the fourth Twilight movie, I went to see the new Sherlock Holmes flick. It was lunch time and I didn't have anything to eat, so I thought I'd buy an AMC Smart Snack box - we've raved about those things before. The guy at the concession stand looked at me like an idiot. They didn't have them. Worried that AMC discontinued the healthy movie snack alternative, I tweeted to AMC about it, and they say the program is still going. The effort behind this program is laughable, though, as Erica and I have rarely been able to buy these things. Anyway, due to the shameless fact that there's nothing healthy to eat at movie theaters, I went hungry for an extra two and a half hours. I'd rather not eat than clog my arteries.
 
Oh, the movie... I thought the first Sherlock Holmes sucked. I like Robert Downey Jr., but he's incredibly annoying in this role. I found part two to be a slight improvement, but still a waste of my time. Don't waste your time, though - Sherlock Holmes is not worth your time or money.

Erica: It's not that I didn't want to see this movie. I didn't see the first one and I was feeling under the weather so I chose sleep over the movie. 

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part I- AMC Loews Kips Bay



Mike: I don't know why I watch these movies. I think I rented the first one, but then the other two I watched on airplanes. On trans-atlantic flights, you've got a lot of time to kill, so why not? Plus, I try to keep a pulse on what kids are into these days. They're absolutely awful, and I went to see this one because - first, I've gotten this far, why not watch the last two? And second, I read an article about what the fourth Twilight book is about, and it's absolutely ridiculous. I had to see this to believe it. The movie was terrible as I expected and some pretty stupid stuff happens in it. Taylor Lautner falls in love with a baby. And Robert Pattinson makes love to Kristen Stewart so hard and intense that she almost dies. I'd say you have to see it to believe it, but really, spare yourself. I saw it at an A.M. matinee - nice and quiet, a few weeks into release. There were only two other people in the auditorium. Erica had zero interest so I had to go by myself, as part of a double feature with another film she didn't want to see.

With a review like this, does anyone blame me for not wanting to see this movie? As amazing as it sounds....I'll pass.

December 22, 2011

We Need to Talk About Kevin- Angelika



Mike: We were supposed to see Mission: Impossible at midnight on Thursday night - only to find 9 p.m. and even 6 p.m. tickets going on sale after we bought our midnight show tickets. But still, our plan was to see it at midnight. That is, until I realized Thursday afternoon that We Need to Talk About Kevin, a film we planned to see a day later, was only playing a one-week Academy qualifying run, and was closing today. And we had things to do in the evening. Panic panic panic!

We decided to ditch the midnight show and cut our losses and catch the very last showing of Kevin at 10 p.m. Thankfully, Erica made a call to the AMC theater we were planning to watch M:I4 at, and they said we could bring in our tickets and swap them for another day or time. A nice surprise, and we ended up seeing the movie a few days later.

We Need to Talk About Kevin
is the second Ezra Miller-Siobahn Fallon psycho kids movie of the year, after the excellent Another Happy Day. We Need to Talk About Kevin is a little bit darker and more in horror movie territory. It almost feels like an update of Rosemary's Baby, except it grows up. Tilda Swinton is excellent and her performance is sure to get some nominations. Ezra Miller has now given two great and haunting performances in one year, and it will be interesting to see what kind of roles he'll tackle in the future.


Erica: I was very surprised by how much I enjoyed this movie. Swinton kind of scares me so I was a bit nervous going in. This was a great movie. Miller gave a haunting performance as Kevin and I am looking forward to seeing him in the future (maybe in a light-hearted movie). Swinton has received praise and multiple nominations and they are well deserved. This is the second movie John C. Reilly has out this season (also in Carnage) that he is absolutely great in. Everybody is talking about Kevin and you should be too. 

Immortals 3D- AMC Loews 34th Street 14




Mike: Erica had no interest so one day after work I headed to the 34th Street AMC to catch Immortals in 3D. I really dug Tarsem Singh's The Cell - I think Roger Ebert and I were the only ones. And when he came out with a new movie - The Fall - after about a ten year hiatus recently, I was really disappointed. The Fall has many fans, but I found it to be a jumbled collection of pretty images with a crappy story. Still, I was excited to see him come out with another movie so soon. Unfortunately, it was another disappointment.
Watching Immortals, I felt as if I was watching a 70s BBC mini-series, like I, Claudius or Day of the Triffids. It has an undeniably strong studio feel and sound to it. You can tell that everything is green screen, and you can hear that everything was filmed inside. The sets are impressive, but have no weight to them. Everything looks phony. And the special effects are too obviously special effects.The audience I saw it with was okay, with one major exception. There were maybe twenty seats filled in the +/-200 seat room. I sat in the very back row, at the top of the aisle so I could stretch my legs. Shortly before the movie started, a guy came and sat in the far corner of the theater, just two seats away from me. With all those empty seats, why did he need to sit so close to me? He had a bag of food with him in a noisy cellophane bag. Chinese food... Considering how much extra work it is to clean up after people bringing in big bags of food, I'm baffled that no attempt is made at ticket-tear to stop people from bringing messy food in.

Oh well...

December 09, 2011

In Time- AMC Empire 25







Mike: After watching Like Crazy, we went upstairs to Theater 15 to catch the 9:20 showing of In Time. Theater 15 is a medium sized auditorium, but it is by far the grossest, most dilapidated and ghetto theater of the Empire. Or anywhere else. There were three seats covered in garbage bags. Popcorn and trash was all over the place. The carpets and the seats were all faded and grey. Many of the armrests were broken, as were some of the seats. Remember last year when the Empire closed because of bed bugs? I'll bet you a hundred bucks it happened in here!



Here is one of the 'classy' chairs....

Appropriately, the audience pretty much matched the auditorium. We were the first ones in and watched nearly every seat fill up with ghetto trash. At the risk of sounding like a sheltered white guy, I'll say that I wouldn't be surprised if several guys in here had a gun on them. Yup, that's how white and sheltered I am. Okay, maybe they didn't carry guns, but I'll bet another hundred bucks that a startling percentage of people in the room had priors.

The person next to me brought a Little Caesar's pizza box. Where is there a Little Caesar's? He wasn't even eating pizza - he had breadsticks covered in cheese, which he dipped into a plastic cup of marinara sauce. He forgot to bring napkins, so he kept rubbing his hands to try to get all the grease and crumbs off of his hands. He also kept making a really weird (and gross) sound with his mouth throughout the movie, as if he was trying to induce himself to throw up.

There was also a guy sitting in the front with a bunch of bags. I'm sure you know that handicapped accessible seat in many of the Empire auditoriums that's closest by the exit - where all crazy people sit. If you've been to the Empire a few times, you'll know what I'm talking about. For some reason, only crazy-looking people with lots of bags sit in these seats, often showing up or leaving halfway through the film.  Anyway, the guy was crazy, drunk, or both. He kept yelling at the screen, throughout the film. Especially when women appeared on screen. And laughing, very loud. The people in front of him asked him several times to stop, but he kept hollering like a maniac. After the movie ended, instead of leaving the theater, we saw him go upstairs to go to another movie. The guy was disgusting and disrespectful to women, and it's pretty sickening that he was allowed to enter in the first place.

So in short, we were in a disgusting room filled with disgusting, scary people. Our decision to visit the Empire on a Friday night started out okay, but ended up a strong reminder why we should never do this again.

Oh yeah, the movie was pretty cool. We saw In Time. It's clear that Justin Timberlake still has some acting classes left on his roster, but other than that it was a cool high-concept sci-fi flick. And it was even thought-provoking in a Twilight Zone episode kind of way. I dug it.


Erica: Oh man was the theater gross. I kept feeling like my chair was going to just break in the middle of the movie. Mike covered he grossness of the theater so I will talk a bit more about the movie. Timberlake is still a bit green but did a pretty good job in this film. I am pretty sure most people in this theater did not understand half of what is going on in this film as it does require some sort of intelligence to watch and follow. I enjoyed it. I think the concept is really cool and not like anything we have seen in a movie for quite some time. I say definitely check it out....not in this theater though, please. We are begging you. If you do see this in the theater, shake out your clothes and take a shower when you get home.

Like Crazy-AMC Empire 25



Mike: We went out to the AMC Empire 25 in Times Square on Friday night for a double feature. We were seeing two films that had been out for a while on one of the quieter movie weekends of the year, so we figured it wouldn't be bad. We normally avoid this place like the plague on Friday and Saturday nights, but we needed to catch these two films before they left theaters.

First we checked out Like Crazy, which played at 7:05 in Theater 4 - probably one of the smallest of the 25 rooms. The audience was fine and mostly well-behaved for a Friday night Times Square audience. A few people were chatting from time to time in the back, but it was minor. My biggest problem though was a guy sitting to my right who might be the world's loudest nose-breather. The guy was in his late twenties or early thirties, with a date, and my guess is that he had dinner before the movie and realized that his breath was bad, so for 89 minutes he breathed through his nose. It was really loud. I can't stand it when people breath through their nose loudly - I can't stand loud mouthbreathers either, but however you breath, even if it's through a tube that comes out of the top of your head, you should be able to do it without making much of a noise.

Anyway, that went on throughout the entire movie. Poor girl. Thankfully the movie was short. It wasn't that bad, but nothing to write home about, either. I like Anton Yelchin and applaud him for not doing something about his receding hairline and the bald spot that's starting to come through. It reminded me of Richard Dreyfuss in the 70s. He didn't care that he was going bald and grey, while most other actors get hair plugs.

It's a nice movie to bring a date to, if you're like fourteen to twenty-five years old. I'm sure girls will like it. I wasn't, like, crazy about it, but I thought it was okay. My main problem was that the main character pretty much asked for the situation she was in. She was a British student in the US but overstayed her student visa so she could spend the Summer with her boyfriend, before coming back in the Fall. She knew the risks but her impulsiveness put her in the situation where she couldn't go back to the US to live with him. So I didn't feel too sorry for her. It wasn't like she was screwed by a flawed system - she simply didn't follow the rules.


Erica: I thought the movie was pretty predictable and not that great. I agree that the the girl got what she deserved. She was being greedy and maybe thought she could beat the system, but she couldn't and deserved everything she got. I don't feel sorry for people in situations like hers. If you don't follow the rules and make stupid decisions, you deserve to get screwed over. The acting was fine, but it wasn't amazing. I was distracted by Yelchin's hair as in the beginning his hair seemed normal and then all of a sudden there is a bald spot. While this movie does take place over the course of a few years, it was extremely distracting and took away from the movie. The movie is best viewed on TV or DVD (without a mouth breather sitting next to you)....or on the Lifetime Network where it belongs, so no I was not like, crazy about this film.

December 08, 2011

Puss in Boots 3D - AMC Loews Lincoln Square



Erica: I wasn't thrilled to see this movie. I only saw the first Shrek film which Puss was not in. I didn't think this movie was that good. We saw it at the cursed theater, but we came out relatively unscathed. I think the Shrek franchise is in its 9th life and hopefully this is the end of it. Puss was not that great of a character, maybe he is good in Shrek, but he is not good enough to carry a movie on his own. The comic relief came from Zach Galifianakis as Humpty Dumpty.  You can skip the 3D in this movie as well. A cat whisker looks pretty much the same in 2D as it does in 3D.

 Mike: I thought Puss in Boots was okay. I liked the first Shrek but wasn't crazy about the second. The third and fourth were awful. But Puss in Boots was a pretty cool character, so I was mildly looking forward to this. I was pleasantly surprised, as it turned out to be a slightly-above-run-of-the-mill animated comedy. While Puss in Boots is the character from Shrek, the film is set in what seems to be a completely different universe. It has its own, independent feel, which is good after being exhausted by those four Shrek films.