December 31, 2012

Erica's Best of 2012

This was a very difficult one for me...I honestly keep changing the rankings....

1- Frankenweenie
2- Ted
3- Robot & Frank
4- Killer Joe
5- The Dark Knight Rises
6- The Five Year Engagement
7- Django Unchained
8- Argo
9- Dark Shadows
10- Dark Horse
11- Seven Psychopaths
12- Jeff Who Lives at Home
13- Wanderlust
14- Safety Not Guaranteed
15- ParaNorman

Honorable Mention:  2 Days in New York, Fantastic Fear of Everything, The Inbetweeners Movie, Compliance, Not Fade Away, Liberal Arts, Perks of Being a Wallflower, Silver Linings Playbook  

Mike's Best of 2012

1. Zero Dark Thirty
2. Killer Joe
3. Cloud Atlas
4. The Master
5. The Perks of Being a Wallflower
6. Safety Not Guaranteed
7. The Silver Linings Playbook
8. Argo
9. The Dark Knight Rises
10. Frankenweenie
11. Robot & Frank
12. Take This Waltz
13. Jeff Who Lives At Home
14. Beasts of the Southern Wild
15. Django Unchained
16. Arbitrage
17. Prometheus
18. Ted
19. A Late Quartet
20. The Loneliest Planet

Honorable mention: It aired as a 3-part special in the UK but is being released as a feature in the US in 2013, so I didn't include 56 Up, the latest in the outstanding Seven Up series. Aside from that, I also really liked: 21 Jump Street, Amour, Compliance, Dark Horse, A Fantastic Fear of Everything, The Five-Year Engagement, The Impossible, Killing Them Softly, Lincoln, Moonrise Kingdom, Not Fade Away, On the Road, ParaNorman, Promised Land, Red Hook Summer, and Wanderlust. And there were segments in Holy Motors that I absolutely loved, but then there were some parts that I didn't, so that one didn't make my top 20 either.

Erica's Worst of 2012

Erica: Wow I had a lot of movies to choose from this year for my 'worst of 2012' list.

Below are my top 10 followed by some additional ones that were bad, but not bad enough to make the list.

1- Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie
2- Rock of Ages
3- That's My Boy
4- This Must Be the Place
5- The Dictator
6- Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter
7- A Late Quartet
8- Hotel Transylvania
9- Bernie
10- Parental Guidance

(Dis)honorable Mention: Hitchcock, Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Guilt Trip, Save the Date, Bachelorette, Frankie Goes Boom,  I could go on for days...

Mike's Worst of 2012

Mike: I usually know which movies to skip, and I skip most of the ones that don't interest me or that I just know I won't like. But there are times (too many) that curiosity gets the best of me, and I watch something that I know is absolute crap. Or there are times when I watch something and expect it to be good and it's just a terrible disappointment. These are the films that I really didn't like in 2012, ranked from Worst (1) to Still Really Bad (10).

1. The Intouchables
2. Rock of Ages
3. Frankie Go Boom
4. Red Tails
5. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
6. Piranha 3DD
7. Tim & Eric's Billion Dollar Movie
8. Save the Date
9. Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
10. Wrath of the Titans

I also disliked: Battleship, Goon, Hotel Transylvania, Hysteria, Mansome, People Like Us, This Must Be the Place, Total Recall, and The Watch.

December 25, 2012

Rust and Bone - Landmark Sunshine

Mike: Rust and Bone is a ridiculous movie in which ridiculous things happen. It's silly in the absolute randomness of obstacles presented to the main characters. You meet a girl whose legs get bitten off by a killer whale and then manages a street fighter. More random obstacles present the two main characters throughout the film. But there's something in the sheer melodrama that makes it hard to look away and not enjoy it. Marion Cotillard is getting Oscar buzz, but I think any half-decent actress would have done just as well with such and overly dramatic part. This is an old-fashioned drama that we grew out of as we left the 1980s, and while I enjoyed it, it's absolutely ridiculous and silly. I must give props for a pair of scenes that use a Katy Perry song. You hear it early in the movie as Cotillard is about to have her legs bitten off, but when it recurs much later in the film, it's a genuinely moving moment, and perhaps the one thing that the movie really gets right.

December 23, 2012

The Loneliest Planet - IFC Center

Mike: This one was almost completely off my radar. I'd heard a bit about it, but only became interested when I saw it pop up on year-end top 10 lists. I had a day off from work so I went to see this one morning. I'm glad I did. It's an unconventional film that gets uncomfortably real as we follow a young couple and their tour guide through the countryside of Georgia (the country, not the state). Most of the film is dedicated to simply getting to know this couple, seeing how they react to their guide and take in the experience. I can imagine this being extremely annoying and boring to many, but I was able to bear with it and I'm glad I did. There's a bit of a twist along the way - not in the traditional sense, but it kind of changes direction at a certain point - the poignancy and challenge of which I found to be very rewarding for the 90 minute travelogue that preceded it.

December 21, 2012

Hitchcock - AMC Kips Bay 14

Mike: This is one of two competing films about Alfred Hitchcock that came out this year. The earlier one, The Girl, debuted on HBO a couple months ago and focused on the making of The Birds and Marnie. This one's just about Psycho. Both films were mildly interesting. Neither of these films were necessary. And both films present Hitchcock as a mysterious, impenetrable character. The make-up is impressive, but under the layers we don't get a good sense of who the guy was. In Hitchcock, we get a bit more of an understanding of the guy than in The Girl. If anything, we get a better understanding of the woman behind the man, in this one played by Helen Mirren.

Erica: I was sitting through this movie, just like through The Girl wondering when it was going to be over. Being a Hitchcock fan, I was looking forward to this movie and was highly disappointed. While I think this was better than the HBO movie that aired earlier in the year,  that does not mean by any means, was this a good movie. Helen Mirren did a great job as Hitchcock's wife and the almost unrecognizable Anthony Hopkins did a good job as the man himself. That is where the good parts of this movie end...for a Hitchcock, I feel like you may be disappointed with this movie.

December 20, 2012

Stand Up Guys - Elinor Bunim Monroe Film Center

Mike: For whatever reason, this is getting an Academy qualifying run for one week before opening sometime next year. Aside from a Bon Jovi song, it hasn't got  a chance. Stand Up Guys has some killer ingredients - Christopher Walken, Al Pacino and Alan Arkin - and a potent concept. But with all of that going for it, it just never pops off the screen. There are some humorous moments here and there, but overall it's a snooze to sit through. Pacino and Walken each play the annoying caricatures of themselves that we've all been tired of for years, and while Arkin's character has some genuine poignant moments, he's in and out pretty quickly. Don't get me started on the script, which plagiarizes Office Space and They Live (I'm sure there's more) presumably under the guise of homage.
Maybe I'm too harsh. It's not awful, but with so much else out there, this is one you can pass over.

Erica: I will not be as harsh as Mike, however this isn't a 'run out and see this movie the day it opens' movie. I feel like this movie has been made about a dozen or so times before. I also feel the actors have played these roles over and over again in their massive film careers so there is nothing special about this movie. For me, Stand Up Guys does not stand out. The actors are good, the performances are fine, but the wow factor is just not there.... 

December 19, 2012

Hotel Transylvania - AMC Loews Lincoln Square

 Mike: So you've got a funny cast of voices, a talented animation director, a funny writer, a cool concept with great potential... and you end up with Hotel Transylvania, a piece of shit that kids without taste who laugh at anything will love and adults will cringe through. Actually, almost everyone at the theater - adults included - seemed to be enjoying themselves. Even the adult sitting next to me, who will share her reaction below. So maybe it's just me who isn't enamored with continuous fart jokes and Sandler-sentimentality.

Erica: I have no idea what Mike is talking about....I was suffering through the entire movie. The concept was really cool and I was looking forward to this movie and was very disappointed. The second half was worse than the first half. Kids ate this movie up...I am not sure why. This movie is a piece of garbage that should not have gotten made.

December 16, 2012

Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 2- UA Court Street 12

Mike: I had an afternoon off so I went to see this by myself. I raced my bike to the theater and was about 10 minutes late. Then someone who couldn't make up their mind was in front of me in line, and I was certain that I'd miss the first few minutes of the movie. Turned out not to be the case. I ran up the 5 million escalators and into the auditorium to find that a trailer was still playing. Amazing! But then another played. And another. And a few more. I guess they started the movie very, very late.
I'm embarrassed to admit that I've seen all of the Twilight movies now. I rented the first one out of curiosity. I like to have my finger on the pulse of what's going on, what kids are into nowadays. As expected, it sucked. Then I watched the next one in an airplane - I think I was flying from Africa and had a long, long plane ride, so I figured I'd watch the second one to kill some time, and because I had seen pretty much everything else already. For the third one, I was on a plane from Europe. I didn't like any of them, but I was (again) curious to see what Bill Condon would do with the franchise and bought a ticket to Breaking Dawn Part 1. No surprise, I didn't care for it. And with just one left, I wanted to see what happened and how the story ended. And while it didn't make up for the previous four films, Breaking Dawn Part 2 was by far the best and most entertaining film of the series. I actually liked it!

December 15, 2012

The Hobbit - AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13

Mike: We got to see this a few days early at a Warner Bros media screening. I was worried it might not be screened in the much-ballyhooed 48 frames per second frame rate, but someone eventually confirmed that it was. The first twenty minutes or so were very weird. I've heard people use 70s BBC and uncalibrated HDTV to describe the look and feel, and that's about right. But at the same time, it looks absolutely beautiful. The 3D images were dazzling. I was simultaneously impressed and frustrated, not knowing if I could take this for another 2 1/2 hours. But to my surprise, I got used to it very quickly. It didn't bother me, with some exceptions here and there.
It made Erica a bit nauseous and she left after about a half hour, but that's mostly because she'd never seen a Lord of the Rings movie before and had zero interest. She just wanted to get me into the screening and check out the HFR.
I love Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy, and while The Hobbit doesn't really live up to that, it's a good film and a lot of fun. But I couldn't help like feeling like I was watching something stretched out, not much unlike American Idol or some other reality show where fifteen minutes of actual content are stretched to fit a two hour time slot. It held my attention, but I wonder how it will go over with casual filmgoers.

December 02, 2012

Butter - VOD

Erica: We were being lazy and decided to rent Butter on video on demand. The concept of this movie is about people competing in a butter competition....why this needed a movie is beyond me. There is a pretty decent cast it's just to me, the movie was not that interesting. My theory though is this...I would rather watch a bad movie from the comfort of my home then watching it in the theater so that was good. I enjoy watching movies on demand because sometimes they are available the same time as in theaters or even before they are in theaters and it is usually between $5-10 and if both of us are watching that is certainly cheaper than going to the theater, even with discount passes. Back to the movie...Jennifer Garner annoys me so I was pretty much turned off from second one but I decided to give it a chance...she is not any less annoying in this movie than in any other movie (she may even be more annoying here if that is possible). Her deep dimples bother me and it is very hard for me to get past...

The only exciting storyline had nothing to do with the butter carving competition at all (surprise surprise) and more of the seemingly overly perfect family's personal lives.

I say if you want to watch Butter watch it from the comfort of your own home.

Mike: I say don't watch it at all. It's not a terrible movie, but there's a reason it got a VOD release. Butter has a bad case of VODitis - like most movies that go the VOD route, it's not very good and after watching it, you realize why distributors didn't think it was worth the marketing costs associated with a traditional theatrical release (tough to market) or a platform release (poor to middling reviews, no word of mouth). See it on an airplane or rent it, when you feel like you've already seen everything else.

December 01, 2012

Seven Psychopaths - AMC Empire 25

Erica: Last weekend, AMC had a deal buy one ticket for Seven Psychopaths, get one free. We definitely took advantage of this deal as we had wanted to see it anyway. Add seeing it before 12 noon and that makes it even cheaper. This movie was very good. The cast was great and the movie itself was very well done. The concept of the movie interested me from the start and did not disappoint. It is a very quirky movie that is entertaining and funny from the start. Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, and Woody Harrelson are great as the main cast members in this dark comedy from Martin McDonagh.

Mike: I'm a huge fan of Martin McDonagh's In Bruges, so Seven Psychopaths was a film I was really looking forward to. McDonagh, like his brother, who wrote and directed last year's The Guard, is a brilliant wordsmith of humorous dialogue while giving us deep, tragic characters. Seven Psychopaths doesn't quite live up to to In Bruges (or The Guard, for that matter). We get some interesting characters and performances, but there's a bit too much packed in there. Maybe Five Psychopaths would have been better? Despite the shortcomings, which also includes a stretch in the middle that kind of lags, Seven Psychopaths is funny and touching. A great film to watch on a rainy afternoon.

November 30, 2012

Flight - UA Court Street 12

Mike: Welcome back Robert Zemeckis. After Disney dropped his animated motion capture production company, Zemeckis seems to be done with those stupid films for now. Well, they weren't really stupid. I liked his Christmas Carol with Jim Carrey and Beowulf, but his strengths are in live action and I felt he was kind of wasting his talents in animation. But Mars Needs Moms was atrocious - every bit deserving its bomb status (he didn't direct, but still...). So I'm glad to see Zemeckis back in the world of live action. In my estimation, Flight puts him back at What Lies Beneath levels (and listening to the soundtrack, I couldn't help but be reminded of Time Life greatest hits collection Forrest Gump). Which isn't bad.

I didn't think Flight was great, but I dug it. It's 2 hours and 20 minutes, but the time flies by. We saw it at the UA Court Street 12 in Brooklyn and I was shocked by some of the audience reactions. The Court Street theater is one of those theaters where people talk back at the screen, so it's easy to gauge exactly what people think of the movie, right as it's playing. Denzel Washington's character makes some pretty poor decisions in the film, and I found it pretty disturbing to hear how a number of people in the audience supported his decisions, or got angry when he tries to change his ways and take responsibility for his actions.

Erica: I was more entertained by the audience reactions than the movie to be honest. The film wasn't terrible but it wasn't that great either. It was above average. What made it better than above average is when people yell 'OH NO HE DIDN'T' and other fun exclamations from the audience (note: Denzel Washington cannot hear you...) John Goodman stole the show and this movie is worth watching just for his short time onscreen alone. I would say see this movie, but it is alright to wait for DVD. 

November 29, 2012

Wreck It Ralph - UA Court Street 12

Mike: It looked pretty cool, had a neat retro vibe, and got rave reviews. But I just didn't think it was all that great. Wreck-It Ralph has some funny characters, like Ralph and Fix-It Felix and an endless universe, but in my mind it made a huge mistake in setting so much of it in a candy/racing game world. Another portion of it is set in an equally-uninteresting Halo-type game, where we're introduced to a boring action hero character played by Jane Lynch.

Maybe I'm being a bit too critical. There are lots of funny moments and I loved the old gaming references, but I thought it went on a bit too long (10 minutes could easily be trimmed from the slow middle) and some of the characters weren't interesting.

Erica: I was very disappointed by this movie and I didn't really like it. I liked the idea of the movie but the execution and character development fell flat. I am not even a big fan of anybody in the movie. Even by cartoon standards they were irritating. I didn't feel sorry for the main character at all (even in cartoon form, John C Reilly plays the same role he usually plays in EVERY other movie he is in). I really cannot say 'run out and see this movie' because it isn't worth it. We also paid the extra fee to see it in not worth it. 

November 01, 2012

Compliance - Landmark Sunshine Cinemas

Mike: I really wanted to see Compliance but it was only paying at the Landmark Sunshine on Houston Street - a theater I love, but rarely go to because there are no discounts. But I'd been hearing so much about the film, I thought it would be worth $13.50. As it turned out, we didn't have to pay anything. We hadn't been here in a while and when we handed our Landmark loyalty membership cards, we were informed that the program was canceled due to limited interest, and anyone who had a card could redeem it for a free movie. Too bad...

As for the film, it's one of those movies that tends to make you feel extremely uncomfortable. I was blown away by the two lead performances, and the story unfolded in a way that it grabbed my attention throughout. Based on a true story that seems hard to believe, the film legitimizes how something this outrageous actually happened.

Erica: I didn't know anything about Compliance going into it except that it was based on a true story. I have been hearing a lot of great buzz about the movie so we decided to check it out. The acting was very good but as Mike said, it did make you feel slightly uncomfortable. It was hard to believe that this was a true story. It makes you feel for the people in the movie. Whether that feeling is feeling sorry for them or thinking they were suckers for believing it, is up to you. I recommend Compliance but skip the popcorn.

October 31, 2012

Hyde Park on Hudson - Alice Tulley Hall

Mike: The New York Film Festival is going on right now, and as usual, we're pretty much sitting it out. For a few reasons - not much to see, prices are too high, and tickets for the stuff we do want to see are gone before they go on sale to the general public. The first screening of Hyde Park on Hudson was sold out, until I happened to notice that new tickets went on sale later on. At $25.50 that was a bit steep, but whatever. The movie was just okay but I'm glad we went because we met Sting and Wallace Shawn at the end (they were waiting to get into the next screening).

So Bill Murray as FDR. It pains me to say it, but it doesn't really work. At times he's convincing, but at other times he seems incredibly miscast. It's a decent performance, and despite its Oscar double whammy (historical figure AND handicap) I doubt we'll see Murray competing for the gold in January. Murray is a brilliant actor but he has a certain style. And while he's someone with incredible range, the role of FDR is a bit outside of it.
Equally miscast is Laura Linney, who is in her forties and here plays a character in her forties... but who somehow behaves like a teenager. It added to the overall inconsistency of this film. Way more impressive and delightful were Olivia Williams as Eleanor Roosevelt, and Samuel West and Olivia Colman as King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. In fact, the storyline involving the British visitors was way more interesting than the plotline involving the Murray-Linney relationship.
But it's not at all terrible. The film takes full advantage of its beautiful setting. And while Murray and Linney don't deliver their best performances, they're sufficient. And that's basically what Hyde Park on Hudson is - sufficient, but not the greatness I had hoped for.

Erica: I agree that Bill Murray has had better performances. I think this movie will get overlooked by the Academy in January for Daniel Day Lewis' portrayal of Lincoln, but only time will tell. This movie was ok. The acting was fine, not great and Murray as FDR is definitely not believable (I have thought that since I saw the first trailer). We did get to see it a few months early (despite paying $25 per ticket) so I guess there is an advantage there. Meaning, it is one less movie we need to see on an already overcrowded plate of Oscar hopefuls come December/January. The highlight of the screening was meeting Sting (you can't say that everyday). I have to agree with Mike that the British royals storyline was WAY more interesting than FDR's and the best part of the movie is the picnic between the president's family and the royal family. That was very entertaining but the rest of the movie was a typical historical movie and some parts felt like it dragged a bit too long. 

October 30, 2012

Looper - UA Court Street 12

Mike: We invested in a bunch of passes for Regal Cinemas, which are good for any film that's been in theaters more than 12 days. So Looper was one of the films where we kind of held off for a bit, in order to take advantage of our discount passes.
Even though it had been out for over two weeks, Looper nearly filled up a medium-large auditorium on a Sunday afternoon. Thankfully, the audience mostly kept quiet. Mostly. The couple behind us kept whispering to each other, trying to figure out the plot.
Looper really builds up well, creating a fascinating future world and an interesting time travel plot. But about three quarters in, you begin to realize that there's no way to satisfactorily resolve the film. Happy ending or unhappy ending, a film needs to end in a way that makes you leave the theater with a fulfilled feeling. Looper, cool as it is, doesn't do that, building to an ending that you probably won't like.

Erica: As Mike said, Looper is a really cool film....until the last half hour. Disappointed with the ending, you leave puzzled as to why the director chose to end the film the way he did. Also, it takes a while to get over the prosthetics that Joseph Gordon-Levitt is wearing to look like Bruce Willis (which I personally do not even think he does). The rest of the movie is really good and very well done. If there was anyway to end the movie differently then you would have a great movie instead of a good movie.

October 29, 2012

Celeste and Jesse Forever - AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13

Mike: Celeste and Jesse Forever offers a new kind of relationship comedy drama, chronicling the post-divorce experiences of a young couple who are still in love. Much like this Spring's The Five-Year Engagement, it offers plenty of laughs but keeps the story a bit more grounded. Films like these are breathing new life into the tired romantic comedy genre.

Erica: I enjoyed this movie as it was a fresh take on the romantic movies that seem to always be the same movie. Instead of seeing the story of how 2 people fall in love and get married, we follow a couple who recently got divorced and their love for each other after the fact. This was a sweet, charming movie that is recommended for those who want a fresh take on a romantic comedy.

October 26, 2012

Cloud Atlas - AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13


Mike: We got another invite for a Warner Bros. media screening, so we happily took advantage of it. Especially since it was Cloud Atlas, the latest film from the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer, which I'd really been looking forward to. I'd heard mixed things. People seem to be kind of split on it, with some folks really loving it and others dismissing it as uneven. Personally, I loved it and it didn't disappoint me in the slightest. But I can totally see where those dismissive arguments come from. Me, I loved just about every minute of it, and thought that the enormous scope and spectacle matched its incredible ambitions.

Erica: First thing before I continue...this movie is LONG (2 hours 52 minutes). So before you run out to the theater, take that into consideration. Luckily, it didn't feel that long. I did feel like it dragged on a bit and easily could have had its run time cut down. I think the highlight of the movie for me was seeing each actor playing 7 or 8 different roles as you wondered who they were going to be next. We all know Tom Hanks can act, he has Oscars to show for that, who surprised me the most in this movie was Jim Broadbent who is always a character actor in British films. His characters, I feel, good the most laughs and best responses from me (although  may be biased as he was in Hot  Fuzz). The stories are engaging and the three hours, luckily goes by fairly quickly.  I feel there is something in this movie for everyone, but with all the mixed reviews and the very long run time, only time will tell.

October 18, 2012

Taken 2 - UA Court Street 12

Mike: Erica was out of town and I had a free Regal ticket (from our That's My Boy fiasco) in my wallet, so I walked a few blocks down to the UA Court Street 12. It was Saturday afternoon on opening weekend. Normally not something I'd do, but this was a movie that Erica had no interest in and I'd have to find a timeslot to see it in by myself. So off I headed, fully aware that it was going to be crowded and rowdy.

As it turned out, it wasn't that bad. Both the crowd and the movie. The room was filled about 80% to capacity, but the audience kept it together. A rarity. I didn't even see anyone with kids. The movie was on par with the first Taken. If you go see the movie, you'll get exactly what you expect. I was fine with that, since I kind of dug the first one. The premise is a bit different so that it's not a complete retread, but there is one minor issue: The bad guy is really, really dumb, and his motive (revenge for the deaths of his sons in Taken 1) is equally dumb.

October 16, 2012

Bachelorette - VOD

Mike: There's often a reason that films go the VOD route. Sadly, Bachelorette is no Margin Call. To me it seemed that Bachelorette couldn't really make up its mind on whether it was an outright comedy or an indie dramedy, resulting in something that had funny moments and even some poignant scenes but was ultimately uneven. It boasts some good performances from Lizzy Caplan, Kirsten Dunst and Adam Scott, but one of the problems is that most of the characters aren't likeable.

Erica: This was not a super memorable movie. I wasn't thrilled by this movie at all. It was alright, not great. To me, it seemed like they were just trying to cash in on the success of Bridesmaids. Even though I did not like Bridesmaids it was an original and fresh idea with a cast of comedic women front and center. Bacheloreete was just a mess and wasn't even really that great of a movie. I didn't really care what happened to anybody. It wasn't as raunchy as Bridesmaids or The Hangover even though it tried to be. It even had the token fat girl like in Bridesmaids. I say skip this movie in favor of something that will actually make you laugh.

October 15, 2012

3,2,1...Frankie Go Boom - VOD

Mike: We're big fans of some of the people who appear in this film, like Chris O'Dowd and Lizzie Caplan, so we were anxiously awaiting Frankie Go Boom (as it was titled before the VOD-friendly 3, 2, 1... was added (that makes it show up at the top, get it?)) to premiere on video on demand. It's set to come out in theaters in a few weeks. We like seeing movies on demand because it saves some money - the cost was $10, which is less than a single movie ticket. And because it's time efficient. To see a movie at the theater, you have to go there, watch trailers, wait, watch the movie and then go back. We like going to the movies, but we get plenty of that experience, so it's nice to see a new movie sometimes and save the money and 1 1/2 to 2 extra hours.
So Frankie Go Boom had a great cast and the storyline sounded funny. We were expected to be amused at the very least. Boy were we wrong. Frankie Go Boom was one of the unfunniest films we've seen this year. Nothing in this film works, and it's altogether boring as hell. What a disappointment. If the studio is hoping for word-of-mouth to propel this stinker for its theatrical release, they're in for a major letdown. 

Erica: This movie is just awful. I was expecting this movie to be really funny and it just wasn't. To be honest, I don't really remember much about this movie that was memorable and the scenes with Ron Perlman are extremely disturbing. The movie is good in theory and concept, but not in execution. I say skip this movie. It is definitely not worth the money (VOD or otherwise). 

October 05, 2012

The Trouble with the Curve - Cobble Hill Cinemas

Mike: As a Clint Eastwood superfan, I can't tell you how I excited I was when I heard that he was coming out of semi-retirement to act in another movie. And as a Clint Eastwood superfan, I can't tell you how disappointed I was after seeing this movie. It's not terrible, but it's loaded with schmaltzy sentimentality straight out of a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie. Eastwood seems to be reprising his Gran Torino character, which was interesting in that film but here borders on self-parody. Amy Adams has the more meaty part, and every moment on screen she seems way below her league (and that's coming from someone who generally doesn't care for Amy Adams). Justin Timberlake isn't in the movie too much, but still provides the majority of the film's countless eye-rolling moments (beware of eye-strain).
But even cheesy Hallmark films are sometimes fine family entertainment. I tried not to be so cynical while watching this movie and ultimately I enjoyed it. But considering it might be Eastwood's final performance, it's a letdown.

October 04, 2012

Arbritage - Cobble Hill Cinemas

Mike: Richard Gere is one of those actors who just keeps making movies and usually gives a good performance but too often is overshadowed by his co-stars. Finally, Arbitrage gives him his moment to shine. Arbitrage might not be the best movie - there are some questionable plot points that leave it a bit more to be desired - but it's sufficiently engaging and highly recommended simply due to Gere's performance.
I went to see this movie by myself because Erica wasn't interested, so I caught a matinee at Cobble Hill. Unlike the UA Court Street 12 a few blocks away, Cobble Hill still offers decent matinee pricing. There's no stadium seating and some things are a bit outdated, but the crowds are a bit less ghetto. Fair trade-off.
While seeing Arbitrage, I did have a strange experience - one that's never happened to me before. Two 40-something women sat two rows in front of me. They came in together but sat three seats apart. One of the women kept looking at her phone, which was annoying, but you know me - I'm not one to be confrontational, so I just sat and boiled. About two-thirds into the movie though, something peculiar happened. One of the women got up to use the bathroom. While she was gone, the other woman took out her cell phone, turned on the camera, pointed it at the screen, and began recording the movie. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. This went out for at least five minutes. I was considering going into the lobby and alerting a staff member, but then the other woman came back and she stopped. I guess she was just recording the movie for her friend so she could see what she missed after the movie. Crazy...

October 03, 2012

Dredd 3D - AMC Clifton Commons 16

Mike: I never read the comics, but I did see the much-derided Stallone film from 1995. And while I thought it was bad, I did enjoy it. I thought the commercials and trailers for this new Dredd looked absolutely awful, in particular Karl Urban's facial expression. It looked as if he was doing a bad Stallone impression, which puzzled me because I thought they were trying to distance themselves from that film as much as possible. I remember first seeing it on the cover of Empire Magazine or Total Movie Magazine a few months ago and could not believe that A) they were going with this, and B) they put this on the cover of a magazine. My expectations were pretty low.
Karl Urban still looks hideous with that helmet on, and he keeps looking that silly for the duration of the movie. But aside from that, Dredd's a pretty fun film. It's sort of a throwback to Verhoeven's RoboCop and sci-fi films from the early to mid nineties. In terms of action scenes and sci-fi go, Dredd really delivers.

October 02, 2012

End of Watch - AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13

Mike: I think Erica has a problem with Jake Gyllenhaal, so this was another one I had to go see by myself. I tend to dislike found footage films and think the faux-documentary style of The Office and Modern Family is way over-done at this point. End of Watch begins with the premise that everything is being taped for a school project, but it quickly becomes apparent that the handheld cameras aren't the only angles you see. Then what's the point? It's silly, but I went with it anyway, even though I was constantly distracted by the mix of camera angles. End of Watch is at its best and its worst when it doesn't take itself too seriously. When it's just a cool cop movie, it's great. When it gets a little carried away with the buddy cop relationship and other cute scenes, it's embarrassing. Overall, I had a good time but I would have preferred to see it told in a more traditional way. And without Anna Kendrick.

I think I had a problem with the entire cast....

September 29, 2012

Frankenweenie - IFC Center

Erica: I was super excited to get tickets to an advanced screening for Frankenweenie. As everyone already knows, I am a HUGE Tim Burton fan and loved the original Frankenweenie short that was made in 1984 so I was looking forward to the feature length animated version. I don't want to give too much away as the movie is not out yet but just know it was great and very Burton-esque. This is a movie that kids and adults will enjoy. There were some parts of the movie where I thought the kids would get scared, but they didn't and I am glad because I feel that this movie could be a hit, however, only time will tell. Highly recommend this movie. We saw it in 3D which looked great. The black and white was awesome and you don't even really notice it.

Mike: Unlike Erica, I didn't care for much that Tim Burton has done in the past decade. But Frankenweenie is a return to form. I absolutely adored it. The kids in the theater seemed to really like it, too, and I don't think they were distracted by the fact that it was in black-and-white. I'm curious to see how that goes over in the rest of the country.

September 22, 2012

Robot and Frank - Cobble Hill Cinemas

Erica: This movie title is the best way to describe what this movie is about Frank Langella plays a character named Frank (ironic, I know) and he is gifted a robot (named Robot-how clever) by his son for companionship. I thought this movie was great. I was not sure what to expect going in but it is clever, moving, and funny. This is exactly what I needed to help me transition from all those big budget summer blockbusters Hollywood has been cramming down our throats from the past few months. attention...if more movies like this were made, more people would give small indie movies a chance. There was no promotion for this movie that I can recall (maybe a trailer here and there in other independent movies), no commercials, no big fanfare, just a sweet genuine movie. If you get the chance to check this movie out, I highly recommend it as this is one of the most genuine, down to earth (maybe not the most realistic movies but who knows what technology has in store for us) movies I have seen in a while.

Mike: We went to the nearby Cobble Hill Cinemas to see this in a discount matinee for $7. I love going there if only for the old-fashioned theater intro that asks you to turn off your pagers. Anyway, I loved this movie, and this is a perfect film to recommend to your parents. Aside from the title, which due to the inclusion of the word 'robot' is subject to default dismissal by old people, Robot and Frank is a terrific 'old people' movie. And whereas this past Summer's old-people-trickling-into-theaters sleeper The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, this is one film that children and grandchildren dragged along to the theater are likely to enjoy as well.

September 21, 2012

The Watch - AMC Empire 25

Erica: We kept putting off seeing this movie, even content with seeing it on DVD, but yesterday we decided to go and see this movie. It's not that I didn't want to see it, I just didn't want to see it enough to rush out the theater. Mike and I have been obsessively watching the British TV show The IT Crowd lately so maybe being that one its stars Richard Ayoade was in this movie, we decided to see it...we should have just stayed at home. This movie was not funny, it really made absolutely no sense and is one of those unnecessary movies. I am not a fan of Ben Stiller or Vince Vaughn, but even if I was, I am still not sure if I would have liked this movie. I understand the bad publicity surrounding a murder involving a neighborhood watch may have played a role in this movie not doing well. It did not, however, play a part in the movie's awfulness. It is essentially 4 people who want to get away from their lives/families/ or lack thereof and need something to do. Ben Stiller is the leader and organizer of the group (if there was ever a group with Ben Stiller as the leader, run away). I think the most 'comic relief', if you can even call it that, comes from Hill and Ayoade. I say this movie is a definite pass and if you must see this movie, watch it at home, on cable, when it's free.

Mike: For some reason, six weeks after it opened (and bombed), AMC Empire was still showing The Watch a couple times a day. How it survived so long is beyond me. There were two other people in the audience for this 10:15 a.m. weekend showing. At times I felt like I was watching a movie from 2 or 3 years ago - only the mention of 2012 at one point in the film reminded me that I was watching something new that came out this year. Perhaps I was in this odd mindset because the humor in The Watch seems incredibly dated.
While it's not a terrible time waster, The Watch's numerous missteps and overall mediocrity make it one of the year's most unnecessary and forgettable films.

September 20, 2012

ParaNorman - AMC Clifton Commons 16

Mike: It took us a while to see this movie, which we both had long been anticipating. The showtimes in our Fandango phone app listed a noon showing, but when we arrived at the theater we found it was actually playing at 11:30. So we went to see Premium Rush instead and decided to come back the next day.
It was worth the wait. While ParaNorman might seem like a Tim Burton knock-off, it was actually much better than Burton's last stop motion release, The Corpse Bride, and it remains to be seen how it compares to next month's Frankenweenie.

Erica: Wow...ok...I LOVE Tim Burton and don't like the Burton comparison. I love Zombie movies and for some reason, every time I saw this trailer, it made me smile (for the record, this movie was NOT as good as The Corpse Bride). We were trying to see this and we finally did. This movie is a definite must-see. It was cute, sweet, charming and much better than Laika's last stop motion release Coraline. Norman and his friends were funny as were the ghosts. The voice talents were used well in this one and while it may be a bit dark at times, not super scary for kids.

September 19, 2012

Premium Rush - AMC Clifton Commons 16

Erica: We went to the theater to see ParaNorman but the time got changed to 30 minutes earlier so we missed it so opted to see Premium Rush instead. Now we had planned on seeing this the following day so we just adjusted our movie schedule (no big deal). My first issue with this movie began before the movie even started. There were two young kids in the theater. Now...this was the first showing of the day, so I was not fully awake yet. A note to parents: DO NOT BRING YOUR CHILDREN TO A MOVIE RATED ANYTHING OVER PG. WHEN 99.9% OF THE AUDIENCE IS ADULTS, WE ARE (IN THEORY) THERE TO WATCH THE MOVIE, NOT SEE AND HEAR YOUR KIDS. Movie theaters should instill a rule that children under a certain age are not allowed in to PG13 or R rated movies, even with adults present. While I often thing the MPAA ratings can sometimes be ridiculous, they are there for a reason. Premium Rush is rated PG13. From the MPAA website, here is what PG13 entails:

 PG-13 — Parents Strongly Cautioned. Some Material May Be Inappropriate For Children Under 13. A PG-13 rating is a sterner warning by the Rating Board to parents to determine whether their children under age 13 should view the motion picture, as some material might not be suited for them. A PG-13 motion picture may go beyond the PG rating in theme, violence, nudity, sensuality, language, adult activities or other elements, but does not reach the restricted R category. The theme of the motion picture by itself will not result in a rating greater than PG-13, although depictions of activities related to a mature theme may result in a restricted rating for the motion picture. Any drug use will initially require at least a PG-13 rating. More than brief nudity will require at least a PG-13 rating, but such nudity in a PG-13 rated motion picture generally will not be sexually oriented. There may be depictions of violence in a PG-13 movie, but generally not both realistic and extreme or persistent violence. A motion picture’s single use of one of the harsher sexually-derived words, though only as an expletive, initially requires at least a PG-13 rating. More than one such expletive requires an R rating, as must even one of those words used in a sexual context. The Rating Board nevertheless may rate such a motion picture PG-13 if, based on a special vote by a two-thirds majority, the Raters feel that most American parents would believe that a PG-13 rating is appropriate because of the context or manner in which the words are used or because the use of those words in the motion picture is inconspicuous.

OK now that I vented...onto the movie...

This movie was wasn't great, but it wasn't awful. Michael Shannon gave a great performance and it is definitely worth a watch just for him. Bike messengers in NYC have it rough, we all know that however I think this movie goes a bit overboard (the end of this movie is just utterly ridiculous and predictable). I see bike messengers everyday and I have never seen any of them act like this. Do they drive recklessly? Yes sometimes, but not as bad as food delivery cyclists (they are the worst and feel the sidewalk is a fine place to ride). At least bike messengers wear helmets and tend to not ride on the sidewalk...I do not know what goes on in the inside of courier service offices, but I am sure this movie took several liberties and made it a bit unbelievable. The movie is entertaining, I will give them that. Joseph Gordon Levitt is turning into one of those actors that I am sure we will all be sick of as he has 3 movies this year (TDKR, Premium Rush, and Looper) and shows no signs of slowing down. I say see this movie for Shannon's performance, but not necessarily in the theater.

Mike: I ride my bike through Manhattan on a daily basis so it was neat to see people in the movie bike where I'm biking a lot, too. But for all the efforts that went into making the story and screen match geographically, that's just about where the authenticity ends. Everything else is absolutely ludicrous and outrageous. But that's not to say the film isn't enjoyable, and thanks to an unforgettable villainous turn from Michael Shannon, very much worthwhile.

September 18, 2012

The Expendables 2 - Kips Bay 15

Mike: Erica wasn't interested, so I was on my own. I love the idea behind The Expendables and The Expendables 2, but often an idea or a concept is so much better than the end product. That was the case with The Expendables, which I thought was just so-so. The sequel really kicks things up a few notches. This time, it actually lives up to its concept. It's still a silly movie, but it's a lot more fun this time.

September 17, 2012

Lawless - AMC Clifton 16

Mike: Erica was turned off by the concept of a 'Shia LaBoeuf costume drama' (just 'Shia LaBoeuf' was in fact enough to turn her off), so I went to see it by myself. As a big fan of John Hillcoat's The Proposition, which I thought was among the best films of 2005, I had high hopes. While Lawless doesn't come anywhere near the brilliance of The Proposition, it's a fine bootleggers drama with an engaging ensemble cast. As easy as it is to dislike the guy, Shia LaBoeuf delivers a solid performance, easily holding his own against Tom Hardy. Guy Pearce has a meaty part, but gets carried away a little too much in trying to make his character a memorable bad guy. I thought it worth noting that Gary Oldman really just has a cameo here. I was expecting him to be part of the ensemble, but that wasn't the case.

September 16, 2012

Brave - UA Court Street 12

Mike: We saw this a few months ago but never got around to the review. I won't miss a Pixar movie, even if the trailers completely fail to capture my interest. That was the case with Brave. I wanted to see it because it was the new Pixar movie, but the trailers and commercials left me in the cold. In fact, upon viewing the film I kind of felt misled. There are major elements to the story that were completely avoided in all the promotional efforts that I noticed. There's a bear in the movie - something I had no clue about until I was sitting in the theater, watching the movie, and noticing that one of the main characters is a bear.
Ultimately, Pixar is pretty fool-proof and Brave is another fine film, even though it's one of their lesser efforts.


Is 2012 the year of movies with Crossbows?

 I, like Mike, will not miss a Pixar film. This one was not a love for me. This was one of the few I really felt like captured the magic of Pixar. Usually, when I watch a Pixar movie, I get so engrossed in the charactes and feel like I am a part of their world. With this one, I found myself looking at my watch, wondering when it will be over.  Mike is correct, there is no mention a Bear being one of the main characters in the trailer, but  feel that we are not really supposed to find that out in the trailer. I say if you are a Pixar fan, watch this one on DVD. Just to complete your Pixar viewings... 

August 30, 2012

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World - AMC Loews Village 7

Mike: I was looking forward to this movie, but we had a tough time finding a screening as it disappeared from screens incredibly fast after its dismal opening weekend. Thankfully, the Village 7 tends to hang onto films, allowing them to build an audience, and miraculously they held this one over for a few weeks.
My problem with Seeking a Friend is that it fails to live up to its concept and its title, which make it sound like something really cool. Even the trailer was good, and if you've seen the trailer, you've seen most of the best parts of the movie.

Erica: The trailer was good? You know the trailer was alright, I think good is too strong of a word. This movie, although has a good concept, is so unbelievable as Steve Carrell and Keira Knightley together are probably one of the worst on-screen couples and I felt that there was absolutely no chemistry between these two. I feel like like I was watching a really bad first date....that wouldn't end....Seeking the end credits for this movie would have been a better title....if this is how the world ends....just kill me now cause it is going to suck...

August 28, 2012

Beasts of the Southern Wild - Brooklyn Heights Cinemas

Mike: Brooklyn Heights Cinemas is closing, so I wanted to enjoy a few more films there before they do. Nowadays I find it to be a pretty cool experience when I go see a first-run film and it's 35mm projection. That experience has become incredibly rare lately, and while watching Beasts of the Southern Wild in 35mm I felt a bit sad about that.
Beasts of the Southern Wild is a fantastic film that is totally deserving of its indie breakout status. It's a marvelous achievement highlighted by an original, unique story, moving performances, and a memorable score. It's a film I'll certainly remember at the end of the year. As a Summer release, I just hope others will remember it, too.

August 27, 2012

Total Recall - AMC Loews 34th Street

Mike: Erica didn't really want to see this so I went to see it by myself. In retrospect, I'm jealous of her. It's absolutely unnecessary. It brings nothing new to the table and falls far short of the original. It's incredibly disappointing, especially for someone like me who revered the original.
I also felt like I was watching a toned down TV cut of the a movie. Two moments that stick out are a scene in which you see someone mouth the word 'asshole' but it's muted, and another strange moment where Kate Beckinsale's character says "I give good wife" which makes no sense and is an obvious alternate take done for the TV version.
I sometimes wish I didn't bother seeing a movie, but that's never really true. Seeing a movie, as bad as it might be, feeds my curiosity. If I didn't see it, I would always wonder about it. So to say I wish I hadn't wasted my time on Total Recall isn't entirely true. Instead, I wish it had simply never been made. I wish it didn't exist. In fact, throughout much of the movie I found myself asking Why? Why does this movie exist? Who wanted this? Judging by the box office returns, nobody.

August 26, 2012

The Dark Knight Rises - AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13 & IMAX

Mike: You've heard our spiel before - New York City has just one real, true, honest-to-God IMAX screen, and it's at Lincoln Square. That meant that this would be the only place where we wanted to see The Dark Knight Rises, our most anticipated film of the year (and the last few years, probably). The theater put midnight screenings on sale months ago, long before they were actually supposed to, and it sold out very quickly. I wasn't aware that they went on sale, so I was pissed to find out that it was already sold out. So we waited until tickets officially went on sale for other showings, and we managed to get two tickets for the 6 PM opening night showing.
As expected, it was a madhouse. I got in line hours before the screening started, and already the line was wrapped all the way down the stairs. When we finally got into the room, the best seats were of course already taken, but we managed to get a pretty good seat.
What's nice about the IMAX screen here is that at the top, by the exits, there are additional bathrooms that very few people know about, so it's pretty quiet. A few minutes before showtime I made a quick run, and there was only one other guy in the bathroom. I only mention and remember this because the guy used the toilet and didn't wash his hands, which totally grossed me out. I wanted to say "Sir, you forgot to wash your hands" but of course I said nothing.
The entire audience was surprised when the movie started, a few minutes after the scheduled showtime. No trailers whatsoever. The movie just started and a collective "wait, this is it?" was apparent.
As for the movie - I really liked it, but it was nowhere near the greatness of the previous installment.

Erica: Yeah ok. Here it is 'the movie of the summer'....I was stoked! I went to use the restroom a couple minutes before the movie started and when i came back in, the movie had already started...what was up with the no previews?! Anyway, I LOVE Batman, I remember when I was a kid, they reran the 60s series with Adam West and Burt Ward and I would rush to the TV to watch it so I have been hooked on the Caped Crusader from an early age. This movie was awesome. Even though I do agree with Mike that the previous installment was a better film, I feel like this was a great way to wrap up Nolan and Bale's trilogy. I don't even really think I have to write a's freakin' Batman! What can I say? This is the movie of the summer that everyone was waiting for for years and it was worth it. Whoever is the next person to reboot the Batman franchise has a big cowell to fill. I do want to address one thing....what happened in Colorado is tragic and I do feel that it scared some people away from attending the movies, especially this one in particular but please do not let this steer you away from the theater, go grab your sidekick and use your Batarang to get to the theater (a REAL IMAX screen please) to see this epic film.

August 25, 2012

Killer Joe - AMC Empire 25


Mike: William Friedkin is one of those directors who I admire but who hasn't made anything great, in my opinion, since Sorcerer in 1977. Finally, he returns to form with Killer Joe, easily his best since To Live and Die in LA. I absolutely loved it and it's one of my favorites of 2012 so far.
We went to see this at the AMC Empire 25 in Times Square. I appreciated that, as a multiplex chain, they were willing to show an NC-17 film. I hope it paid off for them, although I was a bit troubled to see the film quickly reduce its number of daily showings. There was someone at the door to check ticket stubs, to prevent kids from sneaking in, so perhaps the extra labor might be an issue.

Erica: I was so pleasantly surprised at this movie. It was funny and disturbing at the same time. I am not a Matthew Mccounaughey fan, however he was great in this movie. This was just great casting (wonderful work from Thomas Haden Church as well), amazing writing, and wonderful directing. This is definitely one of the best of 2012. I am not super familiar with Friedkin's films but if they are like this one, I am going to watch them all immediately. I highly recommend this film. There is one disturbing sex scene but if you are squeamish, I highly recommend this film. It may not be at your local multiplex, but it is worth the trek out to your local indie theater.

August 24, 2012

The Bourne Legacy - AMC Loews Kips Bay 14

Mike: I'm one of the few people who doesn't really care for the Bourne movies. I enjoyed the first one, but I thought they became more convoluted and boring as the series went on. I really disliked the third one, which got so much acclaim. But I seemed to be the one person on the planet who hated it. I couldn't stand the distracting fast-paced editing. But I was curious to see what Jeremy Renner would bring to this universe, and I was also curious to see how they would fit this into the franchise without the title character. Kind of like when they made Smokey and the Bandit III, or even Laverne & Shirley after Shirley left or Chico and the Man after Chico died. It's a Bourne-less Bourne movie, which is a pretty audacious move from the studio to produce and market and expect people to go see.
I was happy to see that Legacy takes the franchise back a few notches and utilizes a more straight-forward way of storytelling. I found it more pleasant to watch unfold than the two previous installments. I'd say it's worth a rental, but of course, my view on the Bourne series is so far off from the general consensus that I don't think it matters.

August 23, 2012

Rock of Ages - AMC Loews Kips Bay 14

 'Nothin' But A Good Time?' what did they pay THAT PR firm to write that?!

Erica: We saw this after Ted so my view may be skewed because Ted was so good but this movie sucked. There is no other way to describe it. I am a Russell Brand fan but this movie was just making me uncomfortable. I just really wanted it to be over. It was like going to a bad concert but with actors. The acting was bad, the singing was worse....I just have no wasn't entertaining, it was painful. When I was watching Ted, I was enjoying myself and laughing so hard tears were running down my face. This movie had tears running down my face for a different reason...

Mike: Here's a film I was really looking forward to. I thought the casting was awesome and figured this would be fun. Instead, it ended up being possibly the worst film I've seen this year. A terrible disappointment. The music is awful. The singing voices are awfully auto-tuned. Everything about the film is awful.

August 17, 2012

The Amazing Spider-Man - Regal E-Walk 13

Yeah....the 'Untold' Story....ummmm...

Mike: We waited a while to see Spider-Man because we wanted to avoid the opening weekend crowds and because, while we liked Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy and love the character, we weren't all that crazy about seeing the origin story re-told. It's a bit too soon for a full-on reboot. I think people are fine with re-castings, or just starting without the origin story. Remember Tim Burton's Batman? No origin story there - just some flashbacks. I wish that could have been the case with The Amazing Spider-Man. Instead we get another hour-plus from-the-beginning superhero film. The spider bite, the discovery of super powers, the death of Uncle Ben... for much of the film I felt totally aware of the fact that I was watching a re-hash. But what's interesting is that the first half of the film is actually more enjoyable than the second half. I think the filmmakers were way too focused on getting the origin story right (which they handled decently) and the actual story - Spider-Man vs. Lizard - is sort of an after-thought.
I thought Andrew Garfield was fine as Peter Parker. I don't really care for Emma Stone, whose mix of annoying cheeriness and cigarette ash grinds on my nerves. Sally Field and Martin Sheen were a bit too obvious and a bit too high-profile castings for my choice.

Erica: I agree with Mike on multiple fronts. Most notably: IT WAS WAY TOO SOON FOR ANOTHER SPIDER MAN MOVIE! I feel like the last trilogy just ended now we are back with Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone (equally as unpleasant as Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst). I enjoyed the first 3 movies, don't get me wrong, I just didn't need to see it again so soon. Note to movie studios: I know America has a short term memory issue (and get bored easily so they need their smartphones everywhere they go)....however all of America remembers seeing 3 movies similar to this one just a few short years ago. Hopefully this will not turn into the same exact trilogy we saw last time.

August 16, 2012

Savages - Clifton Commons 16

 Mike: Erica wasn't around so I went to see this by myself while visiting my parents in New Jersey. The auditorium I was in had stadium seating but the rows were awfully close to each other, making for a cramped experience. I sat in the middle at first but had to move to railing seats to give myself enough leg room. I normally sit in those seats all the time, but there were only a few left so that's why I sat in the middle at first.
I love most of Oliver Stone's earlier films, but his efforts in the last fifteen years have been mixed. Savages promised a return to Natural Born Killers/U-Turn craziness for Stone, and I guess it accomplished that. Savages is a fun film and I enjoyed as light-hearted action eye candy.

August 14, 2012

The Campaign- AMC Lincoln Square 13


Mike: We were invited to a press/media screening of The Campaign, held a few days before the film opened at the AMC in Lincoln Square. This AMC is known for its authentic IMAX screen, but it also has another big auditorium which has a balcony. They tend to use this room for special screenings so it was no surprise that we'd be in here. As usual, we sat up in the mezzanine.
Before we entered, we were told to keep our cell phones off during the movie and had to subject ourselves to metal detector wands. We were also handed production notes, which I can't imagine anyone actually reading but I guess they help journalists write their reviews. The audience was pleasant - many of them go to these screenings all the time and need to be invited to them in the future, so everyone tends to behave.

As for the movie, I was looking forward to it. The trailers looked funny. I like the stars. It seemed like an interesting concept. It delivers on these promises, but it lacks in consistency. There are laughs - including some incredibly funny moments - but not enough. It's amusing enough to keep your attention, but from the funny trailers I expected more laugh-out-loud moments (not that I'm someone who ever does that in a theater, anyway). As political satire, the characters are too far out of reality for it to pack any significant punch.

Another problem is that Ferrell and Galafianakis are playing only slight variations of characters we've seen them play before. Ferrell has played cocky/dumb politicians before, and Galafianakis' character is too much the roles he played in Due Date and The Hangover. Also, both of the characters are extremely dumb, so their character arcs are a bit tough to go along with whenever the script conveniently calls for it.

The Campaign will provide you with enough laughs to tide you over, but you'll probably wish there was a bit more to it.

Erica: I am not a Will Ferrell fan, but my friend had gotten us into this screening so I figured I may as well watch it as Mike wanted to see it. It was disappointing to say the least as I found the trailers funny. The movie wasn't horrible, it was entertaining but it didn't entertain me enough. For an 85 minute run time, it is fine but I wanted more. It could have been so much funnier. Will Ferrell seems like he always plays the same character in every movie. Although, I guess nobody wants to see him play an intellect. Anyway, I suggest if you want to watch this movie, to watch it on DVD and don't waste your money seeing it in the theater....and this is coming from someone who saw it for free.

August 05, 2012

Ted - Kips Bay 14

Erica:  We started out a double feature night with Seth MacFarlane's directorial debut of Ted.

I LOVE Seth Macfarlane's work. Family Guy, American Dad, Cleveland so naturally I was excited about his first feature film. I have to admit I was a bit disappointed by the trailer so when I went into the movie, I did not have high hopes. What I got was an amazingly funny, sometimes even touching movie. I was laughing for the entire movie and was genuinely entertained. If I can get that out of a movie, it is a great night at the cinema. Ted is rude, crude, and lewd and I loved every minute of it. I wish I had Ted as my friend.

We started out our double feature night with a was going to be hard to top....will Rock of Ages top it??

Mike: I hated, hated, hated the trailers and was fearing the worst. I love Seth MacFarlane and watch all his shows, but the trailers and commercials did not make me laugh at all. I was not looking forward to seeing this movie and figured I'd be subject to the same type of jokes from the trailer. Boy was I wrong. I found Ted to be absolutely hilarious, and maybe the funniest movie of the year so far. It's an outstanding first-time film for Seth MacFarlane. The humor is very much in line with that of Family Guy, as is the pacing. I'm excited that Ted is such a big hit, which will surely lead to more of Seth MacFarlane at the movies.

August 04, 2012

That's My Boy - Regal E-Walk 13

Erica: Sorry for the long absence, all, we have been very very busy. We promise to try and keep up for you guys so you know what to see and skip at the cinema.

That's My Boy...where to begin. Well I should start with our 'non-review'. We were originally scheduled to see this movie at the Regal Court Street 12. We had gotten discount tickets ($5/ticket) so we figured we may as well use them on a movie that is going to be terrible. We got our tickets, arrived at the theater, they ripped our ticket we got to the theater, it said That's My Boy on the theater marquee and we go inside, what's on the screen? People Like Us I went outside to tell the staff that and they said 'oh, we thought that was the trailer.' They then told me that they needed to stop that movie (there were people there to watch it) and move all of those people...trying not to scream I wanted to say, wouldn't it be easier to put us in the theater where that movie was supposed to be playing? They didn't let me wait outside, I had Mike inside securing our seats and about 7 other people who wanted to see That's My Boy as well. I didn't want to be disruptive to the people inside yet they said wait inside so I did. Then they yelled 'FOR ANYBODY HERE FOR THAT'S MY BOY PLEASE COME OUTSIDE.' Argh! That is what I was trying to do in the first place. Once we all went outside they tell us they canceled our took that long to tell us this. They said to go to the box office to get refunds. We got a refund for the full ticket price as well as free tickets to come back to see any movie we want. So we basically made money to NOT see this movie. I wish that would happen to us more in the future.

Now onto our real review...cut to a few days later....

The movie started and it was the correct movie so we are already off to a good start (we did use free tickets to see the movie so we didn't pay...even better start)...

The movie was better than I thought it would be. The problem is Sandler hasn't been funny since the mid 90s so I was not expecting very many (if any) laughs. His last big screen debacle, Jack and Jill was a cringe fest so I was hoping this wouldn't be as bad. To my surprise, it wasn't. I laughed a few times (please note the word FEW) and those laughs were few and far between and faded very quickly. Samberg is fine on SNL but isn't very convincing as the 'straight man'. I think the funniest parts of the movie came when Samberg was hanging out with his dad and his party friends. I will cautiously recommend this movie as a 'watch on DVD or on TV' film.

Mike: As proud as we were to be paid $44 to essentially NOT SEE this movie, curiosity got the best of us and we ended up going back. Something that wasn't exactly easy to accomplish, as the film had all but vanished from NYC screens after two weeks. We ended up catching it at the Regal E-Walk using one of the free passes we were given.
Adam Sandler is known for his family comedies, and I was happy to see him try an R-rated film again. Sandler's trademark schmalz is what I usually hate most about his films, and one of the (few) things That's My Boy has going for it is that it isn't aimed at families, so the awkward emotional scenes are pretty much gone. I must shamefully admit that I somewhat enjoyed That's My Boy. It made me laugh. I thought it was terrible, but I enjoyed myself and laughed. I'm embarrassed to admit this, but that's just the way it is. Nobody's perfect.