March 22, 2012

John Carter- AMC Empire 25

Mike: Too much has already been derived from the Edgar Rice Burroughs' John Carter books. Star Wars, Dune, Planet of the Apes... It has inspired so much of the science fiction books and films that followed it, so it's no surprise that the long-awaited, long-in-development movie just doesn't really work. Watching it, I couldn't help but feel like I've already seen it. It's somewhat enjoyable and there are some cool things to be seen on the screen, but it feels like there's something missing. Something that we've been conditioned to expect from our big box office sci-fi films. I never read any of the John Carter books, so I have no idea how faithful the adaptation is. And maybe the film is highly satisfying to fans of the books, I don't know. Maybe a bit too much of the film is set up for what's supposed to happen in the follow-ups.
There were some things though that I did really like. I really liked the bookend parts set in the late 1800s. But as a whole, the movie was just a bit too die-hard sci-fi for me. And that's coming from a sci-fi fan.
All that said, the film was somewhat interesting and amusing at times, and it's a shame that we won't see the sequels. I guess I'd have to read the books to find out what happens next. (not going to happen)
Erica: I think Mike was on to something when he said that the movie just doesn't really work. The movie isn't that original, or that good for that matter...I like Sci-Fi movies (and Disney movies), that is not the issue I had with this movie. I was just bored while watching the movie. I wanted more. I would think a movie that that has been in development since the 80's would have been stellar...but I guess that was entirely too much to ask for. I know they dropped the 'From Mars' part of the title, which made no difference. We know he was on Mars, it wouldn't have made the movie any better or any worse. This is being known as one of the biggest movie flops of all time, and I am sure it will stay that way...I say pass on this one unless you are a die-hard fan.

March 21, 2012

Jeff, Who Lives at Home- AMC Roosevelt Raceway 10

Erica: To me, seeing this movie opening weekend was a no-brainer as I LOVE Jason Segel and will watch him read the phone book as I know it will be funny. Also, I enjoyed the Duplass' brothers last film, Cyrus. We were at my mom's house for the weekend so we saw this movie on Long Island, this isn't my favorite theater but it was fine cause it was empty, the people are well-behaved and I was able to freely take pictures of movie posters. This is a bit of a departure for both Segel and Helms, as it is a bit more serious. Of course, it has its funny moments but overall it is more serious roles for both of the leads. I can relate a lot to Jeff (not the living in his mother's basement thing, the fate and destiny and looking for signs thing). I really enjoyed this movie and highly recommend it to everyone. A highlight is Segel's character Jeff sitting in his brother Pat's Porsche (it was just funny to me to see a 6 foot 4 inch man sitting in a Porsche). All of the performances in this movie were great and the writing was very good as well. I may be biased due to Jason Segel being in the movie so maybe Mike can shine a less biased light on this movie...

Mike: I thought Jeff, Who Lives at Home was very funny and very touching, and another really good film from the Duplass brothers. At 83 minutes it breezes by. At first I was a bit distracted by the subplot involving Susan Sarandon and how disconnected it was from the main Ed Helms/Jason Segel part of the storyline, but as the beginning of the film suggests, everything is connected.

March 20, 2012

Journey 2 The Mysterious Island - UA Court Street 12

Mike: I really just wanted to see the Daffy Duck cartoon at the beginning, so we took advantage of a Fandango offer and saw this in 3D for $5 at the theater a few blocks down the street. We usually avoid this place like the plague but figured that this movie would be almost completely empty at 5:30 p.m. for a movie that's been out for several weeks. There were two other people in the auditorium. As is custom at the UA Court Street 12 in Brooklyn, people wander in and out of the room throughout the film. I guess they just hang out at the movie theater and move from screen to screen, catching bits and pieces of all kinds of films. There weren't too many today. Usually, if they're not alone they come in and talk, but today they were pretty quiet. Overall it was a fairly pleasant filmgoing experience. The one problem we noticed was that one of the speakers was blown, so the sound sucked. It wasn't terrible - we were still able to enjoy the movie. But it was something we noticed for the entire runtime, and it was annoying. I really wish theaters stayed on top of this type of stuff. We only paid $5 so I had no reason to complain, but if I had paid the regular price of $17 I would have been pissed. Everything else was fine - it was nice digital projection, and it was cool to finally see that Regal rollercoaster opening bit in 3D.
As for the movie, I enjoyed the first Journey but found it a bit too corny. This one is slightly better - The Rock is cooler than Brendan Fraser - but still awfully corny. But it was also a nice, wholesome family film, and I appreciate that there are films like this that a family can see together and everyone can enjoy. Also, Daffy's Rhapsody was awesome.
Erica: I am very glad that this movie theater was empty because I was super embarrassed to have seen this movie. For 5 bucks, I can't really complain, but the movie was pretty bad and I didn't need to see The Rock doing his peck dance in 3D (or 2D for that matter). Also, Michael Caine deserves better than this.

March 19, 2012

W/E - AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13

Mike: I'm playing catch-up with a movie I saw in early February. W.E. was nominated for an Oscar, and since it didn't play in New York until February, it was one of the few that I hadn't seen yet. Erica had zero interest, so I caught an early screening on a Sunday morning. It's obvious why I've put off writing anything. The visit was absolutely uneventful. We've had our share of horror stories at the AMC Lincoln Square, but nothing was of note today. And, while Madonna proves to be a capable filmmaker, I found W.E. to be the ultimate meh film. Switching between two time periods - the 30s and about 10 years - I thought the period parts were somewhat interesting. You get to see the flipside of The King's Speech - the story from the viewpoint of the American floozie blamed for King Edward's abdication. Something I appreciated, even if it was boring at times. But I really didn't care about the present-day storyline (or, about a decade ago) about an auction house worker in an abusive relationship. The connection was silly and trivial and the entire storyline surrounding the auction was corny and uninteresting. But just for the parts of the film involving Wallis Simpson and King Edward, it was worth watching.

March 13, 2012

Margaret - Cinema Village & Walter Reade Theater

Mike: Years after wrapping up production, Kenneth Lonergan's Margaret quietly opened, and quickly closed, at the Landmark Sunshine on Houston Street last Fall. As a huge fan of Lonergan's previous, You Can Count On Me, and having long been fascinated by the never-ending saga and controversy surrounding the film's post-production, I really wanted to see it. But I didn't. Reviews were pretty bad. It was 2 1/2 hours. I had a few opportunities to catch it but kept procrastinating. After it left the Sunshine, I figured I'd watch it on DVD in a few months. Something I mildly regretted, until many weeks later when I read more reviews of the film and found a handful of rave reviews. After a petition tried to encourage Fox Searchlight to schedule more screenings for end-of-year lists and awards consideration, I really kicked myself for missing it. Thankfully, it was booked at the Cinema Village in late December, and I made a point not to miss it. And I'm glad I didn't. Margaret was one of my favorite films of 2011.
It's been called a flawed masterpiece so many times now - something I agreed with at first, but ultimately to me it's simply a masterpiece. I can recognize the flaws and how muddled the film becomes towards the end, but I must admit to being completely engrossed by the characters and story throughout the 2 1/2 hour running time. There are so many facets to the film - so many avenues for interpretation. At times you feel sorry for certain characters, other times you admire them, and then moments later they'll do something that makes you completely despise them. I kept wondering what certain characters might represent, or how they don't represent anything but might tempt us to think they do. I particularly admired how much of a period piece the film is and how it captures a place and time but still manages to be so universally relatable. I thought it was absolutely brilliant. So much so that I didn't mind the week of back and neckpain I suffered from seeing it from the front row of the Cinema Village.
Margaret was the third in a triple feature for me that day. The second was In the Land of Blood and Honey, which I saw at the AMC Loews 19th Street a few blocks away. I rushed over to the Cinema Village to buy my ticket afterwards and had plenty of time, but I was starving (AMC didn't have its Smart Snacks, which I was counting on to hold me over until I was done with my movie day). So after I bought the ticket, I quickly got some lunch. By the time I was back at the theater, the room was packed and I sat in the front row. I had extra legroom, but sitting in a very compromised position I was left with terrible back and neck pain for the next few days.
Not to complain about the Cinema Village, though. I've been there only a few times before and generally dig the place. I was running fairly late, so it was completely my own fault. Though I'd like to blame AMC for not having healthy food, which forced me to get something in between screenings.
In February, The Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center held a special screening of Margaret as part of the Film Comment Selects series. Naturally, I had to go, and this allowed me to bring Erica and another friend as well so they could see what the hell I've been blabbing about since December. Kenneth Lonergan, Matthew Broderick, Jean Reno and a number of other cast and crew members showed up for this event. The audience was filled with familiar faces, too - we saw Michael Cera, Dianne Wiest, Victor Garber and others also show up to see what all the hoopla's about.
Margaret should be coming to DVD in the next few months. In his Q&A, Lonergan only scratched the surface and I can't wait to hear what else he has to say about the film, and hopefully see an extended cut of the film.

Erica: Wow, After Mike's lovefest I don't need to write much. I am not a fan of Anna Paquin so a 2 1/2 hour movie with her as the lead was not that exciting to me. The movie was not bad. I essentially went to shut Mike up, but the q and a was interesting. The story was interesting but I do think the film could have been a bit shorter. Plus, I was distracted by Matthew Broderick's socks during the Q and A (they had what looked like fat snowmen on them....) anyway I do think this film is worth watching when it comes to DVD if for nothing else but to see what the controversy is all about.

March 12, 2012

Friends with Kids - AMC Loews Lincoln Square 13

Erica: I am a huge fan of Adam Scott so going to see him in a starring role on the big screen was a definite. Seeing him do a Q and A afterwards. ABSOLUTELY!! This movie had a great deal of the cast from Bridesmaids (Kristen Wiig, Jon Hamm, Maya Rudolph, and Chris O'Dowd) If you are expecting Bridesmaids type raunch, you will be disappointed. I was in because of Scott and O'Dowd, but was expecting more comedy. I would describe this movie as a dramedy more than a rom com. That being said, it was a good way to spend an evening at the movies. Adam Scott was funny but more charming and while it had its moments of laughter and over the top silliness, it was a great story about what actually happens to couples once kids are involved. I recommend this movie if you want a movie with comedy and heart.

Mike: I generally don't care for romantic comedies, or romantic films in general, but Friends with Kids didn't really fit in that mold. It's a genuinely enjoyable film, mostly thanks to a great cast. It's an interesting concept and it weaves in a lot of insights on relationships and how they're affected by children. But there were a number of instances where I feared that the film, while original and different from standard romantic comedies, would fall into the same old tired and predictable romantic comedy routines. And ultimately it did, which is a shame. Nonetheless, Friends with Kids brings enough to table with its funny, earnest performances and honest views on modern relationships to make it a worthwhile way to spend 100 minutes. Not a good movie for a first date, or if you haven't been dating very long, but a great movie to see on a date with your wife, fiance or longtime partner.

March 07, 2012

10 Ways to Save Money at the Movies, or: Why Only Suckers Pay $13

The act of going to the movies can be frustrating enough - something we've written plenty about. But when you leave the theater after wasting two hours to sit in a room where manners and courtesy don't seem to exist to see a mediocre movie, the idea that you just spent thirteen bucks or more doing so adds even more of a sting. It's even worse when you're taking the kids - for a family of four to see a 3D movie and have some popcorn and sodas can cost over $100, depending on where you live. But it doesn't have to be that way.

In 2011, Erica and I went to the movies just over 100 times. Yup, we catch quite a lot of flicks, so it's a hobby we put a lot of money into. And we live in New York City, home of the $13 dollar movie ticket, and we saw almost all of these films in Manhattan.  But for 2011, the average we spent per ticket was $8.50 - and that includes lots of 3D and IMAX showings, visits to the premium priced Cinema Suites and other dinner theaters, as well as other more expensive (up to $30/ticket) special screenings with Q&As with directors and stars (who we then harass to pose for pictures and sign our DVDs and Blu-Rays).

The average ticket price in the United States in 2011 was $7.93, so many of you must find it hilarious to hear us boast about our $8.50 average. But it's no joke in the higher priced parts of the country. The $7.93 average ticket price is brought down by suburban and other regionally adjusted pricing, matinees, rush hour shows, second-run theaters, and reduced child, student and senior prices. In New York City, as well as other big cities, those discounts aren't always available and a visit to the movies can be expensive. A ticket for a 3D IMAX movie in Lincoln Square runs $20. $20!!

But between the two of us we saved more than $1,000 on movie tickets (based on standard $13 price per regular ticket or $16-20 for films we saw in 3D and/or IMAX). So how did we do it? And more importantly, how can you? Read on for 10 Tips to Save Money at the Movies.

March 05, 2012

Man sues theater for over-priced snacks

I found this article on Huffington Post.

I have included a link to the article here.

Here is an idea for Joshua....bring a snack from home or eat before you go to the theater.