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.