February 25, 2012

Erica & Mike's Oscar Predix

Erica won the last two years. Let's see who wins this year.

Best Picture:

Erica: Hugo should win, The Artist will win
Mike: The Tree of Life should win; The Artist will win

Best Actor:

Erica: I think Jean Dujardin should and will win
Mike: Gary Oldman should win; George Clooney will win

Best Actress:

Erica: Viola Davis will win
Mike: I don't think anyone should win, but Viola Davis will win

Supporting Actor:

Erica: Christopher Plummer should and will win
Mike: Christopher Plummer should and will win

Supporting Actress:

Erica: Berenice Bejo should win, Octavia Spencer will win
Mike: Janet McTeer should win; Octavia Spencer will win

Best Director:

Erica: Martin Scorsese should and will win
Mike: Terrence Malick should win; Michel Hazanavicius will win

Original Screenplay:

Erica: The Artist should and will win
Mike: A Separation should win; Midnight in Paris will win

Adapted Screenplay:

Erica: Hugo should win, The Descendants will win
Mike: Hugo should win, The Descendants will win

Best Animated Fature:

Erica: I haven't seen them all but Rango will win but shouldn't
Mike: I've only seen the three wide releases and didn't care for any of them. But Rango will win

Best Foreign Language:

Erica: Haven't seen any so I picked A Separation to win
Mike: I've only seen A Separation and Bullhead - both excellent, but A Separation should and will win

Best Cinematography:

Erica: Hugo should win but The Artist will win
Mike: The Tree of Life should win; The Artist will win

Best Editing:

Erica:  Hugo should win and I picked it to win
Mike: The Artist should and will win

Best in Art Direction:

Erica: Hugo should and will win
Mike: The Artist should and will win

Costume Design:

Erica: Hugo should win, Jane Eyre will win
Mike: The Artist should and will win


Erica: I think Albert Nobbs will win (and continue to haunt my dreams)
Mike: The Iron Lady should win and will win

Best Original Score:

Erica: Hugo should win, The Artist will win
Mike: Hugo should win; The Artist will win

Original Song:

Erica: Of course The Muppets should win but I think Rio will win and I hope I'm wrong
Mike: The Muppets should win; Rio will win, unfortunately

Sound Mixing:

Erica: Who cares? But I picked War Horse
Mike: I do, Hugo should and will win

Sound Editing:

Erica: Again who cares so I went with War Horse again
Mike: Again, I do. Drive should win; Hugo will win

Visual Effects:

Erica: Hugo should and will win
Mike: Rise of the Planet of the Apes should and will win

Best Doc Feature:

Erica: I only saw one of these but didn't pick it. I chose If a Tree Falls
Mike: I somehow managed to see all of them. Pina should win, and I think it will

Best Doc Short:

Erica: Haven't seen any, chose God is Bigger than Elvis
Mike: Haven't seen any either, but I think Saving Face will win

Best Animated Short:

Erica: Again saw none, chose The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
Mike: Saw none either, but have been hearing tremendous things about Fantastic Flying Books so I'll predict that will win

Best Live Action Short:

Erica: Chose The Shore
Mike: The Shore

February 24, 2012

Chronicle - AMC Empire 25

Erica: I went into this movie excited and left disappointed. As I tweeted while I was at the movie, there was an irritating guy behind us but luckily he shut up during the movie. He had a lot of opinions about the previews though and asked everyone in his group's opinion on each preview. WE DON'T CARE NOW SHUT UP!! Anyway...back to the movie itself...it wasn't very good...at all. The ending was even worse than the beginning and it was just way too out there for me. (To me, Toy Story is a more believable movie than this was). This is one case where I would have welcomed the guy behind me to talk during the movie, it may have added some entertainment value to it. 

Mike: I liked it more than you, but ultimately also left the theater disappointed. Chronicle has a good set-up. It's very enjoyable watching these high school kids get special powers and see them begin to use it. But it really falls apart in the last half hour.

I really don't know what your problem was with the guy sitting behind us. I think people should be allowed to be as loud and obnoxious as they want to be, so long as they stop before the movie starts. And he did.  

Erica: I think in this case, I would have welcomed his annoying banter.

February 23, 2012

Wanderlust - Walter Reade Theater

Mike: Last night we caught a special screening of Wanderlust at the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center, as part of the Film Comment Selects series running through March 1st. I enjoy most Paul Rudd comedies and I liked David Wain's previous films and The State. Despite my dislike of Jennifer Aniston, this was a film I was really looking forward to.

We love the Walter Reade and have been here many, many times. It's the best place to see a classic film in New York City and they have lots of special screenings. Seats are good, too. I've never had an issue here with annoying people in the crowd, though I heard of an incident that happened here last week during a rare 35mm projection of Pink Floyd Live in Pompeii. A girl kept turning on her iPad. Each time, someone asked her to turn it off, until ultimately one brave soul simply grabbed it from her and turned it off. How someone could possibly think it's okay to turn an iPad on while a movie is playing is beyond me.

Anyway, Wanderlust was hilarious. I had a lot of fun. Paul Rudd plays the same character he always plays. Jennifer Aniston was bearable. Ken Marino was hilarious. I could have done with a bit less of Justin Theroux's character, but he was fine. And Alan Alda has a few funny moments, although I found him to be mostly wasted. But all that said, Wanderlust is a great way to spend 99 minutes. Fans of The State and Wain's previous films especially won't be disappointed. I highly recommend it.

Erica: I enjoy Paul Rudd so this movie was a must see for me. Add on top of that a preview screening with Paul Rudd, Ken Marino (yay!), David Wain, Kerri Kinney-Silver, and Alan Alda in attendance? Awesomeness ensues! I greatly enjoyed this movie. If you enjoyed David Wain's other films, Wet Hot American Summer and Role Models, I highly recommend this movie. It was funny and charming without being overly charming and I found myself laughing out loud all the way through. While I, like Mike, normally find Aniston annoying, she worked well in this movie. I was trying to pick out a favorite moment from this movie and I just can't. I think everybody gave great performances and it shows that you don't have to be super raunchy to be funny. After the movie, the director and actors did a q and a and were nice enough to stick around for photos and autographs afterwards. I must say the two people I was after, Paul Rudd and Ken Marino (they produced and starred in, respectively, one of my favorite shows, Party Down) were more than kind and willing to stick around for their fans. If you are in the mood for just a downright funny, over the top movie, go out and see Wanderlust, when it opens this Friday. Highly enjoyable and you will laugh, guaranteed.

February 22, 2012

The Grey - AMC Empire 25

Mike: Erica was out of town and had no interest, so I trekked to the AMC Empire 25 by myself one weekend morning to view this year's Winter Liam Neeson bad-ass release The Grey (apparently the third in a trilogy following Taken and Unknown). I'm a big fan of wintry plane crash survival stories like Alive and that episode of Happy Days where Fonzie and Roger crash their plane in the snow. And The Grey is basically Alive, except they're not out long enough to have to resort to cannibalism, and they're under constant attack by wolves.

The Grey is fun and exciting, and has an interesting group of characters led by Liam Neeson to maintain interest in between wolf attack scenes. It's an old-fashioned adventure/survival film, and damn good at that despite its predictability and some silliness at times.

One thing I wondered about, though - if I were in the cold like that, my nose would constantly be running and I'd constantly be wiping my nose on my freezing cold sleeves. It would be totally red and constantly runny, and I'd be sniffling non-stop. But not one red nose and not a single drop of snot is seen in The Grey.

February 21, 2012

Undefeated - AMC Lincoln Square 13

Erica: With the Oscars right around the corner, we needed to fit in anything else we possibly could so we caught an 11:15 showing of Undefeated, one of the Oscar nominated documentaries this year. We were doomed to the basement of the Lincoln Square, the exact same theater where my incident occurred where I fell down the escalator. Luckily, nothing happened this time. The bottom line about this movie: it's a documentary that we have seen before. It is about a high school football team in East Memphis down on their luck and they have a chance to make it to the playoffs. It is a story we have heard a lot before. The documentary was fine. It wasn't amazing but it wasn't horrible. I have seen a lot of documentaries and I enjoyed this one, but this isn't a 'run, don't walk' to see this. Sean 'Diddy' Combs is one of the executive producers and has been promoting this documentary on endless talk shows in the past couple weeks. I don't think it has a chance to win Best Doc but it isn't the worst documentary I have ever seen.

Mike: Even though I have little interest in football, I found Undefeated to be a very informative, inspiring documentary. True, it's a typical underdog story, but isn't everything? While it went a little longer than I thought necessary - a group of teenagers sitting in our row got a bit bored at times - it's a positive story about struggling high school students who need more things to feel positive about in their lives. While I'm not exactly the target audience, I hope the film gets seen by high school students who could use the inspirational message and anyone else who it might convince to reach out in their community. (I am neither of those)

I agree that it did drag on longer than needed...

February 09, 2012

Best Original Song not good enough for 4 hour broadcast??

Erica: So not only did this year's Oscar nominations only bring 2...yes 2 Best Original Song nominees, but now they won't even be performed on the show. Of the usually 4 hour broadcast, this is what they decide will tip it over the edge? Usually I would not mind but they did give The Muppets a nomination (even though it was, in my opinion, for the wrong song but that's besides the point). Am I the only one who wants to see Jason Segel and his Muppet on stage singing? I guess so...

Look, I know the stupid Rio song will probably win anyway and that Life's a Happy Song from The Muppets should have been nominated instead because it would have had a better shot at winning, but not performing 2 measly songs is ridiculous. The best original song qualifications are ridiculous enough. There is a petition that Perez Hilton started to get the song performed so this is not just my opinion.

I am sure it will not make a difference...but do we need to see 24 awards be handed out? That's 24 acceptance speeches! I would rather see 2 musical performances than the acceptance speech for best sound mixing.

War Horse- AMC Empire 25

Erica: War Horse was getting Oscar buzz and that is the only reason I went to see this movie. If it did not receive award talk, I would not have been seen near that theater. That being said, it was better than I thought it was going to be, which isn't saying much because I had extremely low expectations about this movie. A horse being drafted into the war does not thrill me as a concept. I did not see the play and I learned the hard way this awards season that everyone will see anything Steven Spielberg's name is attached to. 

This movie was ok, but very boring at times as well. It was very hard for me to buy the concept of the entire movie so I may be coming at it from a completely different perspective than someone that may not be as critical as I am. 

Mike: We checked this film out at the AMC Empire 25 in Times Square. It was an early morning screening, and when we got to the theater there was a long line of people waiting to buy tickets and only two people behind the registers. And because the kiosks weren't working, we had no choice but to stand in the line. It was moving at a snail's pace because the credit card and gift card systems were down, although by the time we bought our tickets, we were able to use gift cards. People - Erica included - were panicking, thinking they'd miss the beginning of their movies. Rest assured, we had plenty of time to make our ways up the 25 sets of escalators to the top floor of the Empire and sit through annoying Kia commercials and trailers that we've already seen a dozen times each. I guess Erica was afraid she'd miss the dancing Kia hamsters.

If you gave someone a hundred million dollars and asked them to make a Steven Spielberg movie, you would end up with Super 8. Or War Horse. War Horse is so over-the-top Spielbergian with its music, beautiful cinematography, humor, schmaltz, etc., that it feels like you're watching an imitation. It's a 2 1/2 hour masterclass on a director unable to grow and mature. That doesn't mean it's not bad - it's heartwarming and pretty and it's a neat story that's tough not to like despite its many flaws. But it's third tier Spielberg.

February 08, 2012

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo- AMC Essex Green Dine-In Theater

Erica: I have not read the books. I did not see the original version of the movie (although I did add this to my Netflix queue after I saw this one) so I went into this knowing hardly anything, and I liked it that way. I was extremely surprised how much I liked this film (so much so that it made my top ten of 2011). I thought Mara and Craig did a great job in the leading roles and the story was dark, disturbing, and twisted and I LOVED it. We saw it at the Essex Green Dine-In Theater Cinema Suites as we thought a movie of this length (about 2 hours and 40 minutes) would require us to be in a reclining chair. I was hooked and got so entranced that when it ended, my response was "It's over already?" That's how good it was. All of my enjoyment for this movie being put aside, this is not a movie for everyone. There is a lot of violence and torture in the movie, so maybe us eating during it was not the smartest move. I highly recommend this movie for those who are not squeamish.

Mike: I didn't read the books but I did see the trilogy of Swedish films and thought they were pretty good. What you get here is basically the same thing - a Fincherized version of that first film. I was surprised how similar the two films were. I think I liked the Finched-up one better because it's a bit more engaging.

There are a few gross scenes in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, which doesn't make it an ideal movie to eat through. Those fries don't taste as good when you're watching a gross fat guy eat Rooney Mara's ass on a giant screen right in front of you. But its sheer length - over 2 1/2 hours - was the reason we went to the Essex. We've gone on and on about the reclining seats here and how wonderful it is to lay down and watch your film after lunch or dinner (we went for lunch this day). After the 2 1/2 hours I could have laid there and watched another movie - that's how sublime it is.

February 05, 2012

Preview of 2012

Erica: What I am most looking forward to in 2012 is:

The Dark Knight Rises- I LOVE Batman and thought The Dark Knight was great and did you see that trailer?! Enough said.

2011 saw no offerings from Tim Burton :( but in 2012 we get 2 :)
Dark Shadows based on the vampire soap opera from the 60s and Frankenweenie based on the 1984 short that Burton made.

At Comicon, we saw a preview for Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance not that I am looking forward to that movie 100% but he pees fire!!!!

I am also looking forward to Wanderlust. Paul Rudd and stupid movies usually equal laughs so I'm in...

I remember reading The Lorax when I was a kid and being that this is NOT live action, I'm game to see what this has to offer.

I am an Adam Scott fan so bring on Friends with Kids, just unfortunately, it has to bring along some of the cast of Bridesmaids.

Jeff Who Lives at Home and The Five Year Engagement will give me my big screen Jason Segel fix this year.

The Pirates! Band of Misfits is the latest Claymation adventure from Aardman Animation and I am a huge fan of Wallace and Gromit.

We also saw a preview for The Avengers at Comicon so I am hoping that this will be a good kick off to a much better year of superhero movies than 2011 was.

Rock of Ages looks like a fun little movie...plus it has Russell Brand

Ted because I love Seth Macfarlane

I am not sure why, but I am looking forward to ParaNorman.

Hotel Transylvania 3D looks pretty cool as well.

The latest Tarantino flick, Django Unchained.

February 01, 2012

The Adventures of Tintin 3D- AMC Clifton Commons 16

Erica: While visiting NJ, we went to our now second favorite theater there (Essex Green dethroned this) to see The Adventures of Tintin. We saw the movie in 3D. It looked really cool but the movie was only ok. The main reason I went to see it was for Simon Pegg and Nick Frost (and Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish). I saw every movie they are in, even though you only hear them in this movie, it is still them. We saw it with a few kids that were bored and kept wanting to leave and asking their dad if they can leave. This was about 45 minutes in to the movie and he proclaimed "It's almost over." Lying to your kids is not always the best route, and it only kept the kid quiet for about ten minutes. 

The movie will definitely keep your attention for an hour and 45 minutes, but that is pretty much all it is. I have not read the books, maybe that would have helped make it better than ok, but being that it was directed by Steven Spielberg and produced by Peter Jackson, I was hoping it had enough going for it. Don't get me wrong, it was entertaining but it was lacking in certain places and I can see how the children in the theater got easily bored. This isn't standard child fare, but it is a family film.  

Mike: I enjoyed the Tintin comics as a kid, but they were never my favorite. And I usually don't care for motion capture animation. So going into this, I wasn't all that excited. But it was fine. It's a fun film with a lot of fun action sequences. It went on too long - after three action-packed locations I figured the film was just about over, but it still had two more locations to go. Ultimately, it's decent disposable entertainment.