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...