Thursday, May 31, 2012

Our Preview for This Week's New Releases (for Friday, June 1st)

Andrew: Hello readers! It's time again for the Two Tickets For... weekly preview of new theatrical releases coming out on Friday. Surprisingly though, there's only one big movie being released this weekend and it's the new "re-imagining" of the classic Snow White story, Snow White and the Huntsman, starring Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron and Chris Hemsworth.

Sarah, what are your first impressions of Snow White and the Huntsman?

Sarah: Tht tit's going to be badass. Seriously, this movie looks awesome for all the reasons except that Kristen Steart is the lead. But I suppose I can overlook it because Charlize Theron is going to bring a whole new meaning of evil with her role as the Queen.

A: Even thought it's a movie about Snow White, I have to agree with you here. I think this film looks pretty sweet. I honestly get pretty jacked up every time I see the trailer because of the dark look it has to it, and the performance that Theron appears to give. In the role of Queen Ravenna, I totally want the actress to chew the scenary and make it menacing. 

S: Speaking of the scenery, I am excited to see the role that The Dark Forest plays. In past movies, this section of the story is glazed over pretty quickly, but in this one they seem to linger on it for a while. I am really excited about this setting.

I am also interested to see what the role of The Huntsman is in this story, because there is still a Prince Charming. That's what I find interesting - there seems to be a little bit of a love interest between Snow and the Huntsman, so where does Prince come into play? So many questions left to be answered!

A: That's a good point Sam Claflin (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides) plays Prince William, and when you include Hemsworth's Hunstman, that makes three. I really hope that they're not going for any sort of Bella-Edward-Jacob type love triangle, because I don't think that's necessary in this film.

I am looking forward to Hemsworth's performance because the dude has been having a big year, and a huge last two years, ever since he became famous for playing Thor in the Marvel films. I hope he gets a fair share of screentime, because his character is one that isn't focused on a whole lot in other iterations of Snow White.

Question for you Sarah: without looking at IMDb or anything, do you know who plays the dwarves in Snow White and the Huntsman?

S: First, I really hope they don't do the love triangle either. We have all seen how Stewart handles that and I think it is safe to say that she is a one-guy-at-a-time gal.

Second, I can honestly say that I have no idea who the dwarves are going to be played by. But I am excited to see them more as a working/mountain people instead of singing dancing fools.

A: Since you don't know who plays the dwarves, let me inform you and tell me what you think. Among the bigger names, we have:

- Ian McShane (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides), Bob Hoskins (Who Framed Roger Rabbit?), Ray Winstone (The Departed), Toby Jones (Captain America: The First Avenger), Nick Frost (Shaun of the Dead) and Eddie Marsan (Sherlock Holmes).

Take a look at this photo and tell me that under some of that makeup you don't recognize some relatively big-name actors (click on the photo to enlarge it).

For reference, Frost is on the far left, Jones is the shortest and 3rd from the left, McShane is 4th from left, Hoskins if 3rd from the right and Marsan is the 2nd from the right.
Personally I'm interested to see how they perform as well, because quite frankly the dwarves have been almost completely absent from the marketing for this film. With guys like McShane and Hoskins involved, they should be getting right on the poster and they're not! It's almost like they're hiding them. I don't get that. Seriously, that's McShane holding the pick-axe in the middle, how awesome does he look?

S: Oh my goodness! I would never have guessed that they were the dwarves! To be honest, I  thought they were actual little people! Goes to show that I should have done my research!

I'm not sure why they haven't been more a part of the marketing as well. While the focus really isn't on them, the story is still called "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves." They are main character in the story and do end up helping Snow White quite a but. It should be interesting to see how their part in the story is changed in this adaptation.

A: Yeah, I had no idea until I saw some other blogger's talking about it on Twitter yesterday. So this is actually quite the big cast outside of the top three stars. We're very much looking forward to this one and will definitely be seeing it on Saturday afternoon.

Ok, Sarah, outside of Snow White there isn't any other wide release coming out this weekend. There are a couple of horror movies coming out in limited release in Piranha 3DD and The Loved Ones (which I'm sure I'll see once they go wide), and the new stoner comedy High School, but because those aren't going to be going wide for a little bit we'll hold off on discussing them.

S: Ha! I saw the trailer for Piranha 3DD yesterday and it looked like such a joke! "Killer" fish and boobs. I mean I guess some people go for that, but come on! Oh well, to each their own I suppose.

Ok readers, we're seeing Snow White and the Huntsman on Saturday with a good friend, so be on the lookout for the review! Until then, thanks for reading!

Photo Courtesy: Fanpop

New Trailer! Les Miserables (2012)

Sarah: We have a new trailer arrival! Les Miserables, coming out this Christmas, is the musical set in 19th century France. Starring Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and a whole other host of Hollywood heavy-hitters, this movie promises to be a blockbuster hit this holiday season! I know I'm pretty excited about this one. This year really is a great one for the movies! Check out the trailer!
OFFICIAL TRAILER for Les Miserables 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A New Home Away From Home: Sarah's Review of "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" (2011)

Directed By: John Madden (Shakespeare in Love)

Starring: Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Maggie Grace, Tom Wilksinson, Dev Patel

Rating: PG-13 for sexual content and language

Synopsis: A group of British retirees decide to "outsource" their retirement to less expensive and seemingly exotic India. Enticed by advertisements for the newly restored Marigold Hotel, they arrive to find the palace a shell of its former self. Written by Fox Searchlight (courtesy of IMDb)


Andrew: Hello readers! In last week’s preview we chatted about a film that was just expanded to wide release last Friday, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, starring some famous British actors like Judi Dench (Casino Royale) and Billy Nighy (Love, Actually). I did not end up seeing it, but Sarah did and so I interviewed her for her review of it.

So Sarah, the first thing I want to ask is what your favorite aspect of it was?

Sarah: Oh just the feel of i!. The actual colors, the light… I mean that’s kind of what the movie was based around; this finding joy at a time in your life when society tells you that it’s over. It was just really nice.

A: Why is it that the characters even go to India in the first place?

S: Well none of the characters are connected at the beginning of the movie, but have all suffered a bump in the road in some way. Judi Dench’s husband had just passed away, Bill Nighy and his wife are experiencing financial difficulties, and they all come to a point in their lives where things just aren’t going their way. So they decide to take a leap of faith and try this Exotic Marigold hotel in India for elderly people to find new life, and to realize that it’s NOT over yet. And it’s a great, great cast portraying these journeys.

A: Speaking of which, how did the cast do, and of the actors, did any stand out above the others?

S: Well Dench’s character would be considered the main character. She kind of narrates the whole things, as she’s taking this trip she’s blogging so there are times where it kind of narrates how life is going. It was a powerhouse performance by all these actors who are probably at this stage in life where they’re not getting all the phone calls anymore, you know? And so I can imagine this is the type of movie they saw as an opportunity to kind of get their names back out there.

Judi Dench plays Evelyn, a newly widowed woman who moves to India in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Think about Maggie Smith (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone), Judi Dench, Bill Nighy and Tom Wilkinson (Batman Begins). They are from an era where British actors were really something!. And so they work really well together.

A: Are there any particular parts of the film that rubbed you the wrong way, or were just general negatives?

S: I will say the movie was a little slow at times. It’s very much a geriatric grade movie, it was slow and kind of meander a little bit, but it had a lot of heart. The whole movie had heart, so it was a fun movie.

A: What was Dev Patel’s (Slumdog Millionaire) role in the film?

S: He’s the manager and co-owner of the hotel. It was his father’s and now it’s his and his brothers’, but Patel had the same dream as his father to turn this into a thriving hotel. But he just didn’t have the business savvy. So his story is part of it as well, sort of his self-discovery through these people who are staying at his hotel, they all gain insight through each other whether it’s through their own personal story or experiences that they have on this trip. He kinda has a goofball persona, so it’s not like his character was very serious, sort of the quirky Indian guy, but he did well!

A: Any other negative points besides it meandering a bit at times?

S: I would say the slowness was a pretty big point for me. It was NOT an action film. It’s not a rom-com.

A: Oh, so you said earlier none of the characters were related to one another before going to India, so there’s no romantic sparks or anything?

S: Oh there are, there definitely are sparks. But it all happens in India. None of them are connected beforehand. They all learn something from each other, and it’s just interesting to see the evolution of their characters, especially Maggie Smith. I would say Smith’s character is the most evolved over the course of the movie.

A: Are you glad your saw it?

S: I am. It had a lot of heart. It was well made, they did a great job, the cinematography was beautiful. I’m not sure that I would ever need to see it in theatres. It was definitely an older crowd. But I would say this is a movie you could Netlifx one day, a rainy afternoon, kinda curl up with a hot cup of tea.
(Out of Five Clapboards)
Photo Courtesies: Movie Fanatic, The Guardian

Monday, May 28, 2012

A Surprisingly Atmospheric, If Not Scary, Horror Movie: Andrew's Review of "Chernobyl Diaries" (2012)

Director: Bradley Parker

Starring: Jesse McCartney, Jonathan Sadowski, Olivia Dudley, Devin Kelley

Rating: R for violence, some bloody images and pervasive language

Synopsis: Chris (McCartney), his girlfriend Natalie (Dudley) and her friend Amanda (Kelley) are traveling through Europe, including visiting Chris’ brother, Paul (Sadowski), in Kiev. Unbeknownst to the other three, Paul has changed their plans to visit Moscow into a day trip to the deserted Chernobyl nuclear plant. What starts off as an interesting trip turns into horror when the sun goes down.


S: Hello readers! This past weekend Andrew saw Chernobyl Diaries (while I went to see The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel), and I interviewed him for his review of the new horror film.

Andrew, Chernobyl Diaries is brought to us by the same guy that did Paranormal Activity, right?

A: That’s correct. It’s produced by Oren Peli, who directed, produced and was the cinematographer for Paranormal Activity, and then he was producer of PA2 and PA3.

S: So as a paranormal horror film, how did it stack up compared to PA?

A: If I’m comparing it to the Paranormal Activity films, Chernobyl Diaries is not nearly as scary. The PA films are genuinely scary and have actually caused me to lose sleep because of my overactive imagination after seeing them. That wasn’t the case for CD. That said, what was a very big strength of PA and was probably the strength of CD is that they’re both incredibly atmospheric. I think they did a fantastic job getting the most out of the setting of the deserted town of Prypiat, the town adjacent to the Chernobyl nuclear plant where the workers’ families lived. The actual plant isn’t in much of the movie. So they use the town and the fact that nature’s kind of taken it back very well, especially the night scenes.

The deserted setting of Prypiat is the star of Chernobyl Diaries
S: I was gonna ask you how the setting took into it. As I said in our preview, I love the idea of this setting. I think parts of Eastern Europe would be great places to set a scary movie. To me it seemed that parts of the trailer were predictable – was that the case in the film?

A: Well like most genres there are familiar elements and formulaic parts, things that you can kind of see coming or maybe know what tropes certain things fit into. Obviously with a movie like this the characters are going to get picked off one by one, so that is not unlike a large percentage of horror movies in general. But I will say there were aspects that I was NOT expecting and did not see coming, and I liked the route that it took to get to those parts.

S: Was this a point of view movie?

A: It’s not, actually. The trailers and commercials make it seem like that, but what leads most to think it’s a POV film, I’d imagine, is actually just that the camera work is a handheld camera. So it’s a little shaky at times but I think it worked really well. It almost made you feel like you were there with the characters, it just wasn’t one of the characters holding the camera. So I feel like that added to the realism and atmosphere of it.

S: How were the moments of tension? You mentioned that you won’t lose sleep over it but you also like horror movies because you like the adrenaline that it gives you. Did you get the same amount of adrenaline as a normal horror movie?

A: There were plenty enough times were my pulse started to go a little faster, because there were some pretty tense moments. And again I attribute that to both the camera work, the actors – there was actually some pretty good acting – and again just the natural setting. While the characters did some predictable or even stupid things, I was thinking during the movie, you know what? If I was in this situation where they’re completely stranded and nobody knows that they’re there, someone gets injured so they can’t walk and you don’t want to leave them behind, I might do the same things.

While you might go, “That’s really stupid, you should do that” I felt that some of the actors did a good job portraying what would actually happen. Especially if WE were personally stuck in this situation, especially if it was a sibling or a loved one in peril.

So yes, there were some tense moments. And it’s because they’re going through these dark hallways and only have a flashlight.

S: So it’s really atmospheric then.

A: Yeah, there were a lot of shots of them in the van at night, and they have a light on, and you know how if you’re in a car and you have a light so you can’t really see outside? There are some good shots of that sort of thing. So I liked the way they shot the movie a lot and it helped that way.

S: You mentioned that the acting was pretty good. I know we have Jesse McCartney, and I have a hard time believing he can act.

A: He wasn’t bad, but he wasn’t great either. Of all the main actors he was probably the weakest of the bunch. Dimitri Diatchenko, who plays the tour guide, Uri, he was actually pretty good! He had some good screen presence. I wouldn’t mind seeing him in more things, thought he’ll probably be typecast as the Eastern European guy. Jonathan Sadowski (Friday the 13th), who plays Paul, the older brother, I liked a lot. He was very charismatic and I feel that he pulled off his characters’ emotions throughout the whole thing pretty well. Then both girls, Olivia Dudley and Devin Kelley, are obviously both attractive –

Except for Jesse McCartney (immediate left of the big guy), Chernobyl Diaries has a surprisingly good cast

S: Which always helps in scary movies.

A: Exactly. Kelley I felt was the stronger of the two and she has a promising future I think.

S: So what were your overall thoughts on Chernobyl Diaries?

A: I was entertained by it in the sense that it was very atmospheric and very suspenseful. There’s an interesting mystery behind it, a GREAT setting obviously, but there was an interesting mystery as to what was actually going on. What was it that ruined their van? What’s really going on? And it’s not exactly what you would think it would be.

So I liked that. I really liked the ending. That’s one thing about Oren Peli and the things he’s produced, like PA and Insidious, I’ve been a fan of the endings in all them. Because not all of them are necessarily happy endings, even if one or more of the characters survives.

S: And it’s not necessary that they all have happy endings.

A: Yeah, one of my favorite movies is and I wish we owned it is The Mist, which is based off a Stephen King story, and it has one of the BEST endings for any movie I’ve ever seen. And I’m glad they went the way they did.

Not every ending needs to be on a happy note.

S: So what would you tell our readers?

A: If you liked the PA movies, I would suggest checking it out, but you don’t necessarily need to see it in theatres.

(Out of Five Clapboards)

Photo Courtesies: Slate, Screenrant

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Back in Black Again...Again?: Our Review of "Men in Black III" (2012)

Directed By: Barry Sonnenfeld (The Addams Family)

Starring: Will Smith, Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Jemaine Clement, Emma Thompson

Rating: PG-13 for sci-fi action violence, and brief suggestive content

Synopsis: After an intergalactic serial killer named Boris the Animal (Clement) escapes and goes back in time to 1969 to kill Agent K (Jones), Agent J (Smith) must also travel back in time to save K, and in turn, save the world from a catastrophic alien invasion.


Andrew: Hello readers! This afternoon Sarah and I hit the theatre to catch this year’s big Memorial Day weekend film Men in Black III, starring Will Smith (Hancock), Tommy Lee Jones (The Fugitive) and Josh Brolin (No Country For Old Men).

Sarah, we talked about our expectations for the film in our weekly preview yesterday and you said you were hoping it would be better than Men in Black II was. Was it?

Sarah: It WAS better than Men in Black II, but that’s not necessarily high praise coming from me. Even the storyline, while cheesy at the beginning, was better than the second one. I think it may even rival the original film! We saw our two favorite Men in Black trying to save the world again from very disturbing bad guys and they didn’t fail to deliver for Earth.

A: I’m a little half and half on this one. There are certain aspects about MIB3 that are absolutely better than MIB2, and some parts of MIB2 I felt were better than the new one, but I completely disagree with you that the third chapter is anywhere close to the original.

S: I think that both share the element of humor and I actually think the bad guy in MIB3, Boris the Animal (Clement), rivals the Bug in the first one. Granted they seem to have a lot in common and have bug like features, but I would say it’s hard to tell which villain is more evil. And I’m not going to lie, I enjoyed the time travel aspect. I didn’t think I would but I did in the end.

Agent K (Jones, left) and Agent J (Smith) return for a third go-round in Men in Black III
A: Ok, let me put it this way. I think almost everything about the first MIB film is great. The action, the humor, the performances were fresh, and I like the storyline about the galaxy on Orion’s belt and how it played out.

In contrast, I feel that MIB3 did a fairly solid job executing the time travel plotline (which could have been terribly botched), but essentially any part of MIB3 before Brolin enters the picture is subpar.

Honestly, there are a few points I’d like to make. May I?

S: Go for it.

A: Here we go:

- Tommy Lee Jones is in the film for a hot second, and when he IS on the screen in the first act, the writing makes it seem like K and J have been partners for weeks, not 14 years.

- There’s a funeral scene for Agent Zed - he’s replaced by Emma Thompson (Love, Actually) as Agent O - that was wholly unnecessary, or at least completely unfunny.

- The opening scene where Boris the Animal escapes is too easily done (why would they EVER allow him a visitor of ANY sort?) and I just find that villain too silly at points. (QUICK MINOR SPOILER ALERT: Plus Agent J is able to distract him way too easily in the climax.)

All those things just weren’t as good as the original to me. THAT SAID, as soon as Brolin enters the picture the movie brightens up by a lot and is actually quite excellent from there on.

Boris the Animal (Clement) escapes from prison a little too easily for Andrew's taste
S: I’ll give you some of those points. While Boris was definitely way too easily thrown off by people calling him “Boris the Animal”, I think they did a good job building up his reasoning for acting the way he does. And I think the funeral was a nice way to kind of get rid of Zed’s character, to kill him off, and it certainly wasn’t funny but it was a nice way to transition to Agent O.

I think it’s safe to say that Brolin’s performance as a young Agent K is SPOT ON. And is the bright spot of the film. There are times where I knew it was Brolin but he sounded and acted SO MUCH like Tommy Lee Jones that it blew my mind. And for that alone I give the film a lot more credit.
Here’s a question for you: What did you think about how they answered the time travel conundrums that a lot of movies and TV shows sort of fall victim to?

A: Without giving away any spoilers, I thought they did a pretty good job assuaging my fears about the time travel. As I said in the preview yesterday, I wondered why Agent J seemed to be the only person who remembered Agent K after Boris goes back in time to kill him. (That’s the basic premise of the movie, readers, if you didn’t know that and get angry with me, it really isn’t ruining anything for you.)

Well, a tech nerd who gives Agent J the time travel device answered my question with a simple remark and his words ended up coming back around in the climax. It actually makes a little bit of sense if you don’t think about it too much. So kudos to the writers there.

I was also a fan of a Michael Stuhlbarg’s (Boardwalk Empire) character, Griffin, who is an alien that can see and experience every single possible future scenario all at once. I think they used his character in a pretty smart way that enhanced the time travel plot and added a bit of emotional heft to the climax.

S: Totally agree. I think the way they handled it and solved the problem without dwelling on it too much. It was what it was and they weren’t apologetic.

My favorite part of the film was Brolin as Agent K, and like I said in the preview I said I thought he would steal the show and he did. I also liked some of the smaller performances by Bill Hader (Saturday Night Live) as Andy Warhol/Agent W and Alice Eve (She’s Out of My League) as a young version of Agent O.

But may I go on a small tangent real quick about why I’m not going to give this film a high grade?

Josh Brolin's performance as a young Agent K is the highlight of the film
 A: I’d like to hear this.

S: I don’t understand the allure of Will Smith. I don’t find him that great an actor. He commands the star power and salaries equal to Tom Cruise or Tom Hanks and people love him, but all they’re getting is The Fresh Prince. The TV show was great, but he really hasn’t changed his persona to much anything of what he’s done. And that’s a shame to me.

He hasn’t done anything in four years and maybe there’s a reason for that. He can say all he wants that it is because he’s focused on his kids’ careers, but can we look back at what he’s coming back to the industry with? Sequels to his older movies and a movie with M. Night Shymalan that includes JADEN SMITH! Ugh!

I will give him credit for one movie that I was actually moved by, and that was The Pursuit of Happyness. Yes he received an Oscar nomination for it and it made about $300 million, but other than that I’m not impressed with his filmography.

A: Wow! Tell me how you really feel!

S: I think the bottom line is that these movies are meant to be purely entertaining. This was clearly not the strongest of the trilogy, and while I don’t find the whole series to be great movies in general, it’s a fun family-friendly way to kick off the summer season.

A: Ok, fair assessment. If anything, the second half of the film redeems the first half, particularly the surprisingly emotional and sweet ending. So what’s our final grade for Men in Black III?

S: It’s not a must-see in theatres, but it’s a good way to kill some time this Memorial Day weekend or as a matinee any other time.

(Out of Five Clapboards) 
Photo Courtesies: TheYBFMTVScreen Rant

Friday, May 25, 2012

Better Late Than Never: Our Preview for Memorial Day Weekend (for Friday, May 25th)

Andrew: Hello readers! We're a day late with our weekly preview because we were both pretty swamped with our day jobs yesterday, but we're here today to preview the big releases that came out today!

Sarah, it's Memorial Day weekend and that typically signifies the start of the summer movie season. So it's no surprise that the big release this weekend is the third installment to a very popular franchise in Men in Black III. Will Smith is back as Agent J, Tommy Lee Jones is back as Agent K, and we have the addition of Josh Brolin to the franchise as a younger, 1960's era Agent K. I would give the set-up to the movie, but it's a little complicated because it involves time-travel, so I'd suggest just checking out the trailer below if you don't know what the plot is.

Official Trailer for Men in Black III

Ok Sarah, what are your thoughts on the third go-around with Agents J and K?

Sarah: Well, it has been 10 years since MIB III came out so things have gotten a little better as far as special effects. I hope this one turns out to be better than the last one. I think these movies are a lot of fun but they do tend to get a little cheesy. While it has been a while since Will Smith has done anything and this is pegged to be his "big comeback" I don't think that he will be the one that he will be the star of the show. I really believe that Josh Brolin as a young Agent K is going to be awesome. 
What are your thoughts on this one?

A: I'm a little torn going into this one because by absolutely no means was anyone begging for a third MIB film, and then it had its history of production problems including:

- Not having a finished script because they rushed it into production, either because they wanted to take use of an expiring tax credit in NY, or because all the actors were available, depending on whom you believe

- The script continued to change throughout shooting, going so far as to have Will Smith even take a hack at it

- There was a time there were production just stopped. I'm not even quite sure why, but it happened.

So there are some red flags right there. But I'm excited because from what we've seen in the trailer and commercials it looks like Brolin's take on Agent K is a spot-on impression of Tommy Lee Jones. I'm not crazy about time-travel being involved because a lot of times it leaves huge plot holes (i.e. if Agent K is killed in the past by an alien who traveled back in time to do just that, how is it that in the effected "present" Agent J is the only one who doesn't know he was killed long ago? How does he know he exists AT ALL?)

S: Yes, but that could be said about a lot of time travel movies. There is a reason that this is not an actual thing in real life. It really reminds to be seen how this movie will do in the box office this weekend. 

Now there is another movie that has been out for a couple of weeks but is just now hitting the theaters wide, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. To many people this may seem like just another AARP inspired movie but I think that it looks heartwarming. What are your thoughts on this one?

Official Trailer for The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

A: I think your description as an AARP movie is pretty accurate and makes me laugh, but honestly I would like to see this one if only because of the cast. Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Tom Wilkinson, Maggie Smith and Dev Patel are all actors I like and I'm curious how they'll come off working off one another and in the setting of India.

S: I think that's what will make it better too. Now they have done movies like this before (Red) and they have been ok. But with this calibar of a cast I really think that it will turn out to be really cute. I'm excited to see this one sometime this weekend.

A: While Redis a little different in that it's an action-comedy, I'm actually looking forward to seeing these actors play it in a romantic-comedy fashion. Should be fun.

Speaking of a film that starts with a limited release, this week brings the latest film by Wes Anderson, Moonrise Kingdom. Anderson has made a name for himself as a director with the films Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums and The Fantastic Mr. Fox among others, and this is his first live-action film since 2007.

Official Trailer for Moonrise Kingdom

Personally I'm not in love with Anderson's films as some others are, but I do think he has a very distinct style and he manages to gather tons of big name actors to come together for his quirky films, and it looks like he's done it again with Moonrise Kingdom. It stars Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman and, yet again, he got Bill Murray. That's a loaded cast.

S: I'm actually pretty excited about this one. While it does seem Very quirky, I like that it appears to be more of a cartoon that just happens to be done with a live cast. The cast appeals to me as well. While it threatens to be a flop by the sheer amount of egos in the cast, I think that could really bring a lot of people to see this movie who otherwise wouldn't.

A: For sure. When it gets to a theatre near us, it will be one we can guarantee you will we be reviewing.

Ok, last but not least is a film I can also make a guarantee for: I'll be seeing this one alone. I'm talking about Chernobyl Diaries. Even though it's directed by a first-time director in Bradley Parker, I'm excited for it because it's produced by Oren Peli, who was the director/producer/cinematographer for the smash indie horror film Paranormal Activity and has also produced the subsequent Paranormal films as well as 2010's Insidious (a phenomenal horror film if you haven't seen it).

Official Trailer for Chernobyl Diaries

Doing a bit of research I'm also hopeful for Parker's directing skills because he's been involved with films like Fight Club as a visual effects artist, and as a 2nd unit director and visual effects supervisor on the great vampire film Let Me In.

S: While you will be seeing this one all by your lonesome, I will have to admit that this movie is in the perfect location for a scary movie. I hate scary movies. We have established this many times. But the whole premise of this one looks awesome. With the director skills connected to this movie I have to expect that it will be pretty good. Can't wait to interview you on this one. 

Okay readers, we apologize again for the delay of this post. It has been one crazy week for both of us at work. We are excited to bring you all the great reviews for your Memorial Day weekend reading enjoyment. 

A: You can totally expect to see reviews for Men In Black III and Chernobyl Diaries this weekend, and maybe even The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Have a safe and fun weekend everyone!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What Would Two Tickets For... Do?: "Battleship"

Andrew: Hello readers! Personally I'm very excited about today's post because it is the first entry of a new column Sarah and I are going to start writing called "What Would Two Tickets For... Do?" (or WWTTFD?) The basic idea is that every now and then we'll see a movie in theatres, on DVD or on TV and we talk about what we didn't like about it, or what didn't work for us, etc. And sometimes we'll talk about what we would have done differently or what we think the film-makers should have done differently that would have made the movie better (in our opinion, of course).
So this column is essentially going to be taking a look at one movie and what Sarah and I think should have been done differently to make it better. A simple premise, no? It's not meant to be holier-than-thou, of course, just a simple exercise in looking at what could have been done differently in a film to make it a bit better. SPOILER ALERT: DON’T READ THESE COLUMNS IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE MOVIE WE TALK ABOUT AND DON’T WANT ANYTHING TO BE SPOILED. We are writing these under the impression that if you’re reading it, dear reader, then you know what we’re talking about because you’ve seen the film, too.
Sarah, for our first WWTTFD? column we are going to talk about a recent blockbuster that's received a very tepid response for many reasons - Universal and Hasbro's Battleship. (Read our 1.5/5 review of it HERE)
Sarah: Ooo this promises to be a fun column! Yes, as many of you know, we were not a huge fan of this movie, me in particular because of the whole "game as a movie" thing, but I have to say the whole idea might be growing on me a bit. Now, I will give the good people at Universal and Hasbro credit for taking a game that really didn't have much to go on in the first place and try to develop a movie around it, but we here at Two Tickets For... think they went about it the wrong way. Why aliens? Why not keep it to the original game of ship vs. ship?
A: That's exactly the first thing I would have changed if I were involved in the making of this movie. I get that their rationale was probably something like this, "Hey, Transformers has made us a boatload of money, let's make this one look exactly like a Transformers movie!" But that's not good rationale. People went to see those films because they were already big fans of the Transformers and wanted to see it on the big screen, and Michael Bay is a master at making big, stupid action tent-poles.
So the first thing to do is get rid of the aliens altogether. I don't see why they couldn't have set the movie in the mid-1900's during a time when the United States might still have need for actual battleships, and make the story about a fictional World War III or something, and make it more of a character story revolving around Taylor Kitsch's Alex Hopper and how he has to mature in a time of war. (They sort of did, but it involved aliens, so.......yeah.)
"What are we doing in a movie about battleships?"
I mean, they already make very heavy-handed allusions to the old tensions between the USA and Japan throughout the film, why not just cut to the core of it and make it about a war between the two again? Just anything other than aliens, and if you’re going to include aliens, give us a reason why they came in the first place.
S: Yeah, and make it so that the audience actually cares what happens to Alex. Make it so that when he loses his brother, the audience is shocked and really feels for the loss of him and his crew. If you’re gonna keep the aliens, turn them into a real-life threat.
This could have been a whole new take on a World War or the Cold War. If you get rid of the aliens, bring in Liam Neeson in a bigger role. He has such a small role in this movie, and it really is a shame. Making him a bigger part of the movie could really bring some of that character developoment back to the film. I would love to see him get a chance to see Alex grow and mature into the perfect man for his daughter.
A: That's a good point on Neeson's Admiral Shane. Director Peter Berg and the screenwriters Erich and Jon Hoeber make a critical mistake in leaving him out of the action for most of the movie. You're absolutely right that they should have had Neeson and Kitsch's characters on the same boat in the middle of the action and had more of a bonding experience. Honestly, they probably could have done completely without Alexander Skarsgard's Stone Hopper and focused more on Neeson. I was far more interested in Alex’s troubles trying to man up and ask Admiral Shane for his daughter’s hand in marriage.
WWTTFD? We'd make it so that Liam Neeson has a MUCH bigger role in Battleship
There's also a small part of me that says they miscast Kitsch in this film, mainly because there's just something about him that does not scream LEADING MAN, but he fit in better here than he did in John Carter. Much like John Carter, if we recasted Alex Hopper, I think it should have gone to someone like Jake Gyllenhaal or Chris Pine. In fact, we’ve seen a better version of Battleship with this exact story of a hot-headed, immature member of the armed forces grow into a leader with Pine in Star Trek. I want to say Rihanna was miscast (because she was) but because we would have set this film in the past, her character would probably have to be male anyways.
S: The last thing that I would say could be different was to put Brooklyn Decker's character in greater peril. Yes, I know it borderlines on the cheesy and predictable, but she's the heroine of the story and should be treated as such.
So, readers, what did you think of our changes? We don't want this to be another movie review on a movie we have already reviewed, but a fun way to look at the movie in a "what if?" fashion. We would love to get your feedback on this new column! Good or bad.
Photo Courtesies: zap2it, We Believe In Aliens