Friday, August 31, 2012

A Violent and Bloody Good Period Piece: Our Review of "Lawless" (2012)

Directed By: John Hillcoat (The Road)

Starring: Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, Jessica Chastain, Guy Pearce, Mia Wasikowska

Rating: R for strong bloody violence, language and sexuality/nudity

Run Time: 1 hour, 55 minutes

Synopsis: In the middle of Prohibition-era Virginia, Forrest Bondurant (Hardy) and his brothers Jack (LaBeouf) and Howard make and bootleg the best alcohol in the area. When local authorities start looking for a cut and bring in Special Deputy Rakes (Pearce) to crack down on them, tempers and blood start to run.


Andrew: Hello readers! Sarah and I hit up the local AMC tonight to catch an early evening showing of this week’s new R-rated drama Lawless, starring a personal fav of ours in Tom Hardy, as well as Shia LaBeouf, Guy Pearce, Jessica Chastain and Mia Wasikowska.

It’s based on a true story about the bootlegging Bondurant brothers in Prohibition-era Virginia who fought against local authorities who tried to extort them into sharing their profits. This is one we’ve been looking forward to because we’ve been seeing the trailers for a while now and it looked gritty, it looked like it had a lot of drama involved and it had a great cast.

So now that we’ve seen Lawless, Sarah, what did you think?

Sarah: I was thoroughly impressed! It was a long movie that had a slow burn; it’s a very well done period piece. It’s incredibly engaging in both the cinematic aspects as well as the acting involved.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Real and Sincere, One of the Year's Best: Our Review of "Celeste and Jesse Forever" (2012)

Directed By: Lee Toland Kreiger

Starring: Rashida Jones, Andy Samberg, Ari Graynor, Eric Christian Olsen

Rating: R for language, sexual content and drug use

Run Time: 1 hour, 32 minutes

Synopsis: Celeste (Jones) and Jesse (Samberg) are two best friends who got married but decided to divorce after six years to preserve their friendship. When Jesse starts to date other women, Celeste begins to realize she may have blown the best thing she ever had going in her life.


Andrew: Hello readers! Yesterday Sarah and I caught a late afternoon showing of Celeste and Jesse Forever, the new dramady starring Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg (which was also co-written by Jones). This is a film that’s been in limited release so far and we just recently found out it was in our neck of the woods so it’s not one we’ve had a chance to preview but we’ve seen the trailer for it many times and it certainly caught our eye.

The topic of the film, with Jones’ Celeste and Samberg’s Jesse being best friends who were married for six years but are getting divorced yet hang out with each other constantly was something that piqued our interest. The different take on a relationship like that made us want to check it out.

Sarah, when we left the movie you seemed a bit ambivalent about it.

Sarah: I don’t know how to feel about it! It was funny, I will give it that. There were some parts that literally made me laugh out loud. Not just a chuckle, but an honest to goodness laugh. It was hilarious.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Nothing More Than A Brief, Action-y Sugar Rush: Our Review of "Premium Rush" (2012)

Directed By: David Koepp

Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Shannon, Dania Ramirez, Jamie Chung

Rating: PG-13 for some violence, intense action sequences and language

Run Time: 1 hour, 31 minutes

Synopsis: Wilee (Gordon-Levitt) is a law-school dropout turned NYC bike messenger who loves to ride fast on his brakeless bike. One day he gets a call to take an envelope from a friend (Chung) and deliver it to Chinatown. Shortly after he’s intercepted by a Detective Monday (Shannon) who needs the package to pay off a gambling debt. From there and with the help of his ex-girlfriend (Ramirez), it becomes a race between Wilee, Monday and the clock to get the package to its destination.


Andrew: Hello readers! We know it’s been a little bit since our last review and we thank you for your patience! I’m back from my two-week stint working on location in the middle of Pennsylvania and now Sarah and I can get back to seeing movies together on a regular basis.

For the first movie we’re going to review after my return (and as a new member of The Large Association of Movie Blogs, what up?!) we saw Premium Rush, the new action film starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt (The Dark Knight Rises) and Michael Shannon (Take Shelter). JGL plays a NYC bike messenger named Wilee (pronounced “Wiley” like the cartoon coyote) who picks up a parcel that Shannon’s corrupt NYPD detective needs to intercept so he can pay off some gambling debts.

Sarah, this isn’t a film we had a chance to preview last week but I’d say it’s one we’ve been looking forward to because we like JGL. Now that we’ve seen it, what do you think of Premium Rush?

Sarah: I’m going to say that I didn’t mind it. I went into it knowing that it was going to be nothing but bike chase sequences and JGL trying to get this package from Point A to Point B as fast as he could and insanity would ensue in-between those points.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

What Would Two Tickets For... Do?: Casting "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire"

Andrew: Hello readers! So a couple of months ago Sarah and I tried out a new column on our blog called What Would Two Tickets For... Do? where in our inaugural post we talked/ranted exclusively on what we would have done differently had we made Battlship. The reaction was tepid at best, but we enjoyed writing it and haven't had a real chance to bring the column back.....until now.

This week in movie news we all finally found out one of the biggest casting questions of the year: who would be playing Finnick Odair in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Turns out Sam Clalfin (Snow White and the Hunstman) nabbed the coveted role, and with that choice Lionsgate gave us the necessary fuel to do another WWTTFD?

Sam Claflin, who's star is a bit on the rise with starring
role in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
and Snow White & The Huntsman, has
been cast in the coveted role of Finnick Odair.
He is NOT, however, who we would have chosen.

So Sarah, we're going to go down a brief list of who has been cast for pivotal roles in Catching Fire, whether we agree with them or not, and who we would have cast instead, yes? Which role should we start with?

Sarah: Well, let's go ahead and start with Finnick. Sam Claflin is a good looking guy that is built like I would think that Finnick should be. However, I think his acting is sub-par. When he acted opposite of Kristen Stewart I had a hard time figuring out which one was the more boring actor to watch. And that is where I think he will fail at this role. Finnick needs to be a presence. Fun but tough, with an air of cockiness. This role would have been much better played by Ryan Kwanten from True Blood.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Stop-Motion Hasn't Been This Scary Fun Since Jack Skellington: Our Review of "ParaNorman" (2012)

Directed By: Sam Fell (Flushed Away) & Chris Butler 

Starring: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Tucker Albrizzi, Anna Kendrick, Casey Affleck

Rating: PG for scary action and images, thematic elements, some rude humor and language

Run Time: 1 hour, 33 minutes

Synopsis: Blithe Hollow is a small New England town famous for being cursed by a witch they hung 300 years prior. Norman Babcock (Smit-McPhee) is young boy who can talk to dead people, and on the night of the 300th anniversary of the witch’s death, his crazy uncle passes on the responsibility of saving the town by suppressing the witch’s curse.


Andrew: Hello readers! Slowly but surely we're getting to the day on the calendar when I return to Connecticut from Central Pennsylvania and we can get back to a normal blogging routine. In the meantime, Sarah caught this past weekend's new animated film, ParaNorman, on Monday night and I saw it this afternoon. ParaNorman is the latest film from Laika, the animation studio that brought us Coraline a couple of years back.

ParaNorman is a stop-motion film (like Coraline) about a young boy named Norman who has The Sixth Sense and can talk to dead people. Kodi Smit-McPhee (Let Me In) stars as the voice of Norman, and he's surrounded by a pretty star-studded cast including Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Superbad), Leslie Mann (Knocked Up), John Goodman (The Big Lebowski) and more.

So Sarah, I know I personally had been looking forward to this movie for a while, but I can't remember if you were the same. So remind me, where you looking forward to this? And now that we've seen it, what did you think?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Explosions! Gunfire! One-Liners! Chuck Norris!: Andrew's Review of "The Expendables 2" (2012)

Directed By: Simon West (Con Air)
Starring: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Jean Claude Vanne Damme, name an action star from the past 30 years and he’s probably in this
Rating: R for strong bloody violence throughout
Run Time: 1 hour, 42 minutes
Synopsis: Barney Ross (Stallone) and his crew of mercenaries, The Expendables, are called into action and sent to Bulgaria to recover sensitive information that went down with a plane. When they run into a competing mercenary named Vilain (Van Damme) and their mission goes awry, Ross and his boys go looking for vengeance.
Sarah: Andrew is still away on work,but did he got the chance today to see The Expendables 2, starring just about every big action star of the 1980s and 90s with Liam Hemsworth thrown in for good measure. I mean they have to throw at least one young actor in there to get some of the younger crowd. This is not a movie that I will be seeing, one because I didn't see the first and two because it just doesn't really appeal to me.
But, Andrew, you've seen the first one and thought it was a fun action movie. What did you think of this new one?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Site Update (8/19/2012)

Andrew: Hello readers! It's late at night as I'm working on a remote shoot for work still, but I wanted to take the quick time to mention that we now have a new Two Tickets For... banner courtesy of Nick over at the fantasic Cinematic Katzenjammer! He took the time to make a new custom banner logo for us (a few different colored versions, in fact) and even was great enough to take a few suggestions we had to fine tune it into the final product. We cannot thank him enough for his generousity and we highly suggest you check out his sweet blog when you get the chance.

Also, we know it's been a little slow thanks to me being away from Sarah for a week now, and I still have another week before I get home, but we promise we'll try to get some new reviews up this upcoming week. I'm going to try to catch The Expendables 2 at some point in the next few days, and Sarah and I are both going to try and see ParaNorman so we can do a normal review. So be on the lookout for those!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

It's a Disney Movie, So Of Course We Cried: Our Review of "The Odd Life of Timothy Green"

Directed By: Peter Hedges (Dan in Real Life)

Starring: Jennifer Garner, Joel Edgerton, CJ Adams

Rating: PG for mild thematic elements and brief language

Run Time: 2 hours, 5 minutes

Synopsis: When Jim and Cindy Green (Edgerton and Garner) are told they can't bear their own children, they bury a box full of their slips of paper containing descriptions of what their perfect child would be like. Magically, overnight, a 10-year-old boy named Timothy sprouts into their life just as they described him, and he goes on to positively effect not only them but their entire town.


Andrew: Hello readers! So we know it's been a little slow lately but it's for good reason. I'm currently out-of-state working on the Little League World Series in Pennsylvania while Sarah is still back in Connecticut. So my schedule's pretty busy AND we're not able to see movies together until I return on August 26th. That said, while we can't see any movies together right now, we were each able to catch this week's first new release, Disney's The Odd Life of Timothy Green, starring Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton.

Sarah, we're probably not going to be able to do a full preview this week, but we've seen the trailer for this film about a hundred times and I know I personally have been looking forward to it just to see what it's really about. Also, I'm a fan of Edgerton's after his turn in Warrior. What about you?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Couple Upcoming Movies That Have Piqued Our Interest

Sarah: Hello Readers! While Andrew is away I am going to be posting some content for you all to enjoy! Today while at work (oops!) I was checking out some new trailers. There are a couple that are new and some that we haven't seen before the movies yet. So for your viewing pleasure...

Red Dawn (2012)

Now, this one we have seen once on the big screen and it looked AWESOME. Much like Cabin in the Woods, this movie was filmed a couple of years ago (2009 to be exact) but was shelved in 2010 because of MGM financial issues. This remake of the 1984 film of the same name follows the story of a group of teens trying to save their town from an invasion of North Korean soldiers. Check it out!
On the Road (2012)

Neither one of us had seen this trailer until today. We saw a write-up on it in this week's Entertainment Weekly, the Fall movie line-up and it looked interesting. Based on two guys straight from the "Beat Generation" traveling through the United States searching for "It." This movie first was viewed in Cannes Film Festival this year and opened with mixed to negative reviews. I think it looks interesting. You be the judge!
The Paperboy (2012)

This film starring Zac Efron, Matthew McConaughey, Nicole Kidman and John Cusack looks to be different than anything that I have ever seen with these actors. Following the story of a reporter (McConaughey) and his little brother (Efron) as they follow a case involving a death row inmate. 
So there you go! Some fun trailers for this Tuesday evening. Which films are you guys most looking forward to this Fall?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

This Assassin's Bullet Just Missed the Mark: Our Review of "The Bourne Legacy" (2012)

Directed By: Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton)

Starring: Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton

Rating: PG-13 for violence and action sequences

Run Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Synopsis: Aaron Cross (Renner) is a black ops soldier under the Outcome program, an off-shoot of the Treadstone and Blackbriar programs that spawned Jason Bourne. After Bourne begins to pull the curtain on the programs, the government decides to destroy all parts of the programs, including Cross. After narrowly avoiding death, Cross joins together with Dr. Marta Shearing (Weisz), who might be able to help him avoid being eliminated.


Andrew: Hello readers! Early today Sarah and I caught a matinee showing of this weekend’s new action film The Bourne Legacy, a “side-quel,” if you will, to the Jason Bourne trilogy that starred Matt Damon. The newest addition does not star Damon but instead stars Jeremy Renner as Aaron Cross, a black ops soldier in a different program than Bourne’s. It also stars Rachel Weisz, a.k.a. Mrs. Daniel Craig…

Sarah: a.k.a. Mrs. James Bond!

A: Correct! Mrs. Craig stars as Dr. Marta Shearing, a scientist involved with Aaron Cross’ secret program. The Bourne Legacy also stars Edward Norton - a new addition to the series - as Eric Byer, a retired Air Force colonel who sort of oversees some of the black ops programs the CIA runs.

So Sarah, this was one of the films we previewed this week, and as we mentioned in our preview over the last three days we have watched the first three Bourne films to get you caught up on the series and to refresh my memory. So now that we’re caught up and we saw this almost right after watching The Bourne Ultimatum, what did you think of The Bourne Legacy?

Friday, August 10, 2012

These Candidates Get Our Vote: Our Review of "The Campaign" (2012)

Directed By: Jay Roach (Meet the Parents

Starring: Will Ferrell, Zach Galifianakas, Jason Sudeikis, Dylan McDermott

Rating: R for crude sexual content, language and brief nudity

Run Time: 1 hour, 25 minutes

Synopsis: Cam Brady (Ferrell) is a Congressman from the 14th District of North Carolina who has won four straight elections unopposed. But after a disastrous wrong number call to his mistress goes public, the Motch Brothers (Dan Akroyd and John Lithgow) – his biggest donors – decide to replace him by funding a new candidate, the goofy but harmless Marty Huggins (Galifianakas).


Andrew: Hello readers! Earlier tonight Sarah and I caught the new R-rated comedy The Campaign. Directed by Jay Roach (of the Austin Powers trilogy fame), it stars Will Ferrell (Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy) and Zach Galifianakas (The Hangover) as two rival candidates campaigning for the Representative Seat for the 14th District of North Carolina.

This is one of the movies we previewed this week. I think it’s safe to say it’s one we’ve been looking forward to. It has a great pedigree with the director behind it as well as all the talent involved. But right off the bat I think something that needs to be said is that The Campaign is the crudest and most vulgar movie I’ve seen that Roach has directed. It’s a hard R as far as the language goes.

Sarah: It’s very much in keeping with a Will Ferrell movie. You know, he brought a lot of raunchiness to the film, not only as his character, but every now and then he’s known for comedic roles where he’s be vulgar.

Our Preview of This Week's New Releases (For Friday, August 10th)

Andrew: Hello readers! We're running a little late with our weekly preview, but better late than never! This week we see three wide releases in the new Will Ferrell/Zach Galifianakas comedy The Campaign, the latest entry in the Jason Bourne series (sans Jason Bourne), The Bourne Legacy, and the new Meryl Streep/Tommy Lee Jones dramedy Hope Springs (which we saw on Wednesday and you can read our review of it HERE) So a lot of bigger movies coming out with some big names coming out this week.
Sarah, let's start out preview with the film we'll be seeing tonight, The Campaign. There's some strong pedigree with this comedy - first of all it stars Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakas, the former being one of the biggest comedy stars of the last decade and the latter an underappreciated comic whose star has skyrocketed since The Hangover in 2009.
It's also directed by Jay Roach, who directed a bevy of beloved comedies in the Austin Powers trilogy, as well as Meet the Parents and Meet the Fockers. (To be fair, he also directed Dinner for Schmucks which wasn't as good, but that's the film we saw the night we got engaged, so I hold it in a special place in my heart.)
 Official Trailer for The Campaign

So Sarah, what are your impressions of The Campaign?
Sarah: I think it looks hilarious! The classic humor of Ferrell mixed with the quirky wit of Galifianakas promises to come together in a marvelous way! I am excited to see this comedy because it has come out at such a perfect time. When everyone seems to be up in arms over all the political nonsense and the upcoming election, it will be refreshing to see some humor. I have high hopes for this one. I'm expecting this one to be just as funny as some of our favorites like Wedding Crashers and Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy.
A: I'm pretty hopeful for it, too, but I'm going in a little more cautious than I would have a month ago. And that's because we have some great pedigree behind The Watch and that wasn't very good at all. So I'm going to be a little apprehensive going in, but I'm still hopeful. If that makes sense.
S: I totally understand. I suppose we will have to wait and see. Now with The Bourne Legacy, we have, well sort of a reboot. Or just an extension to the earlier trilogy.
Now, I am in the process of catching up and watching these movies today and tomorrow before we go and see it. But I really like Jeremy Renner and I think he is a great actor. I am interested to see him starring in another action-packed movie. And him being alongside Rachel Weisz seems like they will be a great pair and hopefully beef up the story.
 Official Trailer for The Bourne Legacy

A: That's true, we're trying to crank through the first three Bourne films by tomorrow so that you're all caught up and I have a refresher. What I'll be interested in seeing with The Bourne Legacy is how Renner compares to Matt Damon. Damon's portrayal (as you'll see more, my dear) is that of a loner, of a guy who doesn't want to be doing what he's doing but has to do make it all stop. Renner seems to always have more of a simmering going on below the surface and is more of your typical action actor already, whereas Damon wasn't thought of that way before.
I'm interested to see how Legacy plays out, too, because from everything I've heard already is that it takes place somewhat at the same time as The Bourne Ultimatum. So is it more of a "side-quel"? How will it incorporate what we already know of the series and will it contradict anything? I'm assuming they'll have a decent idea of how to make it fit because it's being directed by Tony Gilroy, who had a hand in writing all of the original three.
S: I don't have too high expectations for this one actually. I think that if I keep my expectations low, and if it turns out to be pretty good, then I will have enjoyed myself. This is considered one of the summer's big blockbusters, so I figure a lot of people will be going out to see this one tonight.
So I think this looks to be a pretty good weekend. Since we've already seen one of the three movies that came out this week and were impressed with that, I hope that the next two prove to be just as fun!
A: Absolutely! So we'll definitely be seeing both The Campaign and The Bourne Legacy, so be on the lookout for those reviews! And as always, thanks for reading!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Streep and Jones Knock It Out of the Park: Our Review of "Hope Springs" (2012)

Directed By: David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada)
Starring: Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones, Steve Carell

Rating: PG-13 for mature thematic content including sexuality

Run Time: 1 hour, 40 minutes

Synopsis: Nebraska couple Kay and Arnold Soamse (Streep and Jones) have been married for 31 years, but Kay has become increasingly unhappy with their relationship. So Kay pays for a week-long intensive couples therapy session with Dr. Bernard Feld (Carell) in Maine, and Arnold begrudgingly goes along. Will Dr. Feld's aggressive style of therapy bring them back together or finally be the breaking point Kay needs to leave?


Andrew: Hello readers! Sarah and I just got back from the local cinema where we saw the first of this week’s new releases – Hope Springs, starring Meryl Streep, Tommy Lee Jones and Steve Carell. It’s directed by David Frankel, who previously directed Streep in the 2006 hit The Devil Wears Prada, and also directed Marley & Me.

Now Sarah, we haven’t had a chance to preview Hope Springs yet because it came out on a Wednesday and our weekly preview won’t be until tomorrow. But it’s safe to say this is one we’ve been looking forward to seeing for a bit now. Now that we’ve seen it, what did you think?

Monday, August 6, 2012

It's Not Bad, But We're Not Wild About It: Our Review of "Beasts of the Southern Wild" (2012)

Directed By: Bein Zeitlin

Starring: Quvenzhane Wallis, Dwight Henry

Rating: PG-13 for thematic material including child imperilment, some disturbing images, language and brief sensuality

Run Time: 1 hour, 33 minutes

Synopsis: Hushpuppy (Wallis) is a 6-year-old girl living in a New Orleans-like area called “The Bathtub” with her father, Wink (Henry). Wink does his best to prepare his daughter for a universe where he’s no longer around, and when he falls ill and the area floods for numerous reasons, Hushpuppy starts to learn hard and fast about what her universe will be like someday.


Andrew: Hello readers! Yesterday afternoon Sarah and I went and saw Beasts of the Southern Wild at a theatre in Hartford, since it has yet to come to our local AMC. This is a movie that has been making some noise because of its young star, Quvenzhane Wallis, who plays 6-year-old Hushpuppy. She’s being lauded for her performance – some even going so far as to say she should be nominated for an Oscar – in a film that’s a fantastical, fictional take on what happened in the New Orleans region and the flooding there.

So we finally checked it out, and I have to be honest…maybe it’s just that it wasn’t the right day for us to see it or I wasn’t in the right mood or frame of mind, but I just did not get it. I…I mean, I GET IT, but at the same time I did not like Beasts of the Southern Wild.

Sarah: Yeah, I’m not quite sure what we were missing that everyone has seemed to taken away from this movie. While Wallis does a FANTASTIC job for a 5-year-old, portraying a lot of emotion through her facial expressions, I didn’t quite see the appeal.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

A Two Tickets For... Retro Review: "All The President's Men" (1976)

Directed By: Alan J. Pakula

Starring: Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman, Jack Warden

Rating: PG (originally rated R for language)

Run Time: 2 hours, 18 minutes

Synopsis: When burglars are caught breaking into the Democratic National Committee's offices at the Watergate Building, Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein investigate a possible cover-up perpetrated by the Nixon administration.


Andrew: Hello readers! Yesterday Sarah and I were trying to find a way to beat the heat and get out of the apartment, so we hit up the mall and our nearest Best Buy. While at Best Buy we stumbled across All The President’s Men on DVD for only $4.99. We couldn’t pass on adding this classic film to our collection, now could we?

Sarah: When we got home we popped it into our laptop and sat in front of the air conditioner. It was during this viewing that we decided we wanted to review it and make it the first edition of a new feature we’re going to do called Retro Reviews!

A: We know it’s not an unheard of idea, to review older movies, but we kind of figure that if we’re going to review films that have been around for a while – and especially a classic film such as All The President’s Men – then we wanted to differentiate them from our new film reviews.

S: All of that said, we also want to make a cutoff point for any films we deem “retro.” This self-imposed cutoff point is going to be the year 2000. Any film we review that was released prior to 2000 will be a Retro Review. Anything made in the 21st century really isn’t retro, now is it?

A: That’s our thinking anyways! Ok then, Sarah, I’d like to kick off our review of All The President’s Men by pointing out just how DIFFERENT the style of film-making was for this movie than any movies we have nowadays.

There are so many long, drawn-out shots of Robert Redford’s Bob Woodward and Dustin Hoffman’s Carl Bernstein sitting in their newsroom talking about their story. And not only are they long takes, but the composition of the shots themselves are noticeably different, too, in that they’re incredibly wide.

S: Yes, which I really liked! In today’s Hollywood, directors like to keep tight shots on their actors, forcing the audience to focus on one character at a time. Our main characters in this movie are a team. And not only that but they are a historical team. We as the audience needed both reactions.

The long drawn-out shots give the audience the whole story; it makes the small details come to light in such a big way.

A: And I felt like the wide shots of the newsroom, with the bright fluorescent lights, white walls and desks that alternated between being empty or busy depending on the time of day they were working gave us a great feel for the environment they had to work in.

Or the way the director, Alan J. Pakula, and his cinematographer, Gordon Willis, framed many shots by having some parts of the shot in focus (especially some things in the foreground and some in the background at the same time), and other parts out of focus. I don’t know how they did it, but I love it. (Note: The scene mentioned here is a 6-minute long take between Woodward and Kenneth J. Dahlberg, where according to IMDb, Willis used a split diopter to get the foreground and background in focus, and was in fact one long zoom take. Also, Woodward's slip-up during the convo was an actual mistake by Redford during the scene. Awesome.)

And I hate to sound like I’m gushing, but one of my absolute favorite shots and scenes is when Woodward is first starting to write his story, he gives it to the copy desk, and Bernstein saunters over and takes it to his desk to “polish it.” The angles of the set, the camera, and Redford and Hoffman’s performances are top-notch.

S:  That is a great shot. Let’s be honest this movie is a classic for many reasons that we could gush about, but we should keep it pretty tight. While it is still a movie, the story that “Woodstein” broke to the country is one that will stay in our history for the rest of time. The way that they brought it to the screen was one of brilliance. Pakula made scenes feel intense and sometimes a little scary as well as bringing humor through the eccentricities of the journalists.

A: Good points. While I do feel like there are times the film seems to drag along, I do like how as Wooward and Bernstein’s investigation gets further along the more the tension and paranoia rises. I think that goes back to how the filmmakers do a good job showing us what the journalists were really going through at the time.

Before I forget this point, did you notice how there is almost NO music or score used? Plenty of scenes in the newsroom, or scenes where they make breakthroughs while working in their apartments, etc. had no music behind it. I really liked that.

S: I liked that there was very little music used as well. It really brings the focus on the story. When music is played, there is an eeriness that highlights the paranoia. The end is a little abrupt, but I think they were to the point where they were like, “We need to wrap this up.”

I also found it interesting as we were watching it that for a PG movie they used the f-word at LEAST ten times. (Note: Apparently this film was originally rated R, but was re-rated for historical significance. And we LEARNED something...)

Now while this movie is usually shown in High School English classes or Intro to Journalism college courses and can seem a little dull at times, it highlights one of the biggest cover-ups by the government, one of the most important investigations in history and is portrayed beautifully in this film.

A: All The President’s Men is the kind of film where even if you’re not in school anymore, if you’re a fan of filmmaking and especially if you went to school for journalism, you should watch at least once a year. And I think that’s exactly what we’re going to do. It’s not a perfect movie, but it’s darn close.

(Out of Five clapboards)
Photo Courtesy: Movie Poster Shop

Friday, August 3, 2012

Wholly Unnecessary Unless You Love Kate Beckinsale: Our Review of "Total Recall" (2012)

Directed By: Len Wiseman (Underworld

Starring: Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel, Bryan Cranston

Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, some sexual content, brief nudity, and language

Run Time: 1 hour, 58 minutes

Synopsis: Doug Quaid (Farrell) is a factory worker who wishes for a better life for him and his wife, Lori (Beckinsale). After a recurring dream where he's a spy working with another woman (Biel), he goes against the advice of a friend and visits Rekall - a business that can give you false memories for entertainment. Before he can get  a spy memory implanted in him, all hell breaks loose as it appears he truly is a spy, his wife turns into an intelligence operative who tries to kill him, and he joins forces with his dream girl. But what is real and what is Rekall?


Andrew: Hello readers! Tonight Sarah and I hit the theatre to catch Len Wiseman’s remake of the classic 1990 Arnold Schwarzenegger film Total Recall. This time around we get Colin Farrell in Arnold’s lead role of Doug Quaid; Kate Beckinsale as Lori, Quaid’s wife (or is she) originally played by Sharon Stone; and Jessica Biel as Melina, a woman who may or may not know who Quaid really is.

Sarah, this was the main film we previewed this week, and I’m the only one of us who has seen the original version directed by Paul Verhoeven, so I have some bit of reference to go off of here. But you haven’t seen the original so you kind of went into this fresh. So I want to get your take on what it was like going in having no knowledge of it other than what you’ve seen in promotions. (FAIR WARNING, SPOILERS AHEAD IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN EITHER VERSION)

Sarah: I went into it not having super high expectations but I was kind of excited to see it because it seemed like a cool action flick. I was thinking it was going to be a cerebral thriller, not knowing what was real and what was fake. It was definitely what you said it would be in the preview – a gun-slinger movie. It was very action-packed. There was actually very little of the movie that was NOT action-packed. Which for a Len Wiseman movie you come to expect.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Our Preview of This Week's New Releases (for Friday, August 3rd)

Andrew: Hello readers! It’s time once again for our weekly preview, but this one promises to be a short one. There are only two wide releases this week – Len Wiseman’s remake of the classic Arnold Schwarzenegger film Total Recall, and a third installment in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.

Sarah, let’s start with the bigger of the two, Total Recall. For those unfamiliar with the original film, the remake appears to be pretty similar.

It stars Colin Farrell as a workingman named Doug Quaid (previously played by AH-nuld). He’s unhappy with his blue-collar job and yearns for a more exciting life. Going against the advice of his co-workers he goes to a business called Rekall who offer to implant false memories in you for a recreational experience. From there all hell breaks loose as he can’t tell if he’s truly the spy it appears he is, or if it’s all just the memory given to him by Rekall. (Check out the trailer below.)

Official Trailer for Total Recall

Sarah, you’ve never seen the original so what are your thoughts on the premise of this film?