Friday, December 5, 2014

The Reese Witherspoon Lists


With Wild hitting theaters today and Inherent Vice coming in a few weeks, it promises to be a big year for Reese Witherspoon. Over the last 23 years, she's gone from promising child actor, to a bona fide superstar with an Academy Award and a Golden Globe to her credit. Both Chris and I have grown up on her films and now we pay tribute with . . .

The Reese Witherspoon Lists


Dan's List

5. Freeway

Reese Witherspoon as a complete badass?
Yes, please.
This movie is all kinds of screwed up and only played on nine screens in 1996.
However, Reese showed her range and proved to me this thing shouldn't be forgotten completely.

4. Cruel Intentions

I straight up love Cruel Intentions and I don't care who knows it.
The cast is an all-star team of late 90s/early 00s hotties and is full of  um, "classic" scenes.
Plus, The Verve's "Bittersweet Symphony" and Counting Crow's "Colorblind".
I used to write "I'll Always Be At The Top Of The Escalator" in my AIM profile and it was gold.

3. Legally Blonde

As I tried explaining to Chris, you cannot have this list without Elle Woods.
I'm not saying it's the greatest film ever made, but it's better than 99% of crap aimed at teenage girls.
This movie was basically played on a loop in girls' dorms in college.
If you don't know about "Bend and Snap!" or "Like On Vaycay?", I don't need ya.
It also spawned an empire with a super successful sequel and Broadway show.

2. Walk The Line

Johnny Cash is one of my Top 5 favorite musical artists and one of the coolest humans to ever live.
I've read his biography at least four times.
"Jackson" was the first dance song for my wedding.
So believe me when I say that Reese was perfect as Johnny's true love, June Carter.
She won an Oscar and Golden Globe for her work and sang her way into our hearts, just like June.


1. Election

I can't think of many movies that made me laugh harder than Election.
Spunky, over achieving Tracy Flick will go do in film history and deservedly so.
It would have been a great role for any actress, but Reese was just perfect for it:
The smile, the voice and the ability to switch from innocent to devastating in a second.
Reese can truly do it all.
I guess that's how come she stays number one.


Honorable Mention
The Man In The Moon-- A young girl learns about life, love and tractor safety.
Fear-- Note: stay away from leering guys with perfect abs.


Chris's List 

5 - Cruel Intentions


Probably the first R-Rated movie I ever saw in theaters unaccompanied by an adult (either this, or Varsity Blues, I can't remember). So it will always hold a special place in my heart for that reason alone. But it is also a ridiculously fun, guilty-pleasure movie and one of the best of the late '90s, MTV-styled teen flicks.

4 - Pleasantville

Wildly imaginative, a bit on-the-nose, but still a thoughtful, well executed movie.  
Part of a string of late 90s movies that put Reese on the A-list. 

3 - Walk the Line

Reese's big Oscar win, and deservedly so.
In a movie dominated by Joaquin Phoenix's Johnny Cash, she stole the show as June Carter.
And I'm a sucker for girls with southern accents.

2 -  Mud

Despite Reese's relatively small role in this terrific indie film, she makes a big impact.
It is easy to see why Matthew McConaughey's titular character is so desperate to get back to her.

1 - Election

Dan is right: a young, spunky Reese Witherspoon was made for this role. Tom Perrotta's story, Alexander Payne's direction, and some great performances (Reese, Matthew Broderick, and even Chris Klein) combine to make a hilariously sharp and witty film.


Honorable Mention 
American Psycho- Even though she's only in it for like 3 minutes . . .
Freeway- Dan and I had to watch it in a film class and both fell in love it with it.

And I have to include this picture because it makes me laugh obnoxiously, every time:


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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The JURASSIC WORLD trailer is here!


After months of waiting, fans of the Jurassic Park film series were given a gift two days early!
Above is the trailer for JURASSIC WORLD which will be released on June 12th 2015.
Both Chris and I are huge fans of the series and we both have high hopes for this installment.
We are extra excited that our homes have some connection to the film:
It is directed by Burlington, Vermont resident, Colin Trevorrow and was filmed in New Orleans.
This is one of the best trailers since GRAVITY and I'm all-in on it being a super-dope nostalgia trip.

THE PARK IS OPEN!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Chris's Review: ‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part I’


I will admit, way back in 2012, when the first The Hunger Games came out, my interest was hovering just below minimal. Having not read the books, it went fairly unnoticed on my movie-going radar. But when I did eventually catch it one rainy Sunday afternoon on Netflix, I was instantly hooked.

When the second film, Catching Fire, came out last year, because of my newfound appreciation, I made sure to see it in theaters and was not disappointed. So, needless to say, I have been eagerly awaiting the latest entry, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part I.

The Badass Ladies Lists



Tonight, THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART I is in theaters everywhere.
This will be the third of four films that will bring Suzanne Collins' three novels to the screen.
There are no more Hunger Games:
The Districts have gone to war with The Capitol and Katniss Everdeen is in the middle of the battle.

Jennifer Lawrence's portrayal of Katniss was great in the first two films.
"The Girl On Fire" has become one of the toughest and coolest cinematic heroines ever.
It got us thinking about the other most badass ladies in film history.
Chris and I mutually agreed on a Top 3 and then picked the rest of our favorites.


The All-Time Top 3

#3. Sarah Connor (TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY)

T2 was the first R-Rated movie I ever saw. I was seven years old and it blew my mind.
As a matter of fact, it still does. Anyway, Sarah Connor is tough as nails. Knowing the world is going to end soon, can be rough on a person, but she kept her mind and body in shape to help us avoid nuclear winter. Her escape from the mental hospital is so awesome

#2. The Bride (KILL BILL VOL. 1 and 2)

Beatrix Kiddo and her "roaring-rampage of revenge" earn her a spot among the all-time greats. They beat her, shot her in the head and buried her alive, but nothing stops her from taking her Hanzo sword and destroying everyone in her path.

#1. Ripley (The ALIEN Series )

The only survivor out of her entire crew, multiple times. She outlived Xenomorphs, space marines, crazy prisoners and poor Newt. She even killed herself for the good of the human race, only to be brought back (via cloning!) to destroy more aliens. She is one of the best heroes in the history of film, man or woman, and absolutely brings the pain in all four films.

Those Are The Best Of The Best.
Here Are The Best Of The Rest . . .


THE BADASS LADIES LISTS


Dan's List 

#5. The Phoenix (X-Men: The Last Stand)

Jean Grey had been living with demons all her life. She may be the most powerful mutant in the X-Men and sometimes that power is too great for her to control. When she saved everyone in X2, she basically hit the reset button on her life and The Phoenix is (re)born. The Phoenix is nobody's friend and atomizes Professor X. Everybody is scared of her, and rightfully so.

#4. Billie Jean (The Legend Of Billie Jean)

The Legend Of Billie Jean has to be one of the best 1980s Cult Classics.
It's as absurd and hilarious as it is angst-ridden.
Billie Jean was only 17 when she became a fugitive, but she inspired the youth of America.
Add in Pat Benetar's awesome, "Invincible" and you've got an epic tale of justice being served.
Fair is fair!

#3. -TIE- Foxy/Jackie Brown (Foxy Brown and Jackie Brown)

You wouldn't want to tangle with either of these fierce Pam Grier characters.
Talk trash to Foxy Brown? Not unless you want a bar stool across the face.
Try to outsmart Jackie Brown? You're probably going to end up dead.
Go ahead and throw Coffy and a whole lot of others onto that list as well.
We salute you, Pam Grier, for your permanent record of badassery.

#2. Alabama (True Romance)

This call girl turned into a great wife and mother before our eyes.
She likes to play dumb, but always uses it to her advantage.
Her 12 minute battle with a mob hitman was so hardcore that it had edited down, multiple times, for it to be released in some other countries. Alabama is a survivor and is another of Quentin Tarantino's many, crazy tough, female characters.

#1. Mrs. Voorhees (Friday The 13th)

You don't mess with somebody's children.
She's a terrifying, mad woman who gets in nine kills before you know it.
Mrs. Voorhees is the scariest part the entire FRIDAY THE 13th series, by far.
"Kill her, Mommy."  is something that will give kids nightmares, forever.

Honorable Mention
Zoe, Kim and Abernathy (Death Proof)- Not even Stuntman Mike could take down this trio.
Gogo Yubari (KILL BILL VOL. 1)- Dies in the only fight we see her in, but definitely a killer.
Buffy (BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER)- Head cheerleader/a quick study, who catches knives.


Chris's List

#5 - Hit-Girl (Kick Ass, Kick Ass 2)

Kick-Ass, a divisive film and series, no doubt. The first one was fun and a breath of fresh air, while the second, well, kinda sucked. One thing is for sure, Hit-Girl (played by Chloë Grace Moretz) is the best part of both films.


#4 - Black Widow/Natasha Romanov (Iron Man 2The Avengers)

Two things are all you need to know why she is on this list:
One, she is played by Scarlett Johansson, and two, this scene:




#3 - Trinity (The Matrix Trilogy)

Trinity rocks it in all three Matrix films, including the opening scene of the series and the famous freeway chase from Reloaded. Again, a video can explain her placement on the list better than I:



#2 - Yu Shu Lien and Jen Yu (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon)

The proof is in the video:



#1 - Hanna (Hanna)


I love this movie. One of the most underrated of the past few years. Great film and great, awesomely badass lead performance from Saoirse Ronan, as a 16-year old deadly assassin being tracked down by a rogue CIA agent played by Cate Blanchett.

Honorable Mention

Miho (Sin City) - Two samurai swords are better than one. Quiet, but deadly.

Sydney Prescott (The SCREAM Series) - Sure, she does not have a lot of skills, weapons, or power but she has survived four films and seven killers - including a murderous boyfriend, brother, and niece - with a nary a scratch on her. Impressive to say the least.


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Monday, November 10, 2014

Movie Award Season Begins... Chris's Early Thoughts on Foxcatcher, The Imitation Game, Birdman, Whiplash, and Dear White People




Every year, Christmas comes early for cinephiles – because with November, comes film award season. From early November (late October even), the studios roll out their big guns, the award-seeking missiles. Week after week, highly anticipated new films hit theaters week after week in hopes of riding the momentum into next year and the Oscars in February. 


12 Years a Slave director & cast at 2013 New Orleans Film Fest

With this time of year on the movie calendar also comes a myriad of film festivals. For the past several years, I have the honor and pleasure of covering the New Orleans Film Festival, a rapidly growing fest that is riding the tsunami wave of Hollywood South and the ever-growing film industry in the state of Louisiana. 

Last year, I got to cover the U.S. premiere of the eventual Best Picture Oscar-winning 12 Years a Slave, complete with interviews with director Steve McQueen and stars Chiwetel Ejiofor and eventual Oscar-winner, Lupita Nyong’o. In addition to cool things like that, I also get to see a lot of films early, many of which are equally as highly-anticipated films.


This year, in addition to many smaller and local films, I got to see a handful of this year’s big name films and potential award contenders, including Foxcatcher, The Imitation Game, Whiplash, Black and White, and Dear White People.

Here are my thoughts on these films before they hit theaters later this year, in addition to my initial thoughts on Birdman, which I saw last week and is now playing. 

Friday, November 7, 2014

The Space Movie Lists


If you've seen the trailer or read anything about Christopher Nolan's latest film, Interstellar, then you know: we've got a new space epic on our hands. Hollywood has a glorious history of films that take place outside our atmosphere, so we picked our favorite space film from each decade. 3,2,1 blastoff, it's . . .

The Space Movie Lists

2010s

Gravity
Dan:
This film was meant to be seen in 3D, on a huge screen.
The only people I met who weren't blown away by it, saw it in 2D and/or on a TV.
I hope you didn't miss out on one of the most riveting cinematic experiences in years. 
Don't think Sandra Bullock earned that Oscar? 
Just check out the making of the film.

2000s 

Star Trek
Dan:
I freakin' loved this movie: 
The Cast, The Writing, The "Wow" Shots and of course, The Space Jump.
Sure, some die hard Trekkies were underwhelmed, but this is by far the best Trek film ever.
The greatness of Star Trek is what gives me high hopes for J.J. Abrams' Star Wars films.
Can't wait!


Moon
Chris:
A largely overlooked indie film from Duncan Jones (son of David Bowie) about one-man mission on the Moon starring the always delightful Sam Rockwell. A great psychological space movie with a great central performance. A beautifully shot minimalistic film that wonderfully wears its classic sci-fi influences on its sleeve (2001, Solaris, Alien, etc).

1990s 
Apollo 13
Dan:
Look at the lineup:
Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton, Gary Sinise, Ed Harris.
That is a 90s All Star Team of powerhouse actors.
Throw in a quality filmmaker like Ron Howard and you've got one of the best movies of the decade.
If Apollo 13 is on TV and I catch it, I'm watching it.
Isn't that the best kind of film?

1980s


Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back
Dan:
Can you have a list of best space movies without a Star Wars film?
Episode V is bigger, faster and of course, has one of the best reveals in film history.
I met James Earl Jones and got him to drop "I am your father" on me.
Certainly a high point in my life.



The Right Stuff
Chris:
How could we talk about space movies and not mention the brave men who made it all possible?
Based on the novel by Tom Wolfe, the film follows the true story of the original Mercury 7 astronauts.
Great performances from Sam Shepard, Scott Glenn, Ed Harris, and Denis Quaid.

1970s


Alien
Chris:
My favorite space movie. Director Ridley Scott perfectly captures the claustrophobic nature of space, a place where, as the film's poster reminds us, no one can hear you scream. Probably the second most influential space movie in cinema history, trailing only the next film on our list...

1960s 


2001: A Space Odyssey
Chris:
Kubrick’s seminal and cerebral sci-fi film for which all space movies before and after well ever be judged against. As grandiose in its legendary visuals as it is in history spanning scope, this is the space movie.  


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