Movie News

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Best Of 2013 So Far

Dan Here:

After seven months of 2013, I know this: 
I've generally enjoyed going to the movies this year.
Most of the films I saw met, or exceeded my expectations.
Sure I saw a few bad flicks, but I was fully prepared for their failures going in.
I knew Die Hard 5 wasn't somehow going to be the better than DIE HARD.
The key to the year has been, that on a weekly basis, Hollywood has kept me entertained.
I don't know if I've seen an all-time great, but to me, that means we have yet to see 2013's best.
This post has links to all of our past reviews and many articles, so read, click and enjoy

The Best of 2013 So Far:

Dan's Top 10:

#10. WHITE HOUSE DOWN  (Dan's Review)
#9.   MAN OF STEEL  (Dan's Review)
#7.   THE HEAT  (Dan's Review)
#6.   THIS IS THE END   (Chris's Review)
#5.   WORLD WAR Z  (Dan's Review)
#4.   OZ THE GREAT AND POWERFUL   (Dan's Review)  (Dan's Discs)
#3.   IRON MAN 3  (Dan's Review)

I thought it was great to spend another few hours with this Enterprise crew.
Great follow-up to a classic film.

Almost Made It
THE GREAT GATSBY  (Dan's Review)
THE PURGE   (Chris's Review)

One-Time Views
42  (Dan's Discs)
THE LONE RANGER  (Dan's Review)

Not Good

Chris's Top 10:

#10b - Frances Ha (I actually have not seen this movie yet, but I have no doubt that I will like it a tremendous amount, so it gets an honor position in my Top 10)
#10 - Stoker 
  #9 - This is the End (My Review)
  #8 - The Kings of Summer (My Review)
  #7 - Iron Man 3
  #6 - Side Effects
  #5 - Spring Breakers (Past Post)
  #4 - Before Midnight (My Review)
  #3 - Upstream Color (My Review)
  #2 - Mud
  #1 - The Place Beyond the Pines (Past Post)

Just Missed the Cut:
The Way, Way Back (My Review)
Blue Jasmine
Star Trek Into Darkness
Pacific Rim

Best Documentaries:
Stories We Tell 
The Act of Killing

Movies I Strongly Disliked (Hate is such a strong word, but these come close):
Oz, The Great and Powerful 
Gangster Squad 
After Earth (My Review)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

This Week in Movie Trailers: Amazing Spider-Man 2, 12 Years a Slave, The Counselor, The Fifth Estate, Hunger Games, 47 Ronin, & multiple looks at Gravity

Comic-Con was last weekend, and because of it, this week is a big one for new movie trailers –
including #1 on our list: a brief little teaser for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and its main villain, Electro.

I actually quite liked the first one (and the original trilogy for that matter, so a reboot probably was not necessary, but whatever), so I am looking forward to this one as well. Who doesn’t love superhero movies, and Spidey on top of that?

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 stars Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Paul Giamatti, Chris Cooper, Dane DeHaan, Felicity Jones, plus Sally Field, and Martin Sheen. The film does not hit theaters until May 2014.

Second, is the trailer for 12 Years a Slave, a film very high on my Must See List. Based one of my favorite books I was forced to read in all my college history classes, the true life story of a Solomon Northup, free back man who is abducted and sold into slavery.  

The book is great and the story itself is great. The film adaptation is directed by British filmmaker Steve McQueen, whose first two films (Hunger and Shame) are terrific. And, it boasts a truly phenomenal cast, including Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Paul Giamatti, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano, Sarah Paulson, Garrett Dillahunt, Scoot McNairy, Alfre Woodard, Quvenzhané Wallis, and Brad Pitt. Plus, it was filmed in Louisiana – so consider me sold on all accounts.

12 Years a Slave lands in theaters October 18.

A few weeks ago, the teaser trailer for The Counselor kicked things off. This week, the full length trailer debuted and has gotten me even more excited for the film.

Lots of the same images here as in the teaser, but extended and even more intriguing. As I said before, “A thriller, The Counselor stars Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz, Penelope Cruz, and Javier Bardem. Based on an original screenplay by author Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men, The Road, Blood Meridian), the film is directed by Ridley Scott.

It is pretty safe to safe it has the potential to be quite great – sexy, crazy, and violent. Exactly what you would expect from this cast, plus Scott and McCarthy. The Counselor hits theaters October 25."

Next is the trailer for The Fifth Estate, the inevitable Julian Assange-WikiLeaks film you knew was coming sooner rather than later. 

A dramatic thriller based on real events, the film reveals the quest to expose the deceptions and corruptions of power that turned an Internet upstart into the 21st century's most fiercely debated organization.

The Fifth Estate stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Daniel Brühl, Laura Linney, David Thewlis, Anthony Mackie, and Stanley Tucci. The film comes to theaters October 18.

Check out more trailers, including a new one for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, the latest Romeo & Juliet adaptation, Keanu Reeves' samurai epic 47 Ronin, and three intense looks at Gravity, after the jump:

Thursday, July 25, 2013


Dan Here:

As you may or may not know, I do a recurring column called Past Ebert.
Basically, Roger Ebert was a hero of mine and an incredible writer.
I like to revisit some of his past reviews of great movies and hope you will do the same.
You can check out the Past Ebert Archive Here.

This Friday will see the release of James Mangold's THE WOLVERINE.
It will be the sixth time Hugh Jackman has put on the Adamantium Claws.
Pretty incredible considering nobody knew if 2000's X-MEN would be a hit or a flop.
I have high hopes for THE WOLVERINE because Mangold is a very fine director (I love WALK THE LINE, IDENTITY and 3:10 TO YUMA) and according to Jackman, this is the Wolverine movie he has always wanted to make. 

Today is a first for Past Ebert because we are going to check out a review of a film he loathed.
A movie that was universally reviled and that Mr. Ebert wrote a crushing review about:


Make no mistake, this film is truly terrible.
I saw it on opening day in 2009 and never watched it again.
I have come across it on TV a few times and given it five minutes, but I can't put myself through the torture again. It's boring, the dialogue is incredibly dumb and it is by far the worst installment of the X-Men Series.

Mr. Ebert agrees with me.
Check out his full review here.
He gave it 2 Stars Out Of 4, but not before he destroyed it with some of his review magic.
Here's a sample: 

"But wait! -- you say. Doesn't "X-Men Origins" at least provide a learning experience for Logan about the origins of Wolverine? Hollow laugh. Because we know that the modern Wolverine has a form of amnesia, it cannot be a spoiler for me to reveal that at the end of "X-Men Origins: Wolverine," he forgets everything that has happened in the film. Lucky man."

In addition to the above paragraph, Ebert also dropped a gem when he said films like this are just "assemblies of events". That line cracks me up every time I read it. It was so good the first time that my college roommate posted the review on my facebook wall and mentioned it, not knowing I had already done the exact same thing. Calling a film an assembly of events is probably the worst thing you can say about it without being crass. Of course, the genius, Roger Ebert, would figure that out.

Let us pray that James Mangold can revive this once great character.
And if he can't, let the assembly of events be dismissed.

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Dan's Discs- TRANCE

Did you see TRANCE?
Me neither. 
The latest effort, by brilliant director Danny Boyle, only pulled in $2.3 million at the U.S. box-office.
It's theater count went from 4, to 438, to 443, to 157, to 86, to 40, to 23 and finally to 11.
Boyle has never made a bad film.
So, how come TRANCE got no love?

Boyle's last films before TRANCE were 127 HOURS and SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE.
127 HOURS was nominated for six Academy Awards and SLUMDOG was nominated for ten!
SLUMDOG went onto win eight Oscars, including Best Picture and a domestic haul of $141 mil.
Audiences should have been lining up for TRANCE, so why the flop?
TRANCE fell victim to the 2013 state of cinema: Go Big Or Go Home.

As I previously stated, I still have not seen the film, but here is a full review from Mike Scott. 
The official studio synopsis for the film reads: 

"A fine art auctioneer mixed up with a gang joins forces with a hypnotherapist to recover a lost painting. As boundaries between desire, reality and hypnotic suggestion begin to blur the stakes rise faster than anyone could have anticipated."

Okay, so we've go a cerebral thriller, with a great director and some very fine actors (James McAvoy, Vincent Cassel and Rosario Dawson). It sounds like a fun time at the theater, but most never got the opportunity to go see it. When a film's wide release is 443 theaters, it's a safe bet that it missed a lot of the country. I am writing this from Vermont and we did not get the film. I don't mean it wasn't playing in my city, I mean that it did not play in the state of Vermont.

2012 was the highest-grossing year in cinema history. An estimated 1.3 billion people in the U.S. went to the movies last year, but for every big budget franchise film like THE AVENGERS, there are smaller productions, like TRANCE, doing less and less business. Movie theaters (especially the small ones) can't pass up tent-poles like AVENGERS and the audience is losing options in the process.

Packing theaters for weeks with a huge hit can make a theater's summer (or year) and keep them in business. So instead of your art house/small theater showing four screens of indies and one commercial flick, you are getting four screens of superheroes and (maybe) one or two screens of movies like TRANCE. I really wanted to see Noah Baumbach's new film, FRANCES HA, which has gotten some rave reviews, but again, it didn't play in the Green Mountain State. 

You can't blame theaters for trying to make money, it's a business after all. However, it's sad that you might not be able to see a film by one of the best working directors because the characters don't wear capes. If you want to see a smaller movie, head to theater if you can, instead of waiting for the DVD. Or else you might not have the option much longer.

Follow Us On Twitter For Daily Movie News and Links: @NorthSouthFilm

Monday, July 22, 2013

Chris's Review Roundup

When I am not posting articles here at North/South Film, I also cover film news and events in New Orleans for several different outlets, mainly After putting in my dues for a couple of years, I finally started getting invited to local press screenings and Hollywood studio-backed events.

Most of the movies I get to review are indie, foreign, and documentaries, but every now and then, I get to attend advanced screenings of the big-name films – and  I have posted those reviews on North/South (Olympus Has Fallen, Oblivion, After Earth, This is the End, etc.).

But instead of double-posting all my reviews both here and there, I decided to do a monthly film review round-up with links to all my published reviews in one post. Now this being the first one, there is a little catching up to do, so there is about 3 months of reviews here. Lots of these movies are still in theaters or can be seen On Demand. So if you would like to read one, some, or all of them . . . check out the reviews after the jump (and thanks for reading!):

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Top 10 Best Movie/Video Game Combos--Part III: #5-1

Dan Here:

It's part three of a three-part series where I try to find the Best Movie and Video Game Combination.

Read Part I here, which contains all of the search criteria and the Combos that received Dishonorable Mentions.

Read Part II here, which is Numbers 10-6 On The List

The Top 5 Best Movie and Video Game Combination List:

#5. -TIE-  TOY STORY/Toy Story (Sega, SNES) and ALADDIN/Aladdin (Sega)

Two classic movies and two,16-bit-console gems.
The films are impeccable.
They have great jokes for adults and kids and both games were fun, but challenging.
TOY STORY started the Pixar Animation Revolution and ALADDIN is easily one of the best Disney films ever released. It's got good songs (I still listen to "Prince Ali" now and then) and Robin Williams did his thing as the Genie. 'The graphics on 'Toy Story' were impressive and 'Aladdin' had an awesome Level-Skip Code that I got from Disney Adventures Magazine. 
The 1990s were awesome.

(Note: I originally included 'Aladdin' for Super Nintendo as well, but was reminded that it was different (and not as good as the Sega game) h/t to @Syd_Lexia).

Movies: 100/100
Games: 90/100
Total Scores: 190/200

#4. THE AVENGERS and Marvel Vs. Capcom 2 (Playstation2)

I dunno, if this fits perfectly within the rules, but I made up the rules, so I'll allow it.
AVENGERS was a great ensemble piece and so is 'Marvel Vs. Capcom 2'.
I got introduced to this game in college and spent more than a few hours playing it.
Probably could have had a Minor in Video Games between this and NCAA Football.
It's a Tag-Team Fighting Game and is like Street Fighter on steroids.

I was never great at the game, but one time I did manage to take my best Team (3 Guiles, so cheap and dirty, I know) and defeat a kid who was basically Lucas Barton from THE WIZARD. He could beat the game without losing a round and most of the time without taking a hit. It was easily one of my greatest collegiate achievements. Also, very cool that the Avengers in the game make a great team. Captain America, Iron Man and Hulk is a fierce squad. Combo all of that fun with a great movie like THE AVENGERS and you've made it into the Top 5.

Movie: 95/100
Game: 98/100
Total Score: 193/200

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Baseball Lists

Dan Here:

Time for another set of North/South Lists.
Our Other Top 5/Best Of Lists Include:  
Stanley Kubrick 
Michael Bay 
Tony Scott 
Jamie Foxx
Johnny Depp

This time, it's The Top 5 Baseball Movies.

Now if you know Chris and/or me, you know this: baseball is in our blood.
I would say besides film, baseball is our next favorite thing.
While I will always have to overstate my baseball prowess, Chris doesn't need to exaggerate.
He was a legitimate force in High School: He won a Player Of The Year Award in Louisiana. 
'Nuff said.
I am relegated to claiming I would have taken him deep, knowing fully that it's a lie.

Anyway, if you want to know about Baseball or Movies or Baseball Movies, we can go for days.
Many, great films revolve around the subject of baseball.
In fact, I own every movie and honorable mention on both lists.
Also, I can say I have seen all of these films over a dozen times
We could have easily done a Top 10 or Top 15, but we (almost) limited ourselves to a Top 5.

 We Submit:


Dan's List


A kid inherits and manages a major league baseball team and the legend of Billy Heywood is born.
LITTLE BIG LEAGUE is an awesome baseball movie. It gets the sports action right and although the premise is absurd, it carried off well because of the up-to-date references and good cast of characters. Plus, the entire sequence featuring Randy Johnson and Ken Griffey Jr, who will both be first ballot Hall Of Famers, is great. Every team in the world tried that hidden ball trick after it.

The film also foreshadowed real life: in the film, Randy Johnson comes out of the bullpen because it's a playoff game, then it actually happened the next year against my beloved Yankees! 
Lots of fun lines and jokes, including Dennis Farina working his magic as a jerk manager. 
I love Bowers, Blackout, Lou Collins and that loser Lowell. Absolutely breaks my heart when Billy has to cut Jerry from the squad. All that, plus the "Run Around Sue" Montage? I'm in!

Sad that this film is so underrated.
But guess what? There is another guy who knew LITTLE BIG LEAGUE is dope.
Yup, our hero, Roger Ebert, strikes again!
Here is his full review.
3.5/4 from Mr. Ebert is all the approval you'll ever need.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Dan's Discs--42: The Jackie Robinson Story

Happy All-Star Game Tuesday!
Tonight is the 84th Mid-Summer Classic between the American and National Leagues.
It's also a perfect day for '42' on DVD because Jackie Robinson was a six time All-Star.

'42' is not a great film because it is only a small portion of an incredible story.
As you may know, Jackie Robinson was the first African-American to play Major League Baseball.
When he joined the Brooklyn Dodge in 1947 he changed the sport forever and for the better.
'42' is a nice attempt to showcase Robinson's journey into pro baseball, but the film is too polished.

We get the basic story of Robinson's baseball career and how Branch Rickey, the General Manger of the Dodgers, signed him because he knew Robinson could handle all of the horrors he would have to endure while trying to break the color barrier. We see the people and attitudes that Robinson had to deal with and it all plays out in the most obvious and cursory ways. It shiny, Hollywood mush, but I still think it would be a good film to show younger baseball fans because it (somewhat) delivers a message that they can understand.

However, being a lifelong fan of Mr. Robinson, I know that there is so much more to his story.
I would have loved to seen a full bio-pic that followed his high school days, his career at UCLA where he was a National Champion in Track and Field (also, his older brother was a silver medalist at the 1936 Olympics). In addition to track, Robinson played football, basketball and tennis. It was said that baseball was once his worst sport.

Then his military service, which was another forum in which Robinson affected change. While in the Army, he and other black applicants were basically denied entry in the Officer Training School because of their race. Boxing legend Joe Louis aided Robinson in his protests and eventually Robinson completed the school. 

In his post baseball career, Robinson remained a champion of the civil rights movement and was a fierce advocate for the hiring of black managers and coaches in baseball. Also while he was still in the majors, he played himself in a bio-pic 'The Jackie Robinson Story' (full film below). I've actually seen this a few times and it's pretty good. It's also awesome that he played himself in a real movie. Could you imagine if that happened today? If they made 'The LeBron Story' starring LeBron James? The internet would explode.

'42' gives us the CliffsNotes version of his first year in baseball, but missed out on an opportunity to tell the life story of an American hero. Jackie Robinson was much more than the man who broke baseball's color barrier, but the film is sadly limited to that event. However, it still packs an emotional punch and can introduce people to a truly important man. 

Now, let's go American League!

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Saturday, July 13, 2013

Dan's Review: The Lone Ranger

Johnny Depp being Johnny Depp.
You know what I mean:
The aloof, crazy, but possibly wise, character in white make-up trying desperately to carry a thin story. We've seen this too many times before from Mr. Depp: ALICE IN WONDERLAND, CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, DARK SHADOWS, SWEENY TODD and PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES (sans the white make-up, but heavy on the eyeliner). THE LONE RANGER is not the worst of the films listed, but it's not much better.

Gore Verbinski has directed nine features and Johnny Depp has starred in five of them.
They teamed up for the first three PIRATES, RANGO and now, THE LONE RANGER.
Depp and Verbinski were incredibly successful on the first four collaborations.
They revived a long-forgotten Disney franchise and RANGER is an attempt to revive another.

This latest effort plays like a Western Version of the PIRATES films, minus the fun banter. Instead of a family-friendly, franchise starter, we get a violent and hollow film that is crowded and hard to follow. Verbinski's talent for grand and elaborate action is displayed very well in a few jaw dropping sequences involving moving trains, but it could not overcome the (often brutal) dialogue and pacing. 

Firstly, the film is called THE LONE RANGER, but the title character is really the second lead.
Tonto (Johnny Depp) is the star of the film and every joke revolves around him or a horse.
The would-be Lone Ranger, John Reid (Armie Hammer), is not really a Ranger at all, but rather a stuffy lawyer who is out of place in the West. Tonto and Reid team up to go after an arch criminal who murdered Reid's brother, an actual Ranger. 

The whole film is on autopilot from there. 
I could start getting into the story, which revolves around railroad building, but it's useless. Tonto and Reid get into hi-jinks, learn about each other and themselves and you've seen it all before. I appreciate that Verbinski tried his best to give us a large-scale, modern Western, but at two and a half hours, it really needed to be more entertaining. 

The big action takes place in the beginning and the end, leaving us with an eternal "middle". They relied on Depp for sight gags and one-liners, but didn't provide any secondary characters of value. It's long and boring and it never gets fun. Instead of buffoonish old-west baddies, we get dark and sick villains, like Butch Cavendish (William Fichtner). His defining quality: he literally cuts outs people's hearts and eats them. The body count and harsh violence were very out of place in a film that should have been a romp. 

I really hope that Johnny Depp will ditch the make-up after this film flops (it already has).
He was once one of coolest actors in Hollywood and his past efforts (Top 5 Here) show that he has incredible skills. We know that PIRATES 5 and now, ALICE IN WONDERLAND 2 are in the pipeline for Depp, but hopefully, some day, he will go back to doing work where his character is in touch with the real world and his face isn't covered in paint.

2 Stars Out Of 5

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This Week in Movie Trailers: Oldboy, Out of the Furnace, Saving Mr. Banks, Mandela, The Canyons, Curse of Chucky, and much more

First up this week is the Oldboy remake, but unlike previous weeks, it garners top honors more out of curiosity than anticipation.

The original 2003 South Korean film is truly epic and beloved by many (if you haven't seen, please stop what you are doing and watch it immediately). As is often the case with remakes of this ilk, the two main questions are: will it live up to the original? – and – will it distinguish itself enough to be its own unique entity? More often than not the answer to at least one – if not both – of those questions is a resounding NO.

But with Spike Lee at the helm, Josh Brolin in the lead role, and a solid supporting cast of Elizabeth Olsen, Sharlto Copley, and Samuel L. Jackson, it has intriguing potential. (At the very least it should be better than the proposed Spielberg produced, Will Smith starring remake that was originally mentioned a few years ago before this version finally went into production). Plus, the movie was shot in New Orleans, so I have to be at least minutely interested in it because of that.

Oldboy hits theaters October 25.

Second, we have Out of the Furnace, a tense-looking thriller with an amazing cast and also lots of potential.

Looks pretty good, minus that Pearl Jam song that kicks in during the second half (nothing against Pearl Jam or that song mind you, it just seems out of place in the trailer and takes away from the displayed grittiness and drama of the film).
Out of the Furnace stars Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, Willem Dafoe, Forest Whitaker, Zoe Saldana, and Sam Shepard. The film is directed by Scott Cooper (Crazy Heart).

Out of the Furnace lands in theaters December 6.

Third, we have Saving Mr. Banks, a Disney movie about Walt Disney himself and his attempts to persuade author P.L. Travers to let him adapt her cherished children’s book Mary Poppins.

Looks about as you would expect – a well-acted and lovely, based-on-true-events, inspiring Disney tale. The film stars Tom Hanks as Disney and Emma Thompson as Travers, plus Paul Giamatti, Collin Farrell, Jason Schwartzman, B.J. Novak, Rachel Griffiths, and Bradley Whitford.

Saving Mr. Banks flies into theaters just in time for the holiday movie season on December 13.

Check out more trailers, including Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, The Canyons, Curse of Chucky, The Grandmaster, and many, many more after the jump...

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


The first time I saw SPRING BREAKERS I left the theater dazed.
The film is a prolonged assault on your senses: sight, sound, logic, and taste.
When I say taste I mean decorum, although you can practically taste beer drenched motel rooms. 
That's just fine by me. I go to the movie theater to be entertained and have an experience. 
Nothing is worse than a ho-hum film where you know every single upcoming beat and have an hour and a half left. BREAKERS is exactly the opposite. It's ninety-four minutes of crazy.

Upon re-watching it, I still think it's a very shallow movie masquerading as some sort of commentary on the Youtube Generation. I also don't think it's a very empowering movie for the female gender. Sure, we see some women kicking-ass, but their naivety is often embarrassing. 
THELMA & LOUISE, this is not.

I had SPRING BREAKERS rated as a 2.5 out of 5, but it's gotten a half star bump because of the performance from James Franco. He was genuinely funny and the movie desperately needed his levity. I think Franco had some fun with his character and was given free range to go as far as he wanted. It's not elaborate or a tour de force, but it's wild. 

I truly don't understand the people who say this is a "think piece" or some sort of opus for director, Harmony Korine. Have they seen KIDS? We know he can make better films, that say a lot more about their subjects. Here, we get a half dozen montages of naked women being degraded, smiling the whole time. I understand they were going for irony, but it's never perfectly clear. Korine only gives the female characters two weapons: their sexuality and well, actual weapons.
It's a trashy film posing as art, not the reverse.

Anyway, it hits stores and Redboxes today. 
Pay your $1.28 and see if you really want to spring break forever.
I'm guessing you won't.

Follow Us On Twitter For Daily Movie News: @NorthSouthFilm 

Monday, July 8, 2013

Top 10 Best Movie/Video Game Combos--Part II: #10-6

Dan Here:

It's part two of a three-part series where I try to find the Best Movie and Video Game Combination.

Read Part I here, which contains all of the search criteria and the Combos that received Dishonorable Mentions.

We've already seen some great movies and some great games in Part I, but no great combos.

In order to make this Top 10 List, you had to be good, twice.

So let's lift the fake robo-wall like it's Video Armageddon!

The Top 10 Best Movie and Video Game Combo List:

#10. 'DuckTales: The Movie- Treasure Of The Lost Lamp' and "DuckTales" (Nintendo)

The first combo to make the Top 10 barely got in. I actually had to purchase and re-watch the movie before I could honestly include it. However, I will stand by the ranking because the game is easily one of the best NES games ever: connected levels, secret passages, better endings based on difficulty and amazingly great game-play. The movie delivers all of the fun from the television series. There are lots of good film references, including more than one homage to the Indiana Jones series. The movie may not be an all-time classic, but it was competent enough to surpass great game, bad film combos like Super Mario Brothers and sneak onto the list at #10. Note: They actually made DuckTales 2 for NES, which I have heard is even better, but it is super rare and very expensive. If anybody wants to send me a gift, head to Ebay and hook it up!

Movie: 50/100
Game: 100/100
Total Score: 150/200

Click "Read More" For The Rest Of Part II

Thursday, July 4, 2013

This Week in Movie Trailers: The Counselor, Jobs, The Spectacular Now, Drinking Buddies, Prince Avalanche, Lovelace, and more...

I typically like to kick off these movie trailer posts with the one I am most looking forward to (like last time’s The Wolf of Wall Street). 

This time I start with another highly anticipated one – The Counselor.

A thriller, The Counselor stars Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz, Penelope Cruz, and Javier Bardem. Based on an original screenplay by author Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men, The Road, Blood Meridian), the film is directed by Ridley Scott.

Though this teaser is just a very brief look at the film, it is pretty safe to safe it has the potential to be quite great – sexy, crazy, and violent. Exactly what you would expect from this cast, plus Scott and McCarthy,

The Counselor hits theaters October 25.

Every year, countless coming-of-age films flood the market (many of which are indie flicks that emerge from Sundance). Some standout, some don’t. Poised to be one of this year’s standouts in the genre is The Spectacular Now.

Despite the fairly clichéd plot, the movie does look good and it got great reviews out of the previously mentioned Sundance, especially for its young lead performances. The film stars Shailene Woodley, Miles Teller, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Brie Larson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kyle Chandler, and Bob Odenkirk.

The Spectacular Now is due in theaters August 9.

Next up is the second trailer for Prince Avalance, another buzzing indie film that I really want to see.

It stars Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch.  The film marks a more-than-welcome return to form for one-time indie director turned lightweight-comedy director David Gordon Green (George Washington, Snow Angels, Pineapple Express, Your Highness).

After also debuting to much praise at Sundance, Prince Avalanche lands in theaters August 9.

Third, we have Drinking Buddies, yet another well-received indie that promises lots of laughs, charm, and re-examinations of life.

Drinking Buddies stars Jake Johnson (TV’s New Girl), Olivia Wilde, Anna Kendrick, and Ron Livingston.

The movie looks quite funny and endearing, in that indie-movie-kind-of-way. The film got great buzz coming out of its debut at South By Southwest earlier this year.

Drinking Buddies comes to theaters later this month on July 25.

Keep reading for more trailers, including Disney’s Frozen, The Mortal Instruments, the Steve Jobs biopic, Lovelace, and many more.

Monday, July 1, 2013


Dan Here:

Normally I give films a full review, but this week I'm going to try something a little different.
Two, quick, mini-reviews in one post.
This week I saw THE HEAT and WHITE HOUSE DOWN.
Both are fun, summer popcorn flicks that made me laugh.
In an age when movies often try to do too much, these films hit their marks and kept the audience entertained. They both have instantly recognizable plots, but had characters that were able to be funny and keep the action moving. Here are some quick thoughts on each:


Melissa McCarthy is straight up hilarious.
She is an unpredictable, fast and physical comedian that we rarely see any more.  
Throw in the great Sandra Bullock and about a hundred F-bombs and you've got one the best buddy-cop films of recent memory. 

McCarthy is 'Mullins' and Bullock is 'Ashburn'. One is a wiley, Boston detective and the other is a stuck-up FBI agent. I'm sure you can guess who is who. The plot is centered around them going after some type of mysterious, murderous, drug-lord, but none of that is really important. The film is purely a showcase for the extreme comedic talents of both McCarthy and Bullock and they certainly deliver.

The movie is directed by Paul Feig, who also directed BRIDESMAIDS.
That film launched McCarthy's film career and now THE HEAT will shoot her even higher.
She turns in a great performance and really carries a film that is relying on her charms.
I don't know if THE HEAT is a film that will be quoted forever, but it will make you laugh for a few hours. The jokes come fast and often. The audience was laughing so much that sometimes you miss the little "after shocks" that improv comedy does so well. 

You can bet that when this DVD comes out there will be dozens of alternate takes. 
McCarthy and Bullock are riffing most of the time and it works well. 
It was nice to see physical comedy a la the Jim Carrey/Chris Farley fare of past.
McCarthy does faces and prat falls and runs and climbs and fights, all while running one of the foulest mouths we have seen in a while. It's all great to watch and so it's 4 out of 5 for THE HEAT.


This film is not DIE HARD and it is not supposed to be DIE HARD.
I've been reading a lot of chatter with people blasting WHITE HOUSE DOWN with the criticism that this film doesn't live up to the aforementioned, all-time classic. What people are misunderstanding is that DIE HARD is a serious action movie with some funny moments sprinkled in. WHITE HOUSE DOWN is much more the over-the-top and tongue in cheek. It's a PG-13 romp where the ending is never in doubt, but at least tries a few clever twists along the way.

That's director Roland Emmerich's style: he might be destroying the country, but you're going to get a few one liners while it's happening. This film is much more reminiscent of LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD. It's a simple story where you're expected to know the players before you meet them and just go with everything that's happening. If the White House could be taken over this easily, it would happen every other day.

Channing Tatum plays personal body guard, John Cale. Cale hopes to move up the ranks and join the Secret Service, partially because he needs the money, but also to impress his estranged, politically-obsessed eleven (twelve?) year old daughter. Like I said, just go with it. So Cale takes his daughter to the White House for his job interview and that's when, you guessed it, all hell breaks loose. We watch while Cale tries to save both the President (Jamie Foxx) and his daughter from the bad guys.

Of course you are very familiar with this formula, but it's better than average because Tatum and Foxx both have some good jokes. Their banter and the archetype bad guys tell you that this movie is self-referential, not serious. Emmerich knows you've seen this all before, but he's gotten you here to take the ride again, so why not have some fun. WHITE HOUSE DOWN may not be a classic, but if you like your summer movies popcorny, it will do the trick: 3.5 out of 5.

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The Johnny Depp Lists

Another week, another Top 5 List.
This time, we tackle the lengthy and varied filmography of actor Johnny Depp.
From A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) to Dark Shadows (2012).

Just like the last few years, Depp has yet another big potential blockbuster hitting theaters in 2013 . . . this week in fact: Disney’s The Lone Ranger (opening Wednesday, July 3).
Hopefully, Johnny can revive this once great and treasured property.

Check out our previous Best Of Lists – Stanley Kubrick - Michael Bay - Tony Scott - Jamie Foxx.
And if you feel like we left out or disregarded a particular Depp film, please let us know in the comments. We are always happy to hear a few differing opinions.
We only agreed on 2 films of 5, which is par for the course at North/South.

So Click The 'Read More' Below For The Johnny Depp Lists!