Movie News

Friday, November 22, 2013

Past Ebert: JFK

Dan here: 

Oliver Stone's 1991 masterpiece, JFK, is one of my all-time favorite films.
Watching it is like taking a master class in filmmaking.
It's a three hour journey that challenges your mind and emotions.
Whether or not you believe that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in shooting President Kennedy is completely irrelevant. What really matters are the performances, the cinematography and editing.

District Attorney Jim Garrison is played brilliantly by Kevin Costner, who, criminally, was not nominated for a Best Actor Academy Award. Tommy Lee Jones (who was nominated for Best Supporting Actor), Joe Pesci, Kevin Bacon, John Candy, Donald Sutherland and of course, Gary Oldman, all turn in great work. Throw in memorable lines, Ed Asner, Jack Lemmon and a ton of other great character actors and you have one of the 1990s best films.

JFK's production was marred by the public and media taking it to task over the content:
Was Oliver Stone saying that the U.S. government conspired to kill the President?
Should the Zapruder film be shown dozens of times and in tight closeups?
I can't recall a film that caused so much controversy before a frame was ever seen.
I'm actually amazed that it was able to win two Academy Awards (Cinematography and Editing), considering how much vitriol was unleashed on the production

One member of the film community who was above the hysteria was our hero, Roger Ebert.
Mr. Ebert gave Oliver Stone a forum to discuss his film openly and waited until he saw the final product to declare, that yes, JFK is an absolutely stunning film. I've compiled everything I could find from on the subject of JFK. Take some time to read about a film that was not made to uncover how or why our President was killed, but was made to showcase the importance of his life.

Rest In Peace 
President John Fitzgerald Kennedy 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Badass Ladies Lists

Dan Here:
Time for another round of Best Of Lists.
Previously we have listed the Best Of Movie LawyersRon HowardConcert Movies,

Today, THE HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE is in theaters everywhere.
This will be the second of four films that will bring Suzanne Collins' three novels to the screen.
The novel 'Catching Fire' is the most action packed and by far my favorite in the series. 
The Director of CATCHING FIRE, Francis Lawrence, has delivered with big action before:
CONSTANTINE and I AM LEGEND combined to make over $800 million worldwide.
I truly have this great feeling that CATCHING FIRE is going to be a bigger and better film than 2012's THE HUNGER GAMES. 

Jennifer Lawrence's portrayal of Katniss Everdeen was great in the first film.
The Girl On Fire could become one of the toughest and coolest cinematic heroines ever.
It got us thinking 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.

All of the links will jump you to cool videos, so click away!

The All-Time Top 3


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, check out the best of the rest, after the jump.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Dan's Discs: THE WORLD'S END

THE WORLD'S END is now available on DVD.
It is directed by Edgar Wright and is the third film of the Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy.
The film centers around a now estranged group of high school friends trying to complete a once failed, epic pub crawl in their hometown bars. They soon discover something sinister in going down with the town's residents and the group is forced to fight for survival. Much like SHAUN OF THE DEAD and HOT FUZZ, this film has some good jokes and epic fight sequences. 
However, I would have to rank it as my third favorite film in the trilogy.

I was really enjoying THE WORLD'S END, until all the mayhem started happening. I know it's a silly thought. I knew what I was getting into because it is part of a "series" and the trailers didn't leave much to the imagination.  However, as the film started to unfold, I was hoping it would continue as a dry, British comedy/tragedy instead of morphing into an action film. 

Edgar Wright gave a lot of emotional and background depth to the characters and really got the viewer interested in their lives. I wanted the characters to sort out their issues in the real world, but instead, it veers off into a movie about creative ways to smash in your enemy's face. If you really like SHAUN OF THE DEAD and HOT FUZZ, then I doubt you will be disappointed.
I just really want to see the ending to the first half of the film.

Thanks For Reading!
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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Dan's Discs: MAN OF STEEL

MAN OF STEEL is a reboot of the Superman Franchise from director, Zack Snyder.
If you have ever seen one of Snyder's films, like 300 or SUCKER PUNCH, then you know:
This man loves to direct big, spectacular action sequences.
Snyder delivers with the sights and fights, but as a whole, the film is uneven and poorly paced.

Superman is one of the most beloved, fictional characters in history.
You'd be hard-pressed to find a person who doesn't have some knowledge of his abilities, origin story or his famous chest-insignia. MAN OF STEEL suffers from the same affliction as most reboots: it is forced to retell stories that we've seen before and often, that we've seen done better. Snyder's version is no match for Richard Donner's original and classic, SUPERMAN. However, if you are in the mood for an eye-popping evening, look no further. MAN OF STEEL is an epic and ambitious, effects film that will get you excited for the possibilities of Snyder's next project: BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN.

MAN OF STEEL is now available in a variety of formats and you can read my full review here.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Chris's Review: ‘About Time’ is a tender family drama disguised as time-traveling rom-com

All the commercials and ads for About Time (as the above poster shows) would lead one to believe that it is a charming little romantic-comedy from the director of Love Actually. And while it is that (to a degree, or at least for the first half), the film is actually a tender, mostly-dramatic guidebook (with some comedic bits sprinkled in) on appreciating family and getting the best out of life while you still can.

Chris's Review: ‘12 Years a Slave’ is a necessarily brutal triumph

There is a scene in 12 Years a Slave – about halfway through its two-plus hour runtime – that perfectly encapsulates the film as a whole as well as its overall viewing experience. Like the film itself, the scene is prolonged, brutal to watch, and yet stunningly captured – all for maximum emotional impact.

Solomon Northup, a free black man kidnapped and sold into slavery, is being lynched. After back-talking to and defending himself against a vindictive overseer, Northup (renamed Platt, a slave moniker) is attacked by three white men and beaten down. A rope is effortlessly tossed over the drooping limb an old oak tree and Northup’s head is place through the noose. With a grunt and skin-tearing jerk, Northup is lifted off the ground.

Solomon hangs for a few long seconds before the head overseer arrives and stops the men from killing him. The rope, still tight around Northup’s neck, is lowered, but tied up just short of the ground, leaving him dangling a few inches off the ground. He strains, tries balancing himself on his tiptoes, and fruitlessly grasps at the rope, trying to loosen it.

Fellow slaves watch him squirm, helpless to come to his aid out of fear. They keep their heads down and go about their work. One slave girls braves a few seconds to give him a sip of water but does not dare cut him down. All the while, Solomon struggles.

Minutes pass almost in silence as the camera continuously watches the scene from several different angles (front, back, a wide shot, closeup, etc.) with distressing, but poignant long takes. Finally, the plantation owner arrives to cut him down. Northup drops to ground gasping for air and thankful for firmness of the earth now underneath him.