Tuesday, February 28, 2012

This new poster is pretty cool ...

Released today by Disney: a new poster for The Avengers! Also, tune in tomorrow morning at 9 AM PST for a new Avengers trailer on Apple.

The Avengers will be in theaters on May 4, 2012.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Oscars 2012: Who will and should win

Credit: allvoices.com
The main event is tonight: the 2012 Academy Awards, aka the Oscars, at 8:30pm EST on ABC, with the red carpet events usually starting an hour to an hour and a half before that. There are a lot of talented nominees and exceptional movies nominated this year, and the race is going to be pretty tight. Here are my picks for who/what WILL win the major categories, and who/what SHOULD win.

Read more at Examiner.com.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Gone

Amanda Seyfried has come a long way since 2004's Mean Girls, and Gone showcases her at her best. Although there are various supporting characters throughout the film, the movie focuses primarily on Seyfried's character, and audiences must decide if her character really did get abducted two years ago or if it's all in her head, as the police seem to think.

Jill (Seyfried, In Time) lives in Portland (Oregon) with her sister, Molly (Emily Wickersham, I Am Number Four), a student. Jill works nights at a local diner, and she's vigilant about walking by herself at night; in one scene, a man wearing a hoodie walks briskly down the street towards Jill, who crosses to the other side of the street to avoid him, just in case. One night, Jill returns from work around 6:30am and goes to wake up Molly, who has an exam that day; Molly, however, is nowhere to be found. Jill quickly canvasses the house, but all she finds missing are her sister's purse and an old picture taken out of a picture frame. Panicked, she drives to the police station, and tells them that the person who abducted her two years ago, from the very same house, has taken Molly. They also must find her quickly because he will probably kill her that night, like he intended to do with Jill.

Wanderlust

I watched both the regular and the "red band" (R-rated) trailers for Wanderlust before the screening, but the movie was even raunchier than its trailers led me to believe. Most of the time the jokes in it were pretty funny, though, and the audience was laughing throughout the film. Although the movie held my interest for most of its runtime, there were a few scenes where it slows down a bit too much for my tastes.

George (Paul Rudd, Our Idiot Brother) and Linda (Jennifer Aniston, Horrible Bosses) are Manhattanites who have just bought their very own "microloft" (aka, studio apartment) in the West Village. Linda is still "trying to find her major," as George puts it, but currently she has made a documentary about penguins with cancer, which she is trying to pitch to HBO. George is searching for a new job as the FBI recently brought his former boss outside in handcuffs. When Linda's documentary doesn't sell either, they decide to sell their apartment and move to Atlanta to live with George's moronic brother (Ken Marino, TV's Childrens Hospital) and his wife, and George will work for him until they are back on their feet.

Act of Valor

Act of Valor is interesting because it didn't actually start out as a movie: originally, it was to be a documentary about Navy SEALS, and it then changed into a recruitment video. Finally, the directors had the idea of making it into an actual feature-length movie, which is what you will see in theaters today. The Navy SEALs portrayed in the film are all active duty Navy SEALs in real life, as well, and although the acting may suffer because of this, the situations they find themselves in are all too familiar for them.

The film starts out with a kidnapping of two CIA agents by terrorists, who had blown up a device at an international children's school that same week. The Navy SEALs are deployed to secure and stop the terrorists, and they find out that the terrorists are planning on smuggling immigrants into the U.S. via Mexico as suicide bombers. The immigrants will be wearing vests that are undetected by metal detectors, thus proving very dangerous, as they can get through any security system. The SEALs only lead is a man who has been working with the terrorists, and they corner him on his yacht in the ocean to try and get information out of him. They must find the immigrants and stop them from entering the U.S. before it is too late.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

BlogHer 2012: August 2-4, 2012

I wish I was going to BlogHer '12I've heard a lot about BlogHer from past attendees. In summer 2010, Yes/No Films was in its "infancy" - it started in January 2010 - and so I didn't go to BlogHer, which was in NYC that year. Last year, I considered it, but it was in San Diego, which was a bit too expensive for airfare and hotel. This year, however, it's back in New York, which is a lot closer to Detroit, so I will be attending!

However! I would definitely need a roommate. This year it's at the Hilton, and although BlogHer provides a discounted rate for its attendees, it's still New York City, where hotels are crazy expensive.


That being said, is there anyone out there planning on attending BlogHer '12 and looking for a roommate? I will probably be arriving either that Thursday or early that Friday morning, and staying until Sunday. I would prefer a Detroit-area blogger so that we could meet in person beforehand, but I have a Skype account, so really anyone is fine.


If you need a roommate, please email me at
liz [at] yesnofilms.com! I would love to hear from you.


I will be rooming with Jenn from New Jersey, who blogs at Aka the Wife, and Kailee from Oregon, who blogs at Precious Cargo Bakery!

I am also accepting sponsor(s) for BlogHer 2012, for any amount. I've calculated that between hotel ($239/night plus taxes) and airfare (currently $285 on Delta) and the BlogHer ticket itself ($200), it's going to cost about $800-1000 or more. I'm willing to promote your company on my blog, wear your t-shirt(s) to BlogHer, promote you at the conference, or basically do whatever you want me to do (within reason, of course!). Please email me at liz [at] yesnofilms.com if you are interested in any form of sponsorship.

Definitely follow me on Twitter or Facebook if you are a blogger attending BlogHer this year, too!

Friday, February 17, 2012

This Means War

I had heard various reviews of This Means War before I saw a screening of it, because it had screened a few times already in the metro Detroit area. Some people had thought it was horrible, and others though it was really cute. I found the movie to be uneven, hilarious and times and unfunny at others. Even so, This Means War is a good "fluff" movie, or one to save for a matinee.

FDR (Chris Pine, Unstoppable) and Tuck (Tom Hardy, Warrior) work together in the CIA. When the movie opens, they are at a party about to bust some bad guys. The mission goes awry, however, and one of the bad guys ends up dead; his brother, the CIA cautions, will be wanting revenge on the two of them. Shortly afterwards, Tuck, who is a father and divorcee, sees an ad for an online dating site, and he decides to sign up for it, since he hasn't dated much since his divorce. Lauren (Reese Witherspoon, Water for Elephants) has a friend who has sneakily signed her up for the site as well. Lauren is about to bail on the site, but then she sees Tuck's profile, and they decide to meet.

The Secret World of Arrietty

The Secret World of Arrietty took a long path to American theaters: it was first released in 2010 in Japan, and then in the U.K. 2011 with all British voice actors. Now Arrietty is being released in the U.S., redubbed with American voice actors. Although the presence of Japanese writing on various boxes betrays the fact that the movie is set in Japan, the film has definitely been "Americanized": the main boy in the film is now named Shawn, although Arrietty's name has not been changed. It's also one of those rare movies that is marketed towards younger children, but is actually more meant for adults and older kids; the younger kids in the screening I went to started getting restless throughout it, as you really need to listen to the dialogue to understand the film.

Shawn (voiced by David Henrie, TV's Wizards of Waverly Place) has been sent to his great aunt's house in order to get some rest before his heart operation; his mother, a busy businesswoman, is currently out of town. His aunt and her housekeeper, Hara (voiced by Carol Burnett, TV's All My Children), tell him about the "little people" that live under the floorboards, and how his mother was always certain they existed but they never actually saw them. Meanwhile, Arrietty (voiced by Bridgit Mendler, TV's Wizards of Waverly Place), one of these "little people," actually does live under the floorboards, with her parents (voiced by Amy Poehler, TV's Parks and Recreation, and her real-life husband, Will Arnett, 30 Rock), and they are "borrowers": they survive by borrowing little things that the "beings" (humans) won't miss, such as tissue paper and sugar cubes.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Michigan-made Machine Gun Preacher to headline Birmingham's Uptown Film Festival

It was announced today that the feature film Machine Gun Preacher, originally released in late 2011, will be headlining the Uptown Film Festival, taking place March 8-10. Gerard Butler stars in the film, and it tells the true-life tale of Sam Childers, a former criminal who did a complete 180 and helped orphaned and kidnapped children in Sudan. You can buy tickets to the film at uptownpalladium.com starting February 20th, and a portion of the ticket profits will be donated to Gleaners and Defeat the Label, a nonprofit.

Read the rest of the story at Examiner.com.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Safe House

In Safe House, Denzel Washington actually plays the "bad guy," for once - or so it seems. His character, Tobin Frost, used to work for the CIA, but nine years ago went missing and started selling confidential information and secrets to any foreign governments that would buy them. It is when he turns himself in to the U.S. embassy in Cape Town, South Africa, however, that the story really starts to take off.

Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds, The Change-Up) is a "housekeeper" for a CIA safe house, meaning that he's in charge when "houseguests" need to stay in the facility. Most of the time, his job is fairly boring: he sits by the phones or plays catch by bouncing a tennis ball off the wall. His girlfriend, Ana (Nora Arnezeder, The Words), doesn't know what his actual job is - she thinks he works at a clinic. One day, however, Matt received a call to tell him to prepare for a houseguest who is also very dangerous; the emailed memo he receives says to stay 2 feet away from the guest at all times and avoid eye contact. When the guest is finally brought into the interrogation room in the house, Matt's jaw drops to the floor when he sees who it is: Tobin Frost, whose reputation precedes him.

The Vow

The Vow is based on the real-life story of Kim and Krickitt Carpenter, who had been married for 10 months when they were in a horrific car accident in New Mexico. Kim escaped relatively unscathed, but Krickitt has to be rushed by helicopter to a different hospital. When she woke up, the doctors and Kim found that she had an 18-month gap in her memory, and could not remember meeting nor marrying Kim. Kim had the difficult job, then, of making his wife fall in love with him all over again, and this is what Channing Tatum's character Leo tries to accomplish in The Vow.

Paige (Rachel McAdams, Midnight in Paris) and Leo (Channing Tatum, Haywire) live in Chicago, and are very much in love. They are leaving a movie theater one snowy night when they stop at four-way intersection to share a brief kiss. Soon, however, their world is shattered; a semi-truck, sliding on the slippery roads, crashes in to their car, and it is thrust forward and slams into a pole. Paige, who had unbuckled her seatbelt, is thrown through the windshield, and lands on top of the car. After both Paige and Leo arrive at the hospital, Leo soon recovers; however, the doctors choose to keep Paige in a comatose state, since her brain has a lot of swelling.

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island

Journey 2: The Mysterious Island is the sequel to 2008's Journey to the Center of the Earth, but you definitely don't have to see the first movie in order to understand this new installment. Unfortunately, although the 3D is great and the visuals are top-notch, Journey 2 is definitely lacking, and the script could have been a lot better; not even Michael Caine and The Rock manage to save this movie.

The film opens when Sean (Josh Hutcherson, The Kids are All Right) breaks into a satellite facility, and gets in trouble with his mom (Kristin Davis, Sex and the City 2) and his step-dad, Hank (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Fast Five), who luckily has some friends on the police force. Sean later explains to Hank that he was trying to decode a transmission from a radio, but his signals weren't strong enough to pick up the full transmission, which is why he broke into the facility. Hank, who was a decoder in the Navy, helps him translate the message, and it says "The island is real" and gives the island's coordinates. This excites Sean, because his grandfather (Michael Caine, Inception) has been missing for two years, and it was always Sean's opinion that he found the "Mysterious Island" that Julius Verne and other storytellers refer to in their adventure books.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Guest Post: Laura Tremaine, Hollywood Housewife

Laura is the author and creator of the blog Hollywood Housewife, and is also the wife of Jeff Tremaine, the director of the various Jackass movies (most recently, Jackass 3D). She has kindly agreed to write a guest post for Yes/No Films about what it's like being married to a famous director.

I am married to a director. He’s a very good director, even if he does prefer to yell “Go!” instead of “Action!”

Laura and Jeff before this year's
VMA awards
You might think that being married to a director would be all glamour and excitement, but it actually means that he’s fairly bossy. Directors like to be in charge. It’s how they feel the most comfortable. Even when I pull out my phone to catch a little snippet of video of our toddler daughter, my director husband can’t help but give me instruction on the best possible angle.

Being married to a director also means that our house is regularly a place to shoot. Because our personal home doesn’t require permits or a location fee, I have come home more than once to some sort of interview (or worse) happening in the backyard. My husband’s personal director philosophy is, “shoot first, ask permission later.” This rule also applies to his wife, knowing that I probably would not approve the use of a dildo gun in our backyard.

Close proximity to a director is really the best of all worlds in the film industry. It’s creative and prestigious, and recognized as a true talent by those who matter, without having to deal with all that comes with traditional fame (unless you’re very, very well-known). But the down side, of course, is that so much rests on you as the captain. A film set can be a pressure-cooker, and a good director knows that he sets the tone for a project every day, from day one.

I met my husband on the set of the first film he was directing. He is one of those very rare people who - and this is quite improbable - wakes up one day and just decides to direct, and turns out to be very good at it. My husband’s particular body of work is full of scenes that almost look like they weren’t directed. In fact, sometimes people think that his most famous movies didn’t even have a director. But this is a facade. It’s like wearing a lot of makeup to appear like you’re not wearing any. Every form of quality entertainment you’ve ever seen has been directed.

And my husband’s movies are most definitely “quality entertainment.”

You can follow Laura at her blog and on Twitter at @hollywoodhwife.

Friday, February 3, 2012

The Woman in Black

Full disclosure: I am not a fan of "scary movies." I usually avoid them, but since Harry Potter (erm ... Daniel Radcliffe) was in this one, and one of my friends really wanted to see it, I decided to attend the screening. The Woman in Black has a few "jump in your seat"-type moments, but for the most part it was fairly tame compared to other horror movies I have seen. The acting in the film, though, was very good.

Lawyer Arthur Kipps (Daniel Radcliffe, the Harry Potter series) has a four-year old son, whose mother, Arthur's wife, died in childbirth. His firm has asked him to go to the Eel Marsh house to sort through some papers belonging to the recently deceased inhabitant. When he arrives, Arthur is strongly encouraged to return to London immediately; Mr. Daily (Ciáran Hinds, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) says that he will mail him the paperwork. Arthur doesn't want to get fired, though, so he insists on being taken to the house, where he begins to see signs of the "woman in black" who haunts the marsh and the house.

Arthur later finds out that the woman in black was the not-entirely sane Jennet, who was forced to give her child over to her sister, the recently deceased inhabitant of Eel Marsh. The child drowned in the marsh one day and Jennet never forgave her sister. Jennet hung herself in the house and now, whenever someone sees her ghost, she forces one of the children in the town to kill him/herself; the same day that Arthur arrives and sees her, one of the town children drinks lye and ends up dead. Mr. Daily begs Arthur to return home, but now he is more convinced than ever than he needs to go through the paperwork and complete his job there.

Big Miracle

Big Miracle is based on true events that happened in 1988 in Barrow, Alaska, one of the coldest places in the United States. Three gray whales were trapped under the ice, and unable to migrate south to warmer water because there was a barrier of ice blocking their way. The whales also needed to breathe, and to even swim to the ice barrier would have been five miles, which was unfeasible. At first, the president and the governor of Alaska wouldn't help the whales, but with the persistence of the newspeople portrayed in this film, who soon turned the small local story into a national one, the government and the National Guard were persuaded to help the whales.

Adam Carlson (John Krasinski, TV's The Office) is a small-fry newsman in Barrow, Alaska, where he reports on such exciting stories as the food quality at the town's only Mexican restaurant. [He follows the national news, though, and admires a pretty L.A. newswoman named Jill Jerard (Kristen Bell, Burlesque). When Nathan (newcomer Ahmaogak Sweeney) asks Adam to film a story on him and his cousin performing "awesome" snowmobile tricks, Adam stumbles upon something bigger: three gray whales, trapped under the ice. He films a story about it which is aired on the local Alaskan network, and later picked up by the national networks, inspiring people to want to help the whales. Adam's ex-girlfriend Rachel (Drew Barrymore, Going the Distance), a Greenpeace activist, rushes to Alaska to help as well, and Adam finally gets to meet Jill Jerard when she is sent to Alaska to cover what one of the senior newsmen calls "a cat stuck in a tree"-type story. With the help of the local Inuit people and the Barrow residents, they must free the whales before the whales die from not being able to breathe.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Is your name John Carter?

Disney is doing an interesting contest where you can win a trip to Peru and also attend an advance screening of John Carter.

The catch? To enter, your name must be John Carter! However, Disney is allowing variations of the name as well; in the official rules, they say:

An entrant’s legal name must be composed of the following elements: (1) a first name of: John, Jon, Jonathan, Jonathon, Jawn, Gian or Juan; and (2) a last name of: Carter, Cartur, Cartir, Karter, Karter, Kartar, Khartar, Kharter or Kartir.

So if your name is John Carter (or Juan Kartin, or Jon Kartar, or even Jonathan Karter!) make sure to enter this sweepstakes. You can enter by going to http://realjohncarter.com and signing in with your Facebook account or or your email address. You can also get additional entries by participating in weekly "challenges."

Good luck!