Friday, March 30, 2012

6 Month Rule

6 Month Rule is written and directed by Blayne Weaver (Weather Girl), who also plays the lead character, Tyler. Tyler has a certain philosophy on women: anyone can get over any woman in six months or less, regardless of how serious the relationship was. The film starts out with a montage of Tyler breaking up with various women, who are obviously more crushed than he is that their relationships are ending.

Soon, however, he meets Sophie (Natalie Morales, Going the Distance), an artist, and becomes extremely attached to her. She's "sorta" dating a musician, however (Patrick J. Adams, TV's Suits), as she puts it, but Tyler doesn't let this deter him.

Read the rest of the review on Examiner.com.

Mirror Mirror

Mirror Mirror is the first of the two Snow White movies coming out this year - the second (and much darker-looking) Snow White and the Huntsman arrives in theaters on June 1st. The trailers for Mirror Mirror made it look much more lighthearted than Huntsman and also a little dumb; however, though the movie started a little rocky, it soon began to charm me with its quirkiness, sword fighting scenes, and one-liners.

Snow White (Lily Collins, Abduction and daughter of singer Phil Collins) lives in the castle with her father, the king (Sean Bean, Percy Jackson and the Olympians), and she leads a very happy life. Her mother died in childbirth, but soon her father remarries, to the Evil Queen (Julia Roberts, Larry Crowne). The king goes into the woods one day and never comes out, and it is then that the Queen becomes Snow White's guardian and never lets her leave the castle. Our story starts on the day of Snow's 18th birthday, where the Queen is throwing a gala - but not a birthday party - and Snow sneaks out of the castle.

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

With a name like Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, you might expect this movie to be a snore-fest. However, it ended up far surpassing my expectations, and in fact is one of the better movies I have seen in the past few months. The humor was spot-on throughout the film, even in some of the more serious scenes, and it was interesting to see how complicated it was going to be to introduce salmon fishing to the Yemen.

Harriet Chetwode-Talbot (Emily Blunt, The Adjustment Bureau) works for a very rich sheik (Amr Waked, Contagion) who wants to introduce the sport of salmon fishing near his home in the Yemen. Her first step is to contact Dr. Alfred Jones (Ewan McGregor, Beginners) to see if it's possible. He writes her back a polite but firm letter saying that there is no way it would be possible; however, once the Prime Minister's press secretary (Kristin Scott Thomas, Sarah's Key) gets involved, his boss gives him a choice: either work on the project or be fired. Smart man that he is, Dr. Jones chooses the former, and soon is being flown to one of the sheik's many mansions to discuss the idea with him and Ms. Chatwode-Talbot, as he calls her (never just "Harriet"). The two must find a way to obtain 10,000 salmon for the Yemen, and fly those salmon all the way into the country.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Behind the scenes on the set of The Avengers



Disney has released a few "behind the scenes" pictures from The Avengers, and I have some of them to share with you.

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

Joss Whedon (director) and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson)
Joss Whedon and Thor! (Chris Hemsworth)
Joss Whedon with Captain America's shield
Joss Whedon and The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo)
Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.)

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Hunger Games

I had been looking forward to The Hunger Games for a long time, ever since I read the first book in the trilogy in February 2011, when buzz about the film adaptation was just starting to build. The movie does not disappoint, though it seemed like a bit of a "Cliffs Notes" version of the book, even with its 2 hours and 22 minute runtime. Fans of the book will ultimately like this film, and it's able to stand on its own two feet for those who have not read the novel; however, those who read the book will definitely have an easier time understanding the story.

Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence, X-Men: First Class) lives in District 12 with her mother and sister, Prim (newcomer Willow Shields). For a long time now, there has been twelve districts; at one time, however, which the film only alludes to, there were thirteen - District 13 decided to revolt against the Capitol, the ruling power, but lost. Because of this "war," as a propaganda video says, we have the Hunger Games each year, in which two tributes from each district, one boy and one girl ages 12 to 18, are selected to go to the Capitol and engage in a battle to the death.

Katniss and her hunting partner, Gale (Liam Hemsworth, The Last Song) always live in fear of being chosen for their district at the Reaping each year, but she assures Prim that her name won't be chosen; her name has only been entered once this year. Unfortunately, that's exactly what DOES happen, and Katniss volunteers herself to go in Prim's place, knowing that Prim wouldn't be able to survive - Katniss, with her bow and arrow skills, at least has a shot at it. The boy chosen for district 12 is Peeta Mellark (Josh Hutcherson, Journey 2: The Mysterious Island), whom Katniss has known all her life; Peeta once showed her kindness when she was starving. Peeta and Katniss travel to the Capitol, where the people are fashion-obsessed and the skyscrapers are plentiful and shiny, and they are soon thrust into the Arena to fight for their lives.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Bad movies for St. Patrick's Day

Today I had a Yes/No Films reader email me with a guest post which is highly appropriate for this time of year: the worst St. Patrick's Day films. Thanks to Katherine Pierce for the below post.

Filmmakers don't always have the luck of the Irish when it comes to St. Patrick's Day movies. Leprechauns are somehow silly and creepy at the same time, which makes it hard to put those little guys in a film without making the audience cringe. This isn't necessarily a bad thing. If you're the kind of person who loves movies that are so bad they're good, check out one of these titles from the St. Patrick's Day cinematic hall of shame.
Getting Lucky
This 1990 teenage sex comedy from Troma, the cheese masters responsible for the Toxic Avenger series, is something of a cult classic. That doesn't mean it's a good movie. Getting Lucky is unquestionably, wonderfully bad. The basic plot involves a nerdy teenager who finds a tiny alcoholic leprechaun named Lepky inside a beer bottle. Lepky does a little wish granting to help our nerd win the cheerleader of his dreams, but since Lepky's a drunk he pretty much screws everything up. Sounds like cinematic gold, right? If that doesn't sell you on this awful gem of a St. Patrick's Day movie, try this: the writer and director of Getting Lucky shot the movie in two weeks while homeless and living in a van.

Poor Kyle. It's hard enough being a regular kid in junior high school, but Kyle has it extra rough because he's also secretly a leprechaun. Half leprechaun, actually -- his dad's just a dude from Ohio, but his mom's a full-on leprechaun. Once Kyle loses the magical coin that allows him to look human, things start getting weird. Instead of hitting puberty, Kyle starts turning into a little mythical Irish creature, and the only way to stop his transformation is to get his coin back from an evil leprechaun named Seamus. If you can spot the metaphors for adolescence in this ridiculous script, reward yourself with a pint of Guinness.

Yes, this is a St. Patrick's Day movie about leprechauns and property tax, and it's just as bad as it sounds. Sure, everything seems great when Molly and her dad Howard inherit an Irish estate, until they learn that it's called Misfortune Mansion and it comes with a huge tax assessment. Good thing there's a leprechaun nearby to help them out, right? Unfortunately, this movie is called A Very Unlucky Leprechaun, which means Howard and Molly get stuck with a pretty lame little helper. If you're wondering why they'd want to try so hard to hold on to a place called Misfortune Mansion, you're not alone.

Don't you hate it when your future stepmother turns out to be an evil water banshee obsessed with destroying leprechauns? In this ridiculous and totally fun fantas, kids Ethel and Tommy have to stop their wicked mom-to-be from drowning the last leprechaun left in Ireland and sucking up all of his magical leprechaun powers. You know how these movies end -- the kids always win -- so just sit back and enjoy the crazy drama.

Leapin' Leprechauns!
You know a movie is going to be awesomely bad when it has an exclamation point in the title. Add in wacky hijinks, cute kids making surprised faces and some tiny leprechaun puppets and you're in bad movie heaven. In Leapin' Leprechauns, a handful of miniature leprechauns stow away in a suitcase headed for America to try to stop their home from being turned into an amusement park. There's also a strange sub-plot about the Queen of the Underworld, who's seriously into leprechaun sacrifice.

If you're looking for a tremendously bad St. Patrick's Day movie, take the easy route and pick any of the six Leprechaun movies. They're all basically about the same evil murderous leprechaun, and each one is a little more ridiculous than the last. If you're really adventurous, settle in for a Leprechaun marathon. Start with the original, made in 1993 and starring a pre-fame Jennifer Aniston in all her cheesy glory. Leprechaun 2 and 3 are equally bad, but the franchise really gets going with Leprechaun 4: In Space. Yes, in space. If you thought that was a bad idea, you're going to love Leprechaun: In the Hood, where our evil green protagonist takes his blood lust to the mean streets of Compton. Round out the marathon with the last film in the series, Leprechaun: Back 2 tha Hood, which might be the worst -- and best -- in the series.

So there you have it, folks, it’s a list as bad as any St. Patrick's Day hangover. What do you think? Did your favorite bad movie make the cut?


About the Author
Kit Pierce loves to read classic literature and blogs about human rights. In her spare time, she writes for www.attsavings.com. She's interested in steampunk, likes watching funny cat videos, and enjoys discussions about philosophy. You can follow her on Twitter @kit_pearce.

21 Jump Street

What younger audiences may not know about 21 Jump Street is that it's a remake of the 1987-1981 TV show of the same name, which starred a young Johnny Depp. As in the new movie, the cops met at 21 Jump Street and were part of an undercover team. I've watched a few episodes of the TV show and I'd like to watch more of it, especially after seeing the movie remake, which is more hilarious and raunchy than I thought it would be, but which definitely will please audiences.

The film starts out in 2005, and we see Schmidt (the newly svelte Jonah Hill, Moneyball) as a dork with braces. He musters up the courage to ask out one of the prettiest girls in school to the prom, only to be met with a look of pity from her and derision from her boyfriend, Jenko (Channing Tatum, The Vow). Flash-forward to present day, and both Schmidt (looking decidedly less dorky) and Jenko are in the police academy trying to become police officers. Jenko is great at the physical aspects like running, while Schmidt is great at the tests and quizzes they take, so they decide to team up to help each other, and become friends in the process. They're assigned to patrol the park on bikes, but when they make their first drug bust, Schmidt loses his "perp" and Jenko fails to correctly read the Miranda rights, so the suspect is let free; it probably doesn't help that Schmidt fires a few celebratory gunshots into the air as well, prompting all the park-goers to run in the opposite direction.

Jeff, Who Lives at Home

Jeff, Who Lives at Home features Jason Segel (The Muppets) as unemployed slacker Jeff and Ed Helms (The Hangover Part II) as his employed brother Pat, who is having marital troubles. Susan Sarandon (Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps) plays their mom, who has assigned Jeff a very important and seemingly straightforward task: to take the bus to Home Depot and pick up wood glue, since one of the window shutters in the house has fallen off. Before Jeff leaves, however, he gets a mysterious phone call, where someone asks to speak to Kevin. Jeff takes this as a sign, and when he sees someone on the bus with a jersey that says "KEVIN" on the back of it, he follows him.

Pat finds Jeff wandering around outside of Hooters, where Pat is conducting a "business meeting," as he says, with a friend of his. Pat wants to show off his new Porsche so he takes Jeff for a ride, where they ultimately end up crashing the car. The movie rolls on from this point, with Jeff still following any "Kevin clues" he can find, and Jeff's story eventually tying in with Pat's, including him confronting his wife (Judy Greer, The Descendants) about possible infidelity on her part.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Salvation Boulevard rounds out Uptown Film Festival

Yesterday was the first full day of the Uptown Film Festival, and also the last day of three. Two of the more anticipated films, Bully and Salvation Boulevard, were shown, and movies were playing all day at the Birmingham 8 theater and also the Palladium. For its inaugural year in 2011, the festival had two days of films and "afterglow" receptions at the Palladium, but this year it has branched out, with three days and afterglows at area restaurants.

"The festival is going beyond our wildest expectations. Most of our films have been sold out. Over at the [Birmingham] 8 last night, we started off with Brothers on the Line and it was packed, and then today Bully was packed," said Jeff Spilman, co-executive director of the festival.

"We added a third night this year and afterglows each night, at South Bar, What Crepe, and Barrio. People are having a great time and the charities are happy – everyone’s happy."

Read the rest of the article at Examiner.com.

Jules, at the programs table
Chefs hard at work
Beer and wine were served
Cool little glass lanterns at one of the tables
Tables
Oakland County Film
Jeff Spilman, co-executive director of the festival
D'Ann Stelly, producer of the festival

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Uptown Film Festival hosts charity VIP event and Machine Gun Preacher

For its second full night, the Uptown Film Festival did not disappoint. A VIP charity event was held at 7pm, with a screening of Machine Gun Preacher, originally in Detroit theaters in November 2011, to follow. An"afterglow" party following the screening was held at the new What Crepe near the theater.

Machine Gun Preacher stars Gerard Butler and Michelle Monaghan, among others, and half of the movie was shot in Detroit. The film is based on the real life story of Sam Childers (played by Butler), an ex-con who decides to reform his life and help children in Africa. He divides his time between there and his family in Pennsylvania, and ends up building a church and orphanage for the children, as well as hoping to fight the LRA, a resistance army that has been massacring large amounts of people in Africa.

To read the rest of the article, go to Examiner.com.


Uptown Film Festival poster
UFF t-shirts being sold
Cupcakes at the VIP charity event
Charity event-goers
Welcome board
Steve Blackwood and his wife. Steve had a small role in
Machine Gun Preacher and got to interact with Gerard Butler in the scene

Friday, March 9, 2012

Friends with Kids

With four of the cast members of Bridesmaids returning for Friends with Kids, the movie looked like it would be raunchy and hilarious. However, the trailers are very misleading; FWK is more of a "slice of life" movie, which is not to everybody's taste. The supporting cast also give very good performances, but they are unfortunately underused.

Jason Fryman (Adam Scott, TV's Parks and Recreation) and Julie Keller (Jennifer Westfeldt, TV's 24) are childless, but all of their friends are having babies. However, each new baby seems to ruin their friends' relationships. Leslie and Alex (Maya Rudolph and Chris O'Dowd, Bridesmaids) were happily married but now are super stressed each day because of their kids. Ben and Missy (Jon Hamm and Kristin Wiig, Bridesmaids) used to have sex all the time, even in public places like restaurant bathrooms, but since having kids have begun to hate each other more and more every day. Both Julie and Jason want a baby, but they are close friends consider each other to be almost like siblings, and they have no sexual attraction towards each other. Even so, they decide to have a baby and split all the responsibilities 50/50. This way, Julie and Jason believe they'll get to raise a child but don't have to deal with the downside of "not liking each other" anymore.

A Thousand Words

The last movie I saw Eddie Murphy in was Tower Heist, which got mixed reviews but which I enjoyed very much. The premise of A Thousand Words sounded a little strange - a man isn't able to talk because his lifeline gets connected to a tree's, and one leaf falls for every word he speaks - but I figured since Murphy is in it, A Thousand Words was bound to be funny. Unfortunately, there weren't a ton of funny moments throughout it, although the message the movie gives is a nice one.

Jack McCall (Murphy) is a book agent who excels at convincing authors to sign with him. His boss, Samantha (Allison Janney, The Help) wants him to sign Dr. Sinja (Cliff Curtis, Colombiana), a guru of sorts who is extremely popular and who has written a book. Jack goes to talk with Dr. Sinja, and bruises his hand on a tree there; the next day, mysteriously, that exact same tree pops up in his backyard. Every time Jack says a word, a leaf falls from the tree, and Sinja hypothesizes that when the tree dies, Jack will too. For a man whose livelihood depends on his capacity to speak, this is in itself a death sentence, and Jack must find creative ways to communicate without actually using words.

Rampart

I am guessing that Rampart is going to be one of the "critics darlings" of 2012, but other than a good acting performance by Woody Harrelson, I really didn't like it that much. The movie focuses on a troubled cop in the LA Police Department during the midst of the Rampart scandals in the late 1990s, specifically 1999. The LAPD is cracking down on dirty cops, and bad behavior that might have usually been overlooked in the LAPD is brought to the forefront.

David Brown (Woody Harrelson, Friends with Benefits) is one of the officers drawing more attention than usual at the LAPD. His nickname at the station is "Date Rape," because he allegedly killed a suspect a few years back who had been date-raping women. David finds himself in another situation, too, where he stalks a group of guys who were fleeing a crime scene - a robbery at a grocery store - and he shoots the suspects and tries to pass it off like they were shooting at him first. Basically, David is not the best cop around; however, he claims that anyone he has hurt was bad and deserved it. David's home life isn't much easier. He lives with two sisters (Cynthia Nixon, Sex and the City 2, and Anne Heche, Cedar Rapids) who each have a child by him, and now they're sick of David and want him to move out.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Lone Ranger: first look!

The first image from Disney's The Lone Ranger was released today, and it's pretty cool!

(at left: Johnny Depp, at right: Armie Hammer)

Photo credit: Peter Mountain

From the release:
From producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Gore Verbinski comes Disney/Bruckheimer Films' THE LONE RANGER. Tonto (Johnny Depp), a spirit warrior on a personal quest, joins forces in a fight for justice with John Reid (Armie Hammer), a lawman who has become a masked avenger.

THE LONE RANGER will be released in May 2013.

Friday, March 2, 2012

The Lorax (2012)

The Lorax is based on the 1971 children's book by Dr. Seuss, and has a very talented voice cast that includes stars like Danny DeVito, Ed Helms, Taylor Swift, Zac Efron, and Betty White. The film is actually more than just a kids movie: it's also a cautionary tale about environmental destruction, and has PG-type humor geared toward adults. At the same time, The Lorax has colorful visuals and 3D effects that will appeal to kids.

Ted (voiced by Efron, New Year's Eve) has a major crush on his older next door neighbor, Audrey (Swift, Valentine's Day). He buys a model plane and intentionally flies it into her backyard so that he can knock on her door and talk to her; Audrey invites Ted inside and shows him a picture she's drawn on the back of her house. It's a picture of the truffula trees, which used to grow everywhere, until they disappeared. Audrey tells Ted that her goal in life is to find a real, living tree, and that she would probably marry anyone who brought her one. This of course makes Ted determined to find Audrey a tree, and his grandma (voiced by White, TV's Hot in Cleveland) tells him how to find one: go outside of town and find the Onceler, who knows of such things.