Monthly Archives: February 2011

Oscars 2011: Forget Who Should Win, This Is Who I Want To Win

With just a day left to go until the big show, I’d like to bet you’ve had enough Oscar predictions – especially considering quite a handful of the biggest honors are considered locks. Well, I offer you something a little different; not who I think will win, but who I think should win.

Best Picture: The King’s Speech
Every Best Picture nominee achieves some degree of filmmaking prowess, otherwise, they wouldn’t be nominated in the first place. Rather than pick apart the elements and compare the contenders by the writing, directing acting, etc., this category comes down to something far simpler, yet something tougher to achieve – poignancy. Which of these films moved me most? Toy Story 3 left me in tears, 127 Hours with a knot in my stomach and Inception with my head spinning, but it was The King’s Speech that was overwhelmingly rousing. This is such a special film for so many reasons and those reasons will likely be rewarded in the other categories, but in terms of the Best Picture Oscar alone, my fingers are crossed for The King Speech based on its incredible ability to connect my heartstrings to those of the characters in the film and tug on them all the way through.

I’ll Be Pissed If This Wins: Inception
Inception may be endlessly interesting and responsible for countless summertime debates, but an Oscar for Best Picture? Come on. On top of that, even after all the discussions, who can say they really understand the movie through and through? It was fun while it lasted, but Inception’s infinite twists and turns aren’t enough for the film to stand the test of time as well as its contenders.

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Review: Hall Pass

Have you ever laughed at a joke, thought about it again and get angry at yourself for laughing at something so cheap, demeaning or derogatory? If not, go check out Hall Pass. When you’re not cringing at the lack of originality and wasted talent, you’re giggling at cut-rate gags that have no chance of earning a laugh the second time around. The fact that you could only get a viewer to laugh by having a character sneeze and poop at the same time is nothing to brag about.

Rick and Fred (Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis) are happily married. Well, kind of. They love their wives, but just can’t help themselves when it comes to looking at or talking crudely about other women. Eventually the sneak peaks and dirty talk becomes too much for their wives, Maggie and Grace (Jenna Fischer and Christina Applegate) respectively, and they decide to issue their men “hall passes.” For one week, Rick and Fred are marriage free. They can do (pun intended) whatever they’d like and it won’t matter.

Turns out, touching isn’t as easy as looking and even with their coveted hall passes, the boys have some trouble sealing the deal – or even initiating it for that matter. Meanwhile, Maggie and Grace are busy spending a relaxing weekend out in Cape Cod. Little do the guys know, their ladies aren’t just indulging in some girl time, but a college baseball team. The team coach warms up to Maggie, and Grace gets her hall pass on cougar-style with a young player.

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Review: Elektra Luxx

When you’re about to watch a sequel and you can barely remember what happened in the first film, you know you’re heading for trouble. Well, while there’s certainly trouble to be had in writer-director Sebastian Gutierrez’s Elektra Luxx, just like its predecessor, Women in Trouble, there’s something keeping you from completely dismissing this sloppy mess of a film – the characters.

First off, we’ve got our titular character (no pun intended), Elektra Luxx (Carla Gugino). She’s pregnant and retired from the porn industry, instead, opting to teach a class called “How To Act Like a Porn Star in Bed” at the local community center. One day, Cora (Marley Shelton), the flight attendant from Women in Trouble, comes barging in revealing she has a folder full of songs her late rock star baby daddy, Nick Chapel (Josh Brolin), wrote before his demise. Cora offers Elektra the songs, but under one condition; Elektra must seduce her husband so Cora doesn’t have to feel guilty about cheating on him with Nick. Sure enough, the plan goes awry and in the mess, Elektra finds out an awfully good-looking private detective (Timothy Olyphant) has been assigned to keep an eye on her.

Meanwhile, sex blogger Burt Rodriguez (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is back and continues to document Elektra’s exploits all while trying to keep his little sister, Olive (Amy Rosoff), from using his website to turn herself into the next Internet sensation. Bambi and Holly Rocket (Emmanuelle Chriqui and Adrianne Paliciki) are back as well and this time around, the girls are looking to take some time off and enjoy a vacation. Holly’s still holding onto those feelings for Bambi, so when Bambi opts to try to squeeze in a little work during their getaway, Holly uses her askew intellect to foil the night.

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Interview: Rubber Writer-Director Quentin Dupieux

In an industry obsessed with making movies about friends with benefits, alien invasions and haunted houses, who’s got the guts to make a movie about a tire with the power to make people’s heads explode? That man is Quentin Dupieux and while he is billed as Rubber’s director, writer, editor, composer and cinematographer, he much prefers the title, “stupid creator.”

Rubber is the story of Robert, an abandoned tire who magically comes to life, explores the land before discovering his ability to make things explode. After rolling into a nearby motel, he takes a liking not only to a pretty lady he meets along the way named Sheila (Roxane Mesquida), but also to blowing up people’s heads. Meanwhile, way out in the distance, a group of spectators are watching this “movie” about a tire on a killing spree.

Okay, it certainly sounds a bit strange, but it really does make quite a bit of sense when you watch Rubber in its entirety – or does it? While the film oozes with messages and implications about the filmmaking industry, Dupieux insists he just wrote to his liking. After just three weeks of writing, he loaded up his brand new Canon 5D and made his movie in the simplest, quickest and most functional manner possible, which is just the way he likes it. Read all about Dupieux’s experience bringing Robert to life in the interview below.

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Defending Bad Movies: The Adam Sandler Edition

What’s with Adam Sandler lately? We get the unfunny missed opportunity with‘Grown Ups’ last summer, and now ‘Just Go With It?’ What’s happening to the guy who used to deliver comedy after comedy that’d keep us either laughing or disgusted (in a good way) all the way through?

Actually, it looks like the majority of folks out there don’t even care much for some of Sandler’s previous work because despite his all-star status most of the films responsible for skyrocketing him to fame are, well, pretty rotten. Sandler didn’t manage to break into fresh territory on Rotten Tomatoes until 1998’s ‘The Wedding Singer,’ and even then it only earned him a 67%. From there, it was a nine-film gap until his next fresh ratings, ‘Punch-Drunk Love’ and ‘Stupidity’ followed by ‘Reign Over Me’ in 2007 and then ‘Funny People’ in 2009. Overall, of Sandler’s 34 rated films on Rotten Tomatoes, he’s earned just five fresh ratings. Otherwise, all his films are rotten, and some very rotten.

The curious thing is, for some, it’s natural to look back on some of these supposed rotten films fondly. In fact, as sick as it sounds, a handful of them were personal childhood favorites. Sandler’s style of humor is an acquired taste and if you weren’t feeling it when ‘Billy Madison’ hit in 1995, odds are the entire Adam Sandler movement was one entirely rotten experience. Just because these films aren’t for everyone doesn’t mean they’re not enjoyable to some, so here’s to the ones buried in thumbs down that still have a lasting positive impact.

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Interview: Battle: Los Angeles’ Neil Brown Jr.

Let’s say aliens really do attack Earth one day; who do you think will defend us? Tom Cruise? Probably not. Jeff Goldblum and Will Smith? Not happening. It’s the army and not the army Mars Attacks!-style. We’re talking dead serious real soldiers with intense weaponry setting off some massive explosions and, based on my chat with Neil Brown Jr., that’s who the unearthly visitors go head-to-head with in Battle: Los Angeles.

With quite a few credits to his name, including Fast & Furious and The Walking Dead, Brown Jr. certainly knows what he’s doing on set, but there seems to be something about Battle: LA that really hit home for him and his co-cast. Not only did the group have to attend an intense boot camp right before heading to set in Louisiana, but they remained close throughout shooting up to this very day. Having gone through this training together, the men felt and acted like real Marines and not only did that lead them to develop strong bonds with one another, but it brought an impeccable degree of authenticity to the film, too.

As big as Battle: LA is, that’s not the only highly anticipated project on Brown Jr.’s plate. After a stellar first season, The Walking Dead is back, but the question is, will the nursing home protector Guillermo be back as well? Brown Jr. may not have been able to offer any definitive answer, but he did guarantee the second season will blow you away regardless.

Check out everything Neil Brown Jr. had to say about Battle: Los AngelesThe Walking Dead and a potential next project in the interview below.

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Interview: Battle: Los Angeles’ Adetokumboh M’Cormack

When you think Battle: Los Angeles, odds are, you think of Aaron Eckhart. Well, Eckhart may play the leader of a platoon of soldiers going into battle against invading aliens, but it’s be worth your while to get to know some of the Staff Sergeant’s men.

Adetokumboh M’Cormack is Corpsman Jibril Adukwu, the group medic. Like his co-cast, M’Cormack had to go through boot camp training, but he had the added assignment of learning the ins and outs of being a Marine medic as well. The key to this role was being as in touch with the character as possible and in that sense, M’Cormack and the rest of the cast went above and beyond.

During our recent interview, M’Cormack shelled out tons of details from the entire process from working hard during training, to taking what he learned to set and even the friendships that remained after shooting wrapped. Based on our conversation, it seems as though Battle: Los Angeles might actually not be your run-of-the-mill alien invasion film, rather a wholly real-feeling experience and, if that is the case, we really have something special to look forward to. To hold you over until the battle begins on March 11th, check out what M’Cormack had to say about working on the film.

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