Monthly Archives: May 2013

The Best – and Worst – Movie Trailers of the Week

Aint-Them-Bodies-SaintsDid a trailer finally conquer the tacky narration technique and make it work? Not quite. The latest trailer for Walking with Dinosaurs came close to being Best Stuff worthy, but in comparing it to the first trailer, it’s just way too evident that the voiceover does more harm than good. And even then, the Walking with Dinosaurs trailer is still leaps and bounds beyond the one for Machete Kills. If your money shot is showing off Sofia Vergara rocking boobs with firepower, you’re bound to alienate a significant portion of the audience.

The Best Stuff

1. Ain’t Them Bodies Saints

There’s something undeniably enchanting about two people in love and it’s as evident as ever in the new trailer for Ain’t Them Bodies Saints. Once it pulls you in via the chemistry between Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck, it drops a bomb, and a wildly captivating one at that. The tension builds with every beat of the background tune, ultimately leaving you relentlessly curious about the details of the characters’ past, present and future.

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Review: The East

The-East-PosterThoughtful and slick, “The East” functions both as a highly engaging and riveting thriller, and also something that’s deeply conflicting, forcing you to juggle all angles of the scenario while the film is rolling and long after, too.

Sarah Moss (Brit Marling) left the FBI and is now a new recruit at Hiller Brood, a private intelligence firm dedicated to protecting some of the biggest corporations in the country. Sarah is hand selected by her boss, Sharon (Patricia Clarkson), to infiltrate an anarchist group known as The East in an effort to stop them from sabotaging the Hiller Brood clientele. At first, Sarah is determined to do the best she can to impress Sharon and jumpstart a successful new career, but after infiltrating The East and spending a significant amount of time with its members, she can’t help but to recognize that stopping them outright might not be the answer.

Like its promotional campaign, “The East” reels you in right from the start via a viral message from the group. In mere minutes the film manages to both relay The East’s motives and goals, and captivate the viewer, making for the ideal transition into the meat of the story.

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Review: The Kings of Summer

The-Kings-of-Summer-Poster“The Kings of Summer” boasts the innocence and carefree nature of younger years right alongside the profundity of adulthood, resulting in an experience that functions both as an entertaining romp and tender tale of growing up.

Since the passing of his mother, Joe’s (Nick Robinson) relationship with his father, Frank (Nick Offerman), has been more strained than ever, the two not being able to see eye to eye on a single thing, even a game of Monopoly. Meanwhile, Joe’s best friend Patrick (Gabriel Basso) has parental problems of his own, but in a much different respect. His mother and father (Megan Mullally and Marc Evan Jackson) smother him, drowning him in juvenile affection and vegetable soup. Desperate to not become his father, Joe decides that their only shot at gaining a sense of independence and becoming the men they want to be is to get out from under their parents’ roofs and build their own. Joe, Patrick, and the school oddball, Biaggio (Moises Arias), take to the woods, find a clearing and build their very own home.

“The Kings of Summer” strikes a unique balance between coming-of-age charm, comedy, and honest drama, and it’s the constant give and take between all three that makes the film work particularly well as a whole. There are moments specifically rooted in humor and others aiming to earn weighty emotional arcs, but director Jordan Vogt-Roberts and writer Chris Galletta always keep all three elements in play, resulting in something that’s both pleasantly enchanting and rather poignant.

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The Best — and Worst — Movie Trailers of the Week

Don-JonThe new trailer for The Act of Killing shows off quotes like “audacious,” “explosive,” “chilling” and “extraordinary,” and while the trailer does manage to earn the acclaim and go as far to suggest the film really is one not to be missed, it’s also so unsettling it might make you think twice about jumping into the full feature. So although the trailer for The Act of Killing breaks boundaries and designates the film a worthy watch, three other trailers ride their more widespread thrill and appeal to the top.

The Best Stuff
1. Don Jon

Like Don Jon or not, there’s something charming about the scenario as presented in the first trailer for Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s directorial debut. Within seconds you know what Don Jon’s all about, making the introduction of Scarlett Johansson’s character all the more powerful. And even then, the narrative builds further, adding more heart and humor before culminating with an effective bookend.

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Interview: Epic’s Chris O’Dowd & Aziz Ansari

Chris-ODowd-Aziz-Ansari-EpicFor the record, Chris O’Dowd and Aziz Ansari, I was totally onto you.  Appropriately, the comedy duo serves as Epic’s comedic relief, Grub (O’Dowd) the snail and Mub (Ansari) the slug. When Grub isn’t dreaming of joining the ranks of the Leaf Men and Mub isn’t hitting on Mary Katherine (voice byAmanda Seyfried), the pair is in charge of keeping a very special little pod moist. It sounds like a silly job, but if that pod doesn’t bloom in the moonlight, the entire forest could wilt at the hands of the leader of the Boggans, Mandrake (voiced by Christoph Waltz).

When Ansari wasn’t rising to the challenge and seeing how many times he could squeeze Ice Age 4: Continental Drift into a single interview, we discussed how they fleshed out their characters while the animators put the world of Epic together, to Ansari’s amusement, how working on Epic compared to Ice Age 4: Continental Drift, a Michele Bachmann namedrop, and whether or not they got the opportunity to improvise. Moving on to their upcoming films, O’Dowd was cryptic or perhaps honestly uninformed about his Thor: The Dark World cameo and Ansari touched on the difficultly of getting his own scripts into production.

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Review: The Hangover Part III

The-Hangover-Part-III-PosterWho hasn’t woken up with a hangover and said you’re never drinking again only to hit the bar a few days later? That’s fine for us, but Todd Phillips better keep his word. “The Hangover Part III” absolutely must be the end.

The Wolf Pack is back together again, but not for more wedding shenanigans, rather a funeral and a trip to a rehab facility. After Alan (Zach Galifianakis) literally gives his father (Jeffrey Tambor) a fatal heart attack, his mother, sister, and Doug (Justin Bartha) decide that it’s time for Alan to get some serious help. With Phil and Stu’s (Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms) support, they stage an intervention and head out to bring Alan to New Horizons. However, while en route, the Wolfpack is ambushed by Marshall (John Goodman) and his thugs. Marshall takes Doug as collateral while Phil, Stu, and Alan meet his demands – bring him Leslie Chow (Ken Jeong).

Part of the appeal of the original film was the fact that it focused on four real guys in the middle of a very relatable situation. It’s highly unlikely many have had an encounter with Mike Tyson’s tiger or made a quick $80,000 counting cards to pay off a gangster, but the idea of four guys getting so wasted during a bachelor party that they can’t even remember the crazy time they had is charming. But fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. Back in 2009, the idea of one friend accidently roofie-ing his buddies was a novel scenario, but the sequel proved the concept didn’t have the appeal and flexibility for another go-around. It seems as though Phillips and co. recognized that issue because we get a different narrative here, but now we’re left with the problem that these characters just aren’t appealing or engaging enough to sustain any feature length scenario.

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Interview: Epic’s Amanda Seyfried

Amanda-Seyfried-EpicThe moment you’re famous enough that your voice becomes recognizable, the animated movie offers must come pouring in, but even after years of being in the spotlight, Epic only marks Amanda Seyfried’s very first foray into the world of voice work. She plays Mary Katherine, the daughter of Professor Bomba (voiced by Jason Sudeikis) who’s essentially given up everything for an obsessive pursuit to prove that there are tiny warriors living in the forest. Like everyone else, MK isn’t buying it, but when Queen Tara (voiced by Beyonce Knowles) has no choice but to shrink MK down to Leaf Man size so she can help save the forest, MK realizes her father’s been right all along.

With Epic on its way to a May 24th release, Seyfried sat down in New York City to talk about making the film and more. We ran through what drew her to the project, her love of the forest, the challenge of tapping into her imagination while in a sound booth, the physicality involved in doing voice work, how voicing an animated character compares to singing live on set, and the awkwardness of non-dialogue voice work. Seyfried also offered an update on her upcoming projects including Lovelace and Z for Zachariah.

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