Saturday, March 31, 2012

Movie Mashup 16

New Clue: An African bushman finds a Coke and tries to reform an alcoholic country singer with a broken leg. 

The goal is to figure out the two movies that overlap in some words creating a new movie described by the clue.  Leave your answer in the comments. Good luck!

My Top 10: #10 Galaxy Quest

One quality all of my top 10 films share is their rewatchability.  That's a particular feat that many films, despite their greatness, fail to achieve.  Galaxy Quest combines a few of my favorite elements of entertainment - science fiction and self-referential comedy.  The main characters are all formerly famous actors from a TV series from the 1970s that is a spoof of the original "Star Trek" - with Tim Allen playing the obnoxious leading man (aka William Shatner as Kirk).  The TV series, "Galaxy Quest" has a huge cult following and does fan events.  At one of these events, some people in costume come up to Allen and ask him for help. He thinks they're just playing along with his character, but they actually ARE aliens from another planet who believe "Galaxy Quest" were "historical documents" and not a television series so they believe Allen has the power to save them from a bad guy.
However, Allen's former costars - Sigourney Weaver, who plays the token sexy woman who just repeats what the computer says, Alan Rickman who plays the ship's doctor with a catch phrase, Tony Shaloub, the ship's technician, and Daryl Mitchell who plays the Wil Wheaton character - a young man who has grown up in real life, but is frozen in adolescence on TV.  They hate that Allen is the favorite character and hate that their careers were subsumed by being part of such a hit TV series years ago.  However, they respect their fans and continue to earn money from their success.  So of course they want in on Allen's new gig.
The whole movie follows all the cliches of 1970s science fiction television.  Most of that is narrated by Sam Rockwell who plays a fan who was an extra on one episode named Guy.  There's a moment when the ship is going down and he's hysterical because he knows he's going to die because no one knows his last name - if you don't know much about a character on a TV show, chances are good they will die off.  I love the humor in this, and its attempt to parody and pay homage at the same time to a genre I adore.   They pay homage by making some of the fans, including a very young Justin Long, responsible for helping save the day.

Friday, March 30, 2012

My Top Movies: # 11-20

In an effort to get to 900 posts by my 5th Blogoversary, I'm going to countdown my Top 10 Movies, but before we get to my Top 10 Countdown, I thought I'd show you the films that didn't quite make the list.  I have never claimed to have actual good taste in films.  I know what I like and I tend to watch them a lot.  I own all of these movies and have rewatched them at least once in the last year, some of them a few times depending on their TV showings as well.  There is definitely a trend toward movies that end well, have a romantic message and generally really good writing.  

11. Waitress - It's the pie.  Every single time I watch this, I'm hungry and I want to be able to make a really good pie.  One of the things this movies does well is cultivate hope.  It makes you want to have people in your life to make pie for.  Duh, Nathan Fillion.

12. 10 Things I hate about you - Easily the greatest modern retelling of Shakespeare in film.  This high school version of Taming of the Shrew does a good job sticking pretty close to its source material without relying on you to actually have read it to understand anything.  Can't really beat Jo-Go and Heath Ledger in the same film.  

13. Good Will Hunting - I think it's the writing.  I don't like Minnie Driver in this, but I love the story and the quick witty dialogue.  It tickles my inner nerd.

14. Dogma - If Good Will Hunting reaches my inner nerd, then Dogma speaks to my Catholic upbringing.  Much in the same way Aaron Sorkin did during The West Wing, Kevin Smith attacks the inconsistencies in religion.  And it's funny as hell.

15. Sliding Doors - I love the way this takes a look at changing a single moment in your life.  When I'm driving and realize I haven't been paying attention and swerve a little to stay on the road, I often think how my life would change if the alternate universe happened where I didn't stay on the road.  Then I try to drive more carefully.  But the interplay between fate and opportunity is really well put together in this. 

16. The Proposal - What can I say, Ryan Reynolds is hot and Sandra Bullock is funny.  

17. V for Vendetta - Hugo Weaving is frickin' amazing.  He does the whole movie with a mask on and unraveling the mystery behind his mask draws me in every time.  Oh, and watching Natalie Portman try to fight off oppression in her own little ways is neat. 

18. O, Brother Where Art Thou? - It's the music.  Oh, and George Clooney.  The way he delivers the lines as Ulysses Everett McGill and makes this retelling of the Odyssey brilliant in its simplicity of tone and complexity of story and characters. 

 19. A Few Good Men - You can't handle the truth.  This drama, back when Cruise was at his best makes me watch it EVERY TIME it's on TV.  I like the element of questioning what you know to be true turning your whole outlook upside down.  And that you can be wrong, but be the good guy too.

20. Love, Actually - If you've ever listened to Reel Insight, and why wouldn't you, you already know that I love this movie, Christmas or not.  

Movie Mashup 15

New Clue: An alien saves a single human just before Earth's destruction and they travel the universe using the "historical documents" from a 1970s sci-fi TV show and defeat a great enemy.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Movie Mashup 14

New Clue: A young man finds out he's an alien being hunted in a hotel where we meet a bellhop who finds people murdered and plays games of chance for fingers.  

The goal is to figure out the two movies that overlap in some words creating a new movie described by the clue.  Leave your answer in the comments. Good luck!

2012 March Madness Movie Style!!!

You know I love to play games with movies - I might stink at most of them (*cough Last Lamb Standing), but that doesn't mean I don't like to try.  I've entered this one every year and usually do pretty well.  Either way, I think you should definitely go to MAN I LOVE FILMS to download your bracket and be sure to enter.  Here are the rules and prizes:

The rules:
1. For each matchup, select which film will have the higher box office. Continue through the bracket until a champion has been crowned.
2. Scoring per round will be 1-2-4-8-12, for a possible total of 76 points (see table in workbook).
3. For the tie-breaker, enter your predicted top 5 films (box office) from the ones listed. One point for will be rewarded for each correct film, and an additional point for proper placement, for a potential 10 points. In the case of a tie, if one person’s tie-breaker portion is not filled out, the other will win.
4. Brackets MUST be turned in (sent to dylan [at] no later than April 6.
5. Box office data will be counted from April 6 – September 16, 2012.
6. One entry per person.

The prizes:
Still up in the air (as usual). I’ll be throwing in a TBD prize pack at the least, and am hoping to get the community-at-large involved in the prize-giving (I’d like to have prizes for the top 3 finishers), so if there’s something you can offer to the prize pool, please let me know. Hopefully, we can get a nice prize pack going (more on this later). We had 34 players the first year and 38 the last two years, so just a few items will make it that much more worth it.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Movie Mashup 13

New Clue: A Spaniard fights hard for his right to die while attempting to pull of a mysterious bank heist without getting caught.  

The goal is to figure out the two movies that overlap in some words creating a new movie described by the clue.  Leave your answer in the comments. Good luck!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Movie Mashup 12

New Clue: An immigrant woman is going blind, but escapes by watching musicals in an underground world controlled by people who put you to sleep.  

The goal is to figure out the two movies that overlap in some words creating a new movie described by the clue.  Leave your answer in the comments. Good luck!

New Release: 21 Jump Street

I had no idea what to expect seeing this movie - the trailers seemed mixed.  It could either have been really funny or they could have shown all the funny stuff in the trailer.  Thankfully, they stuck to the first 15 or so minutes of humor for the trailer and left another 90 minutes of dick and balls jokes, many of which were really really funny.
I expected it to be a really male driven comedy, but I honestly didn't expect the level of raunchiness of it all.  I guess we can assume Jonah Hill's Oscar nomination was more of a fluke than we knew.  He's much thinner, but still relies heavily on the kind of sophomoric humor that made him famous.  This is Superbad goes to Police Academy.  Hill and Channing Tatum were high school opposites - the "not-so-Slim-Shady" and the dumb prom king, respectively.  However, they realized at the Police Academy that they could help each other with the parts of the job they found difficult.  They become really close friends and make it through together.
However, they're INSANELY juvenile, dry humping their first perp after hand cuffiing him, and forgetting to read his Miranda rights so he gets released.  They get dumped on "Jump Street", a unit that uses police officers that look young enough to blend into high schools undercover.  They infiltrate a drug ring at a local high school run by Dave Franco (James Franco's younger brother, who has stolen all his brother's tricks).  They accidentally switch identities and Tatum is assigned to AP Chemistry and befriends the geeks, and Hill goes to theater and track.  However, high school has changed since they went to school - all the things that made Tatum hot stuff and prom king no longer work, and the geeks rule the school so Hill finally gets the chance to relive high school.
They screw up a LOT, but of course save the day in the end.  It's really funny and I laughed out loud many times, but mostly from shock or disbelief than any sort of really good humor.  Cheap fun, and lots of it, but overall, that's about it.  3.5 of 5 stars/lambs.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Reel Insight Episode 76: Woody Harrelson

I know, you can't believe we're finally covering Woody.  We've been holding off knowing what a big movie star he is.  Okay, that was sarcastic, but we really did have a great time covering his movies - there were a lot more that we could have talked about too.  In addition to Woody's career, we discuss The Lorax, Rio, and Like Crazy (starring our future Star of the Week Anton Yelchin).  Our random topic this week is about movies that should have been made into franchises.  We're not really afraid that The Hunger Games (or reason for choosing Harrelson) isn't going to go the distance, but there were a few that we're still disappointed didn't get made into a full franchise.  Check it out and let us know what you think, either in the comments or send us an e-mail reelinsight@ gmail

Movie Mashup 11

New Clue:  Two elderly neighbors continue their feud despite having been part of a government mind control experiment that had bizarre consequences and ultimately didn't work. 

The goal is to figure out the two movies that overlap in some words creating a new movie described by the clue.  Leave your answer in the comments. Good luck!  

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Movie Mashup 10

New Clue: A man falls in love with his brother's girlfriend during a family reunion while a man is caught up in the crucifixion, with humorous results.

New Release: The Hunger Games

I don't do too many New Release reviews these days.  Usually so many people have reviewed them that it feels like I don't have anything else to say.  However, as I've managed to avoid reading any other reviews I am going to have my say before I go devour what everyone else thought.

I have read The Hunger Games and it's sequels several times (the audiobooks are terrific).  For a change, I would actually recommend reading these books before seeing the movie.  While the movie does a good job of explaining the kind of world of Panem, it relies a lot on Donald Sutherland's sinister trimming of roses and sweeping views of "peacekeepers" to imply the terror and poverty that people actually endure.  I'm glad the movie decided not to make the movie particularly dark (the concept of children fighting to the death is dark enough) but I think if you haven't read the book, it might come across as too light.  I think they captured the overall feel of the book particularly well.

So what is it about?  In a futuristic society, factions around the US rebelled.  The rebellion was quashed by the Capitol (now located near Denver), and as a reminder of the Capitol's supremacy, every year the 12 districts have to send a young man and young woman to fight to death on national television - required viewing. Our heroine from District 12 (coal country), Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence), volunteers after her young sister's name is picked for the "Reaping".  Katniss has been taking care of her family and particularly her sister since their father's death in the mines - she can hunt with a bow.  She and the male tribute, Peeta (Josh Hutcherson), are sent to the over the top fashion/appearance obsessed Capitol with Effie Trinket (Elizabeth Banks) and their mentor - a previous winner of the games - Hamich (Woody Harrelson).  Obviously the goal of the games is to stay alive and one of the ways to ensure that is to get "sponsors" so a lot of maneuvering is done to set the odds on each of the 24 tributes based on their skills and likeability.  That's the first half of the film.  The second half is the actual battle in the game - and we see Katniss attempt to stay alive and save Peeta who has confessed he's loved Katniss since he was a kid.  The deaths are violent and frequent, and we see it all through Katniss' strength and fear as well as Peeta's attempt to not become a killer.

Jennifer Lawrence does a great job as Katniss - she's tough, but obviously scared.  She won't let anyone get in her way, but not because she's ruthless, just because she's used to protecting herself.  Hutcherson is convincing as the love interest, but he doesn't have enough lines to carry off his charismatic character to the extent he needs to.  Everyone else is well cast, particularly Wes Bentley as the game maker at Sutherland's mercy, and Stanley Tucci as the TV personality interviewing candidates and narrating the Games.

My only big problem with the film was the shaky camera work.  There are a LOT of scenes where you feel like you have no idea what you're looking at.  For the violent scenes, it's okay, but when Katniss is just walking around and taking things in it can be really disorienting and actually made me feel pretty dizzy for a while afterward.  Other than this little problem, I think they brought it to life particularly well.  4.5 of 5 stars/lambs

One of the

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Movie Mashup 9

New Clue: A man and woman date on and off for seven years before they figure out they are right for each other (at her sister's wedding), which is good because they'll have to struggle with her illness forever, even as the guy realizes he doesn't want to sell viagra forever.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Movie Mashup 8

New Clue: A group of high school cheerleaders team up with longshoremen to try to make their lives better.

* This one made me giggle thinking of the actual movie that it would create.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Movie Mashup 7

New Clue: A former tennis pro gets engaged to a debutante, but falls for her brother's fiancee a femme fatale trained to be an assassin after getting arrested.  

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Movie Mashup 6

New Clue: A Scottish family in a mining town struggles with various problems in their lives watching 3 young ladies try to make it in show business with some shady results.  

The goal is to figure out the two movies that overlap in some words creating a new movie described by the clue.  Leave your answer in the comments. Good luck! 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Movie Mashups 5

New Clue: A lesbian, a crazy woman who killed her boyfriend, and a prude go on a road trip to the Napa valley to drink lots of wine like serious snobs.  

The goal is to figure out the two movies that overlap in some words creating a new movie described by the clue.  Leave your answer in the comments. Good luck! 

Monday, March 19, 2012

DVD Roundup Birds Edition: Rio and The Big Year

Anyone who has been reading this blog for a while knows that my professional field is in the realm of biology.  I teach various facets of it now, and have studied it for more than a decade.  This is to say that movies that involve aspects of science or environmental nerdiness either make me giddy or piss me off like crazy.  I'm happy to say that both of these movies fall into the former category more than the latter.
Rio is an animated movie that was nominated for an Oscar for Best Song (though not for Best Animated Feature).  The voice talent is broad and includes Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, Leslie Mann, Jemaine Clemente, Tracy Morgan, Jamie Foxx, Will I Am, and George Lopez.  There are also lots of other lesser parts with very recognizable voices.  So on that score, it's very successful.  The story is also a great environmental message - Blu (Eisenberg) is a blue macaw, a highly endangered tropical bird much sought after for the pet trade.  He is kidnapped as a chick and taken to a pet store in Minnesota where he lives a very happy life as a pet to Linda (Mann).  However, blue macaws are so endangered a scientist has tracked down Blu and would like to borrow him to mate with a female, Jewel (Hathaway).  Linda agrees to go to Rio de Janeiro  with Blu to try to propagate the species. Blu meets Nico (Foxx) and Pedro (Will I Am), local tropical birds in the know.  Eventually they help Blu get back to Linda after he and Jewel are kidnapped and sold to smugglers.  When Blu and Jewel need to get their chains cut after they escape, they meet Rafael (Lopez) a toucan with connections to Luiz (Morgan) a bulldog who can do anything.  Of course, everything works out, and Jewel teaches Blu that it might be better being free than being a pet, and Blu teaches Jewel that it's pretty great being someone's friend.
It's beautifully colored, but not particularly sharp in its animation.  There are also several songs, obviously since one was nominated, but they're few and far between, just augmenting the festive atmosphere of the city of Rio.  Eisenberg is AWESOME as the unsure, contentedly repressed character.  He is really unsure of what the "wild" is all about, and is particularly nervous - especially since he never learned to fly.  Definitely a fun, bright one for kids, and very tolerable for adults.  Nothing like a Pixar film in terms of strong writing, but not bad.  3 of 5 stars/lambs
The Big Year was one of my most anticipated movies of the fall, but it was only in theaters near me for about a week.  The reason for my anticipation is that the movie is about competitive bird-watching.  Now in my field  there are two kinds of people - birders and everyone else.  I am not a birder.  But I found the concept fascinating - A Big Year, according to the movie, is when you try to set the all-time record for number of species of birds seen in a single year.  There is a lot of "on your honor" action in doing this - does it count if you only hear it, but can definitely identify the call, or must you photograph it?  Thankfully, the movie doesn't go too far into that.  Instead, we follow three characters trying for A Big Year - Steve Martin, a wealthy businessman getting ready to retire, Jack Black, a tech support geek looking to prove he can achieve something, and the current record holder Owen Wilson who doesn't want to lose his record.  We get to watch them travel all over the US looking at all the different kinds of birds, and most especially the lengths that birders will go to in order to see a particular bird.
There is definitely a market for this film - probably a deceptively large one (there are a LOT of closet birders out there), but it's also not for everyone.  I found it really funny - it tickled my nerd funny bone often.  However, like the TV show "The Big Bang Theory" that kind of humor isn't for everyone.  Owen Wilson is a really great jackass.  Jack Black makes you really root for him to win, and Steve Martin is super sweet realizing his life is changing before his eyes.  I enjoyed it and actually can't wait for it to be $5 at Walmart someday so I can own it!

Movie Mashups 4

New Clue: A love triangle helps some actors make the transition from silent to musical films, while a con man tries to help his disabled brother have a better life.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Guest appearance on MILFcast!

Rachel and I were cordially invited to be guests on the 40th Episode of the Man I Love Films podcast (MILFcast).  Usually Kai is joined by Heather, but alas, she doesn't seem able to join when Rachel and I are guests.  So we got to pal around with another of our favorite podcasters - Scott Knopf from the Frankly, My Dear podcast.  Seriously, if you haven't checked out both of these podcasts, you must do so in the immediate future.  We talked movies, played some games and basically had a jolly good time.  Though, I'm probably not going to be asked to play The Game again.

Movie Mashups 3

Going strong!  

New clue: Two Irish brothers have trouble with their relationships - one marries quickly, the other can't keep it in his pants, while a female bounty hunter can't decide which hot guy she really wants.  

The goal is to figure out the two movies that overlap in some words creating a new movie described by the clue.  Leave your answer in the comments. Good luck! 

What if a romance was defined by the movies?

Along with my mashups, I've been noticing there is often a continuity to an actor's career - I described Tom Cruise's career as a single man's lifetime:
Brian Flanagan (Cocktail) gets his life together and goes to law school.  He graduates and joins The Firm (Mitch McDeere).  However, since that doesn't work out, he joins the navy, becomes a pilot (Maverick, Top Gun) but realizes his legal career might be put to better use and he defends some murderers (Lt. Daniel Kaffee, A Few Good Men).  After he's released from military service, the intelligence community decides he's worth the investment since he's already a lawyer (Ethan Hunt, Mission: Impossible series, Roy Miller Knight and Day).  Once that's over, he decides politics might be the way to go and he becomes a Senator (Jasper Irving, Lions for Lambs).  Of course, you can't be a politician forever, and he goes becomes a music mogul (uncredited, Tropic Thunder).  

However, you can also define the stages of a relationship with titles from movies.  

When Harry Met Sally - This really works best if your name actually IS Harry or Sally, but the basic message is the same.  There's a point in every relationship when you first meet.  You'll hopefully start out as friends, but if there's anything Harry and Sally taught us, it's that man and women can't remain friends.  Which is a big part of how most relationships move along.

Lust, Caution - Hopefully, if the relationship progresses, you'll reach the stage of actually wanting to sleep together.  However, this can also be the stage in any relationship when the wheels come of the bus, so exercising caution about whether to indulge your lust might be a good idea.

Friends and Lovers - If all goes well, you'll reach the stage of being both friends and lovers.  Marriage is often a  big part of this stage.  Most people hope to marry both a friend and a lover.  But you'll have some time to practice being both - we live in a modern age after all.

Father of the Bride - Assuming your father is still living, there will presumably be a moment when he gets to walk you down the aisle.  Weddings, while spiraling out of control financially, are some of the most fun you can have with your friends and family in the same place.

Sex, lies and Videotape - You'll probably get a few years of enjoying one another.  Then you might decide you need to spice up your sex life.  Whatever you do, DON'T put it on you tube!

Happily N'ever After - While I do believe that it's possible to be happy with one person for the rest of your life, if it doesn't work out, at least you can move forward and attempt to start over.  Thankfully there are LOTS of movies that can help you with that!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Movie Mashups 2

Off to a good start.  Here's the next one:

New Clue: A young man is trapped on an island with a haunted house which I'm sure the men who are shot down in helicopters in Somalia would trade for in an instant.  

The goal is to figure out the two movies that overlap in some words creating a new movie described by the clue.  Leave your answer in the comments. Good luck! 

A movie for St. Patrick's Day

Here's a little luck for St. Patrick's Day.  Be sure to go out and find yourself some green beer.  Oh, and here's a little movie that you should definitely seek out to enjoy some of the luck 'o the Irish.
Waking Ned Devine is a movie I'd recommend to anyone who needs something for the whole family to watch on St. Patrick's Day (or any day for that matter).  The story takes place in a small Irish village of 52 people, and starts just after one of them wins the Irish National Lottery.  Jackie O'Shea (Ian Bannen) and Michael O'Sullivan (David Kelly - both pictured above, Kelly on the left) go out to figure out which person won.   Jackie and his wife Annie (Fionnula Flanagan) plan a dinner to invite the whole town to figure out who might have won.  When no one steps up, they visit the only person who missed the dinner, Ned Devine, who they find dead from shock with a smile on his face.  Jackie has a dream that Ned wants the town to share the wealth and convinces the town that they can fool the Lotto inspector and share the prize.  Of course there's a mean woman who's the only hold out and the town tries lots of shenanigans to keep her away from the Inspector.

The movie has a lot of terrific humor - whimsy and frivolity that are borne of watching these two elderly men plot fraud.  There are subplots between lots of the townspeople - a woman who can't marry the love of her life because he always smells like pigs (he's a pig farmer and keeps trying out new soaps to find one that will take away the smell), a new, young priest trying to win over the the older parishioners, and little boys trying to make mischief.  It's a terrific film with strong writing that doesn't try to be any more than a delightful piece of entertainment, with Irish accents.   And of course, a good Irish wake is the source of the title.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Movie Mashups

Here's the first mashup in my Drive for 900.  Just to remind you of where the leaderboard is starting, here it is:

Andrew, SDG, Ryan - 2
Dylan, Keith, Dave, Rachel - 1

New clue: A bank employee becomes embroiled in an espionage plot when she decodes a computer message, but learns she really need to be a ballet dancer (welding can be a hobby).   

The goal is to figure out the two movies that overlap in some words creating a new movie described by the clue.  Leave your answer in the comments. Good luck! 

Trying for 900

My 5-year blogaversary is in about 3 weeks - April 10th.  I'd really like to hit 900 posts (I need almost 40 posts in 3 weeks, so forgive me if you get sick of me). I want to do this mostly because Rachel will hit 1000 posts and I want to live up a little bit to my half of the podcast team effort.  We were joking that I should do a movie mashup every day until then, so I'm gonna try.  Since the current leaderboard is rather evenly divided, I'll just add to it, and there will be over 20 opportunities to guess in the next few days.  I'll keep a running leader total, but since I'm going to try to set up all the posts in advance, there won't be answers posted until the last day - though they will appear in the comments obviously!  I hope everyone who reads this will participate and help me get to 900 posts by April 10th.  And with all the effort it'll take, please show your support by at least trying to guess the answers.  Some will be really easy and some will definitely be pretty difficult.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wednesdays Movie Mashup No. 60

It was a good week for the Reel Insight ladies - I guessed Rachel's Sim's Screenshots, and Rachel got on the leaderboard!  Well done. 

Last week's clue: A sad family shows us all the ways to shoot up and go a little crazy, while they sing in the 1960s and stab each other in the back to get famous.  

Answer: Requiem for a Dreamgirls
Andrew, SDG - 2
Ryan, Dylan, Keith, Dave, Rachel - 1
New clue: A zoologist fights with an heiress about her pet while she hires another lying woman to carry her child.  

The goal is to figure out the two movies that overlap in some words creating a new movie described by the clue.  Leave your answer in the comments. Good luck!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Reel Insight Episode 75: Bill Nighy

I know you're probably surprised by our star of the week, but once you get a little bit into his filmography there is a lot there to like.  Two franchises - Pirates of the Caribbean and Underworld can't be completely wrong.  We also talked about this fancy new technology, Blu-ray, and why I'm too much of a luddite to own one.  We talk about Anonymous, Drive, and The Big Year.  Other fun things were talked about as always.  Enjoy.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Ryan Gosling DVD Roundup: Drive and The Ides of March

It's been a while since I actually got a good chance to watch a few movies on DVD.  So I'm pleased this will be the first of a few DVD Roundups so I can catch up on what I've seen.  If you listen to Reel Insight (and why don't you?) you might have heard me talk about a few of these, hopefully this will add something to it.  2011 was definitely the year of Ryan Gosling.  There were probably other actors who made 3 movies last year, but no one else did this good a job.
The Ides of March, directed by and co-starring George Clooney, follows a young campaign staffer, Stephen (Gosling) on Gov. Mike Morris' (Clooney) campaign.  We see him being wooed by the opposition (Paul Giamatti), but trying to explain to his own boss (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) that he doesn't want to leave.  However, even the whisper of a high level staffer wanting to leave a campaign has political ramifications that come back to bite you in the ass.  There isn't a lot to say about the movie specifically because the concept has been done before - corrupt politicians who can't keep it in their pants actually win races, much to the dismay of their ideologically minded staffers.  However, the style and finesse of this movie make it worth watching - probably several times.  The direction is very Clooney (it's kind of nice to see a style emerge because he's done enough films) with the shadows always mattering to every scene.  The cast can't be surpassed - with all the guys bringing their A-game and being self aware enough to know their position in the film and their physical attributes embody every politician you've ever seen, from staffers up to the governors.  3.5 of 5 stars/lambs
Drive couldn't be more different, and I actually liked it much more than Ides.  Gosling plays The Driver, a getaway driver for hire who works days as a stunt driver for movies.  We never learn anything more about his past, but that doesn't mean we don't learn a lot about him.  He lives next door to Carey Mulligan and her son (whose dad is in prison).  He starts falling for her, but in a strangely unromantic way.  He wants to be with her, help her son, and ultimately help her husband, Standard, when he gets out of prison.  His relationship with her family was one of my favorite things about this movie.  Sadly, Standard still has criminal connections and needs help with a job to pay back some bad people.  The driver agrees to help him, and along with Christina Hendricks, they steal a TON of money.  However, things of course don't go well.  It turns out they stole money from the mob (Albert Brooks and Ron Perlman) and they want it back.  The movie has moments of real violence, but the story is focused and the car scenes are pretty awesome.  I enjoyed it a lot 4 of 5 stars/lambs

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wednesdays Movie Mashup No. 59

We have a 2-way tie for first place.  But at least there are still 6 people on the leaderboard.  Well done SDG - go check out his blog over at U, Me and Films.

Last week's clue: A little boy tries to reconnect with his dead father while a confused man tries to explain the disappearance of a little boy and find a mountain. 

Answer: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close Encounters of the Third Kind

Andrew, SDG - 2
Ryan, Dylan, Keith, Dave - 1

New clue:  A sad family shows us all the ways to shoot up and go a little crazy, while they sing in the 1960s and stab each other in the back to get famous.  

The goal is to figure out the two movies that overlap in some words creating a new movie described by the clue.  Leave your answer in the comments. Good luck!