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A Look Ahead: Bible Stories, Hobbit Conclusions, and…Angelina Jolies’s Breakthrough?!?!?!

Posted on | December 4, 2014 | Add Comments

With Turkey Day behind us and the first Friday of December nearly upon us, it’s time to look ahead to some of the films soon coming to theaters. This year’s winter crop of films is, as usual, one of the most exciting selections you’ll find all year long. There’s not quite as many Oscar contenders as usual; this year the award darlings were more spread out with Birman out mid-October, Foxcatcher in November, and Boyhood far back in early July. That being said, there is still a lot coming out in the next few weeks. So buckle up and prepare to head back to the museum, back to Middle-Earth, an escape from Egypt, the wacky ’70s, and into the woods.Screen-Shot-2014-09-30-at-10.23.02-AM-620x412

The Indie Darling: Inherent Vice 

Two years ago, P.T. Anderson’s The Master was one of the biggest Best Picture snubs. But that doesn’t mean that his latest film, Inherent Vice, is out of the race. Despite some negative reviews at festivals, any film with a cast that boasts Reese Witherspoon, Josh Brolin, Joaquin Phoenix, Benicio del Toro, Owen Wilson, and more at least has a shot at a nomination. The story follows Phoenix’s detective, Lary “Doc” Sportello as he tries to find out why his former girlfriend has mysteriously disappeared. It all takes place in ’70s LA and it all hits screens on the 12th.

exodus-gods-and-kings

The Actioneer: Exodus: Gods and Kings

Ridley Scott is by no means slowing down. He has 17 producing projects on the horizons as well as a film and a mini-series that he’ll direct. The Counselor, his film from last year, failed loud and hard with terrible critics reviews (a 34 on Rotten Tomatoes!) and no Oscar watch. But with a fantasy-action spectacle a little more in his comfort zone, Scott could be back at it.

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The Career Restart: Top Five

Comedian Chris Rock is best known for satirical skits and trashy movie parts. He’s aiming to change all that with a new project that will not only find him in front of the camera but behind, as well. He plays a comedian who wants to be a serious actor. Things go downhill when his fiancée (who just so happens to be a reality TV star) announces she wants to film their wedding on her show. Whether things will go well for Rock is yet to be seen, but he has already made the cover of New York Magazine.The-Hobbit-The-Battle-of-The-Five-Armies

The Grand Finale: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

Peter Jackson (finally!) closes the curtain (alas, probably not) on his six-part Tolkein epic. The new film may be short compared to the other films, but it’s titular battle is said to be forty-five minutes. Asides from that big battle, there is still a lot to be wrapped up with the many characters and plot threads left unfinished. Plus, there is a certain character’s death that is yet to be seen…Celebrity Sightings In New York City - December 2, 2013

The Show Stopper: Annie

Yes, another Annie. But, wait!!! The youngest Oscar nom ever, Beasts of the Southern Wild star Quvenzhané Wallis is the red-haired wonder? Yes, although she isn’t very red-haired. She is, however, joined by Cameron Diaz as Ms. Hannigan and Jamie Foxx as Will Stacks.  The film is obviously aiming to corner the market on something the whole family can enjoy, but whether it will is yet to be seen.Into-The-Woods-Movie-Stills-Wallpaper

The All-Star Musical: Into the Woods

Meryl Streep. Emily Blunt. Chris Pine. Anna Kendrick. James Corden. Johnny Depp. All of these big names will step into the woods to dress up as storybook characters in Stephen Sondheim’s classic musical. They’ll all be singing under the reins of Rob Marshall of Chicago and more recently the fourth Pirates of the Caribbean fame. Even though it comes out a day after Christmas and a week after Annie, it will certainly be butting heads with the previously mentioned musical. What will audiences be drawn to more: charming orphan girl or familiar fantasy creatures?unbroken-movie-angelina-jolie

The Director Breakthrough: Unbroken

Angelina Jolie may have directed In the Land of Blood and Honey, but that film went largely unnoticed. Unbroken will surely not. It tells the story of an Olympic runner, Louis Zamperini, who is taken captive by the Japanese during World War II. The trailer shows an inspirational story with peril in the seas, in the cold, and in prison.

Also Out This Month: Tim Burton tries (another) comeback with Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz in Big Eyes, J.M.W. Turner is portrayed by Timothy Spall who has already gained Best Actor attention in Mr. Turner, Ben Stiller is back for the third and final installment this time in London in Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb, Seth Rogen co-directs (with Evan Goldberg) and co-stars (with James Franco) in The Interview, Clint Eastwood tells the story of a Navy S.E.A.L. who has killed over 150 people in American Sniperand if this isn’t enough holiday spirit, Rupert Wyatt turns Mark Wahlberg into a gambling literature professor having an affair with a student in The Gambler. Happy Holidays!

Arthur Christmas (Flack’s Holiday Recommendation)

Posted on | December 8, 2012 | 1 Comment

Poster for Arthur Christmas (2011)

4 1/2 Stars

Arthur Christmas tells the story of the Claus family. There’s the current Santa named Malcolm, the classic looking ho-ho ho man; there’s Steve, the modern and selfish one who’s next in line; and then there’s the Grandsanta, who’s been retired for a while but still quite lively. Of course there’s also (and surprisingly just one) Mrs. Claus and lots and lots of elves. Every year they go around delivering 2 billion presents around the world, despite some years with glitches. This year they succeed. “Mission accomplished!”, yells Santa! It’s Santa’s 70th year and he’s expected to retire (the balloons say “Congratulations Steve”, for goodness sake) but he doesn’t. And then Arthur the silliest, youngest, and most anxious (for Christmas) member of the family discovers one kid’s been missed! A girl named Gwen wants a pink bicycle and even wrote a nice letter about it but she’s now in danger of getting 0 presents! So along with Grandsanta, a stowaway wrapping expert elf, and all eight reindeer Arthur travels to return this present in a hobbly, wobbly sleigh. And let’s just say this one present isn’t delivered in the 18.4 second average a character mentions early in the film. On Arthur’s journey he encounters many obstacles. Lions in Africa, a government that thinks he’s in a UFO, reindeer that keep falling, and more are all big hurdles. We also get to see the spaceship Santa travels in. That brings in another problem: perhaps Grandsanta didn’t want to help Gwen out and perhaps he just wanted to prove to Santa and Steve that traveling in hi-tech sleighs and going down chimneys can still be done. But can they deliver the Christmas present before Gwen wakes up?

Arthur Christmas and Grandsanta in Arthur Christmas (2011)

This is the perfect Christmas movie: it’s short, funny, and has mass appeal for the whole family. Once the journey gets going you can tell how almost every scene is going to play out. But the overcalculation never really bugged me. Anyone over the age of 9 will know how the story is going to turn out (if they’ve seen other movies) but that’s not the point. The film is so joyous that you’ll get too wrapped into the fun to care about the flaws.

The jokes are wonderful. There’s slapstick comedy, hilarious one liners, and terrific gags about the Santa buisness: in other words those of all ages will find something to laugh at! The script by Peter Baynham and Sarah Smith is incredibly well done. Aardman is a bit underappreciated, in my opinion. If you ask some one if they’ve heard of the company they’ll probably just say “Oh didn’t they do Wallace and Gromit!?” And the answer is yes, but not only. They’ve also made Chicken Run and The Pirates! Band of Misfits (among some others), which are also great holiday family viewing for once you get tired of ho-ho-ho films. Aardman is arguably the British Pixar. The animation is always amazing and the films themselves appeal to the whole family.

Here’s a link to our article about seeing the premiere of The Pirates! Band of Misfits and meeting Peter Lord (the director of Pirates! and producer of Arthur Christmas) at TIFF Kids (Toronto International film Festival Kids).

Long time Aardman fans might be a bit surprised by the fact that the film isn’t stop motion, the way their films are typically made. But the CGI didn’t bother me. It’s as sleek and different from clay puppets as can be but works well for this film (the visuals are much more complex and intricate than Wallace and Gromit, for example).

Arthur Christmas and Grandsanta in Arthur Christmas (2011)

One last, great thing is the voices. James McAvoy as Arthur and Bill Nighy as Grandsanta are the two standouts but Jim Broadbent, Imelda Staunton, Hugh Laurie, and Ashley Jensen are terrific in supporting roles. As for the nameless elves there’s an unbelievable amount of star wattage. I couldn’t tell that many of these actors played minor elf roles (Andy Serkis, Robbie Coltrane!). Click here to see the full cast and crew.

The movie also has a great moral: when others give up on something you think is worthwhile accomplishing, don’t back off. “Be the change you want to see in the world as Arthur (I mean Gandhi) once said. Arthur is committed and even if he’s occasionally foolish he’s not one to back down from something that’s right. Anyone who watches this movie can learn something from this message.

Arthur Christmas in Arthur Christmas (2011)

My favorite character is Arthur Christmas because he (as mentioned in the paragraph above) is strong willed and smart. He may seem nonsensical and foolish but, more so than anyone else in his family, he proves that he cares that every child gets what they want for Christmas. James McAvoy is great as the voice behind the character.

My favorite scene is the opening. We get to see the visually astonishing sled spaceship for the first time as well as the process of delivering presents. Go to iTunes to watch the first 9 minutes and 47 seconds of the film for free and understand fully what I am talking about.

Arthur Christmas has been rated PG for some mild rude humor by the MPAA. I completely disagree. Everyone always complains about how few G movies are released. That’s a true statement and one way to solve that problem would be if the MPAA rated movies (that should be G) G. I would rate it, Arthur Christmas, G but note that there is some intensely perilous action sequences that may be frightening to younger viewers.

Arthur Christmas and Bryony in Arthur Christmas (2011)Who It’s For: Arthur Christmas is a must for those tired of the Christmas classics viewed time and time again, year after year. Original, beautiful, exciting, filled with adventure, and appealing to 5 year olds and 95 year olds this exactly what a great holiday family movie should be.

Don’t forget to check back for more holiday movie recommendations (with Who It’s For special paragraphs) from Flick and Flack coming soon!

Happy Halloween from Flick and Flack!

Posted on | October 31, 2012 | Add Comments

Happy Halloween!  Despite Hurricane Sandy, the scariest, most candy filled holiday of the year is still on! Here are our suggestions from last year! This year Flick will be Indiana Jones and Flack will be Lawrence of Arabia! But along with dressing up in costumes and eating more sweets than you should, a movie doesn’t hurt. It’s best to watch a feature film before Halloween night, because it’s already a very busy time.  Shorts, such as It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! (25 min.) are well, great! But if you have time or want to continue the festivities past the holiday itself, here are some suggestions:

Frankenstein (1931)

Dracula (1931)

King Kong (1933)

Bride of Frankenstein (1935)Bride of Frankenstein (1935)

E.T. The Extra Terrestrial (1982)

Ghostbusters (1984)

Beetlejuice (1988)

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Monster’s Inc. (2001)

King Kong (2005)

Monster House (2006)

ParaNorman (2012)

Frankenweenie (2012)

Here are some we haven’t seen (though we will soon) but that we think look worthwhile some more (the Abbot and Costello movies) than others (Hotel Transylvania)!

The Abbott and Costello horror movies

Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954)

Corpse Bride (2005)

Hotel Transylvania (2012)

We also haven’t seen Halloween TV shows such as The Addams Family and The Munsters but are anxiously anticipating for when we do!

And last and least, try to avoid King Kong (1976)!

Happy Halloween! Don’t forget to have lot’s of candy and fun! Have fun with your costume too!

What are your favorite Halloween movies and what’s your costume? Don’t forget to comment and tell us your answers!

Frankenstein, Bride of Frankenstein, and Dracula (Flack’s Triple Movie Halloween Special Review)

Posted on | November 2, 2011 | 5 Comments

This is a tiny bit late for Halloween, but hope you enjoy my takes on these classic Universal horror movies from the 1930’s.  Frankenstein in based on a book by Mary Shelley, portrayed by Elsa Lanchester, the actress who also plays the Bride.  Dracula is based on a book by Bram Stoker.  We can’t wait to see the other horror films from that time, including:  Wolf Man, The Mummy, Creature from the Black Lagoon, and The Invisible Man.

Frankenstein is a movie about a man named Henry Frankenstein. One day Henry creates a monster and lots of things go wrong. The monster is nice but misunderstood (which means he kills people, because others haven’t taught him any better).  But will Frankenstein be stopped and taught any better and will he ever stop killing people?

Bride of Frankenstein continues the tale, as a man named Dr. Pretorius  lures Henry into trying to create a bride for the monster.  Meanwhile, the monster gets smarter, but will others treat him nicely, will he love his bride, and will she love him?

Dracula tells the story of a vampire named Count Dracula, a lady name Mina, and the people who try to stop the Count, including Van Helsing and Jonathan Harker.   When Mina is tortured by Dracula and possibly turned into a vampire, it’s up to Jonathan, Van Helsing, and Mina’s Dad to stop the Count.

All of these films are well done, not half baked, and Universal Studios can certainly make a good horror movie. The question is which one is the best.  And now I shall tell you.  Boris Karloff is terrific as Frankenstein in both the original and the sequel and Bela Lugosi is haunting as Dracula. Frankenstein is very fascinating, yet like all three of these films could do with just a tad bit more depth. The actresses do a pretty good job especially Helen Chandler as Mina (however none of them can scream as well as Fay Wray in King Kong (1933).  Una O’Connor from The Adventures of Robin Hood is very funny as Minny.  The look of Bride of Frankenstein is absolutely stunning, it’s as if the lab from a scientific documentary was crossed with a sci-fi movie’s sets. Frankenstein’s gothic style is well done.  Dracula is much slower than the other two films and could use some better pacing and flair but the second half of the movie is simply entertaining (as well as a bit simple.) The special effects in Bride of Frankenstein are  spectacular spectacle at it’s best, especially the explosion in the grand finale.  All the movies have their iconic moments.  The scene when the Count says “My name is Draaaaaaaacuuula”.  The Bride of Frankenstein being revealed.  And best of all, Henry Frankenstein screaming “It’s alive!!! ITTTTT’SSSSS ALLLLIVVVVEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”  All of these films are classic, but there could have been an added fifty minutes so instead of seventy minutes, they would be 120, adding a bit more depth to the story.  However one of the greatest charms of the films is that they are enjoyably entertaining. If they were any longer the fun creepiness might drown out..  These films are all about equal, except for Dracula, which has slower pacing and plot.  But the best is Bride of Frankenstein, even though the original is very entertaining.  These movies are good to watch anytime, but especially during Halloween.

My favorite scenes in Frankenstein are the climax and the “It’s Alive!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” line because they’re scary, classic, and action packed.  My favorite characters are the Monster, because he’s iconic and his makeup is cool.  I also like Colin Clive as Henry Frankenstein because he portrays the character of a truly, mad, mad scientist.  Both of these characters have become classics.

My favorite scene in The Bride of Frankenstein is the climactic final sequence. I love it because it’s stylish and the set designs are amazingly awesome. My favorite character is the Monster, because Karloff is even better than in the first one, mainly because he talks and does a good job in the scene with the blind man.

My favorite scene in Dracula is finding out the secret about Mina.  It’s mysteriously thrilling.  My favorite character is Dracula, because Bela Lugosi is very good at being quietly scary and using mounting tension to do so.

These movies are not rated, but I think they should be PG, for intense sequences of action, very brief torture, smoking, and some scary scenes and screams.

Recommendations for Halloween

Posted on | October 25, 2011 | 5 Comments

Every holiday and season we’ll say our movie picks to watch as you celebrate. Whether it’s Super 8 for Summer or It’s A Wonderful Life for Christmas, there’s always something to see. We’ll also give descriptions and say why we like it.  Not all of these are our 5 star favorites, so if they’re not we’ll tell you why we think you might like them and why they’re appropriate for the holiday.

It’s almost Halloween!!!  The films listed below are either scary, have a scene with Halloween in them, or have a fun yet creepy style that reminds you of the holiday.

Our Picks:

Monster House (2006):  This film is produced by Steven Spielberg and Robert Zemeckis and uses motion capture animation.  The story doesn’t get interesting until the end, but Steve Buscemi leads a great voice cast.  The story is about a couple of kids and the adventure they have, on Halloween night.  It’s not a classic (don’t forget Spielberg and Zemeckis only produced it), but it’s enjoyable.  Little kids could be scared but there’s nothing too gory. Rated PG

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993): This lively stop action film has an exhilarating story, fascinating characters and great songs. Although Tim Burton didn’t direct the movie it feels like many of his other films.  The movie is interesting because it merges the two worlds of Halloween and Christmas. Rated PG

King Kong (1933):  A classic of horror cinema, King Kong is a film you’ll want to watch again and again.  The story is intriguing.  It is rare to see a movie about movies.  The special effects are dated but think, just think, what it would have been like to have seen the film in 1933 and how an uncountable amount of movies have been inspired by the story and effects.  The actors aren’t that great and it’s a while before Kong is revealed but once he is the film becomes magical.  Classic adventure at it’s best.  King Kong (1976) is a horridly unwatchable mix of bad acting, effects, story, length, and direction.  King Kong (2005) is three hours but it develops the story in a way the others did not.  However there’s a few too many battle scenes not including the awesome climax.  Watching the three films together would be an amazing Halloween festival, even if it would take 7 hours. The ’33 version is Not Rated, the ’76 one is PG, and the 2005 remake is PG-13.

Ghostbusters (1984):  Ivan Reitman and Bill Murray combine their talents to create this wonderfully hilarious, sci-fi, horror, action, adventure, comedy, romance.  Dan Akroyd, Sigourney Weaver, Harold Ramis and Rick Moranis help Murray form a fine ensemble cast.  The special effects are fun and while some may think it’s a guilty pleasure, in our thoughts it’s an enjoyable, entertaining movie that will make you laugh. Rated PG

Monsters Inc. (2001):  The scene where Sulley, Mike and Boo are being chased by Randal while clinging onto the doors is so utterly engrossing that you feel like you’re clinging on to the doors with them.  Pete Docter’s direction is pitch perfect and all of the monsters have different characteristics.  Some of the best monsters are the ones that are only on screen for a few seconds.  John Goodman, Billy Crystal, and Steve Buscemi lend great voice talent and the music is catchy, especially the theme and the song “If I didn’t have you”  This Pixar gem beats Monster House any day.  Not really for Halloween, except that there’s monsters, it’s still fun and kid appropriate.  Like all Pixar, adults will love it too and although it seems oddly semi-forgotten there’s a prequel called Monsters University (about Mike and Sulley’s hard arguing early days). So hey, it’s time to get watching!!! Rated G

Beetlejuice (1988): Tim Burton has made movies more emotional (Big Fish) and technically more dazzling (Alice In Wonderland). But for pure laugh value this one beats ’em all!!! Alec Baldwin, Geena Davis, and Micheal Keaton as the title character are all hilarious. Burton handles the comedy, spookiness, and drama excellently. Fun, fun, fun!!!! Rated PG

E.T: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982): This is one of our favorite movies!!! The Spielbergian classic may not remind you of Halloween but the best scenes including the bicycle climax (not the one on the poster) are near, if not on the holiday. They actually go trick or treating in the movie.  You may not remember the brilliant (Oscar-worthy) performance from Henry Thomas or just how good the special effects are, so it’s a good idea to revisit this classic.  Exiting.  Funny.  Sad.  Brilliant. This film manages to be all of those. Rated PG

These films could pair well together, too. A King Kong festival  or Ghostbusters and Beetlejuice comedy/ horror double feature are all great ideas. Corpse Bride, Frankenstein (1931), and Dracula (1931) all look good, but we haven’t seen them yet. It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is a good half-hour special that is one of our annual traditions.  We might see Frankenstein this weekend, so when we do our picks next year maybe it will be one of them.

Agree or disagree, like our picks or don’t?  Don’t forget to comment and tell us what you think, ask questions, and tell your suggestions.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our first holiday/season picks!