Monthly Archives: July 2010

Yogi Bear trailer… and other reasons to be hopeful

Justin Timberlake as Boo Boo and Dan Aykroyd as Yogi in the live action remake of this classic cartoon

Matt

I know it may seem strange, but with all the remake movies that have been out — and we’ve written about a lot of them — I’m glad they’re making their way to the theaters. Let’s blow the trumpets upon their entrance! Once they’re out and tank, the studios will start to put together that even if a movie taps into our nostalgia, like recent films “Speed Racer” “The Smurfs” and “Marmaduke,” we’re not going to see them if they’re bad.

“The A-Team,” a popular TV show in the 80s, hasn’t even broke the $100 million mark at the box office domestically. Marmaduke only pulled in $32 million domestically and cost $50 million to make. “Speed Racer” took in $93 million worldwide and cost $120 million to make — a huge bath for Warner Bros. to take. These all give me hope that you won’t support bad movies, and confidence that you won’t go see “Yogi Bear” — in 3D nonetheless (something we here at The Movie Brothers hate). I don’t have a problem with remakes, but if you’re going to do them, do them right.

So, without further ado, sit back and don’t enjoy the following trailer:

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‘Poo poo, pee pee,’ and other unintelligent things my brother says that, apparently, our readers want

Brian on the playground with his pals.

This column is in response to Brian’s complaint that Matt is censoring him. Editor’s note: graphic content

Matt

I felt like I was on another planet when I was having a conversation with my big brother where he was arguing the merits of using the term “butt fuck.”

Normally foul language doesn’t offend me. I’m not a big curse-word user when I speak or write, but I’m not a church mouse by any stretch of the imagination. I do swear, just like most people. But there’s a difference between swearing with purpose and using as a hateful language or swearing as an adjective because you lack the vocabulary to express yourself in more clever ways.

When Brian was reviewing “Prince of Persia,” he referred to Jake Gyllenhall as the guy who got “butt fucked in Brokeback Mountain.” Now, this was used in a completely homophobic and demeaning way, in my opinion. He was putting Gyllenhall down for playing the role of a gay man and for doing a same-sex love scene in a film. To me, if I were reading this blog for the first time — as you may be doing now — you’d likely look at us as a couple of immature schmucks who are just another in a long line of jerks who pile on the mound of crappy blogs that are filling the internet. I like to think we’re a little better, a little smarter, and can be more clever than the average moron who takes up cyberspace with awful, immature blogs. The phrase about Gyllenhall was changed to “the catcher in Brokeback Mountain,” which was a little less offensive, but only by the slimmest of margins. I felt it was at least a little more clever.

I’d also like to think that as a man well into his thirties, a father, with an established career as a director, he’d want  smarter ways of being funny than saying, “fag” “shit” and “fuck” — all words I’ve repeatedly removed from his reviews. But, you guys have been voting in overwhelming favor that you prefer Brian swearing and using phrases like “butt fuck.” That seems hard to believe. Almost as hard to believe that I’m writing a column about it.

Enjoy some swearing (in a clever way):

The Soloist

In 2005, the only thing hurting Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez (Robert Downey Jr.) more than his face from a recent bike accident was his pressing need for story ideas. Then he discovers Nathaniel Ayers (Jamie Foxx), a mentally ill, homeless street musician who possesses extraordinary talent for the cello and violin. Lopez starts writing acclaimed articles about Ayers and attempts to do more to help L.A.’s homeless and Ayers. But Lopez’s finds it hard to have the strength to keep helping Ayers’ when his mental illness turns ugly. Directed by Joe Wright (Atonement, Pride & Prejudice).

Matt
Rating: 6 out of 10

I was looking forward to seeing Downey and Foxx on the screen together, and I wasn’t disappointed. The two have excellent chemistry and deliver both dramatic and humorous performances that evoke sympathy and admiration.

What holds this movie up is the length of the story. We are given flashbacks of Ayers life before he became mentally ill, homeless, and living on the street playing music. We’re also given a side story between Lopez and his ex-wife Mary Weston (Catherine Keener) and we’re not sure if they’re patching it up or if they hate each other. Lopez’s story is focused around his work, writing the articles about Ayers and feeling as if he’s taking advantage of his situation. Lopez is also torn about whether his help is actually doing anything for Ayers. There’s just too much going on. We get too many flashbacks that we really don’t need. We get that Ayers hears voices. We don’t need a dozen flashbacks to prove it. And the not-so-love story with Weston feels forced and slows the pace of the film.

In the end, there are some touching moments, but the films drags on for far too long. Or at least for a 117 minute film, it sure feels like it.

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Vic’s Classics – “Cat People”

Famed RKO Radio Pictures producer Val Lewton managed to single-handedly redefine the horror genre in the 1940s, cranking out low-budget, high-volume box office hits that rarely disappointed audiences — or studio execs. This double feature of Cat People (1942) and The Curse of the Cat People (1944) — Lewton’s first film and its subsequent sequel starring Simone Simon — is the first installment of a five-DVD collection of Lewton’s work available on Netflix.

Victor
Rating: 8 out of 10

Jacques Tourneur directed this atmospheric 1942 psychological thriller for RKO Pictures under the supervision of producer Lewton, who was renowned in many circles as a film maker who could produce them fast and produce them good. He did have an uncanny ability to use mood, shadow and that most alluring of cinematic manipulations, the subtext, to tell a good story. And boy is “Cat People” a story that oozes with dark, fairytale melodrama.

With the great writing by DeWitt Bodeen and the eerie, suggestive cinematography, Lewton and Tourneur most likely started the genre of what will one day become the psychological, thinking-person’s film. Shadows, lines and what we do not see in the darkness makes “Cat People” a sublime and ethereal classic.

Simone Simon, a slender, attractive and very stoic actress, plays Irena, a Serbian fashion artist. She harbors deep desires and secrets that Lewton and Tournuer bring forth with lean visual passion. Oh and she turns into a mean bitch of a Panther when aroused or jealous. The film gets bogged down in some melodrama which almost emulates soap operatic tendencies and at times has a cheap, staged atmosphere. Butthe film rises above these shortcomings and dissects the core material – the female psyche and sexuality – by using the Black Panther/Irena as a great metaphor to explore this provocative theme.

Cat People is chock full of noir style and may not be for everyone. Especially if you like your suspense films fast and furious. Many actually favor the sequel “Curse of the Cat People” to the first film. Lewton’s original classic does succeed in bending light and shadow while facing deep, dark themes of sexuality and animal tendencies.

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Mary and Max

Mary Dinkle (Toni Collette), a chubby 8-year-old Australian girl, and Max Horovitz (Philip Seymour Hoffman), an obese, middle-aged New Yorker with Asperger’s syndrome, are a pair of unlikely pen pals in this quirky clay animation feature from writer-director Adam Elliot (Harvie Krumpet). Corresponding for two decades, the friends delve into a variety of topics, including sex, kleptomania, psychiatry, taxidermy and more.

Matt
Rating: 9 out of 10

I was completely stunned by the quality of this movie and captivated by the quirky characters who are more human — despite being made of clay — than so many dramatic actors and movies.

This is a unique story about two pen pals, Mary and Max, who are on opposite sides of the earth, very different in life — one a child who is picked on at school while being raised by an alcoholic mother, the other a middle aged man with mental health issues who can’t relate to people — and yet they share so much. The story is told through the letters they send, and with them, we see their points of view on the world, their triumphs and failures and the mundane of every day life.

Throughout the movie, I kept trying to figure out who Max was. The voiceover work was fantastic, but I couldn’t pinpoint it. It wasn’t until the credits that I saw it was Academy Award winner Philip Seymore Hoffman (Capote). I rewound it back to listen again, but it still didn’t sound like him. He nailed the Brooklyn accent, with a hint of Yiddish mixed in, but it wasn’t stereotypical. There was real humanity in the character that played out in the movie.

This is a stop-animation movie, similar in style to “Wallace and Grommet,” but this one isn’t kid friendly. I’d say 12 and older would get most of the movie. It’s an excellent story that surprised me, and it’s available on Netflix’s instant streaming.

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Inception

Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) cuts a deal with Saito (Ken Watanabe) and agrees to use his ability to enter people’s dreams for a special assignment involving business titan Robert Fischer Jr. (Cillian Murphy). Along for the labyrinth-infused ride is Cobb’s new mind “architect,” Ariadne (Ellen Page). Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Tom Hardy, Tom Berenger and Dileep Rao also star in this sci-fi thriller from writer-director Christopher Nolan.

Brian
Rating: 10 out 0f 10

I actually saw this film on Thursday but need a few days to think about it before I submitted my review. Yes, it really is that thought provoking. In fact, there are so many adjectives to describe Inception that I thought I’d list a few: brilliant, spell-binding, thought-provoking, surrealistic, genius, dramatic, and visual. If it sounds like I’m over heaping praise on this film, it’s because it deserves it. Inception really is one those rare films that comes along every 3-4 years and makes you re-think what’s possible within the boundaries of the medium. I cannot remember a film in recent memory that inspired me as much as this one and it gets my absolute highest recommendation for those that like intelligent cinema.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the two people that really made this film shine. First, Leonardo Dicaprio; He really is on quite a roll. His resume is becoming legendary and he’s only 35 years old! His performance in “Inception” is excellent and holds the audience’s attention and makes the unbelievable seem believable. The other is Christopher Nolan who has never directed a bad film, and along with the Coen Brothers, is one of the 2(or 3 since they’re brothers) best directors working today.

This is the kind of film where in the hands of someone else could have been a disaster. But, Nolan holds it all together with fantastic pacing, visual excellence, and a storytelling-first mentality. He really has become one of the greatest film making minds on the planet.

My brother the censure; Or, Why I love to swear

Editor’s note: This column contains explicit language
Brian

My brother Matt: A caring and sensitive censor or East German Commie? You decide.

I have a penchant for using the word fuck far more than I should. It’s hard for me to stop because I feel it’s truly the most flexible word in the English language. It can hit you like a sledgehammer: “FUCK YOU!!” It can be used in a whisper: “Fuuuuuuck.” It can be used to describe something great: “That’s FUCKING awesome!” It can even be used to eulogize someone: “That guy was fucking great.”

Now, you should know my brother is the editor-in-chief of The Movie Brothers as well as the main content provider. I give him all the credit in the world because generally all I do is write but he not only does that, he also finds all those awesome youtube links for trailers and vids, makes those nice layouts, created a facebook and Twitter page, and finds links to other blog rolls to increase viewership. He really is the main brain behind all of this. I’ll also throw in that he’s a hell of a writer and my best friend. There, that love fest is over. Now, let’s get down to business.

I use, and might overuse according to Matt, curse words throughout my reviews as well as colorful sexual phrases. For example, when telling all of you not to see “Prince of Persia,” I referred to Jake Gyllenhall as the guy who got “buttfucked in Brokeback Mountain.” Now, I am by no means homophobic. I work in the entertainment business. But, I do think the word buttfucker is funny in the most sophomoric way. Matt deemed it too offensive for all of your sensitive eyes and used the word “catcher in Brokeback Mountain.” You’d laugh your ass off if you could hear the phone conversation between us while I described the merits of using the word buttfucker. There are many such instances where Matt dulls down my colorful verbage and vocabulary and I’ve always wondered what the readers thought.

Now, I of course respect all your opinions. Would you choose to read my uncensored reviews and write-ups or would you rather have it edited to sensitize the material?