Monthly Archives: November 2010

Top 5 Road Trip Movies


In our second podcast, we got the idea for Top 5 road trip movies. This is a fitting list for Thanksgiving, since many of us will be doing a great deal of travel. Enjoy!

5. Pee-wee’s Big Adventure: This was one of my favorite movies as a kid. It has all the makings of a great road trip flick, with the added bonus of a seemingly unlimited amount of gags and bits with Pee-wee’s silly and smart innocence that strikes at the core of children and adults. Pee-wee heads to El Paso in hopes of finding his beloved stolen bicycle — making friends with bikers, hopping a trains and joining the rodeo.

4. Planes Trains and Automobiles: Is a charming movie that showcases Steve Martin and John Candy at their finest in this movie that plays off of their acting skills brilliantly. Martin plays a man trying to get home to his family for the holidays while Candy plays a  man with no home, a salesman with nothing in the world. Plenty of hilarious moments, including the one in the following clip (warning: strong language).

3. Easy Rider: Is a film that defined actors Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda and set a tone for filmmakers of their generation. With cash from a cocaine sale, free-wheelers Billy and Wyatt — played by Hopper and Fonda — hop on their motorcycles and ride across America toward New Orleans. Along the way, they add boozy lawyer George to their trouble-finding, society-questioning entourage. Hopper directed and co-wrote the film with Fonda. It was a landmark 1960s counterculture film. Jack Nicholson earned a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for his role as George.

2. Rain Man: This film had fantastic performances by Dustin Hoffman (who won an Oscar) and Tom Cruise in what is a very simple film layered in complex family relationships, escaping reality, and finding out what’s important. The movie is spent on the road, with interesting twists and turns along the way as two brothers who don’t know each other — one with autism — who hit the road after Cruise’s character springs Hoffman’s from his home for the disabled.

1. The Wizard of Oz: This is a phenomenal piece of film — from its vast sets, costumes and musicals, to its performances and ability to endure time. This is the ultimate road trip — going over the rainbow and back again, with charming characters, universal, lasting messages and sense of humor that takes the dark edge off the film. This is a movie that will endure forever, making it the most successful movie on this list, hands down.

Cowboys and Aliens trailer


Here’s the first peak at “Cowboys and Aliens,” Scott Mitchell Rosenberg’s graphic novel series that is making its way to the big screen next summer through the lens of director Jon Favreau. The story features amnesiac gunslinger Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig), who stumbles into the Wild West town of Absolution where he’s confronted by potent enemy Col. Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford) and a terrifying problem: invading aliens. Aided by the lovely Ella (Olivia Wilde), Jake rallies a posse of the townspeople, Dolarhyde’s minions and local Apache warriors to fight off the extraterrestrial threat. It’s a story of enemies coming together to fight a common enemy.

Favreau has more than proven himself as a director of action-based comic book movies with “Iron Man” and “Iron Man 2.”   Heck, I even like “Elf.” As he did with the Iron Man series, Favreau has another stellar cast with Craig, Ford, Wild, and Keith Carradine, who was great in TV’s “Dexter” and the film “Peacock.” Carradine plays the town sheriff in this picture.  

We’ve had a string of crummy, forgettable summer action movies — from “The Expendables” to “ The Prince of Persia: Sands of Time” “Clash of the Titans” the Transformers films, and the list goes on. Favreau hasn’t steered us wrong yet with an action movie, so I have faith this is going to be one of the best popcorn movies to see next summer. 


After their child dies, a therapist (Willem Dafoe) and his wife (Charlotte Gainsbourg) flee to their cabin in the woods, where they hope to mend their emotional wounds. But the grief-stricken couple watches their troubles multiply when very strange things begin to happen. Acclaimed Danish auteur Lars von Trier divides this tale into multiple narratives, revealing a surreal, horrific psychological adventure about the evils of nature, humanity and desire.

Rating: 9 out of 10

Director Lars Von Trier was battling horrible depression when he made this film and you can feel it right from the first frame. If any of you are familiar with his work, depression is a common theme in his films but it is taken to a new level here. The plot concerns a couple battling grief after the death of their son. They go to a remote cabin in woods to face their worst fears and end up finding something much worse around them and within themselves. All of the confrontations deal with much bigger issues concerning sex and pleasure, grief, good and evil, misogyny, nature’s cruelty, and the roles of God and Satan. It almost begs for repeated viewings if you can stomach the violence which includes genital mutilation amongst other things. Now, I’ll be the first to tell you that this is not the kind of film that I easily recommend. Most of you will probably hate it due to the extreme nature of it. But, if you have enjoyed Von Trier’s work in the past, I think you will find something interesting and thought provoking that will touch on the dark side of human nature. This is an art film and a very effective one at that. Some directors try to gently bring their message while Von Trier is anything but subtle. I also have to mention how fantastic the two principle leads are. Both Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg are simply stunning. They convey incredible emotion and believability, which is necessary for a film that requires its audience to suspend so much disbelief. So, I recommend but proceed at your own risk. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Judge Dredd Remake in the works

The original Judge Dredd — starring Sylvester Stalone — made my list of Top 5 word comic book movies of all time. It’s a complete piece of crap, and not only was the movie bad, but the comic is nothing to write home about, either. If the source material isn’t there, the film won’t be.

Today, photos were released of a new Judge Dredd film, simply titled “Dredd,” which stars Karl Urban, better known as Bones in 2009’s “Star Trek,” in the title role and Olivia Thirlby (The Wackness).  Peter Tavis, known for films such as “Endgame” and “Vantage Point,” will direct. Oh… and this one will be in 3D. Wonderful…

Production company Lion’s Gate describes the film as such:  “Dredd takes us to the wild streets of Mega City One, the lone oasis of quasi-civilization on Cursed Earth. Judge Dredd is the most feared of elite Street Judges, with the power to enforce the law, sentence offenders and execute them on the spot – if necessary. The endlessly inventive mind of writer Alex Garland and the frenetic vision of director Peter Travis bring DREDD to life as a futuristic neo-noir action film that returns the celebrated character to the dark, visceral incarnation from John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra’s revered comic strip.”

We’re sinking to new lows, people. We’re now remaking the worst movies ever made. Are we that devoid of fresh ideas?

Jonah Hex

Enlisted by a Union soldier (Will Arnett), scarred bounty hunter Jonah Hex (Josh Brolin) scours the Wild West in pursuit of Turnbull (John Malkovich), a crazed voodoo master with a scheme to assemble a devastating weapon that will destroy the government and lift the Confederacy. Based on the cult DC Comics hero, this action Western co-stars Michael Shannon as strange circus impresario Doc Cross Williams and Megan Fox as the prostitute Lilah.

Rating: 5 out of 10

This movie had a lot of flash and little substance.

It’s an unusual comic book movie because it doesn’t include a super hero, similar to “Hellboy” — which I loved. You have to suspend reality whenever you watch a comic book movie. This time it’s a Confederate solider who turns in his men for bad deeds and they kill him and his family. He is badly beaten and turtured and some Native Americans find him and save him. Now, he’s half dead and can talk to the dead. OK, I can deal with that. In fact, this was one of the movies I was looking forward to most last summer.

However, instead of developing characters that would have interested me — like Malcovich’s bastard of a villain — we have to deal with a love interest in Fox that is wedged into the script. It slows things down, there’s too much going on, and the result are undeveloped characters that seems to be pieced together between big, sexy action sequences.

This could have been worse, but it could have been much better.

Ghostbusters 3 update


We’ve been following the story for a pontetial third installment of the Ghostbusters franchise, and it finally looks like things are moving ahead. Filming is expected to begin in the spring, according to a report by The Guardian.

Productions Weekly, a reliable source, also tweeted: “Hearing that @SonyPictures is planning to put Ivan Reitman’s “Ghostbusters 3” into production in May 2011.”

Clearly, the wheels are turning. And to add interest, Bill Murray appeared at Spike TV’s Scream Awards to accept the best picture award for “Zombieland” and donned a Ghostbusters uniform, complete with proton pack.

The Guardian reports that Dan Aykroyd has been revising a screenplay by Gene Stupnitsky and Lee Eisenberg, who worked on the American television hit “The Office.” Aykroyd said that there was a “comic role of a lifetime” for Murray in the new movie, and confirmed it would concern handing over ghostbusting duties from the old team to a new generation. 

“My character’s eyesight is shot, I got a bad knee, a bad hip – I can’t drive that caddy any more or lift that psychotron accelerator any more, it’s too heavy,” Aykroyd told the U.K. paper. “We need young legs, new minds – new Ghostbusters; so I’m in essence passing the torch to the new regime, and you know what? That’s totally OK with me.”

There have been plenty of reasons to feel skeptical this film would ever make it to the cinema. Murray and others expressed concern that the original screenplay was written by the team responsible for “Year One,” a dopy comedy with Jack Black and Michael Cera — whom I can’t stand.  In a rare interview, Murray told GQ: “Harold Ramis said, ‘Oh, I’ve got these guys, they write on The Office, and they’re really funny. They’re going to write the next Ghostbusters.’ And they had just written this movie that he had directed. Well, I never went to see ‘Year One,’ but people who did, including other Ghostbusters, said it was one of the worst things they had ever seen in their lives. So that dream just vaporised.” 

Since then, Aykroyd has been very involved in make the screenplay. He also worked on the video game screenplay, which was very good and starred the original cast. 

The Movie Brothers Podcast Episode 2

The Movie Brothers welcome regular contributor Kyle Baker for their second podcast episode. We’ve kicked the production way up for this episode, where we discuss a Top Gun sequel, action flick Shoot ‘Em Up, Antichrist, Harry and Tonto and new flicks out on blu-ray.

Thanks for listening!

Download the podcast here.

Red Riding Hood trailer


This is courtesy of the director that brought us “Twilight” and “Eclipse.” I just saw the trailer earlier today and I am not looking forward to the teen hype that is going to ensue. I literally have a headache. Can’t wait to walk past Hot Topic and see the merchandise for this movie when I go Christmas shopping!

Red Riding Hood stars Amanda Seyfried as Red Riding Hood…blah blah blah… medieval teenager with gelled hair… blah blah blah… sexual tension… blah blah blah… lovers can’t be with each other. These all sound too familiar. Oh wait! That’s because I saw all of that in Twilight! After watching the rest of the trailer, I’ve concluded that this is pretty much a combination of “The Wolfman” and “Twilight.” Hopefully Brothers Grimm: Snow White will be nothing like this.

Harry and Tonto

Ripping a page from John Steinbeck’s novel Travels with Charley, this bittersweet comedy follows an old codger named Harry (Art Carney) as he takes a cross-country trip with his cat, Tonto, as a companion. The film, which earned TV comedy veteran Carney a well-deserved best actor Academy Award, also features Ellen Burstyn, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Larry Hagman, Josh Mostel and Melanie Mayron. Paul Mazursky directs.

Rating: 9 out of 10

I’m really surprised this movie doesn’t have a bigger following. It’s truly timeless and deals with themes like broken family, love lost, aging, and the major changes in life — the ones that get us as lost as we need to,  so that when we find ourselves again, we are refreshed.

This takes Harry, played masterfully in an understated and precise role by Carney, on an absurd journey. In the hands of another actor, this could have been considered obsurb. But Carney’s delivery is so believable that we never question the present. It reminded me of “Forest Gump” in that respect — Tom Hanks was so good in the role, we never cared that he could run across America and back, then back again, win an Olympic gold medal, a Congressional Medal of Honor, and be an all-American football star.

Harry’s journey is much simpler, though it does take some emotional, funny and fasinating turns as he and his cat ,Tonto, journey from New York to Chicago and Los Angeles — he hitches a ride with a high-priced hooker, takes in a homeless girl, and ends up in prison for urinating in public. But the movie’s not about the traveling, it’s about the journey.


After shooting a cop, young thief Michel (Jean-Paul Belmondo) meets and shacks up with Patricia (Jean Seberg), an American who sells the International Herald Tribune on the streets of Paris. Hiding out in her hotel room, Michel tries to talk Patricia into going with him to Italy. But she doesn’t know that would include a foray into criminal life. Director Jean-Luc Godard shot to cinematic stardom with this benchmark film of the French new wave.\

Rating: 10 out of 10

Jean Luc Godard was one of the founders of the French New Wave movement. He and several other French directors strove to move away from standard filmmaking conventions and break the rules. If it weren’t for directors like Godard, we would have no Tarnatino, no Bertolucci, and no Von Trier. Godard, like Tarantino and others, used his love of movies and incorporated them into his own work. Several techniques were used within Breathless that were considered taboo but are commonplace in today’s cinema. For example, jump cuts. Before Breathless, a jump cut was considered an error in the editing process but Godard uses it to great effect to weave his tale. He also broke away from the standard storytelling process and made it more about mood, style, and dialogue. While films that fell within the crime genre before it were about the gunfight or the explosion, Breathless is about the interaction and dialogue of the characters. The events surrounding them are just a backdrop to see what they’ll say next. It broke every moviemaking and writing technique before it and it did it so well that its influence is still being shared among directors today.

 I’ll be the first to admit that Breathless is not everyone’s cup of tea. Some may find its lack of story a weakness or the beautiful handheld cinematography old hat. But, if you watch it with an open mind and a realization of what came before it, I think you’ll get wrapped up in just how revolutionary a piece of work it truly is.