Friday, February 27, 2015

[DVD] Tuesdays with Mell 02/17/14 The Boxtrolls, The Tale of Princess Kaguya, VHS Viral, St. Vincent, The Interview & more


This week: Oscar nominees, crazy people, dictators, and subversive Christianity

2014  PG Animated Adventure Comedy

Oscar nom: Best Animated Film


 (CSI: 3 Dimensions of Murder (Video Game)) (Boog & Elliot's Midnight Bun Run (Video short) (co-director))


  (screenplay) (Skellig: The Owl Man (TV Movie) (screenplay)),  (story) (Tree (Short)), Adam Pava (screenplay) ("Glenn Martin DDS" (TV), 
Anthony Stacchi...(story adapted by) (Open Season (screen story))
 based on the novel "Here Be Monsters!" by Alan Snow

Trivia: Singing vocals for Sir Ben Kingsley were provided by actor/countertenor Sean Patrick Doyle (of Broadway's Kinky Boots, La Cage Aux Folles and 20th Century Fox's The Sitter), voice-matching his spoken performance as Mme. Frou Frou. 

Plot: A young orphaned boy raised by underground cave-dwelling trash collectors tries to save his friends from an evil exterminator.

Review: When I saw the trailer I thought it looked stupid and had no interest in seeing this. However, because of its Oscar nomination, I will see it. I really loved Coraline, and it's stop motion of which I'm a huge fan. It's also gotten some great critical praise. Maybe there's something there after all. 

Rating: TBD 

Watch with: 
The Book of LifeHow to Train Your Dragon 2ParaNormanBig Hero 6The Lego Movie

2013 PG Animated Drama Fantasy

Oscar nom: Best Animated Film


 (Pom Poko)


  (story) & (screenplay) ("Anne of Green Gables" (TV) (writer)), Riko Sakaguchi (screenplay) ("A Wonderful Single Life" (Mini-Series)) & Mike Jones (English version) (The Wind Rises) (screenplay adaptation - english version)

Plot: Found inside a shining stalk of bamboo by an old bamboo cutter and his wife, a tiny girl grows rapidly into an exquisite young lady. The mysterious young princess enthralls all who encounter her - but ultimately she must confront her fate, the punishment for her crime.

Review: I will admit that I hadn't heard of this film until the Oscar nominations came out. I've heard of The Wind Rises & Princess Mononoke, but I never watch them because I'm not a typically a fan of Anime. I find the animation beautiful, but the overall pacing slow to the point of boredom. I will try my best not to fall asleep while watching this as I'm very curios about the story line, but no promises. 

Rating: TBD

Watch with: 
Pom PokoThe Wind Rises

2014 R Action Horror Thriller Anthology

Directors: (segment "'Bonestorm'") (Wrecked (Short) (co-director)), (segment "'Dante the Great'") (Dance of the Dead), Todd Lincoln (segment "Gorgeous Vortex") (The Apparition), Aaron Moorhead (segment "'Bonestorm'") (Resolution), Marcel Sarmiento (segment "'Vicious Circles'")(The ABCs of Death (segment "D Is for Dogfight")),  Oscar nom Nacho Vigalondo (segment "'Parallel Monsters'")(7:35 de la mañana)

 Writers:Wrecked (Short)), Gregg Bishop (The Birds of Anger (Short)), T.J. Cimfel (No Tell Motel), Ed Dougherty (additional material) (segment "Vicious Circles") Blackout (screenplay), Todd Lincoln (segment "Gorgeous Vortex")(The Apparition), Aaron Moorhead (A Glaring Emission), Nacho Vigalondo (Open Windows), David White (Shut In) & Marcel Sarmiento (Story) (Heavy Petting)

Stars:, ,

Trivia: Rob Zombie was set to direct but couldn't agree with the studio on how the story should proceed so he stepped down. 

Plot: Follows fame-obsessed teens who unwittingly become stars of the next Internet sensation.

Review: I still haven't seen any of the trilogy, but I've been wanting to. I love anthology films. Even when they're bad they're good. 

Rating: TBD

Watch with:
V/H/S/2V/H/SThe ABCs of Death 2The ABCs of Death

2014 PG-13 Dramedy


  (I Want Candy (Short)


  (screenplay) (Roshambo (Short)) 

Don Cheadle...executive producer

Trivia: Naomi Watts learned her Russian accent for her role as Daka by watching YouTube videos and by going to a Russian spa in order to observe mannerisms and dialect. Naomi Watts originally thought she was reading the script for the role as Maggie (Oliver's mom) as it was more similar to her actual personality. Jaeden Lieberher's theatrical film debut.
Plot: A young boy whose parents have just divorced finds an unlikely friend and mentor in the misanthropic, bawdy, hedonistic war veteran who lives next door.

Review: I love Bill Murray! I'm also happy to see Catholics represented in a positive light for once. I might have Pope Francis to thank for that. He's made the Catholic church more popular. I'm glad to see Melissa McCarthy play a different character & show some range. It's a Christian undertoned film that's not too preachy in its delivery. 

Rating: TBD

Watch with:
This Is Where I Leave YouPrideHector and the Search for Happiness

2014 R Action Comedy

Directors: Indie Spirit nom  (50/50) (This Is the End)


  (screenplay) (story) ("Girls"), Emmy nom  (story) ("Da Ali G Show")  & Evan Goldbery (story) (The Watch)

Cast: , , , , , Jay Chou, & featuring some very funny cameos I won't give away.

James Franco ... executive producer
Seth Rogen ... producer 

filming locations:

Trivia: Skylark's bonding with Jong-un Kim is based on former basketball player Dennis Rodman, who traveled to North Korea to host basketball exhibitions and befriended Jong-un. A group of political activists in South Korea reportedly plans to purchase 100.000 copies of The Interview (2014) (with Korean subtitles) and drop DVDs and USB sticks containing the film with balloons over North Korean territory. It is illegal to watch this film (and other foreign media) in North Korea, but a black market exists and many citizens have private access to DVD players and other media players. On June 25, 2014, North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency condemned the film (without naming it), promising a "merciless" retaliation if the film is released. "Making and releasing a film on a plot to hurt our top-level leadership is the most blatant act of terrorism and war and will absolutely not be tolerated," KCNA said, citing a government spokesman. The line above the movie title translates as "Please do not believe these ignorant dishonorable Americans!". The puppy is a Cavalier King Charles spaniel. Seth Rogen's dog Zelda plays the grown up version at the end. With all the support from politicians and celebrities such as George Clooney, Sean Penn, Michael Moore and even President Barack Obama, Sony Pictures Entertainment decided to release the film on the original release date (December 25th 2014) in select theatres and VOD. Seth Rogen and James Franco shot a parody of Kanye West's "Bound 2" music video on set during filming. In late 2014, Sony Pictures was the victim of a major hack of their computer systems in which confidential corporate information and several unreleased complete movies were posted for public consumption. Among reams of other information, the budget for this movie was released, revealing (among other things) the film's total cost ($44 million) and the salaries of its stars & line items in the budget. Randall Park gained 15 pounds and had his hair cut like Jong-un Kim in preparation for the role. On December 17, 2014, the film was threatened by a group that calls themselves GOP (Guardians of Peace), the ones behind the Sony hacks. The threat mentioned attacks to any movie theaters that played this film. The film became available to stream on Netflix ( How I watched it) before the film was released on DVD and Blu-ray.

Stay After? Yes, stay after the credits for a special scene at the end.

Plot: Dave Skylark and producer Aaron Rapoport run the celebrity tabloid show "Skylark Tonight." When they land an interview with a surprise fan, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, they are recruited by the CIA to turn their trip to Pyongyang into an assassination mission.

Review: I know know what the fuss was all about. Why would anyone get all bent out of shape over a comedy and actually threaten to bomb theaters? This seemed like a good premise with a great comedy duo. So what went wrong? They lost the satire element and got too goofy. The satire of US media at the beginning was funny. I work in broadcasting so I really "got" all the jabs. (Though you don't have to have a job in that field to get it. If you watch US Media, you'll get it.) Franco was funny in a role I've never seen from him first. What started as funny soon delved into obnoxious. Franco played this part like a joke, like he wasn't taking his role seriously. What makes Ron Burgundy funny is that he's totally serious when he's saying things that are totally ridiculous. That's what makes him funny. That was needed here. Not enough smart satire, and the middle muddled. However, the ending was the best part with hints of Inglorious Basterds. Franco was just so obnoxious that really great satirical moments couldn't play out properly with an overuse of gay jokes that weren't funny and I find a bit dated. The Script is great, and with the right actor (like Matt Damon who was considered for the role) could've been sweet, but it was just a fake fruit. IT looked so good, but it was just fake. It made fun of Americans more than it did North Koreans which made it all the worse. People saw this movie in defiance only to get a big middle finger. Watch Inglorious Basterds instead

Rating: Rather Stab a Pen in My Eye Than Ever Watch This Again

Watch instead:

22 Jump StreetNeighbors21 Jump StreetTed

2014 R Drama Western

Writers: (screenplay) (The Good Old Boys (TV Movie))(teleplay) , (screenplay) (P.O.V.), & Wesley A. Oliver (screenplay) (The Sunset Limited (TV Movie) (co-producer)),  based on the novel by Glendon Swarthout (Mulligans! (Short) (story)) 

Cast: Hilary Swank, Tommy Lee Jones

Plot: Three women who have been driven mad by pioneer life are to be transported across the country by covered wagon by the pious, independent-minded Mary Bee Cuddy , who in turn employs low-life drifter George Briggs to assist her.

Review: Though I'm not a big fan of westerns, I find the mentally ill premise of this interesting. I've also heard that religious people aren't made fun of in this film, and it's just shown as a part of their lives without judgement. That's a nice change from most films. 

Rating: TBD

Watch with: Girl Interrupted &  No Country For Old Men

2014 R Action

Cast: Nicolas Cage, Anton Yelchin

Plot: An FBI agent gets diagnosed with early onset dementia and goes after a bad guy that no one believes is alive for revenge. 

Review: Even though this has B movie written all over it, I'm still intrigued to see a movie where a man with dementia has to investigate. Memento is my favorite movie after all. I'm not expecting that from this. 

Rating: TBD

Watch with: Memento

Sunday, February 22, 2015

2015 Razzie Award Winners

Winners are in bold. My picks are in pink.

• Kirk Cameron's Saving Christmas - "winner"

• Left Behind

• The Legend of Hercules

• Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

• Transformers: Age of Extinction

• Kirk Cameron, Kirk Cameron's Saving Christmas - "winner"

• Nicholas Cage, Left Behind

• Kellan Lutz, The Legend of Hercules

• Seth MacFarlane, A Million Ways to Die in the West 

 Adam Sandler, Blended

• Kelsey Grammer, Expendables 3Legends of OzThink Like a Man TooTransformers: Age of Extinction• "winner"

 Mel Gibson, Expendables 3 - "winner"

 Shaquille O'Neal, Blended

• Arnold Schwarzenegger, Expendables 3

• Kiefer Sutherland, Pompeii 

• Cameron Diaz, The Other Woman and Sex Tape - "winner"

 Drew Barrymore, Blended

• Melissa McCarthy, Tammy

• Charlize Theron, A Million Ways to Die in the West

• Gaia Weiss, The Legend of Hercules 

• Megan Fox, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - "winner"

• Cameron Diaz, Annie

• Nicola Peltz, Transformers: Age of Extinction

• Susan Sarandon, Tammy

• Brigitte Ridenour (née Cameron), Kirk Cameron's Saving Christmas 

• Michael Bay, Transformers: Age of Extinction - "winner"

• Darren Doane, Kirk Cameron's Saving Christmas

• Renny Harlin, The Legend of Hercules

• Jonathan Liebesman, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

• Seth MacFarlane, A Million Ways to Die in the West 

• Annie - "winner"

• Atlas Shrugged: Who Is John Galt?

• The Legend of Hercules

• Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

 Transformers: Age of Extinction 

• Kirk Cameron & His Ego, Kirk Cameron's Saving Christmas - 'winner"

The fact that he won this is insulting, because this movie is not what everyone thinks it's about. It's nothing like Medea's Christmas. It's not about Christians pushing their agenda on non-Christians celebrating Christmas. It's about a new trend of Christians not celebrating Christmas cuz they think it's Pagan, and Cameron plays a guy trying to convince his brother in law to celebrate with the family. 

• Any Two Robots, Actors (Robotic Actors), Transformers: Age of Extinction

• Cameron Diaz & Jason Segel, Sex Tape

• Kellan Lutz & Either His Abs, His Pecs or His Glutes

• Seth MacFarlane & Charlize Theron, A Million Ways to Die in the West 

• Kirk Cameron's Saving Christmas - "winner"

• Left Behind

• Sex Tape

• Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

• Transformers: Age of Extinction

 Ben Affleck, from Gigli to Argo and Gone Girl - "winner"

• Jennifer Aniston, from four-time Razzie nominee to Cake

• Mike Myers, from The Love Guru to directing Supermensch

• Keanu Reeves, from six-time Razzie nominee to John Wick

• Kristen Stewart, from six-time Razzie winner for Twilight to Camp X-Ray