November 27th, 2007

WE’RE CLOSED

     The Movie Patron Blog HAS MOVED! This site is lying dormant for now. We’ve teamed up with some other creative people and have regrouped our forces over in the third row. Join us over there for some in depth discussions, daily news items and of course the Cinecast (plus two other podcasts).

     This blog will remain here for static links and Cinecast archive notes, but nothing new will be posted. All of our creative efforts will now be put into RowThree.com. Stop by there and offer up your voice. The intent is for it to be a discussion based movie blog. Not just a news site.

IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR THE CINECAST, ROW THREE IS WHERE TO FIND THE NEW EPSIODES!

November 20th, 2007

Cinecast Episode 68 - Wanna See Something Really Scary?


icon for podpress  Cinecast Episode 68 [147:26m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

this episode:
The Cinecast is MOVING!?, Movie review extravaganzza (5 film reviews), DVD picks and tangents.

Unwrap the complete Show Notes by clicking on this link…

Read the rest of this entry »

November 18th, 2007

Now You See Me, Now You Don’t


Director: Attila Szász
Writer: Attila Szász
Producer: Dalma Hidasi
Starring: Vitéz Ábrahám, Ernõ Fekete, Dóra Létay
Country of Origin: Hungary
Running time: 30 min





 

 

reviewed by Andrew James
     When I received the request to take a look at the screener for this short film and give my thoughts on it, the title intrigued me, but I was even more interested in the cover art. I know, I know; never judge a book (or a DVD) by its cover. But sometimes one just can’t help themselves. The cover is caring and heartfelt, yet at the same time a little bit creepy. A mother and child silhouetted on a back porch in front of what looks to be a warm, inviting home. But just inside the home is a shadowy figure that looks slightly haunting and menacing. Great cover.

     So given the title, imagine my surprise when the DVD arrives and it’s actually a subtitled Hungarian film entitled, Most látszom, most nem látszom (Now You See Me Now You Don’t). It’s not very often I’m asked to screen and review a film out of Hungary. In fact, I’m not even sure if I’ve ever seen any films from that country. So now even more intrigued, I dropped the film in the DVD player. Wow.

     The film takes place all in a single household of a couple who seem to have a struggling relationship. But more than just the usual bickering or silent treatments, there seems to be something deeper to this emotional void - something almost sinister. The man is a scientist or inventor of some sort and on the day the film is set, he brings his work home with him; which appears to be some sort of method of making people invisible. Not soon after, the mother is encountered by her son whom she can’t see. Has the father secretly been conducting experiments on their son? Has the boy been monkeying around with the equipment or has something else happened? The plot twists a bit a leaves us guessing to the end. Not an easy task in 30 minutes.

     What lashes out to the viewer right away is the fantastic directing style. The camera seems to always be in motion and giving us something new to look at. But this isn’t the anoying shakey cam or frantic movement cam that you might expect. The shots are slow and deliberate. Some of the tracking shots seem to go on forever, uncut, and give great emotional impact to the visuals.

     Every angle is different and interesting. At no time are any of the shots typical and it’s apparent that this little indie film must have had some sort of budget behind it. Several camera tracking shots fly right out of a window or smoothly climb stairs. One shot in particular steadies on several characters on the ground as the camera shoots straight upward, while rain falls straight downward all around. It was a very thought out shot and did wonders for the film.

     The entire picture is like this. Everything appears very deliberate and well thought out. The warm colors and tones juxtaposed with harsh whites and bare walls make for, although beautiful, an almost surreal scene. Many lingering shots of just a stove top or a garden hose are made to look interesting in their respective cameos. The film is full of these shots.

     The acting is pretty fantastic too for a short film with only three characters and a 30 minute length. Especially the lead actress: Dóra Létay. She pretty much carries the movie and the scene in which she follows her invisible son throughout the house from his point of view is fascinating.

     Taking a quick left turn with the plot, the movie is more than an acceptable watch at any time. The director has made something here that has me more than intrigued to see more. A full length feature could easily be one of the best of the year should the director choose to do so. The story, although usually essential to a film, would likely be secondary to the stunning cinematography and the directing style of Attila Szász. This is worth the watch and definitely worth a re-watch… and a re-watch. Quite honestly I can’t really think of anything negative to say about the picture (and that’s RARE!). I can’t wait to see more from Szász.

take a look at the trailer…

November 16th, 2007

Since all we Post are Posters…

     Wall-E says “Hi.”




click image for more detail.

 

November 16th, 2007

The Sarah Connors Chronicles

     Well, this looks promising…


     Technically not movie related, but oh well. “Terminator: The Sarah Connors Chronicles” premiers on Fox for two nights on Jan. 13th and 14th. From worstpreviews, the show focusses on Sarah; Tired of fleeing from both killers from the future and law officers in the present day, Sarah Connor resolves to go on the offensive against whatever new technological enemies may travel back in time trying to murder her 15-year-old son, John. who is destined to become the savior of mankind. Sarah and John find unexpected allies in Cameron, an enigmatic student at John’s school, and FBI agent James Ellison.

 

November 15th, 2007

“Tron” Sequel?

     Not entirely sure what to make of this. At this point it’s just a guy thinking out loud. However, when the person is The Dude, I sit up and take notice. According to Bridges, the idea for a sequel to Tron will probably be pitched to him “pretty soon.” Through an interview with Collider, Bridges had this to say:

“But the reasons to do [Tron 2] and the reason I did that one (The original Tron) was because it was so innovative and I understand that they’ve got a whole new batch of stuff like that… innovations that they want to use on this so that could be kind of fun.”

     Now, I actually own the original Tron on DVD. I bought it with excitement of reliving a speck from my childhood. Lightcycles! Needless to say, I was severely let down. The film does NOT hold up very well when sifted through the hands of time. It is appears fairly low budget and borders on atrocious. Still, at the time, it was extremely innovative and a really great idea for its storyline - remarkably ahead of its time for 1982.

     So a sequel with today’s technology could be spectacular visually and there are infinite amounts of possibilities for a story what with the internet and hackers, wireless networks and viruses.

     As long as they bring back all the originals (Flynn, Tron and of course the infamous MCP) I think if ever a story was ready for a sequel, Tron is it. What do you think? Is Tron 2.0 a good idea and was the first one as good or bad as you remember it being?

 

November 15th, 2007

New “Get Smart” One-Sheet

     Lovin’ the new poster for Get Smart - the redux of the popular 60’s television show. You know it’s Steve Carrell in the movie, so we don’t need to see his face in favor of the much more fetching Agent 99 (Anne Hathaway). I love how the poster concedes comedy and gives us a great idea of what the movie will be like (Maxwell Smart figuratively being shat upon throughout the entire picture) instead of focussing on popularity and star power. From everything I’ve seen about this movie so far, all signs point to great fun.


click image for hi-res version

If you’ve not seen the teaser trailer yet, it’s worth a look - - you can see it by unwrapping the text below…

 

Read the rest of this entry »

November 15th, 2007

Possibilities of a Buffy the Vampire Slayer Feature Film

     Buffy started as a fairly campy, albeit loved, film of the early 90s starring Kristy Swanson and Luke Perry. I remember the movie being pretty bad, though I haven’t seen it in ages. When a television spin-off was announced, I thought to myself, “seriously!? There were enough people who cared about that movie and it had enough of a story to base an entire series on?” Of course, this was before I knew who Joss (NOT Josh) Whedon was and what his brilliance is capable of.

     I never checked out the show until about halfway through the second season. Then I caught another episode by chance. From there on out I was hooked. It’s campy, corny, bubblegummy and teenie bopper-ish… but it worked; and it worked well (nominated for Emmy’s and Golden Globes and countless other awards). The dialogue is just hip enough, the girls (mmm Charisma Carpenter) were hot enough, the characters were deep enough and the storyline was solid enough to get people really involved in the show and even become obsessive about it. Joss Whedon and Sarah Michelle Gellar breathed life into a character that I would’ve sworn would be unwatchable.

     So the show lasted for 7 terrific seasons with FANTASTIC characters coming and leaving throughout and ended when it needed to and on a high note. So now the question is, should there be a feature film? Bloody Disgusting caught up with SMG and asked her what her thoughts would be on reprising the role of Buffy Summers:

“I have to be honest. That thought really scares me. Buffy was a movie and it didn’t work because her story was longer than that.”, Gellar said. “This was about a girl that you had to get to know and it took so long to figure out how to crack the ending so that people weren’t upset. Of course I never say never, so I’m not saying no, but my fear would be to open something like that up again, to only end it again.

“Like Sex in the City is such a great ending, so I’m curious to see now how they’re going to open it up and how to shut it for us again. I feel like a show you love ends, you have like a mourning period, so do you open yourself up to that again, to wanting it but knowing it’s going to end? That whole thing worries me a little bit.”

     For me? YES! I don’t care if it’s going to end. I would love to see Buffy back for another round of slaying action. If there’s a thirst for something out there (which I’m sure there is where Buffy is concerned) and cast and crew are interested, I say bring it back. Why does it have to be “shut off” again? Her “Sex and the City” reference is a perfect example. I think “X-Files” or even “Star Trek” are two other examples of franchises that work; even if they are “opened and closed” several times.

     And I’m sorry, but you get Whedon behind this project as a writer and hire a good director, I’m sure Gellar’s fears would be put on the back burner in favor of some great exposure and a hefty paycheck. As would the rest of the cast I’m sure (Eliza Dushku, James Marsters, Allison Hannigan, Seth Green… the list is nearly endless). I just about guarantee a sell out at theaters across the country on opening night should this ever be brought to fruition. I know I’d be there.

November 12th, 2007

The Movie Club - Episode 2



     MoviePatron, FilmJunk and MadAboutMovies combine for the ultimate Movie Club Podcast. Episode 2 was a complete success and a great show (at least from my point of view). It also has a new home! You can check out the show and leave comments at movieclubpodcast.blogspot.com. Stop in and take a listen and be sure to let us know what you think.

This month’s discussion: Duck You Sucker and Gimme Shelter.

Brush up on both films and join the club!

Comments for this post have been disabled. To leave your thoughts about the show, visit The Movie Club home page or email us at feedback@moviepatron.com - thanks!

NEXT MONTH’S FILMS: Escape from New York and The Last Man on Earth





     Due to the above mentioned Movie Club Podcast, the regular Movie Patron Cinecast will be put off this week. Kurt and Andrew will be back a little earlier next week. Plans for the show include a review of the newest Coen brothers picture: No Country for Old Men (MP review), our DVD picks of the week and possibly a new Top 5. We’ll just see where the conversation leads as always. So stop in throughout the week for your weekly dose of movie-related podcast goodness.

 

November 12th, 2007

Yo! I’m Comin’ for You.



click for hi-res

 

November 9th, 2007

Movie Patron Blog Issues

     As you may have noticed over the past day or two, MoviePatron.com has been having some database issues which cause various aspects of the site to not display properly and/or maybe not at all. We apologize for the inconvenience. This is due to our hosting company switching over all of its existing customers to a new admin platform and new, higher-powered servers.

     For Cinecast listeners, should this happen again in the future, remember that you can download the show from iTunes and you can also stream the show on the Home page (Moviepatron.com). Further instructions on how to subscribe through iTunes can be found by clicking the “Cinecast” button on the top of your screen.

     We hope this won’t happen again in the future (it shouldn’t), but if it does, feel free to email us with any questions or advice you might have to feedback@moviepatron.com.

Thanks for your patience.

November 9th, 2007

Oscar News… Already?

Surf’s Up     Yup, we’ve learned that the 12 animated features being considered as nomination for the Academy’s big night have been announced. The twelve titles submitted are:

 

Alvin and the Chipmunks
Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters
Bee Movie
Beowulf
Meet the Robinsons
Persepolis
Ratatouille
Shrek the Third
The Simpsons Movie
Surf’s Up
Tekkonkinkreet
TMNT

     Now, without even having seen all of these, I can tell you which three SHOULD be nominated: Persepolis, Ratatouille and Tekkonkinkreet. Which three probably WILL be nominated? Ratatouille, Shrek and Surf’s Up (it’s about penguins; think it ain’t gonna get nominated?). Depending on the Academy’s thoughts on motion capture, Beowulf has a shot at it too.

     Point is, aside from Ratatouille, it’ll probably be a bunch of Hollywood gobble-dee-gook that gets nominated and not the truly good stuff. We shall see I guess. If Alvin is nominated, I might have to vomit in my sleeve.

November 9th, 2007

“The Eye” Poster

     I have yet to see The Pang Brothers original version of The Eye, (IMDb) even though I own it and I’ve heard nothing but good things about it. I know they did great things visually with Re-Cycle (MP review), so I’m excited to see The Eye. I am not excited however to see the upcoming remake (tentative release of Feb 1, 2008) starring Jessica Alba. I’m so tired of American versions of great Asian films.

     However, the new one-sheet has got kind of a nice feel to it. Creepy and wince-worthy at the same time. Have a look and let us know what you think. It doesn’t make me want to see the film, but it’s still kind of a cool poster if you ask me.


click for higher-res version

 

November 9th, 2007

Cinecast Episode 67 - Hero Cookies


icon for podpress  Cinecast Episode 67 [102:46m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

this episode:
American Gangster, conversations on select topics (fall movies, recent viewings, Splice images, etc), Canadian Sci-fi and of course DVD picks and tangents.

Unwrap the complete Show Notes by clicking on this link…

Read the rest of this entry »

November 8th, 2007

Nicholson Furious About ‘The Dark Knight’

Nicholson - The Joker

     Now this is something I did not see coming in a million years. The great Jack Nicholson, who we all remember played The Joker in Batman ‘89, has told MTV News that he is “furious” about Heath Ledger playing The Joker in The Dark Knight. Here is some of what he said:

MTV - What do you think of another actor, Heath Ledger, playing The Joker in next summer’s “The Dark Knight”?

Nicholson - Let me be the way I’m not in interviews. I’m furious. I’m furious. [He laughs.] They never asked me about a sequel with the Joker. I know how to do that! Nobody ever asked me.

MTV - I’m surprised to hear you sounding competitive about a role like that.

Nicholson - Well, the Joker comes from my childhood. That’s how I got involved with it in the first place. It’s a part I always thought I should play.

MTV - Will you see the new film?

Nicholson - I’m not inclined to watch it because of what I said. But if it’s a good movie, I’ll catch up with it somewhere. I don’t think they ever really captured Tim Burton’s spirit [since he stopped being involved]. They kind of drove the franchise into the ground. Tim Burton’s a genius. He had the right take on it. That’s why I did the movie. I did the movie based on a single conversation with him. We both come from the cartoon world originally. We had similar ideas. Tim said [the Joker] should have a humorous dark side to him. [Burton is] one of the great moviemakers. I think the world of him. He’s the most unassuming man. And he doesn’t feel pressure. That’s what I love about him. Once he’s in there, he’s smiling making the movie. That’s it!

     You can read the rest of the interview over here at MTV.com

     Personally I think Nicholson is being a big-headed baby about this. His portrayal in Batman ‘89 was fun and it will always remain great to watch but that’s not what The Joker is. For anyone familiar with the comic books The Joker is an evil, sadistic and downright despicable human being, the kind of guy who would shoot a child and laugh straight afterwards. And the way Nicholson portrayed him (and how Tim Burton wrote him to be) was still a little on the dark and ‘bad’ side but a far too campy (again not knocking it). And as for them driving the franchise into the ground; I agree they did with with the fourth one (yes I quite like Forever) but I have a question for Mr Nicholson - did you not see Batman Begins? They totally and completely captured Batman and the whole world around him perfectly.

     In the end though this is just Nicholson expressing what he feels, and I can’t exactly discredit him for speaking his mind. What are your thoughts?

November 4th, 2007

Pride and Glory Trailer

Edward Norton and Colin Farrel in Pride and Glory     The great Edward Norton has scared me lately with his decision to play the title role in the Hulk sequel. I guess everyone needs a paycheck, but seriously, someone as terrific as Norton could surely find something better right? Well thankfully, it looks like he might’ve sort of gotten back on track after seeing the recently released trailer for Pride and Glory. Brought to us by the same screenwriters who are sort of hit or miss with the likes of Miracle, NARC and Smokin’ Aces, the movie has potential to be either really good or really bad. With Norton and Colin Farrel on board, as well as Jon Voight and Noah Emmerich (Little Children), I lean more towards really good.

     I couldn’t find an embeddable trailer yet, so head on over to WorstPreviews.com and check out this trailer of fairly decent quality of Pride and Glory. Then come back over and let us know what you think.

Update - thanks to CinemaFusion, I tracked down the YouTube version of the trailer. Enjoy…


 

November 4th, 2007

Free Movies!

     I‘m not really one to promote piracy or illegal activities, but ya know what? This is 2007, I’ve been partying all night and I don’t care right now… lucky you. I ran across this site today that is very similar to YouTube, except it’s all full length movies. That’s right FULL length motion pictures. Not just lame, unheard of movies either; but quite a large site with TONS of titles to choose from.

     I’ve not exactly scoured their archives, but it looks to me like they have quite an extensive catalog with fairly high quality DVD rips. The newest films are lame theater-cams that I’m not sure you’d want to waste your time with, but they’re there if you want them. I’ve been meaning to revisit Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain again as I think it is extremely over-rated and I wanted to try it again to figure out what I was missing. The quality of these slightly older films is perfectly acceptable and I also found Blood Car! Blood Car (our review) was my silver medal winner for the Toronto After Dark Film Festival this year (2007) and I highly recommend checking it out.

     But go ahead - search for your self and stream whatever movie you want. I’ll be surprised if this site is up for much longer. But hey, for now, it’s a lot cheaper than BB or Netflix. The name of the site is Film Hill.

     Have fun and leave good finds or suggestions in the comment section below!

 

November 4th, 2007

An Insider to The Strike

     We stole this comment from another blog (that no longer exists) pertaining to the upcoming writers strike. The blog post was trying to make sense of the strike, what it means to industry personnel and also what it might mean to us: the fans. A commenter, who claims to be part of the Writers Guild of America (WGA), put in his/her own terms…

I’m a WGA member (and one of the people striking on Monday)… Let me try to clear some stuff up, at least from my POV and to the best of my understanding.

     There are a lot of unresolved issues on the table, but the main two issues, IMO, are (1) DVD residuals and (2) New Media (basically Internet)

     DVD: Current residual formulas come to about FOUR CENTS per DVD. Yes that’s right. When you buy a DVD, the writer gets 4 cents. In comparison, about THIRTY cents go to the company that presses the DVD. This formula has been around since the days of VHS, when writers bought into the studios/network’s argument that home video is an “untested market”, agreed to the formula, and have resented/been screwed by it ever since. The problem is that when the formula was first set up, the companies argued that home video could wipe out, that VHS tapes were really expensive to make, etc. But then two things happened. (1) Home video became a runaway success. (It’s currently where studios make the majority of their money, esp. now that they’re releasing old TV shows, etc. In fact I’ve heard that theatrical releases of movies are now basically advertising for the DVD release) and (2) DVD replaced VHS. DVDs, as you know if you’ve bought blanks, cost almost nothing to make compared to tapes. Ie, the costs of manufacturing went down in 25 years. Unfortunately, the writers formula never changed in that period, and the writers still make… four cents. The writers are currently asking for about 8 cents per DVD.

     Issue #2, “new media”: Again the companies are arguing that this is an “untested” medium. Everyone knows it’s going to replace DVDs eventually, but the AMPTP (ie, the companies) are saying “no, it’s too new. It’s untested. We can stream online, we can sell online, but we can’t really pay yet”– sound familiar? It’s the 80s all over again. So when you watch streaming TV episodes on the Web today, the writers typically aren’t getting ANYTHING. Even though you may have noticed these videos are usually advertising-supported. Meaning the companies ARE getting paid. Jon Stewart made this point well on his last show.

     The companies have offered to use the DVD formulas for shows PURCHASED (as opposed to streaming) by customers online. They call this something like “online DVDs” or “online DVD sell-through” This is the equivalent of spitting in the writers faces, as the writers have been pissed about the DVD “home video” formula for 25 years. Totally unacceptable. Using this formula, the studios would pay the writers like four cents for an online download even though the studios’ costs to deliver to the customer would be practically zip.

     One last bit on the Internet. From what I’ve been learning, the current negotiating proposal from the companies is that “promotional” streaming to customers not pay the writers anything…ever… even if the “promotional” streaming is showing the entire show/movie AND even if the companies DO make money (such as via ads). In other words, they reserve the right to show ad-supported free streaming of shows online and pay the writers zip. Or looked at another way, they could move their entire networks to online streaming, still supported by ads, and the writers would make nothing.

     What this strike is really about: According to the company’s proposals, writer’s residuals for TV would disappear as content moves from broadcast to online. Current TV residuals would disappear to zero online residuals. (Residuals are the payments writers currently make that– for most writers– allows them to live in between gigs.)

     The issue mentioned above about writers not making money until the show does is totally a non-starter. Whether a show makes money or not is (1) subject to stuff like scheduling, advertising, editing, casting, and a million other things that the writer has nothing to do with, and (2) Hollywood accounting does not have the best reputation, as anyone who followed the lawsuits over Lord of the Rings, which supposedly made no money might know. I also heard that the “Simpsons” is officially a money-losing show. Yeah, right. It’s funny how many of these companies tell their investors “Our industry is doing great! The Internet is the future!” and then tell the writers “Oh we’re doing terrible. The Internet is untested and could go away.” Puhlease.

     I’m not a particularly active WGA member or anything, so the above is all to the best of my understanding. I recommend you check out http://www.unitedhollywood.com for some writer blogs or the WGA (www.wga.org) for more info.

     Blah. Sorry for rambling, but I guess that’s what editors are for ;) Hope this helps.

A WGA member

     Obviously this is an industry personnel’s opinion and only from one side’s perspective of the argument. Still, it helps to put thing into place so we can all understand.

     From what I hear, the WGA also wants royalties paid out before the studio and distributors even break even. So the writer gets paid for his/her work, but as of now, they also get a certain perentage of ticket sales even if the movie is a bomb. AMPTA (Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers) believes that royalties should not be paid out until the production company breaks even. As I understand it, this actually makes sense. The writer should receive their royalties along with everyone else; i.e. when the TV show or movie is a hit. If I’m wrong on this, please correct me. But in this regard, I believe AMPTA to be in the right. As for DVD and internet distribution profits, the WGA definitely has a leg to stand on with their argument.

November 4th, 2007

Speaking of the Strike… But Not Movie Related

LOST    But related to the Writers strike…

     For those of you that are deeply into “LOST,” as I am, it doesn’t sound like the writers strike will directly affect the show… at least for now. ABC’s decision to hold off on the season 4 premire until January now looks like a good move. Besides season four, 6 more scripts for the next season have been finished with more on the way before the strike deadline. This is fairly good news, considering the circumstances, and film fans won’t have much to worry about for some time as the studios have been stock piling scripts forever. But as for the greatest one hour drama of all time… we can only keep our fingers crossed that the dispute is resolved so that we can see what happens!

November 2nd, 2007

Portman to Direct

Natalie Portman to direct     It seems we’ll have another, highly needed female in the director’s chair in Hollywood. From Empire online comes the news that Natalie Portman has signed on to direct A Tale of Love and Darkness. A period film involving basically the birth of Israel revolving around the childhood memoirs of Amos Oz (professor of literature at Ben-Gurion University in Be’er Sheva).

     While I know nothing of the story, this doesn’t sound like the easiest ok pictures to create. Certainly not for a directorial debut. Still, I have a lot of faith in Portman. She’s a tremendous actress (Star Wars not withstanding) and extremely intelligent. I’d very highly anticipate any film she decides to direct. Who knows? Maybe we’ll have another Ben Affleck (Gone Baby Gone) on our hands.

from Empire:

Portman has signed a two-year production deal for her Handmadecharlie Films with Participant Productions. Participant is an outfit dedicated to producing films with social value. They’re behind the likes of Syriana and An Inconvenient Truth.