Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Flicks on the Bricks 2011

Every summer in Portland for five Fridays, you can watch movies at Pioneer Square. The event starts at dusk and the first 2,000 guests receive free popcorn. Other food and beverage vendors are also at the event. Blankets, low back chairs and bean bags are the recommended seating.

Here is this year's schedule:

July 22nd Top Gun
July 29th Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade
August 5th Westside Story
August 12th Despicable Me
August 19th Stand By Me
The Pioneer Square site does not have too many details, but it is the official source for the schedule each summer.

I have never attended but maybe this will be the year. After seeing Super 8, Stand By Me sounds great.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Bad Teacher

Movie night takes a field trip to the theater. I am extremely tickled to say that all four of my teacher friends made it to see Bad Teacher this afternoon -- Dana, Kari, Laura and Marla. The group was rounded out by the Kates -- me and Katy.
Me with the good teachers - Kari, Laura, Marla and Dana
The movie is funny, clips right along and thankful has a plot. I was a little concerned that it would just be the trailer or that all the good parts were in the trailer. Poor Justin Timberlake, his character is just sad (will have to see him in Friends With Benefits with Mila Kunas next month). My favorite scenes were those in which Cameron Diaz' character and Jason Segel's interact. Though brief, Eric Stonestreet (Cameron on Modern Family) is odd and funny as Diaz' Craiglist roommate. Not a new favorite, but all in all a fun flick. I am fairly certain that I laughed more during Super 8. Sounds odd, but that movie is really funny. Yes, I am still singing its praises. I do love summer movie season though. Looking forward to FWB, Larry Crowne, The Help, Crazy Stupid Love, and of course, the last Harry Potter. September 30th is going to be a funny weekend too, 50/50 and What's Your Number? both come out that day. A nice way to bridge summer to fall. Do I have you on imdb or youtube yet watching trailers?

My review of Split is not as kind. The cocktail menu on their website, not current. The new one is being printed, so in the meantime, they do not have one. The mojitos Dana, Katy and I had before the movie were not the best or as Katy so kindly put it, they were "different." It is so conveniently located to the Bridgeport movie theater, I have a hunch I will give it a second try.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Company Men -- movie night 6/18/11

I am a sucker for any Ben Affleck movie and particularly one that takes place in Boston. In my great over thinking about which movie to watch my first time hosting movie night, Marla made the final call to go with Ben. Boston is the city that the characters just happen to live in. There is no Green Monster and no Harvard bar. It is a pretty serious flick, but a good one. The topic is the recession and unemployment. Brought the George Clooney movie Up in the Air to mind. The Jason Reitman directed flick deals with the same difficult topic but with much more humor throughout.

There is an excellent cast of Men, Affleck, Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Costner, Craig T Nelson and Chris Cooper. Rosemarie DeWitt and Maria Bello also portray strong female characters. John Wells wrote and directed the movie. He is best know for his writing and producing work on ER and West Wing.
The couch was a hit
Laura resisted not having a prop in the first photo. She more than made up for it here.
A decent, well done movie but probably not one I will rewatch. I did not watch it a second time even as two day rental on Demand.

Fun fact, The Company Men was filmed before The Town. Affleck convinced Chris Cooper to portray his criminal father in the Town, on the set of The Company Men.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

New Oscar Rules

Yesterday the governors of the Academy voted some new rules into effect for the 2011 movie year. Today the changes were published. It seems that more excitement and surprise will exist in this award season.

The most exciting of these, is that we will not know how many Best Picture nominees there are, until the nominees are announced in January. I find this exhilarating. Basically, movies have to be favored by enough of the Academy to be honored, so if more than five movies are stellar, than those six or eight movies will be the nominees. It also means that there does not have to be ten, so only quality gets recognized, no rounding out the category to fill ten slots.

The other changes are in the Animated Feature category and Documentary Feature and Short. The number of movies nominated for Best Animated Feature, will directly correlate to how many animated movies are released. The Best Animated Feature will no longer have to be approved every year by the board. The documentary period of eligibility will now match the other categories. For the 2011 film season, documentaries released September 1, 2010 to December 31, 2011 will be eligible. Going forward, it will be the calendar year.

My source material, the official press release.

Coincidentally, Natalie Portman had her baby boy today.
Here's what my Oscar guru Dave Karger has to say about the changes: http://insidemovies.ew.com/2011/06/15/oscar-best-picture-rules/

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Super 8

In the spirit of the filmmakers' (writer/director JJ Abrams and producer Steven Spielberg) efforts to keep details of this project to a minimum, my comments will be brief.

This is the best movie that I have seen in I do not know how long. Go. See. It.

The film takes place in 1979, the music, the fashions, the sets, the sense of the 70s meeting the 80s, it's all there. There is humor, it is constantly laugh out loud hilarious, even in the tensest of moments.

To quote Miss Emily Ficker, who so graciously shared her passes for this sneak peek with me, "It's ET meets Stand by Me for the 21st Century." And might I add, Close Encounters of The Third Kind, with some serious dashes of Goonies. We also agreed that this will go down as the best movie we ever see with passes. This movie is MINT! There are classic Spielbergian elements and the strength of Abrams directing and writing are evident. Any Lostie can tell you the man is genius.

I would like to stand on a limb and say this will be the best movie of the summer. I should hope that America makes this movie number one at the box office for the next several weeks. Heck, this may be the best movie of the year. It is everything a movie should be. I just hope it is recognized for technical awards at the very least come Oscar season. Throughout the experience of watching this film, I kept marveling at how good it is.


As Katy Hagert lent me her copy of the novel The Help by Kathryn Stockett, she expressed her concerns about the movie adaptation that opens in theaters August 12th. Being familiar with the trailer, as I began to read the book, the same concerns crossed my mind. My thoughts became cyclical when I considered the following jumble of facts: Octavia Spencer, who portrays Minny, one of the three main characters, is friends with both Stockett and Taylor Tate, writer and director of the movie. Actress Spencer met Stockett, the author via their friendships with Tate. Stockett has been quoted as saying Spencer "is Minny" and thanked Octavia Spencer in the acknowledgement in the book. Tate secured the movie rights before the book was published. Tate and Stockett grew up together in Jackson, Miss, where the story takes place.

I read this book in about a week's time, I loved it. I stayed up too late several nights reading and any time I had a spare moment got in as much time with the book as I could. I am also really sad that Oprah never did a show about the book and is off the air to feature one with the cast, filmaker and author of the book (a la Eat Pray Love this time last year).

Now that I have finished the novel, I have viewed the imdb listing of the cast, curious as to whom is portraying all the characters. Some moments featured in the preview and the presence of some characters or absence of others, cast serious doubts on the translation from print to film. Despite that, I look forward to August.

Alas, I may have just committed a cardinal rule for movie watching enjoyment, see the movie first, read the book after!!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

2011 MTV Movie Awards

The opening sequence was a very funny spin on the Hangover with host Jason Sudeikis visiting memorable moments in Black Swan, Inception, the Social Network and 127 Hours. His monologue was pretty edgy for the MTV demo. His one misstep was making more than one Schwarzenegger joke. His best joke, was on the topic of Ashton Kutcher joining the cast of Two and a Half Men, that it's typical Kutcher behavior, taking the place of an older actor. The Justin Timberlake jokes were stellar ("I'd have your confidence too if I slept with Britney Spears when I was 16...Bye Bye Bye").

Reese Witherspoon received the generation award, the MTV twist on a lifetime achievement award (last year Sandra Bullock was the recipient). Patrick Dempsey, Robert Pattinson and Chelsea Handler presented Witherspoon with the award. It was a total roast! Pattinson dropped an f-bomb that was hilarious and not caught by the censors! There was a bleep, but not at the right time.
Foo Fighters and Lupe Fiasco and Trey Songz were the musical performers and they did solid versions of their top 40 hits. Jim Carey hilariously introduced Foo Fighters and said that it's good someone is fighting foo, because foo is really bad.

It was the typical onslaught of actors appearing to promote their summer movies. That was fun this year, some years it is painful. Maybe next year will be that last of the Twilight dominance.

And the golden popcorn went to...
Best Male Performance
Robert Pattinson, "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse"
Best Female Performance
Kristen Stewart, "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse"
Best Fight
Robert Pattinson vs. Bryce Dallas Howard and Xavier Samuel, "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse"
Best Kiss
Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse"
Best Jaw-Dropping Moment
Justin Bieber, "Justin Bieber: Never Say Never," Performance Spectacular
Best Villain
Tom Felton, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1"
Best Line From A Movie (New Category)
Alexys Nycole Sanchez, "Grown Ups": "I want to get chocolate wasted."
Best Scared-As-Sh*t Performance
Ellen Page, "Inception"
Best Movie
"The Twilight Saga: Eclipse"
Best Comedic Performance
Emma Stone, "Easy A"
Best Breakout Star
Chloƫ Grace Moretz, "Kick-Ass"
Biggest Badass Star
Chloƫ Grace Moretz, "Kick-Ass"

Movie Night 6/3/11 Encino Man

This week pre-movie watching, we walked the hills of Happy Valley (mmm Hill Valley, makes me think of another movie we considered watching on this retro night, Back to the Future. Also in contention were Sixteen Candles and the Wedding Singer).
We had some yummy yum yummy cosmos and laughed our way through Encino Man. I know Son in Law by heart and was delighted to see that Pauly Shore's character Stoney is remarkably similar to Crawl. Let's grind on some ch-ch-eese!