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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Artist - Film Trailer

I heard about this film a few months ago and thought the premise was intriguing.  It is now hitting theaters in limited release and based on the trailer it looks like a winner.  The premise, the sound era of film is on its way sending a panic through the stars of the silent era of film - many of who do not have the skills to survive in a film where they need to be heard not just seen.  I believe the majority of the film is silent, not in widescreen and in black and white.  This may be a deterrent for many people that come to this site to read about Darth Vader and The Muppets - I am sure some minds will be changed after viewing the trailer.

Watch the trailer and tell us what you think about the film bang, bore or bust?



Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Muppets - Something Better Just Came Along (Movie Review)

It happened 12 years ago.  Just like that, I knew it was over.  A part of my youth I had clung to had come to an end.  The Muppets were dead.  Muppets From Space was so far disconnected from the Muppet spirit that I could not help but think, barring a miracle, the true Muppets were no longer.  Well, finally, after a string of lackluster television movies the miracle occurred...Jason Segal (How I Met Your Mother/ naked in Forgetting Sarah Marshall).

Not the miracle worker one would would be expecting.



But Segal's love for The Muppets has single-handedly breathed life into a franchise that had lost its way and nearly died from mismanagement.  The story in short is Segal, a life-long fan of Kermit and company; had noticed the lack of direction for The Muppets. They lost the charm and innocence which had allowed the band of felt puppets to resonate in the hearts and minds of children, even as they were raising children of their own. (I said short story.  I need to work on that.)  He decided to approach the studio with an idea of his own to not only put another Muppets movie on the big screen, but also to return them to their original form.  The studio took the bait and ran with it.  When I heard the news I was ecstatic.  Not only would The Muppets return to the big screen, but someone who loved them was bringing them there - NOT someone that was simply looking to sell stuffed animals and DVDs.

Now, several years after the news broke, the film has hit the big screen and I can honestly say all is well at the Muppet Theater.  The film shadows the real life condition of the Muppets - they have been forgotten (a fact I would have found hard to believe had I not tried to buy a Kermit the Frog doll 3 years ago, only to find they were no longer in production and, in turn, had to go to eBay to buy it).  The Muppets have disbanded, started their own lives and their studio is about to be taken over by an evil oil tycoon (the only kind out there.)  When the news reaches Kermit the Frog, via the newest Muppet, Walter, it is up to them to get the old gang together and raise enough money to save the theater from demolition.  Classic storyline.

Segal not only wrote the film, he also stars in it.  He plays Gary, a resident of the perfect little town of Smalltown, USA. that heads out on a trip with his brother Walter (the puppet) and girlfriend, Mary (Amy Adams) to Los Angeles.  Mary and Gary are taking the trip to grow closer to one other and Walter wants to visit The Muppets studio since they are the only creatures he feels like he fits in with (remember, he is a puppet.) 

Overall the film is a great success. It restores the Muppet magic that has been missing for over a decade and also creates a film that will ingrain The Muppets into the hearts of a whole new generation while simultaneously reviving the interest of previous generations that have lost that loving feeling.  This is accomplished by revisiting the foundation of The Muppets- all the original characters are back, the old TV theme song is performed, even the Muppet theater is restored to its state from the glory days (there's more, but I will not spoil it for you.)   Besides the visit to the land of nostalgia, some of the newer elements also refresh the old formula - new songs/dance routines, a new character (Walter), cameos from old and new stars and even a rendition of a Nirvana song.  Expect numerous cameos; some newer stars, some ooooolder and one of the cooler cameos I have seen in a long while.

The new songs which (cool fact here) are composed by Bret MacKenzie of "Flight of the Conchords" fame are quite good.  Although nothing will match the songs of the original film, the new ones are catchy, even if you may not be humming them on the way home.  Which brings me to my two complaints about the film: 1) Too many popular, well-known songs. When you include Starship's "We Built This City" you can use some editing - 10 minutes cut would have been sufficient, 2) Where the heck was Rizzo the Rat?  Being a Muppets purist, I was originally turned off by his ever growing presence in the franchise, yet soon grew to love and accept him.  But even if you are not a fan - he didn’t even get one line!  A shame.  A few of his one-liners would have added some needed adult laughs.  Maybe we will see him on DVD.... please.

I can go on and on about this great film - there is a lot to like.  It is fun, funny and a much needed return to form for a group of puppets I have loved for decades.  Thank you, Jason Segal. Part of my youth did not die; it was just waiting for you to treat it correctly.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Drive-In Classics: The Intermission Films

In honor of the 75th anniversary of the first drive-in theater here are a selection of drive-in intermission films from several different decades. The memories. They all have their charms and all did a tremendous job convincing you (even though you knew better) that the snack bar food was worth getting out of your car to go and track down. It wasn't. But, if eating some terrible pizza and cold fries meant the drive-in would stay ooen for years to come - then it was my duty. Enjoy the videos and make sure you hunt down and support your local drive-in.   (6-6-2012)
In my opinion, the best of the all. Makes the refreshment stand sound like fine dining - when you got there it was run by a bunch of slacker teenagers, the food was dried our from sitting under heat lamps and the coffee was terrible. JUST THE WAY I LIKED IT.


The ad for the mosquito deterring rings you burn in your car. Eventually it was learned that these rings did not deter mosquitos, but they did attract zombies.  The poor people of the Holiday Drive-Inn did not stand a chance.

5:33 in you'll find a message for the lovers in the audience. Lucky for me their fogged up windshields prevented them from reading this or I would have never been born.

"Let's go out tof the lobby."  CLASSIC.

 
 1:33 in "Corn dogs are made of PEOPLE. They're made of people!!!"

Friday, November 18, 2011

Did FilmSnork Save Arrested Development? The Show is Officially Returning


After years of rumors it seems as if the Bluth Family has found a new home and a wounded company has finally found a lifeline. "Arrested Development" has found a new home at Netflix. Starting in 2013 new episodes will be exclusively on Netflix.

Beating out other giants such as Showtime and Hulu, Netflix has earned its first bit of positive press after months of such comically poor business decisions that you may have thought you were watching a Bluth run company. I would not take a few jabs at the poor decisions of Reed Hastings/Netflix. AR had a field day breaking the fourth wall, slyly attacking Fox for the poor treatment of the show in their first run. I would be disappointed if they didn't throw a few punches here.

Ron Howard, series narrator and executive producer said, “After a long hiatus, I’m dying to finally get back to the narrator’s microphone. Of all the projects we’ve been involved with over the years, we probably get more questions about Mitch Hurtwitz’s brilliant Arrested Development than any other — everyone, ourselves included, seems to feel like the Bluths left the party a bit too soon. Bringing a series back from cancellation almost never happens, but then, Arrested always was about as unconventional as they get, so it seems totally appropriate that this show that broke the mold is smashing it to pieces once again.”


Although details are scare about returning cast members it has been mentioned that no contracts have been finalized.

On thing that is certain, many industry insiders (to be cited later) believe there is no coincidence that this announcement is being made so soon after the show's inclusion to a FilmSnork article naming 12 Must Shows For Movie Fans. We don't like to throw around the term hero, but in this case... well, you get the picture.

As more details arrive they will be reported here. What do you think about this announcement?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Snow White and the Huntsman Trailer



My first response to the announcement of a Kristen Stewart film is to make other plans for that weekend to avoid the screaming fans and manly Jacob vs Edward debates. My second response is to question, just what is up with that girl? If you have ever seen her in an interview or accepting at an award show (People's Choice and MTV only, real awards do not go out to the Twilight series - sorry) she is a bit off. Surprisingly, this trailer looks fantastic. It has everything action, adventure and an ageless Charlize Theron.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Hunger Games Official Trailer

Check out the review here.





What do you think? Did you read the books? If so, does this trailer meet your expectations?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Everything Is Not O-Tay - Eddie Bows Out of Oscars After Ratner's Dismissal - UPDATE: A HOST HAS BEEN NAMED


As if you did not sees this one coming.  Yesterday Bret Ratner "exited" the role of producer after comments he had recently made had come to light.   Today his friend and the star of his most recent film, Tower Heist, Eddie Murphy has also backed out of the show himself as a show of support for Ratner.  

The questionable comments including use of the word "fag" and detailed discussions about his sex life on Howard Stern's SiriusXM program.  In more detail topics covered were his relationships with Lindsay Lohan, masturbation, Olivia Munn, the size of his genitals and more topics that might offend a nun, but are common place on Stern's show.

The Acedemy released the following statement:
Beverly Hills, CA (November 9, 2011) - Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Tom Sherak announced that Eddie Murphy has withdrawn as host of the 84th Academy Awards. "I appreciate how Eddie feels about losing his creative partner, Brett Ratner, and we all wish him well," said Sherak.
Commented Murphy, "First and foremost I want to say that I completely understand and support each party's decision with regard to a change of producers for this year's Academy Awards ceremony. I was truly looking forward to being a part of the show that our production team and writers were just starting to develop, but I'm sure that the new production team and host will do an equally great job."


As a whole this is a huge embarrassment to the Academy that suffered its worst reviews after last year's Anne Hathaway and James Franco debacle - what many call the worst Oscars of all time.  When announced a couple months back, Eddie's decision to host was greeted with great fanfare - creating the most positive buzz the Oscars have had in years and possibly enough to turn around the ratings slide and the public's growing disinterest.  Now only four months before the event they are both host-less and producer-less.  Something tells me this is about the time they dig up Billy Crystal - an eight time host and fan favorite.

The Oscars have been considered to be sliding in prestige and popularity - unless they find a quick and buzz worthy host then the only they may be able to become less popular is rename themselves Qwikster.

My early guesses for hosts:  Ricky Gervais (unless NBC/Golden Globes locked him in), Neil Patrick Harris (a go to guy), Billy Crystal (old reliable), Alec Baldwin (popular SNL host), Conan O'Brien (before TBS he was a big name) or Todd Bridges (everybody loves a comeback.)

According to PageSix  The Academy is considering going with an ensemble of "hot" presenters which is that absolute worst idea of them all.  This is the Academy Awards, The OSCARS, not the Teen Choice Awards or even worse the People's Choice Awards?  They got cold feet after a few "risque" comments were made and lost the best idea for a host in years and are now considering lowering the prestige level monumentally by giving us the "hot" celebs we all have come to know and hate.  Save that for the lowly award shows - have some respect for the best and find one REAL host.  In an era where there are no longer any Johnny Carsons or Bob Hope makes the task much more difficult.  You can't just turn to The Tonight Show any longer and pick a winner host - that is unless Jay Leno is your idea of entertaining - if so you probably always complain "I never heard of any of these films," during every Oscar presentation anyway.

We will see how this all comes together - check back for updates.  My money is on Billy Crystal.

UPDATE:
And the host is... Filmsnork, you are never wrong - Billy Crystal.

He wrote, "Am doing the Oscars so the young woman in the pharmacy will stop asking my name when I pick up my prescriptions. Looking forward to the show."

More on this later.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Spielberg Finds Bus, Throws Lucas Under It....Again

You may not want to "friend" Steven Spielberg on Facebook just yet.  Don't worry, you won't get a virus - you won't get much a of a friend either.  Sure he has some great qualities: he is one of the best directors of all time (Jaws, Schindler's List, Close Encounters), he has some Oscars, he seems like a nice family man, he has an awesome beard - beyond that is where his struggles begin.  As a friend, he will stick by you think and thin. Great!  But, he lacks one important trait - the ability to tell a friend the truth.

A good friend has the guts to tell it to you like it is, to protect you from yourself and your own stupid ideas.  Spielberg has failed that test multiple times.  A few weeks back he has made the decision to redeem himself for a mistake from his past; his foolish digital altering of the classic, E.T.  Admirable to admit your mistakes and better yet, fix them.  Where he falters is he did not use that redemption as an opportunity to grab his buddy, George Lucas, by the beard and shake some sense into him to do the same thing.  George needs a good beard shaking, someone to tell him to stop altering his films - that beardshaker was supposed to be his self proclaimed friend Steven Spielberg.

During my youth, if my friends never steered me in the right direction from my poor decisions I would probably still be sporting a mullet and possibly would have given up my dream of becoming a dentist and gone into a less lucrative career in the arts - oh wait... well at least they got me to ditch the mullet.

Now again, just a few weeks later, Spielberg is proving again that he may not be the level of friend worthy of singing the Golden Girls theme to.  He spoke with the press about the mistake made with the last installment of the Indiana Jones films, "Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull" and used the opportunity to throw Lucas under the bus.  Nice friend.  Sure he took the hit on one poor aspect of the film - the infamous Nuke the Fridge sequence (video below) - but he also took the time to point out that Lucas made the worst decision ever executed in an Indiana Jones film, (SPOILER) the inclusion of (I SAID SPOILER) aliens.  Not only did he blame Lucas for the huge misstep, he also admitted to not doing anything to stop it - in other words he not only let Lucas keep his proverbial mullet he was in the barber shop with him and did not offer the much needed friendly hairstyling advice.

"Blame me. Don't blame George. That was my silly idea," he told Empire.
"People stopped saying, 'Jump the shark'. They now say, 'Nuked the fridge'. I'm proud of that. I'm glad I was able to bring that into popular culture."

Despite the criticisms, Spielberg said he was "happy" with the film but "sympathises" with people who didn't like the extraterrestrial plot developments.
"George and I had big arguments about (that). I didn't want these things to be either aliens or inter-dimensional beings. But I am loyal to my best friend. When he writes a story he believes in - even if I don't believe in it - I'm going to shoot the movie the way George envisaged it.
"I'll add my own touches, I'll bring my own cast in, I'll shoot the way I want to shoot it, but I will always defer to George as the storyteller of the Indy series. I will never fight him on that."

Steven, that is all fine.  You are excused...from nothing.  Shame on you.  Big finger of shame!  A friend needed you and you threw your hands in the air and walked away.   Would Thelma step out of the car when Louise wanted to go on a one way trip, would Lewis tell Clark he did not feel like walking today, would Piglet not help Pooh find the honey?  Hell no.  Friends stick by their friends.  I once wanted to invest all my high school graduation money into a converting my old Mercury Cougar into a convertible, my friends talked me out of it.  So, I used the money to buy a timeless media device, a Sony Discman.  (Who doesn't have one of those on their belt clips?)  That is what friends are for.

Spielberg also admitted during the interview that a new Indiana Jones was in the works.  Let's just hope Steve can find it in himself to man up and tell George what the truth - otherwise we may be watching Indiana Jones and the Temple of Howard the Duck.