While holiday classics such as “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Miracle on 34th Street” seem to come up in regular conversation every December, I figured it’d be worthwhile to bring up the lesser mentioned Thanksgiving movies that’d be good for viewing THIS month!
According to an article from Forbes, here are the top five Thanksgiving movies for your November viewing enjoyment:
5. “Grumpy Old Men“ — The chemistry, comedy, and heart of this movie earn it the number 5 spot on the list, good for the whole family to enjoy.
4. “The Ice Storm” - A darker option, about dysfunctional families and infidelity during the holiday season, this excellent film takes the number 4 spot on the list.
3. “Hannah and Her Sisters” - Coming in at number 3 is this Woody Allen film that’s actually set mostly in the time between two Thanksgivings. It remains one of Allen’s best films.
2. “Home for the Holidays” - The penultimate Thanksgiving film, it’s a great heartfelt family comedy and drama with wonderful performances that comes in at number 2 on the list only because the number 1 film is just about perfect…
1. “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles” – This is the reigning champ of Thanksgiving movies, and with good reason. Constantly hilarious, and featuring solid performances, it turns out to also have a great deal more emotional depth than you expect.
Don’t be afraid… we won’t hurt your wallet. Check out the hauntingly great selection of blu-ray movies on sale right now for Halloween! Find scares galore with over 100 gory, bloody, and disgusting movies in hi-def on blu-ray. Want Zombies? Or vampires? Or even ghosts? You name it…it’s here!
It’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow, a day of love, romance and happy endings… except when it’s not.
I (Alex) and Journey sit down to discuss some movies that are the opposite of the standard RomComs that people turn to for their Valentines Day entertainment. We focus on betrayals, bittersweet endings, unrequited love and even murder. If you’re alone this Valentine’s Day or if you and your SO have odd tastes and enjoy the darker side listen in and check out our Anti-Valentines Day picks.
Correction- The bulk of “The Age Of Innocence” takes place in New York, and not in England as I stated.
“Even winter bleak has charms to me,” wrote Robert Burns. Seems like most filmmakers scribbled that memorable line of verse on a post-it note a long time ago. Snow-covered vistas are an irresistible visual, capably employed by directors from the Coen Brothers to Sam Raimi to Christopher Nolan to John Carpenter. Any movie set in a frosty environment has an automatic in with me, and one of my favorites is the little-seen 1987 thriller Dead Of Winter.
Mary Steenburgen plays an actress who is lured to a remote, snow-bound mansion, only to discover that she’s become ensnared in a lethal game of blackmail. Shrill and largely helpless at first, she slowly turns the tables on her captors, outwitting them using her skills as a performer. This throwback thriller (loosely based on the 1945 film My Name Is Julia Ross) plays like a feature-length version of Where’s Waldo for cinephiles: spot all the Hitchcock references! Some are obvious (shrieking violins as a knife plunges), but some are quite subtle (a tall glass of milk on a platter, as per Suspicion). Roddy McDowall steals the show as the droll, effete, eccentric manservant. Meanwhile, the underrated Jan Rubes (so paternally benevolent in Witness) is deliciously evil in a hammy villain role, the sinuous tones of every syllable he speaks suggesting guile and charm in equal measures.
The movie nicely conveys the chill of winter, with whistling windstorms, snowglobe-style visuals and a sparse piano-based score. But the entertaining tone makes the film a good deal less depressing than some of the other movies that utilize similar environments (downers like Fargo,A Simple Plan, et cetera, which used barren settings to mirror the bleak desperation of their characters). Thematically, it plays much in the same key as Rob Reiner’s Misery– a violent but highly diverting cold-weather chiller.
So, when the mercury dips and you decide to stay in for the night, check out Dead Of Winter. A cup of hot chocolate in hand will help, too (just don’t let Roddy McDowall prepare it – trust me on this one).
Ever since Sofia Coppola released The Virgin Suicides in 1999, she has been one of the most consistently talked about directors in the world of independent cinema. Arguably the most prominent female director of her generation, her films incorporate a variety of personalities and span from 18th century France to 21st century America, all while retaining a signature style that remains all her own. From the rococo Versailles of Marie Antoinette to the dreamlike 1970s Michigan of the Lisbon sisters, technicolor modern day Tokyo and Hollywood’s lush Chateau Marmont, her atmospheres are just as much a part of the films as the characters themselves. For the fourth installment of Team Video’s Directors Series, Allan and Nicole discuss a mutual favorite and her impressive body of work. Download, stream or listen via iTunes.
March is kind of a bummer, isn’t it? I mean, its great in a lot of ways, don’t get me wrong. Saint Patrick’s Day is nice (if you’re Irish and/or like drinking). Sometimes Easter is in March (and if not, April is by then fast approaching). The weather isn’t yet the wretched heat of summer and no longer the brutal chill of winter. But still, its not yet summer vacation (for you students) nor is it time for that much-needed string of holidays (Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day) for those lucky enough to work in an office. Sometimes the box office can be a bit dull too, given the lull between the end of Oscar season and the start of the big summer blockbusters. For this reason and more, I present you with…
If you haven’t read the book yet, I am not going to talk myself blue in the face trying to convince you why you should. I’ve done that to enough of my friends and really, they are the ones missing out, so I’ll just save myself the effort from now on. It’s sort of like trying to get someone to start watching Doctor Who. You can drive yourself crazy talking it up for months, knowing how much the other person would love it if they just took a break from watching garbage like Grey’s Anatomy to watch an episode or two, eventually just trying not to write them off completely for ignoring your well-intentioned harassment. Life is too short though, and you’re better off just letting people do their own (stupid) thing.
2. The trailer.
Guess what? The trailer looks awesome. If you don’t agree with me, you probably didn’t read the book yet. See above.
3. The soundtrack.
Although only a few artists/songs have been announced, this is already looking like a promising collection so far, boasting tracks from Arcade Fire, The Decemberists, and Taylor Swift (don’t hate).
So far, I have only seen her in X-Men: First Class, but her performance in that was pretty excellent. She certainly has the outside look of Katniss down, judging by the movie art and the trailers. Here’s hoping she gets at what’s beneath the surface as well.
The whole movie could be a complete wreck (which I doubt) but it would still be worth seeing for this alone. When I was reading the book, I had no knowledge of the casting choices, so I didn’t picture the characters as any actors in particular. Once I finished the book and began to look up everything I could about the upcoming film, learning that Woody Harrelson would be playing Haymitch Abernathy was like being hit with a ton of bricks (in a good way). Not only is he one of my favorite actors, but he is flat out perfect for the role.
A movie came out that lead me to think about the complexity of gender identity and the reasons people choose to dress, act and present themselves a certain way. So today I wanted to explore some of these titles and the different things they say.
The movie that started me thinking about this is Albert Nobbs starring Glenn Close: a standout movie about a woman putting herself in the place of a man where many movies as a means to an end. Becoming a male, is a way to a new life.
Nobbs is a woman in 19th century Ireland who after a horrific event in her young years, decides that she’d be able to move in the world better if she acted and dressed as a man.Of course nothing is that easy, and trying to create a life as a man twists and alters the way Albert can see the world and the options she has reach his ultimate goal. There isn’t much to say without totally ruining the movie except it’s beautiful, sweet, touching and a little sad.
To carry on the dramatic theme there are titles like Boys Don’t Cry, where a woman feels deep down that she, should be a he and does everything in his power to make the body match the mind. It’s a tragic story based on the real story of Brandon Teena (The Brandon Teena Story), a male to female transsexual who was brutally murdered for being who he was.
Now, not all movies about the subject of being free to be who you are, are tales of sorrow. There are a number of comedies that deal with this idea and one of the most well known is The Birdcage the movie adaptation of the French play La Cage aux Folles (Which was turned into a Broadway musical in 1983). Starring Nathan Lane and Robin Williams as the delightful, very openly gay, couple who are the fathers of the handsome young Val, who has just become engaged. Unfortunately the woman he loves is the daughter of an ultra-conservative politician and he wants his flamboyant fathers to tone it down for a visit by his future in-laws. Hilarity follows and of course a change of heart by everyone involved and acceptance is the name of the game.
Another well known comedy is To Wong Foo, Thanks For Everything! – Julie Newmarstarring Patrick Swayze, John Leguizamo and Wesley Snipes as three wild drag queens on the road to to the biggest Drag beauty pagent in the country. When their car breaks down in the middle of no-where they’re faced with small town ideas, small town people and the chance and style to change the lives of everyone they meet.
Now, to switch gears to documentaries, one of the most interesting is called Venus Boyz which focuses on a group of women who are exploring what it is like to dress like men and present themselves in that way. It delves into their reasons, their personal lives and their explorations in what some of the most subtle differences between men and women are when you’ve seen it from both sides.
A totally fun title is Pageant which follows a group of men who are trying to win the title of Miss Gay America an underground female impersonator (aka Drag queen) competition. It has interviews with the competitors, families and friends sharing what motivates these men to go against convention and shine as who they are.
And lastly I’ve got a documentary that is all about drag (both men and women) and it’s history in performances. They talk about everything from Norman Bates to Frank-n-Furter in Rocky Horror, Divine in Hairspray and even Gwyneth Paltrow in Shakespeare In Love. Ladies Or Gentlemen is a fun look at the history and the meaning behind some of the best gender-bending roles in modern movies.
Director Terence Young was once asked what the three main ingredients to Dr. No’s success were. The British filmmaker didn’t hesitate: “Sean Connery, Sean Connery, Sean Connery.”
When I think of Star Trek: The Next Generation, now spruced up on Blu-ray, my thoughts are much the same. “Patrick Stewart, Patrick Stewart, Patrick Stewart.” Just when you begin to be distracted by the claustrophic sets, soap-opera acting, and sometimes trite moralizing, on comes Patrick Stewart, and you remember what makes the series so great.
Like several other British actors of his generation (most notably Anthony Hopkins), he is able to combine the emotional authenticity and immediacy of a Hoffman or De Niro with the crisp diction and mechanics of an Olivier. The stage-bred Yorkshireman was not an intuitive choice for the French captain Jean-Luc Picard, but he makes the role his own. Dispensing with any attempt at a Gallic accent, Stewart plays it straight, and is convincing even when the dialogue he must spout is less than scintillating. At every turn, he projects a humanity, intelligence, charm and class that makes the character one of the very finest in the Trek universe.
But perhaps I am not giving the show its proper due in focusing on its one strongest element only. In fact, there is much to enjoy. The show is always concerned with thought-provoking ideas, from the nature of the human experience to the puzzles of language (sometimes clumsily explored; the immensely imaginative creator Gene Roddenberry was never well-versed in subtlety). Moreover, Brent Spiner’s android character Data is paradoxically one of the show’s most relatable characters, seeking with each episode to understand and become more like his human crewmates. The recurring villains are well-developed and suitably threatening in unique ways – John De Lancie’s Q is playful, impish and often quite funny even as he menaces the Enterprise; the Borg are relentless, mechanistic and frightening in their threat to eliminate individuality. Even Roddenberry’s decision to re-use the Star Trek: The Motion Picture theme, with its strident, perfectly pitched evocation of a starship reaching warp speed, enhances the atmosphere wonderfully.
These elements tend to overshadow the occasional black-hole of an episode (“Shades of Gray”, anyone?) and the inherent corniness of some of Trek‘s signature conceits (the Dust Buster ray guns, pajama uniforms, et cetera).
Some of the effects are dated by today’s standards, and the show has never had the same bright visual dazzle that the TNG films had. Paramount has sought to rectify this by rebuilding each episode from the original film elements (transferred to video for original broadcast) and adding all-new computer effects.
The new Blu-ray sampler, an appetizer for the complete sets that Paramount plans to release, contains four episodes: the two-part pilot “Encounter at Farpoint”; the emotionally-tinged, moving “Inner Light”; and the Worf-centric “Sins of the Father.”
I think I’ve made it clear that I am a fan of The Muppets, so it would make sense that I would be excited to find out that The Muppets latest movie, also called The Muppets (Muppet, Muppet, Muppet, Muppet. Just repeats over and over!) was coming out on DVD and blu-ray and you know what? I am.
On March 20, 2012 (just before my birthday! They did that on purpose I’m sure) this great family comedy is going to be available on Blu-Ray and DVD in a variety of forms to suit everyone’s Muppety needs.
By far the most inclusive version comes in the form of the “Wocka-Wocka Value Pack” which includes the blu-ray and dvd versions and a digital copy. Along with tons of extras. The one that caught my eye is an “intermission” on the blu-ray where the Muppets take over the screen when the movie is paused! It also includes 8 deleted scenes, Commentary with Jason Segal, James Boblin and Nicholas Stoller and the awesome theatrical spoof trailers and much more.
See a choice for everyone! Whether you want everything that is Muppets, to you just want to watch the movie again. You can get exactly what you’re looking for. So get a copy and join the Muppets back at the fabulous Muppet Theater.