Thursday, April 17, 2014
All I want out of life is to salsa dance with Nick Frost, and this movie blessed me with this beautiful gift.
I can already envision my future dreams.
Frost and I are dancing to hot, salsa music. Both feeling the "fire in our heels..."
Then he dips me, and we get married.
This has nothing to do with the film, but my imagination runs rampant when I watch films with some of my favorite people in them.
I hate saying this, but I'm extremely biased for this film. I'm a HUGE Nick Frost fan. The man's a great actor, and it was a pleasure getting to see him in the spotlight. I'm always a sucker for the duo of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, but I thoroughly enjoyed seeing him as the main protagonist. He was funny, he was heartfelt, and he has a rockin' Al Pacino impression. I'm sold.
Even though I am biased, I understand Cuban Fury was not the best comedy in the world. I get it. But I had so much fun with the film.
And no one will take that away from me.
My inner geek and outer geek were screaming with delight the whole time.
Now, on casting alone, you should see this film.
Nick Frost, Chris O'Dowd, Rashida Jones, and Ian McShane.
C'MON. Comedy gold. Don't get me wrong: cast comedy gold, not writing.
With, if I do say so myself, a bad ass cameo.
I love each of those actors for their own nerdy reasons.
Naturally, I had some problems with the film. Some of the jokes landed flat, Chris O'Dowd was just there to be a dick (to be fair, his purpose in the film was to just be a big ol' dick but I at least wanted some charm), they over killed it with fat jokes, I wasn't able to hear one of the funniest characters in the whole film half the time either because of the audience or his accent, the climax was bland and needed to be more poignant, and there are some goofs here and there.
But all in all, I took the film for what it was. It was there for the audience to just have a good time.
Will regular people remember this film? Probably not.
But I will.
It was almost made for undying fans of Nick Frost, like my friends and I.
The writing is funky, and at times stale, but a movie goer must learn to have fun.
I also had the pleasure to sit in front of people who actually partake in salsa and apparently they put in some famous salsa dancers so....
My advice too you? Don't listen to those who are snarky towards Cuban Fury. Take this film for what it is. A Goofy Movie.
No, not the movie about Goofy from 1995.
Sorry, there's no "Leaning Tower of Cheesa."
But take it as a silly film. Take your boo thang out if you guys are bored and watch this movie. Who knows? You might actually get inspired and have "fire in your heels" also.
And Nick Frost fans, do not miss this film. There is a special surprise.
Well, just stay off IMDB, and it will stay a surprise.
Live Long and Prosper Always,
She Geek Inc. Productions
I saw the first one by myself and I didn't laugh more than once. I will say seeing a comedy with an audience in a theater does make it better, just a tad. I will keep this short because I felt neutral about this movie. In some parts, I was crying laughing and in some parts, the jokes fell flat. That's essentially what every comedy is. When you watch a comedy you will either laugh or sit there uncomfortably. Unfortunately, I sat there uncomfortably more than I laughed. This is more of a horror comedy than a spoof movie, oddly enough. It had references and actual, verbatim, scenes from other horror movies but the tone felt more horror comedy and to me, thats actually better than a straight spoof movie. Marlon Wayans is back and he has always made me laugh even if his jokes are flat. He will always have a funny presence. Everyone does fine in the movie and it's paced pretty well at around ninety minutes. It's entertaining enough to where you won't be checking your phone for the time, but it was more miss than hit when it came to jokes and overall humor. It's ok to skip this one. 5/10
(Review by Chase Lee)
Roundtable interview with Marlon Wayan by Chase Lee
This is one of the most visceral, haunting movie experiences I have had in awhile. I was so entranced at everything on the screen and couldn't take my eyes off of it. Right off the bat, I have to say this film isn't for everyone. If you see a lot of mainstream movies, see only five movies a year or don't really care for artsy films, this film is definitely not for you. However if you are a film buff you will love this movie. Director Jonathan Glazer constructs a horror, sci-fi and a deep, interesting look on humanity kind of film and I really dug it. To the core of the movie, it is about humanity and how intense, realistic and disturbing it is. Scarlett Johannson kills it in this role and I think it's the best role she has done. Even though she was an actual alien, she progressed as a character through all of the human emotions. It was incredible to watch her especially at the very end. The cinematography is beautiful and absolutely breathtaking in some shots. The colors are rich and the camera movements are smooth to enhance this triply experience. One of the my favorite directors is Stanley Kubrick and this film had Kubrick cinematography all over it. Kubrick must be a role model for Glazer because it reminded me of a very well done Kubrick movie. Glazer interprets things through gorgeous cinematography and symbolism, all in all, its a visual treat. Now here is where it gets tricky for my score. The movie is only an hour and forty minutes long but it does feel a lot longer in some places. This is a slow movie and I love slow movies but there were a couple scenes that could have been cut a little shorter. That's seriously my only complaint. The music is also very fitting as it sounds like bad, out of tune and very good music all at once. It just adds to this triply experience. This is a disturbing realistic look on humanity, Scarlett is breathtaking in this, cinematography to wet any film buffs appetite and music sets the mood for what will be a unique movie experience. It's tied for my favorite movie of the year. 9/10
(Review by Chase Lee)
Cinematographer of Nolan's The Dark Knight and Inception Wally Pfister, makes his first directorial feature full of competent actors and visual effects in what the trailer promises to be an exciting concept. First script for screenwriter Jack Paglen touches on some interesting ideas of technology vs. humans but unfortunately it's bogged down, muddled and often times boring.
Johnny Depp has been stuck in some really lousy movies of late, and this film is not going to help. This time playing an almost normal human being for at least the beginning of the movie as Dr. Will Caster an artificial intelligence researcher. He and his fellow academic wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) are presenting a seminar of their work which will hopefully improve lives and save the planet. Some neo-Luddite radicals in the audience shoot Dr. Caster with a bullet that is radioactive. Will only has a few weeks to live. Evelyn and their best friend Max Waters (Paul Bettany) work on mapping Will's mind and uploading it to a computer. It had worked on monkey of a researcher who had also mysteriously died.
Agent Buchanan (Cillian Murphy) and A.I. Scientist Joseph Tagger (Morgan Freeman) are investigating the radicals lead by Bree (Kate Mara), peroxide blond with black eyeliner looking grim and serious. They believe that too much technology will ruin the world. They kidnap Max and try to turn him to their cause. After all they were influenced by his writings that also questioned the conflict of technology and human individuality. Meanwhile Will's brain, now uploaded to a computer becomes sentient and wants to be connected to the Internet. Once online, the demand for more power requires Evelyn to use the millions of dollars that he transferred to their account to build a facility in the middle of a small desert town fueled by hundreds of solar panels.
Very quickly Will the A.I. has managed to complete his work on nano technology and it's used to not only cure people, but it also connects them to him and gives them incredible strength making them hybrids . Evelyn is getting a little freaked so when Tagger slips her a note telling her to run, she begins to see that her former husband is getting a little out of hand. And like most movies that deal with errant computer programs, the best way to defeat them is a virus! However the side effect would be that the whole world wide web will also be kaput. The future as we are shown in the beginning of the movie is a world without power.
Like in Terminator when Skynet takes over the world, this film could have used a Terminator to come from the future and save this one.
(Review by reesa)
Disneynature's annual Earth Day documentary presents Bears this time around. Directors Alastair Fothergill and Keith Scholey who also did Chimpanzee and African Cats once more offer fascinating and stunning visuals while anthropomorphizing the animals with human names and motivations. Really, who doesn't like bears? They seem sweet, cuddly and playful. Every kid has at least one stuffed bear at some point in their life. Narrated by John C. Reilly who gives a light and cheerful tone to the adventures of a mama bear and her two cubs of their first year.
Reilly gives names to the mama as Sky and her cubs born during the winter hibernation, which for the child audience sake are called Amber and Scout. The close intimate shots inside their den of the new born cubs is quite an incredible feat from the filmmakers. As the winter ends, it's time for the bears to migrate to the coast to eat the 90 pounds of fish a day to store up for the next long sleep. Filmed at the Katmai National Park in Alaska, the scenery and mountain vistas remind us that these natural wonders should be preserved and not exploited. There are some great footage of an avalanche barrelling down the mountain moving 80 miles per hour.
The film gives personality and voice to the playful cubs as they frolic and discover their new world. We also see how large they grow during their trek down the mountain to the mud flats along the rivers. The bears wait for the salmon to come for their own annual migration from the ocean to the river mouth as they return to the spawning grounds. Mama Sky has to keep her cubs safe from the big male bears who are hungry for anything including some tasty cubs. She moves them to familiar spots that she was once brought by her own mother for safety and for clams and mussels that can be found during the low tides. We are also shown as bears move rocks to find the rock eels under them that the bears also feast upon.
Salmon after travelling from the ocean must wait until they acclimate themselves to the fresh water river mouths. The bears waiting for their arrival feed on them until they eventually move upstream. Eventually they will fight against the currents and waterfalls to where they were hatched guided by their olfactory senses that can be 30 miles from the ocean. Reilly tells us that this is the Golden Pond where Sky and cubs must travel. It's taken weeks to get there and mother bear is noticeably thinner as she is nursing her cubs along the way. She needs to eat to survive through the 6 month hibernation while feeding her babies. The cubs will stay with her for 2 years.
There are some tough moments for the little viewers as the film shows some crisis moments of one of the cubs stranded as the tide comes rises. Or when the big male bear fights the mother then goes after one of cubs. They are also threatened by a wolf. For once, Disney doesn't kill off the mom like it does for their animated stories for the sake of drama. In fact the mother is made even more heroic as she guides her young ones through their first year before heading back to their winter's den in the snow covered mountains. More for Mother's Day than Earth Day. Stay and watch the behind the scenes shots during the credits.
(Review by reesa)
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
The USA Film Festival announces
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
44th Annual USA Film Festival
April 22 - 27, 2014
DALLAS – The USA Film Festival announces the schedule of events for the 44th Annual USA Film
Festival, April 22 - 27, 2014. Actor, author and native Dallasite Stephen Tobolowsky returns to his
home town (and the USA Film Festival) to host the program. All programs will be held at the
Angelika Film Center, 5321 E. Mockingbird Lane, Dallas, Texas. Advance tickets are available
exclusively through Ticketmaster beginning April 10, 2014.
This year’s program highlights include restored classics presented on the big screen:
- 60th anniversary presentation of the creature classic, Creature From the Black Lagoon in 3D (restored digital print)
with star Julie Adams in attendance; Hosted by film noir scholar Foster Hirsch
- Exclusive regional screening of Orson Welles’ Othello (restored digital print)
- Exclusive regional screening of Il Sorpasso (restored digital print)
Tributes to Master Artists:
-- Salute to actor Ed Harris with screening of writer/director Michael Berry’s new film Frontera (The Ed Harris
Tribute will include a film clip compilation program hosted by actor/director Charles Haid)
-- Salute to actor Carol Kane with screening of her new film Clutter (The Carol Kane Tribute will include a film clip
-- Salute to actor Fionnula Flanagan with screenings of two of her new films Tasting Menu and Life’s a Breeze
-- Salute to actor Linda Gray (The Linda Gray Tribute will include a film clip compilation and on-stage conversation
hosted by FOX4 news anchor Clarice Tinsley; Honorary Chairman for the evening is Caroline Rose Hunt)
-- Salute to actor Morgan Fairchild (The Morgan Fairchild Tribute will include a film clip compilation and on-stage
conversation hosted by fellow native Dallasite and actor Stephen Tobolowsky and actor/producer Corbin Bernsen.
The Festival will also reveal a sneak peek of footage from the trio’s new film project.)
-- Salute to actor Peter Riegert with screening of new short film The Walk.
Additional program highlights include:
--Actor/writer/director John Turturro will present his new film Fading Gigolo
--Noted sound editor Mark Levinson will present his new documentary Particle Fever
--Academy Award®-winning sound editor Ron Judkins will present his film Finding Neighbors
--Superstar wine expert Charlie Arturaolo will present the new film El Camino Del Vino (“The Ways of Wine”) in
which he stars
--36th annual National Short Film & Video Competition (an Academy-qualified program); the 2014 National Jury
includes: writer/producer Paul Marcarelli; actor/writer/director Catherine Dent; actor/writer/director Christina
Beck; actor/director/producer Charles Haid; and actor/writer Elisabeth Harmon
--Stephen Tobolowsky hosts a free program of narrative short films and filmmakers (featuring several actors making
their short film debuts, including Tim Guinee with The One Armed Man, Henry Ian Cusick with Dress, and Eden
Sher with The Suitcase); Several additional short film compilation programs will be presented (Narrative,
Nonfiction, Student, Animation) at no admission cost
--Community Showcase programs featuring short films with ties to Texas (including a special nod to Dallas actor
Larry Jack Dotson) and the works of area students
TICKET & SCHEDULE INFORMATION
Tickets for most programs are $10.
There are also several FREE admission programs noted in the schedule.
Advance tickets will be available via Ticketmaster beginning April 10th at 10am.
Tickets by telephone – 214-631-2787
Tickets online – www.ticketmaster.com
http://www.ticketmaster.com/promo/7cj2d2 (link will activate on 4/10/14 at 10:00am)
A complete schedule of all Festival events may be obtained by calling the Festival office at 214-821-FILM or may
be viewed online at www.usafilmfestival.com
Printed schedules are also available for pick up at the Angelika Film Center Dallas.
Sponsors of the 44th Annual USA Film Festival include Dave Perry-Miller & Associates, Gaedeke Group, AXS.TV,
Suddenlink Communications, Dallas Film Commission, Texas Film Commission, Magnolia Pictures On Demand,
HDNet Movies, ViewPoint Bank, Sidley Austin LLP, HBO, Jackson Walker LLP, Alford Media Services and
Ticketmaster. The USA Film Festival is supported in part by the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs. This
program is supported in part by a grant from the Texas Commission on the Arts.
ABOUT THE USA FILM FESTIVAL
A year-round film festival featuring 50 days of programs
The USA Film Festival is a 44-year-old Dallas-based 501c3 non-profit organization dedicated to the recognition and
promotion of excellence in the film and video arts. Year-round events include KidFilm®; an Academy-qualified
National Short Film Competition; monthly screenings; special programs and premieres; and the USA Film Festival,
held each spring. Throughout the year, the Festival presents a variety of membership, exhibition, educational, and
cultural programs designed to bring together audiences and filmmakers for a “live cinema” experience.
Posted by Dallas Movie Screenings at 7:26 PM Labels: 44th Annual USA Film Festival Announces Schedule of Events
As my third child prepares to graduate from college (all three debt free due to scholarships, thank goodness), the majority of college students are drowning in debt. The question addressed in this mini-doc, written and directed by David Esfeh is “ Is incurring heavy debt worth the cost of a college education?” Banks can get loans for ¾ of a percent while our students are paying 7 percent or more on their loans. So why are our banks allowed to make money while our country’s future professionals are drowning?
The doc is chock full of statistics, gloom and doom and it is time for our country to wake up and smell the coffee. This is a current impending crisis (interest rates doubling) and a long term crisis (relieving the next generation from a great burden of debt). The cost of higher education is discouraging many of our most promising students from pursing an undergraduate or graduate degree. 53 percent of recent college graduates are unemployed or underemployed. 85 percent of recent graduates, in the last four years, have moved home They are not buying houses or starting businesses, and not contributing to or growing the economy. In 10 years’ time, student debt has quadrupled from 250 billion to 1 trillion. And in this day, anyone can get the loans while colleges have no incentive to keep costs down and have skyrocketed since 2002. I have personally seen a year’s expenses at a state college in Texas go from $13,750 in 2003 to $22, 500 in 2010. We are educating students for jobs that no longer exist and fewer middle class jobs exist. The wages are stagnant and have been for 20 years. Another statistic listed is that since 1980, the average income has increased 8 percent while college costs have increased 240 percent. The student loan debt is a bubble preparing to burst for half of a student debtors are deferred delinquent of in default. It is my personal feeling that each and every parent preparing to send a child to college, in the next 5-7 years, view this documentary to try to prepare themselves and their students for the realities they face. Few solutions are offered here but it is intended as a giant wake up call to the financial crisis our young people are facing.
(Review by Cheryl Wurtz)