Posts tagged Movies


Ebert’s original review of Halloween

Just saw this on Mr. Ebert’s Twitter feed. Really cool to see this review from back in the day.

Answer This! Preview

I was fortunate enough to get tickets to a screening of Christopher Gorham’s new film “Answer This” last Friday at the Michigan Theater in beautiful downtown Ann Arbor, and thought I would give you guys a sneak peak!

Written/Directed/Produced by Ann Arbor natives the Farrah Brothers–Mike, John, and Chris–“Answer This!” tells a story about a stalled Michigan University academic named Paul (Gorham). After many years of pursing a Phd. in English Lit, Paul is faced with the impending doom that is graduation. Paul’s father, Dr. Elliot Tarson–played by real-life beloved U-M retired English Lit Prof. Ralph Williams–is retiring, which means no more “free ride” for Paul. This sends Paul into a downward spiral, where he discovers the competitive world of Pub Trivia and freshman Naomi–played by Arielle Kebbel.

Like any father, Dr. Tarson has always wanted the best for his son, and using the power that he has garnered over the years working at U-M–he has created a sort of “academic paradise” for Paul. His creation of the easiest path possible for Paul to follow in his footsteps and eventually become his successor at the University means that Paul has never really faced any kind of academic hardship. He’s always succeeded in all things at U-M because of who his father is–like becoming a TA for Dr. Tarson despite not meeting the GPA requirement, and also being excepted into U-M’s Graduate Program.

But the ride is about to end when Paul learns that his father is going to retire after the school year ends–which means it’s time for Paul to finish his doctorate thesis, grow up a little, and use the tools and advantages that his father has given him to make a life of his own….just so long as that life is one of Dr. Tarson II, renowned English Lit Prof. at U-M.

You can kind of guess where the plot goes from there. Paul has loved the game of Trivial Pursuit since he was very young. He and his friend, James (Nelson Franklin) gather regularly and play against one another with Paul’s edition of the game that he has had since he was six. After learning of his father’s retirement, Paul meets James at their local pub, they get drunk, enter into a trivia contest, hilarity ensues. He uses training for the championship and the cute co-ed Naomi (Kebbel)–who is one of his students, and who he meets for the first time when she asks him for directions to Dr. Tarson’s class–as distractions for what Paul feels is his inevitable failure at living up to his father’s standards, and filling Dr. Tarson’s gigantic shoes.

What struck me first about this movie was not the sometimes predictable, but heartwarming, hilarious plot–rather, this is a movie about Ann Arbor, that was filmed in Ann Arbor, that uses many locals from Ann Arbor, that MAY not be appealing if you don’t live/know anything about Ann Arbor.
For instance, most of the cheering from the audience happened NOT when Chris & Arielle stood up and said “Go BLUE!” before the film (There was a game the following Saturday against bitter rivals Michigan State–FYI, MSU WONGO GREEN!) but instead when Ralph Williams came on stage and gave a few words before the film began or when some of the well-known locales were shown through out the movie–the cube, Nickels Arcade, Ashley’s, the Rackham Building, U-M’s graduate library, the Ingalls Mall fountain, etc.

I like this movie–after a hard couple of years, Michigan needs this. We need to get the message out that we’re a great place to shoot films, etc., but I’m afraid it won’t be as welcomed when it hits the festival circuit as it was in Ann Arbor.

My favorite character–and the person who saved this movie for me–is ICE, played by Evan Jones. Without giving too much away, Ice enters the story after Paul and James realize that they know NOTHING about sports. So Paul suggests they contact his Friend Izzy “Ice” Dasselway because he was the best kickball player in the forth grade, and was the biggest jock in Paul’s class. So–he should know a lot about all things sports related……..right?

Overall–I give this movie 3 out of 5 stars. Some of the dialog is cheesy, and the plot is nothing new, but I think/hope if you grew up in a “University” town–or any small town for that matter–you’ll get this movie. You can substitute your favorite teacher in High School for Ralph Williams, and Ann Arbor for your favorite town–and I think that’s part of the charm of “Answer This!”.


The Apollo Awards: Neat Idea or Cashing In On Nerd Culture

Let’s have a discussion. I have to thank one of my Twitter followers (@dr_lindyke) for inspiring this blog post.

Earlier this morning on Geeky Pleasures, I posted the following press release. Click the clip below or you will be a wee bit lost on this topic.

Not receiving any feedback, I asked the following question on Twitter:

Which spawned this discussion (if you are viewing this in an RSS reader, you may need to visit the site to read the discussion):
<a href=””>Am I the only 1 excited RE announcement of The Apollo – Twitter conversation</a>
So let me ask you the same questions. Do you think it is neat that geeks and nerds get to nominate and vote for their favourite SciFi and Fantasy films and television or do you think it is just another popularity contest?

Do you see it as geeks/nerds choosing what they actually like without mainstream telling them what is or is not cool or do you think it is profit grab?

Do you like this idea or does it bother you?

Do you think these are awards are filled with irony due to popularity factor and as geeks and nerds we shouldn’t care about that?

What other issues do you see with this, if any?

What do you think?

Review: It’s Kind of a Funny Story

Craig (Keir Gilchrist) wakes one Sunday morning with the strong desire to take his own life. Instead, he hops on his bike and navigates through the streets of New York to get to the nearest hospital. He is admitted to 3 North, the adult lockdown wing and suddenly feels that his problems aren’t so bad.

He tries to leave but is notified that there is a five day minimum for psych evals and he has been admitted at the behest of a doctor (Aasif Mandvi). Unhappy with the situation, he decides to make the best of it. He takes the time to reflect on his depression and figure out how to bring some happiness into his life.

During his stay he is taken under the wing of Bobby (Zach Galifinakis), a fellow patient who is anxious about being accepted into a group home after the end of his allowed time on the psych wing. Craig meets Noelle (Emma Roberts), a fellow teen who is struggling with depression.

The movie takes place more in Craig’s head than in reality. It was tragically beautiful. Scenarios ran through his head that were so fanciful, when something outrageous was happening, I was unsure if it was something conjured up in his head. There was, however, this one sequence where Craig is introduced to his artistic side and you are taken through an illustration.

For the rest of this review, please visit my site

A Geek Girl’s Mecca

X Files
Battlestar Galactica

Stargates series
Outer Limits
What do all of those shows have in common?
I’m sure you can think of a few, but wait there’s more, perhaps something similar to…
X-Men series
Fantastic Four series
I Robot
The Neverending Story
Blade series
Twilight series (well most of it)
Night at the Museum
Rocky IV
Aliens vs Predator
Ok ok… I know you all get it by now. All of these films and TV shows have been filmed in beautiful British Columbia. As a fan girl I get an immense amount of pride spotting BC and especially Vancouver landmarks in the movies so many people love.
Quite recently I watched the last bit of “Neverending Story” and for the first time fully realized that the shot was coming in from North Vancouver
My heart was very very happy indeed.
It goes beyond the little things of noticing a specific location in a movie or TV show that you watch. It’s the personal interactions you have with the filming. One of my favourite memories is watching a protest scene with a fireball at the end. The office I was sitting in was about a block away (on the 11th floor of the building below on the left side) but all day I could hear.
Photo by me – the monument is important
“Rah rah rah”
Looking out the window I see people shaking signs
and fists in the air in a very organized manner
“Rah rah rah”
Wooooooooosh – Big fireball shooting up into the sky
Exciting to see the first time, and as the day went on the fireball got bigger and bigger and bigger. I could quite literally feel the heat from it if I faced the windows. I was so excited. I knew it was for the most recent X-Men after a quick Google search and could not wait to see it on film. I have to admit I was a bit let down once I realized how little of that fireball we actually got to see, but I can’t help but smile. I saw that being filmed! I was there (sorta); I got to see what was happening!
Another favourite moment was when I was watching X-Files: I Want to Believe. That pivotal scene with Mulder and Scully in bed together, I literally sat up and went “Woah!” My curtains were the same material as their blanket, yeah that’s right those are my curtains in the middle image! Guess the set designers went shopping at the Army & Navy like I did.

I know – cool right?

I will admit I have been lazy with filming locations. If I had really wanted to (and with a vehicle rather than a bus pass) I could stake out many locations of films and television series alike. In fact quite recently I was taking our local rapid transit, Skytrain, over what I’m sure is a Smallville lot twice a day. And there are always notices in the local paper about what is filming around town. My friend just told me other day that he saw “Zane” from Eureka by his work. I saw a bunch of “Hellcats” by Canada Place while having appys with my mom and sister.
Sometimes it’s really obvious that what I’m watching was filmed locally. Especially when you see the same faces over and over again. Some sort of Canadian content law like we have on the radio? It’s fun though! And I doubt that I would feel the same way if I were living in NYC or LA where it’s commonplace as well. I think the difference is that Vancouver is made up to appear like all these other cities. To be able to pick out that the Golden Gate Bridge most think they are seeing, is actually the Lions Gate Bridge creates a feeling of pride to live in this beautiful city.
photo by me – Lions Gate Bridge
A few more of my fan-girl moments in brief:
An episode of Smallville where they didn’t bother to change the street sign for Burrard St. downtown.
The local buses I have spotted more than once on Fringe, particularly when they are meeting in front of this monument and the camera is spinning around the actors. That monument is actually right in front of the office building I was watching the X-Men scene from, you can see it in the photo.
Seeing the house from one of my favourite Outer Limits episodes, The SpiderKings, when leaving Horseshoe Bay on BC Ferries
An old friend from high school worked on the special effects make-up for Freddy vs Jason – he said “doing Freddy Krueger’s make-up was one of the best moments in my life”
Kevin Durand who was in X-Men Origins used to frequent the internet café I worked at, he’s such a sweetheart
Seeing the “NYC” subway stop that was recently in a Fringe episode. When I saw it wandering around downtown I didn’t know it would be on one of my favourite shows, then again it’s probably been used a lot.
And last but most definitely not least, watching the Winchester brothers’ race in a soapbox derby. The screen the camera is aiming at in the beginning of the video was where I was sitting, on the opposite side from the cameraman, so while I didn’t get to see them coming down the road I got a close up view of them on the screen! I was too excited to take pics of my own wanting to see those gorgeous demon hunters!

The list that I mentioned at the beginning is an incredibly small portion of all the movies and TV shows, which have been filmed in and around Vancouver. No matter what genre you’re interested in there’s sure to be some ‘local’ connection for a Vancouverite. Only one aspect of Vancouver being a “Geek Girl’s Mecca” – more to come!

The Social Network FTW

I was fortunate enough to go to a sneak preview of The Social Network last night. Of course the theater was packed and, not surprisingly, the majority of the people in the theater were from the “Facebook generation.” While I would consider myself part of that generation in theory (Facebook came out during my junior year of undergrad and University of Michigan was one of the earlier schools to get the program), I realized that the kids in the theater had actually grown up with Facebook. They were the kids that had access to Facebook once it went public and was no longer an exclusive networking site to colleges. A lot of them do not really know of a time before Facebook and that freaks me out.

I will start this review by stating that I hate Facebook. I use to love it, don’t get me wrong, but I have since realized a lot of my social insecurities/problems come from this site. For so long I spent hours on that site and, as a result, knew everything about everyone. That’s not always a good thing. People can easily fib and exaggerate and say things that make you think a little less of them. I love that Facebook allows me to keep in touch with people from high school and earlier that I would otherwise have probably never heard from again. However, Facebook was a time-suck and an obsession for awhile (on top of an excellent stalking tool which is not really a good thing) and now – not so much a fan.

This fact is important because it prevented me from really wanting to see this film. The only reason I went to this screening was because it was free and I figured that I should see this film eventually…and, I mean, who passes up a free film. Man, was I wrong. This film deserves all the hype. The writing is extremely well done (I mean, c’mon, Aaron Sorkin…who would have expected less?) and the acting is phenomenal. David Fincher once again rocks as a director (with one complaint from my boyfriend that I will get to later) and, despite all the teasing he gets, Justin Timberlake did a great job.

There isn’t really a way to “spoil” the film since we all kind of know what the end product of the film is but I will try to keep plot points to a minimum. FIrst off, the script. Aaron Sorkin has never really let me down, to be honest. Sports Night is one of my favorite TV shows of all time and, I mean, all I need to say is The West Wing. He’s had a few hiccups in his career but overall he is a master with wordplay. I had a slight problem with the beginning (after Zuckerberg created Facesmash) because I found myself confused with all the litigations they were showing at the same time. However, my boyfriend pointed out, that was kind of the point. We were meant to see from the get-go that Zuckerberg screwed a lot of people over in his rise to fame and his legal problems started early.

Acting. The best part of this movie is that the screenplay was brilliant and the actors were able to make it even better. Jesse Eisenberg owned the role of Mark Zuckerberg. I haven’t seen Zombieland (thus making me a horrible nerd) so I had very little experience with this actor but I can’t say a single negative thing about his performance. He was so good that in spite of the fact that Mark Zuckerberg is clearly an asshole and screwed over a lot of people, by the end, you understand him. At the very end of the film I didn’t think Zuckerberg was so much an asshole but rather, just socially inept. He clearly has/had no idea how to deal with people and was so motivated by the idea of being “cool” that he didn’t bother to learn. Obviously others can disagree but that is the brilliance of Eisenberg’s performance. It’s so good that, in the last scene, I was more fascinated with Zuckerberg than angry with him.

Wow this review is going to be long. Even better than Eisenberg was Andrew Garfield as Zuckerberg’s former business partner Eduardo. Garfield is set to play the new Peter Parker (in case you are as out of the loop as I am and did not know) and I have complete faith that he will rock it. He is far from just a pretty face. I have not seen a ton of young actors with the ability to bring tears to his eyes without crying and without it seeming forced. Rather, he just looked sad and disappointed and overwhelmed with emotion. By the end, it’s just amazing that this kid full of good will and kindness was best friends with Zuckerberg. You are devastated when Zuckerberg screws him over and just want to give him a hug :).

As for Justin Timberlake, that man makes me so angry. How can someone be that talented? It’s just not fair. Not only is he an excellent dancer, he has an amazing voice and is a very capable actor. He was not as fabulous as Garfield and Eisenberg but that would be kind of difficult to accomplish anyway. Nevertheless, he definitely held his own in the midst of these actors and, by the end, I was definitely not seeing him as “Justin Timberlake” but rather as Sean Parker, a truly messed up, confused man who had too much fame happen too early in life.

Finally, David Fincher. I love his work. I can’t really say much more than that. Zodiac is easily one of my favorite films (regardless of how long it is) and Se7en is a horror/thriller masterpiece as far as I’m concerned. A lot of the credit for the amazing acting must go to him because he was able to put together a cast that just made sense together. The one critique I have heard about this film is that the ending is similar to a lot of Fincher endings. It just…ends. There isn’t a clear or definite conclusion or a distinct moment where you knew the film was coming to an end. That being said, it is not like there can be a clear ending to this story as it is still occurring. We don’t know the final impact/ending to Facebook or Zuckerberg. We know that he is the youngest billionaire in the world and that Facebook is…well, Facebook. That is my answer to that criticism but I won’t argue that this critique is entirely invalid.

Honestly, I’m sure when I see this film again I will find a few more flaws but right now I am riding on the, wow…that film was a lot better than I expected it to be. The music by Trent Reznor was appropriate and awesome. The cinematography was beautiful. There weren’t a lot of girls in the story but, in reality, there aren’t a lot of girls in the actual story of Facebook anyway. There is a lot of humor and a good majority of the film had the entire theater laughing, in spite of the awkwardness of watching Zuckerberg screw everyone over. It is just a really strong, fun film, and that’s just awesome to see considering there haven’t been a ton of them out lately. One person did say they liked The Town more but I can’t respond to that because I haven’t seen it yet (although I’ve heard nothing but excellent things about Affleck’s directing). Anywho, I could say more but this is far too long as it is. I hope you enjoy the film when it comes out and please please come back and respond if you have things to criticize that I didn’t list. Regardless, anyone who has used Facebook at some point in their life should go see how this behemoth started and anyone who has been confused as to why Facebook is such a big deal should go see why, exactly, this social networking site is so important to our generation.

PS – The boys that played the Winklevoss brothers were also really well cast and did an amazing job but, again, way too long of a review already 🙂

Video Game & Movie Releases – October

Not to step on VGDoc87’s toes, I actually wanted to compile this list but cant access the blog from work >_< Note this isnt ALL releases as there are a lot of smaller titles, but I tried to grab the ones with bigger names or multiple platform releases. So in short, below is a list of upcoming movie and video game release dates to keep your eyes on, and wallets handy for. I’ll cover the remaining week of September along in this list. I’ll try to keep this up every month if people like it and would like me to. Video Games
Sept 28 – Borderlands Claptrap’s New Robot Revolution (exp) – PC/360/PS3
Sept 28 – Front Mission Evolved – PC/PS3
Sept 28 – Dead Rising 2 – PC/360/PS3
Sept 28 – Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light – PC/PS3
Sept 28 – Fifa 11 – PC/360/PS3/Wii
Sept 28 – Guitar Hero Warriors of Rock – 360/PS3/Wii
Sept 30 – Final Fantasy XIV – PC
Oct 05 – Castlevania Lords of Shadow – 360/PS3
Oct 05 – NBA 2k11 – PC/360/PS3/Wii/PS2/PSP
Oct 05 – Two Worlds 2 – PC/360/PS3
Oct 05 – Def Jam Rapstar – 360/PS3/Wii
Oct 05 – Final Fantasy the Heroes of Light – DS
Oct 05 – NBA Elite 11 – 360/PS3
Oct 06 – Comic Jumper – 360
Oct 12 – Lufia Curse of the Sinistrals – DS
Oct 12 – Everquest House of Thule (exp) – PC
Oct 12 – Lucha Libre AAA Heroes of the Ring – 360/PS3/Wii/PSP/DS
Oct 12 – Arcania : Gothic IV – PC/360/PS3
Oct 12 – Scribblenauts 2 – DS
Oct 12 – Medal of Honor – PC/360/PS3
Oct 17 – Kirby’s Epic Yarn – Wii
Oct 18 – Fallout : New Vegas – PS3
Oct 19 – EA Sports MMA – 360/PS3
Oct 19 – Fallout :New Vegas – PC/360
Oct 19 – DJ Hero 2 – 360/PS3/Wii
Oct 26 – Sims 3 – 360/PS3/DS
Oct 26 – Rock Band 3 – 360/PS3/Wii
Oct 26 – Star Wars the Force Unleashed 2 – PC/360/PS3/Wii
Oct 26 – Fable 3 – 360

Oct 01 – The Social Network
Oct 01 – Let Me In
Oct 01 – Case 39
Oct 01 – Freakonomics
Oct 01 – Barry Munday
Oct 01 – Hatchet II
Oct 01 – Chain Letter
Oct 08 – Disney’s Secretariat
Oct 08 – Stone
Oct 08 – My Soul To Take
Oct 08 – Life As We Know It
Oct 08 – I Spit On Your Grave
Oct 08 – It’s Kind Of A Funny Story
Oct 08 – Down For Life
Oct 08 – Nowhere Boy
Oct 08 – Tamara Drewe
Oct 08 – Wild Target
Oct 15 – Red
Oct 15 – Conviction
Oct 15 – Carlos
Oct 15 – The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet’s Nest
Oct 15 – Down Terrace
Oct 15 – The Two Escobars
Oct 22 – Hereafter
Oct 22 – Paranormal Activity 2
Oct 22 – The Prisoners
Oct 22 – The Company Men
Oct 22 – Knucklehead
Oct 27 – Baghdad Texas
Oct 29 – Saw 3D
Oct 29 – Welcome to the Rileys
Oct 29 – Monsters

Movement Arts Nerd

Hi Nerd Babes! I found this video linked by mental_floss this morning and had a renewed appreciation for the wonderful movie dances I grew up with. Since I’m a dance/stage combat/martial arts nerd, this is hereby what I’m nerding out about this morning. Please to enjoy! ~Jenn

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