Showing posts from March, 2011

"Jane Eyre"

First off, I will be judging this "Jane Eyre" movie adaptation solely on the movie itself; not compared to the novel, which I haven't read (but now want to), or any other movie or TV adaptations of it, of which there have been plenty. I knew the basics of the plot before seeing the film, but not the entire story, and between the cinematography, acting, and story, I ended up enjoying "Jane Eyre" very much

The movie begins with what we later find out is almost the end; Jane Eyre (Mia Wasikowska, "The Kids Are All Right") running through the rain, becoming soaked in her frock and hooded cloak. She finds refuge in a nearby house, where St. John Rivers (Jamie Bell, "The Eagle") and his sisters take her in and nurse her back to health. The film then returns to the beginning of Jane's life, where she is an orphan living with her aunt, who does not want her and sends Jane off to a cruel boarding school. When she is older, Jane becomes a governes…

Clooney's "Ides of March" films in Bloomfield Hills: Day in the life of an extra

I was accepted to be an extra for George Clooney's new film "The Ides of March" last Tuesday, but it was for a day-long shoot in Ann Arbor and was unpaid. I applied again for this week's shoot in Bloomfield Hills and found out over the weekend I was accepted, as was my dad, and so we decided to go (it helped that today's positions were paid).

Here is a day in the life of an extra on a major motion picture:

5:30am: I wake up ... a lot earlier than I usually would.7:05am: I'm sitting in the lobby of the Radisson Kingsley hotel in Bloomfield Hills, in Extras Holding. They have free breakfast for us, including bacon, bagels, muffins, and potatoes ... yum.9am: We board the shuttle bus that will take us to Christ Church, Cranbrook, where today's scenes are being filmed.9:25am: We walk into the church and one of the first things I see is George Clooney, behind the camera! He is the director of "Ides of March," and he is starring in it as well.10:30am: G…


"Limitless" is one of those rare movies where, before viewing the film, you expect it to be good, but then it ends up wildly surpassing your expectations. With a cast including Bradley Cooper and Robert DeNiro, I expected this to be a great movie, but the film ended up being absolutely terrific, and one of a handful of movies I have seen so far in 2011 that, in my opinion, is almost perfect.

Eddie Morra (Bradley Cooper, "The A-Team") is a struggling writer who has a book contract but hasn't written a word yet. One day on the street, he runs into his ex-brother-in-law, Vernon (Johnny Whitworth, TV's "CSI: Miami"), who gives him a sample of an "FDA-approved" designer drug that normally costs $800 a pill, called NZT. Suddenly, Eddie has tons of energy, and is able to use more of his brain than ever before; he even writes the majority of his book in a day. After the effects of the pill wear off, he knows he needs more of it, so he goes to se…

"The Lincoln Lawyer"

"The Lincoln Lawyer" didn't really live up to my expectations, but it is still a good legal drama. From the trailer, it looked like Matthew McConaughey would be playing a lawyer who works out of the back of his car, but instead, he spends most of his time in the courtroom and visiting his clients in jail. To be fair, I was a little tired on the day of the screening, but I found myself almost falling asleep during the middle third of the film, as it slows down quite a bit; however, McConaughey's charm and rapport with his co-actors were enough to still make the film worth watching.

Mick Haller (Matthew McConaughey, "Ghosts of Girlfriends Past") is a lawyer who mostly operates out of the back seat of his Lincoln. When a lucrative assault case falls into his lap, involving Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe, "MacGruber"), the son of a rich businesswoman (Frances Fisher, "The Roommate"), he takes it, but he quickly begins to suspect that his clien…

"Kill the Irishman"

The Michigan premiere of "Kill the Irishman" was on March 11th at the Uptown Palladium in Birmingham, as part of the opening night festivities of the Uptown Film Festival. The festival showcases movies made in Michigan, and "Irishman" was shot entirely in Detroit, operating as Cleveland of the 1960s and '70s. The film itself is an interesting one, as it tells the tale of Danny Greene, who worked for the mob during that time period, and it's based on a true story; actual news clips were interspersed with the movie, which helped authenticate it, and I love seeing movies that are not only based on true stories, but that use old clips and videos from the actual time period to help tell the story.

Danny Greene (Ray Stevenson, "The Other Guys") is a laborer who often works in 110 degree temperatures on ships at the docks. He and his buddies decide that the union isn't doing much for them, so Danny becomes the new union president. From there, his &qu…


I didn't know much about "Paul" going in to the screening but was prepared for it to be either stupidly dumb or hilarious. What it ended up being was a mix of the two, making for a decidedly average movie, but one that still provided enough laughs to be funny.

Graeme (Simon Pegg, "Star Trek") and Clive (Nick Frost, "Pirate Radio") are two British men who have come to the States for Comic-Con, and then plan to take a road trip to various U.S. sites where aliens have allegedly been spotted in the past, like Area 51. What they don't count on is running into Paul (voiced by Seth Rogen, "The Green Hornet"), an alien who is on the run from some people that want to dissect him. Graeme and Clive are a little scared of "Paul" at first, which is to be expected, but they soon find out they have a lot in common: Paul drinks coffee, his favorite candy is Reeses Pieces, and he even wears pants. Paul asks them to help him get to the place whe…

"Ides of March" filming at University of Michigan Campus

Thanks to Winnie Jeng and Jason Siegfried for these pictures of and near the Michigan League, where George Clooney + co. are filming "The Ides of March" today. They have been filming at U of M all week, and I believe either today or tomorrow is their last day there.

For a complete list of the set locations, see the list from, although it may not have been recently updated - I know the Bloomfield Hills scene will be on Monday and not Tuesday of next week.

"Demoted," "Things Fall Apart" cap off Uptown Film Festival

Article by Liz Parker
Pictures by Erin Gong

Saturday, March 12 was the second and final day of the Uptown Film Festival in Birmingham, and two major feature films, "Demoted" and "Things Fall Apart," made their Michigan debuts. Movies were shown all day at the Birmingham 8 theater, and panels were held at the Palladium in the morning. "Demoted" was held at 5 P.M. and "Things Fall Apart" at 7:30pm, followed by a VIP "afterglow" party at the Palladium.

Warren Zide, one of the producers of "Demoted," was on site for a Q&A after the film. Zide has produced the movies in the "American Pie" franchise and is a Southfield native. "Demoted" was filmed in the metro Detroit area (Novi, Plymouth, and other cities) in 2008, and includes stars Sean Astin and Michael Vartan, among others.

"We shot the whole thing in Michigan and when we brought people from L.A. to Michigan - because at the time it was at the begi…

"Kill the Irishman" debuts at Uptown Film Festival

The Michigan-made film "Kill the Irishman" debuted at the Birmingham Palladium theater last night, as part of the opening night for the Uptown Film Festival. Moviegoers were treated to a VIP reception beforehand, which was to benefit various charities and organizations, such as Gleaners, and the movie premiere was at 9 P.M.

What the night was really all about, however, was "celebrating the folks in Michigan who work on film and Michigan filmmakers," said Jeff Spilman, the co-executive director of the festival. "It's a wonderful time and a wonderful event because it puts a face on the film industry, and on the incentive ... [these are] great movies, and a great night out for great causes."

Spilman co-produced "Kill the Irishman," so when it came time to choose movies for the film festival, he knew he wanted "Irishman" to be one of them. He also said he is good friends with people who worked on "Things Fall Apart," and vari…

"Red Riding Hood"

I should know by now never to trust a trailer for a movie, yet time and time again I let myself get sucked in. I first saw the teaser trailer for "Red Riding Hood" last November, and the song near the end of the trailer convinced me this would be a thrilling movie. When the second, longer trailer came out a few months later, it made the movie look a bit scarier - it definitely focused more on the werewolf aspect than the romance(s) going on - but still worth seeing. After seeing the train wreck that is this movie, I can say this: kudos to whomever made the trailers for this movie, as you were able to make a disjointed film seem like it was going to be awesome.

Valerie (Amanda Seyfried, "Letters to Juliet") lives in a village with her mother (Virginia Madsen, TV's "Scoundrels"), father (Billy Burke, "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse"), sister, and grandmother (Julie Christie, "New York, I Love You"). Under each full moon, the village sacr…

This week and the next on Yes/No Films

Coming tomorrow and this weekend:
Look for my "Red Riding Hood" review.I'll be attending the Uptown Film Festival in Birmingham this weekend (Friday-Saturday), and will be seeing such films as "Kill the Irishman," "Things Fall Apart," "Demoted," and others. Next Friday: Reviews for "Paul," "Limitless," "The Lincoln Lawyer," and "Kill the Irishman"Coming to Detroit theaters this weekend: "Red Riding Hood," with Amanda Seyfried, Shiloh Fernandez, and Gary Oldham. Rated PG-13."Battle: L.A.," with Aaron Eckhart, Ne-Yo, and Bridget Moynahan. Rated PG-13."Mars Needs Moms." Rated PG.

"Win Win"

I was fortunate enough to see this film back on January 26, at the Sundance USA premiere at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor. I had been told that Paul Giamatti and Tom McCarthy, the director, would be at the screening, but unfortunately neither of them could make it. Instead, however, we were treated to a Q&A with the producer of the film, Mary Jane Skalski, who is a University of Michigan alum (an English major, actually) and who lives in Michigan and will be shooting an upcoming project here as well.

"Win Win" tells the story of Mike Flaherty (Paul Giamatti, "Barney's Version"), a lawyer who has two kids with wife Jackie (Amy Ryan, TV's "The Office"). Money is tight, and so when Mike gets the opportunity to become a "guardian" to one of his clients who is in the early stages of dementia, which involves a stipend of $1,500 a month, he jumps at the opportunity, and instead sticks the guy, Leo (Burt Young, "New York, I Love Yo…