Showing posts from September, 2012

Pitch Perfect

When I saw a tweet from actress Elizabeth Banks asking for extras in her film Pitch Perfect last November, I offhandedly mentioned it to a friend of mine who lives in Baton Rouge. My friend jumped at the chance to be an extra, which resulted in this post. It should come as no surprise, then, that I was very eager to see  Pitch Perfect  more than a month before it was in theaters. Although I didn't see my friend in the movie, the film was definitely worth seeing, and is a mix of "Glee meets Mean Girls meets Bridesmaids," as someone tweeted.

Beca (Anna Kendrick, 50/50) arrives at Barden University as a freshman but doesn't want to be there - she would rather be in L.A. pursuing her dream to be a DJ. Her dad is a professor at Barden so he expects her to take advantage of a free college education there. Her roommate Kimmy Jin (Jinhee Joung) doesn't really like her, yet she accompanies her to the Activities Fair anyways to see what's being offered on campus. The …

GIVEAWAY: Dark Shadows on Blu-ray/DVD

Dark Shadows is coming to Blu-ray and DVD on October 2nd, and I have your chance to win a copy here. Check out the widget below, and then enter via the Rafflecopter form below.

Also check out my movie review of Dark Shadows here.

Giveaway will end on Friday, October 5th, at 11:59pm EST, and winner will have 24 hours to respond to my email or else a new winner will be chosen. The prize will be sent via FedEx or UPS. No P.O. boxes, please.

Synopsis of the film:
From the incredible mind of Tim Burton comes the hit film Dark Shadows, based on the classic television series! Barnabas Collins (Johnny Depp) has been trapped for two centuries by an evil witch (Eva Green) who just happens to be an ex lover. Barnabas now has to struggle with the ever changing 1970s and save his families business! With an all star cast that includes Michelle Pfeiffer, Helena Bonham Carter, Chloe Grace Moretz, Jonny Lee Miller and more, Dark Shadows will be sure to whet your appetite for fun.

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I'm still trying to process my thoughts about Looper (gotta love Thursday night screenings when the movie comes out the next day), but overall it's an interesting movie. It has many parallels to 2000's Frequency, one of my favorite movies, but it also has its own unique storyline. Most of the film occurs in 2044, in Kansas, but Joseph Gordon-Levitt's older self (played by Bruce Willis) is living in 2074; Gordon-Levitt wears prosthetics in the film and actually does look like a younger Willis. I would have liked to see more of 2074 - what we get is pretty much a cursory glance - but the events happening in 2044 are definitely interesting enough to hold its audience's attention.

Joe (Gordon-Levitt) is a "looper." In 2074, time travel exists, but is illegal, and the mob uses it to send back people whom they want killed, to "loopers" like Joe, who "do the necessaries," as he says. Each body comes with silver bars which Joe can turn in for…

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower may just be one of the best films you see all year, which isn't a surprise considering the author of the novel on which it's based wrote the screenplay and also directed the movie. Having an author adapt his/her novel into a screenplay is common, but to have that author also direct the film is highly unusual, and Stephen Chbosky only had one directing credit to his name (from 1995) before this film. With a talented cast including Emma Watson (sporting an American accent!), Logan Lerman, and Ezra Miller, this movie is one that you can't miss.

The scene is early 1990s Philadelphia, and Logan Lerman plays Charlie, an incoming freshman in high school who has lately been having a tough time. It's alluded that he used to hear voices and "see things," and things got worse after a tragic event involving his best friend in 8th grade. As a 9th grader, he has no friends, even though his sister, Candace (Nina Dobrev), attends the same sch…

Won't Back Down

When I was in New York for a blogging conference in August, I had the opportunity to attend a red carpet screening of Won't Back Down. Following the screening, there was a Q&A session with actresses Viola Davis, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Rosie Perez, and the director. I didn't know much about the movie going in to it, other than it was about a failing school system, and I was blown away by both the performances and the quality of the content in it; this film is going to be a serious contender when awards season rolls around.

Jamie (Maggie Gyllenhaal, Hysteria) works two jobs to support herself and her daughter, Malia (Emily Alyn Lind, TV's Revenge). She would like to send Malia to a private school, because her current school is awful, but she can't afford it. Nona (Viola Davis, The Help) works as a teacher - one of the only good teachers, actually - at Malia's school, and has a son. Both Nona and Jamie would like to see the school improved, but the only way to do it…

Review and GIVEAWAY: Halloween Cartoon Collection DVD - 4 winners!

It's that time of year: the weather is getting colder (at least here in Michigan), October is around the corner, and Halloween is fast approaching. Mill Creek Entertainment has provided me with FOUR copies of their Halloween Cartoon Collection DVD to give to my lucky readers.

I watched a few of the episodes on the DVD and it's great for kids. My favorite was "Nothin' Says Lovin' like Somethin' from a Coven," from the Sabrina The Animated Series. I used to watch Sabrina the Teenage Witch - the live-action version - when I was a kid, and the characters in the TV show are mostly the same. Salem the cat is voiced by the same actor, too, and Melissa Joan Hart (who was Sabrina in the live-action series) voices one of the aunts, who are also witches. The episode was interesting, too, and I think adults would enjoy it as much as their kids would.

Here's a little more about the DVD:

It’s No Trick, Ten Halloween Treats For Kids of All Ages!

Ten spooktackular …

Trouble with the Curve

Trouble with the Curve has both the advantage and disadvantage of having a great A-list cast. The advantage is that it will draw people to the theater to see the film - you've got Clint Eastwood, Justin Timberlake, Amy Adams. However, the disadvantage is that the trailers made the film seem better than it actually was, even though the story it tells is an interesting one.

The film is about family issues and learning to open up, though it masquerades as a baseball movie. Gus (Eastwood) has been scouting for the Atlanta Braves for almost his whole life, and he lives for his job. His eyes are starting to give out on him, which makes seeing players difficult, but he's stubborn and refuses to see an eye specialist. His daughter, Mickey (Adams), is a lawyer who is angling to make partner at her firm this year. Pete (John Goodman), one of Gus's good friends and Braves coworker, hears about Gus's eye problems and pleads with Mickey to accompany Gus to his annual trip to the C…

Beautiful Creatures: Feb. 14, 2013

I don't usually write posts this far in advance about movies coming out, but this film looks fantastic, with a great cast as well. It has the song "Seven Devils" in the trailer (Florence and the Machine) which I've been obsessed with since last season's Revenge finale, and the film looks like Practical Magic meets Alice in Wonderland meets The Skeleton Key. I'm definitely excited to see this movie once it hits theaters.

The movie comes out on February 14, 2013. See below for the trailer.

Official synopsis:
A supernatural love story set in the South, “Beautiful Creatures” tells the tale of two star-crossed lovers: Ethan (Alden Ehrenreich), a young man longing to escape his small town, and Lena (Alice Englert), a mysterious new girl. Together, they uncover dark secrets about their respective families, their history and their town. Oscar® nominee Richard LaGravenese (“The Fisher King,”“P.S. I Love You”) directs from his adaptation of the first novel in the bes…

GIVEAWAY: Hostel + Hostel II double feature Blu-ray

I am definitely not a person you'd want to watch a scary movie with - in fact, I've seen only a handful over the past few years - but I've heard a lot about the Hostel franchise. These are both part of the "Quentin Tarantino Presents..." series, though directed by Eli Roth (and Hostel was written by him); Quentin Tarantino directed some of the more interesting and unusual films of the past decade, such as the Kill Bill franchise.

Mill Creek Entertainment and Tower PR have given me the Hostel and Hostel II double feature on Blu-ray to give to one lucky reader! Fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter.

Contest ends at 11:59pm EST on Monday, September 24th. U.S. addresses only.

Good luck!

*For those of you who aren't scary movie fans: stay tuned for a Halloween Cartoon Collection DVD giveaway soon - I have 4 to give away!)

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Guest post: Martin McDonagh and Seven Psychopaths

By: Doug Glaston

Irish playwright Martin McDonagh is the kind of guy that looks to have gotten quite a bit of respect in his native country, where he is described as one of the most important ambassadors of the craft. His plays have received quite a bit of exposure on Broadway as well, though I am not quite as familiar with them as I am with his films.

It wasn't really until 2005 that McDonagh had gotten attention in the world of cinema for his Oscar-winning short film Six Shooter with Brendan Gleeson. If you haven't seen it, well, what else should I say? See it. Please. It's less than thirty minutes.

McDonagh then really turned some heads in 2008 with his incredible film (certainly my favorite of 2008, In Bruges). This was McDonagh's first feature film, and it also starred Gleeson alongside Colin Farrell.

The story focuses on two hit men hiding out in the stunning Belgian city of Bruges after Farrell's character makes a colossal mistake after his first hit. T…


The word on Arbitrage before the screening was that Richard Gere gives an Oscar-worthy performance in it, and that much was true. While the beginning and middle portions of the movie were a little slow, the story soon picks up and draws you in, regardless of its slow start.

Robert Miller (Gere) has it all: a loving wife, children and grandchildren, a huge mansion in Manhattan. What we don't know at first, however, is that he is trying to sell his company because the company is deeply in debt. He's fudged the papers so that this is covered up, but his daughter (Brit Marling) eventually finds out. He's having an affair with a French artist, Julie (Laetitia Casta) even though his wife (Susan Sarandon) still loves him, and he pays for Julie's apartment, which is connected to her gallery. One night after he is very tired, he gets into a car accident, and this sets off a chain of events that will shape the rest of the movie.

Finding Nemo 3D

Finding Nemo originally hit theaters in May 2003, when I was finishing up my sophomore year of high school. I saw it in theaters because I was (and am) a big Disney/Pixar fan, and I thought it was great. Now, nine years later, it's back on the big screen in 3D. I still ended up enjoying the film, although it's not one of my favorite Pixar movies; however, it definitely has stood the test of time, and is still worth seeing again in the theater.

Marlin (voiced by Albert Brooks) and his wife are clownfish who live in the Australian ocean, and they have over 100 baby clownfish on the way. After an accident that also claims Marlin's wife, only one of the embryos survive, leaving Marlin to raise Nemo (Alexander Gould) as a "single parent." Because of this, he's definitely overprotective, and when it's time for Nemo's first day of school, Marlin is reluctant to let him go. It turns out his fears were not unfounded, as Nemo swims into open waters on a dare a…

My Gardner-White Blog for a Grand

This is not a post about movies, celebrities, or entertainment in general, unless your idea of entertainment is to go from store to store every weekend.

This is a post to get myself some free furniture.

Gardner-White is challenging Michigan bloggers to write a post about our current furniture and what we would like to replace. The answer to that, my readers, is simple: I have nothing, and therefore everything needs replacing! For the past three years, since I graduated college, I have lived with my parents, and the only article of furniture currently mine is an IKEA TV cart, circa sophomore year (2006), that we still use today for our TV and Blu-Ray player. (or I should say, my Blu-Ray player; the VCR - I kid you not - is my parents')

Sure, I have bedroom furniture, but I will not be taking it with me when I move - I have a twin-sized bed and some random shelves and dressers that I've had since I was 7 or 8 and lived in Illinois. They are heavy too, and so I will need at le…

The Words

Although the plot set-up in The Words is not the best, the story still will manage to intrigue and fascinate you. The actors all are excellent in their roles, with Bradley Cooper and Jeremy Irons giving standout performances, and its instrumental-based music helps to underscore the film as well. That being said, the movie would have been stronger had the Dennis Quaid/Olivia Wilde portion been removed by letting the story stand on its own two feet rather than revolving around a narrator, and an inconsistent narrator at that.

The film opens where Clay Hammond (Quaid), a writer, is being honored for his book, The Words. As he is reading the beginning of the novel, we see Daniella (Wilde) slip into the audience unnoticed, riveted by his speech. The movie then immediately shows us the scene Clay is reading: the two characters in the book, Rory (Cooper) and his wife Dora (Zoe Saldana), running through the rain to catch their limo. It then jumps back five years, when Rory and Dora were dat…

Wreck-It Ralph: In theaters 11/2/12

Wreck-It Ralph is Disney's new movie coming to theaters on November 2nd, and it looks great.

It's about a video game character (Ralph) who has been doing his "job" for the past thirty years or so, and is ready for a change. He decides to leave his game and try to find a position in another game, but he didn't realize that video games have become so violent over the past few years.

Ralph is voiced by John C. Reilly (Step Brothers), and also includes Sarah Silverman, Jack McBrayer (TV's 30 Rock), Jane Lynch (TV's Glee), Mindy Kaling (TV's The Office), and more.

This movie intrigues me for a few reasons.

It kind of reminds me of Tron, though in this case the character is already inside the video game (rather than stepping inside it). The video game Ralph is in is an "old school" type game too - think Pacman or the old Super Mario Brothers - and I like the feel of those; it will bring you back to a time before everyone had handheld video game de…