Thursday, August 15, 2013

You Haven't Seen That Yet? - The Clan of the Cave Bear

Plot: The story begins at the moment in pre-history when the last of the Neanderthal men were becoming extinct and the superior race of Cro-Magnons were starting to supersede them. It focuses on a tribe of wandering Neanderthals who adopt a young girl named Ayla (Daryl Hannah). She grows tall, lithe, and smart. The Neanderthals accept her into their tribe, but ... Ayla begins to question the tribe's male chauvinistic presumptions. As the seasons wear on, the tribe utilizes Ayla's knowledge for their own good, while Ayla continues to try the patience of the tribe with her unspeakable feminist demands. (via.)

Nicole's Rating: B-

Yeah, He Hasn't Seen It: You know, it's not the greatest movie. And I'm certainly not surprised Matt hasn't seen this. But, I wanted him to watch it because I still love it. Say what you will for its strangeness, it's completely unique and fairly well acted.

I saw this movie for the first time when I stayed home sick from school. It's an archaeological and anthropological study - the imagined life of a Neanderthal clan who end up raising a Cro-Magnons child after she loses her family in an earthquake. Maybe it was the fever, but I fell in love with it. It wasn't until much later that I realized this was a series of books by Jean M. Auel - a fantastic series which is even more anthropologically accurate than the movie, the author having done a vast amount of research on Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons.

Matt's Rating: C-

Matt's Review: Most caveman movies are stupid. This is no exception. I found it boring, strange, and probably much worse than the books. I did not find it interesting at all. Considering the time period they are trying to recreate, it was well made and the acting was as good as it can get, but nothing about this interested me. It was very slow. I'm talking early 80's sci-fi slow but without all the cool fx.  The problem with caveman movies is that people keep trying to recreate these "realistic" depictions of early humans. But if present day humans in their natural and real state are boring then early humans will be REALLY boring. So, when we try to make early humans interesting, it usually involves melodramatic story lines or severely stretching the truth. These early humans were not very developed as a species. This makes them inherently uninteresting, just like the movie.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

You Haven't Seen That Yet? - Fantastic Mr. Fox

Plot: Mr. and Mrs. Fox live an idyllic home life with their son, Ash, and visiting young nephew, Kristopherson. But after 12 years, the bucolic existence proves too much for Mr. Fox's wild animal instincts. Soon he slips back into his old ways as a sneaky chicken thief and in doing so, endangers not only his beloved family, but the whole animal community. Trapped underground and with not enough food to go around, the animals band together to fight against the evil farmers - Boggis, Bunce and Bean - who are determined to capture the audacious, fantastic Mr. Fox at any cost. (via.)

Nicole's Rating: A+

Matt Hasn't Seen This Yet? For Real?: Two things I love: 1) Children's books, and so by default, Roald Dahl. And 2) Wes Anderson, whose movie The Royal Tenenbaums makes my top two of all time list. Still, I was really skeptical of the combination of these two things that I love, not realizing just how perfect the pairing could be.

Voice acted by a fabulous cast (George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzman, etc) and animated via the wonderfully nostalgic stop-motion art form - The Fantastic Mr. Fox manages to capture both the whimsical nature of the book and the depth of emotion usually conveyed by the super talented Mr. Anderson.

I have a feeling that Matt will be as pleasantly surprised as I was.

Matt's Rating: B+

Matt's Review: Pleasantly surprised? Yes. Pleasantly surprised enough to give it an A+? No.

I really enjoyed the movie. I was afraid that it was going to be Wes Anderson trying to make a children's movie, which to me spells disaster. Luckily, Anderson did the opposite. He made a children's book into a watchable movie that most people, specifically adults, can enjoy. The voice acting is great (specifically George Clooney and Jason Schwartzman). The stop motion is great because it is not the typical stop motion we used to from Tim burton but rather something mroe old school which gave it a fantastic (see what I did there) nostalgic feel. This helped to cause it to have a Wes Anderson feel, which is always something I look forward to (I would say enjoy, but thats not the right word is it?).

My complaint is that I felt that sometimes it went all over the place. I remember not being sure why certain characters were doing certain things and it was a little cheesy at times.  It was a good movie but not nearly as good as Anderson's best live action movies. Therefore, it can't get an A....but it can come pretty damn close.

I do find myself clicking a whistling whenever I have a good idea now though, which is kind of annoying.

What about you? What did you love about this Wes Anderson/Roald Dahl stop-animation classic? Leave us your thoughts in the comments! 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

You Haven't Seen That Yet? - Newsies

Plot: A failed effort to revive the big-budget movie musical, Newsies attempted to create toe-tapping, song and dance excitement out of the true story of an 1899 strike by newspaper boys against publishing magnate Joseph Pulitzer. The "newsies" band together to protest a pay cut by Pulitzer (Robert Duvall), organizing a union to protect their rights and ensure fair wages. They are helped along the way by Medda (Ann-Margret), a local dance-hall performer who befriends the boys. Unable to connect with older or younger viewers, Newsies gained a reputation as a major bomb that cut short an attempt to bring back the live-action musical, though in the intervening years it has gained a small but appreciative cult. (via.)

Nicole's Rating: A-

She Can't Believe He Hasn't Seen This Yet: To be honest, I wasn't surprised he hadn't seen this movie. Newsies fits one major demographic - chicks my age now who were around elementary school age when this came out and who were/are absolutely in love with Christian Bale as Jack Kelly. That being said, and even though Matt is the manliest man I know (...), I know he's got a thing for musicals. Newsies is an historical musical about the 1899 newsboy strike in New York City. It's a very good story about courage and standing up for what is right. The music is pretty darn good as well - 'Carrying the Banner,' and 'King of New York,' being two of my favorites.

Incidentally, Matt took me to see the Broadway version of this musical, which came out not too long ago. I've always felt like this was something that would translate really well to the stage. And it did, for the most part. However, unnecessary changes were made and I left the theater feeling rather 'meh' about the whole thing.

Maybe I just love the movie too much.

Matt's Rating: C+

Matt's Review: The songs get stuck in your head. That's the first thing you realize as you make your way through the movie.  Christian Bale is good and it's humorous to see him sing and dance knowing years later he plays a sociopath who keeps hooker heads in his fridge.

I do have a thing for musicals. I think a good musical can bring out a lot of powerful emotions from of its audience. And while Newsies is a very fun musical (with an interesting plot), that's all it is. The dancing is good, the singing is decent, and the tempo of the movie is just as fast as any classic Disney film.  But ultimately there's nothing deeper to this. They tease at a love story that is never truly explored. There's a wonderful solo in the opening song sung by a mom looking for her lost son, but then we never see or hear from her again. Bill Pullman's story and Jack Kelly's arc are the only things that are given any real depth.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it and the music is great but it's missing the extra stuff that good musicals have.  It's directed by the guy that did the High School musical movies, which might explain the lack of true emotion. Plus, I guess I just don't have enough teenage girl in me to truly like this movie.....and by enough I mean none....I was trying to allude to what Nicole said.....I LIKE STEAK AND FOOTBALL!!!

What did you think? Love this movie? Did we inspire you to see it? Leave your thoughts in the comments!