At The Theater #28: Despicable Me Jul30

At The Theater #28: Despicable Me...

Warning: Before going to see Despicable Me, if you decide to eat lunch at Mile End, my new favorite smoked meat restaurant in Brooklyn, you have a 33% chance of falling asleep during the movie. The combination of all that meat, the long walk in the hot sun from Mile End to Cobble Hill Cinemas and the darkened movie theater proved too much for a member of our party. I’m basing this off a sample size of three, which is clearly scientifically significant. The sandwiches at Mile End are delicious, so it might be a risk worth taking. They also make some delicious poutine for you Montrealers out there. Note: This sandwich may cause drowsiness. 2010 has been a really weak year for movies, but I think it’s been a very strong one for animated films. Toy Story 3 is currently my Movie of the Year. How to Train Your Dragon was great. And while it came out late last year, I didn’t get around to seeing The Fantastic Mr. Fox until this year (You can decide yourself if that one counts towards my current thesis). I’m not saying every animated movie this year has been great. I haven’t seen Shrek 4-The-Money, but from what I hear it’s as disappointing as most of this summer’s films. Add Despicable Me to the good list. I really liked it. I want my own minion. No, I want my own 5-10 minions. I don’t need a whole army, but I think 5-10 minions would be perfect for getting things done and they even cuter in groups than they are alone. They’re half the size of Oompa-Loompas and infinitely less creepy. When I say I need more minions, that means I need more minions. Best Buy has a free IPhone...

At The Theater #27: Oceans Jul27

At The Theater #27: Oceans...

How awesome is the pizza at Reel Pizza? So awesome that I thought about checking out The Karate Kid here just to get the pizza again. I wasn’t looking forward to seeing The Karate Kid, so I was happy to see it replaced by Oceans before we left Bar Harbor. Despite what you may have heard, Oceans is not the prequel to Ocean’s 13. And despite it being made by Disney, don’t be fooled into thinking this a movie you should take your lil’ precious to. I base this on the six year old sitting next to us who wanted to be anywhere but in this theater watching this movie. At least that’s what I picked up from her actions: banging her head into the back of her seat, talking loudly about random stuff, wandering back and forth from her mom’s seat behind our couch to the easy chair next us, and nearly climbing over the back of the occupied couch in front of us. Bar Harbor is the perfect place to see Oceans. The beauty of the sea life is astounding to watch and if you’re like me, you’ll be sitting there in awe, thinking…dinner. Oh, how lucky I was to see this in Maine. If you’re ever in Maine, do yourself a favor and go to Red’s Eats for a lobster roll. You will be happy. My mouth was watering by the end of Oceans. Mmmm, those fighting crabs would look delightful in cake form. Or made into stuffing and then coated around a halibut as I would discover less than 24 hours later. Even lobster ice cream is delicious. The one downside to Oceans, and it’s only a downside if you’re seeing it at Reel Pizza, is that it’s only 1 hour...

At The Theater #26: Inception Jul23

At The Theater #26: Inception...

SPOILER WARNING – I’m going to talk about Inception in detail here, including the ending. If you haven’t seen the movie yet, you might want to skip this post until you see it. Inception is a total mind-fuck. I think this was well expressed by the audience at the theater where I saw it. As soon as the credits rolled, there was a loud wail of anguish from people in the crowd. This wasn’t the same wail of anguish you’d hear at a Last Airbender screening; it wasn’t coming from a poor quality standpoint. The camera just stays on that damn spinning top for so long, then it starts wobbling and…black.  Was Leo awake? Was he still dreaming? To quote a teen in the lobby after the movie: “Christopher Nolan must die!” Again, I think this was coming from a different place than when that was said about M. Night Shamalan from teens after seeing a different movie across town.  Random Thought #1: The snow-scape dream fortress looked a lot like the sniper board in Metal Gear Solid for the PS1.  .I really liked Inception. It was like a combination of Lost’s sideways reality, The Matrix and The Sixth Sense. For a very exposition-heavy movie, I think Nolan did a good job of interspersing the exposition so that Inception didn’t feel weighed down by it. I liked the open-ended ending. At first it looked like that top was going to keep spinning forever and he was still dreaming. But then it starts wobbling and I really hoped it would fall down, because I wanted a happy ending for the guy. But it ended before we could get our answer. Does it even matter? Leo walks away from the top before it stops spinning. It’s...

At The Theater #25: Grease Sing-A-Long Jul22

At The Theater #25: Grease Sing-A-Long...

I was really impressed by how the makers of Grease Sing-A-Long handled the sing-a-long parts of the movie. I was expecting plain text and a bouncing ball. Instead the audience is treated to much more. The words are animated all over the screen in interesting fonts and take on a life of their own. They are accompanied by other animations that thematically go with the music, sometimes even silently commenting on the psyches of the characters. Cha Cha – Either she was left back 30 times or smoking is REALLY bad for you. Because of this, I would say that Grease Sing-A-Long is a different movie than Grease, in the same way that the original Star Wars in a different movie than the special edition. Grease Sing-A-Long is very much largely the same as Grease, but different, and unlike Greedo shooting first, the changes only add to the movie.I was really surprised how empty the theater was for this movie. It was a very limited run in New York and we were at a Friday night show. I expected a sold out crowd, but the theater was maybe half full (I’m an optimist). The manager at the 3rd Ave AMC is really nice. They ran out of the Grease Sing-A-Long souvenior pins that I had no idea they were giving out on our way into the movie, but promised to find more for us if we stopped by after the movie. Sure enough, they did. It’s little things like this that have me looking forward to being a repeat customer at this theater. I don’t think we would have received this treatment at Court St. I do think part of the reason we got hooked up is because we dressed up in costume.  You...

At The Theater #24: Cyrus Jul13

At The Theater #24: Cyrus...

The title character in Cyrus is one of the best movie villains I’ve seen in the theater this year. Jonah Hill is the overly coddled son of single-mother Molly (played by Marissa Tomei) is as manipulative as he is jealous. He’s great at pushing all the right buttons to get what he wants. There were times I felt really sorry for John C. Reilly’s character John, Molly’s new boyfriend who Cyrus targets as a threat. This kid is evil. I guess he’s not really a kid. The man-child is evil. Ladies, this movie is a warning against breast feeding too long. What Cyrus really does well is highlight the awkwardness that comes at the beginning of a new relationship. Nothing seemed clichéd during John and Molly’s courtship. It felt honest and real, while still being entertaining to watch. Mademoiselle Chambon, are you paying attention? Catherine Keener plays John’s ex-wife. Since the last thing I saw her in was An American Crime, I felt on edge every time she walked on the screen. I knew it was only a matter of time before John was going to have cigarettes burned out on his arm —SPOILER!!! (KIDDING!) We saw Cyrus at the movie theater at the Brooklyn Academy of Music aka BAM. I’ve seen 4 movies at BAM Rose Cinemas over the years and I think She’s Got to Have It has been playing there every time I go. Does Spike Lee have compromising pictures of BAM’s board of directors? No matter when you’re reading this, it’s probably playing at BAM. Just as a FYI about their concession stand, the caramel popcorn is $8. Now that you’re aware, when you order it your eyes won’t widen like mine did or say “I only wanted one,” like...

At The Theater #23: Mademoiselle Chambon Jul08

At The Theater #23: Mademoiselle Chambon...

The star of Mademoiselle Chambon, Vincent Lindon, looks kind of like a French Bruce Springsteen, so it makes sense that the movie plays like a Springsteen song. Working class protagonist? Check. Unhappiness with one’s situation in life? Check. Infidelity? Check. I woudn’t have been surprised if a French cover of The River album played throughout the whole movie. Le Springsteen Actually, the more I think about it, the more Vincent Lindon looks like a French version of Jeff from Chuck. Le Jeff. French Springsteen’s twin? If you like grammar-centric humor, the first five minutes of Mademoiselle Chambon will delight you. But if you like incredibly slow movies, the other hour and 36 minutes will be your favorite. Thank God for the subtitles. If it wasn’t for having to read them, I probably would have fallen asleep during the film. There’s a lot of scenes of people doing nothing but staring intently at each other. It’s like they removed the vampires from Twilight and replaced them with middle-aged French people. We originally wanted to see Dogtooth at Brooklyn Heights Cinemas, but Mademoiselle Chambon replaced it on Friday. When the girl working the box office told me Dogtooth came and went, I said “That’s too bad. I didn’t see it.” Her response was “No one did.” Sorry, Dogtooth. Brooklyn Heights Cinemas still has great popcorn. Their popcorn might be my favorite out of all the theaters we’ve visited so far this year. Not only is it tasty, but it makes sitting through a slow French movie much more...

On The Couch #25: Spies Like Us Jul01

On The Couch #25: Spies Like Us...

How have I never seen Spies Like Us? I don’t know. I love comedies. I like John Landis. I like Chevy Chase. I like Dan Akroyd. I was the right age to see this in the movie theater or at home on VHS. It doesn’t make sense. Watching Spies Like Us for the first time 25 years after it was made has its downsides. Not all of the jokes age well. Take the Bob Hope cameo. Bob Hope pops in randomly, hits a golf ball, makes a quip and exits just as quickly. John Landis was obviously very excited about this; Bob Hope is the only person in the credits who has an exclamation point after his name. Unfortunately, living in a world where Bob Hope isn’t hitting around golf balls anymore caused this bit to fall flat for me. I wonder if this how people are going to feel about Neil Patrick Harris’s cameo in Harold and Kumar 25 years from now. This also assumes people are still watching Harold and Kumar 25 years from now. Two cameos that really excited me were the B.B. King and Michael Apted ones, probably because they’re still alive. I didn’t even catch them the first time around. I saw their names in the credits and immediately hunted down their scene. It was great seeing the director of The Up Series documentaries in an acting role, even if it’s just for one line as a creepy CIA guy. I love these movies. You might too. It’s amazing how often Spies Like Us is referenced now, 25 years later. It showed up in an episode of Chuck recently, which reminded me I never saw the movie. And the “Doctor.” “Doctor.” bit was used in in the sideways reality of Lost...