Sunday, March 31

Life of Pi: Now On Demand & On DVD

 The Film Fatales take a voyage with Pi & Richard Parker.

The Life of Pi. NOW ON DEMAND & ON DVD. 2012. Rated PG. 127 minutes. Starring Suraj Sharma, Irrfan Khan, Adil Hussain. Directed by Ang Lee. 

A young man who survives a disaster at sea is hurtled into an epic journey of adventure and discovery. While cast away, he forms an unexpected connection with another survivor: a fearsome Bengal tiger. [imdb]

Nicole: Ooof, let me tell you Cassidy – I am glad we waited to see this On Demand. I don’t relish the thoughts of the house lights coming up in the theater after the movie ends and everyone making their way out,  only to see me reduced to a sobbing mess. I cried for 20 minutes (COUNT THEM) t.w.e.n.t.y. minutes after Life of Pi ended. And, not because the ending was Beaches-caliber sad. I chalk it up to being in a state of complete, gripping tension for 2-plus hours and then crying out of utter relief that the ordeal was over. 

elizabeth: I hate to agree but I was glad that I watched this movie while reclining on my bed with one of my cats sleeping on my hip. I have been banned from ever watching any nature documentaries because I just can’t stomach animals making lunch out of fellow animals. I know about the food chain, but I don’t need to see it. If I did, I would be reduced to eating whatever accumulated on the bottom of my shoes. But we are taking about Life of Pi and not my strange addictions. 

Nicole: Now I know why you’re always eyeing my shoes. 

elizabeth: I thought that it was a beautiful film about surviving against what would seem to be insurmountable odds and Pi certainly had his share of them in his young life. I did do my share of crying because I can’t stand to see animals hurt – live or animated. I could give you a list of some people I would like to see hurt, but not one animal comes to mind. Hell, I save crickets from the jaws of Henry, one of my cats. And when Henry is successful, I tell the remains that they will like cricket heaven. The doctor will see me now? 

Nicole: Ah, Henry. At least he’s a vegetarian. But before you go and think I hated the movie, let me say that I didn’t. While parts of it were extremely difficult for this animal rights advocate to watch, other parts were literally marvelous. I usually steer away from any movie that centers around animals, because, well – you know: Something bad almost always happens. 

elizabeth:  I really like this soft side of you. I know it won’t last for long, so let me just take a moment.

Nicole: Literally rolling my eyes at you. 

elizabeth: I think Life of Pi can be a leaning moment for people who have seen or will see this movie. We can go on. We must go on. We can’t let the cruelty of mankind or Mother Nature kill our spirit. You got to get up and go on -- even if you are a Bengal tiger. And because there was much to gain from viewing this movie, I am glad that Ang Lee won for best director. And if Spielberg calls to do our life stories, I will tell him that I was surrounded by thousand of meerkats at the time I made this statement.

Nicole: You seriously have to stop taking antihistamines. So, do I recommend this movie? Yes, if only for its stunning visual effects and testament to the strength of human (and animal) will. But I do suggest having a box of tissues and/or some sort of mood stabilizer at hand. 

The Film Fatales give Life of Pi

Hitchcock: Now On Demand & On DVD

The Film Fatales ruin their manicures due to nail-biting suspense.

Hitchcock. NOW ON DEMAND & ON DVD. 2012. Rated PG-13. 98 minutes. Starring Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson. Directed by Sacha Gervasi. 

A love story between influential filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock and wife Alma Reville during the filming of Psycho in 1959. [imdb]

elizabeth:  You know when you go out and have a really spectacular meal with close friends or you are kissed by someone who knows what they are doing that the feeling stays with you and you just want to keep revisiting it? Well, Hitchcock was like a kiss on my lips and I felt full and satisfied when the credits started to roll. I got to say that this is one of the best movies made in 2012 – a movie that did not get its due. I apologize to director Sacha Gervasi for not going to see it in the theatre. My bad.

Nicole: Oh-oh. We’re going to come to blows over this one, aren’t we? (Finally, I’ve been waiting to get into fisticuffs with you.) While I liked the movie in part, I couldn’t help being distracted by some questionable creative decisions. But I’ll let you digress before I really tear into it. 

elizabeth: What a terrific cast. Anthony Hopkins was unrecognizable as famed director Alfred Hitchcock and there was such great on-screen chemistry with his wife Alma Reville, who was portrayed brilliantly by Helen Mirren. Can this woman ever do a bad movie?  And this was a well-written and witty movie that elevated the viewer and never insulted our intelligence. 

Nicole: OK, I will relent that the casting (aside from Scarlet Johansson as a very unconvincing Janet Leigh) was well done. But hands down, the best thing about this movie was Helen Mirren. Best scene in the movie is when she gives him his comeuppance (and I do hope that actually happened, word for word). 

elizabeth: There was quite a bit on Hitchcock’s fantasy life on the screen and I felt that just made him appear more vulnerable, flawed and maybe a little more likable. He was the boy who never gets the girl. But let me just say that if I was on the set and he came over to me, I would have hit him with a shovel. The Creep Meter kept going off in my head.

Nicole: Ah, you’ve touched upon one of the things that irked me. Hitchcock’s obsession with his blonde leading ladies is the stuff of notorious Hollywood legends – well, more fact than legend according to many tell-all autobiographies. And save for the filming of the shower scene, I don’t think the movie accurately portrayed his crazed obsession and anger management issues. I also don’t think the relationship between Hitch and Alma was accurate – they didn’t like each other nearly as much as this film portrayed. From what I understand, their relationship was more in keeping with the portrayal seen in HBO’s The Girl, starring Sienna Miller. You want creep factor – I grew to hate Hitchcock as a person after seeing that movie, which was difficult considering how Rear Window is in my Top 5 films ever made. 

One final note on the script: I felt the scenes in which Hitchcock was channeling the book version of Psycho were uninspired and forced. I think the time could have been better spent on the cutting room floor. 

elizabeth: Visually, this was a beautiful film that was having a love affair with the 1950s. You saw people walking around all dressed up with a cigarette in their hands and not an iPhone. Women wore stockings – well, I never liked that. Too much work.  And, it was fun to see how the movie Psycho got made back in the dark ages…and how one of the Film Fatales will be checking behind the shower curtains once again.

Nicole: Yea, yea. So, meet me out in the parking lot at 3pm sharp for a throw-down. It’s on. 

One Film Fatale gives Hitchcock 

The Other Film Fatale gives Hitchcock


Sunday, March 24

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey -- Now on DVD & On Demand

The Film Fatales pack their bags for Middle Earth...again.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.  NOW ON DEMAND & ON DVD. 2012. 169 minutes. Starring Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage. Directed by Peter Jackson.

A younger and more reluctant Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, sets out on an "unexpected journey" to the Lonely Mountain with a spirited group of Dwarves to reclaim their stolen mountain home from a dragon named Smaug. [imdb]

Nicole: OK, Cassidy, so I know you don’t go in for this sorta thing. You’re not a big geek like me. I’ve been waiting for years for this to come to the big screen – and it did not disappoint. Waiting another year for the 2nd part, now that smarts. 

elizabeth: Would you please go outside and stare at the big round ball in the sky for ten minutes? I don’t see the appeal of men looking like they haven’t bathe since the days of the Black Plague.  And I think Smaug was my boss at my last two jobs.

Nicole: That's quite possible, but I digress... Let’s first talk casting. I cannot think of another actor that could have played hobbit Bilbo Baggins better. Martin Freeman is inspired – he fits seamlessly into the cast. It’s perfectly believable that he’s the younger Baggins (whom we see played by Ian Holm in this film, as well as the Oscar-winning Lord of the Rings trilogy). He handled the role with finesse, humor, and acuity. Cannot wait to see him continue the journey. Ian McKellen is back as Gandalf the Grey, a role he’s played so many years now it fits him like a glove. And, Richard Armitage as heir-apparent dwarf Thorin Oakenshield is the right amount of moody, betrayed, and fierce warrior. And, let’s not forget Andy Serkis as Gollum – perfecting creepy on a whole new level. The cast is HUGE and I could go on for days, but I’ll leave it there. 

elizabeth: Did you say something?

Nicole: Ignoring you. Now, on to the script. If I had to argue about anything, it would be that I felt they concentrated on some scenes too long, whilst others got little attention. That could be because I’m a whore for elves and really was looking forward to more time spent in Rivendell. I did want to see more of Bilbo’s impression and interaction…but I’ll take what I can get. 

elizabeth: “A whore for elves” – is that on your resume?

Nicole: In fact, yes, it is. Still ignoring you. Special effects – I guess I can say little since I saw this film in SD. (I learned my lesson from Avatar. I cannot handle a nearly 3-hour movie in 3D. Vomiting is a very likely possibility.) What I did notice from the SD version (and Jackson’s choice to shoot the movie at 48 frames per second) was that some things didn’t transition well and looked a tad fake. But it’s scenes like the warring Mountain Giants that make you quickly forget anything that might be off about the film’s production. I was fully clenched the entire time. TMI? If you’re a Tolkien fan, a Jackson fan or just a geeky nerd – invest in seeing this movie and making the commitment to see it through to conclusion in 2015. ‘Cause the journey is well-worth the effort.

elizabeth: You mean I have to wait till 2015 to call you a whore for elves again? Seems so unfair.

Nicole: I think you'll manage.  
  • DVD Special Edition
  • Blu-ray Combo Pack
  • Blu-ray 3D Combo Pakc
  • 10 production videos, including behind-the-camera with director Peter Jackson, on-location and on-set features, a visit to Hobbiton, on the red carpet in Wellington and more.
  • 10 fan-centric video blogs

Friday, March 22

The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

The Film Fatales look for the wonder in The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

2013. 100 Minutes, Steve Carell, Steve Buscemi, Olivia Wilde, Alan Arkin, Jim Carrey, James Gandolfini, Jay Mohr. Directed by Don Scardino.

When a street magician’s stunt begins to make their show look stale, superstar magicians Burt Wonderstone and Anton Marvelton look to salvage on their act – and their friendship – by staging their own daring stunt. (imdb)

elizabeth: I went in with an open mind and a brownie that Nicole snuck into the theatre. I laughed through The Campaign (and primal scream therapy has helped me embrace that “silly movies rock” part of me that had been buried for so long) but you just know that a “but” is going to follow… but I was overwhelmed at being underwhelmed. Nicole, I know you are Steve Carell’s secret love child, so can you pull a rabbit out of your hat and tell me what I missed while I was in a sugar-induced coma? BTW – Panera Bread owes you your money back on that brownie. I have an 8:30AM dentist appointment tomorrow.

Nicole: You just seriously aged Steve Carell – I don’t think he’s going to appreciate that. Look, we both had very low expectations for this movie – so don’t get sassy with me, missy. What  I didn’t expect, however, was to sit there for the first 45 minutes without so much as a tee-hee. Not a single ha. Not even the tiniest of internal recognitions that something funny was happening on screen. I can’t believe we had to wait till the very last scene to actually chuckle. That being said, it’s a joy to watch Steve Carell be Steve Carell. Terrible script or not.

elizabeth: I think I would have preferred Burt Wonderstone and his hapless sidekick Anton Marvelton more if the storyline had centered around two dried-up drag queens who saved Las Vegas.

Nicole: Great, you just totally spoiled the semi-auto-biographical treatment about our lives I was about to send Dreamworks.

elizabeth:  I believe I would have cared more about them, the storyline and I would have gladly taken them shopping for something that flatters their skin tones. Just a side note: Carrel’s Wonderstone character in the burgundy velvet ensemble looks like my mother from the mid 1970s. Good thing I tattooed that shrink’s phone number on my wrist.

Nicole: Remind me to never thumb through your photo albums. Yeesh.

elizabeth: Nicole, my mother is on the phone and would like to respond to that last crack of yours. The real magic in this movie is Steve Buscemi appearing to not have one line on his face. I want the number of his makeup artist: STAT. Jim Carrey’s abs took my mind off the poorly written script, but he scared the crap out of me.

Nicole: Seemed like a totally wasted role for Jim Carrey. He’s better off being the lead. This gene-spliced David Blaine/Chris Angel send-up was just not suiting him. I did really enjoy Olivia Wilde and felt that although she’s never done comedy before she was quite good.


elizabeth: Veteran actor Alan Arkin is doing something very few actors his age seem to be doing in 2013. He is getting meaty roles and his portrayal of magician Rance Holloway was the bright spot in this movie. He was magical.

Nicole: Agreed. (Even though I’m incredibly biased because I will always have a soft spot for his portrayal of the easily duped Shel in The In-Laws.) He was the best thing about the movie. By a very long stretch.

elizabeth: And before I go up in puff of smoke, let me just say this to all the directors out there: Do not use the Steve Miller song “Abracadabra” ever again. That song is like nails down a chalkboard and I wonder if I would have liked the movie a little more without one of the worst songs ever written. Burt Wonderstone, where were you when I needed you to make something disappear besides this movie?