Monthly Archives: March 2012

CR Has Seen The Hunger Games!

The Cinema Recon Studios have been extremely busy as of late.  Now that we are back from Austin, TX, we have nearly 20 hours of content to pour over and prepare for pod-pressing.  As we have been mentioning through Tweets, FaceSpaces, and posts to the website, we have many excellent movie reviews and interviews with bands from the 2012 SXSW event!  Look for some very special CR podcasts to land on the internets very soon…

In the meantime, business is back to normal for us in terms of show scheduling.  You may have heard of a little film called The Hunger Games, yes?  Well, the film earned a paltry $155 million this weekend, which was enough to crown it the 3rd biggest weekend opening of all time.  You can count Jake, Cassie, and myself as contributors to that giant pile of money, and we have the newest episode of Cinema Recon to prove it!

In the latest and greatest episode, you will hear:

  • Our review of The Hunger Games, with Cassie returning as guest!
  • How Lionsgate is celebrating the huge success of its latest release
  • Why we can’t wait for Season 2 of Game of Thrones
  • Our thoughts on the TMNT-aliens-Michael Bay controversy
  • Why we can’t stop watching the newest Prometheus trailer
  • The questionable sounds of Paul’s new clipboard

Check back soon to stream or download the 3/25/12 show!!

This would be easier if 'American Woman' wasn't stuck in my head ... thanks Lenny

 


The Curious Case of Jessica Chastain

This original idea for this piece was for me to catch up on and review the three Jessica Chastain performances that didn’t receive as much attention as her portrayals in The Help and Tree of Life. I got through The Debt well enough, but around the halfway point of Take Shelter a different angle occurred to me. It wasn’t until I finished with Coriolanus that the thesis solidified enough  and I decided to roll with that.

First, allow me to give you a brief rundown of the five films that Jessica Chastain was featured in throughout the course of 2011:

The Help: In which she plays a hopelessly inept housewife (suffering) who takes the credit for the food and work of her housekeeper played by Octavia Spencer (In her Oscar-winning role.) I written about this film before: not my favorite.

Tree of Life: In which she plays a 1960’s housewife (suffering). A loving wife and mother whose philosophy on life are the crux of the film’s major themes and lie in stark contrast to the beliefs of her husband (played by Brad Pitt.)

Tangent #1: Once in a blue moon there comes a film that perplexes me so fully that I literally have to watch the film over and over again as a sort of punishment or half-assed attempt to understand it. Mulholland Drive was the last film in which this happened. Tree of Life definitely falls under this category. Needless to say, the brief synopsis is pure conjecture and I feel a little stupid even writing it.

Coriolanus: In which she plays the wife (suffering) of the title character (Ralph Fiennes) and most deal with the fact that her husband’s relationship with his mother is a wee bit (to put it lightly) inappropriate.

Tangent #2: I love Shakespeare. One summer, I obsessively read and in some cases reread every single one of his plays. While, I don’t think this is news to anyone, but it bears repeating: Coriolanus, along with Titus Andronicus, may be the toughest to get through.

Take Shelter: In which she plays the wife (suffering) of a man whose laden schizophrenia is slowly bubbling to the surface.

Tangent #3: Man, Michael Sheen is a fucking great actor. If Michael Fassbender not getting an Oscar nomination for “Shame” was the biggest snub of the year, Sheen’s performance in Take Shelter may be the second biggest.

The Debt: In which she plays the younger version of Helen Mirren, who plays a former Israeli Intelligence Agent who has been keeping a very big secret. Oh yeah, and she’s the long-suffering wife of a fellow Intelligence officer.

Tangent #4: I had higher hopes for this movie, given the cast and the pedigree of the filmmakers behind it (Bill Madden directing, a screenplay by Matthew Vaughn.) It’s a perfectly watchable thriller, however, at about the halfway mark of the film, I found myself manicuring my Amazon wish list (It’s compulsive… I hope I’m not alone.)

Wait for it…read it again…see the pattern.

This may seem like I’m the first guy to knock what has been an extraordinary year for the lady, but I’m not. In fact, it’s just opposite. Looking at the broad strokes, the similarities are certainly there, but what Chastain has done with every performance is simply remarkable. She is able with great subtlety and economy to mine the different shades of the human condition as it pertains to women. While she has essentially played the same role in all five films, she has ranged from electric exuberance to unflinching resolve to extreme pain. If watched in succession, it’s not entirely impossible to think of Chastain’s five performances as one large all-encompassing performance.

With so much heat around her, the possibilities are endless as are the paychecks. At this point, the fork in the road is upon her. Turn one direction and you go by way of Kate Hudson and make one dispensable romantic comedy after another until you whither away into obscurity and are only known for which rock star you are currently fucking. Turn the other direction and co tine to make interesting choices, win a couple of Oscars and transform into the second coming of Meryl Streep. Selfishly, I hope she chooses the latter. I realize that’s a high bar to set, but after a year like the one Ms. Chastain had, it’s hard not to see it coming. In 2011, Ms. Chastain may very well have painted her masterpiece, what will she do for an encore?


The Many Faces of Johnny Depp

An official photo of Disney’s upcoming action/adventure film The Lone Ranger was released yesterday.  The remake of the 1950’s classic television show stars Armie Hammer as the Ranger himself, while Johnny Depp is his Native American sidekick Tonto:

Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer

My hat is hungry, Armie

I’m really starting to believe Johnny Depp will only do a movie if any of the following criteria are met:

  1. Tim Burton is involved
  2. Helena Bonham Carter appears
  3. Depp gets to wear an elaborate costume of some kind
  4. Depp gets to utter “Where’s the RUM!” at some point
  5. Free McDonald’s is provided

Truly we are a podcast divided when it comes to Johnny Depp:  I am a fan, Jake not so much.  I can absolutely understand why one would be turned away by him.  His loud, over the top, larger than life characters (especially lately) are spectacles that demand an audience’s attention.  If you are of the camp that believes less is more, you are certainly going to be annoyed while sitting through Pirates of the Caribbean.

But this is exactly why I enjoy Johnny Depp movies.  His is a craft that is not easily defined…something different every time he appears onscreen.  He has been at the point of A-list status for so long, he can choose any role he wants.  In doing so, he chooses some very bizarre characters.  To me, this truly embodies thespianism at its best.  Yes, I love and appreciate a strong, dramatic performance in a more grounded environment, but sometimes I’d rather get lost in a story that leaves realism at the door.  I welcome the fantastical set pieces, the whimsical plot lines, and the scene-chewing of characters like the one’s Depp has the luxury of portraying.

So I am of the opinion that this pic of Tonto is awesome.  Its ridiculous, overdone, and he has a goddamn bird on his head.  Fine with me.  Johnny Depp will take this wackiness and run with it, just as he does in every movie he’s in.  And at the end of the day, even if the movie is a flop, having Depp in the role will ensure a Tonto that is memorable and fun to watch.  Depp is quite good at his craft…whatever the hell that may be.

Does anyone even know what Johnny Depp actually looks like in person??


The 2012 Oscars! Part 3

…And finally, after Part 1 and Part 2, we wrap up our LIVE commentary of the 2012 Oscars with Part 3 of this epic podcast!

Listen Below:

Download Here (by right clicking, then “save as”):  CR: 2012 Oscars Part3


The 2012 Oscars! Part 2

If you’ve already listened to Part 1 of our epic LIVE Oscar commentary, why not go ahead and start listening to Part 2?!

Listen Below:

Download Here (by right clicking, then “save as”):  CR: 2012 Oscars Part2


The 2012 Oscars! Part 1

On February 26, Cinema Recon hosted a very special event: A Live viewing and commentary of the 84th Annual Academy Awards!

The video was hosted by Ustream.com, and there, on the Cinema Recon channel, you can find video of the show, or you can also watch by visiting CinemaRecon.com and taking a look at our post “Replay of Cinema Recon LIVE

Easily one of our favorite shows yet, we had an absolute blast broadcasting live, interacting with fans through Twitter, Facebook, and Ustream, and just causing the normal Cinema Recon debauchery you’ve come to expect.

This epic event has been split into 3 parts for you to listen as a podcast.  Even if you missed the Oscars, the show is still entertaining and pretty damn hilarious.

So kick back, relax, and enjoy the very special Cinema Recon LIVE with the 2012 Academy Awards!

Listen Below:

Download Here (by right clicking, then “save as”):  CR: 2012 Oscars Part1


Your Honor, These Skittles should be Gold Plated!

How do we, as rational human beings, stand in a line and quietly pay for food  that is marked up 300% with no explanation given to us other than “because we can”?  Why do we not throw a fit of obscenities and revert into a primal state of rage, just tossing objects and people across the room?!?!  Who can possibly justify accepting a premise so absurd??

And yet, we do it all the time.  In airports, in Disneyland, and yes, in the cinema.  But finally, someone has the gall to stand up for the rest of us sheep!  The Detroit Free Press reports that one man is suing AMC Movie Theaters because their concessions are too high!  Nary a one of us shall again have to kneel over the guillotine and buy Twizzlers for $9.00!!  Or a medium Soda for $6.75!! (for just a quarter more you can make it a large and really, why the hell wouldn’t you?)

Okay, so maybe the insane popcorn prices aren’t going anywhere just yet, but I found this lawsuit particularly interesting, being that I spend quite a bit of my free time in a theater.  Certainly this case will be dismissed long before it gets any real traction.  If Law School has taught me anything, it’s that 99% of all suits will never see a day in court, whether they are dismissed or settled early on.  Basically, people sue over some of the wackiest shit.

So what then does this guy hope to accomplish?  It is pretty well-known that theaters make all their money from concession sales.  If they were mandated by law to sell their Goobers at minimum prices, what do you think is going to happen?  The ticket prices will go up!  Attacking the theaters, as crazy as those Milk Dud prices may be, is aiming a little too far down the root of the problem.  It’s the prices imposed by the film distributors in an already concentrated industry that are really driving the M&M costs through the roof (often distributors will charge 50-70% of a theater’s ticket revenues for the license of one film).

You could do what I do: get yourself a Jake of your very own and have him carry all those Sour Patch Kids in his cargo shorts.  He’s like a big, bearded purse that complains a whole lot.

Thanks to Cinema Blend for pointing this story out to the masses!


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