Category Archives: Movies

Mike and Dave post a Craigslist ad . . . they need wedding dates and get much more

It really started with an ad on Craigslist. Really.  The ad went up at 9:13 a.m. on February 13, 2013. It read:

TWO MEN NEED WEDDING DATES
My brother and I are looking for wedding dates. We’ve been told by the bride that bringing dates is “mandatory” so we “won’t harass all of my friends all night” and “stay under control.” Rather than ask some fringe women in our lives to go and face the inevitable ‘does this mean he wants to take it to the next level!?’ questions, we’d rather bring complete strangers and just figure it out. Still reading? In anticipation of your questions we’ve developed an FAQ section below. Dave, Mike

What’s in it for me? • An excuse to get dressed up • Open bar & food all night • Eccentric/downright dangerous bro-2-bro dance moves (may need to sign a waiver) • Adventure • Mystery • Suspense • True Love • Royalties once our night’s story is developed into a romantic comedy* *if this happens (we estimate the chances at 85%) we refuse the right to let Ashton Kutcher play either of our characters, however, we will consider him for a supporting role.

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The real Mike and Dave (left) and the big-screen impersonators

SO – What are you fellas like, anyway? Oh us? We’re both in our 20s, single, dashingly tall, Anglo-Saxon, respectfully athletic, love to party, completely house trained, relaxed, passionate, smell great, have cool hair, clean up nice, boast great tie collections, will promise to shave, love our mother, have seen Love Actually several times, controversial, provocative, short-sighted (with a big picture mentality), raw, emotional, sensitive but still bad boys. What should us ladies be like? You should respond in pairs as you’ll want to know at least 1 person at this wedding. Sisters (twins?!) are preferable, but we’ll take friends, or even enemies. You should be attractive or our aunts will judge you, but not TOO attractive or one of our uncles might grope you. You should be relaxed and easy going as we’ll probably make up flattering lies about you on the spot. You should own a dress, or be able to acquire one because we don’t have any. If (when) you respond you should send some pictures of yourself so we know you’ve met the above requirements. Feel free to include a resume; this is a classy wedding and we’re looking for well-rounded women. Interesting/unique pairings are encouraged; don’t be afraid to make yourself stand out! This feels kinda creepy, are you guys Craigslist killers? 3 No. Well, if you want to be techni.. nevermind. No, we aren’t. We just genuinely want to do something different and we don’t see any other way to approach it. What would verify our normalness? Facebook? Instagram? We can have a pre-date screening (interview) prior to the wedding and play 20 questions over a coupla cocktails if you’d like? We’re IN! What now? First off — smart thinking. Email us, send along some pictures, information, high school athletic stats, questions, etc. We’ll take it from there. THE REAL STANGLE BROTHERS

Mike and Dave were surprised by the response it received. As Dave points out: “We thought the only logical way to get dates that knew each other, that would hang out with the two of us, was to put this on Craigslist. We wrote it, kind of thinking it was a joke that we could send to each other.”

With literally thousands of responses, the brothers had soon attracted national attention, discussing their creative dating tactics with Matt Lauer on the Today show and with Anderson Cooper on CNN.

The Stangles were, after all, only doing what came naturally. “I mean, that was kind of the whole point,” Mike says. “We realized that people actually were paying attention to us and so we were cool for the first time in our lives. For a neat little month we went on as many dates as we possibly could.” Adds Dave: “We did a lot of double-dating.”

The ad worked. A movie was made. They also landed a book deal. The deals were thanks to a friend, who happened to be a trainee at CAA, who spotted their viral ad on Craigslist.

And so we cordially invite all to the comedy event of the year. Adam Devine plays Mike and Zac Efron plays Dave in Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, coming to Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital HD on September 27 from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. A true life comedy: In order to avoid embarrassing their family, hard-partying brothers Mike and Dave place an online ad to find “respectable” dates for their sister’s Hawaiian wedding. Instead, the boys find themselves out-hustled by an uncontrollable duo (played by Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza). Based on hilarious true events, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is the perfect marriage of over-the-top humor and outrageous fun. The home releases doesn’t divorce themselves from extras . . .  there are more than 90 minutes of wildly inappropriate content, including never-before-seen extended and deleted scenes

No gifts needed.

Don’t skip “Skiptrace”; Jackie Chan and Johnny Knoxville and a fluffy and funny flick

The critics may not have skipped their praise for Skiptrace, but we found it as funny as a bowling ball that serves another purpose: Possible murder weapon.  Jackie Chan and Johnny Knoxville team up in the hilarious action-packed buddy comedy, arriving on Blu-ray (plus Digital HD), DVD (plus Digital) and Digital HD on October 25 from Lionsgate. The film is currently available On Demand.

For years, by-the-book Hong Kong detective Benny Chan (Chan) has tried to avenge his partner’s murder at the hands of a drug lord. Chan’s Chan meets freewheeling American gambler Connor Watts (Knoxville), who has an important piece of evidence that will bring the man who murdered Chan’s partner to justice.

Those expecting a hard-boiled film noir should remember this fick comes from acclaimed director Renny Harlin; think Die Harder, Cliffhanger, Deep Blue Sea. Fluff and funny.

Julie Walters, again, proves why “Indian Summers” is “a terrific melodrama with brains.”

America is still reeling from a record-breaking hot summer and an Indian Summer is in the wings. We’d much rather savor Indian Summers . . . the continuing story of love, death and unbridled ambition, set in British India’s exotic summer capital in the ’30s that has been hailed by the San Francisco Chronicle as “a terrific melodrama with brains.” PBS Distribution will be releasing “Masterpiece: Indian Summers Season” on DVD and Blu-ray on September 27. The program will also be available for digital download.

The series stars Julie Walters (below) plus “a constellation of strong performances” (Los Angeles Times)—among them Henry Lloyd-Hughes, Nikesh Patel and Jemima West. New this season are Art Malik, Rachel Griffiths, Blake Ritson and James Fleet.indian-summers-s1-julie-walters-6-things-1920x1080

Viewers will recall that last season ends with colonial official Ralph Whelan (Lloyd-Hughes) deftly playing his hand to be the next Viceroy of India and engaged to American socialite Madeline Mathers (Olivia Grant). Learning that Madeline is penniless, he decides to marry her anyway since she impresses all the right people. However, Madeline doesn’t know that Ralph has a mixed-race son, Adam, by his former lover Jaya, or that Ralph was complicit in hanging an innocent man for Jaya’s murder.

In other action, Ralph’s sister, Alice (West), is secretly having an affair with Ralph’s Indian head clerk, Aafrin Delal (Patel), while Aafrin is clandestinely aiding the Indian independence movement. All of these events revolve around the social scene in India’s summer capital, Simla, presided over by crafty military widow Cynthia Coffin (Walters).

As Season 2 opens, it is three years later, 1935. Ralph and Madeline are married. Aafrin has just returned from an official posting in Bengal, where he has fallen in love with freedom-fighter Kaira Das (played by Sugandha Garg) and also befriended firebrand nationalist Naresh Banerjee (Arjun Mathur), who is menacingly paranoid. Just as unbalanced is Alice’s estranged husband, Charlie Havistock (Ritson), who has shown up from England, determined to humiliate her for deserting him with their young son.

Adding to the intrigue is the Maharajah of Amritpur (Malik), the fabulously wealthy ruler of one of India’s princely states. A man of influence and strong appetites, he holds the key to Ralph’s future—in concert with his sensual English mistress, Sirene (Griffiths), whose face is strangely familiar to Simla’s expats.

And then there is Ralph’s rival, Lord Hawthorne (Fleet), who has the aristocratic lineage for the viceroy’s job but is having trouble adapting to the culture of the subcontinent. Still, he has no problem turning on the charm to Leena Prasad (Amber Rose Revah), the attractive former teacher at Simla’s mission school.

Enriching the new season is the dilemma faced by Aafrin’s sister Sooni (Aysha Kala), who wants to use her law degree to benefit the people but faces family pressure to submit to an arranged marriage. Fate intervenes to give her the choice of three very different suitors.

Of course, the big story is the inexorable push toward Indian independence, which is being promoted peacefully by Gandhi and less temperately by someone who promises “to blow them all up until it is raining hands and bloody feet!”

“Churchill’s Secret” is a riveting drama about Winston’s historic hidden truth

We all have secrets . . . but Winston Churchill, perhaps he greatest statesman of the twentieth century, kept one  in his most difficult hour: a debilitating stroke which he seeks to hide from the world. The fascinating story in told in PBS Distribution’s Masterpiece: Churchill’s Secret, arriving on DVD on September 13.

Based on a true incident in the life of Winston Churchill and directed by three-time Emmy nominee Charles Sturridge, Churchill’s Secret  is an adaptation of Jonathan Smith’s acclaimed 2015 novel, The Churchill Secret: KBO, which was hailed as “delightful, funny, heart-warming” by The Mail on Sunday (London) and praised for its “elegance and wit” by The New Statesman (London). “KBO” in the book’s title stands for Churchill’s favorite advice in the face of adversity: “keep buggering on.”

Sir Michael Gambon,74,smokes a cigarette whilst on set of ìSecret Churchillî in London. The ITV drama follows the story of a nurse guiding the ailing Churchill back to health during his final years in power at his Kent home. Set in the summer of 1953, it is based on book, The Churchill Secret: KBO, by Jonathan Smith, which tells the story of the PM's secret stroke. Credit Byline:Eagle Eyes_Exclusive. 28/6/2015
Sir Michael Gambon,74,smokes a cigarette whilst on set of “Churchill’s Secret”

Churchill stars Michael Gambon, in one of those performances that deserves awards. The action opens in the summer of 1953. Churchill, 78, is prime minister for the second time and as pugnacious as ever—until he is felled by a severe stroke while hosting a state dinner at 10 Downing Street. Lady Churchill (played by Lindsay Duncan) manages to conceal the seriousness of her husband’s sudden incapacity, while he is evaluated by his personal physician, Lord Moran (played Bill Paterson), and later transported in worsening condition to his country home, Chartwell.

Summoned to care for the apparently dying prime minister is a remarkable young nurse, Millie Appleyard (Romola Garai), who treats the world’s most famous man as she would any other difficult patient: with compassion, firmness, and occasional indulgence. In the weeks that follow, the two bond over the Victorian poet William Ernest Henley, whose celebrated poem, Invictus (Latin for “unconquered”), helps inspire Churchill to relearn to speak, stand and walk.

He is also determined to hold onto the reins of power, and the program tells the astonishing story of a bedridden, incapacitated leader who plots to outwit the high government officials who are maneuvering to replace him. Chief among these is Anthony Eden (Alex Jennings), Churchill’s right-hand man and designated successor.

Then there is Churchill’s family, of whom Lord Moran observes, “There’s a price to pay for greatness, but the great seldom pay it themselves.” Those who paid were Churchill’s children, who grew up in the permanent shadow of their exuberant and ambitious father. When Diana, Randolph, Sarah and Mary arrive at Chartwell to comfort their stricken parent, all except Mary fall to bickering and boozing—hardly an environment conducive to convalescence.

Through it all, Lady Churchill tries to keep the family peace and above all save some portion of her husband’s declining years for herself—far away from the demands of war and politics. As for Winston, a strange vision and a hit song haunt him from the early ’20s: “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles.” What could it mean?

Turner Classic Movies offers a free online course in slapstick movies, seriously

Groucho, Harpo, Chico, sometimes Zeppo. Buster, Charlie, Harold, W.C., Bud and Lou. Film fans, especially those who savor slapstick know the names and their films.

Turner Classic Movies is inviting movie lovers, comedy fans and online learners from around the world to a free, flexible online course, TCM Presents Painfully Funny: Exploring Slapstick in the Movies. Enjoy multimedia course materials, daily emails with movie clips and conversation starters and ongoing interactions with fellow film fans on the TCM message boards or at #SlapstickFall.

In this Ball State University course, you will explore the greatest slapstick gags in movie history by showcasing 56 classic films released between 1914 and 2004. Spanning almost a century of filmmaking, we will watch, discuss, and analyze the best comedy gags ever filmed involving physical comedy, broad humor and outrageous situations.unnamed

The course will run concurrently with Turner Classic Movies’ Ouch! A Salute to Slapstick programming event, airing every Tuesday and Wednesday in September 2016.

Both the course and the associated films will enrich your understanding of comedy, Hollywood filmmaking, and popular culture. You will be able to share your thoughts online and test your movie knowledge with a worldwide community of students, fans, and film lovers.

Meet your professor, Dr. Richard L. Edwards , and sign up for free at canvas.net/browse/bsu/tcm2/courses/slapstick/

 

The answer is revealed: Why are those birds so damned pissed off? What why are those green piggies such, well, pigs?

It’s a question most people want answered: Why are those damned birds so pissed?

We are here to entertain and educate. In December 2009, people around the world downloaded a game to their phones and started a phenomenon.  Little green piggies had invaded, intent on stealing the eggs of some flightless birds–and these birds were … well, there’s only one word for it: Angry.  How would you feel if someone came to your home and took your kids?

The most downloaded mobile game of all time–Angry Birds and their various editions have been downloaded more than three billion times–comes to the big screen and moviegoers will finally learn how the Angry Birds got their name.

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The first conversations about turning Angry Birds into The Angry Birds Movie began back in 2011 with Mikael Hed and David Maisel.  “I had purchased my 80-year-old mother an iPad, and one day, I heard her swearing at some pigs,” Maisel recalls.  “I got very intrigued–this game is played by kids, by their parents, by their grandparents.  It’s one of the few things in culture today that people of all different generations share.”

According to the film’s producer John Cohen, the classic game was a great starting point for the movie the filmmakers wanted to make.  “Inside the game’s core concept were the seeds of what we believed could grow into a fantastic animated comedy,” he says.  “We had the chance to expand on the game characters, developing the birds into fully fleshed out characters with distinct personalities and fun, unique powers.  But there’s also a strong, emotional idea at the center of the movie: at the heart of the games is a story of angry birds who have had their eggs–their children–taken by these green piggies.  And the birds must launch a search-and-rescue operation to get their kids back.”

Working with the Rovio Entertainment team, the filmmakers developed and expanded the basic ideas from the game.  “This movie is the origin story of how that conflict came to exist between flightless birds and green piggies,” Cohen adds. “It was an incredibly fun opportunity to create a mythology for the Angry Birds universe.  Billions of people have a close personal connection to the games, but the games didn’t really have a backstory that was set in stone. Our playing field was wide open–as if we were starting from scratch with an original idea.  Of course, there were certain important elements that fans know and love from the games–angry flightless birds, with special powers that people will recognize, fighting green piggies, who have stolen their eggs, using a slingshot–but beyond those ideas, we were able to create an original story.”

In fact, Clay Kaytis, who directed the film with Fergal Reilly, says that the built-in audience of the game allowed them to subtly subvert audiences’ expectations.  “People assume they know what the movie is going to be because they’ve played the game,” he says, “but the truth is, we’re creating something that is going to surprise people when they see it.  As filmmakers, we’re making a movie that we would want to go see.”

So, out of the basic premise of the game, the filmmakers created a new story–a character-based comedy.  “Red is certainly an angry bird, and Chuck and Bomb have their problems, but actually, they’re just a bunch of misfits,” says Reilly.  “You really care about these guys–because not only do they have their own problems to deal with, but then they’re dealt the larger problem of the pigs.  They have to save their civilization, even though they’re the most unlikely guys you could ever pick.”

Cohen adds that Red’s mission to manage his anger is a theme that everyone in the audience can relate to.  “Every parent and every kid learns to find a way to work through those tough moments in their lives,” says Cohen.  “I think a lot of kids will identify with Red as he finds a way to channel that energy in a positive direction.”

As the characters took shape on the page, it came time for the filmmakers to cast the actors who would bring them to life.  “When an actor comes into a recording booth to perform, they are stripped of all of the tools in their repertoire–they no longer have their physicality, facial expressions, any movements or gestures, other actors to play against–they are left with only their voice,” says Cohen.  “Great improvisational comedic actors, like Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Maya Rudolph, Danny McBride, Keegan-Michael Key and Kate McKinnon, are able to not only come up with terrific observational comedy ideas, but by doing that, they give their performance a very naturalistic feel, which really helps to bring these characters to life in animation.”

Adds executive producer Mikael Hed.: It’s a magical moment when you hear these actors for the first time in their characters. That’s when the characters start to properly come to life.  The actors inject part of their personality into the characters, and they become so much more real than they’ve ever been before that.”

Now you know. Now you can watch The Angry Birds Movie, now flying around on Blu-ray and DVD from Sony Home Entertainment.

 

 

Olive Films continues to release must-see, must-own films on DVD and Blu-ray

Olive Films’ history of releasing forgotten and controversial films continues with The Outsider, a film about the Irish Troubles. The story of a disillusioned American Vietnam veteran who goes to fight for the I.R.A. only to discover he’s their pawn, the film received praise for its depiction of the moral murkiness of the Troubles. By all accounts, it is a war film with no heroism, glory, or ideals. Moreover, residents of Belfast frequently identify the movie’s portrayal of 1973 working class Belfast as one of cinema’s most realistic.
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The Outsider became the subject of controversy at its release due to its depiction of a British officer torturing an Irish prisoner. The film proved so controversial, in fact, that it was actually dropped from the 1979 London Film Festival.unnamed (1) Having never been on disc before in the United States, Olive Films has given it a much-anticipated Blu-ray and DVD debut.

Gun the Man Down is a relatively obscure but entertaining Western. It is also a film of firsts. It was Angie Dickinson’s first starring role and the first Western directed by Andrew V. McLaglen, who went on to direct McLintock!, 116 episodes of Have Gun–Will Travel and 96 episodes of Gunsmoke. McLaglen’s direction isn’t the only thing Gunsmoke fans will recognize, because James Arness, known for playing Marshal Matt Dillon on the show for 20 years, stars in the film.unnamed (2)

The script was by Burt Kennedy, who would become a director himself after a series of classic westerns working with Randolph Scott and Budd Boetticher. A Hollywood veteran, William Clothier, also deserves kudos for the film’s handsome black and white cinematography.

It was John Wayne (producer of Gun the Man Down through his Batjac Productions), who recommended Arness for the Gunsmoke part. Besides being an intriguing installment in the Western genre, it should also be of interest to fans because of how many future icons contributed to it.

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James Arness and Michael Emmet

More important elements of the film: Reportedly shot in just nine days, parts of the movie is told without dialogue. At one point, seven minutes pass without a word as the camera follows and crosscuts among several of the characters at the center of the story. Emmet is stalking Arness, searching the streets and buildings for him, while Dickinson and the two other members of the gang wait in the saloon for the sound of gunshots.

Danny DeVito’s lost film and fan favorite, “The Ratings Game,” gets much-needed new life

Olive Films continues playing the game, and they remain the winner in the victorious game known as Rare, Forgotten and Lost Movies That Must Be Seen and Owned.

Witness: Commemorating the 30th anniversary of Showtime’s first original movie, The Ratings Game, actor-director Danny DeVito and producer David Jablin sought to finally bring their passion project to the home video market. “Being collectors of special edition discs of our favorite films, we decided that if we were going to do it at all, we’d want to give our ‘baby’ the same kind of loving treatment and do it in a way that would appeal to comedy fans and video collectors like ourselves,” says DeVito.

“In looking for a distributor, we specifically wanted a filmmaker-friendly company that would recognize and respect that this was a passion project for Danny and I and still is” explains Jablin. “It’s been great dealing with everyone at Olive who have truly cared about getting all the details right as much as we have. Danny had the one print ever made of the film for its 1984 big-screen premier party in storage all this time and Olive Films has done an absolutely beautiful job restoring it in full HD.”unnamed

See what we mean? Olive played, they won, Danny and David won. And we won.

In 1984, Showtime Networks made their first foray into original movies with The Ratings Game starring Danny DeVito and his wife Rhea Perlman. The hilarious and biting take-down of the ratings-obsessed network television industry, which also marked DeVito’s feature directing debut, was greeted with love-letter reviews from critics and fans alike. The feature also boasts an eclectic comedy ensemble with performances from Gerrit Graham, George Wendt, Vincent Schiavelli, Ronny Graham, Steve Allen, Huntz Hall, Michael Richards and Jerry Seinfeld. Unfortunately, after its premiere, the film slipped through the cracks of the network’s slowly evolving distribution channels and fell into obscurity as a result, “except with its many fans who continue to hound us for copies to this day” adds Jablin.

MV5BMTkxNjYwMjA0NF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMjgwODI0NDE@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_With some notoriously bad, foreign-made bootleg versions floating around under the name The Mogul, the film has remained essentially lost for more than 30 years. “The mere existence of those totally crap bootleg copies really stuck in our craw and definitely motivated us to set the record straight and put out our film in all of its original glory,” adds DeVito.

In addition to the film itself, the DVD and Blu-ray includes a liner notes booklet with photos and art from the film, as well as a rare collection of four early short films directed by DeVito. “The bonus materials we included have also never been distributed on disc and were fan favorites from our early work,” says Jablin. Altogether they tell the story of Danny’s journey as a film director of distinction.”

Meryl Streep as camp classic Florence Foster Jenkins, the worst singer in history?

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Streep as Jenkins

She was considered, other than Wing, the worst singer who ever lived, if you want to call what came out of her mouth singing. Her name was Florence Foster Jenkins, famous for uttering “some may say that I couldn’t sing, but no one can say that I didn’t sing.” Meryl Streep plays her in the big-screen Florence Foster Jenkins. Missed the fun at the cineplex? The flick arrives on Digital HD November 29 and on Blu-ray Combo Pack December 13.   The Blu-ray Combo Pack with Digital HD features 50 minutes of bonus content including behind-the-scenes footage, a Q&A with Streep, an exploration of the music, deleted scenes and much more.

While the voice she hears in her head is beautiful, to everyone else it is hilariously awful. Her husband and biggest fan, St. Clair Bayfield (portrayed by Hugh Grant) is determined to protect his beloved Florence from the truth. But when Florence stages a huge concert at Carnegie Hall, he faces his greatest challenge to make sure her performance hits all the right notes.UNCEM_1471109269337

It would be Jenkins’ first and only performance at Carnegie Hall in 1944. The show sold out, some 2,000 were turned away and scalpers sold tickets for outrageous sums.  Hmm, Jenkins died a month after that performance . . . not bad for an encore. Jenkins collapsed and died in Schirmer’s Music Store; her last words? “It must’ve been the creamed chicken.”

 

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The real Jenkins

In one word: Brava!

“Back in Time” takes a look at the impact the “Back to the Future” films have had on on culture

Cher has always wanted to turn back time. It’s been there, of sorts, in Back in Time , a documentary that’s a look at the very real impact the Back to the Future movies have had on our culture. This tightly-focused film shows that what was once a little idea became something truly amazing which resonated through the culture.
Spanning over two years of filming, Back in Time is a cinematic monument to the immensity of the trilogy’s fandom. By capturing countless of hours of footage and interviews, the crew watched as the impact of the trilogy became apparent. Steven Spielberg, Robert Zemeckis, Bob Gale, James Tolkan, Lea Thompson, Christopher Lloyd and Michael J. Fox give interviews about their experiences with the movie.

Back in Time began as a project conceived by Jason Aron, a fan of the Back to the Future series that was posted to the website Kickstarter in June 2013. More than 600 people backed the campaign, pledging more than $45,000 in order for the documentary to be made. The film was shot over a period of two years; while production primarily took place in the United States, another filming location was that of London, England during a Back to the Future fan event. The film opened theatrically on October 21 2015, the day that the series’ protagonist Marty McFly travels to in Back to the Future Part II. The DVD travels to store shelves on September 13.

Gregory Weinkauf of The Huffington Post said that the documentary “gets to the heart of the Back to the Future phenomenon, proving as enjoyable as the franchise it affectionately explores”, calling it “a delightful return to, and updating of, a beloved story”.