Posted on | April 21, 2013 | 2 Comments
Flack talks with Murray from Sesame Street abut his favorite (and least favorite!) letter, best friends, and favorite movies. For the first time ever Flick and Flack meet a Henson friend! Murray was kind and interesting to talk with. Plus, he said the name of our website which is AWESOME!
Flick and Flack interview master puppeteer Joey Mazzarino. He talks about getting into the Sesame Street business, meeting Jim Henson, and whether or not there’s a possibility of a Sesame Street film in this day and age.
Posted on | April 20, 2013 | Add Comments
Flick and Flack interview TIFF Director of Programming Shane Smith about TIFF Kids 2013, his favorite films, and more in this fascinating, candid talk.
Flack interviews Industry Services Coordinator Geoff McNaughton about his job, top movies, and more. The greatest part is when Geoff spills a few secrets of TIFF 2013.
Posted on | April 18, 2013 | Add Comments
What? “TIFF Escalating?” Flick and Flack have put a spin on the usual video reviews you’ve come accustomed to. Here’s the catch: As we review the films, we are both standing on the TIFF escalators. As they elevate us to the next level, we review the film we’ve just seen in approximately a minute a.k.a the time it takes for us to travel up the escalator. It may dizzy you just a bit, but it does give us an opportunity to zip through our reviews at a startling pace.
Watch ‘em all here on Vimeo. TIFF (and us!) just got escalated to a whole new level!
Posted on | April 15, 2013 | 2 Comments
Flick and Flack were fortunate to sit down with Maryam Milani, Iranian director of The Rooster Trademark Paper. We talked about the film, working with child actors, the reason why Milani made the movie, and much more. Below you can watch the entire interview.
Posted on | April 14, 2013 | Add Comments
Flick and Flack interview Jonathan Kalafer, director of Once in a Lullaby. It’s a magnificent must-see documentary that charts the PS22 Chorus as they make their way from humble school beginnings to global internet fame and, eventually, a closing performance of “Over The Rainbow” at the 2011 Oscars. In our chat with the director he discusses how the film came to be, the editing process, going to the Academy Awards, and much more. A highlight? When Jonathan describes filming a “lost at the Oscars” sequence. If you get a chance at seeing the movie, watch it. It’s moving, fascinating, and an all around 5 star film! Inspiring, emotional, exciting…you’ll definitely be searching the chorus on YouTube after the film.
Posted on | April 13, 2013 | 1 Comment
Posted on | March 22, 2013 | Add Comments
Oz the Great and Powerful. Jack the Giant Slayer. Two fantasy epics based on classic stories. But which is the fairest of them all? Read on to find out…
Let’s start with Jack the Giant Slayer, a thrilling, adventure with a few issues. The film takes the viewer on an epic journey through medieval lands full of swashbuckling, revolting giants, and a damsel in distress. You know the tale; a boy named Jack takes sells his horse for magic beans, climbs a beanstalk, and slays a giant. Oh, hold on minute. You don’t know Jack. In this version there’s a princess who needs to be rescued (and married), lots of characters who need to be introduced (and get in a good sword fight), and an uncountable amount of loathsomely grusume mo-cap madness creatures that need to be killed. What’s that loathsome stuff, you say? Giants. Nasty ones.
I may be sounding rather harsh on the film, but I did enjoy it. Sure there’s flaws. Some characters are under-developed (a sidekick character, Stanley Tucci’s Roderick) and some scenes are overlong. In fact, I didn’t even tell you about the mini plot holes. But what’s great about the movie? First of all, the actors. Many critics have noted that Nicolas Hoult, who plays Jack, has a bland quality. But to tell you the truth he actually turns in a perfectly solid performance (the best character) opposite the also strong Eleanor Tomlinson.
Bryan Singer does a mediocre job as director, with all his emphasis on battle. He maybe should have focused a tiny bit more on the characters (which are, at least, better than some movies). While I am complaining about the battle sequences, for what they are…well they’re extremely epic. The CG, actors, direction, the battle choreography. The climax is a terrifically executed lesson in crafting a big movie battle. Except there’s one issue. While there’s lots of explosions, flaming trees, and bows ‘n arrows I would’ve enjoyed a bit more classic sword fighting, which we only get a little of.
Throw in some giantly fantastic special effects, grand old sword fighting (though too short), and enough battle spectacle to make most critics angry and you’ve got a film that will suffice the needs of an action film seeking moviegoer. You want a highly exciting, though fairly flawed, candy bag of fairy tale fun? You got it!
Now onto Oz. I have to say it: I had LOW expectations for this Hollywood gamble. I thought it would be an un-pretty shameful cash in-rip off that would make fans off the original want to skip back down that yellow brick road and all the way back to 1939. Anyway, Oz turned out just fine. First off there is a very pretty opening credits sequence and an amazing old fashioned B&W homage of a half hour opener. And then we are quite literally whisked off into THAT magical land. We are treated to mind-rattling visuals and terrific Ozian back story.
The script is a mixed bag filled with bland lines-and witty ones. The story is great and filled with morals and monsters. The final scene is heartfelt and the best of the film. I wouldn’t be surprised if some viewers cry. A fine mix of the excitement and emotion.
Onto the cast. Well they’re incredible. Each and every lead actor fills their role excitement and surprise. As Oz, James Franco creates a character of magic, wonder, and necessary annoyance. Meanwhile the three witches turn in incredible performances. Rachel Weisz is okay in a small role as Evanora the Bad while Michelle Williams plays Glinda the Good without falling into the goody two shoes character trap. But the one with the best performance is easily Mila Kunis (as Theodora the Good). Not only does she do a great job playing an easily fooled character, she also gets the spotlight in a great scene: a mid-way shocker that turns the story on it’s head with astonishment not seen in motion pictures of late. Too bad a review spoiled it for me (don’t read critic’s reviews of the movie because they’re filled with spoilers…except for mine of course!). As for the Franco’s two companions…well Zach Braff’s lovable and hilarious monkey completely outshines the sappy, predictable china doll played by Joey King. Why? A line about bananas.
Director Sam Raimi bests his work on the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man trilogy by combining laughs, thrills, fun, and creativity to create an amazing movie. The special effects are also incredible and surprisingly original. There’s bubbles, smoke, a monkey, a lion, and more to gasp at.
There are some things that don’t happen in the film that you think would. Why? Because they have to tell the story in a way that makes sense compared to the new film. I might’ve preferred one big battle sequence though that wasn’t really possible considering the “good people of Oz” are NOT allowed to kill. Besides, it might have distracted from the story.
The second time (yes, that’s right!) I saw the film in 3-D. If you’re a 3-D fanatic you’ll like it but if you’re opposed to the added dimension this won’t win you ever. In other words, it doesn’t miraculously enhance the movie but gives a bit more excitement. Sadly there’s only one moment that made me duck and that was near the end of the film.
Jack the Giant Slayer is rated PG-13. Anyone who’s older than 11 should be okay but there’s a bit of romance and LOTS of intense, gross (but never bloody) giant fights. Oz the Great and Powerful is rated PG. Anyone who’s over 9 should be fine but there’s lots of romance involving the wizard (he kisses four characters) and some frightening scenes. However, there’s no blood and little battle sequences.
The Fairest of Them All: Oz: The Great and Powerful beats Jack the Giant Slayer. Oz and Jack are filled with wonderful action, special effects, actors, and direction. Both are great films but Oz has a better story. And in the end, that’s what matters.
Posted on | March 15, 2013 | 1 Comment
On March 1st, Jack the Giant Slayer, a Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, X-Men, X2, Superman Returns) directed fantasy, hit theaters. On March 8th, Oz the Great and Powerful, a Sam Raimi (The Evil Dead, Evil Dead II, The Spider-Man Trilogy) film, hit theaters. Instead of reviewing one at a time, I’ve decided to do a double review because both of the films have a few things in common. The question? Who succeeded: Singer or Raimi? Which film is the m0re enjoyable March blockbuster? Read on to find out which film is this month’s better film. First? Up the beanstalk we go!
Jack the Giant Slayer
3 1/2 stars
Jack, “a simple farm boy”, receives some magic beans from a monk and after getting them wet, beanstalks are grown…And giants are reborn. He embarks on a journey to save a princess, show his courage, and battle some massive meanies.
I was expecting little. I got more than I bargained for. To tell you the truth, I bargained for almost nothing. But, what I got was an entertaining film, flawed, yes, but still enjoyable enough to last most of it’s 115 minute running time. I’ll begin with the actors.
Many critics disliked Nicholas Hoult who has the lead role as Jack. Personally, I didn’t adore him, but I found he was…Let’s just say he’s better than James Franco. Eleanor Tomlinson is just okay, so is Stanley Tucci as buck-toothed villain, Roderick. But the best work comes from Ewan McGregor as the dashing Elmont. He displays what the film could have used a little more of: cleverness.
The effects? The giants are superbly animated and they look as disgusting and gruesome as intended on the big screen. Plus, the beanstalk’s writhing madness is a joy to watch. There are also some grand-scale action scenes that, if long, are fun.
The 3-D is not worth wasting your money on. There are under five pop-out moments that catch your attention. The best being when a giant barrels through a stone floor and when beanstalks grow into your face.
I’ve discussed the pleasures, but it’s not all great. Too many jokes fall flat. Too many battles drag. Too many characters die without any heartfelt emotions. (It does become a “Let’s pluck ‘em off one by one!” type thing after a while, so couldn’t they have done it in a meaningful way?) One moment there’s a booger joke, the next a gross-out eyeball squishing. Who is this for? That’s what Singer should’ve decided before tackling the giants. Maybe next time.
My favorite character is Elmont because of his ’30s type action heroes qualities. His charisma and humor drags the film along when it starts to lag from an overlong fight.
My favorite scene is when Jack and Isabelle are hiding from the giant, General Fallon, because if the rest of the film’s action was as uniquely staged, this would have been all of the more worthwhile. This is the kind of scene the film needed!
Jack the Giant Slayer is rated PG-13 and I agree. There are some scary moments that could give little kiddies nightmares. But, there are also the rude humor gags that’ll keep the giggles flowing.
A good bit of amusement, yet lacking real substance. Not enough to last generations of enduring fans.
Oz the Great and Powerful
How did the Wonderful Wizard of Oz become, well, the Wonderful Wizard of Oz? After being wiped into the cyclone, Oz finds himself in a land named Oz. He encounters three witches and learns that before he can become the wizard, he must kill the wicked witch.
Wow. Similar to Jack the Giant Slayer, I wasn’t expecting much, but I got quite a bit. Sam Raimi did a fine job with Spider-Man and a great job with Spider-Man 2. But after Spider-Man 3, I wasn’t so pumped for his next venture, let alone a stab at re-imagining the world before the classic The Wizard of Oz. Yet here is an adventure that is fun, yet filled with thrills and an abundance of chills.
After a very enjoyable title credit sequence, I was excited. After the twenty minute B&W beginning, I was ready for it. After a fantastical first meeting in Oz, I was thrilled. The film continues to throw dazzling CG wonder after dazzling CG wonder. There is also real emotion; one scene that introduces China Girl, a young doll, who has been, as not not to give it away I’ll paraphrase, hurt. Raimi doesn’t throw in an action scene right away, to rush the scene off and keep the kids satisfied, he slowly paces a heartfelt moment.
The acting is very good from all three witches. Of course, we know which two will die, but there’s still fun to be had with their delightful acting. Michelle Williams is Glinda and she includes all of the likable qualities that are required for the part. Mila Kunis is Theodora. (I have to be careful now because I’m treading on spoiler water.) The character is much more interesting than first meets the eye: she starts off dancing with Oz and then…GO WATCH THE MOVIE!!! Rachel Weisz is Eveanora, another witch that is sooo very much more fascinating than you might first suspect. It’s not just the characters though, it’s the actresses. Even Mila Kunis who had been in a bunch of raunchy blockbusters before this, is great. Zach Braff is also funny as the voice of Finley, a nice flying monkey. (Don’t panic: there are plenty of vicious baboons!) But guess who’s not so memorable?
Franco. After the Oscars, there wasn’t much hope for him. But, in the back of my mind I kept hoping that maybe because he was working with his Spider Man Trilogy director, some magic would be conjured. Alas, no. He falls short in many emotional scenes when the heavy burden of the entire film is on him. Joey King is fine as China Girl, the animated doll, but whenever her sassiness was supposed to be funny, she fell flat.
The movie, amazingly still worked for me. And trust me, you won’t mind swirling into the cyclone one more time with a talented director like Raimi at the helm.
My favorite character is Eveanora because I think Weisz was the best actor in the film. She captured the many sides of her witch.
My favorite scene is when Oz crashes into Oz because the visuals are so amazing. It’s a great way to be reintroduced, after being away from the land for seventy-four years.
Oz the Great and Powerful is rated PG and I agree. There are some scary endings to a few characters, but if you can watch the original, this isn’t too much worse.
Action, emotion, wonderful witches. It’s all there and it’s all so good. If you get past Franco, you’re in for a good ride.
The Winner: Oz the Great and Powerful
Posted on | March 9, 2013 | Add Comments
Flick and Flack are busy at the movies. A recent attempt has been made by studios to blockbusterize gentle fairy tales. The pinnacle of this was the first attempt: Alice in Wonderland. Do the two latest cash ins (or are they masterpieces?), Jack the Giant Slayer and Oz: The Great and Powerful, earn their grand scale? Flick and Flack will each be posting their own articles critiquing both films. Expect the posts next week…but first we’re off to see the movies!!! La, la, la, la!!!
Posted on | February 21, 2013 | 1 Comment
All the categories. All the predictions. All the runner ups. It’s Oscar time…and Flick and Flack are here to cover it all in a 20 minute special. Watch as they dissect each and every category. And of course, tune into the Seth MacFarlane hosted show on Sunday, February 24th. More info here.keep looking »