MCN Blogs
David Poland

By David Poland

Going To The Movies?

It seems to me that a lot of you must be going to the movies this week. So what do you think? What is there to talk about other than Dreamgirls grosses and Good Shepherd thrombosis?

43 Responses to “Going To The Movies?”

  1. Saw The Queen last night (it only opened yesterday, Boxing Day is the biggest day of the year for releases here) and I was impressed, but I didn’t fall completely in love. I would place Mirren third for me amongst actresses this year. Maybe fourth. 1. Cruz, 2. Streep with Mirren and Laura Linney fighting for the fourth spot, with many left to see.
    They reckon Happy Feet could be one of the biggest movies ever down here. ?!?

  2. matro says:

    The Onion ranked Children of Men their #1 movie of the year, so I’m looking forward to seeing that, even if it’s only at one theater in San Francisco.
    It’s odd how The Onion has evolved into the only review source I really bother reading nowadays.

  3. Direwolf says:

    My wife and I saw Stranger Than Fiction. A decent crowd in Evanston, IL. We really enjoyed it. It was smart, funny, and original. I think it will be a nice boost for Ferrell’s career (as if he needed any) as far as getting him to move over to more intelligent comedies and leading roles. That said, I love Old School and Anchorman and that genre so I hope he doesn’t stray too far.
    With our college freshman home and our high school sophomore a movie buff, we are watching some DVDs as well. House of Flying Daggers most recently and City of God before that. First time views for some in the family but as a repeat viewer I am once again very pleased by these films.
    On Chistmas eve with the kids out and the wife taking a nap I watched Shawshank for about the 50th time. A great movie for the holiday given its focus on the human sprit. On my personal best of all-time list, it still ranks #1.
    Happy Hanukah, Merry Chistmas, and Happy New Year to all!

  4. Blackcloud says:

    Is there a good theater in Evanston now? When I spent some time there in the late ’90s there wasn’t. I’m not sure there even was a theater, period. There wasn’t much of anything in Evanston then, really. Do you still have to bag your own food at the Burger King?
    Stranger Than Fiction is good, but I felt it lacked the courage of its convictions. Maggie Gyllenhaal is great, though. She’s the best thing in the movie.

  5. Wrecktum says:

    I might see Dreamgirls this week but I’m terribly unmotivated by all the films currently in release. I’m sure many of them are good, but I don’t have the sense of excitement and anticipation that I normally get this time of year.

  6. Twain Swift says:

    Will catch The Queen, my wife will go out with her mom to see Dreamgirls (for the second time – she saw it with me already once) and I’ll catch Iwo Jima on my own.

  7. Me says:

    I finally saw Escape from Alcatraz on dvd (we went to San Fran over the summer and meant to watch it ever since), and it is amazing how much Shawshank stole from it (and Birdman from Alcatraz). That said, I love Shawshank and think it is better than the sum of its parts. As Ebert likes to say, it’s not what a movie is about but how it goes about it that matters.

  8. anghus says:

    ive been watching Office DVDs all week. I’ve seen We Are Marshall, which i liked, but i went to college there, my family is from there, so i’m hardly impartial.
    I’ll be seeing Rocky Balboa this week, and perhaps Happyness if i have the time.
    No interest in:
    Black Christmas
    Night at the Museum

  9. Melquiades says:

    I saw Volver and Dreamgirls over the weekend and loved both.
    Volver is my favorite movie of the year so far (still need to see Children of Men, Pan’s Labyrinth, Iwo Jima and some others). Almodovar is such an effortlessly wonderful filmmaker. And Cruz gives the best performance of the year.
    Dreamgirls was a blast. I loved all the actors, especially Hudson and Murphy. I could easily see them both winning Oscars, though I think Hudson belongs in Lead.

  10. bob giovaneli says:

    If anyone is in a city where “SWEET LAND” is currently playing (its lost some cities but gained others), go see the loveliest indie gem out there.
    Kenneth Turan, Owen Gleiberman, and Godfrey Cheshire name it as one of the best of the year, and with a Rottentomatoes ranking of 94% (tied with LETTER FROM IWO JIMA and one more percentile over THE DEPARTED), it’s frustrating that more critics aren’t ranking it on their lists, and that more people aren’t going to see this great debut film.
    (Though its current gross of $764,000 is impressive with its slow rollout nationally.)
    And as I always say: I don’t work for the film, or the distributor. I just want to help worthy films that are being neglected. (Check out the trailer, and the theaters its at, at

  11. I’m hoping Sweet Land gets a release down here. It sounds very good. Somebody somewhere (on here?) said that if it were Terrance Malick people would be claiming it as a masterpiece.

  12. Eric says:

    I’ve got the next week off while the university where I work is closed. I’m hoping to catch up both at the theater and on DVD. Interested in Dreamgirls, Good Shepherd, Rocky Balboa, and maybe The Prestige (again) and Marie Antoinette at the second-run theater across town.
    I’m in Milwaukee, so it’ll be awhile before I get to see Pan’s Labyrinth, Iwo Jima, or Children of Men. I’m more excited for CoM at the moment than anything else.

  13. Goulet says:

    I’m currently having me a little Cuaron fest, catching up to SOLO CON TU PAREJA, A LITLE PRINCESS and GREAT EXPECTATIONS. Then tomorrow, I’ll go out to see THE FOUNTAIN or DREAMGIRLS again. Good times.

  14. Crow T Robot says:

    You know, I’ve been thinking The Departed will likely win best picture this year simply because the idea of seeing Brad Pitt take credit for the movie’s success will be too much of a temptation for the academy to resist.

  15. ASD says:

    Wouldn’t it just be easier to give him the supporting Oscar for Babel?

  16. BNick says:

    I just caught Children of Men yesterday, and saw Letters from Iwo Jima last week. Both films are superb but Cuaron’s is the superior of the two.
    Still need to catch Little Children, Notes on a Scandal, and probably Dreamgirls.

  17. iowabeef says:

    I’d love to go see Little Children, but I still can’t. Wish New Line would release that outside of NY and Cali.
    Also on my list of movies I can’t see yet: Pan’s Labyrinth, Notes on a Scandal and Children of Men.
    Loved Dreamgirls. Already want to go again. Volver was OK. Almodovar is my favorite director but this is my least favorite film of his. Loved Cruz though.
    Fell asleep during History Boys!

  18. Mongoose says:

    I watched Notes on a Scandal and all I can say is LOOK OUT HELEN MIRREN! Dench is going to steal that little gold statue from you.

  19. Jonj says:

    I’ve read a lot about audiences cheering Hudson’s big song in the middle of “Dreamgirls.” That also happened when I saw the movie. However, the same audience that cheered so loudly after Hudson’s song was laughing at the movie long before the performance and long after it. And trust me, they weren’t laughing with it, they were laughing at it.

  20. I saw LITTLE CHILDREN and it simply kicked my ass. I LOVED it!! I can’t even begin to say how much so…it’s both sad and hillarious, scary and enlightening. I think it’s the best movie of the eyar. It’s a less forgettable AMERICAN BEAUTY. Go see LITTLE CHILDREN as soon as you can.
    PANS LABYRINTH is also excellent.

  21. David Poland says:

    “Is it wrong to hope “Dreamgirls” bombs? The trailer makes the prospect of having to see this film feel like a chore.” Jonj, 11/08/06
    Just sayin’…

  22. T. S. Idiot says:

    While History Boys is lots of on stage, the film is an unfocused, slackly paced bore. The Good German and The Good Shepherd are much better than reviews indicate. Are reviewers so overwhelmed by the end-of-year barrage that they cannot make the effort to try to grasp what the filmmakers are trying to achieve? While many have claimed The Good Shepherd is overlong and boring, it had me all the way. It’s a masterpiece compared to Reds, which I watched on DVD the next day. Never have so many talked so much about so little. Celebrated Christmas with that seasonal favorite Roman Holiday, a thorough delight that looks better each time I see it.

  23. Direwolf says:

    Blackcloud, Evanston has undergone a renaissance of development the last decade. Simultaneous development of entertainement, dining, retail, and residential properties had made it a happening place. Included inthe development is a Century Theatres with aobut 20 screens. 6-8 screens are through a separate entry off the ticket selling lobby and targeted at indie films. Hopefully, many of the films noted inthis thread will play there soon.
    I forgot to mention I caught The Queen there. I liked it a lot but I am a political and current events junky so the whole insider look at Blair and the royal family was of great interest.

  24. jeffmcm says:

    I’ve been dying to see Children of Men and it’s still not playing where I am right now. I did watch the director’s cut of Bad Santa last night, which isn’t too different from the theatrical cut, a little better in some ways, a little worse in others.
    KCamel: Laura Linney in what movie?
    DP: Yeah, it’s funny how when someone writes for months about a movie, you can tell what they’re going to think about it when they finally see it.

  25. Goulet says:

    In what capacity exactly did Brad Pitt produce THE DEPARTED? Wasn’t he halfway around the world shooting BABEL and helping refugees?
    Also, if he was so interested in the project, why isn’t he in it? Practically every other actor of his age/stature is!

  26. Jonj says:

    You have an excellent memory to remember my November post. But my post today didn’t render a judgment on the movie. It simply reported the audience reaction at a single showing, which proved to be distracting for me. As for myself, I thought the movie had some good moments. Hudson and Murphy were great, but I thought they might have been better than the movie itself. I would probably have to see this one again with fewer distractions. I had to fight to tune out a very loud crowd so I could take in the movie. I don’t feel comfortable making a final judgment on it right now. I know that’s lame.

  27. White Label says:

    My holiday entertainment:
    Curse of the Golden Flower
    The Good Shepherd –which I would agree with TSI on, better than the reviews allow. It was a little long and boring, but I enjoyed it for the most part.
    last night:
    Dreamgirls – ok, this may have been discussed elsewhere but I couldn’t find it. Jennifer Hudson’s performance… I’m not a believer. I felt like I was watching a 12 year old actress. Upset: Pout. Mad: Pout. Sad: close eyes so tight tears come out, pout. In Love: pop eyes out at Jamie Foxx. Can someone explain to me why it was so good? My audience was suspiciously quiet (except for annoying row of 5 girls in front of me having a conversation and chuckling inappropriately til my friend stuck his boot one of their faces–that’s a good friend).

  28. Jonj says:

    I’m still waiting for a lot of movies that just aren’t playing on many screens right now. Regardless of whether I liked “Dreamgirls” or not, it was on my must-see list. And I was glad I got to see it. But the other movies on that list aren’t playing wide enough. I want to see “Curse of the Golden Flower,” “Letters From Iwo Jima,” “Pan

  29. palmtree says:

    “In what capacity exactly did Brad Pitt produce THE DEPARTED? Wasn’t he halfway around the world shooting BABEL and helping refugees?”
    It has more to do with his production company, Plan B, which bought the remake rights for Infernal Affairs. Of course he was a part of the creative process, but it wasn’t like he had to be on set or anything.

  30. Paul8148 says:

    Saw Rocky with some family still in town for Christmas last night. It was pack. It was ok overall (Better than 4 and 5) but nothing special. That one great line Paulie had {“What Is So Great about Italian Food cooked By a Bunch of Mexicans”} was funny as hell.

  31. Craptastic says:

    Hands down Rocky wins it for best film of the Christmas season for me. All heart. It made me realize how much that is lacking in today’s movies. It was gone for so long… guess I got used to it.
    Best line (along with the Mexicans cooking italian….) “Ice is stupid.”

  32. Lota says:

    i wasn;t particulary enthusiastic about anything in December (except for the excess of chocolate which is always around at xmas)
    i ended up spending time in the Film Forum watching old movies I hadn;t seen on the big screen before.

  33. Blackcloud says:

    Direwolf, does that mean Evanston now has bars? By which I mean, establishments that can serve alcohol without also having to serve food. Or does the tyranny of temperance still reign in its birthplace?

  34. Jeff, Laura Linney for Ray Lawrence’s Jindabyne. Out in April on your side of the ocean, I believe.
    Lota, really? NOTHING. That’s… that’s unbelievable.
    I’m hopefully seeing Happy Feet tonight, Shortbus, Marie Antoinette, Pan’s Labyrinth and random others throughout Jan/Feb as we start to get the prestigous titles at last.

  35. Lota says:

    nothing camel. last month a few, this month none.
    Happy feet thumbs up (now I did see that this month I guess but it was Early in dec), Marie Antoinette thumbs down, Shortbus…eh, mixed.

  36. Well I got back from Happy Feet… that was a stunner. That soundtrack is going to be purchased tomorrow.

  37. Chicago48 says:

    “Direwolf, does that mean Evanston now has bars? By which I mean, establishments that can serve alcohol without also having to serve food.” Downtown Evanston just built a multi-million$ complex, condos/retail/hotel – I think. The Century theatre has been there quite a while. It still needs foot traffic after 6 p.m.
    As for me: going to see DG again (saw the pre-screening and people loved it, but were a little reserved including me because – are we supposed to clap during an on-screen performance? It felt funny)and then, prob. Notes of a Scandal, love Judi Dench.

  38. Chicago48 says:

    “Direwolf, does that mean Evanston now has bars? By which I mean, establishments that can serve alcohol without also having to serve food.” Downtown Evanston just built a multi-million$ complex, condos/retail stores. The Century theatre has been there quite a while. It still needs foot traffic after 6 p.m.
    As for me: going to see DG again (saw the pre-screening and people loved it, but were a little reserved including me because – are we supposed to clap during an on-screen performance? It felt funny)and then, prob. Notes of a Scandal, love Judi Dench.

  39. Chicago48 says:

    “Regardless of whether I liked “Dreamgirls” or not, it was on my must-see list. And I was glad I got to see it.” Jonj – I think you and others miss the point of why Dreamgirls is such a triumph, and your audience probably tracked younger, right? Youngsters born after 1982 wouldn’t have a clue what they’re looking at. They think they’re watching a music video and expect all the glamour and bling that goes with it. They wouldn’t connect to 1966 if someone paid them to.
    The reason DG is a triumph – and Dave correct me -is it’s hard to put a musical on screen and not make it seem silly and hokey (see Singing in the Rain, which I like, or Moulin Rougey). Plus you have to have the RIGHT cast for a musical, usually the original players can pull it off better than non-orig. players. What Condon did was just short of a miracle by making it fast paced. Granted there were a lot of plot holes and stuff that needed to be filled in (the love relationship betwn Curtis & Effie fails terribly) but most of the audience going to see it are oldsters like myself who saw the original and hv been waiting 25 yrs for it to hit screen.
    Actually when you think about it Ray was a musical, altho a film biog. And btw, I am NOT looking forward to seeing James Brown’s bio on screen or Marvin Gaye either (enough already!).
    BTW, I’m surprised at how well Happyness is doing. Wow! talk about having legs.

  40. Chicago48 says:

    Just got back from DG (again) and the theatre was 75% filled, cashier said it’s doing VERY GOOD, selling out or almost sold out. Aud. was cross section of races, ages (Beyonce is pulling the youngsters), sexes (more women than men). Surprised to see many elderly in the audience. Overall people seem to enjoy this movie because it is entertaining. I think Dave it won’t get nom’d for best picture, if it does will be a surprise. It’s a crowd pleaser, entertaining, (people laugh where they should and clap where they should), it will probably be nom’d for some technicals.
    But on 2nd look, Jamie Foxx is much better, his face says more than his words; Eddie Murphy is a greater actor than he gives himself credit for (Eddie stop making the crap movies); and the ladies complimented each other just right. This time Aniki Rose(?) the actress came through more theatrically than the others.

  41. Chicago48 says:

    Sorry for the double post – but is anybody surprised how Leo Dicaprio is being shut out of the acting awards? Hello! the man gave two best acting performances this year. What movies did these critics see?

  42. Jonj says:

    Someone needs to decide which performance to champion for Leo. He’s going to split his vote right out of awards consideration. Personally, I’d go with “The Departed.” There might be a backlash on the accent in “Blood Diamond,” although I liked both performances and both movies. “The Departed” kind of struck me as wow, he really has taken a step forward in his adult roles (with apologies to “Gangs of New York” and “The Aviator”) …

  43. “I think Dave it won’t get nom’d for best picture, if it does will be a surprise.”
    I’m sorry, but what the fuck?!

The Hot Blog

leahnz on: BYOB - RIP The Goldfinch

leahnz on: BYOBlog

Stella's Boy on: BYOBlog

Stella's Boy on: BYOBlog

movieman on: BYOBlog

Hcat on: BYOB - RIP The Goldfinch

palmtree on: BYOBlog

Pete B. on: BYOB - RIP The Goldfinch

Dr Wally Rises on: BYOBlog

movieman on: BYOBlog

Quote Unquotesee all »

“Well, actually, of that whole group that I call the post-60s anti-authority auteurs, a lot of them came from television. Peckinpah’s the only one whose television work represents his feature work. I mean, like the only one. Mark Rydell can direct a really good episode of ‘Gunsmoke’ and Michael Ritchie can direct a really good episode of ‘The Big Valley,’ but they don’t necessarily look like The Candidate. But Peckinpah’s stuff, even the scripts he wrote that he didn’t even direct, have a Peckinpah feel – the way I think there’s a Corbucci West – suggest a Peckinpah West. That even in his random episodes that he wrote for ‘Gunsmoke’ – it’s right there.”
~ Quentin Tarantino

“The thought is interrupted by an odd interlude. We are speaking in the side room of Casita, a swish and fairly busy Italian bistro in Aoyama – a district of Tokyo usually so replete with celebrities that they spark minimal fuss. Kojima’s fame, however, exceeds normal limits and adoring staff have worked out who their guest is. He stops mid-sentence and points up towards the speakers, delighted. The soft jazz that had been playing discreetly across the restaurant’s dark, hardwood interior has suddenly been replaced with the theme music from some of Kojima’s hit games. Harry Gregson-Williams’ music is sublime in its context but ‘Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots’ is not, Kojima acknowledges, terribly restauranty. He pauses, adjusting a pair of large, blue-framed glasses of his own design, and returns to the way in which games have not only influenced films, but have also changed the way in which people watch them. “There are stories being told [in cinema] that my generation may find surprising but which the gamer generation doesn’t find weird at all,” he says.
~ Hideo Kojima