Archive for March, 2010

HOT TUB TIME MACHINE is funny trip back to the 80s

Posted in Reviews with tags , , , , on March 26, 2010 by Steve Mesa

Hot Tub Time Machine takes the idea of time traveling films like Back to the Future and adds the raunchiness of rated-R comedies like The Hangover to become the first funniest movie of the year.
Adam (John Cusack), Nick (Craig Robinson) and Lou (Rob Corrdry) are three men who have been friends since they were teenagers, but their lives are miserable as they have not lived up to their full potential. After Lou is hospitalized, Adam and Nick decide to take Lou and drag Adam’s nephew, Jacob (Clark Duke), to Kodiak Valley, a ski resort where the guys use to hangout. After a night of getting wasted in a hot tub outside of their room, the four are transported to 1986. The guys think that in order to avoid any cataclysmic wrinkle in time and come back to 2010, they need to relive the events that lead up to Winterfest 1986.
The casting is interesting as John Cusack, who had roles in quintessential 80s movies such as Better Off Dead, serves as producer and star of the film. He plays against type compare to his roles in the 80s as a love-stricken adult who eases his heartache by getting high, but gets a second chance at love in the form of a reporter (Lizzy Caplan).
Unlike his last role in Sex Drive, Clark Duke gets to play the straight man to his older co-stars and he is truly shine in his scenes with Corrdry where they exchange insults at each other. Craig Robinson is great as Nick, especially in a scene where he cusses out a 9-year-old who happens to be his future wife.
However, Rob Corrdry steals the show from his co-stars as a man who does everything his can to change his future whether he is trying to stand up to bullies or trying to become wealthy. A scene that involves soap in the bathroom is one of the many highlights from Corrdry as his role as Lou “The Violator” is his best and funniest character to date.
One of the funniest jokes in the film is a running gag involving a one-armed bellhop played brilliantly by Crispin Glover. In 1986, Corddry tries to catch the bellhop in the act of losing his arm whether he is juggling chainsaws or getting his arm stuck in an elevator.
Hot Tub Time Machine will bring some nostalgic memories to the men and women who grew up in that year with many references to the 1980s whether it is a scene that is direct reference to Sixteen Candles or the casting of Glover, who had a role in another time-traveling film (Back to the Future) as a man playing his younger and older version of his character.
There are moments in the film in which the jokes are great and then there are jokes that fall flat. An extended cameo by Chevy Chase would seem like genius casting as he starred in classic films such as National Lampoon’s Vacation. Unfortunately, Chase’s role as the magical hot tub repairman borders on being unfunny. The romantic plot involving Cusack and Caplan seems a little forced and out of place in the movie as it seems like a bit of a distraction.
Hot Tub Time Machine has a couple of flaws, but the movie makes it up with enjoyable references to the 1980s, outrageous humor and a hilarious performance by Rob Corddry that makes it the funniest film of the year thus far.

HOT TUB TIME MACHINE: 4 stars out of 5

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Despite some flaws, HOT TUB TIME MACHINE is funny trip back to the 80s

Posted in Reviews on March 26, 2010 by Steve Mesa

Hot Tub Time Machine takes the idea of time traveling films like Back to the Future and adds the raunchiness of rated-R comedies like The Hangover to become the first funniest movie of the year.
Adam (John Cusack), Nick (Craig Robinson) and Lou (Rob Corrdry) are three men who have been friends since they were teenagers, but their lives are miserable as they have not lived up to their full potential. After Lou is hospitalized, Adam and Nick decide to take Lou and drag Adam’s nephew, Jacob (Clark Duke), to Kodiak Valley, a ski resort where the guys use to hangout. After a night of getting wasted in a hot tub outside of their room, the four are transported to 1986. The guys think that in order to avoid any cataclysmic wrinkle in time and come back to 2010, they need to relive the events that lead up to Winterfest 1986.
The casting is interesting as John Cusack, who had roles in quintessential 80s movies such as Better Off Dead, serves as producer and star of the film. He plays against type compare to his roles in the 80s as a love-stricken adult who eases his heartache by getting high, but gets a second chance at love in the form of a reporter (Lizzy Caplan).
Unlike his last role in Sex Drive, Clark Duke gets to play the straight man to his older co-stars and he is truly shine in his scenes with Corrdry where they exchange insults at each other. Craig Robinson is great as Nick, especially in a scene where he cusses out a 9-year-old who happens to be his future wife.
However, Rob Corrdry steals the show from his co-stars as a man who does everything his can to change his future whether he is trying to stand up to bullies or trying to become wealthy. A scene that involves soap in the bathroom is one of the many highlights from Corrdry as his role as Lou “The Violator” is his best and funniest character to date.
One of the funniest jokes in the film is a running gag involving a one-armed bellhop played brilliantly by Crispin Glover. In 1986, Corddry tries to catch the bellhop in the act of losing his arm whether he is juggling chainsaws or getting his arm stuck in an elevator.
Hot Tub Time Machine will bring some nostalgic memories to the men and women who grew up in that year with many references to the 1980s whether it is a scene that is direct reference to Sixteen Candles or the casting of Glover, who had a role in another time-traveling film (Back to the Future) as a man playing his younger and older version of his character.
There are moments in the film in which the jokes are great and then there are jokes that fall flat. An extended cameo by Chevy Chase would seem like genius casting as he starred in classic films such as National Lampoon’s Vacation. Unfortunately, Chase’s role as the magical hot tub repairman borders on being unfunny. The romantic plot involving Cusack and Caplan seems a little forced and out of place in the movie as it seems like a bit of a distraction.
Hot Tub Time Machine has a couple of flaws, but the movie makes it up with enjoyable references to the 1980s, outrageous humor and a hilarious performance by Rob Corddry that makes it the funniest film of the year thus far.

HOT TUB TIME MACHINE: 4 stars out of 5

Actors discuss HOT TUB TIME MACHINE and co-star Cusack

Posted in Features with tags , , , on March 24, 2010 by Steve Mesa

Leg warmers, the jerry curl and hair-metal rock bands are some of the things that really stand out in the 1980s.
In Hot Tub Time Machine, four guys (John Cusack, Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson and Clark Duke) are vacationing at a desolated ski resort when a night of drinking and debauchery causes them to be teleported back in time to 1986. The Beacon and other college journalists from around the nation were able to sit down with the stars of the film that include Corddry, Robinson, Duke, Lizzy Caplan (Cloverfield), Crispin Glover (Back to the Future) and Collette Wolf (Observe and Report), along with the director Steve Pink (Accepted) at Lake Tahoe for the Hot Tub Time Machine press day.
Lizzy Caplan and Collette Wolf both admired how the director allowed them come up with their own ideas on what is funny, while at the same time getting feedback from him.
“(Steve) was always open to having our ideas and telling us to improvise, which is not always the case, especially in comedy,” Caplan says. “He is the most diplomatic guy because whatever was the funniest take fell into the movie’s final cut.”
“I loved Steve’s direction because he always gave me something positive and then he will give me feedback on my scenes,” Wolf says. “I really appreciated it because not everybody does it, but to me, it would seem like common sense. He always does that and always has something good to say even on my crappiest takes.”
What makes Steve Pink different from other directors that I have talked to is that the first thing he asked as he was about to be interviewed was feedback and reaction on Hot Tub Time Machine. One journalist mentioned that he really liked how there was serious parts in the film that grounded the movie. Pink said it was crucial because he believes all the movies that are good and funny have that quality.
“I think in all the best movies, you care about the characters no matter how insane or ridiculous the premise is,” he says. “The more you explore your characters and the more you like them, the more you laugh at their ridiculous behavior because identifying their flawed behavior is funny to you. Without their behavior, you cannot identify their flaws and identifying a character’s disposition really drives the comedy.”
As stars of Hot Tub Time Machine, Rob Corddry, Clark Duke and Craig Robinson really enjoyed their time working and hanging with their co-star and producer of the film, John Cusack.
“Cusack was cool, man,” Robinson says. “He was very serious off set and then at night, he will say ‘Let’s go out’. Sometimes he was too different people, but he was cool.”
Corddry said that Cusack was “the mayor of Vancouver” and the group basically followed him around.
Corddry, Duke and Robinson had the most fun filming the movie when they were shooting a skiing sequence in the movie. However, there is a scene in the movie which was not planned where Duke fell accidentally on his snowboard.
“They taught me how to snowboard, but they did not teach me how to stop,” Duke says. “I went down the mountain doing all kinds of different turns, but I never practiced stopping. That was the only thing I really had to learn.”
“All the stuff on the boat was fun too,” Corddry says. “It was the last day of shooting and we shot that green screen bullcrap at night at three in the morning. I also got drunk as I drank a whole bottle of white wine.”
Crispin Glover in no stranger to the 1980s as he had roles in quintessential 80s films such Friday the 13th Part IV: The Final Chapter and Back to the Future. Glover said that he thought there it was an interesting quality that Hot Tub Time Machine and Back to the Future have a similar structure in terms of the plot of the film.
“This movie has interesting correlations and talking about this film has made me talk about certain things I have not talked about for a while,” Glover says. “It has been an enjoyable experience on the whole. I am grateful and happy that I am in this film. I feel like this is a film that can do well and I think people will enjoy and get good things out of it.”
Hot Tub Time Machine opens everywhere on March 26.

Actors reveal how CITY ISLAND got started

Posted in Features with tags , on March 22, 2010 by Steve Mesa

There have been a few movies that gave moviegoers a glimpse into the lives of dysfunctional families. Academy Award nominated actor Andy Garcia (Ocean’s Thirteen) leads an all-star cast that includes Emmy-winner Julianne Marguiles (The Good Wife) and Oscar-winner Alan Arkin (Little Miss Sunshine) in City Island. The film is about the Rizzo family, a dysfunctional family that has each family member hiding secrets from each other including a New York corrections officer (Garcia) with a secret desire to become an actor and his daughter (Dominik Garcia-Loredo) who has become a stripper after being suspended from college.
The Beacon had a chance to sit down and talk to Andy Garcia, Dominik Garcia-Loredo and director Raymond De Felitta before City Island made its Florida debut at the 2010 Miami International Film Festival in the Gusman Theater for the Performing Arts.
De Felitta said he wrote the screenplay for City Island a few years ago and he tried for a long time to get the movie made.
“After a long time trying to do it, my agent sent the script to Andy because we are represented by the same agency and he liked it,” De Fellitta says.
De Felitta asked Garcia if he can help him get the movie made and Garcia agreed to help De Felitta produce the movie.
“It is very romantic when you say you are going to produce a movie, but it is an actual commitment in your life because you are taking responsibility by not only acting in the movie, but raise the money for the film,” Garcia says.
For Garcia, the most difficult scene for him to shoot during the production of the movie was a monologue that was in the script that ends the movie where his character tells his acting class his secret as part of an assignment in the class.
“It was actually an entire monologue that we ended up reducing because we felt it reiterated the movie that everybody saw, but it was a very emotional monologue for me,” Garcia says.
De Felitta and Garcia-Lordeo both said that they share a common scene that was difficult to shoot for both of them where the Rizzos each reveal their secrets to one another outside of their house at night. De Felitta said the scene had to work on many levels with that scene being told truthfully and emotionally. He also said the scene also has to be funny, but it could not be played for comedy because it has to be the truth.
“The scene was eleven pages of material and it was scheduled to shoot for only one night,” De Felitta says. “This is one of the scenes where once the actors get going, it is like a rush to the finish line and we had to capture the energy of it”.
“It was a difficult evening as we had two cameras rolling at the same time and the sun came up as we barely finished shooting the scene,” De Felitta says.
Garcia-Loredo said she felt pressure when shooting that same scene because she knew it going to be complicated to shoot and take a long time to finish it.
“I felt I needed to do (my character) Vivian justice in that scene and I need to show that she is a likable character, not just the bitch of the family,” Garcia-Loredo says. “I had to humanize her and show that she really cares what her family thinks of her”.
Andy Garcia was a former FIU student where he participated in many of the schools’ productions of plays like Chekov’s The Cherry Orchard before he left the school in 1978 to start his film career in Hollywood. However, Garcia started acting at Miami Beach Senior High School where he took his first acting classes in his senior year. Garcia said that after graduating from high school, he went to Miami Dade College (MDC) South Campus, where he only took drama classes there before he went to Florida International University.
“It was the beginning of my training and I depended on that experience at FIU,” Garcia says.
“It was a natural place to go after MDC, but what I found is that I loved the people I was collaborating with, it was a very fond memory,” Garcia says. “There were a group of artists there and they were talented people that we did some very nice work while we were there”.
City Island opens on March 26th only at the Regal South Beach Cinema 18.

MIFF premires the best films from around the world

Posted in Festival/awards on March 5, 2010 by Steve Mesa

Anyone who is an avid film buff or looking for a movie that is not your general big-budgeted blockbusters can look forward to 27th annual Miami International Film Festival, which begins tonight at the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts in Downtown Miami.
Tonight’s opening night film is a 2009 Cannes Film Festival favorite and it is the latest movie from director Ken Loach (The Wind That Shakes the Barley), Looking for Eric. This film is about a soccer fanatic post worker named Eric (Steve Evets) who is suffering from a midlife crisis. Just when everything has gone bad for Eric, he begins to receive philosophical life coaching from his hero, Manchester United’s legendary French soccer player Eric Cantona. The screening of the film will be followed by an opening night celebration at Miami Dade College’s Freedom Tower.
Two of this year’s Oscar-nominated films will also be screened at the festival. The Peruvian import, The Milk of Sorrow, will be screened as part of the festival’s yearly exchange linking experienced film professionals with up-and-coming filmmakers. The film is about a woman who suffers from a rare disease that is transmitted from the breast milk of women who has suffered from the traumas of ongoing war and terrorism. The Secret of their Eyes is the film that will be screened at the Gusman Center on closing night, which will be preceded by the festival’s award ceremony. The Argentinean film is about a retired prosecutor who revisits the unsolved murder of a young Buenos Aires woman.
Aside from this year’s Academy Award entries for Best Foreign Language film, Miami will be the latest city to showcase the recent films from a couple of Oscar-nominated actors and filmmakers.
Oscar-winning writer and film director Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) will screen his documentary, The Thorn in the Heart, in the United States for the first time. The documentary chronicles the life of Gondry family matriarch and Michel’s aunt Suzette Gondry, and the relationship of her son, Jean-Yves. The film will compete in the festival’s documentary competition with other films including a revealing portrait of the founder of Playboy (Hugh Hefner: Playboy, Activist and Rebel) and the son of Pablo Escobar telling his father’s story (The Sins of my Father).
Oscar-nominated actress Catherine Keener (Capote) reunites with director Nicole Holofcener (Friends with Money) for the fourth time in the film, Please Give. Set in New York City, the movie is about a married couple (Keener and Oliver Platt) who butt heads with the granddaughters of an elderly woman that lives in the apartment that the husband and wife own.
Academy Award nominated actor Andy Garcia (Ocean’s Thirteen) leads an all-star cast that includes Emmy-winner Julianne Marguiles (The Good Wife) and Oscar-winner Alan Arkin (Little Miss Sunshine) in City Island. The film is about a dysfunctional family that has each family member hiding secrets from each other including a New York corrections officer (Garcia) with a secret desire to become an actor and his daughter (Dominik Garcia-Loredo) who has become a stripper after being suspended from college.
Tickets are available to purchase online at miamifilmfestival.com, via telephone at 305-405-MIFF (6433) or in person at Regal South Beach Cinema 18, 1100 Lincoln Rd; Miami Beach, FL; 33139.