Archive for September, 2010

Opening on Oct. 1–The Social Network and Let Me In

Posted in Movie News with tags , , on September 28, 2010 by Steve Mesa

This week is a very good week for movies with director David Fincher’s The Social Network and Let Me In, the remake of 2008 Swedish vampire movie Let the Right One In, coming out on Friday.

Directed by Fincher and written by Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network is not just about the invention of Facebook. The story is more about friendship, betrayal, jealousy, lawsuits and depositions. This movie is one of the best movies to come out this year and a potential nominee for next year’s Best Picture Oscar.

Let Me In is a good remake compared to all the other remade films that have come out this year. The film is boosted by terrific performances by Kodi Smit-McPhee and Chloe Moritz as the two leads. Director Matt Reeves (Cloverfield) really does a great job helming the film with interpreting this story in order to translate and Americanize the original Swedish film.


Local event allows “Jackass” fans to meet co-creators of the series

Posted in Movie News with tags , , on September 24, 2010 by Steve Mesa

  I love Jackass. Whenever I see an episode late at night on MTV, it reminds me how me and my high school friends will always talk about the antics of Johnny Knoxville and his gang of Jackasses the day after a new episode aired. 

  Even after Jackass was cancelled, we were captivated even more when the Jackass crew took their antics to the silver screen in 2002.  The movie would go be the number one movie in America in its first weekend and eventually earned $64 million domestically.  Four years later, the gang would replicate that success once again when they reunited in Jackass Number Two by becoming the number one in the box office again and garnering $72 million domestically.

  Fans of the Jackass franchise will get a chance to attend a meet and greet event with co-creators Johnny Knoxville and Jeff Tremaine for a Brew and View event on Sunday night at the Paragon Theater in Coconut Grove. The event starts at 7:30 p.m. where Knoxville and Tremaine will present a 7-minute footage reel from Jackass 3D, which comes out October 15.

Scott Pilgrim vs. Blu-ray

Posted in Movie News with tags , , on September 23, 2010 by Steve Mesa

  On November 9, Universal Home Entertainment will release Scott Pilgrim vs. the World in a Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy combo pack.

  Directed by Edgar Wright, the movie stars Michael Cera as an unemployed bass player who must fight and defeat the seven exes of the girl of his dream in order to date her.

  The combo pack will be jam-packed will special features that include three audio commentaries, behind-the-scenes documentaries, bloopers, deleted scenes and production blogs made by Wright during the making of the film.

Sacha Baron Cohen will play Freddie Mercury

Posted in Movie News with tags , on September 17, 2010 by Steve Mesa

  I love the music of the rock band, Queen. The combination of frontman Freddie Mercury’s vocals and the strumming from Brian May’s guitar makes memorable music whether it is “Bohemian Rhapsody” or “Killer Queen”. Their music has been featured in films such as Shaun of the Dead (“Don’t Stop Me Now) and Highlander (“Play the Game”). There is also rumors are that there will be a Guitar Hero video game based on Queen’s music.

  Now there is news according to Reuters that Borat and Bruno star Sacha Baron Cohen will play Mercury in an untitled drama focusing on his glory days and the days leading up to Queen’s performance at the Live Aide charity concert  in 1985. The film is being written by Peter Morgan (The Queen). 

  Shooting is said to start next year. The project will have the cooperation of Mercury’s estate and the three surviving members of Queen. May and drummer Roger Taylor will supervise the musical content in the film, which will feature the original music of Queen and Mercury’s solo music. I am looking forward to how this film will be made and how Cohen will submerge himself into the role.

THE VIRGINITY HIT is an original and funny teen sex comedy

Posted in Reviews with tags on September 17, 2010 by Steve Mesa

  A teenager goes on a journey to lose his virginity with his buddies and half-brother chronicling every awkward and funny moment on camera in The Virginity Hit.

  Matt (Matt Bennett) and Zack (Zack Pearlman) are half brothers who record every moment of their lives on camera and showcase their antics on You Tube. Along with their friends Jacob (Jacob Davich) and Justin (Justin Kline), they all make a pact to lose their virginity and they all do it except for Matt. As Matt prepares to lose it to his girlfriend Nicole (Nicole Weaver), they break up on his big night after he learned that she cheated on him. With Matt completely miserable, his chance to lose his virginity comes when he is contacted by a 25-year-old woman (Savannah Welch) through the internet, who offers herself to be Matt’s “first”. 

  The Virginity Hit may seem like a retread of Porky’s, American Pie and other teen sex comedies at first, but it updates the genre to the 21st Century with You Tube uses as a narrative tool to tell their story. Screenwriters/directors Andrew Gurland and Huck Botcko manage to combine two existing film genres (the mockumentary and teen sex comedy genre) to create something different and fresh in the comedy genre. This film has all the makings of an old-school independent movie with a low budget and a cast of unknowns as main character in the movie.

  Credit also goes to the cast of unfamiliar actors in The Virginity Hit with each actor creating great chemistry with one another throughout the film as they seek out to help Matt lose his virginity. The delivery of their lines in the movie seems genuine in how real teenagers would talk like since they are basically the same age as the characters that they portray. As funny as the movie is when Matt finds himself in embarrassing situations, you can’t help but root for Matt to reach his goal because the movie makes us feel emotional about this character with some surprising dramatic scenes for a raunchy comedy like The Virginity Hit.

  This movie is not without its flaws as the gimmick for this movie is the story being told from a first-person perspective via a camcorder. It does get tiring at times, even near the climax of the film when the characters are being chased by someone and we are treated to the shaky camera syndrome ala The Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield. Though there is a particular scene in this movie that involves some “man”-scaping that it funny, it does retread on another similar scene from another raunchy comedy earlier this year, She’s Out of My League.

  Even though the film retreads on familiar elements from other movies, The Virginity Hit is a surprisingly funny film that is different from teen sex comedies of the past. The films also work thanks to the performance of the young and unknown cast.

  The Virginity Hit opens in Miami on September 17 only at Cobb Dolphin Mall 19 Theatre where the film will only be screened once at 9:30 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. 

The Virginity Hit: 4 out of 5 stars

THE U captures Miami and the UM football team in the 80s.

Posted in Reviews with tags , , on September 10, 2010 by Steve Mesa

It is that time of the year where the college football season is underway and our Golden Panthers are geared up for their first game of the season against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. With those things in mind, I find it appropriate to review a DVD copy of filmmaker Billy Corben’s The U. As part of the ESPN’s 30 for 30 film series, The U drew in 2 million viewers when it premiered on ESPN last December.

  In the 1980s, the city of Miami was overwhelmed by riots and racial tensions. Around the same time, Coach Howard Schnellenberger came to the University of Miami to resuscitate their football program on the verge of collapse.

  In order to succeed into bringing a national championship to Miami, Schnellenberger started recruiting the most controversial and brilliant in college football history from some of the toughest ghettos in South Florida. With newly attained swagger and fueled by the growing hip hop culture, the Miami Hurricanes quickly became the “Bad Boys” of football who changes the rules of the game and won four national titles over the course of eight years since 1983.

  Director Billy Corben is no stranger to the world of South Florida in the 1980s as he explored the criminal and drug underworld in Cocaine Cowboys. While his mindset is still in the 80s, he has shifted his focus to his favorite college football team, the Hurricanes. Not only is he a fan of the Canes, he also allowed Luther Campbell of 2 Live Crew fame to record the theme song for his documentary even though he was involved in the pay-for-play allegations at UM.

  Corben also manage to get a majority of people who have been involved and linked to football program former Hurricanes coaches and players that include FIU’s football head coach Mario Cristobal, Michael Irvin, Lamar Thomas, Bernie Kosar, Howard Schnellenberger, Dennis Erickson and Jimmy Johnson, who was declared in the documentary by Dan LeBatard as “UM’s first black coach”.

  Former UM student Corben and his producing partner Alfred Spellman strikes a balance between what made the Hurricanes so powerful and dominant on the field and what made them the targets of critics.

  The U not only captured the high points of the football program, but also the low points that include many Hurricanes players were involved with several off-field scandals whether it was a drug charge or an attempted murder charge. The film is also filled with unforgettable game footage with the highlight of the shown footage being several moments in the 1986 and 1990 seasons with the players’ over-the-top celebrations on the field that antagonize many traditional college football fans and caused the NCAA to restrict celebrating in college football.

  While The U is not the first ESPN 30 for 30 film to come out on DVD, it is the first 30 for 30 film to receive the two-disc special edition treatment. Aside from the documentary, the first disc of The U DVD features several five or more minute featurettes that include clips from the premiere of The U at the Lyric Theatre, Miami City Hall and the Cosford Theater on the campus of the University of Miami.

  There are also several deleted scenes from the documentary not featured in the film that include Michael Irvin telling a story how he sent a life-size cutout of himself to Lamar Thomas and how Sebastian the Ibis got detained by the Tallahassee Police Department when the Hurricanes faced the Florida State Seminoles in 1989. On the second disc, there are four twenty minute condensed Miami Hurricanes games that include Miami vs. Alabama in the 1990 Sugar Bowl and their 1991 rival game against FSU.

  The U is one of the best sport documentaries made from the 30 for 30 series. Billy Corben explores the monumental efforts of the Miami Hurricanes from 1983 to 1991 on the football field. While it might be a tribute to football program in the 80s, Corben does not gloss over the negative publicity the team received for their off-the-field antics and their cocky bravura behavior.