I had a lot of burning questions walking out of Transformers: Dark of the Moon that I hadn't even begun to start answering, and definitely couldn't get into without spoiling the movie to some degree. So I enlisted my pal Mike Ryan to go over some of the particulars, though as you'll see, we barely managed to scratch the surface of this massive, surprisingly complex movie.
SPOILERS AHEAD...because that's the point of these videos.
Tonight, like virtually every other movie critic in the country did, and like virtually everyone else in the world will in a few days, I saw Transformers: Dark of the Moon. The arguments among the critics started fast and got heated out on the sidewalk outside the Times Square theater, so I grabbed podcast pal Da7e to get some thoughts on camera. I admit, it's not our most coherent video review-- a random Times Square vendor pops in at one point to try and sell us something, and another podcast pal David Ehrlich wanders into the background to shout his unequivocal love of the movie. It's chaotic and energetic, much like Transformers: Dark of the Moon, but also just over three minutes long, which makes it way shorter!
Take a look below, and come back throughout the week for way, way more Transformers coverage, including this week's Operation Kino podcast devoted to the robots in disguise.
Super 8 is a movie that's been marketed so heavily based on its surprises that it's almost impossible to really discuss without spoiling it. So I got together with Matt Patches, who liked the film better than I did, to talk it over. Below are the video results.
As we did for The Hangover Part II, Vanity Fair contributor Mike Ryan and I saw a movie together and decided to talk about it on camera. Today we're talking X-Men: First Class, a movie we had just seen at the time we recorded the video and liked a whole lot. Just like the Hangover conversation, though, this one is VERY SPOILERY-- and there are some great moments in X-Men: First Class that you really ought to see before we reveal them for you. If you've seen the movie already, though, please check out our conversation below-- and note that it was cut off a little prematurely at the end because the bar decided to dim the lights to the point that you can't see us. Too bad neither of us had a mutant power to fix it.
This has nothing to do with, well, anything, but last night I watched The Daily Show for the first time in weeks and caught this phenomenal Jon Stewart rant about Donald Trump and his decision to take Sarah Palin to the utterly mediocre pizza chain Famous Famiglia. As a New Yorker and a fan of food, I'm not sure I've ever loved Jon Stewart more.
And for my money, John's on Bleecker is about as good as it gets.
I saw The Hangover Part II earlier this week in the company of a lot of critics, including my friend Mike Ryan. We each went on to write our own scathing reviews of the movie, with me calling it a "soulless and badly unfunny retread" and Mike, ever succinct, simply writing "The Hangover Part II is an asshole." Before either of us had written our reviews, though, we went to a nearby bar to air our grievances in a spoiler-filled way you simply can't do in a review.
So below is our VERY SPOILERY video takedown of The Hangover Part II. We saw this movie so you don't have to.
Terrence Malick's new film Tree of Life is probably the last movie anyone should attempt to review just minutes after walking out of the theater-- which is kind of why it was fun to try it. In the video below I join forces with Erin McCarthy and Jenni Miller to try and process what we'd just seen. You can actually watch us forming the thoughts on camera, thoughts that I at least will try and formulate into the actual review I'll be writing later. It's not the most insightful commentary you'll see on Tree of Life but definitely among the most unvarnished, and the video is a pretty good look at the conversations we critics have amongst ourselves after every screening, not just the ones as twisty and fascinating as Tree of Life.
Check out the video below, and stay tuned for more specific and well-thought reactions to the film later on.
I saw Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides last Thursday with Operation Kino co-host and general man-about-town Dave Gonzales. He liked it more than I did. Here's what we thought. If you want more from my point of view, you can read my full review. On Stranger Tides opens, of course, this Friday.
Between studio presentations and interviews today at Cinema Con-- get the dirty details on all of that here-- I paid a visit to the show floor, where every company you can possibly imagine making a movie theater exist has a booth. There were lots of free food samples, and at the end of the tour, a beer. Check out what I saw in the video below.
That was J.J. Abrams tonight, listing all the things about the existing Super 8 footage-- temp music, unfinished special effects, scenes too long-- just before he showed it to a group of journalists anyway. You can't blame the guy for being anxious-- Abrams is a director fastidious about keeping details of his movies under his hat as long as possible, and even though the 20-odd minutes of Super 8 footage he showed us revealed virtually nothing new about the plot, and showed only the faintest glimpse of the alien creature that wreaks havoc on a small Ohio town, it was obvious he'd rather us all go into the film with no idea what to expect when it opens on June 5 .
I'm still deciding how much I want to reveal about the 20 minutes we saw-- though they gave a wonderful sense of the strong film he's building, he might be right that they reveal too much. In the meantime check out a video blog I recorded with Matt Patches immediately after the screening, standing outside the Walter Reade theater with beautiful Lincoln Center behind us. Yes, it was snowing. No, we're not that happy about it.
As you can see in the video Patches and I have slightly different ideas about how much we want to reveal from what we saw, but both of us were really impressed-- from the extended sequence we saw of the train crash that kicks off the film's action, Patches was invested because he already cared about the kid characters at the center of the film, while I was thrilled by how well-directed the action was. Even though Abrams swears the train crash sequence is way too long, it's got an economy of pacing and especially staging-- you know exactly where everyone is at every moment of the action sequence, a rare thing in these times of quick-cutting and total chaos.
I'll have more on the Super 8 presentation tomorrow, including a few details from the conversation I had with Abrams at the reception afterwards. In the meantime, check out this video for my immediate response!