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Bonus View Digest - November 16, 2012
Tags: Bonus View Digest, The Bonus View, Aaron Peck, Fun Stuff, 007 (all tags)
With winter hanging over us like the harbinger of doom that it is, isn't it nice to know that you have a place online that will keep you toasty? Like a giant cyber blanket The Bonus View engulfs you in the warm glow of all things high definition, and beyond.
This week we have more contests, more monsters, and more movies. Seems like we're running a contest every week here on The Bonus View. Last week we gave away a remastered release of 'Patton,' this week try your chance at winning a totally awesome copy of 'Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure.' Today is the last day to enter, so get on it!
The tournament rages on. Cities are being destroyed as we speak. This isn't to be taken lightly. Famous movie monsters are falling left and right and it's still only the first round. Check out the match-ups that have taken place this week, and cast your votes!
Besides the giveaway announced above (seriously, enter today!) we have our weekly Blu-ray Highlights column where Josh runs down all the Blu-ray releases for the week. This week saw a release of an all-time classics in 'Lawrence of Arabia' and 'The Postman Always Rings Twice.'
There are two huge releases slated for this weekend. See what Luke thought about 'Lincoln' and the newest, and last, movie of the 'Twilight' franchise, 'Breaking Dawn: Part 2.' I'll give you one guess at which movie is better .
In the Trailer Park we discussed a trio of zombie-centric movies. Haven't seen the newest trailer for 'World War Z' yet? Check it out and see what you think.
Also, one of the most popular posts this week is Luke's article stating the exact reasons why he thought 'Skyfall' was terrible. Read it and then see if you agree or disagree. The more comments the better.
Since we've been in spy mode since 'Skyfall' came out we took time in our Mid-Week Poll to ask you who you think is the best movie spy around. In the Weekend Roundtable we discussed who should take the helm of the newly announced 'Star Wars' films.
Thanks for joining us this week. I'll make one last plug for the 'Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure' Blu-ray contest, because hell, it's a free Blu-ray!
Have a great weekend. Be safe. And join us back here next week with another wrap-up of The Bonus View.
Bonus View Digest - June 29, 2012
Tags: Bonus View Digest, The Bonus View, Aaron Peck, Fun Stuff (all tags)
June has come and gone on The Bonus View. We're headed into July now, but not before we recap the last week to see what nuggets of high-def gold you might have missed.
We ended things in the tournament. Jack Bauer fought with the cyborg Terminator Cameron. Bauer won by two votes and was crowned champion. You may not agree with the outcome; if you don't Jack Bauer is headed to your house right now to make you agree.
TV Madness may be over, but we have a new tournament planned coming in October. Monster Madness! So get thinking about what movie monsters you'd like to see in a tournament to the death.
Aaron reviewed Seth MacFarlane's first foray into feature-filmmaking, with 'Ted'. Find out if it really is funny and worth seeing. He also wrote a Posterizing article this week that took a look at some of the new posters that have come out in recent weeks.
E covered two movies in his Trailer Park. See what he thinks about the new trailers for 'Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai' and 'Django Unchained'.
This week in videogame news Brian Hoss discussed his feelings on the new 'Aliens: Colonial Marines' game along with the new 8-bit style game 'Retro City Rampage'. Check them out and see if they're for you.
This week's Mid-Week Poll asked what TV shows you'll be watching this summer. With so many new series starting there's plenty of progamming to get into. The Weekend Roundtable talked about our favorite and least favorite vampire movies. What are some of yours?
Thanks for sticking with us through June. As we head into July we have a lot of things planned, most notably covering some of the huge theatrical releases that will be coming out in the next few weeks. So, stay tuned to The Bonus View until next time.
Ranking Steven Soderbergh's Top 10 Films
Tags: Aaron Peck, Fun Stuff (all tags)
by Aaron Peck
It was the Sundance hit 'Sex, Lies, and Videotape' that put him on the map. The world of independent cinema would never be the same after his first feature-length film premiered at the festival in 1989.
Since then, Steven Soderbergh's work has spanned genres. He's careful not to pigeonhole himself. He's taken on comedies, thrillers, and is about to take on the action/espionage genre with his new movie 'Haywire.'
Every time he plans a new film, the ensemble cast seemingly appears out of nowhere. Actors and actresses who command leading roles are lining up just to play bit parts. He routinely gets casts that other directors would kill for.
This month has seen the Blu-ray release of his worldwide plague thriller 'Contagion' and the Criterion release of his masterpiece about the world of drug trafficking, 'Traffic.' So I'd like to take this time to rank what I believe are the top ten favorite Soderbergh films.
10. 'Erin Brockovich'
There's flat character issues here, along with a paper-thin plot, but this was the film where Soderbergh was able to wrangle Julia Roberts' ultra-star power and bring her down to earth in the role of Erin Brockovich. Squeaking in at number ten, this is my least favorite of his top films, but it's hard to deny the drama and humor injected into the story and the great directorial job done with one of the world's biggest (and sometimes most insufferable) stars.
The lovers and the haters of Soderbergh's remake of Andrei Tarkovsky's 1976 sci-fi masterpiece are pretty evenly split down the middle. Count me on the side that really enjoyed the minimalistic visual tone that he provided here. Yes, it's a slow, methodical movie, but Soderbergh does slow and methodical very well. Buoyed by a great Clooney performance, 'Solaris' had to make the top ten.
8. 'The Limey'
If you haven't been able to catch 'The Limey' you really should make time for this first-rate crime thriller starring Terrance Stamp in one of the best performances of his illustrious acting career. There's a decidedly visual aesthetic applied here by Soderbergh, like in many of his other films, that makes watching the movie an entrancing experience. When are we gonna get a Blu-ray release?
7. 'Ocean's Eleven'
It's the who's who of Hollywood. A gigantic ensemble cast that would make any director drool. Here superstars like George Clooney and Brad Pitt are working side by side, making Matt Damon look like he was called in to play a bit part. This is the only 'Ocean's' movie I enjoy watching. It's witty and clever, pure popcorn entertainment. It has that frenzied Soderbergh pace to it, bouncing around from character to character, but somehow we never get lost in the fray.
I still think 'Contagion' was one of the best thrillers of last year. It's not packed full of action or intrigue, but it's plenty suspenseful. It was a fresh take on the disease thriller. Soderbergh created a world of fear which was much scarier than the disease itself. Plus (spoiler!), Gwyneth Paltrow got scalped. Scalped! Only Soderbergh can amass this cast of A-list actors only to chop the top off the head of one of the biggest names on the bill.
Soderbergh's epic about Ernesto "Che" Guevara is long, and for that very reason you may have not ventured in to take a peek at it. However, once you start watching it you'll find it hard to stop. Benicio Del Toro is mesmerizing as the Cuban militant. There's something to be said for a director that can take a 270 minute epic and make it a compelling character study without veering off into snoozeville.
4. 'The Informant!'
People may disagree with my high ranking of 'The Informant!' but I stand by it. Here's a movie that I didn't ever expect much from and instead got everything I could have wanted and more. The key is that it contains the best performance of Matt Damon's career; It's also his most underrated. Damon plays Mark Whitacre, a top employee in the agricultural industry who turns informer to report to the feds about the illegal dealings of his company. He loves the cloak and dagger routines they put him through. The movie is genuinely funny, and never really got its due.
3. 'Out of Sight'
He had a good foundation. Any Elmore Leonard book is a good basis for a screenplay. However, from movies like 'Be Cool' we've learned that it's all too easy to screw up even some of the best fictional writing out there. 'Out of Sight' remains one of the great modern day crime thrillers. Soderbergh toned down the visual trickery and his at times oddball stylistic choices and was able to craft a very marketable caper film. The biggest story here though, isn't that 'Out of Sight' was when we kind of all took notice of Clooney and realized, "Hey maybe this guy can be a movie star." No, it was the fact that Soderbergh somehow got a borderline fantastic performance from one Jennifer Lopez. You know, the same woman who has starred in such hits as 'Maid in Manhattan,' 'The Wedding Planner,' and 'Monster In Law.' I don't know how he did it, but as director Soderbergh was able to squeeze out whatever acting ability Lopez has.
2. 'Sex, Lies and Videotape'
It's a classic now. There's no way around it. It's the movie that really jumpstarted the whole independent film craze. A movie that showed everyone that low-budgets weren't barriers that couldn't be overcome. Soderbergh wrote the movie in less than two weeks. A thrilling psychological study, it remains a masterpiece.
'Traffic' is to Soderbergh what 'Schindler's List' is to Spielberg. It's his magnum opus. It's the rare time where all the quintessential Soderbergh elements – dozens of characters; intersecting storylines; experimental filming techniques – all meshed into a grandm unified whole. In 2000 Soderbergh was nominated as Best Director twice. Once for 'Traffic' the other for 'Erin Brockovich.' The fun part is that if you didn't know Soderbergh directed both of them you'd swear they were directed by different people. However, 'Traffic' truly bears his mark as a filmmaker (he also acted as cinematographer using the name Peter Andrews). It's experimental, it's large in scope, and it has that trademark ensemble cast that everyone fawns over. With all those elements he was able to weave together numerous tales of the way drugs and the war on them affects everyday life here in America.
How would you rank Soderbergh's films? Are there some that were left off this list like 'King of the Hill,' 'The Underneath,' 'The Good German,' 'The Girlfriend Experience,' or 'Kafka,' that you would add to the list? Please let us know in the forums. Click on the link below and let us in on what movies would make your top ten list of Soderbergh films.
8 Comedies From The 80s That Are Better Than 'Take Me Home Tonight'
Tags: Aaron Peck, Fun Stuff (all tags)
by Aaron Peck
Topher Grace's ode to the 80s 'Take Me Home Tonight' hits Blu-ray this week. This got me thinking about teen comedies from the 80s and how there are so many movies from the "me decade" that you'd be better off watching this week.
The fact is, the Topher Grace vehicle just isn't that good. Rumor has it that it sat on the shelf for four years – filmed the same year as 'Superbad' – and was just never brought to the public's attention until now. Grace says tit's the movie's heavy cocaine use that got its release date pushed back, but methinks that the studio saw it and thought, "Gee, this film looks eerily similar to every other 80s teen comedy only it lacks any sort of charm or nostalgic value."
The 80s were a wonderful time for teen comedies. There are tons of classic teen movies from that time period that made us laugh and cringe at the same time. There were some that pushed the envelope and others that simply entertained. There are guilty pleasures along with bona fide classics. Check out the list below to see some of the movies you could watch besides sitting through 'Take Me Home Tonight'.
It's true that this isn't a movie that you think about when you think of raucous teenage comedies from the 80s, but nothing says 80s comedy like taking a trip with Marty and the Doc. 'Back to the Future' is the perfect way to – ahem – travel back in time and remember what 80s movies were all about. Even though there's a whole time travel plot going on, 'Back to the Future' nails the high school experience and is a pure slice of 80s nostalgia.
Ah, it's so nice that we're finally getting 'Better Off Dead' on Blu-ray in August. Just in time for you to push 'Take Me Home Tonight' aside for a John Cusack movie that will have you reminiscing about cheesy 80s movies that will have you laughing every time. That "2 Dollars!" kid gets me every single time. He's far more iconic that the Ball Scene in 'Take Me Home Tonight' could ever hope to be.
'Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure'
Nothing screams 80s teen awesomeness like Bill and Ted embarking on an excellent adventure that takes them throughout the span of time as they collect historical figures for a school report. It's a movie that's infinitely watchable if only for the fact that it's the role Keanu Reeves was born to play. Now let's finally get a Blu-ray release for this movie, shall we?
Our very own M. Enois Duarte gave 'The Breakfast Club' an outstanding four and a half out of five stars when he reviewed the Blu-ray not too long ago. It's true, 'The Breakfast Club' is the epitome of 80s teen comedy. What's so great about 'The Breakfast Club,' which Duarte points out in his review, is the fact that the teenage characters here aren't treated like idiotic adolescents. John Hughes pays them respect and treats them like grown ups with intelligence and insight.
Another 80s classic that is coming to Blu-ray this August. 'Fast Times at Ridgemont High' was one of those sex comedies that really pushed the boundaries of what could be put on film. One of the most famous masturbation scenes comes from 'Fast Times'. It seems timid by comparison to some of the scenes that have found their ways into movies nowadays, but back then it was pretty edgy.
Quite possibly the most influential and memorable teen comedy from the 80s. 'Ferris' became an instant classic. It's a film that has gone down through the decades, gathering new fans who weren't even born when it was made. Watching Ferris navigate his phony sick day is every bit as delightful the 73rd time around as it was the first time you watched it. It's a movie that will be loved for decades to come.
Another 80s comedy reviewed here by M. Enois Duarte and another four and a half star release. That iconic scene with John Cusack hoisting the boombox above his head is every bit as memorable as Ferris serenading thousands of Chicagoans with his rendition of "Twist and Shout." One of the best romantic comedies of all time.
I was torn over whether or not to put 'Sixteen Candles' in this slot, but I thought "What they heck! Let's go with a guilty pleasure." Two horny geeks create the perfect woman on their computer, and in perfect 80s goofiness, a lightning storm brings her to life. Now they have a sexy new friend named Lisa (Kelly LeBrock) to help them become men. Every horny adolescent's dream come true.
'Take Me Home Tonight' just wasn't the look back at the 80s that I was hoping it would be. It was forgettable at best. Just another movie that tried unsuccessfully to emulate what John Hughes did so masterfully. Do yourself a favor and dig up one of these genuine classics this week and watch something better and more nostalgic.
The Bonus View Digest - June 10, 2011
Tags: The Bonus View, The Bonus View Digest, Aaron Peck, Fun Stuff (all tags)
This was one of the most eventful weeks we've had on The Bonus View. We had numerous stories that featured double-digit comments from our wonderful movie loving community we have here. See what kind of camaraderie you're missing out on when you don't tune into The Bonus View?
The Tournament O' Death has finally wound down, and we crowned a winner. Darth Vader took home the championship, but not before we had quite a few hotly contested matchups. To see how we go to the final match that saw a victorious Vader crushing the life out of a helpless Batman, check out the links below.
Fans of the Movie Madness tournament, don't fret. We've got some great things in the works, like a Tournament O' Death for some of our favorite TV characters. Keep updated on The Bonus View to find out when it's going to happen.
As always The Bonus View tracks and blogs about your favorite shows. For many shows we do weekly recaps just in case you missed anything. It's a time to discuss the show with fellow fans and talk about where it's going. This week we had recaps for shows like 'Franklin & Bash', 'The Killing', 'Game of Thrones', and a special interview from the creator of 'Community'.
As the summer TV season heats up you better believe we'll be covering some of the hottest shows. You'll have to keep a lookout to see which shows we'll be covering.
Video Game News
Not only did our intrepid video game reporter, Dick Ward, keep up updated on the video game releases this week; he also brought it to our attention that we could get up to two free games from Sony Playstation Network. This was good news for a guy like me who rarely buys video games but loves to play them. Right after reading Dick's report I went onto PSN and downloaded Little Big Planet for free!
This was a big week at the theater. Luke Hickman gave us some great Weekend Box Office Updates. He also provided us with an early review of 'Super 8', which seems to be the movie to see this summer. He also wrote a nice review for Woody Allen's new flick 'Midnight in Paris'.
Last, but definitely not least, Luke wrote up a controversial piece on theatrical 3D and if it was facing a downward slide in box office numbers. It sparked a great debate between the readers that's still raging on right now. Check it out and add your two cents.
Home Theater News
Our resident HD expert Josh Zyber is always tweaking his home theater setup. This week he gave us a glimpse of the new Vizio 3D TV he purchased to compliment his 3D projector he just installed a few weeks ago. He also gave us a heads up on a setback he had with his 3D setup, which is something all people who were wondering about installing a 3D home theater should read.
This week we seemed to be brimming with all kinds of featured posts that garnered quite a lot of response from readers. Last week's Roundtable asked the writers which franchises were in need of a reboot. The Mid-Week Poll was a doozy, as we decided once and for all (kind of) who is the worst director out of Michael Bay and Stephen Sommers.
Posterizing is a new featured post we're doing where we take a look at recent movie posters, discuss them, and mainly just enjoy the artwork that goes along with movie marketing.
Finally we had a fun little post about the Alamo Drafthouse Theater and their policy on kicking texters out of movies. You just have to see the video that goes along with the post. It's hilarious.
Thanks again for another successful week on The Bonus View. If you haven't made your way over yet make sure you do. It's a place where you can casually chat with other movie fans, all the while reading great posts from our crack team of writers. Hope to see you here soon!
Top 5/Bottom 5: Jeff Bridges
Tags: Aaron Peck, Top 5/Bottom 5, Fun Stuff (all tags)
by Aaron Peck
Jeff Bridges has had a very long career. With the release of 'Tron: Legacy' and the original 'Tron' on Blu-ray this week, we thought we'd take a look back at Mr. Bridges filmography and decide where he went right and where he went very, very wrong.
He's played some of the most memorable characters in cinema, and he's also been in some serious disasters, but the great thing with Bridges is that even when a movie is an utter mess, he's always doing something interesting with the role he's playing. He takes on a different way of speaking, often doing something almost indefinable with his jaw, just watch for it. The mannerisms, the pitch of his voice, the way he approaches the other actors, the guy isn't Nicholson, who often plays some variation of "Jack." No, a Bridges character is always original. The Dude is not Rooster Cogburn, and Rooster Cogburn sure as hell isn't Bad Blake. When Bridges' character and the movie itself come together, there are few more satisfying films. Here are some of the best and some of the worst.
Confession time. I've never been that big a fan of 'The Big Lebowski' as a movie, but Bridges' performance as The Dude is arguably the best of his career, and it's definitely the most memorable. The movie as a whole never grabbed me like it grabbed so many other fans, but I couldn't leave this one off the list for fear of 'Lebowski' fans calling for my little toe in an envelope. Don't watch this one if you don't have the fixings for a white Russian in the house. Trust me!
Another classic movie that, despite its dated graphics, has stood the test of time and has continued to gain fans over the decades, enough fans and support that Disney saw it fit to make a sequel almost 30 years later!
Who knew that Jeff Bridges could sing country music so well? He was also able to make a romance between a grizzled old country singer and Maggie Gyllenhaal seem genuine. He capped off his performance as Bad Blake by taking home the Best Actor award at the Oscars that year.
Some have said that Jeff Bridges was even better than John Wayne in the role of Rooster Cogburn. Whether that's true or not, doesn't negate the fact that Bridges was superb in this movie. Many people thought he deserved to win back to back Best Actor awards. If it hadn't been for Colin Firth and his stammering performance, I think Bridges would have walked home with a second golden trophy.
I was surprised how imposing Jeff Bridges is with a shaved head and full beard. He made a great villain, which surprised me even more because I've become so accustomed to Bridges being the consummate good guy.
Sandwiched between 'Iron Man' and 'Crazy Heart' was this turd of a movie that was hastily thrown together to capitalize on Megan Fox's popularity. You know your movie is a piece of garbage when you have Jeff Bridges, but your main focus is on Megan Fox. Not to mention Bridges sported one of the worst wigs ever.
This was a promising movie. Terry Gilliam was directing, and Jeff Bridges was starring, but as so often happens with Gilliam productions, somewhere something went very, very wrong. Gilliam got too weird for his own good, and made 'Tideland' an almost unwatchable mess.
One of those movies that you see on TBS or some other basic cable channel Saturday morning and after watching about ten minutes you realize why you never actually think of it unless it's on Saturday morning. Even with Bridges and Tommy Lee Jones, 'Blown Away' failed to establish much suspense at all. Just another bland thriller from the early 90s.
'Scenes of the Crime'
Like 'Blown Away' only duller. 'Scenes of the Crime' is that movie where you wonder what in the world an actor like Bridges is doing in a movie like this. It just doesn't make any sense.
Full of notable actors, 'The Amateurs' tried its hardest to be a sex-centric comedy with heart, but instead the movie ends up being a complete and utter mess. Even with a good performance by Bridges, this movie is still mired in an ugly heap of euphemisms that it mistakes for comedy.
Bridges has plenty more movies that could go in as Honorable Mentions like 'Starman,' 'The Door in the Floor,' 'Arlington Road,' and 'Fearless' (can we please get a Blu-ray for this Peter Weir masterpiece?!) He's had quite the career, and he's treated us to some wonderful performances over the years. Even the dregs of Bridges' filmography still harbor serviceable performances from him.
So what do you think? Please visit the forums and tell us your own Top 5/Bottom 5 for Jeff Bridges!
Top 5/Bottom 5: Rachel McAdams
Tags: Aaron Peck, Top 5/Bottom 5, Fun Stuff (all tags)
by Aaron Peck
I had to do this list after our esteemed editor, Mike Attebery, confessed his secret love for Ms. McAdams and her acting. Truthfully, I don't think he has to be secretive about anything. She's cute, and given the right role, she flourishes. Sure there are a couple dark moments in her career, but when she's good. She's very good.
With today's Blu-ray release of 'Morning Glory,' we thought this was a fantastic time to revisit the filmography of our favorite Canadian import!
Personally I think 'Mean Girls' is Rachel McAdams' best movie by far. Partly because the movie itself is one of the best high school comedies out there, and partly because she's perfect playing the bitchy Regina. I'm sure we can all hearken back to our high school days and remember the snotty, pretty girl that walked around the school like she owned it. 'Mean Girls' nails the high school comedy, and with McAdams' performance, it's a movie that I can sit down and watch over and over again.
Sure it's a corny Nicolas Sparks movie that makes me want to cringe every time I see it, but McAdams successfully pulls off the melodramatic mess of a script with a quiet refinement. It's actually quite marvelous to watch her. She's invested in this role, even though the movie itself is just so darn manipulative and over-the-top.
I thought our Rachel did a great job holding her own against the likes of Harrison Ford and Diane Keaton. Even with those two big stars, she was called upon to carry much of 'Morning Glory' and she does so very well.
When the previews for 'State of Play' were playing on TV I couldn't help but watch them and think it looked like a mediocre two-hour episode of 'Law and Order'. It just looked so terribly cliché that I didn't want to have much to do with it. I'm glad I was wrong. 'State of Play' is a taut thriller that packs a sturdy gut punch. Seasoned director Kevin MacDonald is able to draw an exremely strong performance out of McAdams here as reporter Della Frye. A very pleasant surprise! It's also a steal on Blu-ray.
Guilty pleasure time. I'm allowed at least one on these lists, I'm pretty sure of that. Anyway, as a damsel in distress, McAdams excels. She's not asked to do much, but what she does, she does well. And stabbing Cillian Murphy in the throat with a pen, that was pretty bad-ass (and long overdue!). Good for her. Let's get this one out on Blu-ray, shall we?
Is it McAdams' fault that this movie is a complete dud? Not really, but despite playing the film's title character, she's still never convincing in the role. She basically just sits around waiting for her husband to disappear and reappear whenever his time travel disease sees fit. Yawn...
'The Hot Chick'
I'm instituting a rule in the Top 5 / Bottom 5 articles. If ever an actor stars in a movie opposite Rob Schneider that movie automatically goes into the Worst List no questions asked. Now imagine having to switch bodies with Rob Schneider. I shudder at the thought.
Her Irine Adler was pretty wooden all the way around. Plus it didn't help that she was bumping up against nutty Robert Downey Jr. who completely owned this movie, chewing up most of the scenes that she was in.
'The Lucky Ones'
A disappointing Iraq war movie that you probably never saw, and probably never will. What? I needed to fill in the requisite "unknown movie" slot somewhere on this list, right?
Sporting a cast that included Chris Cooper and Pierce Brosnan, this World War II period piece about infidelity was hardly seen by anyone. It came and went without anyone really noticing it, and that's for a reason. It's dry, mundane, and sort of a slog to sit through. The movie's other downfall? It's a movie about adultery that features a PG-13 rating. With a good looking girl like McAdams in a movie about infidelity, I know many people would be hoping for something a little more risqué. Sorry boys. Not going to happen here. Not this time. (but on that note, 'Time Traveler's Wife' does has its moments!)
McAdams is cute and bubbly, and has stepped her way up into the A-list crowd of leading ladies. She's still got a little ways to go, however, since big as she's become, she still disappears in scenes involving actors like Robert Downey, Jr. (Then again, who doesn't, right?) She's getting better with every film though. Showing that she could stand up and be seen next to the likes of Ford and Keaton in 'Morning Glory' went a long way for her. As always, if we missed a movie, or included a film in the wrong section (according to you of course) then please let us know in the forums.