Category Archives: Date Night Movie

Trailer Thursday: “Kumiko the Treasure Hunter”

Every year around this time you hear some art house hipster complaining that the Independent Spirit Awards have somehow “gone Hollywood.” And while I can see how some people might think that — especially considering how much overlap there is these days between the Spirit Awards and the Oscars — actually, many of the films celebrated at the Spirit Awards are as freaking weird and independent as they come.

This year, there were two movies that got me excited enough to think about actually paying (!) to see them in a theatre. I know, shocking, huh? The first one was writer/director Ana Lily Amirpour’s B&W Iranian vampire spaghetti western A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night which, well, kind of had me at B&W Iranian vampire spaghetti western. So cool!

And the second movie was Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter. Starring Academy Award nominee Rinko Kikuchi (Babel) as a young Japanese woman on a quest to find buried treasure in the frozen American heartland, the movie looks just as cool as the concept sounds.

Scoring two Spirit Award nominations this season, one for Best Director (David Zellner) and a Best Actress nod for Kikuchi, Kumiko opens next month in select theatres and I, for one, cannot wait to see it. So, check out the badass trailer below and let me know what you think!

 

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Oscar Nominees 2015

OK, let’s just start with the biggest upset of the morning, no LEGO Movie Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature? What the hell?! To steal a line that has been tweeting around the internet all morning: everything is NOT awesome. Seriously, even the Best Original Song nomination for the film’s crazy-addictive “Everything is Awesome” can’t numb the pain of losing out on what many considered to be sure bet for Best Animated Feature. Wow…still totally shocked.

Also very disappointed to see Nightcrawler’s Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo overlooked in the acting categories. They both deserved serious consideration for their stellar work in the film, but, I am thrilled to see it score a Best Original Screenplay nod for writer/director Dan Gilroy. Nightcrawler was one of my favorite films last year and I’m definitely rooting for Gilroy to take home the gold, so, rock on, dude!

If I had one major gripe — aside from the two mentioned above — it’s that the Academy showered so much love and so many nominations on movies that, in my mind, were just OK. I mean, seriously, Whiplash and Foxcatcher for Best Picture? Yikes…

And while I’m delighted to see J.K. Simmons finally getting some Oscar love for his kick-ass turn in Whiplash, I gotta say, the rest of the movie is completely overrated. A total “actors movie” with a lot of showy stuff going on but not much else. Same thing with Foxcatcher. Again, very happy to see Steve Carrell finally snare a richly-deserved Best Actor nod, but, beyond the acting the movie was a mess and the fact that it scored Best Adapted Screenplay and Director nods is completely flabbergasting. Wow…

On the plus side, I actually yelped out loud (OK, more like screamed) when Laura Dern’s name was read in the Best Supporting Actress category. She gave an absolutely transcendent performance in Wild and if you ask me, this is her time to shine. She was the heart and soul of the film and literally lit up the screen with her powerful, soulful work. I think she was my favorite nomination this morning. Very excited for her!

I’m also totally stoked to see Boyhood continuing it’s climb to the top in a very chaotic award season. This movie has haunted me more than any other this year and I’m hoping it wins everything it’s nominated for. And yes, I know that means Patricia Arquette would beat Laura Dern in the Best Supporting Actress race, but, hey, there’s room for more than badass mother performance, so, I’m hoping for a tie!

Another cool surprise was the Best Original Song nomination for “Lost Stars” from another one of my favorite films last year, Begin Again. That movie was amazing and even if they didn’t get nominated for their performances in the film, I’m gonna pretend that Kiera Knightley and Mark Ruffalo’s Oscar nominations this morning — for The Imitation Game and Foxcatcher, respectively — were for that movie instead. Either way, glad the stodgy old Academy remembered this lovely film.

And speaking of memory (I know, nice transition here, sorry) I am so excited to see Julianne Moore in the Best Actress race for her career-best work in Still Alice. That movie devastated me and her performance is definitely the stuff Oscar gold is made of. And if you ask me, it’s about freaking time Moore takes home an Academy Award. No one even came close to her this year…she’s probably the one sure bet this season and she deserves everything she gets. Rock on, red!

And even though Guardians of the Galaxy missed out on a Best Picture nomination, it did score a Writers Guild of America nomination last week and picked up two Oscar nods this morning as well. One for Best Visual Effects, (go, Groot!) and one for Best Make-up and Hairstyling (go, Gamora!) so, I’m not complaining. On a related note, it was very cool to see something other than stuffy English period films in the Best Costume Design category with Maleficent and Inherent Vice picking up surprise and totally deserving nominations. Rock on, crazy Maleficent horns!

Speaking of Inherent Vice, even though I only liked the first hour of the film (which is perfect!) and it descended into total madness in the second half, I have to admit I am glad to see writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson nominated in the Best Adapted Screenplay category. Knowing Oscar voters, who have a rich history of rewarding people for the wrong movies, Anderson, who should have won for Boogie Nights, Magnolia and There Will Be Blood, will finally win an Oscar for his work here.

The bad news is that two really deserving writers got totally shut out in Anderson’s Adapted Screenplay category. Novelist Nick Hornby’s script for Wild was incredible and deeply moving. And though I haven’t seen it yet, Gilian Flynn’s adaptation of her novel Gone Girl is supposed to be pretty badass too. Sadly, their slots got taken by the likes of total groaners like Foxcatcher and Whiplash instead. Oy…makes me want to groan again.

And finally, even though Bradley Cooper knocked Jake Gyllenhaal out of the Best Actor race, Cooper gave one of the best male performances of the year in American Sniper and I was really glad to see the film pick up so many nods this year. It’s a really great flick with a, pardon my French, fucking doozy of an ending. Amazing!

OK, that’s all for now. You can find a complete list of this year’s nominees here. And, as always, I’m dying to hear what you guys think of this year’s crop of nominees, so, comment away!

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Date Night Movie: “Into the Woods”

Usually when I write about date night movies I'm taking about stuff that Mrs. Yeti and I see without Greta, but, tonight's “date night” was even more special. Greta and I saw a screening of Into the Woods on the Disney lot tonight and it was magical.

The movie was fantastic, the weather was wet and shimmery but not cold and the studio backlot was decorated to the hilt for tomorrow's annual tree lighting ceremony. Daddy/Daughter “date night” perfection! Seriously, we could have strolled around that gorgeous, candy-colored backlot all night…in fact, we kinda did. Enjoy the pics!

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Trailer Thursday: “Interstellar”

Since premiering at Comic Con a couple of weeks ago, this new, extended trailer for the upcoming flick Interstellar has been thrilling sci-fi geeks everywhere. I finally saw it yesterday without having heard anything about the movie and I was totally along for the ride based on the, pun intended, “stellar” cast involved alone.

But once I saw that the mad genius at the helm was Christopher-freaking-Nolan, well, that pretty much sealed the deal. I literally cannot wait to see this movie! So cool!!

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Date Night TV: “Big Brother 15”

OK, even if I wasn’t currently working for an aviation-themed magazine, I would still think the new “have not” bedroom on Big Brother 15 is freaking ingenious. Yes, we watch Big Brother, like, religiously. It’s one of the only shows that made the cut when Greta was born, and even if we have to stay up way after she’s gone to bed to catch up on some not safe for kids episodes (especially this season, which is already off to a homophobic, racially-charged start!) we’ll do it.

For those of you not familiar with the show, randomly selected contestants called houseguests are picked to live in a house where their every move is taped all day for the entire summer. Their only contact with the outside world is with the lovely Julie Chen — who fans affectionately refer to as “The Chenbot” for her alluringly robotic demeanor — who appears on the show once a week for a live elimination episode.

BIG BROTHER

BIG BROTHER
Aside from arguing, drinking and running around half-naked in the backyard, each week contestants compete for all sorts of insane food prizes and something called “Head of Household”, which means they get to sleep in a fancy private bedroom upstairs and nominate two houseguests for eviction during their reign. Meanwhile, the rest of the houseguests compete to see which of them will be “haves” and eat normal food for the week, and which will be “have nots” and eat something called slop (which looks like really grey oatmeal) for the week.

Another awful thing the “have not” houseguests must endure during their week is a stay in the “have not” bedroom. In past seasons, “have nots” have slept on cots or even the floor, but, this year, the BB producers have outdone themselves with an aviation-themed “have not” bedroom that utilizes actual airplane seats for beds. Ha!

BIG BROTHER

BIG BROTHER

The room also features stacked suitcases in lieu of dressers and airplane-style overhead storage bins for anything else the “have nots” might want to stow during their stay. Hilarious! Luckily, it looks like the armrests on the chairs do fold up, so, at least there’s that.

But if you’re like me and the concept of sleeping on airplane seats for a couple of hours makes your back hurt. Just imagine how jacked up you’d be after an entire week of fetal position side sleeping. Urgh…I’ll take the floor, thank you.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Burbank, CA

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Date Night TV: “Girls”

I should start by saying that up until about a month ago I had sort of a love/hate relationship with Lena Dunham, the writer/director/creator of HBO’s hit series Girls. And though I know it’s never cool to judge a filmmaker by their personal life — if I did I’d have a hard time stomaching Woody Allen movies too, which I love! — but after watching Dunham’s feature film debut Tiny Furniture on DVD about a year ago, I couldn’t stop hating her. Don’t get me wrong, the movie was great and explores many of the same issues and even character types as Girls does.

The problem I had with Dunham’s movie is that it was released by my beloved Criterion Collection, whose main objective, as I may have stated here before, is to release “a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films”. Yes, Tiny Furniture is contemporary (it was released in 2010) but I think it’s still a little early to tell if it’s “important.”

And then I learned that Dunham is from a family of New York art world superstars — her father is a painter and her mother and frequent co-star, Laurie Simmons, is a well-known photographer — who no doubt circulate in the same hip, underground crowds as the Criterion Collection execs do. So, then I hated her even more. In my mind, Dunham was nothing more than a privileged rich kid using Mommy and Daddy’s connections to make so-called “indie films” that debuted on the freaking Criterion Collection! Urgh…so lame!

Lena Dunham on GIRLS

GIRLS cast

The problem was though, I still loved the movie. And then Girls came along and I loved that too. Correction, I more than love it. Mrs. Yeti really likes it too, but, I’m kind of obsessed with the show right now. And then I started reading and learning more about Dunham and I realized that, parental art-world connections or not, she really is talented as all hell. So, when we finally got HBO last month, I put my own professional jealousies aside and started watching season one of Girls from the beginning. And it was fucking hilarious!

Sad, funny, goofy, dirty, real, authentic, it’s one of the best-written shows I’ve watched in a long time. Dunham and her amazingly gifted cast are a joy to watch each week, especially when one (or all) of their lives are spinning wildly out of control. Oh, man…it’s fantastic. And season two, which started three weeks ago has been even better. I have actually taken to writing down memorable quotes from the show on my iPad. Yes, I’m that kind of fan.

The only problem that I can find with Girls so far is that it is not even remotely kid-friendly. In fact, the other day Greta came into the room while I was trying to watch it and even before anyone said or did anything profane, Greta said: “Daddy, I don’t think I should be watching this show.” Ha! And she was right, the next scene would have required way too much explaining to a toddler. So, I put on The Princess and the Frog for the twentieth time instead.

But, if you and yours happen to have a night to yourselves, one of those cherished “date night-ins” that have become so chic of late, then pop in the first season of Girls and go to town. Seriously, you will laugh your ass off. Truly groundbreaking stuff!

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Hobbit Fever!

Longtime readers will know that I am something of a geek when it comes to all things Middle Earth. Not only did I see most of The Lord of the Rings films at least twice on the big screen, but, last week, I had the chance to do the same thing with the soon-to-be-released The Hobbit as well.

"The Hobbit" Poster (2012)

Last Tuesday night, went to a Hobbit screening with Mrs. Yeti while our friend Tevana babysat Greta — they watched The Wizard of Oz, so, at least they enjoyed a great literary film as well!  — and then last Friday, I took Tevana to another Hobbit screening as payment for babysitting. Turns out Tevana is an even bigger Tolkien fan than I am, so, our post-screening discussion of the movie (which was amazing and may be even a little better than the first film of the LOTR trilogy, if you ask me) was positively nerdtastic. She answered all my questions like a true Tolkien scholar. So awesome!

Better still, said discussion was held at Denny’s over steaming plates of their new Hobbit-themed menu offerings — she had the Shire Sausage, which I highly recommend, and I had the Pumpkin Patch Pancakes, which are as good as they sound! — so, we had fun.

Another fun thing I got to do, in my new persona as a roving journalist for the airline industry (don’t worry, I don’t actually call myself that…yet), was cover a story about the touch down of Air New Zealand’s new The Hobbit-themed aircraft at LAX. Adorned with beautiful full color images of the cast, the plane was gorgeous and the event was held atop LAX’s landmark Encounter restaurant, so, that was pretty cool too.

Anyway, if you’re interested in reading my account of the day, click here. And if you’re looking for more info on Air New Zealand’s super fun The Hobbit marketing tie-ins, you gotta check out their cheeky inflight safety video below. It’s hilarious! They don’t call themselves “The official airline of Middle Earth” for nothing!

Oh, and finally, do yourselves a favor this weekend and check out The Hobbit on the big screen. I watched it in 2D and 3D and though I am usually not a huge fan of 3D movies, the 3D in this film is so insanely well done and so totally immersive that both Tevana and I were swatting at the air in front of us throughout the movie. I told Mrs. Yeti that I watched a mere movie with her on Monday, but actually journeyed to Middle Earth with our friend on Friday. I know it sounds nerdy, but, it’s true. So, if you get a chance to see it twice, try it both ways and see which you like best.

And if you get to Denny’s make sure and ask for a pack of The Hobbit trading cards with your Hobbit-themed entree. I’m looking for a Galadriel or a Gollum to complete my collection!

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