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December  19

Brokeback Baristaville

Could two hot cowboys, hot for each other, be the breakthrough film that could change everything? The Clairidge is betting on Brokeback Mountain, with showings almost hourly. Here's what early viewers are saying, from NorthJersey.com:

I was kind of curious about how they deal with the subject of ... cowboys," said John Klemek with a grin.

Klemek, waiting on line Friday with his girlfriend, Denise Agnello, at Montclair's Clairidge Cinema 6 was, of course, half right.

They're gay cowboys - which is why the film, opening this weekend in two New Jersey theaters, has created a huge buzz, the beginnings of a backlash, talk of Oscars for Heath Ledger (in particular) and Jake Gyllenhaal, and a ready supply of jokes for David Letterman ("Top Ten Signs You're a Gay Cowboy").

Whether the movie truly breaks ground will depend on its effect on two very different audiences.

On the one hand, there are gay viewers - pretty much pre-sold and, judging by the number of same-sex couples in the audience Friday, "Brokeback's" likely core audience.

"I thought it was very well done and believable," said Klemek, a Ringwood resident, after seeing the film. "They really seemed like they were part of that environment. And the relationship is tragic."

On the other hand, Klemek admits, it was his girlfriend's choice to go to the movie. "It's her birthday," Klemek said.

That, some forecasters say, is the most likely scenario for this movie. Gays will see it. Women will see it, in groups. And women will drag their boyfriends and husbands to it.

OK, who's seen it? Give us your take here.

December 19, 2005 in Movie Mojo | Permalink | Comments (12)

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October   8

For Your Viewing Pleasure

Movieoct_1The forecast calls for movies and plenty of them. Fortunately, there's new blood at the theaters, including Wallace and Gromit, the claymation flick parents and kids can actually both enjoy that's also been getting great reviews. If you're not familiar, rent A Grand Day Out and you'll see what the fuss is about. If you've seen/rented/on demanded anything good lately, give us all some inspiration.

October 8, 2005 in Movie Mojo | Permalink | Comments (7)

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July  29

The Longest Dirty Joke

Aristocrats_poster It starts tonight, (albeit not yet in Baristaville), and we can't help but be intrigued by The Aristocrats. We've never actually heard the joke that inspired the movie, although after some searching, we've gotten the gist of the raunchy riff that hails back to vaudeville days. Going to see stand-up to support my own favorite comic, I've been privy to some pretty dirty stuff. Reviewers, who explain that reading the joke isn't as funny as seeing it performed by hundreds of comedians (duh!), seem to like it. So, we're asking -- will you see it? And have you heard the joke?

July 29, 2005 in Movie Mojo | Permalink | Comments (8)

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July  15

Double Feature

Owen_wilson2 Two new movies this weekend -- Charlie & The Chocolate Factory and Wedding Crashers. The reviews are good to glowing on both, although we have trouble trusting any reviewer who chooses to denigrate the original movie/cult classic starring Gene Wilder. The word is that Depp is entrancing (albeit eerily Jacko-like) and that this version adheres much more more closely to the book.

Johnny_depp15 Wedding Crashers is getting strong buzz as a summer's runaway comedy blockbuster, with Vaughn specifically stealing the show. I pretty much could watch Vince Vaughn read the phone book and he'd make me laugh, so I'm biased.

Let us know what you see and what you think...

July 15, 2005 in Movie Mojo | Permalink | Comments (18)

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June  24

Two Tales of Excess

Enron_3 Still playing at the Roberts Theatres Wellmont Theatre on Seymour Street -

ENRON: THE SMARTEST GUYS IN THE ROOM is riveting – if there was ever the tiniest question of “who knew what and when,” this searing examination of the most spectacular business scandal of our time will answer that question definitively.  It becomes crystal clear that Enron’s only product was in fact Enron stock, and that the hubris, greed and sense of entitlement of its top officers crafted this disaster.  The comparison used in the movie is that on the Titanic, the captain went down with the boat; here, the leaders jumped on the life boats (with millions of $$), looked up at the rest of the people and said “don’t worry - it’s going to be ok.”   Director Alex Gibney artfully focuses on the psychology and greed of Enron’s top officers rather than the accounting and the financials.  Smartest Guys is a fascinating and very well-done documentary, loaded with Enron internal video clips, and one mind-boggling scene where a top exec makes a spoof video of his own “get rich quick” scheme.   With any luck, future jurors on the Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling cases (both scheduled for early 2006) will catch this one….

Does anyone else find Enron’s ubiquitous slanted “E” logo disturbingly swastika-like? 

(Note to Roberts Theatre Wellmont:  The bottom foot of the screen is critical to see in documentaries- we missed half of the names because the picture was not perfectly aligned with the screen.)

Enron_4 For another shocking tale of excess


While we’re on the subject of thought provoking documentaries, we just cannot say enough about SUPER SIZE ME, which chronicles first-time documentarian Morgan Spurlock as he attempts to show how the fast food industry has led to the obesity epidemic in this country by embarking on  a 30 day diet of nothing but McDonald’s.   (The only “rule” was that if the McD’s associate asked if he would like that order “super-sized,” he would have to oblige.)   What happens is truly shocking – this healthy 33 year old man gained 30 pounds (10 in the first week!), saw his cholesterol and blood pressure skyrocket, and experienced a host of additional medical and psychological ailments.  Spurlock’s odyssey is so horrifying, yet so hysterically presented, that we have found this flick to be one of our top comedic rental picks.

June 24, 2005 in Movie Mojo | Permalink | Comments (6)

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June  17

Beyond Rocky

Baristaflix61605 Brad and Angelina, yes we know, we’ve heard all about it. But we’re interested in a movie that actually has some emotional and intellectual content – like CINDERELLA MAN, the wonderful new bio-pic directed by Ron Howard. It’s the Depression-era story of James Braddock, a down-on-his-luck boxer who dreams the impossible dream and dares to go after it, while carrying the weight of the Great Depression on his shoulders. The historical context is so well played that it’s actually uplifting -- not that this isn't a sanitized Disney-ized Depression at all, but there is something hauntingly lovely inside the sentimental melancholy of the day. The boxing scenes are excellent, and quite accurate. The three leads -- Russell Crowe, Renee Zelwegger and the newest thinking-woman’s-sex-symbol Paul Giametti are in top form. (Will we remember them come Oscar time? Let’s try.) Sadly, inside scoop has it that this flick is not faring well against summer blockbusters, and may be shelved until fall, when more cerebral “Oscar-buzzers” start popping up. All in all, a terrific movie, start to finish, with superb acting and directing. Catch this one before it goes.

Spacey_2WHAT TO RENT: There oughtta be a law against writing, producing and starring in a film. Clint Eastwood can do it, and even that’s a stretch, but you Mr. Spacey, can not. But there’s just something so “bon vivant” about your work in BEYOND THE SEA that we’re absolutely mesmerized; is it your yellow leisure suit, or your ridiculous Buzzby Berk-era song and dance routines that pop out of nowhere and go gaily along endlessly? We cannot know for sure which parts of this “bio-pic” are accurate, as it does indeed seem like Kevin Spacey’s fantasy of what Bobby Darin’s life might have been like. This is a fun, foolish rental, but, hey isn’t there a place for that in your life? There certainly is in ours.

June 17, 2005 in Movie Mojo | Permalink | Comments (5)

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June  10

Double Feature

Brad_pitt4_1 Big movie weekend in Baristaville and there's a good chance one adult in my house will get to see both Mr. & Mrs. Smith and The Adventures of Shark Boy and Lava Girl. For those who've caught these two newly released action/dramas already, give us some details. Was the chemistry really that hot? Not between the kid superheroes -- of course, we're talking about Brangelina. After all the hype, the movie better deliver, since no one wants a repeat of this.

June 10, 2005 in Movie Mojo | Permalink | Comments (1)

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June   3

Flick Tonight?

Cinema Layer Cake does sound yummy, but of the flicks playing this weekend, race right over to see to Crash. This stunning must-see drama revolves around the strangely intertwined events of seemingly unrelated people over a 36 hour time period. The cause-and-effect theme is never lost along the way, and is always connected with racism and prejudice – the catalysts that spark the movie from one horrific event to another. The backdrop of LA and the LAPD is the perfect canvas for this race relations allegory. Small-screen 24 fans will appreciate the boxy, surgical editing and brilliant cinematography – as lean as the story itself, once again reminding us that this is merely a moral tale, not just fiction; a warning of what we all could stumble into at any time.

Crash is Paul Haggis’s stunning directorial debut. The acting is superb, and an excellent example of “ensemble” acting – no one shines above the others – makes us wonder if there’ll ever be an ensemble category at Oscar time. But it is lovely to see a rather uncongenial Sandra Bullock. For what to rent...

Baristaflix602_1 We’ve been Deep Throat obsessed (the R one, not the X) all week, but must admit, we’ve become a tad foggy on the details. Alan Pakula’s 1976 account of Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward’s journalistic investigation of the White House cover-ups and Watergate scandal is a wonderful recap of actual events, and an excellent movie in its own right with a fresh-faced Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman as the caped crusaders risking limb and life to get the goods. (By the way, we were at Camp Echo Lark when Nixon resigned; where were you?)

June 3, 2005 in Movie Mojo | Permalink | Comments (21)

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May  28

Blockbuster Weekend

Clairidge_marquee_52705 The question in Tinseltown is this: can a finally-sunny long weekend sustain three major blockbusters? Episode III, having grossed a staggering $183 mil to date, is sure to lead the pack, but the kids are already mad for Madagascar, and the buzz is also afoot for Sandler-playing-Burt Reynolds in an udated The Longest Yard remake. (Did that one really warrant a remake? Hmm.) If we had but one choice for Mem Day, we’d surely jump on the Star Wars bandwagon, only because the holiday has come to stand for epics, and we wouldn’t want to buck tradition with a lovely period piece like Ladies In Lavender, delightful as that might seem. And no need to big-screen Monster-In-Law; we’ll wait for the video, but thanks for asking.



If you haven’t seen it, please rent Kinsey. Aside from the nonstop graphic sex talk, you’ll be treated to some of the best performances of the year, top notch direction, and our favorite, the overly art-directed but fabulous midwestern retro kitchen. There’s only one over-the-top truly offensive moment – but hey, we’re a mom, you know.

May 28, 2005 in Movie Mojo | Permalink | Comments (2)

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May  20

At The Theater Near You

Bellevuemovies The big movie buzz is still Star Wars, but also on deck, the much-hyped Jane Fonda/Jennifer Lopez pairing in Monster In Law. For all the movies in Baristaville, click here. Movie_marquee_2 The big movie story locally -- tonight's "Celebrate Montclair" offering: a screening of award-winning short films by Jersey filmmakers at Clary Anderson Arena. Moviegoers: Tell us what you plan to see; come back and tell us how it was.

May 20, 2005 in Movie Mojo | Permalink | Comments (7)

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