GIVEAWAY: advanced screening for THE INTERN Thursday, September 17 (Philly, PA)

The Intern (photo: Warner Bros. Pictures)

Hey MMT Family! We’re giving away passes to the Philly Thursday, September 17 screening of the Warner Bros. Pictures film THE INTERN – starring Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway – but you have to be quick!  Click here to go to the Warner Bros. landing and follow the “GET MY PASSES” prompt to print an admit-two pass. Passes are not guaranteed, like theater seating, and are on a first-come, first-served basis.

You can read the film synopsis and watch the trailer below, and get additional info at the official website here. THE INTERN opens in theaters everywhere September 25.

THE INTERN synopsis

Academy Award winners Robert De Niro (“Raging Bull,” “Silver Linings Playbook”) and Anne Hathaway (“Les Misérables,” “The Devil Wears Prada”) star together in Warner Bros. Pictures’ “The Intern.”  Oscar-nominated and award-winning filmmaker Nancy Meyers (“It’s Complicated,” “Something’s Gotta Give,” “Private Benjamin”) is directing the comedy from her own screenplay.

In “The Intern,” De Niro stars as Ben Whittaker, a 70-year-old widower who has discovered that retirement isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  Seizing an opportunity to get back in the game, he becomes a senior intern at an online fashion site, founded and run by Jules Ostin (Hathaway).

MMT Quick Review of ‘Song One’

Song One (photo: cinedigm.com)I watched a screener of the new romantic drama SONG ONE, which was released in theaters and video-on-demand last Friday – and stars Anne Hathaway and Johnny Flynn. Set against the backdrop of the indie music scene, the film is a character-driven exploration of relationships, struggle and creativity. The film marks the début of writer/director Kate Barker-Froyland, who worked with Hathaway on David Frankel‘s “The Devil Wears Prada.”

Hathaway plays Franny, who is estranged from her family for several years and returns home after receiving devastating news about an accident her younger brother has been involved. In her journey to re-connect with her brother, and assuage some of the guilt she carries for not supporting his music aspirations, she connects with one of his favorite singer/songwriters (Flynn) and a romantic relationship ensues.

According to Froyland,

“In the film, Henry (Ben Rosenfield) is trying to become a musician and has recorded a song he plans to send to his sister, Franny (Anne Hathaway). It’s the first song he’s really proud of and the first song of Henry’s that Franny actually listens to. James (Johnny Flynn), who’s been struggling in his own way as an artist, eventually writes Silver Song, which will end up being the first song of his new album. The idea of a “song one” encapsulates the nature of creating— the process of starting from scratch and starting over. The result in this case is music, which draws the characters together in a meaningful way.”

As a creative, I certainly connected to the indie-artist identity so appropriately displayed in the film. Froyland pulled no punches with the family support/lack of support dynamic that often accompanies the lives of working and struggling artists. Hathaway’s portrayal of Franny trying to reconcile her lack of support for her brother, prior to his accident, was spot-on.  But with an 88 minute running time, the movie isn’t that long and I found the relationship/romantic connection with Hathaway and Flynn’s characters to be sort of rushed – and was a bit unfulfilled with it by the film’s end.

One thing I absolutely loved about the movie was the soundtrack.  The film features original music composed by songwriters Jenny Lewis and Johnathan Rice, and live performances from Sharon Van Etten, The Felice Brothers, Dan Deacon, Paul Whitty, Naomi Shelton and the Gospel Queens, Cass Dillon, Elizabeth Ziman, and Lola Kirke.  According to Rice,

“One of the reasons this project became so attractive to Jenny is it allowed us an opportunity not to write about ourselves. We were writing for this other character, plumbing his depths. We often find as songwriters that we say in songs the things we can’t say in conversations and daily life; for instance, when James plays “Big Black Cadillac,” in Henry’s hospital room, he’s essentially conveying the pain of his childhood to Franny without ever having to talk about it.”

“It’s an extremely personal song,” says Lewis, “And he puts himself on the line by playing that song in that room with Franny. That’s why music is such a conduit between people—a melody can be lovely and healing even if the story is very sad.”

And as an aside: here’s a link to a cool article I found on the site You, Me & Charlie – where the songwriting duo shared a playlist of songs that inspired the musical development for Flynn’s character.

Watch the below trailer for SONG ONE, and check out the official website here for tickets and purchase info. If you’re in Philly or the surrounding area, the film is playing at the PFS Theater at the Roxy – and you can get ticket and showtime info by clicking here.

You know the drill MMT fam, stop back and leave a comment or two when you see the film!

Until next thought, Thomasena

SONG ONE synopsis

Oscar® winner Anne Hathaway (Interstellar, Les Miserables) stars as Franny in SONG ONE, a romantic drama set against the backdrop of Brooklyn’s vibrant indie music scene. After Franny’s musician brother Henry (Ben Rosenfield, Boardwalk Empire) is injured and hospitalized in a coma following a car accident, Franny returns home after a long estrangement and begins to use his notebook as a guide to how his life has evolved in her absence. Franny seeks out the musicians and artists Henry loved, in the course of her journey meeting James Forester (Johnny Flynn), his musical idol, whose success and fame belie a shy and private man. As a strong romantic connection develops between Franny and James, the question becomes if love can bloom even under the most adverse circumstances. The film, produced by Jonathan Demme, also stars Oscar® winner Mary Steenburgen (The Help) and features original music composed by Jenny Lewis and Johnathan Rice, and live performances from Sharon Van Etten, The Felice Brothers, Dan Deacon, Paul Whitty, Naomi Shelton and the Gospel Queens, Cass Dillon, Elizabeth Ziman and Lola Kirke.

DIRECTED BY: Kate Barker-Froyland

SCREENPLAY BY: Kate Barker-Froyland

STARRING: Anne Hathaway, Johnny Flynn, Mary Steenburgen and Ben Rosenfield

A Quick Review of ‘Rio 2’ and chat with director Carlos Saldanha

Rio 2 (photo: riomovies.com)

What’s new MMT family?  Get the kiddies ready, because opening this weekend in theaters nationwide is Rio 2, the sequel to the hit animated blockbuster, which features the voices of Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway, Andy Garcia, Jamie Foxx, Will.I.Am, Tracy Morgan, George Lopez and Bruno Mars to name a few! I must admit I had not seen the first film, but I was very impressed during the opening sequence, which depicts New Year’s in Rio with a magnificent CGI display of vivid color and lively sounds.  It also helped that the opening number included a fantastic song, “What is Love,” featuring soul siren Janelle Monae, and gave a really cool introduction of the main characters for us newcomers. 🙂

“Rio 2” finds the main characters Blu and Jewel, escorting their family on an adventure across the Amazon to locate others (Blue Macaws) like them.  Unknowingly, they are followed by the villain Nigel and his cohorts, who are seeking revenge against Blu, and will become instrumental in protecting the natural habitat of those closest to them.

When I asked Carlos Saldanha how he came up with the storyline and narrowed down the themes discussed he shared, “Well it’s interesting because when we start we have all these ideas.  And you put them all on the board, and you’re like this is all great.  But then you start to make the movie, and you go – the movie has to be three hours long if I want to tell all these stories!  So you start to pare down and find what’s relevant to the story. For me it always has to be (told) through the main character.”

Now MMT fam, I did ask Mr. Saldanha the signature question and he couldn’t think of a musical artist that he would write/direct a biopic about that hasn’t been done already. However he did share, “he’s not a musician, but he’s a guy from Brazil that was one of the first guys to create an airplane, during the time of the Wright Brothers.  His name is Santos Dumont, but in Brazil we call him ‘the Father of Aviation.’ And there are a lot of books written and movies made about him, but I’ve always had a fascination with that character.”

Check out more of my interview with Saldanha on Examiner here, and get more info about Rio 2 at the official website here. You can also check out the video to “What is Love,” with Janelle Monae and a few familiar faces from the Rio cast below.

Until next thought family, Thomasena

A Quick Review of Les Miserables and Django Unchained

Les_Miserables_Hathaway

Merry Christmas Music Movie Family! I pray that your holiday is filled with good people, good music, and great food! Are you headed to the movies today to see either of the major films opening that are being lauded, à la Les Miserables or Django Unchained? I screened both within the past month and would or would not recommend both based on your personal taste and/or preferences.

Let’s start with the musical Les Miserables. I mean, the production – stellar. The cast performances amazing, well except for Russell Crowe’s singing (sorry Russell, but you know it’s true). But all the hoopla about Anne Hathaway’s (Rachel Getting Married, The Dark Knight Rises) performance is the TRUTH. She was phenomenal as Fantine, a part she said her mother was understudy for during her performance days. And Hugh Jackman (X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Real Steel) astounded as Jean Valjean, wait until you see how much weight he lost for the part! If you are not familiar with the musical, it is far from being a lighthearted Mary Poppins type of story, and is not a good choice for a younger audience (it is rated PG-13). So if you need to take the kiddies with you to the theater, Les Miserables is not the choice for you. You can read more about the story or watch the trailer at http://www.lesmiserablesfilm.com/.

Which brings me to Django. Now I must preface this review with I was on the “I won’t go see Django Unchained” team when I first heard about the film. But a screening opportunity presented itself, and I’d read so many controversial statements and articles about, that I became intrigued and decided to check it out. I also enjoyed the Tarantino vehicles Kill Bill (Vol. 1 and 2) and Reservoir Dogs, so I went to the film expecting to see a bunch of gore, especially with the content matter. And boy does Quentin Tarantino do gore. Needless to say, Django is not the family Christmas movie, unless your hanging with a bunch of adults or older teens (it has an R rating).

Django_Unchained_PosterIf you don’t know the premise, the movie is about a former slave named Django (Jamie Foxx; Ray, Any Given Sunday) who with the help of his bounty hunter mentor Schultz (Christoph Waltz; Inglourious Basterds, Carnage) attempts to rescue his wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington; Ray, The Last King of Scotland). The duo finds out that Broomhilda is on a Mississippi plantation called Candyland, owned by a brutal master named Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio; The Departed, Inception), and formulate a shady plan to gain her freedom. Now if you can go into Django Unchained with the mindset that Tarantino is an overzealous fan of 60’s and 70’s spaghetti western and blaxploitation movies, and this is his super violent mash-up of the two, you might actually enjoy this film. I enjoyed parts of the story, mostly when the bad guys received their comeuppance, but the film began to lull midway, and I felt it was too long. My biggest problem with Django is slavery is too heavy a topic for me to view intertwined with fantasy. Even though Jamie Foxx described it on a recent award show as “Kunta Kinte gets his revenge,” I don’t buy it. There was nothing fantastic about slavery and, as original as it is, Django didn’t convince me a revenge story needed to be told in this fashion. You can get more info about or watch the trailer for Django Unchained at http://unchainedmovie.com/

If you’re looking for another film to see tomorrow, and don’t have to worry about the kids, check out The Impossible with Golden Globe nominated actress Kate Winslet, which is based on a true family’s survival of the 2004 tsunami tragedy. And if you have the kiddies, why not Monsters Inc., which was re-released in 3D? Whichever film you decide to see, stop back by and let me know your thoughts.

Merry Christmas family. Until next thought, Thomasena

A Quick Review of The Dark Knight Rises

Hey Music Movie Fans!  It’s been a minute for movie reviews and today I come with a quick take on the highly anticipated Warner Brothers film, which is the end of the trilogy based on the DC Knightfall comic series, The Dark Knight Rises:).  Now, I am a big The Dark Knight fan, and couldn’t wait until last Wednesday night when I attended a screening of the film in IMAX. And judging by all of the smiles in the audience, and hands being raised quickly to win prizes during the pre-screening trivia, I knew I wasn’t the only geek, um I meant fan, in waiting ;). Now those who follow this blog know I don’t believe in spoilers, so I will do my best to keep it real and not “spill the beans.”

First off, those who wanted the action ante upped from the second film will in no way, shape or form be disappointed; and being directed, co-written, and produced by Chris Nolan (Inception, The Dark Knight) did anyone think it wouldn’t?.  This movie moves from opening sequence and doesn’t slow down too much; but it does allow for some catch up on the now hermit like Bruce Wayne (played by the amazing Christian Bale), who has become a recluse since his Dark Knight/fugitive status eight years prior.  We also have to wait midway in the film for Batman to find his way back to Gotham after an unfortunate run-in with the major villain in this movie, Bane.  Or is Bane the major villain in this movie?. Okay, I am going to leave that there! 😉 Wait, I will say this…I very much enjoyed and missed Heath Ledger as the Joker! Although, Tom Hardy (Inception, Warrior) brought the super, hulky, scary to the Bane role, it paled in comparison to the charisma and full-out chaos Heath Ledger created in the sequel to Batman Begins.  Sorry ladies and gents, but had to reminisce a little and no direct comparison of the two actors meant, but simply my realizing the impact Mr. Ledger had on the series.

Okay, I’ll move pass the bittersweet to some of my fave things about the film.  The fight scenes are majorly intense, and I actually cringed at one point (yeah comic book fans you know the scene to which I’m referring!).  Academy Award winner Morgan Freeman (Million Dollar Baby) always makes me smile and I love the sense of  “calm during calamity” he adds to the Lucius Fox character. And Anne Hathaway (I loved her in Rachel Getting Married) is MAGNIFICENT as Catwoman/Selina Kyle!  But I have a gripe. It always amazes me how over-sexualized the female heroines/villains are made out. Case in point: when Batman rides his motorcycle there is no high rear, or rear raised high more accurately describes it, posterior angle.  But when Catwoman gets a chance to ride?  I’ll leave it there people, but go see the film and tell me you didn’t notice?

Another negative is with a close to three-hour running time, 2 hours and 44 minutes to be exact, you should make sure to load up enough snacks and visit a restroom before getting a theater seat!  It was a very long movie, and unfortunately the IMAX theater I visited was not the most comfortable.  Also, the movie is even more dark than the second in series, so if you have little ones waiting to see the film I would recommend heeding the PG-13 rating, as the violent images are certainly meant for a more mature audience.

Alright, there is so much more I want to say, but again it would involve some spoilers so I’ll just say go see this film!  And stop back and leave a thought or two below after you see it to let me know your favorite character/moment.  Look forward to hearing from you family.

Until next thought, Thomasena.