Movie Madness

My movie reviews and rants at your fingertips.

Monthly Archives: January 2012

Let’s See that Again…and Again

Some people love movies. Some of these people see movies like Star Wars or The Dark Knight 10 times or more in theaters. Some stand in lines outside the theater for days or weeks waiting for the moment when the house lights dim for the first show. I’m not that kind of film buff. I may watch a movie multiple times, but I don’t have the time and money to sit for the equivalent of days on the same stretch of 35mm. The closest I’ve come is seeing a film 3 times in theaters. When this happens, I obviously love the movie. Over Christmas break, I saw Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol three times… in a week… each time on the local IMAX screen.

Since then, I’ve thought about the films I’ve seen 3 times in theaters. It usually follows the same pattern too. The first time I see it is usually opening day or a midnight show; the second either alone or with a separate group of people than the first time; and the third time I finally get my dad to go with me so he can see it.

Ideally, I’d like to do a breakdown of the top three-peat films I’ve seen in theaters, but with so few, instead I’m just going to take apart a little of each one. Anecdotes, asides, and other memories tied to those films will be used.

Minority Report

I remember wanting to this see this for two reasons: I’m a big Tom Cruise fan, and Roger Ebert gave this a glowing review. I saw this film for the first time with cousins who were visiting that summer. I was in awe of the visuals, and the story kept me riveted until the final moments. The third time I saw this movie in theaters wasn’t a complete show. My sister and some of her friends had decided to see it while I was at work at the same theater. So, the second I clocked out, I joined them. I caught the last hour or so, but I didn’t care. That movie was in theaters for what felt like an eternity (5 months total). I remember working the theater and announcing it seating years after it left just to be cheeky. That was one of my favorite Christmas presents that year, the two-disc DVD and a portable DVD player.

Goldmember

This may be the first staff screening I ever attended (I wasn’t invited to many, too much red tape). I laughed and took my friends Billy and Sam to see it after it opened. Sam drenched his popcorn in a disgusting aroma of popcorn seasonings as the three of us rocked out to Slipknot in my mom’s blue Chrysler Town & Country. Over time, I grew more and more annoyed with Beyoncé’s character to the point I started to hate the movie. Looking back at the franchise, this is their weakest, but the opening scene is funnier than most comedies that have followed it.  With Mike Myers preparing Austin Powers 4 and a musical version for the stage, I’ll be curious to see where this goes from here.

2 Fast 2 Furious

Fast Five will continue to be my favorite with the Fast and Furious franchise. But 2F2F had something that the original didn’t have: a sense of humor. Tyrese and Eva Mendes bring a nice change of pace from the first film. The first is a fun and action-packed film, so when Vin Diesel decided not to return for number two; things were up in the air. I remember seeing this film twice the first week it was out. I enjoyed hearing Ludacris scream, “Act a fool!” over the credits as I cleaned the theater while working. “Act a fool” became a part of my obscure movie references after a while. When I purchased the film on Blu-ray last summer, I was taken back to the time I first saw it. I still remember where I sat, with my buddy Matt.

Star Trek

I saw this the first time with my dad. We both loved seeing J. J. Abrams revamp an old franchise and give it new life. I saw it a mere three days later with my friend David and his girlfriend at the time. I found it hard to sit through and boring seeing as I had just seen it days before. The last time I saw it, I was with my Air National Guard office down in Jacksonville, Florida for a conference. With rain being the forecast of the entire trip, we were forced to spend our time drinking and going to movies. The first one we picked was this one. And it didn’t feel so boring this time. I was actually excited to see it again and experience such a great film for a third time in theaters.  Everytime I watch this film now, I’m reminding of how otherwise bored we would have been in our hotels had we not ventured out and seen it.

V for Vendetta

This movie was gaining a lot of controversy before its release in 2006. Having a terrorist as a lead character just five years after September 11 was hard for a lot of people to fathom. What we got was a masterpiece of a film that raised a lot of great questions about government, terrorism, and morality. I drug my friends to see this when I was in Montana. I made a day of it. We had dinner, and then the four of us went and we all loved it. It stuck with me long after the credits rolled. So, on an otherwise quiet day, I watched it a second time in a mostly empty theater. I was way too antsy to get the whole experience this time, but I loved it enough to take my father to it (my third time) when I came home to visit. I haven’t seen the movie in years, unfortunately, but I was completely enamored by the parallels between it and George Orwell’s 1984, my favorite book. Writing this makes me want to watch it again as soon as I can.

Iron Man

I was a fan of Robert Downey Jr. as soon as I saw Kiss Kiss Bang Bang starring him and Val Kilmer. When it was announced that he would be Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, I was excited. The lives of Stark weren’t far from Downey’s own, so the similarities were too interesting to ignore. When I found out Marvel was releasing it at 8:00 pm on a Thursday instead of a Friday, I bought my ticket. Only a few weeks later, I saw it again at The Alamo Drafthouse, my favorite theater ever. Here I was watching RDJ on the big screen while munching on Chicken Parmesan and chili fries. When I returned home yet again, I took my father for my third time. Everytime I watch it, I get something else from it. It’s such a well-made and exciting film that I have trouble finding its flaws. Of all the films I saw three times in theaters, this is one of my favorites.

Tron: Legacy

The first Tron is a marvel in cutting edge technology. This sequel, 28 years later, is as much homage to the original as it is showing what the original should have been. I was at a fever pitch waiting to see this film. I convinced David and a couple of our other friends to see it at midnight with us, and we weren’t disappointed. I do remember that I didn’t at all enjoy the 3D glasses dimming an already dark screen, but the 3D was great when it was there. Having seen it all three times in 3D, I gained a much better respect for it when I got it on Blu-ray. It was an event film, but a risky one for Disney. I watched the box office gross every day to see it climb the long uphill road to profitability. I wanted another sequel, I still do. But for now, I’m settling for the fun film this one is.

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

I’ve never seen a movie three times in a week, in theaters or otherwise. But I couldn’t help but watch it again and again. Between The Dark Knight Rises sneak peek and the brilliant Burj tower sequence, I fell in love with this movie. I remember turning to my girlfriend halfway into the movie and telling her I was going to buy the movie. I didn’t care how it ended. Tom Cruise, a new favorite actor of mine Jeremy Renner, the impossibly gorgeous and talented Paula Patton, and comedic Simon Pegg made a cast that was both relatable but also fun to watch. The second this movie becomes available on Blu-ray, I’m buying it. This film alone swayed me from the hooks of 3D to prefer IMAX cameras every time.

Ok, so I lied. There were a few more films on the list than I thought. So what? What are some of the films you have seen over and over again in theaters? Let me know by posting your responses below.

Breakdown: Claustrophobic movies

Some people genuinely suffer from claustrophobia, or fear of small, enclosed spaces. Though I have never had that fear, I had many nightmares as a child of being buried alive or stuck in the caves I used to play in with my Boy Scout troop. The list below is movies that give me that feeling of cramped, almost overwhelming intensity, of being stuck in a small place. These films take place in small spaces or a very limited environment. They play at my nightmares I had as a child, but some just increase the excitement as the spatial corridor of the film shrinks. So, here are my top five claustrophobic films.

Buried

2011 wasn’t very good to Ryan Reynolds. Both Green Lantern and The Change-Up failed to meet expectations. Also, they were just bad films. In Buried, Reynolds plays a government contractor who is overseas. He wakes up in a wooden coffin, with a lighter, a cell phone, and a limited supply of air. Using every ounce of energy he has, he must find out where he is and get dug up before he suffocates to death. It really is a testament to Reynolds skill that he takes a film in which he is the only actor, on the only stage (the wooden coffin), and makes a 90-minute film not just watchable but terrifying and realistic. Not every actor can do a one-man show in a casket and make it entertaining. And what kind of list would this be without a buried alive film in the mix?

P2

Rachel Nichols in P2

I watched this movie after an ex-girlfriend recommended it. I had no idea it would be this good. Rachel Nichols, a favorite actress of mine, plays a workaholic who is late for Christmas Eve festivities with her family. When she finally gets to her car, it won’t start. Before long she realizes someone doesn’t want her to leave, forcing her into a game of cat and mouse in a basement-parking garage. This film knows to play it simple. We all know how confusing parking garages can get, and how every one of us looks over our shoulder when we enter one at night. This plays on that fear, making for a well-executed thriller that is as claustrophobic as it is scary.

– Executive Decision

Not far removed from its successor Air Force One, this film deals with a plane being hijacked by terrorists in a pre-September 11, 2001 world (they were released in 1996 and 1997, respectively). In Executive Decision, an intelligence analyst, played by Kurt Russell, must lead a special ops unit in taking back the plane. The entirety of the film rests on the team using techniques that allow them to move around the plane without being seen. In order for them to do this, the passenger cabin is too risky. So cameras planted above and below said cabin is what they have to resort to. The idea of secretly taking back a hijacked plane is an intriguing idea, regardless of the time. This film uses the tight spaces to create tension between the team and their reluctant analyst leader. An underrated action movie.

Wind Chill

I’ve talked before about Wind Chill in my Breakdowns on winter movies and micro-returns, but this movie belongs on this list. Watching two people try to stay alive in a blizzard is tough enough. When you trap the characters in a car, the story becomes much more about the close confines and the lack of closeness between the characters. Despite making many smart moves to protect themselves from the dangerous cold, the weather is unrelenting. This futile situation just gets more and more dire as the film unfolds.

Apollo 13

"Houston, we have a problem."

No one expected a mission to the moon to become such a desperate story of survival. Based on the true story of the Apollo 13 mission in 1970, we watch as three men go from ignored space travellers to men fighting to stay alive long enough to make it back to Earth. A better example of claustrophobic film isn’t out there. The trials astronauts Jim Lovell, Jack Swiggart, and Fred Haise go through, it’s amazing they made it back alive. Explosions, lack of oxygen, lack of any heat to protect from the freezing cold of space, they face it all. And doing it in a space capsule barely big enough to call a studio apartment back on Earth.