24 Frames

Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Movie Club

Movie Club: Mixed thoughts on Diddy in 'Get Him to the Greek'

June 7, 2010 |  3:44 pm

On Saturday, we got ourselves to the Vista.

And as filmgoers filed out of the Hollywood theater after seeing "Get Him to the Greek," they were mostly positive about Sean Combs, Russell Brand and the film overall. Yes, they probably did not stampede onto Twitter to e-sing the movie's praises, but this subdued bunch seemingly got what it came for.

The tone may have been set when many in the crowd hissed at the trailer for "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse," but eventually the hipsters settled down and had many a laugh. One of the most topsy-turvy topics discussed afterward was the performance of Puffy, or Diddy, or just Combs(?). Did people like him? Was it a stretch? Too over-the-top? Did he, as one interviewee commented, "shoot airballs" with the comedy?

Although we didn't dress up thematically this time (except for a "My mum went to London and all I got was this T-shirt" T-shirt), moviegoers both dressed down and praised the music mogul and the movie.

Though "Greek" landed at No. 2 at the box office with an estimated $17.4-million take for the weekend, giving Diddy the excuse to pop in a golden grill, one filmgoer said that it would've been great if the movie's songwriter Jason Segel and/or other BOAs (Buddies of Apatow) had made appearances.

C'est la vie.

-- Jevon Phillips


Movie Club: 'Get Him to the Greek' at the Vista

June 3, 2010 |  4:43 pm

This week, Movie Club will take in the Russell Brand-Jonah Hill rock comedy "Get Him to the Greek" at the Vista Theater in Hollywood at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.

The film, which also stars Mr. Sean Combs, has gotten reviews from the likes of the New York Times Houston Chronicle and Philadelphia Inquirer touting it as a fun romp and mentioning the excellence of the supporting cast. The Times' own Betsy Sharkey differed a bit in saying that the "film's funny and compelling moments are overshadowed by all the raunchiness." Well that's what critics do -- they critique. We'll get reactions from the people. To start you off, here's the trailer.

Unlike many of our costuming adventures -- from "Robin Hood" to "Prince of Persia" -- our choice of attire for this outing shouldn't be too outrageous. We'll be the guys with a camera, asking for opinions. And, speaking of opinions, we have another showdown coming up for next weekend with "The A-Team" vs. "The Karate Kid" vs. "Winter's Bone." Comments?

-- Jevon Phillips


Movie Club: 'Prince of Persia' reactions ranged from 'loved it' to 'get an imagination'

June 1, 2010 |  3:20 pm

Tony as Prince of Persia  "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" did not bowl over critics, and with its $37.8-million take barely beat out "Sex and the City 2" for the No. 2 spot over the weekend. Still, a majority of people we talked to for Movie Club seemed to enjoy the film.

Tonypierce2 The crowd at the Pacific Theatre in Glendale was overflowing with patrons for both "Prince" and "Sex" on Friday night, but not many were willing to disclose their likes and dislikes on camera. Tony, in his swashbuckling finery, found a few fans (and hopefully future Movie Club participants), but overall, not enough video fodder.

Enter the Vista. We traveled to the classic Hollywood movie theater to get more reactions to the actioner starring Jake Gyllenhaal. We got a range of reactions, from utter revulsion to giddy enthusiasm. Though "Prince of Persia," along with the upcoming "The Last Airbender," have come under fire recently for 'whitewashing' casting, Gyllenhaal's on-screen presence and the film's action sequences seemed to take center stage.

This weekend, we'll be seeing the Russell Brand-Jonah Hill vehicle "Get Him to the Greek." Check back on Thursday for location and show times.

— Jevon Phillips

- Past Movie Club posts for "Robin Hood" and "MacGruber."

Photo: Tony Pierce as Dastan from "Prince of Persia," and Pierce with movie goers outside of the Pacific Theater in Glendale. Credit: Jevon Phillips


Movie Club: 'Prince of Persia' and the deserts of Glendale

May 26, 2010 |  3:58 pm

Jake Gyllenhaal and Gemma Arteron's desert adventure "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" has triumphed over Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall and the rest of the fashionistas of "Sex and the City 2" by a wide margin (63% for "Prince") in our unscientific poll of what film the Movie Club should see this weekend. So that's where we're going!

To be fair, the romantic relationships at the heart of "SATC 2" aren't totally ignored in "Persia." They're just mixed with a bit of mysticism.

Despite mixed early reviews from the likes of the Hollywood Reporter and the New Yorker (Jerry Bruckheimer = Cecile B. DeMille?) and calls to boycott the film over the "whitewashing" of the cast, the people have spoken.

So on Friday, we'll be at Pacific Theaters Glendale (you know, in the Americana place) at 8:15 p.m. We'll try to get there a bit early -- you'll surely notice us; we tend to stand out in a crowd. And we're not shills for the movie (you picked it, after all), but some things --  like this dagger fight scene -- display fun visuals.

-- Jevon Phillips


Movie Club: Midnight 'MacGruber' fans sound off

May 24, 2010 | 12:42 pm

MacGruber They loved it.

Now, some might say, "What would you expect from people coming out at midnight to see 'MacGruber'?" True, but the praise and numerous "awesome" quotes were probably refreshing for a movie with some pre-release hype that took director Jorma Taccone by surprise. ("It was a little shocking to read how many people thought the movie was going to be 'It's Pat.' ")

Joining us Thursday was "MacGruber" cinematographer Brandon Trost (the guy in the black T-shirt). And, at least among the movie's earliest audience, Taccone didn't have much to worry about -- and he even had a few fans.

"MacGruber" scored a 57% on Rotten Tomatoes, ranking it fifth among "Saturday Night Live"-related film releases. The Times' own list of good, band and ugly "SNL" films didn't opine on this release, but our review rains down a bit of love:  "[Will Forte] handily establishes his gonzo comedy cred, especially when it comes to a useful celery stalk. Strategically if unsanitarily employed, it does the job of distracting MacGruber's targets. The same could be said for the agreeably diverting movie that shares his name."

Still, despite the enthusiasm of its midnight audience, the film grossed an estimated $4.1 million over the weekend.

Oh well, on to the next film. And here's a treat, readers -- you can help decide. As happens often during the summer movie season, two big films are coming out: "Sex and the City 2" and "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time" will battle at the box office, and for our attention. Let us know in the comments which one we should see.

-- Jevon Phillips

Photo: "MacGruber" cinematographer Brandon Trost, Tony Pierce as MacGruber, and other filmgoers at the Pacific Theatre at the Grove. Credit: Jevon Phillips / Los Angeles Times


Movie Club: 'MacGruber' at midnight

May 20, 2010 | 11:56 am

His business is danger, and his intelligence is lethal. Yes, it's "MacGruber" -- and we're going to see the film midnight Thursday at the Pacific Theatres at the Grove in Los Angeles.

We know midnight crowds are usually enthusiastic, so we expect a healthy turnout to watch villainous Val Kilmer do bad and Will Forte, as the titular action-adventure hero from the "Saturday Night Live" skits, do oh-so-much good. "SNL" vets Kristen Wiig and Maya Rudolph should add some laughs too.

Last week, we went to "Robin Hood" at the Regal in downtown's L.A. Live and talked to moviegoers afterward. This time, expect to see at least one of us in a mullet, flannel and vest. The other will have a little video camera to capture your reaction, so if you see us out by that famous fountain, make sure to give us your two cents!

-- Jevon Phillips and Tony Pierce


Movie Club: 'Robin Hood' was 'confusing' and 'frighteningly stupid' but 'good'

May 17, 2010 |  3:00 pm

Tony as Robin Hood What kind of audience went to see "Robin Hood" on its opening weekend?

Apparently one that wasn't overly bowled over by what director Ridley Scott and star Russell Crowe did in updating the legend of one of the most well-known vigilantes in history.

Box office for the film topped out at an estimated $37.1 million, a respectable number domestically that could be  better for the studio when worldwide grosses are factored in. But you'd never know there were even that many tickets sold from the sparsely attended 3:50 p.m. showing we attended.

More people stopped to stare at the ever-changing poster for "Beastly" than stopped to chat with us outside Theater 5 at the Regal Cinemas Theaters at L.A. Live. A few families, a number of couples and some solitary filmgoers walked right past enthusiastically clothed Times blogmaster Tony Pierce and me, most saying things like "It was OK" and "I guess it was fun." Some clutched their mystified children as they reached out to touch Tony.

The trio of moviegoers that did stop let their voices be heard, even if all they did in watching the movie was catch up on a little sleep.

So what do we conclude from this? Acting/actors = good. Movie = so so. 

Check back Thursday for the specifics on our next movie outing this weekend: "MacGruber."

-- Jevon Phillips

Photo: No, that's not Robin Hood, that's Tony Pierce. Credit: Jevon Phillips / Los Angeles Times


Movie Club: The beginning

May 13, 2010 |  2:08 pm

Like many of you, we rarely attend press screenings, we don't get invited to world premieres and sometimes we go to see films alone. In short, we love movies. And we love to talk about them, regardless of whether they were good or bad. We're guessing you do too.

So, we're starting a Movie Club. It will work kind of like a book club. Each week, we'll pick a movie and an interesting movie theater.  We'll let you know where we’ll be, via 24 Frames, every Thursday. For our first foray, we're going to see Ridley Scott's "Robin Hood," and we've bought our tickets for the 3:50 p.m. show on Saturday at the Regal Cinemas at L.A. Live. Afterward, we'll catch up with some of the merry band of moviegoers at the theater to hear what they thought of the film. We'll post some of the comments -- and maybe even video -- on 24 Frames on Monday.

Although L.A. Times film critic Kenneth Turan complains, among other things, that "Robin Hood's" plot is overly complicated and cumbersome, and the critics at Cannes haven't been particularly kind, we're still eager to check it out. 

Look for us outside the theater. We'll be wearing green (it is "Robin Hood" after all). Stop by and say hi. After the film, we'll grab a beverage, talk about what we watched and share our love of film in general. We won't pay for your ticket, but we do promise a spirited conversation.

-- Jevon Phillips and Tony Pierce

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