Saturday, November 17, 2007

Disney Pixar Films! Assignment: # 5

Recently, I sat down with a few of my friends and watched Disney Pixar's latest film, Ratatouille. This film follows the life of Remy the rat. Remy has been granted a special gift from the rat gods and not only has an affinity for good food amongst the garbage his rat friends consume, but Remy has a distinct sense of smell. Because of this sense of smell, his father, who is the leader of the rat clan, makes Remy the official trash sniffer after Remy undoubtedly discovers poison in some of the garbage. Sensing there is more to life than sifting through trash, Remy goes on a search through an old lady's home for delectable garnishes to spice up a piece of cheese he found. What ensues is complete chaos and the rat clan are forced to abandon their home, while Remy gets lost in the process. When Remy emerges from the sewer he is in, he finds himself in the city of love and lights: Paris.

Mike Farrar, a 23 year old graduate student at the University of New Hampshire loved this film and thought that the animators did a great job. "Pixar really pulled out all the stops for this film. The backgrounds looked almost real, from bottles of spices to the Eiffel Tower."

As he saunters throughout Paris, he stumbles upon Gusteau's restaurant, a once famous dining establishment that has gone down the hill when the evil new owner, Skinner, decided to unveil Gusteau's Frozen burritos, instead of sticking to the books. Here Remy is introduced to Linguine, the protagonist main human character of Ratatouille. Linguini's mother has just passed away and he needs work. Skinner offers him a position in the kitchen and through a clumsy move, Linguine ruins a soup being prepared for guests that night. Remy spiesLinguine attempting to make amens, but seeing that he clearly does not know how to cook, he helps him out before Linguine catches him. The guests love the soup and of course, Linguine has to take all of the credit. Skinner forces him to prepare the soup again the next day, but Linguine can only do it with the help of his "little chef" and therefore, a story and friendship are born.

"Both characters were searching for the purpose in the world. Remy could not figure out if he was meant to be a rat or chef while Linguine could not find a job that he could hold down. These problems within, would remain the primary pushing force of our characters, even through the introduction of minor villains such as Skinner, Anton, and even Django," said Mike. "Because even after the culmination of all our "villains" being defeated, the main victory was not pleasing Anton or finding approval from Django, it was figuring out who they were."

The film, obviously made for children, had very underlying adult themes. Remy was clearly an outsider, just trying to make a living and a name for himself with his talent. However, wherever he turned, he only encountered negative attitudes, from both his family and humans. His family thought his dreams were not reachable and of course the humans were prejudice against him due to his vermin qualities. These themes of struggling to become who are meant to be are apparent in all aspects of film, novel and television.

As a pixar movie in general, the film was very well made. According to Alysha Blassberg, a 22 year old Boston College graduate and now a full time employee at Liberty Mutual, said she liked the film a lot but only found it so-so compared to the other Pixar films. "I would put it in the middle of the pack compared to other Pixar movies. I really liked it but I liked Toy Story, Monsters Inc and Finding Nemo more than Ratatouille. Though I thought it was mediocre for a Pixar movie, I think all of the Pixar movies are better than most other movies. My favorite Pixar movie is still Toy Story. I think Toy Story is glorified in my mind because it was the first Pixar movie I saw and none of the others can top that experience."

Lauren Underhill, a 22 year old Northeastern University graduate agreed with Alysha. "It wasn't my favorite, but still held the same great elements of previous Pixar films. They are able to create a child's movie that is sought out and enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds. Perhaps, the subtle adult elements allow us to enjoy it by allowing us to be kids again without any second thoughts. "

Stacey Perlman, a senior journalism major at Northeastern University said she liked Ratatouille just as much as the other Pixar movies. "I have enjoyed a variety of Pixar movies and I don't think that Ratatouille was any better or worse than the others," said she. "They have all been entertaining but the one I think I enjoyed the most was Finding Nemo. I remember finding it hysterical and thinking it was a very cute story."

Mike, somewhat disagrees on his favorite Pixar film. "Pixar definitely delivered their most visually appealing movie. It is hard to say that new film is better than classics such as, Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and Monsters Inc, but Ratatouille has definitely made me question which would be listed as my favorite. Among several more viewing of this and other classic Pixar films, I would not be surprised if Ratatouille had moved to the top of an elite list."

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Talk about Nepotism!

Well...maybe not nepotism because I don't think Bruce Willis runs the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Regardless, today, it was announced that Ashton Kutcher's step daughter, Rumer Willis will be acting as Miss. Golden Globe at the 2008 award show.

The 19 year old will be following in the foot steps of many other famous actor's daughters, including Jack Nicholson's daughter, Lorraine Nicholson, who reigned as Ms. Globe at last year's ceremony.

According the, the 2008 ceremony will be held on January 13. Stephen Spielberg will also be honored with the Cecile B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award.

I am a big fan of the Golden Globe awards. I don't want to say it, because it will probably sound blasphemous, but I might like them a little more than the Oscars. GASP! Don't get me wrong, I love the Academy Awards, but the Golden Globes never bore me. I think its because when the Oscars give out their boring awards, that is when the Globe's give out their television awards, so at least I'm still being entertained.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

More of Boston in the Movies!!!

This fall, a multitude of films were being filmed in downtown Boston. I hope you all recall my Kate Hudson and Alfred Molina sightings next to my work on Boylston Street! Let’s say I definitely don’t forget! However, more films will soon be coming to the bean. This month’s Boston Magazine highlights some of the films and gives a top ten play by play on what happens with the money the city makes from these films to how we, as residents of this fine city, can all get involved in the process!

Before September, Boston had had only five movies film in the past seven years! Considering the play that L.A. and Manhattan get, it’s hard to believe a city full of gorgeous scenery and a rich history did not have the same clout. What’s the best way to get in the pockets of Hollywood’s heavyweights? Tax breaks. And the city of Boston discovered this soon after their new head of the Massachusetts Film Office took over this past February. Nick Paleologos, a long with Kingston, Mass, academy award winning actor, Chris Cooper lobbied the state congress for a tax break for movie studios that filmed here. The law took effect last year and gave filmmakers a 25 percent rebate on money spent in Massachusetts. Governor Deval Patrick signed the law on July 20 and the whirlwind of actors poured into town! I guess a lot can happen when people can save a little dough.

According to the Boston Magazine article:

“Within hours, Columbia Pictures agreed to film the Paris-set Pink Panther sequel here. It was a meaningful coup: “Pink Panther has nothing to do with Boston. Not one scene,” Paleologos says, whereas the few movies previously shot in Massachusetts usually had plots that demanded they be here—and even those were doing the bulk of their filming elsewhere.”

This tax break also helps out the locals as well. When the movies are filmed here, money is literally poured into area restaurants and boutiques, as well as local electronic stores. According the article, makeup artists and hair stylists do all of their shopping on location and the stars of the films are given money to spend during their time off at local restaurants. An array of businesses are also able to cash in on the local filming. Luxury hoteliers, including the new Liberty Hotel (built in an old jail!) as well as lumber yards, florists and even porta potty distributers make a ton of money during a movie’s filming.

Another big beneficiary of the tax break is the Boston Movie Tour! According to the article:

"Jeff Coveney has been ferrying sightseers around to the city’s cinematic landmarks for a couple of years now, but with all the local filming creating widespread celebrity fever, he’s beginning to see heightened interest in his service. Last year, Coveney hosted 1,000 movie fans; this year, he’s on pace to quadruple that—and, between rides, meeting weekly with his guides to discuss new stops for their circuit."

And now I bet you're all wondering where in the city you can go to stalk...I mean "run into" these celebrities. See this chart that Boston Magazine put together of the current and future stars that are about to grace our lovely streets.

And if you're looking to get your own pretty face in front of the camera, Boston has numerous casting agencies that will help you live your dream. There is Boston Casting and C.P. Casting, both of which hold auditions for people hoping to get some one on one time with your favorite celebrity. If you are lucky enough to be an extra, expect to put in a hard days work. According to the article, extras usually work about a 12 hour shift on the weekdays. "The bulk of that is spent sitting and waiting, so bring a good book along."

It is definitely going to be exciting time this Winter when those such as William H. Macy, Cameron Diaz and above all, Brad Pitt come to town to film their upcoming features!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tom Cruise is Sad...Tear!

In a statement, Tom Cruise said he is upset and concerned that his new film Lions For Lambs did not fair well at the box office this past weekend. According to a news post on the Internet Movie Database, the movie failed to break into the top three films at the box office, being beat out by Bee Movie, American Gangster and what I'm sure will be a Vince Vaughn holiday classic (sense the sarcasm...) Fred Claus (and let's be honest, I still want to see it).

According to the post, the Robert Redford directed flick cost about $35 million to make. Lions for Lambs was also produced by Cruise's United Artists studio. He set this up after Paramount dropped him last year due to his scandalous behavior. Oh, Scientology! The film, which follows three seemingly separate story lines between a college professor, a presidential hopeful and a journalist, whose stories all inter link over an unjust and speculative war. Unfortunately, Lions for Lambs only made a low $6.7 million this past weekend.

A source told
"Tom wanted to really hit a home run with his first United Artists movie. It was more about how the industry was going to view him than the movie going public that Tom was worried about."
I think this movie looks very good. I am also very persuaded by advertisements on television and pretty much want to see everything. However, the rating on IMDB is a 6/10. Not horrible, but also not great for what seems to look like a potential Oscar nominee (we're talking Robert Redford here!). The New York Times gave the film a very good review and said that it is a film very much of the era we are in now and that Redford did a good job at presenting such a cinematic endeavor as something we should pay attention to if we haven't already.

"[Redford] echoes the prevailing wisdom that you should support the troops even if you don’t support the wars. The problem isn’t whether this assertion is true; the problem is the film reflexively embraces it, much as it does every single other cliché, without inquiry, challenge or a single ounce of real risk. It tells us everything most of us know already, including the fact that politicians lie, journalists fail and youth flounders. Mostly it tells us that Mr. Redford feels really bad about the state of things. Welcome to the club."

Maybe it will do better once the Golden Globe nods come out.