Archive for the ‘Movies’ Category

Prudential Center Finally Opens

October 26, 2007

Happy days are here again, the Prudential Center finally opened the other night with what looks like a pretty well reviewed concert by Jersey’s own Bon Jovi. Two reasons why JerseyCool is really glad about this. One, we can stop reading articles about the arena’s construction, traffic in Newark, parking so on and so forth.

We think every angle on this has been covered and maybe we can move on to some more important news. It’s an arena folks.

Two, this is really good news for Newark. A downtown area should revitalize a neighborhood in sore need of revitalizing and give New Jersey an urban sports and entertainment presence it sorely needs. This is no Tweeter Center, which is an exit off of the highway. No getting to the Pru Center will requite Jersey residents to visit the largest city in the state and that alone should help Newark change it’s image in the minds of most  residents.

Anyway for a review of the Bon Jovi show visit NJ.com.

JC

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These Movies Made Easy to Read By

July 6, 2007

Pan’s LabrynthWe caught up on some of the Netflix laying around JerseyCool central this past holiday weekend and have a couple of rental recomendations for you. Both films are foreighn language but are actually very good examples of subtitles.

I can understand some people don’t like them. We here at JerseyCool spend most of our days reading and writing, so when we head out to the theater paying attention to text that scrolls across the screen is the last thing we want to do. However, this doesn’t bother us quite so much at home and both Pan’s Labrynth and Apocalypto are fine films and the fact that you have to read along doesn’t make a licks worth of difference.

Let’s start with Pan’s Labrynth, Guillermo del Toro’s great piece of Spanish magical realism, that pops off of the screen. Now, repeat after me, “this is not a kid’s movie…this is not a kid’s movie.” Yes, some younger folk will be enchanted by the fairy tale story and the mythical creatures, but the story is set during the Spanish revolution and is probably too intense for children under 12. Most notably there is a violent execution scene and very strong allusions to torture.

However, for those older, Pan’s Labrynth is a great way to introduce them to what post-modern filmmaking is all about: blending genras and producing poignent, topical commentary based off of old conventions.

The film is a growing up tale about a young girl who has to choose between a fairy tale princess world and the hard, war-torn adult world she lives in. The choice would seem obvious but combine a vulnerable, pregnant mother, a caring lady of the house and an evil fascist stepfather and you have the makings for a great, modern fairy tale.

The ending is actually spot on and nearly perfect in letting viewers decide for themselves what happens without cheating them of the experience. Yes, David Chase this line is meant for you.Apocalypto

Apocalypto is Mel Gibson’s latest crack at foregn language filmmakeing and we thought, after a few fits and starts in the beginning, Mel pulls off a fairly grand action-adventure movie set in the waning days of the Mayan empire. The entire movie is spoken in Mayan, a long dead language, but quite honestly you’d get the point of the film even if there were no subtitles. In many ways it’s a silent film and some of Gibson’s visuals are stunning.

Yes, Gibson comes with a lot of baggage and yes this would be a very conservative-leaning depiction of the Maya (To learn more, check out Charles C. Mann’s brilliant 1491) .

Politics aside, Apocalypto is a pretty gripping story and certain scenes will haunt you long after the last subtitle rolls. Sure, Gibson throws one too many a cheap trick at the end but that’s his perogative. Personal feelings aside, Mel Gibson is at least trying to make films that matter.

JC

Excitables for the Weekend of June 29-30

June 29, 2007

I’t July 4th Weekend, well, it’s one of two July 4th Weekend’s. Yes, with our nation’s birth sitting astride the week this year some folks will be having picnics this weekend and some will be having it next weekend.

Whatever you do this weekend the weather promises to cooperate as the muggy weather here in the Northeast broke ushering a spat of pleasant coolness for this late in June.

Fireworks: Some are going off this weekend, some on Wednesday and some next weekend. Check your local papers to find out when and get a beach blanket for the occasion.

Flicks: July 4th marks the mid-point of the summer blockbuster season and with Live Free of Die Harder, the latest in Bruce Willis’ Die Hard series, opening this weekend, Transformers opening Wednesday and the latest Harry Potter movie opening next weekend there is plenty to choose from.

It looks like the winner in terms of critical praise this weekend is Ratatouille, the latest from Brad Bird, whose Incredibles had many an adult dragging their kids to the theaters. The story, about a culinary-inclined rodent, appears to be another winner. Hey, at least it isn’t about a penguin.

It’s also a good time to catch up on some of the releases that opened earlier this summer such as Spiderman3, the third Pirates of the Caribbean, Ocean’s 13 or Fantastic 4. Most are still out in the theaters and crowds have thinned.

Food — We saw them last week in the store. New Jersey blueberries are out and we report are in fine flavor. Pick up a box, perhaps some complimentary raspberries,  a couple cups of whipped cream and you have the beginning of a perfect 4th of July dessert. At least good enough until the Jersey peaches arrive in the market.

Have a good weekend everyone,

JC

Excitables for the Weekend of May 18-20

May 18, 2007

Because of time constraints this week we have a truncated excitables column. Sorry folks but the world has gotten busy for the one man media department here. Anyway, if we missed anything feel free to add it to our comments below.
Cheers and onward

The weather will be crappy this weekend but if they play then all eyes in the area will be on the annual grudge match between the Yankees and Mets this weekend at Shea. The novelty isn’t quite what it used to be and the Bronx Bombers aren’t helping things out by royally sucking so badly this year, but it still is great theater.

Elsewhere this weekend:

Shrek is Back — In the theater’s the mighty green ogre, Shrek returns for a third go-around in the appropriately title “Shrek the Third.” The impressive cast of characters are back and here’s to hoping that this trilogy works out better than the Spiderman series did.

Sopranos winding down – We haven’t written about it in a while but the final episodes of the Sopranos are delivering as advertised. Without giving too much away it looks like each character is getting a swan song and things are coming to a head and according to at least one of the actors on that show the end could be quite bloody. An article in today’s NY Post quotes Steven Van Zandt as saying the last few episodes will be very violent to the point where if you think they could do a Soprano’s film it would have to be a prequel.

Happy weekend everyone,

JC

Excitables for the Weekend of May 11-13

May 11, 2007

It’s all about Mom this weekend as families give Mom a break and head out in droves to brunches throughout the area. If you haven’t made reservations by now you’re probably out of luck and will be condemned to wait in line at the local pizza parlor for a table. Better to head to any one of a number of NJ farmers markets and pick up some fresh ingredients to cook mom a Sunday meal better than any you could find in a restaurant.Georgia Rule

Or if Mom is a cinema fan the new Jane Fonda-Lindsey Lohan-Felicity Huffman “Georgia Rule.” Lindsey plays a rebellious teen, Huffman her put-upon mother and Fonda the strict grandmother charged with shaping Lindsey up. You’ll probably be better entertained at “Spiderman 3” but the material suits the holiday. OK, you might be better off renting “On Golden Pond.”

Elsewhere this weekend:

Horse racing – inspired by last week’s Kentucky Derby? Slate your thirst not far from home as Monmouth Park opens on Saturday. Call 732-222-5100 or visit www.monmouthpark.com for more information.

Munchmobile – speaking of NJ.com, the Star Ledger’s Munchmobile is all over its front page today. The newspaper of record for the Garden state kicked off the latest incarnation of the summer eats series with a barbecue on its parking deck. The paper has made it part of the Friday morning experience launching its readers into heated arguments and “Why didn’t they go there?” questions.

Westerns from the East West and inbetween – The Loews Theater in Jersey City is quickly becoming the place for watching old movies in their big screen glory. This weekend’s “East Meets West(ern), Western Meets Spaghetti” theme is a great example.

The theater will be showing Sergio Leone’s “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly” tonight at 8 p.m., Akiro Kurosawa’s “The Seven Samurai” Saturday at 2 p.m. and a screening of “The Magnificent Seven” at 8:30 p.m. While it’s always nice to see Clint in his prime on the big screen and the Magnificent Seven is very important in the Western cannon of film, Samurai is the star here. The film is newly restored with newly translated subtitles. There will also be several demonstrations of Japanese culture before the movie. Visit the Friends of the Loews site for more information.

Have a good weekend everyone.

JC

Excitables for the Weekend of May 4-6

May 4, 2007

Months and months of eager anticipation end today when the Drew Barrymore-Eric Bana Las Vegas romantic comedy Lucky You opens today. It promises to begin the summer movie season with blockbuster proportions. Oh, wait, wrong movie.

Yes, this weekend is all about Tobey Maguire and KirstenSpiderman Dunst and more importantly it’s about the return of Spiderman to the lives of children young and old. We give a lot of hat tips to director Sam Raimi who breathed life into comic book movies with the first two Spiderman movies. Sure there have been some clunkers since Maguire first donned the red and blue, namely the aforementioned Bana in the Hulk, but buoyed by Spiderman studios relaunched both the Batman and Superman franchises.

Now we come to the third installment. Traditionally, this is where a trilogy flaters and can sometimes outright fail. For every LOTR: The Return of the King, there’s a Superman III, Batman and Robin even last year’s X-Men movie wrapped up its trilogy with a decided whimper.

The reviews have been mixed. The NY Times said it fizzled while Entertainment Weekly gave the movie a B-. If any movie is review proof though, Spiderman 3 is it. It’s already taken in some $30 million in just three days of release and could possible garner the biggest movie weekend gross in film history. It’s a good sign for Hollywood as this year’s summer releases are chock full of familiar faces including Shrek (Shrek the Third), Jason Bourne (The Bourne Ultimatum), John McLain (Live Free or Die) and even Homer Simpson (The Simpson Movie).

Elsewhere this weekend

And they’re Off –– Hockey and NBA playoffs drone on this weekend along with the baseball season but there is only one Kentucky Derby from Churchill Downs. Coverage begins 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

Viva Cinco de Mayo — If you’ve passed anywhere near your local Mexican place then you’ve notices that it’s Cinco de Mayo . Most people think the holiday celebrates Mexico independence but actually it commemorates some victory over the French (who the heck hasn’t beat France at one time or another.) Anyway, we sorta think it’s just an excuse to drink margaritas and Mexican beer. Nothing wrong with that. If you like crowds and noise check out your nearest Mexican restaurant. The odds for cheesiness increase with number of restaurants in the chain (think Chilli’s). Anyway, if that isn’t you thing try a French restaurant tomorrow. They won’t be celebrating anything.

Greek to Me — Mexican culture is not the only one out in force this weekend. The Greek Orthodox Church of St. George is holding its annual Greek Festival in Clifton this weekend. There is both indoor and outdoor dining. Lot’s of lamb and moussaka will be had by all. The church is at 818 Valley Road in Clifton.

Excitables for the Weekend of April 20-22

April 20, 2007

It’s Earth Day — springtime finally hits the northeast just in time for Earth Day. Without getting to crunchy folks it’s a good time to break out the bikes, dust off the planters and hit those hiking trails people.

Jerseycool’s personal favorite hiking spot is Ramapo Mountain, but there will be events in just about eRamapo Mountainvery local community on Sunday including Lewis Morris County Park in Morris Township and Washington Lake Park on Saturday. Check your local papers for events closer to home. NJ.com also has a listing of events.

Yankees-Red Sox; Mets-Braves — the first real set of baseball weather also brings with it the first two marque matchups of the baseball year. Yankees and Red Sox will meet in Boston for a three game set with a prime time matchup on

ESPN slated for Sunday night. Not to be outdone the Mets host their long time rival the Braves, who are off to a hot start this year.

If you’re the type to have a few amongst friends when watching the game today’s Star Ledger has a roundup of Garden State sports bars. You can also find the article on NJ.com.

In the cinema, Anthony Hopkins reprises his role as Hannibal Lecter…oh wait, that’s a different movie. Anyway, Hopkins breaks out his creepy persona to chew up scenes (no pun intended) in the courtroom drama, Fracture. Fans of the indie hit Shaun of the Dead probably already have today circled since Hot Fuzz, a send up of action flicks by the same comedy team of Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright hits theaters.Hot Fuzz

Vacancy is the other big release of the weekend. Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale get trapped at a homicidal motel. Resemblances to Psycho are purely intentional.

Have a good weekend everyone,

JC

Excitables for the Weekend of April 13-15

April 13, 2007

Throw some salt over your shoulder, beware of black cats and be extra careful around mirrors today. Yes my faithful readers we begin the weekend on Friday the 13th. Obviously, the best and only way to honor and appease the date is with a marathon of Friday the 13th movies so fire up the DVD. May we suggest “Friday the 13th – From Crystal Lake to Manhattan”Friday the 13th a tidy collection of 8 FT13 flicks.

Not into horror? You could opt for the Freaky Friday series. We’re partial to the Barbara Harris/Jodie Foster version.

Elsewhere this weekend:

Hockey — You may not have noticed but there are hockey playoffs going on right now. Yep, the NHL playoffs have kicked of and not one, not two but three area teams are involved. The Devils, Rangers and Islanders all made the annual NHL round robin.

Robinson Remembered — On Sunday it will be the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in baseball. To honor this event 200 players in the league will wear Robinson’s retired number 42. The number was retired from the entire league 10 years ago on the 50th anniversary. The movement was not planned. It started spontaneously by a request from Cincinnati slugger Ken Griffey Jr. and quickly spread throughout Major League Baseball. The NY Times has an excellent piece on the memorial today.

Professional baseball has a lot of problems as do all major sports but sometimes they do manage to get things right.

In the theaters — As we all hold our breaths a few more weeks for Spiderman 3, the movie studios are treating us with a eye candy like the Bruce Willis-Hallie Berry Perfect Stranger and Gen Y Rear Window remake Disturbia. Indie fans may find more treats with Year of the Dog, a dramedy about pet loss, yep, pet loss that’s getting very good reviews across the board. Bring the Kleenex dog lovers.

On the Johnny DramaTube — Stormy weather is expected to settle in over the region on Sunday, just in time for episode two of The Sopranos and Entourage. The two JerseyCool favorites both started off well last week, more so for the Sopranos than for Entourage. Word on the street is that all those Soprano fans more interested in the mob family than the family family will not be disappointed in episode two.

Happy weekend folks,

JC

Rocked by Children of Men

April 5, 2007

We caught two DVD’s last week and both are worth the time and ducats to rent. Both are a bit scary and for altogether different reasons. Let’s start with the better of the two: Children of Men.

In the pantheon of dystopian futures there are several classics. Blade Runner, a dreary world of androids and mass extinction perhaps comes closest to mind when watching the Alfonso Cuaron directed Children of MenChildren of Men. However, Blade Runner may portray a more optimistic future. In that film, the androids were sadistic because they were androids. There’s no such comfort in Children of Men. The world is one cold, hard sadistic place and people are the ringmasters.

The scariest part of the film is it’s utter believability. Set 20 years into the future the world civilization is crumbling into anarchy. Terrorists attacks happen at any time and death is ever present from disease, terror or random acts of violence. Worst of all is an infertility plague that has lasted for 20 years. The lack of children has heightened mans inhumanity to man. The government is oppressive and cruel and resistance fighters are equally cold and callous.

Clive Owen, whose hang-dog weary expressions are a perfect fit for the film, gets involved with one of these resistance groups through his ex-wife, Julianne Moore. Eventually, he must help a pregnant, young women flee England to a supposed Utopian colony on an Island in the Azores. Death and misery ensue.

The movie also gets a fine performance from Michael Caine, who looks a whole lot happier away from the bat cave. If you’re looking for something a bit weightier than Wil Ferrel in leotards you could do worse.

The next scary film is Rocky Balboa not so much for plot as for Sylvester Stallone who simply no longer looks real. The movie itself is actually quite good and almost…I say almost removes the bad taste from the series last film, the wretched Rocky 5.Rocky Balboa

Here the 50+ Rocky is lured back into the ring to face the reigning champ in an exhibition bout. I won’t spoil how it ends but it’s a much fitter bookend to the first Rocky than the aforementioned 5. Let’s give Stallone some credit. It took a lot of guts to step back into the character after so many years and the results could have been a disaster but somehow the old champ pulled it off.

JC

Excitables for the Weekend of March 30-April 1

March 30, 2007

Its the time of year when Spring is in the air and the sports world begins to shake off the snow that’s been building on its shoulders. By Monday we’ll know who the NCAA basketball champion is, Jerseycool’s uneducated guess is Ohio State and, perhaps more importantly, baseball season begins.

The locals are in action early as the Mets kick off the season on Sunday night against the world champion Cardinals. 8 p.m. on ESPN2. The Yankees follow April 2 as they open the season at home against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, 1:05 p.m. Bosses get ready to field the sick day calls.

Skate Away — There’s sports galore in the theaters as well. Wil Ferrel continueBlades of Glorys his lifelong pursuit to mock every sport and sports figure in the country in Blades of Glory. As the appropriately named Chaz Michael Michaels Ferrel teams with Jon Heder of Napolean Dynamite fame as the first male-male figure skating team. Presumably Hilarity ensues. the movie is getting decent reviews, but oh does it really matter.

Noir Weekend — Classic movie fans can catch three film noir classics at the Lowe’s Theater in Jersey City this weekend. Double Indemnity plays tonight at 8 p.m., Out of the Past is at 4 p.m. Saturday and the weekend wraps with Sunset Boulevard 8 p.m. on Saturday.

Nothing on the tube — After your done watching basketball the most interesting thing on TV this weekend is “Jerry Seinfeld: The Comedian Award.” It’s describes as a roundtable hosted by Anderson Cooper including Jerry and comedy friends Chris Rock, Gary Shandling and Robert Klein. Despite the title this sounds funny. HBO, 9 p.m.

Staying Home — The weekend promises to be a nice one so we don’t recommend staying home. Buuut if you have a broken leg or something we recommend catching up with the latest Bond movie, the remake of Casino Royale.

Looking for a good book to read? We’re in the middle of Charles C. Mann’s 1491, an account of North and South American Indian culture and history before Columbus. You guessed it. Everything your history teacher taught you in high school was wrong.

Have a good weekend everyone,

JC