Connect with us

Movie Reviews

Movie Review: Titanic 3D

On the 100th Anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic, James Cameron re-released his 1997 epic, TITANIC, in theaters with a brand new 3D conversion. Mike Finkelstein was there, ready to see one of his favorites back on the big screen. Here is his review of “Titanic”.



On the 100th Anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic, James Cameron re-released his 1997 epic, TITANIC, in theaters with a brand new 3D conversion.  Mike Finkelstein was there, ready to see one of his favorites back on the big screen.  Here is his review of “Titanic”.

PLOT: The love story of a young wanderer (Leonardo DiCaprio) and a beautiful debutante (Kate Winslet) as they travel aboard the doomed RMS Titanic in the Spring of 1912.

Check out the trailer:

MIKE’S REVIEW:  Say what you want to say about James Cameron’s TITANIC.  Go ahead and scoff at the hokey love story, and laugh at the constantly parodied lines (“I’m flying”, “I’ll never let go”, “I’m the king of the world!”, etc).  Hell, I’ll even give you a moment to shudder at the thought of “My Heart Will Go On” surrounding you from every corner of the theater.  But here’s the thing…while you may laugh at all that on the outside, when you’re sitting in that theater seat, watching this unbelievably beautiful epic unfold before your eyes, all those years of being jaded will be gone, and you will be engrossed from the first moment to the last.

It has been 15 years since TITANIC was first released in theaters.  Expected to be a box office disaster, the movie went on to play for over a year, win 11 Academy Awards and become the highest grossing film of all time.  (Ironically, it would only be beaten by Cameron’s next film, AVATAR, but I personally put an asterisk next to that, due to IMAX and 3D ticket prices being more than double the average cost in 1997.)   For five years, Cameron meticulously researched every detail of Titanic and its sinking.  He took a total of twelve dives down to the real wreckage to get every angle and aspect exact.  He worked with the White Star Line and commissioned crew to create exact replicas for the sets.  He incorporated real passengers, real photo moments (ie Douglas Spedden), and real tales of survival and mourning to bring this tragedy to life.

Now I know what you’re thinking: why the hell would anybody put such a hokey, melodramatic love story in the middle of a true tragedy that can stand fine on its own?  Excluding A NIGHT TO REMEMBER (the other quintessential film about the sinking), every other attempt to put the TITANIC on screen has basically failed because of the writers throwing too many perspectives at us.  With the story being told through Rose (first class royalty) and Jack (a “gutter rat” from steerage), we get all those perspectives and characters in one shot, not to mention some career defining performances from Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, and Gloria Stuart, as well as too many beautiful supporting performances to list here (just go to IMDb and go down the cast list).

Put together such intricate detail and a love story spanning three classes, TITANIC also succeeds as the best history lesson ever.  You may be focusing on Jack and Rose being chased by Cal, but take a second to look around, and realize that you are being brought on a tour of every facet of that ship, both before and during the sinking.  We get a glimpse of every deck as the ship makes its way through the Atlantic, and we see everything from steerage to the dining room to the Grand Staircase—as well as everyone in these locations—as she goes under.

But enough about the story…you’ve seen the movie.  You know it’s good.  (If you don’t like it, sorry to tell you, it hasn’t changed.)  The only real question is how is the 3D conversion?  By itself, TITANIC is nothing short of visually stunning.  Even 15 years later, it is incredible how well the special effects and cinematography hold up (sans one shot that looks a bit like a SIMS recreation…I’ll let you find it).  Seeing that ship leave port will leave you breathless, and watching it go down over the last hour will do exactly the same.  And while I will admit that most of the time, the 3D was either unnecessary, or not intense enough to illicit a huge response from me, it did add an extra layer of beauty at moments, and an extra layer of dread in others.  For a movie released in 1997, that’s impressive enough for me.

TITANIC is a film that belongs on a movie screen.  Seeing it again just reaffirmed the fact that what Cameron was able to do was nothing short of extraordinary.  He created a stunning work of art that does justice to one of the greatest human tragedies of the last century.  Whether or not you’re a fan of 3D, go see TITANIC back in theaters.  In the end, it’s not about an extra layer.  It’s about seeing a masterpiece back where it belongs.


Mike’s LIKES:

1) TITANIC: Visually stunning and historically sound, TITANIC is nothing short of a masterpiece in film.  Seeing it again on the big screen just reaffirmed my belief that James Cameron did something extraordinary.


1) 3D UNNECESSARY: I would have loved to have the option of seeing TITANIC back in theaters in its original 2D format.  While the 3D did add a bit and never took away from the film, it was nowhere near necessary, and it would have been nice to not have to wear those damn glasses for three hours.


1) When Jack is preparing to draw Rose, he motions her to lie down “Over on the bed…the couch.” DiCaprio actually made an honest mistake and James Cameron liked it so much, he kept it in the film.

2) The scene in which Rose meets Jack to thank him for saving her life was completely improvised.  The spitting scene was also almost all ad-lib. Cameron also credits Kate Winslet with the famous line, “This is where we first met”, as well as Rose spitting in Cal’s face instead of the scripted suggestion of jabbing him with her hairpin.

3) When astrophysicist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson first saw the movie in its original theatrical release, he noticed that the configuration of stars that Rose looks up at as she lies on the floating door bore no resemblance to what the sky really looked like on that night.  After contacting Cameron three times about the inaccuracies, Tyson was contacted by a post-production technician working on re-release, who asked for a picture of what the sky really would have looked like.  It was then altered and fixed.


REVIEW: “Sing Street” Will Put a Song in Your Heart… and Your iPod



“I have just seen an instant classic.”

That’s what I said to myself as I left the theater, with the music and adrenaline of “Sing Street” still coursing through my veins.

It’s the kind of movie you want to turn around and see again, immediately. Right after you download the soundtrack. Yes, it’s that good.

Haven’t heard anything about it? I’m not surprised. I wouldn’t have known about this film either, except that my Regal Crown Club card finally paid off in the form of free tickets to an advanced screening. (Never mind the $25 popcorn.) Anyway, let’s watch!

Hooked yet? You will be.

Irish writer/director John Carney (“Once,” “Begin Again”) has conjured a nearly perfect coming-of-age tale set in 1980s Dublin. Think “The Commitments meets “Sixteen Candles meets “Footloose,” but all in one glorious package that manages to be both fresh and nostalgic at the same time. Drawing from his own teenage years at the real Synge Street school, Carney avoids the trap of creating a pure fluff piece by infusing the story with real heart.

A large part of that is due to the breakout talent and hero of Sing Street,” 16-year-old Ferdia Walsh-Peelo. As “Connor Lalor” navigates the tricky currents of a new school, family drama, and first love, Walsh-Peelo is heartbreakingly earnest, predictably awkward, and unexpectedly optimistic. Everything about his performance rings true. No small feat, considering that this is his acting debut.

Thanks to Carney’s non-actor, open casting approach, Walsh-Peelo is also joined by some equally promising new faces. Lucy Boynton is luminous as his love interest, “Raphina,” and Mark McKenna is quietly compelling as Conor’s songwriting partner, “Eamon.”

One of the most satisfying pairings, though, is anchored by the more experienced Jack Reynor (“Transformers:Age of Extinction”).  He shines as Conor’s older brother, “Brendan.”  Dealing with the angst of his own stalled dreams, Brendan tackles his brotherly mentoring role with gusto. Conor soaks up the advice like a ruddy-cheeked sponge, then begins to find his own way as his confidence grows.  Rarely do we see the underlying affection between two brothers played so simply and honestly,  so the relationship between Conor and Brendan is a lovely surprise.

The other undeniable star of “Sing Street” is the music.  While the story could have easily been told with the band only performing covers of ’80s hits,  Carney had a bigger vision for the film.  He collaborated with Scottish songwriter Gary Clark to craft 8 original tunes that not only add layers of light and shade to the storyline, but could be stand-alone chart toppers today.  From the gleefully retro “The Riddle of the Model,” to the Cure-tastic “Beautiful Sea,”  to the EMO ballad “To Find You,”  there’s something for everyone. Welcome to your summer soundtrack, people.

There are few darker notes to the plot, and the ending feels slightly of place, but in general “Sing Street” will leave you feeling as light and fizzy as a packet of Pop Rocks.

The movie poster reads: “Boy Meets Girl. Girl Unimpressed. Boy Starts Band.”  That’s it in a nutshell, of course, but happily, this film is so much more.

SING STREET opens in New York April 15th, and is in theaters nationwide on April 29th.






Continue Reading


Celebrate The Fourth With Our Picks For Great American Movies!

What makes a film distinctly American? Sometimes it recollects the spirit of our patriotism, and other times it is so iconic and popular that it defines an entire generation of our culture. Here are our picks for some great American movies! Why not celebrate your Independence Day holiday by popping up some popcorn and enjoying one?



What makes a film distinctly American? Sometimes it recollects the spirit of our patriotism, and other times it is so iconic and popular that it defines an entire generation of our culture. Here are our picks for some great American movies! Why not celebrate your Independence Day holiday by popping up some popcorn and enjoying one?

It’s impossible to list them all… this is just a handfull! Scroll down and tell us what your favorites are!!!

Let’s start at the beginning!

Do you have what it takes to watch a black and white classic? (Don’t break my heart by replying if the answer is no.) Yankee Doodle Dandy is a 1942 classic starring James Cagney – telling the story of the great entertainer George M Cohan. He’s the man behind the songs “The Yankee Doodle Boy” and “You’re a Grand Old Flag.”  A true classic with distinctly American music and showmanship. Watch the trailer!

There’s something about the fifties and sixties that still plucks at the nostalgic heartstrings of America. And yet, two of the most iconic movies about that period were actually shot decades later, with a heartfelt look back at those times.

Both American Graffiti and Grease come to mind. While American Graffiti can take bragging rights for bringing us more breakout stars, (and being written and directed by George Lucas), Grease seems to enjoy more clout as a family friendly favorite.

1986 was a  good year for Tom Cruise, and a good year for movies. Top Gun starred Tom Cruise stars as a student at Top Gun Naval Academy. It sparked a sense of patriotism, and the continued ascent of Cruise’s career. (If you’re watching with your kids, you might wanna skip ahead once you start hearing the song “Take My Breath Away.” Love scene ahead! Still, some might argue it’s pretty tame by today’s standards.)

Forrest Gump (1994) proved not only to be an excellent movie, but also an impromptu history lesson.
The story follows an unlikely hero (played by Tom Hanks) as he journeys through life, finding himself witnessing (and sometimes even influencing) a series of historic events, but is largely unaware of their significance. A true classic.

Before the luster of Mel Gibson had worn off, he portrayed Benjamin Martin, a man who becomes embroiled in the Revolutionary War. The late Heath Ledger plays his son, who fights in the Continental Army.

The most recent of patriotic classics is 2012’s Lincoln. Daniel Day Lewis delivers a flawless performance as our 16th President under the directorial brilliance of Steven Spielberg. A new classic for the ages.


For more movies updates, follow @BrianBalthazar on twitter!

Continue Reading

Movie Reviews

MOVIE REVIEW- WORLD WAR Z Is a Messy, Relentless Zombie Horror Flick That Really Works

Check Out Steven’s review for one of the biggest surprises of 2013, the epic zombie flick WORLD WAR Z.



world-war-z-posterWORLD WAR Z

Paramount Pictures

Director- Marc Forster

Starring-Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, James Badge Dale. Abigail Hargrove, Sterling Jerins, David Morse, David Andrews.

Steven’s Quick Review- Yes its production was messy, but WORLD WAR Z might be the biggest surprise of the summer movies in 2013. Thanks to relentless action, a number of good scares, and an on-target performance from Brad Pitt, WORLD WAR Z is an excellent zombie film. Even though it is barely based on its source material, Damon Lindelof’s rewritten third act will keep audiences guessing and add some scares to your summer movie slate.

Steven’s Review- Brad Pitt has become the kind of actor who now only does movies he truly wants to do, and only takes roles that challenge him. So when Pitt and his Plan B studios initially won the rights to Max Brooks bestselling novel WORLD WAR Z the options were endless. Yet from the start of production the movie had issues, between the initial script lacking invention, a director in Marc Forster (QUANTUM OF SOLACE) who was found it difficult to make important decisions and the very public spat between Pitt and Forster that nearly sidelined the film indefinitely.  There were also the on-set issues, besides the arguments between the actor and director, there were problems on set in Hungary when government officials stormed the set and removed live weapons. Also, forced re-shoots that moved WWZ from a winter release to a summer tentpole. It’s easy to assume WORLD WAR Z was doomed from the start. But something happened along the way, something that shocked plenty during our screening of the film in May. Despite all the evidence to the contrary, Pitt, Forster, and crew actually made a darn good zombie flick. With help from Damon Lindelof (“Lost”, STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS) who came to the rescue and reworked an ending  after the studio deemed the initial conclusion was not good enough for release.  Following Lindelof’s changes and a massive marketing campaign Brad Pitt’s newest pet project was ready to show the world.

WORLD WAR Z the book takes place in a post zombie war setting, when a journalist and U.N investigator goes all over the globe talking to survivors and getting their stories.  The film adaptation written by Drew Goddard (CABIN IN THE WOODS), Matthew Michael Carnahan (STATE OF PLAY), J. Michael Straczynski (THOR) and Damon Lindelof  has little to nothing to do with Brooks acclaimed novel. We begin meeting Gerry Lane(Pitt) , a former UN investigator who lives with his family somewhere outside Philadelphia.  Within 5 minutes of the opening credits, we are thrown into a full on zombie invasion, with riots in super markets and speedy zombies chasing people down. WWZ Starts off with a bang. Gerry’s wife Karin(“The Killings” Mireille Enos), and his daughters Constance(Sterling Jerins) and Rachel (Abigail Hargrove) desperately leave the city and head towards New York, finding themselves in the streets of  Newark, New Jersey where they pick up supplies and await a helicopter pick-up thanks to Gerry’s old friends at the United Nations.

WORLD WAR Z is in no way a perfect movie; every now and then it finds itself deep into horror cliché, only to drag itself out with one big sequence after another. Pitt carries the film as he finds himself in worse situations every moment, but without being totally indestructible (meaning as an audience you never quite know whether Gerry Lane will make it out alive). Pitt’s performance feels dressed in reality, while he searches the globe for reasons why this zombie apocalypse is happening, worries for his safety and hopes to return to his family.

WORLD WAR Z is a suspenseful zombie flick that contains a few scares, but has the advantage of almost never slowing down.  The filmmakers found a way to protray a lot of violence and still receive a PG-13 rating – they show you enough death and destruction without maimed bodies and severed limbs. I enjoyed the fast paced nature of WWZ and the fact it never drags, it allows characters to develop and story to move forward without forsaking the zombie action fan in all of us.

As far as adaptations go, WORLD WAR Z could be considered one of the worst, it barely contains any connection to Max Brooks brilliant novel, other than a few characters names and one or two plot points. As far as summer surprises, WORLD WAR Z is a welcome break from comedies and super hero flicks that take up most of our time. But the pressure is on: it needs to bring in $500 million dollars to turn a profit for everyone involved. I enjoyed WORLD WAR Z and hope they can find a way to make some cash, so we can get more zombie action just like it.

Continue Reading