Jenn Brown's blog

Review: Did You Hear About the Morgans?


Did You Hear About the Morgans? Do you really want to hear about the Morgans, because you've heard and seen it all before, several times, and it's a formula that needs to be put to rest.

On the run from organized crime, an estranged New York couple (Sarah Jessica Morgan, Hugh Grant) are forced into witness protection. They balk, but they, to the middle of nowhere, where they have to deal with their issues.

Quick Snaps: Danny Trejo and Rudy Youngblood on set of Beatdown


Beatdown is filming in the Austin area, and Paul Gandersman, who is working on set, snapped a picture of film stars Rudy Youngblood (Apocalypto), Danny Trejo (Desperado, Machete).  The Mike Gunther directed action/martial arts film also stars Eric Balfour (Hellride), and MMA fighter Michael Bisping.

[Photo Credit:  Paul Gandersman]

Review: Up in the Air


Need an antidote to the sentimentality to the holidays? Up in the Air is a breath of cinematic fresh air.  Jason Reitman's third film is another book adaptation, this time a novel by Walter Kirn, a 2001 novel.

Ryan Bingham (George Clooney), a "career transition" consultant, is happiest when he's up in the air, and upping his frequent flier miles to astronomical heights. He barely sees his own family, and may not even make it to his own sister's wedding.  This is the guy most of us fear; the guy delivering the deathblow to your paycheck as he tells you it's really a rebirth.  To Ryan, the less weight in your life, from relationships to possessions, the better. But when he's forced to team up with the upstart analyst (Anna Kendrick) has found ways to automate the system and threatens Ryan's way of life, and changing his perspective.

Clooney can play smarmy well, but he also adds humanity to a man whose only connections are at airports despite dramatically affecting the lives of dozens of people every new assignment.  Kendrick's Natalie holds her own with Clooney even as she trips over her own inexperience.  But it's Vera Farmiga's Alex who steals every scene, right from the moment she and Clooney (Ryan)  flirt over business traveler perks. 

BNAT1138: The End


After BNAT1138: The Beginning and  BNAT: The Middle, we're coming to the end of Butt-Numb-a-Thon (BNAT). Don't panic. There's plenty to make it a very memorable ending.

Inappropriate Clip:  Apparently it's tradition to show something tasteless.  This year it's sumo-diapered men in a ring allowing themselves to be dry-humped by dogs, from a variety of angles, with a special guest (perhaps the MC?) wearing a penis'd afro wig.  The truly disturbing part was at least one of the men seemed to be enjoying it.

Special Presentation:  "AICN True-ish Hollywood Story."  Birthday wishes and wisecracks from JJ Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Damon Lindelof, Danny McBride, Michael Bay and Jon Favreau.  Favreau had a very special birthday/BNAT greeting, with an introduction to world premiere of the Iron Man 2 trailer. 

Trailers:  Iron Man 2, Fearless Frank, Animal Protector, The Return of Captain Invincible

Matthew Vaughn brought the not quite finished cut of Kick-Ass along with co-star Christopher Mintz-Plasse.

BNAT1138: The Middle


Before our next Butt-Numb-a-Thon (BNAT) feature and apropos to nothing other than the fact they were there for their own guest appearance at a Slammin' Salmon screening, the Broken Lizard guys had a beer-drinking contest with the Ain't it Cool Newswriters. The Lizards won, with appropriate comedic timing. 

Trailers:  They Call Her One Eye, Sudden Death (possibly another but between writing in the dark and my pen being rebellious, I can't tell if just overwrote notes on the next film, or over a trailer name)

Shutter Island.  Essentially still a rough cut, and Harry recounts the correspondence involved getting the film.  And it turned out that Scorcese negotiated the inclusion of The Red Shoes. Nice programming, Mr. Scorcese.  Based on a Dennis Lehane book (Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone), the mystery of a missing patient at an isolated mental institution is a little too clever for my taste, but I certainly can't fault the performance (or the pacing, or just about anything other than the story). Not that it's a bad story, just a kind I personally get impatient with. I found myself admiring one particular scene that featured primarily face shots.

BNAT1138: The Beginning


26+ hours. Longer, if you start at registration. And hands down one of the best mixed genre programs I could imagine.  For a first time BNAT-er I could not have wished for more; thematically tight with an outstanding mixture of genres and styles old and new. From the contented comments of the veteran BNAT-ers, it sounds like they couldn't either. If you weren't there, this recap will probably make you jealous.

Registration was quick and as efficient as possible. Our goodie bags promptly stored after a quick perusal.  The list:  Two t-shirts, Zombieland cap and hand sanitizer, I Love You Man mug,  Nineteen Seventy-Four by David Peace, Dear Zachary DVD, a promotional poster, a Scare for a Cure cardgame, and a collectible Monsterpocalypse starter set, miniposter for Marianne (2011), and the BNAT Yearbook. 

The yearbook includes our bald pictures required on the applications, and highlights from our apps. No names, though, only a designated ID number based on initials and seat assignments. Very creative.

BNAT1138: The Pre-Party


Friday night was the annual Butt-Numb-a-Thon (BNAT) pre-party, this year at the shiny new and oh so conveniently located Highball. Dozens of film geeks were there, greeting old friends and making some new ones prior to the 25+ hour movie marathon spectacle that is BNAT, now in its 11th year.

Among my first greetings was, "So I hear you're a virgin." What the.... Oh. BNAT virgin. Yeah. A little later, I hear, "I told her you were a virgin." and "Yeah, and I wanted to know how he knew, til I realized he meant BNAT." Thankfully, BNAT veterans welcome newbies with open arms.

I have several friends among those who have secured seats, and more trying for standby. But this isn't an exclusive crowd; they're very welcoming. People were very friendly and the advice is still flowing (apparently the hygiene comments are very appreciated). I met people at the party with guaranteed seats as well as some hoping to get in from the standby line. At least one person came as far as Atlanta without a guaranteed seat. People with seats have come from as far away as Sweden. 

The lineup for BNAT is never announced in advance, which was a great source for discussion for tonight's partygoers. So what's the buzz? What among the most anticipated upcoming releases will play BNAT1138?

Movies this Week: Me and the Serious Port of Call Slammin' Princess


We're smack dab in the height of "for your consideration" season, which means that award hopefuls the studios have been holding back for months are starting to get released.  Just in time for our wintery weather. And it's BNAT weekend, too. Are you going? I am. Yay!

The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans -- It's the Showgirls of bad cop movies. If you take this as a serious drama, you'll have a hard time with it. But if you bring your lucky crack pipe and just experience it, it's a very memorable film.  Nicolas Cage gets his freak on as a cop who plays by his own rules. Just don't expect a sequel or remake to the original Bad Lieutenant film. Look for Jette's review this weekend. (Arbor, Alamo Ritz)

Dave Matthews in 3D: Larger than Life -- Well, I guess it has Dave Matthews. In 3D. Larger than life. Although apparently it also has Ben Harper, Relentless7 and Gogol Bordello, and it was shot at ACL fest this year. (Gateway)

Review: The Princess and the Frog


Disney's animation bread-and-butter has been the fairy tale, with princesses in peril and a happy ending. The Princess and the Frog delivers, but with less heart than usual, despite the merger of Pixar and Disney animation concerns.

Set in early twentieth-century New Orleans, Tiana (Anika Noni Rose) and Charlotte (Jennifer Cody) are childhood friends because Tiana's mother is a seamstress for "Big Daddy" La Bouff (John Goodman), a wealthy, overindulgent widower. The girls have very different reactions to a fairy tale: Charlotte can't wait to find a prince, and Tiana has more vocational dreams. The girls grow up in their separate but connected worlds with obvious results -- one spoiled, the other an overachiever working drudge jobs. 

Musings of a BNAT Newbie


BNAT 1138I'm going to my very first Butt-Numb-a-Thon (BNAT) on Saturday. Eek.

Austin cineastes know this is kind of a Big Deal. For those not in the know, BNAT is a combination film festival of sorts, fundraiser, and birthday celebration. It's the one film event that requires attendees to apply to attend. Only 188 seats were available, and 6,128 applied. That's not a rare ticket, it's practically mythic. 

The application isn't just "let me in," it includes a series of questions that help weed out or secure a seat.  This year's theme is "BNAT1138" as it's the 11th year, so the application picture, which will be used in the yearbook (!) required a bald picture.  There was a lot of bemoaning on the talkback forums about the selection process, but it couldn't be clearer -- over 1,000 people who applied didn't submit a bald picture. It didn't have to be a "good" bald picture, just a bald picture of yourself. After that, the questions, silly and otherwise, were used, particularly related to films. 

I shouldn't be surprised at the yearbook.  There are people who've made it in every year.  There seems to be a real community about it. I feel lucky to know so many veteran BNATters. 

So I've paid my $71 to support the Alamo Kids Club and get a seat. Hopefully a real seat, and not a folding chair, or the very front row (the thought makes my knees ache and my migraine worsen).  Now, to prepare. I'm working on my sleep, something I have a hard time with at the best of times, but I don't want to go into BNAT sleep deprived.     

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