Friday, January 29, 2016

25 Best Films Of 2015: Part One (9-H)

OK, I've finally managed to see as many movies as possible from 2015, let's try to knock this article out before we enter the second month of 2016, shall we?

Fifty Shades Of Black Review

Hey, you know what I got obsessed with this past week? Hamilton! Yeah, thanks to this handy-dandy YouTube playlist, I was able to listen to this Broadway shows soundtrack over the past few days and it is some incredible stuff. There's nary a dud tune in the bunch! What a great idea for a show, taking these well-known real life figures from history and reminding us all they were more than just aspects of our history textbooks, they were human beings. Oh, and those last two songs, The World Was Wide Enough and Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story? Absolutely incredible way to end the whole affair, on an emotional note that really put the events of the show into a larger perspective.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Trolls, Pets And Kevin Spacey As A Cat Abound In New Family Movie Trailers

With a high profile family film like Kung Fu Panda 3 coming out this Friday, it's to be expected that a number of family films have released trailers in order to get them seen in front of prospective audiences coming out to see Po the Panda. We got four trailers to look at today, so let's get started with my favorite of the bunch...

Kubo And The Two Strings
Holy hell, how is this being done with stop-motion animation? Every frame of this trailer is absolutely beautiful to look at, but thankfully, there's not just style that one can gawk at in this trailer. I love how this trailer doesn't try to fill every second with hyperactive noise and/or jokes, but rather, establishes the plot, atmosphere and characters in a pleasant manner. All of that, plus, a roster of excellent voice actors (Charlize Theron! Ralph Fiennes! Rooney Mara! Matthew McConaughey!), and that excellent Beatles cover, and yeah, it's super easy for me to dub this as one helluva trailer. Consider Kubo And The Two Strings officially one of my most anticipated movies for the year.

Did ya like the atmospheric beauty of that Kubo trailer? Well, the rest of these trailers substitute that for bathroom humor and dancing to pop songs so....yay?

The Secret Life Of Pets
Marking the fourth trailer for The Secret Life Of Pets in the span of seven months (and we've still got five months to go until this movies actually released!), this one brings more of a concrete plot to the proceedings, depicting Max (Louie C.K.), a dog, feeling his life upended when his owner gets a new mutt, Duke (Eric Stonestreet). Basically, it's the same character dynamic Toy Story and Over The Hedge have already done, and this trailer really brings nothing new to the table in terms of plot points or gags. It also looks like they're getting as much mileage as possible out of that heavy metal poodle joke, huh?

The Angry Birds Movie
I was relatively kind to The Angry Birds Movie when its first teaser arrived back in late September, but that goodwill towards its marketing has vanished with this new trailer. All I can really say about this one is that if you've ever had the compulsion to see a movie where Danny McBride spits urine into the eager mouth of Josh Gad, it looks like we've got a movie for you!

Oh my God.

This is real.

Small, easily marketable and toyetic characters dancing to a modern dad pop song (in this case Watch Me Whip/Watch Me Nae Nae)?

We've reached peak DreamWorks folks.

Hey, remember how good the How To Train Your Dragon movies were? Yeah, those were awesome.

Nine Lives
Early candidate for most bizarre project of 2016? I'll say yeah. Was this made by someone nostalgic for the days of late 90's live-action Disney family films (the kind made on the cheap and quick like You Favorite Martian and the That Darn Cat! remake), cause that's the kind of cinema this trailer evoked to me. I kind of wish with a premise ripped straight out of a Tropic Thunder trailer parody they went with a more oddball premise than more of this "dad needs to learn to spend more time with his kid" tripe. I'm also pretty certain nothing Christopher Walken does here will top this beautiful insanity from Gigli:

B.O.O.: The DreamWorks Animation Movie You Will Never See

There is an animated family comedy named B.O.O.: Bureau of Otherworldly Organisms starring Seth Rogen and Mellissa McCarthy as crime-fighting ghosts. Their foe? Bill Murray as an evil ghosts. This feature had a plot that basically sounded like a more family-friendly version of the 2013 box office dud R.I.P.D., had Rashida Jones, Matt Bomer and Octavia Spencer in supporting roles, and was slated to be released this past June.  However, it was pulled from the release schedule just six-and-a-half months prior to its release. Apparently, the film was in post-production when it was cancelled, to the point that when director Tony Leondis was announced as the director of The Emoji Movie, the press release for that development noted that his previous film, B.O.O., had actually been completed under his watch.

Rocko, Meet Ren & Stimpy! NickToons Movie From Napoleon Dynamite Director In The Works!

As a kid, when it came to youth friendly animated programming, I was always more of a Disney kid, with stuff like TaleSpin, DuckTales (a-wooo!) and Darkwing Duck being my bread & butter. Of course, I was acutely aware of the animated shows over on Nickelodeon, dubbed NickToons, but their more abrasive nature (and the fact that the voices on Rugrats always irritated me) rubbed me the wrong way at an early age. I will say though I do love Rocko's Modern Life, and of course, SpongeBob SquarePants, which arrived at the tail end of the 90's and the NickToons era.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

What Does The Future Hold For DreamWorks Animation?

As a studio, DreamWorks and its animation counterpart, DreamWorks Animation, has always fascinated me, its journey of ups and downs never being predictable, but always managing to be riveting (go check out The Men Who Would Be King for an in-depth look at the history of DreamWorks, it's an excellent read!). Now, DreamWorks Animation is on the cusp of releasing a pivotal movie for the company, one that could signal whether their future investment in Chinese cinema (the release in question is was partly animated in China) is a bold paradigm shifting strategy or a misguided endeavor.

Who knew one portly panda could be responsible for so much?

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Birth Of A Nation Picks Up Record Breaking Distribution Deal With Fox Searchlight At Sundance

Typically, each annual Sundance Film Festival brings about a record breaking distribution deal, with the biggest of those deals going to the $10.5 million paid to Little Miss Sunshine a decade ago and the $10 million given to the Steve Coogan picture Hamlet 2 eight years ago. Both of those features have been left in the dust by a deal just made for a feature film centered on Nat Turner entitled The Birth Of A Nation. Fox Searchlight Pictures (the studio behind such indie film hits as The Grand Budapest Hotel, Birdman, Slumdog Millionaire, Black Swan, 12 Years A Slave and Juno) has put down $17.5 million for distribution rights to the film.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Anomalisa Review

So, uh, what the hell is Paramount Pictures doing handling the distribution of Anomalisa? The same studio responsible for ushering in the Transformers sequels, as well as the 2014 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film and Terminator: Genisys, are now in charge of a stop-motion animated Charlie Kaufman film dealing with pervasive loneliness and its effects on the human psyche. Versatility is the name of the game, and to be fair, Paramount also financed Nebraska and let Darren Aronofsky go hog wild on the tale of Noah's Ark.

Leonardo DiCaprio Seizes The Box Office Again Amidst Snowy Weather And Raunchy Robert DeNiro Antics

A big o'l snowstorm left much of the country in a winter wonderland (meanwhile, down here in Texas, we're getting a high of sixty degrees today), closing many businesses, including movie theaters. It's hard to say how much this impacted the box office, though many holdovers like Ride Along 2 and The Revenant had sharper than expected declines that could be attributed to the inclement weather.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Terminator: Genisys Will Not Be...Followed Up By A Sequel (Plus: New Release Dates For Baywatch And Star Wars Episode 8)

Yesterday, Disney threw the summer 2017 schedule into a state of turmoil, as they shifted Star Wars: Episode VIII from May 26, 2017 to December 15, 2017. Considering how well The Force Awakens has done over the holiday season, it's no shocker that they've moved the film up to this release date. I do wonder if the two titles Disney has planned for November will be shifting; Thor: Ragnarok might be OK on November 3 (Spectre managed to do a surprisingly high 2.85 times its opening weekend in an early November timeframe, putting it seven weeks ahead of The Force Awakens, the same amount of time between Thor 3 and Star Wars 8) but considering how poorly The Good Dinosaur held up against The Force Awakens, I'd imagine PIXAR's Thanksgiving 2017 film Coco might be searching for a more hospitable timeframe to open.

The Oscars Are Considering Going Through Some Major Changes, Including Expanding The Amount Of Nominees In The Acting Categories

This morning, I pulled up and saw an interesting headline; Academy Mulls Changes To Halt Oscar Diversity Crisis. In case you've been living under a rock for the past week, the nominations for this years Academy Awards (announced a week ago today) were met with justified controversy due to there being no actors of color nominated in any of the four acting categories. Out of the 20 combined potential nominees for Best Actor/Actress/Supporting Actor/Supporting Actress, zero of them have been people of color for two straight years.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Madea To Haunt Movie Theaters This October

Remember the Chris Rock film Top Five? Well, at one point in the film, the poster for a film entitled Boo! A Madea Halloween is shown, as well as a long line of patrons eager to see the motion picture. It was a humorous little moment that had faded from my memory...until yesterday when it was announced that Tyler Perry would be ending his two years hiatus from directing (his last film was the March 2014 effort Single Mom's Club) to make that parody poster into a real feature film. That's right folks, Boo! A Madea Halloween is coming to a theater near you on October 21, 2016.

New Trailer For Suicide Squad Begs The Question...Whose The Real Criminal? Us? Or The Man Gobbling Crocodile Monster?

Last night, DC Comics aired a TV special designed to promote their forthcoming films in the DC Extended Universe, a sprawling cavalcade of films starring spandex wearing individuals that's basically Warner Bros. answer to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Along with new footage of Batman v. Superman and a sneak peek at Wonder Woman (the latter of which has some surprisingly polished looking footage considering its only been filming for two months), there was a new trailer for Suicide Squad, the David Ayer directed feature about various incarcerated bad guys from DC Comics lore being recruited for a dangerous government mission.

Check out the trailer below!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Carol Review

The new and unexpected tends to always be frightening. Anything that upsets the established conventionality of our lives can be seen as a threat or it can be seen as a chance to grow as a person, to explore new realms of our very lives. Unfortunately, many take the route of looking at the unknown as inherently troublesome, and that certainly applies to members of the LGBTQA community, whose lifestyle is one that many have and continue to fight for. Both in the past and still in our modern society, the idea of two guys or gals living together is treated as an affront to "family values" and "traditionalism", a way to simply upend the standard way society looks at the idea of what constitutes two people in love. Members of the LGBTQA community have had to suffer under the burden of these suffocating customs for decades as they try to make their lives their own.

Monday, January 18, 2016

The Problem With Lights Camera Jackson Isn't His Age, But Rather, Everything Else

My first published film review was in February 2012 on my High Schools online newspaper, back when I was just two months over the age of 16. I can never go back and look back through my writing from those days, though to be fair, I have the same problem with reviews written as recently as a day ago. The faults of my prose always stand out so much, and my insecurities over my writing will drive me absolutely up the wall. Anywho, I got started at this profession at a young age, and I was even younger when I first got hooked on the world of cinema.

Ride Along 2 Knocks Star Wars From The Top Of The Box Office, While 13 Hours Fizzles Out

And so, the box office reign of Star Wars: The Force Awakens comes to a close, after it was number one at the box office for four straight weeks, becoming the third film in the past nine months (after Furious Seven and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay: Part One) to stay at the top for that exact length of time. What beat it out? The new Kevin Hart/Ice Cube comedy Ride Along 2, which debuted with a solid $35.3 million, about 15% below the opening of the original film. That's a bigger opening weekend than any comedy in 2015, sans the $38.7 million bow of Daddy's Home.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Ride Along 2 Review

When the first Ride Along came out, Kevin Hart had spent numerous years on the stand-up circuit, becoming a major enough presence there to warrant a leading role in a major American motion picture (he had previously had supporting roles in films like Think Like A Man, Death At A Funeral and a tiny cameo in This Is The End). The enormous box office of Ride Along ensured that this wouldn't be the last time he was the cinematic leading man, and numerous other projects like The Wedding Ringer and (ugh) Get Hard followed.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi Review

In the pantheon of Michael Bay movies, 13 Hours manages to land on the higher end of his filmography. It lacks the sprawling idiocy of Pearl Harbor and the incoherency of the Transformers sequels, and eschews the stupid sophomoric humor that tends to drag down his features. In the grand scheme of cinema, 13 Hours registers as nothing more than "inoffensive" and "OK", but, credit where credit is due, Bay has kept some of his more distracting directorial traits on the sideline for this motion picture in order to tell this real life story.

Friday, January 15, 2016

What Is 10 Cloverfield Lane? Who The Hell Knows, But The Trailer For It Is Pretty Memorable

Let's time travel back to the year 2007, when an eleven year old NerdInTheBasement saw Transformers on its second day of release. My first theatrical PG-13 experience, I got a thrilling rush when, prior to the screening, the trailer for the R-rated Superbad played. Woah! An R-rated movie! What a time to be alive! Sure, it was the green-band trailer and so no nudity, drug use or explicit swearing was to be found, but still, it was the trailer for what was pretty blatantly an R-rated feature film. Could it get any better than this??

Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Walk Review

October 2015 may go down in the history books as the "Dramatic Movie Massacre", a period where a horde of dramatic features debuted in a short window of time and basically trampled on each other, reducing the majority of the movies released in this time period to being major box office duds. Two of my favorite films of last year (99 Homes and Steve Jobs) ended up tanking big time thanks to the insane amount of competition, and one other victim of this brutality was the newest endeavor from director Robert Zemeckis in his 37 year long career in Hollywood.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Final 2016 Oscar Nominees Predictions!

And so, come Thursday, we'll finally know which films, actors and crew members the voters of the Oscars have chosen to recognize for this years 88th Academy Awards Ceremony. Below, I've transcribed my predictions for 15 of the 25 categories, many of which, I assure you, will not come to pass. After all, the Academy Awards are a lot like a cobra; sneaky and unpredictable until the very end.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Star Wars Rules For One Last Weekend As Leonardo DiCaprio And His Bear Buddy Have Huge Debut

The Force got to nestle into one more week as the number one movie in America, since Kevin Hart and Ice Cub going on another Ride Along next weekend will almost certainly move the newest Star Wars movie out of the top spot. For now though, Rey and her friends made another $41.6 million, a steep 54% decline from last weekend, more than twice the 26% drop Avatar experienced in its fourth weekend. This is the second biggest fourth weekend on record and takes the films domestic cume to a massive $812 million. Yes, it is the first feature to cross $800 million domestically, when inflation is not take into effect.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

The Revenant Review

Tales about the hostility of nature have existed in the spectrum of storytelling for an eternity a day, and the same goes for stories revolving around the concept of vengeance. The Revenant isn't the first motion picture to combine both concepts, and I can guarantee you it won't be the last. It does separate itself from the pack though by setting its plot in the 19th century, an era where man had come to inhabit numerous parts of America, but there was still much of the country uncharted by American individuals. This land was crawling with danger, animals ready to kill at a moments notice and Native Americans none too pleased with the concept of more white people invading on their turf.

New Movie Trailers Have Arrived Featuring Zootopia, Michael Shannon As Elvis And Neil Breen


There are six new movie trailers floating around on the interwebs.

Wanna watch em and then read my thoughts/rambling anecdotes about them?

Well! You're in luck! I'm about to do just that!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Point Break (2015) Review

Every speck of sand on those dunes glistens in the unbearable heat, as two individuals on motorcycles ride on up, stop and proceed to take off their helmets. One of these men is Johnny Utah (Luke Bracey), an extreme sports connoisseur addicted to dangerous thrills and a major celebrity on YouTube. The other fellow is a good friend of his who may as well be named Won't B. Aroundforlong, since his demise is all but certain the moment he begins a conversation with Johnny regarding how dangerous this stunt they're about to attempt is.

Kevin Spacey Hired To Run Relativity Media

And so, the epic saga of Relativity Media unfolds even further, now drawing Kevin Spacey into its tale.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Is A Multi-layered Millennial Manifesto


Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a way for the media conglomerate that is Disney to create new methods of sucking your wallet dry. Every piece of merchandise is perfectly calculated to be just reasonably priced and enticing design wise (I know those characters on that shirt!) to be irresistible to the average consumer, especially given the fact that all of this apparel is debuting alongside the motion pictures release around the financially lucrative holiday season. Star Wars: The Force Awakens, essentially, is the cinematic incarnation of a Disney shareholders most blissful dream.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

How'd The Six Major Movie Studios Do At The Box Office In 2015?

Now that 2015 is but a gleam in the eye of our memories, let's take a look back at how the six major movie studios fared at the box office this past year. Be forewarned....plenty of highs and lows are just around the corner!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Saddest Part About Rey Not Being A Part Of The New Star Wars Monopoly Game? It's Not Surprising

Star Wars: The Force Awakens spoilers ahoy!

Michael Bay Is Doing Transformers 5....But He Can Quit Anytime He Wants, Don't Worry

Over the next 12 months, Paramount Pictures is releasing a number of movies from a veritable who's-who of well-known filmmakers. Features from the likes of Charlie Kaufman, James Gray, Denis Villeneuve, Robert Zemeckis, Richard Linklater and Martin Scorsese will all receive wide theatrical releases from one of the biggest movie studios on the planet. At the same time, this very same company is responsible for enabling Michael Bay to churn out wretched Transformers sequels, over and over and over again, to the point where I feel like Tom Cruise in Edge of Tomorrow, repeating the same goddamn events relentlessly.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

The Force Keeps On Gobbling Up All Of The Money While The Hateful Eight Scores A Solid Opening Weekend Over New Years

Another week, another opportunity for Star Wars: The Force Awakens to break some more box office records. Scoring the biggest New Years Day gross as well as by far the larger third weekend on record, Star Wars: The Force Awakens took in $88.3 million over the weekend, a 41% decline from last weekend. It has now reached $700 million in record time, in just 16 days. For comparisons sake, Avatar took 72 days to reach that mark. This J.J. Abrams feature has now taken in $740.2 million, and is currently the second biggest movie of all-time unadjusted for inflation. It'll overtake domestic box office champion Avatar likely on Tuesday, its 19th day of release. It's also now taken in $1.51 billion worldwide, putting it just behind Furious 7 and The Avengers on the biggest movies of all-time worldwide. And it hasn't even been released in China yet!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Concussion Review

Despite having spent all my years of my life living in Texas, the game of football just never quite grabbed my fancy. Oh, it never struck me as something bad per se, frankly, I think the fact that the overstimulating nature of the game (read: constant loud cheering occurring in unpredictable intervals) not gelling with my Asperger's Syndrome was more of a reason than anything else. But I'm well aware of the game, certain examples of its terminology and the importance it has to the lives of the majority of Americans. That final concept is one that Concussion makes sure to emphasize, as its lead character, Dr. Bennet Omalu (Will Smith) discovers that the repetitive head trauma experienced by the players of the ultimate pastime for millions of individuals is responsible for brain damage causing erratic behavior such as early suicides in those players.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Joy Review

Now that Jennifer Lawrence is free of her Hunger Games and  X-Men commitments, I'm super curious to see what projects she undertakes next. She apparently wants to try her hand at directing (following in the footsteps of other A-list actors who go behind the camera like George Clooney, Angelina Jolie Pitt and Clint Eastwood), but I do hope her future efforts have more substance to them than her latest starring vehicle, Joy, a noble but ultimately underwhelming film devoid of energy and personality.