Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Do-Over Review

To quote Jon Bon Jovi, "We're halfway there" when it comes to Adam Sandler's four movie deal with Netflix which started with this past December's The Ridiculous Six. For his follow-up project for the streaming service, Sandler teams up with David Spade (who plays the lead role) for a so-called comedy entitled The Do-Over. The premise for this one is surprisingly dense for no real point, starting out as a story of former High School friends Max (Adam Sandler) and Charlie (David Spade) reconnecting at a High School reunion.

The Nice Guys Review

Ryan Gosling may be one of the most exceptional leading men in American cinema today. I say that without hesitation, namely due to the guys talent and his versatility, two traits that typically go hand-in-hand. Who else could play a Confident (with a capital C) expert on romance in Crazy, Stupid, Love, a mostly silent driver in Drive and a manic Wall Street heavyweight in The Big Short all with the same level of authenticity and major success? In the new Shane Black effort The Nice Guys, Gosling gets to flaunt his comedic muscles to noteworthy opulence. It's almost not fair to see one of the most chiseled good-looking dudes on the planet also reveal himself to be also be gifted in the areas of slapstick comedy and comedic timing. How'd this one guy get so lucky in his talents??

Concept Art And Plot Details From Cars 3 Have Finally Been Revealed!

Some concept art and the first plot details have been revealed for PIXAR's Summer 2017 release, Cars 3 via USA Today.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Alice Through The Looking Glass Review

A lot has changed in the six years since March 2010. Tablets, once considered a niche item that Apple was foolish to try and get in on, are now a cornerstone of the technology market. Dwayne Johnson has gone from the star of middling family movies to one of the biggest action movie stars  of our generation. And in that same span of time Alice In Wonderland has basically been forgotten, with its main source of fame being that it inspired Disney to greenlight other live-action remakes of classic animated Disney films that surpassed Alice in both critical reception and box office. It also doesn't help that since the first Alice movie Johnny Depp has gone from being a box office powerhouse to a drug-riddled wife abuser.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

X-Men: Apocalypse Has A Most Un-X-Ceptional Opening Weekend While Alice Through The Looking Glass Gets Shattered

Good thing Cyclops is there to comfort Wolverine cause these box office grosses are gonna leave the X-Men feeling down in the dumps.

Yeah, this weekends box office was a big o'l disappointment. While past Memorial Day frames have provided massive box office weekends we talk about for years to come, this year both of the high-profile releases underwhelmed (though one considerably more than the other) and the hold-overs all experienced steep drops. Let's get down to business, not to defeat the Huns, but to wade down the pile of anti-climax that consumed the box office this weekend

Friday, May 27, 2016

Could Tom Hiddleston Be The Next James Bond? I Don't Know And Neither Does Anyone Else. Maybe The Cat Does, Ask Him.

Daniel Craig has made it very clear that he's not exactly over-the-moon over the prospect of appearing in more James Bond movies. If you were forced to star in dreck like Spectre, I wouldn't exactly find the idea of being in more 007 features astoundingly exciting either. The internet has been swamped in fan suggestions  for who should play the role, with Irdis Elba being a common name tossed in the ring while Gillian Anderson has publically lobbied for the part. Rumors swirled earlier this week that Jamie Bell as being looked at as potentially playing the next incarnation of 007, but it appears a new name has entered the ring...

X-Men: Apocalypse Review

As the clouds loomed overhead, Erik Lensherr, A.K.A. Magneto (Michael Fassbender), took in the sights of his surroundings, an area he had not inhabited for so very long. This was Auschwitz, where he and his parents had been separated four decades ago. All of the memories of the pain come flooding into his body, the emotional turmoil that had eliminated any remaining affections he had carried for the human race. Standing amongst the ruins of where his entire life had been shattered by forces far more evil than any comic book supervillain, a weary Erik took in every sight, every sound of this domain. Standing directly behind him in this emotional moment are (among others) Olivia Munn in basically a purple swimsuit and Oscar Isaac splattered in blue paint.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

New Animated Movie Trailers Bring Out Singing Koalas And An Idris Elba Voiced Sea Lion

A deluge of family features will be arriving this summer, with the past weekend bringing the first of such films (The Angry Birds Movie) that we'll be seeing by the truckload over the next few months. This weekend brings Alice Through The Looking Glass and the weeks afterwards bring new Ninja Turtles and PIXAR films. And just like with any motion picture, before these family movies come out they're gonna release a trailer to promote themselves. Three of this year's more high-profile family films actually debuted new trailers this week so let's look at 'em now, shall we?

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Shrek Review (Classic Write-Up)

A week ago today, Shrek turned fifteen years old. One of the biggest animated movies of all-time that shifted the entire zeitgeist of animated filmmaking officially turned fifteen..and no one seemed to care. Buzzfeed didn't write up a thousand articles about "21 Gifs That Make Shrek Totes Relatable", there was no release of the feature on Blu-Ray to commemorate the occasion. Hell, even the official Facebook page for the film made absolutely no mention of the anniversary. Granted, turning 15 isn't typically as big of a deal in the world of marketing as a movie celebrating its tenth or twenty-fifth anniversary of existence, but still, the absolute radio silence on the occasion struck me as shocking.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

"A Good Actor Is A Terrible Thing To Waste": 6 More Perfectly Good Actors Wasted In Subpar Superhero Movies

Well, this worked out pretty well last time, so why don't I take a take a look today at six more actors who got their considerable talents wasted in subpar superhero movies?
Josh Brolin (Jonah Hex)
It's borderline astonishing how every single aspect of Jonah Hex was a disaster. Its filming was a nightmare, it was released opposite fellow cowboy-led film Toy Story 3 and its greatest claim to infamy at this point is being an early role for one of the great actors of our time, Michael Fassbender. And then there's Brolin as Jonah Hex. Brolin is an incredibly talented actor whose managed to turn a Southern disposition into something more substantive in the likes of No Country For Old Men, but good Lord is he out of his element here. It's doubtful anyone could have made this pathetic script work, but it's a pity this black hole of a motion picture had to such in such a gifted performer like Brolin into its jaws.
Christopher Eccleston (Thor: The Dark World)
There are bad guys with poorly fleshed out or sporadically shifting motivation. Then there are bad guys like Malekith from Thor: The Dark World, who doesn't even have much of a motivation to speak of. He's just "a bad guy" and he's even less interesting than that description implies. Christopher Eccleston, buried underneath a ton of prosthetics, was the "lucky" actor to land this role, after Mads Mikkelsen passed on the part after having to choose between playing Malekith or the lead role on Hannibal. At the time, I thought it was crazy he was for passing on playing a Thor foe, but four years later, it's apparent Mikkelsen got lucky (hopefully Doctor Strange gives him something to do) while Eccleston got saddled with one of the weakest comic book movie bad guys of all-time.
Will Arnett (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Will Arnett might be the definitive big-screen Batman in my book, but his other forays into the realm of comic book movies has been...well, not so good, to put it gently. He actually got a supporting role in the aforementioned Jonah Hex and then there was his turn as Vernon in the 2014 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film. Aside from one brief Arrested Development reference while he's making a sandwich, the ample comedy talents Arnett possesses are thrown out the window in favor of him just lusting after Megan Fox's ass. It's a gross and unfunny performance, one that tremendously wastes Will Arnett, which is always a huge mistake.
Andrew Garfield (The Amazing Spider-Man 2)
Hot off his turn in The Social Network, Andrew Garfield was one of the hottest rising stars of his generation. 99 Homes last Fall proved this guys still got plenty of chops and that the duo of Amazing Spider-Man movies just gave him nothing to do from a screenwriting or directing perspective. Garfield may have been a little old for the role when he was cast as Peter Parker, but I'm sure he could have been a solid Spider-Man if he had the chance to do things that were dramatically compelling. Instead, he got to rock out Coldplay, act like a dick, lug a skateboard around his High School (do you get that he's a loner yet?) and stalk his ex-girlfriend. The problems of these two Spider-Man films are great in size but giving a talented actor like Garfield nothing to do over the course of two feature length movies has to stand as one of its greatest failings.
Christoph Waltz (The Green Hornet)
In his first post-Inglorious Basterds role (for which he won an Academy Award), Christoph Waltz played the bad guy in this forgotten Seth Rogen headlined action/comedy. While I like how Waltz bad guy character is motivated by a mid-life crisis, he doesn't get to really chew the scenery or provide much menace. Much as I love Christoph Waltz, this part probably should have gone to the initial actor slated for the role, Nicolas Cage, who insisted on playing the character with a Jamaican accent. Now that would have at least been memorably bonkers!

Jesse Eisenberg (Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice)
I could just copy and paste the entire cast list on IMDB for Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice and it would suffice since there isn't a soul on this sordid production that gets to utilize their talents properly. Jesse Eisenberg may be the most tragic of all of the films massive amount of wasted potential though. Here's a guy whose shown considerable talent in dramas like The Social Network, The Squid And The Whale, Adventureland and The End Of The Tour and it gets wasted here with a tonally disjointed character that's like the most aggravating version of a Joel Schumacher Batman villain plopped into a typically color and quality devoid Zack Snyder film.

In theory, such tonal dissonance should provide some unintentional amusement, but Lex is such an incredibly irritating creation that no such humor comes to fruition. Instead, we get a character with zero noteworthy motivation for hating Superman and whose "quirky" antics register more as baffling rather than funny or menacing. Let me put it this way; I'd rather have someone shove a thousand cherry Jolly Ranchers down my throat than have to endure another minute of this dreadful character ever again.

The Meddler Review

Susan Sarandon, currently in her fifth straight decade of acting prominently in American cinema, may be one of the great underappreciated legends of Hollywood. Not only is there real versatility in the types of roles she typically plays (she's appeared in everything from George Miller & Ridley Scott dramas to two separate Lonely Island music videos), but it's also hard to think of a movie where she "phoned it in" if you will. Hell, even in garbage like Tammy she manages to score a laugh or two (though I freely admit I haven't seen critically reviled films where she only had a small role to work with like That's My Boy and The Big Wedding).

Monday, May 23, 2016

Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising Review

Let it not be said that the (five to be precise) writers of Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising didn't at least flex some creativity when it came time to figure out the motivations of this installments titular neighbors. Whereas the first one had a frathouse led by Teddy (Zac Efron), whose impending exit from college was leaving him with an internal crisis, this one has a sorority, led by Shelby (Chloe Grace Moretz) move in next door to Mac (Seth Rogen) and Kelly (Rose Byrne). For Shelby, her motivation to party like there's no tomorrow is her desire to be more socially outgoing in college compared to her more introverted High School days.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Green Room Review

You know all the hype you've heard about Green Room for the past month or two? All of that deafening praise surrounding the newest movie from director Jeremy Saulnier? Well, I'm here today to say all of that chitter-chatter was....more than well-earned. Yep, Green Room is indeed a superb thriller, one that's packed to the gills with bloody mayhem and strong screenwriting as well as a turn from Anton Yelchin that cemented him in my eyes as a more than viable leading man.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Breakfast Club Review (Classic Write-Up)

John Hughes isn't for me. After disliking Ferris Bueller's Day Off and especially Home Alone, it was a concept that crossed my cranium, but I decided to put off making any definitive statements regarding his career until I watched the movie many considered to be his greatest achievement; The Breakfast Club. Released in 1985, the feature was a sleeper hit upon its initial release and become a greatly prized motion picture in the 31 years since its debut. Millions of High Schoolers have found solace in the film and I'm so glad that they did. High School is such a miserable, terrible, awful, horrible, abysmal, hellish place and it's good to think that any piece of pop culture got so many individuals through this treacherous part of their life.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Slime Yourself With The New Ghostbusters Trailer

So far, the marketing effort for this summer's remake/reboot of Ghostbusters has been met with mixed responses. Some positive, some thoughtful criticisms and a tidal wave of misogyny on online forums, comment sections and Tweets across the interwebs. Hell, yesterday a dude named Angry Video Game Nerd proclaimed he would be refusing to see the movie, which launched a whole new sector of discussion, eventually spawning this well-written piece over at Birth.Movies.Death about the sexism underlying the fervent hatred for a movie that isn't even out.

Anywho, this morning the newest trailer for this project launched and, while it likely won't quell any cry-baby MRA's ranting that this movie will "ruin their childhood" (how sad and pathetic must your childhood have been if one movie can ruin it?), it does give the rest of us a better look at the movie itself.


Personally, the trailer strikes me as decent but hampered by some wonky editing and a lack of focus. Not only is the whole "Chris Hemsworth gets possessed" feel like too much of a spoiler, but it comes out of nowhere since he isn't properly established prior to that sequence in the trailer. On the other hand, there are tons of lovely looking ghosts in this trailer, the bright colors and variety of shapes and sizes these spectres come in in both of these trailers is quite a sight to see.

Meanwhile, the action actually looks pretty great and there's a few gags (like Leslie Jones with a demon on her shoulder and her remark after not being carried by a crowd of concertgoers) that got a solid laugh out of me. There are some blatant foibles to be found in this trailer, to be sure, but what's good here does give me hope that Paul Feig and his cast & crew can pull this off come July 15th. We shall see in just under two months.

The Darkness Review

For every modern day horror movie like The VVitch, You're Next and It Follows that dares to upend conventions of the genre, you're bound to find hundreds of other horror movies like The Darkness that seemed to have fallen right off an assembly-line. Seemingly crafted for the sole purpose of being found on Netflix by horror movie junkies at 1 AM, these are the kind of films that drudge up cliche after cliche without even daring to dress up said tropes in a fancy get-up or even a modicum of craft. Honestly, The Darkness strikes me as so paint-by-numbers that I'm seriously shocked Blumhouse Productions went through all the trouble of giving it a theatrical release.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Next Transformers Movie Has A Title That Cruelly Implies The Conclusion Of This Never-Ending Franchise/Nightmare

We'll make 'em all
For Money

We Don't Need
Or characterization

If I direct here
If I just shoot these
Will Paramount provide funding for Pain & Gain 2?

I don't quite know
How to direct
Marky Mark

Those four films
Made too much
We can't give it up

So take a look here
There's a title right here
Would you audiences give me money for The Last Knight?

Forget what we're told
The critics are just old
Show me a bag of cash, that gives me life

This franchise is a waste of time
Shoving racism
Into a movie about kids toys.

I need supermodels
To remind me
To also utilize misogny

If I direct here
If I do one more of these
Maybe they'll let me go do Armageddon Two...

Forgot what the critics told
Their rightful qualms are so old
Show me money and I'll do anything you like

I don't know where
Confused about the story as well
Just know that hte quality of these things will never change for us at all

If I lay here
If I make Transofrmers 5...
Would you just let me go and let me forget the world?

(Transformers: The Last Knight opens in theaters everywhere June 23, 2017)

Monday, May 16, 2016

Tootsie Review (Classic Write-Up)

As weird as it may sound, Tootsie clinched the idea for me that Dustin Hoffman is one of my favorite actors. Not that I've "disliked" him before mind you, far far far from it, I've really enjoyed his performances in the likes of Rain Man and The Graduate. But Tootsie is one where he gets to exist in a more overtly comedic environment and he thrives in it while retaining the kind of persona that's made him a Hollywood legend. Also of note is that surrounding Hoffman in Tootsie are two other noteworthy actors who would go on to become notable fixtures of the silver screen themselves, Bill Murray and Jessica Lange.

Captain America: Civil War Rules The Box Office Yet Again While Money Monster Has Solid Debut And Audiences Fall In Love With The Lobster

Captain America: Civil War became the eighth straight Marvel Cinematic Universe film to hold the number one position at the box office for two weeks in a row. Yep, the third solo Captain America was king of the box office yet again, taking in another $72.5 million, a 59% decline from last weekend, a dip on par with the last two MCU movies to debut in the first weekend of May, Avengers: Age Of Ultron and Iron Man 3. Captain America: Civil War has now grossed $295.8 million in 10 days and has also cracked $940 million worldwide, surpassing the lifetime worldwide box office haul of Batman v. Superman in just its first few weeks of release.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Money Monster Review

In the last three months of 2015, American cinema delivered two great films that delved into the concept of financial hardship, something that has been on everyone's mind since the 2008 Financial Crisis that dove our country into a financial pit. The first of these two motion pictures was 99 Homes, a drama centering on Andrew Garfield as an everyman trying to keep his head above water by working with the very man who tossed him, his mother and his young son out of their own home. Three months after 99 Homes came The Big Short, which took an appropriately stylized look at the events leading up to the market crash that sent the economy into a downward spiral.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

North By Northwest Review (Classic Write-Up)

It's practically become a custom for modern spy movies to incorporate the plot thread of a normal person (typically the lead character) getting wrapped up in spy shenanigans to sometimes humorous, other times dramatic, effect. Just look at offerings from 2010 onward like Cars 2, Killers, Bridge Of Spies, Argo, Abduction and (kinda) Salt. It's easy to see why this storytelling device is utilized frequently since it allows for the lead character to engage in high-concept spy going-ons while also being the type of everyday individual the audience can immediately relate to. Perhaps Alfred Hitchcock could be considered a "hipster" in this one case, since he was utilizing that plot scenario "before it was cool" way back in 1959 with his (rightfully) acclaimed motion picture North By Northwest.

The Villain For Justice League Has Been Revealed And He Was Born To Be Wild

It's hard to believe Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice was a real movie. Did a film with such haphazard editing really get released by one of the biggest movie studios on the planet? Did a bunch of high-profile studio executives really think the film's complete lack of a cohesive story structure or even the barest semi-competent character arc would turn BvS into the next Avengers? Christ, what a disaster. And now we have the first ever live-action Justice League movie to look forward to next year, which is being written and directed by the same folks (Chris Terrio and Zack Snyder respectively) who held those positions on Batman v. Superman. Lovely.

Monday, May 9, 2016

From Zemo To Hero: A Look At The Villain Of Captain America: Civil War


Captain America: Civil War Grosses $181 Million This Weekend, Making A Lot More Money For Marvel To Use To Bribe Critics #SupportDCFilms

Considering audiences have spent over $871 million on superhero movies in the past 87 days alone, I think it's fairly apparent that superhero fatigue has set in and the genre is doomed. I mean, Captain America: Civil War made "only" $181.7 million this weekend! That's only the fifth-highest grossing weekend ever! Obviously, the MCU is doomed and audiences have given up on a style of storytelling that has existed prominently in pop culture for nearly 80 years (if one were to say the modern pop culture pop of superheroes started with the comic book debut of Superman). Well, pack it up folks.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Captain America: Civil War Review

If I had a time machine, ya know where I'd go? Back to March 2003, the month when the pilot for the classic TV series Arrested Development was filmed. Somehow, I'd find a way to talk to the duo directing this pilot, two individuals by the name of Anthony and Joe Russo. I'd take them aside momentarily to tell them that not only would the show they're currently working on would go on to become one of the most prolific TV comedies of all-time, but these two would be responsible for two of the most beloved blockbusters in one of the biggest film franchises ever to exist.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Hamilton Rules The Tony Nominations Roost With 16 Nods

At this point, chances are you've heard of a little Broadway musical entitled Hamilton. Penned by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the show has become nothing short of a pop culture phenomenon, its own album selling units to be given the "Gold" designation by the Recording Industry Association of America. And let's not forget about how hard it is to get tickets to this show, with every performance sold out seemingly until the end of time itself. And did I mention it's also nabbed, in addition to universal critical acclaim, it's also taken home a Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album and a Pulitzer Prize For Drama. Plus, it now comprises for 90% of the music I listen to on Spotify.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Space Jam 2 Is Happening, Has A Director, Will Star LeBron James. Rejoice Emotionally Stunted 90's Kids!

Every three or four years, some poor souls hired up by Warner Bros.(or more likely their marketing team) finds a new way to desecrate the great Looney Tunes characters in an effort to make them "edgy" or "totally modern bro". The Looney Tunes Show didn't work, that Loonatics Unleashed thing failed, all these kinds of efforts just never go anywhere and it's not surprising why. Characters like Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck were created to work in the environment of 8-9 minute long short films run before motion pictures in the 30's and 40's. It boggles my mind that the folks over at Cartoon Network (a TV station that, like Warner Bros., is owned by Time Warner) don't just do little short films with these characters to air on their network instead of putting all of this energy into new "hip" versions of the characters that don't catch on.

Keanu Review

For Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele, Keanu is basically their watershed moment as high-profile comedic figures. For comedians transitioning from TV to film, their first on-screen project, more often than not, can make or break their careers. For every Amy Schumer, Jason Bateman and Will Ferrell that went from the small screen to the big screen with major success, you've got your Jimmy Fallons and Chris Kattans that couldn't quite break through to the level of marquee names in movie theaters (though the latter two actors, especially Fallon, would find glory in the realm of TV). For Key & Peele, this is their first time leading a feature film, and with their hit sketch comedy TV show off the air, they have no safety net to return to. Like I said, this is the time to do or die, as Jared Leto would put it.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Keanu And Mother's Day Suffer Grizzly Fate At The Box Office At The Hands Of The Jungle Book

With one week to go until Summer 2016 officially kicks off at the box office, the final weekend of April 2016 proved to be a quiet one as audiences seemed to be hunkering down for the arrival of the newest Marvel Cinematic Universe feature (Captain America: Civil War) to kick the season off, just as the franchise has for all but two of the last eight summers. For now though, The Jungle Book continued to be an impressive box office performer by securing a third consecutive weekend atop the box office, scoring a $42.3 million gross this frame, taking its domestic cume to a massive $252 million.