Friday, September 30, 2016

The Shadow Of The Nightmare Before Christmas Looms Large Over Corpse Bride

The fact that Sweeney Todd and Big Fish exist in Tim Burton's 21st-century filmography is kind of astonishing when you look at the rest of the output he's produced over the past 16 years. Sweeney Todd and Big Fish are great, well-crafted films and the other stuff he's put out is....not. The very nadir of his career as a director has managed to arrive in the form of those absolutely abysmal Planet Of The Apes and Charlie And The Chocolate Factory (the latter film being the first motion picture I distinctly remember seeing in a theater despising) remakes. So, in the realm of Tim Burton's 21st-century works, where exactly does his 2005 effort Corpse Bride (which he directed with Mike
Johnson) fall?

Thursday, September 29, 2016

No One Escapes The Invitable In The Seventh Seal

Rare is the work of fiction that doesn't at least notice the presence of death. Some of the most famous large-scale blockbusters of the past few decades like Harry Potter and Star Wars have their entire plots motivated by loss, parents are always biting the dust in animated Disney fare and the 1957 Swedish motion picture The Seventh Seal revolves its entire story around a personification of death following around one man, Antonius Block (Max Von Sydow), in the time of the Crusades. This is also an era where the Black Plague is ravaging the land, taking countless people's lives and leaving many in a state of understandable panic.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

"The King....Has Returned": Disney And Elf/Iron Man/The Jungle Book Director Jon Favreau Are Doing A Lion King Remake

I saw Jon Favreau post an image of Simba on Pride Rock on Instagram with the caption "Super excited for my next project" about half an hour ago and, honest to God, I thought it was a joke. It left my mind real quickly until, a few minutes later, I saw people discussing it on Facebook. The validity of it was unknown to us until someone pointed out a press release Disney oddly released at Midnight last night (normally such announcements are made during the day when entertainment news outlets can cover them) that confirmed it; Disney is doing a remake of The Lion King.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Unimaginative Scares Are The Name Of The Game For Blair Witch

For full disclosure purposes, let me briefly run down my thoughts on The Blair Witch Project. I love that 1999 horror movie, it's got a sense of restraint to it that's absolutely terrifying, tapping into just how scary the feeling of being lost in an unknown environment can be in an extraordinary way. Though the feature was divisive upon its initial release, it made a bunch of cash at the box office, spawning a sequel the following year (which I haven't seen) and now a second follow-up entitled Blair Witch.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Magnificent Seven Has Decent Bow While Storks Lays An Egg At The Domestic Box Office

September 2016 continued to roll right along with two September mainstays (a Denzel Washington vehicle and an animated family film) popping up and doing varying degrees of box office business. On top of the box office was The Magnificent Seven, which grossed an alright $35 million, the third biggest opening weekend ever for Denzel Washington and the third biggest opening weekend ever for a Western (only behind the $36 million debut of Cowboys & Aliens and the $38 million bow of Rango). This is also the fourth biggest opening weekend ever for a movie in September and it's worth noting that, counting The Magnificent Seven, half of the ten biggest opening weekends ever in September are Sony releases.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Magnificent Seven Is The First Modern-Day MGM Remake That's Actually Good

MGM, in their post-bankruptcy state, has been going through their library of titles and remaking everything so exhaustively, it'd be amazing if the remakes typically weren't so forgettable. A RoboCop remake came and went without any fanfare and (like most moviegoers) I never even saw their Poltergeist and Ben-Hur remakes. Before the studio embarks on a Death Wish remake starring Bruce Willis that'll start filming at the end of the month, we have their latest remake of a well-known MGM from decades past (with the original film itself being a remake of Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai), The Magnificent Seven.

Storks Gives Birth To Some Funny Gags And A Slipshod Story

Do people still tell their kids the tale of babies coming from storks instead of the more sexually explicit truth? Me not being a father myself (as far as I'm aware), I have no clue if that's still a thing, but maybe it's being kept alive solely by the surprisingly notable presence the tale has in the world of American animation. Let's not forget that it was a stork calling for "Mrs. JUUUUUMMMMBBBOO!!" that brought Dumbo into the world in that 1941 Disney film, while PIXAR had a short film entitled Partly Cloudy that went attached to every screening of the 2009 motion picture Up. And now, the second feature film from Warner Animation Group (the animation studio responsible for The LEGO Movie), Storks, centers its entire plot on the idea of storks bringing humans their offspring.

Friday, September 23, 2016

There's Plenty Of (GASP!) Fun To Be Had In Batman: The Movie

Before Ben Affleck, before Christian Bale, before Michael Keaton, before all of that...there was Adam West. West was the man who portrayed Batman in the 1960's Batman TV show and ended up becoming the first actor to portray Batman in a theatrical film (aside from Lewis Wilson and Robert Lowrey, who played the caped crusader in two different 15-chapter serial films in the 1940's) once that TV show got a film adaptation promptly titled Batman: The Movie. The feature film carries over the heavily stylized and campy aesthetic of the show with aplomb, there's really no limit to how absurd how this movie can get.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Training Day Still Needs Its Training Wheels When It Comes To Handling The Concept Of Consistency

It's interesting that Antoine Fuqua and David Ayer would team up for Training Day, since the duo seem like two birds of a feather in their directorial efforts. Both filmmakers tend to helm projects that are heavily action-oriented that so blatantly bask in the most overt bro-tastic concept of masculinity, their movies tend to become the cinematic equivalent of Steven Seagal bench-pressing Jeremy Piven while listening to Nickelback. For the 2001 motion picture Training Day, Fuqua takes on directing duties (this was only his third time directing a feature film) while Ayer handles the duties of screenwriting.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Snowden At The House Of Mouse

Hollywood loves making movies based on the lives of criminals. How many movies have been based on the lives of Bonnie & Clyde over the years? Hell, look at how many times O.J. Simpson has returned to the pop culture limelight this year over two decades after that infamous trial. And now Edward Snowden becomes the newest fugitive to receive his own movie, unimaginatively titled Snowden, with Snowden's crimes of leaking crucial Government data revealing to the public that the NSA was using its advanced technology to spy on innocent civilians.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sully Flies Above The Competition In Weak September Frame As Blair Witch And Bridget Jones Perform Far Worse Than Expected

Well now, this was a pretty tepid weekend at the box office, one where newcomers pretty much across the board failed to break out at best and at worst utterly failed to live up to their promise. But on top again was Sully, one of the big sleeper hits of the year that continued to perform well, grossing another $22 million this weekend, a 37% dip that's on par with the 36% decline experienced by fellow Tom Hanks Fall drama Captain Phillips three years ago. Sully has grossed $70.5 million in ten days, and if it continues to perform like Captain Phillips, it would end its domestic run with a spectacular $147 million.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Check Out A Horde Of New Trailers That Sail The Ocean Blue, Fight For Gun Control And Iron Out Some Kinks

First off, I wanna apologize real quickly for the slower crawl of content coming out of yours truly lately. The past two months have been a whirlwind of activity for me, particularly in the last month when my new semester of college started and has ensured that I've been quite busy with plenty of academic activity. In addition, there's been plenty of personal stuff going on for me, most notably a new exercise regime (this NerdInTheBasement is getting cut!), keeping me from doing as much writing as I'd like to. I don't see an end in sight in terms of my personal business for now, so I just ask for your patience for now. :)

City Lights Has A Heart As Big As The City It Takes Place In

There's an undeniable sense of wonder that creeps into one's body while watching Charlie Chaplin move around on-screen. He makes the artforms of slapstick and physical comedy seem so natural, like he realizes that this was what he was put on this Earth to do and he's gonna do it as well as he can. The rhythm of his body movements is impeccable, ditto for the timing found in his humorous pratfalls. To watch Charlie Chaplin in a film like City Lights is to see a master at the top of his game and to be astonished that one man can carry such command over his craft.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Remember That Time When Brad Paisley Fought Back Against The Malevolent Forces Of Shifting Gender Norms?

The idea of recognizing that the concept of gender might be more complex than just the binary constructs created by general society seems to be one that many find challenging, despite the fact that the way an individual see's themselves in terms of gender literally has no impact on another human being in any way shape or form. High-ranking Republican politicians across the country (including a number of bozo's like Lt. Governor Dan Patrick in my own home state of Texas) have spent countless hours ensuring that the crusade for frivolous things like "equality" and "acceptance" won't happen in our lifetime.

Go Watch The Invitation And Then Come Back And Read My Spoilery Review For It.

I typically don't do spoiler-filled reviews, that should be as clear at this point as my utter refusal to do letter or star grades to accompany my reviews. Even for classic movies that are decades old and whose big twists are as well-known as anything else, I'd rather not spoil things in case someone who hasn't seen said classic films comes along to my review. That being said, The Interview is one film where I feel like you must experience it going in cold, especially since the lower-profile release of the movie means there hasn't been a pervasive marketing campaign that's even given away the tone or basic conceit of the motion picture. So I urge you to go watch The Invitation on Netflix right now and then come back and read my analysis of it, alrighty? :)

Sunday, September 11, 2016

A Look Back At The Summer Box Office (Part Two)

This past Wednesday, I looked at the ten biggest movies of the summer. Now, it's time for me to turn my eye to some major box office duds, the indie movie scene and a little bit more! Let's dive into the second part of my look back at the summer 2016 box office!

Sully Flies High At The Box Office While The Bough Breaks To Solid Results And The Wild Life Struggles To Get A Pulse

The Fall 2016 movie season got off to fantastic start this weekend thanks to Sully lifting off far above expectations. The new Clint Eastwood motion picture grossed $35.5 million this weekend, an astonishingly high number that's the fifth biggest opening weekend in September ever and the biggest opening weekend ever for a Tom Hanks movie that isn't connected to the Toy Story or Da Vinci Code franchise. It's also the second biggest wide release opening weekend ever for director Clint Eastwood, only behind the massive launch of American Sniper last year.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Wiener-Dog Is An Agreeable If Unexceptional Todd Solondz Effort

When it comes to household pets, I'm more of a dog and guinea pig person with a hankering for certain cats (preferably ones that don't act like complete jerks, which is difficult because, y'know, cats) sprinkled in there for good measure. While I've never owned the breed of dog commonly referred to as a wiener dog, I've had plenty of experience with these cute critters over the years and can attest firsthand to their loveable nature. No wonder filmmaking Todd Solondz was compelled to make a feature film, appropriately titled Wiener-Dog, centered on this particular breed of canine.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Sully Struggles To Land On A Purpose For Being

It was supposed to be just another flight. Just a couple of hours in the air, no biggie. The pilots had done this before, the passengers had done this before, it's just a little air travel. And then dual-engine loss occurred, leaving the folks in charge of this aircraft only a few precious minutes to figure out what just happened and what course of action to take next. Piloting this particular plane was Chesley Sullenberger (Tom Hanks), or Sully, who, after realizing they can't make it to a nearby airport, decided to make the bold move of landing the plane on the Hudson River.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

The Purple Rose Of Cairo Has The Magic Of Movies Brought To Life

It is so much fun when a movie has a unique concept at the core of its story and it manages to fully utilize the creative potential behind said unique concept. Such is the case with Woody Allen's 1985 motion picture The Purple Rose Of Cairo, which feels similar to the director's 2011 effort Midnight In Paris (my personal favorite Woody Allen joint) in how it takes a very high-concept central idea and executes it in a more subdued character-centric manner. For Midnight In Paris, the heightened idea that drove the story was time travel, while The Purple Rose Of Cairo focuses on a character in a movie leaping off into the real world.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

A Look Back At The Summer 2016 Box Office (Part One)

Now that Summer 2016 has come to a close, I say it's time to look at how the various movies that debuted this summer fared at the box office. I'll be looking at such a pressing matter in a two part series, with the first part being dedicated to examining how my predictions for what would be the top ten movies of the summer stacked up against the harshness of reality.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Six People Who Should Host The Oscars This Year!

It appears that the Academy Of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences is on the hunt for a host for this year's Oscars ceremony! Yes folks, it's that time of year when films will be judged by the majority of the populace not by their acting, writing, directing or any of that useless stuff, but rather by how many gold statues it received at an award ceremony that thought Eddie Redmayne looking at his hands for two hours was better than Michael B. Jordan grappling with his place in life in Creed. Anywho, the likes of Kevin Hart and Louie C.K. are being touted as potential candidates to host, but I've compiled five individuals who could be the absolute perfect picks to host this year's Oscars!

Brokeback Mountain Treks The Terrain Of Forbidden Romances

Much has changed in the past decade since Brokeback Mountain was released. The prevalence of LGBTQA cinema (which, of course, existed long before Brokeback Mountain. Hell, Box Office Mojo alone lists over 200 movies starring LGBTQA characters that were released prior to Brokeback Mountain) has managed to increase slightly, though a myriad of issues still exist for LGBTQA cinema, including how frequently Transgender characters are not played by Transgender actors, the trend of movies that don't dare to have unhappy endings for their LGBTQA characters (why, hello there best movie of 2015 Carol!) tend to get shut out at award ceremonies like the Oscars and the fact that it's notoriously difficult to give LGBTQA films noteworthy theatrical runs domestically.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Walt Whitman Once Said To Dismiss That Which Insults Your Soul, So I Shall Readily Dismiss Yoga Hosers

I can sometimes be a bit of a dummy when it comes to grappling with the more subtle nuances of distinctly esoteric pieces of art, so take this bold theory about Yoga Hosers that I'm about to drop on you with a grain of salt. I think this movie...was Canada. It's kind of a shocking idea, but there are some subdued clues scatted throughout the motion picture that lead me to believe that that's where this specific tale is set. For instance, did you notice the endless parade of jokes about Canadian accents (which our two main characters infrequently sport)? Or the end credits where the two leads since a rendition of O, Canada? Stuff like that is what made my mind question if this movie was set in the Great White North.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Don't Breathe Is King All Of It Can See At The Box Office As New Releases Fail To Register Over Labor Day Weekend

Note: All the figures discussed in this box office report are for the three day weekend.

Summer 2016 came to a quiet close this weekend, as Labor Day weekend signaled the conclusion of another summer moviegoing season. On the final weekend of the season, Don't Breathe was the number one film at the box office, grossing another $15.7 million, only down 41% from its opening weekend. That's a fantastic dip for a horror movie, and while a little bit of that can be attributed to most movies holding well on Sundays during three-day weekends, it can't be denied that Don't Breathe is also experiencing some strong word-of-mouth. Don't Breathe has now grossed $51.1 million domestically in ten days and could go as high as $75 million in its domestic run, a phenomenal sum for this original horror film that cost only $9.9 million to make.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

The Light Between Oceans Isn't The Brightest Bulb When It Comes to Cohesive Storytelling And Directing

When Disney and DreamWorks partnered up for a distribution deal back in 2009, visions of their future together were filled with hope and glory. And while some noteworthy effort emerged from Disney distributing DreamWorks movies for them over the past five years (most notably in top-notch Steven Spielberg efforts like Bridge Of Spies and Lincoln), mostly it led to forgettable films like Real Steel , The Help, Delivery Man and Need For Speed. Now, the final film in the two studios deal, The Light Between Oceans, ends their distribution arrangement on a sour note. At least we'll always have War Horse.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Profane Dialogue Can Only Go So Far For Clerks

With Kevin Smith's newest film, Yoga Hosers, bowing in theaters today (hopefully I'll have a review for that 2016 motion picture up by the end of the weekend), I thought it was high time I dug into the motion picture that kicked off the directing career of Mr. Smith, a 1994 film called Clerks that bowed at that year's Sundance Film Festival and became a cult classic in no time. Living up to its title, Clerks focuses on a day in the life of two clerks, Dante (Brian O'Halloran) and Randal (Jeff Anderson), the former working at a convenience store and the latter spending his days at a video rental store.