Friday, June 28, 2013

Saturday Trailer Blitz

It's that day again where we bring you some of the newest trailers of the week.  Let us know what movie you are looking forward to seeing.  

Prince Avalanche - One of the most positively reviewed movies out of Sundance this year. 

The Counselor - A great cast of Brad Pitt, Javier Bardem, Cameron Diaz, and Michael Fassbender. Directed by Ridley Scott about a lawyer that gets involved in drug trafficing.   

One Direction: This is Us - One of my favorite documentarians Morgan Spurlock made this music doc about the teen sensation group One Direction.  I will not be watching this but the addition of Spurlock does make me wonder if it will be any different then previous concert films like Justin Bieber's Never Say Never or Katy Perry's Part of Me. 

The Escape Plan - A movie that has had a few different names. Teams two of the biggest 80's action icons Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger team up in a movie about a man who has to escape an prison he designed to be inescapable.  

Adore - Another movie that has gone through numerous title changes.  When it premiered at Sundance it was called Two Mothers. It was titled Perfect Mothers at one point but changed to Adore so when it is released on VOD it will be at the top.  The movie itself if kind of creepy about two mothers that sleep with each others sons.  

The Conjuring - Another trailer for the horror movie coming later this summer. 

Prisoners - The second trailer for the Hugh Jackman Jack Gyllenhall movie about a father who is searching for his daughter.  

Jug Face - The first trailer for the new horror movie about a girl trapped in a wierd cult.  Looks very bizarre.

Therese - A French film staring Audrey Tautau about a women who is trapped in a marriage and will do anything to escape. 

From the Collection: The Exorcism of Emily Rose

Most exorcism films feel like a rip off of The Exorcist but The Exorcism of Emily Rose takes a different approach and manages to feel different yet give us everything we expect from an exorcism movie.

The story is familiar.  A young girl gets sick and the parents assume it’s a possession and they call in a priest to perform an exorcism.  What is unique about the movie is that it is actually about the consequences of the exorcism on the priest and family.  The movie actually starts with the Emily Rose (Jennifer Carpenter) dying and Father Moore (Tom Wilkinson)getting arrested for negligent manslaughter.  An up and coming lawyer Erin Bruner (Laura Linney) is hired by the Catholic Church to defend him. As someone who does not believe in the God or the spiritual world she is skeptical of his innocence but takes the case anyway to prove she is worthy of becoming partner in the law firm.  The bulk of the movie takes place in the courtroom with flashbacks during testimonies.  Erin starts to question her beliefs as she starts to experience strange things while Father Moore just wants to tell Emily’s story with seeming no concern with what will happen to himself. 

What I love about this movie is that it is almost more of a courtroom drama then a horror movie.  They take a realistic approach to the supernatural as the prosecution tries to prove everything that was happening to Emily could be explained medically.  The movie succeeds in making you feel like you are part of the jury and keeps you guessing at the truth.  It is very well written and directed.  The other thing that makes this movie work so well is the quality of the actors.  For a small horror movie it is loaded with Oscar Nominees.  Laura Linney a three time Oscar nominee is great as Erin.  We see her determination and ambition but when she has her faith shaken we believe at the end that whatever happened has changed her.  Tom Wilkinson a two time Oscar nominee is always great in whatever he does and I remember when I originally saw this movie I was skeptical but he does an excellent job as Father Moore.  Shohreh Aghdashioo an Oscar nominee for The House of Sand and Fog has a small part as an expert in supernatural beliefs does a great job.  And Campbell Scott who plays the prosecuting attorney does a great job of playing that antagonist and is unrelenting in his pursuit of justice. 

I also like how the movie ends.  I never gives you a clear answer and kind of leaves it up to the viewer to decide for themselves how they want to interpret the events.  The only thing I wish they did was give us a little more detail about what Erin does after the trial.  She turns down the promotion but they never say why or what she plans on doing.  But as Father Moore says at the end “Once You’ve looked into the darkness I think you carry it with you the rest of your life”. 

Overall: 5/5 stars. It not only ranks as one of my favorite exorcism movies but one of my favorite courtroom dramas.  I love that it can pull both off.  A great movie to check out even if you don’t like horror. 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Movie Review: Man of Steel

Man of Steel was one of the most anticipated movies of the summer if not the year.  There were many questions surrounding this movie. Can they erase the bitter memory of Superman Returns, can Christopher Nolan reboot another franchise, will Man of Steel finally start get a Justice League movie rolling.  And Warner Brothers wanted to make sure you knew Man of Steel was coming out. There was a media blitz of all things Man of Steel.  It seemed like every other week a new trailer or featurette was released.  I have to admit I was a little skeptical at first but by the time the second and third trailer came out I knew I had to see this movie.

Man of Steel is another Superman Origin stories.  It seems like we can't make it through the summer without another superhero origin story.  But forget everything you already knew about Superman this story is something very different.  Man of Steel opens with a long sequence on Krypton where we meet Jor-El (Russell Crowe) who is battling General Zod (Michael Shannon) for the future of Krypton.  When it is clear that Krypton will not survive Jor-El sends his baby son  Kal-El to Earth to protect him.  This is the first time we have seen this much of the planet Krypton and it looks spectacular.

Once on Earth the movie flash forwards 33 years to Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) who is struggling with is identity and how to use his powers.  This part of the movie spends time flashing back on Clark's childhood and his current quest to find out where he comes from.  Along the way he meets a young ambitious reporter Lois Lane (Amy Adams) and ends up saving her with his powers.  Lois then sets out to find out who this mystery person is and traces the clues back to Kansas and the discovers Clark's true identity. In the mean time Clark finds an ancient Kryptonian ship where he learns about Krypton and Jor-El's battle with General Zod. He also accidentally triggers a distress beacon. This distress beacon leads General Zod who has been traveling the universe looking for Kal-El to Earth where there will be an epic showdown.

There is a lot going on in the first half but it all worked for me.  I think doing his childhood as flashbacks worked better because most people know the story of Superman.   One of the things that many wondered about Man of Steel was how Christopher Nolan and David Goyer's script was going to ground Superman in reality like they did with Batman in The Dark Knight series?  What they did was make Clark and outsider.  I think they did a really good job at making us feel how conflicted he was.  Kevin Costner as Pa Kent did amazing job at helping ground the character.  He knew Clark was special but wanted to protect him but also knew that Clark had a different father who wanted different things for him.  I did see the movie on Father's Day so the whole father theme was kind of perfect for that day.

The other actors in the movie was also very good. Amy Adams is one of my favorite actresses and I loved her again in this movie.  Her Lois Lane is ambitious and does not wait around for someone to save her like other women in Superhero movies.  Although toward the end her character is pushed to the side and basically just becomes a bystander.  Michael Shannon was very menacing as General Zod and while Russell Crowe was good as Jor-El but it was just your typical Russell Crowe.

The final act is what seems to be hit or miss with most people.  I thought the battle scenes with Superman and General Zod and his henchman was pretty good. The visuals were spectacular and I was totally engrossed.  Although I will agree that the massive destruction of Metropolis might have been a bit overboard considering Superman is supposed to be protecting the humans.  I don't want to go into spoiler territory but the conflict Superman finally feels at the end worked for me.  I thought you really felt the pain of his decision and while some die hard Superman fans didn't agree with the ending I thought it was good. I do hope they expand on this conflict and how Superman's decision impacts him in the sequel.  Also, after such an emotional scene the final scene is a funny bit which seemed out of place.

Overall: 5/5 Stars.
I loved it. Obviously some die hard fans will not like the changes to the mythology but I thought it all worked.  It is Zack Snyder's best film to date and hope they continue with some of the emotional conflicts they set up in the first one.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Saturday Trailer Blitz 6/22/13

Lots of trailers from this week with a bunch of new children's movies and Sundance movies getting trailers.  What movies are you most looking forward to.

The Wolf of Wall Street - First up is Martin Scorsese highly anticipated reunion with Leonardo DiCaprio movie The Wolf of Wall Street.

Touchy Feely - What happens when an massage therapist looses the ability to touch people is the question asked in this indie movie.

Riddick - The third movie in the franchise looks like a prequel to Pitch Black.

The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones International Trailer - Based on the very popular book not much different the the other trailers for the move that has been released.

Frozen - The first teaser for Disney's new animated movie.

The Lego Movie - All your favorite Lego pieces need to come together to save the world.

The Worlds End- Trilogy Trailer - The third movie from the guys that brought you Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz.

Anchorman: The Legend Continues - The first full trailer for the new Anchorman sequel. Ron Burgundy welcome to the 80's.

The Spectacular Now - one of this year top reviewed Sundance movies has it's first official trailer.

I Give it a Year - A romantic comedy about a newly married couple that no one thinks will stay together for a year.

Free Bird - Time traveling turkeys whose mission it is to change the Thanksgiving Menu

Smurfs 2 - The Smurfs 2 gets another trailer.

Crystal Fairy - Another Michael Cera creepy role.  This Sundance hit has Cera looking for a special cactus in Chile.

Computer Chess - An odd looking movie from Sundance about a weekend of competitive computer chess in the 80's.

Jobs - A movie that has been getting mixed reviews since its premiere at Sundance finally gets its first trailer.

Drinking Buddies

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

New Home Video Releases 6/18/13

This week we got a few movies that didn't do so well from the beginning of the year hoping to make some money on home video.

 Jack the Giant Slayer 3D


 Movie 43


 American Mary






 21 & Over


 The Last Exorcism Part II


 Safety Last 1923 (Criterion Collection)


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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Saturday Trailer Blitz 6/15/13

Saturday Trailer Blitz

Lots of good new trailers to take a look at this week.  Let us know what one you are most looking forward too.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug - Here is the first trailer for the second hobbit movie

Elysium- An extended trailer of one of the most anticipated sci-fi movies of the summer

Snowpiercer -What looks like a crazy post apocalyptic movie about survivors on a train

Diana - Hoping to grab some Oscar Nominations when it comes out later this year here is the first trailer for the Princess Diana biopic Diana.

The Wolverine - Another trailer for The Wolverine.  Looks pretty intense.

Pacific Rim TV spot - More monsters in this short trailer.

In a World - The first trailer for the comedy about trailers. Written, directed and starring Lake Bell

Magic Magic - Ever want to see Michael Cera play a really creepy guy. This is your chance.

300: Rise of an Empire - For those who were excited to see this sequel this year you will be disappointed to learn that it won't be released to 2014 now.

White House Down- If one terrorist attack the White House movie wasn't enough for you this year here is the trailer for the second one.

Man of Tai Chi - Keanu Reeves tries his hand at directing in this action movie.

Salinger - The documentary about J.D. Salinger

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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

New Home Video Releaes 6/11/13

Available on Blu-Ray

Oz the Great and Powerful 3D

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters Unrated 3D


Enter the Dragon 40th Anniversary Edition

Wild Strawberries Criterion Collection


Available on Video on Demand

Upside Down

Ninja Masters


Friday, June 7, 2013

Saturday Trailer Blitz 6/8/13

This week we are trying something different for the Trailer Blitz.  Instead of posting trailers throughout the day we are going to give them all to you in one post.  So enjoy.

Blackfish- A documentary about the orca whale that killed it's trainer at Sea World.  From the looks of the trailer I think we got an early front runner for Best Documentary at the Oscars next year.

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters- The second trailer to this summer sequel.

The To Do List - an over the top raunchy comedy that was supposed to get released on Valentines day but is finally getting it's release this summer.  Here is the red band trailer for the comedy about a virgin girl that wants to experience life before she goes to college.

Getaway -Ethan Hawke is back with another thriller. This time with Selena Gomez as a man who is being blackmailed by a mad man.

Runner Runner - Ben Affleck takes Justin Timberlake under his wing and teaches him the ways of rigging poker games.

Blue Jasmine - Woody Allen releases his annual movie. This time it is a little more serious.  Cate Banchett plays a women who's husband has embezzaled all her money and she is forced to start at the bottom.  What is most intriguing about this movie is seeing Andrew Dice Clay in a Woody Allen movie.  Who would have predicted that.

Paranoia - an big cast leads this movie about coprorate espionage

Insidious chapter 2 - The continuing story of the Lambert's as they try to figure out why they have a connection to the spiritual world

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Obstruction 1: Casablanca

This is my entry in The 5 Obstructions Blogathon and as anyone that knows me can tell you Casablanca is one of my favorite movies of all time.

Casablanca is a movie that always gets ranked as one of the best movies of all time and I am not sure why.  I   don't know if it has just aged badly or it is just me.

Casablanca is a 1942 movie about an American who owns a bar in Casablanca.
In the early stages of WWII as German forces occupied Europe people started fleeing to America. One of the places that was on their trail of escape was Casablanca.  The city attracted lots of criminals and seedy characters. One of the most well known of the characters is Rick (Humphrey Bogart). His bar is the center of the underworld in Casablanca with drinking, gambling, and lots of underground sales going on. One of the hottest commodities is transit papers to Lisbon where people can then catch a flight to America. Rick and the police captain Renault have a working relationship that lets Rick stay in business for money. When French freedom fighter Victor Laszlo (Paul Henreid) comes to town with his wife Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) it turns Rick's life upside down. 

The first warning sign that this will be a bad movie is the number of screenwriters.  It's never good when more then 2 screenwriters have to be called in to write a movie but when you have 4 screenwriters on one film it is a sign of trouble.  Based on the un-produced play "Everybody Comes to Ricks" The Epstein brothers Julius and Phillip were the first ones to tackle the screenplay. When they were having problems Howard Koch was asked to rewrite the entire screenplay then Casey Robinson and Lenore Coffee were tasked with trying to combine the two and Robinson added more romance between Rick and Ilsa.  The script was not finished and the cast had no idea how it was going to end when they started filming.  Bogart even improvised some lines (including the now famous "here's looking at you kid").  No movie with that many rewrites can be good.  A movie needs to have one clear vision by one writer or two at most.  

Which brings me to my next point.  Maybe it is because so many lines from the movie have now become iconic that a lot of the dialogue feels cliched.  This goes back to my theory that it was probably better when first released.  For whatever reason lines like "here's looking at you kid", "Of all the gin joints in all the towns, in all the world she had to walk into mine" and "round up the usual suspects" have entered pop culture consciousness.  Everyone knows them so when they are said in the movie it just looses it's punch.

My biggest problem with the movie isn't the cheesy love story or the overly melodramatic music it is the fact that this is a piece of propaganda.  What rarely ever gets discussed with this movie is the fact that one of the reasons Warner Brother's made it was to boost interest in the war in Europe.  Rick the only American is the good guy and the bad guys are the Germans and Italians.  For most of the movie Rick keeps saying that he sticks his neck out for no one.  Which was the American attitude toward the war before the Pearl Harbor.  But eventually Rick realizes that he needs to take a side also mirroring the way most Americans thought about the war. I think this is why it resonated so well with people during it's original release.  It also helped that Casablanca was invaded at the time of release also putting the city and the movie in the national spotlight.  But after 60 years that same resonance doesn't work so well.  The movie just feels dated and old. If it is trying to convince me that Nazi's are bad it's too late we already know that.

1 star out of 5.  The movie is dated and just not at all appealing to modern audiences.  

Monday, June 3, 2013

Box Office Wrap Up 6/3/13

Box Office Wrap Up
Summer is always fun to follow the box office. You never know what is going to happen.  So I am going to bring back my weekly recap.
 This weekend we saw the once untouchable Will Smith flop, the sixth movie in a franchise stay at number 1 for a  second week in a row and a Bollywood movie make the top 10.  Meanwhile the original and different summer movie Now You See Me opened stronger than expected.  It was one crazy weekend at the box office. 

1.        Fast and Furious 6 - $34.5 million Stays atop for the second week in a row and marks the 15th week in a row The Rock has had a movie in the top 10.

2.       Now You See Me - $28 million – No one expected this movie to beat Will Smith’s After Earth but it proved people like something different and not just sequels and explosions

3.       After Earth – $27 million – A Will Smith movie opening during the summer is supposed to be a blockbuster.  Apparently not when it is directed by M. Night Shyamalan.

4.       Epic – $16.4 million  - The only animated family movie out there and stays strong.

5.       Star Trek Into Darkness- 16.4 million – Not bad for its 3 weekend.

6.       The Hangover Part III - $15.9 million – Tumbling fast guess people don’t really care about the wolf pack anymore.

7.       Iron Man 3 - $8 million – The highest grossing movie of the year continues to do well in its 5th week.

8.       The Great Gatsby - $6.2 – Once thought of as a possible Oscar contender the movie seems to be fading fast.

9.       Yeh Jawaani hai Deewani - $1.7 – Not sure how a Bollywood movie ended up in the top 10 during the summer.  Guess there really aren’t many choices this year.

10.   Mud - $1.2 million – For an independent movie in its 6th week it is impressive that it made the top 10.