Archive for the ‘Preview’ Category

Preview of the Best to Come in 2014

Posted: April 8, 2014 in Preview
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2013 brought some incredible movies to the big screen. Dramas like 12 Years a Slave, Dallas Buyers Club, and Gravity amazed with stellar acting and gripping visuals. Fans of The Hunger Games, Star Trek, The Hobbit and the Marvel Universe got their fill of big name franchises. Disney released a film that kids still cannot stop singing. And some indie flicks, like Fruitvale Station, Inside Llewyn Davis, and Philomena, made some waves for their intriguing stories and memorable characters.

This year, some significant series make their returns.¬†300: Rise of an Empire¬†looks to bring the battle back to the big screen. Marvel released the successful sequel to¬†Captain America and saw instant rewards from the box office.¬†The Amazing Spiderman 2¬†appears to include a plethora of action with a variety of villains, which hopefully will not end up like Tobey Maguire’s¬†Spiderman 3. The monster¬†Godzilla gets another reboot. One of the most intriguing additions to its series,¬†X-Men: Days of Future Past¬†tries to make up for the somewhat lackluster¬†First Class¬†with arguably the most revered storyline of the X-Men comics.

Some new films are looking to make their impact on the field. Disney will release a live-action revisit of the story behind Sleeping Beauty. Seth MacFarlane will release another comedy to capitalize on the success of the oddly lovable Ted. Marvel has a new storyline to introduce that will step away from the more traditional superheroes that are well known by the average fans.

Now it is time to explore the best of the best, and some other randoms, that will grace the big screen this year…

Transcendence (April 18th): Starring Johnny Depp and Morgan Freeman, a scientist is fatally shot but has the technology to save his essence digitally. After becoming woven into the fabric of technology, he begins to evolve into something uncontrollable. This film is interesting in concept and may be a visual spectacle that also challenges the mind similar to that of Inception.

Brick Mansions (April 25th):¬†In Paul Walker’s final film before his passing, this story follows a cop who is forced to enter into a forbidden part of the city because a gang leader has a missile aimed outside of their territory, holding the city hostage. With a combination of stunning fight scenes and the nostalgia of Walker’s final performance, it will at least be an entertaining film but not a stellar one.

Belle (May 2nd): In a film that looks at race and family in a much more conservative time, a young black girl, Belle, is adopted by a wealthy aristocrat and has to navigate a harsh and unforgiving world. The film appears to be a period piece with a lot of emotion and may capitalize on the themes of last year’s venture into the topic of race and society.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (May 2nd):¬†Facing a barrage of villains from the Rhino to the Green Goblin to Electro, Peter Parker appears to have his hands full while trying to balance his life as a hero with his life as an average young adult. There are a number of things to get excited about with this film. It will hopefully have the same playfulness of the last film while embracing the story of Peter’s parents. Hopefully it will also not lose focus with too many big villains to put on display.

Godzilla (May 16th):¬†Back to the tradition of the giant reptile monster against other freakishly monstrous creatures, this reboot of the classic sci-fi story is getting some better treatment with a cast more capable of providing more credit for reasonable acting to boost this film’s profile. Bryan Cranston, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and Sally Hawkins star in this one.

X-Men: Days of Future Past (May 23rd): Although First Class had some charm, it was a flawed film that did not live up to the first X-Men films. To make up for this problem, Marvel has dug into the vault for the most intriguing and controversial story of the X-Men series. Having been highlighted in the comics and 90s cartoon, the live-action film has the potential to propel this series back to the forefront of the comic movie genre.

A Million Ways to Die in the West (May 30th): Pulling together actors like Liam Neeson, Amanda Seyfried, Charlize Theron, and Neil Patrick Harris, this film has a lot of appeal without even getting to the writing style of Seth MacFarlane. Taking a Blazing Saddles feel, this film is only just starting to build buzz for its campy and gun-slinging style comedy.

Maleficent (May 30th):¬†Disney’s expansion of classic stores has taken them to a potentially dark place with this film. Angelina Jolie will star as the outcast evil queen and tell the story how she transformed into the hardened sorceress that terrorized the kingdom. With Chronicles of Narnia-style battles and dark Wizard of Oz-like creatures, this film will appeal to quite a large audience.

The Fault in Our Stars (June 6th): Shailene Woodley is a star on the rise. Getting the opportunity to stretch her dramatic acting chops, this story looks at a young woman who discovers the potential love of her life through a cancer support group. With their quality of life declining, they explore how to love when conventional romance is not really an option.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 (June 13th):¬†After the success of the first film, the sequel looks to expand the world of dragons to greater heights and introduce Hiccup’s past to a greater degree. All of the voice actors are back and look to capitalize on the ongoing support for the story that has been supported by its transition to its television series.

Transfomers: Age of Extinction (June 27th): This feels like a sequel that has taken a series another film beyond its high point. The third installment was clearly a stretch and failed to live up to what made the first film so much better. With a new cast and different personality for Optimus Prime, here is hoping that Mark Wahlberg is better in the film than in the trailer.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (July 18th): Caesar returns for his movement against the human race. The first film was a gem, surprising critics for how well it was crafted. The second film has some serious expectations of being just as good, especially with a cast that includes Gary Oldman and Keri Russell, adding to the dramatic performance of Andy Serkis.

Jupiter Ascending (July 25th):¬†Channing Tatum appears to be prepared for another multi-movie year and this may be his best of the group. The Wachowski’s have quite the task to make this story work, but Mila Kunis will get her chance of entering into the world of action sci-fi as the heroine set on ending the reign of the Queen of the Universe.

Guardians of the Galaxy (August 1st):¬†This ragtag group of heroes is Marvel’s hidden gem. They combine the idea of extraterrestrial creatures with the¬†fun of unanticipated heroism. The theme of the story is a little more humorous than the other superhero stories, but it looks to sneak into the¬†Avengers storyline in some sort of unique way.

Lucy (August 8th):¬†In an interesting opportunity to star in her own action/hero film, Scarlett Johansson plays a woman plagued with transporting illegal drugs that leak into her body and cause dramatic changes to her natural abilities. As she gains superhuman powers, she must take revenge on the men responsible for her fate. This thriller has a lot of potential and takes advantage of Scarlett’s experience with the Marvel universe.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (August 8th):¬†This is a film that will likely disappoint before it comes out and have to make up for the bad press before making a true judgment of its quality. These are nothing like the live-action turtles of the 90s in look or attitude. It may also be a little off-putting to see Megan Fox as April O’Neil. Definitely hoping this will not be as big of a fail as it appears.

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (August 22nd): In this long awaited sequel to the cult classic, another stellar cast has come together to tell this dark story. Included in this film will be Rosario Dawson, Jessica Alba, Mickey Rourke, Eva Green, Lady Gaga, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Jamie Chung, Josh Brolin, and Jeremy Piven. Looking forward to the gruesome and complicated dark thriller.

The Boxtrolls (September 26th):¬†Having seem some great success with their stop-motion animation technique, Laika Entertainment has expanded on another children’s story to produce another¬†Nightmare Before Christmas-type film.¬†While the story is based on¬†Here Be Monsters, it is still unclear what this movie will actually be about.

Gone Girl (October 3rd):¬†Ben Affleck returns to working with a good director and with a better story in this film with Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, and Missi Pyle. Based on the novel, a woman goes missing¬†on her fifth wedding anniversary and no one can seem to figure out what happened to her. Her husband’s shifty behavior draws attention to himself, but is he responsible for her disappearance?

The Hunger Games: The Mocking Jay Part 1 (November 21st): While it is very debatable how this story is going to be stretched into two films (similar to the final Harry Potter film), this story has captured the attention of the nation. Katniss has some real issues to resolve for herself as Peeta is missing and the mysterious District 13 is still alive and ready for war.

[Trailer not yet released]

Annie (December 19th): Reimagining the original Annie story, Quvenzhané Wallis takes the role as the title character and is prepared to impress similar to the way Jaden Smith stepped up to the challenge of The Karate Kid. With Jamie Foxx, Rose Byrn, and Cameron Diaz filling out the cast, this looks to be a very musical holiday season.

Into the Woods (December 25th):¬†Looking to end the year on a high note, Disney has brought together a rather interesting cast, including Johnny Depp, Anna Kendrick, Emily Blunt, Chris Pine, and Meryl Streep, to merge together multiple children’s stories using an evil witch to teach lessons to Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Rapunzel. Not as dark as¬†Maleficent, this film is based on the 1980s Broadway musical.

[Trailer not yet released]

Do you think that I missed any important films? Sorry to Hercules or Fast and the Furious fans, but those are not appealing to me. Tell me what I missed.

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In the tradition of the Academy Awards, I have my thoughts regarding the upcoming award show which airs tonight. I admit that these are a little later than usual, but I got sidetracked and was unable to see all of the major films until closer to the awards show. I hope that I have been able to get a good enough sense of the awards this year to make some good predictions.

First of all, I am glad that Ellen Degeneres is hosting again this year. While Billy Crystal gives more of the classic feel for the award show hosts, Ellen projects a bit of that classic element with her own flair and twist. She is light, fun, and hilarious. There is also a great chance that she will dance for this upcoming evening.

Before honoring the nominees and the winners, it is good to pay tribute to the snubs who deserved recognition. The most obvious of the missing films was¬†The Butler. Forest Whitaker provided one of his better performances but was left off of the list, as was the film for Best Picture.¬†Fruitvale Station¬†star Michael B. Johnson also has reason to be a bit upset for being left out of the nominees. Though his contemporary performance seemed out of the pattern of films based on historic true events, he was able to project a hard-hitting, thought-provoking image of a misunderstood man based on his race and class. Idris Elba’s and Naomie Harris’s performances in¬†Mandela were also quite captivating. Since the award committee seems to be against comedic or happy story lines,¬†Saving Mr. Banks¬†and its lead actor Tom Hanks (also for both this film and¬†Captain Philips) were unable to be included. Emma Thompson could easily have been nominated for her role as the guarded creator of¬†Mary Poppins. The indie hit¬†Inside Llewyn Davis and its lead Oscar Isaacs seemed to all short as well, though indie hits are typically consider for Oscar recognition. Though¬†Frozen¬†has a strong chance of winning Best Animated Feature, it is odd that Pixar’s hit¬†Monsters University was left off of the list.

So here are the predictions (post any agreements or challenges in the comments section):

Best Picture

  • My Prediction: 12 Years a Slave – This film has all of the elements that the committee loves: a political/social justice message, excellent acting, dynamic directing, and all the drama anyone could need.
  • My Spoilers: Dallas Buyers Club (Some of the best acting of the year and a gripping story); American Hustle (All-star cast, great acting, and a new favorite director)
  • Winner: 12 Years a Slave

Actor in a Leading Role

  • My Prediction: Matthew McConaughey – While I was skeptical at first, he gave up a lot to play his role and did so with such tenacity and grit. His character’s transformation was phenomenal.
  • My Spoiler: Chiwetel Ejiofor (Would not be surprised for him to take it); Leonardo DiCaprio (While the fan favorite and a great actor, he was outplayed this year)
  • Winner: Matthew McConaughey

Actor in a Supporting Role

  • My Prediction: Jared Leto – Just as compelling as McConaughey, he owned the role at a level that puts him way above his competition.
  • My Spoiler: Barkhad Abdi (Compelling and scary performance of a desperate man); Michael Fassbender (Somewhat scary as well, also held a strong level of intensity)
  • Winner: Jared Leto

Actress in a Leading Role

  • My Prediction: Cate Blanchett – While I do not agree with her likelihood to walk home with the award, she is somewhat compelling with her breaks from reality and inner monologue.
  • My Spoiler: Judi Dench (Should win for giving an amazingly adorable performance)
  • Winner: Cate Blanchett

Actress in a Supporting Role

  • My Prediction:¬†Lupita Nyong’o – While Chiwetel may not get the win, Lupita deserves just as much credit for her on-screen, gritty performance.
  • My Spoiler: Jennifer Lawrence (Everyone seems to enjoy an unstable time bomb)
  • Winner: Lupita Nyong’o

Animated Feature Film

  • My Prediction: Frozen – The song alone may give it a win, but it is a warm-hearted story of a set of princesses trying to manage their own individual challenges.
  • My Spoiler: The Wind Rises (Beautiful story that will hardly get its due)
  • Winner: Frozen

Cinematography

  • My Prediction: Gravity
  • My Spoiler: Nebraska
  • Winner: Gravity

Costume Design

  • My Prediction: The Great Gatsby
  • My Spoiler: American Hustle
  • Winner: The Great Gatsby

Directing

  • My Prediction: Alfonso Cuaron – Directed an artistically beautiful film which captivated with only one significant on-screen performance.
  • My Spoiler: Steve McQueen (The film speaks for itself)
  • Winner: Alfonso Cuaron

Documentary (Feature)

  • My Prediction: 20 Feet from Stardom
  • My Spoiler: The Act of Killing
  • Winner: 20 Feet from Stardom

Documentary (Short Subject)

  • My Prediction:¬†The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life
  • My Spoiler: Facing Fear
  • Winner: The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life

Film Editing

  • My Prediction: Gravity
  • My Spoiler: Captain Phillips
  • Winner: Gravity

Foreign Language

  • My Prediction: The Great Beauty (Italy)
  • My Spoiler: The Broken Circle Breakdown (Belgium)
  • Winner: The Great Beauty

Makeup

  • My Prediction: Dallas Buyers Club
  • My Spoiler: Jackass Presents Bad Grandpa (Few options available…)
  • Winner: Dallas Buyers Club

Music (Original Score)

  • My Prediction: Gravity
  • My Spoiler: Her
  • Winner: Gravity

Music (Original Song)

  • My Prediction: Let It Go – Frozen
  • My Spoiler: Ordinary Love – Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom; The Moon Song – Her
  • Winner: Let It Go – Frozen

Production Design

  • My Prediction: 12 Years a Slave
  • My Spoiler: The Great Gatsby
  • Winner: The Great Gatsby

Short Film (Animated)

  • My Prediction: Get a Horse!
  • My Spoiler: Room on the Broom
  • Winner: Mr. Hublot

Short Film (Live Action)

  • My Prediction: The Voorman Problem
  • My Spoiler:¬†Pit√§√§k√∂ Mun Kaikki Hoitaa?
  • Winner: Helium

Sound Editing

  • My Prediction: Gravity
  • My Spoiler: Lone Survivor
  • Winner: Gravity

Sound Mixing

  • My Prediction: Gravity
  • My Spoiler: Lone Survivor
  • Winner: Gravity

Visual Effects

  • My Prediction: Gravity
  • My Spoiler: The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  • Winner: Gravity

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

  • My Prediction:¬†John Ridley for 12 Years a Slave – Likely challenging for the most overall wins this season, the story was gripping and terrifying all at the same time.
  • My Spoiler:¬†Billy Ray for Captain Phillips
  • Winner: John Ridley for 12 Years a Slave

Writing (Original Screenplay)

  • My Prediction:¬†Spike Jonze for Her – This was a wildly inventive story which surprised its viewers. While not a hit with everyone, originality certainly gives is credibility.
  • My Spoiler:¬†Eric Warren Singer & David O. Russel for American Hustle
  • Winner: Spike Jonze for Her
Percentage Correct: 21/24 – 87.5%
Percentage from 2013: 18/24 – 75%
Biggest Winners: Gravity (7)
Other Winners:
  • 12 Years a Slave (3)
  • Dallas Buyers Club (3)
  • Frozen (2)
  • The Great Gatsby (2)
  • 20 Feet from Stardom (1)
  • Blue Jasmine (1)
  • Helium (1)
  • Her (1)
  • Mr. Hublot (1)
  • The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life (1)
  • The Great Beauty (1)

Disney and Pixar have been rather successful with their films since they started to work together, but there is a lot of buzz coming out regarding the next Monsters movie due out this summer. The latest preview takes a play at the classic college commercial layout. They show a lot of the elements and characters of the film without giving nearly anything away about the plot or the actual main group of monsters for this film. Take a look and get excited for this upcoming feature.

Full Version of the Promotional Video

In my first installment, I focused on many of the features from the coming months. In this installment, I highlight a few of the soon to arrive hits films and some movies to get excited about later in the year.

March 22nd – Olympus Has Fallen

Set in modern day DC, this film explores the chaos that follows a successful terrorist attack on the White House and an ex-agent (Gerard Butler) who is the only man available to rescue the president.

June 7th – Now You See Me

Unlike the earlier film related to magic and illusion, this film focuses on a cerebral battle between a band of illusionists and a group of FBI agents trying to uncover the secret of their big heist.

July 26th – The Wolverine

With many hoping this sequel will surpass the original, Hugh Jackman takes this legendary X-men character to Japan in search of the meaning of his condition.

August 2nd – Red 2

The aging action heroes are back…and they are not expendable. The surprise success of the original brings a certain hope for a strong sequel.

August 16th – 2 Guns

Two agents…both investigating the other. Major plus that the agents happen to be played by Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington.

Additional Movies (no previews)

  • August 9th – Planes (unconfirmed)
  • September 13th – I, Frankenstein
  • September 20th – Prisoners; Rush
  • September 27th – Runner Runner
  • October 4th – Sin City: A Dame to Kill For
  • October 25th – The World’s End
  • November 1st – Ender’s Game
  • November 8th – Thor: The Dark World
  • November 15th – The Counselor
  • November 22nd – The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
  • November 27th – Frozen
  • December 13th – The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
  • December 18th – The Monuments Men
  • December 20th – Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues; Saving Mr. Banks

A Look Ahead: Big Ticket Movies for 2013

Posted: February 27, 2013 in Preview
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With the Oscar season at a close, it is now time to truly get excited for what 2013 has to offer. There are some summer blockbusters to get excited for and some possible films to keep in mind for next year’s Oscars. Let’s take a look ahead of what to look out for in the months ahead.

March 8th – Oz: The Great and Powerful

Going back to the origins of the Wizard of Oz, Sam Raimi is looking to bring the classic film concept to a whole new generation of movie-goers.

March 15th – The Incredible Burt Wonderstone

While it is not going to win any major awards, this film is a possible fun distraction before the slate of summer comedies. Jim Carrey and Steve Carell…good match!

March 29th – The Place Beyond the Pines

This film is the next great film on the watch of major critics. Director Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine) reconnects with Ryan Gosling. Add Bradley Cooper and Eva Mendes to a strong cast for this emotionally powerful story.

April 12th – 42

Following the story of the legendary Jackie Robinson, Chadwick Boseman and Harrison Ford have a chance to highlight a major moment in sports and American history.

April 19th – Oblivion

While there may be some varied feelings about Tom Cruise, this sci-fi film looks at the struggle of holding onto the past at the end of the world.

May 3rd – Iron Man 3

Back for a third film, Robert Downey Jr has excited fans over the past few appearances as the arrogant hero. The trailer gives the impression that Iron Man is more vulnerable than he may have originally appeared.

May 10th – The Great Gatsby

Bringing back to 1920s story of glitz, glamour and tragedy, a cast filled with Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire and Carey Mulligan means that you can expect something special.

May 15th – Star Trek: Into Darkness

With a lot of speculation over the villain and buzz surrounding the teaser posted during the premiere of The Hobbit, this revitalized series posts great expectations and will bring out midnight movie-goers in great numbers.

May 24th – The Hangover: Part III

Some may say that this series does not need to go further. Some might say that there is no movie without a wedding as a vehicle for the story. Only time will tell if this film catches the success or not.

June 7th – After Earth

After taking a brief hiatus from the big screen, Will Smith and his son Jaden return for a sci-fi thriller following a father and son crash landing on Earth 1000 years after an apocalypse forced humanity to evacuate.

June 14th – Man of Steel

The long-awaited reboot of this super story, America is hoping that Henry Cavill can bring justice to the man in blue.

June 21st – Monsters University

Pixar’s next big hit brings back Sully and Mike Wazowski to explore their college days. This will be a frontrunner for Best Animated Feature for next award season.

June 21st – World War Z

With zombies being the big thriller/horror theme at the moment, Brad Pitt takes on the role of hero in what hopefully will include better animation work than what the previews currently show.

June 28th – Kick-Ass 2

One of the several sequels in this year’s blockbusters, this one has the best opportunity for comedic and action entertainment. This movie solidifies that 2013 will be a good year for Jim Carrey.

July 3rd – Despicable Me 2

Dreamworks is going to try to battle Pixar with one of their best current stories, with Steve Carell being joined by Al Pacino this time around.

July 3rd – The Lone Ranger

Serving as this year’s big July 4th release, Arnie Hammer joins Johnny Depp to help Disney bring this classic story back to life.

Part II of this list will be coming soon, but these films should at least get you excited for what is coming.

Still a couple of months away from the anticipated release, Les Miserables is looking like a strong frontrunner for the next Oscar season. In this featurette, director Tom Hooper and some of the film’s most significant stars talk about what makes this production unique. Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Samantha Barks, Eddie Redmayne, Russell Crowe and Amanda Seyfriend each provide a little perspective into the live vocal performance style over the typical studio recording followed by miming the playback in front of the camera. There is a lot to be excited about between the fanfare of the production and the talented cast. Take a look for yourself.

There is another level to the excitement Marvel is creating around their upcoming epic blockbuster Avengers movie. AMC recently announced that they are going to host marathons at each of their theaters around the country to celebrate the superhero mashup. This six film lineup, ending with the premiere, should attract fans of the characters and series to cut out of work and skip school to spend the day with others just as excited. The order of the films is as follows:

  • Iron Man
  • The Incredible Hulk
  • Iron Man 2
  • Thor
  • Captain America
  • Avengers

Here are some of the latest posters to highlight the main characters on the team. For those who are not aware, the heroes include Captain America, Hawkeye, Nick Fury, SHIELD Agent Maria Hill, Thor, Black Widow, the Incredible Hulk and Iron Man.

     

Just to help with the excitement, here are the previews for each of the films in their marathon order:

I know I’m excited and will be lining up for my ticket. Who’s with me?