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  • Justin 4:21 pm on February 22, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    Oscar Picks: Keaton for Birdman 

    Here’s my picks ahead of the Oscars tonight. Some I wish were different (Boyhood is overrated…).

    Others I think are completing deserving and hopefully win (Michael Keaton in Birdman).

     

    Best Actor: Michael Keaton, “Birdman”

     

    Best Actress: Julianne Moore, “Still Alice”

     

    Best Supporting Actor: J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash”

     

    Best Supporting actress: Laura Dern, “Wild”

     

    Best Director: Richard linklater, “Boyhood”

     

    Best  Picture: “Birdman”, 

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  • Justin 9:29 pm on January 3, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    From Avengers to Star Wars, 2015 will be Bigger than 2014 

    2014 was a typical in-between type year for movies. 2015 will be anything but, when it comes to movies. In one year, we’ll get the return of our favorite park with dinosaurs in Jurassic World, the return of our favorite terminator with a Austrian-accent in Terminator Genisys (terrible name…), the return of the Avengers in Age of Ultron, and of course the return of Cinema’s biggest franchise (hopefully to bring greatness back to Star Wars) in Star Wars The Force Awakens.

    The other big sequels will be Furious 7The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, and Sam Mendes’ Bond flick Spectre. Honorable mention to Mission Impossible 5 (who knew that MI 4 Ghost Protocol would be great) to close out the year.

    There’s also a lot of new movies to mention as well, such as Brad Bird’s Tomorrowland, Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman: The Secret ServiceMad Max: Fury Road with Tom Hardy, Neill Blomkamp’s Chappie, Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four, Ridley Scott’s The Martian, and of course Marvel’s Ant-Man.

    Finally, Pixar is premiering two brand new movies, Inside Out, and The Good Dinosaur. And just to cover all bases.., there’s also Pitch Perfect 2, Ted 2, Minions, The Wachowski siblings’ Jupiter Ascending, and Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella.

    See, that’s a lot of movies…

    (Pics/writeups courtesy of Collider)

    Kingsman: The Secret Service
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    Release Date: February 13th
    Director: Matthew Vaughn
    Cast: Colin Firth, Taron Egerton, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Caine, and Mark Hamill
    This is the film that Vaughn gave up directing X-Men: Days of Future Past in order to tackle.

    Furious 7

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    Release Date: April 3rd
    Director: James Wan
    Cast: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Michelle Rodriguez, Dwayne Johnson, Jason Statham, Tyrese Gibson, Kurt Russell, Ludacris, Nathalie Emmanuel, Djimon Hounsou, Lucas Black, and John Brotherton
    Due to the tragic death of Paul Walker during production, this was no doubt one of the toughest films to get completed. But after regrouping and finding a way to finish the movie while also honoring Walker and his work in the franchise, Furious 7 is poised to be unveiled to the world this spring. Somewhat impossibly, this series is the strongest its ever been six films deep, and with The Conjuring and Insidious director James Wan making his action genre debut on Furious 7, many are eager to see both if this seventh entry keeps the winning streak alive.

    The Avengers: Age of Ultron

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    Release Date: May 1st
    Director: Joss Whedon
    Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Paul Bettany, and James Spader
    Were it not for a little thing called Star Wars, this would probably be the no contest winner for the most anticipated film of the year.

    Mad Max: Fury Road

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    Release Date: May 15th
    Director: George Miller
    Cast: Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Zoe Kravitz, Riley Keough, Rosie Huntington-Whitely, and Nathan Jones
    In a marketplace filled with sequels and reboots, here’s something that’s in between. Director George Miller returns to the franchise that helped jumpstart his career with something wonderfully rare: a franchise blockbuster that refuses to stick to the formula. The post-apocalyptic actioner follows a single chase for its entire runtime of 110 minutes, with Hardy’s lead character appearing to be a man of very few words.

    Tomorrowland

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    Release Date: May 22nd
    Director: Brad Bird
    Cast: George Clooney, Britt Robertson, Hugh Laurie, Judy Greer, Kathryn Hahn, Keegan-Michael Key, and Pierce Gagnon
    In a world filled with sequels, reboots, and adaptations, the mere prospect of an original studio blockbuster is somewhat mind-blowing. With regards to Tomorrowland, on top of that unique foundation we’ve got a script by Damon Lindelof, an eclectic ensemble cast, and a mysteriously futuristic sci-fi premise. Not to mention animation veteran Brad Bird in the director’s chair, whose live-action debut was the immensely satisfying Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.

    Jurassic World

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    Release Date: June 12th
    Director: Colin Trevorrow
    Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Irrfan Khan, Nick Robinson, Ty Simpkins, and Vincent D’Onofrio
    The potential for a fourth Jurassic Park movie has loomed large for years now, but the sequel is now finally in the can and set for release. Personally developed by Steven Spielberg himself, the follow-up finds the dream of a dinosaur theme park fully realized when–surprise!–something goes terribly wrong. Safety Not Guaranteed director Trevorrow makes a big step up from independent dramas to franchise filmmaking, and it appears that he’s swinging for the fences when it comes to switching things up.

    Inside Out

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    Release Date: June 19th
    Director: Pete Docter
    Voice Cast: Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling, Bill Hader, Lewis Black, Phyllis Smith, Diane Lane, Kyle MacLachlan, and Kaitlyn Dias
    The folks at Pixar took 2014 off entirely due to the last-minute delay of The Good Dinosaur, so Inside Out will act as our first new Pixar film since the summer of 2013. The feature marks the triumphant return of director Pete Docter, whose past two Pixar features Up and Monsters, Inc. still rank among the studio’s very best. This time he sets his sights on a uniquely told story that revolves around the anthropomorphized emotions that live inside us all. If the first trailer is any indication, we’re in for a delightful ride.

    Terminator: Genisys

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    Release Date: July 1st
    Director: Alan Taylor
    Cast: Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney, Jason Clarke, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Matt Smith, Byung-hun Lee, Dayo Okeniyi, Courtney B. Vance, and J.K. Simmons
    Here’s a film that is both a reboot and a sequel. Essentially pretending that Terminator: Salvation never existed, Genisys treads familiar territory by finding Kyle Reese (Courtney) once again being sent back in time by John Connor (Jason Clarke) in order to prevent his mother’s death by Terminator. However, when Reese gets to his destination (ie. the setting of the original The Terminator) things are very, very different. The first trailer for this one didn’t really go over all that well, but it’s possible Genisys packs more surprises that make this a franchise worth continuing.

    Ant-Man

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    Release Date: July 17th
    Cast: Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Bobby Cannavale, Michael Pena, and Judy Greer
    We once again get a double dose of Marvel outings in 2015, and if Avengers: Age of Ultron acts as the big Phase Two finale, Ant-Man is the postscript. You’re no doubt well aware of the rocky road to production of this film, but Marvel recovered rather quickly after Edgar Wright’s departure and the July 2015 release date stuck, so everyone is eager to see what director Peyton Reed brings to the MCU in what serves as Paul Rudd’s superhero movie debut.

    The Fantastic Four

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    Release Date: August 7th
    Director: Josh Trank
    Cast: Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan, Jamie Bell, Toby Kebbell, and Tim Blake Nelson
    This is an odd scenario in which we still know next-to-nothing about this film—we haven’t even seen an official (or non-official) image of anyone in costume. Odds are Trank has put together a very different kind of superhero film and Fox is being careful with the way they introduce this reboot to audiences; we’ll know soon enough.

    Spectre

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    Release Date: November 6th
    Director: Sam Mendes
    Cast: Daniel Craig, Christoph Waltz, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw, Lea Seydoux, Dave Bautista, Andrew Scott, and Monica Bellucci
    With Skyfall, director Sam Mendes crafted one of the most successful James Bond installments of all time, so it’s safe to say expectations are high for his return to the franchise.

    The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part II

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    Release Date: November 20th
    Director: Francis Lawrence
    Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Woody Harrelson, Liam Hemsworth, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Elizabeth Banks, Sam Claflin, Jena Malone, Natalie Dormer, Gwendoline Christie, Toby Jones, Stanley Tucci, Jeffrey Wright, and Donald Sutherland
    The Hunger Games is one of the most popular franchises in recent memory, with it finally coming to an end with the final installment this fall.

    The Good Dinosaur

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    Release Date: November 25th
    Director: Peter Sohn
    Voice Cast: Lucas Neff, Bill Hader, Neil Patrick Harris, John Lithgow, Frances McDormand, and Judy Greer
    While 2014 went without a new Pixar film, 2015 may be the first year that we get two if things go according to plan. The Good Dinosaur suffered some significant creative changes behind-the-scenes, but all now seems to be running smoothly with a story that answers the question: what would happen if the dinosaurs never went extinct? Described as a buddy comedy, the film follows the adventures of a dinosaur named Arlo and his unlikely human companion.

    The Martian

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    Release Date: November 25th
    Director: Ridley Scott
    Cast: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kate Mara, Kristen Wiig, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sebastian Stan, Mackenzie Davis, Michael Pena, and Sean Bean
    Boasting a script by Drew Goddard (The Cabin in the Woods), this adaptation tells the story of an astronaut stranded on Mars who must find his way home. That’s a simple enough premise, but Scott has put together a pretty stellar ensemble cast and will no doubt be crafting some impressive visual set pieces. Will the film be different enough to avoid Gravity comparisons? We’ll find out this fall.

    Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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    Release Date: December 18th
    Director: J.J. Abrams
    Cast: John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Lupita Nyong’o, Domhnall Gleeson, Gwendoline Christie, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, Kenny Baker, and Max von Sydow
    J.J. Abrams kicks things off by setting up this new series of sequels and spinoffs, but the strong connection to the franchise’s history comes from the involvement of the original trio: Ford, Hamill, and Fisher. The first teaser was a fantastic glimpse at this 21st century Star Wars, and there will no doubt be a fever pitch of anticipation come December.

    Mission Impossible 5

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    Release Date: December 25th
    Director: Christopher McQuarrie
    Cast: Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Rebecca Ferguson, Alec Baldwin, Sean Harris, and Simon McBurney
    Star Wars isn’t the only film coming out this December, as the next entry in the Mission: Impossible franchise is also poised for release. McQuarrie most recently did a fantastic job helming Cruise in the underrated Jack Reacher, so everyone is curious to see what sort of POV he brings to the Mission: Impossible series. Ghost Protocol is going to be tough to top in the set piece territory, but McQuarrie’s a gifted writer and penned the screenplay for M:I 5 as well, so we’re hopefully in for a wonderfully compelling story.

     
  • Justin 11:24 pm on December 16, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , JRR Tolkien, , LOTR, , , Smaug, The Battle of the Five Armies,   

    Battle of the Five Armies Review | More of the Same 

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    Picking up from where the cliffhanger of the last movie left off, this action-oriented installment opens with protagonist Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) and his dwarf pals fretting over having unwittingly awakened Smaug (Benedict Cumberbatch). If you can’t remember, last year’s The Desolation of Smaug ended with the dragon leaving his mountain lair and heading to Lake-town to do some old school fire damage on the town.

    The Battle of the Five Armies, the conclusion to The Desolation of Smaug also starts so abruptly, you’ll be checking to make sure you haven’t arrived after the movie had started. It’s been a year since the second installment ended, but Jackson treats it like yesterday, cranking up the film just frames after the last movie stopped dead in its dragon tracks. Even the good-natured Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman) doesn’t have enough screen time to bring his tender, journeyman touch to the tale. Freeman, who is a great actor, can’t make a role work when he’s reduced to a footnote in the story.

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    There was a time when fields covered with thousands of warriors would have been impressive enough. But audiences are too savvy to filmmaking to be blinded by quantity over quality. The battles aren’t as crisp as they should be in the 3-D version. The process always darkens the image and this movie’s inherently lack of lighting suffers more because of the gimmicky film process.

    Jackson’s skill as a storyteller — that was so well displayed in the original Lord of the Rings trilogy — has been once again replaced by a mishmash of action with recycled characters. The most annoying example is Ryan Cage’s role of Lake-town flunky Alfrid, which has been expanded from a meaningless player to a painfully unfunny comic relief. Appearances by Cate Blanchett as Galadriel, Hugo Weaving as Elrond and Christopher Lee as Saruman feel forced, as if Jackson was more interested in giving loyal fans a treat than keeping to the story structure. Just because this is the “end” doesn’t mean everyone needs to take a curtain bow. Legolas (Orlando Bloom) is also back and has become a video game character; at one point he literally jumps up falling blocks (Weta Digital just needed to include that sound that Mario makes when he jumps in the air).

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    The two main problems with The Battle of the Five Armies is the abrupt leap into the story coupled with an over indulgence in computer-generated military chaos. In a film series that has pressed the importance of even the simplest person, the last film replaces the oneness of a touching story with the blinding fury of the action sequences.

    It’s not a bad ending to the Hobbit’s unexpected journey, but it does not reach the standard set by the other films. Aside from Bilbo, the final chapter of The Hobbit trilogy is a sad shell of the franchise filled with dull set pieces and action sequences we care little about. Jackson earned his emotions and “perseverance and true bravery” themes in The Lord of the Rings. By comparison, The Battle of the Five Armies says “greed is bad”, which is pretty lame given this trilogy is based on one book, and cost ~$750 million to make, while also bringing in ~$2 billion to date.

    Grade: C

     
  • Justin 12:36 am on July 15, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    Michael Bay Films: Poorly Reviewed and Seen by Everyone 

    It’s no surprise that Michael Bay’s films either make you happy (#awesome) or make you mad (#trash).

    Given Transformers 4: Age of Extinction, with a 17% on Rottentomatoes.com, just became the highest grossing movie of the year (with a global box office of ~775 million), I thought it would be nice to just take a look back at how Bay’s movies have historically performed and how they’ve been reviewed (courtesy of BoxOfficeMojo.com and RottenTomatoes.com). The red line is the rotten tomato score with the US and non-US movie box office gross (in millions of dollars, and not accounting for inflation) of all of Bay’s movies (not including Pain and Gain given it’s more of a outlier when you look at Bay’s movies).

    Revenue

    Not surprisingly, the results are exactly what you would have guessed. And keep in mind, Transformers 4, the worst reviewed movie from Bay to date, has only been in theaters for about two weeks….

    So, sequels it is. It’s quite sad given good one-off movies like Edge of Tomorrow didn’t get much fanfare while having glowing reviews (a 90% on Rottentomatoes), with good word of mouth just not being enough. Many of the highest grossing  movies this year, like most years, are sequels (http://boxofficemojo.com/yearly/chart/?yr=2014&p=.htm). And good one-offs like Edge of Tomorrow, while it did well overseas, no one here saw. Say what you will about sequels, but sequels make money.

     
  • Justin 3:32 pm on April 6, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Anthony Mackie, , , Cobie Smulders, Hayley Atwell, , Robert Redford, , , Sebastian Stan, The Winter Soldier   

    Captain America: The Winter Soldier Review | Just Go See the Movie 

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    By now, you’ve heard the buzz around Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and it is well justified. While it may not top the Avengers, particularly in spectacle, this is the first Marvel Studios movie since the original Iron Man that really stands on its own, and across all Marvel movies, is probably the most emotionally mature in both themes and acting. The movie accomplishes being a great action flick and cloak-and-dagger thriller that also pushes the Marvel universe forward as opposed to being another standalone where you ask yourself where the other Avengers are and should they be helping.

    Early on, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), the embattled director of S.H.I.E.L.D., dispatches Steve Rogers, a.k.a. Captain America, and Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), a.k.a. Black Widow, on a mission to rescue a naval ship overtaken by pirates. But Fury also plays the two against each other, and it turns out that it’s Nick himself who’s under siege.

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    Casting Robert Redford, an old Hollywood veteran, to shore up its ensemble cast, adds further integrity and gravitas to the movie and to the threat at hand (and everyone is correct, it conjures up Redford’s classic spy and political thrillers from back in the day). And by tweaking this sequel to play more like a cloak-and-dagger thriller than a special-effects blowout (though of course there’s plenty of that too), directors Anthony and Joe Russo have delivered an unusually satisfying and substantive superhero movie.

    Redford’s well-dressed Alexander Pierce is a senior S.H.I.E.L.D. official with a long history with Nick Fury, who remains the terse center with which the whole Marvel Universe has revolved around to some extent. However, The Winter Soldier smartly throws things off-kilter when Fury is brutally assaulted in broad daylight by a masked, cybernetically enhanced assassin (the Winter Soldier) who has an inside line on S.H.I.E.L.D.’s operational protocol. And when Steve Rogers/Captain America tries to figure out who ordered the hit, he finds himself on the outs with the suddenly unstable spy agency, whose agents are angling to take him down, and leads to a pretty badass escape by Rogers from SHIELD headquarters.

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    The idea of the red-white-and-blue-clad Captain America involuntarily matched up against the military-industrial complex that created him is entertaining, and Evans imparts a sense of disillusioned weariness to his performance that clashes with his character’s 1940’s stars and stripes stance. A scene in which Rogers clandestinely visits the Smithsonian to see an exhibit about his Second World War exploits is somber but sweet in a way that transcends the jokey glibness of the Iron Man franchise. It also counters Captain America’s image as a ’40s-era relic (he was the straight man in The Avengers) while evincing a fond, possibly foolish nostalgia for the unambiguous heroism of the Greatest Generation.

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    The Winter Soldier of course has plenty of action – every dollar of its estimated $170-million budget is onscreen – but it’s also got an intricate dramatic and thematic structure holding everything in place. For instance, Steve and Sam’s (Anthony Mackie) bond over the fact that they both lost wingmen in wars six decades apart is never overstated in the dialogue. In terms of acting Chris Evans gets high marks all around, from the action to the scenes with Redford. But kudos to everyone from Jackson to Mackie to even Johansson.

    But back to the action; it has some of the tightest and memorable action sequences as of late. The movie has three acts, with some very memorable action sequences particularly in the first two acts. Rogers’ escape from SHIELD headquarters shows off what makes him a superhero and the directors even accomplish having the audience believe that Rogers is in true peril, especially when he takes on the Winter Soldier during a pretty cool highway chase sequence. The sequences in the third act between the three heli-carriers are abit predictable, but you’ll be just sitting back and enjoying it all at that point.

    DC Comics and DC Comic-book movies, you’re running out of time for any chance to be taken seriously. And I have a feeling Bryan Singer’s action sequences in this May’s X-Men Days of Future Past may feel very flat in comparison now.

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    The movie of course isn’t perfect, but the flaws are minor and in no way detract from the overall enjoyment. The Winter Soldier is one of those fortunate and extremely rare confluences of studio vision, filmmakers, cast and script. The chemistry was simply right (I am not suggesting this is a fluke, as that would be disrespectful). Looking at past projects however, Marvel has gotten equally promising talents before but the end result still didn’t quite click. Whatever the case, the bar has now been set very high. Not just for superhero flicks, but for action films in general.

    Go see it.

    A-

     
  • Justin 2:59 am on March 3, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    But, the Real Winners are … 

    Best Actor:
    Matthew McConaughey for Dallas Buyers Club

    Best Actress:
    Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

    Best Supporting Actor:
    Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

    Best Supporting Actress:
    Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle

    Best Director:
    Tough one, but I’m going with Steve McQueen, 12 Years A Slave

    Best Picture:
    Also a tough one. I think we’ll see another movie and winner here with Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity

     
  • Justin 2:27 pm on September 1, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 2015, Ant-Man, Batman vs. Superman, Bond 24, Cindarella, Finding Dory, Inside Out, Jurassic Park IV, Kung-Fu Panda 3, Man of Steel 2, Star Wars Ep VII, , Ted 2, Terminator, , The Avengers 2, The Avengers Age of Ultron,   

    2015 will be a Big Movie Year 

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    With this weekend’s holiday comes the official close of the 2013 Summer Movie Season.  We’ve seen our share of flops (The Lone Ranger), hits (Iron Man 3), and surprises (Now You See Me), and while there are definitely some exciting films on tap for next year, keen fans have already started looking excitedly at 2015.  Why skip over an entire year, you ask?  Well, if all goes according to plan, 2015 will see a perfect storm of sorts, as a crazy number of massive franchises are poised to launch some highly anticipated properties.  Two years from now, The Avengers follow-up will square off against Batman vs. Superman, and a brand new Star Wars film is poised to open alongside the long-promised Jurassic Park sequel.

    As the Labor Day weekend is normally a time of relaxation, we thought it might be fun to look ahead to the craziness that will ensue two years from now.

    One thing to keep in mind before we get started: these dates are not set in stone.  As we’ve seen countless times before, studios shift release dates around or scrap them altogether.  As such, at least one of the following films will probably be pushed or shifted around between now and 2015, so don’t view this list as final.  That being said, here’s a look at the planned 2015 release date calendar as of right now.

     

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    STAR WARS: EPISODE VII

    Release Date: Christmas 2015

    What We Know So Far: Ah yes, the big one. A 2015 release date has been eyed for Star Wars: Episode VII ever since Disney first announced that it was acquiring Lucasfilm and making a new trilogy of Star Wars movies, and that is still the plan. We knew the production would be fairly secretive, but with J.J. Abrams onboard as the director it’s unlikely that we’ll learn much about the movie before its release. That being said, we do know a bit.

    When George Lucas handed the keys of the franchise over to new Lucasfilm President and Episode VII producer Kathleen Kennedy, he also provided all of his story notes and ideas for further Star Wars films. We know he has had conversations with Abrams about the new film, so it is believed that at least a portion of Episode VII will be based on Lucas’ existing ideas.

    Additionally, Toy Story 3 scribe and Oscar winner Michael Arndt is working on the screenplay, Abrams will be shooting on 35mm film, John Williams is providing the score, the film’s lead characters are strongly rumored to be the descendants of Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, and Leia, and all signs point to Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, and Carrie Fischer reprising their roles from the original trilogy in some capacity. We know that filming will take place in London and is set to get underway in early 2014, but there have also been many rumblings that the production is running behind.

    Abrams is known for taking his time when it comes to his directorial projects (Paramount originally wanted Star Trek Into Darkness for 2012), and Star Wars comes with just about the biggest baggage of any franchise. There have been murmurs that Episode VII may be released in December of 2015 instead of May due to the delays, which would break Star Wars tradition since all six previous films were released in May. As that early 2014 production start-date approaches, we may finally be hearing some official word soon.

     

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    THE AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON

    Release Date: May 1, 2015

    What We Know So Far: Marvel’s superhero sequel comes with massive expectations, but the studio is doing everything in its power to live up to the promise of the first film. Joss Whedon is back onboard to write and direct, James Spader is playing the villain, and new Avengers team members include Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Quicksilver and Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch (both of whom are currently in negotiations with Marvel). Tom Hiddleston’s Loki will not be appearing in the follow-up, as the Avengers will instead face off against the evil robot Ultron—to be played by Spader in a bit of truly inspired casting.

    Whedon has said that Ultron’s origin story will be changed for The Avengers 2, so don’t expect to see Hank Pym aka Ant-Man make an early appearance. Whedon has also revealed that Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow is “a huge part” of the follow-up, and has plans to expand Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye role as well. Filming begins the first week of March on what will act as Marvel’s capper to its Phase Two lineup of films.

     

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    MAN OF STEEL 2/BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN

    Release Date: July 17, 2015

    What We Know So Far: Batman vs. Superman. That’s it. That’s all you need to know. The as-yet-untitled Zack Snyder superhero film aka Batman vs. Superman aka Man of Steel 2 is likely to be the can’t-miss movie of July, and fan speculation is already at a fever pitch before a frame of footage has even been shot. Ben Affleck will portray a Batman/Bruce Wayne who is “older and wiser than Clark Kent and bears the scars of a seasoned crime fighter,” while Henry Cavill will reprise his role as Superman. David S. Goyer is penning the script based off an idea he developed with Snyder, and Christopher Nolan—who produced Man of Steel—has stepped back to an executive producer role on this follow-up instead of his more hands-on involvement with the first film.

    Filming on the untitled pic is poised to get underway in early 2014, with a large amount of location work to be done in Detroit and other Michigan cities. Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne, and Diane Lane are confirmed to reprise their characters from Man of Steel, but we still have no conformation with regards to who the villain will be or whether Batman and Superman will be allies or adversaries. However, this is the first time the DC Comics characters will appear onscreen together in a major feature film, so audiences will likely turn out in droves regardless of the story particulars.

     

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    BOND 24

    Release Date: November 6, 2015

    What We Know So Far: Odds are pretty good that either Bond 24 or Ant-Man will undergo a slight release date change sometime before now and November 2015, because having a Marvel movie go up against James Bond is a recipe for cannibalistic disaster. Nevertheless, Bond 24 is incredibly exciting for a number of reasons. Director Sam Mendes delivered one is considered of the best Bond entries ever with 2012’s Skyfall (Personally I thought Casino Royale was better), and after some coercing he finally agreed to return and direct the next Bond entry as well.

    With Bond 24, Mendes has his Skyfall writer John Logan in tow and plenty of interesting directions to take the franchise after introducing a new M (Ralph Fiennes) and Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) at the end of Skyfall. With such a long lead time to prepare, here’s hoping the filmmaker delivers a follow-up worthy of its predecessor.

     

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    THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY, PART 2

    Release Date: November 20, 2015

    What We Know So Far: Though we haven’t even seen the second installment in the Hunger Games series just yet, the finale is already dated for the Thanksgiving holiday in 2015. Catching Fire director Francis Lawrence is onboard to helm the two-part conclusion, Mockingjay, and fans of the book are keen to see how it all ends onscreen. While Catching Fire seems like it would’ve been the more practical book to split in half, Lawrence has Game Change and The Butler screenwriter Danny Strong on tap to pen the Mockingjay screenplays, so hopefully he’s sussed out enough worthwhile material from Suzanne Collins’ novel to make two satisfying feature films.

     

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    JURASSIC PARK IV

    Release Date: Summer

    What We Know So Far: The long-promised Jurassic Park sequel is finally coming to fruition, and it’s being eyed for release in 2015. Universal and producer Frank Marshall took their time in choosing the director for Jurassic Park 4, and it came as a bit of a surprise when they settled on Colin Trevorrow, the filmmaker behind the well-received time travel indie Safety Not Guaranteed. While the studio was initially barreling towards a 2014 release date, Universal did the admirable thing and pushed the film back to 2015 to ensure that Trevorrow has the time necessary to deliver his complete vision for the follow-up.

    JP4 has a script by Rise of the Planet of the Apes scribes Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, but Trevorrow is said to have performed a rather extensive rewrite. He worked a bit with Steven Spielberg to hone the story, which is rumored to return the action to Isla Nublar. There have also been rumblings of a brand new dinosaur, and Trevorrow will be shooting the pic in 3D. With filming likely to get underway sometime next year, we should be hearing more solid word about Jurassic Park 4 in the coming months. Here’s hoping the sequel is well worth the wait.

     

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    TERMINATOR

    Release Date: June 26, 2015

    What We Know So Far: While another Terminator film has been in development for years, Annapurna Pictures and Paramount are finally pulling the trigger on a reboot that is planned as the first film in a new trilogy. It’s still unclear whether Arnold Schwarzenegger will indeed be back, but the official press release describes this film as “a rebooted Terminator movie,” so it wouldn’t be a shock if the pic featured an entirely new cast of characters. Laeta Kalogridis and Patrick Lussier wrote the screenplay, and we should hopefully hear official word about a director any day now.

     

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    INSIDE OUT

    Release Date: June 19, 2015

    What We Know So Far: The first of two Pixar films slated for release in 2015, Inside Out is the next feature film from Up and Monsters Inc. director Pete Docter and takes place inside the mind of Riley, an 11-year-old girl who recently moved with her family to San Francisco. Instead of centering on Riley, however, the central characters in Inside Out are Miley’s emotions: Joy (Amy Poehler), Disgust (Mindy Kaling), Anger (Lewis Black), Fear (Bill Hader), and Sadness (Phyllis Smith). With both a wonderfully original story and a pitch perfect voice cast, Inside Out could serve as a breath of fresh air amongst the franchise onslaught of the summer.

     

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    FANTASTIC FOUR

    Release Date: March 6, 2015

    What We Know So Far: Chronicle helmer Josh Trank is onboard to direct Fox’s reboot, titled The Fantastic Four, and the young filmmaker has X-Men: First Class director Matthew Vaughn onboard as a producer. We still don’t have a firm start-of-production date for this one just yet, and it appears that casting has been tricky. Miles Teller was rumored to play Mr. Fantastic but Trank shot that one down pretty quickly, and there have also been rumblings of Elizabeth Olsen and Girls star Allison Williams possibly playing Susan Storm and Michael B. Jordon lighting up as the Human Torch.

    Whomever Trank finally enlists as his core castmembers, it’s clear that he is going young. Seth Grahame-Smith (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer) came on to do a polish of the script in February, but expect filming on this one to get underway sometime early next year.

     

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    TED 2

    Release Date: April, 2015

    What We Know So Far: While anticipation for Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane‘s directorial debut Ted was certainly high, few could have imagined that the R-rated comedy would go on to gross a whopping $549 million worldwide. Obviously Universal was itching for a sequel, but MacFarlane opted to shoot his Western comedy A MillIon Ways to Die in the West first. That film is currently in post-production and a recent report has the Ted sequel pegged for April 2015. The date could certainly change as the film hasn’t even entered pre-production yet, but MacFarlane and Mark Wahlberg are both game to return so it would appear the the only obstacle is scheduling. Again, not much is known just yet and the sequel could eventually hit theaters a little later, but make no mistake: Ted 2 is indeed coming.

     

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    INDEPENDENCE DAY 2

    Release Date: July 3, 2015

    What We Know So Far: Director Roland Emmerich is coming back to annihilate your Fourth of July weekend once again. Will Smith is not returning for the sci-fi sequel to Emmerich’s 1996 blockbuster Independence Day, but plenty of destruction is planned for the follow-up. Emmerich previously revealed that the story takes place 20 years after the original and centers on retaliation efforts by the alien race after their initial plot to conquer Earth failed. Bill Pullman is poised to reprise his role in the follow-up, and while there was initially talk of filming two sequels back-to-back, Paramount wants to focus on only Independence Day 2 for now.

    ————–

    This post was long enough so here’s the honorable mentions: Ant-Man, Cindarella, Pixar’s Finding Dory, World of Warcraft, Kung-Fu Panda 3, and Pirates of Caribbean 5.Some are new and potentially refreshing and some being tiresome (e.g. Pirates 5…)

    Again, it’s possible that one or more of the aforementioned films could be pushed into 2016, but as of right now, 2015 is shaping up to be one of the biggest movie years in recent memory.

     
  • Justin 1:58 am on July 29, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Patrick Stewart, , X-Men Days of Future Past   

    The Wolverine | A True Wolverine Movie and Warmup for Next Year's X-Men Movie 

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    Following the events of X-Men: The Last Stand, Logan/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is racked with guilt over being forced to kill the woman he loved, Jean Grey (Famke Janssen).  He’s resolved to put away his claws, and live in the wilderness.  His self-imposed exile is interrupted when the dying Yashida (Hal Yamanouchi), a man Logan saved during World War II, wants to say good-bye to his savior in person.  Reluctantly, Logan travels to Japan to honor the old man’s request, but falls into a web of intrigue when his healing power is stolen from him by the scientist/mutant Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova), and he must protect Yashida’s granddaughter, Mariko (Tao Okamoto), from shadowy forces.

    While the movie has its flaws, it is fairly true to the comics, succeeds in being a character-driven story and provides a solo / self-contained Wolverine story that holds up well in the age of big superhero movies where cities are blown up. I dare say it also has the best post-credits scene ever.

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    The movie  manages to hold together even though Wolverine is torn between two plotlines that have little in common other than one plotline depriving him of his powers so that he can be physically vulnerable in the other.  Nevertheless, these two tones veer between serious drama and cartoonish action, and the former is far more rewarding.  It lets Director James Mangold engage in imagery and atmosphere whereas the special effects driven set pieces feel like a sop to the action blockbuster superheroes must inhabit.  When we see Wolverine in World War II, he’s a P.O.W. and metaphorically a caged animal.  That symbol representing Logan’s inner conflict—his violent, animalistic side fighting against his human desire for forgiveness and attempting to reconcile his immortality—is the more fascinating journey.

    We won’t know how anyone else will compare to Jackman until another actor picks up the claws, but he has undeniably defined the role on-screen.  He is the Wolverine against which all other Wolverines will be judged, not just because he had the role first or the longest, but because he inhabited it so completely.  Even in the absolute clusterfuck of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Jackman never lost sight of the character, and he always has an awareness of how to make the story come to him rather than chase the whims of the plot.  In The Wolverine, he provides some levity to the drama finding his humanity while protecting Mariko, and in the goofy comic book scenes he plays it completely straight.

    However, despite the strength of Jackman’s performance, those action scenes still make the movie an uneven and slightly less rewarding experience.  The movie admirably takes its time to build up to the first set piece, but when it gets there, it’s a cacophony of slicing and gunshots.  Somehow, the action becomes more cogent once they get on top of a speeding bullet train rather than fighting on the ground.  But the film has still made a jarring transition from character piece to its hero ducking and jumping over street signs like he’s in a video game.  Fighting a giant robot and a woman who can shed her skin is still entertaining, but it also feels much sillier when not too long ago our hero was previously coming to grips with his identity.

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    Thankfully, no matter how far the film goes to embrace its more cartoonish aspects, it’s still all about Wolverine as a character rather than part of a set piece.  His popularity is obviously due in part to his superpowers, but we’ve reached the point in movies where we’re seeing superpowers all the time.  Furthermore, blockbuster heroics have become so abstract that we’re debating how many innocent citizens have died so the superhero can save the day.  The Wolverine isn’t intended as a repudiation of other superhero movies, but it’s still a welcome celebration of the man who is the best at what he does even if it doesn’t involve saving the world.

    Grade: B


    I have to say, the best part of the movie for me, was the post-credits sequence (scroll down if you want to see). Looking forward to X-Men Days of Future Past.

    SPOILER WARNING:
    The scene opens with Wolverine going through the greatest hell any man or mutant can face: airport security (considering his bones are laced with metal, that must make him even more nervous than the rest of us). Whilst lining up to pass it, seeing an ad for Trask Industries (more on that later), he sees certain metal objects moving. Enter Magneto (Ian McKellan) .

    After warning Wolverine that ‘dark forces’ are on the horizon (this is presumably after he hands him a ring and tells him to chuck it into a volcano), Wolverine points out that he obviously doesn’t trust him. Magneto says that he’s brought along someone who will. Everyone in the airport sans our two focal characters freeze up and Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) zooms into scene in what is the fastest wheelchair driving of all time.

    In the comics Trask Industries creates the Sentinels, hilariously big gigantic robots that end up enslaving mankind after the assassination of a US Senator: http://groomsmenonfilm.com/2012/08/04/1004/. The story is one of the most famous comic book stories (one of my personal favorites). Trask will be played by Game of Thrones’ Peter Dinklage with most of the X-Men/X-Men 2 and X-Men: First Class casts returning. For now, Director James Mangold wanted a post credits sequence that wasn’t tongue-in-cheek (as to not take away from the movie), but substantive and meaningful for what’s to come next. 

    Personally I geeked out cause it was great to see the three back on the screen together.

    And of course if you haven’t seen it already, here is the teaser trailer for X-Men Days of Future Past:

     
    • Trev 1:40 am on July 30, 2013 Permalink

      Dude, you need to sleep more or drink coffee if you almost fell asleep in this movie.

      Also, the final battle may have been fucktacularly bad, but watching Logan go toe-to-toe with Shingen after getting his healing ability back, pissed off as all hell, was worth the rice of admission.

  • Justin 2:57 pm on June 16, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , David Goyer, Diane Lane, Henry Cavill, Laurence Fishburne, , , , ,   

    Man of Steel Review | The Franchise is Back on its Feet 

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    Generally I agree with the critics, who have in this case, given this movie a C or two stars, but I am really not sure what movie they were watching or what they expected. Man of Steel is far from perfect, but the hard work is there, and it shows as the movie succeeds as a entertaining piece of work, getting the superman franchise back on its feet.

    I’ve never been a superman fan; to be fair I’ve never read the comic books as a kid and high level, I didn’t get the proposition. He’s simply a alien, and yet his archnemesis is a rich human (Lex)? Given he’s kinda invincible except for kyrptonite, all you can do is (a) hurt the people he cares about (Ma, pa, and Lois and people in general) and/or (b) get some kryptonite…7 years ago, Bryan Singer who just loves Superman and Superman II gave us Superman Returns and like Batman and Robin, the franchise knew for sure it needed a break and some serious thinking…Enter Nolan’s team and Zack Synder’s, and we finally have a Superman movie, that is far from perfect, but is a pretty good reboot of a franchise. The movie takes on my biggest beef usually with Superman; he’s a alien. Snyder/Goyer and team completely work and build off that yes he is a alien and do something cool with it.

    Krypton is about to die, but the world’s chief scientist Jor-El (Russell Crowe) has built a rocket for his son Kal-El to travel) to Earth.  The infant Kal-El is imbued with the planet’s codex, which contains all of Krypton’s knowledge, in particular the ability to craft the species’ eugenics.  General Zod (Michael Shannon) attempts a coup and tries to get the codex, but is apprehended and sent into the phantom zone along with his co-conspirators.  Krypton explodes, Kal-El reaches Earth safely, is found and raised as “Clark Kent” by Jonathan (Kevin Costner) and Martha Kent (Diane Lane), but with the twist that Pa Kent truly wants Clark to hide his powers for fear the world will reject him, at least for now.  The adult Kal-El (Henry Cavill), eventually discovers his true origin, and then has to fight to protect the Earth when Zod discovers that the Last Son of Krypton—and therefore the codex—are on our planet.

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    The overarching narrative loosely follows the origin story we all know, but with many welcome twists.  Clark’s journey is viewed through the prism of his two fathers rather than him going through the standard story beats of discovery, fortress of solitude, join Daily Planet as a cover, and then save the day as Superman.  We’ve seen that so many times before.  In this new adaptation, the beats are there, but are rearranged and maybe given alittle more depth.  Most importantly, we see two different belief systems that get to the same end-game.  Jor-El believes that Kal-El should embrace his powers, and become a force of good for Earth to guide our planet to a better tomorrow.  Jonathan believes Clark needs to keep his powers a secret in order to stay safe or else humanity will reject him, but that eventually they will be ready and embrace him. At this point of course, Zod returns and all hell breaks loose.

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    Not getting into too much details many things about the movie work well. Krypton/the first 15 minutes are really great; from the visuals, to the setup, to Hans Zimmer’s music that as usual in these types of movies, engulf, rather than support the scenes, and its great. The cast throughout the movie is hilariously strong; from Crowe, to Lane, Costner, to Shannon. It’s sad that Morpheous does nothing more than run down city streets like a tidal wave is coming, but his character (Perry White) doesn’t do much anyway…so you either get a decent name or just don’t show this character…Adams does a good job as the new Lois Lane; they show us that she’s a great journalist, rather than just telling us; and while I’m never really convinced of her relationship with Superman, I don’t know how else to show it that hasn’t been done 1000 times before.

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    The fight sequences are pretty damn cool; doing things that people have tried, but done in a way we’ve never seen before on a matter of levels. Snyder has taken an understanding of Superman’s physical abilities and attempted to test them in a way that’s pretty entertaining. But they could have also edited and elevated the movie’s action sequences a bit more; I didn’t need a 10 minute special effects dazzle with liquid metal tentacles that ends with him just flying through 
    something to make it blow up. 

    The movie is far from perfect. It’s alittle too long, and we could have done without a couple of the action sequences, but like Batman Begins, the franchise is off to a very good start.  The ending of the movie (literally the last three minutes) mirrors Nolan’s Dark Knight Rises ending; a lot happens and then its over. While the idea that he’s hiding behind a pair of glasses and a dresshirt as a journalist is ridiculous in this day and age, I was already on board and enjoying myself and so the movie succeeds for me.

    Review: B
    6

     
  • Justin 1:38 am on June 4, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Game of Thrones, The Red Wedding   

    Justin Reviews Sunday Night’s Game of Thrones: “The Rains of Castamere” 

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    [WARNING, SPOILERS BELOW!]

    From Game of Thrones‘ inception, the Starks were set up as our main protagonists.  There were and are many houses and families in Westeros, and occasionally dragons, but the Starks were bastions of loyalty and honor, and they are a family we spend the most time with.  Even when they were split up, we still followed all of their exploits — Ned, Catelyn, Robb, Jon, Sansa, Arya, Bran and Rickon each had distinct stories and arcs and important roles to play.  That was one reason Ned’s death in the first season hit so hard.  If this show can kill off a main protagonist, is anyone safe?  In the last three seasons the answer has been a resounding no.  Still, Season Three has lulled us into a sense of complacency, which was ripped out from under us in “The Rains of Castamere.”

    First, two things that were out of place in this episode: (1) The sacking of Yunkai lost almost all impact against the Red Wedding, and while it was an important move for the finale, it felt out of place here. (2) Sam, what were you even doing in this episode?  I actually forgot all about his scene until I played back the episode in my head. This was the Stark’s hour, and they, after watching them for 3 seasons beginning with Ned Stark, deserved every minute of it.

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    Now, The Red Wedding has been foreshadowed for awhile, primarily this season, most tellingly when Arya looked apprehensively at the horizon towards the Twins, home of House Frey.  The Hound says she is anxious because the closer she gets to seeing her family again, the more afraid she is that it won’t happen.  She has a right to fear it.  The Starks were splintered apart in Season One and have never been able to find each other again.  Another cruel scene with this theme happened elsewhere in the episode, when Bran and Rickon were just on the other side of a stone wall from Jon.  What might their lives had been like, and his, had they been able to find each other then?  Instead, they passed like ships in the night, heading in opposite directions.

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    The emotional impact of the Red Wedding was gut-wrenching, startling even the readers with the addition of Robb’s wife Talisa.  The Frey’s betrayal and assassination of Robb might have been guessed by some, but Roose Bolton’s part in it was probably a surprise.  In the books, this is Catelyn’s POV chapter, and her expressing her horror over the proceedings was played masterfully by Michelle Fairley in the episode, especially in that final double-throat-slitting scene.  The silence over the credits said it all.  There was nothing left to say (Well okay I did think the last two deaths had blood squirting like Quentin Tarantino may have directed the sequence).

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    The Starks are the best representation of what makes the Song of Ice and Fire series so different from other fantasy novels.  The good guys do not win.  The Starks, our de facto protagonists, are tortured throughout.  It’s a subversion of heroes and happiness, two things Westeros severely lacks, and while it has its own merits, it’s also unrelentingly bleak.

     
    • the acne killer 2:49 pm on June 11, 2013 Permalink

      Exfoliators do a better job than tetracycline in sending
      acne killer packing. But the good news is they are vegetarians.
      Tretinoin, isotretinoin, found in generic versions of its painkiller Opana
      ER, which the internal elimination organs are unable to eliminate.

  • Justin 3:47 pm on May 18, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Star Trek Into Darkness | Parodying Star Trek in a Canon Star Trek Movie 

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    Star Trek Into Darkness, one of the biggest movies of the year hit theatres this week, and while overall reviews for this movie are very good, this is my official letdown (for now) of the summer as Star Trek Into Darkness is essentially a canon trek movie that is parodying a previous Star Trek movie; and the best one for that matter.  Star Trek Into Darkness  stumbles around looking for character arcs, themes, and a compelling, well-constructed plot. 

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    The movie starts off fairly strong with a Indiana Jones esque intro-event with Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) taking action during a away mission that saves Spock (Zach Quinto) and gets Kirk into some trouble with Starfleet as he is, as per usual, breaking regulations, but that’s what Kirk does best. Shortly after, Earth ( a futuristic London specifically) is bombed by a mysterious person names John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) that Kirk and the crew of enterprise are soon commanded to pursue. The crew is all back with John Cho as Sulu, Zoe Saldana as Uhura, Simon Pegg as Scotty, Karl Urban as Doctor McCoy, and Anton Yelchin as Chekov. Also we have newcomer Alice Eve as Carol Wallace (or is it Marcus…?).  And of course Benedict Cumberbatch as John Harrison. Though unfortunately Karl Urban/McCoy and Yelchin/Chekov are completely wasted. Cumberbatch’s performance is the best among all of them during the movie without a doubt.

    Again, the movie has a very promising beginning. And throughout the movie, as expected, the visuals and the audio are great.  And there are several action sequences that are very well done (though most have been seen before…and so are also alittle forgettable), but while JJ Abrams’ 2009 Star Trek was fun, witty, and smart with a opening that was quite epic (http://groomsmenonfilm.com/2013/05/16/top-10-star-trek-movie-moments-3/) Star Trek Into Darkness is not smart at all, and is unbelievably generic in its storytelling.  Now I cannot go into too much detail as to why I say Into Darkness parodies Star Trek because I’ll  be in spoiler territory, (but don’t worry scroll down to see it).  Yes your eyes will be on the screen for the entire 2 hours, there are certainly some laughs, and great sequences, but I honestly expected much more than a story that has been done  before. I think it’s average B reviews are appropriate; its a fine summer movie.

     

    Star Trek Into Darkness Grade: B/B-

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    [Okay here comes the spoiler warning!]

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    [SPOILERS BELOW!]

    Now, for the 800lb gorilla in the room. Yes John Harrison is Kahn. And I’m actually totally okay with this. The problem is the absolutely unoriginal story telling here. Writers Orci, Kurtzman, Lindelof, and  Director Abrams had four years to create a Star Trek that was their own, and they ended up stealing someone else’s movie.  Not only did they rip off a better film, but their script is still filled with lazy cheats, and building the story around the set pieces rather than vice-versa. The whole purpose of the alternate universe was to create new adventures.

    It’s truly Kahn in name only. A new story would require originality and effort, and no one wants to put in the hard work.  Instead, they continue to rip off Wrath of Khan.  They plagiarize Spock’s famous death scene but instead decide to “kill” Kirk.  There’s no real weight to this death (given there’s no decades-long relationship/we’ve only seen them together in two movies and we all knew Kahn’s blood would save someone in the end), so we know Kirk will be fine.  Abrams and his writers pat themselves on the back for reversing the roles, even though that role reversal doesn’t tie into any earlier conflict.  The death scene has NOTHING on the original scene; all I saw was two new actors re-acting the original scene; I almost thought it was a joke, I couldn’t believe it. Seriously  I almost started laughing. And Spock looking down at Kirk’s body and yelling Kahn was just embarrassing and that did it for me (Seriously he doesn’t even yell Kahn well….) Oh yeah and then Uhura just beams down and shoots Kahn in the back?!? (And don’t get me started on using the original Spock (Leonard Nimoy) to TELL Spock (Quinto) that Kahn is dangerous …)

    In Star Trek II, Kahn may be the villian, but the movie embodies everything about Kirk. The Wrath of Khan brings him a deadly nemesis from his past, who then forces Kirk to learn a harsh lesson, and lose his closest friend.  The movie embodies the best of the original series (the tense, naval-style battles; outsmarting rather than outgunning the enemy; an admiration for the creative and destructive power of science), but you can enjoy it without having seen a single episode. But if you’ve seen The Original Series, Spock’s death has serious weight.  It’s the end of a decades-long friendship, and the line “I have been, and always shall be, your friend,” gets the tears flowing.

    I clearly love the original Star Trek II: Wrath of Kahn, so most people won’t feel the way I do. Again it’s a fine summer movie; but if you want the real deal, go watch Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn. There is a reason it’s considered a classic.

     
  • Justin 7:35 pm on May 13, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Khan, , , ,   

    A Groomsmen’s Prediction on Star Trek Into Darkness 

    With its big opening on Wednesday, and its continued rumor and hype on whom its villain is, and the positive reviews pouring in.., I thought I’d take a shot at who Star Trek Into Darknesses’ villian is, and what may ensue.
    We are big here at reviews and box office predictions but not sure if we’ve ever done a box office story prediction, so here goes, keeping in mind all I’ve seen are the previews…

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    Prediction 1: I think the villain, John Harrison (Benedict Cumberbatch) is playing our infamous friend, Khan, the genetically enhanced superhuman who along time ago tried to take over the world. He was Kirk’s true nemesis back in the original Star Trek series and the best Star Trek movie: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan….

    Preview Evidence: He is “better at everything” and Carol Marcus (Alice Eve) is Kirk’s “love interest,” just like in the original series/The Wrath of Kahn

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    Prediction 2: Okay this is where I’m jumping here.., but, I think Kirk dies. If it is Kahn, then there must be some grand escape sequence where one must die just like in the Wrath of Khan, where Spock dies. But, assuming its Khan, then Spock can’t die cause it can’t be done exactly like before , just similarly as this universe goes…so to make it impactful, it has to be Kirk. Now how Kirk lives for the next movie, I have no theory but I really don’t think that matters.

    Preview evidence: A scene showing a hand up against a glass wall and another hand on the other side ( I know, I know…), just like The Wrath of Kahn.

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    Prediction 3: This is easy, the Enterprise does not crash. This is simple misdirection in the  previews. The ship may look like its crashing into San Franciso Bay, but the ship hitting the water clearly resembles / has the outline of the other (bigger) ship in the preview…

    Preview evidence: The preview ship crashing into water sequence….

     

     

    We’ll find out soon enough!

    Star Trek Into Darkness hits theaters in IMAX and 3d this Wednesday.

     
  • Justin 11:47 pm on March 25, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    With Hollywood Actors Abound on TV Shows, it’s a Good Time for TV 

    Aside the multitude of shows with great actors and actresses, from Jon Hamm (Mad Men) to Connie Britton (Nashville), from Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) to Julianna Margulies (The Good Wife), there are so many film stars now on the small screen that television is just fully stocked with quality actors/actresses these days.

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    Don Cheadle – House of Lies

    Maggie Smith – Downton Abbey

    Dennis Quaid, Carrie-AnneMoss – Vegas

    William H Macy – Shameless

    Claire Danes, Damian Lewis – Homeland

    Jim Caveisel – Person of Interest

    Robert Carlyle – Once Upon a Time

    Zooy Deschannel – New Girl

    Peter Dinklage, Sean Bean – Game of Thrones

    Jessica Lange, James Cromwell, Joseph Fiennes – American Horror Story

    Ron Perlman – Sons of Anarchy

    Steve Buscemi – Boardwalk Empire

    Alan Cumming – The Good Wife

    B Sides (and I use this lightly):

    Kevin Bacon-The Following

    Elijah Wood – Wilfred

    Enjoy it while it lasts!

     

     
    • Justin 1:34 am on March 26, 2013 Permalink

      How terrible of me. I’m watching HBO’s The Newsroom in the background at this very moment, and just realized I’ve completely left out Jeff Daniels and Emily Mortimer. Sorry Aaron.

  • Justin 3:53 pm on March 24, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    Friday Night Lights: Where some of its Stars are Today 

    A small show in ratings but a huge show in quality, which thankfully got plenty of love with respect to awards when the show ended in 2011 was Friday Night Lights. Even though I’m a fan of Dexter, Mad Men, and Break Bad, Friday Night’s Kyle Chandler aka Coach Taylor, won the Emmy for best lead in a drama series, and it was well deserved.

    While the show ended two years ago, the cast thankfully can be seen on the small and big screen. Here is a quick rundown of what some of its actors are doing today:

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    Kyle Chandler (Eric Taylor)
    Since FNL Finale: Super 8, Argo, Zero Dark Thirty, Broken City
    Upcoming Projects: Sundance fave The Spectacular Now, Martin Scorsese’sThe Wolf of Wall Street
    Though Chandler has yet to be top-billed or permitted to show much range beyond gruff authority, he is getting solid roles in good movies by very good directors — J.J. Abrams, Ben Affleck, Kathryn Bigelow, and Martin Scorsese. It’s pretty badass to see him in 2012’s best picture Argo, and the close runner up, Zero Dark Thirty. Eventually somebody will take a shot on him as a lead. You the man Coach Taylor.

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    Taylor Kitsch (Tim Riggins)
    Since FNL Finale:
     John CarterBattleshipSavages
    Upcoming Projects: Peter Berg’s SEAL movie Lone Survivor
    Unfortunately everyone’s favorite has had some pretty poor performing movies at the box office, but here’s hoping he gets his due. Director Peter Berg (the Director of the infamous Battleship…) is confident enough to take another chance on him with Lone Survivor, in which Kitsch will star alongside Mark Wahlberg as Navy SEALs who get ambushed during a covert mission in Afghanistan. 

     

    GAIUS CHARLES

    Gaius Charles (Smash Williams)
    Since FNL Finale:
    Grey’s Anatomy
    Nothing too big, but Grey’s is consistent work. While Smash was only around for 1.5 seasons, he was a fan favorite, and hopefully we see him do a bit more than just Grey’s.

     

    c6da654535d57de2c9acde616dbc5abc

    Adrianne Palicki (Tyra Collette)
    Since FNL Finale:
      Lone Star, Red Dawn, G.I. Joe: Retaliation
    Analysis: Like Charles, Palicki has been off the show for a while and able to try a few things; unfortunately, the critically hailed Fox drama Lone Star was axed after two episodes, and her biggest starring role (her turn as Wonder Woman on TV) ended before it started — though that might have been a blessing. Still, her role as Lady Jaye in March’s G.I. Joe sequel will at least get her face out there in something decently large. It co-stars the Rock, so it can’t be all bad.

    la-et-st-zach-gilford-the-mob-doctor-fnl-alum--001

    Zach Gilford (Matt Saracen)
    Since FNL Finale:
     Quickly canceled dramas The Mob Doctor and Off the Map, Dane Cook drama Answers to Nothing, indies Crazy Kind of Love and In Our Nature, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s The Last Stand
    We want him to be higher, too, but Saracen just hasn’t done anything exciting to tell his grandmother about. Also, the lack of upcoming projects isn’t too heartening. But how you cannot believe in #7.

     

    CONNIE BRITTON

    Connie Britton (Tami Taylor)
    Since FNL Finale: American Horror Story, Nashville
    And finally, the lovely Connie Britton. Britton had a steady career before FNL (a la Spin City), and that’s still the case after. Her new show Nashville has been doing well and while some may say its kinda low brow tv, I really enjoy the show. She’ll probably never get big movie roles, but she’ll always be near the top of the list for TV networks looking to cast dramas with a likable female lead with spark. Also if you don’t love Connie Britton, you have issues.

     
  • Justin 3:35 am on March 24, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Christopher Lee, , , , Piece of Crap, Shit, , Waste of Money, Waste of Time   

    Peter Jackson Takes a Dump on The Lord of the Rings Trilogy with The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. 

    I cannot wait for the “Honest trailer” on this movie…

    The-Hobbit-poster-2-4020

    Everyone on the site knows how I kept saying last year I had zero interest in seeing The Hobbit in theatres and that Director Peter Jackson was a sellout. With poor reviews, I pulled off not seeing. Finally, now being for rent, I thought I’d give it a try.

    Bottom line, it is completely unnecessary, badly paced, and you will have zero (probably negative) emotional attachment while you watch. I thought about shutting it off about six times. It’s just embarrassing as it:

    1. Takes 40 minutes for the character to leave Bilbo’s house and start the journey (no joke)
    2. There’s zero personal connection and character development
    3. The special effects are crap
    4. It’s just horribly paced (and its 3 hours…)
    5. Howard Shore just reuses the same music which makes you wish you were watching the real deal (the original trilogy and not this abomination). He does have one new theme for the movie but it’s used so often its feel process oriented/going through a motion (everytime there’s action sequence, “que the new theme!”).
    6. And let’s not talk about the hippie wizard….
    7. The scene with Gollum is okay. I wish it was better, but the movie just moves along with no weight and substance and unfortunately carries over to even the scene with Gollum and Bilbo (but Martin Freeman does well with what he has).

    I will say there is one scene, the meeting of the white counsel, which is pretty good. In that scene, Saruman (Christopher Lee), Elrond (Hugo Weaving), Gandalf (Sir Ian McKellan), and Lady Galadriel (Cate Blanchett) hang out and talk about what it appears to be possible return of Sauron. And for a brief moment, only for five minutes, do you get to see some good acting, some good dialogue and remember that while the Lord of the Rings has flaws, it’s a great trilogy.

    The movie just has no real point and should be called The Hobbit: An Unnecessary Journey.  And we all know that The Hobbit itself is simply a short story for children, lighthearted, and not carrying the weight of the Lord of the Rings. But with that said, that doesn’t mean this has to be a bad movie.

    Grade: C.

    What have you done Peter Jackson.  But, I’ll say it again, I cannot wait for the “Honest trailer” on this movie.

     
  • Justin 1:17 am on March 24, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Alan Arkin, , Steve Buscemi, Steve Carrel, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone   

    The Incredible Burt Wonderstone: A Incredible Bore 

    632070-the-incredible-burt-wonderstone

    As March movies go, I had hope that The Incredible Burt Wonderstone would be full of decent laughs; unfortunately the laughs are few and far between. Too bad given a cast of  Steve Carrell, Olivia Wilde, Steve Buscemi, Alan Arkin, and Jim Carrey. During the first 20 minutes, the movie has a good start as you’re introduced to magicians (Carrell and Buscemi) as kids and how they soon become very famous macigians now in Vegas. Sure the story is the time old story of a guy whose career is over, loses his best friend cause he’s so into himself, loses everything, but then learns what’s important and wins. I just wanted to laugh.  But after the warm-up laughs in these first minutes, the movie never quite takes off; in fact the movie gets fairly quiet halfway through, which ultimately led to me and my date falling asleep during the movie.

    Burt_Wonderstone_a_p

    To be sure, there are a dozen pretty good laughs in its 100 minute running time but obviously they were just not enough. Moreover, when there are laughs, they’re around the one person and character that has great energy in the movie: Jim Carrey. When he does appear, you look forward to it. At one point you may think, the movie should be about his character. Overall the movie is too mushy when it comes to plot and humor. Carrey is in classic form with a craziness in his eyes that makes you remember his great movies but his appearances are brief.

    Save your money; and at best, rent this. And with this review in mind, enjoy the movie more.

    Grade: B-

     
  • Justin 4:53 pm on March 23, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Fast and Furious 6, GI Joe 2, , , Pain and Gain, , The Great Gatsby, The Hangover Part III   

    2013's Big Movies: From March to May 

    They always say “this is the year of sequels,” but 2013 may top them all when you look at the number of blockbusters this year that are sequels or spinoffs.

    While the summer months like June or July don’t have your typical big blockblusters, there are plenty of big movies with big stars and big directors: a Roland Emmerich film, a new Superman movie, a new Iron Man movie, and the return (hopefully to form) of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine with op director James Mangold. We even have a movie from Michael Bay that is low budget and has nothing to do with big giant robots, Neil Blomkamp’s first movie since District 9, to JJ Abrams directing what will be one of the biggest movies of the year. Here’s Part 1 of the rundown of big movies in 2013, from March to May:

     

    GI Joe Retaliation (March 29th)

    Director: John Chu

    Cast: Channing Tatum, Bruce Willis, Dwayne Johnson, Ray Stevenson, Adrianne Palicki, Ray Park, Jonathan Pryce

    While originally a summer 2012 movie, a set of factors got this movie delayed to what will now be end of March. Not exactly something I’ll see in theatres, but it surely will do well.

     

    Oblivion (April 12th)

    Director: Joseph Kosinski

    Cast: Tom Cruise, Olga Kurylenk, Andrea Riseborough, Nikolaj Coster Waldau, Melissa Leo, Morgan Freeman

    Director Joseph Kosinki had his directorial debut in 2010 with Tron Legacy and returns this April with Oblivion. While Tron Legacy has its imperfections, I remain a big fan of it, especially of its visual style, which has not been lost based on this preview, which has me excited to see Kosinki’s new movie lead by Tom Cruise this April.

     

    Pain and Gain (April 26th)

    Director: Michael Bay

    Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Mark Wahlber, Tony Shalhoub, Anthony Mackie

    A Michael Bay film that doesn’t at first glance look like a Michael Bay film makes you scratch your head. Bay apparently has been wanting to do this low-brow project for some time. And it looks like he may just pull of alittle successful hit with it. Savor it now before he returns to the world of gigantic robots as he brings and directs Transformers 4 to the screen in 2015.

     

    Iron Man 3 (May 3rd)

    Director: Shane Black

    Cast: Robert Downey Jr, Don Cheadle, Ben Kingsley, Gwyneth Paltrow, Ashley Hamilton, James Badge Dale, Paul Bettany

    Iron Man 2 in general fell alittle short of expectation after the success of Iron Man. With great support in the interim by 2012’s The Avengers, but most importantly IM3 having a strong cast, a decent director, and more time for the script and production, Iron Man 3 will hopefully what we want it to be and bring back the fun and adventure of the original. The new trailer is pretty sweet.

     

    The Great Gatsby (May 10th)

    Director: Baz Luhrmann

    Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan, Isla Fisher

    Acclaimed director Baz Luhrmann (Romeo + Juliet; Moulin Rouge) has brought F Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby to the big screen. While I’m a not a big fan of his work, I certainly appreciate it and the high caliber visuals and cast he has going should make this a good one in May which is filled with some pretty big movies such as Iron Man 3 and Star Trek.

     

    Star Trek Into Darkness (May 17th)

    Director: JJ Abrams

    Cast: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Anton Yelchin, Simon Pegg, Benedict Cumberbatch, Bruce Greenwood

    JJ Abrams brought new life into one of the most famous media franchises created with a Star Trek reboot that was not only for hardcore fans but the everyday person, making an action adventure that was big on characters and not just ships in space. Star Trek Into Darkness is looking like the “The Dark Knight” or “Wrath of Kahn” for this new Star Trek trilogy. What is expected to be one of the biggest movies of the year is looking pretty good based on the previews.

     

    Fast and Furious 6 (May 24th)

    Director: Justin Lin

    Cast: Vin Diesel,Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Gina Carano, Luke Evans, Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson

    I think I’ve only seen the first one. I think it is safe to say no one ever expected a sixth, but the Fast and Furious is very much alive, with the last few movies doing very well financially domestically and abroad. Director Justin Lin, who directed the fifth, this new sixth installment, has already confirmed along with Vin Diesel, that a seventh is already set for 2015.

     

    The Hangover Part III (May 24th)

    Director: Todd Phillips

    Cast: Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Zach Galifianakis, Ed Helms, Mike Tyson, Ken Jeong, Mike Epps, Heather Graham, John Goodman, Jamie Chung

    Yeah, there’s one more. The sequel was terrible, but of course a huge hit at the box office given the first one. This third will undoubtedly turn a very nice profit. Yeah, that means there could even be a fourth. It’s up to you people, it’s up to you.

     
    Come June and July, the summer rolls on with After Earth, Man of Steel, Monster’s University, Kick-Ass 2, White House Down, Despicable Me 2, Pacific Rim, and The Wolverine.

     
  • Justin 2:23 am on January 27, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    Anna Paquin, Ellen Page, and Shawn Ashmore will reprise roles in X-Men Sequel 

    x-men-days-of-future-past-anna-paquin-ellen-page-shawn-ashmore-slice

    Director Bryan Singer looks to be returning to the X-Men franchise with a bang, making one incredibly ambitious film with the X-Men: First Class sequel X-Men: Days of Future Past. Singer, Director of X-Men, X-Men 2, and now X-Men Days of Future Past,  revealed on Twitter today that Anna Paquin (Rogue), Ellen Page (Kitty Pryde), and Shawn Ashmore (Iceman) will also be joining the cast of Days of Future Past.

    x-men-shawn-ashmore-ellen-page

    So in addition to First Class stars Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, and Jennifer Lawrence, we previously learned that X-Men actors Ian McKellan, Patrick Stewart, and Hugh Jackman will be reprising their roles in the upcoming follow-up.  The story involves time travel and alternate realities, so the mixing of the younger actors and older actors fits well within the film’s complex plot in one of the most famous comic book stories out there.

    X-Men DFP
    The overall plot of the story essentially centers on the characters in the past being warned about and—trying to avoid—a very unappealing dystopian future.  In the comics arc, Kitty Pryde plays a major role as she communicates with the characters in the past to warn them of a major assassination that’s going to take place in her present.  In addition to the aforementioned actors/characters, the story also involves the character of Colossus, so we could possibly see Daniel Cudmore return or the role recast.

    I am excited to see this movie, and I hope it delivers.  X-Men: Days of Future Past opens on July 18, 2014.

     
  • Justin 11:27 pm on January 24, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Lucasfilm, , Star Trek Intro Darkness, ,   

    JJ Abrams to Direct STAR WARS: EPISODE VII 

    JJ SW

    That’s right. LOST creator and Star Trek/Star Trek Into Darkness Director JJ Abrams is now officially taking the helm of Star Wars as the Director of Episode VII. This is a bit of a surprise given Abrams himself said back in December that he would be watching the new Star Wars movie from a theatre seat and not the Director’s chair, but clearly that did not stay true for long. It has been reported that Lucasfilm Chief and Star Wars producer Kathleen Kennedy has apparently been courting Abrams for a while. So it appears that lens flares will now be a part of at least one Star Wars movie.

    It is kind of crazy to think that Abrams will now be behind the two largest sci-fi franchises in history Star Trek and Star Wars.

    The JJ Abrams directed Star Trek Into Darkness, one of the biggest movies of 2013, will hit theatres this May.

    The JJ Abrams directed Star Wars Episode VII, will hit theatres Summer 2015.

     
    • Winklevii Twins 3:32 am on February 5, 2013 Permalink

      that would be cool if he introduces a new character like I don t know……. a smoke monster?

  • Justin 1:00 am on January 17, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    MOVIE 43 | Six Degrees of Separation Featurette 

    MOVIE-43-POSTER_tq

    As you may or may not know, there are a insane amount of movie stars in MOVIE 43. It will star one of the biggest ensemble casts ever in film.  This new featurette aims to clarify some things with a little game of “Six Degrees of Separation.”

    In this featurette you’ll get the 411 on how Emma Stone, Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet, Naomi Watts, Terrence Howard, Halle Berry, Jason Sudeikis, Gerard Butler, Kristen Bell, Chloe Moretz, Josh Duhamel, Johnny Knoxville, Elizabeth Banks, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Richard Gere, Anna Faris, Justin Long, Liev Schreiber, Uma Thurman, Seann William Scott, Kieran Culkin, Leslie Bibb, Jimmy Bennett, Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant, Kate Bosworth, Patrick Warburton, Tony Shalhoub, Chris Pratt, Jack McBrayer, Aasif Mandvi and Bobby Cannavale are all connected.

    So what is it about? Honestly, little to no one publicly knows, which is kinda awesome. (though you can take a pretty good guess…)

    Movie 43 is directed by Peter Farrelly of The Farrelly Brothers (Something About Mary, Dumb & Dumber) and opens January 25, 2013.

     
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