A WEEK IN REVIEW- 2.8.15
Like last week, this week saw much news happen with movies as well as television….Curious to see if you missed anything? Then take a gander below…. (more…)
Long delayed Jupiter Ascending was supposed to be the answer to Marvel/Disney’s Guardians of the Galaxy. With an original release date of July 25, 2014, the latest from the Wachowski siblings (I guess) went through several script changes, before conceding to a 6 month delay. Rumoured to be delayed for graphical enhancements and IMAX conversions, Jupiter Ascending is finally released. I generally dislike space operas and I try to avoid any title that starts off “Star…”. But as bad as the critics and its 22% rating on Rotten Tomatoes would suggest, Jupiter Ascending isn’t as terrible as the press would like you to believe. (more…)
As you recover from the “Big Game,” let’s shift our eyes (for the moment) to the big & small screen, because A LOT went down this week worth mentioning. Below you will find highlights (from the past week) pertaining to some of your favorite upcoming/existing films and television series (of course keeping in mind that these don’t include all of our already posted stories): (more…)
The idea of foreigners playing in the National Hockey League (NHL) isn’t something us fans think about. Generally speaking, we want the best for our team. I don’t care if my favourite team, the New Jersey Devils, drafted a penguin to play goalie; I only want them to win. And also not choke in the finals again. (Sigh) Back in the cold war heyday of the 1980’s, where mutually assured destruction of the United States of America and the Soviet Union straddled the line between ‘probable’ and ‘likely'; the Soviets looked to assert their dominance on the world stage at every chance. International hockey wasn’t any different.
In Gabe Polsky’s compelling documentary, “Red Army” we follow the career of Viacheslav ‘Slava’ Fetisov from a 10-year-old boy at tryouts for the Red Army Hockey Club to today. The film is a brisk 85 mins, peppered with archived footage pulling back the iron curtain a bit, as Fetisov shares with a bittersweetness life under Soviet rule.
A well-to-do lawyer, Elliot Anderson (Kevin Costner) has raised his granddaughter Eloise (Jillian Estell) since birth, along with his wife. Eloise’s mother died during childbirth and her father hasn’t been around. With the death of Elliot’s wife in a drunk driving accident; Rowena (Octavia Spencer), Eloise’s paternal grandmother is challenging Elliott in court for full custody of Eloise. Rowena’s claim is that Eloise would be better off with her paternal family, where she could reconcile with her estranged father. Elliot opposes and would also like full custody, due to the fact that he has helped raise her from birth. As compelling as family court is, the elephant in the room, yet to be addressed is the subject of race. Eloise is mixed, half African-American and Caucasian. Having Eloise live in an affluent neighbourhood, with the best schools and low crime rates, would be better for her than she move in with her paternal family in South Central L.A.; a high crime, low-income area.
When rummaging through old wares in the attic, David Raskin (Jonny Weston) and his sister Christina find their deceased father’s video camera. While viewing the contents of the camera, David notices something odd; himself. Sneaking through the front door, David looks at himself, attending his own 7th birthday party. Unfortunately, that was last time David saw him alive. Stunned by the image in the video, David along with his friends Adam and Quinn search for answers. This leads to a secret the discovery of a secret compartment in the floor of David’s father’s workshop in the basement. In the floor is a box and in the box are blueprints for a machine. A temporal displacement device, funded by DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, founded in the 1950’s.
After being let go from job of submarine captain for a salvage company, Captain Robinson (Jude Law) gets word of a possible job. A shady investor wants to back an expedition to the Black Sea, to recover Nazi gold left in a U-Boat. Not one to ignore opportunity when it knocks, Captain Robinson puts together a crew of English and Russian sailors to man the sub. The cramped conditions and dwindling morale hamper the mission, causes a series of life threatening events that forces the crew to fight for survival. (more…)
Whatever way you feel about 2009’s XMEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE (see pic below), one thing was certain, Ryan Reynold’s portrayal of the infamous “The Merc With A Mouth” (however brief) was memorable. So much so, in fact, that fans (along with those involved in the long in-development project) have been pushing studios to give the character his own solo adventure ever since. However, after receiving the greenlight recently (thanks to a much talked video featuring “leaked” test footage) it appears that we may now know where the film will be shooting… (more…)
Are you a fan of Gotham? Well, you’re in luck, because series star Ben McKenzie will be making the trip to both Philly & Chicago for Wizard World! Check out the details in the press release below.. (more…)
The war on terror isn’t only fought on in the craggy terrains of “Wherever-the-hell-istan”. If you have a Sony Playstation or have shopped at Target, The Home Depot or Marshalls within the last year, you were made very aware of the cyber threats to your accounts. Daily, hackers around the world are trying to infiltrate the security settings of anything they choose. Recently, the United States Central Command’s social media accounts were infiltrated. As interesting as a multi-national cyber task force would be to see in action; Michael Mann’s ‘Blackhat’ is the opposite of fun or plausible. What would’ve been a frenetic thriller along the lines of ‘Collateral’ or ‘Heat’, ‘Blackhat’ is sluggish and considerably dated, though the story was “ripped from the headlines”.
Doug Harris (Josh Gad) is less than two weeks from the happiest day of his life. Doug, your typical overweight, bespeckled man-child, has found the girl of his dreams, Gretchen (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting); but has yet find his best man. Being socially inept, Doug doesn’t have any candidates for best man, or any groomsmen. With time until Doug’s personal D-Day looming, he hires Jimmy (Kevin Hart) who is the CEO of Best Man Inc. For the right price, Jimmy will become the best man (or wingman) you need, regardless of the ceremony or its religious affiliation. Kevin Hart makes a pretty convincing Jew.
Even for Jimmy, fabricating an entire grooms party has never been done before. The idea itself is laughable, but not impossible. A lot has to go right in the next two weeks for Doug and Jimmy, for they’re risking everything to do the unthinkable.
So HBO apparently underestimated how much fan response they would receive (I can’t see how) regarding an IMAX showcase of arguably their most popular series…Anywho, to meet the demand of fans, the IMAX showcase will happen a week later than what was originally announced. Check out the details in the press release (released today) by the network.
Though 2015 will be jam packed with films (more specifically franchises) that I love, AGE OF ULTRON (sequel to the 2012’s AVENGERS) is undoubtedly the film that I’m most excited about….Bringing back all the franchise characters of the solo Marvel Studio films (i.e. see last year’s CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER or 2013’s THOR: THE DARK WORLD as examples), the sequel will see the team take on the villainous android Ultron (voiced by James Spader). The teaser trailer released this past fall gave a glimpse into what returning director Joss Whedon had in store for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, but the new trailer appears to promise something a lot more grand (and perhaps ominous?)! Don’t believe me? Check it out below…. (more…)
Starting next month, Cinedigm and Wizard World will be launching their joint effort known as CONtv. Featuring fan-favorite film, television, and original entertainment geared toward the comic con community, the new digital network will provide content enjoyed by those of the nerdy and geeky variety. One such series which will make its debut on the network is Last Fan Standing. Hosted by fan favorite actor Bruce Campbell, the show will give con attendees the opportunity to win cash and prizes. Sounds intriguing? If so, check out the press release (below, released today) which provides further details. (more…)
The Washington Jewish Film Festival (WJFF) celebrates its 25th year with 11 days of dynamic film programming – accompanied by cultural and educational events – exploring the best of international cinema through a distinctly Jewish lens. February 19 through March 1, audiences will be treated to more than 100 screenings and related events across the Washington area. Hosted by the Washington DCJCC, this year’s milestone festival features world, East Coast and mid-Atlantic premieres, an exciting roster of filmmaker and cast appearances, and an exquisitely curated line-up of screenings, festivities and other programs including 12 WJFF retrospective film screenings curated by former festival directors in honor of the 25th year.
“For 25 years, this festival has celebrated international cinema in building the single largest Jewish cultural event in Washington,” said Ilya Tovbis, Washington Jewish Film Festival director. “With our most ambitious festival to date, the 25th WJFF will honor a quarter-century of exhibiting the full diversity of the Jewish experience.” (more…)
Currently, it would appear that Marvel can do no wrong as they have struck box office gold with its heroes, both familiar and initially obscure (see GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY). In fact, the studio’s success is so remarkable and amazing that it has been parodied to hilarious effect (see the SNL skit below). (more…)
One of television most popular series (perhaps aside from The Walking Dead) appears to be making the leap to IMAX for one week only later this month! Check out HBO’s press release (released today) below regarding their series Game of Thrones:
The convention/”fan meet-up” known as Walker Stalker Con has announced some Walking Dead favorites to arrive at their event next month. Curious to know who will make it into Chicago? Check out the press release below:
As we all kick back into high gear from the holidays, Hollywood will likely (of course) return “to normal” in promoting their upcoming slate of films. However, as many of us have said farewell to 2014 (and have now welcomed the giant movie year that will be 2015), it’s always fun to look back and think of what could have been. With that said, thanks to DISTRICT 9 and ELYSIUM director Neill Blomkamp we have an idea of what could have happened with the ALIENS franchise. (more…)
Louis Zamperini of Torrance, California; may not be a household name. After reading Laura Hillenbrand’s 2010 thrilling biography of Zamperini, Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption; I couldn’t help but wonder whether a movie could be made. The book, filled with tense, gut wrenching and disturbing accounts of Zamperini’s survival after his crash water landing in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Danger lurked around corner for the Italian hooligan as a kid, that turned into an Olympic track star. Angelina Jolie’s big screen adaptation tried hard to replicate the horrors of an internment camp, but stymied by its PG-13 rating, forcing the film to dial down the emotional punches.
Ava DuVernay’s Selma, is a poignant, relevant, dramatization of the struggles Dr. Martin Luther King during the Civil Rights Movement. This would be an award worthy film in several categories in any other year. Due to the refocus of race relations in this country, within recent years; Selma (the film) is a timely reminder of Dr. King’s dream, how far we’ve come and how far we have to go until the dream is realized. A dramatization of events, that doesn’t come off as overbearing and pandering; Selma is the closest thing to a King biopic to hit the big screen. But it isn’t a biopic. DuVernay and screenwriter Paul Webb’s narrative touches on key moments in Alabama’s struggle for freedom. From terrorist attacks to impossible voter registration laws, to citizens being murdered in the streets; Selma would become the next front for the fight for civil rights.
In a movie where Robin Williams is Teddy Roosevelt and Attila the Hun among others, try to stop an ancient Egyptian tablet from eroding. Apparently, if the tablet dies, then the magic that brought the museum to life will stop forever. So Larry (Ben Stiller), and his waxed compatriots travel to London’s British Museum, in search of answers. Akmenrah’s parents are on exhibit at the Museum and could have the answers that threaten the existence of the crew.
The end is nigh. Finally, The Hobbit trilogy has come to an end. And what a way to go. Though it felt like the third act and a continuation of The Desolation of Smaug; The Battle of Five Armies doesn’t disappoint. Starting immediately after the events of Smaug’s escape of the Lonely Mountain and attack on Lake Town. With barely enough time to catch a breath, the pace is fast and furious throughout. It may be the best Peter Jackson film to date. Running a svelte, 144 minutes The Battle of Five Armies is the perfect conclusion to the trilogy.
The movie “Exodus: Gods & Kings” was swimming in controversy, well before its release. #BoycottExodusMovie has been trending online for months, though it’s unclear what impact it could have at the box office. The outcry is just. How can a big budget production, set in ancient Egypt, not give a single speaking role to a person of color. Used as background filler or lowly servants and slaves; the diversity in the cast, rivals that of “Birth of a Nation”. The old-school Jim Crow era casting aside, “Exodus” gets a lot of things wrong with the story. I’ll acknowledge the attempt to stray from the holy source material of the 1956 DeMille epic. I will not forgive the omissions of key plot points in the story. To say that “Exodus” takes liberties with the story is a bit of an understatement; after the revisionist history route instead, the movie sells you on the idea of the second greatest story ever told. This time in 3-D. (more…)
Adapted from Cheryl Strayed’s 2012 memoir “Wild: From Lost To Found On The Pacific Crest Trail”, Reese Witherspoon is does well to bring the emotionally distressed author’s story to the big screen.
The film opens with Cheryl looking out from a peak over a majestic valley. An abundance of flora and fauna burst with life and color, while Cheryl carefully removes her bloody sock, revealing her peeling toenail. As bad as that seems, for Cheryl, 26; the path to the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), as told through flashbacks, was a series of drug use, personal loss and infidelity. Inspired by a random guidebook at a convenience store, Cheryl puts her life on hold to finally take control of it.
The third time seems to be the charm for Chris Rock as director. With middling success as writer and director in ‘Head of State’ and ‘I Think I Love My Wife'; Rock comes back strong with ‘Top Five’. Recent film such as ‘Birdman’ and ‘Beyond The Lights’, give a glimpse about what the price of fame entails. For André Allen (Rock), who has successfully transitioned from stand-up comedian to comedic actor, gained his fame from the Hammy The Bear trilogy. Hammy, voiced by Allen, is a brown bear that is the partner of a human cop. Allen, who now is trying to distance himself from the $600 million franchise, looks to forge a new path in his career by starring in ‘Up-rise!’, a film about Dutty Boukman and the Haitian Revolution.
Cosplay, better known as costume play, is a practice oftentimes seen only at special events (i.e. at conventions, movie screenings, etc.); however, for a select few, this practice is a way of life. In the film, COS, PLAY, LIFE, for example, the latter is examined as the practice of cosplaying is presented as the device by which conflict arises in Wes and Julie’s (our two respective protagonists’) relationship. Though Wes is accepting of his new girlfriend’s cosplaying lifestyle, he soon discovers that he must contend with his friends’ unexpected prejudices.
Recently, I sat down with the film’s writer & star, Michael Lindenbaum, to discuss the film. In the interview, we chat about how the film came about (both in terms of its premise and its financing). In addition, Michael shares where the film can be seen next (on its screening tour) and he also provides hints regarding his future projects. Check it out below…. (more…)