Archive for October, 2012

Today was a bit of shock and awe for Star Wars fans as Disney announced that they have purchased LucasFilms for a whopping $4 BILLION.  Yep, not $400 million – $400 BILLION.  And that wasn’t even the most important bit of news for fans in the day.  It was also revealed via the acquisition press release that Disney is prepping a Star Wars Episode VII film for the beginning of yet another trilogy to release in 2015.

Bombshell.  Dropped.

So, what does this mean for the franchise between now and 2015?  Well, it all depends on who they get to direct the film – it should be noted that the press release stated that George Lucas would be kept around as a “creative consultant” on the new films.   Some early ideas tossed around are (the obvious) Joss Whedon, JJ Abrams, and Guillermo del Toro.  The problem with Whedon is that he’s pretty much married to The Avengers films – as both director and producer on a variety of Marvel films between now and The Avengers 2.  JJ Abrams would be a REALLY nice choice but he’s currently gearing up to film the next Star Trek film and I couldn’t imagine him directing both the Star Trek franchise and the revitalization of the Star Wars franchise.  That leaves Guillermo del Toro as my current favorite to direct Episode VII.  He’s got the creative mind and the style to come up with some really nice things for the Star Wars universe plus he’s a great story teller.  Something Lucas was good with in the original Star Wars trilogy.

It’s a great day to be a movie fan in general.  It’s time that Lucas passed the Star Wars franchise off to a new generation of fans and the future looks bright!

‘Iron Man 3’ trailer arrives

Posted: October 23, 2012 in Movies

The Marvel universe of films have been nothing short of fantastic and it all started with the original Iron Man movie and then sprouted from there.  Now, six films later, we’ve arrived at Iron Man 3 and it’s clear that this third Iron Man film will set the tone for the second phase of Marvel’s Avengers Initiative.

If you watch the trailer it’s pretty clear that the tone is one of redemption for Iron Man/Tony Stark as it looks like he’ll have to rebuild himself after the film’s villain, Mandarin, destroys Stark manor and seemingly destroys all of the Iron Man suits with it.  It also looks like this film will focus more on Tony Stark’s relationship with Pepper Potts (Gweneth Paltrow).  So we might be getting a love story/revenge film when it boils down to it.  One thing I should point out is that the past Iron Man films have been pretty light hearted and comical where as this Iron Man 3 trailer takes a very serious route.

Iron Man 3 is out in April 2013.

Fall usually means cooler weather, time change, Halloween/Thanksgiving, and football.  Well, it also means that new seasons for your favorite television shows.

Two of the most popular television shows happening right now are Dexter and The Walking Dead, two shows that continually push the envelope of what is acceptable cable television (even though Dexter is on Showtime, so naturally they’ll get more freedoms).  However, it hasn’t exactly been all hunky-dory concerning the two shows.  The 2011-2012 seasons of both shows could have been described as “lackluster” at best, boring even.  There’s been talk that Dexter has “jumped the shark” since the show’s fourth season where Jon Lithgow was arguably the creepiest serial killer since Hannibal Lector in Silence of the Lambs.  Even the last season of The Walking Dead, the show’s 2nd season, was low on the zombie killing and high on the dialog…not necessarily a recipe for winning in a show about killing zombies.

Dexter has gone through a very heavy character transformation since that pivotal fourth season where he lost his wife to a serial killer and became a single father.  The following fifth and sixth seasons were spent on Dexter having to juggle being a father and controlling his urge to kill.  Season five of Dexter was pretty good (not as good as the fourth) but last season – season six – was dismal at best.  However, the season six finale set up the events that have driven season seven so far – Dexter’s sister Deb finding out about his serial killing ways.  Now, here in season seven, we’re getting a wide open Dexter as a character.  He’s no longer trying to lie and keep secrets from the one person he might be in love with.  His sister is no longer wondering why Dexter is always trying to be so distant.  Instead the two of them are trying to figure out how to keep Dexter’s “Dark Passenger” under control while struggling to accept the morality of Dexter’s livelihood.  It’s compelling television because at last Dexter is finally at ease with himself as a person and that makes the show Dexter that much better.  It’s a shame that the show will be ending after next season, but if it has to go at least we’ll get to see everything out there in the open.  Kudos to the writers.

Speaking of kudos, after the snoozefest that was The Walking Dead Season 2, it’s amazing to see the transformation of all of the characters so far in this third season, and we’re only two episodes in.  Two episodes in and this season is already shaping up to be the show’s best season.  We last saw Rick’s group on the run after being held up the entire season on Herchel’s farm, discovering a prison in the rural county somewhere in Georgia.  Last season was full of turmoil for Rick and the gang; there was child death, best friend zombies, pregnancy, and a whole bunch of arguing.  It was more like a season of The Real Housewives of New Jersey or some reality drama like that.  A bunch of hens running around trying to find the head cock.  This season, so far, we get a sense of calm and direction – not only from leader Rick but Daryl, T-Dawg, and even Carl.  Lori and Carol even have direction and that’s perhaps the biggest change from last season where Carol was a mess and Lori just ran around fucking shit up.  Carl has even grown a pair of balls and is going off on his own (“get back in the house, Carl!”) and killing walkers, getting supplies and helping the group.

Rick has taken a more staunch approach in how he is going to lead the group and keep everyone alive.  We haven’t seen too much of Andrea and Michonne but I have a feeling that’s by design and we’re going to be getting a heavy dose of the two in the next couple of episodes.  It’s very refreshing to see the writers for AMC bring The Walking Dead back to reality and these folks being more real-world ready.

Both Dexter and The Walking Dead are seeing resurgence for their respective genres.  People were ready to give up on both shows as Dexter was left for dead and The Walking Dead was just that…the walking dead.  Now, because of perfect writing and better acting, both shows are dominating television once again.

I guess these Paranormal Activity films are the new Saw movies when it comes to the horror/suspense genre.  Halloween tends to bring out unwanted sequels and movie goers flock to the theaters to watch mindless drivel and propel producers to make countless other films that nobody really cares about.

This weekend saw a huge turnout for Paranormal Activity 4 which, to be honest, I had no idea even existed.  And I’m supposed to be the “movie guru”…whoops.  The film, which I guess follows the same timeline of events that the other three films follow, managed to pull in $30M – which is relatively amazing considering.  To put this in to perspective, PA4 did $20M less than PA3, which opened during the same time frame last year.  I guess people are starting to get tired of watching the same old shit.

In second place at the weekend box office was Ben Affleck’s Argo, which continues to have a good showing pulling in nearly $17M despite going up against mainstream shit.  Argo is perhaps the most significant Oscar contender to be released in October in quite some time.

Third place this weekend goes to Sony’s animated film that could, Hotel Transylvania, which has out performed everyone’s expectations despite not really being that good of a film.  The movie managed $13.5M, bringing its life total to $119M in just four weeks.  Talk about making your money’s worth.  The only other animated film that outperformed expectations like Hotel Transylvania was The Lorax, which ended up making $200+M, despite being just an average film.

Rounding out the top five this weekend were Taken 2 and Tyler Perry’s Madea Hunts a Serial Killer…I mean…Alex Cross.  The two films brought in $13.4M and $11.7M respectively.

Here is the top 10:

*Numbers in millions* (TOTAL)

1) Paranormal Activity 4 – $30.2 (NEW)

2) Argo – $16.6 ($43.1)

3) Hotel Transylvania – $13.5 ($119)

4) Taken 2 – $13.4 ($105.9)

5) Alex Cross – $11.7 (NEW)

6) Sinister – $9 ($31.9)

7) Here Comes the Boom – $8.5 ($23.2)

8) Pitch Perfect – $7 ($45.7)

9) Frankenweenie – $4.4 ($28.3)

10) Looper – $4.2 ($57.8)

 

Via Box Office Mojo

Oscar Watch – Pretenders & Contenders

Posted: October 17, 2012 in Movies

It’s fall and in the movie business that means it’s go time for all the films that have serious Academy Award aspirations.  Historically, films released in the months October through December have a very good chance at netting Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations.  However, the past two Best Picture Oscar winners – The King’s Speech and The Artist – were released in January.

Each week I’ll take a look at the major Academy Award categories with their pretenders and contenders.

This year looks to be a pretty good year for film (as last year was pretty weak), so let’s take a look at some of the Best Picture contenders:

Argo

Ben Affleck’s hostage thriller is being labeled as the best film of the year, and it’s hard to argue with that assertion when the Rotten Tomatoes review score is a 95%.  That’s awesomely high for Affleck’s dark comedy drama and could catapult him to his second Oscar nomination and his first as a director.  Argo, being released so early in the Oscar season, could suffer from falling by the way side – although I think the film is strong enough to maintain its high showing.  Argo might be the biggest CONTENDER so far this awards season.

 

Lincoln

Steven Spielberg’s Abraham Lincoln biopic Lincoln has been favorably reviewed from early screenings but one thing that stands out is that the film is slow, boring, and word is that the film’s star – Daniel Day-Lewis – gets out shone in the film by co-star Tommy Lee Jones.  It’s nothing against Tommy Lee Jones, as he’s a fantastic actor, and he’s long over due for an Oscar, which he hasn’t won since 1994.  The film however, if more than well done enough to garner Best Picture consideration.  I do think that Lincoln could suffer in the long run and get left out of the awards consideration.  I really think Lincoln will turn out to be a PRETENDER.

 

Life of Pi

This stylistic film about an Indian boy who gets shipwrecked with a tiger.  The trailer makes the film look fantastic but I’m always skeptical about those bright vivid films – like What Dreams May Come – because often times the plot, acting, and direction gets lost in the style that the film is trying to emulate.  The film doesn’t come out until the end of November and Ang Lee is the director so you always have to wonder about the direction when Lee is attached (won best director for Broke Back Mountain) but the film has been getting some pretty good pub early on, so you can likely count this one as a CONTENDER.

 

Les Miserables

The long-awaited musical starring Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway, which doesn’t come out until Christmas day, should garner enough pub and money to be a serious Best Picture CONTENDER.  Jackman and Hathaway were born to play these roles and could even garner Best Actor/Actress consideration.

 

Django Unchained

It’s been awhile since Quentin Tarantino has won an Oscar, since 1994 when he won the Best Director Oscar for Pulp Fiction, in fact.  While Django Unchained may be one of Tarantino’s more laid back films but the same was said about Inglorious Basterds too.  And Tarantino was nominated for Best Director for that one.  Django Unchained has enough star power to carry a well written film like this one.  I would expect the film to be a strong CONTENDER.
Of course there are other Best Picture quality films out there, coming to the big screen:

– Beasts of the Southern Wild

– Silver Linings Playbook

– Skyfall

– Flight

– Moonrise Kingdom

– The Master

– Zero Dark Thirty

– Cloud Atlas

– The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

 

Next week I’ll take a closer look at some Best Actor performances of note.

 

Come November 2015 all of us comic book nerds will hopefully be in a movie theater across the country watching Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man film.  It’s been a long time coming but Marvel has finally given the green light to the Scott Pilgrim vs. The World director.

A test reel of footage for Ant-Man was shown during the San Diego Comic Con back in the summer to much applause from comic book fans around the world.  The tentative date for Ant-Man is now November 6, 2015.

Wright said during the Comic Con presentation that the Ant-Man script was still being written with Joe Cornish.  Wright’s next film, The World’s End, stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.  It’s interesting that Wright is working closely with Pegg because I can seriously envision Pegg playing the role of Ant-Man.

November 6, 2012 sets Ant-Man up for a cameo appearance in The Avengers 2, which is due out in May 2015.

Via Cinemablend

This past weekend’s box office numbers aren’t too different than last weekend’s numbers, considering that Taken 2 still holds the top spot for movie goers.

Taken 2 continued its strong first two weeks at the movie theater with $22.5M, bringing its two week total to $86M.  That’s particularly good considering the movie only cost $45M to make.  It’s even sparked talk that script writing has begun on a Taken 3.  Yep, Liam Neeson has done it again.  I wonder who was the last “old” actor to become an action star late in his Hollywood career?  Sam Jackson is the only prominent actor that comes to mind even though he starred in action films in his young days.

Number two at the box office this weekend was the new Ben Affleck film Argo, about a hostage situation in Iran where an CIA agent concocts an idea to make up a fake movie in order to extract the hostages.  It had a surprisingly strong showing for an R-rated film, bringing in $20M.  The reviews for the film argue that the movie is the best film of the year.

Number three this weekend was the other new release this week with Sinister that brought in $18.2M.  It’s a surprisingly strong showing for a number three film, especially a R-rated horror title.

Rounding out the top five at the box office was the animated film Hotel Transylvania and Kevin James’ new feel-good story, Here Comes the Boom.  The films brought in $17.3M and $12M respectively.

Here is the full top 10:

*Numbers in millions* (TOTAL)

1) Taken 2 – $22.5 ($86.7)

2) Argo – $20.1 (NEW)

3) Sinister – $18.2 (NEW)

4) Hotel Transylvania – $17.3 ($102.1)

5) Here Comes the Boom – $12 (NEW)

6) Pitch Perfect – $9.3 ($36)

7) Frankenweenie – $7 ($22)

8) Looper – $6.3 ($51.4)

9) Seven Pyschopaths – $4.2 (NEW)

10) The Perks of Being a Wall Flower – $2.1 ($6.1)

 

Via Box Office Mojo