NEW IN THEATERS
- Beautiful Boy* / 100%
- Beginners* / 89%
- Mr. Nice* / 50%
- Submarine* / 89%
- X-Men: First Class / 100%
* = Limited Release
NEW IN STORES
- Biutiful / 63%
- Drive Angry / 45%
- Kaboom / 55%
- Passion Play / 4%
% from Rotten Tomatoes
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Because the first one didn't leave us happy enough, here comes "Happy Feet Two." I for one was fine with just one. The trailer is just over a minute and I felt I had seen quite enough. Is this supposed to come off as cute? Because I was left irritated. This trailer reveals nothing, except that there will be more singing/rapping penguins who are "bringing fluffy back." Looking over the plot description I read something about "The Mighty Sven," a penguin who knows how to fly. What's more? This caused me to learn Pink's real name! I will not be the one to tell you. The film comes out this Novemburr. That's it, I'm done.
Alexander Payne has a knack (nay, a gift!) for delivering stories deeply rooted in realism. His characters are often relatable, sometimes sympathizable, and occasionally pitiful. We see this in Warren Schmidt (played by Jack Nicholson) in "About Schmidt" and in Miles (played by Paul Giamatti) in "Sideways." I particularly love his segment ("14e Arrondissement") in "Paris, Je T'Aime (Paris, I Love You)" where a woman tells her French class (at least that is what I assumed) in needy French (again, what I assumed and was later assured) about her vacation in Paris, alone. In "The Descendants," a father is forced to play a larger role in the lives of his daughters when his wife suffers a boating accident. George Clooney seems a natural choice for Payne to work with. He can easily fit the bill of the characteristics I just listed. Payne's films find humor in the bizarre and wretched episodes that could very possibly show up in any of our lives. Rightly so, there are also very touching moments in his canon. "The Descendants" arrives on December 16th.
Rachel Weisz stars in "The Whistleblower" playing an police officer from Nebraska who serves as a peacekeeper in post-war Bosnia and discovers horrors of human trafficking. Think "Taken" sans the ridiculousness. This drama (and the drama herein) is based on the actual experiences of Kathryn Bolkovac. The whistles start blowing August 5th.
"Shark Night 3D" is no "Jaws." It seems that when any movie actually puts 3D in the title, they are showing their true colors. They simply making ride-movies and that is where their ambitions end. It may appeal to the same crowds who swam to "Piranha 3D" last year. The concept is absurd and the attempts to scare are oceans away from original. The best part of the trailer is a title card that reads, "And one of the producers of 'The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.'" (I am sure they are referring to the lackluster remake, not the original, which has its rightful place in the Horror Hall of Fame.) "Shark Night 3D" is directed by David Ellis who brought us two of the installments in the "Final Destination" series, the jettison known as "Snakes on a Plane," and a thriller I was thrilled by, "Cellular." As the trailer tells us, "On September 2nd your worst fears are about to surface." True statement in one way or another. (Here's an idea! Why not mix "Shark Night" and "Happy Feet Two"? That is a movie I would definitely go see! Musically inclined penguins running for their lives from a hungry king of the sea!)
"50/50" are the chances of Adam's survival after he has been diagnosed with cancer. Adam is played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt who I recently sung the praises for during my thoughts on the trailer for "Hesher" (which took the highest honors of that week's Trailer Round-Up). Gordon-Levitt turned 30 this year, but my goodness, he does not look it. He is like Leonardo DiCaprio in that regard, who he starred alongside last year in Christopher Nolan's magnum opus, "Inception." He is also like DiCaprio in that he is a natural actor. He began young and is currently one of the better ones. (He is also like DiCaprio in the coolness of last names.) "50/50" is a drama full of laughs, but feels far from light-hearted. If anything, I would say it is a heavy-hearted comedy. Fitfully, it captures the uncertainty and fear that accompanies misfortunes all the while finding the fun that should be found at every corner in life. The result appears delightful if somewhat crude at times. Philip Baker Hall, who I know and love from the works of Paul Thomas Anderson ("Hard Eight" and "magnolia"), has a very funny scene herein. Bryce Dallas Howard, Anna Kendrick, and Seth Rogan co-star. Rogan plays the reliable friend with unreliable advice, a schtick he is sticking with. He does it amusingly largely thanks to his comedic timing. Another delight is the included set-up for the "50/50" trailer. Seth Rogan introduces himself, Will Reisner (the writer), and Evan Goldberg (the producer). I would like to see this more often, at least when appropriate. Bringing out those behind the camera or having the actors shed their roles reminds us of the work behind the scenes. Anytime a film gets made there are untold hours of work that went into its making. The cast and crew deserve much. Such concepts recall the ending credits of a Bollywood motion picture. I am also reminded of the refreshing trailer for "The Bishop's Wife." For the pre-trailer message of "50/50," they joke what the film is about and then Reisner, who apparently this story is based on, concludes, "Find out if I live, go see '50/50.'" The answer must be as obvious as it seems: It is silly, but also poignant. I believe that is what audiences are in for with this one.
Toss of the Week: I have seen Michael Shannon in a few films (mainly in Herzog's "My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?") and Jessica Chastain in one (this past weekend in "The Tree of Life"). They were both incredible discoveries for me in those specific performances. Proof that there is no shortage of fine actors in the world today. In "Take Shelter," they star as husband and wife of a young family. As patriarch of the home, Shannon's character is haunted by visions of an apocalyptic storm that threatens his family and so he takes measures to prepare for such a possibility. Is he a prophet or is he mentally ill? He goes to considerably lengths, much to his wife's bewildered dismay. He sees a shrink or two. Then we have all sorts of crazy events going down! Consider me officially intrigued. I am a fan of film equations (as I call them), they will soon grow in presence here in The Film Tome. I thought of one after seeing this trailer. "A Beautiful Mind" if directed by M. Night Shyamalan + "Twister" = "Take Shelter." The chime-y music is quite chilling, no? "Take Shelter" comes from writer/director Jeff Nichols whose first feature film, "Shotgun Stories," is one I have heard plenty of good about. The storm will come (or will it?) on October 14th.
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Here is a fitting list for today, "Top 10 Films For Memorial Day Weekend." (A Google search for such a list brought me to Daily Press.)
If you have ever wanted to become well versed in the films from across the pond, I recommend to you Total Film's recent serving of "50 Coolest Britflicks." I for one will surely use this as a resource to stock my queue. Still gotta see me some "Trainspotting"!
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News from Middle Earth (and more below)! Over the weekend we learned from Peter Jackson's Facebook page that Orlando Bloom would be joining the cast for "The Hobbit." His playing Legolas in the trilogy brought him to the world and large (and into the binders of school girls everywhere). Seeing as that particular brazen elf ain't in "The Hobbit," he must be playing someone else (undoubtedly one of the wood elves).
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Any word on the progress for "The Hobbit" is good! Peter Jackson continues his wise decision to utilize Facebook as a way to advertise for the film and keep the fanboys happy. One of his latest endeavors is to answer 20 questions (of the thousands that are being submitted). Head over to Jackson's Facebook page for yourself to see "Question #1." As you will see (and learn the story behind the above picture), Jackson has a sense of humor. We must remember some of the films this guy was making before he landed the "Rings" gig. /Film covers the story in length.
In other news concerning hobbits, the two films have their official names: "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" (hitting theaters 12.14.12) and, as Biblo himself would approve, "The Hobbit: There and Back Again" (arriving 12.13.13). I love these subtitles and I love that we are bound to get 5 hours of screen-time for Jackson and team to tell my favorite tale! Confirmed by The Hollywood Reported.
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OR THE COOL
Over the weekend, China opened an $690 million animation facility in Tianjin (a port city near Beijing). The Hollywood Reporter's Jonathan Landreth reports, appropriately including "Kung Fu Panda 2" into the story. Hopefully in the coming years we will start seeing some animated films that are "made in China." As the article goes on to tell, Tianjin Film School recently announced "Legend of the Rabbit" (seen above), a feature-length 3D animation to take on the like of "Kung Fu Panda 2." Curiously enough, it is also involves a panda and kung fu. Methinks this is more than a coincidence...
Peter Jackson is not the only cinemator (yes, I just founded that word - "one who contributes to cinema") to be taking advantage of Facebook. Vin Diesel (who can currently be seen on the big screen in "Fast Five") has over 25 million fans and recently announced an upcoming "Riddick" film on his page. Apparently, he and David Twohy are working on an "R-rated" installment. Knowing this would mean less money, Diesel said, "Money is always second to art." JoBlo talks more.
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Updated on 6/1/2011