NEW IN THEATERS
NEW IN STORES
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The "Paranormal Activity" series took America by surprise. The sleeper hit became one of the most profitable films of all time as it scared audiences around the globe. With an 82% on Rotten Tomatoes it proved to be a hit with the critics as well. What was all the more surprising was how good its sequel was. While not as novel the second time around, it added to the narrative (acting as a prequel to the first film) and managed to thrill all over again. This series is cruising the path paved by "The Blair Witch Project" (another one of the most profitable films ever made) over a decade ago. In story line, "Paranormal Activity 3" comes before both of its predecessors, being set in 1988. Sisters Katie and Kristie, who each starred in one of the previous films, are seen as children. I'm not sure how effective this third will be since we already know the fates of these two sisters. That said, even though we know the destination there can certainly be some scares on the journey, right? What has me more intrigued is that Ariel Schulman and Henry Joost, who were responsible for last year's great catch "Catfish," are directing this entry. The factuality of that "doc" was much debated. I for one seemed convinced of its actuality, but explained how that wouldn't really affect my opinion of the film either way. (Check out my glowing review for "Catfish".) "Paranormal Activity 3" will be haunting theaters on October 21st, just in time for that spooky time of year. Can we expect an installment in this successful franchise every October now?
"But is it graffiti if they're covering up graffiti?" a perplexed cop asks in the trailer for "Vigilante Vigilante: The Battle for Expression." Watch this interesting trailer and tell me what you think. Last year we received a wonderful documentary in "Exit Through the Gift Shop," directed by the world's most well-know (and then again least-known) street artist himself, Banksy. The legend's name is dropped in this trailer and we also see a casual interview with Shepherd Fairey. What Banksy and others have brought to the street is certainly an art form, however controversial. I feel that not all graffiti is created equal though, you might not even call a lot of it graffiti. And then there are people who paint over the graffiti! Cleaning a wall or whatever surface is one thing, but there seems to be a movement that just wants to cover it up, sometimes with even more paint. It is, as the tagline states, a battle out there. It is a hot topic to be sure. First-time feature-filmmaker Max Good's documentary will be in select cities (likely the cities where these kind of activities are so popular) on August 12th.
Shall I confess? I actually want to see "Puss in Boots"! (Wait, there's another "Puss in Boots"? Heck, I wanna see that one too.) "Shrek the Third" was an affront on the franchise. (Even the "Shrek 4D" attraction at Universal Studios had a better narrative.) Thankfully, I found the series had redeemed itself with "Shrek Ever After," probably one of the most pleasant surprises I had in theaters last year. I am confident the fine folks at Dreamworks can strike gold again (or at least silver). Puss in Boots made his first appearance in "Shrek 2" and has been a valuable part of the hero's team ever since. Now the swashbuckling kitty, voiced by Antonio Banderas, gets his own movie. "Shrek Ever After" made great use of the character Rumplestiltskin (no spelling suggestions, c'mon Chrome!) who we all remember from that rather creepy fairy tale. This time around Humpty Dumpty (y'know, the one who sat on a wall) makes an appearance, voiced by the increasingly popular Zach Galifianakis. who I am supposing if Puss in Boots were Batman would be a Catwoman equivalent (and hey, she is a cat woman!)A It took the fairy-tale romp mechanics we have learned to expect from the series and infused it with a relatable journey (a la "It's a Wonderful Life"). Yes, "Shrek" has proved that w Sure, there are always one pop culture reference too many that won't stand the test of time, but Wait! There's another "Puss in Boots"
Check out the trailer for "Like Crazy." No, there's nothing wrong with your speakers. The dialogue is that hard to hear. Might this be a venture into the realms of mumblcore? Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones (whose name sounds so very familiar) are the star-crossed lovers in this realistic portrayl of relationships. From Los Angeles (I recognize the Santa Monica Pier because I was there just the weekend before last) to London, where will they go and where will their hearts take them? Academy Award nominated Jennifer Lawrence (who is starring in Liongate's upcoming adaptation of "The Hunger Games") co-stars in the emotive drama. I'm down for a realistic telling of relationships, are you? "Like Crazy" will be in select theaters on October 28th.
"Let life in" is the tag-line for Mona Achache's "The Hedgehog," based on the New York Times bestseller, "The Elegance of the Hedgehog" by Muriel Barbery. A young girl employs a video camera to observe her hypocritical parents. The concierge of the apartment building she lives makes it hard for people to like her. Nothing like a kid to to fix a problem like that (with the help of a mysterious foreigner). The film's message may represent itself as a foreign film. Many people avoid their appearance when they can be quite elegant when you give them a chance. "The Hedgehog" will be uncurl itself in select theaters on August 19th.
Does "The Amazing Spider-Man" live up to its name? We've seen a lot of this before (the lab and the shocking morning after), what is new and exciting is the POV sequence the trailer ends with. A Tweeter was quick to reference "Mirror's Edge," an acclaimed first-person video game that has players maneuvering rooftops in a rather kinetic way. I think we should call it an FPS (though the "S" stands for swinger). This reboot seems soon, but we've already received the "X-Men" revival this summer and a new, new "Superman" is due next year. Andre Garfield, who played Edguardo, the friend of Mark Zuckerberg, in "The Social Network," will be taking upon himself the role of Peter Parker and his secret identity. Marc Webb (who people have pointed out sounds destined for the job) is making this his second feature film, after the Sundance hit "(500) Days of Summer." Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man" taught the world that with great power come great responsibility. Just how amazing will this be? We'll all find out on July 3, 2012. (Scott Mendleson wrote an interesting piece on his blog about why this film mustn't "be a smash" for the good of the industry.)
I reckon it's about time for some Trailer Round-Up Awards:
The Head-Scratcher: Julian Perez is his country's most notorious mob boss, but that doesn't stop him from being a momma's boy. After she asks him to rescue his brother, who somehow winded up in Iraq, Julian assembles a gang on a deadly rescue mission called "Saving Private Perez." This farcical comedy arrives from the south courtesy of Mexican director, Beto Gomez. The trailer made me a chuckle a few times and the silly premise seems like it could be quite fun. Will "the #1 movie in Mexico" be a hit here? A movie trailer voice (because it certainly is not the movie trailer voice) informs us that September 2nd is the day some of us will find out.
Toss of the Week: George Clooney had his fourth sit in the director's chair with "The Ides of March," a political drama that borders thriller territory by the trailer's end. Clooney stars alongside another knockout actors Ryan Gosling, Paul Giamatti and the man of the our time himself, Philip Seymore Hoffman. One of Clooney's previous films, "Good Night and Good Luck" was an exceptional political drama which pitted Edward R. Murrow against Senator McCarthy. "The Ides of March" looks to be set in current time and deals with a resourceful presidential candidate dealing with any who are in his way. This film arrives as a timely, engaging, and promising option when you go to the local theater on the weekend of October 7th.
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We've been seeing many adaptations of children's books in recent years: "Mr. Popper's Penguins," which is still in theaters and Martin Scorsese's "Hugo" due later this year. TIME has shared their "Top 10 Movies Based on Kids' Books," though I would argue some of these are not "kids' books." What about "James and the Giant Peach" and (though I'm not as big a fan as most) "The Fantastic Mr. Fox"? Good list or did they drop the nostalgic ball on this one?
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Last weekend on Ebert Presents, the team shared their picks for worst movies of the year (thus far). Here are Ebert's choices. Fortunately, I have only seen one film on his list. Unfortunately, it was his #1 worst film. Interestingly, it is also my least favorite film of the year so far. You can see what the show's hosts and child critic contributer, Jackson Murphy, picked on the episode selection page.
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AND THE WEIRD
"Cowboys & Aliens: The Kids" is an upcoming storybook app for your iPad. At first it sounded like a sure way to get someone sued, but as it turns out, the creator of the original comic books, Scott Mitchell Rosenberg co-wrote this! You don't see stuff like this everyday. I wonder what kids are going to ask their parents to read them story of the cowboys and aliens before bed... Maybe it'll be the parents who are already fans that get this to read to their kids in hopes to plant seeds of similar fandom. $0.25 of each $4.99 purchase will go towards the Starlight Childrens' Foundation charity. Read the full story on Variety. Mike Sampson of JoBlo shares his thoughts.
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OR THE COOL
Have you heard of the "Spielberg Curriculum"? I hadn't either until earlier today. Apparently it is a list of 206 films that you need to watch before you work with Steven Spielberg, one of cinema's most prolific directors. I am not sure how I highly doubt the hundreds of people that have worked with the man have each seen these hundreds of films. I felt a little overwhelmed at the amount of that list that I have yet to see. I will be putting this list next to others I have and use to determine what I should watch. Paul Tassi of JoBlo shares his thoughts.
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AND INTRODUCING THE HILARIOUS*
*This is a new segment for "The Film Tome Report," whether it will become a regular will depend on how often I stumble open material that fits the bill. Surely it is out there. I just have to find it. Laugh it up.
Remember the recent unfortunate news about the Netflix price? Well, Jason Alexander (perhaps better known as George from "Seinfeld") is here to help the lives of white people in this exclusive video from Funny or Die. This is bloody brilliant (as I commented on friend's wall where I first saw this). Who is responsible for making this? I'd like to shake their hand for poking fun at the millions of Americans (myself included) who are so blessed and yet find occasion to complain. Such a ripping satire on the comforts we enjoy really does make you feel grateful. It reminds me of YouTube users funnyz's "The First World Problems Rap" in that regard.
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