Monday, April 30, 2012



This Week
  • The Avengers / 96%
  • The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel* / 79%
  • Jesus Henry Christ* / 38%
  • A Little Bit of Heaven* / 8%
  • LOL*
  • Meeting Evil*
  • Mother's Day* / 52%
  • The Perfect Family* 

Last Week
  • Bernie* / 81%
  • Elles* / 24%
  • The Five-Year Engagement / 63%
  • Headhunters* / 92%
  • Pirates! Band of Misfits / 86%
  • The Raven / 21%
  • Safe / 52%
  • Sound of My Voice* / 81%
* = limited release


  • Forbidden Zone / 86%
  • Haywire / 80%
  • Joyful Noise / 33%
  • New Year's Eve / 7%
  • W.E. / 13%
% from Rotten Tomatoes

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"Virginia" is the directorial debut for Dustin Lance Black, Oscar-winning screenwriter of "Milk" and "J. Edgar." This tells the comedic story of Virginia (the very pretty Jennifer Connelly) who is a single mother in a small Southern town. She is having an affair with the Mormon sheriff (Ed Harris) and struggling to get her and her son a better life. The Mormon missionaries also show up at her day. As an ex-Mormon himself, it will be interesting to see what Black's agenda is when this hits theaters on May 18th.

Here's the second trailer for "G.I. Joe: Retaliation." I never covered the first, but I did provide coverage on the TV spot that aired during this year's Super Bowl. Like that tease this has plenty of set pieces and crazy CGI-heavy action. Thrown in Dwayne Johnson and Bruce Willis and you have some capable guys to match the cool visuals. The story and dialogue do not impress me at this point, but I take it that will not be a reason we go see this on June 29th.

I've bean eager to see the next film from John Hillcoat ("The Proposition" and "The Road"). Well, "Lawless" is it. Shia LaBeouf stars in this Prohibition-era action-packed drama set in Virginia. Him and his brothers (Tom Hardy and Jason Clarke) try their hand at bootlegging only to cross paths with a troublesome gangster (Gary Oldman). The law (headed by Guy Pearce in a very different look for him) is also involved. Based on a true story this star-driven period piece deserves to be on your radar. Did I mention Jessica Chastain and Mia Wasikowska both appear herein too? The dramatic freeze frames found in this trailer are almost laughable, but I am certain the product itself is far from it. It will premier at Cannes, but look for it in theaters this summer on August 31st.

Samuel L. Jackson plays Evil and Luke Wilson plays John, the poor sap who gets picked, in "Meeting Evil." This surrealist picture will probably only work on that level, but will it succeed? It is hard to tell. The film hits select cities this Friday, but is currently available on iTunes.

"The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" looks like it has plenty of laughs thanks to its mostly old cast who is very aware that they are a mostly old cast. From John Madden (director of "Shakespeare in Love") comes a film that teaches it's never too late to go adventures. In select theaters this Friday.

From Darren Lynn Bouseman (director of three "Saw" sequels and "Repo! The Genetic Opera") cometh "Mother's Day" with yet another sadistic premise. When three brothers rob a bank and meet at their old house (now occupied by new tenants) they hold everyone hostage and wait for their mother to join the party. Why? Because she knows best of course. This visits select theaters this week. I think I'll pass, will you?

We now have a third trailer for Pixar's "Brave," coming June 22nd. I am still fondest of the second trailer that was a scene from early in the film with an impactful climax. As you might expect, this is the most spoiler-y trail yet, but still leaves a lot unexplained. There's a rich cast of characters, but I am already find the backdrop of the Scottish highlands to be the most welcome aspect. It is a Pixar extravaganza. Naturally, most of us will dig this.

"Prometheus" has yet another trailer (this one is being called "International Version #2" and clocks in at over 3 minutes!). More awesomeness from one of the most eagerly anticipated trailers of the year. Simple as that. The face-hugger stand-ins appear to be snake-like... We'll see more on June 8th.

Get your brother outta the hogwash, I reckon it's prime time for the Trailer Round-Up Awards!

Sick Cow:

As far as trailers go, "Otter 501" is horribly put together. Here's a short documentary by Bob Talbot about a baby rescued on the rugged coast of Northern California (seems awfully convenient that they'd have a camera beside the to-be-discovered orphan otter). The sappy music, relentless title cards, and laughable voice-over at the end make this one for the Trailer Round-Up Hall of Shame. The film itself seems promising, but what a poorly assembled preview! May 11th, but surely not anywhere near you.

The Head-Scratcher:

If they keep stepping up they're bound to reach the top, right? "Step Up: Revolution" hopes to sizzle up your summer plans by continuing Summit Entertainment's popular dance/hip-hop series. Set in Miami, Emily (Kathryn McCormick) has dreams of becoming a professional dancer. She falls for Sean (Ryan Guzman) who is part of the The Mob, a group of dancers that lives to organize flash mob in public arenas. These leads were definitely not cast for their acting abilities, rather, their dance skills. The various dance numbers range from sheer stupidity to superfluous ridiculousness. It has the potential of being a dumb, fun flick (not unlike "High School Musical"). I actually regret not seeing "Step Up 3D" as I heard it was very impressive in its use of that added dimension. "Step Up: Revolution" will be available in 3D and 2D on July 27th.

Lasso of the Week:

Can I just tell you know I have a new favorite anticipated film? Ron Fricke is a bit like Terrence Malick. You don't expect a film from him more than once a decade, but when he does deliver you can expect something spectacular. Fricke's previous film, "Baraka," blew my mind with its engaging and stunning 70mm visuals. They are plotless films that float through existence, showcasing the exotic parts of our world and the exotic people hereon. If the extended nature sequences in "The Tree of Life" appealed to you, get ready for "Samsara." It is just a minute-long trailer, but I'm already swept away. It hits theaters on August 24th, I just pray I am close to one that has it.

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Here is a fairly boring poster for "The Host," the film due next year based on the next book from the "Twilight"-author. Andrew Niccol, who I hope is becoming a household name, is adapting and directing it. The teaser that has been going around is intriguing, but they are going to have to do more than glow some eyes to get us hooked.

This timely poster riffs the upcoming "Battleship" blockbuster, which is (very) loosely based on the board game. A "Hungry Hungry Hippos" movie has me much more excited... Too bad this is just for fun.

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Here is Pajiba "Ranking 12 Films from the School of J.J. Abrams." This is a pretty unique list, but I'd still take "Cowboys & Aliens" (coming in 12th) over a few of these, especially "Transformers." What is number one? You've been hearing all about it...

Did you know that "The Hunger Games" topped the box office for four weeks in a row? Pajiba looks at the last 10 film to do this.

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We've still got a while before we see the trailer for Tarantino's "Django Unchained," but check out some of the stills that have been released. My favorite is the one above. Christoph Waltz and Jamie Foxx look like a team to be reckoned with. (Source: IMDb)

Steve Kloves, who did a pretty stellar job at adapting the Potter" books for the screen, is working on adapting a live-action version of "The Jungle Book." I've read sections of the Rudyard Kipling classic and this has me very excited. The Disney adaptation is one of the great studio's best features in my opinion. (Source: Variety)

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One of the biggest articles of the year comes from LA Weekly, "Movie Studios Are Forcing Hollywood to Abandon 35mm Film. But the Consequences of Going Digital are Vast, and Troubling." This isn't really news, it's inevitable progress courtesy of technology. I recommend listening to the recent episode of the /Filmcast where they discuss this very article in great detail. Perhaps I will share thoughts on it sometime, but there is hardly time or space here. 

The above may not be all-encompassing, at least not if Christopher "The Traditionalist" Nolan can help it. Further proof. (Source: Directors Guild of America and Movie Line)

Last week Warner Bros. screened 10 minutes of footage from "The Hobbit" for theater owners at the annual CinemaCon. While there was much praise for the visuals, there were many complaints about the framerate. Peter Jackson and team have shot "The Hobbit" in 48fps (frames per second), double the usual 24. Remember when they said it was going to be 60?! Well, this makes the experience all the more life-like and can be quite unsettling for viewers. The Wrap said, "There will be plenty for fans to savor. However, the richness of Jackson’s imagery, while beautiful, was marred because the 48 frames made each scene too crisp, if that’s possible. It looked more real, in fact — too real. Instead of an immersive cinematic experience, Middle Earth looked like it was captured as part of a filmed stage play." This is going to be a very new experience for many of us, that's for sure! (Source: JoBlo)

Follow-up: Here's Peter Jackson responses to the criticisms such as the one above. (Source: Entertainment Weekly)

Fellow blogger over at Trentflix laments the MPAA (as I often do) in this articulate and pointed essay, "Trentflix vs. the MPAA." It is a complicated issue, full of injustices and politics, and reading this will help anyone get into that conversation. 

Speaking of the MPAA, Ridley Scott recently had a bout with them over "Prometheus." (Source: JoBlo)

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See the making-of "Les Miserables," the upcoming musical from Oscar-winning director of "The King's Speech," Tom Hooper. This adaptation stars Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway who have both proven their singing skills, at the Oscars no less. "Do You Hear the People Sing?" has always been one of the musical's most rousing numbers in my memory. (Source: /Film)

Here are some fun facts about "Brave" from the fine folks at Pixar Talk.

Check out this cozy theater in Malaysia... (Source: Gizmodo)

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Have you see how "The Hunger Games" should have ended?

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The MTV blog lists five things we should know about the upcoming season of "Arrested Development." (Vulture also has a post with Mitch Hurwitz talking the reboot.)

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Galyn said...

I think Jennifer Conlley is beautiful, although the story line turned me off.
It looks like Shia LaBeouf has finally grown up in this film. I love Jessica Chastain. I'm sure this film will get good reviews and the list of actors are amazing. Although it is not my cup of tea, I can't help but think of my grandfather's bootlegging days.

Galyn said...

Samsara looks pretty amazing. Wasn't the host the name of of that Korean movie you watched with the thing that came out of the water?
I didn't know a musical of Les Miserables was being made. I'd like to watch that trailer when it is available.

J.S. Lewis said...

You're right about "The Host," the S. Korean masterpiece. While they share the same title the two films have nothing to do with one another.