Tuesday, August 7, 2012



This Week
  • 2 Days in New York* / 77%
  • The Awakening* / 71%
  • The Bourne Legacy / 50%
  • The Campaign
  • Hope Springs / 95%
  • Goats* / 0%
  • The Green Wave* / 85%

Last Week
  • 360* / 25%
  • The Babymakers* 6%
  • Celeste and Jesse Forever* / 80%
  • Craigslist Joe*
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days / 50%
  • Dreams of a Life* / 67%
  • Soldiers of Fortune* 
  • Total Recall / 30%

* = limited release


  • Bel Ami / 28%
  • Blue Like Jazz / 43%
  • The Lorax / 55%
  • Marley / 95%
  • Warriors of the Rainbow: Seediq Bale / 73%

% from Rotten Tomatoes

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"Zero Dark Thirty" got a teaser this morning. This is the now-titled (previously-titled "The Hunt for Osama Bin Laden") follow-up to Kathryn Bigelow's "The Hurt Locker." It won Best Picture that year. It was among the best. Will "Zero Dark Thirty" rub soldiers and others more in-the-know than your typical movie-goer the wrong way? I know "The Hurt Locker" has that affect on some. It is worth noting that the military journalist turned screenwriter Mark Boal also penned this timely tale. At the end of the day, great stories told well are what matter in cinema. This looks very capable of keeping me intensely invested. We don't see much of them in the tease, but Joel Edgerton and Jessica Chastain star. The "covering over text" technique gives the film a nice classified vibe and the uncovering of the film's title says it all. Will you follow the hunt for Osama on December 19th?

"Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days" hit theaters this last weekend. Being the third in the film series based of the books by Jeff Kinney, "Dog Days" appears to be on a steady slope downwards. Even with an eclectic and memorable cast of characters nothing here feels like something we have not already seen before. While I am out of the target audience range I feel confident in recommending today's young people to seek out "The Sandlot" or the series "Boy Meets World." Take notes.

"The Big Wedding" lives up to its name. Chock-full of moving parts, this star-studded rom-com is dizzying. Robert De Niro and Diane Keaton, long since divorced, need to pretend they're still married when their daughter's fiance's conservative mother comes to town. Another ex of De Niro's (played by Susan Sarandon) only adds fuel to the fire. It is one of those premises that could be saved all the trouble by just sitting down and talking it over like adults, but instead we are left with over-the-top and unrelatable nonsense. The fiasco cometh October 26th.

I'm guessing most of you will groan when you hear about "Paranormal Activity 4." Like the "Saw" franchise before it, this is another horror phenomenon that seems guaranteed another installment each Halloween (October 19th this year anyways). Having enjoyed all three of these previous found footage scare fests I am still tooting the horn for this series. While the original remains the cream of the crop I was surprised by the strong sequel and even more surprised by the stronger third. Filmmakers Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman (creators of the terrific catch "Catfish") return after directing "Paranormal Activity 3." Now, I have yet to comment on the trailer itself. This looks to be the weakest of the series. Our protagonist is a young teenage girl (no longer the poor, cursed sisters from the prequels) who webcams with her boyfriend. Yup, a new footage gimmick for these films. Behind the oblivious dope are shadowy figures and the warnings of a smart house. There is not a lot to go on yet, but I am still willing to give this film a try despite my immediate reservations.

From the director of "The Devil Wears Prada" comes "Hope Springs." An reasonably waxed married couple (in Tommy Lee Jones and Meryl Streep) sense their passion is dwindling and seek the advice of a renowned counselor played by Steve Carell. Jones and Streep feel ripe for the project, but something is not quite right with Carell in this far-too-mannered role. Regardless, it looks like a good time. Couples, take notes on August 8th.

Last Tuesday the first full trailers (domestic and international) for the next James Bond entry, "Skyfall," was released. It is a worthy follow-up to the terrific teaser and feels as polished as the British spy himself. The domestic trailer seems to flow better, but both offer the same glimpses in various orders. The thing setting this action movie apart from the rest of the flock is a lack of CGI (at least noticeable). The settings are bound to look fantastic in IMAX, where "Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol" shined. Berenice Marlohe is a newcomer to Hollywood and alongside a new array of gadgets becomes a staple in the series as the latest Bond girl. Surely she cannot be trusted. Javier Bardem plays Silva, the film's villain. He's already played one of the most memorable antagonists in modern cinema (Anton Chigurh in "No Country For Old Men.") Even if he is blond, he is going to be a great menance for Bond, James Bond, on November 9th.

Steer clear of that there steer, I reckon it's prime time for the Trailer Round-Up Awards!

Sick Cow:

"The Babymakers" is an outrageous comedy all about sperm! The married couple on displayed are played by Paul Schneider ("Parks and Rec") and Olivia Munn (a refreshing change of face for your typical leading lady). After a few years of marriage she wants a baby, but her husband is not living up to the name of the film. They plan a bank heist (yeah, that kind of bank) where he made a donation before getting married. This not-for-everyone (anyone?) comedy from the director of "Beerfest" looks for a low way into an original story. Nothing to laugh at here. "The Babymakers" is currently acquiring horrible reviews in theaters and on iTunes.

The Head-Scratcher:

"The Man with the Iron Fists" pits villagers against seven ruthless clans in feudal China. It's a familiar set-up, old as "Seven Samurai," but this time around it is a blacksmith and a gang of prostitues defending themselves. However, they look just as much on the offense as their adversaries. While filmed in Shanghai this is an American film directed by and starring rapper RZA of all people. This exploitative action film could be just what fans are looking for or it could be a bloody mess. We''ll find out by November 2nd.

Lasso of the Week:

Every so often you get a movie that unexpectedly blows you away. Then there are trailers that pull this off. I would argue in that case there is even more excitement to be had because there is a great deal of uncertainty. This week "Killing Them Softly" blew me away. This film started on a wave from Festival de Cannes and it ain't gonna stop till it rolls onto our shores. Brad Pitt plays an enforcer for the mob who has to clean up after a deal went bad. Plenty of artful action amidst strong characters sell this for me instantly. This third film from Andrew Dominik hits theaters on October 19th.

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If only. There were whispers of an adaptation of 2010's masterpiece of a game, "Red Dead Redemption," starring Brad Pitt no less, but each day the idea seems to fade. Regardless, faux posters like this at least give us a taste of what that greatness may be like. If you like video games and daydreaming about their filmic adaptations, there's 19 more where this came from. 

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Last week the British Film Institute's Sight & Sound released their renowned once-a-decade Greatest Films of All-Time List. They poll critics and directors to compile two different lists. "Citizen Kane" has long topped the critic list, but Hitchcock's "Vertigo" one upped it! (Source: The Hollywood Reporter)

Here's a nice head-turning article. IGN's "10 Movies People Hate... And Why They're Not That Bad." Some sure shockers on here and several I have still never gotten around to seeing. Gotta say I love seeing "The Village" on here, which I (and probably only I) consider a masterpiece. Your thoughts?

Marilyn Monroe passed 50 years ago this month. Christy Lemire lists her "5 Most Memorable Performances."

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I am more surprised than anyone that my favorite superhero film of the year is "The Avengers." There will undoubtedly be a sequel as the film did gangbusters at the box office and won over hearts of fans and newcomers alike. In case you missed it, here was the first tease following the credits opening up the inevitable entry, "The Avengers 2."

There was a surprise screening of "The Master" in Santa Monica over the weekend! Early word seems to feel it is as promising as it looks. Jaoquin Phoenix and Phillip Seymore Hoffman are being heavily lauded. (Source: /Film)

Entertainment posted "Why Peter Jackson Really Wants Three Hobbit Movies - and You Do, Too." This news broke one week ago today to mixed reactions. Personally I am feverishly excited for as much Middle Earth content as humanly possibly yet skeptical of the recent split. I'm all for letting the movies speak for themselves. Ultimately, I will let you know how I feel in 2014.

Related, IGN weighs out "The Pros and Cons of the Hobbit Trilogy."

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We have just seen the end of another month which means Peter Travers of Rolling Stone is pissed. Here is yet another edition of the Scum Bucket

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Scott Mendelson delivers his weekly box office analysis. "The Dark Knight Rises" stays on top while "Total Recall" debuts short in second.

Matt Singer of Criticwire wonders wether the original "Total Recall" is classic or crap. What do you think?

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Huge Weird Al fan here. He used to insert himself on the reporter end of celebrity interviews (e.g. Eminem and Celien Dion). Well, the master is back this year with a new series on YouTube, "Face to Face." Above is the most recent episode (with Julianne Moore and Josh Brolin), but check out the Nerdist channel for all the previous ones (his interaction with Morgan Freeman is terrific).

Check out this parody of Justin Bieber's "Boyfriend" given a major "Star Wars" makeover. Compare it to the original music video to be even more impressed because this is an almost shot-for-shot remake. 

Those ever-thinking folks at How It Should Have Ended have tackled one of the year's most discussed films, "Prometheus." Plenty of low blows, some I would downright dismiss or argue against, but this is all for the sake of humor. So laugh it up (if you've seen the movie that is).

40,920 seconds are converted to 99 in this hip, a capella, Sparks Notes version of "The Lord of the Rings." I think these kids need to lower their caffeine and sugar intake.

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Alison Wilmore reviews analyzes last night's episode of "Breaking Bad," directed by the great Rian Johnson, on Indiewire.

Peter Travers sits down in his office and interviews Bryan Cranston, the incredible actor who plays Walter White on the runaway show, "Breaking Bad."

See what Hank (Dean Norris) sees in "Breaking Bad." Here is a cool feature that the AMC website has to offer, the DEA Evidence Board.

While watching "Breaking Bad" you may have noticed a direct correlation between the amount of hair on someone's head and the amount of violence they find themselves in. Well, some earnest fan has provided this infographic to help us chart the course.

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