Tuesday, August 21, 2012



This Week
  • The Apparition
  • Hit & Run* / 56%
  • Little White Lies* / 48%
  • Premium Rush
  • Samsara*
  • Sleepwalk With Me* / 85%
  • Thunderstruck*
  • The Victim*

Last Week

  • The Awakening* / 60%
  • Compliance* / 91%
  • Cosmopolis* / 65%
  • The Expendables 2 / 67%
  • The Odd Life of Timothy Green / 38%
  • ParaNorman / 88%
  • Robot and Frank* / 90%
  • Sparkle / 58%

* = limited release


  • Bernie / 91%
  • Chimpanzee / 74%
  • The Dictator / 58%
  • A Separation / 99%
  • Weekend CC / 94%

CC = Criterion Collection
% from Rotten Tomatoes

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Bradley Cooper plays a struggling writer once again (see "Limitless") in "The Words." With Zoe Saldana as his mate it is no wonder he is having a hard time concentrating on his work.  He gives into plagiarism and achieves unearned success but you can bet the farm that he is going to have to pay. We get to see the story of the novel itself and the parallels with Coopers character. Jeremy Irons and Dennis Quaid also fill in the ranks. September 7th holds what looks to be a very special film.

Because we simply do not have enough early-20th Century London horror films comes the appearance of "The Awakening." Rebecca Hall plays an author who proves the supernatural as falsehoods. When she is asked to investigate the recent death of a student at a boarding school she faces more than she bargained for. A familiar tale even if the setting is refreshing. "The Awakening" appeared in theaters last weekend.

"Trouble with the Curve" is this year's baseball drama and stars Clint Eastwood as an aged scout for "America's favorite pastime" (so not true). The daughter he parted with years ago (Amy Adams) shows up and the two reconnect on the sidelines of their favorite sport. Justin Timberlake co-stars as the inevitable love interest for Miss Adams. I half-expected this sentimental affair to be produced, directed, and scored by Mr. Eastwood, but it was only produced by him. Surprisingly we are not getting a film from the legend this year, but at least we can see his grizzled self in something I hope will appeal to those who care little for the subject matter. Here's hoping it is up to the high bar set by last year's "Moneyball." "Trouble with the Curve" swings into theaters on September 21st.

"The Last Stand" comes to us from Kim Jee-Woon, one of the three-heads of the contemporary Korean dragon of cinema (see Bong Joon-Ho and Park Chan-Wook for the other heads). He has never made the same type of film twice and here he is trying something different yet again with his American debut. Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as a sheriff in a small town bordering Mexico who is, well, getting old. When a drug kingpin eludes the FBI on his turf he makes his last stand to fight crime. We have seen one-man wrecking balls in "Walking Tall" and "The Rundown." You may remember Arnold's two-second cameo in the latter when he tells Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson to, "Have fun." That was said to be a symbolic passing of the torch from one American juggernaut to the next. Well, he's back and directed by a South Korean no less. This looks to be just as explosive as the next "Expendables" flick, but seems lacking in flavorful action Kim delivered in "I Saw the Devil" and "The Good, the Bad and the Weird." In any case, with these two men involved there will definitely be an audience on January 18th of next year.

"Seven Psychopaths" is the highly anticipated second feature from Martin McDonaugh. I recently caught up with his Oscar-nominated film, "In Bruges," which is a modern crime film nearly worthy of sitting at the table with "Pulp Fiction" and "No Country For Old Men." That film didn't have a particularly promising trailer either, but sometimes it is hard to capture the moment of something that relies so much on every scene before it. Such was the case with "In Bruges" and I am betting that such is the case with "Seven Psychopaths." A pop-trailer that has fun being so, but ultimately isn't persuading me to see the movie. McDonaugh's name is doing that for me alone. He is working with Colin Farrell again and some other strong character actors: Walken, Harrelson, and Rockwell. See the dog-napping psychos on October 12th.

We are told that "nothing is more powerful than the human spirit" in the advertisements for "The Impossible." Here is true story of survival following an American family vacationing in Thailand in 2004 when a tsunami strikes. On occasions such as this I wish the trailer did not dare go past the first act, but it does and we see that a better name for this film may have been "The Possible." Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts (can't go wrong there) play the parents of this storm-torn family unit. Impressive visuals and a tale destined to inspire, quite surprising to see this is from the director of the recent and great Spanish horror, "The Orphanage." Here's yet another reason to bring your family to the movies this holiday season, December 21st to be exact.

How about another true story adapted to film, though one that is completely different? The disturbing events depicted in "Compliance." When the manager of a fast food joint is called and told one of her employees is guilty of stealing, it is bewildering to see what lengths she will go to in order to obey the voice on the other end of the phone, even when the requests are questionable. This film is getting the rav-est of reviews and is currently creeping around in select cities.

"Jack Reacher" is Tom Cruise is Jack Reacher! Based on the crime series by Lee Child, this adaptation follows a homicide investigator who is more interested in kicking butt than taking names. He drives a loud car, cracks some wise, and takes down his targets in broad daylight or the dead of night. As Drew McWeeny of Hitfix recently pointed out, Cruise (though I personally love the guy onscreen) may not be the best actor for this tall role. Jack reaches into theaters (that was a terrible pun...) on December 21st.

Save me some grits ma, I reckon it's prime time for the Trailer Round-Up Awards!

The Head-Scratcher:

Orlando Bloom takes on the title role in the "The Good Doctor." At the onset he certainly seems to be such but when an alluring patient comes his way he becomes obsessed. I wasn't impressed with much of anything about this trailer, though the premise is somewhat original. This dreary drama is currently available on iTunes but will hit select theaters by the end of the month, August 31st.

Lasso of the Week:

"Looper" has been lassoed in The Trailer Round-Up before, but last week this intelligent international trailer knocked us back in our chairs. Rian Johnson's third film is going to deliver on the humor, the action, the sci-fi, and the drama. When tomorrow's hitman gets his future self as a target there are bound to be some problems with the whole time continuum vortex. I am excited to see how it all goes down! Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis and Jeff Daniels are among the many reasons to seek "Looper" out on September 28th.

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Ah-nold is standing tall in this poster for "The Last Stand." All we see is the Governator locked, loaded and ready to go, and really, what else do we need to see?

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Total Film lists their 10 best films from director Tony Scott, more regarding him below.

With "The Bourne Legacy" now in theaters, Total Film shares their "50 Best 'Bourne' Movie Movies."

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Director Lee Sang-il is prepping a Japanese remake of "Unforgiven." Samurai films and Westerns have a rich history of inspiring one another so even though this is surprising it sounds right. What's more, Ken Watanabe is interested is starring. (Source: /Film)

Shia LaBeouf is slated to appear (and likely bare all) in Lars Von Trier's ("Dogville" and "Antichrist") two-part erotic drama, "The Nympomaniac." He's come a long way since "Even Stevens" eh? Shia says he is scared to work with the director. (Source: The Film Stage)

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The folks at Cinema Blend share their best films of the year thus far.

As a follow-up to last week's video, here is Richard Roper listing his Best Films of the Year (So Far) and, more interesting, his Under the Radar picks

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Yesterday afternoon director Tony Scott jumped to his death off the Los Angeles bridge. He had recently been diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer. Deadline covers Hollywood's lamentation. Roger Ebert remembers Tony Scott in an article published today, "The Death of a Master." Drew McWeeny adds his voice to memorial in "Director Tony Scott's Career Remembered." We've truly lost a visionary and influential director. Rest in peace Tony Scott. Thank you for the movies.

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Scott Mendelson has the weekend box office report up on his blog. "The Expendables 2" intimidated all competition.

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(Spoilers for "The Odd Life of Timothy Green" coming up!) One of this last weekend's releases apparently had a traumatic experience on some young viewers. Badass Digest shared a video posted by the mother of two boys who bawled uncontrollably after seeing "The Odd Life of Timothy Green." Apparently the title character dies at the end of the movie (bravo Hollywood for having the balls to do that!) and it upset these children who dream of living forever. I haven't heard I need to see that film, but you need to see this video. Seriously, this rivals David After the Dentist!

Good sir, fine madame, have you yet beheld "Epic Tea Time with Alan Rickman"?

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Andy Greenwald considers last night's episode of "Breaking Bad" over on Grantland.

I learned from Roger Ebert that "The Larry Sanders" show is now available on Netflix in its entirety! After watched the first two episodes and I am already drawn to this influential comedic series. A contributing writer for the Chicago Sun-Times shared "The Ten Best 'Larry Sanders' Episodes."

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