Saturday, April 30, 2011
Director Ruben Fleischer has teamed up again with his Zombieland star Jessie Eisenberg on his newest bank robbing comedy 30 Minutes or Less. Eisenberg plays a delivery driver who is kidnapped by Danny McBride and Nick Swardson and they strap a bomb to his chest. They threaten to blow him up unless he successfully robs a bank for them. With a decent trailer finally released, it looks as though 30 Minutes or Less could make for an interesting summer time release.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
He's no Ronald Reagan, but former Governor of California and actor-turned politician Arnold Schwarzenegger will be returning to the big screen. After announcing his comeback to the classic Terminator franchise, the Austrian born actor is excited to start filming the fifth installment. Hopefully his old leather jacket still fits.
For more info on the upcoming Terminator film, click the link below (courtesy of Collider.com):
Let me know what you think? Is it crazy for Schwarzenegger to get back into acting, or was it to be expected?
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Film: Scream 4
Starring: Neve Campbell, David Arquette, and Courtney Cox Arquette
Director: Wes Craven (A Nightmare on Elm Street and the entire Scream franchise)
U.S. Release: April 15th, 2011 (Rated R)
Runtime: 111 minutes
While having 2 (minor) surgeries the past two months, my movie going has been kept to a minimum lately. And after finally feeling "up to it", my first choice was to see Wes Craven's Scream 4. At my root, I'm an avid horror fan. The genre helped spark my love for cinema. As a youngster I grew up on the classics (which almost all have had terrible remakes of late), but my youth lacked a new, fresh, and innovative approach to scary movies. Enter Wes Craven and 1996. The original Scream was, by no exaggeration, a masterpiece. Both scary and cleverly crafted, it helped reinvent the horror genre. Unfortunately for Craven, however, the film's second and third installments were both major disappointments. With the only question being, will the director's fourth vision hold up?
A little over a decade after her last attack, Sidney Prescott (Campbell) has attempted putting her troubled past behind her through her new self help book. When she returns home to Woodsboro for a book signing, local sheriff Dewey Riley (played by Arquette) informs her that a copycat killer has struck again. This new killer is using the original as a model, but with a whole new set of rules. This leaves everyone at risk, and more importantly, everyone's a suspect.
Scream 4 starts out in a very strange way. I won't give out any details, but the opening sequence is unique, yet inefficient. I found it to be confusing until I finally wrapped my head around everything. And once you inevitably get the point, you're unamused by its delivery.
Once the movie gets going there are plenty of ups and downs with the film. For true horror fans, you'll find plenty of enjoyment in Craven's stylistic approach to the murder scenes. They give off a slight hint of recycled goods, but they're much better than what we've grown accustomed to lately. Furthermore, similar to his original creation, Scream 4 has a handful of scenes that really get your brain running rampant in detective mode. In fact, one of the true bright spots of the film is Craven's ability to craft a taut, "who done it" story. For the most part, the film will surely leave you guessing.
Despite some obvious positive attributes, Scream 4 falls apart in many areas. For starters, the movie would have greatly benefited from NOT including Dewey and original character Gail Weathers (played by Cox Arquette). Their overly animated characters and storylines took away from the strongest areas of the film. Craven falters by forcing some old characters into a new brand. Had he ditched the old timers and added more emphasis to the new crop of characters, it would have given the film a greater lasting effect.
Furthermore, Scream 4 has an obvious ending problem. Often a point of concern in Craven's history, the director once again ineffectively concludes his film. Trying to do the movie justice, he actually creates a less powerful ending. The story called for a different resolve, and unfortunately Craven forced it in another direction.
The acting was sufficient and the mood was appropriate, but little details kept Scream 4 from being an elite horror film. It was entertaining (despite some cliche dialogue every now and again), but ultimately, Scream 4 is no match for its original. If you want to see a decent horror movie for a cheap scare, get to the theatre. If horror's not your thing, you won't miss much here.
Stars: 1.5 stars out of 4
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
With the widely anticipated 2012 release of The Dark Knight Rises, Warner Bros has stirred the pot by releasing a statement welcoming newcomers Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Marion Cotillard to the cast of the film. The two co-stars of Nolan's 2010 hit Inception will be able to let their creative juices flow once again with the director's third installment of the Batman series. Although many expected the two new stars to take on roles already ingrained in the backstory of the superhero, Nolan has actually created two new vital characters of his own. You can read more about the two characters by clicking the link below (courtesy of EmpireOnline):
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Acclaimed director Christopher Nolan has officially added a few familiar faces to the cast of his 3rd Batman installment, The Dark Knight Rises. The supposed final chapter in Nolan's trilogy, which is also being filmed in nearby Pittsburgh, PA, will include Joseph-Gordon Levitt and Marion Cotillard. Both well known actors co-starred in Nolan's 2010 blockbuster Inception as well. For some more information on the film feel free to check out the website below:
Thursday, April 14, 2011
If you're anything like me, you can't wait for the outrageous sequel The Hangover 2 to hit theatres. While the film has been rumored to test well at a few random screenings across the country, comedy fans alike eagerly await its release. To help alleviate the pain of waiting, here's a pretty good interview with the film's director, Todd Phillips, courtesy of www.collider.com/.
What are your expectations for the sequel? Better, worse, or comparable to the first one?
Sunday, April 3, 2011
Well as you could have guessed, this marks my 100th post. What started out as a fun little side project out of sheer boredom, has translated into so much more. The amount of traffic my blog has generated continually progresses and has already reached heights I never imagined. So thank you to everyone who visits the site. Each of you make this a true joy for me.
My goal over the next 100+ posts is to offer more insight into movie news and more non-review posts. To kick off my 101st post, here's the latest trailer of the film that won your vote for most aniticpated film of 2011. The Hangover Part II.
Friday, April 1, 2011
Film: The Music Never Stopped
Starring: J.K. Simmons (Juno and Burn After Reading), Lou Taylor Pucci (Thumbsucker and Brotherhood), and Julia Ormond (Temple Grandin and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button)
Director: Jim Kohlberg
U.S. Release: March 18th, 2011 - In Philadelphia Now (Rated PG)
Runtime: 105 minutes
Back in the Fall of 2010 the Philadelphia Film Society hosted an advanced screening of The Music Never Stopped. Every now and again distributors like to test movies against audiences to decide whether or not they should push for a wide scale release. As the film's ending credit rolled the crowd applauded as if it were an Oscar contender. A few months later The Music Never Stopped debuted at the Sundance Film Festival to mixed reviews. Finally, it's being released locally in Philadelphia.
Henry (played by Simmons) and Helen Sawyer haven't seen their son Gabriel (played by Pucci) in nearly 20 years. Ever since the 70s when Gabriel and his father had an argument regarding the young man's future. Wanting the best possible life for his child, Henry expects his son to go college and work towards a respectable career. On the other hand, Gabriel has a deep love for new age "rock music", and he wants to move to the city and attempt a life of music. Back to present day (1990s), and the Sawyer's receive a call from doctors. Their estranged son Gabriel had a large brain tumor removed and he's minimally responsive. Thanks to the help of a progressive doctor, Dianne Daly (played by Ormond), Gabriel returns to some sense of normalcy through the recognition of classic rock music. Desperate to reconnect with his son, Henry must learn to love the same music that once ruined their relationship.
The Music Never Stopped is a powerful tale of redemption. Beautifully acted and well structured, the movie is sure to resonate with all types of audiences. No exaggeration, there were more than a fair share of wet eyes at the conclusion of film. Men and women alike. Simmons and Pucci are both remarkable in their roles, and the chemistry onscreen between the actors is extremely natural and convincing.
I was shocked to hear that this was director Jim Kohlberg's first full length film. Despite a few minor problems, the film is excellent. Some will complain about The Music Never Stopped's "Hallmark movie of the week" feel. Yes it's true, it's a completely uplifting story. There is very little conflict in the film. However, the movie inspires hope and the lack of conflict is barely noticeable. Furthermore, The Music Never Stopped has a seriously slow start. The first half hour is drawn out and hard to get through. Yet once Gabriel begins responding to the music and his character comes to life, the movie never looks back. Kudos to the first time director, and the final product he creates.
The Music Never Stopped is a must see. It's very rare that a movie of this kind can make me feel so emotionally invested, but Simmons and Pucci are sensational. You become so consumed by the story, that even its bittersweet ending is still soothing. Kohlberg's vision translates perfectly to the big screen, and results in 2011's best film yet.
Stars: 3 and a half stars out of 4
Film: Source Code
Starring: Jake Gyllenhaal (Love and Other Drugs and Brothers), Vera Farmiga (Up in the Air and The Departed), and Michelle Monaghan (Due Date and Gone Baby Gone)
Director: Duncan Jones (Moon)
U.S. Release: April 1st, 2011 (Rated PG-13)
Runtime: 93 minutes
It's indisputable, Duncan Jones is officially an up and coming director. But even after his widely acclaimed, low budget debut Moon, we never should have questioned his ability. Mostly because mastering the arts runs in his family. Jones is the son of the legendary musical artist David Bowie (a fun little fact if you didn't know it). And after his much anticipated major motion picture release, Source Code, daddy's boy is certainly going to be making a name for himself.
Source Code follows a United States soldier, Colter Stevens (Gyllenhaal), as he is on a special mission to locate the bomber of a commuter train outside of Chicago. Stevens' mission is being carried out through an innovative method known as Source Code. The Source Code allows a soldier to infiltrate the physical being of a passenger on the train and relive the last 8 minutes of their life. In doing so, over and over again, Colter is expected to piece together the puzzle and ultimately discover the bomber's identity to help prevent another planned attack on the city.
Director Duncan Jones won me over with his first theatrical release, Moon. Yet with Source Code, the director outshines his debut by weaving together a thrilling story and a larger budget. Action packed and none stop entertaining, Source Code challenges the audience and captivates them all at the same time. Mixing science fiction with topics of morality, Jones once again creates an all together thought provoking experience.
Certainly not perfect, Source Code, has a few tiny flaws. It loses its fast pace slightly towards the end of the film, but it leads to a clever and well constructed resolve. And unfortunately, you may leave the theatre with a couple questions (wanting you to re-watch the ending immediately to make sure you pieced it together correctly). Furthermore, the film's incorporated love story seems unconvincing at times. Not to say that Michelle Monaghan and Gyllenhaal weren't good, because both gave solid performances, but more so unconvincing in the realm of their character development.
When all is said and done, Source Code will definitely entertain you and keep your interest. With a mere 93 minute runtime, the film rarely breaks from its up-tempo feel. It's an easy watch and intriguing enough to make you think about it long after the credits role. It seems as though Duncan Jones has a long, successful career ahead of himself. I suggest being the first on his bandwagon and getting to the theatre this weekend to check out Source Code. You'll enjoy the ride.
Stars: 3 out of 4.