Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Industry News: Foxcatcher & Justice League Details

It feels like I've been waiting an eternity for Bennett Miller's upcoming drama Foxcatcher. Growing up as a wrestler in the tri-state area with direct ties to murderer John du Pont's private training facilities, I've been gearing up for the film's release ever since it bailed out of the crowded 2013 awards season immediately following a leaked trailer all over the internet (and what a glorious sneak peek it was). Debuting at the Cannes Film Festival in France this May, Sony Classics has confirmed that Foxcatcher will begin to reach theatres on November 14th.

In other news regarding the upcoming Cannes Film Festival, it's been reported that movie mogul Harvey Weinstein may drop U.S. distribution rights to the opening night film, Grace of Monaco. Apparently Weinstein is still caught in a long-time feud with director Olivier Dahan over the content of the film. While Dahan claims that his vision is complete, Weinstein would prefer a finished product that puts a larger focus on Grace Kelly's (played by Nicole Kidman) time in Hollywood and more dramatic emphasis on the troubling political fiasco in Monaco. I guess we'll just have to wait and see what comes from all of this.

And "Justice" For All

News has been circulating out of control regarding DC Comics blockbuster answer to Marvel's The Avengers. The Justice League movie is a full "go" and Man of Steel director, Zack Snyder, is reportedly at the helm. While no cast members have been confirmed yet, it's wildly assumed that Henry Cavill will continue his role as Superman and Ben Affleck as the caped crusader.

On a side note, there are rumblings that Matt Damon is being targeted for the role of Aquaman in the Justice League film. Although this is clearly speculation and nothing has been confirmed by either party, it would be a very enticing draw to re-team Affleck and Damon onscreen.

The Force is Strong With ... Llewyn Davis?

We all know he can sing a song and play a guitar, but is Inside Llewyn Davis star, Oscar Isaac, ready to duke it out in a galaxy far, far away? The rumor mill continues to churn as the ultra-secretive JJ Abrams is going to have to unveil his cast for the upcoming installment to the Star Wars franchise. With a table-read scheduled for today in London, reports are that Oscar Isaac is in line for a major role in the highly anticipated release. Isaac has been over-looked for quite some time and his most recent effort illustrates just how talented the young man truly is. So members of the geek community can sleep easy, because Isaac is a more than capable actor to help carry the new Star Wars film.

Oscar Isaac isn't the only big name being thrown around the ring, supposedly Harrison Ford will return to the franchise with a "major role" in the upcoming release. While it has been known that Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher would reprise their roles, no one knew just how pivotal they'd be to the story. Apparently, Ford will be given a whole lot of face time.

UPDATE: The cast of Star Wars: Episode VII has officially been released today (courtesy of Variety.com)

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Boyhood and The Grand Seduction Trailers

Richard Linklater is best known for his critically adored indie romance trilogy that debuted with 1995's Before Sunrise. However, at the Sundance this year the buzz was swirling after Linklater's latest cinematic achievement, Boyhood, became a late entry into the festival. Boyhood was shot intermittently over a 12 year period beginning in 2002 and follows the story of a divorced couple (played by Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette) trying to raise a son. There's never been any film quite like Boyhood, and it has some legitimate Oscar potential. Check out the first official trailer for Boyhood below.

Brendan Gleeson has quickly grown into one of my favorite actors. This year he stars alongside Lone Survivor's Taylor Kitsch in the affable comedy The Grand Seduction. The film centers around a small struggling harbor town called Tickle Cove. However, if the townsfolk are able to convince a visiting doctor to stay, then they'll lock down a contract for a factory that will save Tickle Cove from financial ruin. Check out the debut trailer for The Grand Seduction below.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Other Woman (2014)

Film: The Other Woman

Starring: Cameron Diaz (Bad Teacher), Leslie Mann (This is 40) and Kate Upton

Director: Nick Cassavetes (The Notebook)

U.S. Release: April 25th, 2014 (Rated PG-13)

Genre: Comedy

Runtime: 109 minutes

While Nick Cassavetes is by no means a legend of Hollywood, the director has made a successful career off of well-received dramas like The Notebook, My Sister's Keeper and John Q. Sentiment has clearly been his "modus operandi". In 2014 Cassavetes returns to the director's chair, but this time he's ditching the dramatics and testing the comedy waters with the female-centered flick The Other Woman.

Cameron Diaz stars as Carly, an independent and attractive lawyer who unexpectedly meets the wife (Leslie Mann) of her latest boyfriend. As the pair of women begin to form an unusual bond, they soon discover yet another mistress (Kate Upton). Therefore, the three deceived ladies plot their revenge and devise a scheme to bring down this habitual adulterer once and for all.

Without question, there are a few discerning flaws in the upcoming "chick-flick" comedy The Other Woman. As a film intended to portray women in a self-sufficient and strong-willed light, director Nick Cassavetes and writer Melissa Stack mold a trio of prototypical onscreen stereotypes. Leslie Mann as the insecure wife and Kate Upton as a brainless sex object, these cartoon-ish characters do nothing but feed into unwarranted generalizations of the modern female, even if they end up victorious by the film's conclusion. Furthermore, Nicki Minaj is given plenty of screen time in her supporting role and, unfortunately, she adds nothing beneficial to the feature. I would suggest sticking to her music career, but even that would be a huge disservice on my part.

For all of its blemishes and miscues, The Other Woman does contain a few redeeming qualities. For example, Diaz, Mann and Upton display a strong sense of camaraderie and chemistry. The trio of ladies work well together and help ease the audience through what could have been a more dreadful hour and 50 minute running time. Instead, a reasonable amount of laugh-out-loud scenes and comedic exchanges propel The Other Woman to a tolerable movie-going experience.

Trying his hand at comedy for the first time, Cassavetes delivers a mediocre effort. There are a few overly-long cuts that arouse an initial chuckle but lose their spark after a couple minutes of the same-old joke. The finale also leaves a little to be desired, but thankfully The Other Woman is by no means an unbearable watch. As a film very much intended for female audiences, speaking to all the men out there, this one could have been a whole lot worse.

Stars: 2 stars out of 4

Grade: C

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Industry News: Leo & Danny Boyle to Re-Team?

The rumors have been spreading like wildfire. It seems like just last year we were given a less than impressive biopic concerning the late Steve Jobs (oh wait, cause we were!), but that hasn't stopped Sony from cashing in on their rights to Walter Isaacson's biography of the former Apple mogul. With famed writer Aaron Sorkin penning the screenplay and my personal favorite, Danny Boyle (127 Hours & Slumdog Millionaire) in talks to direct, early reports are Boyle desires Leonardo DiCaprio for the title role. The two previously worked together on the 2000 picture, The Beach. However, this collaboration faces a bit of an obstacle now that Leo has officially confirmed to star in Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's revenge thriller, The Revenant, which begins production in September.

Sequels, Sequels Everywhere!

It's hard to believe that the 1993 Robin Williams comedy, Mrs. Doubtfire, grossed north of $400 million worldwide (and I repeat, that was in 1993). Perhaps that plays into the Fox 2000 Pictures' decision to green light a sequel. So far, only Williams has been said to reprise his role while details on this head-scratching and seemingly unnecessary sequel begin to form.

In other sequel news, Richard Donner once again keeps the fire burning by claiming that a follow-up to the beloved 1985 classic, The Goonies, is still in the works. Famed director Steven Spielberg developed the idea for the original film and the supposed sequel actually stems from Spielberg's brain as well. While new information is very difficult to come by, it still appears that "Goonies never say die".

Sequel king Jerry Bruckheimer spoke at WonderCon (courtesy of Collider.com) to shed light on the various statuses regarding a couple of different franchises. Bruckheimer reiterated that the door still hasn't been closed on a Bad Boys 3 installment as well as an expected National Treasure 3 film somewhere down the line. Bruckheimer also reminded us that a 5th Pirates of the Caribbean and a fourth addition to the Beverly Hills Cop franchise both appear to be happening.

The Show Must Go On

After the tragic and unexpected loss of action star Paul Walker in November, James Wan's Fast & Furious 7 was left in a difficult spot. Walker had reportedly filmed most of his dramatic scenes and only needed a minor fill-in to take his place and finish production. In an interesting turn of events and a clever idea by Universal, they've decided to bring in Walker's brothers, Caleb and Cody (pictured above with Vin Diesel), to stand in as body doubles. Fast & Furious 7 is slated for an April 10th, 2015 release. 

Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Worst Sports Movies Ever

To recognize the lackluster release of Ivan Reitman's Draft Day, I've decided to dedicate April's Movie List of the Month (click here for March's List) to the worst sports movies of all time. I'll be taking a slightly different approach by grouping these cinematic sports blunders into categories rather than ranking them in a sequential order. So here they are, some the worst sports movies ever released:

Animal Instincts

I don't know where this lousy idea originated, but whoever decided to combine animals and sports should be maimed and tortured. Air Bud (and all of its ridiculous sequels) is just the tip of the ice berg when it comes to this moronic style of sports movie. Other awful films of this kind include Matt LeBlanc's chimp-inspired baseball flick Ed and a hockey player who likes to "monkey-around" in MVP: Most Valuable Primate

Girls Can't Play Ball

Another outrageous theme in sports films is the gender-switch that serves as a backdrop for movies like Juwanna Mann. At least cross-dressing to impersonate the other sex seems a little more plausible than an animal playing a sport, but still there shouldn't be room for films like Amanda Bynes' soccer comedy She's the Man

Who's Kid-ding Who?

Okay, I get it! Kids can be cute and fun, but sometimes they can spoil sports movies. I mean come on, how realistic is it to have a teenager manage the Minnesota Twins? Little Big League is the prime example of just how outrageous these types of flicks can get. Angels in the Outfield and The Benchwarmers are other baseball films that focus on child actors to help play a major role, something that should clearly be avoided! 

*note: I'm omitting Rookie of the Year from this list because it's an absolute guilty pleasure of mine.

Oh look! You've Ruined It!

It's become expected nowadays, but there's plenty of sports movie franchises that were milked for all they're worth. Perhaps none is more recognizable than Sylvester Stallone's Rocky franchise. The biggest downfall was Rocky V and then again the legend was tainted with Rocky Balboa. Other sequels that were unforgivable include D2: The Mighty Ducks, Caddyshack II, Slapshot 2: Breaking the Ice, and Major League: Back to the Minors. All of these installments left a dark cloud over their predecessors.

The Worst of the Rest

There are so many brutal sports films out there, so here's a look at the rest of these terrible titles. First, in The Air Up There Kevin Bacon wears some war-paint as a college coach who travels to Africa to find "the next big thing", literally. Partially centered around football, I was never a huge fan of the over-dramatized and over-acted Radio starring Cuba Gooding Jr. The comedy-spoof The Comebacks achieved the rare feat of failing to accomplish the only thing it was intended to do, make audiences laugh. And finally the kid friendly, but extraordinarily outrageous, cartoon-ish film Space Jam is pretty awful as well. 

* With so many bad sports films out there I'm sure I've missed some, but these were the ones that originally came to mind. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Jersey Boys and The Rover (NEW) Trailers

Legend of Hollywood Clint Eastwood returns in 2014 as the director of the Broadway hit musical-turned-feature film, Jersey Boys. If you haven't seen the show, it's one of the best out there. Therefore, I'm excited to catch Eastwood's retelling of the story behind singer Frankie Valli and his rise to fame as a member of the pop group The Four Seasons. With a cast of unknowns outside of a tiny role played by Christopher Walken, there's plenty of intrigue surrounding Eastwood's latest work. Check out the debut trailer for the highly aniticipated Summer release of Jersey Boys below.

Australian director David Michod gave the world 2010's diamond in the rough, Animal Kingdom, which lead to Jackie Weaver's first Oscar Nominated performance before her breakout role in David O. Russell's Silver Linings Playbook. This year Michod returns with Guy Pearce and a new-look Robert Pattison in the Cannes Film Festival selection, The Rover. Set in the near future, a barren Australia is overrun with anarchy and desperation. A trio of thieves attempt to steal Eric's (Pearce) last remaining possession, his car, but only two of the criminals escape successfully leaving one man (Pattison) behind. Eric uses this straggler to vengefully track down his stolen vehicle. With a June release date set in the U.S., check out the latest trailer for The Rover below.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Gone Girl and A Most Wanted Man Trailers

David Fincher's name is synonymous with awards season success. The twice nominated director continues to impress throughout his career with a dark and grim trademark style of filmmaking. He keeps up the trend with the 2014 presumed Oscar contender Gone Girl. Ben Affleck stars as Nick Dunne, a grieving husband who reports his wife missing on their 5th wedding anniversary. As the police begin to question his fairy tale story of a happy marriage and secrets start to unravel, Nick is left to defend his innocence. Scheduled for an October 3rd release, check out the first look into David Fincher's Gone Girl.

Before we unexpectedly lost the legendary actor Philip Seymour Hoffman in early February, he had completed many final projects. One such film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival to rave reviews. A Most Wanted Man follows U.S. and German security agencies as they pursue a suspicious immigrant floating around the Hamburg Islamic community. Unsure of this mysterious man's motives and fear of a terrorist threat, officials are in a race against time to unlock the truth. Primed for a limited theatrical release beginning in July, check out the trailer for A Most Wanted Man.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

DVD Outlook: April 2014

As it appears, April may be a tough month to get through. With the calm before the May Summer Blockbuster storm currently taking place in theatres and almost all of the big-named 2013 titles already reaching DVD in March, there's very little to get excited about this month. However, there are a few films being released on DVD and Video-On-Demand that should help ease this April lull, and here they are:

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty - 3 stars out of 4 - (Read my full review here)

I've always been up and down on Ben Stiller's career body of work. And after the combination of a trailer that didn't "grab" me and a critical bashing for his 2013 pet project, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, I must be honest and say expectations were rather low. Thankfully, Stiller didn't disappoint and his long-awaited film proved to be one that the critics got wrong. Stiller directs and stars as Walter Mitty, a simple man who day dreams about going on adventures and whisking away the the girl of his dreams (played by Kristen Wiig). But when the negative for LIFE Magazine's final cover goes missing, the opportunity presents itself for Walter to finally seek out a real-life adventure. The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is a charming and Underrated Film that's easy to appreciate. (April 15th)

August: Osage County - 3 stars out of 4 - (Read a guest review by Greg Rouleau here)

Nominated for a pair of acting Oscars, August: Osage County isn't a film for everyone. Based on a stage play of the same name, the film is short on action and heavy on dialogue. The audience is forced to watch closely as Weston family reconnects following the passing of their patriarch. Meryl Streep stars as Violet Weston, the unloving and drug-addicted mother that works her hardest to break down each and every member of the family by pointing out their flaws. This dark comedy is by no means an easy watch, but fans of strong dialogue and off-kilter humor may enjoy this rather odd tale of a family consumed with secrets. (April 8th)

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues - 2 stars out of 4 - (No review available)

It was difficult finding a third option to suggest for the month of April, so I decided to go with the comedy Anchorman 2. The first installment was an outlandish pioneer of sorts, but this sequel is an overextended and somewhat recycled shell of the original. Once again, Will Ferrell stars as the self-absorbed and arrogant Ron Burgundy who looks to reinvent himself after losing his job to his wife (sound familiar?). When the old team gets back together, Burgundy and company transform news from the informative platform it once was, to the ludicrous fluff it has become. There's plenty of laugh-out-loud humor at the expense of a two-hour long senseless story that feels eerily similar to the original. (April 1st)

Honorable Mention: One film I'm yet to mention is the Best Picture Nominee Philomena (4/15) which captured the hearts of many audiences. I personally felt that the film was a little anti-climactic but I was clearly in the minority. Fans of the fantasy franchise The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (4/8) can rejoice and catch up with the latest installment's DVD release. I wasn't a fan of the unrealistic single mother drama Labor Day (4/29) starring Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin, but I've met many others who enjoyed the film.

Saturday, April 12, 2014


Film: Neighbors

Starring: Seth Rogen (This Is the End), Rose Byrne (Bridesmaids) and Zac Efron (17 Again)

Director: Nicholas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall)

U.S. Release: May 9th, 2014 (Rated R)

Genre: Comedy

Runtime: 96 minutes

I've been known to argue in favor of Seth Rogen as an underrated actor. I've always appreciated his knack for generating laughs, but it was his role in the cancer drama 50/50 that shed a new light on his career. Then there's director Nicholas Stoller. If you were to ask me to name my favorite comedy of the last five years, without hesitation I'd say Stoller's hilarious debut film, Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Needless to say, news of Rogen and Stoller's first actor/director collaboration, Neighbors, appeared too good to be true. And after catching an advanced screening of the comedy this past week, I have to admit that the laughs are never ending.

Rogen and Rose Byrne star as a suburban married couple raising a newborn baby girl. But when the house next door to them is purchased by a fraternity set on throwing the most legendary of parties, the couple must decide whether to rekindle their youth or openly embrace adulthood. Yet, once they decide on the latter, demanding peace and quiet from their rowdy new neighbors may prove to be more difficult than they imagined.

After a surprise screening at the SXSW Film Festival, the buzz for Neighbors exploded beyond belief. Although the product was unfinished at its premier viewing, mainly due to some sound mixing and editing that needed to be fine-tuned, the crowd still went completely insane for the feature. Neighbors is an outrageously hilarious and hard-earned R-rated effort that constantly delivers the goods. It's easy to detect the large amounts of comedic improvisation that occasionally feel forced, but often lead to some of the film's most memorable one-liners. Rogen is in typical form and Byrne proves to be a more than worthy complement to the film's leading star. And if fistfuls of raunchy jokes and crude crowd-pleasing humor aren't enough, Neighbors does an admirable job of creating depth to all of its central characters. A feat that's clearly vital to the movie's overall success.

Despite an undeniable barrage of humor, Neighbors gives off the vibe that it's constantly trying too hard to elicit laughter from its audiences. Like a free-swinging featherweight boxer relentless in its pursuit, it shouldn't go unrecognized that the film misses on many of its jokes as well. Neighbors barely gives the audience any room to breathe or a chance to let the humor settle. There's an art to setting up a joke, but this feature avoids such creativity and decides to solely generate laughter with non-stop banter and shock value. However, when all is said and done, Neighbors' pros far outweigh its cons and audiences can rejoice in another stellar comedic effort from director Nicholas Stoller and his cast.

Seth Rogen's latest work isn't going to revolutionize comedy or break any barriers, yet the movie clearly delivers a healthy dose of laughter. If you have an appreciation for vulgar R-rated humor, then Neighbors will satisfy your comedic craving. If not, then I suggest looking elsewhere because, with this film, what you see is what you get.

Stars: 3 stars out of 4

Grade: B

Thursday, April 10, 2014

22 Jump Street (New Red Band) and Chef Trailers

Our first few looks at the highly anticipated sequel 22 Jump Street have been vague and uninformative. Today launched the second official Red Band trailer for the film which gives audiences a better understanding of what they should expect from the Summer blockbuster. Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill return to Jump Street for an assignment at college. And if that doesn't sound wild enough for you, how about a trip to Spring Break? Check out the newest Red Band trailer for 22 Jump Street which arrives in theatres on June 13th.

The SXSW festival always introduces some very strong independent films. This year included the new drama Chef from writer, director and star Jon Favreau. Playing more as a comedy/drama than his usual action packed work such as Iron Man, Favreau's latest effort follows a talented chef who opens up his own food truck in order to stay creative with his zest for cooking. Primed for a May release, check out the debut trailer for Jon Favreau's Chef.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

2014 Summer Movie Preview: August

So far with this four-day long segment I've highlighted the best films you can expect see throughout May, June and July. Today I'll break down everything that the final Summer month, August, has to offer. The lineup appears a little thin but, with Summer blockbuster, you just never know.


Honorable Mention: The month of August kicks off with Guardians of the Galaxy (August 1st), a new comic-book-based sci-fi film starring Chris Pratt and Vin Diesel. The true story of the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, is told in Taylor Tate's Get on Up (August 1st). I considered including the biopic in my top three of the month, but my expectations are closer to 42 than The Help. Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan star in What If (August 1st), the story of two mutually attracted friends who struggle to elevate their relationship. Writer/director Luc Besson offers another potential classic female hero in the action-thriller Lucy (August 8th) starring Scarlett Johansson. Summer is the perfect platform for action as we're also given The Expendables 3 (August 15th). Although I wasn't a huge fan of the original, there will be plenty of excitement circulating around the sequel Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (August 22nd). While the movie had been in flux for some time after a ton of moving parts came and went, we will finally be given the western Jane Got a Gun (August 29th) starring Natalie Portman and Joel Edgerton. 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (August 8th)

Megan Fox stars as April O'Neil in the live-action reboot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It's been over 20 years since the last live-action look into this franchise attracted audiences, so the buzz around this Summer's release is very strong. In typical fashion these four genetically mutated heroes, along with their sensei Master Splinter, will emerge from the sewer and battle evil forces threatening their city. Hopefully, it's a return to its classic form.

The Giver (August 15th)

Based on the best selling Lois Lowry novel of the same name, The Giver has been a long-awaited release for its star Jeff Bridges who plays the film's title character. Set during the future in a peaceful community without any pain or suffering and without differences or choices, a young boy is selected to learn from an elderly man about what the "real" world was once like. Confronted with this reality, the young man must decide whether to embrace the community he knows or rebel against the society. The Giver's debut trailer made me all the more eager to see this upcoming Summer blockbuster.

Let's Be Cops (August 15th)

I went out on a limb with my third and final selection for the month of August. Somewhat turned off by the initial looks into Get on Up and Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, I decided to throw my hat in the ring for the upcoming R-rated comedy Let's Be Cops starring The New Girl's Jake Johnson and Daman Wayans Jr. My hopes are for a ceiling similar to something like 21 Jump Street, while the film also has a floor that could be bottomless. It's a risky move, but I'm still excited to catch this seemingly hysterical tale of two struggling buddies who begin to impersonate cops to the point where they find themselves entangled in a web of crooked cops and mobsters. Let's Be Cops offers a high-risk, high-reward premise that will hopefully surprise us all this August.

Monday, April 7, 2014

2014 Summer Movie Preview: July

I've taken a look at the first half of the Summer lineup already and offered my most anticipated films for both May and June. Today I'll be setting my focus on July, which appears to have an abundance of interesting titles. Let's check out what other movies we can expect to see this Summer.


Honorable Mention: Melissa McCarthy looks to keep her funny streak going as the foul-mouthed Tammy (July 2nd) who goes on a road trip with nothing to lose. Begin Again (July 4th) stars Mark Ruffalo as a recently fired music executive who discovers a magnificent female solo act (Kiera Knightley) while drinking his sorrows away at a bar. Adapted from a novel, A Long Way Down (July 11th) examines an unlikely bond formed by 4 strangers who ironically venture to the same rooftop at the same time to commit suicide. Richard Linklater's ambitious festival favorite, Boyhood (July 11th), follows a boy's maturation and growth from ages 5 to 18. Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis star in the Wachowski's upcoming sci-fi adeventure Jupiter Ascending (July 18th). One of Philip Seymour Hoffman's final completed films, A Most Wanted Man (July 25th), pits German and U.S. Security Agencies on a mission to track down a suspected terrorist.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (July 11th)

James Franco's 2011 pet project Rise of the Planet of the Apes proved to be a welcome addition to the long-time franchise. In 2014 we're given another chapter, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, which follows Caesar's growing forces of intellectually advanced apes. With Gary Oldman and up-and-comer Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty and Lawless) set to star, there are plenty of reasons worth getting excited over yet another installment to the storied franchise.

The Purge: Anarchy (July 18th)

There may not have been another person on the planet as let-down as I was over the origin of the horror franchise The Purge. However, the premise was strong enough to warrant a sequel, which we're receiving merely one year later. Perhaps in the right hands and with a stronger storyline, The Purge: Anarchy could be the final product needed to jump start this franchise. We'll find out this July.

Sex Tape (July 25th)

This Summer boasts a raunchy R-rated comedy starring Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz called Sex Tape. After a married couple loses the spark in their relationship, they decide to make a sex tape to keep things interesting. But instead of deleting the film like their supposed to, copies are leaked out to family and friends and they must do whatever it takes to destroy the evidence. Segel is always a reliable source for laughs and Sex Tape just might end up as this Summer's top comedy.

*** Remember to stay tuned tomorrow for a looks at August's most exciting titles.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

2014 Summer Movie Preview: June

While the month of May technically kicks off the annual Summer blockbuster season, June is when most of us feel like it's officially arrived. This year, June offers quite a few sequels and a modern musical being adapted for the big screen. Here's a look into what you can expect during the month.


Honorable Mention: Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt team up in the futuristic action flick Edge of Tomorrow (June 6th). Rising star Shailene Woodley tackles the dramatic role of a cancer stricken teenager who find young love in The Fault in Our Stars (June 6th). Laurence Fishburne stars in the Sundance Film Festival hit, The Signal (June 13th), about a trio of college students who are drawn into a creepy situation with nightmarish consequences. Mark Wahlberg makes his debut as the new face of the franchise is Michael Bay's Transformers: Age of Extinction (June 27th). 

22 Jump Street (June 13th)

In 2012 the perfect mix of low expectations and a hilarious effort from co-stars Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum propelled 21 Jump Street into a mainstream hit. This June the duo returns with 22 Jump Street, where the young officers take their case-solving talents to college. As expected with a sequel, everything needs to get bigger and better so we'll have to see how well this new installment stacks up against the original. But either way, how can you not be excited for it?

How to Train Your Dragon 2 (June 13th)

Children's movies have never been the type to excite me. However, the occasional hit such as Finding Nemo and Shrek are impossible to dislike. Another animated feature that I enjoyed was 2010's Oscar Nominated How to Train Your Dragon. This summer the highly anticipated and long-awaited sequel, How to Train Your Dragon 2, returns the lovable duo of Hiccup and Toothless on another wild journey. A film that's suitable for the whole family, there's plenty to look forward to with this one.

Jersey Boys (June 20th)

I have a somewhat extensive knowledge of broadway hits. I've seen many shows and one of my favorites of all time, Jersey Boys, tells the remarkable true story of singer Frankie Valli and his former group, The Four Seasons. When a musical is adapted for the big screen it has the potential to be an Oscar powerhouse like 2002's Chicago, or most recently, Les Miserables. With Clint Eastwood attached to direct, I can't wait to see how he brings the hits of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons to the screen. 

*** Remember to stay tuned tomorrow for a look at July's most exciting titles. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

2014 Summer Movie Preview: May

Throughout the next four days I'll be highlighting my most anticipated films of 2014's Summer season. Today will focus on the month May where there are more than a few titles worth getting excited about. So let's take a look at what the start of Summer has to offer!


Honorable Mention: Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone return in the sequel The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (May 2nd). Elizabeth Banks has to survive the morning after a regrettable evening in Walk of Shame (May 2nd). Jon Favreau gives the family drama genre a try in his festival darling Chef (May 9th). Richard Ayoade's second feature The Double (May 9th) follows Jesse Eisenberg's fall into madness after he discovers his doppleganger. Jon Hamm plays a baseball scout who comes up with the wild notion of searching for MLB's next rising stars throughout India's Cricket circuit in Million Dollar Arm (May 16th). Hugh Jackman and Michael Fassbender return in another superhero installment X-Men: Days of Future Past (May 23rd). Teenagers get caught up in all sorts of trouble in the dark drama Palo Alto (May 23rd) starring James Franco and Emma Roberts. Angelina Jolie heads the Disney tale Maleficent (May 30th). James McAvoy plays a bipolar and drug addicted cop who tries to win back his family in Filth (May 30th). The highly buzzed indie hit Night Moves (May 30th) follows a group of environmentalists who scheme to blow up a dam.

Neighbors (May 9th)

Seth Rogen has always had a direct line to my sense of humor, and this May he returns with the raucous R-rated comedy Neighbors. Rogen and Rose Byrne (Bridesmaids) star as a married couple anxious to rediscover their youth when a fraternity purchases the house next door to them. However, they quickly realize that they've outgrown the late-night party life and  begin to feud with their rowdy college-aged neighbors (Zac Efron and Dave Franco). Early word out of the SXSW festival is Neighbors delivers non-stop laughter, and I sure hope so.

Godzilla (May 16th)

Well all know that the 1998 reboot starring Matthew Broderick was cringe-worthy, but early images and trailers have elevated excitement for another modern-day crack at the classic tale of Godzilla. Director Gareth Edwards impressed with his debut effort, Monsters, and combining him with the likes of Bryan Cranston, Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass) and Elizabeth Olson makes for an excitement-building collaboration. Hopefully we're given the Godzilla reboot that we've long deserved.

A Million Ways to Die in the West (May 30th)

I admittedly have my reservations after catching a glimpse of the trailer for Seth MacFarlane's highly anticipated follow-up to 2012's Ted. I'm concerned about MacFarlane's ability to hold together a full length comedy in a major live-action role. However, when I think back to just how funny Ted was, I can't help but get a little excited for some vulgar humor. A Million Ways to Die in the Best is a high risk/high reward feature that I'm certainly willing to take a chance on.

*** Remember to stay tuned tomorrow for a look at June's most exciting titles!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Cuban Fury

Film: Cuban Fury

Starring: Nick Frost (The World's End), Chris O'Dowd (Bridesmaids) and Rashida Jones (I Love You, Man)

Director: James Griffiths

U.S. Release: April 11th, 2014 (Limited Release - Rated R)

Genre: Comedy

Runtime: 98 minutes

Actor Nick Frost has always had a kinship with longtime friend and constant colleague, Simon Pegg. The duo have traded comedic blows back and forth in films like Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and Paul. Yet, my favorite Nick Frost film has always been Pirate Radio, an English comedy where he shared the stage with Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Nighy and Chris O'Dowd. In 2014 Frost re-teams with O'Dowd for another hilarious effort, the dance comedy Cuban Fury.

Bruce Garrett (Frost) grew up as a young Salsa-Dancing superstar who won competition after competition. But on his way to the national tournament, a group of bullies give him a beat-down he'd never forget and Bruce turns his back on the skill he once loved. Fast forward 20-some years later and Bruce is an overweight loner lacking in confidence. And when his attractive new boss (Rashida Jones) arrives in town, Bruce must compete for her Salsa-loving affection with a cocky and confident co-worker named Drew (O'Dowd).

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of James Griffiths' directorial motion-picture debut, Cuban Fury, is the film's surplus of outrageous laugh out loud dialogue. With it, the movie offers no shortage of perfectly honed characters that are both charming and endearing. Nick Frost gives a strong performance as Cuban Fury's leading star and illustrates magnificent footwork in the highly choreographed scenes. Frost admittedly spent seven hours a day for seven months leading up to production dedicating himself to mastering the art of Salsa-Dancing. His commitment pays off as the dance moves are almost as noteworthy as the feature's high-level of humor. Surprisingly, the greatest source of laughter comes from a rather unknown actor, Kayvan Novak. This role is sure to place Novak on the map and open many doors for his career. With an absurdly unique style of improvisation, he's relentless in his comedic pursuit. O'Dowd is no slouch either, as a trio of hysterical performers make Cuban Fury a winning effort.

If there's a noticeable complaint to the film, it's a lack of originality to the story. The movie follows a far too familiar tale with only a slightly different spin, Salsa-Dancing. At the core, Cuban Fury is an underdog story where the unlikely "loser" gets the pretty girl. A common theme that only works if the execution is spot on. And with this film, it most certainly is. A weak foundation creates an insurmountable ceiling for the movie, however, Frost and company never let up and ultimately take Cuban Fury as far as it can go.

At a brisk-moving pace that never bogs down the audience, Cuban Fury is an absolute delight. The writers and cast earn their R-rating and the result is exceptional. You can expect a barrage of jokes and laugh out loud scenes that support a mediocre, but well-executed, story. Cuban Fury is a fine comedic effort that surely pays off.

Stars: 3 stars out of 4

Grade: B

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Drop and Palo Alto Trailers

Tom Hardy is a personal favorite of mine, and he had the pleasure of sharing the screen with James Gandolfini for the late-great actor's final performance in the crime drama The Drop. The story follows a pair of relatives (Hardy and Gandolfini) who find themselves in the middle of crime and corruption after their city bar is robbed. Arriving to theatres in September, check out the trailer for The Drop below.

The family name "Coppola" is synonymous with some of Hollywood's greatest films, namely the work of 5 time Oscar-Winner Francis Ford Coppola. Now, granddaughter Gia Coppola looks to make a mark with her directorial debut, Palo Alto. This dark drama follows a group of teenagers who get caught up in all sorts of trouble. Starring James Franco, Emma Roberts and Val Kilmer, Check out the first trailer for Palo Alto below.