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Category: Movies

11 Jan

January Movie Preview

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January! O what hath thou wrought? What cruel cinematic monstrosities doth thou unleash upon us this year? Let us partake of thy dry, thorny buffet.

  1. PROUD MARY – Jan. 12. Always nice to see Tajiri P. Henson toplining a film, and here she’s a badass assassin so, hey, points! Iranian action director Babak Najafi isn’t exactly setting the world on fire with films like LONDON IS FALLING, but this should deliver the goods.
  2. PADDINGTON 2 – Jan. 12. The first Paddington film was a delight, and this brings more quality British confectionary. Very well reviewed and totally worth your time.
  3. DEN OF THIEVES – Jan. 19. Another typical January action release. This one really wants to be HEAT 2, but instead of Deniro and Pacino it’s Gerard Butler and Mad Sweeney from AMERICAN GODS, so yeah. Badass bank robbers take on badass cops in the ultimate badass throwdown of badasses. Hard to tell who we’re supposed to root for based on the trailer. But dangit, I’m a sucker for heist films. Fun fact: the director is the son of the guy who plays Victor Newman on Y&R.
  4. THE COMMUTER – Jan. 12. Liam Neeson and Jaume Collet-Serra team up for one final actioner, this time he’s just a normal business dude caught up in an assassination attempt. It’s dumb fun, so if you enjoyed NON-STOP and UNKNOWN you’re getting exactly what you’re looking for.
  5. MAZE RUNNER: THE DEATH CURE – Jan. 26, IMAX. The final chapter in the series you’ve already forgotten about. The lead actor injured himself on-set leading to an extended delay, and as a result no one remembers what the hell is going on. I assume he’s all that’s keeping WCKD from killing everyone, or saving everyone, or something. The first one was an interesting YA actioner, the second was instantly forgettable. I expect nothing.
  6. 12 STRONG – Jan. 19. Chris Hemsworth plays soldier in this jingoistic actioner meant to invoke memories of those days immediately following 9/11 when there was a clear enemy. *cough* Oh hey there’s also lots of great actors like William Fichtner, Michael Shannon, and Michael Pena, but unless you’re a hardcore military fanboy it’s probably not worth your time.
  7. FOREVER MY GIRL – Jan. 19. Country music star heads back to his hometown only to discover that his ex (who he left at the altar) had his kid without telling him. I mean, clearly he’s a dick for leaving her like that, but damn. Obviously not my jam but it’s written and directed by Bethany Ashton Wolf, so it’s nice to see more woman writer/directors in the field.
  8. INSIDIOUS: THE LAST KEY – Jan. 5. The seventeenth film in the franchise, I assume. Sure seems like it. I’m certain it’s also BASED ON A TRUE STORY. I dunno. Literally more of the same.

Aaaaand that’s it. Wow, a light release schedule even for January. February has a lot more quality titles though, so sit tight and check out everything you missed from December.

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1 Dec

December Movie Preview!

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December! Oscar bait meets the blockbusters! Sometimes they’re one and the same! This year, not so much, but honestly you’ll get pretty deep in the list before the crap starts to show, so dig in!

  1. STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI – Dec. 14, RealD3D, IMAX3D. I mean, come on. FORCE AWAKENS reinvigorated the franchise, legit auteur Rian Johnson (LOOPER, BRICK) is directing, and it looks phenomenal. I’m suggest it could be the best STAR WARS film yet. But that would raise expectations waaaay too much, so I’ll just say I’m excited. For the 3D haters, several IMAX screens have at least one 2D showing a day, so plan your viewing accordingly.
  2. THE SHAPE OF WATER – Dec. 8. Guillermo Del Toro is one of the best filmmakers working today, and this is said to be one of his best. Basically, what if CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON was a love story? Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins and Octavia Spencer are support but it’s Sally Hawkins who will break your heart, and Doug Jones is once again the man behind the mask. A must-see.
  3. THE DISASTER ARTIST – Dec. 1. The story behind one of the most baffling films of all time. James Franco IS Tommy Wiseau. Extremely good reviews abound, and it looks funny as hell but is also heartbreaking, showing how Hollywood can break you by making your dreams come true.
  4. THE PHANTOM THREAD – Dec. 25. Another great filmmaker graces us this month, with Paul Thomas Anderson and the brilliant Daniel Day Lewis getting together one last time, telling us a tale of a dressmaker losing himself in his muse in 1950’s London. It’ll be stunning, that much is guaranteed.
  5. MOLLY’S GAME – Dec. 25. Aaron Sorkin tells the true story of Molly, the Olympian who ran high-stakes poker games for famous clients. Jessica Chastain is Molly, and Idris Elba is whoever the hell he wants to be. Sorkin’s always exciting, and this is his directorial debut!
  6. JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE – Dec. 20, RealD3D. This is an actual sequel to the original JUMANJI, except this time four kids get sucked into a video game version and become The Rock, Karen Gillan, Kevin Hart, and Jack Black. That’s a hell of a combo. Early word is actually super positive, so director Jake Kasdan must be channeling WALK HARD: THE DEWEY COX STORY more than SEX TAPE, thank god.
  7. THE POST – Dec. 22 (limited). Spielberg’s latest is the trial-by-fire of the first female newspaper publisher, thrown into chaos with the leak of the Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam War. Sure, it’s Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, but it all seems a bit dry to me.
  8. THE GREATEST SHOWMAN – Dec. 20. Hugh Jackman IS P. T. Barnum! The lyrics for the songs are from the guys who did LA LA LAND! Michelle Williams! Zac Efron! Zendaya! But dammit, I just can’t get excited for this. The first trailer was terrified to show you that it’s a damned musical, though later trailers are much more up front about it. I’m just worried that it’ll be more GLEE than anything.
  9. ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD – Dec. 22. Ridley Scott’s latest is getting more attention for replacing Kevin Spacey with Christopher Plummer than anything, and it really doesn’t seem to have much going for it. Mark Wahlberg is a badass, um, private security dude tasked with saving the grandson of Jean Paul Getty, who doesn’t seem interested in paying the ransom so it’s up to his mom (Michelle Williams AGAIN) to either convince him to pay or save the kid herself. It’s hard to tell who the main character is here, and Ridley’s not exactly at the top of his game. Hopefully this will be better than it looks.
  10. DOWNSIZING – Dec. 22. Alexander Payne is an Oscar winning director (THE DESCENDANTS) but early reviews for this one are pretty soft. Matt Damon and his family undergo a procedure to literally shrink themselves for a simpler life among other shrunk folk. It’s a morality play, but it’s probably too goofy to be emotionally affecting.
  11. PITCH PERFECT 3- Dec. 22. Anna Kendrick and the Pitchettes are back for one final show, but will an attempt at solo success kill the group’s momentum? Look, I love Anna but I’ve never seen one of these, so if you’re a fan I’m sure it will be just fine.
  12. FERDINAND – Dec. 15. The director of ICE AGE and RIO is back with the story of a bull just trying to get back to his family. An interesting cast, with John Cena playing the bull, along with Kate McKinnon, David Tennant, and Bobby Cannavale among many others. I’m sure it will be a perfectly decent film that will not make you crave the sweet release of death as you watch it with your young, young children.
  13. JUST GETTING STARTED – Dec. 8. These last two films are basically tied for last, but this one was made by Ron Shelton who made BULL DURHAM so it gets the tiebreaker. Morgan Freeman is the king of his retirement home until Tommy Lee Jones shows up and challenges his dominance. Then some hitmen try to kill Morgan since it turns out he was under witness protection. Lots of saucy bits about old people fuckin’, but it’s fun to see Morgan as a dick. It also features one of the last performance of the great Glenne Headly from DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS.
  14. FATHER FIGURES – Dec. 22. So Owen Wilson and Ed Helms are brothers. Their mom, Glenn Close, admits that she’s not sure who their real dad is, but it’s one of like five wacky guys she banged in the 70s. Terry Bradshaw (as Terry Bradshaw), JK Simmons, and Christopher Walken are the most likely dads. Wow. Directed by the DP for THE HANGOVER, and written by the guy who wrote OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY, so, you know, bona fides. And at some point they pick up Katt Williams who may or may not be a serial killer. So yeah, comedy gold across the board.

So there’s no excuse to avoid the theatre this month, lots to check out, big and small. Escape the madness of the season in an air-conditioned, uhh, warmish room and laugh or cry to forget your troubles. Don’t even think about January, lord knows I’m not (checks list) yeah, it’s pretty weak. So enjoy THE LAST JEDI!

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23 Nov

November Movie Preview (cough)

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November! Well, it’s almost over, but the good news is that pretty much everything on the list is in theatres NOW! So let’s get into it!

  1. THOR: RAGNAROK – IMAX3D. Easily the funniest Marvel film yet. It’s a miracle on so many levels. Thor has been the centre of two of the least-loved Marvel films, but the decision to bring in Taika Waititi to direct was brilliant. His insane style brought Kirby’s visions to life, and showed that Chris Hemsworth has some solid comic chops to go with his Asgardian good looks. Valkyrie, Loki, Goldblum, Hulk… An absolute must see on the big screen.
  2. COCO – RealD3D. Pixar’s latest is a fantastic homage to the Mexican Day Of The Dead. A young boy accidentally enters the afterlife and needs to get back to his family. Stunning visuals and incredible heart.
  3. LADY BIRD – God help us, it’s a period piece set in 2003. Teen angst writ large, starring Saoirse Ronan (BROOKLYN) and directed by Greta Gerwig (FRANCES HA). This one’s likely under your radar, but it’s rocking a full 100% on RT and is one of the year’s best films.
  4. ROMAN J. ISRAEL, ESQ. – Denzel Washington plays the titular character, a struggling civil rights lawyer who gets sick of doing free work for people who don’t appreciate it, so he decides to go big league and get paid instead. It’s a complex character piece featuring one of the best actors working today, and it’s directed by NIGHTCRAWLER’s Dan Gilroy, which was a classic. Reviews are a bit soft though.
  5. THE MAN WHO INVENTED CHRISTMAS – It’s the Charles Dickens story! Dan Stevens plays Dickens, and Christopher Plummer is Scrooge, haunting Dickens as he writes. A solid grounding of one of the all-time greats, and a good holiday choice. In a few weeks.
  6. MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS – Kenneth Branagh dons the moustache as Clouseau, and also directs this remake of the beloved murder mystery. Again, reviews have been pretty soft, but it’s got a hell of a cast with Daisy Ridley, Penelope Cruz, Willem Dafoe, Josh Gad, Judi Dench, Michelle Pfeiffer, and more! Still entertaining.
  7. WONDER – Look, I’m dead inside, and it’s hard for me to open my heart to a film, so forgive me if I seem resistant to this Hollywood Oscar Bait about a young boy with a facial deformity just tryin’ to be a normal kid. ROOM’s Jacob Tierney stars, and Julia Friggin’ Roberts plays mom, while, um, Owen Wilson is the dad. Wow! Writer/director Stephen Chbosky also made the underseen PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER so I’m sure it’s a perfectly cromulent film.
  8. JUSTICE LEAGUE – Didn’t think I’d forget this, did you? It’s a decent film that’s built on a foundation of shit, so it didn’t really have a chance, even with Joss Whedon taking over for reshoots. Fans are already taking it apart trying to figure out what’s Snyder and what’s Whedon. The only good parts are the banter between the heroes, and a few moments of action. If you’re not already invested, this sure as hell won’t make you a fan.
  9. DADDY’S HOME 2 – What a clever title. I guess I’m in camp “Are we really okay with Mel Gibson now?” especially with him playing an alpha douche here. If you were a big fan of the first one, fill your boots.
  10. THE STAR – Hey, why don’t they make good wholesome family films? What’s that, they’ve been doing that all along? Okay, well, how about more bible-based family films, with lots of goofy humour to balance out the churchy stuff? And an all-star cast to keep the heathens distracted? If you’re a dowdy aunt who needs to take their niece or nephew to movie, this is the one for you! Enjoy!

So there you go, ten films which are all currently in theatres, no planning required! Oddly enough there aren’t many big films being released next month, it’s almost like there’s a massive juggernaut coming out. Hmm. We’ll look into that, um, next week.

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13 Oct

October Movie Preview

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October has NINETEEN wide releases this year. That’s bananas. Here’s a look at what’s coming out.

  1. BLADE RUNNER 2049 – Oct 6, RealD3D, IMAX. It’s a worthy followup to one of the greats, and a must-see in IMAX. Note that it’s in 2D in IMAX but 3D in most other screens, which is a huge failure and a possible reason it’s doing poorly in regular theatres, while selling out in IMAX.
  2. SUBURBICON – Oct. 27. George Clooney is back behind the camera for a tale of suburban life gone wrong. Matt Damon and Julianne Moore star, and Matt looks particularly insane as a dad just trying to keep his life together after getting involved in an insurance scheme. Oh, did I mention that it’s written by the Coen brothers?
  3. GEOSTORM – Oct. 20, RealD3D, IMAX3D. No one wrecks the planet like Roland Emmerich, but his writing partner Dean Devlin is taking a shot at the title here. It looks completely insane, almost like a greatest hits of the disaster films past. A cup of THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW, two scoops of 2012, a little INDEPENDENCE DAY and whammo, two hours of digital mayhem. The story? Well, weather control satellites go HAM and only Gerard Butler can stop them. In space. I’m there.
  4. THE SNOWMAN – Oct. 20. Crime thrillers are usually a pretty safe bet, and when you match up a solid Swedish director with a lead like Michael Fassbender, you’re likely in for a wild ride. And with a supporting cast featuring Rebecca Ferguson, Chloe Sevigny, and Val Kilmer, it better deliver.
  5. GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN – Oct. 13. If you haven’t cried big ugly tears in a movie theatre for a while, have I got the film for you! The true story of A. A. Milne, creator of Winnie The Pooh is pretty rough, from PTSD to poor dadsmanship, it’s a real three-hanky film with Brendan Gleeson, Margot Robbie, and Kelly MacDonald.
  6. MY LITTLE PONY: THE MOVIE – Oct. 6. I really feel bad for this franchise. There’s a lot to love, but it quickly became toxic thanks to some unnatural devotion from, shall we say, an unintended audience. Still, there’s lots here for fans and it’s likely to keep parents from blacking out from boredom too.
  7. PROFESSOR MARSTON AND THE WONDER WOMEN – Oct. 13. The true story of the creator of Wonder Women is fascinating, due to his polyamorous relationship that’s depicted as a real, living thing rather than getting the usual Hollywood treatment. Advocates have been hailing it, but it’ll likely get a longer life in home viewing. Come for the comic story, stay for the life lessons.
  8. MARSHALL – Oct. 13. Another true story, this time it’s about Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall’s rise to fame in a super racist society. Chadwick Boseman continues his ascent in the title role. Reviews are solid.
  9. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE – Oct. 27. From the writer of AMERICAN SNIPER, but it looks a lot better than that one. Miles Teller plays a decorated soldier dealing with the aftermath of a brutal tour of duty. Despite the rah-rah marketing it could be a pretty brutal takedown of what war does to a man and his family.
  10. JIGSAW – Oct. 27. Oh no, he’s back! After fourteen SAW films and a brief absence, he’s back! Kinda. I mean, he died in what, the fourth one? This one actually looks fairly decent, so fans of the original should be happy, and you can’t do much better for the Halloween season.
  11. THE FOREIGNER – Oct. 13. Who really wants to see sad Jackie Chan fight Pierce Brosnan? It looks like something you’d see in the video store back in the glory days, but obviously something was there to get it into theatres. Director Martin Campbell reteams with Brosnan for the first time since GOLDENEYE. Pretty heavy stuff for a mindless actioner though.
  12. HAPPY DEATH DAY – Oct. 13. It’s FINAL DESTINATION meets GROUNDHOG DAY, but unfortunately the reviews aren’t very positive. Ah well.
  13. ONLY THE BRAVE – Oct. 20. A brutally timely story about the Granite Mountain Hotshots, firefighters tasked with putting out massive forest fires. It’s very much in the vein of EVEREST and DEEPWATER HORIZON, following a team that puts their lives on the line and not everyone will make it out alive. Featuring Josh Brolin, Miles Teller, and Jeff Bridges, this will likely be a bit over the top about hitting emotional buttons, though director Joseph Kosinski also made OBLIVION and TRON: LEGACY which weren’t exactly manipulative.
  14. VICTORIA AND ABDUL – Oct. 6. Dame Judi Dench plays Queen Victoria, striking a friendship with an Indian clerk. Director Stephen Frears directed Dench to an Oscar nom for PHILOMENA, but this one’s a bit heavier since it deals with racism instead of pregnant nuns. Reviews have been pretty soft, so it’s tough to push for a theatrical viewing.
  15. THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US – Oct. 6. Kate Winslet and Idris Elba try to survive the mountain wilderness after their plane crashes. This one came out of nowhere, and the reviews have been pretty harsh. Too bad that they wasted a great cast.
  16. ALL I SEE IS YOU – Oct. 27. Blake Lively is blind, and then she’s not. With her regained sight she realizes her husband (Jason Clarke) isn’t as perfect as she thought. Again, pretty harsh reviews, so it’s more Netflix fodder.
  17. SAME KIND OF DIFFERENT AS ME – Oct. 20. Hooray, another film about racism! A white guy whose marriage is falling apart befriends a dangerous black guy because his wife tells him she had a dream about him. Also, Jesus is involved. Oh, and it’s based on a true story because of course it is. Starring Renee Zellweger, Greg Kinnear, and Djimon Hounsou because Christian movies are Serious Business.
  18. THE STRAY – Oct. 6. A young family where dad just doesn’t have time to play catch with his son take in a stray dog who changes everything. Then they go camping and are struck by lightning. *cough* This is family filmmaking in Trump’s America. Good, wholesome films that look and sound like very special episodes of your favorite shows from the 90s. Incredible.
  19. TYLER PERRY’S MADEA IN TYLER PERRY’S BOO 2! A MADEA HALLOWEEN: A TYLER PERRY FILM STARRING TYLER PERRY AS TYLER PERRY’S MADEA – Oct. 20. Hey, maybe it’ll turn the genre on its head and be oh god who am I kidding

God that was exhausting. Too many damned movies. Too much mediocrity. Well, November looks much better, I tell you what. See you then.

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1 Sep

September Movie Preview

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September! A summer that laid waste to the stocks of cinema chains is over! Seems that folks weren’t too happy about the endless sequels and reboots so they stayed home and watched Netflix. Will this month’s releases drag the masses back to the multiplex? I really doubt it, but there are some winners in there! Let’s break it down.

  1. KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE – Sept. 22, IMAX. Aw yiss. The first film was a breath of fresh air, a fun, original romp in a new universe that was part James Bond, part KICK-ASS. The followup looks just as good, with an insanely deep cast going from Channing Tatum to Jeff Bridges to Julianne Moore to Elton Fucking John. I mean, COME ON. This is a must-see.
  2. mother! – Sept. 15. Darren Aronofsky (BLACK SWAN, REQUIEM FOR A DREAM) is one of the best filmmakers working today, so any new release of his is a big deal. This secretive project stars Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem in a twisted thriller that no one really knows much about, so try to go in cold if you can.
  3. IT – Sept. 8. With the stink of the soul-crushing failure of THE DARK TOWER, King’s work hits the big screen once again, but all the advance word is super-positive. It’ll hit all your horror needs. And it just focuses on the kids, so no giant spider at the end (thank god).
  4. CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND – Sept 1. This classic is getting a theatrical run to celebrate its, um, 40TH ANNIVERSARY? Jesus. Anyway, it’s a new 4K remaster so it should look spectacular on the big screen.
  5. AMERICAN MADE – Sept. 29, IMAX. Tom Cruise and Doug Liman re-team after their incredibly successful EDGE OF TOMORROW. This time they’re telling the true story of a guy hired by the CIA to run drug shipments from Columbia. The trailer’s insane, so this should make for a hell of a night out at the movies.
  6. AMERICAN ASSASSIN – Sept. 15. Hey look, a similarly titled film! This stars THE MAZE RUNNER’s Dylan O’Brien as a young man bent on revenge after his fiancé is killed by terrorists. Michael Keaton takes him under his wing, only to come up against his former protégé (Taylor Kitsch) who’s gone rogue and stuff. Looks like a throwback to 90’s Tom Clancy films, but in the nicest way.
  7. FLATLINERS – Sept. 29. It looks like a remake, but it’s a pseudo-sequel to the Kiefer Sutherland classic. Director Niels Arden Oplev directed the original GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO film so he should be able to bring something interesting to the proceedings, and the trailer looks pretty good. We could all use a little more Ellen Page in our lives too.
  8. THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE – Sept. 22, Real3D, IMAX. Look, I loved THE LEGO MOVIE and LEGO BATMAN, but this might be going too far. It’s based on Lego’s original franchise NINJAGO, which isn’t exactly well known to the general public. They’ve loaded up with star talent to provide the voices, but it all looks a bit much, mixing teen drama with ninjas and giant robots and a whooooole lot of Asian appropriation. I guess it’s meant to be “random” so maybe I’m just too old for this. Your ten year old, on the other hand, will demand that it be hooked directly into his veins.
  9. TULIP FEVER – Sept. 1. This Weinstein-produced historical nugget, directed by Justin Chadwick (THE OTHER BOLEYN GIRL, MANDELA: LONG WALK TO FREEDOM) was in the can a few years ago but they didn’t know what to do with it, so here it is. Starring Oscar winner Alicia Vikander (THE DANISH GIRL), Christoph Waltz, and Dane DeHaan (VALERIAN), reviews have been pretty harsh. It’s a tale of betrayal set during, well, tulip fever, when tulip bulbs became a traded currency, but DeHaan is just a little too unpleasant looking to be considered a romantic leading man. If you need your historical romance buttons pushed, well, click click click.
  10. MARVEL’S INHUMANS – Sept. 1, IMAX Exclusive. Good news! Something is only available in IMAX! Bad news! It’s terrible! They shot the first two episodes of ABC’s new series in native IMAX but forgot to make the content worthy of the format. The first trailer was terrible, and the final reviews have not been kind. So feel free to give it a miss.
  11. FRIEND REQUEST – Sept. 22. So a few years ago there was UNFRIENDED, and this almost seems like a remake, but I guess it’s just a ripoff. A clingly girl gets unfriended and kills herself in witchy ways to haunt her ex-bestie. If you like jump scares, they’ve got you covered.
  12. HOME AGAIN – Sept. 8. Reese Witherspoon is back in a wacky romantic comedy! She’s a mom who’s banging a younger guy! Take THAT, convention! Legendary rom-com producers/writers Nancy Meyers and Charles Shyer (known collectively as the Shmeyers, I shit you not) had a kid, Hallie Meyers-Shyer, who is now a writer/director as well! Gee Hollywood, nepotism much? Anyway, it looks almost exactly like something her parents would have made. Reese is separated from the father of her kids, she hooks up with a much younger guy for a one-night stand but ends up falling for him, and then the dad (Michael Sheen, for the record) wants back in the picture. Sure, hey, girl power. It just looks cookie cutter as all hell.
  13. TIL DEATH DO US PART – Sept. 29. This month’s urban thriller tells the tale of a woman with the perfect husband, who it turns out doesn’t want a kid getting in the way of his relationship. When he gets violent she jackrabbits into a new life, and unsurprisingly he tracks her down. It’s basically Lifetime Movie Template 7-B.
  14. 9/11 – Sept. 8. Yeah, you read that right. Based on a play about a group of people trapped in a WTC elevator, this stunning film achievement stars, hang on, let me take a drink before reading this, Charlie Sheen and Whoopi Goldberg. Okay, I’ve got the new keyboard and monitor set up, sorry about the delay. From the writer/director of NATIONAL LAMPOON’S CATTLE CALL and MY X-GIRLFRIEND’S WEDDING RECEPTION (which featured a cameo from Bernie Sanders) comes this… tale of… the triumph of… awards bait? Emotional manipulation? Bad ideas? The power of sixteen producers? Disaster porn? At least one of the producers is known for Christian films, so there’s a good chance that there will be a “message” prominently displayed here. Regardless, this should be a massive, massive critical and commercial failure.

So there’s lots to chew on for the month. October has at least one all-timer coming, but we’ll leave that for later. Until then, check out the podcast! You know there’s a podcast, right?

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2 Aug

August Movie Preview

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I’ll be honest, my initial look at August was pretty weak, but after further review there are some quality films coming out! Oddly, no big-budget blockbusters though (even DARK TOWER cost under $100 mil). So there’s still lots to check this month!

  1. LOGAN LUCKY – Aug. 18. For a guy who said he was retiring from movies, Steven Soderbergh has been pretty busy. This looks delightfully insane, with a killer cast including Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, and “introducing” Daniel Craig. Initial reviews have been pretty soft, but it’s still a new Soderbergh film dangnabbit!
  2. DETROIT – Aug. 4. Kathryn Bigelow is finally getting her due as a filmmaker thanks to the massive success of THE HURT LOCKER and ZERO DARK THIRTY, and she’s going dark again with this story of the Detroit riots of 1967. With the current racial climate in America, this is a tough story to tell but with John Boyega (THE FORCE AWAKENS) and Anthony Mackie (HURT LOCKER, CAPTAIN AMERICA: WINTER SOLDIER) toplining it’s a great cast and creative crew. Still seems like a fall movie though, it’s tough to get folks to think hard during the summer.
  3. THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD – Aug. 18. Speaking of dumb fun, hey, let’s throw Ryan Reynolds and Sam Jackson together and see what happens! What’s that, it’s a foul-mouthed action comedy? What a shock! Unfortunately the creative side hasn’t made much other than EXPENDABLES III, but the trailer looks pretty good. Expect the actors’ charm to carry the whole film.
  4. WIND RIVER – Aug. 11. A thriller from the writer of the brilliant SICARIO. Jeremy Renner plays a “veteran game tracker” working on an Indian reservation who discovers a murdered woman and has to solve the crime with an FBI agent (Elizabeth Olsen) who’s out of her element. Hey, it’s that Hawkeye/ Scarlet Witch crossover you’ve been waiting for! Looks tight.
  5. BIRTH OF THE DRAGON – Aug. 25. The writer/director of THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU tells the true tale of Bruce Lee’s fight with a Kung Fu master that put him on the path to greatness. An early cut was shown at TIFF last year to unanimous hatred, since it inexplicably focused on a white dude who’s caught up in Lee’s life. How that ever seemed like a good idea is beyond me, and it led to an assault on the IMDB page for the film. Nolfi hasn’t admitted to recutting it but one article online talked about seeing a very different cut last month, and the trailer now shows very little of the white boy. So at least based on the trailer, this looks pretty good.
  6. GLASS CASTLE – Aug. 11. Before winning an Oscar for ROOM, Brie Larson starred in Destin Daniel Cretton’s SHORT TERM 12 to rave reviews, and they’re reteaming for this one. Brie plays the older version of Woody Harrelson’s daughter, part of a nomad family roaming across the states, evading the tax-man. He paints their life as one of absolute freedom, which she recognizes as a lie as she gets older. Can she reconcile her yuppie adult life with her literally carefree parents? Again, looks like a fall film but it’ll be a tough ride.
  7. THE DARK TOWER – Aug. 4. I read the first few books in the series, which was one of the first “meta” constructs where elements of unconnected Stephen King books suddenly started appearing together in an exhilarating mix. When they announced a big screen/tv crossover project I was excited! A real attempt to do justice to an amazing series! Then, the worst possible name was uttered: Akiva Fucking Goldsman. Write. Off. The review embargo lifts tonight, so we’ll see what the critics think, but for now King himself seems happy, though I’m sure he’s got a strong financial investment in its success. The box office tracking is very low, so we may not see more anyway. It’s a shame, Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey look great in the trailer.
  8. ANNABELLE: CREATION – Aug. 11. The prequel to the spinoff of THE CONJURING. Director David F. Sandberg’s LIGHTS OUT was a lot of fun, and Miranda Otto (THE TWO TOWERS) is here, but overall, meh. More creepy doll shit.
  9. KIDNAP – Aug. 4. Look, just don’t take Halle Berry’s son, okay? If you do, lots of people are going to die. By the trailer, probably a dozen or so people die in traffic accidents she causes. All because she doesn’t trust the cops to do their jobs. I’m sure lots of folks will get off on the idea of becoming a vigilante, doling out bowls of rich, creamy justice to kidnappers. GIVE ME BACK MY SON!
  10. THE NUT JOB 2: NUTTY BY NATURE – Aug. 11, RealD3D. Hey, it’s the only 3D movie this month! And it’s a shitty sequel to a disposable kid’s movie! The first one was surprisingly successful, so hey, why not make another? It’s a mash up of, well, the first movie, and THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS, only this time it’s a cute lil’ mouse voiced by Jackie Friggin’ Chan. Whatever.
  11. ALL SAINTS – Aug. 25. I’m harsh on Christian films. But dangit, they’re just so lame! Dry, predictable, unchallenging, and preaching to the choir. This one’s about a church that’s scheduled for closure that sees a resurgence thanks to an influx of refugees who help turn the valuable land into *gasp* farmland! How dare this charismatic priest go against the wishes of the… diocese? Well, whatever organization runs things for this branch. It’ll be interesting to see how southerners take the message of bringing in refugees to shore up failing church numbers.

So there’s more than expected for August! Not nearly as big as years past, but maybe that’s for the best. September has some great films in the wings, so get ready for that in, oh, four weeks or so.

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7 Jul

July Movie Preview

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July! Summer is in full swing, with lots of blockbusters clogging up the theatre! It’s been a pretty rough summer overall, with lots of franchises sputtering and dying, but cheer up, quality films are here in spades! Let’s break it down.

  1. SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING – July 7, RealD3D, IMAX3D. The hype is real: this is the best Spider-Man film yet, and maybe the best comic book film to boot. Peter Parker is a nerdy teen, as he should be! No more 30 year olds trying to look young, Tom Holland is the real deal. This is more comedy than action, with young Spidey throwing lots of zingers but the rest of the cast has their moments too. An absolute must see.
  2. VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS – July 21, RealD3D. Luc Besson is back with what’s basically a thematic followup to THE FIFTH ELEMENT, an insane sci-fi adventure through the crazy lens of French Bande Desinee. In a summer full of cries for something original, this is the real deal, jammed with stuff you’ve never seen before. It’s a shame there’s not an IMAX release for something on this scale, but be sure to see it on the big screen or you’ll be kicking yourself later when you catch it on Netflix.
  3. DUNKIRK – July 21, IMAX 70mm! Christopher Nolan is easily IMAX’s biggest champion, and he shot the bulk of this WWII thriller in native 70mm IMAX film. The only locations in the GTA that will show it intact are the Colossus in Vaughn and Square One in Mississauga, but both screens are smaller than the Scotiabank downtown, which will show it in nearly-as-good IMAX Laser. Varsity with have a traditional 70mm print. I’ll be checking it out at the Colossus as well as the Scotiabank for a proper comparison. Oh, right, the film itself. It looks intense, a real “war is hell” story where you’re right in the thick of it.
  4. WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES – July 14, RealD3D. The trilogy wraps up in a gritty battle between the apes and the last of humanity, but they’re dicks, so it looks like we’re rooting for the apes. Advance word is extremely positive, and the first two were phenomenal, so it’s good to know they’re sticking the landing.
  5. THE BIG SICK – July 15. Kumail Nanjiani (SILICON VALLEY) stars in what is basically the true story of how he and his wife got together. It’s a fantastic romantic comedy with deeper levels, specifically about race and how mixed relationships work in our modern world. Funny and sweet, a great date film that deserves all the praise it’s getting.
  6. ATOMIC BLONDE – July 28. Charlize Theron gets all JOHN WICK on your ass. Unfortunately the reviews from festival screenings say it’s more style than substance, but it should still be entertaining as hell.
  7. WISH UPON – July 14. If you need a horror fix, this one from the director of ANNABELLE looks pretty good. A bullied teenager finds a box that grants seven wishes, but uh-oh, things are not what they seem.
  8. GIRLS TRIP – July 21. Four best friends travel to N’Awlins for some debauchery. R-rated comedies have had a rough go recently at the box office, but urban films are doing gangbusters. I wouldn’t expect it to change the game, but it’s nice to see Queen Latifah and Jada Pinkett-Smith on the big screen.
  9. THE EMOJI MOVIE – July 28. Jesus wept.

That’s July! I’m not gonna lie, August looks like shit with one glowing exception, but we’ll leave that for next month. Get to the movies!

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5 Jun

Andrew interviews Ron Perlman, Martin Starr, and John Francis Daley

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As mentioned in this week’s podcast, here are links for two of the panels I moderated at Motor City Comic Con.

Martin Starr and John Francis Daley via Detroit Free Press Co-stars of FREAKS AND GEEKS, Martin Starr also stars in SILICON VALLEY and PARTY DOWN, John is in 5-25-77 and is the co-writer of SPIDER-MAN HOMECOMING.

Ron Perlman via Facebook Live Ron is best known as HELLBOY as well as SONS OF ANARCHY and from the brilliant BEAUTY AND THE BEAST show from 1987.

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2 Jun

New Movies for June 2017

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June! The summer movie season is in full swing. This month, every weekend has a potential $100m opening, but there’s blood in the water. Not everything will succeed, but what will be worth your hard-earned cashola? Let’s take a look.

  1. BABY DRIVER – June 28. Edgar Wright is a cinematic treasure. Everything he does is touched by genius, box office be damned. The praise for his latest is through the roof, a killer action-comedy with inventive car chases that are basically choreographed with great pop tunes. An absolute must see.
  2. WONDER WOMAN – June 2, RealD3D, IMAX3D. They finally did it. DC made a great superhero flick, starring and directed by ladies. Reviews are super positive, some are putting it ahead of ALL of Marvel’s films, but there’s a lot of hopes and dreams resting on this one. Thankfully it delivers.
  3. THE MUMMY – June 9, RealD3D, IMAX3D. I don’t know how Universal got Tom Cruise to be the first headliner for their new rebooted classic horror series, but this looks utterly bananas. Should be a fun night at the movies though.
  4. IT COMES AT NIGHT – June 9. One of three horror films this month, this post-apocalyptic cabin in the woods story looks pretty damn intense, featuring the always dependable Joel Edgerton as a man trying to protect his family during an unknown society-breaking event.
  5. THE HOUSE – June 30. Someone finally put Will Farrell and Amy Pohler in a movie together! They’re parents struggling for cash to put their kid through college and decide to open an underground casino in their house. Directed by the writer of NEIGHBORS, so it’s got a good chance at success.
  6. DESPICABLE ME 3 – June 30, RealD3D, IMAX3D. Gru’s back, and he’s got a twin brother with hair. I guess that’s the hook. Trey Parker plays an 80s themed villain too, which is cool. I enjoyed the other two, so I’m sure this will be just fine.
  7. ROUGH NIGHT – June 16. Scarlett Johannson and the girls get wild and a stripper gets killed in the process. Written and directed from one of the minds behind BROAD CITY, so it’ll be dirty as hell. Always nice to see Kate McKinnon on the big screen too.
  8. CARS 3 – June 16, RealD3D, IMAX. Lightning McQueen is facing retirement, but wants one more shot at glory. Basically ROCKY IV, which is kind of fascinating. We’ll see. The IMAX release is only 2D, and it’s limited at that thanks to a jam-packed release schedule.
  9. TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT – June 21, RealD3D, IMAX3D. I mean, Jesus. Come on. I just keep going back like a beaten stepchild, hoping for one glorious shot that makes it all worthwhile, but my god these films are bad. This one looks more insane than all the others put together, and it features (what looks like) Unicron, so dammit, I’m going back for more. Ugh. But he’s shot it in native IMAX3D so that part should be interesting.
  10. MEGAN LEAVEY – June 9. Pretty ballsy title for a film about a marine and her attempts to adopt her K-9 comrade after a bomb disposal goes bad. It’s actually a solid portrayal of PTSD though, but it’ll get swamped by the megafilms at the theatres, and the title says nothing about the film. Should have held off until the fall. I love Kate Mara though.
  11. CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS: THE FIRST EPIC MOVIE – June 2. The popular kid’s book comes to life in all its doodie-laden glory. It’s not for me, but it delivers the goods for kids 8-12. Surprisingly positive reviews!
  12. 47 METERS DOWN – June 16. Mandy Moore and Claire Holt are trapped in a shark cage that’s just shy of fifty meters under water. And there’s some big sharks between them and the sweet, sweet air on the surface. You already know if you want to see this.
  13. ALL EYEZ ON ME – June 16. The story of Tupac! This year’s STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON. Or not. I’m sure it’s just fine.
  14. AMITYVILLE: THE AWAKENING – June 30. This has been in the can for over FIVE YEARS. That is never a good sign. Expect nothing.

 

So lots to choose from this month! But oh doctor, does July have some big titles. See you in a few!

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5 May

New Movies for May 2017

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MAY! IT’S MAY! SUMMER MOVIE SEASON IS HERE! And what better way to kick it off than a sequel to Marvel’s biggest surprise hit? Not much counter-programming this year, so there’s only eight movies on the list this month! Let’s take a look.

  1. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2 – May 5, RealD3D, IMAX3D. It’s damn near perfect. Surprisingly emotional, loaded with fun and humor, great action, just about anything you’d ever want from a theatrical experience. Benchmark stuff.
  2. ALIEN: COVENANT – May 19, IMAX. PROMETHEUS was frustrating at best, and hopefully Ridley Scott learned his lesson. Early word is positive, so it should deliver the goods. Hell of a cast here.
  3. KING ARTHUR: LEGEND OF THE SWORD – May 12, RealD3D. Guy Ritchie has basically made LOCK, STOCK, AND TWO BLOODY SWORDS. I want to give him credit for trying something different with the Arthurian legend but it kind of looks like a mess. Hopefully it’s a fun mess.
  4. PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES – May 26, RealD3D, IMAX3D. The fourth film was a disaster, but this looks like a return to form, and they’re selling it as the last one. It looks like a mashup of all the elements from the original trilogy, but it’s hard to get excited about this.
  5. BAYWATCH – May 24. It’s nice to see a proper starring comedic vehicle for Dwayne Johnson, and Zac Efron has definitely matured into a decent actor, but I’ve got a bad feeling about this one. It wants to be 21 JUMP STREET soooo bad but it’s missing the brilliant touch of Lord & Miller.
  6. SNATCHED – May 12. Amy Schumer and Goldie Hawn seem like a no-brainer teamup, and writer Katie Dippold wrote THE HEAT and GHOSTBUSTERS, but the trailers seem a bit lacking. I think audiences may be burned out on Schumer, though it’ll be nice to see Goldie in action again.
  7. DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: THE LONG HAUL – May 19. This is the fourth WIMPY film, but the first in five years. New family, same chaos. This series is aimed squarely at nine year old boys so don’t expect much from this one.
  8. EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING – May 19. A teenage girl is trapped in her hermetically sealed house due to her immune deficiency, but hormones cause her to rebel and escape with the pretty boy next door. It’s hard not to think about America’s health care debate and how much her inevitable hospital stay would have cost, let alone the cost of maintaining the house, but hey, the heart wants what it wants, right? Better to live one day in the real world than live a life in a prison. Until your lungs fill with fluid and you can’t breathe, then that prison seems pretty swell. Wow, this got dark. Anyway, I guess it was inevitable that Nicholas Sparks clones would start appearing by now, hooray for doomed romances!

So that’s May for you. June has a megafilm every week, it’s gonna be a bloodbath. See you then!

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7 Apr

April Movie Preview

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April! The appetizer to the Summer madness. This year, we’ve got another entry in a megafranchise to set the tone for the coming season, with some nice sides to go with it. Let’s take a look.

  1. FREE FIRE – April 21. Ben Wheatley is one of the UK’s best filmmakers, and this might finally be his first big box-office hit following the great KILL LIST and HIGH RISE. This is a great action/comedy set in the 70s with a killer cast featuring Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, Armie Hammer, and Sharlto Copley. Total madness, and you NEED to see it with a crowd.
  2. THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS – April 14, IMAX. Here we are, the EIGHTH film in the franchise no one saw coming. They’ve been one-upping themselves with each of the last four, and this doesn’t stop the formula, throwing in a friggin’ submarine fight. Just bananas. Does anyone really think Dominic Toretto is really a bad guy now? Regardless, it’ll be over two hours of mindless fun.
  3. THE CIRCLE – April 28. Tom Hanks is evil Steve Jobs! What else do you need? Well, Emma Watson is the central character, a new hire with a global social media phenomenon which might be more evil than it lets on. Should be a good thriller, writer/director James Ponsoldt made THE SPECTACULAR NOW and SMASHED, two criminally underseen films.
  4. PHOENIX FORGOTTEN – April 21. Another found footage horror film, but with a real UFO sighting thrown in, and this one’s produced by Ridley Scott! The writer also wrote PACIFIC RIM: UPRISING, so let’s hope this is a good step, since his MAZE RUNNER adaptations have been a bit thin.
  5. SLEIGHT – April 28. A young street magician’s brother is kidnapped by drug dealers, so he’s got to use his abilities to save him. But does he have more power than he lets on? It’s being described as “CHRONICLE meets IRON MAN”, so that sounds promising. Could be a sleeper.
  6. THE PROMISE – April 21. Any discussion of the Armenian Genocide is always controversial, so when a major film finally gets produced expect loads of conversation. Oscar Isaac and Christian Bale topline it, and it’s made by the writer/director of HOTEL RWANDA, but will it get any traction theatrically? Is April a good time to release something this powerful? Is it being dumped? Does it really have a chance?
  7. GIFTED – April 7 limited, 14 wide. Chris Evans takes up the mantle of raising his brother’s orphaned daughter, and it turns out she’s, well, gifted. He wants to let her have a normal childhood but her grandmother wants her to be placed in an environment more suited to her gifts, and they go head to head to determine the kid’s future. Reviews say it’s a perfectly cromulent drama, but is it worth hitting the theatre for? Probably not.
  8. BORN IN CHINA – April 21. Disney Nature’s latest big-screen eco-doc is focused on pandas. Who doesn’t love pandas? You? Get the hell out of here.
  9. GOING IN STYLE – April 7. Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, and Alan Arkin decide they should rob the banks that ruined their retirement fund. Sure, why not. Oh, Zach Braff is directing? Hmm.
  10. UNFORGETTABLE – April 21. Time for another feminism setback! Thrillers about crazy women tearing families apart tend to do really well, so casting the largely hated Katherine Heigl as the evil woman makes total sense. She’s the ex pretending to play nice while scheming to destroy the new wife (Rosario Dawson). Successful producer Denise Di Novi makes her directorial debut, so expect lots of studio support, meaning a massive ad blitz.
  11. HOW TO BE A LATIN LOVER – April 28. An aging lothario who’s been coasting on his charm is sent packing and needs to re-examine his life, but you know, comically. Mexican actor Eugenio Derbez has been recognized as the most influential Hispanic male in the world, but white people probably won’t know him. Will this be his breakout role? Actor Ken Marino makes his feature directorial debut here, and he’s one of my faves, but it seems pretty hammy overall. He’s got most of CHILDRENS’ HOSPITAL here as support, plus Kristen Bell, Rob Lowe, and Salma Hayek. I’d love for him to get a hit, but this doesn’t look like one.
  12. SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE – April 7, RealD3D. Finally free of the shackles of the real world, the Smurfs are where they belong: fully animated. They’ve also aimed this one squarely at very young children, so aside from playing “I know that voice” there’s nothing here for adults bringing their kids out.

Aaaaand that’s it. So be sure to catch FREE FIRE in theatres to support great filmmaking and great theatrical experiences. See you in May!

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10 Mar

New Movies for March 10, 2017

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Just two new releases this week, but one is a… MONSTER

KONG: SKULL ISLAND – Solid big-screen epic entertainment. Easily the largest version of the classic creature, and he’s got lots of terrifying friends to throw down with, not to mention an incredible cast of humans. Definitely a must-see in IMAX3D.

BALLERINA – This was called LEAP! in the rest of the world, not sure why they had to change it here. What makes this stand out is the setting in fin-de-siecle Paris. The trailer I watched seemed to be more focused on the boy inventor rather than the, well, ballerina, but I’m sure it’s a delight. For your kids. Not you. Well, maybe.

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