The Grinch Review

Illumination Delivers Another Perfectly Acceptable if not Necessarily Exceptional Animated Diversion in this Re-Telling of the Dr. Suess Classic.

Bohemian Rhapsody Review

This Queen biopic Fails to Transcend the Genre the Way its Subjects Transcended the Music Scene, but at Least the Music is Good.

Overlord Review

Overlord Combines the Terror of War with the Terror of a Zombie Apocalypse and Accomplishes Exactly what it Means To.

The Nutcraker and the Four Realms Review

An All-Star Cast Attempts to Usher The Nutcracker Story to a New Generation Via Disney Blockbuster, but Unfortunately the Results Fall Short of the Ambition.

A Star is Born Review

Bradley Cooper Writes, Directs, Sings, and Stars in this Fourth Incarnation of this Story Alongside Lady Gaga to Rapturous Results.

NOW YOU SEE ME Review

As the films mantra goes, the closer you look the less you see, but if you are going to enjoy this film it is a wise decision to do exactly the opposite. There is no need to investigate or inspect each and every twist and turn this film throws at you because there are bound to be holes. No, in fact what is best to do in order to enjoy Now You See Me is to simply sit back and take it in for what it is: pure, escapist cinema that delivers a relentlessly fun and entertaining ride that speeds by and leaves you satisfied when the credits begin to roll. Kudos to this movie for being able to stand on its own two feet in a season where every Friday is dominated by a sequel or spin off or re-make or something that is a familiar product that is sure to find an audience somewhere. Now You See Me is a completely original film in the midst of big studio fare that has the star power, the concept, and the appeal to win over those movie-goers who aren't just looking for an escape from the real world, but from the saturated sci-fi superhero adventure genres that are playing on every other screen. That is not to say I don't enjoy those kinds of movies as well and this year has been particularly good so far in terms of summer popcorn entertainment, but simply knowing going into this film that we are up for a fun ride that takes a subject that's commonly considered nerdy, such as magic, and combines it with the formula of a heist film to create something imaginative and fresh is indeed refreshing. Though there are certainly plot holes to be picked apart once people have the ability to re-watch the film several times, upon first viewing this is nothing more than a caper of a good time that has an incredibly strong cast each member of which is doing what they do best, churning out some solid and genuine laughs while balancing the never-serious tone with a fair amount of action and mystery that is compelling and keeps you guessing until the very end.

First Trailer for PRISONERS

Usually the months between the summer movie season coming to an end and the awards movie season beginning tend to stink, but over the course of the last few years September has been receiving some increasingly better fare. Just two years ago we were given Drive, Moneyball, and 50/50 all in the last three consecutive weeks of September and last year we received The Master, End of Watch, and Looper; all six of which were in my top 15 films of their respective years. It looks like that trend might have the steam to continue on this year as we've already received a trailer for Ron Howard's Rush that opens on the 20th while that same weekend we will also be treated to Denis Villeneuve's Prisoners. Villeneuve is a Canadian director who hasn't yet made any films you might have heard of yet, but he seems to have brought a strong adult drama to the screen with his latest along with a bevy of credible stars as well. It is refreshing to see Hugh Jackman somewhat out of his element (not singing or wearing claws) but instead tackling the role of a middle class working man who is simply out to find the man that kidnapped his daughter and her friend and who will stop at nothing until they are found or the person who is responsible is dealt with. Though the trailer seems to go too deep into the third act of the film I am still intrigued by a mysterious aspect of it that is represented in the poster as well, but for the most part ignored in the trailer. We see footage, but we get no explanation. This could be false hope and the movie could turn out to be nothing more than a routine kidnap thriller, but I'll be optimistic enough to hope for more. This doesn't seem foolish as there had to be something here that pulled in the rest of the impressive cast that includes Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Maria Bello, and Paul Dano. Prisoners opens September 20th. Hit the jump to check out the trailer.  

EPIC Review

I won't lie when I say there was no real reason for me to see epic. I don't have children and I'm not necessarily an animation junkie, but I don't mind trying out the latest computer animated films as more times than not they have a certain high degree of quality to them despite their markets current over-saturation. Besides epic, which has the distinction and the advantage of opening the summer movie season for the kiddos, we have the annual Disney Pixar offering which this year is a prequel to one of my favorites of theirs, Monsters Inc. as well as the sequel to 2009's surprise animated hit from Illumination Entertainment Despicable Me which could end up wiping the floor with Dreamworks Turbo that opens a few weeks after Gru and his minions no doubt dominate the fourth of July weekend. And while epic will seemingly only be on the same quality level as that forgotten before it gets here Ryan Reynolds vehicle it still has some good qualities going for it. With epic, Blue Sky studios (the Ice Age films, Rio) has delivered a completely creative and imaginative world of characters that suffer only from the lack of originality that is delivered through its story. This may be due to the fact that five different writers collaborated on the screenplay or simply because when you break it down to its simplest form it is as classic a tale of good vs. evil as there ever could be. I don't mind this because it has a few other layers that make the story a little more engaging if not being a little too subtle for the target audience. Still, despite the fact that epic is sometimes unintentionally funny when at its most serious and often can feel like a direct to video feature, it looks like a big studio film and has enough creative juices flowing in its character and production designs that we can forgive it's laziness in terms of story, for the most part.        

FAST & FURIOUS 6 Review

The Fast & Furious universe is damn near getting as big as the Marvel one. With the sixth installment of a franchise that seemed to have completely run out of gas by the time the brand new cast of the third installment showed up, this thing has certainly turned itself around and now shows no sign of slowing down. I wasn't initially a fan of the original film that premiered in the summer of 2001 when Paul Walker was supposed to be the main draw and only half the households in America had access to the Internet. It was a different time, yet out of this opportunity to capitalize on the interest in street racing and cars as well as Walker's popularity came the star making role of Vin Diesel and one of the most unlikely film franchises ever. After Diesel decided not to return for round two, Tyrese and Ludacris joined Walker in a Miami Vice-like story in 2 Fast 2 Furious. Tokyo Drift was a series low in terms of box office returns, but it did introduce us to Han (Sung Kang) and gave a hint of what might come as Diesel showed up in a cameo that I never once believed would play out, until now. The franchise was unexpectedly re-vitalized in 2009 when the original cast returned as did Tokyo Drift director Justin Lin. While Fast & Furious wasn't anything above the average it did show the series still had a profitability factor. This paved the way for 2011's Fast Five which defied all expectations by being not only a huge box office success, but a critical success as well. It moved past taking itself so seriously and became aware of what kind of movie it was and constructed that kind of movie in the best way possible: a no holds barred, action flick. They are silly, sure, but you cannot say they aren't exciting or entertaining. Bringing characters together from every installment and having Diesel face off against Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson didn't hurt either and has now perfectly set the stage for the sixth and seventh films. And if Furious 6 is any indication, we're in for a good, long ride with this franchise.

THE HANGOVER PART III Review

If you know me personally then you know I have a big soft spot for comedy. I love it and I pretty well like everyone involved in the mainstream comedy game in Hollywood. I root for the underdogs the critics like to bash (I'm hoping The Internship is good, but feel the critical response will be worse than it is for this one) and I've felt I've especially had to stand up for The Hangover films since many, fans included, were disappointed in the carbon copy follow-up the second film turned out to be. I was, like most, a huge fan of the first film. I found it refreshingly funny and daring. It didn't care what anyone thought, it just wanted to be funny and that is what comedy is supposed to be. There should be no fear when putting what you think is funny on screen and that element I think is what saves the third and final part of this men behaving badly series. Director Todd Phillips and writing partner Craig Mazin (Identity Thief) listened to the audience reaction to Part II and appeased the crowds by saying, "okay, we'll do something different for the third one." Naturally, this was a smart move but as the first reactions have come in it seems people are upset that there is no trace of an actual hangover anywhere in the film and that instead of following the antics of these guys on a chase through a random city that has them putting together the pieces of the night before it has them exploring the truth about Alan's psyche and wanting to help him move on with his life. In some aspects it is a film completely devoted to character development and getting Zach Galifianakis' lovable goofball to a place where we as an audience feel content to leave him and the rest of the time it is almost a dramatic man hunt movie that has the wolfpack tracking down Mr. Chow (Ken Jeong). The Hangover Part III is certainly not what you would expect from the trilogy and compared to the others it is definitely the least funny, but that didn't make it a bad movie. In some ways it even made it more of a legitimate film.

First Trailers for WE'RE THE MILLERS

Though little has been heard or seen surrounding director Rawson Marshall Thurber's first full length feature since Dodgeball it is on the night before The Hangover Part III is released that we get our first taste of what this comedy promises. As Ed Helms plays a supporting character here we will likely be seeing these trailers in front of that major comedy sequel this weekend, but the main attraction here is that it is a fresh comedy with a zany premise that looks surprisingly promising. Maybe it was the fact Thurber has taken a good amount of time off between directing features or that several of the major comedies this year feel somewhat familiar, but something about the aura this movie is giving off makes me feel it could definitely be the sleeper hit of the summer. There are a good amount of laughs in the trailer that imply an effortless quality to the pacing of the film and the free flowing jokes. Though the highlight of the trailer for many will be Jennifer Aniston playing a stripper it looks like her pretend son Kenny (Will Poulter of The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader) might steal this show. People seem to be fairly divisive on whether they think Jason Sudeikis is funny or not, but I've always enjoyed the guy on Saturday Night Live and though besides Horrible Bosses he hasn't really had that great a kick-off to his film career (most have already forgotten Hall Pass and we won't count his supporting role in The Campaign) this could easily jump start his career and put him off and running as he prepares to depart the late night comedy show. Thurber seems to have rounded up a good cast of comedians to fill in the bit parts as Nick Offerman, Kathryn Hahn, Molly Quinn, Emma Roberts and Thomas Lennon will also be joining the party. We’re the Millers opens August 9. Hit the jump to watch the red and green band trailers.

First Trailer for Joseph Gordon-Levitt's DON JON

Joseph Gordon-Levitt was pretty much everywhere in 2012 as he made appearances in four films (The Dark Knight Rises, Premium Rush, Looper, and Lincoln) and still found time to write, direct and star in his own film, originally titled Don Jon's Addiction, that has been making its rounds on the festival circuit for a few months now. I was hoping to catch a screening of it as it was the closing night film at my local film festival this past weekend, but was unable to make it and likely would not have been able to get into the screening anyway. Anyway, I'm anxious to see what the talented actor has up his sleeve in terms of writing and making a feature film and if the trailer is any indication it at least looks like he had a good time making a movie and that experience seems to have been captured on screen. The tone and pacing of the film seem very apparent here and the film seems ripe with comic opportunity as it mainly concerns itself with distilling the ideals put on the masses by mainstream entertainment that every relationship should be like those we see in romantic comedies. This is of course a difficult goal to achieve when you factor in a porn. This is the addiction referred to in the films original title, but is also the main point of conflict when Gordon-Levitt's title character finds someone he might have a real shot of an authentic relationship with in Scarlett Johansson. Reviews from the festival circuit have been overwhelmingly positive and I'm anxious to see what all the fuss is about. The film also stars Julianne Moore, Tony Danza, Jeremy Luke, Rob Brown, and Brie Larson. Don Jon opens on October 18th. Hit the jump to check out the trailer.

STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS Review

When I walked into 2009's Star Trek I'd never seen anything prior that had anything to do with the beloved television series and the several movies it spawned. I grew up a child of the 90's and was first introduced to Star Wars and simply stuck with it as by that point Trek had grown into the Patrick Stewart/Next Generation series that was by all accounts, beyond me. Still, walking into J.J. Abrams re-booted take on the Trek franchise with no idea what to expect, no pre-conceived notions of the characters, or any idea what the story might revolve around I was pleasantly surprised to learn how accessible it was and how much I enjoyed it. I didn't know if the original series had ever taken the time to tell the origins of the crew that made up the Enterprise but I assumed if they had it was not to the depth this film did. That due to this it would be extremely exciting for fans of the original series to be able to see some of their favorite characters in the younger stages of their lives and for those that were new to the world it would serve as a fitting introduction to everyone. Between that film and the now second installment in Abrams series, Star Trek Into Darkness, I still have yet to dig into anything more that exists in the Star Trek canon. In many ways it simply feels like too daunting a task to try and catch up on nearly fifty years of material while on the other hand I wanted to be able to experience these films made in my day and age as fresh experiences with no notion of what should happen and why, but instead a willingness to see where these new adventures take us and maybe catch up on the backstory sometime down the road where it will be just as fascinating for me to see where these characters eventually go as it was for long time fans to see where they came from. So, this is not a review from a guy who caught all of the references or understood all of the inside jokes that likely took place, but instead I offer the point of view of someone who very much enjoyed the 2009 film and was eagerly awaiting (and hoping) the sequel would follow the series' main proclamation of going boldly where no man has gone before.

First Full-Length Trailer for RIDDICK

With Fast & Furious 6 opening in just over a week Universal Pictures has also decided to release the first full length trailer for Vin Diesel's other, albeit much less mainstream, franchise simply titled Riddick. I have not seen Pitch Black or The Chronicles of Riddick and have never really had any interest in doing so, but thought I might if this latest film looked interesting enough. Unfortunately, this nearly three minute trailer makes the film look like a video game adaptation more than anything else and though it doesn't give much away in terms of plot it all comes across rather standard even if it does seem accessible for those of us who haven't seen the first two films. Just looking through the IMDB pages for each film reveals that the same director has been at the helm for each which lends a credible sense to the trilogy, but the only actor besides Diesel who's continued from part two to three is the always reliable Karl Urban (as far as I can tell anyway). The special effects look rather cheap at times and the synopsis likely makes this sound better than it will turn out to be, but I'm intrigued by the sci-fi aspect of the films and no matter how hard one might try, it is hard to deny the charisma of Diesel in any role, even if he is playing the antihero. The first two films must have worked for some reason though and so I won't count Riddick out yet, but I hope the remainder of the marketing is more compelling as I want to like these films, but just haven't had the interest piqued as of yet. The film also stars Katee Sackhoff, David Bautista, Jordi MollĂ , Matt Nable, Bokeem Woodbine, Raoul Trujillo, and Nolan Gerard Funk. Riddick opens in traditional and IMAX theaters on September 6th. Hit the jump to check out the trailer.

CLOUD ATLAS Home Video Review

While I would certainly classify myself as a sci-fi nerd I don't think I would place Cloud Atlas fully in that category. It is one of those movies that is hard to describe. I can't imagine the pitch for it (which I guess is one reason it had to be financed by foreign investors) and to have such a grand idea condensed into a single cinema-going experience all seems to be a bit too much to feed in one serving. It is something that might have worked better, and would have likely benefited, from being a mini-series on HBO or something of that nature rather than having an audience sit through six elaborately detailed stories pushed together and feeling forced to connect what it attempts to deliver in theme. That being said, the themes this film does concern itself with mixed with several of the individual stories that are ambitious in their own way and are then layered with others combine to create an impact that will leaving you feeling as if you truly have witnessed something special, if not at least very stimulating. I cannot say that Cloud Atlas will be for everyone, in fact, I can certainly understand where many people would have issues with the film. Whether it be that it is simply too confusing without being compelling enough to hold their attention or that for all its big ideas, in the end, it feels rather simplistic. I would understand and to a certain degree, I would concur with those points. Still, this movie is far too ambitious and far too unique to be dismissed for not being exactly what you expected or wanted it to be. Cloud Atlas is a sprawling epic that not only delves into several subjects but wants to make us think and speculate as much as it wants to entertain. It is a rarity and for that, I appreciate every minute it gave me.

THE GREAT GATSBY Review

Like almost every American who has been through high school I read The Great Gatsby and like most high schoolers likely didn't appreciate the novel that first time around. Though the more accurate word is probably that I didn't comprehend all of what it was trying to say I still have yet to re-visit the novel since my sophomore year, but as I sat down to experience the latest film adaptation of the novel by the often flamboyant and always stylish director Baz Luhrman the parts of the story that I vaguely recalled seemed to escape me completely and I was then able to completely embrace the extravagant world in which Luhrman and his team had created for the audience to dig into and become all the better acquainted with the specific time period, the social climate, and the characters that it is necessary to care about before we become entranced with their melodramatic lives. It is to be understood that through the glitz and the glamour of the roaring twenties that this is essentially what F. Scott Fitzgerald's great American novel was if not a high form of it wrapped in commentary for the societal issues of the changing culture during that time. Though it would be easy to dismiss the film as a case of style over substance I was completely on board from the very beginning as the caliber of the cast here was able to elevate what might have been an otherwise overlooked aspect of the production. The depth each actor brings to his or her character lend an emphasis to the themes Fitzgerald touched upon and they are only embellished by Luhrman's preference to have everything as big and excessive as possible. It is a film that entices by the fantasy of the world it exists in and it holds our attention by being consistently stylish and letting it's cast bring their A-game that in turn creates a combination that captures the essence of everything I expected and wanted this film to be.

First Trailer for AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY

As the summer movie season continues this weekend the studios have begun to release the first trailers for their Oscar hopefuls. This week alone we've received previews of Tom Hanks in Captain Phillips and yesterday for director Alfonso Cuaron's long-awaited follow-up to Children of Men titled Gravity. Today we have the first look at the large ensemble piece that will no doubt be vying for Awards consideration come Oscar season, August: Osage County. Featuring Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts in the headlining roles as part of the Weston family, a family of strong-willed women whose paths have diverged until a family crisis brings them back to the Midwest house they grew up in, and to the dysfunctional woman who raised them. The film is based on the Pulitzer Prize winning play by Tracy Letts who also wrote the screenplay. Director John Wells whose only other feature film credit is the under appreciated 2010 drama The Company Men seems to work well with large casts, though the tone of this first trailer isn't the heavy handed stuff that typically makes up Oscar bait. Instead, there is an air of nice family dynamics and the way in which the majority of moments between them usually turn to comedy and a fair amount of laughs rather than serious, intense moments. I'm not overly familiar with the play, but everything about this film version seems appealing and though I'm not overly excited for the film I'll certainly be seeing it due simply to how promising everything about it sounds. The film also stars Ewan McGregor, Benedict Cumberbatch, Margot Martindale, Chris Cooper, Dermot Mulroney, Juliette Lewis, Abigail Breslin, and Sam Shepard. August: Osage County opens on November 8th.

First Trailer for GRAVITY

As I said earlier this week when the trailer for Ender's Game premiered, this is a good year for sci-fi and the presence of Gravity on the roster will likely only make that statement more true, if not improve it. I have been anxiously waiting to see what director Alfonso Cuaron would do to follow up his wonderful 2007 film, Children of Men. While that movie had hints of science fiction within it his latest seems to be a full blown sci-fi epic. There were test screenings for  Gravity as much as a year ago that gave us our first ideas of what we could expect, but despite the word of mouth being predominantly positive the film was pushed back from its originally scheduled release date of November 21, 2012 and moved to an unknown time slot. We now know that Gravity will open on October 4th and I am more than anxious to see the results of the hard work and ambition that Cuaron has clearly put into this project. If this first trailer is any indication we will clearly have a visual feast on our hands, but how will the story play out as it is said the movie will mainly feature Sandra Bullock floating in space for two hours. Is there actually a 17-minute single take shot (I wouldn't doubt this and neither would anyone else who's seen Children of Men)? How much will George Clooney's character play into it? Certainly with such a big name you wouldn't waste the potential. The thing is I don't think Cuaron cares and I don't think Clooney cared how big the part was either, he simply wanted to work with the man and be a part of a film that could push the limits of technology and make the audience feel as if they've actually been to space. Personally, I am extremely anxious to see this film and am beyond excited that we are finally seeing some press for it and have a definite release date. Who knows how much this film will divide audiences and if I will land on the side that loves it or doesn't get what the big deal is, but either way it will no doubt have people talking and I can't wait to be a part of that conversation. As stated, Gravity opens in 2D, 3D, and IMAX 3D on October 4th. Hit the jump to check out the trailer and let me know what you think.

TRANCE Review

Trance is one of those films you want to watch again as soon as it ends. There are so many twists, so many perspectives, and betrayals that when the credits begin to roll you are immediately trying to recount the events of what happened to fact check and make sure it all makes sense. In the case of director Danny Boyle's latest this may prove to be somewhat of an improbability. Even as I walked out of the theater I couldn't exactly put together the motivations for what caused every event throughout the course of the film to occur. I couldn't exactly put my finger on who were the bad guy and guys in the film and I certainly am still attempting to process what all of what I saw actually happened and what was part of some grand illusion that was executed in order to fulfill certain characters wants. Despite this overwhelming sense of confusion that comes along with this viewing experience I still found the movie to be something of an exhilarating and fun, if not pointless time at the movies. Some of that may be due to the fact that this is indeed a Danny Boyle film. The man who's made such cult hits as Trainspotting and 28 Days Later as well as Academy darlings like Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours returns from his gig as the London Olympics opening ceremony director with that same sense of style and flash he's always carried into this frenetic piece of mind warping. Written by Joe Ahearne and John Hodge who also penned The Beach and Trainspotting for Boyle the film is tightly scripted and quickly paced as it flies by at a breakneck speed so that we are never bored and never given the time to question what might lead to plot holes with repeat viewings. I hope not, I hope the opposite proves true and I am able to pick up on all the clues along the way with a second viewing, but based purely on a first impression this is less than I expected from such a filmmaker while completely succeeding in being thoroughly entertaining.

First Trailer for CAPTAIN PHILLIPS

And the trailers continue to come as the latest is a film based on the true story of Captain Richard Phillips and the 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of the US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama, the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in two hundred years. Phillips is portrayed by Tom Hanks who seems to have found it a difficult task to grab solid, engaging roles as he's reached the latter part of his career. Not since just before The Da Vinci Code has it seemed Hanks would ever be able to capture that magic he found in his prime. The Dan Brown inspired series was never the hit Hanks nor the studio likely expected and his other projects (directing and starring in Larry Crowne, a small but important role in the highly divided Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, and the multiple roles he took in one of my favorite films, but bigger flops of last year, Cloud Atlas) while admirable they haven't exactly turned out to continue the streak of commercial and critical successes Hanks had likely become accustomed to. That all seems like it could take a turn for the better in the latter half of this year as Hanks not only has Captain Phillips but portrays another real-life figure in Saving Mr. Banks where he is Walt Disney. We have yet to see any real indication of how that film might turn out, but director Paul Greengrass (United 93, Bourne Supremacy and Ultimatum) seems to have crafted a compelling drama from these real life events as the trailer makes me want to see this film immediately. Hit the jump to check out the trailer and let me know what you think. Captain Phillips opens on October 11th.

First Trailer for THE WORLD'S END

There has been much talk around Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg, and Nick Frost's final chapter in their Blood & Ice Cream trilogy that began with Shaun of the Dead and continued with Hot Fuzz. Though many fans have been anxiously awaiting this film for many years it also seemed like it might be out of the question from time to time as well (seeing as it took the gang twice as long to follow up Fuzz than it did Dead), but alas we now have the trailer for The World's End. The film chronicles an infamous pub crawl by five friends (Pegg, Frost, Martin Freeman, Eddie Marsan, and Paddy Considine) who attempted this once before in their younger years but were unable to make it to the final pub appropriately titled The World's End. Ringleader Gary (Pegg) is a a bit of an oddball and likely the most outlandish of the bunch as the trailer indicates he is the one gathering up his old group of now grown up business-type men who don't really care to try and make such an epic pub crawl. These characterizations only add to the humor as Pegg seems to simply be chewing every scene he gets and Frost is playing the opposite of what we've seen him do before in Dead, Fuzz, and even Paul. After grabbing the lead in The Hobbit I hope the comic talent of Freeman is also given a chance to shine here as I've enjoyed Freeman's work since seeing him as the original "Jim" in the British version of The Office. The only piece of bad news about this film is that the UK will be getting the film on August 14th while we here in the United States will have to wait an extra two months when the film will drop the week before Halloween. This is a bit of a let down as I originally thought this would be the late summer comedy that would break out as Will Ferrell and Adam McKay were pushing their's to December. Still, I can't wait to see the film, just upset we'll have to wait so long on this side of the pond. Hit the jump to check out the trailer.

First Trailer for ENDER'S GAME

There are still nearly six months that separate us from the release of one of the more highly anticipated sci-fi films of the year, but today we get our first real glimpse at the film adaptation of Orson Scott Card's 1985 science fiction novel Ender's Game. Usually it might not be worth stating that a film is one of the "more highly anticipated sci-fi films" of a particular year, but there are a fair amount of big budget sci-fi flicks opening in 2013, several of which have a good amount of positive buzz around them. Granted, most of these will be opening during the summer movie season while if the trailer is any indication you'd think Ender's Game  was starting its awards season bids already. Opening in early November and putting on full display its prestigious cast which sees Asa Butterfield (Hugo) as the lead protagonist and hero alongside the likes of Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley, Viola Davis, Abigail Breslin, and Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit). I have yet to read the source novel from which this film will be based (which I'm ashamed of as I consider myself a pretty big fan of science fiction) but I have already picked up a copy and plan on reading it as soon as I finish World War Z which is currently on the nightstand. This debut teaser trailer looks promising while only giving away enough of the story to be intriguing while relying heavily on name recognition and grand visuals to also draw viewers in. The only real concern I have here is that director Gavin Hood is at the helm of the project as well as doing the work of adapting the novel into a screenplay. I've only seen two of Hood's previous films (neither of which he wrote) but one of them was the widely panned X-Men Origins: Wolverine film. I wasn't a big fan of the film and the reasons why might not have all been Hood's fault, but the fact he couldn't seem to handle a large scale potential blockbuster doesn't bode well for the initial optimism around this one. Still, I like the genre and have heard nothing but great things about the source material, so we shall wait and see. Hit the jump to check out the trailer and let me know what you think. Ender’s Game opens on November 1st.

ON DVD & Blu-Ray: May 7, 2013

IRON MAN 3 Review

When Iron Man 3 opens and Eiffel 65's hit "Blue" from 1999 begins to play as we see the Marvel and Paramount logos flash up on the screen it was clear we were in for a little something different this time around. I haven't read many comic books and out of the ones I have, none of them have ever been an Iron Man comic, but at the end of the day it feels like that if there were a film that was able to get as close to the spirit of its source material (or even the artistic medium originally used for that matter) that it might be this one. Granted, I have nothing to base that on, but it is simply a gut instinct in that the tone of this film is very light in its banter, very quick in its wit, and also more personal at the same time than I ever expected it to be, especially considering the obvious point that it's a massive summer blockbuster. While Iron Man 3 doesn't exactly live up to the expectations I was holding for it, it instead reroutes them and delivers a story that was more on the opposite side of the standard super hero flick spectrum while still containing enough explosions and fight scenes to appease those that go to these kinds of movies expecting nothing more than that. Director Shane Black (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang) takes over for Jon Favreau (who still shows up to play Happy Hogan) and took on writing duties as well and has delivered a very Shane Black-esque script with plenty of self-referential dialogue and a large scale action set piece every twenty minutes or so. I enjoyed the film immensely and found Robert Downey Jr. as good as ever as Tony Stark, but despite all the flash and bang it still felt like there was something missing, or maybe that's just because Captain America, Thor, and The Hulk didn't bother to show up.

THE ICEMAN Review

Michael Shannon has consistently proven himself to be a rather intense presence in films. No matter what type of genre those films might fit into it has always been clear that the guy has a certain set of abilities and he knows how to channel them into his characters with just the right amount of calculated terror, of social awkwardness, and just a hint of the scarce realizations of his own characteristics. He is a captivating actor to watch whether it has been in leading roles in smaller films such as Take Shelter or as a supporting character in major Hollywood productions such as his scene-stealing performance alongside Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in Revolutionary Road. What he has done in his latest role is to meld those two types of mindsets together and bring to the screen the truly demented and troubled life of Richard Kuklinski, one of the most infamous contract killers for the mafia who is suspected to have killed at least one hundred people between 1948 and 1986. Shannon is an ideal actor for this type of role and he brings the layers of a man who is mentally able to go out and murder people in cold blood, sometimes allowing them extra time to pray to God to see if he will intervene, and then come home to his family and act like a typical family man who works a nine to five desk job. There is a consistent unnerving sense to Shannon's performance that elevates what is otherwise a rather typical genre film in The Iceman. Sure, there is a twist of particular intrigue surrounding this man and there are a few redeeming qualities about the film that help coast you through the hour and a half run time, but it is never enough to make this story as interesting as it should have been.

Summer 2013: The Ones You Might Miss


In the final installment of this series it seemed fitting to conclude with a few films that you may or may not have heard of and put an emphasis on them and reason enough why you should still check them out despite the fact they will be overshadowed by the films that took over the first few entries of this series. Fortunately, I have seen a trailer for four out of the five and have been either genuinely surprised by how much I was enticed by it or have recognized potential simply from the credentials it has going for it whether that be in front of or behind the camera. As the Summer movie season is usually pretty sparse when it comes to delivering the horror flicks this year sees no disruption in that trend as I've only seen ads for two major studio horror flicks and one, despite the fact it stars Ethan Hawke who made one of the best horror films in recent memory with last years Sinister, doesn't interest me at all. Needless to say, that other horror film has made this list and I'm genuinely excited to be scared by it. The other films include a star studded studio flick that almost seems out of place in its release date while the others are smaller, indie pictures that promise quality not only with their scale but with the fact they seem to be stories worth telling and that may be the biggest reason they landed on the list you where they might become easy to overlook, but likely deserve your attention.