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.

2016 Academy Award Winners & Round-Up

It is easy, as a member of an unofficial community of online film lovers, to forget that the majority of America and some parts of the rest of the world tune into the Oscars in order to see some of the most famous movie stars on the planet act like normal people and reward themselves or better yet, recognize the best of what they had to offer from the previous year, and not because they've actually seen many of the films. In talking to a co-worker in the office this morning about the ceremony they commented they'd only seen The Revenant, The Martian, and Mad Max: Fury Road and so they were happy to see some of what they recognized take home a fair amount of awards. Naturally, I was inclined to tell them that Brooklyn, Room, and Spotlight were essential viewing given they were each already on or will be coming out on home video soon while also stressing the entertainment value of The Big Short despite some clear hesitance based on the complicated subject matter. In short, it is a strange dynamic between what general audiences expect given the types of films nominated and the hope that seeing so many nominations for films not widely known will make some if not all of them gravitate toward the ones they might have previously disregarded once the films can viewed from the comfort of their own home. As for the actual show, it was a rather entertaining three and a half hours given the lackluster energy of last year's ceremony if not at least an hour too long. The best part about this year's awards though is that there were in fact some uncertainties going in, especially in the biggest category of the night. After the jump I go through my predictions and what I guessed right and wrong, where I wished I would have been wrong, why I was happy to be wrong a few times as well as highlight the full list of the winners.

Initial Reaction: Video Review - GODS OF EGYPT

With the three new wide releases this weekend underperforming, it seems this was not the weekend to try our first hand at two reviews, but oh well...here we are. Not only did we review this weekend's box office bomb (and deservedly so) Gods of Egypt, but we also took on Eddie the Eagle which came in fifth place to the tune of $6.3 million on a budget of $23m. While that may not seem great, it was more or less what was expected of the film while GOE has more explaining to do as it only conjured up an estimated $14m on a $140m budget plus a $30m marketing budget. This will be an interesting story to see play out as the movie is generally horrible (receiving a B- cinemascore from opening day audiences) and will cost its multiple financers and distributor a ton of cash. While the whitewashing of an ancient Egyptian story has been the main focus of complaint around the film since its trailer premiered back in November, that is the least of the films problems. While I hope Hollywood doesn't take away the wrong lesson from this flop (there is no room for big budget, original films with spectacle) I do hope they consider the quality of their product from now on and know that a CGI-filled world of transforming Gods and conventional storylines isn't enough to persuade audiences to spend the amount of money IMAX 3D theaters are charging to see such schlock. GOE has a few moments where it seems to want to be daring enough to try something different, but it doesn't hold to those innovations throughout and besides that, it's generally something of classic heroes journey masquerading as an aberration. For more, hit the jump to see our full video review and be sure to subscribe to our channel to get the latest video reviews! We'll hopefully have two more reviews for you this weekend as Zootopia and London Has Fallen premiere in theaters.

TRIPLE 9 Review

There is as much a vibrancy to Triple 9 as there is a subdued sense of dread. It's not hard to tell something bad or suspicious is lurking around every corner in this Atlanta-set cop drama from director John Hillcoat (The Road, Lawless, The Proposition) and yet, at the same time, you can't help but to want to turn those corners in anticipation of seeing the story develop. First time feature writer Matt Cook gives us a rather complex plot to comprehend, but that his script dives into the key characters head first and we come to know them and their circumstances almost immediately gives us reason to invest and want to understand these present complexities. From moment one, where we see a four man team robbing a bank with The Walking Dead's Norman Reedus serving as the lookout in an inconspicuous vehicle, I was into the dirty, grimy narrative that Hillcoat and Cook would be weaving to presumably get at bigger themes and larger statements about race, justice, and the gray lines that divide honor and disdain. The film accomplishes as much by not just being about bank robbers and corrupt police officers, but rather Triple 9 utilizes the unaccounted for details of emotion and other human elements to disturb the strict proceedings some, if not most, of its characters attempt to operate within. There is no room for emotions or a softened mental state within the Atlanta police department, especially for detectives. We see this in the toll that has clearly been taken on Woody Harrelson's character, Jeffrey Allen, while there is certainly no room for as much under the rule of Irina Vlaslov (Kate Winslet) a Russian Jew looking to free her powerful husband with the help of a few hired hands. Through each of these characters Cook enlists some type of inherent emotional attachment though, making things never as clear cut as the puppet masters would like them to be. While this may not be to the characters advantage though, it makes things all the more savory for the audience member waiting to see what decisions will be made and how such decisions will reverberate through to other aspects of the story. That said, Triple 9 is not a perfect film (far from it, really), but more times than not I was on the edge of my seat anxious to see where the film and more importantly, its characters, would take me.

GODS OF EGYPT Review

Gods of Egypt is one of those movies that is so bad that even the inherent campiness of it can't make things the slightest bit fun. At the very least, given the extravagance of the visuals and the outlandish reaches director Alex Proyas (I, Robot, Dark City) goes for here I expected the film to be a good ole' slice of pure entertainment value for the sake of nothing else, but even under these minimal expectations Gods of Egypt fails to be anything but conventional; which is saying a lot for a film that has gigantic flying beetles and Egyptian God transformers dismantling one another. There is seemingly no point to the construction of this universe as far as financial reward goes and the idea of whitewashing these ancient mythological idols is the least of the films problems. Sure, we have Gerard Butler, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, and Geoffrey Rush all doing variations on their European accents, but none are as distracting as the fully CGI backdrops that look as if they were "completed" in a rush two days before the film's release. Beyond all of the obvious complaints there are to make about this movie though, there was certainly some ambition behind the attempt as well. Unfortunately, these strides end up counting for very little. Still, there are risks taken in the way the Gods are portrayed as being larger and more looming than the mortals who worship them, there is an effort to take the historical context of the film and blend in elements of weird science fiction and fantasy, and the actual world building of this strange universe can be immersive, but more times than not these attempts fail to be what they should be and that is to be cool and appealing. Instead, the ugliness of the shiny yet granular images and the fight scenes that look as if they were ripped from a video game circa 2001 reek of a director out of touch and a storyteller too far removed from these adjectives that everything going on here feels as if it's trying too hard to please too broad an audience. Proyas has always been one to try something outside the box or at least be up for going after the unexpected, but with Gods of Egypt there is no amount of CGI that could cover up the scars it leaves.

SON OF SAUL Review

There is hardly an utterance of dialogue in Son of Saul so the fact it is a foreign film should matter little. Sure, there are subtitles and one must pay close attention if they are to grasp the full impact of the film at large, but simply taken on the images it projects the film is an unnerving achievement. From the opening, uninterrupted shot that follows the titular prisoner through one of the more horrific experiences one could ever imagine comprehending there is a bleak, but gripping nature to the film. One that, despite any caution the viewer might feel given the circumstances of the film and its Holocaust subject matter, is worth witnessing. What is at first a look inside the horrific daily routine of what were referred to as "Sonderkommando's" quickly becomes a story of one man in particular wrestling with the internal conflict of being forced to commit terrible acts while at the same time dealing with the torment of his own persecution. Saul is the harbinger of his own, inevitable death in many ways and it is through the desperate act that the film chronicles that a type of quest for redemption is attempted so that he may not only atone for the daily injustices to human life that he is going along with, but that he might somehow feel a purpose one last time in this existence the Nazi's have all but forced out of him. Son of Saul is, at the same time, both a simple film in that it once again portrays the appalling nature of how we can treat one another through the events of the Holocaust while naturally being a very complex and layered piece of filmmaking due to those same aforementioned factors. Most thoughts having to do with what people were forced to deal with when it comes to Auschwitz are easier to deal with when pushed to the back of one's mind, but Son of Saul puts these crimes against humanity front and center and forces the audience to feel the immense complications of having to do nothing more than follow the commands of your captors while simultaneously dealing with how those orders make you hate yourself and the world/time you live in.

First Trailer for THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS Starring Michael Fassbender

Michael Fassbender is certainly one busy guy as 2016 will see Fassbender not only return as Magneto in X-Men: Apocalypse, but in at least three other films, maybe (possibly) even four. With an Untitled Terrence Malick project still sitting on the shelf one never knows what could happen. The actor also has Tresspass Against Us (directed by Adam Smith and co-starring Brendan Gleeson) and his re-teaming with Macbeth director Justin Kurzel on the video game adaptation Assassin's Creed set for a December release, but the one I'm most excited about is the latest from director Derek Cianfrance that pairs Fassbender with real life love interest Alicia Vikander and is based on M.L. Stedman's New York Times bestseller. Cianfrance has previously made the gut-wrenching Blue Valentine and the family epic The Place Beyond the Pines, the latter of which was one of my favorite films of 2013. So, to have another of his films on the horizon is a real treat. Cianfrance has adapted Stedman's debut novel, The Light Between Oceans, about a lighthouse keeper and his wife living off the coast of Western Australia who raise a baby they rescue from an adrift rowboat. Fassbender is lighthouse keeper Tom Sherbourne with Vikander (Ex Machina, The Danish Girl) playing his wife, Isabel. This first glimpse at the film via international trailer makes it clear the reasons Cianfrance felt motivated by the material and what drew it to him in the first place. The familial dynamics and the confrontations within the central relationship are prime Cianfrance territory that will undoubtedly allow him to explore the complexity of human emotion and how two entities of such strong emotions can intertwine over the plot that carries this story. The Light Between Oceans is one of my most anticipated of the year and also stars Rachel Weisz, Caren Pistorius, Benedict Hardie, Emily Barclay, Anthony Hayes, Leon Ford, Florence Clery and opens in the U.S. on September 2nd, 2016.

2016 Oscar Predictions

When the Academy Award nominations were announced last month they came with their expected favorites and a few upsets that weren't completely unexpected, but hey, you can't please everyone. Much has of course been made of the whitewashing of these awards, but I wish we'd all stop acting like that's a new problem or that it's a problem with only the Academy. It's clearly an industry wide issue where the type of films the Academy honors aren't made with black actors, but that is a discussion for another time. Fortunately, there actually seems to be some competition this year in two major categories without a clear cut winner being ordained before going into the broadcast. Best Picture and Best Director are something of a "your guess is as good as mine" scenario at the moment with the biggest category of the night coming down to a three-way race between The Revenant, The Big Short, and Spotlight. With director it could very well go to any one of the filmmakers who made whichever picture wins the Best Picture statue, but it could seemingly even go to George Miller who has bucked every kind of trend this year by garnering a Best Picture nomination for an out and out action film that was considered a summer blockbuster last year, so what is stopping him from winning Best Director? Nothing...and he kind of deserves it. As far as number of nominations going in we have The Revenant with twelve, followed closely by Mad Max: Fury Road with ten then The Martian with seven (though I see it being completely shut out) and Spotlight with six. Since recovering from the onslaught of end-of-the-year movies and being able to actually re-visit a few of them I'm more compelled than ever to think that even though Leonardo DiCaprio is owed an Oscar Michael Fassbender deserves one for his work in Steve Jobs just as DiCaprio should have won for his turn in The Wolf of Wall Street. Unfortunately, with Steve Jobs largely being shunned (especially in the lack of a nomination for Aaron Sorkin in Best Adapted Screenplay) it seems as if the film will go unnoticed due to its early October release date and lack of buzz/tickets bought despite being one of the best films of 2015. All of the acting categories are rather straightforward sans Best Supporting Actress which I could potentially see going to three different nominees. This is the one category where Steve Jobs has a shot to be recognized in Kate Winslet's performance and while Winslet always displays a master class of technique and compassion Alicia Vikander's performance became the heart and soul of The Danish Girl and thus is the deserving winner in my mind (it doesn't hurt that she was also excellent in Ex Machina last year). As for the other acting categories Brie Larson should have her acceptance speech written and ready to go while Sylvester Stallone will undoubtedly come full circle from Rocky's 1977 Best Picture win and his acting nomination for the Supporting Actor win here as the same character in Creed.

Initial Reaction: Video Review - EDDIE THE EAGLE

Unfortunately, my friend and co-host Charles was feeling a lot under the weather last week and we weren't able to review RACE as planned. Fortunately, we've already seen the upcoming Taron Egerton/Hugh Jackman starrer Eddie the Eagle and were able to review that and post it ahead of the film's release this weekend. After a big headache having to do with YouTube and their unfair abuse of fair use laws we were able to finally get the video up and running without any interruptions. While the format is a bit wonky here due to the unforeseen complications with YouTube and FOX who blocked the video on copyright grounds for using a clip from their movie I like to think the discussion and actual content of the review is still solid. Given the review is a mostly positive one and the fact that any press is good press I don't really understand what FOX had to lose by letting us show viewers a thirty second clip, from the trailer no less, of one of their upcoming releases. Still, we're the little people here and I understand a massive company like 20th Century Fox doesn't care what we have to say about their film good or bad. Regardless, things are now up and running and hopefully we don't encounter any more issues of this sort. We'll be tackling Gods of Egypt this week if all goes accordingly and will hopefully have a review for both Zootopia and London Has Fallen next week. For now, enjoy our discussion around the story of Eddie Edwards, the notoriously tenacious British underdog ski jumper who charmed the world at the 1988 Winter Olympics. And as always, be sure to subscribe to our channel, share with your friends, and check back each week for a new video review.

First Trailer for Disney's PETE'S DRAGON Remake

There are several reasons to be excited for Disney's remake of their 1977 children's movie that featured a hand drawn dragon. Naturally, this time the animation of the dragon will be a little more computer generated, but this is the least of the reasons to be excited about why this remake even exists. In fact, that this remake only looks to re-animate the dragon in more "realistic" fashion while potentially failing to fill it with as much heart as the hand drawn '77 version is probably one of the bigger marks against it. Instead, what gives hope for this re-imagining of sorts is the director at the helm and the assurance that his mystical tone and visual flair are very much intact in this first trailer. Coming off of indie darling Ain't Them Bodies Saints it seems something of a daring choice for Disney to go with David Lowery on this big budget, special effects summer blockbuster. Still, I appreciate it and feel that Lowery would not have come on to the project if he didn't feel he could do something special with it. While I liked his previous effort fine enough as a whole, his eye for striking visuals is indisputable and he managed the pacing and mood of the film in a way that a seasoned filmmaker would. Because of this, I can't help but anticipate what type of feeling he will bring to this newest incarnation of this story about a boy and his dragon. Also of note, and I don't know if it's been taken from somewhere else, is the soundtrack that plays in the trailer. If it's a glimpse of the films score it absolutely compliments the visual tone and if not, then it's still a perfectly cut trailer. Pete's Dragon stars Oakes Fegley, Bryce Dallas Howard, Robert Redford, Wes Bentley, Karl Urban, Oona Laurence and opens on August 12th, 2016.

RACE Review

Race has good intentions. That is probably the best thing one could say about it which is unfortunate given its subject matter. One hears about the epic talent of Jesse Owens from the time they're in elementary school, when racing one another at recess was just something you did. With this myth and the still spectacular accomplishments Owens achieved as a track and field star very much ingrained in the history of not just American sport, but America in general it's somewhat surprising a movie about the man hasn't already been made. And so, Race has good intentions, clearly. Regrettably, that is all it has going for it though, as director Stephen Hopkins (a spotty director who has credits on well-renowned TV series, but whose feature credits are rather lousy) infuses his film with little to no energy leaving audiences to feel more as if they're walking through a Jesse Owens exhibit at a museum than becoming immersed in his life experiences. The film is a by the numbers biopic that takes us through the year of 1933 when Owens begins attending Ohio State up through the 1936 Berlin Olympics. The film gets points for not being your traditional cradle to grave biopic as it never dwells on the fact Owens was one of ten children and only notes his penchant for running by referencing his equaling of the world records in the 100-yard dash and long-jump competitions while still in high school. Of course, it is this achievement that would gain Owens national attention and the attention of numerous colleges from which Owens would choose Ohio State due to the reputation of their coach, Larry Snyder, for being the best there was. Did I lose you over those last few sentences? Dolling out information that is undoubtedly interesting, but as no soul or feeling were extracted from them you also tended to feel nothing. Well, guess what? That is pretty much how the movie will make you feel as well. It plays out, hitting all the expected beats of a film about a famous figure, sports or any kind of star, and then slogs to its conclusion before delivering the obligatory note cards over real-life pictures of our main characters that tells what the rest of life held for them. All interesting, but never invigorating.

THE WITCH Review

Note: This is a reprint of my review for The Witch, which originally ran on September 12, 2015 after seeing it at the Toronto Film Festival. I am publishing it again today as it hits theaters this weekend.

Maybe it was the expectations, maybe it was the promise of something fresh in a genre we only get one or two exceptional pieces in each year, but whichever way you cut it The Witch is something of a letdown. Still, as I walked out of the theater I couldn't help but to feel I'd just witnessed something I wasn't supposed to see. Writer/director Robert Eggers has adapted his story from old folklore and stories of supposed witchcraft in the New England region circa 1630 that have been passed down over generations and has even used a fair amount of dialogue from journals and other written accounts that still exist. While this is nothing short of fascinating and makes for an authentic-feeling atmosphere that unfortunately ends up being the films single greatest strength. The lurking woods that lay just outside the house of William, his wife Katherine and their five children including newborn Samuel stand as something of a no-man's land that is a constant reminder of just how little wiggle room there is for our characters. This is not only true of their physical space, but of their mindset as William and Katherine lead a devout Christian life and teach their children to do the same. We never look at the characters as ignorant or naive, but more in the light of them having a very narrow view of how to explain things and thus the film itself feels trapped in this little box just waiting to burst out with the supernatural sorcery that seems to lie just on the other side of those woods. Of course, some would argue that is what is so beautiful about the story as well-that it is restrained enough throughout thus making its final minute all the more haunting. The thing is, for that final minute to be something of a payoff the previous eighty-eight have to be enthralling enough for that final one to make a serious impact and in that regard, The Witch simply isn't consistent enough to warrant the gasp it so desperately yearns for.

First Trailer for AMITYVILLE: THE AWAKENING

When looking over the 2016 release schedule in anticipation of making my most anticipated list for the year I scoffed at the fact there was another attempt to reboot an old horror franchise on the books. That said, I didn't expect to see much in the way of marketing for the film as the April Fool's Day release currently pits it against Rings (another attempt to reboot a now eleven year old franchise) and it seemed as if the distributor would drop the film without much heads up and simply hope for a little bit of return on the brand name alone. Even stranger than pitting two similar movies against one another on a weekend primed for a horror breakout (the original Insidious made $13 million on a $1.5m budget on this weekend five years ago) though is that Blumhouse and The Weinstein Company have released the same trailer that was originally posted for the film almost two years ago. This new Amityville was actually shot in 2014 and was originally set for a January 2015 release, but clearly that didn't pan out. What has happened and why the film was delayed more than a year is anyone's guess, but star Bella Thorne has confirmed having to do re-shoots as late as last week. No word on whether or not writer/director Franck Khalfoun (P2, Maniac) has been involved in those re-shoots, but it seems the two production companies are finally ready to distribute the film even if they're not up for delivering a new trailer with some of this new footage that is apparently being shot. Either way, the original release date doesn't bode well for the films quality and the long road to release could definitely mean bad things for the final product, but the last time we visited the Amityville house (2005's re-make of the original starring Ryan Reynolds) MGM raked in $65m domestically on a $19m budget so the reasoning behind this is understandable. Amityville: The Awakening also stars Jennifer Jason Leigh, Cameron Monaghan, Thomas Mann, Taylor Spreitler, Kurtwood Smith, Mckenne Grace and opens on April 1st, 2016.   

EDDIE THE EAGLE Review

More than anything Eddie the Eagle, a new inspirational sports dramedy not from Disney, gets away with being as cute as it is largely due to the fact it doesn't come from Disney. Instead, Eddie the Eagle comes to us courtesy of Marv Films, the British production company owned by director Matthew Vaughn (Stardust, Kick-Ass, Kingsman). Vaughn, who surprised no one with the quality of Kingsman last year, but did slightly stun a few with its box office capabilities also discovered Taron Egerton in the process. Egerton cements his rising star status in this somewhat unexpected follow-up for the new collaborators. Fortunately, this direction is an interesting one and the film works as there truly hasn't been much in the way of a credible sports story as of late where we don't inherently expect the sentimentality factor to be over the top. With the mouse house not having its hands on this property though we expect something slightly more mature, something a little closer to reality in the ways of the world and while Eddie the Eagle is certainly cute and even somewhat fantastical in certain aspects it never makes excuses for its titular characters shortcomings. Instead, it simply uses those real world circumstances to push our peculiar protagonist further. And thus, the reason Eddie the Eagle succeeds as well as it does despite being pure formula-it understands its hero and it breaks down the walls that people were afraid to climb over in Eddie's real life introducing us to a fully faceted character and not just a one note joke who can't take a hint from reality. Yes, Eddie the Eagle is formulaic in every way imaginable as you inevitably know all the beats the film will hit from the training montage down to the late second act obstacle that will be greatly overcome in the third, but it is damn entertaining formula and is made with such affection and honest aspiration one can't help but to want to cheer for Eddie just as all those at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics did.

On DVD & Blu-Ray: February 16, 2016

Initial Reaction: Video Review - DEADPOOL

It was a weekend full of love and surprises as Deadpool, the Marvel comic antihero with the big mouth, ability to heal at an accelerated pace, and a tendency to break the fourth wall also broke all kinds of records at the box office. While it is certainly a surprise the film did so well, I'm happy it did for two reasons. 1) This was a movie the studio didn't want to make, but after some leaked test footage and much campaigning by the films star, Ryan Reynolds, he secured a modest budget and the right to make the movie however he wanted. So, Reynolds finally has a bonafide hit on his hands after making an equal number of good to horrible movies over the past fifteen years. In going about making this movie the way he has and with the opening weekend the film's just had it 2) proves that a movie made in the vein of what fans actually want to see and that is faithful to the comic in which it is being adapted from can be hugely successful. I don't know if it will, but Deadpool could certainly turn the tide on studios making what fans want rather than attempting to water down properties to appeal to as broad an audience as possible. There is a lot to learn from the success of Deadpool and frankly I hope the major studios are paying attention. It doesn't hurt that the movie is a genuine blast either. Among the box office records broken by the "Merc with a Mouth" this weekend were the biggest February opening, largest opening for an R-rated film, largest opening weekend for an R-rated comic book adaptation, and largest opening weekend ever for 20th Century Fox including all previous X-Men films. So, what's all the fuss about? Find out in this weeks edition of INITIAL REACTION as we discuss all things Deadpool.

ZOOLANDER NO. 2 Review

I'm not one who necessarily believes that comedy sequels are necessarily going to be horrible. I understand the case that is made for why many of them are and do in fact agree that Dumb and Dumber To may be one of the worst movies ever made, but as a rule of thumb, as a blanket statement, I like to think there is more to this phenomenon than that. No one will argue that comedy is the most difficult genre to pull off successfully and when one does so to the effect that it connects with a large group of people it is hard to not want to return to that well in hopes of capturing those same gracious returns once more. What is strange about this latest nostalgia-fueled sequel though, is that it didn't seem to connect with many people upon its initial release back in 2001. Ben Stiller likely knew this about his dimwitted male model character when he came up with it for a pair of short films for the VH1 Fashion Awards in 1996 and 1997. Stiller knew there was never a real chance the character would catch on or even that his modest comedy would make a boatload of cash, but he clearly loved the material and put his creative mind to the petal to not only come up with something silly, but something topical that provided commentary on the frivolity of the fashion world when compared to something as sobering as sweat shops and child labor laws. Then, something happened that Stiller never would have guessed or foreseen in a million years-Zoolander became something of a staple of the post 9/11 world in that it was released a few weeks after the attacks and provided some much needed silliness to divert our national consciousness away from all the horrible things that were happening. In this regard Zoolander, a film about the titular idiot model becoming the pawn of corrupt fashion executives in order to assassinate the Prime Minister of Malaysia, held a special place in many people's hearts. It didn't hurt that the film was a genuinely good, funny comedy, but that fondness for this safe haven of a comedy has now snowballed into a world dominated by social media that consistently referenced and recapped the original enough that Stiller and co-stars Owen Wilson and Will Ferrell (each who have long since passed their pique popularity) couldn't help but to re-visit these characters in hopes of reaping those gracious returns once more. Instead of being the warm, safe place to return to in times of sadness or stress though, Zoolander No. 2 only makes it clear how sad the reality of these characters lives actually are. Even worse, the legacy of Stiller's once pristine fashion satire is now tainted by having dressed it up in something ugly.

DEADPOOL Review

The current cinematic landscape couldn't be more primed for a character like Deadpool. Audiences in general are all rather jaded when it comes to the superhero genre even if we don't care to admit so. That doesn't mean I think the genre and its success is going anywhere anytime soon, I don't. What I mean is simply that the genre is evolving and right now we're at the stage where we're all well aware that things have taken a turn into overdrive and are bordering on the ridiculous. That said, I kind of can't help but love it as the interconnected universes and team-up movies are everything I wanted the movies to be as a child. Even the TV platform is being invaded as super heroes are becoming just as present on the small screen as they are at the cineplexes. The market is saturated. There is no avoiding that truth and as we grow largely more self aware of what each of these comic book adventures will hold we expect our heroes to do the same thing. As the the genre grows and evolves we expect our heroes and their movies to grow and evolve as well. That is why, given his penchant for simultaneous self-aggrandizing and self-degrading humor, Deadpool is able to get away with being both a narcissistic degenerate yet inviting sympathy for his plight and pulling the audience to his side despite the fact he may not be that great of a guy. He's different. He's fresh, but it goes deeper than that. Much has been and will continue to be said about the self-aware nature of the character and his vulgar, R-rated humor that isn't inherent to the comic book movies that have allowed for the genre to become as mainstream as it is now, but the language, violence, and sex presented here is not solely for the sake of undoing every expectation set up by every super hero movie prior, but instead is simply part of who this guy is and the type of environment he was nurtured in. Deadpool AKA Wade Wilson (played by Ryan Reynolds as what I can only imagine is really just Ryan Reynolds) is simply a product of his environment in the same way Thor and and Captain America are fantastical products of theirs. The difference being what these environments stipulate as appropriate and in Deadpool's world there is no excuse to not let it all hang out and that's exactly what Reynolds along with director Tim Miller do here.

First Trailer for CRIMINAL Starring Kevin Costner

I'm not sure what to make of this trailer. Part of me wants to believe the film it's advertising could hold some potential given the cast and the old school style of the procedural it seems to be mimicking, but the other part of me believes it could be little more than an off-shoot sequel to last years Self/less that will wind up being as irrelevant and inconsequential as that film was. It is strange how similar the plots of both this film and that Ryan Reynolds-starrer from last summer are especially given Reynolds has a bit part here that this time has his memories and mind going into someone else's body instead of the other way around. Needless to say, Criminal has a lot going on and while most of the time it is easy to pick up on how a film will eventually turn out from the trailers and promotional materials I have a feeling this is either going to be as big of a train wreck as it clearly has the potential to be or it could be a rather pleasant surprise. Given the talent behind the camera includes The Iceman director Ariel Vromen and writers David Weisberg and Douglas Cook (The Rock, Double Jeopardy) there is certainly a possibility of the latter coming true. In that this was written by who it was written by and feels like a pure nineties action thriller it is fitting that Kevin Costner should be the lead and Tommy Lee Jones is also showing up, but more than simply imitating those types of films from that decade I'm hopeful Vromen can put a unique spin on the procedural while not having it spin out of control as it seems the plot has already taken care of that. Color me curious. Criminal also stars Gary Oldman, Gal Gadot, Alice Eve, Scott Adkins, Michael Pitt and opens on April 15th, 2016.

Red Band Trailer for THE BROTHERS GRIMSBY

It's hard to get excited for a Sacha Baron Cohen movie these days.What has he done since bringing Borat to the states in feature film form that has garnered him the same acclaim, but more importantly reached the same comedic heights? Bruno was a mess of shock for shock value alone while The Dictator ditched the mockumentary style altogether in favor of a traditional fiction narrative structure, but the laughs were still too few and far between to compare to Cohen's debut. Of course, Cohen is also known for his famous Ali G character, but has thankfully never brought that character to the big screen seeing as at this point the odds of it working out for the best are not in his favor. And so, four years after headlining his last major motion picture Cohen is back with frequent collaborator Peter Baynham and screenwriter Phil Johnston (Cedar Rapids, Wreck-It Ralph) to introduce us to a new character known as Nobby. Nobby was separated from his brother when they were younger and the two have grown up to be two very different men. Nobby is a father of nine children and married to the hottest woman in their poor English fishing town, Lindsey (Rebel Wilson). His brother, Sebastian (Mark Strong), on the other hand has become MI6's top assassin. It's easy to see where this screwball action comedy is going given this odd couple set-up, but with this new red band trailer we at least get a few solid sight gags and jokes that were absent from the previous green band trailers that only made the film look stupid and desperate. I still don't have much hope for this movie turning out well on any level, but I'm willing to give Cohen a shot, if at least with the faint hope that he may one day return to the level of Borat. The Brothers Grimsby is directed by Louis Letterrier (Now You See Me) and also stars Penelope Cruz, Isla Fisher, Scott Adkins, Ian McShane, Gabourey Sidibe and opens March 11th, 2016.  

New Trailer for WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT Starring Tina Fey

When the first trailer for Whiskey Tango Foxtrot premiered a month or so ago I felt no urge to post about it, but given there is a deluge of trailers dropping today it just feels rude to exclude it. Still, the film feels mostly irrelevant as far as the popular cinematic landscape is concerned and will likely make as big of an impression on the box office as Bill Murray's Rock the Kasbah or even Fey's Admission from a few years back. That said, I won't mind and am actually somewhat interested in seeing the film as it features a rock solid cast that, besides Fey, includes Margot Robbie, Martin Freeman, Billy Bob Thornton, and Alfred Molina. More exciting than even than the rather impressive roster of actors is the fact the film is directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa who have previously made both Crazy Stupid Love and last years Focus that also featured Robbie. I have enjoyed both of Ficarra and Requa's previous efforts with Focus especially getting better on each viewing. This time around the directing duo are adapting Kim Barker‘s memoir “The Taliban Shuffle,” which tells the story of how Barker volunteered to work as a reporter in the Middle East as a means of both shaking up her professional and social life. Also of note is the fact Barker's memoir was adapted for the screen by long time Fey collaborator Robert Carlock (SNL, 30 Rock, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt) and so, while this thing may inevitably fly under the radar (it's opening against Disney's Zootopia) that doesn't mean we should write it off just yet as there is serious potential here. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot also stars Nicholas Braun, Josh Charles, Sterling K. Brown and opens on March 4th, 2016.

First Trailer for EQUALS Starring Kristen Stewart

The first trailer has arrived for director Drake Doremus' (Like Crazy) new science fiction film, Equals, starring Kristen Stewart and Nicholas Hoult. A futuristic love story set in a world where emotions have been eradicated the film is indeed as rote as that description makes it sound with only the aesthetic standing to set it apart. We've seen this story countless times before and trust me when I say Dormeus' take unfortunately offers nothing new on the subject and resorts to a clichéd visual style to relay this age old cautionary tale. I saw the film in Toronto last year and while I like both lead performers the final product felt as if, "they took out the clone aspect of The Island, added in some aspects of The Giver, threw in a third act Romeo & Juliet twist and called it a day. Director Drake Doremus made a nice little examination of young love with his breakout hit in 2011, Like Crazy, but this utopian set version of that story yields nothing fresh or interesting." Needless to say, I wasn't enthralled with the premise nor its execution, but the visual style is at least something genuinely attractive to distract us from the standard story. Reservations aside concerning the actual product, this trailer does an incredibly effective job of selling the love story and the style of it all with hardly any dialogue until the last possible moment. I only wish the actual film might have been been as, well, emotional. Equals also stars Guy Pearce, Bel Powley, Jacki Weaver, Kate Lyn Sheil, Toby Huss with distributor A24 scheduling it for a summer release. You can read my full review from TIFF here.

Final Trailer for BATMAN V. SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE

It appears that after Warner Bros. dropped that second full trailer in December (you know the one that caught all the backlash for essentially giving away the whole movie?) they felt the need to give audiences one more, hopefully reassuring look at Zack Snyder's Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice before it bows at the end of next month. Well, it seems they've more or less succeeded. Opening with an extended sequence and the boldest look we've had at Ben Affleck's Batman yet this trailer quickly sets up a different tone than that hinted at in the previous trailer and stick with the Batman versus Superman conflict throughout. Due to the fact I still believe there was no need to show us anything more after last years Comic-Con trailer I'm somewhat disappointed there is yet another trailer for the film, but I understand the need and the strategy. All of that aside, I'm as excited for this movie as anyone, but my hope to walk into the film and still be mostly in the dark about what we were getting seems to be getting smaller and smaller. Fortunately, with this latest trailer, the new footage gives us a look at the aspect of the film audiences have been most curious about without completely spoiling anything in the fashion of the previous trailer. We get a quick tease of Batman's hand to hand combat style and then are thrown into a montage of footage we've seen before save for that last, pretty glorious shot. Of course, as I've said before, all of this is said with a sense of optimistic reservation as director Zack Snyder is a master of the movie trailer, but the final product doesn't always live up to such promises. We'll see if Snyder can deliver sooner than later now. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice stars Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne, Diane Lane, Jesse Eisenberg, Jeremy Irons, Scoot McNairy, Jason Momoa, Holly Hunter and opens on March 25, 2016.

First Trailer for THE PURGE: ELECTION YEAR

"Just remember all the good the purge does." This trailer reminds us of that sentiment as it comes to a close and in much the same way reminds us how necessary these films are for the sake of horror franchises at the moment. Writer/director James DeMonaco has been at the helm of this surprise saga since the beginning and while the concept has always been prime and the possibilities ripe for large social commentary it has felt like a turtle race to get to the point of actually realizing that potential. That said, I did like the second film much more than the first and can understand where, when taken as a trilogy of films, how that first contained story might seem necessary to understand the full impact of what this annual "purge night" does not only in the larger sense of things, but on the smallest of scales. While DeMonaco took a year off last year it seems that was purely intentional as he and Universal clearly had the idea of capitalizing on this years election by choosing that as their subtitle for this third installment. Growing in scale even more, this third Purge movie takes on the shifting ideals not only of the poor who are the ones largely being murdered during this evening of crime forgiveness, but of those with potential political power. Elizabeth Mitchell (Lost) stars as Senator Roan, one of the few politicians who wants to end the purge. Frank Grillo is also returning after his stint in the second film gave way to a revelation that has led him to take the necessary action to head up Roan's security presence as she begins her campaign for President. All in all, while neither of the previous films have left much of an impression there is slight anticipation here as it is clear DeMonaco is ambitious in expanding this universe. The Purge: Election Year also stars Mykelti Williamson, Raymond J. Barry, Ethan Phillips, Terry Serpico, David Aaron Baker, Edwin Hodge, and opens on July 1st, 2016.

WHERE TO INVADE NEXT Review

Like any good research paper Michael Moore's Where to Invade Next states its thesis at the end of its introduction and then continues to give examples and take us through its methodologies until some type of conclusion might be drawn and some discussion might be had about those results. Moore follows each of these steps in assessing where his beloved United States of America has gone so wrong over the last few decades. How have we come full circle and wound up in a situation where tension in race relations is at an all-time high, education scores are at all-time lows, obesity is at an all-time high, and the overall quality of life couldn't be further from the imagined "American Dream"? It is in this grain of an idea that Moore decides to go to other countries around the globe and "invade" them to see why they seem to be excelling in areas where the States are having trouble and "steal" their ideas. The simple revelations these countries offer to some of America's most dire issues are striking and Moore, taking on this optimistic point of view that things really do stand a chance of changing, is refreshing. This isn't a cynical man poking fun at how badly we've failed, but someone who seems to genuinely want to turn things around for the better. Even if one doesn't necessarily agree with all of the politics of the proposed resolutions, the goal is admirable and I can't help but hope the decent population of people in this country can see through the differences in the details to the real message of the documentary. That it doesn't have to be about the political lines, a particular parties beliefs, or the presumed prejudice that some group will undoubtedly call foul when any decision is made, but that to make such changes would be to benefit as many people as possible-what is best for all of us and not just a select group of individuals.

First Trailer for MIKE AND DAVE NEED WEDDING DATES

How Universal got the jump on 20th Century Fox to get their trailer for Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising in front of Zac Efron's Dirty Grandpa a couple of weeks ago rather than having the first spot for Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates debut ahead of that release seems a mystery that should have been solved in obvious fashion. Not only does Mike & Dave star Efron, but Aubrey Plaza who also played a crucial role in Grandpa. What is more disconcerting than this seeming missed opportunity though, is the fact Efron clearly has no interest in making any other kind of movie than what he's been putting out for two solid years now. R-rated comedies are his meal ticket as he sees it and he has no intention of trying to alter that career path at the moment. Of course, he has to realize he won't be able to play the frat guy/twenty-something screwup his entire life, but while he can he seems intent to take as much advantage of it as he can. At the very least, he's honing his improv and comedic skills for later on down the line and there is no reason Mike & Dave doesn't seem like a prime opportunity to do just that. Personally, I didn't mind Dirty Grandpa as much as everyone else, though that was largely due to De Niro's willingness to go for it despite the general vibe and arc of his character being completely crass and a little sickening. With Mike & Dave, director Jake Szymanski (7 Days in Hell) pairs Efron up with Workaholics star Adam Devine as well as Devine's Pitch Perfect co-star Anna Kenrick. For the cast alone, I'm in, but the trailer makes this seem as if it could potentially be a solid bit of summer fun. Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates also stars Stephen Root, Sam Richardson, Sugar Lyn Beard, Mary Holland, Wendy Williams, Stephanie Faracy, Alice Wetterlund, and opens on July 8th, 2016.

Initial Reaction: Video Review - HAIL, CAESAR!

In what was the first weekend of the year where I was actually excited to see the big new release I came away somewhat perplexed by the latest from celebrated directors the Coen Brothers. I won't say too much given the purpose of the video is to share our thoughts and feelings about the film just as we left the theater, but know that after a few more days of thinking about the film I know that I definitely enjoyed it, that I want to see it again, and that I have the sneaking suspicion I might really love it once I re-visit it a few more times. This weekend was also Super Bowl weekend and so it was never expected for the movies being released to do big business, but the end results are surprisingly low. As expected, Kung Fu Panda 3 once again took the number one spot with an estimated $21 million, but that is also a 49% drop from its debut weekend. While that kind of drop seems greater than most were expecting the good news is the film doesn't really have any competition the rest of February and should do well to keep raking in that family demographic. Hail, Caesar came in second with $11.4 million (the lowest opening for a Coen brothers release opening in over 1,500 theaters), but more surprising was its "C-" CinemaScore from opening day audiences. While the film was certainly strange and slightly unfulfilling upon first viewing it's by no means a bad movie and I'm hoping the older audiences that stayed in this weekend will venture out next week and give it a shot. After all, I don't see the older, matinee crowds clamoring to see Deadpool or Zoolander 2. Starring Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich, and Channing Tatum, Hail, Caesar! centers on a Hollywood fixer in the 1950's who works to keep his studio's stars in line. Hit the jump to check out the new episode of INITIAL REACTION, be sure to subscribe, and thanks for watching.

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES Review

Say what you will, but I've never read Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. That said, I've clearly become familiar with the story over the years and have seen some of the many adaptations namely Joe Wright's 2005 film starring Kiera Knightley. Say what you will, but I did read Seth Grahame-Smith's 2010 novel Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and kind of loved it, but the 2012 movie adaptation was less than satisfying. Given I knew Grahame-Smith's debut novel would also get the movie treatment I decided not to give it a look with the fact I'd never read Austen's original text also weighing on my decision. And so, going into Pride and Prejudice and Zombies I looked forward to seeing if a film version of one of Grahame-Smith's parody/mashup novels could be turned into an entertaining movie or if it would still be little more than a good idea even without knowing the depth of the original text. Of course, much of Grahame-Smith's novel from which this film is based is apparently text taken directly from the Austen classic only with elements of modern zombie fiction inserted throughout. So, one could say if you know Pride and Prejudice it isn't hard to imagine what Pride and Prejudice and Zombies might be. That's true. It isn't. Strangely enough though, it isn't the fact the story doesn't have to be outrageously creative in order to weave the zombie narrative through it, but more simply how much the movie embraces that aspect. Director Burr Steers (Igby Goes Down, 17 Again) has crafted a film with its tongue planted firmly in its cheek, but does so without ever going too far. Sure, the movie is aware of what it is, but it never becomes a parody of itself in that it goes to certain lengths to highlight its unique premise while never giving cause to laugh at it. In short, the film is cool enough to laugh with us at its absurdities and for that it packs a fun enough punch as far as action/adventure movies go. All in all though, the film is simply decent. While it exudes style at certain points and embraces itself fully that still doesn't necessarily mean it executes itself well and when it comes to following through on the promise of the premise with such spectacle this film version falls short and unfortunately feels rather fatigued by the time we cross the finish line.

HAIL, CAESAR! Review

The latest from storied writers and directors the Coen Brothers, Hail, Caesar!, is what some would label a zany comedy. It is a lark in many regards, a film where there seems no other intention by the filmmakers other than to create an amusing escapade and in this regard the film genuinely succeeds. The most outward thing one could say about the film in fact is that it is exceedingly charming and fun, that the Coen's have given themselves a set-up that allows them to explore all of their favorite genres of movies in Hollywood's golden age and that they take this opportunity and run with it. Casting the likes of current movie stars such as George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson, and Channing Tatum and placing them within the context of what types of movie stars they might have been in the 1950's is an incredibly appealing idea and the opportunity to see Clooney channel bits of Clark Gable, Johansson essentially play Esther Williams, and Tatum do his version of a Gene Kelly number is what sells the film. These movies within the movie are what make the film worth recommending in a sense despite the fact Josh Brolin is doing a good job carrying the connective tissue between each even if, somewhat ironically, he doesn't have enough to do. If you've seen the trailers for the film then you know the overarching plot concerns Clooney's Baird Whitlock, the biggest star in Hollywood, being kidnapped and held for ransom by a group who refer to themselves as "the future", but this turns out to be not so much what the movie is about rather just a small piece. Instead, as most Coen pictures do, Hail, Caesar! wants to be about something more and this time the Coen's are exploring that very thing-the worth of the movies, of stories even. Words like frivolous, flippant, lighthearted, silly, and any other synonyms of sort are used consistently throughout forcing our protagonist, Brolin's Eddie Mannix, to search his soul to find a reasonable rebuttal to validate not only the movies he and his studio are making, but his livelihood. It's true that the movies have a platform like no other and that they have the power to influence certain demographics, but beyond the Coen's attempting to convince themselves of these same things as they grow older in age, there isn't much to grasp onto here or there is too much and none of it ends up making the impact it should. Either way, Hail, Caesar! is still a rollicking good way to spend an hour and forty five minutes even if it is a minor work in the Coen pantheon.

REGRESSION Review

Ethan Hawke seems like the type of actor who does as much work as he can no matter the genre, or the paycheck simply because he loves the idea that he gets to make movies for a living. What's it matter, really? He can justify it all by saying one never knows what will catch on and he'd be right. After all, he made a low budget horror flick in The Purge three years ago that will see its third installment be released this year. Of course, it was also around this time that Hawke began to seem to give into the temptations of making more pure genre flicks outside of what is largely an independent filmography. With Sinister, Getaway, and what feels like a handful of direct to DVD releases Hawke has become the actor we wouldn't be surprised to see turn up in anything. His presence no longer signals whether what we're watching might be a horrible film or a near masterpiece as he's arguably starred in films on either end of that spectrum. With Regression the actor wanders back to the territory of the horror genre with what are nothing but honorable intentions, but unfortunately that willingness to commit to almost anything lets him down here. Written and directed by Alejandro Amenábar, who shared those same duties on both 2001's The Others and 2004's The Sea Inside that garnered him a barrage of rave reviews and what was undoubtedly a large amount of good will and momentum, Regression is inspired by a rise in the suspicion of Satanic cult-related activities in the early nineties and how such acts began making their way into the mainstream as well as what were apparently many a police investigations. Of course, through this guise the narrative feels all the more familiar given the number of horror films we've seen that get their "in" through a tortured official investigating these claims that are always scoffed at initially. While Amenábar certainly has an interesting approach to this type of story it might have aided his film even more had he come at it from a different perspective. As it is, there are both some beautifully haunting and cringingly cheap images on display with a few cool period details, but ultimately we've seen this all before and in much better, more effective fashions.

First Trailer for Don Cheadle's MILES AHEAD

It seems as if Don Cheadle has been working on his Miles Davis biopic for years now, and it's true that the film is something of a passion project for him, but given we now have the first trailer for the film it seems both the time and passion may have paid off in big and interesting ways. If you're familiar with the name, but not sure what role Davis played on the musical scene he was a jazz musician and composer, known mainly for his trumpet skills among many other titles, who is widely considered one of the most influential and innovative musicians of the 20th century. As a lover of musical biopics, but someone who recognizes that the formula has become a bit stale in recent years (thank you, Love & Mercy-I'm looking at you, I Saw the Light) what is most exciting about this project is that Cheadle seems to have embraced telling the story of Davis with as much attitude as the real Davis sported himself. While the number one issue artists who decide to tackle stories of other artists lives run into is their attempt to tell a cradle to grave story it seems Cheadle has already foregone that trope by focusing on the plight of Davis to own all the rights to his music and the end of the six-year sabbatical he took in the late seventies that's jump-started by an interview with David Brill (Ewan McGregor). The trailer promises a movie that is as improvisational as Davis' musical stylings and for this attempt alone I look forward to seeing the big picture. The film closed the New York Film Festival in October of last year to generally good reviews and will open in theaters on April 1st, 2016. Miles Ahead also stars Michael Stuhlbarg, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Keith Stanfield, Austin Lyon, Morgan Wolk, Chris Hahn, Nina Smilow, and Jeffrey Grover.

JANE GOT A GUN Review

Life is complicated. Even more so in the old west. Natalie Portman's passion project, Jane Got A Gun, wants to remind us of this and ultimately that what we perceive as good and bad aren't as easy to differentiate between as most would like to believe. What was even more complicated though, was the long and tumultuous road it took to get this project to the big screen. After several pre-production delays that included original director Lynne Ramsey exiting the project on the same day shooting was scheduled to begin it was difficult to see how the film might come out unscathed. Pair this with the exit of star Jude Law and a roster of other actors including Bradley Cooper coming in and out for the role that was finally filled by Ewan McGregor and you have what is sure to be nothing short of a downright catastrophe. Eventually though, director Gavin O'Connor (Warrior) took over the reins and enlisted the help of his Warrior star Joel Edgerton to what now, having seen the film, is a wholly serviceable and often times even compelling western that hardly shows any of the scars it garnered along the way. From a story and script originally crafted by Brian Duffield (Insurgent) it seems that once O'Connor was brought on board that he utilized both Edgerton (a writer and director himself) and Warrior screenwriter Anthony Tambakis to punch up the script and it is here where we find the first of many things to admire about the film. From the opening moments, set in dusty 1871 New Mexico, as Portman's titular Jane tells her daughter a bedtime story it is made clear the position of the three main characters in the story and where they fall into the plot while not making it clear where they might fall into one another's lives. This structuring of mystery around each of our main characters and their past and how they might intertwine with one another is what hooks the audience and while the first twenty or so minutes may seem to drag and ostensibly be vague for no other purpose than being vague the film hits its stride within the first half hour and from there briskly unravels a heartbreaking narrative of love, loss, and the will to do what it takes to keep on keepin' on.

First Red-Band Trailer for GREEN ROOM

If there was one film I was most upset about missing at last years Toronto International Film Festival it was Green Room. It premiered on the first night I arrived in Toronto, but I wasn't aware of it at the time and after receiving rave reviews from that initial screening I unfortunately couldn't fit any of the other screening times into my schedule. Given how some of the films I did see have panned out I wish I would have seen Green Room instead, but oh well-what can you do? The good news is that A24 (a serious studio to watch if you haven't already noticed) acquired the distribution rights for the film and will be releasing it this spring. Given they also acquired the much buzzed about horror film The Witch (which I did see at TIFF, but wasn't as crazy about as I'd hoped) and are giving it a wide release in two weeks its clear why the promotional campaign for Green Room is beginning to ramp up now. About a young punk rock band who find themselves trapped in a secluded venue after stumbling upon a horrific act of violence this first red-band trailer certainly gets across the tone of confusion and bloodshed that seem to make this horror film as hip as many have claimed it to be. What I look forward to most is seeing how the film upends many of the tropes of the horror genre while still committing to each of them. Written and directed by Jeremy Saulnier who burst onto the scene a few years ago with the transfixing Blue Ruin I'm anxious to see his follow-up and if it meets the hype that has surrounded it for months now. Green Room stars Patrick Stewart, Anton Yelchin, Alia Shawkat, Callum Turner, Joe Cole, and opens in New York and LA on April 15th before expanding on April 29th.

Trailer Roundup: SUPER BOWL 50

As Sunday draws closer we're beginning to see early releases of not only commercials, but some of the movie trailers that will be making their way into our living rooms this weekend. Yesterday we got our first glimpse at the first teaser that will run during the big game in what is our second look at Alice Through the Looking Glass. Narrated by the late Alan Rickman who will reprise his role as the Blue Caterpillar in the sequel, this is a really effective thirty second clip as it highlights the returning cast, including Johnny Depp, and the adventurous feel. While Disney is wanting to make sure their follow-up to the smash 2010 feature rakes in a ton of money they're not putting all of their eggs in the Alice basket. In fact, Disney has purchased multiple spots for their Super Bowl trailers, but beyond Alice, they have yet to confirm what any of the others might be. My guess would be they will definitely be throwing a new Captain America: Civil War trailer out there as it is the film that will kick off the summer movie season, as well as the long awaited sequel, Finding Dory. Before any of these though, we have Jon Favreau's (Iron Man) live action adaptation of The Jungle Book in April and so it wouldn't be a surprise if Disney opts to give that big budget spectacle a spot as well. Opening the weekend after the Super Bowl, we'll likely be seeing spots for both Zoolander 2 and Deadpool, but I tend to think rather than simply rolling out new trailers both Paramount and 20th Century Fox will be finding new and different ways to incorporate their films into the festivities. Paramount has also confirmed it will have a new trailer for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 while 20th Century Fox has confirmed a new spot for X-Men: Apocalypse. And last but not least, we will apparently be getting our first look at the fifth Bourne film which still does not have an official title. I'll be updating this post with trailers as they become available online, but as of now the Alice clip is the only one that has been released.

On DVD & Blu-Ray: February 2, 2016

KUNG FU PANDA 3 Review

The Kung Fu Panda films hold something of a special place in my heart for reasons I'm not really sure of. The first was a blockbuster of an original for DreamWorks, who'd been struggling to produce a hit outside the Shrek and Madagascar franchises, signaled the start of something new. It didn't hurt that it premiered during a summer that felt rather exceptional as it counts among its company the likes of Iron Man, The Dark Knight, and Tropic Thunder. Of course, by the time the sequel came around three years later it was considered something of a disappointment as it opened to only $46 million (the original opened to $60m without the 3D bump of the sequel), but in terms of quality it was right up there with the first, if not better. Maybe the idea that since I'd ventured out to see the sequel and didn't understand the drop in anticipation made me feel as if I should hold the film more sacred (though the same is now true with How to Train Your Dragon 2), but something akin to as much happened and five years later I could not have been happier to see Po and the furious five returning. I realize how odd it may sound for a grown man whose only child isn't even old enough to go to the movies yet to be excited for an animated children's film, but much like the films of Pixar, certain DreamWorks properties have that transcendent quality where age doesn't matter. The Kung Fu Panda franchise, for me at least, is one of those. It is one of those franchises that I can't wait to share with my children in the hopes they embrace the ideas and themes these movies so boldly teach. Po has always been about defying expectations and not judging books by their covers which, in the realm of kids movies, aren't exactly new ideas, but they bring them to life in such a reverential way that it is impossible not to appreciate the craft and skill that has gone into creating a compelling narrative around such basic ideas. In the great tradition of the series, Kung Fu Panda 3 is a riveting and completely fun chapter that is gorgeous in its visual representations, effectively moving in its weightier moments, and satisfying in a manner that Po's story has come full circle and feels complete.

Initial Reaction: Video Review - THE FINEST HOURS

After an unplanned week off due to some inclement weather we return with our second attempt at this whole video review thing. Originally, the plan was to review the film that would obviously be winning the box office this weekend in Kung Fu Panda 3, but unfortunately Dreamworks pulled all Thursday night shows last week and so we were down to either The Finest Hours or Fifty Shades of Black. While I can respect the game Marlon Wayans is playing with his micro-budget spoofs that earn back much more than their budget (though this one only garnered just over $6 million opening weekend against an unknown production budget) I was not wasting an hour and a half of my life on what was so clearly schlock. And so, The Finest Hours it was. I'd planned on seeing the film anyway, but just as I somewhat expected it didn't make the biggest splash at the B.O. and thus likely won't be our most viewed video. All of that aside though, we're still working out some kinks and getting comfortable in this setting so please excuse some of the shortcomings. I guarantee you it will only get better with time. Directed by Craig Gillespie (Million Dollar Arm, Fright Night, Lars and the Real Girl) and starring Chris Pine, Casey Affleck, Ben Foster, and Holliday Grainger, The Finest Hours tells the true story of a daring rescue attempt off the coast of Cape Cod after a pair of oil tankers were destroyed during a blizzard in 1952. Hit the jump to check out the new episode of INITIAL REACTION, be sure to subscribe, and thanks for watching.