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.

MIDNIGHT SPECIAL Review

There is comfort in the familiar. There is comfort in understanding a certain feeling, but there is also peace in being able to give up control. Giving up control might not always be comforting though. It is the amalgamation of the familiar, the unsettling, the insecure, and the eventual calming notions that ultimately make the tone of Midnight Special one we find both comforting and grandly mysterious. Both soothing and simultaneously unnerving. In essence, director Jeff Nichols latest is all about tone. Were it not for the tone of a late seventies/early eighties mesh of John Carpenter and Steven Spielberg it would be difficult to contemplate what exactly Nichols was attempting to say with this film. Instead, every aesthetic choice helps to inform the interpreted meaning behind the narrative. Without the score from David Wingo or the cinematography by Adam Stone (both who have worked numerous times before with Nichols) the emphasis on the juxtaposition between the mundane world of the southern region of the U.S. and the magic of Alton Meyer (Jaeden Lieberher of St. Vincent) would be lost. The somewhat arrested progression of architecture and the numerous cracks in the freeways combined with the tired areas of suburbia and run-down motels our protagonists venture to throughout all possess that strangely comforting feeling of being lived in and yet the reasons these characters venture so quickly through these places is of uncertain consequence. Why they feel the need to put cardboard on all of the windows in whatever domain they enter or who exactly this young boy is and why he's so strikingly different from the rest of us is anyone's guess. Nichols, who also penned the screenplay, layers on the mysteries one after another for much of the film delivering one unexpected turn after another with just the right amount of answers to the countless questions that pop up. These elements of tone and style, story and emotion come together and go hand in hand to create a damn near perfect film that is too nuanced to be about one thing in particular, but rather has the rare ability to convey different yet subtle shades of meaning to each individual in the audience.

Full Trailer for ME BEFORE YOU Starring Emilia Clarke

I was just thinking this weekend about how it's been a long time since we've had any type of romantic comedy, legitimately fun despite its conventions or not. There are no marquee male stars to headline these things anymore and the closest we seem to get presently are either riffs on the genre a la last summer's Trainwreck or the dredge that is director Garry Marshall's holiday-themed movies that intertwine multiple stories and feature as many stars as possible so that the financial success doesn't hinge on a single name (we get Mother's Day at the end of this month if you're curious). So, I began to wonder what a modern romantic comedy might look like and without considering the aforementioned films that are more or less derivatives of the original template the closest thing I could come up with was Brooklyn. Yes, last years tale of an Irish immigrant who lands in 1950s Brooklyn where she falls in love with a local Italian is the closest I could come up with. Clearly, this isn't in the same genre as those Matthew McConaughey headliners from the mid-2000's though, and so my thoughts extended even further into the genre of grand romantic films in general. A genre the Nicolas Sparks-based The Notebook reinvigorated in 2004, but has since become something of a parody of itself with the continued adaptations of Sparks' novels turning into rote, cheesy reminders of how great Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams were together. One movie looks to buck that trend this year though. Me Before You is an adaptation of the hugely popular novel by Jojo Moyes and is being brought to the big screen courtesy of theater director and Call the Midwife alum Thea Sharrock making her feature directorial debut. Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones) and Sam Claflin (The Hunger Games) star in this story of a girl in a small town who forms an unlikely bond with the recently-paralyzed man she's taking care of. The film also stars Jenna Coleman, Janet McTeer, Matthew Lewis, Charles Dance, Vanessa Kirby, Stephen Peacocke, and Brendan Coyle. Me Before You opens on June 3rd, 2016.

Initial Reaction: Video Review - BATMAN V. SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE

The debut weekend of Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice has now come and gone. The critical ravaging of the film is beginning to subside while Warner Bros. seems confident the films opening weekend numbers will hold strong at $170.1 million. While this is certainly an impressive number and has broken a handful of records (March opening weekend, largest domestic opening for WB, largest Easter opening, largest opening for a film based on a DC Comics property) the worrisome factor is how the film will hold up over the coming weeks. There are still schools throughout the United States that have yet to go on Spring Break so that will certainly help this first full week of release, but more for the long run is the fact there is no major competition opening for a solid month. This week sees the expansion of fellow WB property, Midnight Special, as well as the sequel to God's Not Dead with the week after holding a Melissa McCarthy comedy and the experimental actioner Hardcore Henry. There will be some slight downfall with the release of Disney's The Jungle Book on April 15th, but given the more mature demographic BvS is going for I don't imagine the audience pining for the live action version of a Rudyard Kipling novel crosses over much with DC Comics fans to the extent it will hurt the super hero match-up in a major way. The direct demographic threat comes in the form of The Huntsman: Winter's War on Aprill 22nd, but despite Chris Hemsworth leading that film it is largely filled with strong, impressive women and I wouldn't be surprised if the female turnout was stronger for that film than the male-centric BvS audience. By the beginning of May we will have the next super hero battle on our hands in Captain America: Civil War, but by that point BvS will have made all of its major money. The movie walked away with "B" CinemaScore with a "B-" coming from males, which made up 62% of the audience, and "B" from females. Audience members under the age of 18, however, scored it an "A-". The film also brought in an estimated $254 million internationally this weekend with a global opening of $424.1 million. So, say what you will, but BvS is a certified smash at this point and if it holds up well over the next few weeks WB has nothing to worry about other than tweaking their future marketing campaigns to not spoil their entire comic universe.

MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING 2 Review

It has been fourteen years since My Big Fat Greek Wedding took America by storm and grossed $241 million domestic on a $5 million budget. It's a wonder that this isn't the third or fourth sequel to the film especially given writer and star Nia Vardalos has found little success outside of her Greek origins. Vardalos has written three features in between her Wedding features, none of which reached the commercial success of her breakout and thus the reason we're likely back here. If you enjoyed getting to know the Portokalos clan then you will no doubt enjoy their company this time around as well. Not much has changed beyond some of the dynamics shifting given the inescapable fact time does go on, but this seems to be the major point of issue for Vardalos when crafting the script: how might one develop characters who are so stuck in their ways? To answer this question and provide some deeper insight into who these people are (or more accurately who they once were and how they've become the characters we see today) Vardalos undoes the basis of the entire family: she discredits her mother and father's marriage by revealing it was never properly acknowledged by the church. For Gus (Michael Constantine) and Maria (Lainie Kazan) this more or less makes the lives they've been living for the past fifty years something of a sin and a sham. Of course, Gus wants to correct things as quick as possible and have his marriage acknowledged by the church, but with this new found information Maria is eager to soak up her new found freedom and make her "husband" earn her love for him, elaborate proposal and all. Couple this with Toula (Vardalos) and Ian (John Corbett) dealing with the impending high school graduation of their only daughter, Paris (Elena Kampouris), and there's more than enough material for Vardalos to mine obvious comedy out of without actually mining the characters for any real insight or genuine arc.

First Trailer for WAR DOGS Starring Jonah Hill

I put Todd Phillips latest flick, originally titled Arms and the Dude, on my most anticipated of the year list so you can bet it is one of my most anticipated movies this summer. I find Phillips to be a fascinating director. The guy has exclusively made broad comedies since Road Trip in 2000, but it was with The Hangover in 2009 that he became something of an institution and by the time he'd finished crafting the third, darker, ultimately rebellious chapter in that men behaving badly franchise that he was a comedy auteur. Phillips has a persona that screams he thinks he's cooler than you and all of the best characters in his movies seem to replicate that state of mind. All of this only made whatever Phillips would decide to do next all the more interesting. This year, that question will be answered with what is now titled War Dogs starring Jonah Hill and Miles Teller. The film tells the story of two young men, David Packouz (Teller) and Efraim Diveroli (Hill), who won a $300 million contract from the Pentagon to arm America's allies in Afghanistan. As this first trailer shows this feels like something akin to Michael Bay's Pain & Gain and I loved that crazy ass movie so I expect to enjoy this one all the more given I tend to like Phillips films more. Originally slated to star Shia LaBeouf and Jesse Eisenberg (which would have certainly been interesting) I'm maybe more excited at the prospect of Phillips working with a comedic talent like Hill for the first time and Teller getting the chance to spread his obvious comedic talents that have been hiding in the wings since That Awkward Moment two years ago. And of course, there is the obvious fact that both Teller and Hill have a penchant for playing assholes really well which will no doubt come in handy given this is a Todd Phillips movie. War Dogs also stars Bradley Cooper, Ana De Armas, Jeff Pierre, Barry Livingston, Shaun Toub, JB Blanc, Brenda Koo and opens August 19th, 2016.

BATMAN V. SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE Review

It's important to remember that each individual comes to a movie not only with certain expectations and preconceived notions, but a different life experience up until the point they view a movie that will inform how they respond to a given piece of entertainment. I'm a child of the nineties, a product of Power Rangers and Capri Sun's; a time when what some would argue the best iteration of Bob Kane's Batman character would be brought to life. I'm of course referring to Batman: The Animated Series which ran from 1992-1995 and more or less became the defining Batman in my life-the Batman all other Batman's would be chasing from that point on. Too young for Michael Keaton's movies and too juvenile to initially understand just how bad Joel Schumacher's films were, the animated series brought to life the most genuine and credible version of the superhero my generation (or any other up to that point) could imagine. I adore the Christopher Nolan trilogy and what he did for the genre as a whole. I will forever hold that trilogy in high regard and The Dark Knight as one of the single greatest theater-going experiences of my life. Eight years after the Nolan/Christian Bale epic that will go down in history as the best live action version of Batman thanks to the late Heath Ledger's performance we now have the next attempt to bring the caped crusader to life in what is more or less the sequel to 2013's Man of Steel. Jump-starting the DC Universe in an attempt to catch up with Marvel Studios, director Zack Snyder and his team have delivered a film that seems to want to bring the tone, artistic quality, and believe it or not...the fun of that nineties animated series to life on the big screen, extended universe and all. This is where I come at the movie from. A place of balance between what was my childhood Batman (never having a large affinity for Superman given he never had as influential an animated series) and what is my more mature, realistic Batman in the Nolan trilogy. It's a parallel that worked out well for my progression from child to adult and so, the big question was: where would Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice fit into this scheme and how would everything I've seen and read of these characters inform my response to Snyder's bringing together of these two icons on the big screen for the first time? For this particular viewer: I enjoyed the hell out of it.

First Trailer for THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE

With it being the eve of the release of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice it is only necessary we get a look at the next feature film that will star the caped crusader. No, not The Justice League film slated for November of next year, but rather the spin-off of the highly successful 2014 film, The Lego Movie. With The Lego Batman Movie Will Arnett reprises his role as the dark knight in interlocking plastic block form to give audiences the lighter side of what Ben Affleck seems to be delivering in his current big screen iteration. Directed by Chris McKay who was an assistant director on The Lego Movie and has worked on several animated series in the past (including Robot Chicken) the guy clearly has a handle on the tone and style that Phil Lord and Chris Miller established in the original Lego film. In this first look at the film McKay and writer Seth Grahame-Smith (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) offer their take on the more monotonous aspects of being Batman such as fighting crime Every. Day. despite the fact you're fighting crime Every. Day. with the only reward being coming home to heat up Lobster Thermidor in the microwave. The film looks to beat Zack Snyder's team-up movie to the punch as we get a glimpse of a hero shot with Batman leading the charge surrounded by super friends Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Cyborg, Green Lantern, Aquaman, and Green Arrow, but we also know that the film will likely center on a very Batman-esque storyline given Michael Cera will voice Robin, Rosario Dawson is Batgirl/Barbara Gordon, with Zach Galifianakis playing The Joker, and Ralph Fiennes and Mariah Carey enlisted to voice Alfred and the Mayor of Gotham, respectively. The Lego Batman Movie opens on February 10th, 2017.

I SAW THE LIGHT Review

Note: This is a reprint of my review for I Saw the Light, which originally ran on September 13, 2015 after seeing it at the Toronto Film Festival. I am publishing it again today as it hits theaters this weekend.

Hank Williams doesn't seem to have been that great of a guy. He became addicted to the drink, morphine, and other painkillers as well as fathering several children, only one of which he ever married their mother and this all before his untimely death at the age of twenty-nine. While Williams may not have necessarily been the best guy (and possibly one of the worst parents) it is usually these types of people that stand to create the most interesting stories and in Williams case, write the most interesting ones as well. Before becoming popular as a singer Williams was primarily known for being one of country and westerns top songwriters. Williams penned and performed countless tunes for a radio show in his hometown of Montgomery, Alabama before securing a deal with the music publishing firm Acuff-Rose as a professional songwriter. All of that taken into consideration, one wouldn't really come to learn much of this from the Marc Abraham (Flash of Genius) biopic, I Saw the Light. Abraham's film tends to prefer only patching together a few story points in the singer's life rather than truly digging into its subject's life and finding out what really made this man tick. It's admirable that Abraham doesn't take the easy route of opening his film backstage before one of Williams last shows and using it as a framing device for a period of reflection in which the movie's told, but he also doesn't come up with an alternative way to tell us anything insightful about the man, and a movie needs to offer more than a Wikipedia page does.

Teaser Trailer for DEEPWATER HORIZON Starring Mark Wahlberg

Deepwater Horizon made my most anticipated of 2016 list for the sole fact it was co-written and produced by J.C. Chandor (Margin Call, All is Lost, A Most Violent Year). Other than this the film appears to be as generic as one can imagine. The title sounds like something you've probably seen on a 90's VHS tape while the idea of it starring Mark Wahlberg and some type of ocean rig immediately brings thoughts of the already forgotten Contraband rushing back. What separates the film for me, and makes me rather excited to see it, is both the involvement of Chandor and director Peter Berg. Granted, Berg hasn't had the best streak of directorial efforts (2012's Battleship sticks out sorely on his resume), but he did team with Wahlberg once before to create the truly brutal and truly moving Lone Survivor. Lone Survivor was one of my favorite films of 2013 and with a story revolving around the titular oil rig that exploded in 2010 off the Gulf of Mexico, resulting in the catastrophic oil spill, the likes of which hadn't been seen since the Exxon Valdez incident in 1989 it seems there is great potential here. And so, while I was on board before this teaser trailer more than closes the sale. It is effective in its way of explaining how oil rigs work through Wahlberg's daughter and her school project while intercutting footage of the impending doom. It builds real tension in a tight two minutes and tells audiences all they need to know to be sold on the project. More or less kicking off Oscar season in late September I look forward to seeing not only how the film turns out, but how its narrative throughout 2016 plays into awards season if it's as impressive as this first look. Deepwater Horizon also stars Kurt Russell, Dylan O'Brien, Gina Rodriguez, Ethan Suplee, Kate Hudson, John Malkovich and opens on September 20, 2016.

Initial Reaction: Video Review - THE DIVERGENT SERIES: ALLEGIANT

My personal interest in The Divergent Series has been waning since the first film debuted and was fine if not able to inspire a strong following for a would-be YA franchise. Instead, last March's Insurgent simply maintained the initial numbers Divergent brought in and with this year's part 1 finale that is Allegiant the bridge has finally buckled--and for good reason. I wasn't a fan of the film and would even venture to say it's the worst movie I've seen this year (and I've seen Gods of Egypt), but despite the negative reviews and declining box office Lionsgate still promises one final installment in this series with next summers Ascendant (where, as of now, it will open against Brad Pitt's World War Z sequel and Tom Cruise's Mummy remake). Why they opted to split the final book in the series into two when it was clear the film adaptations weren't gaining momentum is something of a mystery, but I have to imagine they are regretting that decision now as Allegiant only grossed $29 million as compared to the previous films, both of which opened with over $52 million on the same weekends. Insurgent brought in $130 million domestically last year which was $20 million less than Divergent, but it out-performed the original film by $30 million internationally for a $297.3 million global total. Despite Allegiant opening internationally last weekend it debuted with only $25.2 million and added another $22 million from 77 markets this weekend for a current international total of $53.4 million. The budgets for each film have only gone up from one installment to the next as well and so while there is no official report for Allegiant's production budget I have to imagine it is somewhere in the $110-$120 million range. It will be interesting to see where Allegiant ends up and what Lionsgate decides to do with Ascendant given the film is already in pre-production with new director Lee Toland Krieger (The Age of Adaline, Celeste and Jesse Forever). For now though, hit the jump to see our full video review and be sure to subscribe to our channel for a new review every week!

THE BRONZE Review

All comedies try to make us laugh. That's kind of the point. Still, there is a difference between trying to make audiences laugh by saying the unexpected out loud and those unexpected things actually being funny. In The Bronze The Big Bang Theory's Melissa Rauch plays washed up gymnast Hope Annabelle Gregory who still managed to medal at the 2004 Rome Olympics after shattering her achilles during a routine. She became something of an American hero of those particular games, the athlete the media chose to heap large amounts of coverage on because of her narrative maybe more so than because of her actual talent. Hope says a lot of things that might not be considered polite or politically correct, but that doesn't make her funny. Sure, I understand that a fair amount of comedy can come from degrading someone, something, or even ourselves, but no matter how hard these demeaning jokes make us laugh ( or don't) one thing remains to be true and that is the fact they come from a place of fear; we're attempting to distract ourselves from our own vulnerability. In short, we're trying to make ourselves feel better about our own lives. Hope does this consistently throughout The Bronze and while the juxtaposition of what we expect from polite society and what Hope delivers can be genuinely funny here and there the majority of the time the character simply comes across as self-centered, crass, and just plain nasty. Maybe this is because Hope is the only character the film cares to flesh out and so, while we somewhat get to know her father (Gary Cole), her new apprentice (Haley Lu Richardson), her love interest (Thomas Middleditch) and her arch nemesis (Sebastian Stan), because each of them are more or less targets for Hope to hurl her insults at rather than fully formed people it is nearly impossible for us to understand why she seems to naturally hate everyone. The only thing she clearly has an affinity for is herself and keeping her name and image at the height of its power in her hometown of Amherst, Ohio, but as these things go all of that is about to change.

ALLEGIANT Review

I tried. I really did. I even read the first two books, but I knew it was a bad sign when it took me two tries to make it through the second novel in author Veronica Roth's dystopian young adult series, Insurgent. I didn't even bother to try and read the third and final novel in the series if that tells you anything about how much I cared about what happened to these characters and their overly complicated world. If nothing else, I thought not reading the source material might make the third film (which of course is part one of a two part finale that splits the final book in half-the second of which doesn't arrive until next summer) more intriguing given I didn't know exactly where the story would be heading, but as with the two previous films while there is always stuff happening, the story doesn't necessarily move forward. This is the problem with the series as a whole never mind the individual films. There is even the idea there is too much going on as each character's dialogue is plagued by large portions consisting of pure exposition, but if we don't know what we need to know about this world by the third film there's simply too much and Allegiant suffers greatly from too much talking and not enough actually happening. The film seems a pristine example of taking two steps forward only to take three steps back. At the very least, we expect story tropes of the YA genre to be pushing the audience forward to some type of inevitable showdown between the exceptional protagonist and the jaded authority figure who doesn't believe in them, but the Divergent Series has repeated this so many times at this point that there is no tension left and worse, we can see where things are going given they've been telegraphed a handful of scenes prior. I'm sure Roth had interesting ideas she wanted to explore going into writing this franchise and some even start to peek through in certain moments here, but it seems like the filmmakers and crew are as tired of making these movies as audiences are of watching them and thus the cohesiveness of the actual story is the last thing on their minds making Allegiant go straight to the back of ours as soon as the credits begin to roll.

Official Trailer for X-MEN: APOCALYPSE

The latest trailer for director Bryan Singer's (X-Men, X2) follow-up to X-Men: Days of Future Past has arrived and while I am sure the final product will be an interesting addition to the X-Men canon I can't help but feel the director is leaning on visual effects more than ever. The optimist in me says Singer has done this enough times before and in good enough fashion to trust his directorial hand, but there is also a lot of effects driven work here that looks as if it could have come from any summer blockbuster. That aside, I'm really happy to see Singer back at the helm of yet another mutant movie and that he seems to finally be embracing the origins of this material more. There also looks to be a lot of overt fan service in this new, extended look and it has felt more lately (Deadpool) that the more fan service one is able to pull off while not trying to be overly discrete about it seems to make the experience that much more enjoyable. In the case of Apocalypse, Singer and writer Simon Kinberg have set the film during the 1980's and with the inclusion of a young Jubilee (Lana Condor), Scott Summers (Tye Sheridan) and Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) Singer seems to want to really take advantage of the new timeline he gave himself in Days of Future Past. Oscar Isaac's titular antagonist (while still looking like Ivan Ooze) does seem to be rather intimidating and the mythology to go along with him is undoubtedly intriguing. Having Rose Byrne return to convey this exposition isn't a bad touch either. James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Lucas Till, and Evan Peters all return while other new cast members include Olivia Munn, Alexandra Shipp, and Ben Hardy. X-Men: Apocalypse opens May 27, 2016.

First Trailer for New BEN-HUR Adaptation

Ben-Hur is probably best known for the 1959 William Wyler adaptation starring Charlton Heston, but I'll be the first to admit I've never made it all the way through Wyler's three and a half hour adaptation of Lew Wallace's classic epic. I've seen bits and pieces and feel like, once upon a time, I even almost finished it, but at this point I was so young I hardly remember the specifics and have no right to form any kind of opinion on it and so it seems I will need to correct that before the end of this summer as we now have director Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) trying his hand at adapting Wallace's novel. The story, which tells of a falsely accused nobleman who survives years of slavery to take vengeance on his best friend and brother who betrayed him, looks to have been streamlined as Bekmambetov has already said his film will not reach the lengths of Wyler's. The central focus looks to be the classic chariot race that, at the very least, should be visually enthralling given the directors past work. Still, the film more or less looks like what I expected the film to look like and will undoubtedly make little impact when it arrives late in the summer movie season. I'm not counting the film out solely based on the trailer, but the mash-up of Gladiator styled visuals and Roland Emmerich seeming substance doesn't bode well for the final product as we've seen countless imitators of Ridley Scott's sixteen year-old film come and go each failing to live up to their influence and I expect Ben-Hur to do the same, never mind trying to recapture the Oscar glory of Wyler's Best Picture winner. This new Ben-Hur stars Jack Huston, Toby Kebbell, Morgan Freeman, Rodrigo Santoro, Nazanin Boniadi, Ayelet Zurer, Sofia Black D’Elia and opens on August 12, 2016.

SHE'S THE MAN: Ten Years Later

Ten years ago I was beginning my second semester of college, working thirty hours or so a week at Wendy's and increasingly enjoying more and more movies in my free time. My schedule throughout the week was decent as I only had class on Tuesdays and Thursdays while working the other three days to get a solid enough paycheck to sustain my mostly free weekends. Still, if there was a way to save money I would certainly take advantage of such opportunities and one of the ways to do so was to enjoy $5 Tuesdays at my locally owned movie theater. They also had a deal where, if you brought your own bowl on Thursdays, they would fill it up with popcorn for you. This popcorn deal of course spawned several interesting stories, but to the more pertinent point I was reminded of such movie-going experiences because over the last few weeks I've seen a number of anniversary articles about films that are turning twenty this year. While prestigious fare like Fargo and the now more affectionately rendered The Birdcage make for understandable reflections I was only nine in 1996 and therefore could only comment on something like Disney's stop-motion James and the Giant Peach (trust me, I checked) feature that I remember enjoying as a child, but probably haven't seen since 1997. And so, I bumped things up a decade to the year where I went to the theater consistently on Tuesday nights, for $5 dollars, and every now and then stumbled upon something more enjoyable than I might have expected particularly in these early months of the year.

First Trailer for MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN

I read Ransom Riggs debut novel, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, last year at the urging of my English teacher wife who'd come across the book and devoured it in less than a week and was anxious to get the two since released sequels as soon as possible. I enjoyed the book well enough, but was somewhat let down by the conventions of the narrative despite the inspiration for the novel being photographs Riggs had collected that he'd originally intended to publish as a picture book. At the suggestion of his editor he instead used them as a guide from which to put together a narrative. Still, there were enough interesting facets, characters, and intrigue within the world Riggs had created along the way to make up for the rather predictable antagonist and slightly convoluted backstory it took to make the threat seem palpable. My hope is that these few shortcomings in the novel will better translate to the motion picture format and be successful enough to kick off a franchise for 20th Century Fox as, despite initial reservations, I've been anxious to dive into the sequels Hollow City and Library of Souls. I also initially had reservations about Tim Burton taking on the film adaptation of the novel. Burton seemed the obvious choice, but from the looks of this first trailer it seems the auteur has really invested in bringing this world and these strange characters to life in a substantial way. The film looks gorgeous and while certainly being in Burton's wheelhouse looks unique enough to draw in even those who have grown weary of the director's style and spotty filmography over the last decade or so. I enjoyed Big Eyes well enough, but can't help but feel we haven't received top notch Burton since 2007's Sweeney Todd. My fingers are crossed this is a true return to form. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children stars Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Samuel L. Jackson, Kim Dickens, Allison Janney, Ella Purnell, Judi Dench, Chris O'Dowd, Rupert Everett, Terence Stamp and opens on September 30, 2016.

Red Band Trailer for SAUSAGE PARTY Starring Seth Rogen

A work-in-progress cut of Seth Rogen‘s R-rated animated comedy, Sausage Party, debuted at Austin's SXSW festival last night and now we have the first Red Band trailer for the film. While I wasn't sure what to expect from the film given it seemed to intend to skew all that we held precious as children there are a lot of laughs in this first look and it certainly hints at a film just as warped as one would need to be to succeed as the first R-rated CG animated movie. The trailer starts off sweet enough, perfectly lampooning Disney/Pixar films before evolving into something much scarier and frankly, much more disturbing than something even Sid from Toy Story might have cooked up in his creepy ass bedroom. Sausage Party follows a group of unsuspecting weiners and meat products when they come to understand the truth about where they will eventually ending up. The film is being produced by Sony and Megan Ellison of Annapurna Pictures who tweeted out last night after the premiere that it was the greatest moment of her life and that she always believed the film would be Annapurna's first franchise. Also of note is the fact Rogen and writing partner Evan Goldberg have enlisted Oscar-winning composer Alan Menken (Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin) to compose the original music. Clearly, these guys are cutting no corners in making sure they have the best collaborators to make what is more or less a parody as close to the real thing as possible. The animation actually looks quite striking and if they are willing to go as weird and out there with this first look trailer I can only imagine what the full-length feature holds. If reactions out of last nights screening are any indication, this should be pretty great. Joining Rogen in the voice cast is Jonah Hill, James Franco, Kristen Wiig, Edward Norton, Paul Rudd, Nick Kroll, Michael Cera, David Krumholtz, and Salma Hayek. Sausage Party opens August 12, 2016.

On DVD & Blu-Ray: March 15, 2016

Initial Reaction: Video Review - 10 CLOVERFIELD LANE

This week on Initial Reaction we talk the biggest new release of the week in 10 Cloverfield Lane as Zootopia remained atop the box office. This distant relative of a sequel to director Matt Reeves 2008 monster movie is a different type of monster in and of itself and, in my opinion, is all the better for it despite my thinking the quality of the film might have improved did it not have to tie into the bigger Cloverfield universe. The film is something of an experiment given it is not a direct sequel to the first film, features none of the same characters or actors and hardly any mega monster action that made the first such a massive hit, but actually functions as a different perspective on similar events rather than being a continuation. It's a fine idea and works more than it doesn't and, as I say in our review, is something of a double edged sword given first time feature director Dan Trachtenberg ultimately had to tie in Cloverfield references to his original film, but will ultimately have more people see it now than they would have without the branding. The film debuted with $1.8 million in Thursday previews and ended the weekend with an estimated $25.2 million. Scoring a "B-" CinemaScore from opening night audiences (not great) I can't tell if the film will continue to do well given it wasn't what most fans of the first film wanted from a sequel despite the fact they walked away from what was largely a pretty terrific movie. Only time will tell as it faces off against the third installment in The Divergent Series, Allegiant, but will then go up against Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice which I expect to dominate everything. At the same time, 10 Cloverfield Lane will have likely collected the majority of what it's going to do by then. For more, hit the jump to see our full video review and be sure to subscribe to our channel to get the latest reviews!

THE BROTHERS GRIMSBY Review

Now more than ever Sacha Baron Cohen seems to be looked to for cheap comedy rather than the once prestigious, if not still outrageous version of comedy that he was known for. This transition seems to have largely occurred due to two factors in that 1) Cohen became too famous to fool the commoner, politicians, or other celebrities into thinking his bits weren't bits and because 2) his targets haven't been as precise as they once were. Borat is now ten years old and I can remember sitting in a packed theater opening night and experiencing more consistent laughter than I have maybe ever during a theatrical experience (Step Brothers is a close second), but last night I sat with only my friend at a 10:00 pm showing in an empty theater to watch the latest from Cohen and whether it was the atmosphere (or lack thereof) or the fact the movie really is as lackluster as it seemed one truth remains evident: for someone who has seemingly come so far Cohen has regressed more than anything. Sure, The Brothers Grimsby is a raunchy, over the top action comedy that pushes Cohen's comedy to even more ridiculous heights, but ultimately the film feels so slapdash and something of a mess that it is hard to take the jokes seriously. I realize that may sound contradictory, as in it doesn't make sense given that making jokes is the exact opposite of being serious, but what I mean to say is that there is hardly any substance left for Cohen to squander on his projects and rather than writing a story or coming up with a character in which the comedy naturally and inherently flows out of the comedian seems to have become more focused on coming up with gross out gags first and then going back to figuring out a story to work around them. I remain stern in my thought that Borat is one of the best comedies of the last twenty years (probably more than that even, but I won't test my limits) and hoped that Bruno was only something of a misstep, but while The Dictator was fine enough if not mostly forgettable The Brothers Grimsby once again skirts that line of being fine, but nothing special and nothing that will be remembered past this weekend no matter how ridiculous the stunts he pulls.

10 CLOVERFIELD LANE Review

I feel deeply conflicted after walking out of 10 Cloverfield Lane largely due to the fact it doesn't seem to need the word "Cloverfield" in the title. The fact this "distant relative" of a sequel to the 2008 monster movie came out of circumstances that didn't necessarily create it for the purposes of being what it has become becomes a bigger deal the further one gets into the experience of watching the film and the further it gets away from being anything having to do with Cloverfield. If anything, this film is more of a pseudo sequel if you're a fan of the original and go in hoping for more of the same. Rather, gone is the handheld technique that defined the first film and gone are the monsters (for the most part) that made the film and that handheld technique so noteworthy. Instead, what we are given here is a different type of monster movie; one that excels and propels itself forward based solely on the character interactions and lack of awareness from the circumstances in which these characters come. It is the peeling back of these layers that not only reveal to the audience who each of the three main characters might be, but also the revealing of each's true agenda to one another that makes the proceedings completely enrapturing. 10 Cloverfield Lane sustains such momentum for much of its 100-minute running time due to the fact it is a generally great piece of tension-filled filmmaking that elicits grand gestures of horror and the types of thoughts that come with finding one's self in such situations as typically presented in the thriller/horror genre. It is in the last act, the last fifteen minutes or so that the film stumbles in attempting to connect the dots and make this little film about three separate individuals more than it needed to be. Maybe I'm simply not satisfied by the answers the film chooses to provide for all of the mysteries that were laid out from the get-go and yet the answers provided in the more contained spaces of the film felt satisfactory whereas when the film attempted to expand its horizons things didn't feel as natural as they should. There was certainly a better way to create reason for having the word "Cloverfield" in the title, but it is this inorganic last act that knocks 10 Cloverfield Lane down from something great to a cog in the franchise machine, if not a shiny cog at the very least.

First Trailer for A HOLOGRAM FOR THE KING Starring Tom Hanks

I feel like I've been hearing about director Tom Tykwer's adaptation of Dave Eggers' 2012 National Book Award finalist, A Hologram for the King, for forever now and had convinced myself that it would likely appear somewhere on VOD with zero to no presence in the theatrical realm. If you think that odd for a film starring America's favorite movie star, this is the world we live in now, folks. Fortunately, today has brought us a barrage of trailers and included among them is this first look at Hanks' re-teaming with Tykwer. This collaboration is the main reason I'm excited for the film never mind the fact it is a Tom Hanks movie and I generally expect anything he does to be half decent, but this collaboration is indeed the highlight due to the fact the two previously worked together on Cloud Atlas. The Wachowski's teamed up with Tykwer to bring us the very experimental and very out there adaptation of David Mitchell's novel almost four years ago now and while many left the theater bewildered by the film with it hardly making a dent in its $130 million budget throughout the course of its theatrical release I found it to easily be one of the best of that year and a film I think will come to be more revered as time goes on. And so, to have produced such a fine work before I expect something just as ambitious this time around. While it is clear Hologram's story is a bit more conventional I have plenty of faith in Tykwer's creativity (he also made Run Lola Run) and Hanks' skill that this new feature might hold something just as special if not as substantial as Atlas. A Hologram for the King also stars Ben Whishaw, Tom Skerritt, Sarita Choudhury, and opens on April 22, 2016.

New Trailer for CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR

The new trailer for the highly anticipated Captain America: Civil War comes two weeks before the release of the other big super hero smackdown this year. While I'm sure Disney is keen to keep as much focus on their follow-up to Age of Ultron as possible it is likely smart they've chosen to go ahead and release this trailer for the masses to chew up, dissect, and discuss over the next week before becoming engulfed in the unavoidable frenzy that will surround Batman V Superman. Of course, the second season of Daredevil premieres on Netflix a week from Friday on the 18th, only a week prior to BvS, so maybe they don't actually care. Whichever way you cut it, Marvel looks to keep their name in the conversation no matter how many heroes Warner Bros. have stuffed into Dawn of Justice. With a month and a half or so to go before Civil War kicks off the 2016 summer movie season though, we knew this second trailer could drop at any time and the barrage of "team posters" over the last week as well as the short teasers posted on the films official Facebook page yesterday made it clear that day would be today. Working from a script by Winter Soldier scribes Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely directors Joe and Anthony Russo return as well and look to have crafted something just as epic as fans of both the comics and the MCU could hope for. My biggest hope going into this second trailer was that Disney and Marvel would be smart enough to keep Spider-Man hidden throughout all of the marketing material as they clearly have plenty of other things to sell this property on, but unfortunately they couldn't help themselves. Captain America: Civil War stars Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr, Sebastian Stan, Chadwick Boseman, Scarlett Johansson, Anthony Mackie, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Renner, Don Cheadle, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Rudd, Emily VanCamp, Frank Grillo, William Hurt, Daniel Brühl, Martin Freeman, Tom Holland and opens on May 6, 2016.

Red Band Trailer for The Lonely Island's POPSTAR: NEVER STOP NEVER STOPPING

In what I assume will be premiering with Sacha Baron Cohen's The Brothers Grimsby tonight in theaters The Lonely Island and producer Judd Apatow have released a first, NSFW trailer for their latest film that looks to poke fun at pop star music docs/concert films the way last summer's 7 Days in Hell satirized the 30 for 30 format. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping makes complete sense given that The Lonely Island and its members, including Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, and Akiva Schaffer, have been somewhat parodying pop music for years now with their digital shorts on SNL and early hip hop inspired albums including Incredibad, Turtleneck & Chain, as well as 2013's The Wack Album. It was definitely time for some new Lonely Island music to make its way into my life and to finally get a glimpse of what we might be in for this summer given the soundtrack is sure to be just as entertaining as the movie itself is really exciting. In the film, Samberg stars as what looks to be a riff on Justin Bieber with the premise being that when his new album fails to sell records, pop/rap superstar conner4real will try anything to bounce back; anything except reuniting with his old rap group The Style Boyz. While this will certainly please fans of the group I'm curious to see if the film will expand past those borders and reach a broad audience given the Island's last film, 2007's Hot Rod, only grossed $14 million worldwide. As a fan of theirs, I kind of adore Hot Rod and feel the movie has definitely picked up steam since its home video release, but it would be nice to see Popstar get some high praise and recognition right out of the gate, especially if the final product deserves it. It certainly seems to have the potential to be something great. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping also stars Sarah Silverman, Mike Birbiglia, Tim Meadows, Imogen Poots, Bill Hader, Joan Cusack, Snoop Dogg and opens on June 3, 2016.

WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT Review

Directors Glenn Ficarra and John Requa have carved out something of a niche for themselves by making high-brow, star-centric, concept dramedies that one can't help but to be interested in if over a certain age. With Crazy Stupid Love being something of a breakout after their underrated 2009 debut in I Love You Phillip Morris the co-directors collaborated on writing and directing the stylish if not overly convoluted Will Smith caper last winter in Focus and have now moved on to collaborate with Tina Fey and long time writing partner Robert Carlock for this adaptation of newspaper reporter Kim Barker's memoir, "The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan". While I haven't read Barker's book this is one of the few stories I almost feel compelled to go back and read after having seen the movie version. Typically, I like to read any type of source material prior to seeing a film adaptation due simply to knowing where the idea for the film came from and what/why certain changes might have been made to better adapt the material to a different art form, but Whiskey Tango Foxtrot (why they didn't keep the more engaging title of the book for the movie is something of a mystery, especially given I don't recall there being a title card in the film) is something of an aberration in the sense that the film itself is not necessarily what we might expect from a seeming comedy, that somehow was able to get away with an R-rating, and stars one of the more agreeable celebrities of our time. Fey is someone even the most cynical among us can't seem to dislike and so to pair her with directors who have somehow managed to secure solid budgets on thoughtful, adult fare such as this is inspiring and thankfully, worth the endeavor as the resulting product is a well-constructed, nicely measured bit of insight into a set of circumstances not many can identify with making this inside look and the general proceedings all the more engaging and interesting.

Initial Reaction: Video Review - ZOOTOPIA & LONDON HAS FALLEN

This week we were able to review two of the weekend's several new releases. First up is Zootopia, the latest from Disney Animation following the massive success of Tangled, Wreck-It Ralph, Frozen, and Big Hero 6. If you thought things might be getting too good to believe then you may as well continue believing as Zootopia is just as inventive and consistently great as anything Disney has put out over the last fifteen to twenty years. That may sound like hyperbole, but after seeing the film it's hard to argue with the re-watchability factor this feature will inevitably hold. It didn't disappoint at the box office either as the film just crushed The Lorax's previous $70.2 million March animated record with an estimated $73.7m this weekend. Not only does this give it the biggest opening ever for an animated film in March, but it also earned Walt Disney Animation Studios' its largest three-day opening ever. This number also gives the film the ninth largest animated opening ever. It seems we will be seeing a lot more from Zootopia over the next few weeks as well as in the distant future given the sequel culture we exist in. As for London has Fallen, this follow-up to the 2013 surprise hit more or less did what most box office pundits expected garnering $21.7m this weekend as compared to Olympus' $30.3m opening weekend which it turned into a $98.9m domestic run. With London reportedly costing $10m less to produce and it scoring the same Cinemascore from opening night audiences (A-) it seems this sequel was a safe bet. For more, hit the jump to see our full video reviews of both films and be sure to subscribe to our channel to get the latest reviews! We'll be back this weekend with our thoughts on the mysterious 10 Cloverfield Lane.

LONDON HAS FALLEN Review

There is nothing more pleasing than a product (or an individual for that matter) that is completely self-aware. It just makes everything less awkward when the fated time comes where one must be honest and up front about things. This is what makes both London Has Fallen and its predecessor, Olympus Has Fallen, so easy to like and enjoy. Both films know exactly what they are and strive to be nothing more (or so I thought given the idea of a sequel to such a film would presumably follow the same pattern). As a blatant Die Hard rip-off that means to entertain a certain type of audience primed for a certain type of entertainment London Has Fallen mostly fulfills that quota. Are either of these films necessarily good? No, not really. The dialogue is cheesy, the CGI is cheap, and the plot is almost completely nonsensical, but to say they're not at least a good bit of fun would be a lie. Gerard Butler (bouncing back somewhat from last week's truly terrible Gods of Egypt) is charismatic enough to lead the charge in this kind of film while the four-man screenwriting team has upped Aaron Eckhart's presidential role considerably so that there is something of a buddy cop dynamic to the proceedings. Oddly enough, while Olympus made $161 million worldwide on $70m the budget for this sequel apparently went up by $35m, but looks a fair amount cheaper. Iranian director Babak Najafi takes over for original helmer Antoine Fuqua and despite having more money, but a broader canvas on which to paint this inevitable, but costly sequel ends up feeling like more of a laborious effort than its rather elementary predecessor. In short, there are times when London Has Fallen does unfortunately forget what it needs to be (a wall to wall actioner) and instead gets too wrapped up in the politics of the plot resulting in a film that's all the more ludicrous while also slowing what should be a breakneck pace. It is when Najafi sticks to what this franchise is known for rather than attempting to broaden its horizons that audiences get what they paid to see. There's a line in the film, some words of wisdom, that go, "never criticize, only encourage," and while this may not apply to film criticism given "critic" is the root word of the job title if I were to have encouraged London Has Fallen to do anything it would have been to stay more true to itself and not try to be more than what it was always destined to be: a painless cash grab.

First Trailer for NINA Starring Zoe Saldana

After getting a look at Don Cheadle's terrific-seeming Miles Ahead which chronicles the life and times of jazz musician Miles Davis a month ago we now have our first look at another highly anticipated music biopic in writer/director Cynthia Mort's Nina. While Mort may be a first time director she has been working in the industry for well over a decade as a writer on Roseanne with her previous feature credit being the Jodie Foster-starrer The Brave One. Mort clearly has an inclination to tell stories about strong women and Nina Simone is no exception. Simone or the High Priestess of Soul as she was known to many, was a singer, songwriter, pianist, arranger, and civil rights activist who worked in a broad range of musical styles including classical, jazz, blues, folk, R&B, gospel, and pop. It's slightly surprising a movie hasn't already been made of this woman's life given her death in 2003, but that may also be due to the fact this film in particular has been in development hell for quite some time. Mary J. Blige was originally set to star, but had to drop out as far back as 2011. Why Blige wasn't re-enlisted when the film wasn't made because of her absence is a mystery, but rather Puerto Rican and Dominican descendant Zoe Saldana was cast and you can bet there is a fair amount of controversy surrounding that decision. What's even worse is that it's clear the team behind the film have significantly darkened the actress' skin in order for Saldana to better resemble Simone. While there will be much talk swirling around the film prior to its release the trailer does hint at a rather solid performance from Saldana if not a typical cradle to grave narrative. That said, I'm looking forward to seeing how this production turned out and if it will be good enough to overcome the bigger discussion currently happening. Nina also stars Mike Epps, David Oyelowo, Ronald Guttman, Ella Thomas and opens on April 22nd, 2016.

ZOOTOPIA Review

Zootopia is something of a combination of an analogy for our real world and the hopes and dreams of where we might one day end up-a utopia if you will. In Zootopia everything is indeed perfect and as animals have risen up to become responsible citizens of the planet it is of course, imagined. Still, this world is portrayed as a place where animals have evolved to the point there is no dividing line between the once vicious predators and the meek prey they once hunted, but rather both groups have moved beyond these primitive ways to conduct a society where everyone has the same opportunities and where all species get along with one another no problem. Of course, there are minor cracks of prejudice between certain sects of animals, but these seem to only be apparent in some of the more backward thinking individuals who still hold old traditions to be of an absolute truth. Sound familiar? Disney seems to be making no qualms about drawing the parallels between this imagined world where cute, animated creatures roam free and our own society where we too have trouble letting go of lessons drawn from a world of different circumstance and experience and not applying them to our current cultural landscape. That Zootopia is willing to display such faults is telling in the first place, but that it goes so far to make this desire to return to the old ways of thinking and ultimately existing by some tells even more. With a group of five writers and directors the film is primed to start many a discussions after viewing it as the film itself seems to have naturally come out of many a long conversations between its creators and their staff. If you're one who doesn't care to have your animated films relevant or culturally-charged rest assured the final product is still very much in the vein of what most parents and families will be expecting from the film, but with the added weight of such apt comparisons and broad resolutions of love and equality with acknowledged caveats to each situation there is certainly an added layer of meaning to the proceedings if you care to look.

First Trailer for GHOSTBUSTERS Starring Melissa McCarthy

Much has been made of director Paul Feig (Bridesmaids, The Heat, Spy) taking on a new installment in the Ghostbusters series when, for a long time, it was thought there might be a chance of a third installment featuring the original cast. When Harold Ramis passed over two years ago now though, the script for the third film was said to be getting a re-write, but eventually director Ivan Reitman left the project and a slew of directors were offered the job afterward, but nothing came to fruition until Feig got involved with the idea of doing more of a reboot than a sequel, but this time with an all female cast. While not much is known or has been seen of the film sans a few images and the posters included below, I've been interested to see what direction the gifted comedic director would take this franchise given he'd stated prior to filming that he wanted to make this scarier than the originals, but in turn hired one of the dreamiest comedic casts imaginable. Melissa McCarthy was a natural choice given she's headlined each of Feig's films since their 2011 breakout, but it was also nice to see him reunite with Kristen Wiig and bring her back to the kind of big, mainstream comedies she seems to have been avoiding while the additions of current SNL highlights Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones only upped the anticipation even more. These always felt like both wise and rather bold choices and given what we see in this first trailer it seems those choices might pay off big time. At this point I have complete trust in Feig as a director of comedy and can't wait to see what he's done with this property moving forward. Also starring Chris Hemsworth, Andy Garcia, Michael Kenneth Williams, Matt Walsh, and Cecily Strong, Ghostbusters opens on July 15th, 2016.

KNIGHT OF CUPS Review

More and more Terrence Malick's films are becoming a collection of interesting images and random thoughts more than anything resembling coherence. The dialogue is sparse, the music more integral than ever, and yet rather than getting better at telling stories through these tools it seems the auteur peaked with his first attempt at such a loose narrative in his masterpiece The Tree of Life. Much like the more in tune with itself To the Wonder Malick directs Knight of Cups as if he is writing a poem. And by doing so he continues to stray further and further from conventional methods despite exploring themes we've seen touched upon many times before. Of course, one can't dock a filmmaker for being unoriginal in this day and age as it is the way in which they explore these emotions that really counts. The approach is clearly what is to be appreciated here while it is the ability to actually convey the sense of emotion and conflict that Malick is exploring that is coming up short. Once again the director is touching upon something of a "meaning of life" quest though this time through the eyes of a Hollywood writer rather than a Southern family in 1950's Texas or a woeful couple and pastor in the open planes of Oklahoma. We enter this indulgent environment through the guise of Christian Bale. I say guise for despite the fact we see the physical representation of this well-known actor there isn't much to suggest the true nature of who this character he's playing is much less what his journey might be about. Rather, it seems Bale has been left to figure out as much about his character of "Rick" as we have. While such methods as giving your actors only a character description instead of a fully formed script might help in capturing the natural development of said character's state of mind, for the viewers this doesn't remain consistently engaging enough for us to care what journey these characters are going on. Even worse is the fact that Malick is using such storytelling techniques in order to elicit more emotion from his actors and in turn his audience, but with Knight of Cups these attempts feel emptier than ever. Whereas Tree of Life really transcended the large themes the director was tackling through his pure filmmaking artistry Knight of Cups feels as numb as the Hollywood lifestyle it looks to comment upon.

New Trailer for FINDING DORY

As the summer movie season draws closer Disney and Pixar have decided to share a little more of their follow-up to the massively successful Finding Nemo. Nemo was Pixar at the height of its critical and commercial power and so it is no surprise that as the companies have become more comfortable with the idea of sequels that twelve years down the road we have a sequel to one of their biggest hits. While the teaser we received back in November was exactly that what we have now is a full fledged look into what the story of the film might be as well as being introduced to a few new characters. Pictured above are two of those new characters with Kaitlin Olsen's Destiny (the shark) being highlighted as a childhood friend of Dory's in the trailer. Catch the name? Hint hint. It has admittedly been a while since I've seen the original film and will definitely have to be re-visiting it before seeing this Dory-centric sequel, but this trailer certainly gives off the general vibe I remember from the original with Albert Brooks returning as Marlin and Hayden Rolence taking over as Nemo. We'll be getting Toy Story 4 soon, a sequel to The Incredibles (finally!) and another Cars film (why? WHY?!?!) as well as some original films that hopefully continue to ride the wave of creativity Inside Out created last summer over the next few years, but this summer is all about Finding Dory and, if nothing else, the trailer plays off the indisputable charms of the titular blue tang fish. Ellen DeGeneres returns as the voice of Dory with Michael Sheen, Diane Keaton, Eugene Levy, Ed O’Neill, Idris Elba, Dominic West, Willem Dafoe, and Ty Burrell also starring. Finding Dory opens on June 17, 2016.