Will Smith and Martin Lawrence Return for a Fourth Round in the Franchise and Continue to Deal with the Challenges of Aging in a Young Man's Game.


This Experimental Slasher Flick puts Audiences Literally In-Step with the Killer and Features Some of the Most Gruesome Deaths in the Genre's History.


Director George Miller Returns to the Wasteland with a Full-Fledged Epic that Balances the Titular Character's Story with the Bombastic Vehicular Mayhem.


This Latest Installment in the Planet of the Apes Franchise isn't Necessarily Bad, but is Probably more of a Forgotten Chapter in the Franchise Mythology.


Ryan Gosling and Emily Blunt Kick-Off the Summer Movie Season with a Big, Fun, and Funny Action-Packed Adventure that Fully Delivers on its Promises.


I'm as excited as the next guy for Director James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, but did we really need another trailer? That full-length trailer we got back in December that has been playing in theaters for months now kills every time and after the new clips released during the Super Bowl it seemed there would be no need for anything else major from the Guardians of the Galaxy promotional team, at least not until a couple of weeks before release when momentum really needs to buid. Alas, here we are still with three months to go until the official release date of the film and we have yet another full-length trailer set to the tune of yet another seventies soft rock track (this time it's Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain," from 1977) that infuses the clip with a nice amount of momentum and surprising freshness. With Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 kicking off the summer of 2017 in that first weekend of May slot that Marvel has now dominated and considering that recent news story that touted the film receiving a rare 100 score in test screenings one can understand why Marvel and is intent on riding the hype train through the next three months as well as giving audiences venturing out to see Logan this weekend something new to chew on until then. Given the trailer Gunn and his team have put together one can bet it will do just that. Surprisingly, we get to see a lot of new footage here with the trailer mainly focusing on the rag tag group that make up the titular guardians while highlighting the humorous banter between them as it intends to sell the humor of the piece just as much as it does the special effects and action. Luckily, we still don't have a real keen sense of what story the film will be telling though we do get our first glimpses of Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) and Ego (Kurt Russell) in motion for the first time. In the end, this trailer is as promising as one could hope while still seeming to maintain much of what the film truly has to offer. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 also stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Zaldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Karen Gillian, Michael Rooker, Glenn Close, and opens on May 5th, 2017.

Full Trailer for ALIEN : COVENANT
I am among those of the mind that consider Prometheus an astonishing achievement. A careful consideration of some very big questions that is as self-serious as could be, but with valid reasoning. Also, those visuals. The look of Prometheus is one that has stayed with me and has been hard to compete with even in the five plus years since its debut. With this new, full trailer though, we finally get a much better, more immersive look at Alien: Covenant in which Scott seems to be more interested in reprogramming Alien than the continuing adventures of Noomi Rapace’s Elizabeth and Michael Fassbender’s David. Given Covenant finds Fassbender reprising his role as the android and the fact the script comes from John Logan who adapted Hugo and had a hand in writing Skyfall and The Last Samurai I am optimistic there could be enough here to sustain and interest me in this new chapter of the franchise. All of that said, I've never been into the Alien mythos enough to be truly excited for this film, but the casting is intriguing and the reveal of the premise of the mission certainly raises some questions I look forward to finding out the answers to. It definitely seems as if Scott is going more for the horror genre than that of pure science fiction, but while that may reassure most I preferred the direction Prometheus was going rather than the isolated story Alien presented. In the trailer we see the crew of the titular Covenant discover what seems to be an “uncharted paradise” whose only inhabitant is Fassbender's David. As is also made clear, it doesn't seem it takes too long after the crew encounters David that things begin to go horribly wrong and they're forced to find daring ways in which to escape. Still, those visuals. I'll give the trailer that even if I'm still not convinced this will match the hype. Alien: Covenant also stars Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Demián Bichir, Carmen Ejogo, Jussie Smollet, Amy Seimetz, James Franco, Danny McBride, and opens on May 19th, 2017.

On DVD & Blu-Ray: February 28, 2017

Teaser Trailer for BRIGHT Starring Will Smith
During the Oscar telecast on Sunday night Netflix decided to debut a first look trailer for their latest original feature film, Bright, which is written by Max Landis (Chronicle, American Ultra), directed by David Ayer (Fury, Suicide Squad), and stars Will Smith. Yes, Will Smith is in a feature length film that will not be making its premiere theatrically, but rather through the streaming service that you can enjoy from the comfort of your own home, on your own TV, on what would typically be a night out at the movies. The pros are obvious: your $10 a month subscription saves you a fair amount in ticket costs, the boxes of candy from Walgreen's are less than one box at the theater, you have a twelve pack of sodas in the fridge that cost less than the smallest drink at your local franchised cinema, and depending on your entertainment set-up your viewing experience might even be comparable to that of what a theater can offer, so what might the cons be? The theatrical-going experience is one of the last standing traditions in the world that can bring people together without much risk of tearing them apart at the same time. The theatrical experience is something you can't re-create in your home no matter how big of a television, projector, or how many people you watch with; there is something singular about sitting in the dark with strangers and experiencing an artists singular vision no matter the genre classification. Whether the purpose is to move us, make us laugh, or frighten us such an experience can only be felt or conveyed when it becomes apparent how a film might not have affected just you, but those from different walks of life who just witnessed the same thing. The last edge the theater chains held over the heads of its competitors was exclusivity in material, but with Netflix now holding the keys to movies with stars such as Will Smith in them the tide suddenly seems to be changing at a much faster rate. All of that said, Landis has called Bright his Star Wars as it is set in a modern take on a fantasy world where Smith's human cop is forced to work with an orc partner (Joel Edgerton) in order to find a powerful wand sought after by many. Bright also stars Noomi Rapace, Lucy Fry, Edgar Ramirez, Margaret Cho, Ike Barinholtz, and debuts globally this December.

2017 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. There was a little less of that this year with Hidden Figures, Arrival, and La La Land all pulling in pretty good box office numbers (though it was actually less than last years combined Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian, and The Revenant totals), but it was with some of the second tier nominees such as Fences, Hacksaw Ridge, and even Hell or High Water that had time to gestate with mainstream audiences due to their earlier release dates and home video releases or the presence of a genuine movie star like Denzel Washington that there seemed a little more familiarity with many of the nominated films this year. Of course, on the other end of the spectrum one can pnly hope that the light the Academy Awards has shone on films like Moonlight, Manchester by the Sea, Lion, and Jackie will only increase their visibility in the crowded marketplace and help them to find wider audiences as each are certainly worthy of as much. As for the ceremony itself, Jimmy Kimmel turned out to be an inspired choice as not only did he opt to let Justin Timberlake handle the opening number duties singing his hit, "Can't Stop the Feeling," from Trolls which was nominated in Best Original Song, but for allowing the tone to be set for a fun and rather care-free night that culminated with one of if not the biggest Oscar snafu in history. Of course, if you've looked at any news this morning what is largely being reported on is the Best Picture mix-up which originally gave the honor to La La Land, but was then given to Moonlight after someone from PricewaterhouseCooper, who count the votes and determine the winners, informed those accepting on behalf of La La Land, Jimmy Kimmel, and presenter Warren Beatty. It was a weird turn of events.

Initial Reaction: Video Review - GET OUT
Oscar weekend is typically a slow weekend at the box office, but just like the 89th annual Academy Awards ceremony last night, this weekend was full of surprises. There were technically three new releases this weekend including Lionsgate/Summit's animated flick, Rock Dog, as well as Open Road's Collide starring Nicholas Hoult and Felecity Jones, but the one that clearly made the biggest impact was Get Out. Jordan Peele's (Key & Peele) directorial debut about a young African-American man who goes to visit his Caucasian girlfriend's mysterious family estate outperformed even the loftiest of expectations as it opened to $30.5 million across 2,781 theaters earning it a $10,976 per-screen average. The film, which still sits at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes with 140 reviews, also earned an A- CinemaScore from audiences that were appropriately split right down the middle. 51% of the Get Out's audience was over twenty-five with 39% being black, 36% being white, and 17% being Latino. The film, which I thought was a clever mix of horror, comedy, and social commentary is the second consecutive hit for production house Blumhouse after already propelling Split to massive returns earlier this year after being made for only $9 million and currently sitting at over $220 million worldwide. On a budget of under $5 million Get Out has already made more in its opening weekend than Keanu, Key and Peele's theatrical comedy debut that was released last April, made in its entire theatrical run. With the resoundingly positive reviews and strong audience response it seems Get Out is poised to continue its winning run despite powerhouse blockbusters opening in the coming weeks. While Logan, Kong: Skull Island, and Beauty and the Beast will certainly make tons of cash, Get Out is the perfect type of alternative programming those not in the demographics of such bigger films might then resort to and/or even overflow crowds from those blockbusters might decide to check out based on the word of mouth and rare Rotten Tomatoes score which has awarded the film a lot of social media attention. Whether you decide to check out Get Out or not, be sure to watch our review after the jump and, as always, follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and subscribe to our YouTube channel as we have a new review (or reviews) up each week!

For three years in a row back in 2010, 2011, and 2012 my wife, her younger brother, and I went to see each of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid movies on opening weekend and though it became evident by the time that third film came around in 2012 that the stars were getting older the box office always remained about the same with each film pulling in anywhere from $72 to $77 million worldwide. with the bulk of that obviously coming from domestic receipts, it was hard to think the studio would let this franchise rest forever. Those domestic receipts dwindled with each installment, but not to great extent. And so, once the first trilogy of films were complete 20th Century Fox seemingly decided to give audiences five years to wipe the slate clean and allow a new crop of young children a chance to discover the Wimpy Kid book series before now re-casting the ensemble and crafting a new feature. Though I was never a huge fan of the series (the second feature, Rodrick Rules, was definitely my favorite) I can certainly see why it is appealing and why there is a desire to produce as much merchandise past the books as possible, including movies. And to be honest, the intended audience for these movies deserve more movies of this ilk as they have been severely deprived of quality live action adventures that feature protagonists just shy of their tween years, when the innocence is still ripe and funny and entertaining. Still, compared to the earlier three films this latest incarnation doesn't look nearly as promising or the cast nearly as appealing-I'm especially sad Fox didn't decide to at least keep Steve Zahn and Rachael Harris on as the mom and dad. Instead, we'll have Alicia Silverstone and Thomas Everett Scott looking to fill their shoes with Jason Drucker taking over the role of Greg, Charlie Wright filling the role of older brother Rodrick, and Owen Asztalos as best friend Rowley. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul opens on May 19, 2017.

GET OUT Review

Get Out is the directorial debut of Jordan Peele who you might recognize from the sketch comedy show, Key & Peele. Get Out is not a comedy though it contains a fair amount of laughs, namely from the performance of stand-up comedian LilRel Howery who will get many, many jobs from this star-making performance. What Get Out actually turns out to be is a rather striking thriller that provides a topical conversation around racial tensions that then amplifies and exaggerates the inherent tensions of its presented scenario in a way that both plays with the tropes of the horror genre while delivering commentary on innate and unavoidable fears in the black community. I heard someone explain it as, "playing on black people's fear of white people's fear of black people," and it's hard to put it any better or more simply than that. This is all to get to the point that Get Out is making the point that we need to stop pretending we know what it's like to walk in other people's shoes. Not that these assumptions can't be compassionate, but more that they are unnecessary. Get Out begins as one thing-playing on the natural awkwardness that comes along with a black guy going to meet his white girlfriends entirely white family in their very white/suburban neighborhood for the first time and then, once it arrives there, takes steps using its genre classification to get at this idea that no matter how good or well-intentioned one might be, it is near impossible to have a real comprehension of what people who have experienced struggles and/or faced some kind of oppression have indeed been through and more over, who they became out of such experiences. Get Out is a film that plays on those facets of ourselves that we'd rather not acknowledge-that no matter how much we believe ourselves to be above stereotyping people or forming preconceptions, that there is a truth to such ways of thinking and Peele uses this unavoidable, unflattering truth to draw out a fair amount of anxiety. Peele plays on those anxieties and social standards exceptionally as through to the very last frame Get Out keeps things as taut as any horror movie in recent memory while never losing sight of its original intent no matter how crazy the genre hijinks get.    

2017 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.  Maybe the biggest and most noticeable difference from last year was the lack of a complete whitewashing of the nominees. Of course, that problem went deeper than the Academy and more to the type of films that were being funded and heavily promoted. This year, with the release of Moonlight, Fences, Hidden Figures, and Lion there were plenty of films with diverse casts that were more than worthy of the nominations they received with Moonlight competing heavily for some of the top prizes. Still, this is an article about what and who I think stand the best chances of taking home a statue Sunday evening and fortunately, there actually seems to be some competition this year. Not only in the two major categories of Best Picture and Best Director, but there are a few cases of "your guess is as good as mine" when it comes to Best Actor with both Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor holding potential upsets. The juggernaut of the evening is very clearly La La Land which tied Titanic and All About Eve with the most nominations in Oscar history with a total of fourteen. Will the film break or tie the record of eleven wins this Sunday? My guess is that it will likely tie. The film is a love letter to Hollywood musicals of old a la The Artist and we all know how that year turned out. While I don't believe La La Land will be forgotten or overlooked as The Artist now seems to be despite the La La backlash currently in full swing (I've only seen it once and look forward to seeing it again), I do believe there is a limit to how much Hollywood can congratulate and flatter itself. This points all signs to La La Land as the big winner of the night. Still, there is the current climate of the world to take into consideration at the moment and wins for Moonlight would not only be deserved, but arguably important. La La Land has found a wide audience, it has racked up over $340 million in ticket sales worldwide whereas Moonlight has just pushed past $20 million. I'm not saying Moonlight should win for these reasons, I personally think it's the superior film, but I'm saying that if winning brings Moonlight the wider audience it deserves that certainly wouldn't be a bad thing.

Initial Reaction: Video Review - FIST FIGHT
Though originally intending to review both Fist Fight and The Great Wall we were only able to film a review for the former after running out of space on our fine, but borrowed equipment. We saw Fist Fight first and just so happened to film that review first because of this, but it seemed the comedy starring Charlie Day and Ice Cube was also poised to do the best at the box office of the three new wide releases hitting theaters over President's Day weekend. Of course, given the circumstances-this was not to be. Rather, the top two spots at the weekend box office were filled by holdovers from last week as The LEGO Batman Movie dropped 35% and still won the weekend by a rather wide margin while Fifty Shades Darker added another $20.9 million to its nearly $100 million domestic total thus leaving room in third place guessed it...The Great Wall. The Matt Damon-led action picture is budgeted at over $150 million and only garnered $18.1 million over the traditional three day weekend with an estimated $21.5 over the four day holiday weekend. That may not sound too great, but given the film was released in China back in November and has already garnered over $244 million internationally bringing its worldwide total to $262.7 million things are clearly not as dire as they at first may seem. With John Wick: Chapter 2 bringing in another $16.5 million it secured the number four spot at the box office with Warner Bros' release of New Line's Fist Fight rounding out the top five. The Ice Cube/Charlie Day starrer delivered an estimated $12 million from 3,185 theaters which was well below what box office pundits were expecting from the broad comedy whose legs may now be limited thanks to a lukewarm "B" CinemaScore from opening day audiences. A Cure for Wellness, the last new release of the weekend, finished in tenth place with a mere $4.2 million from 2,704 locations which doesn't bode well for the two and a half hour, $40 million picture. As always, follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and subscribe to our YouTube channel as we have a new review (or reviews) up each week!


Written by Just Haythe, who previously only adapted Revolutionary Road for the screen and served as one third of the team that composed Lone Ranger among a few other jobs, A Cure for Wellness is a movie unlike those we typically get a chance to see in cinemas these days. This meaning Haythe has crafted a horror film of epic proportions that was somehow granted a budget of $40 million and placed in the hands of Lone Ranger director Gore Verbinski who, despite the reputation the likes of The Lone Ranger and The Pirates of the Caribbean films may garner him, is one of the best and most underappreciated auteur's working today. That the film also got a major theatrical release without having the added bonus of a rather recognizable star is just another surprising facet in the fact this thing was able to be made as it has been. That said, Verbinski, for one reason or another seems to carry a lot of clout in Hollywood and if he can use it to continue getting high-concept original material made at budgets not normally given to properties without source material or brand recognition-more power to him. Outside of his blockbuster endeavors, Verbinski has made inspiring films such as Rango and The Weather Man, but what is most critical to understanding why he was the perfect fit for something like A Cure for Wellness is the mention of his 2002 hit, The Ring. It could very well be that my experience with seeing The Ring for the first time in theaters at a nine o'clock show at the age of fifteen was one of the most terrifying if not the defining theatrical experience of my life when it comes to horror movies, but Verbinski (just listen to that name, even his name sounds like he was made to make scary movies) will always hold a special place in my petrified heart. And so, when it was announced the filmmaker would be directing his first horror flick in fifteen years you can bet it shot straight to the top of my most anticipated list. As with all movie-going experiences, expectations play a certain role and mine couldn't have been higher for A Cure for Wellness which may or may not be why the finished film simultaneously floored and confounded me. To be clear, this is a staggering piece of work-a masterful examination of purpose and other existential qualms that drive us to achieve material success that translates to a superiority over our fellow man that is never fully qualified as such in this life. Yet, while the film begins with such ideas and ambitions ripe for the taking it eventually succumbs to the mystery the film layers in early on that will seemingly intertwine with its thesis, but rather the two never mesh leaving Haythe's final draft one we wished he'd revised just a few more times given he might have then had his hands on a masterpiece in several genres and not just a satisfactory psychological thriller.

On DVD & Blu-Ray: February 21, 2017


Going in with low to optimistic expectations there was no great weight on the shoulders of Fist Fight. It's February and Fist Fight is a comedy starring Ice Cube and what you get from Charlie Day in between seasons of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia-which is more or less the same Charlie Day, but likely a little less energetic and manic due to his more lax schedule. There was no reason to believe Fist Fight would be a memorable comedic experience and it isn't, but it isn't the cheap altogether crap fest it very well could have turned out to be either. Rather, Fist Fight is a comedy that understands its premise is outlandish and unrealistic from the get-go and thus never takes itself seriously as a representation of the public school system (though some aspects could certainly be interpreted as exaggerated issues) and thus ramps up the ridiculous with every scene-testing the limits of how far the individual audience member is willing to go with them. It would be easy to drop off of the ride at any point along the way, but Ice Cube and Day offer a funny and different enough dynamic that the two parallel arcs are interesting enough to watch develop and culminate for the scant ninety minute running time. Sure, the premise is slim and one can feel the ride straining itself a bit as it nears the inevitable third act, but with a one-two punch of climactic scenes that includes both an elementary school talent show as well as the titular fight (which more than delivers on its promise) there is plenty to be pleased with once the credits begin to roll and the bloopers begin to play. Of course, Fist Fight isn't the pinnacle of comedic filmmaking and it certainly isn't what Thomas Edison had in mind when he imagined what his motion picture camera might one day be able to achieve, but as far as comic relief it is exactly that-it serves the purpose it was intended for squarely. We know what Ice Cube excels at and we know what we're getting when Charlie Day pops up on screen and the best thing to be said for Fist Fight is that it plays up those two personas until it forces them to collide and while that may indicate there is nothing new to be found in either the story or the performances it does mean it features two charismatic and admittedly funny people doing what they do best-what's wrong with that? Not a whole lot in my humble opinion.


It was funny, as when The Great Wall was to initially be released back in November or December of 2016 (which it still was in China) I imagined it to be Matt Damon's bid for the current Oscar season. Then, we finally caught our first glimpse of the film in late July just in time for Matt Damon's Jason Bourne to return to theaters. From that trailer alone it was clear this wasn't going to be the awards contender I imagined it to be based on the cast and other credentials, but rather that this was going to be something of an homage to the big budget action pictures of yesteryear. That it could potentially be one of those epics where ancient times were explored and mysteries explained via an entertaining interpretation was interesting and irrefutably intriguing. At the very least, the idea was this might be a good bit of fun and/or an inventive distraction that starred one of today's last-standing movie stars making the kind of movie only a true movie star could make. While all of that potential is still present on screen as the actual film unfolds what is not present is the sense of fun nor is the necessary entertainment factor that should seemingly come along with it. Rather, The Great Wall becomes something of a slog at only an hour and forty-five minutes with the film dedicating a majority of its runtime to a subplot that should have been abandoned the moment these mysterious creatures, for which the wall was built to keep out, finally rear their ugly heads and wreak havoc. Instead, the three-man screenwriting team decide to give these creatures a convoluted backstory and point of motivation that is exactly the opposite of motivating-meaning it deters us not only from caring about these creatures, much less their victims, but does nothing to instill an investment in anything that is happening. If anything at all, it only motivates us to look at our watches more often. And thus, it is the script where The Great Wall fails most consistently as director Yimou Zhang (Hero, House of Flying Daggers) certainly has the visual sense to accomplish what the screenplay requires and despite Damon's accent being in and out the cast largely made up of Chinese performers handle the drama and particularly the action well enough-it simply might have been more compelling had they better drama to work with.

First Trailer for THE HOUSE Starring Will Ferrell & Amy Poehler
There was a time when a new comedy starring Will Ferrell was something of an event. Those golden years between 2004 and 2010 when Ferrell and writer/director Adam McKay would team up every other year or so to dig up comedy gold yielded some of if not the actor's best roles (of course, I'll always have a place in my heart for Stranger than Fiction, but that wasn't broad comedy and is beside the point). Since McKay has moved on to slightly more prestigious endeavors with films like The Big Short it has seemed Ferrell has more or less given up any ambition of creating anything above middle-brow comedies as his output post-Anchorman 2 has been little more than depressing (Get Hard, Daddy's Home, Zoolander 2). All of that taken into consideration, I've been a Ferrell fan since his days on SNL and became even more faithful after seeing the original Anchorman countless times in theaters at the impressionable age of seventeen during the summer of 2004. While Ferrell might not pull the crowds or excitement he once did I can still appreciate the mans presence in a comedy and when paired with the likes of Amy Poehler and the funny no matter what he's doing Jason Mantzoukas there is no reason for my interest not to be piqued. Making his feature directorial debut here is Andrew Jay Cohen who helped to co-write both Neighbors and Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, both of which I certainly enjoyed. The odds are in this things favor, certainly, but as with many a comedies it's hard to tell how good this might turn out to be or just how much of a stinker it will actually be. I don't think the premise really gels here or is even outlandish enough to mine for legitimate laughs, but hopefully the script has more up its sleeve than it appears and that the cast is on their A-game. The House also stars Nick Kroll, Allison Tolman, Michaela Watkins, Ryan Simpkins, Jessie Ennis, Rob Huebel, Cedric Yarbrough, Jeremy Renner, and opens on June 30th, 2017.

Initial Reaction: Video Review - THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE & JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2
Nearly a month and a half into 2017 and it finally feels as if the new year is starting to come into its own in terms of new movie releases. This weekend inevitably feels like the breakthrough 2017 was desperately in need of as we had three new, major releases that all performed at or above expectations at the box office. In first place was always going to be The LEGO Batman Movie and this second film in the newly established LEGO movie universe didn't fail to deliver. With an estimated $55.6 million, which was actually below the $60 million the studio expected, The LEGO Batman Movie claimed the number one spot receiving an "A-" CinemaScore from opening day audiences which bodes well for the film has it has no upcoming competition by way of demographic. The LEGO Movie opened with $69 million three years ago in the same release slot and went on to make $257.7 million domestically. While it seems unlikely LEGO Batman will be able to match that number it will be interesting to see how good this one holds up over the next few weeks. In second place was the anticipated, but apparently pretty terrible follow-up to Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker, which garnered stronger than expected final number of $46.79 million from 3,710 locations. The previous film dropped hard in its second weekend though, and I expect that will be the case with this sequel as well. The biggest story of the weekend though seemed to be John Wick: Chapter 2 which went into the weekend with pundits guessing it would garner a solid $20 to $25 million opening, but the film finished with an estimated $30 million from 3,113 theaters. This more than doubles the opening of the original and gives the film the chance to hit $90 million domestically on a budget of $40 million which means we'll likely be getting that Chapter 3 this sequel so clearly sets up. As always, follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and subscribe to our YouTube channel as we have a new review (or reviews) up each week! 

On DVD & Blu-Ray: February 14, 2017


It is amazing how well John Wick: Chapter 2 actually works. There is no reason this unexpected sequel works as well as it does as the original was designed to be a contained story, a simple and straightforward revenge tale, but the biggest obstacle John Wick: Chapter 2 was going to face is seemingly overcome within the first fifteen minutes-Chapter 2 gracefully jumping over the hurdle to move on rather swiftly to establish a bigger picture for which to further justify the existence of this film while simultaneously setting up what is clearly meant to be a trilogy capper. Never would I have imagined sitting in the theater nearly two and a half years ago that this stylish, but seemingly unexceptional action flick would not only reignite the fire for Keanu Reeves, but prove itself one of the better action flicks of the last decade. Having re-watched the first John Wick this past week before venturing out to see Chapter 2, I easily enjoyed it more than I had initially-the world in which it established suddenly becoming all the more appealing, the empathy in which it developed for its titular character becoming all the more palpable. This isn't traditionally a reaction I have to films when re-visiting them. If anything, most movies lose a little bit of their charm on repeat viewings-the cracks becoming clearer than they were upon first glance, but it was very much evident by the time the credits rolled that John Wick was meant to be appreciated for more than just the surface pleasures despite being a movie all about the surface pleasures. For as much as the movie served as a platform for Reeves and his stuntmen to go through set piece after breathtaking action set piece it really allowed Reeves the opportunity to play a character who doesn't emote much in a forward fashion, but who bottles it up and exudes it through these actions. This isn't to say the two John Wick films have a giant amount of substance to them, but that they are the rare type of action blockbuster that executes their necessary beats accordingly while at the center featuring an individual we can really get behind, someone we really feel invested in, sorry for, and connected with-so much so that despite the fact they murder countless people at point blank range, some of which probably had no desire to face Mr. Wick, he is still the one we root for come the end of the day. John Wick is the one we want to see walk away from the explosion unharmed; the one we want to see fire the last bullet; the one who we want to be still standing when the smoke clears muttering, "I told you so." This sounds simple, but it is not for nothing that this affection comes to exist.  It is on this affection for our titular character that these films separate themselves from the pack.


The most unexpected of cinematic universe's to be born from this current trend is no doubt this massive LEGO franchise, but behind the trailblazer that is Marvel it is LEGO that seems to be having the most success in carving their own path out of a recognizable brand. Granted, we're now only two movies in with a third on the way this fall, but the point is there seems no sign that this train will be slowing down anytime soon. After absolutely blowing all expectations out of the water with The LEGO Movie directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller (Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, 21 & 22 Jump Street) set not only a precedent for any sequels and spin offs that might come in the wake of their success, but they also set a very specific tone that will seemingly serve as the signature trait of this movie universe as The LEGO Batman Movie is just as irreverent as could be expected when it comes to this toy brands take on the dark and brooding titular hero. With the self-aware and spoof-like nature of that initial LEGO outing being paired with a character as established in the pop culture mythos as Batman there is plenty of opportunity for lampooning and lampoon is exactly what director Chris McKay (Robot Chicken) does best. Beginning even before the studio logos hit the screen The LEGO Batman Movie is ready to ridicule and criticize everything about the previous phases in our hero's career while pulling off that oh so critical tone of it being all in good fun. Never does it feel as if The LEGO Batman Movie is taking pot shots at any of the other imaginings or interpretations of the Dark Knight character, but rather McKay is offering comically tinged observations on what makes a grown man running around in a Halloween costume feel so serious when, in layman's terms, the reasons as to why as much is laughable should be obvious. Reprising his role from The LEGO Movie Will Arnett is once again the very self-serious caped crusader who loves being Batman and who expects everyone else to love him because he's Batman. Arnett's take on the character is essentially this raving egomaniac who has to constantly keep up this facade he's built around himself. Pairing this type of Batman with a cavalcade of other characters and villains from the his universe as well as countless other Warner Bros. properties McKay exploits every avenue he can in order to display as much comedy and action on screen as he does merchandise.

With the release of Warner Bros. The LEGO Batman Movie this weekend the studio has now went ahead and released the first trailer for The LEGO Ninjago Movie. Admittedly, I know nothing about whatever Ninjago is, but a bit of quick reading tells me that it is a line of sets produced by Lego. Using elements from their previous Ninja series I'm assuming this one moved a lot of units in the stores and thus the reason it has now produced its own entry in this ever-growing LEGO franchise that Warner Bros. Animation is turning over like hot cakes. Still, as I haven't played with Lego's in quite some time none of this tells me anything about what the movie might be about or what the story might entail. And so, Ninjago follows Lloyd (voice of Dave Franco) or L-loyd if you ask his father, who is a Green Ninja, who must team up with other ninjas to defeat Garmadon (Justin Theroux), the Worst Guy Ever, who also happens to be Lloyd’s dad. The trailer opens up making it seem as if this might be the first LEGO film where we're supposed to take things a little more seriously given the setting and ancient influences, but all of that is quickly dispersed when the film begins to play up the tropes of such movies. The bits given their moment here are solid and had me chuckling if not for the intent of the jokes, but the fact that Phil Lord and Chris Miller really did set a staying tone with that initial LEGO movie to the point that we'll now have two LEGO-themed movies in 2017, both of which look to be a blast simply by virtue of the fact they're well-aware of what they are. This isn't an epic action movie with sweeping landscapes or large battle scenes, but an animated movie with plastic figurines as the main characters and it would be silly to be serious. Taylor Swift‘s “Bad Blood” is a nice touch and it seems by reading the synopsis this first trailer gives away little of what story the film will actually be telling which is rather enticing and has me all the more curious to see how the film separates itself from what will have come before it. The LEGO Ninjago Movie also features the voice talents of Fred Armisen, Abbi Jacobson, Olivia Munn, Kumail Nanjiani, Michael Peña, Zach Woods, Jackie Chan, and opens on September 22nd, 2017.

Trailer Roundup: SUPER BOWL LI
With the Super Bowl happening last night audiences were guaranteed a look at some of the bigger movies coming out this year, but sans the latest Pirates of the Caribbean installment most of what was glimpsed last night was all footage in some way, shape, or form that had been seen before. As Forbes writer Scott Mendelson wrote last week, the appearance of a new Star Wars movie every December has more or less turned the Super Bowl into a rerun exercise when it comes to movie trailers. It's an interesting trend to consider and one that likely won't be going away anytime soon, but the Super Bowl is still the biggest television event of the year drawing between 110 and 115 million people each year. Taken on those terms and considering the current price tag for thirty seconds of airtime is a record high $5 million it makes sense why studios still want to buy up the spots available as many of them mark the first time those who haven't been to the theater since Rogue One will have seen anything of the 2017 slate that they might be surprised by or excited to see. Per usual, Warner Bros. sat out the event so there was no new Wonder Woman trailer and no new look at Justice League, but Disney had a good night as it had both what was arguably the best received trailer of the night as well as the most popular. The Disney-Marvel production that will be the massive Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 generated a reported 47,800 new conversations, according to media-measurement firm comScore and was the most talked about trailer of the night. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales was the trailer with the most to gain last night and gain it did as it showed why people should still be excited for a Pirates movie while finally giving us the first glimpse of Johnny Depp's return as Jack Sparrow in a fun albeit brief shot. It also followed Guardians in popularity so the wait was seemingly worth it for this fifth film in the Disney theme park franchise. As ranked by social media response the latest Transformers flick came in third, followed by The Fate of the Furious, and then Logan. Hit the jump to watch each of the movie trailers that debuted during the big game as well as the first look at season 2 of Stranger Things just for fun.


Time is fleeting. This is a phrase heard countless times throughout our youth and throughout our life as a reminder to cherish the days we're living in as they'll be gone before we realize it. What we never realize though, is just how fleeting such times are when we're actually in them. The young man at the center of 20th Century Women, Jamie (Lucas Jade Zumann), was born in 1964 with the film opening in 1979. This makes Jamie a young fifteen as made even more apparent by his clear skin and boyish features that render him still a child in our minds rather than the adult he would have us believe he is becoming. My own father was born in 1964 and I can't say I've ever considered what the world looked like at the time of his most formative years. Hell, I don't know that I ever even realized it was the fall of 1980 when he turned sixteen-with only six years to go until he married my mother on the cusp of his twenty-second birthday. Sure, I've heard him tell stories of the things he did as a young boy with his older brother and neighborhood friends, but never did I take a minute to step back and look at the bigger picture; really consider the world they were living in at that time. With 20th Century Women writer/director Mike Mills (Beginners) explores these small, fleeting moments in time and reflects on what made what is presumed to be his mother, his mother. This isn't simply presented by the circumstances of her life, but by the circumstances of the time in which she was born. This is a fascinating way of perceiving things, but can also be rather dangerous considering the infinite possibilities one can imagine were they to consider who they or someone they know/love might have been were they born in a different time. This framing of lives through fleeting moments with the added perception of where each of the individuals chronicled came from and where they're going reveals a lot of truths, but mostly it works best by affirming what we don't always have enough time to acknowledge-that happiness comes most naturally when we're not actively trying to chase it.


As written and directed by multi-hyphenate Guillermo Iván The Strike could easily pass for an artist on the brink writing about his experiences as an artist on the brink, but The Strike is strangely able to transcend this typical "write what you know," "art about art" facade by making itself something of a broad comedy that relishes in making its protagonists who are struggling actors, the source of the screwball in the screwball comedy. From appearance alone with its big bold red text proclaiming its title above the characters posed in slapstick positions it would seem The Strike is an amateur attempt to capitalize on the generic comedies Hollywood once spit out in the Spring and Summer so as to make a quick buck on a relatively cheap property that thrived largely on the appeal of its stars and their reputation for bringing the funny. Rarely now do we see comedies made off the name of the star alone (unless you're Melissa McCarthy) and even rarer are the days when it seems original comedies broke out. While The Strike certainly won't buck this trend it is a competently made film that doesn't bring the funny as much as it does the philosophy. It is clear Iván wants to discuss some heavy things-mainly that of the art of acting, why it is necessary in a world gone mad, and the great weight of your skill not necessarily matching your ambition, but that he tries to do this through the guise of jokes makes for an overall off-kilter experience that tells us the heart of the film isn't in the humor, but more so in the life lessons it would like to touch on. This isn't wholly a bad thing. Given that one of the main themes Iván discusses is ambition versus reality it is apt that the film he has made has bigger ambitions within it than what the final product ultimately delivers, but the effort is clear and counts for a lot when it is obvious resources were somewhat limited. That may not sound exactly like a ringing endorsement, but trust me, it is-when one can see the promise in the abilities even if they're not fully realized in what has been produced there is still value in the piece. If nothing else, it points toward the promise to come.