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Summer Movies!

May 22nd, 2012

The Avengers has raised the bar VERY HIGH for this summer’s movies!  Here are some of the films I’m looking forward to this summer:

The Dark Knight Rises — Duh.  Christopher Nolan finishes his Batman trilogy and my expectations are sky-high.  I’m curious just how FINAL an ending Nolan is going to give to his Batman.

Prometheus — Ridley Scott returns to the Alien universe.  Double duh.

Moonrise Kingdom — A new Wes Anderson film always has my ticket.

Brave — Cars 2 was the first Pixar film in years that I didn’t see in theatres.  It just didn’t interest me.  (And I actually still haven’t seen it, though I do hope to watch it on DVD one of these days.)  Brave, though, looks like a far more interesting film, and I’m pleased to see Pixar returning to original stories rather than sequels.  (Though please feel free to hit me with The Incredibles 2 any time you’d like, Pixar!!)

To Rome With Love — I tend to miss Woody Allen’s films in theatres these days, more often catching up to them on DVD, but a new Woody Allen film is always something I’m interested in.  I like the idea of Jesse Eisenberg in a Woody Allen film, and I’m excited to see Woody back on-screen for the first time since 2006’s horrendous Scoop.

Safety Not Guaranteed — I am intrigued by what little I know about this indie film, that might or might-not involve time-travel, and that stars Parks and Recreation’s Aubrey Plaza.

Ted — The premise seems stupid, but the profane red-band trailer made me laugh. Family Guy mastermind Seth MacFarlane makes his live-action feature film debut at the helm of this story of a man (Mark Wahlberg) and his Teddy bear who came to life and grew up with him.

Celeste and Jesse Forever — I don’t know much about this one, but I like the idea of pairing Rashida Jones (OK, it’s true, I will go see any film starring a member of the cast of Parks and Rec) and Andy Samberg.  Ms. Jones wrote the film with Will McCormack.  I’m curious to see what this one is all about.

The Campaign — Will Ferrell and Zach Galifianakis play politicians battling one another in a North Carolina Republican primary.  Looks great.

Men in Black 3 — I’m really dubious this is going to be any good, but I’ll admit it, I’m curious.  I thought Josh Brolin’s Tommy Lee Jones impersonation killed in the trailer.  I’m hoping to be surprised by this one.  We’ll see.

The Amazing Spider-Man — This, for me, is the biggest question mark of the summer for me.  I really really … [continued]

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Movies To See!

December 12th, 2011

With Oscar-season upon us, and the end of the year approaching with blinding speed, I find that there are a TON of movies out or coming out in the near future that I really want to see:

Hugo: Martin Scorsese has directed a 3-D family fantasy adventure?  I am really hoping that this will be the next film I see.

A Dangerous Method: I’ve read some bad reviews, but I am intrigued by the pairing of Michael Fassbender and Viggo Mortensen (as Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud).

The Artist: I adored the two OSS:117 French James Bond parody films that Jean Dujardin and director Michel Hazanavicius made (click here for my review of Cairo Nest of Spies, and here for my review of Lost in Rio), so I’m fascinated by the idea that they have now collaborated on a much more serious project: a black-and-white silent film telling the story of a 1920’s silent film actor.

Shame: Michael Fassbender again, in a film with Carey Mulligan about sex addiction that is getting a lot of notice.

The Sitter: The premise sounds painfully familiar — Jonah Hill stars as a lazy, profane babysitter tasked with taking care of three kids during one crazy night — but I so enjoyed director David Gordon Green’s last film, Your Highness (click here for my review) that I’m interested to see what he and Mr. Hill have created here.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy: Gary Oldman and a veritable who’s who of terrific British actors have me very excited on this adaptation of John le Carre’s spy novel.  I’m really excited for this one.

Young Adult: Diablo Cody and Jason Reitman (the duo responsible for writing and directing, respectively, Juno) have put together this story of a woman trying to woo her high school sweetheart.  Except that he’s already married and has a kid.  Looks like mean-spirited fun.

Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol: Even though they’ve all disappointed me, one way or another, I love these Mission Impossible movies, and I’m really excited to see this latest installment, directed by Brad Bird (the man responsible for The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, and Ratatouille, three spectacularly great films).

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo: I haven’t read the books, and I haven’t seen the original Swedish film adaptations.  But I think David Fincher is a mad genius, and I’d be there buying a ticket to his next film even if they announced he was helming Breaking Dawn Part 2.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows: Loved the first one.  Excited for this one.  Jared Harris (Mad Men) has been well-cast as Professor Moriarty, so I hope the character lives up … [continued]

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Fall Movies!

August 25th, 2010

Whoof, that might have been the worst summer of movies that I can remember.  Will the fall be any better?  After taking a look through Entertainment Weekly‘s Fall Movie Preview, I actually have high hopes!  Here’s what interests me:

Machete — Somehow Robert Rodriguez has lured an insanely great cast into this loony-looking feature-length version of one of the fake trailers from 2007’s Grindhouse.  I’m in.

The Town — I thought the trailer looked dumb, but I adored Ben Affleck’s directorial debut Gone Baby Gone, so I’m interested in his follow-up, this Boston-based story of a bank robber who somehow gets involved with a woman he once terrorized in one of his heists.  I know, the plot description sounds silly, but I’m interested nonetheless…

You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger — Though it’s been a long time since I have unabashedly loved one of his films, Woody Allen always has my ticket money.  This one stars Josh Brolin, Naomi Watts, Antonio Banderas, and Anthony Hopkins.

The American — I don’t know much about this suspense movie starring George Clooney as a spy or an assassin (or both), but it had a great trailer, and Clooney has done some great work in spy/suspense films (Syriana, The Good German, Out of Sight), so I’m interested.

The Social Network — David Fincher + Aaron Sorkin = my ticket money.

Nowhere Boy — I’m not sure about this one, it certainly has potential to suck — but I’m intrigued by what I’ve read about this film.  Aaron Johnson (Kick-Ass) stars as a young John Lennon.  The film apparently focuses on his difficult relationships with his mother, and with the aunt who raised him.  Could be a soap-opera, but I’m hoping for some interesting pre-Beatles Lennon material here.

Megamind — Will Ferrell voices a super-villain who succeeds in vanquishing his arch-nemesis Metro Man (Brad Pitt).  Has potential.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I — As I’ve written here before, it wasn’t until the fourth film that I really started to dig this film series (I’ve still never read the books).  It was film five that made me fall in love with the story and the characters, and film six was pretty solid as well.  I’m very excited for part one of the final chapter.

The Tempest — It’s my second-favorite Shakespeare play (after Macbeth), so I’m eager to see what sort of zaniness Julie Taymor has brought to this adaptation.

Tron: Legacy — I was totally won over by the amazing trailer that appeared over the summer.  Can’t wait.

How Do You Know — James L. Brooks has made another movie!  This … [continued]

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Fall Movies!

September 11th, 2009

Last month, Entertainment Weekly published their usual guide to all the upcoming films being released from September through December.  This is the time of year when the Oscar-bait films come out to play, which generally leads to some terrific — and some terrible — offerings.  Here’s what caught my eye:

Extract — The new film from Mike Judge (Office Space), starring Jason Bateman, Mila Kunis, Kristen Wiig, and Ben Affleck.  I am there.

Capitalism: A Love Story — Michael Moore’s latest documentary.

The Informant! — Steven Soderbergh’s films are always interesting, even the ones I don’t connect with as much.  This true-life story of an FBI informant (played by Matt Damon) who develops superspy-like delusions sounds intriguing.

9 — Post-apocalyptic CG sock-puppets.

The Invention of Lying — I’ve been reading about this comedy, written and directed by Ricky Gervais (the original The Office) for ages now.  Can’t wait.

Where the Wild Things Are — Spike Jonze’s adaptation of the classic book by Maurice Sendak.  The first trailer absolutely sold me.  I am really curious to see what Mr. Jonze has created.

The Road — An adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s novel about a man (Viggo Mortensen) and his son trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world.  It’s been delayed for almost a full year, but I’m still interested.  I have high hopes.

Toy Story & Toy-Story 2 3-D — Two great films, now in 3-D?  Should be a ton of fun.

Fantastic Mr. Fox — A stop-action animated kids’ movie by Wes Anderson (Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums)?  Color me curious.

The Box — The plot of this new film from Richard Kelly (Donnie Darko) sounds like the plot of an episode of The Twilight Zone: A husband and wife are offered $1 million if they press a button on a small wooden box.  The catch: pushing the button will mean the death of someone, somewhere else around the world.

The Lovely Bones — I’m pretty much going to go see any movie Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings) makes for the rest of his life.  Luckily, this adaptation of Alice Sebold’s novel looks haunting.

Sherlock Holmes — Guy Ritchie (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels) and Robert Downey Jr. bring us a new take on Holmes.  Done and done.

Avatar — James Cameron’s first film since 1997’s Titanic, and he’s returning to sci-fi?  Like Peter Jackson, the master who gave us the first two Terminator films, Aliens, The Abyss, and True Lies always has my ticket.

So how many of that above lengthy list of films will I actually get to see??  (I did pretty well with … [continued]

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Fall Movies!

August 27th, 2008

I’ve been perusing my copy of Entertainment Weekly‘s “Fall Movie Preview,” and there are some really interesting flicks coming our way in the next few months.  Here are some of the films I’m looking forward to:

Burn After Reading — It’s the next Coen Brothers movie, and it stars George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, and John Malkovich.  It looks like the Coens are in goofy comedy mode with this one, which suits me just fine.

Appaloosa — Its a cowboy movie with Viggo Mortensen and Ed Harris.  Don’t know too much about this one, but I’m interested.

Body of Lies — Director Ridley Scott is responsible for some of my favorite movies ever (Alien, Blade Runner…I’m even an enormous fan of the longer director’s cut of Kingdom of Heaven), so he always has my ticket.  This one has to do with CIA operatives, and its headlined by Russell Crowe and Leonardo DiCaprio.

Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist — After Arrested Development, Superbad, and Juno, I think I’ll watch Michael Cera (who plays Nick) in pretty much anything.  Nora is played by Kat Dennings, who was very funny as Catherine Keener’s daughter in The 40 Year Old Virgin.  This could wind up being a generic two-teens-looking-for-love chick flick, but the cast (and the sort-of bizarre title) has me interested.

ChangelingBabylon 5 mastermind J. Michael Straczynski wrote the script, and I’m eager to see how his distinct writing translates to the big screen.  It has nothing to do with sci-fi, but I’m still curious.  Its directed by Clint Eastwood, which helps.  

Zack and Miri Make a Porno — I love Kevin Smith, and this one features Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks, both of whom are funny in pretty much everything.

RocknRolla — I’m still waiting for Guy Ritchie to make a movie half as good as Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch.  Maybe it’ll be this one?

Synecdoche, New York — Charlie Kaufman (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) wrote and directed this film that, according to EW, “follows a frustrated theatre director who sets out to create a masterpiece to impress his estranged wife.  His project?  A life-size recreation of New York City, with thousands of actors all contained inside an improbably large warehouse.”  Um…okay.

What Just Happened? — The book of the same name that this movie is based on is sitting in my to-read pile, and I’m eager to get to it.  Its a Hollywood satire, and the film stars Bruce Willis, Robert DeNiro, and Sean Penn.  

Religulous — Bill Maher and Larry Charles take on religion.  I’ve mentioned this movie before on … [continued]

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Viewscreen on!

May 21st, 2008
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I love DVDs.   Love ’em.   I love the great resolution and the surround sound.   I love watching all the behind-the-scenes special features and listening to the commentaries (which I often play while drawing Motion Pictures, among other projects).   I love getting to enjoy great TV shows in complete-season sets.   I love how I can re-watch, ad infinitum, the successful movies and shows that I love along with so many great selections that are a lot more obscure (I’m thinking about you, my live action The Tick complete series set…).

Yeah, I love DVDs.

And just as I find that I always have a pretty significant “to read” stack of books on my shelf as well as comics on my desk, I always seem to have a nice large stack of DVDs in my “to watch” pile.   Here are some of the DVDs I’m looking forward to enjoying in the coming weeks/months (if I ever get some free time!!):

Walk Hard: Extended Edition – Not exactly a home run from the Apatow factory, I did nonetheless very much enjoy this flick.   It’s worth it for the Beatles scene alone.   Apatow DVDs (Freaks and Geaks and Undeclared, as well as The 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up and Superbad) have a habit of being pretty spectacular, crammed full of alternate takes, deleted scenes, and other fun stuff.   I’m hoping this one is too.

Cloverfield – I loved this in theatres…I’m eager to see if it holds up to a repeat viewing.

Juno – ditto.

Bee Movie – I missed this one in theatres.   Nothing that I saw or read about it made it jump out to me as a “must see,” but I’m an enormous Seinfeld fan so I’m looking forward to giving this a viewing.

John, Paul, Tom & Ringo – A series of lengthy interviews with 3 of the 4 Beatles which Tom Snyder conducted on various episodes of his talk show The Tomorrow Show in the late seventies and early eighties.   This includes John Lennon’s last televised interview, from 4/25/75.   I have never seen any of these episodes, so I’m very eager to check out this DVD collection.

Young Indiana Jones – Lucasfilm has released three enormous collections over the past year that collect the entire run of this show.   I have the first one.   I actually watched about half of it a few months ago.   The episodes I saw were the ones with the young, 10-12 year-old Indy.   They were rather hit-and-miss…I admired the concept of using the Young Indy character to educate the viewer about all sorts of different people and places in history (done via Indy’s Forrest Gump like encounters, in each episode, … [continued]

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The Smaller Side of Summer

On April 29th I wrote about my anticipation for all of this summer’s big-budget movies. But a quick perusal of last weeks’ Entertainment Weekly summer movie preview contained info on a number of smaller movies coming out this summer that sound like they’re also worth my ten bucks or whatever the hell it costs to go see a movie these days in downtown Boston.

Son of Rambow – Two British boys watch Rambo: First Blood and team up to film their own version. I saw the trailer last week and it looks dynamite. I have no idea of the story of the movie is anything like this at all, but the synopsis and the trailer remind me a lot of the 3 kids who made a shot for shot remake of Raiders of the Lost Ark. (I mentioned this on April 21st , and my buddy Andy Mo was kind enough to forward me the link to the Vanity Fair article about these guys.

http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2004/03/raiders200403

I actually saw their version of Raiders at a sci-fi fan-film festival in Worcester a few years back, and it was one of the most amazing things I have ever beheld. I am desperate to see it again some day.) Anyhoos, that connection makes me very interested in this flick.

The Foot Fist Way – Apparently this is a comedy about a hapless tae kwon do instructor. It was made three years ago, and I’ve been reading about it on-line seemingly forever. According to EW, Will Farell used his clout to help this small film finally see a theatrical release. I’m intrigued.

Religulous – Bill Mahr and Larry Charles (writer for Seinfeld and director of Borat as well as many episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm) team up for a documentary about the state of world religion. I’m there.

Towelhead – Another movie I’ve been reading about on-line for quite a while. Its based on Alicia Elan’s 2005 novel about a 13 year-old girl of Lebanese descent. On the surface that doesn’t sound so much like my kind of movie, but its written and directed by Alan Ball (who wrote American Beauty), so I’m interested.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona – Directed by Woody Allen and starring Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem, and Scarlett Johansson. I always try to give a new Woody Allen movie a chance, and this one has a spectacular cast.

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor – Just kiddin’!… [continued]

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Summer (Movie) Lovin’ (OR How Die Hard IV is like The Godfather Part III)

I thought 2007 was a tremendous year for movies. Here are just a handful of terrific ’07 flicks that I saw: Eastern Promises, The Darjeeling Limited, Grindhouse, Knocked Up, Superbad, The Simpsons Movie, The Mist, Gone Baby Gone, Margot at the Wedding, 300, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Juno, Charlie Wilson’s War, Ratatouille…I could go on and on.

And yet my recollection is that 2007 saw one of the most disappointing crop of big-budget summer movies in recent memory.   Other than a couple of the comedies mentioned above (Knocked Up, Superbad, and The Simpsons Movie), I found myself continually disappointed by practically every single summer flick I saw.   Those include:

Spider-Man 3 – What a disaster.   I’ve been mocking it for two weeks on this site, and we have barely plumbed the depths of my disappointment.   The first hour is pretty good (well, except for the whole Harry-has-amnesia thing), but then it just all falls to pieces.   Peter Parker combs his bangs over his forehead to show that us he’s evil.   Sandman agrees to help Venom kill Spider-Man for no reason whatsoever (an act made even more ridiculous considering that the whole first half of the movie bent over backwards to show us that Sandman is really an OK guy just trying to help his daughter).   That awful, awful dance number.   The way Gwen Stacy’s character is completely forgotten about.   That awful, awful dance number.   Ugh.

Shrek 3 –Mildly entertaining at best.

Transformers – Very much like ID4 to me — Big and dumb.   Like ID4, it was a ton of fun to see in the theatre for the first time – lots of eye-candy explosions, lots of great “audience cheering” moments – I would be dishonest if I claimed it wasn’t a blast.   But I really wish the movie was a bit smarter.   Optimus and the gang acting like idiots trying to hide around Spike Witwicky’s house (“my bad”) is kind of like Jeff Goldblum using his Mac powerbook to download a virus into the alien mothership’s computer.   I can’t see myself re-watching this too many times.

Pirates of the Caribbean 3 – I really didn’t like Pirates of the Caribbean 1 or Pirates of the Caribbean 2, so I’m not sure what I was expecting.

Die Hard IV – To me, Live Free or Die Hard is kind of like The Godfather Part III. Hang on, bear with me.   I have always defended The Godfather Part III. My assertion is that if it had some other title, people would think it was a pretty decent gangster flick.   Not amazing, but enjoyable.   But because it’s the Godfather Part III, viewers compare … [continued]