One day I'll remember. Remember everything that happenedBilbo Baggins
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Articles on this Page
- 12/23/14--14:04: _13 Timeless The Hob...
- 12/23/14--12:28: _The Gambler Review:...
- 12/23/14--09:26: _The Interview: Sony...
- 12/23/14--12:39: _The Interview Will ...
- 12/23/14--20:37: _Entourage Movie: Hy...
- 12/24/14--05:00: _McFarland, USA Trai...
- 12/24/14--05:00: _Entourage Teaser Tr...
- 12/23/14--14:17: _21 Most Fascinating...
- 12/23/14--15:02: _Into the Woods: Emi...
- 12/23/14--15:07: _Star Trek 3 Picks a...
- 12/24/14--14:55: _The Interview: Wher...
- 12/24/14--15:26: _10 Most Overpaid Ac...
- 12/24/14--15:01: _Selma Review: A Cal...
- 12/25/14--06:00: _Mortdecai Internati...
- 12/24/14--15:04: _The Interview: Watc...
- 12/24/14--15:10: _Unbroken Review: An...
- 12/24/14--15:12: _Emily Blunt Talks P...
- 12/24/14--15:17: _American Sniper Rev...
- 12/25/14--13:23: _Into the Woods Revi...
- 12/25/14--13:28: _Big Eyes Review: Ti...
- 12/23/14--12:28: The Gambler Review: Mark Wahlberg Goes For Broke
- 12/23/14--09:26: The Interview: Sony to Make Announcement About Releasing It?
- 12/23/14--12:39: The Interview Will Be Released! It’s Official!
- 12/23/14--20:37: Entourage Movie: Hyde Poster Debuts, Teases Trailer Release
- 12/24/14--05:00: McFarland, USA Trailer: Kevin Costner Coaches a Winner
- 12/24/14--05:00: Entourage Teaser Trailer: Ready for Trouble
- 12/23/14--14:17: 21 Most Fascinating Characters of 2014: Who Makes The List?
- 12/23/14--15:07: Star Trek 3 Picks a Release Date: What Is It?
- 12/24/14--14:55: The Interview: Where Can You See It?
- 12/24/14--15:26: 10 Most Overpaid Actors in Hollywood: Who Makes Studios Least?
- 12/24/14--15:01: Selma Review: A Call to Action From Yesterday to Today
- 12/25/14--06:00: Mortdecai International Trailer: Johnny Depp Is a Farce!
- 12/24/14--15:04: The Interview: Watch It Online Now!
- 12/24/14--15:10: Unbroken Review: Angelina Jolie Never Gives Up, Never Surrenders
- 12/24/14--15:12: Emily Blunt Talks Possibility of Being Captain Marvel
- 12/25/14--13:23: Into the Woods Review: Meryl Streep Hits All the Right Notes (Again)
- 12/25/14--13:28: Big Eyes Review: Tim Burton's Best in Years
One of the reasons that Peter Jackson has had such success with his Middle Earth movies (The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies topped the box office this past weekend) is that it is not solely the spot-on visuals that JRR Tolkien described that we all imagined as kids that he gets right.
Jackson nails the prose perfectly and that’s why those Lord of the Rings quotes are so popular.
The first two films of The Hobbit trilogy gave us some great lines, but we think that The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies quotes takes the cake.
They’re passionate. They’re inspiring and, above all else, they are pure Tolkien.
We’ve compiled a list of our 13 favorite quotes from this final The Hobbit film, so check them out in the slideshow below.
Watch The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug online to be all sorts of caught up and then dive into The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.
Sometimes it seems as if Hollywood green lights a remake for the sake of it. Other times, a redo has something truly special to offer. The latter is the case with The Gambler and the big reason to see this update of the 1974 classic starring James Caan is the one and only Mark Wahlberg.
Wahlberg is Jim Bennett, an English professor at an LA college whose passion in life is truly embodying the title of the movie. He finds high stakes gambling institutions across town (most of them underground) and wages ridiculous amounts of money. He may be the grandson of one of the 20 richest men in the world, but that money is not his, by a long shot.
The second standout in this solid gambling flick that works equally as well as a thriller is Jessica Lange. She is Wahlberg’s mother and controls the purse strings to his inheritance. She knows all too well about his addiction and refuses to participate, help out or lend a hand in any form. That is, until he loses money from the wrong people.
A third reason to have this remake arrives in the form of John Goodman. Goodman’s Frank is a big time gangster who for some strange reason takes a liking to Jim. He wants to help him, even if loaning him money is a high risk endeavor. Goodman kills it and, judging by how this Oscar race goes, could easily hear his name as a Best Supporting Actor nominee.
As you can tell from The Gambler trailer, this is Wahlberg’s show and like he has for years now, he delivers. But Jim is unlike any character Wahlberg has ever played prior. Sure, that charm is there and so too is his ability to make us laugh with his character’s ability to frame the obvious verbally. But, there is something truly deeper to his portrayal of Jim that may be one of Wahlberg’s best performances of his career.
Even though he keeps making the wrong decisions and heading to places and into relationships that he shouldn’t, the audience still pulls for Jim. That speaks volumes about Wahlberg and his ability to bring this character to life and give it a heart that we want to see keep beating, even as dozens line up who seek to see it stop.
Director Rupert Wyatt (see his latest work and watch Rise of the Planet of the Apes online) has helmed The Gambler with an even hand -- from his scene set-up choices to how he utilizes music and shot framing. But the greatest gift that Wyatt has done with the remake of The Gambler is how he captures the actual gambling.
Nothing creates cinematic tension like watching a character that has everything to lose, literally put everything on the line. We know, especially if filmmakers and actors have done their job, the human cost of what is at stake. Watching a card handed from dealer to player in the game of blackjack -- that can result in riches or certain harm or death -- is pulse pounding. The way that Wyatt sets up, shoots and Wahlberg delivers in those milliseconds of life-changing risk is nothing short of stunning. It’s hard to think of mere seconds creating that kind of tension in any other form.
Our The Gambler review finds that this is the rare remake that is not only worthy of its predecessor, but also adds something more to it. That is all we ask of an endeavor like this. Hollywood should learn from The Gambler remake as it continues its love affair with bringing to life stories we have already seen.
Word here in Hollywood is that Sony is going to release a statement today about their plans of releasing The Interview. That is going directly in the face of threats made by hackers (who the FBI believes are North Korean) who made threats that The Interview disappear from social media, and even have all its trailers and clips pulled from the internet.
After public outcry (a recent poll has said almost three-quarters of Americans believe it was a mistake to pull The Interview), Sony appears to have reason to put the movie out there, even if the threat exists that those behind the studio hack and anti-The Interview stance, will bring “9/11-type” violence to theaters that show it.
Art house cinemas have expressed interest in showing it and there was even a deal over the weekend with The Dish Network that fell apart in the final moments to show the film.
If we were to guess, the announcement will be a limited theatrical release in smaller theaters, with a simultaneous release on video-on-demand platforms.
Stay with Movie Fanatic as we anxiously await to hear about the fate of The Interview.
Something tells us that you all are going to see this puppy after all, and by puppy we mean the adorable gift that onscreen Kim Jong Un gives to James Franco’s Dave Skylark! Seriously, he's one of the cutest movie dogs ever.
Sony has announced that it will release The Interview on Christmas Day after all! “We have never given up on releasing The Interview and we’re excited our movie will be in a number of theaters on Christmas Day,” Michael Lynton, Chairman and CEO of Sony Entertainment, said in a statement.
“At the same time, we are continuing our efforts to secure more platforms and more theaters so that this movie reaches the largest possible audience.”
It’s been an interesting couple of weeks for the Seth Rogen and James Franco film that we think is worth watching, according to our The Interview review. We had a feeling this might happen when it was announced that Sony would pull The Interview, and then released The Interview final trailer the next day!
Lynton is clearly thrilled that audiences will see the fruit of Rogen and Franco’s labor.
“I want to thank our talent on The Interview and our employees, who have worked tirelessly through the many challenges we have all faced over the last month. While we hope this is only the first step of the film’s release, we are proud to make it available to the public and to have stood up to those who attempted to suppress free speech.”
The film will be shown in select theaters (currently Alamo Drafthouses are confirmed for Christmas showings) and definitely on VOD on Christmas Day.
Alamo Drafthouse's CEO, Tim League, released a statement:
"We cannot imagine the pressures that have been affecting Sony, at all levels of the organization they have been under attack. Amidst this unwarranted chaos, they have regrouped and listened to the public, the government and the exhibition community and responded with resolve and determination. At 10:45 AM Sony bookers approved screenings at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema and other art house and independent theaters across the country.
"This is the best Christmas gift anyone could give us. We, both distributors and exhibitors, have collectively stood firm to our principles and for the right to freedom of expression. Two days til Christmas, and I am proud to be an American."
Franco has already taken to Twitter to let his joy be known. "The people and The President have spoken!"
Rogen also took to his social media page and stated, "The people have spoken! Freedom has prevailed! Sony didn't give up! The Interview will be shown at theaters willing to play it on Xmas day."
More details as to where you can see The Interview in the coming hours.
Adrian Grenier took to his Twitter page to not only say that “Full stop. @entouragemovie trailer coming eminently...,” but also to release the movie poster for the movie within the Entourage movie!
When we were on the set of Entourage, we learned that Grenier’s Vincent Chase was working on a modern day version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – and thanks to Grenier’s Twitter page, we have our first look at the movie poster that has our favorite Entourage member laying it all on the line.
More from our set visit in the coming months, but here’s what we know so far. There will be a dozen cameos, including Liam Neeson. Vinnie and his crew are all succeeding at their individual careers, but not forgetting the brotherhood that keeps them going.
The Entourage movie also brings back Jerry Ferrara, Kevin Connolly, Kevin Dillon and Jeremy Piven. Also look for new additions Billy Bob Thornton, Haley Joel Osment, Constance Zimmer and Emily Ratajkowski when Entourage lands June 5, 2015.
Kevin Costner has been no stranger to successful sports movies.
Just watch Field of Dreams online and there’s one.
Therefore, one always has to have a certain amount of anticipation for his next one and that has arrived in the McFarland, USA trailer from Disney.
The story follows the true story of Coach Jim White, who arrived in 1987 in McFarland, California to find a ragtag group of high school kids that he believes could be the next great thing in cross country running.
The film takes place in the immigrant heavy central valley of California, where hope is few and far between. But, there will be something that comes out of this new cross country team that will uplift an entire community that sorely needs some inspiration.
Look for McFarland, USA in theaters on February 20, 2015.
The crew from Entourage is back and they’re ready to make a splash. The first teaser trailer for Entourage is here and we like what we see. Adrian Grenier teased the poster of the movie within the movie earlier today, teasing the trailer's arrival. But, we had no idea soon would be so soon!
The HBO long-running series followed the exploits of a quartet of BFFs from Queens who headed to Hollywood and found success, at varying levels.
Now the movie picks up where the show left off and as we see in the opening moments of the teaser trailer, Ari is a studio head and he’s given Vincent $100 million to make his Hyde. Only thing, the movie is $15 million over budget and as you know Ari, that makes him a little angry.
We love several things about this teaser, not the least of which is how Jeremy Piven’s Ari doesn’t seem to have lost a beat. He may have stopped taking his anger medication, but he’s “got it under control.” Yeah, right.
Doug Ellin, the series' creator, wrote and directed this flick, which also brings back Kevin Connolly, Kevin Dillon and Jerry Ferrara who are joined by Billy Bob Thornton and Haley Joel Osment.
Look for Entourage in theaters June 5, 2015 and, yes, Emmanuelle Chriqui is back as Sloan, E’s better half!
What is truly the most awesome part of this teaser is the appearance of Mark Wahlberg (soon to be seen in The Gambler) at the end. Not only is Wahlberg an executive producer on the show and the movie, but it is loosely based on his life… and thus his comments about his brother are utterly priceless.
And stay with Movie Fanatic as we visited the set of the film and look forward to bringing you our interviews with the entire Entourage cast!
We’ve already told you our top 15 movies of 2014 and as you all know all too well, a movie is nothing without a strong character base.
There are a slew of films that did not necessarily make our lauded list of fine films of the year, but had characters that we cannot stop thinking about.
With these The LEGO Movie quotes, well, some of the best come from this one character -- who we have seen before many times in the movies, but not like he was in that fantastic movie from Phil Lord and Chris Miller.
There are so many characters in Guardians of the Galaxy that could have made our list. There are the five that make up the Guardians, but there are others as well.
What if we told you that two of the characters you can see when you watch Guardians of the Galaxy online made our list of best movie characters of 2014?!
Click through and check out which 21 movie characters of 2014 were the most fascinating!
Emily Blunt and Anna Kendrick were oh-so ready to head Into the Woods and star in a Disney star-studded musical based on the iconic Broadway work of Stephen Sondheim.
“I can’t speak for anybody else, but certainly, it was on my bucket list. And to get to do this piece, in particular, is a trip,” Kendrick said.
As teased in the Into the Woods trailer, the film version of Sondheim’s Broadway hit from director Rob Marshall (Chicago) tells the tell of what would happen if many of the Grimm Fairy Tale characters all were gallivanting, well, Into the Woods. It features Kendrick as Cinderella, Blunt as the Baker's Wife, as well as Johnny Depp as the Big Bad Wolf and Meryl Streep as The Witch.
“I wanted to be Little Red from the time that I first saw it, and was thoroughly disappointed that an actual child stole the role right from under me, being young and whatever,” Kendrick said and laughed.
For her, appearing in a musical was also another opportunity to creatively stretch her wings. “We all just always want to do something different, whether it’s a different genre or a different kind of character. Everybody gets bored easily, so I would imagine that, for anybody who’s ever even once sung in the shower, being in a musical is probably on the list.”
“I’m from England, where we play down most of the things that we can do,” Blunt said about her singing abilities.
“How do I feel about it now? Probably feel the same. I don’t think I’m the best singer in the world, for sure, but I loved doing it. I’ve always enjoyed singing. I find it joyous. This music gave you such space and allowed for you to be an actor within it. You didn’t have to hit a high-C perfectly. You didn’t have sing live perfectly. It allowed for these songs to be an extension of the character. They were emotionally so challenging and complex. I think we were all encouraged to focus more on making them conversational and making the audience want to listen. I’ll always find it tough, singing in front of people.”
For Blunt and Kendrick, one of the real joys of being in Into the Woods is that they have now added a Disney movie to their resume.
“I grew up watching all of the Disney movies. I remember the first Disney movies I had were Robin Hood and The Sword in the Stone. My sister and I got one each for Christmas, and we watched them 55 times. They were so good. So, I would say, for nostalgic reasons, those two were my favorites because they were my first experience with watching Disney movies,” Blunt said.
For Kendrick, her experience with Disney movies is an interesting one, especially since she plays Cinderella in Into the Woods.
“Cinderella, the cartoon, scared the (expletive) out of me, when I was a kid," she said and laughed. "When the stepsisters rip her dress apart, that was really horrifying. I identified most with Gus, the fat mouse.”
But what was her favorite? “’The Little Mermaid was a big one for me,” she admitted.
“My parents got the VHS for me, when I was a kid, for my birthday one year. I didn’t really understand that anybody could get a VHS. I thought there were probably a hundred in the whole world, and I lost my mind. I was like, ‘It’s too much! You’ve done too much! I can’t accept it!’ That was a big day for me.”
After the announcement yesterday that Justin Lin will direct Star Trek 3, today Paramount has announced when fans can see it.
As expected the film will arrive in 2016 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the world created by Gene Roddenberry.
Fans of Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness can expect to witness Star Trek 3 (we suspect it will have a different title pretty darn soon) on July 8, 2016.
Chris Pine will return as Captain Kirk, Zachary Quinto is back as Spock with Anton Yelchin, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, Zoe Saldana and John Cho all reprising their roles as members of the Starship Enterprise.
While we wait for more news on this franchise, be sure to watch Star Trek online and see how it all got started (at least J.J. Abrams’ version of it!).
The Star Trek franchise is one of the most enduring (50 years!). Here are a few other that we adore...
The big announcement was made by Sony that The Interview will hit theaters Christmas day. Now the question is… which theaters?
We’ve got a full list of the venues that are showing the Seth Rogen and James Franco international political farce that follows a couple of journalists as they head to North Korea to interview their dictator, Kim Jong Un. Sure, the CIA shows up and asks the pair to “take him out,” as seen in that “In Franco & Rogen We Trust” The Interview trailer! You know, the plot line that caused this entire messy situation in the first place!
Back to actually seeing the film that has become topic “A” for the planet -- including having President Obama chime in on it.
Check out our The Interview review and then go see it in the following theaters.
The Edge 12, Birmingham
Harkins Theatres, Phoenix
Loft Cinema, Tuscon
The Valley Art, Tempe
Riverdale 10, Little Rock
Agoura Hills Stadium 8, Agoura Hills
Cinefamily, Los Angeles
Cinémas Palme D’Or, Coachella Valley
Commerce 14, City of Commerce
Crest Westwood, Los Angeles
East Hills Mall, Bakersfield
Foothill Cinema Stadium 10, Azusa
Fontana 8, Fontana
Granada Hills 9, Granada Hills
Janss Marketplace 9, Thousand Oaks
Jurupa 14, Jurupa
Los Feliz 3, Los Angeles
Mission Grove Theaters, Riverside
Laemmle’s North Hollywood 7, Los Angeles (starting Dec. 31)
Perris 10, Perris
Santa Paula 7, Santa Paula
Sterling 6, San Bernardino
Van Nuys Plant 16, Van Nuys
UltraLuxe Anaheim Cinemas in Gardenwalk, Anaheim
University Village 10, Riverside
Westminster 10, Westminster
Lyric Cinema Cafe, Ft. Collins
Penn Cinemas Riverfront, Wilmington
Rehoboth Beach’s Movies at Midway, Lewes
Westown Movies, Middletown
Sun-Ray Cinema, Jacksonville
Swap-Shop Drive-In, Ft. Lauderdale
Plaza Theater, Atlanta
Hollywood Blvd. Cinemas, Woodridge
Art Theater Co-Op, Champaign (beginning 1/2)
Jasper 8 Theatres, Jasper
Maiden Alley Cinema, Paducah
Chalmette Movies, Chalmette
The Robinson Film Center, Shreveport
Eastpoint Center 10, Baltimore
The Bijou, Traverse City
State Theatre, Ann Arbor
St. Anthony Main Theatre, Minneapolis
The Film Society of Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minneapolis
Alamo Main Street, Kansas City
Chase Park Plaza, St. Louis
MX Movies, St. Louis
Cinema Arts Centre, Huntington
Island Cinemas, Mastic
Palace Pointe, Roxboro
Fargo Theatre, Fargo
Esquire Theater, Cincinnati
Gateway Film Center, Columbus
Tower City Cinemas, Cleveland
Circle Cinema, Tulsa
Fox Theatre, Dallas
Southside Works Cinema, Pittsburgh
Cable Car Cinema and Cafe
Terrace Theatre, Charleston
The Nickelodeon, Columbia (starting 12/26)
Belcourt Theatre, Nashville
Franklin Theatre, Franklin
Alamo Lakeline, Austin
Alamo Slaughter, Austin
Alamo South Lamar, Austin
Alamo Ritz, Austin
Alamo Vintage Park, Houston
Alamo Mason Park, Katy
Alamo Marketplace, New Braunfels
Alamo Park North, San Antonio
Alamo Westlakes, San Antonio
City Base Cinema, San Antonio
Look Cinemas, Dallas
Brewvies Cinemas Pub, Salt Lake City
Megaplex Theatres, South Jordan
Merril’s Roxy, Burlington
Alamo Loudoun, Ashburn
Ark Lodge Cinemas, Seattle
Fon du Lac Theatre, Fon du Lac
Grand Cinema Theaters, New London
It is that time of year where us in the movie journalism business come up with our best, worst and variations on those themes.
Then, there’s the one that focuses on the talent that puts those butts in the seats… the actors and actresses. Don’t miss our 19 Biggest Breakout Performances of the Year and maybe, just maybe, those people can avoid being on the annual list that Forbes just released as their career progresses!
That’s right, ladies and gentlemen -- it’s time for the 10 most overpaid actors in Hollywood!
Now, how exactly does Forbes come up with this annual list? Well, it’s quite simple actually. They calculate how much a star’s movies bring in to the studio’s coffers, versus how much they got paid.
But, what is interesting -- and we have to point out -- is many of these stars have made big movies in the last couple of years.
Why are they on this list?
Because they get back-end deals where they received a percentage of the profits, therefore they cost the studio more money than just the salary. For example, watch Gravity online. The headliner of that flick certainly helped it become a hit. But, her price tag and back-end deal was so huge… she landed on the Forbes list.
Honestly, the studios never mind paying out those kinds of checks. It means that the movies did so ridiculously well that they can afford these “bonuses.”
So... who is number one?
Selma may be the story of Martin Luther King, Jr. and his journey from Nobel Laureate to the man who pushed President Johnson to enact the Voting Rights Act. But, we found it just as stirring in terms of serving as a template for how one launches social action to tackle today’s tough issues that divide us. It still is very much a reflection of a monumental moment in our history and the extraordinary human being who changed the world.
David Oyelowo (Interstellar) stars as King and his performance is nothing short of a perfect storm of emotion, power, purpose and subdued righteousness. As director Ava DuVernay’s Selma begins, he is in Norway with his wife Coretta (Carmen Ejogo) accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, largely for his march on Washington and the "I Have a Dream" speech.
He is struggling and it is not just his necktie that vexes him. King is wondering how this will play back home. As millions wrestle with poverty, racism and death, here King is in a fancy tuxedo accepting a prize.
But DuVernay and her screenwriter Paul Webb establish in those initial moments that, despite how it appears, there is no time where a microphone and an audience are present that is a wasted opportunity to further the cause. And then -- there’s the God-given talent that is King and his oratory skills. Nobody since and few before could deliver a message with the kind of passion, historical framing, biblical tinge and call to action as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He utilizes all those in his Peace Prize winning speech. And our journey to Selma begins.
Segregation has been legally (if not socially) abolished. As we see in the Selma trailer, for women such as Annie Lee Cooper (Oprah Winfrey, who also produced the film), the “legal” brick walls to voting are massive and impenetrable. If they can’t vote, these disenfranchised cannot instill change in their daily lives. It’s that simple.
King repeatedly impresses that point on President Johnson (an outstanding Tom Wilkinson) during several scenes that are simply riveting between the two. Johnson has his agenda and King’s Voting Rights law is not on it. With no other option left on the table, King promises a march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama where attention will be brought to the issue of voting rights and how real change cannot be achieved without it.
There is a systematic destroying of the black people and nothing will change, even with the Civil Rights Law, without voting laws being altered. King knows it and lives are being lost until a wrong is righted.
Selma captures all that went into that iconic march and so much more. There’s a spirit and an urgency that comes through the story that is as resonant today as it was back in the mid-1960s. With all the events that have made headlines in 2014 involving race relations and the struggle of the African American community, even with a black president, the effort for true equality continues.
Our Selma review finds that watching the film is not only inspiring because of its ability to capture a moment in history when the fear of change was real and the terror of standing up for those rights was palpable, but it truly gets to the heart of who these real human beings were who lived it.
Above all else, know this: Change is never easy and it is most certainly never peaceful. But, all sides don’t have to be violent -- and that is the most supreme of lessons from King, and from Selma.
The international trailer for the comedy farce Mortdecai has been released and trust us, you have never seen Johnny Depp like this before. And that is a very good thing, as we think Depp is at his best when he’s portraying characters that are truly out there.
Depp plays an international art dealer turned international spy who must do his part to retrieve a priceless painting before it lands in the wrong hands and is used to fund something nefarious.
Mortdecai also stars Gwyneth Paltrow as Mortdecai’s wife, Paul Bettany (soon to be seen as The Vision in Avengers: Age of Ultron) as his hired muscle, Ewan McGregor as the UK government man who sends him on his mission and Olivia Munn as an American woman sent to tempt him and get him to stray from his marriage and his mission.
Look for Mortdecai to land in cinemas January 23, 2015.
In a fantastic turn of events, Sony changed their mind yesterday and decided to release The Interview in over 200 theaters on Christmas Day.
We’ve got a list of theaters showing The Interview, but if you want to witness the James Franco and Seth Rogen political farce right now, you can see it right here!
We can also see why Sony is releasing it in theaters.
There is something incredibly joyous about watching a comedy with a huge crowd of people. And especially one that has caused such an international incident that every person had an opinion on, and now we’re all finally “allowed” to see it.
The Interview has become a huge part of the national conversation in the last several weeks and now you can experience it and add your two cents to the discussion.
Louis Zamperini lived the most extraordinary of lives and it is told in director Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken. What is astonishing is any one part of his experiences could have been an inspirational tale for millions to be uplifted by. Jolie is the perfect filmmaker to capture Zamperini’s spirit and story and bring it to the silver screen.
Unbroken is based on the bestselling book by Laura Hillenbrand (Seabiscuit) and in a stroke of genius, the screenplay was penned by Ethan and Joel Coen -- yup, the Coen brothers! The film chronicles Zamperini’s life by centering the story on his service in World War II. As seen in the Unbroken trailer, he is on a rescue mission high above the Pacific when his plane crashes. He is one of few survivors who try to make a go at it in the flimsiest of life rafts.
We cut back to his humble and troubled beginnings. Zamperini was on a path that would have ended with him in jail or dead. His brother pushes him to start running, and his first path to greatness commences. He would go to Berlin and win a gold medal in the Olympics and inspire the nation (for the first time).
Jolie expertly moves back and forth between her present (the war) and his past with efficient ease. Zamperini would spend 47 days in a life raft, barely clinging to survival. He would then be rescued… by the Japanese and then spend years in a prisoner of war camp. See, there are two other movies there. There is the raft experience and also surviving the brutality of being the subject of the ire of the head guard (nicknamed The Bird), who seeks to make an example out of him because of his celebrity status. It is all in an effort to quell the rest of the prisoners.
The Coens and Jolie masterfully package his life in a two-hour film that had to be the largest of challenges. How do you capsulize someone’s life into a movie? That question has daunted more experienced directors who have tried and failed in the most difficult of film genres, the biopic. By criss-crossing through time, filmmakers remind us of all that has made Zamperini the man he is. There is a reason he is able to survive and triumph and it is because of everything that came before.
Jolie struck gold with the casting of Jack O’Connell. The entire movie seriously rests on his shoulders and if the actor charged with this iconic role faltered in any way, the movie itself would fail.
O’Connell is astounding and he traverses the entire spectrum of emotion in the human palette. It is clear the actor has a gift and with the aid of his gifted director (who knows a thing or two about the craft) they collectively bring something truly special to the screen that is sure to inspire generations to come as there is nothing more permanent in popular culture as the medium of film.
Our only issue with the film, and it is slight, our Unbroken review has to report, is that the power potential is not quite met. But, that is understandable. As we stated prior, there are really three potentially riveting movies here. There is almost too much story to tell, but the Coens and Jolie do their best to bring the most compelling and plot-driving moments of a life full of highlights to the screen.
What works in the long form of a book, in this case by Hillenbrand, is always a tough task to bring to the screen -- ask any filmmaker who has undertaken the often thankless assignment. We can promise though, that by the time those final credits roll, your inspiration tank will be as full as it can be and likely to stay there for some time.
When Marvel announced its plans through 2019 there were several things that stood out. Sure, Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther was huge. But, the reveal that a Captain Marvel movie was coming was utterly shocking.
Marvel was going to release their first ever female solo superhero movie in its esteemed and blockbuster history.
Immediately casting rumors went into high gear. Who would play her? Who could play her? Who would want to play her?
When we caught up with Emily Blunt for Into the Woods, she was asked about the rumors that she was in the lead to make history and be Captain Marvel.
“It’s funny ‘cause I’m hearing this Captain Marvel thing from a lot of people. I have no official offer, whatsoever. No one’s called. I don’t know where the hell it’s come from, in all honesty,” Blunt said.
The actress reported that whether she tackles a superhero movie or not, the reasons why she would say yes are exactly the same for any other project she signs on for.
“For me, I just think that the part has gotta be awesome. I just want to play great parts, and it’s sometimes hard to find within those big superhero movies. The female parts are not usually great, but recently, they’ve been better. I don’t know. It has to be the right thing.”
When you watch Edge of Tomorrow online, you see Blunt riveting and kicking ass. We, for one, think she would be fantastic. Time will tell…
Who else could be Captain Marvel? Check out our thoughts in the slideshow below.
Who would you like to see as Captain Marvel? Vote now!
How does a film that chronicles the true, history-making military sniper manage to hit more emotional marks correctly than action scenes? That is because American Sniper has the talented trifecta of director Clint Eastwood and Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle and Sienna Miller as his wife, Taya.
Kyle was the U.S. Navy SEAL who is credited with more kills than any other sniper in U.S. military history. Kyle did four tours in Iraq and compiled over 160 kills of enemy troops that most likely saved a hundred times more lives than he took. Eastwood chooses to balance his film by showing a war on two fronts -- the decimated urban battlefields of the Middle Eastern country and the disturbing war that every veteran experienced trying to meld back into society at home.
As teased in the American Sniper trailer, we meet Kyle as a man who wants nothing more than to be a cowboy. He is a true Texan, from his upbringing hunting with his father to his adoration of country music and riding bulls. Then, watching TV one night, he sees images of the U.S. Embassy bombings in Africa and is motivated to join the service. He finds himself in Navy SEAL training and as it turns out, those hunting skills come in handy as it becomes immediately clear that Kyle is an incredibly talented marksman.
Then 9/11 happens and as he and his wife watch their TV in horror, he realizes that what he is fighting for could never be so important. We won’t bother delving into the issue we immediately have in that Kyle fought in four tours of Iraq, not exactly the country responsible for the September 11 attacks.
But Eastwood and Cooper paint Kyle as a man who is all about duty. And that complicates things when he is back on the home front. Taya often states that even though Chris is home, she feels that he’s “not there.” And frankly, he isn’t. These moments paint the true sacrifice our soldiers make in that American Sniper could also be seen as a study in PTSD and how to handle it.
Eastwood recovers as a director after his mediocre work on Jersey Boys. But, American Sniper is still far from his best. It does a lot well, but only a few things are truly great. We get the sense that Kyle is a true patriot and an American hero. But other than showing us why, we never truly understand the meaning of the reasons that this person is to be saluted for what he did.
The real reason to see the film, our American Sniper review can report, is Cooper.
He completely transforms himself -- physically and emotionally. We’ve never seen him so bulked up and yet so weak on the inside. One can imagine that pulling the trigger 160 times and being responsible for the deaths of fellow humans would weigh on someone -- even if by doing so other Americans are still alive.
In those moments where he is lining up his sights on his target, Cooper says so much with his face -- it is astounding. The man has come a long way as an actor and if American Sniper is his next Oscar nomination (which we think it will be), it is more than deserved. But we feel that Cooper’s best work is (scarily) still ahead of him.
Another thing that sets American Sniper off course is two thirds through the war portion of the film Cooper’s Kyle decides he feels he can do more on the ground than laying on some rooftop picking off the enemy. He is a trained SEAL after all. Yet, this is where the film seems to go off the rails a bit. The film is called American Sniper, after all. Let’s fully tell that guy’s story.
Stephen Sondheim is not the easiest of composers to bring to life on the silver screen. His Broadway work is stunning and rich and where Tim Burton was perfect for Sweeney Todd, the living legend lucked out again with the hiring of Rob Marshall (Chicago) to helm the movie version of his iconic Into the Woods.
Sondheim has won an astounding seven Tony Awards because he crafts musical moments that seem to come from out of this world. His Into the Woods is a meshing of some of our favorite Grimm fairy tales through a musical menagerie. There’s Jack (Daniel Huttlestone) and the Beanstalk, Cinderella (Anna Kendrick) and Prince Charming (Chris Pine), Little Red Riding Hood (Lilla Crawford) and the Big Bad Wolf (Johnny Depp).
But centering our story are two characters that Sondheim has added to the Grimm world -- the Baker (James Corden) and His Wife (Emily Blunt). As our film begins, the evil witch (Meryl Streep) lets them know that if they want to have a child, they must break a curse that was put upon his family years before. Simply bring the witch a few items (from the other Grimm characters) and the spell will be broken and a child will arrive to the happy couple. They only have three nights to do it.
Marshall has always had a penchant for rhythmic and musical direction, even in his non-musical movies. But with Chicago he showed why he may be the premier helmer when it comes to taking a Broadway show and giving it the Hollywood treatment. He has a sense of musicality that is uncanny and it is as if he and Sondheim are kindred spirits.
Is Into the Woods Best Picture Oscar good like Chicago was? Not quite, but that does not mean that it doesn’t manage to hit the high notes.
The stand-out in this film, as usual, is Streep. She is an evil witch that all Grimm fairy tale witches wish they could be. She is selfishly dastardly and manages to have all of these players firmly in her grasp. Yet, she is quite maternal in her scenes with Rapunzel (no spoilers here as to how those two are connected!). When she sings, it is as if an angel has dropped from heaven.
We first saw her impeccable musical talents in Mamma Mia. As many of us know who have covered her for years, musical theater was her training ground and it is only recently that she has returned to using her singing voice as part of her priceless and Academy Award-winning characterizations.
Kendrick, who sings her heart out when you watch Pitch Perfect online, is a breath of fresh air as Cinderella. This is a character that could have been a cardboard cut-out of all those who have come before. Yet, she manages to breathe some seriously new angles into the legendary role.
The subject of her fancy, Prince Charming, is a complete and utter magical surprise. Pine can sing (and dance) and puts on a show that had to make Sondheim truly proud. If you are a Hollywood producer putting together a musical, get Pine in it… now!
Depp makes a nice wolf in a blink and you’ll miss him role, but his mere presence speaks volumes as to how important this film is and why so many talented people turned out for Marshall and Sondheim.
Also, the Grimm fairy tales are seriously grim to say the least. We truly appreciate Sondheim for not shedding sunlight on these stories where there is only darkness and Marshall takes that bold move and runs with it, giving Into the Woods a true Grimm-sian feel!
The soundtrack features a bevy of classic Sondheim tunes from the title track (which commences our movie) to Stay With Me (which as sang by Streep will bring even the most hardened to tears) and Giants in the Sky.
Our Into the Woods review finds that each musical moment is even more precious than the last and what truly sets Sondheim apart, and it is evident in the screen version of Into the Woods, is how his lyrics tend to feel like they’re about as rich as a musical can possess. It is as if Aaron Sorkin was penning songs. His characters are constantly moving -- singing a mile a minute at times and it requires a lot of his audience. You have to pay attention.
It doesn’t pack the wallop that Marshall’s Chicago did, but then again, it doesn’t have to. This is a different story taking place in an entirely different world and those expecting a similar experience will likely be disappointed. But for musical theater enthusiasts, we could not recommend more that you head Into the Woods.
Everybody knows those Big Eyes paintings that are some of the most highly successful and most reproduced pieces of art ever. But what you might not know is that Margaret Keane was not originally the person credited with painting them. That journey from veiled lie to empowering truth is captured in Tim Burton’s Big Eyes.
It is Burton’s best work in years and it is probably because it is a subject matter with which he feels innately close to.
As teased in the Big Eyes trailer, Margaret (Amy Adams) was a single mother who recently left an abusive relationship. She would land in San Francisco and try to make a living selling her unique paintings featuring characters with the most extraordinary bountiful eyes. It is there that she would meet Walter Keane (Christoph Waltz), a man who fancies himself quite the artist as well.
They would fall in love and get married quite soon after meeting. This is the '50s and as Margaret says, this is not a world where women who are divorced get ahead. She has a daughter to think about and besides, Walter is charming, caring and can provide for her and her daughter.
When he strikes a deal to showcase their paintings in a local jazz club, something happens (fate is a funny thing) and suddenly everybody and their mother wants a copy of Margaret’s work. The only issue, Walter has claimed that they’re all his and once they become an international phenomenon, Margaret goes along with it because of the enormity of their wealth, and also, the enormity of the lie.
The Keane story would become one of the biggest scandals to rock the art world. When she sued to get her name back on the paintings (and thus the royalties that came with it), it was front page news a half century ago.
That’s what makes Burton’s latest film so compelling. We know those paintings and we know Margaret Keane, but we had no idea what Margaret had to go through to make sure a right triumphed over a wrong.
Burton paints a picture himself that is unlike any other Burton film. The art of Margaret is, in many ways, very Burton-esque. So, there is no need for the director to do anything out of the ordinary with characterization or production design. The story can speak for itself and yet it is still very much a Tim Burton movie.
And don’t get us started on the score by Danny Elfman. It is unlike anything he has done prior either!
Adams is incredible, although it is not her best role we’ve seen. She is perfect for Margaret, and manages to bring the struggle of a generation of women to life beautifully and with honor. Waltz is able to play the bad guy (which he does so well -- he’ll be in the new Bond movie Spectre as such), but with it dialed back quite a bit in Burton's movie. This is a case where his “villain” bears that title in actions only.
Our Big Eyes review finds that we cannot wait to see Burton make more movies like this. It so has his hand prints all over it, but does not hit you over the head with it.