ENJOY THE SHOW
As a die-hard movie lover, I live for the kind of opening weekends where the only movies hitting theaters are high quality, worth-seeing works of art. In all truth, it's very rare we get a weekend that can be unanimously labeled as one of the best opening weekends of the year with nothing but excellent movies opening. In 2014, this is it, this is that weekend. Where you must find a way—find the money, find the time—to make it to your local cinema to see one of, if not all of, this weekend's new releases. Two of the best films of 2014 open today in America: Richard Linklater's Boyhood and Matt Reeves' Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. And I really, truly mean it when I say they're two of the best of the year - both are innovative, masterful movies.
Whoa. Time to geek out. So, Christopher Nolan just wrote a piece for the Wall Street Journal, about the future of cinema. And it's kind of brilliant, but of course we all expected that. The title online explains: "Christopher Nolan: Films of the Future Will Still Draw People to Theaters", with the subtitle "When Movies Can Look or Sound Like Anything, Says the 'Dark Knight' Director, Extraordinary Work Will Emerge". Now, Nolan is in the midst of finishing work on Interstellar, his sci-fi epic which will arrive in theaters this November. He makes rather some bold comments about the state of the industry. "We moan about intrusive moviegoers, but most of us feel a pang of disappointment when we find ourselves in an empty theater." Yep.
It's time to recline. There's a big story in the Wall Street Journal this week highlighting plans from AMC Entertainment to install more recliner seating in some theaters, while taking out the old crappy style seats in the process of upgrading. The article defends some flack from external criticism about how removing seats just doesn't "make sense" but goes on to explain, with quotes from AMC's CEO Gerry Lopez, that they believe it will be better off in the long run if they put in these recliner seats. Yes, they will eventually charge more for them (but not right at first), and they won't be in NY or LA, but it's still cool to see this happening.
Now that you've seen it, what did you think? "We control the engine, we control the world." It is finally in theaters - uncut, brutal, brilliant! Radius-TWC has starting showing Bong Joon-ho's long-awaited sci-fi movie Snowpiercer, set entirely on a train traveling around a frozen world, in select theaters around the US (full list here). Chris Evans leads an eclectic but enriching ensemble cast including Song Kang-ho, Ko Ah-sung, John Hurt, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, Ewen Bremner, Octavia Spencer, Alison Pill and Ed Harris. So how is it? Does it live up to the hype? Is it truly a masterpiece? Are other characters given enough time? If you've seen it, leave a comment with your thoughts on Bong Joon-ho's Snowpiercer.
Now that you've seen it, what did you think? Prepare for extinction. Now playing everywhere is Michael Bay's next robot action sequel Transformers: Age of Extinction, giving him a fresh start after Pain & Gain. There's no Shia, instead it stars Mark Wahlberg, who is the father of a dashing young teen played by Nicola Peltz, who has a boyfriend played by Jack Reynor. Yea, it's all a bit complicated, and there's tons of big robots, plus wacky Stanley Tucci, no Turturro but T.J. Miller as comic relief, plus Kelsey Grammer in there and John Goodman as the Autobot Hound. Of course, Optimus is back. Is it fun at all? Good/bad? If you've seen it, leave a comment with your thoughts on Bay's TF4: Age of Extinction.
Now that you've seen it, what did you think? Tonight we hosted a special screening of Mike Cahill's new film I Origins at the Crosby Street Hotel in New York City, partnered with Disqus and presented thanks to Fox Searchlight. Following completion of the screening, we're opening up discussion regarding the events that unfold in it, and general thoughts on the film. I Origins stars Michael Pitt, Astrid Bergès-Frisbey & Brit Marling in a story that could fundamentally change society as we know it. Is it really that powerful? Now that you've seen it, leave a comment below with your thoughts on Mike Cahill's I Origins.
Today marks the 25th anniversary of the release of Tim Burton's Batman. Let's take a look back all the way to the summer of 1989 when the superhero genre saw a resurgence and the Dark Knight was reborn again for a new generation of moviegoers. Batman came out on June 23rd, 1989 - a month after I was born. As such, Burton's Batman was my cinematic introduction to the character. His take on Batman is special to me mostly because of his approach to the character. Michael Keaton doesn't look like a typical superhero, he looks like an average guy. The great appeal of Burton's take on the character is that anyone can be Batman.
With director Zack Snyder currently shooting Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, comic book fans are anxious to see what kind of DC Comics universe this leads to on the big screen. A potential leak of Warner Bros. timeline plans for franchises hitting the big screen following the 2016 sequel just showed up, and along with that came another rumor that a standalone film following Ben Affleck as The Caped Crusader might pop up in 2019. And while Batman is expected to be part of Justice League, there's obviously no indication of what a standalone Batman film would be like outside of the superhero ensemble. But one element hasn't been discussed much when it comes to all these plans: Batman's trusty sidekick Robin.
Here they are. Meet the directors of the next three Star Wars movies, after J.J. Abrams finishes up Star Wars: Episode VII. At first it was impossible to believe that they were even making another three Star Wars movies, continuing the original trilogy. Then it was even crazier to hear Lucasfilm is planning stand-alone movies in the Star Wars universe to bring us one every year. That will be demanding, and no one director would be able to accomplish that alone. But it gets even wilder when we learn it's these three filmmakers who have landed the coveted, impossible-to-get job of directing new Star Wars movies. Dream come true? Yes. So who are they? Why did they choose them? Meet Josh Trank, Gareth Edwards, Rian Johnson.
With the rumored timeline of DC Comics releases from Warner Bros. surfacing recently, you might have noticed that the studio didn't have any additional plans for Batman beyond his appearance in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and the assembly of heroes in Justice League. However, it seems like their plan may be just beyond as far as that rumored timeline went. If a new rumor from Latino Review is true (and we probably won't know the real story for years, so take all of this with a grain of salt for the time being), then the studio apparently has their eye on releasing the first new standalone Batman movie starring Ben Affleck in 2019. That's what they're saying. Oh, and it will reportedly simply be titled The Batman.
Now that you've seen it, what did you think? Finally, our friends Toothless and Hiccup are back! After a quick four years, DreamWorks Animation returns with How to Train Your Dragon 2, the sequel to the surprise modern classic hit from DWA, How to Train Your Dragon. Jay Baruchel provides the voice for Hiccup, a young Viking who befriends a dragon named Toothless. In this sequel, the Vikings are friends but encounter more foes of dragons as well as some mysterious new friends along the way. Is it better than the first wonderful movie? Could it be that good? Or does it have sequel problems, without as much care as the first one? Once you've seen it, leave a comment with your thoughts on DWA's How to Train Your Dragon 2.
Now that you've seen it, what did you think? They're not 21 anymore. Now showing in theaters is an action comedy sequel to one of the best modern action comedies, 21 Jump Street, an updated big screen take on the 80s TV series. Directors Phil Lord & Chris Miller from the first one take on this sequel, bringing back Channing Tatum & Jonah Hill as Schmidt & Jenko, two undercover cops assigned to investigate a drug ring at a college. There they meet Amber Stevens, Peter Stormare, Wyatt Russell, Jillian Bell and the Lucas Twins, getting into lots and lots of trouble, as expected. How is it? Better than the first? Or no way! If you've seen it, leave a comment below with your own thoughts on Lord & Miller's 22 Jump Street.
Now that you've seen it, what did you think? Live. Die. Repeat. Now in theaters everywhere is Doug Liman's adaptation of All You Need is Kill, retitled Edge of Tomorrow, a futuristic action sci-fi about a soldier stuck in a time loop who repeats every invasion day until he can figure out how to stop them. Tom Cruise stars as Cage, with Emily Blunt as Rita, the "Full Metal Bitch", and a supporting cast including Bill Paxton, Kick Gurry, Tony Way, Charlotte Riley, Noah Taylor, Franz Drameh. Is it awesome? Best sci-fi all year so far? Once you've seen it, leave a comment with your thoughts on Edge of Tomorrow.
Now that you've seen it, what did you think? "From the guy who brought you Ted." Is it anywhere near as good as Ted? Now playing in theaters is the latest big screen comedy from Seth MacFarlane, who writes, directs and stars in A Million Ways to Die in the West, a parody on westerns. Joining him in the wild west is an excellent cast featuring Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, Giovanni Ribisi, Neil Patrick Harris, Sarah Silverman and Liam Neeson. So how is it? Best comedy of the summer or waste of time? If you've seen it, leave a comment with your own thoughts on A Million Ways to Die in the West.