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Showing posts from September, 2013

Review: Rush

Formula 1 racing may not seem like something that would be Ron Howard's forte, but Howard originally cut his teeth directing features under Roger Corman on flicks like Grand Theft Auto. It is only recently that Howard has transitioned into Oscar fare like Frost/Nixon, Cinderella Man, A Beautiful Mind, but to discount his excellent genre work in The Missing and Apollo 13 would be a mistake.

When Howard is on, he's on (Best Director winner in 2002) and Rush is the director at his prime.

Formula 1 racing features 25 drivers, two of which die each season. The true story doesn't need embellishing.

Chris Hemsworth trades in a cape and hammer for a racing helmet in Ron Howard's true story of the 1970s rivalry between rivals James Hunt and Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl). The story details the golden age of Formula 1 racing in the 1970s in which both James Hunt and Niki Lauda risked everything (including their lives) to become world champion in the world's most dangerous sport.

Review: Prisoners

There is nothing more horrifying than having your child being taken from you. It's not just the loss of your child, but the destruction of family and the promise of the future. Few people come back whole from the experience and others wish it was them taken instead.

The recent events involving Ariel Castro sent a chill down the spines of parents everywhere and director Denis Villeneuve taps into this primal fear for his follow-up feature to 2011's Best Foreign feature nominee, Incendies. Few crimes motivate such rage and vigilante justice like child abduction and where Prisoners will tread, few may make the journey without finding darkness within themselves.

During a Thanksgiving get together between two families, a pleasant dinner shared between friends with music and football on in the background. This happy mood (the last of the film's 153 minute runtime) pocket is punctured when the unthinkable happens, both the Anna Dover and Joy Birch go missing. Keller Dover (Hugh …

Nebraska Trailer

Alexander Payne's Nebraska has debuted to good worth of mouth across the festival circuit, and today marks the first trailer for all audiences.

"After receiving a sweepstakes letter in the mail, a cantankerous father (Bruce Dern) thinks he’s struck it rich, and wrangles his son (Will Forte) into taking a road trip to claim the fortune.  Shot in black and white across four states, Nebraska tells the stories of family life in the heartland of America."

Ch Ch Ch Changes

Today marks a new day for me, I start as critics editor over at Movie Mezzanineand while this venture and my time at GotchaMovies may take some time away from NMPF, I assure everyone reading that it will be a move for the best.
Sam Fragoso and Tom Clift have been putting together a veritable who's who over at Movie Mezzanine, compiling not just great writers, but a buffet of film reviews, essays and festival coverage. It is a site worth reading (just ask the guys and gals over at The Dissolve) and if you haven't been, you can start by checking out my first post there.

It's quite safe to say that I feel a little overwhelmed by the majority of good writers there, but nothing worthwhile comes easy. Thank you all for reading and following me over the last five years.

Affleck's Batman "Tired and Weary"

Not much has been revealed about Ben Affleck's new interpretation for the upcoming Batman/Superman movie to be released in 2015, but Warner Brothers' CEO, Kevin Tsujihara, offered this tidbit to the media today.

Ben Affleck’s Batman will be “tired and weary and seasoned and been doing it for awhile,” according to Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara.

Tsujihara added “We think it’s the perfect springboard for Batman and Superman. Ben is perfect for the vision Zack has for that character. The fact that you saw such a passionate response in the blogosphere is really kind of a testament to the love that people have for this character.”

Pairing off a world-weary, aged Batman against an up and coming Superman (Henry Cavill) could create an interesting dynamic, especially when it comes to combat. It sounds more and more that The Dark Knight Returns will be a key inspiration for how the Man of Steel sequel will go.

Review: Blue Jasmine

Ruthless tycoons have been a fixture in recent years with men like Bernie Madoff building corporate conglomerates with other people's money. Less seen in news coverage are the wives left behind after the arrests are made. Jasmine French serves as a challenge for Woody Allen and Cate Blanchett in basing a film around a woman who would be (rightfully) scorned by others and trying to make audiences see things from her perspective, make her feel real.

Jasmine, formerly Jeanette, lives in the lap of luxury after falling in love with Hal (Alec Baldwin) at Martha's Vineyard. Their story is a romantic one scored to "Blue Moon", as she tells it anyway. Jasmine doesn't know much of Hal's business, but she doesn't question when he presents her with papers to sign and lavish gifts. She seems set for life... until Hal winds up in prison on charges of fraud.

Jasmine sinks low and quickly after the money dries up. Left with no alternative, she moves to San Francisco wi…

2013 Fall/Winter Preview

The summer season is over and along with the changing of the leaves comes films where the third act isn't resolved by characters punching each other or a city being demolished. Studios shift from superhero origins to character studies, or message pieces that hit the sweet spot between pure entertainment and awards-bait.

This winter's offerings may not blow out your speakers or induce epilepsy, but they are thrilling in their own right.

All of these films feature A-list casts, acclaimed directors and choice scripts ranging from astronauts lost in space, a lawyer in over his head in the drug game, a corrupt Wall Street broker, a FBI sting of a New Jersey mayor, a runaway slave, and a man who chose to combat the pharmaceutical system.

Prisoners (Sept 20th)

When Keller Dover's (Hugh Jackman) daughter and her friend go missing, he takes matters into his own hands as the police pursue multiple leads and the pressure mounts. But just how far will a desperate father go to protect …

Best Movie Apps

There are about a hundred million apps available for your iPhone and other smartphones, but there are only about five that are truly deserving of your attention. For your consideration, the top five movie apps available on your phone.
Fandango Fandango is one of the best movie ticketing apps on App store that allows you to buy a tickets to any movie you want to see. Other useful features available by installing this app on your iPhone include movie trailers, clips, stills and exclusive interviews.
Movies by Flixster Flixster users can create their own lists of "must-see" movies coming soon to theaters. Watch full length trailers, catch movie showtimes, and read reviews. With reviews gathered from Rotten Tomatoes, you can pick the best movie to watch with your family or friends. 
Netflix Netflix iOS app lets you watch your favorite movies and TV shows on your iPhone or iPad. With Netflix, you can watch unlimited movies and TV shows at very low monthly subscription fee, browse y…

Hitmen Movies to Kill For

Films about assassins can sometimes be trite, but every once in a while a gem comes out. The best flicks that capture these professionals don't just feature killing machines, but fully-fleshed with motivations they keep all to themselves. These characters are fascinating with their natural charisma and yet merciless nature when dealing with others. Characters like Vincent (Tom Cruise) and Anton Chiguhr (Javier Bardem) are oddities in cinema, but their unique behavior makes for compelling viewing.

Below are ten of the best hitmen movies on Netflix and DVD.

Pulp Fiction

Jules and Vincent (Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta) are the most memorable characters from Quentin Tarantino's touchstone Pulp Fiction, and it comes with good cause. The two enforcers keep it all interesting while they chew the fat on such philosophical topics as French names for American fast food and t.v. pilots in between laying down the law. The dialogue pops, nods to old classics are weaved throughout ev…

In An Alternate Universe...

Casting is really an underrated art in filmmaking. A movie can have everything going for it; an ace director, wonderful cinematography, and a perfect script, but the wrong actor/actress for a part can wreck havoc on the film.

With all of the uproar surrounding the casting of leads in the upcoming Batman vs. Superman and Fifty Shades of Grey, let's consider what other fan favorties could have looked like with a few tweaks.

To think, in a different world...

Bill Murray dons the cowl and cape for Tim Burton's Batman.
Silver Linings Playbook stars Vince Vaughn and Zooey Deschanel.
Tom Selleck is the famed Dr. Indiana Jones.
Val Kilmer is the one Dirty Dancing.
Sean Penn contemplates "What Would Tyler Durden Do" in Fight Club.
Ellen Page trades in a hamburger phone for a Dragon Tattoo.
Will Smith takes the red pill in The Matrix.
O.J. Simpson is The Terminator.
Michelle Pfeiffer chases down Buffalo Bill in Silence of the Lambs.
Daniel Day-Lewis takes the floor with Uma Thu…

'True Detective' Trailer

Cary Fukunaga, director of Sin Nombre & Jane Eyre, has put something special together for HBO in 2014 and this looks like it could make the loss of Breaking Bad go a little bit easier.
True Detetctive stars Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey and looks like it could rival David Fincher's Zodiac for a tale of the long, cold road some officers have to walk before they can find peace. The look on Matthew McConaughey's face toward the end of the trailer suggests that some men may never find it at all.
True Detective hits HBO in January 2014.

New Stills from 'Foxcatcher'

Prior to Foxcatcher's debut at AFI Fest on November 8th, Sony Pictures Classics released two new photos from the upcoming Bennett Miller film starring Steve Carell, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo.

Foxcatcher depicts the insane, true story about the relationship between millionaire John duPont (Carell) and Olympic Wrestling Champion brothers, Mark and Dave Schultz. Mark (Tatum) sees a way out from the shadow of his more celebrated wrestling brother Dave (Ruffalo) and a life of poverty when he is summoned by eccentric multi-millionaire John du Pont (Carell) to move onto his estate and train for the 1988 Seoul Olympics.



The film also stars Sienna Miller, Vanessa Redgrave, and Anthony Michael Hall.

Foxcatcher hits theaters on December 20th.

For Your Consideration: James Franco

It is tradition in Hollywood to take out glossy, half-page ads in Variety and other trade papers to garner awards buzz. Actors and actresses are asked to be gracious and humble during that process, James Franco has other ideas.

To promote Franco's performances as Alien in Harmony Korine's Spring Breakers, A24 has put out a banner emblazoned with "CONSIDER THIS SH*T" in bold neon pink as Mr. Franco holds Oscar statues in eachhand. An A24 spokesperson said of the ad, "James Franco has created a character so indelible it deserves recognition. We are excited to be able to support it with a campaign and know the impact of Allen will last far past this awards season."

When prompted about the colorful language, the spokesperson responded, "We plan to create an awards campaign that is thematically consistent with the film itself."

Bold move, Franco. We'll see how the awards blogosphere responds.

Hayao Miyazaki to Retire from Directing

Not so great news comes our way from Venice today, reports are circulating that Hayao Miyazaki will be retiring from feature directing. The news was announced at the Venice Film Festival, where his latest film The Wind Rises is in competition. The statement regarding Miyazaki's retirement came from Studio Ghibli president Hoshino Koji instead of Miyazaki himself.

Seeing a legend of cinema go before he has to is always sad, but keep in mind that Miyazaki has said he would be retiring from directing once before, so this could prove to be premature. Couple that with the announcement specifically wording that he was retiring from directing and creating other works or producing features could still be in the cards.

The Wind Rises hits theatres September 28th.