Archive | May, 2011

**Trailer Time** The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, 50/50

31 May

If you were as captivated by the pairing of David Fincher’s direction and Trent Reznor’s score for The Social Network as we were, then you’re probably looking forward to the release of their next project together, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  An adaptation of a novel by the same name, The Girl with the Dragon tattoo is the first in a trilogy of stories written by Swedish novelist Steig Larsson.  Though Fincher’s release will be the first English adaptation of the novel, Niels Arden Oplev adapted the novels into a trilogy of Swedish films beginning in 2009.

The trailer for the film is just a teaser and doesn’t reveal much about the plot of the film, but Daniel Craig plays a journalist who is investigating the murder of a young girl and is aided by a female hacker named Lisbeth Salander (Rooney Mara), who also happens to have a dragon tattoo.  Stellan Skarsgard, Christopher Plummer, and Robin Wright co-star.  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is scheduled for release December 21, 2011.

The trailer is redband for brief nudity I assume, so it is NSFW.

Between all the blockbuster films Joseph Gordon-Levitt has been cast/appeared in recently (G.I. Joe, Inception, The Dark Knight Rises, Lincoln), it seems he still has kept his schedule open to make the indie comedies that we’ve grown to know him for.  His next release, 50/50, is just that and chronicles Gordon-Levitt’s character, Adam, as he discovers he has a cancerous tumor.  What follows is Adam’s attempt to come to terms with his situation while trying to beat the disease (or not allowing the disease to beat him).

Presumably by moving next to Kevin Spacey, selling him weed, and video taping his daughter.

Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Anjelica Huston round out the cast of this comedy.  50/50 is scheduled for release September 30, 2011.


Weekend Film Recommendation: Very Bad Things (1998)

28 May

If you can’t make it to the theater this weekend to see Todd Phillip’s anticipated follow-up The Hangover Part II, you can always enjoy a few hours at home with this week’s Weekend Film Recommendation – Very Bad Things.  Before Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galifianakis took on Las Vegas in the original Hangover, Christian Slater, Daniel Stern, Jeremy Piven, Leland Orser, and John Favreau had their own bachelor party, with much grislier results.  When a prostitute is accidentally killed during the festivities, an elaborate and off-the-cuff cover up leads to some pretty hilarious and disaster results.

Very Bad Things was Peter Berg’s (Friday Night Lights, The Kingdom, Hancock) directorial debut,and unless next year’s Battleship tops it, it will stand as Berg’s best comedy.

Take your son to see it while the wife and daughter do the dishes.

Very Bad Things, however, is very much a black comedy.  Rather than glorify the uninhibited behavior associated with bachelor parties, the events are parodied by pushing them to their moral extreme and sociopathic limits.  Then in Hitchcock-like fashion, one mistake is compounded by fear, and poor decisions until an unbelievable end, that leaves no one (not even the bride to be) unscaved.

Nasty, violent, twisted, and hilarious, Very Bad Things may leave you unsettled and feeling just as morally corrupt as the film’s leads for relishing in their disaster.  Each actor turns in a great performance, especially Daniel Stern’s turn as a paranoid and remorseful accomplice and Christian Slater as the morally devoid ringleader.  Even Cameron Diaz, whose brief appearances as Jon Favreau’s future bride, is believable as a selfish and obsessive narcissist.

Any film where I can praise Cameron Diaz deserves a thumbs up

Click Here to add Very Bad Things to your Netflix Instant Queue.

**Trailer Time** 2nd Muppets Teaser Trailer, The Descendants

27 May

Jason Segel, who if given the chance would probably be a muppet, continues to have fun with his new best friends. Last week, we saw the first teaser trailer for the muppets movie and it was a cleverly crafted set up. Now, Segel released the second teaser trailer for the anticipated return of these old friends, and he continues the onslaught of witty trailers, this time spoofing The Hangover teaser trailer. Who knows whether the movie will actually turn out to live up to what fans, young and old, want it to be. Even if it doesn’t, at least we’re having fun getting there.

Here you go:

The Descendants

Alexander Payne (Sideways, Election, About Schmidt) has a knack for understated and poignant comedy. It has been seven years since he has helmed a feature film, and he has been sorely missed. The trailer for his new film, The Descendants, just came out the other day, and it looks to carry the same tone as his previous projects. George Clooney stars as a father and land baron who is forced to re-connect with his daughters when his wife ends up in the hospital.


8 Potential Directors for Next Wolverine Film

26 May

Last year, fan boys who longed for a grittier X-Men film rejoiced to hear that Darren Aronofsky agreed to direct the next installment of the Wolverine series. However, after Aronofsky looked at the lengthy production schedule, he let loose a long whistle and said something along the lines of, “I have to go to the bathroom or something,” and never came back to the table. 20th Century Fox waited a couple of months, living in denial that it was actually over, and started looking for other directors.

Variety just released a list of eight potential candidates for the job, and it is pretty diverse: Doug Liman (Mr. and Mrs. Smith), Antoine Fuqua (Training Day), James Mangold (Knight and Day), Justin Lin (Fast Five), Mark Romanek (One Hour Photo), Gavin O’Connor (Warrior), Jose Padilha (Elite Squad 1/2), and Gary Shore (mainly a commercial director).

While none of them on the list would be as interesting to me as Aronofsky, there are certainly some solid picks. Fuqua might be the best pick out of the group, if the studio wants to go in a grittier direction. James Mangold, whose popcorn-actioner Knight and Day  is also matched by some stronger, more thoughtful flicks like 3:10 to Yuma and Walk the Line,  might be able to bring a mix of action and heart to the table as well. If Fox wanted to bring in Doug Liman or Justin Lin, it probably means the project would be lighter fare. Mark Romanek and Gary Shore are interesting picks, because their directorial work is far from blockbuster spectacles, but it would be intriguing what they could bring to the table.

What are your thoughts on these 8 candidates? Who do you want to see direct the new Wolverine film?

Little Miss Sunshine Team Reunites

25 May

Little Miss Sunshine was a sleeper hit in 2006 and garnered a Best Picture nomination for its stellar cast, superb script and perfect combination of understated comedy and drama. Behind a lot of that success was the directing team of Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Davis. Now Deadline is reporting that they are about to reunite for their first project in five years, a film entitled He Loves Me, which has the greenlight from Fox Searchlight studios. On top of that, they will bring back one of the breakout stars of Little Miss Sunshine, Paul Dano.

However, I consider this his "breakout" role.


Dano will star alongside his current girlfriend and script writer, Zoe Kazan, and Deadline is also saying that Jeff Bridges is another lead actor that they are trying to attract.

Not too much else is known about the film right now, but since I am a fan of Little Miss Sunshine, I am looking forward to seeing how the project develops in the coming months.

**Trailer Time** Green With Envy

24 May

Green With Envy

Every now and then there is a trailer that is just brilliant, and the new movie starring Jason Segel and Amy Adams is just that. Rarely do romantic comedy trailers get me laughing, or intrigued at all, but this one took the cake. I will not talk about it much further, but just watch:

Opening This Week (23 – 29 May, 2011)

24 May

Well, unsurprisingly Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides took home the box office booty this weekend with an impressive $90.1 million dollars. However, it doesn’t really end up a winner in comparison to other films in the Top Ten. First, the last installment of the series, At World’s End, raked in $113 million in its first weekend, and while that may not seem like a lot, if inflation was accounted for, that would be around $130 million today. So, the series is losing popularity in that regard, possibly because the reviews for this film were less than stellar (37% on RT). Bridesmaids, the second place finisher only brought in $21 million this weekend, which while not a stellar number, was only a 20% drop from its opening weekend, which is impressive for a comedy of its caliber. Fast Five finished in third with $10.6 million, continuing its strong run. If you recall, Fast Five opened last month with around $86 million in its first weekend, which while $4 million lower than On Stranger Tides,  wasn’t in 3D and sold more total tickets.

Anyway, all that was to say that while $90 million is a hefty chunk of change, in a lot of ways it was a disappointment. Here’s what we got on tap this week:

The Hangover Part II

Rated: R

Starring: Zach Galifianakis, Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Justin Bartha

Director: Todd Phillips

Synopsis from IMDB: Right after the bachelor party in Las Vegas, Phil, Stu, Alan, and Doug jet to Thailand for Stu’s wedding. Stu’s plan for a subdued pre-wedding brunch, however, goes seriously awry.


Chris’ Take: Pac mentioned in his Most Anticipated Summer Movies article that he and I were having a debate about whether or not this would be any good. Obviously, neither of us have seen it and it was all speculation, but our point of contention came from a article that compared the trailer for the first film and the trailer seen above. The article points out that they are almost exactly the same trailer, the jokes are just tweaked ever so slightly. While it is always good to have some sort of familiarity in a sequel, I really hope that the jokes don’t seem tired, and that having The Wolfpack back together feels like a fresh experience. Since you may notice that it didn’t make my Most Anticipated Summer Movies, my guess is that it will be the former.

Kung Fu Panda 2

Rated: PG

Starring: Jack Black, Angelina Jolie, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie

Director: Jennifer Yuh

Synopsis from IMDB: Po joins forces with a group of new kung-fu masters to take on an old enemy with a deadly new weapon.


Chris’ Take: I was not that impressed with the first Kung Fu Panda. It did have great animation, but the jokes seemed stale and relied too heavily on sight gags rather than a witty script. From watching the trailer for this film, I kind of get the same impression. A lot of people liked the first one, so if you did, this might be a good comedy alternative to the vulgarity in The Hangover Part II. Between Hangover and Kung Fu Panda 2, I am sure that Pirates will sink pretty significantly this weekend at the box office.

Limited Releases

The Tree of Life

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Jessica Chastain, Fiona Shaw

Director: Terrence Malick

Synopsis from IMDB: The story centers around a family with three boys in the 1950s. The eldest son witnesses the loss of innocence.


Chris’ Take: The Tree of Life just won the coveted Palme d’Or Award (top prize) at the Cannes Film Festival, but people’s enjoyment of this film will probably have to do with expectations. From what I’ve read, if you’re expecting a linear story, you will be disappointed, because Malick apparently took a very nebulous approach to this film, relying heavily on abstract visuals to convey the emotions in the dialogue. Obviously, critics seem to love this movie (89% on RT), and it was #3 on my Summer’s Most Anticipated List, but again, I would put out the disclaimer that this probably won’t be a movie that is going to provide a thrill a minute. Instead, it will probably be a film you have to appreciate as a whole when it is finished.

We Are the Night

Rated: Unrated

Starring: Karoline Herfurth, Nina Hoss, Jennifer Ulrich

Director: Dennis Gansel

Synopsis from RT: Dennis Gansel, responsible for the hit The Wave, explores nighttime in Berlin to find a sect of seductive lady vampires that hide out in the city’s alternative clubs and enjoy the luxury and pleasures their attained immortality provides them. A stylized vision of female vampirism, closer to films like The Hunger or the TV series True Blood than to Twilight, We Are the Night differs from other films present this year in Sitges because it gives the myth an image of sensuality, charisma and attraction, playing especially on fascination for the night. A fascination that Gansel uses almost paroxysmally to exploit the German capital’s nighttime atmospheres.


Chris’ Take: I watched the trailer for The Wave, mentioned in the synopsis above and thought it looked pretty ambitious. Now, it looks like the director is trying to take that gritty style and convert it into the increasingly popular and annoying vampire genre. While the visual style certainly has flair, it doesn’t look like it will amount to much. Reviews on IMDB are lukewarm, and the one on RT is negative. This film is probably a Netflix viewing, but I won’t put it on there. However, I immediately added The Wave.