Archive | New Releases

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New Releases: July 1, 2015

Posted on 01 July 2015 by William Gatevackes

terminator-genysis-poster-1. Terminator: Genisys (Paramount, 3,600 Theaters,125 Minutes, Rated PG – 13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and gunplay throughout, partial nudity and brief strong language, Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 26% Fresh [89 Reviews]): The first trailer for this movie got me. Having Reese come back in time not to the victim Sarah of the first movie but the badass from the second? Cool. A T-1000 sent back to 1984 to kill her instead of the out dated T-800? Cool. Finding a way to make Arnold’s advanced age play into the story? Cool.

Then the film had to release a trailer showing John Connor as the bad guy. That wasn’t cool. As a matter of fact, it was stupid. It makes the entire franchise pointless. Think about it for a second (and that will really be all you need), if Skynet can turn humans into robots, why would they ever need to send the T-series’ back in time? If anything, send the robot-making T-5000 back in time maybe five years, have them turn the resistance into robots, and there you go: resistance crushed.

Hey, we have to suspend disbelief in order to make this franchise work. But this film takes advantage of that. Maybe instead of going for “cool” moments, it should have spent some time on making it a good story.

magic mike poster2. Magic Mike XXL (Warner Brothers, 3,350+ Theaters, 115 Minutes, Rated R for strong sexual content, pervasive language, some nudity and drug use, Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 57% Fresh [88 Reviews]):   Magic Mike was a unparallelled success, making over $167 million at the box office with only a $7 million budget. It helped make Channing Tatum more of a star, and ended up on a lot of critic’s top ten lists. So, even though the film ended with Tatum’s character giving up on stripping, you knew there had to be a sequel.

Gone are Steven Soderburgh (from the director’s chair, that is. He’s still on board as cinematographer and editor), Alex Pettyfer and Matthew McConaughey. The film takes place three years after the first one, as Mike is called out of retirement to join his former co-workers for one final show.

The critics aren’t as kind to this one as they were the last one, but even with its budget doubled (to $14.5 million), it will be very hard for this one not to be a hit.

faith of our fathers poster3. Faith of Our Fathers (Pure Flix, Wide release, 105 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for brief war violence, Rotten Tomatoes Rating: N/A [Only two reviews are listed at press time, one positive, one negative]):  When the Supreme Court ruling that Gay Marriage was legal, certain members of the religious right start claiming that there was a war on religion in this country. Well, the only war we have here at FilmBuffOnline is against bad movies. And this one looks like a stinker.

This is the latest in the recent spate of religious themed films, but from the side that favors a heavy hand in its religious propaganda over subtly sneaking it in ‘girl’s night out” or “fish out of water” films. It focuses on a forty-something named John Paul George (his father was a Beatles fan) who is going through an existential crisis on the eve of his wedding because he misses his dad, who died in Vietnam. On a trip of discovery, he meets Wayne, the son of his father’s best friend in ‘Nam, who also died in the war, and learns more about dear ol’ dad from letters that Wayne has. Apparently, the letters deal with conversations  John’s dad had with Wayne’s over the value God has in your everyday life. As similar conversation occurs between the devout John and the heathen Wayne as the men travel to the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington. D.C. I bet the heathen comes around in the end.

There’s nothing one with having a message in you movie, but it has to be a movie first. Any film that has a Beatles fan name his son John Paul George (What? No Ringo in the bible?) and have the two main characters in a film with a war element named John and Wayne will not be the most subtle of films. The God-heavy trailer seems to bear this out. You get the impression that films like these want to act like John and convert heathens back into the fold. But you can’t do that if the vehicle you use to do this is so poorly made.

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New Releases: June 26, 2015

Posted on 26 June 2015 by William Gatevackes

ted2 poster1. Ted 2 (Universal, 3,442 Theaters, 115 Minutes, Rated R for crude and sexual content, pervasive language, and some drug use, Rotten Tomatoes Rating at Press Time: 44% Fresh [80 Reviews]): So, the first Ted was a mildly funny, yet not classic film, in my opinion (Other members of the FBOL staff my disagree). It didn’t seem to be the kind of film that would become a major box office success, but it did. So, here we have the sequel.

This time around, Ted (voice of Seth McFarlane) is trying to adopt a child with his human wife, Tami-Lyn (Jessica Barth). This is complicated when Ted finds out the government considers him to property, not a living being. Thus starts Ted’s legal battle to declare himself “human,” with his “Thunder Buddy” John (Mark Wahlberg) helping him out all the way.

The humor will be insultingly crude. If your tolerance level for that sort of thing is high, then you might enjoy this film. If not, look elsewhere.

max poster2. Max (Warner Brothers, 2,855 Theaters, 111 Minutes, Rated PG for action violence, peril, brief language and some thematic elements, Rotten Tomatoes Rating at press time: 44% Fresh [39 Reviews]): I don’t know which is weirder, a kid-friendly film revolving around the loss brought on by a military death, or a modern day film with a war dog as a protagonist.

Max is a military dog whose handler is killed in Afghanistan. He doesn’t take it well, and is sent stateside to his handler’s surviving family. Together, they work to mourn their shared loss and move on with their lives.

The film has a great cast, but seems to be a bit too schmaltzy for the subject matter. And I think the themes might be a bit too mature to take your puppy loving kids too.

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New Releases: June 19, 2015

Posted on 18 June 2015 by William Gatevackes

inside out poster1. Inside Out (Disney, 3,946 Theaters, 94 Minutes, Rated PG for mild thematic elements and some action, Rotten Tomatoes rating at press time: 99% Fresh [134 Reviews]): Hard as it is to believe, but it has been two years since we have been graced with a Pixar film. Of course, it was not supposed to be that way. The Good Dinosaur was supposed to be released last year, but massive creative difficulties caused it to be delayed (it should come out this November).

That, combined with lackluster response to their last three films (Cars 2, Brave and Monster University) and successes at other CGI animation studios–including Disney’s in-house arm–might cause some to believe that the normally reliable Pixar is experiencing a creative downturn. A lot is riding on this film as a sign that Pixar’s quality is still there. Early word leads us to believe that it might be.

The film focus on five emotions of a girl named Riley (Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust) as they try to work together to try and help Riley though a difficult relocation from Minnesota to California.

DOPE POSTER2. Dope (Open Road Films, 2,002 Theaters,103 Minutes, Rated R for language, drug content, sexuality/nudity, and some violence-all involving teens, Rotten Tomatoes rating at press time: 90% Fresh [69 Reviews]): It’s a depressing sign of getting older when films show a nostalgia for an era you have complete cognizant memory of. I could opt out of the abundant amount of 1980s nostalgia because I only turned 8 when the decade began. The early part of the 80s is a hazy, foggy blur to me. The 90s? Well, I was completely and utterly aware of that decade. And every time I hear Nirvana on an oldies channel, a part of me dies.

Nineties nostalgia plays a part in this film, as a unique bonding element for three socially awkward teens in present day Inglewood, California. Their love of the MTV Raps generation pretty much consigns them into never being cool. However, a chance invite to an underground party gives them the opportunity to see how the hipper half lives.

It’s the classic coming of age story told from a fresh and unique perspective. I just wish it didn’t make me feel so old in the process.

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New Releases: June 12, 2015

Posted on 12 June 2015 by William Gatevackes

Jurassic_World_poster1. Jurassic World (Universal, 4,273 Theaters, 124 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of science-fiction violence and peril, Rotten Tomatoes Score (at press time): 70% Fresh [157 Reviews]):  I have never been as fascinated by dinosaurs as most boys today are. Maybe it’s a generational thing, but I never acquired the love of all things paleolithic that most members of the XY chromosome set have.

That being said, I enjoyed the first film and will watch the sequels if and when they are on. But the concept seemed to run its course. Of course, when there is money to be made, the course will continue.

This film is set a natural 22 years after the first one, and the one bad idea to come out for that film–that a dinosaur theme park be opened to the public–has come to pass. Miraculously, there has been no eating of guests during the park’s lifespan, but the novelty is starting to wear off and attendance is down. This compels the powers that be to genetically create a “super dinosaur” to bring guests back. However, the fact that they got away with playing god one time doesn’t mean they will always succeed at it. Once the new breed of dinosaur develops homicidal tendencies, all hell breaks loose.

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New Releases: June 5, 2015

Posted on 05 June 2015 by William Gatevackes

entourage poster1. Entourage (Opened Wednesday, Warner Brothers, 3,100+ Theaters, 104 Minutes, Rated R for pervasive language, strong sexual content, nudity and some drug use, Rotten Tomatoes: 32% Fresh [102 Reviews]): I have a friend who introduced me to Entourage. We watched the first four or five seasons together before we fell out of the habit of it. I haven’t seen an episode in years and I can honestly say I don’t remember any particular story arc from the show outside the Aquaman bit. And I probably only remember that because I am a comic book geek.

So, for me, Entourage wasn’t a TV show that called for a film to be made or was a story that had unanswered questions that needed to be addressed. It wasn’t really a narrative that would lend itself to a big screen treatment either.

The story that the powers that be deemed film worthy is that Vince is about to make his directorial debut. Will the new stage in his life lead to Oscar gold, or will it lead to him losing everything he has built up over the years?

spy20152. Spy (Fox, 3,650 Theaters,120 Minutes, Rated R for language throughout, violence, and some sexual content including brief graphic nudity, Rotten Tomatoes: 94% Fresh [117 Reviews]):  Melissa McCarthy is a box office draw. She is skilled at slapstick and broad humor. She can also be a pretty good actress. Unfortunately, she makes too many movies with too many people who lean too much on the former and not enough on the latter. The result is a movie where McCarthy falls down a lot but nothing else to test her acting skills.

This one might be different. This one reunites her with Paul Feig, the director of The Heat and the guy who helped her to an Oscar nomination in Bridesmaids. I imagine that she’ll fall down a lot, but there will be a lot of good character stuff in between pratfalls.

McCarthy plays CIA desk agent who is brought into an undercover assignment when her in-field partner goes missing.

insidious 3 poster3. Insidious Chapter 3 (Focus Features, 3,000 Theaters, 97 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for violence, frightening images, some language and thematic elements, Rotten Tomatoes: 60% Fresh [50 Reviews]): The Insidious franchise has been one of those franchises that should have maybe ended after the first film, but kept on going and going. Why? Because that are incredibly cheap to make and gross and obscene amount of money.

The true test of whether this franchise will be able to keep going is this film. The main actors from the first two, Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne (who is busy this week in Spy) have not returned. What we get is a prequel set before the events of the other films where Elise (Lin Shaye) investigates a similar case of a demon coming into our world and trying to possess and innocent child.

The film has a budget of $5 million, so it will be nigh impossible for it to lose money. And if the profits are as big as the rest in of the franchise, expect a fourth installment sooner rather than later.

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New Releases: May 29, 2015

Posted on 29 May 2015 by William Gatevackes

san andreas poster1. San Andreas (Warner Brothers, 3,777 Theaters, 114 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for intense disaster action and mayhem throughout, and brief strong language, Rotten Tomatoes: 50% Fresh [98 Reviews]):  Once upon a time, disaster movies were all the rage. If you went to the movies in the 1970s, odds are the theater was showing an film about an airplane in danger of crashing (the Airport series), a cruise ship capsizing (The Poseidon Adventure series), a building on fire (The Towering Inferno) or even, yes, an earthquake (Earthquake).

These films ruled the cultural landscape for almost a decade. Earthquake inspired an amusement park attraction at Universal Studios. The Airplane! films were a parody of the genre. The films starred the biggest stars of the day and made a bunch of money at the box office.

So, if there was ever a genre that could benefit from a reboot in the CGI era, it’s the disaster film. There have been a few attempts to restart the concept over the years (1997’s Volcano and Dante’s Peak, 1998’s Deep Impact and Armageddon , 2004’s The Day After Tomorrow, 2009’s 2012), but maybe this time the concept will come back to stay.

aloha poster2. Aloha (Sony/Columbia, 2,815 Theaters, 105 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for some language including suggestive comments, Rotten Tomatoes: 14% Fresh [70 Reviews]):  There is a sad quality about the career of Cameron Crowe. He had an unparallelled run from 1989 to 2000 as a writer director, with every film he made during that period was a classic of sorts–Say Anything, Singles, Jerry Maguire and Almost Famous.

He became the closet thing we might have had to a modern day Woody Allen. Big name stars lined up to work with him, and he seemed to have the Midas touch for his actors during awards season.

Then came Vanilla Sky. And Elizabethtown. And We Bought A Zoo. It was slump that would have gotten a baseball player sent to the minors. What we once thought was a can’t miss writer/director was missing all the time.

And look at this film. It seems inconceivable that any film starring this cast could ever rate less than 20% on the Tomatometer. But, here we are. Oh, Cameron Crowe, where have you gone.

 

Theater counts and Tomatometer scores were accurate as of press time. The numbers might change after publication of this article.

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New Releases: May 22, 2015

Posted on 22 May 2015 by William Gatevackes

Tomorrowland_poster1. Tomorrowland (Disney, 3,972 Theaters, 130 Minutes, Rated PG for sequences of sci-fi action violence and peril, thematic elements, and language, Rotten Tomatoes: 50% Fresh [123 Reviews]): The trailers made this film seem like it would be an excellent, kid-friendly sci-fi adventure. It made you even forget that this is yet another attempt to turn a Disney parks attraction into a film franchise.

The one problem I had with the first trailers is figuring out how the scenes I saw would fit together in a full out film. It seems the film also had a problem with keeping the magic and wonder going. FilmBuffOnline head honcho Rich Drees has a review of the film so you can see what i mean.

I think a disappointing movie is worse than a completely awful movie. Squandered potential is a whole lot worse than no potential whatsoever.

Poltergeist_2015_poster2. Poltergeist (Fox, 3,200+ theaters, 93 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for intense frightening sequences, brief suggestive material, and some language, Rotten Tomatoes: 44% Fresh [43 Reviews]): Should we be remaking Poltergeist? And I don’t mean in the sense that every remake is somewhat pointless. I mean, the original was a classic and really didn’t need to be remade. But I’m speaking of another way.

The original is legendary for its being cursed. Five people in the franchise died too soon, including the two actresses that played the daughters (so, make sure your life insurance is paid up, Saxon Sharbino and Kennedi Clements). Whether or not you put much stock in that is up to you, but I would want to risk remaking a cursed film.

The trailer shows some of the classic moments from the original reworked for today’s audiences. I wonder if they are going to recreate the swimming pool scene and if they will use real corpses again this time.

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New Releases: May 15, 2015

Posted on 15 May 2015 by William Gatevackes

mad max fury road poster1. Mad Max: Fury Road (Warner Brothers, 3,702 Theaters, 120 Minutes, Rated R for intense sequences of violence throughout, and for disturbing images, Rotten Tomatoes: 99% Fresh [184 Reviews]): Mad Max is the grand father of the post-apocalyptic thriller. It made a star out of Mel Gibson (for better or worse) and became an enduring cult classic. It spawned two sequels then went away for 30 years.

But now it’s back, with original director George Miller at the helm. Miller also is back as co-writer, joining comic book scribe Brendan McCarthy and Nico Lathouris (who acted in the first film). This time, Max becomes embroiled in protecting a group of women looking to escape a desert warlord who means to enslave them.

That’s all I really have to say about this, except to tell you to look at the Rotten Tomatoes score above. That is a legit 99% fresh, with a whopping 182 “Fresh” reviews. You almost never see a summer blockbuster with those numbers.

Pitch_Perfect_2_poster2. Pitch Perfect 2 (Universal, 3,473 Theater,115 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for innuendo and language, Rotten Tomatoes: 70% Fresh [114 Reviews]): Continuing our Australian theme, we welcome Australian Rebel Wilson into the New Releases post. Hi, Rebel!

Pitch Perfect was an unexpected success, making over $115 million worldwide against a $17 million budget. With that kind of profit margin, a sequel was inevitable.

This time around, the Bellas have set out to win an international acapella competition in order to refurbish their good name. This will be tough, as no American team has ever won the tournament before.

This film is directed by actress Elizabeth Banks, her first full-length feature behind the camera.

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New Releases: May 8, 2015

Posted on 08 May 2015 by William Gatevackes

Hot_Pursuit_2015_poster1. Hot Pursuit (Warner Brothers, 3,003 Theaters, 87 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for sexual content, violence, language and some drug material, Rotten Tomatoes: 6% Fresh [66 Reviews]): Yes, look upon the fate of the female actor of a certain age in Hollywood. Reese Witherspoon, 39, is coming off an Oscar nomination and has a statue at home already. Sofia Vergara, 42, has numerous Golden Globe and Emmy nominations to her credit. Yet the only way they have they are able to participate in the summer movie season is if they team up for a mind-numbingly awful take on Midnight Run.

Granted, both could have said no (Witherspoon has trouble passing on awful movies ~~cough cough~~This Means War~~cough cough~~), but the options for both are probably slim and this film probably seemed like the best option for them. When the biggest gag they us is dressing up Witherspoon like Justin Bieber, it is really beneath both their talents.

Witherspoon plays a bungling cop who is tasked with protecting Vergara, a drug dealer’s widow, a task she is fully expected to fail at. Instead, she manages to keep Vergara safe from all the hitmen and dirty cops who are after her.

D train poster2. The D Train (IFC, 1,009 Theaters,97 Minutes, Rated R for strong sexual material, nudity, language and drug use, Rotten Tomatoes: 46% Fresh [56 Reviews]):  Dan (Jack Black) wants to be cool, and he has found the perfect way to get there. He is going to bring the local boy who made good, Oliver (James Marsden), back home in time for their 20th high school reunion. Dan is willing to do whatever it takes. But what it takes is a night of passion with Oliver. How far is too far, and how will Dan get back if he goes there.

It shouldn’t be a spoiler to say that there is a sex scene between Black and Marsden in the film–it has been the main focus of the publicity for the film. I don’t know if that is a good thing–that we’ve come so far that a same sex hook up can appear in a film without people breaking out the torches and pitchforks, or a bad thing–that is being exploited for publicity and presented as something weird and unsettling.

 

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New Releases: April 24, 2015

Posted on 24 April 2015 by William Gatevackes

The-Age-of-Adaline-movie-poster-203x3001. The Age of Adaline (Lionsgate, 2,991 Theaters, 110 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for a suggestive comment, Rotten Tomatoes: 56% Fresh [62 Reviews]):   The world is fascinated by immortality. Everyone tries to figure out the secret of living the longest, and when people reach the century mark, it becomes fodder for Today Show segments and human interest stories.

Adaline is over 100 years old. However, she looks to be 30, tops. A magic accident gives her the gift of immortality. Unfortunately, it is not the best gift, as Adaline has to become a recluse, putting aside any chance of love so she doesn’t have to watch the her boyfriends and lovers slowly die in front of her eyes.

However, she comes across an man some 75 years her junior, a man whose love might make the risk of letting someone mortal in close worth it. Unfortunately, Adeline knew the young man’s dad in his youth. That will tend to complicate things a bit.

This does call to mind the May 1905-December 2013 romance that was the basis of Twilight, but this film at least has the gumption to at the very least play lip service to the moral implications of an immortal dallying with a mortal.

 

little boy2. Little Boy (Open Road Films, 1,045 Theaters, 100 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for some mature thematic material and violence, Rotten Tomatoes: 7% Fresh [27 Reviews]): A film no one has heard of opening at over 1,000 theaters? A cast full of actors who have all seen better days at the box office yet should be appearing in better films than this? Yep, you guessed it! Another religious-themed film is being foist upon us!

I’d typically give a plot blurb here, but I decided to with the one Mammoth Advertising provided IMDB, because it is just rich:

LITTLE BOY is a powerful and moving film about a little boy who is willing to do whatever it takes to bring his dad home from World War II alive. The heartwarming story will capture your heart and lift your spirits as it reveals the indescribable love a little boy has for his father and the love a father has for his son. Set in the 1940s, LITTLE BOY is an instant cinematic classic that captures the wonder of life through the eyes of an 8- year-old little boy. Written and directed by Smithsonian Institute Award winning director Alejandro Monteverde, LITTLE BOY highlights themes of faith, hope and love in the face of adversity.

That makes it sound like every Stephen Spielberg movie, including extra helpings of E.T. and Saving Private Ryan, crammed into a blender and blended to make liquid gold, doesn’t? Just hand over the Oscar now, right?

As of this writing, the film only has two positive reviews. Two. And one of them was from Rex Reed, which shouldn’t count. STAY AWAY!

ex machina poster3. Ex Machina (Opening Wide, A24, 108 Minutes, Rated R for graphic nudity, language, sexual references and some violence, Rotten Tomatoes: 89% Fresh [141 Reviews]):   So, no theater count for this one, but it is supposedly opening wide nationwide. Hopefully, this will be coming to a theater near you. If not, well, there’s always Little Boy.

Caleb (Domhnall Gleason) wins a contest to spend some time with his company’s reclusive yet brilliant CEO Nathan (Oscar Isaac). But it turns out to be a working vacation as Nathan charges Caleb with testing is new A.I. system, Ava, housed in an eerily seductive female form. But it is Caleb who will be tested when Ava turns out to be more human than she seems.

The film has been getting a lot of good press and the reviews are very good. And if you want to see Gleason and Isaac in a sci-fi before they share the screen in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, well, here you go.

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