Archive | New Releases

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New Releases: June 27, 2014

Posted on 26 June 2014 by William Gatevackes

taoe poster1.Transformers: Age of Extinction (Paramount, 4,233 Theaters, 165 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, language and brief innuendo): So, I’m getting the feeling that this franchise is pretty much unstoppable.

It gets lambasted by the critics, it sets box office records. Lose Megan Fox?  Replace her with a Victoria’s Secret model.The model doesn’t want to come back? Throw an unknown in there. Lose Shia LeBeouf? Replace him with Mark Wahlberg. As long as one giant robot beats the motor oil out of another giant robot, audiences will still come out in droves.

This film at least offers audiences something new. It gives Transformers fans their first look at the popular Dinobots on the big screen. Will there be a plot to pull them into the story? Probably not, but who cares.

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New Releases: June 20, 2014

Posted on 19 June 2014 by William Gatevackes

Jersey-Boys-Poster1. Jersey Boys (Warner Brothers, 2,905 Theaters, 134 Minutes, Rated R for language throughout):  The Broadway musical and touring show it spawned has a rabid following. People have memorized the track order of the Original Cast Recording. It is directed by one of the best directors working in Clint Eastwood, one with multiple Oscars.

Then why does the trailer for this film seem so boring?

Granted, part of the reason is because it seems like the film follows in the same rut many other musician biopics do: group of friends come together to form a band, they find the missing piece that launches them on the road to stardom, they become famous, a wild card in the group causes trouble, the friendships breaks down, eventually the problems cause the break-up of the band. The only difference is this time it’s a full musical.

Also, check out the logo on that poster. I could probably design a better logo. What? They couldn’t get rights to the musical’s logo? Were they pressed for time and had to use only what Microsoft Word had to offer?

If I were you, I’d wait until the Broadway tour comes back into town and see it then.

think_like_a_man_too_xlg2. Think Like A Man Too (Sony/Screen Gems, 2,225 Theaters, 106 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for crude sexual content including references, partial nudity, language and drug material): At least you can say this for this film, unlike Jersey Boys, which only brings John Lloyd Young from the original Broadway version, it brings back the entire cast from the first film, including Kevin Hart, whose career has boomed in the two years since the first one came out.

If the first film was When Harry Met Sally, this one is more The Hangover. The couples come to Las Vegas to celebrate a wedding and naturally get into all sorts of trouble in Sin City. What happens in Vegas might stay in Vegas, but that includes a number of what were good relationships prior to the visit.

The first film made eight times its budget worldwide, which is impressive no matter how you slice it. There is no reason to think this will not to the same–if not better.

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New Releases: June 13, 2014

Posted on 13 June 2014 by William Gatevackes

How to train your dragon 2 theatrical poster1. How to Train Your Dragon 2 (Fox/Dreamworks, 4,253 Theaters, 102 Minutes, Rated PG for adventure action and some mild rude humor): So, I have a confession to make. I did not expect the first How to Train Your Dragon to be such a hit. I thought that mix of dragons and vikings would be too esoteric for the kids, and it would surely fail at the box office.

It appears that I underestimated the popularity of that pairing and the quality and craftsmanship Dreamworks puts into its films. That film made almost $500 million worldwide, which is enough for a sequel.

This time around, the war between the dragons and the vikings is over. However, the peace becomes uneasy as a new enemy threatens the partnership between the two. Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) must find a way to lead his people and defeat the enemy, a job he’s not sure he wants to do.

Jonah Hill returns in this one as Snotlout. If you hate Hill, well, sorry, because…

22jumpstreetposter2. 22 Jump Street (Sony/Columbia, 3,306 Theaters, 112 Minutes, Rated R for language throughout, sexual content, drug material, brief nudity and some violence): …because he’s in this one too! There’s no escaping Jonah Hill this week!

21 Jump Street benefited from Jonah Hill’s and Channing Tatum’s stars rising at the same time. One thinks that if the film arrived a couple years earlier, it would have died on the vine.

This time, the pair have graduated to college, still chasing down designer drugs, still squabbling like an old married couple. The question once again becomes what will happen first, will the partnership dissolve or will they catch the bad guys.

I wonder what will happen if this film becomes a hit. Because I don’t see these guys easily being able to fit into grad school.

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New Releases: June 6, 2014

Posted on 05 June 2014 by William Gatevackes

Edge_of_Tomorrow_Poster1. Edge of Tomorrow (Warner Brothers, 3,490 Theaters, 113 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, language and brief suggestive material):  Okay, let me get it out of the way. “It’s a sci-fi Groundhog’s Day!”

That has been bandied around about this film, like that is somehow a bad idea. It’s not, and this film seems like it puts that concept to good use.

Based on the Japanese novel, All You Need is Kill, Tom Cruise plays a novice soldier who gains the ability to travel back in time. He uses this talent to become a seasoned veteran and one of the few who can fight off the alien horde.

It seems pretty solid. Too bad it is going to get massacred by the other movie opening this week.

the fault in our stars2. The Fault in Our Stars (Fox, 3,172 Theaters,125 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, some sexuality and brief strong language):  If you are of a certain age, namely an old geezer like me, you might not be familiar with the book this film is based on, and might only know its author, John Green, from his You Tube video about the health care system.

You probably also weren’t at BookCon in NYC last weekend. It seemed like every other attendee had a t-shirt based on the book/film, and were buzzing about getting into the John Green panel–or complaining that they couldn’t get in.

So, this film I think is going to catch a lot of people by surprise. On the surface, it seems like treacly shmaltz. But that fan base is loyal and vocal and it has been getting fairly good reviews. Don’t be surprised if this film ends up number one at the box office, with a long run in theaters and a nomination or two come Oscar time.

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New Releases: May 30, 2014

Posted on 29 May 2014 by William Gatevackes

maleficent poster1. Maleficent (Disney, 3,948 Theaters, 97 Minutes, Rated PG for sequences of fantasy action and violence, including frightening images): The one thing I take away most from the trailer is how beautiful Angelina Jolie looks in it. I don’t know if it’s first time director Robert Stromberg’s skill with the camera (while this is his first directorial effort, he has won Oscars for his art design) or just Jolie’s natural beauty, but she is captivating, horns and all.

This, of course, is Disney’s attempt to parlay their rich history of bringing fairy tales to the big screen in animated form into live actions success. Since they had a big success with Alice in Wonderland, they decided to tackle Sleeping Beauty next.

This time, we focus on the evil Maleficent, a woodland fairy who takes a turn to the bad after a betrayal in her life. She takes out her anger on the innocent Aurora, but soon comes to realize that the girl might not have been the best target for her rage.

It should be interesting to see if this does well at the box office. After all, it is a film with a female lead, which Hollywood hates even more than digital pirates. But there is a lot going for it too. We shall see.

a million ways to die in the west poster2. A Million Way to Die in the West (Universal, 3,148 Theaters, 116 Minutes, Rated R for strong crude and sexual content, language throughout, some violence and drug material): Unlike some members of the FilmBuffOnline staff, I can’t say I’m a huge fan of Seth MacFarlane. I have liked some of what I’ve seen of the Family Guy, I thought that Ted was a good film, but nothing really cries out as being riotous, appointment viewing.

But I am definitely in the minority when it comes to that. The surprise success of Ted is proof of that. So it is natural to expect big things from this film.

One thing I will give MacFarlane credit for is his ability to get stars you wouldn’t think he could get for his films. I mean, Liam Neeson? Yeah, he’s done things that might seem beneath him before. But Oscar-winner Charlize Theron? And she’s not the only Oscar winner in the cast.

This time, MacFarlane puts himself in front of the camera, and not behind a cartoon or stuffed bear. He plays a cowardly rancher who must learn the ways of the gun when an evil gunslinger comes to town looking for his missing wife.

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New Releases: May 23, 2014

Posted on 22 May 2014 by William Gatevackes

xmen days of future past poster1. X-Men: Days of Future Past (Fox, 3,996 Theaters, 131 Minutes, Rated PG-13): This film should have been the equivalent of printing money. The best director the franchise ever had, returning to helm a film that unites the two incarnations of the series’ cast, in a story that loosely adapts one of the legendary stories from the comics themselves. Win, win, win.

Then a nasty lawsuit was issued against director Bryan Singer, accusing him of sexually abusing a minor. The case has yet to be settled, and there are facts that weight in Singer’s favor, but the timing of the lawsuit surely was meant to leech attention off this film.

As a result, my excitement for this film has diminished, as I am now in the ‘should I hate the artist, but not the art” mode. It’s the same mode I’m in whenever I hear a Michael Jackson song on the radio or whenever I have the opportunity to see a Woody Allen film in theaters. None of the above were convicted of any crime, but the nature of the accusations make it hard for me to fully enjoy their work.

The film has received good reviews. It will be interesting to see if moviegoers feel as conflicted as I or are able to compartmentalize better. Fox is hoping for the latter, as it is expanding it’s X-Men license into a shared universe.

Blended_(2014)_Poster2. Blended (Warner Brothers, 3,555 Theaters,117 Minutes, Rated PG-13): I am not really an Adam Sandler fan–except when he works with Drew Barrymore. I love both their previous pairings–The Wedding Singer and 50 First Dates. They have wonderful chemistry together, and these films seem to make Sandler put away his idiot man child persona and adopt a kinder, gentler one.

The pairs previous films have been high-concept ventures. The Wedding Singer was set in the 1980s, and in 50 First Dates, Barrymore played a woman who lost her memory every time she went to sleep. This film is no different.

In this one, Sandler and Barrymore play single parents who have one of the worst blind dates in the history of blind dates. After vowing never to see each other again, fate throws them in the same suite on the same African safari. Will their relationship fare any better with an extended amount of time together? Judging on the other movies they made together, signs point to yes.

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New Releases: May 16, 2014

Posted on 15 May 2014 by William Gatevackes

godzilla-poster-1-405x6001. Godzilla (Warner Brothers, 3,952 Theaters, 123 Minutes, Rated PG-13): For a franchise that started in Japan with a man wearing a rubber suit 50 years ago, getting an American version of Godzilla up and running is way harder than it seems.

It’s not that people weren’t willing to see them–each American Godzilla film made a profit (Yes, even Godzilla 1985). But the films were completely lambasted in by critics. Godzilla 1985 holds a 13% Fresh at Rotten tomatoes and the 1998 version a 25% fresh.

However, since that time, we’ve had Cloverfield and Pacific Rim to show us how to make a good monster movie, and it looks like this one version has been taking notes. This film seems to have forgone trying to balance modern action and scares with the campy goofiness of the original and has just decided to give us a more serious approach to the destruction. The result? a 76% fresh rating, which makes it the Citizen Kane of American Godzilla films.

Million_Dollar_Arm_poster2. Million Dollar Arm (Disney, 3,019 Theaters, 124 Minutes, Rated PG): When Jon Hamm burst on the scene with Mad Men, it seemed like many people thought he came preordained to be a big movie star. I know in the comic book community, his name is often mentioned as wishful thinking for just about every superhero film that came down the pike in the last seven years. But here he is, as Mad Man is running down, starring in this. Seems somewhat disappointing.

Disney has had some success in their sports-film-based-on-a-true-story genre. This film is based on the real life story of a MLB agent who goes looking for pitching in India by means of a reality program there (SPOILER WARNING: He finds two prospects, both signed into the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. Only one is still playing)>

I guess this could be considered counter programming. I don’t know how well Godzilla will do but its not likely this will be able to beat it out at the box office. But it should do better than expected.

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New Releases: May 2, 2014

Posted on 01 May 2014 by William Gatevackes

theamazingspiderman2poster1. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Sony, 4,324 Theaters, 142 Minutes, Rated PG-13):So, it’s come to this. The film has been in release for a couple of weeks overseas and has already made more than half its budget back yet, so what I can say will have little to do with the films success or failure.

That being said, I have a bad feeling about this film.

I have yet to see it, and I am still going to, but I just have my doubts. Of course, any comic book film that has more than two bad guys gives me bad feelings. This one has three. But it goes on a bit deeper than that.

I don’t like what I’ve seen of Jamie Foxx’s pre-Electro performance. It seems like the kind of acting job you’d get from someone who had no experience hanging around with someone who was a geek. Seems a bit over the top, which makes his personality transformation a little harder to believe.

Another thing that irks me going in his Harry and Peter’s friendship. They make a point of saying they’ve been away for 10 years. Well, since Peter is graduating from high school, that means the last time they saw each other was when they were 7 or 8. Not a lot of memorable friendships hold up 10 year apart at that age.

Ah, well. Hopefully my instincts are wrong and we get a good film from this.

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New Releases: April 25,2014

Posted on 25 April 2014 by William Gatevackes

theotherwomanposter1. The Other Woman (Fox, 3,204 Theaters, 109 Minutes, Rated PG-13): This film looks pretty brutal.

First off, it appears to be a Costco version of The First Wives Club, only with just one husband to get revenge upon instead of three. Cameron Diaz plays a woman who is shocked to find out that her boyfriend is already married to another woman (Leslie Mann). When the pair finds out that a third woman (Kate Upton) has also fallen prey to the philanderer, the trio join forces to gain their revenge.

Of course, it isn’t very logical that the three women would actually want to be in the same room as one another, let alone work together on something. Diaz is coming off the surprisingly successful bad Teacher, but she’s hit or miss. Mann is usually good in her husband Judd Apatow’s movies, butusually is not outside of those films. And you have Kate Upton rounding out the group, who might be the woman least likely to give a good performance if it wasn’t for Nikki Minaj having a supporting role in the film. Neither of the two have all that much experience.

Hey, I’m all for a female based comedy to do well at the box office. I just wish it was a better one than this.

Brick mansions teaser poster2. Brick Mansions (Relativity, 2,647 Theaters,90 Minutes, Rated PG-13): The tough part about how Hollywood works is that when a tragedy takes the life of an actor, like it did with Paul Walker, there could be any number of films in the can starring the actor, so the world has to relive his passing over and over again as those films are released. Here is a case in point.

In a crime-ridden Detroit of the near future, one that cannot afford RoboCop, bad sections of town are walled off to keep the bad guys in and the good guys out. However, when a drug lord is making noise he is going to expand his business beyond those walls, it’s up to the police to infiltrate the area to bring him down.

This is a remake of the French film, District 13, so if the plot sounds good to you but you can’t bear seeing Walker in one of his last roles, you can rent that instead.

TheQuietOnesposter3. The Quiet Ones (Lionsgate, 2,027 Theaters,98 Minutes, Rated PG-13): One the one hand, it’s a PG-13 horror film, which I consider weak. On the other, it’s a Hammer Films horror movie, one of the biggest and best names in horror for all time. So, where will this film land, on the side of good, or bad?

The plot revolves around a university professor (Jared Harris) who is trying to find some proof of the supernatural. He’s onto something when he finds Jane (Olivia Cooke), who is haunted by an evil spirit named Evey. However, when one of the professor’s assistants (Sam Claflin) finds out that Evey was real and that she died a macabre death, the research becomes that much more sinister–and dangerous.

Not the most original of plots, but one that could be good depending on how its executed.

 

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New Releases: April 18, 2014

Posted on 17 April 2014 by William Gatevackes

transcendenceposter1. Transcendence (Warner Brothers, 3,455 Theaters, 119 Minutes, Rated PG-13): If you saw the trailer for this film and thought, “Gee, I didn’t know Christopher Nolan had a new film out,” well, he doesn’t. This is the first film directed by his frequent cinematographer Wally Pfister.

The film does have a high concept sci-fi plot that might have piqued Nolan’s interest. Johnny Depp plays a researcher trying to develop a human-level artificial intelligence. When terrorists shot him with radioactive bullets, he must meld with the machine in order to save his life. In the process, his goal may be achieved, but at a very high cost.

This film should have been a slam dunk. But the themes have appeared in countless other films, early reviews are brutal, and Depp himself seems unwilling to talk about the film during a visit to the Late Show. These, my friends, are not good signs.

heavenisforreal2. Heaven is for Real (Opened Wednesday, TriStar, 2,417 Theaters, 100 Minutes, Rated PG): The Overly Religious genre picks up steam with another film, this one based on a best-selling book of the same name.

This film tells story of Colton Burpo, who, while having surgery, had an out of body experience where he claims he saw Heaven. There, he saw relatives he never met, recounted facts about them he didn’t know, and told of a Jesus who rides on a rainbow horse and a gigantic God overlooking it all. His family has to deal with this information and the negative attention it brings.

Depending on your views of Heaven, this film may or may not be for you. But it does have two Oscar nominees in the cast (Greg Kinnear and Thomas Hayden Church), so at least it will be well acted.

Opened Wednesday.

A_Haunted_House_23. A Haunted House 2 (Open Road Films, 2,310 Theaters, 87 Minutes, Rated R): So, A Haunted House did well enough to garner a sequel? Really?

Considering how the original only cost $2.5 million to make and made close to $60 million worldwide, yeah, it did. Buy low and sell high and all that. And considering that this one only cost $3 million to make, it has a good chance of being a hit too, no matter how stupid it is.

This sequel follows the events of the first one, all the while parodying the recent slate of horror films.

If this is your thing, okay. Go for it. I hold my parody to a higher standard, but that’s just me.

Bears_2014_film4. Bears (Disney, 1,720 Theaters, 77 Minutes, Rated G): Disney’s Earth Day tradition of nature documentaries continues again this year, and might actually provide the best bet for the week.

The film follows a family of Alaskan Bears as they go about their daily life. Expect some laughs, some tears and, if you’re not careful, you might just learn something.

This film is currently the best reviewed film over at Rotten Tomatoes (but, really, look at the competition) and might be worth a look. And if you just can’t handle that much cuteness, it is only 77 minutes long.

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