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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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Will GREEN LANTERN Be GREEN LANTERNS?

Posted on 24 June 2015 by William Gatevackes

2959582-greenlantern184If rumors are to believed, Warner Brothers does not have faith that Hal Jordan alone can bring fans out for a Green Lantern film. Early rumors had him sharing a film with the Flash, and the latest has him sharing the screen with one or more Earth-bound Green Lanterns.

Collider is reporting on rumors they have heard that Warners will be presenting a “Green Lantern” by committee when the character returns to the big screen on June 19, 2020. There will be no less than two Green Lanterns on screen at any time, with the possible line up of Lanterns changing from film to film if sequels are warranted. The Hal Jordan Green Lantern appears to still be in the mix, but will will be joined John Stewart and possibly Guy Gardner according to the website.

GL087Created by Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams in 1972, Stewart is a former U.S. Marine turned architect who the Guardians of the Universe had selected as back-up to Hal Jordan. Stewart had the opportunity to fill in for Jordan on occasions, before the One Green Lantern per jurisdiction rule was eventually lifted and he got a ring for permanent use.

John Stewart is probably most well known to the non-comic book literate. He was the one who wielded the ring in the Justice League Unlimited cartoon than ran from 2004-2006. He was also supposed to appear in George Miller’s abandoned Justice League film, being played by rapper Common.

While John Stewart was created as a back up to Hal Jordan, he wasn’t the first. That honor falls to Guy Gardner. Created in 1968 by John Broome and Gil Kane, Gardner was originally a candidate for getting the ring that Hal Jordan got, but since Jordan was closer to Abin Sur, the dying alien bequeathing the ring, Jordan ended up with it.

Green-Lantern-Vol-2-59-268x400Gardner was originally a rather bland character until a series of head injuries and some time spent in the Phantom Zone changed him into an Alpha Male to the extreme, complete with unfettered ego, groundless machismo, and a rather sexist attitude towards the ladies. This personality was used for comedic effect in 1987’s Justice League comic. It’s there where the former footnote became one of the most popular characters in the comics.

No details as to how all the Earth-bound Lanterns will be introduced, or if other Earth ringbearers from the comics such as Kyle Rayner or Simon Baz will also get screen consideration. However, it does seem like Green Lantern will be picking up the story in progress, and not presenting another origin for Hal.

Collider also thinks that one or more of the new Green Lanterns will appear in the Justice League films before appearing in their own film. The site also hints that Warner’s plans with the franchise will be announced at the studio’s Hall H presentation at next month’s San Diego Comic Con.

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Alicia Vikander Signs For BOURNE 5

Posted on 23 June 2015 by Rich Drees

Alicia-Vikander

Alicia Vikander, who stunned audiences earlier this year with her work in the science-fiction thriller Ex Machina, has signed onto the female lead for the upcoming fifth Jason Bourne film. She’ll star opposite Matt Damon, returning to the franchise as the titular former black ops agent.

To make room on her schedule for the project Vikander dropped out of the Assassin’s Creed video game adaptation which is set to star Michael Fassbender. Deadline is reporting that signing for the as-yet-untitled fifth Bourne film will mean that she will drop out of consideration for the in development Tom Hanks film The Circle, which will bring the Dave Eggers novel to the big screen.

In addition to Damon, Julia Stiles and director Paul Greengrass are also returning to the franchise after 2012 The Bourne Legacy. The film is set for a July 29, 2016 release.

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Marvel/Sony Announce Tom Holland Is Spider-Man, Also Jon Watts To Direct Next Solo Spidey Film

Posted on 23 June 2015 by Rich Drees

tom hollandAfter a long casting process Tom Holland has been chosen to be the new Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man by Marvel Studios and Sony.

Holland, who has previously appeared in The Impossible, Wolf Hall and the upcoming In The Heart Of The Sea, will first appear as the iconic web slinging superhero in an as yet officially announced Marvel Studios film, though smart money has it being next summer’s Captain America: Civil War which is currently in production, before swinging off to his own solo film from Sony Pictures.

Due to their rather unique arrangement in sharing the screen rights to the comics character, both Marvel and Sony had to sign off on the casting choice. Holland beats out a number of other choices that the studio was looking at including reportedly Matt Lintz, Charlie Plummer and Asa Butterfield.

Additionally Marvel and Sony announced that Jon Watts will direct Sony’s still untitled 2017 Spider-Man movie. Watts sole directorial credit is Cop Car, which premiered at Sundance earlier this year and was a latecomer to the consideration process. I am not trying to find this at least a little bit worrying, but Amazing Spider-Man director Marc Webb only had the Sundance hit 500 Days Of Summer to his credit when he took the reins of the franchise. Hopefully Watts will have better results than Webb.

In a press release, Sony Pictures chairman Tom Rothman stated –

The Marvel process is very thorough, and that’s why their results are so outstanding. I’m confident Spider-Man will be no exception. I’ve worked with a number of up-and-coming directors who have gone on to be superstars and believe that Jon is just such an outstanding talent. For Spidey himself, we saw many terrific young actors, but Tom’s screen tests were special. All in all, we are off to a roaring start.

Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige adding about the hiring of Watts –

As with James Gunn, Joss Whedon, and the Russo brothers, we love finding new and exciting voices to bring these characters to life. We spent a lot of time with Jon and find his take and work inspiring.

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Oscar-Winner James Horner Dead In Plane Crash

Posted on 23 June 2015 by Rich Drees

james-horner

James Horner, the film composer who won an Academy Award for co-writing “My Heart Will Go On” for 1997’s Titanic, died in a plane crash outside Santa Barbara yesterday. He was 61.

An avid pilot, Horner was flying solo flying his two-seater single-engine S312 Tucano when he crashed north of Santa Barbara, sparking a brushfire.

Horner has composed music for over 100 films earning 64 nominations for various awards including the Academy Awards, the Grammys, the Golden Globes, the BAFTA Awards and the ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards. He would 45 of those nominations.

Although he started out working on low budget films such as The Watcher (1978) and The Lady In Red (1979), his first big break came when he was hired to score Star Trek II – The Wrath Of Khan (1982). He returned to the franchise for Star Trek III – The Search For Spock in 1984 but his workload had become such that he was unavailable to return for future installments of the franchise.

Horner collaborated with director James Cameron on three films, 1986’s Aliens, 1997’s Titanic and 2009’s Avatar, and had been planning on working on Cameron’s Avatar sequels.

Other films for which Horner composed music include Battle Beyond The Stars, An American Tail, Field of Dreams, The Rocketeer, Patriot Games, Swing Kids, Apollo 13, Braveheart, The Mask Of Zorro, A Beautiful Mind, The Boy In The Striped Pajamas and The Amazing Spider-Man.

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And The Official Title Of INDEPENDENCE DAY 2 Is…

Posted on 22 June 2015 by Rich Drees

independence-day

Independence Day: Resurgence.

That’s the title that was revealed on a Facebook chat this evening for the sequel to the hit 1996 alien invasion movie by director Roland Emmerich.

And as I look at that title, I keep turning over that word “resurgence” in my mind, thinking about how it applies to the film’s story. We know that in the two decades that have passed since the alien invasion of the first film has been repelled humanity has been utilizing leftover alien technology to create a planetary defense system. Now to my mind “resurgence” suggests the return to life of something already present, so when the aliens return will the aliens somehow be able to bring their abandoned tech being utilized by humans back under their own control?

Returning from the first film are Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Brent Spiner and Judd Hirsch who will be joined by new castmembers Liam Hemsworth, Jesse Usher, Maika Monroe and Sela Ward.

Independence Day: Resurgence will invade theaters on June 24, 2016, virtually 20 years to the day from the original film’s July 3, 1996 release.

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BULWORTH, CHANGELING, DA SWEET BLOOD OF JESUS And More Coming To Netflix Streaming This July

Posted on 22 June 2015 by Rich Drees

changeling

More comings and goings at Netflix streaming this coming July with the service adding a number of films including Warren Beatty’s political satire Bulworth (just in time for the ramp up to the 2016 election), Saw V, Spike Lee’s remake of 1973’s Ganja & Hess, Da Sweet Blood Of Jesus and Clint Eastwood’s 1920s real-life mystery Changeling. And there’s just a few more days to catch up with such films as Big Fish, the wonderful Sky Captain And The World Of Tomorrow and The Muppets Take Manhattan. It is unusual to see that Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon as Netflix is co-producing the sequel The Green Destiny which will be released August 28.

Here is the list of all films coming to Netfix streaming and those leaving –

July 1 –
Alive (1993)
An Honest Liar (2014)
Bad Hair Day (2015)
Bulworth (1998)
Grandma’s Boy (2006)
Hostage (2005)
La Reina del Sur
Piglet’s Big Movie (2003)
Saw V (2008)
Set Fire to the Stars (2014)
Shooting Fish (1997)
The Secret of Roan Inish (1994)
Underworld: Evolution (2006)

July 4 –
Faults (2014)

July 9 –
Monsters: The Dark Continent (2014)
Serena (2014)

July 14 –
Creep (2014)
Goodbye to All That (2014)
Lost Soul: The Doomed Journey of Richard Stanleys Island of Dr. Moreau (2014)

July 15 –
Da Sweet Blood of Jesus (2014)
Penguins of Madagascar (2014)
The Physician (2014)

July 16 –
Changeling (2008)

July 17 –
The Human Experiment (2013)
Tig (2015)

July 18 –
Java Heat (2013)

July 23 –
Teacher of the Year (2014)

July 25 –
The Guest (2014)

July 28 –
Comet (2014)

July 30 –
Almost Mercy (2015)
The Wrecking Crew (2008)

Expiring

July 1 –
Big Fish (2003)
Big Top Pee-wee (1988)
Bowling for Columbine (2002)
Cast Away (2000)
Cheech & Chong’s Next Movie (1980)
Descent (2007)
Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead (2010)
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)
Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)
Fried Green Tomatoes (1991)
Jack Frost (1997)
Moonstruck (1987)
Natural Born Killers: Director’s Cut (1994)
Patton (1970)
Racing Stripes (2005)
Seven Years in Tibet (1997)
She’s All That (1999)
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004)
Space Cowboys (2000)
Stephen King’s The Stand (1994)
Super Troopers (2001)
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
The Care Bears Movie (1985)
The Fly 2 (1989)
The Langoliers (1995)
The Last Samurai (2003)
The Manchurian Candidate (2004)
The Muppets Take Manhattan (1984)
Three Kings (1999)
Trailer Park Boys: The Movie (2006)

July 4 –
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

July 6 –
The Last Stand (2013)

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Review: INSIDE OUT

Posted on 21 June 2015 by William Gatevackes

inside out posterFew studios in the history of Hollywood has had as successful a run as Pixar has. Toy Story. The Incredibles. Monsters, Inc. Finding Nemo. Up. These were films that not only transcended being great animated films to becoming great films period, but also they were films that are as fresh today as the day they were made, and will likely hold up for decades to come. They are classics in every sense of the word.

Pixar seemed unstoppable. Then came Cars, a vanity project that still stands as Pixar’s lowest grossing film to date. Its sequel, Cars 2, did better at the box office, but was lambasted by the critics. Brave had to add a director mid-stream and Monsters University was a sequel that failed to capture the heart and excitement (or the reviews) of the original. And The Good Dinosaur, what was meant to be Pixar’s 2014 film, was in such dire straits that a complete rehaul had to be done on the project, causing it to be delayed for over a year so a from-the-ground-up reworking could be done. It appeared that the bloom was off the Pixar rose.

So, Inside Out might be viewed by some as a way of Pixar either reaffirming its reputation as the home of quality computer animated fare or yet another swirl in the downward spiral.

I can safely say that it is the former. Pixar is back, baby, and in a big way. And Inside Out might be its best film to date.

inside out wistful JoyThe film focuses on a 11-year-old girl named Riley (Kaitlyn Dias) whose every action is dictated by five emotions inside her head–Joy (Amy Poehler), the de facto leader determined to keep Riley happy,Anger (Lewis Black), who is there to keep thing fair, Fear (Bill Hader), who keeps Riley safe from harm, Disgust (Mindy Kaling), who keeps her safe in other ways, and Sadness (Phyllis Smith), whose role is limited by Joy in order to ensure Riley’s happiness.

The emotions create memories for Riley in the shape of orbs color-coded with the emotion that created it, and especially potent memories serve the purpose of forming the tenets or Riley’s personality. These are all color-coded for Joy, until a move from Minnesota to San Francisco creates a core memory colored blue to represent Sadness. Joy’s attempt to removed this sad memory before it spoils Riley’s til then happy life results in her and Sadness being transported to the far side of Riley’s mind with all of Riley’s core memories. Attempts by the rest to keep Riley’s happy status quo fail miserably, and it soon becomes a race against time for Joy and Sadness to get back to headquarters before the Riley they know and love is lost forever.

inside out rileyThat’s a complex plot for a kids movie, but it never seems like it. This is Pixar at its storytelling finest. Everything you need to know is explained in a simple, yet entertaining way so that everyone from 6 to 60 do not feel lost. If you are familiar with the concept of Chekov’s Gun, you be able to identify how certain things introduced in the first act will play out by the time the climax rolls around. But the journey between is so much fun you won’t mind the film embracing those somewhat predictable plot points.

But that’s not the only mastery on display here. The entire film is inventive and daring, with more belly laughs than any other Pixar film, and more effective tearjerking moments too. I was awestruck by the brilliance on display here, particularly in the “abstract thinking” segment. Even ideas that we’ve seen before, like Riley’s dreams being constructed in a Hollywood-like soundstage, are given fresh spins that separate them from what has come before. This is Pixar working on all cylinders and it is beautiful to see.

One of the major reasons why the film is such a success is the voice cast. Each actor is perfectly cast in the character they play. Lewis Black essentially does a kid-friendly version of his stand-up act, but since I love his stand-up act and it fits the character, Anger ends up being the high point of the film for me.

If there is one flaw in the film, it would be the character of Disgust. Not with Mindy Kaling’s performance, mind you, it’s great. But Disgust is essentially superfluous. She is defined in such a way that her responsibilities could very well be given to Fear, and she seems to exist in the film only because she is needed to help the heroes get past a particularly nasty impasse in the climax. Normally this would irk me way more than is does, but the rest of the film is so good that I am more than willing to ignore the character as a plot device.

Please don’t let that minor qualm turn you off from the movie. Inside Out is Pixar at its finest. It has the trademark excellent storytelling and characterization you expect from the company. You will laugh, you will be moved and you will be entertained. And you’ll want to go back again.

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Marvel Studios Sitting Out San Diego Comic Con This Year

Posted on 20 June 2015 by William Gatevackes

MarvelStudiosLogoIf you took July 8th to the 12 off of work in the hopes of keeping FilmBuffOnline up and refreshed constantly to see what Marvel Studios news would be coming out of San Diego Comic Con, you can tell your boss that you’ll be able to come in. For the first time since 2011, Marvel Studios will not have a panel at SDCC.

Also, if you wanted to find out what was up with the new Ghostbusters reboot or what the future of the Transformers or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchises held, you can head in to work too. Sony and Paramount have joined Marvel in choosing not to have a Hall H presentations.

Once though the sure fire road to box office gold, the luster of a Hall H presentation wore off after films such as Doom, The Spirit, I, Frankenstein, The Giver and many other high-budgeted films had disappointing returns from the costly SDCC investment.

However, Marvel Studios was a juggernaut with hit after hit and a line of films custom made for the SDCC audience. Of course, you can also argue that Marvel’s cinematic success had little to do with its SDCC presence, but the SDCC promotion didn’t hurt.

Marvel’s exodus was foreshadowed by last year’s rather lackluster presentation. The studio saved its announcement of its Phase III slate for an October presentation at the Disney-owned El Capitan theater in Los Angeles, leaving the Hall H presentation to promote its 2015 slate. Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn let the cat out of the bag in March of this year that Marvel would not be at SDCC, but fans refused to believe him.

Variety seems to think that instead of making the costly trip to San Diego, that Disney will promote its Marvel fare–in addition to its forthcoming Pirates of the Carribean and Finding Nemo sequels–at its company run D23 Expo in Anaheim in August. Disney will be promoting Star Wars at SDCC and its Marvel TV arm as well.

Marvel Studios’ absence is a gain for Warner Brothers, which will be promoting its DC Comics film slate at the con, and Fox, which will be hyping its Fantastic Four reboot and its X-Men franchise there as well. Both studios have less competition for server space at the movie news sites with Marvel not being there.

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Julia Stiles Returning For BOURNE 5

Posted on 19 June 2015 by Rich Drees

Bourne-Ultimatum-Damon-Stiles

Universal is getting ready to start production on the fifth film in their Bourne Identity franchise so that means its time to start hearing about casting decisions. And the first to join the already confirmed Matt Damon is Julia Stiles.

Stiles will be reprising her role of Nicky Parsons, sometime ally of Damon’s Jason Bourne, according to Deadline. She had appeared in the first three Bourne films as a former logistics technician of the rogue CIA black ops program that turned Bourne into an assassin. No word yet if Joan Allan, who also played a major supporting role through a majority of the franchise, will be returning as well. It has already been reported that Jeremy Renner’s character from 2012’s The Bourne Legacy will not be returning for this installment.

Director Paul Greengrass, who crystallized the franchise’s signature visual shakey-cam look starting with his initial work on the series’ second film The Bourne Supremacy (2004), is returning for his third turn behind the cameras. Additionally, he has collaborated with Damon and Christopher Rouse on the screenplay.

The as yet untitled Bourne film will be hitting theaters next summer on July 29, 2016.

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