Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Most Anticipated Movies of 2015

Blah blah blah, here are my top 20 most anticipated movies of 2015. 

20. The Fantastic Four (Josh Trank) – This is probably my most-likely-to-be-hated-film of 2015 rather than anticipated. It’s January 6th 2015, the movie is being released in less than 8 months, we have been given no information on how this project is coming along. No official photos, teasers, trailers or promos have been released. Word on the street is the Fox Executives are upset with the project. I am giving Trank the benefit of the doubt- we needed a Fantastic Four reboot, I’m hoping for the best here. (cast below Miles Teller, Kate Mara and Jamie Bell, Michael B. Jordan)

19. Jurassic World (Colin Trevorrow) – Sure I was excited for another dinosaur movie, until the official trailer was released (below). Why is Peter Quill riding a motor cycle next to velociraptors? Are velociraptors domesticated? This dropped from the top of my anticipated list to the near bottom.  The trailer is also heavily CGI.

18. Taken 3 (Olivier Megaton) – He’s back and this time they took his wife. The second movie was garbage. GARBAGE! But somehow the guy who changed his name, to be remembered for the Hiroshima bombing in 1945, has sucked me back in for a third movie.  Megaton cannot do action- so I’m hoping, HOPING, there is better editing in the third film. 

17. The Revenant (Alejandro González Iñárritu) – An adaptation of a book with a similar name: A revenge flick staring DiCaprio and Hardy directed by the guy who just finished the most talked about film of 2015 (Birdman). Yes please. The synopsis: “In the 19th century, Hugh Glass (DiCaprio), a fur trapper, is mauled by a bear while hunting. His companions (Hardy, Poulter, and Gleeson) rob him and leave him to die, but he survives and sets out to get revenge on the men who betrayed him.”

16. Chappie (Neill Blomkamp)- 2012’s Elysium wasn’t the great film I was hoping to be, still enjoyed it for the most part, but it was obvious studio involvement hurt Blomkamp’s creative vision. Still, Chappie looks like a live action Wallie. Die Antwoord was going to play a major role in the film, but Ninja apparently is a diva, impossible to work with and was written out of the movie. Ninja is still in the trailer below, but probably will appear as a limited role. Fun fact: Matt Damon was the third choice for Elysium. Blomkamp wrote the role for Ninja, who turned it down despite being a Blomkamp fan  because he wanted his first acting role to be a true South African film instead of a big budget Hollywood one. Then they offered the role to Eminem, who insisted that he'd only do it if it's shot in Detroit. Since that's not feasible, they finally offered it to regular actors, and Damon got it.

15. Pan (Joe Wright) – The director of Pride and Prejudice and Hanna is directing an origin story of Peter Pan staring Hugh Jackman as Blackbeard.

14. Black Mass (Scott Cooper) – Hey another Boston movie about Whitey Bulger, staring Johnny Depp and Benedict Cumberbatch.

13. Ted 2 – I debated putting this on my list for 2015 after the disappointing A Million Ways to Die in the West, but I’m too big a Seth MacFarlane fan to let this go. I expect it to be a fun romp.

12. Spectre (Sam Mendes) – I expect a movie as breathtaking and gorgeous as Skyfall, but I would like this to a be a tad shorter and I and praying it does not overstay it’s welcome. I’m happy Sam Mendes is back, just please bring Bond back to being Bond. Do not need to make him relatable nor do we need to the dark and gritty Bond we have been getting lately.

11. Jupiter Ascending (Wachowski siblings) – The only original IP on my list this year. A brand new IP, that’s release date got delayed over a year- This could mean one of two things. 1) They needed extra time to finish CGI and post convert to 3D or 2) the studio was not confident of its success and wanted to release it in a month with less summer blockbusters. Let’s hope for the former, but let’s also take this as good news.  This is supposedly the start of a trilogy but only if the first film does well at the box office. The Wachowski's are in a difficult position because, outside of the first two Matrix movies, everything they've done has been a commercial or critical disappointment. Or both. I however am  110% supporting a new IP to Hollywood’s adaptation battleground.

10. Tomorrowland (Brad Bird) – One of the movies that was delayed to 2015- the trailer looks beautiful and it’s Brad Bird (Iron Giant, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Mission Impossible 4), doing his Brad Bird thing. Beautiful trailer below.

9. Ant-Man (Peyton Reed)- This was supposed to be directed by Edgar Wright but he dropped out of the project do to creative differences between him and Marvel. The project was picked up by the guy who did Jim Carrey’s Yes Man and Vince Vaughn’s The Break Up which doesn't ooze confidence, but it’s still a Marvel IP and they haven’t put out a terrible movie since 2010 (Iron Man 2). The teaser trailer was first released during Marvel’s premiere of Agent Carter on ABC.

8. Furious 7 (James Wan)- From the director of all those great horror movies lately (Insidious, The Conjuring) and the director that was supposed to do the next Terminator movie, James Wan will probably be responsible for the 2nd highest grossing movie of 2015. Furious 7 is going to make $2 Billion- everyone wants to see Paul Walker’s last movie (RIP), and everyone wants to see how the budget of Furious 7 ballooned to $200 million after the studio used CGI to replace Walker in the movie using a combination of CGI and Walker’s brother. So why is this movie going to be a huge hit and probably one of the most fun movies of the summer 2015? The series has circled around to connect the third movie (Fast and Furious Tokyo Drift) with the ending of the sixth movie (Fast Six) while adding two huge names to the cast- Kurt Russell and Jason Statham.  Other fun facts: martial arts expert Tony Jaa apparently has a role in the film and Lucas Black has signed a multi-picture deal (not unlike some of the Marvel comic book movie deals) to do future films. This franchise is not going away any time soon.

7. Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller) – It feels like this movie has been in development for 10 years (i actually had it being released in 2013), and in fact, Miller has been trying to get it made for 20. Judging by the trailer below, it’s going to be bonkers. I don’t think you’ll see a better trailer in your life. Fun fact: The movie has insanely minimal dialog- apparently Miller didn’t even write a script but instead just storyboarded the entire movie. Max has a total of 16 lines. *mind blown*

6. Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens (J. J. Abrams) I was not a fan of Abraham’s take on the Star Trek series, but I can appreciate a technically competent director at the helm of a huge franchise. I just don’t want it turn Lost-y on me. The good news? Damon Lindelof (the destroyer of all scripts) who has worked with Abrams on multiple past projects, is not involved in Star Wars. The better news? George Lucas is not involved with writing the screenplay and is only involved with the continuity of the Star Wars universe. The best news? Lawrence Kasdan, the writer of Empire Strike’s Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark, is involved with writing the screenplay. So as long as these terrible writers stay away from Abrams, I think this is going to be a welcomed entry into the franchise.  Fun fact: The Raid 2 - leading man Iko Uwais, Mad Dog / Prakoso actor Yayan Ruhian and The Raid 2 finale fighter Cecep Arif Rahman, credited simply as The Assassin - will all appear in JJ Abrams' upcoming Star Wars. The Raid 2 was in my top 5 moviesof 2014 and is a must watch for action fans. I’m hoping these guys are playing some badass Siths. (Teaser Trailer below)

5. Crimson Peak (Guillermo del Toro) It’s del Toro’s return to horror and with this synopsis, it’s hard to not get excited. “In the aftermath of a family tragedy, an aspiring author is torn between love for her childhood friend and the temptation of a mysterious outsider. Trying to escape the ghosts of her past, she is swept away to a house that breathes, bleeds...and remembers”- Lucky for me this press photo was released just seconds before I wrote this list.

4. Avengers: Age of Ultron (Joss Whedon) There’s nothing much to say here other than this might be the biggest Marvel movie ever. Joss Whedon’s future in the MCU is uncertain. (Trailer below)

3. Inside Out (Pete Docter)- The next Pixar film (that isn’t a sequel) that looks adorable. A story told from the perspective of the emotions inside the mind. (Trailer below)

2. Silence (Martin Scorsese)- A Scorsese film, starring Liam Neeson, adapting Shûsaku Endô’s historical fiction novel, Silence. In the seventeenth century, two Jesuit priests face violence and persecution when they travel to Japan to locate their mentor and to spread the gospel of Christianity. I just hope it’s not 3 hours long.

1. The Hateful Eight (Quentin Tarantino) -It's Tarantino. It's a Western. It's got Samuel L Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins, Demian Bichir, Tim Roth, Mark Madsen and Bruce fuckin' Dern. <3

2014 Movie Reflection

It’s that time of year- the time where I reflect on my most anticipated movies of the year and re-rank them according to how they stood out over the 2014 Movie Release Calendar Year. I also will do a quick summary of my top movies of 2014 overall as of whatever day I’m posting this. If you want to see the original reasons for these rankings you can check out my post from April.

20. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (Marc Webb) – Well I was right about this one in my anticipated summary; “disappointing” was definitely one of adjectives used to describe the sequel too. Underdeveloped Electro villain along with a crowded cast of characters for screen time and a complicated Spidey back story quickly turned this movie to mush. The only positive was the relationship between Peter Parking and Gwen Stacey. They had great chemistry on screen and appeared to setup future films nicely until the ending- Sony announced a Sinister Six and venom Spinoff movies after the release but recent Sony hacks revealed Sony is apparently spinning their wheels on where to take this franchise. We can only hope at this point the Spider-man IP swings its way back into the arms of Marvel Studios.

19. The Hobbit: There and Back Again (Peter Jackson) - TBD

18. Gone Girl (David Fincher) – Never read the book, and I’m glad I didn’t otherwise I would have been spoiled. I’m not going to divulge too much into why I liked this movie (for spoiler reasons) other than saying it’s probably Fincher’s best since Fight Club and it’s a 2014 must watch. I’m ashamed I didn’t have this higher on my anticipated list.

17. Unbroken (Angelina Jolie)- TBD

16. Blackhat “Cyber” (Michael Mann) –Pushed to 2015 and removed from my most anticipated 2015 movies- The Trailer looks incredibly boring and generic.

15. Stretch (Joe Carnahan) – I would call this the surprise of the year but I had it on my antispated movie list at number 15 and it ended up in my top 10 this year. Joe Carnahan rocked this humor- DO NOT let A-Team and Smokin’ Aces cloud your judgment hear. Stretch is light-years better than those. Ever since the Grey, Carnahan has been on a role. Another must watch for 2014.

14. 22 Jump Street-(Phil Lord, Chris Miller) Meh- The first movie was full of belly laughs but the sequel goes out of its way to remind the audience that its sequel will be doing the exact same thing as its predecessor. “The EXACT SAME”. Why would we want to see the exact same thing as an audience? There’s a few good scenes sprinkled in there, like every scene with Ice Cube, but the movie is an overall bloated mess. Let’s hope Sony was just kidding about the Men In Black – 22 Jump Street cross over film plans. Do expect a 23 Jump Street movie though.

13. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Anthony & Joe Russo) – Totally exceeded expectations. The Russo brothers have a handle on how to depict great action with Chris Evans as Captain America. This might be slightly better than the Avengers as the best comic book movie made to date. We should be happy to hear the Russo brothers have signed on to complete Captain America: Civil War (and rumored to also helm the Avengers Infinity Wars).

12. American Sniper (Clint Eastwood) – The book was full of short stories of how the most lethal sniper in US history was able to get his reputation, but it also depicts a ton of internal conflict between Chris Kyle and wife on re-enlisting instead of staying with his family. That makes this a perfect story to adapt.

11. Edge of Tomorrow (Doug Liman) – I wish they had kept the ALL YOU NEED IS KILL title, but this movie is enjoyable, even coming from a young adult book adaptation. I have to hand it to Tom Cruise, he continues to play the same character over and over, “Jack, John, Ethan,” and it continues to work. He’s still an action star and get this- Mel Gibson is the same age as Cruise. Look at a picture of them side by side.

10.  Noah (Darren Aronofsky) – So glad I avoiding reading anything about this prior to seeing it- it could have been a major spoiler and I will leave it at that again. Another movie hard to talk about without ruining the experience for people who haven’t seen it. I will just say I loved some of the “Things” in this movie.  My only big complaint is the viewer has no sense of time passing. I felt like Aronofsky should have paid a little more attention to detail there.

9. Transcendence (Wally Pfister) – Just terrible. I was wrong to assume director abilities and qualities could translate to a DP. Even Johnny Depp’s stardom can’t save this movie from being an unwatchable mess.

8. Guardians of the Galaxy (James Gunn) – Though the Russo Brothers is probably a better movie, I put Guardians of the Galaxy ahead of it because I felt it was more of a risk and I couldn’t have been happier with both movies. I was a huge Gunn fan with Slither and Super and Gunn nailed the humor the tone the universe and it’s safe to say GotG2 will be near the number 1 spot of 2017.

7. A Million Way to Die in the West (Seth MacFarlane) – The only thing I would change about this movie is not having Seth MacFarlane play the lead- I think that hurt the experience to viewers who only know Seth MacFarlane for Family Guy. We got one of the better original songs out of 2014. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NE5uCw7y7g4

6. Jupiter Ascending (Wachowski Siblings)-  Pushed to 2015.

5. Tomorrowland  (Brad Bird) - Pushed to 2015.

4. Godzilla (Gareth Edwards) – Just a sloth of a film. Just all over the place with this story- I think they wrote it based on the imagery on screen- "Gee how do we get them all to converge on the Golden Gate Bridge". This Aaron Taylor-Johnson guy- Did he have a pulse? This is who you cast in a gritty major franchise reboot? There's an hour and a half of boilerplate Hollywood drama centered on one of the most stiff and bland actors in the world. If you thought the military was bad in the 1998 Godzilla movie- shooting everything in NYC, wait to you see the 2014 Navy by the Golden Gate Bridge! 15 School buses, no problem we got that covered. Ken Watanabe's character realizing that Cranston could help them was only slightly less hysterical than Matthew Broderick the earth worm expert helping stop Godzilla.

3. The Raid 2: Berandal (Gareth Evans) –If I had one word to describe this movie it would be: “Bonkers”- This movie is hard to watch- not because it isn’t good, but because it’s basically the most brutal fighting movie ever made. Violence, gore and there’s even a scene that resembles a live-action Superjail. Evans knows how to create great action, as depicted in this gif below- The making of The Raid 2.

2. The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson) – There is nothing wrong with this movie- It is everything you would expect in a Wes Anderson film- I can appreciate this movie for what is it, I just did not find the story as compelling as some of Anderon’s previous work such as, Moonrise, or Life Aquatic, or Rushmore or hell even Bottle Rocket. If you’re a Wes Anderson fan, chances are you’ll love this movie.

1. Interstellar (Chris Nolan) – I cannot appreciate a movie more than what Chris Nolan puts on screen- He has the vision and ambition to go far beyond what you would expect in generic sci-fi. I still think there’s room for improvement with dialog (like Hathaway overacting the line “'Love is the one thing that transcends time and space.”)  and continuity, but overall his films are a marvel to watch.

Actual Top 10 of 2014
1. Interstellar
2. Guardians of the Galaxy
3. Gone Girl
4. The Raid 2
5. Captain America: The Winter Soldier
6. The Sacrament
7. Stretch
8. Edge of Tomorrow
9, The Lego Movie

10. Nymphomaniac: Vol. I 

Bottom 10 movies of 2014

10. 3 Days to Kill
9. Willow Creek
8. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
7. The Legend of Hercules
6. Under the Skin
5. Transformers: Age of Extinction
4. Into the Storm
3. 300: Rise of an Empire
1. Brick Mansions
1. Devil’s Due