Walt Disney Pictures has come a long way from making full-length animated features like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, and Peter Pan. In the 21st century, the company has reinvented itself with live-action blockbusters like Pirates of the Caribbean, state-of-the-art computer animated films like Cars and Frozen, and adaptations of children’s literary classics like Roald Dahl’s The BFG and Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time (out in theaters this March). In recent years, Disney has expanded into more lucrative markets like comic book blockbusters (ie. Marvel comics) and, of course, the Star Wars franchise. The latest Star Wars entry, The Last Jedi, hit the $1 billion mark in worldwide box office sales barely three weeks after its US theatrical release. With a plethora of material to work with, and plenty of money coming in, one would think Disney is far passed its tipping point, but that might not be the case at all. Continue reading →
The Last Jedi may be doing well at the box office, but it’s not doing much to impress fans and critics. One holiday release that’s been impressing everyone, however, is director Ridley Scott’s adaptation of author John Pearson’s All the Money in the World. The film follows the 1973 kidnapping of Jean Paul Getty III, aka Paul Getty, the grandson of oil tycoon Jean Paul Getty. The latter famously refused to pay his grandson’s ransom, despite his vast fortune in the oil industry, leaving the former’s mother, Gail Harris, in the position of having to convince her billionaire in-law to put family ahead of wealth. All the Money in the World has already received three Golden Globe nominations, including one for Best Supporting Actor, Christopher Plummer. Although his nomination is certainly deserving, it almost didn’t happen. Continue reading →
Every year, the Sundance Film Festival hosts an impressive number of independent films, documentaries, and short films from all around the world. Titles like The Usual Suspects, Memento, Reservoir Dogs, Clerks, Napoleon Dynamite, Super-Size Me, Saw, and Little Miss Sunshine have all found success at the world-renowned festival. So it’s no surprise that this years line-up is definitely keeping with that reputation. A number of documentaries, including the Amir Bar-Lev’s Grateful Dead tribute Long Strange Trip and Jeff Orlowski’s follow-up to his 2012 Chasing Ice feature, Chasing Coral, have already premiered to great praise from festival attendees and critics alike. At the same time, a number of films have already been purchased for distribution, including Patti Cake$ by former doorman-turned-filmmaker Wass Stevens, which sold to Fox Searchlight for $10.5 million! Here are a few of the festival entries that have caught our eye for expanded release. We’ll post more information about domestic releases as we get further into the year. Continue reading →
Netflix has slowly been upping its game in the home entertainment circuit ever since House of Cards became nearly as popular as HBO’s Game of Thrones. Now they are stepping up once again, this time with a sequel to 2000’s four-time Oscar winning epic Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, expected to be available on Netflix this February. The new film is subtitled The Green Legend and, like the original, is based on an original novel by author Du Lu Wang. Returning from the original film is actress Michelle Yeoh (Tomorrow Never Dies, Memoirs of a Geisha), who leads a whole new cast that features Donnie Yen (Blade 2, Hero), Harry Shum Jr. (Glee, White Frog), Jason Scott Lee (The Jungle Book, Balls of Fury), Eugenia Yuan (The Drummer, Shanghai Hotel), and Juju Chan (Unconditional Love, Fist of the Dragon) in a screenplay by John Fusco (Young Guns, Hidalgo). The first trailer, which is featured above, was just released this week. I’m not really sure what they had in mind with the techno version of CCR’s Bad Moon Rising playing in the back drop, but the visual effects and fight-scene choreography look pretty awesome. We’ll keep you posted on upcoming details.
Netflix subscribers and fans of House of Cards are already catching up on the third season of the hit original series. Starring Oscar-winner Kevin Spacey (LA Confidential, American Beauty) and Golden Globe winner Robin Wright (Forrest Gump, A Most Wanted Man) as political-power couple Francis and Claire Underwood, the series follows the two characters as they manipulate the US political system and its members in their quest to attain the Office of the US Presidency. Picking up 6-months into his term (having taken over for the former President at the conclusion of the previous season), Frank finds himself facing low approval ratings and tense foreign affairs with Russia as he attempts to push his solution to the American economic crisis through Congress, with opposition from both political parties. The series won both Wright and Spacey Golden Globe awards for their performances in 2014 and 2015 respectively, and the series has won Emmy’s for Outstanding Casting (Laray Mayfield, Julie Schubert), Outstanding Director (David Fincher), and Outstanding Cinematography (Eigil Bryld), plus nominations for Outstanding Series, Outstanding Writing, and Outstanding Art Direction for a Contemporary/Fantasy Series. Also starring in the series are actors Michael Kelly (Changeling, The Adjustment Bureau), Nathan Darrow (Ambrose Bierce:Civil War Stories, Rigged), Mahershala Ali (Benjamin Button, The Place Beyond the Pines), and Rachel Brosnahan (The Unborn, Beautiful Creatures). You can watch the series now on Netflix, and if you missed the first two seasons, be sure to check them out too!
Having already been screened at the Berlin and Venice film festivals earlier this year, director Lars von Trier is prepping his new five and a half hour Director’s Cut of Nymphomaniac at Fantastic Fest later this month. The Oscar-nominated director released the film in two parts this year (Volumes 1 and 2) and while the two films together run a total of about 4 hours, Trier has added even more uncut footage for the 5.5-hour cut. Volumes 1 and 2 are currently available on Netflix, but is scheduled to hit shelves on VOD this October 2nd. Nymphomaniac follows the story of a woman named Joe who recounts the details of her almost countless explicit and sexual experiences with men since she was a teenager to Seligman, who finds her beaten in an ally in the opening of the film, with Volume 2 drawing on more details from Volume 1 as Joe comes into adulthood. The film is helmed by Charlotte
Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgard, Shia LaBeouf, Christian Slater, Willam Dafoe and Uma Thurman. If you feel you can muster a five and half hour movie in one sitting (pending an intermission), definitely check it out on the festival scene, or you can wait for the VOD release or go in Netflix and split it in half. Whatever floats your boat really, but it’s definitely worth the watch.
Even with the extreme disappointment that was the fourth season of Arrested Development, Netflix content officier Ted Sarandos now says that we will be seeing more from the unconventional Bluth family, it is simply a matter of “when.” The fourth season, which was produced by Netflix after the show had been off the air for seven years, brought back all of the original actors, but due to issues with coordinating everybody’s schedules, the characters were rarely seen on screen together, and were forced, instead, to follow their own individual subplots. The reboot not only lacked the comical drive behind the family members’ interactions with each other, but because the story lines were so personalized, the overall story of the family situation was extremely difficult to follow, and frankly nobody really cared by the end because we were worn out from trying to keep everybody’s individual issues in order. Production with the 5th season is now facing the same problem, but show creator Mitch Hurwitz is confident the Bluths will be back in one way or another. Hurwtiz has expressed interest in making an Arrested Development movie before trying to make a whole new season for television, but nothing is set in stone yet, which means we will probably have to wait at least a year for anything to really get going on either a film or a new season. Either way, let’s hope the writers/creators do a better job this time than the nightmare that was season four; personally I don’t think the series will survive another season of mediocre subplots, so maybe a movie would be a better approach after all.
Last night, Sons of Anarchy left fans of the motorcycle drama with one of the biggest cliff hanger episodes ever! Not only was Jax (Charlie Hunnam) supposed to be going away to prison for what will potentially be 25 years, Jemma (Katey Sagal) finally snapped and killed Tara (Jax’s wife, played by Maggie Siff for those who don’t follow the show)!!! While it was believed by everybody that Tara was going to rat on the whole club, Jax ultimately knew that it was he who had to turn himself in in order to honor his word to himself and to his wife to get their sons away from the motorcycle club that had so ruined Jaxs’ life and his father’s before him. Jemma, of course, was not aware of such goings on and murdered Tara in a graphic, bloody rage (masterfully filmed by creator Kurt Sutter). With Tara dead and Jax, who may or may not be blamed for Tara’s murder by the enthusiastic DA, set to go to prison for a long time, the filmmakers have plenty of questions left to answer, and apparently plenty of time to prep for it seeing as the new season won’t come out for another 9 and a half months! Season 7 has thus far been reported as the final season in the franchise from Kurt Sutter, so it should make for an action packed finale. If you missed out on Season 6, you’ll have to wait for the DVD release, but the first 5 seasons are available to watch on Netflix, so I would definitely get caught up if I were you!!
Everybody’s favorite zombies are coming back to AMC this Sunday, and just in time for Halloween! The Walking Dead premiers this Sunday night with the fourth season opener, and from what we’ve seen in the previews, it’s sure to be an action-packed season! If you missed the last season, or just want to catch up, you can catch the first three seasons on Netflix. The first three seasons are also being played through in chronological order all this week on AMC and leading up to the premier on Sunday night. Hope to see you there!
This Sunday is the premiere of AMC’s final season of Breaking Bad, the smash hit about a high school chemistry teacher turned crystal-meth drug-lord! Since the series premiere in 2008, both Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul have won Emmy’s for their roles as Walter White and Jesse Pinkman, and the show itself has received critical acclaim, including three three Golden Globe nominations. I’m currently catching up on the whole series myself, which is available on Netflix (except for the last season), but I hope to be caught up real soon. If you’re a fan of the show be sure to catch the first episode on AMC this Sunday night at 9/8c.