Saturday, December 31, 2011

2012 Preview

2011 is almost over. And now it's time to look ahead to 2012. 2011 was a great year (for the most part). It brought us great films like Super 8, War Horse, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Captain America, The Muppets, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, and the final Harry Potter installment. It also brought us disappointments like Green Lantern, Cowboys and Aliens, The Adventures of Tintin, and Puss in Boots. We can only hope that 2012 is even better. Here is my preview of 2012's biggest films and my projections on how well they will do at the box office.

UNDERWORLD: AWAKENING

Selene returns in the fourth installment in the Underworld series. This time she leads the fight against humans as the discover the vampires and Lycans.

Release Date: January 20
Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Michael Ealy, Charles Dance, India Eisley
Projection: The prequel made $45 million, but I think this series might be wearing off. $40 million.

RED TAILS

George Lucas produces this film about the Tuskegee airmen and their heroic fight against racism and the Nazi's.

Release Date: January 20
Cast: Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard, David Oyelowo, Tristan Wilds, Ne-Yo, Michael B. Jordan
Director: Anthony Hemingway
Projection: Depends how it does with the teen crowd. Action looks good but certainly won't be a blockbuster. $55 million.




THE WOMAN IN BLACK

Daniel Radcliffe's first role after Potter has him as a lawyer who investigates the strange happenings involving a ghost in a small village.

Release Date: February 3
Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Janet McTeer, Ciaran Hinds
Director: James Watkins
Projection: The film should bring out Potter fans and horror fans in droves. It looks terrifyingly great. $80 million.



CHRONICLE

A found footage superhero film about a group of teens that get superpowers and must fight one of their own who has turned evil.

Release Date: February 3 
Cast: Michael B. Jordan, Michael Kelly, Alex Russell
Director: Josh Trank
Projection: It looks intriguing and should bring a lot of teens to the theater, but with The Woman in Black as it's weekend competition and a tough February stacked up against it, I don't see it getting past $35 million.




 JOURNEY 2: THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND

Dwayne Johnson joins the cast of this sequel to 2008's Journey to the Center of the Earth. This film has Hutcherson's character trying to find his grandfather on an island.

Release Date: February 10
Cast: Josh Hutcherson, Dwayne Johnson, Michael Caine, Vanessa Hudgens, Luiz Guzman
Director: Brad Peyton
Projection: Definitely won't be as big as the first film, but should make decent money. $45 million.


GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE

Nicolas Cage's latest attempt at making a good movie is the sequel to 2006's Ghost Rider. This time Johnny Blaze is trying to stop the devil.

Release Date: February 17
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Idris Elba, Ciaran Hinds
Directors: Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor
Projection: Nobody enjoyed the first one even though it made tons of money. I don't think this one will do very good at all for a superhero movie. $50 million.


THIS MEANS WAR

Loosely based on the Spy vs. Spy segment in Mad magazine, comes this star-studded film about two spies fighting over a girl.

Release Date: February 17
Cast: Tom Hardy, Chris Pine, Reese Witherspoon
Director: McG
Projection: This is the perfect film to appeal to both men and women. It's an action packed romantic comedy. Should do very well. $95 million.

DR. SEUSS' THE LORAX

The latest Dr. Seuss adaption stars Zac Efron as Ted, who goes looking for the Once-Ler, a man who took down all the trees.

Release Date: March 3, 2012
Cast: Zac Efron, Betty White, Taylor Swift, Ed Helms, Rob Riggle, Danny DeVito
Directors: Chris Renaud and Kyle Balda
Projection: The second film from Illumination should do very well in a spring where family films are scarce. $125 million

JOHN CARTER

A Civil War vet is transported to Mars to fight in a war between Red Martians and Green Martians.

Release Date: March 9
Cast: Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, William Dafoe, Mark Strong
Director: Andrew Stanton
Projection: Disney is dumping a lot of money into this project ($250 million) and it's not getting much positive reaction from trailers so far. I would be surprised if it made over $130 million.


THE RAVEN

Edgar Allan Poe's last days involve him hunting down a serial killer using methods from his books.

Release Date: March  9
Cast: John Cusack, Alice Eve, Luke Evans
Director: James McTeigue
Projection: This period piece looks exciting but won't make a ton of money. $25 million.


MIRROR MIRROR

The first of the two Snow White films next year, has Snow White being hunted by the Prince.

Release Date: March 16
Cast: Lily Collins, Armie Hammer, Julia Roberts, Sean Bean, Nathan Lane
Director: Tarsem Singh
Projection: This colorful adaptation should attract families but looks very different. It depends which Snow White movie people think looks better. I think the other looks better. $45 million.


THE HUNGER GAMES

An adaptation of the best selling novel, a young girl named Katniss must fight 23 other teens in the Hunger Games, the ultimate survival game.

Release date: March 23
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Elizabeth Banks, Woody Harrelson, Stanley Tucci, Willow Shields, Toby Jones, Amandla Stenberg, Alexander Ludwig, Lenny Kravitz
Director: Gary Ross
Projection: This will be one of 2012's biggest films. The novels have a Twilight-like fan base and this movie should make a ton of money. $240 million. Less would be a disappointment.



WRATH OF THE TITANS

The sequel to the mediocre Clash of the Titans, finds Zeus kidnapped by Hades and Perseus making an ultimate weapon to save him.

Release date: March 30
Cast: Sam Worthington, Rosamund Pike, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Bill Nighy
Director: Johnathan Liebesman
Projection: The original made $163 million, but I'm thinking less for this one. $125 million.



THE THREE STOOGES

No plot details available at this time.

Release date: April 13
Cast: Sean Hayes, Will Sasso, Chris Diamantoupolos, Jane Lynch, Larry David, Sofia Vergara, Jennifer Hudson
Director: The Farrelly Brothers
Projection: I smell flop. $20 million.




THE AVENGERS

The Avengers brings together the Marvel heroes who band together to stop Loki from taking over the world with an ancient power.

Release date: May 4
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson, Mark Ruffalo, Clark Gregg, Colbie Smulders, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Stellan Skarsgard
Director: Joss Whedon
Projection: This will be a massive hit. All the Marvel films have been leading up to this film. And it's going to be epic. $375 million.


DARK SHADOWS

Tim Burton's adaptation of the '60's horror show. The film is about a family whose uncle is a vampire named Barnabus Collins

Release date: May 11
Cast: Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfieffer, Eva Green, Helena Bonham Carter, Chloe Grace Moretz, Jackie Earle Haley
Director: Tim Burton
Projection: Depp and Burton have star power, but if this gets an R rating, I don't see it going as far as Alice in Wonderland. $60 million.

BATTLESHIP

A crew fights for their lives on a boat against a troop of evil aliens.

Release date: May 18
Cast: Taylor Kitsch, Brooklyn Decker, Rihanna, Liam Neeson, Alexander Skarsgard
Director: Peter Berg
Projection: The first trailer was unimpressive but if it can deliver the action, then let the cash flow. $250 million.

MEN IN BLACK III

Agent J travels back in time to stop and evil agent from killing Agent K and messing up the space-time continuum.

Release date: May 25
Cast: Will Smith, Alice Eve, Josh Brolin, Tommy Lee Jones, Bill Hader, Emma Thompson
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Projection: MIB 3 will make good money, but if it doesn't make sense, it could lose some money on word of mouth.$170 million.



ROCK OF AGES

Two teens fall in love in Hollywood during the 1980's, while an evil group tries to shut down the Sunset strip.

Release Date: June 1
Cast: Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Tom Cruise, Russell Brand, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Mary Blige, Alec Baldwin
Director: Adam Shankman
Projection: Although some may be turned off by the fact that it's a musical, I see this doing very well. $150 million.





SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN

An evil queen sends a Huntsman to slay a girl who may become fairest of them all.

Release date: June 1
Cast: Kirsten Stewart, Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth, Sam Clafin, Ian McShane, Toby Jones, Nick Frost
Director: Rupert Sanders
Projection: Universal is really aiming for epic fantasy here. It could bring out both fantasy and Twilight fans. $150 million.


PROMETHEUS

A group of scientists set out for space where they must fight an epic battle for survival.

Release date: June 8
Cast: Michael Fassebender, Noomi Rapace, Charlize Theron, Patrick Wilson, Idris Elba, Guy Pearce
Director: Ridley Scott
Projection: With a huge budget, and supposed ties to Alien and Blade Runner, this film is a sure-fire hit. $165 million.




MADAGASCAR 3

The gang joins a circus in hopes of making it back to NYC.

Release date: June 8
Cast: Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Jada Pinkett Smith, David Schwimmer
Director: Eric Darnell
Projection: The 2nd film was bad but this one will still make a lot. $180 million.



JACK THE GIANT KILLER

A war between men and giants sends Jack on a quest to save a princess.

Release date: June 15
Cast: Nicholas Hoult, Stanley Tucci, Ewan McGregor, Ian McShane, Bill Nighy, Warwick Davis
Director: Bryan Singer
Prediction: In a summer of fairy tales, Jack seems interesting, but depends on how people react to Hoult as a star. $100 million.


ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER

The title says it all.

Release date: June 22
Cast: Benjamin Walker, Rufus Sewell, Dominic Cooper
Director: Timur Bekmambetov
Projection: Should be interesting but I don't see it getting past $50 million.

BRAVE

Pixar's latest film about a warrior princess destined to end an evil curse

Release date: June 22
Cast: Kelly MacDonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, Kevin McKidd, Robbie Coltrane, Craig Ferguson
Director: Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman
Projection: Looks OK to me, but no Pixar film has made less than $162 million and I see this one reaching $245 million.



G.I. JOE: RETALIATION

The sequel to the 2009 blockbuster finds the team fighting Zartan.

Release date: June 29
Cast: Channing Tatum, Dwayne Johnson, Ray Park, Bruce Willis, Byung-hun Lee, Ray Stevenson
Director: Jon Chu
Projection: The original made $150 million but I see this one, with added star power, and a prime summer release date, getting to $200 million.



THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN

Peter Parker gets bit by a radioactive spider and turns into Spider-Man.

Release date: July 3
Cast: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Martin Sheen, Rhys Ifans
Director: Marc Webb
Projection: It won't be a phenomenon like the original but will still make a massive amount of money. $295 million.
   
TED

A story about a man and his teddy bear who comes to life.

Release date: July 13
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Mila Kunis, Seth McFarlane
Director: Seth McFarlane
Projection: If it's funny, it'll be a hit. $80 million.

ICE AGE: CONTINENTAL DRIFT

The gang battles pirates as continental drift begins.

Release date: July 13
Cast: Ray Romano, Denis Leary, John Leguizamo, Drake, Nicki Minaj, Aziz Ansari
Directors: Steve Martino and Mike
Projection: It'll make loads of cash, even if it's not good. $195 million.

THE DARK KNIGHT RISES

The Batman's final mission takes place seven years after The Dark Knight and will introduce Bane, Catwoman, and Talia Al-Ghul.

Release date: July 20
Cast: Christian Bale, Tom Hardy, Anne Hathaway, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Joseph Gordon- Levitt, Matthew Modine, Marion Cotillard, Josh Pence
Director: Christopher Nolan
Projection: One of the biggest films of all time is waiting for us in July 2012. It's a disappointment if it doesn't make $530 million. 






THE BOURNE LEGACY

No plot details available at this time.

Release Date: August 3
Cast: Jeremy Renner, Rachel Weisz, Edward Norton
Director: Tony Gilroy
Projection: Still no trailer, but with Renner's new star power after Ghost Protocol, it should do decent. $170 million.


PARANORMAN

A boy that can talk with the dead must end his town's curse.

Release Date: August 17
Cast: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Christopher Mintz-Plaase, Leslie Mann, Anna Kendrick, John Goodman
Directors: Chris Butler and Sam Fell
Projection: Too scary for younger kids, but too childish for teens. $60 million.




HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA

A young boy discovers Dracula's hidden resort and falls for his daughter.

Release Date: September 21
Cast: Adam Sandler, Miley Cyrus, Steve Buschemi, Kevin James, David Spade, Andy Samberg
Director: Genndy Tartakovsky
Projection: A Halloween comedy from Adam Sandler. Sounds like a hit to me. $100 million.

   
LOOPER

A member of the mob of the future discovers that his next target is his future self

Release Date: September 28
Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano
Director: Rian Johnson
Projection: Definitely an ambitious project, but I'm not sure it will appeal to the general public. $35 million.



FRANKENWEENIE


A scientist brings his dog back to life only to face a monster.

Release Date: October 5
Cast: Winona Ryder, Catherine O'Hara, Martin Short, Martin Landau
Director: Tim Burton
Projection: Another quirky horror comedy from Burton. Should attract decent business but not as much without Johnny Depp. $75 million.

TAKEN 2

A sequel to the 2009 hit

Release Date: October 5
Cast: Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen
Director: Olivier Megaton
Projection: With lots of Liam Neeson action-fests out this year, I don't see this film doing as good as the original. $95 million.

RED DAWN

A group of teens fight off a North Korean army

Release Date: November 2
Cast: Chris Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson, Adrianne Palicki, Isabel Lucas, Josh Peck, Connor Cruise
Director: Dan Bradley
Projection: After years on the shelf, Red Dawn will finally get on the screen. The cast looks awesome and I see this being a decent hit with the teen crowd. $70 million.

WRECK-IT RALPH

A story centered on an evil video game character who wants to be good but unleashes an army on his arcade

Release Date: November 2
Cast: John C. Reilly, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, Sarah Silverman
Director: Rich Moore
Projection: Sound ridiculously cool, like a Toy Story with video games. Should be a massive hit with families and it should make $160 million.

SKYFALL

M's past comes back to haunt her and Bond must hunt down a threat that will destroy MI6.

Release Date: November 9
Cast: Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem, Helen McCrory, Ralph Fiennes
Director: Sam Mendes
Projection:  After MGM's downfall, Bond is primed for a box office hit. $170 million.

THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN-PART 2

The final chapter in the Twilight saga

Release Date: November 16
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Launtner, Dakota Fanning, Michael Sheen, Anna Kendrick, Ashley Greene, Kellan Lutz
Director: Bill Condon
Projection: Primed to be one of the biggest hits of 2012. $350 million.


GRAVITY

Two astronauts stranded in space attempt to get back to Earth.

Release Date: November 21
Cast: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney
Director: Alfonso Cuaron
Projection: By far the most ambitious project of the year; it will be epic, amazing, and groundbreaking, but it won't be huge at the box office. $50 million.

RISE OF THE GUARDIANS

Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and others team up against the Bogeyman

Release Date: November 21
Cast: Jude Law, Hugh Jackman, Isla Fisher, Alec Baldwin, Dakota Goyo, Chris Pine
Directors: Peter Ramsey and William Joyce
Projection: This film sounds like it will be awesome. $155 million.

THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY

A prequel to Lord of the Rings about the adventures of Bilbo Baggins.

Release Date: December 14
Cast: Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchett, Orlando Bloom, Elijah Wood, Andy Serkis, Hugo Weaving
Director: Peter Jackson
Projection: This film will be huge. $340 million.




WORLD WAR Z

A United Nations official embarks on a quest to stop the zombie epidemic

Release Date: December 21
Cast: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, David Morse, James Badge Dale
Director: Marc Forster
Projection: If it doesn't stay true to the book, it may lose some business, but I think it will be a hit. $125 million.

LIFE OF PI

A man becomes stranded on an island with an assortment of animals

Release Date: December 21
Cast: Irrfan Khan, Suraj Sharma, Tabu
Director: Ang Lee
Projection: I think it sounds pretty cool, but it's too weird for the big screen. $45 million.


LINCOLN



A biopic about the 16th president of the United States

Release Date: December TBA
Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Jared Harris, Tommy Lee Jones, David Strathairn, James Spader, Sally Field
Director: Steven Spielberg
Projection: Spielberg's last historical film, Munich, made $47 million. I'm thinking around $60 million for this one.

DJANGO UNCHAINED

A freed slave sets out to rescue his wife from an evil plantation owner

Release Date: December 25
Cast: Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Samuel L. Jackson, Sacha Baron Cohen, Christoph Waltz
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Projection: Tarantino's last film made $120 million. $130 million for this one.

THE GREAT GATSBY

A man finds himself intrigued by the life of his friend Jay Gatsby

Release Date: December 25
Cast: Tobey Maguire, Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton, Isla Fisher
Director: Baz Luhrmann
Projection: The 3D will certainly annoy audiences, but it should do decent. $80 million.


Well, that's it for my 2012 preview. Check back soon for my 15 most anticipated movies of the year and 2011: A year in review along with more reviews. 




Nominations for the first annual Movie Guru Awards

It's almost the end of 2011 and it has been a fantastic year. We had big budget action films, odes to Steven Spielberg, the end of Harry Potter, and superheroes galore. Now it's time to recognize the best of 2011 with the first annual Movie Guru awards. The nominations are being announced today, and the winners will be released on January 20. For now, here are the nominees for the first annual Movie Guru Awards.

BEST PICTURE
The Muppets
Captain America: The First Avenger
Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol
Super 8
War Horse

BEST ACTOR
Daniel Radcliffe, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
Andy Serkis, Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Joel Courtney, Super 8
Tom Cruise, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

Michael Fassebender, X-Men: First Class

BEST ACTRESS

Elle Fanning, Super 8
Hayley Altwell, Captain America: The First Avenger
Jennifer Lawrence, X-Men: First Class
Emma Watson, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
Chloe Grace Moretz, Hugo

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Riley Griffiths, Super 8
Simon Pegg, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

Tom Felton, Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Alan Rickman, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
Tyrese Gibson, Fast Five

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Kat Dennings, Thor
Frieda Pinto, Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Helen McCrory, Hugo
Maggie Smith, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
Paula Patton, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol


BEST NEWCOMER IN A MAJOR ROLE

Joel Courtney, Super 8
Riley Griffiths, Super 8
Dakota Goyo, Real Steel
Tom Hiddleston, Thor
Jeremy Irvine, War Horse



BEST ANIMATED FILM

Kung Fu Panda 2
Cars 2
Puss in Boots
Rio
The Adventures of Tintin

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

Michael Giacchino, Super 8
John Williams, War Horse

Michael Giacchino, Cars 2
Steve Jablonsky, Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Alexandre Desplat, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

JJ Abrams, Super 8
Jason Segal and Nicholas Stoller, The Muppets
Josh Applebaum and Andre Nemec, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, Rise of the Planet of the Apes
Chris Morgan, Fast Five


BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Steve Kloves, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
John Logan, Hugo
Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, Captain America: The First Avenger
Lee Hall and Richard Curtis, War Horse

Matthew Vaughn, Ashley Miller, Zack Stentz, and Jane Goldman, X-Men: First Class


BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

Transformers: Dark of the Moon
Real Steel
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
Super 8
Rise of the Planet of the Apes

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

Ha Nguyen, Super 8
Alexandra Byrne, Thor
Anna Shepard, Captain America: The First Avenger
Penny Rose, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
Mary Zophress, Cowboys and Aliens

BEST DIRECTOR

Steven Spielberg, War Horse

Martin Scorsese, Hugo
Rupert Wyatt, Rise of the Planet of the Apes
JJ Abrams, Super 8
Brad Bird, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol



WORST PICTURE

Green Lantern
Cowboys and Aliens
Puss in Boots
Rio
Mr. Popper's Penguins

BEST TRAILER

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
Super 8
The Muppets
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol

MOST ANTICIPATED FILM OF 2012

The Dark Knight Rises
The Avengers
Prometheus
The Hunger Games
Skyfall

If you are wondering, Super 8 led with 13 nominations, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 had 9, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol had 7,Captain America: The First Avenger and War Horse had 5, Rise of the Planet of the Apes also had 5, and Hugo and Thor had 4. Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, The Muppets, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Fast Five, and X-Men: First Class all had 3. Cowboys and Aliens and Real Steel had 2, and the rest had only 1.

Friday, December 30, 2011

War Horse review

War Horse is director Steven Spielberg's latest film and his 2nd to come out this holiday season (the other being The Adventures of Tintin). This is a classic Spielberg film that is full of sentimental moments along with devastating and violent battle sequences. The film stars newcomer Jeremy Irvine as Albert. His drunken father buys a horse named Joey that Albert has watched grow up on a nearby farm. His father pays a large sum of money for the horse and their landlord (David Thewlis) demands that they pay back the money that they owe. Albert and Joey must plow the yard for crops to save their farm. After they do, and the farm is saved, the crops are flooded by a rainstorm. To save the farm again, Albert's father sells Joey to Captain Nichols (Tom Hiddleston), who is a leader in England's army in WWI. Nichols vows to return Joey to Albert if possible. So from this point on in the story we follow Joey as he moves from rider to rider and army to army.

War Horse is definitely a sentimental film. But you should not go into War Horse thinking that that is what it's all about. It's really about WWI and all the horrible tragedies that occurred during the war. Yes, the main character is a horse and the heart of the film is about a boy and his quest to find his horse. But it has violent and saddening battle sequences along with the sentimental moments. In fact, Albert is essentially gone in the middle part of the film. It's not until the final act that he returns to a major role in the movie.

When I saw the trailer for War Horse, I noticed that there were a lot of characters that looked like they were going to have subplots in the film. I thought that Spielberg might not be able to intertwine those characters into the story. But he does it perfectly. Basically to put all the characters together, he has the horse move around and meet all these characters until the final act where the horse is back at war after being with two young boys and a grandfather (Niels Arestrup) and his granddaughter.

The acting is perfect and I couldn't think of any of the performances being any better than they were. Jeremy Irvine as Albert is great and could go down as another one of Spielberg's great kid actors. But the best actor is not even a human. It's Joey. How Spielberg got that horse to do what he wanted I have no clue. But his performance is spot-on.

John Williams' score is also used frequently in the film and while it's not as good as his classic scores for E.T., Jurassic Park, Star Wars, Jaws, or Harry Potter, it still is very good and adds a lot to the film. 

War Horse also depicts some pretty intense combat. There are soldiers killed for deserting, piles of dead horse, soldiers on cavalry slicing down other soldiers, mustard gas, and lots of explosions and gunfire. This is a perfect film for teenagers, but too intense for the youngest kids. The film has little on blood and leaves most of the violence to your imagination, unlike Saving Private Ryan. A perfect example of this is a scene where British soldiers are charging a German camp on horses and the Germans get their machine guns and shoot at the soldiers. All you see is riderless horses running by the German machine guns. Spielberg has said that he just needed to find an alternative to the violence he depicted in Saving Private Ryan, that is still intense and upsetting and horrific, but not graphic. He does it perfectly.

War Horse is a perfect film. It's entertaining, it's sentimental, it's horrific, and everything else you would want from a movie. Older preteens and teens are sure to enjoy this film. The film has a long runtime at 2 1/2 hours but it flies by. Spielberg has created another classic with War Horse.

THE FINAL GRADE:  A-                                           (8.6/10)


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Ridley Scott returns to sci-fi in the Prometheus trailer

Ridley Scott created two groundbreaking sci-fi films in Alien and Blade Runner. Scott has finally developed a sort of prequel to Alien in Prometheus. Scott has attempted to tell the origins of some aspects in Alien without making a direct prequel. The cast and Scott have repeatedly denied that it is a full prequel to Alien but it looks to have a lot in common with that film. Check out the trailer below.





Scott looks to have created another blend of science fiction and horror in his new film. I was excited and interested but I was also terrified throughout the whole trailer. I can't help but feel that this is the film that Avatar should have been. A groundbreaking, action-packed film that has a great story, great characters, scary monsters, and a real story. I'm super excited about this even though any real plot details are scarce. Prometheus opens June 8 and stars Michael Fassbender, Noomi Rapace, Charlize Theron, Idris Elba, Guy Pearce, Patrick Wilson, and Logan Marshall-Green.

Return to Middle-Earth in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey trailer

The Lord of the Rings trilogy is one of the most successful film series' of all time. Now after a long time stuck in development, The Hobbit is finally coming to the big screen in two parts. Part 1, titled An Unexpected Journey will hit theaters December 14, 2012, and Part 2 will hit December 2013. You can check out the trailer for Peter Jackson's return to Middle-Earth below.




I've never watched any of the Lord of the Rings films in full, but this film looks underwhelming and childish compared to the others. I know Tolkien fans are going berserk over this trailer but I see it as a film that looks only OK. Maybe it's because I was terribly bored with The Hobbit when I read it for class. Jackson looks to have done a beautiful job with the landscape, but overall it looks only mediocre.The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey hits theater December 14 and stars Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchett, Luke Evans, Elijah Wood, Orlando Bloom, Ian Holm, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberwatch, Hugo Weaving, Evangeline Lilly, Christopher Lee and Stephen Fry. 

The Dark Knight Rises trailer is finally here!!!!!

It's the most anticipated movie for 2012 and one of the most anticipated in history. It is the epic end of Christopher Nolan's massively successful trilogy. And after playing before Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, it's finally hit the internet. The Dark Knight Rises trailer is here. The trailer showcases a lot more than the announcement trailer did back in July and shows off a lot of intriguing and awesome material. Check out the trailer below.



Anything that I was previously skeptical about in the film has been put to rest with this trailer. Bane looks completely amazing and while the voice is kind of hard to understand, it's epic at the same time. Anne Hathaway looks pitch-perfect as Selina Kyle/Catwoman. Any doubts I had about her in the role
are gone. Both Marion Cotillard and Joseph Gordon-Levitt look to have interesting characters as Miranda Tate and John Blake that I think will be important to the film. The set-up and the special effects look spectacular; especially the Batwing. There are plenty of things to get excited about and I'm sure Nolan won't disappoint. The Dark Knight Rises opens on July 20 and stars Christian Bale, Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Marion Cotillard, Matthew Modine, Anne Hathaway, and Juno Temple.

The Titans return in Wrath of the Titans

2010's Clash of the Titans is one of my least favorite action movies, but it had to stay true to the original and was limited in terms of what it could do. The film still made loads of cash and had now spawned a sequel. Director Johnathan Liebesman of Battle: LA has taken over for Louis Leterrier and has attempted to make a better, grittier installment. Check out the trailer below.


Wrath of the Titans looks to have better action and scarier monsters. It also seems to have a better story that has the titans taking over and Perseus (Sam Worthington) embarks on a journey to save his father and destroy the titans. Wrath of the Titans opens March 30 and stars Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Rosamund Pike, Bill Nighy, Danny Huston, and Edgar Ramirez.

A fairy tale with a twist in the Jack the Giant Killer trailer

Bryan Singer is best known for the X-Men series, Superman Returns, and The Usual Suspects. Now Singer heads into dark fairytale territory with Jack the Giant Killer. It looks to take a ton from Lord of the Rings with mythological creatures, a medieval setting, and lots of big armies. Check out the trailer below.




Jack the Giant Killer looks to follow the original story pretty well. Except there's armies, flaming trees, and a lot more Giants. I'm really excited about the prospects of the movie after reading the story synopsis and watching the trailer. And the cast looks fantastic. Jack the Giant Killer opens June 15 and stars Nicolas Hoult, Ian McShane, Ewan McGregor, Stanley Tucci, Warwick Davis, Eddie Marsan, and Eleanor Tomlinson.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Tom Cruise rocks in the Rock of Ages trailer

Rock of Ages is a massively popular musical on Broadway. And now the film is getting a star-studded film from Warner Bros. The film stars Julianne Hough and Diego Boneta as lovers in the rock 'n' roll '80's, but the real star of the film is Tom Cruise as legendary rocker Stacee Jaxx. Check out the trailer below.



I never thought I would be excited to see a musical but this one looks great. I'm more excited to see Russell Brand as an '80's rocker than I am to see Cruise as Jaxx. The plot seems relatively simple but solid. Rock of Ages opens on June 1, 2012 and stars Tom Cruise, Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta, Russell Brand, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Alec Baldwin, and Paul Giamatti.

The second trailer for Battleship features more explosions

Back in July, the first trailer for Battleship disappointed me because of it's lack of explosions and action. Now I got what I asked for with the second trailer. Check out the trailer below.



The action doesn't look to disappoint and if you're looking for a good plot, well you're looking at the wrong movie. It looks a bit over dramatic but a lot of movies are these days. In addition, the aliens look spectacular. Battleship opens May 18, 2012 and stars Taylor Kitsch, Alexander Skarsgard, Brooklyn Decker, Rihanna, and Liam Neeson.

Sacha Baron Cohen is back with The Dictator

Sacha Baron Cohen is best known for Da Ali G Show, Borat, and Bruno. Both Borat and Bruno were unscripted comedy and from what I could tell The Dictator, Cohen's new film, will not be that way. Check out the trailer below for the spoof of Moammar Gaddaffi and Saddam Hussien.




It looks hilarious in my opinion and I love the Megan Fox cameo and the line about the Empire state building. The story doesn't reveal much plot, but with Cohen starring, I can't imagine there will be much of one. The Dictator opens May 11, 2012 and stars Sacha Baron Cohen, Anna Faris, Ben Kingsley, John C. Reilly, and Megan Fox.

It's all about Dwayne Johnson in the G.I. Joe: Retaliation trailer

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra was a modest hit in 2009, but nobody seemed to care for the film. Well, Paramount decided what they needed to do for the sequel: bring in a new director along with Bruce Willis and Dwayne Johnson; get rid of most of the original cast, have less Channing Tatum and more realistic action and you have a better movie. Check out the trailer below:



Granted that I never saw the original, this one looks pretty good, with a lot more action and less humor. Dwayne Johnson is perfect to star in the film and reducing Channing Tatum (maybe killing him?) to a minor role. We'll see how it works out when G.I. Joe: Retaliation is released on June 29, 2012. Retaliation stars Dwayne Johnson, Channing Tatum, Bruce Willis, Ray Stevenson, Adrianne Palicki, and Ray Park.

The Men in Black are back with MIB3

One of the late '90's most popular films, Men in Black was a worldwide success. In 2002, the sequel didn't fare so well. But after a ton of rewrites and attempts to get this movie on the big screen, next summer Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones are back with MIB3. Check out the trailer below:

 

The film looks interesting, but the trailer doesn't give a lot of plot. Brolin looks great as a young K, but I just was not that overly impressed overall. The film looks sort of cheesy but I can't expect anything less from a Men in Black film. We'll all see when MIB3 is released on May 25, 2012. The films stars Will Smith, Josh Brolin, Tommy Lee Jones, Emma Thompson, and Alice Eve.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows review

Sherlock Holmes was a huge hit in 2009, but can the sequel live up to the expectations? The answer is yes and no. A Game of Shadows stars Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law as Holmes and Watson. Watson is getting married to Mary and Holmes is about to lose his investigative partner. Meanwhile, Holmes is monitoring the acts of criminal mastermind Professor James Moriarty (Jared Harris). Holmes meets Simza (Noomi Rapace) a gypsy whose brother has something to do with Moriarty. Watson gets involved and the trio go off in search of Simza's brother and trying to stop Moriarty from starting a World War.

A Game of Shadows certainly delivers the action, but is light on everything else. Mycroft (Stephen Fry) is Holmes' brother, who I thought would bring some more witty humor into the film does nothing but fill screen time. The plot involving Rapace's character never worked and is the main reason the film is not as good as it should be. Moriarty is a worthy villain but director Guy Ritchie never really makes his motives clear. The plot is straightforward but I didn't understand what Moriarty was trying to do until three-quarters of the way through the film.

Now to the good parts. The action is spectacular, even if it's unrealistic for 19th century Britain. Action fans will enjoy it but true fans of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's source material will probably slit their wrists. Personally, I enjoyed it. The chemistry between Downey and Law is apparent and leaves you with some pretty funny moments.

If someone asks me how A Game of Shadows was, I'll say it was good but it's the perfect example of a trailer being better than the movie itself. The ending to the film is one of the best I've seen though. Holmes is a fun, enjoyable movie, but it's not as good as it should be. The film also comes with a trailer for The Dark Knight Rises. Let me tell you, that film looks amazing and epic. It is going to be excellent.

THE FINAL GRADE:  C                                            (5.9/10)


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Hugo review

Hugo is based off of The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Bryan Selznick. The film is also director Martin Scorsese's first 3D film and his first film for kids. Hugo stars Asa Butterfield as the titular character, who is an orphan that lives in a train station in Paris. His father (Jude Law) died and his uncle disappeared. Now he runs all the clocks in the station by himself. He is constantly hiding from the Station Inspector (Sacha Baron Cohen). He steals to get food, toys, and pieces for an automaton, that his father and him were fixing before his death. Hugo also believes that the automaton holds a message from his father. One day he is caught stealing by Georges (Ben Kingsley). Georges takes Hugo's notebook, which has drawings of the automaton and he hides it from him. Isabelle (Chloe Grace Moretz), Georges' goddaughter helps Hugo find his notebook and fix the automaton.

The first half of the film is a real adventure about Hugo, Isabelle, and the message in the automaton. But the film soon turns into Scorsese's movie about his love of movies and that, for me is when it got really interesting. I won't say what happens but it involves a movie director and him trying to forget his past career.

The 3D is very good, with some scenes that seemed to pop off the screen. The 3D didn't blow my mind but the scenes with snow were amazing.

The film has some bad spots though. Firstly it is too long, and there was certainly a lot of stuff that was not in the book that could have been cut. The whole subplot about the Station Inspector could have been cut out of the film along with the subplot about the bookkeeper (Christopher Lee). It also moves very slow in some parts, and small children may get very bored, but for any true cinema fan, it is a true treat to see the movie, especially the parts about Melies.

The acting is very good all around. Butterfield and Moretz are great actors, but the best performances come from Kingsley and Helen McCrory who plays Melies' wife. There are no bad performances. Even Sacha Baron Cohen's the Station Inspector is very good, it's just useless to the plot.

In the end, Hugo is a delightful family film that all movie fans will adore. I can't recommend it for kids, not because of bad stuff, but because they will be bored. But everybody else should definitely see it.

THE FINAL GRADE:  B+                                             (8/10)