June Movie Releases

Hi there!

Can you believe it’s already June! How the time passes by. Anyway, the second month of the Summer Movie Season goes into full swing and, just like May, brings with it some highly anticipated movies. Let’s take a look shall we?

 

7th

Late Night – Amazon Studios, Stage 6 Films, 30West, Imperative Entertainment

A late-night talk show host (Emma Thompson) suspects that she may soon be losing her long-running show. Eventually, she hires Molly (Mindy Kaling, who also wrote the script) to her all male writer’s room to help her boost her rating and keep her job.

 

The Secret Life of Pets 2 – Universal Pictures, Illumination Entertainment

Synopsis: Continuing the story of Max (voiced by Patton Oswalt) and his pet friends, following their secret lives after their owners leave them for work or school each day.

Thoughts: I wasn’t the biggest fan of the first Secret Life of Pets movie,  I didn’t hate either, but it wasn’t something I was screaming for a sequel.

 

Dark Phoenix – 20th Century Fox, Marvel Entertainment, TSG Entertainment, Donners’ Company

Synopsis: Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) begins to develop incredible powers that corrupt and turn her into a Dark Phoenix. Now, the X-Men will have to decide if the life of a team member is worth more than all the people living in the world.

Thoughts: Fox’s last X-Men film, and a rehash of the classic Dark Phoenix comic storyline. While a lot of people have written this movie off already, especially with the Disney/Fox merger, I doubt Fox would want to go out with a whimper. At least that’s the hope. Rumors say the movie’s a mess, and reshoots went into effective to fix the third act – which isn’t always a bad thing. That said, I hope Dark Phoenix is at least descent.

 

14th

Limited Release: The Dead Don’t Die – Focus Features, Animal Kingdom

The peaceful town of Centerville finds itself battling a zombie horde as the dead start rising from their graves. The Dead Don’t Die is lead by Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Tilda Swinton, Chloe Sevigny, Selena Gomez, Danny Glover, Iggy Pop and Tom Waits.

 

Shaft – Warner Bros., New Line Cinema, Davis Entertainment

Synopsis: John Shaft Jr. (Jessie T. Usher), a cyber security expert with a degree from MIT, enlists his family’s help to uncover the truth behind this best friend’s untimely death. Shaft co-stars Samuel L. Jackson, Regina Hall, Alexandra Shipp, Avan Jogia, Method Man and Richard Roundtree.

Thoughts: Shaft is bringing three generations of Shaft’s together, and you know what, it actually looks fun.

 

Men in Black International – Sony Pictures, Columbia Pictures, Original Film, Amblin Entertainment, Tencent Pictures

Synopsis: The Men in Black have always protected the Earth from the scum of the universe. In this new adventure, they tackle their biggest threat to date: a mole in the Men in Black organization. Men in Black International stars Tessa Thompson, Chris Hemsworth, Liam Neeson, Rebecca Ferguson, Kumail Nanjiani (voice) and Emma Thompson.

Thoughts: The Men in Black series is one of those franchises I can take or leave. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the first movie, and the sequel wasn’t all the great (I haven’t seen part three). That said, International is not a full reboot, as it takes place in the same timeline as the past films, but just follows our new heroes.

 

21st

Limited Release: Wild Rose

A musician from Glasgow (Jessie Buckley) dreams of becoming a Nashville star.

 

Anna – Summit Entertainment, EuropaCorp, Canal+

Synopsis: Beneath Anna Poliatva’s (Sasha Luss) striking beauty lies a secret that will unleash her indelible strength and skill to become one of the world’s most feared government assassins. Directed and written by Luc Besson (The Professional, The Fifth Element, Lucy), Anna co-stars Cillian Murphy, Luke Evans and Helen Mirren.

Thoughts: It’s a little rare for a movie to just come out of the blue, and even more rare to really surprise me with a trailer, but damn did Anna do that. Sure it’s giving off Atomic Blonde vibes, but seeing Luss’ Anna beat the crap out of guys with a broken dinner plate is awesome to watch.

 

Child’s Play – Orion Pictures, MGM, United Artists Releasing, Oddfellows Entertainment

Synopsis: A mother (Aubrey Plaza) gives her son (Gabriel Bateman) a toy doll for his birthday, unaware of its more sinister nature. Child’s Play co-stars Brian Tyree Henry, Tim Matheson and Mark Hamill as the voice of Chucky.

Thoughts: The movie already has some fans up in arms, due to creator of the series and characters Don Mancini, not being involved and also denouncing the movie – even making a TV series of his own. Regardless of that, the movie does seem to be different than the original. It looks like Chucky is more Skynet that Voodoo. That or it’s a major misdirect.

 

Toy Story 4 – Walt Disney Pictures, Pixar

Synopsis: When a new toy called “Forky” joins Woody and the gang, a road trip alongside old and new friends reveals how big the world can be for a toy.

Thoughts: Many see Toy Story 4 as a cash-grab, especially considering Toy Story 3 had a perfect ending, but it seems like Pixar isn’t truly don with toys, and you know what, neither am I.

 

26th

Annabelle Comes Home – Warner Bros., New Line Cinema, Atomic Monster, The Safran Company

Synopsis: Determined to keep Annabelle from wreaking more havoc, demonologist Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) bring the possessed doll to the locked artifacts room in their home, placing her “safely” behind scared glass. But an unholy night of horror awaits as Annabelle awakens the evil spirits in the room, who all set their sights on a new target – the Warren’s ten-year-old daughter, Judy (Mckenna Grace). Written and directed by Gary Dauberman, making his directorial debut, Annabelle Comes Home co-stars Madison Iseman, Katie Sarife and Steve Coulter.

Thoughts: The first Annabelle movie was a little underwhelming, but Creations upped the ante on every level. Now, we have the man that wrote those films, plus The Nun, It and the upcoming It: Chapter Two) behind the camera, and brings in the Warrens, the third film could very well be another great film.

 

28th

Yesterday – Universal Pictures, Working Title Films, Etalon Film

Synopsis: A struggling musician (Himesh Patel) realizes he’s the only person on Earth who can remember The Beatles after waking up in an alternate timeline where they never existed. Directed by Danny Boyle (28 Days Later, 127 Hours, Slumdog Millionaire), and co-written by Richard Curtis, Yesterday co-stars Lily James, Kate McKinnon, Ed Sheeran and James Corden.

Thoughts: When I first read about this project happening, I never thought the project would end up like this. The idea of the film is pretty out there, so it will really come down to execution.

 

What are you looking forward to?

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February Movie Releases

So how are those New Years Resolutions coming along? Kidding!

How’s the cold treating you? Because it sure as hell SUCKED here in the Chicago-land area!

Anyway, we’re here for movies! February is looking like a legit month with some huge films coming out. It’s also the month that is bringing the end to a beloved franchise. So, let’s get to it!

 

1st

Limited Release: Arctic

A man (Mads Mikkelsen) stranded in the Arctic after an airplane crash must decide whether to remain in the relative safety of his makeshift camp or embark on a deadly trek through the unknown in hopes of making it out alive. The film is the feature film debut of Joe Penna aka Mystery Guitar Man from Youtube fame.

 

Miss Bala

Gloria (Gina Rodriguez) finds a power she never knew she had when she is drawn into a dangerous world of cross-border crime. Surviving will require all of her cunning, inventiveness and strength. The movie is, unbeknownst to me for some time, a remake of a Spanish film of the same name and directed by Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight, Red Riding Hood). Honestly, I don’t have a lot of interest in watching this. The trailer does nothing for me, and why I hear Gina Rodriguez is great on her show Jane the Virgin, that may not mean she’s good to lead a movie. Hey, I could be wrong, and part of me hope I am, but another thing the movie has against it is its coming out on Super Bowl weekend, and movies coming out this weekend don’t tend to do too well. Miss Bala co-stars Ismael Cruz Cordova, Matt Lauria, Thomas Dekker and Anthony Mackie.

 

8th

Limited Release: Everybody Knows

Laura (Penelope Cruz), a Spanish woman living in Buenos Aires, returns to her hometown outside Madrid with her two children to attend her sister’s wedding. However, the trip is upset by unexpected events that bring secrets into the open. Everybody Knows co-stars Javier Bardem.

 

What Men Want

A gender-swap of the 2000 Mel Gibson-led movie What Women Want, this movie has Ali (Taraji P. Henson) is boxed out by the male sports agents in her profession. However, she gains an unexpected edge over them when she develops the ability to hear their thoughts. The gender-swapping trend continues this year, and why I’m sure this movie will find its audience, What Men Wants may be one of those movies that gets lost in the shuffle for me. What Men Want co-stars Josh Brener, Max Greenfield, Aldis Hodge, Kellan Lutz, Wendi McLendon-Covey and Tracy Morgan.

 

The Prodigy

A mother (Taylor Schilling) concerned about her young son’s disturbing behavior thinks something supernatural may be affecting him. This one pretty much came out of nowhere, mainly because of its test screening stories. According to multiple reports, and confirmed by its director Nicholas McCarthy (The Pact), The Prodigy had to be re-edited because the movie was TOO SCARY. Apparently, test audiences missed parts of the movie because they were recovering from the scares. Reading that, and then watching the trailer, I can believe that, because I never heard of the movie until I saw the trailer – in theaters – and that last bit scared the crap out of the whole audience, including me. Needless to say, this is one to put on the Must-Watch List.

 

Cold Pursuit

Based on the 2014 Norwegian film In Order of Disappearance, a snowplow driver (Liam Neeson) seeks revenge against the drug dealers he thinks killed his son. Leaving the cheesy feeling of “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” playing in the trailer, Cold Pursuit looks like it’s playing with the notion of Neeson playing the badass hero. I actually loved his delivery of the reading a lot of crime novels, so of course he’s ready to kill people. There’s also the feeling that this is a payoff of the joke in Daddy’s Home 2, but hey, seeing Neeson on the big screen beating the crap out of people? I’m in. Cold Pursuit co-stars Emmy Rossum, Tom Bateman, Laura Dern and William Forsythe.  

 

The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part

It’s been five years since everything was awesome and the citizens are facing a huge new threat: LEGO DUPLO invaders from outer space, wrecking everything faster than they can rebuild. I loved the first LEGO movie, and still do. That said, the trailers for The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part are just okay, but I want to say part of that is to hide the story of the movie, and maybe even some of the jokes. I’m still going to be sitting in a packed theater opening weekend, so yeah. The voice cast from the first returns, but new additions include Stephanie Beatriz and Tiffany Haddish.

 

13th

Isn’t It Romantic

Natalie (Rebel Wilson) disenchanted with love mysteriously finds herself trapped inside a romantic comedy. I kind of like the concept of this, but the trailer just doesn’t make me actually buy it.  Isn’t It Romantic co-stars Adam Devine, Liam Hemsworth, Priyanka Chopra and Jennifer Saunders.

 

Happy Death Day 2U

Tree (Jessica Rothe) discovers that dying over and over was surprisingly easier than the dangers that lie ahead. Listen, I was onboard the hate wagon for Happy Death Day, but then I watched it and damn I ended up actually liking it. It knew was it was and didn’t take itself too seriously. That said, when I heard about the sequel, I wasn’t too surprised, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to this just a bit. Happy Death Day 2U co-stars Israel Broussard, Ruby Modine, Suraj Sharma, Rachel Matthews, Sarah Yarkin and Phi Vu.

 

14th

Fighting with My Family

Written and directed by Stephen Merchant, and inspired by the life of WWE superstar Paige, a former wrestler and his family make a living performing at small venues around the country while his kids dream of joining World Wrestling Entertainment. I’m actually a huge wrestling fan – and not just WWE – and knowing some of Paige’s actual story, part of me isn’t surprised it got turned into a movie. The movie itself does look pretty great, although just by seeing the trailer, it looks like they are taking some liberties already. Fighting With My Family co-stars Florence Pugh, Lena Headey, Nick Frost, Jack Lowden, Vince Vaughn and Dwayne Johnson.

 

Alita: Battle Angel

Co-written by James Cameron, directed by Robert Rodriguez and based on the anime of the same name; the movie is set in the future where Alita (Rosa Salazar) tries to discover the truth of what she really is, and fight to change the world. This one could easily been written off, but the recent word of mouth for the movie is pretty, and slightly surprisingly, positive. It was also suppose to come out last year, but the push back could have helped the movie. I’m also really looking forward to it. Alita: Battle Angel co-stars Christoph Waltz, Keean Johnson, Ed Skrein, Eiza Gonzalez, Lana Condor, Casper Van Dien, Mahershala Ali, Jackie Earle Haley and Jennifer Connelly.

 

22nd

How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

When Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) discovers Toothless isn’t the only Night Fury, he must seek “The Hidden World”, a secret Dragon Utopia before a hired tyrant named Grimmel (voiced by F. Murray Abraham) finds it first. I hate myself for saying it, but I yet to watch a How to Train Your Dragon movie, despite my best efforts to watch them. So I’m a bit bummed to think I’m going to miss seeing at least one of these movies in theaters.

 

What are you looking forward to?

‘Glass’ Review

Director:  M. Night Shyamalan

Writer: M. Night Shyamalan

Cast: James McAvoy, Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Anya Taylor-Joy, Sarah Paulson, Spencer Treat Clark and Charlayne Woodard

Synopsis: Security guard David Dunn uses his supernatural abilities to track Kevin Wendell Crumb, a disturbed man who has twenty-four personalities.

 

*Reviewer Note: This will be a spoiler free review.*

 

The name M. Night Shyamalan for a while was a laughing stock. After breaking into the scene with The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, and Signs, the director’s fanbase started to turn on him after films like The Village – which I didn’t personally mind – Lady in the Water, and, of course, the coup de grace to his career was the combination of The Happening and The Last Airbender. I’m not even going to mention After Earth – because do you remember After Earth? Does anyone?

Anyway, Shyamalan slowly came back with the still underrated The Visit, but then really returned to form with Split, which is true Shyamalan fashion, had the twist ending that no one saw coming – the whole movie was connected to Unbreakable. The long awaited sequel that everyone wanted was finally real, and when Split turned out to be a hit, Shyamalan went on to finish the trilogy he had wanted to create since Unbreakable’s release. Glass is a sequel nineteen years in the making, but was the wait worth it? Does Glass live up to the expectations Split left us with? Let’s dig in shall we?

Glass follows David Dunn (Bruce Willis), the only survivor of a deadly train crash fifteen years prior, which left him with super-strength and led him down the path of becoming the vigilante named The Overseer, all with the help of his son, Joseph (Spencer Treat Clark). After seeing the devastation left by Kevin Wendell Crumb aka The Horde (James McAvoy), David manages to track Kevin and faces off with The Beast until the two are taken in by the police and the mysterious Dr. Ellie Staple (Sarah Paulson). Dr. Staple sends them to a psychiatric facility with the goal being to convince them that their super-human abilities are all in their heads.

However, unbeknownst to David at first, Elijah Price aka Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson) has been a patient of the facility since the end of Unbreakable, and when he learns of his new neighbors, a plan starts to go into motion.

Much like Unbreakable, Shyamalan keeps Glass as grounded as possible, well, as grounded as you can get with super-powered individuals. Buildings aren’t falling over, there are no over-the-top action scenes, although the brawls between David and The Beast look hard-hitting, and the characters feel real. In fact, Paulson’s Ellie Staple drives the point that David, Kevin and Elijah are just normal people and are “sick.” For the most part, it actually sounds somewhat believable, but it just falls a tad flat and too smart for its own good.

When it comes to the cast, James McAvoy steals the movie, continuing his amazing performances from Split. He actually gets to play around with the characters a little more this time around, and having Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson to play off of this time around adds a lot more to his performance. Willis thankfully doesn’t phone it in as the returning David Dunn, but it somehow feels like he’s underused. Then there’s Jackson’s Elijah. Despite the name of the movie being Glass, Jackson is heavily underused until the third act of the movie, and even then, it’s still mostly McAvoy’s show. It is a bit of shame to see that happen, especially considering how the movie ends.

The supporting cast have only a few moments to shine, with Spencer Treat Clark’s Joseph and Anya Taylor-Joy’s Casey getting the better of it. In fact, I’ll say that Taylor-Joy’s Casey has one of the better, if not the best scene in the movie, where she comes face-to-face with Kevin again. The two have great chemistry together, and it actually has a pay-off toward the end of the movie, which I really appreciated. It was also nice to see Charlayne Woodard return as Mrs. Price, but she doesn’t really have anything to do, other than a couple brief scenes with Jackson’s Elijah. Finally, Sarah Paulson’s Ellie Staple gets to shine along the main cast, and her presence does throw a wrench in everything.

Going back to the ending though, this is a spoiler-free review so I won’t spoil anything, but Shyamalan couldn’t help himself to put not just one twist in here. The problem with one of the twists is that, despite the concept of surprise twists, it literally comes from out of nowhere with no real context and no real lead-in. Shyamalan just throws it in to connect to his other twist, that has divided audiences already, and if you haven’t watched it, will divide you too.

It also doesn’t help that Glass is a bit sluggish throughout its runtime. The second act in particular is pretty slow paced, that when everything breaks down in the much promoted encounter between David and The Beast in front of the facility, we’re pumped to see what will happen. Unfortunately, for me, I honestly don’t know how to feel about the whole third act. It’s a bit too messy for me, and with all the hype and the exceeded expectations that Split led into Glass, it’s a shame that Shyamalan went down this road.

All in all, Glass had some great potential, and despite its saving grace performance by James McAvoy, Shyamalan’s surprise connected universe movie is a mess. Is Glass a bad movie? No, I don’t think so. Is it a frustrating movie? I would say yes, yes it is. Needless to say, the choice is ultimately yours on how you view the ending, and whether it fits into everything that was built up to it.

Glass

3 out of 5

January (2019) Movie Releases

Happy New Year!!

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, we have a new year in front of us which means one thing: new movies! Now, January is usually referred to as Hollywood’s “Dump” Month. Meaning they will release movies that they don’t think will perform well or are not confident in. Sometimes that is the case, but sometimes a movie will shine through. January is also filled with expanded releases of movies that came out in late December, so there is also that to look forward to.

 

4th

Escape Room

Six strangers find themselves in circumstances beyond their control, and must use their wits to survive. The first time I saw the trailer for this, I honestly thought it was a remake of Cube, but with the modern twist of the highly popular Escape Rooms. The trailer itself is okay, but something tells me we probably saw most of the movie in the trailer already, which kind of sucks, but hey, what do you expect from the first new movie of the New Year? Those tend to not have the best track record anyway. Directed by Adam Robitel (The Taking of Deborah Logan, Insidious: The Last Key) – who also stars in the movie – Escape Room stars Taylor Russell, Deborah Ann Woll, Tyler Labine, Nik Dodani, Jessica Sutton, Jay Ellis and Logan Miller.

 

11th

A Dog’s Way Home

Based on the book by W. Bruce Cameron, a dog named Bella (voiced by Bryce Dallas Howard) travels 400 miles in search of her owner (Jonah Hauer-King), after she wandered away from home. I like dogs; I do, but dog movies, not so much. It also doesn’t help that the movie has that horrible CGI for the cougar (?). A Dog’s Way Home co-stars Ashley Judd, Alexandra Shipp, Edward James Olmos, Wes Studi and Ashley Judd.

 

Replicas

A scientist (Keanu Reeves) becomes obsessed with bringing back his family members who died in a traffic accident. This was originally set to come out last year, but the release date kept getting pushed back and back, and now it looks like it’s finally coming out. The premise seems interesting, and seeing Reeves out of the John Wick character is a nice sight. Replicas co-stars Alice Eve, Emjay Anthony, Thomas Middleditch and John Ortiz.

 

The Upside

A remake of the French film Les Intouchbales (which itself was based on a true story), a comedic look at the relationship between a wealthy man (Bryan Cranston) with quadriplegia and an unemployed man (Kevin Hart) with criminal record who’s hired to help him. It should be interesting to see how this movie does for a number of reasons. One, you got Kevin Hart and his drama with his old tweets coming into the limelight, also on the top of that, Hart is playing a little bit more of a serious character here. It’s also a remake, and well, you know how people feel about those (although, I’ll be interested in seeing how many people actually know it’s a remake). The Upside co-stars Nicole Kidman, Tate Donovan, Golshifteh Farahani and Julianna Margulies.

 

18th

Glass

M. Night Shyamalan returns to the world he created in Unbreakable and Split, security guard David Dunn (Bruce Willis) uses his supernatural abilities to track Kevin Wendell Crumb (James McAvoy), a disturbed man who has twenty-four personalities. This is arguably one of the most anticipated movies of the month, and maybe even the first quarter of the year. Not only did Split surprise almost everyone that watched it, but to then pull the last minute Shyamalan-twist and reveal that it was actually the long-awaited sequel to Unbreakable, oh boy. All that said, the cast is also fantastic, and I guarantee that scene with Willis, McAvoy, Samuel L. Jackson and Sarah Paulson in the same room is just going to be great. Glass co-stars Anya Taylor-Joy, Spencer Treat Clark, Luke Kirby and Charlayne Woodard.

 

25th

Serenity

Written and directed by Steven Knight (Peaky Blinders, Locke, The Girl in the Spider’s Web), the mysterious past of a fishing boat captain (Matthew McConaughey) comes back to haunt him, when his ex-wife (Anne Hathaway) tracks down with a desperate plea for help, ensnaring his life in a new reality that may not be all that it seems. I honestly don’t know what to think about this. On one hand, Knight is one of my favorite people working behind the camera, and then you have this mystery suspense story with Hathaway, essentially playing a Femme Fatale, as she tries to get McConaughey’s character to kill her current husband (played by Jason Clarke). My only thing is that they don’t try to play it too smart, and ruin their movie. Serenity co-stars Djimon Hounsou, Jeremy Strong and Diane Lane.

 

The Kid Who Would be King

Written and directed by Joe Cornish (Attack the Block), Alex (Louis Ashbourne Serkis) thinks he’s a nobody, until she stumbles upon the mythical sword, Excalibur. Now, he must unite his friends and enemies into a band of knights and work alongside the legendary wizard Merlin (Sir Patrick Stewart) to stop the evil enchantress Morgana (Rebecca Ferguson) from destroying the world. Besides the big roles of Merlin and Morgana, the movie is filled with unknown actors, which harkens back to Cornish’s Attack the Block – which you should watch if you haven’t yet – and it’s awesome to see Cornish back behind the camera. The movie itself looks like it could be good, and knowing what Cornish is capable of, we could be in for a fun ride.

 

What are you looking forward to?