‘The Magnificent Seven’ Review

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Director: Antoine Fuqua

Writers: Nic Pizzolatto and Richard Wenk

Cast: Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio, Byung-hun Lee, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Martin Sensmeier, Haley Bennet, Peter Sarsgaard, Luke Grimes, and Matt Bomer

Synopsis: Seven gun men in the old west gradually come together to help a poor village against savage thieves.

 

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

 

Based on the classic Western of the same name, that was based on the classic film by acclaimed director Akira Kurosawa Seven Samurai, Antoine Fuqua brings is take to The Magnificent Seven with his own star-studded cast and great visuals of his own. I’ll be honest, I’ve been looking forward to this – and yes, I’ve seen the originals – but of course I actually don’t mind remakes and knee-jerkingly reject them just at the thought of it. So, was my excitement worth it? Or does it have to take a long walk into the sunset with my head down? Let’s load up our horse and find out.

The Magnificent Seven starts off by showing just what kind of person the heroes would be going through. The town of Rose Creek are being taken over by a mining corporation run by Bartholomew Bouge (Sarsgaard) who wants the townspeople to sell him their land, but when he shoots the husband of Emma Cullen (Bennett) – played by Matt Boomer – she goes to find men to help her and townspeople take back their town. She eventually finds and recruits bounty hunter Sam Chisolm (Washington), who in turn brings in gambler and playboy Josh Farraday (Pratt) to help him bring in the best people to give the town a shot. The two haul in famed sharpshooter Goodnight Robincheaux (Hawke) and his knife-wielding partner Billy Rocks (Lee), an outlaw named Vasquez (Garcia-Rulfo), tracker Jack Horne (D’Onofrio) and Comanche Native American named Red Harvest (Sensmeier). All seven of them get together to protect the town, even with odds stacked against them. What follows is a grand – or magnificent? – finale that will make any Western fan happy.

(l to r) Vincent D'Onofrio, Martin Sensmeier, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Ethan Hawke, Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt and Byung-hun Lee star in Columbia Pictures' THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN.

(l to r) Vincent D’Onofrio, Martin Sensmeier, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Ethan Hawke, Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt and Byung-hun Lee 

I know I watched the originals, but let’s focus on the Western here, but it was a while ago so I can’t remember too much of it. However, I do know Fuqua’s version is different in its own way, and makes sense for the story he’s trying to tell. I know many won’t, and don’t like the idea of a Magnificent Seven remake – even though it itself is a remake, but whatever – but the film is a lot of fun, and completely worthwhile for new fans or old fans.

The cast is what makes the remake really worthwhile. Washington has worked with Fuqua three times now, and continues to show the duo have a lot of fun together and are great together. Chris Pratt’s Faraday looks like he’s enjoying poking fun at his fellow cast members and being a bit of a playboy, but he does have a sense of pride and duty once everything goes down. Peter Sarsgaard’s Bogue doesn’t have enough screen time as he probably should, which is saying something considering the film is a bit over two hours. Haley Bennett’s Emma Cullen gets a lot of screen time at the beginning, but blends into the background as the film moves forward.

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Ethan Hawke’s Goodnight has an interesting arc, although it takes a while for it to really come up and it kind of just slides away. Vincent D’Onofrio’s Jack Horne is a tracker that gets compared to a bear a lot, Byung-hun Lee’s Billy Rocks is the calm and collective one, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo’s Vasquez has a nice little rivalry with Faraday, and Martin Sensmeier’s Red Harvest has his moments.

Some, and even I’ll agree with some of it, will say the group gets together is too fast and there isn’t enough conflict between them. Especially since we hear that Jack Horne has killed a lot of Native Americans, and while their interactions with Red Harvest are minimal they never come off as standoffish but slight jabbing. It’s nice dynamic – all the characters have them – but it’s something that I know people will bring up. There are some other things that are never fully developed, but for the most part the film doesn’t suffer that much from it.

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The action is top notch and the final shootout is a sight to see. There is a lot going on in the scene, but you always know where you are and can follow the action throughout. It’s also pretty satisfying considering the film builds up to it for half the film. It also helps that the final shootout is great since right before the ending the film loses some steam and slows down.

All in all, The Magnificent Seven is a great, fun ride of a film. The cast is great and the final shootout is a great time. While the film may not be perfect in terms of some pacing issues and not going fleshing out some details, it is a worthwhile remake to a remake of a remake.

The Magnificent Seven

4 out of 5

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September Movie Releases

Hello everybody!

Another month has gone by and we’re on to another packed month full of great films. September seems like it’s going to be great by the end of the month. In with a few surprises. Let’s take a look at what’s coming out this month.

 

2nd

Limited Release: Yoga Hosers

Kevin Smith directs – and also stars – this odd comedy horror fantasy film that follows two teenage yoga enthusiasts, one played by his own daughter Harley Quinn Smith and Johnny Depp’s daughter Lily-Rose Depp, who team up with a legendary man-hunter to battle with an ancient evil presence that threatens their major party plans. The film has already opened on the film festival circuit to let’s call it a mixed reaction. The film also stars Johnny Depp, Austin Butler, Tyler Posey, Haley Joel Osment, Justin Long, Genesis Rodriguez, Adam Brody, Jason Mewes, and Natasha Lyonne

 

The Light Between Oceans (Walt Disney Motion Pictures/Dreamworks SKG/Touchstone Pictures/Amblin Entertainment/Reliance Entertainment/Participant Media)

A lighthouse keeper (Michael Fassbender) and his wife (Alicia Vikander) living off the coast of Western Australia raise a baby they rescue from an adrift rowboat. They start to raise it as their own until a woman (Rachel Weisz) comes around claiming she’s lost her baby. With a cast like this, and what sounds like a compelling story, I can’t imagine this film being bad at all.

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Morgan (Thriller – 20th Century Fox/Scott Free Productions)

Directed by Luke Scott – the son of director Ridley Scott – a corporate risk-management consultant (Kate Mara) has to decide and determine whether or not to terminate an artificial being’s (Anya Taylor-Joy) life that was made in a laboratory environment. This film came out of nowhere for me, but the film looks pretty damn good. The teaser trailer that came out automatically hooked me and with a great cast, this jumped to my anticipated films of the year. The film also stars Toby Jones, Michelle Yeoh, Body Holbrook, Sam Spruell, Jonathan Aris, Rose Leslie, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Paul Giamatti.

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9th

The Wild Life (Lionsgate/StudioCanal/nWave Pictures/uFilm)

An outgoing parrot named Tuesday, who dreams of seeing the outside world, and his friends enjoy their time on their exotic island until a violent storm brings Robinson Crusoe. Seeing him as a way off, they try to help get off, but not without trouble. The film is originally a French animated film that is being dubbed in English. Personally, the film doesn’t look very appealing to me.

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When the Bough Breaks (Drama – Sony Pictures/Screen Gems/Unique Features)

A surrogate mom for a couple becomes dangerously obsessed with the soon-to-be father. Regina Hall, Theo Rossi, Morris Chestnut, and Glenn Morshower star. The film isn’t really targeted toward me, but the film doesn’t look that great to me honest.

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The Disappointments Room (Drama Thriller – Relativity Media/Demarest Films/Media Talent Group)

Written by Wentworth Miller and directed by D.J. Caruso (Disturbia, Eagle Eye, xXx: Return of Xander Cage), the film follows a mother (Kate Beckinsale) and her young son (Lucas Till) release unimaginable horrors from the attic of their rural dream home. This film has sat on the shelves for a while, and will finally come out. It does look creepy, but the film will have to do some heavy marketing to get on people’s radar since it just moved to this date right before the beginning of the month. The Disappointments Room also stars Michaela Conlin, Michael Landes, Duncan Joiner and Gerald McRaney.

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Sully (Biography Drama – Warner Bros./Village Roadshow Pictures/RatPac Entertainment/Malpaso Productions/Flashlight Films)

The film tells the true story of American pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, who heroically landed an aircraft full of passengers on the Hudson River. But the story is much more than just him landing the plan. Sully look pretty impressive after that trailer, especially the plan going into the river. The film is directed by Clint Eastwood and stars Tom Hanks as Sully himself and Aaron Eckhart as his co-pilot. The film also stars Laura Linney, Anna Gunn, Autumn Reeser, Sam Huntington, and Holt McCallany.

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16th

Limited Release: The Good Neighbor

A pair of high school kids try to trick a neighbor into thinking a house is haunted, but their intended victim turns out to be far more dangerous than they imagined. The film stars James Cann, Logan Miller, Keir Gilchrist, Laura Innes, Edwin Hodge, Anne Dudek, Bailey Nobel, Lili Reinhart, and Mindy Sterling.

 

Hillsong: Let Hope Rise (Pure Flix Entertainment/Grace Hill Media/MediaWeaver Entertainment/Cantinas Entertainment)

The film is a documentary following the Australia-based worship band Hillsong. The film will follow their humble beginning and rise to an international church.

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Bridget Jones’s Baby (Romantic Comedy – Universal Pictures/Working Title Films)

The adventures continue for British publishing executive Bridget Jones (Renee Zellweger) as she enters her 40s, and yeah, she has a baby. Colin Firth returns as Mark Darcy and Sally Philips returns as Shazza, and the film will also stars Jim Broadbent, Gemma Jones, and Patrick Dempsey. I don’t know if anyone was screaming for another Bridget Jones movie, but here it is.

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Snowden (Biography Drama Thriller – Open Road Films/Onda Entertainment/KrautPack Entertainment/Sacha Inc.)

Directed by Oliver Stone, Snowden is about the former CIA employee Edward Snowden (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who leaked thousands of classified documents. The trailer makes it seem like the film will focus on Snowden before he leaked everything a bit, and then jump to what maybe happens after. The film has a very talented cast, and was supposed to be released late last year before it was pushed back to this year. Snowden also stars Shailene Woodley, Scott Eastwood, Nicolas Cage, Timothy Olyphant, Zachary Quinto, Rhys Ifans, Tom Wilkinson and Melissa Leo.

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Blair Witch (Horror – Lionsgate)

You want to talk about films that came out of nowhere, Blair Witch is the definition of that. Originally called The Woods, it was recently revealed that the film was really a sequel, yes a sequel, to the Blair Witch films. Directed by Adam Wingard (You’re Next, The Guest) the film follows Blane, as he takes a group of friends into the woods, after he discovers a video of what could be his missing sister. The problem they find is that they have gone into the same woods that belong to the legendary Blair Witch. I always already looking forward to The Woods because of Wingard, but now that it is a Blair Witch film, my excitement went down just a little, but it’s still Wingard so I’m going to watch this.

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23rd

Limited Release: Queen of Katwe

Based on the book by Tim Crothers, a young girl from Uganda trains to become a world chess champion. I’ve only seen the trailer once, but I felt like I’ve already seen the film. Nonetheless, it looks like an impressive story and the film will find the right people. The cast includes Lupita Nyong’o, David Oyelowo, and introduces Madina Nalwanga playing the main character.

 

Limited Release: Beauty and the Beast

Directed by visionary filmmaker Christophe Gans (Crying Freeman, Brotherhood of the Wolf, Silent Hill), the film is, well, Beauty and the Beast in French. The film looks great and has two great leads in Lea Seydoux as Belle and Vincent Cassel as the Beast/Prince. Of course, people are looking forward to the Disney live-action version next year, but this could hold you over.

 

Limited Release: The Dressmaker 

Based on the novel by Rosalie Ham, a glamorous woman named Myrtle ‘Tilly’ Dunnage (Kate Winslet), returns to her small town in rural Australia. With her sewing machine and haute couture style, she transforms the women and exacts sweet revenge on those who did her wrong. The film also stars Liam Hemsworth, Sarah Snook, Judy Davis and Hugh Weaving.

 

Storks (Animation – Warner Bros. Animation)

Storks have moved on from delivering babies to packages. But when an order for a baby appears, the best delivery stork must scramble to fix the error by delivering the baby. Voice cast includes Andy Samberg, Jennifer Aniston, Ty Burrell, Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Danny Trejo and Kelsey Grammer. It seems like 2016 is the year of talking animals and Storks will continue the fashion.

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The Magnificent Seven (Western – Sony Pictures/Village Roadshow Pictures/MGM)

Based on the classic Western that was really a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s classic Seven Samurai, The Magnificent Seven follows seven gun men in the west come together to help a village against a gang coming through. The film already carries some heavy hitters in director Antoine Fuqua and stars Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Peter Sarsgaard, Matt Bomer, Haley Bennett, Vincent D’Onofrio, Byung-hun Lee, and Ethan Hawke. This looks pretty great to be honest. Even with the cast, I was a little hesitant, but the trailers have completely won me over.

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30th

Limited Release: American Honey (Drama Comedy)

A teenage girl (Sasha Lane) with nothing to lose joins a traveling magazine sales crew, and gets caught up in a whirlwind of hard partying, law bending and young love as she criss-crosses the Midwest with a band of misfits. The film won some awards in the film festivals it played in, and has gotten some pretty high praise. The film also stars Shia LaBeouf and Riley Keough.

 

Masterminds (Action Comedy – Relativity Media/Michaels-Goldwyn)

A night guard (Zach Galifianakis) at an armored car company in the Southern U.S organizes one of the biggest bank heists in American history, problem is others on his trail, and they want the money too. The film doesn’t really look too bad – and I’m not the biggest Galifianakis fan – and again like Before I Wake trailers were put out before Relativity Media pull every movie they had off the release schedule because they filed for bankruptcy. Masterminds also stars Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Owen Wilson, Jason Sudeikis, Leslie Jones, Jon Daly, and Ken Marino.

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Deepwater Horizon (Action Drama – Lionsgate/Participant Media/Di Bonaventura Pictures)

Directed by Peter Berg, Deepwater Horizon is based on the true story of the offshore drilling rig Deepwater Horizon which exploded during April 2010 and created the worst oil spill in U.S. History. I’m sure this might still be a touchy subject with some, and people will probably say why the trailer calls the people onboard “heroes,” since they “caused it” or at least a part of it. But Deepwater Horizon still looks pretty descent. The film has a great cast of Mark Wahlberg, Dylan O’Brien, Kurt Russell, Kate Hudson, Gina Rodriguez, J.D. Evermore, and John Malkovich.

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Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (Fantasy Adventure – 20th Century Fox/Tim Burton Productions/Chernin Entertainment/St. Petersberg Clearwater Film Commission)

Based on the novel of the same name by Ransom Riggs, the film follows Jacob (Asa Butterfield) who follows clues that take him to a mysterious land, where he discovers the ruins of Miss Peregrine’s School for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores the building, he discovers that its former occupants were far more than peculiar; they possessed incredible powers. And they may still be alive. I haven’t read the book, but honestly, I’m not the biggest Tim Burton fan anymore. However, this looks pretty good. The cast also includes Eva Green as Miss Peregrine, Samuel L. Jackson, Allison Janney, Ella Purnell, Kim Dickens, Rupert Everett, Chris O’Dowd, Terence Stamp and Judi Dench.

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So, what are you looking forward to?

‘The Hateful Eight’ Review

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Director: Quentin Tarantino

Writer: Quentin Tarantino

Cast: Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Goggins, Tim Roth, Demian Bichir, Michael Madsen, James Parks, and Channing Tatum

Synopsis: In the dead of a Wyoming winter, a bounty hunter and his prisoner find shelter in a cabin currently inhabited by a collection of nefarious characters.

 

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

 

Despite the script leak, Quentin Tarantino continued his eighth film with his mystery Western, The Hateful Eight. He also did something special by shooting the film in 70mm. Now if you’re not a huge cinephile, or just know what that means, it probably doesn’t mean too much, but considering the rarity of how films are made nowadays, The Hateful Eight is a special film. This film is filled with the traditional and very noticeable Tarantino tropes and works, but Tarantino still finds a way to make the film feel different and make the audience feel a bit uncomfortable watching these strangers stuck in a cabin as the tension between all of them arise.

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The film is set after the Civil War, and takes place in Wyoming as a blizzard comes roaring in. We follow bounty hunter Major Marquis Warren (Jackson) hitching a ride with John “The Hangman” Ruth (Russell), who is chained to his bounty Daisy Domergue (Leigh), who are on the way to Red Rock so Ruth can collect Daisy’s bounty. Along the way, they pick up former Confederate soldier Chris Mannix, who has just become the sheriff of Red Rock despite Ruth’s disbelief, and they all head to an inn in the mountains called Minnie’s Haberdashery. Once they get there, they meet the already there occupants in cowboy Joe Gage (Madsen), British gentlemen Oswaldo Mobray (Roth), former Confederate General Sandy Smithers (Dern), and Bob (Bichir), the man looking over Minnie’s as she’s away. Trapped in the inn for a few days as the blizzard blows over, Ruth and Warren try to figure out if everyone, if anyone, can be trusted which leads to a tension-filled environment that, in the typical Tarantino style, eventually goes into mayhem.

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The timeline for the film isn’t just some random place setting. The fact that Samuel L. Jackson’s Warren is the only real African-American character does lend itself to the plot and the characters later on in the film. Major Warren actually has something that everyone can’t believe he has, and leads to some funny moments, but also more tension between Warren, Mannix, and Smithers. Hell, the fact that Warren fought on the opposite side of Mannix and Smithers is enough to always keep your eyes on them. Warren makes a great point once everyone knows that he has the thing no one can believes he has that makes a lot of sense, not just in the movie, but even in today’s world. The Hateful Eight isn’t trying to be political; it just makes some interesting political points.

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What holds the film together is the very Tarantino-esque characters, and the great cast that brings them all to life. Of course, Samuel L. Jackson – the only actor in the cast that has worked with Tarantino the most – is great in this and delivers a great monologue-like speech around the beginning of the third act that could potentially send chills down your spine. It also reminds us why the film is called The Hateful Eight. On the other end, Kurt Russell’s John Ruth aka The Hangman doesn’t have a speech that makes us hate or feel awkward, although his mustache will probably make you envious, but the way he treats Daisy goes ranges from threatening to shoot her, despite wanting to hang her, to hitting her if she gets out of line. It’s an odd relationship that – somehow – seems to work once we see them juxtaposed to each other. Hey, speaking of Daisy, Jennifer Jason Leigh is just memorizing to watch. Daisy sometimes just blends into the background as we focus on the other characters, but every time Daisy is in the spotlight, she shines. One scene is particular had me going, which involved her simply sitting with a guitar and singing.

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The supporting cast is equally great in what they are given. Walton Goggins is the highlight for me personally. Goggins is always a great supporting character guy and he can do anything that a director throws at him, and he does it here again and has one of the best arcs at the end of the film. Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, and Demian Bichir all have their moments to shine and bring some nice nuances to their roles. Bruce Dern doesn’t really do much until the middle of the film where his arch finally comes into play. Channing Tatum also pops up in a different role than he’s usually known for.

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On a technical level, The Hateful Eight is great to look at. The cinematography by Robert Richardson really puts you in Minnie’s Haberdashery, which is a great set, and out in the wintery landscape of Wyoming. Moreover, legendary spaghetti western composer Ennio Morricone score is both tense and a bit haunting, almost The Thing-like. The score is more haunting due to the fact the film is a slow burn through-and-through.

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All in all, The Hateful Eight is a slow burn, scene chewing, mystery Western that makes you question every character until the end. The great cast and the characters they play are elevated even more thanks to the secluded and close-quarters environment. If you love Tarantino films, this will be right up your alley, although it can be arguably said that this may not be Tarantino best film, but it still a great one in his filmography.

 

The Hateful Eight

4.5 out of 5

January 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 December so there is also that to look forward to.

 

You’ll notice that I will put the companies attached and responsible for releasing the film as well. Just trying something new to expand the page a bit.

 

 

1st

Expansion/Wide Release: The Hateful Eight

 

8th

Expansion/Wide Release: The Revenant

 

The Masked Saint (Action/Biography – Freestyle Releasing/P23 Entertainment/Ridgerock Entertainment Group)

The film is based on a true story about one pastor’s mission to help his community by risking his identity and returns to his former life as a wrestler. The triumphant story follows one man’s journey and struggle between helping others and the consequences he faces doing this. The film kind of showed up out of nowhere so I don’t know if the film will find a massive audience. The film stars Brett Granstaff, Lara Jean Chorostecki, T.J. McGibbon, Diahann Carroll and Roddy Pipper.

 

The Forest (Horror – Focus Features/Lava Bear Films/Gramercy Pictures)

Game of Thrones Natalie Dormer leads this creepy looking horror film about a sister on the search for her twin in one of the most haunted areas in the world, the forest at the base of Mt. Fuji known as Aokigahara aka Suicide Forest. The film also stars Taylor Kinney (NBC’s Chicago Fire).

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15th

Norm of the North (Animation – Lionsgate/Splash Entertainment/Telegael)

The film follows a polar bear named Norm (voiced by Rob Schneider), who along with three little creatures, winds up in New York City to convince humans to not move to his Arctic home. The film doesn’t look like too much for me, but kids will probably enjoy it. The voice cast also includes Heather Graham, Ken Jeong, Colm Meaney, Gabriel Iglesias, and Bill Nighy.

 

13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (Drama/Action – Paramount Pictures/Latina Pictures/3 Arts Entertainment)

Michael Bay directs the action drama thriller about the much talked event in Benghazi when an American Ambassador is killed during an attack at a U.S compound. The film follows a security team as they try to make sense of the situation and try to save the remaining survivors. The film looks okay abut it still looks very Bay-y. The cast includes John Krasinski, Pablo Schreiber, Toby Stephens, James Badge Dale, Max Martini, and David Costabile.

 

Ride Along 2 (Action Comedy – Universal Pictures/Cube Vision/Will Packer Productions)

I enjoyed the first Ride Along, so I’m kind of looking forward to this one. The film follows Ben (Kevin Hart) and James (Ice Cube) as they head to Miami to stop a drug dealer who’s supplying the dealers in Atlanta. The problem is that Ben is getting married to James’ sister soon. The film looks like they are upping the ante a bit, but keeping the humor intact which is good. The rest of the cast stars Olivia Munn, Ken Jeonh, Glen Powell, Nadine Velazquez, Tika Sumpter, Sherri Shepherd, T.I., and Benjamin Bratt.

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22nd

Limited Release: Ip Man 3 (Action – Well Go USA)

The third installment – and potentially last – of the Ip Man series that stars Donnie Yen as the famous Yip Man, who is the last man standing for a city that is being shaken down by a band of brutal gangsters and a crooked property developer. I loved the first two installments and I can’t wait to see what they do this one. The film will also star Mike Tyson (not as himself) and Kwok-Kwan Chan as Bruce Lee.

 

Limited Release: Mojave (Thriller – A24/Atlas Independent/Henceforth Pictures)

Directed by William Monahan – writer of films like Kingdom of Heaven and The DepartedMojave follows a suicidal artist (Garrett Hedlund) as he goes into the desert, where he find his doppelganger (Oscar Isaac) who happens to be a homicidal drifter. I honestly don’t know what to think of the film. Monahan is great, but judging by the trailers, the film doesn’t look all that great. Maybe their is more too it, hopefully, especially with Oscar Isaac attached. Mojave also stars Walton Goggins, Louis Bourgoin, and Mark Wahlberg (who is nowhere in the promotional material mind you).

 

The Boy (Horror Thriller– Lakeshore Entertainment/Vertigo Entertainment/STX Entertainment)

The Walking Dead’s Lauren Cohan stars as an American nanny who goes to England to be shocked that the boy she is suppose to take care of for an important English family is actually a life-sized doll. After violating a list of rules, disturbing events start to make her believe that the doll is involved somehow. The movie looks kind of creepy – it does have a creepy doll after all – so let’s hope it turns out more than the trailer lets on. Rupert Evans and Ben Robson also star.

 

Dirty Grandpa (Comedy – Lionsgate/QED International/Josephson Entertainment/Ninjas Runnin’ Wild Productions)

Zac Efron stars in the comedy about an uptight guy that is tricked into driving his grandfather, played by Robert De Niro, a perverted former Army general to Florida for Spring Break, right before he gets married. The looks okay, I’m not dying to watch it, but will probably will end up watching it anyway. Because, well, it’s a movie. The film also stars Dermot Mulroney, Jason Mantzoukas, Zoey Deutch, Aubrey Plaza and Julianne Hough.

 

The 5th Wave (Sci-Fi Action Adventure – Sony Pictures/Columbia Pictures/GK Films/LStar Capital)

Based on the book by the same name by Rick Yancey, The 5th Wave follows Cassie (Chloe Grace Moretz) as she tries to survive the now post-apocalyptic Earth after four deadly waves from aliens know as “The Others” has left nothing left. The only thing driving Cassie, besides survival, is finding her little brother. Meanwhile, Earth’s last remaining military try to stop “The Others” last wave to wipe out Earth. I’ve read the book and the book has its great moments, but everything I’ve seen for the film makes it look painfully generic, so I hope that the film come out better than the trailers. The rest of the cast includes Nick Robinson, Maika Monroe, Alex Roe, Zackary Arthur, Tony Revolori, Maria Bello, Ron Livingston and Liev Schreiber.

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29th

Fifty Shades of Black (Comedy – Open Road Films/IM Global)

A Marlon Wayans-lead parody of the novel and film 50 Shades of Grey. The film looks like nothing more of what he’s done in the past. The film also stars Jane Seymour, Kali Hawk, and Mike Epps.

 

Jane Got a Gun (Western – The Weinstein Company/1821 Pictures/Scott Pictures/Handsomecharlie Films/Unanimous Pictures)

Riddled with production problems, Jane Got a Gun is finally coming out! The film follows Jane (Natalie Portman) who asks her former lover (Joel Edgerton) for help in order to save her outlaw husband (Noah Emmerich) from a gang, lead by Ewan McGregor, that want to kill them. At this point, I’m just happy the film is coming out and that it looks pretty descent. The film also stars Rodrigo Santoro, Boyd Holbrook, Alex Manette, and Todd Stashwick.

 

The Finest Hours (Drama Thriller – Walt Disney Pictures/Whitaker Entertainment)

Based on the real life event, The Finest Hours follows The Coast Guard making a daring rescue attempting of the coast in Cape Cod after a pair of oil tankers are destroying during a blizzard in 1952. The film looks great and is filled with a great cast of Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Kyle Gallner, Casey Affleck, Holliday Grainger, Rachel Brosnahan and Eric Bana, the film might be a great watch.

 

Kung Fu Panda 3 (Animation – DreamWorks Animation/Oriental DreamWorks)

The third outing for Po (voiced by Jack Black again) sees him facing two threats: one supernatural and one closer to home. I enjoyed the first Kung Fu Panda more than the second one, but there still pretty fun movies to watch so lets hope that this is the same. The voice cast brings back Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu, David Cross, James Hong, Randall Duk Kim and Dustin Hoffman. The new voice cast includes Kate Hudson, J.K. Simmons, and Bryan Cranston.

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What are you looking forward to?

‘A Million Ways to Die in the West’ Review

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Dir: Seth MacFarlane

Cast: Seth MacFarlane, Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, Giovanni Ribisi, Sarah Silverman, Neil Patrick Harris and Liam Neeson

Synopsis: As a cowardly farmer begins to fall for the mysterious new woman in town, he must put his new-found courage to the test when her husband, a notorious gun-slinger, announces his arrival.

 

 

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

*Reviewer Note #2: Reviewing comedies for me is hard for a couple of reasons. One, you risk the chance of ruining a joke or can’t get into a joke because, again, you might ruin it. And two, what you find funny may not be funny to other people. So I’ll do my best to review this. Bare with me. *

 

A lot of people in Hollywood make a big deal about a first time director’s second movie. And a lot of the time, those people don’t end up liking the second movie. While sometimes it is justified, other times they say the director didn’t do what worked in their first movie (did you get all that?). Seth MacFarlane gets back in the directors chair after his hit comedy Ted two years ago. This time he actually puts himself in front of the camera without the help of a teddy bear. But MacFarlane still keeps his humor in tact, which is probably what fans of MacFarlane, including myself, like to see.

 

Albert (MacFarlane) is an unhappy sheep farmer living in the Arizona frontier town of Old Stump in 1882.  He hates everything about living in the West, but his life gets worse when he’s dumped by his girlfriend Louise (Seyfried) after talking his way out of a duel and she ends up dating the town’s “Moustachery” owner Foy (Harris). Even though his friends, the virgin Edward (Ribisi) and his prostitute girlfriend Ruth (Silverman), try to cheer him up it doesn’t work. That is until he meets Anna (Theron).

 

Anna takes a liking to Albert, that she evens tries to help Albert get Louise back. What Albert doesn’t know is that Anna is hiding the secret that the only reason she’s in Old Stump is so she can lay low until her husband, the notorious outlaw Clinch Leatherwood (Neeson), comes to pick her up.

 

Like I stated before, if you’re a fan of MacFarlane’s humor then you will enjoy this, if you’re not, you are most likely going to be really offended or feel really dumb for spending your money on a movie you knew you weren’t going to like. MacFarlane this time around doesn’t have any animation or funny voices to fall on, it’s all on him and his great supporting cast. Luckily, for the most part, they manage to hold everything together.

 

MacFarlane as the main character does a pretty descent job playing a guy that would rather talk things out then risk getting shot during a duel. Albert is also the only person who can observe all the absurdities of the time period but still be confused and dumbfounded as everyone else when it comes to some things. Even with all this, Albert isn’t really the perfect character, he’s a coward after all but he’s also in love with a girl that he’s done everything for and hasn’t really done anything for him. As for directing, you have to give it to him that he can pull a great supporting cast. But also that he can get great performances out of the cast. Whether it’s physical comedy or even having the gull to make fun of one his actors, and it’s not a knock against their career past roles but how they look. And despite the movie really being a comedy, MacFarlane does do a pretty good job making A Million Ways to Die in the West feel like an actual Western (including the opening titles).
The supporting cast is great. Charlize Theron’s Anna is quick witted just as much as Albert is and teaches him how to shoot. Giovanni Ribisi and Sarah Silverman are dopey but sweet and their relationship is just ridiculous that you can’t help but laugh every time their relationship is bought up or talked about. Seyfried is okay as the ex but doesn’t really have much to do. But Neil Patrick Harris, who is almost always a scene stealer in what he does, that yes you guessed, steals some of the scenes that he’s in. I think his “Mustache Song” might be a standout sequence for some people. Liam Neeson’s even though he’s playing the villain, doesn’t have a ton of screen time. He does fine although his villainous gunslinger is menacing just because Neeson is playing him.

 

The comedy is a bit all over the place. It can be physical at one moment, a dick joke the next, and then an offensive joke. Hell, maybe all three at once. But you have to hand it to MacFarlane, he does have great comedy timing and hopefully non-fans can at least appreciate that.

 

All in all, A Million Ways to Die in the West will have a split audience, even if you’re a Seth MacFarlane fan. When the jokes work, they’re hilarious. The cast is great and the tone that MacFarlane sets in the movie really works. Also, look out for some cool surprises.

 

A Million Ways to Die in the West

4 out of 5