In most years, January tends to be the most boring month of the year for the box office. This is where Hollywood typically sends the movies in which it has the least faith. This is the dumping ground, the place where movies go to die so the studios can concentrate on their Oscar campaigns. However, thanks to ‘American Sniper,’ this January has bucked every trend. It may technically be a 2014 release, but Clint Eastwood’s war film has made the first chunk of 2015 interesting, shattering expectations and threatening to become the highest grossing film of last year in only a few weeks.
Before he was a CGI creation, Jedi master Yoda was a puppet. Before green screens became the norm, the Dagobah set for ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ was built elevated off the ground to accommodate Yoda’s puppeteers. And before he brought Yoda to life, puppeteer and voice actor Frank Oz was best known as the man behind Miss Piggy. In a weird way, that makes the most wizened character in the ‘Star Wars’ universe a distant relative of the extended Muppet family.
With the Super Bowl arriving this weekend, every corporation in the world is fighting for your attention, spending ludicrous amounts of cash on tiny advertisements for things that most people already like. The same goes for movies and the biggest sporting event in the United States is no stranger to premiering new trailers and TV spots for massively anticipated films. So, without further ado, let’s all take a moment to watch the new ad for ‘Minions’.
Nicolas Cage has made a habit of selecting atrocious film roles for the better part of a decade, so it’s always a pleasant surprise when he finds himself attached to something that actually sounds promising. Fresh off a Razzie nomination for the quick and dirty paycheck gig that was ‘Left Behind,’ Cage is set to lead ‘Army of One,’ a film adaptation of a truly bizarre story about man’s hunt for Osama Bin Laden.
A lot of people are going to act like they didn’t see the enormous success of ‘American Sniper’ coming, but the signs were all there. On top of the promising limited release numbers, there was the awards buzz. On top of that, there were the names of director Clint Eastwood and star Bradley Cooper. On top of that, the subject matter of the film is inherently attractive to the same category of moviegoer that makes Christian-themed films into massive hits. ‘American Sniper’ had one doozy of a weekend, but it’s not that surprising.
Yep, it’s that time of the year again. The 2015 Oscar nominations are here and it’s time for everyone to get outraged and cynical over which movies get the opportunity to take home statuettes of naked golden dudes. Sure, we always tell ourselves that the Academy Awards don’t really matter and that a film’s legacy will live or die for reasons beyond trophies, but we always end up getting angry about these things anyway. However, this year’s biggest snubs seems more egregious than usual and require slightly more yelling and stamping of feet.
It’s become fashionable in recent years to hate the Golden Raspberry Awards (AKA, the Razzies) and for good reason. The inherently negative awards claim to celebrate the worst films of the year, but they frequently nominate or “honor” ambitious misfires or boring studio junk over the real worst films of the year. To be fair, the Razzies are and have always been a big silly joke, but they’re a joke that leaves a bad taste in the mouth. And yet, it’s really hard to look at this year’s nominees and disagree. With a handful of minor exceptions, this looks like a year where the Razzies actually, well, kinda’ got it right.
With all of his projects, J.J. Abrams has shown extraordinary good taste in casting and ‘Star Wars: Episode 7’ is no different. Forget about the old-timers returning to the saga and think about John Boyega, Adam Driver, Gwendoline Christie and the other terrific thespians being given the biggest spotlight of their careers. Abrams, more than most working filmmakers, knows how to showcase an actor or actress in a way that makes us wonder why they weren’t movie stars before he cast them. Anyway, this is just a longwinded way of getting around to saying that Abrams’ impeccable taste is once again on display since a trio of actors from ‘The Raid’ and ‘The Raid 2’ are apparently in ‘The Force Awakens.’
After the jam-packed month of December, with its huge family-friendly blockbusters and awards season Oscar bait, we have arrived in the month of January. Formerly a dumping ground for mediocre films, the month has taken on a new identity in the past few years as a testing ground for unique genre films (think ‘Cloverfield’) and a solid place to release a horror movie, which seems to do quite well right around New Year’s for whatever reason. This year, we have ‘The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death,’ which had a fairly solid opening. Not solid enough to topple the Christmas Week champions, but no one is complaining too much.
You’ve got to hand it to Jonah Hill and James Franco, both of whom manage to effortlessly glide between comedic and dramatic roles. It’s not easy to be a popular goofball and an Oscar nominated “serious” actor, but somehow these two have managed to pull it off. Their latest film, ‘True Story’ is unique in that it is the first project to cast them together in dramatic roles. When you watch the first trailer for film, you can be forgiven for expecting them to drop the dramatic stare-downs and start riffing with each other at any moment.
As expected, ‘The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies’ won the weekend, but a quick examination of the actual numbers makes this victory feel just a little hollow. The same goes for ‘Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb’ and ‘Annie,’ both of which took second and third place without putting forward particularly impressive numbers. Yep, the holiday box office looked just a little rough this weekend.
The 'Taken' films have been a blessing and a curse for star Liam Neeson. Sure, he's found great success in his newfound career as an aging action hero, but the days of Neeson being a completely respectable presence in prestige films seem to have come to an end. So the 'Taken 3' trailer fills us with mixed feelings. We'd love to see Neeson doing something else, but man, he sure is good at killing people.
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