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Saturday, July 30, 2011

"Cowboys and Aliens"

Director Jon Favreau has managed to do what no one else has ever been able to do before. For one thing, he's merged the lasso-swinging, ranch-dwelling cowboys of yesteryear with the slime-throwing, multiplying peculiarities of the aliens of the future into one very entertaining movie. And secondly, he managed to make Daniel Craig look believable as cowboy fighting off pesky aliens on a dude ranch. It sounds crazy, but Cowboys and Aliens actually works.

Craig stars as Jake Lonergan, a cowboy who's struggling with a terrible case of amnesia. He ventures onto a town reminiscent of the OK Corral and is deemed a wanted man by the townsfolk. He's got a mysterious bracelet wrapped tightly around his wrist (similar to Hal Jordan's ring in Green Lantern, but way cooler) that he can't take off, but is his secret weapon against the other life form. After he proves that he's villainous enough not to be messed with by even the scariest in town, including hardened cowboy Woodrow Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford) and his ridiculously slapstick son, Percy (Paul Dano), he joins forces with them to help fend off an alien invasion. Yes, aliens have attacked their town and threatened to snatch up all the townsfolk. Jake, Woodrow, the town doctor, Doc (played by Sam Rockwell), a mysterious ally, Ellen Swenson (played by Olivia Wilde), and a slew of other cowboys plot to take down the alien force in true blockbuster form.

Craig somehow turns what could have been a ridiculous story into something very believable. His strapping yet sensitive approach to Jake really draws audiences in. Ford recaptures his alpha male character recycled from the Indiana Jones franchise and holds up his own as the older school cowboy and grandfather figure of the crew. Although Wilde actually has the weakest performance out of the bunch, her character is central to the plot and climax of the story.

In true cowboy movie form, Favreau intertwines the Native American characters in the story (led by an understated performance by Adam Beach as Woodrow's second in command, Nat Colorado). Rather than being on opposing sides, the Native Americans act alongside the other cowboys to protect their collective land against the ultimate invasion. Quite an innovative approach to the western genre. But that's another thing about Cowboys and Aliens; just when you're about to write it off as just another western or just another sci-fi flick, Favreau throws a wrench in that theory. From the cool special effects, to its top-notch acting and wickedly fun concept, Cowboys and Aliens is just that film that you may in fact hate to love. But it is really enjoyable.

Rating: B+

Friday, July 29, 2011

First Look: "Red Tails"

Here's another movie that may be Oscar bait come awards season. Producer George Lucas (Star Wars, Indiana Jones) has teamed with director Anthony Hemingway (whose previous credits run the gamut of TV shows including the popular "Treme" series) to tell the story of the Tuskegee Airmen, the first African-American pilots to fly in combat during World War II. Terrence Howard, Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Bryan Cranston lead a troop of heroes played by the likes of Michael B. Jordan, Tristan Wilds and R&B singer Ne-yo (???). Check out the first trailer below. Red Tails hits theaters next year.

P.S. How great is it to see Cuba Gooding Jr. in a real movie? Winning.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

First Look: "Tower Heist"

Question: Why is Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Matthew Broderick and Casey Affleck in what looks like the broke man's Horrible Bosses? At least, that's what their new comedy Tower Heist looks like. The seasoned actors/comedians star as a group of working stuffs who've fallen prey to a rich guy's scheme and decide to rob his high-rise. Substitute "random rich guy" with a couple of backstabbing bosses, and trying to rob him as revenge with trying to kill them as revenge and you've got the same story. But somehow Horrible Bosses looks a whole lot better than this situation right here. You be the judge. The trailer just landed today. Tower Heist, which also stars Téa Leoni, Michael Peña, and Gabourey Sidibe hits theaters November 4.

First Look: "The Ides of March"

So this is one of those films folks have been talking about for-e-ver. Unlike the other ensemble movie we posted about a few days ago, the slick political thriller The Ides of March boasts an all-star cast that is actually talented. Ryan Gosling (whose career is on fire right now) teams with George Clooney (who also directed the movie), Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood, Paul Giamatti and Jeffrey Wright in a movie that dives deep into the world of dirty politics. The Ides of March hits theaters October 7.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

First Look: "Battleship"

You remember the game of Battleship, right? Apparently, Hollywood is starting to run out of cartoon characters to throw on the big screen and is now going straight to board games. First up, oddly enough, is Battleship, that randomly awesome game where the winner gets to proudly proclaim "I sunk your battleship!" This seems like a terrible idea for a movie and, judging by the mediocre trailer, it may actually be that terrible. All you can tell from the clip is a few ships are, well, battling one another and there's an apparent forbidden love situation going on with the twenty-somethings. How did Liam Neeson find his way in this questionable garbage? And along with pop star Rihanna, Brooklyn Decker and Alexander Skarsgård? This trailer has got to get better in the next version. Check it out. Battleship hopes to take down competition at the box office on May 18, 2012.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

First Look: "New Year's Eve"

Well if this isn't the epitome of romcoms (and not in a good way), I don't know what is. Garry Marshall, director of the ill-fated Valentine's Day, returns with a sequel of sorts to that holiday-themed ensemble comedy with New Year's Eve. Jessica Biel and Ashton Kutcher jump back on board the project, and pretty much the rest of Hollywood--or anyone who has ever been in a romantic comedy--round out the cast, including Sarah Jessica Parker, Halle Berry, Katherine Heigl, Ludacris, Robert DeNiro, Michelle Pfieffer, Sofia Vergara and Hilary Swank (to name a few). Looks like a romantic comedy on steroids. What a hodgepodge of mediocre to great talent here. Check it out. New Year's Eve hits theaters December 9.

<a href='' target='_new' title='&#39;New Year&#39;s Eve&#39; movie trailer' >Video: &#39;New Year&#39;s Eve&#39; movie trailer</a>

Sunday, July 24, 2011

First Look: "Haywire"

So this looks wild. Director Stevwn Soderbergh seems to be working overtime these days. He's got Contagion coming up, and now he's directed a truly kickass-looking action flick, with a female character in the lead.

Gina Carano stars as Mallory Kane, a black ops agent who seeks to avenge those who set her up during her last mission. Channing Tatum (snore), Ewan McGregor, Michael Fassbender and Michael Douglas also star. Check out the new trailer. Haywire hits theaters January 20, 2012.

Friday, July 22, 2011

5 Reasons Why "Captain America: The First Avenger" Is Now the Best Superhero Movie of the Summer

"Why someone weak? Because a weak man knows the value of strength, the value of power..."
Adding to the flurry of comic book movies this summer is the shield-toting patriotic superhero Captain America. Chris Evans leaps into the title role with surprising gusto, headlining an impressive cast--including Stanley Tucci and Tommy Lee Jones who--help tell the story of a small young man who only ever wanted to serve his country. Here are five reasons why Captain America: The First Avenger is now the best superhero movie of the summer:

1) It's really like watching an old school superhero flick, circa the 1940s. Similar to XMen: First Class's vintage take on the Cold War, director Joe Johnston (Jumanji, The Wolfman) recreates a World War II superhero. But, unlike First Class, Captain doesn't shift in and out of eras, but rather seamlessly flows throughout creating one streamlined story that really shows the progression of the main character.

2) You won't want miss this opportunity to see Chris Evans shine in a role that was truly tailor-made for him. He takes his charisma from Fantastic Four and combines his bravado from The Losers and adds far more sentimentality than we're using to seeing him have and packages it into a surprisingly solid performance.

3) Hugo Weaving. The always remarkable actor from countless movies, including the classic sci-fi flick, The Matrix, sets the screen on fire (literally) in his portrayal as villain Red Skull aka Johann Schmidt. He captivates audiences with a supremely evil character largely paralleled to Adolf Hitler. Weaving's isn't a cartoonish performance, but rather one that was clearly studied and taken seriously.

4) You will almost forget you're watching a superhero flick. With the period element, coupled with the fact that there really isn't many superhuman special effects river dancing off the screen, you'd think you're actually watching just a really good period drama. This is definitely not to say that superhero movies can't be good, but this one rides a fine line from being just another superhero blockbuster to being a true contender.

5) It captures the whole point of being a superhero, which isn't just about having superhuman powers and vanquishing bad guys. It's about standing up for something, conquering fear and becoming a hero to others and yourself. Captain America is a truly humble story that fortifies the character both physically and morally.

Captain America is now playing in theaters everywhere

Rating: A-

First Look: "Drive"

Ryan Gosling rarely goes outside his heavy dramas, but this year he's trying his hand at comedy in Crazy, Stupid, Love, and now he is jumping on the action drama bandwagon with Drive. The Oscar nominee will play a stuntman/wheelman who becomes the sole target of a heist that's gone wrong. The trailer kinda looks like a cross between We Own the Night and Gone in 60 Seconds, but it earned rave reviews at the film festivals earlier this year. Check it out. Drive, which also stars Carey Mulligan, Christina Hendricks and Albert Broks zooms into theaters September 16.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

First Look: "Paranormal Activity 3"

Who would have thought that the grassroots horror flick Paranormal Activity would spawn not one but two sequels? Take a look at the newest trailer for Paranormal Activity 3, in which apparently the spooky ghosts are now after Katie and Micah's kids. Check out the trailer. The movie is scheduled o haunt theaters everywhere October 22.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

First Look: "Dream House"

Recent newlyweds Daniel Craig and Rachel Weisz have just moved into a house in which its previous occupants were murdered in Oscar-nominated director Jim Sheridan's (In America, My Left Foot) upcoming horror flick Dream House. In a movie largely reminiscent of many scary movies, including the horror classic Amityville Horror, the pair discover other oddities and strange occurrences hidden in the home. Check out the trailer below. Seems like a pretty standard horror movie, which makes you think there's something more to it. Dream House, which also stars Naomi Watts, hits theater September 30.

First Look: "The Amazing Spiderman"

I had my doubts about yet another Spiderman movie, since I thought the franchise kinda lost its steam. Then came the news that Andrew Garfield (you know, the supremely underrated actor from The Social Network), was jumping into the role as the webbed superhero and the thought of a new movie started to look promising. And, by the look of things, Garfield seems to be bringing it.

Director Marc Webb has assembled a pretty solid cast of actors--including Emma Stone, C. Thomas Howell, Sally Field, Rhys Ifans and Martin Sheen-- to help the story of Peter Parker's roots from the beginning in this quasi-prequel. Check out the official trailer below. The Amazing Spiderman flies into theaters July 3, 2012.

Monday, July 18, 2011

First Look: "The Dark Knight Rises"

Here it is, folks: One of the most hyped-up movies of next year The Dark Knight Rises finally releases a trailer. The trailer for the eagerly-awaited conclusion to director Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy keeps the hush-hush character breakdown and main plot a mystery while still enticing die-hard fans.

Here's what we do know about the star-studded cast via Collider:

"Leading an all-star international cast, Oscar® winner Christian Bale (“The Fighter”) again plays the dual role of Bruce Wayne/Batman. The film also stars Anne Hathaway, as Selina Kyle; Tom Hardy, as Bane; Oscar® winner Marion Cotillard (“La Vie en Rose”), as Miranda Tate; and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, as John Blake.

Returning to the main cast, Oscar® winner Michael Caine (“The Cider House Rules”) plays Alfred; Gary Oldman is Commissioner Gordon; and Oscar® winner Morgan Freeman (“Million Dollar Baby”) reprises the role of Lucius Fox."

The cast is nearly perfect (with the exception of a random Anne Hathaway casting). And we hear that Batman may get his back broken? That may shake things up a bit. Also, didn't Lucius Fox (Freeman) resign in The Dark Knight? This sparks lots of questions that film geeks everywhere will no doubt debate for an entire year. Check out the teaser below. The Dark Knight Rises invades theaters July 20, 2012.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Early Review: "Friends With Benefits"

These types of movies are going to keep coming out and there's just nothing we can do do about it. They're all starting to look the same, with the exact same themes. And now they feel the need to incessantly mock themselves about it the whole two hour. Even that routine is getting stale.

But Friends with Benefits shows no signs of breaking that pattern. The newest recycled romantic comedy a la No Strings Attached a la most every other romantic comedy in the last few years tackles the tired question, can a man and a woman really just be friends (with benefits)?

Full-time actor (seemingly) Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis are following up their Oscar-winning movies with an extremely forgettable romcom. The pair star as Dylan (Timberlake) and Jamie (Kunis), your usual fabulous twenty-something singles living in New York City who rely on their supreme attractiveness and emotional damage to get them through the day. Coming out of bad breakups, the two decide to (surprise!) engage in a sex-only relationship, free of any emotion. Naturally that lasts about as long as a New York minute before that dream starts collapsing. You can guess what happens next. But what happens in between? A few clever one-liners, lots of nudity, and more cliches. This is all not without the brief yet enjoyable dialogue from Woody Harrelson as Dylan's coworker and Patricia Clarkson as Jamie's mom. They just tried to throw everything into this one. And it still ended up looking like a cheap replica.

Friends with Benefits is fine for a fleeting girls night out-type movie where afterwards you and your friends could further confirm the theory that friends with benefits probably doesn't work (or does it?). The movie juggles with the notion, but buries it with empty fluff in between. It tries to be smart with the occasional self-analysis, but ends up flat instead. Audiences will drool over Timberlake's rock hard abs and Mila's bare tush, but won't get much else out of it than that, except for perhaps a few fleeting highlights. Try it as a rental.

Rating: D+

First Look: "The Thing"

Feast your eyes on the trailer debut of the curiously-awaited prequel to The Thing. Yes, the 1982 Kurt Russell-starring sci-fi alien flick is getting a back story (kinda). And it doesn't look too shabby. Generic, but generally engaging. Check out the trailer. The Thing, starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Joel Edgerton hits theaters October 14.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

First Look: "Contagion"

The trailer for director Steven Sodernergh's long-awaited movie has finally landed. The intense, star-studded drama Contagion unites Matt Damon whose wife (Gwyneth Paltrow) is infected by a contagious fatal virus that kicks off a pandemic ripple effect marking the end of the world. The film, which also stars Jude Law, Marion Cotillard, Kate Winslet, Laurence Fishburne and Sanaa Lathan, hits theaters September 9.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

First Look: "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows"

Adding Noomi Rapace (Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) as a mysterious fortubne teller is a nice to touch for the oddball Sherlock Holmes franchise. But the sequel to the 2009 Robert Downey Jr-led film is still looking just that--odd. Downey and Jude Law (reprising his role as Watson) definitely have undeniable chemistry, but the movie just seems terribly misleading for any true Holmes fan. It does, however, look entertaining and charming. And the franchise clearly has a fanbase. In the new movie, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Watson and Holmes, threatened by his new nemesis Profesor Moriarty (Jared Harris), must stop the professor from commiting a dastardly deed. Check out the trailer below. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows hits theaters December 16.

Friday, July 8, 2011

"Horrible Bosses"

This summer is proving to be a good one for wise-ass comedies (that apparently aren't sequels). First Bridesmaids became the number one grossing female-oriented qualifier-heavy R-rated comedy of all time, and now the fellas are giving it a go with the raunchy Office Space-like revenge flick on all Horrible Bosses.

This bromantic comedy dream team unites Charlie Day, Jason Bateman and Jason Sudeikis (on the come-up from the disastrous Hall Pass). The trio star as working stiffs stuck in dead-end jobs with quite possibly the silver screen's worst bosses, ever. Nick (Bateman) is belittled and humiliated on a daily basis by his horrid boss Harken (Kevin Spacey). Dale is a dentist's assistant who is sexually harassed by his foxy superior, Dr. Harris (Jennifer Aniston). And Kurt has the unfortunate luck of having his former boss and chum die suddenly, leaving him to deal with his crazy cokehead son as a boss Pellitt (Colin Farrell). In this recession, the guys realize they can't up and leave their desperate schmo posts on a dime, so naturally they come to the conclusion that they only way out is to kill these bullies, one by one, with the help of a makeshift hitman (played by Jamie Foxx).

So, of course, a comedy of errors ensues since these everyday guys are the last you'd think could pull of such a dirty task. And man is it fun to watch it unfold. Day, who we can bet on seeing more of on the big screen soon, is hilarious to watch as the bumbling fool who couldn't smooth-talk his way out of speeding ticket. His steady stream of fearful, piss-in-his-pants ad libs rival some of the best seasoned comedians. Bateman's signature deadpan humor works well here as the appointed straight guy who tries his hardest not to be a part of his buddies' shenanigans while secretly spearheading the whole operation. And Sudeikis, the hornball of the crew, can't seem to keep his pants up long enough to focus on keeping the operation from falling to pieces.

And Aniston, Spacey, and Farrell surely do keep them on their toes. Dr. Harris is a hilarious character to watch, but Aniston was just not the woman for the job. She played the part alright, except for the "foxy" part. She's just too stiff to play sexy. Another actress would have gone further and blew the part out the water. Spacey's Harken was the devil of bosses--homicidal, loose cannon, at best--and Spacey was frighteningly hilarious. His versatility as an actor will never cease to amaze audiences. Same with Farrell, whose talent just keeps surprising you. His wild nature exhilarated Pellitt, who will keep audiences in stitches the whole movie. The random comb-over alone is enough to make you burst out laughing, never mind the random hookers and stash of cocaine in an ashtray. Lastly, Foxx was entertaining the improable hitman, but he should really be getting better roles than this at this point in his career (remember Due Date?).

Though it's being described as a raunchy comedy, Horrible Bosses isn't really all that raunchy as, say, Bridesmaids or The Hangover. But it's funny, without trying to be funny, which makes it a bit more clever than its competition. These guys have just had it, they're at the end of their rope and they think they've just come up with the best plan ever. We all may have not had murderous thoughts, or our boss might have not gone as far as to try to run us off the road, but we can probably all relate to having a terrible boss. These guys just do something about it; something way more entertaining than what we'd ever do.

Rating: B+

First Look: "Jack and Jill"

The following trailer is quite possibly one of the saddest trailers you will ever see this year. It confirms two things: Katie Holmes shouldn't be in any more movies, and....neither should Adam Sandler (at least until he gets his act together). With a very inconsistent career, Sandler has reached the inevitable poin in many comedian's careers where it's time to don drag. And it ain't pretty, ladies and gents. I present to you the newest debacle, er, movie from the Sandler collection, Jack and Jill. The comedian plays a father and husband to Holmes and must find a way to live under the same roof as his annoying sister (also played by Sandler). It's just a mess. It should do fine at the box office. Coming at ya November 11 (and co-starring Al Pacino?), here is Jack and Jill.

Monday, July 4, 2011

First Look: "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy"

This movie looks all kinds of awesome. Even though it's got that age-old action thriller formula-- an espionage veteran is forced out of retirement for one last job--the A-list cast sets it apart. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, inspired by the original book written by John le Carré and the subsequent 70s miniseries, stars Gary Oldman as the semi-retired agent who is on the hunt to uncover a Soviet agent within MI6's echelons. The film also stars a badass Colin Firth, Tom Hardy, and Mark Strong. The slick trailer is just the icing on the cake. Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy heads to theaters November 18. Can't wait.

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