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Chris Evans Returns in Marvel’s ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ Preview

Chris Evans Returns in Marvel’s ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ Preview

‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ Preview

The Marvel comic to superhero film universe is certainly one of, if not the, biggest and most valuable film franchises ever to grace the screen. Their oeuvre spans The Hulk to Iron Man to The Avengers, and includes Captain America. Chris Evans, the lead in Captain America: The First Avenger, recently announced a possible desire to leave acting behind in the not too distant future – after he finishes his Marvel contract, which is set to include a few more movies. For Captain America: The Winter Soldier, he returns to fight bad guys in another epic action saga.

Three years ago Captain America was one of the best reviewed, but perhaps not the most successful at the box office, of the recent Marvel films fed to the public. In my eyes, the film was decent, solid for what it was, but nothing worth remembering. The First Avenger movie earned $176m domestic against a $140m budget, although it recouped big biz overseas banking another $193m for $370m worldwide. That sounds great until you compare it to The Avengers, which bankrolled a whopping $623m domestic and $1.5b worldwide. Captain America’s first film stands at #7 in earnings for Marvel’s movies, not bad you’d think, but out of only 8 pics in the current universe, it had to be viewed as a bit disappointing. So, what will become of The Winter Soldier set to debut this week?

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Cappy Flexin’ in the intersection

Fortunately, the film is off to a fast start internationally, having earned $75m at the turnstiles already. The Winter Solider, which pits Captain’s Steve Rogers against Soviet forces (and isn’t Russia vs. America all the rage again for the first time in 30 years?), could be bigger this time around. The storyline is one thing, but adding Scarlett Johannson’s sexy Black Widow appeal straight from the Avengers to the top line and introducing Anthony Mackie’s Falcon to the universe should broaden the appeal. This time around, The Winter Soldier should see greater returns with the marketplace clamoring for this type of action.

Samuel Jackson’s Nick Fury and Robert Redford’s legendary acting street-cred add the possibility of a few older ticket buyers and crossover appeal. Reviews aren’t bound to do much damage one way or another, as they didn’t really boost the first film much as it was. Inflation in ticket prices and more IMAX opportunities should lead to greater grosses, we shall see. If you are partaking in the film, enjoy it to the fullest and feel free to report back on your thoughts.

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‘Sci-Fi Movie’ Preview

‘Sci-Fi Movie’ Preview

Here is an old preview from more than 3 years ago for a movie that never came to fruition. In truth, probably for good reason. A stroll down memory lane…

Airplane! The Naked Gun. BASEketball. Scary Movie. What do these films all have in common?  They are all comedy spoofs with some level of involvement (as producer, director, writer) from parody master David Zucker.  What do they not share in common?  Just exactly how funny we as the audience think they are.  So along comes Sci-Fi Movie, another in a long line of goofball spoofs ready to attack your comedic senses (or knock you senseless).  Zucker dons the Executive Producer cap here by bringing his lampooning talents to the sci-fi genre for The Weinstein Co. under their Dimension Films umbrella.

If you are looking at Sci-Fi’s title, thinking “not again!” you might be right.  1999′s Galaxy Quest was supposed to have somewhat covered this territory already and audiences reacted pretty well to it, too.  It garnered a 7.2 IMDB rating and tallied $71mm in domestic box office, a clear money winner in the market at the time.  So, are plot details really necessary here?  Will Sci-Fi Movie even have a plot?  Who cares?  These films attempt to roast as many genre pics as humanly possible and hopefully generate some guttural belly laughs from the audience in the process.  It’s a simple formula, even if the execution of these reels seems shaky at best far too often.  These films are to their lambasted genres are like what Soulja Boy (easy target) is to hip-hop music.  They essentially mock, tease, and disintegrate the art form of filmmaking into the lowest common denominator.  And they do it all in the hopes that you will laugh your ass off!

Zucker’s track record with spoofs is so long, you could probably parody him as a genre.  His credit list goes back as early as writing for 1977′s The Kentucky Fried Movie, which grossed more than 20 times its budget and essentially launched his career.  The Wayans Brothers tapped Zucker to helm parts 3 and 4 of the highly successful Scary Movie franchise and those films laughed their way to more than $200mm in domestic box office, more than double what they cost to make.  This is undeniable proof that spoofs can do big business.  That should tell you what we are in for here.  The Weinsteins are hoping he can do the same thing for Sci-Fi Movie.

On the positive side, Zucker is responsible for 1980′s classic spoof “Airplane!” (7.8 IMDB) which is widely recognized as the king of all spoof films.  Since then, it seems his parodies have steadily declined in their appeal.  He most recently produced Superhero Movie, which leveled an outstanding 3.9 on the IMDB Richter scale and a stellar 14% on the Tomatometer.  It failed to rescue its production budget in domestic receipts, too.  That’s more disturbing than an earthquake.  Paris Hilton’s reviled “film” (and I use the term loosely, just like Paris) The Hottie and the Nottie is not far below that number in popularity, so you get a sense of how shallow the water that we are treading here is.  Yet still, these films are not made for critics but rather for the masses and to paraphrase Jay-Z, “dumb down for the audience, double your dollars, they criticize for it but they all yell, Holla!”  Hence, people keep buying tickets to see these spoofs and they keep getting made.  Expect Sci-Fi keep the trend going long into the future.

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Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World Movie Preview (w/Video)

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World Movie Preview (w/Video)

Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World at one time used to be titled Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life.  The new movie is director Edgar Wright’s (2004′s Shaun of the Dead) big screen adaptation of the cult comic book hit.  The film has a simple premise in which star Scott (Superbad‘s Michael Cera) must defeat his new girlfriend’s seven evil exes in order to win her heart.  Scott’s girlfriend is played by up and coming actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead.  Jason Schwartzman, Kieran Culkin and the new Captain America: The First Avenger, Chris Evans, also star.

The comic book is based on Bryan Lee O’Malley’s comic book series of 6-titles released over the last 6 years. The movie attempts to accurately bring that world to life.  It has some stunning visuals that look like they will capture the tone and graphic nature of a living comic book, not entirely unlike what Robert Rodriguez did with Sin City.  The movie has earned strong critical reviews, hitting over 80% on the tomatometer at Rotten Tomatoes.  Audiences have enjoyed the movie as well, earning a strong “A-” score from Yahoo! users.  There have even been talks of a possible sequel, but box office results have dimmed that discussion for the time being.

While the film still sits in the top 10 in box office theatrically in North America, it is set to see release shortly in theaters in the UK.  The film is rated PG-13 and hopes to receive thrills and laughs in equal proportion.

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Dog Pound Movie Preview

Dog Pound Movie Preview

It’s been a minute since I’ve done a movie preview, but time permitting wanted to give everyone a heads up on a new movie soon to drop in the UK, called Dog Pound.  It’s an award-winning indy, directed by Kim Chapiron, largely unknown in the states but the film is drawing comparisons to a movie I recently saw, called A Prophet (Un Prophete).  I gave A Prophet 4 out of 5 stars, a quality movie, and Dog Pound looks similar based on the trailer – but even more aggressive.

Most of the cast, including young stars Adam Butcher, Shane Kippel, and Mateo Morales will be unknown in the states, but have fairly extensive work overseas.  One early IMDB review calls it a “teen Shawshank,” referencing one of my favorite films ever, Frank Darabont’s The Shawshank Redemption.  That is a positive sign for me.

Dog Pound hits cinemas on August 27th internationally, and while we wait for a stateside release you can see the trailer below the film’s official synopsis.  This one looks interesting and we’ll keep an eye out for it.

Chilling and hard-hitting, DOG POUND doesn’t hide its despair about the juvenile prison where its story takes place.

From young French director, Kim Chapiron (who made 2006 film, SHEITAN), this drama is a chilling walk through a training ground for violence and aggression, able to stand up on its own bare-boned terms to comparisons with Jacques Audiard’s A PROPHET, DOG POUND follows three young offenders with a camera that couldn’t be closer to the skin. Cinematographer Andre Chemetoff sustains that tactility throughout the film, so the cramped spaces are felt as much as seen.

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All About The Movie Inception (Video and Banner Art)

With Inception being the most ballyhooed movie in a summer devoid of much fun to this point, speculation on Leo and Christopher Nolan’s work has been rampant, with small details and clues helping to whet the appetite of us all in the interim.  This film is like heroin, and as it was said in the epic film Pulp Fiction, “it’s coming back in a big f’ing way.”  The latest pieces of information filler are this behind the scenes featurette, which features Nolan and Leo chatting a bit more about the film, locations they shot, etc.  There are a few new clips in the piece as well, for fans craving all they can get (me included, I hate to say).  And did I mention just the hint of that Zack Hemsey’s “Mind Heist” acting as a score here? Flavor.

The Photos and Artwork for the Leonardo DiCaprio-Led Inception Only Enhance Expectations For the Film

Additionally, ScreenCrave has gotten ahold of the latest banners for the film, so I figured I would give those to you as well.  I love the upside down, wrap around, and levitation and destruction that the Inception pics and clips promise. Can never really have too much Inception info, now can you? To be honest I am glad that the hype is high, I was beginning to lose faith in myself over my clear lack of faith in Hollywood (and in turn, the public at large for supporting much of the tripe that my town distributes).   But Warner Brothers has done a nice job here thus far.

Christopher Nolan’s Movie Inception Has Everybody Talking About It

Some have speculated that the speculation (like that, don’t you?) may cause this movie to fail to reach expectations, which are appearing dizzyingly high at this point.  Again, in part due to the aforementioned summer lull at the box office (I mean, with movie quotes like “I work for the blah, blah, blah and they gave me a license to blah” who can blame anyone for staying away – I have), but also due to the names of the players involved here.  We are talking about the director of The Dark Knight and the upcoming Batman 3 Untitled Project and Scorcese muse and box office star Leonardo Dicaprio (of Shutter Island fame among others), this would have been one of The Most Anticipated Films of The Year in virtually any year imaginable. Throw in other big names like Joseph Gordon-Levitt (500 Days of Summer), Ellen Page (Juno), Tom Hardy (Bronson), Marion Cotillard (Public Enemies), Cilian Murphy, Ken Watanabe, Tom Berenger, and Michael Caine (Harry Brown), and its a freaking extravaganza for crying out loud.

Inception Features A Unique Premise and Idea, So Unlike Hollywood These Days

For those not yet familiar with the premise of Inception, whose trailers have been cryptic anyway, here is a synopsis via FoF:

Dom Cobb is a skilled thief, the absolute best in the dangerous art of extraction, stealing valuable secrets from deep within the subconscious during the dream state when the mind is at its most vulnerable. Cobb’s rare ability has made him a coveted player in this treacherous new world of corporate espionage, but it has also made him an international fugitive and cost him everything he has ever loved. Now Cobb is being offered a chance at redemption.

One last job could give him his life back but only if he can accomplish the impossible — inception. Instead of the perfect heist, Cobb and his team of specialists have to pull off the reverse: their task is not to steal an idea but to plant one. If they succeed, it could be the perfect crime. But no amount of careful planning or expertise can prepare the team for the dangerous enemy that seems to predict their every move. An enemy that only Cobb could have seen coming.

Needless to say, with these additional pieces of information, the anticipation for this film is only growing.  I know I am not the only one. Chime in with your thoughts. Feel free to debate whether or not expectations are too high or speculate on what other clues might be coming from writer/director Nolan.  This is easily my most anticipated film of the summer and probably the most anticipated film of the entire year for me.  I really like to try to temper my expectations, it’s my nature so that I am not let down, but in truth July 16th can’t get here soon enough.

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‘Tooth Fairy’ Preview

In the highly plausible category of film ideas, Dwayne “no longer The Rock” Johnson stars as a tough guy minor league hockey player in Tooth Fairy.  That’s no so unrealistic considering he has acted as an athlete in many films.  The part that is a stretch is when Johnson’s character Derek Thompson is sentenced to be the tooth fairy for a week as penance for a bad deed (presumably made on the ice).  I’ll take a wild guess and say that he knocks somebody’s tooth (or teeth) out to receive said punishment.  Ashley Judd and Billy Crystal co-star in the comedy based on the tiny winged one.  It’s directed by long-time television Director Michael Lembeck, who is also responsible for helming the 2nd and 3rd portions of the big screen trilogy The Santa Clause, which starred Tim Allen.

Johnson, a former University of Miami football player, has had his share of successful films.  Cutting his acting chops on the stage that is known as professional wrestling, he signed the biggest first time acting payday ever for starring in The Scorpion King back in 2002, hauling in $5.5mm for his work.  As a spin-off of the successful Mummy franchise King earned $90mm domestically.  He has since broken the century mark stateside on two occasions, leading 2007′s The Game Plan to $110mm and supporting Steve Carrell and Anne Hathaway in 2008′s Get Smart which has hit $130mm domestically.

One, Two, The Rock is coming for you.

With The Santa Clause 2 and 3 earning $139mm and $84mm respectively, Lembeck has seen films hit before.  But Clause was an established entity after the success of the original pic earned $144mm in 1994, 8 years prior to his coming on board.  Both of his sequels earned less money and were more reviled by fans, seeing the original sequel at 5.5 on IMDB and the 3rd entry with a dismal 3.8 IMDB rating.  Santa Clause 3 failed to deliver the goods in that regard.  Also, the writers of Fairy have some experience in the attempted comedy genre having penned the aptly titled Surviving Christmas, a movie you literally had to survive to make it through.  It earned only $11mm in the U.S. despite having a known star in Ben Affleck.

In my early estimation, I expect Tooth Fairy to skew more closely towards what the Game Plan did at the box office.  Johnson is becoming more acceptable in comedies, is a consistent name, and the Tooth Fairy is a recognized mythical legend.  I wish when I was a kid I would have found the type of coin that this film should make laying under my pillow.  The $1.25 I used to get for having one of my chompers missing pales in comparison to the receipts that this film will see.  Question is, will you want to see it?   You’ll get your chance around the holiday season.

Tooth Fairy aims for your mouth, in theaters on January 22nd.

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Armored Movie Preview

The Film Nest’s Armored Movie Preview

Back in 2003, a big budget movie called SWAT starring Colin Farrell and Samuel L. Jackson was released.  Naturally, it was terrible, but it revolved around a SWAT team traveling it an armored car escorting a major drug lord. Armored is an upcoming movie that involves a team of some type, also escorting something, this time being $42 million. SWAT was the first movie that came to my mind when I saw the Armored trailer. I’m not saying this will scrape the bottom of the barrel, like SWAT did, but Armored has had the displeasure of being delayed.  It was originally going to be released in September, but was later pushed to December. It’s not always a good thing when a movie is delayed, but Shutter Island was also pushed back from October to mid-February as well and Martin Scorsese directed that. Zodiac would be an example of a movie that was delayed, but still came out perfectly well, so hopefully this won’t hurt Armored’s cause.

"This is my 'Kubrick' face. What do you think?"

"This is my 'Kubrick' face. What do you think?"

Ty Hackett (Columbus Short, Stomp the Yard) is a young security guard who is about to lose his house to the bank. He works with a crew of guards delivering money in an armored car. When the company denies Ty more hours, he is short on cash and will most certainly lose his house. Plans change when a veteran guard named Cochrane (Matt Dillon, Crash) tells Ty that he and the other guards plan on stealing $42 million in cash they’re going to escort. Ty initially wants nothing to do with it, but wants to save his house. He goes with the plan, just as long as no one gets hurt. While stealing their armored car, they drive to an abandon factory to collect the money. Things change when the guards shoot a police officer (Milo Ventimiglia, “Heroes”) and leave him for dead.  Ty disapproves of the idea, creating friction among the group when he tries to help the officer. Ty soon barricades himself into one of the armored cars with the money and injured cop. He must devise a plan to escape with the armored car full of money before the crooked guards can get to him.

The movie co-stars Laurence Fishburne (The Matrix), Jean Reno (Couples Retreat), Amaury Nolasco (“Prison Break”), Fred Ward, (Management) and Skeet Ulrich (Chill Factor).  Armored is directed by Hungarian director Nimrod Antal, whose previous work includes the horror film, Vacancy.  He will also direct the upcoming sequel to the Predator series called Predators. James V. Simpson wrote the screenplay and this will be his debut project.

"Go ahead and scoop up the burned, trashy dollar bills we've worked so hard for. I'm outta here."

"Go ahead and scoop up the burned, trashy dollar bills we've worked so hard for. I'm outta here."

I’m not too excited by the trailer, but I’m sure it will deliver the goods of an action/crime film. It features a host of good actors in Dillon, Fishburne and Reno and Antal’s presence should give it a boost as the film was a big push toward him being named director of the already anticipated Predators.

Armored opens December 4th.

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The Fantastic Mr. Fox 1

‘The Fantastic Mr. Fox’ Preview

The renowned English children’s author, Roald Dahl, has had the majority of his novels and stories adapted from page to screen, resulting in Nicolas Roeg’s The Withes, Henry Selick’s James and the Giant Peach and Danny DeVito’s Matilda, as well as Tim Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the alternatively titled Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, directed by Mel Stuart in 1971.

Dahl’s works have this distinctive air of offbeat whimsy and substance that haven’t quite been matched on screen by a filmmaker with the same posture and lifework characteristics as Wes Anderson – although Tim Burton would certainly qualify, as well, his film was a remake of Mel Stuart’s 1971 classic. With The Fantastic Mr. Fox, cult flag-bearer and Criterion wonder-boy Wes Anderson has adapted the story of a thievish family fox, his many talented friends, and his neighboring farmers who disapprove of their survival techniques, which involve stealing chickens from their farms.

Anderson made it big in 1996 and 1998, with arguably his best works, Bottle Rocket and Rushmore, where the director established his style of dark, dry humor mixed in with genuine emotion and sensationalized, yet relatable characters – often played by Wes Anderson mainstays Owen and Luke Wilson, Jason Schwartzman and Bill Murray. This culminated with The Royal Tenenbaums in 2001, which brought all of the director’s fashionable and identifiable idiosyncrasies into a comparatively big-budgeted, all-star production that put all other dysfunctional families to shame with its bleak, yet once again, relatable family portrait. Now, he brings his old family (Schwartzman, Wilson, Murray lend their voices) in with the new (George Clooney as Mr. Fox, Meryl Streep as Mrs. Fox) and ventures into the realm of stop-motion animation for the first time in his career.

Director Wes Anderson with the cast of "The Fantastic Mr. Fox."

Director Wes Anderson with the cast of "The Fantastic Mr. Fox."

Anderson signed on as director after the film rights were bought for Roald Dahl’s novel in 2004, but two years later, Henry Selick (the animation director at the time) had to leave the project to focus on his adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s “Coraline” – released earlier this year. Like any live-action Anderson film, The Fantastic Mr. Fox will not appear as traditional stop-motion animation, but since the majority of shooting was done in this tradition, it is classified as such. Voicework, hardly within the confines and comforts of a cozy studio, was recorded pretty much anywhere, according to Anderson. “Well, for this film we recorded all the voices on locations. We went out in a forest, we went in an attic, we went in a stable. We went underground for some things. There was a great spontaneity in the recordings because of that, I think.”**

The script, which was written by Anderson and Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale, Margot at the Wedding) looks to have all of the deadpan witty bantering that Anderson fans have come to expect and marks the first time the two writer/directors have collaborated since 2004’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. The PG-animated film premiered at the London Film Festival on October 14th to warm reactions and begins its platform release on November 13th with a New York, Los Angeles debut.

**quote from RT article

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