The Lone Ranger (December 17 — Rental, January 14)

Armie Hammer and the whole cast and production team on The Lone Ranger can bemoan American critics for supposedly “ganging up” on their movie and causing its financial failure but in the end it won’t change the fact that their movie was almost complete shit and they failed to ask themselves two important questions before shooting: besides Johnny Depp fanatics, who is going to rush out to see this movie and why should we keep funneling more money into it?

Another in long line of epic bombs for Disney, it’s not hard to see why The Lone Ranger under-performed so immensely. All the original fans of the character are likely pushing 80 years old and even if they made the trek out to the theater, I can’t imagine they would enjoy the tonal whiplash of the shenanigans that take place over two and a half hours. In the movie’s defense, the opening and closing 15 minutes are fairly entertaining on their own, as is Hans Zimmer’s score, but not enough to excuse the two hour cacophony the comprises the middle.

Get ready to use the fast forward button

Pacific Rim (October 15 — Rental, November 12)
Giant robots fighting giant monsters? Check. Characters that are cartoony-er than the giant mechs they inhabit? Check. The perfect summer movie? Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves here.

What Pacific Rim is is good fun. Not an exceptional movie by any means but a movie that has its heart in the right place. Director Guillermo Del Toro’s enthusiasm for the project is completely admirable. He’s simply out to make a respectful homage to the kaiju genre in Japanese lore that’s as entertaining as it can be. In spite of a bloated runtime, some underused main characters and frustratingly obstructed battles between the titans, he still succeeds.

Del Toro is a kid in a candy store with Pacific Rim and imbues the so-so script with a mega dose of breathtaking excitement and appropriate humor, so much so that the movie overcomes itself and becomes a solid two hours and twenty minutes of fun that will no doubt look and sound spectacular in high def.

Rent it! 

The Conjuring (October 22 — Rental, November 19)
Thematically, The Conjuring isn’t breaking a whole lot of new ground in the horror genre. However, there’s something to be said for familiar things that are made very well.

That is truly where The Conjuring excels. Virtually all horror tropes are on display here, including creepy dolls, old houses, haunted items, witchcraft curses, gnarled trees, possession, and the go-to uniform for a haunting — the white nightgown. It’s how all these elements come together that is so masterful.

James Wan delivers what is quite possibly his best film — a tense, haunting feature full of thick atmosphere, rising malice, genuine performances and expertly filmed segments that make for a film that burns itself into memory. Not only is this a new classic to revisit around Halloween time, it’s as close as we have come lately to a new horror classic, period.

Must own!

The Wolverine (December 3 — Rental, December 31)

It’s a shame this movie even needed to be made but thank goodness it was.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine is far from the solo outing the mega-mutant needed in the first place (and further from an acceptable movie, at that) but now we’ve got the final puzzle piece we need to forget it completely. That piece is a flick that delivers both the madcap X-Men action we’ve come to expect and a more realized, restrained look at Wolverine that reminds us why we’re so fascinated with the character to begin with.

The Wolverine does more than enough right. Hugh Jackman is given another chance to excel as Logan/Wolverine, which he graciously delivers on. The script, while uneven in sections, has a truer core to it, especially when it comes to a wounded Logan learning his place in the world after tragedy befalls him. The action set pieces are on par with the grittier aspects people expect with the character and with a complication that robs Logan of his healing factor, every blow matters so much more.

It’s only in the third act, like so many other action blockbusters this summer, that the action gets too ridiculous for it’s own good. Snake women hiss venom while giant samurai robots leap about with fire-swords and all of it clashes with what came before.

And yet, all the ridiculousness is never dull and only detaches from the rest briefly. Otherwise, the film is a highly satisfying look at Wolverine that sets the stage for a new look at the X-Men universe. It remains to be seen what the confirmed director’s cut will bring to the table (more blood = correct answer) but we can rest easy knowing The Wolverine isn’t in dire need of it to become a good movie.

Must own!

The Rest:

Despicable Me 2 (December 10 — Rental, January 7)

Grown Ups 2 (November 5)

RED 2 (November 26)

R.I.P.D. (October 29 — Rental, November 26)


Much Ado About Nothing (October 8)

Given that the movie never really gained a true “wide” release in theaters (wide is only wide if it reaches the dinkiest of towns, re: Mankato), home video is where most viewers will enjoy Much Ado About Nothing. Honestly and truly, this is the best way to view it.

Being a micro-budget adaption of a stage show that looks like it was shot by a film student and his troupe over a weekend, Much Ado About Nothing doesn’t do much to justify a visit to the theater but should play wonderfully at home. Even if Shakespeare isn’t your cup of tea, Joss Whedon’s direction (simple to a fault production withstanding) and the actor’s performances should win over most viewers and garner more appreciation in the right environment.

Definitely Rent It!

The Purge (October 8 — Rental, November 5)

The Purge is a pretty interesting sci-fi concept that’s squandered on a not-that-interesting home invasion thriller. Having a world where all crime is legal one night a year doesn’t receive any exploration beyond being an excuse for the police to not show up when some inexplicably masked goons show up to stalk and murder. Even the power-duo of Ethan Hawke and Lena Headey, along with that creepy Reese Wakefield guy, can’t pick up the slack after the initial interest of this dystopian future is dropped for the cheap, routine thrills the producers knew they could cash in on.

For the sake of being ironic, it would be appropriate to say that The Purge will purge itself from your memory within a few hours of viewing. The saving grace is that it’s a shockingly short movie, given today’s average runtime. Good for a rental, not much more.

Rent it someday

Man of Steel (November 12 — Rental, December 10)

Man of Steel is not a perfect movie. I get that (and I’ve gotten that over and over in the past two months — enough, thank you).

But I’m gonna say what I said last year when The Amazing Spider-Man hit to a fair amount of praise and a lot of concentrated bullshit from the other side of the aisle– issues included, if you put your clingy, fanboy entitlement aside for a minute, you’ll be able to see that the movie is a pretty damn entertaining blockbuster and a far more realized and relatable portrayal of a classic hero.

Man of Steel does a lot more right by Superman than it does wrong. The cast is phenomenal, the score moving, and the first half of the film paints a harrowing new picture of the world’s greatest superhero as it sets up this brand new take. This all leads to a much more action-oriented second half but what it lacks in thoughtfulness it makes up for in thrills as we get the top notch action not seen before in a Superman flick.

Even as it enters its much maligned climax, the movie remains exciting throughout, enough so to be remain in the better half of this summer’s offerings. Man of Steel‘s strengths should carry over nicely to video but a small clause should be attached: while the picture and sound will no doubt kick ass, Warner Bros. hasn’t been the greatest about special features (this edition including a decent four hours worth), nor have they been very satisfying when it comes to their “Ultraviolet only” stance on digital copies. The film is currently going for the pre-order price of $24.99, but seeing how The Dark Knight Rises did the same last year, then ended up around $17.99 in its release week, I’ll go ahead and say…

Buy It (When the Price Drops)!

It’s surprising to think back now on how far World War Z flew under my radar beforehand and how high over my expectations it delivered after.
Nothing should have worked here — an ever-ballooning budget to a trouble-some production, wild deviations to the source material, the director of Quantum of Solace at the helm, Brad Pitt in general, Damon Lindelof contaminating the script’s ending– it all should have combusted into fiery movie-death.
Guess what? It didn’t and thank whatever deity for that because the movie rocks.

World War Z is a lean, mean ride that keeps the tension up all the way through. There’s a perfect amount of grand-scale zombie spectacle and old-school survival horror at play throughout. Only the wrap-up falters but thankfully doesn’t detract from the efficient and exciting movie that came before.

There were some that bemoaned the lack of zombie gore we’re accustomed to these days in order for the movie to secure a PG-13 rating. These people should be pleasantly surprised to learn that the Blu-Ray release will contain an unrated cut to satisfy one’s need for dismembering and disemboweling.

In addition to the new cut, expect the bevy of bonus features and pristine picture and sound of a Paramount release, as well as that oh-so-realistic price of $19.99.

Must Own!

White House Down (November 5)

[UPDATE — 8/22: Seems new info has arrived suggesting WHD has moved back a week to November 5. Appropriate, really, since it’s election Tuesday. Expect official word in the next week or so.]

No word yet on the home video release of Roland Emmerich’s latest action-fest but October 29 is the date that’s been pegged to it since release and if word says differently in the next few weeks, I’ll let you know.

In the meantime, I’ll also add that the movie is a lot of big, dumb, cliched action fun that will benefit heavily from the addition of a fast-forward button.

Imagine it: you’re the editor this movie needed and your job is to trim the massive bloating! What will go first, the overlong character introductions or entire subplots that should have been left out for the sake of pace? What will it be?

Rent It

The Rest:


It’s pointless to try and go over a list from the past five years of all the haunted house, exorcism and horror movies that haven’t worked, be it either from familiarity or production laziness. The genre itself just seems tired and all-too-willing to fall back on mediocrity.

While there’s not a whole lot about The Conjuring that screams originality, there is something to be said for familiar elements that are executed well. That’s just what The Conjuring is — a superbly executed horror movie out to terrify with mood and imagery that ends up being more effective than ever thought possible.

The film starts out with a short vignette about a possessed doll — a sort of fourth wall breaking wink that the movie is directed by James Wan, purveyor and creator of creepy puppets from Saw and Dead Silence. The sequence itself is pure cheese and tonally not the best indicator of what’s to come but it does at least let us know that as much time will be spent with our paranormal investigators as with the actual family.

From there on out the movie slowly builds the tension by letting the atmosphere sink its way into your bones before the supernatural happens. Subtle things like all the clocks stopping at 3:07 a.m. and the music box with an interesting view are just as chilling as some big boogie. As the tension hits its high and stays there, the haunting becomes more and more malevolent, giving the movie some of its most memorable and intense moments.

The movie runs a gamut of things usually found in horror flicks: creepy puppets, women in white nightgowns, possession, haunted items, witches, children in danger, gnarled old trees and other bone-chilling tropes. Some may see all these as too familiar but the execution keeps things from being completely predictable. The cast do an exemplary job of selling absolute terror and Wan keeps the tension going until the best possible moment.

The Conjuring screams classic horror, be it due to the themes or Wan’s playful throwback style of filming and even with its clear time setting in the ’70s, the scares feel completely timeless. It’s easily a movie you could revisit every year around Halloween and revel in the perfect horror movie atmosphere, even if you know where the jumps arrive.

The thrills are good and the chills are better and it’s because of this that The Conjuring has a place carved out for it among the more effective and crowd-pleasing horror movies in recent memory.

For that, a small round of applause is in order.



I’ve got to be honest, while I wouldn’t call this summer’s crop of movies “bad”, there hasn’t been anything released that reached above a plateau of “really good” and blew me away. Things were looking a little underwhelming as we approach the end of the season.

Then I saw Mud.

Director Jeff Nichols’ 2011 film Take Shelter was an under-the-radar darling for apparently all of the online critic community and a film I was just ok with. Michael Shannon was amazing (as he is in every role) but the movie around him was somewhat lacking. Likewise lacking are many of Matthew McConaughey’s previous choices as an actor. Given the circumstances, I can see why I was hesitant at first to dive into Mud but, man, am I kicking myself for not seeing it sooner.

Mud is a movie made up of several different layers, all of which fully deliver. A coming of age story in which our young protagonist, Ellis (Tye Sheridan) loses his naivete about life (particularly women) meshes beautifully with the big brother figure he finds in Mud (McConaughey) and the hunted criminal on the run story he has going on, all of this set against a backdrop of the Arkansas delta that’s both majestic and authentic.

So often with indies and character dramas, Take Shelter included, it seems the character strength comes at the expense of momentum in the story. There’s always a point, sometimes two, where the movie gets too lost in itself and thus loses me. It’s damn near impossible to take your eyes off Mud. The film is edited like clockwork and essentially tells you from the beginning what it’s building to, all while relishing in the grounded characters at hand and emotional setting. Not in a long while have I been so engaged for over two hours.

Not that I ever thought I’d say this, but it’s far from a fantasy to think that McConaughey could be up for some awards buzz in a few months — he’s honestly that good here. If the past two years have been his reinvention as a legit actor, this is the crown jewel. Our main kid, Tye Sheridan, is equally impressive, proving that child actors can pull their own weight and deliver as sturdy and fearless a performance as any of the adults. The main duo has some terrific backing from the likes of Reese Witherspoon, Sam Shepard, Joe Don Baker, Ray McKinnon and Michael f*cking Shannon himself.

It would be impossible to go on listing off all the names of people who knocked it out of the park with this movie because it is a film where everyone is at the top of their game and firing on all cylinders. But if there needs to be a hero to this story, all credit must go to Nichols for writing a script with such maturity and depth and directing a movie that executes it to the greatest possible effect. If he continues to make movies like this, I am on the Nichols train for life.

My faith in indies has waned for a while now and this summer’s blockbuster crop wasn’t doing me many favors either. Whatever genre and whatever season it was released in, seeing Mud did me a solid and reminded me of one thing: there are still filmmakers out there making great, great movies.



The Wolverine is a movie of two voices. One is a more restrained, personal, character driven side where we explore our most popular mutant’s past actions and his attempts to do right by protecting a young woman. The other is the outlandish superhero shenanigans we’ve seen in other X-Men movies, where giant samurai robots swing flaming swords and snake-women literally spit venom.

In most cases these separate ideals would clash with each other to the point of failure and while there are a few things that suffer, Christopher McQuarrie’s sure script and James Mangold’s experienced directing make The Wolverine into the comprehensive standalone movie the character needs and a good bit of fun too.

Instead of saving entire cities, countries, or planets, The Wolverine deals with the saving of our main character. Such personal stakes are a refreshing change of pace from the usual wham-bang epicness that’s become commonplace these days and plays off the strengths of other recent character-based blockbuster successes like Skyfall. Stripping away the parade of mutants we normally see and putting Logan mostly on his own helps to generate some focus and avoid the clutter of oh, say, X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

If nothing else, it gives us another superb outing from Hugh Jackman as Logan — perhaps his best yet. This character was ripe for a thoughtful study and dare I say that this is the movie that delivers it.

Some may not care for the thematic through-line with Logan’s former romantic interest, Jean Grey, but it succeeds here as a strong representation of Logan’s inner conflict and as a necessary look at the consequences on him as a character after The Last Stand.

This more character-driven side of the movie only really falters in the pacing of the movie — there’s simply too much mid-way time spent in Nagasaki that air out of the picture. With that exception, this is what makes the movie such an interesting watch that we haven’t seen before.

The cheesy aspects of the movie, conversely, can be a double edged sword. Sometimes we get a thrilling battle with the Yakuza on top a speeding bullet-train or manual heart surgery; sometimes we get a poorly written fight between Wolverine and Shingen (the only instance in the movie where the direction trumps the writing).

We are given a taste of what’s to come early on in the movie with a CGI grizzly bear and a cringe-worthy bathtub scene but once the “pincushion” scene happens, it’s apparent that two different forces are at work and one of them may be making you laugh unintentionally. Ineffectual snake-ladies, massive robots leaping about, knife throwing, an oddly filmed running sequence — all these things snowball into a last act that is fun but one trippy ride.

Despite the pastiche of weirdness that becomes the final act, The Wolverine did what it needed to and more — scale things back and focus not just on what a badass Logan is but show his weaknesses to see just how resilient a character he can be. The fact that the movie is one of the more fun and resonant blockbusters to hit screens this summer puts it high up in the ranks of movies this season and X-Men movies in general.

If the post-credits stinger is any indication, The Wolverine could be the wind up for something truly amazing in the X-Men universe. But for now, we can breathe a sigh of relief that we got something that was really freaking good.



Comic Con was last weekend and that’s ok. It’s completely acceptable that money is a thing to me and, as such, I didn’t find myself in San Diego recently, soaking in the gorgeous 70 degree weather and nerd radiation emanating from the convention center. 
I’m fine with that. I’m fine, I said! Stop giving me that look!!!! Damnit, reality is a harsh mistress.
There’s always next year, I guess (maybe more of a possibility than I was thinking). But even though I was thousands of miles away from the epicenter of all things geek-gasm, word still finds it’s way from there to here rather quickly and Thursday to Sunday was still a blur of geek joy for me. There were many announcements, reveals, discussions, etc. that got my curiosity piqued but none quite like these five.

5. 20th Century Fox panel impresses

As far as I’m concerned, 2011 was Fox’s year when it comes to movies.

In addition to delivering the terrific dramedy, The Descendants, the studio produced two of the three best blockbusters that summer: the much needed spark of life for the popular X-Men series, X-Men: First Class, and the new entry to the Planet of the Apes series, Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Both were prequels to their respective franchises, both had the odds stacked against them before release and both came out wildly on top.

Now we’ve been given our first looks at the sequels to both.

After Hugh Jackman finished his panel showcasing clips from and questions about The Wolverine, the majority of the cast of X-Men: Days of Future Past was brought to the stage. I say the majority because DOFP ties together the original X-Men universe and the First Class universe, all while introducing some new characters while they’re at it so finding a stage to handle all the members of the equal rights/tolerance paralleling series would be a task indeed.

Footage was shown of the Bryan Singer directed mesh-quel, featuring Wolverine jumping back in time and a future Patrick Stewart Professor X coming face to face with past, disheveled James McAvoy Professor X. The audience reportedly went nuts for the footage, as one does.

Between the descriptions of the footage, the accumulation of the cast members and the sneak peeks at the dreaded Sentinel robots at the convention, my anticipation of this movie went from “we’ll see how it turns out” to “we’ll keep a guarded but really excited eye on it.” The movie already secured it’s spot as the most ambitious X-Men outing from the start and as long as it had a good basis and guidance behind it, it could very well usurp First Class as the greatest X-Men movie yet.

May 23 has a big RSVP marked on it in my book.

As if that wasn’t too much to take in, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes‘ mere presence at the panel was enough to go from excitement to elation. Not much footage was complete at the time due to the intricate effects work needed for the apes but a short teaser trailer for the film was reportedly revealed, featuring an ominous Gary Oldman voiceover, a winded Jason Clark running away and a final reveal of an older Caesar, played once again by the irreplaceable Andy Serkis.

DOFP and Apes recently switched release spots, which seems like a better move than not. X-Men can now ride a little more of the good word The Wolverine looks to be getting and Apes can now have an extra two months to brush up on those apes effects and fulfill that late July release spot. Let’s see if they reclaim their throne from two years ago.

4. “Avengers: Age of Ultron” announced

Marvel Studio has a pretty good grasp on this whole “make a gigantic announcement at Comic Con” thing down. Even so, they didn’t fail to surprise this year.

Before the big panels on Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier (and a surprise Guardians of the Galaxy presentation), geek deity Joss Whedon took the stage to make an announcement regarding the Avengers sequel. We already knew it was hitting in summer 2015 and that Whedon and the core cast would return. What we didn’t know was what the focus of the movie would be or who the main antagonist is. This reveal seems to answer those questions more than adequately.

Trying to tackle Ultron in the next movie is an interesting challenge indeed, especially when the malevolent A.I.’s creator, Hank Pym/Antman, has been confirmed to be absent from the movie. It wasn’t a massive reveal of plot details or other spoilers but unveiling this subtitle alone gives the best first idea of how the next Marvel movies are going to turn to reach this point in the universe and reassurance that they’ve got a few surprises up their sleeves by not going with the Thanos route (at least immediately).

Well played, once again Marvel.

3. “Legend of Korra” returning in September

The absolute best example of animated storytelling on television today is finally returning. Sure, it’s only been 11 months since it finished its debut season but one does not simply get enough of The Legend of Korra.

Since the very instant the first season ended I’ve been waiting for the next to start. The emotional story, the gorgeous animation stylings, the vocal talent, the top-notch music — it’s amazingly addictive how well they mesh to make a show so stellar.

And now we’re getting more!

No exact date has been announced for the premier date but we do know that September is the month to watch and that Korra’s next adventure will take a turn for the spiritual side and feature new voice cast additions like Grey DeLisle, Aubrey Plaza, James Remar, and Lisa Edelstein.

2. Hans Zimmer scoring “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”

There’s a lot to be excited for in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. The origin story is out of the way now, Electro looks to be an ominous and imposing foe along with some talk of Goblins, and we get to watch this Peter Parker progress in the more relateable way this series presents.

However, nothing tops this development. Nothing.

First, I will add that there’s a part of me that’s sad to see James Horner go. Horner’s music added so much to the first movie and in all fairness his score was probably the best of last summer. Much respect to the man for his superb contribution.

Now then, did you hear the part about the next Spidey movie being scored Hans Zimmer?  Is that not amazing, pardon the pun? The man has certainly been busy monopolizing the sound of nearly every superhero  movie around lately. I’m bursting at the seams waiting to hear the soundscape Zimmer will use to capture a sound that’s unique to the webslinger. I honestly thought I couldn’t be any more excited for ASM 2. I was wrong.

1. This s*** is happening. For real.

So, um… yeah. The Man of Steel sequel is going to have Batman in it. I’m sure you heard that correctly but just in case the reality of the situation hasn’t sunk in yet, THE MAN OF STEEL SEQUEL IS GOING TO HAVE BATMAN IN IT!!!!!

Cavill’s back as Superman. Goyer’s back on writing duties. Nolan’s back producing. Snyder’s behind camera once again. This is confirmed.

Oh, but there’s so many questions to be answered. Will Batman outshine Superman in his own sequel? How antagonistic will their interactions be? Will there be consequences after Man of Steel‘s ending? What if they don’t cast Karl Urban as Batman?

And yet, I’m perfectly content waiting to hear the answers to these questions over the next few months. This has been so long in the waiting that simply hearing that it’s 100% happening was enough to set me (and apparently many others) on high.

Let the slow, steady stream of info roll on through!


It’s baaaack.

Yes, glad to hear this segment went over so well and because it did, I’m glad to continue bringing the home video deets as soon as I can and continue to update this page with more official info as it becomes available.

Iron Man 3 (September 24 — Rental, October 22)

What is arguably the best superhero movie, and movie in general of the summer makes it home video debut in the regular late September slot. There was some early word that it may street in the last week of August but it seems Disney/Marvel is quite comfortable sticking to the plan (especially when the likes of Pain and Gain and another later entry are also going with that day).

Shane Black’s take on the armored Avenger is much different from what’s come before and that’s a good thing. It’s still got a stellar cast and the zippy humor is better than ever but more importantly the character focuses are even stronger. For once it feels like you’re allowed to care about Tony and the gang, even if it’s still fairly certain they’ll make it out unscathed in the end. Villains could still use some work, with the Extremis aspect of the show being rather underplotted and a twist with The Mandarin that’s still sitting in the 50/50 range.

Even with these gripes Iron Man 3 has held up as the most enjoyable superhero movie of the year and my personal favorite of both the summer and 2013 in general. I’d be more than happy to purchase it on Blu-Ray (which I’m sure will look and sound magical), and with the bonus features added here, it may be one of the most acclaimed disc sets of this year. Included are several deleted scenes (a must because who doesn’t love more RDJ), a Marvel-One Shot featuring one of the best things about Captain America: TFA, Peggy Carter; a sneak peek at Thor: The Dark World, and, as they say, more!

This is definitely on to add to the collection, post haste!

Must Own!

The Great Gatsby (August 27 — Rental, September 24)

The longest, shallowest music video to hit theaters this summer slogs its way to video in late August.

I can’t say how being a fan of the book would impact one’s take on the recent movie but Baz Luhrman’s adaption of Fitzgerald’s novel is universally style over substance. It has some decent performances and it sure may look and sound pretty in HD but those seeking more than that may be turned off, bored, or a combination of the two by the recent over-long snoozefest.


Star Trek Into Darkness (September 10)

Star Trek Into Darkness was one of my top anticipated movies this year. I honestly couldn’t wait for the next outing in J.J. Abrams’ revamped universe to hit home like the first movie did. What I got was fun — simply fun.

Looking back now, I probably should have scanned over who was in charge of the script in order to readjust my expectations. Damon Lindelof’s name on the roster should have been a better indication that the movie would have hollow, stolen moments from previous Star Trek movies, a massively mishandled villain, and less of a punch to it overall.

Into Darkness is still a fun movie, to be sure.  Everything looks and sounds top notch and the cast continues to play off each other exceedingly well. I’ll be kicking myself on my oversight in the writing aspect for a while but STID is still one totally re-watchable movie.

Paramount is just about the best studio putting out Blu-Rays right now. The picture is always gorgeous, the sound rocks (quite literally) and the special features are plentiful, especially in this case. Take into account that the 2D combo pack is still selling for the super-reasonable pre-order price of $19.99 and Star Trek Into Darkness bumps itself up to…

Must Own!

Fast and Furious 6 (December 10 — Rental, January 7)

[UPDATE #1, 8/16: word has it the date is being shifted back to December. More info to be announced as available.]

Sorry guys and gals, as of this writing there’s no official announcement on the recent blockbuster. No official date, official artwork, official special features; nothing official. Seeing how it’s one of the biggest movies this year, though, it seemed necessary to pass along the widely circulated release date and the fact that it’s still up for pre-order.

I’ll be updating this area when more word becomes available but just know that Furious 6 (or whatever they’re calling it) is a fun movie in the dumb action movie sense of bare minimum script and characters that does unfortunately run too long, especially in the action set pieces. Regardless, it’s a good bit of simple fun, so…

Rent It!

Now You See Me (September 3)

Now You See Me didn’t do too bad for itself in theaters but it feels like a movie that’s bound to do even better on video and cable, partly because of how it’s made.

That can be taken either way.

The movie is a bit of light, zippy, summer fun on a modest budget with most of the money likely going towards assembling a cast of all stars to play off each other. Unfortunately, for all we know, that money looks to have been siphoned out of the writing portion leading to a script that features bad dialogue, flat characters, and a problematic twist. It’s not a terribly bad movie but it’s not a terribly good one either.

If you find yourself with two hours to kill, you can do a lot worse than Now You See Me.

Rent It

The Rest:

Epic (August 20 — Rental, September 17)

The Hangover Part III (October 8 — Rental, November 5)

After Earth (October 8)

This fucking movie.

The sad thing is that the film fails on almost every level but does nothing so heinous as to deserve any feelings, negative or negative, about it whatsoever (much like Will Smith’s painful performance in the film). And yet, I still roll my eyes every time I think about it and attempt to pretend it doesn’t exist, and more importantly, that I didn’t spend almost $9 on admission.

If there’s any trace chance you think that this is a “so bad it’s good” movie, sweep it away because you’re in for five minutes of hilarity and over 90 more of stagnant boredom.

Run! Run from the bullshit!


Just when I thought my anticipation for giant robot movies had been absolutely slaughtered by the Transformers movies, along comes a movie that made me hear the heartbeats under the floorboards.

Deserving of neither its moderate flop status at the box office or its christening as the “best movie of the summer” by geeks across the land, Pacific Rim is a fun, fun movie. Far from a perfect one, but fun none the less.

The thing that keeps Pacific Rim so enjoyable (and head and shoulders above Michael Bay’s wretched film abortions) is the enthusiasm that went into it. There’s not an ounce of cynicism to be found in Guillermo Del Toro’s love letter to classic kaiju movies and other material  in the mythology. It’s a shame that it even needs to be pointed out but if a filmmaker has decent material and is happy to make their movie, that same enjoyment will find its way to audience members.

This is the biggest asset Pacific Rim has — its material is decent but the glee of its director elevates it to something more than that.

Pacific Rim is a big-screen cartoon. Everyone expects this for what they came to see (giant robots punching giant monsters) but where it’s really apparent is actually in the story and human elements. We pick up the story, not at the beginning of the kaiju invasion, but at the ending days.

Whereas almost every other blockbuster nowadays opt to start at the origin in hopes of a trilogy, having PR feature the end of this saga is refreshing, like jumping back into a familiar tv series after a while once it’s approaching its final story arc.

Similarly, the human element of the movie is just as simple and in-line with the source material as the robots they’re inhabiting. Two main characters with a traumatic past, the badass general, the kooky/crazy scientists, the flashy criminal — all these one dimensional characters are present, yet actually fun to watch because the movie knows what it is.

Idris Elba, Charlie Day, Ron Perlman — each character steals the show at least once… with the exception of the two leads. “Not-Heath Ledger” and “Still kind of struggling with English” are given the thankless hero task and may have had some depth in a movie that didn’t go for the simple and sweet approach. As is, they’re left to get the job done and nothing more.

The action is big and ridiculous but thankfully not a completely incomparable mashing of garbage. These massive Jaegers have weight to them, allowing for some time to soak in the layout of the piece. The camera is put in a place where most everything can be taken in, yet only the Hong Kong throwdown and news clips from a brief skirmish are the only brawls that are completely understandable to the eye.

Every other action piece is obscured by the cloak of night and a thick curtain of rain. I’m guessing the final battle was cool since barely anything was comprehensible. Unlike the rain and nighttime, having the final fight take place under water made sense from a story angle but from a visual angle, the dark, murky atmosphere and separate battles going on forced into crappy action territory whereas the rest of the movie was doing mostly exceptional on visuals.

All of the monsters looking exactly the same and movie running a lot longer than necessary don’t really help matters any but this may just be a movie to give some leverage to. Had Del Toro taken this project on as an obligation or an easy money-maker, the whole perception of the movie would have been skewed.

Instead, it’s just a movie for everyone involved with to have fun with, behind the camera and in the audience. There’s no cynical approach, no dumb/inappropriate jokes — just simple, true to its roots popcorn entertainment. And sometimes that’s something to be commended.



The value of saying “I Can’t Go For That” every now and then

I try, I really do.

I want to say I’ve seen every movie out there but it’d be like saying I’ve smashed every wasp out there — you get a good number down then 30 from another nest you forgot about come and deal you bloody vengeance (it’s wasp season, if you didn’t pick up on that).

There are countless movies from past years that need to be looked upon but trying to catch all the movies in the theaters is challenge enough. Even then, not all can be viewed. Some you already know how they’ll turn out (Grown Ups 2), some you forget even existed (Red 2) and some you probably should have forgotten existed (After Earth).

Then there are the ones you say “No” to.

Beyond simply looking sub-par, these special examples transcend the medium and represent an actual attack against humanity and all things good. The only response is to avoid any physical contact between it and your money.

Through little fault of it’s own, Ender’s Game is now one of those examples.

The story itself is far from being the issue here. A beloved sci-fi classic, it tells of a futuristic Earth under attack from invaders that turns to children to be the next wave of ruthless, brilliant soldiers in the fight for the planet. Sci-fi fans continue to go nuts over the book to this day and it’s not because of its hot-button issues (taking place hundreds of years from now and all).

The viewpoints of the book’s author are another matter entirely.

Orson Scott Card has been more than vocal about his viewpoints on homosexuality and gay marriage in the past, for which you can read a good summation of them here. Long story short, he goes into a delusional rant  disguised as a thesis on how the teaching of heterosexuality and other “traditional values” will be stamped out if gay marriage is legal and how homosexuality should be strictly outlawed in society.

This is not a case of “I thought that then but have since soften with the times” either, as we’ve started to see with this issue. Card has stuck by these opinions since his statement in 1990 and perhaps even intensified his crusade.

There was always bound to be controversy when the movie was announced, and while Summit tried to sweep it under the rug by stating Card was simply a “consultant” or such, it wasn’t until just recently that GeeksOUT started a “Skip Ender’s Game” pledge asking for fans to keep their money far away from Card.

Card’s response to this petition was essentially “let’s hope the gays finally show some tolerance towards homophobes now that they’ve taken over.”

There are always bound to be those artists you disagree with. I think Bruce Willis’ conservative beliefs lead him to take the money on every bargain-bin script he’s offered, but at least every now and then there’s something like Looper in the mix. Quentin Tarantino continues to be a childish, self-obsessed douchebag, but he’ll sometimes turn in an amusing movie. Frank Miller is a complete and total cock when it comes to many things, but… no, nevermind, I’m done with him.

The difference is that so few of these people I disagree with have such harmful and regressive views on other human beings that it makes them appear to actually wish for the world to look as distopian and uninviting as the stories in the genre they write for.

“Those who flagrantly violate society’s regulation of sexual behavior cannot be permitted to remain as acceptable, equal citizens within that society.”

This is seriously what this man believes in for other people. This is beyond having an asshole-ish opinion — it’s what it looks like to be inhuman.

Card has every right to speak his mind but as someone who gets his money from sales of books, comics and movie tickets, myself and others have the right to deny him that. Card may have been demoted to the boogieman behind the curtain, but in this case, paying to see Ender’s Game in any way will be the equivalent of wadding up a handful of cash, hurling it at Card and saying “I agree with you and all your bullshit!”

And so, four months from its release date, I’m removing my hat from the ring on going out and seeing Ender’s Game. Nothing is ever for certain, though. There may be some crazy situation where a friend may proclaim “Say, I love that one book written by that one repugnant shit-head. Let’s go see the movie,” and I may reply “Yes, I’ve put myself in a drunken stupor and am ready to go back on my principles.”

But let’s assume that doesn’t happen. 

I’d like to think the movie won’t get any unwarranted exposure because of this (probably in vain) and that most of you would join me in skipping this one, but I assume you all can make your own decisions.

I’ll assume  the movie will turn out as it looks — the two kids from Hugo and True Grit will be good, Harrison Ford will be scowly, the dialogue will be stilted, the visual effects will be the best effort a sophomore studio like Summit can produce (as in, not that great), and people will once again come back to the truth that the book is always better than the movie.

But that’s all I’d care to do — assume. Life’s too short and there are so many other wasps to swat.