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Blogathon: The 6 Degrees of Separation

July 18, 2014

SixDegreesofSeparationBlogathonLogoInvited by my friend, Nostra at MyFilmViews.com (King of all Blogathons), I was very excited to learn about The 6 Degrees of Separation Blogathon event as this is a game I play with friends regularly and now it is available in blogging form!

Nostra explains the game like this:

In association with dutch movieblog “De Protagonisten” (who inspired me to do this) I want to present the Six degrees of Separation blogathon:

There is a theory that in only six steps you can link anyone to any other person in the world, which I thought would be an awesome idea for a blogathon.

What is it?

Get ready to test your knowledge of actors/movies and directors with the six degrees of separation blogathon. You will get two names of either actors/actresses/directors or movies and what you will have to do is make a link between them in a maximum of six steps.

For example:

Hugh Jackman to Sean Conneryjackmanconnery

  1. Hugh Jackman
  2. –starred in Australia with Nicole Kidman, who
  3. –is best friends with Naomi Watts, who
  4. –starred in Dream House with Daniel Craig, who
  5. –starred as 007 Agent James Bond, a role also played famously by:
  6. Sean Connery.

Each of the initial players for the first round of this amazing blogathon series were given two actors/characters/directors to link together in six steps and then received instructions to pass the torch on to another blogger who is then charged with connecting the final character of that connection to another chosen by the nominating blogger. So, in the example listed above, the blogger I nominate would need to connect Sean Connery to whomever I challenge them to connect to. Such great fun!

Nostra challenged me to connect my favorite superhero, Spider-Man to the famous director Stanley Kubrick!SixDegreesofSeparationSpidermanKubrick

1. Spider-Man 

The bigscreen debut of the wallcrawler (2002) starred several actors in big roles. One of whom was Willem Dafoe who menaced the screen and New Yorkers as Norman Osborn aka The Green Goblin.norman

2. Willem Dafoe

In 2006, Dafoe starred on the other side of the law in New York as Captain John Darius in a heist film called Inside Man that also starred Clive Owen, Jodie Foster and a little known actor by the name of, oh…Denzel Washington.InsideMan_Dafoe2

3. Denzel Washington

Long before Denzel starred in Inside Man, he starred in a film full of conspiracy based on a John Grisham novel. The Pelican Brief (1993) starred Denzel, Sam Shepard and a 26-year old Julia Roberts.pelican

4. Julia Roberts

Academy Award winner Julia Roberts, born in Georgia, starred in a coming of age film that involved pizza-making in Connecticut. Mystic River released in 1988 and also starred a not-so-well-known actor at the time by the name of Vincent D’onofriomystic

5. Vincent D’Onofrio

Known now for several different roles, including Law & Order: Criminal Intent‘s Detective Goren, D’Onofrio got his big screen start just a year before in 1987 in Full Metal Jacket. A film directed by Stanley Kubrick. (Interesting tidbit, he also starred in Malcom X with Denzel Washington, making this a 5-degree separation.)gomer

6. Stanley Kubrick 

Kubrick reportedly told D’Onofrio “I want you to be big — Lon Chaney big,” for the role of Private Gomer Pyle. D’Onofrio went on to gain a world record 70 pounds for the role, passing Robert DeNiro’s 60 pounds for Raging Bull.

Kubrick only directed one more film after 1987′s Full Metal Jacket and that was 1999′s Eyes Wide Shut which theatrically released four months after Kubrick’s unexpected death due to a heart attack. Kubrick also directed acclaimed films such as A Clockwork Orange, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Spartacus and more.kubrick

—————

So, there ya have it. “Spiderman to Stanley” in 6 steps. But…I couldn’t stop there. Not to be outdone…I did this one other way, just for fun! I couldn’t help myself. I LOVE these kind of games. So, for your pleasure and entertainment, here is “Connection Circuit #2″:

  1. Spider-Man bob and stan
  2. …was created by Stan Lee, who
  3. …graduated from DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx in 1939. Six years after Bob Kane, who
  4. …created Batman, who
  5. …was the title character in Tim Burton’s 1989 action film that featured The Joker played by Jack Nicholson, who
  6. …starred in The Shining directed by Stanley Kubrick!

 —————

I now challenge my friend Tim from Tim’s Film Reviews to keep the connection chain train moving in this blogathon. Tim, your challenge is to discover and divulge the Six Degrees of Separation between:

 Stanley Kubrick and Scarlett Johansson! :)Scarlett-Johansson

I want to thank Nostra for allowing me to participate in this! So much fun. I challenge all of you reading this to: 1. Visit the blogathon’s main page (HERE) to see the additional initial round of fun challenges. 2. Create your own. 3. Challenge your friends and share with us what you have found. 4. Keep following the blogathon for more great degrees of separation!SixDegreesofSeparationBlogathonLogo

 

“Trailer Time Thursday!” 7.17.14

July 17, 2014

Today is THURSDAY!!! And you know what that means!! :) It is officially time for another fun-filled edition of “Trailer Time Thursday!”

Here is your weekly fix of “Triple-T” (aka: “Trailer Time Thursday!”)!!

In case this is your first visit to “Triple-T,” here’s what it’s all about:

Seeing as how everyone loves movie previews, “Trailer Time Thursday!” was created to bring all of the trending trailers that you may have missed in theaters, or just need to see, all in one convenient place! It makes Thursdays so great! Get ready! Your Preview Pandemonium awaits!

Check them out and ENJOY!!! :)

Trailers of the Week: (all synopses are directly from IMDB.com)

1. The Prince.prince

  • Starring: Bruce Willis, John Cusack, Jessica Lowndes  and more.
  • Releasing: August 22, 2014.
  • Director: Brian Miller
  • Synopsis: “A retired assassin is drawn back into the life he gave up when his daughter is kidnapped. To rescue her, he must confront his former rival.”
  • Thoughts: I want to like it because of Bruce Willis but The Prince looks like a royal bust. -T

2. Big Hero 6.bighero6

  • Starring: The vocal talents of Jamie Chung, James Cromwell, T.J. Miller, Maya Rudolph and more.
  • Releasing: November 7, 2014
  • Director: Terry Gilliam
  • Synopsis: “A group of six superheroes are recruited by the government to protect the nation.”

  • Thoughts: Disney has done a good job with this and the blend of comedy really strikes a chord for this upcoming animated superhero adventure. I’m looking forward to this one. How about you? -T

3. Ouija.ouija

  • Starring:  Olivia Cooke, Ana Coto, Daren Kagasoff and more.
  • Releasing: October 24, 2014
  • Director: Stiles White
  • Synopsis: “In theaters this Halloween, OUIJA follows a group of friends who must confront their most terrifying fears when they awaken the dark powers of an ancient spirit board.” -from Collider.com
  • Thoughts: I don’t mess with things like Ouija boards and I won’t be messing with this movie. Not only because of that, but it just looks…bad. How many more of these movies of teenagers messing with “forbidden” evil that opens up to them dying one by one will they make? Everyone trying to capitalize on the Evil Dead plot…skip! -T

4. Atlas Shrugged, Part III: Who is John Galt.atlas shrugged iii

  • Starring: Eric Allan Kramer, Rob Morrow, Stephen Tobolowsky, Lew Temple and more.
  • Releasing: September 12, 2014
  • Director: James Manera
  • Synopsis: “Approaching collapse, the nation’s economy is quickly eroding. As crime and fear take over the countryside, the government continues to exert its brutal force against the nation’s most productive who are mysteriously vanishing – leaving behind a wake of despair. One man has the answer. One woman stands in his way. Some will stop at nothing to control him. Others will stop at nothing to save him. He swore by his life. They swore to find him. Who is John Galt?.”

  • Thoughts: I never saw the first two so I am undoubtedly missing the intrigue the trailer intends. It is lost on me. But fans of the first two may be sitting on the edge of their seats watching the teaser. I don’t know. I have some catching up to do. I’m more ready for the third Hunger Games film. (Sorry, fans of Atlas Shrugged. Pardon my unfamiliarity.) -T

5. Hornshorns-poster-daniel-radcliffe-399x600

  • Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Juno Temple, Heather Graham and more.
  • Releasing: 2014
  • Director: Alexandre Aja
  • Synopsis: “In the aftermath of his girlfriend’s mysterious death, a young man awakens to strange horns sprouting from his temples.”
  • Thoughts: Harry gets Horns. Not sure what to think of the premise but it’s interesting seeing Radcliffe’s role choices in his post-Potter career. I liked The Woman in Black well enough so color me curious on this. We’ll see. -T

6. Laggies.laggies

  • Starring: Chloë Grace Moretz, Keira Knightley, Sam Rockwell  and more.
  • Releasing: September 26, 2014
  • Director: Lynn Shelton
  • Synopsis: “A woman stuck in permanent adolescence lies to her fiancé about going on a retreat and spends the time hanging out with friends instead.”
  • Thoughts: Here’s another adult-not-ready-to-grow-up film but with a cast that many may tolerate or enjoy watching. Sam Rockwell being the biggest draw. We’ve seen it a ton of times before but this trip may have something different…maybe. What are your thoughts? -T

7. Starred Up.starred-up-poster-us-405x600

  • Starring: Jack O’ConnellRupert FriendBen Mendelsohn and more.
  • Releasing: August, 29 2014
  • Director: David Mackenzie
  • Synopsis: “A troubled and explosively violent teenager is transferred to adult prison where he finally meets his match – a man who also happens to be his father.”

  • Thoughts: I like a good prison drama and this one seems to have all the elements plus an added one of father/son. Perhaps not “theater-worthy” for me, but maybe when it comes out on Netflix I may give it a go. That way I won’t be a…captive audience. :) -T

8. Sharknado 2: The Second One.sharknado2

  • Starring: Ian Ziering, Tara Reid, Vivica A. Fox and more.
  • Releasing: July 30, 2014.
  • Director:  Anthony C. Ferrante
  • Synopsis: “A freak weather system turns its deadly fury on New York City, unleashing a Sharknado on the population and its most cherished, iconic sites – and only Fin and April can save the Big Apple.”

  • Thoughts: You know I had to include this one! haha, Sharknado 2: The Second One! The first one was so campy and so bad…I expect this one to be even bigger and badd-er! haha. Oh man! Are you looking forward to laughing and screaming in this one? -T

Spotlight Video of the Week:

Featurette for: Herculeshercules-banner

  • Thoughts: Here’s a featurette focusing on the weapons and their wielders for the upcoming action flick starring Dwayne Johnson. Hopefully this one fares better than the already forgotten 2014 film that came out about Hercules that starred Kellan Lutz. What do you think? Regardless…it’s The Rock smashing stuff up…I’m going!

Well, that’s it for this round of ‘Triple-T’!

My favorite trailers from today:

  • Big Hero 6
  • Sharknado 2: The Second One
  • Laggies

Which ones are your favorites??

—————————————–This Week

This Weekend’s Theatrical Releases:

Are you ready for the weekend in theaters? Here’s what releases this weekend, July 18, 2014:

  • Wide Release: Sex Tape, The Purge: Anarchy, Planes: Fire & Rescue
  • Limited Release: Persecuted, Wish I Was Here, I Origins and more.

Thanks for reading! Happy Watching!

-T, The Focused Filmographer

Movie News Monday for July 14, 2014.

July 14, 2014

Welcome to this week’s edition of “Movie News Monday!” (“MNM!”) 

What is ‘MNM’ all about?

In case this is your first time here, “Movie News Monday!” (MNM) is the place to visit on Mondays for a quick recap of trending entertainment news! I’ve collected info, rumors, etc from all over just for you to keep you updated on movies being released, actors/actresses in roles, dvd releases to keep a lookout for, which movie won in the box office over the weekend, etc! Are you ready for your weekly update? Here it is!monday

This Just In!!…

#1- “The Weekend Winner.”  Last weekend, the box office arena welcomed 1 major new wide release with the spotlight shining on the DAWN. And it was the Dawn that outshone all other contenders for the top spot, including Transformers 4 that had the strongest debut weekend of the year. This past weekend the Top Ten said goodbye to Edge of Tomorrow (13) and Think Like a Man Too (11) but did see Transformers 4 pass the $200M mark.

Here are the weekend’s results for Fri, July 11-Sun, July 13:

  1. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes ~$73M
  2. Transformers: Age of Extinction ~$16.5M
  3. Tammy ~$12.9M
  4. 22 Jump Street ~$6.7M
  5. How To Train Your Dragon 2 ~$5.9M
  6. Earth to Echo ~$5.5M
  7. Deliver Us From Evil ~$4.7M
  8. Maleficent ~$4.2M
  9. Begin Again ~$2.9M
  10. Jersey Boys ~$2.5M

Congratulations to Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (My review)dawn115

What did YOU watch this weekend?

#2- “Spider-Man Scriptwriter Swings Away” Roberto Orci, screenwriter for films such as Transformers, Star Trek, Mission Impossible III, The Island and The Amazing Spider-Man 2, was previously set to write the script for not only the next two Amazing Spider-Man films, but also the expected Venom and Sinister Six spin-offs. That WAS the plan, reportedly, until this past week.as2

When discussing Sony’s plans for the franchise, here’s what Orci had to say:

“I don’t know what their plans are for that franchise.  I don’t ever want to say never, but we have to figure out what their scheduling is in terms of when they want each movie. I’ve read probably as much as anyone else. There’s a love for the Sinister Six, the idea of Venom — there’s an idea of Spider-Man’s going to be one of these characters that’s part of our business. He’s such a popular character. Spider-Man’s not going to go away any time soon. When it all happens and how and all that has yet to be determined.”

It seems as though he may be referencing that his schedule with writing/direction Star Trek 3 and the schedule that Sony wanted to do with a Spider-Man movie every year is too complex. Orci stated that he is “not officially involved” in the upcoming sequel.

Perhaps Sony should just go ahead and do what the fans want already…give Spider-Man back to Marvel! The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was the lowest grossing of all 5 Spider-man films (though definitely not the worst of them). Is the franchise doomed?spiderman

What are your thoughts?

#3- “Mission Impossible 5 Casting Update.” The Tom Cruise-led franchise continues and the casting for the next to follow the impressive sequel that was Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol is shaping up. Mission Impossible 5 has already confirmed the return of Tom Cruise, Jeremy Renner and Simon Pegg to star and Paula Patton is expected to be in the film as well. Here are the latest two additions to the impossible cast:

Alec Baldwin as the head of the CIA.download

Rebecca Ferguson as the female lead.The White Queen

While Baldwin may need no introduction, a few may recognize Golden Globe nominee Rebecca Ferguson from her work on BBC’s “The White Queen.” She can be see next in Dwayne Johnson’s July 25th release Hercules. No other information has been released as to what expect from these two in their roles, but the mission is coming together nicely.

Are you looking forward to the next mission? 

#4- “Coen’s Hail Caesar may Hire Scarlett.” Scarlett Johansson and Jonah Hill are both looking at roles to join the Coen Brother’s upcoming film Hail Caesarscarlettjohansson

I reported on Hail Caesar previously (HERE), but the general quick synopsis from comingsoon.net is that it “follows a man named Eddie Mannix in his job as a Hollywood fixer in the 1950s.” Apparently, Johansson is set to play as an actress in Hollywood who gets pregnant right before a major motion picture which she has been cast for begins.

Johansson herself is currently with child and this role seems appropriate.

Johansson, and possibly Jonah Hill, will join George Clooney, Channing Tatum, Ralph Fiennes, Josh Brolin and Tilda Swinton in this time period comedy that George Clooney as referred to as the “conclusion of his ‘idiot trilogy’” following O Brother, Where Art Thou? and Intolerable Crueltycoen-bros-hail-caesar

Look for more on the Coen project as it develops. You can see Scarlett Johansson in Chef, currently in theaters, and next in Lucy which releases July 25.

Are you ready a fan of the Coen Brothers?

#5- “This Week’s Blu-ray release.” Here’s what blu-ray.com shows:thsweek

My pick of the week out of the NEW releases is…well, I can’t pick. I’ve seen none of them, but I want to check out Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin, starring Scarlett Johansson. So, we’ll see. How about you?

Which will you pick up?

——-

Well, that’s it for this round of “Movie News Monday!”

Thanks for reading! Happy Watching!

-T, The Focused Filmographer

Up next: Time to Vote Tuesday

“Trailer Time Thursday!”…on Friday 7.11.14

July 11, 2014

Today is THURSDAY!!! And you know what that means!! :) It is officially time for another fun-filled edition of “Trailer Time Thursday!”

Here is your weekly fix of “Triple-T” (aka: “Trailer Time Thursday!”)!!

In case this is your first visit to “Triple-T,” here’s what it’s all about:

Seeing as how everyone loves movie previews, “Trailer Time Thursday!” was created to bring all of the trending trailers that you may have missed in theaters, or just need to see, all in one convenient place! It makes Thursdays so great! Get ready! Your Preview Pandemonium awaits!

Check them out and ENJOY!!! :)

Trailers of the Week: (all synopses are directly from IMDB.com)

1. Wild.wild

  • Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Gaby Hoffmann and more.
  • Releasing: December 5, 2014.
  • Director: Jean-Marc Vallee
  • Synopsis: “A chronicle of one woman’s 1,100-mile solo hike undertaken as a way to recover from a recent catastrophe.”
  • Thoughts: Reese on the lonesome road of discovery. Perhaps not “theater” worthy, but this one will strike chords with some viewers. Perhaps not my cup of tea, however. -T

2. The Zero Theorem.zero theorem

  • Starring: Christoph Waltz, Melanie Thierry, David Thewlis, Matt Damon, Ben Whishaw, Tilda Swinton and more.
  • Releasing: August 19, 2014
  • Director: Terry Gilliam
  • Synopsis: “A computer hacker whose goal is to discover the reason for human existence continually finds his work interrupted thanks to the Management; namely, they send a teenager and lusty love interest to distract him.”

  • Thoughts: Visually striking and one that will make you think. Christoph Waltz is an amazing actor, but this one looks like a skip for me. Perhaps it will surprise me when I get around to seeing it. I’m reminded of the Wachowski’s films and Enter the Void and other such films but nothing makes me gravitate to it…yet. -T

3. Exodus: Gods and Kings.exodus

  • Starring:  Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, Sigourney Weaver, Aaron Paul and more.
  • Releasing: December 12, 2014
  • Director: Ridley Scott
  • Synopsis: “An account of Moses’ hand in leading the Israelite slaves out of Egypt.”
  • Thoughts: The biblical epic movie season is upon us and continues with Moses. Though the casting is eyebrow raising to be sure, Ridley Scott’s film looks very grandiose. I hear he is wanting to do the tale of King David after this. Not sure what to make of Exodus, I just hope I don’t want to take an exodus from the theater while watching it. -T

4. Unbroken.unbroken

  • Starring: Jack O’Connell, Domhnall Gleeson, Jai Courtney and more.
  • Releasing: December 25, 2014
  • Director: Angelina Jolie
  • Synopsis: “A chronicle of the life of Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner who was taken prisoner by Japanese forces during World War II.”

  • Thoughts: The man this film is based on just passed away sadly on the 2nd of July. From looking at his story, the world lost an epic hero that day. Directed by Jolie and written by the Coen brothers, this film will undoubtedly be a pleasant present to audiences on Christmas day. -T

5. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 (teaser#2)hunger_games_mockingjay__part_one_ver9

  • Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Donald Sutherland, Liam Hemsworth and more.
  • Releasing: November 21, 2014
  • Director: Francis Lawrence
  • Synopsis: “Katniss Everdeen reluctantly becomes the symbol of a mass rebellion against the autocratic Capitol.”
  • Thoughts: Things are heating up and this clip of the President’s message of unity being pirated by “District 13″ just gets me even more excited to see the first of the 2-part finale of the series. November 2014 and 2015 can’t get here fast enough!-T

6. Gone Girl.gone_girl

  • Starring: Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry and more.
  • Releasing: October 3, 2014
  • Director: David Fincher
  • Synopsis: “With his wife’s disappearance having become the focus of an intense media circus, a man sees the spotlight turned on him when it’s suspected that he may not be innocent.”
  • Thoughts: This best-seller book made a movie looks amazing…and the whole world looks to hate Ben Affleck! ha. I like good mystery thrillers and with Fincher at the helm I know this will be phenomenal. I didn’t read the book so solving this whodunnit mystery in the theater while watching will be fun!-T

7. Jimi: All is By My Side.jimi

  • Starring: Andre Benjamin, Imogen Poots, Hayley Atwell, Ruth Negga and more.
  • Releasing: August 2014
  • Director: John Ridley
  • Synopsis: “A drama based on Jimi Hendrix’s pre-fame years.”

  • Thoughts: I have a feeling only big Jimi Hendrix fans may have an interest in this. Partly due to the look and feel of the film (not very compelling) and partly due to the lead. I wish Andre Benjamin (aka Andre 3000) the best, but I’m not certain he can carry a film. Sorry, Jimi, I’m not by your side on this one. -T

8. Behaving Badly.behaving

  • Starring: Nat Wolff, Selena Gomez, Mary-Louise Parker, Elisabeth Shue, Dylan McDermott, Jason Lee, Heather Graham, Cary Elwes, Gary Busey and more.
  • Releasing: July 2014.
  • Director:  Tim Garrick
  • Synopsis: “Teenager Rick Stevens, has a crush on Nina Pennington, they form a friendship and embark on a rock n’ roll journey together while Nina deals with her overbearing boyfriend, Kevin.”

  • Thoughts: Behaving Badly looks worse than BAD. Nope nope nope…that’s all. -T

Spotlight Video of the Week:

Featurette for: Lucylucy

  • Thoughts: People are blasting the plausibility of this film, but it’s one I am looking forward to. Blending the line between scifi and reality and directed by Luc Besson and starring Scarlett Johansson! You know I’m there!

Well, that’s it for this round of ‘Triple-T’!

My favorite trailers from today:

  • Unbroken
  • Gone Girl
  • The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Pt 1

Which ones are your favorites??

—————————————–This Week

This Weekend’s Theatrical Releases:

Are you ready for the weekend in theaters? Here’s what releases/is alreay out this weekend, July 11, 2014:

  • Wide Release: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (my review) 
  • Limited Release: Boyhood, A Long Way Down  and more.

Thanks for reading! Happy Watching!

-T, The Focused Filmographer

Review Round-Up

July 10, 2014

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a few reviews and in the spirit of catching up, here are THREE mini-reviews for three summer blockbusters that you may not (or may) want to miss.

  1. Snowpiercer
  2. Transformers: Age of Extinction
  3. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Enjoy!

—————

snowpiercer

Snowpiercer- One of the lesser known films of the year that definitely deserves more attention than it has received, Snowpiercer is an interesting film put out by writer/director Joon-ho Bong and is a rewarding watch. Included in lists such as this one on IMDB, Snowpiercer undoubtedly exists in the categories of “The Unheard Of” or “The Unseen” for many but that hopefully will change in the near future.

Trailer:

Set 17 years in the future, Snowpiercer is the name of the train that contains the inhabitants of a grim world, whose passengers, locked in an endless loop of class (economic) and cold (environmental), have survived but move towards a future no more certain. Constantly moving, but going nowhere…the train serves as an engine to present economic, social and philosophical dissection for digestion.snowpiercer2

Reminiscent of classics such as 1984 and Animal Farm mixed with a few episodes of The Twilight Zone and elements from films like Sucker Punch and Elysium this socio-statement surprises on many fronts including the amount of action and violence it contains that keeps the movie going on a pace towards the end. Visually, it works very well in painting the environment. The train is a character in and of itself along with the eccentric or eclectic characters that inhabit its cars. Along with impressive performances from Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, Octavia Spencer, John Hurt, Alison Pill, Ed Harris and more, the film is full of characters and commentary.

The problem with the film is that there are too many additional unacceptable elements that viewers are forced to either swallow or shake their heads at. I’ll just give one as an example because so many others will amount to spoilers. Example: The world is practically destroyed and for 17 years everyone has been travelling on this train with a perpetual-motion engine that keeps it powered and warm, etc. If that’s the case…then why haven’t they stopped the train and built a camp, powered by that perpetual motion engine, and keep everyone safe instead of living with threat of derailment due to the harsh winter conditions? (and that’s a MINOR issue with the film.) There are several other elements such as this that plague the plausible acceptance of the situation.snowpiercerr

However, that cannot take away from the boldness of the filmmaker (who, reportedly, was told to “dumb down” the film for American audiences and then received a limited US release when that “suggestion” was refused) and the presentation of the fight for freedom, equality, life and limb. I enjoyed Snowpiercer quite a bit and recommend it as one of the required watches of the year. It keeps you engaged, interested and curious, all the while observing the underlying message that pierces through the snow and to the hearts and minds of the viewers.snow1

Snowpiercer 4 stars out of 5. Watch it.

(for more on Snowpiercer, check out the double review featured over at Flixchatter HERE.)

—————

transformers_age_of_extinction_grimlock-optimus-poster2-610x892

Transformers: Age of Extinction- Hope can be such a unrelenting and terrible mistress to whom we willingly enslave ourselves at times. That can be no more truer than when describing the experience one may have while watching this fourth installment of a franchise that went from amazing to bad once the opening credits began for the second one. And the worst part about it all is that, while we know and expect Michael Bay’s films to be all flair and explosions and no true story or plot…we still hope (see, there she is again…the cruel mistress) that the continuing sequels will offer more and “transform” into the beloved series of our childhoods. Knowing full well that they won’t we still end up disappointed.

This, my friends, is the case once again…not surprisingly…with Transformers: Age of Extinction.

Trailer:

I’m not even going to take a sentence or two to discuss the most blatant use of product placement in a movie ever since E.T. I mean, we all know how Michael Bay could afford to spend so much on a movie that nothing happens in. Realize that when you purchase your ticket, you are paying for a 3 hour commercial session with a few robots and cars in between, a few fight scenes, several “scratch your head” moments and no progressive story.

Bay Blew It

Bay Blew It

It’s sad really, that Bay can’t take a franchise that already has three films and turn it around. Here’s the good, bad and ugly of Transformers: Age of Extinction.

  • Good: Kelsey Grammer, Stanley Tucci, Mark Wahlberg, slowed down action sequences, Optimus Prime, great CGI and cool cars.
  • Bad: No big connection/explanation linking to previous 3, horrible acting, unnecessary characters and love interests, no real connection with autobots, bad use of Bumblebee (and ALL the other ones from before), loosely grounded motives, ignoring villains, etc…
  • Ugly: Terrible story with more holes than swiss cheese, Optimus Prime’s continued persistent need for self-sacrifice, the ending, the use of dinobots, and everything else mentioned in the “bad” section above.

TRANSFORMERS-AGE-OF-EXTINCTION-4

Oh, and there’s more I could say to share how terrible this film actually is when you sit to think about it, but that would involve spoilers. Granted, my memory of the classic transformers remains unspoiled by Bay’s incompetence with the movie franchise. Just know that this 3 hour commercial is fun if you want to sit there and be mindlessly amused by explosions and fights and the pretty shiny things, but when you go home and begin to think about “hey, what happened to this guy?” or “hey, where did those guys really come from?” or “hey, what really happened in the movie?” or “hey, so, what was the real purpose of the last two films then?” or “hey…he could fly this whole time???” That is when you will realize again just how cruel hope can be. (I actually kinda missed Shia and his interactions with Bumblebee.)optimus_prime_transformers_age_of_extinction-wide

Transformers: Age of Ex-STINK-tion: 1.5 stars out of 5. “Where everything and nothing happens in the span of 3 hours!”

(for more on Transformers 4, check out Dan’s review featured over at DTMMR HERE.)

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dawn_of_the_planet_of_the_apes_ver5

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes- One of the biggest anticipated sequels of 2014 (a movie year that is FLOODED with sequels), this dawn shines the light on the land of sequels and brings one that audiences deserve. It’s been three years since Rise of the Planet of the Apes (my review of it here) hit theaters and the sequels brings us up to speed on the events that have taken place during the 10 years that have transpired in the story.

And what a story!

Trailer:

Appropriately titled, this film continues the storyline of its predecessor and the saga takes shape as the time of the Apes’ dominance is near. When the cast was announced to not included James Franco (who I enjoyed in the first one), I was admittedly let down. But after seeing the film and also seeing how the humans are second in importance to the Apes and how the cast of Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, Kodi Smit-McPhee and more perform so well, I didn’t mind.

It is interesting that in a film that pits humanity against Apes…it is the Apes that you find yourself cheering for most.dawn-of-the-planet-of-the-apes

Somebody give Andy Serkis an Oscar already! His motion-capture work is uncanny and his second time as Caesar is no less stellar than his first. Truly one of the most under-acknowledged actors of our time since we rarely see his face (much like Ray Park). Serkis’ work brings life to the main character and keeps audiences tied in to the development of the story and the struggle of the Apes, the humans, the co-existence of them both and the fight to survive each other.

One of the best elements of the film is the cinematography. Used to tell the story in unspoken fashion, a simple camera pan teaches audiences how time has passed, via vegetation that has taken over a suburban area, or vast scenes of vacated buildings or the expanse of the home built by Caesar in the northern Californian woods. The cinematography, paired with the story that has a pleasantly used mix of Shakespearean, war-film and sociological elements, creates a sequel that is both delightfully enjoyable and interesting. And it finally brings in more of what was possibly hoped for in the first: more action and fighting.dawn-of-the-planet-of-the-apes-filmszene-pferde2

Ultimately a story of progression with undertones of family, connection, friendship, betrayal, survival and symbiosis, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes keeps its focus and serves as one of the best bridging sequels I’ve seen in a long time. The dawn has come, the sun has risen on the franchise’s empire…I’m not ready for it to set. Can’t wait for the next one and only hope it isn’t another three years away.

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: 4.5 stars out of 5.

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Thanks for reading! Happy Watching!

-T, aka TheFocusedFilmographer

(Remember, to read this review of mine and over 250 more, check out THE ARCHIVE of movies I have reviewed anytime. Know before you go…or rent…or buy!)

up next: “Trailer Time Thursday!”…on Friday :-)

“Trailer Time Thursday!” 7.3.14

July 3, 2014

Today is THURSDAY!!! And you know what that means!! :) It is officially time for another fun-filled edition of “Trailer Time Thursday!”

Here is your weekly fix of “Triple-T” (aka: “Trailer Time Thursday!”)!!

In case this is your first visit to “Triple-T,” here’s what it’s all about:

Seeing as how everyone loves movie previews, “Trailer Time Thursday!” was created to bring all of the trending trailers that you may have missed in theaters, or just need to see, all in one convenient place! It makes Thursdays so great! Get ready! Your Preview Pandemonium awaits!

Check them out and ENJOY!!! :)

Trailers of the Week: (all synopses are directly from IMDB.com)

1. Dracula Untold.dracula

  • Starring: Luke Evans, Samantha Barks, Dominic Cooper, Charles Dance, Zach McGowan and more.
  • Releasing: October 17, 2014.
  • Director: Gary Shore
  • Synopsis: “The origin story of the man who becomes Dracula.”
  • Thoughts: I really want to know your thoughts on this one. I like how it looks and the angle the film takes. I didn’t really recognize Les Miserables‘ Samantha Barks as a blonde in the trailer. The cast looks pretty strong. Let’s hope it turns out to be decent. It looks good. -T

2. Into the Storm.into the storm

  • Starring: Richard Armitage, Sarah Wayne Collins, Jeremy Sumpter and more.
  • Releasing: August 8, 2014
  • Director: Steven Quale
  • Synopsis: “A group of high school students document the events and aftermath of a devastating tornado.”

  • Thoughts: Not gonna lie, I expected to see Superman show up halfway through the trailer…or at least Dennis Quaid. This looks to be the next biggest disaster movie since Day After Tomorrow…I only hope we didn’t see the real extent of the damage in this trailer. Talk about a Stormchaser’s dream! -T

3. Life After Beth.lifeafterbeth

  • Starring:  Aubrey Plaza, Dane DeHaan, John C. Reilly, Molly Shannon, Anna Kendrick and more.
  • Releasing: August 15, 2014
  • Director: John Baena
  • Synopsis: “Zach is devastated after his girlfriend, Beth, unexpectedly dies. When she suddenly rises from the dead, he sees it as a second chance and decides to do and say every thing he wishes he had while she was still alive.”
  • Thoughts: After last year’s Warm Bodies where the boy of the romantic couple was a zombie, here’s a new comedy in which the girl is a part of the walking dead. Aubrey Plaza stars in another indie comedy and I’m not sure what I think about it yet. A bit over the top, but still funny. What do you think? -T

4. Foxcatcherfoxcatcher

  • Starring: Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, and more.
  • Releasing: November 14, 2014
  • Director: Bennett Miller
  • Synopsis: “Based on the true story of Mark Schultz, an Olympic wrestler whose relationship with sponsor John du Pont and brother Dave Schultz would lead to unlikely circumstances.”

  • Thoughts: It’s no fair we’ve had to wait almost a whole year past when this film was supposed to release. I’ve been looking forward to it since mid-2013. The performances look so amazing and the hype bells are ringing for Oscar-nods for Tatum and Carell already. Who knows? This could be when they become contenders. -T

5. The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigbyeleanorrigbyposter

  • Starring: Jessica Chastain, James McAvoy, Ciarán Hinds, Viola Davis, William Hurt and more.
  • Releasing: September 26, 2014
  • Director: Ned Benson
  • Synopsis: “Told from the male perspective, the story of a couple trying to reclaim the life and love they once knew and pick up the pieces of a past that may be too far gone.”
  • Thoughts: I was wondering where Chastain had been. After so many films in the past couple years…this one is the beginning of several more on the way. I like the actor choices in this one and it the story looks to be a mix of The Vow, [500] Days of Summer and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I like it. Pop on over to Flixchatter.net for a spotlight on the trailer and more on the story and the film’s background HERE-T

6. Horrible Bosses 2.hb2

  • Starring: Charlie Day, Jennifer Aniston, Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Christoph Waltz and more.
  • Releasing: November 26, 2014
  • Director: Sean Anders
  • Synopsis: “Dale, Kurt and Nick decide to start their own business but things don’t go as planned because of a slick investor, prompting the trio to pull off a harebrained and misguided kidnapping scheme.”
  • Thoughts: Comedy sequels are starting to get better (i.e. 22 Jump Street) and here is one that hopes to be good but will depend too much on its predecessor and not stand on its own two feet I’m afraid. I think it’s great that the original crew seems to be back together, but I am not ready to sign up for this one yet. Thoughts? -T

7. The Skeleton Twins.skeleton twins

  • Starring: Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, Boyd Holbrook and more.
  • Releasing: September 19, 2014
  • Director: Craig Johnson
  • Synopsis: “After ten years of estrangement, twins Maggie and Milo coincidentally cheat death on the same day, prompting them to reunite and confront how their lives went so wrong. As the twins’ reunion reinvigorates them both, they realize that the key to fixing their lives just may lie in fixing their relationship with each other.”

  • Thoughts: The bond between siblings is always a fun one to see explored because so many people can relate to it and laugh/cry/sigh/yell right alongside the actors onscreen. Admittedly, the only parts of this trailer that I enjoyed were the parts when Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader were reconnecting and lip singing and asking “serious questions.” If the film is full of little sibling moments like that, then it will probably be worth it…at least for me. -T

8. St. Vincent.stvincent

  • Starring: Bill Murray, Melissa McCarthy, Naomi Watts, Terrence Howard and more.
  • Releasing: October 24, 2014.
  • Director:  Theodore Melfi
  • Synopsis: “A young boy whose parents just divorced finds an unlikely friend and mentor in the misanthropic, bawdy, hedonistic, war veteran who lives next door.”

  • Thoughts: Bill Murray looks like he had a ton of fun in this film that features Melissa McCarthy in a more serious role, Naomi Watts with an accent from who knows where and a color scheme of a Wes Anderson film. I’ll bet the kid had one amazing time on set. Murray’s a legend and this looks like fun and yet will prob thump the heartstrings a few times too. -T

Spotlight Video of the Week:

Featurette for: Dawn of the Planet of the Apesdawn-of-the-planet-of-the-apes-poster-janee-meadows-390x600

  • Thoughts: The more I keep hearing about this anticipated sequel…the more I keep wanting to see it. I think that I will have to jump on that hype elevator and go up a few more floors! Check out the latest featurette for the July 11th epic sequel.

Well, that’s it for this round of ‘Triple-T’!

My favorite trailers from today:

  • Dracula Untold
  • The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby
  • Foxcatcher

Which ones are your favorites??

—————————————–This Week

This Weekend’s Theatrical Releases:

Are you ready for the weekend in theaters? Here’s what releases/is alreay out this weekend, July 2-4, 2014:

  • Wide Release: Deliver Us From Evil, Earth to Echo 
  • Limited Release: The Girl on the Train, Life Itself and more.

Thanks for reading! Happy Watching!

-T, The Focused Filmographer

 

“It’s Time to Vote Tuesday” 173!

July 1, 2014

Today is Tuesday! And you know what that means! It is time for TIME TO VOTE TUESDAY!

For most people Tuesday is just the day after Monday, but for you it means that “Time to Vote Tuesday” is here!!

“Time to Vote Tuesday” is the session of fun weekly polls which spark thought, debate, and intrigue! Each poll closes in a week with results posted on the following ‘TVT’!

The last TVT poll was a special edition and has now closed (see it HERE). Entitled “The Search for Mary Jane Watson!” it asked voters to pick the top two actresses out of my picks to play Mary Jane Watson if they were to recast her character in The Amazing Spider-Man 3. The votes are in (84 total) and the winners are:maryelizabeth deb

With a close race for the runner-ups, this was one of the Time to Vote Tuesday polls that I didn’t quite want to close! Thanks to all who voted!

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This week’s edition of ‘TVT’ entitled “June’s gone…weddings done!” asks you about favorite weddings in movies. June is traditionally the month of the most weddings. As a matter of fact, my best friend just got married a couple of weeks ago. It is that fantastic event that prompted this edition’s poll. Weddings…the time for two ones to become one, the time for mothers to cry and perhaps all the singles in the crowd too! They also make for usually a fun climax, plot point or ending in a movie.wc

Well, even though June is gone (and I’m sure more weddings are still on the way in July for you to crash…errr, attend!), today’s poll makes you choose some of your faves from movies of past and present. Such as:

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Today I ask you:

Do you have another wedding you like more? Share in the comments section!

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Thanks for reading! Happy Watching!

-T, The Focused Filmographer

***Don’t forget: For regular updates on movie news, rumors, pictures, posters, and more, FOLLOW ME on Twitter and Facebook.

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