Monday, June 4, 2012

The Week That Was and the Week That Will Be - 6/4

Armie Hammer, Taylor Kitsch, and Garrett Hedlund are all in contention to play Finnick in Catching Fire, the sequel to The Hunger Games. Hammer is perhaps the obvious choice and I believe Hedlund is a better actor than he gets credit for. But Kitsch would be killer in that role. On the other hand, Robert Pattinson has confirmed that he is NOT in line to for the role so we can all breathe a sigh of relief. What a miserable choice that would have been.

With an Indiana Jones set coming in time for Christmas and Jaws dropping in August, we already knew this would be a big year for Spielberg films on Blu-Ray. Add another hallmark to the list as E.T. will debut on Blu in October. Can't. Stinking. Wait. 

Christina Applegate has officially joined the cast of Anchorman 2. It wouldn't have been a deal breaker if she'd skipped out but I like that Adam McKay is reassembling the whole news team. 

The long-awaited Fraggle Rock movie now has a pair of writers. No idea what to expect from this but I'm excited. 

Sequels to both Rise of the Planet of the Apes and X-Men: First Class have been scheduled for the summer of 2014. 

New details have emerged about Pixar's upcoming dinosaur film (Summer 2014)'re awesome.

Guy Ritchie is expected to take on the adaptation of Treasure Island, a film which is intended to launch a new franchise. 

Catherine Tate will return to the cast of The Office next season which is just the absolute worst thing for that show. Boooooooooo. 

CinemaBlend gives us the 10 most crucial cast changes in the history of Saturday Night Live. Well done. 

Weekend Box Office Results
Well it didn’t exactly win over the critics (46% rating on Rotten Tomatoes) but Snow White and the Huntsman did find a robust if unspectacular audience this weekend. I had trouble getting tickets to the showing I wanted to attend which was somewhat unexpected. It did not, however, make much of a splash overseas which may indicate the trouble it will have recouping its $170 million budget. My review will go up tomorrow but I’ll tell you now I wasn’t all that impressed. MIB3 grabbed a solid chunk of cash in its second week of release and of course, did even better overseas. (Man, Europeans love Will Smith.) And in keeping with the overseas theme, Battleship may be flopping miserably on these shores but it’s playing like gangbusters around the world which, of course, was the studio’s plan all along. Finally, The Avengers passed yet another milestone by jumping past The Dark Knight to become the third highest-grossing film of all time. Wow.

1. Snow White and the Huntsman - $56.25M
2. Men in Black 3 - $29.3M ($112.3M)
3. The Avengers - $20.27M ($552.73M)
4. Battleship - $4.81M ($55.12M)
5. The Dictator - $4.72M ($50.83M)
6. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel - $4.6M ($25.49M)
7. What to Expect When You’re Expecting - $4.43M ($30.72M)
8. Dark Shadows - $3.86M ($70.83M)
9. Chernobyl Diaries - $3.04M ($14.41M)
10. For Greater Glory - $1.8M

New to DVD
What I’ve Seen and Really Isn’t That Bad…Really
John Carter – Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Mark Strong
If you’re so inclined, you can find any number of negative reviews for John Carter without much effort. While I agree the entire project amounted to one massive screw up after another, the movie itself really and truly isn’t so bad. That’s not exactly a rousing endorsement but special effects are grand, the movie has an underlying sense of humor, and Taylor Kitsch is solid (though my love for Friday Night Lights makes mine a biased opinion). All I’m saying is, if you’re looking for something to watch on a lazy Friday night, you could do much, much worse than this.

What I’ve Seen and You Should, Too
Safe House – Ryan Reynolds, Denzel Washington, Brendan Gleeson
Falling Skies: Season 1 – Noah Wyle, Moon Bloodgood, Drew Roy
For a more action-y rental choice, go with Safe House which is basically just Denzel being Denzel for two hours. It isn’t up to par with, say, Training Day but it is loads better than, say, John Q. It’s also a solid showing for Reynolds which he sorely needed. Meanwhile, Falling Skies is a perfect show for the summer and with Season 2 debuting this week, it’s worth your time to catch up on if you’re a sci-fi nerd.

What I’ll Be Renting This Week
Machine Gun Preacher – Gerard Butler, Michelle Monaghan, Michael Shannon
The reviews for this one were not good but several people I trust were much more forgiving in their reviews. And I must admit the story intrigues me. With very few rental options on the horizon, I’m betting I’ll get around to this one shortly.

What I’m Looking Forward to Catching Up On
Burn Notice: Season 5 – Jeffrey Donovan, Bruce Campbell, Gabrielle Anwar
If, like me, you assumed there was no way a summertime USA TV show like Burn Notice could be any good, then allow me to inform you that you were wrong. I came late to the party (just before Season 4) but thoroughly enjoyed the catch-up. It is much smarter and much more entertaining than I would have ever imagined. I missed the back half of Season 5 due to a DVR malfunction and with Season 6 beginning next week, I’m very much looking forward to finishing this season. The first four seasons are on Netflix and I highly recommend a viewing.

Also New
Act of Valor – Alex Veadov, Roselyn Sanchez, Nestor Serrano
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island – The Rock, Josh Hutcherson, Vanessa Hudgens
Breaking Bad: Season 4 – Bryan Cranston, Aaron Paul
Curb Your Enthusiasm: Season 8 – Larry David, Jeff Garlin, Cheryl Hines
White Collar: Season 3 – Matt Bomer, Tim DeKay, Willie Garson
In Plain Sight: Season 4 – Mary McCormack, Frederick Waller, Paul Ben-Victor
Necessary Roughness: Season 1 – Callie Thorne, Patrick Johnson
Fairly Legal: Season 1 – Sarah Shahi, Michael Trucco, Baron Vaughn

New to Blu Pick of the Week or Whenever I Feel Like It
The Sting (1973) – Robert Redford, Paul Newman, Robert Shaw
There are a number of Best Picture winners from the ‘60s and ‘70s (and every other decade for that matter) that don’t hold up so well these days. The Sting isn’t one of them. A brilliantly written and superbly acted film, it is a MUST SEE for anyone has missed out thus far and ranks as one of my ten favorite films.

Two More Solid Blu-Ray Picks
US Marshals (1998) – Tommy Lee Jones, Wesley Snipes, Robert Downey Jr
A Perfect World (1993) – Kevin Costner, TJ Lowther, Clint Eastwood
I wouldn’t call either of these movies great but both have their own merits and both are worth watching if you’ve missed out thus far. US Marshals is pure ‘90s cop-related action with a fun cast and a solid twist or two. Plus it’s always fun to look back on RDJ during his drug days and see how great he was even then though almost in spite of himself. A Perfect World on the other hand has one of the better father-son dynamics from any film of the time, even though Costner and Lowther aren’t actually father and son. I’ve always thought this movie is seriously underrated. Check it out.

Also New to Blu
Yellow Submarine (1968) – The Beatles
Hondo (1953) – John Wayne, Geraldine Page, Ward Bond
The Color of Money (1986) – Paul Newman, Tom Cruise, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio
The Grapes of Wrath (1940) – Henry Fonda, Jane Darwell, John Carradine
Ransom (1996) – Mel Gibson, Rene Russo, Gary Sinise
Cocktail (1988) – Tom Cruise, Bryan Brown, Elisabeth Shue
Bloodwork (2002) – Clint Eastwood, Jeff Daniels, Anjelica Huston

Coming to a Theater Near You
I wasn’t able to do my customary Rotten Tomatoes score prediction last week and it’s probably a good thing I didn’t. I really expected more from Snow White and the Huntsman. This week, we’re treated to two wide releases at opposite end of the spectrum and a surprisingly large number of films debuting in limited release.

Prometheus – Noomi Rapace, Charlize Theron, Michael Fassbender
A group of explorers travel to the far reaches of the galaxy to uncover the origins of mankind. What they find might be mankind’s undoing. Prometheus marks Ridley Scott’s return to sci-fi though how much this movie will have to do with the Alien series is still uncertain. The early reviews haven’t been as overwhelmingly positive as I might have guessed but that hasn’t squelched my enthusiasm in the least. I am RIDICULOUSLY stoked about this movie. Can’t wait to check it out. Rotten Tomatoes prediction: Fresh, 77%

Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted – Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer
In their continuing effort to return to New York, four former zoo animals join a traveling circus as they cross through Europe. I really enjoyed the first Madagascar. And I honestly can’t tell you whether or not I’ve even seen the sequel. It seems like something I would have seen at some point but even after reading the IMDB synopsis, I can’t remember a thing about it. I’m not sure I really need another sequel, therefore, but these movies make serious cash and there really aren’t many family movies in theaters right now so it is probably in for a decent haul. Rotten Tomatoes prediction: Fresh, 63%

Also New: A man (Mark Duplass) places a wanted ad for a companion to accompany him on a time traveling adventure in Safety Not Guaranteed…a newly single woman (Greta Gerwig) attempts to come to grips with her relationship status in Lola Versus…an influential young newcomer (Robert Pattinson) created waves in the Paris power structure in Bel Ami…and a mom (Catherine Keener) and her two daughters (Elizabeth Olsen, Nat Wolff) take a much needed vacation in Peace Love and Misunderstanding.

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