Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Movie Review: "Your Sister's Sister" by Ben Foutch

Director: Lynn Shelton
Writer: Lynn Shelton
Stars: Mark Duplass, Emily Blunt and Rosemarie DeWitt
Rated: R
Run Time: 109 min

It really is a shame when independent gems like Your Sister's Sister are delegated to limited releases in often overlooked art house theaters. Director/Writer Lynn Shelton deserves a bigger chunk of the market with this entertaining, intelligent film that focuses on human connection and the barriers that hinder their fruition.

Throw-Back Movie Review - Olympics Edition: "Miracle" by Alex Schopp

Release: 2004
Director: Gavin O'Connor
Written By: Eric Guggenheim
Actors: Kurt Russell, Patricia Clarkson, Noah Emmerich, Eddie Cahill
Rated: PG
Run Time: 135 min

Though I've been trying to spend a good majority of my time actually watching the Olympics this week, I've managed to sneak in a few viewings of some of my favorite Olympic-themed films to get me really excited for the events. And since I've been watching them, I figured I'd share my thoughts with all of you; maybe a refresher on such films will get your patriotic spirits as high as mine are this week!

Also, as you'll clearly note, this is not a film about an event that we're enjoying during these summer games. I realize such. But it's still one of the best movies that revolve around the Olympics, and if this can't get you pumped for international competition on the grandest of scales, then I don't know what will (and if you're still not satisfied, I'll be rolling out another one of these Olympic-themed reviews in the next couple of days that will put more of a focus on summer portion of the games).

Blu-Ray/DVD Releases: July 31, 2012

Welcome back! This week shows a few independent horror titles, a Miley Cyrus flick, straight to DVD action and some oldies but goodies. There is a couple titles that I've personally been waiting to watch, so hopefully you'll find something in this weird assortment of movies. So, move some cash around and clear a spot on the shelf, because it's time to add to that collection.

Hit the jump for this week's releases!

Slackers Selection CinemaCast: Episode 26

Thanks for checking out this week's edition of the Slackers Selection CinemaCast!

It was a pretty slow week this week. Between the down week after last weekend's "The Dark Knight Rises" and the fact that we have the Olympics going on right now, there just wasn't a ton to talk about. But nonetheless, we went briefly over this week's crop of films, which included "The Watch" and "Step Up Revolution". Also, and probably much more interestingly, we took another look at "The Dark Knight Rises", with a full week and a few more viewings under our belt.

Next week's fairly dull lineup includes "Total Recall", "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days", and in limited fashion, "The Babymakers". We discuss our interests here, but that should be fairly obvious.

Also, one of us checked out "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen" this week, and give his thoughts on that.

Otherwise, it's a nice, quick chat this week; should be easy to flip on and give a listen!

Monday, July 30, 2012

The Trailer Park: About Cherry, American Mary, Chasing Mavericks, Cloud Atlas, Jack And Diane, Life Of Pi, Mental, Middle Of Nowhere, Paranormal Activity 4, Silent Hill Revelation 3D, Skyfall, Taken 2, Werewolf: The Beast Among Us

Welcome to The Trailer Park! - A weekly column rounding up new and newish trailers lurking around the internet.

As always, put on your John Nada sunglasses before the jump or...submit to the advertising. 

Casting Calls

Thanks for checking out Casting Calls, a weekly roundup of all the notable roles that actors and actresses have scored for upcoming films. As always, we will try to avoid rumors, and stick to roles that have been locked down or are in the negotiation stage.

In this weeks edition, Vince Vaughn takes a risk, two generations action stars unite, “Saving Mr. Banks” adds a trio of actors, and more.

So hit the jump to see who got what gig!

Throw-Back Movie Review: "Fire with Fire" by Ben Foutch

Release: 1986
Director: Duncan Gibbins
Writers: Bill Phillips, Warren Skaaren
Stars: Craig Sheffer, Virginia Madsen, Jon Polito, and D.B. Sweeney
Rated: PG-13
Run Time: 103 min

Fire with Fire is a "star-crossed lovers" date movie that you might remember if you grew up in the 80s. Being a fan of both Virginia Madsen and Craig Sheffer, I stumbled across this when looking through their filmographies and decided to give it a try. While it boasts a few memorable scenes, the derivative plot trope, annoying side characters and hokey climax keep it from achieving anything beyond a standard romantic drama entry.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Box Office Report: "The Dark Knight Rises" On Top, But Takes Considerable Dip

The first thing I noticed when I glanced at this weekend's numbers was that "The Dark Knight Rises" took a pretty good hit this weekend and didn't quite live up to superhero box office juggernaut title we were already giving it. It's still compiled numbers that 98% of films would kill for, but this weekend showed that it's not going to be real competition for the numbers that "The Avengers" established a few months back.

Upon looking at some of the other films' totals this weekend, what ultimately stood out the most was the incredibly weak take by "The Watch". I second-guessed myself that I was actually looking at the full weekend totals for a few seconds; surely this was just what the film made on Friday. The film put together about half of what I expected this weekend, and if we're being honest, I saw it this weekend and am glad that audiences didn't show up for this. They made it look intriguing in the trailers, but that was the best joke from the whole film! I'll go over specifics after the break, but anytime you have various bona fide stars and a budget close to $70MM, finishing behind a film in its third week that barely managed to break the $10MM mark ("Ice Age: Continental Drift") probably isn't a good thing.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Throw-Back Movie Review: "Signs" by Alex Schopp

Release: 2002
Director: M. Night Shyamalan
Written By: M. Night Shyamalan
Actors: Mel Gibson, Joaquin Pheonix, Rory Culkin, Abigail Breslin
Rated: PG-13
Run Time: 106 min

First off, it feels really weird labeling this "Signs" review as Throw-Back; but it is now more than ten years old, so I guess if the shoe fits...

Anyway, after checking out "The Watch" this weekend, it made me want nothing more than to go home and watch this movie. I've always enjoyed a healthy dose of aliens in my films, and after seeing "The Watch" fail in so many ways, I wanted to watch something that did the genre right. "Signs" comes so close to constantly being in my Top 10 of all-time, but I can never quite pull the trigger on it. Yet every time I watch it - and I feel like it makes its way into my DVD player at least once a year or so - I'm constantly impressed with so many aspects of it. Even just last night, there were two subtle scenes that I got something new out of that I know I'd never thought about before. And for as many times as I've watched the movie, it was pretty impressive actually.

I'm going to assume all have seen this movie, so for the review below, I won't be holding back on any spoilers. If you haven't seen the film yet, go do so.

Top 5 Movie Guide: Sci-Fi Comedies

For the weekend edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide, we decided again to use "The Watch" as inspiration, and focus on some of the best Sci-Fi Comedies around! Science Fiction as a genre has been around for centuries, but got its modern definition during the Age of Enlightenment, Europe's 18th century movement to educate and understand the world around us. It's hard to come up with a specific definition for the genre, but since we've been able to basically define how the world works, we've further been able to play off storylines that follow similar rules of modern physics; or, more simply, tell tales of seemingly implausible but not impossible events (time travel, futuristic technology, aliens, etc.). Remember, no supernatural content though; purists don't like mixing ghosts and gods into this genre.

Since the creation of film, the two items have strong been married together. The ability for filmmakers to tell these elaborate, many times futuristic, stories and add in imagery of how they envision it has always proved an appealing route. Film's The Golden Age of science fiction took place in the 1950's, however - no coincidence that this was the same year (1951) that the first "documented" UFO sighting took place (Roswell, New Mexico). With the world's immediate fascination with extraterrestrials, the interest in the medium soared. There were more widely released science fiction movies made in the 1950's than all other previous decades combined. As modern sciences advanced, so did the genre, constantly creating for new and more imaginative stories.

Today, there are literally hundreds of sub-categories for this genre, everything from Cyber Punk and Apocalyptic to Space Westerns and even certain Horror genres. But for this list, we'll take a look at some of the comedies that have come from the genre. This definitely isn't one of the oldest in popularity, and really didn't gain much traction with audiences until the 1970's. Since then, it's been a common staple in the Sci-Fi industry, with new titles seemingly every year.

Hit the jump for a list of some of our favorites it's had to offer!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Movie Review: "The Watch" by Alex Schopp

Release: 20012
Director: Akiva Schaffer
Written By: Jared Stern, Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg
Actors: Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill, Richard Ayoade
Rated: R
Run Time: 98 min

If you see one film this year where they reference dicks and semen every ten seconds, I'd still probably see if there were any other options around than this one..

"The Watch" centers around a group of regular, everyday men looking for an escape from their day-to-day routines. When a murder takes place in their quiet little town, they take it upon themselves to form a neighborhood watch for the community. They all have their different reasons for joining, but overall, this group is the perfect answer for each of them. Initially, their objectives revolve somewhat around posting fliers and sitting on stake-outs, but mostly, they're just hanging out and drinking beers. But when they discover that an alien race has landed in their town and is killing members of the community, this group of incompetent suburbanites must come together to prevent an all-out alien invasion and annihilation.

Photo Bomb!

Thanks for checking out the latest edition of Photo Bomb!, your weekly roundup of all movie-related photos and posters floating around the internet.

Tons of a great content this week (thanks much in part to the Toronto Film Festival happening this month), so let's get right to it. For the photos section we have new content from the films "The Bourne Legacy", "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey", "The Wolverine", "Everybody Has A Plan", "At Any Price", "Anna Karenina", "Argo", "The Company You Keep", "Silver Linings Playbook", "Looper", "The Place Beyond the Pines", "Machete Kills", "The Ice Man", "Imogene", "A Late Quartet", "Writers", and "Cloud Atlas".

And we feature new posters for films "Cloud Atlas", "Machete Kills", "Me and My Shadow", "Life of Pi", "Lawless", "About Cherry", and "Taken 2". Not a ton of movie posters this week, but the stills more than make up for it.

Hit the jump for everything listed above!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

In Theaters This Weekend: July 27, 2012

In theaters this weekend, the overall crop might not be incredibly strong, but at least we have options. The film likely to be the biggest hit this weekend (excluding the hold-over business we'll see from last weekend's "The Dark Knight Rises", of course) is "The Watch". This sci-fi comedy stars Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Jonah Hill. The other film that gets a wide-release this weekend is "Step Up Revolution". Believe it or not, this is already the fourth film from this franchise. And in what will be in limited fashion (but something for us to keep our eyes on, nonetheless), is the release of the William Friedkin directed "Killer Joe", starring Matthew McConaughey.

All three films will definitely provide you with very different experiences this weekend, but for a quick rundown on each, hit the jump. And like always, we'll take a stab at the weekend box office predictions as well.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Top 5 Movie Guide: Ben Stiller

With this weekend's release of "The Watch", we decided to dedicate this edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide to one of its stars, Ben Stiller. Stiller has been a staple in the comedy world for decades now and continues put out well-received works, whether it be as an actor, director, writer or producer. Born and raised around acting (mother: Anne Meara; father: Jerry Stiller), Stiller attended the All Children's Theatre Company in New York City as a child, and later went to UCLA School of Theater for college. Soon after, he made his way into the film and television world, and by the mid-90's was a notable commodity (and even got a break in the 1987 film "Empire of the Sun", which links him to last week's Top 5'er, Christian Bale).

Stiller is a key member of the informal "Frat Pack" along with Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughn, Luke Wilson, Steve Carell, and Jack Black. Parts of the group have appeared in some capacity in five different films over the years, most recently in "Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy" (Stiller was actually the first choice to play Brian Fantana in the film, but the role eventually went to Paul Rudd, who some consider part of the "Frat Pack" group as well).

You won't find any Academy Award nominations to Stiller's name, but he does hold one record in the awards circuit that's likely to never be matched again - in 2004 he was nominated for Worst Actor at the Razzie Awards for five different films. He swept the whole category! We've voiced our complaints about the "award" organization, so I mean no true disrespect to Stiller, it's just a humorous statistic; I hope and expect that if it is ever anything that's brought up, he is able to get as good a laugh about it as anyone.

For now, hit the jump for all of the best films we found in Stiller's filmography, with minimal Razzie-nominated selections!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Slackers Selection CinemaCast: Episode 25

Thanks for checking out this week's edition of the Slackers Selection CinemaCast!

This week, as has become tradition after big blockbusters, we go into pretty good depth with the film, spending most of our time on that. So this week we take a good look at what "The Dark Knight Rises" had to offer, mostly figuring out ways to fill the plotholes so we'll love the movie that much more! And in case you didn't assume, this podcast is NOT spoiler-free. If you're looking for our thoughts without giving anything away, refer to our review; otherwise, if you've seen the film, take a listen for an in-depth discussion!

We touch on text week's new releases, which include "The Watch", "Step-Up: Revolution", and "Killer Joe", though not much stands out compared to what we got this last weekend.

And we round things up with some quick thoughts on other films we've seen recently, including "Ted" and "Chatroom".

Tons of great content this week, with the total run-time coming in at just over an hour, so give it a listen below!

Casting Calls

Sorry 3we didn't get to this on our regularly scheduled Monday, but thanks for checking out Casting Calls, a weekly roundup of all the notable roles that actors and actresses have scored for upcoming films. As always, we will try to avoid rumors, and stick to roles that have been locked down or are in the negotiation stage.

In this weeks edition, Johnny Depp checks into “The Grand Budapest Hotel”, Jeremy Renner takes over the movie formerly known as “American Bullsh*t”, Vin Diesel is a “Machine”, Cap 2 adds another superhero, and much, much more.

So hit the jump to see all the details on who got what gig!

Blu-Ray/DVD Releases: July 24, 2012

Welcome back to another edition of our weekly Blu-Ray and DVD picks. While we don't cover every title, there is sure to be something that will strike your fancy. This week brings us only one wide theater release and a few "straight to" titles for the new releases. However, don't give up hope just yet, there are a few re-releases that are getting the Criterion treatment, and a couple of other titles you might want to upgrade to Blu-ray status.

Hit the jump for this week's releases!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Box Office Report: "The Dark Knight Rises" Starts/Finishes Strong

Hopefully it doesn't require much explanation, but I labeled it above as such because not only did the film produce one of the highest grosses openings of all-time, but as the third and final film of this Batman franchise, it also surpassed previous numbers, finishing off with the highest opening weekend totals for any of the three films in the franchise.

One thing that I neglected to account for in my weekend predictions was the lack of 3D showing for this film. And by lack, I mean none. Director Christopher Nolan has been very clear about his disinterests with such, and removing the bumped-up ticket prices for 3D showings really accounts for a nice chunk.

Nonetheless, the film still put together impressive totals and solidified itself as one of the best blockbusters of all-time.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Trailer Park: Bachelorette, The Campaign, Crave, Drew: The Man Behind The Poster, Jayne Mansfield's Car, Man Of Steel (Both Versions), The Master, Sleepwalk With Me

Welcome to The Trailer Park! - A weekly column rounding up new and newish trailers lurking around the internet.

As always, put on your John Nada sunglasses before the jump or...submit to the advertising. 

Throw-Back Movie Review: "Network" by Alex Schopp

Release: 1976
Director: Sidney Lumet
Written By: Paddy Chayefsky
Actors: Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Peter Finch, Robert Duvall, Ned Beatty
Rated: R
Run Time: 121 min

"You're never going to get any truth from us. We'll tell you anything you want to hear; we lie like hell. We'll tell you that, uh, Kojak always gets the killer, or that nobody ever gets cancer at Archie Bunker's house, and no matter how much trouble the hero is in, don't worry, just look at your watch; at the end of the hour he's going to win. We'll tell you any shit you want to hear. We deal in *illusions*, man! None of it is true! But you people sit there, day after day, night after night, all ages, colors, creeds... We're all you know. You're beginning to believe the illusions we're spinning here. You're beginning to think that the tube is reality, and that your own lives are unreal. You do whatever the tube tells you! You dress like the tube, you eat like the tube, you raise your children like the tube, you even *think* like the tube! This is mass madness, you maniacs! In God's name, you people are the real thing! *WE* are the illusion! So turn off your television sets. Turn them off now. Turn them off and leave them off!"

Box Office Report: Not Yet

For those of you who might not have heard, out of respect for the victims of the Aurora, CO shootings Thursday night, studios have decided not to post any weekend totals until tomorrow. I haven't looked into the reasoning for this and how not posting totals is helping the situation (maybe just showing that money isn't of major concern right now; our thoughts need to be with the families who lost loved ones in the shooting instead of weekend millions?). If so, I can appreciate that. So anyway, no box office news today, but I have an inside source leaking to me that "The Dark Knight Rises" took the top spot this weekend. Don't tell anyone.

We'll get some numbers up tomorrow once they're made public, but much like the studios have decided to do out of respect for the victims, we should all focus more on the tragic losses the innocent people of Colorado suffered this weekend as well.

By the way, I know we never posted about it, and I'm met with mixed feelings on doing so. But if by chance you didn't hear, at the Midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" on Thursday night/Friday morning in Aurora, Colorado, a crazed gunman opened fire on the theater, killing 12 people and wounding many others. I don't want to give this man any more of my time or the attention of myself or my readers, and that's why I never posted anything. But since it is relevant to this post, I did at least want to extend the condolences from our entire site to the families of these events. Words can't describe the atrocities that unfolded, and my greatest hope is that not only will this guy get what he deserves, but regular moviegoers won't be discouraged and fearful of events like this happening again; don't let this guy's unforgivable acts get the best of any of us.

If you want to help the families who are dealing with the aftermaths of this tragedy, you can go to the iGiveFirst website and donate to various charitable organizations in the Colorado area.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Quick Cuts: "All the Boys Love Mandy Lane" Movie Review by Andy Schopp

Release Date: 2006
Director: Jonathan Levine
Writer: Jacob Forman
Starring: Amber Heard, Anson Mount and Whitney Able
Rated: R
Run Time: 90 min

I was turned onto this little piece of cinematic pop-culture by our very own Ben Foutch. I was unsure of what to expect at first, but it became rather apparent what I was in for once the movie got through its intro. The movie is everything you would expect from a high school thriller/slasher with a few tid-bits of style and imagination.

Mandy Lane was a "loser" in her school until one summer she got HOT! All of the sudden, all the boys in the school wanted to "get with her" and her. Once that happened, her best friend, Emmet, was left in the dust. One night, Mandy and a few of her friends go up to a ranch in the middle of nowhere to party up the weekend and get laid as many times as they possibly can. As you can imagine, their little weekend trip goes horribly wrong as they begin to drop one by one into the icy clutches of the evil madman out to get them.

Movie Review: "Bronson" by Alex Schopp

Release: 2009
Director: Nicolas Winding Refn
Written By: Brock Norman Brock, Nicolas Winding Refn
Actors: Tom Hardy, Kelly Adams, Luing Andrews
Rated: R
Run Time: 92 min

In lieu of Tom Hardy's successes in this weekend's "The Dark Knight Rises", I decided to finally sit down and watch Nicolas Winding Refn's 2009 British hit, "Bronson".

The film stars Tom Hardy as real life Charlie Bronson (Michael Peterson, if you want his given name), who, much to his desires, became something of a celebrity in Britain in the 1970's and decades to follow. Peterson was raises in a normal and happy household, never considered by any to be a violent child. As the film points out, he got in his share of childish trouble, but nothing unlike anyone else his age. As he grew up, and felt the routines of society, he wanted something more; Peterson had an unbreakable yearning for fame, however it might find him. As a 19-year old, he decided to try and make a name for himself by robbing a local post office. He left the building with less than $30 in his hands, and was sentenced to seven years in prison. Once there, his selected fighting name and celebrity personality, Charlie Bronson, broke through and helped him reach the heights he strove for. It might not have been what he planned, but once in prison, Charlie realized he had an affinity for fighting; he could take a hit and dole plenty more out. And using these skills on prison guards gained Bronson the celebrity status he'd been craving, even if it was just amongst the prison circuits. As he continued to fight, his sentence quickly turned into 34 years, with more than 30 of them in solitary confinement. All for a failed robbery attempt at a post office.

Top 5 Movie Guide: Third Film of a Franchise

Ever since the invention of film and the realization from production companies and filmmakers alike that money could be made off of this medium, franchises have been a staple in Hollywood and around the world. Believe it or not, though, most not very well-known today, from the 1930's and into the 1960's, there were actually 27 different noted film franchises with more than 10 entries apiece. Even with as many sequels and reboots are going on today, you could make a pretty good case for that era being the heyday of movie franchises. The medium was still a fairly new concept, and audiences loved the comforts and connections of seeing previous characters on the screen again.

Many of us think of the modern movie franchise and something more in the line of the Star Wars films, which took the idea of a movie franchise to a whole new level. This was the first film that truly tried to define what it means to be a "franchise", which was to using the characters and properties from one medium and crossing them over to other areas - TV, games, merchandising, endorsements, etc. It was a massive success and pushed the medium into a new era. Today's standard for a film franchise is the trilogy. From some reason or another, as film fans, we've identified with trilogies, and accept them as the norm. This doesn't mean there aren't exceptions; The Harry Potter and Twilight franchises are some of the most successful of all time, and both offer more than three films. Or, if you want to head over to China, you can still catch new installments in the Wong Fei-hung franchise, which currently sits at 89 films and counting.

But nonetheless, with this weekend's release of "The Dark Knight Rises", Christopher Nolan's third and final chapter to his Batman franchise, we decided to take a look at some of the best third films that movie franchises have had to offer. It did not matter how many total films were included in the franchise, only, and obviously, that it had to have at least three. Each writer breaks down some of their reasonings for their selections, but overall, there's a great and unique variety listed for your enjoyment.

So hit the jump for all the titles - and by the way, whether any of us would have included it or not, this latest Batman film was omitted from contention. Enjoy!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Movie Review: "The Dark Knight Rises" by Ben Foutch

Director: Christopher NolanWriters: Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan, and David S. Goyer
Stars: Christian Bale, Michael Cain, Gary Oldman, Anne Hathaway, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Tom Hardy, and Mathew Modine

Rated: PG-13
Run Time: 164 min

I've been a fan of this incarnation of the Caped Crusader since Batman Begins, when Christopher Nolan resurrected him from the neon tinted, nipple-studded pile of "did this movie just happen?" shame that was Batman and Robin. This version of Batman has shown the world that a movie focusing on a man who wears a costume can be serious, intelligent and entertaining. Does The Dark Knight Rises meet the same level of quality that the previous installments set?

Photo Bomb!

Thanks for checking out the latest edition of Photo Bomb!, your weekly roundup of all movie-related photos and posters floating around the internet. 

Things have cooled off a touch this week now that Comic-Con has passed, but there's still plenty of great stuff to go over! Unlike last week, where we were light on the photos and heavy on the posters, this week we flip that around, and have a few more photos than posters to share. Photos this week are included for films "DREDD", "The Dark Knight Rises", "Oz: The Great and Powerful", "Looper", "Iron Man 3", "Skyfall", "End of Watch", and "Silent Hill: Revelation". As for the movie posters, we're looking at "Man of Steel", "Godzilla", "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2", "The Master", "The Campaign", "Lawless", and "Gangster Squad".

Check them all out after the break!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Throw-Back Movie Review: "Some Kind of Wonderful" by Ben Foutch

Release: 1987
Director: Howard Deutch
Writer: John Hughes
Stars: Eric Stoltz, Mary Stuart Masterson, Lea Thompson, Craig Sheffer and Elias Koteas

Rated: PG-13
Run Time: 95 min

Some Kind of Wonderful is one of the more overlooked films in the John Hughes section, which doesn't surprise me considering it shares a near identical story  to Pretty in Pink, albeit the gender role reversal and lack of Molly Ringwald's fashion coordinator. However, it's one of my favorite films from the legendary filmmaker, easily fitting into a top five position. While not as iconic, it is still infused with the heart and sense of realism that is expected from a Hughes film.

In Theaters This Weekend: July 20, 2012

Well this should be a pretty easy (and boring) post to compose this week. It's not entirely uncommon to have a week with maybe only one wide release and a sprinkling of independents and limited-releases, but this week, "The Dark Knight Rises" opens wide, and literally NOTHING else. I don't blame films for not wanting to get in the way of this box office juggernaut, but it's still surprising that I don't have even one other minor film to talk about. At this point, you'd think it might have almost worked in their favor had one little independent film decided to release on the same day - we'd hear plenty of David and Goliath comments, and even just pundits constantly pointing out the fact that this little film was going up against Batman. I feel like it could have created a cult buzz for the film. But alas, no such storylines.

So this week, I'll talk about "The Dark Knight Rises" a bit, and even try to take a stab at some box office predictions. We won't spend a lot of time on any of it this week, but just in case weren't familiar with this film yet, after the break, I'll make sure you know what to expect.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Contrary to Popular Opinion: My Love of “Batman & Robin”

I’ve wanted to do this post for a long time. The idea was that we would do a series of movie reviews where each of us at the site would pick a movie that had a very strong general consensus. Whether that consensus be good or bad didn’t matter, what mattered was that our opinion of the film had to differ from the popular opinion.

Now for me, “Batman & Robin” was always the film I had in mind; it was the film that inspired the whole post. I don’t know how many of these Contrary To Popular Opinion posts will end up happening, but with the midnight release of “The Dark Knight Rises” just a day away, I figured now would be as good of time as any to explain why I have always loved a movie so widely hated by virtually everyone else.

So hit the jump to hear my tale.

Movie Review: "Friends With Kids" by Alex Schopp

Release: 2012
Director: Jennifer Westfeldt
Writer: Jennifer Westfeldt
Actors: Adam Scott, Jennifer Westfeldt, Kristen Wiig, Jon Hamm, Maya Rudolph, Chris O'Dowd, Megan Fox, Edward Burns
Rated: R
Run Time: 107 min

"Friends With Kids" was just released on Blu-Ray, and I had known for a while that once this one came out I'd be picking it up for a rental. The themes displayed in the trailers looked like something I would really be into, but it was never a film that I cared to go sit in a theater for. The film received strong buzz from critics upon release, and the cast seemed really impressive; mostly people that I enjoy watching.

This romantic comedy-drama deals with relationships, good and bad, and different scenarios that unfold between couples when children are brought into into the picture. Sometimes they're unexpected, sometimes it was part of the grand plan, or sometimes you think you're beating the whole system with your modern philosophies on relationships and parenting. Everyone has their own idea of how to do it right (and why everyone else is doing it wrong), but what we really find out with this flick is, no matter what your situation, no one knows what the hell they're doing.

Top 5 Movie Guide: Christian Bale

For this edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide, we take a look at the star of the latest Batman film, "The Dark Knight Rises", Christian Bale. Unlike many of the actors we focus on in these posts, Bale has actually spent most of his life as an actor. Incredibly fascinated by the medium even at a young age, Bale always knew acting was what he wanted to focus his life on. At various stages in his life he was accepted to prestigious acting schools, only to ultimately turn them down to focus on his work. To this day he regrets never being formally trained.

Bale started his career in British commercials and made-for-TV movies, but got his Hollywood break when he beat out over 4,000 child actors for his role in Steven Spielberg's film, "Empire of the Sun". Since then, Bale has impressed critics and fans alike at almost every stop. Most fans today will look at the Batman films as the highlight of the actors career, and interestingly, not only is Bale the first-non American to play the role, but he's also the youngest ever as well. He had to drop his thick British accent for the film, but since Bale is known in the industry for having an uncanny knack for picking up and adapting different accents, it wasn't too much trouble. In fact, knowing how passionate Batman fans are about the character, every time he does an interview about the films, he stays in his American accent as to not off-put fans who know the character is American.

We'll finish with one interesting little tidbit, then it's on to the lists! Christian Bale and Leonardo DiCaprio have been linked in a couple of different films, splitting the victories. In 1996, it was down to both Bale and DiCaprio for the role of Jack Dawson in James Cameron's film, "Titanic". The studio ultimately ended up going with DiCaprio, as he was actually an American (and the part called for that of an American). But Bale got him back a few years later when DiCaprio was originally chosen to play Patrick Bateman in "American Psycho". But Bale auditioned for the role and met with the producers, and ultimately they replaced DiCaprio for Bale. You can argue that DiCaprio came out ahead as "Titanic" proved to be a worldwide phenomenon, but both films helped to shape both actors' careers and get them to where they are today. Maybe Bale never ends up as Bruce Wayne/Batman if the story would have flipped.

Anyway, hit the jump for this week's lists!

Throw-Back Movie Review: "The Color of Money" by Ben Foutch

Release: 1986
Director: Martin Scorsese
Writers:  Richard Price (screenplay),  Walter Tevis (novel),
Stars: Paul Newman, Tom Cruise, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, and John Tuturo
Rated: R
Run Time: 119 min

The Color of Money is a sequel to the vastly superior The Hustler, where Paul Newman plays the mentor this time around and Tom Cruise the young and naive pool virtuoso.  Paul Newman won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role reprisal of "Fast" Eddie Nelson, which feels a little belated considering his performance in the previous installment.  Martin Scorsese's unnecessary, but welcome sequel is entertaining and satisfying yet doesn't carry the emotional weight needed to put this story to a close.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Movie Review: "People Like Us" by Ben Foutch

Director: Alex Kurtzman 
Writers: Alex Kurtzman,Roberto Orci
Stars: Chris Pine, Elizabeth Banks, Michelle Pfieffer, Olivia Wilde, and Mark Duplass
Rated: PG-13
Run Time: 114 min

If you haven't heard of People Like Us, it really comes as no surprise at this point considering the disappointing box office numbers. But there is a lot to like about this overlooked, uplifting tale of troubled, fractured family units coming together. It sort of loses direction during the middle portion, but ends up standing tall due to shining performances from every cast member and a deeply touching climax.

Slackers Selection CinemaCast: Episode 24

Thanks for checking out this week's edition of the Slackers Selection CinemaCast!

This week there was only one wide release, "Ice Age: Continental Drift", but Andy was able to make it to the theater for this, so we spend a little time talking about what it had to offer. We also touch on other theater films, including "Savages" and "Moonrise Kingdom".

Next weekend, it's more of the same in terms of overall titles, but I think we can all expect that the content will be a little more powerful than what this weekend had to offer. The conclusion of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy, titled "The Dark Knight Rises", hits theaters on Friday, and though much doesn't need said for the film at this point, you can believe that we're all looking forward to it and will be providing extensive coverage the following week with our thoughts on the film.

Also, we touch on a few films we've seen outside of theaters this week, including "Coriolanus", "Get the Gringo", and "Safe House".

Plus, just to cap the whole thing off, we discuss of the few happenings from this past weekend's Comic-Con, including news from Marvel Studios, Peter Jackson and The Hobbit franchise, Guillermo del Toro on "Pacific Rim", and Superman's newest adaptation, "Man of Steel".

Tons of great content this week, so give it a listen below!

Blu-Ray/DVD Releases: July 17, 2012

Welcome back! We have penty of titles to choose from this week. Look forward to an action throw-back, horror-thriller, salmon themed drama, comedy about raising children, Will Farrell comedy, stooge comedy and some classics finally getting the Blu-ray treatment. There is most likely something for everybody in this installment, so don't pass it up.

Hit the jump for this week's releases!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Awesome Unofficial 'The Punisher' Short Film by Thomas Jane, Titled "Dirty Laundry"

After a few not-so-popular attempts by different studios to released films on The Punisher, Marvel quietly went about re-acquiring the rights to the character. Thomas Jane, who played the anti-hero in the 2004 version of the film, has since been pretty open about his interests in the character.

There's been no word from Marvel (or even rumblings, for that matter) about taking another shot with the franchise, but after the short film that Thomas Jane showed up with by surprise at Comic-Con last weekend, and the incredible reception it received there (as well as the strong buzz already as it's hit the internet), you have to think that Marvel might not only be thinking about rebooting the franchise, but possibly even asking Jane back to star again.

Hit the jump for Jane's short film, "Dirty Laundry", which features plenty of extremely graphic violence, and even a nice little cameo from Ron Perlman.

Movie Review: "Ice Age: Continental Drift" By Andy Schopp

Release: 2012
Director(s): Steve Martino & Mike Thurmeier
Writers: Michael Berg, Jason Fuchs
Starring: Ray Romano, Denis Leary, John Leguizamo, Queen Latifa, Peter Dinklage and Jennifer Lopez
Rated: PG
Run Time: 94 min

This is my follow up review to the In Anticipation post we did a little while back. While it may not praise the movie as much as the In Anticipation post did, just know that I think that the film still serves its purpose perfectly. Kids will have lots of fun with this icy adventure and parents will at least be able to sit through it with only minor inconveniences. I can't stress enough though that this is a CHILDREN'S MOVIE. I know a lot of adults and families have enjoyed going to "children's movies" over the course of film history, but there comes a point where people over the age of say...9 just cant quite connect with the absurd comedy happening on the screen.

If you want to see exactly what I have to say about it, then come with me on this drifting iceberg floating through that sea of children's movies.

Casting Calls

Thanks for checking out Casting Calls, a weekly roundup of all the notable roles that actors and actresses have scored for upcoming films. As always, we will try to avoid rumors, and stick to roles that have been locked down or are in the negotiation stage.

In this weeks edition, Anthony Hopkins goes biblical, Phillip Seymour Hoffman catches fire, Michael Fassbender wants to kill some people, Channing Tatum dares to tackle a legend, “The Wolverine” adds a slew of new cast members, and much more.

So hit the jump to see all the details on who got what gig!

Blu-Ray Review: "The Hustler" by Ben Foutch

Release: 1961
Director: Robert Rossen
Writers: Sidney Carroll , Robert Rossen, Walter Tevis (Novel)
Stars: Paul Newman, Jackie Gleason , Piper Laurie, and George C. Scott
Rated: Unrated
Run Time: 134 min

The Hustler, widely considered as a modern classic, is an expertly crafted production that should be in every film lover's collection. This 50th Anniversary Edition is loaded with informative special features and is without a doubt, the best looking transfer ever released for home video. Inside you can look forward to a review of the film as well as my thoughts on the video, audio, and special features of this Blu-ray edition.

Hit the jump for our Blu-ray review of The Hustler!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Trailer Park: An Oversimplification Of Her Beauty, Comes A Bright Day, Compliance, Goats, Hello I Must Be Going, Jack Reacher, The Loneliest Planet, Oz:The Great And Powerful, Why Stop Now, William Shatner's Get A Life

Welcome to The Trailer Park! - A weekly column rounding up new and newish trailers lurking around the internet.

As always, put on your John Nada sunglasses before the jump or...submit to the advertising.

Box Office Report: Pretty Much What We Expected

This was probably one of the least exciting weekends to try and predict, as everything pretty much fell exactly where I expected. With only one wide-release this weekend, and the hold-over of "The Amazing Spider-Man" last weekend, it was easy to see where most of the big players this weekend were going to fall. I was off on a few amounts - "Ice Age: Continental Drift" under-performed, while "Ted" slightly over-performed - but the rankings remained the same.

Overall it was the lowest-grossing weekend we've seen in over a month, and that was surely due to the lack of new material. As we pointed out on Thursday, a few other films were opening this weekend, but with all of them premiering on so few screens, none of them even came close to contending.

But nonetheless, after the break, I'll go over all of the numbers from the weekend, and point out any impressive stats or accomplishments from the top films.

Throw-Back Movie Review: "Earth Girls Are Easy" by Andy Schopp

Release: 1988
Director: Julian Temple
Writers: Julie Brown, Charlie Coffey, Terrence E. McNally
Actors: Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis, Damon Wayans, Jim Carrey
Rating: PG
Run Time: 100 min

Equal parts Romantic Comedy, Musical and Science-Fiction, this 1988 "Instant Classic" will forever bore its way into your mind by simply being one of those movies that has one of the BEST casts of all-time but has a RIDICULOUS story! With heavy hitters such as Jeff Goldblum (Mac), Geena Davis (Valerie), Damon Wayans (Zeebo), and Jim Carry (Wiploc), it seems like it's a definitive addition to any household movie collection. Turns out though that not too many people have really seen this film. It really gets kind of a bad wrap, thus giving it kind of a swept under the rug type of revelation. But I'm coming to you now with this review to try to give people the chance to catch this gem in action. Read on for a breakdown of the film and some quick thoughts.

Movie Review: "Moonrise Kingdom" by Alex Schopp

Release: 2012
Director: Wes Anderson
Writers: Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola
Actors: Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Harvey Keitel, Jason Schwartzman, Bob Balaban
Rated: PG-13
Run Time: 94 min

It took a while to get here, but Wes Anderson's latest feature, "Moonrise Kingdom", finally made its way to the art theater in my neck of the woods. Wes Anderson movies are always difficult for me to try and evaluate, because they're so unique. I always find his films entertaining, but I'm almost never thinking, man, I really want to pop in a Wes Anderson movie right now. The humor is so dry (which, as I'm watching, is right up my alley) and the direction style so...stylized, that it's hard to really get excited for his films. They're more like art pieces that you just want to take in and appreciate.

All of that being said, I feel like this latest film definitely stood up to the Wes Anderson standards that I've grown accustomed to. My interpretation of this film as well as my rating guide will be slightly different than most other reviews, because there's literally nothing other than other Wes Anderson movies to try and compare this to. I enjoyed it greatly though, and I'm going to go about this review assuming you're familiar with Anderson's previous films and directing styles. I have very little actual negative to say about the film, more of just comparing and contrasting the successes and failures with some of his other works.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Movie Review: "Safe House" by Alex Schopp

Release: 2012
Director: Daniel Espinosa
Writer: David Guggenheim
Actors: Denzel Washington, Ryan Reynolds, Vera Farmiga, Brendan Gleeson, Sam Shepard
Rated: R
Run Time: 115 min

I know this is coming in a few after the Blu-Ray has already been out, but honestly, I hadn't really had much enthusiasm to check this one out in the first place. But I knew I had some time this weekend, so I thought I'd sneak it in so we could at least get a review up for the film.

Off the bat, it was almost exactly what I predicted it would be. At one point I was thinking, wow, Ryan Reynolds picked a good film here; with as much crap as he's been in lately, this is good for his overall image. But then the rest of the film happened. And while I'm not saying it does much against him or anyone else in the film, it gets pretty monotonous and you start to just hope for the end to come rather than spending any extra time thinking about what this film might accomplish.

[Exclusive] Interview with Filmmaker Keith Collins on His New Horror Film, "The Meat Puppet"

Yesterday I had the wonderful opportunity to speak with up-and-coming filmmaker Keith Collins about his latest project, "The Meat Puppet". The film revolves around a man, Andrew, who seemingly has everything: looks, money, women, etc. But he also has one minor flaw: an insatiable craving for human flesh. Andrew has perfected his operation for getting his regular fix, but when a hard-nosed detective starts digging into things and threatening Andrew's lifestyle, he struggles to conceal his true motives.

Collins, working as neo-renaissance man on the project, is not only producing the picture, but also developed the story himself and will star as the title character. Collins came up with the premise for the film many years back, but it wasn't until it reached the hands of brothers Joseph and Billy Pepitone that it really took off and became a screenplay. Collins trusted the pair with his vision and together they were able to bring characters to life. As the final piece, once they brought in Joe Valenti ("Lying Beside You") to direct, the production was finally able to move forward. Filming recently started for the picture, and if all stays on schedule, it will get its worldwide premier sometime in October of this year.

After the jump, check out some of the notable tidbits from our Q&A session, in which Collins discusses some of his earlier movie-making experiences, his visions for this project, and what specifically us as horror fans can look forward to - and trust me, it sounds like he has some great plans for this one; it'll definitely be worth keeping an eye on!

For those of you that might not be incredibly familiar with Keith Collins, he's been in the film industry for over a decade now, working in all different areas. He's appeared on such television shows as "Guiding Light" and "Sex and the City", and has had starring roles in films like "Stuck in the Middle", "Games People Play: New York", and "Bidentity Crisis", the latter of which earned him the 2011 Best Actor Award at the Downbeach Film Festival. IMDb notes that Collins is on the path to becoming one of the next rising stars, as he continues to pick up more and more acting credits in a variety of medias, generally garnering critical praise with each.

Because of everything above, I was thankful to get a few moments to talk with the filmmaker about not only this upcoming project, but some of his past experiences in the industry too. Here is some of what we discussed:

What are your inspirations? What made you realize that a career in film was something that you really wanted to explore?
I am inspired by so many people in so many ways. I have always been a performer ever since I could remember putting on those talent shows in my family’s living room. It’s just something that has always been a part of me. I’m thrilled to be able to be doing it today and having people see my work; I’m completely blessed I am able to do it.  
Which project(s) that you've worked on in the past, good or bad, stand(s) out to you the most? Any really memorable experiences?
I have had the best experiences ever on many films, and I’m sure like others I've also had my share of not so great ones. A few films that stand out are my 2004 theatrically-released film, “Games People Play: New York” by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker James Ronald Whitney. Not only was it a wild film to work on, but I made friendships that turned to family on that project. It also allowed me speak easier about Tourette Syndrome, which I am an advocate for. In the movie [my character] speaks about Tourette Syndrome intensely and about growing up with the disorder. “Stuck in the Middle” was also one of the best experiences I've had and the finished product was amazing. It’s a hilarious comedy film. With the bad I’d say nothing is totally bad if you are expressing your art and trying as a filmmaker. You have to try to succeed; I’m a go full-force type of guy and not a quitter, so I’d have to say a bad project is one that doesn't get done. If you set out to make a movie, make sure you finish it. There are way too many people who give so much time and effort to work hard on a project and give it their all for it not to get completed. 
You latest film, "The Meat Puppet", is a horror production. Looking over the many other films you've produced, you've worked in a good variety of different genres. Which is/are your favorite? 
I like Drama, but I would have to say my favorite is Comedy. I really love comedy films. I actually never thought I would be doing horror movies, they scared me to no end when I was little. But now I can’t get enough of them. I love the suspense, the thrill of them. It is a great genre to work on as an actor and filmmaker. 
This is the first full-length feature that you've personally written that we'll be seeing come to the screen. How has it been working on a film that you wrote? Any more frustrations or appreciations than when working with someone else's script? 
I only wrote the story to this film. I came up with the idea a very long time ago and just needed to get it into the right person's hands that had the passion I did and liked the story as much as me. NY Emmy Award-winning writer Joseph Pepitone and his brother, Billy Pepitone, wrote [the screenplay for] “The Meat Puppet”. They are brilliant writers and brought everything to the story that it needed and then some. The script is so clever and unique, I can’t wait for it to be shared with audiences. As far as this script or someone else’s, I appreciate all stories. As an actor, to me if the story is good, whether it's mine or somebody else's, if I like it and have that fire about it I give it the same as I would give my own. 
As I just mentioned, "The Meat Puppet" story was written by you, but you'll also be producing and starring in the film too. How do you find the balance between all of it? Which aspect is your favorite? 
Oh, that’s a good one. The character of Andrew Shelton Is one I created and I couldn't see anyone else playing it; I have been dying to get him out to the public for people to see. And I absolutely love producing and putting things together. It really makes me feel fulfilled and accomplished. It also makes me tired - it’s a lot of work but I live for it all; keeps me going and creative. But in the long run I’d have to say acting [is my favorite]. I am an actor and it’s what I live for. 
As for "The Meat Puppet", what can we expect out of this film? What aspects does this film bring to the table that horror enthusiasts will appreciate?

This film is so clever and different and unlike one you have ever seen before. There are so many twists and turns, enough to give you heart palpitations while watching it. The quality of the film is superior; acting was strategically cast for every role. The producing and production team assembled is impeccable, which is always key. Blaze Kelly Coyle might possibly be the best person to have on any given project and Director Joe Valenti is amazing at what he does. I don’t think any single person out there can accomplish and execute as well as Valenti. The suspense and scare factors for this film will definitely give moviegoers the fright of their lives. Let’s put it this way, and this is true: the first time I read the final script, [that night] I slept with the light on. So I’m looking forward to seeing how people react to the film. 
Following that up, and what all of us horror fans want to know, what is the gore content like in this film? How does it stack up in that category? 
There will be plenty of gore, blood, body parts, torture and killings. However, it’s all strategically assembled in the film. Psychologically damaging and permanent shock is really what we are going for here. I don’t want this to be a basic slasher film like so many others. I really wanted it to “hit” you when you’re not looking and not be prepared for it. Even if you think it’s coming, think again because “The Meat Puppet” may get you or get in your mind when you least expect it.

Finally, what sort of release information can you share with us for the film? 
If all falls into place, the movie should be released in October/November of 2012. We are actually slated to have our world premiere at the 2012 Downbeach Film Festival Atlantic City Cinefest in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Tons of great stuff there, and it really does give me so much interest for the film. This sounds like exactly the type of horror film I'm into, and I think that Keith really has a good grasp on the premise he's working with. More than anything though, I just love talking to filmmakers. This is one of the biggest reasons why I wanted to start writing about movies - talking to other people who have similar passions as me is truly satisfying. And though I don't think Collins or his team need any help from me - as they're clearly already well on their way to something special - any chance I have to help promote an independent filmmaker (and horror to boot!), I'm happy and excited to do so. I think Keith and the whole team working on this project have a potential gem in their hands, and I'm eagerly awaiting its completion so I can see how it turns out.

We'll see if time allows for a trip to the Downbeach Film Festival for its premier, but if not, we'll try to get our hands on a copy of the screener as soon as possible so we can provide you a review of the film and let you know when and how you'll be able to access it.

To cap this post off I've attached the official Press Release for the film below, which includes the full synopsis. Also, be sure to check out the film's official website, Facebook Page, and Twitter Profile for all the latest info!

(1. meat puppet; (noun) person(s) that have no will of their own; somebody that lets others control them. Another name for a human being, especially one who doesn't think for him/herself, has no soul and is therefore controlled by others). 
Currently filming in New Jersey is this year’s new bone chilling horror/thriller “The Meat Puppet”. From the mind of Award Winning Actor Keith Collins, along with Silver Phoenix Entertainment, Valenti Vision Films and the pen of NY Emmy Award Winning writer Joseph Pepitone and Billy Pepitone (“Stuck in the Middle”) comes a sadistic thrill fest, full of twists and turns, that is sure to give movie goers the fright of their lives.

A vain, successful playboy tortures and kills beautiful girls and uses them to make the perfect meal for his lavish dinner parties. Body parts, blood, torture, cannibalism and NO escape are a few ways to describe this clever new terrifying and psychologically damaging creep show. 
“The Meat Puppet” tells the story of Andrew “Drew” Shelton who has it all – looks, money, women and an insatiable taste for human flesh. His vanity is only surpassed by his obsession with finding the perfect tasting meal and it has fueled his appetite for killing, preparing and cooking beautiful women. He throws lavish dinner parties and serves his guests his latest victim and one unlucky guest becomes the main course of his next get together. When a no-nonsense detective starts putting the pieces together, it leads to a game of cat and mouse that only increases the stakes. But is Drew the soul-less, cold-blooded killer that he appears to be? Or is he just the Meat Puppet for a more sadistic mind?

Overall, what do you guys think about this project? Are you as interested by it as I am?

Top 5 Movie Guide: Cold Weather Influenced Movies

There isn't a very wide variety of films releasing this weekend, so we had to try and be creative for our genre this weekend. "Ice Age: Continental Drift" is the big movie opening up across theaters, but we've already done a couple of different animated films lists, so we didn't want to go down that path again just quite yet. Instead, we decided to focus on the setting of this move. The film is titled Ice Age, and though not every scene of every film takes place amongst snow and glaciers, it generally is a big aspect to the films. So we decided, animation aside, to compile some of our other favorites that really make a point to include the weather in their stories; thus, our Top 5 Cold Weather Influenced Movies

There were a few different directions we could take with these lists, and each writer will probably outline some of their specific criteria below, but overall, the key was to really try to pick films that not only just took place in the cold (though, technically we decided to accept those if desired), but more so used the cold weather as a character of the film (i.e. the film probably doesn't happen if that weather isn't so bad). So because of that, I think most of us focused much more on the survival aspect of weather, but there are still a few films below that are just powerful works where the snow and freezing cold temperatures are notable in the film, even if not threatening.

But anyway, not much else to detail for this list; I recommend just hitting the jump and checking out each of the films for yourself!