Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Trailer Park: Gambit, Identity Thief, Price Check, Stoker, Vamps

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: "Hotel Transylvania" Sets September Record

Well I guess all that was needed to jump-start the stagnant box office totals was a good ol' Adam Sandler animated comedy. I personally wouldn't have thought this would be the film to do it, as I've sen numerous titles over the past month that were seemingly more effectual, but even with a less-than-shining track record over the past decade, you can't deny the draw that Sandler still has on the box office. With it's record-setting September opening weekend, the animated vampire comedy blew away all projections and estimates, reigniting the spark missing in theaters over the past few months.

The number two film this weekend, "Looper", stayed pretty close to estimates and still managed a decent take for the type of film it is. Going into the weekend it seemed there was a chance it could contend for the top spot, but with Transylvania's monstrous performance, there was no matching it.

Movie Review: "The Master" by Derek Clem

Release: 2012
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Written By: Paul Thomas Anderson
Actors: Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Adams
Rated: R
Run Time: 137 min

Paul Thomas Anderson continues to prove himself as a master of visual craftsmanship in his story about the relationship between two men; one a honed mentor, the other a wayward animal.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Top 5 Movie Guide: Educational Dramas

For this edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide, we turn to this weekend's "Won't Back Down" for inspiration and compose our lists on some of the other notable educational dramas. "Won't Back Down" tells the story of two mothers who will stop it nothing and go to any lengths fighting for reform in the inner city school in which their children attend. Starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis, the film, similarly to many of the titles featured below, is sure to be courageous and elicit a few tears.

For the sake of the list, and to keep this post as in-line with this newest film as possible, we decided to refine our selections only to movies which are pre-college. Kindergarten through high school though, all of those were fair game. It's not too surprising that this isn't the deepest category we've ever dug into, but even with seemingly less overall quality titles available, it's still a powerful one and one worthy of its own post.

As you'll see in most of the writers' personal descriptions, most took the list in their own specific ways, focusing on certain aspects of the educational process that seemed most important and/or relevant to them. But regardless of how they chose to define the selections, all of the titles featured after the break are quality dramatic works, featuring inspiring educators doing what they do best.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Movie Review: "Looper" by Alex Schopp

Release: 2012
Director: Rian Johnson
Written By: Rian Johnson
Actors: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Jeff Daniels, Paul Dano, Piper Perabo
Rated: R
Run Time: 118 min

“Looper” is the kind of sci-fi film that makes you leave the theater so full of joy that there are passionate filmmakers out there who are invested in and really care about the genre. The writer and director of the film, Rian Johnson, is a known commodity in this nook of the film world, and coming off such successes as the cerebral “Brick” and sneaky “The Brothers Bloom”, it seemed that with the right pieces, Johnson was primed to catapult to an entirely new level. And with “Looper”, only his third film and first getting a national release, it feels like he might have taken that big next step. With his intelligent writing and noir-style directing, Johnson joins a class of modern, sophisticated sci-fi writers and directors that includes the likes of Christopher Nolan and J.J. Abrams. The craftsmanship displayed in “Looper" is solid on all levels, and it now seems only a matter of time before Johnson gets his own “The Dark Knight” or “Star Trek” to play with.

“The Dark Knight Rises” Limited Edition Blu-Ray Combo Pack

EW has confirmed that Warner Bros. will be releasing this limited ‘Broken Cowl’ edition of the last entry to Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. This version, along with the regular editions of the film, will be available on December 4th.

You can hit the jump to see some of the special features available as well as take a look at the U.K. trilogy pack.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

In Theaters This Weekend: September 28, 2012

As we head into the last weekend of September, it's not quite the array of films we were greeted with last week, but there still looks to be a bit of variety amongst the newest titles. The big name this week appears to be "Looper", as Rian Johnson's latest sci-fi thriller aims to grab the top spot with relative ease at the box office. It's biggest competition, however, might be the Adam Sandler and Andy Samberg animated family comedy, "Hotel Transylvania". And rounding out the wide releases this week is "Won't Back Down", a gritty, educational drama starring Maggie Gyllenhaal and Viola Davis.

Check out my rundown on all three after the break, including some box office predictions.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Quick Cuts: "Tower Heist" Movie Review by Alex Schopp

Release: 2011
Director: Brett Ratner
Written By: Ted Griffin, Jeff Nathanson
Actors: Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Matthew Broderick, Casey Affleck, Michael Peña, Téa Leoni, Alan Alda
Rated: PG-13
Run Time: 104 min

I know this review isn't incredibly relevant anymore, but I figure there are still plenty of people out there like myself who passed on this title time and time again, before ultimately getting so bored with other selections at whatever your venue for video rentals that they just decided to go after this one on a flyer.

There isn't much originality to this comedy heist picture, but the cast is an impressive grouping, a lineup that teases us with possible greatness. But do the names on paper translate to what we want out of them on film? Can this ensemble save a seemingly stale script and breathe fresh life into it?

Top 5 Movie Guide: Bruce Willis

For this edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide, we go after one of the biggest action stars of our generation, and comprise our lists of the films Bruce Willis has had to offer over the years. He will next star alongside Joseph Gordon-Levitt in this weekend's sci-fi/time travel thriller, "Looper". After high school, Willis moved out to New York City to attend the Stella Adler Conservatory for Performing Arts, a school with such featured alumni as Marlon Brando, Robert De Niro, Warren Beatty, and Martin Sheen. From there he spent the next few years working at a bar alongside fellow future thespian, Linda Fiorentino. During this time he snagged mostly minor, uncredited film and television roles, but in 1985, he landed the lead role as a wisecracking PI in the TV show "Moonlighting".

His character so much resembled what director John McTiernan had in mind for his lead character in "Die Hard", that he very quickly cast the young Willis to headline. He was a hit in the film, and his ability to so smoothly blend hard-edged action with witty comedy made him a hot commodity in Hollywood. Since his breakout in the popular action film, Willis has appeared in over 60 films, solidifying his place as one of the best action stars of all-time. His films have earned an estimated $2.5BB at the box office just in domestic grosses alone, making him one of the top 10 all-time highest grossing movie stars.

We feature a full six lists this week, as we really try to capitalize on the many titles that Willis has racked up over the years.

Hit the jump for all of our selections!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Slackers Selection CinemaCast: Episode 32

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

This week, only three of us were able to hop on the podcast, but we still managed to get plenty of solid discussion in on a variety of different movies. Four wide releases hit theaters this weekend, including "Dredd", "House at the End of the Street", "End of Watch", and "Trouble With the Curve". Between the three of us, we saw two of these films - and liked them both!

Next week's lineup will offer three wide releases, but probably only one we'll all be checking out. The sci-fi time travel movie "Looper" finally gets its release, and is one we're all very interested in. "Hotel Transylvania" and "Won't Back Down" also release, though neither of those seem like theater visits.

All three of us saw at least one other film this week, and we discuss them all. "The Master", "The Cabin in the Woods", "The Revenant", and "Salvation Boulevard" are among the titles discussed.

As we've now switched to a digital format, the quality seems again moving in the right direction, though we're aware that a few volume tweaks still need made. But the quality we're able to provide is seemingly better every coming week, and we're glad we can continue to make the listening experience that much better.

Only three, but still a solid hour worth of discussion this week. Give it a listen below!

Blu-Ray/DVD Releases: September 25, 2012

Welcome Back!  Be sure to have some spending money because the new releases are upon us yet again, with this week containing a superhero mega-blockbuster and a few indie releases. May Odin smile upon your movie purchasing efforts.

Hit the jump for this week's Blu-ray and DVD releases!

Gina Carano Becomes First Member Of Female Expendables

Variety has reported that “Haywire” star and mixed martial artist Gina Carano has become the first name attached to a planned female version of The Expendables. The film is being put together by Adi Shankar and his 1984 Private Defense Contractors studio.

No other names have been attached to star, and we have yet to learn anything about what the plot will entail, outside of the obvious, but we are expected to start hearing more names soon.

Shankar did have this to say about Carono’s involvement with the film:
"I don't know how I'm supposed to make a movie that is supposed to be the female version of 'The Expendables' without Gina Carano in it. It would be like making Twix without caramel or Jamba Juice without jamba."
Even though I didn't enjoy "Haywire" nearly as much as critics did, I still though Carano did a good job for her first film. Obviously her being in this film makes a ton of sense and it we all know the girl really can kick some serious ass.

Andy Serkis Gets Into Character As Gollum

It’s safe to say I’m a bit of a fan of Tolkien’s Middle Earth universe. By a bit of a fan, I mean that I think The Lord of the Rings are the greatest films ever, and I’ve read all the books multiple times. So whenever we get news involving it, you’d better believe I’m all over it. SuperHeroHype posted an awesome video showing Andy Serkis (Gollum) reading an excerpt from “The Hobbit” as Gollum.

There are still quite a few people who don’t realize that there was an actual actor responsible for playing Gollum in Lord of the Rings, and not just someone doing voice work. That actor is Andy Serkis, and the performance he gave for those films was nothing short of brilliant. In fact, there was a lot of talk about him receiving a special recognition Academy Award for his performance. Serkis is easily the greatest motion capture actor of all time, so it’s great to see him getting back to playing his most famous motion capture role.

Along with the reading, Serkis also would briefly talk about getting back into character for the upcoming Hobbit film. Check out the video after the break.

Tom Hardy Will Climb “Everest”

Tom Hardy was the second actor from "The Dark Knight Rises” to make news yesterday. Hardy will headline Doug Liman’s film, “Everest”. The film which is being distributed by Sony Pictures, is based off of Jeffrey Archer's nonfiction book, Paths of Glory.

The film will tell the story of George Mallory (Hardy) and his three attempts to be the first person to climb Mt. Everest. This is the second planned film that involves someone trying to be the first to attempt something of this nature; last week we learned about Casey Affleck role in the film "Race to the South Pole".

I’m a fan of these types of movies, and also the fact that it’s based on true events makes it even more interesting. It doesn’t hurt that Hardy is rapidly becoming one of my favorite actors, and is easily one of the hottest names in the industry right now.

You can keep reading to see an official description of the movie by ComingSoon, but I should warn you that since it is based on a true story, there will obviously be spoilers in the description. If anyone isn’t familiar with George Mallory and are wanting to be left in the dark, you may want to avoid this.

Anne Hathaway Eying Role In “Robopocalypse”

DreamWorks Studios took time yesterday to announce the involvement of two new names that will be attached to Steven Spielberg’s upcoming sci-fi action film “Robopocalypse”. Tom Rothman is in talks to produce the film after he steps down from his position as chairman of Fox Filmed Entertainment. DreamWorks also announced that Anne Hathaway (fresh off her dynamite performance in “The Dark Knight Rises”) has begun talks to take on the lead role in the film.

If that works out, she would join Chris Hemsworth, who is also in talks for the leading male role. We all knew that Hathaway was bound to get a big boost after appearing in TDKR, and “Robopocalypse” is definitely one of the biggest future productions out there right now. Whenever Spielberg is attached to anything sci-fi related (okay, when he’s attached to anything at all), his name alone is enough to get me plenty hyped. But as for Hathaway’s involvement in the film, I’ve been a huge fan of hers since she did “Havoc”; this just adds that much more excitement.

You can read DreamWorks' press release after the break.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Box Office Report: Crowded Field Has Three New Releases Vying for Top Spot

This is the first time this has ever really been an issue, but with the projected box office numbers this week, it won't be worth going as much into specifics until the final numbers are released tomorrow. We expected there to be a large pileup with a few of the new films this weekend, but with two of them projected with the exact same dollar amount, we're still unsure which will ultimately be crowned weekend champ.

"House at the End of the Street" and "End of Watch" grabbed the top two spots, but "Trouble With the Curve" wasn't far behind. The fourth wide release this weekend, "Dredd", was the real surprise; it had by far the largest budget of any of the new releases this weekend, but still managed the lowest total by far.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Movie Review: "The Revenant" by Alex Schopp

Release: 2012
Director: Kerry Prior
Written By: Kerry Prior
Actors: David Anders, Chris Wylde, Annie Abbott
Rated: R
Run Time: 110 min

"The Revenant" has technically been around for quite some time now, first appearing in American film festivals back in 2009. But it wasn't until recently (last month, actually), that the film finally got an American DVD and VOD release. Feelings have been mixed on this intriguing little independent horror/comedy, but for my money, this nearly has all the right pieces to become a very popular cult classic.

Movie Review: "Dredd" by Derek Clem

Release: 2012
Directors: Pete Travis
Written By: Alex Garland (screenplay), Carlos Ezquerra (characters), John Wagner (characters)
Actors: Karl Urban, Olivia Thirlby
Rated: R
Run Time: 95 min

Karl Urban takes a shot at playing Judge Dredd. Many of us are familiar with the 1995 version in which Sylvester Stallone infamously played the titular character. Does this updated remake have what it takes to wipe our memory of the 1995 campy film?

Movie Review: "Trouble With the Curve" by Alex Schopp

Release: 2012
Director: Robert Lorenz
Written By: Randy Brown
Actors: Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, John Goodman, Justin Timberlake, Matthew Lillard
Rated: PG-13
Run Time: 111 min

As many of you know, I am a huge sports fan, and baseball is apex of all things sports in my mind. If I wasn't doing something with movies right now in my life, I would probably be trying to write for a baseball website or coach a little league team somewhere. So when I do get the chance to see a new movie about the game - and more importantly, write about it - I'm all over it. "Trouble With the Curve" was an emotional character drama, using baseball as the backdrop around each of these characters' lives. With strong performances from its two leads, the film rises itself above the standard character drama. But trying to work in the detailed nuances of baseball as its backbone, along with an unnecessary romantic comedy storyline added in as well, the film does lose a bit of its power along the way.

Top 5 Movie Guide: Baseball Movies

For this edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide, we turn our focuses to one of the elements of this weekend's "Trouble With the Curve", and compile some of our own favorite baseball-themed movies! Baseball has long been considered our national pastime, so it only makes sense that it would be a frequent topic in the world of film. There have been a number of movies centered around this great game throughout the years, from nearly every different genre imaginable. And since baseball's monumental rise in popularity over the 1930's and 40's, there's been no avoiding the subject.

You'd think that for a sport played at such a leisurely pace, it wouldn't necessarily spell cinematic success; but I guess that's the beauty of the sport, and what keeps fans coming back for the movies time and time again - the exact same game that can seem so simple and so flat to some can also have more complexities than you can wrap your head around. It's as intricate as you want to make it, good for the casual fan just out for some sun and a beer, to the stat-obsessed intellectuals who create new math equations simply for determining player ratability. The game draws such broad crowds, and that audience only grows when the magic of movies is used to capture the essence of the sport.

Only time will tell if "Trouble With the Curve" will may make its way onto any of these lists, but until then, here are the films we see as the best baseball movies around!

Cool Dark Knight Images Including Heath Ledger Shots

I know “The Dark Knight Rises” has been in theaters for over three months now, but seeing as how I’m one of the series' biggest fanboys (certainly the most of anyone at this site), I just happened to come across some sweet images including this awesome poster, as well as a bunch of images that were given to artists to use for designing promotional work, including posters, toys, and other various images.

Hit the jump to see more.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Kevin Feige Talks Thanos For Upcoming Avengers Films

Ever since the mid-credit scene in “The Avengers”, talk has largely turned to the Thanos and what his role will have in the upcoming Marvel Universe films. Rumors started swirling about whether he would appear in the upcoming “Guardians of the Galaxy” film or if they would wait until the second Avengers film hit theaters.

Today though, MTV talked with Marvel producer Kevin Feige about the plan for the future, and they asked specifically about Thanos. While Feige never gives a direct conformation about when the Mad Titan will appear next, he does say that they definitely have a plan in place for how his story is going to unfold in the future.

Hit the jump to see Feige’s comments.

Quick-Cuts: "The Victim" Movie Review by Ben Foutch

Director: Michael Biehn
Writers: Michael Biehn , Reed Lackey
Stars: Michael Biehn, Jennifer Blanc and Ryan Honey

Rated: R
Run Time: 83 min

Michael Biehn delivers a pulpy throw-back to grindhouse films with The Victim. Sleazy characters and brutal violence set the grimy tone for this thriller, and the actors (including Biehn) appeared to have had fun with the cheesy script. If you are looking for a morbidly fun movie that doesn't take itself seriously, this is a perfect example of an intentionally bad film. 

In Theaters This Weekend: September 21, 2012

As we head into the second half of September, we're actually greeted with four notable wide releases. Last week saw four new films, but not all were available to the masses. This week, most all of us should have our pick of a pretty impressive and diverse lineup of films, including "DREDD", "Trouble With the Curve", "House at the End of the Street", and "End of Watch". All offer up something drastically different, but each should provide value in some capacity.

"The Perks of Being a Wallflower" will also start its limited run this week, while Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master" gets an expansion - let's see if it can keep up with the record-setting grosses it's already accumulated. Also, I'll take a stab at the box office projections this weekend, where finally it appears that there could be some competition for the top few spots.

Casey Affleck Entering “A Race to the South Pole”

Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, and brother Casey, are reuniting once again. Warner Bros. has picked up the distribution rights to the true life drama “Race to the South Pole”. Casey Affleck is set to star in the film while Ben and Matt will produce the film through their Warner-based company, Pearl Vision. The film will also be produced by the company's newly appointed president, Jennifer Todd.

Hit the jump for more details.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

James Cameron Bringing China Into The ‘Avatar’ Sequels?

James Cameron has partnered with CPG China, and may be looking into adding Chinese actors to play the Na’vi. First of all, let me start by saying that this really isn’t a post about it being a big deal that Cameron would have Chinese actors play motion capture roles for the Na’vi like many of the other sites reporting this story are saying.

This is really more about how the growing Chinese film market could possibly persuade Cameron to work on the film in China. Whether the actors are Chinese or not doesn’t really matter because they will still look like regular Na’vi on film and still have the native Na’vi accent.

Hit the jump for more details.

Top 5 Movie Guide: Elisabeth Shue

For the latest edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide, we turn our attentions to actress Elisabeth Shue, who will next be seen in this weekend's "House At the End of the Street" alongside Jennifer Lawrence. Shue did not grow up planning to become an actor, in fact, coming from a very wealthy family that was well-established and well-educated, it was always the plan for her to one day become an attorney (great life experience for her future role in "Cocktail"!). College started off calm, with her choosing to attend an all-girls private school to help keep her out of trouble. To earn extra money though, she started working in television commercials (at one point known as "that Burger King girl"). Her commercial work eventually led to the random chance of her getting to play Ralph Macchio's girlfriend in the 1984 teen classic, "The Karate Kid".

After her experiences with that film, she decided to focus more time to her craft. She quickly hired an acting coach, and transferred to Harvard to finish school. She still majored in Political Science, with plans of becoming an attorney if her acting career did not pan out. But with follow-up roles in films like "Adventures in Babysitting", "Cocktail", and "Soapdish", it was clear that her career was well on its way.

Shue eventually did graduate from Harvard with a degree in Government, but it was her acting career that took off better than she could have imagined. After a gripping performance in 1995's "Leaving Las Vegas" that earned her a Best Actress Academy Award nomination, Shue's adult career took off. A plethora of film roles followed, allowing Shue to show off her versatility in a variety of different genres. To this day, she is still recognized as one of the more adaptable actresses working in Hollywood.

Hit the jump for all of our favorite Elisabeth Shue film roles!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Bill Paxton Eyes Role In “All You Need Is Kill”

Bill Paxton has begun negotiations for a role in “All You Need Is Kill”. Variety is reporting that he would play the commander to Tom Cruise, who is playing the lead role in the film. This would surprisingly be the first time the two have ever worked together in a film, despite both actors' 30+ years in the business. I guess better late than never; it will be great to finally see these two work together.

The sci-fi/action film is being directed by Doug Liman and is based off of a Japanese graphic novel written by Hiroshi Sakurazaka. The novel is about a soldier who dies over and over again while battling against aliens. The premise of the film sounds a lot like "Source Code" (which I loved), just with a bigger scale. The cast will also feature Emily Blunt and Charlotte Riley.

Hit the jump for an official description of the novel.

Blu-Ray/DVD Releases: September 18, 2012

Welcome back! This week you can look forward to a diverse crop of titles that are sure to appeal to many tastes. Like always, I personally pick the movies that stand out, so you don't have to do the research. Some weeks are slow for newer releases, and while this week doesn't necessarily show anything that could be classified as a powerhouse (to some), nevertheless still has some critically accepted gems.

Hit the jump for this week's releases!

James Gunn Is Locked-In For “Guardians of the Galaxy”

After a month of speculation about his involvement in the film, James Gunn took to his Facebook page to confirm that he will indeed be writing and directing the upcoming Marvel Studios film, “Guardians of the Galaxy.

This will be Gunn’s third feature film he has directed following “Super” (2010) and “Slither” (2006). I’m a fan of both of those films, especially the way he blends violence and humor in each. Now, I know very little about the “Guardians of the Galaxy”, and I know there is no way that he will be able to make the film a hard-R like his first two directorial films were, but even if we get close to the tone of those films then I have pretty high hopes that he will do a good job. Gunn hasn’t just worked on hard R-rated films, either; he also wrote the script for “Scooby-Doo” (2002), which I thought was legitimately funny. I think the key to this film being successful will be his ability to bring a dark humor to the film. I mean, look at that lineup of characters he is working with; a raccoon with a huge gun...

Hit the jump for Gunn’s official statement.

Monday, September 17, 2012

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, Tom Hanks, Natalie Portman, Nicolas Cage, Joan Allen, and Christian Slater all make news.

So hit the jump to see who got what gig!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Trailer Park: Everybody Has A Plan, Flight Of The Butterflies In 3D, The Girl, A Late Quartet, Lincoln, Mama, The Oranges, Smashed, Stand Up Guys, Texas Chainsaw 3D, Wreck-It Ralph

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: Two Paul Andersons Have Good Opening Weekends

While it still amounted in the second-lowest overall total we've seen this calendar year, at least things appear to be on the upswing again. Expectedly, Paul W.S. Anderson's "Resident Evil: Retribution" took the top spot this weekend, out-dueling the re-release of "Finding Nemo" in 3D. Retribution became the fourth straight Resident Evil film to open with more than $20MM and take the top spot (though even with its bump of 3D sales, its tally was still down from the last installment). But while it was Paul W.S. Anderson claiming the top grossing spot this weekend, it was Paul Thomas Anderson's film, "The Master", that might have made an even stronger mark. The film only opened in five theaters, but if projections hold, did manage to set the per theater record for a limited release live-action film (Interestingly, surpassing another Anderson, Wes Anderson, and his 2012 hit, "Moonrise Kingdom").

Hit the jump and we'll go over the specific numbers, and try to get all of these Andersons sorted out.

Movie Review: "Resident Evil: Retribution" by Ben Foutch

Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Writer: Paul W.S. Anderson
Stars: Milla Jovovich, Sienna Guillory and Michelle Rodriguez

Rated: R
Run Time: 95 min

After watching the barely entertaining first installment of the Resident Evil series back in 2002, did you ever think that a fifth entry would be gracing the silver screen ten years later? Retribution doesn't add anything new or worthwhile to what we've previously seen; it doesn't even work as being an unintentional comedy (at least Van Helsing scored points in that department). Much like the virus laden hordes that stalk our movie heroine, this series just doesn't know when to die.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Movie Review: "The Lorax" by Alex Schopp

Release: 2012
Directors: Chris Renaud & Kyle Balda
Written By: Ken Daurio (screenplay), Cinco Paul (screenplay), Dr. Seuss (book)
Actors: Zac Efron, Danny DeVito, Taylor Swift, Ed Helms, Betty White
Rated: PG
Run Time: 86 min

As much as I expected I probably wouldn't ever get around to seeing this movie, chance had it that I ended up in front of it last night. I wouldn't have guessed that I would or should be the one at this site to do a review for an animated film, but since I don't think anyone else has gotten around to it yet, I'll take a stab. While I found enough to entertain me for the 86 minutes of film, keep in mind that I'm not the most affectionate towards animated features. If you are, then you'll probably enjoy this a bit more than I did. But for those who don't have huge admirations for the style, then you might fall in line similarly here. And regardless, I think there's enough provided by the film to make the watch worth it for just about anyone.

Top 5 Movie Guide: Films Based On Video Games

For this edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide, we look to "Resident Evil: Retribution", which gets its release this weekend, and take a crack at some of our other favorite films adapted from video games. The Resident Evil series got its film debut back in 2002 when it seemed Hollywood was trying to take a jump forward with the production of video game based movies. The 1990's saw the first wave of video games-turned film, back when seemingly anything could get made. "Super Mario Bros." broke the seal in 1993, and along with it came films like "Street Fighter" and "Mortal Kombat". Sure, films like that hold a certain sentimental value for us, the most nostalgic generation to ever exist, but contextually speaking, these were not good movies.

The early 2000's saw the genre become mainstream, even with the previous decade's failures. Early on, films like "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider", "Resident Evil", and "Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within" hit screens, and while critically these films didn't offer much more, they seemed a noticable step up in production values, and a moment that offered the genre a chance to move from their very humble beginings. But then a little-known German director showed up on the scene and ruined it for everyone. Uwe Boll has directed nine films based on video games in the past decade, and each one has seen noticeable criticism and backlash from fans and industry pundits alike. Some may enjoy the camp of his films, but for a genre desperately trying to legitimize itself, he's done everything wrong.

But for fans of the genre, it seems that hope may be on the horizon, as studios clamour to try and put big-budget adaptations together for franchises like Halo and World of Warcraft. Both have had big name filmmakers attached to their productions, and it seems that if these ever do make it off the ground, they may be similar in tone and scale to films like Transformers or Battleship (take from that what you will). But regardless, the genre is what it is for now. There are some fun titles available, but it's generally a category full more of nostalgia and silly camp than legitimate film quality.

Nonetheless, we try and narrow down some of our favorites below, so hit the jump for all of our picks!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

In Theaters This Weekend: September 14, 2012

This is feeling like that time between Christmas and Spring all over again... That period of time when there's not many good holdover films still sitting in theaters, and not much to look forward in the near future. And our wide release schedule this weekend seems just about as lackluster as the previous. A handful of independent dramas will start their limited runs this week as well, but hardly any of us will get a chance to see them. But just seeing them in the mix elicits feelings of a better time to come. We'll wade through films like "Resident Evil: Retribution" and the re-release of "Finding Nemo" in 3D for now, and see a 100+ theater showing of the little-discussed Nicolas Cage film, "Stolen", and the Richard Gere thriller, "Arbitrage". But hey, at least Paul Thomas Anderson's festival darling, "The Master", starts its limited release as well, preparing for expansion next weekend.

Hit the jump for a breakdown on what we might be able to expect from each of these films, as well as a look at what will surely be another low point at the box office for the year.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Slackers Selection CinemaCast: Episode 31

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

This week, two wide releases hit theaters, but no one much seemed to care (and the box office numbers can back that up). If you were looking for discussion on "The Words" and/or "The Cold Light of Day", sorry, you won't find any of it here.

Next week's lineup seems a step in the right direction, as the wide releases aren't anything too exciting - "Resident Evil: Retribution" and "Finding Nemo 3D" - but the films starting their limited releases have a bit more to offer, even if we won't get a look at them this week. Those films, however, include "The Master", "Arbitrage", "Liberal Arts", and "10 Years".

We saw a few other films outside of theaters this week, but most notably is the debate a few of us have on the newly released on DVD, "The Five-Year Engagement".

Also, as we're in the midst of the festival season, we discuss a few of the major players so far, and films generating the most buzz.

We're in the process of updating to a new digital process for these discussions, and this was our first week doing so. We're looking forward to perfecting this process and providing a better listening experience for you as listeners, but please bear with us through the minor glitches, as we assure you this is a process that moves us in the right direction!

Top 5 Movie Guide: Paul Walker

For this edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide, we turn our attentions to birthday boy Paul Walker. Walker turns 39 today, and while he hasn't had a career that most would salivate over, he has a certain bit of attachment to each of us here at Slackers Selection Productions, worthy of note. I'll try to avoid too lengthy a story, but years ago, we had one female friend who absolutely hated Paul Walker. We always thought he did a fine job and didn't deserve nearly the criticism he received, but she couldn't stand him. I'm not sure why - maybe it was just her outward disinterest for the star - but pretty much from that moment on he became our go-to guy for just about everything. We loved bringing him up just to spite her (in a playful way, of course). He became the standard for quality acting and good looks in our general conversations.

Along the way - and it's been an ongoing thing for probably five+ years now - I can't say he became a "favorite", but I think the jokes slowly turned to legitimate feeling, and now I believe most of us have much more interest in his career than we should have ever had. His persona as more of an icon or mascot for our group seems more apt than a favorite, however.

Needless to say, he has a longstanding history amongst our group, and once we saw his birthday pop up on a Top 5 day, we had to jump at it.

I apologize for not including any neat info on Walker's life and career as is usually featured in these posts, but the story needed to be told to describe the feelings we have towards the star. And on the positive side, if I'm not mistaken, I believe our constant hype of his screen presence has finally swayed our dubious friend, and she now sees the light just as we do!

In all serious, the over-hype we give Walker is a bit of an exaggeration, mostly as a joke between us, but at the same time, I think that there's a legitimate agreement amongst all of us that he does deserve a much better reputation than he's received so far.

Hit the jump for all of our picks!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Blu-Ray/DVD Releases: September 11, 2012

Welcome back! Unfortunately, this is a slow week for releases. We have a dark, big budget fairy tale, a controversial horror film and a pregnancy comedy being the only wide-release, noticeable titles. None of which are must haves in my opinion. There are also a couple cult classics getting the Blu-ray treatment. Hopefully there will be something here to satisfy the urge of spending that hard earned money.

Hit the jump for this week's releases!

Monday, September 10, 2012

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 addition, Jim Carrey confirmed for “Kick-Ass 2”, Michael Fassbender doubles up on films, Bruce Willis will bread an “American Assassin”, Al Pacino will tackle Joe Pa, Nic Cage isn’t just your average “Joe”, and much, much more.

So hit the jump to see who got what gig!

Quick Cuts: “The Loved Ones” Movie Review by Nathan Hinds

Director: Sean Byrne
Writers: Sean Byrne
Stars: Xavier Samuel, Robin McLeavy, Victoria Thaine, Jessica McNamee
Rated: Unrated
Run Time: 84 min

Depending on who you ask, some might say that the horror genre is in a bit of a rut overall. Actually, I would dare you to find someone who says the genre is even doing decent these days. The problem…nobody is shocked anymore; nobody is uncomfortable with what they see. Hollywood cranks out found footage movie after found footage movie, exorcism movie after exorcism movie. In short, Hollywood has completely lost its creativity. You know what, that’s being a bit to generous; lets be honest, Hollywood has lost its balls.

Though, once in a blue moon, you get a film which doesn’t fall in line with the Hollywood norm. Once in a blue moon, you get a film that gives the horror safe route the middle finger. Once in a blue moon, you get a movie like “The Loved Ones”. For anyone who is a fan of the horror genre, you won’t be surprised to find out that this wasn’t a Hollywood production, rather it was shot in Australia. For those of you not familiar with the Australian style of filmmaking, at least when it comes to the horror genre, I like to say they take a karate-chop to the throat type style with their films. Speaking specifically about “The Loved Ones”, it’s the type of horror film that should make any of these directors who are behind the recent string of found footage or exorcism films (in a lot of cases, both) curl up into the fetal position and cry themselves to sleep out of shame.

In short, it’s a film that puts 99% of today’s horror films to shame. And now that I got that rant out of the way, hit the jump to see what I thought of this film as an individual piece.

The Trailer Park: The Bay, Cloud Atlas, A Christmas Story 2, Dead In Tombstone, Francine, Ginger & Rosa, Hansel And Gretel: Witch Hunters, Parental Guidance, Toys In The Attic, Twice Born,

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.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Box Office Report: Worst Weekend at the Theater Since 2008

Well I think that headline should pretty much say it all. We've been in an expected late-summer, early-fall slump for the past few weeks, but the totals this weekend took us to a new low. Among the same top films that we always look at, we've been seeing total grosses in the $80MM range. That's still low and was a noticeable dip for theater gains. But this weekend, we did it one better. Among these same positions, the total earned this weekend was a mere $51.9MM. That's less than a quarter of what "The Avengers" alone did in its first weekend. With a quick history check-up though, this probably shouldn't have been entirely surprising - over the past decade, only four times has the weekend box office dipped below the $55MM mark, and in all four of those occurrences ('12, '08, '06, '03) it was this very same weekend, the first full week of September. So at least there is some precedent for this type of thing, and clearly the time when studios take films that they know can't content and send them here to die.

Overall, as I expected might be the case (and if you can't figure from that total), no film broke the $10MM mark this weekend.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Top 5 Movie Guide: Movies About Writers

For this edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide, we turn our attentions to one of this weekend's new releases, "The Words", and decide to also focus these lists around movie about writers. "The Words" stars Bradley Cooper as an aspiring writer who finally finds literary success upon stealing another man's work. The rest of the film revolves around romance and conspiracy, but for our purposes here, none of it matters without our leading character's passion for the pen and paper.

There are a huge variety of different types of writers and films about each them to choose from, but most notably it breaks down into novelists and screenwriters. Both of these trades have been the center of countless Hollywood films (the screenwriting thing even kind of as one of those pictures where someone's looking into a picture of themselves, looking into a picture of themselves, looking into a picture of themselves etc.). It wasn't too hard to try and define this subject much more - either there was a writer in the film or there wasn't. Arguments can be made on how central the character presented or how focused the aspect of writing is to the film, but nonetheless, all of these films revolve around the medium of writing.

So hit the jump for all of our favorite selections that this category has had to offer over the years!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Quick Cuts: "HIGH School" Movie Review by Ben Foutch

Director: John Stalberg
Writers: Erik Linthorst, John Stalberg
Stars: Matt Bush, Sean Marquette, Adrien Brody and Michael Chiklis

Rated: R
Run Time: 99 min

There have been some great stoner comedies over the years, and it is obvious that director John Stalberg is a devoted fan of not just that genre, but teen comedies as well. Unfortunately, his inspired and often funny directorial debut, "HIGH School", failed to deliver the complete package, leaving this reviewer a little on the down side.

In Theaters This Weekend: September 7, 2012

As we push ahead with the fall movie season, we turn our attentions to two more wide releases this weekend, along with one other starting its limited run. The films most of us should get a chance to see are "The Words" and "The Cold Light of Day". Otherwise, "Bachelorette" starts its theater run this weekend, but only in a handful of theaters.

All offer something pretty different this weekend, but hit the jump for details on each, and whether on not any of these seem like a safe bet for your hard-earned money.

Plus, as usual, I'll take a stab at what we might be able to expect from the box office grosses this weekend. Are we looking at another down week?