Sunday, December 30, 2012

Box Office Report: 'The Hobbit' Edges Out "Les Miserables" and "Django Unchained"

As expected, the overall box office numbers were up a bit this week thanks to the holiday season still in full swing. The total numbers this weekend topped $180MM, the most we've in this month of December. We knew the dollars would be there, there just wasn't a clear picture as to where there would filter.

I was spot-on with my projections putting both "Les Miserables" and "Django Unchained" in the $30MM range, though the order they finished surprised me some. I expected, with its larger audience appeal, Les Mis to win out by a few million, but it was actually Django that made a touch more. But, all of that becomes null and void in this circumstance, as the surprise this week was Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey". Last weekend the film made $36MM, and going into its third weekend - facing both Les Mis and Django in their first weekend - I expected strong numbers, but nothing capable of hanging with either of those two. But, with only a 10% drop from last week - that's right, 10% - The Hobbit managed nearly $33MM this weekend, grabbing the top spot for the third week in a row!

Just about every film in the top ten looked strong this week, so hit the jump for a full rundown on all the numbers, including a few notable milestones that a couple films reached.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Top 5 Movie Guide: Female Characters Who Cut Hair Mid-Movie

For the latest edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide, we take a page from this weekend's "Les Miserables", and take a look at a few other films featuring notable female characters who either cut their hair or were forced to have their hair cut mid-film. In "Les Miserables", Fantine's (Anne Hathaway) hair is cut in a dramatic scene in which she sells her hair for money after losing her job at the factory. Hathaway, who told director Tom Hooper up front that she'd be willing to cut her hair for the role, wasn't hit with the emotion of it until after the fact. Hathaway has said in interviews since that after her hair was cut off, she cried was 'inconsolable'. While hair does grow back, it was a drastic change, and much like her character in the film, it was difficult for her to deal with at first.

Not many other precursors for this one. Ultimately, we just decided that, like in Les Mis, it had to be a female character getting her hair cut. It also had to be a noticable change. We weren't expecting as dramatic a portrayal as in this latest film, but it couldn't just be an afternoon trip to the barber shop for a quick trim that nearly goes unnoticed. It had to be a significant change. Finally, it seems obvious, but the transformation did have to come mid-film. Female characters with short hair from the start did not qualify for this list.

This was one of the more difficult lists to compile, as there wasn't nearly the precedent for this category as their is with most of the other lists we do. There was a lot of scouring done to pull these titles together. There are only four lists this week (which may be more of a regularity moving forward), but we still managed to compile quite the variety of titles. Hit the jump to see which films made our lists!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

In Theaters This Weekend: December 28, 2012

We're bouncing all over the place with this post recently, as it's the older, better Schopp brother taking back the reigns for at least this week's installment of Weekend Releases. There's a lot to talk about this week, but at the same time, not a lot to talk about, as the films "releasing" this weekend are the same ones that opened two days ago on Christmas.

"Les Miserables" and "Django Unchained" headline the class that also includes "Parental Guidance". We already have reviews up for the first two, so I'll mostly let them do the talking. As for "Parental Guidance", sure Billy Crystal stars - which is always a plus - but ultimately, how many of us are really heading to theaters for that?

I'll weigh in on some brief thoughts on all three, and, as usual, touch on some box office numbers.

Movie Review: "Django Unchained" by Ben Foutch

Director: Quentin Tarantino
Writer: Quentin Tarantino
Stars: Jamie Fox, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Samuel L. Jackson
Rated: R
Run Time: 165 min

Revenge cinema thrives in the guilty pleasure part of our film culture, as there is something regretfully cathartic and primal about getting even - especially if the villains are portrayed in such a way that elimination is a very strong albeit morally grey imperative. Judging by the popularity of these sorts of films, as a society we seem to be empathetic towards characters like Django, often finding emotional satisfaction from their violent retaliation and vengeful endeavors. This is why there will always be a market for this type of film, and part of the reason why Django Unchained succeeds as a compelling story about exploitation, murder, and greed. It is an ugly truth, but so is the history of mankind.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Top 5 Movie Guide: Quentin Tarantino

For the latest edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide, we turn our attentions to filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, writer & director of this week's "Django Unchained". Quentin Tarantino always had a flare for entertainment, but directing wasn't what he initially wanted to do. While in high school, he was so sure that he wanted to be an actor, that he dropped out at age 16 so he could attend James Best Theatre Company full-time. After two years of acting instruction, however, he grew bored of the medium and dropped out. He then went on to work at a video rental store, where he says he gained his inspiration for becoming a director. While there, he would have in-depth conversations with customers and fellow movie enthusiasts about cinema and video recommendations, always paying close attention to the types of films that people liked. Because of these experiences, Tarantino states "when people ask me if I went to film school, I tell them, 'no, I went to films'".

Starting out with a few short films, finally, in 1992, Tarantino made "Reservoir Dogs". It took him only three weeks to write, and instantly studios were interested in backing him in the creation of the film. The first place it was ever shown was the Cannes Film Festival, where it won the top prize, the Palme D'Or Award. The film - and Tarantino himself - were instant critical successes. Two years later, he wrote and directed "Pulp Fiction", a film which earned two Academy Award nominations, including that for Best Picture (Tarantino won for Best Original Screenplay).

He's directed only a handful of other films since then, insisting on only working on films in which he's written - he was offered to direct both "Men in Black" and "Speed" but turned both of them down. He's written a few screenplays in which he did not direct, including those of "True Romance" (1993) and "From Dusk Till Dawn" (1996).

He appears in most of his films in bit roles, loves citing cult film and television hits in his screenplays, and, in probably his most-known trademark, regularly includes various "empty scenes" in his films - scenes in which extensive dialogue is exchanged between characters, but the content does little to advance the plot (the 'Royale with Cheese' scene in "Pulp Fiction" remains the most famous of such to-date).

There isn't the largest variety of films available for this list, but even still, hit the jump to see which titles made the cut - and, maybe more importantly, what order they ended up in!

Movie Review: "Les Misérables" by Dan Foutch

Release: 2012
Director: Tom Hooper
Screenplay: William Nicholson
Lyrics: Herbert Kretzmer
Actors: Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried
Rated: PG-13
Run Time: 157 minutes

To say that this movie is a difficult one to review would be an understatement. There is no truly good way to begin. Let me start by saying that I have loved Les Miserables since I saw it on stage. Unlike some of the reviews I have seen, I saw it fifteen years ago. Given that fact I knew what it was about and what to expect, I was very much looking forward to seeing this film. I never saw it on Broadway or done by the original cast, but the experience of seeing it live is still lingers in my mind. Let that be a testament to the power of the story.

On the surface it is the story of Jean Valjean, (Hugh Jackman) a convict imprisoned for stealing a loaf of bread for his sister’s son. The opening scene is of him being paroled under the supervision and a stern warning from policeman/warden Javert (Russell Crowe). After Valjean breaks parole, Javert hunts him for the remainder of the film.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Slackers Selection CinemaCast: Episode 41

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

After a week off, we gathered together just before Christmas to give you an epic recap of the past two weeks. Among the new films hitting theaters, we discuss "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" (which all five of us saw), "Jack Reacher", and "This is 40".

Next week (or, starting today, I suppose), we're looking at "Django Unchained", "Les Miserables", and "Parental Guidance". See which titles we're most looking forward to and if any pulled us from our families on this Christmas day.

Outside of theaters, a handful of titles are discussed. Derek and Alex caught up on some animated features, and discuss "Wreck-It Ralph", "Frankenweenie", and "ParaNorman". Also, such titles as "Pitch Perfect", "Amour", and "Waterworld" are also touched on.

With so much to cover, at just under an hour and a half, this is definitely one of our more robust podcasts ever! Tons of great content though, so be sure to give it a listen below!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Top 5 Movie Guide: Films that Disappointed and/or Duped Us!

The latest edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide was organic in nature, but one that started with a coy joke towards a few of the titles opening this weekend - "Jack Reacher""This is 40", and "The Guilt Trip" - that spiraled into a category that doesn't actually much represent these titles at all. When we laid out the titles to brainstorm for a genre to go with, one of the writers quipped that we should pick 'films that look serviceable but that you really don't care about'. It really wasn't a category, and I think we all expected early on that we'd come up with something more significant that that. But we continued to run with the joke, and over time, it got more and more embellished - by this time, we were paying no more attention to the actual releases. At one point it became 'finely polished pieces of garbage', before ultimately settling in on something like 'studio films that were supposed to be big hits but completely missed/films with large hype that terribly disappointed'. And as we talked about some of the titles that would comprise such lists, it was decided that we wouldn't much mind getting some of our frustrations out and showcasing why these disappointed as much as they did. So what we kind of ended up with was Films That Disappointed and/or Duped Us. It's nothing official, but it gets the point across.

That being said, there was definitely plenty of passion and emotion for each of the titles selected below. This actually may be one of the most personal lists we've ever done, as we were not afraid to lash out towards some of the films that have taken us for fools or failed to deliver on what was expected of them.

So before diving in, keep in mind that we're not trying to point out any of the worst films of all-time (not saying any of these titles couldn't be on that list, but that wasn't the thought process here). We're simply pointing out films that have stood out to us over the years which have disappointed us in some way - whether it excessive hype that didn't pan out, build-up from a previous installment, or even just a big budget genre flick that seemed like fun but really just wanted our money.

Unlike every other week, we're technically not giving you films that we'd recommend watching - mainly the opposite, actually. Whatever reason for each of the disappointments though, these are all films that seemed promising in some regard, but ultimately failed on just about every level. Hit the jump to see which films we deemed more shameful than the rest!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

In Theaters This Weekend: December 21, 2012

This upcoming weekend is a busy one for theaters all over the country, so it's no surprise that we have four films opening in wide release and another opening in just less than that. To get the list out there real quick, here's the run-down on all the titles: "The Guilt Trip", "Jack Reacher", "This is 40", "Monsters, Inc. 3D" open in wide release, and our three-quarter release is "Cirque Du Soleil: Worlds Away". With the holiday season upon us, many families will be turning to the theater to provide them the warm and comfortable embrace of old, wore-in theater seats and semi-stale, overpriced popcorn to indulge in. It's the time where we want to be around our family and friends to share in joy and celebration of a year well spent...and then realize that we dislike being around those people for more than about ten minutes so we rush off to the theater to get a little peace and quiet. Anyhoo...if you want to get some knowledge thrown in your face, hit that jump. You may or may not regret it - you wont know until you try!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

In Anticipation: "Django Unchained"

Not a fan of the iconic director of such gems as Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill, and Reservoir Dogs? Too much dialogue you say? Over stylized and gratuitously violent? One person's criticism is another's compliment and those common gripes are actually valuable tools Quentin Tarantino uses to great advantage, which undoubtedly leave a personalized stamp on his films. They are also why I am a fan of his work and am taking aim at Django Unchained for the latest segment in our In Anticipation series. Like it or not, it opens wide on December 25 and will hopefully bring his usual blend of dark humor and searing grittiness that we (at least this guy) have grown to love. 

Inside, you will find an official synopsis, a theatrical trailer, and some of my thoughts going into the movie.

Top 5 Movie Guide: Tom Cruise

With this weekend's release of "Jack Reacher", we decided to focus the latest Top 5 Movie Guide around its star, Tom Cruise. Cruise didn't grow up thinking he wanted to be an actor. In fact, very spiritual as a child, he was enrolled in seminary school by age 14 with dreams of becoming a priest. This dream stuck with him until fate changed that late in his high school career. A strong member of his high school wrestling team, after suffering a knee injury which forced him to sit out the entire season, he took up drama to fill his time. He almost instantly fell in love, and after high school abandoned his religious aspirations and headed to New York City to try his hand at an acting career.

Things worked out even better than the young Cruise could have imagined. Cruise's mixture of charisma and compassion made him an instant success, and within five years of starting his career, he'd already landed lead roles in films like "Top Gun" (1986), "The Color of Money" (1986), "Rain Man" (1988), and "Born on the Fourth of July (1989). By 1990, Cruise was one of the highest-paid actors in the industry, earning upwards of $15MM per picture for films such as "Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles", "Minority Report", "Jerry Maguire", and each of the Mission: Impossible films.

While personal and religious aspects of Cruise's life have become the center of many tabloid headlines over recent years, the actor continues to bring people into the theaters. Since his first $100MM grosser, "Top Gun" more than 25-years ago, only six of the films in which he's appeared in have failed to reach that mark.

He's been nominated for three Academy Awards, but has never been lucky enough to win one. It seems probable that the actor will have plenty of chances down the road to eventually bring one home, but until then, he'll just have to settle with being one of the most successful, powerful, esteemed filmmakers in Hollywood.

Hit the jump to see which titles topped our lists!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Blu-Ray/DVD Releases: December 18, 2012

It's that time of the week again, which is rather convenient as Christmas is just around he corner. There are multiple titles to choose from this week - though a couple of them are not available until Friday. The biggest names are probably the remake of Total Recall - one of the most expensive and boring remakes to be produced as of late, and the cinematic wet fart that is Resident Evil: Retribution. At least they will look good on Blu-ray...right?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Box Office Report: 'The Hobbit' Sets December Opening Weekend Record

As expected, the only film really worth talking about this weekend is "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey". It was the only film opening wide, and was expected to have one of the stronger openings of the entire year. And even though it did (sixth best), I'm torn on whether or not I think the film "failed" to live up to expectations. It gets silly to argue these things when you are talking about a film with one of the best openings of the year - and the highest-grossing opening ever for the month of December (we'll talk about this more below) - but with only $84.7MM, it feels like it might have left a bit on the table.

Overall, the total box office numbers were expectedly up again after a few historically low weekends. Still though, with only $131MM, five times in the past ten weeks have we seen better numbers - including the first week of October when "Taken 2" opened.

Hit the jump and I'll go over all of the specifics from the weekend.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Top 5 Movie Guide: Fantasy Films Based On Literature

With this weekend's release of "The Hobbit: And Unexpected Journey", we again focus our latest Top 5 Movie Guide around the film, and this time take a look at a few other Fantasy Films Based on Literature! The Hobbit is a fantasy novel written by J.R.R. Tolkien, originally published in 1937. The book was a critical and financial success from day one, and earned Tolkien a slew of literary awards. Since 1937, the book has never once been out of publish (one of very few titles to do so since that date), and has been adapted into many different formats, including stage, radio, board and video games, and, of course, film.

There have been a handful of different film adaptations made of the novel, but you have to assume that Peter Jackson's latest will be most remembered. His previous trilogy, The Lord of the Rings, was one of the most financially successful film trilogies ever (and that of course was based on Tolkien's sequel trilogy of the same title).

There are many ways that "fantasy" can be interpreted; and likewise, opening the category simply to literature instead of restricting it to novels makes for even more options. But as The Lord of the Rings trilogy was already unavailable due to last week's enshrinement, we figured it best to leave the category as open as possible to provide for the most variety below. If any of the writers wished to restrict themselves anymore than what this provides, as usual, they'll make mention in their descriptions. Otherwise, there is a great slew of different titles presented below, so hit the jump and see which ones each of us selected!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

70th Annual Golden Globe Award Nominations Announced

Right on the heals of yesterday's SAG announcement, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has announced their nominees for this year's 70th Annual Golden Globe Awards. The members of the HFPA consists of 93 journalists from around the world, all of whom cover the American entertainment industry. Fourteen different movie awards are presented, with most splitting up categories both for Drama and Comedy/Musical. The group also votes on a variety of television awards, but again, we'll just stick with the movies here.

The announcements were made this morning at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. The nominees were introduced by Hollywood Foreign Press Association president Aida Takla-O’Reilly along with notable actors Jessica Alba, Megan Fox and Ed Helms. The 70th Annual Golden Globe Awards will air live on NBC on Sunday, January 13 hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.

Hit the jump for a rundown on each of the nominees, as well as some of my brief thoughts on inclusions and omissions!

In Theaters This Weekend: December 14, 2012

Welcome back, Ladies and Dwarves! This weekend is pretty exciting, seeing as we have one of the nations most anticipated (and also least - more about that after the jump) movies of the year coming out! Rounding second base of the December month, "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" finally gets its nationwide release! So dust off your old Gandalf hats and put on your golden rings...or throw those down the biggest damn volcano you can find if you know whats good for you! It's once again time for the world to nerd-out together! The smell of those movie tickets is entering my nostrils as I write to you; the lines push for the doors and everyone checks their wristwatches (yeah right) every twelve seconds to see if the three hours until movie start time has happened since they last checked. It's finally almost here.

If you want to check out a general rundown (HIMYM?) on the situation ahead, just hit the jump and we can chew the fat a bit.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

19th Anual Screen Actors Guild Nominees Announced

In the first big awards junket of the season, the nominations for the 19th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards have been announced. For those unfamiliar, The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) is a union entirely comprised of working and retired actors - with more than 100,000 members, just about anyone who's ever performed in a sanctioned Hollywood film is a member. The awards themselves are voted on by all members of the Guild, making them by far the largest constituency of voters for any awards organization.

The only televised awards shows to exclusively honor performers, it presents a total of thirteen awards for acting in film and television. The awards focus on both individual performances as well as on the work of the entire ensemble of a drama series and comedy series, and the cast of a motion picture.

As we here tend to focus solely on the movie-end of the industry, I'll only highlight the seven film nominations below. Feel free to check out the SAG Website for a full rundown on all of the categories and nominees, but otherwise, hit the jump for a quick listing on all of the film nominations and some quick thoughts on the overall selections. As reference, we will be talking about the awards in greater length on next Tuesday's CinemaCast; for now, this should get you through the week!

The event will be televised on TNT and TBS Sunday, January 27, 2013.

Top 5 Movie Guide: Cate Blanchett

For this edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide, we turn our attentions to one of the stars of "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey", Cate Blanchett. Blanchett was born in raised in Australia, where she eventually graduated from the Australian National Institute of Dramatic Arts. In little over a year after graduating, she was already garnering critical and popular acclaim. She first started working with the Sydney Theatre Company, and in a couple of different roles managed to win the Sydney Theatre Critics Circle awards for Newcomer of the Year and Best Actress - to date she is still the only performer to ever win both awards in the same year.

In the following years she went on to appear in a variety of Australian feature films and American television shows, but it wasn't until her breakthrough performance as Queen Elizabeth in "Elizabeth" (1998) that things really took off. She was nominated for her first Academy Award for the performance and never looked back. 2001 was one of her busiest years ever, appearing in four different films, including the first from the Lord of the Rings trilogy (fun fact: always wanting to appear in a film wearing pointy ears, after production wrapped on the trilogy, she had her ears bronzed). In 2004 she won her only Academy Award for her supporting performance as Katharine Hepburn in Martin Scorsese's "The Aviator".

She's been nominated for a total of five Academy Awards to date, and is one of only 10 different actors to be nominated for Supporting and Lead Acting awards in the same year (Blanchett accomplished this with her performances in "I'm Not There." and "Elizabeth: The Golden Age"). She's the only actress to ever be nominated for Best Actress for the same role in two different films (this was, of course, for her work in "Elizabeth" and "Elizabeth: The Golden Age"). She's also appeared in seven films that have been nominated for Best Picture, an amount that no one else has matched.

As a final fact to end the introduction portion of this post: one aspect of Cate Blanchett's personality that resonates well with this group is that she is an avid list maker. She enjoys making lists for just about everything she can. This is a trait all of us here can definitely relate to.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Blu-Ray/DVD Releases: December 11, 2012

It's that time of the week again, so you better have some money ready to feed that collecting need (I've seen movie withdrawals and they aren't pretty). Also, don't forget that  movies make great gifts and since it's getting closer to the official gift exchange holiday, be sure to keep an eye out for any titles that might benefit a friend or family member, or even the good-looking intelligent slacker who wrote this post.. Seth McFarland's Ted is arguably the biggest draw this week, but there are a few more new releases that aren't too shabby. If those don't strike your fancy, maybe a couple of cult classics getting the hi-def treatment? 

Slackers Selection CinemaCast: Episode 40

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

Only three of us were able to make the call this week, but we still managed to get in plenty of great discussions on a handful of note-worthy films. No one got around to "Playing for Keeps", but between the three of us, this week we saw "Anna Karenina", "Life of Pi", "Argo", and "Beasts of the Southern Wild", all of which are currently playing in theaters around the country.

Next week's crop contains just one title: "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey". We go into some of our thoughts on the film and what we expect. The conversation might be some of the most fun we've ever had on one of these!

Outside of theaters the only film hitting our radars was the Anniversary Edition of "E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial", which recently came out on blu-ray. Even all these years later, it's still a great film.

Just under an hour this week; be sure to give it a listen because we have a lot of fun!

Bonus Cast!

Check out this fun little excerpt from before last week's CinemaCast. We really let our nerd show here, as, among other things, we casually discuss possible infidelity in the 'Lord of the Rings' movies, the physics behind Batman's BatPlane in "The Dark Knight Rises", why Alfred should or should not have left Bruce Wayne, and more! Give it a listen and see how everything comes together before the main event!

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Trailer Park: After Earth, Iron Man 3, Jack The Giant Slayer, Oblivion, The Sorcerer And The White Snake, Star Trek Into Darkness, Storage 24

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, December 9, 2012

Box Office Report: "Skyfall" On Top In Fifth Week As Box Office Takes Another Dip

I think we all knew the box office numbers were going to be low this week. "Playing for Keeps" was the only film releasing in a wide variety, and last week's crop wasn't looking much better - "Killing Them Softly" was the only wide film there. Even a few weeks beforehand you could look at this weekend, put 5-10 films in a hat, pick one out as the weekend champ, and it would be believable.

The Top Five all ended up being within $3MM of each other, though none performed exceptionally well. The overall numbers were down more than $30MM from last weekend, which was already the lowest totals we'd seen in over a month. Failing to break the $80MM mark overall, this was the lowest the box office has been since September 7, when "The Words" released and "The Possession" ended up in the top spot. That was the only other weekend all year where we were this low.

Next weekend sees "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" come to theaters, so that will be a guaranteed boost for numbers over the next couple of weeks. And with Christmas right around the corner, things figure to pick up in general.

For now, hit the jump for a breakdown on this weeks numbers and to see where everything fell.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Top 5 Movie Guide: Infidelity

For this edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide, we take a look at some of our favorite films involving infidelity. With "Hyde Park on Hudson" getting its official theater release this weekend, and the film having to do with FDR and his real-life affair with Lucy Mercer, we decided to take a look at a few other films that featured notable perfidy. In 1939, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, wife, mother, and mistress all played host to the King and Queen of England, the first time a reigning English monarch would visit America. With Britain on the brink of imminent war with Germany, King George desperately seeks the support of America. Personal and political agendas are juggled as both sides strive to make it a memorable weekend.

From what we've seen in the trailers, the studio really plays down the fact that FDR was two-timing his wife with a secretary she hired for him. I'm not sure how much the director will delve into this relationship, but it's known fact that their relationship spanned many decades.

Anyway, as for the theme this week, it's a tricky one to tackle. It's hard to pick out which films you "like" the most, as the better ones are many times about worse people and circumstances. But it's been a popular theme in film especially over the past decade or so, with seemingly a handful of titles being released on the subject each year (along with "Hyde Park on Hudson", "The Details" and "Arbitrage" come to mind for 2012). Maybe the worst aspect about most of these films, much like the latter two just mentioned, when one party tries to cover something up, it usually makes it worse. 
Our recommendation: other than the chance that you might be venturing to our site for the first time and are thinking about cheating on your regular movie blog with our lists below, don't stray. It never works out.

Hit the jump to see which titles we picked out for our favorites of this genre!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

In Theaters This Weekend: December 7, 2012

I'm going to start by saying welcome to a brand new edition of the "Weekend Releases" post being introduced here at SSMB (that's a link to our main site for those of you who don't know what the SSMB is. It's pretty cool). I will be your guide through the wonderful world of upcoming releases from here on out - also, I'm more funny than my older brother, so you should have more fun...or maybe I just think I'm more funny?..or is it funnier? - anyway, I am Andy Schopp and I look forward to our adventure together! And what better movie to kick off our first post than...some dime-a-dozen rom-com that not too many people really care about in "Playing for Keeps"...

"Hyde Park on Hudson" and "Lay the Favorite" will also get official theater releases this week, though both in limited variety. And seeing as how neither of them is particularly inspiring anyway, we'll just spend our time on the one film opening in wide release this weekend.

‘Star Trek Into Darkness’ Announcement Teaser Trailer

Looks like the teaser for the trailer for "Star Trek Into Darkness" has arrived. There is also a Japanese subtitled version with an extra 15 seconds. Be sure to watch them both. Before you hit the jump, you might want to grab a clean pair of shorts.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Top 5 Movie Guide: Bill Murray

For this edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide, we focus our attentions on the star of this weekend's "Hyde Park on Hudson", Bill Murray. Murray grew up in the Chicago, Illinois area, with one of his first jobs being a pizza maker at Little Caesars. Acting wasn't something Murray always wanted to do, being more interested in sports than film earlier in life. He enrolled at Regis College in Denver to study pre-med, but ultimately dropped out after only his sophomore year. Shortly after, fate would pair him with fellow comedians Dan Aykroyd, Gilda Radner, and John Belushi, all of whom hosted the National Lampoon Radio Hour together.

The group meshed well, and in 1975, Saturday Night Live was created, and Aykroyd, Radner, and Belushi would go on to comprise much of the original cast. However, Murray would not join until the following year. As he broke into film, he quickly jumped into many notable roles. And while Murray is a comedy icon, many directors do not enjoy working with him, as he has a tendency to re-write and improvise many of his lines, ultimately leading to scenes that barely resemble their original versions (many admit that Murray's versions are better than what they had before, though).

Still an avid sports fan, Murray is the owner of three minor league baseball teams, "Caddyshack" restaurant in Jacksonville, Florida, and is a die-hard fan of the Champaign-Urbana Fighting Illini and Chicago Cubs (fun fact: while filming in Italy in 2003, he had it written into his contact for him to receive time off and a live satellite feed during all Cubs playoff games).

While the roles he's held are well-known, it's interesting that he was actually originally considered for the role of "Han Solo" in Star Wars (1977). His role in "Ghostbusters" was originally written for John Belushi, but as he passed away before filming began, Murray was able to step in. And to this day, one of the few career decisions he regrets is turning down Steve Carell's role in "Little Miss Sunshine" (2006).

There's so much more that we could talk about, but there's just not enough time or space. So let's just get to the meat of this thing, the selections below. Hit the jump to see which titles made our lists!

The Trailer Park: Angry Video Game Nerd: The Movie, Bad Kids Go To Hell, Black Rock, Dark Skies, A Glimpse Inside The Mind Of Charles Swan III, I Give It A Year, Love Is All You Need, Snitch, Upstream Color

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.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The Slackers' Top 5 Films to Look Forward to in December

If you're a regular reader of this site, then you know just how much we love lists. They're by no means a definitive perspective on anything, but they're a fun way to look at what an entire group of individuals comes to agreement on. At this point we've compiled a few special edition group lists, including our Greatest Movies of All-Time and Favorite Horror Films of All-Time, both of which turned out really well.

As you've already seen with previous installments of this post, these aren't anything overly technical, and in many cases, we're not able to base our opinions on much more than some trailers. But it's a fun way to preview the titles ahead, and give you a brief look into what some of us over here, collectively, are thinking about the selections.

There's no way in knowing what these films might hold, and we're not trying to say this grouping of films will necessarily be the best of the month, but these are the titles we're most looking forward to as a group.

Hit the jump for the ranking and a few details on the five films that this site sees as the most anticipated for the month of December!

Blu-Ray/DVD Releases: December 4, 2012

Welcome back to my selection of weekly Blu-ray and DVD releases. As always, I try to cover most of the new releases as well as some older titles that are finally getting the Blu treatment. As you might already know, the heavy hitter this week is The Dark Knight Rises. If that doesn't strike your fancy, rest assured that one shouldn't be too displeased with this week's crop of titles, as there is a little something for everybody.

Slackers Selection CinemaCast: Episode 39

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

We're finally back, after taking some time off for the Thanksgiving holiday! There was a lot to cover this week, which centered around films we've seen in theaters recently but hadn't yet touched on, including "Lincoln", "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2", and "Life of Pi". "Killing Them Softly" released brand new this weekend, but unfortunately none of us had time to get to it.

New films hitting theaters next weekend include "Playing for Keeps", "Hyde Park on Hudson", and "Lay the Favorite". Overall, a pretty weak crop and a week that most of us will use to catch up on some previous releases we might have missed.

Outside of theaters (or, wide releases at least - a few were seen in local art theaters), Alex and Andy checked out a few notable titles including "Alien Abduction: Incident in Lake County", "10 Years", and "The Details".

We're just over an hour this week as we try to catch up on everything; be sure to give it a listen as we cover a wide array of topics!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Box Office Report: 'Twilight' Again On Top; Overall Box Office Numbers Lowest Since September

Well, I got the order right at least. But that's usually the easy part. As far as the amounts go, who knew we'd see dips quite this big? I assumed we'd have a little lull the week after Thanksgiving, but falling back to mid-September numbers was a surprise. If you recall, September was a historically low month at the box office this year, seeing some of the lowest overall totals of all-time. "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2" managed to hold off "Skyfall" (at least through early projections) and retain the top spot, but both films had dips of greater than 50% - in fact, no film in the top ten dropped by less than 40%, something I wasn't expecting to see with "Lincoln", "Life of Pi" and "Rise of the Guardians" still in the mix.

New releases "Killing Them Softly" and "The Collection" finished about where expected, though the latter did find a way to sneak into the top ten, something I didn't think it would be able to do.

Hit the jump for a full breakdown of this weekends numbers.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Who'll Hold The Gold?: Bait-And-Split

I've got to say, this Oscar race has me quite excited. This is the first race since 2006, when The Departed ultimately took the prize, where I have no clue as to what movie will hold the gold at the end. Since The Departed, the Best Picture winners have been pretty easy to call early on. Some might say The Departed was an easy call; in hindsight I can see that, but my young mind was in other places back then. The way I saw it (of the films nominated), Babel was the "Oscar Film", Letters From Iwo Jima and The Queen were the "Oscar Bait", Little Miss Sunshine was the hopeful "Indie Darling" just happy to be included in the fun, and The Departed was the highly liked Gritty/Edgy Best Picture nod that so often never wins. I had no clue who was going to win. My best guess was Letters and Queen would split the vote leaving the win to Babel. Little did I know, The Academy was finally ready to reward Martin Scorsese. So, in a year like this, what kind of things can we look at and for to help us make our predictions? Lets try and figure that out after the jump.

Top 5 Movie Guide: Hitmen and Assassins

For this edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide, in the spirit of the just-released "Killing Them Softly", we take a look at some of our favorite films featuring Hitmen and Assassins. The film is directed by Andrew Dominik, who previously worked with Pitt on his last film, "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford". When three dumb guys who think they're smart rob a Mob protected card game, they cause the local criminal economy to collapse. Brad Pitt plays an enforcer, Jackie Cogan, hired to track them down and restore order. The film also features Richard Jenkins, James Gandolfini, Ray Liotta, Scoot McNairy, Ben Mendelsohn, and Sam Shepard.

We realize that Brad Pitt's character, Jackie Cogan, would probably labeled a Hitman officially in the film, and you would think that would simply be the main focus this week, but in our research, we found it quite difficult to draw a hard line anywhere between Hitmen and Assassins. It seems that everyone has a different idea about what the difference is between the two terms, if anything. So while you wouldn't think to call Pitt's character an assassin in "Killing Them Softly", plenty of other films toe the line between the two titles and thus deserved inclusion on this list. So we just left it wide open for the writers below, and as usual, anyone who felt like narrowing things down from there mentioned how and why in their description. For the most part, just expect 25 selections in which a character was hired by someone to kill someone else. That's the simplest way to label it.

Hit the jump to see which films made our lists!