Saturday, March 30, 2013

Top 5 Movie Guide: Motorcycle Films

For this edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide, with this weekend's release of "The Place Beyond the Pines", we decided to take a look at some of our favorite Motorcycle Films! "The Place Beyond the Pines", which is directed by Derek Cianfrance, re-teaming with Ryan Gosling ("Blue Valentine"), tells the story of a mysterious motorcycle racer traveling with a carnival, desperately trying to connect with a former lover who recently and secretly gave birth to the stunt rider's son. In an attempt to provide for his new family, he quits the carnival life and commits a series of bank robberies aided by his superior riding ability. The stakes rise as he's put on a collision course with an ambitious police officer looking to quickly move up the ranks in a police department riddled with corruption.

So, not much deeper than that this week: the lead character rides a motorcycle, so we'll look at some other films that have a noticeable motorcycle presence in them. We will note that how we defined the presence differs for every writer. Some tried to stick closer to films that really centered around the bike presence, while others focused more on certain scenes that stuck out from certain films - but all in all, everyone found kind of a mix of each.

Also, while the title of the category this week is Motorcycle Movies, we generally took it to mean any type of motorized vehicle on two wheels. So scooters, mopeds, motor bikes, supercross bikes, anything like that, it all fits into this category.

But without further ado, hit the jump to check out all of our picks!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Top 5 Movie Guide: William Hurt

For this edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide, and with this weekend's release of "The Host", we take a look at some of our favorite films from one of its stars, William Hurt. Hurt, who was born and raised in Washington, D.C., was the Vice President of his high school Drama Club. But that wasn't his original career path. After high school he went on to attend Tuft University, where he studied Theology. But after a few years, he realized his passion for the theatrical arts was too strong, and he dropped out to attend The Juilliard School of Drama.

He began his professional career on stage, appearing in more than 50 productions - and earning a variety of award nominations, including a Tony Award for his work in "Hurlyburly", along the way. By the late-1970's he had transitioned into television, and by the early-1980's, into film. He was an instant success on screen, appearing in five Best Picture nominated films in the decade. He's been nominated for six total Golden Globe Awards (though never won), and four Oscars. His only win came in 1985 for "Kiss of the Spider Woman", a film in which he waived his entire salary so that production could be completed.

Not many films of note pop up on this actor's retrospective regret list, but a couple do stand out. In the early 1990's he turned down lead roles in both "Misery" and "Jurassic Park". While neither ended up being particularly esteemed roles, both pictures are still notable today, and we can only wonder what a couple of broader fan favorite appearances could have done to help propel Hurt's career in that decade.

Hurt has still appeared in a wide variety of critical and audience favorites alike, however, so hit the jump to see which titles made our lists!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Trailer Park: Epic, The Kings of Summer, Riddick, Trance, Turbo, We Steal Secrets: The Story Of WikiLeaks, Welcome To The Punch, The Wolverine, World War Z

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.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Blu-Ray/DVD Releases: March 26, 2013

Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" leads the pack this week in an overall dreary set of films. The presidential biopic has garnered many accolades since it's release, and even made both Top 15 of 2012 lists for Alex and Andy.  While it's probably not the most exciting way to spend some downtime, it's sure to be a quality film worthy of your attention. If that doesn't interest you, there are other new titles to choose from, and two of my favorite cult classics are finally getting the Blu treatment (it's a shame I'm not in the buying mode right now).

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Box Office Report: "The Croods" and "Olympus Has Fallen" Shine; "Admission" Stumbles

I apologize to everyone for not getting this post up last week. I know how hard it is to find information like this anywhere else on the internet, so it must have made for an unpleasant Sunday. I'll try not to let it happen again.

This weekend, the total numbers were up, with a few new releases performing quite well. "The Croods" grabbed the top overall spot (not to anyone's surprise), while "Olympus Has Fallen", which was maybe the biggest surprise this weekend, comfortably settled into the second spot. The now three-week old "Oz the Great and Powerful" also continued to shine, claiming third place. The drop-off after the top three was significant, but the top films of the weekend still managed the highest overall gross of any weekend so far in March.

Hit the jump for a full rundown on this weekend's numbers!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Top 5 Movie Guide: Prehistoric Cultures & Creatures

For this edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide, in light of this weekend's "The Croods", we decided to compile our lists below on some of our favorite films centering around prehistoric cultures and creatures! "The Croods" is the latest animated feature from DreamWorks that tells the story of the world's first family road trip. When their cave is destroyed, the Crood family must embark on a comedy adventure into strange and spectacular territory in search of a new home. With a voice cast featuring the likes of Nic Cage, Ryan Reynolds, and Emma Stone, the Croods conquer their fear of the outside world and discover that they have exactly what it takes to survive - each other.

So the movie above is ultimately about cavemen, dinosaurs, and the earliest humanoid civilizations. Those are basically the themes we went for below; let's not dig too much into the technical wording of "prehistoric". We began our research of this category by first only focusing on films taking place before advanced civilizations - something more in line with this week's film. But to give everyone a bit more range with their picks, we opened it up to include simply elements from those times that maybe take place is other times. This provided quite a few more options, and allowed us to really dig into some different themes for our own lists.

All in all, we ended up with a pretty great variety below. So hit the jump to see which films made each of our lists!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

In Theaters This Weekend: March 22, 2013

Sorry for the mix up last week, but it was my birth week - thus, I was too busy partying my face right off! We are back on track and ready to rock, so without further ado I'll give you the rundown for this weekend's upcoming wide releases. We're looking at a trio of options this week that includes "Admission", "The Croods", and "Olympus has Fallen". What more could you ask for on this fine spring weekend other than a family movie about cavemen and a movie about the president being held hostage but saved by the guy he fired? And also some funny Paul Rudd and Tina Fey movie...I just couldn't think of anything clever to put there is all. Honestly it will probably be a fine film if the two of them have anything to do with it...which they do....because they are starring in it.

Hit the jump for a quick rundown on each film opening this weekend!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Top 5 Movie Guide: Morgan Freeman

For this edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide, we take a look at some of our favorite films featuring Morgan Freeman, star of this weekend's "Olympus Has Fallen". Known for his authoritative voice yet calm demeanor, Freeman's first love wasn't actually acting, but aviation. After attending Los Angeles Community College after high school, he served for several years in the U.S. Air Force as a mechanic. He developed a passion for the theatre while there, and eventually had to weigh a career as a pilot or that of an actor. Luckily for us, he chose acting.

He began the first decade of his career on stage, refining his craft - and picking up a bevvy of awards along the way. He appeared in various television shows and TV movies throughout the late-1970's and early-1980's, eventually earning his big break in 1987 (and more commercially, a few years later in 1989). He earned Oscar nominations for his performances in "Street Smart" (1987) and "Driving Miss Daisy" (1989). These roles established Freeman as a go-to actor of the 1990's. He continued his rise over the decade, picking up another personal Oscar nomination for his work in "The Shawshank Redemption" (1997), and also appearing in another Best Picture winner, "Unforgiven" (1992).

Cited by many circles as the "greatest living actor in film", Freeman is the only African American actor to appear in three different Best Picture Winners (the third being "Million Dollar Baby" in 2004, a film which also provided him his first personal Oscar win). In his 35+ year film career, he's never went more than ten years between Oscar nominations. And while now in the latter stages of his career, at age 65, he continues to be a force on screen.

A quick note of reference before we get started: If you recall, "The Shawshank Redemption" was enshrined on our Prison Movies list in April of last year. While all of us would have surely loved to include it below, as is customary, we removed it from consideration to make way for new titles. So when you don't see it anywhere below, it's not because it was forgotten, instead because we collectively loved it too much.

Still, plenty of variety to choose from this week; hit the jump to see which films made our lists!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Trailer Park: Kick Ass 2, Penthouse North, Scary Movie 5, Something In The Air

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.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Blu-Ray/DVD Releases: March 19, 2013

I'm confident in saying we have a pretty strong week ahead us - it might be hard to single out which one of these will be your choice for movie night (I could be wrong, though it is unlikely). And for what it's worth, The Hobbit and Zero Dark Thirty gain the prestige for being my top picks of the week, so if you missed them in theaters or just want to relive that movie magic, now is the perfect time to take these home while the anticipation is high. Les Miserables also comes soaring into home video, though it will be released in a few different editions; only one of them is covered here.

Those aren't the only titles that were worthy enough to gain a spot in this post; hit the jump to find out what else made the cut!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Top 5 Movie Guide: Magic

For this edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide, we turn to this weekend's "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone" for inspiration and compile some of our favorite films about Magic! Superstar magicians Burt Wonderstone (Steve Carell) and Anton Marvelton (Steve Buscemi) have ruled the Las Vegas strip for years, raking in millions with illusions as big as Burt's growing ego. But lately the duo's greatest deception is their public friendship, while secretly they've grown to loathe each other. Facing cutthroat competition from guerrilla street magician Steve Gray (Jim Carrey), whose cult following surges with each outrageous stunt, even their show looks stale. But there's still time to salvage their act - and their friendship - by staging their own daring stunt.

So obviously the main focus this week is stage magicians and illusionists. And while many of the writers below did stick almost strictly to films revolving around such, we left the category open to simply "Magic" to allow for a bit more expansion and broadness. We all generally tried to avoid much inclusion of things like witches and wizards - as there's more than enough there to eventually warrant there own category - but it wasn't an official restriction. Overall, any specific parameters were left up completely to each individual writer.

Hit the jump to check out all of our picks!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Top 5 Movie Guide: Jim Carrey

For this edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide, we take a look at some of our favorite films featuring actor Jim Carrey, co-star of this weekend's "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone". Born and raised in Ontario, Canada, Carrey was always a natural performer, even doing regular stand-up routines for his junior high classmates. A few years later, still determined to make it as a comedian, Carrey dropped out of high school at the age of 16 (he was a straight-A student). He spent the first years of his career mostly performing in comedy clubs and appearing in bit film and television roles. In 1988, while on the set of "Earth Girls Are Easy", Carrey hit it off with co-star Damon Wayans. Wayans and his brother, Keenen Ivory Wayans, were in the process of putting together a sketch comedy show and wanted Carrey to be a part of it. He agreed, and quickly became of of the biggest stand-outs on "In Living Color".

Only a few years later, Carrey was a box office monster. His first starring roles, all in 1994, came in the films "Ace Ventura: Pet Detective", "The Mask", and "Dumb & Dumber". Only two years later, with only a small handful of films under his belt, Carrey became the first actor to ever command a $20MM salary for a film (Julia Roberts would become the second four years later). He was the fifth-highest grossing star of the 1990's, picking up a slew of award nominations along the way. He's been nominated for five Golden Globe Awards, winning two ("The Truman Show", 1998, and "Man on the Moon", 1999). Many felt he deserved an Academy Award nomination for his work in "The Truman Show", but unfortunately it did not come. At the time, Carrey lashed out at the Academy, stating that the organization was narrow-minded. He has, however, been nominated for a total of 23 MTV Movie Awards and won 11, both records for an individual.

Not many film roles have truly eluded him, though he did lose out on two separate roles to Johnny Depp, both "The Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" and "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory". Also, Carrey was the original choice to play the lead role is "Meet the Parents" (2000). While Ben Stiller would eventually replace him, Carrey still assisted with some of the jokes in the script (we can thank him for the idea to name the title character "Focker").

There's no doubt that Jim Carrey has and will always be seen as an icon of the comedy genre. His extremely outgoing persona and physical style is unmatched by his peers. While his star has faded some in recent years, he still continues to be a popular face on the comedy scene.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Trailer Park: Rapturepalooza, Iron Man 3, Epic, The Hangover Part III, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, After Earth, Milius, To the Wonder, Monsters University,The Bling Ring, Star Trek Into Darkness, Generation Um...

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

I'm filling in for Derek this week while he's in Los Angeles trying to be famous (and also visit family), so I'll do my best to live up to the level he's set with this post.

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

Monday, March 11, 2013

Blu-Ray/DVD Releases: March 12, 2013

Is it a bad sign that because you are so tired, you wonder how that wind-up kitchen timer replaced the cup of coffee on your desk? Anyways...looks like we have a nice variation this week, so those of you who get frustrated with my habit of stacking dark or depressing selections should rejoice. Ang Lee's Life of Pi is probably the most anticipated release, as it has proven a delight to both critics and audiences around the world, and even took home some coveted Academy Awards a couple of weeks ago.  

Hit the jump for details on The Life is Pi and more!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Box Office Report: "Oz the Great and Powerful" Conjures Up $80MM Opening

On the heals of 2010's "Alice in Wonderland" (they opened on the same weekend), Sam Raimi's "Oz the Great and Powerful" found similar magic and set the opening weekend bar for 2013 releases. Meanwhile, two other new releases this weekend, "Dead Man Down" and "Emperor", both failed to connect with audiences. Thanks to Oz - and I mean really thanks to Oz - the overall box office numbers are up nearly 30% from last week's embarrassment. "Jack the Giant Slayer" was the only other film this weekend to crack the $10MM mark, and it did so just barely.

Fun Fact before we get started: Looking at some of the yearly breakdowns and getting off on tangents, can you guys even believe that in 2000 the average movie ticket price was just over five bucks? As that was the average, just image how many people were paying less than five dollars for a movie ticket. I feel like I don't remember this ever happening in my lifetime. More than anything though, I just can't believe how long ago 2000 was now. 13 years. That's a high school student. How did that happen?

Anyway, full weekend box office numbers after the break.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Top 5 Movie Guide: Revenge Films

For this edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide, in theme with this weekend's "Dead Man Down", we decided to take a look at some of our favorite Revenge-Themed Films! From director Niels Arden Oplev ("The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo", 2009), "Dead Man Down" centers around a rising gangland player who has infiltrated the crime empire run by a ruthless kingpin all with the single purpose of making him pay for destroying his once happy life. As he meticulously orchestrates his vengeance from his high-rise home, he watches and is watched by a mysterious young woman who lives in the apartment across from his. On the surface a fragile woman, she seethes with a rage of her own. When she uncovers the man's dark secrets, she threatens to expose him unless he helps her carry out her own campaign of retribution. Each fixated on avenging the past, they devise a violent and cathartic plan that could change their worlds forever.

Obviously, pretty basic stuff this week. The film above centers around two intersecting revenge plots, but we only needed one in our selections below. Revenge is one of the most common and traditional themes in the history of film. It can be expressed and executed in many different ways, but the crossed "hero" with nothing else left to lose is a story that always works and never lets us down (okay, maybe there have been a few bad ones over the years).

Regardless, this was one of the more fun yet painstaking lists that each of us did, simply because there were so many great titles to choose from, spanning decades of cinema. Hopefully we did a good job of, as a group, representing the best films that this category has to offer, but you'll have to hit the jump to see for yourself!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

In Theaters This Weekend: March 8, 2013

It's official. Nothing good is happening in movie theaters anywhere. I know that this time of year is usually a slump time in general but that doesn't mean we have to just put out whatever garbage Hollywood can come up with just to keep those ticket sales rollin'. We have, for your pleasure this weekend, two "meh" movies hitting screens: "Oz the Great and Powerful" and "Dead Man Down". It seems to be another week to pay where, if you want to go to theaters, you'll simply have to pay your $7.50 and shut off your brain for a while! So let's get crackin' on those hot details!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Top 5 Movie Guide: Rachel Weisz

For this edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide, we take a look at some of our favorite films featuring actress Rachel Weisz, who can next be seen in this weekend's "Oz the Great and Powerful". Weisz was born in London, England and got her start in the entertainment industry as a model at the age of 14. Always very intelligent though, she later attended Cambridge University where she primarily studied English. It was here that she gained a passion for performing. But instead of joining a Drama group like so many students do, she simply created her own theater company, where she wrote, cast and starred in her own plays. In fact, before she graduated, one of her productions, "Washbag", even won multiple awards throughout a very robust British theatre circuit.

Weisz continued with her acting after graduation, appearing in various British theatre productions. In 1994 she won the London Critics Circle Theatre Award for Most Promising Newcomer. This propelled her acting career and assisted in her landing higher profile film roles in the mid to late 90's.

While Weisz has been nominated for and won one Academy Award (Best Supporting Actress - "The Constant Gardener", 2005), she supposedly turned down a role that could have landed her another. According to sources, she was offered the lead female role in Ron Howard's "A Beautiful Mind", but turned it down. This role eventually went to Jennifer Connelly, who won an Oscar for her performance.

As is the case with any actor, there are a few other notable missed roles along the way - including two in which she lost Cate Blanchett: "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" (2008) and "Robin Hood" (2010) - but the one that is the most surprising is her initial offer to appear in Kevin Smith's "Clerks
II". Unfortunately, even though she wanted the role and tried to make it work, due to scheduling conflicts she had to pass. The role eventually went to Rosario Dawson.

Hit the jump for some of our favorites that Weisz did land a role in!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Steven Spielberg: An Animated Tribute

Well this is a cute little thing.


It's obviously missing some key films from his filmography (according to the animator, Krishna Shenoi, time got in the way of her including all the films she wanted to feature), but over all this serves as a nice little look into the many highlights of Steven Spielberg's career as a director. Needless to say, I'm glad that "Hook" made the cut!

The Trailer Park: Behind The Candelabra, Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2, The Conjuring, Disconnect, I'm So Excited, Iron Man 3, Jay And Silent Bob's Super Groovy Cartoon Movie, Oblivion, Planes

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.

Slackers Selection CinemaCast: Episode 49

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

The entire gang is back, as we tackle our first CinemaCast post-Oscars. Unfortunately, that left little to talk about, as no one cared much for the films releasing this past weekend. But while we didn't actually see any of the films, it didn't stop us from speaking our minds on a few of the titles. "Jack the Giant Slayer", "21 and Over", and "The Last Exorcism Part II" were the three new releases; needless to say, there was a reason none of us ventured out for any of these.

Nathan and Alex do spend a little time discussing "A Good Day to Die Hard", a film that they both saw a few weeks back, but got blocked by discussions of the Oscars. The general consensus on the film was that it was not good.

We spend a few minutes talking about next week's films, "Oz the Great and Powerful", and "Dead Man Down", though again, there's not much of interest there.

We finish things up with Andy's review on a recent brunch he had with "X-Files" creator Chris Carter. He details some upcoming projects, his Oscar night plans, and what he ate!

While we're happy admitting that we didn't see much of anything this week, this still ended up being a very entertaining podcast. There are plenty of good laughs to be had, so give this one a listen!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Blu-Ray/DVD Releases: March 5, 2013

I'm feeling rather uninspired this week, as there is nothing that truly makes me want to shell out some cash on any of these titles for my collection. However, I will finally be able to sit down with Wreck-It Ralph. Voiced by John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, and Jane Lynch, this animated love letter to video games has tickled the imagination of all ages and was recently nominated for Best Animated Feature at this year's Academy Awards. Normally, the Academy's stamp of approval doesn't have the magic ability to make money disappear and insert movies into my Blu-ray player, but Wreck-It Ralph also comes with the praise from my fellow Slackers, which has always carried more weight for me. 

 Head inside to see more picks from this week's release pool.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Box Office Report: "Jack the Giant Slayer" Headlines Lowest Weekend Totals Of The Year

The beginning of March. While winter has finally started to fade away, it doesn't appear that the box office has yet defrosted. In 2012, this same weekend saw a $150MM weekend total, similar to what we'd been seeing in the previous month of February. This year, February was a disaster, seeing $100MM+ less overall come through the theater than we've seen in recent years. Films have been historically bad, with few surprise gems (a la "The Grey", "Chronicle", or "Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace") to save the day. That time was supposed to come this weekend when Warner Bros. dropped $200MM on a fantasy epic high in special effects and CG creatures, meant to bring the masses back to the theater and resurrect the box office - wait, are we still talking about "Jack the Giant Slayer" or last year's "John Carter" that pulled the same damn move opening at this time last year? Unfortunately, it does appear that "Jack the Giant Slayer" is flowing a near exact pattern that "John Carter" did, and I think instead of looking at a new trend of $200MM epics releasing in March instead of June or July, this might be the last we see of this stunt.

This weekend's overall numbers were at just over $68MM, making it the worst recorded weekend we've seen in a young 2013. Both 2012 and 2011 saw totals this low only once, though they were both in early September, the black hole of the box office year. Going back though just the last five years, this same weekend has seen totals of well over $100MM in each of them. The year is off to a terrible start, and we're going to have to hope that the summer blockbuster season and awards films at the end of the year both set record numbers as they did in 2012 to salvage any kind of respectability at the theaters. Unfortunately, I don't see either of those numbers matching up with what last year accomplished.

Anyway, "Jack the Giant" Slayer" still took the top spot this weekend, though it had little to no competition. Both "21 and Over" and "The Last Exorcism Part
II" - the other two new releases this weekend - stuck in the top five, but both well under-performed, neither even hitting the $10MM mark. This weekend did see upticks from films like "Argo", "Life of Pi", and "Silver Linings Playbook", all three of which won a handful of awards at last weekend's Oscars ceremony.

Hit the jump for a full breakdown on the box office totals from this weekend.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Top 5 Movie Guide: Birthday Movies

For this edition of the Top 5 Movie Guide, as is featured in this weekend's "21 and Over", we take a look at some of our favorite Birthday Movies! Straight-A college student Jeff Chang has always done what he was supposed to do. But when his two best friends surprise him with a visit for his 21st birthday, Jeff Chang decides to do everything he wants to do for a change, even though his important medical school interview is early the next morning. What was supposed to be one beer becomes a night of humiliation, over indulgence and utter debauchery in this coming-of-drinking-age-comedy about living youth to its fullest.

While it would be impossible to craft lists around films so specifically centered around birthdays, there are still dozens and dozens of films out there that feature notable birthdays within them. As you'd expect, favor generally went to films that had more to do with birthdays than others, but most of the writers below got pretty creative with their selections, finding some gems that probably wouldn't regularly be associated with this category otherwise. If made for a really great group of films, with each individual list featuring at least two titles not on any others.

Before hitting the jump, since it could be considered for the category, as is regulation, the Lord of the Rings films have been omitted from any consideration, as they were proudly enshrined back in November. If you recall, there is a pretty notable birthday for Bilbo Baggins featured in the film.

Friday, March 1, 2013

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

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, think is the best ahead.

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 March!