Best of 2014: Movies

Another year is in the books, and we here at Hush Comics couldn’t pass at the chance to rank our favorites of this year’s releases in all types of mediums. Some of the winners will surprise you; heck, some of the results surprised  us. The results are completely subjective, and therefore were chosen with infallible logic. We would love to hear your opinions on what we have chosen, or if you thought we missed anything. This should be a fun review before we gear up for 2015.

hush best of 2014
Click on the link to take you to the “Best of 2014” homepage.

This year’s nominations are…

Best Comic Book Film

  • Amazing Spider-Man 2
  • Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past

Results here.

Best Straight-to-Video Movie

  • Avengers Confidential: Black Widow & Punisher
  • Batman: Assault on Arkham
  • Justice League: War
  • Mudbloods
  • Son of Batman

Results here.

Film of the Year

  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • Interstellar
  • Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
  • LEGO Movie

Results here.

Best Drama of the Year

  • Birdman
  • The Fault in Our Stars
  • Fury
  • Noah
  • The Normal Heart

Results here.

Best Horror/Thriller of the Year

  • Gone Girl
  • Horns
  • Nightcrawler
  • The Purge: Anarchy
  • Under the Skin

Results here.

Best Comedy of the Year

  • 22 Jump Street
  • A Million Ways to Die in the West
  • Knights of Badassdom
  • Neighbors
  • Sex Tape

Results here.

Best Sci-Fi/Action of the Year

  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
  • Godzilla
  • Interstellar
  • Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
  • Transformers: Age of Extinction

Results here.

Best Family Flick

  • Big Hero 6
  • Book of Life
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2
  • LEGO Movie
  • Maleficent

Results here.

Best Independent Film

  • Chef
  • Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Hector and the Search for Happiness
  • Snowpiercer
  • Wish I Was Here

Results here.

Onto: Best of 2014 – Television

Best of 2014: Movies – Best Sci-Fi/Action Movie

Another year is in the books, and we here at Hush Comics couldn’t pass at the chance to rank our favorites of this year’s releases in all types of mediums. Some of the winners will surprise you; heck, some of the results surprised  us. The results are completely subjective, and therefore were chosen with infallible logic. We would love to hear your opinions on what we have chosen, or if you thought we missed anything. This should be a fun review before we gear up for 2015.

hush best of 2014
Click on the link to take you to the “Best of 2014” homepage.

Best Sci-Fi/Action Movie

  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
  • Godzilla
  • Interstellar
  • Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1
  • Transformers: Age of Extinction

WINNER – Interstellar

F’ING SPACE, MAAAAN! These were the words that left my mouth when somebody asked how I felt about the best space movie released in the past decade. Christopher Nolan, deemed all-time taker of my movie dollars put a lot of time, money and, most importantly, vetted research into this epic tale. He took my love for science, which has been all but corporatized at this point, and reverted it back into love of the unknown and reawakened a quest for knowledge I haven’t felt since watching Beakman and Bill Nye as a kid. F’ing space, man. – Sherif

Second Place – Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Dawn-of-the-Planet-of-the-Apes

There’s a stereotype for science fiction movies.  Flying cars, futuristic weapons, space travel, sexy space aliens, you know all the criteria.  Too often film makers (and fans) force us into thinking that a sci-fi flick needs elements that advance civilization and take us to new galaxies.  Dawn of the Planet of the Apes breaks the sci-fi stereotype in most excellent fashion.  Instead of a flick taking place among the stars Dawn shows audiences how society has fared since the events in Rise of the Planet of the Apes and as you might expect there is no space travel, but rather society has regressed to lifestyle closer to that of the stone age.  And while humans suffer and struggle, the apes thrive!  They’ve learned to communicate with one another as well as humans, they’ve structured their civilization, made rules, and have even developed morals.  The chimps, gorillas, orangutans, and all other primates are on a rise synonymous with humanity’s ability to send humans to the moon.  The movie as a whole was very well done and captivating, but it’s most endearing quality is its unique perspective on the genre.  There’s something special about watching apes ride horses, wield firearms, protect human beings and build families.  Dawn was a unique sci-fi experience and it should definitely not be missed! – Taylor

Third Place – Godzilla

godzilla-attacks-golden-gate

Godzilla, the movie and the monster, really had the odds stacked against him (and it) when this reboot was announced. Most people found themselves asking why on Earth the monster was being reanimated yet again and why the hell they would want to see that. Freaking Matthew Broderick and Roland Emerich did their damnedest to destroy Godzilla’s good name in the 90’s, and they almost had him beat, until Gareth Edwards got his hands on the project and single-handedly saved the king of all monsters’ good name. Aaron Johnson (known mostly for the lead role in Kick-Ass) really stepped up as a tough yet sensitive soldier just trying to get home to his wife and son. Above all else, Godzilla once again proved that he was a force to be reckoned with. He looked like the good old monster we all know and love, and he came to the rescue and lived to tell the tale! The best aspect of Godzilla for me is that it was shot with so much suspense that it made monster movies scary again! It’s hard for any property to be remade or rebooted these days since most people instinctively hate them or claim that their mere existence is ruining their childhood, but Godzilla took a giant fire-breathing bite out of all the haters and for that, I love him. – Keriann

RUNNER UP – The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1

THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY - PART 1, from left: Patina Miller, Liam Hemsworth, Mahershala Ali,

Taken out of District Twelve and plopped into the revolution happening in District Thirteen and the rest of Panem, something was missing in my chest after I saw this film. While there were mixed reviews of the third installment of The Hunger Games franchise, I absolutely loved it. Did the third book need to be split into two movies? Probably not. Like Sherif said in his review of the film, splitting the last book of a series into two or more films has only and probably will only ever work for Harry Potter (sorry, Hobbit.) Regardless, I was deeply effected by this film and the social commentary in it. From police brutality to economic inequality, the themes in this movie really hit home for a lot of audience members this year. I can’t wait for the Part II in 2015. – Charlotte

RUNNER UP – Transformers: Age of Extinction

transformers-age-of-extinction-best-of-2014-sci-fi-_-action-film-runner-up

One word: Dinobots. While the plot of these movies has always been a bit on the lazy side, the lack of Shia Lebouf makes this movie worth seeing for that alone. This is a Michael Bay film, so the customary explosions in lieu of plot are to be expected and in this case, it really worked out well. Optimus Prime is an even bigger badass when he is mad at the humans and Mark Wahlberg was pretty decent by himself. John Goodman plays the voice of one of the Autobots and is able to almost single-handedly carry a large portion of the later story with his awesomeness. – Robert

Next Category: Best Family Flick

Godzilla 2014 Review

Genre – Sci-Fi/Monsters

Director – Gareth Edwards

Cast – Bryan Cranston, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Wantanabe, Elizabeth Olsen, Sally Hawkins

Alluring element – Giant monsters, classic homage, family story

Scorecard:
Plot – 8
Acting – 9
Representation of Genre – 9
Cinematography – 9
Effects/Environment – 10
Captivity – 8
Logical consistency – 7
Originality/Creativity – 7
Soundtrack/Music – 8
Overall awesomeness – 9
 
hush_rating_84
 

I went to the movie theater this past Saturday expecting to see giant monsters destroying cities and each other. I was not disappointed in with that aspect. What I didn’t expect was the family story that made Godzilla more than just another kaiju smashfest. It’s a monster movie with heart. It actually takes close to an hour to even properly see the giant lizard.

Admittedly, during some parts of the movie, I found myself saying “Enough with this! Bring me giant monsters!” By the end of the movie, I realized that I was wrong with this sentiment. Godzilla is brought to us very much from the point of view of someone on the ground. We’re not meant to just sit back and watch terrible beasts duke it out in a random cityscape. The director, Gareth Edwards, wants to put you in San Francisco and makes you understand the real consequence of what’s going on. If you’re looking for Pacific Rim, which is awesome in its own right, you’re not going to find it here. This is more of a movie with monsters, rather than a monster movie. Gareth Edwards has done this very well before with Monsters; go rent it if you haven’t seen it.

Godzilla-Joe-Brody

My biggest gripe with the king of monsters is the severe under-utilization of Brian Cranston. For what you do see of his performance it is intense and heart felt. Instead of Cranston, the story follows Aaron Taylor-Johnson, best known for playing Dave Lizewski from Kick-Ass. Johnson plays Cranston’s son, who is trying to get back home to his wife and son after bailing his father out of jail in Tokyo. I’m not typically a fan of Aaron Taylor-Johnson, but I have to say he did well. I pulled for him to get back to his family.

 

Ken Wantanabe was solid, as usual. He gives the characters a little bit of a terrible monster history lesson. Oh yeah Godzilla, and similar creatures, have been known about since the 1940’s. He plays a very stoic and soft-spoken scientist who has been studying these types of creatures for decades. Like Cranston, Wantanabe does not receive much screen type but still delivers a strong performance. His character is fairly forgettable though.

godzilla-2014-movie-screenshot-ken-watanabe

Now to the big guy. Yes, Godzilla appears to have been preparing for hibernation and has put on a few pounds. When you first see his elephant like foot come down it’s comical and exciting at the same time. It looks a little goofy but you realize quickly that you’re finally going to get the big reveal, and it’s not disappointing. I’m also very happy they stayed with tradition and kept Godzilla as the good guy in this movie. When he goes claw-to-claw with the other creatures, it’s a blast, and when you see the energy slowly build up starting in the tip of his tail the anticipation for giant laser/blue fire is palpable.

godzilla-nature-has-an-order-trailer-10

The FX team behind Godzilla did an excellent job at giving real emotion to the creatures. At certain points I really felt bad for the creatures designed as the villains. Godzilla is probably not the movie most people were expecting, and that’s a good thing. It’s deeper than what moviegoers were looking for, at least more than I was looking for. The length that the story goes to pleasantly surprised me. There were times I felt like they were just teasing me with the taste of a couple 300 foot monsters about to tear each other limb from limb; but once I realized what was going on I was satisfied with everything I got. Godzilla fights with serious brutality.

All photos belong to Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures

Weekend Wrap-Up…May 18, 2014

In preparation for Denver Comic Con, we’ve been writing daily articles spotlighting guests at the con – called “Respect My Craft. Just last week, we wrote on:

Godzilla! Everybody’s favorite giant lizard monster is back at it. This opening weekend of Godzilla was the highest-grossing film of the year. This isn’t a very accurate representation of the movie, but it’s close enough. Expect our review soon.

heisenberg godzilla

The Game of Thrones got really juicy last week, with Peter Dinklage giving one of the show’s best performances (I only wish it could have lasted longer). Tonight’s episode, “Mockingbird,” is sure to be a thriller. Judging by the name, I’d say Littlefinger (who carried around a mockingbird pin) and Sansa, our “Little Bird,” will get plenty of attention.

Speaking of GoT, creator George R.R. Martin gets animated with it, as he appears on Robot Chicken in this clip inspired by Alfred Hitchcock’s Birds.

The government actually has a zombie fallout plan. Tax dollars wasted or bigger conspiracy??

The first full trailer for Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar has dropped. There’s a big emphasis on Murphy’s Law, and finding life on another planet when the food source on ours runs out (we’ll always have Cheetos, right?). Matthew McConaughey and My Cocaine (Michael Caine) star in this sci-fi thriller.

Everybody calm down! The next DC Animated project announced is… Aquaman and his New52 origin story. I hope all you people who were complaining of too many Batman films are happy when Arthur Curry starts riding seahorses and talking to dolphins. Jokes aside, Geoff John’s Aquaman run to kick off the re-launch was pretty good, and made the masses respect the ridiculed character. There’s still a while until this comes out, but the next DC Animated film to come out will be Batman: Attack on Arkham.

The new teaser for Guardians of the Galaxy is out, and Rocket Raccoon’s voice is heard. Blam! I murdered you!

DC Comics has released the creative teams and covers to the HUGE September crossover for Futures End. They will feature 3D holographic covers, and if they’re anything like last year’s “Villain Month,” they will fly off the stands. Just beware, there is going to be an awful lot of cash-grabbing issues, most of which will be terribly written and uninteresting.

While Spider-Man might have been the originator of the superhero selfie, DC Comics will be releasing selfie-themed issues coming this August.

Cinderell-y, Cinderell-y night and day its Cinderell-y!  Next year the live action version of Cinderella comes out.  Considering Cinderella is Adrian’s favorite Disney movie of all time, this is pretty big news.  Check the teaser below:

Get ready to eat and read at Chipotle.  The restaurant chain is debuting literary cups with the likes of Toni Morrison, Jonathon Safran Foer, Malcolm Gladwell and many more contributing to musings that are sure to be written in perfect typography.

#Showoff

DC Comics is hooking up with NASCAR, which I can imagine won’t reach either demographic to get into the other, but it’s worth a shot.

While I’m still reeling off the news of Far Cry 4, there’s news afoot that Halo 5 will be coming to X-Box One next year.

This was bound to happen, and I mean that in a great way, Skylanders will be coming to IDW Comics.

Written by Adrian Puryear and Sherif Elkhatib

 

 

 

Monthly Movie Preview: May 2014

May 2 – The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Sally Field, Dane Dehaan, Paul Giamatti, and Stan Fudgin’ Lee

Ok, I won’t even lie to you; Hush Comics got to see this movie a week in advance (check out our spoiler-free review here), so my job here is difficult. How do I write a preview for a movie I’ve already seen, without spoilers? Hang on web-heads, here we go! Andrew Garfield reprises his role as Peter Parker, alongside real life girlfriend Emma Stone (Gwen Stacy). While uncovering the true nature of his parents demise he discovers a dark truth about Oscorp, now run by his child-hood friend Harry Osborn (Dane Dehaan). Add an Eminem Stan-like social outcast with newly acquired powers over all things electrical in Electro (Jamie Foxx) and you have 142 minutes of web-slinging action.  Spidey swings through New York City GoPro style in this amazing sequel. Directed by Mark Webb (500 Days of Summer). Produced by Ari Arad (Iron Man) and Matt Tolmach. Easter Egg: Wait for those post credits and Shazam the Alicia Keys/Kendrick Lamar mash-up, “It’s On Again,” to access the bonus clip. Details here http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=52504 – John

May 2 – The Protector 2

Starring: Tony freaking Jaa, The RZA

The martial artist legend, Tony Jaa, returns for a sequel to the 2005 The Protector. There’s really never much in terms of storyline with his film, but he busts out some of the most ridiculous stunt work I’ve ever seen. On the other hand, The RZA is in the movie. I know that he loves martial arts flicks, and that he’s kind of earned his striped in that department, but him as the main antagonist is a joke – an Iron Fist sized joke. The movie technically came out last October internationally, but for some reason has had a fair amount of trouble making a US release date (initially Protector 2 was given a March update. If you’re looking for great martial arts and can put up with sub-par acting, then you should give this a go – or at least go rent Ong Bak and The Protector. – Sherif

 

May 2 – Walk of Shame

Starring: Elizabeth Banks, James Marsden, Gillian Jacobs

Effie Trinket takes a break from leading children to the  slaughter to murder brain cells with this incredibly shallow attempt at comedy. Banks plays Meghan, a workaholic reporter who is pressured to go out with her friends – one of which is Gillian Jacobs AKA Britta from Community. When news arrives that she has an opportunity to be a news anchor, she slips out and misfortune ensures. Poor helpless white girl gets lost on the wrong side of town and must find her way back to her dream job opportunity. It’s like a cross between The Hangover and Homeward Bound, except it will most definitely suck ass. Can we expect anything more from the guy who directed Movie 43? – Sherif

 

May 2 – Belle

Starring: Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Tom Wilkinson, Miranda Richardson, Penelope Wilton, Matthew Goode, and Emily Watson

I saw the preview for Belle waiting for The Grand Budapest Hotel. If the movie is anything like the preview, I expect myself to be a puddle of tears by the end of the movie. The music alone had me wishing I’d brought tissue to the theater, though I’m a sucker for period movies that question the landscapes of society.  Belle is about Dido, an illegitimate biracial daughter of a naval officer. As a child, Dido is brought back England and raised by her uncle and her white cousin.  The movie seems to be awash with the intersections of race, gender, and class during a time when England was questioning their participation in Slavery. Grab your tissue; this movie looks like it’s going to be a tearjerker.  – Jené

May 9 – Neighbors

Starring: Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Rose Bryne, Dave Franco (21 Jump StreetScrubs), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (McLovin), Lisa Kudrow,

Are you prepared for a war of the neighbors like never before? What will surely be the best comedy of the year so far pits Mac and Kelly Radner (Rogan and Bryne) against Teddy (Efron) and his army of frat brothers. Things are civil until Mac snitches, starting an all-out war between a full-grown adult and a group of college kids with literally nothing to do. The prank wars and satirical one-liners in the trailer were enough to get me excited about it. Historically, it marks the only time I can say I’m interested in a Zack Efron movie. Especially when I’m getting to the age where I side with the grown-ups, it should be fun to see if viewers are as polarized when choosing sides as I am. – Sherif

 

May 9 – Chef

Starring: Jon Favreau, Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Sofía Vergara, Dustin Hoffman, John Leguizamo, Bobby Cannavale (Gyp Rosetti in Boardwalk Empire), Amy Sedaris

Want to know what it’s like to watch a “feel-good” movie all about “feel-good” food?  If you answered no to that I think you need to calm down and try again…  I’m just trying to tell you about Jon Favreau’s newest movie titled Chef coming out this month.  Starring himself and cast of other comedians, this movie is all about food, family and passion.  Favreau portrays a chef with ambition and bristling culinary creativity.  After being stifled by his boss (Hoffman), he decides to take matters into his own hands and purchase his very own food truck.  Toss all that into a pan, add in some strong morals and family values, and top off with Scarlett Johansson and Sofia Vergara and throw it in the oven for 115 minutes.  Oh, I forgot the final step… Enjoy. – Taylor

 

May 9 – Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return

Starring: Lea Michele, Dan Aykroyd, Kelsey Grammer, Jim Belushi, Martin Short, Patrick Stewart

Dorothy has returned to the land of Oz! It’s a fun concept that is justifiably revisited to explore upon the vast and imaginative world. This animated film is surely for the kids, but that doesn’t mean you have to stop yourself from enjoying it, too. It looks adorable, and it’s one of the few movies out anymore that’s genuinely for young children, so parents, this might be a rare opportunity to see a movie without having to lie to your kids about what certain things mean. The cast is full of old Hollywood stars. I’m sure it can’t touch Frozen, but for parents who think their children will find Maleficent too frightening, this is your movie of the month. – Sherif

 

May 16 – Godzilla

Starring: Bryan Cranston, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen

There isn’t a lot to say about Godzilla. IT’S FREAKING GODZILLA! Also, Bryan Cranston – so that’s pretty sweet. At first look, this reboot appears to be a true homage to the delightfully campy Japanese originals, but without all of the cheese from the Matthew Broderick reboot. The trailers brought me pure excitement and when they revealed Godzilla in all of it’s glory, I felt my eyes get wider.  Having Gareth Edwards (Monsters) directing this reboot bodes well for its reception; Edwards proved that he can combine giant monsters with good storytelling quite successfully. I have a little trepidation when it comes to the writing because Godzilla is literally the second screenplay that writer Max Borstein has ever done. Trusting such a monsterous (no pun intended) property with a virtually untested writer comes as a bit of surprise. Rounding of the already large (pun intended) cast is a strong line up of actors and actresses that I have no doubt will hold the story together. Bryan Cranston is always fantastic and appears to bring some serious intensity to the movie. Ken Wantanabe is usually a strong part of any cast. With Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Elizabeth Olson, Juliette Binoche and Sally Hawkins evening everything else out I have no doubt that this will be the reboot Godzilla deserved.  Now go see it! – Scott

 

May 16 – Million Dollar Arm

Starring: Don Draper Jon Hamm, Madhur Mittal (Slumdog Millionaire), Suraj Sharma (Life of Pi), Lake Bell, Aasif Mandvi (The Daily Show)

I figure if you’re going to begin Jon Hamm’s futile effort to try to avoid being typecast as the star of Mad Men, you might as well go half-way around the world to do it. Based off a real-life Indian reality TV show, Million Dollar Arm follows struggling agents who travel to India to recruit cricket players capable of throwing fast enough to be competitive features. What Bernstein (Hamm) learns along the way is that these recruits are people, not cash cows (or cows at all, seeing as they are sacred in India). Everybody bonds, players become professionals, Disney credits roll, it all makes sense. It’s an interesting story – one that you can buy the book for if interested – but I just don’t see it having the appeal that a sports movie of that magnitude should have. – Sherif

May 16 – The Immigrant

Starring: Marion Cotillard, Joaquin Phoenix, Jeremy Renner, Angela Sarafyan

Not to star this off biased but it is hard for me to see an ad for a Joaquin Phoenix film and think, “Awesome, I am definitely seeing that!” After he sort of lost his mind for the sake of the fake documentary, I’m Still Here, he has lost the amazing appeal he had before for me at least. Besides him though this films stars the great Marion Cotillard whom you may know as Miranda/Talia Al Ghul from The Dark Knight Rises, and Jeremy Renner whom we all know as Hawkeye from the Marvel Comics cinematic universe. The story follows Ewa (Cotillard) as a newly arrived immigrant in Manhattan. Ewa was traveling with her sister Magda (Angela Sarafyan) who when they get to New York is quarantined because of a lung disease and can only be helped with money which neither woman has. Ewa is then taken in by Bruno (Phoenix) who although seems friendly at first forces her into prostitution to earn the money to help get her sister out of quarantine. Bruno’s cousin Emilaka Orlando the Magician (Renner) tries to save Ewa from having to be a prostitute and things go crazy in the process. This film seem kind like one that will be loved for being a great drama but the plot is not original as I have seen female immigrants being helped by sleazy American’s who make them be prostitute’s a lot in my film and story experience. This obviously is going to be aimed at the 25- 60 year old range of people as kids and most elderly people would find the material a bit too much to handle. Overall, the film looks like it could be good but most likely will be forgotten in the realm of the huge blockbusters this month has to offer. – Jacob

May 23 – X-Men: Days of Future Past

Starring: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry, Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Lawrence, Anna Paquin, Peter Dinklage

So this movie has basically everyone in it. With the cast that has credits in: The Chronicles of Narnia, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Lord of The Rings, Hunger Games and Game of Thrones, what more could you possibly want? The original X-Men cast join our First Class mutants in a fight to save humanity. The movie, adapted from The Uncanny X-Men story arc #141-142, follows Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) as he travels in time to prevent an event that leads to push mutant kind to the brink of extinction. Produced and directed by Bryan Singer (Usual Suspects, soon to be National Sex Offender Registry member). Runtime 130. Fun Fact: According to IMDB, the legal issues between Marvel Studios and Fox films have reached mutant proportions!  Due to a court order, “No reference to Quicksilver’s (Evan Peters) membership in the Avengers can be made in an “X-Men” film, and no allusion to his relations to the X-Men or Magneto (the character’s father) can be made in an “Avengers” film; the rights agreement between Fox and Marvel even goes so far as to stipulate the character cannot be referred to as a “mutant” in any Marvel film.” – John

May 23 – The Angriest Man in Brooklyn

Starring: Robin Williams, Mila Kunis, Peter Dinklage, James Earl Jones, Melissa Leo

Robin Williams’ career has fallen off more steeply than the slalom of cocaine he used to balance it with. Since completely abandoning his family-friendly persona, Williams has failed to connect with the masses on the big or small screen. The Angriest Man in Brooklyn is the tale of Henry (Williams), a patient who pisses his nurse (Kunis) off, so she messes with him and tells him that he has 90…minutes left to live. It’s a cruel joke, but one I’m sure every nurse wishes they could tell a belligerent patient and get away with it. As Henry frantically tries to right his wrongs, he realizes how much he actually appreciates what he has. It’s a tired story (actually a remake of a 1997 Israeli film), and I’d honestly rather see the new Adam Sandler movie than this; that’s how bad this looks. – Sherif

 

May 23 – Tracks

Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Adam Driver

Tracks, based on Robyn Davison’s memoir by the same name, was originally released in 2013 in Australia. The movie was directed by John Curran, director of The Painted Veil. In 1970, Robyn travels 1700 miles across the deserts of west Australia. Her only companions are four camels and her dog.  There have been two previous attempts to adapt this book into a movie; however, all of them failed. Julia Roberts at one time was going to play the lead in the movie. Just watching the preview the landscape is breathtaking and the desert a force to be reckoned with. The aerial shots of the desert reminded me of the Egypt’s desert, which is both beautiful and harsh – a seemingly perfect backdrop of Robyn’s journey of the soul.  Looking forward to May’s lineup of movies. – Jené

May 23 – Blended

Starring: Adam Sandler, Drew Barrymore, Shaquille O’Neal, Terry Crews, Joel McHale

Another Adam Sandler movie?…  Instant reaction: severe rolling of eyeballs (I swear I saw my brain).  By the end of the preview: giggles and a quick re-checking of the release date.  Nobody does “hit-or-miss” to greater extremes than Sandler.  I mean, Jack & JillThat’s My Boy…  come on.  But then you remember Click, Spanglish, and The Wedding Singer and you feel a little forgiving.  Now, if you carefully think about Sandler’s resume you’ll notice a theme.  His best movies include one particular co-cast member that makes HALF of every movie they appear in.  If you weren’t thinking of Drew Barrymore, YOU LOSE!  She headlines Blended with Sandler this May.  The two of them play single parents struggling to find a new love connection.  After some initial and disheartening first dates (all 50 First Dates, to be specific), they both seem content to continue focusing on their kids.  That is until the two families collide on a coincidental exotic, safari vacation.  While I’m still trying to dislodge one of my eyes from the back of my skull, I can’t help but feel excited at the prospect of seeing Sandler and Barrymore on screen together again.  I wonder if it’ll top The Waterboy (yeah, right). – Taylor

 

May 30 – Maleficent

Starring: Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley, Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, Lesley Manville

Villains are always best when they think they are the hero. Stripped of her beautiful wings, her homeland ravaged and, on top of it all, not invited to Princess Aurora’s christening? Maleficent has gotten the raw deal. Played by the ageless beauty, Angelina Jolie, Maleficent must protect the realm from the ignorance and belligerence of man. The film was originally set to release in March, but was adjusted around to the end of May. The tone is dark, but still beautiful, as embodied in the theme “Once Upon A Dream,” covered by Lana Del Ray – who was hand-picked by Jolie to sing it. It may have a Disney label, but I expect this to be more dark fantasy than the 50’s princess tale it’s inspired by. The film is being directed by Robert Stromberg, who is new to directing, but has made major design contributions to Disney’s two most recent live-action releases: Oz the Great and Powerful and Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland. Anybody who still holds Disney in their hearts need to find their way to the theaters and check this out. – Sherif

 

May 30 – A Million Ways to Die in the West

Starring: Seth McFarlane, Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, Liam Neeson, Giovanni Ribisi, Neil Patrick Harris, Sarah Silverman

I can’t even remember the last time I looked forward to one, let alone two, comedies in a month. The tail end of May gives us another Seth McFarlane film about surviving in the wild West. Boasting an all-star cast that’s guaranteed to coax laughter, McFarlane should be able to recreate the same laughs from the same crowd he received in Ted. When Albert (McFarlane) falls in love with Anna (Theron), her husband Clinch (Neeson) makes Albert duel for her. A Million Ways is becoming a comedian’s orgy the more I hear about it with word of Bill Maher, Christopher Lloyd, Gilbert Gottfried (yuck, maybe orgy was a poor choice of words) joining the cast. I’m expecting cheap thrills and non-stop jokes, just as anybody who follows his body of work would. – Sherif

 

May 30 – Filth

Starring: James McAvoy, Imogen Poots, Jamie Bell

Filth, released in Scotland last year and soon to be released in the U.S., James McAvoy plays Bruce Robertson, a detective. Now, Bruce is a pretty well-rounded a-hole. McAvoy portrays the king of degenerates, abusive, alcoholic, drug using, manipulative and a real dick to everyone he works with. And the guy just wants a promotion to Detective Inspector.  Now that sounds like fun, and watching the trailers will confirm that it looks like fun. Filth is directed by Irvine Welch, creator of Trainspotting. McAvoy appears to very much in the same vain of Ewan McGregor’s character, Renton, from Trainspotting. He’s not someone you’d ever want to associate with but you still feel for him in the end.  Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 78% fresh rating so that helps out too. If you like dark British (Scottish) comedies like Trainspotting, Snatch, and In Bruges, I’m sure Filth will not disappoint. – Scott

 

The Desolation of Tolkien’s Universe

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Genre – Fantasy 
Director – Peter Jackson
Cast – Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom, Richard Armitage, Evangeline Lilly
Alluring element – Based off J.R.R. Tolkien’s classic novel The Hobbit
Check it out if you liked – The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Plot – 6
Acting – 8
Representation of Genre – 8  
Cinematography – 9
Effects/Environment – 9
Captivity – 8
Logical consistency – 8
Originality/Creativity –  8
Soundtrack/Music – 8
Overall awesomeness – 8

hush_rating_80

Let me preface by stating that I am not the biggest Tolkien nerd ever. I do, however, enjoy his work immensely. The first book my mother and I read together was The Hobbit. I can remember being terrified for Bilbo while he was caught in the giant spider’s web. I have read it a dozen times since, most recently last year with my son. I read The Lord of the Rings trilogy in middle-school and thoroughly enjoyed all three films. On a scale of LOTR nerdiness, on a scale of Bilbo to Aragorn, I put myself at a Gimli. I am no where as nerdy as my poet buddy, Ken Arkind, who went to visit the actual Shire in New Zealand last year. I was thrilled when MGM announced a Hobbit film, but was deflated when I found out that it would be a three-part franchise. The LOTR books average 400 pages apiece. My son’s leather- bound copy of The Hobbit is exactly 276 pages long. It’s mathematically impossible to make a trilogy of three hour films from so few pages, unless you have filler – and filler, there is.

This is not to say that I completely disliked the film. Its run time of 161 minutes is entirely too long, but there are some gems that allow us to enjoy the wonderment of Middle-earth. Not to mention that it earned $73.6 million in its opening, although this is a drop from the first hobbit movie.

We are almost immediately whisked into the story where we left off in An Unexpected Journey. Our dwarves are still accompanied by a wizard, who looks remarkably like Magneto, and an unlikely burglar, Bilbo Baggins. Bilbo is played by the always entertaining Martin Freeman. The dwarves draw closer to Erebor, the lost dwarf mountain. The treasure of their conquered home is guarded by Smaug, the fire-breathing dragon. Benedict Cumberbatch (Khan!!!) pulled double duty, voicing the Godzilla-like flying lizard and the Necromancer.  The real jewel of the dwarf vault is a most priced possession, the Arkenstone. Our dwarf leader, Thorin Oakenshield, plans to reclaim his bling and slay the dragon.

Our protagonists are still being hunted by Orcs. These grotesque brutes are merciless in their hunt for dwarf blood, but they are overplayed, and if you are like me you look forward to their appearance only to see how creative our heroes can be when they kill them. Since they pose no real threat, it’s hard to feel anxiety during battle sequences. There is one exception, the river-barrel ride from Mirkwood. Our short-of-stature heroes escape elven captivity and take a Universal Studios-like roller coaster ride downstream while being pursued by Orcs. They kill the Goblins effortlessly and almost to a rhythm.  At times it feels more like a video-game than movie, but the sequence is whimsical and fun. I literally laughed a few times at its outrageousness. It had the same feel of the dinner party clean-up scene at Biblo’s from the first film. The dwarves are the stars of this film and deservedly so.

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“How does my hair look?”

Speaking of elves, Tauriel (Elf for eye-candy), played by fanboy favorite Evangeline Lilly is the best and worst thing about the film. First of all, she is a certified dime-piece. When she first appeared, I almost forgot what movie I was watching. The character was created to add a love interest to our metro-sexual elven archer Legolas. And we need this to our classic tale because, “Who wants to watch a movie about a bunch of dudes lost in the woods?” But there’s a twist – Tauriel seems to have a Keebler-sized crush on the dwarf warrior Kili. This pisses Legolas off…a lot. This subplot is lost on me. Does a big budget film have to build an emotional investment in it’s audience? Yes. But does it have to lose integrity by adding meaningless romance arcs? No.

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“C’mon, you realize he is like 4ft tall right?”

Any guesses as to what Gandalf is doing? If you said, wandering off on his own and getting captured you get a gold star. This angle is boring and unnecessary. He gets locked up every movie. Clearly he needs a Get-Out-Of-Mordor free card. The Necromancer theme is also overplayed and dull. We are all well aware that the middle movie in a trilogy is doomed from the start, but simplifying this film may have actually made it more enjoyable to the average movie-goer.

Where is my Hobbit?! You know, the cheeky little fellow with a big heart and hairy feet? The obsessive compulsive kleptomaniac with the ring of power? There and Back Again? It seems like our true hero was forgotten about, lost in a script filled with bully Orcs and pretentious elves. A huge draw to The Hobbit as a book is the idea of a small person making a big difference. Bilbo inspires us and we need him to save the day.

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There he is, in the best scene in the film, deep within Erebor face to snout with a dragon. Let me add that Martin Freeman adds credibility to this film with pure skill. He is as much Bilbo Baggins as we could hope for. The introduction of Smaug is amazing. He lays in dwarf gold like a crocodile in still water. He emerges in fantastic fashion. He is death on wings. Four stories tall with skin like metal. Peter Jackson sure does know how to do monsters well. As Bilbo has an epic showdown with the beast we are fearful for the Lake town of Dale, a human fishing port. Smaug had once burned this tiny village, and if his wrath is unleashed again there is no telling what is possible.

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“Where is Khaleesi when you need her?”

The film is entertaining, but about 45 minutes too long. Your little hobbits may not make it all the way through without a potty break, but it’s a great holiday movie for the family. Tolkien purists will hate it. There is too much emphasis on the city of Dale, too little emphasis on our hobbit, and a lot of “meh” time. The casual nerd will debate with their friends about the height of a hobbit and the color of Orlando Bloom’s hair. Overall you will enjoy the adventure and hopefully pick up the book again, just as I did, and read these most important words, “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.”

Written by John Soweto

Godzilla Trailer

Whenever I hear “Godzilla”, I think of cheesy movies about Tokyo and Matthew Broderick.  But this one looks awesome.  Who knows if the story sucks, but the visuals are amazing!