Monthly Movie Preview: June 2014

May was full of comic book movies, but June is about to get the summer poppin’ with a variety of family and comedy films. There are some pretty cool independent films out, too. Here’s the skinny on this upcoming months’ movies:

June 6 – Edge of Tomorrow

Starring: Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt

Another year, another Tom Cruise action flick. It’s not that I don’t think he does a poor job at being an action star, but every idea he’s in feels completely recycled. Even though the premise of the film is nothing like Oblivion, the ambiance of the films feel exactly the same, and there is absolutely nothing to convince me there is something new and exciting to see here. Actually, the plot reminds me of 2011’s Source Code; in Edge of Tomorrow, Tom Cruise is forced to repeat the same day of war against the Mimic aliens over and over again, trying to find the point in all of it. The film is borrowed from the Japanese novel All You Need is Kill. It’s a really cool concept, and looks worth seeing if you like the genre. – Sherif

June 6 – The Fault in Our Stars

Starring: Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort

“Hazel Grace Lancaster (Shailene Woodley) is an atypical teenager living with cancer, oxygen tank trailing forever behind her. While medication and frequent doctors visits have extended her life quite a bit, she is very much aware that she is dying. After being deemed depressed by both her mother and doctor, Hazel begins attending a cancer support group. It is here that she meets Augustus Waters (Ansel Elgort), a charismatic, sly, metaphoric loving cancer survivor determined to make his mark on the world. Together they find “a forever within the numbered days,” a love that transcends their illness, and an adventure that makes them both feel infinitely alive whilst on the border of death.” – Charlotte (an excerpt from her full spoiler-free review here)

June 13 – How to Train Your Dragon 2

Starring: Jay Baruchel, Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Djimon Hounsou, Craig Ferguson, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Kristen Wiig

How To Train Your Dragon was an incredibly well done movie about a boy that brings peace to his viking village and the dragons who inhabit the area. There’s several different dragon types shown in the movie (and even more are presented in the TV show spin off, The Riders of Burk). However, the spotlight shines brightest on Hiccup and his Night Fury Dragon named Toothless.The pair make an amazing team, ending a war and saving lifes, all while Hiccup learns to accept himself and discover his unique calling in life. The first movie is phenomenal, and a must see, full of moments that will make you laugh, cry, and leave you on the edge of your seat. The second movie introduced a character previously alluded to be dead, Hiccup’s mom (can’t wait to hear that explanation); it turns out that dragon training is in his blood. This reunion comes just in time as an enemy force, composed of more dragon-riding vikings, threatens to strip Hiccup and his friends of their beloved dragons. The trailers give me high hopes that this sequel can be held to the same standards as the first. The imagery is stunning (makes me sad I don’t have a dragon of my own) and there appears to be more of the same adorable dragon humor as the original. I look forward to seeing all the new dragon types and Hiccup all grown up. – Sara

June 13 – 22 Jump Street

Starring: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Ice Cube

Ever since the first modern 21 Jump Street, starring Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill, I have loved seeing this combo on the big screen. And now that the sequel is being released, I am absolutely excited. This movie better hold up to my expectations because if it doesn’t, I might just have to go back to either high school or college and start selling drugs, and they don’t want that. In this action-packed comedy the police duo are stepping out of the little leagues and heading into the majors as they tackle college. That’s right! The big give-me-a-C-O-L-L-E-G-E, and what does that spell? It spells nothing but chaos and comedy rolled into one movie. With returning characters such as Captain Dickson, played by Ice Cube, Deputy Chief Hardy, played by Nick Offerman, and Mr. Walters, played by Rob Riggle, I believe that this will be a great movie. And if you go see this movie for anything, anything at all, you must go see it to see Channing Tatum’s flawless Hispanic accent. And I do mean flawless. So go see this movie. It will be amazing; it will be your worst…I mean best nightmare (see what I did there?). – Evan

June 20 – The Rover

Starring: Guy Pearce, Robert Pattinson

A huge economic collapse happened 10 years ago in the West and now all hell breaks loose in the new drama, The Rover. This film takes place in Australia where we meet  Eric (Guy Pearce), a man whom, after the collapse, has nothing left but one possession and a gang breaks in and steals it and in the process of them trying to get away one of the gang members is  injured and left behind for dead. The gang member, Rey (Robert Pattinson), teams up with Eric to catch the gang since they left him for dead. The film seems like a good drama but it also seems like a movie that may not hit certain audiences too well. It seems like a lot of the post apocalyptic sort of drama action films like Children of Men, I Am Legend, and Book of Eli. I tend to like this genre and I will not pass any Twilight hate onto Robert Pattinson and not see the film which may end up being a performance that shows he is more than just sparkly Edward to a lot of people. If you like intense dramas definitely check this out as well as if you enjoy the end of the world with no zombies but lots of action and thrills type of film. – Jacob

June 20 – Coherence

Starring: NIcholas Brendon, Elizabeth Gracen

Honestly, the plot of Coherence is a little befuddling.  However, that won’t stop me from seeing it.  Coherence takes place in one night at a dinner party of eight close friends.  When a comet passes Earth, weird stuff starts to happen, and the friends find out about each other, them selves, and their relationships.  Every review has touted it as being incredibly well written and acted.  I will go see it purely off the cast, though.  Elizabeth Gracen, who played Amanda in The Highlander TV series is a seller.  But the winner is to Nicholas Brendon, who played Xander Harris on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Not only have his roles since Buffy ended been sparse, but this role doesn’t make him seem like the “nerd” he has so often portrayed.  I am excited to see him break out of his typecast shell and explore other roles.  -Adrian

 

June 27 – Transformers: Age of Extinction

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci

Say what you will about Michael Bay, but he has made some damn good Transformers movies. The fourth installment, Age of Extinction, finally lets go of the formerly famous Shia LaBeouf and choosing a more adept action hero. Marky Mark himself takes the reigns on this one; giant robots are already the fail-safe summer blockbuster, but now that Mark Wahlberg is starring instead of LaBeouf, I’m much more interested in seeing it. Since Dark of the Moon pretty much wrapped up the trilogy with Optimus Prime pretty much going Sub-Zero on Megtron, I’m not too sure where Age of Extinction is going, but it almost looks to be LEGO Movie type of thing going on, inspiring kids to pick up their Robots in Disguise one more time. The world has recovered from the Decepticons’ attack and the Transformers have officially been rendered obsolete. Somewhere along the line, the stupid, puny humans reactivate the Decepticons and create DINOBOTS! Don’t expect this to blow you away, but it’s a necessary summer action movie carried by a vetted action hero. Plus, DINOBOTS! – Sherif

June 27 – WHITEY: United States of America v. James J. Bulger

Starring: Various

Okay, I admit it. I’m a total sucker for crime documentaries; there’s just something alluring about organized crime that I love watching stories about. That being said, James Bulger’s story is straight-up frightening. There is nothing entertaining about mass murder and dealing; Bulger reign in Boston ranks up there with some of the most gruesome. It also opens up eyes in the way that he was able to stay out of prison. He had the FBI on pay-roll for decades. He was just convicted in 2011, at 81 years old. Bulger is such a bad man that he was used as the inspiration for Jack Nicholson’s Frank Costello in The Departed, as well as Showtime’s Brotherhood, and an upcoming film titled Black Mass starring Johnny Depp. This won’t be for the faint of heart, or for people who are bored by the genre, but it will make for a captivating and horrifying documentary about one of America’s most notorious gangsters. – Sherif

Monthly Movie Preview: March 2014

March is here and with it comes a few of the year’s most anticipated action films. There’s a little something for everybody: big money blockbusters, children’s flicks, intriguing independents and guilty pleasure films.

March Movie Preview Photo Stitch

March 7 – 300: Rise of an Empire

Starring: Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green, Lena Headey, Hans Matheson

Now that all those crappy Valentine’s Day movies are out of the way, it’s time for the manliest of manly movies. A prequel? A sequel? The answer is C, all of the above. Following the tale of the man-God named Xerxes from his “transformation” to the defeat of the Spartans and quest for domination against Greece. Meanwhile, Themistokles gathers the entire Grecian fleet to take down the Persians. Like 300 before it, Rise of an Empire will be directed by Zack Synder and based off of Frank Miller’s writing. Oddly enough, this film is based off Xerxes, which hasn’t even been published yet. I’m not sure how the story will play out, but all I really expect is big budget action and effects – anything more than that is just syrup on the pancake. – S

March 7 – Grand Piano

Starring: Elijah Wood, John Cusack

Stage fright? No worries, because Grand Piano has the solution. In this independent film, which debuted last September, a famous pianist (Wood) returns to the stage after infamously choking at his last performance. This time, though, the pianist has the added motivation in the form of a sniper, who threatens to shoot him if his fingers mess up a single note. It’s a bit of a crazy idea, but I think that’s what will really make this work. Everything seems dramatized in the trailer, insinuating that this will be a real thriller – not the cheap horror angle that is so easy to play off. I’m interested to see where this goes, but I’m not vested enough to see this in theaters – S

March 7 – Mr. Peabody and Sherman

Starring: Ty Burrell, Max Charles, Stephen Colbert, Allison Janney

Grab onto your butts and get ready to go on an adventure with everybody’s favorite dog genius. Originally a short in the Rocky & Bullwinkle show called “Peabody’s Improbable History” in the 1950’s and 1960’s, Mr. Peabody has been renewed in epic proportions. The original segment was purely educational, so it will be bittersweet to have the movie become such a spectacle. There are a lot of laughs in the trailer alone, but I really enjoyed learning about historical times and figures, and it feels like Dreamworks is cheapening the experience a little. Visiting Egypt, Italy and Greece will be fun for the whole family, I’m sure, so If nothing else, I look forward to the witty banter of Peabody and Sherman – just like old times. – S

March 14 – Need for Speed

Starring: Aaron Paul, Imogen Poots, Dominic Cooper, Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi

It’s a funny cycle, this racing genre thing. When I was in high school, the Need for Speed games were really taking off – and it seems as though the Fast and the Furious films only only amplified it’s success. Heck, the downhill drifting scenes in Toyko Drift looked like they came straight out of Need for Speed: Carbon. Ten years later and the Fast and the Furious has solidified itself as a stable movie franchise, while Need for Speed‘s popularity has dwindled considerably, even after the addition of a story mode. Now Need for Speed has entered the realm of movies. There’s really only one selling point for me here, and its name is Aaron Paul (Jesse Pinkman from Breaking Bad). It might be too early to suggest replacing the late Paul Walker with Aaron Paul, but I’m seeing no reason for another street racing genre movie. – S

March 14 – The Grand Budapest Hotel

Starring: Saoirse Ronan, Ralph Fiennes, Bill Murray, Tilda Swinton, Jeff Goldblum, Jason Schwartzman

Wes Anderson is a movie making genius.  So thank goodness that his latest project is coming out this month – The Grand Budapest Hotel.  The story follows Misuser Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes), the illustrious concierge of The Grand Budapest Hotel, and his various and most interesting adventures with his disciple lobby boy.  While the main plot appears to revolve around the theft of a famous painting, the real allure are all the minute – and more often than not – hilarious details that can only be seen in a Wes Anderson movie.  GBH (yes, I’m giving it an acronym cause it’ll be that cool) promises to be one of Anderson’s best.  You can tell by the star studded lineup: Adrien Brody, Willem Dafoe, Jude Law, Edward Norton, Tilda Swinton, Owen Wilson, and it wouldn’t be a Wes Anderson without Bill Fu**ing Murray.  Not bad for an independent filmmaker.  Anderson’s approach and style to filming is so creatively unique, it’s practically hypnotic.  I’d dare to say that nobody out there makes a better “feel-good” movie than this guy.  If you’ve never heard of Wes Anderson or seen one of his movies, Hush Comics highly recommends you find your nearest Indie-Cinema and add The Grand Budapest Hotel to your must see list for March. – T

March 14 – Veronica Mars

Starring: Kristen Bell, Jason Dohring, Krysten Ritter

I won’t lie,  I have never seen Veronica Mars the TV show.  Why would a girl my age not have seen it?  Well, it came out around the time Buffy was ending and I was bitter that any other pretty blonde chick was trying to be a badass.  Ten years later, I realize my mistake.  Not only do I wanna veg on my couch and watch every ep of the show, I really want to see this movie.  The trailer makes it obvious that in order to totally enjoy it, you would have had to have watched the television show.  What is Veronica Mars you may be asking?  Well its about a woman who is really good at investigating crimes in her hometown.  The movie shows her ten years later as a successful lawyer who gets dragged back into the PI biz.  Plus, who doesn’t love Kristen Bell? – A

March 14 – Ernest & Celestine

Starring: Forest Whitaker, Mackenzie Foy, Lauren Bacall, Paul Giamatti, Jeffrey Wright

Now if this isn’t the most adorable movie since Wall-e, I’m not sure what is. Ernest and Celestine follows the unlikely friendship formed between a bear and a mouse, both of whom are outcasted for their bond. E & C was originally a 2012 Belgian film that is being released as an American film; this version has some top-notch actors voicing it. I’m also in love with the animation style. I’m usually crazy about any earnest story about two unlikely friends that come together despite outside circumstances, and I will continue to be inspired until it becomes a non-issue in our world culture.  – S

March 21 – Muppets Most Wanted

Starring: Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey, Ty Burrell, Ray Liotta, Kermit the Frog

Kermie!!!!!  The Muppets franchise is always a must see for the whole family.  In Muppets Most Wanted, Kermit is framed by Constatine, his evil twin.  And Kermit’s friends must save him.  What more do you need to know? A simple plot, but the laughs are sure to be constant.  Not to mention that Tina Fey and Ricky Gervais are in it, so it is sure to be silly and amazing.  – A

March 21 – Divergent

Starring: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Kate Winslet, Ansel Elgort

Divergent is yet another book-to-movie adaptation.  And in the time of dystopias and apocalypses, it just seems like we have all seen this before.  Yet, there is something about the premise that makes me want to read the book (nope, I haven’t read it, yet) in time for the movie.  Honestly, I don’t think the movie looks that great, but the concept of people being broken up into factions is a fascinating metaphor for government control.  Kate Winslet may be the only actor who is worth going to the theater for.  But I will probably wait for the DVD. – A

March 28 – Bad Words

Starring: Jason Bateman, Kathryn Hahn, Rohan Chand

Is it bad the movie I want to see the most this March is about a 40 year old who joins a kids spelling bee, uses the worst kinds of cuss words and really self-centered?  Well, I don’t think so.  Mostly because Jason Bateman has usually played the guy with a head on his shoulders, ya know, like Michael Bluth.  But in Bad Words, he is anything but, and I kinda like it.  Bateman (who also directed and produced this film) plays Guy Trilby who is a high school dropout.  He befriends a boy named Sriram at the spelling bee and learn about life from each other (or at least that’s my guess).  It looks downright hilarious, but check for it in your local indie theater, it won’t be mainstream. – A

March 28 – Noah

Starring: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Anthony Hopkins, Emma Watson

Since The Passion of the Christ, Hollywood has been trying to make epic Bible flicks.  Without going into religion, I don’t really like those types of movies.  But Noah?  It looks pretty darn good.  Maybe its because the director of The Black Swan also is directing this.  Maybe its because the actors are some of the best ever.  Maybe its because the music makes it sound frickin’ epic.  Or maybe, for me, its because my love of A Beautiful Mind proves that Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly should be 2gether 4ever, and were even in Biblical times.  Oh, and voices talked to Crowe even then.  Plus, isn’t Anthony Hopkins a modern day Methuselah?  All jokes aside, I am looking forward to Noah.  It seems less to be promoting religion and more so telling a story that is recognized around the world. – A

March 28 – Sabotage

Starring: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sam Worthington, Terrence Howard, Josh Holloway

Raise your hand if you think Arnold Schwarzenegger should just call it quits already and step away from the camera?  If you were to ask me that a few months ago, my hand would have been up high and waving.  Ask me that now, and you’ll find me sitting on my hands.  Actually, you’ll probably find my hands frantically working my smart phone to find a preview of Sabotage to lay aid to my newfound change of heart.  While I agree with the notion that Arny needs to stay as far away from the Terminator franchise as California is long, I think The Governator is catching his second wind.  He’s not the young action hero he used to be, but roles like the one he has been cast in for Sabotage are perfect for him today.  The film follows a highly trained and effective DEA task force lead by John ‘Breacher’ Wharton (Schwarzenegger) that ends up on the wrong side of a cartel affair.  Wharton and his fellow operatives along with their families are threatened by the drug lords and it’s up to Wharton to GET EVERYBODY TO DA CHOPPA… err… I mean save the day.  Whereas Arnold’s most recent films have been overwhelmingly-cliché action flicks, Sabotage has a real gritty and realistic vibe.  Though I’m sure the action will come in full force, I’m more anxious to see how well Arnold can carry a more serious role.  I’ve got fairly high expectations for what I’m going to coin as the film where “Arnold Got His Groove Back.”  – T

Written by Adrian PuryearSherif Elkhatib and Taylor Lowe

Lone Survivor Review

Genre War, Drama
Director: Peter Berg
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster, Eric Bana
Alluring Element: A true story about American heroes and their fight against the Taliban
Check it out if you liked: Zero Dark Thirty, Saving Private Ryan, Black Hawk Down, Any war genre film
Plot – 9
Acting – 9
Representation of Genre – 10
Cinematography – 8
Effects/Environment – 8
Captivity – 8
Logical Consistency – 8
Originality/Creativity – 7
Soundtrack/Music – 9
Overall Awesomeness – 8

hush_rating_84

There’s only one way to start this review for Lone Survivor.  And that is by thanking all the men and women who bravely and selflessly serve the United States Navy, Marines, Air Force, Army and all the other National Security services that, as Americans, Hush is eternally grateful for.  Hush would like to pay special tribute to the 19 service members that lost their lives in Operation Red Wings – the mission depicted in the film.  Your sacrifice and dedication to protecting all of us is immeasurably and endlessly appreciated.

Lone Survivor opens in strong suit with actual footage from real Navy SEAL training videos.  From the quick glimpses viewers witness, it’s clear to see that the training is unforgivably brutal (on a good day).  I don’t know about you, but I don’t think any part of me could withstand to have my feet and wrist bound only then to be tossed into a swimming pool to better understand the sensation of drowning as a “training” exercise.  Seriously people, if you know any Navy SEALs, next time you see them, shake their hand and thank them.

navy seals

Where the film transitions next is to a calm sunrise at an American military base in Afghanistan.  We’re introduced to Lieutenant Michael Murphy (Kitsch), Sonar Technician 2nd Class Matthew Axelson (Foster), Gunners Mate 2nd Class Danny Dietz (Hirsch) and Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Marcus Lutrell (Wahlberg).  Murphy wakes to an e-mail from his wife, hinting at wedding presents.  Arabian horses.  Yikes!  I hope my wife likes My Little Pony…  We also get glimpses of the other SEALs communicating with loved ones back overseas.  These somber moments hit home right away since most viewers already know how the story ends.  It’s a solid message – a reminder to every person in the audience why these men and women are fighting.  In fact, the first 30 minutes of the film are solely dedicated to experiencing the love and camaraderie shared amongst the SEALs.  Normally I’m one to complain about slow development, but here it’s all appropriate and necessary.  I appreciate the attention to the lighthearted side of a very dark and unpleasant situation.

lone survivor group

Before too long, the SEALs are grouping up to be briefed on operation Red Wings, a mission to identify and eliminate a Taliban leader hiding in Afghanistan.  Again, Director Berg highlights the great care that our military takes in preparing for missions.  Tactical rooms equipped with maps, projectors and PowerPoint presentations (the nerd in me couldn’t resist)!  In what seems like no time, the four man team selected for the mission (Murphy, Axelson, Dietz and Lutrell) are on the ground and traversing the high peaks of the Afghani hills.  On that same note, the scenery was gorgeous.  I was only mildly surprised to learn that much of the film’s outdoor scenes were shot in New Mexico.  The mission is progressing smoothly until the team runs into three goat herders that stumble across the SEALs hiding spot.  Lutrell and team apprehend the wanders and begin discussing their options.

Talks boil down to an ultimatum: (1) murder the civilians for the sake of completing this now compromised mission or, (2) release the innocent prisoners and run home.  The SEALs opt for option two.  Killing the herders would not only be in direct conflict with the “rules of engagement” set forth at mission briefing, but the act would potentially put the SEALs in world news for all the wrong reasons.  On the other hand, the herders make it pretty clear they are not fans of the US and the risk of them being associated with the Taliban is real and likely.  Ultimately, morality overrules as the team feels that killing the herders (two of which are young boys) is simply the wrong thing to do.  The SEALs turn the three loose and then make their way back over the mountain.  Unfortunately for the SEAL team, their communication devices are having a harder time getting a signal than a Verizon customer going through Eisenhower tunnel.  As the four man team continuously try and fail to make contact with their extractors they soon realize their problems are about to get much worse…

long survivor with herders

The remainder of the film is very intense.  As the SEAL team evades the now tipped-off Taliban they are forced to literally jump off cliffs to avoid being overrun and killed.  All the while trying to make contact with home base.  Fighting escalates and viewers are immersed in a torrent of gun fire and explosions.  The most I can say without spoiling anything is that things do not go over so well for Lutrell and his three brothers.

lone survivor injured

A heart-wrenching journey throughout, Lone Survivor is a great film.  Where it differs from the many other war films is its honesty.  Keep in mind folks, that this film is based on a real mission and actual events.  The actual Marcus Lutrell was present for all the behind the scenes action to keep Berg and producers truthful.  That’s not to say that Berg and Wahlberg were out to make an overly dramatic and outlandish film.  They actually went to great measure to tell the story in a way that would make the family members of the SEAL team proud.  Click here to see interview footage from the actual family members and their thoughts on the film.  I have to attest… not all events are accurately portrayed.  Some liberties were taken in the name of suspense.  I’d normally wag my finger at this aspect, but because it didn’t distract from the big picture I didn’t have a hard time overlooking the exaggerations.

The message of this film goes much deeper than I expected.  The black-and-white nature of good vs. bad is explored in a way that makes one question their opinion of what they might hear on Fox news.  Moreover, this movie does an outstanding job of reminding us why it is these noble men and women fight.  It isn’t to destroy evil, it’s not to eliminate threats or become the nation with the biggest stick.  It’s to protect the ones we love.  It’s so that you and I can pursue our passions and dreams uninhibited and carefree.  I’d never been so thankful for the men and women in service to my country after leaving the theater.  It’s a powerful movie and I doubt I’ll soon forget the sacrifices these everyday heroes are making to keep us safe and free.  I recommend you make a trip to the cinema soon to catch this one.  There is not another film out there right now more worthy your time.

red wings team

From left to right, Matthew Axelson, Danny Dietz, Marcus Lutrell, Michael Murphy; Credit: History vs. Hollywood & Photojoiner.net

by Taylor Lowe

Monthly Movie Preview: January 2014

January Movies 2014

Welcome to the New Year!  2014 kicks off with a menagerie more Oscar hopefuls and contenders along with a few sure flops, the kid movie and the annual Mark E Mark, er Wahlberg movie we all know we are gonna watch.  Here are our January 2014 previews!:

January 10 – August: Osage County

Starring: Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Benedict Cumberbatch

August: Osage County is based on the Tony Award winning play of the same name by Tracy Letts.  Now a film adaptation and sure to be a strong contender for several acting categories, the story follows the Weston family after the suicide of their father.  Filled with all sorts of sins including but not limited to, drug use, incest, infidelity and molestation August may be a tough watch, especially since it is touted as a dark comedy.  It is hard to believe that the combination of those things can be funny.  It does have a stellar cast, and I for one am excited to see Julia Roberts back in the type of role that suits her best. -A

January 10 – Her

Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Scarlett Johansson, Rooney Mara, and Olivia Wilde

Written by Spike Jonze, Her follows Theodore, played by Joaquin Phoenix, a man in the midst of divorce and falling in love with an operating system named Samantha.  A seemingly odd plot, Her will more than likely be a little eye-opening about how we all feel about love.  Joaquin Phoenix is said to give a sensational performance and the film as a whole has already received numerous accolades.  I expect this is a film that will define my generations take on love. -A

January 10 – Lone Survivor

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Ben Foster, Emile Hirsch, Taylor Kitsch, Eric Bana

Lone Survivor is a film about four Navy SEALs sent on a mission to take out a Taliban leader in Afghanistan.  When the mission becomes compromised, the four SEALs mission becomes one of survival as they try to escape across the hills of Afghanistan.  The most compelling reason to see this film is that the story is based on true events.  The story was originally told via book authored by Marcus Luttrell – the actual “Lone Survivor” of the SEAL team sent to Afghanistan.  Luttrell was also very involved in the filming process to ensure event accuracy and keep film makers focused the important details.  This film stars Mark Wahlberg as Luttrell and is directed by Peter Berg (Hancock, Battleship).  Wahlberg plays the military role so well (can I get a hey-hey for Shooter?!) and it’ll be good to see him playing the role of true American hero.  Expect this film to be action packed, suspenseful and heart wrenching, but also well worth the trip to the theater. – T

January 17 – Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit

Starring: Chris Pine, Keira Knightley, Peter Andersson, Kevin Costner

Chris Pine as Jack Ryan?  Why not!?  He is the most popular current action-hero.  Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit continues the Jack Ryan film series and is based off the character created by late author Tom Clancy.  Shadow Recruit is a little different than the other movies because it is an original screenplay rather than based off a book by Clancy.  Jack Ryan finds clues that a terrorist attack is going to happen and he must stop it.  Meanwhile, his lover finds out his true identity as a CIA junior analyst.  It’s pretty cut and dry, but who doesn’t love an action-thriller?  I’m looking forward to the newest installment in the series. -A

January 17 – The Nut Job

Starring: Will Arnett, Brendan Fraser, Gabriel Iglesias, Liam Neeson, and Katherine Heigl

This month’s kid flick The Nut Job seems to be aimed toward older kids and adults alike.  Aside from the obvious sexual jokes that can be made out of the title alone, the story is about squirrel named Surly who decides to pull off a heist on a nut store after being forced out of the park and into the city.  The previews look pretty funny and the animation will be a draw for younger kids.  And for the fans out there, lets hope that Will Arnett will show us all a little Gob from Arrested Development in this grand heist. -A

January 17 – Ride Along

Starring: Kevin Hart, Ice Cube, Tika Sumpter

If you haven’t been wedged in a box screaming, “my stomach in my ass,” then you don’t know love. Tim Story, who has directed other films such as the Fantastic 4 films, Think Like a Man, and Barbershop, is out to make sure your stomach is in your ass by the end of this movie. Ben (Kevin Hart) is out to prove to James (Ice Cube), a no-nonsense cop, that he is the right man to marry James’ sister. He does this by agreeing to go on a ride along in the mean streets of Los Angeles. Needless to say, things may or may not get a little out of hands…okay, they definitely will get out of hands; bullets will fly, explosions will erupt and I plan on laughing the whole time. In recent years, Kevin Hart has been everywhere in world of comedy, which should balance well against Ice Cube’s seriousness. So if you want to see Kevin Hart argue and fight with kids and see Ice Cube smash people’s faces in, then this is one you will definitely want to check out in the new year. – E

January 17 – Reasonable Doubt

Starring: Samuel L Jackson, Dominic Cooper

I know you all are just like me – ever since Snakes on a Plane, you haven’t been able to get enough Samuel L. Jackson in your life.  Worry not, faithful fans, Jackson returns in the new year alongside Dominic Cooper (Howard Stark from Captain America) in Reasonable Doubt.  Mitch Brockden (Cooper), District Attorney, finds himself between a rock and a hard place when he runs over a man taking a late night city stroll, killing him.  Mitch flees the scene of the crime, seemingly with no witnesses.  The plot thickens when Mitch becomes the assigned DA for Clinton Davis (Jackson), the man accused (wrongly so, but only know by Mitch) of committing the fatal hit-and-run.  Dun-dun-dunnnn!!  Previews indicate that the story may be even more twisted as Davis begins to reveal he may know more about Cooper and the man he ran over than an innocent man should.  The film is directed by newbie shot-caller Peter P. Croudins.  It’ll be interesting to see if Croudins can carry a complex plot on his first go-around.  With Sam-Jack and Cooper in the spotlight, this one should be entertaining at the least. – T

January 21 – Knights of Badassdom

Starring: Peter Dinklage, Summer Glau, Daniel Pudi, Steve Zahn

Can we just take a moment and applaud whoever had enough clout to cast all of these BAMFs in one movie? Tyrion Lannister (Game of Thrones), River Tam (Firefly) and Abed (Community) are going to be sharing the screen in just a few weeks. This movie hasn’t been heavily promoted – nor should it be. In what has become the niche genre of Horror-Comedy, with movies like Tucker & Dale Vs. Evil and This is the EndKnights of Badassdom looks to be by fanboys for fanboys (and fangirls!). Don’t believe me? Check out director Joe Lynch’s short film inspired by Eddie Brock (Venom) called “Life in Journalism.” Badassdom centers around a group of LARP-ers (Live Action Role-Play) friends who accidentally summon a succubus (female sex demon). If I haven’t sold you yet, I probably am not going to at all. Seeing Daniel Pudi on the big screen is exciting to me, and this will be a must-watch for any self-proclaimed geek. – S

January 24 – I, Frankenstein

Starring: Aaron Eckhart, Bill Nighy

Set in present day, Adam Frankenstein (Aaron Eckhart), still sees himself as the monster that was created 200 years ago, but in fact he may be the key to ending a war between two eternal clans within an ancient city. The movie is based on the graphic novel, with the hopes to be an action packed, dark tale of good versus evil, as well as redemption. However I am skeptical of it all. Yes, there are indeed some things about this movie that could be really cool; gargoyle transformations, weapons and fighting, fire and explosions, but I’m not so sure that stuff alone can carry the story Stuart Beattie is trying to convey to the audience. I do have faith because Beattie has brought this world the Pirates of the Caribbean films as well as G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. Either way, the legend lives, and his name is Adam. Personally I just think it’s weird that this monster of a man that people fear is named Adam. He ought to just stick with Frankenstein – E

January 24 – Gimme Shelter

Starring: Vanessa Hudgens, Rosario Dawson, Brendan Fraser, James Earl Jones

Another January movie with great acting, Gimme Shelter (not like the song by the Rolling Stones) is about a young girl named Apple (Vanessa Hudgens) who is sick of the street life her junkie mother has provided her. She leaves to find her father, who quickly kicks her out due to her pregnancy.  She then is taken into a shelter for expectant teen mothers.  Hudgens is definitely shedding her Disney image in this independent film.  But really, she is the only selling point for me other than the Lana del Rey music in the ad.  It seems like a more privileged Precious and in an era still recovering from 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom, it may be refreshing to see teen girls be normal again. -A

January 31 – That Awkward Moment

Starring: Zac Efron, Michael B Jordan, Miles Teller

What do you call a chick-flick made for men?  A manly-chick-flick?  Maybe a chickman-flick?…  Well whatever you call it, That Awkward Moment is sure to exemplify it.  Total mega-hotties Zac Efron, Michael B. Jordan and Mile Teller play three best friends in the prime of their sexy-young adult lives.  Each of them will explore love and relationships in their own way all the while adapting to the ever changing dynamics of their own friendships.  The lovely female roles are played by Imogen Poots, Addison Timlin and a lot of other hot Hollywood ladies – check the IMDB list and proceed to drool, gentlemen.  That Awkward Moment looks like it’ll be a lot of fun to watch.  I certainly appreciate these types of films where romance and love are put in a more relatable context.  Something that you can watch and think, “I know what that’s like!” or, “that’s definitely happened to me.”  None of that Notebook nonsense.  Now if only I could figure out how Zac Efron got his hair to do that… – T

Written by Adrian PuryearTaylor Lowe, Evan Lowe and Sherif Elkhatib