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.
22 Jump Street
A Million Ways to Die in the West
Knights of Badassdom
WINNER – 22 Jump Street
Let’s be honest. No one goes to see a Jump Street movie because of the plot. But that doesn’t make the franchise any less hilarious. This time, cop duo Schmidt and Jenko are working undercover as college students. While the hijinks were the same, I found this movie funnier than its predecessor because the kids that were doing bad things were actually of age. Ice Cube was hilarious in this movie, particularly when it came to his daughter. There were many laugh-out-loud moments, making it our favorite comedy of the year. Plus Channing Tatum never hurts. – Adrian
Second Place – Neighbors
Although North Korea has made America look like pansies by canceling The Interview with Seth Rogan and James Franco. In 2014, we need to remember we had the next best thing, kinda. We had Neighbors with Seth Rogan, Zac Efron and Dave Franco. This movie was filled with all the classics the world expected out of a Rogan-Franco film; drugs, penises, and the most amazing dildo sword fight scene known to cinematic history. This film was hilarious, and allowed me to see how non-stressful and unserious the world can be sometimes. Without a doubt, 2014 became a little more comical with Neighbors. – Evan
Third Place – Knights of Badassdom
For 90 minutes (ish), Knights of Badassdom made LARPing the coolest thing in the world – and not in that dickish sarcastic way. What really drew me in were the guest appearances by Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister in Game of Thrones) and Danny Pudi (Abed Nadir in Community), not to mention that Firefly’s Summer Glau is the main love interest. This movie does have a bit of horror mixed in, but it’s much more Tucker & Dave Vs. Evil than Cabin in the Woods. – Sherif
RUNNER UP – A Million Ways to Die in the West
Don’t get me wrong, A Million Ways was not a great movie. It was barely a good movie. However, it was a Seth McFarlane movie, and that much it lived up to. This cast of relatively big names leads a fun adventure with the typical Seth McFarlane-esque humor. There are guest appearances, mustache dances (pictured above) and a lot of innuendo – thank you Jesus for Sarah Silverman. I especially enjoyed the commentary on how primitive a time the Wild West days actually were. People died, a lot. Fun fact: Liam Neeson, who plays the bad guy in the movie, insisted that he keep his Irish accent, only to pay homage to McFarlane’s joke on Family Guy of playing a cowboy with an Irish accent. It’s no coincidence that Seth McFarlane gets to cast a bunch of great actors; these guys love him! – Sherif
RUNNER UP – Sex Tape
One thing is for certain: nobody understands the Cloud. It’s almost like those hackers got their idea from this movie, because damn, how could that timing be any more awkward, right? Aynway, this movie revolves around an aging, but still somehow kind of hot Cameron Diaz and the sex tape she made with Jason Segel. There are tons of penis jokes – I know those are all the rage now – but the funnier part to me are the ones that make fun of how little this generation understands about the technology we use every day; isn’t that right, JLaw? You’re not gonna see anything spectacular here, but Jason Segel fans will still love his comedy. – Sherif
I was lucky enough to see an advance screen of The Fault in Our Stars last week and I am still dizzy from the emotions it surfaced for me. I’ll admit that I am a bit biased when it comes to this movie. The Fault in Our Stars is my favorite book and it means a great deal to me, personally. Author John Green shares a YouTube Channel with his brother Hank called “The Vlogbrothers,” of which I am a massive fan. Their fans are called Nerdfighters (fighting for nerds, not against them) and they are some of the most passionate, intelligent, caring people you will ever meet. While writing the novel, John documented his progress as well as read the first two chapters to his fans via Livestream before the book was even published. The Nerdfighters were even able to catch a mistake in the book before it was printed. So when I say I’ve been with this story since the beginning, I mean the very beginning. Seeing this story finally hit the big screen feels like a triumph.
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.
Lovers of the novel will be extremely satisfied with the adaptation. Countless scenes have dialogue directly pulled from the book. The casting could not be more perfect. I personally can not see anyone but Shailene Woodley playing Hazel and Ansel Elgort makes the perfect Augustus. While the movie was actually shot in Pittsburgh, set designers and cinematographers were able to make it feel very much like Indiana, scouring out every flat piece of land they could find and recreating the sculpture “Funky Bones”with such detail that the original curator Sarah Green couldn’t tell the difference. Watching the film felt like reading the book all over again. The few scenes they cut I didn’t even notice until later watching an interview with John Green. It is clear that the people behind the movie cared for the book just as much as it’s diehard fans.
While Augustus may be “on a roller coaster than only goes up,” this film takes its audience for an emotionally diverse ride, so much so that DFTBA.com sells a “TFIOS Preparedness Kit” – tissues included. Witty dialogue and ingenious timing create a laughable atmosphere throughout the movie, allowing the audience to believe everything is going to be okay just long enough that when things take a turn for the worse, it cuts all the deeper. However, despite how much the movie made me cry, I still wouldn’t classify it as a sad movie. The Fault in Our Stars is just as much about life as it is about sickness and death. The characters are joyful through much of the film. They are falling in love with each other and with life, despite how little time they have left. In fact, it may because of their mortality that they are able to do this so freely. One thing should be made clear; this is not a cancer story. Yes, it’s a love story about two kids with cancer. Yes, Hazel’s oxygen tank and Augustus’prosthetic leg makes it abundantly clear they’re ill. Still, The Fault in Our Stars is a story about people faced with their own mortality and the mortality of their loved ones. It’s about laying things clean and dry on the table to stop beating around the bush. It’s about two young adults realizing that this life is all they are going to get and that that’s just fine. Their lives are not perfect, in fact they’re far from, but they are still lives that demands to be lived to their fullest. This is a story about overcoming pain and finding joy despite it. This is not a cancer story.
The soundtrack alone could warrant a review. Ranging from big names like Ed Sheeran and Birdy to lesser known, but just as talented artists such as Afasi and Filthy, the album’s mood fluctuates similarly to the film but still manages to be cohesive. “Bomfelleralla,” a personal favorite of mine, may be the only song that doesn’t seem to quite fit until you see the film. It’s plucked directly out of a scene where Van Houten (Willem Dafoe) plays the song for Hazel and Augustus.
The Fault in Our Stars is an important story because it shows that cancer patients are not their illness and have lives outside it. It shows sickness in a light we rarely get to see. So often we look at someone with a cannula and all we see is their sickness. We visualize them as “the other”when they are very much just like us. The Fault in Our Stars breaks down this “otherness”with a story about two lovers who are like every other couple. They just happen to have cancer.
The film comes out June 6th but if you hurry, you can see it early. Theaters all over the US are hosting “The Night Before the Stars”where audiences can see the film the day before it comes out as well as a following livestream including cast members Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort and Nat Wolff (who plays Issac) , Author John Green, Director Josh Boone, Producer Wyck Godfrey, and performances from Birdy and Nat and Alex Wolff. Attendees will also receive a commemorative charm bracelet and exclusive movie poster. Tickets are $25 and going fast.
Even if you haven’t read the book (though I sincerely recommend you do) The Fault in Our Stars is a film you will find yourself thinking about long after the credits roll. From the brilliant cast to the heart wrenching plot, this film is destined to be a Summer hit.
All photos belong to 20th Century Fox and Marvel Comics
After the foul tail-end of the original X-Men trilogy, followed up with two more poorly-received Wolverine movies, Bryan Singer and company attempts to start all over with Days of Future Past. Do they succeed? Yes, but like its source material, it is not without its flaws.
When Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created the X-Men in the 1960’s, the team was spawned from a reflection of the Civil Rights movement. Social commentary through badass super-powers became the norm. So when Chris Claremont progressed the subject into one of total annihilation with Days of Future Past, it was as much a nod to the mutually assured destruction of war as it was about saving the world from evil sentinels.
That’s not to say that I wanted the movie to be preachy, but at the heart of the X-Men concept is that of a team. The idea that everybody can have their own favorite X-Man, and they were all useful tools in the struggle, was one that appealed to me as a kid, watching the X-Men animated series. However, this movie was really boiled down to four main characters: Professor X, Magneto, Wolverine and Mystique. The movie was marketed as including a slew of side characters from the future, as well as a reunion of the original cast; instead, they showed up to be collateral – with their forced dramatic deaths failing to make me feel the gravity of the situation.
X-Men has always been a team concept, and this movie turned it into an excuse to flaunt their biggest stars. We get it; Huge Jacked Man and the glory of Jennifer Lawrence’s Bloobs are hard to pass up, and the McAvoy/Fassbender chemistry feels just as authentic as Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen do. However, if you’re going to sell this as X-Men movie, can we get some more X-Men in there? Not every team movie needs to be The Avengers (thanks Joss, for setting the bar impossibly high), but the camaraderie here doesn’t even hold a candle to the original X-Men, or even First Class.
All of a sudden, having an all-star cast is more important than a well-rounded cast – a sentiment I’d be fine with on almost anything that wasn’t the X-Men. They do a decent round-about way of making Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine the centerpiece over Ellen Page’s Kitty Pryde, until you realize that Kitty Pryde never had the ability to send anybody else’s consciousness back in time. It’s not that I’m that upset Singer’s Kitty Pryde didn’t get the main role, since Bishop filled in the role quite well in the animated series. There were a ton of other logical brain-farts we saw throughout that seem to be credited to tying in the horrible Last Stand in order to make the whole saga canon – a valiant effort, but still a sham.
One place DOFP absolutely succeeds is in the portrayal of Quicksilver, who helps the team break into the Pentagon and free Magneto from imprisonment. Played by American Horror Story‘s Evan Peters, Peter (Singer felt his comic book name, Pietro, isn’t a realistic name for a teenager) Maximoff is self-indulgent and hilarious, but is intrigued by the challenge of the prison break. There’s a particular sequence where Quicksilver shows off his skills that gave me the butterflies like a superhero movie is supposed to (something I definitely did not feel throughout the rest of the movie), and was around just long enough to make me want more.
Mystique also takes center stage here, and she kicks ass. Jennifer Lawrence absolutely owes it to her stunt double. Lawrence herself is not believable as Mystique, often coming across as a rebellious teenager. There’s just something about her face that doesn’t fit the look (we debated on whether it was the chin, cheeks or her large forehead that we didn’t like), but the fight scenes were incredible. She isn’t the only character that falls flat with me; Michael Fassbender’s Magneto, who had one of the most amazing displays in First Class turns into nothing more than a caricature of himself here. It’s a shame to see a character so complex turned into a one-dimensional bad guy.
For being a movie based off a two-issue comic book, Days of Future Past does a good job of spacing the story out over its 2 hr 11 min runtime. There are a handful of awkward stares off into the distance I could have done without, and there’s a Magneto scene involving a entire stadium off the ground that feels forced and anti-climatic, but that’s neither here nor there. The sentinels looked spectacular (both past and future), and Peter Dinklage’s Bolivar Trask was a great addition to the movie. In the comics, he is the creator of the sentinel program, and his role is practically a seamless swap for Senator Robert Kelly (the target in the books).
Cleverly enough, the DNA swipe of Mystique, which is used to create the chameleon-esque sentinels of the future, isn’t impossible to believe. The genetic engineering process as we know it, “the direct transfer of DNA from one organism to another,” was invented in 1973, the same year the past events take place. The snippets of 70’s style reel film to capture the mutant attacks were also a nice touch. Some of it didn’t really work for me. Weeks after the new Godzilla film blamed Hiroshima and Nagasaki on Godzilla himself, Magneto takes the fall for the assassination of JFK. Nice try, guys. What’s next? Did Aquaman knock over the levees in New Orleans, too?
This was supposed to be the resurgence of the X-Men franchise. To be fair, a lot of the complaints I had about the movie were fanboy-driven, but I feel like this formula is really starting to wear on me. The need to make this an “epic,” detracts from the point of the story, and clutters it with a bunch of nothing. I mean, when the half-hour animated episode does a better job at telling a story than the $200 million budgeted film, I can’t help but leave disappointed.
The magic of Days of Future Past comes from Peter Dinklage as Bolivar Trask and Evan Peters as Quicksilver. Those aside, its been over a decade later and we’re still relying on special effects to sell creativity, forcing dramatic stare-offs to make people feel like important scenes are unfolding, and using Scott Summers to cock-block Wolverine. The more things change, the more they stay the same. And that’s the problem…
All photos belong to 20th Century Fox and Marvel Comics
Well, it’s been two weeks now, and it’s official, I miss Joffrey. I even went as far as to watch Batman Begins and skipped chapters to his scene with Katie Holmes (Rachel Dawes) as he clutched her side while Gotham was being ransacked.
This also prompted me to return to season one of GoT. Hungry for spoilers I found Littlefinger’s diatribe about revenge in You Win or You Die to be especially juicy. He said, “I learned that I’ll never win, not that way. That’s their game, their rules. I’m not going to fight them. I’m going to fuck them. That’s what I know, that’s what I am, and only by admitting what we are do we get what we want.”
We open with Stannis Baratheon on a ship entering the shores of Bravvos underneath a huge stone statue of a soldier. The scene was pretty LOTR looking if you ask me. He seeks council with The Iron Bank. Stannis pleads his case to the bank for the throne of Westeros. He only has 4,000 men and 32 ships, not nearly enough to defeat the Lannisters. The Iron Bank declines.
Ser Davos intercedes and makes the argument that after Tywin is gone, who will take the throne? How will the bank recover its losses to the Lannisters? He convinces the bank and recruits his long time pirate friend Salladhor Sam, aka the Lando Calrissian of this Game of Thrones shit.
Next, the Greyjoys attack. Yara leads a small army on Ramsay Snow at Dreadfort. She gives a Braveheart-like speech. They must return Theon home and punish those that have hurt him. But Theon is no longer Theon, he is Reek. Ramsay has made sure of that. Yara plans to storm the dungeons only to find out that Reek lives in the kennel with the dogs. The Greyjoys give a valiant effort to free Reek and escape, but Reek refuses and his resistance nearly costs them their lives. He has been broken and now belongs to Ramsay. I wanted to feel sorry for him until I remembered how much of a dick he was…literally. Yara and her army leave him with Ramsay and declare him a lost cause.
Reek is rewarded with a bath. His obedience is frightening. He has been broken. Snow can now use Theon to do whatever he wants. Ramsay now plots a take over of Dreadfort.
Green hills. Clear skies. A picture perfect day in Meereen for a boy, his father and their flock of sheep, until a dragon the size of a school bus rises over a cliff and burns everything in sight! Remember that shitty Christian Bale movie, Reign of Fire? Even though the movie sucked, the dragons were awesome. They had a great way of moving stealth until a fatal strike. That’s how Dany’s dragon got the drop on the flock. I have to admit, the scene was pretty epic.
Queen Daenerys is on her throne. Her first act is to pay the shepherd three times what his flock was worth after her dragon’s afternoon snack. One of Meereen’s citizens comes to Dany for funeral rights for his father, a former master of Meereen. He pleads her to take the crucified masters down as a son who loved his father. She grants his wish as her first act of mercy. Don’t get too excited, she still has 212 supplicants to go. Ser Jorah rolls his eyes.
Lord Oberyn of Dorne is now on the council at Kings Landing. The council discusses rumors of, “The Mountain’ and “The Hound.” But the more pressing issue is Daenery’s and her Unsullied, three dragons, Ser Jorah and Ser Barristan at her side. Tywin believes Dany should be dealt with and a plan is hatched.
Lord Varys and Oberyn speak about the Unsullied. Oberyn determines where Varys is from originally. When asked about his sexual tastes, Varys replies, “Absence of desire leaves one free to pursue other things.”
Jamie greets Tyrion in his cell. It is time for his trial. After being cuffed, Tyrion spouts, “Well, we mustn’t disappoint father.” The two King-slayers walk into the great chamber. Tommen is shown respect as king of The Iron Throne. He recuses himself from the trial. As he walks away Tyrion seems disappointed, he was once quite fond of the child.
Tywin takes control of the trial and seats himself in the Iron Throne. In response to his father’s accusation of murder he proclaims, “Blame the pigeons, just leave me out of it.” In reference to the Pigeon Pie Joffrey ate as he died. Without question Joffrey was poisoned by The Strangler, a concoction made from plants of the Jade Sea. The poison kills its victims by making it appear as if they choked to death. Witness after witness are called to the stand and all accuse Tyrion of the deed. They use his own words against him. Cersei has her day in court as well. Tyrion is being railroaded. Lord Varys all but accuses him of treason when he implies that Tyrion was sympathetic to the Stark’s cause. Tyrion asked him whether or not he forgot the victory at Blackwater. It wasn’t enough to bring Lord Varys to his aid.
Jamie fights for his brother, this is the most honorable we have seen him. He begs Tywin to spare Tyrion’s life. He recalls that he killed the Mad King to save Tywin. Without Tyrion he will have no one to carry the Lannister banner into future battles. He offers to take Tywin’s place as heir if he saves Tyrion’s life. An offer is made. If Tyrion admits to murdering the king he will spend the rest of his days on The Wall with The Knight’s Watch. Jamie plans this strategy with his brother. Jamie tells him to beg for mercy. Tyrion has a moment of hope before the bottom falls. They call Shae as a witness. Tyrion is shocked. Sidenote; The acting in this scene is brilliant, shout out to Peter Dinklage! He is by far the most entertaining actor on this show.
Shae is heart-broken and bitter. She lies and says that Tyrion and Sansa plotted against Joffrey. She claims that she heard the whole thing and knew that he stole the poison. Her true motives are revealed when she proclaims that she was his property, his whore. Now he is broken. All of the things that he has said and done have now come back to haunt him. Shae says that he promised to kill King Joffrey for Sansa. Tyrion has had enough. He confesses and blurts to the onlookers that he, “Should have let Stannis kill you all!” Referring back to the battle of Blackwater.
One of the most powerful moments in the entire series comes next. Tyrion is tired and defeated. He has nowhere else to hide. There is no place behind the Lannister name, neither behind his wit or his drunkenness. All he has is pride, and he uses it to his advantage. He proclaims;
“Yes father I’m guilty. I’m guilty of a far more monstrous crime. I’m on trial for being a dwarf. I’ve been on trial my entire life. I wish I was the monster you think I am.”
“I demand a trial by combat.”
Next week’s episode is Mockingbird
This episode was written by Byran Cogman
Pictures courtesy of HBO.com, Huffingtonpost.com and MTV.com
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 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
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
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
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
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 End, Knights 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