After six long years, our national nightmare is over. The sequel to ‘Paul Blart: Mall Cop’ has finally arrived. In the stunningly titled ‘Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2,’ Kevin James reprises his role as the portly rent-a-cop with a bad habit of stumbling into dangerous situations that are beyond his meager pay grade. This time, he fights thieves while attending a security conference in Las Vegas, as you are wont to do when you visit Las Vegas in a comedy sequel.
The original 1984 ‘Poltergeist’ is one of the best horror films ever made. With its PG rating, it’s also one of the great Trojan Horses of genre cinema. Parents show it to their kids, thinking it will be a a little scary but totally family-friendly experience, only to realize too late (usually around the point where the guy hallucinates his face being torn off) that the movie means business. So, when we dive into the first look at the upcoming ‘Poltergeist’ remake, we do so with the skepticism of people who think the original masterpiece holds up as well today as it did over 30 years ago.
‘Magic Mike’ was a perfect storm of a movie. For some of the moviegoing population, it was a chance to load yourself up with frozen margaritas and go watch a bunch of extremely attractive, chiseled men strut their stuff on camera. For cinephiles, it was the next film from the ever-versatile genius Steven Soderbergh, whose filmography is littered with experimental and pop masterpieces alike. It was a big hit, a sequel was greenlit, and now, the first ‘Magic Mike XXL’ poster has arrived, placing returning star Channing Tatum (and his abs) front and center.
The massive success of the ‘Despicable Me’ films have created a monster. Monsters, actually. Well, cute, yellow, strange little monsters that countless children (and some adults) all over the world have fallen in love with. Yeah, ‘Minions’ is going to be huge and it’s all going to be thanks to those little guys. However, the presence of a major star like Sandra Bullock can’t hurt and Universal has released the first images of her supervillain character, Scarlet Overkill.
‘Breaking Bad’ may be completely, definitively over, but that doesn’t mean Walter White is ready to leave popular culture alone. Oh, no. As long as Bryan Cranston is alive and as lone as insurance companies are prepared to back dump trucks full of cash up this house, we’ll get to see America’s favorite meth dealer pop up every so often. So while it’s weird to se Cranston play Heisenberg one more time in an Esurance commercial, it’s not that surprising.
In most years, January tends to be the most boring month of the year for the box office. This is where Hollywood typically sends the movies in which it has the least faith. This is the dumping ground, the place where movies go to die so the studios can concentrate on their Oscar campaigns. However, thanks to ‘American Sniper,’ this January has bucked every trend. It may technically be a 2014 release, but Clint Eastwood’s war film has made the first chunk of 2015 interesting, shattering expectations and threatening to become the highest grossing film of last year in only a few weeks.
Super Bowl commercials are still a big, huge, massive, crazy deal, with major corporations shelling out absurd amounts of money on ads designed to win over the most reliably large and receptive audience in all of televised sports. So of course ‘SNL’ was going to contribute its own commercial parody to the mix...but man, no one was expecting something this mean, scathing or on-point.
After months of rumors and speculation, it looks like director Paul Feig is finally starting to assemble his cast for his ‘Ghostbusters’ reboot. The name at the top of his list should surprise no one: Melissa McCarthy, who he previously directed to an Oscar nomination and huge box office success in ‘Bridesmaids’ and ‘The Heat,' and who is in early talks to star in the film.
Okay, let’s ask the big question: what the hell is ‘Chappie’? The first trailer made the film look like a slightly goofy and overly sentimental ‘Short Circuit’ riff, with the title robot learning about the world ... while teaching us (blech). The new trailer feels more like director Neill Blomkamp’s previous work, showcasing wacky science fiction ideas and explosive action. In any case, we’re definitely not sold on the film yet based on either trailer.
Last night, we reported that 20th Century Fox was shaking up its schedule, maneuvering sequels to ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’ and ‘Fantastic Four’ into new positions. However, one of the films given a new release date is a project that continues to perplex us: the adaptation of the popular video game ‘Assassin’s Creed,’ which was first announced ages ago as a franchise for Michael Fassbender. Will we ever see this movie or will it continue to keep shifting further and further backwards on Fox’s schedule until it vanishes altogether?
With all of his projects, J.J. Abrams has shown extraordinary good taste in casting and ‘Star Wars: Episode 7’ is no different. Forget about the old-timers returning to the saga and think about John Boyega, Adam Driver, Gwendoline Christie and the other terrific thespians being given the biggest spotlight of their careers. Abrams, more than most working filmmakers, knows how to showcase an actor or actress in a way that makes us wonder why they weren’t movie stars before he cast them. Anyway, this is just a longwinded way of getting around to saying that Abrams’ impeccable taste is once again on display since a trio of actors from ‘The Raid’ and ‘The Raid 2’ are apparently in ‘The Force Awakens.’
After the jam-packed month of December, with its huge family-friendly blockbusters and awards season Oscar bait, we have arrived in the month of January. Formerly a dumping ground for mediocre films, the month has taken on a new identity in the past few years as a testing ground for unique genre films (think ‘Cloverfield’) and a solid place to release a horror movie, which seems to do quite well right around New Year’s for whatever reason. This year, we have ‘The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death,’ which had a fairly solid opening. Not solid enough to topple the Christmas Week champions, but no one is complaining too much.
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