The BFG doesn’t waste any time getting us into the action. We are barely introduced to young Sophie (Ruby Barnhill) who is awake at 3am in her dilapidated London orphanage. After hearing a noise outside, she goes to the balcony and sees something amazing. She spots a giant around 30 feet tall shrouded with a cloak to keep himself hidden. As they meet eyes, she runs back inside to hide under her blanket, and we see a large hand come through the window. Less than 10 minutes into the movie, Sophie is already being whisked away to Giant Country where the giant tells her that he intends to keep her for the remainder of her life.
Lucky for Sophie, the giant who snatched Sophie away is a Big Friendly Giant who sets off to Dream Country every night to collect dreams and spread them to households while bottling the nightmares away in his lab. He is indeed big, but as we soon learn, the other 9 giants are as much as twice as large as him and they aren’t so friendly. They eat humans, and children are some of their favorite snacks. With imaginative names like Meatdripper, Fleshlumpeater, Bloodbottler, and Gizzardgulper that could only be concocted by Dahl. I was disappointed that Mathison and Spielberg made these supposedly menacing creatures into giant ogres who pose dwarf-sized threats.
From start to finish, many of 2015’s biggest news stories were centered around violence and terror threats and they showed a general sense of fear. The year began with a targeted terror strike in Paris and closed out with another planned attack in San Bernandino, California, proving that threats around the globe remain an issue for all.
As fun and epic as the continuations of Mad Max, Star Wars, and Avengers were, there was not enough to set them apart and leave a lasting legacy. Leonardo Dicaprio deserved an Oscar for what Innaritu put him through in The Revenant, but the movie itself though stark and piercing didn’t create the effect in viewers that you expect from the best. The Martian was alternatively hilarious and harrowing, and Room ripped my heart out and slowly put it back together again, but there were a lot of really good movies in 2015. I keep coming back to three films from the year that will have some staying power. Here are my top 3 films of the year. Continue reading 2015 – Best Movie Bracket→
Back in 1993, this little movie called Jurassic Park roared into theaters. What Steven Spielberg did with a shark 20 years earlier, he did again here with dinosaurs. I can’t recall whether I saw this film in theaters or not. I was only 10, so I doubt it, but I definitely remember watching it at home on VHS. This movie was right up my alley, I’m not only a geek over movies. I also really love science and although the science here is a bit of a stretch, I was only 10 and didn’t know better yet, so I ate it up. I could just imagine this actually happening in a few years time like the filmmakers were revealing this new scientific technique to the world and the archaeologists and biologists were watching saying, “why didn’t we think of that?”
If you’ve been paying any attention to the current climate in the world of film, you’ll notice one thing: superheroes are ruling the day. Comic book movies have become the most lucrative films in the biz, breaking box office records and ensuring boat loads of money for their respective studios. And while they’re usually visual masterpieces with stunning effects, it seems unlikely that movies about men flying around in tights would be so universally adored. So the question that rises is: why the hell do we love superhero movies so much?
Director James Wan, who will be helming his very own superhero flick with the DC Extended Universe’s Aquaman, recently opened up to Collider and answered that very question, saying:
I think a big part of it is because we’re finally at the point where we can actually tell these larger than life stories and have the technology to make them work. That’s one factor, that we can create these whizz-bang visuals to go with the story and ultimately superheroes say a lot about the society we grow up in. Pretty much all the good superheroes have some kind of social commentary about why they are who they are. It teaches values and so it’s a very important thing. On one hand it works on a surface level because it’s super incredible to watch from a visual feast standpoint but on another level it works on a very human level it works on a very human, emotional level and I think it makes it fun for us. Let me pose you a question. Do you think people are having superhero fatigue?
James Wan’s statement offers some answers and as well as an important question, while also erasing any trace of doubt as to whether or not he’ll be able to make Aquaman a successful superhero flick. He just gets it.
To start, James Wan cites our current technology as what is causing this superhero renaissance. This seems to make a great deal of sense. Sure, comic fans would have liked to see Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman together kicking some ass years ago, but the visual effects might not have allowed the action sequences to be what they should have been. We certainly got some questionable Batman flicks in the 90’s, with the Dark Knight becoming campy and with less intense fight scenes. We’re in a point where action sequences become some of the highlights of superhero movies, with amazing and extensive scenes like Captain America: Civil War‘s airport battle and Batman v Superman‘s heroic beatdown truly wowing audiences.
Additionally, James Wan notes that there is something essentially moral about superhero movies. These heroes fight for what is right, we all inherently want the good guys to win and for villains to get their comeuppance. Sorry Suicide Squad.
But the Conjuring and Aquaman director ended this statement on an important question. Are we facing superhero fatigue? With so many heroes dominating both the small and big screen, it definitely has the potential to become a bit saturated and stale. The MCU might be untouchable, but it’s entirely possible that other studios may suffer in the future due to overcrowding. Only time will tell.
Although it isn’t the oldest or largest movie studio in the world, Disney has had no shortage of huge success stories as of late. The Mouse House, as it’s often affectionately known, has been steadily building its franchises over the years and in the process latching on to and resurrecting titles that have the proven ability to bring a steady stream of audiences into theaters around the world.
This past year alone – and let’s face it, the year’s not even half over – Disney has been responsible for no fewer than three massive hits. The animated feature Zootopia easily charmed its way into audience’s hearts, Captain America: Civil War is still going strong and Jon Favreau’s live-action adaptation of the classic The Jungle Book has been a hit so far with moviegoers both young and old. While both Zootopia and Captain America have already cleared the $900 million mark for worldwide box office receipts, the latest Disney title to do the same is none other than The Jungle Book.
Variety is reporting that Disney confirmed the impressive achievement on Thursday, with the film tallying $349 million to date domestically and $549 million internationally. Beyond this feat, The Jungle Book also holds the title as the biggest Hollywood release ever in India.
The Jungle Book, which boasts a host of celebrity voices from Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o, Scarlett Johansson, Christopher Walken, and the late Garry Shandling, has only been in wide release since April. With first time child actor Neel Sethi leading the story as Mowgli, the man-cub who attempts to flee a suddenly hostile jungle setting, the initial box-office success of the film surprised even the studio analysts, who didn’t foresee it scoring the opening weekend take that it did. Since that time, The Jungle Book has been a runaway success story, despite the fact that it has yet to even open in the historically Disney-friendly international markets of South Korea and Japan.
It does look as though The Mouse House is a force that can’t very easily be stopped. Ever since 2005, when Bob Iger took over as CEO, Disney’s stock has more than quadrupled. With huge franchises like Star Wars, Frozen and Toy Story to their name as well as more immediate potential juggernauts Finding Dory and Moana on their way this summer/fall, it’s hard to imagine a point in the future – near or far – where Disney isn’t going to be seriously reaping the benefits of their investments.
Furthermore, Disney announced their plans for a sequel to The Jungle Book a mere four days before Favreau’s current hit was even released. Certainly nothing is a guarantee when it comes to the crazy world of Hollywood, but success from Disney seems to be the closest thing at the moment to one.
Yesterday it was reported that Randall Wallace, the writer who worked with Mel Gibson on 2004’s The Passion of the Christ, is currently at work on a script for the sequel. The writer, who recently wrote and directed the 2014 faith-based film Heaven Is For Real, told The Hollywood Reporter that he and Gibson are working on a sequel and that the project has become too difficult to keep under wraps.
Despite the fact that Sony just put out Risen, a film that tells the story of the resurrection, Wallace says that there’s an underserved community of moviegoers that is clamoring for more undead Jesus of Nazareth. “The evangelical community considers The Passion the biggest movie ever out of Hollywood,” he explained. “And they kept telling us that they think a sequel will be even bigger.”
While the project is yet to find funding — as Wallace explains, “It’s too early to talk money. This is such a huge and sacred subject.” — We know that coming up with the perfect name for your movie can be difficult. So, the Internet has already taken up the mantle of naming the new film. Here are a few titles being thrown around the internet:
Passion of the Christ 2: Electric Bugaloo
Muhammad v. Jesus: Dawn of Justice
22 Jesus Street
Passion 2: Double Cross
Whatever title they pick, it is going to be the best Zombie movie to ever grace the screen. Do you think that it could help to provide some legitimacy to Mel Gibson and help to bring him back into the Hollywood community?
For eight years in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, moviegoers have watched Bruce Banner struggle with his darker and monstrous half, The Hulk. While the character has served as a modern day Jekyll and Hyde to comic book readers for decades, people are getting to see his story finally being told over many movies. The next chapter of this story is Thor: Ragnarok, and new comments from Mark Ruffalo point to the Bruce Banner and Hulk’s personalities going head to head come next year.
While journeying across the Nine Realms with the God of Thunder in Thor: Ragnarok, Ruffalo discussed with Collider the arc Bruce Banner is dealing with regarding his relationship with The Hulk and how that’s going to resolve itself. He explained:
No one’s really gone in that place. I mean, he’s always been running from him or trying to deny it, but they’re coming for a collision course with each other, and I think that can be pretty exciting if we can figure out a way to do it multi-dimensionally.
The concept of the Bruce Banner and Hulk’s personalities clashing has been done before in the comics, but it’s relatively new territory for the movies. In The Incredible Hulk, Banner was desperate to find a cure for his “condition.” By The Avengers, he seemed to have made peace with his dual nature and simply did his best to contain it. In Avengers: Age of Ultron, he continued to use Hulk as a weapon for good, but after he was traumatized by Scarlet Witch‘s mental control, he later fled from Black Widow and his allies during the climactic battle against Ultron to keep them safe. It sounds like when we reunite with him in Thor: Ragnarok, the two sides will finally battle with each other, something that’s been years in the making, both in the real world and within the MCU.
While it remains to be seen exactly how this “collision” occurs, Mark Ruffalo mentioned earlier this year that the third Thor installment may see the personalities merging, leading to Hulk’s intelligence increasing. This doesn’t guarantee that Hulk will be a genius like Banner, but it would definitely shake things up and move him past being a rage monster who has brief moments of calmness. Although there isn’t a new Hulk movie coming anytime soon, Ruffalo has also said that Thor: Ragnarok works well with both Avengers: Infinity War movies as a “standalone Hulk story,” so fans will see this character progression continue over the following two years. All this, along with Thor: Ragnarok rumored to include a backdoor Planet Hulk adaptation, means that the Green Goliath will have plenty of time to develop internally and wreak havoc on his enemies.
Hulk will jump back into action when Thor: Ragnarok is released on November 3, 2017.
Doug Liman, who previously helmed Mr. & Mrs. Smith and the Tom Cruise vehicle Edge of Tomorrow, is in talks to direct Lionsgate/Summit’s post-apocalyptic young adult thriller Chaos Walking. Robert Zemeckis had previously been attached to the film, which is based on the first book in Patrick Ness’ bestselling young-adult trilogy.
The story takes place in a world where there are no women and all living creatures can hear one another’s thoughts in a stream of images, words and sounds called Noise.
Lionsgate picked up the property in 2011 as a way of extending its dominance in the YA film space thanks to its Hunger Games and Twilight franchises. But the studio has stumbled with some of its subsequent efforts including the Divergent franchise as well as Ender’s Game, which never even spawned a sequel.
But Chaos Walking has more pedigree than Divergent or Ender’s Game given that Oscar-winning screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (Eternal Sunshine for the Spotless Mind) adapted the book.
Doug Davison, who produced the Liman-directed Tom Cruise starrer Mena, is producing alongside Allison Shearmur (Rogue One, Cinderella). Zemeckis and his ImageMovers’ partner Jack Rapke also are onboard as producers. The hope is to be in production in the fall.
Who doesn’t like Shawshank Redemption? This is always my go to answer when someone asks me for my favorite movie. I love it because it blends a gritty realism with an ethereal storytelling and a epic twist ending. If you have not seen it, shame on you. It used to be on TBS at least twice a week, but you need to buy it because once you watch it, you will have a new favorite as well. Just in case you haven’t seen it, I will try not to spoil the ending, but here is a quick summary. Click here if you’ve already seen the film and just want to see my recommendations.
The Shawshank Redemption (directed by Frank Darabont of The Walking Dead fame) is one of those movies whose estimation has only grown with time. It wasn’t a box office hit in 1994, but it was a critical success and received 7 Academy Award nominations but LOST in every category, being beat out for best picture by Forrest Gump. However, in 2008 (14 years after its original release) it took over the #1 slot as greatest film on the IMDb’s Top 250 from The Godfather and it still holds that place to this day.
Ellis ‘Red’ Redding (Morgan Freeman) is our co-pilot and narrator for our long stay in Shawshank State Penitentiary. He admits that he belongs there for murder, calling himself the only guilty man in Shawshank. The year is 1947 and our central character is banker Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) who has been convicted of murdering his wife and her lover. We see him entering Shawshank to begin serving his two consecutive life sentences. The movie is based on the Stephen King novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption. Through the story, we experience a 20 year friendship between these two men.
You’d be hard pressed to find a more genuine ode to male bonding than this drama spanning two decades from 1946 to 1967. When Andy arrives, he is subject to beatings, humiliation and all manner of horrors within the prison system. He endures the harassment seemingly unfazed. Slowly he learns to adapt, utilizing his talents as an auditor to garner favor from the powers that be. In time he inspires his fellow inmates, making friends with them, in particular Red who originally bet that Andy would be the first new inmate to crack.
The film is highlighted by several amazing performances. Morgan Freeman embodies his character with reverence, heart, and warmth. Tim Robbins is every bit his equal in a role that is more difficult to warm up to. If the actor appears a bit of an enigma, that is only because the character is meant to be that way. There is a quiet way about him that makes the other inmates uneasy and tells us and them that he does not belong there. Actor Bob Gunton is a villain for the ages as Warden Samuel Norton. A stern man that exploits the prison for his own gain as low-cost labor. He presents himself as a god-fearing man, although his true nature is gradually disclosed. The depth of his evil seems to know no bounds.
Like a flower growing up through a crack in the sidewalk, the narrative is uplifting even though we are presented with the most oppressive of surroundings. My personal favorite scene features Andy locking himself in the warden’s office and using the central microphone to blast an opera record through the grounds. As Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro echoes through the penitentiary, Roger Deakins cinematography captures the emotion as the inmates look upwards, embracing the audible gift. It is hard to describe the feeling, but the scene always brings me to tears. Shawshank is brimming with moments like this where the hope of the human soul triumphs over adversity in the most inspiring way.
So, assuming you love Shawshank like I do then you may be struggling to find movies that give you a similar sense of awe and inspiration. I hope to help with that by giving you a handful of recommendations based upon different aspects of Shawshank Redemption.