Category Archives: Trailers

2006 Best Movie Bracket

What was the best movie of 2006? I’m going to change the way I do this a little bit. Normally I would share some information about the year and other movies that are honorable mentions in the first few paragraphs. However, I’m afraid that most of you are clicking away before you even get to the #1 pick.  So, I’m going to start with my top picks and I’ll try to pepper in more information about the year and other possible choices throughout my reviews.

3rd – Pan’s Labyrinth

From the innovative mind of Guillermo del Toro comes Pan’s Labyrinth. It is a coming of age tale of innocence and imagination. It is a story about a young girl who is other worldly. Like a crystal vase in a sea of tupperware, she doesn’t match her surroundings. Del Toro creates a fantasy world that is draws us in and leaves us feeling like a child who just heard a fairy tale for the first time.

A warning to my more language challenged readers, this film is in Spanish. It is subtitled. I don’t see that as a problem. I would like to hear why you do if you do. The story is set in Spain in 1944 following the Spanish Civil War. So really any language besides Spanish would feel forced and inauthentic. If you claim that you don’t go to the movies to read, then that is just laziness and you need to get over it. The story centers around Ofelia who is traveling with her pregnant mother. They are moving to a fascist command centre in rural Spain led by the fiendish Captain Vidal  who happens to be the father of the mother’s unborn child. Ofelia is the type of child whose imagination feeds her energy. Unfortunately, it is also her imagination that causes Ofelia’s disconnect with the real world.

Ofelia’s exploring leads her to meet a faun. This is the Pan of the English title of the film (del Toro has told us that that is not actually the faun’s name). The first interaction between Ofelia and the faun is revealing because Ofelia doesn’t draw back in horror at the sight of this creature, in fact she seems more comfortable in his presence that with her own mother. This fantasy is her reality and it becomes ours. Ofelia learns the fact that every little girl steeped in fairy tales has yearned to hear, that she is a long lost princess separated from her kingdom.

Half of the story plays out in this ominous and sometimes frightening dreamland. However, del Toro is using the other half of the story to give us a picture of good and evil. The real monster of the film is Captain Vidal despite his normal outward appearance. Let me be quick to say that this is not a kids movie. With the young protagonist and presence of fairy tale creatures it might be tempting to present this to a child, but violence play an important part in this film showing the harsh, unwanted situation that Ofelia’s real life presents her with and blood, guts, and broken bones are all present in this reality.

El Laberinto del Fauno (or Pan’s Labyrinth) is a gorgeously detailed and styled story with characters and creatures to love and despise. Del Toro gives me hope that imagination is not dead. However, it wasn’t the only imaginative film of the year. I would also check out: The Prestige, Little Miss Sunshine, Borat, The Fountain, Paprika, Stranger Than Fiction, The Fall, A Scanner Darkly, Idiocracy, Perfume and Science of Sleep. Perhaps there is still hope yet.

2nd – Children of Men

Children of Men is a near future science fiction film based on a 1992 P.D. James novel and directed by the ever versatile Alfonso Cuarón (Y Tu Mama Tambien, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and Gravity). It is set in 2027, but there is nothing special about that date. It could just as easily be 2050, or 2019. It feels like it is just a breath away. Forget giant asteroids or alien invasions, Children of Men conveys a doomsday scenario that is realistically frightening and contemporary.

Mankind has become infertile, there has not been a new birth recorded for over 18 years. Devolving into chaos from the ticking clock facing everyone, the world has resorted to violence. Britain, the only country that still “soldiers on,” has closed its borders to the swarms of refugees (sound familiar?) Those that make it through the cracks, called “fugees,” are captured and deported. The country is now a completely totalitarian state with state police and surveillance cameras everywhere.

The war-torn atmosphere and the mayhem that seems to erupt out of nowhere convey the urgency and danger of the situation. All of it is captured brilliantly by Alfonso Cuarón and the incomparable Emmanuel Lubetzki. Without hope, people are resorting to their base instincts ad lust for survival. Theo’s quest to protect Kee becomes the only thing that matters. The revelation that she is pregnant means that she is fighting for the future of all mankind.

Clive Owen plays Theo as a very ordinary man. With the action in this film, he could have easily become a 007 knockoff, but instead we are left in the frightening mess with him and allowed to feel his fear. In the same way, it would have been easy to write the appearance of this pregnant woman as a miracle, but Cuarón never makes that mistake. It’s hard to categorize this film as either a rich thematic drama when it elevates into a high-octane action film. That is one of the best things about it. It is a great dystopian thriller that is one of the best things that we have seen from a talented young director.

There were a couple of other Science fiction or dramas that almost made this list, but came up just short. Other films to add to your watchlist for the year are, The Lives of Others, Babel, Blood Diamond, Apocalypto, Last King of Scotland, and Little Children.

1st – The Departed

This is why remakes shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand. The legendary Martin Scorsese with his screenwriter William Monahan have taken an okay Chinese film, Infernal Affairs, and breathed new life into it, framing it as an American epic crime drama. This is Scorcese’s best since Goodfellas and it deserves mention alongside Scorsese’s other most celebrated films Taxi Driver and Raging Bull.

I don’t want to go into the plot too far. The trailer goes a bit too deep in my opinion. I will just say that it is a high stakes game of lies, secrets, and hidden identities. This is among the greatest of ensemble casts of all time. We have headliners like Martin Sheen, Mark Wahlberg (Oscar nominated), and Alec Baldwin turning in superb supporting roles while Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon shine under the leadership of a premier director. This was the role that skyrocketed DiCaprio into the stratosphere. He and Scorsese work so brilliantly together, this was the best work he had done at the time. This is an amazing return to form for Jack Nicholson. He relishes every moment before the camera with this diabolical confidence and intensity. I think it was criminal that he wasn’t even nominated for an Oscar.

Speaking of Oscars, The Departed did go home with four awards on that night. Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Editing. As far as crime dramas go, this is one of the best. Take note, this is a gangster film by Scorsese so there is a fair amount of violence and profanity. However, The Departed is somewhat tame in comparison to some of the director’s other films. It is entangling and highly entertaining, truly the best of 2006.

These posts are getting pretty long as I can’t help but write a full review for the film instead of just a quick snippet, so to help with this, starting with 2005, I will be posting my reviews separately and the Best Movie Bracket post will fairly short. It will link to my full reviews and will help explain why I chose one film over another.

Pete’s Dragon and Sausage Party – Weekend Outlook

This weekend I will be seeing Life, Animated in a limited engagement at the Hippodrome Theater. It is only playing for 1 week so if you are here in the Gainesville area, you need to act fast. Unfortunately, I have to work on Saturday, but I may be able to check out another movie on Sunday afternoon. Let’s look at the new films hitting theaters and see if they stand a chance of passing Suicide Squad in its second week.

I kind of see this weekend as the unofficial end of the summer movie season. Very quickly studios are shifting to their fall releases which are typically more dramatic and geared towards adults and particularly Academy members. But the three new wide releases compete for second place this week because Suicide Squad, though it is still receiving less than stellar reviews, is almost certainly going to top the box office during its second weekend. I find it funny that all six of the new movies coming this weekend beat Suicide Squad on Rotten Tomatoes. I’m just saying, you can probably skip Suicide Squad this weekend and see a better movie.

Pete’s Dragon

First up is Disney’s Pete’s Dragon, the name might sound vaguely familiar because it is a remake of the 1977 film of the same name. Disney is looking to push even further out in front in the box office this year with another big family hit to add to Finding Dory, Jungle Book, and Zootopia. Last month they released The BFG, which I enjoyed and which received good reviews overall but which failed to attract the public at the box office grossing on $52 million.

It is hard to find a film to compare to Pete’s Dragon because the source property isn’t nearly as popular as Jungle Book or Cinderella. It is coming out in late August just as school is back in session across the country so it isn’t fair to compare it with others that came in the summer. The reviews are saying that it is great, and it currently holds an 85% on Rotten Tomatoes. I’m going to say that it will open somewhere in the neighborhood of Enchanted or The Good Dinosaur which opened at $34 and $39 million respectively.

Sausage Party

If Sausage Party taps into the same audience that Neighbors and Ted  had then we could be looking at a tight race for the top 3. Those two opened to $49 and $54 million respectively. Amazingly, despite the extremely foul content and crude 3D animation Sausage Party is currently looking at an 83% on Rotten Tomatoes, so it could have a very strong showing. On the other hand, it could go the way of This is the End and Pineapple Express. Those were both also Sony pictures and opened to $20 and $23 million.

Seth Rogen and his troupe hope are hoping that Sausage Party’s unprecedented combination of 3D animation and crude humor will connect with fans worldwide. Part of me hopes it doesn’t because I have three kids and they already want to see it and it’s hard to explain to children why they can’t see a cartoon because it was made for adults only.

Florence Foster Jenkins

Meryl Streep is bankable talent for older audiences. It’s been a while since we had a film appealing to older audiences. It could possibly do very well as counter-programming, but a couple of other films have tried this summer and haven’t taken off. Florence is getting very good reviews though. It is currently sitting at 88% on Rotten Tomatoes. I think that this should do better than Ricki and the Flash which she released last August to $6 million, but not as well as Hope Springs which opened in a much less crowded August in 2012 and brought in $14 million.

Box Office Projection
  1. Suicide Squad – $46 million
  2. Pete’s Dragon – $36 million
  3. Sausage Party – $32 million
  4. Jason Bourne – $10 million
  5. Florence Foster Jenkins – $8 million

Independent/Limited Release

There are also a handful of Independent films that are worth watching that are premiering this weekend. I hope that if you see them here it might peak your interest and you can keep your eyes open for when they come to your theaters. Also, get to know your local theater managers and try to encourage them to bring more independent films to market or seek out smaller venues that might be more willing to show eclectic films or documentaries that others pass over with a yawn.

Hell or High Water

Blood Father

Anthropoid

 

Suicide Squad – Weekend Outlook

August is coming in like a lion with the release of one of the most highly anticipated films of the summer. It will break the August opening record. Alternatively, somehow Christopher Walken and Kevin Spacey agreed to be in a movie about a man who gets turned into a house cat, and the best movie of the weekend is being released by Netflix and will probably never going to see a theater.

Suicide Squad

In contrast to the dour, happiness sucking waste of time that was Batman v Superman, Suicide Squad at least proves that DC knows how to have a sense of humor (as twisted as it may be) but that still didn’t make for a great movie.

I knew that the bad guys weren’t going to turn good all of a sudden, but I didn’t think that they would let themselves be held captive by a woman that makes Trump look like a bleeding heart liberal. Seriously, Amanda Waller and by extension the United States government is pure evil.

Visually, the film was great. it had a realism to the effects that was appreciated. It was a gritty and mesmerizing film to watch. However, the story just doesn’t work. There are too many characters and the flow of the movie is constantly interrupted to give us some back story on an extraneous character that is only going to get 5 minutes of screen time and is totally superfluous to the plot. These characters make very stretched choices and nothing feels real. However, that has always been my beef with DC vs Marvel.

Don’t get me wrong, I had fun with the movie, I laughed when I was supposed to and the theater seemed energized. Theaters are selling out, riding a wave of publicity and social media buzz, and the film will certainly break Guardians of the Galaxy‘s previous August record of $94.3 million. They are set up for more films in the future, with the Justice league and a Harley Quinn solo film, but I think I’ve been spoiled with Marvel films that seem like more than just vehicles to sell popcorn.

If you’re looking for a PG-13 film that should have gotten an R rating and want to watch a lot of disturbed individuals do a lot I’ve violent things then this is the movie for you. Maybe I’m just looking for a better class of heroes and villains. Take it or leave it, it’s your choice.

Nine Lives

I think you could find a funnier way to spend an hour and a half if you just binge watched cat videos on YouTube. I can’t believe that these serious actors agreed to be in such a dumpster fire. This won’t crack the top 5 this week and will likely be on the top of my worst movies of the year list. Instead, stay in and save your money. Turn on Netflix and watch a good kids movie.

The Little Prince

Kung Fu Panda director Mark Osborne teams up with Netflix to bring us this animated take on Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s beloved novella about a pilot (voiced by Jeff Bridges) who crash lands in the Sahara desert and encounters a mysterious young boy who claims to be an extraterrestrial prince. James Franco, Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard, Benicio Del Toro, and Paul Giamatti also lend their voices to this production.

Weekend Box Office Prediction:

  1. Suicide Squad – $139 million
  2. Jason Bourne – $28 million
  3. Bad Moms – $14 million
  4. Star Trek Beyond – $12 million
  5. The Secret Life of Pets – $10 million

2007 Best Movie Bracket

As I mentioned in the last post, 2008 was the beginning of the Comic book adaptation explosion. This march through the years to determine the Best Movie of all time really shows that themes come out in particular years. 2007 was loaded with amazing movies that almost no one saw. They were so good that I may have my first year with multiple winners. I say that no one saw them because the top 3 highest grossing films of 2007 were Transformers, Shrek the Third, and Spider-Man 3. All were panned by critics and had lackluster performance at the box office. This was a year for those Superbad movies and others like Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Wild Hogs, Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Bee Movie, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, and Norbit.

That being said, the ugly performance of popular films in 2007 really made the gems shine. We had an artsy Bob Dylan biopic with I’m Not There, and one of the coolest, nerdiest documentaries ever in King of Kong. There was a great entry from one of my favorite directors Sidney Lumet (12 Angry Men, Network) who gave us Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead. We saw a minor resurgence of good westerns with a 3:10 to Yuma remake and my pick for best long title movie, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. On the musical front, there were several solid entries from Sweeney Todd, Across the Universe, August Rush, and the hauntingly beautiful Once. There were also two emotionally shattering foreign films in Diving Bell and the Butterfly and 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days.

Other must watch films from the year include: Hot Fuzz, Ratatouille, Juno, Into The Wild, I Am Legend, Sunshine, Atonement, Gone Baby Gone, Lars and the Real Girl, American Gangster, Persepolis, and Michael Clayton. Charlie Bartlett is the film that sticks in my mind for the late Anton Yelchin, It is not a perfect film, but it is very entertaining with a great cast. However, all of these good films should wait if you haven’t seen any of my top three. I consider two of them modern classics that are almost perfect films.

3rd – Zodiac

Zodiac is a woefully underrated film from David Fincher, the same director that gave us Se7en and Fight Club. Roger Ebert said in his four-star review, “Zodiac is the All the President’s Men of serial killer movies, with Woodward and Bernstein played by a cop and a cartoonist…. What makes Zodiac authentic is the way it avoids chases, shootouts, grandstanding and false climaxes, and just follows the methodical progress of police work.” The cast (Mark Ruffalo, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Robert Downey Jr.) as well as the tone and script are all so tight and precise. It’s a delightful movie and immensely frustrating and entertaining. Now, onto the two films which I will be including in the Best Movie Bracket Competition.

Continue reading 2007 Best Movie Bracket

Jason Bourne, Bad Moms, and Nerve – Weekend Outlook

Will Jason Bourne knock out Star Trek Beyond who was king this past weekend at the box office? With 83% of critics calling Beyond fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, it looks like it might not drop off as quickly as other sequels this year. However, with three wide releases this weekend I think it is highly doubtful that Star Trek will be on top of the charts beyond its first week. Also, will the new Ghostbusters continue to haunt the top 5 in its third weekend? All puns aside, let’s take a look at the new releases this weekend and see what your best bets are at your local multiplex.

Jason Bourne

Yet another big franchise that is getting a reboot or delayed sequel. Matt Damon is back in the titular role after a seemingly failed attempt to pass the baton to Jeremy Renner in The Bourne Legacy. Will the return of the star and director Paul Greengrass guarantee a big opening? I kind of doubt it in this summer of failed sequels. Legacy opened to only $38 million while Damon’s last appearance in Ultimatum was the largest of the series with an opening weekend of over $69 million. I think we will see an opening somewhere between those two films as there is some buzz around Damon’s return. See the other movies opening this weekend and my box office prediction after the jump.

Continue reading Jason Bourne, Bad Moms, and Nerve – Weekend Outlook

Stranger Things – Must Stream TV

I don’t talk about TV a lot because I generally lose interest in a series after a good season because I struggle to make the leap to the new season the way the same way I struggle to enjoy most sequels. Now, this certainly isn’t always the case. Some shows are serials and their arcs are really just the length of one episode with larger overarching stories that carry through the entire season. I think about great comedies that I have loved like Boston Legal in which we were drawn into a legal case or two that have relevance to the current political or social climate then we get resolution, but during the episode we learned a detail about one of our main characters that gives us deeper insight into who they really are.

Overall, I’m one of those people that trusts the TV creators to know when to call it quits. However, I have been burned so many time by a 3rd or 4th season that wanders aimlessly because the creators wanted to make a dollar off the success of their creativity in the first two seasons but ran our of creative things to do narratively with their characters.

If you are reading this to find out more about the original Netflix series Stranger Things then you may be disappointed because I’m not going to tell you anything about the story or what it’s about. I want you to walk into it blind. I seriously hesitated in even putting the trailer here, but it is good to show you at least the basics of what you’re getting into with this 8 hour saga.

That’s right this is just 8 one-hour long episodes, so it is very binge-able. If you miss an episode, you will be lost, so watch it with your partner or else you will be answering questions half way through when they get sucked in too. I do want to make some comparisons. A lot of people are comparing Stranger Things to Spielberg films like E.T. and The Goonies, and a lot of Stephen King novels. I think the best comparison would be this: Stranger Things is what J.J. Abrams would have done with Super 8 if he had decided to make an 8 hour movie.

What Super 8 did was pay homage to Steven Spielberg’s brand of 1980s storytelling through the eyes of intelligent and adventurous children on the cusp of puberty. Stranger Things brings the same cast chemistry that I loved but with a lot more nostalgia and a fully fleshed out story. I kind of hope that the next season starts completely fresh with a new story and lets this season remain right where is ends, like a Stephen King anthology or Amazing Stories.

1118full-stranger-things-screenshot

The kids in Stranger Things are fantastic, I don’t want them to be known as “child actors.” They’re smart, fun, and they feel like they’re actual friends which we have captured in this story. Their performance is realistic. I’m sure the actors grew close while filming Stranger Things but it feels like they’ve really grown up together.

I highly recommend Stranger Things. The music, the acting, the story, and its ambition is fantastic. It is the best original show I’ve seen in years. If you’re a fan of Spielberg, Stephen King, or J.J. Abrams (or just a fan of good television), you should watch Stranger Things on Netflix before it gets spoiled for you.

2008 Best Movie Bracket

As we continue to march backwards through the years to fill our Best Movie Bracket, we come to 2008 which was an historic year especially when it comes to Superhero movies. We have had superhero movies for decades all the way back to 1966 with Batman: The Movie, but I believe that the current Superhero craze took hold in the summer of 2008.

This fervor took root 8 years earlier when we saw a team of mutants take form in X-Men, and Spider-Man in 2002 confirmed that audiences were ready for more spandex and secret identities in their summer movie going diets. Both of those franchises had lost some of their steam releasing sub-par sequels in 2006 and 2007. That could have been the end, but two things happened in 2008 that changed what our summer movie seasons have looked like ever since.

13956-joker-the-dark-knight-1920x1080-movie-wallpaper

First, Christopher Nolan captured the attention of a generation with The Dark Knight in part due to a disturbing performance of the Joker by Heath Ledger who died earlier in 2008 before he could see his creation come to life. The Dark Knight was the highest grossing film of the year by a long shot and Ledger was awarded with a posthumous Oscar for his performance (unheard of for a superhero movie).

The success of The Dark Knight may have been enough to keep the Superhero genre going, but in that same year Marvel Studios created an interconnected cinematic universe which we are still seeing built today. Marvel released Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk about a month apart from each other along with their promise to continue to bring other second and third tier properties to life.

Continue reading 2008 Best Movie Bracket

Comic-Con 2016 Trailers

If you’ve been hiding from social media all weekend you may have missed that it was San Diego Comic-Con, and what used to be a lively gathering of comic book fans has now become the place where all the major studios release their goodies to hordes of ravenous fanboys (and fangirls). Clearly at an event of this scope they talked about more than just movies, but as this is a movie blog, I will not be discussing any of the comic or video game news.

However, because I am so thoughtful, I’ve made you handy list of all the trailers / exclusive previews for new movies (and a couple of exciting TV shows) that I could get my hands on. Marvel traditionally holds some of their stuff back for a week or two after Comic-Con so it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle. Because of this, it looks like DC won the show with some great new content, but we haven’t seen anything yet. I’ll try to keep you up to date with other cool movie related things that come out of the convention.

Wonder Woman

Finally, a woman-led superhero movie. She is 75 years old this year and she’s never looked better. I couldn’t help but think of Star Trek when I saw Chris Pine washed up on shore, but it looks good and their might actually be some humor here that DC has been sorely missing.

Appreciated feminist tones aside (“what I do is not up to you”), the movie takes on a lighter color palette than other DC movies. It looks gritty, but not in the might-as-well-be-black-and-white monotone of movies like ‘Batman v Superman. ‘Wonder Woman was probably the best part of that movie anyway, so things are looking good.

Justice League

After the mess of ‘Batman v Superman,’ I’m a bit wary of Zack Snyder being at the helm of a superhero flick as important as this one, but this “special footage” reel (Warner Bros. isn’t calling it a trailer) actually looks quite good.

While Snyder still doesn’t seem to like colors very much, the reel takes on a lighthearted, humorous tone as Batman goes about collecting his teammates. I’m tentatively hopeful.

Suicide Squad

On the more villainous side of things, we have another trailer for Suicide Squad, which comes out in a couple of weeks.

Lego Batman

Lego Batman was the best part of ‘The Lego Movie.’ So why not give him his own movie. This one could be my favorite of what DC currently has to offer.

Doctor Strange

Alright, since DC had their fun, let’s see what Marvel had to offer. There was this awesome trailer for Doctor Strange. Probably the most visually enchanting trailer of the event. Here we see Sherlock Dr. Steven Strange learning the ways of magic. This will be one that must be seen on the big screen to be appreciated. It’s hitting theaters this November 4th.

Marvel’s Iron Fist

I don’t normally cover much TV, but Marvel has some great looking offerings and they have given us quality entertainment in the past with Daredevil and Jessica Jones. Here’s the first teaser for Iron Fist, set to be released in 2017.

Marvel’s Luke Cage

Luke Cage – one of the main characters in the fantastic ‘Jessica Jones’ is getting his own show, and the music in this trailer is on point!

Marvel’s The Defenders

The above two heroes are teaming up with Jessica Jones and Daredevil for The Defenders. This teaser doesn’t show any actual footage, but we do hear what sounds like ‘Stick’ from ‘Daredevil’ talking in the background and it gets me excited nonethless.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

We’ve got some great non-comic book movies that also released some updated and new trailers during Comic-Con. I for one am very excited to see the wizarding world come to 1920s New York. This is the most detailed trailer for the movie we’ve seen yet, although it still reveals very little in terms of overall plot. I’ve very excited to come into a J.K. Rowling movie without already knowing the ending from the book.

Kong: Skull Island

King Kong gets supersized in this reboot from the producers of the most recent Godzilla. It looks like they could be setting things up for a potential Kong on Godzilla battle. If this movie does better than Peter Jackson’s maybe we could see a Mothra movie too.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

Guy Ritchie has made a name for himself with films such as Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch, and Sherlock Holmes, and he’s carried that same distinctive dialogue and visual style over to the Arthurian legend.

There’s an incredible cast lined up for this as well with Charlie Hunnam, Jude Law, Djimon Hounsou, Aidan Gillen, and Eric Bana. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword hits theaters on March 24, 2017.

Weekend Outlook: Star Trek Beyond

What does this weekend look like for new releases? Two more sequels crash upon theaters this weekend and while they may not be total busts, both are probably going to fall short of the previous installments in their respective series. Star Trek Beyond and Ice Age: Collision Course represent the 21st and 22nd wide release sequels this year. Only four of them (Finding DoryCaptain America: Civil War, The Purge: Election Year and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) have been able to outperform their franchise predecessor at the box office. Also opening this weekend is the new PG-13 thriller Lights Out from producer James Wan.

Star Trek Beyond

The third film in the rebooted franchise. It makes me nervous that there is no J.J. Abrams. Instead, it is being helmed by Justin Lin (Fast & Furious) although he wasn’t even the original choice. The original reboot of the series in 2009 was great and it enabled us to explore this world with a new reimagined cast. Because they had a blank slate to work with, I was a bit disappointed that Into Darkness was essentially a remake of Wrath of Khan. It was an acceptable remake, but I’m hoping we don’t see whales in Beyond. Regardless, I think it will easily end up on the top of the charts this weekend after Secret Life of Pets snuck past Ghostbusters to lead the box office for a second week in a row.

Ice Age: Collision Course

This weekend’s second sequel is likely going to fall short of second place in the weekend as it goes head to head with an original property in The Secret Life of Pets. I don’t like to hate on films, but this Ice Age series needs to go extinct. Interestingly, no Ice Age film has ever opened below $41 million. But this is the fifth in the series, sequels have not fared well so far this year, and we have had a very strong season of animation which I don’t think will help. I think it will be very close, but Pets will freeze Ice Age in 3rd place this weekend.

Lights Out

The final wide release is one that I won’t be watching unless it is a matinee showing. I’m not a huge fan of horror films but anything with James Wan’s name attached seems to have a leg up on the competition. Lights Out looks scary and with a budget of less than $5 million, I think it is safe to say that Lights Out will be in the green after one weekend in theaters. It won’t be enough to compete with Ghostbusters in its second weekend, but I think a respectable $15 million showing is very likely since it is doing well critically and there is no other genre competition right now.

How do you think these movies are going to do? My predictions are below. I’d love to hear what you are watching this weekend, even if you are just binge watching  Stranger Things on Netflix.

  • Star Trek Beyond – $60 Million
  • The Secret Life of Pets – $27 Million
  • Ice Age: Collision Course – $26 Million
  • Ghostbusters – $24 Million
  • Lights Out – $15 Million

2009 Best Movie Bracket

What was the best movie of 2009? I could have easily listed a top 3 with nothing but animated features. We saw traditional live action directors like Wes Anderson (Fantastic Mr. Fox) and Spike Jonze (Where the Wild Things Are) make a leap into animation and childhood adaptations with great success. The Secret of Kells came out of Ireland and is available on Netflix. It is well worth your time. Also, Pixar gave us one of the most painfully beautiful wordless montage that I have ever seen. I cannot watch it to this day without tearing up. If Up ended after the first hour it would probably be my favorite of the year, but I think it falls apart a bit in the 3rd act.

We had solid releases from directors like James Cameron (Avatar) and Quentin Tarantino (Inglourious Basterds). And real surprises from newcomers like Duncan Jones (Moon), Neil Blomkamp (District 9) and Yorgos Lanthimos (Dogtooth). All of these are great pictures and could qualify as the best of the year in their own rights. But let’s see my top 3 movies of the year.

Continue reading 2009 Best Movie Bracket