The first ‘Pitch Perfect’ was a sleeper success, doing surprisingly solid business at the box office and earning equally solid reviews from critics. But it was home video that transformed this little a cappella comedy into a genuine sensation, instantly becoming the favorite film of 12-year-old girls (and their initially reluctant parents) all over the world. So the new ‘Pitch Perfect 2’ trailer arrives with the air of an event film. The sequel is not an underdog, but the Bigger, Flashier, and Louder follow-up that has the confidence to suggest that there is an entire franchise to be found here.
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.
‘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.
In news that should surprise approximately no one, a new study from the University of Texas at Austin has discovered that “binge-watching” has been linked to depression, loneliness, and the inability to make wise decisions, like getting off the couch and doing anything else. Researchers Wei-Na Lee, Yoon Hi Sung and Eun Yeon Kang surveyed 316 people between the ages of 18 and 29, asking them about their mental and emotional states while they marathoned TV shows on Netflix (the study defined binge-watching as at least three episodes in a row).
After the many sins of ‘Star Trek Into Darkness,’ Paramount seems dead set on righting the course of the ‘Star Trek’ franchise with ‘Star Trek 3.’ They ditched controversial director Roberto Orci, hired the great Simon Pegg to co-write the screenplay with Doug Jung, and now, word that hit the internet suggesting that the film will contain three new female characters ... and a villain fit for Bryan Cranston.
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.
A lot of people are going to act like they didn’t see the enormous success of ‘American Sniper’ coming, but the signs were all there. On top of the promising limited release numbers, there was the awards buzz. On top of that, there were the names of director Clint Eastwood and star Bradley Cooper. On top of that, the subject matter of the film is inherently attractive to the same category of moviegoer that makes Christian-themed films into massive hits. ‘American Sniper’ had one doozy of a weekend, but it’s not that surprising.
It’s become fashionable in recent years to hate the Golden Raspberry Awards (AKA, the Razzies) and for good reason. The inherently negative awards claim to celebrate the worst films of the year, but they frequently nominate or “honor” ambitious misfires or boring studio junk over the real worst films of the year. To be fair, the Razzies are and have always been a big silly joke, but they’re a joke that leaves a bad taste in the mouth. And yet, it’s really hard to look at this year’s nominees and disagree. With a handful of minor exceptions, this looks like a year where the Razzies actually, well, kinda’ got it right.
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.
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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