Saturday, July 23, 2016

We Got Tricked Again! Little Indy 'The Woods' is Actually a Sequel to 'The Blair Witch Project'


For the second time in 2016, it has been proven in the right hands (and a low enough budget where studios don't need months and months of heavy marketing) Hollywood can still surprise. At the start of the year it was revealed that a small thriller starring John Goodman and Mary Elizabeth Winstead was not called Valencia as it had been promoted up to that point but rather 10 Cloverfield Lane, the follow-up to the beloved monster feature, Cloverfield.

Now, here we are about two months away from the release of Adam Wingard's latest horror, The Woods. A movie that has had a decent amount of anticipation due to strong followings for his past thrillers like You're Next and The Guest. But now it has been discovered that his latest movie isn't actually called The Woods but rather Blair Witch.

A sequel that many have been waiting 17 years is coming out this year and has been able to avoid the needless and endless hype machine. Okay, okay, we already got a sequel to The Blair Witch Project but it was awful and any respecting horror fan just pretends it never happened.

This movie looks like a much better follow-up using gritty shots, the dark woods, bickering and disoriented campers, and plus that creepy house returns. Horror sequels have in the past been huge letdowns but we've also recently had movies like Insidious Chapter 3 and The Conjuring 2 that actually far exceeded their predecessors. Maybe it is time to let that rule fade away, especially since you have to trust this was a passion project for Adam Wingard rather than a studio driven cash grab. He had a reason to want to return to this dark place and this trailer looks legitimately frightening, which I can't say about a lot of horror movies.

I'm willing to check out anything from the helmer of The Guest, which was one of the great little surprises of 2014. A movie that was a great homage to 1980s "girl chased by relenting killer" thrillers subgenre but also something that was fresh with its subversive humour, attentions to characters, and well-constructed action sequences. Even though he is considered a horror director, Blair Witch is really his first full plunge into the genre. It will be interesting to see if some of his sly humour and attentions to characters (including a strong female protagonists) remain this time around.

It has been 17 years since we learned about those poor university students that went missing and that the cult of the Blair Witch was true. It is one of the most fascinating mythologies in horror and I'm interested to discover what is going on in those woods now. We get to find out this September.

It hasn't been a great summer for the big budget blockbusters. On the podcast Scott and I have been endlessly chanting that it has been a great year for thrillers and horrors with top notch movies like 10 Cloverfield Lane, Hush, The Shallows, Conjuring 2, and Lights Out. It looks like Blair Witch has potential to make some good company.

There is something to this dropping an unexpected sequel a few months before release. If it had been announced before filming that we were going to get a Blair Witch sequel then I'd probably roll my eyes and moan about digging up yet another work from our past. But with only two months to go and already seeing the trailer, I am stoked and excited and willing to ignore the fact this isn't an original movie and the sequel count for the year has increased. I hope this becomes a pattern for lower budgeted properties because it has worked on me twice now.




Saturday, July 16, 2016

Breakdown Postponed This Week

Unforeseen events have descended upon the usual Breakdown recording plans, and so the show will have to be postponed this week. Hopefully, it can be posted later in the week, but if circumstances continue to be jerks then it may just end up being cancelled this week. But that just means next Monday's show will be even more jam packed and joyous with reviews of all 2016 new releases including Ghostbusters and Star Trek Beyond.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

'Loving' Has to Actively Try to Fail to Get an Oscar Nomination


The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has made some big changes this year in response to the #OscarsSoWhite and other criticism over the past few years regarding the lack of diversity in nominations. In January, they made major rule changes on eligibility for voting and then in June invited over 683 member to join that consisted of 46% female and 41% people of color (a group that includes Idris Elba, Alicia Vikander, America Ferrera, John Boyega and Marlon Wayans). The moves towards diversity don't matters if next January all the nominations are for white actors and movies about while male stories again.

This is why director Jeff Nichols' Loving that is being distributed by Focus Features (a history of backing Oscar contenders) and getting a very Oscar friendly November release has to be considered a strong awards contender even if only the over eager festival crowds have seen it so far. The story is about Richard and Mildred Loving who are arrested for getting married because interracial couples were illegal in 1958 Virginia. It was a landmark case at the time and one of the major events during the early stages of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. It happens to be based on a true story, which right there is enough to make it a favourite, but even more now that Academy is eager to show their open-mindedness and diversity.

I know I'm sounding rather cynical here, but I actually do want Loving to be good and deserve some recognition. It also has all the ingredients to be a really great movie. Jeff Nichols has served up terrific movies in Mud and Take Shelter, and I'm only leaving Midnight Special off the list because I haven't seen it. He knows how to use imagery and shots to stir emotions and transport you right into the world. He is a very visual director and makes movies that have an arthouse feel, but he also takes the time to make you really care and connect with his characters. Loving is a story that seems different than his usual fare, but also something that can play to his strengths. Just like his other movies, he has both written and directed it, which makes me believe he is passionate about the material.

I'm a fan of Joel Edgerton and feel he doesn't get enough parts that are worthy of his talents. This could be his real run at an Oscar nomination. The chance to avoid another backlash of all white actor nominations, may mean a strong chance for Ruth Negga to get nominated but the trailer shows she will deserve it too. Nichols has proven he can get the very best out of his actors as well, and it would be great if they get recognition even if it is due to some pressure.

The trailer feels a little Oscar baity but I'd blame that one marketing rather than the movie. It is an important and interesting story being helmed by one of the very best modern filmmakers. I trust the talent involved will rise above the sentimentality or the need to preach, and instead be something real special. I'm guessing we will be hearing a lot about this one in the fall.


Monday, July 11, 2016

The Breakdown of 'The Secret Lie of Pets', 'The BFG', 'The Deer Hunter', 'Brahman Naman' and 'King Jack'


The Breakdown is loaded with five reviews this week including two 2016 family releases in the latest Steven Spielberg adventure, The BFG and the animated feature, The Secret Life of Pets. We also pay tribute to Michael Cimino by looking at his most heralded work in the dark Vietnam War drama, The Deer Hunter. We also try out a new segment where we discuss the big news bite of the week, which this week is Pixar's announcement they're taking a big break on sequels after 2019. As always if you love the show then please spread the word.

Remember you can now subscribe either to The Movie Breakdown feed (a subscription link is at the top right hand of this site) or on iTunes.



Rating Rundown:

The Secret Life of Pets *** (CS & SM)
The BFG **½ (CS)
The Deer Hunter **** (CS & SM)
Brahman Naman **½ (CS & SM)
King Jack ***½ (CS) & **** (SM)

Box Office Challenge Game: 

Christopher

1. Captain America: Civil War $181 790 000.00
2. X-Men: Apocalypse $65 000 000.00
3. Ghostbusters
4. Ice Age: Collision Course  
5. Suicide Squad
6. Central Intelligence $35 535 250.00
7. BFG
$19 584 969. 00
8. The Secret Life of Pets
$103 170 000.00
9. Warcraft $24, 356, 000.00
10. Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates
$16 600 000.00
Total: $446 036 219.00

Scott 

1. Finding Dory $135 060 273.00
2. Star Trek Beyond
3. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows $35 250 000.00
4. Alice in the Looking Glass $28 112 000.00
5. Independence Day: Resurgence
$41, 600 000.00
6. The Conjuring 2 $40, 350, 000.00
7. Angry Birds $39 000 000.00
8. Jason Bourne
9. Neighbors 2: Sorority Rises
$21 790 000.00
10. The Purge: Election Day
$30 870 000.00
Total: $372 432 273.00

Saturday, July 09, 2016

It's Claimed 2016 Has Been a Bad Movie Year, But. . .

I get it. 2016 hasn't been a glorious year for mainstream movies. Or so we're supposed to believe.

It's claimed 2016 proved its time to give up on sequels, but then I counter with Kung Fu Panda 3, Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising and Finding Dory.  

It's claimed 2016 is full of just franchises, but then I counter with the really great family feature Zootopia and the really fun thriller The Shallows.

It's claimed 2016 shows the comic book trend is broken, but I counter with the irreverent Deadpool and the fun action spectacle Captain America: Civil War.

It's claimed 2016 doesn't offer much popcorn entertainment geared towards adults, but I counter with the tightly wound Money Monster and the crazy violent fun of The Nice Guys.

It's claimed 2016 has been a bummer year for comedies, but I counter with the fresh and very funny Keanu.

It's claimed 2016 was overwhelmed by special effects over story, but I counter with the masterpiece that is The Jungle Book.

It's claimed 2016 has nothing new to offer in horror, but I counter with the heartfelt but still scary The Conjuring 2.

It's claimed 2016 has been about disappointment, but I counter with surprises like 10 Cloverfield Lane, Hush, The Secret Life of Pets, and How to be Single.

Yep, 2016 will be just fine.

Monday, July 04, 2016

The Breakdown of the Best of 2016 So Far Podcast

2016 hasn't been a great overall year for big studio movies, but there has still been a few really great movies. We've had some instant classics but we've also had to endure some clunkers. There is still a lot to celebrate over the first half of 2016, so do that with our annual Breakdown of the Best of the Mid-Year show. We highlight the big releases worth checking out and even spotlight some features that you may not have heard about. As always, if you love the show then please spread the word.

Remember you can now subscribe either to The Movie Breakdown feed (a subscription link is at the top right hand of this site) or on iTunes.



Box Office Challenge Game: 

Christopher

1. Captain America: Civil War $181 790 000.00
2. X-Men: Apocalypse $65 000 000.00
3. Ghostbusters
4. Ice Age: Collision Course  
5. Suicide Squad
6. Central Intelligence $35 535 250.00
7. BFG
$19 584 969. 00
8. The Secret Life of Pets
9. Warcraft $24, 356, 000.00
10. Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates
Total: $326 266 219.00

Scott 

1. Finding Dory $135 060 273.00
2. Star Trek Beyond
3. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows $35 250 000.00
4. Alice in the Looking Glass $28 112 000.00
5. Independence Day: Resurgence
$41, 600 000.00
6. The Conjuring 2 $40, 350, 000.00
7. Angry Birds $39 000 000.00
8. Jason Bourne
9. Neighbors 2: Sorority Rises
$21 790 000.00
10. The Purge: Election Day
$30 870 000.00
Total: $372 432 273.00

Monday, June 27, 2016

The Breakdown of 'Independence Day: Resurgence', 'The Shallows', 'Monster Hunt', 'The Fundamentals of Caring', 'Boom Bust Boom'

This week on the Breakdown we review the alien invasion that is 20 years in the making, Independence Day: Resurgence and as well, the killer shark thriller, The Shallows. One of those movies was a giant drag and the other was one of the best times at the cinema this summer. You can try guessing or just listen to the show. As always if you love it then please spread the word.

 Remember you can now subscribe either to The Movie Breakdown feed (a subscription link is at the top right hand of this site) or on iTunes.



Rating Rundown:

Independence Day: Resurgence *½ (CS) & ** (SM)
The Shallows *** (CS & SM)
Monster Hunt **½ (CS & SM)
The Fundamentals of Caring **½ (CS) & *** (SM)
Boom Bust Boom *** (CS & SM)

Box Office Challenge Game:

Christopher

1. Captain America: Civil War $181 790 000.00
2. X-Men: Apocalypse $65 000 000.00
3. Ghostbusters
4. Ice Age: Collision Course  
5. Suicide Squad
6. Central Intelligence $35 535 250.00
7. BFG
8. The Secret Life of Pets
9. Warcraft $24, 356, 000.00
10. Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates
Total: $306 681 250.00

Scott 

1. Finding Dory $135 060 273.00
2. Star Trek Beyond
3. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows $35 250 000.00
4. Alice in the Looking Glass $28 112 000.00
5. Independence Day: Resurgence
$41, 600 000.00
6. The Conjuring 2 $40, 350, 000.00
7. Angry Birds $39 000 000.00
8. Jason Bourne
9. Neighbors 2: Sorority Rises
$21 790 000.00
10. The Purge: Election Day
Total: $341 562 273.00