Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Looking Forward To... SUMMER

I'm slowly, but surely trying to get back to blogging after a much needed break. There was just too many things going on from moving to a new place to all of the series/season finales on TV I had to devour. During my break though I also took a bit of a movie-watching hiatus seeing only one film in theaters (twice) during that span. You know which one it is since you probably saw it too (and more than once also)... Joss Whedon's The Avengers. One of these days I'll put into words the ecstasy I felt seeing Joss Whedon's name on the big screen with a theater full of satisfied moviegoers applauding. For now onwards to what else I'm looking forward to this summer...

Perhaps fate dealt The Avengers a better hand than expected, because the rest of what May had very little to offer to anyone. The two films that looked remotely interesting was Fox Searchlight's The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Focus Features' Moonrise Kingdom by Wes Anderson. Both have stupendous cast with the first a who's who of British acting royalty such as Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, and Judi Dench while Anderson's film contained Bill Murray, Ed Norton, Tilda Swinton, and Frances McDormand. Other offerings such as the billionth Tim Burton-Johnny Depp collaboration in Dark Shadows, the Rihanna-starrer Battleship, and Sacha Baron Cohen's tired schtick in The Dictator left much to be desired. There's also MIB 3 which I admit I'm intrigued by. I was a big fan of the first film and liked the second film okay enough. The time traveling story is right in my wheelhouse and Josh Brolin channeling Tommy Lee Jones can potentially be brilliant. Finally, small films Where Do We Go Now? and Hysteria also make their debut.

June thankfully gives me a bit more options at least after I see The Avengers for a third time. There's the wonderfully marketed Snow White and the Huntsman starring Charlize Theron, Kristen Stewart, and Chris Hemsworth (Thor!). I'm so excited for this mostly to root for Theron who looks amazing in the trailers. She also stars in another June release Prometheus which is directed by none other than Ridley Scott and written by Lost helmer Damon Lindelof. This much-anticipated prequel to the Alien series also stars Michael Fassbender, Idris Elba, and Guy Pearce. The weekend of the 22nd has no less than four films I want to see. There's Pixar's latest Brave, Woody Allen's most recent film To Rome with Love (with Penelope Cruz), Focus Features' Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (with Keira Knightley and Steve Carrell), and the instant-cult-film Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. For those into music, dance, and shirtless men the month also has Rock of Ages starring Tom Cruise and Magic Mike starring Matt Bomer, Channing Tatum, Matthew McConaughey, and Alex Pettyfer. Seriously, based on the trailers, shirts and one's dignity are optional. Finally, can't not mention Michelle Williams' latest in Take This Waltz and Sundance favorite Beasts of the Southern Wild.

July actually seems to offer less choices even though we're smack dab in the middle of summer movie season. Of course two mega-blockbuster hopefuls are hoping to capture Avengers-sized successes with The Amazing Spider-Man opening during the Fourth of July holiday and The Dark Knight Rises closing out the super popular Batman trilogy helmed by Christopher Nolan. The latter will see some familiar faces of the series as well as some new faces such as Anne Hathaway, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon Levitt, and Tom Hardy (basically half of Inception's cast). Spider-Man will team up the adorkable Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone hoping we all forget about those other Spider-Man films released less than a decade ago. Taylor Kitsch will hope the third time is the charm with Oliver Stones' Savages after a forgettable year with a couple of bombs while Family Guy's Seth MacFarlane branches out to film with Ted starring Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis. Finally, I'll probably catch this on Netflix, but the trailer for Step Up Revolution caught my eye. What can I say? I do like dancing in films.

Finally, August rounds out the summer movie season with some not too shabby films. Jeremy Renner, fresh from his stint on The Avengers, looks to fill Matt Damon's shoes in The Bourne Legacy. Colin Farrell looks to do something similar starring in the remake of Total Recall which I will definitely be seeing. The Weinstein Company has Lawless with Tom Hardy, Jessica Chastain, and Gary Oldman while Joseph Gordon Levitt stars in Premium Rush. Don't know much about that film except Levitt is wearing shorts and is sweaty a lot (he's a bike messenger). Fernando Meirelles has a new film called 360 with Jude Law and Rachel Weisz while Whitney Houston's film Sparkle comes out months after the singer's tragic death. But last and certainly not least... recent Oscar winner Meryl Streep graces us all with her presence in Hope Springs along with Steve Carrell and Tommy Lee Jones. Will it be good? Who cares? It's Meryl Streep. Hmm... do you think there's a part for her in The Avengers sequel?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Birthday Boy: Novak Djokovic

Tennis player Novak Djokovic turns a quarter of a century old today and he's literally on top of the world ranked as the no. 1 tennis player in the world since last July. I'm not his biggest fan (far from it), but the way he has upped his level and went not only toe to toe with two of the greatest tennis players of all time, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, but dominated them for the last year or so deserves great respect.

With 5 Grand Slam titles, including his most recent one at this years Australian Open, he should be seen as one of the favorites at this year's French Open (along with Nadal and Federer) which begins in just a few days. He has yet to reach the finals at Roland Garros, however, losing unforgettably to Federer last year ending his amazing 43-match win streak. And unlike last year, he doesn't have a clay court title this year losing to Nadal in the finals of Monte Carlo and much more recently in Rome. The trivalry lives on.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

A Couple of Badass Mothers

Oh look, it's just two of my favorite badass mothers in pop culture at the moment. If you don't know who they are then you are sadly not watching HBO's epic Game of Thrones which has some of the most dynamic female characters in all of TV. So to the mothers of Westeros and everywhere else, Happy Mothers Day! Yes, that also includes you Daenerys Targaryen, Mother of Dragons.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Box Office: The Avengers Hulks Out Record-Breaking Weekend

Taking a bit of a blogging hiatus if you haven't noticed, but I couldn't not post about the historic success of Joss Whedon's The Avengers at the box office this weekend. With more than $207 million, it hulked smashed the record for opening weekend tally beating last year's final Harry Potter film by more than $37 million. It also became the first film ever to gross more than $200 million in one weekend. Interestingly enough, The Avengers achieved this feat exactly 10 years after Spider-Man broke the $100 million weekend barrier. As part of its gigantic opening, it broke the single day records for Saturday ($69.6 million) and Sunday ($57.1 million). Opening more than a week internationally, the film has already amassed more than $650 million worldwide heading towards the $1 billion milestone at breakneck speed.

With numbers like these, there just has to be more than meets the eyes. The film itself was highly anticipated putting together characters that were featured or introduced in five previous films which varied in quality and popularity. But it was the great reviews (93% in Rotten Tomatoes) and the magnificent word-of-mouth (rare A+ Cinemascore) that probably convinced non-fanboys to go out in droves over the weekend. My friends and I contributed about $45, but most of us are planning on seeing it a second or third time dragging along new people. I don't know why my friends are doing this (other than them loving the film), but for me I would throw money at any project by Whedon. Of course, it's not like he needs my support now as a million doors in Hollywood just opened up for him this weekend with this huge success. Suffice it to say, I'm ecstatic for him and his film. The sky is the limit.

As expected the rest of the box office was pretty unexciting. The other success story of the year, The Hunger Games, notched its 7th straight week (!) in the top 3 and is set to pass the total gross of last year's final Harry Potter in a day or so. Whedon almost had two films in the top 10 with his The Cabin in the Woods just missing it ranked 11th. John Carter, buoyed by some shared screens with The Avengers, made a huge jump though its overall tally is beyond disappointing. The only new release of worth who went up against the superhero team-up was The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel which had a very solid per theater average of over $27,000 in limited screens.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Looking Forward To...

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Release: May 4, 2012
Distributor: Fox Searchlight
Director: John Madden
Starring: Maggie Smith, Dev Patel, Tom Wilkinson, Bill Nighy, Penelope Wilton, Celia Imrie, Ronald Pickup, and Judi Dench