Monthly Archives: June 2011

Best/Worst Movie Promos of the Week: ’11-11-11′, ‘Apollo 18’ and ‘Final Destination 5’ Are Truly Horrific

Sure, it only makes my job tougher sorting through a slew of successful promotional material in an effort to narrow down the top three, but that’s a painstaking process I’m beyond thrilled to tackle as it suggests the feature film future is looking good.

Sadly, that also means some impressive pieces won’t receive their due honor. Captain America: The First Avenger was on the verge of snagging two spots in the promotion section courtesy of its incredibly thorough and exciting new trailer, as well as an amusingly clever Dunkin Donuts commercial. There’s also the new trailer for Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol, which blew me away, not necessarily because it’s a well cut piece, but more so for its ability to make me curious when I’m not the slightest bit interested in the franchise.

Settling in somewhere in the middle of the spectrum are the new trailers for War Horse and the teaser for Brave. If you’ve been keeping up with this feature, by now you likely know I’m big on story, and while the visuals in the War Horse trailer are stunning, without reading a synopsis I get nothing more from this footage than it being a film about a boy and horse — and that’s certainly not enough to get me to buy a ticket. Similarly, Brave continues to flaunt its stellar animation, but has yet to deliver that emotional clincher to create a connection to the film’s heroine.

As for our weekly dose of demotions, one genre managed to snag them all. Check out the new Best/Worst Movie Promos of the Week for the breakdown.

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‘The Hunger Games’ Countdown: Tribute Twitter Talk and Minor Characters Not To Be Forgotten

The Hunger Games is filming – fast. Willow Shields, who plays Katniss Everdeen’s (Jennifer Lawrence) little sister, is already wrapped, which means so is much, if not all, of the material that takes place in District 12. Meanwhile, the tributes are hard at work – well, sort of. Hopefully these young stars are good actors because based on the photos tweeted by District 3 tribute, Ian Nelson, and District 10 tribute, Jeremy Marinas, they all look like they’re anything but at each other’s throats.

All of the tributes are incredibly active on Twitter. Recently, not only did Cato himself, Alexander Ludwig, answer some fan questions via his account, but he also announced that when he hits 10,000 followers, he’ll Skype with three of them.  District 9 Tribute, Annie Thurman, fielded some questions from fans as well; she even revealed when she’ll be filming, “The main tributes that last till the end are filming. I don’t film until August,” suggesting the portions that take place in the Capitol will come to life towards the end of filming.

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Review: Terri

With so many quirky coming-of-age movies out there, not only is establishing a unique and engaging lead character vital, but the same goes for the general tone of the film, too. While Terri does make use of some of the standard genre conventions, it packs so many innovative broad strokes and tiny details, it rises above the usual shtick, becoming something that makes an impact for all the right reasons.

Terri’s (Jacob Wysocki) got it rough; he’s an overweight teen who’s been abandoned by his parents, must take care of his ailing uncle (Creed Bratton) and is constantly picked on at school. When tardiness and his new wardrobe, consisting only of pajamas, land him in vice principal Fitzgerald’s (John C. Reilly) office, rather than suffer the consequences with a detention sentence, Terri actually makes a friend, Mr. Fitzgerald himself.

Thanks to his new relationship with Mr. Fitzgerald, Terri crosses paths with a couple other troubled souls, Chad (Bridger Zadina) and Heather (Olivia Crocicchia). Sure Chad is a bit off as he seemingly enjoys giving himself premature baldness and Heather is intensely promiscuous, but ultimately they’re quite similar to Terri in that they’re just trying to navigate through their adolescent period and emerge on the other side with some dignity.

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Review: Transformers: Dark of the Moon

I love chocolate cake. When I eat too much chocolate cake, I feel sick and don’t love it much anymore. I like visually stimulating imagery in movies. When I see too much visually stimulating imagery, in 3D nonetheless, I feel sick and don’t love it much anymore. Hopefully Michael Bay doesn’t love chocolate cake as much as he loves tracking shots and dizzying robot battles or he’d have a morbidly obese problem on his hands.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon suggests that Apollo 11 really flew to the moon to investigate a mysterious spacecraft crash. Turns out, that spacecraft is from Cybertron and carries an Autobot technology with the power to save their race. However, years later, the government has neatly tucked away this little bit of info, and Optimus Prime, Bumblee and the other Autobots are committed to living on earth, assisting the US military.

Meanwhile, Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) is a recent college graduate trying to secure his first post-school job, but unfortunately, his Ivy League diploma and medal from the president don’t bear as much weight as he hopes. On the bright side, Sam had no trouble replacing Mikaela (Megan Fox) with yet another woman way out of his league, Carly (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley). She’s got a high-paying position working for Dylan (Patrick Dempsey), a car-collecting hotshot, who’s generous enough to give Carly a paycheck that supports both her and Sam. Believing this is no life for a former hero, Sam is desperate for the day he can jump back into the action with the Autobots and, thanks to a piece of that Cybertron spacecraft surfacing in Chernobyl, he’ll get that chance soon enough.

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Interview: Terri Director Azazel Jacobs

As someone currently testing the filmmaking waters, speaking to a director like Azazel Jacobs is incredibly encouraging. For lack of better terms, Jacobs’ work isn’t motivated by the fame and the fortune, rather a passion for storytelling. Jacobs has already delivered a few well-received features all getting their due praise on the festival circuit and, while Jacobs is confident he’s made it, I’d like to see him take it one step further as his latest feature, Terri, is certainly deserving of more widespread attention.

The film stars Jacob Wysocki as a school outcast named Terri. When he’s not at home caring for his ailing uncle, Terri’s at school just trying to get through the day suffering from as little bullying as possible. When a few tardies catch the attention of the vice principal, a session with Mr. Fitzgerald (John C. Reilly) turns into a bonding session over malt balls rather than a detention sentence. With Mr. Fitzgerald’s guidance, Terri tries to pull through the tough times, making some friends and teetering the line between adolescence and adulthood.

In honor of Terri’s July 1st limited release, Jacobs sat down to tell us all about the entire filmmaking process from developing the story with first time screenwriter Patrick Dewitt to his hunt for the perfect Terri up to his plans for a new project, a detective story. Check it all out and much more in the video interview below.

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Interview: Pretty Little Liars’ Shay Mitchell

We’re just two episodes into Season Two of Pretty Little Liars and things are heating up, fast. “A” doesn’t give the show’s leading ladies a second to breathe after their dangerous run-in with Ian during the finale of Season One. While things get tougher for Emily and the gang on the screen, actress Shay Mitchell is reaping the benefits. Sure Mitchell had a bit of television experience prior to the show, but ever since the start of Pretty Little Liars back in June of last year, not only has Mitchell’s fan base grown quite a bit, but she’s become a stronger actress and gained some great new friends, too.

I had the opportunity to talk with Mitchell just before she got to work on the tenth episode of the new season and while the star does know a bit more about Emily’s future than we do, she certainly wasn’t spilling. However, she did dish out a tremendous amount of information on her preparation process, experience working with multiple directors, and the parallels and disconnects between Emily, Aria (Lucy Hale), Hanna (Ashley Benson) and Spencer’s (Troian Bellisario) friendship on the show and the one between their real life counterparts. Read all about that and much more in the interview below.

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8 Great Moments of CGI Destruction

Michael Bay has made quite the name for himself for his work demolishing everything on his sets. We’ve got the treacherous asteroid of Armageddon, the reenactment of the attack on Pearl Harbor and, most recently, cars that transform into alien robots and smash big cities and monuments.

While Bay tends to win big at the box office, critical praise is not really his thing and, even though Transformers: Revenge of the Fallensnagged a whopping $836.3 million at the worldwide box office, Bay himself admitted that mistakes were made with the story. WithTransformers: Dark of the Moon due out on June 29th, the big question is, can Bay combine his fantastic CGI effects with a proper plot to result in a piece that isn’t only visually stimulating, but engaging and emotional, too? Had Bay considered any of these successful moments of CGI destruction, the odds might be in his favor.

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Review: Bad Teacher

Think you had some bad teachers in school? Well, Cameron Diaz’s character in Bad Teacher is above and beyond. This is a movie though, so above and beyond can work, right? Of course, but it can also backfire big time and, oddly enough, Bad Teacher manages to do both with its incredibly preposterous titular character. (Keep those minds out of the gutter, please.)

Elizabeth Halsey (Diaz) is on the verge of living the high life. She’s just about to marry a super rich guy and wrap up a job she despises, working as a seventh grade teacher at John Adams High Middle School. Too bad after the “JAMS” team gives her a heartfelt goodbye and a gift certificate to Boston Market, her potential mother-in-law decides she’s had enough of Elizabeth’s money-hungry ways and convinces her son to call off the wedding. Now, Elizabeth has no choice but to return to John Adams, all her bitterness in tow.

On day one, Elizabeth has already completely given up, resorting to screening films rather than teaching her class. However, when she meets the new sub, Scott Delacorte (Justin Timberlake), she gets the motivation to actually do something while at work, win his heart so she can live happily ever after courtesy of the Delacorte family watch fortune. Unfortunately, Scott’s got eyes for Amy Squirrel (Lucy Punch), the painfully peppy perfect teacher desperate to expose Elizabeth’s poor conduct.

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8 Great Big-Screen Teachers

After going through years and years of schooling, how many in-class lessons do you actually remember? Now, after years and years of moviegoing, how many big-screen lessons do you remember? While I can barely recall my French vocabulary words, standard high school mathematics or chemistry formulas, I’ve got no problem recounting some of the best of the best from on-screen educators like Harry Potter’s Professor Dumbledore and even School of Rock’s so-called Mr. Ned Schneebly.

In honor of the June 24th release of Bad Teacher, in which Cameron Diaz will likely taint our minds as a “booze-swilling, pot-smoking, hard-swearing” middle school teacher, why not take a look back at some big-screen lessons that actually ring true? (And maybe some that are just downright hilarious, too.)

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Best/Worst Movie Promos of the Week: ‘Our Idiot Brother,’ ‘The Avengers,’ ‘Harry Potter’ and More

After a week packed with new trailers and clips, mostly courtesy of the MTV Movie Awards, this week turned out to be one overflowing with posters. Quite a few images came through the Licensing Expo in Las Vegas, but as most were mere snapshots and consisted of incredibly simplistic designs, as most promo posters do, not many stood out enough to make the list – whether it was for good or bad reasons.

On the other hand, Apple got in on the promo poster fun and premiered one that managed to just miss the cut, the one for John Carter. While it doesn’t say much about the film, overall, this clean-cut design with the film’s initials is simply nice to look at. And yes, that’s partially due to the fact that half of the design consists of Taylor Kitsch.

Barely avoiding demotion territory is the new trailer for Dolphin Tale. While my instincts tell me to roll my eyes at the majestic Morgan Freeman narration and the cute and incredibly noble kid, it’s a true story about a boy helping a dolphin; it’d make me heartless to shame this trailer, right?

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