Saturday, February 28, 2015

My Tops of 2015 - February

JUPITER ASCENDING had a few interesting ideas but The Wachowskis again squander the film's potential by possessing rampant cribbing of better sci-fi movies, lackluster performances, boring visuals, and the sheer dumb idea of accepting Mila Kunis as an ugly duckling. It also made me loathe Eddie Redmayne's Oscar win ever more.

First movie of the new year! Thought it would be the new Michael Mann film or the highly anticipated kinky thriller, only to instead settle with a kooky sci-fi flop.

Now to keep going and at least beat last year's first-three-months score of seeing three films!

Friday, February 27, 2015

What's Next on Netflix? - Week 8 of 2015

Want to find out what movies are heading to Netflix Streaming? I got your back.

Upcoming Netflix Streaming Titles

2/27 - House of Cards (Season 3), Ralph May: Unruly

3/1 - Beverly Hills Cop, Black Sheep, The Brothers Grimm, Evelyn, Event Horizon, Finding Neverland, Frankie and Johnny, Grease 2, Groundhog Day, Mercy Rule*, Patch Adams, Paycheck, Point Blank (2010), The Prince & Me, Rules of Engagement, Teen Witch, Three Days of the Condor, Top Gun

3/5 - The ABCs of Death 2*, Food Chains

3/6 - Aziz Ansari Live at MSG, My Own Man, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix Original Series)

3/9 - After the Fall, The Angriest Man in Brooklyn, Cesar Chavez, The Single Moms Club

3/10 - Life of Riley

3/11 - How To Train Your Dragon 2

3/17 - Dummy, You're Not You*

3/19 - Life Itself

3/20 - Bloodline (Netflix Original Series), God's Not Dead

3/21 - The Green Prince

3/23 - The November Man*

3/27 - Frankie & Alice

3/31 - Ask Me Anything*, The Man with the Iron Fists*

4/1 - Unbreakable

4/14 - The Babadook

5/8 - Grace and Frankie (Netflix Original Series)

What to Watch This Week

Most will be bing-watching the latest full season of House of Cards this weekend. Others will be desperately trying to watch any titles that are set to expire on Sunday, including yours truly. We are getting a lot of popular fare at the start of March (including some that are still unknown and unlisted here), so you'll have plenty to re-watch again. Also, though I just wasted a DVD rental on it and wasn't completely blown away, I do give a recommendation for The ABCs of Death 2. It has some noticeable duds but it's overall better than the first one and several of the shorts are pretty killer. Spoiler: Astron-6's "Wish" is the absolute best.

New Streaming Titles I Previously Forgot to Mention

New Zealand kicked off their streak of cult horror comedies with last year's Housebound; The psychological superheroine thriller The Scribbler; Cartoon Network unleashed several more seasons of their popular shows, like The Powerpuff Girls, Chowder, Courage the Cowardly Dog, The Boondocks, and Uncle Grandpa; and if and your kids are sick of re-watching the awful sequels it spawned, the original Alpha and Omega movie is back on the platform.

I'll see you again next Friday.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Strange Bedfellows - CM Punk and Russell Simpson

Been awhile since I did one of these. Sorry about that. Anyway, since everyone's talking about CM Punk's butt right now, let's look at his "debut" in the WWE.

At this point in time in 2005, CM Punk was huge in the wrestling world, thanks to his epic trilogy with Samoa Joe in Ring of Honor. The WWE finally decided to take notice of the straight-edger and immediately asked him to do a tryout match. However, instead of an usual singles match where he would be jobbed out to one of the federation's C-List talent, he was placed in a tag team match.

His assigned partner was Russell Simpson, aka Psycho Simpson. I literally have nothing on him. He's just one of those faces that doesn't leave any impression. The WWE must have saw something in the guy because he already had seven tryout matches.

So on the April 17, 2005 broadcast edition of Sunday Night Heat, the two wrestlers were set to face off against fitness guru Simon Dean and his perfect specimen Maven. But there was something amiss. Instead of being announced by their respective names, Punk and Simpson had a tag team name: CM Punk. Confused? Lillian didn't botch this one up, folks; the producers thought it would be better if they use one guy's own ring name as the team name. Simpson still retained his nom de plume, while Punk went under the name of Chad Collyer. For those that don't get the in-joke, Punk and his indie buddies liked to use each other's name (real or fake) when in televised tryout matches.

To clear up any further confusion, I will just refer to them by their real wrestling names. Man, talk about an oxymoron right there. Anyway, Dean and Maven waste some time on the mic, talking about how they have photographic evidence as to why they were easily beaten up by Stone Cold Steve Austin on Raw. Cut to some stills where bottles of Dean's Simon System are badly photoshopped on to Austin's beer cans and hands.

Maven and Simpson start off. Punk instantly pisses off Maven while on the apron, taunting the bland heel and showing that Maven isn't tough enough to be here or even take a joke.

Simpson continues the early punishment on Maven and allows Punk to come in and take over his wrist-lock. While Punk delivers some high kicks to Maven, commentator Jonathan Coachman tries to be "funny" by mocking the jobber team's name, referring to them as "CM Dawn", a play on the once popular 90s R&B duo.

So while Coach is set adrift on memory bliss, talking about events that happened on Raw, Maven and Dean get the heat on Punk. Dean oddly circles around the ring while shouting and having Punk in a headlock, before then doing a simple suplex and a float-over pin. Further confusing me, Dean follows that up with what is either a mini twerk or a little grind, complete with pointing at his junk, before doing a leg drop.

Surprisingly, the crowd is actually into this match, letting out a fairly loud "You Suck!" chant. Maven flaunts his muscles too much (save that for your current job as a bouncer!), allowing enough time for Punk to recover and avoid a dropkick. The crowd is ready for the hot tag but it's botched up in two ways. First, instead of the usual leaping grasp for a tag, Punk does a weak walk to Simpson before the tagged-in Dean elbows him in the back, which then causes Punk to deliver the tag and allow Simpson to run wild. Secondly, the crowd quickly realizes that, oh yeah, the unique-looking Punk is now out and we instead have this average guy coming back in.

Dean tags in Maven, kicks Simpson before being back-body-dropped by him, and the two heels do their tag team finisher: a double armpit-lifting Rock Bottom. 3 count and it is over.

Post-match, the perfectly-fit team get ready to do their DiBiase-esque final gag of stuffing a nutrition bar into the mouth of Simpson. Punk tries to intervene but Dean gives him a rolling elbow. Meanwhile in the crowd, a smark holds up a prominent CM Punk sign. The commentators don't call attention to it, nor is there a Russell Simpson sign anywhere.

Punk would later have a second tryout match, this time a straight-up singles match against Val Venis. I implore you to go check it out because it literally is one of the best "star vs. jobber" matches, right there next to the Razor/Kid feud. Despite getting some heat backstage for making that match too good, Punk was signed to WWE. Before paying his dues down in OVW, he of course finished up his work in the indies by taking part in ROH's amazing storyline, "The Summer of Punk". Simpson was also signed and shipped off to OVW. He proceeded to do nothing of note there until being released in 2006. He would retire a couple years later.

This is a case of a put-together tag team where one of the wrestlers is absolutely nothing like the other. This isn't something like Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty; this is more like Shawn Michaels and Alex "The Pug" Pourteau. I didn't really mean to completely bury Simpson here, but it's hard to take notice of the guy when he's standing next to someone who would later be the best in the world.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Reaction to the 2015 Oscars

I was fuming with this year's show. All of its negative energy, particularly in the last stretch, was ruining the many great speeches and performed songs throughout it.

16-8. Again. I botched in the sound department, should have went with my real picks for a couple (Editing, Foreign Language Film, Live Action Short), and tumbled mightily during the last seven awards.

Poor Neil Patrick Harris. Undone by a terrible "comedic" writing staff. He started off great with a musical opener, composed by the Lopez siblings and featuring Anna Kendrick and Jack Black. Then one odd Oprah/box office joke later, he slowly started to fail. Not even a self-inflicted burn for his involvement in The Smurfs 2 helped. The running joke of his predictions box was unbelievably awful, especially with the final payoff. The Ellen-like aisle walk-downs were very iffy, best summed up with David Oyelowo's cringing expression and hand gesture. The brave Birdman parody fell a little flat. His overuse of puns was lame and proved disastrous after mocking a woman's ball-filled dress after dedicating her movie to her late son. He kept harping on the snubs, much to the dismay of many including the Selma people. I really don't want to chant "Don't Come Back!" to NPH; just fire the losers in the back.

The best thing to note during the pre-show festivities: the many awkward interviews with Dakota Johnson and Melanie Griffin. All of the media interviewers were basically Peter O'Toole in The Stunt Man, trying to creep out a mother and humiliate her daughter.

The so-called theme of the evening was "Moving Pictures". The generically phrased theme let to no further elaboration, not even a later montage. Instead, we just had another tribute to an old musical.

"The Actor goes to..." Lupita, no!

In case you forgot, in the first 22 minutes, only one award was handed out.

Maroon 5 had the first song performance slot and proceeded to stink up the joint, thanks to Adam Levine's incessant yowling and dreadful sound mixing.

There were many fantastic speeches tonight, lead off by Paweł Pawlikowski for his Best Foreign Language Film win. He defeated the orchestra!

With every reading of a Birdman nomination and its pretentiously long subtitle, I grew ever angry.

"Everything Is AWESOME!!!" was hard to top, until someone later challenged for the throne. You had Tegan & Sara and The Lonely Island bouncing around, literal lyrics, Will Arnett cameoing as Batman, Questlove and Mark Mothersbaugh popping in, confetti that would rain down later during other awards, and several audience members (including Oprah) getting the now sought-after Lego Oscars.

Best shot of the night: the lovely Emma Stone clutching a Lego Oscar, knowing that she has no chance to win but still wants to dream.

Patricia Arquette had no time for you, Ellar Coltrane. She had a rousing equal rights speech to deliver.

Rita Ora once again showed off her lack of overseas charisma, laming out the woefully generic tune "Beautiful". Even NPH had no love for it.

Wes Anderson is so, so happy when his crew rightfully win.

Where was Joan Rivers in the In Memoriam?

The mic stands could not stop moving around. How built these in?

Terence Howard, seizing his chance for a big display, went far too emotional reading off three of the Best Picture nominees.

As much as I loved "Everything Is AWESOME!!!" for waking up the program, Common and John Legend's "Glory" was the show-stopper. Oyelowo and Chris Pine were balling their eyes out.

Stop touching Idina Menzel's face, John Travolta!

Look, Lady Gaga did an amazing job with the extravagant number for the 50th anniversary of The Sound of Music. Having Julie Andrews come out in the end was always nice. But still, this segment could have freed up a lot of time. At least it kept NPH off the stage.

Having Ben Affleck come out to hand Best Director was such a troll job. However, he then became a troll when he said that, "none of these movies were dull", before then reading off Foxcatcher.

And this is where I went crazy. Iñárritu was a bit expected but still made me furious. Then Redmayne beat out Keaton. And then, Birdman utterly defeated Boyhood for Best Picture. I was livid.

Also, what was with all of the spoilers for Gone Girl?

Foxcatcher was the only shut out. I can think of a couple other movies that should have joined it.

Last year, I said that the show-runners were so lucky that the song performances and some great speeches perked up the festivities at times. Guess what I have to say about this installment?

So there you have, a ceremony that will go down in some infamy and cause cinephiles to never forgive and forget.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

2015 Oscar Predictions and Thoughts

Of course, these are my predictions to win, not who or what movie I wish would win.

Best Picture: Boyhood

Best Actor: Michael Keaton - Birdman

Best Actress: Julianne Moore - Still Alice

Best Supporting Actor: J.K. Simmons - Whiplash

Best Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette - Boyhood

Best Director: Richard Linklater - Boyhood

Best Original Screenplay: Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. and Armando Bo - Birdman

Best Adapted Screenplay: Graham Moore - The Imitation Game

Best Animated Film: Big Hero 6

Best Foreign Film: Leviathan

Best Documentary Film: Citizenfour

Best Original Score: Alexandre Desplat - The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Original Song: "Glory" - Selma

Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki - Birdman

Best Film Editing: Sandra Adair - Boyhood

Best Production Design: Adam Stockhausen and Anna Pinnock - The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Costume Design: Milena Canonero - The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Makeup and Hairstyling: Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier - The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Sound Editing: Richard King - Interstellar

Best Sound Mixing: Gary A. Rizzo, Gregg Landaker and Mark Weingarten - Interstellar

Best Visual Effects: Interstellar

Best Documentary (Short Subject): Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1

Best Animated Short Film: Feast

Best Live Action Short Film: Parvaneh

A bit predictable but I could see a few upsets here and there; a part of me thinks Best Actress may be a shocker.

I have to go with my gut feeling for Best Actor. If Eddie Redmayne wins, it will signify that the Academy still loves their two favorite Oscar baits: real-life figures and white people with crippling diseases.

The Grand Budapest Hotel is sure to sweep up the tech awards. I even have it winning over the Foxcatcher crew in the "let's put on a ton of old people makeup" category.

Remember When Actual Pop Songs Were Nominated & Would Win Best Original Song? Part 5: "Everything Is AWESOME!!!" is the only song to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 (no. 57 to be exact) and the only song to connect with fans of the movie, normal people, and the internet. Unfortunately, it will not win because "Glory" is a message song and the Academy has to give it a pity Oscar for the massive snub. The other three have no shot of winning, especially since Diane Warren is forever a bridesmaid. I could eat my words if the sympathy vote helps garner an Oscar for Glen Campbell.

Feast obviously has to win, no question.

See you on Monday with my reactions to the awards.

Friday, February 20, 2015

What's Next on Netflix? - Week 7 of 2015

Want to find out what movies are heading to Netflix Streaming? I got your back.

Upcoming Netflix Streaming Titles

2/20 - Richie Rich (Netflix Original Series)

2/21 - RoboCop (2014)

2/26 - Open Windows

3/1 - The Brothers Grimm, Grease 2, The Prince & Me

3/9 - After the Fall

3/19 - Life Itself

4/1 - Unbreakable

4/14 - The Babadook

What to Watch This Week

You really should just view anything that's set to expire on 3/1. If you really, really, really need to see a new title, the only thing I can pick that's listed above would sadly be last year's poor remake of RoboCop. It has some interesting elements within in, buried beneath of the high gloss and flat action. Maybe you will like it more than I did.

New Streaming Titles I Previously Forgot to Mention

Honestly, nothing of true worth. Sorry!

I'll see you again next Friday.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Trailer Review - Crimson Peak

Crimson Peak
Teaser Trailer
Watch It Here

Person of Interest: Mia Wasikowska as swept-up young bride Edith, Tom Hiddleston as a dark count, Jessica Chastain as his incestuous sister, and Charlie Hunnam as an older Nicholas Nickleby.

Scene Pop: No single scene is really necessary to point chiefly out, when you have all of that haunted house mood.

Briggs Breakdown: 3 ghosts, 3 knives, 3 scenes of piano-playing, 1 creepy toy, 1 scared cat, 1 horror movie in-joke, evil leather gloves, evil demon hand, and a free-fall.

Effective?: Yes. The trailer is a fairly routine Hollywood horror trailer but the lack of spoilerific money shots and that great tune ("Red Right Hand" by PJ Harvey) make it nicely fresh.

Check it Out?: Definitely. It's the latest from Guillermo del Toro; Why would you not want to check it out?

Friday, February 13, 2015

Gary Owens - RIP

Gary Owens has died. He was 78 years old.

Owens' entertainment career rested entirely on his marvelous voice, from his start in the radio business to his later voiceover work. He'll be forever known for his role as the radio announcing host of the groundbreaking comedy show Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In. While his other co-stars handled the lunacy and social/political ribs, he brought order to the chaotic program, while also delving into his innate witty humor.

For kids who grew up on animated shows, however, he's best known for supplying his voice to many famous cel-drawn characters. He got his first break into the field as Roger Ramjet, the pill-popping superhero with the catchy theme tune. His most legendary role would come next as Space Ghost, the spectral space avenger who would save the day but not until bringing some then-harsh violence to his opponents. He would then move on to the Batman-like role of Blue Falcon for Dynomutt, Dog Wonder, where he played the straight man to the kooky antics of Frank Welker's mechanical mess.

90's kids like myself would easily recognize him from some of the famous cartoons of the period. Most will remember his booming voice in more heroic roles, such as Captain Squash in Bobby's World and Powered Toast Man in Ren & Stimpy. Personally, he will always be Commander Feral from SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron, which was surprisingly one of the few times he ever played an antagonist. "The Enforcers will handle this!" and "Get me chopper back-up!" are forever engrained into my psyche.

He will be missed.

What's Next on Netflix? - Week 6 of 2015

Want to find out what movies are heading to Netflix Streaming? I got your back.

Upcoming Netflix Streaming Titles

2/13 - Bad Turn Worse

2/16 - Felony, Save The Date

2/17 - The Overnighters

2/18 - Earth to Echo, In Secret

2/19 - Life's a Breeze, White Bird in a Blizzard

2/21 - RoboCop (2014)

3/9 - After the Fall

What to Watch This Week

From this paltry line-up, you only have one strong choice but have to wait for it to come on Tuesday: the Sundance doc The Overnighters. If depressing looks at the hardships of American life in not your bag, you can have some minor escapist fun with the E.T.-"inspired", found footage kids' movie Earth to Echo.

New Streaming Titles I Previously Forgot to Mention

Adult Swim fanatics will enjoy the cult friendly adventure show Danger 5; They made a third one? Universal Pictures churned out Dragonheart 3: The Shadow Claw; and a young couple make a bad mistake when they decided to go to a cabin in the woods in Honeymoon.

I'll see you again next Friday.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

14 Movies Currently MIA or Otherwise (As of February 2015)

Yep, that image has popped up again and you know it is not a good sign. Despite cutting another trailer in time for its upcoming release on April 10, The Weinstein Company have chosen to once again delay the release of Underdogs, moving its American release date to August 14. At this point, I have given all hope with the film, especially after viewing the awkward English dub it has been given.

Since I previously turned my ire of the Weinsteins' treatment of Underdogs into an article about other films that have been routinely delayed or completely vanished from sight, I thought it would be wise to do an updated edition. But before we look over the revised list of missing movies, let's go over the few that were previously covered and were fortunate enough to finally see the light of day:

Kite certainly lived up to my assessment. It was sent out in October of last year in a very small set of theaters and on VOD. It would then later make it onto my list of the Worst Films of 2014.

The Loft went from its unknown date to later be scheduled to come out on January 30th, 2015. It made only $2.7 million on its opening weekend and has quickly exited theaters since.

Seventh Son (sans "The") was just released this past weekend, where it predictably bombed with a domestic gross of $7.1 million and a 10% rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Now, let's look over the movies that are stuck in distribution purgatory.


Plot: A flight to Tokyo hits some unknown, supernatural turbulence. Stars Ryan Kwanten, Jaime Chung, Leslie Bibb, and Amy Smart. Directed by Takashi Shimizu (The Ju-On/The Grudge franchise).

Previously Covered in Last Article

Updated Status: Unknown. Its projected release of October 3, 2014 came and went, with no news update or anything. I expect it to now hit home video at some time but no guesses as to when. If you somehow really, really need to see this PG-13 horror film, you can pick up a DVD or Blu-ray import from Germany, France or Netherlands, which are the only nations "lucky" enough to have easy access to it.


Plot: A mysterious virus turns elementary schoolers into vicious creatures and only their teachers can stop the menace. Stars Elijah Wood, Alison Pill, Riann Wilson, and Jack McBrayer

Pre-Release Buzz: Premiered at Sundance 2014 and picked up for distribution by Lionsgate.

Current Status: Unknown. An official trailer still hasn't come out yet. The most probable reason for its delay is its displeasuring notion of kids being evil and/or getting violently killed. But even with that bad taste, a VOD release would provide wonders to the bottomline.

Dear v/s Bear

Plot: Two soccer players are stuck in the woods, when a group of black bears decide to show up.

Pre-Release Buzz: Its official trailer. Dear Lord, what a trailer.

Current Status: N/A. Unlike the many Hindi and Tamil films that are now coming to major megaplexes in full force, this was not put on the release schedule. Let me clarify a bit: a movie where an Indian couple sing and dance and fight a badly CGI bear isn't given a chance, but a 2 1/2 hour movie where a man "comically" fights over an inheritance with a dog is a-okay. The nerve of you, Regal and AMC. Anyway, it pops up every now and then in full on YouTube, so that's your best bet on seeing it.


Plot: Law enforcement try to figure out whether or not an attempted summoning of ghosts caused the death of five people. Stars Maria Bello and Frank Grillo.

Pre-Release Buzz: Set to be widely released on December 12, 2014.

Current Status: Postponed Indefinitely. Dimension Films removed it from the schedule and listed no future date. The trailer for it briefly popped up online in early January, before being taken down for copyright reasons. Judging from the early footage given to us, it looked to be a vanilla jump-scare factory.

Dino Time

Plot: Three kids mess around with a scientist's time machine and find themselves messing around with dinosaurs. Voices include Pamela Adlon, Tara Strong, Yuri Lowenthal, and Jane Lynch. Produced by the Southern Korean powerhouse CJ Entertainment and specifically designed to meet the 3D quota for theater owners.

Previously Covered in Last Article

Updated Status: Still Unknown. The fact that it hasn't even been uploaded to Netflix Instant streaming yet tells you that it's a lost cause.

Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films

Plot: A documentary on the craziness that was The Cannon Group, chiefly the years when Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus were running the show. Directed by Mark Hartley, who has previously covered Australia's exploitation film industry (Not Quite Hollywood) and the American B-movies shot in the Philippines (Machete Maidens Unleashed!).

Pre-Release Buzz: Drafthouse Films had it listed as an upcoming film of there's since 2011, as seen in this press release. Its official trailer was released in October 2014.

Current Status: Unknown. Drafthouse quietly removed it from their numbered listing and made no comment about it. Given that there's another Golan-Globus documentary being shopped around at the moment, this pop culture treat will hopefully come out.

Empires of the Deep

Plot: Positioned as China's Avatar, this fantasy tale tells the love between a man and a mermaid and the war between aquatic nations. Stars Olga Kurylenko.

Pre-Release Buzz: Filming commenced in 2010, with an estimated budget of $130 million. A trailer was leaked online back in October 2012, which I covered in an edition of Trailer Review. (Forget to put this in the last article!)

Current Status: Unknown. In 2013, one of the many screenwriters brought on to salvage the project said that it's still in post-production but that early test screenings have kept it from moving forward. In November of last year, the film's second director Jonathan Lawrence came forward to tell a few horror stories and why he was removed from his position. He also said that he heard from inside sources that the film is golden and could be released in China any day now.

Grace of Monaco

Plot: A day in the stressful life of Princess Grace Kelly, as she tries to figure out whether to return to Hollywood or support her husband during a major political battle. Stars Nicole Kidman and Tim Roth. Directed by Olivier Dahan (La Vie en Rose).

Pre-Release Buzz: Set for release on November 27, 2013, it was then moved to March 14, 2014 until then removed from all schedules by The Weinstein Company. Before its world premiere at Cannes 2014, there was much controversy generated during the film's post-production, when it became known that Harvey Weinstein was fighting with Dahan over the final cut.

Current Status: Postponed. Critics at Cannes severely lambasted the director's cut and more heavy boos came when it eventually opened up in British theaters. Harvey Weinstein has recently been reported as saying that a writer's cut of the movie will be made available here in the US, with an accompanying small theatrical release.

The Green Inferno

Plot: Clearly borrowing from the despicable template of the cannibal horror craze, a group of environmental activists are captured and ready to be served as dinner to the tribe they wished to protect. Eli Roth's latest film.

Previously Covered in Last Article

Updated Status: Still Postponed Indefinitely. Worldwide Entertainment and Open Road Films still hate each other. Roth, on the other hand, has already moved on and premiered his latest feature Knock, Knock at this year's Sundance.

Lost River

Plot: A hard-lucky family enter into a surreal world. Stars Saoirse Ronan, Christina Hendricks, Eva Mendes, and Matt Smith. Directed by Ryan Gosling. Previously known as How to Catch a Monster.

Pre-Release Buzz: Premiered at Cannes 2014, where it was eviscerated by many critics. Post-premiere, Warner Bros., who possessed the distributing rights, were considering on selling the picture off to an indie studio.

Current Status: Set for release on April 10, 2015. The official trailer and poster premiered online just last week.

The Search

Plot: Set in war-torn Chechnya, a political aide tries to help reunite a mother with her two lost boys. Stars Bérénice Bejo and Annette Bening. Directed by Michel Hazanavicius. A very loose remake of the 1948 Fred Zinnemann film.

Pre-Release Buzz: Premiered In Competition at Cannes 2014. Bejo and Bening were both widely praised for their acting but many critics attacked the feature for its syrupy design.

Current Status: Unknown. The Oscar bait movie was highly suspected to come out by the end of last year for awards consideration but no American distributor picked it up. It did premiere stateside at this year's Palm Springs International Film Festival, so expect to see it pop up some time this year.

Sunshine on Leith

Plot: Two British servicemen return to Edinburgh to readjust to life and find love. A film adaptation of the jukebox musical, featuring songs by The Proclaimers.

Pre-Release Buzz: Though us Americans still mock The Proclaimers as goofy one-hit wonders, the duo is a huge act in their native Scotland and turn their music catalog into a very successful musical. The film was very well received in 2013.

Current Status: N/A. Like Keith Lemon last time, I just put this entry in as a joke. I really do hope it's given a chance of a release here in the US though, especially given the fact that we eventually got One Chance last year and that "foreign" musicals do draw major interest.


Plot: A small-town alcoholic cop is turned into a werewolf by a satanic cult and uses his new violent powers for good. Directed by Lowell Dean (13 Eerie).

Pre-Release Buzz: Its official trailer premiered online last April and had the internet buzzing for a couple of days.

Current Status: February 17, 2015 on DVD and Blu-ray. No small theatrical release for it, sadly.

The Wonders

Plot: Four sisters help out their dad in the honey-making business and later try to enter a television contest. Directed by Alice Rohrwacher.

Pre-Release Buzz: Premiered In Competition at Cannes 2014, where it somehow won the Grand Prix (aka 2nd Place) over much deserving fare.

Current Status: Unknown. It played at a few New York film festivals late last year but no distributor seems to want it.

Of course there are probably more films I still forgot to cover here, so they will have to wait until the next iteration of this series.

Spider-Man Joins the Marvel Cinematic Universe!

I generally don't do these superhero movie updates anymore for a couple of reasons. First, you can easily find this info everywhere, on every single movie, comic book, or entertainment site, all regurgitating the same facts or rumors before then putting a little personal sidenote to make it "original". Secondly, unless there's more to the story or some backstage drama going on like the Edgar Wright/Ant-Man dilemma, I don't really have anything to really explore upon or truly make a comment on.

That all being said, this is a pretty big deal to note in web history. As reported by Marvel Studios themselves, the film company has reached a business agreement with Sony Pictures, which will allow the character of Spider-Man to enter into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Despite the firm handshake and the allowance of heroes and villains to appear in either studio's films in the future, Sony will still retain the film rights to Spider-Man and have total creative control over its franchise. With the announcement, Sony also stated that the next installment of Spidey's adventures will come out on July 28, 2017. Anyway with Comics Alliance's helpful SuperMovies chart can see the potential problem with that date but the two studios have already figured that out. Since the tentative The Amazing Spider-Man 3 (or something else?) is now coming out on that summer day, the previous occupant Thor: Ragnarok is taking Black Panther's spot on November 3, 2017, which then causes that film to take over Captain Marvel's spot on July 6, 2018, which then causes that film to take over Inhumans's spot on November 2, 2018, which causes that film to be moved to July 12, 2019. See why I don't like to do these new stories?

Bottomline, this is the best outcome for both brands. Marvel gets to have their prized champion back under the wing to a certain extant while also keeping Sony happy. Meanwhile, Sony gets to piggyback off the continuing successful future of Marvel Studios, while also allowing the studio to have a full chance at rehabilitating their cornerstone franchise after a boringly dismal reboot, a horrible sequel, dwindling popularity and lower-than-expected box office grosses.

As with many who are wishing and hoping after hearing this breaking news today, I too desire that Spidey pops in Captain America: Civil War and is the Miles Morales version of the character, thus saving us from another whitebread hero, another Peter Parker, and another origin story.