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Who would be nominated if the year had ended on June 30th? Let’s find out!

To be clear, I hate it when people predict things on hype alone. I make fun of those people on a regular basis. So let’s be clear, these are not Oscar predictions. It’s a safe bet that we will be hearing some of these names come Oscar time, but this is simply the best of 2014, so far.

For a film to be considered they must meet all Oscar requirements and have been released in January-June of 2014.  This Weekend In Cinema will return next weekend. “Winners” are in bold.

Best Picture

Blue RuinCaptain America: The Winter SoldierChefThe Fault in Our StarsThe Grand Budapest HotelHow to Train Your Dragon 2The Lego MovieSnowpiercer.

Of these, perhaps only Budapest Hotel could stick around and contend, with Lego having an outside shot.

Best Director

Wes Anderson (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Phil Lord/Christopher Miller (The Lego Movie), David Gordon Green (Joe), Joon-ho Bong (Snowpiercer), Jon Favreau (Chef)

It’s hard to direct a film. I imagine it is very hard to direct a film about building blocks and make it a must see film.

Best Actor

Ralph Fiennes (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Ansel Elgort (The Fault in Our Stars), Macon Blair (Blue Ruin), Tom Hardy (Locke), Joaquin Phoenix (The Immigrant)

Best Actress

Shailene Woodley (The Fault in Our Stars), Marion Cottilard (The Immigrant), Tilda Swinton (Only Lovers Left Alive), Emily Blunt (Edge of Tomorrow), Angelina Jolie (Maleficent).

This category suffers because I haven’t seen many good films with strong leading ladies so far.

Best Supporting Actor

Gary Poulter (Joe), Ed Harris (Snowpiercer), Bryan Cranston (Godzilla), Jeremy Renner (The Immigrant), Robert Redford (Captain America: The Winter Soldier)

Best Supporting Actress

Tilda Swinton (Snowpiercer), Mia Wasikowska (Only Lovers Left Alive), Scarlett Johanssen (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), Amy Hargreaves (Blue Ruin)

Best Original Screenplay

The Grand Budapest Hotel, Blue Ruin, Chef, The Lego Movie, Locke

I think Lego is an original. If it isn’t considered one, then it goes to Budapest.

Best Adapted Screenplay

Joe, Snowpiercer, Edge of Tomorrow, The Fault in Our Stars, Captain America: Winter Soldier

Best Animated Film

The Lego Movie, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Rio 2, Mr. Peabody and Sherman, The Nut Job

Best Foreign Film

The BabadookBorgman, We Are The BestIdaDormant Beauty

I’ll admit I’m kinda guessing on the foreign films.

~~~

Well, I’m not going to dive down to the  technical awards (aside from saying “Everything is Awesome” is bound to get a nomination for Best Original Song). This list is going to shake itself up through the next few months, so keep your eyes open.

The Blockbuster Report

earth-to-echo-poster

Oh man was this a missed opportunity. With another slate of middling to bad films gracing theaters with their debuts this 4th of July weekend, how did a big studio not get this weekend for a big blockbuster. Tammy is another miss for Melissa McCarthy, which is too bad, because she’s hilarious, and Earth to Echo, which I had tempered hopes for despite the fact it felt like an E.T. ripoff, is just ok, although that’s enough to make it the clear best new film in wide release. Someone could have made a lot of money if they would have snatched this weekend. Perhaps they were scared off by the new Transformers “film” (that’s what Michael Bay calls it).

Oh, I almost forgot. Deliver Us From Evil is also a wide release film, its pretty “meh.”

To make things worse, there’s nothing really in limited release either…yawn.

Must See: None

Worth Your Time: Earth to Echo

Meh: None

Stay Away: Deliver Us From EvilTammy

Where do They Come From?

  • Earth to Echo: Original
  • Deliver Us From Evil: Adaptation from non-fiction book Beware the Night
  • Tammy: Original

Original: 23

Adaptation: 23

Sequel/Prequel: 8

Remake: 1

Re-release: 1

Oscarwatch

These ten films are the “Best of the Year,” IF THE YEAR ENDED TODAY. This weekend’s releases not included.

They are ranked based on likelihood of winning Best Picture at the Oscars, with #1 being most likely. International films not included until end of year if Oscar potential exists. Numbers in parenthesis are indicative of how many places the film moved from week to week.

DISCLAIMER: I may not personally recommend (or even like) all films on this list.

1) The Grand Budapest Hotel ( - )
3) The Lego Movie ( – )
4) How to Train Your Dragon 2 ( – )
5) Blue Ruin ( +1 )
6) Edge of Tomorrow ( -1 )
7) The Fault in Our Stars ( -3 )
8) X-Men: Days of Future Past ( +1 )
9) Snowpiercer (NEW)
10) Chef ( -1 )

The Blockbuster Report

While the wide release films continue to disappoint, limited release films continue to impress. That’s quickly becoming the theme of the summer. Aside from The Fault in Our StarsEdge of Tomorrow, and maybe Godzilla and How to Train Your Dragon 2, we’ve had quite a bit of being underwhelmed.  This weekend continues that trend, which shouldn’t surprise too many people, considering the big film of the weekend is Transformers: Age of Extinction.  This is another Michael Bay helmed disaster. The addition of Mark Wahlberg, which is fantastic, can’t save this film from just being almost three hours of brain-numbing. This is a loud movie, in a bad way, and at this point the producers don’t even seem to care about a plot. Avoid.

If you want a real thriller, you’ll want to find a way to see Snowpiercer. Its rock star cast includes Chris Evans (The Avengers), Tilda Swinton (Chronicles of Narnia), Jamie Bell (Jane Eyre), and Octavia Spencer (The Help). In this film, after a disastrous global warming experiment gone wrong, the remaining people on Earth live on the Snowpiercer, a train that circles the Earth thanks to a perpetual motion device. Led by a sinister outside force, the passengers begin a revolt which could wipe out life on Earth forever. This is a great film.

In limited release, there’s also Begin Again, a foray into the talent-scouting dramas of wanna be artists (starring Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley, They Came Together, a solid film despite the cast reading like a Who’s Who of popular TV, and finally, Archipelago, starring Tom Hiddleston. This last one is well worth tracking down. Full of subtle, deeper meanings, this is the tale of a family, soon to be torn apart, that begins unraveling aboard a foreign island. See it.

Must See: None

Worth Your Time: SnowpiercerArchipelago

Average: Begin AgainThey Came Together

Stay Away: Transformers: Age of Extinction

 

Where do They Come From?

  • Transformers: Age of Extinction: Sequel
Original: 21
Adaptation: 23
Sequel/Prequel: 10
Remake: 1
Re-release: 1
 
These ten films are the “Best of the Year,” IF THE YEAR ENDED TODAY. This weekend’s releases not included.
They are ranked based on likelihood of winning Best Picture at the Oscars, with #1 being most likely. International films not included until end of year if Oscar potential exists. Numbers in parenthesis are indicative of how many places the film moved from week to week.
DISCLAIMER: I may not personally recommend (or even like) all films on this list.
1) The Grand Budapest Hotel ( - )
3) The Lego Movie ( – )
4) How to Train Your Dragon 2 ( – )
5) Edge of Tomorrow ( +1 )
6) Blue Ruin ( +1 )
7) The Fault in Our Stars ( -2 )
8) Chef ( – )
9) X-Men: Days of Future Past ( - )
10) Stand Clear of the Closing Doors ( – )

The Blockbuster Report

coherence-movie-poster-2013-large-fantastic-fest

Oh man, this weekend looks pretty abysmal for new releases. We’ve got Think Like a Man Too, which could get nominated for a Razzie for Worst Film of the Year, and Jersey Boys (yes, based on the musical), which, aside from the music, really lacks the heart and soul of the stage edition. There’s really not much in limited release either, as Third Person, starring Mila Kunis and James Franco, is nothing special and the same goes for everything else.

The one exception may be Coherence, an indy film by James Ward Byrkit (his directing debut), which is an interesting sci-fi flick that takes place almost entirely in one room. It incorporates themes of theoretical physics, comets, paradoxes, Schrödinger’s cat, and, as you might expect, some thrills and chills as the players find out that an astronomical event may be breaking reality. A solid debut for sure.

Other than that, if you are going to a theater this weekend, it’s probably best to spend your money on a holdover like How to Train Your Dragon 2Edge of TomorrowThe Fault in Our Stars, or something along those lines.

Must See: None

Worth Your Time: Coherence

Meh: Jersey Boys

Stay Away: Think Like a Man Too, Third Person

 

Where do They Come From?

  • Think Like a Man Too: Sequel
  • Jersey Boys: Adaptation of play of the same name.
Original: 21
Adaptation: 23
Sequel/Prequel: 9
Remake: 1
Re-release: 1
 
These ten films are the “Best of the Year,” IF THE YEAR ENDED TODAY. This weekend’s releases not included.
They are ranked based on likelihood of winning Best Picture at the Oscars, with #1 being most likely. International films not included until end of year if Oscar potential exists. Numbers in parenthesis are indicative of how many places the film moved from week to week.
DISCLAIMER: I may not personally recommend (or even like) all films on this list.
1) The Grand Budapest Hotel ( - )
3) The Lego Movie ( – )
4) How to Train Your Dragon 2 (NEW)
5) The Fault in Our Stars ( -1 )
6) Edge of Tomorrow ( -1 )
7) Blue Ruin ( -1 )
8) Chef ( – )
9) X-Men: Days of Future Past ( -2 )
10) Stand Clear of the Closing Doors ( – )

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If you follow me on Twitter (@JesseMeehl) or have taken a gander to the left here on Haunted by Humans, you may have noticed quite a few Marvel Comics volumes appearing in my “recently read” widget. Well, there’s a method to this madness. I’ll let you in on it.

I have begun a quest to read EVERY series from Marvel Comics (starting back in their Timely and Atlas days). Yes, that’s a lot of comics, and yes, I’m starting at the beginning. I’ve been a huge Marvel fan since I was a kid, have basked in their renaissance of late, and can never get enough of any kind of super hero. So instead of just reading the big storylines and crossovers (like I did with DC), I’m reading it all, even through the bumps.

My Five Rules:

1) My first mission is the 616 Universe, which Marvelites will recognize as the Marvel Universe where all the main stuff happens. I may delve into some parallel universe stuff, but I’ll take it as I go. This applies to non-fiction and adaptations of other works etc.

2) I reserve the right to opt out of series that are either to hard to obtain (this is rare), or if they aren’t up to snuff. This latter cause is even rarer than the first. Generally it will only happen if a series becomes too monotonous for me. The key is I need to at least read one story arc from every volume.

3) In the Timely Era, I made sure to read material from every available series, but as that is pre-Marvel, I’m not requiring myself to read all the series. Same with the Atlas Era.

4) As much of the reading as possible will be in reading collected volumes. If an issue or series is missing from volumes, I may be forced to skip it or obtain a hard or digital copy.

5) I’m not reading early romance comics (nuff said), or series that just collect previously published stories.

Currently I’m making my way through the 60′s, paging through the early tales of Iron Man, Hulk, Spider-Man, Daredevil, the X-Men, and more. The villainous Dr. Doom, Mandarin, Magneto, Juggernaut, Green Goblin, and Baron Zemo, among others, have stepped from the shadows to terrorize the world, and thank goodness we know, over 60 years later, that the good guys win in the end.

Every month I’ll keep you updated as to my progress. Follow me on Twitter if you want “up to the book” updates.

As this is the first official mention of the Marvel Project, I’ll catch you all up!

Series Currently Reading

-  Strange Tales, Vol. 1 (1951)

- Journey Into Mystery, Vol. 1 (1952)

- Tales of Suspense, Vol. 1 (1959)

- Tales to Astonish, Vol. 1 (1959)

- Fantastic Four, Vol. 1 (1961)

- The Amazing Spider-Man, Vol. 1 (1963)

- The Avengers, Vol. 1 (1963)

- The X-Men, Vol. 1 (1963)

- Daredevil, Vol. 1 (1964)

Completed Series

- Menace (1953)

- The Black Knight (1955)

- The Yellow Claw (1956)

- Amazing Adventures/Amazing Fantasy (1961)

- The Incredible Hulk, Vol. 1 (1962)

Dropped Series

- Sgt. Fury, Vol. 1 (1963)

The Blockbuster Report

Promo-poster

The long awaited How to Train Your Dragon 2 arrives this weekend, to favorable reviews. And even though I can’t get past the annoying fact that the Vikings in this franchise have Scottish accents for some unfathomable reason, this is still my Film to Catch. The first film was great, and this one looks to be super fun as well.

Doubling up on sequels, we have 22 Jump Street, which is another story. This one manages to joke about being a cash-grabbing sequel while actually simply being just that. It’s rare that comedy films these days turn out to be good movies, and this is no exception. Leave this one alone.

There’s nothing breathtaking about this week’s lineup of limited release films, but that’s not to say that they aren’t worth a watch. The best of the bunch is The Rover, which gets a great turn from both Guy Pierce and Robert Pattinson. The Signal, a sci-fi/suspense flick starring Laurence Fishburne, was the most interesting to me coming in, but the storyline isn’t anything special, which is too bad. Hellion has raised some eyebrows for a vivid portrayal of life as a Southern teenager, but is still getting mixed reviews, although Aaron Paul is stellar in it. There’s also Lullaby and All Cheerleaders Die, neither of which are worth your time and money.

Must See: None

Worth Your Time: How to Train Your Dragon 2The Rover

Meh: The SignalHellion

Stay Away: 22 Jump StreetLullabyAll Cheerleaders Die

Where do They Come From?

  • How to Train Your Dragon 2: Sequel
  • 22 Jump Street: Sequel
Original: 21
Adaptation: 22
Sequel/Prequel: 8
Remake: 1
Re-release: 1
 
These ten films are the “Best of the Year,” IF THE YEAR ENDED TODAY. This weekend’s releases not included.
They are ranked based on likelihood of winning Best Picture at the Oscars, with #1 being most likely. International films not included until end of year if Oscar potential exists. Numbers in parenthesis are indicative of how many places the film moved from week to week.
DISCLAIMER: I may not personally recommend (or even like) all films on this list.
1) The Grand Budapest Hotel ( - )
3) The Lego Movie ( – )
4) The Fault in Our Stars (NEW)
5) Edge of Tomorrow (NEW)
6) Blue Ruin ( -2 )
7) X-Men: Days of Future Past ( -1)
8) Chef ( – )
9) Locke ( -4 )
10) Stand Clear of the Closing Doors ( – )

The Blockbuster Report

edge_of_tomorrow-wide

As opposed to last weekend, this time around we have a very good slate of films in both wide and limited release. My personal Film to Catch is Edge of Tomorrow, which is a little crazy because I’m not the biggest Tom Cruise fan. However, this one looks to have some great action and a compelling plot. Its a bit of type-casting, but Tom looks like he’ll give this a good turn. Also looking good in wide release is The Fault in Our Stars, a dramady starring Shailene Woodley, which tells the tale of two teenagers who fall in love after meeting at a cancer support group.

In limited release, there’s a trio of solid horror films (or potentially solid films) Willow Creek, a found-footage tale which replaces the Blair Witch with Bigfoot, is probably the best. But there’s also Borgman, about a vagrant wanderer (who may happen to resemble a nightmare demon from German folklore) who causes chaos in an upper class Dutch family, and The Sacrament, which takes on a modern cult. Without actually seeing it, I hate to pass judgment, but The Sacrament does get pretty brutal, and, from what I’ve heard, crosses over the line from well-crafted horror to a violence fest, although the suspense is kept up very well. What else would you expect from director Ti West? I loved The Innkeepers, which he wrote, so he seems to have the horror genre down right.

The only film I’d have to say to completely avoid is Obvious Child, which is just basically a propaganda film trying to mask itself as empowering women, when all it actually does is depict them as being able to behave like teenagers for the rest of their lives.

Must See: None

Worth Your Time: Edge of TomorrowThe Fault in Our StarsWillow Creek, Borgman

Meh: The Sacrament

Stay Away: Obvious Child

Where do They Come From? Included are last week’s films.

  • Edge of Tomorrow: Based on novel All You Need is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka.
  • The Fault in Our Stars: Based on novel of the same name by John Green.
  • Maleficent: Based on the Grimm fairy tale.
  • A Million Ways to Die in the West: Original
  • Chef: Original (achieved wide release status last week)

Original: 21

Adaptation: 22
Sequel/Prequel: 6
Remake: 1
Re-release: 1
These ten films are the “Best of the Year,” IF THE YEAR ENDED TODAY.
They are ranked based on likelihood of winning Best Picture at the Oscars, with #1 being most likely. International films not included until end of year if Oscar potential exists. This weekend’s releases not included. Numbers in parenthesis are indicative of how many places the film moved from week to week.
DISCLAIMER: I may not personally recommend (or even like) all films on this list.
1) The Grand Budapest Hotel ( - )
3) The Lego Movie ( – )
4) Blue Ruin ( – )
5) Locke ( – )
6) X-Men: Days of Future Past ( – )
7) Belle ( +3 )
8) Chef ( -2 )
9) Joe ( -1)
10) Stand Clear of the Closing Doors (NEW)

Ok, so contrary to what the title may sound like, I actually did enjoy this film…when I was watching it. But, much like The Dark Knight Rises, as soon as you stop and think about things, the whole film is just nonsensical. What makes it worse is that this film could have been so much better very easily. None of the pressing questions I have would require big changes in the plot. I’m not sure whose fault it is, but I’m pretty sure it’s another case of director Bryan Singer just needing to throw “cool stuff” around instead of things that actually make sense. And actually, the “cool stuff” is REALLY cool. Storm and Magneto get an amazing team-up, Blink, Iceman, and Bishop are awesome, and Beast actually looks great. So what’s the problem? Spoilers follow, so be warned…

1) Blink and You’ll Miss It.

xmen-share-characters-blink

Blink is probably the coolest X-Man in the film. Basically, she can play Portal in real life, which makes for amazing fight sequences. She gets Sentinels to fly right through her portals into attacks by Warpath, Iceman, and others. There’s even a time where a Sentinel’s arm gets caught, on accident, in a portal as it is closing. The robotic arm clangs to the floor, and is not regenerated. Of course, this begs the question: “Why didn’t you close your portal on the Sentinel and cut it in half, or cut its head off? Would have saved a lot of trouble.

2) Walking on Sunshine

Look ma, one hand!

Look ma, one hand!

A big question leading up to this film was “How can Xavier walk again?” Well, turns out that Beast comes up with a serum that can both cure paralysis AND dampen your mutant powers. Aside from the fact that Beast and Xavier had a flipping CURE FOR PARALYSIS that they weren’t sharing with the world, there’s another issue here. Nobody would confine themselves to a wheelchair constantly for the rest of their life if they had a way out of it, so why isn’t Xavier out of his wheelchair more often? In fact, Beast also takes the serum, with no harmful side effects. There’s no reason for Xavier to not take a few days off from his wheelchair now and then.

3) Magic Bullets

jfk_large_0

Turns out that Magneto is in prison for killing JFK. Thus explaining the curving of the magic bullet. However, once freed from prison, Magneto says that he actually was trying to save the president. When Xavier challenges him on this, mentioning that only the Master of Magnetism could curve a bullet, Magneto says that the actual people that wanted Kennedy dead stopped him before he could guide the bullet out of the way. What? I gotta think that curving a bullet out of the way would be pretty high up on your list of things not to do Mr. Magneto. How about stopping it in mid-air? Moving the car out of the way? Taking the gun away from Oswald? This is a guy that weaves metal fibers into multiple huge Sentinels at the same time, without looking at them, and he couldn’t stop one bullet?

4) Speaking of Bullets.

x-men-days-of-future-past-movie-screenshot-quicksilver

Wolverine, Beast, Professor X, and Magneto set out to stop an assassination from happening that will trigger a horrible dystopia. Since he’s still walking around, Xavier’s powers aren’t working. So that leaves Magneto, Beast, and Wolverine. None of those people have powers that would allow them to sneak around easily. Well, maybe Nightcrawler wasn’t born yet? Ok, so its too bad that they couldn’t find someone that could sneak places. Oh, wait, except they just tracked down Quicksilver, who used his superspeed to save all of them from being shot the day before. And of course, there’s always Magneto, who should be able to stop a bullet…but he couldn’t stop one in the case of JFK, and he’s also the most unstable of all of them.

5) Blue Hulk

Beast Smash! Oh, wait, hang on...

Beast Smash! Oh, wait, hang on…

In a clear case of “needing” to get Nicholas Hoult more facetime, they went with the “I turn into a monster when I’m angry” route. Pathetic.

6) Phasing Out

See, it says "intangibility," nothing to do with time travel.

See, it says “intangibility,” nothing to do with time travel.

Can someone explain how Shadowcat, who has the power to phase through objects, can also send someone’s brain back in time?

So yeah, that’s a pretty bad job putting things together. But in the end, the movie is STILL great. Why? Because it erases or heavily changes the events portrayed in EVERY other X-Men film, except First Class! Brilliant! Also, the after credits scene is awesome!

But seriously, Bryan Singer, get your crap together and make a movie that still makes sense once you’re done thinking about it. And while you’re at it, we can go without hearing an F-bomb, or seeing Hugh Jackman’s nude bum. (Yes, both of those things happened in DOFP.)

My rating: 6/10 stars.

This Weekend in Cinema

Also out this weekend, the (bi-)annual stupid-fest that is an Adam Sandler film (Blended), Stand Clear of the Closing Doors, and forgettable films Words and Pictures and The Angriest Man in Brooklyn.

Must see: None.

Worth Your Time: X-Men: Days of Future PastStand Clear of the Closing Doors

Meh: None.

Stay Away: BlendedWords and PicturesThe Angriest Man in Brooklyn

Where do They Come From?

  • X-Men: Days of Future Past: A sequel yes, but directly adapted from the comic book story line. 
  • Blended: Original

Original: 20

Adaptation: 20

Sequel/Prequel: 6

Remake: 1

Re-release: 1

Oscarwatch

These ten films are the “Best of the Year,” IF THE YEAR ENDED TODAY. They are ranked based on likelihood of winning Best Picture at the Oscars, with #1 being most likely.

International films not included until end of year if Oscar potential exists. This weekend’s releases not included. Numbers in parenthesis are indicative of how many places the film moved from week to week.

DISCLAIMER: I may not personally recommend (or even like) all films on this list.

1) The Grand Budapest Hotel ( - )

2) Captain America: The Winter Soldier ( – )

3) The Lego Movie ( – )

4) Blue Ruin ( – )

5) Locke ( – )

6) Chef ( – )

7) Veronica Mars ( - )

8) Joe ( – )

9) Godzilla (NEW)

10) Belle ( - )

The Blockbuster Report

godzilla-trailer-02-1

This weekend, Godzilla arrived at cinemas for the first time since the 1998 flop. Godzilla has been on my radar since they first announced it, and it did not disappoint. The special effects were surreal, the storytelling reminiscent of classics like Jaws and Cloverfield in that you certainly feel Godzilla’s presence before you see him. There’s a slow building drama in play here, where, try as they might, the human race can only stand and watch as titans from another age duke it out for Earth’s future.

If you’re going to take an iconic character as big as the King of the Monsters and bring him to the big screen, there’s a certain level of expectation you need to deal with. Moviegoers expect films that don’t rehash old plots, films that make sense in their universe, and films that respect the characters they know and love. This Godzilla story fits that bill. The story, while grounded in fantasy, is also grounded in reality. Why would Godzilla help humans? Why does he disappear? Where does he go? Where do these monsters come from? We don’t get some hokey explanation, we get a scientific one, with enough cover-ups to keep the viewers engaged, while not losing them in too much intrigue.

The monsters themselves are amazing, and they certainly take over the film in more ways than one. Bryan Cranston delivers an amazing first act as the desperate father looking for answers, but halfway though the film, the humans are not that interesting. That’s not to say the performances are poor. Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, David Strathairn, and the rest deliver solid performances, but this film is all about the monsters. With such a great cast, it is a little unfortunate that they don’t get to show off their acting chops, but the grand finale more than makes up for it. If you like monster movies, or action movies, or natural disaster movies, or simply just like having fun with a new incarnation of one of the most iconic movie characters of all time, you’ll have a great time at Godzilla, and likely get goosebumps when you finally hear him unleash his trembling roar.

Rating: 8/10 Stars

Million Dollar Arm was the other film in wide release. Its a decent enough flick, but it lacks the charisma that makes sports films like MoneyballFriday Night Lights, and Rudy instant classics. In limited release you’ll find Chinese Puzzle, the final film of the Spanish Apartment trilogy by director Cédric Klapisc, The Immigrant, a film with a good premise, but severely bogged down by unneeded sexual content, Half of a Yellow Sun, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, which tells the story of the Biafran War in Nigeria, A Night in Old Mexico, a new Robert Duvall western that has him playing a classic Duvallian curmudgeon, and finally, Wolf Creek 2, a sequel that doesn’t live up to the first installment. 

Must See: None

Worth Your Time: GodzillaHalf of a Yellow Sun

Meh: A Night in Old MexicoMillion Dollar Arm

Stay Away: Chinese Puzzle, The Immigrant

Where do They Come From?

  • Godzilla: Adapted from the Godzilla mythos
  • Million Dollar Arm: Original, written by Thomas McCarthy (UpWin Win)

Original: 19

Adaptation: 19

Sequel/Prequel: 6

Remake: 1

Re-release: 1

Oscarwatch

These ten films are the “Best of the Year,” IF THE YEAR ENDED TODAY. They are ranked based on likelihood of winning Best Picture at the Oscars, with #1 being most likely.

International films not included until end of year if Oscar potential exists. This weekend’s releases not included. Numbers in parenthesis are indicative of how many places the film moved from week to week.

DISCLAIMER: I may not personally recommend (or even like) all films on this list.

1) The Grand Budapest Hotel ( - )

2) Captain America: The Winter Soldier ( – )

3) The Lego Movie ( – )

4) Blue Ruin ( – )

5) Locke ( – )

6) Chef (NEW)

7) Veronica Mars ( - )

8) Joe ( -2)

9) Gimme Shelter ( -1 )

10) Belle ( -1 )

So yeah, it has been over a month, hasn’t it? Dang. Sorry. Guess I was really busy. But with the return of TWIC, I’m rolling out a new feature. Starting today in The Blockbuster Report I’ll be classifying movies in one of four categories: Must See, Worth Your Time, Meh, and Stay Away! I’ll still have my pick of the week, but this way it’s easier for you to get a handle on what is good and what isn’t.

That being said…read on!

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The Blockbuster Report

I’m not going to play catch up here so we’re looking at two wide release films this weekend. The first is the new Seth Rogen comedy Neighbors, and the second is the animated Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return. I can safely say to stay away from both. Rogen, per the usual, has no idea how to grow up and keeps his humor in the gutter. There’s nothing redeeming about this film, nothing. Legends of Oz, while obviously more family friendly, is also not a good choice. It isn’t even based on L. Frank Baum’s Oz canon, but his great-grandson’s. Not to take away from the grandson’s work, but some things will be missing here from loyal Oz fans. Plus it is pretty boring.

In limited release we have a much better menu of choices, led by Jon Favreau’s latest: Chef. We don’t often see comedies about chefs quitting their job and going to take on the world in a food truck, so this is a change of pace, and its a good film. We also have The Double, starring Jesse Eisenberg and Mia Wasikowska, and directed by Richard Ayoade (Moss from IT Crowd). Those two are your best bets this weekend. God’s Pocket and Devil’s Knot both have great casting but weaker stories. Stage Fright is a great idea (a musical horror film), but falls short, and finally we have Moms’ Night Out. I’d really like to say to go see this, but then my usual problem with “Christian” films raises its head. I say this as someone who is very much a Catholic Christian: stop making movies like this. I know you don’t have the big budgets of other films, but you have to be able to find a writer somewhere who can churn out a good story. Gimme Shelter was good, and Ragamuffin was as well, even though their budgets weren’t high at all. Do better. You owe it to your fellow Christians to stop making films that get 15-20% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Must See: None

Worth Your Time: ChefThe Double

Meh: God’s PocketDevil’s KnotStage FrightMoms’ Night Out

Stay Away: NeighborsLegends of Oz

Where do They Come From?

Ok, here I will play catch up.

  • Neighbors: Original
  • Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return: Adaptation of the book Dorothy of Oz, by Roger Stanton Baum
  • The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Sequel to The Amazing Spider-Man
  • Walk of Shame: Original
  • The Other Woman: Original
  • The Quiet Ones: Original
  • Transcendence: Original
  • A Haunted House 2: Sequel to A Haunted House
  • Bears: Original
  • Heaven is for Real: Adaptation of the book of the same name.
  • Rio 2: Sequel to Rio
  • Draft Day: Original
  • Oculus: Adaptation of Oculus: Chapter 3 – The Man with the Plan, a short film by the same director

Original: 18

Adaptation: 18

Sequel/Prequel: 6

Remake: 1

Re-release: 1

Oscarwatch

These ten films are the “Best of the Year,” IF THE YEAR ENDED TODAY. They are ranked based on likelihood of winning Best Picture at the Oscars, with #1 being most likely.

International films not included until end of year if Oscar potential exists. This weekend’s releases not included. Numbers in parenthesis are indicative of how many places the film moved from week to week.

DISCLAIMER: I may not personally recommend (or even like) all films on this list.

1) The Grand Budapest Hotel ( - )

2) Captain America: The Winter Soldier ( – )

3) The Lego Movie ( – )

4) Blue Ruin (NEW)

5) Locke (NEW)

6) Joe ( -2)

7) Veronica Mars ( -3 )

8) Gimme Shelter ( -3 )

9) Belle (NEW)

10) Mr. Peabody & Sherman ( -3 )