New deal –  if I’m doing a new release film review, then it will accompany TWIC. So…here goes.

Captain America and Falcon

Basically, Marvel’s done it again. Captain America: Winter Soldier is one of their best, safely making the top tier along with The Avengers and Iron Man. Marvel has an amazing knack for putting people in perfect roles. The Russo brothers, best known for the TV show Community, completely knock it out of the park, and a great cast is along for the ride.

Simply put, this is the best fight choreography I’ve seen in a film (martial arts films aside), and everyone gets in on it: Captain America, Falcon, Nick Fury, Black Widow, Winter Soldier, (the soon to be) Crossbones, everyone. The dialogue is witty, but not too over-the-top funny, well crafted, and not full of hot air.

For some of these actors, this is their second or third time around with these characters, and you can tell that they have grown into them. Chris Evans has always been great as Cap, but Scarlett Johanssen (Black Widow), Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury), Cobie Smulders (Maria Hill), and Toby Jones (Dr. Zola, in flashbacks) all take their characters to the next level. Thr0w in newcomers Robert Redford (Alexander Pierce), Anthony Mackie (Falcon), and Frank Grillo (Brock Rumlow), and you’ve got an amazing cast. UFC legend Georges St- Pierre, making his debut on the big screen, shows that he’s , delivering an engaging performance (and fight) as Marvel D-List villain Baltroc the Leaper.

As some people have already said, this is a spy movie dressed up in super hero clothing, with a story very relevant to what’s happening in the U.S. these days. And in a cinematic universe where the villains can be as charismatic as the heroes, Cap isn’t overshadowed, although we get a clear antithesis image of the shadowy Winter Soldier, a polar opposite to Steve Rodgers.

Whether you’re a comic book fan or not, you should really see this film. Oh, and on a side note, stay until after ALL the credits, or you’ll miss something really neat.

My rating: 9 out of 10 stars.

Also out this weekend in wide release: Afflicted, a new found-footage horror film.

Where do They Come From?

  • Captain America: Winter Solider : Sequel to Captain America: The First Avenger and The Avengers
  • Afflicted: Original

Original: 11

Adaptation: 15

Sequel/Prequel: 3

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 (NEW)

3) The Lego Movie ( -1 )

4) Veronica Mars ( -1 )

5) Gimme Shelter ( -1 )

6) A Birder’s Guide to Everything ( -1 )

7) Mr. Peabody & Sherman ( -1 )

8) Muppets Most Wanted ( -1 )

9) Afflicted (NEW)

10) Grand Piano ( –2 )

The Blockbuster Report

The controversial Noah film hits theaters this weekend. I’ll reserve judgement until after I see it, but I have two thoughts. First, in support of the film, I don’t see why Noah being an environmentalist is a bad thing. It doesn’t contradict the Bible, and this is a guy who needed to take care of a lot of animals. On the other hand, if the assumption is that the sole reason the people on Earth were so evil is because they abused the planet, that’s a little far fetched.

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Second thought, this time against the film. Why are actors, producers, and studios still surprised when people don’t like films that don’t stick to the source material? It doesn’t matter if the story is from the Bible, from a comic book, or some other place. When you have a very successful story that people enjoy, and you change the spirit of the source material (I’m not talking about something like changing Hawkeye’s costume for The Avengers), people are not going to be happy, the movie will be worse off, and you have unneeded controversy on your hands. Silly people.

Also in wide release this weekend, there’s the new Arnold Schwarzenegger film, Sabotage, which is probably worth a rental if you like Arnie, but not a trip to the theater (unless you REALLY like Arnie). In limited release, there’s the Cesar Chavez biopic, and the ultra-violent and near plotless sequel, The Raid 2.

Where do They Come From?

  • Noah: Adapted from the story in the Bible.
  • Sabotage: Original by David Ayer (End of Watch) and Skip Woods (X-Men Origins: Wolverine).

Original: 10

Adaptation: 15

Sequel/Prequel: 2

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) The Lego Movie ( - )

3) Gimme Shelter ( – )

4) Veronica Mars ( - )

5) Muppets Most Wanted (NEW)

6) A Birder’s Guide to Everything (NEW)

7) Grand Piano ( –1 )

8) Non-Stop ( – )

9) Mr. Peabody & Sherman ( -2 )

10) At Middleton ( -1 )

I loved the last Muppet movie. The songs were great, the jokes/puns hilarious, and the story compelling. But what made it even better was that you, as the viewer, felt like you were right there with Kermit, Walter, and Gary as they tracked down the gang and save their old theater. It wasn’t just a movie about resurrecting the Muppets, it actually was resurrecting them. Gonzo may as well have been working at a toilet factory and Animal stuck in anger management in “real life.” After all, the previous theatrical Muppet film was released in 1999 (Muppets in Space) and the Muppets’ popularity was really on the downswing. But by the end of the film, they were back, to rave reviews, Rainbow Connection and all.

The gang's all here!

The gang’s all here!

Muppets Most Wanted brings this all crashing down just minutes into the film. Apparently the previous film was a fiction, even in the Muppetverse, as the excited fans were revealed to be paid extras and the Muppets celebrate that the studio has called for a sequel. This revelation sucks all the air out of Muppets Most Wanted, and, as the film progresses, it is simply just missing the heart that The Muppets had. It’s not a bad film, but it seems half-hearted.

There are a few really fun songs, namely “The Interrogation Song,” sung by Sam the Eagle and Ty Burrell’s Jean Pierre Napoleon, and “I’ll Get You What You Want,” performed by Constantine the Frog (Kermit’s impersonator). But the soundtrack never reaches the heights of the last film, where “Man or Muppet” won the Oscar for Best Original Song, and “Life’s a Happy Song,” “Pictures in My Head,” and the new version of “Rainbow Connection” were delivered (with cameos) with finesse and heart. Do we get a new song by Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem? No. Kermit doesn’t even get a full song to himself.

Ricky Gervais’ role is wasted. I obviously didn’t expect the usual abrasive Ricky, but he was given very little to work with. Tina Fey is awesome as the strict gulag guardian, and there are some clever cameos (Tom Hiddleston, Josh Groban, and Danny Trejo as Russian inmates for example) but most of the rest seem forced, and certainly don’t approach the charm of Mickey Rooney, Jim Parsons and Alan Arkin from The Muppets.

Maybe I’m not being fair because the previous film was so great, and I’m likely making the movie sound worse than it is. I did enjoy the film, and still love the Muppets. There are some great gags and moments, although it does feel a little more shallow than the previous edition.

My rating: 6 out of 10 stars.

The Blockbuster Report

The Muppets return once again this weekend on a new adventure full of hilarity and intrigue, and this time Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey, and Ty Burrell are in on the action. Muppets Most Wanted has been on the radar for a long time, and its finally here, which makes it my Film to Catch this weekend. Full review later on this weekend.

Muppets Most Wanted, starring, well, you know.

Muppets Most Wanted, starring, well, you know.

Divergent also hits theaters this weekend, and it has fallen into the YA trap. Adapted from the novel, this was hopefully going to be the next successful Young Adult franchise, following The Hunger Games and the Harry Potter series. There’s a problem here though, as Divergent quickly veers into the generic, effectively destroying its story. Try again.

On the limited release front, some intriguing films have the spotlight. God’s Not Dead is a drama/dark comedy revolving around an atheist philosophy professor who fails any student who believes in God; Jodorowsky’s Dune is a cool new documentary about the never-released adaptation of the famous sci-fi novel “Dune,” that was set to feature Orson Wells, Mick Jagger, and Salvador Dali; A Birder’s Guide to Everything stars Ben Kingsley in a compelling story of a son who skips out on his father’s wedding to pursue the discovery of a lifetime. All three of these are worth a watch.

Where do They Come From?

  • Divergent: Adapted from the novel of the same name by Veronica Roth.
  • Muppets Most Wanted: Sequel.

Original: 9

Adaptation: 14

Sequel/Prequel: 2

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 ( +1 )

2) The Lego Movie ( -1 )

3) Gimme Shelter ( – )

4) Veronica Mars (NEW)

5) A Field In England ( – )

6) Grand Piano ( – )

7) Mr. Peabody & Sherman ( -3 )

8) Non-Stop ( -1 )

9) At Middleton ( -1 )

10) Son of God ( -1 )

The Blockbuster Report

The big news this week is the Veronica Mars film. With initial funds raised on Kickstarter, this really showcases the power of the people to get something done. It stands as my film to see this weekend, just because this might be good enough to encourage future Kickstarter campaigns. Its in limited release, but better than anything the wide release films have to offer.

Speaking of wide release, we’ve got Need for Speed giving a bad name to video game adaptations, and the next in line of Tyler Perry’s bad films: ThSingle Mom’s Club. Kurt Russell has a new heist film in limited release called The Art of the Steal that could be worth your time if you like that kind of thing.

Where do They Come From?

  • Need for Speed: Adapted from the video game franchise.
  • The Single Mom’s Club: Original, written by Tyler Perry.

Original: 9

Adaptation: 13

Sequel/Prequel: 1

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 Lego Movie ( – )

2) The Grand Budapest Hotel (NEW)

3) Gimme Shelter ( -1 )

4) Mr. Peabody & Sherman (NEW)

5) A Field In England ( -2 )

6) Grand Piano (NEW)

7) Non-Stop ( -3 )

8) At Middleton ( -3 )

9)  Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit ( -3 )

10) Son of God ( -3 )

Before we move on to TWIC, just a quick update on how my Oscar predictions went. I correctly predicted 22 out of 24 categories, bettering last years guesses by 2. My only two misses were Best Film Editing, where Gravity beat my prediction Captain Phillips, and Best Animated Short, where Mr. Hublot beat out Get a Horse!

Also, a quick reminder to all the folks that somehow thought Leo DiCaprio was “due” to win an Oscar. This should serve as a reminder that, generally speaking, the Academy DOES NOT reward nominees because they are “due.” Some voters may vote that way, but its a negligible amount. Here’s looking at you Tom O’Neill.

Ok, on to the show.

The Blockbuster Report

It has certainly been a good year so far for animated films. The Lego Movie was awesome, The Nut Job, despite mediocre reviews, earned enough to call for a sequel, and The Wind Rises hit American theaters recently with a great voiceover cast.

trailer-for-dreamworks-animations-mr-peabody-sherman-3

This weekend, we have Mr. Peabody & Sherman, a new take on the classic characters from The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show. Since I’m a big R&B fan, this is one of my co-Films to Catch this weekend. The other is the new Wes Anderson film The Grand Budapest Hotel. Starring Bill Murray, Ralph Fiennes, Tilda Swinton, Edward Norton, Jude Law, and many more awesome folks, this looks to be a riot, especially if you’re a fan of Anderson’s brand of cinema. This film is in limited release only for now.

Also in theaters this week, we have 300: Rise of an Empire getting middle-of-the-road reviews in wide release and a few limited release films. Haunt and In Fear are both horror films, with In Fear being the better of the two. Grand Piano has an amazing premise; the film takes places in a concert hall, where a master pianist, played by Elijah Wood, discovers a sniper will kill him if he plays a single note wrong. Wowzers.

Where do They Come From?

Including last week’s films.

  • Non-Stop: Original, written by John W. Richardson, Chris Roach, Ryan Engle.
  • Son of God: Adapted from the TV mini-series The Bible.
  • 300: Rise of an Empire: Adaptation of Frank Miller’s graphic novel “Xerxes.” (Note: As this is a direction adaptation of a sequel/prequel book and not simply a sequel to a film, it qualifies as an adaptation (like the Harry Potter series would, for example).
  • Mr. Peabody & Sherman: Adaptation of characters from The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.

Original: 8

Adaptation: 12

Sequel/Prequel: 1

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 Lego Movie ( – )

2) Gimme Shelter ( – )

3) A Field In England ( – )

4) Non-Stop (NEW)

5) At Middleton ( -1 )

6)  Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit ( -1 )

7) Son of God (NEW)

8) RoboCop ( – )

9) Life of a King ( -3 )

10) The Monuments Men ( -2 )

This year’s Oscar Awards are bound to be exciting. There are very few runaway favorites, meaning we could see a bunch of surprises (or none at all). I believe 2013 wasn’t quite as strong as 2012 was for films, but there were still some really good showings. Here are my predictions for this years awards, highlighted in bold in the lists of nominees.

Note: One edit at 4:52pm CST, I am changing my prediction from The Act of Killing to 20 Feet From Stardom for Best Documentary.

~~BEST PICTURE~~

Chiwetel12YearsInterviewidephoto3

12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, Gravity, Her, Nebraska, Philomena, The Wolf of Wall Street

This one is really a three horse race at this point between Slave, Hustle, and Gravity. There’s been some recent concern that some members of the Academy are unwilling to watch Slave, but its really difficult to know the sample size of that group, or if they would still vote for it if they haven’t seen it. I still see it winning, although there is always the danger that it splits votes with Gravity, and American Hustle ends up victorious.

~~BEST DIRECTOR~~

Gravity-Detached

Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity), Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave), David O. Russell (American Hustle), Martin Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall Street), Alexander Payne (Nebraska).

I had the pleasure of sitting in on a Q&A session with Cuaron. Gravity is a visionary film, and he deserves the win here.

~~BEST LEADING ACTOR~~

Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club.

Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club.

Christian Bale (American Hustle), Bruce Dern (Nebraska), Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street), Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave), Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club)

Ejiofor was the early favorite, but McConaughey has usurped that title, and I have to say I’m in agreement. He delivers a truly wrenching performance. The confidence, the desperation, the loneliness, its all there.

~~BEST LEADING ACTRESS~~

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Amy Adams (American Hustle), Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine), Sandra Bullock (Gravity), Judi Dench (Philomena), Meryl Streep (August: Osage County).

A really tough field here, but Blanchett should take it.

~~BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR~~

Jared Leto at the DBC premiere.

Jared Leto at the DBC premiere.

Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips), Bradley Cooper (American Hustle), Jonah Hill (The Wolf of Wall Street), Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave), Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club).

Leto in a cakewalk.

~~BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS~~

Lupita Nyong'o in 12 Years a Slave.

Lupita Nyong’o in 12 Years a Slave.

Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine), Julia Roberts (August: Osage County), Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave), Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle), June Squibb (Nebraska)

This one is so close between Nyong’o and Lawrence. I liked JLaw’s performance better, but Nyong’o’s role was much more difficult. I may change my mind at the last minute, but for now I’m picking Nyong’o.

~~BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY~~

Joaquin Phoenix stars in Her.

Her – Nominated for Best Original Screenplay.

 American Hustle, Blue Jasmine, Her, Nebraska, Dallas Buyers Club

Another tough one. Her has the momentum, and Hustle is more driven by acting than writing.

~~BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY~~

Steve McQuinn directing 12 Years a Slave

Steve McQueen directing 12 Years a Slave.

Before Midnight, Captain Phillips, 12 Years a Slave, The Wolf of Wall Street, Philomena

While Philomena won this category at the BAFTAs, I think that was because Steve Coogan had a hand in it. It could play a spoiler here, but 12 Years a Slave is still looking strong.

~~BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM~~

Disney's Frozen

The Croods, Despicable Me 2, Ernest & Celestine, Frozen, The Wind Rises

Frozen easily

~~BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM~~

the-great-beauty_movieposter_1385062192

The Broken Circle BreakdownThe Missing PictureThe HuntThe Great Beauty, Omar

This is between The Hunt and The Great Beauty. And with the latter having all the award momentum, that’s what I’ll pick.

~~BEST VISUAL EFFECTS~~

Gravity, The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, Iron Man 3, The Lone Ranger, Star Trek Into Darkness

Gravity runs away with this one.

~~BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY~~

Gravity, Inside Llewyn Davis, Nebraska, Prisoners, The Grandmaster

When you stop and consider that the entire film was filmed in a very confined space, with greenscreens and other tech, this one stands out even more.

~~BEST FILM EDITING~~

12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, Gravity, Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club

This one is wide open, with the exception of Dallas Buyers Club12 Years a Slave is a longshot, but not completely out, while the remaining three all have a good shot. I’m going to go with Captain Phillips because it just won an Eddie Award for Drama Film. Most years, the film that wins that award goes on to win this Oscar.

~~BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN~~

12 Years a Slave, American Hustle, Gravity, The Great Gatsby, Her

~~BEST COSTUME DESIGN~~

12 Years a Slave, American HustleThe Great Gatsby, The Grandmaster, The Invisible Woman

~~BEST MAKE-UP/HAIR STYLING~~

Dallas Buyers ClubBad GrandpaThe Lone Ranger

~~BEST ORIGINAL SCORE~~

The Book Thief, Gravity, Her, Saving Mr. Banks, Philomena

~~BEST ORIGINAL SONG~~

“Happy” by Pharrell Williams (Despicable Me 2), “Let it Go” by Idina Menzel (Frozen), “The Moon Song” by Karen O. (Her), “Ordinary Love” by U2 (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom)

~~BEST SOUND MIXING~~

Gravity, The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, Captain Phillips, Inside Llewyn Davis, Lone Survivor

~~BEST SOUND EDITING~~

All is Lost, Captain Phillips, Gravity, The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug, Lone Survivor

~~BEST FEATURE LENGTH DOCUMENTARY~~

20 Feet From Stardom, The Act of Killing, Cutie and the Boxer, Dirty Wars, The Square

This is going to be a close race. The consensus seems to be that Act of Killing is the better film, but that Stardom is more fun to watch, also The Square could play spoiler.

~~BEST SHORT SUBJECT DOCUMENTARY~~

Cavedigger, Facing Fear, Karama Has No Walls, The Lady in Number 6, Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall

~~BEST LIVE ACTION SHORT FILM~~

That Wasn’t Me, Just Before Losing Everything, Helium, Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?, The Voorman Problem

Man, this is almost completely up in the air. It could be any of these really. I may make a last minute change, but right now I’m choosing Helium.

~~BEST ANIMATED SHORT FILM~~

Feral, Get a Horse!, Mr. Hublot, Possessions, Room on the Broom

There’s a very, very, outside chance that  Room on the Broom could upset things, but Get a Horse! looks like the clear winner.

 

The Blockbuster Report

The Lego Movie will likely have another big weekend this time around, as there’s not much in the way of competition, at least in the way of new films. 

Pompeii is the headliner this weekend, but it really fizzles. Kevin Costner’s new film, 3 Days to Kill, has been shielded from early screenings, which isn’t generally a good sign. Unlike Spike Jonze, director McG hasn’t had much success in churning out good films, so the best guess is skip this one and see if its worth a rental.

I have two Films to Catch this weekend. In both cases, they are foreign films finally being released in the U.S. In limited release, we have Omar, a film from Palestine that has received an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Film. We’ve all seen double agent, or undercover films before, but this one is set in the midst of the Israeli/Palestinian struggle, with some profound questions proffered. Secondly, the American-dubbed version of Hayao Miyazaki’s final film, The Wind Rises, arrives on American soil, featuring the voicework of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, John Krasinski, and Emily Blunt. It will be released in limited theaters this week before expanding to wide release next weekend. 

Where do They Come From?

Including The Wind Rises.

  • 3 Days to Kill: Original, written by Luc Besson (Leon: the ProfessionalTaxi), and Adi Hasak.
  • Pompeii: Original, written by Janet Scott Batchler, Lee Batchler, and Michael Robert Johnson.
  • The Wind Rises: English re-release of the Japanese original.

Original: 7

Adaptation: 9

Sequel/Prequel: 1

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 like all films on this list.

1) The Lego Movie ( – )

2) Gimme Shelter ( – )

3) A Field In England ( – )

4) At Middleton ( – )

5)  Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit ( +1 )

6) Life of a King (-1)

7) The Monuments Men ( – )

8) RoboCop (NEW)

9) Jimmy P (NEW)

10) The Nut Job ( – )

The Blockbuster Report

Ah, St. Valentine’s Day. Regardless of your plans this weekend, either with a significant other or on your lonesome, take a deep breath and promise yourself that you won’t go see a film just because it belongs in the romance genre. There are plenty of love films around this weekend, but they aren’t all worth your time. But before we talk about those, let’s briefly talk RoboCop.

The RoboCop remake has hit theaters, and it is my Film to Catch of the weekend. This may go down as my guilty pleasure of the year, but you know what? Its easily the best new film of the weekend, even if it is getting mixed reviews. And its still a better story than Twilight.

Joel Kinnaman as RoboCop.

Also in wide release, we have three romance films. Winter’s Tale falls quite a bit short of its source material, the classic novel of the same name. About Last Night falls into tired cliches about what true love is, while at the same time really departing from its source material (which actually did the same thing). Endless Love falls into the same trap. Neither are worth your time. When will they ever learn?

Limited release films of note include The Returned, which features an interesting twist on living in a zombie world, and Jimmy P, starring Benicio Del Toro and Mathieu Amalric. The latter film features a compelling true story about a Native American war veteran suffering from PTSD symptoms and his investigation into their true source.

Where Do They Come From?

There are four wide release films this weekend.

  • About Last Night: Adaptation from a play by David Mamet.
  • Endless Love: Adaptation, from the novel of the same name by Scott Spencer.
  • RoboCop: Remake
  • Winter’s Tale: Adaptation, from the novel of the same name by Mark Helprin.

Original: 5

Adaptation: 8

Sequel/Prequel: 1

Remake: 1

Re-release: 0

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.

DISCLAIMER: I may not personally recommend or like all films on this list, but these are my favorites to win awards.

1) The Lego Movie (NEW)

2) Gimme Shelter (-1)

3) A Field In England (NEW)

4) At Middleton (-1)

5) Life of a King (-3)

6) Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (-2)

7) The Monuments Men (NEW)

8) Ride Along (-3)

9) The Nut Job (-3)

10) Summer in February (-2)

The Blockbuster Report

I was recently thinking about how good a year this could be for movies. Normally you have to wait until March or April for an anticipated film to come out. This year its the first week of February with not just one but two films I’m excited for: The LEGO Movie and The Monuments Men.

Both in wide release, these films are getting two different reactions. Despite the star power in Monuments Men (George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray etc.),  it falls a little flat, but still worth seeing for the history alone, as the film chronicles the WWII operation to save Europe’s masterpieces from Hitler and the Nazis.

The LEGO Movie, which I’m going to see tonight, is my Film of the Week, with word spreading that this may be one of the best films of the year. With an all-star voice cast headlined by Chris Pratt, Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman, and Will Arnett, this is gonna be sweet. Check it out!

the_lego_movie_2014-wide

Also out this weekend in wide release is Vampire Academy, while Simon Pegg’s new film, A Fantastic Fear of Everything, joins nuclear apocolypse drama After the Dark, the pychological twister A Field in England, and the new Van Damme action fest Welcome to the Jungle, in limited release. Of these, A Field in England looks to be the most compelling.

Where Do They Come From?

Including last week’s film:

  • That Awkward Moment: Original, written by Tom Gormican
  • The Monuments Men: Adaptation, from Robert Edsel’s book The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History.
  • The LEGO Movie: Original, written by Phil Lord and Chris Miller (Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, How I Met Your Mother).
  • Vampire Academy: Adaptation, from the novel of the same name by Richelle Mead.

Original: 5

Adaptation: 5

Sequel/Prequel: 1

Remake: 0

Re-release: 0

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.

DISCLAIMER: I may not personally recommend or like all films on this list, but these are my favorites to win awards.

1) Gimme Shelter ( – )

2) Life of a King (+1)

3) At Middleton (New)

4) Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (-2)

5) Ride Along (-1)

6) The Nut Job ( – )

7) Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones (-2)

8) Summer in February (-1)

9) I, Frankenstein (-1)

10) The Legend of Hercules ( – )