Sunday, January 17, 2016

1996 Films 20th Anniversary

1996 Films 20th Anniversary

101 Dalmatians (1996)      
A Time to Kill (1996)           
Barb Wire (1996)     
Basquiat (1996)       
Beautiful Girls (1996)         
Big Night (1996)      
Bio-Dome (1996)     
Black Sheep (1996)
Bottle Rocket (1996)           
Bound (1996)          
Breaking the Waves (1996)          
Broken Arrow (1996)          
Bulletproof (1996)   
Chain Reaction (1996)
Crash (1996)
Curdled (1996)        
D3: The Mighty Ducks (1996)       
Daylight (1996)        
Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood (1996)       
DragonHeart (1996)
Emma (1996)           
Eraser (1996)           
Everyone Says I Love You (1996)           
Evita (1996)  
Executive Decision (1996)
Extreme Measures (1996) 
Eye for an Eye (1996)        
Fargo (1996)
Fear (1996)  
Flirting with Disaster (1996)          
Fly Away Home (1996)      
Foxfire (1996)          
Freeway (1996)       
From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)         
Hamlet (1996)          
Happy Gilmore (1996)
Hard Eight (1996)   
Harriet the Spy (1996)        
Independence Day (1996)
Jack (1996)  
James and the Giant Peach (1996)         
Jane Eyre (1996)    
Jerry Maguire (1996)
Jingle All the Way (1996)  
Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love (1996)          
Kazaam (1996)        
Kingpin (1996)        
Last Man Standing (1996) 
Mars Attacks! (1996)           
Marvin's Room (1996)        
Matilda (1996)          
Michael Collins (1996)       
Mission: Impossible (1996)
Multiplicity (1996)    
One Fine Day (1996)         
Phenomenon (1996)          
Primal Fear (1996)  
Pusher (1996)         
Ransom (1996)       
Romeo + Juliet (1996)          
Scream (1996)
Secrets and Lies (1996)
Set It Off (1996)       
She's the One (1996)         
Shine (1996)
Sleepers (1996)       
Sling Blade (1996)  
Space Jam (1996)   
Spy Hard (1996)      
Stealing Beauty (1996)      
Striptease (1996)     
Swingers (1996)      
That Thing You Do! (1996)
The Arrival (1996)   
The Birdcage (1996)           
The Cable Guy (1996)       
The Craft (1996)
The Crow: City of Angels (1996)  
The Crucible (1996)
The English Patient (1996) * Best Picture Winner     
The Fan (1996)       
The First Wives Club (1996)         
The Frighteners (1996)      
The Ghost and the Darkness (1996)       
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996)   
The Island of Dr. Moreau (1996)  
The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996) 
The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996)
The Nutty Professor (1996)
The People vs Larry Flynt (1996)
The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996)
The Phantom (1996)          
The Rock (1996)     
Thinner (1996)        
Tin Cup (1996)        
Twister (1996)
White Squall (1996)

Friday, January 8, 2016

The Revenant - Review

The Revenant  

Inspired by true events, "The Revenant" is visceral cinematic experience capturing one man’s epic adventure of survival and the power of the human spirit.  

Directed and co-written by last year’s Best Director Academy Award winner Alejandro G. Iñárritu for "Birdman", early on in the story we find an array of rough looking fur trappers on an expedition of the uncharted American wilderness with expert explorer named Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio). From the onset the men are both pleased with their bounty of furs they have trapped but also very weary of running into Native Americans who they know will not hesitate to kill them for their “pelt furs” being that they are so far away from their home (fort). As to be expected their worst nightmare comes to graphic fruition when they are brutally attacked by Natives killing several men in their frantic escape to get to their docked boat. 

Somewhat lost and also knowing they have to find another way back home now, the leader of the expedition Captain Andrew Henry sends out Hugh Glass (Leonardo Di Caprio) to find an alternate way back home. While out alone in the hopes of finding that new trail Glass is brutally attacked by Mother Bear. Appearing to be near death, Captain Henry orders two men John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy) and Jim Bridger (Will Poulter) to stay with Glass until he either dies or gets better enough to travel on his own. Fitzgerald on the other hand is having none of it and leaves Glass alone for what he believes is his eminent death. But Glass does survive and begins his trek home enduring unimaginable pain, hunger and brutal vicious winter conditions to seek out John Fitzgerald for his betrayal.  

MY OVERALL TAKE: “The Revenant” is one of the top ten movies for 2015. DiCaprio tells Glass’s story (which is the central POV of the film), not so much through a lot of verbal acting and interactions with others in the film (which I should tell you, Leo hardly says less than a 100 words of dialogue in the first 90 minutes of this 2 hour 30 minute film).  Instead the real acting prowess displayed by Leo here is his ability to show genuine anger, grief, desperation, hunger, fear and physical hardship through his eyes, his emotions and body language.  

Leo time and time again reminds us about the real life and death struggles early Americans must have endured for their basic survival and it’s with Director Iñárritu masterful eye we are offered exhilarating entertainment through a visual portrait of how Man and Mother Nature collided and how nevertheless Mother Nature once had dominion over man’s basic existence in ways that were grueling and unforgiving. 

And while the film could have probably been 15 minutes shorter, there was not one moment I was bored; as I genuinely felt I had been catapulted to a different time that was unimaginable to live and yet still nonetheless bathed in extraordinary panoramic vistas of endless majestic mountainscapes, snow covered fields, icy rivers and tall pine trees that seem to stretch to the heavens. This may be some of best looking visuals of nature and untouched earth you have or will ever see on the big screen.

Still, I get the feeling “The Revenant” won’t be everyone’s cup of movie going tea, as while it reflects brilliantly and visually on a much simpler time it still asks the viewing audience to do more thinking and reflecting on its plot that the typical film which normally guides you to its conclusion through dramatic dialogue.

Now be warned, “The Revenant is brutally graphic in its use of violence. I am not squeamish at all, but I still had moments where I turned my head a bit at the realism of what I was seeing being play out on the screen in vivid detail. But it is with this harshness that I think gives the film its real life; its soul – it’s somber but definite heartbeat of a man seeking revenge while literally struggling to survive with each breath and step he takes.  

Tom Hardy was his usually strong fabulous self and while there were a few instances his “slurred mountain lingo” escaped me as to what he actually said, he was perfectly cast as the counter weight to Leo’s Glass character who wants him dead.  But the real strength of this film is indeed both Leo’s performance and the remorseless brutal hell he endures to exact his revenge. And while I have no doubt that Leo‘s name will be announce next week as a Best Actor nominee for his work here, the unsung heroes of this fine piece of work are both the Cinematographer and Camera Man who from what I heard only used the natural light of the sun (unusual for major films these day) to create an unforgettable visual landscape of pure grandeur. 

“The Revenant” is not a rental film at all. It almost burst off the giant screen in the theater  itself it felt so big as it gives you the haunting juxtaposition sense of cold, filth, blood and direness of those times with boundless siren beauty as any film could possible do. I highly recommend to all who want to see this at some point to make the effort to go to a local theater to experience it – you will be glad you did. 

I looked up the word “revenant” to garner its meaning; it said it is “a person who has returned supposedly from the dead”. Colloquially speaking from my point of view, I think it also means, “Leo gets his Oscar”. 

4 Stars

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Under the Radar Movies For 2016

Under the Radar Movies For 2016
“Free State of Jones”
An upcoming 2016 American Civil War action-drama film highlighting the true story of a defiant Southern farmer and his armed rebellion against the Confederacy in Jones County, Mississippi. The film was written and directed by Gary Ross, and stars Matthew McConaughey, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Keri Russell and Mahershala Ali. The film is scheduled to be released domestically in the U.S. on May 13, 2016 by STX Entertainment. 

An upcoming American drama thriller film directed by Stephen Gaghan and written by Patrick Massett and John Zinman. The film stars Matthew McConaughey, Édgar Ramírez, Bryce Dallas Howard, Joshua Harto, Timothy Simons, and Michael Landes. Principal photography began on June 29, 2015 in New York, New Mexico and Thailand. An unlucky man Kenny Wells (Matthew McConaughey), teams-up with a geologist Michael Acosta (Édgar Ramírez) to find gold deep in the uncharted jungles of Indonesia (Borneo).

An upcoming American biographical drama film directed by Clint Eastwood and written by Todd Komarnicki, based on the autobiography Highest Duty by Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger with Jeffrey Zaslow. The film stars Tom Hanks, Aaron Eckhart, Laura Linney, Holt McCallany, Jamey Sheridan, and Jerry Ferrara. The film will be released by Warner Bros. on September 9, 2016. The story of American pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, who heroically landed the troubled US Airways Flight 1549 full of passengers on the Hudson River. 

“Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children”
An upcoming 2016 American dark fantasy adventure film directed by Tim Burton and written by Jane Goldman, based on the 2011 novel of the same name by Ransom Riggs. The film stars Asa Butterfield, Eva Green, Ella Purnell, Chris O'Dowd, Allison Janney, Terence Stamp, Kim Dickens, Rupert Everett, Judi Dench and Samuel L. Jackson. Filming began in February 2015 in London and the Tampa Bay Area. It is scheduled to be released domestically on December 25, 2016 by 20th Century Fox. A 16-year-old boy named Jacob Portman accidentally works himself onto a mysterious island where he helps a group of peculiar orphaned children at Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, protecting them and leading them away from horrible creatures who are out to destroy them. 

“The Great Wall”
An upcoming 2016 American-Chinese 3D science fantasy action adventure film directed by Zhang Yimou. The film features an ensemble cast led by Matt Damon and Andy Lau, while the other cast members include Pedro Pascal, Willem Dafoe, Jing Tian, Luhan, and Zhang Hanyu. Principal photography began on March 30, 2015, in Qingdao, China. The film is scheduled to be released in the United States on November 23, 2016 by Universal Pictures and in China in December 2016 by Le Vision Pictures and China Film Group Corporation. The Great Wall will be Lau's first film role in a Hollywood production and his second collaboration with director Zhang. Set in the Northern Song Dynasty, the story is about mysteries revolving around the Great Wall of China. 

“The Founder”
An upcoming American biographical film directed by John Lee Hancock and written by Robert D. Siegel. The film portrays the story of Ray Kroc and his acquisition of the McDonald's fast food chain. The film stars Michael Keaton as Kroc and Laura Dern as his wife Ethel Fleming. The additional cast includes Nick Offerman, John Carroll Lynch, Patrick Wilson, Ric Reitz, and Wilbur Fitzgerald. The film is scheduled to be released on November 25, 2016. Chronicling the rise of McDonald's fast food empire, The Founder tells the true story of how Illinois salesman Ray Kroc met brothers Mac and Dick McDonald, who were operating a hamburger restaurant in southern California in the 1950s. Kroc subtly maneuvered himself into a position to take control of their company, which grew into one of the world's best-known brands after he bought the chain for $2.7 million in 1961.
An upcoming American science fiction romance film directed by Morten Tyldum and written by Jon Spaihts. The film stars Jennifer Lawrence, Laurence Fishburne, Chris Pratt, and Michael Sheen. A spacecraft traveling to a distant colony planet and transporting thousands of people has a malfunction in one of its sleep chambers. As a result, a single passenger is awakened 60 years early. Faced with the prospect of growing old and dying alone, he eventually decides to wake up a second passenger. The film is set to be released by Columbia Pictures on December 21, 2016.

“The Girl on the Train”
An upcoming American thriller film directed by Tate Taylor and written by Erin Cressida Wilson, based on Paula Hawkins' 2015 debut novel of the same name. The film stars Emily Blunt, Rebecca Ferguson, Haley Bennett, Justin Theroux, Luke Evans, and Édgar Ramírez. Principal photography began on November 4, 2015 in New York City. Produced by Marc Platt, The Girl on the Train will be the first film production from DreamWorks Pictures to be distributed by Universal Pictures, as part of the studio's distribution deal. The film will be released on October 7, 2016. Rachel Watson, an alcoholic troubled woman whose husband left her for his mistress, witnesses a murder and starts to realize that she may have been involved in the crime.

“Suicide Squad”
An upcoming American superhero film based on the DC Comics antihero team of the same name. It is intended to be the third installment in the DC Extended Universe. The film is written and directed by David Ayer and stars an ensemble cast featuring Will Smith, Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman, Jai Courtney, Cara Delevingne, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Karen Fukuhara, Jay Hernandez, Adam Beach, and Viola Davis. A secret government agency recruits imprisoned supervillains to execute dangerous black ops missions in exchange for clemency. 

“The Finest Hours”
The Finest Hours is an upcoming American disaster drama film directed by Craig Gillespie from a screenplay written by Scott Silver, Eric Johnson and Paul Tamasy, based on the 2009 book by Casey Sherman and Michael J. Tougias. The film is based on the true story of the Pendleton rescue mission attempt in 1952 by Coast Guard ships, wherein two oil tankers were split asunder by a nor'easter. Chris Pine and Casey Affleck star.

An upcoming American supernatural comedy film that is a reboot of the Ghostbusters franchise. It is directed by Paul Feig and written by Katie Dippold and Feig. It stars Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Chris Hemsworth, Neil Casey and Andy García. The film is scheduled for a July 15, 2016 release. Erin Gilbert (Kristen Wiig) and Abby Yates (Melissa McCarthy) are a pair of unheralded authors who write a book positing that ghosts are real. A few years later, Gilbert lands a prestigious teaching position at Columbia University, but her book resurfaces and she is laughed out of academia. Gilbert reunites with Yates and others when ghosts invade Manhattan and she and her team have to save the world. 

“Bourne 5”
What’s The Story? No idea yet, though it’ll inevitably bring Bourne back into the fold as another shady government operation threatens his existence Release Date: July 29, 2016. Whose Involved: Paul Greengrass returns to write and direct, Matt Damon is back as Jason Bourne and also co-writing, and the script’s third writer is Greengrass’ frequent editor Christopher Rouse.
“Finding Dory”
An upcoming American 3D computer-animated comedy adventure film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. It is the sequel to 2003's Finding Nemo. Andrew Stanton, who directed the original film, will return as writer and director alongside Angus MacLaine as the co-director. The film is scheduled to be released on June 17, 2016.] It has also been confirmed that characters from the first film will appear in the sequel, including Dory, Nemo, Marlin and the "Tank Gang". Taking place six months after Finding Nemo, Dory suddenly recalls her childhood memories. Remembering something about "the jewel of Monterey, California", accompanied by Nemo and Marlin, she sets out to find her family. She arrives at the Monterey Marine Life Institute, where she meets Bailey, a white beluga whale; Destiny, a whale shark; and Hank the octopus, who becomes her guide. 

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, or Rogue One”
An upcoming American epic space opera film directed by Gareth Edwards and written by Gary Whitta and Chris Weitz, from an idea by visual effects supervisor John Knoll. It will be the first film in the Star Wars Anthology series, a collection of stand-alone stories set in the Star Wars universe, and will star Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Riz Ahmed, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Jiang Wen, Forest Whitaker, Mads Mikkelsen, and Alan Tudyk. Set shortly before the events of Star Wars (1977), the story will center on a group of Rebel spies on a mission to steal the plans for the Empire's new weapon, the Death Star.

An upcoming American superhero film based on the eponymous Marvel Comics character of the same name. It is intended to be the eighth installment in the X-Men film series. The film is directed by Tim Miller, with a screenplay by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, and stars Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, T. J. Miller, Gina Carano, Brianna Hildebrand, Stefan Kapičić, and Leslie Uggams. In Deadpool, after being subjected to an experiment which leaves him with new abilities, Wade Wilson hunts down the man who nearly destroyed his life. 

An upcoming historical drama film directed by Martin Scorsese and written by Jay Cocks, based upon the novel of the same name. It is anticipated to be released in 2016. Starring Andrew Garth, Adam Driver and Llam Neeson two Jesuit Portuguese Catholic priests face violent persecution when they travel to Japan to seek out their mentor and spread the teachings of Christianity. 

“Hail Caesar”
An upcoming comedy film written, produced, edited, and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. Starring Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Jonah Hill, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, Channing Tatum, and Ralph Fiennes, the film follows Eddie Mannix (Brolin), a "fixer" working in the Hollywood film industry in the 1950s, trying to discover what happened to a cast member who vanishes during filming.