Archive for the 'Coming Soon' Category



19
Apr
12

Hana Hou Picture Show 1 Year Anniversary Set for May

Everyone knows that anniversaries are a big deal. Forget one and you could end up in big trouble. That’s why if you weren’t at last night’s Hana Hou Picture Show screening of Spaceballs, then you missed out on a major announcement about the 1 year anniversary of Consolidated Theatres’ Hana Hou Picture Show. Don’t worry though, this will serve as a reminder that you’ve still got a month to go out and get a present, make dinner reservations, and oh yeah, purchase those movie tickets.

The Hana Hou Picture Show began last year after the success of the 25th Anniversary presentation of Top Gun. With such a great turnout and so much excitement surrounding Top Gun, Consolidated Theatres created the Hana Hou Picture Show to bring back other classics that movie fans know and love back to the bring screen.

In honor of the 1 year anniversary of Hana Hou, Consolidated Theatres will be going all out by showing three of the most popular movies from last year’s Hana Hou Picture show three nights in a row. Check out this lineup:

  • The Goonies – Monday, May 14

  • Top Gun – Tuesday, May 15

  • Back to the Future – Wednesday, May 16

The celebration doesn’t stop there. Hana Hou fans will also benefit from the new Hana Hou picture show ticket price of $10 in Consolidated’s high end Titan XC theater (down from the usual price of $14.25). Not sure if this is just for the anniversary or for Hana Hou going forward, but it’s definitely great news for movie fans that want to check out any of these three classics next month. And who knows, maybe more surprises will be in store for Hana Hou fans next month.

For more information on the 1 year anniversary of Consolidated Theatres’ Hana Hou Picture Show check them out on Facebook and purchase your tickets on Fandango or at their box office at Ward next time you’re there (and save yourself that pesky Fandango fee).

In the meantime, check out the slides from last night’s Hana Hou Picture Show:

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29
Mar
12

5 Reasons to See The Raid

Ok, so I’ve been singing the praises of The Raid, sight unseen, since I first saw the trailer back in September and I’ve blogged about it a few times and even have it as one of my most anticipated films of the year. Finally, at long last, the Indonesian action film that wow’d audiences at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival and this year’s Sundance Film Festival makes it’s way to Oahu for it’s theatrical run here in Hawaii. The film opens tomorrow at Consolidated Kahala 8 and Consolidated Ward 16 and here are five good reasons why you should go out and see this movie . . .

It’s Not a Remake/Reboot/Sequel/Or in 3D

If you’ve been to the movies at in, oh I don’t know the past three years or so, chances are you’ve been to a movie or two which just seems to be a rehash or retread of a movie you’ve seen before. Don’t get me wrong some of these movies can still be pretty good and I like a good franchise as much as the next guy, but where’s the originality these days? You don’t see Hollywood taking a lot of chances on things that are new and original. Well, The Raid brings something fresh and original to the table not having been a former TV show, book, comic book, or movie. And you won’t need special glasses to watch this movie either.

Say Hello to Pencak Silat

Director Gareth Evans was introduced the Indonesian martial arts of Pencak Silat while filming a documentary on the subject. Wanting to bring more attention to Pencak Silat, Evans features the fighting style prominently in his second film Merantau, and here again in his third film The Raid. An umbrella and unifying term for similar martial arts throughout Indonesia, according to Wikipedia “pencak and silat are seen as being two aspects of the same practice. Pencak is the performance aspects of the martial art, while silat is the essence of the fighting and self-defense.” Throw in the use of weaponry to Pencak Silat and it is a force to be reckoned with. Here’s to hoping that The Raid does for Pencak Silat what Ip Man did for Wing Chun.

It’s Got Awesome Fight Choreography

From gun battles to fights with knives, spears, machetes and more the amount of coordiation put into the fight sequences looks amazing. But don’t just take my word for it, check out the four-on-one battle in a scene from The Raid (above).

Diversify Your Viewing With a Foreign Film

I’m not going to stereotype any of you who may be reading this out there, but there are those that are daunted or just plain turned off by seeing foreign films. Yeah sure the subtitling I know is a part of it, but I also think that some people feel that they just won’t “get” foreign films. Now is the time to start changing that mentality. As I’ve mentioned previously, The Raid is an Indonesian film so you will have to do some reading along with your watching, but I guarantee that you will “get” this movie and have a fun time doing so. The film is about a SWAT team taking down a crime lord and his minions–nuff said. Also, you can brag about seeing a foreign film the next time you’re talking with friends around the water cooler.

It’s Going to be a Non-Stop Action Thrill Ride

Hyperbole? Maybe. From everything I’ve seen and from reviews that I’ve read, all signs point to The Raid delivering on the action showcased in the trailer. We even got a confirmation from HIFF programming director Anderson Le after he saw the film in January at Sundance. I’ve also heard that the action ramps up as the movie goes on.

Looking back on what originally excited me about this film, it definitely had to be the insane depiction of the action of the movie and the seemingly large amount of it. In a way I guess it gives off that vibe that you get from seeing 80s action movies like Die Hard, you know, when action in movies seemed more real, weren’t that effects heavy, and were taken more seriously. That’s what I hope to get from seeing The Raid this weekend, and I hope this post gets you excited for it as well.

The Raid :: Rated R :: Runtime – 1h 41m

Does this post convince you to go out and see The Raid? If you do check it out this weekend, but sure to leave us your thoughts in the comments and let us know if it lives up to and deserves the hype.

07
Feb
12

Super Spots 2012

Darth Vader wasn't too keen on this year's crop of Super Bowl trailers. And he wasn't the only one.

The Super Bowl. Probably the single biggest sports day in America every year. With approximately 111 million people tuning in to this year’s game, it’s understandable why commercial spots reportedly were coming in at $3.5 million for 30 seconds–with a captive audience you know your commercial is going to be seen by a lot of people.

With that in mind, I didn’t think this year’s crop of trailers provided any Earth-shattering splashes. Almost all the trailers shown this year employed a good mix of combining new and old footage. What I didn’t like this year was the whole “teasing” or “previewing” and even releasing of trailers and commercials days before they were to air. To me, you spend all this money to play it before a captive audience and I just feel it dilutes the commercial by releasing it online before the game. Isn’t the point to try and make people stay to watch your commercial and not give them a reason to not watch it during the game? I don’t know, maybe that’s just me.

In any case, there were some things that got me excited for the upcoming crop of films that we’re going to get later this year. A thing to remember about these “mini-reviews” is that they mainly talk about the level of excitement that I felt for the film after watching the trailers AND NOT on the potential quality of the films.

THE HUNGER GAMES :: Pre-Game :: Excitement Level: 4/5

As we’re only about six weeks out from release, it only made sense that Lionsgate released a trailer from the film. While there was old footage shown, I thought we got a lot great new footage as well. Of the new stuff that we saw, I think I enjoyed seeing the interaction between Stanley Tucci’s TV host character and the District 12 tributes in the scenes where they’re being interviewed. The sacrifice of the Reaping and the hardship of the games themselves were definitely conveyed well in the trailer as well. On a side note, fans will be happy to know that this trailer wasn’t just limited to being seen during the Super Bowl. The minute long trailer is also a theatrical trailer and will be playing in front of select movies at a theater near you.

21 JUMP STREET :: Pre-Game :: First Reaction :: Excitement Level: 3/5

I thought there were some really great one-liners that this trailer brought out that definitely are playing up the comedic vibe of the film. I don’t really recall ever watching the TV series, but I don’t think it was a comedic television series. Jonah Hill we all know can bring the funny and hopefully by playing off straight-man Channing Tatum will make the new 21 Jump Street a fun action comedy.

 

GHOST RIDER: SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE
Pre-Game :: Trailer :: First Reaction :: Excitement Level: 2/5

Wasn’t too excited by this trailer. Probably the best thing going for it is that there seems to be some really well done CGI action sequences which come through from the trailer. Other than that, there’s not too much to write home about.

ACT OF VALOR :: Pre-Game & 4th Qtr :: First Reaction(s) :: Excitement Level: 4/5

Probably what I liked best about this trailer was that they mixed great footage with Eminem’s Not Afraid–which by itself was pretty good to begin with. However, what really made it better was that they sync’d it to the chorus; which I thought really fit with the theme of the film and the scenes they showed in the trailer. Inspirational, harrowing, a sense of brotherhood . . . all the things Navy SEALS represent or convey.

 

SAFE HOUSE
Pre-Game :: Trailer :: First Reaction :: Excitement Level: 3/5
I think it’s safe to say that anytime you have Denzel Washington going guns-blazing, in hot hot heat, and getting into Ryan Reynold’s head (which all appear in this trailer) . . . you’re going to end up with a fun time at the movies. The trailer plays up the movie’s strengths: the chemistry between the two leads and showcasing the action. Formulaic to be sure, but it’s got everything you need for a solid star driven action film.

THE DICTATOR
Pre-Game :: Trailer :: First Reaction :: Excitement Level: 2/5
I actually think it was a good movie to cut this trailer for the Super Bowl. With the exception of the introduction about knowing the final score of the game, all the footage is from the current theatrical trailer. When it played, everyone at my viewing party seemed to get pretty good laughs out of it–a good indicator that the current trailer hasn’t had too much exposure. Personally, I’m not a Sacha Baron Cohen fan, but like I said, good exposure for the film.

BATTLESHIP :: 2nd Quarter :: First Reaction :: Excitement Level: 3/5

I don’t know if it was a good thing or a bad thing that for maybe the first 10-15 seconds of this trailer, people thought that it was another installment of the Transformers franchise. I will say that I liked seeing a lot of new footage of the aliens and a lot more action sequences. What definitely troubles me is that we actually saw the aliens themselves and I don’t ever recall the last time we’ve ever had “cool looking” aliens. After seeing the new footage in this trailer I’m a little bit more excited for the film, and hopeful as well because it was partly shot in Hawaii.

JOHN CARTER
2nd Quarter :: Trailer :: First Reaction :: Excitement Level: 1/5
I just don’t know what it is about this film, but I can’t really get excited for anything about it. I thought the clip-collaging in the shape of the film’s title was the most uninspiring thing in the world. It was as if the title of the film is more important than showing us what it’s about. Granted the extended version (linked above) shows more full screen footage that shows off the film, but what we saw during the game didn’t have that. Not good when you only have a few seconds to make a great (or not so great) impression.

DR SEUSS’ THE LORAX
2nd Quarter :: Trailer :: First Reaction :: Excitement Level: 3/5
I have no idea what The Lorax is about, but I do know it’s vibrantly animated and appears to have a few good laughs. What I like is that even though the film is from a different production company and studio than the previous Seuss movie (Horton Hears a Who), it pretty much looks to have the exact same style–definitely a good thing as those that liked Horton will probably come back for more. It should also bring in people who like great animation as well.

STAR WARS: EPISODE I – THE PHANTOM MENACE
2nd Quarter :: Trailer :: First Reaction :: Excitement Level: 1/5
What I didn’t like about this trailer was the fact that they mixed in footage from the Original Trilogy (OT). I can sort of understand why they did it (it’s because Episode I kicks off the entire trilogy in 3D), but it really felt like they were trying to bamboozle people by saying that the OT films will be in 3D.

THE AVENGERS :: 2nd Quarter :: First Reaction :: Excitement Level: 5/5

This was by far my favorite trailer from this year’s Super Bowl and I was actually kind of surprised because I hadn’t heard any pre-game buzz about a new trailer coming out. What I liked was that we saw the superheroes working together more in the clips in this trailer. The best part definitely had to be towards the end where there was the camera shot spinning around the team–talk about money shot. Then to top it all off, in the extended version (embedded above) the final sequence is of the Hulk jumping in the air and taking down some flyers. Can’t wait for May!

G.I. JOE: RETALIATION :: 2nd Quarter :: First Reaction :: Excitement Level: 4/5

You have to admit, the visuals alone definitely make this movie look exciting. The film is based off a cartoon so some of the more “out there” moments have to be expected . . . I just hope that they learned their lesson from the first installment and allocated more of the budget to the CG effects AND a better story. The Rock seems to be a solid choice to be in the film, especially since he looks almost like his character from Fast Five. Though I think the addition of Willis maybe a bit over the top.

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This year’s Super Bowl also featured a number of movie related commercials that weren’t movie trailers. I thought it was a cool and smart move by these companies to go this route as it definitely offered a different hook for their spots and overall I felt left a good impression with viewers. Something else that stood out was that a lot of the spots were also directed by feature film directors as well.

Honda CR-V’s ‘Matthew’s Day Off’ :: Directed By – Todd Phillips (dir. The Hangover)

It was probably one of the most anticipated commercials going into the weekend . . . before Honda released the trailer online. They did a really great job of teasing the spot by releasing a short 10 second teaser the Thursday going into the weekend. However, by the next day the full spot was online, which I definitely think deflated its appearance during the game. Nevertheless, I liked the spot and how it riffed off of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, though I didn’t really notice the car in the commcercial. An extended 2+ minute version was also cut and released. In the extended version, there are more Day Off references and more shots of the CR-V.

VW’s ‘The Dog Strikes Back’ :: Directed by – Lance Acord (cinematographer – Where the Wild Things Are)

The movie reference in this commercial doesn’t happen till the end, but I thought it was really fun that VW referenced their Super Bowl spot last year by putting Darth Vader in the Mos Eisley Cantina as a post-credit stinger of sorts. Short, sweet, smart, and funny.

Chrysler’s ‘Halftime in America’ :: Directed by – David Gordon Green (dir. Pineapple Express)

Aside from The Avengers, I’d have to say that this was the commercial that I liked the most. The only movie reference that you’ll find in this commercial is that actor turned director Clint Eastwood narrates and appears in the spot. It’s edited together very movie trailer-like with Eastwood’s narration providing inspirational and uplifting words. Though I thought the metaphor was a little off, I still thought it was really well done and built on their “Imported From Detroit” message that they started last year with the Eminem Super Bowl spot.

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With another Super Bowl in the books, luckily us moviegoers won’t have to wait till the fall to see if the excitement from these trailers is warranted. Was there a particular trailer from the big game that you liked or another movie related commercial that I missed? Hit us up in the comments to let us know and share your thoughts!

26
Jan
12

Films From the 2012 Sundance Film Festival

Sundance Film Festival - January 19-29, 2012

Lost in all the hoopla of awards season and the announcement of Academy Awards nominations is the fact that the 2012 Sundance Film Festival is more than halfway finished. Now before you go any further, sadly no, I’m not in snowy Park City Utah watching films. I’m still here in sunny Hawaii. However, as I briefly touched on last year, Sundance is the biggest film festival in the United States and is important because of the wealth of independent cinema that the festival fosters.

Why Sundance is so big and important? It’s mainly because film discovery happens at Sundance. When you hear the word ‘Indie’ or ‘Independent Cinema’ being thrown around (both can be used interchangeably I think), don’t automatically consider it a film that’s artsy-fartsy that you can’t understand (though there are a lot of films like that). The term ‘indie’ mainly means that a film was independently financed. What does “independently financed” mean?

Movies made by studios (Paramount, Warner Bros, Universal, Disney, etc) are all bankrolled by those particular studios. Since they’re fronting their money to pay for their films to be made, there are generally a lot of hoops and guidelines that filmmakers have to follow when making a studio movie. In contrast, independently financed films are films that a filmmaker finds funding for on their own. Whether it’s finding investors or completely paying for the cost of a film out of their own pocket, an indie film gives the filmmaker freedom as they are able to convey their true vision for their project unencumbered by studio interference.

Festival-goers waiting to get into the Egyptian Theater.

The downside is that though a film is made independently, it’s quite another thing to have it shown in theaters across the country. That’s partly where the importance of Sundance comes in . . . studios and distributors go shopping at Sundance. When a film gets “picked up” it generally means that a distributor has paid for the rights to distribute a film (distribution models vary these days, but theatrical distribution in theaters is most desired).

Having said all that, you can begin to see why Sundance is such a big deal. Not only does it provide an outlet for filmmakers to tell their own stories, it also provides a way for their vision to be seen by a larger audience should their film get picked up by a distributor or studio.

With only a few days left in the Sundance Film Festival, here are a few films I’m interested in seeing that may or may not make it to a theater near you sometime this year. Most of these films don’t have trailers as they’re playing for the very first time at Sundance. I’m going to let the images and official synopsis do the heavy lifting, but I will throw in some brief thoughts about what piqued my interest in these films.

 

THE WORDS *picked up for distribution by CBS Films*

Synopsis:
Rory Jansen, a struggling writer, aspires to be the next great literary voice. When he discovers a lost manuscript in a weathered attaché case, he realizes he possesses something extraordinary that he desperately wishes he had created. Rory decides to pass the work off as his own and finally receives the recognition he desperately craves. However, he soon learns that living with his choice will not be as easy as he thought as he faces a moral dilemma that will make him take a hard look at the man he has become. //via Sundance Film Festival

Why I’m Interested:
What initially caught my eye was the story about the film. Basically you have a guy plagiarizing work and the film looks at the struggles he goes through in dealing with that, which I thought was a pretty interesting premise to begin with. However, you also have a bunch of known Hollywood actors in it as well such as Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Irons, Dennis Quaid, and oh yeah . . . Zoe Saldana and Oliva Wilde as well.

 

LIBERAL ARTS *picked up for distribution by IFC Films*

Synopsis:
Newly single, 35, and uninspired by his job, Jesse Fisher worries that his best days are behind him. But no matter how much he buries his head in a book, life keeps pulling Jesse back. When his favorite college professor invites him to campus to speak at his retirement dinner, Jesse jumps at the chance. He is prepared for the nostalgia of the dining halls and dorm rooms, the parties and poetry seminars; what he doesn’t see coming is Zibby—a beautiful, precocious, classical-music-loving sophomore. Zibby awakens scary, exciting, long-dormant feelings of possibility and connection that Jesse thought he had buried forever. //via Sundance Film Festival

Why I’m Interested:
The film opened to a standing ovation at it’s first screening this past Sunday, something I’ve read doesn’t happen too much. However, the film seems to have some great performances and the growing relationship between the two leads (last year’s Sundance “It Girl” Elizabeth Olsen and Josh Radnor) carries the film. What really blew me away though was that this film not only starts the guy from How I Met Your Mother, but it’s written and directed by him as well! I had no idea he was so talented. While there was been some talk about distribution, no deals have been made yet.

 

THE FIRST TIME

Synopsis:
Dave, a high school senior, spends most of his time pining away over a girl he can’t have. Aubrey, a junior with artistic aspirations, has a hot boyfriend who doesn’t quite understand her or seem to care. Although they go to different schools, Dave and Aubrey find themselves at the same party. When both head outside to get some air, they meet. A casual conversation sparks an instant connection, and, over the course of a weekend, things turn magical, romantic, complicated, and funny as Aubrey and Dave discover what it’s like to fall in love for the first time. //via Sundance Film Festival

Why I’m Interested:
From the reports I’ve read, the film seems to have a modern day Can’t Hardly Wait vibe to it. Truth be told I guess I’m a sucker for these high school movies where the guy pines away for the seemingly unattainable girl (I mean, seriously, haven’t we all been there?). The film seems to be getting pretty decent reviews and lots of mention for the strong performances by the leads Britt Robertson (The CW’s Life Unexpected and The Secret Circle) and Dylan O’Brien (MTV’s Teen Wolf). Sadly there doesn’t seem to be too much talk about the film being picked up by a distributor so I’m not confident about our chances for eventually seeing this film.

 

THE RAID *scheduled for release March 23, 2012 by Sony Pictures Classics*

Synopsis:
At the break of dawn, an elite SWAT team descends upon a rundown tenement in the mammoth city of Jakarta, Indonesia. Their mission? To take down the ruthless and powerful crime boss Tama, who rules the building and its inhabitants with implacable brutality. Holed up on the top floor with an array of security cameras and a legion of massively armed underlings, Tama appears to be untouchable. The police initiate their assault with precision as they make their way through the lower floors of the building. But when their cover is blown, a bloody cataclysm erupts, first with bullets, then with a storm of fists and feet. //via Sundance Film Festival

Why I’m Interested:
Ok, this is kind of a cheat because this film has already played at another film festival and it’s one of my most anticipated films of this year (second only to The Dark Knight Rises). However, since it’s playing at Sundance I’m going to take this opportunity to talk about it. The Raid looks like it’s going to be a crazy good movie with a ton of awesome fight scenes. The level and intensity depicted by said fight scenes, I’m just in awe and really blown away by. I was a little worried that the trailer I saw of the film was all hype. Much to relief HIFF Programming Director Anderson Le assuaged my fears (read from the bottom up):

But don’t take our word for it. Watch the trailer and see for yourself . . .

 

THE SURROGATE *picked up for distribution by Fox Searchlight*

Synopsis:
The quest for love appears insurmountable when a man confined to an iron lung determines, at age 38, to lose his virginity. Based on the autobiographical writings of Berkeley, California–based journalist and poet Mark O’Brien, The Surrogate chronicles his attempt to transcend the limbo between childhood and adulthood, in which he is literally trapped. With the blessing of an unusual priest and support from enlightened caregivers, the poignantly optimistic and always droll O’Brien swallows his fear and hires a sex surrogate. What transpires over a handful of sessions transforms them both. Rivetingly, sensitively, and humorously portrayed by John Hawkes and Helen Hunt, the couple’s clinical exercise becomes a tender, awkward, and gracious journey from isolation to connection—corporal and spiritual. //via Sundance Film Festival

Why I’m Interested:
Probably the most high profile of acquisition of the festival so far, media buzz has been extremely positive for this film with even talk of Oscar worthy potential. HIFF Programming Director Anderson Le is also predicting that the film will win the audience award at Sundance. A lot of praise is being given to the director for taking a somewhat awkward subject material and turning it into a story that’s heartwarming and has a lot of weight. Should be interesting to see what Searchlight has planned for this.

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Want a bit more info about what’s going on at Sundance? Here are two good reports courtesy of Indiewire:

Box Office Be Damned: For Buyers, Optimism Rules at Sundance 2012
-Insight into the state of acquisitions

What’s Hot, What’s Good and What the Critics Can’t Agree On
-A look at what’s trending at Sundance

06
Jan
12

Oscar Bait Comes to Kahala

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (left) and Shame (right) are both getting some buzz this awards season.

Awards season in film is heating up with the Golden Globes to be awarded on Sunday, January 15 and then the Academy Award nominations to be announced nine days later on the 24th. With this in mind, some of the films that are awards contenders will be coming to Consolidated Theatres Kahala 8–which is great considering January is usually a Hollywood dumping ground as far as the quality of their releases goes.

In fact, one of the films that I mentioned I still wanted to see from 2011, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, is out now not just at Kahala, but a bunch of other locations on Oahu. Here’s a few other Oscar bait films that could be coming to Kahala relatively soon:

Now, release dates and films might change since some of these smaller releases are really dependent on a number of studio factors AND the potential for how well they could do locally. If/when they do make it here, you better see it quick too since there’s no telling how long it will be in theaters. Out of the films listed, I already mentioned Tinker Tailor, but I’m also interested in seeing Shame. I actually talked about Shame in my Most Anticipated Fall Movies of 2011 back in September, so I’m actually glad to see it show up here in early 2012. Be warned though, Shame isn’t for the faint of heart as it carries a rating of NC-17:

Another movie that I want to try and check out before Oscar night is A Separation. It’s Iran’s submission for the Academy Award Foreign Language competition and has made a number of critic “Best of” lists for 2011 so again I’d like to see what all the buzz is about that as well. Consolidated’s website currently lists A Separation as having a February 10 release locally.

30
Dec
11

Weekly’s ‘Best of’ & Unfinished Business for 2011

The Tree of Life made the Honolulu Weekly's list of 'Best of the Year' in film. Find out what the others were and what else we should see before we close out 2011.

As 2011 comes to a close I stumbled upon the Honolulu Weekly’s Best Films of the Year (So Far). ‘Best of 2011’ lists are all the rage right now, especially in movie blog and critics circles where many organizations have come out with their lists for what was “good” in 2011. While it’s great to hear about what these guys thought was good in 2011, the Honolulu Weekly list got me thinking about what films I enjoyed this year. Looking through their list I could only find two films that will most likely make my own ‘Best of 2011’ list. Here’s what the entertainment guys over at the Weekly had on their Best of the Year list (listed in alpha order):

  • Bridesmaids
  • Contagion
  • The Debt
  • The Descendants
  • Hugo
  • Edgar
  • Margin Call
  • Rise of the Planet of the Apes
  • Take Shelter
  • The Tree of Life
  • Weekend

I think it’s actually a pretty good list with a range of films from both mainstream Hollywood and independent/art house filmmakers. Of the eleven films listed here, I haven’t seen four of them. Here are a few brief thoughts on the ones that I have seen and where they could potentially stand on my list . . .

I thought Contagion was a really well put together film. In a movie about a deadly disease that wipes out a good number of the world’s population, director Steven Soderbergh (like any good surgeon) worked with clinical precision and constructed a gripping narrative. Even with a phenomenal cast, the movie keeps you at arms length as you trot the globe following each of the characters. A good film, but I don’t know if I would go so far as to call it great.



The Debt actually surprised me a little. I was expecting one thing from having watched the trailer, but got something else when I realized exactly what ‘the debt’ was. With some thrilling moments and great performances by Helen Mirren and Jessica Chastain, it’s definitely a solid movie to check out.



Ok, I’m sure you’ve heard many people wax poetically about how great The Descendants is (myself included) and it may be a homer pick since it was filmed in Hawaii and is a movie ABOUT Hawaii, but Descendants has already locked up a spot on my ‘Best Of’ list for 2011. Just go out and see this movie if you haven’t already.



I really enjoyed Hugo. Again, this was another movie where I was expecting one thing, but got something else. The story is just so great and I have to say . . . you need to see this movie in 3D if at all possible as it’s probably the best use of the format since Avatar. Scorsese I feel can do anything at this point and I wouldn’t be surprised if his next film is him walking on water.



You’ve got Eastwood being Eastwood and DiCaprio being DiCaprio, ie: decent direction and performance respectively. While I thought J. Edgar was an interesting character study, I thought it was a just ok biopic about the former head of the FBI.



Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a pretty solid entry from a franchise that we all thought was dead. While the plot was entertaining and engrossing, the special effects and the performance capture were definitely awe-inspiring as well. I’d buy the blu-ray just to find out how they made this movie.



While you have a really great performance by Michael Shannon and the always great Jessica Chastain, I thought the movie dragged on for far too long. I believed in the unravelling of Shannon’s character, but after a certain point I thought things just got repetitive. Then, when things finally start to come together in the last half hour of the film, I really didn’t know what to think by the time I got to the end (I know it’s vague sounding, but I’m trying to list spoilers).

More 2011 in 2012

One of the things I liked most about the Weekly’s list is that there’s acknowledgement that we haven’t yet seen all of what 2011 has to offer. It’s right there in the title (Best of the Year . . . So Far). Sadly for Hawaii, being a cinephile out here means having to wait a while longer for smaller art house and independent releases. Though we do get all of the major Hollywood releases, it’s these smaller films that can sometimes be really great discoveries.

I think one of the reasons why average moviegoers are afraid to see indie/art house films is because they fear that they won’t be able to understand them. Granted, there are indie films out there that are stereotypically “artsy” and will leave you frustrated. However, for everyone of those, there’s also a Slumdog Millionaire or The King’s Speech is understandable and entertaining that you just need to take a chance on.

For the most part, the rest of the films from 2011 that I want to see are of the indie/art house variety. However, take a look at these trailers and tell me that at least one or two of these choices doesn’t interest you.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close – January 20, 2012

Ok, so it doesn’t look like the happiest of stories, but you’ve got Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock, and an awesome ensemble cast tugging at your heartstrings in a story about a son trying to discover what his father left behind for him.

Coriolanus – Limited Release January 20, 2012

Bear with me, yes the film is based off of one of Shakespeare’s lesser known plays. BUT, it’s got Leonidas vs Voldemort in it (Butler vs Fiennes). How great does that sound? And it seems like there’s some action and a whole lot of political intrigue to be a pretty good watch.

Rampart – Limited Release February 10, 2012

Ok, if you can look past all the Oscar-baity quotes in the trailer, Rampart looks like a great character study of a corrupt LAPD officer. Woody Harrelson is no stranger to great dramatic fare and he looks really good as this cop that seems to be spiraling out of control.

The Artist – Now Playing at Consolidated Kahala 8

By all accounts, this is THE Oscar front runner for best picture and that’s the main reason why I want to see it. However, there’s one big thing you need to know about The Artist . . . it’s a silent film. I’m not sure exactly when the last time any of us have seen a silent film, let alone one in a theater, but I think that’s one of the best reasons to check it out . . . it’s something none of us have probably seen before.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy – Out Now in Limited Release

I have to admit, I wasn’t all that into Tinker Tailor when I first saw the trailer. Over time though I’ve actually opened up to wanting to see this slow burn thriller about a mole in British Intelligence. I don’t think it will be for everyone as the pace will probably be slower that what the average person is used to, but it’s got a great cast and is getting Oscar buzz. Though it’s been in limited release since early December, I’m hopeful it will hit Hawaii shores in another week or two.

We Bought a Zoo – Out Now

Probably the most mainstream selection out of what I still want to see, I think We Bought a Zoo is definitely going to be a crowd pleaser. Zoo was done by Cameron Crowe, the guy that brought you Say Anything, Jerry Maguire, and Almost Famous; and though sadly his last two outings weren’t that hot (Vanilla Sky & Elizabethtown), from what I’ve heard Crowe seems to have returned to form in this film.

So, that’s about it for 2011 films. There are a few more movies out on DVD that I’m going to try and squeeze in before I put together my final list. Hopefully I can get to that around late January, right around the time Academy Award nominations come out. If you have any considerations I should be aware of, I definitely welcome those in the comments or online. Just let me know of any good stuff I might be missing out on.

That’s a Wrap on 2011 . . . For Now

Unless some earth shattering movie announcement happens or I get some really creative juices flowing before midnight tomorrow, this will probably be my last blog post for 2011. If you’re still reading this post by now I just want to thank you for sticking around and for checking out any of my other posts this year. Have a safe and happy new year and we’ll see you in 2012.

14
Sep
11

Most Anticipated Fall Movies 2011

Just got through listening to the most recent Filmspotting podcast (#363) and the guys listed their Top 5 Most Anticipated Fall Movies.  It got me thinking about what I’m most interested in seeing in the next two months. Though I’m not one for “Top 5” lists, I thought it would be fun to think about and list some of the stuff I’m looking forward to. Taking Adam and Matty’s lead I’m going to limit this list to films coming out from this weekend to the weekend before Thanksgiving (9/16 – 11/18). Here they are in order of release date:

DRIVE (September 16) :: I heard a lot of good buzz about this movie coming out of Comic Con where they had a special screening of the film. Trying to find out a little bit more about the movie I stumbled upon this clip which immediately got me hooked into wanting to see this film. I actually prefer the clip to the trailer as you get a really great feel for the movie without all the details of the trailer which gives you almost everything. The basic plotline is that Ryan Gosling is a getaway car drive and in the clip I’ve linked to, seems to be a pretty knowledgable and cunning one. The only diolauge you hear is from the police scanner in the car, everyone else is silent and you can feel the tension from everyone. The film won best director at the Cannes Film Festival in May so it definitely has a lot going for it.

MONEYBALL (September 23) :: There are a bunch of different reasons why I want to see Moneyball. Probably the first being that Steven Soderbergh was attached to direct Brad Pitt in this baseball story about managing the Oakland A’s. However, Soderbergh eventually dropped out and then I didn’t really hear anything for a while until the trailer for the film came out this summer. Once I saw the trailer though, the film still looked pretty intriguing to me. For whatever reason baseball always seems to lend itself to making better sports movies than other sports do. Off the top of my head I can’t name any bad baseball movies. In any case Moneyball is being strongly compared to The Social Network, Sony Pictures other Oscar contender from last year that was released around the same time.

MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE (limited release October 21)
LIKE CRAZY (limited release October 28)
It wouldn’t be a Filmspotting type list if I didn’t have a tie on here somewhere. Both M4 and Like Crazy received a ton of praise and buzz coming out of this year’s Sundance Film Festival . I basically only know the storyline of each of the movies (see links above for trailers & plot synopsis), but from everything I’ve read, the performances in both these films are worth seeing on that alone. I’m hopeful that we’ll eventually get them here at Kahala or something so that I can check them out.

TOWER HEIST (November 4) :: People can say what they will about director Brett Ratner (Rush Hour/s, X-Men Last Stand), but from the trailer alone this movie looks like a fun ride with an all star cast. Ratner brought back Eddie Murphy for Tower Heist and he’s that confident in his star that he pushed for him to be next year’s Oscar host. How can anyone say no to this movie?

IMMORTALS (November 11) :: Again, this is another case of me falling in love with a movie just by watching the trailer. If you made a sequel for 300 and mashed it up with Clash of the Titans, I’m pretty sure you’d get Immortals. I was a big fan of 300 even before it was released and ever since then similar movies have never quite looked as good. I’m hoping that’ll change with Immortals. I have no idea what the story is about, but the visuals alone look amazing and you’ve got future Superman Henry Cavill in it as well.

Honorable Mentions

I’ve got a few honorable mentions here that I wanted to share as well:

CONTAGION (in theaters) :: It didn’t fit into the release window that this list was limited to so I stuck this pick here. A commercial Steven Soderbergh (Oceans 11, 12, 13, Che, Out of Sight) joint with a large ensemble cast battle the worldwide spread of a deadly disease/virus. It’s a solid film that shot and put together really well. Definitely worth checking out.

50/50 (September 30) :: I had to cheat and put 50/50 in my honorable mentions since I already saw it and wanted to have more to talk about above. I’m already putting 50/50 in my list of top films of this year. The mix of humor and drama is great and you definitely will laugh and cry (or at least get choked up a little bit). When it comes out later this month I encourage you to check it out.

THE IDES OF MARCH (October 7) :: This is George Clooney’s 4th feature film that he’s directing and it’s got a solid cast along with him which includes Ryan Gosling, Evan Rachel Wood, Marisa Tomei, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Jeffrey Wright in a film about electoral politics and drama. I think it’s worth checking out for the cast alone.

SHAME (no release date set) :: Coming into the fall festival/awards season Shame has been one of the most talked about films of the year due to its graphic depictions of sex and male nudity. However, film critics everywhere seem to be talking about the film and going ga-ga over it and it definitely has me intrigued. One of the challenges that people seem to agree on is that if released in the US, the film would most likely receive an NC-17 rating from the MPAA–a big enough hurdle for both distributor and theater exhibitors. The film was just picked up by Fox Searchlight Pictures at the Toronto so no date has been set for release. We’ll see if it makes it way to Hawaii late this year or early next year.




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