Archive for the 'Coming Soon' Category


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*

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*

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.



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*

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*

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.


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


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.


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.


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.


Sing-A-Long Sound of Music

I’m generally not a musical guy. It’s not so much that I find it somewhat awkward and unbelievable that someone would break out into song during normal conversation, but rather why sing when you can speak plainly? However, as I’ve come to understand from Glee (a show which I’m a fan of), sometimes it’s easier to sing your feelings rather than speak them.

It’s under this setup that I want to spread the word about the Hawaii Theatre’s Sing-A-Long Sound of Music this coming weekend, July 15-17. Just what exactly is a “sing-a-long”? Well, it’s a film where the words to the songs are projected on the screen so that the audience can “sing along” with the film. And how can you beat singing a long with some of these classics from the Sound of Music: My Favorite Things, Do-Re-Mi, and The Sound of Music.

While that in and of itself might not seem like anything too special, the Sing-A-Long Sound of Music will make each night’s showing into an event. The Alamo Drafthouse has a regular “Sing-A-Long” program, and if it’s anything like those, this one should be fun as well. Check out some of the extras that attendees can look forward to:

  • Complimentary ‘Magic Moments Packs’ which contain various props to be used at strategic points throughout the film
  • Audience interaction at key points during the film:
    • Booing the Nazis
    • Hissing the Baroness
    • Barking at Rolf
    • Sighing for Gretl
    • And, of course, cheering for Julie!
  • Fancy dress competition in which everyone who has come in costume is invited onto the Hawaii Theatre stage to show off his or her fantastic tailoring skills.

So yeah, while I’m not a musical guy, Sound of Music is a classic that everyone should see at some point or another–especially when you have a great opportunity to view it in such an immersive experience with people who love the film.



This is heavy.

The folks at Consolidated Theatres are doing it again. They’re bringing my boys, Marty McFly and Doc Brown, back to the big screen in Back to the Future! As with Top Gun last month, Back to the Future will be coming BACK for one night only, next week Monday, June 27 for two showings at 7pm and 10pm. If you missed out seeing Top Gun I highly recommend you buy your tickets online, and as soon as possible because as many found out last time…there was only front row seating when they showed up to purchase tickets right before the movie. I’ve got my tickets . . . do you?
Hello? Anybody home? Think McFly, think!

One of the displays outside the theater has a poster up for Back to the Future.

Smaller tabloid sized posters are displayed inside the box office at Ward.

Win Tickets to See Back to the Future
If you’re interested in potentially winning free tickets to this special presentation of Back to the Future, 94.7 KUMU-FM is giving away tickets. Check out their website for more details.

Top Gun to Soar Back onto the Big Screen May 16

Have you lost that lovin' feeling?

There are some movies that are just the epitome of cool. Growing up in the 1980s, I don’t think anyone could escape the hype, phenomenon, or force that was Top Gun. It was a movie that defined the “high concept” blockbuster and helped to establish what we know today as the summer blockbuster season.

Call it fate, timing, or just plain luck . . . but Top Gun ushered in a pop culture phenomenon that still influences to this day. During the year in which Top Gun was released I can remember loads of people wanting to emulate things in the movie. Aviator sunglasses, bomber jackets, Top Gun hats/shirts, and everything in between . . . everyone wanted to imitate this movie.

But what really makes Top Gun so great? Well, even though there’s only two real action sequences (the MIG sequences at the beginning at the end of the film), I’d have to say that the aerial dogfighting action was pretty cool to see at the time. Watching the behind the scenes featurette, all the aerial scenes they specifically shot for the film. Another thing I think that makes Top Gun so memorable is just sheer amount of “cool” that emanates from the film. You have Maverick and Ice Man–the two best pilots in the US Navy going up against each other, each one brash and both carrying that sense of “cool.” Then you also have the fighter pilot profession itself. Just the thought of flying those fighter jets is cool in and of itself.

I think a lot of the popularity for Top Gun has has to do with nostalgia and it’s place in pop culture. The movie is so memorable that just by mentioning the title alone a number of quotes spring to mind. Take a look at some of these classic lines:

“I feel the need . . . the need for speed.”

“I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.”

“Slider, you stink.”

“We’re going ballistic Mav.”

“Great balls of fire.”

“I’ll hit the brakes and he’ll fly right by.”

and of course, who could forget the best of the best:

“You, you’re still dangerous . . . you can be my wingman anytime.”

“Bullshit, you can be mine.”

The reason why I’m waxing poetically about Top Gun is because Consolidated Theatres is bringing the film back to theaters for one night only this coming Monday, May 16 (on the 25th anniversary of its release no less). Yes, we’ll be able to experience the classic we all know and love in the theater! If you have any love for this film then you definitely will want to make sure you see it. There will be two screenings of Top Gun at the Consolidated Ward 16 Theatres on Monday, May 16 at 7:15p and 10:00p. Bring the kids and set the DVR to record the season finale of Hawaii 5-0, because this is an event you won’t want to miss. Purchase your tickets by logging on to or by going to Fandango

Win Passes to Top Gun

If you’re interested in potentially winning free tickets to this special presentation of Top Gun, 94.7 KUMU-FM is giving away passes. Check out their website for more details.


Super Spots III

The Force was a bit stronger with this year's crop of trailers during Super Bowl XLV.

Ah yes, the the Super Bowl. It’s that time of the year when ad space on TV costs you $3 million for 30 seconds of airtime (that’s $100,00 every second). With the huge cost for commercials during the big game, each one of those high paid seconds is oh so precious. While fans enjoy the game and sometimes the commercials, rarely do movie trailers ever stand out from everything else on Super Bowl Sunday.

As it has become tradition here at the Red Band Project (my second blog post was about the movie trailers that were shown during Super Bowl XLIII) I took a look at this year’s crop of trailers that where shown during the Super Bowl. These ‘mini-reviews’ of sorts mainly take a look at the excitement level that I felt after watching these trailers AND NOT on the potential quality of the films themselves so be sure to note that. Here’s what we got this year:

The Eagle

Pre-Game :: First Reaction :: Excitement Level: 2/5
I think this trailer gave people what they want to see: Channing, Roman on barbarian action, gratuitous action–it’s all there. Still not convinced using ad dollars for Super Bowl spots is a good idea for films coming out the Friday after the Super Bowl as most of your marketing should already be out by now. However, this was a pregame spot so it could be significantly cheaper for these spots.


Pre-Game :: Trailer :: First Reaction :: Excitement Level: 3/5
I think they showed a bit more new footage and they definitely showcased the action and post apocalyptic setting of the film. Definitely playing up the supernatural/vampire aspect–which is good. A bit more new stuff, but I was already excited for this film before the Super Bowl.

Drive Angry

Pre-Game :: Trailer :: First Reaction :: Excitement Level: 1/5
After seeing this trailer, I really still have no idea what this film is about nor do I desire to. Nick Cage driving angry . . . that doesn’t sell me. The clips they cut together really didn’t tell much of a story. I think they should have showcased Amber Heard a bit more in an attempt to at least draw a few more male eyes to this film.



Pre-Game :: Trailer :: First Reaction :: Excitement Level: 1/5
I think they did their best to try and convey what was going on with the plot of this film, and while for the most part while I do think everything sticks, I did think it might have been a tad confusing for those not already familiar with it. Yes Bradley Cooper gets smarter by taking a pill, but the ramifications of that action I don’t think can be explained in 20 seconds.

Just Go With It

Pre-Game :: Trailer :: First Reaction :: Excitement Level: 4/5
Now this is what I’m talking about! I love the fact that this trailer knows how to have a good time and isn’t afraid to poke fun at itself. I mean, playing up the fact that you have a shot of Sports Illustrated swimsuit and Victoria Secret model Brooklyn Decker coming out of the water in a bikini is pure gold AND speaks to the comedic nature of the film. The best part . . . the narrator tells guys at the end to “tell your girlfriend it’s a romantic comedy.” Hilarious!

Battle: Los Angeles

Pre-Game :: Trailer :: First Reaction :: Excitement Level: 5/5
I like the gritty and realistic feel that this trailer took by using the psudo-documentary news reporting viewpoint as a way to set the stage in the first part of the trailer. Combine that with the quick montage cuts with no audio (just a score featuring menacing ear piercing chords) and you have a very suspense filled trailer. Definitely feeling that District 9 vibe from this trailer as well.

Fast Five

First Quarter :: Trailer :: First Reaction :: Excitement Level: 4/5
Can a series get better as it goes on? From this short trailer we definitely know what we’re in for from the Fast & Furious crew this time around. We find out the story, the stakes that are involved, and we also get A TON of vehicular acrobatics and action. Oh yeah, did I mention that they added Dwayne Johnson (aka The Rock) to the mix this time around as well?

Cowboys & Aliens

1st Quarter :: Trailer :: First Reaction :: Excitement Level: 4/5
I like it when trailers tell you a story, it makes things a lot more interesting. Kudos to director Favreau who personally put together this spot. While we get some semblance of the story, I think it’s the new action sequences and the new looks at the aliens that really give us a better idea of what this film will be (True Grit but with aliens?). Loved that last scene at the end where someone jumps onto one of those alien fliers.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon

2nd Quarter :: Trailer :: First Reaction :: Excitement Level: 5/5
Damn you Michael Bay! You make this trailer for Transformers 3 look so good with lots of great action shots, scenes of robots attacking cities, only an ominous/forboding score for audio, and to cap it all off . . . you have Optimus Prime with his sword tearing it up to finish off the trailer. Sadly, who can ever forget Transformers Revenge of the Fallen. Sadly, I think I’m officially sucked into wanting to see this movie.


2nd Quarter :: Trailer :: First Reaction :: Excitement Level: 1/5
I wasn’t all that excited after seeing this trailer for Thor. Most of the footage in the trailer we’ve already seen from Comic Con and the previous Thor trailer. There were a few short glimpses of new stuff, but on the whole, nothing to really get me all that excited. While the trailer told us the basic story, that’s about all it did.

Super 8

2nd Quarter :: Trailer :: First Reaction :: Excitement Level: 4/5
Director JJ Abrams is meticulously getting everyone psyched up for this next film. To be quite honest, only a few basic things can be gleaned from this trailer . . . some kind of force is unleashed when a train crashes, there is some type of military/authoritative involvement/cover up, a boy captures some type of secret on film, and all of this leads to danger. And if you didn’t notice it during the game, there’s that ominous voice “Do not speak of this. If you do, it will find you.”

Captain America: The First Avenger

2nd Quarter :: Trailer :: First Reaction :: Excitement Level: 4/5
Getting our first look at it, I’m definitely warming up to the World War II setting of the film. You get a sense that the film seems authentic just from the “look” that you get from the clips. I also didn’t realize that it was still Chris Evans who was in the early scenes of the trailer as a scrawny Steve Rogers (he’s pulling some Christian Bale Machinist action in this film) so good job there making the character really transform. After seeing this, I’m a little less worried about the campiness potential of this film.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides

3rd Quarter :: Trailer :: First Reaction :: Excitement Level: 2/5
I think I have to stand by my original assessment tweet about this movie . . . it definitely looks like more of the same that we’ve seen already from the Pirates franchise. The trailer didn’t really give us a good sense for the story. To me all it told us was that Captain Jack Sparrow is back with witty repartee, there’s some supernatural elements to this film, and there’s also an iconic pirate bad guy (stop me when you’ve heard this before). The highlight was that this movie was partially shot in Hawaii; so as a resident of Hawaii I am legally obligated to see this film.


4th Quarter :: Trailer :: First Reaction :: Excitement Level: 1/5
The setup that this trailer provides was pretty good I thought, string together two scenes with a montage of shots from the film and we have a pretty basic plot for this film. However, the most that I gathered from this trailer was that Rango looks funny, is going to have a lot of action/comedy/romance/other stuff, and that “he is going to die.” I don’t think this trailer really resonated with me since I think these animals are kinda frightening.


4th Quarter :: Trailer :: First Reaction :: Excitement Level: 1/5
This trailer for Rio was actually the first trailer I saw for this film. I thought it was cute and colorful and did a pretty decent job of letting us know the basic plot of the film will be about this bird trying to learn how to fly (at least the basic premise of the film anyway). While the trailer did try to convey it’s comedic chops, I wasn’t all that enticed into seeing it. Never saw Ice Age (the trailer hypes this film as being “from the creators of Ice Age”) and this trailer didn’t do anything for me to make me want to see Rio.

Overall I thought we had a pretty good crop of trailers this year. While there was no film that really jumped out and established itself during the Super Bowl, we did get to see a couple of first looks from films this year. Another thing that probably helped make these trailers seem a little better overall is that Hollywood seems to be rebounding this year after a ‘not so great’ year in 2010, which is why such a high number of trailers were shown this year (9 in game, 6 during pre-game). Only time will tell how well these films will do.


Special Pass Giveaway: The Kids Grow Up

I think when people hear the word “documentary,” they tend to have already formed an opinion about any film that fits into this genre. I’m not going to lie, sometimes I myself fall into this prejudicial trap as well. However, I’ve been trying to broaden my horizons recently by seeking out a few docs that I personally find interesting, hoping to become a more well rounded moviegoer. It started last year with seeing Art & Copy at HIFF, then continued this year with two totally opposite films: Restrepo and The People vs George Lucas (still want to see Exit Through the Gift Shop).

Outside of these docs, nothing else really showed up on my radar till we were asked to participate in hosting a Q&A for a documentary coming out titled The Kids Grow Up. Good thing we accepted this challenge . . . otherwise we would have missed out on a really remarkable film.

With his 17 year old daughter entering her final year of high school, documentarian Doug Block focuses on this final year before she leaves to go away for college. Looking back on his daughter’s growth as well as interviewing various family members, we get a glimpse into one family’s emotional journey and something that most college parents can relate to–saying goodbye.

In full disclosure (and as preparation for the Q&A on Friday), we were able to watch the film in advance of it’s theatrical run here in Honolulu. As I mentioned previously, I thought the film was engrossing and remarkable. You definitely get to see an intimate look into the lives of the Block family (Doug, Marjorie, and Lucy). However, what really drew me into the film was the lighthearted way the film unfolded. Here you have a very real and emotional subject matter with parents getting ready to experience the ‘empty nest’ which could potentially push viewers away. Yet there is just the right amount of humor interjected at various points throughout the film to make it fun, engaging, and relatable.

Another aspect that I enjoyed was the editing of the film itself. Using hours of footage throughout Lucy’s life, the film is edited in such a way where experiences that Lucy encounters at an older age are contrasted with video of her at a younger age. It is through this editing and juxtaposition that gives you a feeling of who Lucy is and how she has grown. In a sense it made me think about the way I felt as a kid and how that differs from the way I think now and definitely gives you a sense how things change as you grow older.

The Red Band Project is partnering with Consolidated Theatres to present a special question and answer session after the 7:20pm screening of The Kids Grow Up at the Consolidated Kahala 8 Theatres. Filmmaker Doug Block and wife Marjorie Silver will be on hand to share their thoughts on the film and take questions from the crowd. Please join us for this very special event (purchase tickets here).

The Red Band Project will be inviting five lucky readers (and a guest) to the 7:20pm screening on Friday for FREE! To be eligible to win just send your name and email to Winners will be selected randomly from all eligible entries and only one entry per person.

Winners will be selected by Thursday evening, December 9.

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Honolulu TRON Legacy Preview

Following in the footsteps Avatar and Toy Story 3, TRON Legacy got the preview night treatment in an effort to showcase the awe-inspiring effects of the film, give those unfamiliar with the story a peek into the plot, and hopefully build strong word of mouth a month and a half before the film comes out. Last night Disney screened about 23 minutes of footage of the upcoming compufest in select 3D IMAX theaters across the country, Honolulu being lucky enough to garner a screening. Not being a major market, the turnout in honolulu did not reach epic proportions as other preview night screenings did. However, fans seem to echo the same general sentiment from those across the country . . . TRON Legacy looks pretty good.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the scenes that stood out to me . . .

Sam’s Apartment ::

In the first scene of the preview Sam is seen coming home to his apartment. The main bulk of this scene sets up the current background of the characters . . . Sam is all grown up and reckless and comes home to meet Alan, his dad’s former business partner who wants Sam to take responsibility as well as the helm of his father’s business. However, what I liked about the scene was what Sam’s apartment was made out of–shipping containers. There were a bunch of them stacked on top of each other and hollowed out to create his apartment.


Into the Grid ::

Upon discovering a hidden workroom at his father’s arcade, Sam finds himself being sucked into The Grid. Upon arrival his is captured and put together with other rogue or delinquent programs. This clip introduces us to the world of the grid and some of the many protocols and procedures programs must follow in order to survive.


Getting Formatted ::

Of course not being of the Grid, Sam is formatted so that he can be apart of this new environment. Since Sam has already entered the Grid, he has already been digitized, but now he becomes fully integrated when he receives new clothing as well as his own disc.


Disc Wars ::

All of a sudden Sam is dumped into an arena where his is pitted against someone else and must battle each other to the death by using their discs as weapons. The enclosed space they battle in allows the combatants to ricochet their discs off the walls and holds other pitfalls as well so you definitely need to be on your toes. It was during this sequence that I was officially sucked into the preview. I began rooting for Sam and was thinking of strategies that he could use to win the game.


The Breakout ::

The next sequence finds Sam in a land speeder with Quorra being chased by orange (bad) light cycles. After some wonderfully awesome chase visuals the duo eventually break out the gladiatorial arena and speed off into the barren land that is “off the Grid.” Here is a continuation of the sequence:

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Father & Son Meet ::

In the final scene of the preview we find out that Quorra is Flynn’s apprentice and arranges the reunion between father and son. It is definitely an emotional moment for both of them, but it seems cut a little too short as Flynn breaks away and longingly looks back to the city. It was during this scene that a bunch of questions began popping up . . . what happened to Flynn? How did he come to be back in the Grid? Will Sam be angry with his father? How can they escape The Grid get back out to the real world?

The preview ended with a montage of scenes from the rest of the movie and definitely sets up a tease of what else is to come.

In the end, I’m going to say that for our small preview screening here in Honolulu, the goal of the preview was definitely met. Almost everyone around me was impressed with the visuals and definitely wanted more. For me, the biggest thing that I took away from the TRON Preview Night was that I bought into the film. I wanted to know what the backstory was so that I could understand some of the history these characters have as well as some of the structure of The Grid. I was also taken in by the action of the games. Obviously the light cycle battles are a hallmark of the original TRON so showing the disc duel definitely was an interesting (and bold) move since people wouldn’t know that as well as the lightcycles. However, this sequence was no less action packed or spectacular in it’s own right. Finally, I wanted more of the story, especially when father and son reunite.

What happens next? We’ll just have to wait till TRON Legacy is released in theaters on December 17.

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