A Guide to Summer Movies, 2014

For all of us summer can be a very confusing time regarding to movies. All of these big blockbusters are coming out, and those of use that are complete lemmings have no idea which ones to watch. Never fear! Your fearless Squid Leader is here to guide you through the summer quagmire and give you the in on what movies are actually worth seeing. Though I must say I have higher film standards than most, so respond accordingly.

Godzilla

Out in theaters

 

Once again, a new version of Godzilla, the famous Japanese monster! I personally do not enjoy most monster movies, but if you are an adrenaline junkie who just wants to see buildings get destroyed, this is the film for you!

 

Recommendation: eh, meh. Translation, take it or leave it. A new version will be made in ten years anyway.

X Men: Days of Future Past

May 23

 

I have pretty much given up on the X-Men franchise. I hated the third X-Men, despized the Wolverine X-Men whatever you call it, and thought X-Men origins was mediocre at best. However, this film intrigues me. It looks like a very fresh take on it and I think it has the potential to be a very cool film. Perhaps the only reason that X-Men Origins sucked was because it didn’t Hugh Jackmen. Come on. Sex appeal is a real thing.

 

Recommendation: See it!

Maleficent

May 30

 

This is the latest Disney revival of turning a classic animated film into live action. The last one I am referring to is Mirror Mirror, Disney’s twist on Snow White. This film seems very promising. Mainly that has to do with Angelina Jolie. Whether or not she is a home wrecker, I respect her power as an actress. I am also very interested in seeing the character of Maleficent being played out in live action, being what I believe is the most evil Disney villain. In the original Sleeping Beauty Maleficent is just evil for no good reason, so I am eagerly awaiting to see how Angelina Jolie and Disney filmakers will provide her more depth.

 

Recommendation: See it!

A Million Ways to Die in the West

May 30th  

 

I’m not really sure what to make of this film. It looks funny, though I usually like more than just humor in my movies. But I have to say it has a very interesting cast. I think Seth MacFarlane is a master commedian, though I did want to kill him over Ted. And I am a huge fan of Neil Patrick Harris. Just the fact that he’s in the movie might make me want to see it, if it were not for the fact that Sarah Silverman were also in it. I find her so annoying she cancels Neil Patrick Harris out. So, anyway, from the trailer, this film appears to make fun of traditional western movies, and looks like it could possibly be fun. Those of you who have high standards for movies like me, don’t touch it with a ten foot pole.

 

Recommendation: Uh… Maybe?

How to Train Your Dragon 2

June 13

 

For those of us who loved the first How to Train Your Dragon. According to the trailer, it appears the dragons that have become the beloved pets of the vikings face a new threat. Adventure is mixed with witty humor and light-hearted fun in this film appropriate for all ages! All my squid readers know I am very wary of sequels, especially from film companies that always make frnachizes for children, but I enjoyed the first one so much, I think this one is worth the risk.

Recommendation: See it!

 

 

 

Transformers: Age of Extinction

June 27

 

NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Why????? What did I do? Michael Bay, I understand that you seem to like masturbating to explosions and mind numbing, pointless action, but please don’t force your porn on the masses!

 

This is the fourth installment of the Transformers Franchise. It is also the first one without Shiah LeBouf. Perhaps he finally got a spine. The fact that Tranformers could be so easily revived without their usual protagonist just shows how in depth their characters are.

 

Go see this if you like movies with no real story or character development to speak of.

 

Recommendation: AVOID AT ALL COSTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

July 11

 

Wasn’t a Dawn of the Planet of the Apes already made? Oh, wait, that was Rise of the Planet of the Apes, my mistake. Honestly, I did not see the Rise of the Planet of the Apes, because it just did not appear very interesting to me. Although I must admit the trailers for this film make the Dawn of the Planet of the Apes somewhat interesting. You have a large civilization of apes (obviously) with a small pocket of human survivors. What makes me want to se this is you have the usual plent of the apes story combined with dystopian, post apocalyptic humans fighting for their lives. The trailser make it appear very epic, so i think it could be worth a viewing.

 

Recommendation: Why not?

Jupiter Ascending

July 18th

 

After viewing the trailer, my response was “What?” There seems to be a hell of a lot going on in this film. What seems to be going on, Mila Kunis is a royal alien who has to save the world with Boromir and a guy with pointy ears/ From what I saw, it appeared to be a very typical sci-fi movie. I didn’t really see anything that would make me want to see it. But if you love sci-fi movies, give it a chance.

 

Recommendation: I think better movies are coming out…

 

Hercules

July 25th

 

Okay, just picture this, the Rock (yes, Dwayne Johnson is still trying to act) holding a sword with a lion on his head and smiling open mouthed like a maniac. Enough said, but I sha’ll continue. This appears to be a strange combination of 300 and Clash of the Titans. I can actually think of a good reason to see this movie. Sneak alcohol in with you and mock it as you watch it. that is how absurd it looks.

 

Recommendation: Don’t waste your time.

Guardians of the Galaxy

August 1st

 

This trailer made me laugh a couple of times. It appears to be making fun of super hero sci-fi films. That said, it also seems to have really intense scene of action. That said, I didn’t see much I would consider riveting.

 

Recomendation: Take it or leave it.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

August 8th

 

The trailer that I watched did not tell me much of anything about the actual story of this movie. But considering this movie is produced by Michael Bay that is probably more than I need to know regrarding this film’s quality. The trailer made it look like just a bunch of mindless action. I was never a fan of the original stories of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles anyway. Though they have cool names.

 

Recommendation: No

The Giver

August 15th

 

Does this title sound familiar? That is because this film is based off of a book that has been read by students in middle schools for a good number of years. I think I personally have read the Giver 5 times. Honestly, I’m surprised it took this long for a film interpretation to be created. In the near future people live in a utopian society that deprives people of their basic choices. Jonas discovers just what such a society deprives its citizens and tries to find a way to escape. From what I saw in the trailer the only real positive thing I saw was Meryl Streep. I think it is very likely that this film will end up bombing. However, I love this book, so I am going to see it anyway.

 

Recommendation: See it!

 

While I do enjoy sharing my opinions about movies, I am very aware others do not share mine. Whatever summer movies you want to go see, even if it is Transformers, I hope you all have enjoyable film eperiences!

Star Wars Strikes Back!

Who was prepared for this? I just found out today that a new Star Wars trilogy is in the making, and this time it is headed by, wait for it, Disney. I never envisioned Mickey Mouse using light sabers, but you have to admit the visual is an interesting one.

 

I am a longtime Star Wars fan. When I say fan of Star Wars, I mean I love the original trilogy, and not the crap that Lucas gave birth to most recently. Nor do I approve the modern CG changes he has made to the original trilogy. As far as I am concerned, Hayden Christianson is not David Prowse. So when I first discovered new Star Wars movies were being made, I instantly felt an uncomfortable weight in my stomach. Until I found out that George Lucas will neither be writing nor directing it. I guess he’s either too old or has gotten tired of Star Wars fans sending him hate mail. Possibly both.

 

As of now, no one knows who the writer/ director will be. All that is known is that the people being considered are experienced with big budget action movies. Names that have been speculatively thrown around include Christopher Nolan and Joss Whedon. Whoever it will be, such a job will be a tall order after the critical bashing the most recent Star Wars trilogy received.

 

Since there is very little information available at this point, I do not know how this new trilogy will turn out. I only hope that whoever makes these movies understands that they will live up to fans if they remember to actually write a story rather than just putting in action and special effects, as Lucas seemed to do.

 

It seems strange that the original Star Wars trilogy was so wildly successful and the last one… wasn’t. Well, I guess that depends on what you call successful. True, they made a lot of money, but so did Twilight. As far as quality, the newest trilogy does not cut it.

 

 

The disparity between the two exists for one reason, and that reason’s name is George Lucas. When Lucas was making the first trilogy, he was still kind of a nobody in Hollywood, so he wasn’t calling the shots. Thus he was reigned in. Then he became famous and made it to the top of the totem pole. Then he could make all the decisions. No one could tell him “You know George, this character Jar Jar Binks is really annoying. Don’t you think we should cut him?” Or, “George, don’t you think having Darth Vader scream “No!” like that is a little over the top?” And we all know where that got us.

 

But if this next trilogy still sucks, the original trilogy still remains. Well, actually, you have to pay quite a lot of money for the very original untouched ones because Lucas is a greedy prick. 

3 Awesome Movies Being Released Christmas Day

I feel like this Christmas is going to be an incredible one. As far as movies go anyway. Already, three movies that I know of and am very excited about will be released in theaters on Christmas Day. And what better way do we celebrate Christmas than by going to the movies so you don’t have to make awkward conversation with your extended family?

Les Miserables

I just saw the trailer for this movie today, and it looks stunning. It stars the sexy Hugh Jackman, Russell Crow, and Anne Hathaway. It is of course an adaptation of the play which is an adaptation of the book by Victor Hugo. And even if you don’t have a thing for musicals, I think you should still see it because the preview makes it look phenomenal. If all else fails you can always just drool after Hugh Jackman. Didn’t everyone do that to Wolverine anyway to make that God-Awful movie still worth it?

The Great Gatsby

OK, I have watched this trailer maybe ten times already, and I am so excited about this movie. I am a huge fan of the novel, and I love Carey Mulligan and Leonardo DiCaprio. Even Toby MaGuire’s pressence isn’t ruining this film for me, that’s how good it looks.

The Hobbit

But the movie I’m really waiting for is The Hobbit. So once again this is where I show the world just what a big nerd I am. I have watched all three Lord of the Rings Extended Editions back to back consecutively multiple times. That’s over 12 hours of Middle Earth. And I love doing it every time. The thought that I have one more opportunity to go to a movie theater to see another chapter… I just can’t wait. I get to see Gandalf and Galadriel and Gollum again! Legolas I could give or take. He looks way too effeminate. I was always an Aragorn fan myself… but anyway.

So, I recently received a Fulbright grant, and I’m moving to Korea for a year to teach English starting in July. So it will be interesting seeing these movies with Korean subtitles. I wonder if I can get my host family to dress up for The Hobbit with me.

The Latest on Much Ado About Nothing

I’m keeping tabs on Joss Whedon’s most recent film endeavor because he is creating a modern adaptation of my favorite Shakespearian play. Which of course makes me feel entitled to bitch slap him if he screws it up.

If you don’t know, the play of Much Ado About Nothing is about Beatrice and Benedict, two people who hate each other with a fiery passion. Their friends and family decide to make it known to each that the other loves them, and thus triggering Cupid’s trap. And then there is a side story about pretty boy  Claudio wanting to marry Hero. But when he hears a rumor that she cheated on him, Claudio calls her a whore at the alter. Such a gentleman.

But anyway, I’m writing this post because finally some more information about this small scale indie movie has come to light. I know the complete cast! Hazaah!

If we all know one thing about Joss Whedon, it’s that more than any other director, he loves reusing his actors. So as would be expected, this list if full of people from his previous work.

For the immortal heroine Beatrice, Whedon chose Amy Acker. I know almost nothing about her other than what I just read on IMBD. What I found out is that Acker is from my neck of the woods: Dallas, Texas. Holla! the only acting I have seen her do was he role in Whedon’s show Dollhouse as the manipulative Dr. Claire. That one role doesn’t tell me much about her capabilities, so hopefully she feels up to the challenge of my high expectations for playing my favorite heroine of all time.

Image

As for Benedick, Whedon went with Alexis Denisof who is best known for his role as Marshall in How I Met Your Mother. Now that I think of it, I see some similarities between the show and Shakespearian comedy. They both are farcical and full of situational irony. So maybe Denisof will be able to draw on that and pull of an awesome Benedick.

Image

Nathan Fillion, probably the most famous name on this list wil be playing Dogberry, the hilarious comic relief. Whedon has used Fillion at every opportunity. We all know him from Firefly, but Weedon also featured him in Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog as Captain Hammer, and he was a particularly disturbing villain in Buffy the Vampire Slayer who gouged out Xander’s eye. How dust he?. Based on the range I’ve seen Fillion provide, I think he will make an awesome Dogberry, and I can’t wait to see his performance.

Image

The role of the villain, Don John who slanders about Hero’s virtue goes to Sean Maher. Also an actor from Firefly, Maher played River’s neurotic brother, Simon. Since I haven’t seen him do any other performance (except for a short-lived appearance on Drop Dead Diva, but that doesn’t count) I don’t really know what to expect from him. Then again, considering that the last actor who played this character in a movie was Keanu Reeves, he won’t have to do much to outshine his predecessor.

Image

Don Pedro, Don John’s brother will be played by Reed Diamond. Surprise surprise, Diamond was also on Dollhouse as Laurence Dominic, but it’s been a while since I watched the show and I don’t remember him at all. Diamond has been in many other TV shows from Bones to the Mentalist and even 24. Hopefully this time he can do a memorable performance.

Image

The role of Claudio, the accusatory bastard, will be played by Fran Kranz, another Dollhouse veteran. In my opinion, Kranz played the best role in that show, the scientist Topher Brink. That and the fact that he’s been in both Frasier and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia wins my respect. Although I have to admit I’m not sure how he will portray Claudio, but I’m eager to find out. Kranz is a very fun actor to watch.

Image

And for the quiet, fair Hero, Whedon selected newbie Jillian Morgese. her first acting gig to date. I don’t think Weedon would give someone a role unless they could really deliver, so I will trust his decision. Don’t abuse my trust.

Image

I just listed the main characters, but here is the complete cast list:

Amy Acker – Beatrice

Alexis Denisof – Benedick

Nathan Fillion – Dogberry

Clark Gregg – Leonato

Reed Diamond – Don Pedro

Fran Kranz – Claudio

Sean Maher – Don John

Spencer Treat Clark – Borachio

Riki Lindhome – Conrade

Ashley Johnson – Margaret

Emma Bates – Ursula

Tom Lenk – Verges

Nick Kocher – First Watchman

Brian McElhaney – Second Watchman

Joshua Zar – Leonato’s aide

Paul M. Meston – Friar Francis

Romy Rosemont – The Sexton

And introducing Jillian Morgese as Hero

Joss Whedon does Much Ado About Nothing

Image

As I am a writer of a movie blog, I’ve been keeping tabs on movies, so as can be imagined from The Avengers shattering box office records, I was reading about the entertainment titian today and found out the news that director Joss Whedon (if you’ve been living in a box for the last ten years and never heard of him, Whedon is known not only for directing the Avengers but also for shows such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Doll House, and Fire Fly) is now working on a smaller scale film adaptation of Shakespeare’s comedy Much Ado About Nothing.

Here is a little personal information. I am an English major. I am actually about to start working on my PhD in English literature. In high school I use to memorize Shakespeare for fun (yeah, I didn’t have many friends then 🙂 ). Much Ado About nothing is my favorite Shakespearian play ever since I read it when I was 15. So of course, when I found out Whedon is getting in touch to his Bard side, I had a very emotional response. I tried to find everything I could. Sadly, I assume because it’s still early in production, I couldn’t find out very much, but here is what I do know.

The film will be completely black and white. Also interestingly, Whedon did all his filming for Much Ado About Nothing at his small home in Santa Monica. I desperately tried to find the cast, but all I know is that the film features the actors such as Nathan Fillion, Alexis Denisof, Clark Gregg and Fran Kranz.

 

Now, I am a pretty big Joss Whedon fan. I’ve seen every Buffy episode. Loved Fire Fly, and even The Doll House. I think I know every song from Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog by heart. However, I am somewhat skeptical about Whedon doing Shakespeare. Maybe this is just because he’s working with my personal favorite play by the Bard, but I think my concerns are legitimate considering that including The Avengers, pretty much everything Whedon has done is full of monsters and heroes and action. But despite this little kernel of fear, I do have some hope that he will do justice for a play so near to my heart. This is simply because underneath all the monsters and CG and action, everything Whedon has ever directed has tones of female empowerment. There is a reason the Slayer was a female. And Much Ado About Nothing is all about female empowerment. I know, hard to believe that something feminist could ever come from the same writer who created The Taming of the Shrew, but, anyway… The reason I love Much Ado About Nothing so much is the fiery character of Beatrice who is so determined to not have a husband. She detests the character Benedict. They have spars of whit that are incomparable. And since Whedon is so good at creating strong female leads, I am hopeful that his Beatrice will be a tour de force rather than a damsel in distress.

Image

Of course, there have been other film adaptations of Much Ado About Nothing. Kenneth Branaugh gave it a shot in 1993. He played Benedict and gave the role of Beatrice to his wife Emma Thompson. While Branaugh pretty much defecated on Frankenstein (another one of my favorite pieces of literature) this choice was genius. Right now, Emma Thompson is Beatrice for me. While I have faith in Whedon, I think he’ll have a hard time finding a better actress for his heroine. But I love being pleasantly surprised. Of course, Branaugh also made a horrible casting decision when he gave Keanu Reeves the role of the villain. Actors like Keanu Reeves just don’t belong in Shakespeare. And I think putting him next to great actors like Thompson and Denzel Washington was exceedingly cruel. It makes it painfully obvious just how much Reeves has no acting ability.

Image

So now I am eagerly awaiting Whedon’s latest film endeavor. Just please, please don’t be an idiot and cast Keanu Reeves. Once was more than enough.

Dreamworks Vs. Disney

Dear Squids,

I have been thinking of this topic sort of in the back of my mind for the last few months. Ever since the beginning of the Disney Renaissance which started with The Little Mermaid in the early 90’s, as far as children movies go, Disney has pretty much been unbeatable.

Not lately though. At least, not according to me. I feel like ever since Pixar and Disney paired together, the true Disney movies (aka without Pixar) have been going down in quality. Does anyone even remember Brother Bear or Home on the Range? The Princess and the Frog was okay, I guess, but nowhere near the quality of a movie like Beauty and the Beast. Of course, everyone was so excited when it came out. “It’s the first black Disney Princess! It’s so progressive!” Yeah, until you consider that Disney’s shot at racial empowerment is destitute, lives in a poor part of New Orleans, and is being chased by a voodoo villain. What part of that is not racial profiling? Tangled was a yawn. A few humorous jabs plus one very cheesy song and very predictable events… enough said.

While I know many people will disagree with me, I think even many of the Pixar movies don’t live up to the glory of what Disney use to be. With some exceptions. Toy Story is pretty awesome. And Finding Nemo was great. Other than that, I just don’t find the Pixar movies that memorable.

Compare all this to Dreamwork’s increasing power with funny movies like Shrek (don’t count the sequels), Madagascar (don’t count the sequels) Ice Age (don’t count the sequels) and How to Train Your Dragon. Competing against movies like these, I’ve just started getting the feeling that maybe the once impervious movie titian was losing its touch, and maybe even on the wane, leaving Dreamworks available to become the new champ to rule for a century.

I had that feeling for all of two weeks, until I saw a couple of previews. The first was for an upcoming Dreamworks movie called The Rise of the Guardians. In this film coming out in November, children of the world are threatened by an evil force that wants to rule over them through fear. Holiday figures that we know and love such as Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny, and the Sand Man, all come together to answer the threat and protect the hope of children. This movie looks incredible. Of course, when it comes to previews, I always take it with a grain of salt, because the people who make previews are paid to make these movies look like hits, even if they are not. Despite that, I am eagerly awaiting this film.

Image

So, at first, I saw this movie preview and thought, “Okay, Disney has just possibly been blown out of the water.” Then, when I saw The Avengers, I caught a preview for a new Disney movie. Brave, a Celtic, feminist adventure, comes out in June. Brave seems to be about a Princess who looks to actually be like a true feminist princess, not the supposed to be feminist because she’s educated and thinks for herself but really not because the prince still save her at the end kind of princess. Although, this we will not know for sure until the movie actually comes out. But I’m really interested in this movie. Reason 1: my own family comes from Celtic roots. Reason 2: I am a woman and really want to see if this is Disney’s first true feminist princess. Reason 3: Based on the preview, it looks all around really good. The humor, the breath taking setting, the music. I really hope it will be as good as the trailer makes it seem.

Image

Now that it seems that both Dreamworks and Disney have two very potentially awesome movies coming out, now it seems like it’s anyone’s game. We will have no idea until both movies come out in theaters. Until then, I would love to know some of your opinions on the whole Dreamworks vs. Disney score.

And check my Squid clips for the trailers to both The Rise of the Guardians and Brave. Top right hand corner of my blog.

Nicholas Cage…as Superman?

Quite of a few superhero movies are going to be coming out in theaters soon. The Avengers and then the newest rendition of Spiderman. I’m kind of excited about that, because I want to write a post on it comparing it to Toby McGuire’s version like everyone else with a movie blog is going to do. But anyway, the topic of superhero movies has been on my mind. Then a few days ago, I was screwing around on the internet, which I started doing a lot more of now that I have a blog (whodathunk). I found an article that revealed that in the 1990’s, Warner Brothers was working on a Superman movie that ultimately failed, but eventually became Superman Returns. The original idea had the working title of Superman Lives. The director was going to be Tim Burton, and the actor was going to be action legend, the intimidating Nicholas Cage.

Image

I just don’t understand that line of thought at all. It doesn’t anger me, probably because I was never addicted to comic books (Shakespeare, yes, comic books, no). The thought just makes me laugh my ass off, especially when you see the lovely photo I have provided. Nicholas Cage should never have long hair. Ever. Ever. I don’t care if he’s going to an 80’s hair band party. No. And that suit. Where do I start on that suit? If I had not seen the title of the article I was reading that revealed that Cage was working on a Superman project, I would have looked at the photo and thought, wow, Cage is a transvestite. Rock on!

For better or worse (better I think) the Superman Lives project never came to fruition, but Cage eventually did reach his dream of becoming a Superhero. Anyone remember Ghost Rider? I actually have not seen it, so I cannot rant about it here. But just consider the idea of this story. Nicholas Cage as a flaming biker. Sometimes I love Hollywood. I really really do.

There was a video on the website of the article I was looking at in which the screenwriter of the project, Kevin Smith talks about what he went through. It’s quite entertaining. I put the video below.

And here’s the URL to the original article I looked at if you want to learn more:

http://www.criticker.com/blog/index.php/2009/09/25/nicholas-cage-superman-so-90ies/