Monday, June 30, 2014

FLASHBACK: Transformers The Movie (1986)


With all the hype around the huge global debut of Transformers: Age of Extinction fresh in their minds, I wanted to remind younger readers (those who don't actually remember the 1980's) that in the Summer of 1986 the totally rad The Transformers: The Movie came out. Alright, so it was actually more bad than rad, but it's still worth watching if simply for the fact that the cast included perhaps the strangest collection of stars ever assembled: Scatman Crothers (The Shining), Eric Idle (Monty Python), Casey Kasem (Radio DJ Extraordinaire), Judd Nelson (The Breakfast Club), Leonard Nimoy (Star Trek), Robert Stack (Unsolved Mysteries) and Orson Welles (Citizen Kane).

For a little taste of the radness, here's a couple of the original trailers from '86...




The movie came out in August when a crowded Summer marketplace (including amongst others AliensThe Karate Kid Part IITop GunHoward the Duck, and Ferris Bueller's Day Off) led to a disappointing opening weekend. The film failed to even crack the top ten it's entire theatrical run, and finished as the #99 film of 1986. Even the My Little Pony movie fared better, finishing as the #97 movie of the year.


(Box Office figures found on BoxOfficeMojo.com)


To everyone complaining about all the press that Transformers is getting, just remember it could be worse. We could be talking about a My Little Pony reboot starring Mark Wahlberg.

So there, you're welcome.

Leave your comments below or tweet me @FiveStarFlicks or @5StarFlicks 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

TOP BOX OFFICE FILMS OF 2014 (SO FAR)


Today in our series recapping film in 2014 at the halfway point of the year we take a look at the biggest Box Office hits of the year. So far there is no clear winner, but there are three films that can claim victory in one way or another. All the numbers below come from BoxOfficeMojo.com.

On the Domestic front, Captain America: The Winter Soldier eked out a victory over The LEGO Movie by a mere $350,000, with both films topping $250 million. That's a difference of only 0.13%. X-Men: Days of Future Past, Maleficent and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 have also passed the $200 million mark in the U.S. and Canada so far, with the Godzilla reboot looking like it's going to fall just short of that mark. Divergent failed to reach the Twilight-level audience that the studio and filmmakers were hoping for, settling for a $150 million domestic take. A trio of comedies that played well to audiences in North America (Neighbors, 22 Jump Street and Ride Along) round out the top ten.


Overseas the winner so far has been The Amazing Spider-Man 2, being the only film to top the $500 million mark outside the U.S. and Canada. X-Men: Days of Future Past looks like it will probably do the same, and even though it just came out this weekend, expect Transformers: Age Of Extinction to do so as well. Holdovers from the Domestic top ten list include Captain America: The Winter SoldierMaleficentGodzilla and The LEGO Movie. Four films that played very well across the ponds are Rio 2, Noah, Edge of Tomorrow and 300: Rise of an Empire, each bringing in over two-thirds of their total grosses from overseas markets.


When you add up ALL the numbers and all markets the big winner of 2014 worldwide ends up being X-Men: Days of Future Past. Yep, even though it didn't win either the Domestic or Overseas market X-Men was solid enough across the board to take the title as highest grossing film of 2014 Worldwide (so far). Captain America 2 and Amazing Spider-Man 2 have also crossed the $700 million mark worldwide, with Maleficent being the only other film so far this year to cross the HALF-A-BILLION mark at the Global Box Office.


Which one of these films has been your favorite blockbuster of the year? Leave your comments below or tweet me @FiveStarFlicks or @5StarFlicks 

Saturday, June 28, 2014

TOP TEN MOST VOTED FOR FILMS OF 2014 (SO FAR) ON IMDB.COM


Continuing our look at the top movies from the first half of 2014, today I thought I'd check out the top ten most voted for films at IMDB.com, one of my favorite film resources on the web. The thing that makes the site interesting is that it is movie fans, not critics, whose opinions count. And a lot of opinions are counted. So far in 2014 there are already seven different films that have passed 100,000 votes. It is a great way to see the general consensus around the quality of a film from the perspective of an average moviegoer, or at least see which films have the most people talking.

With that being said, here's the top ten most voted for films of 2014 on IMDB.com so far...


When you look at how these ten movies were rated though, you get a different 1-10 ranking...

1. X-Men: Days of Future Past - 8.4
2. The Grand Budapest Hotel - 8.3
3. Captain America: The Winter Soldier - 8.2
4. Edge of Tomorrow - 8.1
5. The LEGO Movie - 8.0
6. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 - 7.4
7. Godzilla - 7.2
8. Non-Stop - 7.1
9. 300: Rise of an Empire - 6.5
10. RoboCop - 6.4

Do these ratings seem about right to you? How do you rank the most popular films of 2014 so far? Leave your comments below or tweet me @FiveStarFlicks or @5StarFlicks 

Friday, June 27, 2014

THE BEST REVIEWED FILMS OF 2014 (SO FAR)


We're just about at the halfway point in 2014 (I know, where the hell did the time go?!) so I thought I'd check in with Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic for a look at what films so far have been tops with the critics. I was expecting some overlap, but as it turns out there is not a single film that appears on BOTH top ten lists. The closest film to doing so also happens to be my #1 film of 2014 so far, The Grand Budapest Hotel, which is currently sitting at #5 on Rotten Tomatoes and #11 on Metacritic.

The Rotten Tomatoes list is a lot heavier on wide releases, with films like The LEGO Movie, X-Men: Days of Future Past and Edge of Tomorrow all making their list. I have to agree that The Lego Movie is basically a near perfect animated film, the best likely since Fantastic Mr. Fox a few years back.


Metacritic's list on the other hand features a lot of film festival favorites like Mr. Turner, Boyhood and Foxcatcher that haven't even been released in theaters yet. They also showed some posthumous love to fellow critic Roger Ebert by naming Life Itself, a documentary based on his memoirs, as one of the best of the year as well.


What's the best film that YOU have seen so far in 2014? Leave your comments below or tweet me @FiveStarFlicks or @5StarFlicks 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

R.I.P. ELI WALLACH, STAR OF THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN & THE GOOD THE BAD AND THE UGLY



R.I.P. ELI WALLACH

In the movies, he was usually the bad guy. In real life, he was one of the good guys. One of the great character actors of All-Time, his career spanned seven different decades! Known mostly for early bad guy roles in westerns like The Magnificent Seven and The Good, the Bad and The Ugly, he went on to play a full list of interesting characters. My favorite role of his was actually his charming turn as an an aging screenwriter helping Kate Winslet find love in 2006's enjoyable romantic comedy The Holiday, fifty-plus years into his storied career. In 2010 he was given a well deserved honorary Oscar by the Academy's Governors. He will be missed.

SELECT FILMOGRAPHY:

Baby Doll (1956)
The Magnificent Seven (1960)
The Misfits (1961)
How the West Was Won (1962)
How to Steal a Million (1966)
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)
Batman (TV Series - 1967)
Murder, She Wrote (TV Series - 1988)
The Godfather Part III (1990)
L.A. Law (TV Series - 1991)
Keeping the Faith (2000)
E.R. (TV Series - 2003)
The Holiday (2006)
Nurse Jackie (TV Series - 2009)
Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)

What's your favorite Eli Wallach role? Leave your comments below or tweet me @FiveStarFlicks or @5StarFlicks 

Monday, June 23, 2014

HAPPY 25TH ANNIVERSARY 'BATMAN'


Twenty-five years ago today Tim Burton brought "The Caped Crusader" and his fiercest foe "The Joker" to the big screen in Batman. I turned eight years old that summer, so you can imagine how this movie absolutely blew my mind. It was definitely the darkest and scariest movie I had ever seen up to that point, but I loved every minute of it. The costumes, the makeup, Tim Burton's Gotham City, the Danny Elfman score, the weird Prince songs, the Batmobile, the Batsuit, The Batcave, Alfred, "Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?", and that Jack Nicholson laugh! It made comic book movies cool, and made an average Joe like Michael Keaton a plausible Superhero.


The film was a monster hit upon it's release in the summer of 1989, and by the end of it's original theatrical run it was one of the five highest grossing films of All-Time up to that point (not adjusted for inflation).


Coming out the same weekend as Batman in June of 1989 was another one of my favorite movies from my childhood, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, joining an already loaded field at the box-office.


Warner Brothers and Batman took movie marketing to new levels...



...including one of the worst tasting foods to ever reach the grocery store shelves, Batman Cereal! Imagine little, stale, Batman logo shaped, Cap'n Crunch-ish, bite-sized pieces of dry nastiness and you have some idea of what it tasted like. But hey, there were no tropical oils! And it was fortified with 9 essential vitamins and minerals! So it could have been worse I guess.


Actually, now that I think about it, maybe some tropical oils would have made it taste a little better?

Oh well.

What's your favorite Batman memory? Leave your comments below or tweet me @FiveStarFlicks or @5StarFlicks 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

HAPPY 65TH BIRTHDAY MERYL STREEP

Chameleon. Star. Legend.


With a career that has spanned five different decades and has produced 50% more Oscar nominations (EIGHTEEN in total) than her next closest competitors (Katharine Hepburn and Jack Nicholson) it is very easy for me to proclaim Meryl Streep as the greatest actress of All-Time. She won THREE Academy Awards, and probably deserved to win at least three others as well. Not to mention her TWENTY-EIGHT Golden Globe nominations and EIGHT wins!

I will also go on record (again) as saying that her turn in Sophie's Choice is the single greatest achievement in screen acting history. She's the real deal, and always brings her A-game. She's put together a body of work of unimaginable brilliance and variety, yet somehow continues to put out stellar work year after year, even after so many years. Simply the best.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MERYL!


"Everyone wants an Oscar, but they're very hard to get.
That's right Steve. Ballots are sent out to 6,000 members of the Academy.
Yes, and then they mark their ballots, and then they are tabulated by Price Waterhouse.
And then, no matter what, they nominate Meryl Streep"

-Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin, co-hosts of the 82nd Annual Academy Awards


Meryl over the years...


What's your favorite Meryl Streep performance? Leave your comments below or tweet me @FiveStarFlicks or @5StarFlicks 

Friday, June 20, 2014

HAPPY 40TH ANNIVERSARY 'CHINATOWN'


Forty years ago today Roman Polanski's landmark Noir-esqe Chinatown was released, giving a whole new definition to the term "nose job". With masterful lead performances by Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway, and creepy supporting turns by John Huston and director Roman Polanski himself, Chinatown blends all of the elements of Film Noir (Mystery, Intrigue, Romance) into a fantastic, morally ambiguous tale.

Featuring a haunting score by Jerry Goldsmith and stunning visuals by cinematographer John A. Alonso, Chinatown looks and feels like a film from another age, which is why today it still remains a timeless classic.


Chinatown has been a fixture on American Film Institute lists of top American films, being named the #2 mystery film of All-Time (second only to Hitchcock's Vertigo), and placing in the top 25 on both of their "100 Years...100 Movies" Top 100 lists.

It deserves all the praise that it gets, it's the real deal. One of the All-Time greats of Cinema.


Leave your comments below or tweet me @FiveStarFlicks or @5StarFlicks 

Thursday, June 19, 2014

'FURY' OFFICIAL PREVIEW FEATURETTE

Written and Directed by David Ayer (writer of such action classics as U-571The Fast and the Furious and Training Day, and director of 2012's End of Watch) the film Fury follows Brad Pitt (World War Z), Shia LaBeouf (Transformers), Logan Lerman (The Perks of Being a Wallflower), Michael Pena (End of Watch) and John Bernthal (The Walking Dead) into the heart of Nazi Germany at the tail end of World War Two.

The film comes out this November and has all the looks of a solid Best Picture contender. Could Brad Pitt (12 Years a Slave) make it two years in a row producing the Academy Awards big winner? We'll see. Until then, check out this official preview featurette...



Leave your comments below or tweet me @FiveStarFlicks or @5StarFlicks 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

NEW RELEASE TUESDAY: THE LEGO MOVIE ★★★★★ & THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL ★★★★★


In case you are wondering what the two best films of 2014 are so far, they are The Lego Movie and The Grand Budapest Hotel. Coincidentally, both came out on Blu-Ray and DVD today.

GO BUY THEM! NOW! EVERYTHING IS AWESOME! 

THE LEGO MOVIE ★★★★★
THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL ★★★★★

LEGO-FIED MOVIE POSTERS


In honor of The Lego Movie coming out today on Blu-Ray and DVD, here's a few of my favorite Lego-fied Movie Posters...


And while we're at it, here are all nine of last years Best Picture Oscar nominees Lego-fied...


What's your favorite Lego-fied movie poster? Leave you comments below or tweet me @FiveStarFlicks or @5StarFlicks