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Entries in sequels (81)

Friday
May222015

Tim's Toons: Animated Features at Cannes

This week, the Cannes Film Festival was home to the premiere of Inside Out, the new film by Pixar Animation Studios, and one of its best-reviewed pictures. The film is playing out of competition, as has been the recent tendency of most Hollywood products, and animation in particular. It has been a special habit of films made by DreamWorks Animation in the 21st Century, with all sorts of things from Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron in 2002 up to How to Train Your Dragon 2 last year muscling their way onto the Croisette.

There has, however, been a small but meaningful history of animated movies to have been given slightly more honorable treatment, and allowed to play in the big kids’ sandbox. Since the festival’s first edition in 1946, there have been seven animated features entered into the main competition, if my count is right, and they make for a fascinating cross-section of how the international cinema scene regarded the state of that particular art across the years. Here, in order, are those seven films.

Make Mine Music (1946)
The eighth feature made by the Disney studio, and the third of that company’s dubious “package films”, attempts to make entire features by jamming a bunch of short films into one vague thematic frame. Like any anthology, it has peaks and valleys, though the latter dominate, and the film is infinitely less impressive than its quasi-sequel Melody Time. Let us not be baffled by its Cannes slot; this was the fest’s first year & they were figuring it out, everybody loves Disney, and it’s a nice post-war feel-good effort. It won Best Animation Design, a discontinued award.

six more after the jump including Persepolis and... Shrek 2 (!?)

Click to read more ...

Monday
May182015

Review: Mad Max: Fury Road

Michael C here to review my most anticipated film of the summer. Isn't it wonderful when anticipation and quality go together?

With each passing Summer the concept of the Event Movie gets a little more cheapened, a little more downgraded. Like eyes adjusting to darkness, we see weightless CG blurs collide with other weightless CG blurs and deem it good enough. That is until a film like George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road comes along to rip the curtains down and the light flood in. No, that image is not strong enough. Fury Road tears through the multiplex like a great cleansing fire, leaving the great herd of lesser, timid blockbusters scattering to escape its path. 

It may seem an odd declaration to make about a franchise reboot, itself the third sequel in a series dormant since 1985’s Beyond Thunderdome. But Miller proves that any project can attain greatness with the right spirit of reckless ambition. The prevailing mentality is that an established brand is an excuse to play it safe, to scrub a rehash of the original story down to a neutered PG-13 so as not to risk alienating a single ticket buyer on Earth. George Miller goes full tilt in the opposite direction, embracing the franchise’ twisted id...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
May172015

The Age of Mad Max's Perfect Pitch

"We're Back Pitches!"

Actually EVERYONE was back this weekend in the sequel-saturated landscape. The nice surprise is that it was totally infused with girl power. The real kind, not just the lip service kind with "Strong Female Characters" that the boys then rescue. OK, The Scarlet Witch is rescued by The Vision in Age of Ultron, but she brings it in the power department overall and the film just passed the one billion mark worldwide and became the top grosser of 2015 (in the US). But the top two this week were newer 'old' ones. Anna Kendrick and her harmonizing family The Barden Bellas returned to rescue themselves as they headed toward graduation and the world championships. Meanwhile Mad Max: Fury Road won the hearts of critics with its surprisingly feminist storyline and ambitous action setpieces. The film essentially has two title characters because the story may start with Mad Max but it's Imperator Furiosa in the driver's seat and she's taking this franchise down roads it's never been down before. Charlize Theron once again reminds the world that she's every bit as strong an action star as any man (and considering that Blunt, Jolie, and Johansson are also aces in this department, there are surely others who could carry an action picture if given the chance these actresses have had). 

And "They" say nobody will go see female superheroes. That's what all of these bitches are, you regressive studio execs! WAKE UP. Fund more female-driven movies. 

TOP TEN BOX OFFICE
May 15-17 Weekend
01 Pitch Perfect 2 $70.3 NEW
02 Mad Max: Fury Road $44.4 NEW Review
03 Avengers: Age of Ultron $38.8 (cum. $372)  Review & Marathon & Podcast
04 Hot Pursuit $5.7 (cum. $23.5) Review
05 Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 $3.6 (cum. $62.9)
06 Furious 7 $3.6 (cum. $343.8)  Review 
07 Age of Adaline $3.2 (cum. $37) 
08 Home $2.7 (cum. $165.6)
09 Ex Machina $2.1 (cum. $19.5)  Review
10 Far From the Madding Crowd $1.3 (cum. $2.6) 

NEW LIMITED RELEASES
May 15-17 Weekend
01 Where Hope Grows $490,000 (276 Theaters)
02 Good Kill $17,000 (2 Theaters)
03 I'll See You in My Dreams $16,000 (3 Theaters)
04 In the Name of My Daughter $14,000 (3 Theaters)
05 Animals $12,000 (10 Theaters)
06 The Connection $9,800 (2 Theaters)

In truly perplexing news, who is still buying tickets to Paul Blart Mall Cop 2 when there are this many good movies in theaters of pretty much all genres !?

In 'Less Likely To Be At a Theater Near You' news, Far From the Madding Crowd had a great weekend, vaulting into the top ten with an expansion despite still being in a few thousand less theaters than everything else in the top ten. 

Kim Shaw and David Dastmalchian in "Animals"

Of the other new releases, we hope y'all will go see ANIMALS. It's true we're biased in favor of the movie since the film's screenwriter/star David Dastmalchian guest blogged here just recently and I had the pleasure of moderating their Q&A here in NYC this weekend at the Village East cinema. But you don't have to take my word for it since it was a big hit at SXSW and also has the thumbs up from critics. It's currently available for download and playing theatrically in NYC, Atlanta, Kansas City, Detroit, Seattle, Phoenix, Miami, Columbus, and Los Angeles. Next week it adds Chicago, where it was filmed and where many of its actors are from, to the list so if you live in Chicago head to the Gene Siskel next weekend! I told Dastmalchian that it seems terribly fitting that I went to the movie specifically to see him work a rare leading role and I came out appreciating not just him but actors I wasn't yet familiar with in other much smaller roles, the kind he used to get noticed for.

Friday
May152015

Posterized: "Mad" George Miller, an Australian Oddity

George Miller, the 70 year old director reportedly putting much younger action directors to shame with Mad Max: Fury Road, hails from Australia and he's never quite left. He never went full Hollywood so to speak or, at least, his movies retained their oddity even when he did (Witches of Eastwick). Speaking of odd. His only Oscar is for Best Animated Feature though that's hardly what he's known for.

My favorite peculiarity about his filmography is that you can neatly divide it into three consecutive parts... at least until he comes circling back to Mad Max this very weekend. 

  1. Mad Max
  2. Susan Sarandon
  3. Talking Animals

How many have you seen? 

* Strictly speaking he has two other directorial credits but one of them is only a segment in an omnibus film (Twilight Zone: The Movie) and the other is one of those title only outliers that you just kind of have to trust IMDb that it exists at all 

Friday
May082015

Revenge of the 80s ~ Now With More 10s Sexism!

When the red band trailer for the revival (not a reboot but a long distant "next generation" sequel) of Vacation premiered yesterday, with Chris Hemsworth swinging a big fake one around for a cheap laugh, it got me to thinking about how phallic-centric Hollywood has become. This is no new thinkpiece notion of course. But with the incredible amount of material from the 1980s that Hollywood has been mining and regurgitating, we're getting about the sharpest resolution picture possible of how Hollywood has regressed in terms of equal opportunities for female stars. Hollywood has always had its share of sexism but today's Hollywood seems especially female-averse. How did it happen exactly? Hollywood will reboot ANYTHING from the 1980s. So long as it did not star a woman. No, not even if it was a smash hit. They won't do it... although they will allow those titles to be remade for television if you're really desperate to see them revamped. 

To prove the point here are a list of the most successful 1980s movies starring women. I only looked at the top 25 or so box office hits from each year of the 1980s. To give you a contemporary correlative of their success that's like from the tippity top American Sniper sized behemoth down to the Lucy-sized hit levels last year if you pretend that each year is roughly the same as the last in terms of gross domestic box office.

Disclaimer: This list should in no way be mistaken as a plea to remake these pictures -- we have more than enough remakes. We need original material!  It's just to make a point. 

40 BIGGEST HITS LED BY WOMEN IN THE 80S
(in very rough order of success) 

Click to read more ...

Sunday
May032015

Podcast (Season Debut): Furious Ultron 7 

The Podcast is Back!

For this season's spoiler-heavy debut episode, Nathaniel is joined by Joe Reid and Anne Marie Kelly who share their feels about the Furious 7 and its home franchise from corny sentiment to Michelle Rodriguez's biceps. We also talk Joss Whedon, crowded and empty theaters, and the various intermittent joys of The Avengers: Age of Ultron from Elizabeth Olsen's elaborate hand gestures to Mjölnir getting around.

Running Time - 42½ minutes
00:01 Intro and "Previously On..."
02:00 Avengers moviegoing: geek behavior, costumes, crowds
09:00 Age of Ultron
33:00 Furious 7

Please to enjoy and continue the conversation in the comments. You can listen at the bottom of this post or download from iTunes.  

Furious Ultron 7