"Dreams feel real while we're in them. It's only when we wake up that we realize something was actually strange." -Inception

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

New Movie Clips from Gravity



According to that famous tagline from Alien, In space no one can hear you scream.  Well, after watching these astounding clips from Gravity, all that remains with me are Sandra Bullock's panicked screams and her slow realization that she is all alone as she launched asunder by an accident in space.  I've been talking about and following this film since I first started my blog in September 2010 back when Angelina Jolie and Robert Downey Jr were up for roles that eventually went to Sandra Bullock and George Clooney.   

Does anyone else feel a little claustrophobic and want to go out for some fresh air after this?  The film, which will have its North American premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, has already been described by Indiewire as "this year's Life of Pi", a 3D film that can be artistic as well.  Director Alfonso Cuaron has been working on this film for the past four and a half years and through these long seemingly one-take clips that were just released today, we can see that Gravity promises to be a uniquely different experience to the movies.  Gravity releases this October. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

New Trailer for Hayao Miyazaki's The Wind Rises

Amidst all the goodness coming out of Comic-Con in the past few days, there has been a major animation film that has quietly released over the weekend in Japan.  The Wind Rises is the fictionalized story of Jiro Horikoshi, the man who designed the A6M Zero fighter planes which were used in World War II. Kaze Tachinu or The Wind Rises is the tenth feature by acclaimed animator and filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki.  His last directorial feature was 2008’s Ponyo on the Cliff.  This time around, the subject of the latest film is one that has fascinated and inspired the legendary director many times, airplanes.  In a way, you could say his career has come full circle with the film.  Here’s a look at the film’s trailer which features the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923 and a sweet romance initiated with, what else, paper airplanes.

If you are a fan of Miyazaki san or Studio Ghibli, you will notice his interest with aviation leading to some stunning flights of fancy in films like Kiki’s Delivery Service, Porco Rosso, Castle in the Sky and now The Wind Rises.  In fact, there is some fantastical trip in the clouds in almost all the Studio Ghibli films but Miyazaki’s curiosity stems from early childhood when his uncle owned Miyazaki Airplane which made rudders for the A6M Zero fighter planes and his father was a director at the company. There is no word yet on the film’s international release which I’m sure is eagerly awaited by his countless fans, including me. 

News Update Comic-Con Edition: Superman, X-Men, Avengers and More!

Okay, so let's discuss what we have learned (and are still trying to digest) from this year's Comic-Con over in San Diego. 

Photo: Cinema Blend

  • Caesar Rises Again!  A first look at Dawn of the Planet of the Apes directed by Matt Reeves (Cloverfield) shows us how the years after The Rise of the Planet of the Apes have been as we saw (SPOILER ALERT) Caesar leading the rest of the apes back to the forest.  In this film, due next summer, Reeves reveals that the situation has worsened as humans have been fighting against the apes.  The sequel's cast includes Gary Oldman, Jason Clarke, Judy Greer, Keri Russell and of course, motion capture artist extraordinaire Andy Serkis as Caesar.
Photo: 20th Century Fox
  • The cast for X-Men: Days of Future Past is massive featuring Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Jennifer Lawrence, Peter Dinklage, Nicholas Hoult, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Anna Paquin, Ellen Page, Shawn Ashmore, Evan Peters (as Quicksilver), Omar Sy (as Bishop) and many more. I think I've probably missed a few.  What does this mean for the time-traveling mutant film? Head on over to MTV News for a quick recap of the panel.

Photo: Entertainment Weekly
  • Lots of juicy info from Marvel on their upcoming films.  Loki is back to his nefarious ways in Thor: The Dark World, Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow has quite a substantial role in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and the big reveal, the title for Avengers 2 is (drumroll, please) Avengers: Age of Ultron.  Any ideas on what this means for the Avengers? 

Photo: Indiewire
  • DC Comics and Warner Bros. are not far behind on the big reveal either.  The biggest news, and it's a bit of a shocker, is that the next Man of Steel sequel will feature both Superman (of course!) and Batman (whoa!).  Director Zack Synder announced the news to an ecstatic Hall H at Comic-Con.  Is this the start of the long rumored Justice League franchise?  I really think so.  But my biggest question is: Is Christopher Nolan going to be involved?

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Catching Fire First Trailer

As expected, after releasing the Quarter Quell posters earlier this week, the first trailer of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire premiered after the film's panel at Comic-Con. As we can see, we dive right back into the action as we last left Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) as winners of The Hunger Game. But their relief as winning is short-lived as they roped back in the arena for the 75th Hunger Games against previous tributes. The pressure is again on Katniss as she fights a mental game of wills with President Snow (Donald Sutherland) and Katniss' younger sister Prim (Willow Shields) rightly points out, something is different since Katniss won. People have begun to hope.

I've always thought the second book would be difficult to bring to the screen. The arena for the Quarter Quell is complicated and intensely visual and I hope the filmmakers give us the heightened emotions and paranoia that's present in every page of the book. I'm already liking this second film a lot more than the first The Hunger Games.  The franchise seems to have settled in nicely for the long run.  The Hunger Games: Catching Fire releases November 22, 2013.

Veronica Mars Movie First Look Trailer

Marshmallows, it's actually happening! I didn't dream this up.  Look, here's video footage of the cast and crew giving us a behind-the-scenes look at the upcoming movie which was recently revealed at the Comic-Con panel on Friday.

The whole gang (Wallace, Mac, Piz, Weevil, Dick and of course Logan and Veronica) are back for a high school reunion which manages to bring Veronica doing what she does best: sleuthing.  The actors (Tina Majorino, Chris Lowell, Ryan Hansen, Enrico Colantoni, Francis Capra, Jason Dohring and Kristen Bell) and creator/director Rob Thomas also talk about the lengthy yet memorable journey to the beloved series from movie resurrection and give their thanks that made this project one of the most supported projects in Kickstarter history ($2 million in 10 hours!).  I am so ready to return to Neptune, California and see what the old gang has been up to.

In recent days, there has been news of old favorites as Vinnie Van Lowe (Ken Marino) and Deputy Sheriff Leo D'Amato (Max Greenfield) are reprising their roles from the television series.  Actors Jerry O'Connell and Jamie Lee Curtis have also joined the cast while Justin Long and James Franco too are rumored to be in the film. The Veronica Mars movie will be released next year.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

New Quarter Quell Posters from Catching Fire

Just in time for the upcoming Comic-Con 2013 along with a possible trailer debut, we have our first official Quarter Quell poster showing off the key characters who will return back to The Hunger Games ring. Let's have a look. Warning: Serious poses ahead!

Photos: Yahoo! Movies


Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Peeta Mallark (Josh Hutcherson) reigning winners of the recent Hunger Games from District 12 and the overwhelming favorites going into the Quarter Quell.

From District 2, brutal and fearless tributes Enobaria (Meta Golding) and Brutus (Bruno Gunn). They kinda give me the heebie jeebies.  Watch your backs, Katniss and Peeta!

Johanna Mason (Jena Malone) the lone tribute from District 7. Is she an ally or a foe? We'll soon find out.

The District 4 tributes. First up is the dashing Finnick Odair (Sam Claflin) along with his mentor Mags (Lynn Cohen). There's more to them than meets the eye.

Cashmere (Stephanie Leigh Schlund) and Gloss (Alan Ritchson), sibling tributes from District 1 more popularly known as Careers.

And finally from District 3, we have Wiress (Amanda Plummer) and Beetee (Jeffrey Wright) nicknamed 'Nuts' and 'Volts' by Johanna.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

9 New Character Stills from Disney's Frozen

Nine brand-spanking new character stills are out courtesy Walt Disney Animation Studios' Facebook page giving us clearer descriptions and insights into the world of Frozen, from mysterious Elsa who's hiding a secret to goofy Olaf's real dream.  The studio hopes to continue the success of their last two computer animated films Tangled and Wreck-It Ralph with new and original stories and content while Pixar and DreamWorks Animation have mostly been releasing sequels (albeit successful sequels) to their previous films.  Frozen is loosely based on Hans Christian Anderson's The Snow Queen and will release this Thanksgiving.

 (voice of Kristen Bell)

Anna is more daring than graceful and, at times, can act before she thinks. But she’s also the most optimistic and caring person you’ll ever meet. She longs to reconnect with her sister, Elsa, as they were close during their childhood. When Elsa accidentally unleashes a magical secret that locks the kingdom of Arendelle in an eternal winter, Anna embarks on a dangerous adventure to make things right. Armed with only her fearlessness, a never-give-up attitude and her faith in others, Anna is determined to save both her kingdom and her family.

(voice of Idina Menzel)

From the outside, Elsa looks poised, regal and reserved, but in reality, she lives in fear as she wrestles with a mighty secret—she was born with the power to create ice and snow. It’s a beautiful ability, but also extremely dangerous. Haunted by the moment her magic nearly killed her younger sister Anna, Elsa has isolated herself, spending every waking minute trying to suppress her growing powers. Her mounting emotions trigger the magic, accidentally setting off an eternal winter that she can’t stop. She fears she’s becoming a monster and that no one, not even her sister, can help her.

(voice of Santino Fontana)

Hans is a handsome royal from a neighboring kingdom who comes to Arendelle for Elsa’s coronation. With 12 older brothers, Hans grew up feeling practically invisible—and Anna can relate. Hans is smart, observant and chivalrous. Unlike Elsa, Hans promises he’ll never shut Anna out; he just might be the connection she’s been waiting for all these years.

(voice of Jonathan Groff)

Kristoff is a true outdoorsman. He lives high up in the mountains where he harvests ice and sells it to the kingdom of Arendelle. Rough around the edges, Kristoff’s the strong, no-nonsense type, who follows his own set of rules. He may seem like a loner, but he always has his best friend by his side—a loyal and extremely mangy reindeer named Sven.
 (voice of Josh Gad)

He’s Olaf and he likes warm hugs. Sprung from Elsa’s magical powers, Olaf is by far the friendliest snowman to walk the mountains above Arendelle. His innocence, outgoing personality and uncanny ability to disassemble himself at good and not-so-good times lead to some awkward, albeit laughable moments. He may also have the world’s most impossible dream, but what he doesn’t know won’t melt him—or will it?


A reindeer with the heart of a Labrador, Sven is Kristoff’s loyal friend, sleigh-puller and conscience. He makes sure his mountain-man companion is the stand-up guy Sven knows and loves, and does so without saying a word. A few emphatic snorts usually get his point across. Life would be perfect if only Kristoff would lose that ridiculous reindeer voice he likes to use when speaking for Sven (as if reindeers really talk that way).

(voice of Alan Tudyk)

What the Duke of Weselton lacks in stature, he makes up for in arrogance and showboating. He’s determined to get close to the new queen—that is, until Elsa’s magical secret is revealed. Then he’s the first to call her a monster and try to turn her own kingdom against her—anything that might help him exploit Arendelle’s tradable goods.

(voice of Chris Williams)

Oaken runs Wandering Oaken's Trading Post and Sauna. But since Elsa’s massive winter storm hits in mid-July, he finds himself with a surplus of summer supplies. Deal-seekers beware: though he’s good-natured and helpful, if you cross him, Oaken won’t hesitate to throw you out of his humble establishment.


Marshmallow is an enormous icy snowman born from Elsa’s powers. He serves as a brute bodyguard charged with keeping intruders away from her ice palace. The menacing white beast doesn’t say much, but he packs a powerful punch.

Photos and Characters Descriptions: Walt Disney Animation Studios

Friday, July 12, 2013

Teaser Trailer of How To Train Your Dragon 2

Guess who's back? The ragtag duo from How to Train Your Dragon, Hiccup and Toothless, return in the first teaser to sequel of the surprisingly successful film from 2010, looking not so ragtag.  This time around, they seem more fearless and confident but are just as endearing in their friendship.  There is definitely a drastic change in Hiccup as he's matured into a young Viking.  The original film was one of my favorite animated films of the 2010 and it has become a sentimental favorite now. I must say I'm excited to see what the sequel has to offer.  How to Train Your Dragon 2 releases next June. 

News Update: Gone Girl, James Bond and Dustin Hoffman on Tootsie

  •  If anyone asks me for any book recommendations, my first question to them is, "Have you read Gone Girl?" I am practically obsessed with it. And I'm eagerly awaiting the movie adaptation as well.  The talent that's lining up for the film is looking up, like way up. Actress Reese Witherspoon is in the producer's chair, David Fincher is behind the camera and today, comes word that Ben Affleck is in talks to play Nick, whose wife Amy is the titular Gone Girl.  This is shaping up to be quite awesome, folks. I am officially excited.  Have you read Gone Girl yet?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

New Saving Mr. Banks Trailer

Yesterday, a first look with a photograph surfaced and today, we have the first official trailer of Saving Mr. Banks starring Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson, Paul Giamatti, Bradley Whitford and Jason Schwartzman. It's our first look at Tom Hanks' take on Walt Disney (he seems rather jovial) as he gets reluctant author P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) to allow him to make the film version of the popular Mary Poppins' novels.

There are some funny digs made towards what the film turned out to be but eventually Saving Mr. Banks wants us to believe in the famous, magical Disney charm that most of us grew up on. There's also a great longread in The New Yorker titled 'Becoming Mary Poppins' that I suspect might give a slightly different perspective and it's worth checking out before watching the film. Directed by John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side, The Rookie), the film seems a perfect holiday release this December. And yes, we do get an answer to why the film is titled Saving Mr. Banks.

First Look: Saving Mr. Banks

(Photo: TIME)
Time Magazine has the first look of Disney's Saving Mr. Banks, the story behind Mary Poppins adaptation to the big screen.  Tom Hanks plays the iconic and legendary figure, Walt Disney while Emma Thompson is P.L. Travers, the author and creator of the Mary Poppin novels.  As you can see, she does not look happy to be at Disneyland. One of the very few, I'd imagine. The film releases December 13, 2013.

Movie Review: Despicable Me 2

They're back! Those adorable minions who stole the show in the first film return for the sequel in Despicable Me 2 where they are under the threat of being turned into crazed purple monsters.  This time around, the Anti-Villian League wants to recruit Gru (voice of Steve Carell) to find out who stole a lab from the Artic Circle.

Gru has retired from his evil doing days (which is a shame because he was quite inventive) and now spends the days planning parties and helping with homework for his three adopted daughters, Margo, Edith and Agnes.  He keeps getting set up by his annoying neighbor Jillian and his daughters who want to see him happy. But he might have met his match in AVL Agent Lucy (voice of Kristen Wiig) who just might be perfect for him. It's only the matter of finding out who's behind the scheme of wanting to creating a purple monster army.

Back to those minions, they're the real reason to go see the movie because once again, they're hysterical whether they're relaxing on the beach, working in Gru's jelly factory or even as the loyal sidekicks.  The minute they open their mouth to utter 'minionese' and laugh a naughty giggle, you know you want to see more. (As the end credits reveal, they are currently holding auditions for their own film.)  I know I definitely want to see more 90s music videos as imagined by the minions, whose idea was it to have them dress in all white? Because that was genius.

But I digress, the film is enjoyable enough but it is missing a bit of the charm present of the first film.  The animation was thoroughly delightful and it seemed the animators were having more fun with the minions and antics of the young daughters.  The only one who's lost a bit of sheen here is the despicable one, Gru. But let's face it, the real reason anyone's going to see the film is for the minions and there's plenty of that to enjoy.

Directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud; Written by Ken Daurio and Cinco Paul; Editing by Gregory Perler; Music by Pharrell Williams and Heitor Pereira

Additional Voice Talents: Russell Brand, Benjamin Bratt, Ken Jeong, Steve Coogan, Elsie Kate Fisher, Miranda Cosgrove, Dana Gaier, Moises Arias, Kristen Schaal, Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud


Movie Review: The Heat

(Poster: Mondo)

In a summer filled with robots, zombies and actors pondering the end of the world, leave it to the lone female comediennes left to bring The Heat to the season. Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy team up for one of the more hilarious films you'll see this year and it's rare sight as well because it's one of the few instances of women headlining the blockbuster summer season.

Bullock plays FBI Agent Sarah Ashburn who's uptight, meticulous and all about getting the job done. McCarthy is Dectective Shannon Mullins who's rowdy and boisterous methods somehow get the job done. But when these two women are forced to work together is when the sparks really fly.  Mullins' abrasiveness and Ashburn's nerdiness (she has a good work shirt) put together make a good team, only they aren't aware of it.  There's a scene of when they first track down a suspect and bug his phone in a nightclub that had me in tears of laughter as I watched Bullock and McCarthy navigate a dance floor.

Most of the laughs come from the physical comedy and both McCarthy and Bullock excel in it. For a so-called chick flick (only because two women are in the lead), this is actually a male film in disguise with Bullock and McCarthy blowing up, stabbing, shooting and taking care of business in Boston.  The reason why their characters are forced to work together to take down a drug lord seems unfocused and the time lapses in the film never made any sense to me.  Did they take down all those dealers in a day or had a week passed by?

But who cares so long as the action and the laughs keep on coming.  Bullock proves she's still got it, she plays Ashburn's need to be perfect (down to the side pin in her hair) just right and you can see through McCarthy's foul-mouthed threats, that deep down she really cares. It's not easy being the only female in a job where the men don't often agree with you and you're mostly considered a loner or an outsider and they bring out their characters insecurities, both professional and personal, nicely.   

McCarthy delivered all her lines as such zingers, I'd sure like to see that sequel where she's teams up with Robert Downey Jr's Iron Man to fight crime on a global level. So if you're looking for a respite from all the male testosterone films this summer, look no further for the laughs and head over to The Heat.  

Directed by Paul Feig; Written by Katie Dippold; Cinematography by Robert D. Yeoman; Editing by Jay Deuby and Brent White; Music by Michael Andrews

Additional cast: Damian Bechir, Marlon Wayans, Michael Rappaport


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