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Hot or Not: Ruby Rose
WHAT'S THE DEAL? A gripping tale of brotherhood, greed, and murder. The Bondurant Boys were a notorious gang of roughnecks and moonshiners who ran liquor through Franklin County, Virginia, during Prohibition and in the years after. Forrest, the eldest brother, is fierce, mythically indestructible, and the consummate businessman; Howard, the middle brother, is an ox of a man besieged by the horrors he witnessed in the Great War; and Jack, the youngest, has a taste for luxury and a dream to get out of Franklin. Driven and haunted, these men forge a business, fall in love, and struggle to stay afloat as they watch their family die, their father's business fail, and the world they know crumble beneath the Depression and drought.
OUR TAKE: Known as THE WETTEST COUNTY until just recently, this film has mostly flown under everybody's radar. Director John Hillcoat (THE ROAD) and writer Nick Cave, the team behind the phenomenal western THE PROPOSITION, will bring the crime saga to life. With an amazing cast featuring Tom Hardy, Jessica Chastain, Guy Pearce, Shia LaBeouf, and Mia Wasikowska, this could be the sleeper hit of the season and possible Oscar contender.
WHAT'S THE DEAL? In the action-adventure Snow White and the Huntsman, Kristen Stewart plays the only person in the land fairer than the evil queen (Charlize Theron) who is out to destroy her. But what the wicked ruler never imagined is that the young woman threatening her reign has been training in the art of war with a huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) who was dispatched to kill her. Sam Claflin joins the cast as the prince long enchanted by Snow White’s beauty and power.
OUR TAKE: The first film in a proposed franchise, director Rupert Sanders takes the traditional Snow White fairy tale and turns it into a LORD OF THE RINGS style epic. Featuring a stunningly evil Charlize Theron, this movie looks to set itself as the gold standard for re-imaginings of classic tales. I had zero hope for either Snow White movie until I saw the trailer for this one. It is sweeping, epic, and action packed. If the movie can deliver on what the trailers promise, this could be an excellent popcorn movie.
WHAT'S THE DEAL? There’s something in the water...again. And this time no one is safe from the flesh eating fish as they sink their razor sharp teeth into the visitors of the best summer attraction, The Big Wet Water Park. Joining returning stars Christopher Lloyd and Ving Rhames are Danielle Panabaker and the one and only David Hasselhoff.
OUR TAKE: The sequel to the 2010 film, PIRANHA 3DD aims to amp up the blood, gore, slapstick, and breast implants. The first PIRANHA was fun and not something to take very seriously. Based on the red band trailer for the sequel, as long as you don't enter the theater with any illusions, you will have a great time.
WHAT'S THE DEAL? Set on an island off the coast of New England in the 1960s, the film follows a young boy and girl (Jared Gilman and Kara Hayward) falling in love. When they are moved to run away together, various factions of the town mobilize to search for them and the town is turned upside down – which might not be such a bad thing.
OUR TAKE: It is been five years since Wes Anderson has graced cinemas with his live action brilliance. His last film, THE FANTASTIC MR. FOX, brought his film conventions to a more family friendly audience. Now, he looks to combine the best of both worlds by making a film that focuses on the dynamics between children and adults (like RUSHMORE) while keeping it appropriate for all ages. MOONRISE KINGDOM may not be for every taste, but it will certainly be a nice change of pace during the summer movie season.
WHAT'S THE DEAL? When things go wrong and one of their own is viciously killed, the Expendables are compelled to seek revenge in hostile territory where the odds are stacked against them. Hell-bent on payback, the crew cuts a swath of destruction through opposing forces, wreaking havoc and shutting down an unexpected threat in the nick of time — six pounds of weapons-grade plutonium; enough to change the balance of power in the world. But that’s nothing compared to the justice they serve against the villainous adversary who savagely murdered their brother. That is done the Expendables way.
OUR TAKE: THE EXPENDABLES is one of those franchises that screams "direct to home video," but it is also a well made homage to the over the top action movies of the 80s. Stallone has crafted the ultimate action squad and essentially made the best movie version of GI JOE to date. Adding more classic action stars like Van Damme, Chuck Norris, and expanding the roles for Bruce Willis and Ah-nuld, EXPENDABLES 2 should easily be better than the original in every way.
WHAT'S THE DEAL? Loosely based on a novel by Saddam Hussein, THE DICTATOR is the heroic story of a ruler who risks his life to ensure that democracy would never come to the country he so lovingly oppressed.
OUR TAKE: The first teaser played the film as very similar to both BORAT and BRUNO, which made the movie seemed lacking. I did laugh at it, but the full trailer was what sold me. The movie is no longer the documentary format, but does retain a realistic feel to it. Sacha Baron Cohen goes to great lengths to make fun of Americans and our fears of Middle Easterners. While it will be tough to top the crassness of BORAT, this film does look like a lot of fun.
WHAT'S THE DEAL? When Cobra spy Zartan has most of the Joes assassinated, the remaining Joes band together to strike back. Dwayne Johnson plays Roadblock and Bruce Willis joins as the original G.I. Joe himself.
OUR TAKE: So I absolutely hated the first GI JOE despite loving the toys and cartoon as a child. Where the first TRANSFORMERS succeeded, GI JOE failed miserably. But, this sequel looks to better capture the characters and put them into an action packed adventure to clear their names. Some think the trailer was derivative of the GHOST PROTOCOL storyline, but the music and mountain ninja fight scene captured my ten year old self.
WHAT'S THE DEAL? Not much of the specific plot is known for this new film, but we do know that Jeremy Renner is not Jason Bourne, despite the title. He will be playing another character with a similar backstory to Bourne with Joan Allen returning as the same nemesis she played in the prior films. Also starring are Rachel Weisz, Ed Norton, Oscar Isaac, Albert Finney, Scott Glenn, and Stacy Keach.
OUR TAKE: Tempered expectations should be maintained for this new beginning in the Bourne universe. While not a sequel in the traditional sense, the film looks to maintain the same tone and style of the previous Matt Damon films but exploring a different character. If all works out, we may see both Renner and Damon join forces or go head to head in a future film. If the retro trailer is any indication, this may be a series worth returning to.
WHAT'S THE DEAL? ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER explores the secret life of our greatest president, and the untold history that shaped our nation. As a young boy, Abraham Lincoln witnesses the shocking death of his mother, leading him on a path to an ongoing war - and ultimately to the presidency – he chronicles in a hidden diary. The journal reveals the incredible story of a clandestine warrior who never stopped fighting for the country he led and the people he loved.
OUR TAKE: Having read the novel, I was not surprised by the tone of the trailer. The book reads as a dead serious retelling of an alternate history where Lincoln is quite the badass. I was not the biggest fan of WANTED and Bekmambetov seems to be using his signature style in this film as well. But for the sheer ridiculousness of the plot, this could turn out to be a fun couple of hours.
WHAT'S THE DEAL? Total Recall is an action thriller about reality and memory, inspired anew by the famous short story “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale” by Philip K. Dick. Welcome to Rekall, the company that can turn your dreams into real memories. For a factory worker named Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell), even though he's got a beautiful wife (Kate Beckinsale) who he loves, the mind-trip sounds like the perfect vacation from his frustrating life - real memories of life as a super-spy might be just what he needs. But when the procedure goes horribly wrong, Quaid becomes a hunted man. Finding himself on the run from the police – controlled by Chancellor Cohaagen (Bryan Cranston), the leader of the free world – Quaid teams up with a rebel fighter (Jessica Biel) to find the head of the underground resistance (Bill Nighy) and stop Cohaagen. The line between fantasy and reality gets blurred and the fate of his world hangs in the balance as Quaid discovers his true identity, his true love, and his true fate.
OUR TAKE: When a remake of a fan favorite hits theaters, it is tough to decide whether or not you can enjoy it on its own merits. TOTAL RECALL is more than a fan favorite, it is a good movie that did not really need to be remade at all. But, playing with the same basic plot and changing key items (no Mars in this version) could introduce the mind trip world of Phillip K. Dick to a new generation of fans. And not a bad way to close out the summer, either.
WHAT'S THE DEAL? In the year 1752, Joshua and Naomi Collins, with young son Barnabas, set sail from Liverpool, England to start a new life in America. But even an ocean was not enough to escape the mysterious curse that has plagued their family. Two decades pass and Barnabas (Johnny Depp) has the world at his feet--or at least the town of Collinsport, Maine. The master of Collinwood Manor, Barnabas is rich, powerful and an inveterate playboy...until he makes the grave mistake of breaking the heart of Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green). A witch, in every sense of the word, Angelique dooms him to a fate worse than death: turning him into a vampire, and then burying him alive. Two centuries later, Barnabas is inadvertently freed from his tomb and emerges into the very changed world of 1972. He returns to Collinwood Manor to find that his once-grand estate has fallen into ruin. The dysfunctional remnants of the Collins family have fared little better, each harboring their own dark secrets. Matriarch Elizabeth Collins Stoddard (Michelle Pfeiffer) has called upon live-in psychiatrist, Dr. Julia Hoffman (Helena Bonham Carter), to help with her family troubles. Also residing in the manor is Elizabeth's ne'er-do-well brother, Roger Collins, (Jonny Lee Miller); her rebellious teenage daughter Carolyn Stoddard (Chloe Moretz); and Roger's precocious 10-year-old son, David Collins (Gulliver McGrath). The mystery extends beyond the family, to caretaker Willie Loomis, played by Jackie Earle Haley, and David's new nanny, Victoria Winters, played by Bella Heathcote.
OUR TAKE: One of the most anticipated movies of the year turned into one of the most divisive upon the release of its trailer. Many were hoping for a dark and less comedic interpretation of the soap opera, but those people must not have known Tim Burton's filmography very well. The trailer definitely plays up the humor but also promises a good amount of gore to go with it. This could be Burton's return to his BEETLEJUICE form, and that would be a most welcome return indeed.
WHAT'S THE DEAL? Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane brings his boundary-pushing brand of humor to the big screen for the first time as writer, director and voice star of Ted. In the live action/CG-animated comedy, he tells the story of John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg), a grown man who must deal with the cherished teddy bear who came to life as the result of a childhood wish... and has refused to leave his side ever since.
OUR TAKE: TED looks to be simultaneously the most ridiculous and most original comedies in a long time. The fact that no one thinks twice that there is a dirty talking teddy bear walking around groping women and smoking weed shows that TED exists in the same demented universe as FAMILY GUY. I have a tough time deciding if I prefer the tone of the red band or the green band trailers, but either way the gorgeous Mila Kunis has my butt in the theater watching this one. We need a good raunchy comedy to reinvigorate the genre and this looks to be the one to do the job.
WHAT'S THE DEAL? The rugged and mysterious Highlands of Scotland serve as the backdrop for BRAVE, a new tale that joins the land’s ancient lore—stories of epic battles and mystical legends passed down for generations. Directed by Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman, and produced by Katherine Sarafian, BRAVE is the grand adventure of Merida (voice of Kelly Macdonald), a skilled archer who confronts tradition, destiny and the fiercest of beasts to discover the true meaning of courage. The film also features the voices of Emma Thompson, Billy Connolly, Julie Walters, Kevin McKidd, Craig Ferguson and Robbie Coltrane. BRAVE, full of heart, memorable characters and Pixar’s signature humour, takes aim at theatres on June 22, 2012, and will be presented in Disney Digital 3D in select theatres.
OUR TAKE: Pixar hit a rare speedbump with CARS 2, but BRAVE looks to make amends for that with not only its most realistic film but also its first female protagonist. The scenery and character design looks inspired and the voice cast is top notch. At its worst, this film could be derivative of HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON, and at its best it could be one of Pixar's best.
WHAT'S THE DEAL? THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN is the story of Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield), an outcast high schooler who was abandoned by his parents as a boy, leaving him to be raised by his Uncle Ben (Martin Sheen) and Aunt May (Sally Field). Like most teenagers, Peter is trying to figure out who he is and how he got to be the person he is today. Peter is also finding his way with his first high school crush, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), and together, they struggle with love, commitment, and secrets. As Peter discovers a mysterious briefcase that belonged to his father, he begins a quest to understand his parents' disappearance – leading him directly to Oscorp and the lab of Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), his father's former partner. As Spider-Man is set on a collision course with Connors' alter-ego, The Lizard, Peter will make life-altering choices to use his powers and shape his destiny to become a hero.
OUR TAKE: I did not think rebooting Spider-man so soon after the Sam Raimi trilogy was a good idea, but this actually looks pretty good. Andrew Garfield looks and sounds more like Peter Parker than Tobey Maguire ever did and Emma Stone is a much more appealing love interest. There are still questions around how The Lizard is going to play once we actually see and hear him on the screen and it is hard to tell if the first person perspective web-swinging will be used throughout the whole film. But, in the end, it is a Spider-man film so as long as it is better than Spider-man 3, this should be a winner.
WHAT'S THE DEAL? Marvel Super Heroes Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow team up as THE AVENGERS. When an unexpected enemy emerges that threatens global safety and security, Nick Fury, Director of the international peacekeeping agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D., finds himself in need of a team to pull the world back from the brink of disaster. Spanning the globe, a daring recruitment effort begins. Starring Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner and Samuel L. Jackson, and directed by Joss Whedon,
OUR TAKE: THE AVENGERS is the first true super hero team movie. With successful individual franchises, the next logical step was to make every fan's dream come true and have them all appear in the same movie. Joss Whedon seems to have found the chemistry between these superstar heroes and likely has several surprises up his sleeve. THE AVENGERS will kick start the summer movie season with lots of action and witty one-liners courtesy of Tony Stark.
WHAT'S THE DEAL? When Commissioner Gordon stumbles upon a plot to destroy the city from within, Bruce Wayne gets back into action as the Batman. Waiting for him is the mysterious Selina Kyle and Bane, a lethal adversary on a crusade to tear apart Batman's legacy piece by piece.
OUR TAKE: Christopher Nolan has the rare opportunity to conclude a series of films on a high note. Third movies tend to not be as good as their predecessors, but all signs are pointing to THE DARK KNIGHT RISES as being the exception to the rule. There are some small concerns from fans (Bane's grumble, the Catwoman costume, etc), but those same fans will be lining up to see this one on opening day.
WHAT'S THE DEAL? Visionary filmmaker Ridley Scott returns to the genre he helped define, creating an original science fiction epic set in the most dangerous corners of the universe. The film takes a team of scientists and explorers on a thrilling journey that will test their physical and mental limits and strand them on a distant world, where they will discover the answers to our most profound questions and to life’s ultimate mystery.
OUR TAKE: Was there any doubt about this one? Ridley Scott's "sidequel" is likely the film geek's most anticipated movie since STAR WARS EPISODE I. The teaser and viral marketing has so far done nothing but whet our appetites for what will not only be an action-packed and suspenseful film, but a quality, thinking man's science fiction/horror opus. There is almost no way that PROMETHEUS can disappoint.