2010 Movie Preview

December 23, 2009 at 10:48 am

Over 30 movies to look forward to and the year has just begun!

With 2009 winding down, it’s time to look ahead at 2010. (I feel like that’s an incredibly cliched sentence to start a blog post with…  I’m leaving it in though.)

While there are always the requisite sequels to look forward to, there are also a bunch of new franchises and films on the way.  I’ve been reading a lot of previews over the last week or so and I’ve compiled a list of movies to look forward to next year but first, my own personal Top 5.

2010 Movie Preview 

Toy Story 3 (June)

The Original Toy Story is one of my all time favorites.  That movie was a pretty big influence on me when I was younger as it showed me what hard work and passion can bring to a film.  Just watch the special features on some of Pixar’s DVD’s.  There is always a way to make things better and more interesting.  The effort they put into stories is unmatched in today’s world of sequels and remakes.  Yet here we are, on the verge of a Pixar sequel and no one has any doubts it will be amazing.  That’s a lot of hype to live up to and I can’t wait to watch Toy Story 3 exceed expectations. (Note: I’d also like to thank Pixar for not calling it Toy Story 3D…  I hate when studios do that.)

toy_story3 

The Book of Eli (January)

I just saw The Road.  Weeks before that, I saw 2012 and there are close to a million other ‘end of the world’ movies out there.  I’m not sure what makes this one any different but something about the trailer has me excited to buy my ticket. It gives you just enough that you want to find out what exactly is going on.  Curiosity is a powerful marketing tool.  It gets big points for arriving early in the year as well.  Due to the early release, Book of Eli will be replaced by Prince of Persia on this list once I’ve seen it.

Denzel_Washington_Book_of_Eli

Shutter Island (February)

Martin Scorsese is an unbelievable human being.  He is responsible for so many incredible films including some of the best of all time.  The man is a genius.  So how does a genius follow up Best Picture winner The Departed? With an equally awesome looking film that looks incredible.  It’s sad to think that it was delayed but I’m positive it’ll be worth the wait.

shutter-island

Iron Man 2 (May)

The first Iron Man kicked ass.  It’s one of my favorite comic book movies of all time. (Don’t worry Dark Knight.  You’re still number 1)  I have extremely high expectations for the follow up.  My only complaint in the first movie was the lackluster final fight.  Hopefully, Mickey Rourke’s Whiplash puts up a better fight.

iron_man2_whiplash

Inception (July)

Speaking of Dark Knight, Christopher Nolan is very close to knocking Shyamalan off the top spot as my favorite director.  Everything he has ever done is original, interesting, exciting and cool.  I suppose I have to ramble on about Nolan because no one has any idea what this movie is about.  All we know so far is that the trailer is amazing and it’s going to kick ass.  It’s my number 1 anticipated movie of the year and July can’t get here fast enough.

(Note: Leo shows up twice in my top 5… That guy needs an Oscar.)

 

2010 Movie Preview 

Prince of Persia (May) I loved the trailer for this movie.  Here is an example of a brand new franchise that may stand the test of time. (Pun intended) As I mentioned above, this is technically one of my Top 5 anticipated movies of the year.  I can’t wait.

prince-of-persia

The Last Airbender (June) M. Night Shyamalan is my favorite director because he creates original stories.  However, his last few films weren’t my favorites and I’m interested to see what he does with established material.

Predators (July) Another reimagining that has fans everywhere holding their breath.

The Expendables (August) Do yourself a favor.  IMDB this movie and take a look at the cast.  If you aren’t curious after that, you aren’t an action fan.

The Wolfman (February) I dislike period movies but release one with a Wolfman in it and I’ll hear you out.

Buried (?) Ryan Reynolds stars in a movie about a guy who gets kidnapped in Iraq and buried alive in a coffin.  Crazy concept.

Megamind (November) I just found out this movie existed.  It’s an animated comedy starring the voices of Will Farrell, Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill and Tina Fey.  I’m curious.

Kick Ass (April) I’m not super excited to see this movie.  It looks extremely stylized and cool but I’m not sold on the concept. (It doesn’t help that I know nothing about the comic book.)

Cop Out (February) I’m not a massive fan of Kevin Smith’s movies but I’m a huge fan of the man himself.  The Evening With DVD’s are treasured parts of my collection.  If you’ve seen any of those flicks you’ll know why I’m curious to see what he and Bruce Willis come up with.  There have been rumors that Smith has called Bruce ‘undirectable’.  Not sure if that’s true but I’m sure Evening With PT 4 willl address it.

Clash of the Titans (March) Wicked trailer.  Here’s a movie that doesn’t seem to take itself too seriously.  It has monsters and battles.  There really isn’t much else to say until March.

Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Theif (February) This movie made the list purely because I find it fascinating how many franchises like this haven’t taken off.  (Lemony Snickets, Golden Compass etc…)

Robin Hood (May) This project has been reinvented so many times I don’t know what to expect.  I still think Ridley and co will deliver an entertaining movie.

Area 51 (?) The creator of Paranormal Activity (My favorite movie of 2009) returns with another ‘found footage’ movie involving aliens.  I’m there.

The Other Guys (August) Mark Walberg, Will Farrell, Dwayne Johnson and Sam Jackson in the same action comedy?  Nice.

Resident Evil: Afterlife (September) Wentworth Miller AKA Michael Scofield himself is in this movie.  I miss Prison Break.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader (December) The first movie was decent, the second blew and the third has a new crew. (Which rhymes by the way)

Alice in Wonderland (March) I’ve never been sold on Tim Burton.  Some of his movies I like and some I don’t but I’m really looking forward to this one.

alice_in_wonderland

A Nightmare on Elm Street (April) I honestly think this will be good.

Jonah Hex (June) Heard rumors last week that they are reshooting some scenes.  That’s never a good sign but Megan Fox is in it.  It probably won’t be that great.

The Green Hornet (December) I believe this flick has one of two options.  It’ll will be successful or it will bomb but still become a cult classic. (Both are arguably positive outcomes)

The Social Network (October) Due to my recent obsession with social media and marketing, I’m interested to see the story of Facebook on the big screen.

Machete (April) I’ll wait for video.

Edge of Darkness (January) Mel Gibson returns as a pissed off father/cop.  He’s one of my all time favorite actors.  Leave the controversy behind, you have to admit he’s made some amazing movies.

How To Train Your Dragon (March) Cartoon. 3D. Dragons. Sold.

Twilight 3: Eclipse (June) I saw the first movie a while back and it wasn’t terrible.  Maybe I don’t get the hype but this has TMN on Demand written all over it.

The Green Zone (March) I like political thrillers and when Jason Bourne himself reteams with Director Paul Greengrass it belongs on lists like this.

Shrek Forever After (May) Booo.  Supposedly, this is last Shrek…  Until they make another one.

The A Team (June) I recently became a fan of the UFC and especially The Ultimate Fighter reality series.  Rampage vs Rashad was supposed to be a huge fight but The A Team screwed everything up.  It better be good Rampage… It better be good.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows: Part 1 (November) This series has reached the point where everyone will want to see it just to see how it all ends.  Did they really have to split it into two parts though?  I’m not opposed to the idea but having to wait months after a crazy cliffhanger is mean.  It’s just mean.

2010 Movie Preview

I’m completely aware that this list doesn’t even come close to the amount of watchable movies coming out next year.  Notably absent from this list are a large number of Comedies, Romantic Comedies and horror flicks.  I left them off primarily because they don’t normally carry as much buzz as some of the higher profile films on the list but also because narrowing them down would have been impossible. 

Regardless, it’s going to be a great year!

Which movies are you looking forward to in 2010?

2009′s All Time Top 5 Movies

December 22, 2009 at 12:05 am

I have a very different system of reviewing movies than most.  It’s based on a number of factors but I’ve come up with a list that sums things up nicely.

The Filmmaker’s Intentions – What did they set out to make?  It’s not fair to bash an action movie if you don’t like action movies is it?  If they set out to make a fun action movie then that’s how I base my opinion.

The Entertainment Factor – Shocking twists, action sequences, tears, drama, laughs.

The Story – I’m all about story.  Love good stories.

The Overall Experience – Going to the movies is supposed to be fun.  Disappointing movies feel like a waste of time but some movies leave you with a satisfied smile on your face.

The Lasting Appeal – Movies we love stay with us forever.  If I’m still thinking about a movie the next day, it scores high in this category.

No Scores – I don’t give ratings or stars.  I make my recommendations based on who I’m talking to and what type of movies they like.

With that in mind, here are my favorite movies of 2009 or as I like to call them:

Five Awesome Movies That Are Awesome

Honorable Mention: Inglourious Bastards

5 – The Hurt Locker

I was sold 100% on this movie after seeing the trailer.  Then the positive reviews came along and finally the release date arrived.  The Hurt Locker is an intense movie and I loved it.  The premise alone pins you to the edge of your seat.  At any moment the bomb could go off.  Fantastic movie.

hurt-locker-boom

4 – District 9

Viral Marketing at it’s finest.  District 9 was one of the most unique experiences of 2009.  An ‘indy’ sci-fi action movie with an incredible story.  I put District 9 in the category of “Why didn’t they think of this years ago?”.  I was pretty disappointed with most of the big summer blockbuster movies but District 9 reminded me that you don’t need a massive budget to entertain.  You just need a good story.

district-9-movie

3 – Up

My sister and I have seen pretty much all of the Pixar films together and Up was no different.  I knew it was going to be good but I didn’t expect it to nearly knock Toy Story off the top spot.  While Toy Story remains my favorite Pixar movie, Up is a very close second.  It was everything we’ve come to expect from a Pixar film.  It was funny, it had heart, it looked gorgeous and it entertained.  Bring on Toy Story 3.

up-doug

2 – The Hangover

One of the funniest movies I’ve seen in theaters in years.  Ironically, I saw this the day after seeing Up so it was a pretty great movie filled weekend.  There is a tradition among people who enjoy a night out at the bars that is absolutely vital to a successful night. Pre-Drinking.  A tradition among pre-drinkers is watching movies together while you drink.  (Old School.  Dumb & Dumber. Superbad.) The Hangover is a worthy edition to an already stellar lineup of classics.  Welcome to the team!

the-hangover-still

1 – Paranormal Activity

The most FUN I’ve had in a theater in years and hands down my favorite movie of 2009.  I saw this movie in a packed house full of terrified people and I was one of them.  Every time the scene changed to their bedroom at night, the entire audience began shifting in their seats.  It was an amazing experience.  I feel bad for those who either waited to long to see it or are waiting for video.  You missed out.

Check out my other posts on Paranormal Activity HERE, HERE, and HERE.

paranormal-activity-poster

So long 2009

2008 was a slow year for me.  I couldn’t seem to get to the theater enough but 2009 was a return to form.  More movies, more fun, more entertainment and most importantly, more inspiration.

Going to the movies is an addiction.  It’s an obsession I can’t live without.  I can’t to see what’s in store for 2010.

Rainy Sundays: Gladiator

December 19, 2009 at 11:25 pm

I thought about returning to Christmas themed movies but the release of the new Robin Hood trailer got me thinking about a different type of film this week.

I wasn’t a big fan of the Robin Hood trailer but the idea of Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe collaborating again is enough to keep me interested.  The reason is because when you think of those two titans, you think of Gladiator.

gladiator-movie-russell-crowe

“Are you not entertained!”

I’m always going to regret missing this film in theaters.  It’s one of my favorite action movies of all time for many obvious reasons but also because the story is just too good.  The best action movies out there have insane amounts of eye candy and those scenes are backed up with emotion and characters we care about.  Maximus is now considered (by me) to be one of the greats in terms of heroic characters.

What I loved about the movie is how incredible the writing was.  Here’s a movie that opens with lines like:

“What we do in life, echoes in eternity”

Brilliant.

There are certain scenarios where a line like that wouldn’t work yet on the edge of a giant battle sequence, it sends chills down your spine.  The familiar phrase “Shadows and dust” is now a toast amongst my friends before we drink shots that are literally called Gladiators. (Note: Orange juice, 7up and Ameretto. Delicious)

I loved this movie so much that come Oscar time, I actually felt proud when it won the Best Picture award.  Like one of my friends finally made it big.  The filmmakers did such an amazing job bringing the world of Gladiators to the big screen.  I’m still shocked when I talk to someone who hasn’t seen it.  (For the record, if you haven’t seen it yet you need to get on it immediately.)

The idea behind Rainy Sundays is to go back and remember the movies that stick with us forever.  Gladiator has so many amazing action scenes and a script that continues to amaze me every time I see it portrayed on the screen.  It’s time to head to my top shelf and turn on my DVD player.

PS: How good was the music in that movie?  Amazing.

PS #2: “On my signal, unleash hell.”

Screenwriting: The Print Out

December 18, 2009 at 3:00 am

Screenwriting: The Print Out | Screenwriting Blog

One of the coolest moments a screenwriter can have is finally hitting print and watching the pages stack up in front of their printer. It’s a moment of satisfaction that we all strive to achieve.  You’ve finally finished something you poured your heart into.  It’s a screenplay you’re proud of.  The feeling is even better when it’s your final draft and you’re ready to show the world your hard work.

Write_Print_Repeat

Writers spend a lot of time dreaming about the moment when they can finally hold a completed script in their hands.  It’s a bitter sweet thought because you know how hard you have to work before reaching The Print Out.  Thankfully, the work is addicting and fun.

I’ve been working on a new feature script for a few months now but the story has been in development for two years.  You can imagine how excited I am to finish the script.  I’m extremely close to finishing my first draft and the anticipation is killing me.

So I cheated…

How could I resist?  Even though it isn’t finished yet I’m still excited about the idea of sitting outside with my script, my notebook and a pen.

When I printed it out and I was immediately reminded of the sense of pride you gain when you finish a script.  It’s an inspiring thought.

the print out

Watching the pages emerge from my printer was also a terrific reminder of why I love to write. Writing a screenplay is a long process and it takes a lot of dedication to stick with a story for such a long time.  Yet to those who love to write, the process is an addiction.  We’re all addicted to that magical moment when the pages are full, the revisions are done and The Print Out is imminent.

However, standing between me and that wonderful moment is a story that remains untold.  There are a lot of pages to cover and characters to get to know better.  There are scenes to be written and dialogue to shape.  There is action to describe and emotions to convey.  Not to mention the hundreds of revisions and changes a script must go through before being truly complete.

Each script is a welcome challenge and I can’t think of anything I’d rather do.

And now… A quote:

“Find a job you love, never work a day in your life.”

It’s a fitting quote in this situation because reaching The Print Out is a moment that isn’t nearly as satisfying if you don’t truly love what you do.

I can’t wait to finish my new script for three reasons:

  1. The Print Out
  2. I’ll be starting a new script
  3. I love to write.

screenwriting_the_print_out

The Bottom 3: 2009′s Worst Movies

December 16, 2009 at 3:17 am

2009's Worst MoviesWhat I love about movies is how everyone has an opinion.  You don’t have to be an expert to love or hate certain movies.  As a filmmaker, I’ve made it a point to be aware of this.  I’ll never make a movie that everyone will like.  I focus on writing movies that I like and making the best movies I can.  You have to be mindful of the audience you’re after though.  The biggest flops are the films that cater to a specific audience who are ultimately disappointed.

I would never push Playing Through towards a hardcore action fan.  I know it’s best suited for fans of drama with a small interest in golf.  My point is, consumers tend to hate movies that promise something and fail to deliver.  Which brings me to 2009’s Bottom 3:

Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen

Transformers 2 Devastator

What could have been...

A perfect example of empty promises.  I was obsessed with the first Transformers.  I find giant fighting robots entertaining. What I loved about the first film besides the battles was how small the story was given the size of the Transformers mythology.  The effects made the movie entertaining but following Sam as he discovers the world of Transformers is what made that movie memorable.  The sequel promised more of the same.  However, it delivered a story that was just too big for it’s own good.  I was disappointed.

Too many robots! Why not get rid of the offensive twins and give Ironhide and Wratchet something more to do?  Who was that ancient robot besides convenient exposition?  What’s the point of The Fallen?  He sucked as the ‘main’ villain.  He showed up late and died too quickly.

I think it would have been truly bad ass to have all the autobots defending that pyramid from Devastator.  Think of how awesome that sequence might have been.  In the end, the story wasn’t the greatest and there were so many characters I didn’t care about.

Positive: The forest battle.
Negative: Too many robots.  Not enough story.

Dragonball: Evolution

Don't be fooled... This part wasn't exciting at all.

Don't be fooled... This part wasn't exciting at all.

Let me explain.  I went into Blockbuster video a few weeks ago and scanned their previously viewed section.  Buy 2 get 1 free.  I had 5 DVD’s in my hand and needed a 6th.  Dragonball was my dark horse pick.  Who knows right?  So many people hated that movie but there must have been a reason why they made it?  Maybe I’m the audience they were looking for…

I was wrong. I was better off without the free movie.

It’s probably one of the worst movies of all time.  I didn’t like Transformers 2 but it still had it’s moments.  You could still rent that movie and sit through it relatively pain free.  This is not the case with Dragonball: Evolution.  I wasn’t a giant fan of the cartoon but I was expecting a movie with epic fights in huge open fields.  The old cartoon had fights that would last 5 or 6 episodes.  In the movie, Goku fights highschool bullies that are pretty much black belts for no good reason.  This is an example of not knowing the audience.  I think they were trying to make the film appeal to everyone and instead it appealed to no one and alienated the core fans.

So much is wrong with this movie. No good fights.  No twists.  No laughs.  No danger.  No suspense.  Who cares?

Positive: When he turns into the monkey.  That was a decent twist I suppose.  I’m sure hardcore fans saw it coming though.  Actually they probably already left the theater or burned the disc.
Negative: Discs don’t burn do they?

X-Men origins: Wolverine

Looks cool yet isn't.

Looks cool yet isn't.

One of my favorite movies of 2009 earned it’s place in my heart because of how much fun I had in the theater.  (Check back soon for more on my favorites of the year.)  Wolverine is not that movie.  I actually laughed in disbelief at certain points.  They couldn’t possibly sell this as a Wolverine movie right?  I feel like someone wrote a fantastic movie and we were destined for an awesome flick.  Then the studio heads got a hold of it and said:

“Add 9 more mutants”

“Won’t that complicat—“

“Just do it!”

The writers went back to work and jammed in a whole bunch of useless characters and plot points without explaining anything.

Maybe they thought it strengthened the story.  Or maybe they wrote a story full of holes and needed a quick fix.  I think they just wanted to sell toys.  Take Gambit for example.  Remove him from the movie and you lose nothing.  He’s an awesome character and they wasted a golden opportunity.  This whole movie is one big wasted opportunity.

Oh and also, don’t get me started on Wolverine’s memory loss.  Are you kidding me?  That whole scene belongs on the blooper reel not the final act.  I was so mad after I saw this movie.

I really wanted to love it.  I’m definitely part of their target demographic right?  I honestly thought Dragonball would have taken the top spot this year until I started thinking about Wolverine again.  It’s the worst movie I saw in 2009.

Positive: Deadpool was pretty cool.
Negative: No he wasn’t.

Honourable Mention: Drag Me To Hell…  I was so excited to see this movie.  Maybe something is wrong with me but I didn’t like it at all.