New Blog (Sept 11) From Ross in the Beijing Office

September Film Preview

The summer is over, which means the onslaught of blockbusters has finally come to an end. Usually a comparably dead month compared to the ones that preceded it, the September they appear to be targeting re-releasing classics in 3 dimensional formats with Raiders of the Lost Ark and Finding Nemo. Personally I see this as an improvement, because why not re-release a beloved classic that people will want to see in a theatrical environment again? It is cheap and many who weren’t born at the time will want to see them on the big screen. It also saves us the hassle of going through a bunch of films that are seen as not good or strong enough to be released in the summer or early winter. With that in mind, let’s look at some of the new releases

September 7th

The Words- The plot of this film revolves around a writer who stumbles across a lost manuscript while vacationing in Paris and having to deal with steeling another man’s ideas and work. Having watched the trailer, it does look interesting, but they’re keeping the details of the plot tight to the chest. It has been receiving mostly negative reviews so far from the few critics who have posted their reviews, often being compared as a film about books for people who never read books. It does have a very good cast with Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldina, Olivia Wilde, Dennis Quad, and Jeremy Irons.

September 14th

Resident Evil: Retribution- An all around terrible series, so I really don’t expect this to be any different. Shockingly, this is the fifth entry in the franchise, which is unbelievable for a film series that is approaching its 10th anniversary. Next to the Super Mario Bros. movie of course, this is perhaps the best example on why video games have no real business being brought to the big screen. They can work if that is what the film is about, but warping a videogame storyline into a coherent plot rarely works.

September 21st

Dredd- After the laughable 1995 disaster called Judge Dredd that starred Sylvester Stallone and Rob Schneider, it seemed unlikely we’d see the franchise ever put back to film for quite some time. Well it only took 17 years, but the franchise is back and this time starring Karl Urban. At least it doesn’t have much to live up to; all it really has to do is convince the audience that it’s not a comedy. Initial screenings have actually been very positive, so it is an almost sure thing that it will be better than the original. A big plus is the film will be rated R which would surprise most considering you would think this would be a big budget film, but its budget is merely 45 million, remarkably cheap by today’s Sci-Fi standards. For perspective, last month’s Total Recall (another Sci-Fi remake of a 90s film) was 125 million dollars, and has so far barely gone over 150 million dollar profit.

End of Watch- Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, this film follows two cops as they make a discovery that gets the attention of the major drug cartels. This is yet another “found footage” type film, but this film just doesn’t seem like it should have been shot like this. Watching the trailer is very distracting due to the terrible cinematography. I’m not even sure if its supposed to really be a found footage film since the actors don’t seem to be interacting with the camera whatsoever, but the choice in its style of shooting just seems baffling.

House at the End of the Street- Summer movie season is over, so it means its time to get back to sub-par horror flicks. This is rising star’s Jennifer Lawrence first stab at the genre, and she has proven to be a very versatile actress to where I look forward to seeing how her performance is handled.

Trouble with the Curve- Having a great cast of Clint Eastwood, Amy Adams, Justin Timberlake, and John Goodman, it’s easy to have high expectations for this film. The film focuses on an aging legendary baseball scout (played by Eastwood) who has one last chance to prove his worth to his team. The scout’s daughter (played by Amy Adams) accompanies him on this journey to make sure he’s ok, much against his wishes. Its simple in premise, but hopefully excellent in execution.

September 28th

Hotel Transylvania- Well, it seemed promising enough when you hear that Genndy Tartakovsky is directing it, the man who brought us such animated classic shows like Dexter’s Lab, Samurai Jack, and Star Wars: Clone Wars. It’s just when you hear everyone else behind it that makes you cringe: Adam Sandler and his entire posse, creators of such recent hits like Grown Ups, The Zookeeper, and sure to be cult classic Jack and Jill. It’s a very promising premise of a monster resort that gets party crashed by a stoner, but if the trailers are any indication, its just going to be what we’ve come to expect from Sandler and his crew. Granted, none of the people from Sandler’s usual group wrote it, so hopefully there is some hope for this to at least be passable.

Looper- This film has an interesting concept, in that organization sends people to the past in order for assassins to kill and dispose of their bodies. They are called Loopers, but when one of the Loopers’ targets is his future self, the entire system dissolves, and the other Loopers hunt both him and his future self. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis star as the younger and older version of the same character respectively.

Won’t Back Down- This month’s chick flick is about two mothers who try to turn their inner city school around and improve their children’s education. Standing in their way is the corrupt teacher’s union and the principal of the school. It stars Maggie Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, and Holly Hunter.