War Horse: Behind the Play and With the Horses!

Posted on | June 8, 2013 | 1 Comment

A scene from War HorseIn this 13 minute video, Flick and Flack give you a sneak peak at War Horse. Filmed at a PPAC press event, this short film includes anecdotes from an interview with actor Brandon Drea and the Joey the horse puppeteers. Horse kisses, fascinating behind the scenes tidbits, the play’s trailer, and some incredible horse jumps! What more could you want? More info on the play, here.

A Look at Skyfall (Flick’s Preview)

Posted on | November 9, 2012 | 2 Comments

You can party all day long for every day this year in order to celebrate fifty years of 007. So of course Flick is here so you can stock up on your knowledge about the twenty-third Bond film, Skyfall. It’s directed by Sam Mendes and for his third outing, Daniel Craig returns as the iconic super-spy. Will the film honor the fifty year benchmark? How could they possibly go somewhere different than the last twenty-two films? In Casino Royale and Quantam of Solace the action was done by real humans, is that the case this time round? Is Craig done with it after this? Want to know the answers? Read on.Last night, Bond once again hit silver screens everywhere. His new film Skyfall, looks like it’s harkening back with a classy vibe. In my opinion that’s a great way to celebrate half a century of the ongoing franchise. The director is an odd choice, Sam Mendes, who previously was at the helm of dramas like American Beauty or Revolutionary Road or Road to Peridition. Judging from the video blogs that have been released (especially the first that focuses on Mendes) it seems like the film is in good hands. The action is still there, but a new sort of depth is also intact.Let’s go from behind the camera to in front of the camera. Daniel Craig is back. His first turn in the role, was in 2006’s Casino Royale. It was a return to form according to fans and, for one of the first times ever, critics. Two years later, Craig returned for the commercially successful Quantum of Solace. This time however, critics weren’t so happy and neither, entirely, were fans. So for Skyfall, Craig is bringing Mendes along with him and is hoping for the best.

There are also two Bond girls on board, played by Naomie Harris and Berenice Marlohe. From the footage that has been seen so far, both of the Bond girls seem half allies, half enemies. Ola Rapace is also in a supporting role as one of Silva’s (played by Javier Bardem sporting some blonde hair) henchman. Of course Judi Dench is still here and according to spectators she has a past with Silva.

So will Skyfall do well? It already $321million in it’s pockets from overseas so even if it’s a flop here (which it won’t be) they have already earned back their budget (an estimated $200 million) and more. My prediction for the opening weekend is a stellar $73 million. It should get the Fall movie season rolling. If you see the film comment on this post. I think that’s it… Bond-jour!

Zemeckis and Washington Take Flight

Posted on | November 2, 2012 | Add Comments

Flight (2012) Flight (the closing night movie at this years new York Film Festival which celebrated it’s half century birthday this year) is out in cinemas today, opening in around 1,800 theaters. Robert Zemeckis hasn’t directed a film since 2000’s Cast Away. Both films feature thrillingly suspenseful plane crashes and a lead performance that carries the entire movie. But don’t expect to see humans talking to volleyballs. Robert Zemeckis (even more so than his pal and mentor Steven Spielberg) has made even his most adult dramas into often made up stories that unlike many of Spielberg’s films are not based on hard to deal with subject matter and have a bit of fantasy in them. But all that might be about to change.

Flight (2012)Flight (not based on real events) tells the story of Whip Whitaker, a high flying daredevil drinker. On a certain plane ride he saves 96 lives, though 4 die, by steering the plane to safety. When he wakes up at the hospital he’s a hero, but there are serious doubts about him as well. A lawyer (Don Cheadle) tries to help him although he believes he has “alchahol in his system”. Will Whip go to jail or will his lawyer and some other pals help him out?

Flight (2012)The trailer doesn’t say much but leaves some clues leading me to believe the film is structured around not just the plane crash but a nail biting, spine tingling court meeting that decides the fate of Whip. Whip also gets involved with romance, the lives of some of the passengers on the plane when it was flown to safety, and perhaps some family drama. While Zemeckis is an extremely talented, capable director the movie is resting it’s laurels on Denzel Washington. And based on everything I’ve seen and heard about the film, that’s a great choice.

Will Washington win an Oscar for his role? He’s no stranger to the academy, having won twice for Glory (1989) and Training Day (2001). He’s also been nominated thrice for Cry Freedom (1987), Malcolm X (1992), and The Hurricane (1999). However this under the radar drama will need lasting power through all of awards season if Washington is even to get nominated. Why? Well, with actors like Ben Affleck, Bradley Cooper, and especially Daniel Day-Lewis, among others, seeming like locks for the category, staying power for a film (and a performance) is crucial. Washington hasn’t been in a true conversation starter of a role for a while now but I’m guessing a nomination for him will the Academy’s nod to the film. Rolling Stone magazine critic Peter Travers declares “Washington’s performance will be talked about for years.” As for other categories, such as Best Picture and Director, a boatload of nominations seem unlikely thanks to a not quite rapturous amount of praise and the stiffest competition in years. However the movie has a shot some technical categories such as sound, special effects, and maybe musical score.

Back To The Future (1985)I am not allowed to see Flight, because it is rated R mainly for adult themes, but if I could I would. One of the most intriguing parts about the film is that it seems to be super suspenseful. I genuinely don’t know the ending, unlike most films where you can tell by trailers, reviews, the target audience, and the tone of the story what will happen. The acting, direction, and other usual elements of a film production all look perfected to the highest level, as well. Of Zemeckis’ career I have only seen 4 of his films: Back To The Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Polar Express, and A Christmas Carol. He’s very capable, talented, and respectable.

As for the box office my guess is Flight will soar to $15.9 million this weekend. While Argo has been consistently doing great at the box office my guess is that it will drop to third place with $10.6 million. As for fourth place new release The Man With The Iron Fists should claim the spot with around $6.8 million, while fifth place will go to critically acclaimed flop Cloud Atlas with $6.5 million. Last and least Hotel Transylvania should do fine with $5.9 million.at sixth place. But apart from Argo’s holdover grosses Flight’s biggest competion is the animated, video game themed Disney family comedy, Wreck-It Ralph. Reviews have been surprisingly enthusiastic and the ads are funny, appealing, and show just what younger kids want at a movie: laughs, action, and fun. But it’s a kids movie so how will it affect Flight’s grosses? Because I’m predicting it’ll open at the top spot with $50.9 million. With many kids excited to see this movie they’ll need someone to take them and that will be their parents. And since most people don’t see two movies in a weekend they probably won’t have time to see Flight. Apart from some big flops Washington’s films have almost always opened to $20 million when opening in 2,000+ theaters but with Flight opening in only 1,900 even those who want to see the movie might not get a chance. And there are two non film related events that could make this a much weaker box office weekend than I have just predicted: Hurricane Sandy and the election. The storm is wrapping up but has still done enough damage so that not everyone will be able to got the movies this weekend. And lesser but still likely is the election. Not all adults may want to see a film (they may want to relax before such a big night) especially undecided voters who have more important matters on their minds.

Flight (2012)Flight seems like a great film and worth seeing if you want to form complete Oscar predictions. There have been ads everywhere and if the film expands it’s theater count the advertising will have been worth it. Flight may even become one of Washington’s and Zemecks’ best loved movies. The Rotten Tomatoes Critics Consensus is “Robert Zemeckis makes a triumphant return to live-action cinema with Flight, a thoughtful and provocative character study propelled by a compelling performance from Denzel Washington.” Reviews are saying the film is great and it looks like an edge of your seat thrilling, suspenseful drama. Flight is a film full of surprises, it seems. You never know what you’re gonna get.

Watch the trailer and a clip from Flight here. Comment about the 139 minute R rated dram below. Will you see it? Not interested? What are your box office and Oscar predictions for the film? What do you think about Zemeckis and Washington’s other work? Tell us in the comments section

An Epic of Intricately Complex Proportions

Posted on | October 26, 2012 | 1 Comment

Cloud Atlas (2012)In the following article Flack talks about the Wachowski siblings career and how they have teamed up with German director Tom Tyker to create the visionary, mind bending Cloud Atlas, out today.

The Wachowski siblings have had an extremely respectable career. If you’ve ever wanted to be a Hollywood director you probably wouldn’t mind being in their position. But lately they’ve been faltering. Lana (previously Larry) and Andy debuted with the crime thriller Bound in 1996. Not everybody loved it but Roger Ebert did, calling it “Pure cinema spread over several genres”. The film made $6 million but cost $4 million to make. But the sibling had much bigger plans. In 1994 they completed a script for a sci-fi trilogy called The Matrix. In 1999 the instant action classic was released to commercial and critical success. As Rotten Tomatoes says the movie is “An ingenious combination of Hong Kong action, ground-breaking Hollywood FX, and an imaginative vision.” This, so far at least, is the high point of their career.

The Matrix (1999)After a massive blockbuster there’s always the same route. Make a sequel! And the Wachowskis did that. In 2003 a collection of 9 animated short films titled The Animatrix were released on DVD, though some were available online and one showed before the 2003 Stephen King adaption Dreamcatcher. The shorts were produced and in some cases written by the Wachowskis but they directed none of them, leaving the job to others. On May 15, 2003 the highly anticipated The Matrix Reloaded was released, which showed out of competition at the Cannes film festival that year. On November 15th The Matrix Revolutions wrapped up the trilogy in the same year. Both sequels cost $150 million each and were shot at the same time but while Reloaded is the highest grossing installment of the series, Revolutions is shockingly the lowest.  And even though the original film has an 87% on Rotten Tomatoes the sequels have a 73% and 36%, respectively. On the whole, the sequels are not remembered fondly and was often a tragic shoot. However one reason the Wachowskis should be proud of the series altogether is that they made a lot of money. So how to follow it up? Wait five years before releasing a new film. But on May 9, 2008 Speed Racer (the only Wachowski film that’s not rated R) was released. The project had been in development since 1992 and is based on a Japanese anime TV show from the 60’s. But the movie didn’t even earn it’s budget back in worldwide grosses, let alone make a profit. Critics nor audiences were fans of the movie and is thus reflected on as a candy colored, unnecessary flop.

Cloud Atlas (2012)But after the harsh reaction to their recent movies the Wachowskis are poised to make a comeback with an epic of intricately complex proportions. The movie is titled Cloud Atlas and is also co-directed by the man behind Run Lola Run, Tom Tyker. Together these three directors have taken the book Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell, and turned it into a film. The book and film feature six different stories of different genres that eventually connect. On top of that the many, many actors play two roles each, while Halle Berry and Tom Hanks play six each in different stories. The movie is a mishmash of ideas, stories, and genres. The first story is set in the 19th century and tells the story of a lawyer sailing from the Pacific to California. As he sails home he records his voyage in a half finished diary which eventually resurfaces to a poor musician in 30’s Belgium, in the second story. The pianist’s friend also appears in the third episode in which Halle Berry as a reporter falls in love with Tom Hanks as a scientist during 1975 set against a possibly deadly nuclear conspiracy. The story of Berry’s character next lands in the hands of a murdering publisher who gets trapped in a prison taken care of by a very nasty care worker in the fourth adventure set in early 21st Century London and once again featuring Tom Hanks this time as a gangster type author. The publisher has ties with Sonmi-451, a clone trying to gain her humanity with the help of a man trying to bring down a totalitarian society in the near hi-tech future. In the final installment a tribesman played by Hanks (living after the apocalypse called The Fall) tries to escape Hugh Grant as a cannibal and a recurring evil, Devil type creature along with the help of companion survivor Meronym, played by Berry.

The Wachowskis and Tom TykerThe movie cost about $120 million to make and just by watching the trailers you can tell. But the directing trio has called it an independent movie despite the fact that it’s being distributed by Warner Bros. Still even the gigantic budget doesn’t seem large enough. The novel by David Mitchell was published in 2004 and was greeted by acclaim, awards, question marks, and mixed reviews. While on the set of V For Vendetta, written and produced by the Wachowskis, the star of Vendetta, Natalie Portman showed Lana, Cloud Atlas a book she’d just read and loved. So Lana read it, then Andy, and within a year they had written a first draft. They had wanted to work with Tom Tyker for a while and knew this would be the perfect opportunity. So the three of them spent a year in a Costa Rica writing more drafts and laying out index cards and rearranging them. Natalie Portman was promised the role of Sonmi-451 but had to drop out. James McAvoy and Ian McKellen were both considered for roles but the cast is extremely respectable as it is. Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Susan Sarandon, Hugo Weaving, Jim Sturges, Ben Winshaw, Doona Bae, Keith David, James D’Arcy, and many more are among the stars.

Cloud Atlas (2012)Despite these big names, will audiences actually turn up for a movie that is so long and complex? Well it’s not just confusing mind boggling interconnecting story lines you’ll find at this film. You’ll also receive the bang for your buck. The fifth story especially features lots of action. Watch the trailer and you’ll see what could be the best chase scene of the year. And of course there’s lots of special effects throughout. But the movie is 172 minutes long and there’s a guarantee that it’s not a 2 hour, 52 minute action scene. But no matter what you’re wanting or expecting from Cloud Atlas you’re going to get something. How good is that something? Well, reviews have been flooding in since the 10 minute standing ovation that the movie got at it’s premiere at TIFF, the Toronto International Film Festival. (Flick and I attended the kids version April of this year). Some critics LOVE the film some critics DON’T. Roger Ebert (and the Wachowskis) have compared the film to 2001: A Space Odessey in a good way. Ebert gave it 4 out of 4 stars while others have been much less kind. But most like Bob Mondello, who largely disliked the film says “Cloud Atlas is now a film, for better or worse. Mostly worse I’d say, but give these folks credit …” I think the film, no matter what, was worth making. The Wachowskis and Tyker have reportedly had a great time working on the film, and so have the actors. There have been plenty of advertisements on TV, talk shows, and the Internet as well as a five and a half minute trailer released over the summer, a second and shorter trailer, and three behind the scenes featurettes. The movie however is rated R, which always reduces the number of viewers. Yet it is in IMAX, which costs more (thus adding money). But you don’t have to see it in IMAX. There are so many reasons why it will and won’t be a blockbuster success. If I was allowed to see the film I would see it opening day in IMAX. However, not everybody feels that way and so I’m guessing the movie will debut to $9.5 million on it’s opening weekend. Terribly disappointing but sadly likely. However I’m guessing the movie will do great internationally, thanks to the German Tom Tyker and partly foreign cast, and can at least make back it’s budget.

Tom Tyker (who composed the music for Cloud Atlas before shooting began) has no upcoming films he is currently working on. The Wachowskis are producing, writing, and directing a sci-fi action adventure starring Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum and set to be released sometime 2014. Jupiter will likely be commercially successful. And so after all the future may be bright.

Now go see Cloud Atlas and remember everything is connected. When you see Cloud Atlas there is one word that will come out of your mouth (to quote a certain other Wachowski film): whoa.

Cloud Atlas (2012)Tell us if you’ve read the book and then your opinion in the comments after seeing the movie (and what you think of these director’s other work and if you even want you see the movie)!


A Nolan Groundbreaker

Posted on | July 1, 2012 | Add Comments

One of the most anticipated films of the summer will be hitting theaters in nineteen days. That film is Christopher Nolan’s epic final installment in his Batman trilogy: The Dark Knight Rises. Yes, it sounds ominous, yes it will break opening weekend records, yes it is a Best Picture contender. All those yeses and more will be discussed if you do one simple task that will change your life forever: read on.

Christopher Nolan has become a director that will most likely be remembered for the ages. He is known for helming Memento, The Prestige, Inception, and of course The Dark Knight trilogy. The Batman finale will certainly be his most successful and popular film to date. My prediction for it’s opening weekend gross is $217.4 million. Currently Nolan’s most successful (and popular) film is The Dark Knight. The Avengers has now shattered all records by not only earning the highest opening weekend gross, but also being the first film to earn over $200 million on it’s opening weekend. It’s total opening weekend gross  was $207.4 million.  If my prediction for The Dark Knight Rises is correct, then The Avengers record will be beaten.

Asides from moneymaking, the film has a good chance of being nominated for Best Picture. It’s competition in terms of winning is is Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Lincoln, The Great Gatsby, and more. Arguably the reason the Academy Awards have changed their Best Picture nominations from five to ten is to let more popular films in like The Dark Knight, a film that wasn’t nominated, but according to many, deserved to be nominated. Now that there will be five to ten nominees this year (unless the rules are changed again), The Dark Knight Rises has a very good chance of being nominated.

The movie will certainly be action packed, but according to the trailer the movie will follow in the footsteps of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight: it will be macabre. Yet that won’t stop half of the world from seeing it. After all, it is one of the most anticipated films of the summer.

A Long Awaited Sci-fi Adventure

Posted on | June 5, 2012 | Add Comments

This week Ridely Scott’s Prometheus, a sci-fi horror epic, will be released. Scott has been working on the film for ten (yes ten) years, and now, finally, it will be released this Friday, June 8th. The film stars Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, and Guy Pearce. It is certainly one of the most anticipated films of the summer, but how has the film reached this level of excitement? Well, you’ll just have to scroll down the page… and read on.

In a featurette for trailers.apple.com/trailers, Ridely Scott said that Prometheus is “all about everything.” What does he mean by that? Well you might have to spend $10 to find out (don’t ask me, I haven’t seen the film). That’s exciting news for Scott fans, but why so many Scott fans? Why are so many people awaiting in bated breath the release of his new film? Sci-fi has always been a popular genre and Scott has made hits like Blade Runner and Alien, so why shouldn’t the fans rush out? They should (or at least that’s what  they think). There are so many fans of Scott’s previous work that Prometheus is bound to be a box-office smash.

Judging from the trailer, the film will serve up plenty of action with some of the coolest looking sets this year and effects ready to blow your mind. There’s also a star-studded cast that includes Noomi Rapace, Michael Fassbender, Charlize Theron, Guy Pearce, Idris Elba, Logan Marshall-Green, and more. The third dimension of 3-D will be explored for the first time in a Scott film and that should give the film an extra million bucks or more. The film has already received some critic reviews and its current rottentomatoes.com percentage is 79%. (I expect its final percentage will be 77%.)

So many stars! In 3-D! Ridely Scott as director! (Doesn’t this sound like an ad?) It seems destined for success, and come June 8th we’ll know the answer to that. You’ve only got to wait three more days to find out. And in the three more days… nobody can hear you scream… in excitement.