13 items from 2016
Two big movies for you to choose from this weekend! First, we have the star-studded cast of .Hail, Caesar!. from the great auteurs Coen Brothers. This one stars George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson, Channing Tatum, Josh Brolin, Ralph Fiennes, Tilda Swinton, Jonah Hill, and Frances McDormand. Heck, it even has Dolph Lundgren and Christopher Lambert!
We also have the romantic drama .The Choice. from author Nicholas Sparks (.The Notebook,. .Message in a Bottle,. .Dear John.)! This one has Benjamin Walker, Teresa Palmer, Tom Welling, Tom Wilkinson, and Maggie Grace.
So which one is my pick of the week? Take a look at my reviews of "Hail, Caesar!" and "The Choice" as seen on The Filipino Channel's "Balitang America!"
Here are the films opening theatrically in the U.S. the week of Friday, February 5. All synopses provided by distributor unless listed otherwise. Wide The Choice Director: Ross Katz Cast: Benjamin Walker, Teresa Palmer, Alexandra Daddario, Maggie Grace, Tom Welling, Tom Wilkinson Synopsis: "Travis Shaw is a ladies' man who thinks a serious relationship would cramp his easygoing lifestyle. Gabby Holland is a feisty medical student who's preparing to settle down with her long-term boyfriend. Fate brings the two together as Gabby moves next door to Travis, sparking an irresistible attraction that upends both of their lives. As their bond grows, the unlikely couple must decide how far they're willing to go to keep the hope of love alive." Hail, Caesar! Directors: Joel & Ethan Coen Cast: George Clooney, Josh Brolin, Channing Tatum, Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes, Jonah Hill, Frances McDormand, Christopher Lambert, Scarlett Johansson, Patrick »
- Steve Greene
For many, Nicholas Sparks’ adaptations are a dead horse that have been beaten with punishing predictability. Now released as annual installments, every new one is greeted with the same critiques of predictability, melodramatic writing and the avalanche of contrivances that make up the plot. Sparks’ adaptations have distilled their paint-by-numbers blueprint to a science with the same immutable features, namely a fawning view of North Carolina that doubles as a superlative tourism board video, and a star-crossed romance that’s struck with divine intervention.
Ross Katz’s The Choice isn’t terribly dissimilar from the rest of the crop, but it’s still one of the better Sparks adaptations since The Notebook because it doesn’t simply feel like it’s dragging its heels until the main conflict hits. For the first hour, it’s just a very good hang-out movie with likable characters and amiable dialogue that recall the »
- Michael Snydel
2016 is five weeks old, so the new model is rolling off the assembly line. You might think I’m referring to an automobile company like Ford or Lincoln. Well, we are dealing with a brand name, one associated with popular novels instead of cars. Stephen King is still king of the horror/suspense novels, John Grisham has the legal thrillers, and Nicholas Sparks is best known for the swoony, sweeping romance paperbacks that fill the spinner racks at airport gift shops and often protrude from the tops of canvas beach bags. His best sellers quickly grabbed the attention of the movie studios, and almost a dozen have been translated to the big screen (easy to see why since they don’t require costly CGI action set pieces or big name superstars since Sparks is the name that draws ’em in). Back to the assembly line reference, there’s been a »
- Jim Batts
“Now pay attention, because I’m about to tell you the secret of life.” These would be hard opening lines for any film to live up to, but when spoken at the beginning of “The Choice” — the latest, and quite possibly worst, tissue-thin weepie to issue forth from the Nicholas Sparks page-to-screen assembly line— the gulf between what’s promised and what’s delivered is wide enough to be spotted from space. Beginning as a merely mediocre retread of standard Sparksian tropes, veering off into self-parody around the hour-mark, and finally concluding with one of the most brazenly cynical climaxes recently committed to film, “The Choice” presents audiences with a fairly easy decision at the multiplex.
In spite of his status as a critical punching bag, Sparks is usually a successful storyteller. At least, successful stories have been told with his assistance. Nick Cassavetes’ 2004 adaptation of “The Notebook,” to cite the most obvious example, »
- Andrew Barker
Last weekend, the hit animated sequel Kung Fu Panda 3 ended the first month of 2016 on a high note at the box office, taking in $48 million in its opening weekend. In the first frame of February, this adventure will face three new movies, Universal's Hail, Caesar!, Sony's Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Lionsgate's The Choice. If the projections at BoxOffice.com are correct, none of these will likely beat Kung Fu Panda 3, which should win this weekend with an estimated $22.6 million.
The animated sequel Kung Fu Panda 3 currently has a solid 80% "Fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and it opened in 3,955 theaters, which will still make it the widest release in theaters this weekend, by a long-shot. Kung Fu Panda 3 marks the return of one of the most successful animated franchises in the world, with its biggest comedy adventure yet. When Po's (Jack Black) long-lost panda father (Bryan Cranston) suddenly reappears, »
Pope Francis will play himself in the new religious movie “Beyond the Sun,” marking his acting debut and the first time that a pope has appeared in a feature film.
Ambi co-founders Andrea Iervolino and Lady Monika Bacardi will finance and produce the film. Graciela Rodriguez wrote the screenplay and will co-produce with Gabriel Leybu. Monsignor Eduardo Garcia will be Pope Francis’ advisor.
All profits from the film will be donated to Argentinean charities El Alemendro and Los Hogares de Cristo, which aid at-risk children and young adults.
Iervolino made his first film in his hometown of Cassino, Italy, at age 15.
“Our excitement and gratitude toward His Holiness, Pope Francis participating in this film is beyond words,” he said. “This is »
- Dave McNary
Interview conducted by Gary Salem
When feisty medical student Gabby Holland moves in next door to perennial ladies’ man Travis Shaw, they embark on a surprising romantic journey neither imagined possible. Travis has always believed a serious relationship would cramp his easygoing lifestyle, while Gabby is preparing to settle down with her long-term boyfriend—until an irresistible attraction between the unlikely couple upends both of their well-planned lives. Spanning a decade and tracing the evolution of a love affair that is ultimately tested by life’s most defining events, this story features a memorable ensemble of friends and family in Nicholas Sparks’s beloved North Carolina setting, culminating with the question that every couple must ask themselves: how far would you go to keep the hope of love alive?
- Movie Geeks
Based on the emotional and inspiring novel by literary superstar Nicholas Sparks, The Choice chronicles the power of love from a young couple’s rocky first meeting to a life-long romance that will be tested as their lives take a turn that neither of them ever anticipated.
When feisty medical student Gabby Holland moves in next door to perennial ladies’ man Travis Shaw, they embark on a surprising romantic journey neither imagined possible. Travis has always believed a serious relationship would cramp his easygoing lifestyle, while Gabby is preparing to settle down with her long-term boyfriend – until an irresistible attraction between the unlikely couple upends both of their well-planned lives.
Spanning a decade and tracing the evolution of a love affair that is ultimately tested by life’s most defining events, this story features a memorable ensemble of friends and family in Sparks’s beloved North Carolina setting, culminating with »
- Movie Geeks
Avatar's Sam Worthington is not done with epic, military science fiction just yet. Last year it was announced that he would star alongside the lovely and talented UK actress Ruth Wilson (The Affair, Luther) in an ambitious project called The Titan.
The film, which sees Worthington's family "relocated in order to take part in a ground-breaking experiment of man’s genetic evolution into space," promises to take on big themes. It is based on an original story by Arash Amel (Grace of Monaco), and written by Max Hurwitz (AMC's Hell on Wheels).
Hotshot Air Force pilot, Rick Janssen (Sam Worthington), is chosen for a military experiment that will create a human bei [Continued ...] »
Next time moviegoers glimpse Agyness Deyn up on the silver screen, she’ll be rubbing shoulders with a posse of A-listers in Hollywood’s Golden Age for Joel and Ethan Coen’s soon-to-be-released dramedy Hail, Caesar!, though Deadline reports that the actress has already lined up her next project.
Joining Lennart Ruff’s sci-fi movie The Titan, Deyn will star opposite Clash of the Titans co-star Sam Worthington, Sofia Boutella, Taylor Schilling, Tom Wilkinson and fellow newcomers Diego Boneta and Aleksander Jovanovic. Less a Greek-inspired epic and more an “elevated sci-fi”, Ruff’s new feature looks set to propel viewers into the not-so-distant future, one which charts the journey of a military family at the forefront of a groundbreaking experiment that has deep ramifications for all of humanity.
Dabbling with genetic evolution in space, the core concept driving the director’s foray into science fiction is brimming with existential themes »
- Michael Briers
Exclusive: Diego Boneta, Aleksander Jovanovic and Agyness Deyn have boarded the cast of The Titan opposite Sam Worthington, Taylor Schilling and Tom Wilkinson. Set in a not-too-distant future, the story tracks the journey of a military family that is relocated to take part in a groundbreaking experiment of man's genetic evolution into space. Lennart Ruff directs the project, an elevated sci-fi feature produced by Brian Kavanaugh-Jones' Automatik, Ben Pugh and Rory… »
We’ve reached the near mid-point of this Definitive List; 20 down, 30 to go. As we move forward, the story of “boy meets girl” becomes more complicated, as plenty of stumbling blocks stand in the way: lack of experience, insecurity, unsupportive parents, and, as in most cases, ego. So, when we watch all these films, what do we learn? Hundreds of romantic comedies end happily, but none end in the same way. Perhaps there’s a method to the madness, but the more we tread through these highlights, the more it’s clear that to make an impact, you have to change the game or perfect the existing one.
#30. Bull Durham (1988)
Baseball movies had worn out their welcome a bit in the mid-80s and audiences weren’t clamoring for a romantic comedy based around the national pastime. Enter writer/director Ron Shelton, who decided to write a film based on »
- Joshua Gaul
13 items from 2016
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