CinemaNerdz Wed, 04 Mar 2015 02:00:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Trailer Trashin': Maori Martial Arts Action in The Dead Lands Wed, 04 Mar 2015 02:00:12 +0000 Sorry for missing last week, dear readers, but I was so busy with work and other commitments that I had to let the column fall by the wayside. But I’m determined to not let that become a habit, and I’ve got something really cool for you this week. In this installment of Trailer Trashin’, I’m taking a look at the upcoming New Zealand action film The Dead Lands.

Premise: After his tribe is slaughtered through an act of treachery, Hongi (James Rolleston), the teenage son of a Maori chieftain, must avenge his father’s murder in order to bring peace and honor to the souls of his loved ones. Vastly outnumbered by a band of villains led by Wirepa (To Kohe Tuhaka), Hongi’s only hope is to pass through the feared and forbidden Dead Lands and forge an uneasy alliance with the mysterious Warrior (Lawrence Makoare), a ruthless fighter who has ruled the area for years.

Note: This is a red band trailer, which means it can only play in theaters with R-rated movies and therefore is not appropriate for those under the age of seventeen. This trailer contains plenty of violence and a decent amount of blood and gore, so it is definitely Not Safe for Work.

The Dead LandsMy Take: I hadn’t even heard of the Māori-language martial arts action film The Dead Lands before seeing the trailer. The film had its world premiere at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival, and was selected as the New Zealand entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at this year’s Academy Awards, but was not nominated. Now a red band trailer for The Dead Lands has debuted ahead of its stateside release, and it looks like it could be really cool.

The cast is made up of New Zealand actors who are mostly unknown over here, unless you’re someone who follows the NZ film scene. For me, the main draw of the cast is Lawrence Makoare as the mysterious Warrior. Makoare is best known for playing various orcs and other monsters in both The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, although he also appeared in the James Bond film Die Another Day (2002) and the Netflix series Marco Polo last year. This looks like a great role for him, and one where he doesn’t have to be buried under tons of creature makeup.

For me, the thing that really impressed me about this trailer is the action. The Dead Lands is a showcase for Mau rākau, a martial art based on traditional Māori weapons. While we tend to associate the term “martial arts” with only the fighting arts of eastern Asia, it really covers combat disciplines from all over the world, from Brazilian capoeira to French savate. I really like how kind of primal this trailer feels, with these brutal, down and dirty fights taking place in this beautiful, untouched landscape.

All in all, this trailer did a great job of selling me on the film. I’m always on the lookout for a good lower-profile action film, and this looks like it could fit the bill. I definitely want to check out The Dead Lands when it’s released stateside in April.

ANTICIPATION: My interest is very much alive.

Release Date: April 17th, 2015 in limited theaters and VOD

Starring: James Rolleston, Lawrence Makoare, Rena Owen, Te Kohe Tuhaka, Xavier Horan, Raukura Turei, and George Henare
Director: Toa Fraser
Writers: Glenn Standring

P.S. This past Friday also brought us the sad news of the death of actor Leonard Nimoy, who passed away at his home in Los Angeles from end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He was 83 years old, and is survived by his widow Susan Bay and his children Adam and Julie. While he was best known as Mr. Spock in the Star Trek franchise, he also starred in two seasons of the original Mission: Impossible TV series, hosted the documentary series In Search of…, and had a recurring role on the sci-fi series Fringe, among many other projects. He left an indelible mark on film and television, and helped create one of the most iconic characters in modern science-fiction. My thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Nimoy’s family and friends.

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Box Office Weekend: Focus In the Lead, But Not Very Energetic Mon, 02 Mar 2015 16:29:50 +0000 It is a slow week for new releases. After the smash opening weekend of Fifty Shades of Grey, the box office took a nose dive as Will Smith and his con artist comedy/drama Focus opened in first place with a fairly tepid estimated $19.1 million, a rough start to the $50 million budgeted film. In second, Kingsman: The Secret Service finds it has settled comfortably in second place for the third week in a row, earning an estimated $11.8 million. Counting its worldwide take, it has managed to pull itself into decent financial footing, while it is no match for The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water, whose estimated $11.2 million puts it at nearly double its costs in domestic earnings alone, and Fifty Shades of Grey, whose worldwide $486.2 million (and estimated $10.9 million weekend) practically guarantees the rest of the franchise will follow, regardless of critical reception.

FocusThe Lazarus Effect would have had a rough opening with an estimated $10.6 million if it had been produced by anyone else, but the people behind The Purge franchise remain dedicated to low budgets regardless of critical reception, and its $3.3 million price tag has already ensured a profitable release. McFarland, USA, on the other hand, with an estimated $7.8 million, still has not reported a budget cost, though compared to other sports films released by Buena Vista through the years, it sits somewhere on the low side of average in terms of box office performance. In a stunning display, things are looking up for the already well-received American Sniper…besides an Oscar win and an estimated $7.7 million, it also looks poised to overtake both Guardians of the Galaxy and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 for highest grossing domestic release of 2014, if it can hold up for at least two more weeks.

At the bottom, The DUFF proved fairly resilient, picking up an estimated $7.2 million and a profitable $20.1 million in domestic gross. Still Alice, starring Julianne Moore as an Alzheimer’s-diagnosed linguistics professor, picked up over 500 theaters and a place on the top ten after seven weeks of release, earning an estimated $2.7 million and pushing the $5 million budgeted production into minor profits. However, Hot Tub Time Machine 2 seemed doomed from the start and did not disappoint, with an estimated $2.4 million only providing $10.2 million in total earnings to the $14 million production before it likely drops from the list.

Weekend Box Office (February 27th – March 1st)

  1. Focus…$19.1 million
  2. Kingsman: The Secret Service…$11.8 million
  3. The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water…$11.2 million
  4. Fifty Shades of Grey…$10.9 million
  5. The Lazarus Effect…$10.6 million
  6. McFarland, USA…$7.8 million
  7. American Sniper…$7.7 million
  8. The DUFF…$7.2 million
  9. Still Alice…$2.7 million
  10. Hot Tub Time Machine2…$2.4 million
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Movie Review: Focus Sat, 28 Feb 2015 06:07:24 +0000 It’s all about focus in the world of con artists and pick pockets. What expert swindler, Nicky Spurgeon played by Will Smith tries to convey to his intern Jess (Margot Robbie) is that you get your victim to pay attention to something else, while diverting them you go in and take whatever you want with them being none the wiser. If you are at all interested in human nature or body language you will undoubtedly enjoy the film Focus.

FocusNicky is a master illusionist in the art of trickery, cheating and deception. Spurgeon having come from a long line of rip-off artists, his father and grandfather were all in the con game, he learned at an early age how to manipulate people. The beautiful Jess is massively impressed and wants to be taught by the best. I found it extremely interesting just how easy all of this deceit paid off. One can only hope that this is only a movie and the life of crime portrayed in the film is not as glamorous as it has appeared.

Shortly into the film the con artist crew sets off for New Orleans. We learn that wherever there are large events happening, this is where the true criminals come into action, preying on the highly distracted victim with the greatest of ease. The film depicted several different scenarios, that were very entertaining to watch come to fruition. This behavior definitely makes you want to guard you watch, wallet, jewelry, credit cards, and purses much better than may you currently do.

This comedy/drama/crime flick is very entertaining. Certainly not an original role for Will Smith, he still plays his usual expert at something, extremely cocky self that you would expect from him, but nevertheless you will be impressed and amused. Margot Robbie is perfect in her beautiful sidekick role. Honorable mention goes to partner in crime Farhad, played by Adrian Martinez. Matinez was just plain hilarious and always had some sort of funny yet shocking one-liners. Rodrigo Santoro played the sexy, and rich, Garriga, nothing exceptional but nice to look at. Owens played by Gerald McRaney as Grarriga’s right hand of security played a tough-guy that for me was overacted.

All in all friends, the film Focus is engaging. Maybe not a “must see,” but certainly worth your time.

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Win Advance Passes to The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel Thu, 26 Feb 2015 15:22:23 +0000 Enter here for your chance to win passes to an advance screening of The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel from director John Madden, starring Dev Patel, Tina Desai, Richard Gere, Tamsin Greig, Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Ronald Pickup, Diana Hardcastle, Celia Imrie, and Maggie Smith.

The Second Best Exotic Marigold HotelFor your chance to receive two (2) complimentary passes to see an advance screening of The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel at the Maple Theater in Bloomfield, Michigan on Tuesday, March 3rd at 7:00PM, just look for the “giveaway” box further down on this page.

There you’ll be directed to a variety of methods by which you can enter the contest. You’ll be asked to provide a valid email address, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter, and Tweet the contest. That’s it. That’s all you have to do to enter. We’ll contact you to let you know if you’ve won one of the pairs of passes that we have. But hurry, because the contest ends at 12:00AM on Monday morning, March 2nd!


THE SECOND BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL: The expansionist dream of Sonny (Dev Patel), and it’s making more claims on his time than he has available, considering his imminent marriage to the love of his life, Sunaina (Tina Desai). Sonny has his eye on a promising property now that his first venture, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the Elderly and Beautiful, has only a single remaining vacancy – posing a rooming predicament for fresh arrivals Guy (Richard Gere) and Lavinia (Tamsin Greig). Evelyn and Douglas (Judi Dench and Bill Nighy) have now joined the Jaipur workforce, and are wondering where their regular dates for Chilla pancakes will lead, while Norman and Carol (Ronald Pickup and Diana Hardcastle) are negotiating the tricky waters of an exclusive relationship, as Madge (Celia Imrie) juggles two eligible and very wealthy suitors. Perhaps the only one who may know the answers is newly installed co-manager of the hotel, Muriel (Maggie Smith), the keeper of everyone’s secrets. As the demands of a traditional Indian wedding threaten to engulf them all, an unexpected way forward presents itself. Directed by John Madden. (FOX SEARCHLIGHT)

THE SECOND BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL will be released on March 6, 2015!


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Box Office Weekend: Fifty Shades Remains a Worldwide Smash Mon, 23 Feb 2015 15:46:37 +0000 Critics and audiences do not always agree, and little more is this evidence than with Fifty Shades of Grey. With an estimated domestic weekend of $23.2 million, the film has become a worldwide sensation, costing $40 million to make and grossing $410.6 million in total box office around the world, despite lackluster reviews. Second-place place finisher, Kingsman: The Secret Service, with an estimated $17.5 million, is on the opposite end, well regarded by critics Fifty Shades of Greybut struggling to make bank on its $81 million production costs. In third, The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water held up in both departments, with an estimated $15.5 million putting into $125.2 million domestically, with critics finding it more than acceptable fare.

McFarland, USA opened to an estimated $11.3 million, though whether this is a good start for the “based on a true story” sports tale is unknown, as its budget numbers remain unreported. The DUFF, on the other hand, may have debuted in fifth with an estimated $11 million, but at $8.5 million to make, it has time to do decent box office. Still, nothing at the box office is doing better than American Sniper in overall domestic take, with an estimated $9.7 million leading to $319.6 million.

At the bottom of the list, The Imitation Game and Paddington are faring the best, with an estimated $2.6 and $2.3 million respectively (though tempered by The Imitation Game not releasing clear budget numbers despite $83.9 million in domestic revenue and Paddington doing far better, and quite profitable, business overseas). But newcomer Hot Tub Time Machine 2 and its estimated $5.8 million is a poor beginning even with its relatively low $14 million budget and Jupiter Ascending will fall far short, an estimated $3.7 million nowhere near enough to help the big budget flop reach even close to its lofty costs.

Weekend Box Office (February 20th – February 22nd)

  1. Fifty Shades of Grey…$23.2 million
  2. Kingsman: The Secret Service…$17.5 million
  3. The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water…$15.5 million
  4. McFarland, USA…$11.3 million
  5. The DUFF…$11 million
  6. American Sniper…$9.7 million
  7. Hot Tub Time Machine 2…$5.8 million
  8. Jupiter Ascending…$3.7 million
  9. The Imitation Game…$2.6 million
  10. Paddington…$2.3 million
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