Fri, 22 Aug 2014 04:38:37 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Movie Review: Sin City: A Dame to Kill For Fri, 22 Aug 2014 04:38:37 +0000 Sin City: A Dame to Kill For is the long awaited sequel to Sin City (2005), a film which grossed over $158 million worldwide and became a fan favorite in no small part due to a visual style that bleeds neo-noir like Frank Miller’s artwork itself. Some have said that it is among the most faithful comic book adaptations ever made. Having the original author and the artist of the comic aboard as the co-director and writer didn’t hurt a bit, clearly. Miller and Robert Rodriguez once again team up to direct the sequel. Frank Miller is the writer (and comic book legend). Sin City: A Dame to Kill For also boasts the return of many cast members. Something you might not expect given the nine-year-gap between films.

Sin City: A Dame to Kill ForAs with the original Sin City, this one is a collection of short, hard-boiled crime films all intertwined together. Sort Raymond Chandler meets Miller with a splash of Rodriguez day-glow CGI all wrapped up in a bundle of attitude and hyper violence. We get two adaptations and two brand new stories here this time, as opposed to 100 percent adaptations last time around, which is a nice treat for long-time Miller fans.

The film begins with “Just Another Saturday Night,” which features Marv (Mickey Rourke) struggling to recall what just happened to him as he wakes up in a daze amidst a car crash and a dead body. Imagine that, Marv with a dead body. Situation normal in bad old Basin City (which all the inhabitants call Sin City), Marv has a condition you see. Next up is “A Dame to Kill For” featuring Dwight (Josh Brolin) who is a tough PI in a rough town. Yet he cannot resist Ava Lord (Eva Green) who waltzes back into his life after having ripped it apart only four years ago. Dwight, much like Phillip Marlowe himself, cannot stay away from a damsel in distress, particularly this one. He knows she is no damn good but it doesn’t matter.

So Dwight finds himself in deep emotional waters. Not exactly a good place for a tough guy. Naturally he investigates, gets Marv to join him on a B&E and then proceeds to get caught. Marv mostly goes out of loyalty to Dwight but the chance to mix it up with Manute (Dennis Haysbert) might have been too much for him to resist – it’s an alpha male thing. Things go downhill from there for Dwight. He does get to re-visit Oldtown though – home of the whores of Sin City. His old flame Gail (Rosario Dawson) even manages to keep Mijo (Jamie Chung) from killing him for dropping by uninvited, for old time’s sake. Eventually, Dwight has to find a way to settle accounts with Ava, the ultimate femme fatale, and that means it gets bloody – bloody fun indeed.

The third story is a new one entitled, “The Long, Bad Night.” This one features Johnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) as a ultra-lucky gambler with an axe to grind with Senator Roark (Powers Boothe). Johnny’s plan for revenge involves taking Roark down at the senator’s own high-stakes poker game. Of course, luck always runs out.

Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

Eva Green in “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.”

The final story is another new one. “Nancy’s Last Dance” picks up years after Nancy (Jessica Alba) was rescued, for the second time, by Hartigan (Bruce Willis) from Roark Jr (Nick Stahl). At the end of, “That Yellow Bastard,” in the original movie Hartigan commits suicide in order to protect Nancy from further trouble from the powerful Roark family. It was his only move left. Sadly, Nancy cannot forgive Hartigan for it. The pain of his loss is too deep, more so than the bottom of a bottle. Nancy comes to a decision about what she must do and puts her life on the exact dark path that Hartigan tried to save her from. With Marv at her side, Nancy pursues vengeance with an unholy delight. Only blood can quench the pain.

All four tales are enjoyable. The gambling power-play story is clearly the weakest of the lot and probably should have been left out. But “A Dame to Kill For” really lives up to its name and is perhaps the best homage to film noir and Chandler that I have ever seen. The stylized black and white images with pops of color are handles expertly in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. Rodriguez has kept the two films wonderfully consistent with a formula that works. Honestly, I could watch a new Sin City movie every week if it were possible to create them that fast.

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Win Passes to An Advance Screening of The November Man Fri, 22 Aug 2014 03:24:49 +0000 Enter here for your chance to win passes to an advance screening of THE NOVEMBER MAN, starring Pierce Brosnan.

The November ManFor your chance to receive two (2) complimentary passes to see The November Man at the Emagine Royal Oak Theater in Royal Oak, Michigan on Tuesday, August 26th at 7:00PM, just look for the “Enter the Contest” box further down on this page. But hurry, because there are a limited number of passes available and when they’re gone, they’re gone!


THE NOVEMBER MAN: Based on the novel There Are No Spies by Bill Granger, THE NOVEMBER MAN follows a former CIA operative who is brought back in on a very personal mission and finds himself pitted against his former protégé in a deadly game involving high-level CIA officials and the Russian president-elect. (RELATIVITY MEDIA) This film is rated R.

CALVARY opens everywhere on Wednesday, August 27th!

Enter the contest by clicking here!

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Trailer Trashin’: Christopher Nolan Launches Into Space with Interstellar Thu, 21 Aug 2014 04:27:19 +0000 Hello again, dear readers. There are only two weeks left in August, and the summer movie season has started winding down. With that in mind, it’s time to start looking ahead to what’s coming out in the fall and winter. And this week’s Trailer Trashin’ examines what looks like a very promising November release – Christopher Nolan’s upcoming sci-fi film Interstellar.

InterstellarPremise: When a wormhole – which theoretically can connect widely-separated regions of space – is discovered, explorers and scientists unite to embark on a voyage through it, transcending the limits of human space travel. Among the travelers is Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), a widowed engineer who decides to leave behind his two children to join the voyage with the goal of saving humanity.

My take: It’s strange to think that it’s been almost ten years since Batman Begins (2005) came out, and British filmmaker Christopher Nolan went from a respected director largely known only to film buffs to one of the most revered figures in movie geekdom. After finishing his Dark Knight trilogy and serving as a producer on the Superman reboot Man of Steel (2013), Nolan has moved on from comic books to other projects. Back in April, he was an executive producer on Transcendence, which is still the worst movie I’ve seen this year. But Nolan is also directing the upcoming science-fiction film Interstellar, due out this November. This is the third trailer we’ve had for Interstellar, and it looks like it could be something special.

There are a lot of notable names in the cast, but we don’t know a lot for sure about many of the characters. The most prominent here is McConaughey as Cooper, an engineer and widower who must make the agonizing decision to leave his children behind and join this mission to save humanity. McCounaughey has delivered a string of great performances over the last several years – including Killer Joe (2011), Mud (2012), The Wolf of Wall Street (2012), Dallas Buyers Club (2013), and the HBO series True Detective – and I hope that hot streak will continue here. Anne Hathaway, who previously worked with Nolan on The Dark Knight Rises (2012), plays Brand, one of Cooper’s fellow astronauts. I thought Hathaway’s Selina Kyle was the best part of that film, and I hope her second collaboration with Nolan will produce similarly good results. When it comes to Cooper’s two kids – his daughter Murphy and son Tom – things are a bit complicated. It’s all-but-confirmed that, because the space voyage takes so long, we are going to see the kids at multiple points in their lives over a long period of time. We know that Mackenzie Foy and Timothée Chalamet play, respectively, Murphy and Tom as kids, and it’s believed that Jessica Chastain and Casey Affleck are playing them as adults. In this trailer, we also briefly see Wes Bentley as another of the astronauts on the voyage, Michael Caine as a scientist, and Topher Grace as a character we can’t really glean much information about.

InterstellarThe imagery on display here is very impressive. We can clearly see how the Earth is slowly going to hell, with the planet being ravaged by dust storms and wildfires. Nolan has said that Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) was a big influence on him, and what we see of the starfields and the wormhole are definitely a tip of the hat to that sci-fi classic. The planet the astronauts land on, which was largely filmed on location in Iceland, looks both beautiful and treacherous, with its heaving seas and endless fields of rock. And the brief glimpses of an odd-looking spaceship and that geometric metal thing rolling across the surface of the lake indicate that the astronauts clearly find something alien out there in the cosmos.

As I’ve discussed before in this column, original big-budget science-fiction is one of the rarest kinds of films to see these days. With studio brass being more reluctant than ever to greenlight a big project that isn’t based on preexisting material, it takes someone with serious clout to get a film like that made. But Christopher Nolan is one such person, and it looks like he might have made something special here. When early November rolls around, you can bet that I’ll be checking out Interstellar at my local theater.

ANTICIPATION: Mankind was born on Earth – it was never meant to watch movies set only there.

Release Date: November 7th, 2014

Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Bill Irwin, Ellen Burstyn, Michael Caine, Casey Affleck, Topher Grace, John Lithgow, David Gyasi, Wes Bentley, Mackenzie Foy, Timothée Chalamet, David Oyelowo, Matt Damon, Elyes Gabel, Lean Cairns, William Devane, and Collette Wolfe
Director: Christopher Nolan
Writers: Jonathan Nolan and Christopher Nolan

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Win Passes to An Advance Screening of The Trip to Italy Mon, 18 Aug 2014 18:41:02 +0000 Enter here for your chance to win passes to an advance screening of director Michael Winterbottom’s The Trip to Italy starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon.

The Trip to ItalyFor your chance to receive two (2) complimentary passes to see an advance screening of The Trip to Italy at the Maple Theater in Bloomfield, Michigan on Thursday, August 21st 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 Thursday morning, August 21st!


THE TRIP TO ITALY: Michael Winterbottom’s largely improvised 2010 film, The Trip, took comedians Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon, or semi-fictionalized versions thereof, on a restaurant tour around northern England. In this witty and incisive follow-up, Winterbottom reunites the pair for a new culinary road trip, retracing the steps of the Romantic poets’ grand tour of Italy and indulging in some sparkling banter and impersonation-offs. Rewhetting our palates from the earlier film, the characters enjoy mouthwatering meals in gorgeous settings from Liguria to Capri while riffing on subjects as varied as Batman’s vocal register, the artistic merits of “Jagged Little Pill,” and, of course, the virtue of sequels. Winterbottom trains his camera to capture the idyllic Italian landscape and the gastronomic treasures being prepared and consumed while keeping the film centered on the crackling chemistry between the two leads. The Trip toItaly effortlessly melds the brilliant comic interplay between Coogan and Brydon into quieter moments of self-reflection, letting audiences into their insightful ruminations on the nuances of friendship and the juggling of family and career. The result is a biting portrait of modern-day masculinity. (IFC FILMS)

THE TRIP TO ITALY opens in the Detroit area exclusively at the Maple Theater on Friday, August 29th!

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Box Office Weekend: Expendables Not Strong Enough Mon, 18 Aug 2014 05:11:07 +0000 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles may not be the most critically well-received film currently in the top ten at the box office, but it is keeping its crowd the best, with a second week in the first-place spot. It earned an estimated $28.4 million, enough to keep back Guardians of the Galaxy, which picked up an estimated $24.7 million. However, Guardians of the Galaxy is the highest domestic earner on the list, with gross earnings of $222.3 million in total.

Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesAlso a winner is Let’s Be Cops, whose Wednesday opening contributed to a domestic total of $26.1 million, an estimated $17.7 million of which came from Friday to Sunday earnings. Things are not looking up for The Expendables 3, whose estimated $16.2 million is the worst opening weekend for the Sylvester Stallone-helmed franchise, nor for The Giver, based on the Lois Lowry novel, whose estimated $12.8 million barely represented half of its production costs.

Little else is a surprise; Into the Storm (estimated $7.7 million) started slow and continues to struggle, The Hundred-Foot Journey (estimated $7.1 million) broke even, Lucy (estimated $5.3 million) continues to add to a breakout run of $107.5 million, and Step Up All In (estimated $2.7 million) falls well short of expectations, making only a little more in two weeks than the previous entry Step Up Revolution made in its first weekend. However, a surprise contender appeared in tenth place: Boyhood, the twelve-year film project by Richard Linklater, has already been a success on its $4 million budget, but its estimated $2.2 million has given the almost unanimously acclaimed production a strong shot in the arm after six weeks in small scale release.

Weekend Box Office (August 15th – August 17th)

  1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles…$28.4 million
  2. Guardians of the Galaxy…$24.7 million
  3. Let’s Be Cops…$17.7 million
  4. The Expendables 3…$16.2 million
  5. The Giver…$12.8 million
  6. Into the Storm…$7.7 million
  7. The Hundred-Foot Journey…$7.1 million
  8. Lucy…$5.3
  9. Step Up All In…$2.7 million
  10. Boyhood…$2.2 million
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