Thursday, July 31, 2014

Reel Facts & Opinions: The Year in Film 2014: Episode VII

Hard to believe, but the Summer Movie Season of 2014 is entering its final month…but the good news is it is not going away quietly. In addition to a few big-time spectacles of sound and fury, August is also bringing in some good-looking dramas…making for a nice transition into the glorious Autumn Winds.
The adventure begins with…

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY – Marvel Studios’ universe of connected characters and movies gets even bigger with this space-bound , galaxy-hopping, visual-effects heavy adventure. Chris Pratt (MONEYBALL, THE LEGO MOVIE) stars as the leader of a gang of galactic outlaws who must band together to battle a growing evil. Co-stars Zoe Saldana (STAR TREK), WWE wrestler David Bautista, DR. WHO’s Karen Gillan, Lee Pace (THE HOBBIT), Michael Rooker, Benicio Del Toro, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reily, Glenn Close, and the voice talents of Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper. Directed by James Gunn (SLITHER).
GET ON UP – Chadwick Boseman, who only a year ago played Jackie Robinson in 42, gets another shot at an historical figure; this time playing James Brown. Co-stars Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer, and is directed by Tate Taylor (THE HELP).

MAGIC IN THE MOONLIGHT – The newest film from Woody Allen gets a wide release this month. In this period-piece, Colin Firth (THE KING’S SPEECH) plays a skeptic who seeks to debunk a spiritualist, played by Emma Stone (ZOMBIELAND).
CALVARY – Brendan Gleeson (GANGS OF NEW YORK, BRAVEHEART), stars as a priest in Ireland whose life is threatened in the confessional.

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES – This latest version of the heroes in half-shells is directed by Jonathan Liebesman (BATTLE: LOS ANGELES) and stars Megan Fox (TRANSFORMERS, JENNIFER’S BODY).
WHAT IF – Daniel Radcliffe (HARRY POTTER) stars as a medical school dropout who gets caught in a love triangle. Co-stars Adam Driver (INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS).

THE EXPENDABLES 3 – Sylvester Stallone and his fellow band of geriatrics get back together for another shoot-em-up. Co-stars Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Wesley Snipes, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Antonio Banderas, Mel Gibson, Kelsey Grammer, Robert Davi, and Harrison Ford.
THE GIVER – Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep star in this adaptation of the popular children’s novel.

FRANK – Inspired by the true story of a British musician who never appeared without a giant mask over his face. Stars Michael Fassbender (12 YEARS A SLAVE) as Frank, and he is joined by Maggie Gyllenhaal, Scoot McNairy, and Domhnall Gleeson.
SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR – Robert Rodriguez finally unleashes the long awaited sequel to his 2005 adaptation of the Frank Miller graphic novel. It stars Josh Brolin, Mickey Rourke, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Eva Green, Jessica Alba, Rosario Dawson, Bruce Willis, and Ray Liotta.

IF I STAY – Based on the best-selling novel, Chloe Grace Moretz (KICK-ASS) stars as a young girl literally caught between life and death.
WHEN THE GAME STANDS TALL – Based on a true story, Jim Caviezel (PASSION OF THE CHRIST) stars as the coach of a high school football team whose 151-game winning streak comes to end, which greatly affects his hometown. Co-stars Laura Dern and Michael Chiklis (THE SHIELD).

LOVE IS STRANGE – John Lithgow and Alfred Molina star as a couple, who after forty-years together are allowed to marry…which leads to drastic changes in their careers and lives. Co-stars Marisa Tomei.
THE PRINCE – In what may be the most over-used plot in the past decade, a retired assassin is drawn back into his old life when his daughter is kidnapped. Stars Bruce Willis, Jason Patric, and John Cusack.

THE NOVEMBER MAN – In what may be the most over-used plot in the past decade (see above), Pierce Brosnan stars as a CIA killer who is called out of retirement. Co-stars Olga Kurylenko (QUANTUM OF SOLACE) and is directed by Roger Donaldson (THE BANK JOB, THIRTEEN DAYS).
AS ABOVE, SO BELOW – In what may be the most over-used plot in horror-films in the past 40 years, a group of teens explore territory they have no business being in; this time, the endless catacombs beneath Paris, France.

THE CONGRESS – Robin Wright (FORREST GUMP, THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO), stars as an aging actress who decides to preserve herself digitally for a future Hollywood. Co-stars Harvey Keitel, Danny Huston, and Paul Giamatti.

Next month, Episode VIII looks at the first month of Oscar Season.


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