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What to Watch: Project Almanac

image via imdb.com

image via imdb.com

Time travel has been a topic broached by film since the dawn of the medium. This Friday, Project Almanac hopes to take that basic concept used over the decades and mix it with the found-footage idea that has seen a slowdown in recent years. With a relatively unknown cast and an unproven director, Project Almanac is hoping to peak interest with younger audiences through its high octane trailers and association with MTV Films. Despite seeing stiff competition from the likes of Kevin Costner’s latest release, Project Almanac will see a wider theater release than any other feature this coming week.

Michael Bay and Paramount aggressively pushed for the project back in 2013 when Bay was finalizing the film Pain and Gain. Aside from Bay, the film had gathered a hungry group of screenwriters and a director, Dean Israelite, who had garnered praise for his short films. That year proved that found-footage features were still in demand but, almost two years later, things have changed quite significantly. Still, producers felt very strong about the script and creative crew behind Project Almanac. The blessing of director Jonathan Liebesman also helped tremendously as his 2014 film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles helped to revive the 80′s cartoon franchise.

What should we expect from Project Almanac? Given the relative youth of the cast and the fast-paced trailers, it will more than likely be filled with more drama than sci-fi. The characters use the time machine as a party machine and as a way of avoiding responsibility. Of course it doesn’t take long for them to realize that they’ve only made matters worse as wild fires become prevalent and planes fall from the sky. The rest of the film seems to be a mad race to fix all of the mistakes made in the first half. All of which done through the “amateur” lens of one of the characters.

Earlier I described the “found-footage” genre to be slowing down. That is true as the number of wide theatrical releases has decreased in 2014. However, it doesn’t mean that audiences have lost interest in the genre. It just means that the market has been over-saturated in recent years. Last year, Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones opened in early January and by its closing took in over $90 million proving how effective the low budget genre can still be. Project Almanac is breaking somewhat from that trend since the horror elements are dulled somewhat. Still, the metrics are there to show that a strong found-footage film early in the year could find a strong niche audience.

Throwback Thursday: The Whole Nine Yards (2000)

image via sky.com

image via sky.com

In the year 2000, all of the elements for a perfect comedic storm came together in order to make The Whole Nine Yards — one of the most successful films of the year. Made on a budget of $34 million, Jonathan Lynn’s gangster comedy pulled in over $100 million despite not being as critically acclaimed as originally expected. The cast was also quite a sight to behold as Hollywood stars meshed with current television headliners. Bruce Willis, Matthew Perry, Michael Clarke Duncan, Amanda Peet and Kevin Pollack shared the screen in scenarios very much out of their usual comfort zone. It may have fallen into obscurity over the years but The Whole Nine Yards still holds up as a fun comedy that brought more than a few firsts for the business.  Continue reading

Did You Know: Bruce Willis

Lt. John McClane, Korben Dallas, Butch Coolidge and Harry Stamper are just a few of the characters Bruce Willis has played on screen. Known for his over-the-top action films like Die Hard and The Fifth Element, Willis has quietly garnered a decorated and diverse career while not shying away from risk. Hollywood is sometimes known for its stars being somewhat safe when it comes to selecting roles but Willis has defied convention and, for better or for worse, taken on some very challenging jobs. Still, there is an air of mystery surrounding Willis. Many things are unclear about his career and even his tastes. Here we will hopefully shed some light on one of the more charismatic actors of the past thirty years.  Continue reading

What to Watch: Mortdecai

The year 2015 has given us our first cinematic mystery in the shape of a twirled mustache — Mortdecai, the latest film starring Johnny Depp and directed by David Koepp (Premium RushSecret Window). Aside from that basic knowledge, one would learn very little without seeing the trailer. In fact, the marketing of the film would make you believe that you already know who this character is. A slew of star-filled posters have hit streets simply with the film’s title and said stars wearing his distinctive mustache. However, the question must be asked: Who is Mortdecai and why am I fascinated by this seemingly unknown character?  Continue reading

Throwback Thursday: Move Over, Darling (1963)

Yesterday we covered a few things you may not have known about Doris Day. Today, we dedicate Throwback Thursday to one of her more successful films of 1963 Move Over, Darling. Not only did the film prove just how big of a star Doris Day was, but it also helped 20th Century Fox out of a financial hole created by the money pit that was Elizabeth Taylor’s Cleopatra. The original budget for the Egyptian drama was set at $2 million but ballooned to $31 million and nearly bankrupted the entire company. Luckily, Move Over, Darling, which also was over-budget, more than made up for the studio’s mistakes in 1963.  Continue reading

Did You Know: Doris Day

image via biography.com

image via biography.com

Doris Day had a career filled with firsts. She was the first true female box office star for nearly four years and a top ten box office draw for ten more. Her film career ran from 1948 to 1970, with thirty-nine movies filling that time. If that were all she would be a legend. However, that’s not the end of her credentials. With thirty-one albums and a combined four-hundred and sixty weeks in the Top 40, Day proved that she was more than a pretty face on screen. Still, despite her fame, there is still so much hidden between the fame. This is why we’re taking a look at quite a few things you may not have known about the famed Hollywood star.  Continue reading

What to Watch: Blackhat

image via geekyrant.com

image via geekyrant.com

From the outside, Blackhat looks like a cheesy action film masquerading as one about cyber terrorism. The trailers are overly dramatic and the cast seems out of place. That is until you realize just who is behind the helm of this production. After a six-year absence, director Michael Mann returns to the big screen in an extremely unassuming way. Instead of pushing the fantastic work of this filmmaker, the marketing diverts your attention to the past and focuses on stars of today, namely Chris Hemsworth.  Continue reading

Throwback Thursday: That’s Entertainment (1974)

image via biography.com

image via biography.com

The 1970′s signified a major shift in Hollywood. While French New Wave and independent filmmakers were breaking the mold in the late 60′s, it didn’t reach the mainstream until the middle of the following decade. If there was ever a movie eulogizing the death of the old Hollywood it was That’s Entertainment (1974), a documentary celebrating the 50th Anniversary of classic studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Trotting out a myriad of stars from yesteryear, That’s Entertainment feels like a last gasp to hold onto the past instead of a look at what might be coming in the future.  Continue reading

Did You Know: Scenes That Hit a Nerve

image via imdb.com

image via imdb.com

Films are supposed to elicit a reaction from audiences. However there are some audience members that take things a bit more to heart than others. Normally this leads to nothing as the average moviegoer simply complains about it to a friend or on the internet these days. On occasion, the wrong person is struck by a film, or even more specifically a scene within a film, that starts a media wildfire. Most recently Sony’s The Interview has gotten more attention than it probably would have if the North Korean dictator Kim Jung Un hadn’t gotten wind of its content. Below are some scenes from other films that struck a similar chord with a more influential audience.  Continue reading

What to Watch: Taken 3

image via Taken3.com

image via Taken3.com

In 2012, Liam Neeson probably thought he’d put the final nail in the Taken series coffin. His comments to the producers stated that he wouldn’t do another film unless no one was “taken.” Considering the series has been all about recovering a kidnapped family member there didn’t seem all that much of a possibility for a third film. Perseverance is a strong trait because the producers didn’t give up. The end product is a third film where lead character Bryan Mills is looking to rescue something he never expected to lose, his innocence.  Continue reading