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Friday, January 30, 2015

Jamie Foxx & Michelle Monaghan To Star In Sleepless Nights

Jamie Foxx and Michelle Monaghan are set to star in Sleepless Nights, an action thriller remake of French film Nuit Blanche, distributor Open Road Films said Friday.

Baran bo Odar (The Silence) is set to direct the film from a screenplay by Andrea Berloff (Straight Outta Compton, World Trade Center).

The film will be produced by Vertigo Entertainment, with worldwide rights acquired by Open Road Films.

Nuit Blanche, directed by Frederic Jardin, was released in 2011. In September of that year, as THR reported at the time, Warner Bros. had acquired remake rights to the title after it premiered as a Toronto Midnight Madness title.

The remake of the title stars Foxx as "a seemingly corrupt Las Vegas cop" and Monaghan as an Internal Affairs agent.

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Source-THR

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Movie Review: Project Almanac

Time-traveling teenagers waste every gift in the found-footage feature bore.
WARNING: This review contains massive spoilers.

Review by Matt Cummings

If you saw Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (and who would want to admit it), you might have noticed some shameless self-promotion by Producer Michael Bay advertising his new movie Project Almanac. Well, that film has arrived and the result is decidedly awful.

When teen smarty nerd David (Jonny Weston) discovers that his long-deceased father created a 'Still Needs Work' time machine in their basement, David, his sister (Ginny Gardner), and best friends Adam (Allen Evangelista) and Quinn (Sam Lerner) document their discovery and completion of said device. The enitre escape begins when David discovers a hidden family camera that seems to show a fuzzy glimpse of present-day David in the background. With the machine built and powered by the Prius batteries of the sexiest under-friended girl at school Jessie (Sofia Black-D’Elia), the group begins to time travel, first to win the lottery and then to live the life of teens desperate for attention. But soon, the rules of time travel begin to pile up, and what seemed like a fun project at the time becomes a lesson in immutability for a son desperate to re-connect with this father and keep his new girlfriend.

What begins as an interesting concept and a stay-till-the-end plot devloves into a silly teen film, filled with leggy undernourished girls getting too much screen time as they parade their time machine around like a whore does her wares. Movies don't require a big budget to tell their stories, just good scripts, and Writera Andrew Deutschman and Jason Pagan spend little time in wasting every asset they have on the chess board. This isn't a smart action film or a terse thriller about choices and how you undo them, but an excuse to misuse an invention that could make things right, and one that David could use to bring his father back. Instead, he and his foolish friends do everything else before David finally takes the plunge, only to undo the entire premise of the story. There's the partying, the lottery money, and the fixing of grades without so much as a worry about paradox (whether you'll see yourself in a different version). There's no smart science here, and any rules established in previous (and far-better) films is tossed to the side or flat-out ignored.

The most compelling portion of the story - the fate of David's father - is virtually ignored until the last 10 minutes, leaving minimal time for the two to meet and for David to destroy his time machine. But in doing so, wouldn't time travel rules suggest that his documentation would also perish? At film's end, the presence of two cameras found in the attic (where there was only one to begin with) shows two different versions of the events, leading David to still meet Jessie. But, does that mean he will still build the machine smarter, go the Lollapalooza, and perhaps save his dad? Deutschman and Pagan have zero interest in exploring a story with seriously interesting undertones, and first-time Director Dean Israelite doesn't help, his shaky cam eventually leading me to put down my soda and popcorn so I would get sick.

MTV Films - who's in partner here with Paramount and Bay - could have made a game-changer, one that could have redefined the genre. The suggestion that David's father might have been killed to protect the machine? Ignored. The truth behind the machine's existence in the first place? Ignored as well.

Almanac's cast is your typical suburban haul, filled with good-looking teens who came right out of makeup trailer. The only one worth mentioning is Weston, a potential star in the making, but who has yet to be given the green light to a bigger career. We first saw him in the indie hit Chasing Mavericks, and here he brings some of that ability with him. I say 'some' because it's hard in the end to see such a potential prom king don glasses and pretend to be a nerdy high schooler - it just doesn't work, nor does his turn to the dark side as he tries to seek the affections of Jessie by re-doing his first kiss. None of that is particularly well done, and it's the point where the entire story turns sour.

Project Almanac is just another submission in the tired 'found footage' genre, a film that takes all of its potential and tosses it aside for leggy teens making bad choices. It's one of the worst films of the year, and a clear indication that both Bay and the genre need a reboot.

Project Alamanac is rated PG-13 for some language and sexual content and has a runtime of 106 minutes.

Discuss this review with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms, and follow author Matt Cummings at @mfc90125.
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#JOHNWICK Directors May Get Their Hands On Chris Pratt For "Cowboy Ninja Viking"

Variety is reporting that the team behind one of our favorite films of the year maybe directing Chris Pratt in “Cowboy Ninja Viking.”

Pratt has met with Leitch and Stahelski and has given his stamp of approval.


Based on writer A.J. Lieberman and artist Riley Rossmo’s graphic novel, the story follows a man who suffers from multiple personality disorder and is put into a government program to be turned into a super-soldier with the attributes of a cowboy, a ninja and a viking.

Stahelski and Leitch have been cutting their teeth as second unit directors for several years but blew up after “John Wick” overperformed at the box office this past October. Leitch was uncredited on the project.

With Pratt in such high demand, the studio quickly fast-tracked the project in order to squeeze it in before the actor’s plate became too full. It’s unclear where this film would fit in his schedule with Pratt already set to star in “Magnificent Seven,” which shoots in the spring, and the “Guardians of the Galaxy” sequel, but as long as things come together quickly, it’s a good sign this film is headed in the right direction.

Pratt has been tweeting his excitement about the project but wanted to make sure the film found the right director before fully committing. His approval is quite the vote of confidence on what Stahelski and Leitch can bring to the table.

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Win Tickets To An Advance Screening For @SpongeBobMovie In #Sacramento

Win Tickets To An Advance Screening For The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie: Sponge Out Of Water on January 31st in Sacramento.


Leaping... okay, inching slowing onto the superhero bandwagon, SpongeBob and his pals become superpowered in this second Spongemovie. Loosely speaking, The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie: Sponge Out Of Water sees SpongeBob and his pals pursuing a stolen book into our world where they must tackle the pirate (Antonio Banderas) who has pinched it. The trailer has some amusing visual gags and its own lunatic charm, but it definitely helps if you’re either under 10 or really drunk*. Preferably not both.


Make sure to LIKE SandwichJohnFilms on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for all your entertainment news and to be to notified about our upcoming Advance Screenings. Also make sure to subscribe and download our Podcast



See how to win tickets after the Jump...

Go to GOFOBO and enter Code ldKpr58118

DISCLAIMER: ARRIVE EARLY! SEATING IS FIRST-COME, FIRST-SERVED, EXCEPT FOR MEMBERS OF THE REVIEWING PRESS. THEATER IS OVERBOOKED TO ENSURE A FULL HOUSE. THEATRE IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR OVERBOOKING. THIS PASS DOES NOT GUARANTEE ADMISSION AND MUST BE SURRENDERED UPON DEMAND. NO ONE WILL BE ADMITTED WITHOUT A TICKET AND ONLY REVIEWING PRESS WILL BE ADMITTED AFTER THE SCREENING BEGINS. Duplicate passes will not be accepted. Screening passes are non transferable. This ticket is NOT for resale. Reselling of tickets is strictly prohibited and punishable by law. All those found in violation will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. MPAA - No Recording This screening will be monitored for unauthorized recording. By attending, you agree not to bring any audio and/or visual recording device including laptop computers into the theater and you consent to physical search of have against you. Unauthorized recording will be reported to law enforcement and may subject you to criminal and civil liability (including damages up to $150,000). *This includes, by way of example only, smart phones and your belongings and person for such device. If you attempt to enter with a recording device, you will be denied admission. If you attempt to use a recording device*, you consent to your Immediate removal from the theater and forfeiture of the device.

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Win Tickets To An Advance Screening For @SpongeBobMovie In San Francisco

Win Tickets To An Advance Screening For The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie: Sponge Out Of Water on January 31st in San Francisco.


Leaping... okay, inching slowing onto the superhero bandwagon, SpongeBob and his pals become superpowered in this second Spongemovie. Loosely speaking, The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie: Sponge Out Of Water sees SpongeBob and his pals pursuing a stolen book into our world where they must tackle the pirate (Antonio Banderas) who has pinched it. The trailer has some amusing visual gags and its own lunatic charm, but it definitely helps if you’re either under 10 or really drunk*. Preferably not both.


Make sure to LIKE SandwichJohnFilms on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for all your entertainment news and to be to notified about our upcoming Advance Screenings. Also make sure to subscribe and download our Podcast



See how to win tickets after the Jump...

Go to GOFOBO and enter Code UXALI34296

DISCLAIMER: ARRIVE EARLY! SEATING IS FIRST-COME, FIRST-SERVED, EXCEPT FOR MEMBERS OF THE REVIEWING PRESS. THEATER IS OVERBOOKED TO ENSURE A FULL HOUSE. THEATRE IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR OVERBOOKING. THIS PASS DOES NOT GUARANTEE ADMISSION AND MUST BE SURRENDERED UPON DEMAND. NO ONE WILL BE ADMITTED WITHOUT A TICKET AND ONLY REVIEWING PRESS WILL BE ADMITTED AFTER THE SCREENING BEGINS. Duplicate passes will not be accepted. Screening passes are non transferable. This ticket is NOT for resale. Reselling of tickets is strictly prohibited and punishable by law. All those found in violation will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. MPAA - No Recording This screening will be monitored for unauthorized recording. By attending, you agree not to bring any audio and/or visual recording device including laptop computers into the theater and you consent to physical search of have against you. Unauthorized recording will be reported to law enforcement and may subject you to criminal and civil liability (including damages up to $150,000). *This includes, by way of example only, smart phones and your belongings and person for such device. If you attempt to enter with a recording device, you will be denied admission. If you attempt to use a recording device*, you consent to your Immediate removal from the theater and forfeiture of the device.

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Karl Urban To Star In Pete’s Dragon

It would appear that Michael C. Hall is allergic to dragons. Actually, there isn’t a given reason why he’s decided to leave the new Pete’s Dragon film, but it means good news for Karl Urban fans as the Star Trek actor has stepped in to replace him.

Ain’t Them Bodies Saints director David Lowery is busy putting the new version of the story together, working from a script he co-wrote with Toby Halbrooks. It’s Disney’s latest attempt to conjure a fresh take on one of its catalogue titles, this time the live-action/animation-blend 1977 film which saw a young lad befriend a magical dragon.

The new movie will apparently deviate from the original, not by having the dragon turn evil and go all Smaug on the local town, but by stripping out the musical element and injecting an environmental message into the story.

Robert Redford, Bryce Dallas Howard (who is surely nervous about working with giant reptiles after Jurassic World) and Wes Bentley are on the roster alongside Oakes Fegley, who plays Pete.

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Source-Empire
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Black Sea Review: Well-Apportioned Submarine Thriller

Bolstered by strong performances, the submarine thriller Black Sea is a terrific underwater adventure.

Review by Matt Cummings

What happens when a movie is so good but so poorly-placed in the schedule that the best it can do is find itself in the Month of Forgotten Movies? That's the plight behind Black Sea, a memorable submarine thriller with everything going for it except for a proper release date.

When the former submarine driver Robinson (Jude Law) loses his job at the company, he signs on with a shadowy investor and to liberate a German U-boat loaded with 4 tons of WWII-era gold. Seeking redemption and a final shot at respectability, Robinson hires a group of tough-minded men for his crew, including the psychotic Fraser (Ben Mendelsohn) and the newbie Tobin (Bobby Schofield). Although Robinson has promised his men an equal cut of the profits, greed and murder are never far behind, and soon the crew begins to crack, crippling the mission and putting their very lives at risk. Presented with a dark secret and facing a grim situation, Robinson and his men himself find themselves in a tightening noose of deadly rivalries, corporate intrigue, and a broken ship that could soon become their tomb.

Keeping away from cliched underwater adventure lines, it's safe to say that Black Sea took everyone at our screening by surprise. The reasons: terrific performances as well as the broad and bold chances that Writer Dennis Kelly takes in its script. No one is a protected asset here, employing a distinctly Battlestar Galactica feel to things. Kelly uses his chess pieces well, employing some to murder with purpose and others to feel the wrath of their violence. And while he doesn't spend much time to tell each of their stories, they do have their endearing moments, either in short segments of levity or in their utterance of well-written lines.

Law embodies the figure of a man pushed to the edge of desperation, with his loyal men soon fighting each other for their stolen contraband. Their extreme tunnel vision is something that Robinson cannot control, and Director Kevin Macdonald uses this surface tension to boil that pot of water until the top pops off. What results isn't so much violence for the sake of it, but a gripping lesson on what greed can do to people. It's a tragic course that Robinson has plotted, and just when you think that the story is about to take on a Hollywood ending, Kelly slams that door shut.

But this is Jude Law's ship to command, and as so he absolutely shines. This is Robinson's chance to escape the drudgery of a failed life, encouraging - and then later forcing - his men to do his will. When that authority begins to erode among certain members of the crew, you can see his clenched fists and steely eyes become a seemingly permanent fixture. It's a stirring contrast to the fatherly Robinson which Macdonald also shows us in several dream sequences, a broken man whose one chance at redemption exceeds that of a simple robber. By the time we get to the end, it seems like the idealic memories Robinson which have permeated Black Sea might even have been imagined.

This is where Schofield gets a chance to become the older son Robinson will never have. His efforts to put Tobin on a better course result in some of the film's best scenes, as Law gets a chance to dig deep into his character's backstory. Growing beyond the single-minded hothead, Robinson's ultimate sacrifice becomes the anvil on which this story is forged. McNarry turns in a Paul Reiser-like performance from Aliens as the corporate leech with a dark secret. His is the gunpowder on which the entire operation is set to explode, with Mendelsohn the torch. It's funny to note that this troupe is not filled with heavy Hollywood hitters, and yet it all works out. Everyone knows their places and everyone seemingly takes their cues from Law and Macdonald like Robinson was really there.

As I mentioned, there is a huge plot twist here that really ups the tension and takes the story into undefined territory, but you'll have to see it to experience the same reaction. For me it was perfect timing, elevating the story at precisely the right time and giving our characters a reason to re-join the ranks, only to see it destroyed once again over greed. That's the kind of storytelling that Kelly and Macdonald take, and the results are worth every minute. Even the score by Composer Ilan Eshkeri pulses to a moody Hans Zimmer/Dark Knight beat, extending the darker themes to all points of this film.

Black Sea is quite likely the most surprising film of January, and yet it's too bad that so few people will see it. With so many compelling choices already in 2015, and with virtally no marketing behind it, Black Sea's excellence might be forced to find its success in the home market, which is a shame considering its engrossing plot and solid accoutrements. No matter how you see it, add this one to your list.

Black Sea is rated R for language throughout, some graphic images and violence and has a runtime of 115 minutes.

Discuss this review with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms, and follow author Matt Cummings at @mfc90125.
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Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Most Violent Year Review: Yet Another Oscar-Bait Candidate

The mostly Oscar bait A Most Violent Year is a largely hollow experience.

Review by Matt Cummings

In Writer-Director J.C. Candor's A Most violent Year, business and morals clash in the world of 1981 New York. Then and there, the city is undergoing one of its most murderous years in history, with ordinary people caught in the crossfire and businessmen seeing their property stolen from underneath them. It's here that small business owner Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac) finds himself pining for a brighter future with a world trying desperately to take it all away from him. Married into the heating oil industry which was run by his wife Anna's (Jessica Chastain) father, Abel is trying to expand his business by borrowing the money needs for a massive expansion. But his jealous competition is watching and plotting against him, even as Abel tries to keep his trucks from being stolen by those same rivals. It all comes to a head when his lawyer Andrew (Albert Brooks) informs him of a damaging investigation by the assistant district attorney (David Oyelowo), who claims dirty play in the building of Abel's empire. Faced with a growing wave of pressure, Abel must use every tool at his disposal not only to succeed but to merely survive.

Based on this rather lengthy plot, you might have as much trouble as I did getting excited about it, and that's about the way this drama unfolds. None of it is particularly compelling nor does it feel realistic: in the real world, the kind and empathetic Abel would simply be run through the grinder on his way to financial and personal ruin. Sure, Candor fills Violent with an impressive cast led by Isaac and Chastain, who both are nothing short of forces of nature. When Johanna finds a gun dumped outside their newly-purchased home, she knows this isn't mere coincidence. Her rage slowly builds until not even Abel can keep her from using her old Family ties to bring some balance to their struggle. But none of that - even the verbal throwdowns led by Isaac and Chastain - are enough to keep us awake through what's really a dull affair.

New York's crime wave must have yielded better stories than this, yet Violent's one-man-one-struggle plot is not even that engrossing. The idea of watching someone in such slow-motion crisis doesn't really work, because we know somehow that Abel and Johanna will ultimately get through these challenges. Their lawyer (Albert Brooks) does get in a few good shots about the company's treachery, and there are some decent action scenes when one Abel's employees gets tragically caught up in a shootout for his truck. Good people succeeding in a corrupt universe is usually screen-worthy, but it's Candor the Writer's execution that left me frankly bored. Oyelowo plays stoggy attorney too well, content to sit outside Abel's home or converse with him behind a desk, rather than challenge or help actually root out the cause of these thefts. There's nothing memorable about such a performance, and it's a microcosm of why Violent fails.

Moreover, the story never fully addresses why Abel feels the need to be so well-behaved. Johanna can't figure it out either, and by the time things fade to black, we couldn't care less. Stories like these place the audience in a weird place, because they never make their case to keep us around, choosing moments of empty exposition and hoping that somehow we're still dialed in because it has Oscar Bait written on it. Wrong.

In a year of terrific Oscar candidates, A Most Violent Year will be easily missed, and for good reason. It's a fairly flat affair, one that misuses its enormous potential, and whose longevity will be based entirely on it attaining some sort of cult status. That's not likely.

A Most Violent Year is rated R for language and some violence and has a runtime of of 125 minutes.

Discuss this review with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms, and follow author Matt Cummings at @mfc90125.
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CBS Announces Well-Rounded Actor To Supergirl Cast

Who could it be?

By David Clark

Which is better, traditional or new? That is a question some people will be asking after the latest announcement pertaining to the newest cast member in CBS’s pilot for Supergirl. The news comes only a few short days after Melissa Benoist was revealed as the lead character on the show.

Whether it is a move that will alienate die-hard fans of the DC Comics franchise or a brilliant move that will appeal to more people, it is now known that Jimmy Olsen will be played by Mehcad Brooks. To someone who is unfamiliar with the character, this might not register as an odd choice. After all, Mehcad Brooks is an actor in his early 30s who has sharpened his acting prowess on shows like Desperate Housewives, Necessary Roughness and True Blood, which only covers a few shows on his resume.

Discuss this story with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms, and follow author David Clark at @434_clark.
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New Avengers: Age Of Ultron TV Spot

It might not be receiving the Super Bowl TV spot treatment, but Marvel has made sure we’re all still anticipating Avengers: Age Of Ultron with a new ad.



Marvel Studios presents “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” the epic follow-up to the biggest Super Hero movie of all time. When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye, are put to the ultimate test as the fate of the planet hangs in the balance. As the villainous Ultron emerges, it is up to The Avengers to stop him from enacting his terrible plans, and soon uneasy alliances and unexpected action pave the way for an epic and unique global adventure.

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