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Saturday, January 4, 2014

2014 Big Movie Questions

Big Movie Questions of 2014 
By: Matt Cummings

Read on to learn whether our Big Movie Questions of 2014 might need to be re-titled 'Top Movie Questions of 2015.'

With 2013 in the books, we're continuing a tradition here at SJF by looking forward to the big movie questions of 2014. And while last year provided us with entertaining answers to the questions we posed back in February, 2014 looks to have just as many. Without any fanfare whatsoever, we now present the Big Movie Questions of 2014.

Is 2015 already eclipsing 2014?

Take a look at 2015, and you'll see what could be the most impressive list of films to come in a single year: The Avengers: Age of Ultron, the as-yet-untitled Batman/Superman movie, Fast 7, and Mission: Impossible are but a few. Moviegoers are salivating for these tentpole titles, while ignoring the potentially bigger releases of 2014, including Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, Transformers: Age of Extinction, Maleficent, and X-Men: Days of Future Past. These are just the tip of the iceberg, with many of these titles premiering in the Summer. We've left out Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, Godzilla (which will be discussed later), The Amazing Spider-man 2, Sabotage, The Hobbit: There and Back, and literally a dozen others. But although 2014 promises to give us several memorable releases, will moviegoers drink that Kool-Aid and keep the theaters from being mausoleums in the first two quarters?

Will comic book movies continue to dominate? 

For fans of comic books, this is a golden age indeed. In no other time have we seen so many releases and so much buzz about future projects fueling our water cooler discussions. But it's not just Marvel that's hopped on the wagon, but others are trying to cash in with their own titles. Sony's The Amazing Spider-man 2 looks more compelling than its predecessor and Days of Future Past brings two universes together with a cast that's a whos-who of Hollywood. And with the aforementioned Winter Soldier starting things off in April, we don't have long to wait. With news of Netflix getting in the comic book game and talks of other studios developing properties (see our next question), is all of this overkill, or will this age of comic book films soar through 2014 and beyond? We'll have to wait what you guys tell us with ticket sales.

Who will win the animation battle of 2014? 

This will be the first year in many that Pixar hasn't released an animated movie, with The Good Dinosaur shelved until further notice. Considering the lack of interest in its properties since 2011's Cars 2 and their reliance on sequels, Pixar is not the mega-beast it used to be. The opposite is true over at Disney, with Frozen having absolutely dominated last year's box office. Their purchase of Marvel is resulting in a release of Big Hero 6, and Disney Head-Honcho John Lasseter has certainly re-established Mouse House as the team to beat. We might already have our answer, but SJF believes that another studio like Dreamworks might step up to give Disney a run for its money.

Can 20th Century Fox catch a break?

Poor 20th Century Fox - 2013 was a disaster for them, even though the critically-panned The Wolverine performed very well and The Heat became an unexpected success. But there was the $100 million bomb Epic, along with Runner Runner, A Good Day to Die Hard, The Internship, and The Counselor. But we think that this mass of misery won't continue into this year, with releases including Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Ridley Scott's epic Exodus, and the kid-friendly Mr. Peabody & Sherman, How to Train Your Dragon 2, and Night at the Museum either being produced or distributed by Fox. Oh yeah, there's also this small film called X-Men: Days of Future Past. Of course, anything can happen and Fox has reaped what it's sown over the years, but with its hands in so many impressive cookie jars, Fox should see some of these stick with audiences.

Are Teen Books-To-Movies Still a Viable Genre? 

Just a few years ago, BTM's like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings were blazing at the box office. Last year was a different story, with huge bombs like Ender's Game, The Mortal Instruments, and Beautiful Creatures washing up on shore like fallen troops at Normandy. There are always exceptions like The Hunger Games: Catching Fire but those were few and far between. The problem seems to relevancy, in that kids aren't connecting their book experiences with the movie ones, even though several of these enjoyed strong critical success. But that's not the case with the upcoming Divergent, which is receiving little to no buzz, providing an ominous sign that the genre will be left with no stable properties after Hunger Games is over. Divergent will need to establish itself in a way few have been able to - if it fails, we could see this genre literally disappear after 2014.

Will moviegoers wrap their heads around Historical Fiction?

You've read these kinds of books before - major historical events interspersed with dialogue that probably never happened to fill out the tale. With films like 300: Rise of an Empire, two Hercules movies, and Pompeii all headed to a theater near you, audiences will have plenty of chances to consider 'loosely-based non-fiction' in the same breath as 'based on a true story.' The big unknown is quality - like all Hollywood films, the studios can heavily promote these movies, but the real effect won't be seen until theaters see return customers. Unfortunately, these films suffer from a lack of well-known actors, so their challenges become more immediate If Hollywood can generate the early buzz needed for long theater runs, then the genre has a shot to survive.

Which under-the-radar film will be the biggest winner of 2014?

It's nearly impossible to predict which film in this category will arise victorious - 2010 had How to Train Your Dragon, 2011 had Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, and 2013 saw Frozen become one the highest-grossing Disney movies of all time. Each of these received next to no interest until their releases became so well received. We think the comedy genre is likely to see a surprise, while the Schwarzenegger action flick Sabotage looks promising, but only because The Governator's stock plummeted so badly in 2013. Immediate releases don't look promising, so we'll have to wait until Summer or early Fall for a winner to emerge.

Which highly-publicized film will be the biggest loser?

My Marvel friends will hate me for saying this, but I'm worried about Guardians of the Galaxy. I'm not worried about the cast which looks excellent, nor do I think the audience's glowing reaction at SDCC was imagined - I wonder whether the general moviegoer will think that an weapons-happy talking raccoon and a tree that says nothing but "I am Groot!" will be worth watching. Will that get tiresome for a kid who wants to see Iron Man show up instead, when very few people know who Star Lord is? I'm the first to admit that Marvel's made one brilliant move after another with their films, mixing cameos and connected stories like Michelangelo mixed paint and wet plaster. But the franchise is only as good as its last film, and GOTG is a very risky move. In short, this will either be an amazing hit or some sort of cheese-ball Iron Man rip-off that will disappear after a short run. Other films that look risky include Godzilla (see Pacific Rim), Maleficent (see creepy ad), and the overly-sexed Nymphomaniac, which appears will be released in both an R and a more explicit cut. We haven't seen a potential NC-17 show up in quite awhile, so this one could doubly fail at the box office.

With so many potentially good films on the way, 2014 could set new records recently established in 2013. But without a clear-cut billion dollar experience (see Iron Man 3) on the way, Hollywood will have to make its money one film at a time, and hope that the slow start we saw last year doesn't repeat or extend into the Summer. Whichever way it works out, we'll be here to report the results.

Got thoughts on these, or do you have different questions than ours? Comment below and join the conversation!

Discuss this article with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJFilms, and follow author Matt Cummings at @mfc90125

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The Final Word: Top Domestic Movies of 2013

The Final Word: Top Domestic Movies of 2013
By: MattInRC

It's time to ruminate on the year that was, and seek some insight from the Movie Gods about 2014.

In a year that saw Hollywood act more like a rollercoaster than a business, we're frankly surprised to find ourselves saying the following: Hollywood broke box office records once again, taking in a staggering $10.92 billion in sales. But that success wasn't guaranteed entering the Summer season. Take a look at the top list from the end of Q2:


  • Oz The Great and Powerful $186,672,400
  • Identity Thief $128,817,890
  • Silver Linings Playbook $99,352,650
  • Zero Dark Thirty $94,172,217
  • Django Unchained $93,537,202
  • Les Miserables (2012) $75,753,685
  • The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey $74,210,420
  • Mama $71,514,415
  • Safe Haven $69,423,682
  • A Good Day to Die Hard $66,393,000
  • And then, Summer arrived:
  • Iron Man 3 $405,435,000
  • Man of Steel $248,660,000
  • Oz The Great and Powerful $234,668,782
  • Fast Six $233,313,000
  • Star Trek Into Darkness $220,501,000
  • The Croods $184,412,000
  • Monsters University $171,006,000
  • Great Gatsby $141,988,676
  • Identity Thief $134,506,920
  • World War Z $123,722,000

But it was a very strong November and Q3 which reversed the trend. With those numbers in mind, here's how the whole thing shook out:



  • Iron Man 3 $409,013,994
  • Catching Fire $402,568,000
  • Despicable Me 2 $367,860,095
  • Man of Steel $291,045,518
  • Frozen $283,866,000
  • Monsters University $268,492,764
  • Gravity $255,144,426
  • Fast Six $238,679,850
  • Oz The Great and Powerful $234,911,825
  • Star Trek Into Darkness $228,778,661

Looking at the above, we notice a nearly-complete takeover from Q2, something that is not uncommon until you notice who survived from Q1. That honor goes to Oz: The Great and Powerful, demonstrating either its surprising resiliency or offering a stinging commentary on the lack of blockbuster performances last year. You might be surprised that The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug missed the list, but with an early December release, it could only muster #11. Another surprise was Catching Fire, which needed only a few million more to overtake Iron Man 3 for the top spot. An earlier release might have solved that, but all of that was made from November 11 onward, while the first installment premiered in March 2012.

So, where do all these numbers leave us? Some harsh lessons were learned in 2013, many of which can be clearly seen in the numbers. The top 10 was down around 10% from last year, with the top 2 releases being outperformed by 2012's The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises to the tune of 20%. Still, it appears that the overall market was healthier, as receipts were spread around to more films. This will need to be the story in 2014, as no sure-fire winner will appear before April's Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which means early releases need to bring audiences in and keep them there until April 4th. If Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit (January), The LEGO Movie and Robocop (February), and Divergent and Noah (March) can do just that, it will reverse an ugly trend that occurred during the same time last year, where numbers were down 24% in February alone.

Which first quarter movies do you think need to perform to keep Hollywood on track for a successful Summer? Comment below and join the discussion!

Discuss this article with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJFilms, and follow author Matt Cummings at @mfc90125.

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Friday, January 3, 2014

Win Tickets To An Advance Screening For HER in Sacramento

Win Tickets To An Advance For Screening For HER on Monday, January 6th at 7:30PM at Regal Natomas Stadium 16 in Sacramento.


HER is a 2013 American science fiction romance film written, directed, and produced by Spike Jonze. The film centers on a man who develops a relationship with a female voice produced by an intelligent computer operating system. It marks Jonze's solo screenwriting debut. The film premiered at the 2013 New York Film Festival.


On December 4, 2013, HER was chosen the best film of 2013 at the National Board of Review Awards


Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix) is a lonely, introverted man who writes personal love letters for people with difficulties expressing their feelings. Unhappy because of his impending divorce from his childhood sweetheart, Catherine (Rooney Mara), Theodore purchases a talking operating system with artificial intelligence, designed to adapt and evolve like a human being. He decides he wants the OS to have a female identity, and she names herself "Samantha" (Scarlett Johansson). Theodore is fascinated by her ability to learn and grow psychologically, and they bond over their discussions about love and life, during which Theodore explains he is avoiding signing his divorce papers, because of his reluctance to let go of Catherine.


Theodore is convinced to go on a blind date with an acquaintance (Olivia Wilde), and they hit it off. As they are about to have sex, the woman asks if Theodore is willing to commit to her, and when he hesitates, she leaves. Theodore later mentions this to Samantha; they share an intimate moment and develop a relationship, which reflects positively in Theodore's writing. His friend Amy (Amy Adams) reveals that she is divorcing her overbearing husband Charles (Matt Letscher). She becomes close friends with a female OS that Charles left behind.

Make sure to LIKE SandwichJohnFilms on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for all your entertainment news and screenings.



Official Website-

See how to get tickets after the Jump..

Go to GOFO and enter code: SAND2Z4Q

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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'Big 25th Anniversary' Feature For The Kid In You!

Two-time Oscar® Winner Tom Hanks* received his first Best Actor Nomination for his disarming turn as a 12-year-old man-child in Penny Marshall’s timeless, “hilarious” (Newsweek) delight. Tired of being a kid, Josh Baskin wishes he was big. When he wakes up the next day, he’s an adult! Now, Josh must hold down a job – and please a new boss (Robert Loggia). Tougher still, he must convince his best friend that he’s still himself, and explain to a beautiful woman (Elizabeth Perkins) who falls for him, that he’s not.
To help you prepare for the 25th anniversary edition of Big, we have created a list of must have bachelor pad toys, to help you get in touch with your inner child!

1. X-Box or Playstation.
No one is going to blame you if you want to hang out all day on the couch and have a FIFA tournament, skateboard with Tony Hawk or have a Mario Kart race day. Do what you want, you’re a kidault!

2. Indoor basketball Hoop
This is your house; no one can tell you not to bounce the ball inside! Nothing says fun like a casual game of “horse” with the guys!

3. Pool Table
A pool table says, “I’m fun, but I’m also mature.” This is the perfect big boy game for you and your buddies to have a beer and bond over. Guy’s nights just got way cooler.

4. Foosball Table
Joey and Chandler from “Friends” prove that a foosball table is a necessary toy to have in a bachelor pad. They get more use out of that thing that their refrigerator.

5. Beanbags
While these aren’t necessarily “toys” beanbags are essential for any bachelor pad. Where else are you supposed to sit while having an X-Box tournament or movie day?

6. Karaoke
Karaoke is perfect for entertaining! Hook up the microphone and pick a song. Maybe even a duet with that special someone!

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Disney's Planes: Fire & Rescue Trailer

Here is the trailer for the upcming film Planes: Fire & Rescue, is scheduled for theatrical release on July 18, 2014. Bobs Gannaway, creator of Jake and the Never Land Pirates and director of Secret of the Wings, will direct the film. Dane Cook, who will reprise his role of Dusty, will be joined by Julie Bowen as the voice of Lil Dipper.



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Fresno Giveaway: THE WOLF OF WALL STREET Soundtrack & Movie Passes

“The Wolf of Wall Street Soundtrack available on iTunes NOW!”

Virgin Records has provided me with THE WOLF OF WALL STREET soundtrack to give to our fans in Fresno. The lucky winners will also be getting ROE passes to see the film.


THE WOLF OF WALL STREET is a 2013 American film directed by Martin Scorsese, based on Jordan Belfort's memoir of the same name.  The screenplay was written by Terence Winter, and the film stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Belfort, a New York stockbroker who runs a firm, Stratton Oakmont, that engages in securities fraud and corruption on Wall Street in the 1990s.


The film also features Jonah Hill and Matthew McConaughey. It is the fifth collaboration between Scorsese and DiCaprio, and the second between Scorsese and Winter after Boardwalk Empire.

1. Mercy, Mercy, Mercy By: Cannonball Adderley

2. Dust My Broom By: Elmore James

3. Bang! Bang! By: Joe Cuba

4. Movin' Out (Anthony's Song) By: Billy Joel

5. C’est Si Bon By: Eartha Kitt

6. Goldfinger By: Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings

7. Pretty Thing By: Bo Diddley

8. Moonlight In Vermont (Live At The Pershing Lounge/1958) By: Ahmad Jamal

9. Smokestack Lightning By: Howlin' Wolf

10. Hey Leroy, Your Mama's Callin' You By: The Jimmy Castor Bunch

11. Double Dutch By: Malcolm McLaren

12. Never Say Never By: Romeo Void

13. Meth Lab Zoso Sticker By: 7Horse

14. Road Runner (Single Version) By: Bo Diddley

15. Mrs. Robinson (LP Version) By: The Lemonheads

16. Cast Your Fate To the Wind By: Allen Toussaint

See how to enter after the Jump...



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San Francisco Giveaway: THE WOLF OF WALL STREET Soundtrack & More

“The Wolf of Wall Street Soundtrack available on iTunes NOW!”

Virgin Records has provided me with THE WOLF OF WALL STREET soundtrack to give to our fans in San Francisco. The lucky winners will also be getting a hat.


THE WOLF OF WALL STREET is a 2013 American film directed by Martin Scorsese, based on Jordan Belfort's memoir of the same name.  The screenplay was written by Terence Winter, and the film stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Belfort, a New York stockbroker who runs a firm, Stratton Oakmont, that engages in securities fraud and corruption on Wall Street in the 1990s.


The film also features Jonah Hill and Matthew McConaughey. It is the fifth collaboration between Scorsese and DiCaprio, and the second between Scorsese and Winter after Boardwalk Empire.

1. Mercy, Mercy, Mercy By: Cannonball Adderley

2. Dust My Broom By: Elmore James

3. Bang! Bang! By: Joe Cuba

4. Movin' Out (Anthony's Song) By: Billy Joel

5. C’est Si Bon By: Eartha Kitt

6. Goldfinger By: Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings

7. Pretty Thing By: Bo Diddley

8. Moonlight In Vermont (Live At The Pershing Lounge/1958) By: Ahmad Jamal

9. Smokestack Lightning By: Howlin' Wolf

10. Hey Leroy, Your Mama's Callin' You By: The Jimmy Castor Bunch

11. Double Dutch By: Malcolm McLaren

12. Never Say Never By: Romeo Void

13. Meth Lab Zoso Sticker By: 7Horse

14. Road Runner (Single Version) By: Bo Diddley

15. Mrs. Robinson (LP Version) By: The Lemonheads

16. Cast Your Fate To the Wind By: Allen Toussaint

See how to enter after the Jump...



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Sacramento Giveaway: THE WOLF OF WALL STREET Soundtrack & More

“The Wolf of Wall Street Soundtrack available on iTunes NOW!”

Virgin Records has provided me with THE WOLF OF WALL STREET soundtrack to give to our fans in Sacramento. The lucky winners will also be getting a hat.


THE WOLF OF WALL STREET is a 2013 American film directed by Martin Scorsese, based on Jordan Belfort's memoir of the same name.  The screenplay was written by Terence Winter, and the film stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Belfort, a New York stockbroker who runs a firm, Stratton Oakmont, that engages in securities fraud and corruption on Wall Street in the 1990s.


The film also features Jonah Hill and Matthew McConaughey. It is the fifth collaboration between Scorsese and DiCaprio, and the second between Scorsese and Winter after Boardwalk Empire.

1. Mercy, Mercy, Mercy By: Cannonball Adderley

2. Dust My Broom By: Elmore James

3. Bang! Bang! By: Joe Cuba

4. Movin' Out (Anthony's Song) By: Billy Joel

5. C’est Si Bon By: Eartha Kitt

6. Goldfinger By: Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings

7. Pretty Thing By: Bo Diddley

8. Moonlight In Vermont (Live At The Pershing Lounge/1958) By: Ahmad Jamal

9. Smokestack Lightning By: Howlin' Wolf

10. Hey Leroy, Your Mama's Callin' You By: The Jimmy Castor Bunch

11. Double Dutch By: Malcolm McLaren

12. Never Say Never By: Romeo Void

13. Meth Lab Zoso Sticker By: 7Horse

14. Road Runner (Single Version) By: Bo Diddley

15. Mrs. Robinson (LP Version) By: The Lemonheads

16. Cast Your Fate To the Wind By: Allen Toussaint

See how to enter after the Jump...



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COUNTING CARS & AMERICAN RESTORATION Return On January 7th

New Episodes of HISTORY's hit series COUNTING CARS premieres Tuesday, January 7 at 9pm ET/PT with back-to-back episodes.

Danny and the crew from Count’s Kustoms take the wheel again for a brand new season for some of their most interesting projects to date. From converting an old ambulance into a ghost-hunting vehicle, to turning a '34 Ford into a white hot hot-rod, to finally tackling Danny's famous '71 Super Fly Cadillac, the heat is on the boys to customize and trick out the classics. Every episode features stories behind the vintage vehicles, striking before-and-after transformations, and Danny’s relentless compulsion to find and flip the greatest rides of all time, at any cost.



New Episodes of HISTORY’s hit series AMERICAN RESTORATION premieres Tuesday, January 7 at 10pm ET/PT with back-to-back episodes.

Follow Rick Dale, owner of Rick’s Restorations in Las Vegas, and his team as they take unique broken-down pieces of American history and bring them back to life. Rick will tackle the toughest of projects, from a 1960's NASA Jet Pack to a 1920’s Grand Piano. But running a shop like his is never easy – especially with business booming. Rick has to hire extra hands to keep up with the workload and from his new motorcycle master mechanic to a nerdy know-it-all picker, he’ll put his new shop guys to the test. Rick never settles for anything less than the best – from himself or the guys who work for him. There are no ordinary workdays in this world of one-of-a-kind items, impossible to find parts, and tough deadlines in a shop full of big personalities.



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Our Worst Movies Of 2013. There Are Some Surprises

Our Worst Movies Of 2013 
By: MattInRC

For every parade of elephants and giraffes that are 2013's top films, there's the janitors who cleanup behind them. Yes, the worst films of the year have brought up the rear, filling our lives with their uselessness and begging the question of why we bothered with them in the first place. These projects might have seemed like good ideas in their infancy but got horribly lost in production, and some of them were probably spoiled from the start, doomed to walk the Earth until the Ghost of Roger Ebert exorcised them to the next realm.
To be fair, our index of infamy is based on our own personal standards for taste or interest. We also looked at major Hollywood releases, not those which were shot by independent companies. If A-listers made and distributed it, we considered it. Click on the movie title above each synopsis to read our full review. Films that just missed the cut due to scheduling conflicts (thank you Hollywood for scheduling multiple screenings on the same night) included some real winners like After Earth, Smurfs 2, Movie 43, Last Stand, Parker, and RIPD, most of which have occupied a 'Who's Wanted' of the worst of the year. Had we been forced to attend those screenings, our list would have been considerably longer, and our gray hairs immeasurably more pronounced. Here now, we present the unflushed toilet that are the worst films of 2013. Get your barf bags ready:


10. You're Next (Dir. Adam Wingard)
Plot: When the Davison family comes under attack during their wedding anniversary getaway, the gang of mysterious killers soon learns that one of victims harbors a secret talent for fighting back. (via IMDB).

Why We Hate It: Poorly acted and actually left rotting on the shelf since 2011, You're Next was crap from the moment the theater lights dimmed. This ridiculous slasher film doesn't even show up on BoxOfficeMojo, telling us that it suffered such a quick end that our friends didn't even have time to track it. You're advised to follow suit.


9. Grudge Match (Dir. Peter Segal)
Plot: A pair of aging boxing rivals are coaxed out of retirement to fight one final bout -- 30 years after their last match. (via IMDB)

Why We Hate It: Oh, Sylvester Stallone, where have you gone? You made very decent Escape Plan, only to have bookended the dull Bullet to the Head and this version of clay pigeons. There was so little to like here, from the poor casting of Stallone and DeNiro, to the implausible storyline that we might have forgotten the worst performance of the year in Kim Basinger, who seems to be sleepwalking through her lines. Mr. Stallone, we loved you 20 years ago, but it's time to hang it the gloves and your career. Grudge Match is plain awful.


8. The Place beyond the Pines (Dir. Derek Cianfrance)
Plot: A motorcycle stunt rider turns to robbing banks as a way to provide for his lover and their newborn child, a decision that puts him on a collision course with an ambitious rookie cop navigating a department ruled by a corrupt detective. (via IMDB)

As dull a 2 hour-10 minute film can be, Place actually had some Oscar buzz going before audiences were lulled to sleep by Cianfrance's direction and writing. Even great actors like Bradley Cooper and Ryan Gosling can make bad films, and both laid a big one here. And while it did make a profit, I'm sure many audiences were unhappy they made the decision to see it. It's not even worthy on Netflix, so do your best to ignore it and let this thing die an honorable death.


7. The Big Wedding (Dir. Justin Zackman)
Plot: A long-divorced couple fakes being married as their family unites for a wedding. (via IMDB)

Why We Hate It: Another DeNiro crapfest, Wedding sported a stellar cast from Katherine Heigl to Amanda Seyfried. But, Zackham couldn't keep the borefest from coming off the rails, filling the caboose with characters that no one cared about, and situations that would have been funny back in 1990. You could literally feel the air being sucked out of the theater as this one arrived DOA. It might be funny on a rainy day after you've consumed a bottle of wine, but we wouldn't recommend you try.


6. Promised Land (Dir. Gus Van Sant)
Plot: A salesman for a natural gas company experiences life-changing events after arriving in a small town, where his corporation wants to tap into the available resources. (via IMDB)

Why We Hate It: In deference to my wife - who liked the film's message - she's dead wrong. Land is short on facts and dull in its delivery, sacrificing great talent to tell a limp story by Writers John Krasinski and Matt Damon (yes, THAT Matt Damon). Land tried desperately to be important, opening our eyes to the genuine problem of fracking, but it's so hard to get through that one keeps looking at their watch, hoping this soapbox would just get to the point.



5. Grown Ups 2 (Dir. Denis Dugan)
Plot: After moving his family back to his hometown to be with his friends and their kids, Lenny finds out that between old bullies, new bullies, schizo bus drivers, drunk cops on skis, and 400 costumed party crashers sometimes crazy follows you. (via IMDB)

Why We Hate It: Actors Adam Sandler, Kevin Kevin James, and Chris Rock have made zero good films between them since 1999. Readers of SJF know of our hatred for Sandler, but there's so much awful about this one that we can't recommend it even on a day when you've watched everything else and your DVR is empty. At that point, we recommend a good book rather than this piece. By the way, that one good 1999 movie was Dogma, and Rock was terrific as the black Jesus. No, I'm not kidding.


4. Blue Jasmine (Dir. Woody Allen)
Plot: A New York socialite, deeply troubled and in denial, arrives in San Francisco to impose upon her sister. She looks a million, but isn't bringing money, peace, or love... (via IMDB)

Why We Hate It: Speaking of people we hate, Woody Allen ranks right at the top - overrated doesn't come close to how we feel about him, and his deathtrap of a film starring the incomparable Cate Blanchet was such an uncomfortable waste of talent. The story of a woman going slowly mad was poorly conceived and executed, adding to Allen's lazy-days style of film-making and a general feeling of malaise. Who knows if such a mixture made money, but we order you to stay away from it, lest one finds themselves talking to oneself about why they too a chance on this awful flick.


3. Admission (Dir. Paul Weitz)
Plot: A Princeton admissions officer who is up for a major promotion takes a professional risk after she meets a college-bound alternative school kid who just might be the son she gave up years ago in a secret adoption. (via IMDB)

Why We Hate It: We like Tina Fey. We like Paul Rudd. We hated Admission. A story that goes nowhere, in which a stuff admissions officer torpedos her own career to help a person who ends up not being her long-lost son is stupid and tedious from the start. We can't even recommend putting it on as background noise as you vacuum the floor. How Weitz or our actors ever thought this was good idea must have been heavily drinking during the pitch. Yikes.


2. Identity Thief (Dir. Seth Gordon)
Plot: Mild-mannered businessman Sandy Patterson travels from Denver to Florida to confront the deceptively harmless-looking woman who has been living it up after stealing Sandy's identity. (via IMDB)
Why We Hate It: We dislike how Actor Melissa McCarthy is being pigeon-holed into unlikable and ugly fat roles (or is it 'rolls') - there we said it. How many more films can she make where's she basically playing the same character? Jason Bateman is unfunny as the latest victim in McCarthy's identity theft plot, and the storyline of redemption is implausible to say the least. Sure it made a huge profit for Universal, but that isn't saying much. If anyone wants my evaluation copy of it on Blu-ray, let me know so I can send it away. And fast.


1. Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III (Dir. Roman Copola)
Plot: A graphic designer's enviable life slides into despair when his girlfriend breaks up with him. (via IMDB)
Why We Hate It: Charlie Sheen still thinks he has value, but since his blow up on Two and Half Men, the actor has clearly lost his place...and his mind. The film set in the 70's features a cast of cameos including the gorgeous Mary Elizabeth Winstead. But not even her hot stewardess uniform could save this beast from dropping a huge load on the theatrical ground for our custodians to clean up. The film made a wopping $43,000 in its release, but it's amazing to me that it even made that much. Save the stewardess scene, there's literally nothing of worth or mention occurring in this film. It's a good example of an actor desperate to create under any circumstances, only to find his loss of credibility is worse than ever thought.

There you have it: the worst of the worst for 2013. Having revisited them, I feel like I need a shower. In the meantime, what were your worst films of the year? Comment below!

Discuss this article with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJFilms, and follow author Matt Cummings at @mfc90125.

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PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE MARKED ONES Review. Doesn't Possess Us In The Least.

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE MARKED ONES Review
By: MattInRC

The first film of 2014 - Paranormal Activity The Marked Ones - doesn't possess us in the least.


Back in 2007, the Paranormal Activity franchise was riding high. Cashing in on the formula that made The Blair Witch Project such a stunning success, Paramount showed bold flexibility in turning a small production into box office gold. The idea of hand-cam movies in horror is a brilliant concept, with many films failing desperately to mimic them. But since 2007, this franchise has looked like a shadow of its former self, and three films later, Paranormal Activity The Marked Ones utterly fails to possess us or even keep our attention.


This spin-off shares the story of a recent high school Latino graduate Jesse (Andrew Jacobs) and his best friend Hector (Jorge Diaz) as they play around with Hector's new video camera, documenting their lives in the barrio. They get chased by local thugs, ride down the stairs in a laundry basket at Jesse's dingy parent's apartment, and delve into every Latino stereotype including chugging tequilla and playing with Jesse's chihuahua and listening to his Catholic grandmother. After their shut-in neighbor is murdered by the school's upstanding valedictorian, Jesse and Hector delve deeper into the victim’s past, learning about her ties to witchcraft. Soon after, a circular mark appears on Jesse’s arm, and he's endowed with seemingly cool new powers, like super-strength and the ability to levitate. But there comes a price for such gifts, and soon Jesse begins to change, leading Hector and their friend Marisol (Gabrielle Walsh) on a fateful hunt for answers.


In an effort to pull their best Marvel rabbit out of the hat, longtime Writer/Director Christopher Landon has tied this spin-off to the first two Paranormal flicks, including cameos by Part 2 actors Molly Ephraim and others. It works to varying degrees, perhaps encouraging newcomers to check out the previous films, something we'd advise against. We also like the possessed Simon electronic memory game that starts acting like a Ouija board for Jesse, but beyond that there isn't much else here of value. Rather than using the 'found footage' genre as a way to incite terror throughout the film, Landon bores us with too much character development in the first two acts and not enough scariness. When things finally get ramped up in the third act, we're left with armed Latinos bearing shotguns and Mac10's as they take on the witches ala From Dusk Till Dawn. No, I'm not kidding. Just like Jesse's wizardry, Landon's production gets away from him by making too many assumptions about his audience's supposed lack of creativity and intelligence. The puzzle which Jesse and Hector put together make them like sleuths who are clearly over their heads and pretty unintelligent in their reckless abandonment, something which audiences would never do even on their dumbest day.



Only when things begin to escalate does The Marked Ones become anywhere near entertaining, but by then it treads on familiar territory. We liked the terror and shocks of the third act, but we've also seen them before, with the jerky hand-cam making us more dizzy that truly scared. If Landon's plan is to somehow fuse these films into an army of witches descending upon America (a fact introduced here), it will need to up the terror and give us a sense that it actually wants to scare people, not bore them to death. This is the only way that Paranormal Activity The Marked Ones survives and takes the innovation in a genre that's really just more of the same.

Discuss this review with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJFilms, and follow author Matt Cummings at @mfc90125.

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New Images From Arrow's Mid-Season Premiere

The holidays may be over but Arrow is still on hiatus. The show won't return until Jan. 15, but when it does, they'll be something different about the hero. The last time we saw Oliver (Stephen Amell), he'd gotten an early Christmas gift from Barry Allen (Grant Gustin).


In the previous episode, Barry brought up something that's been bugging us since Season 1. What's up with Oliver's face paint? He claims that a mask would hinder his ability to shoot, but of course, Barry had a remedy for that. Before heading back home, he created a mask that could hide Oliver's identity without affecting his aim.


The CW's released new photos from the midseason premiere titled, "Blast Radius." They feature Arrow out in the field with his new eyewear. In one photo, he's face-to-face with Sebastian Blood, without the help of a carefully placed shadow.

Here's the episode synopsis:

ARROW HUNTS DOWN SHRAPNEL — Oliver must tackle a new threat to the city when bombs start to go off in Starling City. Felicity (Emily Bett Rickards) discovers the person setting them off is Mark Sheffner (guest star Sean Maher), a man who goes by the nickname Shrapnel. Arrow discovers Shrapnel’s next target is Sebastian Blood’s (guest star Kevin Alejandro) “Unity Rally” and tries to talk the alderman out of hosting it, but he refuses. Arrow sets off to stop the bombing, but Shrapnel tricks him and traps him in a bomb-laced antique store where he is unable to move without setting off the device. While Felicity helps Oliver, Diggle (David Ramsey) races to the plaza to find the bomb before it goes off. Meanwhile, Roy (Colton Haynes) continues to hide his new strength from Thea (Willa Holland) but, after she witnesses his super strength in action at the rally, she demands answers. Laurel’s (Katie Cassidy) suspicions about Sebastian grow stronger once she learns that he grew up with Cyrus Gold, the man who killed Lance’s (Paul Blackthorne) partner. After Donner (guest Star Dylan Bruce) refuses to help her investigate, she turns to Arrow (Amell) for help

See all the images after the Jump...














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Thursday, January 2, 2014

THOR: THE DARK WORLD Blu-ray Arrives February 25th

Bring Home The Ultimate Battle for The Cosmos with Exclusive Bonus Features! Available on 3D and HD Digital February 4th, 2014. And on 3D Combo Pack (3D Blu-ray™, 2D Blu-ray, Digital Copy), Single-Disc Blu-ray, DVD and On Demand February 25th, 2014

Marvel’s "Thor: The Dark World" continues the big-screen adventures of Thor, the Mighty Avenger, as he battles to save Earth and all the Nine Realms from a shadowy enemy that predates the universe itself. In the aftermath of Marvel’s "Thor" and "Marvel’s The Avengers," Thor fights to restore order across the cosmos...but an ancient race led by the vengeful Malekith returns to plunge the universe back into darkness. To defeat an enemy that even Odin and Asgard cannot withstand, Thor sets upon his most dangerous and personal journey yet, forced into an alliance with the treacherous Loki to save not only his people and those he loves…but our universe itself.

Cast: Chris Hemsworth (Marvel’s Thor, Marvel’s The Avengers, Snow White and the Huntsman) as Thor, Natalie Portman (Marvel’s Thor, Black Swan, Star Wars Episodes I-III) as Jane Foster, Tom Hiddleston (Marvel’s Thor, Marvel’s The Avengers, War Horse as Loki and Anthony Hopkins (Marvel’s Thor, Silence of the Lambs, Nixon) as Odin.




Bonus Features:

(3D Combo Pack, BD, DVD & Select Digital Retailers)

• Never-Before-Seen Extended and Deleted Scenes
• Gag Reel
• Exclusive Look – Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier
o Get an exclusive first look at the latest installment in the Captain America franchise and it’s incredible cast of characters, including Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow, Samuel L. Jackson as Director Nick Fury, Chris Evans, our hero Steve Rogers, his new ally Sam Wilson, aka the Falcon played by Anthony Mackie, and a mysterious enemy from the past…the Winter Soldier played by Sebastian Stan.
• A Brothers’ Journey: Thor & Loki
o In this 30min featurette go behind the scenes with filmmakers and cast as we explore two of the most iconic characters in the Marvel Universe with stars Chris Hemsworth (Thor) & Tom Hiddleston (Loki), and journey through the key moments that have defined and endeared these characters to audiences around the world.
• Scoring Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World with Brian Tyler
o Go behind the scenes with the filmmakers and acclaimed composer Brian Tyler for a look at the creation of the movie’s stunning original score.
• Audio Commentary with Director Alan Taylor, Producer Kevin Feige, Actor Tom Hiddleston (Loki) and Cinematographer Kramer Morgenthau
• And More…

Ratings: PG-13
Feature Run Time: 1 hrs. 51 min. 53 seconds
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio: Dolby Digital Surround Sound
Languages: English, French & Spanish
Subtitles: English, French & Spanish

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