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Friday, November 13, 2015

Movie Review: 'Meet the Coopers'

The depressing dysfunctionality of Love the Coopers grates early and often.

Review by Matt Cummings

The dysfunctional family holiday film is a genre I just can't like, no matter what you do with it. Ever since it arrived in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, I've been hesitant to accept its amalgam cast of unlikable characters, thinly-written plots, and sickeningly quick happy endings. But the newest addition - Love the Coopers - sets new lows, quickly running aground with one of the most misused casts of the year.

Told through the eyes of four generations, Love the Coopers stars Diane Keaton, John Goodman, Marisa Tomei, Alan Arkin, Ed Helms, Olivia Wilde, and June Squibb as thoroughly screwed up people trying to gather one last time for the holidays before the parents Goodman and Keaton announce their divorce. The sisters hate one another, the Grandfather (Alan Arkin) tries to connect with a secret (and much younger) love who eventually goes to someone else (Amanda Seyfried), and everyone generally doesn't get why everyone dislikes everyone else. As the family comes together, controversy isn't far behind, until one of them ends up in the hospital, forcing the rest to remember that their love for another is the tie that binds them.

Love the Coopers is directed by Jesse Nelson, who make no comfort or joy in telling this depressing tale of people living thoroughly depressing lives. Seriously, from the start there's nothing happy about this gathering, and soon it begins to grate, forcing humor/sadness/romanticism/humor down our throats in servings as big as the fake dinner Keaton supposedly puts together in seemingly record time. Usually, movies like these feature some amount of hysterical zaniness, but Nelson just can't force that out of Writer Steven Rogers' screenplay. We get the hyper-involved Christmas-singing parents, siblings who try to one-up each other, and unrequited love that soars as much as a toilet.

Few feel suited for their role, including non-Cooper thespians Anthony Mackie and the aforementioned Seyfried. One drives a police car through the entire film while the other considers moving her considerable waitressing acumen to Hot Coffee, Mississippi. Yep, she really wants to move there, as if Pittsburgh just doesn't hold the appeal like Hot Coffee. The closeted Mackie gets psychoanalyzed by Tomei (a life coach with a penchant for lying to police) around after she's caught trying to steal an over-priced broach for her sister. None of that is especially appealing or even any good, and we're left wondering why that aspect was left in the film. Add to that the repartee by Keaton and Goodman, who spend so long breaking down why their marriage no longer works that soon we're hoping they just get it over with.

The only bright spot is Wilde, whose mischievous hottness smolders each time she and Joe (Jake Lacy) go at it. But that spryness is meant for another film, because once Eleanor gets home, she fades into the milieu of family politics, hastened by odd softening filters on Keaton's face each time she's the center of attention. In the days of analog, such things never bothered me; but in 1080p-land the difference is noticeable, especially in the hospital scenes near film's end. Helms' story - he's also getting a divorce - is meant to be a sort of breakout dramatic role for him; but here he's just a lifeless caricature whose odd snorts (no, I'm not kidding) weren't funny from the beginning and don't get any better as time goes on.

Perhaps the most disturbing part of Love the Coopers is that the grittiness of a post-2007 economic collapse has somehow made its way into the dysfunctional holiday comedy. Everyone is sad and upset at something - usually for no real reason other than they choose to be - ready to go postal if the right three things go out of order. Not only are we forced to endure such a gross over-exaggeration, but are meant to draw some odd appreciation that our lives somehow mirror The Coopers' sorrows. And all of that is also meant to be funny?

There are several flashback moments that are well-conceived and shot, and the narration by Steve Martin presents an interesting reveal, but the film's masochism just can't be tolerated. I feel like Scrooge in destroying Love the Coopers, but it appears the grittiness of modern action cinema has also found its way into the dysfunctional holiday comedy. Find a way - any way - to skip this family disaster entirely.

Love the Coopers is rated PG-13 for thematic elements, language and some sexuality and has a runtime of 107 minutes.

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

Movie Review: 'Brooklyn'

The period piece moves with a gentle grace, but it's story can't keep up.

Review by Matt Cummings

In Director John Crowley's period drama Brooklyn, the meager Irish woman Eilis (Saoirse Ronan) comes to America during the 1950's in search of a better life. Leaving behind the only world she's ever known, Eilis initially struggles in New York, working at a well-respected department store but feeling completely empty and homesick. Although she's set up in a boarding home with other Irish female immigrants, Eilis struggles to adjust to her new life, until she meets the Italian plumber Tony (Emory Cohen), who is immediately smitten with her. But when tragedy forces her to return home, Eilis is immediately courted by Jim (Domhnall Gleeson) and must make a difficult decision: stay and enjoy an opulent life or take a chance on Brooklyn and the love which awaits her.

Based on the novel by Colm Toibin, Brooklyn is beautifully shot and well acted, with Ronan turning in a delicate performance. One feels a pull to the era, as Crowley has transported us to watch this story unfold without their knowledge. But it's all superficial as Writer Nick Hornby doesn't give Ronan enough to do, and never creates a sense controversy, keeping his chaarcters fairly one-note throughout the production. Nearly everyone outside of Eilis and Tom are just amalgams, impediments that she must dodge or scurry past on her way to whatever seemingly dull life she's set up for herself. Moreover, there's never the sense that Eilis has anything truly to suffer for, that her life will be good if she just sticks to her interests and pushes on through. There's some suggestion that the Irish had some difficulties in America, but we've seen these kinds of struggles play out better in the elegant Avalon.

Ronan has proved her worth in Hanna, but here she's so reserved that Eilis never gets a chance to tell her story about the immigrant experience in America. Gleeson's no more than a glorified cameo, content to not even show up until the third act. He and Ronan have decent chemistry, but it's Cohen who shines the brightest, providing the best Italian accent I've heard in years, his love for the Brooklyn Dodgers/hatred for the Yankees as real as I can remember from my Italian upbringing. I think real stars here are Julie Walters as the boarding house marm, whose strict Catholic values clash hilariously with the ruckus girls that include Arrow's Emily Bett Rickards, as well as Father Flood played by Jim Broadbent. Both stand as bright lights against the rather effects produced by the leads.

But without any real conflict to keep the story moving, Brooklyn begins to sway of course, settling into a passive avenue of storytelling where everyone largely behaves themselves, does what they're told, and treats Eilis with enough love to float the cruise ship that brings her to America. Had it been made 40 years ago, Brooklyn might have found itself in privileged company, the center of TCM spotlights and repeated airings. Unfortunately, such gentleness doesn't feel as relevant as it once did, perhaps saying more about where our culture is headed than a criticism of the movie. Regardless, it never uses its pieces very well, and the lack of direction wastes the immense talent compiled to service it.

Brooklyn is rated Rated PG-13 for a scene of sexuality and brief strong language and has a runtime of 111 minutes.

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

New #TheGoodDinosaur Clips. Kicks Off "Dino Week"

As the release of The Good Dinosaur approaches, we’re excited to announce the kick off of Dino Week tomorrow.

"The Good Dinosaur" asks the question: What if the asteroid that forever changed life on Earth missed the planet completely and giant dinosaurs never became extinct? Pixar Animation Studios takes you on an epic journey into the world of dinosaurs where an Apatosaurus named Arlo (voice of Raymond Ochoa) makes an unlikely human friend. While traveling through a harsh and mysterious landscape, Arlo learns the power of confronting his fears and discovers what he is truly capable of. Directed by Peter Sohn and produced by Denise Ream (“Cars 2”), Disney•Pixar’s “The Good Dinosaur” opens in theaters on Nov. 25, 2015.

Starting tomorrow, visit Disney.com/DinoWeek all week to celebrate everything you love about dinosaurs & see brand new clips, featurettes, and activities from The Good Dinosaur.

To kick the week off, three brand new film clips from Disney/Pixar’s THE GOOD DINOSAUR are now available to share with your readers

“Get Through Your Fear”

Watch all the clips after the Jump...


“Butch’s Scar"

The Good Dinosaur is in theaters November 25!

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The third installment of the blockbuster Divergent series franchise, ALLEGIANT takes Tris [Shailene Woodley] and Four [Theo James] into a new world, far more dangerous than ever before.

After the earth-shattering revelations of INSURGENT, Tris must escape with Four and go beyond the wall enclosing Chicago. For the first time ever, they will leave the only city and family they have ever known. Once outside, old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless with the revelation of shocking new truths. Tris and Four must quickly decide who they can trust as a ruthless battle ignites beyond the walls of Chicago which threatens all of humanity. In order to survive, Tris will be forced to make impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice and love.

See the character posters after the Jump...


Star Wars Season Of The Force Details & Video

Traveling to a galaxy far, far away is easier than ever for guests visiting the Disneyland Resort. Beginning Nov. 16, 2015, Star Wars Season of the Force will debut in Tomorrowland at Disneyland Park, giving guests daily opportunities to explore, interact and have fun with the power of the Force.

Star Wars Launch Bay

Located on the lower level of the Tomorrowland Expo Center, Star Wars Launch Bay is the central space for fans to celebrate all things Star Wars.

See more details after the Jump...

First Order stormtroopers patrolling the area outside Launch Bay are on a mission to find members of the Resistance. Inside, guests may encounter iconic characters Darth Vader, Chewbacca or even Boba Fett.

Inspired by the iconic opening crawl in every Star Wars film, a welcoming text scroll on the carpet will greet guests as they enter the experience.

The Cantina is a unique experience inspired by the “hive of scum and villainy” guests will recognize from the Star Wars films. From bounty hunters and smugglers to aliens, guests never know who they may meet here.

The Cantina becomes the gathering place to take memorable photos with a holochess or sabacc table. (Sabacc is a popular card game played throughout the galaxy, often with high stakes. Holochess is a chess-like game that utilizes holographic representations of the playing pieces.)
Guests may join the Resistance or come to the dark side, choosing a path that takes them into one of two character greeting experiences.

When it’s time to meet the character, portal doors open to welcome guests into a fully immersive 360-degree space, inspired by a Rebel base or Star Destroyer.

Throughout the space, guests will find Aurebesh writings in the environment. Aurebesh is a writing system used to transcribe Basic, the most used language in the Star Wars galaxy.

Guests may play current and upcoming Star Wars video games at the Game Center, including new and exclusive Disney Infinity 3.0 content created exclusively for this experience.

Exploring the Light Side Gallery, guests will find replicas of iconic helmets and lightsabers once wielded by Jedi heroes, including Luke Skywalker. And in the Dark Side Gallery, they’ll discover replicas of helmets and lightsabers used by the Sith, mortal enemies of the Jedi.

Large-scale replicas of film props, costumes, ship models, droids, artwork and other notable items are on display for Star Wars fans to enjoy.

Star Tours – The Adventures Continue

A new adventure awaits guests as they climb aboard a Starspeeder 1000 and blast off on a thrilling tour of the Star Wars galaxy.

The new adventure includes scenes and characters from the upcoming film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Hyperspace Mountain

The popular Space Mountain attraction is reimagined as Hyperspace Mountain, thrusting guests into an X-wing Starfighter battle as they race through the darkness.
The guest experience is enhanced by a new soundtrack, inspired by the films’ musical themes and re-orchestrated to match every move in the attraction. The soundtrack was recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra.

Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple

This reimagined battle experience takes younglings to the secret site of an ancient Jedi temple, where they discover if they have the makings of a true Jedi. It debuts Dec. 8.
Villains such as Darth Vader and the Seventh Sister Inquisitor from the popular Disney XD series Star Wars Rebels join the adventure.

Star Wars: Path of the Jedi

Guests can relive stories from the Star Wars saga – or discover them for the first time – through this short, film compilation at Tomorrowland Theater. It includes moments from the new film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

This cinematic short connects iconic scenes from the films in fun new ways, following the journey of Luke Skywalker.

Galactic Grill and Star Wars-Inspired Menus

The Force takes over the Tomorrowland Terrace to offer dark side and light side menu items.
For breakfast, guests may enjoy a blue corn Darth Tamale, with scrambled eggs and chorizo, red chili sauce and tomatillo. For lunch and dinner, the First Order Specialty Burger is tempting with a patty of angus beef and chorizo, topped with fried cherry peppers and spicy-lime aioli on a dark bun.
Fun collectible items to take home include the BB-8 sipper cup and TIE Fighter premium popcorn bucket.

Pizza Port in Tomorrowland also will offer new Star Wars-inspired menu items.

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THE WITCH Introduces The Raven

THE WITCH is celebrating Friday the 13th with the introduction of The Raven.

A messenger of the Devil, The Raven invites you to commune with him through Twitter and Snapchat for new content in the weeks to come.

The film stars Anya Taylor Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, Harvey Scrimshaw, Ellie Grainger and Lucas Dawson.

New site here:

In Theaters February 26, 2016

In this exquisitely made and terrifying new horror film, the age-old concepts of witchcraft, black magic and possession are innovatively brought together to tell the intimate and riveting story of one family's frightful unraveling in the New England wilderness circa 1630.

New England, 1630. Upon threat of banishment by the church, an English farmer leaves his colonial plantation, relocating his wife and five children to a remote plot of land on the edge of an ominous forest - within which lurks an unknown evil. Strange and unsettling things begin to happen almost immediately - animals turn malevolent, crops fail, and one child disappears as another becomes seemingly possessed by an evil spirit. With suspicion and paranoia mounting, family members accuse teenage daughter Thomasin of witchcraft, charges she adamantly denies. As circumstances grow more treacherous, each family member's faith, loyalty and love become tested in shocking and unforgettable ways.

Writer/director Robert Eggers' debut feature, which premiered to great acclaim at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival - winning the Best Director Prize in the U.S. Narrative Competition - painstakingly recreates a God-fearing New England decades before the 1692 Salem witch trials, in which religious convictions tragically turned to mass hysteria. Told through the eyes of the adolescent Thomasin - in a star-making turn by newcomer Anya Taylor-Joy - and supported by mesmerizing camera work and a powerful musical score, THE WITCH is a chilling and groundbreaking new take on the genre.

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Last night a brand new STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS TV spot aired exclusively during ABC's TGIT.

Lucasfilm and visionary director J.J. Abrams join forces to take you back again to a galaxy far, far away as Star Wars returns to the big screen with Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

The film stars Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew and Max Von Sydow. Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk are producing with Tommy Harper and Jason McGatlin serving as executive producers. The screenplay is by Lawrence Kasdan & J.J. Abrams and Michael Arndt. Star Wars: The Force Awakens releases in U.S. theaters on December 18, 2015.

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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Final Poster Nicholas Sparks' #THECHOICE

Take a look at the beautiful NEW POSTER for THE CHOICE starring Teresa Palmer and Benjamin Walker. Neighbors Gabby Holland [Palmer] and Travis Shaw [Walker] find themselves at odds when their differing personalities clash. But as their romantic feelings begin to grow, they soon realize that every path leads to a series of choices that will determine their future together. From the mind of New York Time's Bestseller Nicholas Sparks comes a love story that defies all odds and asks the question - how far would you go for the one you love?

Make the choice and fall in love when THE CHOICE opens in a theater near you on FEBRUARY 5, 2016!

When feisty medical student Gabby Holland moves in next door to perennial ladies' man Travis Shaw, it sends them both on a romantic journey neither ever dreamed possible. Travis has always believed a serious relationship with a woman would cramp his easygoing lifestyle, while Gabby is all set to settle down her long-term boyfriend-until an irresistible attraction between the unlikely couple upends both of their well-planned lives. After a whirlwind courtship, Gabby and Travis wed and build a family together, making every decision hand-in-hand until one of them is forced to make the most important choice of their life alone. A poignant and life-affirming celebration of love, marriage and family that explores the most heart-wrenching question of all: how far would you go to keep the hope of love alive?

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New Featurette For The Finest Hours

Watch the new featurette from the heroic action-thriller "The Finest Hours” with Chris Pine, Casey Affleck and the real-life heroes behind the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.

Based on the remarkable true story, Disney's "The Finest Hours" is directed by Craig Gillespie and stars Chris Pine, Academy Award® and Golden Globe® nominee Casey Affleck, Ben Foster, Holliday Grainger, John Ortiz and Eric Bana. Presented in Digital 3D™, Real D 3D and IMAX® 3D, the film, which transports audiences to the heart of the action, creating a fully-immersive cinematic experience on an epic scale, storms into theaters on January 29, 2016.

Watch the featurette after the Jump...

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New Poster & Featurette For THE BIG SHORT

When four outsiders saw what the big banks, media and government refused to, the global collapse of the economy, they had an idea: The Big Short. Their bold investment leads them into the dark underbelly of modern banking where they must question everyone and everything. Based on the true story and best-selling book by Michael Lewis (The Blind Side, Moneyball), and directed by Adam Mckay (Anchorman, Step Brothers) The Big Short stars Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt.

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BOND WITH EPIX Airs All Day November 26 and 27

Get a taste of Bond this thanksgiving when EPIX, home of the James Bond movie franchise, presents a two-day marathon of James Bond films airing all-day November 26 and November 27. The marathon of non-stop thrills, martinis and Bond beauties will feature original cast members Sean Connery, George Lazenby, and Roger Moore. Tune into EPIX Thursday, November 26, beginning at 7:15 AM ET/PT through Friday, November 27 (full schedule below) for your own private 007 BOND WITH EPIX party.


Thursday, November 26
· 7:15 AM – Goldfinger
· 9:10 AM – Diamonds Are Forever
· 11:15 AM – For Your Eyes Only
· 1:25 PM – The Living Daylights
· 3:40 PM – The Man with the Golden Gun
· 5:50 PM – Diamonds Are Forever
· 8:00 PM – Live and Let Die
· 10:15 PM – Goldfinger
· 12:05 PM – License to Kill
· 2:20 AM – On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
· 4:50 AM – Live and Let Die

Friday, November 27
· 7:00 AM – From Russia with Love
· 9:00 AM – The Spy Who Loved Me
· 11:15 AM – Never Say Never Again
· 1:35 PM – Moonraker
· 3:45 PM – From Russia with Love
· 5:45 PM – A View to a Kill
· 8:00 PM – You Only Live Twice
· 10:00 PM – Octopussy
· 12:20 AM – Thunderball
· 2:35 AM – The Spy Who Loved Me
· 4:45 AM – You Only Live Twice

Follow the marathon on Twitter via #BondwithEPIX and visit www.epixhd.com/james-bond for more information.

About EPIX
EPIX is a premium movie and original programming entertainment network delivering the latest movie releases, classic film franchises, original documentaries, comedy and music events on TV, on demand, online and on digital devices. Launched in October 2009, EPIX has pioneered the development and proliferation of “TV Everywhere.” It was the first premium network to provide multi-platform access to its content online at EPIX.com and to launch on Xbox, PlayStation®, Android phones and tablets, and Roku® players. EPIX is also available across Chromecast, Apple® iPhones® and iPads®, Android TV and more and is the only premium service providing all its programming on all platforms, delivering more movies than any other premium network, with thousands of titles available for streaming.

EPIX is a joint venture between Viacom Inc., its Paramount Pictures unit, Lionsgate and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (MGM). Through relationships with cable, satellite and telco partners, EPIX is available to over 50 million homes nationwide. For more information about EPIX, go to www.EPIX.com. Follow EPIX on Twitter @EpixHD (http://www.twitter.com/EpixHD) and on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/EPIX), YouTube (http://youtube.com/EPIX), Instagram (http://instagram.com/EPIX), Google+ (http://plus.google.com/+EPIX), Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/EPIX) and Vine (https://vine.co/EPIX).

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#MOONWALKERS Red & Green Band Trailer Starring Rupert Grint & @perlmutations

Red band & green band trailers for MOONWALKERS starring Rupert Grint and Ron Perlman.

After failing to locate the legendary Stanley Kubrick, an unstable CIA agent (Ron Perlman) must instead team up with a seedy rock band manager (Rupert Grint) to develop the biggest con of all time—staging the moon landing.

Watch the green band trailer after the Jump...

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New Images From Star Wars: #TheForceAwakens

Courtesy of EW we have our hands on new images from

Star Wars: The Force Awakens is an upcoming American epic space opera film directed by J. J. Abrams. The seventh installment in the main Star Wars film series, it stars Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong'o, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and Max von Sydow. The story is set approximately 30 years after the events of Return of the Jedi (1983).

See all the images after the Jump...

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