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Saturday, December 24, 2016

Movie Review: #AssassinsCreed Huge Let Down!

Huge let down!

Rama returns.

Assassins Creed Movie has so much potential, it’s got a cool concept, badass fights, exciting chase scenes, even though parkour was so ten years ago, I’m diggin’ the style as well, but halfway through, the story starts to crumble, and it ultimately becomes just as poorly-scripted as any other game-based movies we’ve seen so far. Such a shame,.. I really thought this would be the one to break the long streak.

Michael Fassbender is a death row inmate named Callum Lynch about to be executed when he then wakes up in a facility that, through a revolutionary technology called animus, tries to unlock his genetic memories, to make him be one with his ancestor, Aguilar, a member of a secret assassins society in 15th Century Spain. They have vast knowledge and incredible skills and their mission is to stop the powerful Templar organization from obtaining the Apple of Eden which is said to contain mankind’s origin of free will.

I’m not going to lie to you, there are some cool parts about “Assassin’s Creed.” For one, the look and the tone remind me of Christian Bale’s sleek utopian actioner “Equilibrium.” And whenever Callum (Michael Fassbender) fights as Aguilar, the shots from the old Spain blend with the present day inside the facility, so what you see is this fascinating ghost-like combo, much credit to the VFX team. To be honest, Michael Fassbender, wasn’t the first person I had in mind when the idea of “Assassin’s Creed” live action movie came to surface, but he proves himself quite capable and competent, he’s got the moves, the jumps, the stealths and the stances down pat. Fassbender is committed to the material even if the material doesn’t meet him there, such is the case with “Assassin’s Creed.”

Conceptually, this is a promising film. I’m willing to even put aside the ridiculous McGuffin that is Apple of Eden, but just halfway through, it’s as if the story doesn’t know how to wrap itself up nicely. It’s disjointed and all over the place. In addition to that, the dialogue is just unbearable, it’s torturous to see Oscar winners like Marion Cotillard and Jeremy Irons forced to say their lines. A junior high-schooler could’ve written a better serious conversation between two adults. A movie shouldn’t exist just because it can, and “Assassin’s Creed” is yet another evidence that riding on concept alone just doesn’t cut it.

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Movie Review: WHY HIM? Hilarious & Brutally Blunt

James Franco unfiltered

Rama is back again.

WHY HIM? is hilarious and brutally blunt. One of the most entertaining R-rated comedies I’ve seen in recent years. You have got to see James Franco in this film, his character’s got tons of unexpected F-bombs and he plays it like a teenage kid in a candy store.

Written by Ian Helfer and directed by John Hamburg, Bryan Cranston plays an overprotective but loving dad named Ned whose printing business is on the brink of failing. He brings his family to visit his daughter at Stanford where he meets her well-intentioned but socially awkward internet billionnaire boyfriend, Laird, played by James Franco. Of all the men in the world, Ned wonders why his daughter had to go with this Laird fella.

I think what makes WHY HIM? effective is Franco’s unfiltered performance, there’s something so disarming and appealing about a man who’s eccentric and brutally honest. You can tell Franco is just having a blast playing this character because he probably just has to tap into his younger frat self where inhibition goes out the window. And so Franco’s Laird wants to impress his girlfriend’s family so bad to the point of trying too hard and on the other corner of the ring, Ned thinks he knows what’s best for his daughter, Stephanie (Zoey Deutch) but none of them ever asks Stephanie what she wants for her life.

This film could’ve easily gone down the route of just full on Ned vs. Laird the entire time much like last year’s “Daddy’s Home” featuring Will Ferrell vs. Mark Wahlberg, but I’m glad that’s not exactly what WHY HIM? is gunning for. The humor stems partly from us finding Laird’s lifestyle completely outrageous and partly because we kinda wish we could experience that lifestyle even for just a few days. There’s also that old school ways vs. high tech ways of doing things but mostly the film is about two men who genuinely love the same girl but are having a hard time looking past themselves. This is definitely not a film for conservatives but I think conservatives would get the most benefit out of watching WHY HIM?

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Movie Review: #SingMovie Joyous, Wonderful & Affirming

Joyous, wonderful and affirming

Rama has done it again

SING pleasantly surprises me. This is one of those cases in which the trailers and previews don’t really quite do the movie justice but that’s a good thing because you are in for a treat. SING is joyous, wonderful and affirming. A must-see for the entire family.

Written and co-directed by Garth Jennings (“Son of Rambow”), the story is essentially about a dapper Koala named Buster Moon, voiced by Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey, who has one final chance to restore his once grand theater that has fallen on hard times to its former glory by producing a singing competition. Set in a world like ours but entirely inhabited by animals, everyone around Buster thinks he’s delusional, that the theater is no longer worth saving, that it’s time for him to let go and move on. But Buster persists and so five lead contestants emerge for this competition. A smooth con-artist jazz mouse named Mike (Seth MacFarlane), a shy elephant with an incredible singing voice and a stage fright, Meena (Tori Kelly), a pig mother named Rosita (Reese Witherspoon) raising 25 piglets, a young gangster gorilla named Johnny (Taron Egerton) who doesn’t want to be in the family business anymore, and a punk rock girl named Ash (Scarlett Johansson) who goes solo after her arrogant boyfriend chooses another partner.

The trailers and previews only give you the impression that this is just “The Voice” or “America’s Got Talents” with talking animals. And that’s not a fair assessment because when you see the film, you’ll realize that there’s more to it and I think much of that credit goes to writer/director Garth Jennings who manages to create such complex characters and an even bigger complex unifying dilemma. They’re so well-written, you end up caring so much about what happens to them.

Many of you will come to watch this movie just for the songs and trust me when I say, you will not get disappointed. SING features more than 65 hit songs, many of which are your favorite and their renditions range from entertaining to mind-blowing especially with Tori Kelly’s version of Leonard Cohen’s timeless classic, “Hallelujah.” Earlier this year, Disney had their own talking animal movie, “Zootopia” which I thought was very well-made but their theme was a bit too heavy for young viewers. The story and the characters in SING have depth, and it’s about getting back up after you’ve already been knocked down. This is one of those films that could give young viewers a strong sense of hope and belief in their future no matter how bleak it may seem at the moment. It’s got heart, it’s got humor, it’s got passion, it’s got a finale that creates something so grand out of messy rubbles. No offense to Gru and his minions, but this has got to be my #1 favorite Illumination’s animated movie ever! There needs to be more movies like SING.


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A BAD MOMS CHRISTMAS Announced For 2017

STX Entertainment is fast-tracking A BAD MOMS CHRISTMAS, a new film from writer/directors Jon Lucas & Scott Moore that will reunite stars Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell, and Kathryn Hahn and be ready to release in time for the holidays next year, it was announced today by Adam Fogelson, Chairman of the STX Entertainment Motion Picture Group, and Oren Aviv, President and Chief Content Officer for the STX Entertainment Motion Picture Group. The film will be produced by Suzanne Todd and executive produced by Bill Block.

Produced for $20 million, BAD MOMS took in more than $180 million worldwide when it was released earlier this year. In A BAD MOMS CHRISTMAS, the under-appreciated and over-burdened sisterhood must deal with the stresses of the most wonderful time of year as their own mothers visit for the holidays.

A BAD MOMS CHRISTMAS will be released by STX Entertainment on November 3, 2017.

Written and directed by Jon Lucas & Scott Moore, the gratefully married writers behind the comedy THE HANGOVER, BAD MOMS proudly celebrated motherhood in all its glory, and for this new chapter the producers will have even more prime casting opportunities for actresses as they introduce new members of the BAD Moms family.

"This is a brand that has enormous goodwill all over the world, so expanding and extending the BAD MOMS franchise in an authentic and irreverent way has been a priority for our team. Jon and Scott have a truly hysterical story that was pure perfection. Mila, Kristen and Kathryn are excited to re-team, and we will move forward with A BAD MOMS CHRISTMAS on a similar time table and in much the same way in which we produced the original," said Adam Fogelson, Chairman of the STX Entertainment Motion Picture Group.

About STX Motion Pictures Group
STX Motion Pictures Group is a division of STX Entertainment, a global next-generation media company that specializes in the development, financing, production, marketing and distribution of a full range of both traditional and digital content including film, television, VR, digital video, music video and gaming projects. The company is led by accomplished businessman Robert Simonds and was co-founded by Bill McGlashan, managing partner of the leading global private investment firm TPG. Other investors include Hony Capital, a leading private equity firm in China; PCCW, Southeast Asia's largest Internet and cable services provider; Tencent Holdings, China's leading provider of online products and services; Dominic Ng, Chairman of East West Bank; DNS Capital (representing the business interests of Gigi Pritzker and her immediate family); and Beau Wrigley, former Chairman and CEO of the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company, among others. With these strategic relationships, the company is uniquely positioned to maximize the impact of content worldwide, with direct passage into the China market.

For more information, please visit https://www.stxentertainment.com/

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THE LOST CITY OF Z Teaser Trailer

Amazon Studios and Bleecker Street will release THE LOST CITY OF Z in Los Angeles and New York April 14 and in Theaters Nationwide April 21



Based on author David Grann’s nonfiction bestseller, THE LOST CITY OF Z tells the incredible true story of British explorer Percy Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam), who journeys into the Amazon at the dawn of the 20th century and discovers evidence of a previously unknown, advanced civilization that may have once inhabited the region. Despite being ridiculed by the scientific establishment who regard indigenous populations as “savages,” the determined Fawcett – supported by his devoted wife (Sienna Miller), son (Tom Holland) and aide-de-camp (Robert Pattinson) – returns time and again to his beloved jungle in an attempt to prove his case, culminating in his mysterious disappearance in 1925. An epically scaled tale of courage and obsession, told in James Gray’s classic filmmaking
style, THE LOST CITY OF Z is a stirring tribute to the exploratory spirit and those individuals driven to achieve greatness at any cost.

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Enter For A Chance To Win Passes To An Advance Screening For SILENCE In Las Vegas

Enter for a chance to see SILENCE on January 10 at 7:00 PM in LAS VEGAS.

Martin Scorsese’s SILENCE tells the story of two Christian missionaries (Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver) who face the ultimate test of faith when they travel to Japan in search of their missing mentor (Liam Neeson) – at a time when Christianity was outlawed and their presence forbidden. The celebrated director's 28-year journey to bring Shusaku Endo’s 1966 acclaimed novel to life.



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Release date-January 13

No purchase necessary

NO RECORDING

Official Movie Site: http://www.silencemovie.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/silencemovie/

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 your belongings and person 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. Unauthorized recording will be reported to law enforcement and may subject you to criminal and civil liability

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Enter For A Chance To Win Passes To An Advance Screening For SILENCE In Phoenix

Enter for a chance to see SILENCE on January 3 at 7:00 PM in Phoenix.

Martin Scorsese’s SILENCE tells the story of two Christian missionaries (Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver) who face the ultimate test of faith when they travel to Japan in search of their missing mentor (Liam Neeson) – at a time when Christianity was outlawed and their presence forbidden. The celebrated director's 28-year journey to bring Shusaku Endo’s 1966 acclaimed novel to life.



See how to enter after the Jump...

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

Click here to enter-

Release date-January 6

No purchase necessary

NO RECORDING

Official Movie Site: http://www.silencemovie.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/silencemovie/

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 your belongings and person 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. Unauthorized recording will be reported to law enforcement and may subject you to criminal and civil liability

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Alex Timbers In Talks To Direct "Cruella" Starring Emma Stone

Deadline is reporting The latest twist in the Alex Timbers/Disney saga is news that the acclaimed Broadway director/writer and co-creator of Amazon’s Mozart In The Jungle is negotiating to direct Cruella at Disney. Emma Stone, who received both a Golden Globe and SAG nomination this week for her role in La La Land, has been attached for a while in the live-action re-imagining of the villain’s tale from the children’s classic 101 Dalmatians.

The studio wants to start production on the origin story of Cruella De Vil early next year from the most recent script, penned by Jez Butterworth. The feature is to be produced by Andrew Gunn and Marc Platt.

This news about Timbers, a two-time Tony nominated writer and director and artistic director of Les Freres Corbusie, comes after he and Disney parted ways last summer over the Broadway-bound adaptation of Frozen — a project he was to direct. Cruella keeps Timbers in the Disney fold, at least on the West Coast side.

Timbers hasn’t wanted for work. He’s about to begin rehearsals at the Public Theater with Joan of Arc: Into The Fire, his second collaboration with Talking Heads’ David Byrne after the huge hit Here Lies Love about Imelda Marcos. He navigated the successful Broadway opening a few weeks ago of Oh, Hello On Broadway, the transfer of the popular cable comedy Oh, Hello. He had a financial flop with the Broadway musical version of Rocky, but also won acclaim for staging Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and co-directing the Tony winning Peter And The Starcatcher with Roger Rees. He’s working with Baz Luhrmann on the stage adaptation of Moulin Rouge.

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Giveaway:Hollywood Movie Money To See COLLATERAL BEAUTY

Enter for a chance to win Hollywood Movie Money to see COLLATERAL BEAUTY.

When a successful New York ad executive suffers a personal tragedy and retreats from life, his friends devise a drastic plan to reach him before he loses everything. Pushing him to the very edge, they force him to confront the truth in surprising and profoundly human ways. From Oscar-winning director David Frankel, this thought-provoking drama explores how even the deepest loss can reveal moments of beauty, and how the constants of love, time and death interlock in a life fully lived.



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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

Email-giveaways@sandwichjohnfilms.com
Subject-COLLATERAL BEAUTY Hollywood Movie Money
Name & mailing address

Passes can be used at any theater except for AMC Theatres.

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Box Office 2016 Winners & Loser

Who won and who lost at the box office this year?

Regardless of your political persuasion, 2016 was a year of tumult and uncertainty. At least the movies gave us an occasional break from the headlines. Feel-good animated films triumphed at the box office this year, with Finding Dory at No. 1, while superheroes found a darker groove (the hard-R comedy Deadpool, the villain-driven Suicide Squad) and familiar franchises — Harry Potter, Star Wars — put down new roots. Before we toast the arrival of 2017, here’s a list of the biggest box-office winners and losers of 2016.


WINNER: The Wonderful World of Disney
Mickey Mouse had a good year. Five of the studio’s divisions (Disney, Marvel Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Animation, and Lucasfilm) managed to crack 2016’s list of highest-grossing films, with Finding Dory at No. 1 with $486 million, Captain America: Civil War at No. 2 with $408 million, and The Jungle Book, Deadpool, Doctor Strange, Moana, and Rogue One all delivering huge numbers. Globally, Walt’s triumph was even bigger: In December, Disney became the first studio ever to reach $7 billion at the worldwide box office in a single year.


WINNER: La La Land
This Ryan Gosling-Emma Stone musical, which began generating Best Picture buzz at film festivals this fall, is off to a swinging start: On its limited opening weekend in December, the movie scored the year’s best per-theater average. (The film goes wide on Christmas Day.)

LOSER: Video- game movies
This year’s game-inspired films Warcraft and Ratchet & Clank both lost at the box office, as did the first-person-shooter-esque action film Hardcore Henry. (It’s too early to tell for December’s Assassin’s Creed, but the reviews for the highly anticipated adaptation have not been kind.) Only The Angry Birds Movie escaped the game-to-film curse in 2016 … but that won’t stop Hollywood, which has more than 50 video game films currently in development. One reason for the continued push: These films — Warcraft being a prime example — do much better overseas.


WINNER: Expanded universes
Can a beloved franchise thrive without the audience’s favorite characters? This year, Warner Bros. and Lucasfilm both tested the waters, introducing new casts for the standalone Star Wars film Rogue One and the Potterverse spin-off Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Judging from the numbers ($172 million and $208 million, respectively, and counting), audiences are happy to explore new corners of their favorite fantasy worlds, with or without Luke Skywalker or Harry Potter to show them the way.

LOSER: Will Smith
Less than a decade ago, Will Smith was single-handedly steering I Am Legend and Hancock over the $200 million mark. Now he’s struggling to get his mojo back. Though Suicide Squad did well, his performance as Deadshot was lost in the noise of negative reviews — and his big awards-season star vehicle Collateral Beauty, which received some of the year’s worst reviews, has made only $8 million so far. At least he passed on this summer’s Independence Day sequel, which took a nosedive without him.

WINNER: Original animation
More than ever, major studios are reluctant to put their money into films that aren’t based on existing brands or franchises … unless those films are animated. Original animated films thrived this year, including The Secret Life of Pets ($368 million), Zootopia ($341 million), Moana ($165 million), and the adults-only Sausage Party, which grossed $97 million on a $19 million budget. Unfortunately, originality wasn’t a guaranteed formula for success: The stop-motion film Kubo and the Two Strings made only $48 million despite glowing reviews.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Liam Neeson Reads The First Chapter Of Patrick Ness’ A Monster Calls

A visually spectacular and unabashedly emotional drama from director J.A. Bayona (“The Impossible”). 12-year-old Conor (Lewis MacDougall) is dealing with far more than other boys his age. His beloved and devoted mother (Felicity Jones) is ill. He has little in common with his imperious grandmother (Sigourney Weaver). His father (Toby Kebbell) has resettled thousands of miles away. But Conor finds a most unlikely ally when the Monster (portrayed by Liam Neeson in performance-capture and voiceover) appears at his bedroom window one night. Ancient, wild, and relentless, the Monster guides Conor on a journey of courage, faith, and truth that powerfully fuses imagination and reality.



Catch A MONSTER CALLS in Los Angeles and New York THIS FRIDAY December 23rd
The film will expand nationwide on January 6th, 2017

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New Clip From Guillermo del Toro's #Trollhunters

In celebration of Guillermo del Toro's must-see series DreamWorks Trollhunters coming to Netflix on Friday, December 23rd.



From the limitless imagination of acclaimed filmmaker Guillermo del Toro comes a tale of two worlds set to collide in the epic saga DreamWorks Trollhunters. When ordinary teenager Jim Lake Jr. stumbles upon a mystical amulet on his way to school one morning, he inadvertently discovers an extraordinary secret civilization of mighty trolls beneath his small town of Arcadia. Suddenly destined to play a crucial role in an ancient battle of good and evil, Jim is determined to save the world – right after gym class. A must-see viewing event for the entire family, DreamWorks Trollhunters will bring viewers of all ages around the globe into the rich and creative world of this all-new Netflix original series, premiering worldwide December 23, 2016.

Voice talent includes Kelsey Grammer (“The Simpsons,” X-Men: The Last Stand), Ron Perlman (Hellboy, “Adventure Time”), Steven Yeun (“The Walking Dead”) and Anton Yelchin (Star Trek Beyond). Trollhunters is created and executive produced by Guillermo del Toro (Crimson Peak, Hellboy). Marc Guggenheim (TV’s “Arrow,” “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow”), Rodrigo Blaas (animator Up, Brave, WALL•E), Christina Steinberg (Rise of the Guardians) and Chad Hammes (Dragons: Race to the Edge") serve as executive producers. Dan Hageman and Kevin Hageman are co-executive producers.

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Viola Davis Asks "What About Me?" In New #FencesMovie Clip

FENCES is directed by Denzel Washington from a screenplay by August Wilson, adapted from Wilson's Pulitzer Prize-winning play. The film stars Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Jovan Adepo, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Russell Hornsby, Mykelti Williamson, and Saniyya Sidney. The film is produced by Scott Rudin, Denzel Washington and Todd Black.




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Giveaway: La La Land: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Thanks to Interscope Records we have 5 copies of the La La Land: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack to giveaway to some lucky fans.

La La Land: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack — which features songs from Lionsgate’s upcoming original musical, La La Land, starring Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling — is now available for pre-order via all digital retailersHERE. The album is due from Interscope Records on December 9th, the same day the film opens with a limited engagement. Those who pre-order the soundtrack album will receive an instant download of “City of Stars,” which is sung by Gosling and Stone. Listen HERE. Songs on the soundtrack were written by Justin Hurwitz, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. The album was produced by Justin Hurwitz, Marius de Vries and Steven Gizicki.



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Written and directed by Academy Award® nominee Damien Chazelle, the eagerly awaited movie will open in Los Angeles and New York on December 9th and expand on December 16th.

La La Land tells the story of Mia [Emma Stone], an aspiring actress, and Sebastian [Ryan Gosling], a dedicated jazz musician, who are struggling to make ends meet in a city known for crushing hopes and breaking hearts. Set in modern day Los Angeles, this original musical about everyday life explores the joy and pain of pursuing your dreams.

Summit Entertainment presents, an Imposter Pictures / Gilbert Films production, a Marc Platt production, a Damien Chazelle film.

Email us at giveaways@sandwichjohnfilms.com
Subject-La La Land Soundtrack
Name and mailing address

The track-listing for La La Land: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is as follows:

1. "Another Day Of Sun” (La La Land Cast)
2. Someone In The Crowd" (Emma Stone, Callie Hernandez, Sonoya Mizuno, Jessica Rothe)
3. "Mia & Sebastian’s Theme” (Justin Hurwitz)
4. "A Lovely Night” (Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone)
5. "Herman’s Habit” (Justin Hurwitz)
6. "City of Stars” (Ryan Gosling)
7. "Planetarium” (Justin Hurwitz)
8. "Summer Montage / Madeline” (Justin Hurwitz)
9. "City of Stars” (Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone)
10. "Start A Fire” (John Legend)
11. "Engagement Party” (Justin Hurwitz)
12. “Audition (The Fools Who Dream)” (Emma Stone)
13. "Epilogue" (Justin Hurwitz)
14. “The End” (Justin Hurtwitz)
15. "City of Stars (Humming)” (Justin Hurwitz featuring Emma Stone)


Facebook: www.facebook.com/lalaland
Twitter: www.twitter.com/lalaland
Instagram: www.instagram.com/lalaland

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Movie Review: #Passengers

The Sci-Fi/disaster flick Passengers is lost in space.

Review by Matt Cummings

If the Science-Fiction themes present in this year's amazing Arrival were either too much to handle or too boring for you, count on the much sexier Passengers to placate. However, if you've come expecting an effective character drama with high human stakes set to a Science-Fiction groove (basically Arrival), you're in for a disaster-in-space-sized surprise.

The Earth starship Avalon is on course for Homestead II, a colony planet that offers a cheap alternative to the high prices and congestion of Earth. Aboard the vessel, 5,000 colonists and 255 shipmates sleep in cryogenic capsules outfitted for the 120-year sleep to their new home. But when an asteroid storm damages the Avalon, critical systems begin to fail along with those cryo-tubes, opening the single chamber of engineer Jim Preston (Chris Pratt). When he realizes that he's the only person who's been awakened (and has 90 years of the journey left), Jim lives the high life until he begins to go insane from the lack of human contact. Even the android bartender (Michael Sheen) only offers digitized companionship, prompting Jim to make an unexpected decision: he decides to awaken another passenger (Jennifer Lawrence). The two eventually grow close and don spacesuits for romantic spacewalks, unaware of Jim's role in awakening Aurora or that Avalon is slowly falling apart. When Aurora stumbles on the truth, she rejects him and the two enter a coldness worse than space itself. As the systems across the ship begin to fail, Jim and Aurora must put their differences aside to save the mission and its passengers, even if it means making the ultimate sacrifice to do so.

Passengers is a competently-acted and beautifully shot film, but it's also pedestrian, predictable, and skips the best part of the plot for standard Sci-Fi fare. Once the mystery of Jim's predicament is resolved, there's not really much for Director Morten Tyldum and Writer Jon Spaihts to do, except concoct a silly disaster flick where the duo have to forget about Jim's decision. Once the crisis is dealt with, you would expect some sort of conversation to wrap things up, and yet none of that happens. That lack of closure doesn't make for great theater, even though the two shine on screen. They're likable, a bit comical, and effortlessly glide off each other's movements. But Passengers doesn't deliver enough in that character category to keep us from getting lost on the gorgeous sets, including the bejeweled bar and Jim's multi-level bedroom with a view of The Milky Way. Production design here is top notch, including the cinematography by Rodrigo Pietro, who basks our characters in gorgeous starry skies and Lawrence in sumptuous colors. Again, none of that matters in the end, because the film doesn't have the balls to address the elephant in the room: Jim's deception.

For someone who seemed right at home with the terrific character drama The Imitation Game, Director Tyldum strays from his strong suit once Passengers is done pushing Jim's decision to the side. Tyldum's usually all about conflicted characters like these, their motivations and how they change when new data is input. And although some of that does play out with mean looks and angry moments of release, the reveal fails to wholly satisfy. Instead, we're given a big, dumb survival flick where throwing overheated levers is more important than the drama of deception this high. Passengers devolves into that Sci-Fi disaster/rescue, borrowing action ideas from other recent movies like The Martian and Gravity without ever addressing the bigger questions that it so elegantly raises in Act 1.

Still, Tyldum refuses to center the story around an antagonist (unless you count Jim), which gives the film an interesting vibe as there's no one to root against. You can't blame Jim for taking extreme measures to protect his sanity, and even the last-minute addition of a revived deck officer (an underused Lawrence Fishburne) can't set the ship back on course. You only have Avalon and its friendly but ignorant AI to blame, but this isn't the murderous Hal from 2001: A Space Odyssey, so you're left with a plot that doesn't quite know what it is by mid-Second Act. It refuses to address the most interesting questions about technology and the effects on human nature, focusing instead on Pratt's bare butt and his shag-rific girlfriend. That should draw in some people who like these leads, but any chances for long-term success is probably as fleeting as that distant star to which the Avalon is heading. Boring.

Still, the trio of actors - including the always-excellent Sheen - play off each other quite well, and you tend to forget all of the plot problems with Act 3, which I assume is what Tyldum was hoping. Sheen, another favorite of mine, shines as the happily-ignorant bartender and his interactions provide most of the comical moments. Even a moment with Andy Garcia as a cameo is a pleasure as he and the crew emerges near film's end.

Although Passengers starts out strong, it fades once the most interesting question behind Tyldum's film has been answered. It settles instead on simple Sci-Fi rather than telling a compelling Science Fiction tale about ethical conundrums and the deeper science behind a long mission. Passengers probably wasn't envisioned as a Oscar contender, but the end result is rather empty, entirely predictable, and certainly the least appealing Sci-Fi film of this season. It's palatable but utterly forgettable.

Passengers is rated PG-13 for sexuality, nudity and action/peril and has a runtime of 116 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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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

#ROCKDOG Trailer & Poster

Follow Bodi (Wilson) as he chases his passion for music all the way to the front door of rock idol Angus Scattergood (Izzard) in the exciting new animated family comedy from the Academy Award® nominated writer-director of SURF'S UP and co-director of TOY STORY 2.

Dream big with Luke Wilson, Eddie Izzard, J.K. Simmons, Lewis Black, Kenan Thompson, and Mae Whitman in the new trailer for ROCK DOG!



Bring the entire family to join in on the fun with this stellar cast when ROCK DOG arrives in theaters February 24th, 2017!

For the Tibetan Mastiffs living on Snow Mountain, a dog's life has a simple riff: Guard a peaceful village of wool-making sheep from the thuggish wolf Linnux (Lewis Black) and his rabid pack. To avoid distractions, Mastiff leader Khampa (J.K. Simmons) forbids all music from the mountain. But when Khampa's son Bodi (Luke Wilson) discovers a radio dropped by a passing airplane, it takes just a few guitar licks for his fate to be sealed: Bodi wants to be a rock 'n' roll star. Yet that means defying his father's wishes, heading to the city, and locating the legendary - and reclusive - musician Angus Scattergood (Eddie Izzard), who needs to write a new song and fast.

If Bodi can put a band together, help Angus with his song, and defeat the wolves' plot to take Snow Mountain, his life will be in tune. Bodi will become what he's always dreamed of being: More than a dog ... more than a Rock God... he'll be a ROCK DOG!

Summit Premiere presents, a Huayi Brothers Media Corp. and Mandoo Pictures production, in association with Huayi Tencent Entertainment Company, Eracme Entertainment, and Dream Factory Group.

Cast: JK Simmons, Luke Wilson, Eddie Izzard, Lewis Black, Kenan Thompson, Mae Whitman, Jorge Garcia with Matt Dillon, and Sam Elliot as Fleetwood Yak
Directed By: Ash Brannon
Screenplay By: Ash Brannon and Kurt Voelker
Story By: Ash Brannon and Zheng Jun
Based on 'Tibetan Rock Dog' by: Zheng Jun
Distributor: Lionsgate's Summit Premiere
Rated: PG

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New #CureForWellness Trailer

Gore Verbinski’s upcoming film, A CURE FOR WELLNESS has been released. An ambitious young executive (Dane DeHaan) is sent to an idyllic but mysterious “wellness center.” He soon suspects that the spa’s miraculous treatments are not what they seem. His sanity is tested, as he finds himself diagnosed with the same curious illness that keeps all the guests here longing for the cure.



An ambitious young executive is sent to retrieve his company’s CEO from an idyllic but mysterious “wellness center” at a remote location in the Swiss Alps. He soon suspects that the spa’s miraculous treatments are not what they seem. When he begins to unravel its terrifying secrets, his sanity is tested, as he finds himself diagnosed with the same curious illness that keeps all the guests here longing for the cure. From Gore Verbinski, the visionary director of THE RING, comes the new psychological thriller, A CURE FOR WELLNESS.

A CURE FOR WELLNESS Official Channels
SITE: www.acureforwellness.com
FACEBOOK: Facebook.com/cureforwellness
TWITTER: Twitter.com/cureforwellness
INSTAGRAM: Instagram.com/cureforwellness
#CureForWellness

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#GLEASON Will Premiere On Amazon Prime Video On December 29

Amazon Studios today announced that the Amazon Original Movie Gleason will be available through Amazon Prime Video at no additional cost to Prime members on December 29. The acclaimed film is among 15 documentaries shortlisted for the 2016 Academy Award for Best Documentary, was nominated for Five Broadcast Film Critic’s Awards and was included among The National Board of Review’s Top Five Documentaries of the Year. Gleason is directed by Clay Tweel (Finders Keepers) and features for New Orleans Saints player Steve Gleason, his wife Michel Varisco and Steve’s former teammate and best friend Scott Fujita (The Lightkeepers, FOX NFL Kickoff). The film is produced by Fujita, Kimi Culp (Oprah’s Master Class), Seth Gordon (Horrible Bosses, Identity Thief), Mary Rohlich (Four Christmases, The Goldbergs) and Kevin Lake (The Singing Detective, Paparazzi).


Gleason made its world premiere at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival and was released theatrically on July 29, 2016 to an overwhelmingly positive critical response. The film is rated 8.3 on IMDB and also “Certified Fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes where it maintains a 96% Fresh rating. Here’s what critics have to say about Gleason:

· “Gleason is so powerful in its cumulative effect that it should be accompanied by a consumer advisory-something along the lines of ‘This documentary may cause sudden alterations of mood and attitude.”– Joe Morgenstern, The Wall Street Journal
· “If this film portrait stirs deep emotions, they spring from a breathtakingly unsentimental embrace of life at its most challenging.” – Sheri Linden, The Los Angeles Times
· “A tearjerker of a film but also a joyous one.” – Matt Zoller Seitz, RogerEbert.com
· “One of the most powerful, poignant documentaries of the past decade.” – Nick Schager, The Daily Beast.com

· “You don't need to know Steve Gleason's name to be enraptured by his extraordinary story." – Mara Reinstein, Us Weekly

Shortly after former New Orleans Saints star defensive back Steve Gleason is diagnosed with ALS at the age of 34, he learns that his wife Michel is pregnant with their first child. Determined to live his remaining years to their fullest, Steve goes on an expedition to Alaska, creates a foundation to help others with ALS patients, rebuilds a rocky relationship with his father and embraces new technologies to help compensate for his deteriorating physical abilities—all with Michel’s unwavering support. Brimming with humor and heart, this inspirational documentary follows a man who battles overwhelming adversity to find his true purpose in life.

“We are incredibly excited for our customers to experience Gleason’s inspiring story of strength, grace, love and family on Prime Video,” said Jason Ropell, Worldwide Head of Motion Pictures, Amazon Studios.

The music for Gleason includes numerous songs that have inspired Steve throughout his life, like “Given to Fly” and “Just Breathe” by Pearl Jam, as well as two tracks, “Space In Between,” and “Her Again,” written by Steve Gleason himself and performed by his good friend, guitarist Mike McCready along with singer, Kim Virant, which will be available exclusively on Amazon Music Unlimited and Prime Musicbeginning December 23. Additionally, Steve created a playlist featuring some of his favorite songs, also streaming exclusively on both Amazon Music Unlimited and Prime Music.

Not available on any other subscription services, Gleason will be available for Prime members to stream and enjoy using the Amazon Video app for TVs, connected devices including Amazon Fire TV, and mobile devices, or online at Amazon.com/originals, at no additional cost to their membership. Prime members will also be able to download the film to mobile devices for offline viewing. Gleason joins Prime Video’s line-up of award-winning and critically acclaimed Original Series and Movies—to see more originals available exclusively for Prime members visit www.amazon.com/originals.

Customers who are not already Prime members can sign-up for a free trial at www.amazon.com/prime. For a list of all Amazon Video compatible devices, visit www.amazon.com/howtostream.

About Amazon Studios
Amazon Studios launched in 2010 as a new way to develop feature films and episodic series—one that’s open to great ideas from creators and audiences around the world. Anyone can upload a script online for Amazon Studios to review, and those who choose to make their projects public can also receive feedback from the Amazon Studios community.First announced in January 2015, Amazon Original Movies is an initiative by Amazon Studios to produce and acquire original movies for theatrical release and early window distribution exclusively for Prime members. Like Amazon Original Series, Amazon Original Movies focuses on unique stories, voices, and characters from top and up-and-coming creators. In 2015 Amazon Studios released its first film, Chi-Raq from critically acclaimed filmmaker Spike Lee. Chi-Raq is now available for Prime members to stream exclusively. Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester By The Sea is currently in theaters and up next Amazon Studios will release Jim Jarmusch’s Paterson on December 28th.

About Amazon Video
Amazon Video is a premium on-demand entertainment service that offers customers the greatest choice in what to watch, and how to watch it. Amazon Video is the only service that provides all of the following:

Prime Video: Thousands of movies and TV shows, including popular licensed content plus critically-acclaimed and award-winning Amazon Original Series and Movies from Amazon Studios like Transparent, The Man in the High Castle, Love & Friendship and kids series Tumble Leaf, available for unlimited streaming as part of an Amazon Prime membership
Amazon Channels: Over 80 video subscriptions to networks like SHOWTIME, STARZ and more, available to Amazon Prime members as add-ons to their membership

Rent or Own: Hundreds of thousands of titles, including new-release movies and current TV shows available for on-demand rental or purchase for all Amazon customers

Instant Access: Instantly watch anytime, anywhere through the Amazon Video app on TVs, mobile devices, Amazon Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, and Fire tablets, or online. For a list of all compatible devices visit www.amazon.com/howtostream

Premium Features: Top features like 4K Ultra HD, High Dynamic Range (HDR) and mobile downloads for offline viewing'

In addition to Prime Video, the Prime membership includes unlimited fast free shipping options across all categories available on Amazon, more than two million songs and thousands of playlists and stations with Prime Music, secure photo storage with Prime Photos, unlimited reading with Prime Reading, unlimited access to a digital audiobook catalogue with Audible channels for Prime, a rotating selection of free digital games and in-game loot with Twitch Prime, early access to select Lightning Deals, exclusive access and discounts to select items, and more. To sign-up for Prime or to find out more visit: http://www.amazon.com/prime.

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HACKSAW RIDGE On Digital HD February 7 & 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack February 21

From director Mel Gibson, the Golden Globe-nominated HACKSAW RIDGE arrives on Digital HD on February 7 and on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack (plus Blu-ray and Digital HD), Blu-ray Combo Pack (plus DVD and Digital HD), DVD and On Demand February 21 from Lionsgate Home Entertainment.

Based in the incredible true story of one man’s faith, strength and courage during one of the bloodiest battles of WWII, the Golden Globe®-nominated Hacksaw Ridge arrives on Digital HD on February 7 and on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack (plus Blu-ray and Digital HD), Blu-ray Combo Pack (plus DVD and Digital HD), DVD and On Demand February 21 from Summit Entertainment, a LIONSGATE Company. From Academy Award®-winning director Mel Gibson (Best Picture, Braveheart, 1995), with screenplay by Robert Schenkkan (The Quiet American) and Andrew Knight (The Water Diviner), Hacksaw Ridge features breathtaking visual effects and stunning production design and has been nominated for three Golden Globes®: Best Picture – Drama, Best Director – Motion Picture, and Best Actor – Motion Picture for Andrew Garfield. Garfield (The Amazing Spider-man) gives a moving performance as American hero Desmond Doss, alongside an all-star cast, including Sam Worthington (Avatar), Luke Bracey (Point Break), Teresa Palmer (Warm Bodies), Hugo Weaving (The Lord of the Rings franchise), Rachel Griffiths (Saving Mr. Banks), and Vince Vaughn (HBO’s “True Detective”).

Hacksaw Ridge is the extraordinary true story of Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield) who, in Okinawa during the bloodiest battle of WWII, saved 75 men without firing or carrying a gun. He was the only American soldier in WWII to fight on the front lines without a weapon, as he believed that while the war was justified, killing was nevertheless wrong. As an army medic, he single-handedly evacuated the wounded from behind enemy lines, braved fire while tending to soldiers, was wounded by a grenade, and hit by snipers. Doss was the first conscientious objector to ever earn the Congressional Medal of Honor.

The 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and Digital HD releases feature an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at the film in “The Soul of War: Making Hacksaw Ridge,” a comprehensive documentary detailing the making of the film, including the real-life people and story, casting, filming, special effects and stunts with interviews from Mel Gibson, Andrew Garfield and others. In addition, the release will contain deleted scenes and a special Veterans Day Greeting from Mel Gibson. The DVD will feature deleted scenes and the special Veterans Day Greeting. The 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray discs of Hacksaw Ridge will feature Dolby Atmos audio remixed specifically for the home theater environment to place and move audio anywhere in the room, including overhead. Hacksaw Ridge will be available on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD for the suggested retail price of $42.99, $39.99 and $29.95, respectively.

4K/BLU-RAY/ DIGITAL HD SPECIAL FEATURES
· “The Soul of War: Making Hacksaw Ridge” Documentary
· Veterans Day Greeting with Mel Gibson
· Deleted Scenes

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES
· Deleted Scenes
· Veterans Day Greeting with Mel Gibson

*Best Director, Braveheart, 1995


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New Look At K-2SO From #ROGUEONE

A new behind-the-scenes look at K-2SO from ROGUE ONE: A Star Wars Story.



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New Trailer For PATRIOTS DAY

An account of the Boston Marathon bombing, PATRIOTS DAY is the powerful story of a community’s courage in the face of adversity.

In the aftermath of an unspeakable attack, Police Sergeant Tommy Saunders (Mark Wahlberg) joins courageous survivors, first responders and investigators in a race against the clock to hunt down the bombers before they strike again. Weaving together the stories of Special Agent Richard Deslauriers (Kevin Bacon), Police Commissioner Ed Davis (John Goodman), Sergeant Jeffrey Pugliese (J.K. Simmons) and nurse Carol Saunders (Michelle Monaghan) this visceral and unflinching chronicle captures the suspense of one of the most sophisticated manhunts in law enforcement history and celebrates the strength of the people of Boston.



PATRIOTS DAY will open in Boston, New York, and Los Angeles THIS WEDNESDAY, December 21, 2016.

The film will open nationwide on January 13, 2017

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THE WALT DISNEY STUDIOS TO HIT INDUSTRY-FIRST $7 BILLION AT GLOBAL BOX OFFICE

The Walt Disney Studios will become the first studio ever to reach the $7 billion threshold at the global box office, setting a new industry record. With a powerful $290 million global debut for Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Disney’s year-to-date grosses are $6,988.3 million from Jan. 1 through Dec. 18, 2016, including $2,700.4 million domestically, also an industry record, and $4,287.9 million internationally, a Disney record.

These phenomenal box office results are driven by films from Disney, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, Marvel Studios, and Lucasfilm, representing the first time that all five of these world-class brands have released films in the same calendar year.

“This historic achievement is possible because all of our film studios are bringing their absolute best to the table, telling great stories of all kinds that resonate with audiences across borders, gender, and generations,” said Alan Horn, Chairman, The Walt Disney Studios. “These films work because each one has not only something for everyone, but everything for someone. It’s our honor to be able to create these experiences for audiences, and we’re thankful to them for continuing to come out to the theater with us.”

Currently, Disney holds five of the top 10 films of the year globally, domestically, and internationally, including the top four global, with three topping $1 billion and a fourth over $960 million, as well as the top three international and the top two domestic. All 12 Disney-produced domestic releases this year earned A-range CinemaScores from audiences, with seven additionally earning critics scores over 90% on RottenTomatoes. Four releases opened above $100 million, more than any other studio in a single calendar year. With Captain America: Civil War’s $179.1 million debut, Disney now holds five of the top six domestic openings in industry history; four are Marvel Cinematic Universe films. With Finding Dory and Zootopia, Disney holds four of the top five animated films of all time. Also this year, both Pixar and Marvel Studios crossed $10 billion in combined lifetime grosses for their films.

Captain America: Civil War (Marvel Studios) is the #1 global and international and #2 domestic film of the year. Released domestically on May 6, its $179.1 million debut is the #5 opening of all time, and it went on to earn $408.1 million domestically and $745.1 million internationally for a global total of $1.15 billion, ranking as the #12 industry release of all time.

Finding Dory (Pixar Animation Studios) is the #1 domestic and #2 global release of 2016. Released on June 17, it posted the biggest animated debut of all time with $135 million and went on to earn $486.3 million to become the #7 industry release of all time domestically. Internationally, it has taken in $541.3 million for a global total of $1.028 billion.

Zootopia (Walt Disney Animation Studios) is the #3 global and #2 international release of the year. It opened to $75 million domestically on March 4, ultimately earning $341.3 million for an outstanding 4.5 domestic multiple. It earned $682.5 million internationally, including $235 million in China where it is the #1 animated release of all time (admissions), for a global total of $1.024 billion. Named among American Film Institute’s top 10 movies of the year, it is Disney’s best reviewed film of the year with 98% on RottenTomatoes.

The Jungle Book (Disney) is the #3 international and #4 global and domestic release of 2016. It debuted in the US/Canada on April 15 with $103 million, going on to earn $364 million domestically, $602.6 million internationally, and $966.6 million globally. It is the biggest Western release of all time in India.

Doctor Strange (Marvel Studios), the second Marvel Cinematic Universe release in 2016, is the #9 film of the year domestically and internationally and the #10 film of the year globally. Still in release and not yet opened in Japan, it debuted domestically on Nov. 4 with $85 million and has earned $226.2 million domestically and $426.6 million internationally for a global total of $652.8 million to date.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Lucasfilm) began its global rollout on Dec. 14, opening domestically Dec. 16 with $155.1 million and a global day-and-date debut of $290 million in five days of release. The film is yet to open in South Korea (Dec. 28) and China (Jan. 6).

Additionally, Disney’s 2016 grosses have been bolstered by Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which debuted in December 2015 and earned $736.6 million of its $2 billion global total during the 2016 calendar year, as well as new release Moana, the second Walt Disney Animation Studios’ release of the year, which opened domestically on Nov. 23, becoming the #2 Thanksgiving debut ever with $82 million and earning $162.9 million to date in the US/Canada. Internationally, it has only opened in approximately 53% of territories, with debuts in Germany, Italy, and Australia over the next week and Brazil, South Korea, and Japan still to come in 2017.

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#JohnWick2 Trailer & New Poster

In this next chapter following the 2014 hit, legendary hitman John Wick [Keanu Reeves] is forced back out of retirement by a former associate plotting to seize control of a shadowy international assassins’ guild. Bound by a blood oath to help him, John travels to Rome where he squares off against some of the world’s deadliest killers.




#JohnWick2

http://www.JohnWick.movie
http://www.facebook.com/johnwickmovie
http://www.twitter.com/johnwickmovie
http://www.instagram.com/johnwickmovie

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#BladeRunner 2049 Trailer Starring Ryan Gosling & Harrison Ford

Thirty years after the events of the first film, a new blade runner, LAPD Officer K (Ryan Gosling), unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. K’s discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former LAPD blade runner who has been missing for 30 years.



#BladeRunner 2049, starring Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Robin Wright, Mackenzie Davis, Carla Juri, Lennie James, with Dave Bautista and Jared Leto
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Follow #BladeRunner 2049 on social media:
http://bladerunnermovie.com
http://facebook.com/bladerunnermovie
http://twitter.com/bladerunner
http://instagram.com/bladerunnermovie

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Movie Review: #LaLaLand

The beautiful, sweet, and hopeful La La Land is also clever and absolutely absorbing.

Review by Matt Cummings

There's a moment near the end of Damien Chazelle's musical La La Land where we learn the bitter price that sometimes comes with Hollywood fame, as if life itself can separate even genuine love when dreams get in the way. That uncommon theme is brilliantly portrayed here, prodding its audience through song and dance to take an unrestrained and thoroughly enjoyable journey through what can only be described as the nightmare that makes up the Hollywood System.

For jazz pianist Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), the dream of owning an old-school jazz club is assaulted daily as he's forced to plink out holiday music at a darkened restaurant, all while the meany boss (JK Simmons) reminds him to keep the jazz riffs outside. When Sebastian strays too far outside the lines, he's fired but not before the struggling actress/barista Mia (Emma Stone) catches his playing while walking home. Their first (and then second) meetings are a disaster, as the two musically ponder why they're even in the same room together. But as the seasons pass, their affection for one another begins to grow. Sebastian pushes Mia to write and perform her dream of a one-woman show, while he lands a steady gig with a popular band (led by John Legend). The long months of touring begin to test the couple's love for each other, forcing each to decide whether career and relationship can co-exist. The result might see them become the thing they hate the most - the sellout - just as both of their prospects begin to blossom.

It's safe to say that I loved La La Land, both for its electric performances and for the chemistry which its leads so electrically display. This is Gosling and Stone's third movie together (they've also starred in Crazy, Stupid Love and Gangster Squad), and have become a lot like Bogart/Bacall were in the 40's, except Gosling and Stone are definitely not Bogart and Becall. Still, their respect for one another is infectious, and I found myself tapping my feet often, swooning to their dance moves, and empathizing with their plights when the film turns decidedly dark. Both of them are a bit shy in their singing, with Stone getting the better half there and Gosling's stellar piano playing (which he learned in just three months) earning our praise as well. La La Land takes us through a musical journey of their lives, from enduring LA traffic to questioning why they're even in the same room together.

Chazelle amazed me with last year's biting Whiplash, and in La La Land he uses similar unconventional tropes to lull us into a heartbreaking ending. It seems that Chazelle (as both writer and director) understands the human condition, that not all things turn out the way we dream of them, even when those ends turn out to be pretty good. Had the two never met, we would have cheered the duo for realizing some version of their dreams. But on the way to a powerhouse ending of music, silhouetted dance, and a menagerie of "what-could-have-been" cut scenes, we also have a moment to shed tears because those dreams have come at a price. That's a great way to tell a story, along with La La Land's two beautifully memorable songs.

The first - City of Stars - is lovingly sung by our couple in their apartment, complete with karaoke styling and laughter, as if these two are truly enjoying the experience of performing for the camera. And then there's the terrific Epilogue that draws our movie to a close, which brings our couple full circle. It encompasses all the various emotions of the movie, from flirty to melancholy, reminding us of the power behind music's ability tell a story. It's a dying element in film-making, much like Sebastian's reluctance to admit that jazz itself is undergoing radical changes in today's scene. La La Land both broadens our scope of understanding while killing us with its inconvenient truths. Some might claim that the tonal changes which happen in Act 2 are jarring, but it's an important element in concluding this story. In the 40's/50's, our characters would have lived a happier-ever-after ending, but I like Chazelle's decision to go more realistic. It's bold and uncompromising in this way, and I think a more 'Hollywood Ending' might not be applicable to modern sensibilities.

And yet even with all of my accolades, it's possible that La La Land might not be for you. If you hate singing and dancing on a scale just below 2012's Les Miserables, I'd say you're in for a long evening. In addition, early critical praise for La La Land was due largely to those who love this sort of thing, and that if that isn't necessarily you (or you think critics like me are usually off-base), then you might wish to wait until it arrives on the various streaming services. But I hope you instead take a chance on seeing this in a theater, not because the experience is unlike anything you've ever seen, but because it's a moment to relish a more glorious time in filmmaking, when characters suddenly burst into song and dance while learning the cost of true love or career happiness. Along the way, I'll bet you'll hear more than just your foot tapping, and isn't that a wonderful element to share in a darkened space?

I've actually heard some moviegoers bitterly complain that La La Land's story of "rags to riches at a price" plot is unrealistic and therefore unworthy of your time. That's neither accurate nor fair for a film that largely doesn't care what we think, sending its cast on a soul-soaring musical adventure that also feels deeply personal. That sort of musical middle finger is exactly what we need right now, and it makes La La Land a shoe-in for Oscar praise. Whether it stands the test of time like those films it lovingly remembers is beyond our abilities, but I hope you will take a moment to judge that for yourself.

La La Land is rated PG-13 for some language and has a runtime of 128 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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Sunday, December 18, 2016

#InsidetheBucket Podcast #107

This week's episode of Inside the Bucket is online! Revel in the digital mastery!
On this pre-Christmas edition of Inside the Bucket, Matt is joined by Brandon and (eventually) Sandwich John to give you all this week's movie and television news and reviews from our website SANDWICHJOHNFILMS.COM. The boys bring every bit of their greasy, ballsy attitude to discuss several items of supposed importance.

Things start off with a review of this week's movie news, including our thoughts about the recent title changes for Godzilla 2 and Pacific Rim 2, our reaction to the Dunkirk and The Fate of the Furious trailers, and news about David Ayers' Gotham City Sirens.

They also break down how Rogue One performed at the box office, as Collateral Beauty also premieres. The boys also discuss movies and television shows hitting Blu-ray this week.

After a Christmas cookie break, it's headlong into Rants and Raves, where Brandon and Matt bitch and gripe about all the things they've been watching a reading about this week, including a HBO's Westworld season 1, and Matt's reviews of Collateral Beauty and Jackie.

The show ends with a review of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

We encourage you to participate in mailbag, as well as our Open Forum Friday, which is your chance to get in our business about running a passion project like our trainwreck. Please email us at Comments@SandwichJohnFilms.com with any thoughts you have about our show.

Be warned: Inside the Bucket is an EXPLICIT PODCAST. We tend to say controversial things and cuss just for the heck of it. So, please be careful if you are listening to us while at work.

We hope you laugh as much as we do bringing the show to you. As always, thanks to everyone for your continued support, and we'll see you at one of our screenings.

Please make sure to check out our website SANDWICHJOHNFILMS.COM and make sure to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

NEWS(2:10)
  • Godzilla 2 and Pacific Rim 2 have undergone title changes
  • The first trailer for Dunkirk
  • Director David Ayer and Margot Robbie on Gotham City Sirens
  • Reaction to The Fate of the Furious trailer

  • BLU-RAY RELEASES - The Magnificent Seven, Storks(15:22)

    Who won this week at the box office?(19:00)

    RANTS AND RAVES (23:28)

  • BRANDON - REVIEW: Westworld
  • MATT - REVIEW: Collateral Beauty, REVIEW:Jackie

  • MOVIE REVIEW: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (45:15) Here's the SlashFilm story mentioned on the show.
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