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‘The Fault in Our Stars’ Releases Official Trailer

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The Fault in Our Stars” follows the story of Hazel Lancaster, a teenage girl living with thyroid cancer that has spread to her lungs.  Because of this, Hazel lives her life knowing her time is limited, “Some infinities are bigger than other infinities.”  In a support group for cancer kids in Indianapolis, Hazel meets and eventually falls in love with August Waters, a former basketball player who lost his leg to osteosarcoma. “The Fault in Our Stars” tells their “One sick love story.” The movie debuts in theaters June 6th, check out the trailer below.

Click here for Rock Paper Watch’s review of the novel.

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RPW Can’t Miss This List 2014 – Movies

Ready for 2014 Rock Paper Watchers? To celebrate the new year, we are releasing our “Can’t Miss This List” so you know our picks for upcoming shows, movies, albums, and books.  Check back Monday for our top 2014 book picks!

Labor Day

January 30, 2014

“A story of love, passion, and betrayal as seen through the eyes of a teenage boy and the man he later becomes. Henry looks back on his fateful 13th year, when he lived with his reclusive divorced mother. At the start of Labor Day weekend, while on a rare excursion to town, Henry and his mother encounter an injured man who asks for refuge in their home. Over the course of the next four days, they’re taken ‘hostage’ by a man who ultimately captures them, body and soul.” Source: Google

Reasons to Watch: Sometimes there is something so right about something being so wrong. And can we talk about that chemistry? It’s just oozing between Winslet and Brolin. The scene with the peach pie? Every southern girls dream…..

The Normal Heart

May 2014 on HBO

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Based on the Tony award-winning 1985 play, The Normal Heart details the spread of HIV/AIDS among a group of gay men living in 1980s New York City. The film adaptation, airing on HBO in the spring, was directed by American Horror Story and Glee co-creator Ryan Murphy.  Murphy describes the film as his “biggest labor of love,” and it features a star-studded cast including Mark Ruffalo, Julia Roberts, Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons, Taylor Kitsch (be still my heart), and Jonathan Groff.

Reasons to Watch: That cast. The Normal Heart includes some of the finest men Hollywood has to offer all in one movie and under the direction of Ryan Murphy, who is known for pushing his actors out of their comfort zone. The film promises to be powerful, and the performances promise to be spectacular.

X-Men: Days of Future Past

May 23, 2014

Calling all X-Men!

X-Men: Days of Future Past features both the original cast of X-Men and the younger versions of themselves from the X-Men: First Class film.  In the latest installment, Wolverine is sent back in time to help the younger mutants prevent an event from occurring, which will ultimately change the future and save mutants and humans alike from war and destruction.

Reasons to Watch:  With an ensemble cast that features fan-favorites Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and Halle Berry (just to name a few!), this movie is bound to be an unforgettable adventure.  And if that wasn’t reason enough for you, in addition to the phenomenal cast of good guys, Peter Dinklage stars in the film as villain, Bolivar Trask.  That’s right people.  Tyrion Lannister in X-Men.  I couldn’t be more thrilled to see my favorite Game of Thrones star on the big screen [no pun intended].

Maleficent

May 30, 2014

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You guys, I’m not going to lie, I am so so excited for this Disney movie!!   Angelina Jolie stars as the evil Maleficent in this modern remake of Sleeping Beauty.  The story we have come to know and love from the 1959 classic is retold from Maleficent’s perspective.  We learn about her past and the things that happened to her that drove her to become the evil villain that bewitches Princess Aurora (Elle Fanning).

Reasons to Watch:  As if Angelina Jolie as Maleficent isn’t enough for you…  Seriously though, the trailer for the film looks fantastic.  And I’m excited about the fact that Jolie is not only starring in the movie, but served as executive producer.  She played a major role in designing her character’s costume and, despite execs pushing back who wanted to take advantage of her beauty, created a menacing and frightening look for Maleficent.  In fact, Jolie in costume was so scary on set that the only child who could play toddler Princess Aurora was her own daughter, Vivienne Jolie-Pitt.

The Maze Runner

September 19, 2014

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Based on James Dashner’s 2009 novel, The Maze Runner begins when Thomas, our narrator, wakes up trapped in “the Glade” with no memories other than his first name.  He is surrounded by a group of boys who live inside a seemingly unsolvable maze that is beyond the Glade.  Every 30 days another boy is delivered but things change dramatically when a girl, Teresa, is delivered with the message that she’s the last one.  From there, the book moves quickly as the boys try to figure out why they’re there and more importantly, how do they get out?

Reasons to watch:  Personally, I can’t wait to see the Maze depicted on screen.  As a reader, you have an idea of how something might look in your head.  When it actually comes to life, that changes everything.  Also, the cast features some of the greatest young actors in Hollywood today like Dylan O’Brien, Will Poulter, and Thomas Brodie-Sangster.

Gone Girl

October 3, 2014

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It’s hard to write this summary without giving too much away, so I’m not going to. If you haven’t read Gillian Flynn’s runaway hit by the same name, stop whatever you’re doing right now and go read. Early into the book’s release, Reese Witherspoon bought the film rights and is putting it to use with David Fincher directing.  When Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike) goes missing on her fifth wedding anniversary, it’s her husband Nick (Ben Affleck) who becomes the prime suspect.

Reason’s to Watch: The novel itself was full of twists and turns, and in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, David Fincher promises readers of the book will still be even more surprised by the movie’s curve balls.  If it is anything as shocking as the book I can’t wait.  Go read.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt. 1

November 21, 2014

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Everyone LOVED Catching Fire,  and after the cliffhanger, where do we go next?  Without giving too many spoilers away, much of the first part of the book is about Katniss. Our Girl on Fire is pretty much a space case, lost in her own thoughts, scared for her family and Peeta, as well as getting use to a more contained life in District 13. However, during these first nine chapters, she agrees to become the Mockingjay, a symbol of rebellion for the districts which leads up into the rest of story, the Districts rising up in a rebellion.

At this point, here is what we know:

Hunger Games: People Die
Catching Fire: More people die
Mockingjay: A lot more people die.

Its safe to say, no one is safe. So get your tissues ready, its going to be a bumpy ride.

Reasons to Watch: It’s probably the most anticipated movie of 2014 and of course, we are all on the edge our seats wondering what the Girl on Fire will do next. Finally, we get outside of the arena and our characters begin to focus on the rebellion against the capital, not to mention we will get our first look at District 13, a District once thought to be destroyed. One of the big questions still looming is: Where are they going to split the book at? Mockingjay is divided into the three parts, The Ashes, The Assault and The Assassin. My bets are somewhere within The Assault. (Obviously)

Did I also mention one of our favorite girl crushes, Julianne Moore, is joining the cast as President Coin? *Squeals*

The Hobbit: There and Back Again

December 17, 2014

The third and final installment of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit prequel/trilogy is set to hit theaters at the end of 2014.  Great, we only have to wait one year to find out the fate of Bilbo and the dwarves, the elves, and Lake-town.  (Even though, let’s face it, we all know what’s going to happen).  The film is the final in Jackson’s Tolkien films and fans of the Lord of the Rings will have to say their final goodbyes to the series.  Let’s just hope that the last Hobbit movie doesn’t have as many endings as LOTR Return of the King.  I swear, I thought that movie ended 4 times before it actually did.

Reasons to Watch:  The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug was a fantastic cinematic thrill ride (those spiders gave me nightmares!) and I’m excited to see what Jackson has in store for his final Tolkien-based film. It also ended on a MAJOR, major cliffhanger.  Seriously, major!!  The third movie promises to be a wild and insane adventure as the battle with Smaug comes to a conclusion, the love triangle between Tauriel, Legolas, and Kili is decided, and the Necromancer comes into power as the evil Sauron.

Honorable Mentions

The Lone Survivor, January 10

That Awkward Moment, January 31

The Monuments Men, February 7

Godzilla, May 16

A Million Ways to Die in the West, May 30

The Fault in our Stars, June 6

Interstellar, November 7

Horrible Bosses 2, November 26

Into the Woods, December 25


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‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ Trailer – X-Men, X-Men, and more X-Men

The X-Men series is (count em) thirteen years old. That’s right, thirteen. To celebrate, Bryan Singer is creating the ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ of superhero movies. Maybe ‘Ocean’s Eleven’  is a better way to describe ‘The Avengers.’  This film features every actor that ever portrayed an X-Men mutant (well, almost everybody – we miss you James Marsden).  The mega star power in this film is, without a doubt, going to squash ‘The Avengers.’  Do you agree or disagree?  Let’s dive in!

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The trailer starts with an eyeball.  A familiar voice says, “what’s the last thing you remember?”

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When the camera pans out we realize that the eyeball belongs to Wolverine.  This is the seventh time that Hugh Jackman has portrayed Wolverine, including that terrible, no good film ‘X-Men: Origins–Wolverine.’

As the voiceover continues saying, “I had a glimpse into the past,” we get a glimpse at some of the Old X-Men favorites. Are you ready?  Roll call!

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Halle Berry returns as Storm.  Judging by her expression, things are not going well for the Old X-Men crew.

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Patrick Stewart as Professor X.  According to Stewart, there will be an explanation for Professor X’s return even though he was vaporized by Jean Grey in ‘X-Men:  The Last Stand.’  Professor X tells Wolverine, “You’re going to have to do for me, what I once did for you.”

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Shawn Ashmore is back as Iceman, and he’s still adorable.

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Ellen Page as Kitty Pryde. In the original comic, the adult Kate Pryde transfers her mind into her younger self.  Thus, putting the X-Men into action to prevent a fatal moment in history that triggers anti-mutant hysteria.  In the film, Kitty Pryde will use her phasing ability to facilitate time-travel.

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Rogue played by Anna Paquin.  Everyone looks so worried.  And it seems this love triangle is still in full swing.

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Ian McKellan as Magneto, but what’s he doing hanging out with Iceman?  In ‘The Last Stand’ Magneto was cured and lost his powers (as did Mystique and Rebecca Romijn is noticeably missing).  You may remember at the end of the film, Magneto was faintly able to move a chess piece without touching it, hinting the cure might not be so permanent.  Can we assume that Magneto has his powers back? Powers or no powers, something is going on in the world to make Magneto forget his bad ways and re-team with Professor X for the greater good.  Magneto’s voiceover says, “You’ll need me as well.  Side by side to end this war, before it ever begins.”

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And Magneto’s team of merry-men include Bishop portrayed by Omar Sy.  In the comic books, Bishop is a part of the mutant police force and main antagonist.

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…and Sunspot by Adan Canto.  You might recognize him from Fox’s ‘The Following.’  Sunspot possesses the ability to absorb and channel solar power, which is kind of boring but whatever.

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…and Warpath by Twilight’s Booboo Stewart.  Warpath, also known as the second Thunderbird, is an Apache Native American possessing mutant superhuman strength and speed.

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…and finally, Blink by Fan Bingbing.  Blink is a comic book fan favorite.  She has the ability to teleport and was famously pink.  She’s likely a throwaway character for the film, but still it’s a nice nod.

MIA:  Evan Peter is Magneto’s son Quicksilver and The Sentinels.

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So back to Wolverine, he asks Professor X and Magneto, “So, I wake up in my younger body then what?”  So instead of Kitty transferring to her younger self, Wolverine will be performing the honors.

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Old Professor X tells him, “Find me, convince me of all this.”  And that kicks-off the Young X-Men Roll Call starting with James McAvoy as a jaded Young Professor X.

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Old Magneto chimes in, “It’s going to take the two of us.” Wolverine asks “And where do I find you?” Magneto responds, “A different path, a darker path.” Same sh*t, different day but at least there’s Michael Fassbender.

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Young Mystique by Jennifer Lawrence appears shedding a single tear, confirming that Young Magneto really is on that darker path.

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Young X is just hanging out in Cerebro, doing some spring cleaning.

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Earlier in the trailer, Professor X said to Wolverine, “You’re going to have to do for me, what I once did for you.”  What did he mean?  He elaborates saying “Logan, I was a very a different man. Lead me. Guide me. Be patient with me.”  Remember in the original film thirteen years ago, Wolverine was a loner on a motorcycle that Professor X made into an X-Men.  Now, it’s time for Wolverine to bring X back from the dark side.  Logan quips, “Patience isn’t my strong suit.”  We know, we know.

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So off he goes!

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Side note – that looks like Colossus, who I think is in the future (see Old group).

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Side side note – JLaw with bangs!

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Chaos, chaos, chaos.  In the Oval Office, someone important is making use of a secret escape and safe room.

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These guys are firing at Wolverine and judging by those curtains we are in the 70s (see Young group).

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Young Beast! Played by a very blue Nicolas Hoult.

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Everyone’s favorite ‘Game of Thrones’ brother, Peter Dinklage is Boliver Trask, a military scientist and the head of Trask Industries.  He creates an army of robots that destroy mutants, better known as Sentinels.

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Then there’s Nixon.

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Now, with this clip of Storm, we start the flash-back, flash-forward montage that is kind of confusing, kind of overwhelming, but altogether awesome.

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There’s some kind of lovers-quarrel between Magneto and Mystique.  He is forcefully pulling her in his direction.  How?  We don’t know.

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Young Magneto

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…Old Magneto

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Young Professor X, “I don’t want your suffering, I don’t want your future.”

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…Old Professor X

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The trailer ends with Old Professor X addressing Young Professor X, “Please, we need you to hope again.” I can’t wait to see how they end up in the same space at the same time.

There we have it! How excited are you for X-men: Days of Future Past?!


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Monday Man Candy: X-Men’s Bromances

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Over the weekend, X-Men’s Comic Con Panel featured four amazing actors playing two legendary superheroes. X-Men: Days of Future Past will feature two generations of X-Men in the Marvel movie universe.  James McAvoy and Patrick Stewart will reprise their roles as Professor X, as will Michael Fassbender and Ian McKellen as Magneto.  In this adorable interview with Entertainment Weekly, the actors discuss working together and their methods (or lack there of) when playing the same character in the same movie.

How adorable is this foursome?

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As if this wasn’t cute enough, McKellen declared on the panel that he was eyeing Fassbender as a hot, young trophy husband.  You and me both Ian!

To add to the excitement, promotional films for the 2014 film were released over the weekend highlighting the character’s duality.

X-Men "Days of Future Past" poster -- exclusive EW.com image
X-Men "Days of Future Past" poster -- exclusive EW.com image

How excited are you for X-Men: Days of Future Past?  I really hope they address what happens to Professor X’s hair.  I hope you enjoyed this adorable and sweet Monday Man Candy.


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‘Man of Steel’ Character Flaws and That Ending

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No one was more excited about this Superman reboot than I was.  I grew up in a family that LOVES Superman.  I read the comics with my dad as a kid and watched the movies with my mom.  I remember her crying when Christopher Reeve was paralyzed and even more so when he passed.  After the failed attempt at bringing Superman back in 2006 and all the recent superhero hoopla, it was time for a successful depiction of the Man of Steel.  When production was announced in 2010 I was ecstatic.  When I found out Christopher Nolan, the man behind Batman’s successful reboot, was involved my expectations went through the roof.  When Henry Cavill, my longtime Tudors crush, was cast I knew it was all too good to be true.  And guess what guys, it was.

Before I say anything else I should probably let you know that this post is going to be slammed full of SPOILERS.  If you haven’t seen Man of Steel then stop reading because I am going to ruin it for you.

In 2010, David S. Goyer approached Christopher Nolan with an idea of how to bring back Superman.  Much like Superman in the Dark Knight trilogy, he’ll exist in a world where he’s the only superhero and it will be an origin story that stands on it’s own.  The goal of this reboot was to reinvent Superman, the main idea being that a “perfect” superhero is now stagnant in today’s society.  Moviegoers prefer complex superheroes (see the philosophies and Christ-like themes behind The Dark Knight and Rises in which Batman acts as a  martyr for society).

Don’t get me wrong, there were some parts of this reinvention that I thoroughly enjoyed.  I like that the story tapped into a darkness in Superman and I agree a “perfect” Superman is boring.  In the reboot, we are told Clark Kent’s background in flashbacks.  One of the more powerful scenes is when he gains his x-ray vision and can suddenly see the bones and muscles inside his elementary school teacher.  Stunned by fear, Clark takes shelter in a janitorial closet until his mother (Diane Lane) can coax him out.  The links to stigmas around autism are noticeable.  From there, it is clear that this is a Superman that is afraid.  When his father (Kevin Costner) tells him of his origin, Clark sheepishly asks “Can’t I just keep being your son?” and your heart melts.  Not only is he afraid, but this is a Superman that longs to be accepted and feel at home. While this is a defining characteristic, the most important one is Superman’s need to help people.  Through flashbacks, we see several instances in his childhood and adulthood where his need to save someone outweighs his need to belong.  We learn that his father believed the world wasn’t ready for him, they would shun him when they learned of his existence.  This fear makes Clark a loner and drifter, working odd-end jobs and quickly moving to the next after he saves someone’s life.  In probably the most moving scene, a tornado strikes Kansas and takes the life of Jonathan Kent.  Clark could have saved his father. In an effort to protect his son, Jonathan stopped him.  He told Clark to stand down and lost his life shortly after.  As these complexities began to surface, I was practically bouncing on my seat.

But then, Clark Kent became Superman.

When Superman meets his real father, Jor-El (Russell Crowe) he says “I have so many questions.”  But then he doesn’t ask any.  After one brief conversation, he excepts his true purpose and puts on the suit and cape and becomes Superman.  The whole revelation feels forced.  The internal struggle we saw in flashbacks disappears and Jor-El tells him he must always push his boundaries.  This is illustrated as he tests his ability to fly.

From there the movie kind of falls apart.  General Zod enters the picture.  He’s from Superman/Kal-El’s home planet of Krypton and longs to join forces with Kal-El and continue Krypton’s population on Earth.  Superman is not having it.  The first big fight scene takes place in Kansas in the middle of the street where the only warning to innocent civilians from Superman is to “go inside, it’s not safe.”  This is drastically out of character from the Superman we know and love.  According to Superman’s code of ethics, he would have moved the fight elsewhere.

In the story’s defense, I read an interview with Zack Synder and David S. Goyer where they reminded everyone that Superman is a superhero “in training.”  He’s bound to make mistakes and this would be one of them.  With that in mind, it still felt like a cheap ploy to create a dramatic fight scene.  At the end of the movie, there is another situation where Zod and his team pretty much destroy Metropolis and Superman is too busy creating the Phantom Zone to send Zod away. He doesn’t make much of an effort to prevent damage.  The big heroes of the scene are actually Perry White (Laurence Fishburne) and Steve Lombard (Michael Kelly) as they aid reporter  Jenny Jarwich who is trapped under a pile of debris.  At the end of the movie, there is no mention of the damage (much like in Star Trek).  It would have been nice to see Superman working to rebuild the city.

Here goes, EVEN MORE SPOILERS AHEAD!

Now the ending is where things get really messy.  Superman does the one thing that Superman just doesn’t do, he kills General Zod.

Superman is successful in creating the Phantom Zone and it send Zod’s team into the black hole.  But Zod is still around.  After about fifteen minutes of a glorified fist fight that continues the destruction in Metropolis, Superman finally gets the upperhand and traps Zod in a choke hold.  They are in a room with what appears to be a family of four (since the fight wasn’t taken somewhere safer).  Zod, playing with Superman’s humanity, turns on his heat vision and begins to aim it at the family of four.  He slowly inches it closer and closer to the innocent civilians, Superman is screaming for him to stop.  Just as it’s about to hit them, Superman does the unthinkable.  He snaps Zod’s neck.  As Zod’s lifeless body hits the floor Superman let’s out a desperate scream and is immediately comforted by Lois Lane (Amy Adams).  Two seconds later, he’s bickering  with General Swanwick.  Then Superman becomes Clark Kent and the origin story is complete.  Boom. Over. Just like that.

First of all, Superman doesn’t kill people.  He would sacrifice himself before killing someone, no matter how bad or awful they are.  Secondly, there was no grief.  This awful, terrible, no-good thing happens and there are no repercussions.  Superman should have been inconsolable.  I would have liked more of a conversation between him and Lois Lane where she helps him justify it. The end of the movie should have been more about his internal struggle and guilt, not a quick wrap up.

I walked out of the movie saying, “WHAT we’re they THINKING!?”  Luckily, I’m not the only one wondering and Zack Synder and David S. Goyer have provided an explanation.  In the original ending (by Christopher Nolan), Zod disappears into the Phantom Zone with his crew.  Synder and Goyer didn’t feel that was satisfying enough.  They explain their actions by reminding us (like previously said) that Superman is a baby superhero.  He’s still struggling to find himself and figure out his code of ethics.  Also he needed to kill someone so he has something to haunt him so he never does it again.

That’s great and all, but we didn’t see it.  Once he put on the cape and fights began, the complex Superman vanished to make room for fight scenes and mass destruction.

Don’t get me wrong, I thought Henry Cavill was perfect.  I loved Amy Adams as Lois Lane.  But that ending was just a complete disappointment.  My gut tells me that they should have listened to Christopher Nolan.  Then again, I don’t remember liking Batman Begins all that much either.  Maybe this is just what we should have expected.

What did you think?  Is Superman now a loose cannon?  Can he/should he kill again?  How did you feel about the reboot?


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The Summer Movie You Should be Watching – ‘Mud’

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Mud, written and directed by Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter), follows a mysterious fugitive stuck on an island in the Mississippi River who enlists the aid of two Arkansas teenagers, Ellis (the adorable Tye Sheridan) and Neckbone (Jacob Lofland), to help him rebuild a boat so he can escape the island and reunite with the live of his life, Juniper (Reese Witherspoon).

Mud is played by the brilliant Matthew McConaughey, continuing his recent acting renaissance.  When you think of Matthew McConaughey, you may think of his numerous romantic comedies including The Wedding Planner, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Failure to Launch, and Ghosts of Girlfriends Past.  In recent years, McConaughey decided to do away with formulaic movies and seek out challenging roles in smaller films like Magic Mike, Killer Joe, and the eagerly anticipated Dallas Buyers Club.  As my mother puts it, because of this change, Matthew McConaughey will have an Oscar within the next two years (even though he should have had one for A Time to Kill).

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As Mud, McConaughey is charismatic and gritty.  The boys (and audience) easily become engrossed in his story of true love and want to help him get off the island, even if he is a cold-hearted killer.  Reese Witherspoon is heartbreaking as daisy-duke wearing, tattooed Juniper, the love of Mud’s life.  She’s trash, there’s no other way to put it.  And even though Mud loves her and would do anything for her, she’s busy looking for the next big thing.  Witherspoon and McConaughey only share one scene together, and even though there’s no dialogue their chemistry takes your breath away.

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The real center of the story is Ellis, played by Tye Sheridan.  Ultimately, Mud is a coming of age story.  Ellis’ parents are in the process of splitting up and he’s caught in the middle.  As a result, he develops this need to believe in true love.  When Mud tells Ellis of his love for Juniper, it becomes Ellis’ mission to facilitate their reunion.  When Juniper lets him down, Ellis is heartbroken.  Sheridan’s emotional portrayal of Ellis’ breakdown is fantastic.  This little man is going to be an actor to watch.

Along with McConaughey, Witherspoon, Sheridan, and Lofland, Mud rounds out with an excellent supporting cast including Michael Shannon, Sam Shepard, Sarah Paulson, and Ray McKinnon.

The trailer is below, enjoy!


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‘Man of Steel’ Releases 13-minute Featurette

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Man of Steel‘ hits theaters June 14th and publicity is ramping up with the release of this 13-minute featurette.  In the video, we dive into Superman’s internal struggle, a nature vs. nurture story.  His DNA comes from Krypton but his character comes from Jonathan and Martha Kent; is one more right than the other?  Where does he belong?  This storyline was created in an effort to make Superman relatable.  After all, everyone has questioned where they fit in at one point in their life or another.  The featurette also discusses adapting Superman for a contemporary world and answers the question, “what happened to the underwear outside of the suit?”  We also get a proper introduction to Lois Lane, Perry White, and General Zod.  Enjoy!