Report Card: How did we do with our 'Most Anticipated Films Of 2014' list?
Credit: 20th Century Fox/Warner Bros/Paramount

Report Card: How did we do with our 'Most Anticipated Films Of 2014' list?

Hey, it's not my fault 'Jupiter Ascending' didn't come out this year

One of the things we do every year here at HitFix is compile a list of the things we're most looking forward to in the next year. As the end of 2014 approaches, we're gearing up to write that same list for what promises to be one of the craziest year of giant movie releases ever, and as we started work on that, we looked back at last year's list.

Let's just say it was enlightening.

We decided to have some fun with it and issue ourselves a report card to see how well we called it before 2014 began. In some cases, I think we were spot on, but we also overestimated just as many things as we underestimated. Then you've got stuff like "Jupiter Ascending," which won't even make it to theaters until February.

What is clear, though, is that we had strong reasons to make the predictions we did, and no matter how good or bad something looks on paper, there is always room for surprises. That's what makes this job so consistently fun. I may have had a strong suspicion that "Guardians Of The Galaxy" would be fun, but I couldn't have predicted just how strongly it would resonate with audiences. And one of the films I love most this year, Rick Linklater's "Boyhood," was totally under the radar until just before it made its Sundance premiere in January, so we didn't even think to rank it last year.

And since we're the ones doing the grading here, feel free to chime in and tell us if we're letting ourselves off the hook. We take it seriously when we put together a preview of the year ahead in entertainment, and we want you to know that we dig deep before we publish. Looking back like this keeps us constantly pushing to make sure that we make the right call for you.

We'll have our look ahead at 2015 soon, as well as all of our end-of-the-year lists for film, television, music and more, so get ready for a big December here at HitFix.

Ridley Scott drops plot hints for 'Blade Runner 2' but will not direct the sequel
Credit: Warner Bros

Ridley Scott drops plot hints for 'Blade Runner 2' but will not direct the sequel

Even more signs that fan fiction is driving our industry

Ridley Scott seems like one of those guys who is going to be directing movies right up until the moment he finally keels over mid-take at the ripe old age of 107. He just seems unstoppable. He hasn't even released his latest film, "Exodus: Gods and Kings," and he's already shooting his next one, "The Martian," based on the popular book by Andy Weir.

It does not appear, however, that he will actually be directing the "Blade Runner" sequel that they've been discussing for the last few years. In an interview with "Variety" this week, Scott announced that he will not be helming the film, but that they are very close to getting another filmmaker onboard. Scott's been supervising the development of the script for a while now, working with Hampton Fancher, one of the writers of the original "Blade Runner."

Read Full Post
Review: 'Penguins of Madagascar' lands some laughs but still feels cynical
Credit: 20th Century Fox/Dreamworks Animation

Review: 'Penguins of Madagascar' lands some laughs but still feels cynical

HitFix
C
Readers
n/a
This seems like the quintessential Dreamworks Animated movie

First, let's state the obvious and get it out of the way. This is a crass piece of corporate product, an animation studio working more as an IP farm than as a storytelling unit, and it exists so that Dreamworks Animation can continue to wring money out of the "Madagascar" franchise. It is a perfect example of marketing driving the machine.

It's also a profoundly silly movie that really isn't even trying to play by the conventional rules of family animation. They nod to creating a sentimental arc between Private (Christopher Knights) and Skipper (Tom McGrath), but they don't dwell on it, and they handle it with a fairly deft touch. The main goal of the movie is just to be ridiculous, and it does that in spades.

Read Full Post
'Horrible Bosses 2' stars Bateman, Day, and Sudeikis on the pressure of sequels
Credit: HitFix

'Horrible Bosses 2' stars Bateman, Day, and Sudeikis on the pressure of sequels

If it's not their fault the film is a dud, whose is it?

Look, I'll take any flimsy excuse to sit around with Jason Sudeikis, Jason Bateman, and Charlie Day, because just in casual conversation, these guys are all wicked funny.

I may not have been crazy about "Horrible Bosses 2," but I wouldn't lay any of that blame on the three actors. This is a textbook example of a sequel where the creative team lays the entire burden off on the actors. Their job here isn't merely to play the scenes from the script, but to bring it to life somehow, to make it work simply by virtue of the strong natural comic chemistry the three of them share.

Read Full Post
Oscar Isaac will end the world as the main bad guy in 'X-Men: Apocalypse'
Credit: Universal Pictures

Oscar Isaac will end the world as the main bad guy in 'X-Men: Apocalypse'

This just keeps sounding better the more we hear about it

If nothing else, the "X-Men" series has one of the most interesting revolving casts in any of the various superhero franchises currently being produced.

It was already interesting enough knowing that they were going to push Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence center-stage for this one to emphasize the love story between Magneto and Mystique. Those two are both such heavy hitters that it sounds genuinely exciting to have them carrying the film. In addition, Channing Tatum is supposed to join the ensemble this time as Gambit, a fan-favorite that was handled poorly in the first "Wolverine" spin-off.

Read Full Post
Warner Bros may gamble big on a four-movie 'Stand' from 'Fault In Our Stars' director
Credit: ABC TV

Warner Bros may gamble big on a four-movie 'Stand' from 'Fault In Our Stars' director

Is someone really asking for this?

When you cover filmmaking and write about the business and the art of it, there are many times you find yourself criticizing a studio for choices that are being made, and sometimes, it starts to look like you're beating up on a particular studio or playing favorites. The truth is much less interesting, though. The truth is that I react to each project, each film, each announcement, as its own thing. I can't count the number of times I've disliked a film's marketing only to end up loving the movie itself, or vice versa, and it's taught me that each movie exists separate from the conversation around it.

So with that in mind, I am not trying to beat up on Warner Bros. I think ambition is a great thing. Without ambition, there is no greatness. Mainstream filmmaking is a difficult balancing act between fiscal responsibility and artistic intent, and any time anyone navigates that the right way, I find it impressive. I hope that we look back at the upcoming run of DC films and say, "Wow, they did something really special and fun and gigantic." I hope we look back at the trilogy of upcoming JK Rowling "Fantastic Beasts" films and say, "That was a great and different extension of all things 'Potter,' and more fun than I would have expected." And now, I hope that when all is said and done, four movies based on Stephen King's "The Stand" is a creatively-driven choice that pays off and not one of the weirdest money grabs I've ever seen.

Read Full Post
This week's 'Ask Drew' examines the aggressive issue of Chris Nolan fanboys
Credit: Warner Bros

This week's 'Ask Drew' examines the aggressive issue of Chris Nolan fanboys

Plus a very smart edition of 'Movie God'

These are going to start playing a little shorter.

We're trying to turn each episode of "Ask Drew" into a fun little streamlined bullet fired directly into your brain pan. I can be a verbose SOB given even the slightest prompting, and part of the fun of "Ask Drew" is that I have no time to prepare for any of these questions. Because I can talk endlessly, though, when we do six or seven questions, these things start to get longer than they should be.

We cover some ground this week, too, with one of the highlights for me being a question about Christopher Nolan. It's interesting to me because of how it was phrased, and how clearly it's a case of perspective. How you feel about Chris Nolan's fans probably depends largely on just how enamored you are with Nolan's work yourself.

Read Full Post
A celebration of legendary director Mike Nichols and his masterpiece-studded career
Credit: MGM/UA Home Video

A celebration of legendary director Mike Nichols and his masterpiece-studded career

We look back at the life of one of the EGOT winners

If I had to make a list of the ten film directors who I think most influenced my own standards of what filmmaking can be and should be, Mike Nichols would be on that list, if only for the first two films he made. And it may seem strange to say that I admire how he survived making those masterworks, but early success can destroy even the greatest talent because of the expectations it creates, and Nichols somehow managed it in a way that many other talented people have not.

That is not to say that the rest of his work is not worth that kind of consideration and discussion. It's just that Nichols came out of the gate with two genuine, no-debate masterpieces, two films that crackle with life, two films that are so visually adept that they are humbling, two films packed with performances that go beyond good or bad to simply be iconic. It is safe to say that he made the most successful transition as a director from theater to film since Orson Welles.

Read Full Post
Alexandra Daddario, Krysten Ritter among candidates testing for Marvel's 'Jessica Jones'

Alexandra Daddario, Krysten Ritter among candidates testing for Marvel's 'Jessica Jones'

Plus it looks like some serious candidates have emerged for Luke Cage as well

While Marvel's bigscreen plans have been extensively covered here, I've left reports of what's going on in the TV world to the uber-capable Alan Sepinwall and Dan Fienberg for the most part. Today, though, reports of possible casting for Jessica Jones had me thinking again about the Netflix series and just what a cool idea it is overall.

Charlie Cox has already been cast as the lead in "Daredevil," and they've been shooting on that series for a little while now. They're just starting to cast for "Jessica Jones" now, and it sounds like a really solid list of possibilities so far. Alexandra Daddario would probably be my first choice, but that's true of pretty much whatever she is up for. I think Daddario's got real chops, and she's comic-book-gorgeous. She also seems like someone who could easily carry the character over from this TV incarnation into features if Marvel ever decided to do that.

Krysten Ritter, Teresa Palmer, and Jessica De Gouw were also mentioned as being on the list of actors being tested for the role, the lead in what will be the second of the Netflix Marvel series. The show focuses on what happens when Jones retires from being a superhero to become a private detective, which allows Marvel and series show runner Melissa Rosenberg to do a very different genre than what we've already seen set in the Marvel universe.

That is, of course, the way they're going to keep things rolling along. Taking the basic underpinnings of the superhero archetype and pushing things into new shapes is a smart way to extend the life of what is that Marvel's doing. It sounds like "Daredevil" is going to be a very different view of the Marvel universe as well, and "Jessica Jones" will be the second of four series that are set in this particular corner of things, with "Iron Fist" and "Luke Cage" still to come. Cage will appear in several episodes of "Jessica Jones," though, and they're also evidently starting to consider choices for that role as well. Mike Colter, one of the stars of "The Following" and "The Good Wife," has the full endorsement of both Greg Ellwood and Alan Sepinwall here at HitFix, and he's pretty much a dead ringer for the character in photos.

What I'm most excited by overall, though, is the way they're going to follow up the four individual limited series with a special cross-over called "The Defenders." Altogether, we're looking at 60 episodes of interconnected storytelling that will define this street-level view of the Marvel universe, also introducing characters who could easily end up somewhere else at some point.

I'm still very confused by DC's overall TV plan. It's sort of wink-wink funny to say that the TV shows are all set in the Multiverse, but I suspect that's just a way of brushing off the question, not an actual storytelling choice that will pay off at some point down the road. It seems like people really like "Arrow" and "The Flash," so it's baffling that Warner Bros. would make the decision up front to simply not use those takes on the characters for their movies. If you have a fanbase asking to see more of those actors in those roles, telling them no seems like a very weird decision.

It will be exciting to see if Marvel's TV division gets better and better at what they're doing as they bring "Agent Carter" and these shows to life. Not every character should get their own movie, but there are plenty of titles in the Marvel library that would work beautifully on TV. This is their most ambitious overall plan so far, and casting is going to be a big part of making it work.

"Daredevil" will arrive on Netflix in May 2015.

Review: Jennifer Lawrence remains the beating heart of intense 'Mockingjay Part 1'
Credit: Lionsgate

Review: Jennifer Lawrence remains the beating heart of intense 'Mockingjay Part 1'

HitFix
A-
Readers
n/a
Could they really pull this whole thing off?

As much as "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1" is about anything, it is about Jennifer Lawrence.

I don't mean that it's about Katniss Everdeen, the character she's playing, either. Sure, Katniss is once again front and center as we see the aftermath now of what happened at the end of the Quarter Quell games in "Catching Fire," with Katniss poised to be the face of the revolution. But when I say this is a film about Jennifer Lawrence, I mean it's about her fame, the pressure that she's under to make this franchise work because of what it means to Lionsgate, and the way she continually manages to deliver moments that feel authentic, whether they are or not, even under the unforgiving microscope of fame.

Read Full Post
Prev Page 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 396 397