The much publicized and anticipated music drama "Song to Song", has its first trailer and it looks amazing. Set to debut at this years SXSW the film has been in post production for a couple years now. We were actually lucky enough to see many of the scenes bering filmed while spending time in Austin for a slew of music festivals that provide the backdrop for much of the film The film stars Michael Fassbender, Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara, Natalie Portman and more.
Last week the people of The Academy sent their nominations down from the hills of Hollywood. Luckily there is still three weeks till Jimmy Kimel takes the stage to give us the winners.
The category of best film is considered the most pinnacle at the Oscars, the marking of a stellar performance across the board. Sadly the definition of a stellar performance is different for everyone. Over the last few years it’s become apparent, who The Academy favors. From the genre discrimination that has left comedies, horror flick, animated films and foreign films from grabbing a hold of that little gold bald man. To the racial discrimination, that lead to the African-American boycott of last year’s Award ceremony. Looking at this year’s nominations it’s a hard fact to ignore, but luckily with the large amount of cultural issues addressed in this year’s nominations I can find a tiny bit of light in The Academy.
Based off the play “In moonlight Black Boys Look Blue” by Tarelle Alvan McGraney, "Moonlight" is Berry Jenkins second film, and was one of the most talked about films this year. Through three parts we watch as Chiron experiences life in his Miami housing project. Bullied for being small and vulnerable, coming home to his addict mother, and finding solace in the man who keeps his mother’s habit going. Every first moment tainted with the reality of his suppressive community. All these moments and feelings highlighted in the way Jenkins, isolates the main character in scenes, limiting his interaction with other characters. Unfortunately, I myself haven’t seen it, but the play of light, and the highlights of raw emotion shown in the trailer, has it at the top of my “Must See before the 26th” list.
"Fences" directed by and starring Denzel Washington is also a play to film adaptation. Originally a single set play written by August Waters about Troy Maxon a baseball player turned factory worker, due to racial segregation. Familiar with the play, but unfamiliar with the film, it’s second on my list to see. Denzel being a favorite of mine, and the social issues of class and race poignant to our day and age, it’s a good pick from The Academy.
Coming in hot after racing across gender and race lines is "Hidden Figures". Theodor Melfi’s sophomore film reveals the incredible untold story of Katherine Johson (Katherine Johnson), Dorothy Vauughan (Dorothy Vaughn) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae) the three women who were the brains behind sending John Glen into orbit. This films witty sense of humor and strong female leads, makes it one not worth missing this year.
"Arrival", follows language professor Louis Banks (Amy Adams) as she learns to communicate with the alien race that has parked their slim oval black ships at twelve random parts around the world. Through non-linear storytelling we watch Professor Banks makes leaps and bounds to communicate to these creatures, all while she deals with the painful memory of her daughter’s death. While I enjoyed the storyline and the concept of giant octopus creatures coming to earth, I feel as though the movie rushed through time with too many montages. It’s in these montages that I felt I was left out on what the alien’s purpose was. In Spite of the stale plot Amy Adams did a fantastic job, and between this movie and her role in Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals, not seeing her nominated for Best Actress broke my heart.
Garth Dacis’ debut feature "Lion" is yet another book adaptation, based off of Luke Davis “A Long Way Home”. We follow Saroo’s story of being adopted after his mother abandoned him on a train at the age of five. With the use of Google maps and memories, he begins his search to find his mother. Sadly this is another film that slipped under my radar, but had made its way to top priority. While the movie is nominated, the people who were a part of it may not even be able to attended the award show. Earlier in the year, Sunny Pawar the lead actor of the film was denied his visa into the states for the premier. Since they faced difficulties before the recently passed laws stopping immigration from Muslim countries, the cast and crew fears it will be an obstacle they will need to overcome again.
Then we have "Hell or High Water". A Texas-set thriller following two brothers Toby Howard (Chris Pine) and Tanner Howard (Brian Foster) who’s desperate need to get money for the family sends them across Texas robbing banks. I initially skipped this one when it came to the Mayan, but rewatching the trailer and noticing how well Chris Pine rocks his mustache, has me thinking twice. Then there is Taylor Sheridan, the writer, responsible for the Best Original Screenplay nomination that the film received. Taylor was the same writer who created "Sons of Anarchy", and the 2016 movie "Sicario". His take on hyper-violent society and the drama attached to crime spikes my interest.
"Manchester by the Sea", is a heart breaking film where we meet Lee Chandler(Casey Affleck), who’s brother has died suddenly leaving him the guardian of his 16 year old son. Through humor and awkward family moment grief is laid out in shots as grey as a winter in New England. Currently there is scandal attached to this award and the Best Actor award Affleck received for his performance, due to the supposed sexual harassment charges filed against him. Affleck was never charged but the women who he assaulted are still out there making sure social media knows of the actions he’s made. A little fun fact to chew over as you watch his performance.
"Hacksaw Ridge" is the one movie on here I have no interest in seeing. Sorry, not sorry. The movie follows Desmond T. Doss, a medic in World War Two who saved 75 men during the brutal battle at Okinawa. We gave him a medal for it, then we gave him a movie, and then The Academy gives Mel Gibson another pat on the back for being a crazy person. This movie is a prime example that the sixty year old white man is the target audience of The Academy.
Then finally I come to "La La Land", the movie that stole the day with 14 nominations. The only problem? The movie was a letdown. The scenes are framed beautifully, and show breath taking angles of Los Angeles. I was even impressed with the use of primary colors to show emotions in the character's wardrobe. The main attraction for me was that it was a musical, but musically it falls flat. Ryan Gosling learned to play the piano for the role, but tragically never learned to sing above a raspy whisper. Emma Stone also sung all of her parts, and her voice was just as underwhelming. Then the main plot line, their relationship, is nothing more than pretty to look at. Sadly this movie’s success stems more in how well it was advertised and the actors attached to it.
With three weeks left and winter still wanting to keep you inside, get up, get out and start watching. All the movies listed above are currently being played at The UA Pavilions under the florescent Denver sign off the 16th Street mall. The AMC theater at the top of the escalators and under the marquee at the Cherry Creek mall. Tucked between Twist & Shout and the Tattered Cover on Colfax at the SIE film center. Then finally at The Esquire landmark theater on Downing.
The Star Wars Celebration is currently taking place in London right now as we speak, one of the early panels gave us the debut of this three minute reel showing us some of the breathtaking behind the scenes visuals from the upcoming Rogue One. The movie opens up on December 16th. Expect a lot more coverage coming soon. The official teaser poster has also been posted below. The Star Wars website will be live streaming a bunch of content in the next couple days so check it out.
Nobody is excited about this movie as we happy nerds here at Ultra5280. Today's final trailer of the upcoming Captain America: Civil War has just about blown our mind. It's the last cameo in the trailer that has us going bonkers. See for yourself! The film hits theaters on May 6th. Summer movie season is starting to take shape!
Rey took her first steps into a larger world in Star Wars: The Force Awakens and will continue her epic journey with Finn, Poe and Luke Skywalker in the next chapter of the continuing Star Wars saga, Star Wars: Episode VIII, which began principal photography at Pinewood Studios in London on February 15, 2016.
Star Wars: Episode VIII, which is written and directed by Rian Johnson and continues the storylines introduced in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, welcomes back cast members Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong'o, Domhnall Gleeson, Anthony Daniels, Gwendoline Christie, and Andy Serkis. New cast members will include Academy Award® winner Benicio Del Toro, Academy Award® nominee Laura Dern, and talented newcomer Kelly Marie Tran.
Star Wars: Episode VIII is produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Ram Bergman and executive produced by J.J. Abrams, Jason McGatlin and Tom Karnowski. Joining the production crew will be some of the industry's top talent, including Steve Yedlin (Director of Photography), Bob Ducsay (Editor), Rick Heinrichs (Production Designer), Peter Swords King (Hair and Make-Up Designer), and Mary Vernieu (US Casting Director). They will be joining returning crew members Pippa Anderson (Co-Producer, VP Post Production), Neal Scanlan (Creature & Droid FX Creative Supervisor), Michael Kaplan (Costume Designer), Jamie Wilkinson (Prop Master), Chris Corbould (SFX Supervisor), Rob Inch (Stunt Coordinator), Ben Morris (VFX Supervisor), and Nina Gold (UK Casting Director).
Star Wars: Episode VIII is scheduled for release December 15, 2017.
Davis (Jake Gyllenhaal), a successful investment banker, struggles after losing his wife in a tragic car crash. Despite pressure from his father in law Phil (Chris Cooper) to pull it together, Davis continues to unravel. What starts as a complaint letter to a vending machine company turns into a series of letters revealing startling personal admissions. Davis’ letters catch the attention of customer service rep Karen (Naomi Watts) and, amidst emotional and financial burdens of her own, the two form an unlikely connection. With the help of Karen and her son Chris (Judah Lewis), Davis starts to rebuild, beginning with the demolition of the life he once knew.
Obviously, since it’s a review of the film, this article is going to contain some major spoilers for the plot of The Force Awakens. If you haven’t had a chance to see the film yet, you may want to stop reading now.
It’s been over a decade since the last installment in the Star Wars saga was released (Revenge of the Sith, 2005). Since then, The Walt Disney Company bought out George Lucas and purchased Lucasfilm — the production company which gave the world Star Wars — for a staggering $4.06 billion. Disney wasted almost no time in working to make their new investment profitable, expanding on Lucas’ concepts for an additional trilogy, and began work on The Force Awakens in 2013. The film is directed by J. J. Abrams (Lost, Mission: Impossible III, Super 8, Alias), hand-picked by George Lucas himself, and has composer John Williams return for a seventh time to write the musical score.
This was my third time attending a Star Wars premier opening weekend screening. Perhaps it’s because of the cult-like following, but going to an opening weekend screening of Star Wars is just somehow more… fun. When that hallmark opening sequence starts and the musical theme blasts in the theater, the entire audience really gets into it. So, here’s a short recap of The Force Awakens and my thoughts on this latest entry in the epic space opera.
When I left the theatre after attending the Thursday night preview, I found myself asking a lot of questions and looking for more explanation, as I’m sure a lot of moviegoers did.
Leave it to Disney to create the darkest, most dystopian film in the Star Wars saga yet. Gone is the over-animated and obnoxious Jar-Jar Binks. Instead, now there’s a huge hologram of a demonic figure with a scarred face, known as Snoke. No more podracing on Naboo with various creatures from all over the galaxy. Now, there are legions of Stormtroopers participating in fascist rallies, then destroying entire planets. Even the lightsaber, the trademark weapon of the Star Wars series, seems to have been made into more of a raw tool for destruction.
There’s the question of what transpired in the storyline between Episode VI and Episode VII. Return of the Jedi (Episode VII) ends with the Rebel Alliance having destroyed the second Death Star, in the process leaving both antagonists Darth Vader and Emperor Palpatine (Darth Sidious) dead. It appears that the Galactic Empire substantially fell apart after Return of the Jedi and left a power void which came to be filled by the First Order — primary antagonists in The Force Awakens. Again, the gap in storyline between Episode VI and Episode VII leaves open the possibility of many future stand-alone expansion options (should Disney and Lucasfilm decide to do so), explaining what happened and how the First Order came into being and eventually rose to power.
One of the best parts of seeing this film was to witness the technological advancements in film-making and special effects. There's been a lot of technological advancement in film production and special effects in the last 40 years, since the release of A New Hope. It's evident that things have come a long way if you go back and re-watch the original trilogy which was released in the 1970's and 1980's. Noticeably, in The Force Awakens, animated characters which haven't been filmed in 30 years have received a nice update in their appearance — particularly to Admiral Ackbar and to Nien Nunb. Physics seem to matter a lot more now, too — a noticeably more than they did in earlier releases in the series. Ranged weapons (blasters, lasers) do a lot more visible damage to their targets. Oh, and apparently Storm Troopers can use weapons like flamethrowers now, too (as during the opening sequence during the massacre on Jakku). Somewhat annoyingly, the dark side can’t seem to stop building mega-weapons in spherical planetary shapes, each with a hugely-exploitable critical vulnerability.
There’s obviously something special about using the same actors in one project over a period of almost 40 years — the aging process isn’t computer-generated. It’s very natural, very organic to witness the same actors undergo so much change. The anticipation of seeing what an aged Han Solo (Harrison Ford) looked like turned out to be one of the best experiences of the film. Leia Organa (Carrier Fisher) made another appearance too, embracing Han Solo as her love interest, a love with a lifespan of nearly a half-century. Not to be outdone, a grey-haired Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) capped off The Force Awakens with that ending on a remote, isolated planet that perfectly sets up a future sequel.
In doing some research for this article, I discovered that a graphic novel, Star Wars: Shattered Empire, was released by Marvel Comics in November 2015 — meant to set up the storyline for The Force Awakens. While I haven’t had a chance to pick up a copy of Shattered Empire, it does sound like an attempt to clear up at least some of the questions of what happened after the events of Return of the Jedi. Many characters new to the Star Wars films are introduced in The Force Awakens — Rey, BB-8, Poe Dameron, Finn, Kylo Ren, Captain Phasma, General Hux… the list goes on and on. Who these characters are, where in the galaxy they came from, and who else they may (or may not be) related to are all great questions that should be answered at some point. And let’s not forget the mystery of what happened to the Jedi Order after Episode VI and what made Luke Skywalker go into hiding.
The Force Awakens is a must-see, and in my opinion, the best film yet released in the entire Star Wars series. It does a good of a job as it can in living to the hype surrounding it’s release, and the film is an excellent showcase of the special effects power in the collaboration between Lucasfilm and Disney. Go see it — at least once. The 3D version is pretty spectacular as well.
If early numbers are any indication, The Force Awakens is going to make Disney a lot of money. Just the earnings fromthe Thursday night previews alone were $57 million. There’s a very high likelihood that Disney and Bad Robot will be able to earn back the film’s $200 million budget in just the opening weekend itself.
It’d be awesome to see Disney re-invest a majority of the income made from Star Wars releases back into the franchise itself, thus being able to fund several future mega-budget releases in the series.
And if series’ fans are hungry for more Star Wars — they won’t have to wait that long. The next installment in this latest trilogy, Episode VIII (which is, as of yet, still unnamed) is set to release in May of 2017.
In what hopes to be a big year for Marvel, the first look at Captain America: Civil War has appeared and from the looks of it, it is sure to be a hit. The film takes place after Age of Ultron and takes a turn at pitting some of our favorite heroes against each other. We won't go into detail, but watch the trailer and you will get the idea.
San Diego played hosts to the masses of Comic Con this past weekend and while many got to enjoy numerous panels and other events, it was also a perfect platform to introduce us to a bunch of trailers for upcoming movies that had everybody psyched. We had a chance to check out trailers for the upcoming Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, An awesome Behind The Scenes Star Wars: The Force Awakens featurette, Ash vs Evil Dead, Goosebumps, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Hunger Games: United We Stand Teaser, Rock the Kasbah, and Deadpool (to debut in three weeks, all we saw was a grainy video). It's a good time to be a fan of movies and these trailers should reenforce that belief.
The first official trailer for the new Matt Damon thriller The Martian has been released and it looks incredible. A star studded cast sets on a mission to Mars and will I'll let you read the synopsis below.
THE MARTIAN | Official Trailer: During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive. Millions of miles away, NASA and a team of international scientists work tirelessly to bring “the Martian” home, while his crewmates concurrently plot a daring, if not impossible rescue mission. As these stories of incredible bravery unfold, the world comes together to root for Watney’s safe return. Based on a best-selling novel, and helmed by master director Ridley Scott, THE MARTIAN features a star studded cast that includes Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Kate Mara, Michael Peña, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Donald Glover.
If this movie doesn't scream intense I don't know what does!
Inspired by the incredible events surrounding an attempt to reach the summit of the world’s highest mountain, Everest documents the awe-inspiring journey of two different expeditions challenged beyond their limits by one of the fiercest snowstorms ever encountered by mankind. Their mettle tested by the harshest elements found on the planet, the climbers will face nearly impossible obstacles as a lifelong obsession becomes a breathtaking struggle for survival. The epic adventure stars Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, John Hawkes, Robin Wright, Michael Kelly, Sam Worthington, Keira Knightley, Emily Watson and Jake Gyllenhaal.
Everest is directed by Baltasar Kormákur (2 Guns, Contraband) and produced by Working Title Films’ Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, Cross Creek Pictures’ Brian Oliver and Tyler Thompson, as well as Nicky Kentish Barnes and Kormákur.
Universal Pictures and Cross Creek Pictures’ presentation of Everest—in association with Walden Media—is adapted for the screen by William Nicholson (Gladiator) and Oscar® winner Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire).
The film was shot on location in Nepal on the foothills of Everest, the Italian Alps and at Cinecittà Studios in Rome and Pinewood Studios in the U.K. Universal will distribute Everest worldwide.
It's that time of year again, the time when superheroes, dinosaurs, robots and more take over our cinema screens. Judging by the recent Furious 7 success, this Summer is set to break box office records left and right. We narrowed down a few of the movies that you must check out and mark on your calendar.
The Avengers: The Age of Ultron
The sequel to the blockbuster The Avengers is the first of the blockbusters we will get to see. Our favorite group of heroes are back to battle against the mighty Ultron (voiced wonderfully by the talented James Spader). The Joss Weedon directed film is bound to destroy box office records based on early speculation and reviews. Let's just say we may dress up as our favorite superhero for this one. The movie starts on May 1st across the country.
Mad Max: Fury Road
Although this is not a reboot, in fact it is supposed to take place 30 years after Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome. This time the lead role is played by Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron. Judging by the insane visuals we have got a chance to see during the trailers, this looks like one of the dark horses of the Summer movie season. In theaters on May 15th.
The official plot summary for Mad Max: Fury Road is as follows: "An apocalyptic story set in the furthest reaches of our planet, in a stark desert landscape where humanity is broken, and almost everyone is crazed fighting for the necessities of life. Within this world exist two rebels on the run who just might be able to restore order. There's Max (Tom Hardy), a man of action and a man of few words, who seeks peace of mind following the loss of his wife and child in the aftermath of the chaos. And Furiosa (Charlize Theron), a woman of action and a woman who believes her path to survival may be achieved if she can make it across the desert back to her childhood homeland." (IMDB)
The dinosaurs are back this Summer in Jurassic World. Our beloved island Isla Nubar is the setting once again for the fourth movie i the franchise. This time Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard are the central characters in the mix. As always the trailer gives us a glimpse at some new attractions with a bunch of new species of dinosaurs including a genetically modified beast that is sure to wreck havoc. The film opens on June 12th.
Twenty-two years after the events of Jurassic Park (1993), Isla Nublar now features a fully functioning dinosaur theme park, Jurassic World, as originally envisioned by John Hammond. After 10 years of operation and visitor rates declining, in order to fulfill a corporate mandate, a new attraction is created to re-spark visitor's interest, which backfires horribly. (IMDB)
Although it hasn't been heavily marketed amongst the giants, we feel this one is going to be good. George Clooney and Hugh Laurie head up the cast in this one. Is it fair to say that Disney is about to cash in this Summer with all their releases. Tomorrowland is a play on the space themed section of Disneyland. Not sure yet how that is going to tie into the film but the early trailers suggest it to be a adventure based movie leading us to some familiar visuals. The movie opens on May 22nd.
Bound by a shared destiny, a teen bursting with scientific curiosity and a former boy-genius inventor embark on a mission to unearth the secrets of a place somewhere in time and space that exists in their collective memory.(IMDB)
Is it safe to say that The Rock (Dwayne Johnson) is officially our new modern day version of Arnie, Stallone, Cruise, (insert any blockbuster actor)? This may be either a hit or bust in our opinion, the visuals look just like any other natural disaster movie (Armageddon, The Day After Tomorrow, Twister), we will have to see what the story line is. Judging by the title it's safe to say. The film opens on May 29th across the US.
In the aftermath of a massive earthquake in California, a rescue-chopper pilot makes a dangerous journey across the state in order to rescue his estranged daughter. (IMDB)
The boy's are back. We know we had to you that line as cliché as it sounds. Does anybody miss Entourage the TV show as much as us? Probably not, luckily for us the series is headed to the big screen and probably hosts more cameos than any other film this Summer. Looks like the film takes over right after the shows finale and we expect a bunch of over the top scenes and a fair dose of Johnny Drama. The movie opens June 3rd.
The film picks up where the series left off, chronicling the continuing career of movie star Vincent Chase and his entourage of friends. Ari bankrolls Vince's directorial debut with a $100 million budget which goes $15 million over. He does this by securing financing from Texas billionaire Larsen McCredle and his son Travis. Vince continues his carefree lifestyle saying if the film fails they can just move back to Queens. Now with his own studio Ari deals with the problems of being a start up movie producer in his own ill tempered way. (Wiki)
Not much is known about this one in comparison to the other great Marvel movies. Rumors and storylines place this as an important film in the Marvel Universe. Ant Man is played by Paul Rudd in this one and judging by the early trailers this one is set to knock it out of the park. July 17th is the day to mark on your calendars.
Armed with a super-suit with the astonishing ability to shrink in scale but increase in strength, con-man Scott Lang must embrace his inner hero and help his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, plan and pull off a heist that will save the world. (IMDB)
Mision Impossible: Rogue Nation
Tom Cruise is back as agent Ethan Hunt once more in Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation. With the exception of maybe 1 or 2 films in the series we have always enjoyed these films. It's kind of the American version of James Bond for us. In this one Cruise and his fellow agents go up against a faction called "The Syndicate" in a cat and mouse game set to provide for some awesome stunts.
The new flick finds Hunt’s highly effective but destructive Impossible Mission Force (IMF) disbanded by vengeful Washington bureaucrats such as the CIA chief (played by Alec Baldwin). But Hunt pulls his team together (Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames and newcomer Rebecca Ferguson) to battle the shadowy force known as “The Syndicate” and its elusive leader (Sean Harris). (SlashFilm)
The Fantastic Four
A reboot that we can get excited about. Ill be the first to say the previous Fantastic Four movies have been rather bland, this one looks to cash in on some of Hollywood's best batch of younger actors to its advantage. Hopefully this one lives up to the hype.
Four young outsiders teleport to an alternate and dangerous universe which alters their physical form in shocking ways. The four must learn to harness their new abilities and work together to save Earth from a former friend turned enemy. (IMDB)
With Summer blockbuster season coming our way (look for our Summer Film Preview). The latest trailer for Jurassic World dropped today as well as three new movie posters that highlight some of the films newest and old dinosaurs. This one is on our "must see" list this Summer and we cannot wait until June 12th.
Steven Spielberg returns to executive produce the long-awaited next installment of his groundbreaking Jurassic Park series, Jurassic World. Colin Trevorrow directs the epic action-adventure based on characters created by Michael Crichton. The screenplay is by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver and Trevorrow & Derek Connolly, and the story is by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver. Frank Marshall and Patrick Crowley join the team as producers. www.jurassicworld.com
I was pretty skeptical when I first heard about this reboot. But I am pretty excited the more I see from it, first off great cast, second the visuals don't seem as CGI as the first series. Here is the new trailer that dropped today, it does answer some more questions.
FANTASTIC FOUR, A CONTEMPORARY RE-IMAGINING OF MARVEL’S ORIGINAL AND LONGEST-RUNNING SUPERHERO TEAM, CENTERS ON FOUR YOUNG OUTSIDERS WHO TELEPORT TO AN ALTERNATE AND DANGEROUS UNIVERSE, WHICH ALTERS THEIR PHYSICAL FORM IN SHOCKING WAYS. THEIR LIVES IRREVOCABLY UPENDED, THE TEAM MUST LEARN TO HARNESS THEIR DAUNTING NEW ABILITIES AND WORK TOGETHER TO SAVE EARTH FROM A FORMER FRIEND TURNED ENEMY.
With the Star Wars Celebration kicking off today in Anaheim, one of the first panels aptly titled "The Force Awakens" saw JJ Abrahams premiere a new teaser. The two minute teaser is yet to reveal much but we do get to see two of our favorite characters as well as the new villain up close and personal.
The latest installment of The Fast and The Furious series simply dubbed Furious 7 hits theaters this weekend. I had a chance to see the film in all it's glory on the behemoth known as IMAX. I can safely say I have always been a fan of the series, even during it's up's and down's. The franchise recently became resuscitated after a few stale years of cheesy sequels and an relatively unknown cast of daredevil streetcar racers running from the law. We can all assume that the reintroduction of Vin Diesel to the franchise brought the franchise back to life, throw in Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) and the story lines are endless. With a franchise like this people have come to expect a no holds barred action thriller. Furious 7 delivers on all cylinders (there will be a lot of car references, you have been warned).
The cast is all back from the last time we saw them in London, this time Dekard Shaw the brother of Owen Shaw is out for revenge on the crew. With a personal vendetta as a motive, Shaw begins to hunt down the crew responsible for hurting his brother. A trained special forces commando Shaw becomes almost invinsible as he begins to target the crew. Although some of the dialogue is comical and often times full of cheesy one liners, the cast fulfills its roles as each one having their special quirks and demeanors. We once again have the tech savvy Tej played by Chris Bridges or as we know him Ludacris, the playboy Roman Pearce played by Tyrese Gibson. We also have a cast of new characters including Kurt Russell who heads a secret special ops team, the beautiful Nathalie Emmanuel who plays a central character Ramsey who holds the key to a software program labeled as "God's Eye". It's a back and forth cat chase as Dom and his crew try to keep the software away from the bad guys using it to their advantage to locate Shaw. The film takes us to exotic locations just like its predecessors from the bustling Los Angeles streets to the deserts of Abu Dhabi, there is no shortage of fast cars and scantily clad women. Throw in some cameos by Iggy Azalea and all around bad ass Ronda Rousey and you have a recipe for a nitrous filled ride of your life.
While some may enjoy the over the top stunts and explosions that have become the staple of the franchise, this particular film was without a doubt the hardest one for the cast. As we all know Paul Walker who plays Brian O'Conner in the movie past away during filming. Many believed that his character would be killed off during the film, not so much the case as it left the whole audience including myself a bit teary eyed during the final scene as a very touching tribute to one of the franchises most important characters took place. I applaud the filmmakers for the way they handled his absence and gave us all, as well as Paul a perfect send off that we will all remember.
With Summer blockbuster season about to begin Fast 7 delivered a great film without running out of gas. If you are a fan of fast tuned up modified cars, you may want to skip this one as Dom Toretto put it himself "This time it ain't just about being fast."
Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck
One of the most talked about documentaries during this year's Sundance Film Festival was the Brett Morgen directed Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck. Being a music guy, I figured why not watch this biopic and garner a little more insight into the glorious and often troubled life of the lead singer of one of the most influential bands of all time.
The documentary itself was a no-holds-barred look at the life of Cobain from a chronological perspective. Morgen was given full access to a variety of journals, paintings, demos, home movies and personal items that nobody had ever seen or watched. This made the documentary more genuine from a factual standpoint. From the early days of his youth, we saw glimpses of brilliance and promise from Cobain. We also saw the destructive internal demons he was dealing with making him an outsider amongst the inner circles of his peers.
The story starts in Aberdeen, Washington, the birthplace of Cobain. At an early age Cobain showed a penchant for an imagination that he would transform into art, specifically drawings. A caring and sensitive Cobain had also developed a keen interest in music. Early influences began to shape his musical aspirations and soon it became the center of his world. From this, the birth of Nirvana took shape and would lead the band to unimagined stardom. Enter: Courtney Love. At this point Nirvana was beginning to become a household name. Courtney Love, a fellow musician, became involved with Cobain leading to a turbulent relationship infused with drug-fueled episodes. You could clearly see a transformation that showcased both the loving and sensitive side of Cobain as well as his destructive side. The birth of his child, Frances Bean, dramatically changed his volatile mood swings by showing us a side that only lived behind closed doors. A caring father, Cobain made it clear that Frances was the center of his universe and he would adjust his lifestyle to become a model father.
The film is full of creative stills that come to live as the entries of his journal are brought to the forefront. It’s as though we are witnessing him write them out for the first time. The documentary can be called a celebration and also a very intimate look that will catch many by surprise. A victim of his own success, the documentary is a masterful piece that hopes to give us a true understanding of the life of Kurt Cobain. The film is set to premiere May 4th on HBO. Check out the trailer below.
Ultra5280's picks for this year's Academy Award Winners
Yes, we admit, this is not the full list. But we've hit the major categories for you. Enjoy!
Best Picture Nominees
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“The Imitation Game”
“The Theory of Everything”
Will Win: "Birdman"
Should Win: "Boyhood"
Dark Horse: "American Sniper"
Actor in a Leading Role Nominees
Steve Carell, “Foxcatcher”
Bradley Cooper, “American Sniper”
Benedict Cumberbatch, “The Imitation Game”
Michael Keaton, “Birdman”
Eddie Redmayne, “The Theory of Everything"
Will Win: Eddie Redmayne, “The Theory of Everything"
Should Win: Michael Keaton, "Birdman"
Dark Horse: Bradley Cooper, “American Sniper”
Actress in a Leading Role Nominees
Marion Cotillard, “Two Days, One Night”
Felicity Jones, “The Theory of Everything”
Julianne Moore, “Still Alice”
Rosamund Pike, “Gone Girl”
Reese Witherspoon, “Wild”
Will Win: Julianne Moore, “Still Alice”
Should Win: Julianne Moore, “Still Alice”
Dark Horse: Reese Witherspoon, “Wild”
Actor in a Supporting Role Nominees
Robert Duvall, “The Judge”
Ethan Hawke, “Boyhood”
Edward Norton, “Birdman”
Mark Ruffalo, “Foxcatcher”
J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash"
Will Win: J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash"
Should Win: J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash"
Dark Horse: Mark Ruffalo, “Foxcatcher”
Actress in a Supporting Role Nominees
Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood”
Laura Dern, “Wild”
Emma Stone, “Birdman”
Keira Knightley, “The Imitation Game”
Meryl Streep, “Into the Woods”
Will Win: Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood”
Should Win: Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood”
Dark Horse: Meryl Streep, “Into the Woods”
Alejandro Gonzåles Iñårritu, “Birdman”
Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”
Bennett Miller, “Foxcatcher”
Wes Anderson, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Morten Tyldum, “The Imitation Game”
Will Win: Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”
Should Win: Alejandro Gonzåles Iñårritu, “Birdman”
Dark Horse: Wes Anderson, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Writing – Adapted Screenplay Nominees
Jason Hall, “American Sniper”
Graham Moore, “The Imitation Game”
Paul Thomas Anderson, “Inherent Vice”
Anthony McCarten, “The Theory of Everything”
Damien Chazelle, “Whiplash”
Will Win: Damien Chazelle, “Whiplash”
Should Win: Graham Moore, “The Imitation Game”
Dark Horse: Jason Hall, “American Sniper”
Writing – Original Screenplay Nominees
Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris and Armando Bo, “Birdman”
Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”
E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman, “Foxcatcher”
Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Dan Gilroy, “Nightcrawler”
Will Win: Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Should Win: Alejandro González Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris and Armando Bo, “Birdman”
Dark Horse: E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman, “Foxcatcher”
Animated Feature Film Nominees
“Big Hero 6”
“How to Train Your Dragon 2”
“Song of the Sea”
“The Tale of the Princess Kaguya”
Will Win: “How to Train Your Dragon 2”
Should Win: “Big Hero 6”
Dark Horse: “Song of the Sea”
Emmanuel Lubezki, “Birdman”
Robert D. Yeoman, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lynzewski, “Ida”
Dick Pope, “Mr. Turner”
Roger Deakins, “Unbroken"
Will Win: Emmanuel Lubezki, “Birdman”
Should Win: Emmanuel Lubezki, “Birdman”
Dark Horse: Roger Deakins, “Unbroken"
Costume Design Nominees
Milena Canonero, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Mark Bridges, “Inherent Vice”
Colleen Atwood, “Into the Woods”
Anna B. Sheppard, “Maleficent”
Jacqueline Durran, “Mr. Turner”
Will Win: Milena Canonero, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Should Win: Milena Canonero, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Dark Horse: Jacqueline Durran, “Mr. Turner”
Documentary Feature Nominees
“Last Days in Vietnam”
“The Salt of the Earth”
“Finding Vivian Maier”
Will Win: “Citizenfour”
Should Win: “Citizenfour”
Dark Horse: “Virunga”
Film Editing Nominees
Joel Cox and Gary Roach, “American Sniper”
Sandra Adair, “Boyhood”
Barney Pilling, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
William Goldenberg, “The Imitation Game”
Tom Cross, “Whiplash”
Will Win: Tom Cross, “Whiplash”
Should Win: Tom Cross, “Whiplash”
Dark Horse: Joel Cox and Gary Roach, “American Sniper”
Foreign Language Film Nominees
Will Win: “Wild Tales”
Should Win: “Leviathan”
Dark Horse: “Ida”
Music – Original Score Nominees
Alexandre Desplat, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Alexandre Desplat, “The Imitation Game”
Hans Zimmer, “Interstellar”
Gary Yershon, “Mr Turner”
Johann Johannsson, “The Theory of Everything”
Will Win: Alexandre Desplat, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Should Win: Alexandre Desplat, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Dark Horse: Hans Zimmer, “Interstellar”
Music – Original Song Nominees
“Everything Is Awesome” by Shawn Patterson, “The LEGO Movie”
“Glory” by Common and John Legend, “Selma”
“Grateful,” by Diana Warren, “Beyond the lights”
“I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” by Glen Campbell and Julian Raymond, “Glenn Campbell: I’ll Be Me”
“Lost Stars” by Gregg Alexander and Danielle Brisebois, “Begin Again”
Will Win: “Glory” by Common and John Legend, “Selma”
Should Win: “Lost Stars” by Gregg Alexander and Danielle Brisebois, “Begin Again”
Dark Horse: “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” by Glen Campbell and Julian Raymond, “Glenn Campbell: I’ll Be Me”
Production Design Nominees
“The Grand Budapest Hotel,” Production design: Adam Stockhausen, Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock
“The Imitation Game,” Production design: Maria Djurkovic, Set Decoration: Tatiana Macdonald
“Interstellar,” Production design: Nathan Crowley, Set Decoration: Gary Fettis
“Into the Woods,” Production design: Dennis Gassner, Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock
“Mr. Turner,” Production design: Suzie Davies, Set Decoration: Charlotte Watts
Will Win: “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” Production design: Adam Stockhausen, Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock
Should Win: “The Grand Budapest Hotel,” Production design: Adam Stockhausen, Set Decoration: Anna Pinnock
Dark Horse: “Mr. Turner,” Production design: Suzie Davies, Set Decoration: Charlotte Watts
Sound Editing Nominees
“American Sniper,” Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman
“Birdman,” Martin Hermandez and Aaron Glascock
“The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” Brent Burge and Jason Canovas
“Interstellar,” Richard King
“Unbroken,” Becky Sullivan and Andrew Decristofaro
Will Win: “American Sniper,” Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman
Should Win: “American Sniper,” Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman
Dark Horse: “Interstellar,” Richard King
Sound Mixing Nominees
“American Sniper,” John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Walt Martin
“Birdman,” Jon Taylor, Frank A Montano and Thomas Varga
Mark Weingarten, “Interstellar,” Garry A. Rizzo, Gregg Landaker and Mark Weingarten
“Unbroken,” Jon Taylor, Frank A Montano and David Lee
”Whiplash,” Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins and Thomas Curley
Will Win: ”Whiplash,” Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins and Thomas Curley
Should Win: ”Whiplash,” Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins and Thomas Curley
Dark Horse: “American Sniper,” John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff and Walt Martin
Visual Effects Nominees
“Captain America: Winter Soldier,” Dan DeLeeuw, Russell Earl, Bryan Grill and Dan Sudick
“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, Daniel Barrett and Erik Winquist
“Guardians of the Galaxy,” Stephanie Ceretti, Nicolas Aithadi, Jonathan Fawkner and Paul Corbould
“Interstellar,” Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter and Scott Fisher
“X-Men: Days of Future Past,” Richard Stammers, Lou Pecora, Tim Crosbie and Cameron Waldbauer
Will Win: “Interstellar,” Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter and Scott Fisher
Should Win: “Interstellar,” Paul Franklin, Andrew Lockley, Ian Hunter and Scott Fisher
Dark Horse: “Guardians of the Galaxy,” Stephanie Ceretti, Nicolas Aithadi, Jonathan Fawkner and Paul Corbould
It's probably safe to say that when anyone thinks about the word "daredevil" they'll probably think first about Evel Knievel. There may be no one in the history of extreme sports who has captured our collective attention as much as he. In fact, he gave birth to the extreme sports era which we now enjoy with the likes of Tony Hawk, Matt Hoffman, Travis Pastrana, and many, many others. Completing tricks now that Evel probably dreamed of, there is no doubt that all of these men and women involved with extreme sports consider Evel the Godfather of it all.
Rising as a trouble-maker from Butte, Montana in his youth, he would find his calling by going fast and living faster. As a young man he would evade the police, steal money from the local business, and sold insurance policies to patients at a mental hospital.
Moving away from Butte, he would put on shows in southern California to small crowds. The first time he really captured national attention was with his much hyped, and then subsequently viewed, crash in 1967 when he attempted to jump the fountains at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. From that point forward his daring, boldness, and brash attitude went hand-in-hand with his white leather jumpsuit. And most of us know about his crashes and his big landings, but there was another side to Evel. As a performer, he was never satisfied. And that bled into his personal life as well. From drinking to women, he lived fast and loose with the people around him.
Directed by Academy Award winning filmmaker Daniel Junge - who won in 2012 for Best Documentary (Short Subject) for "Saving Face" - "Being Evel" premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Produced for History films, the film was written by Junge and Davis Coombe (who both live in Denver) and was produced by Brendan Kiernan, Justing Moore-Lewy, Matt Hoffman, Jeff Tremaine and Johnny Knoxville.
Especially for Knoxville, who speaks quite a bit in the film, Evel was the ultimate hero. Sure there was Superman and Batman, but Evel could actually fly. He could take a bike and float it over trucks and buses. His stunts inspired a whole new generation of athletes and performers. Though Knoxville and his show "Jackass" are more known for stunts-gone-bad, you could make a case that Evel's crashes captured more attention than the successful stunts ever did.
"Being Evel" was recently picked up for distribution here so expect to see it out soon and we'd highly recommend it. It was a fascinating look at Evel Knievel's death-defying career and life.