2017 Summer Movie Preview: August

This is it! It’s officially August, which means the summer movie season is about to come to a close. This also means this is the last time I’ll talk about what has yet to come out during the summer until next year. Unsurprisingly, this has been a pretty decent summer for movies. I might not have seen every single one of them, but there have been some fantastic ones (War for the Planet of the Apes, Dunkirk), some bad ones (The Mummy, Okja), and ones I’m glad I skipped. Without further ado, let’s talk about the movies that are coming out in the slowest month of the summer.

August 4

dark_tower_impawards

Source: IMP Awards

The Dark Tower – Based on a fantasy series by the marvelous Stephen King, this movie stars two talented actors—Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey. Elba’s Gunslinger must prevent McConaughey’s Man in Black from the Dark Tower, hoping to save mankind. This has been in the works for a while. J.J. Abrams and Ron Howard considered to direct the continuation of King’s series before Nikolaj Arcel (writer and director of The Royal Affair, and writer of the Swedish version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) took over. This might be okay if it was much longer than 95 minutes, so—the audience can discover the world Stephen King created. I’m skeptical with this one.

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Source: IMP Awards

Detroit – Kathryn Bigelow has come a long way from directing the awesome 1990s action film Point Break. Now—she joins the likes of Paul Greengrass and Peter Berg with work on the gritty realism of the Iraq war in The Hurt Locker. She beat her ex-husband James Cameron for winning Best Picture and becoming the first woman to win Best Director. Bigelow continues her route with Zero Dark Thirty, the true story of the NAVY seals killing Osama bin Laden. With Detroit, she—along with writer Mark Boal—depict the miserable riots of the city that happened fifty years ago. From the looks of this, I see some powerful stuff. Will this be an Oscar contender? I’ll just have to wait and see.

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Source: IMP Awards

Kidnap – Halle Berry’s career has gone downhill after Oscar win for Monster’s Ball. Not to my surprise, this looks like a generic action thriller about a mother trying to save her son from getting kidnapped. I wouldn’t be surprised if this hardly makes any money at all. Moving right along.

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Source: IMP Awards

Wind River –Taylor Sheridan has crafted one of the best screenplays of last year with Hell or High Water. It features sheer intensity and characters with a razor-sharp wit. Wind River is his directorial debut; receiving positive reception at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen star as two agents investigating a murder of a Native-American girl in the most remote area in the United States—Wyoming’s Wind River Indian Reservation. Co-starring Gil Birmingham (who also starred in Hell or High Water and—yes—as Jacob’s father from the Twilight saga), I cannot wait for some end-of-summer thrills.

August 11

annabelle_creation_impawards

Source: IMP Awards

Annabelle: Creation – The popular Conjuring franchise opened up with an eerie scene where two girls are being interviewed about their Annabelle doll being possessed by a spirit. Following a terrible prequel/spin-off featuring the ventriloquist doll and a fantastic sequel to The Conjuring, Lights Out director David F. Sandberg brings the audience back how Annabelle actually came to be. This is the Annabelle spinoff everyone might be asking for! None of that cheap crap! Just pure atmosphere!

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Source: IMP Awards

The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature – I haven’t seen the first film, and have no interest in seeing that or the sequel. Next!

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Source: IMP Awards

The Glass Castle – Brie Larson is becoming one of the best actresses working today. From winning an Oscar for the emotionally powerful Room, letting bullets fly in Free Fire, and about to appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Captain Marvel, is there anything she can’t do? Star in another (seemingly) powerful indie drama, alongside Naomi Watts and Woody Harrelson, based on the bestselling memoir of Jeannette Walls, growing up with three other siblings in and out of poverty.

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Source: IMP Awards

The Only Living Boy in New York – While this might have a great cast (Jeff Bridges, Kate Beckinsale, Cynthia Nixon, and Pierce Brosnan) and a talented filmmaker (Marc Webb) attached to it, but I felt absolutely nothing watching the trailer. It might go the same route as this year’s Gifted. Pretentious and manipulative. I’m skipping this one.

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Source: IMP Awards

The Trip to Spain – Following The Trip and The Trip to Italy, Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon are back for yet another hilarious trek through Spain. While I haven’t seen the other two films, the trailer for this one made me laugh quite a bit. I might give these films a shot.

August 18

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Source: IMP Awards

The Hitman’s Bodyguard – How can one not love Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson? Even if they star in an action-comedy together? Being in the middle of car chases and shootouts as they defeat a dictator, played by no other than Gary Oldman? I’m hoping this will be a good laugh-out-loud, shoot-‘em-up thrill ride.

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Source: IMP Awards

Logan Lucky – Steven Soderbergh is back in the director’s chair four years after Side Effects and Behind the Candelabra. He has brought back his roots of Ocean’s Eleven in this heist movie about two brothers pulling a heist during a NASCAR race in Charlotte, North Carolina. It has a talented cast including Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Seth MacFarlane, and Daniel Craig. While he’s no 007, it looks like Craig is having a blast here, along with his cast-mates. Definitely looking forward to this one!

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Source: IMP Awards

Patti Cake$ – This…looks…like it would be pretty good. I’m not the biggest fan of rap music, but I do enjoy movies having to do with rap music, such as 8 Mile and Straight Outta Compton. I have vaguely heard of it when it premiered at Sundance. This seems to be another movie about chasing one’s dreams, a theme in which I have come to admire during the past year. So—I’m in for Patti Cake$.

August 25

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Source: IMP Awards

Tulip Fever – This movie been pushed back from July 15 of last year to the last week of August. I was interested in seeing it, due to the brilliant cast including Academy-Award winners Alicia Vikander and Christoph Waltz. But now—I couldn’t care less. It just looks so dull and barely any flavor.

bushwick_impawards

Source: IMP Awards

Bushwick – Another film coming straight from Sundance. The awesome Dave Bautista stars in this futuristic tale as a war veteran joining sides with a Brooklyn resident (Brittany Snow, Hairspray and Pitch Perfect) to take down militia units. Why? Because Texas to secede from the Union and claim New York City as a negotiation tool. While the concept is intriguing enough and it looks intense, but it looks standard—more or less.

Recap:

Most Anticipated: Annabelle: Creation, Detroit, The Glass Castle, Logan Lucky, Wind River

Least Anticipated: All Saints, Kidnap, The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature, The Only Living Boy in New York, Tulip Fever

I hope enjoyed reading my thoughts on what has yet to come out in the month of August. Please feel free to leave a comment on what your most anticipated movies for this month are. I appreciate each and every one of you reading my thoughts on the biggest summer blockbusters as well as some independent films. I’ll definitely do this next year. Stay tuned for that, as well as other content on this blog.

 

Movie Review: The Conjuring 2

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Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) are back for another haunting in James Wan’s sequel to the successful horror film The Conjuring

2013’s The Conjuring is one of the biggest horror films of all-time. Seeing it in theaters on that warm albeit dreary day that July was a breath of fresh air. Not only did it have enough suspense, it had just enough wit and tender moments to keep the film going forward. Being based on the true story of the Warrens investigating a farmhouse in Rhode Island and having limited amount of CGI makes the movie all the more realistic. The Conjuring 2 brings Wan’s magic tricks back with a little extra special effects to the spotlight. This time, he’s going across the Atlantic Ocean.

In 1977, Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) go to north London. There, they meet Peggy Hodgson (Frances O’Connor), a single mother of four children—Margaret (Lauren Esposito), Janet (Madison Wolfe), Johnny (Patrick McAuley), and Billy (Benjamin Haigh). They begin to witness some bizarre behavior from the youngest daughter Janet. Her sleepwalking becomes more demonic each night. They help the family get rid of the entity. But, they soon begin to realize there is more to the investigation than there is.

It’s great to see the Warrens back for another investigation. Farmiga and Wilson still own the silver screen leading a solid cast. As before, the movie is more than just fighting the paranormal. It’s about the power of being a couple. Apart from the expected suspense and some of the year’s most terrifying images you will see, Patrick Wilson singing Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love” is worth the ticket price. It’s rare for a horror sequel to be as excellent as its predecessor. Kudos to Wan and Co. for crafting another creepy yet emotionally driven horror film that will be remembered for years to come.

4/4

Movie Review: The Conjuring

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Lorraine Warren (Vera Farmiga) notices something going bump in the night in James Wan’s 2013 successful horror film The Conjuring.

Horror seems to be getting tiresome nowadays. They rely more on cheap scares and gore instead of an eerie atmosphere. Enter James Wan. Two years after directing the sleeper hit Insidious (made on a $1.5 million budget), he uses his tricks to tell the true story of a haunting in Harrisville, Rhode Island. Seeing The Conjuring two years ago in theaters (and again just recently on DVD), this is what horror movies are all about.

Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) are two of the most well-known paranormal investigators in the world. In 1971, before tackling the horrors in Amityville and Southington, Connecticut, they hear about bizarre occurrences in Harrisville witnessed by Roger and Carolyn Perron (Ron Livingston and Lily Taylor) and their five daughters—Andrea (Shanley Caswell), April (Kyla Deaver), Christine (Joey King), Cindy (Mackenzie Foy), and Nancy (Hayley McFarland). The terror includes the clocks stopping exactly at 3:07 every morning, Carolyn waking up with bruises, and Christine feeling her legs being tugged. The Warrens agree to help the family to get rid of this entity. However, this investigation might require an exorcism.

It’s rare for the MPAA to give a horror movie an R-rating for being scary as hell. Yes, it does have the horror clichés such as a family moving into a house where evil lives and seeing things that nobody else sees. Wan knows how to conjure up each scene—pun intended—with just enough tension and atmosphere with his use of point-of-view shots, brief tracking shots, and little to no CGI whatsoever.

With a good cast, Farmiga and Wilson’s portrayal of the Warrens are the heart and soul of the movie. Lorraine has a gifted power to see what she can only see. In one scene, Carolyn is putting up one of her family photos. Lorraine gets her hand on the frame and sees an image of the family spending the day at the beach. “It’s an insight…it’s like a peek through the curtain into another person’s life,” she says to Carolyn as to wondering how she knew. It’s as if God brought the couple together for a reason, as Lorraine says to her husband.

As surprisingly touching as The Conjuring is, it also has a lot of creepy images. The movie opens up with the 1968 investigation of the Annabelle doll. Even though she’s a Raggedy Ann doll in real life, she’s a ventriloquist doll in the movie (one of James Wan’s horror trademarks since Dead Silence). Two young women keep seeing a message saying “Miss me?” written with a red crayon. It’s impossible not to get shivers sent down your spine. It’s a shame that the scary doll made an appearance in a disappointing spin-off. There’s also a dead body hanging herself on a tree, a maid with her wrists slit (“Look what she made me do.”), and Lorraine making her investigation in the basement. This movie is nothing but good old-fashioned horror; a breath of fresh air. This is a franchise to pay attention to for years.

4/4

2016 Summer Movie Preview: June

I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day; meeting with families and having a good barbecue. Like every summer, it is off to a good start. I have finished my second year of college almost a month ago. I am about to have one busy schedule. The month of June has a lot of movies to look forward to including one that looks completely bizarre yet I am dying to see something original. Here are my thoughts on what has yet to come out this month.

June 3

TMNT-2

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows – Michael Bay returns to produce the sequel to the 2014 hit film. Taking Jonathan Liebesman’s place as director is Dave Green (Earth to Echo). I am neither a TMNT fan nor have I seen the television show from the 1990s. Its predecessor looked, more or less, like a Transformers wannabe (not to mention Shredder looking more like a Decepticon). Like I said before two years ago, I would rather eat a whole pizza than wasting two hours of my life.

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Me Before You – Hyped up to be the summer’s biggest romance, Me Before You sounds like your typical tearjerker. A man who is paralyzed from a motorcycle accident falls in love with a woman. This might be the only time they will ever spend time together. From the trailer alone, it just oozes with sap. Who knows? Maybe this will come as a surprise. For now, I’ll just wait for to rent from Redbox. It’s great to see Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom from Harry Potter) in it though.

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Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping – Andy Samberg can be really funny. He was one of SNL’s biggest standouts. Along with his Lonely Island co-members, he makes some really funny-as-hell songs (e.g. “Jizzed in My Pants”). But, this satire of the pop music industry doesn’t look funny at all. I can’t get the image of seeing a CGI baby playing the drums out of my head. I wouldn’t be surprised if this succeeds or fails in the box office.

June 10

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The Conjuring 2 The Conjuring was a breath of fresh air. James Wan brings the creepy atmosphere into the real-life story of the Warrens (played to perfection by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) investigating a haunting in Harrisville, Rhode Island. Any cheap scares? Not in that case.

Now, the Warrens go across the Atlantic Ocean to investigate a poltergeist in Enfield, England. It became the most famous case in paranormal history. I’m glad to hear early positive reception about the movie. I’m ready to have shivers sent down my spine and getting scared once again.

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Now You See Me 2 – I have never seen the first film. And I have zero interest seeing either of them. I prefer seeing practical magic tricks rather than rendered through CGI. The story of four illusionists pulling off a heist sounds ridiculous to the core. No, thank you!

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Warcraft – I am shocked to hear a lot of negative reception Warcraft received so far. Evem Alonso Duralde of TheWrap.com said, “Think Battlefield Earth without the verve, or the unintentional comedy” (ouch!). As a non-gamer like myself, the previews for this movie (based on the game Warcraft: Humans and Orcs) had the feeling of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings (which are my all-time favorite movies). From what I’ve heard, a lot of video game movies of the past sucked big time (except Prince of Persia, which I thought it was okay). Given the fact it’s directed by Duncan Jones (Moon, Source Code), I seriously want it to be good.

June 17

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Finding Dory – Ah, yes! The long-awaited sequel to 2003’s Finding Nemo is finally hitting the silver screen! It looks like PIXAR is back in the mix of things after last year’s masterpiece Inside Out. This looks like another emotional roller coaster ride. I can’t wait for this as well as some others by PIXAR. I’m hoping a teaser for Coco will be attached with Finding Dory.

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Central Intelligence – As much as I love Dwayne Johnson and dislike Kevin Hart, I don’t know how I feel about this movie. There are some jokes in the preview that made me laugh, but others feel stale. I don’t know if I should laugh or cry about Dwayne Johnson in the fat suit.

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Clown – I understand how many people are truly terrified of clowns. I am not one of them. Seeing Eli Roth listed as one of the producers in the red band preview before The Witch back in February, this definitely looks like an Eli Roth movie, fair and square. Originally a fake horror trailer, Roth and its director Jon Watts extend the idea of a mythical clown suit that won’t come off once somebody puts in on. It actually sounds fascinating. It might pull off well.

June 24

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Independence Day: Resurgence – Twenty years ago, everyone fought a group of aliens trying to take over the Earth while on the verge of extinction. Not surprisingly, the aliens are back with a vengeance. Independence Day was the biggest box-office hit of 1996 and redefined the disaster genre. Roland Emmerich is returning to the director’s chair as well most of the original stars such as Jeff Goldblum, Brent Spiner, Vivica A. Fox, Bill Pullman. And also some newcomers including Liam Hemsworth. As much as I enjoyed the first film, this looks like it will just as fun. It’s a shame Will Smith is not in the sequel.

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Free State of Jones – Matthew McConaughey is one of my favorite actors. Free State of Jones looks like this will be another great performance to add in his repertoire. This brings the true story of a Mississippi farmer leading a rebellion against the Confederacy during America’s bloodiest war to life under the direction of Gary Ross (Seabiscuit, The Hunger Games). This looks brutal as it is gorgeous.

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Swiss Army Man (in select theaters; expanding nationwide July 1) – Not only is this is my most anticipated movie of the summer, it’s also my most anticipated movie of the entire year! During its premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, a lot of people started walking out within the first twenty minutes of the movie. Perhaps they were not ready for a movie featuring a bizarre story following a castaway using a flatulent corpse as a survival tool (compared to a swiss army knife) including using it as a jet ski with the farts to be propelled forward. As a result, it became the festival’s most controversial film ever.

Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe are two of the best actors working today. They are about to be in a movie unlike anything they have ever been in before. Writing the screenplay in the Sundance lab, Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (who are dubbed as “The Daniels”) put a lot of deep thought about farts. A24 is on a role here! I’ll be surprised if this movie gets a lot of attention from the Academy, even though this is one of those movies that a lot of people might walk out of. But, I think Adam Chitwood of the Collider said it best: “In a world filled with reboots, remakes, franchises, sequels, ‘interconnected universe’ movies, and even predictable dramas, it’s refreshing—almost overwhelmingly so—to see something so different.”

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The Neon Demon – Another movie I am mixed with. Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive, Only God Forgives) creates this bizarre tale of modern-day fashion in Los Angeles. Elle Fanning has come a long way. This might be her most mature role yet. As gorgeous as this movie looks, I have a feeling this will turn to be garbage.

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The Shallows – This will make people think twice about going swimming into the ocean once again. Fresh from directing last year’s solid thriller Run All Night, Jaume Collet-Serra directs its main star Blake Lively struggling to survive on a rock close to shore while a great white shark circles around her. Of course, the shark is computer-generated, but it looks so real it’s scary. I’m thrilled to see this!

Recap:

Most Anticipated: The Conjuring 2, Finding Dory, Free State of Jones, The Shallows, Swiss Army Man, Warcraft

Least Anticipated: Now You See Me 2, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows

I hope you enjoyed reading on what my thoughts are on several movies for the month of June. Tell me in the comments below on what your most anticipated movies are. Stay tuned for a movie preview for the month of July at the end of this month. Take care.

Top 20 Most Anticipated Movies for 2016

2015 is over. There have been a lot of surprises and disappointments than last year. Not to mention a lot of great films as well as some miraculous performances. It’s going to be so hard who and what will win in this year’s Academy Awards. But, this is not what I’m talking about.

I’m going to talk about the movies I’m looking forward to in the New Year. It looks like 2016 is going to be a fun year for movies as last year. I’m going to give you a list of my most anticipated movies for this year.

Before I begin, I just want to let you all know that Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice is not going be on this list. I’m definitely going to see it when it comes out March 25th. However, I have a feeling it might turn out to be garbage. I mildly enjoyed Man of Steel, and Henry Cavill was a good choice for Superman (it’s great to have him back). I admit Ben Affleck looks cool in the Batsuit, but I can’t (and will never) picture him as Batman/Bruce Wayne. It looks like Jesse Eisenberg will steal the show as Lex Luthor. Zack Snyder is a unique visionary director, but his substance is rather lacking. Who knows? I might be wrong.

Without further ado, here’s my list of the top 20 most anticipated movies of 2016.

Honorable Mentions: The Accountant (October 7), The Bourne Sequel (July 29), The Finest Hours (January 29), The Free State of Jones (May 13), Gambit (October 7), The Huntsman: Winter’s War (April 22), The Legend of Tarzan (July 1), Moana (November 23), Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (December 25), Silence (TBA) Snowden (May 13), Suicide Squad (August 5), Sully (September 9)

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20. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (in theaters February 5; directed by Burr Steers; starring Lily James, Matt Smith, Bella Heathcote, Douglas Booth, and Lena Heady) – To start off the bat, I have a feeling this will undoubtedly suck. However, this adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith’s bestselling parody looks like a fun guilty pleasure. Jane Austen meets The Walking Dead. How fun can it get? Also, Lily James is a freaking goddess!

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19. Inferno (in theaters October 14; directed by Ron Howard; starring Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones, Omar Sy, Irrfan Khan, and Ben Foster) – Tom Hanks and Ron Howard are back to give us another adventure with Harvard symbology professor Robert Langdon! This time, we are going to see him wake up in a hospital in Florence, Italy. With no memory of the recent events, he goes on the run looking for answers. I personally enjoyed The Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons. They both kept me on the edge of my seat with its fascinating history, mysteries, and, obviously, the excellent performance by Hanks. But, it’s hard to deny their flaws. It looks like I am in for another good ride with Inferno.

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18. The Jungle Book (in theaters April 15; directed by Jon Favreau; starring Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Christopher Walken, and Neel Sethi) – When Disney started doing live-action remakes for the new generation, I became quite skeptical. Tim Burton’s 2010 version of Alice in Wonderland started off that trend. It became a ginormous box-office hit, but mostly everyone hated it. It was visually stunning but everything else was a bit of a disaster. Then, Maleficent was released four years later. Even though Angelina Jolie was born to play Disney’s most famous villainess, why make her a good person? Kenneth Branagh brought us, in my opinion, the best version of Cinderella (Walt Disney would have been proud of it, if he was alive today).

Even though I haven’t seen the original in years, I’m liking the looks of the new version of The Jungle Book. I appreciate Jon Favreau not only as an actor, but also as a filmmaker. With films like Iron Man and Elf, he brings a unique visual style and narrative. The voice cast is nothing short of excellent–Bill Murray as Baloo, Idris Elba as Shere Khan, Ben Kingsley as Bagheera, Scarlett Johansson as Kaa, and Christopher Walken as King Louie. It also has a little Life of Pi vibe to it (considering they are somewhat similar). As much as I’m looking forward to this, I’m still waiting for the remake of Beauty and the Beast.

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17. The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist (in theaters June 10; directed by James Wan; starring Patrick Wilson, Vera Farmiga, Simon McBurney, Sterling Jerins, and Frances O’Connor) – The Conjuring was a breath of fresh air. It did have plot devices everyone is familiar with (i.e. a family moving into a new house surrounded by an evil entity). What James Wan does with the true story of the Harrisville investigation by Ed and Lorraine Warren (played to perfection by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) is avoid any cheap scares and deliver an old-fashioned horror film relying on atmosphere.

Due to the success of that film, the disappointing spin-off Annabelle came out a year later. The beginning of The Conjuring talks about the Warren’s investigation of the Annabelle doll (the true story, in fact, consisted of a cursed Raggedy-Ann doll; the Annabelle in the film is a ventriloquist doll to make it more creepy). Now, the sequel reprises Wilson and Farmiga as the Warrens traveling to London to investigate a poltergeist consisting of two daughters. With James Wan returning to the director’s chair, I am ready for another scary good time.

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16. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (in theaters November 18; directed by David Yates; starring Eddie Redmayne, Colin Farrell, Dan Fogler, Katherine Waterston, and Jon Voight) – It’s fascinating to set a story 70 years before our beloved protagonist Harry Potter heads to Hogwarts. Eddie Redmayne is already becoming one of my favorite actors. After getting success for his roles in The Theory of Everything and The Danish Girl, it looks like he’s going to have a ball playing the magizoologist Newt Scamander, who heads to New York City for a brief stop to publish his studies of the magical creatures in the Wizarding World. Then, a No-Maj (the American word for “Muggle”) releases the fantastic beasts out of Scamander’s suitcase. As a huge Harry Potter fan, I have nothing but a good feeling about this.

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15. Star Trek Beyond (in theaters July 22; directed by Justin Lin; starring Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Simon Pegg, Karl Urban, and Idris Elba) – I’m not the biggest Trekkie. When I saw J.J. Abram’s 2009 version of Star Trek, it introduced me into a futuristic universe “to boldly go where no man has gone before”. The origin story of human James T. Kirk and the Vulcan Spock gave a lot of emotional support. From the breathtaking special effects, witty dialogue, and the awesome characters, I enjoyed every second of it. The sequel Star Trek into Darkness did have its flaws, but it was as enjoyable as before. It was where Benedict Cumberbatch became one of my favorite actors. Now, Fast and Furious director Justin Lin is taking over for Abrams to direct the third entry of what is officially a trilogy. I’m looking forward to see the Enterprise crew actually discovering new worlds and civilizations. It looks like this will be the funniest in the new Star Trek film series.

Stars On The Set Of 'The Girl On The Train'

14. The Girl on the Train (in theaters October 7; directed by Tate Taylor; starring Emily Blunt, Rebecca Ferguson, Luke Evans, Haley Bennett, and Édgar Ramírez – Based on the bestselling novel by Paula Hawkins, the film stars Emily Blunt as a woman witnessing a murder on the train. While trying to get the pieces of the puzzle together, she begins she might have been involved in the crime. From reading the plot summary, this sounds like an Agatha Christie story or another Gone Girl. Tate Taylor (The Help, Get on Up) directs this murder mystery. I always like a good murder mystery. Without hearing too much of the story, I can’t wait to go in with an open mind.

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13. Doctor Strange (in theaters November 4; directed by Scott Derrickson; starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Rachel McAdams, Tilda Swinton, and Mads Mikkelson) – Like I mentioned before, Benedict Cumberbatch is becoming one of my favorite actors. From Sherlock to The Imitation Game, he sure does know how to bring the wisdom into those roles. Now, he’s about to tackle another ambitious yet fun role: Doctor Strange. Without knowing too much of the superhero, seeing the picture of Cumberbatch in costume makes it look like he was born to play the role. Even though we have yet to see a trailer for Doctor Strange, I’m hoping it will look good.

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12. Warcraft (in theaters June 10; directed by Duncan Jones; starring Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Ben Foster, Daniel Wu, and Dominic Cooper) – I have never played any of the Warcraft video games. Everyone remembers World of Warcraft becoming the most popular online game ever. Duncan Jones transitions from his low-budget sci-fi status of Moon and the smart mainstream sci-fi hit Source Code to direct a big-budget fantasy adaptation of the first Warcraft video game from 1994 (Orcs and Humans). With a lot of horrible video game adaptations coming out over the years, this might break the streak to deliver a visually dazzling battle between the humans and orcs. This looks like it will be a new Lord of the Rings.

hail caesar

11. Hail, Caesar! (in theaters February 5; directed by the Coen Brothers; starring George Clooney, Josh Brolin, Scarlett Johansson, Ralph Fiennes, and Channing Tatum) – Joel and Ethan Coen have made some of the best films of all-time (The Big Lebowski, True Grit, to name a few). This satire of the film industry has one of the best casts this decade. George Clooney, Josh Brolin, Channing Tatum, Scarlett Johansson, Tilda Swinton, Jonah Hill, Frances McDormand, Ralph Fiennes, among others. I’m sensing this might be the first great movie of 2016.

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10. The BFG (in theaters July 1; directed by Steven Spielberg; starring Ruby Barnhill, Rebecca Hall, Penelope Wilton, Bill Hader, and Mark Rylance) – It has been over twenty years since Steven Spielberg has directed a straight-up family flick. He is back to direct an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s novel The BFG (Big Friendly Giant). Mark Rylance is perfect in every sense!

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9. Everybody Wants Some (in theaters April 15; directed by Richard Linklater; starring Tyler Hoechlin, Zoey Deutch, Ryan Guzman, Blake Jenner, and Wyatt Russell) – Richard Linklater’s follow-up to Boyhood brings us back to the 1980s. It’s sort of a sequel to Dazed and Confused. It’s been getting some early praise for being funny and touching. Count me in!

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8. X-Men: Apocalypse (in theaters May 27; directed by Bryan Singer; starring Oscar Isaac, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, and Rose Byrne)– 2014’s Days of Future Past is one of the best films in the X-Men franchise. It brought the older versions of the characters we know and love collaborating with their younger selves. And it features the funniest and coolest action sequence of the decade. Bryan Singer is only bringing back the younger characters back to fight Apocalypse (played by the great Oscar Isaac).

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7. Captain America: Civil War (in theaters May 6; directed by the Russo brothers; starring Chris Evans; Robert Downey Jr., Elizabeth Olsen, Scarlett Johansson, and Martin Freeman) – Captain America vs. Iron Man. What more needs to be said?

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6. The Nice Guys (in theaters May 20; directed by Shane Black; starring Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Kim Basinger, Ty Simpkins, and Matt Bomer) – Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling are two wonderful actors. Seeing them working with each other is like a dream come true. Shane Black (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Iron Man 3) brings 1970s Los Angeles to life.

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5. La La Land (in theaters July 15; directed by Damien Chazelle; starring Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, J.K. Simmons, Finn Wittrock, and John Legend) – Damien Chazelle’s follow-up to Whiplash takes a more whimsical side. A musical love-story starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone as a jazz pianist and actress falling in love in 1950s Los Angeles. And J.K. Simmons is going to have a small role as the boss. I’m hoping for a toe-tapping good time in the theater.

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4. The Witch (in theaters February 19; directed by Robert Eggers; starring Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, Lucas Dawson, and Julian Richings) – Finally! A horror film (also a big hit at last year’s Sundance) that relies on nothing but pure atmosphere.

3. Star Wars: Rogue One (in theaters December 16; directed by Gareth Edwards; starring Felicity Jones, Alan Tudyk, Forest Whitaker, Ben Mendelsohn, and Mads Mikkelson) – Come on! It’s Star Wars! And it takes place before the events of the first Star Wars!

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2. Finding Dory (in theaters June 17; directed by Andrew Stanton and Angus MacLane; starring Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Eugene Levy, Diane Keaton, and Idris Elba)– 13 years ago, Finding Nemo was released in theaters. My 7-year-old self never seen anything like it before; going under the sea where different species of fish interact with each other. In 2016, we get a sequel centering on the beloved Blue Tang fish Dory with short-term memory loss. Ellen DeGeneres and Albert Brooks reprise their roles as Dory and Marlin. Disney/PIXAR have a lot of sequels as well as some original films up their sleeves. I’m so exciting see them all! Okay, maybe except for Cars 3.

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1. Deadpool (in theaters February 12; directed by Tim Miller; starring Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Gina Carano, Brianna Hildebrand, and Stefan Kapicic) – Seriously, who isn’t looking forward to this movie? It’s rare to see a superhero movie getting a hard-R. Ryan Reynolds is going to own Deadpool!

Here’s to a good 2016!

Movie Review: Annabelle

Annabelle

Mia (Annabelle Wallis) hears something going bump in the night in “Annabelle”, the cash-grab prequel to “The Conjuring”

In honor of Halloween, I’m going to review Annabelle, which I finally got the chance to see in theaters.

For someone who thought The Conjuring was a breath of fresh air, I wanted the prequel to be as good. James Wan did a terrific job setting up a horror tale that had old-fashioned scares, an eerie atmosphere, and a story that looks realistic. When he introduced Annabelle, the creepy ventriloquist doll, I knew I was in for something frighteningly good. I wished for a spin-off on the doll.

The movie got made, and unfortunately, it gets everything wrong that The Conjuring got right.

John and Mia (Ward Horton and Annabelle Wallis) are a happy couple living in Santa Monica. They are expecting their first child. John gives Mia a doll to fit in with the rest of her collection. One night, Mia wakes up and hear a scream from next door. After calling the police, their home gets invaded by two people who are part of a satanic cult. They summon an entity named Annabelle that starts to drive the family bonkers.

I have to admit that Annabelle has very few eerie sequences. Including one where Mia walks up the staircase to find drawings, which she assumed it was by some child. However, as she keeps walking up the stairs, she sees something frightening about them. They consist of her seeing her baby in the baby carriage getting run over by a garbage truck. It conjures up some effective foreshadowing. Other than that, it relies way too much on jump scares than the overall atmosphere. It gets annoying to the point of being funny.

I just want to ask: Why would someone leave a creepy doll in a room where the baby is going to sleep? What a disappointment on every level!

1/4