Thursday, April 3, 2014

At the Movies – April 2014 – Part 3: Most Anticipated Films

Must-See of the Month:

Transcendence – Sci-Fi Thriller – Apr 17
Plot Summary: Will is a terminally ill scientist. With huge, unyielding ambitions still to be achieved, he decides to download his mind into a computer; however, he soon becomes overcome by the unimaginable power that he is now granted (basically, he becomes Skynet). Key Filmmakers Involved: Director Wally Pfister, executive producer Christopher Nolan, composer Mychael Danna, cinematographer Jess Hall, and production designer Chris Seagers. Actors Involved: Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Paul Bettany, Cillian Murphy, and Morgan Freeman. Potential: Transcendence is among the films I am most anticipating in 2014 for two reasons. The first is that the cast and crew are fantastic. Wally Pfister is an Oscar-winning cinematographer who is making his directorial debut. For reference, he shot all but one of Christopher Nolan’s films and is among the ten best cinematographers working today (I do wonder if he will ever shoot anything again or just concentrate fully on directing going forward). With Nolan backing him and a very skilled crew and cast, I think it is very likely that he will do a wonderful job directing this film. And the second is that the story idea has the potential to be really cool. I have heard that things get very big and weird (in the very best sci-fi types of ways). I think this film promises to be a great, smart blockbuster thriller that may even have the potential to be among the year’s very best films. Trailer: Here.

Worth Checking Out:

Captain American: The Winter Soldier – Action/Adventure – Apr 4
Plot Summary: In the wake of the events of Captain America: The First Avenger, The Avengers, Iron Man 3, and Thor: The Dark World, Steve Rodgers (Captain America for those playing along at home) struggles to find his place in the modern world. He is conflicted. In the past things seemed black and white. He knew who the bad guys were. Now, everything is grey. He is called back into action, however, when a new threat threatens S.H.I.E.L.D.: the Soviet agent known as the Winter Soldier, but this threat also has a history with Rodgers. Key Filmmakers Involved: Directors Anthony Russo and Joe Russo, composer Henry Jackman, and cinematographer Trent Opaloch (Joss Whedon is directing one of the after-the-credits sequences too). Actors Involved: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Samuel L. Jackson, and Robert Redford. Potential: Marvel’s Phase II films have been really good so far. Both Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World are by far the best of their sub-franchises, and the same is likely to be true for Captain America: The Winter Soldier. It is already receiving rave reviews from its early release screenings. The film is not going to be as much a special/visual effects driven blockbuster (like say The Avengers or Thor) as it is going to be a great spy thriller. Some are even calling it the best Marvel Studios’ film to date. We shall see. Initially, I had some questions to why Anthony Russo and Joe Russo were hired to direct (as they have mostly only directed comedy sitcoms, though I do love their work on Community). But, seemingly, they have done a fantastic job with Captain America and have already been hired to direct the third film in the franchise as well. This is a must-see for fans of blockbusters and Marvel’s films. Trailer: Here.

Chinese Puzzle – Romantic Comedy/ Drama – Apr 25
Plot Summary: Concluding the story started in L’Auberge Espagnole and continued in Russian Dolls, we find Xavier, now forty, a father of two but still finding his life very complicated. His ex-wife Wendy and his children have moved to New York and he cannot imagine them growing up without him. Thus, he decides he too must move to New York. And, we catch up with the other characters in the series as well. Key Filmmakers Involved: Writer/director Cedric Klapisch. Actor Involved: Romain Duris, Kelly Reilly, Audrey Tautou, Cecile De France, and Sandrine Holt. Potential: It is my guess that most readers will probably never have heard of this series. It follows a recent university graduate, Xavier, living in Paris looking for a job. He finds one, but needs to do extra studies in economics and learn Spanish so he enrolls in a graduate program in Barcelona and moves into a flat with an amalgamation of European students (each with a different nationality). The story goes from there and follows Xavier as he tries to find happiness, love, and purpose in his life. It is among my favorite film trilogies since 2002 and I am anticipating the final chapter Chinese Puzzle (it among the ten films that I am personally most looking forward to seeing). I also really like the film’s cast and writer-director Cedric Klapisch has a very cool, fantastical modern aesthetic style. For those who have not seen any of this series, I highly recommend it – especially for fans of romantic comedy/dramas. Trailer: Here.

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