2016 Academy Award Nominees Predictions

2016 Academy Award Nominees Predictions

The 2016 Academy Award nominees will be announced on Thursday, January 14, and we have our own predictions of who will earn a nomination for the Oscars Continue reading

MAD MAX: FURY ROAD 21st Critics’ Choice Awards Nominees

After last week’s nominations were revealed for the 22nd Annual SAG Awards and 73rd Golden Globes, it feels like it could be anyone’s game at this point. This morning the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA) and Broadcast Television Journalists Association (BTJA) announced their 21st Critics’ Choice Awards nominees with George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road leading the charge with 13 nods. Hosted by T.J. Miller, the winners will be revealed during a live broadcast from the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica on A&E, Lifetime, and LMN on Sunday, January 17, 2016 at 8:00 p.m. EST/5:00 p.m. PST.

Mad Max: Fury Road has undoubtedly become the underdog favorite of this awards season, as it has become one of the most revered features of the year by critics, myself included – my review. The big topic of conversation, aside from gaining Best Picture recognition, is Charlize Theron’s nods for both Best Actress and Best Actress In An Action Movie. Tom Hardy, of course, is nominated for Best Actor In An Action Movie, but it’s George Miller for Best Director that has really invested my interest into whether he could be a contender come Oscars. The film has also garnered nominations for Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, Best Editing, Best Costume Design, Best Hair and Makeup, Best Visual Effects, Best Action Movie, and Best Sci-Fi/Horror Movie.

Trailing behind the whirlwind, critically acclaimed hit is Carol, The Martian, and The Revenant with nine nominations each. While this year’s big favorite, Spotlight, has earned itself eight nominations from critics, followed by The Big Short and The Hateful Eight with six each. Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn, The Danish Girl, Jurassic World, and Sicario each earned five nominations and Room obtained four. Charlize Theron isn’t the only actress up for multiple Best Actress categories, as Jennifer Lawrence is up for three for her work in Joy and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2, while Rachel McAdams is up for two awards for Spotlight and True Detective.

And while the film categories are all up in the air, the television categories prove that the increasing output of excellent programming continued this year with FX, ABC, and HBO both gaining 14 nominations each; FOX is close on their heels with 12 nods. The big standout series this year, as determined by critics, is FX’s Fargo with eight nominations. The Leftovers (HBO) and Transparent (Amazon) are not far behind with five nominations each; Black-ish (ABC), Mr. Robot (USA), and Penny Dreadful (Showtime) each earned four.

So what can we takeaway from this year’s 21st Critics’ Choice Awards nominees? For starters, no other awards group has seen more movies this year than the critics, assumably. It’s their jobs to assess the year in film. Who better has a sound voice of reasoning than those who sit in dark rooms and watch movies multiple times per week? In the long run, sure, all awards are practically meaningless gold statues, and the varying award categories the BFCA and BTJA have set have little influence when it comes to the Oscars, but if these voices of reason can help sway voters to at least make an earnest decision at the polls we can be safe in knowing we won’t have another year where a Shakespeare in Love wins against a Saving Private Ryan.



  • The Big Short
  • Bridge of Spies
  • Brooklyn
  • Carol
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant
  • Room
  • Sicario
  • Spotlight
  • Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens


  • Bryan Cranston – Trumbo
  • Matt Damon – The Martian
  • Johnny Depp – Black Mass
  • Leonardo DiCaprio – The Revenant
  • Michael Fassbender – Steve Jobs
  • Eddie Redmayne – The Danish Girl


  • Cate Blanchett – Carol
  • Brie Larson – Room
  • Jennifer Lawrence – Joy
  • Charlotte Rampling – 45 Years
  • Saoirse Ronan – Brooklyn
  • Charlize Theron – Mad Max: Fury Road


  • Paul Dano – Love & Mercy
  • Tom Hardy – The Revenant
  • Mark Ruffalo – Spotlight
  • Mark Rylance – Bridge of Spies
  • Michael Shannon – 99 Homes
  • Sylvester Stallone – Creed


  • Jennifer Jason Leigh – The Hateful Eight
  • Rooney Mara – Carol
  • Rachel McAdams – Spotlight
  • Helen Mirren – Trumbo
  • Alicia Vikander – The Danish Girl
  • Kate Winslet – Steve Jobs


  • Abraham Attah – Beasts of No Nation
  • RJ Cyler – Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
  • Shameik Moore – Dope
  • Milo Parker – Mr. Holmes
  • Jacob Tremblay – Room


  • The Big Short
  • The Hateful Eight
  • Spotlight
  • Straight Outta Compton
  • Trumbo


  • Todd Haynes – Carol
  • Alejandro González Iñárritu – The Revenant
  • Tom McCarthy – Spotlight
  • George Miller – Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Ridley Scott – The Martian
  • Steven Spielberg – Bridge of Spies


  • Matt Charman and Ethan Coen & Joel Coen – Bridge of Spies
  • Alex Garland – Ex Machina
  • Quentin Tarantino – The Hateful Eight
  • Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley – Inside Out
  • Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy – Spotlight


  • Charles Randolph and Adam McKay – The Big Short
  • Nick Hornby – Brooklyn
  • Drew Goddard – The Martian
  • Emma Donoghue – Room
  • Aaron Sorkin – Steve Jobs


  • Carol – Ed Lachman
  • The Hateful Eight – Robert Richardson
  • Mad Max: Fury Road – John Seale
  • The Martian – Dariusz Wolski
  • The Revenant – Emmanuel Lubezki
  • Sicario – Roger Deakins


  • Bridge of Spies – Adam Stockhausen, Rena DeAngelo
  • Brooklyn – François Séguin, Jennifer Oman and Louise Tremblay
  • Carol – Judy Becker, Heather Loeffler
  • The Danish Girl – Eve Stewart, Michael Standish
  • Mad Max: Fury Road – Colin Gibson
  • The Martian – Arthur Max, Celia Bobak


  • The Big Short – Hank Corwin
  • Mad Max: Fury Road – Margaret Sixel
  • The Martian – Pietro Scalia
  • The Revenant – Stephen Mirrione
  • Spotlight – Tom McArdle


  • Brooklyn – Odile Dicks-Mireaux
  • Carol – Sandy Powell
  • Cinderella – Sandy Powell
  • The Danish Girl – Paco Delgado
  • Mad Max: Fury Road – Jenny Beavan


  • Black Mass
  • Carol
  • The Danish Girl
  • The Hateful Eight
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Revenant


  • Ex Machina
  • Jurassic World
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant
  • The Walk


  • Anomalisa
  • The Good Dinosaur
  • Inside Out
  • The Peanuts Movie
  • Shaun the Sheep Movie


  • Furious 7
  • Jurassic World
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
  • Sicario


  • Daniel Craig – Spectre
  • Tom Cruise – Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
  • Tom Hardy – Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Chris Pratt – Jurassic World
  • Paul Rudd – Ant-Man


  • Emily Blunt – Sicario
  • Rebecca Ferguson – Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation
  • Bryce Dallas Howard – Jurassic World
  • Jennifer Lawrence – The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2
  • Charlize Theron – Mad Max: Fury Road


  • The Big Short
  • Inside Out
  • Joy
  • Sisters
  • Spy
  • Trainwreck


  • Christian Bale – The Big Short
  • Steve Carell – The Big Short
  • Robert De Niro – The Intern
  • Bill Hader – Trainwreck
  • Jason Statham – Spy


  • Tina Fey – Sisters
  • Jennifer Lawrence – Joy
  • Melissa McCarthy – Spy
  • Amy Schumer – Trainwreck
  • Lily Tomlin – Grandma


  • Ex Machina
  • It Follows
  • Jurassic World
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian


  • The Assassin
  • Goodnight Mommy
  • Mustang
  • The Second Mother
  • Son of Saul


  • Amy
  • Cartel Land
  • Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief
  • He Named Me Malala
  • The Look of Silence
  • Where to Invade Next


  • Fifty Shades of Grey – Love Me Like You Do
  • Furious 7 – See You Again
  • The Hunting Ground – Til It Happens To You
  • Love & Mercy – One Kind of Love
  • Spectre – Writing’s on the Wall
  • Youth – Simple Song #3


  • Carol – Carter Burwell
  • The Hateful Eight – Ennio Morricone
  • The Revenant – Ryuichi Sakamoto and Alva Noto
  • Sicario – Johann Johannsson
  • Spotlight – Howard Shore

Continue Reading to see the the Television Category Nominees–>>

Now Available to Own: Trainwreck, Better Call Saul, Terminator: Genisys, and More

Brace your bank accounts, it’s time to see what’s Now Available to Own for the week of November 10, 2015. Every Tuesday we run down new movie and television releases that you can enjoy in the comfort of your own home, as well as some slick deals that can help save you some coin. New on shelves this week are Trainwreck, Better Call Saul, Terminator: Genisys, and more.

Trainwreck Blu-ray Movie


Movies on Blu-ray

Trainwreck (Judd Apatow) Rated R [125 min] – Having thought that monogamy was never possible, a commitment-phobic career woman may have to face her fears when she meets a good guy. Starring Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Brie Larson, Lebron James, Tilda Swinton, and Colin Quinn

If you haven’t seen any sketches from Inside Amy Schumer then Trainwreck might be a breath of fresh air. The film is adorable, sweet, and hilarious. The plot, though, feels a bit derivative. Trainwreck is at a level above most romantic comedies, however the final third falls into familiar tropes. It’s a great watch, don’t get me wrong, it might not be the revolutionary romcom you were hoping for.

The special features are fun. With a cast and team like this, the extras on this disc make for a really rousing time. Trainwreck is Amy Schumer’s first feature film, that she also wrote, so it’s nice to see her take on the whole filmmaking process.

Special features include:

  • UNRATED Version
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Gag Reel
  • Line-O-Rama

Exclusive Blu-ray Special Features:

  • Deleted Scenes
  • Gag Reel
  • Extended Scenes
  • Behind-The-Scenes
  • Directing Athletes: A Blood Sport – The athletes of Trainwreck talk about their experiences under the direction of Judd Apatow
  • The Dogwalker – Daniel Radcliffe plays the dogwalker in this film that Amy and Steven go see at the theater
  • Trainwreck Comedy Tour Featurette – Take a peek backstage at the Trainwreck Comedy Tour featuring comedy all-stars Amy Schumer, Mike Birbiglia, Colin Quinn, Dave Atell, Vanessa Bayer and Judd Apatow.

Terminator Genisys (Alan Taylor) Rated PG-13 [125 min] – John Connor sends Kyle Reese back in time to protect Sarah Connor, but when he arrives in 1984, nothing is as he expected it to be. Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Clarke, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney, and J.K. Simmons [Watch the trailer]

Believe the hype: Terminator: Genisys is pretty bad. It’s not as terrible as Salvation or Rise of the Machines, but Genisys is pretty much useless to the franchise. It’s as if Genisys tried as hard as it could to basterdize the franchise with it’s overly convoluted plot. If you have kids and want to introduce them to The Terminator franchise, raise them knowing only the first two were made. The special features are nothing special; the most interesting tidbit is how they determined Emilia Clarke could be Sarah Connor. Covering special effects is probably one of the most wasted special features these days; computers can make things look fairly believable, we get it.

Special features includes:

  • Family Dynamics – Casting Terminator Genisys and how the actors filled some of the most iconic roles in cinematic history
  • Infiltration and Termination – Go behind-the-scenes to San Francisco and New Orleans in a first-hand look at filming locations
  • Upgrades: VFX of Terminator Genisys – Delve into the revolutionary visual effects behind the movie’s incredible action sequences

Mr. Holmes (Bill Condon) Rated PG [104 min] – An aged, retired Sherlock Holmes looks back on his life, and grapples with an unsolved case involving a beautiful woman. Starring Ian McKellen, Laura Linney, Hiroyuki Sanada, and Hattie Morahan

As depressing as it is to see the beloved inspector from Baker Street aged up to the point of senility, I like the idea of Mr. Holmes. It’s a very well to do movie that has all the best intentions with a performance by Ian McKellen that serves the character very well. The energy of Mr. Holmes, however, is sparse as it jumps back and forth in time recollecting a case long forgotten. I wasn’t expecting it to be as thrilling as the BBC’s Sherlock, but it didn’t have to be so drab.

Special features includes:

  • “Icon” Featurette
  • “Story” Featurette

Self/less (Tarsem Singh) Rated PG-13 [117 min] – A dying real estate mogul transfers his consciousness into a healthy young body, but soon finds that neither the procedure nor the company that performed it are quite what they seem.Director:Writers: David Pastor (screenplay), Àlex Pastor (screenplay)Stars: Ryan Reynolds, Natalie Martinez, Matthew Goode, Ben Kingsley, Victor Garber, and Derek Luke

I did not see Self/Less but the premise interested me.

Special features include:

  • Inside Self/Less
  • On the Run: The Action of Self/Less
  • Shedding
  • Audio Commentary with Director Tarsem Singh
  • Previews
better call saul season 1


Television Series

Better Call Saul Season 1 (Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould) Rated TV-14 [47 min] – The trials and tribulations of criminal lawyer, Saul Goodman, in the time leading up to establishing his strip-mall law office in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Starring Bob Odenkirk, Jonathan Banks, Rhea Seehorn, Patrick Fabian, Michael McKean, and Michael Mando

I’m sure many Breaking Bad fans were torn by this series. I, myself, really enjoyed Better Call Saul. It’s absolutely fascinating to see how Jimmy evolves into Saul Goodman and the path he takes and the characters he meets. I hadn’t gotten my hands on a review copy, but based on all the incredible extras BB had, I expect nothing less from BCS.

Special features include:

  • Postcard Vinyl of Better Call Saul performed by Junior Brown (Limited Collector’s Edition Blu-ray Only)
  • All the special features included on the Blu-ray noted below (Limited Collector’s Edition Blu-ray Only)
  • Uncensored Episodes (Standard Blu-ray Edition Only)
  • Cast & Crew Commentaries on Every Episode (Standard Blu-ray Edition Only)
  • Creating the First Season (Standard Blu-ray Edition Only)
  • Gag Reel (Standard Blu-ray Edition Only)
  • Better Call Saul: Day One (Standard Blu-ray Edition Only)
  • Better Call Saul Music Video (Standard Blu-ray Edition Only)
  • Deleted Scenes with Commentary by Vince Gilligan, Peter Gould and Thomas Schnauz (Blu-ray Exclusive Only)
  • In Conversation: Bob Odenkirk & Michael McKean (Blu-ray Exclusive Only)
  • Good Cop, Bad Cop: Becoming Mike (Blu-ray Exclusive Only)
  • Kettle Kommentary with Craig & Betsy Kettleman (Blu-ray Exclusive Only)
  • Jimmy in the Courtroom with Introduction by “Mijo” Director Michelle MacLaren (Blu-ray Exclusive Only)
  • Jimmy Kaleidoscope with Introduction by Co-Creator and Executive Producer Peter Gould (Blu-ray Exclusive Only)
  • Cast & Crew Table Read on “Uno” (Blu-ray Exclusive Only)
  • In the Studio with Junior Brown (Blu-ray Exclusive Only)

Justice League Unlimited: The Complete Series (Bruce Timm, James Tucker, and Dwayne McDuffie) Rated TV-PG [22 min] – After fighting off an alien invasion in the previous two-season Justice League series, our heroes find their ranks diminished and – with new dangers arising at an ever-increasing pace – there maining crime fighters realize that protecting the entire world is going to take more technology and more manpower. A lot more. The original seven Justice Leaguers – Batman,Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, J’onn J’onzz, Green Lantern and Hawkgirl – are now joined by an unlimited selection of allies including Green Arrow, Supergirl and Black Canary. Starring Kevin Conroy, George Newbern, Susan Eisenberg, Michael Rosenbaum, Carl Lumbly, Phil LaMarr, and Maria Canals-Barrera

I can’t say I watched very many episodes of JLU, but DC has always had a successful run with its TV series, live-action and animated.

Special features include:

  • Creator’s Commentary on the episodes “This Little Piggy” and “The Return”
  • “And Justice for All”: a featurette on the process of revamping the series with new characters and a new creative direction
  • “Cadmus Exposed”: Mark Hamill and series creative personnel discuss this popular series story arc
  • “Justice League Chronicles”: The series’ writers, producers and directors discuss their favorite moments among final season episodes.

Blu-Ray Deals and Steals

  • Spider-Man Trilogy – $12.95
  • Bad Boys I & II – $19.99
  • The Wire: The Complete Series – $79.99
  • Paddington – $9.99
  • Walt Disney Animation Studios Short Films Collection – $16.99
  • Me and Earl and the Dying Girl – $17.99
  • Oblivion – $7.99
  • The Walking Dead (Season 4) – $22.99
  • The Hurt Locker – $4.50
  • Godzilla (2013) – $14.99
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past – $14.99
  • Pacific Rim 3D – $14.99
  • Goodnight Mommy – $17.99
  • The Flash (Season 1) – $34.99
  • Veep (Season 1) – $14.99

All prices from Amazon.com. Best Buy, Frys, and Target all price match online prices.

What will you be taking home this week? Tell us in the comments section below!

new movie tv video game releases on dvd and-blu-ray

All plot synopses come courtesy of IMDb.com

Coming Soon to Blu-Ray and DVD: Terminator Genisys, Z for Zachariah, and More

While we provide you with a list of available new releases Now Available to Own every Tuesday, Coming Soon to Blu-ray and DVD looks at all of the recent home video announcements. For the week of September 5, 2015 we have Terminator: Genisys, Z for Zachariah, The Gallows, and more. Find out when they’ll be out and what special features movie fans can expect below.

Terminator Genisys Blu-ray Box Cover Art

Available on 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD November 10

Terminator Genisys (Alan Taylor) [7/1 Release] Rated PG-13 [125 min] – John Connor sends Kyle Reese back in time to protect Sarah Connor, but when he arrives in 1984, nothing is as he expected it to be. Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jason Clarke, Emilia Clarke, Jai Courtney, and J.K. Simmons [Watch the trailer]

Special features includes:

  • Family Dynamics – Casting Terminator Genisys and how the actors filled some of the most iconic roles in cinematic history
  • Infiltration and Termination – Go behind-the-scenes to San Francisco and New Orleans in a first-hand look at filming locations
  • Upgrades: VFX of Terminator Genisys – Delve into the revolutionary visual effects behind the movie’s incredible action sequences

Z for Zachariah Blu-ray Box Cover Art

Available on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD October 20

Z for Zachariah (Craig Zobel) Rated PG-13 [95 min] – In the wake of a disaster that wipes out most of civilization, two men and a young woman find themselves in an emotionally charged love triangle as the last known survivors. Starring Margot Robbie, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Chris Pine,

Special features includes:

  • “The Making of Z for Zachariah” Featurette
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Extended Interviews with Actors Chiwetel Ejiofor and Margot Robbie, Director Craig Zobel and Screenwriter Nissar Modi

The Gallows Blu-ray Box Cover Art

Available on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD October 13

The Gallows (Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing) Rated R [81 min] – 20 years after a horrific accident during a small town school play, students at the school resurrect the failed show in a misguided attempt to honor the anniversary of the tragedy – but soon discover that some things are better left alone. Starring Reese Mishler, Pfeifer Brown, and Ryan Shoos

Special features includes:

  • The Gallows: The Original Version
  • The Gallows: Surviving the Noose
  • Charlie: Every School Has Its Spirit
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Gag Reel
  • Concept, Original Version and Theatrical Trailers
  • Dolby Atmos

Nurse Jackie Season 7 Blu-ray Box Cover Art

Available on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD October 20

Nurse Jackie: The Complete Seventh Season (Liz Brixius, Evan Dunsky, and Linda Wallem) Rated TV-MA [27 min] – A drug-addicted nurse struggles to find a balance between the demands of her frenetic job at a New York City hospital and an array of personal dramas. Starring Edie Falco, Peter Facinelli, Paul Schulze, Dominic Fumusa, Merritt Wever, Anna Deavere Smith, Adam Ferrera, Ruby Jerins, Morris Chestnut, and Betty Gilpie

Special features includes:

  • “The Last Patient at All Saints” Featurette
  • “Final Shift” Featurette
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Gag Reel
  • Last Dance: Flash Mob with Edie Falco
  • Audio Commentary on Select Episodes

Mr Holmes Blu-ray Box Cover Art

Available on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD November 10

Mr. Holmes (Bill Condon) Rated PG [104 min] – An aged, retired Sherlock Holmes looks back on his life, and grapples with an unsolved case involving a beautiful woman. Starring Ian McKellen, Laura Linney, Hiroyuki Sanada, and Hattie Morahan

Special features includes:

  • “Icon” Featurette
  • “Story” Featurette

Final Girl Blu-ray Box Cover Art

Available on Blu-ray and DVD October 6

Final Girl (Tyler Shields) Rated R [90 min] – A man teaches a young woman how to become a complete weapon. 13 years later, at 18 she will approach a group of sadistic teens who killed blonde women for unknown reasons. The hunting season begins. Starring Abigail Breslin, Wes Bentley, Logan Huffman, Alexander Ludwig

No special features included

Home Alone 25th Anniversary Collector's Edition Blu-ray Box Cover Art

25th Anniversary Collection Available on October 6

Home Alone: 25th Anniversary Collection (Chris Columbus) Rated PG [103 min] – An 8-year old troublemaker must protect his home from a pair of burglars when he is accidentally left home alone by his family during Christmas vacation. Starring Macaulay Culkin, Joe Pesci, and Daniel Stern

Discs includes:

  • Home Alone – 4K Blu-ray Restoration, DVD and Digital HD
  • Home Alone 2: Lost in New York –Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD
  • Home Alone 3 – DVD
  • Home Alone 4: Taking Back the House – DVD
  • Home Alone 5: The Holiday Heist – DVD

And that’s it for this week. What are you looking forward to picking up when they release?

Stay tuned for more Blu-Ray and DVD announcements every Saturday.

All plot synopses courtesy of IMDb.com

Coming Soon to Blu-ray and DVD

Click here for more home video announcements

Box Office Battlefield: Ant-Man vs. Trainwreck

Every week, movie studios select candidates to enter the glorious battlefield for your hard-earned dollars. The weekend warriors of July 17, 2015 includes Ant-Man and Trainwreck, as well as three limited releases. Box Office Battlefield is here to help you decide which movie(s) will take priority over the others and determine who will be victorious. Should you see ’em, skip ’em, or rent ’em? Find out below!

Last weekend, Minions were the clear winner, overshadowing its competition with a $115 million opening gross. Jurassic World came in second with only $18 million in its fifth weekend out, and Inside Out in its fourth weekend came in third with $17 million.

The kids had their fun, but two new challengers attempt to claim the top spot at the cinemas. With how hot of a streak Amy Schumer is on, can Judd Apatow walk away with the big W, or will Marvel Studios completely dominate the weekend per usual? I know a guy… This is the Box Office Battlefield:


Ant-Man (Peyton Reed) Rated PG-13 [117 min] – 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. Starring Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Corey Stoll, Evangeline Lilly, and Michael Peña [Watch the trailer]

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 80% • Audience – 91%

My review:

It feels like forever since we’ve had an origin story from Marvel Studios. Guardians of the Galaxy was released only a year ago, but that seemed more like a team up movie than how small and intimate Ant-Man feels in comparison – literally and figuratively. With Ant-Man, you get those origin story tropes. There’s a lot of setup, but director Peyton Reed and co. do a swell job establishing character and building the science behind a very difficult hero to market. Which is why I like the tone they’ve established to introduce Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and Scott Lang (Paul Rudd).

The biggest gripe I have is the fact that Marvel continues to provide weak villains. Not since Loki have we had a complex bad guy that we can understand their plight and reasoning behind their madness. Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) is such a throwaway villain in that there’s very little surprise as to how this story will end.

I do believe that this is Marvel’s best foot forward in utilizing 3D as a fun inclusion into the movie going experience. The resizing animation of Ant-Man and creating the environments to show him to scale in large environments is really cool to see play out on the big screen in 3D. Also, not since Honey, I Shrunk the Kids will you ever feel so fondly for an ant. MATINEE IT IN 3D!

Trainwreck 2015 Movie Title Logo

Trainwreck (Judd Apatow) Rated R [125 min] – Having thought that monogamy was never possible, a commitment-phobic career woman may have to face her fears when she meets a good guy. Starring Amy Schumer, Bill Hader, Brie Larson, Lebron James, Tilda Swinton, and Colin Quinn

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 85% • Audience – 83%

My review:

After Judd Apatow’s lackluster attempt at a spin-off sequel, This is 40, the director has been more focused on the small screen with Lena Dunham in Girls. I have not seen an episode of it yet, but he’s been crushing it as far as I can tell. Returning to the silver screen, this is the first feature film Apatow has not written himself. In fact, Trainwreck was written by funny lady and now actress, Amy Schumer. One would assume the pairing of Schumer and Apatow would be a match made in comedy heaven, but the end result is not as progressive as you’d think.

From my experience, Trainwreck is a pretty funny movie. I laughed entirely throughout the course of its overly long run time. The story behind the romantic dramedy is too generic. I think it’s played too safe, with each plot point checking off a box from the rom-com tropes list. I was never surprised by anything I saw in Trainwreck, and ultimately despite how hilarious the jokes are, this movie is pretty unmemorable to me. The relationship between Amy and Aaron (Bill Hadar) is cute with decent chemistry and the supporting cast is good, especially Tilda Swinton. But really there is nothing I took away from this movie that differentiates itself from any other of its kind. MATINEE IT!

Irrational Man 2015 Movie Title Logo

Irrational Man (Woody Allen) [LIMITED] Rated R [96 min] – A tormented philosophy professor finds a will to live when he commits an existential act. Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Emma Stone, Parker Posey, and Joe Stapleton

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 48% • Audience – 70%

Their reviews:

“In its own strange, deliberate way the film does wind up feeling surprising, fresh even, as Allen finds new ways to explore some of his most longstanding preoccupations.” – Mark Olsen (Los Angeles Times)

“It’s a Woody Allen film that the next one will make us forget.” – Joe Morgenstern (Wall Street Journal)

My take:

Another year, another Woody Allen movie. I am highly fond of the director and impressed that he can churn out a movie each year at his age, 79. Each of his films do feel inherently unique, but also kind of bland. They all have their own magic, which set them apart from one another to create a charming playfulness. However, the stories themselves he tells don’t feel as well crafted as the premise they’re based on. I would love to see what Woody could do if he took a little more time to knock out any kinks his films may have and give us something that we can be blown away by. I love what he can do with his actors and strong dialogue, I just would like more from his stories. And based on the reviews, Irrational Man isn’t his best work. RENT IT!

Mr. Holmes 2015 Movie Title Logo

Mr. Holmes (Bill Condon)  [LIMITED] Rated PG [104 min] – An aged, retired Sherlock Holmes looks back on his life, and grapples with an unsolved case involving a beautiful woman. Starring Ian McKellen, Laura Linney, Hiroyuki Sanada, and Hattie Morahan

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 85% • Audience – 70%

Their reviews:

“Mr. Holmes is a solid (if unremarkable) period drama that is anchored by a great Ian McKellen performance as an old Sherlock Holmes.” – Sandy Schaefer (ScreenRant)

“The film’s plots are soft and flimsy, and they don’t mesh as gracefully as they might, but they do serve as an adequate trellis for Mr. McKellen’s performance, which is gratifyingly but unsurprisingly wonderful.” – A.O. Scott (New York Times)

My take:

Now this is an interesting concept when approaching Sherlock Holmes. I find it to be refreshing to see the character beyond his prime and reflect back on his crime solving days. And given that Ian McKellen is in front of the camera makes it all the more wondrous and captivating. Based on the reviews, I would say Mr. Holmes is fairly average with a strong performance that keeps your attention drawn to the screen. MATINEE IT!

The Stanford Prison Experiment 2015 Movie Title Logo

The Stanford Prison Experiment (Kyle Patrick Alvarez) [LIMITED] Rated R [122 min] – Twenty-four male students out of seventy-five were selected to take on randomly assigned roles of prisoners and guards in a mock prison situated in the basement of the Stanford psychology building. Starring Ezra Miller, Tye Sheridan, Billy Crudup, and Olivia Thirlby

Rotten Tomatoes Score: Critics – 78% • Audience – 81%

Their reviews:

“Disturbing, honest and compelling, The Stanford Prison Experiment turns a well-known story into must-see storytelling, depicting the ugly truth through gorgeous filmmaking.” – James Rocchi (The Wrap)

“Even with some familiar faces, The Stanford Prison Experiment feels like an honest-to-goodness documentary – a high compliment for a movie based on an infamous college project.” – Brian Truitt (USA Today)

My take:

Based on the cast alone I am intrigued to see The Stanford Prison Experiment. I had never heard of this true tale before, but the idea of turning it into a film does captivate my imagination. Rarely do I find these kinds of films intriguing, but the experiment and the results sound fascinating. Based on the reviews, I would expect a very thrilling, chilling, and tension-filled two hours. MATINEE IT!

As we know, Minions absolutely dominated the box office last weekend despite its very low response critically. I think that may come back to bite them in the arse after many families enjoyed such a heartfelt tale in Pixar’s Inside Out. I’m sure there will be outliers who waited a weekend to avoid crowds, but Inside Out delivered a superior product and families will return to something original and strong rather than something played out and stale. Trainwreck is a hard, Rated-R adult comedy that isn’t quite targeted toward all audiences. It’s definitely going to draw in the female demographics, but men may stray away if they aren’t familiar or do not like Schumer’s blunt and honest humor. And then there’s Marvel’s Ant-Man, which is rated PG-13. It’s pretty light and funny, a strong female supporting star in Evangeline Lily, and it has a different vibe compared to the other big movies within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. So as it stands, I believe the victor for this weekend will be:

Winner: Ant-Man

Movie synopses courtesy of IMDb.com and Tomatometer Scores from Rotten Tomatoes