Opening 2-20-2020 in Theaters: The Call Of The Wild, Brahms: The Boy II

Wednesday, here we are! Week #8 (2/20 – 2/23/2020) where we get to see Harrison Ford kicking it with a CGI dog in an adaptation of a classic novel and horror movie sequel involving a creepy doll.

The Call Of The Wild
[FIRST LOOK]

I’m going back and forth with how interested in this movie I am. On one side, I like Harrison Ford and most movies he’s in. On the other, I’m not that crazy about a CGI dog, other than if it looks fake or real. I’d rather see a real dog, although of course I don’t want a real dog put in harm’s way. Just seems to me there could have been some way to have been CGI stunt dog and real dog used in the film. Then again, I haven’t seen the movie to know just how many dangerous scenes there are.

That all said, I don’t remember the book very well that I read some 40 years ago, so my interest in older books adapted into movies is minimal. I’m in the camp that favors adapting new works (books that have never been adapted before) over yet another adaptation of an older work. Clearly, this adaptation is trying for a creative angle, but that just seems a waste to me when there are plenty of great stories out there the deserve to have a movie made one.

Then again, I’m not the one investing in the picture. You’ve got Harrison Ford, that’s a draw, I’m sure. And a dog. Even if it’s a CGI dog. We love dogs, so it might be a huge hit. In my little tiny corner of the web, this film is very popular here. Whether or not that means the film will do well at the box office, I don’t know.

Bottom line: I’m going in looking somewhat forward to seeing it. Being completely honest, I’m not sure my interest is in the story more than the curiosity around the technology and that Harrison Ford is starring in it.

Anticipation: 5/10

Brahms: The Boy II
[FIRST LOOK]

I didn’t see the first film in this series. Up until I started watching all new wide releases, I resisted watching sequels until I’ve seen the first film. Not sure how that impacts my interest in this one, but probably a little negatively. I can’t compare it to the original because I won’t have seen it first. Maybe I’ll like this one a lot and it will encourage me to go back and see if the original is even better (which is how it usually works for me with sequels).

I’m just lukewarm on this one. Hope it surprises me and is a really entertaining film.

Anticipation: 3/10

ANTICIPATION for Week #8: 2/20/20 MOVIES

How much on scale of 1-10 anticipating the 2-20-2020 movies?

  1. The Call of The Wild – 5/10
  2. Brahms: The Boy 2 – 3/10

Are there screenings in our area to see these movies?

Both movies are confirmed wide screenings available at theaters in our area with screenings available starting on 2/20/20. Both will be watched, rated and reviewed probably one on Thursday, the other Friday.

Opening 2-13-2020 in Theaters: Sonic The Hedgehog, Fantasy Island, The Photograph, Downhill

Wednesday! Week #7 (2/13-2/16/2020) which includes perhaps the biggest date night for couples of the year.

Dinner and a movie, or maybe just a movie. We have date night every Thursday and there are several movies to choose from. A romance, two comedies and a horror film based on an iconic 70s TV show.

First up, that speedy little guy in blue that goes by the name of …

Sonic The Hedgehog
[FIRST LOOK]

SE-GA!

Mario from Nintendo has always had competition from platform game Sonic. It was always about speed in the Sonic game as the blue hedgehog would run through the zones collecting rings. Don’t ask me to tell you what the point of the rings were, but I’m sure the movie will re-educate me. Dr. Robotnik is played by Jim Carrey.

Videogame movies have a brutally bad track record. Not just in my opinion, but among many. Am hoping this one is good and looking as much as or more forward to watching this than any other videogame movie I’ve seen in the past.

Anticipation: 7/10

Fantasy Island
[FIRST LOOK]

Travel in the elevator down to the lower level and begin your fantasy
Fantasy Island final trailer

I have mixed emotions going into this one. Definitely interested in seeing, but feel like it’s probably not going to capture the primary essence and soul of the 70s TV show which sort of bordered on irony involving the fantasies. Sometimes it was dark, but it never was a horror anthology series. Sort of like a cross between Twilight Zone and Amazing Stories with Mr. Roarke and Tattoo keeping it grounded. I think without Tattoo we’re not going to have the comedic elements, which were crucial to grounding the series.

Also, I remain curious why the need for Blumhouse to brand their own name to this (see: Why is Blumhouse adding their name in FRONT of Fantasy Island?) Does this have any real impact on anticipation for the movie? Not really. I already knew Blumhouse was involved and they have an above average record with making profitable movies on small budgets. I’m a fan of returning to smaller budget filmmaking and applaud what Blumhouse is doing. I may not enjoy all of their films, but they are building a studio name and brand.

When I first heard about this movie, it was one of the most anticipated movies of 2020 for me. That interest has waned somewhat, but it’s the film I’m most looking forward to watching this weekend.

Anticipation: 8/10

The Photograph
[FIRST LOOK]

This has the distinction of being the featured new romance movie. It doesn’t seem to be a rom-com, more like a dramatic love story. Am interested, but am not sure we’ll be watching this first. I’m letting Kara decide which one we see first, so maybe she’ll pick this one, who knows?

Anticipation: 3/10

Downhill
[FIRST LOOK]

Will Ferrell has been very hit and miss in movies with me. He’s a funny guy, but a bit formulaic at times. I like that Julia Louise-Dreyfus is starring opposite Ferrell. She was great in Seinfeld and I haven’t seen in her awhile. I hope this has many LOL moments. We’ll see.

Anticipation: 5/10

ANTICIPATION for Week #7: 2/13/20 MOVIES

How much on scale of 1-10 anticipating the 2-13-2020 movies?

  1. Fantasy Island – 8/10
  2. Sonic The Hedgehog – 7/10
  3. Downhill – 5/10
  4. The Photograph – 3/10

Are there screenings in our area to see these movies?

All four movies are confirmed wide screenings available at theaters in our area with screenings available starting on 2/13/20. All will be watched, rated and reviewed.

Opening 2-6-2020 in Theaters: Birds of Prey

Wednesday hump day week #6 in 2020 (2/6-2/9/2020) with one movie about birds flying over the horizon. Rather, comic book birds, a group of antiheroes taking on an even worse villainous character in Black Mask.

Birds of Prey
[FIRST LOOK]

My anticipation couldn’t be any higher for this movie. As readers know, I’ve been reviewing all episodes every Friday of season one Harley Quinn the adult animated TV series. Only three more left for the first season and then a break, followed by 13 more episodes later in 2020 hopefully.

And official trailer #2

In the meantime, we’re going to be treated by the lone wide release this week. Does Birds of Prey take down Bad Boys for Life? Yes, it will. How it does beyond this weekend, however, will all depend on what the audience thinks. If the word of mouth is even remotely as positive as it was for Joker, then expect these birds to be circling over the theaters for many weeks to come.

Anticipation: 10/10

Will have plenty more to say after watching it on Thursday 2/6/20. Will this be one that I want to rewatch in the theaters?

Welcome to #2 of 4 Worst Weekends for Theater Attendance

Apparently, this coming week historically is one of the four worst weekends for movie theater attendance. There is only one wide release planned, Birds of Prey.

Every year, distributors must navigate four dead-zone weekends: post-New Years, Super Bowl Sunday, Labor Day, and the first in December. Historically, these are the periods with the lowest theater attendance, although studios now have their strategies; some slots have become a good time for horror titles, for example. But early December still resists tactics, with a graveyard of films that braved the date.

With Playmobil Only Wide Release, Welcome to the Box Office Dead Zone | IndieWire

Week #1 of 2020 featured The Grudge⭐️⭐️ and this week should go much better. And next week there are a bunch of new films coming out to celebrate Valentine’s Day which must be one of the better weekends, at least for couples.

Some people complain that going to movies is becoming too expensive. They would rather stay home. The streaming markets are growing and taking down the traditional TV model, which is great to see. It gives movie and TV fans a wide variety of choices at more affordable prices.

But creating movie and TV for streaming isn’t an inexpensive proposition for the streaming channels. Take HBO Max which launches in May 2020, and plans to have 31 original TV shows by the end of 2020:

On top of its Max Originals, AT&T is stepping up the budget for HBO. The content budget will rise to $2.5 billion in 2020, up about $500 million from 2018 and 2019. It’s not clear whether management includes that number in its definition of incremental investments, but considering everything available on HBO will also be on HBO Max, and its plans to get all of its legacy HBO subscribers onto HBO Max, it very well should count.

HBO Max Has Already Cost AT&T $1.2 Billion

Am sure we’ll be checking out HBO Max when it launches. In the meantime, we’re going to keep enjoying the unlimited movie theater plan and existing streaming choices. It’s a great time to be a movie and TV lover!

Black-and-White Parasite Screening in Select US Theaters

Parasite ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (color version)

I’m a huge fan of black and white (B&W) films. Bong Joon Ho apparently is, too, and has released a version of Parasite in B&W.

“I’m extremely happy to present ‘Parasite’ in black and white and have it play on the big screen,” Bong said in a statement. “It will be fascinating to see how the viewing experience changes when an identical film is presented in black and white. I watched the black-and-white version twice now, and at times the film felt more like a fable and gave me the strange sense that I was watching a story from old times. The second time I watched it, the film felt more realistic and sharp as if I was being cut by a blade. It also further highlighted the actors’ performances and seemed to revolve more around the characters.

Bong Joon Ho’s Black-and-White ‘Parasite’ Gets U.S. Release Date | IndieWire

Desaturation makes shadows, light and corners come to life in all new ways. The Twilight Zone despite numerous reboots and a movie has never been the same in color, so much that I was delighted to see that Jordan Peele re-released the new Twilight Zone episodes on CBS All Access in black and white — and, yes, it improved the stories.

Letterboxd is getting on board with the promotion today by offering a black and white version of their website:

It’s jarring seeing a color website in full black and white

Not every story, TV show or movie should be in black and white. Can you imagine if Schindler’s List was in color? Conversely, I wouldn’t like Jaws or Star Wars as much in black and white. Perry Mason is another TV show that needs to be in black and white. They did the TV movies of Perry Mason in color and they failed from a cinematography feel.

Would you like to see Parasite in black and white?

Am a little on the fence about seeing Parasite again, but definitely curious if I’d like it better than the color version. It is very possible, because there were some cool scenes in that movie that used some shadows and lighting that would show up better, I think. Might wait for streaming rather than try and track down a big screen version, but maybe I’ll go. Definitely like that it is being re-released in B&W.

What about you? Do you think a black and white version can improve your overall opinion of a movie that is originally shot in color?

Opening 1-30-2020 in Theaters: Gretel and Hansel, The Rhythm Section

Wednesday! Week #5 (1/30 – 2/2/2020) is upon us. The final assault, er, unveiling of new movies in January carrying over into February involving a new take on a very old Brothers Grimm tale and Blake Lively going into revenge mode (think Jennifer Garner in Peppermint?).

Before getting to my final thoughts on these two films, I’m going to be glad to see January 2020 gone. There have been some truly awful films this month. The studios are thinking wrong by not putting up better films in January. If this is the competition, it should be really easy to put up a great film and be on top for multiple weeks on the box office. I don’t get the logic behind dumping films they don’t have as much faith in this month.

I do understand that Oscar hopefuls don’t likely happen in January, but they should be chasing box office revenue more than gold statues. Just saying.

Gretel and Hansel
[FIRST LOOK]

These past two months the studios seem to be mining stories from the 1800s. Little Women in December, The Turning (based on The Turn of the Screw) and now Gretel & Hansel (based on the 1812 Grimm Fairy Tale). Sure, these were good stories in the 1800s, but why aren’t we making adaptations of more modern stories? It seems that studios think the gold is in the already adapted vs. first time adaptations. It’s like give us another Spider-man instead of exploring a different superhero or antihero.

That said, any horror tale with cannibalism in there has the chance to be disturbing. I’m also curious why the title was inverted? Was it to differentiate somehow from Hansel & Gretel? Like the title change as I’d be less interested if it was the traditional way.

Movie titles are important to me when I don’t know much else. The trailer isn’t blowing me away with the story. Where this all leads is mild anticipation for seeing this film this week.

Anticipation: 4/10

The Rhythm Section
[FIRST LOOK]

My initial and ongoing interest in this film is Blake Lively. I keep saying she is ready for a breakout role in something. Based on the trailer I’m not sure this is going to be that vehicle. Revenge flicks don’t get much Oscar love, but this is a different type of role than I’ve seen her in, so maybe if she has a strong performance here and gives her momentum for a more ambitious next film.

I keep mentioning Peppermint starring Jennifer Garner, because this reminds me a bit of that film. It’s a different story, perhaps not as brutal and action-oriented and more thought-provoking. A plane crash that wasn’t accidental wiping out her family and her character seeks revenge upon those who caused it. Clearly from the trailer, Lively’s character isn’t seeing passive means to enact revenge. Am curious where this will lead?

This is the film other than 1917, of course, that I’ve most looked forward to seeing in January 2020. Hope it delivers. Will find out very soon.

Anticipation: 7/10

ANTICIPATION for Week #5: 1/30/20 MOVIES

How much on scale of 1-10 anticipating the 1-23-2020 movies? Those marked with asterisk are not available in our area this week, so will carryover in future weeks until available to watch in our area.

  1. The Rhythm Section – 7/10
  2. Gretel & Hansel – 4/10

Are there screenings in our area to see these movies?

Both movies are confirmed wide screenings available at theaters in our area so will be watched, rated and reviewed.  Probably one on Thursday 1/30, the other on Friday 1/31.

Upcoming Friday FIRST LOOK

This Friday 1/31/2020 will be FIRST LOOK for several comic books/superhero movies coming in 2020. There are 8 comics/superhero movies being released in 2020 with the first being Birds of Prey (And The Fantabulous Emancipation Of One Harley Quinn) [FIRST LOOK] next week. Two are based on DC Comics, Five based on Marvel and one on Valiant.

24+ movies to watch in 2020 to make buying an Unlimited Pass worthwhile

Wonder Woman 1984 is the 2020
movie I most want to watch

24 movies watched at the theater is what makes an unlimited pass for the year worth buying. The average moviegoer sees only 3-4 movies per year, which if you’re only seeing that few movies in the theater, it’s better off paying for it on each visit.

Can you identify 24+ movies in 2020 you want to see? Let’s use this post as our reference guide: FIRST LOOK: 75+ Movies Coming To Theaters In 2020 (this post is being updated throughout 2020, so bookmark and return as movies do move around, get dropped and added as time goes on)

Movies I Want To See in 2020

Here is my list — as of this writing — of 24+ wide release movies I’m looking very forward to seeing (or have already seen in January, but still in theaters as of this writing). Keep in mind I am planning on seeing every wide release movie and at least some limited release movies, so my actual list is the one linked above plus additional movies not even on the list.

This list are more noteworthy titles and ones that I find the subject matter especially interesting. My top movies of interest have an asterisk (*) in front of the title.

  1. JANUARY 2020
    *1917 (wide release in US in January 2020) – nominated for 10 Academy Awards
  2. Bad Boys for Life – Martin Lawrence, Will Smith
  3. The Rhythm Section – Blake Lively
    FEBRUARY
  4. *Birds of Prey / Harley Quinn – Margot Robbie
  5. *Fantasy Island – Blumhouse horror remake of classic TV series
  6. *Sonic The Hedgehog – Jim Carrey
    MARCH
  7. Onward – Pixar animated original
  8. *Bloodshot – based on Valiant Comics character starring Vin Diesel
  9. *A Quiet Place Part II – the first one was soooo good!
  10. Mulan – Disney live action, will make a ton of $$, not sure how good it will be
    APRIL
  11. *The New Mutants – Marvel spinoff
  12. *No Time To Die – Bond 25, Daniel Craig’s last dance as Bond
  13. *Trolls World Tour – rock and roll evil trolls? Sign me up!
    MAY
  14. *Black Widow – ScarJo in her standalone Marvel movie
  15. *Scoob! – a younger Scoob looks like fun
  16. Saw 9: The Organ Donor
  17. Fast & Furious 9
    JUNE
  18. *Wonder Woman 1984 – the 80s and Wonder Woman back kicking it!
  19. Top Gun: Maverick
    JULY
  20. *Free Guy – Ryan Reynolds as player in videogame
  21. Ghostbusters: Afterlife
  22. Tenet
  23. *Morbius
    AUGUST
  24. Escape Room 2
  25. *Bill & Ted Face The Music
    SEPTEMBER
  26. Monster Hunter
    OCTOBER
  27. Venom 2
  28. *Halloween Kills
    NOVEMBER
  29. *The Eternals
  30. King Richard
  31. *Godzilla vs. Kong
    DECEMBER
  32. Dune
  33. *Coming 2 America
  34. West Side Story

There are other movies with titles listed that I don’t know enough about as of this writing and/or there are no trailers available yet to fully gauge my interest. It seems like it is within 90 days of the release date that we learn the most about a movie coming out and can fully determine interest in watching. In some cases it’s less than 45 days. Only the major blockbusters tend to get advertising and promotion six months or more away.

Being it’s the end of January, I’m going more off of the source material and or what type of movie it is rather than any real details on the film. Like James Herbert’s Dune is a fantastic novel but can/will it be adapted to the screen good? Don’t know. West Side Story is from Steven Spielberg and I like many of his movies, plus the source material is good. Coming 2 America is the sequel to Eddie Murphy’s classic comedy and I’m very excited about seeing that.

If you haven’t seen any of the Oscar nominees for Best Picture, there are 8 more movies than the 34 listed above. There are also some notable animated movies I didn’t list above like Minions: The Rise of Gru in July. For that matter, July is shaping up to be the best month in 2020 for new movies.

How many movies in 2020 are you looking forward to seeing in the theater?