Summer Movie Awards

The Most Laughs: The Kids Are All Right

The Kids Are All Right is easily the funniest movie of the year. The film covers some heated topics and touchy themes through the lightest and most heart-warming approaches via careful cinema and clever story. With its incredibly humorous undertones that hide behind genius dialogue, writing and delivery, the film toys around with the most hilarious tongue and cheek. No puns intended.

Read REVIEW HERE

The Biggest Cash-In: Knight and Day

The recent queen of cash-ins Cameron Diaz has had another explosivly exploitative summer, drawing massive amounts of money from massively dull movies like Shrek Forever After and Knight and Day, which showed us the same lame for our money. Diaz doing her usual self-portrayals in crappy action movies wasn’t the only offender, Tom Cruise hoping for a career saving hit and director James Mangold have both had better days.

Read REVIEW HERE

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Summer Movies ’10: Ranked and Reviewed

It is certainly not the most memorable summer for well received movies, as we have all come to know, grumble about and lose sleep over. Maybe we were spoiled with 2008’s dark knights, robots and iron clad heroes and 2009’s alien invasion and balloon flying escapades.  So far there have been a few highlights, even if there have been even more dim ones plaguing our expectations and hopes for the summer movie culture. Check out how CyniCritics rated and reviewed some of the top movies released this summer and how our score compares with the consensus on Rotten Tomatoes.

Toy Story 3: A-

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 99%

Inception: B

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 85% Continue reading

State of the Summer Box Office: The Worst Summer in Years

The Situation

Just one year ago Hollywood was partying like it was 2009. For second or third straight summer in a row, studios were rolling out films that pleased audiences, critics and their pocketbook alike, which is an extremely rare feat for the industry to do these days. In 2008, Wall-E, Iron Man, and The Dark Knight topped the box office (with The Dark Knight tumbling new records) and were garnering staggering reviews, then received a slew of Oscar nominations down the road. All were happy.

The year 2009 followed suit. Transformers 2 opened to be the largest grossing movie of the summer, crossing the $400 million mark even if it did get annihilated by critics. Up, Star Trek, The Hangover, The Proposal and more had taken box office expectations and blew them away into becoming monster blockbusters. All were reviewed above fair, many dominated come awards season. Best Picture winner The Hurt Locker had just been released. The State of the Box Office was in the best shape ever, and 2009 would go on to gross over $10 billion, a new record.

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Director Vanity: Stars That Look Like Their Directors

After seeing Leonardo DiCaprio’s haircut in Inception which looked all to familiar to Christopher Nolan’s iconic ‘do, it seemed fitting to investigate other notable director and star look-a-likes. It took a recent Entertainment Weekly cover of Robert Downey Jr. with a slicked back looking Jew-fro that couldn’t be ignored in comparison to Jon Favreau’s to finally make this a post. Here are some of the notable look-a-like director and star combos. Can you thing of any more!?

Johnny Depp and Tim Burton

Projects together: Alice in Wonderland, Sweeney Todd, Corpse Bride, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Sleepy Hollow, Ed Wood, Edward Scissorhands

Look the most alike in: Edward Scissorhands

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REVIEW: Iron Man 2

Iron Man 2
Directed by: Jon Favreau
Written by: Justin Theroux (screenplay), Stan Lee (comic book)
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Gwenyth Paltrow, Mickey Rourke, and Scarlett Johansson

The thing that made the first Iron Man film such a hit in the summer of 2008 was how much of a fresh breath of air it was.  Here you had Roberty Downey Jr., a washed-up ex-convict of a small-time actor stepping into the iron-clad suit of a summer blockbuster.  Mixing that with a unique screenplay, a dynamic cast and the action-ready direction of Jon Favreau, and you had yourself an offbeat charmer of a superhero movie.  Sadly, that charm was overshadowed by the brilliance of technique and ultimate reinvention of the superhero movie in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight.

With the inevitable sequel, we find no genre contenders to the pathos-driven narcissism of Tony Stark this summer.  Downey is now a bona fide superstar, thanks in no part to the revitalization his career received from the first film in this now-franchise.  Now that everything was done in the first one, as is the problem with most unique first installments, not much of it feels new in the sequel, Downey included.

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Summer Box Office Predictions

1. Inception

Release date: July 16th

Plot summary: Dom Cobb (DiCaprio) is an agent who has the technology to enter the minds of business tycoons to retrieve their strategies and sell them to the highest bidder. But the mind is no safe place for Dom and his team who find themselves in a place where things can rearrange and people can have powers outside of reality. When a heist goes wrong, one CEO seeks to steal the technology from the thieves attacking him.

Why it will rule: Just a few short summers ago, Christopher Nolan delivered audiences The Dark Knight, a domestic and overseas smash that made $1 billion worldwide and nabbed the attention of critics and mainstream audiences alike. Nolan’s talent lies in making brilliant narratives into dark, compelling films that are popularized by their own quality. Add in Leonardo DiCaprio and his latest success with Scorsese’s Shutter Island and Warner Bros. incredible marketing team for dark blockbusters, it looks to be a hit. All that and the trailer proves that this is going to be Memento mind-bending with The Dark Knight effects squad and July release.

Why it will fail: With the exception of the Batman franchise, Nolan has yet to have a real big blockbuster. Without the branding, and without knowing what it is really about, audiences might turn down this smarter box office fair for more Transformers style blow em’ up blockbusters as entertainment. Also, this movie is missing the Heath Ledger effect.

Estimated box office: $100 million OW / $410 million Domestic

2. Toy Story 3

Release date: June 18th Continue reading

TRAILER: Iron Man 2

Iron Man 2
Directed by: Jon Favreau
Written by: Justin Theroux (screenplay), Stan Lee (comics)
Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Scarlett Johansson, Gwyneth Paltrow, Mickey Rourke, and Don Cheadle

Part of what made the first Iron Man such a breath of fresh air was the devotion to excellence from everyone in the cast, most notably Robert Downey Jr. It wasn’t exactly anything new and original, and was overshadowed by Christopher Nolan’s box-office/critical superior The Dark Knight.  This summer, the now-franchise is launching its second installment with no Caped Crusader in sight.

The trailer for the film looks like it will hit all of the summer action bells and whistles.  Downey Jr. reprises his role as the man in iron, as does Gwyneth Paltrow as his love interest and assistant.  The rest of the cast is mostly new.  Don Cheadle steps in for Terrence Howard.  Scarlett Johansson arrives, hopefully to give Paltrow a run for her money, but you can’t tell much from the trailer.

The biggest gripe I have in the casting is Mickey Rourke.  Based on the trailer alone, his character appears corny, badly written, and has a just plain stupid Russian accent.  It may not turn out that way, but it appears that there will be at least one glaring error in the casting.

As far as plot goes, not too much is revealed.  Tony Stark is now out of the closet as a super hero, which may offer some unique takes on the genre.  He’s out to stop Whiplash (Rourke) from taking over the world or something.  The trailer is decent, but the content in it just makes this seem like it will be a typical sequel.

Highs: Downey jumping off an airplane after talking to Paltrow and Downey and Cheadle suiting up together in Iron Man suits.

Lows: Mickey Rourke’s Russian accent/character and the lack of Scarlett Johansson footage.

Trailer Grade: C