Winding Down for Summer

Hey Cinemaniacs! With summer right around the corner, I just wanted to make a mention of my summer plans. I started this blog for my Intro to New Media class, which has now ended. This acts as my last post for the class, but I still would like to keep this blog going. I love talking about movies after all!  But while I intend to have a break from most things during summer, I’ll still be working and having summer classes. So going into summer, I won’t be posting as much or frequently as I have been, but I will be keeping this blog active. I hope you all will still be checking back to Cinemaniacs though! Until then, keep watching movies and having fun!

Spring Fest 2016

Hey Cinemaniacs, I wanted to take a small break from movies with this post and talk about a local Purdue event I went to not too long ago. It’s called Spring Fest, and it was a really enjoyable experience.

Spring Fest is an annual festival held here at Purdue. But I don’t want to give too much away, since I’ve created a soundslides presentation for it. Check it out with the link below! More of the movie posts will be back though!

Spring Fest 2016 Soundslides

 

Upcoming Summer Events

Summer is a wonderful time for movies. Classes are over, families have time for vacations, and of course, all the summer blockbuster movies will be releasing. And for a cinemaniac, what more do you have to look forward to over the summer than the movies?

Keanu – April 29

Starring the comedic duo of Key & PeeleKeanu is an explosive comedy about a man who wants his cat back. After being recently dumped, Rell (Jordan Peele) finds comfort in adopting a stray cat who he names Keanu. But when the cat gets stolen by a street gang, Rell will go to no ends to get his cat back. He also recruits his cousin Clarence (Keegan Michael-Key) to save Keanu.

Captain America: Civil War – May 6

The third Captain America movie kicks of Marvel Studios’ third wave of movies of their cinematic universe. It sees Marvel’s heroes pitted against each other, fighting for whether heroes must be regulated by the government or not. The movie is directed by the Russo brothers, the directors behind Captain America: The Winter Soldier; a movie that was a resounding success. This movie is sure to be an explosive way to kick off summer.

X-Men: Apocalypse – May 27

Another superhero film airing only a few weeks after Civil War, this X-Men film sees the end of their most recent trilogy. It introduces the younger versions of many X-Men, as well as new mutants unseen in the film. It looks to be a grandiose film, bringing together heroes and villains to fight against a mutant god. It seems May will be a month to start and end with a bang.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows – June 3

While the first movie didn’t have much substance, it was still an enjoyable, thrilling movie. Of course the first was directed by Michael Bay, and with that came explosions and poor storytelling. But the sequel is being directed by David Green (Earth to Echo) and will be introducing fan favorite characters Bebop and Rocksteady, as well as the villainous Krang.

The Conjuring 2 – June 10

The sequel to the renowned horror movie comes this summer, and looks to be as just an amazing horror film as the first. Chronologically, The Counjuring 2 takes place before the first movie. It sees paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren to help a single mother and her four children fight back a malicious spirit.

Finding Dory – June 17

After 13 years, the long awaited sequel to 2003’s Finding Nemo finally hits this summer. Finding Dory has our favorite characters Nemo, Marlin, and Dory going on an adventure to reunite Dory with her mother. Not only will this be a heartfelt return for the kids who saw it years ago, but it will introduce a current generation of kids to this lovable world (much like Toy Story 3 did).

Independence Day: Resurgence – June 24

Independence Day: Resurgence is another sequel that will release many years after the first. The first movie sees an alien attack on the world, and its sequel sees the aftermath of that. Humanity has used the alien technology to bolster their interplanetary defenses. But when another alien attack comes at the Earth, humanity must rally again to defend themselves.

Ghostbusters – July 15

This reboot of the classic Ghostbusters series sees a new team of ghost hunters, an all female team at that. The movie will reintroduce the Ghostbusters world and is looking to refresh audiences with an all female team of protagonists (something movies these days lack).

Jason Bourne – July 29

In this summer of sequels, Jason Bourne marks a return to the action-packed, spy thriller world of the Bourne movies. It sees Matt Damon return as the titular character and takes place after The Bourne Ultimatum“when the world is faced with unprecedented instability.”

Suicide Squad – August 5

The next blockbuster from DC looks to focus not on the heroes but on the villains. Suicide Squad sees a team of villains working for the government to take one a dangerous mission that could end in their deaths. This movie will also introduce a new iteration of the popular villain, the Joker. It looks to be a roaring good time and a thrilling way to end summer.

But even if they aren’t summer blockbusters, these aren’t the only movies that will be releasing this summer. Are there any movies you’re looking forward to over summer? Will you be seeing any summer blockbusters in the next few months? Leave a comment below, and for more movie goodness come back here to Cinemaniacs!

The Resounding Return of The Jungle Book

Disney’s most recent live action version of classic fairy tales comes in the form of The Jungle Book. As you guessed, the movie is the live action remake of the 1967 film of the same name. And after nearly 50 years, The Jungle Book comes back with big success.

The movie saw a $103 million opening weekend, making it the second largest April opening of all time. The movie’s special effects alone are enticing enough to go see. And what sets this movie apart from the rest of Disney’s live action remakes is that the CGI used in The Jungle Book adds to the storytelling and is implemented as a great tool.

Reintroducing a classic tale to a modern audience is always tricky business. You want include a sense of nostalgia but you don’t want to make a carbon copy. Yet deviating too far from the original tale will make viewers mad. And with that in mind, The Jungle Book strikes a perfect balance. The story takes a more serious, modern take. But the characters are still as they were 50 years ago. Old cartoon animals of the world are made into amazingly realistic ones.

Fur is detailed to the last strand, and looks soft and gleaming. Their facial expressions shine through as well. Characters like Baloo and Shere Khan recapture the personalities of the 1967 film, but now with the visual intricacies made possible through breathtaking CGI. The movie realizes The Jungle Book story modernly, with animals looking fierce and ferocious, or lovable and fluffy.

The story is about man vs. nature yes, but the story also refocuses to be about man protecting nature; a modern spin made by the director, John Favreau. And this all shines through with the movie. While the remake isn’t a musical like the original film, classic songs are still weaved into the story. The Jungle Book isn’t complete without The Bear Necessities; and the song still charms in real life as it did 50 years ago in the animated version.

All these elements are masterfully crafted together to bring The Jungle Book story to a new generation, and it does so in a resounding way. The CGI, nostalgia, and modernly remade story all mix very well. Critics and fans love the movie, and positive reviews only further supplement it. And after 50 years, this reception is a great way to bring back The Jungle Book.

What are your thoughts on the new Jungle Book movie? Are you glad to see it come back? Leave a comment below, and for more movie goodness come back here to Cinemaniacs!

Movies That Prince Rocked

Today famous musician Prince was found dead, only living until 57. In his honor, I want to make mention of movies he had a part in. And while the movies he helped with are old, they still hold up today.

The first of these is none other than the Tim Burton‘s 1989 Batman movie, starring Michael Keaton. While Prince wasn’t physically in the movie, his music was. Prince made the entire soundtrack to this film, from “Batdance” to “Partyman.” In fact, at its time Batdance held the #1 spot in the top 100 charts.

The movie of course was one of the first, main theatrical debuts of Batman and was regarded as a hit. The director, Tim Burton, listened to Prince’s music while creating the role for the film’s Joker; he listened to Prince’s earlier songs such as “1999” and “Baby I’m a Star.”

Another movie Prince was great in was Purple Rain. This was Prince’s debut film in 1984, and first fore on the big screen. The film follows talented star “The Kid”, a Minneapolis musician in a rising band, The Revolution. The Kid tries to escape his terrible home life and abusive parents through his music.

The movie went for both an emotional and musical appeal. The film received great reviews and went on to make a sequel in 1990, Graffiti Bridge. In both these movies, Prince starred in the main role and made (majority of) the soundtracks. Soundtracks for these movies can be found on Spotify.

Prince wasn’t limited to acting and composing either; Under the Cherry Moon is a 1986 drama film directed by Prince. It stars Prince as a gigolo named Christoper Tracey and Jerome Benton as his partner, Tricky. Together the duo go around deceiving wealthy French women. But things take an unexpected turn when Christopher falls in love with one of these women, Mary.

The film was actually Prince’s first time directing. The soundtrack for the film was a collaborative effort between Prince and jazz keyboardist Clare Fischer. While the film itself met negative reception and reviews, the soundtrack was critically praised. The soundtrack can be found on iTunes and Amazon.

While Prince did not have a big cinematic presence, he will still be greatly missed. Have you seen any of Prince’s movies? What are your thoughts on him, or his music? Leave a comment below, and for more movie goodness come back here to Cinemaniacs!

Upcoming Purdue Movie Events

Taking a small step back, I wanted to make mention of two upcoming movie events here at Purdue University (in West Lafayette, Indiana). I don’t get the feeling they were advertised as much, but if you’re in the local West Lafayette area then I suggest coming over and checking them out!

This first of these is actually tomorrow. In Grissom Hall, room 103, at 7pm there will be a showing of Code Girl. This heartfelt documentary follows several high school girls from all around the world as they take part in The Technovation Challenge, a coding competition. All these girls are from underprivileged communities and all dream of making apps that can improve the lives of their communities.

Code Girl is a very touching movie that looks to empower young women. It sets out to address the problematic lack of women in technology fields, and hopefully get awareness for it. And if you don’t want to go out to watch it, the documentary is actually available on numerous platforms. You can rent, buy, or stream the movie on iTunes, Amazon Video, Google Play, Vudu, Xbox, Playstation, and Steam.

The next event here at Purdue isn’t as sentimental, but rather to be a fun night out. Purdue’s student led organization, PSUB, is holding their annual “Movie on the Hill” event. Last year they screened American Sniper and this year PSUB will be showing Dirty Grandpa. Movie on the Hill will take place on Slayter Hill and will be from 9pm – 12am on Aprile 23.

The movie follows Jason Kelly (Zac Efron) as he is tricked by his grandfather, Dick (Robert De Niro), into driving him to Florida the week before Jason’s wedding day. But don’t expect too much from this movie, as it got very low fan scores and a mixed critical reception. Rather, this would be a movie to just have some mindless fun with while outdoors on Slayter Hill.

 

If you’re in the local West Lafayette area, then why not come stop by for a few movies? And for more movie goodness, come back here to Cinemaniacs!

Saturating Superheroes

If you haven’t noticed, the cinema space is saturated with superhero movies. It feels like every month there’s some new hero in a mask hitting the big screen. Especially this year, with DeadpoolBatman v SupermanCaptain Americaand X-Men.

But it makes you wonder, what caused this boom of comic movies? Sure there were a few here and there in the beginning, like the first Spider-Man and X-Men movies. But now there’s one around every corner, and from so many different franchises.

Really though, this rise in superhero movies can be traced back to comic book giant Marvel. They were originally going bankrupt back in the late 90s, so they sold many of their properties to movie companies. This is what spawned the original Spider-Man and X-Men trilogies.

Then the most popular Batman movie series debuted in 2005, with Batman Begins. With Marvel’s rival, DC, making headway with these movies, Marvel Studios wanted to get back into the movie space. And this time, they’d be separate from other companies (Fox, Sony, Paramount).

When Marvel regained traction, they tried their own hand at superhero movies with Iron Man. And luckily, this movie became a huge hit. The success from this movie launched the “cinematic universe” model; an interconnected movie continuity amongst different movie/character franchises.

With this success, Marvel started releasing 2-3 movies each year. And with the movies being connected, it was a new and fresh way to look at movies. Since these superhero movies came to such big openings, many other companies came back to the superhero scene.

Fox relaunched their X-Men and Fantastic Four movies, while Sony came back with a rebooted Spider-Man. And the most recent of them was DC with their cinematic universe. All these companies want to capitalize on the current superhero craze, which is flooding the theaters with hero after hero. And even some villains.

From the corporate standpoint, this is really the perfect time to make superhero movies. The quality of special effects and large fan bases let these companies deliver great movies and rake in money. But with that, we get a mass of superhero movies a year to where people might even become tired of them. This year alone will be have 6 superhero movies (the Gambit movie being pushed to a later year).

How do you guys feel about this superhero boom? Is it good or is it too much? Leave a comment below! And for more movie goodness, come back here to Cinemaniacs!

No Really, An Emoji Movie

Yes it actually is happening; Sony has officially announced The Emoji MovieWhile the movie was rumored and in circulation for a while, there was no actual announcement of the movie’s creation. But it seems we’ll be getting this bad idea for a movie in a little over a year.

Kristine Belson, president of Sony Pictures Animation, gave us a lot of information yesterday about this emoticon movie. The movie has us following the lives of emojis inside our smartphones, their everyday lives essentially (yeah, the everyday lives of emojis). These movies live inside the Emoji Valley, found inside our smartphones. The movie will actually be working many elements of the smartphone into a 3D landscape, such as the home screen.

Sony has also partnered with many app brands to create a more popular presence. They have mentioned that Spotify will be in their movie, but no word on any other apps. Belson assures us that the “#brand” apps will be used in imaginative scenarios, such as the emojis sailing on a music stream. And I’m sure we can also expect many a pun in this movie.

In essence, this movie looks to be in the same vein that The Lego Movie and Wreck-It Ralph were created. And from a corporate standpoint, it makes sense why Sony would want to capitalize on the popularity of emojis. If a successful Lego movie can be made as well as a meta video game movie, then why not give smartphones the same treatment. Especially with how commonplace they are now.

In the end, it’ll all be up to the execution of this movie. If you can bring Lego characters to life, who’s to say you can’t for emojis? Sadly though, it does feel like old people trying to be hip and incorporate these emojis. It’ll be steep to try and make this into a good movie and have people pay to watch this.

But it’s actually happening. The Emoji Movie comes out August 11, 2017. What are your thoughts on Sony’s emoji movie? Will it be good, bad, or just terrible? Leave a comment below! And for more movie goodness, come back here to Cinemaniacs!

Small Time Movie Moments

From the big screen to the small screen, with any group of friends there’s bound to be a moment where you all watch a movie together. Whether it’s at the theater, on a date, a scary movie in the dark, or just at someone’s house. Movies are a social event and people love watching them.

Purdue is no different in this regard. I was able to talk to a local Purdue student, Stephen Kercher, about how he holds small movie events with his friends and a few neighborhood guests. Stephen lives in The Cottages on Lindberg, and once or twice a month he holds neighborhood movie showings at his apartment.

These aren’t formal events either. Stephen informs his friends, and his friends tell friends, and this keeps continuing. While sometimes small, the turnout for his movie showings has reached up to 30 people at times before.

The movies that are put on aren’t anything spectacular; from old monster movies to movies like Paul Blart Mall Cop. But the idea behind these movie gatherings is just to be fun. They’re small social events held infrequently. A simple get-together of people who want to spend time in front of a projector.

It’s something really pleasing to see happening; beyond new releases and blockbusters at the theater, watching movies is still eventful. It makes me want to go out and hold a little movie event with my friends. Have you ever held a movie event like this? Leave a comment below. But for more movie goodness, come back here to Cinemaniacs!

Musical Acting

Musicians and actors both take part in very creative careers, preforming on stage or on the big screen. And oftentimes their creative endeavors cross paths. Many musicians go on to become actors and many actors go on to become musicians. Here’s just a few of the many actors who also had big music careers.

The Funkiest Bunch

Before becoming a big name actor, Mark Wahlberg was in an American hip-hop group called Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch. The musical group was made up of Wahlberg (aka Marky Mark), Scott Ross (aka Scottie Gee), Hector Barros (aka Hector the Booty Inspector), Terry Yancey (aka DJ-T), and Anthony Thomas (aka Ashey Ace).

They were best known for their song “Good Vibrations“, which became a number one hit in the U.S. Of course nowadays, Mark Wahlberg is better known for his acting talents. He’s starred in movies such as Ted and Transformers.

Double the Bacon

Back in 1995, Kevin Bacon with his brother, Michael Bacon, went on to create a country rock band named The Bacon Brothers. And they are still an active musical duo today, still releasing albums and going on tours.

On the acting side, Kevin Bacon is known for a multitude of roles. He is famously known for his lead in Footloose. He has also gone on to star in the crime drama The Following and in X-Men: First Class.

Fresh & Jazzy

Back in 1985, Will Smith got together with a local disc jockey, Jeff Townes, in Philadelphia to form DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince. The hip-hop duo had Smith rapping as the Fresh Prince while Townes was mixing music as DJ Jazzy Jeff. They received their first Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance in 1989 for “Parents Just Don’t Understand.” The duo recently got back together to do reunion shows.

On the acting side however, Will Smith is known for many a role, most notably the 90s TV show The Fresh Prince of Bel-AirHe also starred in the post apocalyptic movie I Am Legend and the Men in Black series.

Scarlet Candy

Scarlett Johansson has become a popular name in cinema, but she has also gone on to do many musical ventures. She first sang a track in 2006,”Summertime,” for Unexpected Dreams – Songs From the Stars, a non-profit collection of songs by Hollywood actors. In 2007, she recorded a cover album called Anywhere I Lay My Head.

In February 2015, Johansson formed a band called The Singles, made up of Este Haim, Holly Miranda, Kendra Morris, and Julia Haltigan. They have released one album so far, titled “Candy.” On the acting side, Johansson is best known for her role as Black Widow in The Avengers films. She also starred in The Prestige.

30 Seconds to Fame

Initially starting out as an actor, Jared Leto back in 1998 started a band with his older brother Shannon known as Thirty Seconds to Mars. The band became critically and globally famous with the release of their second album,  A Beautiful LieLeto took many breaks from acting to pursue his musical career. The band is still active today though.

Leto debuted his acting with the TV series My So Called Life. He won an academy award however for his performance in Dallas Buyers Club (2013). He is currently known for the newest interpretation of the Joker in Suicide Squad.

That’s only just a few of the many actors who are also musicians. There are many, many more who pursue both creative careers. If you know of any I didn’t talk about, leave a comment below! But for more movie goodness, come back here to Cinemaniacs!