TRAILER: "Pitch Perfect 2"

I have to confess that I'm really out of the loop on this whole Pitch Perfect thing. I vaguely remembered that this was a movie that came out a couple of years ago, but I had to look it up to remind myself what it was even about. But I guess it was kind of a hit and people liked it? Enough to get a sequel made anyway. I guess I should probably check out the first one now, huh?

TRAILER: "Danny Collins"

Al Pacino stars in this movie about an aging singer who tries to redeem himself, reconnect with his grown son before it's too late, etc. Clearly this is not a movie that hasn't been made a million times before, but watching the trailer it doesn't actually look that bad to me. Maybe this is a case of it having been done well, or maybe it's just a misleading trailer. It'd be kinda nice to see Pacino do something decent again. It's coming out on March 20th of next year.

Mike Nichols 1931-2014

A big loss for the industry today, as director Mike Nichols passed away at age 83. One of the Hollywood directing giants who came into his own in the 1960's, whose filmography included Who's Afraid of Virgina Woolf?, The Graduate (for which he won the directing Oscar), Catch-22, Carnal Knowledge, Silkwood, Working Girl, The Birdcage, Primary Colors, Closer, and Charlie Wilson's War, as well as the famed HBO miniseries Angels in America. He was a veteran of the theater, where he mounted the original productions of Neil Simon's Barefoot in the Park and The Odd Couple, and before that was one half of the legendary comedy duo Nichols & May, with longtime collaborator Elaine May. Nichols is one of the select group of people to be called an EGOT winner, having won the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards. He also received the Kennedy Center Honors in 2003 and the AFI Life Achievement Award in 2010. He's survived by his wife of 26 years, ABC World News anchor Diane Sawyer.

Winning Best Director for The Graduate in 1968:

A classic Nichols & May sketch "At the Watercooler" from 1958:

TRAILER: "Cinderella"

Oh boy. The new trailer for Kenneth Branagh's Cinderella, which is apparently a straight remake of the 1950 animated feature, brings back shades of Maleficent for me, which means I had a hard time keeping my lunch down as I watched this. Sorry, but that's an experience I'm still not quite over yet. This looks absolutely awful, and Disney seems intent on tarnishing the reputation of their beloved classics in every way possible. CG mice? Costumes that look borrowed from the Disney World employees? I fear for the tastes of this generation's children if they're growing up on this crap. I can promise you right now that a better live action version of the Cinderella story is Drew Barrymore's Ever After, from 1998. Make your kids watch that. Seriously, compared to this, that movie now looks like the Citizen Kane of fairy tale re-imaginings.

Blu-Ray Pick of the Week: "It Happened One Night" (1934)

An essential blu-ray pick this week is Frank Capra's classic screwball romantic comedy, and it just so happens to be one of my favorite movies of all time. Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert take to the road, she's a runaway heiress and he's a newspaper reporter chasing a big story- hijinks ensure of course, along with romance and one of the great "jilted at the altar" wedding scenes. This movie kind of invented the blueprint for romantic comedy and the best and most amazing part about it is that it all holds up 80 years later. Trust me, you won't find such a perfect blend of sophistication and romantic chemistry in a single movie made today, which makes this film feel shockingly fresh and completely satisfying- it's a true gem.

Original 1934 Trailer:

TRAILER #2: "Inherent Vice"

Paul Thomas Anderson himself cut this new UK trailer for Inherent Vice, and I still can't wait to see it, despite the fact that it was ruled out as an Oscar contender practically the minute it was seen at the NYFF. Too weird and zany for the Academy, proclaimed pretty much everyone. It still looks hilarious though, and I'll take wacky and weird P.T. Anderson any day compared to just about everything else that comes out on a regular basis. We don't get enough of that stuff:

TRAILER: "The Peanuts Movie"

Well, I still think it's a little disturbing to force the Peanuts to become monstrous CGI creations in this new movie, but at least it looks like they're staying as true to the old designs as possible. Of course, you know what would make them even closer? Yeah, doing a traditional 2D movie. Why do they have to be updated like this? Will kids really not watch anything hand drawn anymore? It's not like they know any better. I assume parents are the ones familiar with the Peanuts anyway. But this is coming out next year, whether I like it or not, so here's a first look at Snoopy. Sigh.