Category Archives: Andy Burns/Andy B

“Hidden Figures” Stays at #1; Most New Releases Bomb

As the Martin Luther King Jr. Long Weekend rolls on in the US, the three-day weekend numbers have started coming in, and to be honest, there are some real surprises when it comes to this week’s new releases. Here’s what went down:

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Hidden Figures held on to the top spot at the box office for the second weekend in a row, bringing in an estimated $19.6 million. The reviews and accolades have certainly helped this film find a wide audience, and it should continue to do well as we head into Oscar season.

Horror film The Bye Bye Man had a surprisingly strong debut, landing in second place with an estimated $14.5 million, an especially stellar showing considering the absolutely horrible reviews the film received.

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“Rogue One” and “Hidden Figures” battle for the top of the box office

It was a tight race at the box office this weekend, as the reigning champ had to take on a strong showing from a new release. Here’s what went down:

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story appears to be the winner of the weekend with $21.97 million, raising its total to $477 million. BUT, new release Hidden Figures came on very strong this weekend and, as of Sunday night, is currently sitting at $21.8 million. So it’s a tight race, and come Monday and the box office actuals arrive, things could wind up very different.

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Andy Burns’ 5 Favourite Films of 2016

This is in no way a definitive best of list, since I didn’t see nearly as many films as so many others did in 2016. Instead, I’m running down (in no specific order) the five films that made an impact on me as I watched them. The ones that left me thinking about them when the final credits rolled. I have no doubt many will disagree with at least one of the films on my list…so let’s kick off with it, shall we?

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1) Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice The Ultimate Cut – the haters gonna hate hate hate, and there was certainly so much to take issue with when Zack Snyder’s finished cut of the first big screen meeting between the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel was released back in March. An incoherent script was the biggest problem, though many had issues with the dark tone of the film as well. While the lalter was a decision that will forever be up for debate, the former is corrected ten-fold with the Ultimate Cut, a three hour version of Batman v Superman that fleshes out character motivations, introduced new characters and gives Henry Cavill so much more to do. Snyder delivers epic filmmaking with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. It’s my superhero film of the year.

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2) Captain America: Civil War – the Russo Brothers directed this third Captain America film that is in so many ways vastly superior to last year’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. They manage multiple characters and gleefully introduces Spider-Man into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (not to mention Chadwick Bosman’s Black Panther). While the ending feels somewhat anticlimactic to me, this is still dramatic filmmaking that manages to tell a contained story while still pushing the MCU to its next big event (in this case, the upcoming Infinity War film).

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3) La La Land – you can read my review from last week over here, but I don’t mind repeating myself by telling you what a beautiful film this is. Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are brilliant as young lovers in this outstanding musical that feels contemporary while still pulling on nostalgic heartstrings as well. Definitely worth seeing on the big screen.

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4) Hell or High Water – I walked out of this film last summer knowing I’d seen one of my favourites of the year. Chris Pine and Ben Foster are outstanding as brothers determined to pull off a heist and screw over the banks that that had played hard and fast with the 99%. Jeff Bridges is the small town cop who is chasing after them. What I thought going in was a Western wound up being a crime film set in the West, and that’s a very different thing. Here’s hoping Hell or High Water and its leads aren’t forgotten at Oscar time.

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5) Blood Father – amazingly, I watched this Mel Gibson film on December 30th, allowing it to make my list just in time. In Blood Father, Gibson plays an ex-con on parole who is forced back to his old ways when his missing daughter calls for help. Gibson is fantastic in the role, a reminder of what a chameleon-like actor he is. This is a sensible crime film filled with believable characters and some heavy scenes of violence. It’s by far my favourite action movie of 2016.

Lots Of Love For “La La Land”

This Christmas Day was a little bit different for me. It was the first as an officially separated dad. Last year, while my former Queen and I had already decided to part ways (amicably, by the way – she’s a good lady and we get along great), we were still living in the same house with our little princess, and while we spent the afternoon apart, we still had the morning and evening together. This year, the three of us did morning presents together and then I went on my way, as the two gals had church and the Queen’s family to visit with.

How would I keep busy? This year it seemed important to have a place to be, for at least a few hours, anyway. Last year, in the separate time, I went to visit former BBP writer P-dawg and his family, where we partook in the traditional Jewish Christmas meal – Chinese food. With my buddy off and away, this time out my hangout partner wound up being my mom. The two of us decided to take in a movie, the biggest buzz film of awards season – La La Land.

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“Rogue One” Holds Strong; New Movies Flounder

It was a huge holiday weekend at the box office for one holdover, while three new releases didn’t really resonate with audiences. Here’s what went down:

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story held on to the top spot over the three-day weekend, bringing in an estimated $70 million. By the end of Boxing Day, the film will be sitting well past the $300 million range after just over a week in theaters. While it won’t reach the numbers we saw with The Force Awakens, Rogue One is still on its way to $400+ million gross.

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Trailer Time – “Alien: Covenant”

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Well, here’s a great Christmas present for you today – the first trailer for Alien: Covenant has arrived!

Will Any New Release Take Down “Rogue One”This Holiday Weekend?

Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and everything other joyful celebration you may be having this weekend. If you’re thinking of taking in a movie, there are some new releases hoping to move you into theatres. Will any take down last week’s number one film? Here’s our prediction:

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Sing is a new animated film about karaoke as done by animals. I really shouldn’t have to say much more, as this one is pretty much guaranteed to be the family film of choice over the holidays. Throw in the fact that it’s an Illumination film, and its safe to say Sing is set for a strong showing. Look for a second place debut with $51 million.

Passengers is a sci-if love story starring Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence. While the trailers have been exceptionally appealing, rarely reviews have been absolutely disasterous for the film. For any success, especially in the face of another science fiction film in the market, the movie will have to rely on its star power, which should give it a decent debut but no legs. Look for Passengers to arrive in third place with $31 million. Read the rest of this entry

Holiday Gift Guide 2016: Kobo Aura

Every few years, we get the chance to take a look at the latest means of e-book consumption. And while there are people who may swear by their Kindles, as far as I’m concerned (along with a lot of folks I know), the best e-readers out there come from the folks at Rakuten Kobo.

Though my e-reader experience  began some of years ago with the now defunct Sony E-reader, the world has expanded significantly over the years and Kobo has really led the pack. Their latest, economical e-reader is the Kobo Aura Edition 2, and it’s absolutely the best device I’ve used so far.

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Holiday Gift Guide 2016: DC on DVD, Blu-ray and Playstation 4

Whether you’re into films or video games or both, there have been lots of great DC releases out this past year. You can’t go wrong with getting any of these for the fan in your life, regardless of how familiar they are with the stories or characters.

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Batman Beyond: The Complete Series

I can’t recommend this collection highly enough for a few reasons. First, let’s start off simply by saying how great this series is, especially at telling the story of a 21st-century Batman. It has certainly stood the test of time from its late 1990s debut, and I say this as someone who just began watching it via this new set from Warner Brothers. Secondly, this is an economically sound way to get the three-season run of a show that was just as strong as the groundbreaking Batman: The Animated Series, which it is connected to in no small part by the voice of Kevin Conroy as an aged out Caped Crusader who takes teenage Terry McGinnis under his wing. Absolutely essential.

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Audiences Boarded “Rogue One” This Weekend

It was a big weekend at the box office for Star Wars fans, as the latest film in the sci-fi franchise took over cinemas. Here’s what went down:

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While we wait for the weekend actual to arrive, the estimated box office returns have come in and, unsurprisingly, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story delivered outstanding results. The story of the rebels who attempt to steal the plans for the original Death Star from the Empire brought in an estimate $155 million to win the weekend. While the film’s opening weekend earnings is off from last year’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which had a record setting debut of $247 million, there are factors that need to be considered with that analysis. First, it had been more than ten years between the release of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith and The Force Awakens, so there had been a lot of pent-up anticipation for a new franchise film. Secondly, Rogue One is introducing a whole new set of characters, whereas The Force Awakens promoted the return of icons like Han Solo, Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker. There was no way a standalone film would be able to reach those lofty heights, so I’m sure Disney and Lucasfilm are more than ecstatic with both the commercial and critical reaction to Rogue One.

Personally speaking, while I enjoyed Rogue One well enough, I definitely didn’t love it as much as other Star Wars fans. While the performances and special effects were all excellent, I think knowing the end result just made the film somewhat anticlimactic for me. I would also say that the score from Michael Giacchino was incredibly underwhelming. Apparently, he only had something like four weeks to complete the work and it shows. While expecting anyone’s work to reach the heights of John Williams’ classic pieces, Rogue One certainly needed something more epic and stirring than what it received. However, it is nice to see that the studio stayed true to the ideas that this is a self-contained story, while still managing to brilliantly tie it directly into A New Hope.

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