It’s another format change! I hope you like it, the old style felt more like a cut-and-paste tabloid article. Having said that I have incorporated the style to a certain extent though it’s no longer the focal point. Enjoy!

What Did The Movie Review Dude Get Up To?

The usual. Apart from my monthly blog posts I managed to knock out three reviews in The Imitation Game, which everybody apparently loved with a whole lot of likes that I’m yet to recreate, while Birdman I didn’t get at all and American Sniper I was sitting on the fence.

I also announced the categories for the 1st Ever Annual Movie Dude Awards! I’m still aiming to have the nominees announced later this month, hopefully all at once, but I’m not giving away too much just yet. You and I will just have to wait and see.

What Happened In The World Of Cinema?

It hasn’t been a good month for ticket sales but wonderful for film critics. So far we’ve had movies flop and awful films shouting bonanza.

Taken 3 is so far the highest grossing film of the year with over $260 million at the box office. It’s outrunning all competitors; it’s nearest opponent is The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out Of Water, which has grossed a little over $82 million so far. While those aren’t huge numbers, they probably won’t get anywhere near the number one position come years end, it’s encouraging to see that Liam Neeson with a gun and a deep-sea sponge can still sell.

On the other end of the scale it’s been a month of box office bombs, none bigger than the Johnny Depp vehicle Mortdecai. On top of being critically panned it’s looking as though it won’t make up for its budget of $90 million until well after the DVD release, and even then there are no promises. Lionsgate had tentatively announced a film series, but you have to wonder if those plans are off, and what happens now for Johnny Depp? His returns have been lacklustre for a while and you have to wonder how long he has until he runs out of free passes.

Another film that nobody went to see is Blackhat. The Chris Hemsworth film has made nowhere near the $70 million it cost to make and the critics are divided on its quality, which more than likely added to its money woes.

But it could be worse. The critics have been having a whirlwind month, tearing nearly every film to shreds. On top of Taken 3 and Mortdecai ventures such as Strange Magic, The Wedding Ringer and The Boy Next Door have been derided as terrible or worse. In better news, while also lacking at the box office the low profile film Ex Machina has been well-received. SpongeBob and Kingsman: The Secret Service have also suprisingly fared better with critics and fans.

It was a good month for certain people in terms of statues handed out. Three names in particular; Julianne Moore (Still Alice), J.K Simmons (Whiplash) and Patricia Arquette (Boyhood) have been mopping the floor with their competition, picking up awards left, right, and centre. Director Richard Linklater and his film Boyhood have also been getting nods, in particular the Golden Globes and SAG Awards. Expect those names to be called out a few more times before awards seasons officially comes to a close.

Now For The Good Stuff. Any Juicy Goss?

Mockingjay The Competition

*While I have read this in places it needs to be noted that this doesn’t make sense considering five films supposedly made more money, and Transformers: Age Of Extinction grossed over $1 billion. Nevertheless, at this late stage I’m going to run with it*. Easily one of the biggest pieces of news to come out was the announcement that The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 had surpassed Guardians Of The Galaxy to become the highest grossing film of 2014. On top of that it managed to gross the numbers it needed ($333,180,638) in only sixty-two days! Furthermore, lead actress of the franchise Jennifer Lawrence was also announced the biggest box office draw of the year. Not too shabby.

Is Net Starting To Give Traditional Cinema The Flick?

The inevitable is finally happening. Netflix will soon be dominating cinema (along with Amazon) as they are making good on their promise to produce original content. They started by signing filmmakers Jay and Mark Duplas, along with their Brothers Productions company, to a four-film deal. Those four films may also star none other than Adam Sandler. The comic veteran will be beginning his tenure with a film entitled Ridiculous 6, a western parody starring himself as well as his usual suspects. Production has actually started right now. God help us all.

On top of this they have also declared intentions to stream the controversial comedy The Interview. After having almost never seen the light of day the Seth Rogan / James Franco film has since seen online and theatrical release. It’s looking more and more like the guardians of peace didn’t win, and yet everything remains at peace. Go figure.

Indiana Jones May Become A Bit Of A Pratt

Something that was glossed over when Disney acquired LucasFilm was some of the juicy rights that came with it. One in particular was the popular Indiana Jones franchise, which has been laying dormant for some years now. That all seems to have change with word Disney are intent on rebooting the franchise only without cinema legend Harrison Ford. Instead they’re gunning for new star Chris Pratt, who has found recent success with Guardians Of The Galaxy and potentially the upcoming Jurassic World. If all goes well he’ll be able to add archaeologist to that resume.

Ten Bucks Says The Indominus Rex Everything

Speaking of Jurassic World, one of the big selling points was the unknown new addition in the hybrid dinosaur known as the Indominus Rex. Until now the creature was known only by name but images have been released teasing the beast in all it’s theme-park / resort destroying glory. I won’t ruin anyone’s fun by posting pictures, but it’s been described as a T-Rex at heart with all the best qualities of some of the toughest dinosaurs known to man. And I’m beyond certain nothing at all will go wrong with this creature in existence.

You Can Now Call Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon And Leslie Jones For All Your Ghostbusting Needs. But Still Not Bill Murray

After heaps of speculation involving every single female star in Hollywood, from Jennifer Lawrence to Emma Stone to anyone else you’ve heard of, the long awaited Ghostbusters reboot, now with extra women, has its awesome foursome. The announcement was made this month that stars Kriten Wiig and Melissa McCarthy will be joined by Saturday Night Live cast-members Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones. Meanwhile the old drum is still being beaten into the ground as the creators of the franchise haven’t given up hope that Bill Murray will somehow do a giant backflip and sign on for the film, though not in his original role but as a villain. I’m sure he’ll definitely go for that.

A Galaxy Full Of Star Wars Casting News

The upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens has people literally running scared. It’s probably the most anticipated film of 2015 while Mission Impossible 5 has moved from Christmas to a July release just to avoid the competition. So it’s no surprise the casting race has heated up considerably, not just for the sequel trilogy but the two spin-off’s to be released in 2016 and 2018.

The details are still sketchy, with conflicting reports as to plots and characters, but we do know that after a tumultuous start with screenwriter Gary Whitta amicably leaving production the ball has finally begun rolling with news a replacement has been found in Simon Kinberg.

First things first: they’re seeking a leading lady for the first spin-off, and while the list is short the talent is not. Names such as Felicity Jones and Rooney Mara have made the rounds but rumour has it director Gareth Edwards and co. have already found their woman in TV star Tatiana Maslany. Another TV star may also be entering the fold with Aaron Paul also keen to get in on the action, potentially portraying a young Han Solo, while a trio of actors from The Raid 2 (Iko Uwais, Yayan Ruhian and Cecep Arif Rahman) will be involved in production in some capacity, potentially in stunt-man roles or even motion capture.

There is one detraction from all of the hype surrounding this film, and it’s all about that new red lightsabre, now with a hilt. Ewen McGregor was quick to weigh in on in it, criticising the mystery person wielding the weapon, saying “if you know how to handle a lightsabre – like we did – you don’t need a hilt”. I for one think the only big deal is that nobody in the galaxy thought of this small yet quite advantageous change in ‘sabre design until now.

Well, that’s what happened in January. I hope everyone liked the new format, I certainly had a much easier time with it than usual. Next I’ll be doing my annual trailer reviews, so until then, enjoy!