Next year will see the 75th anniversary of one of the all-time great films, The Wizard of Oz. Few films have had the impact or importance. When Dorothy opened up her Kansas farmhouse door to the world of Oz, she might have well have opened up the world of cinema to color films in a big way. The Wizard of Oz also told a fantasy story, even a children’s story, in a darker and much more intricate way than almost any film prior.
There have been several follow-ups or spin-offs to L. Frank Baum’s world, most notably Sidney Lumet’s musical The Wiz and the incredibly dark unofficial sequel, Disney’s Return to Oz. No film yet has had quite the spectacle, cast, or pedigree behind a Wizard of Oz follow-up as Oz: The Great and Powerful has. Not only is Disney basically banking on this being their next Alice in Wonderland, but the film is by Evil Dead and Spider-Man franchise director Sam Raimi, and features a huge cast that includes Mila Kunis, Zach Braff, and former Oscar nominees James Franco, Michelle Williams and former winner Rachel Weisz.
After a rough few years for Disney, with both animation projects and live-action films not going as planned, Disney has quite a lot riding on Oz: The Great and Powerful, their first live-action film since John Carter bombed. Before checking out Disney’s latest attempt at live-action greatness, and the prequel to one of cinema’s most famous stories, maybe check out some of these under-ranked films from the stars of Oz: The Great and Powerful.
The Matrix directors Andy and Lana Wachowski have added some gravitas to their next sci-fi project by casting Sean Bean. Known for adding a touch of class to genre roles in projects like The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and HBO’s Game of Thrones, Bean could be a great choice for the role of Stinger, who is being described as “a Han Solo-type” character, in the Wachowskis’ upcoming Jupiter Ascending.
Seth MacFarlane is one strange person – and I’m not just saying that because of what Ted is about. I point it out because as a one-time fan of Family Guy, I now find the show more annoying than ever. To make matters worse, only American Dad shows any remaining sign of life (The Cleveland Show was never worth my time). So with the announcement of his first film (and him returning to essentially the Peter Griffin voice), I once again looked on skeptically thinking that he might not be able to pull it off. That was until I noticed Mark Wahlberg was cast as the star. My trepidation against the movie finally started subsiding.
Ted‘s plotline might be slight, but it’s how the film handles it that makes it such a memorable fantasy. In 1985, young John Bennett from Boston has no friends and is the odd kid out. For Christmas, he receives a teddy bear and soon wishes for the bear to be real. The next morning, the bear comes to life. Even his parents are in shock (“You’re like the baby Jesus,” his mother exclaims), and before he realizes it, Ted is a nationwide celebrity, even appearing on Johnny Carson. As the fame dies down, Ted does his best to try and live a normal life, even if it is with John (Wahlberg, now grown up), but how is it normal when he is doing drugs and countless other unspeakable things?
Deep in a Scandinavian Mountain, Santa Claus is unearthed and he is one mean and ugly dude. This holiday film looks like a staggering work of demented genius.
Jim Carrey as a gay conman and Ewan McGregor as the object of his affection. It’s a really strong week for limited releases because I can’t believe this is only my third most anticipated movie of the week.
Interesting looking genre mash-up with Kate Bosworth.
Movie how civil rights pioneers from the 60s transitioned into the 70s. Plus, it has Bunk and Marlo from “The Wire” in it.
As much as the creators of Flickchart would love to have you stay home all weekend ranking movies, here’s a new weekly feature to help you plan your weekend’s cinematic outings. I’ll also include direct links to three widely-seen similar movies (one good, one average, one bad) for select films to help you figure out where they belong on your list. This week’s slate of new releases feature only one wide-release movie: