Hollywood studios have, since their inception, placed their faith in the star system. Put enough A-listers in the cast, and ticket sales will follow.
As far as I can recall, I have never written a spring preview, because the season has always been nothing but a dumping ground for movies the studios knew wouldn't fare well against the competition during any other time of year.
If you are keeping track, and I know you are, I included three documentaries in my top 20 for 2013. Those were not anomalies but rather an indication of what a strong year it was for documentary film. As those films now move to home video, here are some you should track down.
"Life is very long."
Writer/director Spike Jonze is known for living in his own zip code. His films ("Being John Malkovich," "Adaptation," "Where the Wild Things Are") and music videos combine a childlike yet intellectually curious imagination.
Action movies aren't known for sparking debate, but "Lone Survivor" will likely incite disagreement among both veterans and civilians.
The movie year 2013 was a tale of two seasons. Summer was so disappointing numerous people began ringing the death knell for the American movie industry. Steven Spielberg warned Hollywood was heading for "an implosion," and he seemed right, given the alarming number of blockbuster flops and generally awful major studio product.
I recently wrote parts of "American Hustle" seemed like a Martin Scorsese film without the energy. "The Wolf of Wall Street" actually is a Scorsese film without the energy.
"Saving Mr. Banks" is Disney's latest attempt to tug at our wide-eyed hearts, but there isn't enough sugar in the world to make this medicine go down.
So much could be said about "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" it's difficult to know where to begin.
"American Hustle" is now officially one of the buzziest films of the awards season.
"Dallas Buyers Club" features two of the most powerful acting performances of the year and a handful of deeply moving scenes.
When "Thor" thundered into theaters two years ago, the prospects for the franchise looked very different than they do now.
Now that the incredibly lucrative "Twilight" series has gone dark, Summit Entertainment hopes to replace it with another franchise adapted from a popular series of young adult novels: Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game series.
There have only been a few times in my life when I knew upon first viewing I was watching a profound and significant film.
The talk these days among anyone who has an interest in the movie industry is how badly the North American box office has fallen off.
"The Last of Robin Hood" is the latest in what has become a series of films taking a revisionist look at Hollywood history. It has a certain amount in common with "My Week With Marilyn," for instance, since they both attempt to offer insight into the real person behind a cinematic legend.
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