Earl is an LA-born actor/improviser that wants desperately to be loved. Hah, not really. He'll eat all your leftovers if you're not careful. He's done it before. Tweets at @earl_baylon. Earl Baylons at earlbaylon.com. Tumblrs at Nerdoholic.

Happy Almost New Year!  Agent Justin is taking a break from the column this week (I like to think he’s somewhere out there, riding magical tie-dye ponies and singing old Irish drinking songs), so I’m back a second time to perform some filling in duties. What does the box office have in store for the first weekend of 2015? Well… I’ll tell ya!

A Most Violent Year


What’s it About? In New York City 1981, an ambitious immigrant fights to protect his business and family during the most dangerous year in the city’s history.

My Thoughts: I think this trailer really did its job. It gives you interesting points contained within the film, but never gives you enough to paint a complete picture of it the surrounding circumstances.  We know Oscar Isaac’s character is a businessman, and while we get hints that maybe he might be involved somehow in the “waste management” business, we never know 100% for sure. I’m sure that’ll be a big spoiler come release. Either way, the story seems interesting enough and I’ve always liked Isaac’s and Jessica Chastain’s work. I’ll definitely catch this one at some point.




What’s it About? In a Russian coastal town, Nikolai is forced to fight the corrupt mayor when he is told that his house will be demolished. He recruits his old Army friend to help, but the man’s arrival brings further misfortune for Kolya and his family.

My Thoughts:  Interesting! It’s been a while seen I’ve seen a Russian flick. In fact, I can’t remember the last one – and, in all honesty, I may be fabricating that memory. It’s a classic David vs. Goliath type story set against the backdrop of current Putin admin Russia. A corrupt politician tries to pull eminent domain shenanigans with a regular Joe, but Joe’s like, “Hell nah, motha Russia!” I’ve not seen any of the director’s (Andrey Zvyagintsev) previous work, but it seems he’s got a pretty strong track record, and this is his highest rated film so far. So I’d say it’s a definite watch.


[REC] 4: The Apocalypse


What’s it About? The television reporter Ángela is rescued from the building and taken to an oil tanker to be examined. However, it is unbeknown to the soldiers that she carries the seed of the mysterious demonic virus.

My Thoughts: Well. Honestly, I almost didn’t even bother watching the trailer because I looked at that movie poster and almost barfed. Really? This is the 4th one? Also, the last movie with the word “Apocalypse” in the title that wasn’t a pile of bantha pudu was Apocalypse Now. I can’t hate though. I mean, I generally stray away from recent horror films and franchises, so maybe the (REC), oh sorry [REC] franchise isn’t half bad. I have no idea.  The trailer itself is selling a rather paint-by-numbers horror flick. Crazy contagion. Creates demon/zombie/vampire/wolf monsters. Middle of nowhere. Everyone will probably die. What I can say is that it does look polished from the trailer, so that’s cool. If you’re into the genre, this probably worth a watch. Otherwise… Redbox or worse.


The Search for General Tso


What’s it About? Who was General Tso, and why are we eating his chicken? This feature documentary explores the origins and ubiquity of Chinese-American food through the story of an iconic sweet and spicy chicken dish.

My Thoughts: Ok, so… full disclosure: I love food documentaries. I love well-produced documentaries in general. But, I really have a soft spot for food documentaries. Ok, maybe I have a soft spot for food in general tso, er… too. (I’m so sorry.) Back in 2008, I watched a documentary about the origins of what we in the states know as a “fortune cookie,” entitled The Killing of a Chinese Cookie. That’s what created aforementioned soft spots. Watching this trailer just kind of re-tapped those mental pressure points. The film looks like a ton of fun, at the very least. I do hope that all the food porn and funny personal moments will get balanced out with strong narrative and a firm grasp on history. What I’m saying, though, is that I’m totally going to find this film and watch the crap out of it.


The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death


What’s it About? 40 years after the first haunting at Eel Marsh House, a group of children evacuated from WWII London arrive, awakening the house’s darkest inhabitant.

My Thoughts: I was really excited when the first The Woman in Black came out a few years ago. It was one of Daniel Radcliffe’s first cinematic outings post-Harry Potter, and I was rooting for the guy. When the lukewarm reviews started coming out, I was slightly disappointed. But that didn’t seem to stop Radcliffe at all. That guy just keeps on working. And working just for the Hell of it, it seems – on interesting projects too. I’m still waiting to get my hands on Horns. Lukewarm reviews be damned, I’m watching that thing.

Um. Anyway. Point being, I didn’t know TWIB1 did well enough to warrant a sequel. Or prequel.  But this sequel/prequel was directed by Tom Harper, who helmed three episodes of Misfits, so it could be worth a watch.

Any of these films got you excited for the box office this weekend? Or are you just going to watch The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies again?






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