Some top Box Office numbers weren't too unexpected this weekend with Doctor Strange and Trolls remaining locked in place. Arrival, which is getting a lot of buzz, came in at third with 24M$. The biggest shocker to me was Almost Christmas bringing in roughly 15M$! I didn't think it would even come close to hitting to 10M$ mark, so color me surprised!

We had some new trailers released for some highly anticipated movies and I'm excited to share them!

Live by Night - Final Trailer (1/13/2017):

I'm really happy with this new (and final) trailer for Live by Night, the next movie written (screenplay)/directed by and starring Ben Affleck (Argo, The Town). The original, and more than likely the others in between, showed way too much. So much so that I remained hesitant on sharing one until a better cut came out. This is it! The pacing and build up, along with the chosen soundtrack does a great job of pulling you in. I'm always a fan of limited dialogue as well.

I've been a fan of Affleck since the View Askew films and I know over the years he's caught some flack, but I do think he's a great actor (still have to see The Accountant). And he has more than proven his abilities at writing/directing, so I have some high expectations for this film. It doesn't hurt it's set during the prohibition era and full of gangsters, which already scores points with me! The movie also boasts the wonderful talents of Zoe Saldana (Vantage Point, Snipes), Elle Fanning (The Neon Demon, Young Ones), and Scott Eastwood (Suicide Squad, Snowden).

xXx: Return of Xander Cage (1/20/2017):

Oh. My. Nuts. Why is this happening? I have nothing against Vin Diesel (A Man Apart, The Knockaround Guys), but the original xXx movie was one of the first movies I almost walked out on. It was just way too over-the-top, which may sound very hypocritical given how much I love the Fast & Furious franchise. Something about xXx was just ridiculous to the X degree, though. I recall an avalanche scene specifically, but the moment where I almost lost my shit dealt with his skateboarding on a food tray, I believe. So glad to find Xander is still skiing and skateboarding in some fashion. I mean... that skateboarding scene in this trailer... just... come on...

To be fair, many will likely love this movie — the third in the franchise (I personally didn't mind the second anywhere near as much as the first, something people would give me shit for) — because it's going to be full of mindless action and explosions. A popcorn flick. And I'll admit, it seems like there will be some sweet choreographed fights, both with gun play and hand-to-hand combat. I won't be able to bring myself to seeing this in theaters, but I'm curious what the overall reception will be at the box office.

This sequel also stars Nina Dobrev (The Final Girls, Chloe), Ruby Rose (Sheep & Wolves, Around the Block), Samuel L. Jackson (Cell, Big Game), and Donnie Yen (IP Man, Hero).

Beauty and the Beast (3/17/2017):

The teaser for Beauty and the Beast was released months ago and I've been waiting for a full-length trailer. It's finally here and it doesn't disappoint! These live action iterations of classic Disney films have so far been hitting the mark with audiences, even if The Jungle Book was a bit too scary for some children. There are more of them coming down the pipeline. While this story was never one of my favorites (Robin Hood being my number one), this is definitely a movie I'm interested in seeing. Capturing the magic of the animated feature and making everything come to life is no simple task and what we see here looks amazingly done.

I know Emma Watson (The Colony, This is the End) has been involved in a few projects since Harry Potter, but I haven't seen any of them and I think she will be great in this role. Dan Stevens (The Guest, The Fifth State) and Luke Evans (High-Rise, Furious 7) co-star with a slew of supporting cast member providing voice acting for the myriad of normally inanimate objects that are anything but. Some include Ewan McGregor (American Pastoral, Miles Ahead), Stanley Tucci (Spotlight, The Terminal), and Emma Thompson (A Walk in the Woods, Saving Mr. Banks). I'm sure this is going to steal the box office once on its release. It will make for a great family film, as long as it's not too dark with the beast and all...

Ghost in the Shell (3/31/2017):

I love Ghost in the Shell and it was one of the first anime movies I saw, so this movie has a high bar to hit. I haven't seen many of the live action iterations of many Japanimation, but they seem to be continually met with mixed reactions. This movie has been plagued with a lot of controversy since the cast announcements, placing Scarlett Johansson (Sing, Lucy) in the titular role of The Major, a common theme nowadays when it comes to this kind of project. Admittedly, I've been fairly hesitant, but more so on the film living up to those expectations that rarely seem met by previous attempts at bringing an anime to life. For example, my deeply conflicted thoughts about Keanu Reeves bringing Cowboy Bebop to the big screen. Love both, but it just doesn't sound like a good idea!

However, after a handful of brief teaser clips for the film, I have to say that seeing this full-length trailer gives me a lot more confidence. Dare I say, I think the movie looks like it may be really good. The visual direction and atmosphere of the movie looks great. It appears like they will attempt to create more anime-esque choreography, which may be over-the-top, but very fitting. If Ghost in the Shell can overcome some of the backlash it's already received and accomplishes presenting a tight, emotional story, it could possibly become a blockbuster. Unless it has a limited release. Really curious how well it does overseas.

The movie also stars Michael Wincott (Alien: Resurrection, The Crow), Michael Pitt (I Origins, Seven Psychopaths), Rila Fukushima (Arrow, The Wolverine), Pilou Asbaek (Ben-Hur, R), and Takeshi Kitano (The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi, Fireworks).

On a side note, I love Ki:Theory's cover of "Enjoy the Silence" a lot!

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets - Teaser Trailer (7/21/2017):

I have never heard of the graphic novel series that this movie is based upon, but considering the treatment its given it has to be a popular one! I realize I don't talk much about the directors for movies as of late in my blurbs, but writer/director Luc Besson (Taken, The Transporter) is pretty awesome. I never realized he did a handful of movies I love (albeit some I very much dislike). Out of them all, I think the most similar will obviously be The Fifth Element, another sci-fi movie (one I didn't care for, until after my second viewing) with a huge imaginative scope in terms of the art direction.

Valerian looks to be no small feat by any means, rather a massive undertaking in making it come to life. The CGI looks amazing! I imagine no expense spared (should have used that for Jurassic World!) and I can't wait to see what worlds the movie presents to us. This teaser trailer mostly focuses on the dynamic between the two main characters played by Cara Delevingne (Pan, Paper Towns) and Dane DeHaan (A Cure for Wellness, Knight of Cups). I think their chemistry is going to play a huge role in how well the movie does, even if our eyes are fed colorful otherworldly visuals.

Ethan Hawke (The Magnificent Seven, Regression), Rihanna (Annie, Battleship), and Clive Owen (Last Knights, Blood Ties) also star, among others.

Did any of the featured movies interest you? What's your favorite Ben Affleck movie, if any? Are you a fan of any of the movies he's written/directed? Did you like the original xXx? Are you excited about the sequel or do you think it looks too over-the-top? What are your thoughts on the live action iteration of Beauty and the Beast? Is there a Disney animated film you'd like to see brought to life in this fashion? Have you ever seen the animated movie Ghost in the Shell? Does it look like the movie will live up to the hype? Are you familiar with the source material for Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets? Do you like any other movies from writer/director Luc Besson?