TOP 5: Sony Cancels THE INTERVIEW, THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES, STAR TREK 3 Director Shortlist, KNIGHT OF CUPS, 10 Underrated Films of 2014

by     Posted 2 days ago

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Return readers will remember that I used each October installment to recommend a horror film that I thought you may have missed for one reason or another. I’ll do something similar this week with a Christmas movie that I think is worth your time if you find yourself looking for a new seasonal favorite. Since seeing it in theaters in 2007, writer/director Preston A. Whitmore II‘s This Christmas has become annual holiday viewing at my house. Starring Idris Elba, Mekhi Phifer, Delroy Lindo, and Loretta Devine, the film hits every beat you can ask for in a Christmas movie: siblings returning home from separate parts of the country to celebrate the holiday together, finding romance with a person from your past, helping an estranged member of your family out of a life-threatening jam, pre-loathsome Chris Brown absolutely slaying a Christmas number at open mic night when no one in his family even knew he could sing, etc. If all of the above sounds like cookie cutter dramedy material that’s because it is. Still yet, This Christmas does it so well that you can’t help but feel great while watching it. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll try and reconcile the fact that you actually like Chris Brown in it and, hopefully, you’ll thank me for the recommendation.

Moving on to the reason we’re here, this week’s Top 5 highlights Sony cancelling the theatrical release of The Interview, interviews for and Matt’s review of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, the Star Trek 3 director shortlist, the first trailer for Terrence Malick‘s Knight of Cups, and a look at 10 underrated films of 2014 that you may have missed. Keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

TOP 5: EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS, Insane MAD MAX: FURY ROAD Trailer, INHERENT VICE, INSIDE OUT Trailer, Golden Globe Nominations

by     Posted 9 days ago

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The opening paragraph is typically a space occupied by movie recommendations and, in a way, today is only a minor deviation. I was recently gifted a hardcover edition of Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons‘ comic series Kingsman: The Secret Service and I enjoyed it enough to not only throw a book recommendation your way but to also say I’m firmly on board for Matthew Vaughn (who earned a co-plotting credit on the comic) and Jane Goldman‘s movie adaptation due out in February (see the latest Red-Band trailer here). Embedded in Millar’s hyper-violent action are noble lessons about the value of public service, remembering where you came from, and the importance of recognizing stereotypes while having enough self-esteem to avoid letting yourself being defined by them. As for the movie, the bits I’ve seen look to be just as entertaining as the book albeit with more parkour action. After the work Vaughn and Goldman did on X-Men: First Class, I have every confidence that it’s going to be worth checking out.

Recommendations aside, this week’s Top 5 features interviews for and Matt’s review of Exodus: Gods and Kings, an insanely cool new trailer for Mad Max: Fury Road, Matt’s review of Inherent Vice to go along with a new trailer for the film, the first full-length trailer for Pixar’s Inside Out, and a recap of the 2015 Golden Globe nominations. Keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

TOP 5: STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS Trailer, Roberto Orci Not Directing STAR TREK 3, First TERMINATOR: GENISYS Trailer, BOND 24, JURASSIC WORLD Trailer

by     Posted 16 days ago

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Available now on VOD is director Igal Hecht‘s documentary The Sheik. Funny at times and jarringly raw at others, the film offers a look at the life of Khosrow Vaziri, better known by his fans as The Iron Sheik. In only 95 minutes the film does an admirable job of spanning Vaziri’s life before, during, and after his legendary professional wrestling career. This approach leaves you invested in Vaziri as a person rather than just as a wrestling/social meda icon, making the highs feel sweeter and the lows all the more tragic as a result. There’s much to like about The Sheik but, as a kid who grew up watching wrestling, the most interesting parts of the film for me were those dedicated to Vaziri’s time in the WWF (now WWE). Seeing the way that the Iran hostage crisis helped fuel The Iron Sheik’s ascent in pro wrestling as the sport’s greatest villain/heel is a fascinating example of the way Vince McMahon has used social issues and xenophobia to help build an entertainment empire. Hearing Vaziri talk about the offers he had from individuals who wanted him to go against McMahon’s plan and beat Hulk Hogan is yet another highlight. All told, The Sheik is a highly entertaining doc that anyone with a shred of pro wrestling nostalgia should go out of their way to see.

Recommendations aside, this week’s Top 5 will attempt to make up for last week’s absence by featuring hits from this week and last including the first trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the news that Roberto Orci is no longer directing Star Trek 3, the first trailer for Terminator: Genisys, Bond 24 getting an official title and casting announcements, and the first trailer for Universal’s Jurassic World. Keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

TOP 5: THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1, PITCH PERFECT 2, Chris Pratt in COWBOY NINJA VIKING, THE STAND Will Be Four Movies, FANTASTIC MR. FOXCATCHER Trailer

by     Posted 30 days ago

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Available now on VOD is writers/directors Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer‘s horror film Starry Eyes. Starring Alex Essoe as an aspiring actress who is desperate to land a role she’s convinced will jump start her career, the pic puts a devilish twist on a familiar tale of ambition, sacrifice, and obsession. Humorous at times (the very concept of a Hooters-esque restaurant called “Big Taters” comes to mind) and wholly bizarre/frightening at others, Starry Eyes owes a great deal of its effectiveness to Essoe’s fantastic turn as the determined Sarah Walker and Jonathan Snipes‘ (Room 237) tantalizing score. The way things escalate in the final act will make it a hard sell to non-horror fans, but for those who hold the genre near and dear I predict it will go down as one of the most beloved entries of 2014 due to its undeniable style, memorable performance, and pertinent themes.

My creepy as hell recommendation aside, this week’s Top 5 features interviews for and Matt’s review of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, the first trailer for Pitch Perfect 2, Chris Pratt landing the lead role in Universal’s Cowboy Ninja Viking adaptation, news regarding Josh Boone‘s The Stand adaptation, and a disturbingly well made FoxcatcherFantastic Mr. Fox mash-up trailer. Keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

TOP 5: Margot Robbie in SUICIDE SQUAD, DUMB AND DUMBER TO, Universal’s Monster Universe, INSURGENT Trailer, Doctor Doom’s New Origin in THE FANTASTIC FOUR

by     Posted 37 days ago

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I want to make this as clear as possible: if you’ve yet to check out writer/director Dan Gilroy‘s thriller Nightcrawler, you need to as quickly as you can. In his directorial debut, the veteran writer has not only crafted one of the best films of the year but also one of the most captivating protagonists in recent memory with Jake Gyllenhaal‘s Louis Bloom. The film centers on Bloom, a sociopathic thief who learns he can make a living shooting video of horrific events and selling said video to a local television news station managed by industry veteran Nina Romina (in an excellent turn by Rene Russo). As Bloom hones his craft, his price goes up and the stakes build in direct proportion. Nightcrawler should be lauded for its absolute evisceration of the local television news industry and its astute look at an economy so barren that it leaves room for this type of work to seem like an honest way to make a buck. That said, Gyllenhaal’s performance is the centerpiece and will be what Gilroy’s debut is ultimately remembered for. And rightfully so. It’s a career defining role that the actor owns from beginning to end.

Recommendation aside, this week’s Top 5 features Margot Robbie landing the role of Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad, interviews for and Matt’s review of Dumb and Dumber To, a few updates from Universal’s “Monster Movie Universe”, the first teaser trailer for Insurgent, and the revised origin of Toby Kebbell‘s Doctor Doom in Josh Trank‘s upcoming The Fantastic Four. Keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

TOP 5: INTERSTELLAR, STAR WARS: EPISODE VII Gets an Official Title, First FURIOUS 7 Trailer, BIG HERO 6, First Trailer for CHAPPIE

by     Posted 44 days ago

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If you prefer your action/sci-fi blockbusters both slick and smart, you’ll be hard pressed to find a more fitting title made in the last several years than director Doug Liman‘s Edge of Tomorrow. Adapted from the Japanese novel All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, the film only reinforces what I already believed: that Tom Cruise is the greatest living movie star in the world. He’s right in his wheelhouse as Major William Cage, a military officer who’s far more versed in the ways of spin and public relations than in actual combat. When a run-in with a rare alien leads Cage to be repeatedly thrust into the heart of a destined to fail military attack, the result is a thrilling and surprisingly funny ride that Cruise and Emily Blunt deftly carry. Watching Cruise replay the loop time after time, learning from his mistakes and inching closer to finality with each retry, may become tedious to some. For me, it was akin to learning the pattern of a video game only to finally reach the final boss on your last continue. All told, Edge is probably my favorite Cruise film since Minority Report and while it fails to reach the level of greatness, the fact that it’s even in the same conversation should tell you that it’s absolutely worth watching.

My Tom Cruise lovefest aside, this week’s Top 5 features an interview for and Matt’s review of Interstellar, Star Wars: Episode VII getting an official title, the first trailer for Furious 7, interviews for and Matt’s review of Disney’s Big Hero 6, and the first trailer for Neill Blomkamp‘s sci-fi actioner Chappie. Keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

TOP 5: NIGHTCRAWLER, Marvel Phase 3 News, First Look at TERMINATOR: GENISYS, STARRY EYES Trailer, My Favorite Halloween Movie

by     Posted 51 days ago

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After months of anticipation dating back to Matt’s Sundance review, I finally had the opportunity to check out The Babadook this week and it didn’t disappoint. Writer/director Jennifer Kent‘s film doesn’t just deliver consistent scares. It’s as moving and emotionally taxing as anything I’ve seen from the genre in years. Anchored by terrific lead performances from Essie Davis and Noah Wiseman, the pic is a grueling look at fear, resentment, and a single mother’s inability to cope with the constant presence of the two. From a horror perspective, The Babadook is extremely effective throughout as Kent delivers suspense, tension, and terror with deftness I wouldn’t expect from someone making their feature debut. Thematically, the film separates itself from the pack in the way it challenges viewers to acknowledge a piece of the human condition that is best kept latent, but exists nonetheless. Make no mistake, this is a scary film. Still yet, I would recommend The Babadook even to those who typically shy away from the genre due to the unique way it tells a touching story of a mother and son learning to live with loss.

My weekly recommendation out of the way, this week’s Top 5 features interviews for and Matt’s review of Nightcrawler, a ton of Phase 3 news from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the first look at Terminator: Genisys, a trailer for the horror film Starry Eyes, and write-ups for some of the staff’s favorite Halloween movies. Keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

TOP 5: First AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON Trailer, JOHN WICK, THE LOOK OF SILENCE Trailer, BIRDMAN, Brad Pitt Sits BETWEEN TWO FERNS

by     Posted 58 days ago

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With Halloween under a week away, today marks my final horror recommendation of the season. Whether it’s been a while since your last viewing or you’ve missed it all together, this is the perfect (and perhaps only) time of year to check out writer/director Tommy Lee Wallace‘s Halloween III: Season of the Witch. Often regarded as the odd duck of the franchise due to its storyline departure and a severe lack of Michael Myers, Season of the Witch relies less on slasher tropes in favor of sci-fi tinged horror. The gist of the plot is that a popular Halloween mask company (Silver Shamrock Novelties) is planning to kill every kid that wears one of their masks on Halloween night. Not a great business plan, but a serviceable witchcraft/sacrifice plan I suppose. The result is a vintage 80′s horror pic complete with solid practical effects, surprisingly violent deaths, killer androids, an old guy who more or less warns you to get out of town before it’s too late, and Tom Atkins‘ stellar mustache. While I’m not sure Season will hold up well under critical review, if you sit back and embrace the silliness of it all I think you’ll have a new Halloween favorite on your hands.

Recommendations aside, this week’s Top 5 highlights the first Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer, interviews for and Matt’s review of John Wick, a trailer for Joshua Oppenheimer‘s The Act of Killing follow-up The Look of Silence, interviews for and Matt’s review of Birdman, and Brad Pitt essentially getting eviscerated by Zach Galifianakis on Between Two Ferns. Keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

TOP 5: FURY, Superhero Movie Release Dates, HBO to Offer Stand-Alone Streaming Service, A Horrifying Education, New York Comic-Con Coverage

by     Posted 65 days ago

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Writer/director Ti West made a permanent name for himself in the horror community with 2009′s excellent The House of the Devil. While I think quite highly of that film, I hold his slightly less revered 2011 follow-up, The Innkeepers, in even higher regard. Starring Sara Paxton and Pat Healy (who reunited earlier this year in the disgustingly entertaining Cheap Thrills) as slacker hotel employees who are determined to prove their Yankee Pedlar Inn is haunted during its final weekend of operation, the film is a near pitch perfect modern haunted house tale. Relying on tension and timing rather than gore, West slowly builds The Innkeepers to an effective final act that is both scary as hell and quietly tragic. Because it so expertly relies on atmosphere/mood and quality of scares over quantity, this is one that I always recommend to my non-horror loving friends seeking a scary movie for this time of year that will play well without scarring them for life.

This week’s recommendation in hand, today’s Top 5 features interviews for and Matt’s review of the Brad Pitt war drama Fury, a metric ton of superhero movie release dates and news compiled in one place, word that HBO will launch its own stand-alone streaming service in 2015, the first in a four-entry series dedicated to schooling Matt on some horror favorites, and all of our New York Comic-Con coverage. Keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

TOP 5: TOMORROWLAND Trailer, THE JUDGE, GHOSTBUSTERS Reboot Confirmed with Paul Feig & Female Cast, WHIPLASH, The TRUE DETECTIVE Effect

by     Posted 72 days ago

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Highlighting a movie from a horror icon’s filmography that was generally well received isn’t exactly a reach, but somehow I still feel as if Sam Raimi‘s Drag Me to Hell doesn’t get the praise it deserves. The 2009 release stars Alison Lohman and Justin Long in a simple tale of a bank loan officer who is cursed by an elderly woman after denying her an extension on a mortgage payment. The conceit may be straightforward, but Lohman’s stellar performance in the physically demanding role paired with Raimi’s knack for perfectly balancing horror and camp elevate the pic to something special. Perhaps the best thing I can say about Drag Me to Hell is that I have a great time seeing it, every time I see it. The blend of scares and laughs, of the hilarious and the grotesque, make it incredibly watchable even when your instinct is to look away. It isn’t just worth a spot on your horror watch list but should be counted among the best horror films of the last decade.

Scary movie recommendation aside, this week’s Top 5 features the first trailer for Brad Bird and Disney’s Tomorrowland, interviews for and our review of The Judge, confirmation of the Ghostbusters reboot, interviews for and our review(s) of Whiplash, and Adam’s editorial on why more and more filmmakers are making the transition to creating for television. Keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

TOP 5: GONE GIRL, INHERENT VICE, New INTERSTELLAR Trailer, AMERICAN SNIPER, Most Anticipated: October to December

by     Posted 79 days ago

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Halloween season is upon us and to celebrate I’ll be recommending horror pics I’ve seen recently that I think merit a view in each Top 5 installment this month. This week my recommendation goes to writer/director Mike Flanagan‘s Oculus. The film hit theaters back in April where it enjoyed solid box office returns and critical success alike. While not overly frightening, Oculus is an effective, unsettling picture thanks in large part to Flanagan’s editing which expertly weaves present day and past events together in a way that makes the outcome(s) feel inevitable yet satisfying. Watching Karen Gillan and Brenton Thwaites‘ terrifying past and present unfold concurrently could have easily discombobulated the narrative. Instead, the transitions not only feel smooth but they add tremendous tension and empathy for the brother and sister. More psychological horror than gore fest (although it’s not completely void of tough to watch moments), Oculus is absolutely deserving of a spot on your All Hallows’ Eve watch list.

Recommendations aside, this week’s edition features Matt’s Gone Girl review and the conclusion of his David Fincher retrospective, the first trailer for Paul Thomas Anderson‘s Inherent Vice, a new Interstellar trailer, a breathtaking first trailer for Clint Eastwood‘s American Sniper, and a look at our most anticipated movies for the rest of 2014. Read on for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

TOP 5: THE EQUALIZER, David Fincher Retrospective, First BLACKHAT Trailer, THE BOXTROLLS, New Trailer for THE BABADOOK

by     Posted 86 days ago

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Two weeks ago I promised a recap of my time at MondoCon for today’s opening paragraph. As it turns out, I ended up doing a standalone recap of the event earlier in the week which frees up space for a recommendation today. In spite of its lukewarm reception thus far, director Shawn Levy‘s family dramedy This Is Where I Leave You is absolutely worth checking out. Sure, it can be formulaic at times. Yeah, some of the characters’ trials are a touch melodramatic. Still yet, Leave You is an enjoyable pic with great performances across its ensemble cast (especially from Adam Driver and Rose Byrne). It’s the type of mildly grown-up fare that I’d love to see Levy revisit sooner rather than later. If you haven’t already, skip the reviews and check it out for yourself. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Moving on to the reason we’re all here, this week’s Top 5 features interviews for and our review of Denzel Washington‘s The Equalizer, Matt’s retrospective look at the work of David Fincher, the first trailer for Michael Mann‘s crime drama Blackhat, our review and interviews for Laika’s The Boxtrolls, and a new trailer for writer/director Jennifer Kent‘s The Babadook because I haven’t yet hyped that film enough. Keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

Collider Goes to MondoCon: Over 25 Poster, Toy, and Vinyl Images from Mondo’s First Convention

by     Posted 91 days ago

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Take one glance at my family room and it’s obvious the impact that Mondo has had on my collecting habits. Framed prints line my walls, many of which are either Mondo releases or works from artists that I became familiar with while perusing the gallery’s archives. Safe to say, then, that it was an absolute privilege to be able to attend the inaugural MondoCon in Austin this Saturday. Held at The Marchesa Hall & Theater, the convention boasted a more intimate setting than convention goers may be accustomed to. In reality, you could cover the two halls that made up the “convention floor” in a matter of minutes if you just wanted to get a quick overview of everything the exhibitors had to offer. Like with any Tyler Stout print, though, those who took time to stop and admire the details were rewarded with a variety of items from some of today’s best artists, designers, composers, and more.

For less words and more images, hit the jump for a visual recap of my day in Mondo heaven.

TOP 5: BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE Batmobile, JOHN WICK Trailer, IRON MAN 4 Not Currently Planned, MAPS TO THE STARS, TIFF 2014

by     Posted 100 days ago

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The Top 5 will take a brief hiatus next week as I’ll be in Austin for MondoCon on Saturday. As someone who has little to no available wall space thanks to its namesake, I’m genuinely thrilled to have the opportunity to attend the convention and meet artists like Tim Sale, Francesco FrancavillaJock, and more. The analogy “like a kid on Christmas” comes to mind, but there’s a solid chance that there will be more alcoholic beverages consumed during my brief stint in Austin than would be appropriate for a child’s Christmas festivities. At any rate, Top 5 and I will return in two short weeks and I’ll likely use the opening paragraph to hit on some of the high points of my MondoCon experience then. This is important because it will not only mean that I enjoyed safe travels but also that my wife let me back in the house in spite of the posters and collectibles that I’ll inevitably bring home.

My prelude to MondoCon out of the way, this week’s installment includes a detailed look at the Batmobile from Zack Snyder‘s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the first trailer and poster for Keanu Reeves‘ revenge actioner John Wick, word from Robert Downey Jr. that there are currently no plans for Iron Man 4, a new trailer for David Cronenberg‘s Maps to the Stars, and all of our TIFF 2014 coverage to date. Keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

TOP 5: TIFF 2014, Dwayne Johnson Cast in Upcoming SHAZAM Film, BIG HERO 6, Fall 2014 Horror Preview, Creepy as Hell CUB Trailer

by     Posted 107 days ago

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This week’s Labor Day holiday afforded me the opportunity to check out a matinee screening of writer/director Richard Linklater‘s Boyhood. I consider myself a sucker for coming-of-age stories and, as such, I went into the movie expecting to like it. I didn’t expect to leave the theater feeling as if I’d just watched the greatest coming-of-age film ever made. From beginning to end, Boyhood feels important. Not “important” in that it demands to be taken seriously, rather in a way that feels as if Linklater is genuinely interested in capturing something authentic and meaningful. I never once got the impression that the timeline in which the film was made was being used as a gimmick for cheap emotional connection. To the contrary, Boyhood earns every emotional beat it hits by way of excellent performances (Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke stand out in particular), airtight pacing that documents the highlights of Mason’s adolescence, and sharp writing that makes it feel as if you didn’t miss all that much by bottling up 12 years of life into 165 minutes. I don’t know what kind of award chances Boyhood has and, to be honest, it really doesn’t matter. Awards are beneath this film. It’s a high-water mark not just for Linklater but for the medium in general.

All Boyhood hyperbole aside, this week’s Top 5 features all of our TIFF 2014 coverage to date, Dwayne Johnson being cast as “Black Adam” in Warner Bros. upcoming Shazam pic, interviews for and 24 things to know about Disney’s Big Hero 6, our Fall 2014 Horror Preview, and a disturbingly excellent trailer for the Belgian horror film Cub. Keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

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