A Horrifying Education: MARTYRS

by     Posted 5 hours ago

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I’ll give this to my teachers: When they assigned torture porn, they didn’t do half-measures.

I knew of Martyrs by reputation, with the reputation being a mix of “One of the goriest films ever,” and “GAAAAAAHHHHH.”  And that got me excited because this was coming from die-hard horror fans; people who have seen the worst of the worst and they were still affected by this film.  I was ready to jump in with both feet by watching it in my darkened apartment right before going to bed.

Instead of making me afraid of possible nightmares, Martyrs helped me drift off to sleep by being so boring. [Spoilers and gory images ahead]

Check out the Trailer for MONSTERS UNIVERSITY Short Film, “Party Central”; Watch the Full Short Now for Free on Disney Movies Anywhere

by     Posted 5 hours ago

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Earlier this year, the Monsters University short film “Party Central” played in front of Muppets Most Wanted, and if you didn’t catch that film (and judging by the movie’s box office, you didn’t), you now have a chance to watch the short online for free.  The story has Mike (Billy Crystal) and Sully (John Goodman) using a door station to clandestinely move a frat party over at ROR to Oozma Kappa.  If you ignore the fact that (unlike the Toy Story shorts) there’s no way for this one to factor into the movie’s timeline, and that it’s out of character for the monsters to risk being caught by humans, this is a fairly amusing short.  It’s certainly worth seeing for free if you download the Disney Movies Anywhere app for iPhone or iPad.

Hit the jump to check out the Monsters University Party Central trailer.  The short also features the voices of Charlie Day, Dave Foley, Sean Hayes, Bobby Moynihan, Joel Murray, and Julia Sweeney.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: AWESOME MIX VOL. 1 Will Finally Be Released in the Proper Format: Audio Cassette

by     Posted 6 hours ago

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A few weeks ago, Mondo announced they were releasing the year’s best soundtrack, Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1, on vinyl, which was all well and good.  Everybody loves vinyl.  And yet I would have been slightly more impressed if it were being released on audio cassette since that’s what Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) has in the movie.  Of course, it’s a lot to ask a boutique operation like to manufacture cassette tapes.  It seemed like it an Awesome Mix tape would be a pipe dream.

Sometimes dreams come true.  A Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1 cassette tape will be released as a promotional item as part of Record Store Day’s Black Friday event on November 28th.  Yes, cassettes, especially when compared to vinyl, CDs, or mp3s, have awful audio quality, but this is really more of a collector’s item than anything else (seriously, do you even have a cassette player anymore?).  If you want to pick the cassette tape up (as well as support your local record store), click here to find participating locations.  The cassette, a joint release between Marvel and Disney-owned Hollywood Records, will only be available until the end of the year, but I have a feeling these are going to go very fast. [The Dissolve]

THE LOOK OF SILENCE Trailer: Joshua Oppenheimer’s Follow-Up to THE ACT OF KILLING Sees Genocide through the Victims’ Eyes

by     Posted 7 hours ago

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Drafthouse Films has released a trailer for Joshua Oppenheimer‘s new documentary The Look of Silence.  A companion piece to his mind-blowing 2013 film The Act of Killing, The Look of Silence was the movie Oppenheimer originally intended to make, which examined the victims of the Indonesian genocide that wiped out over a million people who were accused of being communists.  The Act of Killing came about when the killers were interviewed and bragged about their crimes, so Oppenheimer had to turn the approach on its head and had them recreate the murders.  The Look of Silence is more direct as the son of one of the victims confronts the executioners, but the movie is still powerful and a must-see.

Hit the jump to check out The Look of Silence trailer, and click here to read my review from TIFF.  The film opens in 2015.

Bean Joins THE MARTIAN, Dormer Enters THE FOREST, Livingston Faces THE 5TH WAVE, and David and Knapp Fight THE NICE GUYS

by     Posted 8 hours ago

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We have some casting news for you today.  First up, Sean Bean has signed on to Ridley Scott‘s The Martian.  Scripted by Drew Goddard (The Cabin in the Woods) based on an e-book by Andy Weir, Matt Damon stars as an astronaut who gets stranded on Mars and must figure out how to survive long enough for NASA to rescue him.  According to THR, Bean will play a NASA flight director.  It seems like a safe job, but I’m sure Bean’s character will find some way to die.  He’ll probably choke on a donut or something.  The film also stars Jessica Chastain, Jeff Daniels, Kate Mara, Michael Pena and Kristen WiigThe Martian opens November 25, 2015.  Bean currently stars on the TNT series Legends and will next be seen in Jupiter Ascending and Pixels.

Hit the jump for casting news regarding Natalie Dormer (Game of Thrones), Ron Livingston (Office Space), Keith David (Cloud Atlas) and Beau Knapp (Super 8).

Check Out the WE THE ECONOMY Animated Shorts, Adam McKay’s “The Unbelievably Sweet Alpacas” and Chris Henchy’s “GDP Smackdown”

by     Posted 10 hours ago

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Financial institutions have a leg-up on the American populace because economics are difficult to understand.  They’re also kind of boring, and Americans love to be entertained.  We the Economy: 20 Short Films You Can’t Afford to Miss is a series of short films that attempt to use entertainment as means of educating people about the economy.  Funny or Die has released two animated shorts from the anthology: “The Unbelievably Sweet Alpacas” directed by Adam McKay (Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy) and “GDP Smackdown” by Chris Henchy (writer on The Campaign).

These are interesting shorts, but they unintentionally reveal another problem in America: confirmation bias.  For example, those who deny income inequality exists in America or that any solution is “socialism” won’t be swayed by McKay’s short. There’s no argument that can upset their worldview.  These shorts may use entertainment to convey economic facts, but in America, the only “facts” we want are the ones that don’t make us reconsider the world.  Hit the jump to check out the short films.  We the Economy is now available on multiple platforms.

THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1 TV Spot Contains New Footage of Katniss Refusing to Give up the Fight

by     Posted 11 hours ago

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Lionsgate has released a new The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 TV spot, which contains fresh footage from the upcoming blockbuster.  The film finds Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) at the forefront of the rebellion in Panem while Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and Johanna (Jena Malone) are held captive in the Capitol.  We’ve had some huge hits this year, but I’m still putting my money on The Girl on Fire for winning the 2014 box office race, especially since this looks like the biggest Hunger Games movie yet.

Hit the jump to check out the new TV spot.  The film also stars Liam HemsworthWoody HarrelsonJulianne MoorePhilip Seymour HoffmanElizabeth Banks, Sam Claflin, Jena Malone, and Donald SutherlandThe Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 opens on November 21st.

Robert Downey Jr. Says CAPTAIN AMERICA 3 Is “Gonna Be Huge” Thus Putting Hugeness Doubts to Rest

by     Posted Yesterday

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I enjoy Marvel’s constant change-ups with fan expectations.  Immediately following Captain America: The Winter Soldier, it was looking like Captain America 3 would be driven by the hunt for Bucky.  That could still be the case in terms of a baseline or prologue, but what Marvel is really going for is setting up a big plot arc with Civil War (a.k.a “Thanos Who?”), and they managed to nab Robert Downey Jr. as a co-lead.  There are plenty of reasons to be excited for the third Captain America movie because the future is wonderful, mysterious, and glorious place where anything is possible.

And we will be able to let our imaginations run wild for almost a year as we wonder what Marvel is cooking, and everyone involved in Cap 3 has to be evasive until Entertainment Weekly gets a big, studio-timed cover story that reveals actual information.  But until then, RDJ has some comments on the upcoming sequel.  Hit the jump for more.  Captain America 3 opens May 6, 2016.

YOUNG ONES Review

by     Posted 4 days ago

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[This is a re-post of my review from the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.  Young Ones opens today in limited release.]

There are rare times when everything in a movie can work—its direction, performances, etc.—and yet the picture somehow comes up short. This is the problem with trying to judge movies piecemeal. For all of the different aspects that make up a picture, we have to evaluate it as a whole. Obviously, we can call attention to its outstanding aspects, but they have to lead, for better or worse, to some kind of impression. Jake Paltrow’s Young Ones is remarkable in how it does so much right, and yet it leaves the viewer completely cold. Its strengths are undeniable and its flaws are subtle, so subtle that they can be confusing as to how such a technically superb picture can be so ineffective.

HBO Turned Down THE WIRE Spin-Off Focusing on Tommy Carcetti; David Simon also Says They Considered a Season Featuring Immigration

by     Posted 4 days ago

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Last night, PaleyFest held a panel for the critically acclaimed HBO series, The Wire, a show you’re not allowed to dislike in any way or else you’ll be considered a heretic and a heathen (read my review of every season!).  The panel included creator and showrunner David Simon, executive producer Nina Noble, and cast members Wendell Pierce, Michael K. Williams, Sonja Sohn, Seth Gilliam, Jim True-Frost, John Doman, Tristan Wilds, Lawrence Gilliard Jr., and Jamie Hector.

The group shared a bunch of stories, but among the most intriguing was Simon’s reveal that they wanted to spin off Tommy Carcetti (Aiden Gillen) into his own series following season three.  Hit the jump for more

Scarlett Johansson Offered Lead in Live-Action Adaptation of GHOST IN THE SHELL

by     Posted 4 days ago

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Last month, we reported that Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street) was in talks to star in Rupert Sanders‘ (Snow White and the Huntsman) live-action adaptation of the classic manga/anime, Ghost in the Shell.  The story focuses on Major Motoko Kusanagi, the leader of a covert ops unit that fights cyber-terrorists.  Motoko has a fully synthetic cyborg body but retains her human essence/soul or “ghost.”  According to Deadline, DreamWorks has decided to now offer the lead role to Scarlett Johansson with a bigger payday, which has now pushed Robbie towards Suicide Squad.

Hit the jump for more.

THE TALE OF PRINCESS KAGUYA Review

by     Posted 4 days ago

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[This is a re-post of my The Tale of Princess Kaguya review from the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.  The film opens today in limited release.  Please note that this review is for the original Japanese-language version, so there is no critique of the English-language dubbing or the voice acting.]

Studio Ghibli’s films have always embraced the connection between nature and magic, and The Tale of Princess Kaguya continues this tradition in fine form. Writer-director Isao Takahata, who also co-founded Studio Ghibli, breaks from the company’s familiar animation style to venture into a sumi-e look that perfectly suits the story’s celebration of nature’s simplicity and magnificence. Although Kaguya does become slightly redundant in highlighting its heroine’s values before the film indulges in an abrupt revelation, Takahata and Ghibli have still found fresh life in their classic themes.

Will Smith, Tom Hardy, and Margot Robbie Close to Signing on for SUICIDE SQUAD

by     Posted 4 days ago

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Following Warner Bros.’ big announcement that Suicide Squad would be their first DC movie following Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, word surfaced that the studio was courting Will Smith, Tom Hardy, Margot Robbie, and Ryan Gosling to star.  The DC comic focuses on a group of supervillains who go on suicide missions in exchange for pardons.  None of these supervillains are household names.  There’s no Joker or Lex Luthor in the gang.  In the comics, the lineup has changed over the years, but last week, it was rumored that Deadshot, Harkness (a.k.a Captain Boomerang), Vixen, Blockbuster, Multiplex, Jaculi, and Mindblogger would comprise the squad with the first three acting as the leads.

A couple days ago when we reported that WB was going after Smith, Hardy, Robbie, and Gosling for the film, it seemed fairly audacious.  Now that audacity may have landed three of the four actors.  Hit the jump for more.  Suicide Squad is due out August 5, 2016.

FURY Review

by     Posted 5 days ago

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If “war is hell,” then every soldier is a sinner.  It would be nice to think that every American who fought in World War II was a saint, but we know that’s not the truth.  War makes monsters because it has to, and we have to live with that ugliness because it’s in service of defeating a greater evil.  Since we as Americans accept without question that Nazis are evil and deserved to be killed en masse, writer-director David Ayer turns the problem of morality towards American soldiers with his new movie, Fury.  Despite strong central performances from Brad Pitt and Logan Lerman, Ayer’s picture ultimately feels hollow as the spectacular action and stomach-churning violence never take us anywhere beyond what we already know: war is hell.

Shawn Levy in Talks to Direct MINECRAFT Movie

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Back in February, we reported that Warner Bros. had acquired the rights to adapt the ridiculously popular video game Minecraft into a film with Roy Lee (The LEGO Movie) producing alongside Jill Messick (Mean Girls).  The open-world game is from Swedish indie developers Mojang AB, and allows players to create a world with textured cubes.  Different modes have the players either fighting for survival or they can simply build away without any restraints aside from a lack of rounded corners.

I don’t understand Minecraft at all, which makes me feel super-old, but Warner Bros. thinks Night at the Museum director Shawn Levy might have a good take on the material.  Hit the jump for more.

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