Xbox’s Live-Action Digital Series HALO: NIGHTFALL Gets a Full, Dramatically Overwrought Trailer

by     Posted 5 hours ago

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Quality storytelling has never been the first thing that has come to mind when I think “Halo“.  I think “Excellent multiplayer gaming in the first installment” and “teabagging your opponent’s avatar”.  But I guess the Halo mythos must have enough going in its space-marines-versus-aliens plotline to warrant not one, but two series.  The first is Halo: Nightfall, which is being executive produced by Ridley Scott, and will serve as a lead-up to Halo 5: Guardians.  The series follows Jameson Locke (Mike Colter) and Office of Naval Intelligence (ONI) agents as they attempt to investigate terrorist activity on the colony world of Sedra.

The full trailer for the series has gone online and…hoo-boy.  I’ll just ask this: If this didn’t have the Halo brand attached, would you care at all?  Also, none of the characters are jumping and strafing at the same time, so how does this really tap into the spirit of the games?  Hit the jump to check out the Halo: Nightfall trailer.  The series will be released November 11th with Halo: The Master Chief Collection for Xbox One, a game that will require only 85GB of your 362GB hard drive.  The first episode of Nightfall will premiere the day prior, November 10th, as part of the official HaloFest livestreamClick here for our report on Halo: Nightfall from Comic-Con.

Steve Coogan to Replace Philip Seymour Hoffman in Showtime Comedy Series HAPPYISH

by     Posted 7 hours ago

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Philip Seymour Hoffman‘s death left a gaping void in the acting world, and there are so many more roles it would have been wonderful to see him tackle.  Among his planned projects was Happyish, a 10-episode half-hour comedy series for Showtime created, written, and executive produced by This American Life contributor Shalom Auslander (who also wrote the terrific book Foreskin’s Lament).  The series is described as “a soul-searching examination of our pursuit of happiness, a pursuit that might just be the very thing causing our unhappiness in the first place.”

The project was in stasis following Hoffman’s death, but Showtime has decided to move forward by casting Steve Coogan in the lead role of “Thom Payne, a 44 year-old man whose world is thrown into disarray when his 25 year-old “wunderkind” boss arrives, saying things like ‘digital,’ ‘social’ and ‘viral.’” The series was also set to star Kathryn Hahn and Rhys Ifans, but there’s no mention of them in the press release, so it’s possible that their roles—Thom’s wife and his mentor—are being re-cast.  Hit the jump for the press release.  The half-hour pilot will be shot in New York in December.

Official Image and Concept Art Revealed for Adrianne Palicki in Her Mockingbird Suit from AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D.

by     Posted 12 hours ago

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On last night’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (read Evan’s recap here), the show introduced the character Bobbi Morse (a.k.a. Mockingbird) who, as we previously reported, would be “popping in perhaps not as an ally to Coulson (Clark Gregg) and his team.”  Today, we have an official image of Adrianne Palicki in Mockingbird’s tactical outfit along with some concept art.

Hit the jump to check out the outfit along with an explanation from Costume Designer Ann FoleyAgents of S.H.I.E.L.D. airs Tuesday nights on ABC, and if you don’t watch it, you may want to next week because it’s going to have the first trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron.

A Horrifying Education: MARTYRS

by     Posted Yesterday

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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 Yesterday

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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 Yesterday

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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 Yesterday

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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 Yesterday

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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 Yesterday

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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 Yesterday

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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 2 days ago

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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 5 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 5 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 5 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 5 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.

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