The STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS Trailer May Arrive Thanksgiving Week

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We’ve been hearing quite a few rumblings lately about the first Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer debuting sometime fairly soon, but it turns out the teaser might be arriving much earlier than anticipated.  Like, next week earlier.  Director J.J. Abrams and co. wrapped production on the upcoming Episode VII a few weeks ago and the film doesn’t open until theaters for over a year, but this is one of the most anticipated movies in recent memory, so it’s no surprise that Disney and Lucasfilm are keen on giving a brief first look to fans a bit early.  If a new report is to be believed, the first footage from the Star Wars sequel will arrive Thanksgiving week in the form of a Force Awakens teaser trailer.  More after the jump.

THE MISSING Recap: “Episode Two”

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In its second episode, The Missing continued the taught and emotional storytelling of its first.  “Episode Two” also showed that the series is not looking for quick answers, and yet, it still (thanks to its dual timeline) moves at a very fast pace.  A hint at the end of the hour also suggested that there is more to Oliver’s case than just a rogue kidnapper, but that is, of course, only one small part of the story.  His the jump for why “we need to get a heartbeat out of a building that died over three centuries ago.”

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

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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.

Everything You Need to Know About BLACK PANTHER: An Introduction to the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s New Addition

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Of the new characters set to enter the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the next five years, one of the biggest fan-favorites has to be T’Challa, aka the Black Panther.  The Black Panther is different from most heroes due to the fact that he runs his own country.  Yes, T’Challa is the leader of the fictional African country known as Wakanda, a technologically advanced powerhouse that is light years ahead of the rest of the world in almost every respect.  The Black Panther is set to star in his own movie in November of 2017, will have a prominent role in Captain America: Civil War in 2016, and the role has already been cast with Chadwick Boseman of Get On Up and 42 fame bringing him to life.  With such a high-profile character finally getting the big screen treatment, now seems like a good time for an introduction to one of Marvel Studios’ newest heroes.  Check out everything you need to know about the Black Panther after the jump.

Paris International Fantastic Film Festival Day 2: Tattoos, Hot Dogs and Butterflies in Our Stomachs

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The second day at the Paris International Fantastic Film Festival was filled with a lot of — pardon my French — WTF moments. It leaves one wondering whether David Cronenberg had anything to do with today’s program.

It turns out the Canadian director was clearly an influence and thanked in the closing credits of Ink, the short film screened before the first competing film du jour and worth a mention. Written and directed by Glasgow-based horror journalist Andy Stewart, this sinister and horrific story features a young loser in Glasgow who is so desperate for some ink that he’s willing to go to extreme lengths to get tatted up and transform himself into an ambulatory work of art.  Instead of going to the local tattoo parlor like a normal person — well, the shop owner shoos him away — he has a more, um, unusual method.  He spots a tattoo he likes, he takes out his box cutter and cuts the patch of skin out of the person, before wrapping it in a newspaper and heading home. He then endures the agony of carving out his own skin in order to sew the stolen tattoo on his own body. No pain, no gain, right? 

Friday Box Office: MOCKINGJAY PART 1 Claims Highest Debut of 2014 with $55 Million

by     Posted 12 hours ago

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Those who have been paying attention to 2014’s box office coverage know that there have been two regular refrains over the past eleven months: “Wow, this year kind of blows,” followed by, “But wait until Mockingjay hits!”  In a year that offered more misses than hits, it seemed like a safe bet that the penultimate chapter of the wildly successful The Hunger Games series would provide at least one weekend of hyperbolic box office goodness.  Huge crowds on opening night, maybe even a record or two?  So color me confused to have to say that, after all that buildup, Mockingjay – Part 1 is not the box office savior many of us were expecting.  At least not yet.

Full story after the jump

Tina Fey’s NBC Comedy UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT Moves to Netflix with Two-Season Commitment; Debuts in March 2015

by     Posted 13 hours ago

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In addition to developing its own incredibly successful original series like House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black, Netflix has also made a habit of either reviving long-dead shows (Arrested Development) or acquiring final seasons of soon-to-be-canceled/recently canceled series (Longmire, The Killing).  Now the network is adding a different kind of resurrection to its repertoire, as it has rescued a pilot from a major network.  NBC has been developing the comedy series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt for some time, and it’s been of interest because it was the first show that 30 Rock creator Tina Fey and co-showrunner Robert Carlock developed after the end of that excellent series.  A pilot was shot and it was ordered straight-to-series, but NBC had yet to put it on either its fall or midseason schedule for this year, leading many (including myself) to wonder what had happened.

Well now it turns out that NBC has found a way to sort of pass on the series while also not killing it completely, as Netflix has made a two-season commitment to acquire the show.  More after the jump.

DVD/Blu-ray Deals: HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER, FRIENDS, FIGHT CLUB, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA and More

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Amazon has a number of great DVD/Blu-ray deals and I’ve grabbed the highlights and linked them below.  As always, only limited quantities available so act fast.

LEIGH WHANNELL Talks THE MULE, Writing a Crime Film With Angus Sampson, Evolving as a Performer, and INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 3

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I’ve been a big proponent of The Mule since I saw it at SXSW.  Which is funny to me, since I had to be dragged almost kicking and screaming into seeing it by one of the film’s publicists.  Despite my fondness for Leigh Whannell (who co-wrote and has a major part in the film) and Angus Sampson (who co-wrote with Whannell, stars and co-directs), I’m just not that into scatological humor, which is what I thought the film was almost entirely going to consist of.

I was wrong.  All of the stomach churning elements you’ve heard about are there, but there’s an incredibly solid movie around them in every way that never pushes the gross-out throttle beyond what the story organically allows.  This is an effective crime film that works very well as both a comedy and a drama and you should seek it out.  I recently hopped on the phone with Whannell to talk about all of this as well as get an update on Insidious: Chapter 3.  Hit the jump for my interview with Leigh Whannell about The Mule.  Directed by Sampson and Tony Mahoney the film also stars Hugo Weaving,  Ewen LeslieGeoff MorrellGeorgina HaigNoni Hazlehurst and John Noble.  You can find the film in Theaters, on VOD and on iTunes (link here) now.

CONSTANTINE Recap: “Danse Vaudou”

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Tonight’s spooky episode of NBC’s Constantine was a straight-up ghost story wrapped in a voodoo presentation.  Although “Danse Vaudou” didn’t do a whole lot to advance the season’s storyline (until the last few seconds, at least), it did have plenty of scares and style to spare.  It had the staples of urban legends – a deceased hitchhiker, a femme fatale, a love lost too soon – elevated by not only the tales of the loved ones they left behind, but by the clashing magical styles of Constantine and Papa Midnite.  While the hour didn’t have quite the heart-tugging moments of last week’s effort, it was still an enjoyable installment in what has become my surprise show of the season.

Hit the jump for our Constantine recap.

RED KNOT Trailer With Olivia Thirlby and Vincent Kartheiser; Film Finally Set For Release Next Month

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More Olivia Thirlby is always a good thing.  She’s one of our best actresses and we need a lot more of her on the silver, and smaller, screen. Same with Vincent Kartheiser, who we don’t see enough outside of weasel roles (Mad Men) or villainous archetypes (In Time), both of which he plays rather well.  He’s not completely out of those woods in this Red Knot trailer, but perhaps the circumstances in the film will add a few layers of nuance to his eternally wandering eye.  The film was shot by director Scott Cohen over five years ago, but is now being readied for release.  And it looks gorgeous.

Hit the jump for the Red Knot trailer and a few words from Thirlby on the movie’s production.  The film also stars Billy Campbell and opens at IFC in New York on December 5th.

THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1 – What Did You Think?

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The time has come.  What’s bound to be the highest earner of 2014 is now in theaters.  As someone who’s very familiar with Suzanne Collins’ source material and has read Mockingjay quite a few times, I’ve been well aware that The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 was going to be the biggest challenge of the film franchise.  Yes, the book has problems, but even if the scribes behind the Mockingjay movies fix them – and I think they did fix quite a few – the fact that Mockingjay – Part 1 is such a departure from the original two films could still be a problem for many.

You can catch Matt’s full review of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 right here, but we’d also like to know what you think about the movie, too.  Did you like the change of tone and pace?  Did it leave you eager to see Mockingjay – Part 2?  Sound off in the comments after the jump.

Channing Tatum to Direct FORGIVE ME, LEONARD PEACOCK Adaptation

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Get ready for Channing Tatum, Director.  The prolific actor/producer has been enjoying some very deserved rave reviews recently for his performance in the drama Foxcatcher, and now it looks as though he’s ready to take his career to the next level with directing.  Tatum is attached to co-direct an adaptation of Silver Linings Playbook author Matthew Quick’s YA book Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock for The Weinstein Company.  Tatum will be directing the picture with his producing partner Reid Carolin, with whom he developed Magic Mike and its upcoming sequel Magic Mike XXL.  More on this interesting directorial debut after the jump. 

DALLAS BUYERS CLUB Director Jean-Marc Vallée to Helm Amy Adams in Janis Joplin Biopic

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The Jackie Jorp Jomp Janis Joplin biopic has a new director.  Lee Daniels had been attached to helm a film about the Queen of Rock ‘N Roll for a few years with Amy Adams attached to star, but it now appears that Daniels is no longer involved in the project, as Dallas Buyers Club and Wild director Jean-Marc Vallée is set to make the untitled biopic his next project with Adams still attached to star and sing all of Joplin’s songs herself.  Vallée is also bringing new writers onto the project as well, as his Oscar-nominated Dallas Buyers Club scribes Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack are due to perform a rewrite of the draft originally written by Ron and Theresa Kounin-Terry.  More after the jump.

Bennett Miller Talks FOXCATCHER, His 4 Hour and 15 Minute First Cut, Collaborating with Megan Ellison, Shooting on Film, His Editing Process, and More

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Now playing in limited release is one of my favorite films of 2014: director Bennett Miller’s (Moneyball, Capote) Foxcatcher.  With career best performances and phenomenal direction, the film tells the true story of Olympic Wrestling Champion brothers Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) and Dave Schultz (Mark Ruffalo), and their troubled relationship with eccentric millionaire John du Pont (Steve Carell).  The film also stars Sienna MillerVanessa Redgrave, and Anthony Michael Hall.  For more on Foxcatcher, watch the trailer, read Matt’s review, or click here for all our previous coverage.

At the recent Los Angeles press day I landed an exclusive interview with Bennett Miller.  He talked about the long editing process, how his first cut was over four hours, shooting on film, producer Megan Ellison (who deserves a huge thank you from all of us for supporting films like this) and the way she likes to collaborate, and a lot more.  Hit the jump to either read or listen to what he had to say.

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