Andre Braugher Talks BROOKLYN NINE-NINE Season 2, Perfecting the Art of the Straight Man, Feeling Reinvigorated by the Series, and More

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From Emmy Award-winning writer/producers Dan Goor and Michael Schur, the hit Fox comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine follows talented-but-carefree Detective Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg), by-the-book Captain Holt (Andre Braugher), and their precinct colleagues. While based in the workplace, the ensemble series focuses on the men and women behind the badge.

During this recent interview to promote the return the show’s sophomore season, actor Andre Braugher talked about what he’s most excited about with Season 2, working with guest star Kyra Sedgwick, what initially drew him to the show and character, whether the atmosphere on set has changed at all, what he’s enjoyed most about being a part of the show, playing the straight man, and whether he might direct an episode.  Check out what he had to say after the jump.

GOODBYE TO LANGUAGE Review | NYFF 2014

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I’d like to consider myself someone who’s open to all styles of art, unique forms of expression and storytelling techniques, but perhaps I have to draw the line at Jean-Luc Godard’s latest, Goodbye to Language. The thing only clocks in at 70-minutes long, but the screening felt like an eternity and even after it finally ended, I was stuck with the frustration of having wasted a morning and was left with a nasty headache to go along with it.  This movie is playing in some of the most prestigious film festivals around the world yet has claimed a top spot on my worst of the year list and is pretty high up amongst my worst of all time selections as well.

Dwayne Johnson Confirms Role in Ludlum’s THE JANSON DIRECTIVE; Akiva Goldsman to Write Script

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A couple of months ago Dwayne Johnson was reported to be in talks to star in Universal’s adaptation of Robert Ludlum‘s novel The Janson Directive.  Now it has been confirmed that he is officially cast.  Not only that, but Oscar winner Akiva Goldsman will be writing the script (presumably a page-one rewrite of the draft John Hlavin was commissioned to execute a few years ago).  Make no mistake, Universal wants to fashion this into a Bourne style franchise for Johnson and I… have no problem with that.  It’s gotta be better than The Bourne Legacy.

The story follows a former consular ops agent who goes into business as a private security consultant after becoming uncomfortable with the high number of sanctioned killings as a covert operative.  I’m kind of looking forward to seeing Johnson do serious action work that doesn’t have the wink and nod element built in (though I love the Fast & Furious movies).  Hit the jump for more on The Janson Directive.

Weekend Box Office: THE EQUALIZER Shoots to the Top with $35 Million

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As expected, The Equalizer came out on top this weekend, earning an estimated $35 million from 3,236 locations.  That’s surprisingly strong for a September debut – especially considering the movie is based on a TV series few people remember.  The credit goes to Denzel Washington, who has one of the best opening weekend records of any A-list actor.  Not all of Washington’s films in the past decade have gone on to be hits (Unstoppable, The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3), but the man can definitely open a movie.  The Equalizer is Washington’s best box office debut since 2012’s Safe House and it also gives director Antoine Fuqua the highest opening of his career.

 Title Weekend Total
1.  The Equalizer $35,000,000 $35
2.  The Maze Runner $17,500,000 $58
3.  The Boxtrolls $17,250,000 $17.2
4.  This Is Where I Leave You $7,010,000 $22.5
5  Dolphin Tale 2 $4,835,000 $33.6
6.  No Good Deed $4,600,000 $46.6
7.  A Walk Among the Tombstones $4,234,000 $20.8
8.  Guardians of the Galaxy $3,789,000 $319.1
9.  Let’s Be Cops $1,515,000 $79.6
10.  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles $1,450,000 $187.1

 

Details after the jump.

First SON OF A GUN Clip: Brenton Thwaites Teaches Ewan McGregor Chess in Prison

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Entertainment One has released the first Son of a Gun clip.  The Australian thriller follows a young man (Brenton Thwaites) who becomes the apprentice of a calculating crime boss (Ewan McGregor).  The clip shows what looks like the meet-cute between the two in prison, where the apprentice walks by and shows the boss where he went wrong in his chess game.  McGregor is more intimidating than I expected.

Alicia Vikander, Jacek Koman, Matt Nable, and Tom Budge also star in the feature directorial debut of Julius Avery.  There is no U.S. release date yet, but Son of a Gun opens October 14 in Australia.  Watch the Son of a Gun clip after the break.

New THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1 Images Feature Philip Seymour Hoffman, Sam Claflin, and Evan Ross

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After an opening salvo last week Lionsgate continues to supply new The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 images on the regular.  The three pics they just released are fairly inconsequential but I loved Catching Fire so much I’m happy to report on the minutia of  Francis Lawrence’s upcoming films in the series.  The new images focus on the characters played by Philip Seymour Hoffman, Sam Claflin, and Evan Ross.  As you can tell from the end of Catching Fire and the first trailer for the new film, Hoffman’s Plutarch Heavensbee is coming from a completely different place this time around.

Hit the jump to take a look at the new The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 images.  The film also stars Jennifer LawrenceLiam HemsworthWoody HarrelsonJulianne MooreElizabeth BanksNatalie Dormer, and Donald Sutherland.  The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 opens in theaters on November 21st.

André Benjamin Talks JIMI: ALL IS BY MY SIDE, His First Exposure to Hendrix’s Music, Playing Guitar Left-Handed, His Experience with Fame, and More

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From writer/director John Ridley (12 Years A Slave), the indie biopic Jimi: All Is By My Side covers the year from 1966 to 1967, when Jimi Hendrix (with a memorable and magnetic performance from OutKast’s André Benjamin) was an unknown back-up guitarist making his mark on London’s music scene.  It’s an intimate portrait that shows the sensitive and complex man behind the rock legend.

During a conference at the film’s press day, André Benjamin talked about what he hopes audiences will take away from this film, his own experience with fame, his first exposure to Jimi Hendrix’s music, what most surprised him about the man behind the performer, having to play guitar with his left hand for the film, working with his female co-stars Imogen Poots and Hayley Atwell, how he found his performance, and whether he even considers himself an actor.  Check out what he had to say after the jump.

Annaleigh Ashford Talks MASTERS OF SEX Season 2, How Her Character Grew from the Pilot, Working with Sarah Silverman, and More

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On the hit Showtime series Masters of Sex, actress Annaleigh Ashford gives a pitch perfect performance as Betty Dimello, a brash prostitute with a frank understanding of her own sexuality, who married a rich man (Greg Grunberg) to get her out of the life she was leading.  From the beginning of Dr. Masters’ (Michael Sheen) sex study, Betty allowed him to observe her and the other girls in her brothel, becoming both a friend to Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan) and one of the few women who keeps Masters in line.

During this exclusive phone interview with Collider, Annaleigh Ashford talked about how she came to be a part of this show, learning about Betty as she got each script, her reaction to learning the real history between Betty and her husband, working with such a talented cast, getting into the headspace of a woman like this, in this time period, what a treat it is to play someone who unabashedly tells it like it is, that she would ultimately love to see Betty happy, working with such high caliber directors, and how socially relevant many of the show’s plot points still are today.  Check out what she had to say after the jump, and be aware that there are some spoilers.

MAPS TO THE STARS Review | NYFF 2014

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I don’t like to admit it, but every now and then, I do enjoy picking up a tabloid.  Simply put, it’s fun to read about nonsense like what everyone’s wearing and see that celebrities are really “just like us.”  And the same goes for covering industry news as well.  I truly enjoy finding out what everyone’s up to, whether I’m a fan or not, and that’s a big part of the reason David Cronenberg’s latest works so well.  Maps to the Stars is a Hollywood satire that takes you behind the scenes and dishes out joke after joke at the industry’s expense, but screenwriter Bruce Wagner also slips in an offbeat and riveting mystery that makes the experience more than a fleeting laugh, but rather a dark, absurd and disturbing experience that’ll stick with you well after it ends.

The Films of David Fincher: ZODIAC

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[With the upcoming release of his new film Gone Girl, I’m taking a look back at the work of director David Fincher.  These articles contain spoilers.]

Listening to the commentary tracks for Se7en, The Game, Fight Club, and Panic Room, you can hear in Fincher’s voice a slight bit of annoyance and frustration.  It’s not quite bitterness, but there’s an acerbic quality from a man who’s exhausted and can’t help but lay out wry observations.  The Panic Room track in particular conveys the sense that no one should ever make a movie because it’s a hellish experience meant only for masochists.  But his commentaries pick up afterwards, and I believe that’s partly because Fincher found his true love: digital.

Digital completely changed the way Fincher made movies, and it allowed him to provide the precision to performances that he’d applied to all other aspects of his pictures.  From here on, he sounds much happier, and when talking about Zodiac, it’s like a trip down memory lane as he recalls childhood memories of a serial killer who terrorized and tormented a city, and would never be caught.  Zodiac is by no means a happy movie, but it’s one that feels like part of a revitalized director who found a picture that fits perfectly with his admiration for process, attention to detail, and the cynicism of how a search for “truth” can rip lives apart.

THE WALKING DEAD Spin-Off Character Descriptions Reveal Level-Headed Parents and Rebellious Teens

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Since AMC’s The Walking Dead is currently the highest rated drama series on all of television in the coveted 18-49 demo, it was only a matter of time before AMC expanded the brand.  The network announced plans for a Walking Dead spin-off last year, and officially ordered a pilot for the potential series earlier this month.  With the wheels in motion to finally move forward on this new corner of the Walking Dead universe, character descriptions for the pilot episode have landed online that give us a few hints as to what we may expect from the Walking Dead companion series.  We previously heard that the new show might be a prequel of sorts, focusing on the early efforts to combat the zombie infection in its infancy, and these character descriptions appear to corroborate that information.

Hit the jump to read the Walking Dead spin-off character descriptions, which seem to have a heavy focus on family.

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

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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.

First TAKEN 3 Poster Doesn’t Make Any Sense

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The first Taken 3 poster has landed online courtesy of an international one-sheet, and it’s almost impressively nonsensical.  Taken 2 helmer Olivier Megaton returns to the director’s chair this time around, with the story finding Liam Neeson’s Bryan Mills on the run after he’s framed for murder.  Firstly, the official title is Tak3n which is just dumb.  Secondly, nobody gets “taken” in this likely final sequel, so the title doesn’t even really make any sense.  And third, this new poster sees Neeson standing under what looks to be the famous “Hollywood” sign, except there’s a giant “3” in the middle of the word (which from the front would form a weird-looking “E” I guess?).  Except all of this probably doesn’t matter because all audiences really want out of Tak3n is to see Liam Neeson beat more people up.  Admittedly this is an international poster so maybe the official domestic one-sheet will make a bit more sense, but boy is this one pretty dumb.

Hit the jump to take a look at the first international Taken 3 poster.  The film also stars Maggie Grace, Famke Janssen, Forest Whitaker, and Jonny WestonTak3n opens in theaters on January 9, 2015.

Friday Box Office: THE EQUALIZER Heads For $35 Million Bow; THE BOXTROLLS in Third

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The Equalizer had no trouble claiming first place on Friday, opening to an estimated $12.6 million from 3,236 locations.  That puts the Sony/Columbia thriller on track for around $35 million this weekend: by far the best bow for an R-rated September release.  Based on the 1980’s TV series of the same name, The Equalizer looks like it will become the latest Denzel Washington vehicle to over-perform at the box office.  Since 2004, the actor has not had a single wide release open below $20 million – a record that even perennial box office favorites like Johnny Depp and Mark Wahlberg cannot match.  The Equalizer reunites Washington with Antoine Fuqua, his Training Day director.  Fuqua’s previous career high was the $30.3 million debut of 2013’s Olympus Has Fallen.

Friday’s top five after the jump.

Collider Goes to Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights 24: The Five Best Mazes of 2014

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At long last it’s officially fall!  That means turning leaves, sweater weather, and pumpkin everything but for the horror-hearted it also means movie marathons, haunted houses, and of course, Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights.  I’ve spent plenty of October nights at HHN here in Hollywood, but this year I was lucky enough to check out how they do horror in Orlando, and it turns out they do it really well.  When the gates parted on opening night I was there in the torrential Floridian downpour to get a first look at this year’s mazes and scare zones (they’re back!).  But before heading into the park, my group ducked into the Pantages Theater to speak with some of the minds behind the night’s event about their creative process, inspirations, and goals.  Hit the jump to see what they had to say and check out my picks for the five best mazes of the year at Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights 2014.

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