X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST WonderCon Panel Recap Featuring Simon Kinberg and New Footage

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At WonderCon 2014, 20th Century Fox presented select footage from their upcoming sequel X-Men: Days of Future Past.  Of course there was the big white elephant in the room – which everyone chose to ignore/avoid (the panel was curiously the only one without any audience questions).  The focus was strictly on the film itself.  Writer/Producer Simon Kinberg was on hand to discuss adapting the beloved comic, getting time travel ‘right’ and making-up for X-Men: The Last Stand.  For the full recap of the footage shown and bullet point highlights of the Q&A, hit the jump.

Olivia Munn Talks DELIVER US FROM EVIL, MORTDECAI with Johnny Depp, and the Final Season of THE NEWSROOM at WonderCon

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From filmmaker Scott Derrickson (Sinister, The Exorcism of Emily Rose), Deliver Us From Evil tells the story of the real-life series of disturbing and inexplicable crimes that police officer Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana) began investigating in New York.  As frightening events occur around the city, Sarchie teams up with an unconventional priest (Édgar Ramírez) who is schooled in the rituals of exorcism.

While at WonderCon to promote the film’s July 2nd theatrical release, actress Olivia Munn (who plays Sarchie’s wife and the mother of his child) spoke to Collider for this exclusive interview about how she got involved with this project, why she only likes horror movies if they’re based on a true story, creating a great family core at the center of the film, why having Magic Mike and the first season of The Newsroom come out at the same time changed the way people saw her, as an actress, and getting to a place where you can change the Hollywood game.  She also talked about how they’re half-way through the final six-episode third season of the HBO series The Newsroom, that HBO won’t let the cast out of their contracts because they’re hoping show creator Aaron Sorkin will decide to do more, and how much fun she had making Mortdecai with Johnny Depp.  Check out what she had to say after the jump.

WonderCon: INTO THE STORM Panel Recap Featuring Director Steven Quale, Richard Armitage, Arlen Escarpeta, Jeremy Sumpter and Max Deacon

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“What would it actually be like if you were in the eye of a tornado.”  At WonderCon 2014, Warner Brothers presented select footage from their upcoming found footage release Into the Storm.  You’ve probably seen a teaser for the film already – and if not, see it here.  The under-the-radar film concerns a group of extreme storm chasers who document the ‘storm-of-the-century’ when it hits a small town.  Basically it’s ‘Twister On Steroids’. Filmmaker Steven Quale (Final Destination 5) and stars Richard Armitage (The Hobbit trilogy), Arlen Escarpeta (Friday the 13th), Jeremy Sumpter (Peter Pan) & Max Deacon (I, Anna) were on hand to discuss the intense shoot, the found footage genre and ol’ Twister (aside: isn’t it odd how that Jan De Bont flick has become somewhat of a cult classic in recent years).  For a full recap of the footage shown and bullet point highlights of the Q&A, hit the jump.

Bob Morley and Eliza Taylor Talk THE 100, Character Relationships, Upcoming Episodes, and Discovering the World of Shipping at WonderCon

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This morning, before the cast of The 100 hit the stage at WonderCon, I had the opportunity to participate in a roundtable interview with stars Bob Morley and Eliza Taylor.  They discussed the shifting dynamic between Bellamy and Clarke, family relationships, the dark and gritty nature of the show, and teaming up to emerge as leaders of their group.  For fans of the two as a pairing, they had a thing or two to say about “shipping” and what they think about the fans’ reaction to their characters.  Hit the jump to watch.

125 Cosplay Pictures from WonderCon Featuring Ant-Man, Silver Surfer, X-Men, Avatar, and More

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Every year at WonderCon, half the fun is seeing all the people that Cosplay.  While the convention is has tons of famous panelists, Cosplay allows Con-goers to dress up like any superhero, anime character, or even Snow White and get huge props from their fellow attendees.  While the percentage of people doing Cosplay this year felt a little lower, you can still check out 125 pictures after the jump.  Included are cosplayers doing Ghostbusters, Captain America, Joker, Batman, Black Widow, Toy Story, Frozen, Jessica Rabbit, Link, Green Hornet, Kato, Doctor Who, Street Fighter, X-Men, Jason from Friday the 13th, Halo, Mario, Spider-Man, Black Cat, The LEGO Movie, Avatar, Dredd, Warm Bodies, You’re Next, Doctor Octopus, Ant-Man, and much more.  Hit the jump for the pictures.

WonderCon: THE SECRET SERVICE Footage Preview; Get Ready for Colin Firth: Action Superstar

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The biggest surprise at WonderCon today was 20th Century Fox’s presentation of exclusive new footage from their upcoming adaptation of Mark Millar’s comic The Secret Service being directed by Matthew Vaughn.   For those unfamiliar: the comic book is basically ‘Harry Potter’ meets ‘James Bond’.  Colin Firth stars as a superspy who takes his hooligan nephew under his wing and teaches him how to be James-Bond-like.  An early scene from the film was screened in addition to a brief teaser afterwards.  For highlights of The Secret Service movie footage, hit the jump.

WonderCon: LUCY Panel Recap Featuring Luc Besson Q&A and New Footage

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At WonderCon 2014, Universal Pictures previewed select footage from Luc Besson’s Lucy.  The Scarlett Johansson led action-flick sports a number of impressive action sequences, two of which premiered to the attentive audience of WonderCon.  After the screening, Besson was on hand to discuss coming up with the premise of Lucy, the gender dynamics of his films and a funny story from his cult classic The Fifth Element.  For a full recap of the footage shown and bullet point highlights from the Q&A, hit the jump.

Brannon Braga Talks SALEM, Balancing Fantasy and History, Rooting the Show in Horror, and More

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This Sunday, April 20th, WGN America premieres Salem, the network’s first venture into original programing, staring Shane West, Janet Montgomery, Ashley Madekwe, Seth Gabel, Xander Berkeley, Iddo Goldberg, Tazmin Merchant and Elise Eberle. Salem travels back to 17th Century Colonial Massachusetts for an alternate look at one of the darkest chapters in American history, approaching the infamous era from the point of view that witches were not only real, but manipulating the gruesome events of the trials to their will. The pilot kicks the show off on a strong note; a fun and creepy mixture of horror, fantasy and history that sets itself apart with singular imagery, an engaging mythology and a uniquely sensual approach to dark magic.

I recently had the opportunity to visit the set in Shreveport, Louisiana where the town of Salem has been meticulously reconstructed from the ground up. While I was there I sat down for an exclusive video interview with Co-Creator/Executive Producer/Writer Brannon Braga. He talked about why the concept of Salem appealed to him, balancing the fantasy and history elements of the show, the show’s strong horror elements, and more. Check out the interview after the jump.

WonderCon: GODZILLA Panel Recap Featuring Gareth Edwards Q&A and New Footage

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At WonderCon 2014, Warner Brothers presented select footage from their upcoming remake/reboot of Godzilla.  Filmmaker Gareth Edwards was on hand to discuss recreating the titular monster, the fantastic marketing for the film and the themes of the picture.  For a full recap of the footage shown (INCLUDING A FULL SCENE WITH GODZILLA ABOUT TO FIGHT ANOTHER KAIJU) and bullet point highlights of the Q&A, hit the jump.

WonderCon: EDGE OF TOMORROW Panel Recap with Bill Paxton Q&A and New Footage

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It’s mid-April – which means it’s time for a slew of articles covering Anaheim’s WonderCon: aka the mini, nicer, friendlier Comic-Con. I’ll be recapping all the ‘bigger’ panels of the day from Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox, Universal and Sony Pictures hopefully in a moderately timely manner.

First up for the day, Warner Brothers previewed their upcoming slate of features starting with Edge Of Tomorrow, the Tom Cruise/Emily BluntGroundhog Day meets [insert-your-alien-invasion-film-of-choice-here] mash-up.” Co-star Bill Paxton was on hand to preview some exclusive footage from the upcoming sci-fi flick and offer insight into its making. For a recap of the footage (hint: there were a lot of explosions), hit the jump.

Daniel Stamm Talks 13 SINS, Finding Himself at the Helm, Challenges of Directing a Remake, Adapting the Original, and Using Improv during Rehearsals

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Available now on VOD and in theaters this week is 13 Sins, a sinister thriller about a good natured, down on his luck everyman who must decide how far he’s willing to go to provide for his family.  Elliot (Mark Webber) is expecting a child with his fiancé (Rutina Wesley), caring for his mentally ill brother (Devon Graye), and about to take in his deadbeat father (Tom Bower), so when he’s unexpectedly fired his entire life is thrown into a tailspin.  That’s when he receives a mysterious phone call explaining that he has been chosen to participate in a secret game show – thirteen tasks, if he can complete them all he walks away a millionaire, but as each task proves more perverse than the last, he discovers he may not be as in control of the gameplay as he thought.  13 Sins also stars Ron Perlman and Pruitt Taylor Vince.

I recently had the opportunity to jump on the phone for an interview with director Daniel Stamm.  He talked about how he ended up at the helm of 13 Sins, the challenges of directing a remake, adapting the original film, using improv in the rehearsal process, BBC America’s Intruders, plans for the future, and more.  Check out what he had to say after the jump.

TOP 5: GONE GIRL Trailer, DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES Set Visit, TRANSCENDENCE, THE EXPENDABLES 3 Set Visit, Zack Snyder Talks BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN

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I’ve used this space on a few occasions to profess my love for ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 documentary series and today’s opening paragraph will get a similar treatment. Director Zak Levitt‘s aptly titled Bad Boys debuted this past Thursday night and, even as someone who grew up adoring the Chicago Bulls, I loved almost every second of it (even with his Detroit roots, I could have lived without the Kid Rock narration). The film focuses on the years of Detroit Pistons basketball known as “The Bad Boys Era”, which included back-to-back NBA Championships for the franchise in ’89 and ’90. As is often the case with 30 for 30 films, Levitt does a nice job of framing the Pistons’ iconic run within a societal context; in this case, the 1967 Detroit riot. In doing this, the pic not only offers a fascinating perspective of the team itself but also great insight into what their trademark physical style of play meant to a city still reeling from the effects of the riot. Less important, but an added plus nonetheless, is the fact that I’m now buzzing with nostalgia for the SNES game Bill Laimbeer’s Combat Basketball.

My broken record praise of 30 for 30 aside, this week’s Top 5 highlights the first trailer for David Fincher‘s Gone Girl, Steve’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes set visit, Transcendence interviews and Matt’s review, Steve’s The Expendables 3 set visit, and Zack Snyder discussing Batman vs. Superman costumes and more. Do the right thing and keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

Friday Box Office: CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER Battles RIO 2 for the Top Spot, While HEAVEN IS FOR REAL Trumps TRANSCENDENCE

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This Good Friday wasn’t so great for Wally Pfister’s directorial debut, the sci-fi drama Transcendence, as the film debuted in a sub-$5 million opening.  The film barely managed to stay ahead of this weekend’s other overlooked (and for good reason) debut, A Haunted House 2, and that’s only if current estimates hold.  The Johnny Depp-starrer received no help from critics as it currently holds a 19% rating on RT, and failed to impress our own Matt Goldberg.  What did impress audiences this week, or at least a certain subsection of them, was the religious-themed Wednesday debut, Heaven Is for Real, which claims Friday’s third spot (and reclaims its budget) leading into Easter weekend.

None of the new entries, however, proved to be a contest for Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Rio 2, which repeat their box office rivalry from last week.  It’s still pretty close, as estimates only separate the top two spots by a paltry (to some) $300,000 or so.  Will Cap win the weekend, or will the family-friendlier animated sequel reap the holiday audience rewards?  Check back tomorrow to find out!

Title  Friday Total
1.  Captain America: The Winter Soldier  $9,566,000 $184.5
2.  Rio 2  $9,200,000 $62.1
3.  Heaven Is for Real  $7,850,000 $14.9
4.  Transcendence  $4,815,000 $4.8
5.  Haunted House 2  $4,030,000 $4.0

Wondercon: REVOLUTION Panel Recap Featuring Elizabeth Mitchell, Stephen Collins and Executive Producer Rockne S. O’Bannon

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With only four episodes left in the season and Revolution’s renewal still up in the air, the cast and producer took the stage at WonderCon on Friday to discuss the events that have shaken up the show so far.  Elizabeth MitchellStephen Collins, and executive producer Rockne S. O’Bannon were on hand to provide some teases for the rest of the season and to briefly discuss plans for a possible Season 3 of the post-apocalyptic drama.  Hit the jump for highlights from the panel. 

Indie Spotlight: JAMES WHITE, A New Feature from Borderline Films Starring Christopher Abbott, Cynthia Nixon, Ron Livingston, and Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi

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James White Kickstarter Campaign

Borderline Films, the production company behind Afterschool, Martha Marcy May Marlene, and Simon Killeris now looking to give their fans an opportunity to contribute to their newest feature, James White.  Filmmakers Antonio Campos, Sean Durkin, and Josh Mond (who makes his directorial debut on this film) are reaching out via Kickstarter to help secure post-production editing costs and music rights.  James White is in good company, as the banner’s previous films have played the Cannes Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, New York Film Festival, and Toronto International Film Festival, and have been nominated for five Independent Spirit Awards, four Gotham Awards, and won Best Director at Sundance (Sean Durkin for Martha Marcy May Marlene).  In addition to the behind-the-scenes names that are becoming quite familiar on the festival circuit, the pictures features Christopher Abbott, Cynthia Nixon, Ron Livingston, and Scott “Kid Cudi” Mescudi in front of the camera as well.  Hit the jump for more.

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