PaleyFest NY 2014: Wendell Pierce, Sonja Sohn, Michael K. Williams, Show Creator David Simon and Executive Producer Nina Noble Talk THE WIRE

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Even though it wasn’t a ratings success when it was on the air, the HBO drama series The Wire will clearly be remembered as one of the best TV shows ever made.  Throughout its run, it showcased great acting performances and great writing, through some of the most provocative storytelling that continues to challenge viewers, as they discover it.

As part of PaleyFest NY, which is considered the ultimate TV fan festival, co-stars Wendell Pierce (“Detective William ‘Bunk’ Moreland”), Sonja Sohn (“Detective Shakima ‘Kima’ Greggs”) and Michael K. Williams (“Omar Little”), along with show creator David Simon and Executive Producer Nina Noble, shared great behind-the-scenes stories and talked about what it’s like to have worked on this show in relative obscurity and have it since go on to be something that so many people love, why they think the show has not only endured but also built in esteem and awareness since it was on, when they realized they were a part of something special, how their relationship with the city of Baltimore changed over the course of the production, letting the actors know about their character’s fate, death being ever-present, why the show ended exactly where it did, and the questions that this show raised for people.  Check out what they had to say after the jump.

Diego Luna and Zoe Saldana Talk THE BOOK OF LIFE, Jorge Gutierrez’s Passion for the Film, Dia de los Muertos and More

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Now in theaters is Jorge Gutierrez‘s charming and visually stunning tribute to Dia de los Muertos, The Book of Life.  The animated feature depicts Gutierrez’s vision of the afterlife in which the celebrated and beloved spend eternity in the Land of the Remembered, ruled over by the beautiful and kind-hearted La Muerte (Kate del Castillo), while the souls beyond remembrance languish under the rule of the trickster Xibalba (Ron Perlman) in the Land of the Forgotten.  The film’s events are set into motion when the deities place a wager on the romantic fate of three childhood friends – should Maria (Zoe Saldana) choose to marry Manolo (Diego Luna), a good-natured musician, Xibalba will stop meddling in human affairs, but if she marries the rakish warrior Joaquin (Channing Tatum), Xibabla will take over as ruler of The Land of Remembered.

I recently sat down with Diego Luna and Zoe Saldana for an exclusive video interview.  They talked about being drawn to Gutierrez’s passion for the film, their excitement to work together, bringing elements of Mexican culture to a larger audience.  Additionally, Saldana talked about her knack for consistently finding great roles for women.  Hit the jump to watch.

Director Justin Simien Talks DEAR WHITE PEOPLE, Identity vs. Self, White Privilege and the Changing Face of Racism, Testing Out the Film’s Voice on Twitter

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Writer/director Justin Simien has achieved an intriguing mix of racial and interpersonal politics, warmth, and humor with his directorial debut Dear White People.  While the film tackles serious topics and is aimed primarily at a college aged audience, I think it could find traction with a wide swath of viewers (particularly those who find themselves sickened by the insidious notion that racism no longer exists).  I recently sat down with Simien to talk about the genesis of the project, writing a multi-protagonist film, and the reaction many people have had to its themes.

Hit the jump for my Dear White People interview with Justin Simien (you can check out the trailer here and my cast interview here)The film stars Tessa ThompsonTeyonah Parris, Tyler James WilliamsBrandon P. BellKyle GallnerMalcolm Barrett, Brittany CurranMarque Richardson, and Dennis Haysbert, and is now in theaters.

PaleyFest NY 2014: Ben McKenzie, Donal Logue, Jada Pinkett Smith, Sean Pertwee, Robin Lord Taylor and Executive Producer Danny Cannon Talk GOTHAM

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Only a handful of episodes into the first season of the Fox series Gotham and already all of the fans have their own opinions on which heroes and villains they’d like to see make appearances, at some point.  With characters from 75 years of Batman canon mixed with characters invented solely for the show, it will be interesting to see how it all plays out in a world of origin stories.

As part of PaleyFest NY, which is considered the ultimate TV fan festival, co-stars Ben McKenzie, Donal Logue, Jada Pinkett Smith, Sean Pertwee and Robin Lord Taylor, along with executive producer Danny Cannon, talked about the additional six-episode order they just received, making the season 22 episodes instead of 16, putting their own stamp on these roles, that there’s good and bad in everyone in Gotham, interesting fan encounters, the fandom for this show, that a lot of characters will pop their heads in and out, you just won’t know when, balancing the aesthetics of a graphic novel while creating characters who are believable and somewhat grounded in reality, whether any characters from the Justice Society might appear, figuring out the timeline to make sure the character’s ages will match up later on, and their favorite Batman characters.  Check out what they had to say after the jump.

Weekend Box Office: FURY Tops the Weekend with $23.5 Million; GONE GIRL Crosses $100 Million

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Director David Ayer’s World War II film Fury topped the box office this weekend, dethroning David Fincher’s Gone Girl with a solid $23.5 million.  The unrelentingly brutal Brad Pitt-fronted picture had one of the best openings for a WWII film of all time, placing fourth just behind Saving Private Ryan, Inglourious Basterds, and the current champion Pearl Harbor.  It also marked Ayer’s biggest opening as a director by $10 million, and audiences were satisfied by the finished result as the film netted an A- CinemaScore.  Another of the weekend’s big new releases, the Guillermo del Toro-produced animated feature The Book of Life, pulled in $17 million and landed in third place overall, while the Nicholas Sparks romance The Best of Me scored a mere $10.2 million for fifth place, making it the lowest debut for a Sparks drama ever.

Read the full weekend box office report and get a look at the complete Top 10 after the jump.

ERASERHEAD and THE INNOCENTS Criterion Blu-ray Reviews

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Criterion has released two classics of gothic black and white horror with Jack Clayton’s The Innocents and David Lynch’s Eraserhead now joining their collection.  The former is a brilliant adaptation of Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw, while the latter is one of the most singular experiences in cinema history, a film that became a perennial midnight movie for a very good reason.  Criterion is celebrating Halloween this year in style, and my review of both films on Blu-ray follows after the jump. 

What Is Marvel’s Civil War? An Introduction to the Comics Storyline That Pits Iron Man vs. Captain America

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Quite the bit of news has been revealed the past week.  Not only is Robert Downey Jr. in talks to co-star in the third installment of the Captain America franchise, but this may very well usher in one of the biggest storylines in Marvel history, Civil War.  Don’t know what Civil War is and why it’s causing such a fuss?  Collider has your back as we thought it would be a great opportunity to walk you through the origins of the event, its players, its ending, and how it could possibly be orchestrated in the current Marvel movie landscape.  Hit the jump for our in-depth look at the Marvel storyline, Civil War.

TOP 5: FURY, Superhero Movie Release Dates, HBO to Offer Stand-Alone Streaming Service, A Horrifying Education, New York Comic-Con Coverage

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Writer/director Ti West made a permanent name for himself in the horror community with 2009′s excellent The House of the Devil. While I think quite highly of that film, I hold his slightly less revered 2011 follow-up, The Innkeepers, in even higher regard. Starring Sara Paxton and Pat Healy (who reunited earlier this year in the disgustingly entertaining Cheap Thrills) as slacker hotel employees who are determined to prove their Yankee Pedlar Inn is haunted during its final weekend of operation, the film is a near pitch perfect modern haunted house tale. Relying on tension and timing rather than gore, West slowly builds The Innkeepers to an effective final act that is both scary as hell and quietly tragic. Because it so expertly relies on atmosphere/mood and quality of scares over quantity, this is one that I always recommend to my non-horror loving friends seeking a scary movie for this time of year that will play well without scarring them for life.

This week’s recommendation in hand, today’s Top 5 features interviews for and Matt’s review of the Brad Pitt war drama Fury, a metric ton of superhero movie release dates and news compiled in one place, word that HBO will launch its own stand-alone streaming service in 2015, the first in a four-entry series dedicated to schooling Matt on some horror favorites, and all of our New York Comic-Con coverage. Keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

THE KNICK Season One Finale Recap: “Crutchfield”

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The Knick‘s excellent first season ended in a way befitting the series as a whole.  There wasn’t much about “Crutchfield” that was narratively shocking, but The Knick‘s story has never been about that — it’s the way the show tells its story that makes it special.  The events in “Crutchfield” made for a natural culmination of the various plots we’ve been following this season, and had the series ended here, in fact, it would have been satisfying in a lot of ways.  But there’s still plenty for The Knick to explore (and as it was renewed for a second season before it even started its first, we will thankfully get that opportunity).  Hit the jump if you believe “nothing breaks a man like a good cock punch.”

12 Things to Know about SLEEPING BEAUTY and the Art of Disney Animation

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Disney’s ultimate princess fairytale classic Sleeping Beauty is now available on Diamond Edition Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD and Disney Movies Anywhere, with all-new special features.  While at the home Walt Disney built on Woking Way in Los Feliz, Calif. in 1932, for an event celebrating Sleeping Beauty and Maleficent, we learned a lot about the development process and the evolution of the artwork, especially from chatting with Doug Engalla, a staff member at the Disney Animation Research Library since 1990.

During a presentation about the evolution of the 1959 animated favorite, which started down a path to development as far back as 1951 and continued right up until its release, Engalla talked about how the story changed, the evolution of the villain Maleficent, and the exacting nature of the artwork.  Hit the jump to learn more about the film and the art of Disney animation.

Rumor: Tom Hardy Courted for Title Role in X-MEN: APOCALYPSE?

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Remember that Doctor Strange casting rumor we shared last night?  Buried right in the middle of the original report was another interesting bit of news; Tom Hardy “has recently been courted” for the title role in X-Men: Apocalypse, En Sabah Nur, the guy manipulating the pyramid in the X-Men: Days of Future Past post-credit scene.

On top of that, Warner Bros. is also going after Hardy for a role in the Suicide Squad movie, and apparently he’s close to signing on for that one.  Hit the jump for more on what Hardy may be jumping into next.

Selena Gomez Talks RUDDERLESS, Sympathizing with the Character, HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 2, Where Her Career Is Headed, and More

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Rudderless, the feature directorial debut of actor William H. Macy, follows Sam (Billy Crudup), a man whose life is torn apart by the sudden death of his son.  He passes his days by drowning his pain in alcohol, until he discovers a box filled with his son’s demo tapes and lyrics, and he begins to reconnect with his son while exploring his unknown talent.  When he learns and decides to play these songs in a local bar he catches the attention of a young musician named Quentin (Anton Yelchin), and the two decide to form a rock ‘n’ roll band called Rudderless.

At the film’s press day, actress/singer Selena Gomez (who has a small but pivotal and emotionally impactful role in the movie) spoke to Collider for this exclusive interview about what attracted her to this project, how she could understand and sympathize with the scrutiny her character was under, working with a director with an acting background, and sharing scenes with Billy Crudup, who she had a crush on from Almost Famous.  She also talked about how Hotel Transylvania 2 is developing, where she’d like to go next in her career, getting a better idea of who she is as an actress and singer, her desire to move into the next phase musically, why she loves performing at concerts for her fans, and what the first concert she went to meant to her.  Check out what she had to say after the jump.

David Giuntoli Talks GRIMM Season 4, His Character’s Dramatic Change, This Season’s Wesen, and More

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In Season 4 of the NBC series Grimm, Detective Nick Burkhardt (David Giuntoli) must deal with the sudden and unexpected loss of his Grimm abilities, digging deep to decide what type of person he wants to be.  Meanwhile, he must still train recently discovered Grimm, Teresa “Trubel” Rubel (Jacqueline Toboni), to both help her stay alive and to get her help with the Wesen he can no longer see.

During this recent interview to promote the return of Grimm, actor David Giuntoli talked about how Nick is going to be handling the fact that he is no longer a Grimm, where Nick’s focus is now, how his relationships will change, what it’s been like to have Jacqueline Toboni on the show, the fun of getting to play his character in a different way, how terrifying it is for Nick to know that there are things out there that he can no longer see, the Wesen that will be on this season, returning to the key storyline, the connection between Adalind (Claire Coffee) and Nick, and whether Wu (Reggie Lee) might ever find out what’s really going on.  Check out what he had to say after the jump.

Rumor: Benedict Cumberbatch, Colin Farrell and Keanu Reeves Frontrunners for DOCTOR STRANGE?

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We’ve already got Ryan Gosling, Jared LetoOscar IsaacMatthew McConaugheyEwan McGregorJake Gyllenhaal and Ethan Hawke in the mix for Doctor Strange.  Why not add another name to the ever-growing list?

Not only is it being reported that Colin Farrell is in consideration for the title role, but that Benedict Cumberbatch is back in the race as well.  Hit the jump for more on who’s supposedly in and out.  Doctor Strange is due in theaters on July 8, 2016.

Nicholas Hoult Talks YOUNG ONES, EQUALS, MAD MAX: FURY ROAD, X-MEN: APOCALYPSE, AUTOBAHN, KILL YOUR FRIENDS, and Much More

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Now available on VOD and playing in select theaters is director Jake Paltrow’s Young Ones.  The story takes place in a post-apocalyptic wasteland where water has become scarce and the only hope for a family becomes an irrigation pipeline that can revitalize their land.  This conflict sets off a battle between the family’s patriarch Ernest Holm (Michael Shannon) and a young man (Nicholas Hoult) looking to romance Ernest’s daughter Mary (Elle Fanning).  The film also stars Kodi Smit McPhee as Shanon’s son.  For more on the film, watch the trailer.

Last week in New York City I landed a fantastic interview with Nicholas Hoult.  During our wide ranging conversation we talked about what the past few years have been like, the process of making Young Ones, working with Michael Shannon, what it was like making Mad Max: Fury Road with George Miller, working on Drake DoremusEquals with Kristen Stewart, Comic-Con, X-Men: Apocalypse, Autobahn, Kill Your Friends, if he still has to audition, what he collects, what he’d like to do in the future, and so much more.  If you’re a fan of this very talented actor, I promise you will dig this interview.

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