ELYSIUM Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 246 days ago

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Popular wisdom considers Elysium a sophomore slump: not bad, but not quite up to director Neil Blomkamp‘s extraordinary feature debut, District 9.  This new film is too preachy, they say.  Too obvious.  It wears its heart too loudly on its sleeve and, for what is apparently Jodie Foster‘s swan song, the celebrated actress really phones it in.  All of these things are true.  And yet they resolutely fail to diminish the film’s impact, both as a comment on our times and as straight-up entertainment in its own right.  When it arrived in theaters last summer, we were in desperate need of a film to shake us out of the doldrums.  Now that it’s out on Blu-ray, its sterling qualities stand out all the more.  Hit the jump for my full review.

New to Blu-ray: ELYSIUM, PRISONERS, THE LONE RANGER, and More

by     Posted 287 days ago

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Here’s a brief look at this week’s new Blu-ray releases:

Visual Effects Supervisor Peter Muyzers Talks ELYSIUM, His Creative Partnership with Neill Blomkamp, CHAPPIE and More at CAVE 2013

by     Posted 288 days ago

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Out on Blu-ray December 17th is ElysiumNeill Blomkamp’s sophomore film about class disparity in a bleak futuristic vision of Earth. While the film boasts an impressive cast including Matt DamonJodie FosterDiego LunaWilliam Fitchner and Alice Braga it’s the tremendous special effects that ended up stealing the show.  Elysium was recently named by The Motion Picture Academy of Arts & Sciences alongside films like Pacific Rim and Gravity as one of the ten pictures set to vie for the Best Visual Effects Oscar.

At the recent Autodesk CAVE conference in Las Vegas I had the opportunity to attend a class about Elysium’s impressive effects work and interview the film’s Overall Effects Supervisor Peter Muyzers. As someone who’s always been impressed and intrigued by effects artists it was an exciting opportunity to get an inside look at the intricate process of their work.  During the interview he talked about what made Elysium significantly more challenging than District 9, collaborating with Blomkamp, his favorite shot of the film, creating convincing effects on a budget, Blomkamp’s next picture Chappie, and more. Check out what he had to say after the jump.

Oscar Visual Effects Short List Includes PACIFIC RIM, OBLIVION, THE HOBBIT, and GRAVITY; MAN OF STEEL Fails to Make the Cut

by     Posted 299 days ago

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The Motion Picture Academy of Arts & Sciences has announced its short list for the films that will vie for the Best Visual Effects Oscar.  A total of 10 films will compete in a vfx “bakeoff” in January, where select scenes from each movie are shown to the voting members.  Among the short listed titles are Pacific Rim, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Iron Man 3, World War Z, The Lone Ranger, Star Trek Into Darkness, and of course Gravity.  Curiously, Warner Bros.’ Man of Steel failed to make the cut, as did Ender’s Game and The Wolverine.  Though critics were mixed on Man of Steel and Ender’s Game, both films showcased some seriously excellent visual effects—especially Ender’s Game—so it’s surprising to see them left off this Oscar short list.

Hit the jump to check out the full list of films that made the cut, and sound off in the comments with which one you think featured the best visual effects of the year. The 86th Academy Awards will be held on March 1st, 2014. 

Weekend Box Office: ENDER’S GAME Wins Frame with $28 Million; THOR: THE DARK WORLD Hits $109 Million in International Debut

by     Posted 331 days ago

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The adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s beloved science fiction novel Ender’s Game hit theatres on Friday, and while it’s not looking like a break-out hit, it did not embarrass itself either. Fellow newcomers Last Vegas and Free Birds, came in about equal, but – considering the latter’s family-earning potential – its estimate seems a bit underwhelming. In more impressive news, Thor: The Dark World flexed its muscles overseas, taking in $109.4 million from its first 30 territories.

Title Weekend Total
1.  Ender’s Game $28,000,000 $28
2.  Bad Grandpa $20,500,000 $62
3.  Last Vegas $16,520,000 $16.5
4.  Free Birds $16,200,000 $16.2
5.  Gravity $15,130,000 $219.1
6.  Captain Phillips $8,500,000 $82.5
7.  12 Years a Slave $4,600,000 $8.7
8.  Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 $4,200,000 $106.1
9.  Carrie $3,400,000 $31.9
10.  The Counselor $3,250,000 $13.3

Weekend Box Office: LEE DANIELS’ THE BUTLER Serves $25 Million Debut; KICK-ASS 2 Falls to Fourth

by     Posted 1 year, 43 days ago

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This weekend may have hosted four new titles, but audiences showed love to only one. Lee Daniels’ The Butler – a film that was barely on the radar when the summer began – opened in first place with an estimated $25 million. That left Kick-Ass 2 with a very disappointing fourth-place start and the biopic Jobs a distant seventh. Meanwhile, with just $3.5 million from 2,459 locations, new release Paranoia failed to make the top ten entirely.

 Title Weekend Total
1.  Lee Daniels’ The Butler $25,010,000 $25
2.  We’re the Millers $17,780,000 $69.5
3.  Elysium $13,600,00 $55.9
4.  Kick-Ass 2 $13,568,000 $13.5
5.  Planes $13,141,000 $45
6.  Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters $8,375,000 $38.9
7.  Jobs $6,700,000 $6.7
8.  2 Guns $5,600,000 $59.2
9.  The Smurfs 2 $4,600,000 $56.9
10.  The Wolverine $4,425,000 $120.4

Neill Blomkamp Talks ELYSIUM, Deleted Scenes, Filming in Mexico City, How He Doesn’t Watch TV, and More

by     Posted 1 year, 48 days ago

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Now playing in theaters is director Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium.  For those unfamiliar, the story takes place in 2159, and two classes of people are divided: the wealthy live on a man-made space station called Elysium, while the rest of the humans inhabit an overpopulated and ruined Earth.  Matt Damon plays a desperate man who must reach Elysium in order to find a cure that will save his life.  The film also stars Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, Alice Braga, Wagner MouraDiego Luna and William Fichtner.

At the recent Los Angeles press day, I landed a video interview with Blomkamp.  He talked about filming in a dump in Mexico City and what they had to do to make it work, deleted scenes, how he doesn’t watch TV, and more.  Hit the jump to watch.

THE COLLISION: Episode 56 – Escapism and ELYSIUM

by     Posted 1 year, 48 days ago

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This week on The Collision, we talk about escapism, the desire for more substantive and intellectually challenging blockbusters, Hollywood’s condescending attitude towards audiences, and much more.  We also give our thoughts on Neill Blomkamp‘s sci-fi action film, Elysium.  As always, we finish up with our recommendations.

Click here to listen to the new episode of The Collision, click here for the previous episode (“The New Business Model of Television”), click here to add the podcast to your RSS, and click here to find us on iTunes. To keep up to date with The Collision, you can follow us on Twitter at @MattGoldberg, @AdamChitwood, and @DrClawMD (Dave Trumbore). Hit the jump to check out the trailers for this week’s recommendations.

Weekend Box Office: ELYSIUM Leads with $30.5 Million; WE’RE THE MILLERS in Second; PLANES Fails to Lift Off

by     Posted 1 year, 50 days ago

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Welcome to another very crowded weekend at the domestic box office. As expected, Elysium took top honors with an estimated $30.5 million but still fell short of pre-release expectations. We’re the Millers held on to second place with $26.5 million, making it the only feature to top initial projections for its first weekend. That leaves Disney’s Planes grounded in third and Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters right behind it as each failed to improve significantly on their modest Friday performances.

 Title Weekend Total
1.  Elysium $30,500,000 $30.5
2.  We’re the Millers $26,555,000 $38
3.  Planes $22,525,000 $22.5
4.  Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters $14,600,000 $23.4
5.  2 Guns $11,128,000 $48.5
6.  Smurfs 2 $9,500,000 $46.6
7.  The Wolverine $8,000,000 $111.9
8.  The Conjuring $6,700,000 $120.7
9.  Despicable Me 2 $5,700,000 $338.2
10.  Grown Ups 2 $3,700,000 $123.8

Friday Box Office: ELYSIUM on Top Opening Day; May Face Close Race with PLANES to Win the Weekend

by     Posted 1 year, 51 days ago

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Two wide releases opened Friday: the sci-fi effort Elysium is in first place with $11.2 million—the Disney cartoon Planes follows in third with $8.1 million.  However, Planes should see the animation bump on Saturday and Sunday.  Epic and The Croods (recent animated movies that opened on a Friday in the same box office range) earned 72-73% of their weekend box office on Saturday and Sunday.  If Planes follows a similar path, it should reach $28-31 million for the weekend.  Elysium is more likely to resemble recent actioners 2 Guns and Pacific Rim, which peaked on Friday and grossed 61-63% of their weekend box office on Saturday and Sunday.  That track would also land Elysium in the $28-31 million range for the weekend, so it could be a close race.

We’re the Millers opened Wednesday and looks good in second place with $8.5 million, on its way to making back the listed $37 million budget by Monday.  Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters also opened Wednesday, and lags behind with a $4.9 million Friday.  Check back tomorrow for full details on the weekend box office.

Title Friday Total
1. Elysium $11,200,000 $11.2
2. We’re the Millers
$8,510,000 $20.0
3. Planes $8,105,000 $8.1
4. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters
$4,900,000 $13.8
5. 2 Guns
$3,400,000 $40.8

TOP 5: New Trailer for THOR: THE DARK WORLD, ELYSIUM Interviews, New DOCTOR WHO, PERCY JACKSON: SEA OF MONSTERS, WE’RE THE MILLERS

by     Posted 1 year, 51 days ago

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Last night I had the chance to check out We’re the Millers with a group of friends and while I wouldn’t classify it as a “Must See!”, it’s a plenty serviceable R-rated comedy. As you can probably tell from the trailers, English actor Will Poulter delivers some of the biggest laughs and, for my money, it’s hard to go wrong with Nick Offerman and Kathryn Hahn in most anything. Aside from its tendency to settle for just being “OK”, my only real gripe would be that the film’s premise exceeds its execution. On paper, it has the potential to be a hilarious, yet incisive, play on the nuclear family. On screen, it turns the convention on its head before ultimately forcing its characters to conform to many of its tenets.

Although I’m sure you can never get enough of my one paragraph film reactions, we must move on to this week’s Top 5. Included this week is the new trailer for Thor: The Dark World, Elysium interviews with Neill Blomkamp and more, the new Doctor Who, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters interviews, and a slew of We’re the Millers interviews with the cast and director Rawson Marshall Thurber. Per routine, a brief recap and link to each of the above kindly requests your attention after the jump.

ELYSIUM Review

by     Posted 1 year, 53 days ago

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It may be a stretch to say that the protagonist of Elysium “becomes more machine than man,” but it’s a fitting description for his story.  Writer and director Neill Blomkamp delivered an exhilarating sci-fi action film mixed with thoughtful social commentary in his debut feature, District 9.  His follow-up feature, Elysium, promises more of the same, and fully delivers on that promise for the first 35-40 minutes.  But then everything that was special about the picture and unique in Blomkamp’s voice is drowned out in loud, clashing action scenes that are occasionally entertaining but beset with eye-rolling plot shortcuts, the loss of character development, and Jodie Foster‘s inability to pick an accent and run with it.  Elysium‘s message about economic inequality is couched in a finely-drawn sci-fi world, but the power of that message becomes diminished when we cease to care about the messenger.

Neill Blomkamp Talks ELYSIUM, Developing a Realistic Version of Future Earth, the Prospect of Directing a Franchise Film, HALO, CHAPPIE, and More

by     Posted 1 year, 54 days ago

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Opening this weekend is director Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium.  For those unfamiliar, the story takes place in 2159, and two classes of people are divided: the wealthy live on a man-made space station called Elysium, while the rest of the humans inhabit an overpopulated and ruined Earth.  Matt Damon plays a desperate man who must reach Elysium in order to find a cure that will save his life.  The film also stars Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, Alice Braga, Wagner MouraDiego Luna and William Fichtner.

The other day I was able to participate in a very small group interview with Blomkamp.  He talked about creating a realistic version of the future, where the project came from, working with big stars, how the version of Elysium that would’ve starred Eminem was a lot different, the prospect of directing a franchise film, what happened with Halo, his thoughts on Kickstarter, Chappie, the film after Chappie, his thoughts on using IMAX cameras, and a lot more.  Hit the jump to either read or listen to what he had to say.

Sharlto Copley Talks ELYSIUM, Filming on Location in Mexico City, Collaborating with Neill Blomkamp, What He Collects, and More

by     Posted 1 year, 55 days ago

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Opening this weekend is director Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium.  For those unfamiliar, the story takes place in 2159, and two classes of people are divided: the wealthy live on a man-made space station called Elysium, while the rest of the humans inhabit an overpopulated and ruined Earth.  Matt Damon plays a desperate man who must reach Elysium in order to find a cure that will save his life.  The film also stars Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, Alice Braga, Wagner MouraDiego Luna and William Fichtner.

The other day I landed a video interview with Sharlto Copley.  He talked about filming in Mexico City, Blomkamp’s directorial process, how he changes his lines on every take, what he collects (Hot Toys figures), and more.  Hit the jump to watch.

Matt Damon Talks ELYSIUM, Which Actor Has Made Him Laugh the Most on a Movie Set, What He Collects, EUROTRIP, and More

by     Posted 1 year, 56 days ago

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Opening this weekend is director Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium.  For those unfamiliar, the story takes place in 2159, and two classes of people are divided: the wealthy live on a man-made space station called Elysium, while the rest of the humans inhabit an overpopulated and ruined Earth.  Matt Damon plays a desperate man who must reach Elysium in order to find a cure that will save his life.  The film also stars Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, Alice Braga, Wagner MouraDiego Luna and William Fichtner.

The other day I landed a video interview with Matt Damon.  He talked about how the world of Elysium feels real, Blomkamp’s directorial process, how the finished cut of Elysium compares to what he was pitched, what he collects, who has made him laugh the most on set, and if it’s true that he was cast because Blomkamp wanted his character from Eurotrip.  Hit the jump to watch.

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