THE COLLISION: Episode 104 – THE MAZE RUNNER

by     Posted 61 days ago

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This week on The Collision, Perri and I talk about this past weekend’s big hit, The Maze Runner.  We talk about why it works as a movie, how it differs from the book, how greater fidelity to the source material might have improved the film, how the picture fits into the larger YA movie landscape, and more.  As always, we finish up with recommendations.

Click here to listen to the new episode of The Collision, click here for the previous episode (“The Good, the Bad, and the Oscar-Worthy of TIFF 2014″), 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 and @PNemiroff.

ENDER’S GAME Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 214 days ago

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If you’re looking for a film that deserves a second chance, Ender’s Game will certainly fit the bill. It came and went without much fanfare last fall, another adaptation of a beloved teen novel that failed to catch fire the way the producers clearly hoped it would. It was further burdened by homophobic comments made by the novel’s author Orson Scott Card, which the filmmakers were quick to disavow to no avail. Ender’s Game came and went with nary a hiccup, which sadly overshadowed the fact that – in and of itself – it’s actually rather terrific. Hit the jump for my full Ender’s Game Blu-ray review.

New to Blu-ray: THE JUNGLE BOOK, SHERLOCK Season 3, ENDER’S GAME, and More

by     Posted 285 days ago

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This week’s new Blu-ray releases include a Diamond Edition of Walt Disney’s last film, the latest season of one of the most engrossing shows currently on television, a Best Picture winner, a current Oscar nominee, and more.  Briefly:

Exclusive Featurette from ENDER’S GAME Blu-ray Goes behind the Scenes of Asa Butterfield’s Zero-Gravity Training, Plus an ENDER’S GAME Blu-ray Giveaway!

by     Posted 286 days ago

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Gavin Hood’s sci-fi adventure Ender’s Game comes to Blu-ray February 11th, and we have an exclusive behind-the-scenes look to share with you today.  This Blu-ray featurette takes a look at stars Asa Butterfield and Hailee Steinfeld going through zero-gravity training and shooting scenes for the Battle Room.  In addition to the actors’ commentary, director Hood and stunt coordinator Garrett Warren talk about the process of shooting realistic zero-gravity scenes, training the actors to simulate motion in zero gravity, and even inventing unique rigs to move the actors around on set.  It’s a cool look behind the scenes of Ender’s Game’s movie magic.  Hit the jump to watch, and for how you can win a copy of Ender’s Game on Blu-ray.

Weekend Box Office: THOR: THE DARK WORLD Thunders Past $86 Million

by     Posted 1 year, 13 days ago

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Thor: The Dark World earned an estimated $86.1 million from 3,841 locations on its first weekend in theatres.  That might seem like a step down for the Thunder God after appearing in The Avengers but, Disney will be quick to note, the debut marks a 31% improvement over Thor’s first solo outing, in 2011. And, as for all those predictions that put the sequel in the $100 million range? I’m not sure what we were thinking…

 Title Weekend Total
1.  Thor: The Dark World $86,100,000 $86.1
2.  Bad Grandpa $11,300,000 $78.7
3.  Free Birds $11,180,000 $38.1
4.  Last Vegas $11,100,000 $33.5
5.  Ender’s Game $10,800,000 $44
6.  Gravity $8,405,000 $231.1
7.  12 Years a Slave $6,600,000 $17.3
8.  Captain Phillips $5,800,000 $90.9
9.  About Time $5,172,000 $6.6
10.  Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 $2,800,000 $109.9

Lionsgate Still Deciding Whether to Go Forward on ENDER’S GAME Sequel; Could Go with TV Spinoff Instead

by     Posted 1 year, 15 days ago

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I enjoyed Ender’s Game, and while the film met predictions at the box office on opening weekend, the true expectation of any potential franchise is to absolutely dominate.  Lionsgate, the studio behind Ender’s Game, didn’t get that dominant box office performance, and now they’re mulling over whether or not they should pursue a sequel.  According to Variety, Lionsgate CEO Jon Feltheimer told analysts that the studio will “wait another week or two” before it decides whether to make another film based on the Orson Scott Card series of 13 novels (novels that are much weirder than the original book).  This isn’t an encouraging sign since Lionsgate is making its decision made based on perception rather than reality.  The film’s true financial success will be measure in ancillary revenues like home entertainment sales and TV rights.

However, even if Lionsgate decides to pass on a sequel, they might not give up on the property entirely.  Feltheimer says they’re also considering a TV spinoff.  I assume in order to save money, the characters will always decide they’re not up for a game in the battle room.

THE COLLISION: Episode 63 – Separating Art from the Artist

by     Posted 1 year, 20 days ago

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This week on The Collision, the release of Ender’s Game has prompted us to talk about separating art from the artist.  For those who don’t know, the movie is based on a book by homophobic author Orson Scott Card.  We discuss the purpose and effectiveness of boycotting the movie, and then we expand the conversation to include controversial filmmakers like Roman Polanski, Woody Allen, and Mel Gibson as well as controversial films like Birth of a Nation and Triumph of the Will.  I think this is one of the best episodes we’ve done thus far, and I hope you’ll give it a listen.  As always, we finish with our recommendations.

Click here to listen to the new episode of The Collision, click here for the previous episode (“Reader Questions & Answers”), 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).

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

by     Posted 1 year, 20 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

Harrison Ford Discusses the Moral Complexities of ENDER’S GAME and His History of Starring In Big Budget Tent-pole Films Since the 1970s

by     Posted 1 year, 20 days ago

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Harrison Ford has made a career of starring in big budget tent-pole films from the 1970s to today.  The actor – charismatically plainspoken – grounds all the spectacle that often surrounds him, be it the distant planets of a far-off galaxy, ancient ruins housing untouched treasures or a neon-tinted future where it always seems to rain.  In this week’s new release Ender’s Game (based on the popular book series by Orson Scott Card), Ford once again lends his grumbly gravitas to all the zeros and ones.  Ford stars as Colonel Graff, the militant leader of the human resistance, who uses children to lead a preemptive attack on an alien planet.  Ford ably imbues the steely-eyed Graff with a welcome sense of humor and charm.  Only an actor of Ford’s caliber could take a character as seemingly unpleasant as Graff and somehow make him sympathetic.

In the following interview with Harrison Ford, the actor discusses the differences (or lack thereof) in starring in tent-pole pictures now to as far back as the 1970s, discovering the emotional beats for his character Colonel Graff and the moral complexities of Ender’s Game.  For the full interview, hit the jump.

Hailee Steinfeld Talks ENDER’S GAME and Working With Tommy Lee Jones on THE HOMESMAN

by     Posted 1 year, 21 days ago

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Hailee Steinfeld has been poised to be the “next big thing” ever since she stole the show from veterans Matt Damon and Jeff Bridges in the Coen Brothers’ True Grit.  The young actress has a virtually unending list of upcoming projects: the Tommy Lee Jones directed The Homesman, the Luc Besson/McG collaboration Three Days To Kill, the Civil War drama The Keeping Room… This weekend, the rise of Steinfeld begins with the big budgeted children-versus-aliens Ender’s Game.  Steinfeld co-stars as Petra, an ally and confidant to lead protagonist Ender (Asa Butterfield).  Asa and she have an easy-going chemistry, never quite blossoming into romance but teetering on the brink.  It’s a difficult relationship to get just right – and it’s a credit to Steinfeld and Butterfield that they’re able to suggest such depths with relatively little material.

In the following interview with Steinfeld, she discusses the challenges of acting in such a heavy effects driven film as Ender’s Game, the tricks to pretending like you’re in zero gravity and working with Tommy Lee Jones on The Homesman. For the full interview, hit the jump.

ENDER’S GAME by the Numbers

by     Posted 1 year, 21 days ago

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Orson Scott Card published “Ender’s Game,” a futuristic science fiction short story about a young genius training to be a military commander, in 1977.  Card developed the short story into a Hugo Award-winning novel published in 1985, and Hollywood has tried to make an Ender’s Game movie ever since.  As recently as last week, Card called the book “unadaptable [because] the book takes place entirely inside Ender’s head.”

However, writer/director Gavin Hood (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) was up to the challenge, and teamed with producers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (Star Trek Into Darkness) and Summit Entertainment to try to adapt the “unadaptable” book.  Hit the jump for Ender’s Game by the Numbers, a numbers-based feature that tracks the three-decade journey of Ender’s Game from page to screen.

TOP 5: ENDER’S GAME, First Trailer for X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST, 12 YEARS A SLAVE, THE WOLF OF WALL STREET, A Detailed History of GHOSTBUSTERS

by     Posted 1 year, 21 days ago

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With Halloween 2013 now a few days behind us, I may be a little late to the punch on this recommendation. Still yet, every October I find myself liking 1995′s Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers more and more. Directed by Joe Chappelle (who would later go on to direct episodes of The Wire and Fringe among others) and written by Daniel Farrands (a long-time fan of the franchise who, at the time, had little produced work under his belt), the film is notorious for its troubled production and its “Producers Cut” which features nearly 45 minutes of alternate footage, including a different ending. Watching it as a kid I remember it being the Halloween film that made me fear Michael Myers. To date, I still feel like the pic features the killer at his most ruthless (just try looking at doing the laundry the same way after watching). Rewatching it as an adult, I admire Farrands’ script for exploring the forces at work behind Michael’s madness. Even with October 31st, 2014 a distant 363 days away, I encourage Halloween fans to watch or revisit The Curse of Michael Myers this next week and see how your feelings towards the film stack up against my own.

Mid-90′s horror recommendations aside, this week’s Top 5 includes Ender’s Game interviews with Asa Butterfield and more, the excellent first trailer for X-Men: Days of Future Past, a slew of interviews for 12 Years a Slave, a new trailer for The Wolf of Wall Street, and a detailed history of the Ghostbusters movies, comics, cartoons, and merch. In what should come as no surprise, a brief recap and link to each of the above can be found after the jump.

Friday Box Office: ENDER’S GAME Tracks Solid Opening

by     Posted 1 year, 21 days ago

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After an uneven October dominated by just one title, November’s box office got off to a more equitable start. Two of Friday’s new releases did solid business on their opening days – with Ender’s Game coming out on top, as expected. The sci-fi adaptation earned an estimated $9.9 million from 3,407 locations on Friday, including $1.4 million from Thursday pm and midnight previews.  That puts Ender’s Game on track for close to $30 million through Sunday – a bit higher than the $26 million start Lionsgate was expecting.

Targeting a more ‘mature’ audience, Last Vegas is also off to a good start. The CBS Films title earned an estimated $5.1 million from 3,065 venues on Friday. That puts Last Vegas on track for a $15 million first weekend – the high end of expectations for this star-studded comedy. Compared to its live-action compatriots, Free Birds looks like the frame’s only turkey. The animated feature earned just $4 million on Friday despite having the widest release of the week at 3,736 locations. Even with the typical Saturday kiddie bump, Free Birds is not projected to earn more than $16 million through Sunday. We’ll have complete details tomorrow.

 Title Friday Total
1.  Ender’s Game $9,900,000 $9.9
2.  Bad Grandpa $6,090,000 $47.6
3.  Last Vegas $5,100,000 $5.1
4.  Free Birds $4,000,000 $4
5.  Gravity $3,610,000 $209.6

Asa Butterfield Talks ENDER’S GAME, Fan Reaction, Working Opposite Harrison Ford, and More

by     Posted 1 year, 23 days ago

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Ender’s Game success ultimately rests on the shoulders of Asa Butterfield (Hugo). Butterfield stars as Ender, a genius sixteen year old, who is enlisted into a program designed to train youths in a war between humanity and a hostile alien race.  Of course, not everything is as it seems – and just what is being fought for and who is in the right may not be so black & white.  As the titular character, Butterfield ably portrays a young man struggling to define himself be it via the violent sociopathy of his brother or the compassionate righteousness of his sister.  It’s a striking performance – in that even when millions of dollars of spectacle are unfolding on the screen, they don’t hold a candle to a simple single of the young actor.

In the following interview with Asa Butterfield, he discusses shooting Ender’s Game on a NASA facility, fan reaction to his casting and the tricks of the trade he’s learned from Harrison Ford and Ben Kingsley. For the full interview, hit the jump.

ENDER’S GAME Review

by     Posted 1 year, 23 days ago

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Orson Scott Card‘s 1985 novel, Ender’s Game, is shockingly ahead of its time.  It predicted the wide-spread adoption of e-mail and the Internet, the use of drone warfare, and the connection between video games and players causing an emotional disconnect between war and action.  The book can also be a bit of a chore because of how much time it takes to describe kids shooting freeze guns behind boxes.  Gavin Hood‘s adaptation makes the action come alive, but more importantly, he never forgets the compelling protagonist or the relevant social commentary from Card’s 28-year-old book.  The mind games and weariness might fade into the background, but the intensity of the action and performances make the story not just immediate, but exhilarating.

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