THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES Review

by     Posted 3 days ago

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At one point in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Dwalin (Graham McTavish) tells a greedy, paranoid Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage), “You are lesser now than you have ever been.”  The same could be said to director and co-writer Peter Jackson and the conclusion of his prequel trilogy.  In an interview with EW earlier this year, Jackson stressed that it was important to keep cutting back to main characters during the action scenes, “otherwise the audience gets battle fatigue.”  He should have taken his own advice as this trilogy is clearly spent and left with almost nothing but hollow spectacle, hypocrisy, poor characterization, and at times becoming an outright embarrassment.  If The Lord of the Rings trilogy is one of cinema’s best, then Battle of the Five Armies cements The Hobbit trilogy as one of its most disappointing.

16 New THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES Images Highlight Familiar, Battle-Worn Faces

by     Posted 17 days ago

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The final push towards the release of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is in full swing.  We’ve already seen a collection of new images and the first clip, and now Warner Bros. has released some additional, more revealing The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies images that evoke a somber, dark tone.  The first reviews for the film are mostly quite positive, with many singling out The Battle of the Five Armies as the best of the Hobbit trilogy.  That’s certainly encouraging to hear, and with Peter Jackson revealing that there will be around 30 minutes of additional footage on the Extended Edition, fans should rest easy when hearing that the theatrical cut of The Battle of the Five Armies is also the shortest Middle-earth film yet at 144 minutes.

Check out the intriguing new The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies images after the jump.  The film stars Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard ArmitageEvangeline LillyLuke EvansBenedict CumberbatchStephen FryCate BlanchettIan HolmChristopher LeeHugo WeavingKen StottJames Nesbitt, and Orlando Bloom.  The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies opens in theaters on December 17th.

LEIGH WHANNELL Talks THE MULE, Writing a Crime Film With Angus Sampson, Evolving as a Performer, and INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 3

by     Posted 28 days ago

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I’ve been a big proponent of The Mule since I saw it at SXSW.  Which is funny to me, since I had to be dragged almost kicking and screaming into seeing it by one of the film’s publicists.  Despite my fondness for Leigh Whannell (who co-wrote and has a major part in the film) and Angus Sampson (who co-wrote with Whannell, stars and co-directs), I’m just not that into scatological humor, which is what I thought the film was almost entirely going to consist of.

I was wrong.  All of the stomach churning elements you’ve heard about are there, but there’s an incredibly solid movie around them in every way that never pushes the gross-out throttle beyond what the story organically allows.  This is an effective crime film that works very well as both a comedy and a drama and you should seek it out.  I recently hopped on the phone with Whannell to talk about all of this as well as get an update on Insidious: Chapter 3.  Hit the jump for my interview with Leigh Whannell about The Mule.  Directed by Sampson and Tony Mahoney the film also stars Hugo Weaving,  Ewen LeslieGeoff MorrellGeorgina HaigNoni Hazlehurst and John Noble.  You can find the film in Theaters, on VOD and on iTunes (link here) now.

New THE MULE Trailer Will Turn Your Stomach

by     Posted 79 days ago

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Ever since catching Tony Mahony and Angus Sampson’s The Mule at SXSW, I’ve been describing it as a “you’ve got to see it to believe it” type of film, but this new trailer actually does a solid job of recreating how unsettling and gut-wrenching the full feature can get.  Sampson leads as Ray Jenkins, a nice guy who gets suckered into swallowing bags of drugs and trying to smuggle them across the border.  Sure enough, he gets caught and that’s when the fun starts.  Ray refuses to admit that he’s got narcotics in his stomach, so the authorities have no choice, but to wait it out.  They confine Ray to a hotel room and keep an eye on him day and night, waiting for the contraband to come out.

I watch a lot of horror movies loaded with carnage where people get torn apart, but The Mule made me squirm more than any of them.  The new promo doesn’t spoil the moment that had me covering my eyes, but this piece is loaded with clever nods that tease how far Ray goes to conceal what he’s hiding.  Hit the jump to check out The Mule trailer and click here to read my review.  XLrator Media has the US rights to the film, but it’s still without a release date.

THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES Trailer and Poster: Peter Jackson’s Trilogy Concludes in Epic Fashion

by     Posted 144 days ago

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Warner Bros. has released the first The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies trailer for the final chapter in Peter Jackson‘s Hobbit trilogy.  This is the trailer they showed us at Comic-Con on Saturday, and it’s interesting to see how the prequel trilogy is trying to pull into The Lord of the Rings by using “The Steward of Gondor”, which was sung by Pippin (Billy Boyd) in The Return of the King.  The song still works here because it’s sad and somber, but the line that sticks with me from this trailer is when Thorin asks his company, “Will you follow me one last time?”  It’s a line that’s really directed towards the audience, but there’s a weariness to it that’s surprising.  It’s almost like saying, “Well, we’ve already come this far.  May as well finish it out.”

Check out the The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies trailer and new poster after the jump, and click here to read our full Comic-Con panel recap.  The film stars Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Benedict Cumberbatch, Stephen Fry, Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Ken Stott, James Nesbitt, and Orlando BloomThe Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies opens in theaters on December 17th.

SXSW 2014: THE MULE Review

by     Posted 281 days ago

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You better wait to eat until after seeing this one – if you even have an appetite after anymore.  Co-directors Tony Mahony and Angus Sampson’s The Mule doesn’t fall in line with the Saw films or Insidious, but co-writer/co-star Leigh Whannell does give it a horrific quality of its own..  You may never want to experience certain sequences from this one ever again, but they do bolster the effect of the full film, justifying their inclusion.  Hit the jump for my review.

STAR WARS: EPISODE VII News: Reworked Script Has Original Trilogy Stars in the Leads; Michael Fassbender, Hugo Weaving Eyed for Roles

by     Posted 342 days ago

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Star Wars fans may want to sit down for this one.  While J.J. Abrams has now been onboard to direct Star Wars: Episode VII for nearly a year, solid news with regards to the pic has been very, very hard to come by.  As the film’s production start date looms closer, we all knew this was about to change, and last night we learned that Friday Night Lights actor Jesse Plemons is being eyed for a role in the pic. Now THR has dumped a huge quantity of info about the follow-up, including word that Michael Fassbender, Hugo Weaving, and Adam Driver are all being eyed for roles.  More interestingly, though, the script for Episode VII has apparently changed significantly since screenwriter Michael Arndt was pushed off the project, and the lead characters for Episode VII may now be the original trilogy stars: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford.

Hit the jump for the Star Wars: Episode VII motherload.

CLOUD ATLAS Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 1 year, 189 days ago

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The Wachowski siblings and Tom Tykwer’s Cloud Atlas was tragically the most under-appreciated and under-seen film of 2012.  It had to be a marketing mishap.  How else do you explain the poor performance of a film that encompasses multiple genres over vastly different time periods with high-caliber actors like Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Sturgess, Hugo Weaving, Hugh Grant and Jim Broadbent (just to name a few) taking on multiple roles?  But wait, there’s hope!  You can help remedy this glaring oversight by picking up the ambitious and epic movie on DVD and Blu-ray now.  Hit the jump for my review of Cloud Atlas on Blu-ray.

First Teaser Trailer for THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG

by     Posted 1 year, 191 days ago

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Warner Bros. has released the first trailer for director Peter Jackson‘s The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.  The film is a continuation of the story that began with last year’s An Unexpected Journey, and this trailer gives us a pretty extensive peek at what’s in store for the second installment in Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy.  In addition to the return of Orlando Bloom‘s Legolas, we get a look at the new characters played by Evangeline Lilly (Tauriel), Lee Pace (Thranduil), and Luke Evans (Bard the Bowman), as well as a nice tease of the titular dragon Smaug.  I may be misremembering just how CG-heavy An Unexpected Journey was, but there appears to be a rather exhaustive use of the technology here in Smaug.  Hopefully some of the more spotty-looking shots can be cleaned up in time for December, when audiences will once again be given the opportunity to see The Hobbit at 48 frames-per-second.

Hit the jump to watch the trailer, and click here to check out 8 high-resolution images from the pic.  The film also stars Martin Freeman, Ian McKellan, Richard Armitage, Cate Blanchett, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, John Bell, Jed Brophy, Adam Brown, John Callen, Benedict Cumberbatch, Stephen Fry, Ryan Gage, Mark Hadlow, Peter Hambleton, Stephen Hunter, William Kircher, Sylvester McCoy, Graham McTavish, Michael Mizrahi, James Nesbitt, Dean O’Gorman, Lee Pace, Mikael Persbrandt, Ken Stott, and Aidan Turner.  The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug opens in 2D, 3D, IMAX, and HFR on December 13th.

Hugo Weaving Reprises THE MATRIX Role for GE Commercial

by     Posted 1 year, 242 days ago

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If you’re one of those people who loved all of The Matrix movies (okay, or at least a couple of them), and especially Agent Smith, have we got some good news for you. Fans will be happy to hear that Australian actor Hugo Weaving has reprised his role of the mysterious agent.

Well, sort of.

Okay, so it’s not a new Matrix movie, but fans can still get to see Agent Smith again. Weaving is appearing in a new GE commercial for software and other medical equipment that is designed to make patient care better in hospitals.  Hit the jump to check out the commercial.

Watch: 13-Minute Preview for THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY Loaded with New Footage and Interviews

by     Posted 2 years, 12 days ago

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Our return to Middle Earth is now just over a week away, but if you can’t wait that long a 13-minute preview/featurette for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has landed online to quench your thirst for all things Tolkein.  The preview boasts a great deal of new footage and interviews with the cast (including Elijah Wood) and director Peter Jackson.

Hit the jump to watch the featurette, and click here to read Dave’s review of the film.  The pic stars Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett and Andy SerkisThe Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opens in 3D December 14th.

6 Clips from THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY

by     Posted 2 years, 14 days ago

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Warner Bros. has released six new clips from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.  I don’t know what’s in the clips because I’ve gone dark on the film and want to see as much of it as unspoiled as possible.  But that’s just me.

Hit the jump to check out the clips.  Click on the respective links for Dave’s review (my review will go up the day before the film opens), Steve’s set visit, and his interviews with Peter Jackson, Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, and Weta Workshop Head Richard TaylorThe Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opens in 3D on December 14th.

THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY Review

by     Posted 2 years, 15 days ago

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In our cinematic age of superhero and sci-fi films, director Peter Jackson is doing his part to shoulder the fantasy genre with a return to Middle Earth in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. The first in a trilogy of films adapted from J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit,” An Unexpected Journey sets out to tell the tale of titular protagonist Bilbo Baggins and a company of Dwarves on a quest to reclaim their ancestral home from the grip of the fearsome dragon, Smaug. The film also serves to establish an origin point for the events leading up to and through Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a classic adventure quest in the making; packed with colorful characters, gorgeous settings and plenty of action, the only setbacks are technical ones.

Starring Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Hugo Weaving, Cate Blanchett and Andy Serkis, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opens in 3D December 14th. Hit the jump for my review.

New TV Spot for THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY; Peter Jackson Talks Smaug and Prosthetic vs Digital Creature Design in Interview

by     Posted 2 years, 19 days ago

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A new TV spot for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey has gone online. It features Ian Holm reprising his role as an older Bilbo Baggins. Seen with Elijah Wood, this short spot gives us a glimpse at what is likely to be an opening scene from the picture. If you want more in depth information about The Hobbit trilogy, director Peter Jackson previously recorded a video interview in which he discusses creature designs for the orcs, goblins and a bit about the cameo of the dragon, Smaug, who will briefly appear in the first film. The discussion is well-timed, since The Hobbit was just announced at having earned a VFX Oscar nomination.

Starring Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage and Hugo Weaving, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opens December 14th. Hit the jump to watch the new TV spot and to read up on what Jackson had to say. 

First Clip and Over 20 High-Resolution Images from THE HOBBIT Featuring Galadriel, Saruman, Trolls, and Goblins

by     Posted 2 years, 21 days ago

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The first clip and a large batch of high-resolution images from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey have been released.  The clip is quite nice, as it features Ian McKellan’s Gandalf entrusting Martin Freeman’s Bilbo with a very familiar-looking sword.  We’ve seen plenty of money shots in the film’s trailers and TV spots, but this clip highlights one of the softer moments of the film and brings to mind the earnestness that worked so well in The Lord of the Rings.  The new images are also a swell treat for fans, as we’re given a first look at Christopher Lee back as Saruman alongside the angelic Cate Blanchett as Galadriel, as well as The Goblin King and some seriously nasty-looking trolls.

Hit the jump to check out the clip and images.  The film also stars Richard Armitage, Hugo Weaving, Andy Serkis, Peter Hambleton, John Callen, Ken Stott, Graham McTavish, James Nesbitt, William Kircher, Aidan Turner, Dean O’Gorman, Mark Hadlow, Jed Brophy, Adam Brown and Stephen Hunter.  The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opens December 14th.

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