Director James Wan and writer Leigh Whannell‘s 2011 creeper Insidious was a box office success, even though the general consensus was that the second half sucked. But since it made a profit, a sequel was only natural. The filmmaking duo have fallen into the trappings of sequels before with the Saw franchise that they started, but for Insidious: Chapter 2 they decided to take the reigns themselves. The result is a mixed bag of cheap jump scares and effective atmosphere that makes you wonder, was this a story that really needed to be told? Now Insidious: Chapter 2 is available on a solid Sony Blu-ray. Hit the jump for my review of the package.
Having played in limited release since August, director James Ponsoldt‘s high school drama The Spectacular Now finally made its way to my Midwestern neck of the woods this weekend and I jumped at the chance to see it last night. Although it elicited fewer laughs than I expected, the film levied an emotional punch that I’m still shaking off today. As has been noted by many before me, Miles Teller and Shailene Woodley‘s performances are fantastic and their chemistry is palpable from beginning to end (one scene in which Woodley’s Aimee describes her dreams of a perfect marriage stands out to me in particular). Moreover, Kyle Chandler‘s turn as Teller’s estranged father is as powerful as it is short-lived. If you have the slightest interest in the coming-of-age genre, and this film is playing nearby, take the time to see it. Few in the genre capture the nuance of high-school love and personal demons as honestly as The Spectacular Now.
With that ringing endorsement behind me, this week’s Top 5 includes a slew of Insidious: Chapter 2 interviews, Adam keeping his finger on the pulse of awards season with his recurring Oscar Beat feature, news that Warner Bros. and J.K. Rowling are teaming up for a new film series inspired by Harry Potter, a new installment of Cinemath that takes a look at the history of movie ticket prices, and a recap of our robust TIFF 2013 coverage. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, a brief recap and link to each of the above can be found after the jump.
If an action-packed double feature of Star Trek Into Darkness and World War Z is what you’re into, then this Labor Day weekend has a treat in store for you. If scares are more your thing, then you’ll be happy to hear that James Wan’s Insidious and the new release Insidious: Chapter 2 are playing back to back the night of Thursday, September 12th. The horror sequel stars Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Lin Shaye, Ty Simpkins and Barbara Hershey, and opens in earnest Friday, September 13th. Hit the jump for more details on the double feature.
FilmDistrict has released a new batch of images from Insidious: Chapter 2. Additionally, the studio invites you to participate in a séance at the official site. It is a neat bit of interactive promotional material as long as you don’t mind granting access to your webcam—worth a couple minutes if you are a fan of the first movie and care to role the dice.
Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Lin Shaye, Ty Simpkins, and Barbara Hershey star. The James Wan-directed sequel opens September 13. See the images after the jump.
Director James Wan’s (Insidious) horror film The Conjuring opens this weekend. The film is based on the story of the Perron family who inhabited a haunted Rhode Island farmhouse in the 1970s. Lili Taylor and Ron Livingston play the Perrons, and Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson play paranormal investigators Lorraine and Ed Warren, who encounter the most horrifying case of their career. I found the movie to be extremely well done, and I’d definitely recommend checking it out. For more on the film, watch some clips.
At the recent San Francisco press day, I landed an exclusive video interview with James Wan. He talked about juggling three projects at once (The Conjuring, Insidious 2 and Fast and Furious 7), the editing process, deleted scenes, the test screenings, and more. In addition, I got updates on Insidious 2 and Fast and the Furious 7. Hit the jump to watch.
- Insidious: Chapter 2 – Rose Byrne is hammer mom in the first poster for James Wan’s upcoming horror sequel. The film opens September 13th and also stars Patrick Wilson, Ty Simpkins, and Lin Shaye.
- You’re Next – Lionsgate has released an excellent new poster for Adam Wingard’s terrific home invasion thriller. The film opens August 23rd and stars Sharni Vinson, Joe Swanberg, AJ Bowen, Amy Seimetz, Barbara Crampton, Wendy Glenn, Margaret Laney, Rob Moran, Nicholas Tucci, and Ti West.
- Seventh Son – Ben Barnes features as the eponymous Seventh Son of a Seventh Son in the new Comic-Con character poster. The film opens January 17, 2014, and stars Jeff Bridges, Alicia Vikander, Kit Harington, Olivia Williams, Antje Traue, Djimon Hounsou, and Julianne Moore.
Hit the jump to check out the posters.
For all of the uneasiness I felt watching The Internship play as a not so subtle promo for Google’s portfolio of services (what in the hell is Google Wallet?), the movie painted a dichotomy that I found interesting. While far from perfect, I thought the film did a nice job of contrasting the eternal optimism of a couple Gen X’ers with the often harsh practicality and cynicism I see embedded in myself and many of my fellow Millennials. Although this is hardly the platform from which to dive into a generational debate, The Internship at least introduced the idea that belonging to a generation that has had the wealth of the world’s knowledge at their fingertips for a good portion of their lives (not to mention video games and the lack of a military draft) faces a whole new set of unique challenges and insecurities. At the same time, it also sent an oft-overlooked truth that we (Millennials) don’t know it all, haven’t seen it all, and the “Culture of Meh” that we often embrace is cynical bullshit that I can only hope life experience will help pull us out of.
In addition to my “meh” soapbox, this week’s Top 5 offers The Internship interviews with Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson, and Rose Byrne, the first trailer and a set visit recap for director James Wan‘s Insidious: Chapter 2, a truckload of set images from X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Purge interviews with Ethan Hawke and more, and a look at the WGA’s list of the “101 Best Written TV Series of All Time”. Check out a brief recap and link to each after the jump.
FilmDistrict has released the first trailer and images for director James Wan’s horror sequel Insidious: Chapter 2. The majority of the cast from the first film returns in this follow-up, which finds the Lambert family trying to uncover the mysteries behind the childhood secret that has made them prone to some rather spooky paranormal events. Having not seen the first film, I don’t necessarily find anything in this trailer scary (Wan’s other 2013 horror film The Conjuring, on the other hand, looks terrifying). Chapter 2 almost looks like more of a thriller than a horror pic, but I’m sure fans of the first movie will be glad to wade back into the world of Insidious this fall.
Hit the jump to watch the trailer, and click here to check out our recap from the trailer event and Q&A with Wan. The film stars Ty Simpkins, Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, and Lin Shaye. Insidious: Chapter 2 opens on September 13th.
I’m walking through the hallway of an abandoned hospital. The weatherworn walls covered in stains I’d rather not think about. I pass a threshold and suddenly I’m standing in what could almost pass as a fully functional hospital lobby if it weren’t completely empty. I walk a little further, past the occasional gurney or IV stand, and then I’m standing in a living room with only two walls. I know this room. I watched someone die in this room. It’s March 2013 and I’m at the Linda Vista Hospital visiting the set of Insidious: Chapter 2. I’m standing in a replica of the living room from the Lambert’s second home, the room where the finale of the first film takes place, and as a fan, it’s pretty freaking cool.
Insidious was one of those rare films that took me by surprise. With the first two acts firmly rooted in the classic structure of ghost story narrative, director James Wan and writer Leigh Whannell delivered some of the most finely crafted scares in recent memory. Then the third act delivered a bold and wonderfully weird finale that put an entirely unique spin on the haunted house subgenre. It was a move that divided audiences, and it certainly gave me pause, but it also allowed for the creation of a universe and mythology with plenty of room to explore. So I was totally on board when they announced a sequel and super excited at the opportunity to visit the set and get a glimpse at what’s in store. Insidious: Chapter 2 stars Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Lin Shaye, Barbara Hershey, Jocelin Donahue, and Ty Simpkins. Hit the jump for more on the visit.
One of the things that most impresses me about Blumhouse Productions it’s the smart way they’re making movies. Through clever budgeting and location Blumhouse consistently manages to secure impressive talent for their projects, both in front and behind the camera, endowing their films with a credibility and quality that is unusual on the low-budget horror circuit. Insidious was one of the films that helped set this trend for the company, and one of the most exciting things about the sequel is that they’re bringing back the whole bunch for round two. Back in March I got to visit the set of Insidious: Chapter 2 and see firsthand the chemistry between the cast and crew, their enthusiasm to be working together again, and how thoughtful they all are about the work they’re doing.
During a break in filming, I sat down with a few other journalists for a press conference with Director James Wan, Writer Leigh Whannell, Producer Jason Blum, and actors Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Lin Shaye, and Barbara Hershey. They talked about the higher stakes of the sequel, what makes Chapter 2 unique, exploring the world established in the first film, what we’ll see in the Further, shooting at Linda Vista Hospital, and a lot more. Check out what they had to say after the jump.
A few release date shuffles have been announced. Briefly:
- I, Frankenstein – Director Stuart Beattie’s graphic novel adaptation has been pushed back yet again from this coming September to the less-than-promising date of January 24th. The Aaron Eckhart-starrer will now open opposite the Arnold Schwarzenegger/Sam Worthington thriller Ten.
- Insidious: Chapter 2 – The Patrick Wilson/Rose Byrne-fronted horror sequel will now open a week earlier on September 13th, opposite Machete Kills and Battle of the Year.
- Austenland – Sony Pictures Classic has set Jerusha Hess’ Sundance comedy for a limited release in NY and LA on August 16th. The film stars Keri Russell and Jemaine Clement.
- Walk of Shame – Director Steven Brill’s comedy, which stars Elizabeth Banks and James Marsden, has been slated for wide release on September 20th. The film will open opposite the Hugh Jackman/Jake Gyllenhaal thriller Prisoners and Ron Howard’s racing drama Rush.
- Escape Plan - The Arnold Schwarzenegger/Sylvester Stallone thriller previously known as The Tomb has been moved up from September 27th to September 13th.
From Jason Blum (Insidious, Sinister) and Josh Gates (Destination Truth), Stranded is the new Syfy reality series that uses the same stripped-down first-person method from Paranormal Activity to document an unconventional and terrifying paranormal and psychological experiment, in which participants are stranded at haunted location for a week and must record the entire experience themselves. Each of the six hour-long episodes features the self-recorded footage of a group of everyday paranormal enthusiasts, combined with strategically-placed security cameras at each location.
During this recent exclusive phone interview with Collider, executive producer Jason Blum talked about how Stranded came about and why he thought it was a great fit for what he’d already done on the narrative side, the process of selecting the individuals and locations for the show, how he got some fun ideas for future movies while they were scouting possible haunted locations, and where his love for genre and horror started. He also talked about how he expects Paranormal Activity 5 to go into production in middle to late Spring for an October release, why he and the film’s partners thought there was further story to be explored for Insidious 2, what made him want to collaborate with Ryan Murphy (American Horror Story, Glee) on a modern-day remake of The Town that Dreaded Sundown, that he hopes Area 51 will be released soon, and that he’s not currently juggling quite as many projects as IMDB would lead you to believe. Check out what he had to say after the jump.
The new Syfy reality series Stranded, which debuted on February 27th, documents an unconventional and often terrifying paranormal and psychological experiment. Each episode features the self-recorded footage of a diverse group of every-day paranormal enthusiasts who are left stranded at one of the most haunted locations in America and record the entire experience with hand-held cameras creating an unscripted first-hand account of their stay.
While we will share what executive producer Jason Blum had to say about the new show next week, we did want to share his updates on some of his current and upcoming feature films. Blum told Collider that he expect Paranormal Activity 5 to go into production in middle to late Spring for an October release and that he hopes that franchise will remain ongoing, why he and the film’s partners thought there was further story to be explored for Insidious 2, what made him want to collaborate with Ryan Murphy (American Horror Story, Glee) on a modern-day remake of The Town that Dreaded Sundown and why he thinks that will appeal to audiences, that he hopes Area 51 will be released soon, and that he’s not currently juggling quite as many projects as IMDB would lead you to believe. Check out what he had to say after the jump.
Things are moving quickly on the sequel to 2011’s horror hit Insidious. We learned this February that director James Wan and screenwriter Leigh Whannell were reteaming for the follow-up, and FilmDistrict announced today that Insidious Chapter 2 will be hitting theaters on August 30, 2013. Wan is again directing from a script by Whannell, and Jason Blum is back to produce through his Blumhouse Productions company. Moreover, the first film’s cast of Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, Lin Shaye, and Ty Simpkins will also be back to reprise their roles.
Not plot details are given, but production on the low-budget sequel is set to begin on January 15, 2013. Hit the jump to read the full press release.
One of the many films to premiere footage at this year’s New York Comic-Con was director James Wan‘s (Insidious) supernatural thriller The Conjuring. The film stars Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga as “a husband and wife team of demonologists and psychic investigators who enter the most horrifying case of their career, spirits in a Rhode Island farmhouse.” Ron Livingston and Lili Taylor play a couple who unknowingly move into the haunted farmhouse with their kids. For more on the film, here’s Matt’s recap of the Comic-Con panel.
Shortly before the panel started, I saw down with Wilson for an exclusive video interview. We talked about how he got involved in The Conjuring and what attracted him to the material, what it’s like attending a comic convention after playing Nite Owl in Watchmen, what’s his favorite cut of the film, his thoughts on walking around a future convention in costume as Nite Owl, an adaptation of Caught Stealing, the status of an Insidious sequel, what it was like to do a reading for Rob Marshall‘s screen adaptation of Into the Woods, and a lot more. Hit the jump to watch.