WHIPLASH Review | TIFF 2014

by     Posted 50 days ago

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[Note: This is a "second take" review of Whiplash by Phil Brown from the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.  To read Matt's initial review from Sundance 2014, click here.]

Reduced to the most basic possible logline plot description, Whiplash might sound like an impossibly cheesy inspirational teaching drama with jazz band setting. Thankfully anything resembling warm, fuzzy, and safe entertainment ends there in writer/director Damien Chazelle’s debut feature. What he’s created is a vicious game of psychological warfare between a talented pupil and nearly psychotic teacher that ducks and swerves against convention at every possible turn, transforming into a fascinatingly dark character study quite unlike anything that could be expected from this subgenre. Want to know why? Then go ahead and hit that jump. 

J.K. Simmons in Talks to Join TERMINATOR: GENESIS; Aubrey Plaza to Play the Lead in Hal Hartley’s Dark Comedy NED RIFLE; Adeel Akhtar to Play Smee in PAN

by     Posted 225 days ago

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Here’s the latest casting information for the following films:

  • J.K. Simmons is in talks to join Alan Taylor’s Terminator: Genesis, starring Emilia Clarke, Jason Clarke, Jai Courtney, and Arnold Schwarzenegger.  The film opens July 1, 2015.
  • Aubrey Plaza is set to lead Hal Hartley’s dark comedy, Ned Rifle.
  • Adeel Akhtar will play Smee to Garrett Hedlund’s Hook in Joe Wright’s Pan.

Hit the jump for more on each project.

Trailer for DARK SKIES Starring Keri Russell and Josh Hamilton

by     Posted 1 year, 336 days ago

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A trailer for the sci-fi thriller Dark Skies has just been released.  The movie centers on a family who become the victims of disturbing supernatural events that wreak havoc on their bodies and minds.  The trailer bills itself as being from the producers of Paranormal Activity and Insidious, and these producers force us to ask: “Is any suburban, middle-class home truly safe?”  Even though I hadn’t been paying much attention to this movie, it looks like there’s some genuinely creepy stuff in this flick, and it would almost keep me guessing if the malevolent force was ghosts or aliens if the title hadn’t given it away.

Hit the jump to check out the trailer.  The film stars Keri Russell, Josh Hamilton, Dakota Goyo, Kadan Rockett, and J.K. SimmonsDark Skies opens February 22, 2013.

Casting Call: Melissa Leo and Rick Yune Set for OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN; J.K. Simmons, Kevin Dunn and More Join JOBS

by     Posted 2 years, 105 days ago

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We’ve got a couple of casting stories to share this afternoon.  First up, Oscar winner Melissa Leo and Rick Yune (Die Another Day) have been added to the cast of the White House actioner Olympus Has Fallen.  Not to be confused with the similarly plotted White House Down, which has Roland Emmerich directing and Channing Tatum starring, Olympus Has Fallen has Gerard Butler playing a secret service agent who becomes the country’s only hope when the White House is overrun by terrorists.  Antoine Fuqua directs, and Heat Vision reports that Leo will be playing a tough Secretary of State while Yune has landed the film’s villain role.  In addition to Die Another Day, Yune played an antagonist in the original The Fast and the Furious.  No other details are known regarding his nefarious plot or why he feels the need to break into the President’s home.

Hit the jump for details on a number of additions to the cast of the biopic Jobs

New Posters for THE WORDS and ROBOT AND FRANK

by     Posted 2 years, 123 days ago

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Two new posters have arrived for a pair of September releases that I’m really looking forward to. First up is a new poster for The Words, a romantic drama from debut directors Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal that stars Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana and Jeremy Irons. Cooper plays a young writer who passes off another author’s work as his own and deals with the consequences that inevitably arise. The Words opens September 7th. 

A second poster comes to us today for director Jake Schreier’s Robot and Frank.  The buddy comedy stars Frank Langella as a retired jewel thief who seeks to resume his criminal ways with the help of a companion robot, voiced by Peter SarsgaardRobot and Frank opens August 24th.  Hit the jump to check out the new posters.

CONTRABAND Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 2 years, 167 days ago

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It’s nice to see a down and dirty action movie, and Contraband offers a number of things that are fun. It’s got Mark Wahlberg in the lead, and a supporting cast that includes Kate Beckinsale, J.K. Simmons, Ben Foster, Giovanni Ribisi, and Lukas Hass.  It’s got a no-nonsense plot about smuggling, and at least one good shootout. But it’s also imminently forgettable. Our review of the Blu-ray of Contraband follows after the jump.

Watch the First Episode of THE LEGEND OF KORRA, the Sequel to AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER

by     Posted 2 years, 213 days ago

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Long before M. Night Shyamalan tainted the name of Avatar: The Last Airbender with his awful feature adaptation, millions of fans around the world were able to enjoy the animated Nickelodeon adventure series. When the show ended its three season run, those same fans were left wondering if and when their favorite characters would ever return. Luckily, Nickelodeon put the show’s sequel, The Legend of Korra into production. From creators Michael Dante DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, The Legend of Korra occurs 70 years after the original. The new avatar is a young woman named  Korra who finds herself in Republic City, the capital of the unified nations. Judging from the trailer, sneak peeks and first episode, the sequel is everything the original was and more. The show is slated for an April 14th premiere but you can get an early look at the first episode of The Legend of Korra right here! Hit the jump to check it out.

Emilie de Ravin Joins ABC Pilot Drama AMERICANA; Other Networks Continue to Wrap Up Casting

by     Posted 2 years, 242 days ago

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Lost alumna Emilie de Ravin has a recurring role on ABC’s freshman drama, Once Upon a Time, but has recently landed another pilot for the network. She is set to co-star in Americana, a soap revolving around a famous fashion family. Here are some other recent casting additions:

  • Twilight’s Edi Gathegi will star opposite Kyle Bornheimer in the ABC comedy pilot, White Van Man.
  • The CW has added Nicole Gale Anderson and Nina Lisandrello to their Beauty and the Beast drama pilot.
  • Martin Landau will team up with Roland Emmerich for an untitled ABC drama pilot.
  • Another Twilight alum, Chaske Spencer will join Ethan Embry, Megan Ferguson and Jake McLaughlin in NBC’s Western drama pilot, The Frontier.

Hit the jump for more on each project.

5 Movie Clips and 16 Images from CONTRABAND

by     Posted 2 years, 290 days ago

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We’ve been provided with five clips and sixteen images from director Baltasar Kormákur’s crime thriller Contraband. The film is set in the world of international smuggling and stars Mark Wahlberg as a man trying to escape his days as a criminal. When his brother-in-law (Caleb Landry Jones) botches a deal, Wahlberg’s character must settle his brother-in-law’s debt in order to keep him safe from a drug boss (Giovanni Ribisi).  The film also stars Kate Beckinsale, Ben Foster, J.K. Simmons, and Diego Luna.

Hit the jump to check out the clips and images.  Contraband opens January 13th, 2012.

Synopses and Info on 2012 Lionsgate Films Including the EVIL DEAD Remake, Spike Lee’s OLD BOY, MURDER OF A CAT, FLIGHT 7500, and More

by     Posted 2 years, 358 days ago

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Each year, a number of films are presented and sold at the American Film Market in Santa Monica. The 2011 AFM takes place this week, and in preparation for the AFM, Lionsgate has compiled production information and synopses for the properties that they plan to sell at the convention to both domestic and international buyers (for the territories that they have the rights). Lucky for us, that info is now public, and we’ve pulled together cast, director, and writer information as well as official synopses for some high profile 2012 Lionsgate films. We’ve got info on the Evil Dead remake, Spike Lee’s English-language adaptation of the now classic Park Chan-wook film Old Boy, Diablo Cody’s directorial debut, the comedy Murder of a Cat starring Jay Baruchel, Alison Pill, and Rob Lowe, and much more. Hit the jump for all the details.

First Trailer for Jason Reitman’s YOUNG ADULT [Updated with Alternate Trailer]

by     Posted 3 years, 18 days ago

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The first trailer for Jason Reitman’s Young Adult has gone online.  Written by Diablo Cody, the story centers on an alcoholic writer of young adult fiction (Charlize Theron) who decides to return to her small hometown and pursue her high-school boyfriend (Patrick Wilson) even though he’s now happily married and has a young child.  What I dig about this trailer is that it is almost entirely devoid of sentiment.   Charlize Theron’s character is apparently just a sad, selfish person and Theron looks like she’s having some fun with the role when she’s not giving a dead-eyed stare. The film also stars Patton Oswalt, J.K. Simmons, and Elizabeth Reaser.  Young Adult opens in limited release on December 2nd and expands nationwide the following weekend. [Update: Hit the jump to check out an alternate, slightly raunchy trailer]

New Trailer and Images for CONTRABAND Starring Mark Wahlberg, Kate Beckinsale, Ben Foster, and Giovanni Ribisi

by     Posted 3 years, 25 days ago

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The trailer for Contraband has gone online and I have no idea what differentiates it from other Mark Wahlberg crime movies.  He’s either a cop or a good-guy criminal and in this movie he’s the latter.  He plays a former smuggler who’s called back into the game when his brother-in-law (X-Men: First Class‘ Caleb Landry Jones) steals from the wrong gangster (Giovanni Ribisi with a bizarre, distracting accent).  Wahlberg then puts together a team of crooks (including characters played by Ben Foster and Lukas Haas) and it looks a little like The Italian Job with smuggling and cool duct tape masks.  Hopefully, the film will have something to make it stand apart from other movies where Wahlberg plays a frantic, hard-nosed character.

Hit the jump to check out the trailer and a number of new images.  The film also stars Kate Beckinsale, J.K. Simmons, and Diego Luna.  Contraband opens January 13, 2012.

First Poster for Jason Reitman’s YOUNG ADULT Starring Charlize Theron [UPDATED]

by     Posted 3 years, 48 days ago

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The first poster for Jason Reitman’s Young Adult has gone online and it’s pretty great.  The film centers on an alcoholic writer (Charlize Theron) who writes young adult novels (hence the design of the poster) and decides to return to her small town to pursue her high-school boyfriend (Patrick Wilson) who is now happily married with a young child.  This leads Theron’s character to another high-school classmate played by Patton Oswalt.  It’s a good cast, Reitman makes pretty good movies, and the script is from Diablo Cody.  Young Adult is being billed as a darker movie than Reitman’s previous work and it’s skipping the festival circuit in favor of a limited release on December 2nd and a wide release the following weekend.  However, because of the re-teaming of Reitman and Cody, the Juno comparison will be inevitable despite the drastically different story and tone.

Hit the jump to check out the poster. [Update: We have updated the poster with a hi-res version]

Olivia Wilde, J.K. Simmons and Ben Barnes Join Bradley Cooper in THE WORDS

by     Posted 3 years, 144 days ago

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The cast for Tron: Legacy scribes Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal’s directorial debut The Words continues to grow. Olivia Wilde, J.K. Simmons and Ben Barnes (The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian) have joined a cast that also includes Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Irons, Zoe Saldana and Dennis Quaid. The drama centers on a writer at the peak of his success (Cooper) who must pay the price for stealing the work of another author (Irons). Not much else is known about the project at this time, but the cast is looking pretty impressive. Filming is set to get underway this month. Wilde will be dominating theaters this year, as she’s starring in Jon Favreau’s Cowboys and Aliens, the Jason Bateman/Ryan Reynolds body-swap comedy The Change-Up and Andrew Niccol’s sci-fi thriller In Time. Hit the jump to read the full press release.

Images and Voice Cast for THE LAST AIRBENDER: THE LEGEND OF KORRA

by     Posted 3 years, 231 days ago

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Oh, The Last Airbender, you stupid movie.  You are the first thing most people think of when they hear “The Last Airbender,” and I hate you for that.  There’s such a fantastic mythology at the heart of the Nickelodeon cartoon Avatar: The Last Airbender, all of which was referenced but never explored in the lifeless film adaptation.

Avatar creators Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko are on a mission to reclaim the phrase “The Last Airbender” with The Legend of Korra, a new series set 70 years later when rebellious teenage girl Korra becomes the new avatar.  The voice cast has been announced: Janet Varney will play Kara — Kiernan Shipka, Daniel Dae Kim, David Faustino, Seychelle Gabriel , Lance Henriksen, P.J. Byrne, and JK Simmons will supply additional voices.

The Legend of Korra is scheduled to premiere sometime in 2012.  Check out two new images after the break.

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