ELYSIUM Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 87 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.

Neill Blomkamp’s CHAPPIE to Be Released on March 27, 2015

by     Posted 247 days ago

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Though Elysium has only been in theaters for a couple of weeks, Sony has already given director Neill Blomkamp’s next film a release date.  The sci-fi pic Chappie will open in theaters on March 27, 2015, adding yet another film to look forward to in what’s shaping up to be the busiest moviegoing year in history.  The only other film currently set for release on 3/27 is DreamWorks Animation’s spinoff The Penguins of Madagascar, but Marvel is poised to invade every available screen a little over a month later when The Avengers: Age of Ultron opens on May 1st.

With Chappie, Blomkamp reunites with his Elysium and District 9 star Sharlto Copley once again.  The pic tells the story of a robot (Copley) imbued with artificial intelligence who is stolen by two local gangsters who want to use him for their own nefarious purposes.  Ninja and Yolandi Visser are onboard to play said gangsters.  Production on Chappie begins this fall in South Africa, but it appears that Blomkamp will need plenty of time to complete the film’s extensive visual effects.

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

by     Posted 254 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.

Sony and MRC to Finance Neill Blomkamp’s Sci-Fi Film CHAPPIE; Official Synopsis Released

by     Posted 254 days ago

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Following last weekend’s slightly disappointing box office opening of Elysium, Sony Pictures has decided to back another one of writer/director Neill Blomkamp’s films.  The studio is teaming up with MRC to finance Blomkamp’s next pic, the sci-fi film Chappie.  The pic “tells the story of a robot imbued with artificial intelligence who is stolen by two local gangsters who want to use him for their own nefarious purposes.”  Sharlto Copley is already onboard to voice the titular robot, and Ninja and Yolandi Visser (aka Die Antwoord) are set to play the two gangsters.  Dev Patel was reported as being in early talks for a role a few months ago, but there’s no mention of the actor in this official press release.  Blomkamp recently revealed that there’s one more role he’s trying to fill, so this may be it.

Blomkamp wrote the script for Chappie with Terri Tatchell (District 9) and will also produce the pic alongside Simon Kinberg, who also produced Elysium.  Filming is poised to begin this fall.  Hit the jump to read the full press release, which includes the logline.

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

by     Posted 256 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

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 257 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 259 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 260 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.

Behind-the-Scenes Look at Matt Damon’s WETA-Designed “Hulk Suit” from Neill Blomkamp’s ELYSIUM

by     Posted 281 days ago

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Matt Damon’s a pretty tough guy, but his skills get amped up considerably thanks to a high-tech exoskeleton seen in writer-director Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium.  This new behind-the-scenes featurette takes a look at the “Hulk suit”, along with commentary from Damon, Blomkamp and effects specialists from WETA.  Modern military tech might not be quite up to this level, but if you’d like to volunteer your body to the mercy of the bone saw, I’m sure some R&D program would happily accommodate you.

Also starring Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, Alice Braga, Wagner MouraDiego Luna, and William Fichtner, Elysium opens on August 9th.  Hit the jump to view the featurette.

Neill Blomkamp Says He’s Written an 18-Page Treatment for DISTRICT 10; Turned Down the Opportunity to Make a STAR WARS Film

by     Posted 282 days ago

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Despite the fact that he only has one feature film under his belt, Neill Blomkamp continues to be one of the more promising and refreshing filmmakers working today.  After the success of his Best Picture-nominated 2009 sci-fi film District 9, Blomkamp was likely inundated with offers to direct pretty much any studio tentpole of his choosing.  Instead, the director opted to stick with original filmmaking, and the result is the great-looking sci-fi/social commentary pic Elysium, which opens in theaters next month.

Nevertheless, fan interest in a sequel to District 9 remains, and during a recent interview Blomkamp revealed that he’s actually made some progress on the proposed District 10.  Moreover, he apparently turned down the opportunity to helm a new Star Wars film in order to once again focus on original projects.  Hit the jump for more.

New Trailer for ELYSIUM Starring Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, and Sharlto Copley

by     Posted 315 days ago

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Sony Pictures has released a new trailer for District 9 director Neill Blomkamp‘s sci-fi film Elysium.  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.  Running at over three minutes long, this trailer does an excellent job of clearly setting up the film’s premise while also teasing a fantastic-looking sci-fi film in the process.  It’s great to see Damon playing a character with a bit of an edge to him, and Blomkamp’s world-building and visual effects are as exciting as ever.

Hit the jump to watch the new trailer.  The film also stars Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, Alice Braga, Wagner MouraDiego Luna and William Fichtner.  Elysium opens on August 9th.

First TV Spot for ELYSIUM Starring Matt Damon and Jodi Foster

by     Posted 317 days ago

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The first TV spot for District 9 director Neill Blomkamp’s new film Elysium has landed online.  The movie is set 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’s recent theatrical trailer was fantastic, and this TV spot offers up quite a bit more new footage that reveals the sci-fi world that Blomkamp has created.  I’m loving the dichotomy between the clean, expansive visuals of Elysium and the gritty, imperfect Earth, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how the full story plays out.

Hit the jump to watch the TV spot.  The film also stars Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, Alice Braga, Wagner MouraDiego Luna and William FichtnerElysium opens on August 9th.

Sharlto Copley Will Lead Neill Blomkamp’s Sci-Fi Comedy CHAPPIE

by     Posted 359 days ago

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Director Neill Blomkamp and actor Sharlto Copley are clearly quite fond of each other, and it appears that they have no plans to severe their professional relationship anytime soon.  The then-unknown South African actor gave a stellar turn in Blomkamp’s fantastic 2009 sci-fi film District 9 and has a supporting role in the director’s next film, the Matt Damon-fronted Elysium, and now EW confirms that Copley will lead Blomakamp’s next next film, the sci-fi comedy Chappie.  Plot details for Blomkamp’s Elysium follow-up are being kept firmly under wraps, but it’s described as a “science-fiction comedy” that takes place in an unusual setting.

Obviously details regarding Copley’s character are also being kept secret, but we do know that he will play the lead.  The actor most recently wrapped the villain role in Spike Lee’s remake of Oldboy and a supporting role opposite Angelina Jolie in Disney’s Maleficent.  Production on Chappie will take place in Johannesburg.

TOP 5: ELYSIUM, WHITE HOUSE DOWN, Legendary Pictures CEO Thomas Tull Interview, First Trailers for RUSH, Mondo CEO Justin Ishmael Interview

by     Posted 1 year, 11 days ago

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From time to time I like to use the opening paragraph to discuss my latest screenprint investments and/or dream items. This week I’m playing a similar note as I recently picked up Olly Moss“Batman’s Rogues Gallery” set on eBay for very close to what the timed edition went for originally. Those of you who follow posters and prints know how redeeming it can be to finally get an item you originally missed out on without having to pay exponentially more than its original asking price. Now, if only Ken Taylor‘s Halloween print would stop being so rare/expensive, I could officially run out of room on my walls.

I’ll stop gushing and leave any more in-depth poster/print talk to our own Limited Paper. For my part, this week’s Top 5 includes the first trailer and a video blog recap of 10 minutes of footage from Neill Blomkamp‘s Elysium, our White House Down set visit recap, an exclusive interview with Legendary Pictures CEO Thomas Tull, the first trailers for Ron Howard‘s Rush, and an extended interview with Mondo CEO Justin Ishmael. As is customary, a brief recap and link to each is ready and waiting for your attention after the jump.

8 New Images from ELYSIUM Starring Matt Damon, Jodie Foster, and Sharlto Copley

by     Posted 1 year, 14 days ago

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Following on the heels of the debut trailer and poster, Sony Pictures has released eight new images from Neill Blomkamp‘s Elysium.  The movie is set 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.  I’m digging everything I’m seeing from this film, and with four months until the release date, this is only the tip of the political-sci-fi iceberg.

Hit the jump to check out the images, and click here for Steve’s thoughts on the footage he saw yesterday.  The film also stars Jodie Foster, Sharlto Copley, Alice Braga, Wagner Moura, Diego Luna, and William FichtnerElysium opens August 9th.

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