SXSW 2014: SPACE STATION 76 Review

by     Posted 40 days ago

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Jack Plotnick’s feature directorial debut rocks a creative concept with some highly appealing production design, but the film is entirely devoid of a compelling through line, rendering Space Station 76 more of a short-lived novelty rather than a thoughtfully layered, story-driven experience.  Hit the jump for my full review of Space Station 76 from the SXSW Film Festival.

Patrick Wilson in Talks to Join Edgar Wright’s ANT-MAN Starring Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas

by     Posted 51 days ago

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Edgar Wright‘s Ant-Man has been lining up talented actors left-and-right with Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas set to lead the picture, and Evangeline Lilly, Michael Pena, and Clifton Collins Jr. all circling the film.  Now another excellent actor is in the mix as The Wrap reports that Patrick Wilson (The Conjuring) is in talks for an unknown role.  Because Wright is already going in a different direction with the story by putting Scott Lang (Rudd) center stage and moving the more-familiar Hank Pym (Douglas) to a supporting role, it’s difficult to know how many of the other characters will be plucked from the comics and how many are from scratch.  Either way, I hope Wilson signs on since he’s a great addition to every film he’s in.  He’ll next be seen in Joe Carnahan‘s Stretch and he’s also attached to star in the indie The Man on Carrion Road.

Ant-Man will open on July 17, 2015.  Bill Pope (The Matrix) will handle the cinematography, and Steven Price (Gravity) is composing the score.  Joe Cornish (Attack the Block) co-wrote the script.

INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 2 Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 98 days ago

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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.

THE CONJURING Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 141 days ago

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Horror movies are the ultimate test of directorial skill.  It’s not the words that make it scary, it’s the camera, the performance, and how things are revealed.  And watching The Conjuring it’s obvious that James Wan is a remarkable talent, and it’s great that he’s moved into the big time as his next project is Fast and Furious 7.  He’s got it.  The Conjuring follows two families.  The Warrens (Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson) are ghost hunters who uncover real and fake hauntings, while the Perrons (headed by Lili Taylor and Ron Livingston) are an ordinary family whose new house is haunted.  The two cross paths in this supposed true story.  My review of The Conjuring on Blu-ray follows after the jump.

Patrick Wilson is THE MAN ON CARRION ROAD; Alan Arkin, Diane Keaton, Annette Bening, Amanda Seyfried & Theo James for THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME

by     Posted 170 days ago

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Today’s casting news:

Hit the jump for more on each project.

INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER THREE Moving Forward; Leigh Whannell Returning to Write the Script

by     Posted 215 days ago

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Following the impressive box office success of Insidious: Chapter Two, another sequel in the horror franchise is moving forward.  eOne, FilmDistrict, and Sony Pictures Worldwide announced today that they are developing a third Insidious film, with Insidious and Insidious: Chapter Two screenwriter Leigh Whannell returning to pen the screenplay.  James Wan directed the first two installments, but after the back-to-back successes of The Conjuring and Insidious 2, he has stated his intention to move away from the horror genre and try his hand at other kinds of films.  He’s currently busy directing Fast & Furious 7 and the press release makes no mention of his involvement with Insidious: Chapter Three, so it’s unlikely that he will return to direct.

Jason Blum and Oren Peli are producing the third installment, but further details about the horror sequel are unknown.  The second film made over $40 million in its opening weekend against a $5 million budget, so clearly continuing the series is in the best interest of the studios.  Hopefully Whannell develops a worthwhile story.  Hit the jump to read the press release.

TOP 5: INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 2 Interviews, Oscar Beat, HARRY POTTER Spinoff Film Series in the Works from J.K. Rowling, Cinemath, TIFF 2013 Coverage

by     Posted 217 days ago

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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.

Patrick Wilson Talks INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 2, Teaming up with James Wan Again, Playing Multiple Characters, His Desire to Get Back on Stage, STRETCH and More

by     Posted 218 days ago

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Opening in theaters this weekend is James Wan’s Insidious: Chapter 2.  The follow-up to the 2011 surprise hit picks up exactly where the first left off. Josh (Patrick Wilson) has returned from the Further feeling not quite himself, and when Renai (Rose Byrne) begins seeing familiar signs of the paranormal the Lambert family is thrust once more into a world of psychics, demons and ghosts. Insidious: Chapter 2 also stars Barbara HersheyLin ShayeLeigh WhannellAngus Sampson, and Ty Simpkins.

During a recent New York press day I hopped on the phone for an interview with Wilson. He talked about working on his first sequel, playing multiple characters, what he’s learned from his collaborations with James Wan, wanting to get back on stage and more. He also gave an update on Joe Carnahan’s Stretch. Check out what he had to say after the jump. 

17 New Images from INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 2; Take Part in Online Seance If You Dare

by     Posted 240 days ago

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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.

Patrick Wilson Talks Joe Carnahan’s STRETCH; Says “It’s Like All Those Excessive 80s R-Rated Action Comedies”

by     Posted 243 days ago

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I’m a big fan of director Joe Carnahan.  I like the diversity of his filmography, and I’ve even had a blast with his panned pictures like Smokin’ Aces and The A-Team.  They’re both action movies that have a lot of spark and lunacy to them, and his upcoming film Stretch seems to have the same kind of energy according to star Patrick Wilson.  For those unfamiliar with the film, Wilson stars as “a down-on-his-luck chauffeur looking to relieve his debt by driving around a mysterious billionaire who drags him to hell and back.”  The film is low-budget, but the cast includes Chris Pine (who worked with Carnahan on Smokin’ Aces and was great), Ed Helms, Jessica Alba, Brooklyn Dekker, James Badge Dale, Shaun Toub, Ray Liotta, and David Hasselhoff.

Hit the jump for the kind of craziness we can expect from the movie.  Stretch opens March 21, 2014.

THE CONJURING Review

by     Posted 275 days ago

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Director James Wan and I have a disagreement on the meaning of the word “malevolent.”  His new film, The Conjuring, features an opening crawl that says the events we’re about to see are based on the true story of the most malevolent case in the files of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren.  The case is so sinister that it’s been kept secret until now.  With this kind of billing, I expect something truly horrific and upsetting.  But for Wan, “malevolent” is the equivalent of demons pulling supernatural tricks on a helpless family.  The film features excellent performances and thoughtful cinematography that evokes the time period of the story, but Wan’s definition of horror continues to rely on stale spooky images.  His strongest asset is the Warrens, but the malevolence on display becomes redundant and annoying until the third act when Wan is finally able to tap in to true terror.

New Line Developing THE CONJURING Sequel and Possible Franchise

by     Posted 277 days ago

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Director James Wan’s upcoming horror film The Conjuring comes with some pretty high expectations when it opens in theaters this weekend.  Originally scheduled for release this past January, Warner Bros. moved the film to a prime summer release date after test screenings went through the roof.  Early reviews have been incredibly positive for the film, and now it appears that a sequel is already being developed ahead of what is expected to be a solid box office run.  The film is based on the true story of the husband and wife paranormal investigator duo of Ed and Lorraine Warren (played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga), and the idea now is to build a possible series of films around the team’s investigations.  Hit the jump for more.

6 Clips from James Wan’s THE CONJURING Starring Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Lili Taylor, and Ron Livingston

by     Posted 288 days ago

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Warner Bros. has released six clips from director James Wan’s (Insidious) upcoming horror film The Conjuring.  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 a husband and wife team of psychic investigators who encounter the most horrifying case of their career.  Buzz has been high for this one, and these new clips promise a truly frightening moviegoing experience.

Hit the jump to watch the clips, and if you missed any of Dave’s set visit coverage be sure to check out 30 Things to Know and his interviews with WanLivingstonWilson, and Taylor.  The Conjuring opens on July 19th.

TOP 5: WHITE HOUSE DOWN, THE CONJURING Set Visit, THE HEAT, Jim Carrey Declines to Promote KICK-ASS 2, 2013 Saturn Awards Interviews

by     Posted 294 days ago

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Well said, Matt Goldberg. In the opening sentences of his review of The Heat (linked after the jump), our Managing Editor/resident film reviewer dropped some serious truth regarding female lead films, their often unfair characterization as “the female [insert hit movie here]“, and how ridiculous it is that it has taken this long to get our better halves at the forefront of a genre that has been around for years. I say this not because I feel like Matt needs my approval and/or defense, but because it’s thoughtful writing like this that makes me both a proud contributor and eternal fan of the site.

All high-fiving aside, this week’s Top 5 includes White House Down interviews with Jamie Foxx, Channing Tatum, and more, Dave’s The Conjuring set visit recap, The Heat interviews with Sandra Bullock, Melissa McCarthy, and director Paul Feig, Jim Carrey‘s announcement that he won’t be promoting Kick-Ass 2, and interviews from the 2013 Saturn Awards red carpet with the likes of Joss Whedon and Shane Black. A brief recap and link to each makes its home after the jump.

New Trailer for James Wan’s THE CONJURING Features Interviews with the Real-Life Perron Family

by     Posted 295 days ago

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Director James Wan is quickly earning a reputation as a potential new master of the horror genre.  He’s come a long way since 2004’s Saw, having earned high marks for his 2011 film Insidious.  His latest pic, The Conjuring, has been garnering some positively stellar buzz, and now a new trailer has been released that teases the terror that awaits audiences. 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 a husband and wife team of psychic investigators who encounter the most horrifying case of their career.  This new trailer intercuts footage from the film with interviews with the real-life Perron family, making the story all the more frightening.

Hit the jump to watch the trailer, and if you missed any of Dave’s set visit coverage be sure to check out 30 Things to Know and his interviews with Wan, Livingston, Wilson, and TaylorThe Conjuring opens on July 19th.

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