TOP 5: TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES, BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE, THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING Trailer, The Films of Andrew Dominik, Fantastic Fest 2014

by     Posted 11 days ago

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I picked up writer/director/editor Gareth EvansThe Raid 2 on Blu-ray this week and damn if it wasn’t worth every penny. The quote on the box from our own Matt Goldberg calls the film “one of the greatest action movies ever made” and, after watching it, I can’t say that I disagree. Evans takes everything that made The Raid great and augments it to create an unforgettable action spectacle that is bigger in every conceivable way. It goes without saying that the stunt work and fight choreography is top notch, but work that strong shouldn’t be taken for granted so I’m mentioning it anyway. Additionally, DP’s Matt Flannery and Dimas Imam Subhono use of color and contrast manage to make the film’s extreme violence look and feel more artful than a hammer ripping someone’s throat out has any right to be. I’m cramped for space here, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the film’s lead, Iko Uwais, delivers an absolute powerhouse performance that is both physically impossible and emotionally deft. All told, The Raid 2 is a masterful piece of technical action work that should be appreciated and analyzed for years to come. For even more, check out our Blu-ray review here.

Begrudgingly moving away from The Raid 2, this week’s Top 5 features interviews for and Matt’s review of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Warner Bros. bumping up the release of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the first trailer for Focus Features’ The Theory of Everything, an introductory look at the films of Andrew Dominik, and the Alamo Drafthouse announcing the first wave of programming for its annual Fantastic Fest. Keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

THE RAID 2 Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 12 days ago

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Coming back for a sequel, Gareth Evans’ follow up to The Raid, The Raid: Berandal is a much bigger film in every respect.  It’s scope (2.35:1) instead of flat (1.85:1), it’s a full fifty minutes longer, and it features some of the craziest and greatest stunt sequences in the history of cinema.  But also with that two and a half hour running time comes some bloat, which may have been unavoidable with the scope of the film.  Iko Uwais returns as Rama, who this time goes undercover to take the most powerful bosses in the business, but to do so he most put a lot of his life on the line.  My The Raid 2 Blu-ray review follows after the jump. 

Enter Our Giveaway and Win a Poster For THE RAID 2 Signed by Director Gareth Evans and Star Iko Uwais

by     Posted 40 days ago

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The Raid 2 solidified director Gareth Evans’ status as one of the most formidable action directors of our time.  His set pieces are so inventive, labored over and thrilling he makes most filmmakers look downright lazy in comparison.  If you haven’t seen the film you should fix that immediately (read Matt’s review if you need more incentive).  Either way you’re going to want to win a The Raid 2 signed poster, right?  It’s a full sized one-sheet featuring the autographs of Evans and the film’s star Iko Uwais.  Hit the jump to find out how to get your hands on it.

New to Blu-ray: THE RAID 2, BAD WORDS, NYMPHOMANIAC and More

by     Posted 41 days ago

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This week’s new Blu-ray releases include a rather epic martial arts/action sequel (featuring a cover quote by Collider’s own Matt Goldberg), director Lars von Trier’s epic of a different sort, a documentary about a film that doesn’t exist, Jason Bateman’s directorial debut, and more.  Briefly:

New Images from THE RAID 2 Provide Neat 3D Effect; Atlanta Readers Should Come to Saturday Night’s Atlanta Film Festival Screening

by     Posted 140 days ago

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Even though The Raid 2 officially opened last Friday, it was in limited release, so if you don’t live in New York or L.A., it needs to say on your radar if you liked the first movie.  New images have been released promoting the movie, and they provide a cool 3D effect by putting the motion of a GIF overlapped with a white background.  Please note that the movie is not in 3D, but these images are catchy.

Hit the jump to check out the images.  Also, if you live in Atlanta, please come out to the Atlanta Film Festival screening on Saturday night at 11pmThis is a movie you want to see with a crowd, and everyone willing to come out late on a Saturday night is going to be pumped for some ultra-violence.  Tickets are only $10, so click here to go to the purchase page.

THE RAID 2 Review

by     Posted 145 days ago

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[This is a re-post of my review from the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.  The Raid 2 opens today in limited release.]

When Gareth EvansThe Raid premiered at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival, audiences were floored. It was as if someone had smacked us in the face about 800 times, and showed us that the action being churned out by Hollywood wasn’t half as effective as it could be. No amount of CGI could ever pack the punch of a perfectly choreographed, perfectly shot, and perfectly edited fight scene. The original’s barebones plot allowed the movie to mainline the action and get the adrenaline pumping. It also created high expectations for The Raid 2. Whereas the first movie was mean and lean, the sequel is epic and explosive with a twisting crime drama serving as the backdrop for some of the best action scenes you’ll ever see. The violence is brutal; the set pieces are brilliant; and the movie hits so hard that your grandchildren will have bruises.

Deleted Scene from THE RAID 2 Features Bullets and Buckets of Blood in an All-Out Gang War

by     Posted 147 days ago

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An extended deleted scene from The Raid 2 has been released online.  The film picks up directly after the events of the first pic, as rookie cop Rama (Iko Uwais) must go undercover in the criminal underworld to protect his wife and infant son after his raid of a gangster-ridden high-rise attracted the attention of some very bad, powerful people.  I haven’t seen the film since January (my review), so I don’t know where this scene would take place or the reasoning behind it.  Honestly, the details don’t really matter since it’s an action showcase that doesn’t show any of the main characters.  Instead, it’s yet another example of director Gareth Evans‘ skill at directing action, and the movie’s extreme violence.

Hit the jump to check out the clip.  The Raid 2 opens in limited release on March 28th.

Iko Uwais Throws Down Inside a Car in New Clip from THE RAID 2

by     Posted 147 days ago

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If you’ve ever wanted to see the thrill of a car chase sequence combined with hard-hitting martial arts hand-to-hand combat, today is your lucky day.  Sony Pictures Classics has released a new clip from director Gareth Evans’ action sequel The Raid 2, and it highlights a scene in which star Iko Uwais lays the smack down inside a car while the car itself squares off against other cars on the road.  The scene is emblematic of The Raid 2 as a whole, as critical response has praised Evans for upping the ante with inventive and hardcore action sequences.

Hit the jump to watch the new clip, and click here to read Matt’s review.  The film also stars Arifin PutraTio PakusadewoOka AntaraJulie EstelleRyuhei MatsudaKenichi Endo, and Kazuki Kitamura.  The Raid 2 opens in theaters on March 28th.

Before You Watch This New Trailer for THE RAID 2, Make Sure You Have Health Insurance

by     Posted 153 days ago

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The new trailer for writer-director Gareth Evans’ The Raid 2 doesn’t need any words; the message comes across loud and clear through kicks, punches, and hammer swings.  It’s a brutal piece of work that teases just enough of the action to get adrenaline junkies salivating, without scaring off those of weaker constitutions by showing blood and gore.  The first trailer was good, but this cut really sells it.  (If you need more convincing, check out Matt’s Sundance review here.)

Starring Iko Uwais, Julie Estelle (Macabre), Alex Abbad (Merantau), Marsha Timothy (The Forbidden Door), Mathias MuchusTio Pakusadewo, and Cecep Arif RahmanThe Raid 2 opens in wide release on March 28th.  Hit the jump to watch the new trailer.

Standby Line Available for Tonight’s L.A. Screening of THE RAID 2

by     Posted 160 days ago

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Last week, we announced that we were giving away tickets to an early L.A. screening of Gareth Evans’ The Raid 2 (a film Matt rather enjoyed).  The film picks up directly after the events of the first pic, as rookie cop Rama (Iko Uwais) must go undercover in the criminal underworld to protect his wife and infant son after his raid of a gangster-ridden high-rise has attracted the attention of some very bad and very powerful people.  If you were unable to get on the list for tonight’s screening in Hollywood, you still might have a chance to see the bloody mayhem.  There will be a line for standby tickets, so if you want to try for those, arrive at the Harmony Gold Theatre (7655 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles 90046) before 6:45 as we’re going to let standby folks in at 6:50, and the screening will start at 7pm followed by a Q&A with Evans.  It’s going to be a fun night.

The Raid 2 opens March 28th.  Hope to see some of you tonight.  If you’ve got any questions leave a comment and I’ll answer them.

Los Angeles Readers: Win Tickets to an Advance Screening and Director Q&A for THE RAID 2

by     Posted 170 days ago

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If you live in the Los Angeles area and are looking forward to director Gareth Evans’ action sequel The Raid 2, you might want to pay attention.  We’ve been provided with tickets for an advance screening of the film in Los Angeles to give away to a few lucky readers, which includes a post-movie Q&A with Evans.  The film picks up directly after the events of the first pic, as rookie cop Rama (Iko Uwais) must go undercover in the criminal underworld to protect his wife and infant son after his raid of a gangster-ridden high-rise has attracted the attention of some very bad and very powerful people.  Matt was effusive in his praise of the film after he saw it at Sundance, so if you liked Evans’ first pic and would enjoy seeing that type of martial arts prowess on an epic scale, The Raid 2 is unlikely to disappoint.

Hit the jump to find out how you can enter to win tickets for the screening on March 13th, but please be advised that this contest is only open to people that live in the Los Angeles area.  The Raid 2 opens in theaters on March 28th.

9 New Images from THE RAID 2 Starring Iko Uwais

by     Posted 177 days ago

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On the heels of the news that Screen Gems is moving right along with an American remake of the Indonesian actioner The Raid, Sony Pictures Classics has released a batch of new images from director Gareth Evans’ action-packed sequel The Raid 2.  The film picks up directly after the events of the first pic, as rookie cop Rama (Iko Uwais) must go undercover in the criminal underworld to protect his wife and infant son after his raid of a gangster-ridden high-rise has attracted the attention of some very bad and very powerful people.  Matt saw the film at the Sundance Film Festival and was a big fan, praising the epic scale and set pieces in his review.

Hit the jump to check out the new images.  The film also stars Arifin Putra, Tio Pakusadewo, Oka Antara, Julie Estelle, Ryuhei Matsuda, Kenichi Endo, and Kazuki KitamuraThe Raid 2 opens in theaters on March 28th.

First Poster for Gareth Evans’ THE RAID 2: BERANDAL Offers up a Mosaic of Violence

by     Posted 182 days ago

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The Raid 2 is a big film both in terms of action and in plot, so perhaps it’s fitting that the new poster for it is packed with images from the movie.  For those unfamiliar with the plot of the sequel, it picks up right where the first film left off and follows Rama (Iko Uwais) as he goes undercover and infiltrates the ranks of a ruthless Jakarta crime syndicate in order to uncover the corruption in his own police force.  There’s also a lot of intrigue amongst the crime factions as the look to consolidate power.  You may notice that my review is quoted at the top of the poster, but I wanted to provide the full quote for clarity: “Like the first movie, the story is serviceable enough to get to the action scenes, and taken solely on the basis of the individual set pieces, The Raid 2 is one of the greatest action movies ever made.”

Hit the jump to check out the poster for The Raid 2: Berandal, and click here for Steve’s lengthy interview with director Gareth Evans.  The film opens on March 28th.

Gareth Evans Talks THE RAID 2, Deleted Scenes, the Budget, the MPAA, John Woo, THE RAID 3, IRON FIST, Future Projects, Hollywood, and More at Sundance

by     Posted 204 days ago

gareth-evans-the-raid-2-interview-sliceOne of my favorite films at this year’s Sundance Film Festival was writer-director Gareth Evans’ The Raid 2.   Picking up right where the first film left off, the sequel follows Rama (Iko Uwais) as he goes undercover and infiltrates the ranks of a ruthless Jakarta crime syndicate in order to protect his family and uncover the corruption in his own police force.   Loaded with some of the best action sequences I’ve ever seen, The Raid 2 is truly a must-see movie.  Thankfully, with a March 28th release date, you won’t have to wait too long to check it out (although it might be trimmed down a bit because of the extreme violence).  The film also stars Julie EstelleAlex AbbadMarsha TimothyArifin Putra, Mathias MuchusTio Pakusadewo, and Cecep Arif Rahman.

The morning after the world premiere, I landed an extended video interview with Evans.  During our wide-ranging conversation (which is spoiler free), he talked about the pressure to raise the bar with the sequel, his writing process, the length of the shoot (132 days), the size of the budget ($4.5 million), deleted scenes, if he’ll release an extended cut on Blu-ray, how the MPAA might react to the film, how close the Sundance cut will be to the final version released in theaters, the status and subject of The Raid 3, his thoughts on the Marvel superhero Iron Fist, if he’s interested in directing it, future projects, his favorite John Woo movie, and so much more.  If you’re a fan of Gareth Evans, I promise you will love this interview.  Hit the jump to watch.

TOP 5: Sundance 2014, THE RAID 2 Trailer, Quentin Tarantino’s THE HATEFUL EIGHT, New Trailer/Promo for Disney’s MALEFICENT, STAR WARS News

by     Posted 207 days ago

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If you’ve yet to check out writer/director Destin Daniel Cretton‘s Short Term 12, what are you waiting for? The film hit shelves on Blu-ray/DVD on January 14th, rendering the “it’s not playing anywhere near me” excuse invalid. I had the opportunity to watch it last weekend and I was blown away. Much has been made of Brie Larson‘s performance and for good reason: it’s terrific. She’s not alone in that regard, though. The turns by Kaitlyn Dever and Keith Stanfield are nothing short of excellent and, in particular, a scene between Stanfield and John Gallagher Jr. in which Stanfield’s character, Marcus, bares his emotional scars via an original rap verse is equal parts heartbreaking and jaw-dropping. Watching Short Term 12 is an emotional roller coaster. You’ll laugh, cry, feel anger, love, hope, and despair. You’ll catch a glimpse of just how lonely a life can be and, at the same time, appreciate how opening ourselves up to the possibility of trust and love is a powerful decision that doesn’t come easily for all of us.

My Blu-ray/DVD recommendation of the week in the books, this week’s Top 5 highlights all of our Sundance 2014 coverage to date, a new trailer for The Raid 2 (including Matt’s Sundance review), Quentin Tarantino‘s The Hateful Eight script leak, a new trailer for Disney’s Maleficent, and a variety of news from the Star Wars: Episode VII camp. Keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

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