Last night I turned to Xbox Live to check out Shane Carruth‘s Upstream Color for the first time. While not quite as impenetrable after one viewing as its predecessor, 2004′s Primer, Upstream still demands the utmost attention of its viewers in exchange for the slightest hint of clarity. The dialogue is sparse, the setting is ever-changing, the editing is heavily dependent on juxtaposition as a way of creating meaning, and the sound design/foley work is turned up to “11″ at times. Whereas Primer played more to the intellect behind making time travel a reality, Upstream is an extremely visceral experience that is more interested, or at least more successful, in eliciting an emotional response than explaining how a rare organism can be harvested, used as a method of mind control, and ultimately link humans to pigs. The exact degree to which it succeeds will vary from viewer to viewer but it’s ultimately an experience I recommend taking in.
Of course a movie like Upstream lends itself to more than a few lines of my humble analysis, but that’s not actually why we’re here. In this week’s Top 5 you can check out the first trailer and poster for Alfonso Cuaron‘s Gravity, a generous number of set pics from director Jonathan Liebesman‘s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot, Steve’s exclusive phone interview with Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, the first trailer for Ender’s Game, and a look at Iron Man by the Numbers. A brief recap and link to each will greet you after the jump.
Marvel makes it look easy. That’s what kept running through my head while watching Iron Man 3 Thursday night. Pumping out one solid standalone film after another with the overall goal of creating a whole that is equally, if not more, entertaining than its formidable parts can’t be that easy. And yet, Marvel makes it seem that way. In a medium outside of their native reach no less. Granted, Iron Man 3 isn’t without its flaws. But it doesn’t have to be. It succeeds on the exact level it’s meant to: in moving both the individual character and universal stories ahead in an entertaining and logical way. If “Marvel makes it looks easy” was my primary takeaway from IM3, “DC has their work cut out for them” isn’t far behind.
But enough Marvel love for one opening paragraph. In this week’s Top 5 we’ve got Iron Man 3 interviews with director Shane Black and more, a video blog review for Star Trek Into Darkness, the Pacific Rim trailer from WonderCon, Fox’s courting of Michael B. Jordan the the role of Human Torch in its upcoming Fantastic Four reboot, and the new trailer for Channing Tatum and Jamie Foxx‘s White House Down. A brief recap and link to each is a “Continue Reading” click away.
by Jason Barr Posted: April 27th, 2013 at 10:38 am
Last night I had the opportunity to check out a late showing of Pain & Gain during which I encountered a few thoughts that I couldn’t shake: 1) I wish Michael Bay would make more films like this and less of the transforming car variety. 2) Why can’t Dwayne Johnson be in every movie? 3) This is probably the craziest “Based on a True Story” movie I’ve ever seen. I’ve heard Bay say that some of the most extreme elements of the plot are also the most true to the original story. This is good to know because had someone written a lot of what shows up in the film I would likely call it too farfetched for my suspended disbelief to withstand. Make no mistake, this is a wild, entertaining ride that utilizes layers of action, crime, comedy, sex, and even a touch of sadism to keep you invested from beginning to end.
My mini-review aside, this week’s Top 5 includes the first trailer for Thor: The Dark World, Pain & Gain interviews with Michael Bay, Mark Wahlberg, and more, a recap of our visit to Pixar for Monsters University, news that Zack Snyder could take the helm of Justice League pending Man of Steel‘s success, and the first entry in a new interview series from Steve: “Breaking Down the Movie” with The Place Beyond the Pines director Derek Cianfrance. As is customary, a brief recap and link to each of the above is ready and waiting after the jump.
Last weekend I finally had the chance to check out director Rodney Ascher‘s The Shining analysis doc Room 237 on Xbox Live. The film garnered a rave review from Matt when he screened it at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and for the most part I share his enthusiasm for the pic. On one hand, it’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen and I admire it for that exact reason. The extensive scenic analysis Room 237 employs, the hypnotic score, and its refusal to show the faces of those presenting their theories makes it an absolutely captivating ride that never lets you come up for air. On the other hand, I now have to live the rest of my life looking for Stanley Kubrick‘s airbrushed face in the clouds during The Shining‘s opening scene. And when/if I ever find it, what am I supposed to do with that information? Sigh.
I could go on about the film’s individual parts, but suffice to say that I consider it required viewing for anyone with even a fleeting interest in film analysis, Kubrick, and/or The Shining. And with that I’ll move on to the reason we’re all here. In this week’s Top 5 you’ll have the pleasure of checking out a stellar new trailer and a slew of other assets from Man of Steel, our set visit recap for The Hangover Part III, the first trailer for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, more set visit goodness for Now You See Me, and all of our CinemaCon 2013 coverage. The “Continue Reading” button below is your ticket to a brief recap and link to each of the above.
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.
Before I dive into the main topic of this week’s opening paragraph, just a quick disclaimer that the Top 5 will be taking a week off next Saturday to accommodate the first, and perhaps only, trip to Hawaii I will ever take. Here’s to hoping it’s less awkward but equally as life-changing and Kristen Bell/Mila Kunis-filled as Forgetting Sarah Marshall depicted. That said, while it fell just short of the cut this week, I still want to draw attention to the first trailer for director Adam Wingard‘s You’re Next that debuted on Thursday. As a horror fan, I’m always excited when a new entry in the genre gets lauded from both sides of the aisle (horror fans and those who aren’t as giddy about movies that make them think twice about turning out the lights). As far as I’m concerned, August 23rd can’t get here soon enough.
All Hawaii and horror fanboy talk aside, this week’s list offers up the first trailer(s) for The Wolverine, interviews with Dwayne Johnson and more for G.I. Joe: Retaliation, the first trailer and posters for White House Down, a new red-band trailer for Pain & Gain, and The Host interviews with Saoirse Ronan and more. As you’re probably expecting, a brief recap and link to all of the above can be found after the jump.
The nationwide expansion of Harmony Korine‘s Spring Breakers meant that I had the opportunity to catch the film last night at my local theater. We’ll talk a more specifically about our coverage of the film after the jump. For now, I’d like to make a futile attempt at encapsulating my feelings on the pic in the next few sentences. There’s a lot to like about Breakers whether it be the performances (James Franco‘s especially), the music, the slick editing and use of foreshadowing, etc. Nevertheless, for me this isn’t a movie that I “liked” as much as it’s one I respect. It’s beautiful, surreal, challenging, abhorrent, and vapid all at the same time. In other words, it’s art.
I could go on for days about the pic but that’s not why we’re here. In this week’s Top 5 we’ll take a look at our Breakers coverage, some Transformers 4 plot details, Olympus Has Fallen interviews with Gerard Butler and Antoine Fuqua just to name a few, a new trailer and poster for Star Trek Into Darkness, and The Croods interviews with Nicolas Cage and more. As is standard, a brief recap and link to each awaits after the jump.
by Jason Barr Posted: March 16th, 2013 at 11:46 am
I’ve patiently waited for the opportunity to include Veronica Mars in the Top 5. As one of my favorite pop culture artifacts, I’m thrilled that this past week has finally afforded me the chance. That said, I’ll reserve any and all debate regarding the impact and merit of its now famed Kickstarter campaign for after the jump. For now, I’ll just say that, as much as I loved the show, I didn’t feel shortchanged by its somewhat abrupt finale. Moreover, I never felt like I needed a movie to bring some sort of closure to that world and its characters. Don’t get me wrong, by series end I wanted more VM in my life. But maybe that’s a good thing. Looking back I’d much prefer a series leave me wanting more than continually ask me back every week when it can barely muster even a shadow of its former self (cough…The Office…cough).
In addition to more Mars talk, this week’s collection also includes our G.I. Joe: Retaliation set visit, the first red-band trailer for Kick-Ass 2, Jurassic Park 4 naming its director, and all of our SXSW 2013 coverage to date. Keep reading for a brief recap and link to each.
I realize that it’s a little too March to be discussing my favorite holiday gifts, but I only recently had the opportunity to dive into one of mine and, as a result, I feel the need to share it’s greatness with our readers. The ESPN 30 for 30 Collector’s Set Blu-ray is an outstanding collection of sports documentaries that is rife with social commentary and almost sure to have something for sports and/or documentary fans alike. Before I get accused of paid programming, I’ll disclaim that all thirty of its films aren’t home runs (that’s right, a sports pun). Moreover, I’m fairly sure that all of the series’ entries are available to watch instantly on Netflix right now making the physical collection redundant for some. Regardless of how you partake, I encourage you to sift through the series, find a topic that interests you, and give it a shot.
All recommendations aside, this week’s Top 5 features a healthy portion of Iron Man 3 coverage (including the new trailer), Oz the Great and Powerful interviews with Sam Raimi, James Franco, Mila Kunis, and more, the first trailer for The Hangover Part III, a sizable Justice League movie rumor, and the new trailer and poster for Will Smith and Jaden Smith‘s After Earth. As you may be expecting, a brief recap and link for each of the above waits after the jump.
Every once in a while I use this space to tout a recently released Blu-ray/DVD that I missed in theaters but, via the magic of home video, was finally able to check out from the comfort of my couch (click here to see me gush about The Perks of Being a Wallflower). Today I’ll do the same by encouraging you to check out co-writer/director Scott Derrickson‘s horror pic Sinister. There’s nothing spectacular going on here, it’s just an effective movie with several scenes that I found genuinely frightening/disturbing. Moreover, it’s probably the last widely-released horror entry since Insidious that left me turning some of the lights on in the house shortly after it ended.
With my “Super Cool Blu-ray Pick of the Week” out of the way, this week’s Top 5 includes interviews from the set of The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, some drama-inducing first set images from The Amazing Spider-Man 2, a set visit recap and interviews for Park Chan-wook‘s Stoker, Jack the Giant Slayer interviews, and the first trailer and poster for director James Wan‘s The Conjuring. As you may expect, a brief recap and link to each of these can be found completely free of charge after the jump.
by Jason Barr Posted: February 23rd, 2013 at 11:48 am
I’m opening myself up to complete public failure here, but in the spirit of Oscar weekend I thought it might be fun to share with peers and readers alike my picks for tomorrow’s 85th Academy Awards. Worst case scenario, I figure, is that my picks are so woefully off base that I’m quickly offered a well-compensated position within the Republican Party as a polling analyst. High hopes, I know, but ultimately it’s all in the name of fun. Here’s to hoping you the reader will enjoy comparing your predictions against my own and sleeping better at night as a result of your superior Oscar guessing power.
My half-witted Oscar picks aside, this week’s edition features category previews plus Adam and Matt’s own predictions, Snitch interviews with Dwayne Johnson and more, a character guide to Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, a roundup of recent Star Wars: Episode VII talk, and Sony’s PlayStation 4 announcement. Something that resembles a brief recap and link to each is starved for your attention after the jump.
by Jason Barr Posted: February 16th, 2013 at 10:23 am
Before I dive headfirst into what could be considered overselling to the “nth degree”, I have a disclaimer: I’m a total sucker for nostalgia-inducing, high school-centric, coming of age films. With that out of the way, I cannot recommend enough that you watch author/writer/director Stephen Chboksy‘s adaptation of his own novel, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, as soon as possible. The pic hit Blu-ray/DVD this past week and over the course of 24 hours I rented it, watched it, loved it, returned it (yes, somehow late fees are still a thing…), and purchased it for my own collection. I could go on and on about the emotional note the movie hit for me at every turn but I’ll spare you the fanboy torment. Suffice to say that I’ll be looking back fondly on this one for quite a while.
My “Blu-ray/DVD pick of the week” aside, this week’s installment features a week of Die Hard that includes Matt revisiting the entire franchise and A Good Day to Die Hard interviews with Bruce Willis and more, coverage from Steve’s visit to the set of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, a slew of video interviews from this year’s VES Awards including talks with Ang Lee and Wally Pfister just to name a few, Beautiful Creatures interviews with Emmy Rossum and more, and a healthy amount of images from the floor of Toy Fair 2013. Yep, you guessed it, a brief recap and link to each of the above can be found on the other side.
by Jason Barr Posted: February 9th, 2013 at 2:39 pm
We’ll dedicate more time to this topic after the jump, but in just a few sentences I want to share a quick thought I had while watching Netflix’s House of Cards last weekend. It’s not just that I think the show is great. When you involve talents like Kevin Spacey and David Fincher, it’s hard to imagine a scenario where quality work is in short supply. It’s that this level of material was birthed by and is only consumed via the Internet. I’ve been in debates where the question was whether or not the web would foster an age of amateurs. A future in which the training and dedication required to further perfect one’s craft would fall by the wayside leaving audiences with less than stellar work produced by those made lazy by the eased production and distribution technologies afforded by the Internet. While the fact that I’m writing to a considerable audience today via this site is evidence to that very argument, the overall quality of HOC is a strong rebuttal against those concerned about the quality of entertainment work in a digital age.
All thinking out loud aside, this week’s Top 5 features an editorial response to Disney’s announcement that Star Wars spinoff films are in the works, Side Effects interviews with Steven Soderbergh and more, a word about Hulk’s movie future, Matt’s editorial on Netflix and the affect time shifting has on viewing habits, and the latest news out of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 camp. As you’re probably expecting, a brief recap and link to each waits after the jump.
by Jason Barr Posted: February 2nd, 2013 at 3:07 pm
Prior to last Sunday, Zero Dark Thirty was my favorite pic of 2012 by a considerable margin. However, after my matinee viewing of Silver Linings Playbook, that margin has been replaced with a draw. Whereas Zero provided me with a tension that left me on the verge of breathless at moments, Playbook‘s spectacular performances and head-on portrayal of mental illness and our ability to help each other cope/prevail proved not only hugely entertaining but also quite cathartic.
My 2012 movie scorecard aside, this week’s Top 5 includes our set visit coverage of Oz the Great and Powerful, Duncan Jones being tapped to helm the World of Warcraft movie, more visit coverage from the set of Jack the Giant Slayer, a slew of news from X-Men: Days of Future Past, and a Sundance 2013 wrap-up. A brief recap and link to each of the above is promised after the jump.
by Jason Barr Posted: January 26th, 2013 at 1:22 pm
Even though we’re nearly three months removed from Halloween, I want to use this week’s opening paragraph to throw some support behind director Michael Stephenson‘s touching documentary, The American Scream. I recently caught the film via Netflix where it’s available to “Watch Instantly” and I was impressed to say the least. Stephenson’s previous entry, the indelible Best Worst Movie, quickly became one of my all-time favorite docs for the unexpected emotional punch it packed in following the lives of those impacted by Troll 2. Scream delivered on a similar level with its themes of family, community, and the pursuit of one’s passion (in this case, home haunting). If you haven’t seen it already, I recommend either checking it out on Netflix or picking up a copy for yourself from the film’s website.
All recommendations aside, much to the surprise of no one, this week’s Top 5 is headlined by the announcement that J.J. Abrams will direct/produce Star Wars: Episode VII with accompaniment by our Bullet to the Head set visit, Warm Bodies video interviews with Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer and more, a G.I. Joe: Retaliation set visit preview and interviews with director Jon M. Chu and more, and all of our coverage out of Sundance 2013 to date. A brief recap and link to each is hidden in plain view after the jump.