TOP 5: GONE GIRL Trailer, DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES Set Visit, TRANSCENDENCE, THE EXPENDABLES 3 Set Visit, Zack Snyder Talks BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN

by     Posted 2 days ago

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I’ve used this space on a few occasions to profess my love for ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 documentary series and today’s opening paragraph will get a similar treatment. Director Zak Levitt‘s aptly titled Bad Boys debuted this past Thursday night and, even as someone who grew up adoring the Chicago Bulls, I loved almost every second of it (even with his Detroit roots, I could have lived without the Kid Rock narration). The film focuses on the years of Detroit Pistons basketball known as “The Bad Boys Era”, which included back-to-back NBA Championships for the franchise in ’89 and ’90. As is often the case with 30 for 30 films, Levitt does a nice job of framing the Pistons’ iconic run within a societal context; in this case, the 1967 Detroit riot. In doing this, the pic not only offers a fascinating perspective of the team itself but also great insight into what their trademark physical style of play meant to a city still reeling from the effects of the riot. Less important, but an added plus nonetheless, is the fact that I’m now buzzing with nostalgia for the SNES game Bill Laimbeer’s Combat Basketball.

My broken record praise of 30 for 30 aside, this week’s Top 5 highlights the first trailer for David Fincher‘s Gone Girl, Steve’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes set visit, Transcendence interviews and Matt’s review, Steve’s The Expendables 3 set visit, and Zack Snyder discussing Batman vs. Superman costumes and more. Do the right thing and keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

TOP 5: DRAFT DAY, Early Reactions to THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2, Colbert Replacing Letterman, Drew Goddard Directing THE SINISTER SIX, STREET FIGHTER: ASSASSIN’S FIST

by     Posted 9 days ago

collider-top-5-sliceFor the first time that I can remember since I started writing for Collider in 2010, director Peter Weir‘s The Truman Show made headlines this week when we learned that Paramount is developing a TV series adaptation of the film. While I won’t waste any space today discussing my feelings on the adaptation (mostly because there aren’t any real details to dissect as of now), I will absolutely take this opportunity to talk about my adoration of the film. The Truman Show ranks among my all-time favorites with ease and, if pressed to name a lone favorite, it would likely make that cut too. I actually didn’t watch it until my second year of college, circa 2007, but I credit that first viewing as a benchmark cinematic experience for me; one that helped me begin to understand the impact that a movie could have on a person’s outlook and perception of the world around them. I would eventually go on to dedicate my graduate school research to the film, during which I watched it at least 15 more times; wrote this semi-boring perceptual effects analysis; and wrote/recorded this somewhat less boring seven song record. On paper, these projects were a way to fulfill requirements towards my degree. In reality, it was an excuse to delve further into the headspace of a work that, for all intents and purposes, changed my life.

All personal reflections aside, this week’s Top 5 features interviews for and Matt’s review of Draft Day, early reactions to The Amazing Spider-Man 2, the announcement that Stephen Colbert will replace David Letterman on CBS’ The Late Show, Sony selecting Drew Goddard to direct The Sinister Six, and the first look at Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist. Keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

TOP 5: CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER, First Trailer for LUCY, 22 JUMP STREET Set Visit, THE EXPENDABLES 3 Teaser, Our Most Anticipated Movies

by     Posted 16 days ago

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Given the near universal praise it has received, I doubt that one more voice in its corner will persuade you to check out Captain America: The Winter Soldier this weekend if you weren’t already planning on it (especially when that “one voice” belongs to yours truly). Still yet, that fact won’t prevent me from gushing about it in these next few sentences. The Winter Soldier is fantastic. The action, humor, performances, and storytelling are all on point and work seamlessly together to create what is instantly one of my favorite Marvel movies and, more impressively, a really good film in general. It joins The Avengers on the short list of Marvel movies that I can see myself revisiting outside of canon just to enjoy again as a singular experience. While I believe a healthy dose of skepticism should be retained until you see it for yourself, I feel comfortable in saying that you can believe the hype surrounding The Winter Soldier.

In addition to me continuing to high-five the new Cap film, this week’s Top 5 also features the first trailer for director Luc Besson‘s Lucy starring Scarlett Johansson, our 22 Jump Street set visit coverage, the first teaser trailer for The Expendables 3, and a look at our most anticipated films from April to June. Keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

TOP 5: First Teaser Trailer for TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES, NOAH, X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST, SABOTAGE, CinemaCon Coverage

by     Posted 23 days ago

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I’ve decided to use this weekend’s release of Darren Aronofsky‘s Noah as an opportunity to reflect on the director’s most soul crushing work to date: his adaptation of the Hubert Selby Jr. novel of the same name, Requiem for a Dream. While I’d list Black Swan as my favorite Aronofsky film, Requiem stands alone as a devastating look at the nature of addiction that, by its end credits, will assure you that nothing decent will ever happen to you again. The film netted the great Ellen Burstyn her sixth Academy Award nod while Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, and Marlon Wayans provided equally powerful performances as heroin addicts whose trajectories only bend downwards. While its story and characters offer little to be optimistic about, Requiem all but cemented Aronofsky’s place among the most skilled and uncompromising filmmakers of his generation. If you haven’t already, check out the film on Amazon Instant Video where it’s available to stream. Just be sure you’re not already in an emotionally fragile state or else you’re in for a long night.

Aronofsky reflections aside, this week’s Top 5 highlights the first teaser trailer for director Jonathan Liebesman‘s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, interviews for and Matt’s review of Noah, the new trailer for X-Men: Days of Future Past, Sabotage interviews and Matt’s review, and Steve’s coverage of CinemaCon from Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

TOP 5: GODZILLA Set Visit, DIVERGENT, Final Trailer for THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2, MUPPETS MOST WANTED Interviews, CHEAP THRILLS

by     Posted 30 days ago

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Now available on VOD and in select theaters is Drafthouse Films’ dark thriller/comedy Cheap Thrills starring Pat Healy, Ethan Embry, David Koechner, and Sara Paxton. I watched the film last night and, while not for the faint of heart or stomach, I can’t recommend it enough. At its core, Thrills works from a single question: how far would you go to be able to provide for yourself and/or your family? It uses precision pacing, confident direction from E.L. Katz, and solid performances across the board to explore this question, all while gradually rising to a crescendo that feels both inevitable and wildly inventive. Offhand I can’t think of a film that blends the thrilling and the disgusting, excitement and repulsion, in a more entertaining way than Cheap Thrills. Regardless of whether you want to or not (and I don’t think you will), this is a movie you won’t soon forget.

In addition to talking a bit more about Cheap Thrills with Matt’s review and a couple of interviews, this week’s Top 5 also highlights our set visit coverage for Godzilla, Matt’s review of Divergent plus interviews with Shailene Woodley and more, the final trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and Muppets Most Wanted interviews with Tina Fey among others. Read on for a brief recap and link to everything I mention above.

TOP 5: CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER, VERONICA MARS, SXSW 2014 Coverage, NEED FOR SPEED, President Obama Visits BETWEEN TWO FERNS

by     Posted 37 days ago

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Last night I managed to pull myself away from Titanfall long enough to check out Veronica Mars which, surprisingly enough, is playing in a theater within an hour of me. As a fan of the series, the movie hit every note I could have asked for but also confirmed my suspicion that Mars is best suited for the type of long-form storytelling that television permits. Creator/director Rob Thomas does an admirable job of bringing us up to speed on the lives of our favorite Neptune characters against the backdrop of a ten year high school reunion. That said, 107 minutes doesn’t leave much time for breathing in between the introduction, mystery set-up, and resolution. I often felt rushed through the process, longing for 20-22 episodes for Veronica to crack the case as opposed to 75 minutes or so. This small gripe aside, Veronica Mars is a movie made for the fans (and, in no small financial part, by the fans) and I can’t imagine anyone who loved the series walking away from it disappointed by anything other than the fact that it had to end too soon.

We’ll talk a little more about VM in this week’s Top 5 which also includes a considerable amount of Captain America: The Winter Soldier content, our SXSW 2014 coverage, interviews for and Matt’s review of Need for Speed, and President Barack Obama‘s hilarious appearance on Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis. Keep doing what you’re doing for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

TOP 5: Adam Driver Nears Deal to Play Villain in STAR WARS EPISODE 7, GODZILLA Trailer, NON-STOP, Cinemath Meets Oscar Beat, VERONICA MARS Set Visit

by     Posted 51 days ago

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Lying somewhat quietly between two of David Fincher‘s most beloved works is The Game (1997) starring Michael Douglas. Although it failed to reach the level of critical and box office success enjoyed by Seven (1995) or the cult classic status of Fight Club (1999), after watching its Criterion Collection DVD release this past week I came away thinking that it may actually be one of Fincher’s best directorial efforts. Working from a script by John Brancato and Michael Ferris (2/3 of the writing trio that helped bring you the 2004 Catwoman screenplay that you enjoyed so much), Fincher’s cold/muted color palette, striking visual style, and fantastic pacing help elevate the interesting, albeit occasionally absurd, screenplay to another level. The result is a haunting work that expertly sets up and tears down the callous, calculated world of corporate wealth by forcing Douglas’ Ebenezer Scrooge archetype to see the shell of a life he has outside of his work and possessions. The Game may go off the rails at times, but with Fincher’s steady hand guiding the story it does so in all the extremely dark, right ways.

My Fincher recommendation aside, I should mention that the Top 5 will take a quick week hiatus to allow me to travel next weekend. In the meantime, this week’s installment highlights the Star Wars: Episode VII casting news involving Adam Driver, the new trailer for director Gareth EdwardsGodzilla, a review and interviews for Non-Stop, worlds colliding as Brendan’s Cinemath meets Adam’s Oscar Beat, and our Veronica Mars set visit coverage. As you’ve come to expect, a brief recap and link to each of the above can be found after the jump.

TOP 5: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST Set Visit, POMPEII Interviews, FANTASTIC FOUR Casting, Toy Fair 2014

by     Posted 58 days ago

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Landing just outside of this week’s Top 5 and earning an opening paragraph mention as a result is the first trailer and poster for writer/editor/director Ti West‘s The Sacrament. Obviously inspired by 1978′s Jonestown Massacre, the film features a team of journalists who attempt to document the story of a seemingly peaceful religious commune only to have the proverbial shit hit the fan in the process. I think West is among the best working directors in terms of creating and maintaining terror as evidenced by both 2009′s The House of the Devil and 2011′s The Innkeepers. Each of those films expertly sustain a sense of dread throughout and if Gene Jones hauntingly daring the visiting journalists to “Take it…” in this first trailer is any indication, The Sacrament looks to be cut from the same stellar mold. While it will be tough to match the psychological horror dealt out by 2011′s cult-centric drama Martha Marcy May Marlene, I’ll be anxiously anticipating West’s latest up until the time it hits VOD on May 1st.

Transitioning to the list section of the feature, this week’s installment highlights the first trailer for Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, Steve’s set visit coverage for X-Men: Days of Future Past, interviews for and Matt’s review of Paul W.S. Anderson‘s Pompeii, casting news for Fox’s Fantastic Four reboot, and coverage from the floor of Toy Fair 2014 at the Javits Center in NYC. Keep reading for a quick recap and link to each of the above.

TOP 5: ROBOCOP, TRANSCENDENCE, Paramount to Release Darren Aronofsky’s Cut of NOAH, TAMMY, JODOROWSKY’S DUNE Trailer

by     Posted 65 days ago

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The best thing I can say about director Jose Padilha‘s RoboCop remake is that, for better or worse, it tries to do its own thing. It makes an honest attempt at updating the scathing social critique of the original to fit within our immediate corporate and political landscape and I respect it for that. The most condemning thing I can say about the film is that I found it painfully boring. Aside from the original music playing over the opening title card and watching Samuel L. Jackson‘s spot-on depiction of the pure theater that cable television sells as honest political discourse, I rarely mustered so much as a grin throughout the film’s 108 minutes. To be fair, I don’t envy anyone who is tasked with making a PG-13 reimagining of Paul Verhoeven‘s subversive classic. It’s like Verhoeven was allowed to work with a sledgehammer and Padilha was asked to make due with a Q-tip. It was never a fair fight to begin with.

Opening thoughts aside, we’ll talk more about the RoboCop remake in this week’s Top 5 including an official review and interviews for the film. We’ll also cover the new trailer for Wally Pfister‘s directorial debut Transcendence, Paramount’s decision to release Darren Aronofsky‘s cut of Noah to theaters, the first trailer for Melissa McCarthy‘s Tammy, and a trailer for the excellent looking doc Jodorowsky’s Dune. As is so often the case, a brief recap and link to each of the above can be found after the jump.

TOP 5: THE LEGO MOVIE, The Science of ROBOCOP, Paul Bettany in THE AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON, PREACHER TV Series, 2014 Super Bowl Movie Spots

by     Posted 72 days ago

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I typically try and use the opening paragraph to talk about something not already covered in the Top 5 list itself. I’m making an exception this week because The LEGO Movie is good enough to warrant it. Writers/directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller have crafted an outstanding family comedy that’s sharp, funny, and as imaginative as the product it expertly seeks to promote. For all of the laughs it provides (of which there are many), I think its greatest achievement is how precisely it balances the weight of story and self-promotion. Make no mistake, its primary goals are to drive sales and promote the LEGO brand. Lord and Miller’s script is smart enough, though, to achieve these by genuinely capturing the spirit of creativity and inventiveness that makes LEGO so unique. I can only wish that all product placement strategies were this inspired and on point.

Moving on to the list portion of this week’s installment, today’s Top 5 will tackle more things pertaining to The LEGO Movie, the science of RoboCop, Paul Bettany‘s casting in The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg bringing Preacher to AMC, and a recap of the movie spots that aired during the trouncing also known as the 2014 Super Bowl. Keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

TOP 5: Jesse Eisenberg and Jeremy Irons Join BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN, NEIGHBORS, THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, INTERSTELLAR, A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST

by     Posted 79 days ago

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With an Oscar nod for Best Documentary under its belt and Matt having named it his favorite film of 2013, the last thing Joshua Oppenheimer‘s The Act of Killing needs is an endorsement from me. And yet, here it is. I watched the film on Netflix several weeks ago and, to be honest, I’m still having trouble coming to grips with it. It’s the most the surreal and disturbing look at human atrocity I’ve seen and the more I think about its subjects and overall approach, the more I’m in awe of the fact that it exists. I drown in hyperbole when thinking of words to describe it because it’s so profound that calling it a “good film” seems not like an understatement but a complete inaccuracy. The Act of Killing is not a “good film”, it’s a stunning work of humanity that makes awards, critical reception, the sentence I’m typing at this very moment, etc., seem absolutely trivial.

Speaking of trivial, in what may go down as one of the worst segues in Collider history, I’ll now attempt to jump into this week’s Top 5. Highlighted today is Jesse Eisenberg and Jeremy Irons joining Zack Snyder‘s Batman vs. Superman, Steve’s Neighbors set visit coverage, the first trailer for The Fault in Our Stars, Christopher Nolan‘s Interstellar being exempt from Paramount’s digital mandate, and the first trailer for Seth MacFarlane‘s A Million Ways to Die in the West. Keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

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 86 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.

TOP 5: 2014 Oscar Nods, ANT-MAN and DOCTOR STRANGE, JACK RYAN, DOOMED! THE UNTOLD STORY OF ROGER CORMAN’S “THE FANTASTIC FOUR”, Sundance 2014

by     Posted 93 days ago

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Every so often a film comes along that plays pitch perfect to your sensibilities and hits you with such pinpoint accuracy that it reaffirms your love of the medium. That’s what Spike Jonze‘s Her did for me last weekend. It’s the type of movie I wish I had the talent to make and, at the same time, one that I’m thankful anyone had the talent and passion to make. It’s a film that says so much about our desire to connect, to love and to feel loved, that evaluating it piece by piece (acting, editing, sound, cinematography, mise-en-scène, etc.) almost cheapens its value as a whole. Above all, though, it refuses to be just one thing and therein lies its greatest achievement. It’s comedy soaked in melancholy, drama with hints of playfulness, quirk wrapped in genuine romance, and heartbreaking sincerity set within the most plastic of relationships. Her is an instant classic.

In case my subtlety has left you uncertain about my feelings on Her, feel free to e-mail me at colliderjason@gmail.com and I’ll try to be more on the nose about how damn great it is. In the meantime, this week’s Top 5 features the newly announced 2014 Oscar nominations, Marvel casting news/rumors regarding Ant-Man and Doctor Strange, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit interviews with Chris Pine and more, the trailer for the seemingly interesting doc DOOMED! The Untold Story of Roger Corman’s “The Fantastic Four”, and all of our Sundance 2014 coverage to date. Click on to find a brief recap and link to each of the above.

TOP 5: JACK RYAN: SHADOW RECRUIT Set Visit, Marvel One-Shot ALL HAIL THE KING, MUPPETS MOST WANTED Set Visit, BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN, Oscar Beat

by     Posted 100 days ago

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Available via Netflix Watch Instantly as of late December, last weekend I finally got the chance to check out writer/director Joe Swanberg‘s romantic comedy Drinking Buddies. I should disclaim that it’s near impossible for me to be objective when talking about Swanberg given that he’s a fellow Southern Illinois University alum and few things make me prouder than a Saluki film student enjoying success in the industry. That out of the way, I enjoyed the heck out of Drinking Buddies. Much has been made of the film’s stellar cast and I won’t try and dispute those claims at all. As someone who has never watched a minute of Fox’s New Girl, I loved Jake Johnson‘s turn in the pic and I bought he and Olivia Wilde‘s romantic chemistry hook, line, and sinker. As for Anna Kendrick and Ron Livingston? Lets just say that I love each of them in almost everything and this is no exception. All in all, Buddies is a funny, sweet, realistic teetering on the verge of understated look at the universal concept of being just friends.

Instant stream recommendations aside, this week’s Top 5 includes our Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit set visit coverage, the first look at the Marvel One-Shot All Hail the King starring Ben Kingsley, a set visit recap for Muppets Most Wanted, some villain rumors surrounding Batman vs. Superman, and Adam’s latest installment of Oscar Beat that breaks down the guild nods and what they could mean for Oscar season. Like you might expect, a brief recap and link to each of the above can be found after the jump.

TOP 5: Our Favorite Movies of 2013, New Trailer for THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2, INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS, First Trailer for THE RAID 2: BERANDAL, Cinemath

by     Posted 107 days ago

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Because I’ve grown tired of never following through on my New Year’s resolutions to get in shape, this year I’m trying something more attainable: to keep a list of all the movies I watch in 2014. Many thanks to my colleague, Mr. Goldberg, for throwing out a Letterboxd recommendation in this collage of films he watched in 2013. I joined the site shortly after reading his rec and think it’s a great way not only to keep a viewing diary (and actually stick with a resolution for once) but also to create/share your own lists and communicate with fellow movie lovers. If you want to keep up with my 2014 watch diary, check out my Top 10 of 2013, and/or my most anticipated for 2014 then hit me up on Letterboxd by clicking here.

Shameless self-promotion aside, the first Top 5 of 2014 features a recap of Matt, Adam, and Dave’s Top 10 of 2013 lists, a new trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man 2video interviews for Inside Llewyn Davis with Oscar Isaac and more, the great first trailer for writer/director Gareth EvansThe Raid 2: Berandal, and a new installment of Cinemath that breaks down the 2013 box office. Continue reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

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