TOP 5: Joaquin Phoenix in Final Talks to Lead DOCTOR STRANGE, WHIPLASH, Warner Bros. Superhero Pics Are No Joke, ROSEWATER, KIRK CAMERON’S SAVING CHRISTMAS

by     Posted Yesterday

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One of the best documentaries I’ve seen this year is the Netflix original The Battered Bastards of Baseball. Directed by brothers Chapman Way and Maclain Way, the doc premiered at Sundance back in January where Matt gave it a glowing review and debuted on Netflix last month where you can still instant stream it today. The film follows the Portland Mavericks, an independent baseball team created by actor and lifelong baseball enthusiast Bing Russell in 1973. In addition to being the only professional team in America to operate without a Major League affiliate at the time, the Mavericks held open tryouts and built a roster that was made up almost entirely of players who had long been forgotten by the world of organized baseball. The result was a team that played with a supreme chip on their shoulder that not only lead to wins but also record setting attendance numbers that stand to this day. Whether you grew up wanting to be a big leaguer or simply appreciate a fantastic underdog story, The Battered Bastards of Baseball is an affecting doc that’s not to be missed.

Recommendations aside, this week’s Top 5 features word that Joaquin Phoenix is in final negotiations to star in Marvel’s Doctor Strange, a new trailer for Whiplash that will detour you from ever wanting to study jazz performance, the rumor that Warner Bros. has a “no jokes” mandate for its upcoming Superhero movies, the first trailer for Jon Stewart‘s directorial debut Rosewater, and a disturbing trailer for Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas. Keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

TOP 5: SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR, MEN, WOMEN & CHILDREN Trailer, Pierce Brosnan Plays GOLDENEYE 007, OUTCAST, Chinese Movie Theater Texting

by     Posted 8 days ago

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Available now on VOD and DVD is writer/director Joshua Zeman‘s urban legend documentary Killer Legends. For those who’ve seen Zeman’s solid 2009 effort Cropsey, Killer Legends is a continuation of the filmmaker’s interest not just in urban legends but in the real stories behind the tales. Rather than focus on one subject like its predecessor, though, Legends is made up of four vignettes each devoted to a true crime that helped shape some of our most widely recognized legends: The Candyman, The Killer Clown, The Babysitter Murders, and The Hookman. Individually, I found Zeman’s look at “The Hookman” and its ties to the “Moonlight Murders” of Texarkana in 1946 (the inspiration for Charles B. Pierce‘s The Town That Dreaded Sundown) to be the strongest of the four. On the whole, the doc is a fascinating project that seamlessly blends elements of crime, horror, and nostalgia as you recall the versions of the aforementioned legends that you were exposed to as a kid. Killer Legends is highly recommended if you’ve ever wondered where some of our most popular legends got their start.

All recommendations aside, this week’s Top 5 features interviews for and Matt’s review of Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, the first trailer for Jason Reitman‘s Men, Women & Children, Pierce Brosnan playing N64′s Goldeneye 007 with Jimmy Fallon, the first trailer for Outcast which features some absolute gems from Nicolas Cage, and a report claiming that Chinese movie theaters are looking for ways to integrate audience texts into the moviegoing experience. Keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

TOP 5: THE EXPENDABLES 3, The Problem with Superhero Sagas, Guillermo del Toro Involved in New SILENT HILL Game, THE GIVER, THE BABADOOK

by     Posted 15 days ago

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There’s nothing I can write in the space allotted here that will do justice to the life and career of Robin Williams. His talent was enormous and just as we’re all the better for the work he did, his loss robs us of the things he might still have done. When I was a kid, Williams and Francis Ford Coppola‘s Jack was the first film that ever made me cry. I can remember being 10-years-old and dumbfounded by his ability to make me smile and sob within the context of a single scene. In spite of knowing that it would break my heart, I couldn’t wait to rewatch it as soon as it ended so I could laugh and cry all over again. In the grand scheme of things, his turn in Jack isn’t anywhere near his most beloved work. Given the film’s 17% RT score, I seem to be among the few who have any endearing memories of the film. We should all be so gifted that even our misses leave a lifelong impression on others.

In an impossible segue, this week’s Top 5 features interviews for and Matt’s review of The Expendables 3, Adam’s editorial on why he believes that treating movies like television is a bad idea, the news that Guillermo del Toro is involved in the next Silent Hill game, interviews for and Adam’s review of The Giver, and the new trailer for writer/director Jennifer Kent‘s horror pic The Babadook. Keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

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 22 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.

TOP 5: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, INTERSTELLAR, First Trailer for THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES, ATARI: GAME OVER, Comic-Con 2014

by     Posted 29 days ago

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Available now on VOD is director Bong Joon ho‘s blistering sci-fi thriller Snowpiercer. I caught the film earlier today and it’s an absolute tour de force brimming with action and incisive commentary. Set aboard a perpetually moving train that protects Earth’s remaining population from a second Ice Age, the pic sees Chris Evans lead a revolt that seeks to move the have nots from the squeamish conditions of the train’s tail to the lavish amenities of its head. What ensues is a premium visceral experience that may lack subtlety but never fails to excite and impress. Similar to how each floor presents its own unique set of challenges and incredible action opportunities in Gareth EvansThe Raid, each station on Bong Joon ho’s Snowpiercer contains its own form of beautifully orchestrated chaos that is a sight to behold albeit not for the weak of stomach. If any of the above sounds like your cup of tea then I can’t recommend checking out Snowpiercer enough. This is one that sci-fi fans will be talking about for a while.

My hyper-violent VOD recommendation aside, the Top 5 returns from a San Diego Comic-Con induced break to feature interviews for and Matt’s review of Guardians of the Galaxy, a new trailer for Christopher Nolan‘s Interstellar, the first trailer for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, a fantastic trailer for the documentary Atari: Game Over, and a recap of our SDCC 2014 coverage. Keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

TOP 5: SEX TAPE, First AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON Image, POWER RANGERS Movie News, THE PURGE: ANARCHY, First Trailer for ANNABELLE

by     Posted 43 days ago

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Thanks to the greatness that is VOD, last night I was able to check out David Wain and Michael Showalter‘s rom-com parody, They Came Together. Starring Amy Poehler and Paul Rudd, the film looks to deconstruct the romantic comedy much like Wain and Showalter’s Wet Hot American Summer sought to satirize summer camp films. From the standpoint of ripping the often shallow and happenstance conceits of the modern rom-com to shreds, They Came Together is wildly successful. Poehler and Rudd are great and Wain and Showalter know the genre so well that the script often feels like a template for a Valentine’s Day release waiting to happen. While its constant barrage of meta can be distracting at times (a scene where Rudd drowns his sorrows at a bar specifically comes to mind), more often than not I found myself laughing too hard at the absurdity of the genre’s conventions to care. In only 83 minutes, They Came Together manages to satirize every bland romantic comedy you’ve seen in the last 15-20 years and tops it off with a Christopher Meloni sequence that may go down as my favorite toilet joke of all-time.

My VOD recommendation aside, this week’s Top 5 features interviews for and Matt’s review of Sex Tape, the first image from Avengers: Age of Ultron, Power Rangers movie news, The Purge: Anarchy interviews and review, and the first teaser trailer for New Line’s The Conjuring spinoff film Annabelle. Keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

TOP 5: DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Set Visit, GONE GIRL Trailer, BOYHOOD, EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS Trailer

by     Posted 50 days ago

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New to Blu-ray this week is the fascinating documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune. I caught the film earlier today and have no reservation calling it a must-see for sci-fi fans. Seeing Alejandro Jodorowsky passionately recant the events that led to his convincing the likes of Orson Welles and Salvador Dalí to join the pic is a joy in its own right, but illustrating the impact his unmade movie had on future science-fiction films is one of the doc’s greatest achievements. The level of imagination, creativity, detail, and ambition that Jodorowsky and his visionary team put into their adaptation of Frank Herbert‘s seminal sci-fi novel is staggering and a bit awe-inspiring when you consider its influence on future entries such as Star Wars, Alien, The Terminator, and more. Ahead of its time doesn’t even begin to describe it. For better or worse, I’m not sure that the world is prepared for the madness that is Jodorowsky’s film even today.

My Jodorowky’s Dune endorsement aside, this week’s Top 5 features interviews for and Matt’s review of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Steve’s visit to the set of Guardians of the Galaxy, a new trailer for David Fincher‘s Gone GirlBoyhood interviews and Matt’s review, and the first trailer for Ridley Scott‘s biblical epic Exodus: Gods and Kings. Keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

TOP 5: DELIVER US FROM EVIL, FOXCATCHER Trailer, Saturn Awards, HORRIBLE BOSSES 2 Trailer, Our Most Anticipated Movies: July to September

by     Posted 57 days ago

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This week I rewatched Errol Morris‘ landmark 1988 documentary The Thin Blue Line for the first time in around six years and was reminded of how remarkable it is. Available on Netflix to stream instantly, the film is not only lauded for Morris’ unique use of reenactments and “interrogation” style of interviewing but also because it was the primary catalyst behind Randall Dale Adams having his murder conviction and subsequent life sentence overturned. Morris’ private investigator skills are on full display in the pic as he dismantles the flawed testimony of witnesses that led to Adams’ conviction, culminating in a final taped interview with David Ray Harris that’s as surreal and powerful a conclusion as you’ll find committed to film. I try and avoid using hyperbole as much as possible, and I don’t think I’m overselling it when I say that The Thin Blue Line is among the most important documentaries ever made. If you haven’t already, watch it as soon as possible.

My Netflix recommendation aside, this week’s Top 5 features Deliver Us from Evil interviews with Olivia Munn and more, the fantastic new trailer for Bennett Miller‘s Foxcatcher, interviews from the 40th annual Saturn Awards, the first trailer for Horrible Bosses 2, and a look at our most anticipated movies from July to September. As you’ve come to expect, a brief recap and link to each of the above rests after the jump.

TOP 5: TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION, FURY Trailer, Shane Black Directing PREDATOR Sequel, SNOWPIERCER, First Trailer for LIFE AFTER BETH

by     Posted 64 days ago

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If you’ve been around the site for a while then you may remember my love for Boy Meets World which I professed in this DVD review nearly four years ago. That devotion in mind, I’m choosing to write about last night’s premiere of Girl Meets World in this week’s opening paragraph in spite of the fact that I’m a 27-year-old man. While the pilot may have been a little too on the nose about GMW being young Riley Matthews’ chance to discover the world like her parents did before her, I still enjoyed the heck out of it. Played well by Rowan Blanchard, the character of Riley looks to be a great blend of Cory and Topanga as she is hopelessly awkward around the new boy at school and stresses out about the possibility of missing a homework assignment in a way that young Cory Matthews would have never dreamed. Another highpoint of the episode is Corey Fogelmanis‘ turn as Farkle Minkus and a fresh take on BMW‘s Stuart Minkus character (I’m going to assume that Farkle is Stuart’s son though I don’t believe that was revealed in the pilot). Regardless of how GMW pans out, I’ll always have its predecessor to hold near and dear. Along those lines, I’d love to see GMW be successful not for me but so adolescents today can have something other than Dog with a Blog to call their own.

All Disney Channel sitcom reactions aside, this week’s Top 5 features our Transformers: Age of Extinction interviews and review, the first trailer for Brad Pitt‘s WWII pic Fury, Shane Black being tapped to helm a Predator sequel, our Snowpiercer interviews and review, and the first trailer for Life After Beth starring Aubrey Plaza and Dane DeHaan. As is typically the case, a brief recap and link to each of the above can be found after the jump.

TOP 5: 22 JUMP STREET, First Trailer for DUMB AND DUMBER TO, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2, BIRDMAN Trailer, E3 2014 Coverage

by     Posted 78 days ago

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Following on the heels of one of my favorite comedies of the past five years is no small task and yet 22 Jump Street manages to stand toe-to-toe with its hugely successful predecessor at almost every turn. Sure its self-awareness can be heavy-handed at times, but the film’s deconstruction of comedy sequels is refreshingly on point and far more incisive than a summer blockbuster has any right to be. As far as performances go, while Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, and Ice Cube deserve all the praise they receive for carrying the movie, I can’t say enough about how much Jillian Bell brings to the table in every single scene she’s a part of. The former SNL writer is responsible for my biggest laugh of the film which is saying a lot when you consider the consistent laughs that 22 elicits. Add in a near perfect end credits sequence for good measure and the result is the rare sequel that knows exactly what it is, where it came from, and where it wants to go.

We’ll talk more about 22 Jump Street after the jump while the rest of this week’s Top 5 highlights the first trailer for Dumb and Dumber To, interviews for and a review of How to Train Your Dragon 2, the excellent first trailer for director Alejandro González Iñárritu‘s Birdman starring Michael Keaton, and a look at some of the most popular video game trailer premieres from E3 2014. Keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

TOP 5: THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, Josh Trank Lands STAR WARS Spinoff Film, EDGE OF TOMORROW, DOCTOR STRANGE, JUPITER ASCENDING Delayed

by     Posted 85 days ago

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The Fault in Our Stars will break you. Don’t think for a second that it won’t. If you come out of it saying otherwise then there are only two explanations: you’re lying or you’re a sociopath. Either way, I’m not sure we can be friends. Led by terrific lead turns by Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort (and solid supporting efforts by Laura Dern and Nat Wolff), director Josh Boone‘s adaptation of the John Green novel disguises a lesson in how much of a cold hard bitch the universe can be as a romantic teen drama. Every sweet moment that Hazel and Gus share (of which there are plenty) has an all-consuming gray cloud overhead. Even the catharsis that comes from pelting your ex’s car with eggs only lasts as long as the inevitability of your own mortality will allow. For all of its borderline grief-inducing moments, The Fault in Our Stars is actually a solid entry in the genre that handles its subject honestly and respectfully. It deserves praise for this even if it does depress the hell out of us along the way.

In addition to more on The Fault in Our Stars, this week’s Top 5 also includes Chronicle director Josh Trank landing a Star Wars spinoff film, Matt’s Edge of Tomorrow review, Scott Derrickson getting the Doctor Strange gig as well as casting rumors surrounding the pic, and Warner Bros. pushing Jupiter Ascending back from next month to February 2015. Keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

TOP 5: MALEFICENT, ANT-MAN Director Search, New SNOWPIERCER Trailer, A MILLION WAYS TO DIE IN THE WEST, LEFT BEHIND Trailer Starring Nicolas Cage

by     Posted 92 days ago

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I’m a week late to the game on this one but I’m going to share my thoughts on X-Men: Days of Future Past today nevertheless. While not on par with the excellent X-Men: First Class, I found DOFP to be a worthy follow-up that does an admirable job of bringing continuity to the movie tapestry while mercifully retconning X-Men: The Last Stand out of the discussion almost entirely. Also, for all of the cynicism I threw the film’s way over Quicksilver’s costume design, Evan Peters steals the show during his all too brief screen time. Without giving away too much to those who still haven’t caught the movie, his primary scene is the best that DOFP has to offer and tops Nightcrawler’s attack on the White House in X2 which is not praise that I heap lightly. While not without its flaws (the scenes set in the future are far less compelling than the story playing out in the past), DOFP is still a solid entry in the series that has me looking forward to X-Men: Apocalypse.

All DOFP reflections aside, this week’s Top 5 features our Maleficent interviews and review, Marvel’s ongoing search to find someone/anyone to direct Ant-Man following Edgar Wright‘s departure, the new trailer for Snowpiercer, Matt’s review of A Million Ways to Die in the West and an interview with Seth Macfarlane and Charlize Theron, and Nicolas Cage starring in the first trailer for the new Left Behind film because he can. Keep reading for brief recaps and links for all of the above.

TOP 5: X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST, New GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Trailer, Gareth Edwards to Direct STAR WARS Spinoff, MAN OF STEEL Sequel Gets Official Title, LIFE ITSELF Trailer

by     Posted 99 days ago

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And just like that, my excitement for Marvel’s Ant-Man has been severely diminished. Understanding that making a film of this size is hardly the work of a single person, the loss of Edgar Wright from the director’s chair remains a huge subtraction nonetheless. I’m undoubtedly biased as Wright is one of my favorite working filmmakers, but I can’t see how you let a talent of his caliber walk away from a project that he’s been developing in one way or another for nearly a decade and cite “creative differences” as the culprit. I realize the film industry has brass at the top calling the shots like any other big business, but if I’m made to believe that there are two irreconcilable visions for Ant-Man (Marvel’s and Wright’s) then I can’t help but think that we’ll now be getting the lesser one next July. As unfair as it is, even if the finished product turns out great (which could very well happen), I’ll always wonder how it might have been with Wright at the helm.

All Ant-Man talk aside, this week’s Top 5 features our interviews for and review of X-Men: Days of Future Past, the new trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy, the news that Godzilla director Gareth Edwards will direct the first Star Wars spinoff, the lengthy official title for the Man of Steel sequel, and the first trailer for director Steve JamesRoger Ebert doc Life Itself. Keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

TOP 5: NEIGHBORS, DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, First Trailer for GOTHAM, New Live-Action POWER RANGERS Movie, SNOWPIERCER Trailer

by     Posted 113 days ago

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Now available via On Demand and iTunes, and in limited theaters June 6th, is writer/director Ti West‘s The Sacrament. I wrote about my anticipation for the film a few months ago and I finally got the chance to check it out last night. For those unaware, the pic utilizes the found footage conceit to immerse viewers in a story akin to that of the Jonestown Massacre of 1978. West fans will likely note how the found footage approach and the emphasis on psychological terror over more conventional scares set The Sacrament apart from the filmmaker’s previous work. In spite of those differences, it utilizes the same slow burn before all hell breaks loose in the final act approach employed by The House of the Devil and The Innkeepers to great effect. Anchored by fantastic pacing and a mesmerizing performance from Gene Jones as the sect’s leader “Father”, the result is West’s most disturbing and lingering film to date.

In addition to a wholehearted recommendation for The Sacrament, this week’s Top 5 also features our review of and interviews for Neighbors, the new trailer for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the first trailer for Fox’s Gotham, word of a new live-action Power Rangers film, and an excellent red-band trailer for Bong Joon-ho‘s Snowpiercer. Discover a brief recap and link to each of the above after the jump.

TOP 5: STAR WARS: EPISODE VII Cast Announced, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2, GODZILLA Trailer, Zack Snyder to Direct JUSTICE LEAGUE, THE INTERNET’S OWN BOY

by     Posted 120 days ago

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I’ll say this much for The Amazing Spider-Man 2: it’s unique. I can’t recall a film off the top of my head that delivers one cringeworthy moment after another, eye roll upon eye roll, only to stick the landing and actually make me semi-look forward to the next installment. As many have stated already, Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone are actually quite good in the film as its emotional anchors. As much as I enjoy Sam Raimi‘s Spider-Man (and love his Spider-Man 2), I’ll take Garfield over Tobey Maguire as my wall-crawler of choice any day of the week. Still yet, that doesn’t change the fact that The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is a tonal mess for about 90% of its runtime. To make matters worse, Jamie Foxx‘s Electro is so poorly written, and so ridiculously portrayed, that he’d be right at home in a Joel Schumacher Batman movie. And yet, that ending still resonates with me and I’m kind of interested to see what’s next. Like I said, it’s unique.

We’ll talk more about The Amazing Spider-Man 2 after the jump with Matt’s review and Steve’s video interviews. In addition, this week’s Top 5 also highlights the Star Wars: Episode VII cast announcement, the new international Godzilla trailer, Zack Snyder officially landing the Justice League directorial gig, and the first trailer for the excellent looking doc The Internet’s Own Boy. Keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

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