TOP 5: J.J. Abrams Directing STAR WARS: EPISODE VII, BULLET TO THE HEAD Set Visit, WARM BODIES, G.I. JOE: RETALIATION, Sundance 2013

     January 26, 2013

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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.

1. J.J. Abrams Will Direct & Produce STAR WARS: EPISODE VII

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At long last, this past week brought closure to the question that’s plagued Star Wars fans since it was announced that Disney had acquired Lucasfilm and would begin a new trilogy in 2015: who will kick off the trilogy by directing Episode VII? The answer? J.J. Abrams (official press release available here). And for those of you who were concerned that Abrams’ lack of omnipresence would mean he’s leaving his other sizable franchises behind in exchange for Star Wars? Not to worry, he’ll still be involved in both Star Trek 3 and Mission: Impossible 5.

2. BULLET TO THE HEAD Set Visit Coverage

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Sly Stallone is 66 years old. Just let that sink in. 66 years old and he’s still a badass who looks convincing taking on Jason Momoa (who’s 33) in an axe battle (we’re talking about literal axes here, not electric guitars…although the guitar thing might make more sense if you consider the concept of mortality). Just by virtue of that fact alone, I will pay to see Bullet to the Head. If you can relate with me on anything I just wrote about Sly and his latest flick, then do yourself a solid and check out Steve’s set visit recap and on-set interviews with director Walter Hill, Jason Momoa, Sarah Shahi, and Sung Kang.

3. WARM BODIES Video Interviews with Nicholas Hoult and More

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With zombie-centric fare becoming so entrenched in our pop culture mindset of late, I can understand when some of my family and friends don’t share my excitement for writer/director Jonathan Levine’s Warm Bodies. They see it simply as a premeditated attempt to cash-in on a booming subgenre. On the other hand, I see it as a follow-up to one of my favorite films of 2011, Levine’s 50/50. Whether you share my anticipation for the pic or need a persuasive nudge towards seeing it, I recommend taking a few minutes to watch our Tommy Cook’s video interviews with members of the cast including Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer, Rob Corddry, and Dave Franco and let the cards fall where they may from there.

4. G.I. JOE: RETALIATION Set Visit Preview and Interviews

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In anticipation of debuting four minutes of footage from G.I. Joe: Retaliation in front of some IMAX, RealD, and digital 3D screenings of Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters this weekend, Paramount invited our own Christina Radish out to their lot for an advanced look at the footage and roundtable interview time with director Jon M. Chu (who assures us the film’s delayed release and reshoots had nothing to to with capturing more Channing Tatum screentime) and producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura. Additionally, Steve teased Joe fans with a preview of his visit to the film’s New Orleans set. While I may not be the biggest Joe enthusiast around, I have to admit that Retaliation‘s mountain-side ninja fight I’ve seen glimpses of looks insanely cool to the point that I’m considering watching it even without having seen the first entry.

5. Collider Goes to Sundance 2013

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You’ve probably noticed over the last 10 days or so that the site has been filled to the brim with coverage out of Park City, Utah and the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Whether it be in the form of reviews, interviews, acquisition news, etc., you can get caught up on all of the coverage of this year’s festival simply by clicking here. Moreover, if previous years are any indication, you may want to check back on that link periodically because odds are we’re going to be posting more interviews from the festival in the coming days.

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