TOP 5: THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1, PITCH PERFECT 2, Chris Pratt in COWBOY NINJA VIKING, THE STAND Will Be Four Movies, FANTASTIC MR. FOXCATCHER Trailer

     November 22, 2014

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Available now on VOD is writers/directors Kevin Kölsch and Dennis Widmyer‘s horror film Starry Eyes. Starring Alex Essoe as an aspiring actress who is desperate to land a role she’s convinced will jump start her career, the pic puts a devilish twist on a familiar tale of ambition, sacrifice, and obsession. Humorous at times (the very concept of a Hooters-esque restaurant called “Big Taters” comes to mind) and wholly bizarre/frightening at others, Starry Eyes owes a great deal of its effectiveness to Essoe’s fantastic turn as the determined Sarah Walker and Jonathan Snipes‘ (Room 237) tantalizing score. The way things escalate in the final act will make it a hard sell to non-horror fans, but for those who hold the genre near and dear I predict it will go down as one of the most beloved entries of 2014 due to its undeniable style, memorable performance, and pertinent themes.

My creepy as hell recommendation aside, this week’s Top 5 features interviews for and Matt’s review of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, the first trailer for Pitch Perfect 2, Chris Pratt landing the lead role in Universal’s Cowboy Ninja Viking adaptation, news regarding Josh Boone‘s The Stand adaptation, and a disturbingly well made FoxcatcherFantastic Mr. Fox mash-up trailer. Keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

1. THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1 Interviews and Review

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I realize this doesn’t exactly put it in elite company, but of all the recent YA novel turned movie franchises Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games is easily my favorite. It’s willingness to have a brain and a heart rather than relying solely on melodrama sets it apart from its peers and makes Francis Lawrence’s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 a film I plan on paying to see in theaters. If you feel similarly about the franchise then you could do far worse than reading Matt’s review of the film, discussing it in our “What Did You Think?” post, watching the NYC Press Conference, reading Steve’s interview with Natalie Dormer, and watching his video interviews with Francis Lawrence and Mahershala Ali.

2. First Trailer for PITCH PERFECT 2

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Jason Moore’s Pitch Perfect was one of my favorite surprises of 2012 as I stumbled into it with the thought that it could be fun and came out of it having watched one of my favorite comedies of the year. It should come as no surprise, then, that the first trailer for Pitch Perfect 2 has my undivided attention not only as a sequel to a personal favorite but also as the directorial debut of Elizabeth Banks.

3. Exclusive: Chris Pratt to Star in Universal’s COWBOY NINJA VIKING

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In case you weren’t already aware, Chris Pratt is a movie star now. With Guardians of the Galaxy in the bag and Jurassic World on the way, the undeniably charming and talented Pratt currently has as much upward momentum as anyone in the industry. Throw in our report that he will lead Universal’s adaptation of Image Comics’ Cowboy Ninja Viking (by A.J. Lieberman & artist Riley Rossmo) and it’s clear that we now live in a world where Ché from The O.C. and Andy from Parks and Recreation is a household name. I much prefer this world to the one before it.

4. Josh Boone Says His Adaptation of THE STAND Will Be Four Movies

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We’ve known for some time that Josh Boone (The Fault in Our Stars) would helm Warner Bros. movie adaptation of Stephen King’s The Stand. On that info alone, I was looking forward to seeing a promising filmmaker with an admitted passion for the source material have his shot at bringing it to the big screen. Now, per Boone himself, we’ve learned that Warner Bros. believes in the project so much that they’re investing the resources to turn it into a four picture event rather than a standalone movie. Knowing that the studio thinks so highly of the filmmaker’s vision for King’s story has magnified my excitement for this property by approximately 4x.

5. FANTASTIC MR. FOXCATCHER Trailer Is Scary Good

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The Internet is a wondrous place in which people can share their creativity with the world with an ease that no other time in history has ever known. Keyboard Cat, Dramatic Chipmunk, Scumbag Steve, the list of Internet heroes goes on and on. While this mash-up trailer featuring audio from Bennett Miller’s Foxcatcher and visuals from Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox may not reach the heights of Internet stardom enjoyed by those previously listed, it’s still extremely well done albeit kind of nightmarish. Check out “Fantastic Mr. Foxcatcher” here and revel in the glory of the Internet age we live in.

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