Two New TV Spots for AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. Remind Us It’s a “Make or Break Moment”

by     Posted 2 hours ago

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I heard that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. improved once the show was transformed by the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and I hope that the new season is good enough to bring back those who abandoned the show earlier in season one (myself included).  As Coulson points out in one of two new TV spots, “This is a make or break moment.”  Perhaps working “in the shadows” is a better approach for the series and now that expectations have been lowered, it can bounce back.  And if not, there’s still Agent Carter to look forward to.

Hit the jump to check out the new Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV spots.  Season two premieres Tuesday, September 23rd at 9pm, and stars Clark Gregg, Chloe Bennet, Brett Dalton, Ming-Na Wen, Iain De Caestecker, and Elizabeth Henstridge.

New STAR WARS REBELS Short Is “Not What You Think”

by     Posted 2 hours ago

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For your Labor Day viewing enjoyment, Disney XD has released a new Star Wars Rebels short.  The animated series will take place about 14 years after the events of Revenge of the Sith and centers on the fledgling rebellion as the Empire hunts down the last of the Jedi Knights to secure rule of the galaxy.  This new short gives us an introduction to Ezra Bridger (Taylor Gray), who shares the same irreverent attitude of Sabine and Zeb.  I’m curious to see how the show will develop and differentiate these characters, and how their playful jabs at the Empire will stack up when faced with powerful foes like Agent Kallus and the Inquisitor.

Hit the jump to check out the new Star Wars Rebels short, “Not What You Think”.  Star Wars Rebels premieres on Disney XD this October, and also features the voices of Freddie Prinze Jr., David Oyelowo, Jason Isaacs, Vanessa Marshall, Steve Blum, and Tiya Sircar.

THE STRAIN Recap: “Creatures of the Night”

by     Posted 14 hours ago

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Something is going on with current TV shows where (this week in particular) a capsule, single-focus episode sneaks in around mid-season.  It’s a good thing.  It’s also a great way for character development, instead of having the plot jump all over town, whipping from story to story.  The device also makes the show feel more novelistic, and acts as a great stand-alone (one of those episodes, too, that you can point to to get new viewers interested).  “Creatures of the Night” was all of that, and it continued The Strain‘s track record of improving every single week.  Hit the jump to put it to a vote: “who wants to stay and die?”

MASTERS OF SEX Recap: “Mirror, Mirror”

by     Posted 14 hours ago

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The hope for Masters of Sex was that it would have a second season renaissance that would collate the best parts of its first season, and leave the rest in the dust.  Masters had a good first season, but none of it came together as beautifully as it did in just its second season premiere.  Since then, only “Fight” has really been exceptional, and instead of taking flight, Masters‘ second season has gotten stalled out in some tedium (like the fact that an episode that spanned three years only covered, essentially, one conversation, then ended up back where things started).  “Mirror, Mirror” had some great moments (mostly thanks to Flo), but still felt like more of the same.  Hit the jump if you’ve been a very naughty orthopedist.

Martin Scorsese to Direct Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Robert De Niro in Short Film Promoting New Casino

by     Posted 14 hours ago

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The good news: Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Robert De Niro are teaming up to star in a new film from Martin Scorsese.  The disappointing news: It’s for a short film promoting a casino.  According to Deadline, RatPac Entertainment is producing a short film that will be used as a campaign for Melco-Crown Entertainment, a global resorts and casino brand.  In addition to nabbing three movie stars and a legendary director, Terrence Winter (The Wolf of Wall Street) will handle the script.  The film will premiere next year at a new movie-themed resort in Studio City, Macau.  I assume it will be about how casinos are awesome as opposed to Casino, which shows a glamorous world of delights masking a seedy, violent underbelly.

Despite the short’s purpose, I’ll still watch it if I get a chance.  It’s too exciting to see this kind of talent align for any project.  I just wish it were a real feature, but as Deadline points out, this short could at least function as a bit of a warmup for another project.  In particular, there’s the Frank Sinatra movie Scorsese has been kicking around the past few years.

Jennifer Aniston Talks LIFE OF CRIME, Elmore Leonard, the Lack of Improv, the Way She Likes to Work, and More

by     Posted 15 hours ago

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Life of CrimeDaniel Schecter’s adaptation of the Elmore Leonard novel The Switch, is now playing on VOD and in theaters.  The film features younger versions of the Robert De Niro and Samuel L. Jackson characters from another Leonard adaptation, Jackie Brown, with John Hawkes and Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) filling the roles this time around.  The story features Hawkes and Bey kidnapping the trophy wife (Jennifer Aniston) of a wealthy man (Tim Robbins) only to find out he doesn’t actually want her back.  The film also stars Mark Boone JuniorIsla FisherWill Forte.  Life of Crime is loaded with juicy characters and great dialogue, and it’s definitely worth checking out.  For more on the movie, read Matt’s review or watch the trailer.

At the recent Los Angeles press day I landed an exclusive video interview with Jennifer Aniston.  She talked about making Life of Crime, how quickly she said yes to the project, the way she likes to work, the lack of improv on the film, how doing big Hollywood movies allows her the freedom to make independent movies, and more.  Hit the jump to watch.

RAY DONOVAN Recap: “Sunny”

by     Posted 15 hours ago

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The best laid plans of Ray and kin often go astray.  The overarching irony of Ray Donovan is that for a fixer, Ray isn’t very good when it comes to his own family.  The truth about him laundering money through the gym to help support Terry (as well as clean Ray’s money) ends up alienating Terry completely.  The house in Trusdale meant nothing to Abby without Ray’s emotional support behind it, and she finally challenges his years of cheating on her.  Ray was willing to allow Cookie Brown to take hold of Marvin’s life, so long as he moved him to South Beach to keep him away from Bridget.  But that, too, turned sour quickly.  Hit the jump for Ray’s other misdeeds, and how it all might get put back together again.

Watch Karen Gillan Shave Her Head for GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY

by     Posted 15 hours ago

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One of the highlights of last year’s Comic-Con presentation for Guardians of the Galaxy was Karen Gillan tossing off a wig to reveal she had shaved her head to play Nebula.  Although she ultimately didn’t get much to do in the finished film, they laid the groundwork to give her a bigger role in the sequel (assuming they bring her back, and I hope they do).  If she does return for Guardians of the Galaxy 2, she’ll be shaving her head again, but a video has gone online showing the first time she went bald, and it looks like it was a relatively painless experience of the actress.

Hit the jump to check out Karen Gillan shaving her head for Guardians of the Galaxy.

Guillermo del Toro Talks THE STRAIN, the Learning Curve of TV, Casting David Bradley, Looking to Season 2, the Overall 5-Season Plan, and More

by     Posted 18 hours ago

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From filmmaker Guillermo del Toro and showrunner Carlton Cuse, The Strain tells the story of an epic battle for survival between man and vampire.  When Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll), the head of the Center for Disease Control in New York City, and his team are called upon to investigate a mysterious viral outbreak that is eerily similar to an ancient and evil strain of vampirism, they quickly realize that they are waging war for the fate of humanity itself.  The show also stars David Bradley, Mia Maestro, Sean Astin, Jonathan Hyde, Richard Sammel, Kevin Durand, Miguel Gomez, Natalie Brown and Jack Kesy.

During this recent exclusive interview with Collider, executive producer Guillermo del Toro talked about why he wanted to do a horror TV series, the idea of vampires as a predatory species, why he wanted to direct the pilot, supervising all of the visual and make-up effects on the series, why David Bradley was the right actor for Setrakian, how the events of Episode 8 will change the group dynamic, why he thinks they’ll need three to five seasons to tell this story, going forward in the story while they go back in the mythology, learning the medium of TV, and how excited he is to get to work on Season 2.  Check out what he had to say after the jump, and be aware that there are some spoilers.

DOWNTON ABBEY Season 5 Trailer: Change Is Coming to the Fanciest Soap on Television

by     Posted 21 hours ago

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Ready your formal wear and prepare your manners accordingly: the Downton Abbey Season 5 trailer is here.  Fresh off the unveiling of some new images from the upcoming season of the ensemble drama, ITV has released the first footage from the batch of new episodes.  As you’ll see in the trailer, the theme of Season 5 appears to be change in its many forms.  Times are changing, relationships are changing, and by golly Carson is not having any of it.  I enjoy Downton Abbey quite a bit.  Sure it’s essentially a big, sweeping soap opera in a serious drama’s clothing, but it’s fun and engaging and wholly engrossing; the world building of the show is tremendous.  As such, I’m looking forward to seeing what twists and turns are in store for Season 5.

Watch the first Downton Abbey Season 5 trailer after the jump.  The series returns to ITV in the UK on September 21st and will premiere on PBS here in the States on January 4, 2015.

Weekend Box Office: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Leads Labor Day Holiday

by     Posted Yesterday

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As expected, the biggest movie of the summer – and as of yesterday, the biggest movie of the year – had no trouble holding on to first place this Labor Day weekend.  Guardians of the Galaxy took in an estimated $16.3 million through Sunday, which gave the blockbuster it’s third box office victory.  Although its wins were not consecutive, the Disney/Marvel pic is the only film to spend three weeks in first place this summer and just the fourth title to three-peat in 2014.

 Title Weekend Total
1.  Guardians of the Galaxy $16,313,000 $274.6
2.  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles $11,750,000 $162.4
3.  If I Stay $9,260,000 $29.8
4.  As Above/So Below $8,342,000 $8.3
5.  Let’s Be Cops $8,200,000 $57.3
6.  The November Man $7,660,000 $9.35
7.  When the Game Stands Tall $5,650,000 $16.3
8.  The Giver $5,253,000 $31.5
9.  The Hundred-Foot Journey $4,603,000 $39.4
10.  The Expendables 3 $3,500,000 $33.1

Details after the jump.

Director Roger Donaldson Talks THE NOVEMBER MAN, Reuniting with Pierce Brosnan, Filming in Belgrade, Delete Scenes, NO WAY OUT, Future Projects, and More

by     Posted Yesterday

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Now playing in theaters is director Roger Donaldson’s (The Bank Job, No Way Out) action thriller The November Man.  Based on Bill Granger’s novel There are No Spies from the bestselling November Man book series, the film stars Pierce Brosnan as an ex-CIA operative who is lured out of retirement on a personal mission.  While on the assignment, he finds himself trying to protect a valuable witness (Olga Kurylenko) while his former pupil (Luke Bracey) is trying to hunt him down.  The film also stars Eliza TaylorCaterina ScorsoneBill Smitrovich and Will Patton.  For more on The November Man, watch the trailer or check out all our previous coverage. 

At the Los Angeles press day I landed an exclusive video interview with Roger Donaldson.  He talked about making November Man, reuniting with Pierce Brosnan, how the film was originally set in Berlin before he decided on Belgrade, deleted scenes, what he values about test screenings, his evolution to digital filming, No Way Out, his approach to editing, future projects, and a lot more.  Hit the jump for what he had to say.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Is Now the Highest Grossing Film of the Year, But for How Long?

by     Posted 2 days ago

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Ladies and gentlemen, we have a new 2014 box office champion.  After a stellar opening weekend and extremely solid legs in the following weeks, Marvel’s swell Guardians of the Galaxy now stands as the highest grossing film of the year at the domestic box office with a grand total of $262.1 million.  The year’s previous champion, fittingly enough, was Marvel’s other 2014 film Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which totaled out at $259.7 million domestically.  Though Guardians’ worldwide total of $507.4 million is still eclipsed by The Winter Soldier’s $714 million take, the galactic film’s international rollout will continue in the weeks to come, including a Chinese debut.

Hit the jump for more on the Guardians of the Galaxy box office standing, why it’s unlikely to remain the champion, and an overview of the full domestic Top 10 of the year thus far.

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 2 days ago

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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.

Dylan Everett Talks THE UNAUTHORIZED SAVED BY THE BELL STORY, Playing Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Loving the Wardrobe, and More

by     Posted 2 days ago

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The Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story takes a nostalgic look back at the ‘90s TV show that changed the landscape of Saturday mornings.  Delving into the experiences of six unknown young actors who suddenly have the Hollywood spotlight shining brightly on them, it also exposes the challenges of growing up under public scrutiny while trying to maintain the squeaky clean image of their popular characters.  With casting done by the original series’ casting director, Robin Lippin, the movie stars Dylan Everett as Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Sam Kindseth as Dustin Diamond, Julian Works as Mario Lopez, Alyssa Lynch as Tiffani-Amber Thiessen, Tiera Skovbye as Elizabeth Berkley, and Taylor Russell McKenzie as Lark Voorhies.

During this exclusive phone interview with Collider, actor Dylan Everett talked about how he came to be a part of the movie, not knowing that he had auditioned for the original series casting director, what he identified with in the script, the importance of finding who you are outside of the business, how nerve-wracking it was to make this, knowing that all of the original cast members are still around, wanting to get as close to Mark-Paul Gosselaar’s performance as possible, how much he loved the wardrobe, and just how much fun he had making the movie.  Check out what he had to say after the jump.

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