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Back in the spring, I found myself working at HitFix's La offices for a few days, which would ordinarily have been an opportunity to tape an in-person episode of the Firewall & Iceberg Show. But with Fienberg out of town for my visit, we instead recorded a variant on our Ask Drew series, with Drew McWeeny asking me questions instead of fielding them himself. It was a fun experience, and when we decided later in the year to put the video show on the shelf (possibly to return one day when the 3,000 mile distance between the two hosts is less technologically cumbersome), I wanted to give the Ask Alan thing some more burn. So welcome to the first installment of what will hopefully be a regular and long-running (but short in terms of each episode) video series, in which I take your questions and try not to ramble too much in answering them. »
- Alan Sepinwall
As awards contenders rise and fall in the last-minute deluge of film premieres and screenings that is November, one movie that continues to stick with this particular writer is J.C. Chandor's "A Most Violent Year." Sure, that seems silly considering the picture only debuted two weeks ago, but context is everything. We'll spare the names of the three other contenders I've seen since, that I need to remind myself I've actually seen. That's how impressive Chandor's period thriller is. Set in 1981, "Year" centers on Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac), a self-made businessman who is trying to take his New York City area oil heating business to the next level. While his wife Anna (Jessica Chastain) takes care of the books, Abel is in the process of securing a new headquarters for the company, which will help make it a powerhouse. That is until his business comes under siege from criminals hijacking his trucks. »
- Gregory Ellwood
The stars of the newest "Hunger Games" film, "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1" were out in Los Angeles on Monday night for the premiere on this side of the pond. Naturally, the group was led by Jennifer Lawrence who plays the franchise's main character, Katniss Everdeen. With Lawrence on the carpet were co-stars Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Natalie Dormer, Julianne Moore, Elizabeth Banks, and several others. In the gallery below, you can judge all their outfits for yourself and decide which look you like best. Directed by Francis Lawrence, "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1" opens in theaters this Friday, November 21st. Be sure to read Drew McWeeny's review. »
- Josh Lasser
Hollywood — You'd never guess it from the reviews, but after Paul Thomas Anderson's "Inherent Vice" screened at the New York Film Festival last month, the word on the street wasn't great. The iconic filmmaker's adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's novel earned immediate respect, but numerous industry attendees spread the word it wasn't Academy friendly and potentially not commercial enough to really be a player for Warner Bros. It even prompted questions on whether the reaction to the uniquely Los Angeles tale would have been better suited for a hometown debut. Following "Vice's" Southern California unveiling at the 2014 AFI Film Fest Saturday night, the answer to that question is still up for debate, but one thing's for sure: it's time to start the "don't forget Josh Brolin in the Best Supporting Actor race" campaign. Yes, a "reminder" campaign usually occurs after a film has at least hit limited release, but »
- Gregory Ellwood
Audiences will likely be divided on Bong Joon-ho’s Snowpiercer, a brutal, bold and beautiful film that flies by, even at a hefty 126 minutes – so long as you’re willing to climb on board with its somewhat ludicrous premise. There are those who will struggle to swallow the basic set-up – that a failed climate change experiment plunged the world into another ice age, the only survivors of which had managed to clambor onto a fortified train that uses a perpetual motion engine to endlessly travel the globe. To those people, I say this: do your best to suspend your disbelief, because where Bong goes from there is truly spectacular.
In big-budget moviemaking today, there are Big Dumb Fun popcorn spectacles, slick and intelligent blockbusters and then, much more rarely, productions like Snowpiercer, which seem to operate in a different realm entirely. You see, Snowpiercer isn’t just a smart film. »
- Isaac Feldberg
Filming for Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace began in 1997 - two years before internet usage became "officially' mainstream in America. I still remember searching high-and-low for any little nugget of information. Back then, there were only a few websites that provided movie scoops and most of them proved to be unreliable. Heck, things were so different people were actually excited to have George Lucas writing and directing again. Nostalgia clouded us fans, we never dreamed Lucas would disappoint us. One person that must not have been shocked by The Phantom Menace was Drew McWeeny of Hit Fix. He apparently heard rumblings from members of the crew while they were working on it. The good news: Drew is hearing the opposite from the J.J. Abrams' Star Wars VII crew. "I've been covering movies online since the days when the "Star Wars: Special Editions" were only a rumor. During »
"Nailed" haunts writer-director David O. Russell. A health care satire starring Jessica Biel suffering from a near-fatal nail gun shot to the head, the film went into production before "The Fighter" and imploded before making it through post-production. Russell moved on, for the clear better, but onlookers anxious for a taste of the writer’s sardonic humor kept wondering if the film would ever surface. Whether he was talking about "The Fighter," "Silver Linings Playbook" or "American Hustle," nearly ever interview steered towards "Nailed" out of due diligence. When our own Drew McWeeny spoke to Russell in 2011, he summed up the experience he was happy to distance himself from: "['Nailed'] was supposed to be a fresh page and comeback and it turned out to be disappointment, another notch on my belt in this business." Fans would never see "Nailed." Or fans were resigned to never seeing "Nailed"… until now. Screendaily reports »
- Matt Patches
Well this one is ready to burst. "Interstellar" is here — on film, anyway. Those eager to check it out in 35mm, 70mm or 70mm IMAX can do so now, with all formats blazing on Friday. We have chewed on it plenty around here. We've talked to Matthew McConaughey (with more to come). We've heard from Christopher Nolan. HitFix's Drew McWeeny was positive. After a second look, so was I, both of us with reservations. That seems to be the pattern with most responses. But who cares what a bunch of people who got to see it early thought? You get your crack at it now. I'll be very curious to see what the response is from general audiences. And the box office race this weekend should be an interesting to watch. I'm betting a number of people will be shocked Sunday morning if "Big Hero 6" comes out on top. »
- Kristopher Tapley
Matthew McConaughey stars in the movie alongside Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain and Mackenzie Foy, which is based on scientific theories from physicist Kip Thorne and a screenplay penned by Christopher and his brother Jonathan.
Digital Spy rounds up the critical reactions to the highly-anticipated film from across the media.
Emma Dibdin - Digital Spy
"After a muted initial hour, Interstellar delivers visually spectacular and exhilarating action once it gets out into deep space, with Hans Zimmer's organ-heavy score soaring alongside other moments of perfect silence. Nolan has described the film as a mirror image of Inception, and the comparison certainly comes to mind during a climactic set piece on a snowy planet, the emotional stakes heightened here by a small-but-pivotal turn from Matt Damon.
"Interstellar is a spine-tingling blend of brains and heart, »
Christopher Nolan's highly anticipated sci-fi film Interstellar was recently screened for members of the press, and the reviews are mostly positive. Many of the reviews praise the incredible looking visuals of the film and technical direction, but it seems like the emotional core of the story didn't hit with everyone. I try to stay away from reviews for movies like this until after I see it, but I couldn't help myself this time around. I had to read them! The movie is set to be released in theaters a week from tomorrow, and I already have my tickets to watch it in 70mm IMAX.
I included several excerpts from certain interviews below for you to read. You can click on the links to read the full interviews for each one. Look them over if you want and let us know if they sway your excitement for the movie in any way. »
- Joey Paur
Observing Christopher Nolan move further and further into macro territory with larger and larger canvases that couldn't be more removed from the imposed modesty of his debut, "Following," one thing has become increasingly clear: he's a master of the big picture (as in the greater takeaway from a project, not scale and scope — though that's obviously applicable, too). This has never been more the case than with "Interstellar." It's a shame, though, that he is a filmmaker who holds things so close to the chest (i.e. screenings) that a number of critics who came away negative on the picture — and there are quite a few — won't have an opportunity to catch it again before needing to file their reviews. Because I imagine some of them would find a number of loose ends either tied up or, at the very least, singed into reconciliation. At least, I did. First and foremost, »
- Kristopher Tapley
Watching funny people perform dramatic roles can always be an interesting experience, especially if other parts of the film are funny. In Alejandro González Iñárritu's film "Birdman," Zach Galifianakis and Amy Ryan have two of the more serious roles in what is a dark comedy. The film itself is centered on Michael Keaton's Riggan Thomson, a movie star who has opted to head to Broadway to write, direct, and star-in a play. Galifianakis appears as Thomson's friend and manager, Jake, while Ryan is Thomson's ex-wife, Sylvia. No small part of both roles is keeping Thomson on the (relatively) straight and narrow. They act as a reality check on Thomson's flightier notions, which is what makes their roles somewhat more serious than those of other people in the film. Do not think though that just because Ryan and Galifianakis are funny people that they had any desire to show that funny while filming. »
- Josh Lasser
We're not sure we can remember the last time a husband and wife battled each other for no. 1 at the box office, but it looks like that's whats in store for Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner this weekend. Affleck stars in "Gone Girl," the David Fincher's thriller which has already earned over $48 million in the U.S. and should find somewhere between $20-22 million in its second frame. Garner appears opposite Steve Carell in Disney's "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day" which is also expected to earn between $20-24 million over the weekend. For "Girl" it will be the second time it's trying to sneak by a competitor after the 20th Century Fox flick beat "Annabelle" by just $378,000. The other new wide releases may be close, but likely won't be battling for no. 1. Universal Pictures' "Dracula Untold" is expected to pull in $18-20 million »
- Gregory Ellwood
Welcome To Issue 66!
If This Is Your First Time Here: Welcome! This is my weekly column where I talk about superhero movie/TV news, rumors, and speculation.
This Week: Let's not talk about TV for a week, because a ton of stuff happened. I'm going to break the best bits down for you using a trusty gimmick of hypothesizing the best and the worst case scenarios as a fan of these properties.
Whoo-boy! What a week for speculation about the future of Marvel properties. You think with Gone Girl being out we would have got a bit more Batman leakage, but apparently that’s not as fun to talk about as the movings of different superhero mega-franchises.
Sony’s Spidey-Verse, Marvel’s McU and Fox’s Marvel Properties all had rumored major motions this last week and it’s shaking up the long view for each franchise. Each one of »
Yesterday Drew McWeeny of HitFix reported that Sony is looking to freshen up its struggling Spider-Man franchise by reaching out to Marvel Studios with a view to having the wall-crawler pop up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Now BadAssDigest has added to the rumour, suggesting that there are several plans floating around at Sony, including a “soft reboot” of Spider-Man with 2016’s The Sinister Six, where a new actor would take over the role from Andrew Garfield and team-up with the villains to take down a larger threat.
The site also goes on to report that another option is to leave Spider-Man on the shelf for four or five years while they concentrate on spin-off movies, which seems to be what Sony is doing anyway, given that it has pushed back The Amazing Spider-Man 3 to 2018.
Seems like a lot of speculation about the future of the Spider-Man franchise at present, »
- Gary Collinson
Who wants some juicy movie rumors? We’ve got a few big ones today, including one that could change the entire Marvel cinematic universe if it pans out. Drew McWeeny over at HitFix has some potentially massive news to share – news that should set your Spidey senses to tingling if you love your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man: Peter Parker could finally be coming home to the Marvel universe. Sony’s had the cinematic rights to the wall crawler for years, but rumor has it a deal is afoot that would allow Marvel and Disney to use the character in other films. This would be a historic deal and a massive game\ changer for Marvel. We'll let McWeeny explain. “While I can’t get the confirmations I need to verify the story, I’m hearing that...
- Mike Bracken
Who wants some juicy movie rumors? We’ve got a few big ones today, including one that could change the entire Marvel cinematic universe if it pans out. Drew McWeeny over at HitFix has some potentially massive news to share – news that should set your Spidey senses to tingling if you love your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man: Peter Parker could finally be coming home to the Marvel universe. Sony’s had the cinematic rights to the wall crawler for years, but rumor...
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Yesterday, we reported that Marvel Studios may introduce a new team of superheroes in The Avengers 3. This would allow Disney to save their superstar actors such as Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans for another massive project, which is speculated to either be Marvel's Infinity Gauntlet or Marvel's Secret War. Today, a new report from Hitfix suggests that Marvel is also in the midst of negotiating a deal with Sony Pictures to bring Spider-Man into their Marvel Movie Universe.
Hitfix's Drew McWeeny wasn't able to get confirmation on the exact plans, but you can take a look at an excerpt from his story below.
"While I can't get the confirmations I need to verify the story, I'm hearing that there are some very cool Spider-Man plans being discussed that would help Sony refocus their enormously important franchise while also opening up some connections in the onscreen Marvel movie universe that would blow fandom's minds. »
Which 'Twilight' alum is having the best year? Though Robert Pattinson dished out schizophrenic violence in "Rover" and a slimier charm in "Maps to the Stars" (now arriving before the end of 2014), Kirsten Stewart may come out on top, with a twofer knockout of "Camp X-Ray" and "Still Alice" arriving this awards season. Often slammed for her introverted, fragile performances, Stewart dives into both diametric roles — a loner Guantanamo Bay guard and a loving-but-terrified daughter — and between them, audiences should finally get a sense of her range. Somewhere, Taylor Lautner waits for the green light on "Abduction 2." "Camp X-Ray" saw mixed reviews out of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival (our own Drew McWeeny found the focus and pace of writer-director Peter Sattler's feature frustrating), but Stewart earned praise across the board. A new trailer presents that character-driven take on the hot-button issue of "terrorist" imprisonment and the kind of stress »
- Matt Patches
Inherent Vice premiered at the New York Film Festival this weekend, and now the first reviews for the film have been posted across the web. Thus far, reviews are relatively positive, though some critics are a little lukewarm -- and others even downright negative -- on Paul Thomas Anderson's latest film. The most common thread among the reviews: the plot, ultimately, doesn't matter, for better or for worse. Sean Hutchinson (Film School Rejects) explains that although the film is filled with jokes and funny situations, "The intentionally convoluted plot may lose viewers who elect to give up on the film rather than engage with the hardboiled hilarity." Additionally, the majority of reviews have praised the film's impressive ensemble cast, the standout being newcomer Katherine Waterston, whom Indiewire's Eric Kohn acknowledged as "the movie's real discovery." On the positive end of the scale, Matt Patches (IGN) called Inherent Vice, "Provocative, »
- Jordan Benesh
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