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Podcast: Reviewing 'Birdman' and 'John Wick', Talking 'The Hobbit's Big Budget and More

1 hour ago

Four reviews for you today including Birdman, John Wick, Citizenfour and Force Majeure while we also dig into that $745 million reported budget for The Hobbit trilogy and discuss the budgets for filmed trilogies over time. We've got a few questions to get to, random asides, a large batch of games and we hope you enjoy! If you are on Twitter, we have a Twitter account dedicated to the podcast at @bnlpod. Give us a follow won'tchac I want to remind you that you can call in and leave us your comments, thoughts, questions, etc. directly on our Google Voice account, which you can call and leave a message for us at (925) 526-5763, which may be even easier to remember at (925) 5-bnl-pod. Just call, leave us a voice mail and we'll add those to the show and respond directly. An alternative to that option is a new way of leaving us »

- Brad Brevet

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'The Last 5 Years' (2014) Movie Review

2 hours ago

At the beginning of every year, people make their lists of their most anticipated films of the coming twelve months. This January, films like Interstellar, Inherent Vice, Boyhood, and, for some, Captain America: The Winter Soldier topped lists all around the Internet. What about mec Well, I am a musical guy. So, clearly, Into the Woods would be my number one... Rightc That is not the case. My highest anticipation was for something much smaller. Don't think Broadway. Think off-Broadway. My most anticipated film of the year was Richard Lagravenese's adaptation of The Last 5 Years. When I would tell people that, usually the first question I heard was, "What is thatc" Well, person who just asked me that, it is a show that helped solidify my love for the musical form. It is a brutally honest, passionate, smart, and sometimes funny look at a five year relationship, built »

- Mike Shutt

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'Listen Up Philip' (2014) Movie Review

18 hours ago

About to publish his second novel and at the current peak of his career, Philip Lewis Friedman (Jason Schwartzman) is burning bridges with just about everyone in his life: his ex, his college roommate, his publisher, his colleagues, his girlfriend, no one is safe. He has become resentful toward those around him because he thinks they're beneath him. He is selfish and unsentimental, and when people call him on it, he wonders if that's a bad thing. Everything in the world revolves around Philip, at least in his mind. Given the film's first scene, which sees Philip meeting his ex-girlfriend for lunch so he can brag about his recent success, it seems he has always been this way, incapable of understanding how repugnant he is, how his blatant narcissism and intense disinterest in others make him a true asshole. Weeks before the release of his book, Philip decides not to »

- Jordan Benesh

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'Force Majeure' (2014) Movie Review

22 hours ago

I can only hope to do writer/director Ruben Ostlund's Force Majeure justice within the confines of a review. It's being marketed as "wickedly funny" and classified a "pscyhodrama" and when placed under a microscope requiring definition I guess that works. As for the title, it alludes to the guiding force of the film's narrative. In this case beginning with a circumstance that befalls a Swedish family during their ski vacation in the French Alps, a situation that puts into question gender roles and puts a wealth of strain on the marriage of Tomas and his wife Ebba. To say it's "wickedly funny" is not to necessarily suggest you'll laugh out loud, but comes as a result of Ostlund's dark sense of humor, his ability to laugh at human folly while also recognizing the uncomfortable darkness of the situation. Tomas (Johannes Kuhnke) and Ebba (Lisa Loven Kongsli) have brought their two children, »

- Brad Brevet

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Watch: New 'Into the Woods' Featurette Actually Has a Little Singing, Plus New Pictures

23 hours ago

Yesterday, we got our first look at Johnny Depp in Into the Woods on four covers from Entertainment Weekly. Along with the covers, EW released some production photos from the film too. However, the bigger release is that of a new featurette about the film, which actually features a tiny bit of singing. The first trailer really kept that a secret by having no singing in it whatsoever. It always bothers me when studios are afraid of saying, "Yes, our film is a musical." I know there is an anti-musical bias out there, but duping people into seeing your musical will only make them angrier. Of course, we still do not get a lot of singing in the new video. We hear very brief snippets of the opening prologue, as well as Meryl Streep with a few lines from "Stay with Me". At least they are getting the word out there. »

- Mike Shutt

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Keira Knightley to Make Broadway Debut in 'Therese Raquin'

23 October 2014 9:50 AM, PDT

Keira Knightley is no stranger to period dramas, appearing in Pride and Prejudice, Anna Karenina, The Duchess, and many more. Even the film she is Oscar campaigning for now, The Imitation Game, is a period drama. Well, she has just signed on for another. This time, it is an adaptation of ?mile Zola's Therese Raquin. The catch is this adaptation is not on film. No, Knightley will be making her Broadway debut in a new stage version by British playwright Helen Edmundson. I am an unapologetic Keira Knightley fan. I think she has delivered some very impressive performances, particularly in Never Let Me Go and A Dangerous Method, and am curious to see how she fares as a stage actor. She has done a couple of productions in the West End, but with living in America and travel being expensive, I have not gotten to see them. She does have a very expressive, »

- Mike Shutt

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Watch: First 'Insidious: Chapter 3' Trailer

23 October 2014 9:24 AM, PDT

Come May 29, 2015 we'll have a new trilogy to add to the list, though the Insidious trilogy certainly won't be one of the most expensive as this is yet another horror trilogy made for peanuts and what we have here is the first trailer for Insidious: Chapter 3, a prequel story, predating the haunting of the Lambert family in the earlier movies. The story reveals how gifted psychic Elise Rainier (Lin Shaye) reluctantly agrees to use her ability to contact the dead in order to help a teenage girl (Stefanie Scott) who has been targeted by a dangerous supernatural entity. Screenwriter and franchise co-creator Leigh Whannell is stepping behind the camera for the first time with this chapter with Dermot Mulroney playing father to Scott's character. Check out the first Insidious 3 trailer below. sb id="1082749" height="360" width="640" »

- Brad Brevet

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Charlie Kaufman to Write 'I.Q. 83' for Steve Carell

23 October 2014 9:00 AM, PDT

Producer Andrew Lazar has been looking to adapt I.Q. 83 by Arthur Herzog for around twenty years, with no screenwriter able to crack the science-fiction novel. Well, Dreamworks may have found their answer in the mad genius Charlie Kaufman. The Adaptation. and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind screenwriter has been hired to do a page one rewrite on the project, which is set to star Steve Carell. Carell will play Dr. James Healey, who led a group of scientists in DNA experiments and released an airborne virus. The people afflicted by the virus gradually lose I.Q. points, becoming lower and lower forms of themselves. Dr. Healey and the scientists must rush to find a cure, even though they too are being affected by the virus. In a world where we already have the film Idiocracy, this might seem like familiar territory, even though the novel has been around since 1978. However, »

- Mike Shutt

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Box Office Predictions: 'Ouija' and 'John Wick' Battle for Your Soul

23 October 2014 8:30 AM, PDT

Ouija is your clear winner this weekend, by which I mean there's not all that much competition. This, believe it or not, is a Hasbro production, following the proud history of Transformers, G.I. Joe and Battleship. Trivia: When was the last horror film to win an October weekendc That would be Paranormal Activity 4 in 2012 with $29 million. This will be less than that, at $22.1 million, but that will still be enough to take the weekend with ease. I haven't seen a production budget yet, but something tell me it will be around the cost of a few board games, but not much more. Same with the Rt score, it's not in yet, but expect it to be limbo low. John Wick won't do The Equalizer numbers, not even close, which I guess is the difference between Denzel Washington and Keanu Reeves at the box office. Or perhaps September vs. Octoberc Regardless, »

- Laremy Legel

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'Boyhood' Leads 2014 Gotham Award Nominations

23 October 2014 8:28 AM, PDT

It's no real surprise to see Boyhood topping the this morning's Gotham Independent Film Awards nominations with four. The film is likely to lead the Spirit Award nominations as well. It will be the year's most highly touted independent feature, make several top ten lists and probably earn plenty of Oscar nominations if not a few wins. It's also no surprise to see Birdman get a couple noms. In fact, the only nomination I find particularly interesting here is the nomination for Oscar Isaac for his role in J.C. Chandor's A Most Violent Year. Primarily because critics have yet to see it and because the nomination committee clearly enjoyed Nightcrawler, but saw fit to nominate Isaac for A Most Violent Year, but not Jake Gyllenhaal for Nightcrawler. It's also a little disappointing to see Tom Hardy might end up being ignored even for independent awards for his performance in Locke, »

- Brad Brevet

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Watch: First Official 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' Trailer & Poster

22 October 2014 7:40 PM, PDT

Marvel and Disney have officially released the first Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer as a result of the trailer leak earlier this evening. The trailer was supposed to premiere during Marvel's "Agents of Shield" on Tuesday, October 28, but it has found its way online early as is pretty much always the situation. As for the source behind the leak, Marvel blames Hydra. When Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) jumpstarts a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and Earth's Mightiest Heroes, including Iron Man, Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), The Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), Black Widow (Scarlet Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), are put to the ultimate test as they battle to save the planet from destruction at the hands of the villainous Ultron (James Spader). Avengers: Age of Ultron hits theaters stateside on May 1, 2015, watch the trailer below. sb id="1080721" height="267" width="640" Marvel Studios presents Avengers: Age of Ultron, »

- Brad Brevet

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Watch: First Official 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' Trailer Arrives Online

22 October 2014 7:10 PM, PDT

Marvel and Disney have officially released the first Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer as a result of the trailer leak earlier this evening. The trailer was supposed to premiere during Marvel's "Agents of Shield" on Tuesday, October 28, but it has found its way online early as is pretty much always the situation. Avengers: Age of Ultron hits theaters stateside on May 1, 2015, watch the trailer below. sb id="1080721" height="267" width="640" Marvel Studios presents Avengers: Age of Ultron, the epic follow-up to the biggest Super Hero movie of all time. When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and Earth's Mightiest Heroes, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye, are put to the ultimate test as the fate of the planet hangs in the balance. As the villainous Ultron emerges, it is up to The Avengers to stop him from enacting his terrible plans, »

- Brad Brevet

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What are the Most Expensive Movie Trilogies of All Timec

22 October 2014 12:37 PM, PDT

One of the most talked about pieces of news today surrounds the report that Peter Jackson's The Hobbit trilogy, which will come to a so-called "definitive" end on December 17 with The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies has already run up a $745 million price tag when you take into account the production budget on all three movies. Make no mistake, that's a lot of money, and it really calls into question the so-called $281 million budget for the first three Lord of the Rings movies, but that's what's been reported, though I have seen it as high as $310 million. Taking all this into account I decided to start doing a little research so I hit up Box Office Mojo (and Wikipedia when necessary) in an attempt to find out just what exactly are the most expensive movie trilogies of all-time and I have a list of 50 of them directly below. »

- Brad Brevet

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What are the Most Expensive Trilogies of All Timec

22 October 2014 12:37 PM, PDT

One of the most talked about pieces of news today surrounds the report that Peter Jackson's The Hobbit trilogy, which will come to a so-called "definitive" end on December 17 with The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies has already run up a $745 million price tag when you take into account the production budget on all three movies. Make no mistake, that's a lot of money, and it really calls into question the so-called $281 million budget for the first three Lord of the Rings movies, but that's what's been reported, though I have seen it as high as $310 million. Taking all this into account I decided to start doing a little research so I hit up Box Office Mojo (and Wikipedia when necessary) in an attempt to find out just what exactly are the most expensive movie trilogies of all-time and I have a list of 50 of them directly below. »

- Brad Brevet

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'The Hobbit' Trilogy Cost $745 Million... What a Waste

22 October 2014 12:00 PM, PDT

I can only speak for myself when it comes to The Hobbit franchise, but I think it has been quite abysmal. Coming off the Lord of the Rings trilogy, which I did not enjoy, this just looked like more of the same, and that turned out to be true. Or is it that it tried to be those previous films, creating overly long and incomplete films to bore mec With the December 17th release of the final (yes!) film in the franchise, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, approaching, the AP is reporting the production budget for the trilogy of films has ballooned to $745 million, the largest cost for a filmed trilogy ever. I guess they thought setting that much money on fire was bad for the environment. The record for highest production cost for a single film is still held by Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, »

- Mike Shutt

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Watch: Mark Wahlberg Skinnies Up to the Table in 'The Gambler' Red Band Trailer

22 October 2014 10:34 AM, PDT

Paramount is finally lifting the lid on The Gambler, offering up the following red band trailer for the upcoming remake starring Mark Wahlberg as Jim Bennett, an English professor and high-stakes gambler, who bets it all when he borrows from a gangster (Michael Kenneth Williams) and offers his own life as collateral. Always one step ahead, Bennett pits his creditor against the operator of a gambling ring (Alvin Ing) and leaves his dysfunctional relationship with his wealthy mother (Jessica Lange) in his wake. He plays both sides, immersing himself in an illicit, underground world while garnering the attention of Frank (John Goodman), a loan shark with a paternal interest in Bennett's future. As his relationship with a student (Brie Larson) deepens, Bennett must take the ultimate risk for a second chance. Rupert Wyatt (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) directs a screenplay from William Monahan (The Departed). The film »

- Brad Brevet

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'John Wick' (2014) Movie Review

22 October 2014 10:18 AM, PDT

Five years ago John Wick (Keanu Reeves) retired from his life as a hitman. He settled down with his wife (Bridget Moynahan) and was leading a normal life. Unfortunately, "normal" was short-lived as she succumbed to cancer leaving John on his own to grieve, or so he thought. Late one night a knock comes to his door, a delivery, a gift from the beyond. It's a small puppy with a note from his wife, a gift allowing him the opportunity not to grieve alone, or so he thought. A few nights later and John has another visitor. No knocking this time, just three guys in ski masks come to steal his car and, subsequently kill his dog. The intruders leave John bloody and beaten, laying down next to his deceased puppy, his car stolen from his garage. The bad guys got away, or so they thought... And with that the »

- Brad Brevet

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First Look at Johnny Depp as The Wolf in 'Into the Woods' On Four New EW Covers

22 October 2014 8:53 AM, PDT

I clearly went for the click bait title on this one. Obviously, Johnny Depp is a big star, and he has the potential to draw in a lot of people to this film (even though lately that has not been the case). The first Into The Woods trailer (included at the bottom of this post) kept the look of Depp's Wolf a secret, only showing his hand, but now Entertainment Weekly is giving us the first full look at what the Wolf looks like, and I have to say, I am a fan. When the film was announced, I had a horrible feeling the Wolf would be just some CG thing, and actually, he is far less Wolf than he is guy in a fur suit. It is an interesting design choice, and I hope it pays off. Considering the small role the Wolf plays in the film (yes, Depp fans, »

- Mike Shutt

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Watch Out Behind You, It's a New 'Woman in Black 2' Trailer

22 October 2014 8:02 AM, PDT

We've had a couple teaser trailers for The Woman in Black: Angel of Death, but today comes the first full trailer for the upcoming UK release while I have to assume the first domestic trailer will arrive sometimes this week as well if not later today as it will probably show in front of Ouija this weekend. Set for release on January 2, 2015, The Woman in Black 2 is the sequel to the 2012 release which starred Daniel Radcliffe, who isn't returning for this one. Instead it will be Jeremy Irvine (War Horse), Helen McCrory (Skyfall) and Phoebe Fox (Switch) leading the charge in the 1941-set story, beginning as London is in the midst of the blitz, and two teachers evacuate a group of schoolchildren to the abandoned Eel Marsh House. Seeking safety from the bombs in the remote coastal location, the group instead find themselves facing an evil far more frightening »

- Brad Brevet

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'Exodus', 'Woman in Black 2', 'Citizenfour' and More in Today's MPAA Ratings Bulletin

22 October 2014 7:42 AM, PDT

A lot of PG-13 ratings in today's bulletin, that is outside of the Edward Snowden documentary Citizenfour, which scored an R rating "for language". Isn't it sort of funny how documentaries can earn R ratings for language when they are depicting real lifec That simply suggests life around all of us is R-rated. I haven't seen the film yet, but if the language being used isn't any different than the language you could hear just walking downtown in any city should it really be rated Rc I know, old argument, just so weird to see this is the world we still live in. Otherwise, it's a PG-13 for The Age of Adaline starring Blake Lively and Harrison Ford, another one for Ridley Scott's Exodus: Gods and Kings starring Christian Bale, Julianne Moore's Oscar hopeful Still Alice is another and so is The Woman in Black: Angel of Death. »

- Brad Brevet

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