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Weekend Box-Office: 'Twilight: Breaking Dawn - Part 2' Back at #1 Over 'Skyfall' and 'Lincoln'

2 December 2012 8:29 AM, PST

In his predictions on Thursday, Laremy went a little gutsy and predicted Steven Spielberg's Lincoln would find its way to #1, but the Great Emancipator wasn't able to best vampire love or James Bond for that matter as the 16th President landed at #3 this weekend. Yup, once again The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2 has taken the top spot at the box-office with $17.4 million, which speaks to the strength of the weekend considering it took that spot with a 60.1% drop from last weekend. The film has now raked in $702.4 million worldwide. Dipping 52% was Skyfall as it took second with a $17 million as the latest James Bond raises its domestic cume to $246 million and in third was Lincoln with a satisfying $13.5 million and a domestic total that is now at $83.6 million. I wonder, will Lincoln be able to do anything overseas? In fourth is last weekend's soft 3-D animated opener Rise of the Guardians, »

- Brad Brevet

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What I Watched, What You Watched #170

2 December 2012 7:50 AM, PST

I know I'm going to forget something I watched this week, but here goes with my best try: Middle of Nowhere Searching for Sugar Man The Central Park Five The Invisible War How to Survive a Plague Les Miserables Tokyo Story (this week's Movie Club entry) The Intouchables Of the four documentaries -- Searching for Sugar Man, The Central Park Five, The Invisible War and How to Survive a Plague -- I'd say The Central Park Five was probably my favorite of the lot with Searching for Sugar Man being the most entertaining, The Invisible War being the most maddening and How to Survive a Plague offering some sense of frustration and relief as it chronicles the rise of the AIDS/HIV epidemic and the group that stood up and demanded something be done sooner rather than later. I want to make sure, however, to single out one film -- The Intouchables. »

- Brad Brevet

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Smaug Breathes Fire in New Trailer for 'The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey'

1 December 2012 5:11 PM, PST

It's only a brief glimpse at the very beginning and screen captures don't really do much to show you anything extra, but the opening seconds of this new TV spot for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (12/14) offer up your first look at the dragon Smaug, which will be voiced and performed as a motion capture character by Benedict Cumberbatch. Back in October, Cumberbatch told Total Film, "I think my eye will open at the end of the first film and then you'll get the rest of me in the second," but this clip seems to suggest we may get a bit more than that. As far as the motion-capture aspect of the performance, Cumberbatch added, "You just have to lose your s--t on a carpeted floor, in a place that looks a little bit like a mundane government building... It was just me as well, with four static cameras and all the sensors. »

- Brad Brevet

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'The Master' Tops Sight & Sound's Top Ten of 2012 While 'Holy Motors' is #1 with Cahiers Du Cinema

1 December 2012 4:59 PM, PST

The first top ten lists of 2012 have arrived by way of Sight & Sound and the distinguished French magazine Cahiers Du Cinema, and to no surprise we are looking at a pair of lists that largely target festival features rather than anything mainstream. Sight & Sound's is compiled through contributions of approximately 100 critics and does contain a few more "well known" features, but for the most part you're looking at a pair of cinephile lists that will probably include a few titles you haven't heard of... no problem with that. Three films crossover between each list with Leos Carax's Holy Motors landing at #4 on the Sight & Sound list while coming in as the #1 film on Cahiers' list. Then, David Cronenberg's Cosmopolis starring Robert Pattinson, which wasn't necessarily well received everywhere it landed, comes in at #2 on the Cahiers list and ties for the eighth spot on Sight and Sound's. Finally, »

- Brad Brevet

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Friday Box-Office: 'Twilight: Breaking Dawn - Part 2' On Top While Audiences Despise 'Killing Them Softly'

1 December 2012 9:41 AM, PST

An "F" CinemaScore. That's what opening night audiences thought of Andrew Dominik's fantastic new film Killing Them Softly starring Brad Pitt. That's the reason phrases such as "That's why we can't have nice things" were developed. Meanwhile, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 remains atop the box-office with an estimated $5.6 million on Friday followed by Skyfall at $4.6m and Lincoln at $4 million. The "F" CinemaScore for Killing Them Softly accompanies an estimated $2.5 million, which means we're looking at something around $6.5-7 million for the opening weekend. With a production budget listed at $15 million and the film already grossing nearly that overseas it's not as if the film itself is a massive flop, but it will be lucky to match that budget domestically, which is a damn shame. Some are already comparing the general audience reaction to Killing as similar to that of Drive last year, which opened to a »

- Brad Brevet

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Sample the Second Best Musical Performance in 'Les Miserables'

1 December 2012 6:00 AM, PST

Anne Hathaway gives one of the best musical performances I have seen on film with her rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream" in Les Miserables. I say this as someone not entirely versed in musicals, but also as someone that easily recognized the power behind her performance and the emotion that exudes from it. However, Universal is rightly keeping that clip under lock and key so it can be experienced by audiences in theaters, but they are giving you a taste of the second best musical performance in the film, that being Samantha Barks. Barks plays ?ponine, a role she first played on the London stage production of Les Miserables for a year spanning June 2010 to June 2011 and her performance singing "On My Own" was likely a showstopper on stage just as much as it is in the filmed adaptation and you can get a taste of it below. Les »

- Brad Brevet

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December 2012 Movie Wallpaper: 'Django Unchained'

30 November 2012 2:00 PM, PST

I realized while putting this month's movie wallpaper together that three of the first four wallpapers I've created have been for films from the Weinstein Co. beginning with The Master (see it here), last month's wallpaper for Killing Them Softly (see it here) and now the December wallpaper for Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained. In fact, this one was a no-brainer as far as I was concerned, though some of the visuals from Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty did have me second guessing myself. Just like previous wallpapers, this month's includes a list of the films coming out this December and you'll notice an ? next to the limited releases and a ? next to The Rabbi's Cat and Stand Up Guys as they are only opening in New York and Los Angeles on their respective dates. The downloads are available in sizes that will fit both widescreen and full screen »

- Brad Brevet

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Second Trailer for 'Warm Bodies'

30 November 2012 11:30 AM, PST

I must admit, I was pretty harsh on this film when I saw that first poster, but just by merely skimming through these trailers looking for screen captures I'm being won over by Jonathan Levine's zombie rom-com Warm Bodies and this new trailer continues the trend. The story takes place following a zombie epidemic, and a zombie named R (Nicholas Hoult) encounters Julie (Teresa Palmer), and rescues her from a zombie attack. Julie sees that R is different from the other zombies, and as the two form a special relationship in their struggle for survival, R becomes increasingly more human. The cast also includes Rob Corddry, John Malkovich, Cory Hardrict and Dave Franco. Warm Bodies hits theaters on February 1, give the latest trailer a watch below. »

- Brad Brevet

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2013 Oscar Predictions: We Have a New #1 in the Race for Best Picture

30 November 2012 11:11 AM, PST

I have still not seen Zero Dark Thirty, Django Unchained or The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, but after watching Les Miserables last night it is rather clear to me it is a certain Best Picture nominee and should lock down three acting nominations for Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway, the latter of which you can pretty much sew up Best Supporting Actor right now as her rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream" will leave you floored. (And on a side note, Samantha Barks is great!) However, after keeping Les Miserables at #1 since I first revealed my predictions back in September it is time for a switch. Almost immediately after seeing Lincoln it felt like a film the Academy would eat up and now after seeing Les Mis it's quite clear Lincoln has a little more of that general appeal Academy members tend to go for along with top notch performances, »

- Brad Brevet

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Producers Guild Announces 2013 Documentary Nominees

30 November 2012 10:43 AM, PST

The Producers Guild of America is beginning to announce their nominees for the 2012 award season and today unveiled their list of five documentary nominees, four of which I've heard of but only one I've actually seen. A People Uncounted is the new title for me and it centers on the story of the Roma (Gypsies) that faced annihilation during the Nazi 'Final Solution' and still today are victims of extreme and often violent racial persecution. It appears to have played film festivals throughout the latter half of 2011 and early part of 2012, but has yet to see a theatrical release domestically. The Gatekeepers is a Sony Classics film centered on the stories of various members of Israel's secret service and it played the end of the year festivals including Telluride and New York, but has yet to be released. The Island President focuses on President Mohamed Nasheed of the »

- Brad Brevet

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Podcast: Reviewing 'Killing Them Softly', Oscar Talk and What Screeners We Watched

30 November 2012 10:10 AM, PST

Wrapping this week up with yet another Friday edition of the RopeofSilicon podcast where we kick things off with a nearly 30-minute discussion of the screeners we've been watching from documentaries such as Searching for Sugar Man and The Central Park Five to the just-received Les Miserables. Then we transition into reviewing this week's new release Killing Them Softly, answering your questions, a little Over/Under and Buy or Sell as well as a game of True or False graciously submitted by Snicket. As always, I have broken down this episode on a minute-by-minute basis if you would like to skip ahead and below I have featured the information on how to download the podcast, find us on iTunes or merely just listen in your browser. 00:00-1:40 - Introduction 1:41-31:22 - Awards Screener Talk Listener Question Come awards season, how do you determine how to work your way through screeners? »

- Brad Brevet

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Is This a Massive Spoiler in the New 'Texas Chainsaw 3D' Trailer?

30 November 2012 7:30 AM, PST

So I'm skimming through the new trailer for Texas Chainsaw 3D looking for a screen capture to include above and I come across this image of a man who clearly isn't Leatherface carrying a girl's head in one hand and the rest of her body in the other. Throughout the trailer I only notice one blonde and I say the image above clearly isn't of Leatherface only because it doesn't look anything like him with his well maintained hair and Wrangler jeans. To that point, maybe it's Brett Favre? It seems spoilery to me only because it suggests someone other than Leatherface may be cutting people up in this one. Then again, it could just be some strange flashback and therefore not spoilery at all. It's also a bit weird her hands are still holding on to his arm when she has no head, but then again I'm not a decapitation expert. »

- Brad Brevet

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Pixar Hires 'Safety Not Guaranteed' Writer and Steinfeld Joins Costner in McG Actioner

30 November 2012 7:00 AM, PST

1.) While recent news confirmed the Safety Not Guaranteed creative team of Colin Trevorrow and Derek Connolly to be working on a remake of Flight of the Navigator for Disney, Connolly has also been working on a project for Pixar for almost a year. While we know nothing of a plot or even a title, we do know the director is Teddy Newton, who directed Day and Night, the short that played before Toy Story 3. Pixar projects take longer to see the light of day than most movies, so we probably won't see this mystery project for another 5 years. Still, it's reassuring to know that despite that whole Brave fiasco, the Pixar higher-ups have told Connolly "not to dumb it down or treat animation like it's for kids." Variety 2.) Nick Hornby, the writer of books like High Fidelity and About a Boy, as well as the screenplay for An Education, »

- Kevin Blumeyer

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'Killing Them Softly' (2012) Movie Review

30 November 2012 6:01 AM, PST

When the title for Andrew Dominik's Cogan's Trade was changed to Killing Them Softly there was a collective groan from the masses that were hotly anticipating its release. It seemed like a move from a "cool" and mysterious title to something more generic and audience friendly. It's not. It's right on the nose. A perfect title for an excellent film that wasn't anything like what I expected. Adapted from George V. Higgins's novel, this is a gangster film with guns, bloodshed, a heist and consequences, but it also serves as a metaphor for the whole of America -- from the top down. A commentary that isn't at all subtle, and not in a bad way. Ironically enough, the violent nature of this film, with its equal moments of beauty and savagery actually make for a perfect comparison. Set in 2008, amidst the financial crisis and the Presidential election, Killing Them Softly »

- Brad Brevet

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Four New Pictures from 'Iron Man 3' Include the Iron Patriot Armor and Rebecca Hall

29 November 2012 5:59 PM, PST

Marvel has released four new pictures from Iron Man 3, which includes your first look at Rebecca Hall (Vicky Cristina Barcelona) as Maya Hansen, a biologist specializing in nano-technology. Along with that is a new look at the Iron Patriot armor, a shot of Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark and a shot of Iron Man's destroyed mask. The image of the mask is a curious one as I wanted to assume it may be a continuation from the end of The Avengers, but I can't remember if that's how the mask looked after the Hulk ripped it off. Maybe you do. You can browse all four images by clicking on the thumbnail below and scrolling through the gallery. gallery columns="4" exclude="115261" Directed by Shane Black, Marvel's Iron Man 3 hits theaters on May 3, 2013 and pits brash-but-brilliant industrialist Tony Stark/Iron Man against an enemy whose reach knows no bounds. »

- Brad Brevet

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Ridley Scott's 'The Duellists' Coming to Blu-ray in January

29 November 2012 3:00 PM, PST

I watched Ridley Scott's debut feature The Duellists for the first time earlier this year and it resulted in me writing a three-page exploration of the film based on Scott's fantastic commentary on the DVD. In the piece I also featured several of the amazing shots captured by cinematographer Frank Tidy. On January 29, 2013, Shout Factory will re-release the film on Blu-ray with the previous Ridley Scott audio commentary included and a featurette with Scott and director Kevin Reynolds included along with a brand new interview with co-star Keith Carradine. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like there has been any remastering done so I'm not sure how much of an upgrade we'll be looking at from a visual and audio perspective, but I suspect even without remastering there will be a significant improvement. If you're unfamiliar with the film I urge you to read my write-up on it. It does contain »

- Brad Brevet

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Box-Office Oracle: 'Lincoln' Looks to Leap 'Skyfall' and 'Twilight: Breaking Dawn - Part 2'

29 November 2012 1:29 PM, PST

Current Streak: 3 Straight Weekends #1 Predicted Correctly Threat Level to Streak Being Broken: Massive Reason: You could take one of three films this weekend, the historical drama (Lincoln), the actioner (Skyfall), or the teen holdover (Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2). I'm taking Lincoln, but I don't feel great about it, mostly because this weekend is going to take a huge dive. Lincoln seems to have the most to gain this weekend, and you'd have to think it will be the least front-loaded of the contenders. Last weekend saw four films in the top ten that went over $10k per theater, very impressive. None of them will hang on to that level of achievement, and for some historical context last year's top twelve only managed a paltry $81m top 12 gross over this weekend. My top twelve this weekend is around $117m, so clearly I'm either way heavy, or this year's crop »

- Laremy Legel

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Oscar Screenplays: 'Lincoln', 'Middle of Nowhere', 'Amour', 'Rust and Bone', 'Beasts' and More

29 November 2012 1:15 PM, PST

I have got a massive update for you when it comes to screenplays available for download from this year's Oscar race that begins with Tony Kushner's screenplay for Lincoln adapted from Doris Kearns Goodwin's book and Fox Searchlight has made available all four scripts for their award season pictures, which includes The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Hitchcock, The Sessions and Beasts of the Southern Wild. Another addition is Ava DuVernay's original screenplay for Middle of Nowhere, a low budget film DuVernay wrote and directed on a budget smaller than $500,000 and it is showing serious signs of becoming a major player in this year's Oscar race as it is already lighting up the independent path at the Gotham Awards and as it received four nominations at the Indie Spirit Awards. The script for Middle of Nowhere was sent to me directly so I offer it to you here »

- Brad Brevet

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2013 Oscar Predictions: Short List of 10 Visual Effects Contenders Revealed

29 November 2012 11:14 AM, PST

Today the Academy announced the ten films in contention for Best Visual Effects at the 2013 Oscar and as a result I have opened up the prediction doors to yet another category in my Oscar Predictions. Prior to today's announcement, however, there were six additional films I had listed as potential contenders that didn't make the list, the most surprising of which was the omission of The Impossible, which has a fantastic tsunami sequence and when you consider Clint Eastwood's Hereafter was nominated only two years ago for similar effects (though I believe The Impossible does a much better job) I thought for sure it would be included. I was also surprised not to see Flight on the list as that opening crash sequence is phenomenal and even the making of featurette I previewed earlier was quite impressive. Also missing is The Hunger Games, Looper, Men in Black III and Wrath of the Titans, »

- Brad Brevet

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Should Critics Simply Not Review Some Movies?

29 November 2012 10:24 AM, PST

In response to New York Times restaurant critic, Pete Wells' review of Guy Fieri's new restaurant Guy's American Kitchen & Bar, Margaret Sullivan has now written a piece taking a look at the culture of negative reviews and Times' culture editor Jonathan Landman's idea they shouldn't happen often. Wells' negative review was spoofed in an online exclusive "Saturday Night Live" skit and quickly became viral. In response to the review, Fieri blamed the messenger saying, "It's a great way to make a name for yourself -- go after a celebrity chef who is not a New Yorker." I've never eaten at any of Fieri's restaurants, but to read Wells' description of Guy's American Kitchen & Bar it sounds like a Red Robin crossed with a T.G.I. Friday's. I'm not sure if that's accurate, but when Sullivan turns to Times lead critic Manhola Dargis for her opinion on judging cinema »

- Brad Brevet

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