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‘Justice League’ Trailer Breakdown

9 hours ago

There’s a Super sized hole in this one.

If you haven’t heard Warner Bros and DC are moving ahead with their Justice League adaptation with director Zack Synder at the helm. This is despite dismal reviews of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad. It wouldn’t be fair to Justice League to put those same expectations on it though, even if it is from the same creative team, because it could be good. Right?

The marketing thus far for Justice League has done an excellent job of reminding you Superman is dead. He passed at the end of Batman V Superman although they left a giant, unsurprising suggestion at the end that maybe he wasn’t really dead. With Superman not able to assist the world against greater foes, Batman (Ben Affleck) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) must scout the world for some assistance. Will this new league of heroes be able »

- Max Covill

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‘Strange Beasts’ and the Pratfalls of Augmented Reality

24 March 2017 5:02 PM, PDT

Short of the DayHow far would you go to play this game?

Ar, or augmented reality, is the next big thing. As opposed to Vr, virtual reality, which completely conjures environments, Ar enhances your environment, adding elements instead of fabricating the entire conceit. Think Pokemon Go. What’s just percolating to the surface now will be everywhere in five years’ time, bringing with it new ways of interacting with technology and each other through technology, not all of which are going to be good. After all, if social media has demonstrated anything about society, it’s that we’re all just as comfortable interacting by a degree removed than we are in person, perhaps even more comfortable. Extrapolating off this, we’ve made “games” like The Sims, or Second Life, or No Man’s Sky that create entire universes into which people can disappear for extended periods of time.

The next logical leap from this, at »

- H. Perry Horton

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The Evolution of Title Slides

24 March 2017 2:02 PM, PDT

From informative to artistic.

This is one of the cooler videos I’ve come across in a while, as it traces the creative evolution of filmmaking from a perspective I’ve yet to see in any other video: the title slide.

The title slide is the same thing as the title card, and its name pretty much sums up what it does: tells you the film’s title. In Hollywood’s early days back in the 1910s, 20s, and 30s, title slides were chockful of information: movie title, director, studio, studio logo, copyright information, year of production, producer names, and all sorts of other stuff. As the medium progressed, you started seeing less and less information in title slides and more and more creativity. This creativity hits a tipping point around the 1960s when Saul Bass started working his particular brand of title magic for films like Hitchcock’s Psycho, Vertigo »

- H. Perry Horton

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The Tao of Nicolas Cage: ‘Stolen’

24 March 2017 12:52 PM, PDT

Cage re-teams with Simon West. Do they create more magic?“I’m not the squirrel playing with his nuts here.”

This week I decided I wanted to check out a newer-ish Cage movie that I hadn’t yet seen. After sifting through the few Cage movies I’ve missed over the last fives years I finally landed on Stolen.

Stolen is a 2012 film that pairs Cage back up with director Simon West. You may recall that back in 1997 Cage starred in West’s directional debut, a masterpiece of a film called Con Air. These two getting back together is something I’m entirely on board with. Why it took me five years to finally get to Stolen I’ll never understand.

Cage stars as Will Montgomery, a notorious thief specializing in bank robberies. While he and his crew are in the middle of a heist that will net them $10 million, Will »

- Chris Coffel

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Review — No Bad Deed Goes Unpunished at the ‘House on Willow Street’

24 March 2017 11:59 AM, PDT

No Bad Deed Goes Unpunished at the ‘House on Willow Street’O. Henry’s “The Ransom of Red Chief” gets a devilish upgrade.

It’s not easy being a kidnapper. Months of planning, a tenuous trust in your cohorts, and a lack of empathy are just the basic requirements, and any slip along the way can lead to missed payouts or jail time. And it only gets worse when the person you abduct isn’t quite the innocent victim you expected.

Four crooks (including You’re Next’s Sharni Vinson) plan to kidnap a young woman with the expectation that her wealthy parents will pay handsomely for her return, but after snatching Katherine (Carlyn Burchell) from her big, spooky home they immediately feel as if something is off. She doesn’t look well leading one of the crew to wonder if maybe they’ve actually rescued the girl from a bad situation.

If »

- Rob Hunter

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Fan Theory Friday: Is RoboCop American Jesus???

24 March 2017 11:02 AM, PDT

Finally, a religion we can all get behind.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: a good man just trying to introduce order to a chaotic world is wrongfully, violently, and publicly executed just for being who he is, only to return from the dead a few days later stronger, smarter, more capable than ever before, and practically immortal; he then uses this newfound power to “save” humanity from itself by separating the righteous from the wicked.

Likely you stopped me a line or two in because of course this sounds familiar, it’s perhaps the most told story in the history of the world: the Christ story. Only, I wasn’t describing the most-definitely-not-white Christian savior, I was describing Detroit Police Sergeant Alex Murphy, better known to you as RoboCop.

Which one is which?

If you think about it — and lots of people have for a while now — their stories are pretty parallel, minus »

- H. Perry Horton

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Captain Marvel to Run for President on Amazon’s Dime

24 March 2017 10:22 AM, PDT

Brie Larson signs on to tell story of free love and nineteenth-century presidential politics.

Last year, I talked about how it was Amazon’s big year of becoming a serious production house by buying a lot of serious movies. But there was something missing in that award-gathering arsenal: namely women. Contrary to their namesake, Amazon had spent much of their multi-level spying money on putting beefcake after beefcake onto the big screen. But times look to be a changing, as Amazon has announced signing on Brie Larson to both produce and star in a movie about Victoria Woodhull with a script penned by Ben Kopit, mostly known for having written some Brett Ratner movie that’s still in production. Woodhull, however, is known to most as the first woman to run for president, her 1872 candidacy for the office predating the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution by over thirty years.

Larson, like »

- Andrew Karpan

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‘Power Rangers’ is the Pinnacle of the Problem With Hollywood Right Now

24 March 2017 10:05 AM, PDT

Silly nostalgists, ‘Power Rangers’ is for kids.

There is a fine line between what is simply not for me and something that is actually objectively awful. For the most part, Power Rangers falls on the former side. I turned 40 this week, so the idea of being too old for anything is admittedly a frustrating personal issue right now. When Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was all the rage, I was a teenager working at a Toys “R” Us dealing with parents trying desperately to find all the action figures before Christmas. It was the latest craze. The Cabbage Patch Kids of the ’90s.

Now the kids who wanted Power Rangers toys when their popularity was big news are adults and filled with nostalgia. That is why Power Rangers has been made and presumably why it’s not a movie for kids. There’s also a strong fanbase who seem not to just be looking back to their childhood »

- Christopher Campbell

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Martin McDonagh’s New Film Has a Trailer, More Broken Humanity

24 March 2017 9:12 AM, PDT

How McDonagh uses violence as a window into the brokenness of his characters.

Prepare your virgin ears. A new Red Band trailer has just dropped for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, the long awaited new film from Irish writer-director Martin McDonagh (In Bruges). The darkly comic, foulmouthed filmmaker hasn’t made a movie since 2012’s Seven Psychopaths (citing a desire to travel, as well as a production of one of his plays on Broadway), but it’s clear that his return to the big screen will be everything we’ve been waiting for. Three Billboards stars Frances McDormand as Mildred Hayes, a hard-charging, crotch-kicking Missouri woman who, when police fail to turn up a culprit in her daughter’s murder case, pastes three billboards with messages indicting the beloved local chief (Woody Harrelson) for his inaction. McDonagh regular Sam Rockwell co-stars as Officer Dixon, the chief’s deputy, leading an impressive ensemble cast that includes Lucas Hedges, Peter Dinklage »

- Jake Orthwein

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A Film About Understanding: ‘2001’ and Ocular Imagery

24 March 2017 9:02 AM, PDT

A supercut of every eye image in Kubrick’s masterpiece.

Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey is a film about understanding, both what it means to have that capacity and how that capacity can catapult a species further, both positively and negatively. It is a film about looking at the universe surrounding us with new eyes, eyes that don’t just look but that see, eyes that look through the surface of things into the core where understanding is waiting to be attained.

Narratively, this is a tough concept to get across, which is why plot-wise 2001 can feel lose, lightly-structured or even nonsensical in spots. But visually, Kubrick and his cinematographers Geoffrey Unsworth and John Alcott are enforcing this concept all throughout the film with the repetition of ocular images, that is, images that resemble or recreate eyes.


Obviously there’s the glowing red »

- H. Perry Horton

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I Don’t Know Wtf This Is, But I Love and Fear It

23 March 2017 5:02 PM, PDT

Short of the DaySeriously, you have to see ‘Hi, Stranger.’

I’m at a loss for words. This doesn’t happen often, fortunately, but as of this moment I am stymied trying to come up with a way to explain Hi, Stranger that makes any kind of sense. It’s Claymation and three minutes long. It was written and directed by Kirsten Lepore. It concerns a humanoid figure with a nice butt speaking directly to camera, to you, as though it (he?) was an old friend, or maybe even a lover. I saw it on Digg.

That’s honestly all I think I should say, except to offer my strongest, most sincere recommendation. There’s a delightful absurdity to Hi, Stranger, at times an uncomfortable absurdity even, but every single second is oddly captivating, like your hands are when you’re on really, really good psychedelics.

Sometimes you just need a little weirdness in your life. Make »

- H. Perry Horton

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The Beauty of Jean Cocteau’s ‘La Belle et la Bête’

23 March 2017 2:52 PM, PDT

Forget Disney’s recent reiteration of the classic fairy tale and instead look back at where the tale’s magic began on film, with Jean Cocteau.

The self-titled Belle and her captor-turned-prince Beast have returned to cinema screens around the world. In Disney’s latest live-action reiteration of one of their much-loved animated fairytales, Bill Condon’s live-action Beauty and the Beast has reintroduced contemporary audiences to the pair. With their return has come explorations of Disney’s representations of gayness, the question of modern viewing habits, and record-breaking box office success (the film has broken the March record for best opening with a $175m domestic gross).

This multiplicity of films on the same tale has been seen before, with the reintroduction of Snow White in 2012 arriving in the form of three very different films. 2012 brought the strong and defiant rebel ‘Snow’ in Snow White and the Huntsman, while Mirror Mirror restyled the classic tale. Pablo Berger »

- Sinéad McCausland

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The Eye in the Sky: DePalma from Above

23 March 2017 2:02 PM, PDT

How the director’s use of god’s-eye view heightens tension.

We’ve talked before in these virtual pages about the bird’s-eye or god’s-eye view in cinema, that shot that takes place above a scene, independent of any participating perspective, and as such serves as a visual, omnipotent narrator revealing to us in the audience things the characters on screen could never see.

Tarantino employs this shot often, as do other directors like David Fincher and Paul Thomas Anderson, but perhaps no contemporary director is a bigger proponent of the god’s-eye view than Brian DePalma, who utilizes the shot in his various thrillers to heighten both the tension and the conflicting moralities his films often depict. DePalma’s is a cinema of subjectivity, it deals with what the world sees versus reality: Carrie as a mousy nerd worthy of ridicule versus Carrie as a victim of abuse worthy of sympathy; Eliot Ness as a »

- H. Perry Horton

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We Need To Talk About The Word “Remake”

23 March 2017 12:52 PM, PDT

If we’re going to use it as an insult, let’s define our terms.

The film industry seems to have no shortage of words that either serve as synonyms or subsets of “adaptation,” most of which are brought to you by the letter “R”: reboot, reimagining, rendition, redo, revival, retelling, recreation, reanimation (and looking to the other 25 letters in the alphabet, version, homage, makeover, update). One, however, is not treated quite like the others, and that word is “remake.” When filmmakers bring it up by choice, it usually seems to be to explain why their films should not be thought of by that term, thank you very much.

Perhaps you know exactly what I’m talking about. Or perhaps you think I’m reading far too much into things. After going through over 500 pages of research on remakes and adaptations, I myself thought the latter just as possible as the former.

So »

- Ciara Wardlow

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Review — ‘Life’ Finds a Way to Deliver Slick Thrills Despite the Generic Setup

23 March 2017 12:03 PM, PDT

Life’ Finds a Way to Deliver a Fun Thrill Ride Despite the Generic SetupA compelling cast, an intelligent enemy, and slick thrills make for an entertaining slice of sci-fi/horror.

As much as films like Apollo 13 and Hidden Figures want us to believe otherwise, space-set horror films have shown us again and again that astronauts really aren’t all that bright. How else to explain the endless display of scientists and space explorers who encounter a previously unknown alien life-form and against all common sense decide it’s probably something they should touch?

That’s the immediate hurdle the new film Life needs to overcome even before the the first frame appears, and while the moment in question is a definite stumbling block the movie still succeeds in becoming a highly entertaining and often suspenseful ride into darkness.

A six-person crew aboard the International Space Station have just brought an interplanetary sample aboard, and »

- Rob Hunter

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The Ghastly Similarities between Bergman’s ‘Persona’ and ‘Frankenstein’

23 March 2017 11:02 AM, PDT

The former film’s opening remade with the latter’s imagery.

This video might be a year old, but it’s a new favorite for me, combining two of my favorite films of all-time: Ingmar Bergman’s Persona from 1966 and Frankenstein.

It seems that while he was conjuring the idea for his 27th film, Bergman was hospitalized. It was there, in the grips of a fever dream, that he conceived the opening of Persona, complete with lifeless bodies under white sheets and other such horror iconography, religious references, and even the metaphorical transfer of life via a flickering projector. Sound familiar?

The fine folks at Filmscalpel thought so too, so they whipped up this nifty video that recreates the opening of Persona utilizing only clips from various Frankenstein movies, and I have to say, it is eerily congruent with Bergman’s opening, as evidenced by the placing of said opening side-by-side with the recreated one.

While »

- H. Perry Horton

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Disney Goes Down the Rabbit Hole With Possible ‘Beauty and the Beast’ Follow-Ups

23 March 2017 10:00 AM, PDT

When you have all the money, you can be this risky.

Don’t worry, Disney has no plans to make a “sequel” to Beauty and the Beast. But that isn’t to say they’re not going to produce a follow-up to the enormously successful musical fairy tale. Walt Disney Pictures president of production Sean Bailey told Deadline this week that they are considering spinoff and prequel possibilities. Maybe that means we see Gaston’s origin story or a movie about the married characters played by Stanley Tucci and Audra McDonald. How about a gay romance for Le Fou?

The truth is, though, spinoffs and prequels are still each a form of sequel. There’s a matter of semantics that says otherwise with regards to why Bailey stresses those specific types of franchise expansion while dismissing the other, but they all continue the story, whether it’s forwards, backwards, or to the side. It »

- Christopher Campbell

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Will Michael Shannon Join ‘Deadpool 2’ as Cable?

23 March 2017 9:04 AM, PDT

I really, really hope so.

It isn’t official yet so take this news with a grain of salt, but according to Variety, Michael Shannon (Man of Steel, Midnight Special) is Fox’s top choice to play the character Cable in Deadpool 2. Previously Pierce Brosnan had been rumored to be in the mix, but according to the report, Shannon is the studio’s “top choice.”

For those who don’t know, Cable is Nathan Summers, the future child of Scott Summers, a.k.a. Cyclops, and Jean Grey, a.k.a. Marvel Girl? Phoenix? She’s got a lot of secret identities. In the comics, he comes from the future to lead the New Mutants/X-Force, and he’s an all-around badass: cybernetic arm, cybernetic eye, a penchant for cigars, big shiny guns, and a hatred of guff, in that he doesn’t take any. Attitude-wise, he’s like a cross between Wolverine and Sgt. Slaughter: »

- H. Perry Horton

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10 Crazy Full-Motion Video Game Performances By Well-Respected Actors

23 March 2017 7:52 AM, PDT

Tim Curry has stolen my heart and he’s taking it into Communist space.

Full-Motion Video games were a mid- to late-1990s fad that were either semi-playable movies (where you shot at bad guys running on screen) or incorporated live-action cutscenes into otherwise animated games. Think Who Framed Roger Rabbit? but on your grandma’s PC. They’re usually all as silly as you’d imagine, either aimed at a younger audience delighted to watch some over-the-top fantasy or an older audience wowed by the possibilities of technology. It seems like the perfect home for character actors and infomercial escapees to camp it up with little career risk and some quick cash, right?

The weird thing is how many A-list actors — or at least people you’d never expect — appeared in these games. What’s even weirder is how crazy most of their roles were. Nobody’s a heartfelt dramatic lead, they »

- Jacob Oller

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Director Alice Lowe On Reshaping the Revenge Genre

23 March 2017 6:52 AM, PDT

The director dishes on industry bias, ‘Taxi Driver’ and turning a perceived setback into opportunity.

The buzz surrounding Prevenge, the pregnancy revenge horror film written, directed and starring Alice Lowe, is well-deserved. Prevenge follows Ruth (Lowe), a grieving woman who embarks on a killing spree and believes that her unborn child is guiding her in this quest for revenge after the loss of her partner. Chock-full of biting British humor, this mother-to-be’s rampage is both relatable as well as a refreshing new twist on the sub-genre that has often been plagued by rape plot lines. But most of all, it’s wickedly funny, which comes as no surprise considering Lowe’s remarkable career in comedy across the pond.

Although Prevenge is her directorial debut, Lowe has worked alongside some of the biggest names in British comedy for the better part of fifteen years, including Rob Brydon’s Annually Retentive, Horrible Histories »

- Jamie Righetti

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