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Hollywood! Adapt This: Contra

2 December 2012 11:57 AM, PST

Maybe it's just because I reviewed the Blu-ray for The Expendables 2 recently, but I feel a distinct lack of classic action movies these days and am particularly keen to rectify that. There's a brilliant historical reflection on that Blu-ray which tracks the political and social sentiment in America and compares it to the evolving action movies and their heroes over the years. One thing left out of that cultural exploration? Video games. As you can see from the above image, the two well-muscled action heroes toting big shiny guns bear more than a striking resemblance to Sylvester Stallone and some sort of Arnold Schwarzenegger/Dolph Lundgren hybrid. Hit the jump for the story behind the glory. Hollywood! Adapt this: Contra.  What It's About: The Konami franchise for Contra started with the first game's release in 1987 as a coin-operated arcade game. A home version was released the following year on the Nintendo Entertainment System. »

- Dave Trumbore

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Paranorman Blu-Ray Review

2 December 2012 10:57 AM, PST

Here’s the thing about ParaNorman: it’s not the family romp it claims to be. The ads push the child hero, and the kid-friendly animation, peppered with the expected amount of grown-up in-jokes. They’re not lying, but at the same time, they miss film’s overall tone: dark, creepy, and often quite sad. That’s actually a good thing – it helps make ParaNorman one of the more original animated features in recent years – but it might catch newcomers by surprise. Hit the jump for my full review of the Blu-ray. In many ways, ParaNorman is the kind of film that Tm Burton forgot how to make. It owes a modest debt to The Nightmare Before Christmas, but quickly finds its own path to that wonderful Gothic vibe. Its hero, Norman (voiced by Kodi Smit-McPhee) sees dead people… and he’s actually kind of okay with that. It beats »

- Rob Vaux

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Exclusive: William Monahan Talks Sympathy For Lady Vengeance Remake & Directing Mojave; Says Mojave Is Cast & Films Next Year

2 December 2012 9:13 AM, PST

A few days ago we reported screenwriter William Monahan (The DepartedKingdom of Heaven) was going to adapt Park Chan-wook's fantastic 2005 film Sympathy for Lady Vengeance with Charlize Theron set to star and produce along with Megan Ellison’s Annapurna Pictures.  For those unfamiliar with the original, Lady Vengeance “is the story of a woman who for reasons of her own completes a prison term for a murder she did not commit, reemerging to punish the killer, and avenge the dead.”  The film is the final chapter in Park’s “Vengeance Trilogy” following Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance and Oldboy. Shortly after the news broke, I reached out to Monahan to see if he could offer us any additional information about how the project came together.  In addition, we talked about whether he's started writing it yet, if Sympathy could take place in Boston, whether it would be watered down for American audiences, »

- Steve 'Frosty' Weintraub

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Weekend Box Office: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2, Skyfall and Lincoln Claim Top Three for Third Week in a Row

2 December 2012 9:04 AM, PST

Box office rankings were frozen in time this weekend as the top three films remained unchanged for a third straight frame. Once again, top honors went to The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2, closely followed by Skyfall.  Spielberg's Lincoln claimed third. There were also two new releases, though neither hailed from a major studio. The Weinstein Co.’s Killing Them Softly had the most promise, but not even Brad Pitt’s presence could push the drama to $10 million on this notoriously low-grossing weekend. Title Weekend Total 1.  Breaking Dawn Part 2 $17,400,000 $254.5 2.  Skyfall $17,000,000 $246 3.  Lincoln $13,509,000 $83.6 4.  Rise of the Guardians $13,500,000 $48.9 5.  Life of Pi $12,000,000 $48.3 6.  Wreck-It Ralph $7,020,000 $158.2 7.  Killing Them Softly $7,000,000 $7 8.  Red Dawn $6,550,000 $31.3 9.  Flight $4,140,000 $81.5 10.  Silver Linings Playbook $3,341,000 $10.9   Analysis to follow… »


- Nicole Pedersen

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DVD and Blu-ray Deals: The Dark Knight Rises, Star Trek: Tng, Thor, HBO Blu-rays, and More

2 December 2012 7:54 AM, PST

Every Sunday Amazon changes their DVD and Blu-ray deals, so I went through what they had and here are the highlights.  If you’re a Criterion fan, Amazon still has a ton of Criterion DVD and Blu-rays over 50% off. Included in the sale are David Fincher’s The Game, Rosemary’s Baby, Seven Samurai, Godzilla, Harold and Maude, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Rushmore, Anatomy of a Murder, Quadrophenia and too many others to list here.  Finally, The Dark Knight Rises gets released Tuesday on DVD/Blu-ray, so I started with those. The Dark Knight Rises (Blu-ray/DVD Combo+UltraViolet Digital Copy) $18.99 (47% off) The Dark Knight Trilogy (Batman Begins / The Dark Knight / The Dark Knight Rises) [Blu-ray] $29.96 ((43% off) The Dark Knight Rises DVD (+Ultraviolet Digital Copy) $14.96 (48% off) Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season One [Blu-ray] $69.96 (46% off) Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season Two [Blu-ray] $64.99 (50% off) The Forever Marilyn Blu-ray Collection »

- Steve 'Frosty' Weintraub

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Josh Stewart and Emma Fitzpatrick Talk The Collection, Surviving a Horror Shoot, What Attracted Them to the Film and More

2 December 2012 7:19 AM, PST

Opening this weekend is The Collection.  The film is a sequel to 2009's The Collector and centers on returning survivor Arkin (Josh Stewart), who is coerced into helping a team of mercenaries rescue a young woman, Elena (Emma Fitzpatrick), after she is captured by The Collector.  The first movie was a lean, ruthless horror-thriller; this time around the characters are thrust into a brutal action-horror with a broader scale, bigger guns, and buckets of blood. At the L.A. press day I sat down with co-stars Josh Stewart and Emma Fitzpatrick.  We talked about the most difficult scenes to shoot, the satisfaction of surviving a horror film shoot, the grander scale of the second film, being afraid to watch their own movie, what makes Elena a standout horror heroine, what drew them to the project, and their memories of working with David Fincher.  Check out the full transcript after the jump. »

- Haleigh Foutch

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18 New High-Resolution Images from Les Miserables

1 December 2012 2:19 PM, PST

And the barrage of marketing material for the Oscar hopefuls continues. Two highly anticipated December films—Les Miserables and Zero Dark Thirty—recently made their screening debuts, and on the heels of much awards buzz we’ve seen a number of materials from said pics hit the web over the past two weeks.  Earlier today we got a look at five extended clips from director Tom Hooper’s musical adaptation Les Miserables, and now Universal has released 18 high-resolution images from the film.  The production value on this thing continues to look fantastic, and I’m eager to experience the 2+ hours of song when the pic hits theaters. Hit the jump to check out the images.  The film stars Hugh JackmanRussell CroweAmanda SeyfriedEddie RedmayneSamantha BarksHelena Bonham CarterSacha Baron Cohen, and Anne Hathaway.  Les Miserables opens on Christmas Day. Click to enlarge. [gallery link="file" order="Desc" columns="1"] Here’s the official »

- Adam Chitwood

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Top 5: Star Wars, 2013 Oscar Previews, Girl Meets World, Sundance 2013, Star Trek Into Darkness

1 December 2012 1:07 PM, PST

You may have noticed a lack of Top 5 around these parts last weekend. Given the holiday weekend with friends and family, a slow news week in general, and my own recovery from Black Friday shopping at a local Wal-Mart (Note to past self: the kid next to you in line is going to unexpectedly throw-up so...just be prepared for that), it seemed like the logical time to take a week off. In spite of the holiday, though, a few cool things did happen the week before last so you'll have to excuse the fact that some of this week's items date back to two weeks ago. Disclaimer aside, this week's return includes Allison's Confessions of a Star Wars Virgin series and more Star Wars news, Adam's 2013 Oscar Previews, Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel returning for the Boy Meets World sequel series, Girl Meets World, the first programming announcement and »

- Jason Barr

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Limited Paper: Mondo and We Buy Your Kids Team Up for Tina’S Mom’S Boyfriend; Awesome Weirdness Ensues

1 December 2012 11:56 AM, PST

Last night, the Mondo Gallery in Austin, Texas threw open the doors on their final gallery show for 2012, and—as expected—it was about as fitting an end to the Mondo Gallery’s first year in operation as anyone could have imagined.  Tina’s Mom’s Boyfriend—a show composed entirely of creations from the mighty Australian-based team known as We Buy Your Kids—was a celebration of the bizarre, a colorful explosion of “Wtf?!” that (from where Limited Paper’s standing) courageously refused to offer up anything even remotely obvious, safe, or easily-digested. Infinitely stranger than this summer’s Adventure Time showcase and twice as inexplicably disturbing as Jay Shaw’s Don’t Go Out Tonight, Tina’s Mom’s Boyfriend is certain to be remembered for being the Mondo Gallery’s most divisive show (in 2012, anyway).  Wanna know what we thought, hear a few interesting tidbits about a few of the featured prints, »

- Scott Wampler

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American Horror Story: Asylum Reveals Modern-Day Bloody Face Killer; Plus a Sneak Peek at the Next Episode, “Unholy Night”

1 December 2012 11:40 AM, PST

Fans of American Horror Story: Asylum have been wondering who is behind the mask of the modern-day Bloody Face serial killer. The show's co-creator, Ryan Murphy, recently revealed the actor who will play him, but not the connection to the characters in the asylum. Not explicitly, anyway. We've kept the sizable spoiler until after the jump, but the actor did confirm Murphy's statement via Twitter with an image to boot. The horror anthology follows a group of patients and "caregivers" in an asylum in 1964. One of the inmates is suspected of being a serial killer of women, known as Bloody Face. Another killer in our contemporary time has donned the same mask and the same signature killing style. but who could it be? Hit the jump to find out, along with a sneak peek of the next episode.  [You have entered spoiler territory.  Turn back now or commit yourself to the insanity.] Before I get to the reveal, here's a video sneak peek of the upcoming episode, »

- Dave Trumbore

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Friday Box Office: The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 Stays on Top; Killing Them Softly Falls Flat

1 December 2012 9:34 AM, PST

After a record-setting Thanksgiving frame, the domestic box office is headed towards its traditional, post-holiday slump. Though weekend receipts should top 2011 levels, there is little to get excited about at the multiplex: no new, major-studio releases and no change in the domestic top three. That means that, for the third straight week, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 will be on top, followed closely by Skyfall, which now ranks as the highest-grossing spy movie in Us history. Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln will remain in third place while Rise of the Guardians continues to struggle entering its sophomore frame. Even with its very modest expectations, The Weinstein Co.’s Killing Them Softly is being called a disappointment. On its first day in 2,424 locations, the R-rated film starring Brad Pitt is expected to earn just $7 million over its first three days. We’ll have full details tomorrow. Title Friday Total 1. Breaking Dawn »

- Nicole Pedersen

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5 Movie Clips From Director Tom Hooper’s Les Miserables Starring Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe

1 December 2012 8:55 AM, PST

With director Tom Hooper’s adaptation of Les Miserables opening Christmas Day, Universal has just released five clips and they've started showing the film to critics around the country.  As we previously reported, reaction to the first screening at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall was followed by raucous applause with the principal cast taking the stage to a standing ovation at the end of the film.  The other night I caught a screening and can confirm Les Mis is the real deal and Anne Hathaway is easily the front runner to win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.  In addition, the film is going to be nominated for a ton of other awards and Hooper is going to walk away from this being offered everything in Hollywood.  In the coming weeks I'll be running exclusive interviews with some of the cast and filmmakers, but until then, check out the clips. »

- Steve 'Frosty' Weintraub

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Sundance 2013: First Images from 99% – The Occupy Wall Street Collaboration Film, After Tiller, American Promise, and Blackfish

1 December 2012 8:22 AM, PST

The Sundance Film Festival recently announced the first round of programming, and we have the first images from a few of the movies playing in the U.S. Documentary Competition: 99% - The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film - Directed by Audrey Ewell, Aaron Aites, Lucian Read, and Nina Kristic. After Tiller - Directed by Martha Shane and Lana Wilson. American Promise - Directed by Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson. Blackfish - Directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite. Hit the jump for the images and synopses.  The 2013 Sundance Film Festival runs January 17-27. 99% – The Occupy Wall Street Collaborative Film / U.S.A. (Directors: Audrey Ewell, Aaron Aites, Lucian Read, Nina Kristic) — The Occupy movement erupted in September 2011, propelling economic inequality into the spotlight. In an unprecedented collaboration, filmmakers across America tell its story, digging into big picture issues as organizers, analysts, participants and critics reveal how it happened and why. After Tiller / U. »

- Matt Goldberg

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Gilbert Cerezo and Ulises Lozano Talk about the Documentary Hecho En Mexico, Creative Freedom, Their Upcoming Tour, and More

1 December 2012 8:11 AM, PST

Kinky, the popular Mexican alternative rock band, is one of many talented musical groups, singers and celebrities featured in director Duncan Bridgeman’s entertaining documentary, Hecho en Mexico, which showcases the vibrant cultural diversity and richness of Mexico through its music.  The five-member band from Monterrey formed in 1998 consists of Gilberto Cerezo, Ulises Lozano, Carlos Chairez, Omar Góngora, and Cesar Pliego whose music is heavily influenced by Latin music, rock, dance, and techno.  While the majority of their songs are sung in Spanish, many feature both Spanish and English lyrics. At the film’s recent press day, lead singer Cerezo and accordionist Lozano talked about their involvement in Bridgeman’s inspiring, often funny musical road trip through modern day “Mexicanity.”  They discussed why it’s part of their cultural personality to be playful and poke fun at serious subjects, how they enjoyed being taken out of their comfort zone and given total creative freedom, »

- Sheila Roberts

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Shazam! The Complete Live-action Series DVD Review

1 December 2012 8:10 AM, PST

It’s amazing to look back from our current superhero renaissance and remember a time when they weren’t the thundering engines driving pop culture.  They didn’t get any blockbuster movies back then; they were lucky to have a few lunchboxes and the occasional crappy Saturday morning show. That’s where we find Shazam!, a relic from another era so hopelessly outclassed by today’s costumed wonders that it actually comes across as rather charming. That’s not the same as good, of course, but it certainly provides its share of fun. Hit the jump for my full review. Shazam! came out of Filmation studios, the same cut-rate animation house that produced He-Man and Fat Albert among other kiddie staples. This was their one of their first forays into live action, bringing DC’s Superman clone Captain Marvel to life. They had no money and were furthered hampered by »

- Rob Vaux

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Disney Eyes Saoirse Ronan, Gabriella Wilde and Alicia Vikander for Cinderella Lead

30 November 2012 7:08 PM, PST

Just after Cate Blanchett was reported as being in negotiations to play the evil step-mother in Disney's Untitled Cinderella Story, we now have a trio of international actresses being eyed for the lead role. The contenders for the coveted glass slipper are the Irish-born Saoirse Ronan (Hanna), Britain's Gabriella Wilde (The Three Musketeers) and Swedish Alicia Vikander (A Royal Affair). Originally pitched by Aline Brosh McKenna (The Devil Wears Prada), Disney picked up the project for a substantial sum in 2010. Chris Weitz (About a Boy) wrote the script and Simon Kinberg (X-Men) will produce. Hit the jump for more. Variety reports that Ronan, Wilde and Vikander are all scheduled to test for director Mark Romanek's Untitled Cinderella Story. After Disney's Alice in Wonderland has grossed over $1 billion worldwide, the studio was quick to set more of their fairy tale properties in motion. They weren't the only ones, as Universal »

- Dave Trumbore

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Director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo Exits Highlander Remake Citing Creative Differences with Summit

30 November 2012 6:34 PM, PST

Although he joined the Highlander reboot well over a year ago, director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo (28 Weeks Later) has reportedly exited the picture. Fresnadillo and Summit Entertainment had been working on the reboot, but apparently did not see eye to eye; the director's departure was on good terms. Fresnadillo previously exited a reboot of The Crow to helm Highlander, and it's not yet clear if the previous position is still available. (Should we add him to the list of potential Star Wars: Episode VII directorial candidates while we're at it?). Hit the jump for more. Deadline reported on Fresnadillo's departure from Highlander. Summit, who is still gung-ho for the reboot, is now in search of a new helmer to bring the picture home. Starring Ryan Reynolds (Green Lantern), Highlander follows the story of the 1986 original which starred Christopher Lambert as a Scottish immortal swordsman who must defeat the other last remaining »

- Dave Trumbore

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New TV Spots for The Hobbit Show Glimpses of the Fire-Breathing Dragon, Smaug

30 November 2012 6:06 PM, PST

Just after The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey's director Peter Jackson talked about the creature design of the dragon Smaug in this interview, it looks as if we've got our first (brief and blurry) glimpse of the beast. Two new TV spots landed recently: one features a new bit of dialogue between Bilbo (Martin Freeman) and Gollum (Andy Serkis), the other features a bit of the destruction caused by the fire-breather. Smaug, voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch, is expected to appear briefly in the first film and should feature heavily in the second, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. Also starring Richard Armitage, Ian McKellen and Hugo Weaving, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey opens December 14th. Hit the jump to check out the new TV spots.  The news of Smaug's first appearance comes courtesy of Fanhattan. Check out both videos below: Here’s the synopsis for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey »

- Dave Trumbore

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Robert Zemeckis Talks Who Framed Roger Rabbit Sequel, a Possible 3D Re-Release, 3D Post-Conversions and Possible Remakes of His Other Films

30 November 2012 5:46 PM, PST

With his latest film, Flight, now in theaters, director Robert Zemeckis reflected on his past movies in a recent interview. Among the pictures discussed was Who Framed Roger Rabbit, a 1988 classic that starred Bob Hoskins and Christopher Lloyd opposite a cavalcade of cartoon critters. Not only did Zemeckis entertain the idea of re-releasing Who Framed Roger Rabbit in post-converted 3D, but he also gave an update on the state of the sequel. Penned by the original writers Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman, Zemeckis said he was happy with the script and that it was quite good. Hit the jump for more, including whether or not Zemeckis thinks any of his other films are due for the 3D treatment or a reboot. In a recent interview with MTV (via /Film), Zemeckis commented that only Roger Rabbit would be feasible for a 3D post-convert and that he's not into doing remakes. »

- Dave Trumbore

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The Killing Returns to AMC for Season 3

30 November 2012 3:16 PM, PST

AMC's The Killing has returned from purgatory and will air its third season on the network.  The crime drama was cancelled after two seasons and then had its hopes resurrected by a joint effort from AMC and Netflix, thanks to relentless pursuit from producer Fox TV Studios. Though none of the execs from the above-mentioned organizations would confirm the news, it looks like showrunner Veena Sud and executive producers Dawn Prestwich and Nicole Yorkin are back in the writers' room as of this week, in order to churn out another season. Whether the show will regain its first season highs or continue its second season lows remains to be seen. Stars Joel Kinnaman and Mireille Enos are contractually obligated to return. Hit the jump for more. Variety reports that production on season three of AMC's The Killing is likely to begin early next year with a debut date in late May. »

- Dave Trumbore

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