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The Imitation Game Review

6 hours ago

[This is a re-post of my review from the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.  The Imitation Game opens today in limited release.] In September 1933, General George S. Patton told the Calvary Journal, “Wars may be fought with weapons, but they are won by men.” Mathematician Alan Turning proved Patton’s statement was only half true when it came to World War II. It was won by men and a machine. Turing and his team used a computer to decipher the Germans’ “Enigma” code, which turned the tide of the war and was one of the key contributions to the Allies’ victory. Morten Tyldum’s The Imitation Game is a compelling look at a man treated inhumanely and the creation of his machine that helped saved humanity from evil. The film isn’t hard to crack, but led by Benedict Cumberbatch’s outstanding performance and Tyldum’s strong direction, it’s a compelling tale of secrets, lies, and sacrifice. In 1951, there’s been a break-in at Alan Turing’s (Cumberbatch) home, but nothing has been stolen, »

- Matt Goldberg

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Charles Halford Talks Constantine, Connecting With Fans Of The Comic, Working with Matt Ryan, His Many Death Scenes, True Detective, and More

6 hours ago

On the NBC drama series Constantine, based on the wildly popular Hellblazer series from DC Comics, actor Charles Halford plays Chas, John Constantine’s (Matt Ryan) closest friend and the silent brawn of the pair.  A seasoned demon hunter and master of the occult, Constantine is armed with a ferocious knowledge of the dark arts and his wicked wit, but his soul is already damned to hell.  While trying to find a loophole out of that, he begrudgingly fights to save the soul of others, with the help of an intuitive with heightened senses named Zed (Angélica Celaya), a morally ambiguous guardian angel known as Manny (Harold Perrineau), and a few others that he picks up, along the way. During this exclusive phone interview with Collider, Charles Halford talked about how exciting it is to be involved with a show that is already connecting with viewers and fans of the comic, »

- Christina Radish

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Oscar Beat: The Best Director Race at a Glance

8 hours ago

As we head out of the Thanksgiving holiday, studios have been scrambling to get screeners out to critics and voters before early December deadlines, and some of the year’s later releases are finally starting to be seen, which means the Oscar race is becoming much clearer.  We already have one potentially huge game-changer in the form of Selma, which has enjoyed enthusiastically positive response from its initial screenings, but that film also throws a curious prospect into the mix: for the first time in history, could we actually have two female directors nominated for the Best Director Oscar? After the jump, I consider this question as I take a look at the current state of the rather crowded Best Director race in this edition of Oscar Beat. There’s one filmmaker whose name is an almost certainty in this year’s Best Director race, and that’s Richard Linklater. »

- Adam Chitwood

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Toby Kebbell Talks Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, Duncan Jones’ Warcraft, His Version of Doctor Doom in Fantastic Four, and More

9 hours ago

With Matt Reeves’ Dawn of the Planet of the Apes arriving on DVD and Blu-ray December 2nd, I got the opportunity to sit down with Toby Kebbell to talk about the film.  As I’ve said again and again, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is easily one of my favorite films of 2014.  It’s the rare commercial movie that’s deep and thoughtful and it’s also atypical in that it tells a complete story while keeping the door open for another sequel. During the interview Kebbell talked about developing his character with Andy Serkis, what it was like playing an ape, his motion-capture experience, what it was like working with Duncan Jones on Warcraft, his version of Doctor Doom in director Josh Trank's Fantastic Four, and a lot more.  Hit the jump for what he had to say and click here to pre-order the Blu-ray on Amazon. »

- Steve 'Frosty' Weintraub

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Andy Serkis Says He Worked With Dancers to Give Ultron Life In Avengers: Age Of Ultron and Used Weights to Turn Mark Ruffalo Into the Hulk

9 hours ago

Now that we've seen the extended trailer, we know that Avengers: Age of Ultron will be bigger than its predecessor and, seemingly, much more cinematic.  We've also got a good sense of what James Spader's Ultron will look and act like (which was sort of a mystery to people like me who haven't read many Marvel comics).  Andy Serkis, who we all know at this point as the reigning celebrity of motion capture (as well as narrator of the new Star Wars trailer), worked a lot on the character as well and helped shape his movements.  He recently discussed that process, along with what it takes to make Mark Ruffalo look like the Hulk. Hit the jump to check out Serkis' comments on the mo-cap in Avengers: Age of Ultron.  The film opens in 3D on May 1, 2015 and also stars Robert Downey Jr.Chris EvansScarlett JohanssonChris Hemsworth, »

- Evan Dickson

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Colin Trevorrow Talks About the New Dinosaurs In Jurassic World; Official Site Updated

10 hours ago

While I'm fine overall with the Jurassic World trailer teaser (my only real issue was the incomplete CG, which isn't a complaint at all considering the fact it will all be done in time for the release of the finished film), a few people had some nagging questions about the giant aquatic dinosaur and the seemingly friendly nature of the Velociraptors Chris Pratt rides with in the final shot of the teaser. But now director Colin Trevorrow (after addressing some of the CG concerns earlier this week) has endeavored to answer a few of those questions.  Hit the jump for what he has to say about the new dinosaurs in the film.  Jurassic World is due in theaters in 2D, 3D and IMAX on June 12, 2015.  The film also stars Bryce Dallas HowardNick RobinsonTy Simpkins, Vincent D’Onofrio, Irrfan KhanJake JohnsonOmar Sy and Judy Greer.   Also, the »

- Evan Dickson

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Breaking Down the Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer: Why Is John Boyega in a Storm Trooper Outfit? And Other Burning Questions

10 hours ago

You’ve no doubt watched the Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer a couple of times now.  The teaser is a fantastic introduction to the J.J. Abrams-led new era of the saga, and as with all good teasers, this one has left us with a lot of very exciting questions.  The film’s release is still over a year away so it will likely be a while before much of the story is illuminated (and thankfully so—the less we know going in, the better), but there are still some reasonable assumptions that can be made from the very brief footage gleaned in this debut trailer. After the jump, we break down some of the major points of the Force Awakens trailer and try to addresses burning questions like why is John Boyega in a storm trooper outfit?  What’s Oscar Isaac doing in a fighter ship?  Isn »

- Adam Chitwood

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The Babadook Review

10 hours ago

[This is a re-post of my review from the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.  The Babadook opens today in limited release.] One of the great things about film festivals is that you can go in cold to almost anything. There’s been little to no advertising, and you make choices based partially on what’s available at a certain time and partially on word-of-mouth. Yesterday, I needed to fill in a gap in my schedule, and I remembered two of my friends had seen and liked The Babadook. I didn’t actually ask them what they liked about it or anything at all about the plot. My assumption: That’s a funny title, so I bet it will be a funny movie! And I was oh so very wrong. Writer-director Jennifer Kent has created a thoroughly creepy, nerve-wracking horror film with old-fashioned scare tactics. However, Kent does her job so well that eventually The Babadook burns itself out as it keeps trying to claw away at our nerves. Amelia (Essie Davis »

- Matt Goldberg

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Boyhood Tops Sight & Sound’s 20 Best Films of 2014 List

11 hours ago

It’s nearly December, which means awards are a’comin.  The New York Film Critics Circle will kick off the slew of critics group awards next week, but the folks over at the UK-based Sight & Sound have gotten a jump on everyone by announcing their Top 20 today.  Richard Linklater’s groundbreaking drama Boyhood tops the list, and it’s hard to argue with that choice.  The film is a favorite to land a number of Oscar nods, but I’ll be very curious to see which movie(s) the critics groups rally around throughout December.  Coming in second place in the Sight & Sound poll is Jean-Luc Godard’s Goodbye to Language 3D, with Under the Skin landing at #5 and films like Whiplash, Birdman, and the Edward Snowden documentary Citizenfour also making the list. Check out the full Sight & Sound Top 20 of 2014 after the jump.  Here’s the full Top 20 courtesy »

- Adam Chitwood

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Over 40 Star Wars: The Force Awakens Images From the Trailer Show a Rebuilt Universe

11 hours ago

It's not a bad job when you find yourself watching the Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer dozens of times on a Friday morning for work.  As a teaser, it's fantastic.  I was a little disappointed not to see Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher or Harrison Ford, but I suppose J.J. Abrams wants to introduce us to the newer merits of his story first.  It contains a lot more action than I expected, that's for sure.  The teaser was a million miles away from the "reveal of characters" scroll I was expecting, instead plummeting us into action on several different worlds and revealing the background of John Boyega's character.  This world feels tactile, lived in and not at all like the prequels.  All good stuff. Hit the jump for Star Wars: The Force Awakens images.  The film is due in theaters on December 18th, 2015 and also stars Daisy Ridley, »

- Evan Dickson

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4 New High-Resolution Star Wars: The Force Awakens Images

11 hours ago

Fresh off the most anticipated trailer debut in recent memory, Disney has released the very first Star Wars: The Force Awakens images in high-resolution format.  They don’t reveal anything that wasn’t shown in the trailer (obviously—we’re still a year away from release, folks!), but they do provide some nice static looks at what are presumably our new heroes of the Star Wars saga: the characters played by John Boyega (Attack the Block) and relative newcomer Daisy Ridley.  I have to say, even as someone who’s not a massive Star Wars fan, all of this is really exciting.  The first teaser was expertly cut, I’m loving the practical effects focus, and director J.J. Abrams looks to be in fine form behind the camera.  December 2015 seemed like such an easy wait just a few days ago, but after seeing this incredibly tantalizing footage, this is gonna be a long year. »

- Adam Chitwood

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First Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer Reveals J.J. Abrams’ Sequel

12 hours ago

It's here!  Disney has released the very first Star Wars: The Force Awakens for director J.J. Abrams' highly anticipated sequel, which falls into the franchise as Episode VII if anyone's counting.  As far as teaser trailers go, this one is pretty incredible.  Abrams doesn't simply rely on nostalgia to make this thing exciting, offering up tantalizing teases through some genuinely compelling filmmaking.  As far as character first-looks go, we can clearly see John BoyegaDaisy Ridley, and Oscar Isaac as seemingly "good guys" in full costume, and then an obscured baddie (Adam Driver?), complete with voiceover narration from Andy Serkis (not Benedict Cumberbatch).  The money shot of the Millennium Falcon is spectacular, and overall I'm extremely enthused to see a heavy reliance on practical locations and effects work.  This is great, great stuff. Watch the debut Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer after the jump, and click »

- Adam Chitwood

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Geek Gifts: Criterion Designs Coffee-Table Book Showcases Gorgeous Criterion Cover Art

12 hours ago

It’s Thanksgiving, which means you’re already two weeks behind on your Christmas shopping (kidding…kind of).  Finding the perfect gift can be difficult, but we’ve got something to highlight today that every cinephile will love.  The wonderful folks at The Criterion Collection have released a coffee-table book called Criterion Designs that showcases the gorgeous artwork that has donned the Criterion covers for three decades.  The book not only features a gallery of every Criterion cover since the collection’s first laserdisc in 1984, but it also offers up supplemental art and never-before-seen sketches for the unique designs that grace each Criterion.  Seriously, this thing is fantastic. Check out some preview images of the book (along with a full list of artists) after the jump and click here to purchase the newly released hardcover for $71.21. Here are some images from the book (via Criterion) followed by a full list of the artists. »

- Adam Chitwood

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22 Jump Street Blu-ray Review

13 hours ago

Chris Miller and Phil Lord have a history of picking projects that shouldn’t work and turning them into winners, and the one that may have been the trickiest is22 Jump Street.  Where you can argue that people underrated the possibility that 21 Jump Street or The Lego Movie could actually be good, with 22 Jump Street not only were they making a comedy sequel (usually a bad idea), but had to deliver something as good as the first one.  The shock is they actually made a comedy sequel that is as good (if not better) than the original.  Take that, Ghostbusters 2 and Anchorman: The Legend ContinuesJonah Hill, Channing Tatum and Ice Cube return for what was the best mainstream film of this past summer, and my review of the Blu-ray follows after the jump. Jenko (Tatum) and Schmidt (Hill) may have solved a big case, but at the start of the sequel, »

- Andre Dellamorte

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Thanksgiving Trailer for Exodus: Gods And Kings Is Undeniably Epic

27 November 2014 5:43 PM, PST

20th Century Fox has released a new Thanksgiving trailer for Exodus: Gods and Kings to try and pull you out of that turkey coma.  The film is director Ridley Scott’s take on the Biblical story of Moses, and while the lack of diversity in the casting (and Scott’s doubling down on his choices) is troubling, there’s no denying that this new trailer is positively epic.  Scott has made an absolutely massive film here; one that harkens brings to mind the scale of Kingdom of Heaven and Gladiator.  The visuals continue to be kind of spectacular, so now the question is whether Scott can bring something new to the table emotionally for this age-old story. Check out the new Exodus: Gods and Kings trailer after the jump.  The film stars Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, John TurturroAaron PaulBen MendelsohnSigourney Weaver and Ben KingsleyExodus: Gods and Kings »

- Adam Chitwood

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Go Caroling Minion-Style with a New Minions Holiday Promo Video

27 November 2014 12:42 PM, PST

While we’re all enjoying Thanksgiving, the Minions are getting a jumpstart on the holidays to come with a little caroling.  Universal Pictures and AMC Theatres just unveiled a brand new promo for Minions featuring Stuart, Kevin, Bob and co. doing their own very unique rendition of “Jingle Bells.” Hit the jump to check out the video for yourself.  The Minions will be back on the big screen in their very own Despicable Me spin-off on July 10, 2015.  Minions is directed by Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda and also features the voices of Jon Hamm and Sandra Bullock. Via AMC Theatres. Here’s the official synopsis for Minions: The story of Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment’s Minions begins at the dawn of time. Starting as single-celled yellow organisms, Minions evolve through the ages, perpetually serving the most despicable of masters. Continuously unsuccessful at keeping these masters—from T. rex »

- Perri Nemiroff

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The Peanuts Movie Voice Cast Revealed

27 November 2014 11:41 AM, PST

Fittingly, 20th Century Fox chose today to reveal The Peanuts Movie voice cast.  The CG-animated feature comes from producer Paul Feig (Bridesmaids), director Steve Martino (Horton Hears a Who!), and writer Craig Schulz, the son of Peanuts creator Charles Schulz.  The footage we’ve seen thus far has been surprisingly promising, with the CG animation being done in a stylistic fashion.  But when it comes to the voice cast, you won’t find any big movie stars here (though it’d be kind of great if someone like Will Ferrell or Tina Fey provided the “wah wa-wah”’s of the adults).  The voice cast for the Peanuts Movie is mostly made up of young actors with experience in voiceover work, commercials, and kid-centric programming on The Disney Channel and Nickelodeon.  Noah Schnapp, who just wrapped a role in Steven Spielberg’s untitled Cold War thriller, takes the lead role of Charlie Brown, »

- Adam Chitwood

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Director Morten Tyldum Talks The Imitation Game, Trying to be Historically Accurate, Deleted Scenes, What he Learned From Test Screenings, and More

27 November 2014 11:30 AM, PST

With the year coming to a close, it seems like a great new movie hits theaters every weekend, and The Weinstein Company continues that trend on November 28th with The Imitation Game.  Directed by Morten Tyldum (Headhunters), the film stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing, a brilliant cryptanalyst whose expertise cracked Germany’s “Enigma code” and helped turn the tide of World War II for the Allies, but his homosexuality still made him a target of persecution.  The film is really more about Turing than the war, but Tyldum weaves the Enigma plot throughout the film in a way that makes it feel like a spy thriller. During my exclusive video interview with Morten Tyldum, he talked about trying to be historically accurate, filming in real places, if he had many deleted scenes, balancing fact versus fiction, what he learned from friends and family screenings, what sequences he worked on »

- Steve 'Frosty' Weintraub

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Black Friday Deals: Music, Movies, TVs, Video Games, Flash Memory, Toys, and More

27 November 2014 9:32 AM, PST

With Black Friday tomorrow, Amazon has started offering some crazy deals on almost everything they sell.  Since the number of things on sale is far too long to list here, I've linked each section below.  You'll find new CDs for $6.99, tons of video games for 50% off, 4K TVs for 30% off, flash drives for 50% off, and so much more.   Like all Amazon deals, don't wait too long to buy because prices change all the time and the best deals usually sell out. CDs & Vinyl Deals $6.99 and Under 4K Ultra HD Televisions 30% Off or More PlayStation 4 Games 40% off or more Xbox One Games 40% off or more External Hard Drives 40% off or more Headphones 50% off Flash Memory 50% off Home Theater Systems 40% off or more Star Wars toys up to 40% off Transformers toys up to 35% off Fire HD 6, 6" HD Display, Wi-Fi, 8 Gb - Includes Special Offers, Black - $79.00 ($20 off) Fire HD 7, 7" HD Display, Wi-Fi, »

- Steve 'Frosty' Weintraub

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Watch Julianne Moore, Amy Adams, Felicity Jones, Reese Witherspoon, Patricia Arquette, and More in 50-Minute Roundtable Discussion

27 November 2014 9:00 AM, PST

As many are spending the Thanksgiving holiday with relatives, some may find they need a breather or two.  Luckily, THR has released a new roundtable interview from its Oscar series that makes for a fascinating and entertaining watch.  This 50-minute discussion involves a group of actresses that are in the mix for awards consideration this year: Julianne Moore (Still Alice), Reese Witherspoon (Wild), Amy Adams (Big Eyes), Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything), Patricia Arquette (Boyhood), Hilary Swank (The Homesman), and Laura Dern (Wild).  The resulting video is a candid talk that touches on topics like the pressure of playing real people, the uncomfortableness of sex scenes, and more.  It’s well worth a watch. Check out the actress roundtable video after the jump, and be sure to check out the writers roundtable if you missed it.  For more on the current state of the Best Actress Oscar race, peruse »

- Adam Chitwood

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