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Review: Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

Return to the crime-infested streets of Sin City!

Review: Frank

Michael Fassbender as you've never seen him before!

Review: The Expendables 3

More action heroes than you can toss a grenade at, but is the movie any good?

Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and Edgar Wright are together again!

The trio will reunite on a new project in the near future.

8/29/2014

Michael Bay-Produced 'Cosmic Motors' Lands 'Machete Kills' Writer



There may not be a future in Transformers for Michael Bay, it didn't mean he'd quit bringing vehicular insanity to the screen. Not long after Transformers: Age of Extinction had crossed the $1B mark, a rumor surfaced that Bay might be directing an adaptation of Daniel Simon's futuristic vehicle guidebook, Cosmic Motors: Spaceships, Cars, and Pilots of Another Galaxy. Turns out Bay is involved but only as a producer, and now Machete Kills writer Kyle Ward is on board to pen the screenplay.

Cosmic Motors doesn't have a traditional narrative, it's basically a reference guide for all sorts of different futuristic vehicles. It's a book full of 3D renderings and cool concept sketches, designed by the fictional Cosmic Motors of the Galaxion system. It'll be up to Ward to find a way to craft a story out of this somehow, but as long as there are plenty of hot cars for product placement Bay should be happy.

Warner Bros. will probably want to get moving on this as soon as a director is found. [Variety]

Trailer for Cannes Award Winner 'Leviathan'



Although it was ultimately Winter Sleep that earned Cannes' top honor this year, Russian director Andrey Zvyagintsev made just as big an impression with Leviathan. The drama, which updates and refashions the Book of Job into a modern story exploring corruption and economic disparity during a vicious land dispute. The film won Cannes' screenplay award and is poised to be one of the season's biggest imports, and now the only question is if it will be part of the Oscar field in the Best Foreign Language category.

Leviathan will hit theaters on December 31st courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics, but is making its Telluride debut tonight. Check out the trailer and synopsis below.



Kolia (the magnetic Alexey Serebryakov) lives in a coastal village near the Barents Sea in Northern Russia, running an auto-repair shop from the garage of his childhood home, shared with young wife Lilya (Elena Lyadova) and his teenage son from a previous marriage. The family’s world is under threat: Vadim Sergeyich (Roman Madyanov), the imperious town Mayor, has slapped a compulsory acquisition order on Kolia’s prime land, earmarking the site for a development of undetermined but dubious funding (and offering risible, token compensation). To Sergeyich’s great surprise, Kolia enlists the help of ex-army friend Dmitri (Vladimir Vdovitchenkov), now a hotshot lawyer from Moscow. Dmitri has uncovered some highly incriminating evidence that he believes will force the Mayor to back down, even if he has secrets of his own. Soon tempers and passions are inflamed, events spiral out of control, and lives are placed at stake.

Hear the Sound of the Streets in Trailer for 'Nas: Time is Illmatic'



For those who don't know me, I group in the hip-hop era of A Tribe Called Quest, Gang Starr, Pharcyde and De La Soul. The smoothed out sound of east coast rap carried me through my childhood, teenage years, and even today it's what elevates me each and every day. And an integral part of that unforgettable sound of was Nas' classic debut album, 'Illmatic', released incredibly twenty years ago. As part of the anniversary celebration the documentary Nas: Time is Illmatic is making its way into multiple platforms and the first trailer looks like a must watch for hip-hop heads.

Featuring the major players in the rap game like DJ Premier, Q-Tip, Pete Rock, and Main Source's Large Professor, the film looks back at Nas' influential career, his beginnings as "Nasty" Nas with the hit single "Halftime", and of course the impact of 'Illmatic' when it dropped in '94. At that point Rakim was probably the most sampled rapper ever but over the last twenty years that has definitely been Nas, and it's fitting since the two have been compared to one another often.  Between this and the amazing Beats, Rhymes, & Life: The Travels of A Tribe Called Quest we're in the midst of a great period for hip-hop docs. Let's hope it continues.

Producer and artist One9 makes his directorial debut on Nas: Time is Illmatic, which opens in theaters and VOD on October 1st, accompanied by a concert tour.


'Nas: Time is Illmatic' Official Trailer #1 by Punch Drunk Critics

Advance Screening of 'Pride' Starring Bill Nighy and Imelda Staunton


The new British drama Pride tells the remarkable story of the 1984 coal miners' strike in Wales and the unexpected help they received from the LGBT community in the fight against Margaret Thatcher. The uplifting film stars Imelda Staunton, Bill Nighy, and Dominic West, and we're happy to offer our readers a chance to see Pride early by attending a free advance screening. The event takes place on Thursday, September 4th at 7:00pm at AMC Georgetown. To qualify you must first be a fan of Punch Drunk Critics on Facebook,so if you haven't "Liked" us yet please go there and do so now. To enter simply email punchdrunktrav@gmail.com with your full name and favorite British comedy. Winners will be selected on Monday, September 1st, and their names added to the RSVP list, good for you and one guest.

Pride opens in theaters on Friday, September 26th. The synopsis and trailer are below.

PRIDE is inspired by an extraordinary true story.  It’s the summer of 1984, Margaret Thatcher is in power and the National Union of Mineworkers is on strike, prompting a London-based group of gay and lesbian activists to raise money to support the strikers’ families.  Initially rebuffed by the Union, the group identifies a tiny mining village in Wales and sets off to make their donation in person.  As the strike drags on, the two groups discover that standing together makes for the strongest union of all.

NSFW Trailer for Comic Book Adaptation 'The Scribbler' Starring Katie Cassidy, Sasha Grey, and Eliza Dushku


Not every comic book adaptation is going to make hundreds of millions of dollars and launch a franchise. Some have more modest expectations, and one of those is The Scribbler, which is based on the Image Comics graphic novel by Daniel Schaffer, who also penned the screenplay. Directed by some guy named John Suits, the film boasts a large ensemble of recognizable names, including a pair of Buffy the Vampire Slayer alums in Eliza Dushkua and Michelle Trachtenberg.

Katie Cassidy (Laurel Lance on Arrow) stars as Suki,  a mentally disturbed young woman who deals with her illness with an experimental machine known as "the Siamese Burn". The process destroys multiple personalities until there's only one left, but then Suki begins to wonder if the last unwanted personality will be her own. What happens then? What kind of person would she be?  I'm not familiar with Cassidy outside of Arrow but she is completely unrecognizable here compared to the straight-laced character she plays on the show. Michael Imperioli, Garret Dillahunt, Sasha Grey, Gina Gershon, and Billy Campbell co-star in what looks like a trashy, super-powered head trip. Kinda looking forward to it.

Check out the trailer below, and since it's NSFW you may want to do it from home. The Scribbler hits DVD/Blu-Ray on October 21st.


'The Scribbler' International Trailer- Katie Cassidy, Eliza Dushku, Sasha Grey by Punch Drunk Critics

Two Clips from Ramin Bahrani's '99 Homes' Starring Andrew Garfield and Michael Shannon



Ramin Bahrani's obsession with the plight of the common man has been felt mightily in his first four features, Man Push Cart, Chop Shop, Goodbye Solo, and last year's compelling if flawed At Any Price. That was his biggest film to date, with Zac Efron and Dennis Quaid starring in the heartland-set drama about farm workers. Bahrani's latest, 99 Homes, follows a similar tract as his prior movies and explores the disreputable acts that ruined lives during the housing crisis.

Andrew Garfield, Michael Shannon, and Laura Dern head up a small but strong cast for 99 Homes, and two clips have arrived to show how Bahrani plans to tackle an issue that is still plaguing America today. Garfield, taking a much-needed break from Spider-Man for awhile, plays Dennis Nash, the head of a family evicted from their home by Mike Carver (Shannon), a charismatic, unscrupulous real estate agent. When Carver offers Nash a ton of money and his home back to work for him, Nash is forced to do to other home owners what was done to him.

99 Homes recently had its premiere at the Venice Film Festival where it is competing for the prestigious Golden Lion award.


'99 Homes' Clip #1- Andrew Garfield, Michael Shannon, Ramin Bahrani by Punch Drunk Critics


'99 Homes' Clip #2- Andrew Garfield, Michael Shannon, Ramin Bahrani by Punch Drunk Critics

Review: 'Starred Up' Starring Jack O'Connell and Ben Mendelsohn


The term "starred up" may sound like a good thing, and perhaps in the backwards "balls before brains" ethics of hardcore prison inmates it is. When a juvenile convict is deemed too dangerous to co-exist with his peers and thus is sent to an adult facility with the murderers, lifers with nothing to lose, then that is what it means to be "starred up", and in David MacKenzie's ferocious prison drama it is to be worn as a badge of twisted honor. But it's also fitting in a way, as Starred Up also marks star Jack O'Connell's breakthrough into superstardom with a performance so visceral it challenges Tom Hardy's Bronson for sheer aggression.

When we first meet 19-year-old Eric Love (O'Connell) he's in a dark, grimy holding room undergoing what would be a humiliating cavity search for anybody else. But Eric doesn't seem to care; he's tightly wound and spring-coiled for action, as if waiting for the moment to strike. Within moments we figure out why he was "starred up" to begin with. His first act after being sent to his cell is to fashion a makeshift shank like MacGyver and brutally assault an innocent inmate, presumably to establish his "don't f**k with me" cred. The result is a showdown with prison guards that leaves both sides bloody, and Governor Hayes (Sam Spruell) thinking maybe Eric is too dangerous even to live. Certainly he's too far gone to be rehabilitated, but that doesn't stop therapy group leader Oliver (Rupert Friend) from trying to teach Eric a new way to live, one that doesn't involve violence.

But violence is all he knows, a learned behavior from his estranged father Neville (Ben Mendelsohn), who happens to be a well-respected inmate in the same prison. Their reunion isn't all flowers and sunshine, either. Neville resents Eric's therapy sessions where he (mostly) kicks it peacefully with fellow inmates and learns from Oliver how to tone down his rage. Meanwhile, Neville's awkward attempts to be a father only drive the wedge further between them, leading to angry outbursts that only hold back Eric's progress. It's a tricky road Eric is on, anyway, and MacKenzie pulls no punches in depicting every brutal step of it. If you've seen an episode of HBO's Oz then the complicated prison dynamics will be familiar. There are different factions in every cell block; old grudges must be remembered and respected; new friends taken with caution.  It's an extreme change of pace for MacKenzie, who directed the lousy Ashton Kutcher drama, Spread, and the gritty authenticity he brings to Starred Up is impressive. The film was shot in one of Ireland's old maximum security prisons and every nook captures what a total hellhole it is, one where hope is a fleeting thing. At times it's so bleak and depressing it's like you're watching one of those Lock Up docs on television.

Starred Up is about more than just prison riots and stints in solitary confinement, it's also a harsh critique on a prison system that merely houses criminals rather than tries to reform them. And when that fails quietly does away with them. It's a look at the cycle of violence and how that legacy is passed down from one generation to the next. And through it all is O'Connell's steely, unforgettable performance. Off the charts intense but showing an emotional nimbleness beyond his experience, O'Connell shows us why Angelina Jolie chose him to star in her WWII drama, Unbroken. Like Hardy in Bronson and Michael Fassbender in Shame, O'Connell is impossible to take your eyes off of even for a moment
 Rating: 4 out of 5

Trailer for Immigration Comedy 'Samba' Starring Omar Sy, Charlotte Gainsbourg, and Tahar Rahim



The Intouchables wasn't just a huge hit in France, where it was voted the top cultural event of 2011, it was a global comedy smash with more than $400M earned. And the film did well here in the United States, as well, as the feel-good comedy introduced us to the talents of Omar Sy who would go on to appear as Bishop in X-men: Days of Future Past. And now Sy is re-teaming with The Intouchables' directors Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano for their next film, Samba, and the new trailer clearly has the same crowd-pleasing spirit.

Starring Charlotte Gainsbourg, Tahar Rahim (The Past), and French rocker Izïa Higelin, the trailer starts off a little somber with Sy portraying an undocumented worker from Mali who winds up in a detention center. There he meets Alice (Gainsbourg), an immigration worker who sees a chance to help him, while at the same time their friendship begins to turn her own life around. Between the jazzy score, lots of dancing, and awkward romantic entanglements this is nearly identical in tone to The Intouchables, but it will be tough to replicate that kind of success. Sy is always a joy to watch and it's good to see Gainsbourg take on something light-hearted again for the first time in forever. Look she's smiling!

We'll update this if an English-subtitled version hits. Samba opens in France this October.


Samba (2014) - Trailer by Unifrance

Trailer for Cannes' Palm d'Or Winner 'Winter Sleep'


When Turkish film director Nuri Bilge Ceylan made what is becoming a regular trip to Cannes with his latest film, Winter Sleep, it was expected to make a lot of waves. And why wouldn't it? Ceylan has won Best Director there in 2008 for Three Monkeys, and won the Grand Jury Prize a couple of times for Distant and Once Upon a Time in Anatolia. But Winter Sleep topped all of those prior efforts when it beat out an impressive field to win the Palm d'Or. And now as the film gears up for an Oscar qualifying run here in the U.S. the first domestic trailer has arrived for the three-hour drama.

Once again set in Anatolia, the film follows a former actor now the owner of a mountaintop hotel as he deals with a failing marriage and the disdain of the townsfolk. It's a film that looks at the divide between Turkey's powerful and powerless, the rich and the poor. Winter Sleep opens in limited release on December 19th.  Here's the trailer and full synopsis:


WINTER SLEEP US Trailer (Cannes Palme d’Or Winner - 2014) by Gamersincorporated

Aydin, a former actor, runs a small hotel in central Anatolia with his young wife Nihal with whom he has a stormy relationship and his sister Necla who is suffering from her recent divorce. In winter as the snow begins to fall, the hotel turns into a shelter but also an inescapable place that fuels their animosities...

Review: 'The Trip To Italy' by Michael Winterbottom and Starring Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon


How would do you describe The Trip To Italy to someone who, maybe like some of you, have never seen The Trip? Well let me give it a shot. The Trip To Italy is the sophisticated and worldly man’s bromantic comedy. Much like the earlier film a lot of Judd Apatow comedies, it's about looking at male friendships through a comedic lens, only less subdued and crass overall. It’s not really sappy either because, hey people, this is British so it’s full of guarded vulnerability wrapped in quips and great impersonations. The Trip To Italy brings back together stars Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon with Director Michael Winterbottom as fictionalized versions of themselves again on restaurant tour, this time through Italy from Liguria to Capri following the path of the great romantic poets.

Now much like the last film there really isn’t much of a hardcore linear plot being told here. It’s mostly a film made up of improvised conversations and constant back and forth between Coogan and Brydon as they try to one-up each other. The one difference in this film than the last is a greater emphasis on them getting older and trying to come to grips with it. This time the two are lot less adversarial and open in terms of what the “characters” are feeling in terms of their lives. There is a lot of scenes here that are just them riffing on different impersonations of famous actors. They of course go back to doing the greatest Michael Caine impersonations ever done but this time instead of doing the OG Bond in Connery they decide to keep doing Roger Moore to hilarious effect as one does Caine and the other Moore in imagined interactions.

Being that The Trip To Italy is like its predecessor a BBC comedic series that was edited down from six 30-minute episodes into a roughly 2-hour film the quality of the direction feels like a BBC show. That’s not a bad thing at all there is always a very cinematic level of filmmaking in a lot of British television and you'd never know this was a TV series first unless made aware of it. The film also does a fantastic job of keeping you interested even though it's just two actors on screen either talking, eating or driving. They also have some great shots of Italy’s landscape and landmarks along with great quick shot of the different restaurants preparing the dishes they are eating.

Finally I’ll be honest I really like British humor a lot. I grew up on it but while watching this I chuckled knowing this might not be for everyone.  It might be a bit too quiet and slow for some, and it has no real "point". For what it’s worth it’s pretty dope to see a film that has two men as friends, having conversations and enjoying one another's company with bubbling, gross events, and silly action/slapstick set pieces. For what it’s worth my score is going to be a high one but hey maybe I’m biased to English accents or I’m just sappy these days.