Revew: Clouds of Sils Maria

Starring Juliette Binoche, Kristen Stewart, and Chloe Moretz

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Review: Lost River

Ryan Gosling's Directorial Debut!

Review: Nicholas Sparks' The Longest Ride

Starring Scott Eastwood and Britt Robertson

Review: The Harvest

Starring Samantha Morton and Michael Shannon

Pitch Perfect 3 is Happening!

Rebel Wilson Confirms She'll Return

4/18/2015

Marvel's Netflix Heroes Rumored to Appear in 'Avengers: Infinity War'


Like a number of Marvel geeks, I spent all of last weekend devouring every episode of Daredevil I possibly could. The show has been an instant hit and the reviews have been strong all across the board. My immediate take away from it was how cinematic the whole thing was. Each episode was like a little movie, and star Charlie Cox (who I haven't really liked in the past) had what it takes if Marvel decided to bring Daredevil to the big screen. And now a rumor suggests that could be happening with all of the Netflix characters.

A story at Bleeding Cool says Marvel plans to call up The Defenders to the big leagues, but not until Avengers: Infinity War part 2 on May 3rd 2019. The Defenders are comprised of the Netflix leads: Daredevil, Jessica Jones (Krysten Ritter), Luke Cage (Mike Colter), and Iron Fist. The Defenders series arrives at a future date once all of the others have run their course. AKA Jessica Jones airs later this year, followed by Luke Cage then Iron Fist.

So are these Netflix shows ways to pull a backdoor launch of new movie franchises? They arrive fully-formed with an dedicated fan base ready to take over for Iron Man, Thor, and the rest who may not be sticking around much longer? That's what it sounds like.

Oscar-Winning Writer John Ridley Developing Mystery Marvel TV Series


With Agents of SHIELD (and a potential spinoff), Agent Carter, Daredevil and other future Netflix series, Marvel is growing their presence beyond the big screen. Attracting talent for any of their endeavors has never been an issue, and now EW is reporting they've landed John Ridley, Oscar-winning writer of 12 Years a Slave, for a new TV project.

Whatever this new project will be is staying a mystery for now, but what we do know is that it will be a reinvention of a current Marvel character for ABC. Who could it be? My guess is that it will be a character we may have seen elsewhere under a different studio's banner. So maybe someone like Blade? Or Ghost Rider? Or maybe even The Punisher? Marvel has never had any trouble tweaking their characters in the past, so why would it be a big deal now unless audiences already have a version in mind? In the case of Blade, the vampire hunter has already had a short-lived series so he may be out of the running.

Ridley, who is showrunner on ABC series American Crime, most recently directed the Jimi Hendrix biopic, Jimi: All Is By My Side. He also has experience as a writer of graphic novels, mostly for DC's Wildstorm imprint.

Filmfest DC Review: Russell Crowe's Directorial Debut 'The Water Diviner'


April 25th will mark the centenary of Anzac Day, which is a little like Australia's version of our Memorial Day. The holiday was originally created to honor the Australian and New Zealand soldiers who fought and died at the battle of Gallpoli. Whatever else one may think of Russell Crowe; the man takes his heritage seriously and has dedicated his directorial debut, The Water Diviner, to those who died in the fighting and those who must live with their sacrifice. It's a sincere, genuine effort by Crowe, even if some of the fantastical, romantic aspects are misplaced.

The curiously-titled film is both a realistic war drama and a mystical fairy tale, and the styles don't always marry perfectly.  Crowe settles in nicely as grieving father, Joshua Connor, a water diviner in Australia struggling to cope with the disappearance of his three sons in the war. Joshua's profession matches the spiritual tone of the film as a water diviner is a cherished figure capable of finding ground water, graves, and rare ores through some kind of sixth sense. Flashbacks figure heavily, jumping back in time to when Joshua was happier, his wife was vibrant rather than grief-stricken, and his sons were imaginative young men obsessed with "The Arabian Nights".  That all changed when Joshua allowed his sons to join the ANZAC, and it was one time when his natural instinct utterly failed him.

Although he's forsaken God in the four years since the boys' disappearance and presumed death, Joshua swears an oath to bring them home so they can be buried on consecrated ground. Arriving in Gallipoli to put his divining skills to the test, Joshua encounters no end of hurdles from the British government and the Turkish people who mistrust outsiders. However, he does find companionship in a precocious little boy and his recently-widowed mother Ayshe (Olga Kurylenko), a Turkish woman running a local hotel. He also gains support from Major Hasan (Yılmaz Erdoğan), a leader of the Turkish army helping the ANZAC "Grave Unit" find missing soldiers.

An interesting and rewarding choice made by Crowe and the screenwriters was to focus heavily on the Turkish experience and the effects of winning the big battle yet losing the war.  They've been left to watch their culture and the very land under their feet ripped out from under them. Crowe clearly has a sympathetic eye for their plight, but also a disdain for those who sold the war to young Australian men under false pretenses. Meanwhile all of the British soldiers are portrayed as pencil-neck girly men, and the Greek combatants as brutish thugs. That oversimplification applies also to the unnecessary romance between Joshua and Ayshe, which is like someone felt they needed to give Crowe a love scene. Joshua's comical misunderstanding of Ottoman culture, especially when it pertains to interpersonal relationships, should have been in a romantic comedy rather than a serious wartime drama.

But those are issues with the screenplay and not Crowe's first-rate direction. He has a clear eye for big set pieces, and the Hellish war scenes are impressive, along with a harrowing sandstorm that threatens Joshua's family. Working alongside cinematographer Andrew Lesnie, a frequent collaborator with Peter Jackson, this is a handsomely-shot, simply composed first effort by Crowe. While he's no longer the buff, chiseled figure he was in Gladiator, Crowe is still a rugged, physical actor and gets plenty of opportunity here to play the hero. He's better in the smaller moments, though, as a grieving father just trying to fulfill a promise.
 

Crowe is going through some of the same growing pains that marked Angelina Jolie's directorial debut a few years ago, another film of sizable scope set in a war-torn setting. Like her, Crowe has shown he has potential as a filmmaker, and The Water Diviner is accomplished enough to be excited about his new career path.

Rating: 3 out of 5



Free Advance Screening of 'Little Boy' Starring Kevin James


We're happy to offer our DC readers a chance to attend a free advance screening of the new WWII drama, Little Boy, starring Kevin James, Emily Watson, and newcomer Jakob Salvati. The inspirational story follows a 7-year-old boy who is willing to do whatever it takes to bring his father home safely from the war.

The screening takes place on Wednesday, April 22nd at 7:30pm at Regal Gallery Place. If you'd like to attend, simply go here and download one Admit-Two pass. Please remember that having passes does not guarantee entry and you will want to arrive at the theater early.

Little Boy opens in theaters on April 24th.


Little Boy Official Trailer #1 (2015) - Kevin James, Emily Watson Movie HD by ezmovie

The First 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice' Trailer is Here


There's a reason why it's not worth it to watch cruddy, chopped up and shaky bootleg versions of an anticipated film like Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and that's because it simply won't measure up to the real thing. So while many had already decided the new trailer was "underwhelming" because they had seen 30-seconds of it, the full version has now been released and it does not disappointment in the least.

Beginning with an opening stretch that leads to a statue of Superman with the words "False God" painted on them, the theme of this trailer is clear: Superman is no longer wanted. The people fear him and the power he wields, and after the destruction of Metropolis two years earlier who can blame them? Or, could they actually be talking about Bruce Wayne? There does seem to be some kind of cult dedicated to Superman, so is he the "savior" some are referring to? Is Batman the one the people truly fear? And then there's that badass stare down, "Tell me, do you bleed? You will." My take away from this is that both heroes will be on the wrong side of public opinion.

It's hard to believe a couple of years have passed since the film was first announced at Comic-Con, and now here we are. Directed by Zack Snyder and starring Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne, Jesse Eisenberg, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter, and more, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice opens March 25th 2016.


Batman v Superman : Dawn of Justice - Teaser Trailer [VO] by Filmosphere

4/17/2015

New Trailer for Sundance Hit 'Dope' Rides the Slippery Slope


This is going to be banner year at the movies for fans of old school hip-hop. Not only is the NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton ready to stomp into theaters, but for something a bit lighter and, if you can believe, it, crazier, there's also the Sundance smash, Dope, which is hitting the streets with a brand new trailer.

Directed by Rick Famuyiwa and starring Shameik Moore, Tony Revolori, Kiersey Clemons, Zoe Kravitz, A$AP Rocky, and Blake Anderson, the wildly energetic, '90s rap-infused story follows three geeky friends in Los Angeles as they deal with drugs, gangs, girls. It doesn't that they're cultural outsiders in just about every way. 

It's a fun film that I enjoyed but didn't love like many others did, but will probably be a big hit when it arrives this summer on June 19th.

Watch the New 'Star Wars' Teaser in Lego, Plus Matthew McConaughey's Hilarious Trailer Reaction


We already know that Star Wars fans are a crazy obsessive bunch, and so yesterday's reveal of the new Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer had to have been like Christmas and their birthday and winning the lotto rolled into one. There are probably folks already camped out somewhere to see the film eight months in advance. Or maybe they're trying to break-in to Lucasfilm right now to steal a raw cut of the movie. In any case, people love Star Wars and coming up with funny new ways to show just how much.

Already someone has come up with Lego version of the new trailer, meaning they must have started work on it like the moment they watched it. While hardly perfect, anything done in Lego is going to pretty cool. And my favorite (via ThePlaylist) is this hilarious Youtube video showing Matthew McConaughey's teary-eyed reaction to the new trailer. Sorta. Murph! You gotta come see this, Murph! Check both of those out below.




La réaction hilarante de Matthew McConaughey au teaser de Star Wars by Konbini

Salma Hayek has Heart in NSFW Trailer for 'The Tale of Tales'


Man, this is turning out to be a violent and bloody year for Salma Hayek. It was only recently she starred in the blood-drenched action flick Everly, and now in the new NSFW trailer for Matteo Garrone's The Tale of Tales she appears to be chowing down on a heart so raw it might still be pumping. The film was just announced as part of the Cannes 2015 lineup, and it's a loose adaptation of the 17th-century fairy tale collection by Giambattista Basile. Garrone has assembled an impressive ensemble that includes John C. Reilly, Stacy Martin, Vincent Cassel, Shirley Henderson, and Toby Jones.

This will mark Garrone's English-language debut although there's no dialogue to be heard in this footage. Instead it's a visual feast for the eyes full of wondrous costumes and magical creatures, plus it features a score by Alexandre Desplat. 

The Tale of Tales has no U.S. release yet but opens in Italy on May 15th. 

Interview: Alex Garland Talks 'Ex Machina', Improving Upon Genre, and More


Those who are looking for a thought-provoking and intense thriller will want to go and seek out Alex Garland's directorial debut, Ex Machina. It's a sci-fi film dealing with the idea of artificial intelligence, but if you know Garland's previous work you know there will be nothing familiar beyond that central idea. Giving a fresh perspective on genre has been Garland's specialty for the entirety of his career, from Danny Boyle's "zombie" film 28 Days Later to the sci-fi film Sunshine, to other films such as Never Let Me Go and the cult comic book adaptation, Dredd.

Ex Machina is no different as it's less about evil robots and world domination, and more about human weakness and how that can bleed over into technological advancement. But it's also about so much more. The film centers primarily on three characters, one an eccentric scientist played by Oscar Isaac, his curious employee played by Domhnall Gleeson, and the android Ava, embodied by Alicia Vikander. Gleeson's character has been tasked with running the "Turing Test" on Ava to gauge the extent of her human qualities. The test becomes considerably more than any of them could have been predicted, and so too does the film go beyond the norms of the genre by exploring human sexuality, male perceptions of femininity, and the future of robotic consciousness. 

I was fortunate enough to sit down with Garland to talk about Ex Machina, his thoughts on the A.I. genre, directing for the first time, and even his thoughts on the future of artificial intelligence. You can listen to my NSFW interview with him below, and be sure to check out my review of Ex Machina here

Review: ‘Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2,’ starring Kevin James, Raini Rodriguez, and Neal McDonough


People laughing at fat men isn’t new, but it’s never felt as old as in Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2. Kevin James is fat! Kevin James can barely move! Kevin James does somersaults even when he doesn’t really mean to! Kevin James eats everything in sight! Kevin James falls over things! It goes on and on, with no respite, for what seems like forever but is somehow only 94 minutes. When people talk about waking nightmares, Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 is what they’re talking about.

Set six years after its predecessor, this sequel that nobody wanted catches up with Blart after things aren’t going so well in his life: his wife has left him (because actress Jayma Mays couldn’t get out of her Glee filming schedule), his mother has been run over by a milk truck (because this movie hates women), and his job at the West Orange Pavilion Mall just doesn’t seem so fulfilling anymore. And, he’s also in the dark about his daughter Maya’s (Raini Rodriguez) acceptance into UCLA, which she’s afraid to tell him about because he’s such a needy desperate loner that she’s not sure she can leave him alone.

But then Blart learns that he’s been invited, expenses paid, to a security officers’ conference in Las Vegas, so it’s vacation time for him and Maya. No matter that when they get to Las Vegas, Blart keeps hit getting by cars because of his terrible Segway driving, or that he starts essentially spying on Maya when she strikes up a friendship with a handsome hotel employee, or that he gets attacked by a peacock and kicked by a horse … because he also finds out that some criminals are planning to rob the hotel and the casino, and so with his glue gun and his Taser and his inflated sense of self, Blart decides to foil the heist.

You can pretty much guess where this is going. Neal McDonough, so wonderfully deranged in things like FX’s underappreciated Justified, is given short shrift here; there’s a scene where he and James are clearly improv-ing with each other to prove whose character is more crazy, but their comedic rhythms are off. James seems fine with being a gluttonous hack, but that doesn’t mean his character is the Everyman the movie is trying to sell him as; he’s still just a pumped-up weirdo. And there’s one scene where one of Blart’s drunk, disorderly friends comes on to a woman to a gross degree, but it eventually ends with the woman apologizing for overreacting, because how dare we not accept any random guy’s overtures at a bar even if we’re completely disinterested? How disgustingly feminist of us.

No one wanted Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, and maybe James and Co. knew that, since this is such a passionless, unfunny slog through the most pathetic iterations of “laugh at the fat man” comedy. But if there’s a Paul Blart: Mall Cop 3, then I think it’s safe for us to burn Hollywood to the ground.

Rating: 0 out of 5 Guttenbergs