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Dark Tower photo
Dark Tower

Matthew McConaughey up for villain role in The Dark Tower

The Man in Black is all right, all right
Nov 17
// Matthew Razak
If you said to me that Matthew McConaughey was going to star in The Dark Tower films being made I'd instantly think he'd be playing Roland, the Stephen King series's protagonist. However, Variety is reporting that he's b...
New MST3K cast photo
New MST3K cast

New MST3K host is Jonah Ray, rumors of Felicia Day as new mad scientist, likely voices for Crow and Tom

EW may have let the cat out of the bag
Nov 17
// Hubert Vigilla
The Mystery Science Theater 3000 revival Kickstarter has successfully funded the first three episodes, raising more than $2 million in one week. That's the power of MST3K, dudes. Joel Hodsgon and Shout Factory are spearheadin...
Screenings photo

See The Night Before Early and free

Washington DC, Baltimore and Norfolk
Nov 16
// Matthew Razak
As far as Christmas comedies go we haven't had a good one in a while, but that could change with The Night Before. It's got the casts and the director to become an instant classic... for adults. Sometimes you need a little cu...
Force Awakens TV spot photo
Force Awakens TV spot

One-minute TV spot for The Force Awakens has some new footage

Here's your fix, Star Wars junkie
Nov 16
// Hubert Vigilla
Psst. Hey, mack. Yeah. I see your shakes, buddy. I know what you want. Here. Here's a new TV spot for The Force Awakens. It's a whole minute of satisfaction, brother. Take it, man, just take it. I know, I know--the shakes are...
Warcraft TV spot photo
Warcraft TV spot

Watch an international TV spot for Duncan Jones' Warcraft

A step up from the trailer
Nov 15
// Hubert Vigilla
Like Nick, I was underwhelmed by the first trailer for Duncan Jones' Warcraft. A little too heavy on CG and uncanny valley-ness, my overall impression was, "Oh, look, it's Generic Fantasy Film: The Movie." (As Rian Johns...
El Rey Way of the Turkey photo
El Rey Way of the Turkey

El Rey Network has a 72-hour kung-fu movie marathon for Thanksgiving weekend

2nd Annual Way of the Turkey
Nov 13
// Hubert Vigilla
As the resident kung fu movie dork at Flixist, it pleases me to announce that you can spend your Thanksgiving weekend watching 72 hours of kung fu movies. This is what the pilgrims crossed the ocean for, guys. The El Rey Netw...

Review: The 33

Nov 13 // Matthew Razak
[embed]220135:42699:0[/embed] The 33Director: Patricia RiggenRated: PG-13Release Date: November 13, 2015 What is this story we're talking about? Back in 2010 33 Chilean miners got trapped when a very large chunk of rock collapsed the mine they were working in. Against all odds, and while the entire world watched, the 33 were eventually rescued. This is ostensibly their story of survival, but it's also the story of how they were rescued. It is a plot so full of happiness, wonder and cliche that if it weren't for the fact that it actually happened you'd be reading a review about how the film was too unbelievable.  To be sure The 33 probably plays it a little loose with events and characters. While the miners themselves, led by Mario Sepúlveda (Antonio Banderas) and Don Lucho (Lou Diamond Phillips), are treated pretty well their above ground counterparts get a lot of fluffing. Laurence Golborne (Rodrigo Santoro), Chile's minister of mining, gets a very flattering coat of paint with the casting of a ridiculously good looking actor and the insertion of hints of romance with one of the miner's sisters. Luckily the plot line never bores out, but it speaks to just how rote the film can be. The movie hits every survival plot point it can with the emotional gusto you expect, but nothing actually special. This is especially true in the latter half of the film. While the miners are struggling to survive and the rescuers are desperately drilling down to them the film is actually surprisingly tense. Riggen does a fantastic job of developing the 33 as people and a group. The stress of being trapped in the mine is reflected and paralleled with the desperate attempts to rescue the miners. A particularly good scene brings the miners into the realm of fantasy as they eat their last supper around a long wooden table. The heavy hints of what faith means to these men reflected in the visuals of the scene. Riggen may get a bit heavy handed with her visual metaphors for faith, but she plays them well. Unfortunately the moment the drill pierces the cave it all seems to get lost. The screenplay jumps from subtle character study, to obvious social commentary as the miners become international sensations and a miniature revolution starts to occur. The moment the focus is taken off the minors and put onto the rescue the film jumps into cliche and begins to hamper everything that was built in the first half. Riggens visuals fall away as the screenplay struggles to keep the miners relevant for the months they must wait for rescue. Once survival is not longer the driving factor it seems the movie doesn't know what to do with them. It definitely grinds the performances to a halt as well. Banderas is powerful as Mario in the first half of the movie, lacing a relentless force into his performance while Phillips plays behind him, worn and afraid. I was seriously leaning towards Oscar thoughts as I watched Banderas rally the miners in the key survival speech, but as his character devolves into the film's representation for the corruption of the outside world (before, of course, redeeming himself quickly) his performance suffers. We lose the connection to the miners as the plot opens up and in turn lose the connection to the performances. What's most tragic is that The 33 never confronts anything. At the end of the film text points out that the mining company was never punished and the miners never got an retribution from them. However, the movie never really addresses this situation it's so focused on being triumphant for its last half. It hits its dramatic points just fine, but never pushes to the next level where were allowed to talk about what happened. This movie should never need to be made, but instead of looking into that fact when it has the chance it instead revels in its glorious rescue. It's a great rescue story for sure, but The 33 could have been more. 
The 33 Review photo
How do you say 'meh' in Spanish?
You could mess up the story of The 33 I suppose. It would be hard, but not impossible. You could get over melodramatic, but you'd have to try hard because the story its based on is damn melodramatic. You could screw up t...

Screenings photo

See Brooklyn early and free

Washington DC screening
Nov 13
// Matthew Razak
Brooklyn is getting a lot of buzz and could be a film you hear about once awards season really takes off. What's that mean? It means you should see it for free and then you'll be able to sound all movie smart with your friends when they wonder what that Brooklyn movie everyone is talking about is. Grab the passes below and you'll be all set to check it out. 
The Boy and The World photo
The Boy and The World

Watch the gorgeous trailer for The Boy and The World

Like an animated children's picture book
Nov 13
// Hubert Vigilla
The Boy and the World has been on my radar for a few months after seeing still from the film. This Brazilian animated feature won great acclaim at film festivals, and is currently on the shortlist for Best Animated Feature. T...
Ip Man 3 teaser trailer photo
Ip Man 3 teaser trailer

The first teaser trailer for Ip Man 3 just punched you repeatedly in the face

Donnie Yen vs. Mike Tyson
Nov 13
// Hubert Vigilla
Here it is: a US teaser trailer for Ip Man 3, the latest installment in the badass wing chun series starring Donnie Yen. Despite the presence of Sammo Hung in Ip Man 2, the sequel was a step down in general quality from ...
Fifty Shades photo
Will shoot back-to-back
Fifty Shades of Grey was a really bad movie that featured even worse behind the scenes trouble between the director, Sam Taylor-Johnson, and the book's author, Can't Write Well (possibly not her actual name). That meant ...


Jeffrey Dean Morgan cast in major Walking Dead role

(Possible) spoilers ahoy
Nov 12
// Matt Liparota
(Potential spoilers for The Walking Dead “ the TV show, that is“ upcoming; consider yourself warned.) Ever since the happy-go-lucky gang made it to the community of Alexandria on The Walking Dead last season,...
Rocky! Rocky! photo
Rocky! Rocky!

30 for 30 does Rocky IV

Ending the cold war one punch at a time
Nov 12
// Matthew Razak
A few week's ago College Humor brought us a parody of ESPN's 30 for 30 programming by creating a hilarious short on Angels in the Outfield. It worked and it worked well. It looks like they'll be continuing the series as ...
Star Wars images photo
Star Wars images

New Star Wars: The Force Awakens images and character details, let the hype flow through you

Five weeks, everyone
Nov 11
// Hubert Vigilla
Star Wars: The Force Awakens is out next month, which means the relentless hype isn't stopping until we hit December 17/18th. There's a whole slew of new images from the film posted by Entertainment Weekly, including an old H...
Hausu director in NYC photo
Largest US retrospective of the director
Nobuhiko Obayashi's Hausu (House) is a favorite here at Flixist. (Alec did a great Cult Club piece on it a few years back.) It's a bit like the fever dream of an imaginative child who's really into Scooby-Doo and Mario Bava. ...

72 hours of Shia LaBeouf photo
72 hours of Shia LaBeouf

#AllMyMovies - Shia LaBeouf is watching all of his films for three straight days

But is it art?
Nov 10
// Hubert Vigilla
Shia LaBeouf's creative endeavors outside of acting have been pretty strange. There was a public art show rife with self-loathing and even a sexual assault, a short film that borrowed heavily from Daniel Clowes, and a video f...
Flop photo

Jem and the Holograms made no money so now it's gone

Seriously, it made no money
Nov 10
// Matthew Razak
There are flops and then there are flops. Jem and the Holograms is the latter. It didn't just flop for Universal it broke records while doing it. The movie pulled in just $1.37 million its opening weekend, and could...

Enjoy the first trailer for Finding Dory

Memory lapses abound
Nov 10
// Matthew Razak
Finding Dory is finally here... in trailer form. Of all the hotly anticipated Pixar films (which is all of them) I'm most hotly anticipating this one. This first trailer gives us a little hint at the story, which finds D...
MST3K Kickstarter photo
"It stinks!"
If you're a dork of a certain age, you probably watched Mystery Science Theater 3000 on Comedy Central and later the Sci-Fi Channel. You probably have fond memories of the show and quote it around other MST3K fans. ("Shell! T...

Screenings photo

See Love the Coopers early and free

Washington DC screening
Nov 09
// Matthew Razak
Are you ready for Christmas cheer? What? Just because it's before Thanksgiving doesn't mean it's too early to start watching holiday movies. We're the Coopers is coming out this week! You can see it early by grabbing pas...

Netflix drops a Very Murray Christmas poster

Sadly, Scrooged still not available
Nov 09
// Matthew Razak
As everyone knows Bill Murray has already starred in one of the greatest modern Christmas films of all time, Scrooged. That's not enough for him, however. He's about to hit us up with another. Netflix's A Very Murray Christma...
Finding Dory photo
Finding Dory

First Finding Dory poster swims in

You speak wale?
Nov 09
// Matthew Razak
I think I say this every time a Pixar sequel comes up, but it's worth saying: Toy Story 3 basically gave them carte blanche to do whatever the hell they want. When they knocked a third film out of the park when everyone ...

NYPD/LAPD boycotts of Quentin Tarantino reinforce negative stereotypes about cops

Nov 09 // Hubert Vigilla
[embed]220111:42692:0[/embed] Soon after, the LAPD joined the NYPD in calling for a boycott of Tarantino's films. "Hateful rhetoric dehumanizes police and encourages attacks on us," wrote Los Angeles Police Protective League (PPL) president Craig Lally. "And questioning everything we do threatens public safety by discouraging officers from putting themselves in positions where their legitimate actions could be falsely portrayed as thuggery." There are good cops out there, of course, but none of these statements by the PBA and PPL are going to make it easier for them to do their job. Remarks like these make it sound as if the NYPD and LAPD are beyond reproach. If you've paid attention to the news at all or even have some passing familiarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, that's obviously not the case. The issue is police brutality related to systemic racism and/or general problems with hiring and accountability in law enforcement, but reps for the NYPD and LAPD would rather not address those issues. Because hey, look, Quentin Tarantino! Worse still, police reps recently ratcheted up their rhetoric, and it's still not helping their own cause. Late last week, Jim Pasco, the executive director of the Fraternal Order of Police, made a cryptic statement about Tarantino and the police boycott effort. "Something is in the works, but the element of surprise is the most important element. Something could happen anytime between now and [the premiere of The Hateful Eight]. And a lot of it is going to be driven by Tarantino, who is nothing if not predictable." Pasco added, "The right time and place will come up and we'll try to hurt him in the only way that seems to matter to him, and that's economically." So again, rather than try to figure out how to prevent the deaths of more innocent people, how to reach out to underserved or marginalized communities, and just generally figuring out how to be better police officers, high-level police union reps would rather try to organize a major boycott of a new Quentin Tarantino movie and intimidate the filmmaker, and by extension other voices critical of the police, into silence. This is, frankly, stupid. The NYPD, LAPD, and the Fraternal Order of Police come across as petty and tone deaf. The boycott will accomplish nothing substantive with regard to police brutality; it may simply make current perceptions of the police more negative. At the heart of these statements isn't just a general defensiveness but an unhealthy inability to accept legitimate criticism. We're not talking about the deaths of innocent people or good cops who died doing their job. Instead, police reps have dogpiled on a citizen who was protesting peacefully. In case you were wondering, The Hateful Eight comes out in select cities on Christmas Day.
Police vs. Tarantino photo
Police rhetoric not helping their cause
The NYPD and LAPD really hate Quentin Tarantino right now, labeling him a cop-hater and anti-cop. In the process of explaining their dislike for the filmmaker, the NYPD and LAPD are also providing more reason to lose faith in...

DOC NYC 2015 photo
DOC NYC 2015

DOC NYC starts this week, runs November 12-19

The largest documentary fest in the US
Nov 09
// Hubert Vigilla
DOC NYC is one of my favorite film festivals in New York City. Each year, DOC NYC showcases some of the best non-fiction filmmaking from all over the world, including a number of Oscar winners and Oscar contenders. DOC NYC st...
Star Wars TV spot photo
Star Wars TV spot

First TV spot for Star Wars: The Force Awakens has lots of new footage

Let the hype flow through you
Nov 09
// Hubert Vigilla
It's five weeks until The Force Awakens, folks. (I know!) The third and final trailer and the Japanese/international trailer offered some new stuff to look at and enjoy, and the same goes for this first TV spot for Episode VI...
#GamerGate movie photo
#GamerGate movie

Scarlett Johansson interested in #GamerGate film based on Zoe Quinn memoir

It's actually about hate in geek culture
Nov 08
// Hubert Vigilla
Oh, #GamerGate. While some true believers still insist that it's actually about ethics in games journalism, the movement has become dominated by misogyny, nerd rage, and lots of other off-putting/alarming attitudes. There mig...

Review: The Peanuts Movie

Nov 06 // Nick Valdez
[embed]220109:42688:0[/embed] The Peanuts Movie Director: Steve MartinoRated: GRelease Date: November 6th, 2015 The Peanuts Movie is all about Charlie Brown (Noah Schnapp), an awkward kid with a debilitating self-esteem issue thanks to years and years of being teased by the other neighborhood kids. Just as he was wishing for a blank slate, a mysterious new, red-haired girl moves into town. After falling hard for her, Charlie's got to muster up the courage and do some crazy things in order to impress her and get her to notice him. While he's doin all of that, his dog Snoopy (thanks to Bill Melendez's archived voice work) finds a typewriter and begins writing about the WWI Flying Ace and his rivalry with the infamous Red Baron.  First things first, Peanuts is absolutely stunning. I honestly have no idea how Blue Sky Studios managed to pull this off. Just like the film's content, Peanuts' visuals are both heartily nostalgic (thanks to a few 2D flourishes like little hearts and backgrounds every now and then) and groundbreaking in its effort. Characters move as smoothly as they would in 2D while avoiding CG's blurring motions thanks to an adept use of choppy movement. I guess the closest thing I can compare it to is Blue Sky's mascot Scrat (from the Ice Age series). Just as his movement is broken, yet fluid so it captures the essence of old Looney Tunes shorts, Peanuts' animation captures the essence of the TV specials. And then there are all the little details therein like Snoopy's fur, the whiskers in Charlie's lone curl of hair, and the Flying Ace sequences look pretty good in 3D. But once you get beyond how great it looks, you'll soon realize that it may be too comfortable taking yet another trip down memory lane.  Because it's both a reinvention and a reintroduction to the Peanuts series, the film is almost required to make the necessary homages to its classic jokes and settings. Every classic Peanuts joke is here, quite literally, and you'll be hard pressed to find them funny again in this new setting. These jokes have already been made available through the specials replayed through the holidays each year, so it's really a matter of whether or not you'll appreciate them again through this new filter. It's a celebration unfortunately caught in the past, and while these jokes are definitely delightful and may mean more to new audiences, it's just a shame that this new film didn't take the chance to create new memories for Charlie Brown. It's even more glaring when the newer bits work very well. There's this scene where Charlie is getting "Psychiatric Help" from Lucy that's absolutely fabulous in how dark the writing duo of Bryan and Craig Schulz take it. At one point, she shoves a mirror in his face and asks Charlie what he sees, and all he can say in response is "A loser." While it sounds wonky on paper, it's a sequence that actually utilizes our knowledge of the characters in the past rather than be hindered by it.  In fact, that's one of the boldest choices The Peanuts Movie makes. While the humor and most of the content is stuck in the past (thus making sequences featuring new pop music from Meghan Trainor feel even more out of place), Charlie Brown has actually become a mix of his many identities. The film only works because the writing, actor Noah Schnapp, and visuals have mastered this newest iteration of Charlie Brown. He's a mix of many of his past incarnations: The outright loser from Schulz's original comic strips. the awkward kid from the holiday specials, and the more positive Charlie from later direct to video specials. Yet with all of those influences, he's still got his own new layer in the film. They've added this crippling self-doubt that's so current, it clashes with the rest of the film's nostalgic tone. As the kids exist in a world with rotary phones, Charlie's pondering existential crises in love.  While the humor can be a bit clunky, and Charlie Brown is fantastic, the film does take some getting used to. Since it is so stuck in the past, it's taking on a format we haven't seen in quite a while. Broken into vignettes fueling a central arc, each major sequence in Peanuts feels like it could be a stand-alone special of its own. Each major scene has a beginning middle and end, so it doesn't really flow like a traditional film, per se. It's an odd pacing that, while not entirely bad, does detract from the enjoyment overall. Going in you've got to realize that you're taking the good with the bad, but the "bad" isn't the worst thing in the world. The Peanuts Movie's biggest flaw is that it's too celebratory and nostalgic, but that's also such a non-problem to have.  I certainly have enjoyed myself, but I also don't feel compelled to watch this over and over again like every other Peanuts thing I've revisited in the past. It's a delightful and breezy film, but I'm not sure if everyone will have the same reaction to it that I did. It's fun to walk down memory lane every once in a while, but you can't expect everyone to stick around.
Peanuts Review photo
Good grief?
Thanks to my mom, I've been following Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang for as long as I can remember. Like Charlie, I too am a sad sack who's life the universe sees fit to ruin at all cost. So when I first heard 20th Centur...

Screenings photo

See The 33 early and free

Washington DC, Baltimore and Norfolk
Nov 06
// Matthew Razak
Hollywood turns movies around pretty quick these days. It's only been a few years since the Chillean miners were trapped, but they've already got what appears to be a stirring film about their ordeal. You can be one of the fi...
Warcraft Trailer photo
Uncanny valley to the max
I don't have a lot of experience with the World of Warcraft videogames, so I'm not sure (although I have seen friends swallowed up by Blizzard's behemoth), but has it always looked like a generic fantasy property? While this ...

Star Wars Japanese photo
Star Wars Japanese

Japanese trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens features new footage

Get your fix, Star Wars junkies
Nov 06
// Hubert Vigilla
The final domestic trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens isn't the last trailer for the movie. A Japanese trailer for the film has popped up online, and it's got all-new footage for you Star Wars junkies to enjoy. Check it...

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