This is it guys ... the final episode of Flixistentialism as we know it. The gang plus some old (white) faces of Flixist past get together and reminisce on this long journey of a podcast we've all embarked on. There's fantasy...
Yelling has been an integral part of cinema since the first talkies came to be. I bet you didn't know that the original screenplay for The Jazz Singer was typed in all caps and was supposed to be yelled the entire time....
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The 2011 Tribeca Film Festival was one of the first festivals Flixist ever covered. That was back before my time, but I was part of our coverage of the 2012 and 2013 fests, and I'm excited to be a part of it again. This year, Isabelle Magliari and I will be spending the next week and a half down at the Chelsea Cinemas seeing what there is to see and bringing you reviews of all the good (and hopefully none of the bad) stuff that they've got on the slate.
The festival officially started last night, but it begins in earnest today, and anyone interested should head over to the official festival website and see what's playing. Then check here over the course of the festival and find out what's actually worth spending money on.
And if any of y'all are going to be down there, let us know. We should hang out. Or at least high five or something.
Although it's been in development hell for years after the original Mrs. Doubtfire first made big money in theaters, it seems that Mrs. Doubtfire 2 is finally happening. Most likely fueled by Robin Williams' return to the public eye (with notable roles in The Crazy Ones, a quick spot on Louie, a few Nintendo commercials, and the upcoming The Angriest Man in Brooklyn), Mrs. Doubtfire 2 will be directed by Christopher Columbus (who directed the original film) and feature a script written by David Berenbaum (Elf).
Oh, and Robin Williams is back. Whether or not Williams' brand of comedy can survive in this day and age, I'm surprisingly wishing the film good luck. Assuming Williams can just jump right on the old horse, this might be a nice and nostalgic trip down memory lane for folks who lived in the 90s. For everyone else, maybe they'll get a laugh out of seeing someone other than Tyler Perry adorn old woman makeup?
It looks like they've saved the best trailer for last. As X-Men: Days of Future Past gets closer to its release later this May, we finally have a trailer that is as great looking as the first one. We have a good amount of plot without spoiling any of the details (such as Wolverine's mode of time travel), some neat character shout outs (and a good, hard look at Quicksilver in stupid looking googles motion), and the set pieces are full of zazz. Oh and those Sentinels look fantastic.
Fox may have trouble with its posters, but these trailers really make the X-Men pop. I'm hoping the film can live up to this. X-Men: Days of Future Past opens May 23rd.
The first trailer for David Fincher's highly anticipated adaptation of Gillian Flinn's 2012 novel Gone Girl has finally appeared online. Starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl tells the story of the search for Amy Dunne, who has gone missing on their fifth anniversary. One of the prime suspects is her own husband, Nick Dunne.
This will be the tenth film directed by David Fincher, whose credits include Panic Room, Se7en, The Game, Fight Club, The Social Network, and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
Trent Reznor will team up with David Fincher for the third time to score the film. He previously partnered with Fincher to score The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Social Network.
There's a very short list of directors that I trust to turn whatever they're given into gold, and David Fincher's name is on that list. Fincher plans to deviate from the book, including giving the story a brand new ending. Did Nick Dunne kill his wife? Find out in theaters on October 3rd.
There's always a long wait after a Kickstarter project ends. When that Kickstarter project is for a film, the wait is painful. When it's Zach Braff's latest film, the wait is downright torturous. Thankfully, that wait is almost over, and now we have a trailer to tide us over.
Released today, Wish I Was Here is full of Zach Braff's trademarks as a director: wide, vibrant shots, slow-motion shots, and shots with the character as an afterthought. Set to the tune of "Simple Song" by The Shins and clocking in at roughly a minute and forty seconds, it almost seems like the trailer is its own story: a guy who seems jarred by some sort of tragedy has a complete disconnect with reality and goes on wild adventures with the gorgeous Penny Lane Kate Hudson.
The trailer left me feeling emotionally drained, hopeful, adventurous, and longing for a road trip. If this is even a tenth as fantastic as Garden State was, we're all in for a treat. Keep in mind that with Garden State, Braff was creatively restrained by the powers that be. Since money was raised by the community for this film, he's free to let his creativity shine.
Expect more coverage as we lead up to Wish I Was Here's debut in theaters this July.
Have you ever seen a movie that you knew had a sizable amount of problems, but you couldn’t keep yourself from recommending it? There were issues abound, some that would potentially sink a lesser film. But the movie just absolutely nails one or two things, and wouldn’t you know it, those are the things that matter. So you’re caught between two opposite ends of the quality spectrum, picking apart equally interesting failures and successes. Has this ever happened to you?
Well, it’s happened to me. And I can think of a particularly apt example.
Captain America: The First Avenger is my favorite film out of the Marvel line up (which is why I claimed this review). Captain America has always been my personal favorite Marvel character due to a mix of that cool Saturday morning cartoon aired on Fox Kids, his stance during the Civil War comic event, and how fun he is to play in the Marvel vs. Capcom series. Beyond that, Steve Rogers has always been a character that spoke to me personally.
When stripped of the Americana facade and super human strength, you have a stagnant man within a world that's constantly changing around him. A real fish out of water. In a post-Avengers world, when it seemed like we'd finally get an America movie that delivered on the promise of the first, we're left with The Winter Soldier.
That's not to say it's devoid of entertainment. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is like a wiffleball bat; a fun toy with no real weight to it.
In my mind, Lars von Trier doesn't make comedies. The only other von Trier films I've seen are the first two entries in the Depression Trilogy, Antichrist and Melancholia. I enjoyed them all in their own way, but aside from finding the talking fox in Antichrist laughably over the top and the little bit of levity Udo Kier brought to Melancholia, there's really not a lot to find funny. But that's to be expected, considering their subject matters (and the trilogy they represent). I went in expecting darkness and found that in spades.
So it's bizarre, then, that the first part of Lars von Trier's pornographic epic (and the beginning to the last film in the Depression Trilogy is kind of hilarious.
The folks over at Yahoo Movies have released the first teaser for The Expendables 3, showing a couple action beats and the film's pretty sizable cast.
I didn't much care for The Expendables One, with its dark color palette and overly serious tone, but The Expendables 2: Expenda-lectric Boogaloo was a delightfully cheesy throwback. And it appears as if The Expendables 3: Revenge of the Gibson will be following the path its predecessor took to Funtown, USA.
Of course, this is all filler until Expendabelles comes out.
Back before the final Twilight film hit theaters, I wrote up an article in which I discussed whether or not certain Young Adult book films would be the "next big thing." My initial outlook for Divergent looked good, but that was way before The Hunger Games became stupidly popular. Sure it's hard to compare the two franchises, but in true post-apocalyptic fashion, one can't survive as long as the other does.
In order to succeed, in order to distinguish itself in a growing sea of teen books, movies, and same looking franchises, Divergent needs to diverge enough from the norm to stand out. Too bad we have to wait for a sequel to see if that happens.
My final interview of SXSW was a three on one with Michael Pena, America Ferrera, and Gabriel Mann. I had just seen the screening for Cesar Chavez the night before, and we were all kind of pumped to talk about the movie. Just by talking to these three for the short time I had, I could tell they were excited about their project and excited to celebrate Cesar Chavez's life.
During my short time with them we talked about the amount of pressure Cesar Chavez has on it because its the first, the kind of mindset you need to be in order to strike, and how Chavez is the first real step for the Latino community.
I've been hyping Sabotage since I first heard about it. I'm a huge Arnold Schwarzenegger fan and a huge David Ayers (End of Watch) fan so the two together sounds like sweet, sweet cop action bliss. Ayers is great and melding action and drama while developing actual characters and Schwarzenegger is great at... well... being in action movies. Things looked pretty good.
It was easy to get excited to because the supporting cast was really solid and the trailers actually advertised the film in the right way. Heading in I was certain I was going to have a good time at this movie. You know what? I did.
I will admit that I have not seen every movie that has ever been made. I have not seen every action film, martial arts film, or even all of the most revered of the action and martial arts films. I’ve seen my fair share, but there are gaps in my knowledge.
But you know what? That doesn’t matter. Even with my critical blind spots, I can say with conviction something that I know in my heart of hearts to be true: The Raid 2: Berandal is the best action film ever made.
[This review is being reposted to coincide with the film's theatrical release.]
There is a lot riding on Diego Luna's Cesar Chavez to succeed. Latinos aren't exactly given a lot of representation in fiction, and if there's one man, one figurehead we can rally behind, it's the activist Cesar Chavez. As other biopics for figureheads like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and Nelson Mandela have come and gone, it's a shame that it's taken this long to get a biopic for Chavez.
With all of the Latino representation in the recent Academy Awards, now seems like the best time for a Latino-centric hero as film culture finally becomes more accepting of a demographic that's increasing rapidly. While this first, important step forward stumbles a bit, I hope it's the beginning of a brighter future.
[This review was originally posted as part of our coverage of South by Southwest 2014. It is being reposted to coincide with the film's wide release.]
Bad Words is Jason Bateman's directorial feature (although he's technically been directing television for years now), so there's plenty riding on the film to see if Bateman's truly got the chops to make a future out of it. While Bateman directing and acting in his own feature leads to a lot of interesting directorial decisions, it turns out that all of that could completely fall flat if that skill isn't supported by a good, or at least interesting screenplay.
Bad Words is not the comedy it's been advertised as. It's a dramatic film that tests the limits of how much you're willing to sit through expletives in the effort that one of those expletives will lead to a joke. In fact, the film's much better if you aren't supposed to believe it's a comedy.
[This review was originally posted as part of our coverage of South by Southwest 2014. It is being reposted to coincide with the film's wide release.]
To preface this review I'd like to point you towards this article, which explains how I, as a DC film critic, finally got to see Noah ahead of time. Basically, Paramount for some reason thought it would be grand to screen the film for only religious critics, and when they got called on their crap threw the company that does the screenings under the bus. On the plus side they did arrange a screening so I got to see Noah ahead of time for this review (which was embargoed until today despite opening last night).
But that really has nothing to do with Darren Aronofky's biggest movie yet. At $130 million dollars this isn't the small budget fare we're use to seeing from him. Instead it is an epic in the most biblical sense of the word. It's a daunting task to retell a story about faith in a increasingly secular industry, and the way Aronofsky goes about that is very interesting.
When a not-sequel/prequel to 300, a film that hit theaters over eight theaters ago, was first announced, I was the first to complain about how boring the whole thing looked. And as time went on, and trailers were slowly released, I did not warm up to the idea any further.
I should be completely honest here. I wanted 300: Rise of an Empire to be terrible just so I could use "Rise of a Meh-pire" as a subtitle. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out the way I planned as 300:Rise of an Empire is surprisingly entertaining.
2011's The Muppets was a breath of fresh air since it was a reboot which never really felt like one. There wasn't a grand gesture to reinvent the characters, a notable lack of cynicism, and it was most importantly, fun. It was a reunion with old pals that sort of wrote itself into a corner. Their meta narrative of avoiding obscurity left them at a place they really couldn't continue from.
That's where The Muppets...Again! Muppets Most Wanted comes in. In an attempt to return to their Caper days, Most Wanted tries to pretend The Muppets never happened by jovially throwing the original premise out of the window. By returning to their classic comedy, however, the Muppet gang may have gotten themselves into a worse situation.
My final roundtable interview of SXSW was with Wes Anderson for The Grand Budapest Hotel. Since it was my first true Anderson film experience (which I loved), I had plenty of questions for him. But since I had to compete with a few other press folks with little time to spare, I only got one in. But I'm happy with the result either way as my time spent with Anderson couldn't have gone any better.
In our discussion Anderson divulged his a bit about his writing process, how he picks and chooses character quirks, the work of Stefan Zwieg, and cats.