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12:00 PM on 08.19.2014

FlixList: Ten Cartoons that Deserve Big Movies

Cartoons are great. Growing up, I loved to get up early weekend mornings (Fox Kids on Saturday, WB Kids on Sunday) and rush home from school during the week to catch all the best cartoons. Before the advent of DVR, piracy, an...

Nick Valdez


Updated! Panel details revealed:

Hironobu Sakaguchi Reflection: Past, Present, Future of RPGs

The father of Final Fantasy, Hironobu Sakaguchi, has announced his PAX Prime 2014 panel where he will discuss his history developing role-playing games, along with revealing more about his new RPG, Terra Battle. Find out more info at PAX Prime website.






Review: The Giver photo
Review: The Giver
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

It's been more than 20 years since Lois Lowry's The Giver first hit shelves, and more than a decade since I first read it. It's one of those transformative books, and before the recent YA trend towards totalitarianism, the first exposure most people had to dystopias. It's not really 1984 for children (because it's not really for children, despite everyone I know having reading before middle school), but what it says about the world and about imagination is formative for a lot of people. It definitely was for me.

When I heard it was being adapted, I wasn't excited about it, but I also wasn't totally put off. It's a story about imagery, and actually seeing some of the images that are discussed in the book (and the way they affect the view of a colorless, lifeless world) struck me as potentially compelling.

But as I sat in the theater, I realized that I was wrong: The Giver isn't about imagery at all.

It's about imagination.

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Review: The Expendables 3 photo
Review: The Expendables 3
by Nick Valdez

The Expendables could've been a good series had it been advertised differently. First touted as a return to form for aging 80s action stars as they wax nostalgic about their glory days, The Expendables turned out to be a greyish blob that somehow muddied up the colorful personalities which inhabited it.

Then the same thing happened in the sequel. The actors got a bit more room to play, but as the cast ballooned, the little joy to be had was smothered by more generic shooty bang bang. With the advertising for The Expendables 3 copying Fast & Furious 6's font, Stallone making a big deal about dropping Bruce Willis from the cast, and adding a bunch of relative nobodies to the roster, the third film looked to follow in the same pattern. 

This better be the last one. 

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Review: Let's Be Cops photo
Review: Let's Be Cops
by Sean Walsh

I love the Buddy Cop genre. Lethal Weapon, Beverly Hills Cop, 21 Jump Street (and its sequel), even Hollywood Homicide. I also love The New Girl. Imagine my surprise and delight when two of the leads from The New Girl were going to appear in a buddy cop movie! Just like 21 Jump Street before it, I loved the trailer for Let's Be Cops every time I saw it (and considering how many times I watched it on YouTube, that's saying something).

Did Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans, Jr. deliver the goods or did they show the best stuff in the trailer? Read on to find out!

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Robin Williams' best performances photo
Robin Williams' best performances
by Flixist Staff

Every time there is a major death in any industry the internet is bombarded in the following days with news posts and features and all sorts of other content that blur the line between legitimacy and exploitation. There have been times where we've actively avoided writing anything more than an initial (depressed) announcement, but here is an exception. Robin Williams's wife, Susan Schneider, gave a statement that read:

I am utterly heartbroken. On behalf of Robin’s family, we are asking for privacy during our time of profound grief. As he is remembered, it is our hope the focus will not be on Robin’s death, but on the countless moments of joy and laughter he gave to millions.

It is with that in mind that we decided to write this.

Let the celebration begin.

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Robin Williams found dead at age 63 photo
Robin Williams found dead at age 63
by Matthew Razak

We bring you some truly sad news tonight. Robin Williams was found dead in his home after an apparent suicide by asphyxiation. Reports from the family spokesperson say that the actor was suffering from depression and recently entered a 12-step rehab stint for drug abuse. 

I'm not sure there's a single actor who has brought more people more joy in the past 40 years than Robin Williams. From the start with Mork and Mindy to classics like Good Morning, Vietnam to more dramatic turns like Good Will Hunting to darker stints like 1 Hour Photo, you knew that if Robin Williams was in it you'd be getting something at the very least intriguing and at the very best life changing. His brand of humor and style was unique and will be sorely missed. I think that might be why this in particular hurts so much; we're missing a man who helped bring a bit of happiness into our lives over and over. 

God damn I played the fuck out of that Hook VHS. You will be missed, Mr. Williams.

[via Variety]

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Review: Into the Storm photo
Review: Into the Storm
by Matthew Razak

Into the Storm is one of those movies that you wonder where it came from. Natural disaster films are so early 2000s and this one feels particularly ancient. Clearly the thinking was that with all the super storms hitting us the time was ripe to pick the genre again, but it really isn't and Into the Storm isn't the film to do it in.

While you don't have to do much to be a competent natural disaster movie there are a few rules. The biggest one is not to actively insult people who have actually been affected by cataclysmic disasters. Into the Storm fails at this, and while it may succeed at a few other things because of that it fails completely. 

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Flixist Community Discusses: Guardians of the Galaxy photo
Flixist Community Discusses: Guardians of the Galaxy
by Nick Valdez

Guardians of the Galaxy has caused quite a stir in the Flixist Community. It's blown up on Twitter, Facebook, and I've even heard some of my non-fan friends discussing it for some reason. It's got the kind of pull I haven't seen since Marvel debuted the first Iron Man movie. 

Even if I don't completely like it myself, it's still an invigoration of the tired Marvel Studios plan, so folks have been heaping praise. But I wanted to know what folks liked (or did not like) about it specifically. Thanks to Flixist Community Discusses, we'll discover why Guardians of the Galaxy may or may not be successful in what it set out to do

Gathered from the comments and Twitter, here's what the Flixist Community thinks of Guardians of the Galaxy. Spoilers ahead! 

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Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles photo
Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
by Matthew Razak

OK, we've all seen the new look of the Ninja Turtles, and if you haven't there it is up there in the header. It's hideous. They look really weird and totally ugly. That doesn't change in this movie. We're just all going to have to live with it (unless the movie flops and we don't get a direct sequel). Thanks to that I won't be discussing their look anymore. It just is.

How does one reboot a franchise that's already been rebooted repeatedly in multiple formats. There's one key factor that makes the Ninja Turtles work. It isn't the ninja factor or the mutant turtle factor or the teenage factor. What makes it work is that the turtles are actually interesting characters with a family dynamic that always pays off. Rewatch the original live action film. It's fun, but it's also a fantastic movie because they treat the turtles as real characters and when that's done it's easy to see why the franchise is eternal.

Of course a film produced by Michael Bay doesn't exactly hint at strong character development, does it?

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Fantasia Review: WolfCop photo
Fantasia Review: WolfCop
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

Puns are a lot more interesting than most people give them credit for. While they're exceedingly easy to come up with and throw into literally every conversation ever, they're much harder to actually pull off.

The title for the WolfCop trailer on YouTube (embedded below) is "Here comes the Fuzz." You get it? Because they call cops "The Fuzz." It's like Hot Fuzz, except that name isn't a pun. "Here comes the Fuzz" is an example of an acceptable pun. It's fine, you might chuckle, but then you get on with your day. It doesn't resonate. "Dirty Harry... Only Hairier," the poster's tagline (seen above), is a step in the right direction.

But the Fantasia description for WolfCop starts with the most brilliant phrase ever written by a human: "No one is above the claw." And that is something else entirely. That is freaking hilarious, and 50% of why I watched WolfCop, a decision that was 100% the best thing I could have done with those 79 minutes.

[The Fantasia International Film Festival is currently taking place in Montreal through August 7th. As it begins to wind down, we'll be reviewing some of the interesting things we saw there. For more information, head here. For all of our coverage, go here.]

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Hey everyone, let's talk about Guardians of the Galaxy! photo
Hey everyone, let's talk about Guardians of the Galaxy!
by Nick Valdez

A few weeks back, I started this segment where I gathered the community's opinions on big movies. It's been gone for awhile due to a lack of interesting films, but now's a good time to bring it back as any. So what did you all think of Guardians of the Galaxy? I liked it, but didn't love it enough to put it in our "Great" category. 

I'm interested as to what you all think, so I'll gather all of your responses (labeled with who wrote them, of course), and pepper in some responses from the Flixist staff, into one post as "Flixist Community Discusses."

Leave a comment below, hit me up on Twitter (@Valdezology), or even send me an email at nick@flixist.com (if you have anything particularly spoilery). The community post will go live Friday, August 8th at 12PM CST, so I'll be taking responses until then!

Where does Guardians of the Galaxy stand, Flixist community? Would you let this movie guard your galaxy? Get your opinions in folks!

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Review: Guardians of the Galaxy photo
Review: Guardians of the Galaxy
by Nick Valdez

I should admit this outright. Whether it's the nature of my job, or the seemingly endless deluge of Marvel Studios news that we write on everyday, I've succumbed to Marvel fatigue. That's why I was instantly drawn to Guardians of the Galaxy. From the first trailer on it promised something entirely unique within the Marvel formula, and although it too is a stepping stone within Marvel Studios' grander scheme, it stood out for good reasons. 

With a quirky director whose only done smaller projects, a star studded cast painted green and voicing things like animated raccoons and trees, its 70s rock inspired soundtrack, and its complete foray into comic book oddities, Guardians of the Galaxy could've easily been Marvel's biggest failure.

Good thing it's not. 

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First trailer for Into the Woods photo
First trailer for Into the Woods
by Matthew Razak

Isn't it always the case. You put images up and then a trailer drops almost completely destroying the use of those images. Such is the case with Into the Woods, which has its first trailer here. It looks great, but why does it almost completely ignore the fact that it's a musical? The trailers for Annie did this too. Are studios afraid that people won't show up for musicals?

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Comic-Con trailer for Interstellar  photo
Comic-Con trailer for Interstellar
by Nick Valdez

With Matthew McConaughey's recent upswing, I've been more inclined to pay attention to his projects. One such project is Christopher Nolan's Interstellar. A science fiction film about wormholes and future corn, who knows what Interstellar is really about. Remember how we all thought we knew what Inception was going to be then it turned into a confusing mess? I'm hoping Interstellar skips that last part and is just a film about future corn. 

By the looks of this trailer showed off during Comic-Con, this isn't just about corn. Damn it. Interstellar releases into theaters November 7th. 

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First official trailer for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies photo
First official trailer for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
by Nick Valdez

I love how they're claiming The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is "The Defining Chapter" in the story since the book itself is only a fraction of all of this. In what is most likely the most bloated title of the series, the third film takes place after the events of The Desolation of Smaug as Bilbo finds himself in the middle of a fight between Smaug, Orcs, Sauron, and many other things. 

Sorry, I'm just not into these films so I'm not the proper fellow to tell you why any of this is notable. Help me out, community! The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies hits theaters December 17th. 

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Comic-Con trailer for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 photo
Comic-Con trailer for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1
by Nick Valdez

I'm loving the advertising campaign for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 so far. Continuing on with the minimalist teasers is the Comic-Con trailer which contains the first actual footage from the film. Not much is said, but a lot is teased. If I had one qualm about the footage, it's going to take me a bit to get used to Julianne Moore's hair/wig. But I hope that discomfort goes away since I'm still not used to looking at Lawrence's fake hair. 

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 releases November 21st. Here's the cool Comic-Con poster. 

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First official trailer for Mad Max: Fury Road photo
First official trailer for Mad Max: Fury Road
by Nick Valdez

Thanks to the Mad Max: Fury Road panel at San Diego Comic-Con this past weekend, we've finally gotten our first trailer for the long awaited, long delayed, long in trouble sequel to George Miller's original trilogy. It's striking, loud, and perfectly captures the tone of the original films (with some disgusting beauty to boot). Some of the visuals looked off the first time I viewed the trailer, but watching it over again I realized I was off my rocker. There's just some weird CG here and there.

Starring Tom Hardy as the titular Max, a man just trying to survive without his wife and child, and Charlize Theron as Furiosa, a woman who just wants to get home, Fury Road is essentially one long chase scene in the desert. That sounds fantastic. 

Mad Max: Fury Road hits theaters May 15th, 2015 but I wish it came sooner. Here's the synopsis and character posters: 

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Review: Hercules photo
Review: Hercules
by Nick Valdez

I've been anticipating Hercules' release for a while now. I love Dwayne Johnson, and want to see him in more leading roles that aren't just kid films. I figure he's got the charisma and talent just buried somewhere in there and needs the proper outlet.

So when the first trailer for Hercules looked okay, I was stoked. It looked dumb, but the right kind of dumb. The more I waited, the more I ignored all the red flags. It's directed by Brett Ratner (who once screwed up the X-Men films so bad, it took them four more movies to recover), there were no screenings prior to its release (which usually signals a bad film), and each trailer after the first one showed off the same scenes (which means they're the only good ones). But I desperately wanted Hercules to be entertaining. Johnson deserves this after all his years of work. 

Unfortunately, Hercules somehow makes "The Rock Yelling at Things While Shirtless" a bad idea. 

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FlixList: Ten Crimes I'd Commit During a Real Purge photo
FlixList: Ten Crimes I'd Commit During a Real Purge
by Nick Valdez

With The Purge: Anarchy in theaters and another #CrimeDay in the history books, I've been thinking about crime for a bit now. In the series, everyone and their mothers are so focused on committing violent crimes they don't see the bigger picture. A futuristic utopia where everyone secretly wants to murder each other may make for witty satire, but it doesn't always provide room for other things. 

With the kind of flexibility 12 hours of consequence free crime a Purge would provide, I figured I'd write a list of ten things I'd do with that time.

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First trailer for Fifty Shades of Grey photo
First trailer for Fifty Shades of Grey
by Nick Valdez

So, here we are. Although Fifty Shades of Grey will never be the movie you want (but if you wanted straight porn, it's out there already), I can promise this trailer at least captures the tone of your favorite romance/pornography series. Starring Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan as two attractive people in a boy meets frumpy girl, tells her she's not frumpy, and then goes all S&M on her for three books kind of story. 

Fifty Shades of Grey climaxes Valentine's Day 2015. 

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Review: The Purge: Anarchy photo
Review: The Purge: Anarchy
by Nick Valdez

The Purge came and went without much fanfare. It had an interesting premise (which spawned the #CrimeDay Twitter game here on Flixist), but wasted it with a by-the-numbers home invasion film. When The Purge: Anarchy was first announced (along with the sentiment that we'd get a new Purge film every year), I was initially against the idea of yet another mediocre franchise getting run into the ground. 

But, Anarchy has something no other Blumhouse Productions film has (the company that's responsible for Paranormal Activity and Insidious): Quality. For once, I found myself okay with getting more of the same series. 

If every Purge film can be as good as Anarchy going forward, then we're in for a hell of a good time. 

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Review: Boyhood photo
Review: Boyhood
by Matthew Razak

12 years of shooting, watching every actor grow older and change along with the times and the styles. That's how long it took for Richard Linklater to create a film  about life (a boy's life to be precise). Many films have of course been made about life -- it's a pretty big topic after all -- but Boyhood has a leg up since Linklater had the incredible patience to allow his actors to grow up while making the film. It seems like a gimmick, but that gimmick is what makes Boyhood so incredibly special.

Of course filming your actors on sporadic days over the course of 12 years (39 days of shooting to be exact) is incredibly risky, especially if your movie doesn't work. What an immense waste of time and who knows what could go wrong. Thankfully Boyhood is not a failure by an stretch of the imagination, but instead an endlessly interesting study on how the banalities of life are the most important moments. 

[This review was originally posted as part of our coverage of the SXSW 2014. It  is being reposted to coincide with the film's theatrical release.]

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