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9:00 AM on 12.19.2014

Review: Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb

I don't think anyone thought we'd be seeing a franchise born when Night at the Museum first hit. The movie was plenty fun and surprisingly creative with a solid message that really didn't need to be revisited. Then it was, an...

Matthew Razak


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Review: Annie photo
Review: Annie
by Nick Valdez

Remakes are always at a disadvantage. Regardless of the final product's quality, it will always be compared to the film it's adapting. Remakes usually are stuck with two options: Either pay homage to the original and make fans happy or create something brand new and remake a film in name only. It's sort of a damned if you, damned if you don't situation. 

Either path you choose will rub someone, somewhere the wrong way. In a situation where you can't possibly win, it's totally understandable how Annie tries to have as much fun as it can as it attempts to blend both new and old.

But in trying to please everyone, Annie pleases none. 

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Review: After the Fall photo
Review: After the Fall
by Sean Walsh

Every now and then, I opt to review a movie I know next to nothing about. Pretty much all I knew about After the Fall was that it had Wes Bentley of American Beauty, The Hunger Games, and most recently, American Horror Story fame turning to crime in order to support his family. The movie poster features him with a gun in front of a giant American flag backdrop with the tagline "Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures," so I was expecting a big action flick full of explosions that moved at a break-neck pace.

I got something else entirely, and you know what? It wasn't half-bad.

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Why did it have to be The Interview? photo
Why did it have to be The Interview?
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

The Interview is the most important film of 2014. 

Does that sentence depress anyone else? It really should, because it's undoubtedly true. The film that will have the greatest impact on the world at large is not Boyhood or Selma or even The Raid 2; it's the newest comedy from Seth Rogen and James Franco.

To be clear, I loved This Is The End, and though I'm not a huge fan of Seth Rogen's laugh I think he's a talented writer/actor. And I like James Franco too. I have no problem with either of them. But I wouldn't follow either of them to the ends of the earth. I don't like their work so much that I would be willing to put myself in any sort of danger to support their work.

So why did it have to be The Interview that was asking me to do exactly that?

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UPDATE: The Interview basically dead as major chains yank it photo
UPDATE: The Interview basically dead as major chains yank it
by Matthew Razak

[UPDATE: In response to the mass cancelations by theaters, Sony has officially halted the film's release. The language of the statement implies that it will come out eventually, but there's no indication of when that might be.]

Well, I guess the lesson today is to threaten people's lives and you'll get your way. Reports are coming in that the four big boys of cinema, Regal, AMC, Cinemark and Cineplex, will not be showing The Interview at all on its December 25 release date after threats against theaters that do show it were made by the hacker group who has been causing Sony so much trouble. Evidently the chains are planning to ask Sony to delay the release.

It's probably the right decision, but it sure as hell doesn't feel like it. If anything did happen the theaters would be in serious trouble, but, man, if it doesn't feel like the bad guys are winning here. Press screenings for the film have also been cancelled in multiple cities, though mine in DC has not as far as I know. 

We'll keep you updated as the story continues. 

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Review: The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies photo
Review: The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies
by Matthew Razak

When Peter Jackson announced that he'd be stretching The Hobbit into three movies I was a bit wary, but excited. While the book itself could have easily been put into one, maybe two, films there's enough lore in the world to fluff our three movies. Still, it seemed like a stretch. However, after I enjoyed both the first and second films -- fully acknowledging that they were not as good as the original LotR films -- I was all set to watch an over two hour action sequence take place in the third.

Really that's all that's left. What amounts to a pretty minor part of the book after (spoilers) the death of Smaug is now stretched out into a full film. Two hours of Middle Earth action sounds pretty good to me, especially after enjoying the first two. I should have known that it isn't action that makes Middle Earth awesome.

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Review: Exodus: Gods and Kings photo
Review: Exodus: Gods and Kings
by Nick Valdez

Folks don't know this about me, but I have a soft spot for biblical stories. Having been raised half Roman Catholic, half who gives a hooey, I have an abundant knowledge of Christian bible quotes and intricacies. Regardless of your beliefs, you have to admit the Bible is full of fantastical, involving stories ripe for big budget adaptations like these. 

It's really the simplicity of it all that makes it entertaining. Bad guys are bad, good guys are unequivocally good, and some invisible force is guiding everyone's decisions. But when that guiding force doesn't know when to reign it in, you get Exodus: Gods and Kings. 

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Review: Inherent Vice photo
Review: Inherent Vice
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

I’m not educated enough to have an intelligent conversation about Inherent Vice. I’m smart enough, but to seriously wrestle with what Paul Thomas Anderson’s adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s book is trying to do and say would require me to have A) Seen more of P. T. Anderson’s films, or B) Read more (read: any) of Pynchon’s books (perhaps even the source material itself), or C) Know more about the era in which the film takes place.

And so it’s taken me well over a week to write this review, because I simply didn’t know what to say. I wanted to deconstruct the film in some meaningful way, but I don’t feel qualified to do so.

What I can do, however, is consider just what it means to see (and generally enjoy) a film that I don’t understand. 

[This review was originally posted as part of our coverage of the 52nd New York Film Festival. It is being reposted to coincide with the film's limited theatrical release.]

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Here are your 2014 Golden Globe nominees photo
Here are your 2014 Golden Globe nominees
by Nick Valdez

Here we go. Awards season has officially begun. The Golden Globes may not seem like a big awards ceremony anymore, but their set of nominees and winners set the stage for the rest of the season. Big winners and nominees here usually are on the fast track to Oscardom. The weirdest part of the nominees this year is, lots of these films have yet to hit wide releases. 

The Theory of Everything, Selma, Boyhood, and The Imitation Game are all making big waves with multiple nominations each, but lots of folks haven't seen them yet. Sure the awards season always screams "insider status," but this year I still haven't seen most of these awards screeners yet. 

Either way, it's good to see The Lego Movie and The Book of Life here. Shout outs to uniqueness. Check out the full list below and tell us what you think got snubbed or shouldn't be there.  

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Sony's hack, Flixist, and you photo
Sony's hack, Flixist, and you
by Nick Valdez

We here at Flixist appreciate that while you can get your movie news fix from anywhere, you lovingly come back to us. We'd like to thank you for your readership wholeheartedly. Without you all, there's a good chance we'd be talking about the latest Marvel movie in some abandoned alley somewhere while writing "I love dogs" on the walls. 

But from time to time, we come across some bits of news that we're conflicted about discussing with you all. As Flixist's News Editor, I'd like to clarify our stance on these things. 

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Washington Area Film Critics Association announces award winners photo
Washington Area Film Critics Association announces award winners
by Matthew Razak

The Washington Area Film Critics Association, of which I am a card carrying member, has delivered it's award winners once again this year. I voted of course and I think this year is one of the first where I've overwhelming agreed with the majority of wins. Boyhood grabbed best picture and best director, which is definitely what should. Even if you hated the movie for some random reason it was a triumph in film making and deserves it for that. As you can expect Richard Linklater winning best director was a given as well.

Aside from that J.K. Simmons as best support actor for Whiplash is a fantastic win as well as is Michael Keaton in Birdman, though David Oyelowo's performance in Selma was truly inspirational. I do disagree with Juliane Moore in Still Alice pull in best actress as I thought Rosamund Pike should have grabbed that for Gone Girl. Oh, well the awards can't always be right like I am. 

See the full winners and nominees below and check out all the nominees here.

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First official trailer for Terminator: Genisys photo
First official trailer for Terminator: Genisys
by Nick Valdez

UPDATE: The newest poster has been added to the gallery! I'm digging it. 

We here at Flixist have been going back and forth over whether or not we're anticipating Terminator: Genisys. For every positive move the fifthquel seemed to make (like explaining how Schwarzenegger can be so old and still be a killer robot), we get a cast full of scrunch faces and a horrible sounding story. 

But despite the awful title, I'm still holding out hope because I remember long ago, when the sun was shining. I'm a sucker for Arnold Schwarzenegger, and like a fine wine, he's honing his skills with age. But then again, I remember feeling the same way before Terminator 3 made boob robots a thing. 

Terminator: Genesis  Genisys stands up and starts showing just where our lives are going July 1st next year (sha sha!).

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Bond 24 titled Spectre, cast and teaser poster revealed photo
Bond 24 titled Spectre, cast and teaser poster revealed
by Matthew Razak

If you woke up super early this morning (or live in the UK where it wasn't super early) you were treated to some damn exciting news. Bond 24 is now officially titled Specter. In a big press event at Pinewood studios the cast and crew got together and made the awesome announcement. 

In case you aren't sure why that's so exciting it's because Specter is the evil organization that is led by Bond's arch-nemesis Blofeld, who will most likely be played by Christoph Waltz despite them giving him another name. During the event the Bond Twitter account blew up with content including that Andrew Scott was confirmed to join as Denbigh, David Bautista will be Mr. Hinx, Monica Bellucci plays Lucia Sciarra, and Lea Seydoux is Madeleine Swann. You can see shots of them below along with the amazing teaser poster. That bullet hole resembles a certain evil octopus doesn't it?

Finally a new Aston Martin DB10 will appear in the film, ditching the classic that returned in Skyfall. Head below for images, a video teaser for the title and the poster. Spectre, once again directed by Sam Mendes, will release November 6th in the US.

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What Is Your Pleasure? Vivisecting the Hellraiser series pt. 1 photo
What Is Your Pleasure? Vivisecting the Hellraiser series pt. 1
by Sean Walsh

What happens when two Flixist writers who have seen only bits and pieces (or none at all) of a franchise have nothing better to do? Obviously, they team up to watch the entire franchise and write articles about it! And that's exactly what Megan and I have done with the Hellraiser series.

I have fond memories of Hellraiser III: Hell on Earth from a VHS that I recorded the Sci-Fi Channel cut of the film onto and vague recollections of first, second, and fourth movies. Megan, on the other hand, has not seen any of the films.

With that being said, we do hope you'll join us on this decent into Hell. To spare you the madness we're subjecting ourselves to, we've split this nine-film franchise into three parts.

Also, we've rated the movies out of five adorable Kawaii Cenobites. Enjoy!

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First official teaser for Star Wars: The Force Awakens photo
First official teaser for Star Wars: The Force Awakens
by Nick Valdez

It's been a long time coming. When Disney bought out Lucasfilm two years ago and announced their plans for another Star Wars trilogy, we all went into some sort of nerd shock. Whether or not you're a fan of the films, you understand the kind of weight the Star Wars name has. And whether you like it or not, this (official, not one of the many fan videos surging around social media as of this writing) first trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens sets the tone for the next decade.

With J.J. Abrams directing, a huge and notable cast joining the effort (including John Boyega and Oscar Isaac), and the original tripod of Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford returning, the seventh entry is surely going to reign supreme for years to come.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens releases December 18th, 2015. What do you think? 

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Flixgiving: Five Movies Megan is Thankful for photo
Flixgiving: Five Movies Megan is Thankful for
by Megan Porch

Ah yes, Thanksgiving. Normally, during this holiday I'm at my parents' house and I get to eat all sorts of delicious things my mom makes (although I hated all of it when I was little and kept insisting when I was grown up I'd just order pizza). Now, I don't even like pizza and instead of eating turkey on Thursday, I'll be working.

Luckily, thanks to my dual monitor set up, I can watch movies while I'm working. I've always loved going to the theater with my friends and my family. Movies are a huge part of my life, and some of them really have shaped who I am. So for Flixgiving, I thought I'd share five movies that helped make me who I am, and inspire me creatively.

It's insanely hard to narrow it down to just five movies, but here goes...

[Happy Flixgiving, everyone! We'll be posting these leading up to the actual Thanksgiving. Click here to see all of the films our writers are thankful for.]

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Review: Horrible Bosses 2 photo
Review: Horrible Bosses 2
by Matthew Razak

You know when something is funny you just have to do it again, right? That's the logic with Horrible Bosses 2. The original film actually had an appealing cast that worked well together pulling the film out of cliche and into funny. Seems reasonable to assume they could do it again.

In fact so reasonable that they brought everyone back (well everyone who survived the first). Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis and Charlie Day all jump back into roles that were never meant to be jumped back into. Can the trio elevate another film?

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First full trailer for Joe Wright's Pan photo
First full trailer for Joe Wright's Pan
by Megan Porch

I had no idea there was going to be a Peter Pan origin story until just a few days ago, when I saw images of Hugh Jackman dressed up as a crazy pirate. I love Peter Pan, so part of me is excited, but another part of me wonders why we need an origin story for him.

Either way, here's the trailer for Pan, which actually looks pretty fun.

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First trailer for Jurassic World evolves the premise photo
First trailer for Jurassic World evolves the premise
by Matthew Razak

I'm a big fan of the Jurassic Park franchise, even when it got kind of stupid -- which basically means every film after the first. A return to people running for their lives in a dinosaur theme park sounds like a good idea, but this first trailer for the film doesn't really give me goosebumps like it should.

Everything seems pretty cliche. Like they didn't learn anything from the failures of the last two films. Kids in danger are basically a staple of the series now, but I wish they had gone in a slightly different direction. Even the piano solo theme feels off. I'm still hopeful, especially because I heart Chris Pratt, but this just got to be a tougher sell.

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Review: A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night photo
Review: A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
by Megan Porch

 Every once in a while, a film comes along that takes a stale genre and makes it completely new and cool again. Ana Lily Amirpour's debut film, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, is the vampire film that makes the creatures of the night scary and sexy again. After years of Twilight, it's so refreshing to see a vampire that doesn't sparkle in the sun or pretend to be a high school student.

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night tells the story of a vampire (Sheila Vand) who lives in an Iranian ghost town called Bad City. The town is full of junkies, pimps, and prostitutes, and the vampire sets her sights on the worst the population has to offer. She is a solitary creature until she meets Arash (Arash Marandi), a young man who takes care of his heroin addicted father.

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Flixgiving: Five Movies Liz Is Thankful For photo
Flixgiving: Five Movies Liz Is Thankful For
by Liz Rugg

It's Flixgiving! The Flixist staff has gathered together around the cool glow of the TV to share movies that we're thankful for; ones that have impacted our lives, ones that we feel are important, and ones that we just love.

The movies I'm thankful for range everywhere from kid's classics to resonant conceptualization to the king of campiness. I'm sure these eclectic choices say something about me and my personality ... oh yeah, it says that I'm awesome. Read on to find out more about what movies I'm thankful for this Flixgiving.

[Happy Flixgiving, everyone! We'll be posting these leading up to the actual Thanksgiving. Click here to see all of the films our writers are thankful for.]

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Flixgiving: Five Movies Sean Is Thankful For photo
Flixgiving: Five Movies Sean Is Thankful For
by Sean Walsh

Who doesn't love Turkey Day? A day of food, family, and gratitude for all you have. It's great. Unless, of course, your family is going away and you don't have any personal days from work to go with them!

That being said, I'm still thankful that the day itself is a paid day off. I'll get myself some ground turkey and whip up a depressing single man's Cheeseburger Helper, strip down to my underoos, and eat my feast-for-one in the dark.

"But, Sean," you say, "that sounds mightily depressing!" Sure it does, but fortunately I have a pretty delicious Thanksgiving movie queue set up to stave off the crushing loneliness. What movies could possibly beat back the soul-crushing pain of being alone for the holidays? Join me and I'll tell you allllllll about it...

[Happy Flixgiving, everyone! We'll be posting these leading up to the actual Thanksgiving. Click here to see all of the films that our writers are thankful for. What are you thankful for?]

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