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...
OH MY GOD I CAN'T EVEN FUNCTION RIGHT NOW.
Where to start on this Bond teaser. How about it's frickin' perfect? Let's get the Blofeld (Cristoph Waltz) awesomeness out of the way and the veiled reference to him not being in B...
The worst criticism a film can get is "harmless." When a film is just "harmless," it's stale, voiceless, and generally fails to make a lasting impression. A harmless film exists, takes 90-100 minutes of your life, and then you'll never mention it again. Get Hard is that kind of film.
A regressive and bland comedy that pretty much delivers the same plot from Malibu's Most Wanted and hopes to grab your attention with d**cks and f**cks. And as much as Get Hard wants to be the offensive comedy of the season, there's not enough new humor here to even care.
Videogames have had a rough time in cinema. Since videogames are such an interactive medium, a film adaptation always misses out on the intimacy of player involvement or the videogame's story struggles to find an identity in a new medium. But most of the time, all of these problems are brought on by folks who clearly aren't aware of the original product and what made it so appealing to fans.
Films like Need for Speed, DOA: Dead or Alive, or Super Mario Bros., have been fine examples of how these films can go wrong, but Dead Rising: Watchtower is a welcome example of a videogame adaptation doing everything right.
A fun, self-aware, bloody brilliant party that is just as goofy as you'd hope.
The Last Dragon is a sort of time capsule. It's so era-specific with its plot elements--early music videos, a Soul Train analog, arcade culture, grindhouse cinemas, a song by DeBarge--that it couldn't be anything but an 80s movie. Thirty years later, The Last Dragon has endured and might be considered timeless in its own way. (Fittingly, the film's star, Taimak, looks well-preserved today at 50 years old.)
The Last Dragon comes up every now and then in pop culture, like Busta Rhyme's 1997 video for "Dangerous" or an episode of The Venture Brothers in 2006; if you're lucky, you may see a Sho'Nuff cosplayer at a comic convention. The film is era-specific but without feeling completely dated, which is hard to pull off. Part of it is the way the heroic journey merges three different kinds of narratives: the fairy tale, the coming-of-age story, and the kung fu movie.
While The Last Dragon isn't an intellectual movie, it's constantly aware of what it's doing with genre tropes and how it's subverting racial identity and cultural stereotypes, and so it lends itself to an intelligent read.
It's also the meanest, prettiest, baddest mofo lowdown around this town.
[The Cult Club is where Flixist's writers expound the virtues of their favourite underground classics, spanning all nations and genres. It is a monthly series of articles looking at what made those films stand out from the pack, as well as their enduring legacy.]
First things first. Christopher McQuarrie's Mission: Impossible 5, featuring the incredibly awesome and incredibly real high flying plane stunt, is now officially titled Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation. Secondly, this trailer is legit. Yesterday, they released a teaser for the trailer (we rarely feature trailer teases here because they're stupid) and it was so well done, I wouldn't have minded if that original one minute of footage was all we got.
After a release date change and last minute rewrite, Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation will do the impossible July 31st. Tom Cruise always finds a way to top himself, and after seeing him repel on the world's largest skyscraper for Ghost Protocol, I can't wait to see what comes next.
Also, Fugees. The trailer tease is below to so you can see what I was talking about.
It's impossible to talk about The Gunman without discussing Taken. Everything director Pierre Morel ever does is going to be compared to it. And by starring Sean Penn, The Gunman invites those comparisons. Taken made Liam Neeson into an action star. Can The Gunman do the same for Penn?
It's unfortunate, because whether or not he ever does another action movie, The Gunman is not really Sean Penn's Taken. It may have the same director, but it's definitely not the same film. Other than putting an aging actor in a badass role, Morel has clearly tried to do something different here and prove that he's not a one-hit wonder. (Did you remember that he directed From Paris With Love, starring John Travolta, back in 2010? Yeah, I didn't either.)
I don't know that he's succeeded here, but just because The Gunman won't be revered in the same way Taken is, that doesn't mean it's not worth seeing.
I never saw the original Divergent. I'm not a preteen girl or Flixist News Editor Nick Valdez, which means I have to ration my YA intake. I can only handle so many dystopian fantasies about chosen-ones that spend all their time refusing to accept their chosen-oneness. I made my stake, and I stand firmly on the side of Team Katniss.
Even so, I ended up at a screening of Divergent's sequel, Insurgent. Don't ask why or how, because I couldn't tell you. But everything you need to know about my mindset going in comes down to this: Rather than seeking out a copy of the first film as preparation, I just watched its Cinema Sins teardown. Needless to say, I was expecting something pretty terrible.
If you go see Insurgent this weekend you'll get a bit of a treat beforehand thanks to the first teaser for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2. Or, if you don't want to go see Insurgent, you can just watch it at EW now. Your choice, but considering that the teaser is simply showing the evolution of the Mockingjay pin from the films it's not really something you need to see on the big screen.
Below you can see the new poster as well as a look at the evolution of the posters from one to another. Sadly, Entertainment Weekly exists in some world where embedding videos isn't done (must be a scary place) so you'll have to click over there to watch the teaser.
Remember when it was announced that they were making a full movie based off of that short film about arcade sprites across the New York skyline? Remember when it was also announced that Adam Sandler was starring in the project? Well, its time to make some new memories with the first trailer for the film, titled Pixels.
The spectacle of the trailer is actually as cool as you think it would be. There's something about the sight of watching a giant pixelated Pac-Man gobbling up the five-o-clock traffic that just feels... right. The tone of the movie so far seems to be skewing towards the recently popular comedy-action genre with half of the illustrious Grown Ups and Grown Ups 2 alumni, Adam Sandler and Kevin James playing some main leads.
Admittedly, the trailer doesn't look all too bad and actually managed to illicit a few chuckles from me with its setup reminiscent of something like Ghostbusters. Time will tell if the movie actually lives up to its enticing premise of arcade stars arriving on Earth as interstellar invaders, but either way, Pixels is set to be an uniquely memorable affair. Plus, there's a nod to Pac-Man creator, Toru Iwatani near the end of the trailer, so that's pretty cool to see in a major blockbuster movie.
Pixels will be landing in theaters this summer on July 24th.
I saw It Follows sort of on a whim. I went to two press screenings that day, because it was mostly a day off for me, and I'd heard good things. I figured, why the heck not? Worst case scenario: I have nightmares forever and rue the day. Best case scenario: I get to go home and write a glowing review of a film that transcends genre to become a modern classic.
Two days later, I saw it again. Another email blast went around from the film's PR, and I couldn't say no. I had to see it again. I had to. I've seen dozens (hundreds) of films for review, but I've never gone to multiple screenings of a film before, not just because I wanted to experience it again. Until this one.
It Follows is the first truly great film of 2015. This is the best case scenario.
Buzzing has been non-stop about Disney releasing a sequel to Frozen, but we've never received word that it was actually going to happen. Now we have it. On the same call that delivered plenty of Star Wars details it was revealed that Frozen 2 is in the works. You probably knew that already, though, from the giant squeeee noise you heard being uttered by every child under the age of 10.
Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee will be returning to develop the film, and Josh Gad confirmed to reprise the role of Olaf, which of course is the least important person we wanted to know about returning.
It'll be interesting to see Disney actually do a direct sequel to a princess film that isn't a straight to video release. Makes sense, of course, since Frozen was both a big hit in terms of money and social spread. Let's all get ready for another round of lip syincing YouTube videos.
This past weekend saw the release of Chappie, third feature film from Neil Blomkamp, and it's safe to say reactions have been mixed. Per wrote a great review if you're on the fence about checking it out, but for those of you who've seen it and are familiar with the man's filmography, I chatted with Matt Liparota about Blomkamp's body of work in an attempt to get to the heart of his approach.
I came onto this firmly on the pro-Blomkamp side, and Matt on the anti, but in sharing our perspectives and diving in, it becomes clear there's a lot of common ground in our reasoning despite the difference in conclusion. There are passing mentions of spoilers for each of his movies, so be aware of that, but if that's no trouble, then come right on in!
[This feature originally ran with the release of Pacific Rim two years ago, but with the new robot movie Chappie now hitting theaters, I figured it'd be a fun revisit!]
In honor of Pacific Rim releasing July 12, I, Nick Valdez (Flixist's expert in Besteverology), have, through exhaustive labor and sleepless nights, compiled this list of the top ten movie robots. The rules of the list are simple: one robot per movie franchise, that robot has to be featured in a movie at some point (you'll see what I mean later), and the list is set in stone (which means no going back and changing my mind).
If you disagree with me in any fashion, feel free to discuss your wrongness in the comments below.
I really do adore Neill Blomkamp, and his first film, District 9, in particular. Although it doesn’t have as many fans as it did back in 2009, I still hold it up as one of the most spectacular debuts in recent years. His sophomore project, Elysium, may have been a huge disappointment, but it speaks volumes about the love for District 9 that most people will still agree that Blomkamp is a true visionary – albeit one blinded at times by his own ambition.
Chappie is his third attempt, and although it never gets close to the brilliance of District 9, it's far more memorable than Elysium.
Did you hear the recent news? They’re going to make an Adventure Time movie, and honestly, that’s pretty darn rad. I love a good cartoon to movie adaption—and not just a live action adaption or remake, we honestly have enough of those already—that takes a cartoon straight from the television to the big screen. It’s amazing to see how the creators take 11 to 22 minutes and up the ante for an hour and a half with a bigger story, smoother animation, and extravagant visuals.
Over the years, we’ve seen a lot of classic cartoons get the big screen treatment including The Simpsons, The Powerpuff Girls, and even as recently as Spongebob Squarepants… twice. It’ll certainly be exciting to see how Adventure Time pulls it off, and it got me thinking about what other new cartoons were most deserving of getting a film adaption.
I love a good con movie. From The Sting to Ocean’s Eleven to Catch Me If You Can, the genre is as formulaic as it is entertaining. The secret to its success is a combination of familiar warmth and detached unpredictability: everyone knows the general beats of a con movie pretty much up to the minute, and it is within that space of comfort that the filmmakers get to play with their twists. Con movies work because the audience knows every trick, and yet they still fall for them.
There also hasn't been a good one in a while. As somebody who hated American Hustle, I'd been feeling the burn waiting for another quality fix of one of my favourite genres since arguably Fast Five, so there was a lot riding on the shoulders of this latest Will Smith vehicle. Luckily, Focus is just good enough to put me back at ease for another year.
We've all wanted to make a movie at some point. We've all thought it through in our minds, from story to characters to the final act that would shock audiences around the world. Our own personal dream movie. A movie we would love to see, but never will.
As it turns out, well-known science-fiction directors are humans as well, because Neill Blomkamp (District 9, Elysium, and the upcoming Chappie) took to Instagram a few weeks back to upload a set of conceptual drawings of a Alien movie he wanted to make. The only difference between Blomkamp and you (and me) is the fact that Fox took notice and now he's getting to direct it.
So, as Blomkamp Instagrams his way into the director's chair of a new Alien movie, we sit back in our worn-out sofa to type a few words about the things we want from this project.
Isao Takahata is one of the directors out of Studio Ghibli that seems to be less discussed by fans in the west. Takahata is responsible for directing some of the most riveting and eerie films to come from the Japanese animation studio including Pom Poko and Grave of the Fireflies. His most recent directorial work is The Tale of Princess Kaguya, based on classic Japanese folklore, and it just might be one of the most expressive and chilling films from Studio Ghibli in years.
This post contains open discussion of depression, and spoilers for Super.
“The rules were set a long time ago. They don’t change.” ~Frank D’Arbo
When I was ten, a new student transferred into my school, and I made my first friend. In the second term, he beat me with a plastic tennis racket until I couldn’t breathe. I don’t know quite how long I laid in the shade of the portable classroom, the sound of the other children playing had long since blended into a peaceful, endless drone. When the bell rang, I dragged myself inside so I’d be present on the register, and told my teacher what happened.
“Don’t lie about your classmates,” she said. “If Jake had actually beat you with one of those, you wouldn’t be able to stand.”
A decade later, I sat in a small, grey office (are there any other kinds?), as a woman looked at me with an expression equal parts disappointed and confused. She’d just told me that I’d been diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, and wanted to know why I didn’t seem to have any kind of reaction.
“Nothing’s wrong with me,” I said. And she smiled.
I thought this would make me feel better in some way. When you grow up lonely, the only thought ever on your mind is “Why?” Why don’t people want to talk to me? Why do I feel so disconnected from those around me? Why did the one person I trusted beat me til I felt the taste blood in my throat, and why did that make him more popular? Now I had an answer in front of me, and it wasn’t enough. The question remained.
It's hard to believe that Shaun The Sheep is only Aardman's fourth stop motion feature film. The studio initially made its name in the UK with short films in the 70s and 80s such as Creature Comforts, but it was with the release of the first Wallace and Gromit short in 1990 that they truly seared themselves into the fabric of British cultural identity. And in the 25 years since, they've embodied a kind of effortless ubiquity that easily overcomes their relatively sparse output. Aardman is the closest equivalent the UK has to Studio Ghibli, in many ways a remnant of times gone by, desperately carrying the torch for a style of animation that is beloved and resonant, whose flame should long since have flickered out.
Going in, the signs were not exactly pointing in the right direction. A spin-off of a spin-off, the movie is the big screen outing of the popular Kids TV show, for which the target audience skews far younger than Aardman’s earlier family efforts. Combined with a lackluster marketing push and the fact that the film hasn’t even been picked up for distribution in the USA, I went into the movie with a quiet apprehension that Aardman’s creative glory days had passed, and the studio was ready to go softly into that good night.
Much to my delight, I walked out of the cinema with a massive smile on my face and more than a single tear in my eye. The movie's target audience may skew young, but Shaun The Sheep is Aardman's most assured and most mature work yet.
Despite what some may say (and even more might want), the Academy Awards are a huge deal. It's a club for old white men, sure, but the choices they make absolutely affect what projects studios do and don't greenlight going forward. And for that reason, all we can do is hope that the old white men didn't mess it up too badly. My prediction? They definitely will.
(And now that it's over? Yeah, kinda.)
For the winners, head below. We've been updating it all night, and live reacting as well. It was a pretty good time, all things considered. Except for the whole Boyhood not winning thing. That's bullshit.