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...
Thanks to the leak a few days ago, WB was forced to reveal their hand early before their big planned event in theaters. Everyone has opinions about this, and most of the Flixist staff here really didn't like its overtly dark...
I went into Unfriended expecting garbage. I told multiple people that I was on my way to the screening, and they asked why. I told them I didn’t know, but I was expecting terrible things. The trailer compared itself to The Blair Witch Project and Paranormal Activity, arguably the most important found footage horror movies… well, ever. It’s a ballsy move, putting your film at that level. Especially when the trailer that accompanied those claims was, to put it lightly, kind of awful.
But I nonetheless found myself in the theater, surrounded by people in the way I said I never would again. I hoped that a press screening meant there would be no cell phones or peanut gallery to contend with. Fortunately, I was right. But I realized another reason I don’t like watching horror movies with crowds: Because I’m a wimp.
And I really didn’t want other people to see me staring at the screen with my hands over my eyes for fully two-thirds of Unfriended’s runtime.
The latest trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens – revealed this morning at the Star Wars Celebration – has us all worked up here at Flixist. We've already watched it dozens upon dozens of times and analyzed it to death, as nerds are wont to do. There's obviously a ton to dissect there, but one little bit of dialogue has us in full-on speculation mode:
The Force is strong in my family. My father has it. I have it. My sister has it. You have that power, too.
Did you catch that? The speaker – heavily implied to be an old Luke Skywalker – says his father has the Force. Not had, has. Present tense. Of course, everyone knows Luke's father is Anakin Skywalker, better known as Darth Vader, the podracer extraordinaire who sacrificed himself at the end of Return of the Jedi. Is it possible that, somehow, the slave-boy-turned-Sith-Lord has returned from the dead in the decades between Jedi and Force – or that he never really died at all?
We may have had a not-trailer launch today, but far more importantly we have an actual trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. See this one didn't need a trailer for the trailer and we're still really excited about it. It's pretty easy to see why with all the pew, pew, pew and light saberring (OK, actually a lack of light saberring in this one).
It's also exciting to get our first look at the OG actors. Mark Hammill's monologue is a little on the nose, but they're still cool and seeing Vader's helmet pretty much amped up my excitement to eleven. Considering the hype machine is just getting started on this one and the Star Wars Celebration is going on right now we're sure to be seeing a crap ton of Star Wars stuff before Force Awakens open on December 18, 2015.
Look, we know that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice's trailer is a big deal, but releasing a teaser trailer for that trailer is absolutely ridiculous. Back when this trend first got off the ground we thought it was ridiculous and now it is even more ridiculous as almost every big blockbuster releasing hypes itself up with trailers of trailers.
We understand the "need" (more like a compulsion) to hype up things that movie studios face, but we're not going to join in. We're hyped enough as it is and 10 seconds of not-footage is just being ridiculous. The studios understand the fanboy mentality of wanting to pour over every detail and the Internet's need to obsess about something for an hour before it moves onto the next something so they pull this. A teaser for a teaser. It's ludicrous and we just honestly think it's dumb. You can go watch it on your own, of course, but as far as Flixist is concerned we're continuing our stance of not advertising for what is basically an ad. Trailers already have enough problems on their own these days with over reveals and basically showing entire films so trailers for trailers is just a line we're going to stand on this side of while we wait a few days to see the actual trailer.
And yes, we see the hypocrisy and conflict in posting something that hypes up the trailer anyway, but without saying something we sound a little tone deaf to the film industry, which we're not.
A new script, based mainly on the first book, is already written, with the latest draft done by Akiva Goldsman and Jeff Pinkner that is completely reconcevied from what was in the works before. Evidently Sony is taking this script and fast tracking it as their hungry for big franchise they can sink their teeth into. Stephen King is all about it as well, offering an excited quote about the fact that it's finally moving forward again.
With studios desperate for big, already built franchises is this finally our chance to see the gunslinger Roland and his compatriots on the big screen or are we all on our own quest for the Dark Tower, doomed to repeat ourselves for eternity.
I spent the entire 97 minute runtime of The Reconstruction of William Zero thinking about Shane Carruth. It's not a Carruth film, but it feels like the kind of film he would make. It's discontinuous, scientifically complex while still feeling grounded in the real world, centers around people attempting to reclaim their identities, and features Amy Seimetz (Upstream Color) swimming in a pool and looking emotional.
But unlike a Shane Carruth film, I understood The Reconstruction of William Zero my first time through. Whether that's a good thing or not depends on how opaque you like your cerebral science fiction.
After the huge success with the recent reboot/sequel, Tron: Legacy, Disney has announced that another sequel is in the the works. The unnamed Tron 3 will be bringing back a lot of the same crew who worked on Legacy, including main leads Olivia Wilde and Garrett Hedlund.
There's no details yet about any sort of plot or premise, but shooting is already set to begin sometime this fall, so more news will probably begin to surface as we get closer to the end of the year.
Response to Tron: Legacy seemed to be mixed from many viewers, especially depending on whether or not you were a fan of the original Tron. So what do you think? Are you excited to see more of the modern Tron franchise or are you ready for Disney to move on to the next big franchise?
...which I guess would just be all those live action animated adaptations they've also announced.
Star Wars has always been a bit behind the curve in releasing the series' films on new platforms much to the chagrin of its fans. It took forever to get them on DVD and then forever again to get them on Blu-ray, and now on April 10 you'll finally be able to own the digitally so you can watch them on any platform.
You will be able to re-purchase the six movies you almost already surely own as a collection or individually at all leading digital retailers, including iTunes, Google Play, VUDU, Amazon, Xbox Video, PlayStation Store, and Verizon Fios. But you aren't just getting the movies. Believe it or not there are still new special features that can be made for these films. Each digital release comes with two new, never-before-seen bonus features: Star Wars: Discoveries from Inside and Conversations. These two features will have different subjects with each release, that you can read about in the full break down of each release below.
And before you get too excited, the Digital HD releases are the same ones found on the Blu-rays so no original cuts.
Earlier this week, I complained errantly on twitter, as I am wont to do, about my local cinema’s increasing of prices to £11.80. (Which, for those of you in America, comes to $17.51 for a standard 2D ticket). I was mostly baiting a few friends of mine in the US, who are always consistently surprised at the prices my local cinema charges, but the incident got me thinking about my relationship with film as a product.
It’s something I try usually try to ignore; whenever I consider a film critically I tend to think about it in terms of themes, or narrative construction, or just simply how it made me feel, and never in terms of whether it was worth the money. Over the last couple days, however, I’ve been snowballing thoughts about the commercial side of the situation to the point where there’s enough to write down in this here piece.
To begin, I am not Nick Valdez, our resident Fast and Furious reviewer. He is in transit to a new life in the big city and thus cannot, at the moment, partake in the next installment of the series. I hope you will accept me as a humble replacement.
The Fast and Furious series went from a truly middling film about drag racing that took itself far too seriously to a blockbuster action franchise that's know for it's over-the-top action sequences and cramming every bit of one-liner awesomeness into itself. Also, it's about family. Vin Diesel would really like you to know that.
The man who ushered in this transformation from nothing to greatness? Director Justin Lin, probably the most underrated director working, who was at the helm of the series for the past four films. The only thing missing from Furious 7? Director Justin Lin.
In roughly 14 years, the Fast and the Furious series has become one of the biggest action movie franchises in the world, grossing more than $2 billion. Furious 7 comes out this week, and there's much rejoicing. There's also a pathos about the film since this latest installment serves as a respectful send-off for the late Paul Walker, who's anchored most of the series alongside Vin Diesel.
There's a tendency to view movies like those in the Fast and the Furious series as guilty pleasures, like we're supposed to say we like them but feel bad for liking them. Or maybe we can say we like them so long as we flagellate ourselves for this sin against high art and high-mindedness. We are guilty of art-crimes, and so we must be punished by our art-betters.
We should all just lighten up, really. We should worry less about the guilt that's imposed on us and try to be smarter about the pleasure we experience.
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 Bond films thanks to legal issues. I mean just perfect. And once again, wonderful execution of the Bond theme and the fact that his parents and Skyfall are being brought back into it and the Aston Martin and... and... and... everything.
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.