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Geoff Henao

Review: Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV

Aug 15 // Geoff Henao
[embed]220778:43047:0[/embed] Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XVDirector: Takeshi NozueRating: PG-13Release Date: August 19, 2016  Kingsglaive takes place in a fantasy world (Eos) made up of multiple countries that historically held magical crystals with extraordinary powers. In the present world, however, the kingdom of Lucis is the only nation to possess a crystal, which they use to create a force field to protect its citizens. The crystal grants powers through the Ring of the Lucii, which has traditionally been passed down the line of Lucis' kings. Meanwhile, the empire of Niflheim has used their advanced weapon technology to conquer all of the world's kingdoms, leaving Lucis as the only nation able to withstand its attacks. The film opens with an introduction to the world and its governmental mythos, specifically introducing us to Regis Lucis Caelum CXIII (Bean) and his son, Noctis, in the country of Tenebrae, where Noctis was recovering from an undisclosed near-death illness. However, their meeting is ambushed by Niflheim soldiers attempting to assassinate both Regis and Noctis, leaving the queen of Tenebrae murdered. Regis attempts to flee with Noctis and the Tenebrae princess, Lunafreya Nox Fleuret (played as an adult by Headey), but she decides to stay behind to protect her injured brother. Ten years pass, and the war between Niflheim and Lucis is still raging on. Regis has created an army force, the Kingsglaive, to protect Lucis against both monster and Niflheim attacks. Kingsglaive centers itself on three primary members - Nyx (Paul), Crowe, and Libertus. Nyx is the hero/savior type, Crowe is the stereotypical female badass, and Libertus is the well-meaning, but over-emotional friend. Sensing that Lucis will succumb to Niflheim's relentless attacks, Regis agrees to relinquish control over all of Lucis' territories outside of Insomnia, where the palace resides, and marry Noctis to Lunafreya, in order to sign a peace treaty. However, this peace agreement causes waves among the Kingsglaive that will change the face of Lucis forever. Gamers that have played modern Final Fantasy entries will feel at home with Kingsglaive's visuals. The entire feature feels like an exended cutscene taken directly out of the games. However, in saying that, it feels too gamey. While the film looks damned good, it never felt like it could stand toe-to-toe with any other Hollywood CGI feature film. Visual Works, the division within Square Enix that primarily developed Kingsglaive, has the ability to create something truly worthwhile, as seen in the multitude of action scenes and dating as far back as Advent Children. If only they had the freedom to create something new and original without the need to tie to a video game, but Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within still casts a large enough shadow to prevent Square Enix from taking that leap of faith. And it's this fear that ultimately holds the entire film back. Set as a prequel to Final Fantasy XV, many of the plot points and characters in Kingsglaive are meant to be Kingsglaive-exclusive and will probably have no real bearing or mention in Final Fantasy XV beyond easter eggs or "wink-wink" references to die-hard fans. Yes, Regis, Lunafreya, and the Niflheim antagonists will play large roles in the game, but Final Fantasy XV's main brotherhood of Noctis, Prompto, Ignis, and Gladiolus aren't present in the film outside of a post-credits scene. Kingsglaive is meant to set the tone for Final Fantasy XV's world and to flesh out themes and plots that were too large to be explored in the game proper, but I couldn't help but brush off how greatly unnecessary it is in the grand scheme of things. Will I appreciate Final Fantasy XV more because of Kingsglaive? Probably. Will you miss out on key story arcs and plot points in Final Fantasy XV if you skip Kingsglaive? Definitely not. It's a shame, too, because Kingsglaive does have the star power of Paul, Headey, and Bean to help make Kingsglaive better than what it's supposed to be; honestly, I feel these castings were meant to add surface-level levity and PR fluff to an otherwise average film. The performances themselves are pretty standard of what you'd expect from Headey and Bean, although Paul's performance had flashes of his ability to break out of the typecasting his successful take on Breaking Bad unfortunately left him.  It's hard to critique a multimedia tie-in of its own accord rather than how it stands on its own when said tie-in's purpose is to supplement the main product. It's because of this that Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV ultimately fails to stand up as a true self-contained piece. If Kingsglaive were to be shed of its relationship to Final Fantasy XV and given the space and freedom to tell its own story, this would be an entirely different review. As a gamer who will dedicate at least 100 hours into Final Fantasy XV, I can appreciate Kingsglaive for what it is. As a film critic, however, I can't look past Kingsglaive's inherent fluff factor. With that said, correlate your expectations of the film with you interest in Final Fantasy XV before you decide to devote time to watching the film.
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Prequel: Final Fantasy XV
Gamers know the storied saga of Final Fantasy XV's decade-long production marred by platform changes, thematic upheavals, and personnel moves. It wasn't until this past spring that the scope of the Final Fantasy XV Universe w...

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Wolverine 3 might be Patrick Stewart's last hurrah as Professor X


Aug 11
// Geoff Henao
We already knew the next Wolverine sequel is going to be Hugh Jackman's final performance as the titular Wolverine, but it appears it may also feature Patrick Stewart's last take on Charles Xavier, as well. During an intervie...
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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles done Invader Zim style


Featuring the cast of Workaholics!
Jul 28
// Geoff Henao
Fans of the cult classic Invader Zim can attest to how ridiculous (re: genius) Jhonen Vasquez is. While we might still be lamenting the series that left us too soon (as can be said for a multitude of Nicktoons over the years)...
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Legendary Pictures to bring Detective Pikachu to the big screen


No sleep 'til Danny DeVito
Jul 21
// Geoff Henao
Can you believe it's been 20 years since Pokemon first told us we gotta catch 'em all? I wouldn't necessarily call the franchise untouchable, but it quickly became one of Nintendo's most profitable and successful tentpoles al...

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R.I.P. Anton Yelchin (1989 - 2016)


Jun 19
// Geoff Henao
Guys, this one hurts a little more than the standard fare of actor/celebrity deaths. Anton Yelchin, one of Hollywood's most talented young names, has died at the age of 27 due to a freak accident early yesterday morning. Yelc...
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Golden Globes to prevent dramas from competing as comedies


Sorry Matt.
Apr 19
// Geoff Henao
The Golden Globes were an unfunny joke this year, anchored by its comparatively unfunny Best Comedy, The Martian. The film's win, paired with lead actor Matt Damon's Best Comedy Actor win, was met with almost unanimous ire. H...
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"Top-secret" bidding war for live-action Pokemon movie comes to light


Calling all Poke Fans!
Apr 15
// Geoff Henao
Despite never getting a proper Pokemon game for consoles, we might get the next best thing in the form of a live-action Pokemon film! Last night, The Hollywood Reporter shed light on a "top-secret" bidding war for a live-acti...
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Scarlett Johansson contemplates life in first Ghost in the Shell image


Major ScarJo Kusanagi.
Apr 14
// Geoff Henao
Earlier today, Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks Pictures announced that production has officially started for their live-action adaptation of Ghost in the Shell. To commemorate, they have released the first official ima...
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Ben Affleck directing, starring in solo Batman film


No (April) fooling.
Apr 13
// Geoff Henao
It was easy to poke fun at Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice for our April Fool's Day shenanigans this year, given its divisive nature across the internet. While the jokes increased in wackiness as the day went on, it s...

Review: April and the Extraordinary World

Apr 08 // Geoff Henao
[embed]220489:42898:0[/embed] April and the Extraordinary WorldDirectors: Christian Desmares and Franck EkinciRating: PGRelease Date: April 8, 2016 In an alternate 1870 France, scientists were being mysteriously kidnapped. As it's revealed, Napoleon III was in search of a serum that would turn his soldiers invincible, created by a scientist who successfully injected the serum into two lizards. Frightened by their ability to talk, however, Napoleon III destroys the makeshift lab and everyone inside. The next day, Napoleon IV signs a peace treaty with Prussia. As time passes, notable scientists like Albert Einstein and Alfred Nobel go missing, halting the advancement of science in the late 1800s. By 1931, the world is still reliant on steam and charcoal to run their machinery, essentially creating the steampunk setting of April and the Extraordinary World. The scientist's descendants are on the cusp of re-creating the serum that would essentially grant immortality. However, they are hunted down by a French officer under orders to kidnap them for enlistment into France's weapons program. The incident culminates in the loss of many lives and the family's young daughter, April, left alone with their talking cat, Darwin. Ten years later, April is on the brink of remaking the serum when she suddenly finds herself in the middle of a dark mystery that ties her missing family in with a secret government conspiracy that can change the entire world. April and the Extraordinary World is a mix of Hayao Miyazaki's fascination with machinery and strong female leads, Pixar's overarching theme of strong family bonds, and the distinctly "French" style of animation. As previously mentioned, the art style is more or less governed by steampunk, giving this alternate Paris a very bleak and dull look that permeates beyond the visual elements of the film. Everything is very detailed and looks technically amazing; however, it just lacks that certain "IT factor" that Studio Ghibli films have. The film's plot is very predictable, even down to the plot twists that you know are coming. Given the film's PG rating, there just weren't many risks that could have been taken with its plot. However, despite this, the film is aimed more so at adults, given the strong ties to issues that aren't important or captivating to the normal child. There's much to be said about the political issues at hand, the sci-fi elements of an alternate universe that runs on steam, and the outdated notions of a modern film falling into an all-too-familiar trope, but that's better left for armchair activists and essayists. While April and the Extraordinary World is a solid family film, I wish it explored its "extraordinary world" more. Given its title, one would assume the setting, which is admittedly the most exciting aspect of the film, would play more of a focal point in the film's narrative. All of this isn't to say April and the Extraordinary World isn't enjoyable, it just leaves you wishing for something truly extraordinary.
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More like April and the Ordinary World.
Animated films are the best, aren't they? They give more life to their worlds than most live-action films do with their mixed use of CGI and human actors. Even as technology advances to the point where CG characters will be f...

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Ben Affleck-penned Batman film greenlit for production


Who can Matt Damon cameo as?
Apr 01
// Geoff Henao
Everything isn't all rose petals in the DC/Warner Bros. camp right now. Despite Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice amassing over $400 million in its first week, the critical reviews of the film have definitely hurt box office...
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Final Fantasy XV CGI film, anime spin-offs announced


Nothing final about these fantasies.
Mar 31
// Geoff Henao
Last night's "Uncovered: Final Fantasy XV" event was a long time coming for Final Fantasy fans as Square Enix unveiled more information on the next entry in the popular franchise. While some of the information was leaked earl...
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Ghostbusters reboot channels The Secret of the Ooze in new still


There are no ninjas in sight... for now.
Mar 29
// Geoff Henao
Is the verdict out yet on the upcoming Ghostbusters reboot? I'm somewhat easy to sway, especially knowing the Ghostbusters legacy will continue with the right people in place. However, as Nick indicated following the film's f...
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Suicide Squad goes international with latest trailer


Mar 28
// Geoff Henao
Has the dust settled over the Batman v Superman madness, yet? While I personally haven't seen the film yet, I'm already over the entire debacle and ready for this summer's Suicide Squad. Mark my words: I think it'll be more t...
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Toonami, Production I.G producing two more seasons of FLCL


FLCL 2: Less Fooly, More Cooly
Mar 24
// Geoff Henao
Excuse me for the brevity of this post, but man oh man. As of an hour ago (at time of publication), Toonami announced that they will be co-producing new episodes of FLCL alongside Production I.G. Together, they will prod...
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The LEGO Batcave looks LEGO awesome in The LEGO Batman Movie teaser trailer


There are no LEGO batnipples, though.
Mar 24
// Geoff Henao
The LEGO Movie was a pleasant surprise when it came out in 2014, introducing us to a whimsical universe where the Ninja Turtles peacefully co-existed alongside Batman, Shaq, and Lando Calrissian. Given the family-friendly nat...
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Star Wars' Daisy Ridley in unofficial talks for Tomb Raider reboot


More like Tomb REYder, eh?
Mar 21
// Geoff Henao
Could Daisy Ridley be the next Angelina Jolie? Maybe not, but she could be the next Lara Croft. During the Empire Awards in London this past weekend, the Star Wars: The Force Awakens star spoke to The Hollywood Reporter ...
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Paramount drops The Little Prince, Netflix picks it back up


-insert inherent ska joke here-
Mar 18
// Geoff Henao
I've never actually read The Little Prince, but I know fans keep their memories of the 1943 French novella in the warm places of their hearts. Despite a stellar cast comprised of Jeff Bridges (The Giver), Paul Rudd (Captain A...

CIFF Review: Burn it Up Djassa

Oct 12 // Geoff Henao
[embed]216649:40779:0[/embed] Burn It Up DjassaDirector: Lonesome SoloCountry: France/Ivory CoastRelease Date: October 12, 2013 (CIFF)  
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A valiant, low-budget/DIY film.
Burn It Up Djassa tells the story of an Abidjan ghetto and one young man whose embrace of the ghetto ultimately led to his demise. Tony is a young cigarette seller who finds luck gambling in the ghetto. Despite his polic...

CIFF Review: Contracted

Oct 12 // Geoff Henao
[embed]216646:40778:0[/embed] ContractedDirector: Eric EnglandRating: N/ARelease Date: October 11, 2013 (CIFF)  
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Contracted a lot of boredom.
Contracted is an American horror film that... isn't all that horrific. The film follows Sam (Najarra Townsend), a young lesbian desperately in denial over the dissolution of her relationship. At her best friend's party, ...

Review: Zero Charisma

Oct 11 // Geoff Henao
[embed]215045:39792:0[/embed] Zero CharismaDirectors: Katie Graham and Andrew MatthewsRating: N/ARelease Date: October 11, 2013 (VOD/iTunes, New York) Scott (Sam Eidson) is a late 20-something living with his grandmother while hosting a weekly tabletop RPG with his friends as the sometimes overbearing Game Master. When an opening comes up in the three-year-long game and with no interest from any of Scott's other "friends," he desperately recruits Miles (Garrett Graham). However, when his friends begin to gravitate towards the much cooler, hipper Miles, a psuedo-rivalry is started between the two. Zero Charisma hones in on these two drastically different types of nerds, as Flixist Editor-in-Chief and I defined as the nerds and "the nerds."There's Scott, who is sometimes narcissistic, constantly demeaning towards his friends, and a generally unlikable guy. Then there's Miles, who's cool, calm, and collected, yet prone to moments of being "holier than thou" with his undercover nerdiness.  The funny thing about Zero Charisma is that these characters are people I've both known and seen in my life. Their portrayals are extremely accurate, right down to the wardrobe choices of Scott and Miles. They contrast between Scott's metal-inspired vests and shirts and Miles' cardigans and band shirts. But beyond their physical appearances, their performances were remarkable. You can't help but laugh when Scott goes into a hissy fit, yet immediately feel terrible about it right after. It's this sincerity that helped make Zero Charisma so good. Scott is unlikeable character from beginning to end, but you can empathize with him. Again, this might be due in part because I'm accustomed to people like him, but you understand that his personality isn't rooted in bad thoughts but in a troubled past where he found an escape in tabletop gaming. Once that is taken away from him, you feel for him. He's still rotten and acts outrageously, but at least you can understand why. Zero Charisma is a funny film that has just as much heart as it does laughs. Honestly, I wasn't really expecting a heartfelt, feel-good film going in, but I'm glad that it ultimately was an entertaining film. Considering the process the filmmakers went through to create the film, it's great that Zero Charisma was an ultimately good film. Alec Kubas-Meyer: I wrote about Zero Charisma before it was finished, back when it was running a second IndieGoGo campaign hoping to raise finishing funds to get it to South by Southwest. I asked the filmmakers some questions and did something both because I found it interesting and because I hoped it would help out. But somewhere in the back of my mind was a nagging fear that the final product wouldn't have been worth my time or my readers' money. When the first reviews came out of SXSW, I breathed a sigh of relief, because I didn't want . I was excited for the film to come to NewYork, so I could see for myself what I had recommended to people.  Fortunately, the film had its New York premiere at Comic-Con. I honestly can't think of a more perfect place to play it. The press was corralled together in two rows while the regular moviegoers were scattered throughout the audience. I only mention this because it was interesting to see what different groups laughed at. Sometimes the critics would laugh hysterically while the rest of the room was relatively quiet. But there was constant laughter, not because it was bad (like the subject of the Best Worst Movie, Troll 2, which was the directors' previous project), but because it was genuinely funny. I know nothing about Dungeons and Dragons; table top RPGs have never particularly appealed to me even as several of my friends have joined a weekly game and told me of their exploits on the high seas. It's one of those areas where most of the people in that room probably grasped some of the subtleties a lot more than I did, but it didn't make a difference in the end. This isn't really a story about the game, even if that is the apparent focal point. It's a story about the people who play the game, and what it can make them do, and what it means to play games. It's a strange film, in part because its main character never really grows up. He's an aging man, but he acts like a teenage brat, and that's true for almost the entire movie. The ending gives him the slightest bit of redemption, but for the most part it's an unending downward spiral. Scott does something stupid, then something stupider, then something stupider, and Zero Charisma follows him down that rabbit hole. But that's how people are sometimes, and the interplay between him and the others was consistently fascinating, even if it hurt me to watch some of the more awkward scenes. But even then, I laughed and laughed and laughed. The film is a celebration of nerd culture that will appeal to people who aren't nerds. That's one hell of an accomplishment. 81 - Great
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+9 Hilarity
There are nerds, and then there are nerds. Nerds may like to flash a retro gaming shirt or spout Star Wars trivia, whereas nerds tend to obsess over their interests and fascinations. It's cool to be proud and comfortable...

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Coldwater trailer, poster feature Flixist quote


I'm as giddy as a schoolgirl right now!
Oct 08
// Geoff Henao
One of my most surprising films of this year's SXSW was Coldwater. Directed by Bellflower's Vincent Grashaw, the film's depiction of an abusive, questionably run reform/boot camp resonated with me strongly, attaini...

Review: Drinking Buddies

Aug 22 // Geoff Henao
[embed]215041:40597:0[/embed] Drinking BuddiesDirector: Joe SwanbergRating: RRelease Date: August 23, 2013 Kate (Olivia Wilde) and Luke (Jake Johnson) are really close co-workers working at a craft brewery in Chicago (Revolution Brewing, specifically). Besides making and selling the beer, their days and nights are spent drinking. Their tight-knit friendship, however, begins to inch towards uncharted territories when they inadvertently find themselves spending a lot of time together during a weekend outing with their significant others, Chris (Ron Livingston) and Jill (Anna Kendrick). Suddenly, the line begins to blur as their attraction to one another begins to blossom into something more. Further complicating matters are Kate's and Chris' problems, as well as Jill's pushiness for Luke to seriously consider marriage. With every beer downed, the tension rises between the two until a breaking point hits. Drinking Buddies focuses on those close, platonic friendships everybody has that always flirts with the notion of developing into something more. Swanberg hones in on the cautious flirtation and uncomfortable awkwardness that tends to result from such scenarios for the film's humor. Its appeal is broad, yet the jokes aren't ever fully thrown into the audience's face. Don't get me wrong: you'll be laughing out loud by some of the banter between Wilde and Johnson, but there are subtle cues that'll have you nudging the "close friend" sitting next to you. Kendrick shines in these scenes where the humor is low key as her facial expressions help sell the awkwardness between Jill and Livingstone's Chris. There's one scene in particular where a simple pause in her tracks sets the joke. The film is full of these little nuances accentuated by the actors' performances. The chemistry between Wilde and Johnson is spot-on and truly reflect the types of friendships I've had and seen in my life. Johnson just has this everyman appeal to him that perfectly fits his laid-back character, while Wilde is able to blend her sex appeal with a "one of the guys" disposition. Like I wrote in the review's subtitle, Drinking Buddies really is as refreshing as a cold beer on a hot summer day, whether it's a PBR or a local craft IPA.
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As refreshing as a cold beer on a hot summer day
Everybody always has that one platonic friendship where the line is constantly tiptoed upon that could lead to something more. As always, that move can never be made due to outside circumstances, such as a boyfriend or girlfr...

Interview: Drinking Buddies (Cast and Director)

Aug 21 // Geoff Henao
I had a video interview maybe half an hour ago. It was the first time I had makeup on. It’s weird. Anna Kendrick: Do you feel like you’re wearing a mask? No, not really. It’s very subtle, so I think she just touched up my natural beauty. I’m just kidding. AK: You’re glowing. Am I? Yeah. It’s beautiful. Jake Johnson: It’s probably a pregnancy. To be honest, I didn’t even know it was going to be set in Chicago. That’s my hometown, born and raised. How important was that to you [Joe Swanberg] to have it set in Chicago? And Revolution [Brewing], too, of all breweries. That’s actually a really amazing brewery. Joe Swanberg: It was really important, and [was] actually one of the things that Jake and I talked about at the very beginning. The possibility came up of maybe shooting it somewhere else. It was almost like if we don’t do it in Chicago, we might as well not make the movie. JJ: The financiers wanted us to go do it in Boston, and everything got very real. Joe and I had this talk where, “Okay, it works in Boston, and here’s how.” It just doesn’t. It’s a Chicago movie. JS: When I thought about the idea… It’s the first film I made where I was location-specific in that way, and I had ideas in mind. In the beginning, I wanted them drinking at the Empty Bottle; I wanted them playing pool in that specific pool room. How I pictured shooting it, and once I went in that direction, then it was fun to go all the way there and really make it a Chicago movie. But also, hopefully not in that kind of celebratory inside baseball way that I’ve seen in some films sometimes, where it’s like, “Alright, we get it! It’s Chicago!” But if you live in Chicago, it feels right to you. It’s the kinds of places these characters live. JJ: It doesn’t feel like it’s on a sound stage at CBS where they’re like, “We love Chicago!” JS: Let’s stick up [Chicago] Cubs stickers everywhere. That’s how I felt. It felt really natural to me, but still has that appeal to people who don’t live in the city, or aren’t aware of the city. They’ll understand, “Oh, a big brewery! A really nice bar/venue place, pool table, very distinct.” What was the… poop, I’m brain farting right now. AK: Did you just say poop instead of shit? Yeah. AK: Awesome. Sorry. What was the influence for the film? What inspired you to direct it? JS: A couple of things. Definitely craft beer. Just being, for about five years now, I’ve sort of been immersing myself in that world, and just really discovering it, just figuring out that there were such a thing as a craft brewery, and feeling like those companies were pushing the envelope. Also, there’s kind of a David and Goliath thing going on in craft beer right now anyway because the macro breweries control something like 92% of the market, and every craft brewery combined is the other 8%. It’s tough for them to get shelf space, it’s tough for them to convince people, especially in a bad economy, to spend extra money on a product that they could get for really cheap. All that stuff was interesting to me to think about, characters working in that world. I have friends that I went to high school with and friends that I’ve met since that work at breweries around Chicago, so I kind of starting to learn a little about that. I also wanted to make a movie… I just wanted the films to kind of grow up with me and sort of always reflect where I was at certain points in my life. As I look around at people that are going from their late-20s into their early-30s now, I’m seeing a lot of friends of mine really getting serious about the marriage question, and the idea of settling down. People have different responses to it: some people are really excited to make that commitment and do that, and other people really freak out and buck against it. I just wanted to throw a bunch of characters into that point in a relationship. The ending itself is kind of muted. That last scene is very silent, and it’s not the way more films like that would conclude. Did you have any other ideas? Did you shoot any other endings? JS: We thought about taking it a little… The additional ending wouldn’t have changed anything, but it was one of those instances where in the editing room, it became abundantly clear to me that that other scene wasn’t going to add anything to the movie. I’m really trying to think about that lately, making each scene important and valuable. And also, a lot of the influence from other movies I’m taking and thinking about lately have to do with having a somewhat satisfying ending, which is nice to finish a movie and walk out with a smile on your face. I think some part of me used to think that was really lame, and these days, I’m actually really excited about that. Ron Livingston: Well Joseph, you’re getting older. You got a son now. You got to think of the future. JS: I think you can get away with more. If you let the audience walk out with a smile on their face, they’ll forget that you rubbed their face in shit, maybe, for 90 minutes. I think it buys you a little bit with those people. That scene at the table, which was initially the second to last scene, as soon as I put it into the cut, I was like, “Okay, we’re done telling that story.” How do you guys feel about your characters? Jake, your character, I think, was probably the most innocent in that he never really crossed over that boundary, but was still tiptoeing that line a lot. How do you feel about your character’s guilt? JJ: I think that’s interesting. Olivia [Wilde] and I were talking about that, but I think that, and Anna and I had a discussion on this, but I think that Luke is pretty guilty. I think the lines are blurred. I don’t think there are necessarily good guys or bad guys in this movie, and it’s what I like about it. I think it’s a realistic look of people… I don’t think Luke is ready to get married. I think he’s very scared of that, but I don’t think he’s ready to lose Jill, so he’s in that tough spot that I think a lot of people get into. It’s like, “I’ve been in this long-term relationship. I don’t want to lose it, but I’m not ready to grow up and get married and take that last step.” This is his last kind of tango with this fantasy girl where everything falls into a perfect line of his fiancée, or soon-to-be fiancée is gone, here’s this other girl coming on hard, and then in the movie, he gets beaten up, cut up, and then he realizes he wants to go home. I feel that he’s guilty, and what he did, he shouldn’t be proud of, but in this movie, everybody’s got blood on their hands. Even Ron’s character, when I was re-watching, I’ve seen the movie three times… That’s a good segue, by the way. JJ: He’s a snake, too! They were on that hike, and I didn’t realize it in the first sitting, but he was planting these seeds of, “Oh, he’s making moves on her from the beginning!” There were a lot of laughs in the audience when you pulled out the wine. JS: I was so happy. When you say, “Had I met someone like her, you…” Obviously, when we were shooting it, [the reaction] was exactly what I was looking for. It’s so difficult to know whether that’s going to play. And it played so well. It hit well. It hit really well. JS: And everybody was instantly, “Ooooh!” JJ: Well, I missed it watching it. JS: Yeah, that’s what I mean. JJ: And when I saw it up there [at its premiere], I thought he was just like… I really like that thing of I missed it before. AK: I think I was worried, in that moment, it would feel just [controversial], and I could feel the audience going, “What’s her face doing?! What’s happening, what’s happening?! What is this moment?!” JS: I’m sorry to detour a little bit, but that’s why movies always still need to be shown in movie theaters. It’s great that people can order it and download it and watch it on their laptops, but you do not catch moments like that as well on your laptop. You just don’t. JJ: Well, I missed it until last night, because that whole thing you [Livingston] were saying about the whole, “15 years ago, if I would have…” I just thought Chris is just kind of thinking, and talking out loud, and getting into character. I didn’t realize he was making a play right then until the audience laughed, and I went like, “..what? Oh my god, this fucking snake’s at it!” When Anna did the move of, “I’m feeling nervous right now,” when I saw that, she’s taking the reins, so this is on Jill, but really from the beginning, when [Chris said], “Oh, you’re a teacher? That’s really impressive,” I was sitting there like, “Oh, he was making plays from the start!” Yeah, she was feeding off of his lines. And what you [Swanberg] were saying, too, about the crowd participation, you definitely miss that if you’re at home, in your dark room, on your laptop. AK: Also on your cell phone. JS: And checking your email occasionally. AK: Like just opening a window. I won’t miss anything important. JS: I can still hear it. Going off of what Jake said with your reactions. Your character is very awkward sometimes, and I really like that, because… I don’t know, you play that well. AK: Awkward? Thanks... yeah. I didn’t mean anything negative about that, sorry. Your character was very nervous, but she was innocent, too, except for that one moment. JJ: I get the feeling you were late with that part. AK: I mean, yeah. When we were making it, and then even, which surprised me, when I was watching it, I kept thinking like, “I should just say something. Just say something.” And I wasn’t sure what Joe was going to end up using, and I knew if he didn’t like it, he wouldn’t use it. But even so, I was like, “Oh Anna, you are fucking it up. Say something!” But I think that’s who she is. She’s comfortable with silence. I don’t think it’s as much that she’s nervous. I mean, there are certainly plenty of moments where she’s nervous, because she’s in uncharted territory a little bit sometimes, but I think for the most part, she knows who she is, and that’s based on a person I know whom I’m very impressed with. I just wanted her to be comfortable just listening because she’s cool and she knows who she is and she doesn’t have to constantly chatter, which I have a tendency to do. What I meant with the awkwardness thing, your facial expressions, that’s what I meant. You play them off, like especially in that scene where Ron’s character starts spitting game at you, laying down that line. AK: Yeah, I think she is a little unsure of what to do with that… RL: Spitting game? JJ: The subtitle of this is going to be, “Ron Livingston is spitting game.” Sorry, that’s my hometown vernacular coming out. JJ: It’s perfect. He was. I’m a professional, guys. I’m wearing a tie! JJ: I didn’t realize he was spitting fucking game. AK: This is a girl who has been in a relationship since she was 21 and has just been comfortable with that and hasn’t really noticed other guys that much. And then it’s like, “Something… what is happening?” I think she’s a little in uncharted territory, and then she does decide to go for it, it’s not like she’s a victim. But I think that’s exciting that she’s like, “Oh, is something… is something happening?” JS: I think she’s so brave, too, to tell him… It’s something that I’m taking from Kris [Williams Swanberg], my wife. She’s so good at just talking to me and telling me things, whereas for me, any kind of indiscretion or thing I’m embarrassed about or anything, I’m just like, “That’ll get bottled up and never see the light of day.” That stuff starts to eat at you a little bit. Over the course of your entire life, all of the things you should have told somebody, but didn’t… those aren’t necessarily good to just live inside of you. I think that’s such a hard, brave thing to do to look at somebody you love and acknowledge to them that you hurt them or did something wrong to them. But then that’s how people heal and get over things. If everybody in a relationship was just, “Well, I did that thing, but I’m big enough to live with it. I don’t need to bother them with it. I don’t want to hurt them.” You’re just collecting scars over time. I really wanted that character… I think it’s just so admirable. It’s really important to me that that confession happen. And that he [Johnson’s character, Luke] doesn’t confess. He’s just like, “Oh, it’s fine. You’re forgiven.” What he’s really saying is, “I did it, too, but I’m not big enough to acknowledge it to you. I can’t reciprocate right now.” RL: I think that character is the one who, of all of them, is the most able to… She lives and dies by naming the elephant in the room, whether it’s, “We have to talk. The marriage thing is the big elephant in the room.” This kiss thing is the elephant in the room. I feel like, in a way, she kind of teaches everybody else, like you guys, you [Johnson] and Olivia, spend the whole movie getting to that scene in the end where it just hits you in the stomach where Olivia is like, “I’m single,” and it’s like [Luke goes], “Don’t go there, don’t go there, don’t go there.” But you finally need to go there and name what is this thing. And I actually like the fact that, I think Chris kind of gets from interacting with Anna, he actually becomes able to name the thing in the room saying like, “I’m too old for you. This doesn’t make any sense. I don’t know what we’re doing.” I don’t think he’s going to do any better. I think he’s probably either go do the same shit until he’s just old and dead, or find somebody his own age, but I don’t think he’ll ever be able to manage that. But that elephant in the room thing is big in this movie. I agree. Just like a little sidebar back to what you [Kendrick] were saying, you kind of implied that there was some ad-libbing and improvising. Did you stay as close to the script as possible? Everyone: There was no script. Oh really? Oh wow. AK: There was no script. There was no paper. JJ: There was an outline, so we knew what was happening. We knew what the story was, we knew what the scene was, and everything was blocked out, but all of the dialogue was improvised. The story was in place, but the dialogue was improvised. So the chemistry amongst you guys was real then. AK: Things got really weird. RL: It’s funny, because that goes a long way. We get to that first apartment, and you look around and it’s like, “Well, I guess I’m playing a guy who lives here. I guess he’s persnickety because this place is persnickety.” And then he says, “You need to put a drink on a coaster,” and it’s like, “Who puts Olivia Wilde’s drink on a coaster?” And it’s like, “Well, he’s that guy.” It’s like more constricting than having a bunch of lines. That’s true. That’s also how Chicago is. Every neighborhood is segregated, it’s a different a lifestyle, there’s different people. The area fits. Okay, final question: Beers. Do you guys have favorite beers? Especially considering [the film]. JS: I could talk five hours about it. Yeah, right now, if I had to take one beer to an island, it would be Three Floyds Zombie Dust. It’s an IPA. But that changes all the time. That’s just my “right now” beer. What about you guys? Any particulars? AK: I just tried a beer from my hometown called Allagash Curieux. It’s really nice. Jake? JJ: I’ll take a Stoli on ice. Ron? RL: Yeah, I’m going to demure on this one. Alright, thanks guys. That was awesome. 
Drinking Buddies Inter. photo
Anna Kendrick, Ron Livingston, Joe Swanberg, and Jake Johnson walk into a bar...
On an early afternoon in Austin, TX, I had a chance to sit down with the cast and director of Drinking Buddies, which consisted of Anna Kendrick (End of Watch), Jake Johnson (Safety Not Guaranteed), Ron Livingston (Office Spa...

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Flix for (Not So) Short: Clapping for the Wrong Reasons


Will this have you clapping for the wrong reasons, too?
Aug 19
// Geoff Henao
Last month, Donald Glover (Community) released a mysterious trailer without context for a project called Clapping for the Wrong Reasons. Last week, it was revealed that the project was a short film written by Glover and dire...

Review: Coffee Town

Jul 09 // Geoff Henao
[embed]216039:40401:0[/embed] Coffee TownDirector: Brad CopelandRating: N/ARelease Date: July 9, 2013 (VOD) Affected by the economic downturn that took his comfortable office job, Will (Glenn Howerton) found himself employed as a website manager. However, with the freedom that the job brings comes a lack of human interaction, so Will takes residence at a local coffee shop, the titular Coffee Town. While stationing his workplace at the shop comes with its benefits, including free wi-fi, his friends Chad's (Steve Little) and Gino's (Ben Schwartz) ability to visit him daily, and getting a glimpse of his crush, Becca (Adrianne Palicki). However, all good things come with the bad, such as Will's arch-nemesis/barista Sam (Josh Groban). When a plan is proposed to turn Coffee Town into a bistro, threatening Will's comfortable working conditions, he decides to take drastic measures to prevent change from happening. Coffee Town is presented as a modern, Office Space-esque comedy that illustrates how our economy has affected business. It doesn't get preachy by any means, but it definitely touches on the human element of being displaced following the recession. Copeland and the cast buoy this with an outlandish, selfish scheme that helps characterize Will and his friends. However, I would have appreciated more of this emotional slant from Will. There are scenes where he opens up to Becca about why he feels so connected to Coffee Town, and that level of depth could have helped shape the film better. The problem I had with Coffee Town is that it doesn't really take risks. As I alluded to a bit when we posted the first trailer, I hoped the best jokes weren't already shown. Well, as it turns out, they were. CollegeHumor have a tendency to push the envelope, and that's something I wish was utilized more in Coffee Town. Sure, there are a few risque moments, like the hilarious "gay/straight" scene seen in the trailer and a ridiculous fight scene that missed its mark, but I would have liked to seen something more edgy. Maybe it's because of how talented and funny the cast is. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is one of my favorite shows and Ben Schwartz' Jean-Ralphio is a scene stealer whenever he's on Parks and Recreation, so pairing them together came with a lot of expectations that weren't met. It's understandable that CollegeHumor would want to play it safe for their debut film, but I was just expecting something more grandiose, both in scope and hilarity.
Coffee Town Review photo
This coffee's a little decaf.
CollegeHumor has been one of the premiere comedy websites since practically the internet got super popular. Before YouTube, before Twitter, before Facebook, before MySpace, there was CollegeHumor providing some of the best co...

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LEGO is officially going Back to the Future


Jun 27
// Geoff Henao
Back during Christmastime 2012, Thor brought us news about a LEGO Back to the Future project that was featured on LEGO CUUSO. Receiving enough votes to be reviewed by LEGO (and really, who ever doubted it wouldn't i...
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Dumb and Dumber To backed by Universal and Red Granite


Jun 19
// Geoff Henao
Almost 20 years since the original film was released (I'm completely ignoring the terrible excuse of a prequel that was Dumb and Dumberer), the follow-up to 1994's Dumb and Dumber is finally going forward. Dumb and Dumbe...
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Box Office Numbers: Supermeng


Jun 17
// Geoff Henao
Man of Steel topped this weekend's box office to nobody's surprise, raking in a resounding $113m (with an additional $12m from its early release). The super comedy This is the End came in second with a respectable $...
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Box Office Numbers: Crime Day!


Jun 10
// Geoff Henao
In a surprising turn of events, The Purge AKA CRIME DAY topped this weekend's box office with a resounding $36m made in its opening weekend. The other major debut this weekend, The Internship, made half the amount The Pu...

FlixList: Top 5 Actors to Play Iron Man

Jun 07 // Geoff Henao
Ben Affleck is no stranger to Marvel films, portraying the blind superhero Daredevil in the 2003 film. While the film (and his performance) received a lot of flack, I think Affleck could fit well as the playboy billionaire. However, would Affleck want to return to such a genre film as an ensemble superhero film? Probably not, but at least he would be on the same level as his co-stars. Perhaps brother Casey Affleck would be willing to step into the Iron Man armor? He might not carry the same level of awe as Ben does, but Casey has shown the ability to pave his own path in Hollywood, attaining an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor in the process. While he's mostly done dramatic roles, an action turn could be the next step in his career. Johnny Depp, as we all know, is no stranger to outlandish characters, as his career is made up of outrageous characters. The one thing his illustrious career is missing is a superhero role. While he might not possess a physical presence that most superheroes have, he can definitely turn in a good Tony Stark portrayal. All he would need to do is lay on the wit and charm, and bam: Johnny Stark/Tony Depp. Plus, his name alone would attract millions in teenage girl sales. Superhero film audiences are no stranger to Tom Hardy. His Bane in last year's The Dark Knight Rises proved to be the physical and psychological superior to the Caped Crusader. Hardy, himself, is quite versatile when it comes to his acting. While it would be weird to see someone who's associated with one of the most successful superhero film trilogies jumping ship for a rival studio, Hardy would make a fine Tony Stark. The challenge would be whether or not he could play debonair, but if his Stark portrayal is close to his Eames character in Inception, he should do fine. Of course, nobody can truly fill in Tony Stark's shoes better than Tony Stark himself, Robert Downey, Jr. Let's face it: Despite Marvel's refusal to negotiate new salaries (as evidenced by Terrence Howard's dismissal following the original Iron Man film), Marvel Studios would not be the money factory it is now without Downey. To even flirt with the notion of replacing Downey, Jr. would be the hugest mistake Marvel and Disney could ever make.
Future Iron Men? photo
...if RDJ were to leave Marvel.
A bit of a hullabaloo was spread across the internet when word came out that Robert Downey, Jr. hinted at being done with portraying Iron Man. While salary negotiations haven't begun yet for The Avengers 2, in which Downey, J...

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Box Office Numbers: Tanks on Tanks on Tanks


Jun 03
// Geoff Henao
Can somebody look into a potential increase in tank top sales following theatrical releases of Fast and Furious movies? They're guaranteed to make anybody look good, they're the perfect apparel to wear during hot weather...

Review: Missed Connections

May 30 // Geoff Henao
[embed]215755:40158:0[/embed] Missed ConnectionsDirector: Martin SnyderRating: N/ARelease Date: May 7, 2013 on VOD (More information here) Lucy (Mickey Sumner) is getting ready to leave the law firm she works for for a new start in London. In her own words, love isn't luck, it's strategy, and she's attempting to find a man that meets her criteria across the pond. That doesn't bode well for IT man Josh (Jon Abrahams), who's had a crush on Lucy for years. On her final day, Lucy runs into a mysterious Englishman (Jamie Belman) that seemingly fits her type, yet doesn't exchange contact info with him. Her friend turns to the internet to grant her wishes, which Josh and his IT friends intercept. The trio then think up a plan to write various missed connections to lure Lucy out for Josh to romance. If this sounds as creepy and ill-fated as it seems, that's because it is. But hey, we all do crazy things in the name of love, don't we? The general premise is a bit quirky, albeit extremely creepy; then again, aren't most comedies centered around outrageous scenarios? Missed Connections follows a safe rom-com formula of developing a relationship between the boy and girl, but does derive from it by letting the boy and girl "fall in love" before the film ends. However, it uses that to set up a new source of conflict to set up the third act. It's not super innovative, but a good touch. The problem with Missed Connections is that it's not very funny. There are really awkward scenes between Abrahams and Sumner where the film tries to force a laugh out, but it just doesn't work. Could it be a chemistry problem? Maybe. I liked Abrahams energy and would like to see him in more. Sumner was recently in Frances Ha and will be playing Patti Smith in the upcoming CBGB. Missed Connections missed the most important thing in a film: a connection with its audience. Despite some tender moments between Josh and his IT compatriots, Missed Connections felt empty and dead. This is one missed connection you won't mind letting pass.
Missed Connections Review photo
Missed more than just connections.
Missed connections serve as the chosen medium for lovelorn, hopeless romantics who believe in fleeting chance encounters in public. I can say this with confidence, because I used to regularly check missed connections on a dai...

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If you smell what The Rock is cooking.
In a weird twist (or ankle lock or double-arm suplex), WWE will help produce a new straight-to-DVD Flintstones special that will feature voice cameos by WWE superstars John Cena and CM Punk, with WWE CEO Vince McMah...

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Box Office Numbers: Arrested Development


I blue myself.
May 28
// Geoff Henao
What a holiday weekend, huh? As if Fast & Furious 6 wasn't a big enough draw to theaters this weekend, the (hopefully) final installment in The Hangover trilogy also debuted. Of course, one of these films did ri...

Review: The Arrested Development Documentary Project

May 24 // Geoff Henao
[embed]215699:40138:0[/embed] The Arrested Development Documentary ProjectDirectors: Jeff Smith and Neil LiebermanRating: N/ARelease Date: May 3, 2013 (Buy the film here) The Arrested Development Documentary Project was made by the fans for the fans. With that said, there's a bit of a direction that Jeff Smith and Neil Lieberman follow. The documentary is kind of framed in a way to help bring exposure and awareness to the series, which I believe to be the primary purpose of the project. The doc opens with the two asking people if they've heard about the show to which they, surprisingly, answer in the negative. It then proceeds to follow a loose timeline of the series interjected with interviews and commentary from fans and cast/crew from the show. While the majority of the cast is involved, a few are noticeably missing (namely Michael Cera and Jessica Walter). The framework closes with those same people previously interviewed if they'd give the show a chance, in which they give resoundingly affirmative answers. However, The Arrested Development Documentary Project doesn't really bring any new information for any die-hard Arrested Development fans. Anybody who's thrown marathon screenings and know their difference between Iraq and balls won't be blown away by this documentary. Like I mentioned earlier, this doc is mostly to bring awareness to those who aren't familiar with the series. Unfortunately, the majority of the people who would hear about the doc are the groups of people who have digested everything Arrested Development. Still, the independent project illustrates just how invested and proud the cast and crew are of the show, illustrated not only in their interviews, but just their willingness to be a part of the project at all. The Arrested Development Documentary Project is definitely filled with passion, but doesn't share much new information for those just as equally passionate and invested into the series. If you're a fan of Arrested Development, The Arrested Development Documentary Project is a good refresher on the series and helps illustrate what we all love about the series. However, if you're green on everything Bluth, the doc is made exactly for people like you. It'll blue you away... Maeby.
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It'll blue you away... Maeby.
Like a large number of people, I didn't take Arrested Development's cancellation well. To be fair, I preferred to catch the show on DVD rather than watch it during Fox broadcasts because of my personal preference of TV digest...

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Trailer: The Lone Ranger


May 21
// Geoff Henao
The latest trailer for The Lone Ranger is here, apparently disproving the last trailer's status as the final trailer. There's even more Armie Hammer, more Johnny Depp, more trains, more horses, and more face paint. Like...
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Box Office Numbers: More like Fart Trek Into Darkness


Get it? I changed "Star" into "Fart." 1,000,000 hits!
May 20
// Geoff Henao
Summer's in full swing, yet I've been held back with a ridiculous cold. I bought some Zzzquil Friday night, but it turns out that it doesn't even have medicine in it. Thanks a lot, Vicks. Armed with the magical elixir that is...
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Trailer: LICKS


May 17
// Geoff Henao
Directed by newcomer Jonathan Singer-Vine, LICKS debuted at this year's SXSW. While Hubert, Matt, and I didn't get a chance to catch it, the film received some good acclaim. LICKS is about a young Oakland resi...
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Latest Nymphomanic production photo is sexy


"Ayy guuuuhr!"
May 17
// Geoff Henao
Nymphomaniac is shaping up to be one sexy ride (hurr hurr hurr). Following the first still from the film showcasing Charlotte Gainbourg about to ride the trike with her two friends and the film's first promotional p...

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