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8:00 AM on 07.29.2014

First official trailer for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

I love how they're claiming The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is "The Defining Chapter" in the story since the book itself is only a fraction of all of this. In what is most likely the most bloated title of the serie...

Nick Valdez




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Review: Hercules photo
Review: Hercules
by Nick Valdez

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fifty Shades of Grey climaxes Valentine's Day 2015. 

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

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

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

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

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Review: Boyhood photo
Review: Boyhood
by Matthew Razak

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

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

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

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NYAFF Review: Aberdeen photo
NYAFF Review: Aberdeen
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

You never know what you’re going to get from a Pang Ho-Cheung film. In 2010, you got an ultraviolent slasher with Dream Home. In 2012, you got uproarious sex comedy Vulgaria. Before and between, you’ve got any other number of genres and genre twists. Each and every Pang Ho-Cheung film is a new and exciting experience.

Aberdeen is no exception. With his latest film, Pang Ho-Cheung takes a stab at the family drama and delivers a beautiful, emotional slice of life.

[For the next month, we will be covering the 2014 New York Asian Film Festival and the Japan-centric Japan Cuts. Click here for more information, and check back here and here for all of the Asian film coverage you can shake a stick at.]

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First full trailer for Disney/Marvel's Big Hero 6 is just adorable photo
First full trailer for Disney/Marvel's Big Hero 6 is just adorable
by Nick Valdez

When I posted the teaser trailer for Disney/Marvel's Big Hero 6 some time ago, I loved how cute the whole thing was. Yet, this first full trailer rings kind of hollow. As it completely relies on that cuteness, more cracks are starting to show. Sure Baymax (Scott Adsit as the squishy robot) will get a lot of chuckles out of me, but nothing else sticks out right now. 

But with this plot (a man in a kabuki mask is attacking their city with nanobots), and the reveal of the other heroes (played by Damon Wayans Jr., Jamie Chung, TJ Miller, and Genesis Rodriguez), I'm hoping there's still something hidden away. 

Big Hero 6 releases November 7th. 

[via Moviefone]

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Review: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes photo
Review: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
by Nick Valdez

When a prequel to Planet of the Apes was first announced, it seemed like yet another cynical cash in. Yet Rise of the Planet of the Apes tried its hardest to prove everyone wrong with top notch visuals, acting, and score. Although its eventual finale made it seem more like a reboot of Harry and the Hendersons than Planet, it was a good step in the right direction despite its problems.

Which is why Dawn of the Planet of the Apes sticks out so much. Could a sequel accomplish what its predecessor didn't? Could it finally live up to the technological advances of the first? It turns out, I had no reason to worry. Dawn far exceeds Rise, and it's the rare sequel that even makes the original film a better experience. 

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes definitely did not make a monkey out of me. 

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NYAFF Non-Review: 3D Naked Ambition is the weirdest movie I've ever seen photo
NYAFF Non-Review: 3D Naked Ambition is the weirdest movie I've ever seen
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

It's been an odd week. On Monday, we posted my review of R100, a film so crazy it inspired a man to eat his shirt. On Tuesday, we posted my review of Why Don't You Play in Hell?, a film so insane that it inspired a man to make a shirt-eating bet in the first place. But those were warm ups. What I was really doing was priming myself to write about quite literally the weirdest movie I have seen in my entire life: 3D Naked Ambition.

I always kind of expected the weirdest movie ever to be from Japan. I mean, that's where the previously two mentioned films and other bonkers stories like The Warped Forest came from. That movie has fruit with actual vaginas.

But 3D Naked Ambition has risen to the top. How, you might ask? Well...

[For the next month, we will be covering the 2014 New York Asian Film Festival and the Japan-centric Japan Cuts. Click here for more information, and check back here and here for all of the Asian film coverage you can shake a stick at.]

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First Exodus trailer has a little Christian Bale and a lot of Joel Edgerton photo
First Exodus trailer has a little Christian Bale and a lot of Joel Edgerton
by Matthew Razak

The first trailer for Exodus: Gods and Kings definitely surprised me a bit. This is clearly not only Moses' story, but instead the story of Ramses and Moses together. That's an interesting take, especially since it seems to be downplaying the role of Moses in the whole event. No Charlton Heston level of drama here.

Visually this looks killer (other than white people playing Egyptians), and it should since director Ridley Scott is fantastic at visuals. Clearly there will also be some big battles and some revisions to the Moses myth going on here, but that's what's great about myths; you can rewrite them. We'll all be treated to some God-like onscreen wrath on December 12th as the new posters below show.  

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NYAFF Review: Why Don't You Play in Hell? photo
NYAFF Review: Why Don't You Play in Hell?
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

Last year, Japan Cuts played Sion Sono's Bad Film, a project filmed back in 1995 but not finished until 2012. In my non-review of the film, I unequivocally called it a masterpiece, and I stand by every word. It is a labor of love that throws caution to the wind in order to just make a freaking movie, everyone and everything else be damned. This is Sion Sono's world and you just have to deal with it.

Why Don't You Play in Hell? is a celebration of that worldview. And it's every bit as brilliant as you could hope.

[For the next month, we will be covering the 2014 New York Asian Film Festival and the Japan-centric Japan Cuts. Click here for more information, and check back here and here for all of the Asian film coverage you can shake a stick at.]

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Review: Deliver Us From Evil photo
Review: Deliver Us From Evil
by Mike Cosimano

In all my years seeing movies, I don’t think I’ve seen a collective shrug quite like the one my theater experienced upon leaving Deliver Us From Evil. A passive gesture of that magnitude could only have been triggered by a film destined to fall into obscurity the instant Wal-Mart removes it from the featured DVD rack.

You will not hate Deliver Us From Evil, but I’ll bet all the money in my pockets against all the money in your pockets that you won’t remember it long after you’ve left the theater. (Unless clinging on to memories of sub-par movies is part of your job, in which case, you have my sympathies.)

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NYAFF Review: R100 photo
NYAFF Review: R100
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

Thanks to R100, we know the proper recipe for a shirt: 24 hours in a slow-cooker, with red wine sauce, celery and carrots. Not because the film involves shirt eating (not directly at least), but because it forced Twitch founder/editor Todd Brown to eat his own shirt. 

Before it screened at Fantastic Fest late last year, he made a bold claim, if any film was half as crazy as Why Don’t You Play in Hell (review forthcoming), he’d eat his shirt.

R100 called Brown's bluff, and he made good on his promise. It's fitting, really, because that's exactly the kind of thing someone in R100 might be forced to do.

[For the next month, we will be covering the 2014 New York Asian Film Festival and the Japan-centric Japan Cuts. Click here for more information, and check back here and here for all of the Asian film coverage you can shake a stick at.]

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Japan Cuts 2014 continues where NYAFF leaves off photo
Japan Cuts 2014 continues where NYAFF leaves off
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

With our NYAFF coverage still running strong, it seems an appropriate time to let you know that there's much, much more where that came from. Starting this Thursday, July 10th, the Japan Society kicks off their NYAFF crossover. Through Sunday, each film will be a co-presentation, and then Japan Cuts takes on a life of its own and runs through the 20th.

Japan Cuts is the largest Japanese-centric film festival in North America, and there's always at least a couple of fantastic films that I gush about for the rest of ever. I already know that I won't be shutting up about Sion Sono's Why Don't You Play in Hell, which may well be his best film (other than the literally perfect Bad Film), and though I haven't seen it, I'm pretty sure that Neko Samurai is going to rock my world.

Below you can find the schedule, information about the films, and basically anything else you could possibly want to know about the festival. And if you're attending any of the screenings, let me know. I'll be around the Japan Society quite a bit. You should say hello.

[For the next month, we will be covering the 2014 New York Asian Film Festival and the Japan-centric Japan Cuts. Click here for more information, and check back here and here for all of the Asian film coverage you can shake a stick at.]

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NYAFF Review: Fuku-chan of FukuFuku Flats photo
NYAFF Review: Fuku-chan of FukuFuku Flats
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

Japanese comedies have a reputation for being wild and crazy.

Let me rephrase that, Japanese movies have a reputation for being wild and crazy. And there's truth to that argument. Japanese films are on the whole weirder than those from other countries. Their comedies are particularly noteworthy, and some truly bizarre films have come out of that country recently. (In fact, we'll have reviews of two of them later this week).

But Fuku-chan of FukuFuku Flats is an exception to that rule. While it has some of that Japanese weirdness, it lacks the over-the-top insanity you might expect. Before the screening, someone in the audience said that he expected it to be NYAFF's sleeper hit.

I think he was completely right.

[For the next month, we will be covering the 2014 New York Asian Film Festival and the Japan-centric Japan Cuts. Click here for more information, and check back here and here for all of the Asian film coverage you can shake a stick at.]

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Review: Tammy photo
Review: Tammy
by Matthew Razak

Tammy is a film you really want to be good. An almost entirely female led cast in a raunchy comedy is still a rarity despite Bridesmaids showing us all it can be done successfully. This is the kind of movie we need to diversify the comedy scene and give us something else than Judd Apatow and Wayans brothers films.

That is it would be the kind of movie if it was any good at all. Unfortunately Tammy is a complete and total mess of a film devoid of much humor and suffering from even less character development. If you name your film after its lead character she better be damn interesting and Tammy is not. 

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NYAFF Recommendation: Han Gong-Ju photo
NYAFF Recommendation: Han Gong-Ju
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

Han Gong-Ju is incredible. It's easily the best film I've seen at the New York Asian Film Festival thus far and among the best I've seen in a long time.

It's also extremely depressing, to the point where I'm not sure I can really write about it. But I can't in good conscience not give it my sincerest recommendation. If you're in New York, it's playing at MoMA for the next week. Tickets can be bought here.

Whether we end up with a full review or not, go see Han Gong-Ju.

[For the next month, we will be covering the 2014 New York Asian Film Festival and the Japan-centric Japan Cuts. Click here for more information, and check back here and here for all of the Asian film coverage you can shake a stick at.]

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Pacific Rim getting a sequel, more comics and TV show photo
Pacific Rim getting a sequel, more comics and TV show
by Matthew Razak

It seems that Guillermo Del Toro has made everyone's wishes come true and then some. When Pacific Rim failed to be a truly massive hit it was unclear if we'd ever see more, but now according to the above video we'll see a lot more. Del Toro has announced not only a sequel coming in 2017, but also an animated TV show and the continuation of the comic book series. Legendary, the production company behind the films, is evidently pretty confident in the franchise.

I thought Pacific Rim had its flaws, but I'm all about giving it another chance. The action was solid and with a bit better storytelling there could be something really special here. Details are obviously a long way off, but Del Toro already has a script in the works and if this franchise is turning into a universe than we should probably expect some big things. 

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Review: Transformers: Age of Extinction photo
Review: Transformers: Age of Extinction
by Matthew Razak

I'm going to tear this movie apart. It's coming right below the jump. Just be ready for it. Because of that I want to open with this: Optimus Prime riding Grimlock into battle in Hong Kong is frickin' awesome. There's just no denying how cool Transformers can be and that Michael Bay can pull off some awesome stuff. There are parts of this film that will blow you away.

It's just that the rest of it is so bad it isn't worth it.

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