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8:00 AM on 07.18.2014

Review: The Purge: Anarchy

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 ...

Nick Valdez




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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Review: Snowpiercer photo
Review: Snowpiercer
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

Snowpiercer has been among my most anticipated films for the past several years. Every time we did a preview of what's upcoming, Snowpiercer has been on there in some capacity. When it got its Korean release last year, I was convinced a US release was imminent. I mean, it stars Captain America! How could it possibly be delayed?

But, of course, it was. The Weinstein Company took on distribution rights, but they wanted to cut it and Bong Joon-Ho refused to let them do so. So now the release is finally upon us, the full film as it was intended, but only a limited release.

I'm still annoyed at The Weinstein Company for trying to mess with the film in the first place... but I have to admit that I kind of understand why.

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First teaser for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 is cooler than you'd expect photo
First teaser for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 is cooler than you'd expect
by Nick Valdez

Rather than go for the conventional teaser trailer that we run on the site everyday, our first look at The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 is much better than I expected. A unique twist on the viral propaganda campaign the film has been running for the last few months, here we have a message from President Snow (Donald Sutherland) explaining why The Capitol is so important. 

If you've read the books, you understand why Snow's with a certain guest in the video. If you haven't then you're going to have so many questions. A cool delivery with a teased mystery? That's the perfect way to make teaser trailers, folks. More please. 

Expect a more conventional trailer to pop up soon given that we're five months away from the film's release. I liked Catching Fire enough, so I can't wait for more. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 releases November 21st. 

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The 2014 New York Asian Film Festival is about to rock you  photo
The 2014 New York Asian Film Festival is about to rock you
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

It's that time again. Summer is here, which means that New York City residents have retreated to their air conditioned apartments, offices, and movie theaters. For the next few weeks, that theater of choice should be the Film Society of Lincoln Center's Walter Reade theater, where Subway Cinema will be celebrating all things Asian with the 13th annual New York Asian Film Festival.

For the past several years, I've had Hubert around to help me get through the massive list of films, but this year it's all me, and our coverage will be less comprehensive as a result. 

Even so, I will be seeing as many films as I can and letting you know what is and is not worth seeing. Our coverage begins this Thursday, June 26th, the day before the fest kicks off. And if you're going to be at any of the screenings, let me know. I'll be around the Walter Reade quite a bit, and it'd be awesome if you came to say hello. 

If that sounds like the best thing ever (and it should, because it is), you can find a ridiculously massive press release below or head over to Subway Cinema for more information on the films, guests, and everything else. Tickets can be purchased from the Film Society of Lincoln Center website.

[For the next month, we will be covering the 2014 New York Asian Film Festival and the Japan-centric Japan Cuts. Click her 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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Rian Johnson writing and directing Star Wars: Ep. VIII photo
Rian Johnson writing and directing Star Wars: Ep. VIII
by Matthew Razak

Some big news coming out of the Star Wars camp today as it has been announced that Looper director Rian Johnson will be writing and directing Star Wars: Episode VIII and writing Episode IX. Most likely Abrams will return to direct Episode IX and this will give him the gap and time to do it. 

Unless you wanted Abrams to direct all the films this is nothing but good news. Johnson is an incredible director and an even better story teller. Having him pen the screenplays is possibly the best news this franchise has had since the 80s. I can't see a situation where he doesn't knock it out of the park. Directing is a good call too. Though this will be his first truly effects heavy film his work on Looper showed us he can handle sci-fi with the best of them. 

[via The Wrap]

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Review Companion: An analysis of Coherence's characters and plot photo
Review Companion: An analysis of Coherence's characters and plot
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

This is not a review, not really. We posted our official review of Coherence yesterday, but it's a review that says a lot about the film while also saying nothing. And it had to be that way, because any serious discussion of the plot will inevitably ruin the film's central conceit, something that is best left as a surprise. You can still enjoy Coherence after it's been spoiled, but I wouldn't want to put something in that position just because they wanted to know if it's worth watching.

(It is.)

And you should see it before some less considerate critic ruins it for you. Once you've done that, come back here and read the rest of this, or read it now if you don't care about spoilers. But either way, I'm writing under the assumption that you have read (or at least skimmed) the full review. This will be focusing on different things. It is a companion after all, not a replacement.

It's also the first time we've ever done something like this. So if you have any thoughts on this, please let me know.

And with that: SPOILER ALERT.

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Dear Warner Brothers: an open letter regarding your fledgling cinematic universe photo
Dear Warner Brothers: an open letter regarding your fledgling cinematic universe
by Sean Walsh

(Spoiler alert ahead.)

Dear Warner Brothers,

You don't know who I am, but that's okay. I'm just another avid comic fan who is excited about the prospect of a cinematic universe that could possibly counter the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As a fan who straddles the line, reading equal shares of Marvel and DC, I couldn't be more excited at the prospect of a Shazam movie, or a Green Lantern/Flash team-up, or a badass Wonder Woman movie starring Gal Gadot that would make Clash of the Titans look like an Asylum film.

That all being said, you have a wonderful opportunity on your hands and, as an enormous fan, I beg you: DO NOT BLOW IT. That opportunity, of course, is to merge your film universe with the surprisingly rich world of Arrow. Why? I'm glad you asked...

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