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xXx motorcycle jet skis photo
xXx motorcycle jet skis

Watch Vin Diesel & Donnie Yen go full Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in xXx: Return of Xander Cage

Our fine 4-fendered bro to the exXxtreme
Dec 22
// Hubert Vigilla
I don't know if I'm necessarily excited about the release of xXx: Return of Xander Cage. There's something really goofy and fun about The Fate of the Furious, but xXx is not the same sort of franchise with the same fond feeli...
Cars 3 photo
Cars 3

This Cars 3 teaser trailer is short and awesome

It looks...good?
Nov 21
// Nick Valdez
Cars is overall the worst Pixar series to date, but maybe Pixar is pulling a Toy Story 3 with the third film? This teaser trailer for Cars 3 is short, but it hits quite harder than I'd expect. It's already better than the first two, but I'm waiting for the comedy shoe to drop.  Cars 3 releases June 16th next year. 

NYAFF Capsule Review: The Mermaid

Jul 27 // Alec Kubas-Meyer
[embed]220644:42996:0[/embed] The Mermaid  (美人鱼)Director: Stephen ChowRelease Date: February 8, 2016Rating: NR 
The Mermaid Review photo
I... don't understand
It's always fascinating to me to see blockbusters from other countries. The Mermaid is the highest grossing Chinese film of all time; that's a big flipping deal. Apparently the lead actress was chosen out of literally 100,000...

Saw VIII photo

So a few months ago, my roommates and I spent a week watching the seven Saw films. Little things we noticed? Each film was basically the same, each film began and ended with the same cheesy score and "big reveal," and you cou...

Nine Lives Trailer photo
Nine Lives Trailer

Kevin Spacey is a talking cat in this Nine Lives trailer

Jan 30
// Nick Valdez
"Just drown me."

NYAFF Review: Tokyo Tribe

Jul 07 // Alec Kubas-Meyer
[embed]219610:42463:0[/embed] Tokyo TribeDirector: Sion SonoRating: NRCountry: Japan  If you asked a small child to describe to you what they thought when they heard the phrase "rap battle," you'd probably get something like Tokyo Tribe. This isn't a film about a few MCs spittin' some ill beats in order to prove themselves and ultimately win the respect of their peers; it's a film about a city ravaged by rap-related crime and the ultimate gang war that breaks out. And much of the dialogue spoken between the characters flows against the thumping beats that back the entire film. It's a rap musical; it's a martial arts action film; and it's a sardonic comedy eviscerating systemic issues with Japanese culture. It's everything you could possibly want it to be and a whole lot more shoved into just two hours of screentime. (It's also a manga adaptation. Shocker, that.) I honestly wonder who will find the music more grating: people who hate rap, or those who love it. It's pretty obvious why the former would hate it, but the latter is the more interesting thing to discuss. This is a film that clearly has reverence for rap music, but more often than not it makes a pretty poor case for the genre. Rapping is hard. (I should know. My dream is to be a white rapper some day, but I'm terrible at it, and it definitely won't happen.) I get the impression that a lot of people don't appreciate the linguistic ability and agility required to really get some funky fresh rhymes going. Unfortunately, those are things the general cast of Tokyo Tribe lack. When the credits rolled, a couple of Japanese names (written in Japanese letters) were followed by "Young Dais." I'd been expecting something like that, because I knew right off the bat that Kai, the head of the Peace and Love gang, was actually a rapper. Everyone else had an awkwardness to their rhythm that Kai had on point from start to finish. Everyone else was amateur by comparison. And yeah, of course they were. They're actors, and he's a rapper for one of Japan's various boy bands. It was a good casting choice, but it made me wish that there were more rappers and fewer actors. (There were some others that were clearly rappers as well (I particularly liked the heads of the female gang), but they weren't crucial to the story and didn't get much screentime.) Sion Sono has played up style at the expense of substance in the past, but never so dramatically as here. Tokyo Tribes oozes more character from an average frame than most films in their runtime. Whether it’s the ridiculous and elaborate sets or the bizarre image distortions and lens flares (or a combination of the two), this is a movie that is distinctive and memorable. Love it or hate it, you cannot deny it. You don’t forget that you’ve seen a movie like Tokyo Tribes. You can’t, unless you legitimately have a memory disorder. And if you do… well, you’ll get to see it for the first time all over again, and there’s something magical about that too.  But, of course, form can overtake function, and that undoubtedly happens here. During the film’s final confrontation, one of the characters raps The Point of the movie, and I nearly said (out loud), “Oh! So it’s a film with a message.” It wasn’t funny then, and it’s not funny now, but up until that moment the film wasn’t building up to anything other than a battle. I mean, there’s a “Good vs. Evil” thing in the sense that the bad guys hate Kai's gang because of the peace and love thing, but that never feels like more than a way to artificially build conflict. And there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but to pretend at the 11th hour that this was all in service of something? Come on.  The only time when style gets away from the film is in the moments of pathetically poor CGI. There are a few moments where it’s so blatantly fake that the veracity of the moment is ruined. You have to suspend a whole lot of disbelief in order to get into this movie, but there’s still a limit. A tank that looks like something a child would make in a My First AutoCAD class is that limit. And it’s not just that tank, though that’s the most obvious example of it. What’s worse is the blood. In the past, Sion Sono films have been horrifyingly bloody, but the blood was real. It felt like a thing that existed in the film. My only real problem with Why Don’t You Play in Hell? was that it took the easy way out on occasion (and lower-budget Asian cinema clearly hasn’t figured out digital blood sprays yet (come on guys, Fincher had this shit down in 2007)). But here it's worse, because even if the initial spray in his previous film was sometimes faked, at least the blood staining the floors and the people after the fact were real. The moment could be forgiven in service of the greater good. Not so here. The film verges on being bloodless, because the red stuff has no feel to it. It's just an effect lazily thrown onto the screen a few times and then forgotten about. But those are all relatively minor in the grand scheme of things. People have said that Tokyo Tribes is too much of a good thing, and I don't think that's quite accurate. It's not too much of a good thing, because it's too many things to be too much of any one of them This film throws the proverbial kitchen sink at the screen and does so with an ungodly amount of technical flair. When you get sick of rapping, it turns into a (fantastic) action movie. The punches may not always land, and the wirework is very clearly wirework, but ya know what? It's freaking awesome. And then there's more rapping. And then there's some rapping and fighting. And it's all awesome. A plausible argument could be made that there's just too much movie, that it could have been cut down by 20 or 30 minutes without much narrative impact. But to what end? The content of the film is nothing if not excessive. Why shouldn't the film itself embody that as well?
Tokyo Tribe Review photo
Well then.
My favorite film to play at last year's New York Asian Film Festival was Sion Sono's cinematic love-letter/masterpiece Why Don't You Play in Hell?. It's a spectacular film, and now that it's seen a domestic release, y'all hav...


AMC and Regal are having a 29 hour Marvel movie marathon

Mar 06
// Nick Valdez
As someone who covers films like these every day, I wonder how hard these are to track for someone else. If someone were trying to jump into Marvel films now, would they be able to just watch Avengers: Age of Ultron and still...
Alien/Neill Blomkamp photo
In space, no one can hear you scream about how cool this is.
When you write your list of perfect directors for the Alien franchise, where does Neill Blomkamp (director of District 9, Elysium and the upcoming Chappie) fall in? Hope it's close to the top because after what seems like mon...

Sony's Spider-Man officially joining Marvel cinematic universe

Feb 09 // Nick Valdez
SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT BRINGS MARVEL STUDIOS INTO THE AMAZING WORLD OF SPIDER-MAN New Spider-Man Will Appear First in an Upcoming Marvel Film Within Marvel’s Cinematic Universe Marvel's Kevin Feige to Produce Next Installment of the Spider-Man Franchise with Amy Pascal (Culver City, California, and Burbank, California February 09, 2015) – Sony Pictures Entertainment and Marvel Studios announced today that Sony is bringing Marvel into the amazing world of Spider-Man.  Under the deal, the new Spider-Man will first appear in a Marvel film from Marvel's Cinematic Universe (MCU). Sony Pictures will thereafter release the next installment of its $4 billion Spider-Man franchise, on July 28, 2017, in a film that will be co-produced by Kevin Feige and his expert team at Marvel and Amy Pascal, who oversaw the franchise launch for the studio 13 years ago. Together, they will collaborate on a new creative direction for the web slinger. Sony Pictures will continue to finance, distribute, own and have final creative control of the Spider-Man films. Marvel and Sony Pictures are also exploring opportunities to integrate characters from the MCU into future Spider-Man films. The new relationship follows a decade of speculation among fans about whether Spider-Man – who has always been an integral and important part of the larger Marvel Universe in the comic books – could become part of the Marvel Universe on the big screen. Spider-Man has more than 50 years of history in Marvel's world, and with this deal, fans will be able to experience Spider-Man taking his rightful place among other Super Heroes in the MCU. Bob Iger, Chairman and CEO, The Walt Disney Company said: "Spider-Man is one of Marvel's great characters, beloved around the world. We're thrilled to work with Sony Pictures to bring the iconic web-slinger into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which opens up fantastic new opportunities for storytelling and franchise building." "We always want to collaborate with the best and most successful filmmakers to grow our franchises and develop our characters. Marvel, Kevin Feige and Amy, who helped orchestrate this deal, are the perfect team to help produce the next chapter of Spider-Man," said Michael Lynton, Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment. "This is the right decision for the franchise, for our business, for Marvel, and for the fans." "Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios share a love for the characters in the Spider-Man universe and have a long, successful history of working together. This new level of collaboration is the perfect way to take Peter Parker's story into the future," added Doug Belgrad, president, Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group. "I am thrilled to team with my friends at Sony Pictures along with Amy Pascal to produce the next Spider-Man movie," said Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige. "Amy has been deeply involved in the realization on film of one of the world’s most beloved characters. Marvel's involvement will hopefully deliver the creative continuity and authenticity that fans demand from the MCU. I am equally excited for the opportunity to have Spider-Man appear in the MCU, something which both we at Marvel, and fans alike, have been looking forward to for years." Spider-Man, embraced all over the world, is the most successful franchise in the history of Sony Pictures, with the five films having taken in more than $4 billion worldwide.
WHAT photo
Does whatever a miracle can
Wow, so, uh, yeah. I'm at a loss for words. Because both Sony and Marvel like money, and Sony has been wondering what to do with the The Amazing Spider-Man franchise, the two companies are now working together. According to t...

The Interview getting limited theatrical release, possibly VOD

Dec 23 // Nick Valdez
SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT ANNOUNCES LIMITED THEATRICAL RELEASE OF THE INTERVIEW ON CHRISTMAS DAY [Hollywood - December 23, 2014]  Sony Pictures Entertainment today announced that The Interview will have a limited theatrical release in the United States on Christmas Day. “We have never given up on releasing The Interview and we’re excited our movie will be in a number of theaters on Christmas Day,” said Michael Lynton, Chairman and CEO of Sony Entertainment. “At the same time, we are continuing our efforts to secure more platforms and more theaters so that this movie reaches the largest possible audience.” “I want to thank our talent on The Interview and our employees, who have worked tirelessly through the many challenges we have all faced over the last month.  While we hope this is only the first step of the film’s release, we are proud to make it available to the public and to have stood up to those who attempted to suppress free speech.”  
The Interview Release photo
It's a Christmas miracle!
After all of the hubub and hooey giving attention to a film that's probably super funny, but forgettable, Sony is allowing a limited theatrical run of The Interview on its intended Christmas Day release (for those theaters th...

Spooderman photo

Rumor: Sony is coming up with a bunch of random Spider-Man movie ideas

Nov 12
// Nick Valdez
We like to steer clear of most rumors here on Flixist because if we told you all about each one, we'd be writing about outlandish stuff every day. But Sony's discussing so many crazy Spider-Man movies, we gotta talk about 'em...
Joe Dirt 2 photo
Joe Dirt 2

We're getting another Joe Dirt for some reason

"Joe Deer-tay"
Nov 10
// Nick Valdez
You know when you come across some news and suddenly feel like you've stumbled across the worst idea ever? I'm sure I'm supposed to be feeling that right now, but I'm can't shake how stupidly happy I am this exists. Sony's Cr...

Review: Interstellar

Nov 07 // Alec Kubas-Meyer
[embed]217761:41525:0[/embed] InterstellarDirector: Christopher NolanRelease Date: November 7, 2014Rating: PG-13  Interstellar isn't something you think about. It's something you feel about. As soon as the film begins, turn off your brain. You won't need it where you're going, and if you brought it it would just get in the way. Think of your brain as your awkward younger sibling and Interstellar like that super awesome party you've been excited about since you went to that last one where the guy who sounded like Sean Connery blew up a football field. You brought your sibling to that party too and regretted it as soon as they started asking questions with no answers. Don't make that mistake again. Because as I very explicitly stated above, those questions won't just start up afterwards, they'll hit you early and often. And as the film continues, those questions will eventually turn into a torrent of confusion. You can't enjoy a party like that. Nor can you enjoy Interstellar like that. But as you turn off your brain, keep your heart (or gut, or whatever it is you use to feel) ready, because doing so is the key to understanding what Interstellar wants to do. As with his previous films, Christopher Nolan is trying to tell a story that is far more complicated than its runtime allows. He cuts corners – lots of them – in service of hitting you with all the things that really do count. The action, the drama, the feelings. Trying to actually make sense of Inception would take a miniseries at least. Trying to make sense of Interstellar would take a full TV season. It is a film that spans planets and dimensions and time and space. It does things that most people couldn't even dream of, and it pulls them off with aplomb. The earth is dying, but humanity isn't going to go down so easily. Like Inception, it would be difficult to actually spoil Interstellar. In fact, I don't even know how to try to spoil some of the crazier parts of Interstellar, because I don't really have the words to accurately describe them. I don't know that words really could. (A novelization of Interstellar would be interesting. Probably not very good, but interesting.) But there's no reason to even try. Instead of focusing on the underlying logic, let's think about the feelings. Say what you want about Nolan's writing, his ideas are fascinating and thematically rich. Interstellar has so many ideas running around it simultaneously, but the two emotions that run through every single moment are love and survival. Survival isn't really an emotion like love is, but the instinct and the need to save both onesself and the entirety of the human race may as well be. Perhaps it's something related to love. Whatever it is, it's real. Put into the position where humanity will die out in a generation, what do you do? What does everyone do? What is the next step, and what sacrifices have to be made to get there? Those are the questions that Interstellar tries to answer, but it does so in a human way. This isn't a film about humanity. It's a film about Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), a man who could save humanity. Maybe. Many stories about the One Man To Save Them All are hokey, but Cooper's talents are simple: He's a pilot in a world devoid of pilots. No one knows how to fly spacecraft because no more spacecraft are flown. The world needs a man who has done it before, and Cooper had done it. And his reasons for doing this are simple: He wants to save his children. Everything he does is for them. And it is all so real. And for that, Matthew McConaughey deserves a second Oscar. His performance in Interstellar is truly his finest, and not really for the reason you'd think. We now expect McConaughey to be great, so it's no surprise that he excels in his role here, but there's a point in the film where the narrative goes from implausible to straight-up unbelievable. And in that moment, the only thing we have to hold onto is his performance. He has to ground us in a moment that is basically ungroundable. I cannot overstate how insane things get, nor can I overstate just how incredible it is that McConaughey reacts in a way that someone may actually react in that literally impossible situation. Your visceral reaction to the event will probably every bit as incredulous as mine, but that will be tempered by McConaughey's performance. "NO!" becomes "No?" becomes "Alright... if you're sure." In one moment, Cooper watches a series of messages sent by his children. The context of the scene is heartbreaking, and my eyes welled up at the mix of emotions displayed on his face. It's spectacular. Let's switch gears and talk about just how spectacular everything looks. Interstellar is the first movie that Christopher Nolan shot without Wally Pfister since they teamed up for Memento fourteen years ago. Pfister went off and directed Transcendence, which is also nonsense (he learned from the best, I guess) but less compelling than any of Nolan's films. But I'm glad that Interstellar brought in some new blood, because it means that the film feels just a bit different. With Her cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema at the reins, everything feels a little less polished. Much of the camerawork in Nolan's other films is flawless, but here there are imperfections, and they make the film feel more immediate and more real. Given that this is a film about immediacy, the new style makes for a film that is arguably more interesting to look at than anything the Nolan/Pfister pairing has done. Whether on the ground or up in space, this is Nolan's best-looking film. But it absolutely looks better in space. The dusty farms on Earth look very good (and definitely appropriate), but the scenes won't shock and amaze you. In space, all bets are off, and this is made even more noticeable by the fact that most of the IMAX camerawork was done in those sequences. I have a lot to say about the use of IMAX and the way the shifts between the 70mm IMAX film and the shift to upscaled 35mm affect the visual perception of a scene, but everything I could say about this I already said about The Dark Knight Rises two years ago. There are problems with the decision to shoot in multiple formats, but to be clear: the experience of seeing Interstellar in a proper IMAX theater is absolutely mindblowing. On multiple occasions, people around me literally gasped at the beautiful shots of space. This is space the way IMAX documentaries see it, not narrative filmmakers Especially in the moments where the space station is a human-sized dot on a building sized screen, there is nothing like it in cinema. Gravity was successful at giving depth to space and making the infinite blackness feel, well, infinite, but it didn't feel like this. The scale of an IMAX screen and the fullness of an IMAX image is simply incomparable. Interstellar is the culmination of everything that Christopher Nolan has done. His devotion to film shows both in its use of IMAX  and the fact that all "digital" transmissions were actually shot on 35mm film. His devotion to practical effects makes the line between reality and unreality blurred in a way that is absolutely stunning. Every film has gotten bigger and crazier, tackling larger ideas and concepts. And then suddenly we have a film that cannot be transcended. There is nowhere for Christopher Nolan to go from here. If he tries to top Interstellar with his next film, he will fail. I can say that with 100% confidence, sight unseen. Because if he goes to the only places he could go to top it, the film will go beyond incomprehensible to the point where someone may finally say, "Mr. Nolan, no. You cannot do that." Clearly no one said that during the development of Interstellar. There's no compromise in this film. None. This may not be Christopher Nolan's best film, but it's absolutely his boldest. In an industry so loathe to take risks or try new things, that matters even more.
Interstellar Review photo
Deus Ex Machina
In SCREENWRITING 101, Film Crit Hulk devotes an entire chapter to plot holes. A subsection of that chapter specifically discusses the works of Christopher Nolan, using The Dark Knight as the primary example. Christopher Nolan...

Review: Why Don't You Play in Hell?

Nov 05 // Alec Kubas-Meyer
[embed]217995:41667:0[/embed] Why Don't You Play in Hell? (地獄でなぜ悪い Why don’t you play in hell?)Director: Sion SonoRelease Date: November 7, 2014 (Theatrical and VOD)Rating: 18+Country: Japan If you haven't been on an actual set, seeing a movie about making movies can be kind of intimidating. Films about any industry have the potential to alienate viewers unfamiliar with them, but simply by virtue of the medium, films about films are particularly capable of turning people off. Much of Why Don't You Play in Hell? takes place on film sets, and for a while I was worried that that might create a film that would push away audiences who might otherwise be drawn in by the fact that it's so totally and completely insane. But then I realized something crucial: Why Don't You Play in Hell? isn't really about making movies. It's about the desire to make movies. And I think that's something that most people have had at least once in their life. Maybe when they were younger they picked up a camera and made something dumb with their friends; maybe they walked out of a movie and had an amazing idea of their own that goes nowhere. Those people can't necessarily relate to the creation of a movie, but they can relate to that fundamental desire. And everyone can relate to the need to make something great. This isn't about getting a paycheck; it's about art (or something like it). Whether it's writing the next Great American Novel, developing a new type of string cheese, or Kickstarting Citizen Kane 2: Rosebud's Return, every person has felt the drive to create something. Many people may never take it there, but that makes seeing someone beat the odds and truly succeed all the more satisfying. So let's talk about crazy. Yesterday, we posted our review of R100, which began with a discussion of Twitch founder Todd Brown's decision to eat his shirt. It was a bet he made because he saw Why Don't You Play in Hell? and couldn't fathom anything being even half as crazy. He was wrong, obviously, but it points to just how crazy Sion Sono's film is. Earlier I was talking with someone who said that it is one of the few films that truly can't be classified into a genre. And he's right, because it is a little bit of everything. It's like the Babymetal of movies, and I mean on a technical and conceptual level. If you know Babymetal, you'll get what I mean. If you don't, you're welcome. That music video is Why Don't You Play in Hell? in a nutshell. It's ridiculous, exceedingly Japanese, and absolutely perfect. But not perfect in the way Bad Film is perfect. It's something more. You see, the beauty of Bad Film is the fact that it exists. Against all odds, it's a movie that was finished and then released. Yes, it's riddled with problems, but the sheer fact that I sat in a theater and saw it completely blew my mind. But the reality is that it's a film that requires an audience and a theater. Without the pomp and circumstance of that movie-going experience, the sheer brilliance and insanity of it doesn't really register. My recommendation of Why Don't You Play in Hell? comes with no such caveats. While it's undoubtedly a film that could benefit from a crowd, it could be enjoyed in any scenario. On a first date with the girl of your dreams? Why Don't You Play in Hell? Suffering from some horrible disease and looking for a cinematic respite? Why Don't You Play in Hell? Stuck in bumper to bumper traffic and trying not to turn your road rage into a segment on the nightly news? Why Don't you Play in Hell?  There are exactly zero circumstances under which watching Why Don't You Play in Hell? is not the best possible thing you could be doing. So why are you still reading this? Seriously. Close your computer or throw your phone in a river and go see the movie. And if there's no screening within a 300 mile radius of you, you know what you should do? Make your own goddamn movie.
Why Not Play in Hell? photo
The Babymetal of movies
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 labo...

Crouching Sequel photo
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Business Deals
UPDATE: According to the good folks at Variety, it looks like Weinstein Company's deal with Netflix has rubbed some theater chains the wrong way. AMC, Regal, Cinemark, and Carmike have all refused to show the sequel. Each the...

Deadpool movie actually happening, gets release date

Sep 18 // Nick Valdez
Deadpool Movie photo
For really real this time
Folks, is this real? Is this truly, truly real? It seems 20th Century Fox is finally fulfilling the promise made long ago (which possibly is attributed to the test footage "leak" a while back) with an X-Men spin-off starring ...

Dear V/s Bear photo

More please.  [via Lotus Movies] 

WB/DC photo
No jokes for the DC folks?
Folks, superhero movies are dumb. I don't care how many famous actors fill the roles, how many Oscars you think a performance should get, how many famous directors take on the stories, or how gritty each series is, superhero ...

Outcast Trailer photo
Outcast Trailer

Nicolas Cage and Hayden Christensen are a match made in heaven in this Outcast trailer

Aug 22
// Nick Valdez
What do you get when you cross an actor who can't seem to say no, and an actor who can't afford to say no? You get Outcast, the absolutely insane looking film where Hayden Christensen teams up with a British accent spewing N...

NYAFF Non-Review: 3D Naked Ambition is the weirdest movie I've ever seen

Jul 09 // Alec Kubas-Meyer
[embed]217959:41660:0[/embed] 3D Naked AmbitionDirector: Lee Kung-lokRating: NR (18+)Country: Hong Kong/Japan Two years ago, Pang Ho-Cheung's excellent Vulgaria (starring Chapman To, who leads 3D Naked Ambition) opened my eyes to a new world of sex comedies, ones that are dirty in concept but clean in practice. I don't know for sure if actor nudity is disallowed, but I can say that I've never seen a HK actor properly naked or an actress in any serious state of undress. During sex they wear shirts and in any other case there are plenty of ways they're covered up. In my reviews of Vulgaria and others (like Golden Chickensss), I noticed the trend and even commented on it, but in reality I find it kind of compelling. It's like watching an American comedy from during the Hay's Code era, back when implication was everything. While obviously more explicit than those films, the HK comedies have a similar need to conform around standards while trying to push the envelope. I assumed that it was actually a grander requirement of Hong Kong films: If they wanted a release, no nudity allowed. Apparently that's not quite the case, because 3D Naked Ambition has a whole lot of exposed breasts. But there's a loophole: each and every one of them is Japanese. Hong Kong actresses still cover up (with one sorta-exception) and the Japanese ones bare it all. And by all, I only mean boobs, because actual genitals are still disallowed (in both Hong Kong and Japan). It's an interesting use of another culture's more lax laws, and – as far as I know – unique. (Golden Chickensss is also partially set in Japan but lacks nudity.) 3D Naked Ambition tells the story of Wyman Chan (Chapman To), a sex writer who is fired thanks to all of those dirty ingrates on the internet who refuse to pay for quality content. But unable to believe that paid-porn is dead, he gets together with some friends and they head off to Japan to make some AVs AKA Adult Videos AKA pornography. As you might expect, the decision to switch to that was a pretty simple one: They wanted to get free access to people having sex. As producers, they get to be on set and push the actors and actresses into whatever weird contortions they so choose. They're horny and excited. But they push the actor away with their requests for positions that may or may not exist/be possible. He simply walks off. But since the show must go on, they choose a new actor from amongst themselves. And, of course, Wyman is the chosen one. But here's where things get weird in a bad way. Let's talk about rape. Yes, seriously. Because 3D Naked Ambition is – perhaps inadvertently – a celebration of rape. Japan stereotypically has a rape culture, especially in their porn (I mean, they hadn't banned the possession of child pornography until last month), so it makes sense that any film about Japanese porn would feature it in some form or another, but you know, it's supposed to be funny. It's not about the rape of women, though; it's about men. Wyman is forced into that encounter, literally shouting "No!" and trying to run away and being thrown back into position by his female partner. It's funny... but it's still rape. And while it would be vaguely uncomfortable just that once, man-rape becomes the focal point of his character. Japanese women go absolutely crazy for this new star who lets women take the reigns, and Wyman is pulled into this new career, playing the awkward guy who gets raped by everybody around him. Like one of his first videos, where he plays a thirteen year old student who gets raped by his school nurse. "Everything that's about to happen is a hallucination," she says, and then off she goes. At that point, Wyman has accepted his fate and even begins to kinda-sorta enjoy his work at times, but I mean... what the fuck? That's not okay on a ridiculous number of levels. If the gender roles were switched, everyone would have been up in arms. The fact that they're technically being sort of subversive doesn't actually make it okay. I laughed along with everyone else because in practice it's pretty darn funny, but conceptually I had serious reservations about what I was watching. Last year, I saw Takashi Miike's Lesson of the Evil. If you look at that review, it's another case where a film goes into something exceedingly fucked up and just feels wrong. Afterwards, I had a discussion with Mike Gingold from Fangoria, and he was absolutely appalled. I wasn't quite as horrified as he was, but I understood where he was coming from. It was ideologically offensive. But that film knew it was fucked up. It may have featured the gleeful slaughter of dozens of schoolchildren, but it did so to offend. 3D Naked Ambition shows no such self-awareness, and plays the rape for comedy. And it succeeds. 3D Naked Ambition, for the most part, is really, really funny. And it's not like all of the comedy is about him being taken advantage of by women, and there are some genuinely nice moments. A particular scene that went a small way towards redeeming the story involved a new porn actress running off set in tears and Wyman running after her. I was expecting it to immediately turn into a, "It's fine. Just come do it!" sort of thing, but it doesn't. What happens is much better than that. But it's also weird that this movie has that moment. It may be the most "normal" scene in the entire film, but it only serves to highlight just how crazy everything else is. I mean, it's not even worth trying to explain how insane it is. Like R100, it needs to be seen to be believed. Sure, I can tell you that 3D Naked Ambition features a woman spinning vertically around a man's genitals, exploding in a terrible 2D animation, and – in the process – causing him to ejaculate so hard it shatters the earth's atmosphere. I can also tell you that the scene is significantly weirder than it sounds and that it's not the weirdest thing that happens in that movie. But what good would that do you? Can you even fathom what I just said? Of course you can't. Also, it's in 3D. Because why the fuck not. What makes 3D Naked Ambition the weirdest thing I've ever seen is a combination of the actual content (like the scene referenced above) mixed with the off-putting conceptual things that shouldn't work but kinda do. There's just nothing else quite like it, and that's honestly a good thing. One film like this verges on being too many. Even so, I recommend it, but I do so with reservations. And that's the reason this is a "Non-review." Were I to attempt to give 3D Naked Ambition a score based on my experience, it would undoubtedly be a very high one. I greatly enjoyed myself and seeing it in a theater setting, in 3D, with a crowd had an intoxicating effect. But I also can't in good conscience give a film that I find so fundamentally upsetting the score it on a practical level deserves. If you were to see 3D Naked Ambition without reading this, much of what I said probably wouldn't even occur to you. And there's a pretty good chance, whether you've seen it or not, that you think I'm taking this whole thing too seriously. You're free to think that. But whatever else you may say, I think everyone can agree that 3D Naked Ambition is completely insane. It truly is the weirdest thing I've ever seen. But I'm not sure if that's a good thing.
3D Naked Ambition photo
There are no words, but I'll try to think of some
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 mak...

Sanic  photo

Sony producing a live action/CG Sonic the Hedgehog movie

It took so much effort not to put a photo of "Sanic" here.
Jun 11
// Nick Valdez
You know how Sega seems to think Sonic the Hedgehog is still cool? Branching into Nintendo games, that Sonic Boom cartoon, and now thanks to Sony, Sonic the Hedgehog is getting a film adaptation. According to THR, Sony (who h...
Ratchet and Clank photo
Captain Quark is in this, so it's got all of my money already
The internet may have ruined the word "ratchet" for me forever, but I still adore the Ratchet and Clank videogames. I just can't believe something like this exists. Much like Sony's Sly Cooper film, Ratchet and Clank is head...

Frozen photo

Woman divorcing her husband over Frozen

Jun 05
// Nick Valdez
If Elsa's journey in Frozen has taught anyone anything, it's to "let go" of the bad things. In Japan, a woman has done just that. A man says his wife has moved in with her parents and refuses to talk to him because he doesn't...
Left Behind photo
Left Behind

Heaven is missing Nic Cage in this first trailer for Left Behind

Heaven isn't too far awaaaaaaaaaaaaay
Jun 03
// Nick Valdez
I know I'm supposed to be a professional, but it's very hard keeping a straight face when I see something like this. Looking at this first trailer for Left Behind, based off the popular book line and stars Nicolas Cage and.....
Edgar Wright/Ant-Man photo
It's all true.
UPDATE 2: According to THR, Marvel was unhappy with the state of Ant-Man for a few weeks. After halting it's June production for script rewrites (without Wright's knowledge), significant changes were made to the film and Wrig...

Jem Movie photo
Jem Movie

First image and cast for Jem and the Holograms movie

Truly, truly something.
Apr 25
// Nick Valdez
Since we never actually covered the initial announcement, there's quite a bit of ground cover. First of all, production of a live action Jem and the Holograms (the popular, and outrageous, 80s cartoon about women in a ro...
Double Doubtfire photo
Although it's been in development hell for years after the original Mrs. Doubtfire first made big money in theaters, it seems that Mrs. Doubtfire 2 is finally happening. Most likely fueled by Robin Williams' return to the pub...

Disney lingerie photo
Disney lingerie

Japan now has Disney Princess lingerie

Now even YOU can feel like a Disney Princess
Jan 03
// Nick Valdez
Thanks to Japan's Bellemaison boutique, now you too can bibitty boppity boo into some fancy undergarments! Bellemaison has plenty of Disney licensed products, but now they've finally jumped the shark and finally have created ...
Wolf of F**k Street photo
Wolf of F**k Street

The Wolf of Wall Street has a lot of "F**k" in it

Both verbally and physically. HEY OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
Jan 02
// Nick Valdez
One of the more notable aspects of The Wolf of Wall Street is its explosive profanity. It's used so often, and in such great amounts, I eventually had to use the word in my review for the film. But in a brilliant way, the wor...
Expendables 3 Teaser photo
Extremely brief but great.
We've been completely in the dark with The Expendables 3. We've heard about all of that ugly stuff behind the scenes about Bruce Willis, the numerous additions to the cast, but no one really knows what's going on. There...

Amazing Spider-Men photo
Amazing Spider-Men

Spider-Man getting Sinister Six, Venom spin-off films

Sony looking to turn their Spider-Boy into a Spider-Man
Dec 13
// Nick Valdez
Did you enjoy the first trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man 2? Did anything jump out and grab you? For your sake, I hope it did because a looooooot of Spider-Man affiliated projects are currently in the works. First of all, th...
Catching FI-YAH photo
Catching FI-YAH

Lionsgate considering a Hunger Games theme park

Like Disneyland, only terribly sad.
Nov 12
// Nick Valdez
The Hunger Games series is an odd duck. It's incredibly popular while managing to be one of the darker teen stories on the market. At base level it's a series in which children murder each other for the enjoyment of rich onlo...
Twilight 5 Baby Drama photo
Twilight 5 Baby Drama

Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2 could have been worse

See the video of the terrifyingly awful "baby"
Nov 05
// Nick Valdez
Back when I reviewed The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2, I admired the saga's balance of tones (I gave the film a 75, and still stand by it to this day) but I absolutely hated the film's cheap CG effects. For the first ...
Beetlejuice 2 photo
KatzSmith Productions has been kicking around the rights and ideas for a Beetlejuice rebootquel for awhile now, so we all knew it was going to exist someday in some capacity. Most of us feared that a new Beetlejuice would som...

Review: Big Ass Spider!

Oct 18 // Nick Valdez
[embed]216554:40802:0[/embed] Big Ass SpiderDirector: Mike MendezRelease Date: October 18, 2013 (in theaters and VOD)Rating: PG-13 Big Ass Spider! is the story of an itsy bitsy spider that climbs up a mutant water spout. Alex Mathis (Greg Grunberg) is a down and out exterminator on his day off when a spider bite sends him to the hospital. Unfortunately for Alex, that same hospital was accidentally sent a military experimental super spider that's now loose in the city as it steadily gets bigger. When the military runs out of hope, they turn to Alex and his new friend, the security guard Jose Ramos (Lombardo Boyar) to put a stop to the giant spider menace.  Let me start off this review by stating Big Ass Spider! is absolutely wonderful. It's oozing with cheese and celebrates it in the way you want it to. You see, the best part of Big Ass Spider! is the commitment to the premise and its absurdity. Although you can tell everyone involved knows they're in what's supposed to be a bad movie, it's never once discernible while watching. Special credit goes to the cast for believably speaking dialogue that's mostly terrible with semi-straight faces. Most of the cast (there are a few duds in the mix, unfortunately) rides a fine line between playing it straight, and delivering their lines with a tinge of humor. For example, Lombardo Boyar's strained accent might be grating to some at first (and I thought I would find it insulting), but it's played up so heavily that it elevates the humor of his lines. His "Batman and Robin" line is the perfect example of this as it takes a joke concept we've heard before (I'll be the Robin to your Batman), but his accent is the only reason its funny.  And while on the subject of Jose, BAS! wonderfully exaggerates one of the most common problems found in "Grade B" exploitation films, the ethnic stereotype. For once, the ethnic stereotype displayed in a Grade B film isn't overtly degrading or condescending, he's entertaining! Although Jose is the support to the main character and the comic relief, he's seen saving Alex several times (and one charging to a hilarious Mariachi theme) and has wonderful insights into the plot. But hilariously (and deviously intelligent) enough, all of that is hidden under his exaggerated accent.  Greg Grunberg is a wonderful anchor to all of this schlock. As Alex, he splendidly slips into the quirky, not really knowledgeable "spider expert" (with a tiny spider tattoo!). Sure some of his delivery is off the mark (particularly in some of the action scenes), but he rules the standard conversations. And when some of the dialogue is a little too rough, he's comedic timing makes it all better. And Alex the Exterminator as an exploitation character (the "something" expert) is great overall as it's turned into a hapless guy who's still very knowledgeable about his craft. Although the film may want you to believe no thought went into the story (as most "giant monster" B films), it's nice to see the main character ridiculed, but not completely asinine.  Big Ass Spider! is a loving and genuine tribute to terrible giant monster films without ever becoming terrible itself. It's the little ass touches that make the difference. From the design of the military scientist (he's in a Jurassic Park like white suit and smoking a cobb pipe), from casting Ray Wise as the stern military general, from a hilariously random Lloyd Kaufman (the King of Troma, a studio that knows a thing or two about genuinely loving schlock) cameo, to even the gratuitous but not overbearing shots (there's only two or three short instances of this) of women's butts (one of my favorite shots of the film is a hospital scene in which the camera casually decides to follow behind a nurse's behind). Sure it's not that great looking and is, at times, a little hard to look at, none of that should matter since there's so much Big Ass Fun to be had.  If you're a bad film lover, or a film lover in general (and can recognize the genuine nature of its terribleness), give Big Ass Spider! a try. I like Big Ass Spider! and I cannot deny. It's a Big Ass Masterpiece!
Big Ass Spider! Review photo
Big Ass Spider, Big Ass Laughs
When you approach a film titled Big Ass Spider, you know what you're in for. At worst you're getting cynical Syfy Channel type low grade schlock, at best, you're getting a film that reached too high but it's failures are comp...

I, Frankenstein photo
I, Frankenstein

First trailer for I, Frankenstein and I, am bored

I, don't like this.
Oct 07
// Nick Valdez
"I am unlike any long as you ignore all of these guys I'm totally fighting right now" is the basic message of the first sad trailer for I, Frankenstein starring He, Aaron Eckhart. Produced by the Underworld f...
Scarlet Olson photo
Scarlet Olson

Samuel Jackson confirms Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch?

Then again, Samuel L. Mothaf**king Jackson could be referencing something else...
Oct 04
// Nick Valdez
A few months ago Elizabeth Olsen was in talks to join the cast of The Avengers: Age of Ultron, but it was never confirmed as "in talks" could mean a lot of things. But in an interview with the Wall Street Journal (as he was t...
The Resurrection  photo
The Resurrection

Waterworld director working on family friendly Jesus film

Save me Jebus!
Oct 01
// Nick Valdez
Joining the likes of current Biblical adaptations like Ridley Scott's Exodus and Darren Aronofsky's Noah, is The Resurrection, a family friendly mystery directed by Kevin Reynolds (the same guy who directed Waterworld, or mor...
Under The Skin Trailer photo
Under The Skin Trailer

First trailer for Under the Skin is still pretty creepy

yet stilllllll sexy
Sep 23
// Nick Valdez
Under the Skin features Scarlett Johansson as a sexy alien who's sent to Earth to kill using her sexy sex to sex things sexily. And while she's sexing things, her "curiosity of the human body" forces her to fail her mission ...
FFS: Good Will Batman photo
FFS: Good Will Batman

Flix for Short: Good Will Batman

"Now where are these other sandwiches going, huh? SWEAR TO ME!"
Sep 16
// Nick Valdez
Now that the "Ben Affleck is Batman" hooplah is mostly over, it's time to bring it up again. Here's a video that retroactively places Batman within one of Affleck's most famous roles in Good Will Hunting and the results are ...

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