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4:00 PM on 07.29.2014

Godzilla 2 bringing the big dogs Mothra, Rodan, and King Ghidorah

Although a Godzilla sequel was announced shortly after the first film made Legendary Pictures a king-sized amount at the box office, they've finally confirmed it during their panel at San Diego Comic-Con last weekend. Didn't ...

Nick Valdez

Review: Kill Team photo
Review: Kill Team
by Hubert Vigilla

The war in Afghanistan is the longest military conflict in which the United States has been involved. The operation is nowhere near as successful as hoped, which is part of the reality of fighting a war in Afghanistan, a lesson that the Soviet Union learned in the 1980s. Much of the logistic difficulty comes from the terrain and the size of the country. For the US, this difficult was compounded by its attempts to rebuild infrastructure and develop trust with the civilian population. Part of the issue here may be some of the troops themselves.

The documentary Kill Team chronicles one instance of egregious war crimes that US troops perpetrated against the people of Afghanistan. One army unit played a game in which they'd murder innocent civilians and pretend that they were enemy combatants.

One of the most chilling things about Kill Team is the matter-of-fact way that one of the troops characterizes these kinds of war crimes: it happens way more than we think, they were just the ones who got caught.

[This review was original posted as part of our coverage of the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival. It is being posted to coincide with its theatrical release.]

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Fast & Furious 7 has finished filming, here's a super sad note about it photo
Fast & Furious 7 has finished filming, here's a super sad note about it
by Nick Valdez

The Fast & Furious franchise is never going to be the same without Paul Walker. The filming process of the seventh film has been paved with heartache and drama, but at least it's finally over. Knowing that Fast & Furious 7 will sadly have the best box office performance in the franchise, it's good to see these folks take it stride. Here's a note commemorating the completed shooting. 

I'm just going to get this dust out of my eyes. Fast & Furious 7 opens April 3, 2015

[via Facebook]


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Review: Particle Fever photo
Review: Particle Fever
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

I like physics. I probably have as good a grasp of the field as any film critic, and I frequently read articles about things like the Large Hadron Collider and the revelation of the mass of the Higgs Boson and how that revelation has impacted supersymmetry theory.

You've probably heard of the Large Hadron Collider (possibly as that thing that didn't actually destroy the world) and the Higgs Boson (sometimes called the God particle), but it's less likely that you know what supersymmetry (affectionately called SUSY) is. If you don't understand what I'm talking about, much of the science in Particle Fever is going to fly right over your head. 

But that doesn't mean you shouldn't see it. Because Particle Fever succeeds not because of its discussion of this particular science, but that of what science means and why it matters.

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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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Rumor: Warner Bros. to release 7 DC movies from 2016-2018 photo
Rumor: Warner Bros. to release 7 DC movies from 2016-2018
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

Marvel has been having amazing success with its cinematic universe, and they show no signs of slowing down. But their two-films-per-year schedule is pretty solid, and any more superhero movies would really have the potential to cause the general public to lose interest (there is absolutely too much of a good thing). But if a new report from journalist Nikke Finke is correct, my hypothesis will be tested in 2016, because Warner Bros. will be releasing at least seven movies in just about two years. The current lineup is as follows:

  • May 2016: Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice
  • July 2016: Shazam (Captain Marvel)
  • Christmas 2016: The Sandman
  • May 2017: Justice League
  • July 2017: Wonder Woman
  • Christmas 2017: Flash and Green Lantern
  • May 2018: Man of Steel 2

Three movies per year for 2016 and 2017 and at least one in 2018? Wow... And that's on top of the two we'll be getting from Marvel each year, and doesn't count the inevitable adaptations from other publishers that seem to come out every year or two. But despite my apprehension, I'm fascinated by that last entry: Thus far, everyone has assumed that Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (ugh) was replacing Man of Steel 2, but this doesn't seem to be the case. It will be interesting to see how that plays out.

Either way, are you excited about the incoming glut of DC movies, or do you think they would be better served by spacing their lineup out?

[Nikki Finke, via The Verge]

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Teaser trailer for restoration of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is impressive photo
Teaser trailer for restoration of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is impressive
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

If you haven't seen the 1920 classic The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, you need to fix that immediately. Conveniently, it's out of copyright, so I've embedded it below. But like most films from back then, it doesn't look so good. The scratches and dirt take away from the beautifully bizarre visual style that has influenced oh-so-many filmmakers. Fortunately, Eureka Entertainment has taken it upon themselves to restore the film to its original glory, and the snippets shown in the teaser above are a sight to see. Yeah, there are still some spots and stains here and there, but there's only so much one can reasonably do without having to straight up remake the image (which actually sort of happened back in 2005). 

The restoration will be hitting UK theaters at the end of August and Blu-ray soon after. I would love to see it projected on the big screen, so I'm hoping that it gets a theatrical run stateside as well. Regardless, I'm definitely looking forward to seeing the full cut. It's always exciting to these old classic films returned to their former glory. 

Are there any other damaged classics you'd like to see restored?

[Via /Film]

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Flixist Community Discusses: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 photo
Flixist Community Discusses: The Amazing Spider-Man 2
by Nick Valdez

Thanks to the Spider-Man property's massive popularity, talking about its movies are the most fun. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 already started out in a hole since it seemed like a cynical sequel to Sony's original cynical property hogging (Sony can keep the Spider-Man license as long as it continues to make Spider-Man movies), but most folks were still holding out hope that this time it'd be different. 

After the film's release, more so than the first film, criticism seemed particularly divided amongst our community. Some absolutely loved it, and some absolutely loathed it. Because I wanted to get to the bottom of why the opinions varied so much, we now have Flixist Community Discusses, a series in which we'll discover why a film may or may not be successful in what it set out to do. 

Gathered from the comments (from both the opinions post and the review) and Twitter, here's what the Flixist Community thinks of The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Some spoilers ahead!

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Sony planning live action Barbie movie  photo
Sony planning live action Barbie movie
by Nick Valdez

Looking for the next Transformers or The LEGO Movie, Sony's search for the next big toy movie has brought it to Mattel's Barbie. Closing a partnership with Mattel, Sony hopes to start a franchise based on the children's popular toy starting with a live action comedy that'll reflect Barbie's more empowering qualities. With a script in the works from Jenny Bicks (The Big C), the film will take a young cast and "use [Barbie]'s personal and professional skills to step into the lives of others and improve them, almost like a modern day Mary Poppins."

Although Mattel has released thousands of Barbie animated films to home video, this is the first time something like this has gone down. I'm curious as to what will come of this. Sure the Barbie name has a few stigmas, but done the right way, we could get more of a Lisa Lionheart than a Malibu Stacy. 

[Deadline, via Collider]

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Netflix Now: Blue is the Warmest Color Edition photo
Netflix Now: Blue is the Warmest Color Edition
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

So here's something I didn't expect: Blue is the Warmest Color is now available on Netflix Instant. Abdellatif Kechiche's spectacular three-hour romance is being released on Blu ray and DVD by the Criterion Collection, but while Hulu has that Criterion contract (which is a big part of why I subscribe to Hulu Plus), apparently Sundance Selects is running the digital distribution.

So... it's on Netflix Instant, and nothing else matters. It's the fourth best movie of last year, and if you haven't seen it (and you probably haven't), now is the time.

Seriously. Drop whatever you're doing and go watch it right now.

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Lego to officially release Ghostbusters set photo
Lego to officially release Ghostbusters set
by Nick Valdez

Joining the recently (and awesomely) announced The Simpsons licensed set, Brent Waller's Ghostbusters CUUSOO project (a site where artists can pitch ideas to be made into real sets much like the Back to the Future set released some time ago) has been greenlit and will officially go into production to celebrate the film's 30th anniversary. 

Although the final model of the Ecto-1 (complete with Peter, Egon, Winston, Ray, and Slimer) won't be the same as the CUUSOO project, it's still going to be great consolation prize considering we'll never get a third movie. But Legos are super cool, so I'm very excited about this. 

[Tomopop, via The Brothers Brick]

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First trailer for Kite live-action adaptation blows minds photo
First trailer for Kite live-action adaptation blows minds
by Michael Jordan

In a move that has blown my mind, cult classic anime, Kite, is on its way to the big screen via live action. The cast includes Samuel L. Jackson, subbing for Akai's character, and India Eisley as Sawa. Not only known for its hyper violence, the anime was controversial due to its large focus on child rape and graphic sex, and the initial worldwide release was heavily edited.

As for the trailer: Hollywood, your care free, YOLO lifestyle has made me very sad indeed; this trailer basically giving away the entire movie. While it is an interesting concept lets hope they don't try to make Kite 's spiritual sequel Mezzo Forte into a live action movie.

Directed by South African Director Ralph Ziman, Kite should be released sometime in 2014.

[via Kotaku]

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Lots of good movies leaving Netflix Instant January 1st photo
Lots of good movies leaving Netflix Instant January 1st
by Nick Valdez

So you like Netflix Instant, right? Prepare to be married to it for the rest of the year. According to Vulture (who spotted a thread on Reddit that keeps track of expiration dates now that Netflix gave that up), lots of notable movies are disappearing from Instant on January 1st, 2014.

Those movies includes favorites like Do the Right Thing, Being John Malkovich, Titanic, Desperado, The Faculty, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, I'm Gonna Git You Sucka, Troll 2, and Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot (although I'm the only one that really cares about that one). Although that's a big list, there's a thread on Reddit that also claims we'll be getting other films like Good Burger and f**king Spaceballs, but it's not showing a source. 

Keep an eye on the first Netflix Now of 2014 (January 8th) for that information if anything's confirmed. Until then, start watching folks!

[via Vulture

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James Cameron talks about 'Avatar' sequels: a 1-act play photo
James Cameron talks about 'Avatar' sequels: a 1-act play
by Mike Cosimano

"James? You've got an interview with the Associated Press in about ten minutes, sir."

"Oh, thanks...Jon, was it? You're the new intern?"

"Uh, sure. What are they planning to ask you?"

"We're probably going to talk about the Avatar sequels, I guess. I'm planning to shoot them in New Zealand. The first movie focused on Jake Sully a lot, but I want to make a Godfather-esque series based on his family."

"James, maybe you shouldn't compare a preachy sci-fi movie that critics and audiences have retroactively decided to hate to one of the greatest trilogies ever made."

"I think it's a perfectly valid comparison, Jon. I mean, I wouldn't call The Godfather preachy, but you're entitled to your opinion."

[Jon sighs the sigh of a defeated man. It's clear he's had this conversation before.]

"Sure, James. Whatever you say."

[Source: Slashfilm]

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Review: Hours photo
Review: Hours
by Nick Valdez

I'm a bit at a loss of what to write here. I've always been weird toward deaths of well known individuals as to when how soon is "too soon." After spending the last few days thinking of all the positives of Paul Walker's career, when is it safe to talk about the negatives again? Sure Walker is the most attractive everyman I've ever seen, but he just never quite got the right material to emphasize it. He's always been stuck in middling solo films or in big name franchises playing second fiddle to someone else. 

But Paul Walker was always trying to be more than a pretty face. Those middling solo films like Eight Below? It was his attempt at branching out past the action star he was portrayed as. With Hours, Walker once again tried to break out of that "Everyman" mold...with stymied success. 

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First trailer for Godzilla is still king of the monsters photo
First trailer for Godzilla is still king of the monsters
by Nick Valdez

The King of the Monsters is back, baby! This first official trailer for Legendary's upcoming Godzilla reboot (not that unofficial one that was quickly pulled down several months back) gives our first real look at the new version of the same old beast. As Godzilla rises in order to fight a batch of bad kaiju (created by humans, of course), plenty of tall buildings will be destroyed. Also Bryan Cranston and Aaron Taylor-Johnson are there but no one should care about them because the movie stars a giant radioactive dinosaur. 

Sure some Godzilla stories dig into how folks react to a giant monster attack, but the memorable ones just focus on Lizard Numero Uno. Remember the Godzilla cartoon? Exactly.

Godzilla "EHHERRRRGHNNNGH"s (that's a Godzilla roar) into theaters (and probably not in PG, you crazy kids) May 16th. 

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Disney nabs future Indiana Jones film rights  photo
Disney nabs future Indiana Jones film rights
by Nick Valdez

Disney continues its quest to own everything most people enjoy with Indiana Jones. Reaching a distribution deal with Paramount, Disney now owns future rights to every future Indiana Jones film (with Paramount still making a small sum off of each of them) while Paramount will own the rights to the previous four. Although there's no set confirmation of a fifth Indy movie, you'd be crazy to think Disney would make a deal like this and not capitalize on it. 

Expect them to pull a Star Wars: Episode VII and announce Indiana Jones and the Incontinence Problem in the near future given that both Spielberg and Harrison Ford expressed interest in another one despite Ford being a sad and craggly senior citizen.  

[via Variety

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Frozen's best scene is now available online photo
Frozen's best scene is now available online
by Nick Valdez

At this rate, Frozen is shaping up to be my favorite movie of 2013. If the above clip of Elsa (Idina Menzel) singing the film's stand out single, "Let It Go," doesn't convince you, then I've failed as a person. Although I said in the review that you shouldn't let it be spoiled for you, there's still plenty else to look forward to. 

Go see Frozen already. 

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Nick's Flixmas: Nestor, The Long-Eared Christmas Donkey photo
Nick's Flixmas: Nestor, The Long-Eared Christmas Donkey
by Nick Valdez

Day six of Nick's Flixmas (thanks for sticking in there!) brings us to the last, and my favorite, Rankin/Bass film, Nestor, The Long-Eared Christmas Donkey. Why is it my favorite? Because every time I watch, it reminds me of my mother. It's Bambi, the Bible, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and The Land Before Time all wrapped up into one 20 minute special. 

Aww man I just want to watch it again. 

[Nick's Flixmas is a 25 day celebration of films Nick watches every Christmas! Nick will do some analysis, review, and just generally walk down memory lane. Hopefully you'll enjoy the ride. Merry Flixmas!]

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First official trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 photo
First official trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man 2
by Nick Valdez

After The Amazing Spider-Man provided a serviceable first effort given the fact Sony had only made the film to avoid losing the rights, fans have been waiting anxiously to see what Sony could pull off for the sequel. The hype leading up to this has been slightly unbearable as we were treated to several trailer teases, banners that make the movie seem terrible, news of possible spin-offs, and pictures of Spider-Man in funny hats

But now that we have the first trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man 2, what does everyone think? I'm game for it because Jamie Foxx, Paul Giamatti, Dane DeHaan are in it (as Electro, Rhino, and Harry Osborn respectively), and they're fine actors. At least it seems like a good webswing in the right direction.

Besides even if no one likes it, two more Spider-Man flicks are happening anyway. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 spins a web, any size, catches theaters like flies May 2nd. 

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Frozen had Disney Animation's biggest box office opening  photo
Frozen had Disney Animation's biggest box office opening
by Nick Valdez

Ever since I walked out of Frozen (while giving it my highest review score ever) I've been on a constant Frozen hype train much to the dismay of my fellow Flixist editors. The film is the best thing Disney has put out in ages and I'm happy to report that its box office numbers reflect the quality. Although Frozen couldn't topple The Hunger Games: Catching Fire its opening weekend, it's done wonders for Disney as the film broke a lot of the company's records. 

According to Cartoon Brew, Frozen made $93 million over the five day holiday weekend (and $66 million starting from Friday) besting Disney Animation's former record holder, Wreck-It Ralph's $49 million dollar opening. Compare that to the last non-Pixar Disney Princess film, Tangled (which opened during the Thanksgiving holiday as well)'s $68 million and we've got a winner here. Although some might complain over Frozen's use of songs in the first 75 percent of the film, they're good enough to ease you in. Frozen deserves the money it earned. 

[via Cartoon Brew]

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Watch out for the 2013 New York Chinese Film Festival photo
Watch out for the 2013 New York Chinese Film Festival
by Alec Kubas-Meyer

[Just a reminder that this is going on! I was hoping to have my review of So Young up by now to act as a reminder, but I have been at the AMC Empire all day and it's made writing kind of hard. Am still there, actually, and will continue to be for two more films. So come join me! And if you go to one of the Donnie Yen films tomorrow, you may see a ghost of Flixist past, Hubert Vigilla (RIP)!]

See? I told you there were more festivals for New Yorkers to get excited for. The latest is the 4th annual New York Chinese Film Festival, which will be taking place from Tuesday, November 5th through the 7th at various locations around New York City. The festival will be showing seven films over the three days (with the bulk of the showings taking place on Wednesday). It's a pretty good lineup, with a mixture of new films, new-ish films, and Donnie Yen classics.

And like all good film festivals, special guests from each of the films will be attending the festival, including Zhao Wei, Miriam Yeung, and Donnie Yen.

More information about the festival and the films can be found below, and tickets can be purchased here or here.

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