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In Order of Disappearance

Chrysalis Films

In 2010, Stellan Skarsgård teamed for a third time with director Hans Petter Moland to make a sunshiny film about a gangster getting out of prison, having an existential crisis and killing a snitch. A Somewhat Gentle Man is a smart crime comedy with its tongue forcibly shoved into its cheek, and now Skarsgård and Moland have returned with a worthy follow-up in the same cold vein.

In Order of Disappearance sees Skarsgård playing a Coenesque ice plow driver who clears a path through the wilderness and minds his own business. When his son is killed by drug dealers, he works his way up the food chain, maintaining everyman status while bloodying noses. The story blossoms when he learns the name of the big boss, letting us get to know two crime families and their dysfunctions.

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Keanu Reeves in John Wick

Summit Entertainment

There are movies you should see and movies you need to see. By now, it’s my hope that our little corner of the Internet has guided you toward the latter. It’s hard out there with movie ticket prices rising and economic recovery in progress. Seeing every movie in a theater just isn’t plausible for everyone. Sometimes guidance is needed. So here’s some guidance for you: if you like action movies — I’m talking a real knock-down, drag-out shoot ‘em up with a high body count and plenty of style. If you’ve ever yearned for a movie where Keanu Reeves shoots a lot of people very directly in the face. Even if you haven’t yearned for that last part: John Wick is a movie you need to see.

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The Boxtrolls

Laika

For a film about a group of trolls who spend their nights collecting trash (and turning it into treasure), the music should definitely be silly to fit with the goofy attitude of the boxtrolls themselves. But for a story about an orphan raised by said boxtrolls who needs to convince the world they are not something to be exterminated, the music also needs to create an emotional connection to these dirty, box wearing (but also pretty darn adorable) trolls.

Composer Dario Marianelli rises to the challenge with his score for the upcoming film, The Boxtrolls, based on Alan Snow‘s novel “Here Be Monsters!” Snow’s story proves that just because someone may be called a monster (or a boxtroll), it does not mean they are not worthwhile or important, and Marianelli successfully compliments this story with a score that is fun, silly, adventurous, and has just the right amount of heart. This is Marianelli’s first time composing for an animated featured and the Italian composer does not shy away from his roots here, infusing The Boxtrolls‘ score with operatic singers and Italian instrumentation.

Take a listen to our exclusive preview of The Boxtrolls soundtrack here:

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Stan Winston Nod in The Maze Runner

Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

There are a lot of big questions left unanswered by The Maze Runner. But it’s the kind of movie where you can’t expect complete clarification and closure, because the continued mystery is what keeps audiences interested in returning for future episodes. I say episodes rather than sequels since that’s more like what they are. The Maze Runner ends with a cliffhanger, and for the sake of the story it’s a good thing the movie opened well over the weekend. In response, Fox announced yesterday that the adaptation to the second book in the series, “The Scorch Trials,” is already on track for a theatrical release one year from now, on September 18, 2015. While I don’t expect to learn everything I’m dying to know at that time — there’s at least one other sequel installment (“The Death Cure“) and a prequel (“The Kill Order“) that will fill all the gaps — I do hope to have a few things explained.

Obviously, I could just read the books. But the point is that I’m approaching this story as a movie watcher, not someone who has to read every book turned into a movie. And even if I were, the movie versions should stand on their own. I look forward to a movie sequel as continuation of the movie I’ve seen, not a cross-media succession. As far as I can tell, The Maze Runner (like most adaptations) leaves out a number of things from the book anyway. So the mediums aren’t compatible. Therefore, we would appreciate it if fans of the books don’t chime in with spoiler-y answers to these questions. There will be and is room for spoilers for the first movie, however.

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Orion Pictures

Orion Pictures

The people of Texarkana — two towns with a shared named and a shared border — have known terror before. Sixty-eight years ago a masked killer stalked and murdered five people, wounded a few others and left a community scarred with terror. A dramatized documentary (of sorts) was released in 1976, and now 38 years later the killer has returned. Well, a killer anyway.

Teenagers gather at a drive-in theater watching the town’s annual screening of the ’76 film, but when a young couple cuts out early for some hanky panky they discover a man in a sack cloth mask watching their car from the woods. He attacks leaving Corey (Spencer Treat Clark) dead and Jami (Addison Timlin) traumatized, and soon the town is forced into a new nightmare as the killings continue along a similar path to the ones captured in the film nearly four decades prior.

The Town That Dreaded Sundown is titled like a remake, but it’s actually a sequel that opens in present day with a voice-over informing viewers that what we’re about to see happened in Texarkana one year ago. The characters’ awareness of the original film adds a meta element, but at its core the film is little more than a slickly produced slasher. That’s not a bad thing on its face, but it would have been a lot better if the script tried to be anything other than a retroactively aware and highly generic rehash of events we’ve seen before.

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Colin Farrell in Miami Vice

Universal Pictures

If Colin Farrell is really serious with this True Detective business, he’s going to have learn how to shut up (or at least willfully misdirect his audience) sooner rather than later. Farrell has been in the possible casting mix for the critically acclaimed HBO series’ second season since July, and while we’ve heard plenty of rumors as to who else could star in the series, Farrell is the first “confirmed” member of the cast. Well, that’s what Farrell says.

The actor told Sunday World’s “The Dub” (uh) that he’s set for the show, reportedly sharing with the outlet: “I’m doing the second series. I’m so excited.” Desperate for more details? Well, too bad, because that’s pretty much all “The Dub” is willing to share unless you’re willing to pay to become a member of their “exclusive club” (is this True Detective cosplay?). Don’t want to shell out actual pounds for that? Neither are we, so here is the full text of the non-exclusive article: “Colin Farrell is the latest Hollywood star to make the move to the small screen, the Sunday World can exclusively reveal. The Dub last night confirmed he’s been cast in HBO’s award-winning True Detective and added: ‘I’m doing the second series. I’m so excited.’ The actor has signed up to star in the series, which has become the hottest new show on television.” We have questions.

HBO and creator Nic Pizzolatto have not yet confirmed the news, but if Colin Farrell wants to take up the mantle of “official True Detective news-bearer,” that’s cool, too. Hey, say Colin, any word on other possible castmates like Elisabeth Moss, Rachel McAdams, Vince Vaughn and Taylor Kitsch? No? Okay.

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Aquaman in Man of Steel

Warner Bros./Screencapped.net

Stan Lee cameos and Easter eggs that are actually visible to the eye are old hat as comic book movie conventions. The hot new thing is apparently to have an unseen cameo from a notable superhero. This trend may include the slight references to the existence of offscreen characters, like the acknowledgement of Black Panther in Iron Man 3, Stephen Strange (aka Dr. Strange) in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Adam Warlock in Thor: The Dark World and Guardians of the Galaxy, but now it’s starting to be bigger than those inconsequential fan-service winks. Characters are showing up in and adding to the action of major comic book movie plots without actually being visible in the frame or named in any way whatsoever. So far, we’ve already gotten Frank Castle, aka The Punisher, in the Captain America sequel and Aquaman in Man of Steel.

Don’t recall seeing either? Exactly. They weren’t technically in those movies, but in a way they also sort of were.

More so for The Punisher, if that’s in fact who is alluded to in a recent interview at ComingSoon.net with Winter Soldier co-director Joe Russo. He points out that when Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) is on the run from HYDRA agents driving DCPD cars, a yellow Penske truck helps out by slamming into a couple of those undercover baddies, and then later a Penske truck is also involved in the death of a certain character. “The man who drives that truck is very highly trained,” Russo said, hinting that it’s also a well-known Marvel character. “He thinks on his own terms. He’s got a plan and a very specific skill set.” While nobody was named, and it’s possible Russo was just joking anyway, fans on the Internet have decided that the most likely candidate for the unseen role is Castle. 

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Astron-6

Astron-6

The Weekend Watch is an open thread where you can share what you’ve recently watched, offer suggestions on movies and TV shows we should check out (or warnings about stuff to avoid) and discover queue-filling goodies from other FSR readers.

The comments section awaits. I’ll get the ball rolling with the movies/TV my eyeballs took in this weekend.

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The Look of Silence

Drafthouse Films

My neighbors were children when Hitler ruled Germany, gifted innocence by virtue of being born late enough but damned to the fallout of a divided country by being born too early. Every time we talk about the war, Oma signals that she’s done reliving the past by saying, “There are bad men in every country, there are good men in every country.”

When she first said it, I thought it was a defense mechanism. A reminder for herself and for us as outsiders that they recognize a pitch dark evil that now goes greatly unspoken. When she repeated the mantra in subsequent conversations, I realized that it’s the required coda that recognizes the real lesson of the Holocaust: it isn’t only Germany that has the capacity for large-scale terror, it’s every society in the world.

There’s a woman in Anonymous and Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Look of Silence that looks remarkably like my Oma — tan, bright eyes, short grandma hair and a face drawn downward by almost a century of living. An Indonesian twin for my German friend.

Her son was killed during the mid-60s mass murder of “communists” in Indonesia, and the people who dumped his body in the river are still running the country. This was the reality that Oppenheimer, Christine Cynn and Anonymous explored in The Act of Killing, and the follow-up finds the other side of the story by focusing on the murdered man’s younger brother as he interviews the men responsible for the crimes.

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Doctor Who Time Heist

BBC

One of the coolest things about the premise of Doctor Who is that it can dip into so many different genres. Sometimes, as in the case with this week’s episode, “Time Heist,” you get a mash-up of a few. Obviously we got a heist story here, and that was combined with the amnesiac thriller and the superhero team-up. Guest good guys Psi (Jonathan Bailey) and Saibra (Pippa Bennett-Warner), who join up with the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) and Clara (Jenna Coleman) on their latest adventure, are respectively reminiscent specifically of Marvel mutants Cable and Rogue. And who wouldn’t want a heroine called The Impossible Girl in a group tasked with such a mission: impossible as robbing the most secure bank in the universe?

So how did “Time Heist” wind up being one of the least exciting and imaginative episodes in years? The set-up was great, not necessarily the part where again we’re having a trip disrupt date night for Clara and Danny (Samuel Anderson) but the mysterious phone call and the sudden loss of memory and introduction of the new super-friends. Even the Karabraxos bank manager, Ms. Delphox (Keeley Hawes), has a delicious cartoonish villainy about her, all the way through the end in fact. There were some decent scenes, too, like the one where Delphox and her alien “Teller” wipe the brain of an accused customer and the guy’s skull collapses like a basketball that’s been popped. But that’s actually one of the many moments in this episode that are directed poorly by Douglas Mackinnon, who disappoints tremendously after helming last week’s clever and quite lively episode, “Listen.” 

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TWC

TWC

Genre fans know the drill. If you have sex, you’re going to die. It will usually be at the hands of a machete-wielding madman, but whatever the case you will be dead before the post-coital bliss is rinsed away from your bathing suit area. Relatively recent horror flicks have played around with the concept by allowing their final girl protagonists to do the dirty and still survive, but the tradition remains as some kind of subconscious puritanical judgement.

It Follows takes that conceit and gives it a freshly paranoid and frequently terrifying new twist. Jay (Maika Monroe) finds out the hard way after giving it up to her new boyfriend one warm summer night only to wake up in a condemned building tied to a wheelchair. Her boyfriend (well, her ex-boyfriend now probably) begins his explanation with an apology. Having sex is the only way to pass “it” to someone else. What is it exactly? Well, it takes the form of a human, one that can look like a stranger or someone you know and is only visible to you and others who’ve been infected, and it walks steadily toward you. They’re slow but persistent, and if they reach you they bend, batter and break your body until you’re dead.

The bright side — aside from the hopefully awesome sex you just had — is that you can pass it to someone else by the same means and tell them to follow suit. Sharing doesn’t mean you’re free and clear though because if the person you pass it to is killed the spiritual STD returns to stalk you again. So yes, it is the definition of a gift that keeps on giving.

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Princess Kaguya

Studio Ghibli

One of the most impressive things about The Tale of Princess Kaguya is its dual nature as a delicate epic and a powerful slower burn that’s never dull. It’s like watching a feather turn to stone over two hours before being knocked down by it (and those who know Grave of the Fireflies won’t be surprised that Kaguya has that kind of strength). This is a fine followup for Isao Takahata, who brings a half-century of animated storytelling and the tearfully hopeful Fireflies legacy to this ancient folktale.

As the cultural ambassador for Japan, it’s fitting that Studio Ghibli is the one sharing “The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter” — the country’s oldest surviving narrative — on this scale with the rest of the world. The story features an older man who discovers a tiny princess growing out of a bamboo stalk, who he takes home and raises as his own daughter. He also finds a hefty amount of gold, which allows him and his wife to bring the little bambina to the city to grow up in a mansion as a proper lady. The princess, who spent her earliest days skinning her knees and climbing trees with close friends in the country, rebels at every turn.

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Fantastic Fest

Fantastic Fest

Boy Scouts, amirite? Always hating on atheists, gays and random sticks they find in the woods. But in Belgium at least they’re far from the worst thing hanging out in the forest.

Cub follows a gaggle of scouts along on a camping trip meant to engender team-building and survival skills, but the truth behind a local legend threatens to impede the former — by killing off members of the team — while creating a sink or swim scenario with the latter. A feral boy said to live in the woods is rumored to be behind a series of disappearances, but even if he’s real he may not be the biggest threat wandering the wild.

Sam (Maurice Luijten, who bears a striking resemblance to a young Belgian River Phoenix) joined the scouts with the baggage of a mysterious and violent past trauma, and the constant bullying he suffers at the hands of others does nothing to calm his inner turmoil. He’s dismissed after trying to tell the others that he saw a boy in the woods and instead forms a strained and silent relationship with the muddied and masked child. And then they all start earning merit badges in death.

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