It’s possible you haven’t noticed, but Hollywood  is in a bit of a superhero glut right now. This isn’t a bad thing — especially if the mediocre fare is balanced out with fantastic titles like Captain America: The Winter Soldier — but they all seem to be aimed at the same target demographic. Where are the comic book adaptations for Presbyterians? Or bodybuilders? Or even for kids?

Antboy is a new film from Denmark that tries to address that last gap with a story and style aimed squarely at the pre-teen crowd.

Pelle (Oscar Dietz) is a shy kid, small for his age, and crushing hard on the most popular girl in class. Trouble continues when he tries to help a kid being bullied and instead ends up chased into an abandoned yard, but it’s there where he’s bitten by a genetically modified ant. Soon he’s discovering new abilities like super strength, wall climbing and highly acidic pee, and with the help of his comic-loving friend Wilhelm (Samuel Ting Graf) he sets out to fight crime under the moniker Antboy. It all goes fairly easy too until a villain calling himself The Flea (Nicolas Bro) shows up on the scene, kidnaps his crush Amanda and holds the town in terror.

Korengal Mountains

Goldcrest Films

Filmmaker Sebastian Junger launched a Kickstarter campaign earlier today for a follow-up to his Oscar-nominated documentary Restrepo. And it’s already about a third of the way funded. The new film, titled Korengal: This Is What War Feels Like, is basically a sequel to that 2010 effort, for which he and co-director Tim Hetherington were embedded with a U.S. platoon in Afghanistan for a look at a year on the front lines of the war. Hetherington later died covering another dangerous conflict, the Libyan civil war, and became the subject of Junger’s subsequent film, Which Way Is the Front Line From Here.

Korengal takes us back with the duo to the titular valley for events that happened either following or alongside those in Restrepo. Junger says in his campaign statement that it had been an idea during the editing of the earlier film that they’d come back and make another doc out of the unused footage. That makes it sound almost like what they did with the Anchorman movies, but of course this is reality and also this second film is said to pick up where the other one left off, not be merely a collection of deleted scenes.

Channing Tatum Magic Mike Flexing

Warner Bros.

It’s a good time to be Channing Tatum. One minute he’s taking a meeting with the X-Men people, the next minute MTV is bestowing their most prestigious golden popcorn bucket upon him. And amidst all that goodness is something else to be proud of: Warner Bros. considers him decent enough competition (or at least, a viable alternative) to the Terminator franchise.

Because it’s just been announced that Tatum’s Magic Mike 2 (rumored to be called Magic Mike XXL) is slated for release on July 3, 2015, which is two days before Terminator Genesis‘s own release date in the Great Summer of All Blockbusters. Of course, the one thing 2015 doesn‘t already have is a sex movie about shirtless men (just kidding! — there’s also 50 Shades of Grey), so Tatum and his cohorts can step up to fill an important niche (har!).

Magic Mike 2/XXL‘s release date is also the first news about the sequel that’s come down the official news pipeline, and like all officially sourced news, it contains both the phrase “get your banana hammocks ready” and “drops trau.” Everything else about the sequel — that Tatum would be penning the screenplay (along with Reid Carolin), that it might be called Magic Mike XXL and that its director will probably be Magic Mike‘s first AD, Greg Jacobs, have come from unconfirmed sources, little hints dropped by actors or Tatum’s Facebook page.

Obvious Child trailer


One of the breakout hits from this year’s Sundance Film Festival was a film that has romance, yes, and is definitely a comedy, but perhaps not exactly a typical rom-com. At least, nothing you’ve probably seen starring Kate Hudson and a nondescript white bachelor suitor probably involves a plotline centered upon abortion. As it turns out, Obvious Child maybe just isn’t that obvious of a choice.

The film, directed by Gillian Robespierre, focuses on a down on her luck comedian named Donna, played by real life comedian and former Saturday Night Live member Jenny Slate. After a particularly heinous breakup, Donna downspirals, losing her job and sending her already shaking existence as an unambitious twenty-something into overdrive. Even something good, like a silly one night stand with a new guy who seems to share her proclivities for farts and fun, leads to an unexpected and unwanted pregnancy.

Scottie Shwartz in Kidco

20th Century Fox

This year we’ve already heard about The Lego Movie being anti-capitalist (even though it’s the opposite) and Frozen having a gay agenda (I can neither confirm nor deny this, as I still haven’t seen it), so it’s surprising that the conservative media hasn’t also jumped at the chance to denounce Rio 2 for its tree-hugging liberal propaganda. Maybe after piling on The Muppets, The Lorax, Cars 2, Happy Feet Two and others they’re tired of pointing out that basically every family film seems to them as leaning left. Or maybe, as Matt Patches argues disappointedly in his Fighting In the War Room podcast review, the message of Rio 2 is not direct enough to reach the young viewers because it implies the birds are fighting deforestation in the Amazon just fine on their own.

Either way, I invite the Right to join me this week in recognizing the 30th anniversary of Kidco, a mostly forgotten family film that aired a lot on HBO in the mid ’80s. That’s where I saw it over and over and over. Although shot in 1982, it was released theatrically, barely, on April 13, 1984, yet there’s no record of its box office gross (at Box Office Mojo or The Numbers) or any reviews it received at the time (on Rotten Tomatoes, Metacritic or IMDb). Why it was buried is unknown, but former child star Scott Schwartz, who appeared as the lead in the movie at age 14 (between his work in The Toy and A Christmas Story), said in a 2011 interview that it opened only in Alabama as a “courtesy” release by 20th Century Fox, which had spent $4M on the production, including $500K (or only $125K, according to People magazine) for the rights to the true story.

A true story that Ronald Reagan, in a 1977 radio address, championed for its encouragement of free enterprise in spite of there being so many “intrusive” and “discouraging” government agencies involved in commerce. Of course, he also recognized this story in particular because it involved child entrepreneurs.

Magic Mike

Gambit leads the X-Men into battle/Warner Bros.

Back in January, uber producer Lauren Schuler Donner said she wanted Channing Tatum for a movie about everyone’s favorite card-flinging Cajun X-Man. Now Tatum has confirmed (while blazing trails for MTV) that he’s taken a meeting about it and is definitely interested. Something we’ve all known since he auditioned for a part in X-Men: The Last Stand. So it goes.

If a million things line up correctly, Channing Tatum playing Gambit might be our future.

The thing is, of course, that if a movie is an adult who can vote, this is the movie news equivalent of hearing two people fucking through your hotel wall. But grains of salt aside, it offers us an interesting opportunity to look at what went wrong with the first live-action Gambit and how a solo film with the character might be a much-needed antidote for comic book movie fatigue.

Justin Timberlake Omeletteville

NBC Television

We’ve all probably contemplated a career change at some points in our lives. But at the same time, we also probably didn’t (most of us, I don’t know about you) start out as multi-award winning pop stars beloved by millions for our singing and dancing. Proving that even the richest and most famous get bored or at least hear from an agent or two that they’re something special, many a pop sensation get the itch sometime down the road to give acting a shot.

Whether or not they’re successful, well, that’s up for us to sit through and ultimately decide. For every On The Line, there’s an Oscar-winning performance in Moonstruck that somehow happens.

Some people just have all the luck.

WellGo USA

WellGo USA

Welcome back to This Week In Discs!

If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon.

Discs Section: Pick of the Week

confession of murder bluConfession of Murder

A serial killer ends his reign of terror and disappears into the night, but years later when the statute of limitations runs out on the crimes a man comes forward to claim responsibility and sell some books. He becomes an overnight sensation with the media, but the detective that worked the original case is none too pleased with the man’s newfound celebrity. The victims’ families are equally unhappy and set about making their own justice, and soon all manner of shenanigans are in play.

Jung Byung-gil‘s action/thriller is an ecstatically energetic and deliriously entertaining flick that moves effortlessly between beautifully choreographed chase/fight scenes, heart-rending drama and purely comedic interactions. The story gets a bit silly at times, but it’s never less than invigorating and exciting. And if you don’t want to take my word for it, you should at least listen to the cover blurb calling it “One hell of a ride.”

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Behind the scenes, interviews, trailer]

Maps to the Stars trailer

eOne Entertainment

Although you won’t see her in the first promotional trailer for David Cronenberg’s Maps to the Stars, it appears (at least according to the film’s IMDb page) that Carrie Fisher is co-starring in the auteur’s latest film as herself (or, perhaps more accurately, as a version of herself). Whereas the rest of the star-studded cast is saddled with hilariously fake-sounding names (John Cusack is “Dr. Stafford Weiss,” with Julianne Moore set to play “Havana Segrand” and Robert Pattinson rounding things out as “Jerome Fontana”) that make everyone seem like they’ve been picked to play characters in a high-minded pornographic film, Fisher apparently gets to keep her own.

It’s a fitting choice for Cronenberg to file in a “Fisher” amongst other roles that are stuck with names like “Azita Wachtel” and “Sterl Carruth,” because at the very least it adds a touch of actual veracity to his latest feature – which is about Hollywood itself. Even in a city steeped in stage names, there has to be at least one “Carrie” to normalize things a bit (and this Carrie is a real one!), though Maps to the Stars looks as if it’s gloriously unbound to the normal.

Nic Cage in The Trouble in Louisiana Trilogy

Anchor Bay Films/Millennium Films

Every few years, Nicolas Cage reminds us what a compelling screen performer he is and can be. While such reminders seem fewer and further between, the utter expendability of much of his recent filmography make strong performances like his brooding lead in David Gordon Green’s Joe all the more powerful – not because we forgot about Cage’s talents, but because we’re afraid that he might have.

Joe has been deemed (by this site and others) to be a “return to form” for Cage. It’s easy to declare with a handful of titles what form Cage is returning to. In celebrated roles like Adaptation, Leaving Las Vegas, and Bringing Out the Dead Cage has displayed an uncanny ability to balance pathological self-destruction with varying undertones of dark comedy. He is the actor of choice for men who struggle outside the norms of society, yet wouldn’t feel comfortable anywhere else.

But outside of The Wicker Man, mesmerizing mash-ups, and whatever he was doing in Face-Off, it’s perhaps harder to concisely define the form that Cage is returning from when making films like Joe, despite the fact that it’s Cage’s more forgettable (and sometimes more batshit) work that creates the rule which highlights welcome exceptions. A recent, unofficial trilogy of particularly Cagean works speaks volumes to the one-of-a-kind spot that Cage’s stardom finds itself in now.

While these films do not share a producer, a studio, or any other factor that justifies their making beyond their existence as Nicolas Cage vehicles, Trespass, Stolen, and Seeking Justice (titles that are so boldly generic as to be nearly interchangeable) share such direct similarities that, once seen together, render them impossible to separate.

Tees Maar Khan

Hari Om Entertainment Company

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere.

There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

Fright Night 1985

Columbia Pictures

Vampires are timeless; by their very nature immortal. Still, Hollywood has so shat the coffin with vampire movies of late that the creeping shadow on the wall no longer belongs to Nosferatu, but rather to permeating audience apathy. But there was a time, gentle viewer, when the legacy of the vampire canon found a way to integrate gloriously into the zeitgeist of a new era.

That time was the 1980s.

On this week’s episode, Cargill and I discuss some of our favorite vampire movies of the ’80s and examine how they incorporated the spirit of that decade into the long-running mythology of the blood-sucking undead.

We won’t say this is an episode of Junkfood Cinema that you should sink your teeth into, because that’s far too obvious. That being said, you should totally sink your teeth into this episode of Junkfood Cinema.

You should follow Brian (@Briguysalisbury), Cargill (@Massawyrm), and the show (@Junkfoodcinema).

Download Episode #7 Directly

Back to the Future Part II Documentary

Universal Studios

Pretty soon, there’ll be a whole genre of documentaries just about or related to Back to the Future. Among the fandom-based projects that show up on crowdfunding sites, Robert Zemeckis’s time travel trilogy seems to be tied to the most. There are the successfully Kickstarter-funded DeLorean-focused films Back in Time and DeLorean: Living the Dream, and there are the less successful, such as the Indiegogo-hosted The Time Machinists. I’m sure I’ve spotted more out there, and yet we haven’t seen any show up as finished and released yet. Maybe they’re all waiting for 2015? The latest, titled Back to the Future Again,is also aiming for next year, specifically because it’s about the technology “promised” for 2015 by Back to the Future Part II.

This one is on Kickstarter with a goal of £403,160 ($675,365.73), which is the highest amount for this lot. More than half of that budget, though, goes directly to licensing clips and music from the movie in order to properly illustrate their comparison of what 2015 is supposed to look like, based on the movie’s estimation, and what it actually looks like. The rest goes toward making the doc itself, which will explore how far off we are from BTTF2‘s technology. When will we have flying cars and and self-lacing sneakers and hoverboards and hydrators, etc.? Back to the Future Again will also tackle the culture of the movie’s 2015, too, by talking to fashion designers about not just the science behind Marty Jr.’s footwear and clothes but also the style itself. I can’t wait to hear how far off we are from getting double neckties. 

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published: 04.16.2014
published: 04.14.2014
published: 04.14.2014
published: 04.14.2014

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