Movie News

Where To Watch

As we all know, the MPAA has a host of problems. It’s antique, it’s funded by the six major studios in their own interest, it’s not nearly as useful as it should be. However, we can hopefully all give credit where credit is due in the case of their new streaming search tool. Granted, we shouldn’t be popping champagne for Where To Watch just yet — it’s a clean program that apes what Can I Stream It and other sites are doing, and it’s an olive branch to a large, growing audience who wants to see movies online legally, but it’s also only a tepid step in the right direction. It works exactly how you’d expect something called “Where to Watch” to work — you search for a movie, and it tells you where you can watch it online (either through sub services or through paid rental/purchase). I tested it out with ten movies, and it worked perfectly (yes, The Usual Suspects is on Netflix streaming!), but The Verge apparently got one false positive. A small problem in the scheme of things, particularly with something that’s in Beta. It’s also toddler-level easy to use with very few frills.

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Paul Blart Mall Cop 2

America: you demanded a sequel to Paul Blart: Mall Cop, and now you’re getting it. We’re all getting it. It’s been gotten. Wait, you might be thinking, I did not personally demand this sequel! Not I! Too bad, because your brethren did — they had to, really, voting with their movie ticket-buying dollars, enough to make the first film a bonafide hit, pulling in over $183m in worldwide box office returns. The feature even tops BoxOfficeMojo’s list of “bumbling” comedies (also, points to you, BoxOfficeMojo). Someone saw this movie. Was it you? It doesn’t matter, because the damage has been done: we’re getting Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, and now there’s a trailer to prove it. Feast your eyes on it, America, you know you want to:

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Mortdecai Movie

There have been plenty of bumbling crime-fighters throughout the years. Pink Panther, Johnny English, OSS 117, Frank Drebin. All are respected for being ridiculous while still, somehow, saving the day. And now there’s Johnny Depp as Charlie Mortdecai — filling out the cult figure from the 1970s Kyril Bonfiglioli books with far better names than this movie got. (Seriously, would you rather go see Don’t Point That Thing At Me or Mortdecai? Exactly.) The trailer offers a classic comic take on the absurd police figure. Guaranteed Depp’s character gets locked out of a building without his pants. It’s that kind of movie.

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Iko Uwais in The Raid

Iko Uwais isn’t a household name just yet, but anyone who has seen any of director Gareth Evans’ last three films — Merantau, The Raid, The Raid 2 — likely remembers both his face and his sick moves. If you’re of such an ilk, the kind of moviegoer who relishes in the strange and ambitious fare of the science fiction genre, you are probably also away of the 2010 alien invasion film Skyline from VFX wiz-kids Greg and Colin Strause. Made on a small budget and delivered with great scale, Skyline was an imperfect but remarkably impressive entry in the packed landscape of alien invasion cinema. Now these two things are coming together. Badass fighter + badass alien effects. You’re welcome. More details after the jump, including word of yet another Indonesian ass-kicker’s involvement.

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LucasFilm

It’s here. It’s real. It’s no longer the subject of constant fan theorizing. Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It’s… a little unsatisfying, don’t you think? Maybe not- maybe you’re cheering over J. J. Abrams‘ perfect choice of title (and if that’s the case, then lucky you). And maybe the hype surrounding Episode VII was so high that we’d find fault with anything that wasn’t Star Wars: Awww Shit Yeah it’s Luke vs. the Mecha-Wookies. The Force Awakens isn’t the worst title in history (something that will forever be contested- I’ll always hold a spot in my heart for the buffoonishly unscary It’s Alive III: Island of the Alive), but it seems safe to say that the hype surrounding The Force Awakens is more my god, Episode VII has a subtitle and less my god, the Force is awake. We didn’t even know it was napping. There’s another layer to The Force Awakens, though- and whether you’re pro-title or anti-title, it’s hard to deny- it’s an uncanny ringer for all the other sequel subtitles coming out of Hollywood in the last year or two. Specifically, the subtitle world’s most recent trend- Movie: New Era of Something Cool. Seen below are the biggest culprits.

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Selma Movie

With percussive echoes of Public Enemy’s “Say It Like It Really Is” filling the background, the trailer for Ava DuVernay’s Selma offers a potent history lesson and a booming figure in David Oyelowo’s Martin Luther King, Jr. His presence is powerfully immediate, embodying the preacher’s bombast as well as the quiet tones of tense moments. This is impressive work, and it should resonate a million fold after the year we’ve just had. It’s hitting theaters January 9th, but (no surprise) it’s getting an Oscar-qualifying run around Christmas time. This trailer is a hammer to the forehead, and while it’s easy to call this a breakout year for Oyelowo (from A Most Violent Year to Interstellar to now playing one of the most famous figures of American contemporary history), I also hope this film launches DuVernay into the bigger spotlight she deserves. Gird your loins, and check this out.

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Into the Woods

In the new trailer for Rob Marshall‘s Into the Woods, all is rightly in place. Emily Blunt is beautiful and kind, Chris Pine is a charming prince, Meryl Streep is an absolutely flawless being with supernatural powers, Johnny Depp is exercising his passion for fashion and Anna Kendrick is Anna Kendrick. In order to master a Disney adaptation of this beloved Sondheim musical before the theatre kids angrily descend from the catwalks, sound booths, trap doors, costume labs, right and left wings and that part of the stage where they think nobody in the audience can see them (I’ve done a lot of tech theatre; I know all the good backstage hangouts), a few things need to be nailed down in the trailer. They have to hit that title song, and as those first few “I wish!” moments ring out in the terrible, terrible woods, it’s clear that this isn’t going to be a problem. Nice sell, Jack and Little Red. Now the next thing that must work is that The Witch needs to be fearsome, worthy of respect and able to pull off being both fabulous and draped in grey rags at the same time. You guys ever heard of this Meryl Streep? Needless to say, The Witch is everything she needs to be and more, if this trailer is any indication of what’s to come for the rest of the film.

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D02_0186.NEF

Beyond the title’s reference (intentional or otherwise) to the Dylan Thomas poem, it’s hard to say that I was personally very aware of the new Nicolas Cage-led thriller Dying of the Light. In fact, it hasn’t been mentioned on the pages of this site since Cage joined the project in July 2013. But here it is now, a fully realized movie that’s hitting theaters on December 5. And look at that hat. To pass up an opportunity to show you that hat would be a disservice to Cage fans, disrespect to Dylan Thomas and an affront to humanity itself. But wait, there’s more.

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Universal

It’s been years since I read the Bible, but if I recall correctly one of the plagues that Charlton Heston sent down on the Romans involved souped-up muscle cars raining from the sky. That image so indelibly burned into my impressionable young mind has now been brought to life by director James Wan in the first trailer for the seventh installment in the world’s most improbable blockbuster franchise, Furious 7. The entire gang is back again — Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Dwayne Johnson, Michelle Rodriguez, Chris Bridges, Tyrese Gibson, Jordana Brewster, Elsa Pataky… hell, they even brought back Lucas Black. They’re joined (or opposed) this time by the likes of Tony Jaa, Djimon Hounsou and Kurt Russell. Kurt Russell I said. The plot appears to pick up after Furious 6‘s stinger ending that saw Jason Statham offing a member of the family in explosive fashion. His personal vendetta continues and the gang is forced to join the FBI and fight back or something. I don’t know. Does it matter? It looks like another ridiculously-fun offense to physics, and I’m already looking forward to seeing it on the big screen. Check out the first trailer below.

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A24

Alex Garland is an excellent writer. The screenwriter behind Never Let Me Go, 28 Days Later, Sunshine and Dredd has tremendous range, and the fact that he can go from breaking your heart with a tragic Kazuo Ishiguro adaptation to writing a ridiculously good action movie shows he has discovered few limits so far. Some may argue he has a problem landing third acts, but those final 30 minutes of Sunshine are completely built up to and valid. Seriously. Garland tackles high-concepts with real humanity, and his characters are generally as fascinating as his big ideas. He may strike that balance once again with his directorial debut, Ex Machina. The sci-fi film stars Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis), Domhnall Gleeson (In Time) and Alicia Vikander (Anna Karenina). Gleeson plays Caleb, a coder who wins a contest to spend time with a private CEO, Nathan (Isaac), and his A.I. creation. When Caleb arrives at Nathan’s home he’s awe-struck by what he finds… but that sense of wonder soon turns to horror. Checkout the trailer released by A24 to see why.

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Marvel Studios

Hope you weren’t busy today, because Marvel has just busted out with a tremendous amount of information — really, this makes Comic-Con look like a warm-up — and it’s here to utterly alter the look of the already superhero-crowded box office. Not content to send out a press release (like DC; sorry, DC), the Marvel team just spent the afternoon putting on a jaw-dropping event that included the announcement of three all-new projects and confirmation of five (well, really six) long-rumored features. The treats didn’t stop there, because Marvel has also gone ahead and confirmed Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther (oh, and also, hey! we’re getting Black Panther!), though there’s no word on if Benedict Cumberbatch is indeed set to play Doctor Strange. So what have we got ahead of us? Well, there’s that Black Panther movie and then also a little something called Captain Marvel (if you’re into female-led superhero movies, which we are). Oh, and how about Inhumans? They’ve got that, too! What else…what else? Doctor Strange will officially arrive on November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy 2 is set for May 5, 2017; the third Thor film is titled Thor: Ragnarok, and that will arrive on July 28, 2017; and the third Captain America feature is now called Captain America: Civil War, with a release date of May 6, 2016. Oh, and one more thing. We’re not getting a third Avengers film. We’re getting a third and fourth Avengers film: Avengers: Infinity War, Part 1 will arrive on May 4, 2018, with Part 2 hitting on May 3, 2019. That’s a long war. After the break, check out our updated list (working from this little guy) of […]

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Doctor Strange

Everyone, calm down. It’s finally happened. Maybe. Probably. Oh, you know how these things go. Earlier this month, we reflected on the long, strange trip that had brought us to this crucial juncture in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: a Doctor Strange movie without, well, a Doctor Strange. Those days may now be over. Deadline reports that Benedict Cumberbatch is “the studio’s choice for the superhero pic, and negotiations are about to begin.” Again, no formal offers have been made, Cumberbatch has not accepted anything and nothing has been officially announced. Still, it’s no surprise that Marvel has acted relatively quickly to line up a new Sorcerer Supreme after their long-gestating chats with Joaquin Phoenix proved fruitless.

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Wiseau-Films

When Tommy Wiseau appeared from wherever he’s actually from (the consensus is still out on that one) and crafted the bizarre, wonderful, atrocious monstrosity called The Room — the Citizen Kane of bad movies, as it is proudly now known — he clearly didn’t understand what he had actually made. A drama without peers, the salacious story of some harpy named Lisa (Juliette Danielle) who tears apart the sanity and heart of her future-husband Johnny (Wiseau), all just to have an affair with his best friend, Mark (Greg Sestero), it’s a masterpiece of side-plots (Breast Cancer! Bay-to-Breakers! Chris-R!), green screens, eschewing subtly and really capturing the beauty of San Francisco through about five or 100 tracking shots of the Golden Gate Bridge. In the years since 2002, The Room has, of course, evolved into an unstoppable monster of cult success, leading to midnight Rocky Horror-style screenings (don’t come unless you’re armed with plastic spoons), endless quotables and years of audiences listening with a mix of fascination and admiration (and a little bit of horror) to Wiseau to wax poetic about his life’s philosophy when he inevitably shows up to a showing or two.

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Hulkbuster in Avengers 2

Earlier this evening the first teaser trailer for Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron leaked onto the internet. In a move that makes sense, but is still unexpected based on the way most studios handle leaks, they bypassed the chasing down of legal notices and getting leaks pulled from YouTube and just released the official version. What does this mean for me and you? It means we’ve got our first look at Avengers: Age of Ultron! Official, polished, and in glorious high definition. Overwhelming excitement is the appropriate reaction here.

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Mark Wahlberg in The Gambler

Last year Mark Wahlberg was on a roll. He showed he hadn’t lost any of his comedic chops from I Heart Huckabees in his comically sincere work in Pain & Gain and he delivered a refreshingly unshowy performance in Lone Survivor. What followed those two performances, which displayed what a wide-range he has, was Transformers: Age of Extinction, where Wahlberg played a Texan with a slippery Boston accent. After recently trying to revisit that film — which I gave up on 20 minutes into its 20 hour hour running time — it became noticeably clear that, strangely, Wahlberg isn’t really an action star. He undoubtably has the presence for those roles, but when you look at his track record in the genre — Max Payne, Planet of the Apes, and more — he never delivers the caliber of performances we know he’s capable of. Of course that kind of material generally doesn’t offer the juiciest of characters, but nonetheless, it’s rarely a role he seems comfortable in. Where Wahlberg seems at home is in this red band trailer for The Gambler. The actor plays Jim Bennett, an English professor with a serious gambling problem. Wahlberg is stepping in the shoes of James Caan, who played the lead role 40 years ago in Karel Reisz’s original film.

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Patrick Stewart

There’s something inherently calming about Patrick Stewart. The rich Shakespearean importance of his voice. His association with characters like Jean-Luc Picard and Charles Xavier, characters we cherish for their stern, all-knowing wiseness. Even his baldness is soothing (mostly because trying to picture Patrick Stewart with hair is so unsettling — Google Images and the phrase “Patrick Stewart with Hair” will supply you with a few of his rare hairpieced performances, but he doesn’t really look like Patrick Stewart…just somebody’s dad). Because of this, Stewart is almost always the hero, the voice of reason, the wizened old sage instructing our heroes with nuggets of English wisdom. And he’s almost never the villain. How could he be? We’d love and respect him too much, and end up supporting his plans for world domination or killing all the koalas in the eucalyptus patch or whatever his villain goals are. So it’s with great surprise that Stewart has just signed on (which we know thanks to The Wrap) for a very ungood role in Green Room.

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Adrianne Palicki in Agents of SHIELD

Everyone’s talking about a sudden reason to tune in to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but they’ve all got it wrong. Yes, next week’s episode promises the attachment of the first trailer or Avengers: Age of Ultron, but who cares? It’ll be online immediately after anyway. You should be watching the show anyway, especially if you care that much about the Avengers movies, because Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is totally awesome so far this season. And it’s not just a matter of the trivial procedural format being long gone from what was initially an inconsequential series. It’s not just that it’s found its purpose in the wake of Captain America: The Winter Soldier without being any more or any less significant to the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe than any of its big-screen counterparts. Right now it’s because the show is all about kick-ass women. We could have guessed things would be getting good and empowering when the warrior princess herself, Lucy Lawless, showed up at the very start of season 2. But while she was definitely a strong addition, her Isabelle Hartley didn’t even last to the end of the first episode, “Shadows” (of course, this very show, not to mention comic book stories in general, is known for resurrecting dead characters). Actually, the first hero we really saw at the beginning of the episode and season was another female badass: Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell). Last week’s installment, “Face My Enemy,” ramped things up with not just one but two Ming-Na Wens, as her Agent […]

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Lionsgate Films

Back in April, it was announced that Eli Roth‘s horror-comedy opus Cabin Fever would be getting remade, so that a new generation who couldn’t afford getting in trouble with their parents again to sneak into an R-rated movie would now be allowed to witness the grotesque beauty of bein’ young and havin’ your skin fall off. And pancakes. Oh, the pancakes. While it seemed strange at the time of the announcement that a film just released in 2002 would already be rebooted (but hey, weirder things have happened), there was at least comfort in the fact that someone — namely new director Travis Zariwny (Intruder) — saw something in the original that lit a fire and produced new ideas and torrents of gore. Think of how many horror films you’ve seen that have involved getting a wild bunch of cute young things up to the spooky cabin that someone has clearly neglected to clean for a couple months or decades, only to realize that things are terribly amiss — and that it really would have been a good idea to pay attention to their surroundings instead of banging in the woods. The possibilities for reimagining that scenario are pretty endless.

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The Sandman

Finally, news that potentially involves the words “expanded universe” that doesn’t cause involuntary pulling out of one’s hair. Because when DC Comics and Warner Bros issued that great decree of Justice League-centric films last week (also, Suicide Squad), there was one extremely noticeable omission: David S. Goyer and Joseph Gordon-Levitt‘s Sandman. Sandman‘s a film based on a DC Comic, and as the point of last week’s announcement was “Behold! Our supply of DC movies has no end!,” you’d think WB would want to pad the list with as many as possible. Heck, they included Lego Batman on the list, and no one’s expecting Batfleck to split Justice League Bat-duties with a tiny gravel-voiced LEGO piece.

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Terminator Original

Arnold Schwarzenegger is old, which means he’s going to look old in the next Terminator movie. He’ll be a robot with wrinkles, and according to James Cameron, that’s okay. “I pointed out that the outer covering (of the Terminator) was actually not synthetic, that it was organic and therefore could age,” Cameron said at a 30th anniversary celebration of the original film. “You could theoretically have a Terminator that was sent back in time, missed his target, and ended up just kind of living on in society. Because he is a learning computer and has a brain as a central processor he could actually become more human as he went along without getting discovered.” So that’s that, except it doesn’t really matter. This is the kind of external explanation that you can hold in the back of your mind even while laughing at what’s happening on screen. Even if they offer it up as exposition, it’s still a cosmetic solution for a real-world situation we all recognize. Schwarzenegger is thirty years older, so now they’ve got to explain why he’s that way in the movies, thus reminding all of us that it’s something which needs explanation. It’s lose-lose. On the other hand, there’s a chance that aging will offer Terminator: Genisys a gruff, sullen robot, but on the other other hand, is there any real hope that Schwarzenegger can rise above his hammy delivery to pull that off to its full potential?

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published: 12.19.2014
A-
published: 12.18.2014
C-
published: 12.17.2014
B+


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