42

2013.moviedoppelgangers

Every year, there seem to be unintended themes emerging from movie releases. It’s almost as if the studios called each other to coordinate projects like friends in high school planning to wear matching outfits on a Friday. Sometimes this effect is unintentional, like when an emerging movie star manages to have multiple films comes out the same year (see Melissa McCarthy below); other times, it’s a result of executives switching studios and developing similar projects (like the infamous Disney and DreamWorks 1998 double-header grudge match of A Bug’s Life vs. Antz and Armageddon vs. Deep Impact). This year is no different, producing a slew of movie doppelgangers. For the sake of creativity, I left the painfully obvious off. Still, who can forget offerings like Olympus Has Fallen up against White House Down as well as This Is the End paired with The World’s End? And, if you really hate yourself, you can watch a terrible trippleganger of A Haunted House, Scary Movie 5 and 30 Nights of Paranormal Activity with the Devil Inside the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Whether it’s similar themes, the same actor in noticeably similar roles, or parallel stand-out moments in two films, this list of 13 movie pairings can provide a nice selection of companion pieces for your viewing pleasure.

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Oscar 2013 Mid-Year

What kind of movies get released in January? In the summer? From November through December? Exactly. We know the cycle so well that a movie with only half a dozen explosions in June is considered counter-programming while Fall films are actively baiting golden statues and podiums. We know it so well that people predict the following year’s Oscars the day after the Oscars. We know it so well that the ceremony “shaking things up” has become the status quo. So I wondered what would happen if they truly shook things up by holding the Oscars in July. A kind of mid-year awards ceremony where The Weinstein Company hasn’t even brought out its heaviest hitters yet. This alternative universe isn’t necessarily about what movies are the best — because the Oscars almost never are. It’s about finding the close enough blend of prestige and popularity from the first half of the year, but make no mistake, it would still result in a wildly different list of nominees.

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fantastic four bill murray

Welcome to another edition of the Reject Recap, where we highlight the past week’s best news and original features from this very movie site and others around the web. It really wasn’t a huge week for stories out of Hollywood and the rest of the industry. Some of the biggest things involved sci-fi movie casting and trailers and the reminder of a remake nobody sees as necessary. In addition to the ten posts curated for your attention, we also share two goofy mash-up videos for your enjoyment this weekend. Start your weekend right after the jump.

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42

Baseball hall-of-famer, social activist, and boundary-breaker Jackie Robinson has long been due a full-scale feature film to chronicle his many achievements, and while Brian Helgeland’s 42 wisely sticks to telling the remarkable story of Robinson’s burgeoning Major League career as anchored by uniformly great performances, it’s an otherwise stale portrayal of one of America’s greatest heroes. 42 will likely be hailed as some manner of crowd-pleaser, but the film’s frequent lack of emotional punch and linear sense of history leave it far more suited for sharing within a classroom setting. Helgeland’s film feels safe and stagey, a bizarre take on Robinson’s bold and brash life story, and it only occasionally allows moments of true emotional impact to fly out of the park, seemingly beyond Helgeland’s control. 42 picks up with Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) in his post-collegiate and -military life, as a star player on the Kansas City Monarchs, part of baseball’s Negro leagues of the 1940’s. Unbeknownst to Robinson, the Brooklyn Dodgers’ club president and general manager, Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford), had his eye on then-shortstop, as he was cooking up a plan to drive revenues (and, apparently, his own good sense) by bringing on the first African-American baseball player in the major leagues. He wanted that player to be Robinson, and 42 centers on Robinson and Rickey’s dual struggle to overcome all manner of prejudice, hate, and stupidity to give Robinson his quite well-deserved place on the Dodgers and in the majors.

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42 Trailer

The historical drama, the meditation on race relations, and the inspirational sports story: separately they’re all crowd-pleasing film genres that tend to do well at the box office and earn plenty of recognition during awards season. But put them all together and you get some kind of unstoppable super movie. Or, at least, that’s probably what writer/director Brian Helgeland was hoping when he made 42, a biopic of baseball player Jackie Robinson. For anyone out there whose nerdom doesn’t travel over into the sports world, Robinson was the first black player to cross the color line and play in Major League Baseball during the modern era. Which, you might imagine, was something that a number of tobacco-spitting ballplayers and drunken fans in the stands didn’t take kindly to back in the late 1940s. 42 seems to focus on the struggle of going somewhere you’re not wanted, so that you might pave the way toward opportunity for those who come after you; a noble goal that’s ripe with dramatic potential.

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42 Movie

A young boy stands between two sets of train tracks, bat in one hand, the other pointed out toward the Heavens. It’s a simple twist on a classic image and just one of many found in the first trailer for Brian Helgeland’s 42. The film tells the story of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in baseball, and with carefully crafted shots and a booming reminder from Jay-Z that Brooklyn goes hard, it’s a hell of a way to introduce a movie. Although, you might be thinking, “A Helgeland period piece with modern music? Is this A Knight’s Tale with an infield fly rule?” If you are, that’s an oddly specific reference to go to, nerd, and the movie itself probably won’t feature anything but mid-1900 jams. So keep heart. Without a doubt, this will be a break out chance for Chadwick Boseman, who plays Robinson, but it’s Harrison Ford who’s nearly unrecognizable here as Branch Rickey, the man who signed Robinson to the Dodgers. Check out this exciting trailer for yourself:

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