Adventure

With a giant pile of movies to his name, Steven Spielberg has the considerable honor of being the only filmmaker who makes entertainment that’s massively popular, critically acclaimed and decade-enduring. It’s an illusive triumvirate. His fundamental success is owed to a lot of things, but principle among them is his childhood sense of wonder and magic – a sense he’s never let go of. His childhood was also spent with a camera in hand. From Jaws to Close Encounters of the Third Kind to Indiana Jones to The Color Purple and Empire of the Sun and Jurassic Park and Amistad and Schindler’s List and Munich and, and, and…he’s been a prolific, skilled presence in the filmmaking world for going on 5 decades, and he’s done so by spanning genres, tones, and subjects. So here’s a bit of free film school (for fans and filmmakers alike) from a little kid who hid under his bed after watching Bambi.

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While doing press for 21 Jump Street, Phil Lord and Chris Miller (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and, more importantly, Clone High) discussed their “LEGO” movie over at Warners and name-dropped The Matrix, The Magnificent Seven, Lord of the Rings, Time Bandits and Star Wars as tonal and plotting inspirations. The point? If you’ve got a moronic task to bring pieces of plastic to life, go huge. It worked for Michael Bay, and this team brings more to the table in terms of character and story. So, this thing could be awesome (in the oldest sense of the word, Wesley). That’s definitely a thought to get used to, but something even crazier is the idea that Harry Potter and Luke Skywalker could be making appearances. When he mentions Star Wars, it might be more than a reference point. According to Collider, Miller offered up that the usual yellow pieces won’t be the only things saving the day. “I will give you one piece of tidbit which is that there are some [Intellectual Property] characters, LEGO characters, but we can’t say who they are (laughs). That’s not really a tidbit, but it’s not just all original characters, there are some from other things that you might recognize.” It seems unlikely that they’ll get the spotlight, but with the involvement of director Chris McKay from Robot Chicken, it seems like LEGO Batman be hanging out at the bar with LEGO Indiana Jones for a few pop culture references while LEGO Hermione […]

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It’s wholly unfair that we compare a forthcoming John Carter movie to Return of the Jedi (considering how much older the Carter books are), but there’s definitely something going on in this new picture that should take fans back to the Rancor pit. The image comes from the latest edition of Entertainment Weekly (which explains the crease). After all these years, it’s great to see the film finally ready to get launched into theaters. Take into consideration that Carter might have been the first character done animation style for Disney, and it offers some context into how long Edgar Rice Burroughs‘s character has been waiting on deck. Ironically, it’s Andrew Stanton, a director known for animation, that’s chosen this to be his first live-action project. It sees theaters March 2012.

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Why Watch? Because everyone loves playing with their food. There are several reasons to watch this clever short film, but chief among them is David Cross voicing a tragically courageous ham sandwich. Do you really need more incentive? Fantastic concept. Fantastic execution. Five minutes of sheer film-watching bliss. What does it cost? Just 5 minutes of your time. Check out Meltdown for yourself:

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Why Watch? Because we all get mistaken for murderers from time to time. If you read Rob’s DVD column, you already know that there’s a new collection of Buster Keaton short films out on the market, and buried inside that treasure trove is the glistening jewel known as The Goat. While the quality is most likely better in the new collection than what we can find on the internet, it’s still worth a trip back to 1921 to check out a case of mistaken identity that sets Keaton on a crazed adventure. That adventure spotlights comedy so simple that it hits at a primal level and physical stunts that prove why Keaton is the best of his generation (sorry, Chaplin fanatics). Thrilling and funny, Keaton is close to the top of his game here, and his is a talent that truly can’t be replicated. Plus, this short has the iconic distinction of featuring a classic Keaton image: a train speeding toward the camera that stops close enough to show that Keaton has been riding the front of it the entire time. Insurance for a project like this must have been astronomical. What does it cost? Just 23 minutes of your time. Check out The Goat for yourself:

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Junkfood Cinema

Welcome back to Junkfood Cinema: if you don’t leave now, it’s consensual. This is the part of the internet where your intrepid host (or, in this case, your intrepid host’s wife) dons her finest Middle Age-y costume, unsheathes her silver Nerf sword and just starts whaling on an awful, maleficent movie. And yet–probably as a consequence of some ambiguous plot device early in my childhood–I check the killing stroke, throw down my weapon and extend my hand in peace to this humbled, repentant film. I cement our bond by throwing a feast in its honor and invite our reader (yes, singular) to indulge in a snack specially tailored to the film: not only not fit for a king, but probably not legal in any monarchical government. This week’s mistake of draconian proportions: Dragonheart

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It’s obviously Mustache Thursdays around here, and in the second piece of facial hair-based news, Variety is reporting that Tom Wilkinson is close to joining Armie Hammer and Johnny Depp in The Lone Ranger. The veteran actor would be playing a “railroad tycoon” which most likely means he’ll be playing a bad guy, unless this story has the Ranger teaming up with a suave businessman to save the town or something. Casting Wilkinson is always a smart move because he can play just about anything and make it sing. Hammer is a strong leading man type, and Depp will most likely be as crazy as he wants to be as Tonto, but this reboot stands out as trading off of name recognition that has nothing to do comic books or plastic toys from the 1980s. It’s a name that appeals to a considerably older crowd, and it might be an effective move to bring in a younger crowd ready for wild west adventure alongside an older generation that remembers the character (or watching reruns of the character on television). It might be a clever move, and the casting is shaping up really well.

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It’s Spielberg week around here, so hop on your bike and join us on an adventure that involves dirty criminals, dirty pirates, and mortgage-saving gold. The Goonies, directed by Richard Donner, is the kind of fantasy that a lot of children had growing up. They knew something was happening, changing in their neighborhood. They knew that their parents were in some sort of trouble that was too grown up to really grasp, and they wanted to do something to fix everything. Fortunately, a pirate left a ton of treasure to help them out. Now to avoid all the booty traps to get to it. There is a ton of trivia surrounding this movie, but maybe my favorite is that Data has “007” inscribed on his belt, because, as we all know, Data was always a bigger bad ass than Bond. The other contender is the fact that the children weren’t allowed to see the pirate ship until they filmed the scene of them discovering it. That’s a play right out of the Willy Wonka playbook, and apparently the Goonies take had to be redone because some of the kids cursed.

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As the only literate Reject, it’s my duty to find the latest, the greatest and the untouched classics that would make great source material for film adaptations. I read so you don’t have to. There has been a lot of commotion and debate surrounding the new edition of “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” because it waters down the language (at least a certain part of it). It has shocked people that a classic could be so obliterated for the sake of political correctness, but the book was weakened years ago considerably – by movies. It’s time for a fresh cinematic take on Mark Twain‘s – a take that is gritty and hilarious and strongly-worded as the book truly is.

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Instead of repeating some litany of grievances against Brett Ratner, just go ahead and pull out your internet film geek handbook to page 372 and read the standard text on your own. When you’re done, you might be interested to know that the director you hate for being average instead of outright awful is circling a project that stands as at least his third attempt to get some sand between his sandals. Ratner wants to be the man to take Avi Lerner’s Hercules concept and breathe life into its muscles. The new interest is most likely sparked by the unreal success of Clash of the Titans, the foreign box office killing of Prince of Persia, and a couple of fingers crossed for Conan. However, since that last film is being produced by Lerner, it will be interesting to see whether success or failure influences the decision to move forward here. If the news bothers you, try to pretend that it’s actually about a movie where Hercules fights Brett Ratner. Plus, it’s reason enough for you to check out the Junkfood Cinema entry on Hercules in New York. Topical! [LA Times]

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Understanding the struggle of youth is a difficult one – especially for filmmakers, who are mostly adults and, as such, have lost sight on what it’s like to be a child. Still, despite the natural progression of forgetting that struggle, the filmmakers behind The Secret of Kells managed to create the story of a 12-year old boy living in 9th century Europe so universally that everyone can find themselves in him. And they did it by hand.

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Welcome to Print to Projector, where we feign literacy in order to suggest what we’d like to see slapped onto the big screen. In our inaugural entry, we take a look at a buddy comedy featuring Jesus Christ.

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Everyone else’s Best of the Decade List is trash. Inside, feast your eyes on the most definitive list of the damned decade.

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IndianaJones5Underway

As guaranteed by the box office take, Indiana Jones and the Half-Blood Prince has got its story line. Now, all they need is a script that Harrison Ford smiles at, and we’re on our way to a fifth adventure.

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oam-beaugeste

It seems like it might be difficult for people of the 1930s to wrap their minds around what modern war looks like, but it shouldn’t be hard for anyone of this age to connect with this flick – especially if they love action, adventure, and tales of honor.

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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