Brave

It’s not impossible for lauded animation house Pixar to make a mistake (or two, in the case of Cars, which does still pull in great affection from the younger set), and setting up their first film led by a female protagonist and with a brand new fairy tale as plot backbone in no way sounded like a mistake from conception. But despite a checklist of elements that should mark Brave as a bold new classic for both Pixar and Disney, the film instead diverges spectacularly –  it is both a middling example of Pixar innovation and wit and a beautiful introduction to one of Disney’s most compelling Princesses yet. Simply put, Brave is a poor Pixar feature, but it’s a wonderful Disney Princess film. What Brave has to offer is twofold: a bold new Princess and an exciting new world for her to live and play in. Still better, it appears as if Disney, Pixar, writers and directors Brenda Chapman, Mark Andrews, Steve Purcell, and additional writer Irene Mecchi set out to accomplish those exact aims when crafting Brave. That sort of praise might not exactly seem like the kind worth singing, but when it comes to Brave, a film that was conceived of and written by Chapman before she was eventually ousted as the director in 2010, it’s important to note. The aims of Brave are true, but its methodology in getting in there doesn’t quite hit the mark.

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Game of Thrones

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly column that brings together the best entertainment-related stories, Monday through Friday. It spends the weekends thinking about you, awaiting the moment when you’ll be reunited on Monday night. That moment is right now… We begin tonight with a shot from Game of Thrones. Why? Because Game of Thrones is awesome. The other reason would be that Pajiba’s Brian Byrd has taken to analyzing the process that HBO will have to go through in Ending Game of Thrones. It’s a spoiler-free essay that talks about the logistical issues of bringing George R.R. Martin’s massive book series to the small screen. In a perfect world, the series would go on for about 10 seasons and span all of the books not yet written. As characters learn each week on GoT, intentions mean shit in the real world.

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What is Movie News After Dark? Like any great franchise that’s been in your heart for many years (or just over one year), it keeps coming back whether you want it to or not. Always with more big questions. Not always with more answers. Maybe we can get Damon Lindelof to write this, too. It could use a good rewrite now and again. We begin this evening with a look at Michel Gondry’s Mood Indigo, a film that brings Gondry back to the world of the surreal. It’s got a delightful could car in which Romain Duris and Audrey Tautou ride. Adorable.

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Prometheus

One month down in the summer movie season. We got a decent opener, certainly not a grand start. Joss Whedon‘s box-office juggernaut and Wes Anderson‘s lovely Moonrise Kingdom aside, we faced disappointments. The Dictator was hit and miss. Battleship was more bloated than big. Although it was better than its harsher critics suggested, Dark Shadows didn’t exactly win over any of Depp and Burton’s naysayers. Now, with June, we’ve got an even more promising month; 30 days packed with Abraham Lincoln killing vampires, a rock musical, and a talking bear movie. All the required ingredients for a proper moviegoing month. This is such a busy month the honorable mentions are more honorable than usual, even Adam Shankman‘s Rock of Ages, that movie being marketed as a celebrity karaoke party. Even though The Loved Ones is apparently a must-see movie, 99.9% of you will not be able to see it this month, hence why it’s not on the list. But what is?

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What is Movie News After Dark? It doesn’t have time to explain it to you, yo. We just gotta get out of here, Mr. White! We begin this evening with the first image from the upcoming fifth and final season of Breaking Bad, courtesy of AMC. And guess what? It’s a shot of Walt (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse (Aaron Paul) standing in a field looking less than pleased with their surroundings. Even though it’s a shot we’ve seen a million times in four seasons, it never ceases to be interesting. 

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With Brave, Pixar’s latest film, not hitting theaters for another month, the studio is still looking to capitalize on some early summer dollars, particularly when it comes to the impending Memorial Day holiday weekend. The three-day weekend has a surprisingly slim release schedule that’s not particularly kid-friendly (its only two wide releases are Men in Black III and Chernobyl Diaries), so Pixar’s decision to re-release four of their most popular films exclusively to AMC Theatres for the weekend is a total no-brainer. From May 25 to May 28, select AMC locations will be showing Toy Story 3, Ratatouille, Up, and Wall-E on a rotating schedule as part of the “Pixar Summer Movie Weekend.” Each film will also come with a classic short from Pixar and an exclusive new look at Brave. While it would be nice if Americans used the upcoming three-day holiday to, I don’t know, go outside?, there are worse things to do with your kids (or your adults) than to take them to check out some Pixar classics in theaters. Some of these films haven’t been in theaters for nearly five years (Ratatouille specifically), so this offer will likely provide a first chance for some tiny Pixar fans to see their favorites on the big screen, and that’s a pretty charming prospect. Also, if you go to see Wall-E in an Austin-area theater, the odds are high that you’ll see the Head Reject snuffling into his beard.

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Culture Warrior

Crowding a movie with talent often seems like a good idea only in the abstract sense. In practice, such films can easily feel overstuffed. For example, the basic conceits for both The Expendables and Grown Ups sound like products of wishful thinking held during a drunk conversation between a group of 19-year-olds at 3am. Yes, in theory a movie featuring all of the action stars of the 80s or the most successful SNL cast since the late-70s would be great – however, a bunch of famous people do not a seminal action film or great comedy make. What’s most surprising about Joss Whedon’s The Avengers is that the whole somehow proved greater than its parts. A movie with this quantity of iconic superheroes runs the incredible risk of being overstuffed and only half-cooked. The standards created by previous Hollywood films indicate that studios would be happy enough allowing the conflagration of bankable characters stand in for (or, more accurately, distract from the lack of) actual entertainment value; mammoth opening weekends, after all, are always more a sign of effective marketing than good filmmaking. But The Avengers not only stands as an equal to some of the stronger entries in Marvel’s 4-year, 5-film multiverse-building, but is arguably superior. Some of these characters came across more fully-fleshed and three-dimensional as part of an ensemble than in their respective standalone films.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s something that happens nightly, provides you with good feelings, is easy to clean up and doesn’t require anyone else to be in the room. What else in your life is like that? We begin tonight with a completely badass image from Brave in which Princess Merida jumps from the clutches of what seems to be an evil bear into the grasp of a nice bear. The difference is in the claws. Also, The Art of Brave book is available for pre-order. Get it.

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Cannes! It’s upon us! At this stage last year, I offered my pre-festival wishlist for what films might screen at Cannes (and got six out of eighteen picks correct in the process), which was based on rumors and guesswork from around the net. This year, in the interest of embracing the spirit of imagination, the emphasis is on spurious gossip and pie-in-the-sky wishful thinking. Plucking films that might have an outside chance of screening on the Croisette this year (in some cases so far outside they won’t even be in France until months after the fest, probably), I’ve compiled my Ultimate Cannes 2012 Wishlist. The caveat to this of course is that probably very few of the bloody things will actually screen – at least not to the majority of the collected press – but what’s life without whimsy? Yes, the bent is firmly on American films, and English language ones, but in my defense, I don’t care. It says “wishlist” up there for a good reason. Realism aside, here are 13 movies I hope play at Cannes this May.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s the sun, the moon and the stars. Wait, I thought there’d be stars… We begin this evening with a blurry, somewhat comprehensible image of Spock (Zachary Quinto) falling in front of a green screen on the set of Star Trek 2. According to Screen Rant’s theory — and a spy report — this could very well be Spock falling into a Volcano on a “jungle planet” as part of a big CGI set piece. I’m for it.

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Nothing says “summer at the movies” quite like a metric ton of big name blockbusters flooding theaters near you – superheroes on top of superheroes, classic television series brought back from the dead, animated gems about finding yourself – oh my! But with the cinema summer growing ever-larger, the stakes being pushed ever-higher, and enough content to keep audience members in their seats ever-longer, a line has to be drawn somewhere. Which is why all the members of the Voting Body of Film School Rejects gathered together in our secret chambers to vote on just which films have won our Most Anticipated nod. Twenty films emerged from our complicated, decades-old voting process (read: a Google doc) to be crowned winners. Why twenty? Well, there are twenty weeks in the cinematic summer season (if you count May, which we do – April will be included next year if Hollywood keeps this up), and that should give you movie-lovers a reasonable goal to meet for the viewing season. We’ve even managed to pinpoint our most anticipated movie-going weekend of the summer – June 22nd, when four films open in theaters, all of which made our list. But beyond the mathematics that went into picking the summer’s best weekend, there were also some genuine surprises on the list – including big tentpole films missing completely (sorry, Battleship and Dark Shadows), some indies that sneaked in with lots of votes, a battle royale that went down between our number one and number two picks, […]

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What is Movie News After Dark? Like The Wire creator David Simon, it doesn’t think you should worship it. Except that it doesn’t think you’re a dummy for liking it. That actually makes you quite smart. We begin this evening with a look at Jemaine Clement and Nicole Sherzinger in Men in Black III. The formerly flying conchord and the pussycat doll will be the film’s duo of baddies, both looking very much as the higher powers intended for them: one is creepy, the other is hot.

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Brave

Somehow, the latest from house Pixar seems to be flying low and under the radar. Given that Brave is not out until June 22, it might just be that there’s still time left and Disney isn’t ready to just blow out the marketing, especially with The Avengers on their plate first. That said, the first original story from Pixar in three years is nothing to ignore. With a tale of ancient lore and a fiery redhead heroine, Pixar appears to be returning to the more vibrant, magically fresh trend it was on prior to going back to the wells of Toy Story and Cars for a quick cash-grab. Personally, I’m stoked. And the bright colors that gush from these newly release, high resolution character banners have me wanting to follow the Change Your Fate mantra and run off with a redheaded girl from Ireland. If I can find one. Do any of you know where I can find one of those?

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With the first full-length trailer for Brave, Pixar introduced us to what their new world was going to look like, and gave us an indication of what sort of story they were telling. This is the tale of a precocious young Scottish princess named Merida, whose thirst for adventure and tendency to buck the status quo end up entangling her in some high stakes and dangerous situations. Rather than give us more of the same, however, this second full-length trailer that the people at Pixar have released ditches the big picture and focuses in on character. Actually, it’s more of an extended scene than what we think of as a traditional montage format movie trailer. What we get is an archery tournament, set up by Merida’s parents, wherein the winner is supposed to claim the hand of the young princess as their prize. The problem is, things don’t quite go according to plan when Merida enters the tournament herself, proclaims that she won’t be controlled, and then out-shoots all of the men involved. We already knew that she was the sort of strong-willed, independent woman who would make Beyonce proud though, so there’s not really any new insight there.

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Avengers Walking!

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that seeks to dazzle you with facts, figures, commentary and hyperlinks. And hyper-facts, figure-links and perhaps some commentary on figures. But enough about Chris Evans’ abs… We begin this evening with a still from a very intense walking sequence in The Avengers. It’s one of a pair of new photos released yesterday via Marvel.com, featuring Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, Chris Evans as Captain America (said to be the central character of Avengers) and Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow. At least one of these characters appears to be showing off a little more skin than usual.

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Pixar

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly collection of links and things that will make you smile, make you think and perhaps aid you in getting to that restful state known as deep sleep. Either way, it’s always a pretty fun read. We begin tonight with a new image from Pixar’s Brave, a film I placed on my shortlist as one of the 5 most anticipated movies of the year on my triumphant return to Reject Radio this week. This one shows Princess Merida and her family. There’s so much red hair…

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It’s already the second day of 2012, which means we’ll all be sober within the next day or two. It also means that we can officially start looking (through blurry eyes) ahead to the future. A future of promise and potential. A future of hope. A future of tingling anticipation that the road stretched out in front of us that leads to the cinema will be paved with gold. Will there be piles of excrement along the way? Of course, but we don’t know how many or how badly they’ll tarnish our yellow-bricked roller coaster ride. All we can see from this far out is the shimmering wonder of movies to come – the vast unknown that looks wonderful (and might just live up to the hype). In past years (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011), we’ve gone with a fairly arbitrary count of 20-30 movies. This year, we decided to prove that there were 52 movies worth prematurely celebrating (even though what we found were many more). That’s one for every week (even if there are some weeks with a few and some weeks with none at all). Regardless of the number, Rob Hunter, Neil Miller, Kate Erbland, Allison Loring, Landon Palmer, Brian Salisbury and Cole Abaius have joined forces to remind us all that there are a lot of great movies to hope for this year. Go grab a calendar and pencil in everything that gets your blood pressure up toward unsafe levels. It’s going to be a busy, flick-filled […]

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Pixar is a company that has developed a very focused vision. They put creators first, they put human drama over visual spectacle, and then they knock the visuals out of the park anyway. For a while I’d been following along with all their releases in a state of near delight, enjoying each film they put out more than the one before it, and I started to think that they were as close to infallible as a movie studio could get. But then they put out Cars 2, which was kind of an overlong mess of juvenile humor set in a pun driven, unrelatable world. This wasn’t the Pixar I loved, this was for kids! But with Brave they seem to be getting back to the basics of what makes them great; stories that can be appreciated by kids and adults alike. Here we have a young girl who is different than everybody else, who doesn’t want to be what the rest of the world tells her a young girl should be. She’s driving at something that everybody is telling her she can’t do. She’s in danger, must rely on herself, and she must rise up and become something she never thought she could if she’s going to survive a great adventure. That’s more like it. That sounds like a prototypical Pixar movie, to a tee. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a thing about movies that happens every week night, just before you go to bed. It brings you dangerous ideas, fascinating movie news and all that in between copious helpings of shenanigans. We begin tonight with one of three beautiful new images from Pixar’s upcoming film Brave. As with all Pixar projects, Brave looks absolutely gorgeous and in a point of interest to many, stars their first leading lady hero, Merida, voiced by Kelly MacDonald. Personally, I’m looking forward to it. Then again, I’ve been pot committed to Pixar for a while. In a terribly sad bit of news, NBC has pulled Community from its midseason schedule. This doesn’t mean that it’s been cancelled, but it’s definitely not a good thing for Community fans (also known as “anyone has ever watched Community“). We should have known that it was too good to last.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column, sure. But at its core, it is a hunter. A hunter of the most interesting film-related tidbits of the day. Can you feel the heat? It’s not enough for director Alex Proyas will make Paradise Lost, the story of the break between Heaven and Hell. But he’s also bringing Djimon Hounsou as the Angel of Death. If there is one actor that I look at on a consistent basis and think, “that man would bring death to me,” it’s Hounsou. It sure beats Bradley Cooper as Lucifer, so we’ll see how it shakes out.

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