Dominic West

The Awakening

It’s 1921, and Florence Cathcart (Rebecca Hall) is doing brisk business as an author and professional ghost chaser. She never actually catches any spirits though because her specialty is in disproving their existence. Using a combination of common sense, high (and low) tech gadgetry and deductive reasoning she debunks charlatans and identifies the true causes behind supposed hauntings. Post-WWI England is a country still reeling from the loss of over a million lives. The war and the cruelty of influenza have left behind millions more mourning their loved ones and ripe for exploitation at the hands of so-called mediums and psychics. Cathcart relishes the moment when she reveals them as liars and thieves even if some of the customers prefer the fakery as a form of comfort. But each unveiling of the truth also comes with a tinge of sadness for her. She doesn’t believe in the afterlife, but that doesn’t mean that some small part of her doesn’t wish it existed. When Robert Mallory (Dominic West) appears, wanting her help investigating recent ghostly sightings at a boys boarding school in the countryside, her instinct is to say no, but she eventually accepts the opportunity to expose yet another fraud. Her expectations of man-made shenanigans are quickly met. And then the real ghosts arrive.

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You’d think that ghost-disproving would be a far easier career than, oh, ghost-hunting, but you’d be wrong on that account. At least that’s what The Awakening looks to teach us. Set in the early twentieth century, the film sees Rebecca Hall as a career debunker – author of the book “Seeing Through Ghosts,” Hall’s Florence Cathcart has dedicated her life and work to sticking pins into all sorts of supernatural claims. Think you’ve got a ghost running around your chateau? Call up Florence. Need a seance on the quick? Florence. So it’s only natural that teacher Robert Malloy (Dominic West) calls for Florence’s services when the all-boys school he teaches at appears to be host to the ghost of a dead student. Will Florence put the kibosh on a hoax? Will she find something beyond comprehension? Will she get it on with Malloy? Will it all play out under a grimy, creepy gray cast? I’ll leave those answers to you with the film’s latest trailer:

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Director Andrew Stanton, being somewhat of the miracle worker that he is, has managed to capture the strengths of the original Star Wars trilogy while avoiding much of what was wrong with the prequels with his John Carter. This Disney epic provides for all of a boy’s basic needs, wants, and desires that Lucas’s prequels didn’t deliver upon. Stanton knows their sweet spot – and yes, I know how creepy that reads – by hitting all the major checkpoints required for them: beefy hero, beautiful love interest, sweet weaponry, non-pandering comic relief, big aliens, and exciting flying things that could not look more like the speeder bikes from Return of the Jedi. How do these amazing devices work, you ask? They just do. Stanton treats the more fantastical aspects of John Carter like George Lucas did, “It’s just there, and who cares how it works or how it got made?” Overall, John Carter bears both many connections and thankful distances to the Star Wars series. Just how Luke Skywalker saw the vast universe Lucas created, there’s not one scene of Carter condescending to the mechanics or bizarro nature of the world – Mars, which they call “Barsoom” – he’s thrown into and never saying something along the lines of, “Isn’t this costume goofy, guys? (*wink* *wink*).” When things get silly, Stanton and his cast always play it straight-faced and with nothing but respect, like the original Star Wars films did. Carter doesn’t question the idea of huge white apes, he […]

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr dresses up in a frilly lace cravat and some leather boots, grabs his sword and takes a trip to France to become a Musketeer. Unfortunately, he seems to be almost 400 years too late for those kinds of shenanigans. So he hops the English Channel to become a spy with MI-7. Of course, no one told him that MI-7 was actually nothing more than propaganda. So he heads back home for a good night’s sleep, and to make sure that happens, he videotapes himself throughout the house. While he doesn’t witness any paranormal activity, there are many unspeakable things that can be seen on them.

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It should come as absolutely no surprise that understanding (and potentially even enjoying) Johnny English Reborn does not necessitate any sort of familiarity with the first film, though moviegoers who are acquainted with Rowan Atkinson’s particular brand of idiot-in-the-wild humor will likely find a few more chuckles in the film than those who are not. Atkinson reprises his role as dumb bunny “MI-7” spy Johnny English for the film, picking up after the action of 2003’s eponymously named Johnny English, which saw him prevail against all odds (most notably, his complete lack of skill and overinflated confidence). But English is now in disgrace, self-exiled to a monastery in Tibet after a job gone awry inMozambique (English’s failure there made international headlines – my favorite of which being a rag’s pronouncement that the entire operation should be called “Doh’zambique”). English is attempting to re-center himself through rest, mediation, and literally dragging a stone around by his balls, so it’s probably welcome news when a former associate comes forth with intel about a shady assassination trio. “Vortex” is bent on offing the Chinese premier, but American agent Fisher (Richard Schiff) will only talk to English. Suddenly, the world’s dumbest spy is back in action and essential to planetary peace.

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Movies We Love

Around the year 480 BC, an historical battle between a group of Greek city-states and a bullying Persian army began in a mountain pass of Thermopylae (literally translated to “Hot Gateway”). This epic war saw the Greeks vastly outnumbered by the self-appointed god-king Xerxes, who had spent years overthrowing other city-states to build up his human reserve. See, Xerxes is a classy king. He likes to send messengers to each threatening city-state, offering to spare the citizens in exchange for the allegiance to him. Well, when his trusty foot soldier ventured into Sparta, a town known for their militaristic nature and tough, no-bull-shit attitude, their refusal to join up with Xerxes was never heard. Spartan King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) all but told the offending Persians to fuck off and kicked them into a deep hole. Just like Helena before him, this kick ignited the fury of both the Greeks and Persians. Leonidas organizes 300 of Sparta’s best men to fight off Xerxes’ army, each man wanting the glory of dying in battle to defend their great city. While they’re out getting all hot and sweaty in just tiny pairs of war shorts, Queen Gorgo (Lena Headey) remains in Sparta trying to drum up support of the Spartan council to ready troops for war only to prove just how fierce Spartan women are when she’s threatened, assaulted, and almost killed by Theron (Dominic West), a senator more interested in power than glory. Two stories diverge in the course of Zach Snyder’s […]

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The first teaser for John Carter isn’t the astonishing first peek it should be. Instead, it’s oddly underwhelming. Where’s the sense of a grand-scale adventure film? First of all, John Carter seems to be hanging out in any Earth bound desert, not Mars. There’s nothing in this trailer that’ll tell a filmgoer who is unfamiliar with the books that they’re on frickin’ Mars. Besides the quick glimpse of a green martian, very little is here that gives off the vibe that they’re on an alien inhabited planet.

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Another day comes, and another opportunity for us to lay down some of the day’s hot news stories is upon is. But instead, we begin your Thursday with The B-Roll. Or as we like to say, “And now, for something completely different.”

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Neil Marshall

Centurion weaves the epic tale of Rome’s 9th legion. This was a legion stationed in the northernmost portion of the empire; modern day England. Rome found some of its greatest adversaries in the Pict tribe that inhabited this region. Masters of guerrilla warfare, the Pictish tribes attacked Roman garrisons in the dead of night and caused innumerable casualties.

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BanksLiTherouxMortonCasting

Casting announcements shoot across the net almost every day, but not every announcement, rumor, or speculation deserves its own post. Of course we’d be remiss in our duties as the web’s premier source of movie news, reviews, and snark if we didn’t cover them in some fashion… so welcome to the Casting Net!

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Punisher: War Zone

Robert Fure risks life and limb by setting his sights on The Punisher: War Zone. Prepare yourself for violence and blood, because it wasn’t pretty.

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Ray Stevenson in Punisher: War Zone

If it’s blood you want, it is blood you’re gonna get. For all its faults — and there are quite a few — Lexi Alexander’s Punisher: War Zone does certainly live up to its name. Or at least, the second part of its name.

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Lionsgate has provided for us a small gallery of images from Punisher: War Zone. Witness the gruesome nature of Jigsaw, Frank Castle’s killer instinct, Julie Benz’s hotness, and Newman!

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A lot can happen in the span of a few hours.

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