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Will Smith After Earth

Behind the slick video, this first look at After Earth from M. Night Shymalan shows off a sci-fi flick with a lot of old ideas. Hopefully there’s a lot more to it than what’s on the surface. And isn’t that strange? We’ve now entered an era where we’re not necessarily anticipating a twist from Shymalan. The movie focuses on a character named Cypher Raige played by Will Smith. Now that you’ve stopped laughing, it takes place a thousand years after mankind left the Earth behind as Cypher and his son Kital (Jaden Smith) crash on the surface of the planet that their species used to run. Understandably, a lot has changed. Using Facebook Timeline for some reason, this video shows us how an alien ship gave a lot of 20th century technology, but ultimately led to our downfall. Because we broke the environment or something.

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The staff here at FSR have been tracking the development of The Canyons pretty closely. The reportedly microbudgeted film directed by Paul Schrader from a script by American Psycho/Less Than Zero novelist Bret Easton Ellis and guided by indie producer Braxton Pope, The Canyons has gained notice for utilizing social media outlets like Kickstarter to help finance it and Facebook to cast as-yet-undiscovered talent. Now, it appears that legendary acting veterans James Dean and Elizabeth Taylor porn star James Deen and postmodern performance art project Lindsay Lohan will star in the film, which ComingSoon describes as a “contemporary thriller that documents five twenty-somethings’ quest for power, love, sex and success in 2012 Hollywood.” Lohan is best-known for her starring roles in The Parent Trap, Mean Girls, and the Los Angeles district court. James Deen is best known for his roles at Jimmy Olsen in Superman XXX: A Porn Parody, Moe in Simpsons: The XXX Parody, and Egon Spengler in This Ain’t Ghostbusters XXX.

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Piranha 3DD

Piranha 3DD is the first 3D movie to have a day-and-date release – that is, a release to VOD and Facebook on the same day it hits theaters. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the bloody-watered buoyant-breasted horror comedy will be available VOD for 7 bucks (in standard and high def) and 8 bucks for 3D on the major platforms. It will also be featured on Facebook. The Weinstein Company‘s Dimension Films and Starz Digital Media are handling the distribution online, and Starz VP Mara Winokur is enthusiastic about the safety net involved, citing that it will be a success even if no one watches on Facebook. “The cost was low enough that if there are no views, but people saw the promotion and went to theaters or got it on DVD or elsewhere, it will be successful. It is a great marketing spend in itself. It is a holistic experiment,” she said.

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What is Movie News After Dark? This week, it is like the idiotic parents’ suburban Pasadena home in Project X. The responsible party is taking some time off, so he has handed the keys to some of us on staff, and we are having the Movie News After Dark House Party of the century. We’re doing our best to remain somewhat respectable and deliver some entertainment news you may have missed this week, but at some point we all know we’ll put a dwarf in the oven. On with the show. The first story is one you’ve likely seen already this weekend, but it’s worth repeating for the sheer joy it brings. This weekend, Movies.com published the story of George Lucas doing something we can all get behind. After decades of trying to develop land in Marin County to make the biggest movie studio in the galaxy, and with his snooty neighbors blocking the $300m a year initiative for fear of causing problems, he has decided to develop low-income housing. Finally, people can pat him on the back and forget about Jar Jar, Han shooting first and a certain crystal skull.

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While our darkened theaters are under threat of text messaging hordes, an app called YEAH is attempting to alter the way we watch movies at home. The concept is born out of the hope that movie fans will love watching classic movies with Pop Up Video-style trivia, polls, behind-the-scenes interviews and (since it’s all done through Facebook) the ability to share what you’re watching with friends and strangers. Essentially, it sounds like watching a movie and the DVD special features all at the same time. It’s an interesting pitch, but I’ll let YEAH try to sell itself with this video:

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly collection of links and thinks from around the world of movie and television news and reviews. It spends its weekends racking its brain trying to cull together the strength to go forth with its usual Monday entry, knowing full well that it can’t spend all of its page space on Mad Men and Game of Thrones. This is a movie website, after all. We begin this evening with a shot from Rush, the racing movie about Formula 1 driver James Hunt starring Chris Hemsworth and Olivia Wilde. Director Ron Howard and his leading lady have been tweeting them like crazy. Including pics of Hemsworth and Wilde getting married as Hunt and his wife, model Suzy Miller. I chose the one above to highlight because it’s badass. 

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Culture Warrior

Veteran filmmaker Paul Schrader, notorious author Bret Easton Ellis, and indie producer Braxton Pope want you to audition for their new film. They’re assembling a microbudget feature for the digital distribution market called The Canyons, and they’re looking for some fresh new faces to star in it. Is your lack of an agent or non-Los Angeles residence preventing you from getting a fair chance at auditioning for legit films? There’s no need to worry, for we live in the 21st century my friend. The Canyons is holding its audition process through Facebook. On the one hand, The Canyons‘s unique production process makes complete sense. We are no longer, after all, in 2006 when studio producers had an overinvested, experimental Snakes on a Plane-level-interest in Internet culture. In this case, even on a small-budget independent film, the visible gatekeepers still possess power over the participants within the supposedly “democratized” framework of social networking. For a while it seemed that cinema – largely an object particular to 20th century logic – could not adapt to the boundary-destroying, power-shifting implications of the 21st century. Now this seems to no longer be the case. Web distribution (which was little more than a fantasy or an overblown threat to theatrical cinema’s hegemony just over a decade ago) is now seen as a conceivable and potentially profitable alternative to traditional film exhibition.

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In an increasingly technology obsessed world, some people aren’t willing to put their gadgets down long enough to watch a movie. Or heck, even have a conversation with another human being. You’ve seen it happen a million times. Somebody refuses to turn off their cell phone in a theater despite the on screen warnings before the feature. Someone you’re trying to talk to at work won’t look up from their Facebook page long enough to give you their full attention. The President cancels a press conference because he’s playing Angry Birds. Okay, so that last one might be speculation, but this type of behavior is a real problem we’re facing. Well Warner Bros. isn’t letting it get in the way of their efforts to distribute films. Not too long ago they became the first company to distribute films as iOS apps, and now they have made a deal to stream their films through Facebook. The first app versions of films they created were Inception and The Dark Knight. The launching of Facebook streaming begins with just The Dark Knight. Before they’re done with you, Warner Bros. is going to make sure you’ve watched that film on every screen you own.

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Armie Hammer can remember back to his high school days when the craze of Facebook started being whispered around the hallways, and he caved to peer pressure and joined. Now, he’s playing two people in The Social Network with the benefit of some great CGI. Luke Mullen sat down with the star to discuss playing twins, working with David Fincher, and the musical quality of Sorkin’s writing.

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Jesse Eisenberg wasn’t on Facebook when he took the job to star as Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network, so he spent a few weeks under an alias trying to understand the experience that the man behind his role created for millions upon millions of users. With his performance, it seems to have paid off. Luke Mullen sits down with the star to talk about playing a sympathetic villain/hero, to drop a few Terminator references and to better understand how someone manages to fit all of Aaron Sorkin’s words into their mouth.

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Culture Warrior

The Social Network is nothing new, but that’s kind of the point. Its structure creates a story of uniquely American ingenuity, individualism, and capital that we’ve seen often, one that follows beat-for-beat the formula of young, ambitious, humble beginnings to meteoric rise toward contested success to the people that really mattered being inevitably pushed out of the way. It is in The Social Network’s belonging to that subgenre which draws apt comparison to films like Citizen Kane, Sweet Smell of Success, or There Will Be Blood – not qualitative comparisons, mind you (the very title of Citizen Kane has become an inescapable and meaningless form of hyperbole in that regard), but comparable in terms of basic narrative structure and genre play. Such narratives are perhaps more common in films depicting less legitimate business practices – gangster films – which also catalog the rise in stature but fall in character of an outcast who uses the system for their own advantage. From starry-eyed associations with questionable made men (Timberlake’s Sean Parker and the debaucheries of success associated with him) to the inevitable “hit” on one’s kin in the best interest of the business (Zuckerberg and Parker firing Eduardo Saverin), The Social Network is something of a Goodfellas for geeks. Why is it that the first major studio film about the phenomenon of social networking feels like such a familiar movie? Why does it resort to well-honed, expertly crafted but familiar cinematic territory instead of pioneering unexplored terrain analogous to the phenomenon […]

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr strikes out against… well, pretty much everyone reviewing movies by taking issue with The Social Network. Sue him if you don’t agree, or friend him at Facebook.com/FatGuysattheMovies. But while he cringes under the weight of Jesse Eisenberg’s smug Michael Cera impression, he also rejoices in October being officially here and all the horror movies the month of Halloween promises to bring. Up first, he cowers in a dark theater to the likes of Let Me In and Case 39.

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Be it good or bad, The Social Network has certainly caused some extreme reactions. It was met with almost universal skepticism when it was first announced and has now seen nearly universal praise leading up to its release in theaters. Initially referred to as “the Facebook movie” in a way clearly meant to belittle it, audiences at early screenings across the country have discovered that description simply isn’t accurate. Is the movie about Mark Zuckerberg and the inception of Facebook? Of course it is.  But to say that this is a detriment to the film’s potential is just plain wrong. The Social Network follows the story of Mark Zuckerberg, a young computer genius attending Harvard University. After breaking up with his girlfriend and some drunken blogging, Mark decides to create a site to rank the sex appeal of Harvard co-eds. He uses his exemplary computer knowledge to download pictures from the online photo catalog’s that each house or dorm at Harvard has for students to get to know one another.  He compiles the photos into a website which he dubs facemash.com similar to hotornot.com where visitors are presented with two pictures and asked to click on the one who they find sexier. The site crashes Harvard’s computer network in a matter of hours, garnering tens of thousands of htis and drawing the ire of the administration. This leads to Mark developing a new website which he calls The Facebook. Eventually changed to just Facebook with the help of Napster-founder Sean […]

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It’s difficult to conduct an interview about a film that no one’s supposed to be talking about, but there’s more fascinating things going on beyond the mystery of Catfish. In a closed door, password-protected session, I sat down for a lengthy conversation with directors Henry Joost and Ariel Shulman, and the subject of the documentary Nev Shulman to discuss how real everything was, the horror aspect, aborted plans to use Bruce Willis’s face for advertising, the list of possible titles, it’s Grizzly Man connection, and what they’re turning down the Justin Bieber biopic to make next. [Spoilers exist simply because we'll be talking openly about the film.]

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Other than being vaguely aware of an argument as to the authenticity of the contents of Catfish, and the equally vague but glowing praise for the film coming out of of Sundance — it seems that my fellow reviewers honored the advertised wishes of Rogue Pictures in keeping their friends in the dark. I walked into the Arclight Theater with a clean slate; having no idea what kind of film I would be reviewing. What I was treated to was a lovely, disturbing, hopeful,  perhaps too well edited/played out documentary. The last part, however — never really matters, because the content of the film is still rich and meaningful, which ends up being more important than most of the questions you may end up asking yourself once the credits roll.

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The most obvious problem to creating a movie about Facebook is that it’s a movie about Facebook. It’s the least mysterious of all beasts, and no matter how fascinating some of its social implications are, it all comes out sounding incredibly masturbatory when you say it out loud. It’s like questioning the emotional depth of Twitter. Sure, Marshall McLuhan would wet himself if he 1) saw the kind of communication possibilities we have today and 2) was still alive, but at the end of the day, it’s still that place where your frat brother posts that bong picture and your girlfriend talks about how much she loves Coldplay. Unfortunately, the marketing team behind The Social Network decided to either get out in front of the issue or missed the boat completely. Choral version of Radiohead song? Check. Slow pan shots of people’s Facebook pages? Double check. Faux sense of importance lobbed on ubiquitous blue buttons that say “poke?” Check please.

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The Social Network

Columbia Pictures announced today that David Fincher’s upcoming drama The Social Network, which chronicles the turbulent behind the scenes action during the rise of Facebook, will make its debut at this year’s New York Film Festival. They’ve also released a clunky new teaser trailer that is just like the last teaser trailer, but with chat room lingo and photos of the players involved. It’s supposed to deliver some high drama, I’m sure, but it’s ultimately a silly way to present the film. Especially now that we’re on to trailer number two. The first teaser being all voice-over was fine, but this one doesn’t work. Perhaps its time to dust off some of the footage that was actual shot and give us a real trailer, am I right? Check out the new teaser and get more details on the NYFF premiere after the jump.

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With every announcement that some random piece of plastic from the 1980s is going to be given the big screen treatment, a cry goes up about the lack of creativity in Hollywood right now. Of course, we all know that it’s not a lack of creativity, but a lack of balls when it comes to delivering the kind of quality that audiences will flock to the theater for even if the title of the movie doesn’t ring a nostalgic bell. However, with this announcement, it might actually be the creativity that’s dead, too.

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It seems so long ago that people were laughing about the idea of a Facebook movie. Then David Fincher signed on. Then Aaron Sorkin signed on. Then things didn’t seem so funny anymore. It’s a film that’s been almost over-exposed even before launching its first trailer, but that moment has arrived, and it’s time to see truly how much over-exposure this bad boy can get.

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Disney wants to use you to sell its products, but you won’t be getting paid. How do you feel about that?

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