I Am Legend

Summit Entertainment

Not even Hitler liked to see dogs die in movies. That’s probably a fact, and it tells you just how unappealing the idea of seeing(or hearing) man’s best friend get shot, strangled, drowned, beaten, electrocuted or otherwise snuffed out is to audiences. Our distaste for it runs to the point that a movie can feature a psychopath murdering people, but the second a family pet investigates a noise only to whelp and die off-screen viewers see it as an unnecessary line being crossed. I agree in part because it’s usually a cheap move by filmmakers attempting to elicit an emotional reaction. It’s unearned and lazy, and it happens far too frequently in movies. But while roughly 97% of dog deaths in movies are gratuitous I’m here to suggest that sometimes, just sometimes, it’s okay that the dog bites it. John Wick — one of the year’s best action movies that you owe it to yourself and Keanu Reeves to see if you value fun, thrilling, immensely satisfying films — features Reeves as an ex-assassin who gave up the life for the love of a good woman, but as the film opens she’s died from cancer leaving him alone again. A knock at the door reveals one last gift from her — a puppy named Daisy — in the hopes that he’ll still have something to care for and love, but it’s not long before a random act of violence leaves the dog dead and Wick, like Lone Wolf McQuade before him, on a bloody path […]

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I Am Legend

Warner Bros has spent the better part of a decade working on getting another I Am Legend off the ground. They’ve tried it all, the “see the origins of the zombie outbreak” prequel, the “screw it, let’s just clone Will Smith and do another one” sequel, everything. There were even zombie elephants involved at one point. But these options required the return of Smith as Robert Neville, and Smith has never been particularly keen on returning to the property (maybe it was the zombie elephants that turned him off). Now, only one option remains: Warners is slamming its fist down on the flashing red “reboot” button, obliterating the old I Am Legend and redoing the film from the ground up. Deadline reports the studio is using A Garden at the End of the World, a spec script from Gary Graham (an Apple Store employee turned screenwriter) as the foundation of a new I Am Legend. Warners was initially developing Garden as a standalone film, but someone along the way realized it bears at least a passing resemblance to Will Smith and plague zombies, so Graham has been tasked with pasting the I Am Legend brand over his old script. The original Garden was supposedly also very similar to The Searchers, only with a vein of sci-fi running throughout.

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The Last Man on Earth

Last weekend, Cargill and I did something we had never done before. (Watch good movies?) QUIET YOU! The good folks at Minneapolis’ CONvergence foolishly agreed to host the first ever live broadcast of Junkfood Cinema! Despite the ‘cast falling on July 4th, we sashayed around expectation and opted not to discuss Independence Day. Instead, we devoted our main topic to the late, great Richard Matheson. We chat about our favorite films based on his works as well as break down all three filmic versions of I Am Legend. We finish things off with a few questions from the audience, (people actually showed up, crazy right?), which leads to a nearly orgasmic conversation about the Thai actioner Born To Fight. Seriously, that film makes Gymkata look like…Gym…nada. Burn. If you weren’t able to listen live, please enjoy this cached audio of Junkfood Cinema Live! You should follow Brian (@Briguysalisbury), Cargill (@Massawyrm), and the show (@Junkfoodcinema). Download Episode #18 Directly

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matrixrevolutions460

Ten years ago today, The Matrix: Revolutions was released in theaters. This is, of course, no monumental cinematic anniversary. It’s quite likely that nobody will ask you today, or any day for that matter, where you were the first time you saw the third Matrix film. At most, this revelation will be a reminder that you, like me, are getting older, and the space between decades ain’t what it used to be. But much has changed in studio tentpole filmmaking in the past ten years – in practice, if not, well, “quality.” On this rather unceremonious anniversary, the third Matrix film has a surprising lot to tell us about how studio franchises have developed since the early Bush era, and where they likely will and won’t go moving forward. The Matrix, a film series initiated by a late-90s cyberpunk sleeper hit that arguably overshadowed the return of f*cking Star Wars, by its final chapter came to be treated by Hollywood as a failed prototype never to be repeated again.

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IntroMundaneBadass

In reality, no job is actually mundane unless you make it that way. Washing dishes or delivering mail can be terrific if you’re happy, and you’re with people who make you happy. My point is – a job is whatever you want it to be. You can quote me on that. “A job is whatever you want it to be.” – Man wearing pajama pants Anyhoo – in the movie world this tends to be different. Very rarely do we see a character shuffling fries and acting completely content. The best however, is when a mundane job is used to juxtapose the badassness of the character – or better yet, the badass character just happens to have a mundane job attached to them. These are by far the best combinations of “boring” vs “badass” I could think up in a single afternoon while not wearing any pants. Shop smart, everyone:

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It’d be beating a dead horse to gripe about Hollywood’s reliance on sequels, prequels, and adaptations, but not all is right in the world with the recent release of the trailer for the World War Z adaption from star and producer Brad Pitt. I don’t have a problem with Hollywood bringing books and other previously existing media to the screen – hell, I like it most of the time. It’s cool to see a cinematic translation of something you know and enjoy. Therein lies the rub with the World War Z trailer. It doesn’t appear to be a translation of something people know and enjoy. I say “people” and not myself since I actually found World War Z to be a fairly big disappointment, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t hoping for an excellent zombie movie, based however it may be on the failed execution of a great premise. It’s not always wise to judge a movie by its trailer, but from our first look it seems Hollywood has screwed the pooch in the most Hollywood way imaginable.

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Culture Warrior

Editor’s Note: With Landon Palmer busy (read: probably writing a thesis on Sexual Deviancy in John Wayne Films in the Greater Context of Post-WWII America As Seen Through the Work of Southern Filmmakers), the excellent, insightful Adam Charles has stepped in to write this week’s entry. Enjoy. Few things have been as equally discussed and deliberated over the past few weeks than that of who Lionsgate was going to choose to take the reigns from Gary Ross to direct the second installment in The Hunger Games franchise. The first film had one of the biggest opening weekends in history (and it didn’t even require 3D price-hikes to get there), earned a positive majority from critics, and has a dedicated fanbase that defies demographic lines of fandom; and they’re chomping at the bit to see the next adaptation in the series, Catching Fire, as quickly as possible. Neither Lucas, Spielberg, or even Peter Jackson’s franchises could replicate just how much of the domestic populous is waiting for the next picture.

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Reel Sex

As any The Hunger Games fan already knows, the director who took on the challenge of bringing the first book in Suzanne Collins’s seminal series to life has stepped away from the sequel, Catching Fire. While many critics and fans have spent the past month arguing Gary Ross’s handling of the film, it is beyond a doubt going to be one of the most financially successful films of 2012 if not of all time. The trilogy came in with a built-in fan base, something which Ross respectfully acknowledged with his adaptation but that didn’t stop him from adding his own creative flourishes. Who would have ever thought a character that is mentioned three times in the novel would go on to steal the film with his steely blue eyes and amazing follicle art work? For giving us Seneca Crane, Mr. Ross, the pogonophiles of the world thank you. However what we face now is a three-fold issue: who will take over Catching Fire from Ross, does the next director need to keep the same aesthetic of the first film, and is there a responsibility to appoint a female director to take on the challenge of continuing the story of one of the strongest heroines in 21st Century literature?

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Boiling Point

AMC’s The Walking Dead and I have a strange relationship in that I watch it but don’t particularly care for it. I can’t really tell you why I tune in every week, but it has something to do with my great love for the comic books and a desire to see horror on television, mostly regardless of quality. The books by Robert Kirkman have always had a bit of melodrama about them, but the show has often taken that to obvious, soap opera levels. “The Walking Dead” comics feature a great cast of characters with complex motivations and relationships. Many of those characters made it to the television show – well, at least characters with the same names made it in. Things have changed so drastically from comic to screen that one has to ask – when does an adaptation stop being an adaptation?

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The news that Warner Bros. has just made deals with Akiva Goldsman and Overbrook Entertainment to bring us an I Am Legend sequel is not surprising (as it’s been chattered about for years now), but it does somewhat confoundingly smack of an article from The Onion yesterday. That article, titled “Moviegoers Not Interested In Hearing What Is, Isn’t Possible, Demand Heath Ledger ‘Dark Knight Rises’ Appearance” might focus on the impossibility of bringing back the deceased Ledger for The Dark Knight Rises, but it does remind of the impossibility of bringing back the central character of I Am Legend: Will Smith‘s Robert Neville, who (spoiler alert?) crocked off at the end of the first film. But no matter in Hollywoodland! Though a second film has been talked about ever since the first film did big business at the box office (making $584m worldwide), it was long thought that the new film would be a prequel, but today’s report from Deadline Staten Island refutes that: “the film is not being called a prequel.” Well, alrighty! Maybe if they can bring back Neville, they can bring back his charming German Shepard, too. The new film is set to be penned by Arash Amel (the scribe behind the new Grace Kelly biopic, Grace of Monaco). Smith is reportedly waiting until the script is ready before he commits, and director Francis Lawrence has yet to weigh in on his potential involvement.

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Francis Lawrence keeps himself busy, and it shows when you look at his untrusty IMDB page. The director’s name has been tied to a lot of projects in the past few years – Survivor, Sgt. Rock, Houdini, and more — but many of those films aren’t ones Lawrence will be making. In my interview with the director, we spent some time discussing what may be next for him, either Houdini or Unbroken, and why certain projects didn’t come together. First off, Lawrence won’t be adapting Survivor, which he backed away from over two years ago. Not because the project died while he was working on it, but over a tonal issue:

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s sights and sounds, vibe and verve, everything that you need to complete your April 20 high (or low depending on how your tax season went). It is movie news and thinky think pieces, infographics and golden posters. It is that for which you yearn: a window into the world of endless entertainment, man… At the behest of Peter Sciretta from /Film, who has been lobbying for this since Sundance, Fox Searchlight has picked up the red-hot indie drama Sound of My Voice. It’s the story of a couple who infiltrate a Southern California cult whose leader claims to be not of this world. As I mentioned on episode #82 of Reject Radio, it’s one hell of a film.

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Well, James Cameron’s Avatar posted a $27 million opening day on Friday, and despite weekend winter storms that slowed its momentum a bit, it still made $73 million for the second highest December of all time. It is also Cameron’s best open of all time.

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bp-iamlegend

If a movie ends poorly, the entire experience can go sour in an instant. One such movie that has Robert Fure raging? I am Legend. He is Angry.

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Fox Should Reboot This Fantastic Four

Isn’t the news that Fox is rebooting The Fantastic Four a little like hearing that the annoying married couple with the bratty, moronic kid is planning on having another baby?

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This is yet another exciting week for the Blu-ray lovers among us, and not just because we finally get The Dark Knight to watch on our HDTVs. We also get a great sci-fi classic and one of TV’s most beloved in glorious 1080p.

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So many questions. So we’ll have to make up answers.

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Will Smith in I Am Legend

Variety reports Warner Bros. wants to make an I Am Legend prequel. Since a sequel would be (spoiler alert) Smith-less, for obvious reasons, WB would need to cash in by going back in time.

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DVDs I Bought This Week!

Brian Gibson loves to buy DVDs. Come with him on his weekly journey into the depths of credit card debt as he tells you what to buy, rent and avoid.

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/Film has a sneak peek at an alternate ending for the Will Smith blockbuster, I Am Legend. It’s from the upcoming DVD release later this month, and it’s sure to be just as divisive as the one released in theaters. Spoilers ahead, although if you haven’t already seen this latest film version of the classic Richard Matheson novel, you’re not really a film fan anyway. You should maybe be browsing EW.com instead… *SPOILER WARNING* [flv:http://media.filmschoolrejects.com/clips/iamlegend-orig-ending.flv 424 200] The theatrical ending was an unsuccessful mash-up of hope and tragedy. A hopeful future for mankind, but a tragic end for one man. Personally, I liked Neville’s demise… it was necessary for both the character and the film. I hated the overall “happy” ending though, with a cure for humanity nestled safely in the walls of a Christian compound. Lame and insulting. This new ending is both better and worse because it flips the two scenarios. Neville lives, although I still don’t believe he wants to or should. But on the bright side, there is no cure and humanity is doomed. Yay! Sound Off: What do you think of this ending? Better or worse?

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published: 11.21.2014
D
published: 11.21.2014
B+
published: 11.19.2014
C+
published: 11.19.2014
B-, C


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