Ice Age: Continental Drift

Between now and the end of summer, there’s going to be but one prime directive for those of us who think about, write about, care about and have any sort of general interest in the movies. The Dark Knight Rises. Four days away and already being built up to be one of the biggest openings of all-time, Christopher Nolan’s third and final Batman film is everything you’ve been waiting for, even while you were secretly sneaking off to make The Avengers the third highest grossing film of all-time. But before all your movie theaters belong to Batman, a few other movies are getting in their last licks at the summer box office. Namely a fourth film in an animated franchise that just won’t go extinct and a reboot of another hero’s journey. For Ice Age: Continental Drift and The Amazing Spider-Man, this weekend may be the last hurrah. And they made the most of it.

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Flash forward twenty years. A young couple is just getting to know each other and, as is part of normal mating procedures, they are discussing their favorite bits of pop culture, musical preferences and favorite books and important childhood games or puzzles or something. And movies, of course movies. “I remember this movie I saw when I was a kid. I’ve never met anyone else who has seen it. It was so weird!” she says. “There were like monkey pirates and some slutty teenage wooly mammoth and, I think, a creepy subplot with sirens? Like, icky fish things that turned into sexy versions of whoever was looking at them, even that evil monkey pirate? And the Earth was melting? And a big whale and a lot of violence and even some guinea pig things that were super into Braveheart? I have no idea if this movie even exists, really, but it also had a bunch of family-friendly messages that were way too on-the-nose. I don’t know, maybe it was like a special I saw on television? It was animated?” “No,” he says, “that was Ice Age: Continental Drift, that was a big studio release. It was, like, a franchise.” “No way,” she says. Yes way, fictional future girl. Yes in a big way.

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What is Movie News After Dark? Tonight it’s a movie news column stunned by its author’s ability to find all that is cool and interesting in the world of film. Seriously, this might be the best one of these lot that he’s put together in over 150 tries. It’s almost as if he’s ready to graduate to a “mediocre” rating as a news aggregator. Then he can begin acquiring spells and executing more advanced quests before he can join a proper guild and go on raids. Gore Verbinski may finally have found his Lone Ranger in the form of The Social Network star Armie Hammer. He is currently in talks to take the lead alongside Johnny Depp, who’s already been cast as Tonto. He’s got the look (and damn, the voice as well), but the challenge for Hammer will be the fact that there’s only one character to play in the film. Unless Verbinski carries over the “multiple Jack Sparrow” sequences from his Pirates of the Caribbean work.

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For years, scientists have known exactly how the continents got their shape and placement on the Earth, but they’ve kept it hidden from us because the truth is a bit too shocking. It’s also the cause of the dead birds and fish, the missing single socks in laundromats, and why the moon keeps turning you into a werewolf. Fortunately, the fine folks behind the Ice Age movies have just released a fantastic short featuring their beloved Scrat – the Buster Keaton of pre-historic rodents. Watch, learn and laugh:

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Fox just gave us a reason to look forward to the end of the world in 2012.

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