In Time

This Week in Blu-ray

This Week in Blu-ray is back with another big week of releases. This is the time of year when a lot of great fall releases, Oscar contenders new and old, and even a few summer blockbusters going for the double-dip get their more impressive debuts on the mother of all HD formats. This week we get to explore my personal favorite film of 2011, as well as some fantastic re-releases of classic films like To Kill a Mockingbird and Malcolm X. There will also be a discussion of The Thing (2011), albeit a brief one. Drive In recent interviews, director Nicolas Winding Refn has promised fans that a fully loaded edition of Drive would eventually make its way to Blu-ray, with plenty of extras, interviews and other special features. While I, like you, find that to be a nice idea, it’s also hard to overlook the urgency of getting 2011′s best film into my collection as soon as possible. And much to my surprise, this Blu-ray release is solid. Ryan Gosling is still Driver, he’s still driving fast and fighting for the girl, and he’s still punching out Christina Hendricks and stomping dudes flat in elevators in between driving scenes backed by the pulsing score of Cliff Martinez. There’s also some special treats. No, not a toothpick. Although I’d take it. This release comes complete with four featurettes, all worthy of your time, and a documentary-length interview with the film’s director. It’s an efficient package that, like the film to which it’s […]

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This Week in DVD

Welcome back to This Week In DVD! Another week another ton of DVDs hitting shelves both real and virtual, and while there are several worth renting and avoiding there are only two worth buying. One is visible immediately below, and the other? One of last year’s best films. As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. Perfect Sense (UK) A chef (Ewan McGregor) and an epidemiologist (Eva Green) meet and fall in love just as a strange new disease begins to spread worldwide. People are struck with a strong emotional response immediately followed by the loss of one of their senses. It’s like Contagion but with heart and personality. This is a beautiful film about life, love and what it means to be human. It’s a must-see about mankind’s resilience in the face of loss and devastation. Just be sure to watch it before your vision goes. **NOTE – This is a region2 DVD which requires either a region-free player or the willingness to watch on your PC.**

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New Frankenweenie Images

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly entertainment news column that collects all the best links of the day, then adds commentary. It is also glad to be back from its Christmas break and hopes you got everything you wanted. It got almost everything on its list. We begin this evening with a fun new image from Tim Burton’s upcoming stop-motion 3D animated film Frankenweenie. It comes to us via the folks at The Playlist, who are quick to remind us that said film is coming out in the fall of 2012. Perhaps this will be the Tim Burton film that allows us to forget the mistakes the director has made with 3D in recent years?

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The Reject Report

There are only a few proven constants in the known universe. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, mixing Pop Rocks and Pepsi in your stomach will cause you to burst from the inside out (actually, this one hasn’t been proven), and the Twilight movies make a crap ton of money. And here we are again, ladies and germs, at the period of the box office year when Twi-hards feast their ever-loving eyes on yet another one. But this isn’t just another Twilight movie. This is the beginning of the end, the first of a two-parter that finishes off the franchise for good. Or, at least, until they reboot. I’m guessing it’ll make some dough this weekend. Aren’t you? It’s the Reject Report, and teen angst is eternal. At least, that’s what teens tell me.

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The Reject Report

What? Tintin? I know what you’re thinking. “I know we had Daylight Saving Time this morning, Jeremy, but you’re taking this “time travel” business a little too far, aren’t you?” You’ve probably notice we’re still at the beginning of November and haven’t been transported magically to December 21st when The Adventures of Tintin gets its US release, and you’d be both observant and right. However, Tintin, world figure that he is, got his release in several foreign markets on October 26th-28th. The ignorant American that I am didn’t bother to address this until now. Well, here you go, foreign markets. It’s your day to shine. The Adventures of Tintin has already pulled in $125.3m in foreign territories, pretty much guaranteeing its worldwide success well before its North American release. The film is already generated income from over 5000 locations in 21 foreign markets, but most of its dollars have come from the United Kingdom and France so far. It made $21 million from France last weekend and $10.9m from the UK. Spain and Germany were also big markets for the film, pulling over $10m from the locations combined.

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The Reject Report

Yes, we know. It’s a little early to be celebrating Christmas already. It’s actually a lot early to be celebrating Christmas, but what’s good enough for the weekend box office is good enough for the Reject Report. There is a Christmas movie hitting this weekend, A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, and it’ll be looking to take dollars and laughs away from the other new release, Tower Heist. As much as we’d all like to see Brett Ratner go down in flames to the might of Harold & Kumar, that outcome might not be so foregone. Doesn’t matter to our Christmas spirit, though. We’ll still be singing carols and hanging out underneath the mistletoe. Alone. Practicing on the back of our hands. Oh, right, the box office.

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Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried in In Time

In Time squanders a promising metaphor on an abundance of sleek action scenes that seem to have wandered into the movie from a car commercial. Writer-director Andrew Niccol will always have a beloved, if underrated, place in the realm of modern day sci-fi crafters for his terrific eugenics drama Gattaca and his Truman Show script. But his career has floundered since then, and his latest flick fails to find the structural, atmospheric or plot-driven ingenuity to match its provocative premise.

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Retreat is a film that lives or dies by its actors. Mainly set in one location and focusing primarily on three characters constantly interacting, that’s an exceptionally tough film to make. That seems like a common thing for actor Cillian Murphy, though. No one can look at Peacock and Breakfast on Pluto and say, “What safe, easy roles.” The actor takes chances, and it all comes down to the directors he’s going to put his trust in. When one works with the likes of Danny Boyle, Christopher Nolan, Ken Loach, and Andrew Niccol, that must not be too difficult. The actor usually manages to work with the best nowadays, but even so, as Murphy says, you’re never going to quite know what to expect from a film. And, at the end of a film, that doesn’t matter much. Murphy’s advice: never be nostalgic and always move forward. Immediately before talking to Murphy, I had just gotten out of In Time. In that film, Murphy spends a lot of time getting his ass kicked, being disrespected, and everything else that would make one of us feel unmanly, similarly to his character in Retreat. A lot of Murphy’s characters seem that way, but to him it’s less about emasculation, more about how everyone’s a contradiction.

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The Reject Report

And we’re back. Three cups of coffee, and these boots are made for walking. Granted, the walking might be a little jittery. That’s what happens after you’ve gone through a whole pot of the magical, black stuff. It’s kind of like catnip for adult humans. And it all comes back full circle. The circle this week leads to Puss in Boots, that lovable side character from the Shrek films who’s finally getting his own animated adventure. He’s sure to take the grand ball of yarn this weekend, but he’ll have some stiff competition from the returning Paranormal Activity 3 and the triple threat himself, Justin Timberlake, finally getting his name above the title on an action/sci-fi/epic. It’s the Reject Report this week, and we’re seeing the bottom of the cup. Coffee coffee coffee.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr puts on some 3D glasses to look at some puss… in boots, that is. He proceeds to rewrite fairy tale fiction to include more bodily function humor, an egg-shaped Zach Galifianakis and a hairy but still sexy Salma Hayek. Then, he heads to the reference department of his local library to discover who really wrote the complete works of William Shakespeare. When all signs point to Neil Miller as the real author, Kevin gives up, realizing he’s out of time. So he brings sexy back and heads out to kidnap Amanda Seyfried so he can occupy Hollywood and start a revolution together… or get arrested.

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Andrew Niccol is one of the few futurist filmmakers working today. The man knows how to take ten steps ahead of everyone else. His concepts are imaginatively absurd, but in that absurdity, Niccol generally points to problems that plague us today and may grow in the future. The concept of The Truman Show seemed outrageous at the time, and yet that film has become a sad reality. Despite his forward-thinking, Niccol doesn’t have the easiest time getting films made. It has been six years since Lord of War, and a few projects between that time fell through for the filmmaker. Why? Because Niccol, as he himself says, is always creating too expensive of concepts. Now, he’s finally got one of those not-so-cheap concepts made. With In Time being his biggest film yet, he pointed out how like on every film, there are “trucks of compromises.” Here’s what Andrew Niccol — who I also spoke to at Comic-Con, so if you want to know more about In Time, read that interview — had to say about the difficulty of getting his ideas made, the desire of leaving for France, and why it’s easier to sleep when you have no conscience.

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One of the few films from Comic-Con that I wasn’t looking forward to, but left feeling excited about, is Andrew Niccol‘s In Time. After viewing the sizzle reel in Hall H and interviewing Niccol, expectations got raised. Niccol isn’t a filmmaker that works all that often and considering this is his return to the sci-fi world, it’s somewhat of a mini-event. This is also his first action movie, and it is shot through the eyes of Roger Deakins. The action is apparently all running, too – something expressed pretty clearly in this trailer. Seeing Justin Timberlake run around for two hours isn’t exactly ideal entertainment, but there looks to be more than a generic chase film here. The world building comes off topnotch, Roger Deakins’s first step into the digital realm seems to be a success, and Cillian Murphy as the man hunting Timberlake down is an idea I can get behind.

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Andrew Niccol loves thought-provoking ideas. Gattaca, his script for The Truman Show, and Lord of War are works of varying genres that all posed interesting questions. His latest film, In Time, looks to be his most commercial endeavor yet. Although there apparently will be a few action beats, Niccol set out to craft a human story with social commentary. This appears to be, more than anything else, a love story set within a chase thriller. And that chase happens to look fantastic, courtesy of cinematographer Roger Deakins. This is the first film which Deakins shot digitally, and after the experience, the legendary cinematographer expressed the possibility that he may leave film behind for good. As Niccol describes below, it makes sense why he would. Here’s what Andrew Niccol had to say about the world of In Time, the Gattaca connection, Deakins going digital, and what to expect in the action department:

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In Time was one of the films I was the most excited about covering at Comic-Con, and yet I had no bloody clue what it was about. I heard it involved some sci-fi aspect, a lot of running, and Amanda Seyfried sporting a short red ‘do. That’s all I knew. See how well-researched I am? Once I actually learned something about the film, there ended up being more to get excited about than just the fact it’s an Andrew Niccol film and one of the few original stories we’d be getting a glimpse at during Con. The high concept, which sounds a bit heavy-handed, is unique and looks well-handled in the three-minute sizzle reel Fox showed. And to be fair, the comparison to Gattaca carries that sound of potential non-subtlety, so I have faith Niccol will deliver a thought-provoking comment on “our desire to stay young forever” and “economic enslavement.”

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