JJ Abrams

From another world…from another galaxy… This terror from beyond is actually from the world of Don Dohler – a schlock master. An alien menace has come to earth to eat people for some reason, and the town is at the mercy of its laser blasts and its constant look of surprise. You won’t get a great example of it in the trailer, but some of the film’s music was done by a young J.J. Abrams.

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Every week, Landon Palmer and Cole Abaius log on to their favorite chat client of 1996 as MrSmith1939 and 2BorNot2B in order to discuss some topical topic of interest. This week, the two daydream the ultimate reboot – an entire era of filmmaking brought back to life through the lens of modern directors. What styles should we bring back and homage? It is a good idea to let nostalgia drive us artistically? Will people in 30 years be harkening back to the Abramsian style?

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Whether you’re trying to avoid the releases this week or augment them with even more movies, Your Alternate Box Office offers some options for movies that would play perfectly alongside of (or instead of) the stuff studios are shoving into the megaplex this weekend. With apologies to everyone scratching at the walls of their play pen to see Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer, this week features one major release. Trains, nostalgia bombs, and a coming of age story the likes of which haven’t been seen since Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer, J.J. Abrams is back with a tribute to everything he loved when he was just Jefferey. If you plan on catching Super 8, here are 3 films you should watch with it.

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The Reject Report

Imagine Brad Pitt standing on a desolate road holding a gun on director J.J. Abrams. Sitting in front of Abrams is the mystery box, that figurative enclosure in which Abrams stores the secrets of his latest project. Brad Pitt screams a phrase we haven’t heard him scream since 1995, and as Abrams reaches into the box to reveal what’s inside (hint: it’s not Gwyneth Paltrow’s head), a shot rings out. Abrams drops dead, but it isn’t Pitt’s gun that fired. It’s Judy Moody who is standing behind Pitt and who, as of now, is NOT having a bummer summer. Yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s a lame story with a stupid ending. You try writing these intros out every week. Let’s get to the number, okay?

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Apparently one of the tricks inside J.J. Abrams‘s mystery box (patent pending) was lying about the release date of his new movie. Paramount has been advertising Super 8 as hitting theaters on June 10th, but they’ve reached up into their sleeves to pull out an earlier release. Twenty-four whole hours earlier. You’ll have to head to the Super 8 Sneak Preview page to see if your city is on the list, and if not, then you’ll have to wait for that Midnight screening you were already planning anyway. Twitter is also involved somehow, but seems awfully bypass-able. From a marketing standpoint this makes perfect sense. Get the die-hards into theaters a day early and start the word of mouth buzz a full day early. People on the fence about seeing it so early might just be pushed into catching it earlier and spreading the word. That is, if it resonates with fans that strongly. But, from a fan’s perspective, it’s nothing but fantastic news for a highly anticipated flick that will be coming early.

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There’s nothing quite like returning to the old neighborhood to find that your childhood playground hasn’t been torn down. You run your hand along rope ladders deemed “unsafe” by modern standards, feel the crunch of pebbles beneath your feet that did more to cut than soften a fall, sit in the swing and think for a moment about jumping out at the highest point. Super 8 is the cinematic equivalent of unearthing a time capsule and finding everything inside is still impossibly shiny and new. It’s impossible to remove the film from its own nostalgia, except for its intended audience of children discovering this type of filmmaking for the first time (and maybe even seeing their first Amblin logo). That’s a pretty powerful thing. With everyone clamoring to tap a market of adults eager for their own past while simultaneously getting kids into seats, J.J. Abrams‘s latest is one of the few that actually succeeds.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that often sits around in its best lingerie a little too much. Like Emma Frost in the new X-Men film, it loves walking around in its skivvies. However, unlike Ms. Frost and her lovely attire, it does not receive a positive response. It’s okay, because this movie news column is not a real thing. It’s just an object. We begin tonight with a scantly glad, hollow-gazing January Jones lounging around in Matthew Vaughn’s uber-stylish X-Men: First Class. What I find interesting about Jones is that whether she’s about to turn into a woman with diamond-coated skin or she’s waiting for Don Draper to come home from a night of whoring around, it’s the same facial expression. That’s consistency.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news round-up column that didn’t mean to take the night off last night, but was forced into it by some “internet connectivity issues.” Which means, plainly, that its internet provider sucks sometimes. And things happen. Like trains — sometimes they get blown up in small town in Ohio, unleashing unknown terrors upon small-town, late-70s folk. Shit happens, y’know? My confession of the evening is that I was able to see Super 8 this morning. Reviews are under embargo for now, so I can’t share too much, but know this: whatever level of excitement you hold for it, you’re probably on the right track. Moving on, but not too far, Empire has a great interview with producer Steven Spielberg and Spielberg Jr., director J.J. Abrams. You can check it out after the jump. It’s not spoilery, as Abrams is a good keeper of secrets. But if you want to go in completely untainted, skip ahead and there’s plenty of other news to read.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news round-up article that would like you to know that it’s glad you weren’t Raptured. It loves having you around so that it can share links with you, bring you the latest news and provide you with a few laughs along the way. It didn’t want to see you vanish into thin air and leave the rest of us to fend off apocalyptic chaos. It’s also confused, as all the toilet paper in the Reject HQ bathrooms seems to have disappeared. How does toilet paper get Raptured? I’m always skeptical when small groups of journalists get a very early look at a major studio picture and come out of it with mostly positive things to say. I don’t question their enjoyment of what they saw, but it’s clear that someone is massaging the timing of the message. So when we see reviews starting to pop up for X-Men: First Class, I can’t help but look at them through cynical eyes. That said, I respect the hell out of Drew McWeeney at HitFix and his piece on Matthew Vaughn’s latest calls it ambitious, claiming that the story is tight and focused. That’s worth some consideration. Also, the above art depicts Muppets as X-Men. Brilliant, found via Geekologie.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly column chronicling all that is good and true(ish) in the world. But enough gay banter, its author caught the new trailer for The Muppets this evening — it’s attached to Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides — and it was adorable. Not Pirates, that wasn’t great, the Muppets trailer. Speaking of Muppets, here’s something sad… 21 years ago today, Jim Henson passed away. Our friends over at /Film are remembering him by posting a wonderful documentary called The World of Jim Henson. It’s worth your time, as you might imagine.

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Criterion Files

Why?

In a sea of some of the most important pictures the world has known to date – why? In a collection spanning nearly one-hundred years of film history and inclusive of a large portion of the greatest filmmakers we’ve ever known…why? With a library containing movies which focus heavily on visual artistry and emotional complexities and probably have a combined budget *possibly* equal to that of this film…why? With another picture released the same year about pretty much the same thing made by a studio from the same country garnering stronger critical reception and sporting an [in]arguably more plausible solution and execution to the prevention of the end of the world via meteors the size of really, really big things…WHY? Why is this mammoth-sized summer blockbuster which is a masterpiece of the color orange alongside some of the most revered pictures of the last (nearly) 100 years?

The answer is simple, concrete, and indisputable:

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Update: Trek Movie has gone ahead and debunked the entire story about Chris Pine speaking out on the Star Trek 2 script. Writer Bob Orci has confirmed that it’s not done yet. Apologies for the error. With all the recent talk about JJ Abram’s upcoming summer movie Super 8, what its trailer reveals, what its viral marketing is hinting at, and what those twenty minutes of footage some people got to see contains, I had kind of forgotten that Abrams made a Star Trek movie that a lot of people really liked: a Star Trek movie that will be demanding at least a couple sequels. But one person who hasn’t forgotten about Star Trek 2 is the first film’s star Chris Pine. His career probably depends on it.

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We are going to see it. We just don’t know when. This was the message Matt Reeves had for fans during a conversation with Total Film in which he continued the refrain from the past year set to the tune of a monster destroying the city. He, J.J. Abrams, and writer Drew Goddard are all busy right now, but they’re also dedicated to making Cloverfield 2 a reality. The last we heard about the project was a line about them doing it if they had a good idea, so either they’ve resolved to do it (while resolving to figure that good idea out) or they’ve already hit upon something they want to shoot for. Either way, mark your calendars (somewhere) for Cloverfield 2.

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The Super 8 trailer that proved that 1) most other trailer creators are slacking big time and 2) you don’t have to show everything to sell a movie, is going one step further with the mystery. No surprise there, really. Reelz Channel was intrepid enough to discover a website hidden in the aperture of the film reel shown inside the camera lens during said trailer, and it leads to S8EditingRoom (dot com) where an old government film with a ton of frames missing awaits. It’s one more piece of the puzzle, and it will probably only be the first step on the viral path, so stick around for more surprises. Also feel free to tool around on that site for a few hours until you unlock a new trailer or set of images. It’s not like you’d rather be doing that budget report your boss keeps yelling about.

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That Amblin logo at the front of the new trailer for Super 8 is an important signal to audiences that fell in love with the studio (and fell in love with movies because of the studio), and the rest of the trailer seems like it was cut from a movie Steven Spielberg directed in 1981 using all the best technology from 2011. Simply put, the trailer finally fives a sense of the plot to this mysterious flick without giving away everything. It’s incredible, a heartfelt looking movie, and it raises genuine excitement in the way that trailers haven’t seem to do in months. Get that feeling for yourself:

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Boiling Point

Most of the time I try not to revisit past boiling points. Once I get it out of my system, I like to pretend I’ve cast out the anger. This, however, is not true. The anger never subsides. No. It grows. Grows and grows and boils over again and again. Still, to keep things fresh, I try to point my anger in new directions. But sometimes thinks deserve a second chance. With that said, I’d like to take a second to just remind everyone that putting a big name on top of a movie is complete and utter horseshit.

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At some point within the last six months, a magical cat let out a huge meow while dropping off a magical copy of the Super 8 script in front of Kyle Chandler’s magical doorstep, and now he has a role in the film. Early Edition references aside, Kyle Chandler has been cast in an unnamed role in the unnamed plot of the named movie. Joining him is Elle Fanning who is, probably, playing one of the young children that find the footage of the alien on their camera footage. Judging by the trailer, that would mean those kids were playing by themselves on the train tracks at night. That’s bad parenting, and it makes me think twice about supporting this movie. J.J. Abrams and company should win me back by casting Connie Britton as the bad parent. [Vulture]

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Boiling Point

If you’re a long time reader of this column (be honest, you can’t start your week without it) you may recall me blasting off against films that are “presented by (big name)” or those that otherwise try to capitalize on a big name that, in reality, has little to do with what you’re about to watch. Like “from Executive Producer Steven Spielberg” or “Quentin Tarantino presents.” Nothing against these gentlemen, but hell, more than 99% of the time they’ve had absolutely zero to do with what you’re watching. I think the last time I went down a similar road was when JJ Abrams was getting all the credit for Cloverfield and less than 10% (made up statistic!) of people knew who Matt Reeves was, despite the fact that he directed a smart and enjoyable film. The recently released Devil faced a similar situation, though one in a much more negative way. Virtually all critics and a relatively wide swath of audiences dismissed Devil once the name M. Night Shyamalan appeared on the screen. After all, the guy’s said some ridiculous stuff about his own career, has made a handful of junk movies, and recently stunk up screens with The Last Airbender. So maybe Devil does deserve a lukewarm reception. Except that M. Night didn’t write or direct it so it’s not really fair to judge the film on his name.

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It feels like only yesterday that the Reject HQ crew was sitting just a few feet from Leonard Nimoy as he flirted with Neil’s mother after a mind-blowing screening of Star Trek – a film that surprised everyone by being better than good. Now, we’re waiting to return to the stars. To go where so many audiences have gone before. Unfortunately, that trip is still a ways off. Fortunately, screenwriters Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman were nice to enough to give SFX Magazine an interview where they give word on the project – and it might be word that fans of Khan and Klingons might not want to hear.

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Lost

For many fans, closing the book on Lost once and for all has been a difficult task. Not only was it one of the most devoutly followed shows of all time — a series that showed us that the world of television could be delivered in a manner that felt cinematic, but existed over a longer period of time — but it was also one of the most intriguing and divisive shows in recent times. Our most recent memory of the J.J. Abrams championed show is just that — the great divide created by the big finale, dubbed appropriately “The End.” On May 23, 2010, it all came to an end. And with it came the answers to questions, some six years in the making, as well as more questions that have continued to plague the starving masses to this day. None of that hysteria will end with the release of the Complete Collection on Blu-ray. The questions remain. However, this week’s release of Lost in its entirety, complete with delicious goodies, is meant for a celebration. It’s time to look back at Lost from the beginning and celebrate one heck of a journey.

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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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