John Carter

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s the mysterious tribute from District 12. A coal minor’s daughter who learned to hunt in the woods outside the fence. A girl on fire. Survivalist. Star-crossed lover. Oh wait, that’s not right. It’s a nightly column dedicated to bringing you the best in stuff about movies, TV and happenings across Panem. Or something like that. We begin this evening with a shot of Snake Eyes from G.I. Joe: Retaliation. He’s got a rebooted mask for this sequel, which reboots the G.I. Joe series in a way by taking out most of the previous film’s characters and bringing in Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson instead. Good move.

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Mitt Romney currently leads the Republican Presidential nominee field in two distinct ways. The first is in spending, where he’s made it rain $100m so far in order to not clinch the nomination. The second is in delegates, which is it where it counts. Still, he’s facing the possibility of not getting enough delegates before the National Convention in late August which means there’s a chance (albeit a slim one) he won’t be the eventual nominee. He’s also facing difficult internal numbers and that general feeling of, you know, meh-ness from potential supporters. So, he’s John Carter. The correlations are clear: both are inevitable successes by a traditional standpoint, both are flawed in ways that injure their ability to connect with an audience, they’re both in danger of failing, and they both spent a ton of money to get to where they are. There’s a lesson in all of this and hopefully the major studios are paying close attention.

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Boiling Point

John Carter lightly transported itself into theaters this past weekend, securing a relatively meager $30m opening domestically, though it managed to secure another $70m internationally. While I will eventually make a defense of the economics at play here, it is hard to argue that John Carter isn’t a domestic failure, considering it came in second to The Lorax, which debuted a full week earlier. On top of that, John Carter has a suspected $250m budget with marketing costs guestimated in the $100m range, for a total investment of around $350m. The critics have been somewhat kind to the civil war veteran’s debut – while the average review seems to be “it’s alright,” there have certainly been some hyperbolic highs and very few hyperbolic lows. Consensus is you’ll probably think the movie is okay, but you might want to wait for DVD. Scattered among those are bold claims that film will live on with your children as a classic, which are probably a bit off the reservation. There is little doubt that in at least several ways John Carter failed, ways that were easily avoidable and ways that make me fairly angry with the system.

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Kevin Carr

This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr heads to the desert to hide in a cave, hoping against hope that some mystical bald alien will beam him to Mars so he can make a pass at the ridiculously gorgeous Lynn Collins in a brass bikini. Unfortunately, no one came to his rescue, so he snuck into an abandoned house in upstate New York to terrorize some people. Again, no one came. That left Kevin to skip his movies this week so he could go to the library and find a book that would allow him to curse Eddie Murphy into not speaking. He hasn’t been heard from since.

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John Carter

This weekend presents you with the opportunity to do many things. If you’re in the Central Texas area, you’re probably hitting up SXSW 2012 alongside the intrepid staff at Film School Rejects and many other fine publications. But if you’re note falling down drunk on the streets of Austin, trying to punch-kick everyone following a screening of The Raid, you may want to escape to another wild wonderland: Mars. Beginning today, Disney is releasing John Carter into theaters. Based on the century-old book “A Princess of Mars” by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Carter follows a Civil War veteran who is transported magically to Earth’s red neighbor, where unknowable danger, a classic hero journey and the love of a gorgeous, tough princess await him. Also, he encounters 9-foot tall, four-armed green aliens who sound like Willem Dafoe, vengeful war mongers played by the likes of Dominic West and a CGI-enhanced landscape created by a team led by Pixar alum Andrew Stanton. All-in-all, it’s quite a ride. And to give you an idea of why you should just ignore the poor early buzz and simply enjoy the ride, we’ve compile a list of 7 Very Good Reasons to See John Carter This Weekend. Join us on this magical journey…

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Willem Dafoe on John Carter

John Carter hits theaters today. And whether you’re buying into the hype that it’s a big-budget film that is destined to fail or you’re listening to the great number of film critics — including our own Robert Levin — who are saying that despite its faults, it’s the first legitimate event film of the year, it’s still going to be hitting theaters. For those seeking more information before a decision is made, we’ve got you covered. Over the next several days we’ll be rolling out conversations with John Carter‘s creative team, including the likes of director Andrew Stanton, producers Lindsey Collins and John Morris, as well as some of the film’s stars. We begin today with an intimate chat held with veteran actor Willem Dafoe, who plays Tars Tarkas, the leader of a Martian species of 9-foot tall, four-armed green aliens who live in the harsh deserts of Earth’s red neighbor. Over the course of our chat, we talk about being a veteran actor who can still perform in physically demanding roles, Andrew Stanton’s directing style and what Dafoe has to say about performance capture and its place in awards season.

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We’ve already signed up hundreds of people for FSR Dating – the first dating site for movie fans – and to aid the endeavor to provide all of our readers with that special tingle, we’re tossing out a few ideas (that you can totally claim as your own) for forming dates around this week’s releases. They’re perfect for finding a new flame or for proving to your current wife/girlfriend/husband/boyfriend that cheap roses for Valentine’s Day isn’t all you’re good for (even if it totally is). This week involves a trip to Mars, a haunted house and a movie title that no one can get right. If you plan on catching John Carter, Silent House or Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, what are you doing afterward? Check out these thematic date ideas, sack up, and go ask someone out. Then send us the pictures.

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John Carter Mondo Poster

John Carter arrives in theaters today consumed by terrible buzz and reduced expectations, with prognosticators of all stripes predicting a monumental flop for Disney. It’s a 3D, $250m affair that’s tracking worse than the second weekend of The Lorax, they say, and it’s a ridiculously expensive gamble for a first-time live-action director (Andrew Stanton, of Finding Nemo and WALL-E fame). In the press, the narrative has been written: You don’t want to see this movie. And that’s a shame, because it’s actually quite good. It’s sad that we’ve reached a cultural place where a bold, imaginative science-fiction effort like this, a film with beautiful imagery and a well-founded allegiance to gloriously pulpy source material, is so easily dismissed. Not to get all Armond White here, but the contemptible gleeful scorn being heaped on the film by Nikki Finke and others just reemphasizes how little so many people who write about movies actually care about movies. If they gave a damn about, you know, art, they’d have to acknowledge that at the very least this adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs’s century-old novel “A Princess of Mars” harkens back to the grand mid-century Disney tradition of films like 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, which took great pleasure in immersive production design. You could take or leave the plot, though I’d mostly take it, but there’s no disputing the fact that Stanton has rendered Mars as a complete universe unto itself, full of zooming spaceships and cluttered, towering cities, a weird and altogether […]

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Director Andrew Stanton, being somewhat of the miracle worker that he is, has managed to capture the strengths of the original Star Wars trilogy while avoiding much of what was wrong with the prequels with his John Carter. This Disney epic provides for all of a boy’s basic needs, wants, and desires that Lucas’s prequels didn’t deliver upon. Stanton knows their sweet spot – and yes, I know how creepy that reads – by hitting all the major checkpoints required for them: beefy hero, beautiful love interest, sweet weaponry, non-pandering comic relief, big aliens, and exciting flying things that could not look more like the speeder bikes from Return of the Jedi. How do these amazing devices work, you ask? They just do. Stanton treats the more fantastical aspects of John Carter like George Lucas did, “It’s just there, and who cares how it works or how it got made?” Overall, John Carter bears both many connections and thankful distances to the Star Wars series. Just how Luke Skywalker saw the vast universe Lucas created, there’s not one scene of Carter condescending to the mechanics or bizarro nature of the world – Mars, which they call “Barsoom” – he’s thrown into and never saying something along the lines of, “Isn’t this costume goofy, guys? (*wink* *wink*).” When things get silly, Stanton and his cast always play it straight-faced and with nothing but respect, like the original Star Wars films did. Carter doesn’t question the idea of huge white apes, he […]

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Many things have been said about Disney’s John Carter. From bloggers who say it’s “full of action” to a marketing department at a major studio that’s having trouble explaining what, exactly, the hell John Carter is to the general public. Nerds know. Fans of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ century-old story Princess of Mars know. Those of us who have seen it know that there’s plenty within it to love. So what else can be done to give you a reason to see it when it hits theaters this Friday, March 9? How about a 10-minute clip featuring the back story of our title character (played by Taylor Kitsch), an appearance by Bryan Cranston and almost some ‘of Mars’ kind of action. It’s not the high-flying, impressively scaled scenes from the movie, but this 10-minute clip should give you a good idea of what’s going on. If you’re still needing more, well, we’ve got more coming.

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Last month we got a really fun and nicely old-fashioned horror movie, a found footage superhero movie becoming a surprise hit, a terrific hitman/horror/love story, and a B-movie featuring Denzel Washington kicking ass. It was better than an average February. As expected like every year, we’re dealing with a packed March. There are two possible franchise starters and one of the funniest comedies we’ve seen in quite sometime, so we’ve got a pleasant month ahead of us. Honorable Mentions: Friends with Kids (a fine dramedy) and The Deep Blue Sea (a semi-festival favorite), and Silent House (another film with Elizabeth Olsen being terrorized? I’m in.) Check out the ten must-see movies of March below.

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Mad Max Cars

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s difficult to explain, really. We do know what it isn’t: boring. We begin this evening with one of two images from the scene of the crime where George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road could very well be shooting. We know this because some wicked Mad Max-esque vehicles have been spotted near where the production is said to begin shooting in April. It’s got Tom Hardy, it’s George Miller back in the saddle, and it’s okay by me.

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Lynn Collins in John Carter

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that decided to celebrate President’s Day in honor of its favorite United States President, Ulysses S. Grant. The beard on that motherf**ker… We begin tonight with some stuff about John Carter, a film that has been awash with a diverse array of opinions this past week, most of which came from a number of pundits who had not yet actually seen the movie. “I heard that John Carter is a mess,” they’ve said, in more sensational and agenda-driven words. Tonight the record has been set straight. Disney lifted the Twitter embargo on those who attended last weekend’s press junket and some more level-headed opinions have entered the world. According to Devin Faraci, “Hopefully the internet will be able to put aside binary ‘It sucks/It rocks’ stuff and look at John Carter as a movie w/ good and bad aspects … The best parts of John Carter are Woola and Dejah Thoris. A generation will be ushered into puberty by Lynn Collins.” Also, someone named @Rejects said, “I was told that I could now tell you that I liked John Carter. I’m no puppet, but I follow the rules sometimes. So yeah, Carter ain’t bad … Some truly vivid and massive special effects work, some kickass aliens and a needlessly imperfect rhythm. But fun.” Both are highly credible sources. One is me.

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Do you have some interest in seeing more from Disney’s upcoming sci-fi adventure John Carter? Chances are that you do, as many of you are probably the types who are (a) familiar with the century-old source material or (b) just into that kind of thing in general. Based on this epic image gallery — 116 stills in all — we can see that Pixar alum Andrew Stanton’s first foray into the world of live-action (sort of) is heavy on spectacle. It’s a big story told over the massive landscape of Earth’s closest neighbor. Sexy martian princesses? Check. All-out war between alien races? Check. Giant white wolf ape motherf&*kers? Boom, you’ve got that, too. Forget whatever preconceived notions you have based on the trailers and check out the slick gallery of images that we’ve left for you after the jump.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s all the movie news that’s fit to print. So, please, print it out and read it on your morning commute. The videos are especially effective that way. We begin this evening with four arms. This is just one of the ninety-seven images that Disney released in support of John Carter which means that if you make a flipbook of them, you’ve got a nice cheap version of the movie. Plus, John Carter wants you to read!

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Bruce Wayne in The Dark Knight Rises

What is Movie News After Dark? … um, it’s about movies. And it takes place after the sun goes down. We begin this evening with another new image from The Dark Knight Rises, one of several that worked their way onto the web today thanks to Entertainment Weekly. Unlike all the previously interesting shots from the film, this one does not involve Bane. It’s Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) standing in front of the bat-suit. I love that bat-suit.

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Hunger Games Track Suits

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s the King of all nightly movie-related link dumps. You get twice the intelligence, half the idiocy, one quarter the amount of snark and exactly the same amount of actual news as other sites will give you. Plus, we always end with something fun. So stick around and read a while. We begin this evening with a shot from The Hunger Games featuring Josh Hutcherson as Peeta and Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss. Wait. Is there a reason why these characters have such stupid names? Or is it just to do with the future? I need to get around to reading these books, but I don’t know if I can deal with these names. Anyway, I like their tracksuits. I didn’t know this story was set in communist Russia.

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It’s already the second day of 2012, which means we’ll all be sober within the next day or two. It also means that we can officially start looking (through blurry eyes) ahead to the future. A future of promise and potential. A future of hope. A future of tingling anticipation that the road stretched out in front of us that leads to the cinema will be paved with gold. Will there be piles of excrement along the way? Of course, but we don’t know how many or how badly they’ll tarnish our yellow-bricked roller coaster ride. All we can see from this far out is the shimmering wonder of movies to come – the vast unknown that looks wonderful (and might just live up to the hype). In past years (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011), we’ve gone with a fairly arbitrary count of 20-30 movies. This year, we decided to prove that there were 52 movies worth prematurely celebrating (even though what we found were many more). That’s one for every week (even if there are some weeks with a few and some weeks with none at all). Regardless of the number, Rob Hunter, Neil Miller, Kate Erbland, Allison Loring, Landon Palmer, Brian Salisbury and Cole Abaius have joined forces to remind us all that there are a lot of great movies to hope for this year. Go grab a calendar and pencil in everything that gets your blood pressure up toward unsafe levels. It’s going to be a busy, flick-filled […]

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Paramount

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly collection of things, movie related and otherwise, that will entertain you, astound you and most likely give you that much needed late-night push toward deep, restful sleep. We begin tonight with the new logo Paramount Pictures has released for their 100th anniversary celebration. I caught it this evening on a massive IMAX screen in front of Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, which was quite awesome. But more on that later. Up first, some trivia: Did you know that the original Paramount mountain was based on a doodle by W.W. Hodkinson and that the live-action logo is based on Peru’s Artesonraju? Wikipedia did.

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Disney’s latest would-be-blockbuster, John Carter, has had a hell of a time making it to the screen – with live-action feature film development interest first kicking off back in the 1950s (from Ray Harryhausen, no less), though the rights to Edgar Rice Burroughs‘ novels weren’t bought until the 1980s, when Disney picked them up. From there, the project seemed ready to go (with cast and crew falling into place), until its own would-be director John McTiernan himself noted that technology was not yet advanced enough to create the write cinematic vision. Then Paramount got the rights for Robert Rodriguez to direct, then it was Kerry Conran, then it was Jon Favreau, and then Paramount didn’t renew the rights, and then Disney got them back, and then I fell asleep. The film is finally hitting screens next year, thanks to Disney and Wall-E director Andrew Stanton (making his live action debut), with John Carter himself being played by rising star Taylor Kitsch. And while this is all well and good, John Carter has one huge obstacle to overcome – it is a huge, multimillion dollar production that comes from a beloved and deep source material that has an obviously epic scale, and awareness by the general public for the property is negligible. And I can’t quite believe that the film’s first full-length trailer will do much to alleviate that. Check it out, along with more of my concerns, after the break.

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published: 12.23.2014
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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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