Red Dawn

Macon Blair in

From the very start, the thesis of this monthly column has been that there’s plenty of great stuff always being added to Netflix, if you just dig for it a little. While we still stand by that statement, it’s also true that the last few weeks worth of new additions have felt a little light—not quite up to the standards of recent months. N ot to worry though, as we’ve still been able to sort through the rubble and find 16 good movies to stream that all range from being worth your time to downright exceptional, so we should all be able to survive until the next big title dump. As always, click on the movie’s title to be taken to its Netflix page. Pick of the Month: Blue Ruin (2013) Most revenge movies are escapist stories that deal in a black and white, eye for an eye morality and feature over-the-top protagonists who go to extreme lengths in order to avenge wrongs that have been done to them. They’re pretty simple, but they’re pretty satisfying. Blue Ruin isn’t like those movies. While it is, essentially, a revenge movie, it manages to raises itself a step or two above the rest of the rabble by being smarter and more interesting than the films that stick to the usual formula. First off, the protagonist here isn’t a killing machine. He’s an in-over-his-head everyman who’s reacting to his situation more like a wounded animal than a terminator. And the revenge he takes isn’t treated like […]

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New on VOD: Lincoln

The Video On Demand Power Ranker returns this week with a batch of new movies to watch. Sure, there are some holdovers on the list, such as (the still excellent) Life of Pi, but our brain-implanted super computer appears to be feeling that which is fresh this week. Will you go along for the journey? Don’t say no. It doesn’t like being told no.

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discs intouchables

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! As always, if you see something you like, click on the image to buy it. The Intouchables Philippe (François Cluzet) is a wealthy quadriplegic in need of a full-time caretaker. The list of applicants is long, but it’s a lower class Senegalese immigrant named Driss (Omar Sy) who gets the job because Phillipe wants someone who won’t look at him with pity. The relationship is bumpy at first, but the pair become fast friends through mutual respect and a shared sense of humor. Writer/directors Olivier Nakache and Eric Toledano based their film on a true story, and while the subject of Philippe’s reality could very easily have made for a sappy melodrama, they wisely avoided that route. Instead the movie finds real humor and compassion in the developing friendship and the effect it has on these two lives. The script is surprisingly funny and never maudlin, and both leads show spectacular chemistry and personality. [DVD extras: None]

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The Best Action Movies of 2012

Movies are many different things to many different peoples. A film may tug at your heart strings, tickle your funny bone, or change the way you look at the world. But sometimes all you want from a movie is an adrenaline shot straight to the heart, a testosterone booster right to the balls, or whatever the female equivalent of getting really hyped up over an action film is. 2012 didn’t see the apocalypse, but it did see a bunch of cinematic ass-kickery, the best of which is counted down here for your pleasure.

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When I first heard there was going to be a Red Dawn remake, I didn’t see the need. Even in a post-9/11 world, in which we have experienced a foreign attack on U.S. soil — unlike when the 1984 original could tout its related tagline of “In our time, no foreign army has ever occupied American soil. Until now.” — we don’t have the sort of Cold War worries of being taken over by an enemy superpower, regardless of the plausibility. We’ve entered a different kind of era of fear, of terrorists striking rather than foreign armies invading. In the last 20 years it has made more sense to see alien invasion films like Independence Day and War of the Worlds, because extraterrestrials seemed the more likely foreigners to conquer America if any. And to an extent — especially given a certain ID4-ish plan involving defeating the invaders via their own communications system — the producers could have just changed the enemy in the Red Dawn remake from Chinese to aliens rather than to North Koreans. For one thing, it would remove any claims of racism or direct xenophobia on the part of the film. For another thing, we once saw aliens often employed as stand-ins for our “red” enemies and could just reference that as logic for how it could still be “Red Dawn” but now be science fiction (actually, the original Red Dawn is a kind of sci-fi). More than anything, though, it just doesn’t matter who the […]

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Red Dawn

Editor’s note: we first reviewed the new Red Dawn back at Fantastic Fest, so please enjoy a re-run of that review, originally published on September 27, 2012, no guns necessary. Possibly the biggest challenge in creating a Red Dawn remake is that the original was such a product of its time. By 1984, tensions from the Cold War were at their peak and Red Dawn deftly played on and exploited those fears. While it got bogged down a bit in melodrama, our national xenophobia gave it more impact than it may have had otherwise. Fast forward to 2012 and despite perhaps a mild fear of another attack from Middle Eastern extremists, we’re not particularly afraid of a full scale invasion. In fact, the plausibility is so up in the air that the invading army was changed from China to North Korea in post-production. We don’t live in a culture of fear like the one that existed during the Cold War, but the sight of planes dropping bombs on your neighbors and soldiers parachuting into your town is still a terrifying one, and the new Red Dawn handles that sequence well. While it may not play on legitimate fears like the original, the remake does a decent job of creating chaos and tension if not outright terror.

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Drinking Games

Forget the North Koreans. It was the Soviets with their Cuban and Nicaraguan allies that once posed a real threat to this nation. After all, it doesn’t take much to establish a beachhead in Washington State, as depicted in the Red Dawn remake due out in theaters this week. Real hardcore Communist armies invade from the center of the country, as seen with the occupation of Calumet, Colorado in John “Madman” Milius’s original 1984 film. The new film’s explosions may be bigger, and the actors may be more recognizable to today’s audience (though possibly not, considering the original starred Patrick Swayze, Charlie Sheen, Jennifer Gray, Harry Dean Stanton, and Powers Booth), but Milius’s Red Dawn is perfectly primed for a stiff line of drinks. Re-live the action of this right-wing 80s war film, recently released on Blu-ray.

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Red Dawn

As we all know, North Korea is parachuting into our towns soon under the leadership of Zombie Kim Jong-Il to take over our land and make us all wear pantsuits. This is a fact, and it cannot be avoided with wishful thinking or petty denial. Fortunately, a few fine patriots have put together an instructional video on how to beat back the oncoming horde. It’s called Red Dawn, and it will be shown for a small fee in movie theaters around the country as we prepare for the invasion, starting next week. Lucky for you, we got a shipment of goodies airlifted to our location, and we’ll be giving away some very cool prize packs (which include some helpful survival tools). How do you win one? It’s easy.

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Red Dawn Poster

“A city in Washington state awakens to the surreal sight of foreign paratroopers dropping from the sky – shockingly, the U.S. has been invaded and their hometown is the initial target. Quickly and without warning, the citizens find themselves prisoners and their town under enemy occupation. Determined to fight back, a group of young patriots seek refuge in the surrounding woods, training and reorganizing themselves into a guerilla group of fighters. Taking inspiration from their high school mascot, they call themselves the Wolverines, banding together to protect one another, liberate their town from its captors, and take back their freedom.” It’s hard not to feel like we’ve heard this one before. Then again, we have. But that was the first time Red Dawn was a movie. Now it’s another movie. And instead of Russians, we’re being invaded by Asians. Somewhere our own Rob Hunter is being questioned as an enemy sympathizer. Here though, we’ve got a fancy new exclusive clip for the release of Red Dawn, which invades your local cineplex on November 21. Just in time for that ultimate American invasion holiday, Thanksgiving.

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Fantastic Fest 2012

As you well know, Fantastic Fest is the one. There are plenty of fine film festivals that take place in many fine locations around the globe. They all show movies, many of which end up on our top ten lists at the end of the year. But no matter what any of those TIFFs and Cannes-fests have, they don’t exactly measure up to the pure, blood-filled experiential goodness that is Fantastic Fest in Austin, Texas. For a fair number of us, this is the most wonderful time of the year. Great friends come into town, great BBQ is consumed by the pound, and a number of carefully programmed movies are displayed just for us on the screens of the Alamo Drafthouse. It’s high praise, sure. But as anyone who has actually attended the festival might tell you, it’s perfectly spot on. Our goal for this year’s coverage – this being our fifth consecutive year covering as a site – is to bring you even closer to the experience that is Fantastic Fest than ever before. We won’t just be filing reviews for the big movies like Dredd 3D and Looper, we’ll be providing looks at every single feature film playing this year’s festival. We’ll have spotlights on filmmakers you should keep an eye on. We’ll show you what it’s like to attend Fantastic Fest. We’ve got a crack staff in place, the one we call the The Fantastic Fest Death Squad. Joining veterans Rob Hunter, Brian Salisbury, Luke Mullen, and Adam Charles are […]

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Red Dawn World Premiere at Fantastic Fest

We’re still expecting at least one more wave of announcements concerning the upcoming film slate at this year’s Fantastic Fest, but the festival’s closing night film is no longer a secret. The Chinese Koreans will invade Austin on September 27th for the world premiere of Red Dawn! The oft-delayed remake sees a group of not-so youthful looking youths forced to fight an incursion of Korean soldiers who somehow made their way into the United States and took control of the Midwest. It stars Chris Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson, Josh Peck, Adrianne Palicki, Isabel Lucas, Connor Cruise and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. My money is on Hutcherson peeing in the radiator. Check out the trailer below to prepare for the invasion.

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Despite the fact that we’re no longer in a cold war that’s creating easily exploitable cold war paranoia, Hollywood has decided to reboot one of the greatest cold war paranoia films of all time, Red Dawn. Sure, the story of a foreign menace invading U.S. soil isn’t likely to resonate with audiences as much in 2012 as it did in 1984 (especially seeing as film audiences are now more global), but at least it gives us a chance to watch things blow up real good. And, if the first trailer for the reboot assures us of anything, it’s that this new Red Dawn is going to have lots of explosions. If you’re noticing that the film’s stars, like Chris Hemsworth and Josh Hutcherson, are looking a little younger than they did the last time you saw them play Thor and Peeta, that’s because Red Dawn has been sitting on the shelf for a little while due to the MGM bankruptcy and some nasty business where the bad guys were digitally changed from being Chinese to North Korean (once again, global audience). What the delay of the release doesn’t explain though, is why the action of the trailer is set to a Filter song, as this thing has only been shelved for a couple of years, not since the late ’90s.

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Much like the impending invasion of the United States by Liechtenstein’s armed forces that we all know is coming, the long-shelved remake of the eighties classic Red Dawn is destined to hit screens later this year. After much hemming and hawing throughout MGM’s financial woes the film was rescued and made ready for our collective consumption. It was also diddled with a bit… The film follows a group of young adults forced to band together when their homeland, Americuh, is invaded by the North Korean military. Yup. North Korea. The original film cast the interlopers as a Russian/Cuban collaboration, and the remake originally changed them to Chinese. After filming wrapped someone in a position of power (and stupidity) decided labeling the Chinese as bad guys was bad for business so they did some digital manipulation to change the Chinese flags, emblems and grimaces to North Korean. Our country’s future rests in the hands of Chris Hemsworth, Josh Hutcherson, Josh Peck, Adrianne Palicki, and Isabel Lucas. Yahoo! Movies has just debuted the poster, and it does a fantastic job…if that job was as recruitment for your local militia. Check below for the full poster in all of its glory

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Junkfood Cinema - Large

Welcome back to Junkfood Cinema; Mr. McDonald, tear up this restraining order. You’ve marched into the most patriotic bad movie column since the dramatic toppling of Lee Greenwood’s Stars and Schlock Forever. We hold these truths to be self-evident, that not all movies are created equal. Some are endowed by their creators with certain inexplicable faults. We here at JFC are dedicated to the proposition that perhaps despite these faults, these films have elements that come together to form a more enjoyable union…than most would have the patience to endure. Then, in the last course of human descent, it will be become necessary for you to ingest a sugary themed food item week keep in the cupboard by the pebbles, Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles. Communism, after consulting a dictionary recently and rectifying a longstanding misunderstanding, is not in fact that cracker-and-juice portion of church. It is a set of political and social ideologies with but one goal: destroy America. It was founded by John Lennon, the red walrus, and fear of this growing movement would later be spread in America by Senator Paul McCartney; a scare tactic known as McCartneyism. The Beatles were quite divided as it turns out. But how is it that we finally defeated this great threat? If there is one thing the movies have taught me, it’s that they are easily the best possible source for historical truth and all films essentially exist within the same universe…even if that universe is my fry-grease-and-Nintendo-addled brain. So […]

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Red Dawn Remake

The Red Dawn remake has been a long time in the making, specifically because it was made and then taken back into the deep bowels of production and post in order to change the main villain. That’s a daunting task when you’re replacing a bad guy, but it’s an insane job when you’re replacing hundreds of them. The plot to this one is the same as the plot to the 1984 John Milius joint where foreign invaders take over a small, rural community that happens to be loaded for bear. The high school kids grab weapons, lose some innocence and fight back the baddies. In these first photos, it’s clear that Chris Hemsworth, Josh Peck and Josh Hutcherson will be battling with guns and cold, steely stares. After losing to them in a staring contest, check out the second image below:

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Who doesn’t love watching teenagers fight? These days it’s just nice to see them doing something that gets them outside and moving around – not to mention the wonders it does for team building skills and self esteem issues. Compared to them sitting in a moist den somewhere playing Skyrim and housing six servings of Zesty Salsa Combos, youth violence isn’t the worst fate for our nation’s children. Anyhoo – Here are some of the better films that celebrate the time-honored tradition of kids punching each other to pass the time.

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Boiling Point

News came last week that the troubled MGM remake of the classic, chest poundingly patriotic Red Dawn was getting a political face lift with the invading force being digitally swapped from Chinese to North Korean. But what’s the big deal, as Jack Giroux always drunkenly says: all Asians are the same. Kidding. He’s generally sober. But really, MGM is indeed going through about a million dollars worth of post production changes to get rid off as many China references as they can and replace them with North Korean ones. Why? Well China has the second largest economy in the world these days (second to the good ol’ US of A) and a lot of American companies do a lot of work in China. China also is notorious for throwing fits when anyone mentions things like death buses, oppression of freedom and religion, guacamole, spies, and basically anything that points a spotlight on how big a dick their government can be. So, obviously, big companies don’t want to piss off China and risk losing that sweet, sweet source of income. With MGM’s decision to make the change, plenty of outlets and writers like Vince over at FilmDrunk have taken aim at MGM and more or less called them pussies for bowing down to as of now imaginary Chinese anger over the film. But you know what? I support the switch to North Korea, and here’s why.

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In what seems clearly like a move to appease a massive movie market overseas, MGM will be changing their invading army in the Red Dawn remake to North Korea instead of China. In perhaps the first time, art and commerce are in agreement. Think about it. Did China ever make sense anyway? The reason the USSR was so effective in the 80s original was because of decades of Cold War hostility that seeped into the popular response. Do you really care about China? Are you honestly afraid of them? Of course not. Now how about North Korea? Exactly. The United States isn’t engaged in a Cold War right now, and using an enemy from a Hot War is far, far too realistically horrifying for a mainstream action film featuring teens. For example, Al Qaeda invading would be a different movie entirely. The LA Times gets into the nitty gritty on why the decision was made, but as far as the artistic side of the movie, this seems like a smart move that should have been made a long time ago. Sure, China is communistic just like the Soviets, but popular culture doesn’t particular care anymore. Kim Jong-il makes for a much better boogeyman, even if he did invent the apple and write every major work of fiction ever.

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What is Movie News After Dark? This is a question that I am almost never asked, but I will answer it for you anyway. Movie News After Dark is FSR’s newest late-night secretion, a column dedicated to all of the news stories that slip past our daytime editorial staff and make it into my curiously chubby RSS ‘flagged’ box. It will (but is not guaranteed to) include relevant movie news, links to insightful commentary and other film-related shenanigans. I may also throw in a link to something TV-related here or there. It will also serve as my place of record for being both charming and sharp-witted, but most likely I will be neither of the two. I write this stuff late at night, what do you expect?

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Last November seems like decades ago at this point, especially in the business life of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. A little over a year ago, they were trying to sell themselves on the street to the highest bidder. Now, they’ve entered into bankruptcy with a court-approved plan in place, and they’ve raised $500 million to finance their return to greatness. The press release doesn’t mention specific films, but the abandoned slate (of in-development and ready-for-release films) includes the next Bond entry, Red Dawn, Jeepers Creepers 3, the animated Bunyan and Babe, Biblical biopic Mary Mother of Christ, and continued partnerships for the Hobbit films, The Matarese Circle, and The Cabin in the Woods. The big question is how MGM plans to spend that cash. It seems like a huge amount, but The Hobbit will eat up a decent chunk of it for second breakfast, and Bond 23 will most likely make a decent divot, too. MGM might essentially be gambling a fragile fresh start on two films.

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published: 12.19.2014
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published: 12.18.2014
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published: 12.17.2014
B+


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