Riddick

On some days, social media provides a terrific set of tools for our modern world. And on other days, social media provides us with six minutes of Vin Diesel awkwardly shuffle-dancing around his living room to a series of pop songs.  Today, of course, brings the latter. The video (posted to the actor’s Facebook page), begins without warning or explanation. Diesel simply starts up Katy Perry‘s “Dark Horse” and begins to gyrate around, seemingly unburdened by rhythm, stopping only to thrust his face uncomfortably close to his webcam and mouth the lyrics. What could possibly inspire such a fervent display of dance-thusiasm? Had Mr. Diesel accidentally come into contact with the hallucinogenic Colorado River Toad immediately beforehand? Once “Dark Horse” dies down, the answer becomes clear: the cause for celebration is Diesel’s 2013 release, Riddick, which had just been crowned number one on the DVD sales charts. This rousing success prompted a call from Universal, who shared not only the good news, but also pledged their support for a fourth Riddick film: “They want to develop the next one,” says Diesel. From here, the actor discusses the Grammys before clicking over to Beyonce‘s “Drunk in Love” and releasing his inner dance demons once more.

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discs header short term 12

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. Short Term 12 Grace (Brie Larson) works at a home for troubled teens, but while she’s fantastic at her job, her empathy for the kids sees her bringing home their pains far too often. Her boyfriend (John Gallagher Jr.) works there too and hopes the two of them can grow as a couple, but he knows her past has led to too much of her heart being cordoned off for the kids. Their situation grows even more untenable when a new girl arrives at the facility. Writer/director Destin Daniel Cretton‘s film is a small wonder. It’s essentially a character piece, a glimpse into the life and love of one woman and the people around her, but it’s crafted and performed so effortlessly that it feels like emotionally rich time spent laughing and crying with friends. There’s a slight misstep in the third act where the film loses sight of its characters in deference to a more conventional narrative, but it’s a minor trespass. Check out Allison’s full review here. [Blu-ray/DVD extras: Deleted scenes, behind the scenes, featurettes, original short film]

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2013review_scifi

This year promised a number of great original science fiction movies from Hollywood, and then it turned out most of them weren’t even good let alone great — the sort that left us with way too many unanswered questions regarding their plot holes. Meanwhile, in the fantasy genre, we continued to see the studios churning out one YA adaptation after another in the hopes of it being the next Hunger Games (or still the next Harry Potter or Twilight or even Star Wars in the case of The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones) and ironically having no clue how to find the *magic* in the appeal of these kinds of stories. And of course there’s the ever-growing subgenre of superhero movies, which really only disappointed this year because they arrived in the wake of 2012’s The Avengers, not simply because most of the output was sequels (Iron Man 3; Thor: The Dark World; The Wolverine) that were merely okay rather than totally awesome. As I’ve noted in the past, I don’t consider Gravity to be sci-fi (even after learning that some tech in the film doesn’t exist yet), but I’ll let it be known that if I were to qualify the outer space thriller, I’d put it in the number 6 slot on account of its gripping visual storytelling and little else. As for another popular choice (one that made a few FSR staffer’s best of lists, as well as our democratically voted top 10), Pacific Rim might have made this […]

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goodfellastable

This week’s list of movies to watch is not inspired by a single new release, because there isn’t anything big enough out this weekend to warrant such a focus. Instead, I’ve got a year-end feature for you inspired by the entirety of 2013 in film. I can’t sum up every title released this year with only ten recommendations, but the movies I’ve selected are, I believe, the best representatives of the more notable titles and trends seen in the past dozen months. Most of the selections are familiar. Chances are you’ve seen more than a few. But obviously this edition has to involve more popular fare because they have to be influential movies to have informed so much of this year’s crop, even if unintentionally. Just take it as a call to watch them again, along with whatever you haven’t seen before, as a special sort of year in review of the most important movies of 2013 released before 2013.

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riddick 4

Initially I set out to compile a list of specific movies to watch after you’ve seen Riddick, in the same fashion as I’ve done for other new releases. But in an attempt to pick out titles worth recommending, I couldn’t choose. The thing about Riddick is that it’s not too directly derivative of any individual precursors. While the original movie in the franchise, Pitch Black, could mostly be traced back to 3:10 to Yuma given its central setup involving a prisoner transport plot, Riddick is more of a typical Western with tropes found in too many examples to mention. Part of the problem might be that it’s kind of all over the place. In the first act we follow Riddick (Vin Diesel) through a solo outing on a desolate planet. He faces trials of survival against monsters, making the early section more like a Harryhausen movie than a cowboy flick, though I guess that means a nod to Jim O’Connolly’s The Valley of Gwangi is in order, and going back further The Beast of Hollow Mountain, which features effects by Harryhausen mentor Willis O’Brien. Both of these deal with dinosaurs in the Old West. There’s also Tremors 4: The Legend Begins, which is a prequel revealing how the subterranean Graboids (or “dirt dragons”) were around as far back as 1889.

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diesel_1_of_2

This is another edition of Short Starts, where we present a weekly short film(s) from the start of a filmmaker or actor’s career. Many know the origin story of Vin Diesel, how he broke into Hollywood by not only showing true acting talent but also writing and directing his way onto the scene with both a short film and a feature. How the former went to Cannes and (eventually) was seen by none other than Steven Spielberg, who cast the struggling 30-year-old, who was getting by working as a bouncer, for a breakthrough ensemble role in Saving Private Ryan. And how he’s been mostly racing cars and fighting alien creatures on the big screen ever since. But the Riddick star was around for a while before his short start, which is titled Multi-Facial. And not just as an extra in the 1990 Best Picture nominee Awakenings (see those three seconds of fame here). He’d been acting on the stage since a kid and in his teens had begun rapping and breakdancing. His rhyming skills can be heard and seen in two separate songs in Multi-Facial, one on the soundtrack titled “Middleman” and another on screen performance during an audition scene. As for his moves, they were thankfully recorded seemingly only for future embarrassment purposes in 1984. Still going by his given name of Mark Vincent at the time, the 17-year-old appeared in the Sony VHS release Breakin’ in the USA: Break Dancing and Electric Boogie Taught by the Pros. The […]

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review riddick

Richard B. Riddick (Vin Diesel) awakens on a dusty and deserted planet and immediately starts yammering on about how down on his luck he is, how nobody likes him, and how he may as well just die. But if there’s one consistent thing about Riddick (there are actually nothing but consistent things about Riddick) it’s that he is one difficult bastard to kill. Seems like just yesterday he was pouting on his throne as leader of the Necromongers, but after refusing to partake in a fivesome, he’s shipped off ostensibly to search for his home planet of Furya. Joke’s on him, though, as the bullies actually abandon him on the otherwise empty planet of Not Furya where he’s forced to avoid becoming dinner for creatures from land, sea, and air. He soon grows tired of performing his one-man show, a mash-up of The Lion King and The Naked Prey, for an ungrateful non-humanoid audience and triggers a beacon to lure in nearby mercenary ships for a lift. Two squads of competing mercs arrive, both intent on hunting him down (and at least one pretty dead-set on putting Dick B. Riddick’s head in a box), but soon members of a third party rear their ugly heads and the concept of sides goes right out the window. If you like your sci-fi/action movies filled with interesting characters, intriguing plot points, and exciting action sequences then stop reading and go re-watch Aliens. If however you prefer they feature plenty of laughs, cost-conscious visual effects, […]

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twohy

Riddick is clearly a passion project for writer/director David Twohy. The third entry in the series took its sweet time arriving to theaters, following 2004’s underwhelming The Chronicles of Riddick, but while that sequel has its fan, it didn’t stay in touch with what arguably made the first movie (Pitch Black) so appealing. Riddick isn’t a blockbuster character but an antihero monster slayer. We see the character return to those simple animalistic traits in the new film where he faces off against a batch of mercenaries and monsters on an unknown planet. But it wasn’t easy getting there. Twohy more than likely could have made a bigger sequel with a PG-13 slapped on, but he set his sights on a dirty R-rated Riddick film. And we’re all the better for it. Here’s our chat with Riddick director David Twohy:

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Riddick 2013

In the 90s, Vin Diesel pulled himself up from bootstraps in order to finance bootstraps to pull himself up from. First it was his short film Multi-Facial, and then it was Strays, the hard knock movie that he wrote, directed, produced and starred in. It was a potent move that got the attention of Steven Spielberg who cast the young actor in Saving Private Ryan. That’s where the story starts. Obviously Diesel is no stranger to GSD (Getting Shit Done), so it’s not totally surprising that he risked his own wealth to make sure Riddick happened, and to make sure that it was rated R (as the character deserves). “I had to leverage my house. If we didn’t finish the film, I would be homeless.” Getting a reverse mortgage or a home-equity line of credit is another bold where-your-mouth-is tactic that brings the self-financing full circle. It’s commendable. No doubt. Especially since the character and series is clearly a passion project for the actor and for writer/director David Twohy.

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Riddick

Riddick is looking very, very similar to Pitch Black, the first film in the Riddick series. Vin Diesel in space, chased by angry spacefarers. Indigenous space monsters attack. Diesel and fellow humans team up to combat alien menace. But Pitch Black was an intense little creature feature, so if Riddick can offer the same thrills with a slightly higher budget, more power to it. And Yahoo! Movies has the first clip from Riddick, titled “Riddick is Ambushed.” Not hard to guess what’s gonna happen there. Go ahead and watch below:

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Riddick

Here comes another great Comic-Con trailer that did not require you to wait for an extended period in line, in the sun, surrounded by people in anime costumes. Vin Diesel, director David Twohy and co-star Katee Sackhoff took the stage in Hall H and showed off some footage, including this fancy red band trailer for their upcoming film Riddick. Once again we plunge into the darkness and no one believes that Riddick is the most badass dude in the room. Something something machete to the head and off we go…

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Pitch Black Movie

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Universal will be putting Riddick – the third movie in the sci-fi franchise – in theaters on September 6, 2013, ending what will be a 9-year drought without Vin Diesel and his eyesight issues. Not only will the star be returning, writer/director David Twohy is also on board, meaning (at the very least) a sense of stylistic consistency. Unsurprisingly, the new feature has a lower budget and will involve less blockbuster-style action. This is pretty damned cool. Pitch Black was a lot of fun, Chronicles of Riddick was solid, and Diesel excels as this kind of survivalist action hero. The September slot doesn’t reveal a ton of confidence (which seems naturally after a poor tentpole showing and nine years), but this thing doesn’t have to change the world. It could be a bright spot in an otherwise dull wait until Awards Season 2013. Here’s the official synopsis:

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news and tidbit (that word makes it giggle) column that is back in full swing this week. A special thanks to Cole Abaius for picking up the reigns last week while usual author Neil Miller was locked away in a 3×3 ft. cell in preparation for Fantastic Fest. No, there was not a reason for it. And yes, he has emerged ready for a bare-knuckle boxing match (or two). But first, the news… We begin tonight with a shot of Christian Bale and Terrence Malick walking through the crowds of the Austin City Limits music festival this past weekend here in Austin, TX. It caused quite a commotion with the crowds, many of whom were there to see acts like Bright Eyes, Stevie Wonder and Kanye West. As a surprise, they got T. Malick in that silly hat.

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Junkfood Cinema

Welcome back to Junkfood Cinema: stop touching yourself. Our fearless leader, Brian Salisbury, is taking the week off, so I’ll be your guide through the fat and cholesterol laden cinematic jungle. And I assure you Mr. Salisbury’s absence had nothing to do with that blinding chest pain … he’s probably still alive. Every week our intrepid host takes you, dear reader, on a perilous journey through a particular film, mocking it like a redheaded stepchild and then pointing out all the reasons it’s cool anyway. To put the bacon on the cupcake (what, you don’t put bacon on your cupcakes?) he’ll finish things off by choosing a delicious, health-defying concoction for you to stuff in your wet mouth. Like Lord Salisbury, I also revel in all the fried and battered goodness that movie history has to offer us and I’m steering this ship in one direction: up! Like the Friday the 13th and Leprechaun films of yore, Junkfood Cinema is blasting right past the shark and into the final frontier of outer space. That’s right, kids. This week’s target is none other than Vin Diesel Growls in Space with Glowing Eyes aka Pitch Black.

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Your daily recommended allowance of random movie stuff, stories that fell through the cracks, and news you can’t use.

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