Super 8

The Reject Report

Oh, yeah. It’s a verb now. It’s not easy for anyone to open a period piece with no A-list names and the only brand loyalty coming in the form of its director and producer. It’s even difficult for J.J. Abrams and Steven Spielberg, which would indicate why Super 8 underperformed in its opening weekend. Don’t get me wrong. $37m is a great opening. When you consider the sci-fi/family drama/coming of age story reportedly cost $50m, that $37m seems even more impressive. Analysts, myself included, were estimating in the $45-55m range, and much of that stemmed from Spielberg and Abrams, who is directing his first film that isn’t part of a large franchise with this one. We obviously overshot the estimate, but maybe some of us just wanted the film to perform better.

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What is Movie News After Dark? Usually it’s a pretty straightforward look at what’s happening in the world of film. But sometimes, mostly on Friday nights when we’ve run out of actual news, it becomes an eclectic mix of notes and links that will tickle your cinema-loving fancy. It’s full of things you might want to read after heading out to see this week’s new releases. So read it, before you fall asleep and dream of what’s in Super 8‘s mystery box… Roger Ebert has extended the reach of his ever-growing empire. He will now be on your iPad, should you choose to download him. Ebert’s Greatest Movies app has hit iOS devices, recommending to you all the greatest that cinema has to offer. Think of it as a Cliff’s Notes version of his books, and a great cheat-sheet for filling up your Netflix queue.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr relives his childhood by running around with a Super 8 film camera, trying to capture a train derailment on film. He deftly uses the cover of shooting a home movie with a bunch of local tweens who ride around on their bikes all day like some extras in a Spielberg film. However, when the cops come after him for suspicious behavior, he ducks into the local cinema to catch the live-action big screen adaptation of the Judy Moody books. This might not be helping his case.

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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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Super 8 pays its respects to master filmmaker Steven Spielberg, but here are a few films that walk the fine line between tipping the hat and stealing!

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news round-up that digs and digs and keeps on diggin’ until it finds the most interesting things from around the web. Tonight it’s pretty proud of its ability to find things that it thinks you’ll like. Do enjoy. Long after it was one of the most buzzed-about movies of the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, even after packing promotional screenings at SXSW months later, Eli Craig’s horror comedy Tucker & Dale vs. Evil had no distributor. Whatever the reason, no one wanted to bring these two bumbling hillbillies to the dance. Well now that’s all history, as Magnolia Pictures has acquired it. According to their press release, they will release it into theaters on September 30, with a VOD release on August 26. Personally, I can’t wait to see it again.

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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 movie news round-up column that comes to you from deep space. It comes as a protector of all that is good and interesting in the movie news world. It also totally swoons over Michael Fassbender. Seriously, have you seen this guy act? He’s the man… man. As my good friend Rusty Gordon pointed out to me this evening, “this summer is already better than last summer,” and it’s just now June. With two-thirds of its movie releasing to go, Summer 2011 is already coming along great. With that, there’s plenty to still be excited about. Like Green Lantern, which continues to look cool as WB dumps a giant batch of photos on the web. So much detail, so much cool.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly thing about movie stuff. Tonight’s edition features mini-ninjas, talk about naked pictures of Blake Lively, Sly Stallone set to music, an explanation of who Jane Lynch is, a joke about Michael Bay, an even less funny joke about Blake Lively and a profile of Richard Ayoade. That and more, we assure you. Above you will see something I never thought we’d lead with in a Movie News After Dark entry: someone’s grave stone. But there it is, the resting place of actor Leslie Nielsen. Modest, simple and complete with one last fart joke for the road. Nielsen may not have lasted forever, but his penchant for the fart joke will forever stay in our hearts.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news round-up that’s a little tired, a little wired and it thinks it deserves a little appreciation around here! Alright, so that’s the insomnia talking. For now, lets just do the news like we always do, shall we? The headline photo of the night is a shot of two morons Russell Brand and Alec Baldwin in Adam Shankman’s Rock of Ages, a film that will combine major Hollywood names with an infamously terrible director and a slew of over-the-top musical numbers. It’s so ridiculous that it just might work. But probably not.

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Culture Warrior

Movies have a strange relationship with history, that’s for certain. On the one hand, they have the ability to bring to life, in spectacular detail, the intricate recreation of historical events. On the other hand, films can have a misleading and even potentially dangerous relationship with history, and can change the past for the benefit of storytelling or for political ends. And there’s always the option of using films to challenge traditional notions of history. Finally, many movies play with history through the benefit of cinema’s artifice. Arguably, it’s this last function that you see history function most often in relationship to mainstream Hollywood cinema. In playing with history, Hollywood rarely possesses a calculated political motive or a desire to recreate period detail. In seeking solely to entertain, Hollywood portrays the historical, but rarely history itself. Tom Shone of Slate has written an insightful piece about a unique presence of that historical mode all over the movies seeking to be this summer’s blockbusters. Citing X-Men: First Class, Super 8, Captain America: The First Avenger, and Cowboys & Aliens as examples, Shone argues that this is an unusual movie summer in terms of the prominence of movies set in the past. However, while such a dense cropping of past-set films is unusual for this season, these movies don’t seem to be all that concerned with “the past” at all – at least, not in the way that we think.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news round-up that, for the time being, is keeping things brief. Memorial Day weekend is one that Hollywood generally takes off, so news is light. That said, there was plenty of discussion and artful expression happening all weekend that didn’t require us to sift through the virtual pages of The Hollywood Reporter. Read: there’s some cool stuff in tonight’s edition. The Times has a report that, for some of you, can’t come soon enough. 3D is fizzling and Hollywood is scared. The report focuses on the lopsided box office of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, which took in far more dollars in 2D despite a major push in the other direction from Disney. Even Kung Fu Panda 2, an animated 3D family adventure, opened soft in the additional dimension. Perhaps this will prompt some changes to be made. It probably won’t, but a guy can dream.

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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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With as much of a success as J.J. Abrams’s relaunch of the Star Trek franchise was, both financially and critically, there has naturally been a lot of talk about what’s going on with the sequel. The biggest head-scratcher about the whole situation is that word keeps coming out that the script isn’t even finished yet. How can a film that has the potential to be this huge not even have a script together at this point? Shouldn’t we be knee deep in the production process already? I mean, it’s been two years since his first Star Trek film, and this is Hollywood. What gives? Thankfully, co-writer/producer Roberto Orci has popped over to the Trek Movie forums and cleared up some of the speculation as to what’s going on with the project. He assures that they’ve, “Just been waiting for JJ to be free to really decide if he likes the story and hear his suggestions before we finish the script. Once he says go, we’ll have it in no time. Meanwhile, our outline is detailed enough (70+ pages!) to do some prep :)” So it appears that at least some work on the film has already been done, and the only real holdup has been Abrams’s ridiculous schedule. And it sounds like the rest of the crew only needs the formality of Abrams signing off on things before they really kick things into high gear. Orci added in an email to Trek Movie that, “In the meetings we’ve had with […]

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that will soon be shot almost exclusively in IMAX. What this means for you is that you’ll need to get a bigger monitor, as this column will only appear to those whose monitors are at least 70 feet tall. We feel that’s the only way to read it. We promise to make it worth your while. According to a handy press release from Warner Bros., we can now confirm that production has begun on Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises. For those who have not heard of this project, it’s the third in Nolan’s somewhat popular series of Batman movies. But wait, there’s more: “Christopher Nolan is utilizing IMAX® cameras even more extensively than he did on The Dark Knight, which had marked the first time ever that a major feature film was partially shot with IMAX® cameras.” Oh yes!

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Every week, Landon Palmer and Cole Abaius log on to their favorite chat client of 1996 as DogEatsHeart and 5Obstructions5 in order to discuss some topical topic of interest. This week, the pair apply some sun screen and some green screen in order to forecast how the movies of Summer 2011 might shape up. Is there a secret weapon to its inevitable success? Is its success inevitable? Anything would be better than last year, right?

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