The LEGO Movie

Emmett in The Lego Movie

There’s no pleasant way to say this, so let’s rip this Band-Aid off right now: Phil Lord and Chris Miller will not be directing the sequel to The Lego Movie. Choke back a sob. Curse the heavens. Scream something unintelligible and overturn the nearest table (in slow-motion, if possible). Let it all out. The guys who made 21 Jump Street uncharacteristically awesome and turned soulless product placement into childlike wonderment are moving on to greener, non-Lego Movie sequel pastures.

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The LEGO Movie

Everything is still awesome. Even after three weeks of release, Warner Bros. The LEGO Movie continues to dominate the counted beans of the movie world. This weekend, the masterfully built CG-animated adventure tale not only had to endure the eruption of Pompeii, it also had to deal with a very motivated action film from Kevin Costner in 3 Days to Kill. Neither were up to the task, leading The LEGO Movie to once again reign supreme, building its domestic box office receipts to $183 million in three weeks. And you know what that means: sequel! 

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The LEGO Movie

Studios should learn a powerful lesson from the one-two punch of The LEGO Movie and RoboCop. Specifically, that they’re getting in the way of their own success. How do you make a hit? By making a great movie. How do you make a great movie? Hire great filmmakers and then empower them to create. Unfortunately, there are some huge roadblocks on the path toward that Utopia. We’ll discuss them while envisioning a bright new future. Plus, FSR Associate Editor Kate Erbland joins us for an Interrogation Reviewification of the aforementioned cyborg policeman movie, and we’ll all offer some ’80s movies we’d love/hate to see remade. You should follow Kate (@katerbland), the show (@brokenprojector), Geoff (@drgmlatulippe) and Scott (@scottmbeggs) on Twitter for more on a daily basis. And, as always, if you like the show (or hate it with seething fervor), please help us out with a review. Download Episode #49 Directly Or subscribe Through iTunes

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Batman and Wyldstyle in The Lego Movie

It’s late, so let’s party. Circulating around the Internet today is a blooper reel for The Lego Movie. It’s so indescribably lovely to see this movie getting some lasting attention, especially when it leads long remembrance pieces about Clone High, the MTV ‘toon by the same very talented filmmakers. And when it gives me a reason to remind you of the time we talked them into telling us about what Clone High season two would’ve been like. That, and The Lego Movie is one of the happiest filmgoing experience of this and many other years. And its blooper reel is exactly the delight you’d expect from Chris Miller and Phil Lord. Also, Alison Brie says “hoo-hoos,” and we mean the naughty kind. Watch below.

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The LEGO Movie - Flash

The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya?

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cloak and dagger poster image

Considering I do these weekly lists of movies to watch in order to highlight new releases as gateways to older works, it’s particularly fun to focus on something geared toward children. Young people aren’t as familiar with a lot of movies, so they’re more in need of such recommendations. A lot of time, though, the allusions they should subsequently become familiar with are for an older audience. At least one movie included in this week’s list inspired by The LEGO Movie, for instance, is definitely not suitable for children at all. Others won’t be of much interest to them. Meanwhile, there are a lot of obvious, explicit movie references in The LEGO Movie that I didn’t feel necessary to spotlight, such as Star Wars, Harry Potter, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Lincoln and any of the many DC superhero movies featuring some of the characters represented in LEGO minifig form. There are some fairly obvious titles included, though; the first half of the list is mainly movies that many critics have mentioned in comparison. And then there is the second half, which is filled with pretty obscure films, most documentaries, tied to LEGO in some way. As always, name any movies this one reminded you of as well as any you think we ought to check out next. Also as always, beware that there are spoilers for this week’s movie, so if you haven’t yet seen The LEGO Movie, you need to do so right now and then come back to […]

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LEGO

Something I always try to remember when annoyed with product placement is that our whole, real world is itself filled with product placement. It’s just that there’s a level to its presence that we tolerate, and anything beyond that level in a movie is where we get uncomfortable. We don’t talk to each other in sales pitches, for instance, the way Laura Linney does to Jim Carrey, satirically, in The Truman Show. But we see products and are conscious of them as such every single day. We see LEGOs in any child’s playroom or pediatrician’s waiting area or Star Wars fanboy movie critic’s office. They’re as much a staple of life as the Mac computer I’m typing on or the can of Coke Zero I’m drinking or the nameless but recognizable trademark of Polo Ralph Lauren on the sweatshirt I’m wearing. The LEGO Movie is more than mere product placement, though. The whole thing involves a world made out of the product. It’s like that classic Tootsie Roll commercial where everything is made out of Tootsie Rolls. Hershey has done a number over the years featuring worlds of chocolate, too. But those are commercials, and The LEGO Movie is not. It’s something we pay to see rather than something paid for in order for us to see it. Still, the world of the product idea makes it kind of okay. We’re not seeing our world invaded by life-size versions of the product, a la Transformers. We’re seeing a different universe, […]

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review the lego movie

You’d be right to be cynical about a Hollywood movie based around a bestselling toy with a high price point and a lack of prepackaged story inside the box. The movie business is just that, a business, and when they join forces with toy manufacturers to make “entertainment” for children the results are rarely satisfying or recognizable as anything but crummy, feature-length commercials. But every rule has an exception, and The LEGO Movie is that gloriously wise, beautifully crafted, and unabashedly fun anomaly. Emmet (Chris Pratt) is an average guy whose continually optimistic outlook is fueled by his appreciation for, and obedience of, President Business’ (Will Ferrell) instructions for living. They tell him to park within the lines, drink overpriced coffee, root for the local sports team… everything necessary for an orderly, structured, and “perfect” community. That illusory perfection is threatened by a prophecy stating that a lone hero will rise to liberate the people through organized chaos, and as luck would have it, Emmet appears to be that hero. Or not.

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Lego Movie

Film critics are heaping it with almost universal praise, with The Lego Movie sitting pretty at a 96 percent Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes thus far. Warner Bros. is wasting little time in greenlighting a second installment to what is expected to be an enormously successful opening weekend family film. Early predictions have The Lego Movie pushing $40m or more in first weekend gross, which suggests the movie will easily outpace its competitors, Vampire Academy and The Monuments Men. Screenwriters Jared Stern (Mr. Popper’s Penguins, Wreck-It-Ralph) and Michelle Morgan (Girl Most Likely) have been tapped by Warner Bros. for co-writing duty for the sequel. The Lego Movie is one of the first pieces in what is designed to be the studio’s return to prominence in animated fare, having last year hired a stable of writers and filmmakers to bolster their ranks in that department. Including Stern, they have onboarded Chris Miller and Phil Lord (Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs), John Requa (Cats & Dogs), Glenn Ficarra (The Angry Beavers), and Nicholas Stoller (The Muppets).

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The LEGO Movie

All you need is some state-of-the-art computer programs and a guardian of the galaxy to make your own LEGO Movie in the comfort of your own home. Also, official licensing helps. No, it’s not stop-motion, but the CGI is still stunningly impressive considering the restrictions. Namely that everything in the world had to be made from LEGOs, rain and bubbles included. Plus, if they were going the stop-motion route, it would have taken 46 years to produce. Give or take. This how-to video is fluffy, but it’s a fun look at Chris Pratt and Liam Neeson recording what the little plastic people say, the pre-viz computer models and a song that should become your new personal anthem.

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Lego Movie

I, Frankenstein sure was something, eh? Why that movie wasn’t a bigger hit is beyond comprehension, but like most works of unheralded beauty, it will stand the test of time. January 2014 will forever be known as the month that didn’t recognize a good thing when it was sitting there in a cineplex the whole damn time. The same might be said for this February, with Jason Reitman’s Labor Day tanking alongside its Frankensteinian brethren. Which is a shame. Reitman’s movie is actually rather memorable. The film, albeit quite flawed, is refreshingly sincere, romantic, and is without any irony. While the last day of January didn’t do it any favors with poor reviews and a low audience turnout, make sure to see its beautiful cinematography and Josh Brolin‘s performance before it leaves theaters. And after you finally get around to Labor Day, make sure to checkout these five February releases as well:

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The Lego Movie arrives in theaters February 7, 2014, but there’s been no shortage of video content introducing us to the world and characters the interim leading up to the release. There are a lot of characters. And oh, what fun it appears we’ll be in store for. I’ll admit, I’m already kinda sold, but I’m highly biased. My love of Lego is borderline unhealthy.

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There’s something undeniably charming about The LEGO Movie. Sure, it may be a feature-length toy commercial, and the toys in question will undoubtedly engineer some vast takeover of every store on planet Earth, but who could resist our Danish building block overlords when the product they’re hawking is so clean and crisp and inviting? With stop-motion animation and a voice cast going for broke with giddy childlike enthusiasm, the directors of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs may have just made the greatest feature-length toy commercial ever made. In this new theatrical trailer (or as YouTube awkwardly puts it, the “Official Main Trailer”), we’re given a greater look at the story that will string us along from LEGO set to LEGO set. Emmett (Chris Pratt) is an ordinary LEGO dude who falls into a hole and is thus mistaken to be “The Special,” a mystical hero destined to save the universe from the evil Lord Business (Will Ferrell) with the help of a love interest (Elizabeth Banks), a wise old sage (Morgan Freeman) and Batman (Will Arnett). Some of the humor in the trailer may fall a little flat, for sure. But there’s a frighteningly huge supply of talented voices in the cast including Liam Neeson, Channing Tatum, and Jonah Hill, and the animation is so endearing it’s practically a controlled substance. Who could possibly turn The LEGO Movie down?

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The LEGO Movie

“The Lego Movie combines all your favorite pop-culture characters: Batman, Superman, The Green Lantern, (most likely) Hobbits and Harry Potter, all for one giant commercial for Lego!” Good thing for us, that’s not the animated picture directors Chris Miller, Chris McKay, and Phil Lord are making. A movie that literally has “Lego” in the title could easily be interpreted as just that, but at the film’s Comic-Con press conference, the three filmmakers stressed the actual movie is far from an ad. This was a project treated with a good deal of skepticism when it was announced, but after the trailer, it’s shown skeptics they’re not going to see the movie they were dreading. We learned plenty more about the film while in attendance at Comic-Con, so if you’re curious in how the film is more than a payed advertisement, read what the the three men had to say about Michael Bay, Morgan Freeman voicing a crazy wizard, and more.

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The LEGO Movie

It was only natural to respond to Warners  announcing a LEGO movie by throwing things. When they first went public with the idea in 2010, it was just another toy adaptation from a studio drooling at the success of Transformers and fighting for viability alongside a lot of other plastic-based movie pitches. If you’re a fan of Clone High, the news of Phil Lord and Chris Miller signing on to writer and direct provided some hope. That hope grew as story details emerged, but for everyone else out there that’s still incredulous that this is anything but moronic, the trailer should melt away the rest of the cynicism. Check it out, and enjoy Will Arnett as Batman:

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published: 04.16.2014
B-
published: 04.14.2014
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published: 04.14.2014
A-
published: 04.14.2014
C

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