The Raid

This year’s SXSW may be over, but it’s certainly not forgotten. Another week of barbeque, buddies, beer, and – oh yeah – movies down, and we’re still recovering, both in terms of remembering everything we saw and attempting to pry ourselves out of our stretchiest of pants. As with any film festival, the stunning depth of films available to watch has resulted in a solid handful of serious favorites. This time around, our twelve favorite films of the festival include big studio comedy, intimate documentary, the best action film in years, true independent features, and even a picture made entirely on cell phones. Take a look at our twelve favorites from this year’s SXSW after the break.

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If you’ve been rocking back and forth with anticipation for The Raid: Redemption, your wait is almost over. It hits theaters this weekend (alongside another certain highly-anticipated movie), and to whet your appetite, we talk with writer/director Gareth Evans who dissects an action scene for us. Plus, Kate Erbland and Rob Hunter join us for the Movie News Pop Quiz and to share their favorites from SXSW that will be coming to your neck of the woods. Download Episode #126

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The Raid

Expectations are a funny thing. For a critic, they are the worst thing to have. Going into a film with any kind of expectations, good or bad, can color one’s ultimate perception of a film and sway a review one way or another. Our goal should be simple: review the film as is, with no outside influence from hype or marketing. When it comes to Gareth Evans’ sophomore feature The Raid: Redemption, I’ve been a very bad critic. Not only did the trailer — with all of its glorious violence — get to me, but the words of others have been rattling around in my head since the film exploded onto the scene at last year’s Toronto Film Festival. It was dead-set in my wheelhouse, a hyper-violent movie from a director whose last film is a personal favorite. It was difficult to be anything but excited. Almost impossible to have anything but lofty expectations. But that’s the funny thing about expectations. Sometimes you have big ones, and a film comes along and exceeds them. Then you know that you’ve got something special on your hands. And The Raid is something special, indeed.

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Spend enough time on the festival circuit and certain films just keep coming back around – but fortunately, they’re usually good ones we’re happy to see again. As the first big film festival of the year, Sundance often features some of the best independent films that people like us Rejects will be jawing about for months to come. SXSW offers the chance for cinephiles to catch a bevy of films that other people have been carrying on about for weeks and weeks, thanks to both their regular programming and their ever-clever Festival Favorites section, which is packed with (you can probably guess) films that have played recently at other festivals that the SXSW crowd will eat right up. After the break, get reacquainted with ten films we saw, reviewed, and (in some cases) loved back in January in snowy Park City, Utah. All ten are playing at this month’s (let’s be real, this week’s) SXSW Film Festival in Austin, our very own hometown film fest. Luckily enough, some of our favorite Sundance films pop on this list, including one I enjoyed so much that I am going to see it again in Austin.

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South by Southwest is our favorite film festival not just because it’s in our own backyard (relatively speaking) or because it affords us a chance to eat BBQ on daily basis or even because it means we can sit in the Drafthouse all day but because – wait, no, it’s our favorite film festival for precisely those reasons. What else could you possibly want from a film festival? Good films? Fair enough. Luckily, finding good films at SXSW isn’t hard, not even remotely, which explains why our list of Our 16 Most Anticipated Films came together with no overlap – there’s truly something for everyone. For Rob Hunter, that means a lot of guns and violence, for Dear Leader Neil Miller, he just wants to stop being the last person in America who hasn’t seen The Raid. We even let Jack pick some films too. Sixteen in total, these films encapsulate the variety that makes SXSW so great – stick with this list and you probably can’t go (too)  wrong. Why sixteen films? Because we’re sweet. Or just suffering from anticipatory exhaustion from our favorite film festival. Check out all the movies we’re aching to see after the jump.

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Barnabas Collins by Tim Burton

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly collection of movie news, stories, articles, happenings and thingamajigs that is not interested in your excuses, just your unwavering loyalty. We begin tonight with a new look at Johnny Depp as Barnabas Collins in Dark Shadows, courtesy of Hollywood Elsewhere’s ability to scan a page of the upcoming issue of Vanity Fair. It’s quite retro, somewhat chic, a lot emo and… oh, those bangs. Depp truly does have a bit of a Nosferatu thing going on, which is refreshing. At least he doesn’t sparkle.

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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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Baking Bread

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column that’s coming off of a really great weekend. Live-blogging the Oscars with no pants on is the best decision it has made in a long time. Well, since last February, at the very least. Because last week was such a serious week — what with the Oscars and all — we begin this week with abject silliness and two gritty dudes Baking Bread. This would make an excellent spin-off of Breaking Bad, but only if the bread was baked with some sort of intoxicant that allowed Jesse and Walter to dive deep into the dangerous world of narcotic baked goods. Quick, someone fuel up the RV and the Easy Bake Oven!

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The Raid

Most title changes brought upon by studio marketing decisions don’t make much sense. At least not to those of us who buy the tickets and write articles about it. Changing the title of Gareth Evans’ highly anticipated actioner The Raid to The Raid: Redemption falls right in line with that theory — there’s really no reason for the change. Some, including BAD’s Devin Faraci, theorize that it’s a bit of pandering to the art house crowd, as this new trailer also calls upon the namesake of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Hopefully that will dupe some snoots into seeing this one, but the rest of us should remain unconcerned. The movie — complete with a new soundtrack from Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda — is still the high-flying, ridiculously cool wonder that it’s been from the beginning. As proven by this new trailer.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s the ketchup on your ice cream. Good evening and welcome back! We’ll begin with a piece from film critic and feline advocate Scott Weinberg who’s compiled a list of the best foreign action films to hit our shores in the last few years. Prompted by a recent screening of festival darling The Raid, which should be assaulting American eyeballs in the next month or two, Weinberg runs down plenty of ass-kicking titles to feed your Netflix queue. Head on over to Movies.com for the full piece.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly collection of movie and television news that throws caution to the wind, but never ever pees into the wind. That’s just not smart, friends. We begin this evening and this week with artist Kinjamin’s depiction of the Community cast as the characters from Street Fighter. It was found via Twitter, as posted by the show’s executive producer Dan Harmon. Needless to say, it’s inspired. So inspired, perhaps, that it makes us hope that Harmon is writing this one down. How about a Street Fighter episode in season four? Hey NBC, how about a season four?

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Movie News After Dark: Katy Perry

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie collection of links, posters, videos, and other newsworthy mediums that mostly have to do with movies. Sometimes we mix in a bit of television. Other times we’re talking about something completely different. Call us unfocused if you must, but don’t you ever call us boring. Leading with a photo of Katy Perry, not my finest moment. Rest assured, though, as there is some actual movie news associated with the buxom pop singer picture above. Paramount Pictures — the studio that brought you the box office cow Justin Bieber: Never Say Never – is planning a Katy Perry 3D movie documentary concert film thing. Squee!

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SXSW 2012 is just over five weeks away, and I haven’t bought my plane ticket yet. But I will, especially now that I’ve seen today’s official announcement of the features (narrative and documentary) playing at this year’s fest. FSR will be on the ground in Austin in the form of Kate Erbland, Jack Giroux, Neil Miller, and myself, and we look forward to seeing as many of the films below as our eyeballs can stomach. I know what you’re thinking, but gastronomical biology really does work differently within the confines of Austin. We’ll offer up some films we’re looking forward to closer to the fest, but it should come as no surprise that some of my most anticipated include The Raid, The Cabin In the Woods, The Hunter, Thale, and the documentary Seeking Asian Female. (Don’t judge.) Check out the complete (as of now) listing below of the feature films playing at SXSW 2012!

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Having first wowed audiences with his film Merantau, director Gareth Huw Evans brings silat (Indonesian martial arts) back to the big screen in The Raid and does not skimp on the action or the violence. The music explodes as the film begins and the soundtrack (from composers Mike Shinoda and Josephn Trapanese) does not let up, keeping pace with the action and adding to the overall adrenaline rush of the film. The Raid is pretty much what the title suggests: a highly-trained SWAT team descends upon the building of the city’s most notorious crime leader, Tama (Ray Sahetapy), who rules every floor of his building with unforgiving brutality. Tasked with bringing him to justice, the team is warned of what they are walking into, but nothing could prepare them for the all-out onslaught waiting for them as it becomes clear that all the building’s tenants are not just ruled by Tama, most take great pleasure in hunting those who try and threaten him.

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Welcome to Day Two of Kate Christmas. Yesterday, the 2012 Sundance Film Festival announced their first wave of programming, featuring twenty-six titles that will be screening in competition. While the arrival of those titles was enough to send me into a tizzy I have still not recovered from, today the festival has only piled on the pre-holiday goodies with the announcement of their Spotlight, Next, Park City at Midnight, and New Frontiers films. A few titles of note to get your juices flowing – Gareth Evans‘ The Raid (also known round these parts as “oh, hell yeah”), Andrea Arnold‘s take on Wuthering Heights, Katie Aselton‘s second directorial outing Black Rock (scripted by her husband Mark Duplass), Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie, Mike Birbiglia and Seth Barrish‘s Sleepwalk With Me (based on Birbiglia’s hilarious book), and Lynn Shelton‘s Your Sister’s Sister. Again, that’s just a taste, so check out the full list of Spotlight, Next, Park City at Midnight, and New Frontiers films after the break.

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The Raid

Lets not beat around the proverbial bush here. I’m excited about Gareth Evans‘ latest film, The Raid, for a number of reasons. One is that Evans delivered one of my favorite films — not action films, or foreign films — favorite films of the last 5 years with Merantau. Then came the first trailer for The Raid, which sent me through the roof with excitement. Then came word from the Toronto International Film Festival’s Midnight Madness screenings that The Raid was, in fact, everything it was promised to be. Now I just can’t stand it. If I knew there was someone within driving distance of me who had a copy of this movie, I would most likely drive to them and take it by force if absolutely necessary. Not the kind of force displayed in this trailer, mind you, as all of this is so brutal that it’s very illegal, but force nonetheless. So watch this trailer, damn you. It’s the most badass thing you’ll have a chance to see until Sony Pictures Classics releases The Raid (complete with a new soundtrack from Linkin Park) in Spring 2012. Also, if you’re holding on to a screener, you’d better watch your back.

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The Raid

There’s a movie out there that’s on a collision course with you, me and everyone we know. It’s called The Raid and it’s from director Gareth Evans, the guy who brought us the excellent martial arts film Merantau. He rocked the Toronto International Film Festival’s Midnight Madness crowds a few months back and lit the internet on fire with a rockin’ trailer (which I just so happen to have included after the break). It’s been the most anticipated movie on my indefinite calendar since the project was announced. Now there’s a bit more definition in this journey, as Sony Pictures Classics will now distribute the film in the spring. According to Deadline Jakarta, The Raid may make a pit-stop at Sundance in January, complete with a new soundtrack from Linkin Park, then debut sometime in the spring. After re-watching the trailer again (see below), I’m convinced that spring can’t come soon enough.

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You want big things to happen to your little movie? The secret seems to be to get it in as an entry to TIFF’s Midnight Madness program. The good news just keeps rolling in for films that played at midnight at this year’s festival. First up for a Hollywood remake was director Gareth Evans’s Indonesian SWAT team movie The Raid, which was very nearly just one non-stop action sequence. Then there was news that Adam Wingard’s home invasion horror flick You’re Next was being purchased by Lionsgate and set up for a wide release. And now Midnight Madness hits the hat trick, as THR reports that director Frédéric Jardin’s French thriller Sleepless Night is next in line for an English language remake. Sleepless Night is the story of a dad, a drug deal, dirty cops, a stabbing, a kidnapped son, a big bag of cocaine, and a nightclub all coming together to create chaos. Like The Raid, it’s getting a lot of comparisons to Die Hard because it’s full of action and takes place mostly in one setting.

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Perhaps the biggest buzz coming out of this year’s Toronto International Film Festival came from its even-better-than-usual crop of late night genre films that form their Midnight Madness program. The Midnight Madness film that kicked off this year’s slate of genre weirdness and won the Cadillac People’s Choice Midnight Madness Award was Gareth Evans‘s action extravaganza, The Raid, which has already been picked up for a Hollywood remake. That’s not all that’s been going on, though, the good news keeps on coming for the Midnight Madness films, as one of Deadline Mackville’s annoying “Toldja!” reports is saying that director Adam Wingard’s horror film You’re Next is coming out of the other end of a studio bidding war as the property of Lionsgate. You’re Next is one of those “couple gets trapped in a cabin and has to fight off invading murderers” horror movies, and Lionsgate bigwig Jason Constantine says of the acquisition, “this project represents everything that we look for in a horror film. It is a celebration of its genre, featuring top-notch performances from a sophisticated script, brilliantly directed, that will leave audiences on the edge of their seats when they’re not jumping out of them.” What does this deal mean for the movie? Well, first off, the deal took a while to be finalized, and part of that is because The Weinstein Company, Paramount, and probably a few others were also interested in picking up the film, but another part of it is because the filmmakers wanted to make sure […]

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s not messing about. Just doin’ the news. We begin tonight with one of many new images from The Adventures of Tintin. For one of those motion capture, lost in the shadow of the uncanny valley movies, this looks pretty slick. Finally we get to see Andy Serkis act in a movie. Or not.

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