Wrath of the Titans

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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This Week in Blu-ray

Between this week and last, the world of Blu-ray has been rather quiet. Each week provides its own go-to titles, but it’s not quite the deluge of high definition spirit that we’re seeing at the box office this time of year, there are a few real standouts. It’s our job to sift through the buffet of choices and find said standouts, and that’s what we intend to do with This Week in Blu-ray. We begin this week with one of this author’s favorite films of 2012 thus far… God Bless America The Pitch: One man’s rage over the fall of reason in American pop culture turns into a killing spree with a teen girl sidekick. This is known: Putting a quote from my theatrical review on the back of your Blu-ray packaging will not guarantee you pick of the week status, but it certainly won’t hurt. Purchasers of Bobcat Goldthwait’s excellent tale of a fed up guy (Joel Murray) and his bloodthirsty, pubescent friend (Tara Lynne Barr) will find the following quote on the back cover, accredited to this very site: “It’s a magnetic film that provides 100 minutes of subversive, blood soaked fun.” We do not print lies, friends. This one is highly political, hyper-violent to the point of being militant and above all, hilarious. Joel Murray and Tara Lynne Barr are a regular Butch and Sundance, if Sundance rocked an a-cup and the gang was out to kill the Kardashians. You won’t want to be the like who […]

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The Reject Report - Large

The 1990s are so 13 years ago. At least, that was the attitude this weekend when two films with roots in the last decade of the 20th Century came, saw, and had their proverbial butts kicked by something that is very much 2010 and beyond. The Hunger Games made this third weekend in release its bitch, pulling out another $33.1m and breaking past the coveted $300m mark, tying with Revenge of the Sith as the sixth fastest film to do so. The Lionsgate film was also able in its third week of release to surpass every film in the Twilight franchise, but comparisons between the two were dead, buried, resurrected, and staked in the heart about two-and-a-half weeks ago. With an additional $157.1m in foreign markets – Australia and the UK rank highest with $16.7m and $15.7m, respectively – The Hunger Games if officially a worldwide, cinematic phenom, nearing the half billion mark. The “is he or isn’t he” game Gary Ross and Lionsgate seem to be playing for the sequel, Catching Fire, isn’t stopping audiences from packing theaters, and why should it. Uwe Boll could helm the follow-up, and it’d still bring in record-breaking coin. That’s getting way ahead of ourselves, though, so let’s back-track to the film that’s currently killing everything else in release. Literally killing them. Okay, not literally.

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The Reject Report - Large

Happy Easter, everybody. It’s the time of year for giving, for hollow, chocolate bunnies, and for Stifler to make some crude remark just before ingesting something disgusting. That’s right, it’s time for a reunion with the American Pie crew, and, like it or not, the movie is going to come out on top. It doesn’t matter that Katniss and her Hunger Games are still shooting strong. Never mind that the 2nd biggest movie of all time is getting a 3D update. All that’s moot when it comes to the financial strength behind dick jokes and bare breasts. So grab a chair, and heat up that warm, apple cobbler, check out this week’s Reject Report, and never let go. Not like Rose, though. She totally let go.

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The overall weekend was down more than anticipated, but that didn’t stop The Hunger Games‘ swath of box office destruction. In its first, nine days of release, it’s closing in tightly to the $250m mark, a feat only three films have been able to pull off in less than 10 days. Those films are The Dark Knight, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. These are the kinds of blockbuster films The Hunger Games now finds itself, and their ultimate totals are numbers the Lionsgate film is definitely keeping its eye on. As it’s going, and it doesn’t look to be slowing much any time soon, The Hunger Games will find itself within the top 15 domestic grossing films of all time. Only four films have been able to make more in their first 10 days, the three listed above and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, again a massive blockbuster next of which The Hunger Games is finding itself listed. And this isn’t Warner Brothers or the latest Michael Bay movie released from Universal or even Disney. This is Lionsgate, whose walls are certainly vibrating all this month for the prolonged celebrating that is surely going on. The follow-up, Catching Fire, which will surely get some kind of a Hunger Games Episode 2 title, is already set for release on November 22, 2013, and you know the studio cannot wait for that weekend to come.

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It’s gotten to the point where studio period and fantasy epics are as ubiquitous as sequels, remakes, and superheroes. This of course creates a paradox in that the entire reason for the existence of these films is their flash and spectacle. If Wrath of the Titans, a sequel to a remake focusing on a mythological superhero, has taught me anything, it’s that it might be time for these movies to vanish to the ethereal plains…at least for a little while. The latest in a string of underwhelming, despite themselves, period epics, Wrath is a tedious chore as messy in its visuals as it is frustratingly poor in its construction. The story here is that Perseus (Sam Worthington), having saved the world from both Medusa and the Kraken, is called into hero service again when his father Zeus (Liam Neeson) is taken prisoner by Hades (Ralph Fiennes) and Ares (Edgar Ramirez). The two conspirators plan to use Zeus’ power to release the sinister father of gods: Kronos. I use the word “story” loosely because whatever moments in the film aren’t the chapter distinctions in “How Not to Write to Write a Screenplay” are simply cribbed from Edith Hamilton’s “Mythology”; more accurately from someone reading “Baby’s First Edith Hamilton” picture book. The screenwriters flipped through it, carelessly flopping their fingers on the most eye-catching beasts, exclaiming, “this one, and this one, and this one…put them all in there.” At this point, one intelligent assistant offered, “guys, those aren’t even Perseus stories.” That […]

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The Reject Report - Large

The Hunger Games would be more exciting – and it’d help this comparison tremendously – if new combatants entered the arena every couple of hours or so. You know, just to keep the battle-weary tributes on their toes. If that were the case, there would be some very interesting one-on-one or even two-on-one battles like the one we’re about to see this weekend. The Hunger Games sent an earthquake through the record books last weekend, so this new batch of potential moneymakers might have some sweat beads forming on their respective foreheads. Nonetheless, with the sequel to Clash of the Titans and new telling of the Snow White story starring Julia Roberts, the newbies have a better shot than most would in their situation. In the end, though, it’ll be all for naught. The Hunger Games is going to win big again, but the scraps it hands down to #2 and #3 on the chart will be sizable ones to say the least. Let’s check out just how sizable in this weeks’ Reject Report.

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Drinking Games

There’s a handful of new DVD and Blu-ray releases this week, but who really wants a drinking game for the childish Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked or the morose 9/11 drama Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close? So in the interest of fun, we’re dipping into the DVD archives for an old-school movie that could use a drinking game: the original Clash of the Titans from 1981. If the 2010 remake left you cold, or if you’re eagerly anticipating this week’s release of Wrath of the Titans, now’s your chance to experience the original in its full, sweaty, stop-motion glory. Enhance the experience by getting your hands on some Kraken beer or Kraken rum so you can release your own titan of drunkenness.

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Back when it was first announced that Platinum Dunes had plans to put together a new live action Ninja Turtles movie, Neil Miller found himself pondering what sort of picture they intended to make. Platinum Dunes is known mostly for relaunching popular but tarnished horror franchises, so did that mean that they intended on giving us a gritty, adult take on the Turtles, kind of like the original Eastman and Laird comics? Or would they still be taking a more kid friendly approach, like the cartoon and live action film series of the 90s, which raked in bajillions of dollars by appealing to a younger audience? Now that there are some names attached to the creative end of this one, what it’s going to look like is becoming more clear. According to a new report from Variety, Michael Bay and company have hired Jonathan Liebesman to direct. At first glance, that might lead you to believe that this could be a seriously dark film, as Liebesman was the guy who did The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning for New Line back in 2006, and that was a pretty dark, R-rated remake. But if you look at the work he’s been doing lately, he’s been hovering much more in the PG-13 range, and he’s been doing the sort of films that are generally too epic in scope to limit your audience by putting in questionable content. His last film was Battle: Los Angeles, and he’s got Wrath of the Titans coming […]

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Reel Sex

One of my greatest loves, besides full-frontal male nudity in films, is a beard. Normally I would get up on my soap box and spout out tributes to the greatness of male facial hair, how it can instantly make a baby-faced boy look tough and intimidating. Or take a scrappy young man and make him appear soulful or whimsical. Facial hair can even play as much importance in telling the difference between a hipster or a homeless person (a game that is one of my favorite past times). And while I like to think more people share my love of male facial muffs, I’ve come to realize many audiences see facial hair as a costume or accessory meant to show a level of untrustworthy or roguish manliness that a clean-shaven character lacks. This is unfortunate as any level of facial hair can really mean more than just good versus evil on screen. I have spent many years disappointing my parents with my choice in men and their accompanying facial hair, starting from the celebrities I chose to crush on (90s teen boy bands aside) to the men I brought home for Sunday night dinners. I have long been cursed with a love of beards I cannot deny myself. And as I have spent years writing about and stroking them (research!) it is about time Hollywood takes note of the diversity in beards and how they aren’t just for the bad guys anymore.

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Here’s a fun way to release some movie news or marketing on a day when no one will care about it – drop a trailer onto Apple within the very hour that they premiere the first official trailer for The Dark Knight Rises. Death wish, right? Either that, or the team over at Warner Bros. wants to push stuff out before the holiday or (more likely), their brand-new Wrath of the Titans trailer was always slated to premiere today, but WB had to jump the gun when that horrific cell-phone video bootleg of the TDKR trailer hit the web and was spread across the Internet as if copyrights laws never existed. Whatever the reason is, now also have the first theatrical trailer for Wrath of the Titans, the sequel to Clash of the Titans or That Time Warner Bros. Launched a Truly Terrible Post-Production 3D Conversion Job and Everyone Still Went to Go See It. While we can’t judge the 3D from this trailer, one thing is for sure – this next entry into the ostensible …of the Titans franchise is super-wrathy. If you’ve already watched today’s trailer for The Dark Knight Rises enough, check out the trailer for Wrath of the Titans after the break.

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Clash of the Titans

An intrepid spy from some exotic corner of the world took a ton snapshots of some giant wooden objects that are supposedly being used for Wrath of the Titans, the sequel, of course, to Clash of the Titans. There’s nothing to lose your mind about (unless you’re one of those people that goes ape-y over prop construction (and there’s nothing wrong with that)) as the photos mostly show an half-built ship, a bunch of barrels, and what appears to be a sunken wreck of something. It’s behind the scenes stuff from Tumba Abierta (entretenimiento fantastico!) which Aint It Cool managed to pick up on. Here are a few samples:

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s the nightly ramblings of a link-dump crazed insomniac whose life begins and ends with what ends up in his Instapaper queue. He survives on links and thrives on the knowledge that someone out there is clicking through. Click. Click. Click. You can feed the beast by emailing wicked cool articles and hilarious movie-related videos to neil@filmschoolrejects.com.

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Week by week online chatter about the big screen adaptation of “The Hunger Games” increases. Slowly but surely, as rumor and anticipation build steam, it’s starting to look like Lionsgate may have a future box office powerhouse on its hands. Or at least that’s what Warner Bros. is thinking. They have announced that their Clash of the Titans sequel, Wrath of the Titans will push its release back one week, from 3/23/12 to 3/30/12. The reason? They don’t want to have to compete with The Hunger Games on the 23rd. It’s not often you see a known commodity in the film world running scared from a first time feature. A sequel to a big summer movie should be a sure fire success, and here it is running away from an adaptation of a cult series of YA novels. And meanwhile, more eyeballs keep getting put on Hunger Games director Gary Ross’ casting process. We’ve heard the possibilities for the lead role get whittled down from a short list, to a few final contenders, to it looking like Jennifer Lawrence has become the clear favorite. We’ve started to hear rumblings about the search for a male lead as well, and now The Kids Are All Right star Josh Hutcherson has began his campaign to play Peeta by letting reporters at SXSW know that he is in the running and excited about the part. Hutcherson told those that would listen, “I love Peeta. The character is so much who I am: self-deprecating, […]

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A lot of people have their panties in a bunch over the recent spat of 3D films. Roger Ebert alone has tweeted about it roughly 7000 times and mentioned it in literally hundreds of reviews. What are the complaints? 3D is just a gimmick. It adds nothing to the filmgoing experience. It dulls and muddies the image. It’s just an excuse to jack up ticket prices. Okay, there are some good points in there. But there’s also some that can be argued. The biggest 3D success yet has been James Cameron’s Avatar. Everyone seems to be in agreement that while the movie was pretty bad, it did some interesting things with the 3D technology. Most people credit that to the fact that Cameron used high tech 3D cameras, and didn’t just convert film to 3D afterwards. I would argue that Cameron’s success in the medium had more to do with the blocking and construction of his scenes, which all made sure to painstakingly utilize the possibilities of a three dimensional image in order to create a deep, layered field of action. What Citizen Kane did to revolutionize focused action occurring both in the foreground and the background, Avatar did times ten.

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Rosamund Pike‘s very first film performance was as Miranda Frost in Die Another Day, and she’s been steadily showcasing her talents for the past decade. Now, she’ll get a chance to wrap that talent in a toga for Wrath of the Titans. According to Deadline Des Moines she’ll be playing Andromeda, the character played by Alexa Davalos in Clash. It’s unclear why Davalos won’t be reprising the role. It looks like Pike is ready to return to tentpole acting, because it was either going to be this or a role in Man of Steel. It’ll be interesting if the production can get an actual performance out of her or the stable of talented actors that are returning considering the lifelessness of Clash. Fortunately, if the sequel is stale, we all have Pike’s performance in An Education to wash down the sour taste.

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If you were a fan of Clash of the Titans, then you saw it in 2D. Well played. This next go ’round, it looks like monster heads will be ripped off and people will accidentally make love with cows that are Gods in disguise after a healthy amount of post-production time to focus on making the CGI better. Wrath of the Titans will start filming in the Spring of 2011 for a March 2012 release, and it’s confirmed that Jonathan Liebesman will shoot in native 3D since there’s almost no reason not to do so. It seems like a no-brainer. Which is also the fighting move Perseus did to Medusa. Sam Worthington, Gemma Arterton, Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes are all back in the mix. All in all, those are the ingredients for at least a passable sequel. Fingers crossed. [Coming Soon]

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