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Saturday, June 25, 2016

Movie Review: #TheNeonDemon

The uncategorizable The Neon Demon is a daringly visceral experience.

Review by Matt Cummings

In a Summer filled with predictable sequels, a cacophony of explosions, and comedians reduced to farting to bring in the masses, it's entirely possible that some might assume the film year to be a complete loss. And then The Neon Demon arrives ready, able, and willing to blow your mind. The effect is something definitely un-Summer, uncategorizeable in every way, devoid of significant plot, and one of the best experiences of the year.

Bright-eyed and busy-tailed Jesse (a very good Elle Fanning) arrives in Los Angeles from Georgia, ready to make the big time. She has only one asset: her incredible natural looks, which quickly gain the attention of the bisexual make-up artist/moonlighting mortician Ruby (an even better Jena Malone). Jesse instantly becomes the flavor of the month as it were in the L.A. fashion industry, setting her against the status quo of using surgically-enhanced models. Enraged by her almost nubile appearance, two models (Bella Heathcote and Abbey Lee) plot her demise, while a seedy hotel pervert (a terrific Keanu Reeves) makes her home life (and many other unsuspecting girls) incredibly dangerous. As Jesse's success begins to corrupt her, she must decide who can be trusted, all while dark forces plot her violent demise.

The pure insanity of The Neon Demon is hard to defend, especially when Director Nicolas Winding Refn goes out of his way to heap on the trash, including menstrual cycles gone horribly awry, eyeballs as a delicatessen, and necrophilia added in for color. 'Creepy' barely covers what Refn has in store for us, even using glitter and body paint to unique degrees. And yet if you're willing to stick it out, you'll be treated to something remarkable, an erotic cinematic triumph that reminds me of Crimes of Passion or Trance. Demons is more of an experience than just a film, and the sad few who take a chance on it are sure to be divided on its effect. But that's Refn's point: he's here to slap us around with his auteur title while treating us to some of the most memorable (and disturbing) experiences in recent memory.

But the brazen attitude of The Neon Demon also contributes to its many problems. First, its plot is beyond paper thin, acting only as vehicle for Refn to show off ridiculously genius visual talent. Some of the symbolism behind it is also lacking, and the ending - which was apparently made up on the spot - makes little sense. Refn also globs on the message that beauty is both currency and weapon, but with so many gorgeously-shot scenes, I can forgive him for trying to knock us over the head with it. There's also a lot of nonsensical chewing of script, including Reeves in (supposedly) a dream using a knife in ways you shouldn't, and a very visceral raping of a young girl in the apartment next to Jesse's. They're all unrelated, unneeded, and actually bring down the film.

There's lots of reasons why audiences fled our screening - or why our theater was mostly empty to begin with - but it's not because our creative team and actors don't make a supreme effort. Writers Mary Laws and Polly Stenham join Refn to craft some terrific dialogue about the dangers of the LA fashion industry, injecting the actors with just enough great lines to keep the admittedly non-existent plot going. Refn makes Gigi and Sarah look like CG-ed buffoons, drunk with their own success but unprepared for Jesse's supposed wholesomeness to be actually real. Fanning and Malone are simply terrific together and apart, each doing quite enough to imbue their characters with powerful faults and enough darkness to cloud a bright room. There's a transformative scene for Fanning - who was 16 when she made Demon - which probes her Narcissistic side, led by Director of Photography Natasha Braier's absolute command of the digital canvas. There's a bit of bondage here, some lesbian necrophilia, and a ton of other things I hope you will discover for yourself. What I can share is that Composer Cliff Martinez turns in the best score of 2016; his 80's electronics bring back a bit of Miami Vice and mix it with The Matrix into something cool, dark, and intensely erotic. Seriously, this score will probably be used in both dance and bondage bars for the foreseeable future.

But is all of that enough to encourage you to see it? Simply put, summer is the wrong time for The Neon Demon, and I'm sure many will dismiss it as purely fetish/lesbian/murder fare. Its plot is simply a device for Refn's sadomasochistic tendencies to re-emerge, just as they did for Only God Forgives, and there's entire minutes here where no dialogue is present. Guerrilla-style movie making like this will doubt confuse and shock audiences who might not be ready for the sort of brazen sexuality and visuals behind it. But consider that films like these simply aren't made anymore, due to Hollywood's drunkenness over billion-dollar franchises and a diminishing American audience with too much drama and quality television to binge watch. And yet it should be seen. Whether you like the final effect or not, taking a chance by supporting a film like The Neon Demon should be on every cinephile's To-Do list this summer. If not, our movie-going future is doomed to be filled with more predictable summer fast foods and less banquet-styling grandeur.

While The Neon Demon is not for everyone, it can be easily agreed that so much of is quite spectacular. Led by a great cast, exceptional cinematography, and the best soundtrack of the year, it's also the wildest and weirdest ride I've seen in awhile. That support won't garner it long lines at the theater, but it's clearly not concerned with that. It's an experience, not a film, and that will either weird you out or impress the hell out of you.

The Neon Demon is rated R for everything under the sun and has a runtime of 117 minutes.

Discuss this review with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms, and follow author Matt Cummings at @mfc90125.
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Friday, June 24, 2016

#LightsOut Trailer Starring @teresapalmer

From producer James Wan (“The Conjuring”) comes a tale of an unknown terror that lurks in the dark. When Rebecca left home, she thought she left her childhood fears behind. Growing up, she was never really sure of what was and wasn’t real when the lights went out…and now her little brother, Martin, is experiencing the same unexplained and terrifying events that had once tested her sanity and threatened her safety. A frightening entity with a mysterious attachment to their mother, Sophie, has reemerged. But this time, as Rebecca gets closer to unlocking the truth, there is no denying that all their lives are in danger…once the lights go out.



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MECHANIC: RESURRECTION Trailer Starring Jason Statham

Arthur Bishop [Jason Statham] returns as the Mechanic in the sequel to the 2011 action thriller. When the deceitful actions of a cunning but beautiful woman [Jessica Alba] force him to return to the life he left behind, Bishop’s life is once again in danger as he has to complete an impossible list of assassinations of the most dangerous men in the world. In theaters August 26, 2016.



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Movie Review: The Shallows

Shark thriller is not so shallow.

Review by Brandon Wolfe

Nancy (Blake Lively) is a young woman attempting to retreat from her life. Off on a sojourn to a far-flung, picturesque corner of Mexico, she is endeavoring to hunt down a beach once visited by her mother while she was pregnant with Nancy, a beach so secretive that the locals are reticent to even tell Nancy its name. Nancy is catching a ride with one such local, attempting to have as much of a conversation as her limited grasp of the Spanish language will allow. He’s going to drop her off at this mystery beach so she can ride a few waves. Her friend bails on her via text due to a massive hangover, meaning she will have to go it alone. When she gets to the beach, strips down to her bikini, grabs her board and paddles out into the water, she encounters a couple of young men, also surfing. They invite her to surf with them.

The Shallows has barely even begun and it already drips with potential danger. Nancy, whom we learn from clumsily inserted exposition via a phone call (that’s some phone if it gets bars on Nowhere Beach, Mexico) with her dad and younger sister, has walked away from medical school after her mother lost her hard-fought battle with cancer, but for a med student, she doesn’t seem terribly bright at first blush. Hitchhiking alone to a remote location with no set way of getting back, surfing without accompaniment, fraternizing with strangers who could do unspeakable things to her with no witnesses, and, finally, remaining out in the water at sundown after her (fortunately, non-rapist) fellow thrill-seekers decide to pack it in, she doesn’t behave like someone fully cognizant of her surroundings and how fraught with peril they are. By the time she’s preyed upon by a massive shark, you’re almost surprised that she even made it far enough for that.


Directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, who previously helmed a troika of lowbrow Liam Neeson actioners (one presumes Neeson isn’t starring here so that we aren’t more concerned about the wellbeing of the shark), The Shallows is an effective little number. Nancy attempts to take refuge on the carcass of a dead whale – essentially making her the olive toothpicked atop a sandwich for the shark – before finding a sturdier sanctuary on a nearby rock. She sustains a truly ghastly shark bite to the thigh and cuts up her feet on some coral, leaving her gushing blood into the water. Illustrating that her time in med school wasn’t for naught, she manages to use her necklace to suture the wound, but that only prevents her from bleeding to death. She still needs to find a way to safety, and the thrill of The Shallows is how increasingly harrowing Nancy’s situation grows.

Every opportunity for rescue that presents itself (the appearance of an amoral drunk on the beach; the return of the two surfer guys the following day; a barge on the horizon) is coldly extinguished. Every plan she concocts (awkwardly voiced out loud, to no one in particular) is sound, smart even, but thwarted by circumstance. Putting aside the extreme naiveté that landed her in her predicament, Nancy is a pretty shrewd thinker when her survival instincts kick in. But she can’t catch a break, and it’s a strength of the film that we constantly, palpably, feel the hopelessness of her situation.


The film is essentially a one-woman show for Lively, who does some solid work in what is a deceptively difficult role. This could have merely been an exercise in exploitation (she is wearing a bikini the entire time, after all), but Lively lives up to her surname, making Nancy the proper blend of tough and vulnerable, of resourceful and helpless. She never feels anything less than authentic and makes a remarkably effective Everyman avatar (how she remains functional after 48 hours of blood loss and exposure with no food or water, however, is a question best left unasked). Medical know-how aside, she behaves and thinks like a real person and makes intelligent decisions. In a horror film, that’s always a welcome, and infrequent, development.

The film is structured so efficiently that it’s a major disappointment when Collet-Serra botches the finale. When Nancy decides to take her final stand against the shark, the movie betrays the realism and intelligence it had afforded her character up to that point, culminating in a final action that is completely absurd. The Shallows is such a well-crafted genre excursion for so much of its runtime that it can survive this late-in-the-game miscalculation, but it’s still discouraging that the film couldn’t think of a better denouement. The film will obviously net comparisons to Jaws, as all shark films will until the day the sun extinguishes, but the film has far more in common with 2004’s flyspeck thriller Open Water. In that film, a couple has to grapple with surviving after being abandoned in shark-infested waters. They don’t fare so well. Nancy’s fate will not be revealed here, but the fact that her survival never seems to be assured is another way that The Shallows shows depth.

Discuss this review with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms, and follow author Brandon Wolfe at @BrandonTheWolfe.



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Thursday, June 23, 2016

John Boyega Joins Kathryn Bigelow Detroit

THR is reporting Star Wars star John Boyega has been cast in Kathryn Bigelow’s untitled Detroit project.

Bigelow is directing the crime drama, her first feature since 2012’s Zero Dark Thirty. It is being financed by Annapurna Pictures and has an original script by her frequent collaborator Mark Boal.

Details of the project are unknown, but the story is set against the backdrop of Detroit’s devastating riots that took place over five summer days in 1967, with the film seeking to explore the systemic racism in the city. The roll call is described as an ensemble piece.

A summer shoot in Detroit and Boston is being planned. Bigelow is producing with Boal, Annapurna’s Megan Ellison and Matthew Budman and Colin Wilson. Greg Shapiro will executive produce.

No studio is attached yet as a distributor, but Bigelow, Ellison and company are eyeing a 2017 release, timed to the 50th anniversary of the riots.

After shooting to international stardom playing Stormtrooper-with-a-conscience Finn in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Boyega currently is shooting the follow-up, Star Wars: Episode VIII. He recently nabbed the lead in Pacific Rim 2 and, in a show of his growing cachet, he also will co-produce the Legendary movie with his business partner Femi Oguns under their joint production company, Upper Room Productions.

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First Look At Squeeks From Transformers: The Last Knight

Not one to resist introducing new characters he can merchandi.... Sorry, have audiences fall in love with, Michael Bay is bringing a brand new Transformer to his latest, The Last Knight. Take a look at Bay and young star Isabela Moner meeting Squeeks.

Nothing is yet known about the new character, aside from the fact he looks like the love child of Tick Tock from Return To Oz and a Vespa. He'll probably be taking over the "charming" role Bumblebee is used to holding, so this little guy had better look out lest, the former occupant of the role douses him petrol and sets him on fire.

So far, the only plot details about the film have been rumours, but we do know that Mark Wahlberg's Cade Yeager and Josh Duhamel's William Lennox are both back along with the robo-regulars and usual baddie Megatron. New arrivals this time include Moner, Anthony Hopkins, Laura Haddock and Jerrod Carmichael.

Transformers: The Last Knight will be out here on June 23 next year, so it's a year and counting. Take that as a promise or a threat.

Source-Empire
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Will Dwayne Johnson Be The Wolf Man?

There have been no effusive posts on his social media accounts, which tends to be how the world receives information about Dwayne Johnson these days, so we're counting this one as a rumour for now. Indeed, that's how Deadline couches it: rumors are that Universal is considering making Johnson the Wolf Man of its new monsters shared cinematic universe.

Mention of Johnson's potentially lupine status was buried in a story about him producing a new comic book adaptation, but more on that in a moment. As for the Wolf Man, the team behind the new monsters films (including Alex Kurtzman and Fast & Furious man Chris Morgan) have been reaching out to big names to star in their films about classic characters, including Tom Cruise (who has been busy meeting The Mummy) and Johnny Depp (on to play the Invisible Man). So Johnson's hardly unsurprising given his current box office appeal, even if it's hard to picture him as hirsute (that rat-tail beard he's sporting as Hobbs in Fast 8 doesn't cut it), and how do you convincingly transform a man who already looks like he's changed into a beast, at least in terms of his muscularity? We'll have to see if this one ever becomes something more than a name on a studio wish list or a fun idea to speculate about.

As for the graphic novel, it's Son Of Shaolin, created by Jay Longino. The title has yet to be published, but apparently concerns a blend of Shaolin mythology with a modern-day story of teenagers growing up in a gentrifying neighbourhood. Sony has snapped up the rights with Longino writing the script and and Johnson is aboard to produce with his Seven Bucks Productions company. He's reportedly not considering making an appearance in any eventual film, but don't rule it out yet.

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Source-Empire
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OUIJA: ORIGIN OF EVIL TRAILER HAS ARRIVED

It was never just a game. Inviting audiences again into the lore of the spirit board, Ouija: Origin of Evil tells a terrifying new tale as the follow-up to 2014’s sleeper hit that opened at number one. In 1965 Los Angeles, a widowed mother and her two daughters add a new stunt to bolster their séance scam business and unwittingly invite authentic evil into their home. When the youngest daughter is overtaken by the merciless spirit, this small family confronts unthinkable fears to save her and send her possessor back to the other side.



See more images after the Jump...




Ouija: Origin of Evil is produced by Platinum Dunes partners Michael Bay, Brad Fuller and Andrew Form (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, The Purge series, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), Blumhouse Productions’ Jason Blum (The Purge and Insidious series), alongside Hasbro’s Brian Goldner (Transformers and G.I. Joe series) and Stephen Davis (Ouija). Mike Flanagan directs from a screenplay he wrote with his Oculus and Before I Wake collaborator, Jeff Howard, and Universal will distribute the film worldwide

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"Sucker for Pain" Song/Video From Suicide Squad: The Album

The “Sucker for Pain” track by Lil Wayne, Wiz Khalifa & Imagine Dragons with Logic and Ty Dolla $ign (feat. X-Ambassadors) from Suicide Squad: The Album debuted this morning on YouTube



Those who pre-order the album starting on June 24, http://smarturl.it/SuicideSquad, will receive this track as a bonus. The “Sucker For Pain” video premieres tonight, June 23, on Facebook.com/SuicideSquad. Suicide Squad: The Album releases on Aug. 5.

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New #THENEONDEMON Clip

When aspiring model Jesse moves to Los Angeles, her youth and vitality are devoured by a group of beauty-obsessed women who will take any means necessary to get what she has.



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MTV's "SCREAM" "Dawn of the Dead" Preview

Tuesday equals TERROR as MTV’s “Scream” moves to its new date and time, Tuesdays at 10:00 PM ET/PT, starting June 28.

Check out this chilling first-look promo for next week’s episode as The Lakewood Six get one step closer to uncovering the murderous mysteries of this killer season.

Watch the clip after the Jump...


Tuesday, June 28 at 10:00 PM ET/PT
The death of a loved one hits hard and GW High goes into lockdown. Suspicions rise among the Lakewood 5 who wonder if it’s all happening again and if one of their own is the Killer. “Scream” stars Carlson Young, Amadeus Serafini, Willa Fitzgerald, John Karna, Bex Taylor-Klaus, Santiago Segura and Kiana Lede.

New airdates:
Tuesday, 6/28 – 205
Tuesday, 7/5 – 206
Tuesday, 7/12 – 207
Tuesday, 7/19 – 208 and “Scream After Dark!” #2
Tuesday, 7/26 – 209
Tuesday, 8/2 – 210
Tuesday, 8/9 – 211
Tuesday, 8/16 – 212 Finale and “Scream After Dark!” #3

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Enter For A Chance To Win Passes To See MIKE AND DAVE NEED WEDDING DATES In ALBUQUERQUE

Enter for a chance to see MIKE AND DAVE NEED WEDDING DATES on June 29th at 7:00 PM in ALBUQUERQUE.


Hard-partying brothers Mike (Adam Devine) and Dave (Zac Efron) place an online ad to find the perfect dates (Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza) for their sister's Hawaiian wedding. Hoping for a wild getaway, the boys instead find themselves outsmarted and out-partied by the uncontrollable duo.



See how to enter after the Jump...

Make sure to LIKE SandwichJohnFilms on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for all your entertainment news and to be to notified about our upcoming Advance Screenings. Also make sure to subscribe and download our Podcast

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

DISCLAIMER: ARRIVE EARLY! SEATING IS FIRST-COME, FIRST-SERVED, EXCEPT FOR MEMBERS OF THE PRESS AND STUDIO VIPS. THEATER IS OVERBOOKED TO ENSURE A FULL HOUSE. THEATER IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR SEATING OVER CAPACITY. THIS PASS DOES NOT GUARANTEE ADMISSION.

Duplicate passes will not be accepted.

In theaters July 8, 2016

NO RECORDING

No purchase Necessary

This screening will be monitored for unauthorized recording. By attending, you agree not to bring any audio and/or visual recording device including laptop computers into the theater and you consent to physical search of your belongings and person have against you. Unauthorized recording will be reported to law enforcement and may subject you to criminal and civil liability (including damages up to $150,000). *This includes, by way of example only, smart phones and your belongings and person for such device. If you attempt to enter with a recording device, you will be denied admission. If you attempt to use a recording device* you consent to your Immediate removal from the theater and forfeiture of the device. Unauthorized recording will be reported to law enforcement and may subject you to criminal and civil liability.

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Enter For A Chance To Win Passes To See MIKE AND DAVE NEED WEDDING DATES In Las Vegas

Enter for a chance to see MIKE AND DAVE NEED WEDDING DATES on June 29th at 7:00 PM in Las Vegas


Hard-partying brothers Mike (Adam Devine) and Dave (Zac Efron) place an online ad to find the perfect dates (Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza) for their sister's Hawaiian wedding. Hoping for a wild getaway, the boys instead find themselves outsmarted and out-partied by the uncontrollable duo.



See how to enter after the Jump...

Make sure to LIKE SandwichJohnFilms on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for all your entertainment news and to be to notified about our upcoming Advance Screenings. Also make sure to subscribe and download our Podcast

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

DISCLAIMER: ARRIVE EARLY! SEATING IS FIRST-COME, FIRST-SERVED, EXCEPT FOR MEMBERS OF THE PRESS AND STUDIO VIPS. THEATER IS OVERBOOKED TO ENSURE A FULL HOUSE. THEATER IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR SEATING OVER CAPACITY. THIS PASS DOES NOT GUARANTEE ADMISSION.

Duplicate passes will not be accepted.

In theaters July 8, 2016

NO RECORDING

No purchase Necessary

This screening will be monitored for unauthorized recording. By attending, you agree not to bring any audio and/or visual recording device including laptop computers into the theater and you consent to physical search of your belongings and person have against you. Unauthorized recording will be reported to law enforcement and may subject you to criminal and civil liability (including damages up to $150,000). *This includes, by way of example only, smart phones and your belongings and person for such device. If you attempt to enter with a recording device, you will be denied admission. If you attempt to use a recording device* you consent to your Immediate removal from the theater and forfeiture of the device. Unauthorized recording will be reported to law enforcement and may subject you to criminal and civil liability.

Please Leave A Comment-
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Enter For A Chance To Win Passes To See MIKE AND DAVE NEED WEDDING DATES In PHOENIX

Enter for a chance to see MIKE AND DAVE NEED WEDDING DATES on June 29th at 7:00 PM in PHOENIX.


Hard-partying brothers Mike (Adam Devine) and Dave (Zac Efron) place an online ad to find the perfect dates (Anna Kendrick, Aubrey Plaza) for their sister's Hawaiian wedding. Hoping for a wild getaway, the boys instead find themselves outsmarted and out-partied by the uncontrollable duo.



See how to enter after the Jump...

Make sure to LIKE SandwichJohnFilms on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for all your entertainment news and to be to notified about our upcoming Advance Screenings. Also make sure to subscribe and download our Podcast

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

DISCLAIMER: ARRIVE EARLY! SEATING IS FIRST-COME, FIRST-SERVED, EXCEPT FOR MEMBERS OF THE PRESS AND STUDIO VIPS. THEATER IS OVERBOOKED TO ENSURE A FULL HOUSE. THEATER IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR SEATING OVER CAPACITY. THIS PASS DOES NOT GUARANTEE ADMISSION.

Duplicate passes will not be accepted.

In theaters July 8, 2016

NO RECORDING

No purchase Necessary

This screening will be monitored for unauthorized recording. By attending, you agree not to bring any audio and/or visual recording device including laptop computers into the theater and you consent to physical search of your belongings and person have against you. Unauthorized recording will be reported to law enforcement and may subject you to criminal and civil liability (including damages up to $150,000). *This includes, by way of example only, smart phones and your belongings and person for such device. If you attempt to enter with a recording device, you will be denied admission. If you attempt to use a recording device* you consent to your Immediate removal from the theater and forfeiture of the device. Unauthorized recording will be reported to law enforcement and may subject you to criminal and civil liability.

Please Leave A Comment-
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