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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Arrow/Flash Spinoff News: Atom & Firestorm to Share a Show

CW's superhero success is springing another baby.

Story by Matt Cummings

It's safe to say that CW's lineup (albeit small) of superhero television shows has been nothing short of an unqualified success. Arrow continues to deliver week after week, while The Flash has exploded in popularity, with quality bad guys, several as-yet-to-be-resolved story arcs, and excellent casting. Stephen Amell and Grant Gustin (Arrow and Flash, respectively) have even teamed up on each other's shows, which garnered some of CW's biggest ratings to date.

Well, the network's number of superhero shows on is about to get bigger. Deadline is reporting that we'll soon see a show featuring casts from both shows in the first stand-alone team-up. The names: ATOM and F.I.R.E.S.T.O.R.M. In fact, the CW and Arrow/The Flash co-creator Greg Berlanti are describing and it as “superhero team-up show.” The show will feature familiar names: Brandon Routh (Ray Palmer/The Atom), Wentworth Miller (Flash villain Leonard Snart/Captain Cold), and Victor Garber (Flash‘s Dr. Martin Stein).

Additionally, the series - which is in development - will feature three DC Comics characters who have never before appeared on a TV series. Those names haven't been released, but it's the other piece of news that might be the most surprising. The one other casting announcement was Caity Lotz, who played Sara/Black Canary in Arrow. That might come as a shock to some, as Sara was killed earlier in Season 3 by a drugged Thea. We're not sure what role she'll play, but it might offer clues as to something we've suspected all along and was proved in the mid-season finale of Arrow: the Lazarus Pit and other medicines can bring back the dead. Considering that most of this year's Arrow has been all about the team coming to terms with her death, perhaps we'll see her return in the spinoff as the same character?

The other surprise was the conspicuous absence of Robbie Amell, who plays the other half of F.I.R.E.S.T.O.R.M. and was recently split back into two by Star Labs' chief Harrison Wells/Reverse Flash (Tom Cavanagh). He's an important part of the equation, and it's unlikely CW would go ahead with the spinoff if there wasn't a guarantee that he would join. So, expect that announcement to arrive soon. There is also the possibility that Stein and Palmer will work together on the ATOM suit, perhaps removing the need for Amell to be around as a regular cast member.

All of this is interesting news, but perhaps not entirely unexpected. The press release, combined with statements from CW President Mark Pedowitz and Guggenheim, linked most of this months ago, but the terms hadn't been released. Additionally, the possibility of Routh appearing in a spinoff series was bandied about in recent months as well, while the most recent Firestorm-focused episode of The Flash seemed to indicate the network was testing the waters.

What's clear is this: the CW has expertly built up secondary characters into potentially interesting leads, leading many fans to desire a true team-up show, which is exactly what CW had planned all along. It's also clear that the network is in the driver's seat when it comes to this type of programming. Hopefully, CBS can learn from their sister company and come up with a great Supergirl series.

One final piece of news: reportedly, CW is so confident with early results that they may be planning to order it direct to series, with a debut early in 2016.

Discuss this story with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms, and follow author Matt Cummings at @mfc90125.

CBS Summer Programming Announcement

CBS Says Stay Tuned

Story by David Clark

CBS tells network viewers this week to prepare for their summer-original programming schedule. The rotation of popular shows that go on winter-break can leave viewers desperate for something new and exciting to watch. As always the latest announcement is a welcome relief this time of year as the major networks prepare to roll out a new season of shows. The news from CBS will help fill that void and create anticipation for upcoming shows that are just around the corner.

The lineup includes a couple well known shows in Under The Dome and Extant returning for additional seasons after strong showings last year. The ever popular Big Brother will return for a 17th season. Last but not least the press release announced that the Zoo, a new show based on a James Patterson novel, will join the CBS summer lineup.

Under The Dome:
Based on a Stephen King novel, Under The Dome follows a town that inexplicably finds itself trapped inside of a transparent dome. This season will follow the town as people begin to learn the purpose of the dome. Original cast members will be returning and a new story arc will follow guest star Marg Helgenberger as she joins the cast this season. The 2 hour season premiere is scheduled for Thursday June 25th 9pm-11pm (ET/PT). with additional shows airing at the show’s scheduled time on Thursdays from 10pm-11pm (ET/PT). CBS is counting on the popular show to start season 3 as strong as season 2 finished. Under The Dome lead in viewership through season 2 with 11.32m and lead in ratings for scripted programming in viewers ages 18-49 and 25-54.

Returning for season 2, Extant is coming off a run whereby the show ranked #1 as the most watched new show during the summer of 2014 (8.65m). Starring the infamous Halle Berry the show will follow Molly Woods (Halle Berry) as she discovers humanity may be doomed because of her actions. Also starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan the show hopes to duplicate the success of season 1. Fans of the show can stay tuned for the premiere episode on Wednesday July 1, 10-11pm (ET/PT).

Given the success of recent pilots CBS is looking forward to season 1 of the Zoo. Based upon James Patterson’s #1 best selling novel, the show pits man versus nature in the guise of M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening. However, unlike the movie, this show has potential. The show premise follows a young biologist played by James Wolk as he tries to uncover the reason behind a wave of animal attacks spanning the globe. The plot of the show grows even more intriguing as the animal attacks grow more violent, intelligent, and coordinated. The show pilot will premiere on Tuesday June 30th 9-10pm (ET/PT).

Big Brother:
Unless you have been living under a rock, Big Brother probably needs little in the way of introduction. One of the staple reality competitions on television Big Brother stands tall entering the 17th season amongst other popular shows like The Amazing Race and Survivor. The show sequesters a group of contestants away from contact with the outside world as they compete for a cash prize. The show which spans the majority of the summer follows a standard competition format whereby contestants are eliminated each week until a winner is selected. The two night premiere will air Wednesday June 24th and Thursday June 25th from 8pm-9pm (ET/PT).

Source: CBSPress

Friday, February 27, 2015

In Memoriam: Leonard Nimoy

His work influenced millions of Science-Fiction fans.

Story by Matt Cummings

There's few actors that are tied so closely to just one character: Leonard Nimoy was one such phenomenon, forever linked to his role as Mr. Spock on television's Star Trek: The Original Series. Is there a gesture more remembered and used that Nimoy's "Live Long and Prosper?" Not likely. And how about that cool disposition that so many have tried (and frankly failed) to mimic? Nimoy's death on Friday at age 83 wasn't unexpected, as he had been sick for quite some time. But, the outpouring of support in the wake has been nothing but extraordinary.

Everyone from Seth MacFarlane, Patrick Stewart, and even Author JK Rowling chimed in today to pay their respects. But when the President of the United States releases a statement saying, "I loved Spock," you know his effect was widespread. When Twitter explodes with Tweets from dozens of other celebrities who met, worked, or just plain idolized him, you knew his passing was something.

But what you may not know is just how important CBS and Creator Gene Roddenberry thought of Nimoy. After Star Trek's pilot was shot in 1965 and deemed "too cerebral," it was decided that they would re-cast and reshoot. Only Nimoy was brought back in the same role (with Majel Barrett coming back to play Nurse Chapel). That's called Having Your Back.

And yet, Nimoy's life was more than Spock. He directed two Star Trek films (III and IV), as well as the hugely successful Three Men and a Baby. But he was also a painter, singer, and he acted in tons of other shows and movies, including Mission: Impossible, even appearing with Shatner in an episode of TJ Hooker, and against him in the pre-Trek The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

For me, it was all about the way Spock dealt with his half-Human/Vulcan warring inside. It became the basis for so many great scenes, including Bread and Circuses, Mirror Mirror, and Journey to Babel. Nimoy made those epic battles so screen-worthy, as if he truly inhabited the character. It was that cool delivery opposite Shatner, and the way the writers pitted Spock against McCoy in philosophical discussions that made the series so timely.

The rebooted Trek movies probably feature the best Spock and Vulcan in Zachary Quinto; he gets it about as close as possible, and if the reboots continue it will be rewarding to see if he can get closer to Spock. But Nimoy will always be Spock, and it seems like he was ok with that, releasing his second book "I Am Spock" in 1995 and continuing to tour conventions, speaking about his life and times as the iconic Enterprise science officer, and even appearing as Spock Prime in those same reboots.

Leonardo da Vinci once commented on death the best, saying "As a well-spent day brings happy sleep, so a life-well spent brings happy death." How true that was for Nimoy.

Beam me up.

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



Daughter Shannon Lee Teams with Lawrence Grey and Janet Yang to Produce New Feature Film

 Shannon Lee, daughter of legendary martial artist Bruce Lee, announced today that his legacy will be brought to the screen in a new feature film, the first to be made with his family’s full involvement in the production. Lee’s company Bruce Lee Entertainment has partnered with Lawrence Grey and Janet Yang to produce a definitive biopic of the iconic Hollywood and Chinese star.

“There have been projects out there involving my father, but they’ve lacked a complete understanding of his philosophies and artistry. They haven’t captured the essence of his beliefs in martial arts or storytelling. The only way to get audiences to understand the depth and uniqueness of my father is to generate our own material and find amazing, like-minded partners to work with,” said Lee.

Bruce Lee’s classic films shattered records with each successive release in the early ‘70s, and his legacy remains unparalleled to this day. With tens of millions of fans following his rise, Bruce Lee’s untimely death at age 32 at the height of his fame and success shocked audiences worldwide. The unprecedented feature on the icon, who was one of the most compelling entertainment personalities to ever grace the silver screen, will be produced by Shannon Lee with Lawrence Grey (Last Vegas, Hope Springs, and the upcoming Section Six) and Ben Everard of Grey Matter Productions, as well as Janet Yang (The Joy Luck Club, People vs. Larry Flynt, Documented).

“Many don’t know that Bruce Lee was also a prolific writer and a creator of his own unique art and philosophy. That’s what we want to show – not just his kick-ass physicality, but the depth of his character and beliefs,” said Lee.

“I have long been inspired by Bruce Lee and wanted to partner with Shannon in order to really delve into the depth of the icon in a way that has never before been seen on the screen,” said Grey. “It is really a dream project and the perfect partnership.”

Bruce Lee Entertainment officially opened its doors in 2014 to create compelling and authentic productions around the action hero and martial artist. In addition to this biopic, Bruce Lee Entertainment has a number of film and television projects in development, including a television series based on an original idea and materials by Bruce Lee with director Justin Lin (Fast & Furious 6) as well as a reality-based show to launch in China with Keanu Reeves and Stephen Hamel of Company Films (John Wick). They are also working on a series of novels based on Bruce Lee writings along with a comic book series. Bruce Lee Entertainment already has one success with the remarkably popular mobile game, Bruce Lee: Enter the Game, created by its subsidiary Bruce Lee Interactive with Canadian developer, Hibernum Creations. The game saw over 5 million downloads in its first four weeks.

Janet Yang has been brought on to Bruce Lee Entertainment to help guide production as well as consult on the China market where interest in Bruce Lee remains extraordinarily high.

“It is a tremendous privilege to be working with Shannon on these exciting ventures about her father. In this age of an increasingly globalized culture, I can’t think of a more talented and innovative individual who embodies the best of East and West, and who can inspire future generations,” said Yang.

Bruce Lee Entertainment is represented at UTA and is a subsidiary of Bruce Lee Enterprises, the exclusive owner of all commercial merchandising, allied rights, and marks relating to the use of Bruce Lee’s name, image, and attributes worldwide.

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LITTLE BOY Official Poster

The official poster for the upcoming film LITTLE BOY has been released! In theaters on April 24, 2015, this heartwarming and inspirational story follows a 7-year old boy who is willing to do whatever it takes to end World War II to bring his father home. LITTLE BOY is a moviegoing experience for all ages, sure to lift your spirits and show you that with faith, hope and love anything is possible!

LITTLE BOY is a powerful and moving film about a little boy who is willing to do whatever it takes to bring his dad home from World War II alive. The heartwarming story will capture your heart and lift your spirits as it reveals the indescribable love a little boy has for his father and the love a father has for his son. Set in the 1940s, LITTLE BOY is an instant cinematic classic that captures the wonder of life through the eyes of a 7- year-old little boy. Written and directed by Smithsonian Institute Award winning director Alejandro Monteverde, LITTLE BOY highlights themes of faith, hope and love in the face of adversity.

A moviegoing experience for all ages, LITTLE BOY features an all-star cast/crew including Oscar® nominated actors Emily Watson and Tom Wilkinson as well as Ben Chaplin, Michael Rapaport, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Ted Levine, David Henrie, Eduardo Verastegui and newcomer Jakob Salvati (the seven-year-old lead actor who delivered an extraordinary, Oscar caliber performance). The film is directed by Smithsonian Institute Award winning director Alejandro Monteverde (BELLA) from a screenplay by Monteverde and Pepe Portillo. Executive produced by Roma Downey and Mark Burnett (Son of God, upcoming NBC series A.D. and Paramount’s remake of Ben-Hur), the film is produced by Eduardo Verastegui, Leo Severino, Alejandro Monteverde, Emilio Azcarraga (Televisa/Univision), Bernardo Gomez (Televisa), Micky Ohare and Sean Wolfington.

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Arnold Schwarzenegger "I'll Be Back" For The 6th Terminator Film

Arnold Schwarzenegger "I'll Be Back"

According to our friends over at The Arnold Fans, Schwarzenegger will be back for the sixth Terminator film, slated for a 2017 release.

TERMINATOR GENISYS stars Arnold Schwarzenegger (“THE EXPENDABLES 1 & 2,” “TERMINATOR 1, 2 & 3”), Jason Clarke (“THE GREAT GATSBY,” “ZERO DARK THIRTY”), Emilia Clarke (“Game of Thrones”), Jai Courtney (“DIVERGENT,” “JACK REACHER”), J.K. Simmons (“MEN, WOMEN & CHILDREN,” “UP IN THE AIR”), Dayo Okeniyi (“THE HUNGER GAMES,” “THE SPECTACULAR NOW”), and Byung Hun Lee (“RED 2,” “G.I. JOE: RETALIATION”).

The new film is written by Laeta Kalogridis (“AVATAR,” “SHUTTER ISLAND”) and Patrick Lussier (“DRIVE ANGRY”). David Ellison and Dana Goldberg (“WORLD WAR Z,” “STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS”) of Skydance Productions are producing. Executive producers are Skydance’s Paul Schwake (“WORLD WAR Z,” “STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS”), Annapurna Pictures’ Megan Ellison (“AMERICAN HUSTLE,” “HER”), Kalogridis and Lussier.

The “TERMINATOR” franchise launched in 1984 with Schwarzenegger as the title character and spanned three subsequent films, which have earned more than $1 billion at the worldwide box office.

Paramount will distribute the film worldwide on July 1, 2015.
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#CYMBELINE Official Trailer Starring #ETHANHAWKE & #DAKOTAJOHNSON On VOD March 13th


In Theaters and On Demand March 13

Academy Award® nominees Ethan Hawke (Best Supporting Actor, Boyhood, 2014) and Ed Harris (Best Actor, Pollock, 2000) lead a powerhouse cast including Milla Jovovich, John Leguizamo, Penn Badgley, Dakota Johnson and Anton Yelchin, with Bill Pullman and Delroy Lindo in a gritty story of a take-no-prisoners war between dirty cops and an outlaw biker gang. When extortion, betrayal, and fiery passions threaten his criminal empire, a drug kingpin (Harris) is driven to desperate measures in this explosive, modern retelling of Shakespeare's timeless

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Thursday, February 26, 2015

Harrison Ford Running Back to Blade Runner

Actor set to revisit Rick Deckard.

By Brandon Wolfe

Harrison Ford will continue his ongoing franchise reunion tour as Alcon Entertainment has announced today that the actor is officially set to reprise his role of Rick Deckard in the sequel to 1982’s landmark sci-fi noir Blade Runner. Academy Award nominee Denis Villeneuve, the director of Prisoners, is in talks to helm the film, which is slated to begin shooting in Summer 2016. Hampton Fancher, who co-wrote the original, has written the script for the new film along with Michael Green, based upon a concept originated by Fancher and the original film’s director, Ridley Scott. The story will take place several decades after the events of the original film.

“We are honored that Harrison is joining us on this journey with Denis Villeneuve who is a singular talent, as we experienced personally on Prisoners,” said Alcon co-founders and co-CEO’s Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove, “Hampton and Michael, with Ridley Scott, have crafted a uniquely potent and faithful sequel to one of the most universally celebrated films of all time, and we couldn’t be more thrilled with this amazing, creative team.”

While Ford revisiting Indiana Jones and Han Solo made a certain amount of sense, him returning to Deckard seems like a questionable decision. For starters, it would essentially force the sequel to answer one of cinema’s most enduring unanswered questions – whether or not Deckard was a replicant. Also, if he was a replicant, his life span would have been restricted to where he shouldn’t even still be alive at the point several decades later when this film will be set. Delving further into Blade Runner’s world is a sound idea, but tethering it to the Deckard character feels restrictive and makes little sense. This will take some serious finagling to pull off properly, so let’s hope these guys know what they’re doing. (The guys other than Ridley Scott, that is. We already know he doesn’t).

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

DVD Review: Dumb and Dumber To

Bring Harry and Lloyd home.

Review by Brandon Wolfe

Comedy sequels are a juice rarely worth the squeeze. You could count on one hand the number of comedic sequels that have matched or surpassed their predecessors with fingers left to spare. For whatever reason, recreating the unique magic of a successful comedy has proven historically difficult for Hollywood. At their worst, such sequels are carbon-copied exercises in laziness like the Hangover sequels, limply retracing the steps of what worked in the original film to vastly diminished success. Generally the best one can hope for from a comedy sequel is something like 22 Jump Street, which lacks the freshness and inspiration of the first film, but has just enough energy and new jokes to at least justify its existence.

Given the disappointment-strewn battlefield of comedy sequelization, there was every reason in the world to be wary of, if not outright terrified by, the prospect of Dumb and Dumber To. After all, this isn’t just the follow-up to a solid comedy from a couple of years ago. The original Dumb and Dumber is a bona fide comedy classic going back twenty years. It arguably holds a place among the funniest films ever made. If something like Horrible Bosses 2 comes out and disappoints, no one is going to be too broken up about it, but Dumb and Dumber? Messing that up would hurt. One need only look back to last year’s Anchorman 2, another belated sequel to a stone-cold classic, for a cautionary tale. That film came and went, leaving no impression whatsoever. Where the original Anchorman was quoted into oblivion, find me anyone who can remember two jokes from Anchorman 2. It wasn’t bad, it was simply forgettable, which is far worse. At least bad you remember.

It’s with a huge sigh of relief that I can confirm that Dumb and Dumber To manages to sidestep the comedy-sequel curse. It’s a solid successor to the original and very funny in its own right. Better still, even though it echoes the first film in several ways, it’s not beholden to it. It has a fresh crop of jokes to mesh with the callbacks. It doesn’t feel like a lethargic retread, which immediately places it ahead of its comedy-sequel brethren.

Once again, we follow the misadventures of Harry Dunne (Jeff Daniels) and Lloyd Christmas (Jim Carrey), lifelong friends and accident-prone ne’er-do-wells with single-digit IQs. The film opens by filling us in on what the two have been up to for the last twenty years (in a terrific joke that I’ll not spoil, even if all the trailers have). Reunited, the duo sets out on a mission. Harry has a failing kidney and is in desperate need of a transplant. After first hitting up his parents, Harry learns that they are not a biological match to him for reasons that he should have figured out decades ago were he not an imbecile. But a postcard from 1991 informs him that he had a daughter by local trollop Fraida Felcher (Kathleen Turner) which he never knew about. With the knowledge that there’s a grown woman out there who is his genetic match, Harry sets out in pursuit of the child he never knew. Lloyd comes along, ostensibly to help his buddy attain that much-needed kidney, but more because he’s once again developed an instantaneous infatuation, this time with the photograph of Penny (Rachel Melvin), Harry’s daughter.

Dumb and Dumber To then begins to resemble the Dumb and Dumber of old. Again, the boys head out on the open road in pursuit of a girl that Lloyd is hot for, and again they find themselves obliviously embroiled in a criminal scheme, this time involving Adele Pichlow (Laurie Holden), the scheming wife of Penny’s adopted father, noted scientist Dr. Pichlow (Steve Tom). Upon learning that Penny has set off to a conference to accept an award on her father’s behalf, Harry and Lloyd are assigned the task of delivering a package to her to present to the science community, which Pichlow claims will greatly benefit mankind, thus placing this priceless commodity into the four worst hands conceivable. Adele, a gold-digger actively plotting her husband’s murder, enlists her secret lover Travis (Rob Riggle) to accompany the duo on their quest, the better to dispose of them and commandeer the package.

Yet, though Dumb and Dumber To works within the same basic template of the first film (Travis essentially fills the exact same role that Mike Starr did in the original), the film doesn’t coast entirely callbacks, a trap that comedy sequels constantly fall into. There are certainly some (Lloyd still has pitiful Binaca aim and introduces us to the SECOND most annoying sound in the world), but the sequel comes up with enough new material to avoid feeling like merely a cover version of something we’ve already seen. At times, it even attempts to subvert expectations toward sequel iconography, as with the hilarious handling of the Mutt Cutts van’s reemergence. It’s to the sequel’s credit that it finds some new moronic things for Harry and Lloyd to do and say instead of simply regurgitating the familiar.

The film also represents a return to form for the Farrelly Brothers, who haven’t made a movie this funny since their ‘90s heyday. After exploding out of the gate with the original Dumb, Kingpin, and There’s Something About Mary, the Farrellys have spent the 21st Century churning out a series of middling comedies, none of which did much to recapture the initial spark of that first trio of films. But there’s something about Harry and Lloyd that gets the brothers’ comedic juices flowing like wine. This film is a sequel and yet it feels more comedically energized than any of the original films the Farrellys have made in the last 15 years.

The most remarkable aspect, however, is how easily Carrey and Daniels step back into these roles. There’s no rustiness whatsoever, in spite of the two-decade gap. This is all the more impressive since Daniels hasn’t really done much in the way of comedy since the first film, and now works on HBO’s The Newsroom, which is about as far from Dumb and Dumber as you can get (though I’m told it’s both funny and dumb in its own ways). And though Carrey is still thought of as a comedic actor, the truth is that he’s gravitated away from material like this over the past decade, working on lower-key or higher-minded projects when he works at all. These two had every excuse in the world to be off their game, yet they slip right back into both their characters and their easygoing goofball chemistry like 1994 never ended. They’re ably abetted this time by Rachel Melvin as Penny, who puts an adorably ditzy spin on the characters’ unique brand of idiocy.

Dumb and Dumber To is a surprise. There was no reason to expect it to work as well as it does after twenty years on ice. Carrey has been notoriously sequel-averse throughout his career ever since (and perhaps directly because of) Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls but To works so well that one hopes we get to see Harry and Lloyd yet again somewhere down the road. Even if that road stretches all the way to 2034.

Extras include an alternate opening sequence (wherein Harry tries further methods of removing Lloyd’s catheter), a handful of deleted or extended Scenes and a gag reel. Also present is the extensive making-of feature "That's Awesome!" - The Story of Dumb and Dumber To, an enjoyable retrospective on the production of the film, as well as the legacy of the original film and what it meant to the cast, crew and to regular fans. Dumb fans should enjoy it quite a bit.

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

Movie Review: The Lazarus Effect

Check do-not-resuscitate on derivative horror.

Review by Brandon Wolfe

“Sometimes dead is better,” gravely intoned old Jud Crandall in Pet Sematary, but characters in horror movies (including Jud’s own) never heed that warning. Playing God is too irresistible a prospect, especially when a loved one falls. No, to horror movie characters, dead is worse, until they discover, as they inevitably do, that there’s always something worse than death. Something beyond death. Something beyond human comprehension. Then the realization hits, always far too late, that dead? Sometimes better.

This is the object lesson learned the hard way by the university-based researchers in The Lazarus Effect. Engaged scientists Frank and Zoe (Mark Duplass and Olivia Wilde) have been developing a serum designed to temporarily revive flatlining patients in order to extend the window of opportunity for a surgeon to save them. Aided by lab assistants Niko (Community’s Donald Glover) and Clay (Evan Peters, Quicksilver from X-Men: Days of Future Past), and documented by camerawoman Eva (Sarah Bolger from Once Upon a Time), Frank and Zoe struggle to make their serum work for more than just a few seconds (as it does on a dead pig in the film’s found-footage-flavored opening scene). One day, after a surprisingly lucid suggestion from a stoned Clay, the group manages to fully revive a deceased dog, which returns to life so good-as-new that it no longer even has the extreme cataracts it had upon death. But the dog, of course, came back wrong, and exhibits unsettling (yet kind of funny) behavior, such as engaging in eerie staring contests and, most remarkably, raiding the fridge on its own.

The team’s big breakthrough hits a wall, however, when the corporation that extended grant money to Frank steps in and co-opts all the research material in a bid to cut the group off from credit for their own work. Desperate to retain autonomy over his passion project, Frank gathers the team to infiltrate the lab illicitly and recreate their experiment’s success in front of Eva’s camera to get ahead of the corporation going public with the research. But the plan runs into a snag when Zoe is abruptly electrocuted to death mid-procedure. Looking at his dead fiancé lying on the ground and knowing that he has a batch of anti-death serum in his hot little hand, Frank decides that his work is about to get its unscheduled first human trial. The procedure is a success and Zoe is back up on her feet soon enough, but the person who comes back isn’t the same Zoe as before. They never are. Definitely one of those times where dead is better.

The Lazarus Effect is essentially a hodgepodge of creaky horror tropes cobbled together, even if the pieces being cobbled don’t fit together organically. Obviously the film owes a huge debt to Joel Schumacher’s Flatliners, of which it has literally the exact same premise, and there’s some of the aforementioned Pet Sematary in there as well for good measure, but the film dips its toe into a number of other sources as it goes along and the whole thing begins to seem jumbled. When Zoe initially returns, she claims that she spent her time gone (which she recounts as years, even though it was just minutes to the team) in Hell, which she claims is the ceaseless endurance of the worst moment from a person’s life (amusingly, this is also the concept of Hell presented in Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey), in Zoe’s case, a fire she witnessed as a child that claimed the lives of her neighbors. But Zoe carries this vision of torment back to the real world somehow, and she’s able to trap Eva in her fiery nightmare scenario as well, leaving the girl with a hand-shaped burn mark as proof of her experience. So now we’re in Nightmare on Elm Street territory as well. As if the pool of references weren’t already getting a bit crowded (and that’s not even taking into account the blatant Frankenstein motif recurring all throughout), Zoe begins killing her colleagues off telekinetically, Carrie-style.

The film’s stubborn resistance to pin down the rules that govern its premise grows frustrating. It’s never clear exactly what Zoe is supposed to be. Is she possessed or a corrupted version of herself? Is she a tormented victim or an eager participant in her carnage? What does she want or hope to achieve? What is the nature of her powers? The Lazarus Effect seems to want to keep its options open, taking all available pathways indiscriminately. The film is skillfully made, but far too reliant on hoary horror tricks (hope you like jump-scares because they’re on the menu). Far too much of the film feels aggravatingly familiar, both visually and conceptually.

I’ll say this - for such a low-rent piffle, The Lazarus Effect has somehow managed to accumulate an impressive roster of actors, though it proceeds to waste their talents uniformly. The ubiquitous Duplass isn’t afforded the opportunity to make Frank anything more than a hapless schmoe. The character isn’t allowed to emerge as obsessive or driven mad by grief or hubris. He’s just kind of there. Peters, who stole the whole show out from under a lot of major talents in X-Men, makes little impression here as an ostensibly funny pothead. Most baffling of all is Glover, a profoundly gifted comedic actor stuck in a stock, personality-scrubbed horror-victim role (and, given Glover’s ethnicity, a shiny nickel to anyone who guesses who dies first). This guy walked away from Community to do stuff like this?

The sole cast member to make an impression is Wilde, who isn’t necessarily any better served by the film than anyone else, but who cuts an admirably creepy horror figure. Wilde’s facial features, striking and attractive in most contexts, are repurposed here for maximum chilling effect. Her slight gauntness and severe bone structure take on an otherworldly visage when she turns into…whatever it is that Zoe turns into.

But it’s not enough to save The Lazarus Effect from its derivative ordinariness. The film is a grab-bag of things we’ve seen in other, better movies many, many times before. The film has a sequel setup that hammers the Frankenstein homage home, but it’s hard to walk out of the theater wanting more. This film’s franchise prospects should be left for dead. Sometimes that’s better.

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

Movie Review: Focus

The caper drama Focus has a lot going for it, but gets its pockets picked in a few key areas.

Review by Matt Cummings

It doesn't happen too often that an actor can get completely knocked down by one role, but for Will Smith that was After Earth. It was not only one of the worst films of 2013, but an embarrassing trainwreck that saw Smith lose nearly all of his credibility and charm. It's taken awhile to get that back, an Focus helps a lot, even though it suffers in a couple of key areas.

When a one-night stand between Nicky Spurgeon (Smith) and Jess (Margo Robbie) leads to trouble with Jess' husband, it looks like Nicky will have to pay big time to make the problem go away. What Jess doesn't know is that Nicky is a smooth operator and con himself, swindling money left and right including her rings, wallet, and sunglasses from her before she even realizes it. The two decide to join forces during a football championship game in New Orleans, pick-pocketing their way to a huge haul, with the help of Nicky's army of cons. But the relationship isn't meant to last, and soon Jess finds herself dumped and without options while Nicky ruminates of his decision to leave her. Fast forward three years, and the two meet again, this time while Nicky is pursuing the ultimate prize, a con so big he might be able to retire. But trouble isn't far behind either, and soon Nicky and Jess find themselves in a tightening noose as his con is exposed. Or do they?

Focus has a lot going for it. If the goal is make the audience wonder exactly what is real and what is conceived by Nicky's sharp mind, then consider it a winner. The cons are swift and multi-layered, as if the con is being conned itself. The deception is nearly unending, as each new twist provides more opportunities for Robbie and Smith to heat it up. Smith, for all that he's done to himself to cast doubt in the minds of audiences, returns to his classic form but with a better dressed, more mature attitude towards his craft. Robbie is sensational with Smith, a hot burn each time they're together. She could make fire jealous, which is why her securing Harley Quinn in Sinister Six will be such a delicious experience for us. But, when these two are apart - such as when Nicky is ruminating about missing Jess or she's with Nicky's other con minions - things really slow down. No, it's doesn't turn into a slow burn, I mean it...slows...down. The surprise of the film is Gerald McRaney, whose gruff precision honed in the 1980's with Simon & Simon, steals every scene he's in. He's still a force of nature, and thus in the casting department Ficarra and Requa have utterly succeeded. But, Focus does manage to succeed elsewhere, taking us on a fun rollercoaster mixed with liquor and women. It's like the Fast & Furious of cons, spinning into corners and thematically jumping multiple exploding cars while its hero pretends to look razzed but has every angle covered. Wait a minute: that's a con-caper too...

And still with all of that achievement, the script co-creators Glenn Ficarra and John Requa is not as smart or as endearing as they want us to believe. Not only is some of the direction a bit messy, but its story of crosses, double-crosses, and greying loyalties might make you a bit paranoid that the entire affair is a set up. When that doesn't happen, you feel somewhat cheated because the ending just...ends. The other problem here is that the story doesn't seem to have one; Focus is about chemistry, not a plot that makes sense or is constructed in any way to reflect one. This creates a lot of characters that really don't matter, with those that you do want to see developed not really given enough time to do so. All of that skirting does ultimately affect whether you care about whether Nicky and Jess get together, if their con will see them rich or dead, or whether any of it really matters to the overall story. That's a gamble I don't like playing.

Focus is a good ride that also misses in a couple of key areas. Will Smith and Margo Robbie electrify the screen, but neither is as good when alone or with other actors, while Gerald McRaney benefits from a few great lines. For top caper, you still have to take Ocean's Eleven or The Italian Job, but Focus makes a good case for rainy afternoon cable sitdown or matinee experiment.

Focus is Rated R for language, some sexual content and brief violence and has a runtime of 104 minutes.

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

WELCOME TO ME Official Trailer

What happens when a young woman with Borderline Personality Disorder wins the lottery? In the case of Alice Klieg (Kristen Wiig), she quits her psychiatric meds and buys her own talk show.

Inspired by the immortal Oprah, she broadcasts her dirty laundry as both a form of exhibitionism and a platform to share her peculiar views on everything from nutrition to relationships to neutering pets. Also starring Wes Bentley, James Marsden, Tim Robbins, Joan Cusack, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Linda Cardellini.

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RAIDERS! New Trailer For The Story Of The Greatest Fan Film Ever Made


Raiders!, a documentary of the story behind the greatest fan film ever made, is set to have its world premiere at SXSW Film Festival in Austin, TX on March 14, 2015. Raiders! chronicles the epic thirty year journey that began in 1982 when two twelve-year-old kids in Mississipi set out to film a mind-bogglingly ambitious shot-for-shot remake of Raiders of the Lost Ark.

It took Eric Zala and Chris Strompolos seven summers to make Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation. By saving up their allowances, hijacking younger siblings, and setting Eric's basement on fire, the boys used astonishing ingenuity to make a film that is surprisingly entertaining and even stunning at times.

For fifteen years, Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adaptation was nearly a forgotten masterpiece of fan filmmaking until Aint It Cool News' Harry Knowles screened it publicly in Austin, TX from a copy obtained by filmmaker Eli Roth. It became an instant phenomenon, generating global media coverage and even getting the attention of Chris and Eric's idol, Steven Spielberg.

Eric, Chris and their childhood cast and crew reshot every scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark. Every scene except one: the infamous Flying Wing scene where the shirtless Nazi strongman is cut up by the circling plane's propeller. Needless to say, as children in the early 1980s, it was difficult for them to procure a suitable plane to blow up in Mississippi. Being the perfectionists that they are, it's something that has always nagged at Eric and Chris.

Raiders! follows the twenty-five year reunion of most of the original cast and crew, now in their early 40s, in Ocean Springs, MS to finally complete the adaptation with this last missing scene in the summer of 2014. How have time and adulthood changed everyone? Will they still have the same determination and excitement they had as kids? What do their family members think of it? This insightful and heartfelt documentary reveals for the first time the full behind-the-scenes story of Chris and Eric's inspiring journey to finally finish their labor of love. Raiders! digs deep into their friendship and their mutual persistence to complete a seemingly ridiculous and impossible task, reminding us of the innocence and purity we had as children to follow our dreams no matter how crazy or stupid others said they are.

SXSW Film Screening Schedule:
Following the World Premiere screening of Raiders! there will be a special screening of Raiders of the Lost Ark: The Adapation, giving SXSW attendees the chance to get the full behind-the-scenes story as well as experience the greatest fan film ever made!

Alamo Drafthouse S. Lamar - Saturday, March 14 @ 9:00 PM (World Premiere)
Alamo Drafthouse Slaughter Lane - Monday, March 16 @ 12:00 PM
Alamo Drafthouse S. Lamar - Thursday, March 19 @ 9:00 PM
Vimeo Theater - Friday, March 20 @ 9:45 PM

Directors Jeremy Coon & Tim Skousen and cast members Eric Zala & Chris Strompolos will be in attendance.

Raiders! synopsis:
In 1982, two 11 year-olds in Mississippi set out to remake their favorite film: Raiders of the Lost Ark. It took seven turbulent years that tested the limits of their friendship and nearly burned down their mother's house. By the end, they had completed every scene except one... the explosive airplane scene. Thirty years later, they attempt to finally realize their childhood dream by building a replica of the 75-foot "Flying Wing" plane from Raiders in a mud pit in the backwoods of Mississippi... and then blow it up! This is the story behind the making of what is known as "the greatest fan film ever made."

Director: Jeremy Coon, Tim Skousen
Executive Producer: Kyle Newman
Producer: Jeremy Coon, Tim Skousen
Cinematographer: Tim Irwin
Editor: Barry Poltermann
Additional Credits: Cinematographer: Ed Stephenson
Principal Cast: Eric Zala, Chris Strompolos, Jayson Lamb, Angela Rodriguez, Guy James Klender, Eli Roth, Harry Knowles, John Rhys Davies, Mark Spain, Francisco Gonzales

Jeremy Coon & Tim Skousen bios:
Native Texan Jeremy Coon's past films include producing and editing Napoleon Dynamite among others. Raiders! is his directorial debut. Tim Skousen makes docs, narratives, and commercials and is known for Zero Percent and The Sasquatch Gang. Raiders! is his 2nd feature doc and his first chance to bring together his love of comedy and documentary.

For more on Raiders!
Official Site: http://www.raidersdoc.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/raidersdoc

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*UPDATED* Neill Blomkamp's Alien Sequel to Ignore Alien³ and Alien Resurrection

New film aims to be The Real Alien 3.

By Brandon Wolfe

After a week of rampant speculation, director Neill Blomkamp, doing a press tour for his upcoming film Chappie, has confirmed that his recently announced Alien sequel will indeed deal with problematic previous installments Alien³ and Alien Resurrection by simply blinking them out of existence, much like Halloween: H20 and Superman Returns did with the preceding sequels they didn’t like.

“I want this film to feel like it is literally the genetic sibling of Aliens, so it’s Alien, Aliens, this movie,” said Blomkamp. “It’s a Freudian kind of nightmare. That element to me is what is so appealing, to try to put the audience on the edge of their seat the whole time in a traditional ‘monster stalking you/dark corridor’ way. And then when you mix in the life cycle and the design elements of the Alien, it’s just a powder-keg of creativity to me.”

Blomkamp further confirmed to The Guardian that he would “categorically” rule out the return of the cloned version of Ripley showcased in Alien Resurrection.

The District 9 director first indicated his interest in reviving Alien through his posting of several pieces of personally commissioned concept art on his Instagram page, but stated at the time that he did not expect anything to come of the project. The favorable reception to the artwork made the film a reality.

Sigourney Weaver has not yet signed on to reprise her role as Ellen Ripley, but is expected to, as she is publicly expressing her interest in Blomkamp’s project. “I’m delighted that he is interested in doing this,” Weaver said. “I think it’s a great series. It deserves a proper ending. I know the fans would love that, and so I hope it works out.”

For those who might not recall, Alien³ killed off all the surviving characters from the previous film, Aliens, including, in the climax, Ripley herself. Resurrection brought the character back as a hybrid clone containing Xenomorph DNA. But that’s all irrelevant now because those movies didn’t happen.

UPDATE: Blomkamp has clarified his previous comments, stating to French film site AlloCine that he doesn't intend on jettisoning Alien³ and Alien Resurrection out of the airlock after all.

“I’m not trying to undo Alien³ and Alien Resurrection," Blomkamp said. “My favorites are the first two movies. I want to make a film that’s connected to Alien and Aliens. That’s my goal.”

How Blomkamp intends to make a film with a significantly older Ripley and a still-alive Hicks that's only connected to the first two films without removing the third and fourth films from continuity will be some trick. Can't wait to see how he pulls off that one.

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

Watch The CHAPPIE CHALLENGE This Sunday On @Twitch

Top Gamers to Take on Chappie in Twitch and Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Live “Chappie Challenge” Event

Chappie, the first movie character to play live on Twitch, challenges gamers to take him on in 2K and Turtle Rock Studios’ Evolve with a $15,000 prize pool

Finals Event to Stream Live on Twitch on March 1 at 3pm PST

Twitch, the leading social video platform for gamers, and Sony Pictures Entertainment has attracted an impressive number of Evolve gamers for The Chappie Challenge, a one-of-a-kind event. This program will mark the first time that human gamers can play against a movie character, as players compete in 2K and Turtle Rock Studios’ Evolve against Chappie, the star of Sony Pictures Entertainment and MRC’s Chappie, in theaters March 6.

Evolve is a highly strategic experience in which a team of four human players fights a fifth, playing as a Monster. In the Chappie Challenge, a team of human gamers will have the chance to square off against Chappie on Twitch.

The qualifying rounds ran over the weekend of February 21-23; the finals match against Chappie is slated for March 1 starting at 3pm PST. The live finals will take place at ESL studios in Burbank, California, where ESL is overseeing tournament production in conjunction with Twitch. At this event, the top team will face off against Chappie. This match will be livestreamed on Twitch at www.twitch.tv/evolvegame, and marks the first time a film character has competed in character on the platform.

Commenting on the announcement, Elias Plishner EVP Worldwide Digital Marketing at Sony Pictures said, “We’re thrilled to be teaming up with Twitch for this first-of-its-kind event – gamers have never been able to take on a movie character in this kind of live competition. We know Chappie is up to the challenge – and we’ll have to see how the top team does against him on March 1.”

From Neill Blomkamp, the director of District 9, comes the new film Chappie. In the near future, crime is patrolled by an oppressive mechanized police force. But now, the people are fighting back. When one police droid, Chappie, is stolen and given new programming, he becomes the first robot with the ability to think and feel for himself. As powerful, destructive forces start to see Chappie as a danger to mankind and order, they will stop at nothing to maintain the status quo and ensure that Chappie is the last of his kind. Directed by Neill Blomkamp. Produced by Neill Blomkamp and Simon Kinberg. Written by Neill Blomkamp & Terri Tatchell.

As Chappie’s intelligence and emotions evolve throughout the film, there is a different kind of evolution happening in the video game Evolve. From 2K and Turtle Rock Studios comes Evolve, the highly anticipated shooter in which four Hunters face off against a single, player-controlled Monster in adrenaline-pumping 4v1 matches. Play as the Monster to use savage abilities and an animalistic sense to kill your human enemies, or choose one of four Hunter classes (Trapper, Support, Assault and Medic) and team up to take down the beast on the planet Shear, where flora and fauna act as an adversary to man and Monster alike. Level up to unlock new Hunter or Monster characters as well as upgrades, skins, and perks. Earn your infamy on the leaderboards and become the apex predator. Evolve is currently available for Xbox One, the all-in-one games and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®4 and PC.

For more information about the Chappie Challenge, visit http://www.chappiechallenge.com/.

About Twitch
Twitch is the world’s leading live social video platform and community for gamers. Each month, more than 100 million community members gather to watch and talk about video games with more than 1.5 million broadcasters. Twitch’s video platform is the backbone of both live and on-demand distribution for the entire video game ecosystem. This includes game developers, publishers, media outlets, events, user generated content, and the entire esports scene. In February 2014, Twitch was ranked the 4th largest website in terms of peak internet traffic in the U.S., fortifying the brand as an entertainment industry leader and the epicenter of social video for gamers.

About Sony Pictures Entertainment
Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) is a subsidiary of Sony Entertainment Inc., a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Sony Corporation. SPE’s global operations encompass motion picture production, acquisition and distribution; television production, acquisition and distribution; television networks; digital content creation and distribution; operation of studio facilities; and development of new entertainment products, services and technologies. For additional information, go to http://www.sonypictures.com.

About 2K
Founded in 2005, 2K develops and publishes interactive entertainment globally for console systems, handheld gaming systems and personal computers, including smartphones and tablets, which are delivered through physical retail, digital download, online platforms and cloud streaming services. 2K publishes titles in today’s most popular gaming genres, including shooters, action, role-playing, strategy, sports, casual, and family entertainment. The 2K label has some of the most talented development studios in the world today, including Firaxis Games, Visual Concepts, 2K Marin, 2K Czech, 2K Australia, Hangar 13, Cat Daddy Games and 2K China. 2K’s stable of high quality titles includes the critically acclaimed BioShock®, Borderlands™ and XCOM® franchises, the beloved Sid Meier’s Civilization series, the popular WWE 2K franchise and NBA 2K, the #1 rated and #1 selling basketball franchise*. 2K is headquartered in Novato, California and is a wholly owned label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. (NASDAQ: TTWO). For more information, please visit www.2k.com.

*According to 2008 - 2014 Metacritic.com and The NPD Group estimates of U.S. retail video game sales through January 2014.

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WWE LAUNCHES #STARS4HOPE TO BENEFIT @SpecialOlympics & @StanfordChild


WWE (NYSE: WWE) today announced the launch of Superstars for Hope, a fundraising campaign on Indiegogo, the world’s largest crowdfunding platform, to benefit Special Olympics and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital Stanford in honor of Connor’s Cure. The announcement was made exclusively on Twitter by WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon, WWE Hall of Famer Hulk Hogan and WWE Superstar John Cena. To kick off Superstars for Hope, WWE and the San Francisco 49ers Foundation have each donated $25,000, the first in a series of community outreach initiatives in celebration of WrestleMania 31 at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara on Sunday, March 29.

Beginning today, supporters can donate at SuperstarsforHope.com and receive unique WWE merchandise, autographs, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences from WWE Superstars, Divas and Legends. Each week, WWE will add new exclusive experiences to the campaign, including:

· A tour of WWE’s state-of-the-art Performance Center in Orlando, Florida
· Backstage access to Monday Night Raw or SmackDown
· VIP package to WWE pay-per-view events
· Lunch with WWE Superstar Triple H® at the WWE Performance Center
· WWE World Heavyweight Championship title signed by WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon, Stephanie McMahon and Triple H
· An ultimate WrestleMania 32 package
· Lunch with the cast of the hit E! reality show Total Divas

“WWE’s support of Special Olympics gives us a unique platform from which to reach, educate and welcome countless new fans and athletes to our movement,” said Janet Froetscher, CEO, Special Olympics. “The important work we do around the world to create communities of acceptance and respect for all will only be successful when the world heeds our call to Play Unified in order to Live Unified."

“Every day at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, our doctors, staff, and researchers strive to ensure the best possible care for children with cancer,” said Christopher G. Dawes, president and CEO of Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford. “WWE has been a strong advocate of pediatric cancer research and we're pleased to support the important mission of Connor’s Cure.”

"WWE is dedicated to using the power of our brand to give back to the community in as many ways as we can," said Stephanie McMahon, WWE Chief Brand Officer. "I am proud that this year’s Superstars for Hope campaign will support two worthwhile causes, Special Olympics celebrating acceptance and inclusion, and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford in honor of Connor’s Cure in an effort to find a cure for pediatric cancer.”

“The 49ers Foundation is proud to be partnering with WWE to further our commitment to making an impact on and off the field,” said John York, Chairman/Co-Owner of the San Francisco 49ers. “Special Olympics and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford provide much needed resources for superstars in our community – athletes with intellectual disabilities and children fighting life-threatening and life-limiting illness. It is an honor to join with WWE to support them through the Superstars for Hope campaign.”

In support of Superstars for Hope, celebrities and athletes are serving as official social media ambassadors to help raise funds and awareness. Ambassadors include San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, journalist Joan Lunden, journalist and Yahoo! global news anchor Katie Couric, multi-platinum recording artist and actress Jordin Sparks and actor Kellan Lutz.
Fans can click here now through Tuesday, March 31 to participate and use the hashtag #STARS4HOPE when donating.

About Special Olympics

Special Olympics is a global movement that unleashes the human spirit through the transformative power and joy of sports, every day around the world. We empower people with intellectual disabilities to become accepted and valued members of their communities, which leads to a more respectful and inclusive society for all. Using sports as the catalyst and programming around health and education, Special Olympics is fighting inactivity, injustice and intolerance. Founded in 1968 by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the Special Olympics movement has grown to more than 4.4 million athletes in 170 countries. With the support of more than 1.3 million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers 32 Olympic-type sports and more than 81,000 games and competitions throughout the year. Special Olympics is supported by individuals, foundations and partners, including the Christmas Records Trust, the Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics, The Coca-Cola Company, The Walt Disney Company and ESPN, Lions Clubs International, Mattel, Microsoft, P&G, Bank of America, Essilor Vision Foundation, the B. Thomas Golisano Foundation, Finish Line, The Safeway Foundation, and Safilo Group. Visit Special Olympics at www.specialolympics.org. Engage with us on: Twitter @specialolympics; fb.com/specialolympics; youtube.com/specialolympicshq, instagram.com/specialolymics and specialolympicsblog.wordpress.com.
About Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford
Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford is the heart of Stanford Children’s Health, and is one of the nation’s top hospitals for the care of children and expectant mothers. For a decade, we have received the highest specialty rankings of any Northern California children’s hospital, according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2014-15 Best Children’s Hospitals survey, and are the only hospital in Northern California to receive the national 2013 Leapfrog Group Top Children’s Hospital award for quality and patient care safety. Discover more at stanfordchildrens.org.
About WWE
WWE, a publicly traded company (NYSE: WWE), is an integrated media organization and recognized leader in global entertainment. The company consists of a portfolio of businesses that create and deliver original content 52 weeks a year to a global audience. WWE is committed to family friendly entertainment on its television programming, pay-per-view, digital media and publishing platforms. WWE programming reaches more than 650 million homes worldwide in 35 languages. WWE Network, the first-ever 24/7 over-the-top premium network that includes all 12 live pay-per-views, scheduled programming and a massive video-on-demand library, is currently available in more than 170 countries. The company is headquartered in Stamford, Conn., with offices in New York, Los Angeles, London, Mexico City, Mumbai, Shanghai, Singapore, Dubai, Munich and Tokyo.
Additional information on WWE (NYSE: WWE) can be found at wwe.com and corporate.wwe.com. For information on our global activities, go to http://www.wwe.com/worldwide/.
About Indiegogo

Indiegogo empowers people around the world to fund what matters to them. As the largest global crowdfunding platform, campaigns have launched from almost every country around the world with millions of dollars being distributed every week due to contributions made by the Indiegogo community. Indiegogo is the equal opportunity platform dedicated to democratizing the way people raise funds for any project – creative, entrepreneurial or cause-related. The company was launched in 2008 and is headquartered in San Francisco, with offices in Los Angeles and New York. For more information, visit www.indiegogo.com and follow us at www.twitter.com/indiegogo and www.facebook.com/indiegogo.

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#SPECTRE Second Vlog & First Image Of Dave Bautista

Here is the second vlog and new images from the set of SPECTRE. Focusing on director Sam Mendes, the behind the scenes footage features Daniel Craig as James Bond 007 as well as cast members Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, and Ben Whishaw.

Watch the video after the Jump...

Director, Sam Mendes says, "The reasons I’m doing the second Bond movie are the reasons I would do any movie, really, which is all to do with the story. And in this movie, ‘Spectre,’ what you have is a movie entirely driven by Bond. He is on a mission from the very beginning.”
Additionally, “It’s about whether or not to pursue the life he’s always pursued, whether he matters and is he going to continue or not. And you’re going to have to come to see the movie to find out whether he does.”

A cryptic message from Bond’s past sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister organisation. While M battles political forces to keep the secret service alive, Bond peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the terrible truth behind SPECTRE.

SPECTRE is set for global release on November 6, 2015.

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What's Behind 2015's Early Strong Box Office?

The reasons for success could change the way movies are made, marketed, and released.

Story by Matt Cummings

With January and February box office typically representing a rough couple of months for Hollywood, it comes as a surprise that 2015 has been one of the most robust in years. With receipts up 10% from the same period one year ago, theater owners are selling more popcorn and not having to shut down entire wings of their buildings due to the lack of traffic. The reason - or reasons - are simple: American Sniper and Fifty Shades of Grey.

These two titans have pushed ticket sales and general admission numbers to points that we typically don't see until April - that's when tentpoles and more lucrative productions begin to arrive, ushering in the wave of Summer blockbusters. Sniper has made $307.7 million since its opening in January, while Grey became the biggest debut for a movie in February history when it bent over a four-day total of $93 million.

But there's more to it than that: in producing such impressive numbers, we are seeing a reorganization of the way movies are released and who goes to see them. In the past, it was Summer blockbusters which commanded the large crowds; now, soft porn and war themes are bringing people to theaters when typically such times see audiences favoring Oscar contenders. Such changes are good for both Hollywood and their audiences, meaning that movies meant for Summer - such as Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” and Furious 7 - are moving into earlier slots, instead of waiting to compete against other big titles. This sort of cannibalism caused a drain on their performance (see 2014's The Amazing Spider-man 2, Godzilla, and X-Men: Days of Future Past); movies like 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy succeeded in large part because there was no realistic competition for a full month.

In the past, it was late winter, spring, and early fall where unwanted titles were dumped like The Island of Forgotten Toys. But with Sniper, Grey, August 2014's Guardians, April's Captain America: The Winter Solider, and October 2013's Gravity taking home big numbers, Hollywood is starting to listen. This is an important change that has already affected comic book filmmakers like Disney - who produce Marvel films - and Warner Bros. - who's beginning their DC run of films next year. Both are scheduling these tentpoles years into the future, taking up both prime release dates and off-month ones. In 2016, we'll see this genre spread its wings by releasing six films - not during the Summer months - but from February-November.

This has had a ripple effect on other films that might not have done well in Jan/Feb, had crowds not been attending. Titles like Paddington and The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water drew family crowds, while adults in the family sneaked out to see Sniper and Grey. The lesson here is simple: make mix of great films and crowds will come, regardless of the month. For awhile now, 2015 has been widely accepted as the biggest year for films in perhaps more than a decade, forcing many titles like Furious 7 to find safer ground. This means better films throughout the year, a fact which audiences like because they no longer have to choose where their dollars will be spent, and allowing them to spread out their moviegoing experience over more months. If 2015 is as big as everyone predicts, it will prove that great movies can succeed at any time.

But there are potential clouds on the horizon. Sniper and Grey did account for such large portions of the box office's performance, creating perhaps a top-heavy situation that can't be sustained. March doesn't seem to have any guaranteed winners, with a live-action Cinderella, a Divergent sequel, the odd sci-fi adventure Chappie and the maligned DreamWorks Animation releasing their only 2015 title Home. As a matter of comparison, March 2014 offered us several $100m titles including 300: Rise of an Empire, Noah, Mr. Peabody & Sherman and the first Divergent. Granted, none of those passed $160m, flaming out fairly fast and disappearing from the top 10 by May. Will any of next month's come close to those numbers?

We've also experienced a wave of notable flops since January, including Blackhat, Mortdecai, Jupiter Ascending, and Seventh Son. Had any one of these panned out, we would be even further ahead than 10%. Therefore, it makes Jan/Feb's early successes all that more important.

Once 2015 has a chance to play out, we'll probably be talking about how great this year was. But, 2016 could be healthier in terms of appealing titles spread out over the year. Just like superhero movies did in 2013/2014, we could be seeing a sea change in the way (and when) movies in general are released.

Discuss this story with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms, and follow author Matt Cummings at @mfc90125.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

TRUE STORY Starring James Franco & Jonah Hill Opens In Select Theaters On April 17th

TRUE STORY opens in select theaters on April 17, 2015 (including San Francisco)

Watch the trailer after the Jump...

When disgraced New York Times reporter Michael Finkel (Jonah Hill) meets accused killer Christian Longo (James Franco) – who has taken on Finkel’s identity – his investigation morphs into an unforgettable game of cat-and-mouse. Based on actual events, Finkel’s relentless pursuit of Longo’s true story encompasses murder, love, deceit and redemption.

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LOVE & MERCY Trailer Starring John Cusack & Elizabeth Banks

LOVE & MERCY Starring John Cusack, Paul Dano, Elizabeth Banks and Paul Giamatti.

LOVE & MERCY will open in theaters June 5, 2015

LOVE & MERCY presents an unconventional portrait of Brian Wilson, the mercurial singer, songwriter and leader of The Beach Boys. Set against the era defining catalog of Wilson’s music, the film intimately examines the personal voyage and ultimate salvation of the icon whose success came at extraordinary personal cost.

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The trailer for FROZEN FEVER is now available. The highly-anticipated follow-up short to the global phenomenon FROZEN can be seen exclusively in theaters with Disney’s new live-action CINDERELLA, starring Lily James and Academy Award-winner Cate Blanchett, on March 13, 2015.

In “Frozen Fever,” it's Anna's birthday and Elsa and Kristoff are determined to give her the best celebration ever, but when Elsa catches a cold, her powers may put more than just the party at risk.

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Iron Man Poster From The Avengers: Age of Ultron & Huge News Coming Soon

Robert Downey Jr. has Tweeted out a poster containing just Iron Man.

You've been good so here's a new #IronMan poster from @Avengers. & on the DL, big announcement in 8 days… #getexcited pic.twitter.com/AdB1tTib7K
— Robert Downey Jr (@RobertDowneyJr) February 25, 2015

Chances are, we can expect other single character posters as well. There's just so many great looking designs to see spotlighted separately.

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#INSURGENT Final Trailer & Tickets Information

Tickets for THE DIVERGENT SERIES: INSURGENT are now on sale!

For a chance to catch up on the first film before THE DIVERGENT SERIES: INSURGENT hits the big screen, buy your tickets TODAY on Fandango, MovieTickets.com, AMCTheatres.com, and Cinemark.com to receive a free download of the blockbuster first installment of the “Divergent” franchise.

INSURGENT hits theaters nationwide in less than a month! Don’t miss it in 2D, Digital 3D, IMAX® 3D and RealD™ 3D on FRIDAY, MARCH 20, 2015.

THE DIVERGENT SERIES: INSURGENT raises the stakes for Tris as she searches for allies and answers in the ruins of a futuristic Chicago. Tris (Woodley) and Four (James) are now fugitives on the run, hunted by Jeanine (Winslet), the leader of the power-hungry Erudite elite. Racing against time, they must find out what Tris’s family sacrificed their lives to protect, and why the Erudite leaders will do anything to stop them. Haunted by her past choices but desperate to protect the ones she loves, Tris, with Four at her side, faces one impossible challenge after another as they unlock the truth about the past and ultimately the future of their world.

Summit Entertainment presents a Red Wagon Entertainment / Mandeville Pictures production, a Robert Schwentke film.

Directed by: Robert Schwentke
Screenplay by: Brian Duffield and Akiva Goldsman and Mark Bomback
Based On The Novel “Insurgent” by: Veronica Roth
Produced By: Douglas Wick, p.g.a.; Lucy Fisher, p.g.a.; Pouya Shahbazian
Cast: Shailene Woodley, Theo James, Academy Award® Winner Octavia Spencer, Jai Courtney, Ray Stevenson, Zoë Kravitz, Miles Teller, Ansel Elgort, Maggie Q, Mekhi Phifer, Daniel Dae Kim, with Naomi Watts, and Academy Award® Winner Kate Winslet

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