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Saturday, October 17, 2015

Blu-ray Review: 'Furious 7'

Filled with high-octane stunts and likable additions, Furious 7 roars to a tearful tribute.

Review by Matt Cummings

WARNING: This review contains SPOILERS.

Review by Matt Cummings

When Furious 7 arrived in theaters on April 3, 2015 it was unclear whether audiences would accept the inevitable: that Actor Paul Walker - who tragically died in 2013 - would no longer grace this lucrative franchise. Would the film, delayed almost a year as it was re-shot, bring a satisfying conclusion to Walker's Brian O'Conner story arc? Based on its incredible success out-of-the-gate success, the answer was an emphatic yes. Whether it's the best of the series is open to debate, but as it arrives on Blu-ray it's clear that Universal commands the field, with one of the best looking and sounding affairs of the year.

The Movie - 4/5
With Owen Shaw (Luke Evans) defeated in London, Team Furious doesn't realize that Shaw's meaner brother Deckard (Jason Statham) has vowed a blood oath to kill them. After a vicious attack that leaves Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) critically injured and Han (Dijmon Hounsou) dead, the remaining members gather to take Shaw down. But with Hobbs laid up, they'll need help which comes in the form of a shadowy operative named Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell); he's got the tools including a device that can track him, provided that the team can secure the services of a tech genius that Deckard has already captured. With their newfound allies, Dominic (Vin Diesel), Brian (Walker), Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), Roman (Tyrese Gibson), and Tej (Ludcaris) travel the world to exact their own style of revenge, wrapped in steel and the roar of high-performance engines.

A review like this is particularly vexing to wrestle, as you hate to be critical about a film that was on life support after Walker's untimely death. You want to honor him, yet you're aware of one giant-sized elephant: the manner in which Walker is written out. It's the least satisfying scenario imaginable and the way Wan and Diesel envision its conclusion bears no fruit and takes zero chances. Popular opinion was to give O'Conner a violent death, because anything less would leave a huge plot hole that could never be closed. What we're given instead is a brotherly body double and Walker's head CG-ed onto it. It looks a little creepy and out of place in parts, reminding me of CLU in Tron: Legacy. At least there it was integrated into the story; here it oddly sticks out.

Experience holds true that you can't take the core out of someone no matter how hard you try. O'Conner has gasoline and NOS in his veins, which makes his rather sudden retirement all the more difficult to appreciate. There's no big "You have to quit" scene, no "I'm tired and want to quit," no big death that sets the tone for the rest of the film. Perhaps a more violent ending was discussed and ultimately shot-down by Universal, but their decision to press on makes the film less effective. The alternative would have provided for one of the most gripping endings any film had undertaken; imagine audience hatred of Deckard spanning multiple films as Team Furious tracks him down in a big kill scene to end the series. But don't get me wrong, I didn't have a huge problem with their decision, but the one I imagined would have resulted in a much more emotional - and effective - film.

Director James Wan steps in nicely to steer this ship though one of the most difficult productions in recent memory. He has an eye both for the dramatic and for cinematic over-the-top action, the sheer amount of ridiculous stunts seemingly doubled from Fast 6. The amount of excess here is like an exercise in motorcar masturbation, with fast whips, quick cuts, and Fastlane-like slow-mo to keep things moving. But there's also signs that Wan understands the traditions laid out in previous Furious movies: there's the token booted girls dancing in Tokyo, the bikini girls in Dubai, and more bikini girls in the desert. But more important, he gets the central theme of family, making the most of Chris Morgan and Gary Scott Thompson's script (and its re-write), veterans of the franchise who understand these characters' every heartbeat.

Diesel is still classic Dom, his deep nasally delivery providing the heartbeat for his love of this fast family he's assembled. Johnson perhaps suffers the most here, for he's only in about 20 minutes of the movie, giving Rodriguez the time she needs to put Letty back together. That kind of character growth is about all you get, so don't expect anything new from Ludacris or Gibson, the one remaining the tech genius and the other the simpering whiner comedic relief. And then there's Walker, whose charm has evolved over the years, pitting his career strangely at odds with itself. Put him in anything other than a speeding car and he was a disaster; give him a ride and the guy transformed into Bullit. Those scenes in which he's featured in Furious are some of the most memorable, with his reactions to a particular sequence in the trailer about as classic Brian O'Conner as you'd imagine.

The real reason why Furious 7 succeeds lies squarely on the addition of Statham, a great follow-up to Luke Evans' character and a genuine bad guy that few films these days are willing to provide. He is the real deal, a definite threat each time he appears, with the real ability to wreck anyone who comes his way. Russell is a genuine surprise, giving us a combination of Snake Pliskin and Wyatt Earp that works every time he's in scene. I hope we'll see more of him in future installments, because he's frankly a badass whose wise-cracking is a perfect mix for Diesel's team. On the other side, I was disappointed that Lucas Black was offered such a minor role: like Russell, perhaps there's larger plans for Black, but here it's just a glorified cameo.

The Video - 4.5/5
While some might have differing feelings about the script behind Furious 7, no one could (or should) complain about the transfer quality of Universal's juggernaut. Simply put, the film shines and flashes its way to being one of the best transfers of the year. You'd never know that it was shot on digital equipment, as there's a noticeable - but unintrusive - grain that looks darn near film quality that sacrifices nothing in the final cut. There's both absolute sharpness in clothing, facial features, and detail on machines and roads. The forest battle is pretty amazing here, showing off individual tree branches as the boys rattle their way to total destruction. For better or worse, we get to see a lot of these actors' base facial features including age lines, pores, Johnson's massive veins, and even razor stubble on Diesel's shaved head. Colors are consistently vibrant and realistic especially when we get to the desert scenes. It's almost as if color has been turned up a notch, but never in a way that looks overdone. And as always there's zero edge enhancement, aliasing, or banding to this image. This is as close to a test case for Universal's perfection if I've ever seen it.

The Audio - 5/5
Furious 7 roars to life with a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 lossless soundtrack that struts its stuff with all the power of Hemi. It's impressive how both loud and complex the track is. The music by Composer Brian Tyler makes its way into every speaker, thumping the LFE with enough to consistent to make you think something is wrong with your set up. But while electronic/Hip-Hop makes up some of the feel behind the film's success, it's the action scenes which take center stage and impress at every single stop. You can feel the explosion at Brian's home as if it happened right next door. Gunfire from every weapon is powerful but crisp, never getting ahead of the race. And of course, every car engine is deep, ravenous, and potent, especially Dom's ride near film's end. The center channel gets every bit of the separated dialogue - not one piece of music or special effect gets a word in edgewise, reminding us how Universal made such decisions from the beginning of it foray into Blu-ray. They didn't simply up the voice and douse the rest, they separated it totally. Left and right front speakers do have mentions of dialogue, but there it's where the music and sound effects thrive. The surrounds get as seemingly involved as the forwards, delivering plenty of environmental chatter, from crowd noise, alarms, and office chatter. And that LFE...All in all, we get stunning proof of Universal's acumen, and a top-rate test platform for today's HD equipment.

The Supplements - 3/5
While Furious 7 fails to contain a director's commentary, it does have a ton of featurettes. Still, I've reduced its score in this category: it's unacceptable that any film of this significance doesn't feature a commentary. At least all of the supplements are in HD:
  • Deleted Scenes: Scenes include Letty at Clinic (2:09), Ramsey/Dom (2:15), Dressed Up (0:57), and Letty Call from Nurse (0:38).
  • Talking Fast (31:47): Director Wan sits down to discuss several key moments from the film. While it's kind of like a mini-commentary, I'm still disappointed that we didn't get a full one. Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster, Tyrese Gibson, and Ludacris also appear to share a few thoughts.
  • Back to the Starting Line (12:11): A look at the franchise's growth, the recurring theme of family, the introduction of a new villain and the additions of Kurt Russell, Nathalie Emmanuel, Djimon Hounsou, and Tony Jaa. Walker's death is also discussed.
  • Flying Cars (5:42): We learn how one of the action scenes was conceived and shot.
  • Snatch and Grab (7:31): This is part 2 of Flying Cars.
  • Tower Jumps (6:53): A discussion of one of the film's more ridiculous stunt scenes.
  • Inside the Fight: This is a series of featurettes focusing on the film's hand-to-hand fight scenes. Hobbs vs. Shaw (3:15), Girl Fight (3:20), Dom vs. Shaw (2:52), and Tej Takes Action (1:36).
  • The Cars of Furious (10:42): If you want to know more about the cars used in the movie, this supplement does a good job.
  • Race Wars (6:34): This one takes a larger look at the franchise through the eyes of the current film.
  • Music Video (4:05): Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth give us See You Again.
  • Making of Fast & Furious Supercharged Ride (8:15): In a constant effort at cross-promotion, Universal reminds us that they have a Fast and Furious-themed amusement park ride.

    Our evaluation copy arrived as a Blu-ray/DVD Combo, which includes the film's theatrical cut (2:17:26 runtime) and an extended cut (2:19:54 runtime). There is also a UV/iTunes digital copy. In addition, the slipcase is attractive, with a raised title on the front. As of this posting, there were other versions offered, including a Best Buy exclusive steelbook. There is a Walmart exclusive with an alternate cover, but frankly the steelbook is a superior alternate offering.

    The Bottom Line - 4/5
    Make no mistake: Walker's death will have huge ramifications on the future of this franchise; and while Fast and Furious 8 has already been announced, anything moving beyond that must start with a serious and potentially difficult decision to write off Walker with more finality. Until that moment comes, Furious 7 will delight in its place with a great audio and video package.

    Furious 7 is Rated PG-13 for prolonged frenetic sequences of violence, action and mayhem, suggestive content and brief strong language and its theatrical release has a runtime of 137 minutes.

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

  • First Clip from Disney/Pixar's SANJAY'S SUPER TEAM Now Available


    Check out the short that will appear with The Good Dinosaur!

    The first clip from the Disney Pixar short film Sanjay’s Super Team is now available.

    Bored with his father's meditation, a young Indian boy daydreams of Hindu gods as superheroes. Our thanks to IMDB for the plot summary.

    Sanjay’s Super Team opens in theaters on November 25, 2015, in front of The Good Dinosaur.

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    Friday, October 16, 2015

    Movie Review: Death Valley

    Enter this valley and prepare for a slow death.

    Review by Brandon Wolfe

    Four people are cruising a lonesome stretch of desert highway. The driver, Billy (Lochlyn Munro, who’s been in many things, yet Dead Man on Campus is what I will always associate him with), is a drunken loudmouth, not even ceasing his drinking when behind the wheel. He is engaged to a hot little number named Annie (Katrina Law), whom he only just met the night before at an L.A. charity event. Also in the car is a married couple, Roy and Jamie (Nick E. Tarabay and Victoria Pratt), a comparatively conservative duo who also just met Billy and Annie the previous night. All of them are heading to Vegas for Billy and Annie’s impetuous nuptials, but the feel-good vibe of the trip is obliterated when a half-naked woman appears in the road, firing a gun at the car. The car is run off the road and the woman now lays dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Now the group is stranded in the blistering heat, miles from civilization, left to figure out what to do about the corpse in the road, but more importantly, what to do to save themselves.

    This is the set-up of Death Valley, a noir-flavored crime-drama, and it’s not a bad one at all. Starting off as sort of an adult riff on I Know What You Did Last Summer before winding up as a desert-set Ten Little Indians, the film is conceptually sound. But it isn’t long before Death Valley’s weaknesses make themselves apparent. As the characters bicker incessantly, the cracks in their already tenuous relationships begin forming. They differ over what to do about the body, and when no one else comes down the road to assist them, they collectively make the ill-advised decision to march out into the desert to locate an adjacent highway that Billy swears exists. Billy brings along a big ol’ bag of drugs and a cache of champagne (to “stay hydrated”). As the characters’ nerves begin to fray, things grow increasingly strained. When one of them turns up mysteriously dead, that’s where the train bids farewell to the rails.


    There’s a potentially good movie to be made from this premise, but that movie remains unmade. Death Valley is a chore to sit through because its characters are so aggressively unlikable, and in Billy’s case, downright insufferable. Unlikable can often be a workable character trait, but not when coupled with uninteresting, and that one-two punch is fatal to Death Valley’s quartet. The group’s endless squabbling grows tedious quickly, and the dialogue they exchange is uniquely lousy (commenting on Billy’s driving skills, Roy points out that he’s less a “master driver than a masturbator.” Oof). If you’re going to make a film that hinges almost entirely on characters talking, then those characters need to be appealing or arresting in some manner, and the things they say to one another must be compelling. As neither is the case in Death Valley, it makes for a rough 88 minutes.

    The film attempts to manufacture depth by gradually revealing the characters’ deep, dark secrets, but learning that Billy was an alcoholic who tragically lost the love of his life or that Roy is a secret drug dealer or that Billy and Jamie had a torrid affair the night before has no teeth. Since, other than Roy and Jamie, none of these people have known each other for more than a day, how much could any of this information truly matter to them, least of all trysts where the betrayers have only known the betrayees for a matter of hours? Nothing and no one in Death Valley passes the smell test of basic believability. The characters endure complete personality shifts or have inauthentic reactions to dramatic events at regular intervals. By the time the film culminates in a Usual Suspects-aping denouement, it becomes apparent that no one involved in Death Valley cracked how to do anything beyond the construction of flimsy, overcooked melodrama.


    As a result of the iffy script, the cast is left to flounder. Pratt is barely allowed to make any impression at all. Tarabay is handed the most inconsistent character by a landslide. Munro has the douchebag dial cranked up so high that it blacks out the neighborhood. Law fares the best of the bunch. It’s an underwritten, underdeveloped role, to be sure, but she brings a dash of moxie to it. In a hypothetical scenario where someone does good work in Death Valley, it would have to be her.

    The lone gold star that Death Valley receives goes to the cinematography, which is often quite striking. The way the camera gazes lovingly upon the desert mounds and desolate peaks is at times breathtaking. Death Valley doesn’t appear to have broken any banks during its production, but it looks fantastic. It looks so good that watching it on mute and excising all the characters’ endless, tiresome jabber-jawing from the equation might be the smart play. The desert is brutal and unforgiving enough without these people making it that much worse.

    Discuss this review with fellow SJF fans on Facebook. On Twitter, follow us at @SandwichJohnFilms.



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    Thursday, October 15, 2015

    Movie Review: Crimson Peak

    Horror-drama looks great, but its story is ghostly.

    Review by Brandon Wolfe

    Early in Crimson Peak, aspiring writer Edith Cushing (Mia Wasikowska) proclaims of a story she’s working on, “It’s not a ghost story, it’s a story with a ghost in it.” It’s a highly self-aware moment from writer/director Guillermo del Toro, as that very same distinction could also be applied to his latest film. Crimson Peak is being marketed as a full-blown spookfest, the period setting and prestigious cast seemingly the only things separating it from a regular monthly installment from the Blumhouse factory. Truth be told, while there are ghosts in play during Crimson Peak, and while they do some freaky things, they exist solely as an accessory in a story that isn’t actually about them, that potentially doesn’t even require them.

    In the late 19th Century, wealthy American industrialist Carter Cushing (Jim Beaver) takes a meeting with an aristocratic British entrepreneur, Sir Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston), who is attempting to sell a machine designed to extract pure clay from soil. Cushing, with a lifetime of manual labor under his belt, takes an immediate dislike to Thomas simply due to the man’s dandyish exterior. Edith, however, feels precisely the opposite, instantly falling for Thomas’ charms. Thomas has in tow his frigid sister, Lucille (Jessica Chastain), and the two of them exude a conspiratorial aura where the Cushings are concerned. After conducting a background search and not liking what it turns up, Carter forces Thomas to break things off with Edith and to leave the country, but Thomas stays, insisting that he cannot bear to leave his love. When Carter is brutally (and I mean brutally) murdered the next morning, Edith quickly finds herself married to Thomas and moving across the pond into the Sharpe’s dilapidated mansion, which is slowly sinking into the bright-red pit of clay resting just beneath the foundation.


    Edith, who as a child was visited (and warned about a mysterious Crimson Peak) by the ghost of her mother, begins to witness horrific apparitions throughout the mansion. However, her primary focus always appears to be Thomas, who vacillates between being warm and distant toward her. Warmth, however, is never evinced by the icy Lucille, who doesn’t extend much in the way of hospitality toward Edith except during her frequent, ominous attempts to serve her new sister-in-law some bitter-tasting tea. After awhile, with some prodding from the house’s spirit inhabitants, Edith begins to learn that there exists a sinister history behind the Sharpe siblings, yet she’s too isolated by the house’s desolate location to escape. A suitor (Charlie Hunnam) from back home pieces together her predicament from afar, but perhaps too late.

    Crimson Peak has a sumptuous look to it. It’s a gorgeous film, and the visuals of the decaying mansion are a haunting pleasure to look upon. This is hardly a surprise coming from del Toro, who has always possessed a keen eye for set design in his films. However, the problem that continually plagues del Toro’s work is that it often feels as though his visual gifts are all that he has to give. Throughout his oeuvre, he’s given us some amazing sights and impeccably detailed creatures (Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy II, parts of Pacific Rim), but one can’t help but wish that del Toro might eventually offer up a story worthy of his meticulously crafted worlds. Crimson Peak wants to be a tragic love story, a murder mystery and a haunted-house thriller all at once, but it doesn’t quite succeed at any of those goals. The bond between Thomas and Edith is never deeply felt, the mystery and machinations of the Sharpes too obvious and the ghosts too infrequent in their appearances. This leaves the film standing solely as a plodding costume drama, glacially paced and not containing the sort of enthralling revelations necessary to help enliven the story’s mundanity.

    The characters are a bit frustrating as well. Edith is introduced as a confident, headstrong young woman, more free-spirited and determined than the era in which she lives would seem to allow, yet once she takes up residence with the Sharpes, she becomes a bit of a simp. She takes an eternity to realize that something is amiss with her hosts, she often neglects to mention her ghostly encounters to anyone, and when a crucial piece of mail arrives for her from Milan, she puts a pin in opening it for the longest time. In other words, she becomes the sort of dopey, aggravating character one expects from horror films of a far lesser pedigree than this one, and there is little Wasikowska can do to rescue the character from such poor writing.


    Hiddleston and Chastain fare a bit better. It is often difficult to get a handle on how trustworthy or sincere we are expected to regard Thomas from scene to scene. Were the film smarter about the secrets surrounding the characters, that might have been a laudable choice, but the truth is that the gut impression most audience members will make about what’s going on with the Sharpes from the film’s earliest scenes will ultimately prove correct, even if Crimson Peak will proceed to behave as though it has a wealth of enigmas to untangle until the very end. But Hiddleston does commendable work even amidst these limitations, and Chastain has a good time metamorphosing from grim-faced hauteur to vengeful banshee.

    Ultimately, Crimson Peak feels like a lot of nothing in particular. The ghost sequences are well done, their grotesque ornateness contrasting nicely against the film’s otherwise formal ambiance (there’s a neat touch where smoke appears to emanate from them; there’s a less neat one where they croak exactly like the girl from The Grudge), but again, they are not what the film is centered around. The real focus of the film is intended to be the unravelling of the schemes of the villains and reveling in the tormented romance between the leads, and these things simply are not as compelling as they are intended. del Toro knows how to transport us to vividly realized fantasy worlds, he just needs to figure out what to do once he gets us there.

    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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    Wednesday, October 14, 2015

    Giveaway: Win #JURASSICWORLD Blu-ray, DVD & Digital HD

    Thanks to Universal Studios Home Entertainment for proving us with copies of JURASSIC WORLD Blu-ray, DVD & Digital HD to giveaway to our fans.

    THE #1 MOVIE OF THE YEAR PROVES THAT ONCE AGAIN, DINOSAURS RULE THE EARTH JURASSIC WORLD.

    EXPERIENCE IT IN STUNNING HI-DEFINITION WITH THE BD COMBO PACK IN LIMITED EDITION COLLECTIBLE STEEL PACKAGING ON DIGITAL HD OCTOBER 1, 2015
    3-D BLU-RAY™, BLU-RAY™, DVD AND ON DEMAND ON OCTOBER 20, 2015 FROM UNIVERSAL PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT.



    Shattering records globally, Jurassic World crushed the opening-weekend box-office, scoring the highest domestic, international and worldwide openings of all time. The film has taken in more than $1.6 billion globally to become the third-highest grossing film in history. Now fans can experience the thrill and awe when Jurassic World arrives on Digital HD on October 1, 2015 and on 3-D Blu-ray™, Blu-ray™, DVD and On Demand on October 20, 2015, from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. More than two decades since Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park was released, fans of the original films and new moviegoers alike can witness the story come full circle as the park that was only a promise comes to life.

    See how to enter after the Jump...



    Now, 22 years later, an even bigger and enormously popular attraction has risen on Isla Nubar: Jurassic World. To keep attendance high, the park operators introduce a new, genetically modified hybrid creature called Indominus Rex. Bigger, stronger and far more intelligent than any dinosaur that ever walked the earth; the secretive new breed also proves more dangerous than anyone ever anticipated. Executive-produced by franchise creator Steven Spielberg and directed by Colin Trevorrow (Safety Not Guaranteed), Jurassic World stars Chris Pratt (Guardians of the Galaxy, “Parks and Recreation”) as Owen Grady, the park’s ex-military expert in animal behavior, and Bryce Dallas Howard (The Help, The Twilight Saga), as Claire Dearing, Jurassic World’s driven careerist, teaming up to save the park’s tourists when chaos erupts.

    Vincent D’Onofrio (Men in Black, “Law & Order: Criminal Intent”), Jake Johnson (“New Girl,” “Let’s Be Cops”), Nick Robinson (“Melissa and Joey”), Ty Simpkins (Insidious series), BD Wong (Jurassic Park, “Law & Order: SVU”), Judy Greer (Ant-Man) and Irrfan Khan (Life of Pi) also star in the blockbuster adventure that will delight fans of the original as much as it thrills a new generation of viewers.

    BONUS FEATURES EXCLUSIVE TO BLU-RAYTM:
    • WELCOME TO JURASSIC WORLD: An in-depth take on the creation, look and feel of Jurassic World. Director Colin Trevorrow and Steven Spielberg discuss how the idea of the film came together and how the casting was decided with actors’ commentary on their roles and filming locations.
    • JURASSIC WORLD: ALL-ACCESS PASS: Chris Pratt and Director Colin Trevorrow discuss key moments in the film, supported by behind-the-scenes footage and VFX breakdowns.
    • INNOVATION CENTER TOUR WITH CHRIS PRATT: Chris Pratt gives a tour of the Innovation Center, a museum/exhibit, built just for the movie.
    • JURASSIC’S CLOSEST SHAVES: Clips from all films in the franchise showing “near death” or extremely scary encounters with dinosaurs.

    BLU-RAYTM AND DVD BONUS FEATURES
    • DELETED SCENES
    • DINOSAURS ROAM ONCE AGAIN: Behind the scenes look at the making of Jurassic World’s visual effects, how the dinosaurs came to life, and actors filmed scenes.
    • CHRIS & COLIN TAKE ON THE WORLD: Chris Pratt and Colin Trevorrow (Director) interview each other and discuss Jurassic World as well as the other Jurassic Park movies.

    For artwork, please log onto our website at www.ushepublicity.com
    Website: www.jurassicworldmovie.com
    Trailer: http://uni.pictures/JWTrailer
    Facebook: www.facebook.com/JurassicPark
    Twitter: twitter.com/jurassicpark
    Instagram https: instagram.com/jurassicworld
    Hashtag: #JurassicWorld

    SYNOPSIS
    The Jurassic World theme park lets guests experience the thrill of witnessing actual dinosaurs, but something ferocious lurks behind the park’s attractions – a genetically modified dinosaur with savage capabilities. When the massive creature escapes, chaos erupts across the island. Now it’s up to Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) to save the park’s tourists from an all-out prehistoric assault.

    FILMMAKERS:
    Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D’Onofrio, Ty Simpkins, Nick Robinson, Jake Johnson, Omar Sy, BD Wong, Judy Greer, Irrfan Khan
    Directed By: Colin Trevorrow
    Written By: Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Derek Connolly, Colin Trevorrow
    Based on Characters By: Michael Crichton
    Produced By: Frank Marshall, Patrick Crowley
    Executive Produced By: Steven Spielberg, Thomas Tull
    Director of Photography: John Schwartzman, ASC.
    Production Designer: Edward Verreaux
    Edited By: Kevin Stitt
    Costume Designers: Daniel Orlandi
    Music By: Michael Giacchino

    TECHNICAL INFORMATION BLU-RAY™:
    Street Date: October 20, 2015
    Copyright: 2015 Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
    Selection Number: 6112956 (US)/ 61129744 (CDN)
    Layers: BD-50
    Aspect Ratio: Widescreen, 2.00:1
    Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of science-fiction violence and peril
    Languages/Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish and French Subtitles
    Sound: English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1/Dolby Digital 2.0, Spanish DTS Surround 5.1, French DTS Surround 5.1
    Run Time: 2 hours, 5 minutes

    TECHNICAL INFORMATION 3D BLU-RAY™:
    Street Date: October 20, 2015
    Copyright: 2015 Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
    Selection Number: 61166272 (US)/ 61169089 (CDN)
    Layers: BD-50
    Aspect Ratio: Widescreen, 2.00:1
    Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of science-fiction violence and peril
    Languages/Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish and French Subtitles
    Sound: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1/Dolby Digital 2.0, Spanish DTS Surround 5.1, French DTS Surround 5.1
    Run Time: 2 hours, 5 minutes

    TECHNICAL INFORMATION DVD
    Street Date: October 20, 2015
    Copyright: 2015 Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
    Selection Number: 61129754 (US)/ 61129746 (CDN)
    Layers: Dual
    Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic Widescreen, 2.00:1
    Rating: PG-13 for intense sequences of science-fiction violence and peril
    Languages/Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish and French Subtitles
    Sound: English Dolby Digital 5.1/Dolby Digital 2.0, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1
    Run Time: 2 hours, 5 minutes

    About Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
    Universal Pictures Home Entertainment (UPHE) is a unit of Universal Pictures, a division of Universal Studios (www.universalstudios.com). Universal Studios is a part of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news, and information to a global audience. NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment television networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, world-renowned theme parks, and a suite of leading Internet-based businesses. NBCUniversal is a subsidiary of Comcast Corporation.

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    #TheBoyMovie Trailer Starring @LaurenCohan

    Here is the trailer for STX Entertainment's THE BOY, a frightening thrill ride staring The Walking Dead's Lauren Cohan.

    Greta is a young American woman who takes a job as a nanny in a remote English village, only to discover that the family's 8-year-old is a life-sized doll that the parents care for just like a real boy, as a way to cope with the death of their actual son 20 years prior. After violating a list of strict rules, a series of disturbing and inexplicable events bring Greta's worst nightmare to life, leading her to believe that the doll is actually alive

    Watch the trailer after the Jump...



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    GODZILLA VS. KONG Coming In 2020

    Following Legendary’s and Warner Bros. Pictures’ 2014 success with the global reinvention of the Godzilla franchise, the companies have come together to create an epic, new shared cinematic franchise. All-powerful monsters become towering heroes for a new generation, revealing a mythology that brings together Godzilla and Legendary’s King Kong in an ecosystem of other giant super-species, both classic and new. Monarch, the human organization that uncovered Godzilla in the 2014 film, will expand their mission across multiple releases.

    “Today, I’m excited to reveal that film was only the beginning of an epic new entertainment universe. As a lifelong fan of these characters, I’ve always wanted to see the ultimate showdown, and today we’re pleased to be announcing that and more.”

    The announcement that the reinvention of monsters continues was made today by Legendary CEO, Thomas Tull, and Kevin Tsujihara, Chairman and CEO, Warner Bros. The initial trio of films are 2017’s KONG: SKULL ISLAND; GODZILLA 2 in 2018; and then GODZILLA VS. KONG, arriving in theaters in 2020. While Legendary maintains its new home at Universal Pictures, the GODZILLA films remain in partnership with Warner Bros., who will now also distribute KONG as a part of this franchise. Production on KONG: SKULL ISLAND begins October 19th.

    Warner Bros. and Legendary released Godzilla in May 2014 with an agreement to release Godzilla 2 on June 8, 2018. Both films feature the human Monarch organization. Shortly following Legendary's pact with NBC Universal, Legendary acquired rights to additional classic characters from Toho's Godzilla universe, including Rodan, Mothra, and King Ghidorah. This paved the way for developing a franchise centered around Monarch and anchored by Godzilla, King Kong, and other famous creatures.

    When Legendary announced films centered on Godzilla and Kong, fans all over the world speculated these two characters might one day meet in the same film. Classic Toho monsters including King Ghidorah, Mothra, and Rodan, as announced at Comic-Con 2014, may also join the Legendary pantheon of giant monster mayhem going forward.

    “Audiences really responded to Godzilla,” stated Tull. “Today, I’m excited to reveal that film was only the beginning of an epic new entertainment universe. As a lifelong fan of these characters, I’ve always wanted to see the ultimate showdown, and today we’re pleased to be announcing that and more.”

    “Working with our partners at Legendary, we enjoyed tremendous creative and commercial success with `Godzilla,’” said Tsujihara. “It’s great to be able to revisit these characters and help create a franchise with so many creative possibilities for filmmakers. Fans love these big, globally iconic films and it doesn’t get any bigger than this.”

    About the Productions:

    KONG: SKULL ISLAND stars Tom Hiddleston, Sam Jackson, Brie Larson, John Goodman, Tian Jing, Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, John Ortiz, Shea Whigham, and Toby Kebbell. Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts and written by Max Borenstein, John Gatins, Dan Gilroy, and Derek Connolly, KONG: SKULL ISLAND will fully immerse audiences in the mysterious and dangerous home of the king of the apes as a team of explorers ventures deep inside the treacherous, primordial island. Legendary’s Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni will produce with Mary Parent. Alex Garcia and Eric McLeod will executive produce. Warner Bros. will distribute the film in 3D and IMAX 3D on March 10, 2017.

    GODZILLA 2 will be written by Max Borenstein and directed by Gareth Edwards. Legendary is producing with Mary Parent, and Alex Garcia will executive produce. The film is set to be released by Warner Bros. on June 8, 2018.

    GODZILLA VS. KONG will be released in 2020.

    About Legendary Entertainment

    Legendary Entertainment is a leading media company with film (Legendary Pictures), television and digital (Legendary Television and Digital Media) and comics (Legendary Comics) divisions dedicated to owning, producing and delivering content to mainstream audiences with a targeted focus on the powerful fandom demographic. Through complete or joint ownership, Legendary has built a library of marquee media properties and has established itself as a trusted brand which consistently delivers high-quality, commercial entertainment including some of the world's most popular intellectual property. In aggregate, Legendary Pictures-associated productions have realized grosses of more than $12 billion worldwide at the box office. To learn more visit: www.legendary.com.

    Upcoming Legendary releases via its home at Universal Pictures include CRIMSON PEAK and KRAMPUS in 2015 and WARCRAFT in 2016.

    About Warner Bros. Entertainment

    Warner Bros. Entertainment is a global leader in all forms of entertainment and their related businesses across all current and emerging media and platforms. A Time Warner Company, the fully integrated, broad-based studio is home to one of the most successful collections of brands in the world and stands at the forefront of every aspect of the entertainment industry from feature film, television and home entertainment production and worldwide distribution to DVD and Blu-ray, digital distribution, animation, comic books, video games, product and brand licensing, and broadcasting. Warner Bros. Pictures has been at the forefront of the motion picture industry since its inception and continues to be a leading creative force in the industry.

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    #RaceMovie Trailer For Jesse Owens Biopic

    RACE releases nationwide from Focus Features on February 19, 2016

    Based on the incredible true story of Jesse Owens, the legendary athletic superstar whose quest to become the greatest track and field athlete in history thrusts him onto the world stage of the 1936 Olympics, where he faces off against Adolf Hitler’s vision of Aryan supremacy. “Race” is an enthralling film about courage, determination, tolerance, and friendship, and an inspiring drama about one man’s fight to become an Olympic legend.

    Watch the trailer after the Jump...



    Director: Stephen Hopkins
    Writers: Joe Shrapnel and Anna Waterhouse
    Cast: Stephan James, Jason Sudeikis, Jeremy Irons, Carice van Houten, Shanice Banton, William Hurt

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    MARVEL COMICS SPIDER-WOMEN #1

    MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS SPIDER-WOMEN #1!

    Spider-Gwen, Spider-Woman, and Silk team-up for an all-new crossover event

    After the events of SPIDER-VERSE, Jessica Drew, Cindy Moon and Gwen Stacy have been developing a unique kind of friendship from across the multiverse. But when things go awry in Gwen’s universe, Silk and Spider-Woman of the Marvel Universe find themselves stranded in Gwen’s reality while their dangerous doppelgangers run rampant in THEIR New York!

    Helmed by the three series writers -- Jason Latour (Spider-Gwen), Robbie Thompson (Silk), and Dennis Hopeless (Spider-Woman) – the arachnid ladies of the Spider-Verse are about to embark on a crossover event that will delve into a brand new adventure that will take Spider-Gwen, Spider-Woman and Silk down a path that will forever change who they are and how they think of their corners of the Spider-Verse.

    “There’s going to be adventure, intrigue, fisticuffs, and some big twists, but I’m most excited about the personal story for each of these characters as they go through this dimension-hopping event,” explains Silk writer Robbie Thompson with Newsarama. “They’re all going to be tested and changed by this crossover.”


    Being part of the “Spider-mythos” has never been easy going for any hero of the Marvel Universe and these ladies are about to enter an interdimensional crucible that will challenge them, not only as individual heroes, but as a team and how they can work together as a cohesive kick-ass unit. “I think what’s intriguing about the three of them is that they’re really just getting to know one another,” says Jason Latour. “But as far as the initial dynamic—Jessica is definitely the big sister who’s a little frustrated by how much these girls don’t know about being superheroes.”
    Next year, bear witness to the first crossover of its kind and get answers to questions you didn’t even know you had as Spider-Gwen, Spider-Woman, and Silk jump dimensions and show what it takes to be called SPIDER-WOMEN in the first action-packed chapter SPIDER-WOMEN #1!

    About Marvel Entertainment
    Marvel Entertainment, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is one of the world's most prominent character-based entertainment companies, built on a proven library of more than 8,000 characters featured in a variety of media over seventy-five years. Marvel utilizes its character franchises in entertainment, licensing and publishing.

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    Exclusive Interview With Lochlyn Munro For His Upcoming Film #DeathValley

    I got a chance to talk to Lochlyn Munro about his upcoming film Death Valley. And we also talked about how it was working with TJ Scott and more.


    Enjoy

    Exclusive Interview With Director TJ Scott -



    Who do you play? What makes him tick?

    I play the role of Billy Rich. he is a guy who has been caught up in the Hollywood scene for too long and is starting to believe all of his own B.S. He is fighting his own demons and has succumbed to the pressures of power and greed.

    Read the entire interview after the Jump...

    The film has got a lot of attention from online media in recent months; is the internet a saving grace when it comes to smaller films?

    I think the internet has definitely become a great platform for smaller budget films. Everyone tends to watch all sorts of entertainment platforms on all sorts of devices, so it’s really leveled the playing field for independent films.

    What do you think audiences will take away from the movie?

    I hope the audiences coming away from the film feeling that they really took a journey with the characters and their story lines.

    How was it working with T.J Scott?

    Working with TJ is always an amazing experience. Not only does he have an amazing creative eye, he really understands story and character development. He allows you room to create your character and always has very intuitive ideas to help you along your journey.

    You star in the movie The Unspoken which is about trying to get to an anime convention. Have you event attend any kind of conventions?

    Yes, I try to attend as many conventions as I can, as I really enjoy the movie “buffs” that come out in droves. They really are people who invest themselves in story and character.

    What can we expect from you in the future? Any projects you wanna let us know your working on?

    Along with the release of Death valley this month, I also have a thriller cop drama called Badge Of Honor which I did with Mena Suvari and Martin Sheen. Very edgy and very dark.

    What song is in heavy rotation in your car?

    U2 is always in heavy rotation in my vehicle. “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”.

    Last movie you saw and what did you think of it?

    Last film I saw was Mad Max and I absolutely loved it. Very creative and visually stunning

    Cheers
    Lochlyn

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    Three New #LastWitchHunter Clips

    Following an epic New York Comic Con panel, we’ve got two new THE LAST WITCH HUNTER clips to keep the excitement coming. “Wake Up” is action-packed and features the immortal Kaulder [Vin Diesel] in a spell sequence between the past and present, while battling an evil warlock enemy. In “Trouble,” Kaulder performs a spell to reveal hidden dark magic to Dolan 37 [Elijah Wood], and a new Sizzle features Ciara’s cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Paint It, Black.”

    Get your advance tickets to see the film HERE-

    Ciara “Paint It, Black”


    Watch the clips after the Jump...

    “Wake Up”


    “Trouble”

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    CHRIS EVANS JOINS "GIFTED"

    CHRIS EVANS, LINDSAY DUNCAN, MCKENNA GRACE, JENNY SLATE AND
    OCTAVIA SPENCER STAR IN “GIFTED” FOR FOX SEARCHLIGHT PICTURES

    MARC WEBB DIRECTING

    Fox Searchlight Pictures President of Production Claudia Lewis announced that principal photography has started in Savannah and on Tybee Island, GA on the drama GIFTED, starring Chris Evans (CAPTAIN AMERICA, SNOWPIERCER), Tony Award winner Lindsay Duncan (BIRDMAN, LE WEEKEND), Mckenna Grace (INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE), Jenny Slate (OBVIOUS CHILD, “Parks and Recreation”) and Academy Award winner Octavia Spencer (THE HELP, INSURGENT). Marc Webb ((500) DAYS OF SUMMER, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN) directs from an original screenplay by Tom Flynn. Karen Lunder and Andy Cohen are producing.

    "I'm incredibly excited to begin principal photography on ‘Gifted.’ I'm psyched to be working with this awesome cast that has come on board to make this beautiful film with me. Chris Evans, Lindsay Duncan, Jenny Slate, Octavia Spencer and Mckenna Grace are a wonderful rich ensemble that is both hilarious and sincere. Tom Flynn's sensitive and thoughtful script strikes the heart in a way that felt very personal. Plus it is great to be back with Searchlight again,” says Webb.

    “Marc is well-loved at Searchlight and we’re thrilled to have him back, along with Chris Evans and the rest of the extraordinary cast. We’re convinced that this uniquely funny and emotional film will touch all those who care about family and finding one’s place in the world,” says Lewis.

    “It is a rare thing in this business to fall in love with a script and actually get to make it. When Marc Webb came on to direct Tom Flynn’s incredibly moving screenplay we knew we had the makings of a special film. Augmented by the caliber of the cast Marc has assembled and the incomparable support from the team at Fox Searchlight, we couldn't be more thrilled,” say Lunder and Cohen.
    Frank Adler (Chris Evans) is a single man raising a child prodigy - his spirited young niece Mary (Mckenna Grace) - in a coastal town in Florida. Frank's plans for a normal school life for Mary are foiled when the seven-year-old’s mathematical abilities come to the attention of Frank’s formidable mother Evelyn (Lindsay Duncan) whose plans for her granddaughter threaten to separate Frank and Mary. Octavia Spencer plays Roberta, Frank and Mary’s landlady and best friend. Jenny Slate is Mary’s teacher, Bonnie, a young woman whose concern for her student develops into a connection with her uncle as well.

    Executive Vice President of Production David Greenbaum and Director of Production Taylor Freidman are overseeing the project for Fox Searchlight Pictures. The director of photography is Stuart Dryburgh (THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY, ALICE THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS), the production designer is Laura Fox ((500) DAYS OF SUMMER, PARADISE), the costume designer is Abby O’Sullivan (FROZEN RIVER, EMPIRE STATE), the casting director is David Rubin (WILD, GRAVITY, LARS AND THE REAL GIRL) and the editor is Bill Pankow (CARLITO’S WAY, AMERICAN ULTRA). The executive producers are Molly Allen, Glen Basner and Ben Browning.

    Fox Searchlight Pictures is a specialty film company that both finances and acquires motion pictures. It has its own marketing and distribution operations, and its films are distributed internationally by Twentieth Century Fox. Fox Searchlight Pictures is a unit of 21st Century Fox.

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    Josh Gad Will Write Gorgeous George Film

    Variety is reporting WWE Studios will co-develop the George Raymond Wagner biopic “Gorgeous George” alongside Robert Halmi Jr.’s Great Point Media, with Josh Gad and partner Ryan Dixon writing the script.

    Gorgeous George” will chronicle the life and career of Wagner, the professional wrestler and sports entertainer credited with inspiring the flamboyant personas of performers such as Muhammad Ali and James Brown and helping bring sports into the TV age.

    “Gorgeous George was a true pioneer in television,” said Michael Luisi, President of WWE Studios. “Josh is a true talent and we are thrilled to see him and Ryan tackle such a groundbreaking story.”

    Gad recently wrapped production on the Disney film “Beauty And The Beast” opposite Emma Watson and Luke Evans. He will begin production in January on STX Entertainment’s “Russ And Roger Go Beyond” as Roger Ebert.

    WWE Studios will handle worldwide rights and will use WWE’s platforms, including weekly TV shows, digital and social media and the WWE Network, to market this title.

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    Bill Murray Stars In Very Murray Christmas Trailer

    This winter, Bill Murray brings an extra-special dose of holiday cheer to Netflix with the premiere of an all-star musically-driven holiday special, A Very Murray Christmas. Set inside New York City’s iconic Carlyle hotel, A Very Murray Christmas opens with Murray preparing to host a live, international holiday broadcast. After a blizzard shuts down the production, he makes the best of the situation by singing and celebrating with friends, hotel employees and anyone else who drops by.

    Co-written by the actor alongside his Lost In Translation director Sofia Coppola and Scrooged scribe Mitch Glazer, with Coppola calling the shots, the special is an homage to variety shows, with Murray playing himself and worrying that none of his guests will show up due to a terrible snow storm in New York. But show up they do, with participants including George Clooney, Chris Rock, Amy Poehler, Jason Schwartzman, Paul Shaffer, Michael Cera, Rashida Jones, Maya Rudolph, Jenny Lewis, Julie White, Miley Cyrus, rockers Phoenix and more ready to crack jokes, sing songs and generally be merry and bright.

    Watch the trailer after the Jump...



    “It was sort of something we were just making for ourselves,” Coppola says of the homegrown project. “It really came out of talking to Bill and Mitch, and it just seemed fun to get people together that we’re all fans of. And I like when Bill shows his crooner side. I love putting him in a tuxedo, too: he has a little Dean Martin vibe, I guess.”

    A Very Murray Christmas will slip into our stockings via Netflix on December 4

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    Source-Empire

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    Tuesday, October 13, 2015

    TV Review: Fargo "Waiting for Dutch" (Season 2 Premiere)

    Has the FX series still got it? You betcha.


    Review by Brandon Wolfe

    Fargo, FX’s expansion of the Coen Bros’ modern film classic, was last year’s greatest surprise. There was every reason to look at the series askance prior to its debut. The film, with its unique blend of “aw, jeez” Minnesota geniality and blood-in-the-snow violence, seemed impossible to duplicate without simply standing as a facile duplication. Even with a top-shelf cast, featuring Martin Freeman and Billy Bob Thornton, it was hard to imagine the show amounting to anything more than a misguided curiosity, a fool’s errand to recapture something too idiosyncratic to replicate. The bar was set too high to clear. Forget it, series creator Noah Hawley, it’s the Coen Brothers.

    Yet Fargo did the impossible. It carved out its own niche, telling a story that meshed with the Fargo house style while being uniquely its own thing. Hawley spoke fluent Coen without seemingly like a mere impressionist. The unlikely result was a season of television every bit as good as the film that spawned it, a worthy companion piece rather than an inferior footnote. But now Fargo is tasked with doing the impossible a second time. It not only has to continue living up to the film, but now it has to also live up to that gem of a first season, and it has to do it without any of the original cast. This is a show that does not make things easy on itself.


    “Waiting for Dutch,” the second season premiere, indicates that Fargo still has the goods. Taking place in 1979, a whopping 27 years prior to the events of the first season, the episode wastes little time thrusting us back into the off-kilter Midwestern pocket universe of criminals, cops and morally malleable schleps. The instigating force of the narrative is Rye Gerhardt (Kieran Culkin, Home Alone’s bedwetter all grown up), the shoulder-chipped runt of a crime family who struggles to be respected by his more formidable older brothers (Jeffrey Donovan and InsidiousAngus Sampson). Rye sets out to achieve a big score that will get his family to take him seriously, and tries to lean on a local typewriter salesman, who claims he can deliver big money, but only if Rye can coerce a judge into unfreezing the inveterate gambler’s assets.

    Rye tails the judge to a desolate waffle house after hours and employs some tough talk to get her to bend, but she’s a tough cookie and blithely waves off his threats. Rye loses his composure and shoots the woman, as well as the joint’s cook and waitress. Wounded by a knife to the back from the judge during the fracas, Rye stumbles outside and, in the episode’s oddest touch, appears to witness a UFO in the sky right before he is plowed into by a passing car, which continues on its way with a bloody Rye now mounted on the hood. The driver is Peggy Blomquist (Kirsten Dunst), a big dreamer who isn’t at all on the same wavelength as her kindly, traditionalist husband Ed (a puffy Jesse Plemons), who wants nothing more than to start a family and lead a quiet, humdrum life. Upon sitting down to a dinner of Hamburger Helper and tater tots, Ed hears a commotion coming from the garage, and finds a still-living Rye thrashing about. In a scuffle, Ed stabs Rye to death and Peggy, who seems to view all of this as an opportunity for a ticket out of Dullsville, convinces Ed that they need to cover this all up, using the potential obliteration of his dream for a placid domestic life as motivation.


    The one bit of connective tissue between the two seasons lies with the character of Lou Solverson, played by Keith Carradine previously and Patrick Wilson now. Lou was a retired cop who ran an diner in Season 1, but here he’s still a young officer, with a cancer-stricken wife (Cristin Milioti, who can’t stop playing doomed wives/mothers) and a young daughter, Molly (who will, of course, grow up to be the hero of the first season). Lou is called to the waffle house along with his father-in-law (Ted Danson), also a cop. The two can’t quite get a fix on what occurred at the crime scene, but one clue rests in a shoe stuck on a tree branch, possibly launched off of Rye’s foot upon impact.

    There are a lot of players in the Fargo sandbox this time out, and “Waiting for Dutch” has the tricky task of introducing all of them. There is the hardened matriarch of the Gerhardt family, Floyd (Jean Smart), who has to struggle to be taken seriously in the criminal community because of her gender; a rival crime syndicate’s enforcer (Brad Garrett, cast well against type), who conducts a presentation for his higher-ups detailing the recent stroke of Gerhardt patriarch Otto as a chink in their adversaries’ armor; and erstwhile Ron Swanson Nick Offerman (sans mustache, but still with plenty of other facial hair) as a conspiracy-theorist buddy of Lou’s. This is an especially eclectic collection of actors, even moreso than the first season’s crop, and while it remains to be seen how all of these characters will fit together, the prospect of such a varied group butting heads with one another is enticing.

    If “Waiting for Dutch” is not as strong as Fargo’s initial season premiere, it’s understandable considering how uncommonly strong that episode was for a pilot. That episode, with its focus locked tightly on Freeman’s Lester Nygaard as he quickly devolved from henpecked yutz to murderous schemer, felt more self-contained and fully realized than “Waiting for Dutch,” which has a lot more to unpack by comparison. “Dutch” also doesn’t introduce a character as magnetic as Thornton’s wicked agent of chaos Lorne Malvo. Yet Season 2 looks to be off to a fantastic start just the same. The period setting is handled evocatively, doing an effective job of setting the season apart from what came before, and the cast settles into their roles straight away, their Minnesota accents all on-point. Also, as with the inaugural season, Hawley clearly looks to the entirety of the Coen oeuvre for inspiration rather than simply Fargo by its lonesome, as when “Didn’t Leave Nobody But The Baby,” featured prominently in O Brother, Where Art Thou?, plays over the closing moments. After the complete pooch-screw of fellow anthology series True Detective’s second season, it’s reassuring that Fargo remains in compliance as quality television.

    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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    Win Tickets To An Advance Screening For #LastWitchHunter In Sacramento

    Win Tickets To An Advance Screening For THE LAST WITCH HUNTER on October 20th at 7:30 PM in Sacramento.


    The modern world holds many secrets, but the most astounding secret of all is that witches still live amongst us; vicious supernatural creatures intent on unleashing the Black Death upon the world. Armies of witch hunters battled the unnatural enemy across the globe for centuries, including KAULDER, a valiant warrior who managed to slay the all-powerful QUEEN WITCH, decimating her followers in the process. In the moments right before her death, the QUEEN curses KAULDER with her own immortality, forever separating him from his beloved wife and daughter in the afterlife. Today KAULDER is the only one of his kind remaining, and has spent centuries hunting down rogue witches, all the while yearning for his long-lost loved ones. However, unbeknownst to KAULDER, the QUEEN WITCH is resurrected and seeks revenge on her killer causing an epic battle that will determine the survival of the human race.


    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



    See how to win tickets after the Jump...

    Click HERE to get your tickets.

    DISCLAIMER: ARRIVE EARLY! SEATING IS FIRST-COME, FIRST-SERVED, EXCEPT FOR MEMBERS OF THE REVIEWING PRESS. THEATER IS OVERBOOKED TO ENSURE A FULL HOUSE. THEATER IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR OVERBOOKING. THIS PASS DOES NOT GUARANTEE ADMISSION AND MUST BE SURRENDERED UPON DEMAND. NO ONE WILL BE ADMITTED WITHOUT A TICKET AND ONLY REVIEWING PRESS WILL BE ADMITTED AFTER THE SCREENING BEGINS. Duplicate passes will not be accepted. Screening passes are non transferable. This ticket is NOT for resale. Reselling of tickets is strictly prohibited and punishable by law. All those found in violation will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. MPAA - No Recording 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 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.

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    Win Tickets To An Advance Screening For #LastWitchHunter In San Francisco

    Win Tickets To An Advance Screening For THE LAST WITCH HUNTER on October 20th at 7:30 PM in San Francisco.


    The modern world holds many secrets, but the most astounding secret of all is that witches still live amongst us; vicious supernatural creatures intent on unleashing the Black Death upon the world. Armies of witch hunters battled the unnatural enemy across the globe for centuries, including KAULDER, a valiant warrior who managed to slay the all-powerful QUEEN WITCH, decimating her followers in the process. In the moments right before her death, the QUEEN curses KAULDER with her own immortality, forever separating him from his beloved wife and daughter in the afterlife. Today KAULDER is the only one of his kind remaining, and has spent centuries hunting down rogue witches, all the while yearning for his long-lost loved ones. However, unbeknownst to KAULDER, the QUEEN WITCH is resurrected and seeks revenge on her killer causing an epic battle that will determine the survival of the human race.


    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



    See how to win tickets after the Jump...

    Click HERE to get your tickets.

    DISCLAIMER: ARRIVE EARLY! SEATING IS FIRST-COME, FIRST-SERVED, EXCEPT FOR MEMBERS OF THE REVIEWING PRESS. THEATER IS OVERBOOKED TO ENSURE A FULL HOUSE. THEATER IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR OVERBOOKING. THIS PASS DOES NOT GUARANTEE ADMISSION AND MUST BE SURRENDERED UPON DEMAND. NO ONE WILL BE ADMITTED WITHOUT A TICKET AND ONLY REVIEWING PRESS WILL BE ADMITTED AFTER THE SCREENING BEGINS. Duplicate passes will not be accepted. Screening passes are non transferable. This ticket is NOT for resale. Reselling of tickets is strictly prohibited and punishable by law. All those found in violation will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. MPAA - No Recording 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 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.

    Please Leave A Comment-
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    Exclusive Interview With Director TJ Scott . We Talk #DeathValley & So Much More

    By: John Meneghetti

    I had the chance to talk to director TJ Scott about his upcoming film Death Valley and what Superhero film he would like to direct.



    Can you tell me about the film and how you got involved?

    Writer Brad MacPherson and I had wanted to collaborate on a script together for about a year when he brought me a storyline he was conjuring up that I really liked because thematically it delved into ‘how you never really know anyone until you are in a crisis with them’ - and how every person has 'the Mask they want you to see - and the Mask they hide'. We took his storyline and sculpted it into a movie that could shoot in Death Valley - because it is my favorite place on earth - but it is very difficult to shoot there as it is a National Park, with many restrictions. Shortly after finishing the script our Producer friend Taylor Williams mentioned he was looking for a cool little Indy Script to help finance - he liked our script - and we were off and running. I had a tiny window in my TV directing schedule between 'Orphan Black' and 'Black Sails’, so we put the project together in 2 weeks and went to camera. We needed to keep the entire crew under 13 people to be able to shoot in Death Valley, so the crew was assembled out of a handful of Award Winner technicians I had worked with in the past - that I knew were ‘hyphenates’ and could handle two or three positions each on the project… and we shot with three cameras, so even the actors had to hump gear in and out of each location.



    Read the entire interview after the Jump...

    What Was the Casting Process?

    Brad and I wrote the role of Billy Rich specifically for Lochlyn Munro and the Role of Jamie for Victoria Pratt - I had done a movie, Blacktop, with them together before -s o knew they had a magic chemistry on screen, and luckily they were available so that was a slam dunk. I had just worked closely with Nick E. Tarabay and Katrina Law on Spartacus - and they just seemed perfect for the other two leads. Kelly Hu, Jeremy Ratchford, Juliette Beavan and Cela Scott are four of my favorite people to collaborate with - so I just offered everyone the roles with no auditions. Everyone we wanted agreed to do the roles, and that was that.


    What type of Genre is the film

    Technically it’s a 'Road Thriller' - I like to refer to it as a 'Film Noir by Day'.

    You have directed so many huge TV shows how does directing this independent film different?

    Television has always been the Domain of Executive Producers. Directors can have a lot of input, but in the end they are not the final design making creative force. In an Indy movie the Director really has to step up to the plate and take control and I very much wanted to do that.

    Did you have more control?

    I was the Director - Producer - Co-Writer - Camera Operator & Stills Photographer so Yes, I had much more control on this project then on a TV series - though I do really love directing TV.

    Do you see yourself directing more feature films?

    I don’t think I have every had as much fun as on this film, or worked so hard while shooting… and then every night was a blast hanging with the cast and crew, as we shot it all on location and stayed in the same hotel in the middle of Death Valley. It would be hard to re-create the magic of this shoot - but I would certainly like to try.

    Super hero movies are all the rage and you have directed episodes of Gotham, Would you be interested in directing a superhero film? And which character would you like to feature?
    I’ve been lucky enough to direct a number of really fun Graphic Novel Super Hero series, so of course to do a big budget feature would be great. I really do love the Batman Dark Knight films .. so it would be fun to spin off a big budget Batgirl movie.

    What song is in heavy rotation in your car?

    There are two Songs I can’t get out of my head - or my car: ‘No One But Myself’ by Michel Bradford featuring Liz Primo. I loved that song much we used it for the final credit sequence of Death Valley - it is haunting and mesmerizing. ‘Between the Devil and Two Black Hearts’ by 8mm (Sean Beavan and Juliette Beavan) has an amazing drive and hook. It’s also in the movie. speaking of multi-tasking Sean also recorded the sound, on location, then composed and mixed the soundtrack - while Juliette played a role in the movie, was the script supervisor, and then the co-composer for the film and she sings on the sound track.

    Last movie you saw and what did you think of it?

    I saw at the premiere of an Indy called Shah Bob last week by first time feature Director Boback Shokrian, staring Parviz Sayyad and Reza Safi. My long time editor Bert Kish had cut the move and kept talking about how cool it was.. It’s about a Persian man with strong family ties trying to make it in Film and the Family business at the same time. It has such universal themes running trough it that I can’t stop thinking about it. I really hope it gets exposure and people see it as the Writer/Director had a very unique and interesting voice. It came from the heart.

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    Charlize Theron To Star In The Gray Man

    According to Deadline Sony Pictures is in talks with Charlize Theron to come aboard The Gray Man, an adaptation of the Mark Greaney novel that at one time had Brad Pitt ready to star with James Gray directing.  Theron is in the process of attaching herself as the star, with her Denver and Delilah label coming aboard as producers alongside Joe Roth.

    The script is by Joe and Anthony Russo, who were at one time attached as directors before they got busy with Captain America: Civil War and the next two installments of The Avengers.

    The thriller focuses on an expert CIA op-turned-assassin who is forced to evade adversaries as he saves the lives of daughters he didn’t know he had. Obviously that is harder to do when the protagonist is female, but I guess they’ll figure it out. Sony famously changed the gender of another spy thriller, Salt, which was tailored for Angelina Jolie after Tom Cruise bowed out of the lead role. It doesn’t happen that often and puts Theron in rare territory. She runs Denver and Delilah with Beth Kono and A.J. Dix.

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    #PARANORMALACTIVITY TO BE HONORED @screamfest

    PARANORMAL ACTIVITY TEAM TO BE HONORED AT THE SCREAMFEST HORROR FILM FESTIVAL

    OREN PELI TO RECEIVE THE TRAILBLAZER AWARD; JASON BLUM TO ACCEPT THE FUTURE ICON AWARD ON BEHALF OF BLUMHOUSE PRODUCTIONS

    SCREAMFEST TO SHOW THE ORIGINAL “PARANORMAL ACTIVITY,” FOLLOWED BY A Q&A WITH OREN PELI.

    Screamfest Horror Film Festival, the largest and longest running horror film festival in the U.S., will honor “PARANORMAL ACTIVITY” director Oren Peli and production company Blumhouse at this year’s festival at the TCL Chinese Theater in Hollywood.

    Jason Blum will accept the Future Icon Award on behalf of Blumhouse during Opening Night on Tuesday, October 13th. Oren Peli will be honored with the Trailblazer Award at the Closing Night screening of “PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE GHOST DIMENSION” on Thursday, October 22nd, which marks the series’ return to the festival where the first “PARANORMAL ACTIVITY” film made its debut in 2007.

    “Screamfest has played such an important part in the ‘PARANORMAL ACTIVITY’ franchise so it’s only natural that we end it where it all began,” said Blum. “Our company loves making all things scary so we are so grateful to receive this award and hope that the fans have an amazing time at the festival.”

    “It’s an honor to receive the Trailblazer Award from Screamfest, which has supported independent films and filmmakers, all trailblazers in their own right, for years,” said Peli. “The original ‘PARANORMAL ACTIVITY’ had its world premiere at Screamfest eight years ago, which led to the film’s distribution and the creation of the franchise. I am thankful to Screamfest for its hand in launching the franchise and, after five sequels, I can’t think of a more fitting closure than to come full circle for the screening of the final ‘PARANORMAL ACTIVITY’ film.”

    Commented Rachel Belofsky, Screamfest Founder and Festival Director: “Jason Blum and Blumhouse Productions have revitalized the horror genre by consistently delivering quality films that have turned into successful franchises, such as ‘PARANORMAL ACTIVITY,’ ‘THE PURGE,’ and ‘INSIDIOUS.’ By empowering filmmakers and giving them creative freedom, Blumhouse has quickly established itself as an icon in the genre and we look forward to its many future hits.

    “Oren Peli changed the trend in the horror genre with his first film, ‘PARANORMAL ACTIVITY,’ which spurred a huge franchise. As a trailblazer, he created one of the most terrifying films to date and helped forge the found footage subgenre. We are excited to honor him eight years after the original ‘PARANORMAL ACTIVITY’ premiered and was honored at our festival in 2007.”

    In addition to screening the latest film on Closing Night, Screamfest will host a special screening of the original “PARANORMAL ACTIVITY” on Wednesday, October 21st at the TCL Chinese 6, followed by Q&A with Oren Peli.

    As a tribute to the original film’s most passionate fans, for the first time ever, Screamfest will expand nationwide with special advance screenings of “PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE GHOST DIMENSION” in the 12 markets in which the first film opened with “Demand It” fan screenings before its theatrical run in 2009. The new film will play in Ann Arbor, MI; Baton Rouge, LA; Boulder, CO; Columbus, OH; Durham, NC; Lincoln, NE; Madison, WI; Orlando, FL; Santa Cruz, CA; Seattle, WA; State College, PA; and Tucson, AZ on October 22nd.

    See the unseen in “PARANORMAL ACTIVITY: THE GHOST DIMENSION” – the horrifying conclusion to the “PARANORMAL ACTIVITY” films in theaters on October 23rd. The film is produced by Jason Blum and Oren Peli, based on the film “PARANORMAL ACTIVITY” by Oren Peli. Story by Brantley Aufill and Jason Harry Pagan & Andrew Deutschman, with a screenplay by Jason Harry Pagan & Andrew Deutschman and Adam Robitel & Gavin Heffernan. Directed by Gregory Plotkin. Starring Chris J. Murray, Brit Shaw, Olivia Taylor Dudley, Dan Gill, Ivy George, Jessica Brown, Chloe Csengery, Don McManus, Hallie Foote and Cara Pifko.

    The 2015 Screamfest Film Festival will run October 13th through October 22nd at the TCL Chinese Theater. Tickets are available at http://screamfestla.com.

    Screamfest Film Festival premieres and showcases new work from American and international independent horror filmmakers. Many of the filmmakers have garnered distribution and representation as a result of the festival. Film entries are accepted in the categories of Best Feature, Directing, Cinematography, Editing, Special Effects and Musical Score. In addition, there are special categories for Best Animation, Best Short, Best Documentary and Best Student Film.

    Screamfest was formed in August 2001 by film producers Rachel Belofsky and Ross Martin in order to give filmmakers and writers in the horror/sci-fi genres a venue to have their work showcased to people in the industry.

    About Paramount Pictures Corporation

    Paramount Pictures Corporation (PPC), a global producer and distributor of filmed entertainment, is a unit of Viacom (NASDAQ: VIAB, VIA), a leading content company with prominent and respected film, television and digital entertainment brands. Paramount controls a collection of some of the most powerful brands in filmed entertainment, including Paramount Pictures, Paramount Animation, Paramount Television, Paramount Vantage, Paramount Classics, Insurge Pictures, MTV Films, and Nickelodeon Movies. PPC operations also include Paramount Home Media Distribution, Paramount Pictures International, Paramount Licensing Inc., and Paramount Studio Group.

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    Leonardo DiCaprio To Produce #Volkswagen Scandal Movie

    Variety is reporting Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson have come on board to produce Paramount’s movie about the Volkswagen clean diesel scandal.

    The duo are producing through their Appian Way banner. There are no acting or directing attachments yet.

    Paramount has acquired movie rights to Jack Ewing’s upcoming book, which will detail the scandal in which the company placed illegal software in their clean diesel cars that could tell when a car was being tested for fuel emissions and would turn on the emissions control to cheat the test and meet EPA standards. During normal driving conditions, emission control software was shut off — resulting in as much as 40 times more pollution than allowed by law.

    Volkswagen is currently facing up to $18 billion in fines from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

    The scandal has rocked the automotive company, with Volkswagen’s stock plunging, and called into question the future of the German automotive industry. The scandal has also damaged VW’s reputation and led to the resignation of CEO Martin Winterkorn.

    DiCaprio’s producing credits include “The Wolf of Wall Street,” “Runner Runner” and “Out of the Furnace.” He will be seen next in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s drama “The Revenant.”

    Publishing rights for the book proposal sold for mid-six figures to Norton. Liz Raposo at Paramount Pictures bought the movie rights.

    Shari Smiley of Gotham Group represented Jack Ewing on the sale of the feature rights.


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