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The Latest Movie Reviews
'Lucy' Combines Solid Execution With A Weak Script
Production: Special Effects: 
Directing: 
One of the fun facts that students learn in science class is that humans only use 10% of their brains. It's a lesson that inevitably results in someone asking what would happen if people somehow learned how to tap into that unutilized section of grey matter. That is the question that Lucy tries to answer. Lucy...

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'A Most Wanted Man' - See It Just Because Of Philip Seymour Hoffman
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Director Anton Corbijn cut his teeth and paid his dues making music videos for the likes of Depeche Mode, U2, and Metallica before branching out into mainstream film in 2010 with the George Clooney vehicle The American. Corbijn sticks with the spy thriller genre with his newest film, A Most Wanted Man. A...

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'Land Ho!' Will Make You Want To Visit Iceland With Your Grandpa
Production: Cinematography: 
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One wouldn't think that a movie based solely around a pair of traveling elderly men would be entertaining unless it starred Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. While it's not exactly a rip-roaring comedy like Grumpy Old Men, Land Ho! stars a different odd couple and, yes, it's entertaining. Land Ho! is the...

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'Sex Tape' Is A Clever Concept Masked By Moronic Execution
Production: Comedy Factor: 
Sex Tape is the type of comedy that sounds like a home run. A couple looking to spice up their love life decides to make a sex tape and through some technological misunderstandings the very private tape ends up in the public domain. Unfortunately, while that set-up could have lent itself to a smart, introspective...

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'The Purge: Anarchy' Ruins The Entire Purge Concept
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Last year, The Purge confounded the movie industry. It made a lot of money at the box office, but received mostly poor reviews from critics and fans alike. However, because the movie business is, first and foremost, a business, the profitable film was given a sequel. Unfortunately, The Purge: Anarchy is even...

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'Boyhood' Is An Instant Timeless Classic
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With Boyhood, director Richard Linklater has not just set a new bar for coming-of-age films; he has pushed the cinematic medium as a whole forward. What, at a glance, might seem like an experimental film, is actually a moving portrait of a (fictional) family's life chronicled over 12 years. It's a story about...

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'Venus in Fur' - Roman Polanski Makes The Most Of Two Characters And A Room
Production: Chemistry: 
As the director of Chinatown, The Pianist, and Rosemary's Baby, Roman Polanski has been behind the camera for some of the most important movies in the history of cinema. After many hugely ambitious productions, Polanski's last film, Carnage, was a textbook study of minimalist filmmaking, set in a single apartment...

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'Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes' Delivers Plenty Of Ape Action
Production: Special Effects: 
It's said that, in comparison to the original Planet of the Apes series of films, 2011's Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a rehash of 1972's Conquest of the Planet of the Apes. If this is true, then the new Dawn of the Planet of the Apes should be based on the next film in the series, 1973's Battle for the...

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'Earth To Echo' Earns Its 'E.T.' Comparisons - But Not In A Good Way
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In the eighties, there were a handful of films that defined the generation of kids who grew up watching them. Movies like E.T. the Extra Terrestrial, The Goonies, and Stand by Me gave the children of the day characters to which they could relate without the films seeming like children's movies. The modern generation...

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'Snowpiercer' is Smart Sci-Fi Executed Well
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Action Sequences: 
Over the course of a single year moviegoers are likely to see numerous sci-fi films purporting to be the next Star Wars or The Matrix. These films try to sell their unique concepts and bombastic action sequences to the masses with a careless attitude, focusing on box office gold and little else. As a result, most...

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'Deliver Us from Evil' - "True" Story That Is Heavy On Mystery, Light On Scares
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Audiences love true stories, whether they come in the form of Oscar bait films like Dallas Buyers Club or more exploitative movies like The Conjuring. All a script needs is a kernel of truth to be able to make the "based on actual events" claim, no matter how unbelievable the story may be. Some of these movies...

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Franchise Fatigue Sets In For 'Transformers: Age of Extinction'
Production: Action Sequences: 
By now most moviegoers know exactly what they're going to get when they sit down for a Michael Bay directed Transformers movie. Big action, outrageously gaudy special effects, goofy side characters, a charismatic but ultimately flat lead, and a story that, while dynamic, isn't particularly well crafted or interesting....

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'Third Person' Traps An Amazing Cast In A Mediocre Movie
Production: Writing: 
Acting: 
Although his 2004 film Crash won the Academy Award for Best Picture, Paul Haggis has had more success as a writer than a director; in addition to Crash, Haggis has written the screenplays to Million Dollar Baby, The Next Three Days, Casino Royale, and Quantum of Solace, as well as the teleplays to countless television...

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'Jersey Boys' Makes The Audience Sing Along With Both The Comedy and The Tragedy
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Any successful Broadway show is bound to get adapted into a movie, whether it's Death of a Salesman or Grease. The newest play to get the Hollywood treatment is the hit musical Jersey Boys. Jersey Boys follows the career of Frankie Valli (Tony Award winner John Lloyd Young from the Broadway production)...

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Frame Of Mind

Rock n Roll NightmareThis past weekend, the horror world lost yet another one of its icons when writer/producer/director John Fasano passed away at the relatively young age of 52.  Fasano’s most famous work was done outside of horror, having written the screenplays for Another 48 Hrs. and Universal Soldier: The Return, but he also did solid work within the genre with his script for the modern classic Darkness Falls and the creation of the horror-comedy web show “Woke Up Dead.”  He broke into the horror scene as a director in 1987 with his first film, now a cult favorite, called Rock ‘n’ Roll Nightmare.

Robot MonsterThere are bad movies, and then there are Bad Movies.  The first category includes movies that in some way are just inferior films, with little or no entertainment value.  The second category, capital B and M Bad Movies, are movies that have substantial flaws and are universally loved in spite, or maybe even because, of them.  Filmmakers like Ed Wood and Roger Corman have built entire careers out of making schlocky films, and the trend continues with modern movies like Showgirls and The Room.  Although the title of Worst of the Worst is highly debatable, a film that is definitely in the running for the honor of the King of the Bad Movies is 1953’s alien invasion disaster Robot Monster.

The Boys Next DoorFollowing the success of pioneering films like Halloween and Friday the 13th, the eighties became so flooded with psycho killers that it is widely referred to as the Golden Age of the Slasher Movie.  Movies like The Burning and The Prowler followed the formula closely, mixing violence with the sort of tongue-in-cheek comedy that would define the slasher subgenre.  However, by the middle of the decade, darker films like Scream for Help and Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer had begun to downplay the humor, raising the brutality level in the process.  A good example of this type of film is the 1985 killer-on-the-road movie The Boys Next Door.

Death ValleyMost people recognize actor Peter Billingsley from his greatest contribution to popular culture – he played Ralphie in the yuletide classic A Christmas Story.  After appearing in the traditional 24-hours-marathonable holiday tale, Billingsley’s lovable geek look got him more work, mostly on television in sitcoms like “Who’s the Boss” and “Punky Brewster.”  However, the youngster had made movies before landing his signature role.  He even made a horror movie in 1982, the year before A Christmas Story, called Death Valley.

Jimi: All Is By My SideJimi: All Is By My Side is a film with multiple problems serious enough that the couple of very good things it has going for it stand little chance of compensating. As written and directed by 12 Years A Slave scribe John Ridley, the narrative sets off down familiar musical biopic lane: musician discovered; gains success; deals with distractions and behaves badly; and that's it.. Perhaps because the production was denied the use of Hendrix's music by his estate (holding out for full control of the production), the story ends in mid-1967, with Jimi and his Experience trooping off to Monterey and international fame.

The Four Skulls of Jonathan DrakeThe curse is a classic trope of the horror movie, and it has been exploited thoroughly over the years.  Whether it’s a voodoo curse, like in Black Moon or Revolt of the Zombies, or a more vengeful curse, such as in Drag Me to Hell or Thinner, curses are powerful and mysterious, making them absolutely horrifying to the uninitiated masses.  In 1959, an interesting curse movie was released that has flown curiously under the radar, a little film called The Four Skulls of Jonathan Drake.

 

Under the Electric Sky (2014)Every year, hundreds of thousands of people flock to Electric Daisy Carnival, an electronic dance music festival held in several different locations all over the world during the summer months.  The festival brings fans together into a musical circus-like atmosphere for three days of non-stop partying.  The largest of these gatherings is the one that takes place in Las Vegas, NV, and that is the one that is at the center of Under the Electric Sky.

Supermensch: The Legend of Shep GordonIn Yiddish, the word “mensch” refers to “a person of integrity and honor.”  One would not think that it would be a term that could apply a showbiz manager, but it is the best description for Shep Gordon.  Even those who have never heard of Shep Gordon are probably familiar with his clients.  He’s one of the entertainment industry’s most powerful players, having represented musical heavyweights like Alice Cooper, Anne Murray, and Teddy Pendergrass.  His list of A-list friends is exponentially longer than his artist stable, and the guest lists to his famous parties read like a who’s-who of Hollywood.  And every one of these friends and acquaintances has nothing but good things to say about him.  He’s more than a mensch, he’s a Supermensch, hence the title of the intriguing documentary about his life and times, Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon.

The Horror ShowIn the modern horror world, few actors have been as prolific as Lance Henriksen.  After getting his start with small roles in big films like Dog Day Afternoon and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Henriksen transitioned into bigger roles in fright films like Damien: Omen II and The Visitor.  By the mid-eighties, he had found his niche, having scored bona-fide starring roles in classic films like Aliens, Near Dark, and Pumpkinhead.  In 1989, Henriksen closed out the eighties with the lesser known but completely enjoyable thriller The Horror Show.

LA Film Festival: 'Frank' (d. Lenny Abrahamson)A provincial young man dreams of writing songs. He is not very good at it. A chance encounter with a touring American band with an unpronounceable name leads to his stepping in for their sectioned keyboard player, travelling to Ireland to spend a year of musical experiments and recording and, through slightly underhand methods, getting the band booked at a big-time US festival. But at what cost? Is he a weasely manipulator, or just blindly self-serving? Is art compatible with commerce? Is genius born from mental distress? Is it in fact essentially unfathomable? And why does the band's leader/singer/guru Frank never take off that large cartoon head?

LA Film Festival: 'The Great Museum' ('Das groβe Museum') (d. Johannes Holzhausen)Behind the scenes of the great Künsthistorisches Museum of Vienna, as a close pan up Breughal's Tower of Babel at the end of Das groβe Museum suggests, there are a lot of people doing a lot of work. This is in fact the only moment akin to commentary in this hands-off documentary – without talking heads, voiceover, or music – unless one counts also the gentle puncturing of the traditional sanctity of such grand repositories of fine art scattered through the opening sections: an employee gliding through the narrow passageways of the office/library on a scooter to pick up a photocopy; a workman violating the parquet floor and echoing silence of an empty gallery with a pickaxe; the dusting of the groin of some giant marble Greek dude (it's Theseus).

The Incredible Melting ManLong before he hit the horror big time with his groundbreaking effects on 1981’s An American Werewolf in London, makeup artist Rick Baker was making Hollywood bleed, ooze, and gush.  He started his career in the early seventies, creating nightmares in films like It’s Alive, Squirm, and the attempted reboot of King Kong.  His big break came in 1977 when he created aliens and creatures for a little film called Star Wars, but that same year he contributed to another classic of the sci-fi/horror genre, The Incredible Melting Man.

William Eubank“I don’t know if they’re here, or have ever been here, but I definitely do believe in them.”  William Eubank, director of The Signal ponders the existence of aliens and UFOs.  It’s a fair question; The Signal is all about the possibility of extraterrestrial life on Earth, and Eubank’s first film, Love, was produced and scored by the rock band Angels & Airwaves, whose famous frontman, Tom Delonge, is an outspoken alien conspiracist.  Eubank speaks fondly of Delonge - “I’ve sat in his backyard many a time with night vision goggles, looking at the sky.  He’s a good dude.”

The People Under the StairsDespite the amount of respect that he has in the horror community, Wes Craven is really only known for two franchises: A Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream.  His other films have been hit-and-miss, but fans of the genre still flock to his work.  Cinema Fearité has already covered his two “deadly” movies, Deadly Blessing and Deadly Friend, but in the years between A Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream, Craven also made classics like The Serpent and the Rainbow in 1988, Shocker in 1989, and, in 1991, a little ode to the house that every kid in the neighborhood avoided called The People Under the Stairs.

Audrey RoseBefore becoming a household name as Dr. Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs, Anthony Hopkins toiled away for 25 years in Britain, playing roles in both movies and television.  The classically trained actor cut his teeth performing in adaptations of works by Shakespeare, Ibsen, and Tolstoy, and portraying characters as diverse as Charles Dickens and Adolf Hitler.  His first real foray into American Horror was in 1977, when he took on an ambiguous role in director Robert Wise’s 1977 film Audrey Rose.

Witchfinder GeneralThe horror world is full of legends.  In Hollywood, Universal Studios had Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, and Lon Chaney, Jr.  Across the pond in England, the Hammer Horror pictures had Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing.  The biggest of these icons of fright, however, was Vincent Price.  Price’s cultural impact transcended the horror world; he appeared everywhere from “The Muppet Show” to “The Love Boat,” and contributed to recordings by musicians as varied as Michael Jackson and Alice Cooper.  He gained fame and fortune with his campy sense of humor, but he was first and foremost a horror personality.  Any doubts of this fact can be put to rest with one viewing of his 1968 film Witchfinder General.

DisconnectedThe fun thing about the horror genre is that just about anyone with the ambition to follow through can make a movie.  Sometimes, as is the case with Halloween or The Blair Witch Project, the simple movies can become classics.  All that stands between a filmmaker and the next big thing is having a creative mind and coming up with a good idea.  Sometimes, one doesn’t even need that to make a cool movie; they just need to put their mind to it, and get out there and do it.  An example of one of these “happy accidents” is the 1983 low-budget slasher Disconnected.

Strait-JacketBefore the days of the scream queen, it was not uncommon for big-name actresses to work within the horror genre.  Whether it was in their prime or in the twilight of their careers, women like Audrey Hepburn (Wait Until Dark), Bette Davis (Burnt Offerings, Dead Ringer), Mia Farrow (The Haunting of Julia, See No Evil), and Joan Fontaine (The Witches) would appear in horror movies if the project was right for them.  After nearly forty years in Hollywood, the iconic Joan Crawford (Mildred Pierce) starred in a handful of horror movies in the sixties, the most high-profile being her team-up with Bette Davis, the 1962 camp classic What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?.  A couple of years later, in 1964, Crawford made her most off-the-wall film, a low budget exploitation flick called Strait-Jacket.

Bloody MamaIn horror movies, killing can sometimes be a family affair.  Whether it’s the mutant backwoods kinfolk in Wrong Turn, the infamous Sawyer family from The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, or the murderous Firefly clan of House of 1000 Corpses and The Devil’s Rejects, groups of villains just make more sense when they are related by blood.  It doesn’t even have to be ancestral blood, as Kathryn Bigelow showed in her vampire classic Near Dark.  In 1970, the legendary B-movie mogul Roger Corman (A Bucket of Blood, The Little Shop of Horrors) got in on the family act, making a film based on the prohibition era Barker Brothers Gang called Bloody Mama.

976-EVILIn the nineteen eighties, every new cultural fad or trend seemed to inspire a horror movie.  Cinema Fearité has already pointed out the horror world’s reactions to cable television (TerrorVision) and the home video revolution (The Video Dead), but it hardly stopped there.  In the pre-internet days, people could call pay-telephone numbers that began with the prefix 976 in order to be connected with party lines or to be read their horoscopes.  Of course, a movie was made about the growing-yet-doomed premium-rate phone craze in 1988, and it was predictably called 976-EVIL.

Watermark - Courtesy Entertainment OneWater is something we all take for granted.  We couldn’t exist without it, yet we only think about it when it’s running scarce.  We use it to cook, clean, work, and play, and we do it all on a daily basis.  Renowned photographer Edward Burtynsky has teamed up with filmmaker Jennifer Baichwal (Payback) to pay tribute to the most overlooked and underappreciated of the Classical Elements in the documentary Watermark.

Finding Vivian Maier - Courtesy Sundance SelectsIn 2007, a young realtor named John Maloof was looking for pictures of different areas of Chicago for a book that he was compiling.  He bought a storage unit for $380 that contained thousands of negatives and a bunch of undeveloped rolls of film.  When he examined the negatives, he saw some of the most captivating street photography that had ever been taken.  He knew that he was onto something, so he snooped around the locker a bit more and found pieces of mail addressed to a woman named Vivian Maier.  Seeing that there was a story developing, he enlisted producer Charlie Siskel (“Tosh.0”) to help him tell it, and the resulting documentary is Finding Vivian Maier.

Friday the 13th: The OrphanSean S. Cunningham’s Friday the 13th is inarguably one of the most successful horror franchises, and for good reason.  Not only did the series practically invent the campers-in-the-woods stereotype, but its villain, the hockey-mask wearing, machete-wielding Jason Voorhees, is so iconic that his image has become synonymous with the horror genre in the minds of fans and non-fans alike.  However, Friday the 13th was not the first movie to use the name; the year before the first Camp Crystal Lake movie, in 1979, another film had the genius idea of exploiting the most superstitious day on the calendar, the completely unrelated Friday the 13th: The Orphan.

Bad DreamsIt’s said that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.  In 1984, Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street revolutionized the slasher movie.  Because of this, the film spawned not only several sequels, but a number of rip-offs as well.  There was the rock and roll film Dreamaniac.  There were not one, but two Bollywood A Nightmare on Elm Street clones: Mahakaal (The Monster) and Khooni Murdaa (Deadly Corpse).  Craven himself has been accused of cinematic cannibalism with his own My Soul to Take.  Even the sequels had imitators; Inception and The Matrix can both be viewed as derivative of A Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors.  Although not all good, some of these imitations were not half bad, either.  An example of one of the good clones is 1988’s Bad Dreams.

Jodorowsky's Dune (courtesy Sony Pictures Classics)Frank Herbert’s Dune is generally thought of as essential reading in science fiction literature.  In 1984, the epic novel was adapted by director David Lynch (Blue Velvet) into a lumbering, disastrous movie.  Ten years earlier in 1975, however, another movie adaptation of Dune was in the works, one that had been meticulously planned and prepared by Chilean cult film director Alejandro Jodorowsky (Holy Mountain), only to have funding fall apart before a single shot could be filmed.  This unrealized version of Dune is explored in great detail by documentarian Frank Pavich (N.Y.H.C.) in his new film, the appropriately titled Jodorowsky’s Dune.

Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston in 'Only Lovers Left Alive'It seems to be of little concern to Jim Jarmusch, the common journalistic shorthand that labels him as some "high priest of hip." He seems actively to be courting the title in fact, with Only Lovers Left Alive, the most languorously cool movie of his career (amidst stiff competition). It is a love story, intrinsic to which is the fact that Adam and Eve (Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton) are vampires (their third wedding was 1868) whose relationship has strengthened and deepened to a near-mystical level over the years; as has their knowledge and appreciation of science, nature, and cultural figures and artifacts, allowing for the fetishisation of all kinds of musical instruments and equipment, books and literary figures: an impossible level of hipness attainable only via several times a normal human lifespan. And of course they dress to kill, and wear sunglasses at night.

Edge of SanityIf an actor is lucky, he or she will take on a role that will define their entire career.  Sean Connery was James Bond.  Robert Englund was Freddy Krueger.  And Anthony Perkins was Norman Bates.  The trademark role can be both a blessing and a curse; the actor is usually remembered forever in pop culture history, but it is often difficult come out from the shadow of that one character.  Anthony Perkins was specifically tied to Norman Bates in the years after Psycho, so much so that he portrayed the unstable man-boy in three sequels, even directing one of them.  Although Perkins made dozens of other movies during his career, he will always be Norman Bates to audiences.  Perkins didn’t do himself any favors with role selection, either; he played mentally unstable characters several more times in his career, but the most memorable came in 1989’s Edge of Sanity

Visitors (Courtesy of Cinedigm 2014)In 1982, director Godfrey Reggio and composer Philip Glass collaborated on the masterful documentary Koyaanisqatsi, an art film that combined Reggio’s beautiful visions with Glass’ haunting music.  The pair would team up again in 1988’s Powaqqatsi and in2002’s Naqoyqatsi.  Now, in 2014, Reggio and Glass have once again created a stunning marriage of sound and picture with the much more pronounceable Visitors.

Little Joe in TrashAn unprecedented event took place a couple of weekends ago in the Masonic Lodge of the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. It was a celebration not of specific timing, yet long-overdue, coming about for no particular reason, other than acquaintance and willingness on the part of all those involved. Nonetheless, it is hard to believe that no-one before now has invited or managed to persuade Warhol Superstar "Little Joe" Dallesandro to attend a retrospective tribute to the trilogy of roles he played for Paul Morrissey in Flesh (1968), Trash (1970) and Heat (1972).

The DevilsThe X rating is a double edged sword.  For adult films, the X is a badge of honor; it’s the rating for which they strive.  For a mainstream film, it can be the kiss of death.  There have been several mainstream films that have gone on to great success, both critical and commercial, despite being initially given an X rating.  Classics like Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange and Sam Raimi’s The Evil Dead began their cinematic lives with X ratings.  John Schlesinger’s Midnight Cowboy even won the best picture Oscar in 1969 with an X.  But not all mainstream X films are so lucky; in 1971, writer/director Ken Russell (Tommy, Altered States) made The Devils, a film which many consider to be the best picture of the director’s career.  Despite heavy editing, it was slapped with an X rating and, therefore, Russell’s original vision of The Devils has never been properly released.

The ConjuringHere they are, the top ten horror movies of 2013...and a few honorable mentions too.

The PastLike Asghar Farhadi's previous film, A Separation (2011), Le passé (The Past) is a superb feat of narrative construction and mise en scène, keeping three to four characters at the centre of attention, and balancing their motives and desires with careful equanimity. The problem is that there's little more to recommend the film than this cleverness, since none of the characters are especially interesting or likable, and the third act develops into a twist-too-far detective story, before ending on a note that, albeit presumably not deliberate, is a thudding sequel set-up, and for a far more lively film to boot.

DocumenteurAgnès Varda has cited Documenteur as her favourite of her own films, presumably because even more than The Beaches of Agnes (2008), it is her most personal and most emotional. She was apart from her husband Demy on her second trip to Los Angeles, at the start of the ‘80s, to develop a script (turned down), deciding instead to make her documentary Mur Murs (1981) on the city's mural art. During this time she was inspired both by her sadness of separation and by the sense of disenchantment and exile she found in Venice, to make a film that fully justifies its subtitle of an “emotion picture.”

Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Thor: The Dark WorldWhile the first Thor – released in 2011 – was a suitable introduction to the Marvel Comics character Thor, it was also a fairly tepid approach to what is one of the more cosmic members of the Avengers team. Up until that point, moviegoers had been treated to a Marvel world that existed in a realm where most of the superheroes seemed plausible, if not completely believable. Iron Man was a guy rich enough to build himself a super suit, the Hulk a man who was caught on the wrong end of Gamma radiation, Captain America a super soldier, and so on. Thor, on the other hand, is the God of thunder, and literally occupies a completely different realm from those previously mentioned characters.

Lance Armstrong in The Armstrong Lie. 2013 Frank Marshall / Sony Pictures ClassicsIn the sporting world, there are a handful of elite athletes who were able to rise head and shoulders above their competition.  In the NFL, Jerry Rice not only still holds just about every major receiving record worth holding, but holds them all by such a huge margin that many will most likely never be broken.  In the NHL, Wayne Gretsky was so dominant that the entire league, not just the teams for which he played, retired his number 99 jersey.  The NBA’s Michael Jordan was a player who, every time he touched the ball, seemingly held the defense at the mercy of whatever it was that he wanted to do with it.  These athletes had something special, something for which they have each been memorialized forever within their respective sports. Lance Armstrong had it, too.  At least, that’s what everyone thought.

Les DiaboliquesAlfred Hitchcock may be the most recognizable name in suspense, but there is one man who certainly gave Hitchcock a run for his money. Henri-Georges Clouzot was a master of suspense in his own right, and as a contemporary of Hitchcock, became a great rival and influence. His most frequent themes dealt with the moral corruption of individuals and communities. Films such as Le corbeau and Quai des Orfèvres depict a very cynical assessment of humanity while showcasing Clouzot’s immense talent for suspenseful filmmaking. His best film – and the one he is best known for – is undoubtedly Les Diaboliques, a noir adaptation of a Pierre Boileau and Thomas Narcejac novel. Hailed by some as "the French film noir to end all French film noirs," Les Diaboliques turned noir convention on its head and provided one of the best examples of a noir thriller with horror overtones.

Dario Argento's Dracula 3DAs the years go by it seems ever more likely that Dario Argento will never rescale the inspired heights of his '70s output, the hysterical horror and steely set-pieces that more than make up for wooden acting, distracting dubbing, and leaden exposition. Mother of Tears had its moments and gave one cautious hope in 2007; Giallo (2009) was familiar enough to be comforting; but while Dracula 3D feels reassuringly like an Argento film on plenty of occasions, it fails to play to his strengths, hamstrung by half-hearted literary faithfulness, strangely perfunctory in its murders, and unbalanced by far too much downtime.

Le jour se lèveIn some regards, film noir was a genre that came full circle, from the darkly brooding French films that inspired American tales of ill-fated, morally corrupt characters and back again to the French who coined the very term “film noir” and celebrated its impact as a genre. Late 1930s French cinema saw an influx of films whose pessimistic themes earned them the name “poetic realism.” From directors such as Jean Vigo, Julien Duvivier, Marcel Carné, and Jean Renoir came films that sought to depict life in all its gritty realism and characters who lived on the margins of society – the working class and even criminals. One of the most celebrated films of the poetic realism movement is Marcel Carné’s Le jour se lève (1939). The third in a trilogy of fatalistic dramas, Le jour se lève is less a story about crime and more of the doomed love triangle that ruins a humble working man’s life. A deeply claustrophobic film, its emphasis on disillusionment and imprisonment within society are clear precursors to classic film noir.

The World's End PosterThe World's End is a film that cannot be summed up succinctly or without meandering off into a tangent or two. A face value it's a story about reuniting with old friends and squashing, or rehashing, decades-old squabbles, but just underneath the surface is an homage to the body-swapping flicks of the '50s. Buried even deeper, almost as a meta film, The World's End is the final piece of "The Three Flavors Cornetto Trilogy," a loosely connected series of films that started with Shaun of the Dead (2004) and continued with Hot Fuzz (2007).

Tilikum in a scene from BLACKFISH, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures. Photo credit Suzanne Allee. Blackfish is documentary filmmaker Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s disturbing look into the capture and treatment of orcas, or killer whales, in aquariums and marine theme parks.  Specifically, the film deals with those whales that snap, attacking their trainers.  Even more specifically, the film centers mostly around one particular animal: Tilikum, a male orca who has been involved in the deaths of no fewer than three people (two of his trainers and one knucklehead who snuck into the park after hours and decided to go for a swim).  Blackfish chronicles Tilikum’s entire life as an exhibition animal, from his capture, to his training at Sealand of the Pacific in Canada and his transfer to Sea World in Florida and, ultimately, the detailed accounts of the incidents that resulted in the deaths of his trainers.

Movie News | Trailers | Events | Goodies

Groot, Guardians Of The GalaxyHave you ever wondered what Vin Diesel would sound like speaking Russian, Mandarin Chinese, or just plain old common Spanish?  Well, you are in luck as videos have been released where you can hear Diesel dubbing his lines for Guardians of the Galaxy in those three languages, and two more.

NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM: SECRET OF THE TOMBIt just so happens that two evenings ago I was in the company of children and they chose to watch Night At The Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.  Imagine my surprise when the first teaser trailer for Night At The Museum: Secret of the Tomb popped up in my inbox this morning--and I must admit I had no idea they were making a third film in the franchise.  There is more fun to be had this time around with all of the characters we remember from the other two films, and some new ones too. 

Forrest GumpIn case you have not had enough of a fix over the past 20 years of Forrest Gump playing on television you are in luck. Paramount Pictures and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment are re-releasing the film in IMAX theatres to celebrate its 20th anniversary.  You will only have one-week to catch Forrest Gump on IMAX screens, starting September 5, 2014.  Make sure to bring a box of chocolates, and kleenex (Forrest Gump made me cry like a baby).

Hot Tub Time Machine 2To put a little spring in your step, and get your funny bone working, here is the brand-new red band trailer for Hot Tub Time Machine 2. You remember the hilarious original, right? It featured a hot tub, that was a time machine, and a band of misfit comedic actors who got taken back in time to the 80s. Yes, it was epic in all its ridiculousness, and now there is a new chapter of time travelin' hot tubbin' to be done.  Oh, the anticipation!

Scream FactoryScream Factory, the horror imprint of home video distributor Shout Factory which fans have lovingly dubbed “the Criterion of horror,” announced plans for ten new blu-ray titles during their Friday night Comic-Con panel.  Here are the newest members of the Scream Factory Family:

AnnabelleBefore The Conjuring, there was Annabelle.  The creepy doll that stole the first ten minutes or so of The Conjuring is getting her own movie.  Produced by The Conjuring and Insidious director James Wan and directed by Wan’s longtime cinematographer John R. Leonetti, Annabelle hits theaters this October.  For those who can’t wait, check out the brand new trailer.

The Expendables 3 Cast BannerIf you are looking for an action-packed testosterone filled ride of a movie look no further than The Expendables 3.  The new trailer makes the point quite clear, and the fact that the movie features the most action stars in one place, ever.

Guardians of the Galaxy Starlord PosterThe summer still has plenty of big-budget blockbusters to let loose on the moviegoing masses. But with each new item released in prepartion for Guardians of the Galaxy it is hard to focus on any other film that may come before it. Except for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, but that is more because there will be apes on horses and that is just plain awesome. Then again, Guardians of the Galaxy has Rocket, and Groot. Oh, the challenges of summer movie watching; it is a good thing we don't have to pick just one movie to see.

Check out the new character posters from Guardians of the Galaxy and mark your calendar for August 1, 2014 when it hits theatres.

It's hard to believe that Los Angeles has had its own film festival for only two decades, but this year is indeed the 20th edition of the LAFF, running from Wednesday, June 11, to Thursday 19. As ever, the program boasts a mixture of local and regional independent films, a couple of big-ticket studio films (Eastwood’s Jersey Boys is the closer, 22 Jump Street is a “pre-festival” special screening ), a couple of big-ticket independents (Bong Joon-Ho’s Snowpiercer is the official opener), a respectable International Showcase, and countless documentaries, shorts and music videos.

The November ManWith the release of The November Man's first trailer one thing is certain: one must choose between love or bullets.  Pierce Brosnan returns to action-movie form in The November Man, based on the best-selling novel by Bill Granger, “There are No Spies," with Brosnan playing the titular character Peter Devereaux. 

'Big Hero 6A brand-new poster is here for Walt Disney Animation Studios Big Hero 6. May your eyes enjoy the grand roboticness!

In one month, on July 11, 2014, moviegoers around the world will eagerly flock to the cinema to witness one of the greatest achievements in filmmaking to-date: apes riding horses.  Okay, it has been done before in the original Planet of the Apes but this time it is Caesar and his band of world-domination set apes and it's not just men in ape suits but full of amazing special effects and real actors lending their expressions.  There is really nothing more to say except there will be apes riding horses in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes!!!

X-Men: Days of Future PastIt may be Memorial Day Weekend, meaning there is one more day for people to flock to the cinemas before returning to work, but the weekend box office officially comes to a close today.  As expected, X-Men: Days of Future Past has won the top box office spot, pulling in an estimated $90.7 million over three days. Deadline reports it had a significant drop of 18% since Friday--never a good thing.  X-Men: Days of Future Past did not do as well as last week's BIG opener Godzilla, with a total of $93.1 million. There is still time for the final amounts to be adjusted, so anything can happen.

Jeff Bridges, The Giver Character PosterLois Lowry created a modern classic with the novel "The Giver." Fans of the book will be treated to a film-adaptation this summer when The Giver hits theatres August 15th.  With a cast that includes Jeff Bridges and Meryl Streep the call for excellence has definitely been made.  Eight brand-new character posters have been released for The Giver, featuring the characters played by Brenton Thwaites, Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, Katie Holmes, Alexander Skarsgard, Taylor Swift, Cameron Monaghan, and Odeya Rush.  Take a gander, and while you're waiting for the movie to come out August 15th why not read the book?

Big Hero 6Disney Animation Studios has debuted the teaser trailer for Big Hero 6, inspired by the Marvel comics of the same name. Who doesn't want an animated feature with a robotics genius, colorful friends, adventure, comedy, and robots, of course.  Big Hero 6 arrives in theatres November 7, 2014.

Dawn of the Planet of the ApesPossibly the greatest part of Rise of the Planet of the Apes was watching the amazing special effects in the movie. The movie would have been nothing without Caesar's hauntingly human characteristics, as created by Andy Serkis.  Dawn of the Planet of the Apes has more than just one ape to delight audiences and a new video has been released showcasing the human-to-ape effects that will bring the ape characters of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes alive.  Enjoy, and prepare for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes in theatres July 11, 2014.

The Hundred-Foot Journey Poster (1)Director Lasse Hallström has been busy the past few years churning out YA adaptations that stir the tears and douse the fire in melodrama with Dear John and Safe Haven. The result was anything but positive. He fared better by directing the adaptation of Salmon Fishing In The Yemen, with little fanfare or popularity.  Teaming up with Helen Mirren, and tackling the world of culinary arts and restaurant rivalry, Lasse Hallström's newest film from Dreamworks is The Hundred-Foot Journey.  The mere fact that Helen Mirren (State of Play, The Queen) is the lead gives high hopes to the movie, and perhaps Hallström will bring back some of his old charm we have missed seeing from his films.  We could all use another Chocolat in our movie-going lives.

Star Wars Force For Change UNICEFFor $10 you may land yourself a part in Star Wars: Episode VII. Director J.J. Abrams announced from the set of Star Wars: Episode VII today the creation of "Star Wars: Force For Change," an initiative that will be "dedicated to finding creative solutions to some of the world’s biggest problems. The first "Star Wars: Force for Change" campaign will raise funds and awareness for the United Nations Children’s Fund’s (UNICEF) Innovation Labs and its innovative programs that are benefitting the world’s most vulnerable children"

Kingsman: The Secret Service Poster (1)Move over James Bond, there is a new spy who wants to take over movie screens in Kingsman: The Secret Service.  Based on the popular omic-book series from Dave Gibbons and Mark Miller and directed by Matthew Vaughn (Kick Ass, X-Men: First Class), Kingsman: The Secret Service features Colin Firth (A Single Man) in his first action role--playing, of course, a British spy.  He is teamed up with a new recruit in the agency, played by newcomer Taron Egerton, to hunt down a villain played by none-other than Samuel L. Jackson.  The cast also features Michael Caine, logically.

'Wish I Was Here'Remember all of the fuss that was made when Zach Braff ("Scrubs," Garden State) used Kickstarter to fund a movie project?  I'll bet you do.  Many people cried out that is was unfair for a "celebrity" with access to money in the "Industry" to use a medium such as Kickstarter, notorious for being the method those without "access" use to get projects funded.  It even caused other Kickstarters to mention him when beginning their campaigns; for example, Crafty Shoddmanship Productions titled their campaign for June, Adrift as "June, Adrift: A Real Indie Feature (No Offense, Zach Braff)."  Funny, in its own way, yes?

HalloweenDue to the fact that the Halloween movies’ licensing rights have been strewn across different studios and production companies, the franchise has never gotten a complete collection release.  That’s all about to change this fall when the Horror Heroes over at Scream Factory team up with Anchor Bay Entertainment to compile and release Halloween – The Complete Collection blu-ray box set.

The summer movie season has officially begun, and with a gigantic roar as Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures Godzilla brought in more than $1 million domestically this past weekend--the largest opening of 2014, so far.  There are plenty of big blockbusters headed to cinemas this summer season; X-men: Days of Future Past, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, are just a few of the highly anticipated films.  Just as summer begins to wind down a comedy-science fiction-fantasy blockbuster is headed our way from Marvel Studios, Guardians of the Galaxy.  A new trailer and poster have been released for the film and with every new piece of footage seen, Guardians of the Galaxy looks to be a movie to begin a countdown clock for. Is it August 1st yet?

Cinderella, 2015, Glass Slipper PosterIn 1950, audiences became enthralled with Walt Disney's animated feature Cinderella.  A classic in its own right, and still one of the best animated films ever made, Cinderella's story needs no formal introduction.  The time has come, though, for a new version to take its hold on the masses, with the live-action Cinderella that will be coming to theatres in 2015.  Starring Cate Blanchett, Lily James as Cinderella, Richard Madden, Stellan Skarsgård, Holliday Grainger, Sophie McShera, Derek Jacobi and Helena Bonham-Carter; and directed by Kenneth Branagh (Thor, Hamlet), the live-action version promises to dazzle audiences.

Transformers: Age of Extinction' Poster (3)Any self-respecting movie geek in love with action, science fiction, and all things that go "Roar!!!!!" only has one thing on their mind this week: going to see Gareth Edwards' Godzilla (and you should because it is awesome). For those who are shunning the movie, or have the ability to focus on more than one summer blockbuster offering at a time, Michael Bay has been so kind as to release a new trailer for Transformers: Age of Extinction with the tagline attached, "We need a new army."

Deliver Us From EvilScott Derrickson, the director of Sinister and The Exorcism of Emily Rose, has a new movie due this summer called Deliver Us From Evil.  The film stars Eric Bana (Closed Circuit) as an NYPD officer who’s investigating a string of crimes and gets help from an unlikely source – an exorcist played by Édgar Ramírez (Wrath of the Titans).  Deliver Us From Evil possesses theaters on July 2nd, but you can check out the trailer now.

Lucky BastardIf you missed Lucky Bastard when it hit theaters a couple of months ago, you’re in luck; the found footage horror film is coming to Cable On Demand starting May 15th, and will be on iVOD platforms such as YouTube, Google Play, Playstation Network, and Xbox Live on May 16th.  Starring Don McManus (Grand Piano), Betsy Rue (My Bloody Valentine), and Jay Paulson (Imaginary Heroes), Lucky Bastard is about a porn director who hooks one of his stars up with an Average Joe (a “Lucky Bastard”) for an adult film shoot, with horrifying consequences.  If you’re up for some semi-erotic horror in the comfort of your own home, this may be what you’re looking for.  You can read our review here, or watch the trailer below.

Blended PosterThey had The Wedding Singer, and Fifty First Dates.  Now Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore are all grown-up, managing life as single parents in Blended.  The newest comedy to star the pair focuses on the blending of two families together, with hijinks galore of course before happily ever after finds it way to each of them. A trip to South Africa should do the trick, right? The second trailer for Blended is here, and this comedy duo is ready for their next big screen outing together.

Into The Storm PosterIt has been a long time since a tornado took over the BIG screen; Sharknado does not count.  This summer, things are going to get turbulent when Into The Storm rattles movie theatre seats and sets our hearts a pumping with sound effects that judging from the trailer will deafen us all.  The first trailer for Into The Storm is here, enjoy the tease, and hold on to your hat it is going to be windy.

Teenage Mutant Ninja TurtlesMany of us grew up with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  We know the story, we owned the movies on VHS, watched the television show, and read the comic books. They are a sacred part of pop culture, and Michael Bay has taken control of them. This can mean one of two things: the movie is going to royally suck, or it is going to be an awesome action-filled adventure.  The one thing we have going for the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie is that Michael Bay did not direct the film; he is merely a producer.  There is hope for our childhoods, after all.  I now present the first teaser trailer for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Hercules 2014 PosterI never thought the day would come where I would behold 'The Rock,' aka Dwayne Johnson, with long flowing locks. I was wrong, very wrong.  In the debut trailer for Paramount Pictures' Hercules he does, and it is a marvel.  The rest of the details in the trailer look awesome too.

Think Like A Man Too PosterThink Like A Man was never reviewed on FilmFracture, and I whole heartedly regret overlooking the movie in 2012.  The movie was funny, good natured, sentimental at times, featured a great cast full of chemistry, and most importantly, it was entertaining from start-to-finish. The sequel, Think Like A Man Too will release in theatres June 20, 2014. This time around, it will not go unnoticed. For now, enjoy the trailer for Think Like A Man Too, because the gang is headed to Vegas; and we all know what happens in Vegas.

Annie 2014 PosterCall it a remake, a reboot, or whatever else you can come up with. Any way you put it, there is a new Annie movie, and the first trailer and poster have been released. Annie is part of a political game...she does not have red hair...and where is the dog?  No matter how many changes have been made, or liberties, the sun will still come out tomorrow. 

The ark in 'Noah'Just how did Darren Aronofsky build Noah's ark?  Well, the brand-new featurette for Noah just may hold the answer you seek. Watch it now and discover Noah's ark.

Mark Wahlberg, 'Transformers: Age of Extinction' Poster"We don't need another Transformers movie," said everyone when the fourth installment of the franchise was announced. Did we need a third Jurassic Park?  Or a fourth Indiana Jones? (Okay, we needed a fourth Indiana Jones, just not that one).  A franchise can only survive for so long before it becomes tired, pushed to its story limits, and just plain loses interest from viewers. Michael Bay does not care that this is the case with the Transformers franchise. Instead, a mere few years since the shameful Transformers: Dark of the Moon, he is "rebooting" the franchise and starting anew. The one thing Transformers: Age of Extinction has going for it is Mark Wahlberg is now the lead character--and thank the heavens for that. No one wants to sit through another 2 1/2 hour movie starring the whining Shia LaBeouf. Without further commentary, here is the new poster for Transformers: Age of Extinction, featuring Mark Wahlberg.

Disney Movies Anywhere LogoToday just got better for fans of Disney, Pixar, and Marvel movies. The Walt Disney Studios has launched the 'Disney Movies Anywhere' digital movie service and app. Debuting with iTunes as its exclusive launch provider, the digital movie service and app, is a way to keep your entire digital collection of Disney, Pixar, and Marvel movies in one place via your iPhone, iPad, iPad touch and on the web.

 

 

Guardians Of The Galaxy PosterThe first trailer for Guardians Of The Galaxy was released earlier this week and now it is time to meet each of the character's individually.  Images, video, it is all here so you can get yourself acquainted with the new action-comedy-superhero team of Summer 2014.

Tammy PosterMelissa McCarthy is quickly becoming the comedy "IT" girl to partner with in movies. Her next victim, so to speak, is the great Susan Sarandon in Tammy.  Keeping with the not-so-lucky persona McCarthy does so well, in Tammy she plays a woman who has just lost her burger joint job, had her car clunk out on her, and found her husband sleeping around with the neighbor. Oh, the hits just keep on coming.  A road trip with her grandmother, played by Sarandon, is just what she needs--or is it?

The Purge: AnarchyThe sequel to last year’s The Purge has a teaser trailer now, and it looks promising.  It's called The Purge: Anarchy and, this time, it’s Kiele Sanchez (A Perfect Getaway) and Zach Gilford (Devil’s Due) against the one-night mob of lawlessness, and it appears that there is no place for the couple to hide this time.  The film is again written and directed by James DeMonaco (Assault on Precinct 13) and hits theaters on June 20th.

The Expendables 3It did not take long for The Expendables 3 to go into production after the huge success of The Expendables 2.  Audiences love the band of aging action heroes the movie's present to us on a shiny, silver platter of pastiche and brilliant comedic timing mixed with action galore.  Watch the first trailer for The Expendable 3 now; laugh about the music they chose to use, and delight in seeing the entire cast of favorite's line-up at your attention.

Dawn of the Planet of the ApesCharlton Heston famously proclaimed, "Take Your Stinkin' Paws Off Me You Damn Dirty Ape," in Planet Of The Apes (1968).  He probably would have thought twice about it had he encountered king-ape Caesar in Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes, the much anticpated sequel to Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes.  A new trailer has been released and all there is to say is...wow, humans have quite a battle ahead of them (and I think the apes are going to win).

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