Monthly Archives: January 2013

From the Set: Jack the Giant Slayer

Jack-the-Giant-Slayer-PosterWe’ve already seen Alice in Wonderland and a double dose of Snow White, but with Maleficent, Pan,Sleeping Beauty, Pinocchio and possibly more fairy tales-turned-big screen epics hitting theaters in the coming years, perhaps Bryan Singer’s Jack the Giant Slayer will actually wind up slipping in at just the opportune time.

The project is a long time coming for Singer. He first signed on to direct back in September of 2009, but didn’t get the green light until just over a year later after which he went through a lengthy pre-production process before finally bringing the project to set in the spring and summer of 2011. Even then, the film still wasn’t in the clear, getting ousted from its original Summer 2012 drop date, settling back in on March 22nd, only to be moved up to March 1, 2013.

Will the tale of Nicholas Hoult’s Jack, a lowly farm boy who scales a beanstalk to save Princess Isabelle (Eleanor Tomlinson) from a brigade of giants eager to destroy King Brahmwell’s (Ian McShane) kingdom, be worth the wait? With the latest release date locked in place and now just a month away, we’ll find out soon enough, but if the final product sucks you into the world with even a fraction of the force the experience standing on set during production did, Singer’s time will have been well spent.

Click here to read the full set visit and here for additional interview highlights.

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Review: Girls Against Boys

Girls-Against-Boys-PosterYou think you’ve got relationship problems now? Just wait until you catch “Girls Against Boys.” Guy or girl, you’ll never want to attempt a date again.

Shae’s (Danielle Panabaker) your average New York City college girl – well, minus the massive apartment she has all to herself and her unconventional boyfriend Terry (Andrew Howard), a 40-something guy with a kid. When Terry opts to do the right thing and try to work things out with his wife, Shae’s crushed and sulks her way through her shift bartending at a trendy nightclub. When one of the newer bartenders, Lu (Nicole LaLiberte), catches Shae tearing up, she suggests the two go grab a drink.

One drink turns into countless shots at another wild nightclub where the ladies dance it up with Simon (Michael Stahl-David) and his buddies. When the dancing schvitz takes the bounce out of Shae’s curls, the group calls it a night and heads back to the guys’ place for one last beer and certain something else. But when Shae takes a pass on the latter, Simon insists. With her mother busy at work and her best friend not answering her cell, Shae turns back to Lu who vows to end Shae’s man problems – literally.

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Review: Warm Bodies

Warm-Bodies-PosterThe key to restarting a zombie’s heart is a pretty girl. The key to making a big screen supernatural/human relationship work is lightening up.

We’re in the midst of a zombie apocalypse and R (Nicholas Hoult) is amongst the living dead. He calls a defunct airport home and spends his days lumbering around, occasionally bumping into or grunting at his zombie cohorts until they’re hungry enough to venture into the big city for some eats. While R does find something tasty to gnaw on, he also encounters some unexpected eye candy – Julie (Teresa Palmer). Rather than make Julie the next item on his menu, R vows to keep her safe, shielding her from his flesh-eating buddies and escorting her to the airport.

A vampire/human romance is one thing, but a zombie/human relationship is an especially tough sell. The “Warm Bodies” book takes itself very seriously but, thanks to effective narration, quality character development and the power of a reader’s imagination, it’s easy to get on board. With the audience’s imagination no longer in play with the big screen version, presenting “Warm Bodies” in a dark, dramatic fashion would have made it nearly impossible to convey the story in a believable manner. However, Jonathan Levine manages to adapt the source material in the best possible way, keeping key plot points and character details intact, but infusing the tale with an unexpected yet wildly appropriate degree of humor.

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Why Alex Pettyfer Could Hurt ‘Divergent’

Alex-PettyferThe Hunger Games dodged the bullet, but Divergent looks like it could get hit in a way that really might hurt. Via DivergentSeries.netOh No They Didn’t! is reporting that Alex Pettyfer is confirmed for the role of Four in the young adult book-to-film adaptation.

Shailene Woodley will lead as 16-year-old Beatrice Prior, a girl living in a time when the population is divided into factions based on lifestyle and values. Beatrice is born into Abnegation, the group that shuns self-indulgence and vows to act selflessly, but come the Choosing Ceremony, Beatrice will finally be able to decide for herself if that’s the path she wants to take or if she’ll leave her family and everything she’s ever known behind for a different faction. Whether she goes with Abnegation or not, Beatrice still must endure a rigorous initiation process before being accepted as a full-fledged member — and that’s where Four comes in. Four is Beatrice’s initiation instructor and, not surprisingly, her love interest.

I’ve been championing Divergent for quite a while as the next big, quality YA book-to-film adaptation and after director Neil Burger snagged Woodley to lead, it seemed close to a sure thing. Then news broke that Academy Award-winning actress Kate Winslet was circling a role, further suggesting that Divergent could have more to offer than most. But now, if this latest update is true, one casting misstep could wind up decimating the movie’s potential.

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Interview: Sexy Baby Directors Jill Bauer And Ronna Gradus

Sexy_Baby_PosterhsIt isn’t easy keeping up with mainstream expectations and now, thanks to the Internet, the pressure to meet certain standards bears down on women of all ages, 24/7. With our culture becoming increasingly sexualized on a widespread level, documentary filmmakers Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus opt to address the issue from a far more intimate standpoint, putting the focus on three women at very different stages of life, but all still feeling and reacting to the need to be seen in a certain light.

We’ve got Winnifred, a 12-year-old middle school student who is wise beyond her years, but still feels the pressure to appease peers’ expectations on Facebook. Then there’s Laura, a 22-year-old kindergarten teacher willing to endure labiaplasty to ensure she’s attractive everywhere and also Nichole (aka Nakita Kash), a former porn star teaching pole dancing classes with hopes of starting a family.

Bauer and Gradus may have been filmmaking novices, but the pair knew they isolated a subject worth exploring, so took the plunge, found their characters and assembled “Sexy Baby.” After a successful festival run with packed theaters and strong reviews, Bauer and Gradus still strive to keep the dialogue flowing through a digital and VOD release. With an education-specific distribution effort on the horizon, Bauer and Gradus sat down to discuss what it took to make their first feature a reality, the challenge of narrowing down the vast amount of research, their hopes for “Sexy Baby’s” future and more.

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Review: Movie 43

Movie_43_PosterStar power is no match for tasteless, offensive and unfunny comedy.

The “Movie 43” wraparound features Dennis Quaid as a lunatic with an abysmal script who forces Greg Kinnear’s movie producer to buy the piece at gunpoint. Coincidence? Probably not, as almost each and every sketch of this comedy anthology is so silly, nauseating and degrading it seems like the only plausible way the producers could manage to recruit so much top-notch talent.

Hugh Jackman and Kate Winslet make it through better than most. Jackman will likely never live down having a pair of testicles dangle from his neck for the sake of this movie, but between the giggle-worthy visual and the duo’s charm, “The Catch” is easily “Movie 43’s” finest few minutes. Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber’s “Homeschooled” is another portion that at least respects its leads, but breaks down entirely when the scenario drivels on and right into a strange and unsatisfying conclusion.

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The Best – and Worst – Movie Promos of the Week

The_East_PosterThis new clip from Movie 43 featuring an entire segment from the star-studded comedy anthology suffers from having been overplayed in the film’s trailers and, overall, just isn’t that funny, but it also likely won’t stop the curious from catching the full movie. Movie 43 slips into theaters with one less Worst Stuff title to its name, but of course that means three other candidates get the opportunity to earn some promotional dishonor.

The Best Stuff

1. The East Trailer: A very smart play for the Sundance Film Festival entry The East. Rather than use its first trailer to convey the central narrative – Sarah Moss’ (Brit Marling) task of infiltrating a group of rebels on behalf of her corporate clientele – it takes a more viral approach, treating the viewer as though he or she is already part of that world and as though this truly disturbing message from the East is just for you.

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