Monthly Archives: August 2013

Interview: Vampire Academy Screenwriter Daniel Waters

Vampire_Academy_Poster_InterviewIt’s easy to look at the promotional campaign for the adaptation of Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy and brand the film another Twilight or just another one-note teen supernatural adventure, but screenwriter Daniel Waters is well aware of that and expects to prove those naysayers wrong come February 14, 2014.

The film’s first teaser trailer just dropped and, as it should, only scratches the surface of the narrative: best friends Rose (Zoey Deutch) and Lissa (Lucy Fry) attend St. Vladimir’s Academy, your typical high school filled with young love, parties and gossip. Oh, and vampires, too. Lissa is a Moroi, a benevolent breed of vampire whose existence is threatened by the malicious Strigoi. That’s where Rose steps in. She’s a Dhampir, half human and half vampire, and is studying to become Lissa’s guardian in order to protect her from the Strigoi.

Again, that’s only the surface. The story is loaded with curious characters, varying relationships, sass, action and a particularly unique set of world rules. The film isn’t due in theaters until Valentine’s Day of next year, but Waters took the time out of postproduction work to give us an update on the project, enlighten us on his adaptation process, and offer some thoughts on the book-to-film potential beyond Vampire Academy. Catch it all for yourself in the interview below.

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The Best – and Worst – Movie Trailers of the Week

The_Inevitable_Defeat_of_Mister_and_PeteOther than Miley Cyrus’ half-naked teddy bear romp, one of the big takeaways from the MTV Video Music Awards was the very first teaser trailer for Divergent. As someone who’s very familiar with the book, seeing certain characters and scenes come to life is an undeniable thrill, but it’s also impossible to overlook the fact that the piece is a manic, quick-cut montage with a dizzying amount of fades to black. The March release still has all the potential in the world, but its first big promo is definitely weakened by the information overload and that leaves this week’s top three spots up for grabs.

The Best Stuff

1. The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete

The build in the new trailer for George Tillman Jr.’s The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete isn’t as powerful as it could be and the piece gets a bit melodramatic due to the heavy-handed use of B.o.B’s “Ghost in the Machine,” but the charm of the duo that is Mister and Pete is so engaging, it’s all that’s necessary to make this a highly effective promo.

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Review: I Declare War

I_Declare_WarWith so much straightforward supernatural and/or dystopian teen violence, Jason Lapeyre & Robert Wilson’s “I Declare War” is a welcomed and highly effective experiment in juggling preadolescent imagination and some very real, adult life lessons.

PK (Gage Munroe) is the master of war – capture the flag, fake gun, water balloon grenade, kid-style war. At the start of “I Declare War,” PK is in the midst of his most heated battle yet. He’s got no trouble outsmarting generals with no knowledge of proper combat tactics, but Quinn (Aidan Gouveia) is different and PK knows Quinn has the smarts to ruin his perfect record. It’s all harmless running around in the woods until an all-consuming desperation to win creeps in and blurs the line between the rules of the game and the darkness and guile of real war.

Adults have paintball, but who doesn’t dream of going at it with a full-blown imagination again? The natural appeal of the concept makes “I Declare War” a winner right from the start. The visual transition from self-made stick guns to seeing the players brandishing real weapons is absolutely exhilarating. You’re seeing their imaginations become a reality right before your eyes, and it’s an infectious thrill.

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Review: The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones

Mortal_Instruments_Poster

“The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones” might reduce plans for the sequel to ashes.

Clary (Lily Collins) is your average girl, living in New York City, hanging out with her best friend, Simon (Robert Sheehan). While at a club, Clary catches a glimpse of a ruthless murder. Trouble is, nobody else sees it. When she’s approached by the murderer the very next day, she knows something’s up and, sure enough, right in the middle of their conversation, she gets a frantic phone call from her mother (Lena Headey) just before she’s taken.

Turns out, Jace (Jamie Campbell Bower), is actually a Shadowhunter, a human born with angelic blood tasked with dispatching demons, and that is exactly what he was doing at the club. But no one was supposed to be able to see him – unless they had Shadowhunter blood. If Clary’s going to get her mother back, she’s got no choice, but to team up with Jace, trace her newfound Shadowhunter roots, and figure why and where her mother has been taken.

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The Best – and Worst – Movie Trailers of the Week

Parkland_TrailerThe Bad Robot mystery promo packed the intrigue, stunning visuals and a consuming tenor to get it into the Best Stuff, but we can’t jump to conclusions just yet. The piece randomly popped on EW.com and was given zero context, so it could be for just about anything – a film, TV show, Web-based project, etc. However, should Stranger end up heading towards the big screen, it could end up a Best Stuff contender soon enough.

The Best Stuff

1. Parkland

If the full feature is edited as deftly as this trailer, Parkland could be an exceptionally unnerving and riveting retelling of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. If it weren’t for Zac Efron’s familiar mug, this combination of film and archival footage would be completely all consuming, practically transporting you back in time and making you feel as though you’re there as the event unfolds.

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Interview: The World’s End’s Simon Pegg & Nick Frost

The_Worlds_End_PosterIt all began with a salesman and couch potato battling zombies in “Shaun of the Dead,” then it was a hot shot cop paired with a naïve, small-town officer trying to solve a string of suspicious murders in “Hot Fuzz,” and now the Cornetto Trilogy comes to a close with the final installment, a beer laden romp called “The World’s End.”

Simon Pegg leads as Gary King. Back in high school, Gary was in his prime. Everyone knew and loved him, and he was absolutely brimming with confidence when he and his buddies made their first attempt at The Golden Mile, a pub-crawl consisting of 12 pints at 12 pubs in their hometown, Newton Haven. They never made it to the final pub, The World’s End, so over 20 years later, Gary decides it’s time to get the gang back together again and give it another go. Trouble is, his married and career-driven friends – Peter (Eddie Marsan), Oliver (Martin Freeman), Steven (Paddy Considine), and Andrew (Nick Frost) – aren’t as gung-ho to relive their glory days, and even less so when they realize Newton Haven has changed quite a bit since high school.

It’s easy to get caught up in Frost and Pegg’s endlessly amusing on-screen personas, but on set, the duo is all business. “The World’s End” marks a fairly significant budget and production scale increase for Frost, Pegg, and director/co-writer Edgar Wright, but the team still abides by the practice of always challenging themselves to produce the best possible product with the resources they have and it shows.

Just like “Shaun of the Dead” and “Hot Fuzz,” “The World’s End” is brimming with sharp writing, outrageously amusing scenarios, and the ideal degree of heart, and will likely leave you wanting to round up your own friends and indulge in a drink or two – or more. ShockYa had the privilege to sit down with Pegg and Frost to discuss how’d they fare in The Golden Mile, making “movie beer,” the balance between practical and digital effects, and much more. Read it all in the interview below and be sure to catch “The World’s End” in theaters today!

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YA Movie Countdown: Will ‘The Mortal Instruments’ Be a Hit? Plus, the First ‘Vampire Academy’ Teaser

Mortal_InstrumentsThe book-to-film adaptation of Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones hits theaters today, and the companies and people involved have a lot riding on it. Unlike most potential franchise starters, the second film in the Mortal Instruments series, City of Ashes, was announced well before the first film’s release and even went into preproduction back in May. Yes, there are long-term projections, but that early on they’re far from sound and certainly don’t make moving forward with film number two any less of a risk.

But what’s done is done, and soon enough we’ll find out if that leap was worth it. The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones opens solo at 3,000 theaters, and then come Friday it goes head to head with The World’s End and You’re Next, not to mention the box office veterans that are poised to hold strong.

At a glance, looking at Mortal Instruments alone, you’d expect the film to match Beautiful Creatures or The Host, which isn’t a good thing considering the former took just $7.6 million in its opening weekend and the latter only $10.6 million during its debut. Then there’s alsoPercy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, which just last weekend proved there isn’t much interest in supernatural YA material at the moment.

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