Archive for the ‘film’ Category

Idris Elba steals the show as “Black Superman” in Hobbs and Shaw trailer

April 18th, 2019

Hobbs and Shaw trailer.

Universal Pictures dropped a second trailer for the studio's forthcoming Hobbs and Shaw, the first spinoff of its wildly popular Fast and Furious franchise. It looks like it will be the perfect summer popcorn movie, with ludicrous over-the-top action, Idris Elba stealing every scene as a cocky super-soldier, and the lovable, wisecracking duo of Hobbs and Shaw putting aside their differences yet again to save the world.

(Spoilers for some of the prior films in Fast and Furious franchise below.)

The first film in the series, The Fast and the Furious, debuted in 2001, and it focused on an undercover cop (the late Paul Walker) taking on a group of car hijackers led by Vin Diesel's Dominic Toretto. It earned more than $200 million worldwide against its relatively modest $38 million budget, so the film was followed by seven equally successful sequels and two short tie-in films. It's now Universal Pictures' most successful franchise of all time, grossing more than $5 billion worldwide. This juggernaut shows no signs of stopping: the ninth and tenth films are already in development, slated for release in April 2020 and 2021, respectively.

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Terry Gilliam’s Don Quixote film finally hits the big screen after 25 years

April 14th, 2019
Jonathan Pryce stars as an aging Spanish cobbler who becomes convinced he is Don Quixote in Terry Gilliam's film, <em>The Man Who Killed Don Quixote</em>.

Enlarge / Jonathan Pryce stars as an aging Spanish cobbler who becomes convinced he is Don Quixote in Terry Gilliam's film, The Man Who Killed Don Quixote. (credit: YouTube/Warner Bros.)

It's been 25 years in the making, but The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, director Terry Gilliam's tribute to the classic Spanish novel, has finally hit the silver screen. The project has foundered and been revived so many times, it became a poster child for Hollywood's notorious development hell, with a reputation of being cursed. But Gilliam persevered, and while the finished product isn't exactly a masterpiece, it definitely reflects the singular vision of one of our most original filmmakers.

(Mild spoilers for the film and Miguel de Cervantes' 17th-century novel below.)

Miguel de Cervantes' Don Quixote is inarguably one of the most influential works of Spanish literature. The book is written in the picaresque tradition, which means it's more a series of loosely connected episodes than a plot. It follows the adventures of a nobleman (hidalgo) named Alonso Quixano who has read far too many chivalric romances and becomes convinced he is a knight errant. With his trusty peasant sidekick, Sancho Panza, he embarks on a series of random tragicomic adventures, with the Don's hot temper frequently getting them into scraps. (Sancho usually gets the worst of the beatings and humiliations.) Don Quixote is the archetype of the delusional dreamer, tilting at windmills and believing them to be giants, preferring his fantasy to mundane reality.

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Teaser for Addams Family animated film can’t quite beat reboot fatigue

April 9th, 2019

One of America's most iconic fictional families is getting another reboot with MGM's new animated film The Addams Family.

MGM just dropped the first teaser for its animated reboot of The Addams Family, and it's exactly what you'd expect from the franchise—no more, no less. Do I sound a teensy bit grumpy? Chalk it up to reboot fatigue.

American cartoonist Charles Addams created the characters in 1938, originally as a series of single-panel cartoons published in The New Yorker. They were his satirical sendup of American "family values," turning the entire social framework upside down. The characters proved so popular that ABC created a 1964 live-action sitcom, The Addams Family, based on them. (Not everyone was pleased by the development. Wallace Shawn was editor of The New Yorker at the time, and his refined sensibilities were allegedly so offended by the TV series that he actually banned Addams Family cartoons from the magazine; the characters didn't return to its pages until he retired in 1987.)

Animated versions of the family have appeared regularly in film and TV since the 1970s, and Fox unsuccessfully attempted to revive the original TV series in 1998 with The New Addams Family. But it was two live-action feature films in 1991 and 1993, respectively, that defined their canonical representation in popular culture: The Addams Family and Addams Family Values.

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I Like Scary Movies interactive horror exhibit is art for the Instagram era

April 6th, 2019
"Look dead. No, more dead." Ars writer in a horror playground inspired by 2017 film adaptation of Stephen King's <em>It</em>.

Enlarge / "Look dead. No, more dead." Ars writer in a horror playground inspired by 2017 film adaptation of Stephen King's It. (credit: Rachael Porter)

Horror movie fans are known for their love of immersive "haunts": special exhibits of events that pay tribute to their favorite films while letting the fans in on a bit of the scary action. That's the thinking behind I Love Scary Movies, a pop-up interactive art installation that just opened in Los Angeles.

I Love Scary Movies is the brainchild of "experiential" artist Maximillian Castillo (who goes by Maximillian), well-known for his interactive immersive creations, like a Snakes on Plane installation or a Pirates of the Caribbean walk-through for San Diego Comic-Con. He's also a horror movie buff, and the current exhibit—housed in the historic art deco building The Desmond, along LA's Miracle Mile—draws inspiration from five films in particular: The Shining, It, A Nightmare on Elm Street, Beetlejuice, and The Lost Boys.

"I wanted to do something that was more like an interactive art installation, something that isn’t your standard Halloween scare maze, which I love, but I feel like we can celebrate and interpret these movies over and over again," Castillo said in an interview. "Other than going through a walk-through maze once a year during Halloween, there’s really no other way to really enjoy these movies and dive deeper into the content of these films and these worlds."

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Final countdown: Marvel drops one last teaser for Avengers: End Game

April 2nd, 2019

Marvel’s Avengers: End Game trailer.

There's just three short weeks before Avengers: End Game makes its hotly anticipated premiere, and Marvel is stoking the fires of anticipation with one last teaser, featuring our first glimpse of arch-villain Thanos, who seems more than ready for a rematch.

The first trailer for End Game dropped in December, giving us a glimpse of the Avengers who survived the Snappening, in which Thanos wiped out half of all living beings in the universe with a snap of his fingers, including many of our beloved superheroes. That's about all they could show us without giving too much away, although we did get a scene with Paul Rudd's Scott Lang/Ant-Man showing up, having escaped the quantum realm where he was presumably trapped at the end of Ant-Man and The Wasp.

A second trailer aired during the Super Bowl, using footage from just the first 20 minutes of End Game. We saw the fallen/dusted in rapid succession, in striking black-and-white hues with red highlights. But we also see them finally starting to regroup. Last month, Marvel dropped yet another trailer, taking us back to the origins of the remaining Avengers and introducing Brie Larsen's Carole Danvers (aka, Captain Marvel) into the mix for the first time.

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Tilda Swinton ninja-slices zombies in The Dead Don’t Die trailer

April 1st, 2019

The peaceful town of Centerville is terrorized by zombies in The Dead Don't Die.

The peaceful town of Centerville finds itself battling a zombie horde as the dead start rising from their graves in the first trailer for The Dead Don't Die, director Jim Jarmusch's deadpan foray into the zombie-comedy genre.

It's an interesting new direction for Jarmusch, but based on the trailer, the genre is tailor-made for his idiosyncratic style and deadpan wit. His career took off in 1984 with his first major film, Stranger Than Paradise. Shot entirely in black-and-white (a signature of the director's early work), the film won the Caméra D'Or at the Cannes Film Festival that year and established the director as a darling of arthouse cinema.

Movies like Dead Man, Mystery Train, Down by Law, Night on Earth, and Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai further cemented his auteur status. In 2005, Jarmusch won the Grand Prix at Cannes for Broken Flowers, which starred Bill Murray as middle-aged man searching for the mother of the son he never met. And Jarmusch is no stranger to unusual takes on traditional horror stories, as evidenced by his 2013 "crypto-vampire love story," Only Lovers Left Alive.

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Terrifying trailer for Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark will give you mega-chills

March 29th, 2019

It's 1968 in the small town of Mill Valley, home to a haunted mansion and a mysterious book, in Scary Stories To Tell in the Dark.

All those frightening tales kids tell around the campfires to spook their friends come to terrifying life in Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, a new film from producer Guillermo del Toro. It's based on a series of children's books from the 1980s by Alvin Schwartz, who drew upon common folklore and popular urban legends for his scary stories.

Remember that classic campfire ditty, "the worms crawl in the worms crawl out/the worms play pinochle on your snout"? So does Schwartz. It's the basis for his scary story "The Hearse Song." You'll also find variations on the killer with a hook for a hand who preys on couples necking in parked cars. So too the hapless babysitter who discovers the call is coming from inside the house, along with plenty of other frightening fare. (The 2018 documentary Scary Stories delves more deeply into Schwartz's source material.)

While the books are technically aimed at kids, the material is pretty dark, which is why the series has often been listed among the most challenged books by the American Library Association. People have objected to the violence in Scary Stories series—and illustrator Stephen Gammell's genuinely disturbing, surreal images only add to the potential nightmares. In fact, publisher Harper Collins released a new 30th-anniversary edition in 2011 that didn't include Gammell's original illustrations, causing an uproar among longtime fans.

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Monsters from another dimension invade Earth in cosmic thriller Starfish

March 27th, 2019
Virginia Gardner plays Aubrey, who mourns the death of her best friend on the same day that a mysterious signal could end the world as we know it, in <em>Starfish.</em>

Enlarge / Virginia Gardner plays Aubrey, who mourns the death of her best friend on the same day that a mysterious signal could end the world as we know it, in Starfish. (credit: Yellow Veil Pictures)

A grieving young woman finds herself grappling with monsters from another dimension on what may well be the end of the world in Starfish, an atmospheric new film from UK director A.T. White. Can she work through her grief to piece together the elements of a mysterious signal that may be the key to averting the apocalypse?

(Some spoilers below.)

Described in promotional materials as a "cosmic horror thriller," Starfish tells the story of a young woman named Aubrey Parker (Virginia Gardner, The Runaways) who has just lost her best friend, Grace. After spending the night in her friend's apartment, Aubrey wakes up the next morning to find that everyone else has mysteriously vanished and that strange, ravenous monsters are roaming the streets. A strange signal from another dimension seems to be the culprit, opening a doorway between worlds. Grace knew something about this because she left a mixtape for Aubrey with the message "THIS MIXTAPE WILL SAVE THE WORLD." Aubrey embarks on a scavenger hunt for six other mixtapes Grace made for her to solve the mystery and, yes, perhaps even save the world.

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Jordan Peele’s Us should cement his status as a master of modern horror

March 22nd, 2019
Lupita Nyong’o stars as Adelaide Wilson, whose family encounters their own evil <em>doppelgängers</em> in Jordan Peele's new horror film, <em>Us</em>.

Enlarge / Lupita Nyong’o stars as Adelaide Wilson, whose family encounters their own evil doppelgängers in Jordan Peele's new horror film, Us. (credit: Universal)

A family is terrorized by their own doppelgängers while vacationing in Santa Cruz in Jordan Peele's new film, Us. With its spot-on writing and pacing and fantastic performances from its ensemble cast, the film should cement Peele's status as a master of modern horror.

(Mildest of spoilers below, because anything more would spoil the fun.)

Us is the much-anticipated follow-up to Get Out, Peele's surprise box office hit that earned more than $250 million and snagged Peele an Oscar for best original screenplay—the first time the award has gone to a black recipient. Get Out is a subtle exploration of racial tensions that quietly builds to reveal its horrifying premise and inevitably bloody conclusion. In Us, the theme isn't so much racial tension—it's exploring, in Peele's words, the myriad ways in which "we are our own worst enemies."

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Latest trailer for John Wick 3: Parabellum is sheer guns-and-glory mayhem

March 21st, 2019

Keanu Reeves gives us a Matrix callback in latest John Wick: Chapter 3—Parabellum trailer.

Fresh on the heels of the announcement that Bill and Ted 3: Face the Music will start shooting this summer, we get a new trailer for another Keanu Reeves-starring vehicle: John Wick: Chapter 3—Parabellum.

(Spoilers for first two films below.)

For those who missed the first two movies, John Wick (Reeves) is a legendary hitman (known as "Baba Yaga") who tried to retire when he fell in love and got married. Unfortunately, he's drawn back into the dark underground world by an act of senseless violence after his wife's death. Nothing will stop John Wick from seeking retribution. The first John Wick grossed more than $88 million worldwide for a film that cost around $30 million to make, and it was praised for its brisk pace, heart-stopping action sequences, and stylish noir feel.

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