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From one galaxy to another. One tiny piece of news at the beginning of this year involves a screenwriter we've been following for a long time. His name is Gary Whitta and he just spent the last year working on the screenplay for the first Star Wars spin-off movie, the one due out in late 2016, being directed by Gareth Edwards. Before that he wrote the After Earth and The Book of Eli scripts, and also worked on numerous video games and other geek properties. Whitta has announced that he's moving on to develop an adaptation of Mark Millar's Starlight for 20th Century Fox next after finishing Star Wars, so he's set and ready to go.
Now that you've seen it, what did you think? "But if you're Doc, it may all start to get a little peculiar after that…" Now in theaters is the latest from acclaimed filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson, an adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's novel Inherent Vice, starring Joaquin Phoenix as PI "Doc" Sportello. This stoner comedy/drama/mystery begins when Doc looks into the disappearance of an ex-girlfriend named Shasta, played by the effervescent Katherine Waterston. PTA's cast includes a bunch of other goofy characters: Josh Brolin as Bigfoot, Joanna Newsom as Sortilège, Benicio Del Toro as Smilax, even Owen Wilson, Jena Malone and Martin Short.. So how is it? One of PTA's best or did PTA get too high on his own supply? Once you've seen it, leave a comment with your thoughts on PTA's Inherent Vice.
Holy crap, zombies everywhere! Another fun short film to wrap up the week, this one a point-of-view (POV) film based on the upcoming zombie video game Dying Light. Directed by Scott Bass, the short follows one parkour runner as he escapes a zombie attack on rooftops (they filmed in Cambridge, England). The game is also first person, so that experience extends to this short in order to introduce gamers to a ravaged world where they'll fight off "hordes of mindless, flesh-hungry enemies". It's another solid example of how much can be done with just a camera and a good idea, since filmmaking technology is readily available. Fun times.
Now that you've seen it, what did you think? It ends here! He's back, again, for another round of phone threats and high stakes action. In theaters now is Taken 3, bringing back Liam Neeson for a third time as Bryan Mills, father of Kim, played by Maggie Grace, the one person he will kill anyone to protect. The cast in this sequel includes Forest Whitaker and Dougray Scott, and involves a twist where Bryan is framed for the murder of his wife Lenore, played by Famke Janssen. How is it? Any better than the first two or more of the same? Once you've seen it, leave a comment with your thoughts on Megaton's Taken 3.
"A thinking robot could be the end of mankind!" Sony Pictures has unveiled the second trailer for Neill Blomkamp's third sci-fi feature, titled Chappie, about a young robot being raised in a violent world. This is the second trailer we've seen following the first teaser for Chappie, and it has a completely different tone, focusing on the comedy that leads to the tragedy in the end. At least they're not holding back showing the social-political angle. Dev Patel stars, with Die Antwoord's Yo-Landi & Ninja plus Sharlto Copley as Chappie. We also get a few more glimpses of the bad guys: Hugh Jackman with a mullet, and Sigourney Weaver. This looks really, really good - even after Elysium I'm still excited for Blomkamp's latest creation.
After years and years of development, a new movie website has launched that will probably end up being one of your favorite sites (after FirstShowing, of course!). No, but seriously, it looks great and seems to work great so far, and will only get better with more time. The site is called The Projection List and boasts itself as containing "the entire cinematic release schedule", including "official & projected dates for all theatrical, home, and trailer releases." As proud as we are for offering a very simple release schedule here, this site ups the ante to include everything: all DVD, theatrical & VOD releases, with a very clean interface as well. It's sleek, I'm impressed, and as long as they keep it updated it'll be a great resource for cinephiles.
The 2015 awards season rolls on with the latest announcement of nominees for the American Society of Cinematographers. The ASC Award, as it's known, is one of the top prizes in cinematography. Last year, Emmanuel Lubezki won for his work on Gravity, and he's back in the running again this year for his work on Alejandro González Iñárritu's Birdman. The four other nominees for the 2015 ASC Award have been revealed, with at least one weird choice that many did not see coming - The Imitation Game. There were an impressive number of beautifully-shot films this year, so don't forget this is not the definitive list.
"Our motivation was simple: revenge. We loved womping fuzzy-cheeked college-bonus-babies owned by the Dodgers, or Phillies." We're well into the New Year which means it's time for another Monthly Must See feature highlighting a great film to watch this month (or instead of/while waiting for the Golden Globes on Sunday). It's the perfect time of year for documentaries, so this month's pick is The Battered Bastards of Baseball from directors Chapman Way & Maclain Way, a Netflix documentary that runs a brisk 79 minutes telling the story of the Portland Mavericks, an independent baseball team started in the 1970s. This light-hearted, highly entertaining film is easily available on Netflix for your enjoyment anytime. It's good.
"Two-thousand-fifteen! You mean – we're in the future?!" It's 2015! It's finally here, the year when we get another Avengers movie and a new Star Wars movie, not to mention Jurassic World and Mad Max. With the new year underway, friend of the site Nick Bosworth has cut together another one of his mashup videos, but instead of a retrospective on the year past he's looking forward at the year ahead - 2015. The video is just a quick glimpse at some of the Hollywood movies on the line-up for 2015 (and a fun nod to Back to the Future: Part II) and should get you excited for all we have in store, even if the first few months are filled with boring releases. Then again, maybe there are some great films coming up pretty soon. Fire it up below.
It's not often that Death is this entertaining to watch, but here we have a film that will throw you for a loop and make you believe in the magic of filmmaking. After posting new shorts to the Short Films section all the time, I constantly receive emails from filmmakers sharing their new short to be featured. Not many of them will make the cut, but some of them do, and I try to give each one a good look before I decide. This one stood out, and really left a good impression on me, even though it's technically a year old (or so the Vimeo upload date says). It's called Death and the Robot from animator/director Austin Taylor, and it's about Death in this case personified by a woman, as well as an adorable Wall-E-esque robot character. Take a look below.
Even though we're in 2015 now, there's still plenty to look back at in 2014. Another year end video that we just stumbled upon and wanted to feature is one called "2014: How We Used Slow Motion" made by The Nerdwriter YouTube channel. The video is simply a showcase of some of the best slow motion moments from movies of 2014, including some music videos and TV shows like "Sherlock" and "True Detective". Of course, there was a lot of impressive cinematography in 2014 (A Most Violent Year, Interstellar, Birdman) and it's invigorating to see so much talent out there. That said, slow motion moments are always fun, and it's cool to see the technique used in different ways. The real winner is the Quicksilver scene from X-Men.
It's here. Welcome to 2015. By the end of this year, after another 12 months, we will have seen the new Star Wars movie from J.J. Abrams and Lucasfilm/Disney. But before that, we'll also see Avengers: Age of Ultron, Tomorrowland, Jurassic World, Ant-Man, Spectre, and oh yes, Fifty Shades of Grey. It's one of those kind of years. The ones that we write about at the beginning, where we all say "whoa" there's a whole boatload of incredible new films in the works all due in theaters this year. Including a new Terrence Malick movie (or maybe two?). I know, what the f**k is going on?! But, here we are, we made it, Bienvenue à 2015.
"I think we got lost. Maybe… we've always been lost. We've become strangers to ourselves, to each other." One more short film, even though it's hardly short, to feature at the end of the year just before 2015 rolls in. This one is an ambitious experience called Anomaly from a filmmaker named Salomon Ligthelm, and it's actually a 37-minute film that was apparently inspired by "the traditional Christmas Nativity", though it's set against the space race of the 60s. After making many promo videos, this is Ligthelm's big debut, so to say, and it's a mesmerizing trip into the cosmos and uh, some other deep, emotional places. It reminds me a bit of the films of Shane Carruth, if you've seen Upstream Color or Primer. Take a look and let us know.
"Ain't no war without a real enemy, is it?" Wow. This a great short film to end the year with. Titled The Landing, this sci-fi thriller is about a father and his son who encounter something mysterious one night on the farm. As usual, the premise may not sound like much but this film just pulls you in and delivers a thrill with quite a big twist, which I won't dare spoil – you've got to watch this. The style is what makes this particularly impressive, it almost has an old Amblin/Spielberg feel to it, which is probably what they were going for and it works very well. Even the VFX are nice for a short film. Take a few minutes and fire this up.