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"Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise." They're back in action, and J.J. Abrams has taken sci-fi to a whole new level. Early this morning I was one of the first in the United States to attend a screening of Star Trek Into Darkness, J.J.'s highly anticipated sequel to Star Trek from 2009, the reboot of the legendary, seminal sci-fi franchise. For me, this was one of the big moments of the summer, building up excitement and anticipation to finally sitting down and watching over two hours of adventures through space with the crew of the USS Enterprise. Did it live up to my expectations? A big YES.
At CinemaCon last year, Fox teased 10 minutes of footage from Life of Pi, which we all flipped for (watch our video blog from last year). The buzz began then and we all know it went on to win a few Oscars. At their 2013 presentation, 20th Century Fox (not 21st!) decided to pull the same trick with the Ben Stiller film The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. And it had the same effect - the Oscar buzz for this movie officially begins today, it has that potential. Beyond that, they showed us footage from quite a few of their upcoming live-action and animated films, including Blue Sky's Epic, DreamWorks Animation's How to Train Your Dragon 2, Ridley Scott's The Counselor and James Mangold's The Wolverine, too. Video recap below.
Welcome to Monsters University! Disney held their big 2013 presentation at CinemaCon on Wednesday morning, kicking things off with an impressive glance at their upcoming slate (which includes all Marvel Studios, Disney, Pixar and Lucasfilm movies coming up). But the biggest surprise of the day was a screening of Pixar's Monsters University in its entirety. It seemed mostly final (unlike when they screened a rough cut of Toy Story 3 here three years ago) and is an excellent follow-up that made me quite emotional by the end. We also got to watch almost 20 minutes of footage from Gore Verbinski's The Lone Ranger, which I was actually entertained by (it is another Jerry Bruckheimer movie) although it was overshadowed by MU.
In the immortal words of Neo: whoa. Warner Bros hosted "The Big Picture 2013" preview presentation at CinemaCon tonight in Las Vegas, unveiling the brand new Man of Steel trailer as well as some amazing Pacific Rim footage and fantastic glimpses at a few of their other 2013 movies. One that I've been waiting to see footage from for years is Alfonso Cuarón's Gravity, his next feature following Children of Men. In the middle of their preview, they snuck in a quick 60 second teaser that was breathtaking and stunning to see, though I'm not sure when it will ever end up online. That said, this is still one of my most anticipated sci-fis.
Can Universal convert me into a fan of their summer blockbusters this year? At the industry convention CinemaCon this year, Universal Pictures brought five of their summer movies (eschewing mention of some of their later titles like 47 Ronin, which they showed us footage for last year) to preview. The studio teased roughly 10 minutes of their movies R.I.P.D. with Ryan Reynolds & Jeff Bridges, Despicable Me 2 from Illumination, and a 15 minute action sequence (the one with the tank seen above) from Fast & Furious 6, which kicked some serious ass. After five sequels, they may finally be turning me into a Fast & Furious fan.
"You can't just kidnap a guy and take his things! That is so illegal!" To kick off the first day of CinemaCon 2013, the movie industry convention held in Las Vegas every year, Paramount Pictures held the first panel previewing their upcoming 2013 movies. Not only did we see about 18 minutes of footage from J.J. Abrams' Star Trek Into Darkness (I just want to see the full movie already!!) and 10 minutes from Marc Forster's World War Z, but they screened all of Michael Bay's new low(er) profile movie Pain & Gain. And it was dark, hilarious, outrageous stranger-than-fiction glossy Bay fun. Full video blog with Peter Sciretta below.
Now that Sundance 2013 is over, we're looking back at our favorite films from the festival this year. We recently posted our own list of Top 5 Favorite Films, but there are plenty of other great movies that deserve to be mentioned. One thing I love about festivals is the variety of opinions and thoughts on every single film playing, which is why I love asking my friends and colleagues about what their favorites were - so that's what we did. I recorded 10 videos with friends during the end of the festival, similar to my Cannes 2012 favorites video last year. Almost everyone I spoke to chose a different film. It's a quick watch so check it out.
The man, the myth, the legend. The first feature about the late Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Computers and legendary innovator/leader. Premiering as the closing night film at Sundance 2013 is Jobs, directed by Joshua Michael Stern starring Steve Jobs look-alike Ashton Kutcher. But is it any good? Will it live up to his legacy? That was the question on everyone's mind, however I must unfortunately report that it's not The Social Network for Apple. It's an attempt to tell that kind of story, but it's nothing special, just a polished, inspirational look at the man and the years of struggle running one of the biggest companies in the world.
With parents who have been married for over 25 years now, a comedy titled A.C.O.D. (which stands for Adult Children of Divorce) doesn't seem like it would be immediately appealing to me. But the directorial debut from Stu Zicherman (who wrote Elektra and the J.J. Abrams melodrama TV series "Six Degrees") features a cast that includes Adam Scott, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Richard Jenkins, Catherine O'Hara, Amy Poehler, Clark Duke, Jane Lynch and Jessica Alba, and that's a bingo. Thankfully, the film which I was eagerly anticipating before it premiere at Sundance this week delivered a phenomenal comedy with some sharp writing, stellar acting and a direct line to the heart of all adult children of divorce.
"Holy sh*t!" was the phrase that kept running through my mind while sitting through this, with my hands at the ready to cover my eyes. Yes, I'm scared of most horror (I'm admitting the truth) but this series, the VHS series, is now one of my favorite horror franchises. I'll watch a new one every year. Last year we attended the midnight premiere of VHS, recording a video blog after that, this year we went back in for round two, attending the midnight premiere of the sequel S-VHS, then recording another "holy sh*t!" video blog after. S-VHS is a leaner, but totally crazier, gorier, scarier, wilder, funnier follow-up to VHS, in every single way.
"There are only a few things I care about," it starts. His body, his car, his pad, and of course, sex. But more than that, porn. Don Jon's Addiction is the feature directorial debut of actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who wrote the screenplay and stars on top of directing. In the film, he plays a New Jersey "Guido" (think Jersey Shore) obsessed with porn, but despite a simple concept like that, this film is not only hilarious but heartfelt, too. The characters aren't flat, the film isn't dull, it's vibrant and flashy and entertaining and a rather remarkable feature directing debut for Gordon-Levitt, better than I was expecting. I am impressed.
It's here. Today is the day. After years of waiting, it has arrived. Peter Jackson presents The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the first part in his trilogy taking us back to Middle-Earth for an adventure with Bilbo Baggins. One of the most fascinating, exciting and enjoyable parts of leading up to this day has been following the making-of The Hobbit in Peter Jackson's wonderful video blogs, ending their An Unexpected Journey coverage at #10. "One last Video Blog for opening day... featuring the movie's Worldwide Premiere in Wellington, NZ." A look at the premiere, but as it says at the end they will continue with Smaug in 2013.
"You think you're safe." I can already tell 2013 is going to be an outstanding year for science fiction. Earlier tonight, Paramount invited a number of journalists to a screening in Los Angeles of the 9-minute IMAX 3D prologue for J.J. Abrams' new sequel Star Trek Into Darkness. It was announced a few weeks ago that the prologue, similar to The Dark Knight, will play in front of IMAX (digital only) screenings of The Hobbit on December 14th - this weekend. Unlike The Dark Knight (or TDKR), it's an intense intro and early tease, and leaves an impact but didn't blow me away. Still, this a hell of a tease that really kicks things up a notch.
It's almost time. Years in the making, a decade in the waiting, now it's just a few more weeks away. Peter Jackson is ready to take us back to Middle Earth for the story of Bilbo in The Hobbit, kicking off his trilogy this December with An Unexpected Journey. We've been following the numerous wonderful 10-min video blogs Jackson has been making along the way, with the "Last Days" (#8) vlog the most recent. But PJ has unveiled one more, a look at the very final days, the last few minutes and hours of post-production (editing, effects) to have the film ready two days before its premiere (on Nov. 28th in New Zealand). It's as exciting, impressive and awe-inspiring as every other video blog he's made. You don't want to miss this one!