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    After bagging a pair of Oscar nominations for Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street, Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill look set to reunite for the tale of Richard Jewell, a security guard whose life was torn apart by the media after discovering a bomb in the Olympic compound in Atlanta back in 1996 and being falsely pinpointed as a potential suspect.

    According to Deadline, Fox has acquired the rights to the story, which will be based upon a Vanity Fair article entitled 'The Ballad of Richard Jewell' by Marie Brenner, who also provided the source material for Michael Mann's The Insider. Hill will play Jewell, while DiCaprio (who's also producing under his Appian Way banner) will portray a lawyer who helps to guide Jewell through the nightmare scenario.



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    Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony, 2012

    Directed by Laurent Malaquais


    SYNOPSIS:

    A film profiling the unusual cross-demographic fandom of the ostensibly girl oriented television series, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.


    History has shown us that the Internet and the media can be pretty cruel when it comes to fads and sub cultures. In the days before it was considered "cool" to be one, Trekkies were often mocked for their fandom and more recently it's hard to go across Internet chat rooms without seeing people bad mouthing and name calling folks for simply liking Twilight or One Direction. However there is a certain sub-section of fan culture that has gathered steam over the years in terms of mainstream attention as well as hate - Bronies. For those not in the know, Bronies are (typically) male teenagers and adults who are obsessed with TV show My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and while the Internet and media may point at Bronies for being lame and/or "wrong", documentary Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony attempts to display what this show - and more importantly its message - means to them.

    The documentary follows various Bronies from around the world who are all heading for My Little Pony conventions or gatherings which is used as the central through line. What makes their stories interesting however is how Laurent Malaquais ties them back to the show's themes. There is a young male who is beaten up in his "redneck" town for his fandom, a young teenager whose father disapproves of his lifestyle choice, a young couple from Germany who met through their shared love of the show, an artist from Israel who uses the show to fuel his music and, perhaps the most interesting subject, a young English teen who suffers from Aspergers and finds a connection with the show and its subject matter. Malaquais has chosen his Bronies extremely well and while some of them become perfunctory as soon as they reach the convention, the majority remain engaging up until the very end. Daniel, the teenager with Aspergers, has a very sweet arc and his journey from being a shy introvert who doesn't like large crowds to a brave man who high fives and hugs his fellow Bronies is incredibly heartwarming. It succeeds in making all of these people likeable and you totally buy into why these grown males enjoy a show that was designed for little girls.

    In an interesting idea, Malaquais directs his interviews and poses them as such that it draws a parallel with gay men coming out of the closet. All interviews tend to follow the line of sitting their parents down to tell them their obsession, being made to feel like outsiders by those who don't understand and how they only feel safe and welcome when they are among "their own kind". There is a section of the documentary dedicated to Lyle's father who doesn't understand his son's fandom and he has to come to terms with his lifestyle choice, much like a proud heterosexual father might have to upon discovering his son is gay. While it may seem a little on the nose, Malaquais handles this pretty well and the comparison is never mentioned or made clear, only implied for the audience to work out.

    But while the documentary is all about positivity and friendship, this review does have to highlight some of its shortcomings. There is a rather clumsy animated section in the middle which is designed to explain the various types of Bronies though a musical number but it doesn't really make any point. If anything, the section seems like it was added in at the last minute just to mention that females can also be Bronies (or Pegasisters as they prefer to be called) in fear that the documentary may come across as one-sided. The documentary is 100% male focused, and this odd moment feels like Malaquais trying (and failing) to create a fair balance. There is also an interview with a female psychiatrist which the filmmakers clearly made an error while filming and the editing fix uncomfortably makes her feel like Max Headroom.

    Minor quibbles aside, Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony is a good documentary that has its heart in the right place. It's by no means great, but when it hits the mark it hits it right. It succeeds in taking an interesting subject matter and showing a side of it that only Bronies see to further damn those who oppose them and its high level of positivity almost makes the Bronie lifestyle an appealing one. Had this culture been around 15 years ago, you could totally see Louis Theroux doing a Weird Weekend with them and that's what makes the documentary an interesting watch.

    Flickering Myth Rating - Film: ★ ★ ★  / Movie: ★ ★ ★

    Luke Owen is one of Flickering Myth's co-editors and the host of the Flickering Myth Podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @LukeWritesStuff.

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    Yesterday, we received a rather nasty email from a legal representative from 20th Century Fox demanding that we remove the "purported plot details" regarding the studio's upcoming reboot of The Fantastic Four, despite the fact that director Josh Trank had previously debunked a synopsis (which we can't show you here, but a quick Google search should help you out) indicating an updated origin for Marvel's First Family.

    Well, despite Fox seemingly confirming the authenticity of said synopsis (seeing as it infringes their intellectual rights and what have you), Trank has now reiterated his stance that the report is bogus, telling BadAssDigest that, "The only truth in that plot description is that there are four characters named Reed, Ben, Sue and Johnny. You'll see in June of 2015 that the plot description is absolutely untrue."

    So, muddy waters indeed... if it's not true, I guess somebody forget to send the memo to Fox's legal team.



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    Trevor Hogg chats with Will Reichelt about the visual effects needed to bring extinct species back to life...


    Will Reichelt
    “We were approached by the BBC and Evergreen Films in 2010 to partner with them on a test for a narrative feature film based on the original Walking With Dinosaurs documentary series,” states Animal Logic VFX Supervisor Will Reichelt (Knowing) who had to reconstruct the Cretaceous Period which occurred 70 million years ago.  “We created a short test, a few shots in 3D showing a family of Pachyrhinosaurs in a forest clearing, which gave everyone confidence in the visual direction the film should take. Full production on the film began soon after.”  The big screen version had to conform to the established franchise.   “The BBC knew they wanted to feature certain specific species of dinosaur, and that part of the appeal of the film was in designing them to be as realistic as possible rather than anthropomorphised and cartoony.  There were a solid set of guidelines we were working to, but there was a great deal of creative freedom in terms of how we got from the initial skeleton and muscle reconstructions we were provided by the BBC to the final look of the characters. One of the things the palaeontologists don't really have much information on is the pigmentation and colouring of the dinosaurs, so we were free to experiment with that quite a bit.”



    “There were two main parts to my responsibilities on Walking With Dinosaurs,” explains Reichelt.  “The first was to work with the Directors [Barry Cook and Neil Nightingale], Cinematographer [John Brooks] and on-set filming crew in Alaska and New Zealand to make sure that we were capturing background plates that would be conducive to integrating the dinosaurs into later. It was important to pay attention to the size and speed of the dinosaurs for any given shot so that the camera would be doing the right thing. This was achieved through a combination of pre-visualisation, where we designed basic versions of the shots and sequences, and then on-set using simple life-size practical models of the dinosaurs to replicate what we had done in previs to make sure it was going to work for real.  The second phase was back in the studio, making sure that the dinosaurs looked as realistic as possible and integrating them back into the live-action environments. There are also three sequences in the movie that are full-CG, so another large part of the process was making the environments for those sequences feel as detailed and real as the live-action so that everything felt consistent.”



    “Besides the skeleton and muscle reconstructions that we used to create all the species and characters, we did a lot of research into modern-day real-world animals in order to find analogous elements that we could incorporate into our creatures,” remarks Will Reichelt.  “The theory was that if an audience can relate what they're seeing to animals they already know, then they will buy the strange creature they're looking at as being realistic. This was especially important for the look of the outer skin, scales, feathers and fur. For the Pachyrhinosaurs we looked at rhinoceroses and elephants, and many different types of large lizards such as komodo dragons for the Gorgosaurs.”  Reichelt states, “The main surfacing and rendering challenge we faced was the sheer amount of scales and feathers we were trying to render on the characters at any given time. The Troodon has vastly more feathers on it than any character we rendered for our animated film Legend of the Guardians [2010].”



    “We had three new streams of development on this movie that were implemented to get the dinosaurs to look as realistic as possible,” notes Will Reichelt.  “The first was a procedural system for creating millions of scales across a surface, called RepTile. It enabled us to automatically populate the skin of the dinosaurs with scales rather than having to do it by hand and having those scales remain rigid while the skin underneath flexed, stretched and compressed. The second was a new muscle system, which we dubbed Steroid. This gave us an automated deformation of the outer skin taking the internal bones, muscles and fat into account, leaving the animators to focus on the character performance rather than having to worry about the technicalities of having to layer in jiggle, inertia and muscle movement by hand. The third was the implementation of physically-plausible shading and lighting, using HDR images shot on set as the basis for the lighting integration of the characters into the shots. The system gave us a pretty realistic looking dinosaur relatively quickly, so that the lighters could spend more time on creative 'beauty' lighting.”



    “In the Forest Fire Sequence, all of the fire is either shot in-camera or is a separately-shot practical live-action element; we didn't create any CG fire,” states Will Reichelt.  “Because of the scale of the fire, and the fact that we were shooting in amongst real trees, I felt that it would look better if we could have as much of a practical base to the shots as possible. We created most of the other ground interaction effects digitally, using Houdini or proprietary particle systems. We used a fair amount of blue screen [blue as opposed to green, as we were outside in naturally green environments] to capture small elements to put over the dinosaurs feet, or to separate foreground from background elements such as larger rocks, or the ridge of a hill.”  Reichelt reveals, “One of the biggest challenges was getting the CG environments featured in the frozen lake and subsequent sequences where Patchi fights Scowler and is trapped in a ditch during the night to look as realistic as the detail-rich live-action environments that had been shot for the rest of the movie.  The key to it is layering in passes of detail until the impression of 'messiness' is equivalent.”




    The Fusion Camera System developed James Cameron (Avatar) and Vince Pace (Aliens of the Deep) was utilized.   “We worked closely with John Brooks, a long-standing and experienced Cameron Pace Group cinematographer to design the 3D for the movie,” states Will Reichelt. “Working with the directors, he worked out the look of the 3D as we were shooting the background plates, and then advised us on the implementation of it in the post-process. We then applied the same methodology to the full-CG sequences to give the whole movie a consistent feel. As well as the technical aspects of 3D, there is also a large creative component to getting it to feel immersive, and to complement the other elements that you're putting into a shot, so it was very valuable to have John and CPG's input.”  Reichelt adds, “3D needs to be considered at all stages of the process, it should never be something that just happens at the end of the line. It influences everything from basic staging and layout through to final lighting and integration and can have a strong effect on the emotion of a scene. It does take longer to do 3D well, but it's another useful creative tool in the filmmaker's kit.”




    “The sequence that went through the biggest visual transformation was the aurora, where Patchi and Juniper re-join the herd down in the valley,” states Will Reichelt. “That sequence was shot day-for-night, with just a small patch of fake snow in the foreground. We spent a lot of time adding more snow onto the mountains in the background, adding in the night skies, auroras and dynamic shifting light from the aurora down into the environment and then grading a 'frosty' look into the real trees and grass. The final result looks so different so where it began, and I think it's quite successful.”  Reflecting on the prehistoric adventure tale, Reichelt observes, “Walking With Dinosaurs was a long journey – three and a half years – and a very rewarding project in many ways. There is so much detail in the creatures that maybe audiences won't notice specifically as they watch the movie, but hopefully it all adds up to a visually-rich experience that will make audiences feel like they're looking at real animals that could have existed. We had a lot of fun making it!”


    Many thanks to Will Reichelt and Emmanuel Blasset for taking the time to be interviewed.

    Make sure to visit the official websites for Walking With Dinosaurs and Animal Logic.

    Trevor Hogg is a freelance video editor and writer who currently resides in Canada.

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    Anthony Stokes asks whether The Avengers is the worst thing to happen to superhero movies...

    Whether you loved it or hated it, The Avengers was truly an innovation for comic book movies, blockbusters, and films in general. Aside from the fact it was widely considered to be much greater than it probably should have been, it was also a triumph in planning and execution. The concept of a shared universe was something that was always talked about but never put into play. Starting with Samuel L. Jackson's cameo as Nick Fury in Iron Man, Marvel laid the groundwork that would later influence the rest of the genre.

    But is that a good thing? It seems like other studios are taking notes from Marvel. Fox, DC/WB, and Sony have all announced movies and future projects that seem to be trying to bank on Marvel Studios' success. Fox has X-Men: Days of Future Past, DC/WB has Batman vs. Superman, and Sony has The Amazing Spider-Man 2, building towards The Sinister Six. However, where Marvel's approach was more of making sure all the pieces fit, the other studios just seem to be trying to shove in as many characters in as possible for fan service.

    At one point, when it seemed like X-Men: Days of Future Past casting had slowed down, Evan Peters was cast as Quicksilver. This made me scratch my head because, through grey lines in the contract, it had also previously been announced that Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, who are predominantly X-Men villains, would be in The Avengers: Age of Ultron. I'm not going to pretend like I know what goes on behind the scenes, but I got the impression that out of spite Fox forced Singer to include the character. And my concern is that he'll just be thrown in and conceptually it will make no sense. There's never been so much of a hint at him in the either the original X-Men trilogy or the First Class movie (although he did cameo briefly in X-Men Origins: Wolverine). Either the emphasis with his relationship with Magneto won't make sense in the context of the rest of the series, or it won't focus on the relationship, and in the latter case then why put him in the movie? There's also been a photo insinuating that Scarlet Witch will be part of the movie, which was met with a lot of backlash.

    DC is attempting to adapt the shared universe method from Marvel, but instead of doing it the way that worked for Marvel they're fast tracking a Justice League movie. Not that there's only one way to do a team movie, but the reason Avengers worked so well is that it avoided the pitfalls of other team movies by already having the characters introduced and having some familiarity with each other, which led to some great dialogue and interactions. Justice League will have to spend its first act introducing whatever characters aren't introduced in Batman vs. Superman, taking away screen time from the villain and story development which will probably result in it feeling too straight-forward. Simply putting a Batman solo movie in between Batman vs. Superman and the Justice League would allow the movies to breathe and provide space for more character introductions and back-story to be established.

    In my mind the most blatant offender would be Sony, mostly because it only has one property. Fox had the foundation to make a shared universe through the X-Men: First Class"reboot" and DC has the characters to make a shared universe, but Sony only has Spider-Man. So Sony has to stretch out Spider-Man by making spin-offs. Again nothing wrong with that, but it seems like their strategy is to shove as much fan service in as possible. What really bothered me is when one of the writers for The Amazing Spider-Man, Roberto Orci, said that a challenge they had when writing the script was making the villains likeable. Villains should be written as an interesting foil for the hero, not to be likeable just so that people will see their spin-off. You'd think after Spider-Man 3 where there was villain overload they would rethink their approach.

    This is all speculation, and there's a good chance all these movies will turn out fine, but I can't help but feel like the studios are being greedy. Yes, every studio's only purpose is to make money, but with studios like Marvel and Pixar it always seems like they also do their best to make a good product for their fans. And it shows that if you make a good movie you'll make more money, Most of the movies that have crossed over a billion dollars have been nominated by the Academy and a few have won. The key to making more money is making a good movie and that's probably why an Iron Man movie made almost twice as much as a Superman movie. Instead of trying to keep up with Marvel, the other studios should try to make a good movie for their fans first and then use it to build upon, after taking a step back and seeing what works and what doesn't.

    Anthony Stokes is a blogger and independent filmmaker who also assists with the music blog DopesterMusic and co-hosts the podcast Delusional Losers.


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  • 02/04/14--23:09: DVD Review - Goats (2012)
  • Goats, 2012.

    Directed by Christopher Neil.
    Starring David Duchovny, Vera Farmiga, Graham Phillips, Minnie Driver, Justin Kirk, Keri Russell and Ty Burrell.


    SYNOPSIS:

    Ellis is about to leave his home in Tuscon to begin his freshman year at a prep school; in doing so he faces separation from his mother, whose new-age beliefs control her life, and the only father figure he as ever known, Goat Man.


    Graham Phillips plays Ellis, a teenager who lives with his mother Wendy (played by Vera Farmiga) and their gardener Goat Man (played by David Duchovny), who is almost part of the furniture in their house. Following an invitation to attend the same prep school that his father, Frank (Ty Burrell) went to, he finds himself struggling to revoke his support for his mother who, apparently due to her fondness for everything new age, cannot fully cope with the rigours of normal life such as paying the bills and servicing the car. In addition to this guilt, he also finds he misses Goat Man, both as a father figure and additionally, a supplier of a “recreational” substance.

    During his time away Ellis’ estranged father, Frank, comes back into his life, bringing with him news that only adds to the strain Ellis is suffering. As with other coming of age films, our protagonist believes that he is suffering more than most and so it comes as a partial relief for him to find that his room mate at the school, Barney (played by Nicholas Lobue), actually has pressures on him that at least equal his own. In addition, his mother’s new partner, Bennet (played by Justin Kirk) moves in and becomes obstructive to his relationship with both her and Goat Man, who also finds this new presence in the household annoying to say the least.

    There are some quite funny instances, particularly during a family meal which smoothly migrates into a reasonably strong emotional argument, but it is neither a very funny part nor a very strong argument, and herein lies the problem with the film; it ticks the boxes of an average coming of age film but fails to try any harder. It is almost as if it is satisfied with itself, which just isn’t enough.

    Duchovny seems quite at home as the pot-smoking Goat Man, regularly going on a long walk for days with Ellis, which bolsters their pseudo father-son relationship. Indeed a particular journey is one of the few stand-out highlights of a pleasant film. Every time I sensed a build up during emotional segments, I felt as if the film was on the edge of a whirlpool and I was expecting to be pulled in, but it never happened. Just as it started to entice me in, it relinquished its grip and everything slowed back down to a “safe” pace.

    Perhaps as this was Neil’s first major piece, he felt that he didn’t want to take a gamble on parts he wasn’t fully confident in. Certainly the shooting was fantastic; great cinematography and framing were ever-present, it was just a shame the same quality wasn’t shown in the execution of the story written by Mark Poirier, who wrote the screenplay too.

    A pleasant enough film, which is enjoyable to watch, but because it didn’t push that bit harder, it will not become a long term classic.

    Flickering Myth Rating - Film: ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ 

    J-P Wooding - Follow me on Twitter.



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    After the likes of V/H/S/ and The ABCs of Death, it seems the anthology horror is back in business and it's now been revealed that directors Joe Dante (Gremlins), Xavier Gens (Hitman) and Timo Vuorensola (Iron Sky) are set to contribute to the "genre bending" fantasy, horror and sci-fi anthology Fear Paris.

    Coming from the producers of Paranormal Activity, Insidious, and The Iceman, Fear Paris is described as "an ambitious new film of unique interconnected stories exploring the dark underbelly of the city of lights". It's said that two further filmmakers will join the project before production gets underway in the summer, however the official website lists another four directors in Richard Raaphorst (Frankenstein's Army), Christian Alvart (Pandorum), Eron Sheean (Errors of the Human Body) and music video director Joern Heitmann.

    Here's a "mood teaser", which was used as a proof of concept for Fear Paris....




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    Coinciding with the DVD and Blu-ray release of Justice League: War yesterday, we've got a new clip from the animated movie which features the first meeting between the Justice League and the ruler of Apokolips, Darkseid. Check it out below...

    When the powerful Darkseid and his massive, relentless forces invade Earth, a group of previously unaligned super heroes – misunderstood and, in some cases, hunted by the authorities – discover the only way to fend off the attack will be to work together as a cohesive unit. Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash, Shazam and, in his origin story, Cyborg combine their respective talents in an all-out battle to save the planet. 

    Justice League: War is directed by Jay Oliva (Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox) and is set to feature a voice cast that includes Jason O'Mara (Life on Mars) as Batman, Alan Tudyk (Firefly) as Superman, Michelle Monaghan (Source Code) as Wonder Woman, Justin Kirk (Weeds) as Green Lantern, Christopher Gorham (Covert Affairs) as The Flash, Shemar Moore (Criminal Minds) as Cyborg, Sean Astin (The Lord of the Rings) as Shazam, Steve Blum (Young Justice) as Darkseid, Bruce Thomas (Birds of Prey) as Desaad, and Rocky Carroll (NCIS) as Silas Stone.


    Justice League: War is out now on Blu-ray and DVD.


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    Coming hot on the heels of the casting of Candice Patton (The Game) as Iris West, it's been announced that Broadway star Carlos Valdes has been cast as Cisco Ramon, "a mechanical engineering genius and the youngest member of the team of scientists at S.T.A.R. Labs." Ramon is better known to DC Comics fans as Vibe, a character created by Gerry Conway and Chuck Patton who made his debut back in 1984's Justice League of America Annual #2.

    The cast of The Flash is starting to take shape ahead of filming on the pilot this March, with Grant Gustin's Scarlett Speedster also set to be joined by Jesse L. Martin (Law & Order) as Iris' father Detective West, Danielle Panabaker (Friday the 13th) as Caitlin Snow, a.k.a. Killer Frost, and Rick Gosnett (The Vampire Diaries) as Eddie Thawne, who is rumoured to be an alias for Eobard Thawne, better known as Professor Zoom / Reverse-Flash.


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    Screen Junkies have posted their latest 'honest trailer' - a four minute or so piece of film criticism using the 'In a world...' voiceover style. This time, they're thundering down on the latest Thor movie.


    In their deconstruction of the 'filler-before-the-next-Avengers-film,' they talk...

    -The All-Seeing Idris Elba,who misses a vast enemy attack fleet infiltrating Asgard.

    -The wacky sidekick's wacky sidekicks.

    -And the end sequence's similarities with video game Portal.




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    Following on from yesterday's batch of Imperial propaganda material, more and more details are being released regarding the latest from a galaxy far far away.

    Disney’s Chairman and CEO Bob Iger has revealed some of the plans regarding the release of Star Wars Rebels. This quarter’s letter to investors contains the following -

    "We’re introducing Star Wars Rebels to television audiences this summer with a movie and a series of shorts on Disney Channel, followed by a continuing series on Disney XD."

    So, a TV movie, full series on Disney on XD, and shorts on the main Disney Channel. As usual for Star Wars a hefty chunk of the money will be made on the toys, so with plenty of new characters what better way to get things started than to flood our screens?

    Source - Jedi News

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    The LEGO Movie (Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell) will be opening in the US and UK soon, and after a bunch of trailers and TV spots, Warner Bros. have released two 'Behind-the-Bricks' featurettes for the film. Behind the Bricks. Get it? God, this movie is so good already.

    The absolute dedication to the concept shares a tone with the wonderful job Disney have been doing promoting The Muppets Most Wanted. The first video is the Behind the Bricks featurette, which treats the LEGO universe as real, conducting interviews with LEGO figures (or "people") as though they are genuine actors. Which they all are, of course.



    This might be the best portrayal of Batman ever committed to screen. And below, enjoy one with the 'real life actors.'



    The LEGO Movie follows Emmet (Chris Pratt), an ordinary run of the mill LEGO minifigure who finds himself thrust into an epic quest to stop an evil tyrant when he's mistakenly identified as the key to saving the world. Pratt is joined in the voice cast by Will Ferrell (Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues), Morgan Freeman (The Dark Knight Rises), Liam Neeson (Taken 2), Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire), Cobie Smulders (How I Met Your Mother), Channing Tatum (21 Jump Street), Jonah Hill (The Wolf of Wall Street), Will Arnett (Arrested Development), Nick Offerman (Parks and Recreation), Charlie Day (Monsters University), and Alison Brie (Community).

    It opens in the States on February 7th and arrives in the UK on February 14th. 

    Read our ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ review here.

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    He is playing very coy, but we know that The Rock has spoken with DC about starring in their burgeoning cinematic universe. But is he hinting at who he might be playing?

    Well known for his Twitter and Instagram accounts, Johnson recently posted an image of himself with producer Hiram Garcia. In amongst all this was the hashtag #JohnStewartCanStillWhupSupermansAss.

    So could Dwayne Johnson be set to be a Green Lantern? John Stewart is one of several Earth based Green Lanterns, starting off as a backup to Hal Jordan. He features prominently in the animated series Justice League, becoming a founding member of the superhero team in that continuity.

    Hopefully with the filming of Batman vs. Superman (or whatever it ends up being called) starting soon, with rumoured back to back filming of a Justice League feature, we will know sooner rather than later.

    Batman vs. Superman is set for release in May 2016 with a cast that includes Henry Cavill (Superman), Ben Affleck (Batman), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), Jesse Eisenberg (Lex Luthor), Amy Adams (Lois Lane), Diane Lane (Martha Kent), Laurence Fishburne (Perry White), and Jeremy Irons (Alfred Pennyworth).


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    Seemingly stuck in development forever, the film adaptation of the highly successful Uncharted series of video games has a new director attached, with Horrible Bosses helmer Seth Gordon taking up the reins following the departures of David O. Russell and Neil Burger.

    Away from the big screen Gordon also directed 2007′s The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, a documentary about video games and gamers. So hopefully he is aware of how easy it is to muck this up! With a distinct lack of action direction on his CV however, do fans have something to worry about? Sure Drake likes to crack a joke but the series isn't known for being hilarious.

    The script has been written by David Guggenheim, who previously wrote Safe House. No one is currently attached to star as Drake himself yet, with previous rumours suggesting Mark Wahlberg and perennial convention favourite Nathan Fillion. No release date has yet been confirmed.


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    Following District 9 and Elysium, Neill Blomkamp is currently piecing together his third South Africa based outing. Black comedy Chappie once again involves serious hardware, as Blomkamp's go-to actor Sharlto Copley plays a robot used for nefarious purposes by gangsters.

    Two of the gangsters are set to be played by main vocalists Ninja and Yolandi Visser from South African rap-rave band Die Antwoord. However, it appears that Ninja was a supremely disruptive influence on set and consequently has had his role reduced in the final piece. Unspecified sources quote Blomkamp as stating that “I don’t ever want to be in the same room as him again.”

    Various cast members are said to have stories about the singer's behaviour, from inappropriate advances on women on set, to attempting to disrupt other actors by telling them everything they are is wrong. Subsequently, at least one scene involving Ninja was rewritten so that it didn't include him and didn't need to return to the set.

    The only official statement comes from Susie Arons, who represents Chappie's producers, Media Rights Capital: “Neill Blomkamp is hard at work getting Chappie ready for release. As with all things Chappie, our lips are sealed, but we are looking forward to sharing the final film with Neill’s fans around the world.”

    After being kidnapped by two criminals during birth, Chappie becomes the adopted son in a strange and dysfunctional family. Chappie is preternaturally gifted, one of a kind, a prodigy. He also happens to be a robot. The film also stars Hugh Jackman, Dev Patel and Sigourney Weaver. It is set for release in 2015.


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    UK box office top ten and analysis for the weekend of Friday 31st January to Sunday 2nd February 2014....

    The Wolf of Wall Street has become Martin Scorsese's biggest earner on these shores, with a third weekend haul of £2.39 million enough to retain top spot, and push its cumulative gross beyond the £15 million mark.

    The biggest new entry of the weekend was the Zac Efron / Miles Teller / Michael B. Jordan comedy That Awkward Moment, which debuted in third behind 12 Years a Slave with £961,167. Despite a critical lambasting, I, Frankenstein managed to claim fourth with £811,365, while the Mark Wahlberg-headlined Lone Survivor opened in sixth with £751,564.

    Number one this time last year: Les Miserables

    1. The Wolf of Wall Street - £2,385,585 weekend (3 weeks)
    2. 12 Years a Slave - £1,422,066 weekend (4 weeks)
    3. That Awkward Moment - £961,167 weekend (New)
    4. I, Frankenstein - £811,365 weekend (New)
    5. Frozen - £778,638 weekend (9 weeks)
    6. Lone Survivor - £751,564 weekend (New)
    7. Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit - £665,007 weekend (2 weeks)
    8. American Hustle - £572,485 weekend (5 weeks)
    9. Inside Llewyn Davis - £437,532 weekend (2 weeks)
    10. August: Osage County - £287,612 weekend (2 weeks)

    Incoming...

    Friday brings several new releases including RoboCop (cert. 12A), Mr. Peabody & Sherman (cert. U), Dallas Buyers Club (cert. 15) and The Invisible Woman (cert. 12A). Will any of them be able to knock The Wolf of Wall Street from the top of the chart?


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    RoboCop, 2014.

    Directed by José Padilha.
    Starring Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Samuel L. Jackson, Abbie Cornish, Jackie Earle Haley, and Michael K. Williams.


    SYNOPSIS:

    Police officer Alex Murphy suffers horrific injuries in an explosion and is rebuilt and part-robot, part-man in a bid to combat growing levels of crime in Detroit. But RoboCop is haunted by his own past and the corruption of the system that has created him.


    Hollywood scriptwriting is evidently in such an awful state that executives are merrily remaking action films many of us can remember from the first time around. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t: the Total Recall remake was a worthless exercise, while Dredd just about got away with it (primarily because the original was dire). There are so many different Super- and Spider-Men nowadays it’s like one of those episodes of Doctor Who with multiple Doctors that makes you yearn for the simplicity of Midsomer Murders.

    The original RoboCop was released in 1987 and did well. Sadly, this new version barely tweaks the original story, removes most of the action sequences, adds emotion in place of explosions and only scrapes by on the back of its stoical cast.

    There is corruption within the Detroit police department, and only Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) and Jack Lewis (Michael K. Williams) seem to be holding out for honour and justice. When the pair cross the wrong bad guy, Lewis is shot into hospital and Murphy is car-bombed into the laboratory of brainbox scientist Dennett Norton (Gary Oldman). Norton successfully rebuilds him with a huge amount of machinery at the behest of corporate megalomaniac Raymond Sellars, played with twitchy energy by Michael Keaton.

    RoboCop, as Murphy is now, of course has a family, but his human side interferes with the job of interfering with criminals and needs to be suppressed, leading to inner turmoil for the man of the hour. This is the film’s central failure – for a huge part of the movie we are asked to empathise with Murphy’s struggle to rationalise his family life, his job and the enormous amount of drugs pumped into him to keep him policing like the efficient machine he mostly is, rather than watching him Cop like a Robo.

    The script has it that RoboCop’s trademark visor only comes down when he senses a threat. Given that Murphy is in a lab for much of the film, or with his family, or simply struggling with competing emotions, his visor is up most of the time. This is RoboCop without much RoboCop and the schoolboy in me rages at the injustice.

    Kinnaman as Murphy (rather than as RoboCop) does well enough, though his baby-faced features framed in the un-visored costume don’t exactly exude tough law enforcement. Keaton gurns his way through an entertaining performance, Oldman is in noble Commissioner Gordon mode, while Samuel L. Jackson puts in a remarkable turn as foaming, furious Bill O’Reilly-style TV monster Pat Novak. More screen time for Williams, and Jackie Earle Haley as chief henchman of the evil corporation OCP, would have helped the movie. Abbie Cornish as RoboCop’s wife is treated by the script much as you would expect RoboCop’s wife to be, and has little option but to tearfully implore various people for fair treatment throughout.

    While the cast hold up their end admirably, the updated script is filled with more holes than a non-robotic Detroit police officer. That city itself is one problem – in 1987 Detroit was doing well, but given the current bankruptcy of Motor City it’s tricky to imagine the world’s most state-of-the-art technology will find its way to Michigan any time in the next century. Similarly, given everything in the updated movie is so fancy and high-tech, are you honestly telling me they can build something that runs and jumps with the grace of Sonny from I, Robot, but they can’t get rid of the bloody hydraulic robot noises it makes? You know, I reckon the crooks might just hear him coming.

    The original had a few classic lines, and “Thank you for your co-operation” is lovingly retained here. But why on earth would you replace the tension-building “You have 20 seconds to comply” with the limp “You have two seconds to decide”? I’d wager they could have shaved 18 seconds off somewhere to make it work.

    As a treat, watch this movie then immediately return to the 1987 version, to see how crazy and original the previous movie now seems with hindsight. Whatever you do, don’t watch the original and then this, as the blatant cynicism and avarice from studio executives looking to save a few bucks on coming up with original stories could put you off these blasted remakes for good.

    Flickering Myth Rating - Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★

    Chris Lockie.




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    That Awkward Moment, 2014.

    Written and Directed by Tom Gormican.
    Starring Zac Efron, Michael B. Jordan, Miles Teller, Imogen Poots, and Mackenzie Davis.


    SYNOPSIS:

    Three best friends find themselves where we've all been - at that confusing moment in every dating relationship when you have to decide "So...where is this going?"


    Haters gonna hate, but it's really good to see Zac Efron back on the big screen. Despite kicking his career off with the much maligned High School Musical trilogy, Efron has proven time and time again that not only is he a solid and charismatic actor, but he's also incredibly likeable. His personal demons have kept him at bay as of late but he's looking to make a come back this year and his first step is the pretty unbalanced That Awkward Moment, from first time director Tom Gormican.

    The main problem with The Awkward Moment is that it's trying to be two different movies and it can't find the balance between them. On the one hand it wants to be an early 2000-era Judd Apatow movie about three best friends who make a pact to stay single together but on the other hand it wants to be a conventional romantic comedy starring pretty boy Zac Efron. But not only does Gormican fail to get the mixture right, the movie also struggles to be either genre. It goes from gross-out humour to scenes of heart-felt sentiment and none of it gels.

    This is a movie where having charismatic and entertaining central performances can only carry you so far. It's not just Efron who effortlessly shines throughout the movie, but the chemistry between him, Michael B. Jordan and Miles Teller is superb and it's quite clear that three have a good friendship off camera. Both Jordan and Teller are fantastic with Teller having a lot of fun with his Jonah Hill-esque role - although he feels like he'd be better suited to 'nerdy friend' as opposed to 'hot-to-trot sex appeal'. And while this is a movie where the males are the central characters, there are also entertaining performances given by both Imogen Poots and Mackenzie Davis who act as the love interests for Efron and Teller. Davis and Teller's relationship is by far the most interesting one of the three but it's underdeveloped and haphazardly handled as the movie moves into its third act.

    The writing is really what damages the movie as it just flounders along until its inevitable conclusion. The boys make a pact in the first act of the movie that they will all stay single together, but this isn't brought up again until towards the end of the second act by which point it has become a bet. Only it's a bet with no stakes or timeframe so it just feels like a pointless maguffin to provide some conflict between the three later on. It's in moments like these that you realise that That Awkward Moment doesn't really have a plot and is just a series of scenes that roll into one and other but don't really have any impact, emotional or otherwise.

    There is a good movie inside of That Awkward Moment, but some time spent on the script at its genesis on what it was trying to be would have helped greatly. It's not funny enough to be a gross-out comedy and it's not sweet enough to a decent love story. It feels as though Gormican was trying to add scenes in for both genders to make 'the perfect date movie' but it's all so unbalanced. While they're given good performances,t he male characters are over-blown cartoons of "lad culture" and the females are doormats they simply walk over and treat like garbage. This is not the best start for Efron's resurgence. Let's hope Neighbors fairs better...

    Flickering Myth Rating - Film: ★ ★  / Movie: ★ ★

    Luke Owen is one of Flickering Myth's co-editors and the host of the Flickering Myth Podcast. You can follow him on Twitter @LukeWritesStuff.

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    Every Wednesday, FM writers Simon Columb and Brogan Morris write two short reviews on Woody Allen films ... in the hope of watching all his films over the course of roughly 49 weeks. If you have been watching Woody's films and want to join in, feel free to comment with short reviews yourself! Next up is Shadows and Fog & Sleeper...

    Simon Columb on Shadows and Fog...

    Lurking in the shadows is the killer. You don’t want to discuss it and you don’t want to put yourself in the fog and make yourself a target. It is inevitable. Death, in and of itself, is inevitable. Shadows and Fog, a dark and dusty drama from Woody Allen asks these profound questions. Under the guise of an ambiguous type of dwelling, town folk are awkward and join different groups (see. Religions) in the hope of capturing the killer (see. Death). Mr Kleinman (Allen), alternatively, is not sure of the rules (not sure of God) and not sure what is expected of him to capture the killer (scared of death, but not convinced of religion). Though aspiring to be cerebral and high-brow, Shadows and Fog attempts to metaphorically deconstruct the meaning of life. Maybe further watching improve it, but the happy-go-lucky prostitutes and uninteresting investigation don’t engage – and it should.

    Simon Columb


    Brogan Morris on Sleeper...

    One of the first things you notice about Sleeper is the singularity of the authorial voice, Woody writing, directing, starring in and – for the only time in his career – scoring the movie himself. There’s also how surprisingly well Allen’s style works within the science fiction genre, and how imaginative Sleeper’s design work is, all bubble pods and future-baroque decor. The premise is familiar – a man from the present (1973 for Sleeper) wakes up years later into a strange future – but Allen utilises the situation for comic effect; enhanced crops give way to giant banana peels primed for pratfalls, while we see the only thing to really survive 200 years intact is the McDonald’s logo. The high concept allows Allen to indulge his comedic instincts, utilising satire, physical comedy and fish-out-of-water farce all at once. It’s absurd, and the assured work of a comic genius.
     
    Brogan Morris - Lover of film, writer of words, pretentious beyond belief. Thinks Scorsese and Kubrick are the kings of cinema, but PT Anderson and David Fincher are the young princes. Follow Brogan on Twitter if you can take shameless self-promotion.


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    Matt Smith reviews the third episode of The Following season 2...

    Some say that behind every great man, is a great woman. With the obvious implications the following question hints at, what happens when the great women turns out to be not so great and in fact goes against everything you stand for?

    That’s quite an extreme turn around, but that’s the way things go in this week’s The Following. Ryan Hardy and Joe Carroll have always had a parallel when it comes to their love lives. It used to be the character of Claire that would bind them, but now it’s the betrayal from those they thought were there for them.

    Since the first week of seeing her in a hospital bed, the thought of Lily being a follower has been constantly appearing. Eschewing the obvious tension-filler of the ‘is she, isn’t she?’ question that constantly filled the mind, the producers this week decided to show her for all she is. While that makes it seem like the show may find it difficult in terms of keeping up with the twists, turns and huge revelations in order to keep the pace up, it shows the producers aren’t afraid of showing a bit of their plans ahead and that they’re also in touch with the viewers.

    Another example of this is the Claire Matthews situation. How the producers both kill her off then move months ahead in time and still keep the character’s memory intact and relevant are together a testament to the writing of the series as a whole. Just when you think you have all the evidence and you think you have all the answers as to what will happen next, The Following surprises you at the next turn.

    Another person who can’t quite add it all up when the evidence is there in front of him is Agent Weston. A falter for this series (especially when compared to the first one) is the amount of exposition needed to convey situations to the viewer. It seems this week is the turn of Weston to explain, who takes all of Ryan Hardy’s good evidence (and even helps Hardy through some of it, in true expositional tradition) and promptly turns away from it all once the viewer knows where everything is.

    Just like the big Joe Carroll picture Hardy keeps around in his case room, it seems the producers can’t quite bring across the idea of whatever they’re trying to convey without resorting to tired old clichés. Why would you ever need a giant picture of the Big Bad at the top of the wall is beyond me, especially when his followers wear masks of his face. If Ryan Hardy can’t remember what he looks like then his alcoholism must’ve been worse than first thought...

    Joe Carroll’s remembering what it’s like though. Going back to his past in last week’s episode, he murdered a pastor, in front of his adoptive daughter no less. This week he has to deal with the reaction he gets from his sort of-wife. Is Joe actually scared of her? He certainly doesn’t seem frightened of his past, with said adoptive daughter simultaneously showing that he hasn’t changed from the cult leader of the first series, that he isn’t quite a complete sociopath and that she may possibly be the coldest, most ruthless character of the whole bunch.

    Like the vaguely humorous scene featuring a character’s death (and the ensuing ‘that was mine’-style argument), are we now going to get scenes where Joe is over protective of his daughter when it comes to young men at the same time they’re planning on brutally murdering someone? Darkly hilarious, possibly, or just overdone.

    Love is perhaps the name of the game this week, with Emma’s coming to the fore coinciding with the twins’ romantic lives. It’s a shame that Ryan Hardy’s obligatory love interest had to be shown to be someone else. But it’s a great sample of getting in the heads of the viewers, anticipating what they’re thinking and providing what’s needed. And, to be brutally honest, the scenes between Hardy and Lily were a tad bland. Bland is too good to be true for Ryan Hardy. His life is one of heartache and, unfortunately, death.

    So, both men are lost, perhaps because of the loss of the woman that was standing behind them. Ryan Hardy is betrayed and shoved back to the state he was in months ago with the metaphorical loss of another love, while Joe has helped murder the wife he had in his hideaway. Both of their lives coinciding to explode dramatically in the next coming weeks means the series should work like clockwork to create something exciting and tense. The producers of the show have done a great job this week of putting the audience in the palm of their hand and playing around with them, showing why The Following has possibly some of the best series writing on TV at the moment. Behind every good TV series is a good writer, and so far they haven’t let series two down.


    Matt Smith - follow me on Twitter.
     

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