Mia Wasikowska in Maps to the Stars

In advance of Maps to the Stars‘ release next weekend, Focus Features is squeezing in one last trailer. And it might be the craziest one yet. Which, if you’ve seen the other trailers, is really saying something.

Mia Wasikowska, Julianne Moore, and Robert Pattinson lead the David Cronenberg-directed satire about the unique insanity of modern-day Hollywood. John Cusack, Olivia Williams, Evan Bird, and Sarah Gadon also star. Watch the Maps to the Stars red band trailer after the jump.

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A (Partial) Defense of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’

50 Shades of Grey defense

Let’s get this out of the way: Fifty Shades of Grey* has some massively problematic aspects. Its pathologization of dominant sexual behavior is deeply hypocritical, considering that the movie delights in that exact same behavior. And it’s especially distasteful to portray Christian Grey’s taste for BDSM sex as unhealthy while glossing over his borderline abusive behavior outside of the bedroom, like his habit of showing up at Anastasia’s house uninvited or selling off her possessions without asking.

But to consequently dismiss Fifty Shades of Grey as “bad for women” (or men for that matter) does it and its fans a disservice. For all Fifty Shades of Grey gets wrong about adult relationships and BDSM, it still offers something rare and valuable: a portrait of female sexuality that’s entirely by, for, and about women.

(* To clarify, were talking exclusively about Fifty Shades of Grey the movie here. Fifty Shades of Grey the book is a whole different beast, and as I haven’t read it I can’t discuss it.) Read More »

‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ Sequels Are Coming

Fifty Shades of Grey

Fifty Shades of Grey soundss like a disaster in some respects, but it’s already looking like a success in a commercial sense. It’s already one of the fastest-selling R-rated advance tickets in history, and is on track to become one of the biggest Valentine’s Day openings in history. It’s even helped boost January movie ticket sales by 37% over last year.

And you know what that means: Sequels are coming. They’ll be based on the two other books from the Fifty Shades trilogy, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed. Just be glad we haven’t heard of plans to split the finale into two films. More on the Fifty Shades of Grey sequels after the jump.  Read More »

Just How Much Sex Is in ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’?

Fifty Shades of Grey

From the beginning, Fifty Shades of Grey provided Hollywood with a tricky conundrum: It’s a story that’s all about sex, being adapted by an industry that’s notoriously skittish about sex. Focus Features and director Sam Taylor-Johnson eventually split the difference by going with an R rating rather than the once-promised NC-17. But there’s still a lot of room for interpretation in that R rating. So just how much screwing is that, really?

The talk about Fifty Shades of Grey‘s sex scenes has been all over the map as Taylor-Johnson, author E.L. James, and their stars promote the movie. But now an unconfirmed report indicates that sex will comprise about 20 minutes of the film, or one-fifth of its 100-minute running time. More on the Fifty Shades of Grey sex scenes after the jump. Read More »

The Dirt movie

A film based on The Dirt — the tell-all story of hair metal/rock band Motley Crue as dictated by the band members — has been in development for years. We’ve heard of a few big talent attachments, but no development effort has ever amounted to much. At this point there’s a script by Rich Wilkes and Tom Kapinos, about which I’ve heard quite a few people say very positive things, and the attachment of Jackass director Jeff Tremaine. And that’s how things have been, since Tremaine’s involvement was announced in late 2013.

Now there’s some forward movement, as Focus Features will back The Dirt movie. Read More »

Fifty Shades of Grey - Jamie Dornan

Any time a beloved book gets adapted for the screen, there’s bound to be some grumbling over the casting choices. Each of the millions of readers will have a slightly different look in mind, and there’s simply no way to satisfy all of them. And Fifty Shades of Grey may have had it even worse than most, because the character of Christian Grey is designed to be every fan’s ultimate sexual fantasy.

It wasn’t surprising, then, that not everyone loved the choice of Jamie Dornan. But the latest Fifty Shades of Grey trailer tries to make a case for him through the words of one supporting character: “You have to admit, he’s ridiculously hot.” And Dornan tries his best to live up to that promise. Watch the new Fifty Shades of Grey trailer after the jump.  Read More »

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Maps to the Stars header

Focus Features has released a new trailer for Maps to the Stars, David Cronenberg‘s new drama about a dysfunctional Hollywood family. Mia Wasikowska plays a mysterious woman who hails from a famous Hollywood family. She returns to town and secures a job as a personal assistant to aging actress Havana Segrand (Julianne Moore), but seems to have some ulterior motives.

Meanwhile, her relations (played by John Cusack, Olivia Williams, and Evan Bird) are dealing with troubles of their own. Rounding out the cast are Robert Pattinson as a limo driver, and Sarah Gadon as Havana’s late actress mother. Watch the Maps to the Stars trailer after the jump. Read More »

Boxtrolls best scene

The films from Laika are, in a way, like Richard Linklater’s Boyhood — part of the story of the films themselves is the story of how they are made. The process is very different, of course, as Linklater worked for more than a decade on one film, while Laika uses painstaking stop-motion animation to create the illusion of life over a production period that lasts a couple years per film.

We’ve all seen in-process video of Laika artists at work, but the final shot of the studio’s most recent film, The Boxtrolls, illustrates the process in a beautifully meta fashion. It may be The Boxtrolls best scene — and there are no spoilers involved, even for those who haven’t seen the film. Check it out below.

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fourth laika movie

Laika has produced three gorgeous stop-motion features so far: Coraline, ParaNorman, and The Boxtrolls. Now there’s a new one coming, as the fourth Laika movie has been announced as Kubo and the Two Strings. It’s an original story from Paranormal writers Marc Haimes and Chris Butler which the company describes as “a sweeping, swashbuckling adventure set in a mythical ancient Japan.”

As usual, the film is being animated at the company’s home base in Oregon, and is being directed by company founder Travis Knight, who is also producing with Arianne Sutner (ParaNorman). The film uses, as the press release calls it, Laika’s “innovative 3D stop-motion and CG hybrid technique.”

Get the full voice cast list and more info on Kubo and the Two Strings below.  Read More »

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