hammergirl

In the past five years, director Gareth Evans has seen has status grow from relative unknown to one of the best action directors alive. His film, Merantau, introduced the Indonesian martial arts form of Pencak Silat to the wider world, and his two follow-ups, The Raid and The Raid 2: Berandal (out in theaters right now), expanded on Silat’s usage and featured some of the most creatively shot and choreographed action/fight scenes in recent memory.

I had the chance to chat with Evans recently about the making of his Raid 2 teaser trailer. We also spoke about his five favorite action scenes, and in the below video essay, Evans breaks down exactly which films they are from and why/how each has influenced him.

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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

We all know where first Rise, and now Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, are going. To a planet totally inhabited and ruled by hyper-intelligent apes who speak fluent English and have never seen a human. In Matt Reeves‘ upcoming Fox release, an important new wrinkle is added to that possibility. Was there ever a time humans and apes might have tried to co-exist? The answer is “Yes” but, of course, it didn’t quite work out.

Star Andy Serkis recently screened five scenes, about 20 minutes total, from the July 11 sequel to a group of press. The scenes contained very little action, instead focusing on relations between the two species and the rising tension among members of both sides to distrust the other. They set up a film surprisingly emotional and complex for a typical summer blockbuster. A film whose themes, according to Serkis, are “family, tribalism, empathy and prejudice.” Below read about, and watch a video blog reaction to, five brand new Dawn of the Planet of the Apes clips. Read More »

The Graduate Live Read

Early on in The Graduate, there’s that iconic moment. Ben Braddock, a recent college grad, is talking with the beautiful older family friend Mrs. Robinson. Ben says, “Mrs. Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me.” It’s iconic thanks to director Mike Nichols’ choice of angle, the delivery of the line by Dustin Hoffman, and the way that one sentence sets the entire story into motion.

At Jason Reitman‘s final live read of the season, actor Jay Baruchel played the role of Ben Braddock. When he got to that line, delivered next to his Mrs. Robinson, Sharon Stone, the 32-year-old actor broke character, cocked his right arm on his side and whispered, “Yes!” He was excited, not just because he nailed the legendary line, but maybe he got the feeling what was to follow was going to go very well. Reitman’s casting of Baruchel as the nervous, unsure, yet charming and likable Ben couldn’t have been more perfect. The same could also be said for Sharon Stone, whose Mrs. Robinson was sexy, confident and cool.

Though both actors were merely sitting in chairs, reading lines of dialogue, their body language created an electric chemistry that turned the combination of a great cast and a flawless script into a memorable event. Below, read more details about the Film Independent at LACMA Live Read of The Graduate. Read More »

Let It Go(T)

What do you get when you combine a hit song from the highest grossing animated film of all time with one of the most insanely popular TV shows of all time? A “Let It Go” mashup for the ages, of course.

My Cast of Kings co-host Joanna Robinson approached me to put together a music video of “Let It Go”, but using some fun Game of Thrones inspired lyrics performed by her talented friend Gail. Check out the results after the jump, and subscribe to A Cast of Kings to get your regular Game of Thrones podcast fix.
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Transcendence review

In his directorial debut, Christopher Nolan‘s longtime DP Wally Pfister serves up a dire warning about all the things that can go wrong when someone other than Christopher Nolan tries to make a Christopher Nolan movie. Transcendence is Inception, in spirit if not in plot, only without the heart, style, intelligence, or grace.

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X-Men Days of Future Past

After some intense promos and clips (and a couple of truly WTF Carl’s Jr. commercials), Fox has released one final X-Men: Days of Future Past trailer.

As usual, the video has mutant heroes battling mean humans, terrifying Sentinels, and their own inner angst across two different timelines. What’s different is that this particular trailer plays up Wolverine’s role in the whole thing. Though he doesn’t tend to be much of a team player, desperate times call for desperate measures, so this one has him running around the ’70s trying to get the gang together.

Watch the new X-Men Days of Future Past trailer, which includes tons of new footage, after the jump. Read More »

gone girl trailer

Here’s the first full Gone Girl trailer, showing us the fruits of David Fincher‘s recent labors. The thriller adapts Gillian Flynn‘s best-selling novel (with a new ending scripted by Flynn) and stars Ben Affleck as a man whose wife (Rosamund Pike) goes missing on their fifth wedding anniversary. As the mystery of her disappearance persists, eyes turn towards Affleck.

This trailer should keep fans of the book happy, as it has more than enough imagery to recall the book’s key moments and general tone. And movie fans should love this teaser as it lays out many basic concepts without giving away anything specific. This looks and feels like a mystery, and a very engaging one at that. Read More »

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Set

On June 3rd 2013, I flew to New Orleans, LA to visit the set of Fox’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes follow-up Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. There, I learned a great deal about the Matt Reeves-directed sequel.  After the jump, read about my Dawn of the Planet of the Apes set visit and discover the secrets behind the next chapter in the Planet of the Apes series.

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