John Wick review

Ninety percent of action movies are derivative. Carbon copies of better movies that came before them. They can be enjoyable, but are often forgettable. Then there’s the other ten percent. Those movies are something special. They originate and innovate, and rise about the rest by being different and surprising. However, by definition, even the best of the best employ many of the same beats. Punching, kicking, shooting, and explosions are the building blocks of an action movie. The ninety percent use them in ways we’ve seen before. The rest mix them up in ways we don’t expect. John Wick is among the ten percent.

In the first film by accomplished stunt coordinators Chad Stahelski and David Leitch, Keanu Reeves stars as an unstoppable assassin hell-bent on revenge after thugs steal his car and kill his dog. We’ve seen the assassin revenge story a hundred times, but John Wick feels different because it’s set in a unique, dirty, and lived-in world. Everyone has a reputation. Connections. They know each other. This is a place with a rich history simmering below the surface action of guns, choke holds and car crashes. What makes John Wick a standout action film is that it makes us curious. Read More »

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birdman81

I saw Birdman Wednesday night at an advanced screening in downtown Seattle. I don’t think my audience knew what to make of it. It definitely suffers from many of the issues that Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu’s films typically fall prey to: overwrought dialogue; characters who serve as symbols or ideas nothing more; and a bit too much fixation on misery and regret.

Still, I loved Birdman and can’t stop thinking about it. Hit the jump for my video review, and share your thoughts on the film in the comments below.
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age of ultron trailer

There’s Marvel with the best official response I can remember for a big leak. This afternoon, the Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer leaked, only hours after being announced for an official debut next week.

So Marvel did the only thing it could do, and dropped the official release. Below, you can see the Age of Ultron trailer in official quality, which is much better than that (admittedly good) bootleg.

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American Beauty Header

It’s a shame only 600 people got to see Jason Reitman‘s Live Read of American Beauty on Thursday. If more people saw it, they’d be lining up to see Men, Women and Children this weekend. The cast proved they are wonderful together.

As the kickoff to the 4th season of Live Reads at LACMA, Reitman presented Alan Ball‘s Oscar-winning 1999 script. For all the roles, he chose actors from his latest film. (Which happens to open wide this weekend.) In the role of Lester Burnham, for which Kevin Spacey won an Oscar, Reitman cast Adam Sandler. The wife Carolyn, originally played by Annette Benning, was played by Rosemarie DeWitt. Their daughter Jane, originated by Thora Birch, was played by Kaitlyn Dever. Her best friend Angela, originated by Mena Suvari, was played by Olivia Crocicchia. Buddy the real estate king, first played by Peter Gallagher, was read by Phil LaMarr. Next door, the Colonel, played by Chris Cooper, was read by Dean Norris. DeWitt doubled as his wife (Allison Janney) and their son, the pot-dealer Ricky was Travis Tope. Wes Bentley originated the role.

With a script as good as Ball’s, an infant could read it and it would sound like poetry. What Reitman showcased with his latest cast is prove that good words are one thing, but chemistry and talent are something entirely different and wonderful. Below, read more about the American Beauty Live Read presented by Film Independent at LACMA. Read More »

Superhero Movie Release Dates

Over the next five and a half years, there are 10 DC Comics movies, 10 Marvel Studios movies, and 10 Marvel movies from Fox and Sony on the calendar. With today’s new announcements, I thought now was as good a time as any to take a look at the future of the comic book movie landscape. Hit the jump to find a comprehensive calendar of superhero movie release dates tracking the announced comic book movie adaptations up to the year 2020.

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Ezra Miller

The Flash will hit the big screen in 2018, according to Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara. He’ll be played by Ezra Miller, best known for his work in We Need To Talk About Kevin and The Perks of Being A Wallflower.

The news came as part of a major investors event Wednesday morning. Also part of the announcement, and covered in depth here, Suicide Squad will follow Batman v Superman in 2016. 2017 will see Wonder Woman and Justice League. The aforementioned Flash film will be out in 2018 along with an Aquaman solo film starring Jason Momoa. Then in 2019, they’ll release Shazam (with The Rock as Black Adam) and a sequel to Justice League. After that? A Green Lantern reboot, Cyborg solo film and new Batman and Superman movies. Read more about the Flash movie below.  Read More »

DC movie slate revealed

Warner Bros. did its big shareholder talk this morning, and took the opportunity to drop some big release date info. The biggest is the studio’s upcoming plans for superhero films, and massive DC movie plans were revealed.

Suicide Squad will be the first DC film to follow Batman v Superman, with a plan for release in 2016. Then things get really big. In 2017 we’ll see Wonder Woman and Justice League, with 2018 bringing The Flash (with Ezra Miller starring) and Aquaman. In 2019 WB plans Shazam and Justice League 2.

Finally, studio head Kevin Tsujihara says there are plans coming together for Cyborg (played by Ray Fisher in Batman v Superman), a Green Lantern reboot, and additional standalone Batman and Superman films. Read More »

Jurassic World Poster header

The first Jurassic World poster is here.

Director Colin Trevorrow tweeted the image, which is very reminiscent of the poster for the original Steven Spielberg film. It’s just the logo, big and imposing, daring fans to enter. This time though, the tagline is “The Park is Open.” Jurassic World itself opens June 12. Check out the Jurassic World poster below. Read More »

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