Maleficent Preview

This weekend WonderCon took place in Anaheim California. Despite the fact that the Anaheim Convention Center is a few steps away from Disneyland, Disney decided not to have a presentation at the convention. Instead they launched a 20 minute preview of Maleficent in their theme park across the street. The preview is being shown in the Bugs Life Theater in Disney California Adventure theme park until June so all park visitor will have a chance to experience the magic complete with 4D effects. Germain Lussier and I are both card carrying members of the Disneyland annual passholder club, so after walking the show floor at WonderCon on Friday, we visited the park to take in the sneak preview. After the jump you can watch a video blog where we give our reaction to the Maleficent Preview footage, along with a brief written description of the footage screened.

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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 »

 

Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: What better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? This week we go back to the Korengal Valley, have a kid or two, consider Amanda Palmer’s celebrity, get bitten by a hipster, and head into the Australian outback with Agent Smith.
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Superman Returns concept art 2

Want to see some new behind the scenes footage from X-Men: Days of Future Past and The Amazing Spider-Man 2? What does Patton Oswalt do on next week’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D? Is Jonathan Nolan behind Ben Affleck in Batman vs. Superman? If Michelle Rodriguez could be any superhero, who would she be? How much has Captain America: The Winter Soldier now grossed? Read about all this and more in today’s Superhero Bits. 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 »

Mike Mitchell SpiderMan Mysterio

We love superheroes, you love superheroes, most everyone loves superheroes. Superhero movies have become so incredibly popular, sometimes it’s easy to forget their roots on the ink-covered pages of comic books. If it wasn’t for men like Stan Lee or  and Bill Finger, we’d never have movies like The Dark Knight or The Avengers.

To pay respect to those original iterations of comic book characters, the Mondo Gallery in Austin TX has begun to reveal images from their next show, Mike Mitchell x Marvel x Mondo. It features over 60 different portraits of Marvel Comics characters from Spider-Man, X-Men, and Avengers stories as well as many more by popular artist Mike Mitchell. The show opens April 25 and stays on display through May 17. Below, check out just a fraction of the Mike Mitchell Mondo work being released next week. Read More »

Watch a Video Rundown of 12 Impressive Long Takes

atonement-beach-shot

The long take is a certain mark of cinematic achievement, particularly when the shot in question really works in a film. Anyone can show off — well, not anyone, but a good crew can put together an impressive long take. But to have it make sense for the story, and not draw attention to itself purely for the sake of doing so, is an achievement. So here’s a good video rundown of twelve particularly impressive long takes.

You might think you could name all the likely entries for this list off the top of your head, but chances are that’s not the case. Sure, there are the expected entries and usual suspects such as Touch of Evil and Children of Men, especially as we hit the top half of the list. But there are some surprises, such as a Tony Jaa movie, Tarkovsky’s The Mirror, and Godard’s traffic jam from Weekend. See the full video below. 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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