We thought global warming was heating up the planet, but really it’s Hollywood. They’re making it summer all year long. The first weekend of May is generally considered the beginning of the summer movie season but, as those three months got more and more crowded, that date slowly crept into late April. Now, 2011 changes that like never before.

So many potential blockbusters staked their claim on prime May, June and July 2011 release dates, in some cases, years in advance, Hollywood was forced to change its thinking more than usual. For the next two months, each and every weekend has at least one or two films that, in the past, would have easily been considered summer blockbusters and it all begins this Friday, March 4. So, is it crazy to say that the summer of 2011 begins in March? We don’t think so. Look at the list of films opening between this week and Thor on May 6 and tell us that, in almost any other year, these movies would not be considered summer blockbusters. Read More »


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Who wants more Justin Bieber? How about 40 minutes more? Well, you are in luck. After some deliberating, Paramount has decided to release a 40-minute longer Director’s Fan Cut of the hit concert documentary Justin Bieber: Never Say Never this Friday, February 25 only in 3D. Tickets go on sale Tuesday February 22 at 8 p.m. EST. Set those Google Calendars.

In all seriousness, I saw this film over the weekend and…it’s actually pretty good. Way better than Unknown or I Am Number Four. Read the full press release for the re-release and a few reasons why you should care about this news after the break. Read More »

By the end of 2011, Hollywood will break their record for most sequels released in a calendar year. According to Box Office Mojo, 27 films released in 2011 will be sequels, up from 24 in 2003. That averages to about one every other week and about one-fifth of total wide releases. It’s almost impressive if you don’t consider the lazy, money hungry thought that had to go into such an exorbitant amount of unoriginal content (and that’s not even counting the innumerable other films based on previously released material). And while there are sequels that audiences are clamoring for more than others (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part Two vs. Big Momma’s House: Like Father Like Son for example) no matter how you slice it, 2011 is going to be a cinematic repeat of epic proportions. Break down the entire list after the jump. Read More »

Stieg Larsson‘s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is of the great cultural success stories in recent years. No matter where you go – on a train, plane, or just sitting in the park – that bright green and yellow book cover seems to be everywhere. The original movies were a smash hit overseas and by now we all know that Golden Globe-winning director David Fincher is hard at work on the American remake. Rooney Mara stars the titular character, Lisbeth Salander, who teams up with journalist Mikael Blomkvist (Daniel Craig) to solve a long gestating disappearance.

As the first photos of Mara portraying the now iconic character were released, so too was some extremely controversial information about the film, mainly that Oscar-winning screenwriter Steven Zaillian has crafted a new ending to the revered work. And though we ran that quote last week, fans of Larsson’s work have been very vocal with their disappointment so it’s time to defend Fincher and Zaillian. Read why we feel the original ending needs to be changed after the jump. Read More »

Why the MPAA Should Be Ashamed of Itself

A few weeks ago, we learned that Derek Cianfrance’s great film, Blue Valentine, would be receiving an NC-17 rating, a fact which upset me deeply. What put the film over the edge? A lengthy, painfully uncomfortable sequence in which Dean (Ryan Gosling) tries to have sex with Cindy (Michelle Williams) in a hotel room. With their marriage falling apart, Dean is looking for anything that will keep the two of them together. Cindy, however, is not as eager to work things out. It’s a beautiful sequence and one that’s shocking for its seeming verisimilitude. The film’s use of nudity is not salacious or even tantalizing; on the contrary, it depicts sex as a desperate act of last resort.

Understandably, the Weinstein Company swore they’d appeal the ridiculous decision. “We’re going to have to overturn this. This is serious stuff. This could really hurt the movie,” Weinstein said. We hope they succeed, but the Blue Valentine situation is not the only news item that has demonstrated the MPAA’s recent idiocy.

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We’re sorry to report that side boob you found so titillating was nothing more than a bunch of zeros and ones. Jessica Alba was not, in fact, naked in the shower in Robert Rodriguez’s Machete. According to a recent report, Alba was actually wearing tight white underwear on the set, which was then digitally altered to make the perennial sex symbol appear nude. And while it’s not surprising that computer graphics have the ability to remove clothing, it is surprising that filmmakers would be willing to do it. And not for all the reasons you think, sicko. Hit the jump to read more (warning: possible NSFW image). Read More »

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[Photo by Flickr user Cheryl]

Note: The following contains potential spoilers for third season of Mad Men. We’ve hidden them in invisotext so you can easily avoid them if desired.

Here at /Film and on the /Filmcast, we deal with the issue of spoilers on a daily basis. We are true fans of the moviegoing experience, and although we cover news about movies that won’t come out for months or years, we try not to reveal a movie’s plot details if we think they could potentially spoil the joys of watching that film. If we do reveal such details, we scrupulously attempt to ensure that these are marked clearly (aurally or textually) with a spoiler warning. [In general, when I refer to spoilers, I’m referring to plot elements that occur more than 1/3rd of the way through the film, although there are certainly many exceptions to this.]

I was scanning through my Twitter feed this morning when I saw a link to an article at Televisionary entitled “Spoil-Sport: Why Talking About An Episode That’s Already Aired Isn’t a Spoiler.” The context for the piece: Earlier, Televisionary author Jace Lacob had published a spoiler-heavy piece over at the Daily Beast, with the title “Mad Men Postmortem.” The piece featured a lengthy interview with series creator Matt Weiner, but its opening, bolded paragraph led off with the following: Dead presidents, divorce, and new digs.” I have not seen more than one episode of Mad Men, but I have been told that these words (arguably) reveal key plot points for the ending of Season 3. And obviously, the interview itself discusses major spoiler-ific plot points in detail [Side note: Hunter’s Mad Men season three wrap-up discusses this interview and other topics in-depth].

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Will Twilight Ruin This Year’s Comic-Con?


Update: Comic-Con has partly responded to fan concerns by moving the Avatar panel until after the Twilight presentation. Unfortunately, the Disney 3D panel (Tron 2, Burton’s Wonderland) remain before the Summit panel.

I’m not a Twilight hater. We wrote about the first film a few times, and received a ton of extra traffic as a result. But I learned quickly that it just wasn’t my cup of tea. Not only that, but it isn’t something most /Film readers are interested in. That’s why we generally don’t cover the Twilight films (aside from some trailers or page 2 items). Unlike others, I don’t feel threatened by the books, films, or insane fandom. Why should I? Twilighters can do their own thing, and it really doesn’t affect me at all… except for when it does. And the one time it might is at a place called Comic-Con.

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Yesterday, CBS News aired a segment on an “ongoing blogger debate” over the representation of black people and negative stereotypes in Disney’s The Princess and the Frog. Of course, after previous and longer segments on the failing economy and Air France, even the way in which Katie Couric mentioned “bloggers” carried a decidedly trivial tone connoting birds-on-a-wire. Snob. However, given that hardly anyone has seen a near-complete version of the fourth-quarter film, I have to agree that any “chirped” anger, feigned or genuine, is premature. Also: the world is mad, get over it.

But heated discussions about Disney’s movies, especially in this case, do have precedent: clips from the studio’s infamous 1946 film, Song of the South, are forever available to support and fan the issues of political correctness. Moreover, theories about sociological, hidden and subliminal messages in Disney films and characters are so prevailing that I have enjoyed intriguing classes on the very subject in junior high (for free) and at university (for a repossessed Porsche).

Which brings me to Disney’s Pixar, where animated films are made to awe kids and—and arguably more-so—adults. Feted, beloved, and at times “progressive” as it may be, Pixar is not immune to similarly “bloggy” issues regarding political correctness; a debate over the absence of female lead characters in their films began earlier this year and remains a valid and popular talking point.

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