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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Which board game movies should Hollywood make next? Over the last year or so I’ve gotten sucked into the table top scene, and now have a board game addiction. I’m not talking about Monopoly or The Game of Life, but designer hobby board games that offer more strategy and theme than the games we all played as children.
Hollywood has dipped its toes into the board game movies a few times now. First with Battleship. It was such a huge bomb that Universal later dropped Monopoly, which was being developed for years by Ridley Scott. Paramount is currently filming an action adventure thriller adaptation of Ouija produced by Michael Bay and Jason Blum and co-written by Simon Kinberg. Universal and Warner Bros are both fighting to make a movie based on the role-paying game Dungeons & Dragons. And most recently, 20th Century Fox has announced they are brining the popular role-playing card game Magic: The Gathering to the big screen, also with the help of Kinberg.
There are many reasons Battleship failed but I think first and foremost the audience refused to take the movie seriously after hearing the title. The studio clearly greenlit the project hoping to turn massive brand recognition into tickets sold, but it didn’t take a genius to realize that the 1930 board game didn’t have enough story to warrant a movie adaptation. So much so that director Peter Berg made up his own “alien invasion at sea” construct.
So if Hollywood is going to develop board game movies, why not look at some board games that offer deeper storytelling, more interesting scenarios and compelling characters? The list I have put together after the jump includes a bunch of board games that you might not have heard of, but are popular in the tabletop gaming world. Each of them has something to offer Hollywood if they wanted to bet on concept and story vs. huge branding.
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The 2014 Sundance Film Festival starts today, and with the opening of theater doors, hundreds of brand new movies will be revealed to the world. Some we’ve already heard of and are excited for — The Raid 2 and Life Itself come to mind — but the majority of them are wholly unknown. They’re films most audiences don’t yet know anything about, with massive stars, from famous directors, or featuring exciting premises..
Below I’ve pulled the titles of 25 2014 Sundance Films you may not have heard of yet, but sound absolutely amazing for one reason for another. Read More »
Posted on Tuesday, January 7th, 2014 by Angie Han
No year in cinema ever shapes up exactly the way we’d expect. In fact, it’d be boring if one did. Still, when faced with the promise of a whole new year of movies, I can’t help try and predict which ones I’ll love or hate. I put my best guesses in list form last year, and I did it again this year.
Now, in the spirit of journalistic integrity (or, less charitably, critical solipsism), it’s time for me to look back at my most anticipated films of 2013 and see just how reality measured up to expectation. Hit the jump to see how great or terrible I was at guessing what’d be my favorite films of 2013.
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As the new year begins, it’s nice to have films to look forward to. Which is why we write lists of our own, personal, most anticipated films. Even more so than a top 10 list, anticipated lists showcase a writer’s personality. In an ideal world, these 10 movies would be 10 of our favorites when the year is over. More often than not though, the films we’re excited about are not the best we see. Most of the time, there are some really bad calls. Occasionally there are some really good calls. Which is why I like to own up to my list from the previous year and critique myself.
How right, or wrong, was I about my most anticipated films of 2013? Find out below. Read More »
If you think movie theaters don’t have personalities, think again. Major corporate movie theaters feel quite different from smaller, independent venues; the movies each promote show the difference. Squarely in between those extremes is the Alamo Drafthouse, a growing chain of theaters with a distinctly independent and niche sensibility. Which is what makes their top 10 films of 2013 so intriguing.
Most theaters, if they even cared about this kind of thing, would make a very mainstream list simply because they don’t see, or exhibit, enough variety to really delve into what films were great during 2013. The Drafthouse does feature that variety, and their list has a nice mix of blockbusters, critical hits, and outside the box stuff that really shows the company personality. Check it out below. Read More »
Posted on Wednesday, January 1st, 2014 by Angie Han
What a year 2013 has been for movie news. Fox, DC, and Marvel all dropped huge announcements about their respective comic book franchises, Lucasfilm passed the Star Wars mantle to J.J. Abrams, and Jurassic Park 4 finally picked up steam after years of false starts — all as the YA adaptations, Biblical epics, and live-action fairy tales continued to pile up.
But if you’re curious about the biggest things to come out of 2013, our list of the 15 most popular posts ought to help. As it happens, they also shed some light on you, our readers. Click the jump to see what the top posts of the year were, and what they may or may not tell us about all of you.
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Posted on Tuesday, December 31st, 2013 by Angie Han
For illegal downloaders, the biggest film of 2013 wasn’t a 2013 film at all, but a big-budget fantasy epic from late 2012. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey topped the list of the most pirated movies of the past twelve months, beating out the likes of Django Unchained, Fast & Furious 6, and Iron Man 3.
The massively budgeted, insanely popular Hobbit is a far less surprising “winner” than last year’s champion, the found-footage party comedy Project X. However, that doesn’t mean there weren’t a few unusual results among the top 10 — like Gangster Squad, the little-seen, little-talked-about crime drama from January. Hit the jump to check out the list.
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