How to Train Your Dragon 2 (header)

I saw How to Train Your Dragon seven times in theaters when it was released in 2010. For me, few other films have taken better advantage of the IMAX format, and few have done a better job at conveying the exhilaration of flight. But beyond being a technical marvel, it also had a lot of heart and introduced us to one of the most adorable, heart-melting animated characters ever conceived, Toothless.

This weekend, How to Train Your Dragon 2 hits theaters. Could it live up to my impossibly high expectations? Find my video review after the jump.

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22 Jump Street (9)

/Film’s Germain Lussier called 22 Jump Street (out in theaters this weekend) one of the funniest and best films of the summer. I saw 22 Jump Street this week and found it to be immensely enjoyable. Its knowing references to its bizarre sequel status were amusing, and I loved the gags in the last half of the film, when it felt like directors Chris Miller and Phil Lord felt free to let loose and really play with the film’s reality.

I spoke with Germain about why he loved the film so much and how 22 Jump Street avoids being a repetitive sequel in the vein of Hangover 2. Find our video review after the jump.
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VOTD: The Visual Comedy of Edgar Wright

Hot Fuzz Cornetto

Who doesn’t love a good video essay, especially when it’s timely and eye-opening? Enter Tony Zhou, who ade an 8-minute video called “Edgar Wright – How To Do Visual Comedy.” The thesis here is basically that most mainstream comedy is directed in a very lazy way. There are close-ups of people talking, recognizable landmarks, pop music playing, and other such staple elements. For his own films, on the other hand, Wright comes up with fun, innovative ways to portray scenes other movies would do simply. This energy and pizazz naturally creatures humor in the filmmaking, instead of just relying on a screenplay.

This thesis is especially interesting considering the rumors of Wright’s departure from Ant-Man over creative differences. Did Marvel and Disney not trust Wright would make Ant-Man everything they wanted it to be? Check out the video Edgar Wright comedy below. Read More »

x-men-mystique

Fourteen years and six movies after the first X-Men hit theaters, Bryan Singer returns to the X-Men universe to try and breathe new life into a waning franchise. The task that Singer and writer Simon Kinberg created for themselves is challenging: to unify two separate timelines through a time travel conceit, and to make it feel as coherent and grand as possible. I’m happy to say that they largely pull it off. X-Men: Days of Future Past is my favorite summer film so far and possibly my favorite X-Men film ever.

See my full video review after the jump. See also Russ’s review and my thoughts on 5 big continuity issues in the film.
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su-zakana

We recently had on director Vincenzo Natali to discuss making Season 2, Episode 8 of Hannibal, “Su-Zukana.” That /Filmcast episode featured an incredibly graphic scene involving a horse, and I just had to ask Natali for details on how it was created. See a video essay of him describing the making of the episode after the jump.
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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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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

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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Robert Redford in Captain America: The Winter Soldiuer

Many a comic book movie has contemplated the emotional cost of being a superhero. You’re constantly in peril. You regularly have to put your civilian life on hold while you go battle baddies. All your loved ones are at risk of being captured by the enemy at any moment. And it can really sting when the public you’ve worked so hard to save doesn’t seem all that grateful for your help.

But then there’s also the dollar cost of being a superhero. Sure, Steve Rogers may have started out as an middle-class kid from Brooklyn. But super-soldier serums and cutting-edge equipment don’t come cheap, and — since S.H.I.E.L.D. is a government agency — we taxpayers are the ones footing the bill. So how much does having a Captain America cost the U.S., really? After the jump, a video breaks down the total price tag.

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enemy-ENEMY_DAY4-0054_rgb

What would you do if you discovered that there was another person in the world who looked exactly like you? How quickly would your world be torn from its moorings? What would you do? Would you ignore that person? Or would you obsessively track him/her down? Either way, you’d probably feel like something was gravely wrong with this universe.

Denis Villeneuve’s Enemy, which features Jake Gyllenhaal playing two versions of himself, provokes this hypothetical unease, drawing it out expertly until it’s almost unbearable. The film is out in theaters this weekend. After the jump, check out my video review of it.

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