Rivers of Light

One park expands, another closes, and there’s some cool hotel business going on. All in another edition of Theme Park Bits. Below, read about the following:

  • What is the Disney Explorers’ Lodge?
  • Zonko’s Joke Shop has closed at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
  • See photos of the new nighttime attraction and Lion King stage show at Animal Kingdom.

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Avatar Land ground

After years of rumor, conjecture and controversy, January 10, 2014 marks the day Disney finally broke ground on the brand-new Avatar Land. It’ll be a full day- and nighttime area of Animal Kingdom in Orlando, FL co-designed and imagined by James Cameron himself. The aim is to have the area open in 2017, which would be between the planned release dates of Avatar 2 and Avatar 3 in December 2016 and 2017.

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It’s a sad day for Whovians as news breaks that Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill will be leaving Doctor Who in the next series, with a “heartbreaking end” planned for the couple. Thankfully, we’ve got some other bits that should help cheer everyone up, including a longer preview for 30 Rock and a peek at HBO’s new comedy Veep. After the jump:

  • Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill — a.k.a. Amy and Rory — will depart Doctor Who
  • Showtime develops a drama based on David Michôd’s Animal Kingdom
  • NBC offers up a hilarious 5-minute preview of the Season 6 of 30 Rock
  • HBO plans Leonardo DiCaprio-produced criminal/medical thriller Beat the Reaper
  • Jane Fonda signs on for a recurring role on Aaron Sorkin’s HBO series Newsroom
  • HBO unveils a trailer for the Julia Louis-Dreyfus Vice President comedy Veep

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This Week in DVD & Blu-ray is a column that compiles all the latest info regarding new DVD and Blu-ray releases, sales, and exclusive deals from stores including Target, Best Buy and Fry’s.

Buy It

BURIED
Buried is everything that a single-location thriller about a man trapped in a coffin possibly could’ve been. It is economic, minimalist filmmaking at its finest. Where other filmmakers might look to this sort of concept to ease the burden of budgetary restrictions, director Rodrigo Cortés takes the opposite approach, employing the most challenging—and creatively satisfying—use of negative space, close-ups, alternating hues, and whirling camera movements at his disposal, all of which skillfully coalesce to deliver a constant sense of discomfort, dread, anxiety and claustrophobia. As the oxygen level and cell phone battery life depletes, the tension continues to increase, the viewer never granted a moment’s rest from being stuck in that coffin right alongside Ryan Reynolds. By the end, you start to hope that he’ll just claw his way out, if only to free yourself. Not the most pleasant of experiences, admittedly, but coupled with Reynold’s charismatic screen presence and a script that knows how to build and maintain intrigue, it’s a smart, exciting and thrilling one. Buy it, and share it with your friends.
Available on Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: Includes both DVD and Blu-ray versions of the film, as well as a “Unearthing Buried: The Making of Buried” featurette.

BEST DVD/BLU-RAY PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
N/A $18.99 N/A
Amazon – $19.99

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Quentin Tarantino’s Favorite Movies of 2010

Quentin Tarantino has released a list of his favorite films of 2010. Hit the jump to see the list.

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The Best Reviewed Movies of 2010

As the end of the year nears, Rotten Tomatoes have released the tallies for the best reviewed movies of 2010. I thought we’d compare the list with the other movie review compilation site Metacritic.

Both sites have their advantages. Rotten Tomatoes includes a larger sample of reviews, while Metacritic features a smaller more-selected grouping of film critics. Rotten Tomatoes calculates critic scores using a positive or negative score for each review. One movie could be 100% fresh with all the critics giving the movie a 7/10 grade. Metacritic attempts to gauge the score of each critic’s review (not just a positive or negative, but a number 0 to 100) averaged together, giving you a better indication of what the response is to any given film, and not just a percentage of positive reviews.

For example, How To Train Youyr Dragon is ranked #2 for the year on Rotten Tomatoes with a 98% fresh rating based on 146 reviews. But on Metacritic, Dragon has a 74% average with 33 reviews. Honestly, I like how Metacritic calculates the numbers, but their refusal to incorporate a larger sample of film critics puts them behind Rotten Tomatoes in my mind.

Hit the jump to find out what films ranked in the best reviewed films of the year.
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/Filmcast Ep. 116 – The Town

slashfilmcast550

the-town-movie-posterThis week, David Chen, Devindra Hardawar, Russ Fischer, and Adam Quigley discuss the merits of the newest movie from the mind of M. Night Shyamalan, praise the surprisingly good Easy A, debate just exactly how brilliantly Animal Kingdom was, and spend some time in The Town.

You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Join us on Sunday (9/26) at 10 PM EST / 7 PM PST at Slashfilm’s live page as we review Catfish and share some thoughts on Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.

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david-michod

David Michôd’s Animal Kingdom is my favorite film of 2010 so far (see my Sundance review here), so when I was given the opportunity to chat with Michôd a few months ago, I jumped at it. In our half-hour interview, we discussed how he first broke into the industry, the decline of bank robbers in Melbourne, Australia, the process of choosing a complete unknown to headline his film, his copious use of slow motion, and the beauty of Air Supply. I’ve released this interview on the /Filmcast feed. You can also watch the video of the interview and read a few highlights from it after the break.

Note: During this interview, we discuss some plot details that are revealed in the first 30 minutes of the film, and there’s a clearly demarcated section at the end where we talk about some of the film’s spoilers.

Animal Kingdom is already playing in New York and LA and opens on Friday in Boston and Chicago. It will expand wider to cities across the country in the weeks to come.

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