Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci made their name as a team crafting geek-friendly TV like Alias and Xena: Warrior Princess, before moving on to properties like the Transformers films, Mission: Impossible, the Star Trek reboot and the ‘swing and a miss’ film Cowboys & Aliens.

Now Alex Kurtzman has directed his first feature, People Like Us, written by the duo with Jody Lambert. (The movie was formerly called Welcome to People.) The movie isn’t a genre film, based on a licensed property, or anything along those lines. It is a story about the son (Chris Pine) of a father who maintained two families, and had kids with both. When his father dies, Pine’s character has to figure out how to handle a new relationship with Frankie (Elizabeth Banks), his half-sister from dad’s other family.

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When Lionsgate began the task of adapting The Hunger Games for the screen, the odds were never in its favor. The book was too violent, too well-known and too hard to translate because not only was it about kids killing each other, it would also have to create a whole new world.

I’m happy to report that director/co-writer Gary Ross has made the impossible possible. With The Hunger Games he has made a rousing, highly-emotional, and epic film that will be engaging for new audiences and give chills to true fans. It’s hard to imagine someone making a better adaptation of Suzanne Collins‘ popular novel.

Major set pieces all carry the emotional resonance and excitement they deserve. Every single performance pops with life and energy. When changes are made, they’re made to streamline the huge story. Even so, the film never feels slight. If anything, at 2 hours and 22 minutes, it might be too long and a little more subtle than most audiences are used to. It demands us to infer and enjoy the ride. And we oblige.  Read More »

It’s not surprising that most of the marketing materials so far for What to Expect When You’re Expecting have focused primarily on the women. It’s inspired by a world-famous pregnancy manual, after all, and (Arnold Schwarzenegger in Junior notwithstanding) men don’t often get pregnant. But with a comedically gifted male cast that includes Chris Rock, Thomas Lennon, Ben Falcone, Rob Huebel, and Dennis Quaid, it’s about time we got to see what the dads have been up to. Watch the dude-centric new trailer after the jump.

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Of course that last The Hunger Games poster wasn’t really the final one, no matter what the marketing folks claimed. But I’m not complaining. Two more banners have just dropped, promoting the film’s recently announced IMAX run. One is very much in line with the earlier poster, showing Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) taking aim with her trademark bow and arrow, while the other shows a uniformed Katniss in her training gear. In addition, we have a dozen new character photos of Haymitch (Woody Harrelson), Effie (Elizabeth Banks), Caesar (Stanley Tucci), and more, fresh from the official website. Check ‘em out after the jump.

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The great, wacky 2001 comedy Wet Hot American Summer didn’t do any respectable box office business, but the deep goofiness of the film has generated a fervent cult following in the decade since its original release. It doesn’t hurt that the film featured a treasure trove of comic talent, some in the early stages of their careers: Janeane Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce, Michael Showalter, Michael Ian Black, Zak Orth, A.D. Miles, Paul Rudd, Christopher Meloni, Molly Shannon, Ken Marino, Joe Lo Truglio, Amy Poehler, Elizabeth Banks and Bradley Cooper.

The film suggested the possibility of a sequel, and the sequel is a frequent object of inquiry when director David Wain or one of the primary cast members does an interview, even a decade later. In the last couple years, Wain has said that a sequel or prequel isn’t out of the question, despite the fact that Universal doesn’t seem to believe in the project, and several of the original cast members have a much higher quote now than they did a decade ago.

But there may be reason to rejoice, fans of WHAS: Michael Showalter now says that a sequel is “absolutely happening”! Read More »

With just 50 days left until Gary RossThe Hunger Games hits theaters, Lionsgate has released a thrilling new trailer that delves a little deeper into Katniss’ (Jennifer Lawrence) relationship with her sister Prim (Willow Shields) and, therefore, her reason for competing in the Games. The more love triangle-y aspects involving Gale (Liam Hemsworth) and Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) take a backseat this time around, which is just fine by me.

But that’s not all — if you like what you see, you may also be interested to hear the news we have about the film’s opening. Yahoo! Movies and other websites are giving away the opportunity to attend The Hunger Games‘ world premiere in Los Angeles on Monday, March 12. Meanwhile, the less lucky among us may have better luck snapping up tickets for just-announced IMAX screenings of the film, which begin March 23. Check out the details and watch the new trailer after the jump.

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Starting with Being John Malkovich, Charlie Kaufman‘s scripts have generally attracted top-level talent, and a quick glance at the cast list indicates that Frank or Francis will be no exception. Elizabeth Banks and Paul Reubens have just become the latest additions to Kaufman’s Hollywood-skewering musical satire, joining Steve CarellJack Black, Nicolas Cage, Catherine Keener, and Kevin Kline. Read more after the jump.

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At first glance, What to Expect When You’re Expecting doesn’t seem terribly different from similarly star-studded snoozefests like He’s Just Not That Into You and New Year’s Eve. But the marketing folks are clearly hoping to set themselves apart by putting the emphasis on the “comedy” part of “romantic comedy,” and their latest effort is a series of character posters that play up the film’s raunchy sense of humor.

Or try to, anyway. Mostly, they just succeed in making everyone look very heavily Photoshopped (has Brooklyn Decker always looked that much like Missi Pyle?) with cringeworthy lines next to their heads. Sort of like a Cosmo cover, only without the promise of sex tips. Check them out after the jump.

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