A great American city lays in waste. The odor of sweat, tears and Cheetoes still lingers, as do the crushed hopes of those who hit snooze one too many times instead of getting their butt on line. It will take one full year to recover.

That’s right friends – Comic-Con International, as no one calls it anymore, has just ended and your friends from SlashFilm were in San Diego in full force. We’re there every year, watching successes launch (yay Avengers) and witnessing disasters stumble (not-so-yay Terminator Salvation.)

Then there are other movies. Movies that coulda been a contender but, for whatever reason, just didn’t connect. Here are films that had a presence in San Diego that, we feel, should have been bigger hits. This week will be a little less obscure than usual, but we think it’ll still be fun. Read More »

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daybreakers posterIn this week’s episode of the /Filmcast, David Chen, Devindra Hardawar, and Adam Quigley ring in the new year with thoughts on Total Recall, Land of the Lost, and Youth In Revolt. Also, some thoughts on Sam Mendes doing Bond, Spidey IV being scrapped, and the classic Casablanca. Special guest writer/director Rian Johnson joins us this week (and felt incredibly honored to do so). Rian’s latest film, The Brothers Bloom, is now available for purchase on DVD and Blu-Ray.

You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Join us in next week on at 9 PM EST / 6 PM PST at Slashfilm’s live page as we review The Lovely Bones.

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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

DISTRICT 9
(DVD available as single-disc and 2-Disc Edition)
Socially conscious though it may be, District 9 is not the piercing, thought-provoking apartheid allegory and complex examination of race relations that so many people seem to want it to be. But that’s okay; it isn’t trying to be. District 9 is a straight-up action film, and it makes that fact very clear after about the twentieth soldier that is gruesomely exploded by the aliens’ seemingly lightning-infused weaponry. Its creative implementation of the mockumentary format is used foremost as a means of instilling a sense of reality to the proceedings, using socially relevant issues to set the stage for a much simpler, more cinematically spectacular transformation/aliens-vs-humans tale—not unlike last year’s Oscar-winning sleeper Slumdog Millionaire, with the end result in that case being a classic tale of love and destiny. Though the basic plot elements are familiar, borrowing from movies like The Fly and Alien Nation, it’s the way in which Neill Blomkamp tells this story that makes it so compelling. By playing with the archetypal protagonist introduction, and in doing so ditching the need for big name actors, Blomkamp provides the film with a sense of disorienting glee as the story unfolds and reveals its true intentions. At a certain point, he outright abandons the mockumentary set-up, and from that moment onward the movie propels itself through one dizzying, splatter-filled action sequence to the next. For some, this will be the point that the movie loses them. For me, it didn’t matter, because the movie already had me. My eyes were hooked to the screen, unable to be pried away for even a second. It’s by far one of the most exhilarating moviegoing experiences I’ve had this year, and a guaranteed contender for my Top 5 of ’09.
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: Single-disc DVD – A director’s commentary, a 3-part documentary (“The Alien Agenda: A Filmmaker’s Log”), and a Koobus Big Gun feature. 2-disc DVD & Blu-ray – Includes everything on the single-disc DVD, as well as additional featurettes (“Metamorphosis: The Transformation of Wikus”, “Innovation: Acting and Improvisation”, “Conception and Design: Creating the World of District 9″, “Alien Generation: Visual Effects”).

BEST DVD PRICE*
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$16.99 $15.99 $15.77
Amazon – $15.99

*Does not include 2-Disc Edition, which costs $20.77 at Fry’s, and $22.99 at each of the other listed stores (including Amazon).

BEST BLU-RAY PRICE
Target Best Buy Fry’s
$19.99 $19.99 N/A
Amazon – $17.99

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brothersposterThe /Filmcast: After Dark is a recording of what happens right after The /Filmcast is over, when the kids have gone to bed and the guys feel free to speak whatever is on their minds. In other words, it’s the leftover and disorganized ramblings, mindfarts, and brain diarrhea from The /Filmcast, all in one convenient audio file. In this episode, actor Clifton Collins Jr. stops by to chat with Dave Chen, Devindra Hardawar, and Adam Quigley about his experiences on the sets of Extract, Crank: High Voltage, Brothers, and The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day, which is out in theaters now. Brothers hits theaters on December 4th, 2009. Guest Matt Singer from IFC News and the IFC News Podcast also joins us for this episode.

You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Join us next Monday at 9 PM EST / 6 PM PST at Slashfilm’s live page as we review 2012.

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For part one of /Film’s exclusive interview with writer/director Mike Judge for his new film Extract, click here.

In the second part of my interview with Mike Judge, he shares a couple of candid, behind-the-scenes tales about dealing directly with the global corporations that he skewers in his live-action films. No other work captures both this modern satire and the writer/filmmaker’s view of where our world is headed better than 2006′s Idiocracy. The $30 million sci-fi satire was infamously dumped into a handful of theaters to die by 20th Century Fox; a surprising outcome since Judge’s King of the Hill—the Emmy-winning and second longest running animated program in television history—airs on the Fox Network. In fact, King of the Hill‘s grand finale airs this Sunday, and continues its run in syndication and as a contextually welcome addition to [adult swim].

We also discussed how actor Ben Affleck came aboard his latest film—a midlife crisis dramedy entitled Extract—as a shaggy, drug peddlng bartender named Dean. With a cast that includes Jason Bateman in the lead, SNL‘s Kristen Wiig, David Koechner, Mila Kunis, and Juno‘s great J.K. Simmons, it will come as a surprise to anyone sans Satan and Shannon Tweed that KISS‘s Gene Simmons steals the picture as a sociopathic ambulance-chasing attorney. Judge included. And, of course, no interview is complete without peering in on the irreversibly clueless futures of his most famous cretin-creations and voices, Beavis and Butt-Head. Judge shares a few premises for a possible and much anticipated sequel to 1996′s Beavis and Butt-Head Do America. One idea would see the two dumbasses thrown enormous -head first into our post 9/11 world gone mad.
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gamer2In this week’s /Filmcast, Dave Chen, Devindra Hardawar and Adam Quigley reflect on the prospect of a fifth Rambo film, assess the merits of Mike Judge’s Extract and Robert Siegel’s Big Fan, and try to dissect the Boondock Saints phenomenon. Special guest Jordan Hoffman joins us from UGO Movieblog.

You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Join us next Monday at 9 PM EST / 6 PM PST at Slashfilm’s live page as we review Shane Acker’s 9.

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Renowned American writer/animator/director Mike Judge and hype often seem like complete strangers. As noted in the press, Judge’s friendly, calm demeanor is devoid of Hollywood pretension; his preference for living and working in Austin, Texas posits him by choice away from the center of the pop-cult radar. But when one surveys his vast body of work that, since the early ’90s, has had the functionality of an assembly line yet is packed the witty punch and subversive observation of the greatest comedy, it can easily bowl over.

Speaking with him, the inherent voices of his animated characters—notably the polar opposites that are Beavis and Butt-Head and Hank Hill—hint at the mental arsenal that has perfectly illustrated the damaged, stubbornly resilient fault lines of a national landscape. Personal aside: Judge’s impact on many young people can be demonstrated by the following; on summer vacations, I’d swim in MTV marathons of Beavis and Butt-Head, then go to the beach with a tie-in towel sprinkled with “Uh-huh-huh”s and “Heh heh heh”s. Upon returning to middle school, I’d face a bully who, by eighth grade, had deliberately morphed into an uncanny, doomed facsimile of Butt-Head. It was a ubiquitous combination of “This rules!” and “This sucks!” set to the sights and sounds of the very music Judge championed and skewered on the show beyond compare.

Judge’s contributions to live-action comedy are equally successful, and sometimes financially so. Released to little fanfare in 1999, Office Space eventually became both the perennial example of the DVD cult phenom and synonymous with modern cubicle hell. His high concept follow-up, Idiocracy, experienced a famously aborted theatrical release; in less than three years, Idiocracy is now celebrated and oft-quoted by many peoples as nothing less than faux-low brow prophecy and a sci-fi omelet of chuckling eugenic fatalism.

With his latest, Extract, Judge has written and directed a rare and original comedic defense of the modern-day boss that exudes newer shades of adult drama. As nicely played by Jason Bateman, Judge’s boss is overloaded with sexual frustration, a petty lawsuit, lazy employees, and an accidentally massive intake of weed. The smart, unobtrusive film, one of the funnier of 2009, enters a marketplace overrun by superheroes and spectacle to deliver laughs that are charmingly huge yet reserved, absurd yet realistic. Some might feel that its subject matter is too common-man, too anti-escape. But Judge creates works that are built to last and unconcerned with being hip. In addition, he continues to propel the dumbass dick joke towards Art Americana. Mike Judge discussed where his nascent interest in nuts humor originates, his layman’s knowledge of bongs, and many other things with /Film.

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Mike Judge might have the least cluttered directorial style in popular American filmmaking. He’s so low-key and soft-spoken that it is easy to mistake his style for none at all. He does the heavy lifting on the script page and in casting. By the time the cameras are rolling, if things have gone as well as they did for Office Space, he’s just got to make sure everyone is in place, and things tend to work. It’s not flashy fireworks that make Office Space and now Extract memorable and quite funny, but a sense of uncomfortable familiarity.

For Extract, Judge reverses the comic hierarchy that defined Office Space. Instead of following the antics of disgruntled employees, he sympathizes with a quietly fraying boss. But as in the earlier comedy, this film warmly characterizes both sides of the labor argument, even when it casts those involved as morons and self-absorbed fools. Read More »

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