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During the past year that we’ve been doing the /Film podcast, we’ve had on a lot of really interesting filmmakers, actors, and film journalists talk about their reflections and experiences in the entertainment industry. However, this past week’s episode of the /Filmcast: After Dark was something else, an insightful, profound, and heartbreaking look into what happens when a studio severely interferes with a director’s vision for a film.

In our review of District 9, director Kyle Newman spoke admiringly about the amazing type of film that can result when a powerful producer like Peter Jackson protects the vision of a young director like Neill Blomkamp. On this week’s episode of the /Filmcast: After Dark, Newman spoke at length about the making of Fanboys, where he very much had the opposite experience. For those of you who don’t know, Fanboys was a much-buzzed about film aimed squarely at a built-in geek audience that ended up being butchered at the hands of the Weinstein Company (recently profiled in the NYTimes in a not-so-positive light). The film chronicled the adventures of a group of friends who try to break into the Skywalker Ranch and steal an early copy of Star Wars: Episode 1 so their friend, who has cancer, can see it before he dies.

Those you who have already heard the episode know that Kyle’s stories about the film were as moving as they were horrifying. We have some highlights from the discussion after the jump, but if you have time, I’d strongly suggest you listen to the whole episode by downloading it here or by playing it below in your browser:

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District 9 PosterIn this week’s /Filmcast, Dave Chen, Devindra Hardawar and Adam Quigley get flummoxed by Bryan Singer’s decision to reboot Battlestar Galactica, discuss some recent Avatar news, assess the greatness of Ponyo, and try to make sense of some fascinating Superman IP law. Special guest Kyle Newman, the director of Fanboys and the upcoming Emo Boy, joins us for this episode. Also, a surprise visitor drops by to tell us her thoughts on District 9.

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 Inglourious Basterds.

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’77 Movie Trailer

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Before Fanboys was ever announced, there was another Star Wars-themed project in the works, an indie coming of age drama titled 5-25-77 from Patrick Read Johnson (director of Angus, writer of Dragonheart). Many geeks will reccognize that date as the day that Star Wars was released in theaters. The movie went into production in 2004, and has sat in post production for nearly five years. The film premiered at the  Hamptons International Film Festival in October of last year under a new minimalistic title, ’77.

The film tells the story of an alienated, sci-fi obsessed teen filmmaker named Pat Johnson (John Francis Daley) who must overcome his fear of leaving everything he knows and loves behind to chase his unlikely Hollywood dream. The pending release of a new movie called Star Wars on 5-27-77 is instrumental in shaping Pat’s destiny.

If Fanboys was American Pie, this movie seems much more like Almost Famous. ’77 looks like it has a lot of potential. I’m a sci-fi geek, a recovering aspiring filmmaker and a sucker for good coming of age indie, so I’m sure I’ll have no problem connecting with this film. ’77 doesn’t have a distributor yet, but it does have a new movie trailer.  Check it out after the jump.

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Fanboys 2: Attack of the Clones?

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Dan Fogler tells moviehole that director Kyle Newman has an idea for a Fanboys sequel that would see the characters from the first film to go on mission to crash the set of Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones in Australia.

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

Please don’t take the commentary on the movies and TV shows too seriously, as they’re meant not to be reviews but rather previews that include the general thoughts and ramblings of a twice-committed DVD addict. The categories represent solely the author’s intentions towards the DVDs at hand, and are in no way meant to be a reflection on what he thinks other people should rent or buy. So if he ends up putting a movie you like in the “Skip it” section without having seen it, please keep in mind that the time you could spend leaving a spiteful but ultimately futile comment could instead be used for more pleasant things in life. Like buying DVDs.

Rent It

VALKYRIE
(Available as single-disc and 2-Disc Special Edition)
As hard as I try, I can’t bring myself to garner much interest in this film. I blame history for spoiling the ending. It’s like watching The Passion of the Christ: “So… I wonder what happens to Jesus at the end.” There’s also something inherently off-putting in seeing Tom Cruise in Nazi Germany with an eye patch and no accent. That said, I’m a big supporter of Bryan Singer’s work, and the film has been said to be serviceably entertaining, so I’ll be sure to give it a fair shake just as soon as I learn to stop whining about those aforementioned minor issues. If you’ve seen the film though, it would really help if you could offer some incentive to check it out in the comments.
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: The single disc contains no extras, while the 2-disc holds a commentary by director Bryan Singer, actor Tom Cruise, and writer Christopher McQuarrie, a second commentary with writer Christopher McQuarrie and writer Nathan Alexander, 2 featurettes (“The Journey to Valkyrie”, “The Valkyrie Legacy”), and a digital copy of the film.

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

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

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GeekBomb: Movies About Fanboys

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary added the word “fanboy” last year, and they list its first usage as 1919. Sadly, they don’t provide any examples for that usage. Curly Lambeau founded the Green Bay Packers that year in Wisconsin, but I don’t think he had throngs of fanboys around him just yet. For the record, Merriam-Webster defines a fanboy as, “A boy who is an enthusiastic devotee (as of comics or movies).” Interesting that they don’t include the term fangirl, which I hear all the time. Can’t a girl be just as enthusiastic as a boy, Merriam-Webster?

Although fanboys really came into common usage when it applied to comic book fans, since the 90s it’s come to cover enthusiasts of movies, video games, TV shows, music, and anything else people seem to line up for. It’s also grown out of its original usage as a derogatory word used to conjure up images of people like the Comic Book Guy on The Simpsons, and has become the marketing demographic that every company covets.

Given the rise of the power and size (no pun intended) of fans, it’s only normal that film cameras would start turning the other direction to document the phenomenon of fandom. First you have films that generate fans, then fans start making their own films, inspired by their fandom, then films that are made about the fans, and finally fictionalized movies depicting fans of fictional shows. It’s come full circle, and in today’s GeekBomb we explore the world of films about fans.

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Every evil genius needs a lair from which the run all of their daily affairs: everything from selecting the color of the company letterhead to plotting world domination. Usually these are hollowed-out mountain fortresses, secret inactive volcano lairs, or undersea secret bases. Because if you’re going to do something on such a massive scale, why not it with a little style and panache?

Now, I don’t know if I’m going to call George Lucas an evil genius. A genius? Definitely. Evil? Well, the jury’s still out on that one, but his last few movies have certainly been tipping the scales in the wrong direction. Still, it’s hard to fault the guy that’s been responsible for American Graffiti, Star Wars, and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Let’s just hope he ands some new franchises in there and stops tinkering with the old stuff.

Even though Lucas may not be an evil genius just yet, he’s still forged his own sprawling, secret base from which he conrols his empire. With the Skywalker Ranch-centric Fanboys opening (finally) this weekend, we thought we’d take a brief peek behind the scenes and tell you all about the secret lair of Lucas.

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Fanboys Movie Trailer

The Weinstein Co has released a new trailer for Fanboys. Set in 1998 the film, starring Jay Baruchel, Dan Fogler, Sam Huntington, Chris Marquette, and Kristen Bell, comes a comedy that follows a group of young, passionate Star Wars fans on a cross-country quest to break into George Lucas’ Skywalker Ranch and watch “Star Wars: Episode 1- The Phantom Menace,” before it’s released.

I had the opportunity to finally see the film at Fantastic Fest 2008. It’s not a great film, but I’m sure that most geeks/fanboys will find something to love about this road trip comedy. And in its best moments, its a love letter to fandom. The new trailer isn’t the best, but it does give you a good idea of what to expect. I love how they announce the cameos in the trailer, not even by the actors/actresses real names, but by the Star Wars characters they played in the films. And the fact that Kevin Smith is billed as “the guy from Die Hard 4″ is classic. I would be interested to hear what you guys think in the comments below.

[flv:http://bitcast-a.bitgravity.com/slashfilm/trailers/fanboys1.flv 470 264]

Check out the trailer in High Definition on Yahoo. Fanboys hits theaters on February 6th 2009.

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