Almost Human

Guessing how a TV show will turn out before the first episode even airs is a fool’s errand. Even so, some pilots boast premises or talents so promising we can’t help but be intrigued, and one we’ve been particularly curious about is Fox’s J.H. Wyman-created, J.J. Abrams-produced Almost Human.

Set several decades into the future, the sci-fi drama centers around human cop John Kennex (Karl Urban) and the humanoid android partner, Dorian (Michael Ealy), who’s assigned to him. Russ and I were able to catch a version of the pilot, and you can hit the jump to see our reaction.

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The Conjuring

There’s a great bit of stage banter from Tom Waits where he jokes about someone leaning over during a movie to insist “you know, this is based on a true story.” The question from Waits is: does that really make the film any better?

I’ve seen James Wan‘s new film, The Conjuring, and despite the fact that the film begins with a card that says it is based on a true story, I assumed it was one of those Texas Chainsaw Massacre things — a gentle little lie to give the story a bit of weight. Then I remembered that, in fact, this is based on something from reality. The Conjuring brings to the screen a story from the archives of the same husband and wife team that later investigated a famous house in Amityville, New York.

There’s a healthy collection of really well-done haunting scenes in the film, and while it’s probably better to just watch it as a movie, this new trailer gives the real-life family a chance to speak for the first time. If you’ll find a horror film more frightening knowing that it is based in reality, then this is definitely the trailer for you. Read More »

Conjuring Vera Farmiga

Saw, Dead Silence, Insidious and now The Conjuring. It would be very easy to assume the latest horror film from director James Wan to be another in a long string of scary films right in the director’s wheelhouse. However as this new trailer shows, and as Wan said at WonderCon this past weekend, he doesn’t feel he has anything more to prove in the genre. He was drawn to The Conjuring because its basis in fact, period setting and family dynamic gave him a whole new creative jolt.

The Conjuring, out July 19, stars Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson as real life paranormal investigators Lorraine and Ed Warren. Best known for their work on what would become known as “The Amityville Horror,” this story of small-town family haunted by spirits is supposedly so terrifying, the Warrens preferred not to talk about it. The film follows suit, gaining an R-rating without any language or graphic violence. At WonderCon, producers said the MPAA just deemed it “too scary” to give a PG-13.

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Horror director James Wan and his Insidious star Patrick Wilson are currently hard at work on Insidious Chapter 2, but first we’ll see them tangling with some other spirits in The Conjuring.

The fact-based haunted house tale follows a family (led by Lili Taylor and Ron Livingston) who move into an old but charming New England farmhouse. When it becomes clear that a dark entity is stalking them, they call upon paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren (Wilson and Vera Farmiga) for help. Watch the terrifying first trailer after the jump.

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Netflix is a big topic of conversation this week as the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) brings to the fore all manner of questions about digital connectivity and methods for providing content to the new technology being flogged at the show at the same time as ongoing Television Critics Association (TCA) events show off new titles for 2013. Netflix has been managing the transition from its first incarnation, a DVD rental house, to a nearly all-digital content platform. And to bolster the wide array of streaming movies available through Netflix, the company has a couple of high-profile pieces of original content set to premiere this year.

One is House of Cards, the political thriller series starring Kevin Spacey and produced by David Fincher, who also directed the pilot. Another is Hemlock Grove, a supernatural series based on the novel of the same name, with Eli Roth as exec producer alongside Mark Verheiden.

The first trailer for the show is online, and it features a look at the cast (Famke Janssen, Bill Skarsgard, Lili Taylor, Landon Liboiron and Dougray Scott) and quite a few odd sights and sounds of the Pennsylvania town in which they all come together. Read More »

On the long list of professions people are surely curious to learn more about, you’d have to think “pornography” is near the top of the list. The taboo explicit sex genre has been at been the focus of interesting movies of all tones: dramatic (Boogie Nights), comedic (Zack and Miri Make a Porno) or real life (Inside Deep Throat). A new addition to that list, Stephen Elliot‘s About Cherry, tries to give the industry a real-world dramatic view. Its been on the festival circuit for the majority of the year, is currently on demand, and opens in limited release this week.

Ashley Hinshaw plays a young girl who gets slowly seduced into the world of pornography and sees it change everything around her. A decidedly NSFW red band trailer is now on line featuring lots of nudity as well as supporting performances from James Franco, Heather Graham, Dev Patel and Lili Taylor. Check it out below. Read More »

The mantra that “sex sells” remains as true now as it ever did, but sometimes what sex is selling turns out not to be all that interesting. That appears to be the case with About Cherry, Stephen Elliott‘s flat-looking indie about a gorgeous 18-year-old who falls into the porn industry.

Ashley Hinshaw stars as said protagonist, who’s eager to escape a sad home life with an alcoholic mom (Lili Taylor) and an abusive stepdad (Stephen Wiig). She sees a way out when a rocker boyfriend (Jonny Weston) lures her into light porn, and before long she’s pursuing a more serious career under the guidance of star-turned-director Margaret (Heather Graham). Dev Patel and James Franco also star. Watch the trailer after the jump.

Every once in a while porn comes back around to being a subject for mainstream cinema, and we’re edging towards that point again. Not quite ‘mainstream,’ perhaps, as both competing biopics about Linda Lovelace are indies, as is Cherry, which follows a young woman’s entry into the business.

Cherry premiered last week at the Berlin film festival to middling reviews. It stars Ashley Hinshaw (Chronicle) as a young woman who is slowly drawn into the skin trade, first by an enthusiastic boyfriend (Jonny Weston), then by an older lawyer (James Franco). The film also stars Heather Graham, Dev Patel and Lili Taylor, and is written by porn veteran Lorelei Lee. We don’t have any distribution info on Cherry at this point, but you can check out a trailer below. Read More »

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