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Though the Oscars featured plenty of product placement (hey there, Samsung), they didn’t spend much time dwelling on the art of product placement in movies. But the marketing-minded folks at Brandchannel have, and now they’ve released their 2014 Product Placement Awards.

By their metric, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues and Pain & Gain were among the top movies of the year, while The Secret Life of Walter Mitty was a particular low point. If nothing else, the list is worth checking out because it’s probably the only best-of list to include both Philomena and The Smurfs 2. Dig into their results after the jump.

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Angie’s Top Ten Films of 2013

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Thanksgiving was over a month ago, but now seems as good a time as any to thank the cinema gods for the fantastic films we got in 2013. With the usual caveats that this is more of a personal “favorites” list than an objective “best of” list, and that there are plenty of great films that weren’t included for the simple and shameful reason that I never got around to seeing them, here are the movies that made me laugh, howl, jump, and/or weep over the last twelve months.

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Dave, Devindra, and Laremy chat about the improvements in VHS 2, the inanity of ATM, the backlash against the Zach Braff Kickstarter. You can buy Laremy’s book, Film Critic, at Amazon, or read up on the differences between Pain & Gain and real life.

You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993.
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We’ve come to know Michael Bay as the maestro behind a very specific type of huge movie, as he has defined the image of  glossy pictures full of gorgeous women and explosions. His work, as that suggests, isn’t really known for subtlety.

But since before Bay latched on to the Transformers franchise, he has wanted to shoot a film based on the story of a few Miami bodybuilders who concocted a plan to kidnap a businessman and steal his wealth. Years later, that story has become Bay’s “little movie,” Pain & Gain, starring Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Mackie, and Dwayne Johnson. The movie isn’t likely to change Bay’s image, but it does represent something (slightly) different from the director. Reviews have been coming in for a few days, but now we want to know what you think about Bay’s true-crime tale. Read More »

Pain and Gain Muscles

Michael Bay might be the man getting all the ink when it comes to this week’s true crime film Pain & Gain, but really Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely were initially responsible for its birth. It was the screenwriting pair, who wrote the three Chronicles of Narnia adaptations, Captain America: The First Avenger, and the upcoming Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, that found the original Miami New Times articles by Pete Collins and shopped them around Hollywood. That was in 2000.

Granted, it was Bay’s attachment that actually got the film made, but Markus and McFeely were essential in the development of the film. Below, we spoke to the pair about that process, what Bay brought to the table, using voice over and what it means to adapt a true story. Read More »

Pain and Gain tanning

Michael Bay has never attempted a movie as complex as Pain and Gain. He’s made plenty of films that flaunt action, crime and sex, but Pain and Gain isn’t one of them, at all. Below its glossy surface, Pain and Gain is a dark, terrifying true story of one man’s twisted view of the American dream and how he strives to achieve it. That means the film’s main characters — played by Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson and Anthony Mackie — are not good people. They have good traits, maybe even good hearts, but though they’re presented as muscle-bound super men, they’re not good people.

Making an entertaining and thought-provoking movie filled with despicable characters is not an easy task. It’s a tonal nightmare and Bay struggles with that balance from the very beginning of the film. Ultimately, he finds a groove and the film may win you over, but the journey to that point is as bumpy as a muscled arm. Read More »

Michael Bay Pain and Gain

Everything about Michael Bay movies is big. Even his “small” movies, like Pain & Gain, are big. So when the Alamo Drafthouse decided to host an “All Bay, All Day” marathon to celebrate his latest film, of course, things have to be Bay-sized. The event is called Baymageddon and it’ll go down Sunday April 21 at Alamo Drafthouses in Austin, Littleton, Kansas City and Houston.

Three mystery Michael Bay movies will screen, one after the other, culminating in an advanced screening of his latest film Pain & Gain. (The new film which opens for real on April 26.) See the full event poster, trailer, special menu, and ticketing info below. Read More »

PAIN AND GAIN

It’s that time of year again. We’re in Las Vegas at CinemaCon, an industry-only convention (formerly called ShoWest) for movie theater owners and distributors. The Hollywood studios come here each year with their biggest stars and clips from upcoming films, hoping to impress the theater owners into booking their “products” in the coming year. For example, last year we saw footage from films that were in production and weren’t set to be released until late 2013. Some studios also present unfinished cuts of their films super-early. This year Pixar is screening Monsters University, for example.

The opening night of CinemaCon 2013 featured a presentation by Paramount Pictures. They screened a reel with brief clips from a ton of upcoming films including Darren Aroofsky’s Noah and Jason Reitman’s Labor Day. They also presented 18 minutes of Star Trek Into Darkness in 3D, three clips from World War Z, and Michael Bay premiered his film Pain & Gain. After the jump you will be able to read my first reaction to Bay’s latest, along with a video blog I recorded with Alex from FirstShowing giving our thoughts about everything screened.
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