New Blu-ray Releases police story

This week, two of Jackie Chan’s best movies come to home video courtesy of the Criterion Collection. In addition to that, one of last year’s most underrated pics hits Blu-ray; a sci-fi masterpiece comes to 4K; and one truly strange movie about fishing brings Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway together again. These are the new Blu-ray releases and their special features you should check out this week and beyond.

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serenity film noir

(Welcome to Classically Contemporary, a series where we explore the ways in which new releases echo classic Hollywood.)

By this point audiences have been scratching their heads and questioning their film choices with the release of Steven Knight’s Serenity. It’s a movie that is as compellingly bonkers as it is exceedingly dumb. It’s a fun bad movie that you’ll enjoy if you’re into that kind of thing. But, in watching it myself (and loving everything about it), the classic film comparisons flew fast and furiously. Knight certainly did his homework for key portions of the film and it’s worth using the Classically Contemporary forum to examine all things dark, noir, and silly about Serenity.

Serenity follows Plymouth fisherman Baker Dill (Matthew McConaughey) who seems to spend his days doing little more than fishing and getting laid. When his ex-girlfriend, Karen (Anne Hathaway) shows up with a proposition, Baker isn’t having it. She wants to pay him $10 million to murder her husband. Will the fisherman do it? Will Karen and Baker get together at the end? I’d say yes but the movie goes FAR further than that.

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The Kid Who Would Be King Trailer

David, Devindra, Jeff are joined by Hoai-Tran Bui, staff writer at Slashfilm.com, to review The Kid Who Would Be King, the newest film by writer and director Joe Cornish. The cast sans Devindra moves on to Serenity, the latest film by Steven Knight. Read about why Serenity is the wackiest film this year on Slashfilm.com and watch David’s video essay on the film on Youtube, spoiler alert!

You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Also, follow us on Twitter or like us on Facebook.
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serenity trailer new
Serenity is probably not the movie audiences are expecting. Steven Knight’s third feature as a director is a bonkers thriller, both old-fashioned and modern, that defies expectations. Nobody could ever call this movie predictable. Knight says he’s not a fan of the constraints of any given genre, and it shows in Serenity, a movie not tied down to the rules of a thriller. It’s not an easy film to put in a box or even say much about without spoiling anything.

It’s the first feature Knight has directed since Locke, and although that drama came out six years ago, it’s so memorable that it doesn’t feel like it’s been that long since the creator of Peaky Blinders and Taboo directed a movie. Recently, he told us about the challenges of his latest film, why he doesn’t like labeling movies by genre, the differences between writing for himself or a studio, and more.

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serenity ending

Right from the beginning, there is something off about Serenity. The sultry neo-noir thriller starring Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway seems to take place on a fictional fishing island that boasts a New England name but a tropical climate, while half the residents speak with a vague Southern twang. McConaughey’s character, Baker Dill, receives strange visions and omens — some of them seemingly supernatural in nature. And there’s the matter of Jeremy Strong‘s bespectacled businessman chasing after Baker Dill with urgent news about…something.

These all lay the grounds for a twist of sorts, or a revelation that some greater conspiracy is at work. But the Serenity ending has a twist that is so out of left field, it feels like you have fallen into some drug-fueled fever dream.

Major spoilers for Serenity follow, so do not read on if you want to see the movie…although these spoilers may convince you to actually see this movie.

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serenity review

A certain level of worship has grown around the movie “twist.” Career-ending contracts have been signed, backs bent, people probably (not really) thrown in movie jail for committing the worst sin a film lover can make: spoiling the twist. Twists have become such an essential part of our pop culture language that they’re more expected than not, and usually come in the form of a shocking death or a rote reveal. But there’s something to be said for the twist so monumental, so disruptive that it retroactively transforms the entire movie.

One such twist happens two-thirds of the way through Serenity, Steven Knight’s neo-noir thriller starring Matthew McConaughey as a rugged fishing boat captain whose dark, tortured past comes back to haunt him in the form of his sultry ex-wife Karen (Anne Hathaway). The sexy narrative that follows is pretty standard noir melodrama stuff: Karen begs McConaughey’s absurdly named Baker Dill to kill her abusive husband (Jason Clarke), whose drunken rages not only endanger her, but her and Baker’s young son. Though he at first refuses, bent on his obsession with catching a giant tuna that he hilariously nicknames “Justice,” Baker relents after he begins to experience strange visions that convince him that he is telepathically linked to his son.

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serenity trailer new

The sexy thriller Serenity was originally supposed to hit theaters in October – but that didn’t happen, and we all sort of forgot about it. Now it’s back! The flick now opens in January, and there’s a new trailer full of twists, turns, and Matthew McConaughey with his hair slicked back. In this sun-dappled noir, McConaughey is reunited with Interstellar co-star Anne Hathaway, who here plays a bleached-blonde looking to bump off her husband, Jason Clarke. Watch the Serenity trailer below.

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Serenity trailer

Interstellar‘s Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway are together again for Serenity, a “sexy, stylized thriller” from Steven Knight (and definitely not a remake of the Joss Whedon movie of the same name). Watch the Serenity trailer below.

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Firefly 15th anniversary

It’s easy to forget that when Joss Whedon was hired to direct The Avengers, the decision raised some eyebrows from Hollywood’s elite. Whedon only had one movie to his name at that point, and was far better known for his work in television. But those of us who had seen Firefly, Whedon’s pulpy, ensemble-driven sci-fi western, and Serenity, the film continuation of the story, knew he had the chops to bring Earth’s Mightiest Heroes together.

This year marks the 15th anniversary of the early cancellation of Firefly, and Zoic Studios, the Emmy-winning company that created the show’s visual effects, has created a video tribute to some of the best moments in the franchise. Take a quick flight back to the early 2000s and see the Serenity take flight once more in a brand new shot created specifically for this video. Read More »

Cool Posts From Around the Web:

hook movie

(Welcome to /Response, the companion piece to our /Answers series and a space where /Film readers can chime in and offer their two cents on a particular question.)

Earlier this week, the /Film team wrote about our favorite pirates from film and television. We then opened the floor to our readers: who is your favorite onscreen pirate? And you let us know!

We have collected our favorite answers (edited for length and clarity) below. Next week’s question, in honor of Wonder Woman: who is your favorite female badass from the movies? Send your (at least one paragraph, please) answer to slashfilmpitches@gmail.com!

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