HBO’s Big Little Lies Trailer Starring Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman

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If you needed further proof that everyone in Hollywood is flocking from movies to TV for all the artistic freedom that it can offer, just check out HBO’s next high-profile limited series. Big Little Lies is directed by Jean-Marc Vallée (Wild, Dallas Buyers Club) and it features some pretty major A-list stars including Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern, Alexander Skarsgård and Shailene Woodley. Based on Liane Moriarty’s novel of the same name, this dark dramedy revolves around “three mothers of kindergartners whose apparently perfect lives unravel to the point of murder.” Big Little Lies is created and written by David E. Kelley (Ally McBeal) and it premieres on Feb. 19th, running for seven episodes in total. Check out the first trailer after the jump and let us know what you think.

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New to Theatres This Weekend: Incarnate, Jackie, The Eyes of My Mother

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I’m not sure why, but for some reason the first weekend in December is almost always as barren as the last weekend in August. The only major release in theatres this weekend is Brad Peyton’s possession flick Incarnate starring Aaron Eckhart and Carice van Houten. Potential Oscar contender Jackie starring Natalie Portman is also opening but only on a handful of screens. Other releases in select theatres include the black-and-white horror flick The Eyes of My Mother, Things to Come starring Isabelle Huppert, and the faith-based film Believe. I think it’s safe to say that Disney’s Moana is going to continue to pack in moviegoers on its way to a very long and profitable theatrical run. What will you be watching this weekend?

This Week on DVD and Blu-ray: Don’t Breathe, Pete’s Dragon, The BFG

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It’s pretty slim pickings when it comes to DVD and Blu-ray releases this week, which seems odd considering that Christmas is now less than a month away. That being said, there are still a handful of high profile releases including Fede Alvarez’s well-received horror/thriller Don’t Breathe and a pair of family-friendly adventure films: Steven Spielberg’s The BFG and Disney’s Pete’s Dragon remake. There are also a few other smaller titles that may be of interest including Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie and the year’s weirdest gross out horror-comedy The Greasy Strangler. On Blu-ray, we’ve also got the Richard Lester comedy Finders Keepers and the ’70s action thriller b-movie Death Machines. What will you be picking up this week? Check out the full list of noteworthy releases after the jump.

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10 Cloverfield Lane Director Takes on Houdini Movie

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After following up the success of 10 Cloverfield Lane with an episode of Black Mirror, it looks like director Dan Trachtenberg is potentially moving away from science-fiction for his next big screen project. He is reportedly close to signing on to direct a movie about master illusionist and legendary escape artist Harry Houdini. There have been quite a few Houdini movies made over the years, but with magic now having a sudden resurgence on screen thanks to Now You See Me and Doctor Strange, it would seem that this new project will attempt to turn the man into an action hero of sorts. Hit the jump to find out what we know about this rather unconventional Houdini biopic.

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Greg McLean and James Gunn’s The Belko Experiment Trailer

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We’re about six months out from the release of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, but before that arrives we’ve got another movie from the mind of James Gunn to look forward to. The Belko Experiment is a twisted little horror / action flick that finds him returning to his genre roots and teaming up with Wolf Creek director Greg McLean. The story seems inspired by films like High-Rise, Battle Royale and Severance, although Gunn claims that it came to him in a dream. It revolves around a group of American office workers who are locked inside their corporate headquarters and essentially ordered to kill one another or else be killed themselves. The Belko Experiment stars John Gallagher Jr., Michael Rooker, Tony Goldwyn, Mikaela Hoover, Adria Arjona and John C. McGinley and it hits theatres on March 17th; check out the red band trailer after the jump and see what you think.

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Film Junk Podcast Episode #591: Allied

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0:00 – Intro: Black Friday Hauls
40:10 – Review: Allied
1:07:00 – Headlines: Silence Trailer
1:11:00 – Other Stuff We Watched: Kubo and the Two Strings, Author: The JT Leroy Story, Swingers, Eye of the Needle
1:43:35 – Junk Mail: Biggest Box Office Bombs We Saw in Theatres, Blind Spots in Cinema, Movies That Caused a Sexual Awakening in Viewers, Director-Based Premium Podcasts, Sean’s Rage Issues
2:15:00 – This Week on DVD and Blu-ray
2:17:30 – Outro

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Mad Shelia Trailer: China’s Mad Max Rip-Off

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If you have a thing for low budget knockoffs of Hollywood blockbusters (and in particular, low budget knockoffs produced in other countries) then you’ll definitely want to keep an eye out for this cult classic in the making. Heavily inspired by Mad Max: Fury Road, Mad Shelia is a new series of post-apocalyptic films being produced for Chinese VOD service TenCent Video that revolves around Xi Liya, a bounty hunter who wanders the desert disguised as a man. The first installment, Mad Shelia: Virgin Road, is already available, but it will be followed by the sequel Mad Shelia: Revenge of the Road in 2017. Considering that the original Mad Max spawned all kinds of rip-offs throughout the ’80s, this seems rather fitting. It’s unclear if these will ever get distribution in North America, but for now you can check out the trailer after the jump and get a taste of Shelia’s madness.

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Kevin Smith Leaves Buckaroo Banzai TV Series

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Last we heard, Kevin Smith was apparently deep in development on a Buckaroo Banzai TV series for Amazon based on the cult classic sci-fi film by W. D. Richter and Earl Mac Rauch. The idea was to remake the original movie over one season and then follow it up with the sequel that fans have been dying to see ever since it was promised in the film’s end credits: Buckaroo Banzai Against the World Crime League. Unfortunately, it looks as though this project is now in limbo because MGM has decided to sue the creators of Buckaroo Banzai, who believe that they still own the rights to the property. Smith has ended his involvement as a result. Here’s what he had to say about the situation:

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Nocturnal Animals Review

Nocturnal Animals
Directed by: Tom Ford
Written by: Tom Ford (screenplay), Austin Wright (novel)
Starring: Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Armie Hammer, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Michael Shannon, Isla Fisher

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Statements like “Hitchcock meets David Lynch” or “Coen Brothers mixed with Nicholas Winding Refn” could come off as nothing but meaningless hyperbole, but these could not be more applicable to Tom Ford’s second feature Nocturnal Animals. His marriage of vibrant imagery with dramatic storytelling prove to be his greatest feat in this ambitious film of lustful vengeance. It’s a hypnotic spell Ford casts upon us, one where we can’t help but succumb to its dark temptations and cruel behaviors.

As we enter the disturbingly perfect world of art gallery owner Susan (Amy Adams) and the inhabitants she identifies with, the hollow beauty is indeed very reminiscent of Refn’s The Neon Demon from earlier this year. But while the luxuries seem endless, Susan feels unfulfilled, highlighted by the arising issues with husband Hatten (Armie Hammer). After he leaves for a business trip, Susan begins reading a manuscript of the new novel titled “Nocturnal Animals” by her ex-husband Edward (Jake Gyllenhaal) who dedicated the book to her. Isolated in a picturesque empty house, Susan dives into the story which becomes the second narrative of the film.

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Monday Morning Box Office Report: Moana is Mighty, Bad Santa 2 Bombs

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Disney’s Moana couldn’t quite catch Frozen but it had a fantastic start nonetheless, opening to the tune of $55.5 million ($81.1 million over five days). That’s the second best Thanksgiving debut ever and it’s the third best opening for Walt Disney Animation Studios, behind only Zootopia and Big Hero 6. In second place, Fantastic Beasts held pretty strong in its second weekend, pulling in $45.1 million over three days followed by Marvel’s Doctor Strange with $13.4 million. Robert Zemeckis’ Allied opened in fourth with a somewhat mediocre $13 million and Arrival rounded out the top 5. Meanwhile Bad Santa 2 opened in a distant eighth place with a dreadful $6.1 million, proving that they missed the window on this long overdue sequel. The weekend’s other wide release, Warren Beatty’s Rules Don’t Apply sadly earned just $1.57 million, making it the sixth worst opening ever for a movie playing in over 2000 theatres. Don’t call it a comeback?

1. Moana — $55.5M
2. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them — $45.1M
3. Doctor Strange — $13.4M
4. Allied — $13M
5. Arrival — $11.3M
6. Trolls — $10.3M
7. Almost Christmas — $7.6M
8. Bad Santa 2 — $6.1M
9. Hacksaw Ridge — $5.5M
10. The Edge of Seventeen — $3.0M

2017 Independent Spirit Award Nominations

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The nominations for the 2017 Independent Spirit Award were announced earlier this week in Los Angeles, sending the Oscar prognosticators scrambling to recalculate their odds-on favourites. While there isn’t always a huge overlap between the Spirit Awards and the Academy Awards, the last few years have at least given the illusion of a strong correlation. This year Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight and Andrea Arnold’s American Honey led the pack with 6 nominations apiece, but it’s interesting to note that Moonlight won the Robert Altman Award for best ensemble cast, just like last year’s Best Picture winner, Spotlight.

Manchester by the Sea also received five nods, although Kenneth Lonergan was overlooked in the directing category, while Jackie received four. A24 is apparently killing it this year when it comes to independent film, having earned a total of 16 nominations between all of their various films. The winners will be announced on February 25th, the night before the Oscars, as per usual. What do you think of the Spirit Award nominations? Check out the full list of nominees after the jump.

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Alien: Covenant Gets a Poster and a New Release Date

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We’ve got some exciting news for Alien fans this week as Fox has announced that Ridley Scott’s upcoming Prometheus sequel, Alien: Covenant, will arrive in theatres even sooner than expected. The movie was originally set to be released on Aug. 4th, 2017, but now it will be terrifying audiences a full three months earlier on May 9th. Along with the new release date, they have also released the first official poster for the movie which makes it clear that this will be much more in line with previous Alien movies. It would seem that the crew of the Covenant will be facing creatures that strongly resemble the classic Xenomorph (this variation is rumoured to be called a “Neomorph”). Are you looking forward to Alien: Covenant? Check out the new poster after the jump.

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