Leonard Maltin’s 2015 Movie Guide Will Be the Last One

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The end of an era is upon us once again as the digital age continues to accelerate the death of physical media. Publishing company Plume, a division of Penguin Group, has announced that the 2015 edition of Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide will be the final edition of the long-running series of books. Declining sales and the rise of the internet are to blame for the discontinuation of this once essential guide and long-standing pillar of film criticism. The first edition was published way back in 1969 and since then they have sold more than 7 million copies. The following is an excerpt from Maltin’s forward to the upcoming book, which explains why it will be the last one:

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Richard Attenborough 1923-2014

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The world of cinema lost another one of the greats over the weekend as British actor and director Sir Richard Attenborough reportedly passed away on Sunday. Best known to younger audiences for his portrayal of dinosaur theme park creator John Hammond in Spielberg’s Jurassic Park and its sequel, Attenborough had a career that spanned 60 years and also included winning Oscars for both Best Picture and Best Director for his 1982 film Gandhi. Other noteworthy performances in his extensive filmography include The Great Escape, The Flight of the Phoenix, Doctor Dolittle and the remake of Miracle on 34th Street. Attenborough was 90 years old.

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Monday Morning Box Office Report: Guardians Back on Top, Sin City Snuffed Out

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They say the cream rises to the top and that’s precisely how Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy found itself back at the top of the box office in its fourth weekend, which is a pretty rare occurrence in this day and age. The movie officially passed Transformers: Age of Extinction to become the highest-grossing movie of the summer (in the U.S., at least) and should soon pass both The Lego Movie and Captain America: The Winter Soldier to become the biggest movie of the year. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles dropped to #2 while If I Stay led the newcomers in third place with a respectable $16 million debut. Let’s Be Cops fell to fourth and When the Game Stands Tall rounded out the top 5. Meanwhile Sin City: A Dame to Kill For performed even worse than anyone could have predicted, opening in eighth place with just $6.5 million — 78% less than the original Sin City made back in 2005. At this point it’s starting to feel like Robert Rodriguez’s career is on life support and I think the chances of Sin City 3 happening just got pummeled into oblivion.

1. Guardians of the Galaxy — $17.6M
2. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles — $16.8M
3. If I Stay — $16.4M
4. Let’s Be Cops — $11M
5. When the Game Stands Tall — $9M
6. The Giver — $6.7M
7. The Expendables 3 — $6.6M
8. Sin City: A Dame to Kill For — $6.5M
9. The Hundred-Foot Journey — $5.6M
10. Into the Storm — $3.8M

Chinese Theatres Now Showing Text Messages on Screen During Movies

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As many theatres in North America continue to wage war against cell phone use in movie theatres (some more than others), it appears that a number of cinemas overseas are already admitting defeat. It’s no secret that there are plenty of countries around the world where people are even more addicted to their mobile devices than we are here. China, in particular, has more than 1.2 billion cell phone users and for many of those users, mobile devices also serve as their primary source of entertainment. So how do you convince them to get out to a theatre to watch a movie on the big screen? By recreating the mobile experience and adding annoying text messages on screen, that’s how!

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Amityville: The Awakening Trailer

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After years of trying to set up a found footage installment in The Amityville Horror series called The Amityville Horror: The Lost Tapes, Dimension Films finally decided to scrap the project and reboot the series all over again. The new film is called Amityville: The Awakening and this time around they are switching things up by eliminating the father figure from the family unit altogether; instead, Jennifer Jason Leigh plays the single mother of three children who are moving into a new house. Her son James (Cameron Monaghan) is very ill and bed-ridden and apparently the house starts to manifest its malevolent force through him.

Based on this trailer, it almost seems like they’ve turned Amityville into an exorcism / possession film, and it seems a bit weird that most of the scares don’t seem to come from the house itself. Apparently they feel that modern audiences need something more concrete to latch onto. Like almost every horror movie being released nowadays, this one is produced by Jason Blum (Paranormal Activity, Sinister) but the fact that it is being directed by Franck Khalfoun (Maniac) has me somewhat curious to check it out. Amityville: The Awakening hits theatres on Jan. 2nd; check out the trailer after the jump and see what you think.

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Film Junk Poll: What is the Best Neo-Noir Film?

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Earlier this year we tackled the subject of film noir in one of our weekly polls, but at the time we kept it pure by limiting the options to movies released during the classic noir period prior to 1960. Now that Sin City: A Dame to Kill for is hitting theatres, it seems like the right time to come back to the genre and look at all of the noir-influenced films that have been released in the following decades. Keeping the list to a manageable number proved to be quite difficult, and as always, there is bound to be some debate over what actually defines a neo-noir. I tried to stay away from movies that are more straightforward crime films or gangster flicks as well as foreign films since the genre is typically seen as an American one. Either way, feel free to offer up other noteworthy titles that deserve to be a part of the conversation. So what is the ultimate neo-noir? Cast your vote in this week’s poll and then discuss further in the comments below.

What is the Best Neo-Noir Film?

 
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Minority Report TV Series in the Works

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The list of upcoming TV shows based on movies continues to grow this week as Steven Spielberg is reportedly in the process of developing a TV version of his 2002 sci-fi film Minority Report. Although it is still in the early stages, it would potentially join several other sci-fi movies also coming to the small screen including Westworld and 12 Monkeys. Of course, the FX adaptation of The Coen Brothers’ Fargo has now set the bar quite high for TV adaptations of movies, so Spielberg might have his work cut out for him. His recent sci-fi series Extant has been a minor hit for CBS this summer, but in general his TV projects tend to be pretty forgettable. Can Minority Report work as a weekly TV series?

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Jennifer Lawrence in Talks for Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight?

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The first teaser trailer for Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming film The Hateful Eight will be making its debut in theatres with Sin City: A Dame to Kill For this weekend, but before you go buying a ticket just to see it, you might want to temper your excitement a wee bit. From what we’re hearing it doesn’t actually show any footage from the film, which isn’t a huge surprise considering that Tarantino hasn’t even started production yet. Another thing that the teaser does not reveal is the primary cast of the film, which up until now has remained a mystery. We previously heard that the cast of the live script read might be pretty close to the final cast of the film, but now this week we’re hearing that someone new has been added to the line-up. That new addition also happens to be one of the hottest actresses in Hollywood right now: Jennifer Lawrence.

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New to Theatres This Weekend: Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, When the Game Stands Tall, If I Stay

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Alas, the end of the summer is finally upon us, and the quality of new releases hitting theatres is a harsh reminder of that fact. Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller’s long-overdue sequel Sin City: A Dame to Kill For leads a lacklustre crop of films this weekend, along with the football drama When the Game Stands Tall starring Jim Caviezel and teen drama If I Stay starring Chloe Moretz (the latter of which could be a surprise hit based on the success of The Fault in Our Stars earlier this year). In select theatres, look for Matthew Weiner’s directorial debut Are You Here starring Owen Wilson, Zach Galifianakis and Amy Poehler, indie dramedy The One I Love starring Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss, and the documentaries To Be Takei and Expedition to the End of the World. What will you be watching this weekend?

David Yates to Return to the Harry Potter Franchise with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

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Well he may not be Alfonso Cuaron, but I think Harry Potter fans will be pretty happy about the director that Warner Brothers managed to snag for the first installment in their upcoming Harry Potter spin-off trilogy. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will be based on the fictitious Hogwarts textbook of the same name and it will follow the adventures of the book’s author, renowned magizoologist Newt Scamander. Although it takes place seven decades before the start of the Harry Potter saga, it is “neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Harry Potter series, but an extension of the wizarding world.” For the first time, J.K. Rowling herself will be writing the script and now it appears that director David Yates will also be returning to the wizarding world to help her and Warner Brothers kick off this new series of films. Hit the jump to find out what else we know.

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Shane Black to Direct Remo Williams Reboot The Destroyer

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It looks like Shane Black’s career is finally back in full swing as his list of upcoming projects is starting to fill up. After directing Iron Man 3 for Marvel last year, things had remained somewhat quiet as Black continued to pursue a Doc Savage movie with Sony. Although that still seems to coming along slowly, over the past couple of months we’ve seen Black set up a handful of additional projects including a Predator reboot and an original murder mystery called The Nice Guys. Now he has officially signed on to direct another movie for Sony and Atlas Entertainment called The Destroyer, based on the long-running series of adventure books by Warren Murphy. Producer Charles Roven had this to say about the announcement:

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Outcast Trailer Starring Nicolas Cage and Hayden Christensen

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These days it seems that for every Joe or Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call – New Orleans he does, Nicolas Cage churns out about ten more Season of the Witches. His latest film, Outcast, definitely falls into the latter category. Directed by stuntman Nick Powell (Resident Evil: Retribution, The Three Musketeers), it finds Nicolas Cage and Hayden Christensen playing former knights of the Crusades who lend their swords to help avenge an assassinated Chinese emperor. Aside from that, the only thing you really need to know is that Cage’s character is called “The White Ghost”. Outcast will supposedly hit theatres on Feb. 27th, but I’ll believe that when I see it. Check out the trailer after the jump and see what you think.

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