The Interview Pushed Back to Christmas, Making Last Minute Changes to Appease North Korea

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Last week, amidst a flurry of release date changes, Sony Pictures announced that the upcoming Seth Rogen / James Franco comedy The Interview would be getting pushed back to Christmas Day. Although Sony’s President of Worldwide Distribution Rory Bruer released a statement assuring audiences that the move to “one of the most important moviegoing days of the year” was an indication of the film’s quality, we are starting to get reports that there may be something else behind the delay. The plot of the film involves Rogen and Franco using their cover as TV journalists to sneak into North Korea and assassinate Kim Jong-Un. North Korea has made it very clear that they are not happy about the movie, even going so far as to call it an act of war. Now it looks like Sony might be buckling under pressure to make the movie slightly more respectful, if not palatable, to North Korea. Hit the jump for more details.

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Aquaman Movie in the Works with Two Competing Scripts

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When Warner Brothers announced last week that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice would be moving to March 2016, they also set release dates for nine more untitled films, many of which are likely connected to the DC Universe. Although we still don’t know what most of these are, at least one of them is probably the Sandman movie starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and The Rock has also been hinting pretty hard about a Shazam movie. But what about Aquaman? We’ve heard rumours that he will be appearing in the Justice League movie, and last week Zack Snyder called in to a Detroit radio show to defend Aquaman on the air. It would seem that Warner Brothers has big plans for the character and now this week we have confirmation of that fact.

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Mortdecai Trailer Starring Johnny Depp

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Update: Added official embed.

Aside from the nigh invincible Pirates of the Caribbean movies, Johnny Depp hasn’t had the greatest track record as of late. His next film Mortdecai looks like it’s probably also destined to flop, but after watching the trailer I think I might actually be on board. Based on the series of novels by Kyril Bonfiglioli, the story revolves around a fictional art dealer named Charlie Mortdecai who gets caught up in a race to locate a stolen painting that contains clues to some Nazi gold. It looks like goofy British fun in the vein of The Pink Panther series, although hopefully not quite as juvenile as the Steve Martin films. Directed by David Koepp (Secret Window, Premium Rush) and co-starring Aubrey Plaza, Ewan McGregor, Gwyneth Paltrow, Olivia Munn, Paul Bettany, Jeff Goldblum and Oliver Platt, Mortdecai hits theatres on Feb. 6th. Check out the first trailer after the jump and see what you think.

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Locke Review

Locke
Written and Directed by: Steven Knight
Starring: Tom Hardy, Olivia Colman, Ruth Wilson, Andrew Scott

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Ivan Locke is a devoted family man and respected construction engineer. This makes it all the more out-of-character when he abandons his biggest project the night before a critical stage. Instead of heading home, Ivan commences the long drive south to London and a series of telephone calls to deliberately dismantle everything he has worked hard to achieve.

Locke falls into the entertainment classification of extreme ‘bottle drama’; a single location: the interior of Ivan’s SUV on his non-stop rush down the M1 motorway; and a single performer: Tom Hardy as Ivan, supported only by the voices of the characters who come and go in the series of phone calls by which the plot plays itself out. It shares this same conceit with movies such as Phone Booth and All Is Lost but its cinematic twin is most definitely Buried when it comes to strict adherence to setting and narrative device. But whereas Buried had a mystery underpinning the situation and a race-against-time element to generate tension, Locke has no such genre intentions.

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This Week on DVD and Blu-ray: Muppets Most Wanted, Locke, The Toxic Avenger

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Kind of a slow week for major releases on DVD and Blu-ray, but fortunately we’ve got plenty of indie films and catalog titles to make up for it. The biggest new movies hitting stores this week are Muppets Most Wanted, the Disneynature documentary Bears, and the Marlon Wayans horror-comedy sequel A Haunted House 2. Looking beyond that we also have the acclaimed single location drama Locke starring Tom Hardy, Filth starring James McAvoy, The Railway Man starring Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth, and the TMNT doc Turtle Power: The Definitive History of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. TV releases include the first season of The Blacklist starring James Spader and the first and only season of AMC’s Low Winter Sun, plus we have some older films making their debut on Blu-ray such as Disney’s Hercules and Tarzan, the 50th Anniversary Edition of Viva Las Vegas, Troma’s The Toxic Avenger and that other Avengers movie. What will you be picking up this week? Check out the full list of new releases after the jump.

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Film Junk Poll: What is the Best Robin Williams Movie?

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As many of us continue to mourn the loss of Robin Williams this morning and contemplate revisiting some of his best performances, here is your chance to take stock of his impressive filmography and pick the ultimate masterpiece. It goes without saying that he was more than just a comedian, having turned in many fine dramatic performances throughout his career. He also helped change how animated films would be cast and redefined himself again in the early 2000s with some villainous roles as well. Needless to say, it was hard to narrow down the list of options to a manageable number, but hopefully most of the important ones are here. So what is the all-time best Robin Williams movie? Cast your vote in this week’s poll and then sound off in the comments below.

What is the Best Robin Williams Movie?

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AMC’s Better Call Saul Teaser Trailer

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It’s no secret that AMC is struggling to find successful new original programs to follow up their power trio of Mad Men, Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead. Their latest show, Halt and Catch Fire, seems unlikely to be renewed after being plagued by low ratings all season long… which is why it seems pretty important for them to get the Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul off the ground as soon as possible. This week they have released a short (and I mean short) teaser trailer to accompany the announcement that the show will premiere early next year. We already know that Michael McKean has joined the cast as Saul’s brother Chuck, while some familiar faces will return including Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut. Better Call Saul premieres on AMC in February 2015; check out the teaser trailer after the jump.

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Film Junk Podcast Episode #477: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

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0:00 – Intro
10:23 – Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
1:21:16 – Trailer Trash: Left Behind
1:27:01 – Other Stuff We Watched: Knuckleball, Dear Mr. Watterson, Pickpocket, Persona, Bloody Moon, Insomnia, Judex
1:52:06 – Junk Mail: Movies with Bad Titles, Frank Movie Review Matrix,What Happened to Jay’s Hypochondria?, Frank Denying Climate Change
2:29:24 – This Week on DVD and Blu-ray

Film Junk Podcast Episode #477: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Filmjunk on Mixcloud

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Robin Williams 1951-2014

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Some sad and shocking news coming out of California tonight as Robin Williams was reportedly found dead in his home of a suspected suicide. According to the Marin County Sheriff’s Office, he was found unconscious around 12 pm earlier today. His publicist has since released a statement confirming his death and the fact that he had been battling severe depression as of late. Williams leaves us with an impressive filmography that includes many iconic comedy roles and several Oscar nominated performances including Good Will Hunting, Dead Poets Society and Good Morning Vietnam. He was 63 years old.

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Monday Morning Box Office Report: Turtles Trounce the Guardians, Sequel Announced

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Even though the positive reviews and strong word of mouth drove Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy to the biggest second weekend of the summer, it was still no match for Turtle Power. Paramount’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot opened much bigger than expected thanks in large part to the family appeal and the well-established brand name. The movie debuted with $65 million, which is easily the best start ever for a TMNT movie, and despite the terrible reviews it has prompted Paramount to immediately announce a sequel. Elsewhere, Into the Storm opened to a decent $18 million, which is pretty much on par with the last Final Destination movie. The Hundred-Foot Journey and Lucy rounded out the top 5. As for Step Up All In, the fifth installment in the long-running series, it was a flop, earning just $6.6 million and potentially signalling the end of the franchise.

1. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles — $65M
2. Guardians of the Galaxy — $41.5M
3. Into the Storm — $18M
4. The Hundred-Foot Journey — $11.1M
5. Lucy — $9.3M
6. Step Up All In — $6.6M
7. Hercules — $5.7M
8. Get on Up — $5M
9. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes — $4.4M
10. Planes: Fire & Rescue — $2.4M

Open Forum Friday: Is Story Now Completely Irrelevant in Blockbuster Movies?

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The widespread acclaim for James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy last week was nearly unanimous as audiences and critics finally agreed that it was a rare case of a summer movie delivering just as much fun and excitement as the trailers had promised. However, it is interesting to note that if you look at all of the rave reviews, the one thing almost no one has praised is the story. Isn’t that the one key ingredient always required to create a great film? Well… maybe not anymore. Steven Zeitchik recently wrote an article at the Los Angeles Times that explores this disturbing trend, something he refers to as “post-plot cinema.”

The funny thing is, he actually liked Guardians of the Galaxy and he says that there are advantages to movies without clear plots, such as the fact that they are essentially unspoilable and they focus on simply hanging out with the characters (the recent comedy hit Grown Ups comes to mind). It all seems to be a result of filmmaking by committee, where there is no clear creative vision and bits and pieces randomly get changed and tweaked until the final product is a mess. But as long as there are some sparkly special effects and a few memorable individual scenes, audiences will still eat it up. What do you think? Are today’s blockbusters lacking clear plots and compelling stories? And if so, is there anything wrong with that? Can a movie truly be great even when the story sucks? Give us your thoughts here on Open Forum Friday.

Camp X-Ray Trailer Starring Kristen Stewart

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Despite earning both fame and scorn for her role as Bella Swan in The Twilight Saga, Kristen Stewart has continued to quietly put in some decent performances in several smaller independent films over the past few years as well. Her latest film, Camp X-Ray, looks to be one of her most daring as it finds her playing a female guard at Guantanamo Bay who strikes up unlikely friendship with one of the detainees. Written and directed by first-time filmmaker Peter Sattler, the movie received mixed reviews at Sundance earlier this year, but Stewart’s own contribution was mostly praised. Camp X-Ray hits select theatres and VOD on Oct. 28th; check out the trailer after the jump and see what you think.

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