Archive for April 7, 2012

Interview: Director Morgan Spurlock Talks ‘Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope’

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Documentarian Morgan Spurlock’s love-letter to geek and fandom, Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope, opened in limited release this weekend and is also available on VOD. Spurlock worked in a collaboration with several of geekery’s most influential players including Thomas Tull, Stan Lee, Joss Whedon and Harry Knowles (pictured above with the director) to create the film which follows a committed fan couple and a few creative hopefuls on their journey through the wild, enthusiastic and delightfully bizarre ride that was Comic Con 2010.

The film works as a celebration of all the things that yearly regulars love about the event and a travel guide for those who have never been.

We had the opportunity to sit down with Spurlock, along with one of his more memorable and endearing subjects, Holly Conrad – a Mass Effect expert and talented costume designer – ...

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Movie News Wrap Up: April 7th, 2012

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Dominc Cooper joins Dead Man Down

This week:

Dominic Cooper is a Dead Man Down; Peoples join the Lone Wolf  and Cub; we get teased by Doctor Who and The Mummy franchise gets the reboot treatment from the writer of Prometheus.

1. Dominic Cooper is in negotiations to join Colin Farrell and Noomi Rapace in Dead Man Down.

According to Variety:

“Dead Man Down finds Farrell infiltrating a crime syndicate responsible for the death of his family, with Rapace playing a mysterious, scarred beauty with intimate knowledge of his past. Cooper is in talks to play Darcy, a family man who works as Farrell’s partner on the street.”

It looks like Farrell is planning on maintaining a high profile following from Total Recall, while the sky is the limit for Rapace after Prometheus.

Niels Arden Oplev, the man behind the Swedish language version of The ...

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Movie News Wrap Up: April 7th, 2012

HBO Adapting ‘This American Life’ Segment Into A Series

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Ira Glass This American Life

If you are a regular listener of public radio, then you’ve likely been regaled with the compelling tale of James Spring and his journey to free two kidnapped girls from Mexico, all in an effort to combat a midlife crisis. If you haven’t, well then, HBO and producer Rob Thomas (Veronica Mars, Party Down) think you might just enjoy the tentatively titled Thrillsville, a series based on Spring’s exploits.

In 2010, This American Life ran a segment entitled ‘Midlife Cowboy,’ focusing on Spring, who after spending much of his youth smuggling methamphetamine into the United States, naturally segued that life experience into a career writing advertising copy. So far, Spring’s exploits sound like a bizarre mash up of Mad Men and Breaking Bad, but rather than usher in his 40s by emulating more of AMC’s original programming, Spring decided to make ...

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‘Magic City’ Series Premiere Review

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Olga Kurylenko Jeffrey Dean Morgan Kelly Lynch Steve Strait Christian Cooke Danny Huston Magic City Starz

It seems that when creating a pilot for a new television series the creators have to make the difficult decision whether or not to skim the entire surface of a show’s concept in the first hour, or to plumb its depths at the risk of leaving some in the audience scratching their heads. When it comes to the pilot for the new Starz period drama Magic City, creator Mitch Glazer (The Recruit) clearly decided skimming was the way to go.

This is not a condemnation of the rest of the series, it is just meant to infer that, although we see a great deal of Ike Evans (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), there is no true sense of what, where or even when Ike’s run at the Miramar Playa actually ...

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Goon

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On the surface, "Goon" is an assembly-line underdog sports movie. And yes the film hits a handful of familiar story beats along the way. But there is a subtle intelligence to the picture, with characters that are far less broad than you'd expect and a screenplay that feels authentic. I don't know hockey well enough to judge its accuracy, but I can say that the film feels like it intimately understands the sport as well as the people who play it. Hockey is not a sport that has inspired very many movies, so when I say that "Goon" is one of the best films about the sport I've ever seen that may seem like a backhanded compliment. But it is easily the best hockey movie since "Miracle", for whatever that's worth.

The narrative concerns Doug Glatt (Sean William Scott) as a bar bouncer who lucks into a spot on a minor league hockey team via his 'bouncing' skills. Point being, while it he is not mean or aggressive, he can and will deliver a brutal thrashing if you cross him in a manner that seems to merit physical altercation. One such incident, where he is assaulted by a hockey player at a local game results in a public beat-down, results in him being recruited to join up as an 'enforcer', which is basically what it sounds like.

Doug can't skate and certainly can't shoot with much skill, but he can beat the crap out of opposing players if the situation calls for it. This is all standard stuff, as is a subplot about feeling like the black sheep of the family, his romance with a local woman (Alison Pill) and conflicts between himself and the more seasoned players on his team (shocker - team work matters too!). But director Michael Dowse, along with writers Evan Goldberg and Jay Baruchel (Baruchel has a glorified cameo here) don't treat their story as anything groundbreaking and they instead concentrate on character development.

Doug has a refreshing acknowledgment of his lack of intelligence that earns our sympathy, and his relationship with Pill's Eva is frankly more adult and unromanticized than one would expect. Eugene Levy has a few moments of down-to-Earth disappointment as the patriarch, and Kim Coates relishes an opportunity not to be playing a scuzzy-looking thug as the team's coach. Most enjoyable is Liev Schreiber as Ross Rea, a veteran 'enforcer' on the verge of retirement who is both Doug's hero and possibly his final challenge.

Schreiber gives a real performance here, and he has one great third act moment which very nearly mimics a classic scene from Michael Mann's Heat. While the film is rated R and contains copious hockey-related violence and profanity, it is not a hard-edged or even overtly vulgar picture. It is a sweet and humanistic comedy that happens to take place in a very R-rated world. Goon doesn't break any cinematic ground except that it exists as a rare high-quality film set in the world of hockey. Seann William Scott delivers a fine star turn, ranking alongside The Rundown and Role Models as one of his best performances.

I'm sure if I knew more about hockey I would have enjoyed the picture even more. But the fact that I know next-to-nothing about the sport yet enjoyed this movie shows just how surprisingly good and accessible Goon happens to be. -- courtesy of Scott Mendelson.

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