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IAR Blu-ray Preview: 'Transcendence'

Tuesday, 22 July 2014 06:09

Yesterday, Dr. Will Caster was only human.

Today, he's a digital demigod.

With Transcendence  hitting Blu-ray today, July 22nd, Johnny Depp is the ghost in the machine and that machine is your Blu-ray player.

The Avengers are, as everyone now knows, Earth's Mightiest Heroes.

The Guardians of the Galaxy are basically Space's Strangest Anti-Heroes. 

They're a team of criminals, rogues, and weirdos.  They're the last team you'd expect to save the universe, but when Guardians of the Galaxy opens on August 1st, that's exactly what Marvel's newest big screen adventurers will be doing. 

So far in Phase 2 of building its Cinematic Universe, Marvel Studios has stuck to sequels following familiar neon gods Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America.  With Guardians of the Galaxy, director and co-writer James Gunn (Super, Slither) introduces an entirely new set of characters and a far-out new setting that seriously expands the scope of this comic book cosmos.

To showcase the upcoming event movie, 150 IMAX 3D theaters across North America participated in a sneak peek event tonight.  IAR was on hand at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood to witness 17 minutes of Guardians of the Galaxy in the jumbo format.

Now that July is here, it means that the year is officially halfway over. 

So that being said, I thought it would be a good idea to take a look back at the first half of the year and rank the top ten films of 2014 … so far. 

Usually I wait until the end of the year to make this list, but a lot of good movies get overlooked in December because of the onslaught of Oscar contenders that are released in the second half of the year. While I don’t expect many of these films to make the list again in six months, I wanted a chance to highlight some of the fine films that might be forgotten by year’s end. 

The following is a look back at my ten favorite films of 2014 … so far. In order to qualify for this list, the film either had to be released nationally or premiere at a film festival before July 1st. It’s important to note that at the time of this publication, I have seen almost every movie released in 2014 with the exception of Blended, The Other Woman, The Fault in Our Stars, Chef, Palo Alto, and Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon. That being said, the list compiled below is based on the movies that I did see (so far) this year, and which of those were my favorites overall. I’m not necessarily saying that these are the ten best films of the year up to this point, but in my honest opinion, they are the ten that I enjoyed the most.

However, honorable mention goes to The Signal, The Raid 2: Berandal, Boyhood, Fading Gigolo, Life Itself, The Lego Movie, and Muppets Most Wanted, all of which came very close to making the final cut. 

Three years.

Three weeks.

That's how it breaks down.

My press tour promoting my film The Signal basically comes down to how well I could summarize a three year journey into snippets of 15 minute interviews. It's been a whirly ride of hotels, conversations, planes, trains and automobiles (please tell me you've seen that film).

Each city, each stop an epic recap of set shenanigans, seemingly insurmountable struggles, and film god miracles. You sit across from all sorts of people asking you all sorts of crazy questions -- dragging up different memories -- some looking for the 5 minute pitch, some the 5 second pitch... if that's possible.

With a tenth anniversary Ultimate Cut Blu-ray arriving this week, Oliver Stone's Alexander has finally achieved its full expression, chronicling the life of Alexander the Great in a truly epic spectacle.

X-Men: Days of Future Past is probably the movie I was looking forward to seeing the most this year. A sequel to X-Men: First Class, X-Men: The Last Stand, and The Wolverine, as well as a prequel (sort of) to the original X-Men trilogy, Days of Future Past has the potential of being not only the best film in the X-Men franchise but one of the greatest super hero movies ever made. I’m extremely happy to say, that it lived up to all of my expectations and more. 

I had the pleasure of attending one of the first Los Angeles press screenings for the film last week and have been dying to share my thoughts on the movie. While I don’t want to give away too much about it, I will say that I was blown away by how good it was. As a general audience member I thought it was pretty much perfect. However, as a huge comic book nerd, I did have a few minor issues with continuity, which I will go into below. But overall, I absolutely loved the film. 

Not many comedies – no matter how hilarious or provocative – retain their incendiary power a full four decades after they were initially unleashed upon unsuspecting audiences.

In fact, there's probably only the one: Blazing Saddles.

The sensation from 1974 is arguably the finest comedy ever made, a double barrel blast of irreverence and absurdity that remains unchallenged in its gleeful offensiveness, its willingness to transgress, and its sheer unbridled insistence on entertainment at all costs.

IAR Blu-ray Preview: 'Son of Batman'

Tuesday, 06 May 2014 09:21

Damian Wayne is a real S.O.B. 

He's a Son of Batman.  The Son of Batman, in fact.

The wildly popular Robin is getting the DC Universe Animated Movie with Son of Batman hitting Blu-ray today.

IAR Blu-ray Preview: 'Sorcerer'

Tuesday, 22 April 2014 09:48

With Sorcerer arriving on Blu-ray fully remastered today, William Friedkin's bona-fide yet underappreciated classic is finally getting its due.

On May 2nd Spider-Man swings back into action with The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which is a sequel to the 2012 reboot of the popular franchise. 

Once again directed by Marc Webb, the upcoming sequel features Andrew Garfield reprising his role as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, along with Emma Stone as his love interest Gwen Stacey, Academy Award-winner Sally Field as Aunt May, and Campbell Scott and Embeth Davidtz as Richard and Mary Parker. Joining the cast this time around is Academy Award-winner Jamie Foxx as Max Dillon/Electro, Academy Award-nominee Paul Giamatti as Aleksei Sytsevich/The Rhino, Dane DeHaan as Harry Osborn/Green Goblin, Academy Award-winner Chris Cooper as Norman Osborn, B.J. Novak as Alistair Smythe, and Felicity Jones in an unspecified role. 

The new film was written by returning screenwriter James Vanderbilt, as well as Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, and Jeff Pinkner. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 follows Peter Parker as he continues to struggle with balancing his life as a graduating high school student, and his responsibilities as Spider-Man. When Peter begins to investigate more about his father's past, thanks to the help of his old friend Harry Osborn, he begins to realize that the new threats of Electro and the Rhino all have one thing in common: OsCorp.

Earlier this week I had the rare pleasure of being invited to Sony Studios in Los Angeles, along with several other members of the press, to screen roughly 30 minutes of the film and speak with Marc Webb about the project. Webb discussed an array of subjects including the film’s new villains, Peter’s arc, what classic Spider-Man elements from the comic books fans can expect to see in the sequel, Norman Osborn’s role, tying up loose ends from the last film, Spider-Woman, and his involvement with the upcoming Spider-Man sequels and spinoffs. 

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