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IAR SET VISIT: 'Insidious: Chapter 3'

Monday, 23 March 2015 23:01

Opening in theaters on June 5th is Insidious: Chapter 3, which is the third installment of the popular horror franchise produced by Jason Blum (The Lazarus Effect).

Insidious: Chapter 3 is directed by screenwriter/actor Leigh Whannell (Insidious: Chapter 2, Saw), who takes over directing duties from former director and now producer James Wan (Insidious: Chapter 2, Saw). The movie stars new cast members Dermot Mulroney (The Grey), and Stefanie Scott (Jem and the Holograms), while Whannell, Angus Sampson (The Mule), and Lin Shaye (The Signal) reprise their roles from the previous films as Specs, Tucker, and Elise Rainier, respectively.

The new movie is actually a prequel set before the haunting of the Lambert family in the first two films. Insidious: Chapter 3 reveals how gifted psychic Elise Rainier (Shaye) reluctantly agreed to use her ability to contact the dead in order to help a teenage girl (Scott) who has been targeted by a dangerous supernatural entity.

Last fall, I had the pleasure of visiting the Los Angeles set of Insidious: Chapter 3, along with a few other members of the press. We had a chance to speak with producer Jason Blum, director/screenwriter/actor Leigh Whannell, and actors Dermot Mulroney, Stefanie Scott, Angus Sampson, and Lin Shaye about their work on the upcoming film.

Over the last five years, one of the biggest studios and some the highest-profile shot-callers in Hollywood have struggled mightily to make a big-budget, Americanized version of one of the influential anime classic that introduced Japanese animation to huge swaths of the west.

Yet for half a decade now, Warner Bros. has failed to take the live-action Akira from a project to actual movie.  Having gone through three directors, a legion of potential A-list leading men, and a cadre of writers, as well as a small pickup truck full of money, the Lenardo DiCaprio-produced remake is no closer to happening.

It's been a tumultuous process, one that has come this close to production multiple times, but director Jaume Collet-Serra gave the distinct impression that Akira is dead last week.  Asked if there's been any progress on the adaptation, which a year ago he hoped to make his next project.  "No, no. There’s nothing," he told Collider in an interview promoting Run All Night, the movie he ended up making instead.

"It’s a Warner Bros. question," said Collet-Serra, sounding more than a little resigned to Akira's fate.

IAR SET VISIT: 'Get Hard'

Monday, 09 March 2015 01:11

Are you ready to Get Hard

Opening in theaters on March 27th is the new comedy entitled Get Hard, which stars comedic powerhouses Will Ferrell (Casa de Mi Padre, The Campaign) and Kevin Hart (About Last Night, The Wedding Ringer). 

The film follows businessman James King (Ferrell), who is wrongfully convicted of tax evasion. He hires his former employee Darnell Lewis (Hart), who he incorrectly thinks has served time in jail, to teach him how to survive his upcoming 10-year prison sentence. In addition to Ferrell and Hart, the movie also features performances from Alison Brie (The Lego Movie), T.I. (Identity Thief), Matt Walsh (Into the Storm), Dan Bakkedahl (Four Dogs), and Paul Ben-Victor (Don Jon). Get Hard was produced by Ferrell and Adam McKay (Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, We The Economy), and directed by longtime screenwriter Etan Cohen (Men in Black 3). 

Last year I had the pleasure of traveling to New Orleans, Louisiana (along with a few other members of the press) to visit the set of Get Hard and talk with some of the cast and crew about the film. While on set, I had a chance to speak with director Etan Cohen, as well as actors Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart. I also had a chance to tour one of the sets, as well as watch Ferrell and Hart shoot a scene.

Last week, an unauthorized short film starring James 'The Beek' Van Der Beek and Katee Sackhoff showed up from out of nowhere, quickly generating more than 12 million YouTube views and causing grown-ass men and women to talk seriously about the Power Rangers.

It’s already been zipped past as a trending topic, eclipsed by llamas on the loose and some dress that exists outside human comprehension. Yet unlike so much viral content, this  “deboot fan film” is actually pretty profound.

It represents a through-the-looking-glass moment for fandom. Power/Rangers is the other side of the looking glass, a fourteen-minute funhouse mirror, one in which modern movie geeks can see how grotesque our obsessions with nostalgia and credibility really are.  It gleefully epitomizes and bitterly mocks itself and, by extension, all of us just for enjoying it.

IAR'S OSCAR WINNER PREDICTIONS

Thursday, 19 February 2015 13:34

With Oscar ballots due last night and less than a week to go until the awards are handed out on Sunday, February 22nd, it's about time to take an in-depth look at how things stand in the race for the gold.

Some categories appear to be a lock, while others may surprise us when the envelopes are opened.

IAR Blu-ray Preview: 'The Judge'

Monday, 26 January 2015 11:53

With The Judge hitting Blu-ray this week, your living room – or your phone, iPad, or computer – can be the setting of last year's most tense, most emotional courtroom battle.

This movie, a combination of nimble legal thriller and earnest familial drama, stars international icon Robert Downey Jr. (Avengers: Age of Ultron) and the legendary Robert Duvall (The Godfather) in a supporting performance that earned him an Academy Award nomination.

IAR Blu-ray Preview: Lucy

Monday, 19 January 2015 12:18

Lucy tears onto Blu-ray this Tuesday, and it's as close as you'll ever come to hanging out with Scarlett Johansson, action goddess.

In Lucy, Johansson stars a woman who unleashes the full potential of her mind, as well as a whole bunch of physical abilities that would shame even the Hulk.

She starts out as a party girl in Taipei, an innocent woman whose scumbag boyfriend traps her into a drug mule mission: pretty soon Lucy has a sack of CPH4 sewn into her stomach.  When the experimental drug starts leaking into her system, though, Lucy becomes an unstoppable one-woman wrecking machine, decimating the a-holes who were exploiting her while peeking at cosmic secrets, entirely new realms of human perception, and unfathomable power.

IAR's Oscar Predictions 2015

Wednesday, 17 December 2014 10:41

It’s about that time – Oscar predictions have begun.

The year in movies has just a few more weeks to go and the 87th Academy Awards are just around the corner. The race is on, with front-runners taking the lead and others in the mix shaking things up. Every film that hopes to qualify will be in theaters by the last day of December.

Here’s how the top six categories are taking shape, with the top contenders fighting for the five coveted slots (or, in the case of Best Picture, up to ten).

Slap on your headphones and strap in, because you're about to trip the light galactic.

Guardians of the Galaxy hits Blu-ray this week, so it's time to ride shotgun on the Milano with the legendary Star-Lord at the wheel.

Two words: Helen Mirren.

Those two words should be all you need to hear about The Hundred-Foot Journey, which is available on Blu-ray as of today, Tuesday, December 2nd.

After all, Mirren is a peerless thespian, an Oscar-winner and sensuous British sexpot who has been keeping it classy onscreen and off for more than 45 years without losing a step.  She's beyond description as an acting powerhouse and screen presence of near-impossible charisma and poise.  She's Dame Helen Mirren.

She's the first but far from the only reason to recommend The Hundred-Foot Journey, a sure-footed comedy-drama from director Lasse Hallstrom (Chocolat, The Cider House Rules), along with producers Oprah Winfrey (The Color Purple, being Oprah) and Steven Spielberg (Lincoln, also The Color Purple).

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