One of 2012's biggest blockbusters brings the fantasy setting of Middle Earth into your living room this Tuesday, March 19th, as The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey arrives on both 2D and 3D Blu-ray, as well as DVD and digital download.

Academy Award-winning director Peter Jackson made motion picture history a decade ago with The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.  Having redefined epic fantasy onscreen with that sprawling depiction of the War of the Ring and Frodo Baggins' desperate attempt to reach Mount Doom, Jackson returns to the vivid setting for this adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien's first Middle Earth novel.  The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is the first in a prequel trilogy, to be followed by The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and The Hobbit: There and Back Again in 2013 and 2014, respectively.

In Carter Beats the Devil, his unimpeachable novel about a magician in the early Twentieth Century, author Glen David Gold cautioned, "Tragedies with happy endings.  Never underestimate them."

In The Incredible Burt Wonderstone, hitting theaters this Friday, March 15th, the tragedy is the eponymous illusionist's success. 

Struck by a pure love for the wonders of professional magic as a youngster, Burt Wonderstone recruits his best friend to be Anton Marvelton, his sidekick in a magic act built on pure enthusiasm and childlike wonder.  More than three decades later, Wonderstone and Marvelton are the biggest magic act on the Las Vegas strip, and Wonderstone has grown arrogant, jaded, and miserable.  When Steve Gray, a hipper street magician, breezes into town and usurps the duo, however, Wonderstone must rediscover his love of illusion in order to redeem himself and bring crowds back to his act.

Steve Carell (The 40 Year Virgin, Crazy, Stupid, Love.) stars as Wonderstone, with Steve Buscemi (Fargo) as Marvelton, Jim Carrey (Dumb & Dumber) as Gray, Olivia Wilde (TRON: Legacy) as Wonderstone's assistant Jane, and Alan Arkin (Argo) as Rance Holloway, a legendary magician who inspired Burt.  The supporting cast also includes James Gandolfini (Zero Dark Thirty), Brad Garrett (TV's Everybody Loves Raymond), Gillian Jacobs (TV's Community), and Jay Mohr (Street Kings).

Appropriately enough, the press day for The Incredible Burt Wonderstone was held in the air-conditioned neon oasis of Las Vegas, where stars Steve Carell, Jim Carrey, and Steve Buscemi were eager to talk up their new comedy.  The trio discussed building their outrageous yet human characters, comedy versus drama, the similarities between magicians and actors, working with David Copperfield, filming on location in Vegas, and Carrey's paunch, which he calls "Mr. Cuddly."

When a film's tagline is "Blood demands blood," revenge is clearly on the cinematic menu.

Dead Man Down, in theaters this Friday March 8th, follow Victor, the seemingly loyal right hand man of Alphonse, a ruthless criminal overlord.  What Alphonse doesn't know, however, is that his trusted enforcer is, in fact, planning an elaborate plan for retribution against his employer, a plan that would punish Alphonse for ruining his life.  Victor's neighbor, the mysterious and scarred Beatrice, discovers his plan and reveals that she has her own thirst for revenge.  Two hurt, wounded people fixated on vengeance, Victor and Beatrice form an unusually strong connection as they navigate the myriad twists and hazards on the road to retribution.

The film marks the English-language debut of acclaimed Danish director Niels Arden Oplev (the Swedish The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) and boasts a screenplay by J.H. Wyman (The Mexican, Fox's Fringe).

Colin Farrell (In Bruges, Total Recall remake) stars as Victor, with Noomi Rapace (Prometheus, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows) as Beatrice and Terrence Howard (Iron Man, Hustle & Flow) as the nefarious Alphonse.  The film also features Dominic Cooper (Captain America: The First Avenger, The Devil's Double), Isabelle Huppert (Amour, 8 Women), and Robert Vataj (The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3) in crucial supporting roles.

At the Los Angeles press day promoting Dead Man Down, IAR Managing Editor Jami Philbrick had the opportunity, along with several other members of the press, to speak with the film's stars, Colin FarrellNoomi Rapace, and Terrence Howard, in roundtable interviews, as well as Robert Vataj privately on the phone. Farrell, RapaceHoward, and Vataj all enthusiastically discussed working with Oplev, their damaged characters, sharing balconies, accidentally smacking each other, working with rats, and the unique relationships that power Dead Man Down.

Disney's Oz the Great and Powerful goes back to a fantasy world familiar to the millions of fans who adore The Wizard of Oz.  Yet this time, they'll find no ruby slippers, no Toto, and no Dorothy.

Instead, this Friday's 3D adventure doubles back on the 1939 musical classic, to a time in Oz before Dorothy's arrival, to show just how the Wizard of Oz became the Wizard of Oz. 

Inspired by The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum's children's novel first published in 1900, Oz the Great and Powerful stars James Franco (127 Hours) as Oscar Diggs, an ethically dubious small-time circus magician.  When he inadvertently rides a hot-air balloon into a Kansas tornado, he finds himself in the strange and colorful land of Oz, where he's mistaken for a great wizard of prophecy.  Oscar plays along, complicating the already fraught relationships between three powerful witches: Glinda, Theodora, and Evanora, played respectively by Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine), Mila Kunis (Black Swan), and Rachel Weisz (The Bourne Legacy).  In order to save this magical landscape, Oscar Diggs must perform a miraculous trick by becoming a truly good man.

At the Los Angeles press day promoting Oz the Great and Powerful, IAR Managing Editor Jami Philbrick, along with other members of the press, had the opportunity to sit in on a press conference with James Franco, Michelle Williams, Mila Kunis, and Rachel Weisz.  All four talented actors were happy to discuss the big-budget fantasy film, heaping praise on their director and discussing their memories of the 1939 film, the collaborative nature of this production, spending time on wire rigs, and finding the humanity in their outsized characters.

IAR's Oscar Winner Predictions

Thursday, 21 February 2013 08:34

With Oscar ballots due Tuesday, and less than a week to go until the awards are handed out on Sunday, February 24th, let's take a look at how things stand in the race for the gold. This is undoubtedly the most unpredictable Oscar race in years, and there has not been this much uncertainty since Crash faced off against Brokeback Mountain back in 2006.

IAR's Oscar Preview 2013

Wednesday, 20 February 2013 13:34

Ladies and gentlemen, girls and boys, Rogues of all stripes, the time is finally here. 

The Oscars have arrived.

Actually, not quite.  But the 85th Annual Academy Awards are this Sunday, February 24th.  The ceremony, held at the Dolby Theatre in the Hollywood & Highland Center in Los Angeles, California, is hosted this year by Seth MacFarlane, who also scored his first nomination on account of the song "Everybody Needs a Buddy" from Ted.  The stars are set to turn out for the most ostentatious night in Hollywood, from the "Who are you wearing?" hysteria of the red carpet to the ecstatic acceptance speeches to the inevitable after-parties.

Like you, we here at iamROGUE have Oscar fever, and we're hemorrhaging some of the finest awards season coverage anywhere online.

IAR Blu-ray Preview: 'Argo'

Monday, 18 February 2013 12:19

A week from now, it is most likely that director Ben Affleck’s Argo, which will be available on Blu-ray and DVD beginning February 19th, will have won Best Picture at the 2013 Academy Awards. 

While the filmmaker was shockingly snubbed of a Best Director Oscar nomination, he and the film have gone on to win almost every award imaginable including Best Picture and Best Director at the Golden Globes and the Critics’ Choice Awards, as well as Outstanding Cast Performance at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, and Outstanding Directorial Achievement at the DGA Awards. Affleck previously won an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay along with Matt Damon for co-writing Good Will Hunting, and Argo marks his third directorial effort following the critically acclaimed Gone Baby Gone, and The Town

IAR Mixing Stage Visit: 'Olympus Has Fallen'

Tuesday, 22 January 2013 18:40

Ever since John McClane first uttered the words “Yippee-ki-yay, motherfucker” in Die Hard almost twenty-five years ago, Hollywood has been copying the extraordinary success of that film. In fact, the groundbreaking movie actually created its own sub-category of action film that has been repeated many times and affectionately referred to as “Die Hard on a plane,” as in the case of Passenger 57, or “Die Hard on a boat,” as in the case of Under Siege, or even “Die Hard in a hockey rink,” as in the case of Sudden Impact. Actually, I once heard a story about a studio executive that pitched an idea to a writer and said, “Its Die Hard in a building!” The writer replied, “Hasn’t that been done before?” To which the executive quickly answered, “Yeah, but only in the first movie!”

Well, now audience can get ready for a new twist on the “Die Hard in a …” concept, “Die Hard in the White House.” In fact, there are actually two “Die Hard in the White House” films coming out in 2013, believe it or not. However, it is not unusual to see Hollywood release two similar high-concept films at the same time. Remember when asteroid movies (Deep Impact, Armageddon) were all the rage? And don’t forget that there was two films featuring the 16th President (Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) released last year. So it should be no surprise that Training Day director Antoine Fuqua’s Olympus Has Fallen, which opens in theaters on March 22nd and features Gerard Butler as a Secret Service agent saving Aaron Eckhart’s President from terrorists, is being released just a few months ahead of Independence Day director Roland Emmerich’s White House Down, which similarly finds Channing Tatums Secret Service agent trying to save Jamie Foxx’s President from terrorists. 

Last week, I had the pleasure of being invited to the Olympus Has Fallen mixing stage, along with a select group of journalists, to see the new trailer for the film (which was released online yesterday), as well as three unfinished scenes, and a chance to speak with director Antoine Fuqua about his new movie. As anyone who has had a chance to see the trailer can tell you, it looks extremely cool and I was personally very impressed with all the footage that I saw. 

IAR SET VISIT: 'Safe Haven'

Wednesday, 16 January 2013 09:00

Are you looking for the perfect date movie for Valentine’s Day?

Then look no further than the new romantic-thriller Safe Haven, which opens in theaters on Thursday February 14th and is from Academy Award-nominated director Lasse Hallstrom (The Cider House Rules, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?), best selling author Nicholas Sparks (The Notebook, A Walk to Remember) and Relativity Media, the same team behind the box office smash Dear John

Safe Haven revolves around a young woman named Kate (Julianne Hough) with a mysterious past. When Kate arrives in the small town of Southport, North Carolina, she bonds with a widower named Alex (Josh Duhamel) with two small children of his own. Reluctant to build any ties in community, Kate and Alex eventually begin a relationship that will be threatened by the dark secrets of her past. In addition to Hough and Duhamel, the film also features performances from Cobie Smulders (The Avengers), David Lyons (NBC’s Revolution), Noah Lomax (Playing for Keeps), and newcomer Mimi Kirkland

Last summer, I had the pleasure of traveling to Wilmington, North Carolina (along with several other members of the press) to visit the set of Safe Haven and talk with some of the cast and crew. While on set, I had a chance to speak with acclaimed director Lasse Hallstrom, and actors Julianne Hough and Josh Duhamel, as well as witness filming, which included a staged fire and even a complete fireworks show. 

It's Archer-palooza, folks. 

Not only is Season Three, which saw the FX series ascending to new heights of absurdity and irreverence, now available on extras-packed Blu-ray and DVD, but Season Four premieres on the cable network at 10:00 pm Eastern and Pacific on Thursday, January 17th.

Created by Adam Reed, Archer takes place in the familiar world of stylized, movie-style espionage, following the unabashedly selfish, vain, libidinous, and inconsiderate staff of the International Secret Intelligence Service (ISIS).  Foremost among them is the title character, Sterling Archer, codename: Duchess.  It's a one of a kind series with a unique wit, lovably unlikable characters, and a propensity towards genuinely surprising turns.

In order to promote the new Blu-ray and the upcoming fourth season, the minds behind Archer brought the animated series to the people with Archer Live!, a four city tour that found the show's voice cast and executive producer putting on a delightfully anarchic, riff-heavy show for devoted Archer fans, who turned out in droves.  IAR was lucky enough to cover the inaugural performance of Archer Live! earlier this month at the Echoplex in Los Angeles.

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