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Dave Ayer Releases Photo of Jared Leto as the Joker from Suicide Squad

Is this the Joker we need?
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I try to be open-minded. When it comes to movies, I don't immediately dismiss sequels or remakes at their announcement. I am indifferent to casting news because I have no idea what producers and directors have in mind for a script I haven't read nor how well someone may have performed at an audition. Comic-book fanatics take it to another level and seem in perpetual outrage over the creative choices made as their favorite characters are brought to life on screen. Any deviation to what has come before is frequently met with a large amount of derision, whether it be

Fortitude is the Pick of the Week

This week's new releases include a murder in the arctic, a sad Jennifer Aniston, Iranian vampires, Liam Neeson getting taken (again), and some arty foreign flicks.
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One of the best parts of writing this column every week is learning about all the movies and shows that are coming out that I’d somehow missed the first go round. I try to stay pretty well keyed in to what’s hitting the movie theaters each week and what’s showing on the TV, but there is just so much stuff coming out each and every day that it's impossible to know about it all. With this column I get to browse everything that’s coming out in a given week on DVD and Blu-ray and not a week goes by that

New Trailers for Fantastic Four (2015) and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Are these the heroes you need?
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Although many are probably still watching The Force Awakens trailer on an endless loop since it debuted Thursday, a couple of other franchises wanted to remind folks this weekend they also have new films coming out as well. But how well do they work? Does either change your interest in seeing them? Let us know if the comments below. The official synopsis for Fantastic Four (2015): A contemporary re-imagining of Marvel’s original and longest-running superhero team, centers on four young outsiders (Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, and Jamie Bell) who teleport to an alternate and dangerous universe, which

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Official Teaser #2

"Chewie, we're home."
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It's here. After screening at the Star Wars Celebration 2015, the new teaser trailer hits the web, and it's sure to delight fans with new footage, particularly getting to hear Luke Skywalker and see Han Solo and Chewie. Let's us know what you think of it in the comments. Star Wars: The Force Awakens opens in theaters December 18, 2015.

TCM Honors Sophia Loren on April 21

Film debut kicks off primetime tribute to legendary actress Sophia Loren.
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On Tuesday, April 21, beginning at 8 p.m. (ET), Turner Classic Movies follows up its celebration of Sophia Loren at the 2015 TCM Classic Film Festival by airing five of her films, including the most recent, Human Voice, which was shot by her son, Edoardo Ponti Press release: Turner Classic Movies will host the U.S. Television premiere of filmmaker Edoardo Ponti’s short film Human Voice, starring Sophia Loren as part of the networks five-film tribute to the actress on Tuesday, April. 21. The evening is scheduled to kick off at 8 p.m. with the U.S. television debut of the internationally

Criterion Announces July 2015 Releases

A killer line-up of titles this month.
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In July, Criterion adds Carroll Ballard's The Black Stallion, Jan Troell's Here Is Your Life, Stephen Frears' My Beautiful Laundrette, and Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom to its illustrious collection. They also present new digitial restorations of both Robert Siodmak and Don Siegel's versions of The Killers, and Alain Resnais' directorial debut, the French New Wave classic Hiroshima mon amour. Read on to learn more about the films and the releases. The Killers (#176) out Jul 7 in Blu-ray & DVD Editions Ernest Hemingway’s simple but gripping short tale “The Killers” is a model of economical storytelling. Two directors adapted it

Maps to the Stars is the Pick of the Week

This week brings us new films by David Croneberg, Jean-Luc Goddard, and Tim Burton plus old films by Carol Reed and Preston Sturges and much more.
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Since I first started watching films, or at least taking them seriously, I’ve consumed them for their directors more than anything else. Writers develop the building blocks of a movie, actors add the color, producers build the scaffolding, but it's the directors who really make the movie what it is. I guess I was a fan of the auteur theory long before I even knew what that was. Over the last few years, I’ve been trying to watch some of my favorite directors' entire oeuvres. I started with the Coen Brothers, then moved onto Martin Scorsese, and am about to

The Star Wars Saga Is Available on Digital HD April 10

The Walt Disney Studios will “finally bring all six films to Digital HD for the first time.”
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Press release: As anticipation builds for the December release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, the first new film in the Star Wars Saga in a decade, The Walt Disney Studios, Lucasfilm Ltd., and 20th Century Fox today announced the upcoming release of The Star Wars Digital Movie Collection. For the first time ever, all six epic films in the Saga, from The Phantom Menace to Return of the Jedi, will be available on Digital HD throughout the galaxy - or at least here on Earth - globally beginning Friday, April 10. “Since the debut of the first film nearly

A Most Violent Year is the Pick of the Week

This week brings us the Netflix rabbit hole, the Fighters of Foo, The Immigrant and some TV boxed sets.
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One of the best things about Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and the other streaming services is finding something you’d never know about if not for them. I love browsing through the various suggestions on Netflix, clicking on something, then looking at what they suggest if I like that movie, then clicking on an actor from that film to see what else they have by him, etc, etc, and so forth. Down the rabbit hole, we go until something pops and I click play, often having never heard of the film before. I discovered Margin Call that way. That’s the 2011 drama

The Imitation Game is the Pick of the Week

It's a big week for interesting new releases including an Alan Turing biopic, a big outer-space epic, Reese Witherspoon getting real, Hugh Grant being Hugh Grant and much more.
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Whenever a film based upon real events comes out, there is always a lot of discussion over how historically accurate it is. There are always loud swaths of people who claim the film is nonsense or rubbish because it got one detail or another completely wrong. But then when the film is praised for its accuracy, the other swaths wind up calling it boring, or unnervingly slow. Between these two extremes lies the difficulties of making a "based upon a true story" movie. No matter how an exciting a life one might live, there are still going to be large

Old School Kung Fu Fest 2015 at Anthology Film Archives

Ninjas are invading New York next month! You've been warned.
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Press release: Subway Cinema and Anthology Film Archives present The Old School Kung Fu Fest, a four-day celebration of the rarest, wildest, and most incredible martial arts and action cinema from the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s is back at the Anthology Film Archives for its 5th edition, which is dedicated to the deadliest fighter of them all...the ninja! Since the dawn of time, man’s natural predator has been the ninja. Hiding in your shower, crouching behind your laptop, clinging to your back — the ninja is everywhere. What killed the dinosaurs? Ninja. What battles great white shark? Ninja. Who is

Into the Woods is the Pick of the Week

This week brings a big Hollywood musical, a bigger battle for Middle Earth, a collection of documentaries, neatly packaged fury, and Angelina Jolie as a director.
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A funny thing happened on the way to posting this week’s pick. Yesterday, I wrote the words you will read below, which is all about how I’ve developed mix feelings for the theatre. I was hopeful over Into the Woods, but was afraid that I wouldn’t like it and be forced to turn in my theatre-geek card. But before I could post it I had to put my daughter to bed, and when I returned, my wife had stolen the computer and refused to relinquish it until way past my bed time. A day has since passed and in that

getTV Programming Highlights for April 2015

The channel celebrates the extraordinary legacy of Melvyn Douglas with 12 of the two-time Oscar-winner's finest films.
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Melvyn Douglas, an Oscar winner for Hud and Being There, is getTV's Star of the Month in April, and his films will be featured every Thursday night. "Friday Icons" starts each weekend by putting the spotlight on Spencer Tracy, Bette Davis, William Holden, and Ann Miller, and every Saturday sees the Western line-up stating at high noon with a Tim McCoy double feature. More details about the month's schedule are available in the channel's press release below. Press release: getTV celebrates the extraordinary legacy of Melvyn Douglas with 12 of the two-time Oscar-winner’s finest films, every Thursday in April at

My 2015 TCM Classic Film Festival Schedule (subject to change)

Each year it is harder to decide on what to see.
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With the 2015 TCM Classic Film Festival a week away, I have started planning my schedule. Each year it is harder to decide on what to watch. I go in thinking I will stick with films I have not yet seen, but all-time favorites have a tendency to sneak onto my schedule. Below is my list of the top films I am most excited about and likely to attend (as of right now). Thursday: Too Late for Tears (1949): My festival will start off with my most sought after genre, film noir. I have never heard of the film but

The Soft Skin is the Pick of the Week

This week brings us early Truffaut, new Chris Rock, classic film noir, a silly sequel, and more.
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Before she became a stay-at-home mom (and forced me to get a real job, le sigh) my wife taught French at university. A small university. In Tennessee. She was the French department. Like all of it. The only person on campus that spoke French, I think. She made a real go of it, offering as many classes as she could but also hosting regular crepe days, celebrating French holidays, and inviting the kids to our house for the viewing of French films. My wife is a francophile and she lives to share that passion. Especially with me. I like to

Criterion Announces June 2015 Releases

Something old, something new.
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In June, Criterion packages previous titles in the collection, Louis Malle's My Dinner with André and Vanya on 42nd Street, with Jonathan Demme's A Master Builder to create André Gregory & Wallace Shawn: 3 Films. Those films will also be available individually. Bob Rafelson's Five Easy Pieces is being released apart from the America Lost and Found: The BBS Story set. New to the Criterion Collection are Bernhard Wicki's The Bridge, Terry Gilliam's The Fisher King, and Jaromil Jireš' Valerie and Her Week of Wonders. André Gregory & Wallace Shawn: 3 Films out Jun 16 in Blu-ray & DVD Editions

RiffTrax Announces Their Live 2015 Schedule

"Much like the '27 Yankees -- or perhaps more like 'The Three Stooges' in their latter days, with Curly Joe Derita, we feel like we have the perfect line-up in place for 2015.” - Michael J. Nelson
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Press release: The fans have spoken and has listened. Based on overwhelming fan demand, Fathom Events, RiffTrax, and IGN are thrilled to announce multiple RiffTrax events --all at once-- to keep fans laughing throughout the year. “RiffTrax LIVE 2015,” will consist of a series of four “classics” to be lambasted by the men of RiffTrax -- Michael J. Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett (best known for the groundbreaking “Mystery Science Theater 3000”). Kicking off the series will be RiffTrax Live: The Room on May 6 and May 12; followed by RiffTrax Live: Sharknado 2: The Second One on

The Sound of Music (50th Anniversary Edition) is the Pick of the Week

This week brings us a Bible story, a silly remake, a sillier b-movie, and hills coming alive.
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My sophomore year in college I started working for the university dinner theatre via the work study program. The previous semester I’d worked for the library and found it extraordinarily dull. I wasn’t all that interested in the theatre at that point, but I was happy to no longer be staring at book spines all day. Turns out, I absolutely adored the theatre work and stayed there the rest of my academic career. It was a small school and an even smaller theatre so I was often called upon to help out with the various productions we put on. I

Foxcatcher is the Pick of the Week

This week brings us a very serious Steve Carell, a not so humble Al Pacino, an old Robin Hood, and a gruff sheriff.
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Wrestling (real wrestling - not that soap-opera stuff you see on cable TV) is an odd sort of sport. You basically dress two people in tights, toss them on a rubber mat, and watch while they try to roll each other on the ground. I know there is more to it than that and I don’t mean to belittle the sport’s rich history, its athleticism, or the skill involved, but really it is pretty silly. Which probably helps explain why it never really took off professionally (aside from the even more silly aforementioned soap-opera stuff) and why there aren’t a

Remembering Leonard Nimoy (1931-2015)

His work will live long and the audience will prosper from it.
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Leonard Nimoy died on February 27 due to complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which he claimed was due to having been a smoker even though he had kicked the habit nearly 30 years. Though he had a long career as an actor playing a variety of parts, he became forever identified the world over as Star Trek's Mr. Spock, the half-human/half-Vulcan First Officer of the Enterprise. He not only played Spock on the initial TV series for three seasons, but would return to it many times over the years from The Animated Series and the theatrical movies, and

getTV Programming Highlights for March 2015

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Press release: Start the week with some of Tinsel Town’s finest and most desirable actors, as getTV presents a special “Hollywood Heartthrobs” block, every Monday in March at 7 p.m. ET. The stunt pays tribute to some of the most distinguished and finely chiseled men to ever hit the silver screen and kicks off on March 2 with the incomparable Cary Grant in the Howard Hawks comedy HIS GIRL FRIDAY, and THE TALK OF THE TOWN, with Jean Arthur. Then, Steve McQueen soars as a bomber pilot in THE WAR LOVER with Robert Wagner, and BABY THE RAIN MUST FALL

Shirley MacLaine, Peter Fonda, George Lazenby, and Others Added to 2015 TCM Classic Film Festival

The roster of guests and films has expanded.
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New additions to the 2015 TCM Classic Film Festivals line-up have been announced by The Hollywood Reporter. Shirley MacLaine will be appearing at screenings of Billy Wilder's The Apartment (1960) and William Wyler's The Children's Hour (1961). She will also sit with Robert Osborne for a conversation about her career. Peter Fonda is set to introduce two films in which his father Henry was directed by John Ford, Young Mr. Lincoln (1939) and My Darling Clementine (1946). Peter will also appear at a separate interview session with author Scott Eyman, who has written a number of books about Hollywood luminaries

Whiplash is the Pick of the Week

This week features two Oscar winners, two Criterions, and a quaint historical drama.
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Out of all the winners (and even nominees) of last night’s Oscars, I’ve seen exactly one (The Grand Budapest Hotel). That’s low by even my standards. I’ve lamented in these pages before how I rarely get out to the movies anymore, but this year it was even worse. This is mainly due to me losing my privileges as a stay-at-home dad and having to go out and get a job. Employment means being away from the house for many hours at a time which means less time to take in a film (though I must add being a stay-at-home dad
Press release: Long Beach Comic Expo is unveiling legendary guests and buzzworthy panels, as well as innovative programs and new partners, in preparation for the 6th annual Long Beach Comic Expo, to be held at the Long Beach Convention Center on February 28 and March 1, 2015. The Expo will play host to more than 140 guests and 50 panels and, for the first time, it will be held in the full exhibit hall. Long Beach Comic Expo is proud to announce bestselling writer Chris Claremont and bestselling artist Ethan Van Sciver as the Long Beach Comic Expo Guests of

Dustin Hoffman, Alec Baldwin, and Spike Lee Added to the 2015 TCM Classic Film Festival Lineup

Also appearing are Oscar-winning film editor Anne V. Coates and stuntman and stunt coordinator Terry Leonard.
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Press release: TCM (Turner Classic Movies) will welcome several notable film luminaries to the already-exciting lineup for the 2015 TCM Classic Film Festival. Oscar® winner Dustin Hoffman, Oscar nominee Alec Baldwin, and Oscar-nominated filmmaker Spike Lee are set to appear at the festival, taking place in Hollywood March 26-29. Dustin Hoffman will sit down for an extended discussion with Oscar nominee and former co-host of TCM’s The Essentials, Alec Baldwin following a screening of Bob Fosse’s Lenny (1974). Hoffman earned an Oscar nomination for his performance as comedian Lenny Bruce. Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Spike Lee will present a screening of

Criterion Announces May 2015 Releases

This month's releases may break your bank.
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In May, Criterion offers six releases. Five are new to the Collection. Those titles are Mark Rydell's The Rose, Charlie Chaplin's Limelight, Rainer Werner Fassbinder's The Merchant of Four Seasons, and two from Costa-Gavras' State of Siege and The Confession. Also scheduled is one high-definition digital restoration: Leo McCarey’s Make Way for Tomorrow. The Rose (#757) out May 19 in Blu-ray & DVD Editions Bette Midler exploded onto the screen with her take-no-prisoners performance in this quintessential film about fame and addiction from director Mark Rydell. Midler is the rock-and-roll singer Mary Rose Foster (known as the Rose to her

Last Chance Before the Oscars to See Interstellar in IMAX

The one-day-only “An Encore Of Interstellar: The IMAX Experience” will play in AMC Theatres on Saturday, February 21, 2015.
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Press release: Paramount Pictures, IMAX Corporation and AMC Theatres are giving fans one last opportunity to see Christopher Nolan’s Academy Award-nominated film Interstellar. The critically acclaimed film will play in the IMAX format in select AMC Theatres in the U.S. on Saturday, February 21st, 2015 at 3:00 p.m. local times and will feature more than 12 minutes of never-before-seen exclusive behind-the-scenes content. Moviegoers who purchase a ticket at a participating AMC Theatres box office to see “An Encore of Interstellar: The IMAX Experience” can receive an additional ticket free. This special offer is only available at participating AMC Theatres box

Birdman is the Pick of the Week

This week has us talking about has-been super-heroes, Japanese folk-tales, dumb comedies, and life itself.
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Last year, I moved from a teeny tiny little town in Tennessee to a slightly larger one in Oklahoma. The benefit of the slightly larger one is that it's fairly close to a much larger city, namely Tulsa, Oklahoma. Now, Tulsa isn’t the most cosmopolitan of metropolises. It isn’t the biggest and brightest of places in the universe. It's not even the largest city in Oklahoma, and lord knows Oklahoma rarely shows up on anybody’s places you want to be. But it has its appeal. It has some nice shopping, some big parks, a couple of museums (and while they

Nightcrawler is the Pick of the Week

This week brings us social commentaries, based-on true stories, foreign horror, and a drugged-up nurse.
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In Nightcrawler, Jake Gyllenhaal plays Lou Bloom, a seedy young man who makes a name for himself filming crime scenes and selling them to a local Los Angeles news station which in turn uses it to draw larger and larger viewers to their screens. They come, of course, in droves, leading Lou to make more videos with more lurid crimes and eventually pushes him to manipulate the scenes. That’s an interesting set up and one rife with social commentary. It is almost cliche to talk about the media-saturated world in which we live, and yet here we are. The standard

John Wick is the Pick of the Week

After missing a week I'm back talking about Keanu Reeves, the search for happiness, Australian nurses and more.
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My computer crashed last week. Well, no, that is not exactly true, my computer got very sick so I reformatted it. It had been running very slow for a few months. Strangely, it got ridiculously slow whenever I ran iTunes. Like every 90 seconds or so, it would just lock up for a minute or two, then run fine only to freak out again after a little while. This would be exasperating to anyone but it was hopeless to someone like me who spends inordinate amounts of time listening to and manipulating music. I looked around a bit online to

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