Review: 'The Tribe' uses only sign language to tell a hard and haunting story
Credit: Drafthouse Films

Review: 'The Tribe' uses only sign language to tell a hard and haunting story

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Love it or hate it, you'll never forget this one

From the moment the company was formed, Drafthouse Films has been about taking on challenges that are worth the time and effort. After all, the first film they distributed was the brilliant Chris Morris comedy "Four Lions," a movie that dared take a dark comic look at suicide bombers. That's not why the film is great, of course. Anyone can try to offend. There's no skill in that. But Morris made something smart and human and worthwhile, and Drafthouse did their very best to get the film the best possible release.

So when you describe a film as a "hard sell," it may be terrifying to some distributors, but not Drafthouse. If they believe in something, they'll take the chance and they'll do their best. One of the most unusual films they own right now played Cannes, Toronto and Fantastic Fest, and it's playing now at the AFI Fest in Los Angeles, and it is the sort of film that is worth seeing more than once, and it's absolutely worth sharing with other people.

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New details on 'Warcraft' movie give viewers equal time with Alliance and Horde
Credit: Legendary

New details on 'Warcraft' movie give viewers equal time with Alliance and Horde

BlizzCon seems like the perfect place to start this conversation

Well, of COURSE they did the first big reveal for "Warcraft" details at BlizzCon.

It's only fitting that they would speak directly to the most actively engaged fans of everything having to do with the universe that's been created and carefully tended by Blizzard Entertainment. They have been very careful about the way they've exploited that fanbase, the way they've spun things into other media. They've taken their time. They have not rushed to get to this moment, so this sort of reveal is designed to speak directly to people who love this and take it seriously. Duncan Jones, the director of 2016's big fantasy epic, was at the convention today along with Chris Metzen (Senior Vice President of Story and Franchise Development for Blizzard Entertainment), VFX legend Bill Westenhofer (VFX supervisor for the film), and Rob Kazinsky, one of the stars of the movie.

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Jamie Chung and Genesis Rodriguez are no one's sidekicks in 'Big Hero 6'
Credit: HitFix

Jamie Chung and Genesis Rodriguez are no one's sidekicks in 'Big Hero 6'

It's so nice to see how these characters are treated in the film

While I would never recommend a film only because of its message or its themes, when a movie can entertain and inspire in equal measure, I consider it a tremendous bonus. That's the case with "Big Hero 6," which opens in theaters everywhere this weekend. It is a fun, sweet, occasionally very silly superhero story that mixes equal parts Disney Feature Animation and Marvel Comics to excellent effect. It is also, unabashedly, a film that celebrates the virtues of being smart.

It amazes me that we should have to reinforce that idea at all. It should be a given at this point that there is something admirable about genuine intellectual curiosity, and it should be exciting on a cultural level when we make major breakthroughs in science. Instead, there seems to be a cultural divide, and it seems to be getting wider, in which there are people who are defiantly proud to be stupid. We have a mainstream where every opinion, no matter how stupid, is given equal weight, and we pretend that it's all about opinion instead of fact.

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'Ask Drew' features a Michael Jackson memory and a very personal Movie God game
Credit: 20th Century Fox/Dreamworks Animation

'Ask Drew' features a Michael Jackson memory and a very personal Movie God game

We lost one of my favorite answers this week to a tech glitch

It's always a bummer when a technical glitch happens.

This week, we lost an entire question and answer to some sort of strange microphone flutter. Someone wrote in to ask about the year 1994, asking if there were films that were overshadowed by "Pulp Fiction" that year that deserved some praise, and I took the opportunity to sing the praises of Roger Avary's "Killing Zoe" for a bit. I love that movie, and I think it's got a great dark evil energy about it. The work by Eric Stoltz and Julie Delpy is outstanding, and Jean-Hugues Anglade is like some mad hallucination in it.

Anyway, we had to lose the whole thing, so it's a quicker-than-normal episode of "Ask Drew!" this week. We had a longer-than-expected hiatus between episodes, and we'll be turning that around and getting back on the every-other-week schedule now. It was my schedule that complicated everything. Our video team is always up for for this, and they said we've been getting waves of questions lately.

Remember… you need to send your question directly to video@hitfix.com so that they can compile them without me seeing anything. We played Movie God again this week, and it was a very specific variation on the game, with them pitting two infamous articles I wrote against each other.

We'll be back with a new "Ask Drew" sooner rather than later, so keep the questions coming in, and thanks as always for playing along.

Review: Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac anchor peculiar and powerful 'A Most Violent Year'
Credit: A24

Review: Jessica Chastain and Oscar Isaac anchor peculiar and powerful 'A Most Violent Year'

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Oscar Isaac has been edging towards his movie star moment for a while

New York CIty, 1981, is a blasted moral hellscape against which a very primal struggle for survival unfolds in a very tense thirty days, all for the right to supply homes with heating oil.

J. C. Chandor's "A Most Violent Year" is a powerfully told story, a thrilling surprise, and both Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain do remarkable work as a couple trying to close a deal that will turn their heating oil company into a much larger overall business, the deal they've been working their whole lives to prepare. This one particular month starts with them confident, convinced they're going to take things to the next level, and it unfolds with them increasingly unsure that they're going to pull it off. It is a movie about an entire city conspiring to test a marriage, and the way this one particular couple fights their way through.

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Disney confirms John Lasseter will direct 'Toy Story 4' for June 2017 release
Credit: Pixar

Disney confirms John Lasseter will direct 'Toy Story 4' for June 2017 release

No other details are known so far

File this one under "inevitable."

Bob Iger held an earnings call on Thursday afternoon, and as part of that call, he announced that John Lasseter will direct "Toy Story 4" for the studio, with the film scheduled to arrive in theaters June 2017.

This shouldn't shock anyone. "Toy Story" was not only the film that launched Pixar as a feature animated company, but it has also proven to be their most respected and enduring franchise. They were able to make three films, all of them strong and smart and individual, all of them critically acclaimed as well as financially successful. As franchises go, "Toy Story" is in rare company, one of the few that has yet to disappoint with some entry.

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'Lone Survivor' creative team signs on for 'Six Billion Dollar Man' reboot
Credit: Universal Pictures

'Lone Survivor' creative team signs on for 'Six Billion Dollar Man' reboot

I'm dying to know what tone they'll try for this one

While I wasn't the biggest fan of "Lone Survivor," I was impressed with the way they managed to turn it into a genuine hit. It's a pretty stark and brutal story, but Mark Wahlberg worked overtime to help sell the movie, and it's obvious that it came from a place of real passion for him.

Peter Berg has such a strange filmography at this point that I've basically given up trying to guess what he'll do next. I always walk in hoping for him to put it all together as well as he does in films like "Friday Night Lights" or "The Rundown," because I think he's got the chops. I like that he's done some of everything at this point. Looking at how he shoots action in "Hancock," for example, or even in "Lone Survivor," he's got a sense for how to build a sequence. I just think he's been hindered by scripts at times. I like how he shot "Battleship," but I don't like the actual story being told.

It's exciting to hear that Berg and Wahlberg will collaborate for "The Six Billion Dollar Man," because there's plenty of potential in that idea. Universal's been trying to make a new updated version of this property for at least 20 years now, so I'm a little surprised to see that this is now in the hands of the Weinsteins. One of the earliest Hollywood script assignments that Kevin Smith took after he broke with "Clerks" was writing a version of what was still "The Six MIllion Dollar Man" at that point. There have been comedy versions, action versions, hybrids of the two.

I'm old enough to actually remember the show when it was on the air. I had the action figures. I had a lunchbox. I thought the show was really, really cool. When they released the complete series DVD set a year or two ago, I picked it up and started trying to watch a few episodes, and I'm shocked at how different it is from what I remember. This is why I find nostalgia so fascinating. So often, people's feelings about a thing are disconnected from the actual thing, and they're more about when something came out or who they were at the time. While there's some name recognition value for "The Six Billion Dollar Man," Universal has a pretty much blank slate to tell any story they want.

There was a book that actually came first, "Cyborg," and it's got a much more grim and straight-faced tone than the show, which is a very odd mix of tones. Whichever writer Dimension Films brings on to work with Berg and Wahlberg, their biggest trick is going to be figuring out what kind of movie this is. According to the report on Deadline, Universal may actually have a financial stake in this version. Wahlberg's got a lot of things lined up already, so we'll see when they end up ready to go in front of the camera on this.

For now, it's an intriguing prospect, if nothing else.

You can see Mark Wahlberg in "The Gambler," in theaters January 1, 2015.

As principal photography ends, 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' gets a title
Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

As principal photography ends, 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' gets a title

Sounds pretty good to us

In what feels like the ultimate anti-hype move, the title for "Star Wars Episode VII" was revealed today in a single tweet steering fans to the official website, where a single slide contains all the new information.

"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" has completed principal photography.

That's a fairly safe title, but honestly, I don't need clever or cool from a title. Based on everything we know so far about the film, "The Force Awakens" sounds like it's pretty dead-on in terms of explaining what's going on.

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Channing Tatum in discussions for key role in Tarantino's 'Hateful 8' western
Credit: Warner Bros

Channing Tatum in discussions for key role in Tarantino's 'Hateful 8' western

It's really happening! Thank god.

While I understand exactly why his first impulse was to walk away from "The Hateful Eight" when the script initially leaked in January, I am glad that Quentin Tarantino reconsidered.

I was there on April 19th when Tarantino staged the script as a live read, using the draft that leaked, and I thought it was a fascinating evening. That draft essentially ended like "Reservoir Dogs," and it seemed anti-climactic after the careful way the rest of the script builds. Then again, this was always meant to be a first draft, and I've got to assume that the ending was always going to be the thing that Tarantino focused on getting right. In general, I think he's demonstrated a knack for knowing exactly how a film should end.

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Review: Stephen Hawking biopic 'Theory Of Everything' captures messy nature of love
Credit: Focus Features

Review: Stephen Hawking biopic 'Theory Of Everything' captures messy nature of love

HitFix
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Eddie Redmayne's performance deserves the hype

One of the painful truths about love is that it is messy. Movies tend to trim off all the rough edges in favor of a neater, more digestible narrative, and the love story between Stephen Hawking and his wife Jane seems like a perfect candidate for that sort of nice, clean, safe repackaging.

What makes "The Theory Of Everything," directed by James ("Man On Wire") Marsh, so very effective is that it's not afraid of the mess, the contradictions, the lunacy that is part and parcel with love, and both Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones do exemplary work in the lead roles. "Theory" is unabashedly nostalgic, shot through the hazy filter of warm memory, especially as it opens in 1963 with a young Stephen at Cambridge, still wrestling to figure out what his life's work will be.

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