<p>As we all know, nothing keeps a family together like a coffin.</p>

As we all know, nothing keeps a family together like a coffin.

Credit: Brainstorm Media

Review: 'The American Scream' documents home haunters following their dreams

HitFix
B+
Readers
A+
Sincere and smart, 'The American Scream' makes two great docs from this director

Michael Stephenson's first documentary, "Best Worst Movie," was about the infamously terrible "Troll 2" and the cult audience that has sprung up around it.  Stephenson had a special connection to the story being told seeing as how he was the young star of the film, and many of the interviews in that film would not have been possible or nearly as personal if Stephenson had not been behind the camera.

As a result, it would be easy to assume that his connection is the reason that film was so good, but that would be a mistake.  His second documentary, "The American Scream," is just as good if not better, and it indicates that Stephenson is a natural documentarian, a guy who is able to get his subjects to open up and reveal themselves and who is able to tell a great human story.  This time, the subject is "home haunters," people who put on elaborate haunted houses or set up extravagant displays as part of their celebration of Halloween.  The film is about to get a limited theatrical run, and it will also be airing on the Chiller network on Sunday, October 28, at 8:00 PM EST.

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<p>&quot;Go ahead... call me Madea again and see what happens.&nbsp; DO&nbsp;IT!&quot;</p>

"Go ahead... call me Madea again and see what happens.  DO IT!"

Credit: Summit Entertainment

Review: 'Alex Cross' seems artifically engineered for franchise success

HitFix
C
Readers
C-
Can Tyler Perry be as popular with a gun in his hand as with a wig on his head?

This weekend, Summit Entertainment is going to try to launch a new franchise with Tyler Perry starring as "Alex Cross," a character created by publishing juggernaut James Patterson, in a film directed by Rob Cohen, who directed the first "The Fast and the Furious," kicking off one of the few reliable franchises Universal has at the moment.  This is a perfect storm of franchise-friendly energy, and with the announcement this week that they are already in development on "Double Cross," the follow-up film, it seems like Summit is about as confident as a company can be.

And why not?  Tyler Perry has built one of the most reliable brand names in the business, made even more remarkable by the fact that he's done it with very little conventional press support.  Perry is, like Kevin Smith, someone I respect for their accomplishments even if I'm not crazy about the work they produce.  Perry worked hard to put together his media empire, and he targeted one audience aggressively, a tactic that has paid off in what looks like a sort of blind faith agreement between him and the people who see his films.  When they walk up to the ticket window, I'll bet money that nine times out of ten, they ask for a ticket to "Tyler Perry."

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<p>&quot;Yes, right over there is the bed we're going to use. I have terrible, terrible plans for you. There is, after all, a reason they call it a 'rogering'.&quot;</p>

"Yes, right over there is the bed we're going to use. I have terrible, terrible plans for you. There is, after all, a reason they call it a 'rogering'."

Credit: 20th Century Fox Home Video/MGM/UA

James Bond Declassified: File #11 - 'Moonraker' leaves the world of reality behind

HitFix
D+
Readers
C
One of the low points in the series gets almost everything wrong

JAMES BOND 007 DECLASSIFIED
FILE #11: "Moonraker"

This series will trace the cinema history of James Bond, while also examining Ian Fleming's original novels as source material and examining how faithful (or not) the films have been to his work.

Directed by Lewis Gilbert
Screenplay by Christopher Wood
Produced by Albert R. Broccoli and William P. Cartlidge and Michael G. Wilson

CHARACTERS / CAST

James Bond / Roger Moore
Dr. Holly Goodhead / Lois Chiles
Hugo Drax / Michael Lonsdale
Jaws / Richard Kiel
Corrine Dufour / Corinne Clery
Sir Frederick Gray / Geoffrey Keen
Chang / Toshiro Suga
Manuela / Emily Bolton
Dolly / Blanche Ravalec
Col. Scott / Mike Marshall
M / Bernard Lee
Q / Desmond Llewelyn
Miss Moneypenny / Lois Maxwell

CREDITS SEQUENCE

I get such a particular emotional surge seeing the Space Shuttle piggybacked on a plane.  The recent flybys here in LA were major events in my household, the slow drive across LA was reason enough to leave the house at a preposterously early hour on a Sunday morning, and if you get me started talking about the space program, it's hard to get me to shut up.  It is one of my favorite things, so imagine how space-crazy "Star Wars" fan me reacted when the sequel to "The Spy Who Loved Me" opened with the theft of the Space Shuttle, which hadn't actually launched yet.  Pretty much the perfect set-up for a Bond film for me, right?

Nine year old me would say yes.  Forty-two year old me, who just rewatched the movie, would not concur.

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<p>Carol Anne better stay away from television screens and Sam Raimi, because both evidently have evil plans in store for her</p>

Carol Anne better stay away from television screens and Sam Raimi, because both evidently have evil plans in store for her

Credit: MGM/UA Home Video

Is Sam Raimi directing the 'Poltergeist' remake after all?

The remake's writer seems to confirm that Raimi will be at the helm

If you spend much time on horror-oriented websites, chances are you saw some footage from the upcoming "Evil Dead" remake that leaked from the New York Comic Con.  I'll say this much for the film based on that quick look… it felt like an "Evil Dead" film.  I do not envy Fede Alvarez because he's going to have a lot of people gunning for him sight unseen on that movie.  The original is more than just a well-liked low-budget horror film.  It was a major announcement of voice by Sam Raimi, and the "Evil Dead" series features one of the most iconic central performances in the history of the genre from Bruce Campbell.

Monday night, DreamWorks Animation screened their upcoming animated film "Rise Of The Guardians" in New York, and it seems like people liked it.  I'm seeing it soon, and I'm very curious about it.  The combination of talent on the film is intriguing, including creative consultant Guillermo Del Toro, author and visual designer William Joyce, storyboard artist Peter Ramsey who is making his jump to directing on the film, and of course the screenwriter, David Lindsay-Abaire.

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<p>Denzel Washington may look like he's holding it together in the new Robert Zemeckis film 'Flight,' but he's hiding some serious pain behind those shades.</p>

Denzel Washington may look like he's holding it together in the new Robert Zemeckis film 'Flight,' but he's hiding some serious pain behind those shades.

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Review: 'Flight' takes Robert Zemeckis and Denzel Washington on an unexpected trip

HitFix
B
Readers
B
An unsparing look at a life spent in free-fall marks new territory for director and star

Robert Zemeckis has never made anything like "Flight," and Denzel Washington has rarely played a character this damaged.  I frequently feel like studio movies arrive somewhat predigested because of how many times we've seen variations on the same basic formulas, and when you do run into something that takes its own path, that tells its own story in a way you're not expecting, it can be positively shocking.  Working from a strong piece of material by John Gatins, Zemeckis seems to be trying something that is, for him, both new and a clear representation of the things that make him most interesting as a filmmaker.

I remember seeing Spike Lee talk about the making of "Mo' Better Blues," and one of the things that he said made the film difficult to shoot was a firm rule from Denzel Washington that he did not want to do any elaborate love scenes or any sort of onscreen nudity with a female co-star because of his own offscreen marriage.  As good as he is, there's often a sense that he's holding back something, that he is careful about his image.  It's the sort of thing that I think often affects Will Smith's choices as a movie star as well, and it can be hard to let go of after you've lived with it for a long time.  I couldn't help but think about that when we first see Denzel in this film, in bed with Nadine Velazquez, finishing a beer for breakfast and doing a rail to wake himself up as she walks around the room totally nude.  At one point, he gives a sideways glance right up her backside as he talks on the phone, and there is a world weary quality to the beat that is both funny and immediately crushing.  This is the sort of performance where there's no personal vanity involved, and there's no thought of Denzel as Denzel.

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<p>Chloe Grace Moretz steps into the shoes of Carrie White in what looks like a very timely remake of Stephen King's 'Carrie'</p>

Chloe Grace Moretz steps into the shoes of Carrie White in what looks like a very timely remake of Stephen King's 'Carrie'

Credit: Screen Gems

First 'Carrie' trailer suggests new remake may tap into the zeitgeist perfectly

Chloe Moretz is front and center in this first glimpse at the new version

I have certainly spent my fair share of time and column inches writing about the remake culture that we're suffering through right now, and by and large, I'm not a fan.  I think there is an anemic degree of imagination on display from the studios these days, and even the excuse that these things fund the chances that they take starts to look a little thin when the remakes outnumber the originals ten to one.

But I'm willing to admit that there are remakes that make sense, and when there's a piece of material that speaks to the times we live in or that offers an opportunity that a filmmaker feels strongly about, then I'm more than happy to watch what they come up with.  And in the case of "Carrie," I would argue that the time is absolutely right to revisit what remains one of the most potent of Stephen King's novels.

After all, it's not like bullying has stopped.  If anything, today's technological culture has created a whole new way for kids to be tormented and teased.  It's been hard reading the stories about Amanda Todd and looking at the video she left behind when she committed suicide recently and seeing how there are still people who were part of her world who continue to pile on the abuse even now that she's dead.  It's just one more disturbing story in a long line of them, and while some people seem to think this is new, I think it's just a new version of something that's been around as long as there have been weak and strong kids, as long as people have felt different, as long as there has been the need for some people to victimize others to make themselves feel better.

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<p>No one takes greater delight in playing visually upsetting than Javier Bardem, which could be a very good thing indeed in 'Skyfall,' the latest James Bond film.</p>

No one takes greater delight in playing visually upsetting than Javier Bardem, which could be a very good thing indeed in 'Skyfall,' the latest James Bond film.

Credit: Sony Pictures

Javier Bardem torments James Bond in a new 'Skyfall' clip

Silva looks like an interesting challenge for the super spy

I'm going to have to stop watching clips and trailers at this point, I think.

Then again, this latest clip is so much fun that I'm not sure I'm going to be able to stop myself.

I know very little about Silva, the mysterious bad guy that Javier Bardem is playing in the film, but one of the keys to making a Bond film work is pitting him against someone who is a worthy adversary.  So far, the early reviews that I've glanced at seem to really like Bardem's work, and this new clip is one of the best glimpses we've had so far of Silva and Bond together.

What I like about this is the way it feels like Silva is engaged in the game here.  It feels like he's enjoying the cat-and-mouse with Bond, and the move he pulls to get away is pretty great.  It's also pretty clear that this is another film where Javier Bardem is visually disturbing, adding to the menace.  Nobody makes wigs more upsetting than Bardem, and his "blonde policeman" thing he's got going on here is really freaky.

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<p>The Lizard throws a few extra bodies on the pile in the deleted scenes from 'The Amazing Spider-Man'</p>

The Lizard throws a few extra bodies on the pile in the deleted scenes from 'The Amazing Spider-Man'

Credit: Sony Pictures Home Video

Deleted scenes from 'The Amazing Spider-Man' promise more answers than they offer

A sneak peek at the upcoming home video release includes several new moments

Two of the films that most frustrated me this year were "The Amazing Spider-Man" and "Prometheus," and it's important to point out that I don't get frustrated when I see a film that is terrible from start to finish.  Those are easy to dismiss.

I get frustrated when I see a film that has real potential but which falls short thanks to certain decision-making.  "The Amazing Spider-Man," for example, is a film that has many of the pieces right.  Casting is a big part of making these films work, and I think they cast the film incredibly well.  It was the script that made me crazy with that one, and I knew that the film had been tinkered with repeatedly during production, with some major parts of the film dropped very late in the process.

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<p>Odd Job and his hat are just one threat you'll have to face when you play as James Bond in the new 'James Bond:&nbsp;Legends' video game</p>

Odd Job and his hat are just one threat you'll have to face when you play as James Bond in the new 'James Bond: Legends' video game

Credit: Activision

Final 'James Bond: Legends' trailer promises gamers a trip through Bond's legacy

Could this be one of the good Bond games?

"Skyfall" has begun screening for US press on the eve of its UK release, and so far, the word on the film is nothing short of ecstatic.  I am very excited by everything I've heard about it so far, and I'm having to work hard not to read some of the more detailed reviews.  I want a chance to see this one fairly clean, and so far, I think the trailers have been good about not giving away too much of the movie.

In the meantime, if you are itching for some Bond and you don't want to wait, Activision has a solution for you and it's hitting stores tomorrow.  "James Bond: Legends" was created as an homage to the 50-year history of the film franchise, and in the game, you'll be able to play your way through six of the films from the series.

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<p>Ridley Scott, seen here on the set of 'Prometheus,' is determined to not only make another film set in this world, but also return to 'Blade Runner'</p>

Ridley Scott, seen here on the set of 'Prometheus,' is determined to not only make another film set in this world, but also return to 'Blade Runner'

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Ridley Scott continues to talk up 'Blade Runner' and 'Prometheus' sequels

A brief bit of non-news sets off another fanboy frenzy, but why?

It was fascinating to watch the way the Internet behaved in the months leading up to the release of Ridley Scott's "Prometheus."  I feel like I was one of the few people who wasn't convinced from day one that the film would reinvent science-fiction and cure the common cold all in one fell swoop, because the near-rabid reactions to every photo and every tiny tidbit of information was sort of terrifyingly intense.

Now Scott's gearing up for another run of fanboy mania, and I'm curious to see if anyone learned anything from the experience they had with "Prometheus," or if they're going to be just as rabid and just as pre-convinced of greatness when it comes to the "Blade Runner" sequel that he's developing right now.

Here's why I think no one learned a single thing.  Scott gave a short interview to Metro in the UK, and it has been picked up everywhere today and people seem to think that it's as good as a release date for the "Blade Runner" sequel.  Let's look at what he actually said about the film, which was already announced as being in development:

"It's not a rumor - it's happening. With Harrison Ford? I don't know yet. Is he too old? Well, he was a Nexus-6 so we don't know how long he can live. [laughs] And that's all I'm going to say at this stage."

Wow.  First, there's nothing new there.  We already knew he was attached.  He said it was a sequel during the "Prometheus" theatrical press.  And he's still convinced that Harrison Ford was a replicant in the original, which automatically makes me pray that something happens to derail this film before he makes it and ruins another legacy.

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