Review: 'Pride and Prejudice and Zombies' is an agreeably silly mash-up
Credit: Lionsgate
B-

Review: 'Pride and Prejudice and Zombies' is an agreeably silly mash-up

Burr Steers gets this long-in-the-works film across the finish line and mostly right

First and foremost, I can't believe this movie actually finally exists.

In development since 1921 or thereabouts, this is one of those films that has had roughly 300 different directors attached since it was first announced. At one point, this was going to be a David O. Russell film with Natalie Portman starring, and I'm still not sure what that would have looked like. The thing is, when Seth Grahame-Smith first published his mash-up novel, built onto the skeleton of Jane Austen's classic, I'm going to bet he never imagined how long it would take for this to become a movie, or even that it would be one someday. It felt like a sort of English major goofing around, only to somehow see it become this publishing smash.

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The first 'Green Room' trailer promises skinhead mayhem and crazy action
Credit: A24

The first 'Green Room' trailer promises skinhead mayhem and crazy action

This one's better than any trailer can fully convey

Green Room wasn't just one of the best movies I saw at last year's Midnight Madness. It wasn't just one of the the best movies I saw at the entire Toronto Film Festival. It was one of the very best movies I saw anywhere in 2015, and you're going to get your chance to see it very soon.

"But, wait, if it as so good, why wasn't it on your end of the year list?"

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Is 'Star Wars' the perfect property to usher virtual reality into the mainstream?
Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

Is 'Star Wars' the perfect property to usher virtual reality into the mainstream?

Lucasfilm and ILM and Disney certainly hope so, and they'll spend to find out

If I could spend a half-hour looking at an accurate representation of what entertainment is going to look like in, say, fifty years, I imagine I would walk away equally dazzled and confused.

There is little doubt we are heading towards immersive entertainment, created in technical ways that we are just now beginning to see established or even suggested, and that the dream of the Star Trek holodeck is not an impossible one. This year's Sundance Film Festival featured some remarkable demonstrations of what various companies and artists are up to, and it really does feel like new ground being broken. These demonstrations weren't on the traditional movie screens, though, and there's nothing about the examples I saw demonstrated that I would consider typical entertainment.

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Once again, 'Archer' turns to the '80s for absolutely insane inspiration
Credit: FX Networks

Once again, 'Archer' turns to the '80s for absolutely insane inspiration

Unless you don't like 'Archer' or 'Magnum P.I.', in which case, we may not agree on fun things

I sincerely hope Archer runs for another 100 seasons, and that I am somehow alive long enough to marvel at the lunacy of each and every episode.

There have been plenty of spy parodies over the years, but as an animated show, Archer goes places that few live-action films or TV shows can follow. Blisteringly filthy, weird on top of weird, and filled with characters who are so horribly deficient as basic human beings that it's almost thrilling, Archer makes me laugh so hard it is is physically punishing. I think Jon Benjamin may have the single funniest animation voice of all time, and he's a really gifted comic actor on top of it. He has positively deadly timing, and the entire supporting cast is full of insane people.

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Did Empire magazine just reveal one of the big spoilers of 'Batman v Superman'?
Credit: Warner Bros

Did Empire magazine just reveal one of the big spoilers of 'Batman v Superman'?

It makes sense, but I'm still surprised this is how we're seeing this image first

As one of the foremost high-visibility fans of Zack Snyder's Man Of Steel, I have listened to several years now of people telling me why I'm wrong, and why Superman would never do the things he did in that film.

I suspect we're going to hear that same conversation turned up to a deafening roar once Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice arrives in theaters. In the newest issue of Empire magazine, producer Chuck Roven described Batman in this film as an older angrier version of the character, someone who has decided to play "judge, jury, and executioner," setting off a flurry of thinkpieces about how they've ruined the character.

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Man, this season of 'House Of Cards' looks really weird
Credit: Europa Corp

Man, this season of 'House Of Cards' looks really weird

Seriously... what is happening?

I don't know what to say about this. It's like Liar, Liar for crazy cat ladies.

That is not something that happens often, but then I am confronted with what can only be described as Barry Sonnenfeld directing "this generation's Oh Heavenly Dog," and I find myself… stumped.

It looks like an entire film designed to be broken into gif form. Whatever Venn diagram there is of people who love Kevin Spacey when he's being a contemptuous prick and people who love cute kitties, the people who exist in that intersection are probably dancing in the streets right about now.

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Arnold Schwarzenegger swears they're still making 'Conan The Conqueror'
Credit: Universal Pictures

Arnold Schwarzenegger swears they're still making 'Conan The Conqueror'

But is this really what we want?

One of the things I enjoyed most from my entire time at Ain't It Cool News was when we reached story #10,000 and I decided to do something special. I wrote a piece about what was at that point my most anticipated potential project, a collaboration between the Wachowskis and John Milius, King Conan: Crown Of Iron, a sequel to what I still consider one of the best films Arnold Schwarzenegger ever made.

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Review: Casey Affleck's amazing work anchors fest best 'Manchester By The Sea'
Credit: Amazon Studios
A+

Review: Casey Affleck's amazing work anchors fest best 'Manchester By The Sea'

What a remarkable work by writer/director Kenneth Lonergan

Grief is a terrible animal, red of claw and tooth, and once it gets hold of you, there is no way of knowing what it will do to you. Over the last year, I've watched a dear friend of mine struggle with back to back losses of two of the most important people in her life, and at times, I've genuinely worried that it would be too much for her to take. This is a strong, vibrant person, and grief landed on her in a way that very nearly crushed all of that joy and vitality right out of her. I've had my own bouts with profound sorrow over the last year as a result of the end of my marriage, and while I feel like I've reached the other side of all of that, I remain shaken by just how damaged I was by things. For the first time in my adult life, I had to turn to a professional for help, and it turned out to be exactly what I needed.

One thing I've learned for sure is that no one can judge anyone else's sorrow from the outside, and we are not all built to bounce back when life kicks us in the teeth.

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'The Chickening' is here to make you feel like you're insane
Credit: Generic Versatility, Inc/FORCE! Exreme Anti-Mation

'The Chickening' is here to make you feel like you're insane

Remix culture just made Stanley Kubrick spin in his grave like a centrifuge

When I was at the Toronto Film Festival this year, I went to have drinks with one of the filmmakers before the midnight premiere of his film, and while I was there, I had a long conversation with Colin Geddes about The Chickening.

Colin, for those of you who don't know his name, is the programmer of Midnight Madness at the festival, and one of my favorite people walking the planet. His excitement about The Chickening was positively infectious, and once I'd laid eyes on the film, I understood that excitement. It's since played at Fantastic Fest and then again here at Sundance, and now the filmmakers have released this big fat slice of insanity online for all of you to enjoy as well.

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Review: 'The Birth Of A Nation' is a furious act of subversive historical drama
Credit: Fox Searchlight
A-

Review: 'The Birth Of A Nation' is a furious act of subversive historical drama

More battle cry than biopic, this is one of the must-sees of this year's Sundance

Recently, I've found myself having to discuss some very difficult moments from history with my oldest son because I am deeply frustrated by the history he's being taught in school. It's the same history I was taught, whitewashed and sanitized and, unfortunately, not true. It's hard to explain to him that he has to regurgitate the bullshit version of things in order to pass his tests, and he's getting angry about the vast differences between what he's taught and what actually happened.

When I emerged from today's screening of Nate Parker's exceptional The Birth Of A Nation today at Sundance, I overheard an exasperated "How many movies do they have to make about slavery?", and it almost stopped me in my tracks. It's not my job to get into an angry argument with anyone about a movie, but that sentiment almost did it. The correct answer to that question is "As many as it takes for us to stop denying that America's history was written in blood and skin." While I admire Steve McQueen's 12 Years A Slave, part of the point of that story is that it was an anomaly, and following a free man into the world of slavery, black or not, gave us a tourist's view of life in the time of slavery. This is decidedly not that film, and as a result, there's no comfortable distance that you can maintain as a viewer.

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