Review: 'Magic In The Moonlight' makes weak use of Colin Firth and Emma Stone
Credit: Sony Pictures Classics

Review: 'Magic In The Moonlight' makes weak use of Colin Firth and Emma Stone

HitFix
C
Readers
n/a
Predictable and thin, this one's just not any fun

"Magic In The Moonlight" is one of those Woody Allen films.

You know the kind I mean. At this point, with Allen currently directing his 45th feature film, his pace has become as much a part of his daily life as breathing or dodging uncomfortable questions about his personal proclivities. He writes and directs one feature film after another, and some of them are good and some of them are terrible and occasionally one of them is so great it's ridiculous. Often, what we get are serviceable premises dressed up with recognizable actors who are just happy to get their turn to work with Allen, and the films end up feeling thin, like first drafts of something that might work.

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'Guardians' star Chris Pratt on becoming Hollywood's newest action figure
Credit: HitFix

'Guardians' star Chris Pratt on becoming Hollywood's newest action figure

Plus he talks about finally meeting Rocket and Groot in the theater

When we spoke to Chris Pratt on the set of Marvel's newest film, "Guardians Of The Galaxy," he seemed unsure what to think of the idea of him becoming an in-demand action hero.

I hope he's gotten used to it, because it's happening. No doubt about it.

He just wrapped work on "Jurassic World," and he's going to be heading into the final season of "Parks and Recreation" just as everyone starts losing their damn fool minds over how good he is in "Guardians." He was in fine form Sunday as the press assembled at Disney to discuss his work on the film. When he walked through the room where everyone was waiting, he was singing an alternate take on the "Everything Is Awesome" song from "The LEGO Movie," and as he walked down another hallway, he was in character as the President delivering a speech from "The West Wing."

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Exclusive new banner shows Brad Pitt and his 'Fury' tank crew close-up

Exclusive new banner shows Brad Pitt and his 'Fury' tank crew close-up

David Ayer's new film looks like an intense WWII experience

Whatever I thought "Fury" was going to be, that first trailer surprised me.

We've got an exclusive debut of the new banner for the movie today, and what it's selling, loud and clear, is the notion of this group of men who are stuck in this tank together. Brad Pitt, front and center. Michael Pena looked bruised and bloodied. Jon Bernthal, face like a fist, a live-action Popeye. Shia, haunted and huddled in that corner. And the new kid. Pretty much sums up what the movie looks to be.

We've turned a corner now in terms of how WWII is being captured on film. I think "Saving Private Ryan" was the demarcation line, the moment the shift began, and it's been interesting to watch how it's gone from being the simplest war to portray in black and white terms, the last "good" war, to now being more complex when we see it on film. It's no longer seen as a pure good thing, and I think that's a pretty remarkable evolution, all things considered.

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Zach Braff on finding the kids for 'Wish I Was Here' and why the Kickstarter backlash is unfair
Credit: HitFix

Zach Braff on finding the kids for 'Wish I Was Here' and why the Kickstarter backlash is unfair

It's easy to attack him, but have you really heard him out?

I think Zach Braff got a raw deal.

I said it during Sundance. I've said it a few times since. And each time I see someone unload on Braff anew, I shake my head because I think it is, for the most part, unearned.

No one makes art that is universally loved, and sometimes, the art you make is art that either grows in esteem over time or that is popular for a short time before facing a backlash. If anyone understands backlash, it's got to be Brafff.

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Review: 'The Purge: Anarchy' improves on first film, but not enough to make it matter
Credit: Universal Pictures

Review: 'The Purge: Anarchy' improves on first film, but not enough to make it matter

HitFix
C
Readers
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By focusing on the bigger picture, sequel corrects many of the first film's sins

It's safe to say I was not a fan of "The Purge."

James DeMonaco, who wrote and directed the first film, is back to do both jobs again this time, and I think he's made leaps and bounds in terms of making use of his big idea. My biggest problem with the original film was that the scale of the story being told was a financial consideration, not a creative one, and it felt like it wasted the basic idea of a governmental decision to sanction 12 hours per year where anyone can kill anyone for any reason.

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Review: 'Planes: Fire and Rescue' features amazing fires but no heat at all
Credit: Disney Toons

Review: 'Planes: Fire and Rescue' features amazing fires but no heat at all

HitFix
C-
Readers
n/a
Why won't they tell us where the humans are?

What started as a joke when discussing the world originally created in the first "Cars" movie has now turned into a genuinely maddening question that consumes me during each new film that is tied into this world, first from Pixar, now from DisneyToons: where are the people?

It is a simple matter of internal logic, and without it, I feel like these films are weird in a way that can't be dismissed with a mere "it's a cartoon" line of defense. I tried raising the question with John Lasseter at the "Cars 2" press day, and he wasn't having any, but I think it's incredibly valid, especially with the bizarre design choices they make on these films.

True, the "Planes" movies are being made by totally different people than worked on "Cars," and they sort of inherited the premise so they can't be held fully responsible for it, but these films continue to make such weird choices that I can't help but think about them, particularly since there's nothing else for me to really hold onto as the films play.

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Your best cosplay could be your ticket to attend the HitFix Comic-Con Party
Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd.

Your best cosplay could be your ticket to attend the HitFix Comic-Con Party

With 'Star Wars: Rebels' as our sponsor, this is a party you don't want to miss

When I joined HitFix for the site's launch, it was not an easy or an automatic decision. I spent months considering it, and in the end, I did it because I had faith in the team that was being assembled by Greg Ellwood and Jen Sargent, who were the ones who had the idea in the first place. In the years since then, I have seen just how good they are at identifying a goal and then mobilizing whatever it takes to make that idea come to fruition.

For example, one of the goals they had was to create an event that is part of the overall Comic-Con experience, and they set out to conquer preview night. At this point, it's safe to say that the Wednesday night HitFix party has become something that people look forward to, something that they enjoy each year. The canniest part of the plan was staking out Wednesday, when people are still fresh and full of energy and excited for the event to begin.

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Review: Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz go soft in the not-so-wild farce 'Sex Tape'
Credit: Sony Pictures

Review: Jason Segel and Cameron Diaz go soft in the not-so-wild farce 'Sex Tape'

HitFix
C+
Readers
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When is 'really, really dirty' not enough?

The screenwriting credits for "Sex Tape" imply that Kate Angelo wrote the initial drafts and that Jason Segel and Nicholas Stoller came in to bat clean-up once Segel was on the film as an actor. I'm not sure that's exactly how it went down, but it would explain the occasional lurch from tone to tone that is part of what keeps "Sex Tape" from working completely.

As set-ups for farce go, "Sex Tape" has a perfectly functional one. Jay (Segel) and Annie (Cameron Diaz) have been married long enough that they're finding their sex lives have bottomed out completely. It's a very real challenge that parents and other married couples face, especially after you have several children in the house. Jay works in the music industry and Annie writes a popular mommy blog which she may be able to sell to a much larger company. I liked that they didn't try to paint the marriage as terrible at the start of the film. There's still plenty of love and respect between Jay and Annie. We see their history as Annie writes about it, and it's fun. It's a little disconcerting to see Segel and Diaz playing college age, but you roll with it because it's just a short bit of the opening.

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Exclusive behind-the-scenes clip gives a sense of the scale of shooting Aronofsky's 'Noah'
Credit: Paramount

Exclusive behind-the-scenes clip gives a sense of the scale of shooting Aronofsky's 'Noah'

Aronofsky's favorite photographer talks about bringing the Bible story to life

One of the most remarkable things about Darren Aronofsky's strange and sincere "Noah" is the size of the physical production.

Sure, he could have done the Ark as a special effect, building bits and pieces and marrying them together with digital technology. Or he could have done the entire thing in the carefully controlled environment of a soundstage, and that would have been easy. But instead, Aronofsky and his crew built a practical environment on location, and then they shot in some truly crazy weather.

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Review: 'Amelie' star Audrey Tautou lights up Michel Gondry's sweet and sad 'Mood Indigo'
Credit: Drafthouse Films

Review: 'Amelie' star Audrey Tautou lights up Michel Gondry's sweet and sad 'Mood Indigo'

HitFix
B-
Readers
n/a
It's no 'Eternal Sunshine,' but then again, what is?

From the moment it sputters to low-fi life, "Mood Indigo" is unmistakably the work of Michel Gondry, a sweet and sad little song of longing with the most visually inventive approach to emotion in any film this year. It is a strange surreal world that Gondry has created, one with no rules other than if someone in love starts coughing, that's not a good sign for them making it through to the end of the film.

Gondry is a romantic, no doubt about it, and he's also a guy who rejects the idea of living a "normal" life, meaning his lead character is a man-child who drifts through his days, his whole mind focused on whimsy and the ridiculous. The worst thing in the world in this film is the notion of getting trapped into doing a "normal" job. Gondry seems to view that as death. Sure, he's working from a novel by Boris Vian, but Gondry and co-writer Luc Bossi have crafted this as a film that plunges you into an interior landscape from the very start, a movie in which they hand-craft a reality to tell the story of Colin (Romain Duris) and Chloe (Audrey Tautou), lovers who have to grapple with sorrow when she develops a rare ailment.

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