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Michael Clarke Duncan dead at age 54

Actor Michael Clarke Duncan has passed away at the age of 54, from complications suffered from a heart attack he had in July.

Known for his big build and deep voice, Duncan was in the prime of his life. His first movie role was in 1995's Friday, and he had several small parts playing bouncers and muscle men. It wasn't until 1997's Armageddon that he had a meatier role with more lines, playing one of the rough-and-tumble drilling crew drafted into blowing up an approaching asteroid.

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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Hansel and Gretel hunts witches and collects box office

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters is the new #1 movie in the land. This weird fantasy-action movie starring Jeremy Renner from The Avengers and The Bourne Legacy and Gemma Arterton from Quantum of Solace, grossed an estimated $19 million dollars this weekend.

With a new number one, last week's champ, the horror flick Mama, drops to #2 with $12.8m in new ticket sales. Two weeks into its theatrical run Mama has a total gross of $48.6m.

Buoyed by its four Oscar nominations for its actors, Silver Linings Playbook remains solid at #3 ($10m new, $69.4m total.)

Zero Dark Thirty drops two spots to #4 this week ($9.8m new, $69.9m total.)

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Thursday, January 24, 2013

Is J.J. Abrams directing Star Wars Episode VII?

The internet went all giggly this afternoon when The Wrap broke a story that Star Trek reboot director J.J. Abrams is locked and loaded to direct Hollywood's hottest next job, Star Wars Episode VII. But is it true?

The Wrap reached out to Lucasfilm but a comment wasn't forthcoming in time for their story. That's interesting. I've written before about Lucasfilm outright lying when accurate scoops are broken online, but even so, a no answer isn't a confirmation.

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

No new Batman movie until 2017?

With Christopher Nolan's trilogy of Batman movies now complete, what's Warner Bros. doing about passing on the Gotham City torch to the next filmmaker? Officially no one is speaking for the movie studio. While The Dark Knight Rises earned a commanding $448 million dollars domestically at the box office, WB is opting to not discuss what plans (if any) it has for the next Batman movie.

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Monday, January 21, 2013

Zombieland TV show turns out to be Amazon's online programming

Plans for continuing the adventures of the Zombieland characters are afoot, but not as a feature film. Instead, it looks like Zombieland will become a series (which it had been originally planned to be). The twist is that the Zombieland serial won't be likely broadcast on network television, or even cable. Instead, the Zombieland show is being developed as part of Amazon's slate of original programming.

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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Mama horror movie opens at #1, Schwarzenegger's screen comeback bombs big

Judging from the box office returns from this weekend, we may have witnessed the end of Arnold Schwarzenegger's reign at the box office.

The new number one movie in the country is Mama, a horror-thriller executive produced by Hellboy director Guillermo del Toro. Mama stars Jessica Chastain in the top billing, and who incidentally also is the leading actor in this week's number two movie at the box office, Zero Dark Thirty.

Made for a modest low budget of just $15 million, Mama grossed an estimated $28.1 million dollars in its inaugural weekend.

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Monday, January 14, 2013

Zack Snyder isn't making a Star Wars movie. Maybe.

Earlier today New York magazine's showbiz gossip source Vulture broke the story that Watchmen / 300 director Zack Snyder would be making his own Star Wars movie. It wouldn't be the long prophecised Episode VII, or Episode VIII, or even Episode IX, but a stand-alone Star Wars movie that would feature new, never before seen Jedi characters.

This rumored Star Wars movie that Snyder was going to make would be his version of Akira Korosawa's Seven Samurai, with the Jedi Knights and their lightsabers subbing for the blade-wielding ronin.

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Sunday, January 13, 2013

DVD Review: Dredd

Comic book movies are all the rage. Some might believe that it’s a fad with an end to come soon but not I. If there’s a moment that I can point to and claim as evidence in my belief it’s the stratospheric success of The Dark Knight, released in 2008. That ushered in a new approach to the mainstream superhero: one that played down the origins of the source material (from comic books) and made it secondary to the story.

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Zero Dark Thirty expands, captures first place at the box office

Last week was a big one for Zero Dark Thirty, the new Kathryn Bigelow-directed docu-drama about the hunt for Osama bin Laden. The movie captured five Oscar nominations and also expanded its theatrical run, adding nearly 2,900 new screens. Those two factors propelled Zero Dark Thirty to the top of the moviegoer's consciousness, granting it a commanding $24 million dollar gross and the title of first place at the weekend box office.

The Wayans brothers new ghostly comedy A Haunted House came in second place with a very decent showing of $18.8 million dollars. Made for an estimated budget of only $2.5 million, that gives the comedy a very respectful profit already in its first week of release.

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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Trailer #2: Evil Dead

So there's this remake of Evil Dead scheduled for release on April 13. Frankly, I haven't been giving it much thought; there's so many remakes of '80s horror movies these days, how does an updated version of Sam Raimi's scary debut make itself stand out from any of the others?

Well, this new version of Evil Dead is now standing out for me thanks to the new (and its second) trailer.

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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Patrick's 10 biggest movie disappointments of 2012

2012 is over and as is the custom for many of us, we look back and judge how the past 12 months fit into our lives. As the proprietor of a movie website, perhaps it's my job to step up and count the losses publically with you, to offer my opinion (for whatever it's worth) about how the year in film stacked up in my expectations.

I see many other sites and movie writers present their top 10 lists of movies. Myself, I'm not deluded enough to believe that I've seen enough movies to make an informed judgment about what movies are "the best". Maybe, one year when I've watched more than 40 or 50, I can offer my list of such.

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Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Hobbit wins a three-peat at the top of the box office

Even with its so-so reviews and a nearly three-hour running time, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is turning out to be a sizeable hit for New Line Cinema and director Peter Jackson. For the third weekend in a row the first Hobbit movie has captured the number one spot at the box office, this time grossing an estimated $32.9 million dollars. That brings the film's 13 day domestic total up to $222.7 million dollars. Factor in another $464 mil from The Hobbit's international venues and the combined box office total -- so far -- now stands at $686 million bucks.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Leonardo DiCaprio really bled for his Django Unchained part

Now that Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained is out in theaters, people are commenting on a scene in the film where Leonardo DiCaprio shed his real blood for the role of slave plantation owner Calvin Candie.

From here on out, beware of minor spoilers for Django Unchained. Don't worry, it won't be much.

There's a scene where DiCaprio's Candie is confronting Django (Jamie Foxx) and Dr. Shultz (Christoph Waltz), the two bounty hunters that are masquerading as prospective buyers for Candie's services. Candie learns of the deception and goes into a hate-filled tirade against the two inposters. During the scene, DiCaprio slams his hand down on the dining table.

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Monday, December 17, 2012

Speculation: Is this the villain's motive in Star Trek Into Darkness?

Whether you like the idea behind J.J. Abrams' "mystery box" concept to marketing his movies or not, one thing's for certain: he wants to keep the spoilers a secret until opening day. I learned this firsthand when, four years ago, I broke exclusive news about Abrams' Star Trek reboot. I was the first to publish the details on several key moments in 2009's Star Trek movie, including Kirk's test of the Kobiashi Maru test simulation, a catastrophic attack on Starfleet and young Spock meeting old Spock. I also had other more sensitive details about the movie's story up my sleeve, waiting for publication.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Trailer #3: G.I. Joe Retaliation

It's that time of December when it's trailer madness! In the past few days we've seen new trailers for several big movies coming out next year like Pacific Rim, The Lone Ranger, Star Trek Into Darkness, After Earth, Man of Steel, Oblivion and World War Z. Now you can one more to that list: G.I. Joe Retaliation.

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Trailer: Pacific Rim

Get ready to watch some giant robot on giant monster action. The first trailer for Pacific Rim is here.

Launching into theaters in the summer of '13, the logline for Guillermo del Toro's next movie comes across like a fanboy's wet dream: a big budget, CG-filled spectacle where multiple different giant robots (called "Jaegers" in the film) battle to protect humanity from the mindless attacks of giant monsters (called "kaiju"). Sure, when you think about it logically it makes no sense for the armies of the world to spend billions of dollars building giant robots armed with missiles, guns and rocket-powered punching fists, but in Hollywood logic it makes perfect sense.

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