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Review: 'How To Train Your Dragon 2' Is A Satisfying, If Slightly Inferior Sequel

  • By Oliver Lyttelton
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  • June 11, 2014 2:59 PM
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  • 0 Comments
How To Train Your Dragon 2
For most of their history, which has now lasted over 15 years ("Antz" and "The Prince Of Egypt" both debuted in 1998), DreamWorks Animation seemed to be content with making a quick buck and raising a cheap laugh. Some of their output was better than others (the original "Shrek" at one end of the scale, "Shark Tale" at the other), but even the better films paled in comparison to the output of arch-rivals Pixar, however profitable they are. These days, things have changed. For one, the company's films aren't all that profitable ("Rise Of The Guardians," "Turbo" and "Mr. Peabody & Sherman" all disappointed financially). But for another, the quality gap has closed, with Pixar hitting something of a creative rut, and DreamWorks putting out films that are as good as or better than their rivals. Well, one film, at least: 2010's "How To Train Your Dragon," which took an unpromising premise and turned it into something funny, exciting and emotionally satisfying in a way that relatively few of their films are.

Olympus Fell, Now Sequel ‘London Has Fallen’ Set For October 2015; Gerard Butler Returning

  • By Edward Davis
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  • May 1, 2014 6:53 PM
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  • 6 Comments
Olympus Has Fallen
You’ll remember in 2013 — with “Independence Day 2” still on the backburner — that Hollywood saw fit to pit two shit-goes-crazy-in-the-White-House movies against each other just a few months apart. Both “White House Down” and “Olympus Has Fallen” were released with pretty much the same storylines: bad guys/terrorists take over the White House and a “Die Hard”-like John McClane has to save the day (with a little help from the POTUS).

Weekend Box Office: 'The Croods' Notches Best Animated Opening Since November

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • March 24, 2013 11:33 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Normally, we’re besieged by animated fare during all months, but not so far in 2013. The only animated film of the year thus far was “Escape From Planet Earth,” a production from The Weinstein Company that was treated like a last minute dump, posting numbers that only counted as a hit compared to the film’s small budget and meager ad campaign. Before that, DreamWorks kept “Rise of the Guardians” active in over 3,000 sparsely-attended engagements, though over the holidays it seemed kids would rather toss snowballs around than watch a weirdly oppressive, vaguely non-denominational holiday movie. Which meant that all Fox had to do was not embarrass themselves with “The Croods,” supplying the kids market with a 3D diversion that stands as the second biggest opening of the year, far ahead of the middling 'Guardians' debut.

Antoine Fuqua And The Cast Of 'Olympus Has Fallen' Discuss The Bumps & Bruises Of Action Filmmaking

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • March 20, 2013 10:58 AM
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  • 0 Comments
This weekend, Washington D.C. gets pulverized in “Olympus Has Fallen,” and director Antoine Fuqua wouldn’t have it any other way. The man in charge of this star-studded production boasted during press day of the glee he took in demolishing a national landmark, designed as a set in Shreveport, Louisiana. He looked forward every day to, “Tearing it up, shooting it up, making it real.”

Gerard Butler, Matthew McConaughey & Sam Worthington Star In Simon West's 3D CG Mo-Cap 'Thunder Run'

  • By Kevin Jagernauth
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  • October 27, 2011 6:50 AM
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  • 2 Comments
WTF Look out "Magic Mike," a new movie is coming to town that's gonna try and rival you in the beefcake department. But don't worry, it also sounds like one hundred bad ideas someone put together in a blender before hitting frappé.

Gerard Butler To Become 'Hunter Killer'; Sam Worthington Being Eyed To Co-Star

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • October 13, 2011 7:46 AM
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  • 2 Comments
Summit Relativity Media has been very aggressive with "Hunter Killer," earmarking the picture for a December 2012 release date for months as Phillip Noyce decided whether he was the right man for the director's chair. Though he left the project in August, Relativity continued to show faith in the adaptation of George Wallace's best-seller "Firing Point," bringing on Antoine Fuqua to direct. And with a winter start date being eyed, it looks like they have their leading men.

Review: 'Machine Gun Preacher' Is Essentially A Botched 'Rambo'

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • September 22, 2011 6:03 AM
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  • 1 Comment
The following is a reprint of our review that ran during the 2011 Toronto Film Festival.

TIFF '11 Review: 'Machine Gun Preacher' Is Essentially A Botched 'Rambo'

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • September 12, 2011 5:15 AM
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  • 15 Comments
In 2008’s blitzkrieg actioner “Rambo,” writer-director Sylvester Stallone recognized the real-life struggles of the people of Myanmar, dramatizing the struggle in a blood-drenched exploitation film that, despite its inelegance, emboldened the people of that region while lionizing a fictional hero of guerilla warfare. The problem with “Machine Gun Preacher,” Marc Forster’s third world drama about a real-life would-be savior who ventured into the Sudan and attempted to build an orphanage with sheer will and a smidgen of gunpower, is that it’s afraid to be “Rambo.”

Marc Forster Talks The Perils Of The "White Man Saves Africa" Story With 'Machine Gun Preacher'

  • By Todd Gilchrist
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  • September 10, 2011 3:00 AM
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  • 1 Comment
Judging by his filmography since his 2001 breakthrough “Monster’s Ball,” director Marc Forster seems unwilling, if not incapable, of repeating himself. That film’s soul-baring drama offered no hints at the delicate beauty of his follow-up, “Finding Neverland,” and neither film suggested he was capable of the melancholy whimsy of “Stranger Than Fiction,” or later, the visceral intensity of “Quantum of Solace.” In his latest film, “Machine Gun Preacher,” Forster tackles the life of Sam Childers (played by Gerard Butler), a former ne’er-do-well who finds God but who falls back into his violent ways after taking on the responsibility of protecting orphaned children in Sudan.

Gerard Butler, Lena Headey Returning For '300: Battle Of Artemisia'?

  • By Gabe Toro
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  • September 9, 2011 1:53 AM
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  • 0 Comments
Even though many can't fathom this, the massive blockbuster success of "300" was not something anyone could have predicted. One of the reasons the film was something of a risk was its then-unknown cast: a lot rested on the shoulders of an unproven Gerard Butler, then known as the star of a series of terrible mid-level films, as opposed to being the current face of about a dozen truly awful big studio movies. Now that he's something of a familiar face, the producers of "300: Battle Of Artemisia" aren't letting a good thing go to waste.

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