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    After telling the triumphant true story of Rush, Ron Howard and Chris Hemsworth are tackling another with In the Heart of the Sea. Warner Bros. has released the first In the Heart of the Sea trailer and it is stunning to say the least.

    In the Heart of the Sea tells the story of the Essex, a whaling vessel who headed out on the high seas in the early 1800s and ran smack into a real life Moby Dick. The legend is not known, but with the arrival of Howard’s latest film on March 13, 2015, the world will learn this extraordinary account.

    What Hemsworth and the crew encounter is a whale that seems to be bent on vengeance, and as you can see in the above trailer, that is nothing short of a titanic force of nature that you clearly do not want to make angry.

    In the Heart of the Sea also stars Benjamin Walker, Cillian Murphy and Ben Whishaw (watch Skyfall online to see him in action). Guess who Whishaw plays? Yup, that’s Herman Melville, the author of Moby Dick.

    The film is based on the book, In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick -- winner of the 2000 National Book Award for Nonfiction.

    Check out the film’s first poster below! 

    In the Heart of the Sea Poster
    The whale looms large below the ship in the first poster for In the Heart of the Sea.

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    We here at Movie Fanatic are big fans of Night at the Museum and Night at the Museum 2: Battle of the Smithsonian.

    You can imagine our thrill when we got invited to the 20th Century Fox lot to check out almost 15 minutes of early footage from Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb.

    We came away with nine headlines to share with you!

    Sure, we expected some of that great banter that was evident from those Night at the Museum quotes, but we had no idea how complex, thrilling and hilarious the Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb footage would be.

    Audiences appear to be in for another treat when the third film in the series lands December 19.

    Ben Stiller, Ricky Gervais and Owen Wilson all return and newbies Ben Kingsley and Rebel Wilson add an international comic flavor that we found priceless. 

    And sadly, it is the last film of one of our most beloved pop culture icon’s great careers, Robin Williams. It was both with sadness and joy we watched him in those 15 minutes of footage.  

    Click through and discover the nine things we learned from the Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb footage and watch Night at the Museum online to see how this adventure got started.

    How Our Story Starts
    The characters have a reunion of sorts as they get ready for a gala at the Natural History Museum of NYC that will be key to their annual fundraising. Ben Stiller's Larry Daley is nervous as this is a big night. Everyone is there, from Robin Williams' Teddy Roosevelt to Owen Wilson's cowboy and Steven Coogan's Roman warrior. Oh, and all those prehistoric beasts too.

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    Michael Pena had a bit of pressure on him for his role as Gordo in Fury, he tells us in our exclusive interview. First, writer-director David Ayer writes parts that are so rich that it requires every ounce of talent from his actors. He would know -- Pena was in his End of Watch.

    Fury Shia LaBeouf Michael Pena Logan Lerman Jon Bernthal

    Second, Pena’s Gordo is one of the few Latinos we’ve seen in World War II movies over the years, and given that there were 17 of them that won the Medal of Honor for service during the Second World War, the actor felt a duty to nail it impeccably. Then, there is the fact that there isn’t much out there for him to research on the subject. Talk about a mountain to climb! But as teased in that Fury trailer, he totally nails it.

    Movie Fanatic: We haven’t seen a lot of Latinos in World War II movies... One, did you feel any pressure to give them the justice they deserve, and two, you have said that there wasn’t a lot of research to be had, was it freeing or stressful when you were creating the character of Gordo?

    Michael Pena: There was definite pressure because Ayer doesn’t write the easiest characters. Shia was able to go and talk to a chaplain. There was nobody for me to talk to. These guys who won the Medal of Honor, most of them are dead or don’t want to talk about it. There was a lot of pressure. I’m fortunate now to be in a movie where I am representing a lot of people and I want to keep that going. It was Edward James Olmos doing Stand and Deliver and then Luis Valdez directed La Bamba and Esai Morales saying, “Richie!” I love those movies. I grew up on those movies. I’m not lying to myself, it does inspire. Edward James Olmos was able to do both, which I want to do. I don’t shy away from those things and I do have an added pressure. There are movies where I don’t feel nerves at all, and twice with Ayer -- End of Watch and Fury -- he loves Latino history. We have long conversations about it.

    Michael Pena In Fury

    Movie Fanatic: Ayer sure knows what he wants from his actors and you’ve worked with him twice now. What do you think sets him apart?

    Michael Pena: He offers you a fantastic script to read and then he tells you that he wants to shoot it simply, or at least whatever the script wants to be. That’s the style he shoots it. Then what he does is in the first meeting, he tells you what his vision is, because he’s done a lot of research. If you ever need help, he’s right there. I’ll never forget he told me, “You know, it’s April 1945, so it’s a little cold. You know what you can do, the receiver has a little bit of warmth behind the tubes, just put your hand on it.” He knows so much about it. That makes it really cool. He’s an actor’s director and not everyone is. The reason why a lot of actors have their best moments with Ayer is because it’s so informed that you really don’t have to play something that’s not there.

    Movie Fanatic: The dinner scene is one of the most riveting moments in Fury, and it doesn’t even involve a battle, at least with bullets. You have to deliver that monologue that is so gripping. Were you able to let that go when it was over, or was that a powerful moment that hung over you? Or was it a relief that it was done?

    Michael Pena: It wasn’t a relief -- the entire movie wasn’t a relief until it was over [laughs]. Even one line, I would be nervous with this one. I was definitely giving it my all. The (expletive) got really personal, really quickly. How Brad’s reacting to my story, how Shia and Jon are reacting to it, and how unknowingly Logan Lerman is – it kind of magnifies what I’m saying. They have tears in their eyes!

    Movie Fanatic: One of the first times we talked was for Battle Los Angeles. You had just come off a little time off to work on the role of a father to your little one. You had said that you hoped that Hollywood hadn’t forgotten you because you felt it was important to be there during the first year of your child’s life. Here we are several years later, and you are more in demand than ever… looking back at that choice and where you are now, how does that decision sit with you?

    Michael Pena: I am very glad I did that because I have an incredible relationship with my son. We all work for the traveling circus, so to speak, and so do you, and it’s hard to be away from your kids. Spending that first year with my kid was awesome, I gained a lot of weight, but it was awesome! When I did come back, it was tougher, man. I had a good thing going. To be gone for a year means you’re gone for two years on the screen because you have nothing in the can when you do come back. For two years, you didn’t see me. That was tough to come back, especially when you’re building some momentum. But I wouldn’t change it for the world. 

    Watch End of Watch online and witness Ayer and Pena's first stroke of genius.

    The Cast Got Close During Training
    Lerman stated that he was impressed with the attention to detail that Ayer employed leading up to the World War II-set shoot. It proved priceless, also, in bonding the cast. "I would say we had a long training period for this film. David is kind of known for putting his actors through a pretty tough training process. We had months where we did so many different things to feel comfortable with this world that we were living in and also get to know each other," Lerman said. "Most importantly was that last week when we had to go through boot camp, and we got to know each other very well. We did become very close during that period of time."

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    When the Star Wars: Episode VII cast was announced, there were many fan favorites among that list including Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill. Let’s not forget also Anthony Daniels and Peter Mayhew. But, we’ve got some news today that should make some Star Wars fans happy as well.

    Star Wars Episode VII Logo

    Warwick Davis announced today that he will return to the Star Wars world in Star Wars: Episode VII, but will he reprise his role as Wicket the Ewok -- whom we first met in Return of the Jedi?

    Wait, you’re saying… there are Ewoks in this one? Not necessarily, as he was Weazel the Wald in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace.

    The Phantom Menace Warwick Davis

    Davis has not stopped playing the lovable Ewok in the years since Return of the Jedi. He tackled the role in The Ewok Adventure and Ewoks: The Battle for Endor TV movies.

    What role he will play in J.J. Abrams' film is a mystery, but we’re glad to see another familiar face going back to that galaxy far, far away.

    Han Solo Must Have a Huge Part
    We've heard that Harrison Ford's Han Solo has an enormous part in the seventh Star Wars movie. Ford would not have signed on to J.J. Abrams' film if that was not the case.

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    The latest Unbroken trailer has arrived and if Angelina Jolie is not nominated for a Best Director Oscar, simply from the below teaser alone, we think it is a crime. The story has Oscar written all over it, that much is for sure.

    Unbroken follows the incredible life story of Olympic gold medalist and war hero Louis “Louie” Zamperini, played by Jack O’Connell.

    He made his nation proud as an Olympian and then joined the war effort when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. It was during this period that he was challenged yet again.

    Zamperini’s plane was shot down over the Pacific where he and two other crewman would drift for 47 days and miraculously survive. If that wasn’t enough, they were rescued, sure, but it was by the Japanese. They were then sent to a POW camp where they would be subject to torture, starvation, disease and every other emotional weapon their captors threw at them.

    Look for Unbroken in theaters December 25. 

    Universal also released two new posters for Unbroken. Check them out in our slideshow below and click through to see all the stunning stills from Jolie’s latest directorial effort.

    Jack O'Connell Unbroken Poster
    Jack O'Connel is front and center in the Unbroken poster.

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    We sat down with three of the stars of The Book of Life, Zoe Saldana, Diego Luna and Ice Cube. And since Ice Cube utters a line from one of his most famous songs, It Was a Good Day, we wondered right off the bat if directors and producers (like The Book of Life’s Guillermo del Toro) are always trying to get him to say that in his movies. After all, check out those Ride Along quotes and you might just hear him utter it there!

    The Book of Life Channing Tatum Zoe Saldana

    “It’s like every movie I do, I’ve got to make sure I’ve got all my rap lines because they’ll want one of them. I’ve said everything in a movie that I’ve said on a record it seems like,” Ice Cube admitted. “It’s something that directors get a kick out of and I have no problem with it. It they want a little Ice Cube flavor, that’s what I’m here for.”

    Ice Cube plays the Candlemaker and the hip hop/movie star seems to think the casting is right on. “He’s a god,” he said and laughed.

    Details, Ice Cube, details… “He’s over the Cave of Souls and he’s there making sure that all the souls that are remembered stay lit and keep burning -- that their flame keeps roaring,” he reported.

    “I just wanted him to be fun; somebody you wanted to roll with and who you wanted to guide you through the rest of the story.  I really wanted him to be interesting, dynamic, an all over the place kind of character. I had a ball doing it. Like I said, I’m available for Part 2.”

    Saldana was drawn to the tale (teased in The Book of Life trailer) about a trio of friends, played by Saldana, Luna and Channing Tatum, who grow up in Mexico and find that their friendship is tested when the two boys fall for Saldana’s girl.

    The Guardians of the Galaxy actress was drawn to the universal themes of the film, told through the lens of a Mexican folk story. “You deal with friendship. We deal with people trying to find their place without losing the respect of their peers,” Saldana said.

    She was more than thrilled that U.S. audiences, in particular, are getting a story from the point of view of our neighbor to the south.

    “You are dealing with the beauty of a culture that, even though we’ve been neighbors since the beginning of America and living with, there is so little that we know. The Mexican culture is so beautiful. There are 250 different indigenous dialects in Mexico; the fact that they celebrate their family should be nothing but an inspiration to all of us as a universal culture to bring levity to life and immortalize our loved ones who have died.”  

    The Book of Life Zoe Saldana

    The Day of the Dead-centric tale also shows the world Mexico’s unique way of celebrating those who have come before us. “What if eternity is that… keeping alive the memory of a loved one? It’s also an educational tool. It will give parents the ability to have that tough conversation with their kids and their younger ones, even though they understand more than we want them to,” Saldana said.

    “So, by bringing this animated film about death, that brings so much peace and purity and color, you get to choose a way to cope with it in a way that doesn’t have to be heavy or burdened by it. Everything about this movie is positive and so enlightening for me.”

    Luna was ready to have a tale rich in his cultural background go out to the world. There was just that one thing that he had to get over -- singing! “I felt very anxious for like two months. As an actor, we all tend to do this, ‘Of course I can do it!’ With a little bit of training, I’ll get there. But then Gustavo (the film’s composer) showed me the actual songs and they sounded very difficult!” Luna admitted.

    But a little bit of paternal pride got him in the mood and he hit it out of the park. “I thought about having to tell my kids that Manolo’s voice wasn’t my voice and that kept me going.”

    For Saldana, she was ready after having shot the biopic of a legendary musical icon. “I sang when I shot Nina (the story of singer Nina Simone) and I worked vigorously with an amazing voice coach so by the time I started doing the sessions I just sort of remembered all those things,” she said.

    "It’s amazing what you discover you’re able to do once you really put your body and soul into a skill and you try nothing but to master it. You discover a lot about yourself. I realized that I’m not as bad or as tone deaf as I thought I was.” 

    Channing Tatum Gets Animated
    Channing is the man with the most awesome of mustaches. Seriously, it's amazing! He plays the town hero and appears to be destined to get, not earn, Zoe Saldana's heart.

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    James Cameron took his seat on the stage of Los Angeles’ Egyptian Theatre, more than ready to get a little nostalgic as he showed his first film The Terminator, in honor of its 30th anniversary.

    Terminator Poster

    But, first the question came up about his thoughts as the franchise heads into new territory with Terminator: Genisys.

    “I'm friendly with the filmmakers, the writer Laeta Kalogridis has worked with me on projects,” he told Empire Magazine. “I'm hoping it's great. I'd like them to get it right, and based on the script that I read there's a pretty good chance that it could. It looks like it could be fun.”

    When the rights to the Terminator franchise revert back to him in 2019, will he seek to revisit the world? “I haven't really thought that far ahead yet. I've got plenty of time to think about it,” Cameron said.

    “It might be fun to completely re-invent the franchise. A lot has to do with what happens with it in the meantime, people may have Terminator fatigue.”

    The “in the meantime” part has to do with the fact that Terminator: Genisys will have two sequels, and yes, people might be ready for a break from that world. But, if Cameron so chooses, you know that audiences would flock to see him tackle a universe where Skynet takes us to the brink of utter destruction.

    Watch Terminator online and have your own little 30th anniversary celebration. 

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    Disney has opened the vault (for a short time) and released their 1959 classic Sleeping Beauty on Blu-Ray. The film that inspired the blockbuster Maleficent has come home once again and for fans of the series, there could be no better news.

    Sleeping Beauty DVD

    Besides the film landing in the highest definition picture and sound available, there are three never-before-seen deleted scenes and much more. Let’s dive into that colorful world of Maleficent in full Walt Disney color.

    The Sleeping Beauty Blu-Ray is out for the first time in the Diamond Edition Blu-Ray that includes the restored version of the iconic film, as well as the DVD and the Digital HD copy so you can take Sleeping Beauty’s tale anywhere you want.

    Sleeping Beauty, the film itself, is still as much of a masterpiece as it ever was. But, what is so impressive to us upon viewing it again after all these years is how well it has aged and also how incredibly ahead of his time Walt Disney was as a leader in cinematic animation. And we’re not just talking about the visuals, which clearly are stunning on the Blu-Ray transfer.

    Disney had the foresight to know that a film can look fantastic, but if it doesn’t have a great script to bring a story to the masses, it has nothing. And if there isn’t a top notch voice cast delivering the lines, then these characters truly are two dimensional. Sleeping Beauty might as well be in 3D, because there are no more fully developed classic characters than the ones in this 1959 icon.

    Then, there’s the score. Disney knew that the right music would add layers upon layers to the emotional pull of a story and that is exactly what we have here.

    Now imagine all of that adding up to one incredible and jaw-dropping experience with the HD televisions and home stereo surround systems of today. This Sleeping Beauty Diamond Edition Blu-Ray will truly blow your mind.

    One of the new bonus features is one to treasure and not just for fans of Sleeping Beauty. The Art of Evil: Generations Of Disney Villains featurette is a must-see and must-own for anyone who appreciates the villainy of Disney movies, old and new(er). Given that this is the Sleeping Beauty Blu-Ray, special attention is given to Maleficent and a fantastic portion of it spotlights the man who created her, animator Marc Davis.

    There are also several deleted scenes that have never before been seen before this release. The gem of these clips is The Fair, which features a deleted character named The Vulture. It is fascinating to see a character that Disney created that we have never witnessed before. It’s almost like getting a window into the creative world that we thought we knew, but find that there are aspects yet to be discovered!

    And with the deleted scene Arrival of Maleficent, we honestly are wondering why this brilliant clip was cut at all! But, now we have it with the Sleeping Beauty Diamond Edition Blu-Ray… forever!

    Lastly, this last new bonus feature is one the kids will love. There’s a Beauty-Oke sing-along to Once Upon a Dream. If that isn’t the perfect cherry on top of this brilliant package, we don’t know what is.

    Watch Sleeping Beauty online now and relive an iconic moment of cinema.

    Where does Sleeping Beauty's Maleficent rank among Disney villains? Click through our slideshow below and see! 

    Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty
    There is something truly terrifying about Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty. Is it her motivation? Perhaps, but what is clear is that time has done nothing to make us less terrified of this Sleeping Beauty villain.

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    For The Best of Me stars Luke Bracey and Liana Liberato, being in a Nicholas Sparks movie is as huge of a cinematic moment for the two actors as can be experienced. Heck, those The Notebook quotes are iconic and now they hope their film will be right there with them.

    And there was one moment above all others that was particularly powerful for these two stars. “That scene, kissing in the rain, that’s when you know you’re making a Nicholas Sparks movie,” Bracey told us in our exclusive video interview with the two onscreen lovebirds.


    Sparks' movies sure have made audiences swoon for years, and yes, that scene you see when you watch The Notebook online of Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling kissing in the rain is iconic. He’s had quite a few of his characters having their romantic crescendo in the rain over the years, and for Bracey and Liberato, now they’ve joined that esteemed group of performers.

    Bracey and Liberato play the younger versions of James Marsden and Michelle Monaghan and this is a love story that spans decades and asks the question, “Do you get a second chance at first love?” You’ll have to see The Best of Me when it lands October 17 to discover the answer! 

    James Marsden & Michelle Monaghan Take a Walk
    Do they still have the spark? Marsden and Monaghan wonder in The Best of Me.

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    David Ayer has a knack for getting the little details right, while still crafting a sweeping story that rivets, compels and gives us characters we truly and deeply care about. Fury is his latest and the man who painted a grim and powerful portrait of working-the-streets LAPD cops in End of Watch has grown even further as a filmmaker with his latest starring Brad Pitt.

    Logan Lerman Brad Pitt Fury

    Pitt is Wardaddy, the leader of a tank unit fighting to finish off Germany on their own land in the waning days of World War II. He is surrounded by a crew riding in a tank that carries the movie’s name that is the best. The Fury cast is diverse and dynamic.

    Jon Bernthal is the backwoods, foul-mouthed man who keeps the war machine moving. Shia LaBeouf portrays a soldier who is as fierce with his chaplain skills and bible verses as he is accurate as the tank’s gunner. And Michael Pena is the driver who has had them, as Pitt says in the Fury trailer, “killing Germans in Africa and now killing Germans in Germany.”

    As the film begins they are returning to “base” from a mission where they lost their second gunner. Their new assignee is Norman (Logan Lerman), who has been in the military for all of eight weeks. He is joining a “family” that has been together for three years.

    Norman is the perfect intro for the audience into the world that Ayer has impeccably built. His naïveté when he arrives is a stark contrast to the war-weary men he is now fighting alongside and once he gets into battle (which is quickly after his arrival), his horror is our horror and his fear is our palpable terror. You feel it, and you want to run home as much as he does, and that is a very good thing for Ayer’s Fury.

    Lerman and Pitt forge a fantastic onscreen relationship that is part brother, part father and all mentor. Wardaddy instills the reality of war and implores his new charge to adapt or die. It’s that simple. Watching Lerman (who has the largest arc of the ensemble) change over the course of Fury is nothing short of a miracle. And it is a true testament to every soldier who has ever gone into battle and been baptized by the ravages and the carnage of war.

    Ayer has brilliantly filled out his cast. LaBeouf has the role of his career and he embraces it will full panache and grabs us by the heartstrings with his every moment on screen. There’s an intense and seeping depth to his characterization that needs to be there because Ayer has painted his chaplain/gunner as the conscience of this group. His heartbeat makes Fury truly fly.

    Fury Michael Pena Brad Pitt Shia LaBeouf

    Pena clearly took his role as Gordo quite seriously. It is the rare Latino that we see that plays such a huge role in a World War II movie and he delivers a performance that would make those half a million Latino soldiers who served in WWII proud. And also, he inspires. There is a monologue at a certain point of the film, no spoilers here, where Pena gives an Oscar-worthy moment that shows what a searing screen presence he has become.

    And then there’s Pitt. His Wardaddy is their leader, yes, but he is so much more. His performance, and his character, truly set the tone of Fury. There is no fury to Fury without him. Although his accent, at first, might recall a bit of his turn in Inglourious Basterds, within minutes that feeling fades into the background as we ride off into the most treacherous battles of the war with this furious crew that completely and wholeheartedly embodies the film title.

    Ayer truly grabbed our attention when he wrote Training Day. Then, when he wrote and directed End of Watch, we knew a filmmaker had truly arrived. Our Fury review can proudly report that with his latest, he has shot to the top of the list of directors whose work has become appointment film viewing.

    Watch End of Watch online and you’ll see what we mean. And then, run, don’t walk, and see Fury.

    Fury Movie Poster
    The full poster for Fury is here and it shows off it's cast, led by Brad Pitt.

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    The word “marvel” comes to mind when leaving The Book of Life. The Jorge R. Gutierrez directed passion project and tribute to his family and his heritage is a feast for the eyes, ears and most importantly -- the soul.

    The Book of Life Movie Photo

    One could think seeing The Book of Life trailer, the film is painted as a Day of the Dead story, but it is so much more. It’s about love, friendship, finding one’s purpose, following your passion, family and yes, life and death.

    We adore how the story is told through a narrator (Christina Applegate) who is doing her part to impart some knowledge to a group of kids taking a museum tour. She is telling the folkish tale of The Book of Life and introduces our characters while simultaneously putting its lessons in a form that makes it easy to forget we’re even getting them!

    Ron Perlman is Xibalba and Kate del Castillo portrays La Muerte. They are centuries-long loves who are separated by their various places in the afterlife. She runs the Land of the Remembered and he runs the Land of the Forgotten. Dying to get out of his personal hell, Xibalba makes a bet with La Muerte. They look down and see three little kids, two boys and one girl. They each choose who they think the girl will grow up to marry. If he wins, they switch places. If she wins, things stay the same.

    The boys are Manolo (Diego Luna) and Joaquin (Channing Tatum) and our girl is Maria (Zoe Saldana). Who wins whose heart and how we get there is a terrific and fun ride that zig zags between the Mexican landscape of our story (mostly) and the museum tour guide in the present. And then there’s the music. Gustavo Santaolalla wrote the score including several extraordinary original songs as well as given us mariachi versions of some of our favorite popular music hits, including tracks by Mumford and Sons, Radiohead and even Rod Stewart!

    The Book of Life cast is filled with not only extraordinary Latino talent, but a broad spectrum of voices that will have you trying to figure out who’s who. Among our favorites is Ice Cube as the Candlemaker god, Placido Domingo as Skelton Jorge (and yes, he sings!) and Hector Elizondo as Carlos Sanchez.

    The Book of Life Concept Art

    What is so affirming about Gutierrez’s The Book of Life is how it is a story about paying respect to our deceased familial roots and how in doing so, we are in fact celebrating life. There is something powerful about the tradition of the Day of the Dead, where we take one day a year and tell stories and visit the graves of our loved ones. It is those memories that keep them alive and as we see in The Book of Life -- that means that they never truly leave us at all.

    Our The Book of Life review can say that we were truly touched and entertained by the entire Guillermo del Toro produced effort (his touches are slight but present). The look of the film is exquisite, the animation is as colorful and as vibrant as a fiesta. Overall, this is one Book that younger audiences will cherish visiting over and over -- and their parents will be there too.

    Channing Tatum Gets Animated
    Channing is the man with the most awesome of mustaches. Seriously, it's amazing! He plays the town hero and appears to be destined to get, not earn, Zoe Saldana's heart.

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    In Birdman, Michael Keaton stars as Riggan, a washed-up actor whose superstar days of being a cinematic superhero are long gone. He is trying to get his mojo back by mounting a Broadway play that finds him risking everything.

    Birdman Michael Keaton and Edward Norton

    Alejandro González Iñárritu’s masterpiece follows the days prior to the production’s opening and the interweaving circus-worthy cast of characters who simultaneously help and potentially get in the way of his chances for a return to greatness. But the greatest minefield to Riggan’s rebirth lies within his own brain. His grip on reality appears to be slipping. Can he cling to it long enough to triumphantly return to the spotlight?

    Iñárritu also co-wrote the screenplay and Birdman is his moment. When they say that film is a director’s medium, all the proof needed to reinforce that belief can be seen on every frame of his film. The way he utilizes long takes and merges reality and fantasy in a seamless web of emotional and dramatic power is to be tributed to no end.

    We have always been huge appreciators of Keaton’s work, even in his early comic days with Night Shift and Mr. Mom. But when we saw him in Clean and Sober, there was something there that teased a brilliant actor working in the body of a man best known for being someone who lives to make us laugh. Then, Keaton became Tim Burton’s Batman (watch Batman online and see him at work!).

    Birdman is not quite like art imitating life in that Keaton never became washed up. He has worked steadily since hanging up his cape. But, there is a meta-ness to Birdman that only enhances its power, honestly. And Keaton knows it. There’s a “voice” to his Birdman character that certainly recalls a certain Dark Knight.

    But that is where life and this masterpiece’s connection ends. Keaton soars above it all and turns in the performance of a lifetime -- just watch these Birdman clips for a tease. Is it Oscar worthy? You bet, but the award season is still early and to talk awards with this film would be to belittle its greatness.

    It transcends those types of accolades as it rivets, challenges your senses and emotions, and yes, even your reality. Keaton is a hurricane and we want to return to it as often as possible.

    Birdman Michael Keaton Emma Stone

    Everything else about Birdman beyond its screenplay, direction and lead are astonishing.

    We have to start with Edward Norton. During one of the final rehearsals, an accident knocks out (literally) one of the four stars of Riggan's play. Norton's superstar Broadway actor is available and miraculously is able to step in. He too is a force of nature, but is content to let this be the Keaton show. But boy, does he give him a run for his money and challenges him around every turn.

    Emma Stone is Riggan’s daughter and isn’t she a complicated mess of magnificence. Growing up under a father known by the entire world has clearly left its scars and Stone delivers her take on the child of a superstar with a darkly humorous resonance that provides this tense drama some much-needed chuckles. And she also delivers a masterful monologue that puts our lead in his place at a moment when the film (and Riggan) sorely needed it most.

    Naomi Watts and Andrea Riseborough make up the final two pieces in our thespian quartet trying to mount this play that Riggan wrote, directed and stars in. Each adds layers to Birdman in a way that makes it even more special.

    See, that’s just it. Our Birdman review, above all else, believes that every player in Iñárritu’s film has a role to play and plays it pitch perfectly. And that is why this film will haunt you, move you and frankly, become a part of you. 

    Birdman Over Washington, D.C.
    Birdman flies high over Washington, D.C.

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    Nicholas Sparks has a certain audience for his films and they will absolutely adore The Best of Me. Since The Notebook quotes have become almost iconic since the film arrived in 2004, a wider audience that treasures that sweeping decades-spanning romance have waited for something from Sparks’ books to leap to the big screen that at least comes close.

    The Best of Me Stars James Marsden and Michelle Monaghan

    They have it with The Best of Me. It is by far the best page-to-screen effort from the North Carolina romance writer since Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling fell in love and made their mark on movie history.

    As teased in The Best of Me trailer, Luke Bracey is Dawson and Liana Liberato is Amanda. They are in high school and despite their different stations in life, manage to find each other and fall in love. It is their first true love and it is captured impeccably by Sparks in his book, and translated to the screen by screenwriters J. Mills Goodloe and Will Fetters and executed with a firm hand that is equally romantic and dramatic by director Michael Hoffman.

    Our film is not linear and neither was The Notebook. We go back and forth between Bracey and Liberato and James Marsden and Michelle Monaghan as the decades-later version of these two, who are now separated by time, regret and lives that do not include the other.

    They are drawn back to their hometown by the death of a common friend and what they discover is that, as the film’s tagline says, there can be a second chance at first love. But, things are complicated and Sparks’ story manages to keep us guessing as to will they or won’t they, right up until that fact is revealed near the conclusion.

    The casting is impeccable, and also a bit tragic. When Paul Walker died, he was about to start shooting the role that Marsden would inhabit. But, Marsden stepped in beautifully and his chemistry with Monaghan is powerful and reflects the explosive first love fireworks emitted by Liberato and Bracey.

    It is a tricky endeavor to cast two sets of lovebirds in a story like this. It might have seemed easier to cast the same pair -- who in real life are somewhere in the middle age-wise to where these two characters are. But kudos to everyone involved that this method works and works well. These two characters have changed so much by the fastballs and curveballs that life has thrown at them that it is easy to believe that they would be, essentially, completely different people.

    Our The Best of Me review had one issue with the film and that is that it doesn’t quite wrap itself up in a manner that is congruent with the rest of the movie. There are too many endings to a story that would be frankly better served by a more concise and straightforward means of concluding.

    Watch The Notebook online for the Sparks standard of excellence!

    James Marsden & Michelle Monaghan Take a Walk
    Do they still have the spark? Marsden and Monaghan wonder in The Best of Me.

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    Amongst those fantastical announcements for the Warner Bros. and DC Comics superhero slate that has some of the DC Comics world’s most iconic heroes arriving on screens through 2020, they also announced plans for The LEGO Movie franchise and the release timeframe for the next series inspired by the world of Harry Potter.

    Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

    The first Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them arrives November 1, the second film lands in 2018, with the final chapter hitting screens 2020.

    J.K. Rowling is busy with the screenplay, based on the textbook contained in her Harry Potter series that follows the adventures of the book’s fictional writer, Newt Scamander.

    Fans of the last four Harry Potter films will be delighted in the fact that David Yates, the helmer for those films, has signed on to direct Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

    And if you’re curious, the flick will take place in New York, seven decades prior to The Boy Who Lived even being born.

    Speaking of that, watch Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone online to see how his world began. 

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    When we sat down for our Michael Pena exclusive Fury interview, we had to ask about a certain little Marvel movie that is coming up that he’s a part of -- Ant-Man.

    Ant-Man Logo

    Now that we’re allowed to talk about it, we’re excited to share what he said about what it was about the film that made him sign on.

    Pena also addressed Edgar Wright leaving Ant-Man and how he’s disappointed, but that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has a way of getting things right (Guardians of the Galaxy, much?!). So, he’s still pretty pumped.

    “I read the script with Edgar Wright in the beginning. It was really cool,” Pena said.

    “He’s another guy (Like his Fury writer-director David Ayer), that when you talk to him and you realize his vision elevates what was already awesome on the page.”

    But, Wright walked away. “Then, it didn’t work out with him. But, I’m still on it,” Pena added. “It’s that Marvel way of doing movies, which is really interesting. Kevin Feige is killing it.”

    Look for Pena and the rest of the cast in Ant-Man July 17, 2015.

    Evangeline Lilly Sports Her Hope Van Dyne Look
    Evangeline Lilly shows off her Hope Van Dyne Look in Ant-Man!

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    After making quite the splash at the Toronto International Film Festival, the first trailer for Chris Rock’s Top Five is here to tease what all the fuss is about.

    Rock stars as a movie superstar/comedian who ignores the wishes of his wife (Gabrielle Union) to have his next project be to help her with her reality show. He also ignores his agent (Kevin Hart, recently of those Ride Along quotes), who wants him to pick his next movie blockbuster.

    What he does do, is hook up with a journalist (Rosario Dawson) to make a documentary about the plight of the people in Haiti.

    Top Five lands December 5 and also features Tracy Morgan, Cedric the Entertainer, Jerry Seinfeld, Adam Sandler, Sherri Shepherd, Whoopi Goldberg and music by Questlove. Yeah, that.

    Three new stills have arrived from Paramount for Top Five. Check them out in the slideshow below.  

    Chris Rock in Top Five
    From the sounds of it, Top Five will easily be one of Chris Rock's top five before he's done!

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    The weekend movie preview this week feels we've got a couple of easy Oscar contenders for Best Picture hitting theaters.

    There's David Ayer's Fury (Best Picture contender) and the Michael Keaton starring Birdman (easily a Best Picture nod and a Best Actor nod -- perhaps a win). Also, look for the animated The Book of Life to easy score a Best Animated Feature nod. Oh, and there's the latest from Nicholas Sparks, The Best of Me.

    Fury: Ayer has done it again. After riveting us with End of Watch, he returns with a World War II thriller about a tank crew led by Brad Pitt who are deep in enemy territory. They are fighting for thelir lives in the most extreme of circumstances and the film also has an ensemble cast that has never been better, including Michael Pena, Shia LaBeouf and Logan Lerman.

    Fury Movie Poster
    The full poster for Fury is here and it shows off it's cast, led by Brad Pitt.

    As our Fury review said, Ayer's attention to detail is uncanny, even his capturing of the colors of machine gun fire tracers to featuring a German "Tiger" tank that has never before been seen in a movie. The star of this flick may be Pitt, but the actor who most impresses is Lerman, as it is his journey that is our eyes and ears showcasing the horrors of war. 

    The Book of Life: Guillermo del Toro produced this animated gem that is equally about the Mexican Day of the Dead as it is a full on affirmation of life. Channing Tatum, Diego Luna and Zoe Saldana play the three points of a love triangle that spans decades, life and death. 

    Channing Tatum Gets Animated
    Channing is the man with the most awesome of mustaches. Seriously, it's amazing! He plays the town hero and appears to be destined to get, not earn, Zoe Saldana's heart.

    Our The Book of Life review was blown away by the vibrant colors and performances, but what really stood out above all else is two things: One, the message of the film that will be one to cherish by families and two, the score that includes some of our favorite songs done by mariachi bands as well as two original songs that are also likely to join the film itself in the Oscar nod department with a nomination for Best Original Song.

    The Best of Me: Sparks is back at making audiences swoon at romance again and as we reported in our The Best of Me review, this is his best film since The Notebook.

    James Marsden & Michelle Monaghan Take a Walk
    Do they still have the spark? Marsden and Monaghan wonder in The Best of Me.

    Luke Bracey and Liana Liberato star as the younger versions of James Marsden and Michelle Monaghan as they team up to tell a story of first love that spans decades and asks and answers the question: Can you get a second chance at first love? 

    Birdman: Michael Keaton gives the best acting performance not only of his career, but that we've seen this year from anyone. He is a washed up actor who is best known for playing a blockbuster movie superhero decades prior to when our film takes place. He is throwing everything he has at a Broadway production as it is his last chance at "doing something great."

    Birdman Over Washington, D.C.
    Birdman flies high over Washington, D.C.

    The film astounds on so many levels. We cannot recommend this movie enough. For more, check out our Birdman review.

    Feel like staying in this week? We've got some great titles arriving on digital download. Watch Sleeping Beauty online with its hi-def upgrade of the Disney classic and see Jon Hamm hit a home run in the amazing true story seen when you watch Million Dollar Arm online

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    With all this talk this week of DC Comics And Warner Bros. rolling out their superhero movies through 2020 and Marvel’s announcement that Iron Man will be in Captain America 3 and that The Avengers are heading towards a titanic Civil War, you might notice that superheroes seem to be topic “A” in Hollywood -- and have been for some years now

    Just how much do these blockbusters make and for that matter, what are the top 11 grossing superhero movies of all-time? And we’re talking total international gross here!

    We did some serious research and put them in order, from 11 to the number one highest grossing superhero movie of all-time. 

    Watch The Avengers online and you can bet that flick is at or near the top.

    Click through and check out the top 11 highest grossing superhero movies of all-time, and how much as each made?

    Also, you’ll notice that people are quite fond of a certain someone (Spider-Man!), as the webbed wonder appears a striking number of times on this list! 

    The Amazing Spider-Man 2
    The second Marc Webb webbed-wonder journey starts off our list with $709 million in global box office. Can someone please explain why The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is perceived as a failure?

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    What is so tremendous about the DVD, Blu-Ray and digital download release of Mr. Peabody & Sherman is it shows how keenly aware filmmakers were to  pay tribute to the original 1950s TV cartoon. It also shows how hard they worked to maintain the classic animated show’s tone and reverence to scientific intelligence and historical importance as virtues.

    Mr. Peabody & Sherman DVD

    As you can probably tell from our theatrical Mr. Peabody & Sherman review, this film is entertaining and informative and incredibly well cast. The voice of Mr. Peabody is the key to the whole thing, and by getting Modern Family star Ty Burrell, they hit a home run.

    The story of the world’s smartest dog (who is probably smarter than 99-percent of the human population) and the boy, Sherman, he adopts is a unique one and the film tackles that premise head on by having Sherman have trouble at school because of kids teasing him about who his father is. That is truly the catapult that sets our story in motion, as teased in the Mr. Peabody & Sherman trailer.

    Sherman and the girl who bullied him have to meet and their parents try to work things out at Mr. Peabody’s house. When Sherman tries to impress her, he shows her their WABAC machine -- a time machine -- and we’re off across time and space!

    As we said earlier, what impresses so much about this DVD, Blu-Ray and digital download release is the reverence for the original series. The bonus features also reflect that immensely as they contain many of the classic cartoons that amazingly have not only stood the test of time, but appear to be even more appropriate for today’s audiences than ever before.

    Fans may know that Mr. Peabody & Sherman premiered as a short during the Rocky & Bullwinkle & Friends Show and this home video set contains that 1959 premiere episode! That’s priceless. There are also five segments from the original television series, one of which clearly inspired a segment in the film, Leonardo da Vinci. We also like to see Mr. Peabody & Sherman interact with icons in the others, such as Robin Hood, Louis XVI, William Shakespeare and Ludwig Van Beethoven.

    Further exploring the delightful nature of this unique father and son story, they turn a classic phrase on its head for another joyous bonus feature. Don’t miss the bonus feature History’s Greatest Mysteries – A Dog and his Boy. Get it?! This is no boy and his dog story, it is the opposite and that is just one reason why we adore it!

    Mr. Peabody and Sherman Trailer Still

    There are also several games included among the bonus features that will keep the youngest fans enthralled while teaching them some fantastic lessons about history. Be sure to check out Time Travel Memory Match Game and The WABAC Jigsaw Puzzle Game.

    And two WABAC-centric featurettes celebrate the scientific “achievement” at the heart of the Mr. Peabody & Sherman world. Time Travel: Mad Science is just another example of the fantastic effort Fox did putting together this home video package as it got real physicists Kenneth Wharton and Anthony Aguirre to discuss the possibility of time travel. Think that is a compelling chat? You bet!

    Then, lastly, hop on a tour of the WABAC machine, led by Mr. Peabody himself. Just like this entire Mr. Peabody & Sherman DVD, Blu-Ray and Digital Download, it is one fantastic ride.

    Watch Mr. Peabody & Sherman online now and discover your next animated love.

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    When it comes to rumors about specific casting on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, we take everything with a grain of salt. Sure, we are intrigued by the idea of The Flash in Superman v Batman: Dawn of Justice...

    But, a female Robin? It could happen, according to a local Detroit television station (where Zack Snyder’s movie is shooting).

    The Hunger Games Catching Fire Jena Malone

    This rumor is compounded by the fact that The Hollywood Reporter is now saying that Catching Fire star Jena Malone (soon to be seen in Mockingjay Part 1) has signed on to reunite with her Sucker Punch director for a mystery role.

    Now, she could be Robin, but she could be someone else.

    The idea of a female Robin fits with the Snyder mentality and we think it would be an interesting wrinkle.

    But, there is enough going on in this film with Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and more as DC Comics and Warner Bros. set up their superhero series that they recently announced through 2020.

    Stay tuned as this story develops!

    Batmobile Close-Up
    Check out the first "true" look at Ben Affleck's Batmobile!

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