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Out in Theaters: ‘THE CONJURING 2’

Horror sequels have an unfortunate tendency to exude contempt for their audience. More often than not, the same formula is conscripted, wrangling selfsame plot lines (often in a new location or with new characters) that encompass similar beats and familiar frights. 9 Nightmare on Elm Street movies, 10 Halloween films and 12 Friday the 13th flicks can speak to the process. Rinse, repeat, rank in the cash. And while there’s nothing distinctively different to James Wan’s approach this second time around the Conjuring fairgrounds (save for a somewhat unnecessary additional 20 minutes pumped into the runtime), The Conjuring 2 remains a massively effective instrument for scaring the living shit out of oneself. Read More

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Out in Theaters: INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 3

The first tick box I’ll address on this lengthy list of movie sins is that Insidious: Chapter 3 is misnamed. A more accurate title would be Insidious: The First Chapter or Insidious: The End of the Beginning. or Insidious: Unbelievably, The Shittiest One Yet. Chapter 3 implies the continuation of a story that began in chapters one and two. People who’ve read chapter books likely already know this fact. Unfortunately, it appears that the creators of this film weren’t privy to the vestige of knowledge contained within chapter books. Because outside of setting up a character whose appearance in the first Insidious movie also suspiciously marked its drastic dip in quality, this third chapter has absolutely nothing in common with the two that hit theaters before it. It’s like reading “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” and then “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” and then “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”. Except Rowling intended for you to read it in that order. Read More

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SXSW Review: FURIOUS 7

At the bedside of crisped brother Owen Shaw (Luke Evans), older, meaner Deckard (Jason Statham) vows revenge on the crew that turned his sibling into a pin cushion. The camera pulls back to reveal a high security hospital-turned-war zone and Statham slowly saunters past gunned-down guards, ravaged rooms and fizzling tech. The world pisses itself in the presence of Deckard – your appropriately chewy badass action movie baddie at the center of the latest Fast film. It’s a rightfully outrageous moment that aptly sums up Furious 7 in its complete and stupid glory; it’s so dumb, it’s so good. Read More

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Will FAST AND FURIOUS Franchise Live on After Paul Walker's Death?

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While America tucked into bounties of turkey and stuffing and celebrated Thanksgiving with their families, this holiday weekend also brought the death of Fast and Furious franchise star Paul Walker. While not a celebrated star outside of the Fast and Furious world, Walker was the focal point of the F&F series and the lead character in a cast that includes Vin Diesel, Ludacris, Jordana Brewster, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, amongst many others. In a feat of super sad irony, Walker was driving with a friend in a limited edition 2005 Porsche Carrera GT, the stuff straight from the pages of Fast and Furious, when his vehicle spun out and hit a tree, causing it to burst into flames, killing Walker and the driver. Mirroring the events of the franchise, police are now tossing around the idea that the crash might have been the result of a drag race (CNN). And while many people bowed their head in respectful solace for Walker’s passing, fans of the franchise raced to Twitter to ponder the future of the franchise and whether the next film would go up in flames as well. The short answer: no.

The seventh installment of the massively popular franchise launched into production earlier this fall on a rushed production timeline. Horror auteur James Wan (The Conjuring) stepped in for long time franchise helmer Justin Lin, who directed Fast films since the third film, Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift. Lin apparently departed the series because he believed Universal was rushing production to hit a July 11, 2014 release date. Now, it seems inevitable that that date will mosey even further into the future as “massive rewrites” will need to take place to account for Walker’s passing.

As for Fast 7, Wan has already shot many of the expensive action sequences with Walker but his role in the film was far from over. Taking into account the fact that few films shoot scenes chronologically, Walker now has scenes all over the film with gaping holes where some much needed plot exposition should go.

Productions have lost major players before. Take for example Heath Ledger who died after completing his work on The Dark Knight but was in the midst of Terry Gilliam‘s The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. In order to band-aid the missing scenes, friends of Ledger, Jude Law, Johnny Depp, and Colin Farrell, stepped in to fill in his missing part. But obviously something that “worked” in a wacky Gilliam movie won’t fly for mainstream audiences in a summer tentpole film. Oliver Reed also famously passed away while filming Gladiator and his missing bits were filled in with CGI composites of his face but that’s an expensive project that cost ballpark two million dollars for mere moments in the film. We can also assume this isn’t the best tactic for F&F 7.

It seems the only option for the franchise at this point is to off Walker’s character. This however raises an issue of good taste. Is it respectful to his legacy and fair to his family to have to relive Walker’s death in a fun, family-friendly movie? Maybe not. But then again, Fast has always been about family. Maybe they’ll let Walker’s character walk into the sunset with his family. For now, production has been halted so the cast and crew can grieve while the writers try and hack out a solution to the whole Walker’s missing problem. Fast 7 will certainly go on, but it might be the last we see of the Toretto family.

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