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Here Are The Funny, Honest Movie Titles For 2015's Oscar Nominated Films

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Sure, this year's Oscar-nominated films were critically acclaimed masterpieces starring Hollywood's top talent. But when it comes down to it, what will these movies really be remembered for?

CollegeHumor created eight mock movie posters, making fun of each film. Check out some of the funny titles below:

"Boyhood":boyhood college humor title"American Sniper":american sniper college humor title

"Birdman":birdman college humor title

To check out the rest of CollegeHumor's mock movie titles, click here.

SEE ALSO: Here's How 'Birdman' Shot That Crazy Scene Of Michael Keaton Running In Times Square In His Underwear

MORE: The 13 Biggest Snubs And Surprises From The Oscar Nominations

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Disney Bought George Lucas’ Ideas For The New 'Star Wars' Trilogy And Then Scrapped Them

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george lucas r2 d2

When George Lucas sold Lucasfilm to Disney in 2012 for $4 billion, the sale included treatments for Lucas’ "Star Wars" ideas for episodes VII, VIII, and IX.

So even though the Mouse House was now in charge of all things “Star Wars,” it appeared as if fans were still going to get Lucas’ version of the next trilogy.  

It turns out that's not the case.

Speaking with Cinemablend at the press conference for his new animated feature, “Strange Magic,” Lucas said Disney essentially scrapped his ideas for episodes VII, VIII, and IX.

“The ones that I sold to Disney, they came up to the decision that they didn't really want to do those,” Lucas told Cinemablend. “So they made up their own. So it's not the ones that I originally wrote.”

According to Bloomberg, Disney CEO Robert Iger thought the treatments "had a lot of potential."

Lucas has been tossing around ideas for a third "Star Wars" trilogy since the launch of the original trilogy. A Time article from March 1978 suggested Lucas had plans for up to a dozen "Star Wars" movies.

He even pitched the idea of "Episode VII" to actor Mark Hamill in the '80s.

Lucas is now serving as a "creative consultant" on the new films. 

What does that mean? Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy described it like this:

The beauty of the collaboration that can continue is as we work our way through these scripts if we're sitting and saying, "Hmm, I wonder if this character can do that?" or "Does this make sense within the rules of 'Star Wars'?"… He's the keeper of the flame when it comes to that.

 

NOW WATCH: Why 'MythBusters' Adam Savage Is Way In To Cosplay

 

SEE ALSO: Mark Hamill knew about "Star Wars: Episode VII" back in the '80s

AND: Why George Lucas stopped making "Star Wars" movies to work on a passion project

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How IMAX Is Becoming A Wall Street Giant

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game of thrones iron throne

Imax Corp. is becoming a Wall Street darling after winning a couple of big box-office bets – “American Sniper” is the latest – and showing more nimbleness and flexibility with its giant-screen movie offerings than ever before.

“Of all the companies in the exhibition sector, I don’t think any are positioned better for 2015 than Imax,” B. Riley analyst exhibition specialist Eric Wold told TheWrap on Tuesday.

Imax executives declined comment ahead of next month’s fourth-quarter earnings report, but Wold wasn’t the one paying attention. Trading in Imax stock spiked to roughly 1.3 million shares Tuesday, far above its typical 400-500, as it closed up 0.13 percent at $30.18.

Much of the boost is because this year has a good shot at being the biggest ever at the domestic box office, and is jammed with Imax-friendly action fare like “Avengers: The Age of Ultron,” a new James Bond movie, “Jurassic World” and “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

star wars the force awakens sithImax stock has risen 22 percent since June, and more than 7 percent since the start of the year. Analysts were taking particular note of unusual interest in six-month options at $33 as well, signaling investor confidence that the Toronto-based Canadian company’s positive recent run will get even better.

But another reason for the surge is that Imax has demonstrated the ability to tweak its film slate as never before, with late-game moves to land “American Sniper” and the space epic “Interstellar,” the latter at the expense of “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1.” Both of those became box office hits and benefited greatly from the premiums charged for screenings at Imax’s 336 domestic theaters, even thought the late-pickups left little time for marketing.

The $10.5 million that Imax screens delivered on “American Sniper” was more than any R-rated movie, or any film playing on the Martin Luther King holiday weekend ever. Because Imax landed the film just eight days before its wide release, those returns weren’t factored into first quarter projections for the big screen company or the overall box office, and that may be driving some of the trading.American Sniper Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle“Management’s ability to quickly add incremental films to the line-up will drive profitable box office revenues given the scale of the Imax network and will continue to be an important supplemental contributor in the coming years well beyond the key tentpole films.,” said Wold.

The 11th-hour addition of an extra week to the run for HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” which lands on Jan. 29, underscored the company’s willingness and ability to be flexible. And that was after Imax leadership earned brownie points from analysts for innovation in trying a TV series on its giant screens.

The fortunes of Imax, which has a $2 billion market cap, and its stock, have in the past been closely tied to the strength or weakness of the movies in release. It’s in the midst of an aggressive global growth campaign that will bring more stability. It currently has 868 theaters worldwide, with 419 scheduled to be built, many in China.

Those are a lot of positives, and bullish analysts have taken note.

MKM Partners last week slapped an “outperform” rating on Imax shares and raised its price target to $36. The Street’s Jamie Hodge identified it as a strong under-the-radar stock. Overall, six analysts rate Imax a buy, four suggest a hold and none say sell.

SEE ALSO: IMAX CEO Explains Why 2015 Will Be Insanely Big

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Here's How Clint Eastwood Cast A Real Navy SEAL In 'American Sniper'

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american sniper bradley cooper

Kevin “Dauber” Lacz, a former Navy SEAL who served two combat deployments to Iraq was ignorant about Hollywood and the filmmaking process.

That all changed, though, when he was brought onto American Sniper as the SEAL technical advisor and was then persuaded by Bradley Cooper to play himself on the big screen.

kevin lacz american sniper

“I’m going to tell Clint [Eastwood] you got to be in this movie,” Bradley told Lacz at a dinner during the film’s shoot. To his surprise after sending an audition shot on an iPhone, with acting aid from the film’s writer Jason Hall, Lacz was cast in the movie. He notes, “Clint shot bad guys in movies and I shot bad guys in real life, so let’s go ahead and make a realistic movie.

In 2006, Lacz served for four years with the film’s hero Chris Kyle, played by Cooper on screen, and the two shared an unbreakable bond. The film ends with footage of Kevin at Kyle’s memorial service where each SEAL pinned their trident onto Chris’s casket. Lacz’s relationship to Kyle as well as his work as a platoon sniper and medic to the most highly decoratedspecial operations task unit since Vietnam contributed to his skill set as the SEAL technical advisor for Eastwood’s film.

Cooper told The Hollywood Reporter, that Lacz along with advisor Rick Wallace“were invaluable in the process of making the film.” That appreciation is mutual as Lacz tells The Hollywood Reporter about Cooper and Eastwood’s devotion to the reality of Kyle’s story. Warning: Some spoilers ahead.

As SEAL technical advisor what are some scenes you helped advise that really stood out to you?

One of them which was also my favorite scene to film and to watch back was the surf torture scene. I showed up on set in Malibu and I had an idea. I was looking at the sides to see what we were doing and there was no surf torture, which is when you link arms and walk into the water and take seats. You sit there and let the water rush over. I told Jason who said it was a great idea and to tell Bradley. So I went over and told Bradley and he’s like, “Tell Clint.” I went and told Clint and he’s like, “that’s great.” The best part was telling the actors we were going to do it. Bradley was stoked to do it, and I swear it when everyone else found out it was like you could hear actor’s spirit dying. I was explaining what exactly we were doing and I swear one guy’s nose started to run, just thinking about getting in the water.

How did the conversation with Cooper about you playing yourself in the film go?

We were training during a three-day shoot. Bradley shows up, and he’s straight business. We started shooting a little bit, and he’s on the gun and I’m coaching him through basic body positions as a sniper and he looks up at me and says, “Hey man, did you ever think about playing yourself in the movie?” I have an answer for everything, and for the first time I didn’t. I just said, “I never thought about that, but go ahead and shoot that target and we’ll talk later.” The next night we were at dinner and he pulled me aside and said, “I’m going to tell Clint you got to be in this movie.”chris kyle

How did the first day of filming go?

I’m not filming that day, I was just following Bradley around, advising all day. I was literally on him like stink on shit on tire when it was combat and SEAL related. Clint pulls me over and it’s raining, he’s got his boonie hat on and camouflage jacket and he asks me how Chris would have shot a guy in a vehicle. I thought about it for a second and said, “Well, Mr. Eastwood, if he shoots him fast he shoots like a Navy SEAL, but if shoots him slow. . .” And I made a slow reaching motion like I’m grabbing a gun, and I’m like, “Do you feel lucky punk, well do you?” And Clint is just standing there in the rain laughing. And I’m thinking this is one moment I’m never going to forget. I can pull a Clint Eastwood line on Clint, and he laughs.

Describe Eastwood’s directing style.

Clint is very spontaneous. You’ll just be going and the next thing you know, the camera is there. That put me at ease. I was also working with pretty great actors as well. I thought back to what it was like to be in all those situations, thought about all my senses and put myself back in time and just went with it. It’s also that aura of being around Clint Eastwood that propels you to be better. There’s not a lot of fluff with Clint Eastwood. He’s a straight shooter. Being around him makes you want to put forth the best product. Clint shot bad guys in movies and I shot bad guys in real life, so let’s go ahead and make a realistic movie. He asked me very early on, “Kevin let us know if it’s not like what it was,” that was just a man-to-man talk to make sure the film was as real to the personal story of Chris.Clint Eastwood

How committed were Eastwood and Cooper to the accuracy of the film?

I can’t speak enough to how much Bradley was locked into this role. I got that from the moment I sat down with him of how intense he is. I thought a lot about questions he’d ask and stuff he’d want to know and prepared answers for him, but Bradley is so inquisitive that he’d fire question after question and the next thing I knew I was just giving raw answers and that’s how he learned. He took everything into account to deliver an amazing performance. His commitment to the reality to bring the story to fruition is unparalleled. Then to see him [on Broadway] in The Elephant Man he just continues to amaze. Clint was a stud on set. He’d walk through the rubble in Morocco and just command the set. The guy is made for making war movies.clint eastwood bradley cooper american sniper sienna miller

What was your most memorable moment on the set?

When I brought my wife and son on set. It was the bar scene, I was already anxious that I was on camera, but more that my wife would be there watching me, and even more that my four-year old son would be running around set. There’s also a funny moment, from another scene when Bradley is shooting and he wanted to get fired up for the scene. He says to me, “I want you to make me mad before I film this, tell me something that will get me pissed off.” I thought of the first thing that came to my head, “What Leo’s [DiCaprio] a better actor?” (laughs) Bradley looked at me all serious, “No, say this.”

That bar scene, you’ve endured a lot more pain in your career, but what about those darts?

I’m just glad they weren’t throwing hatchets or throwing stars on my back. There’s a certain perception of SEALs and I think the bar scene captures it. To be most accurate, there probably would have been a bar clearing brawl.

Your nickname is Dauber. What nickname would you give Cooper?

I’ll tell you what I wouldn’t give him. I wouldn’t say that’s the guy from The Hangover. We were filming in Morocco and we’re doing a scene and he goes, “Dude isn’t this incredible?” And I said, “Yeah, it really is. I’m sitting here with the guy from The Hangover.” He just got all serious and said, “If I just look like the guy from The Hangover, I’m doing something wrong,” and walked off. I’m like, “Oh, shit.” You might want to call him the legend of filming, he’s that good.

What was your reaction when you watched the film for the first time?

I loved it. I’m not going to lie, it’s tough the first time you’re in a movie, you kind of watch for yourself, but I was fortunate enough to see the movie again, the same day, and really take it all in. I didn’t understand how they filmed it and turned it into what they did and I was amazed of how complete and real it is. To see Bradley and how hard he worked to be Chris Kyle. When you watch it, you see it. You see the attention to detail and accuracy. To see Jason Hall’s script come full circle, and it does Chris Kyle justice. It does justice to the SEAL teams. It’s a raw, gritty, and visceral depiction of what modern war is like. Everyone on set put one hundred percent and the product speaks volumes.

Your first red carpet movie premiere. How did it go?

If you’re going to go to a movie premiere, you might as well go with Clint Eastwood and Bradley Cooper.  Eight years ago when I was in the Navy, going through this in real life and the next thing I know I’m on the red carpet. It was really humbling. I got to link back up with the guys I shared a brotherhood with Reynaldo Gallegos, Luke GrimesJake McDormanEric LadinCory Hardrict, and Bradley.Kevin Lacz American Sniper

When the film ended with you in the footage of Chris Kyle’s actual funeral how emotional was that for you?

I didn’t know that was going to be in there. I wasn’t prepared. I saw that, and that’s the hammer hitting right there. It really brings that reality and anchors that film down and makes it that personal story of Chris.

What do you hope audiences take away from the film?

It’s very easy for people to just say, “Thank you for your service, good job.” Having seen this as a civilian I think it’s important that people come away from this that there is definitely a personal story in each deployment overseas. Some are unimaginable.  I want people to take the time and meet with those vets and come away with a different understanding of what guys go through and what they sacrificed and how that’s reflected on their home lives. As an audience member you come away with the idea that each person that goes overseas has a story, and let’s listen.

SEE ALSO: The Incredible And Tragic Story Of The Real-Life 'American Sniper'

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The 'Star Trek 3' Script Will Be Written By One Of Its Actors

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star trek into darkness zoe saldana zachary quinto

Star Trek 3 is scheduled to be a triumphant celebration of the soon-to-be 50 year old franchise's healthy run in pop culture history. But, as anyone who's thrown a good party will tell you, such an event takes a lot of time and effort to prepare, and things can change at the blink of an eye. The folks at Bad Robot have actually been blinking quite a bit, recently replacing the initially hired Roberto Orci in the directors chair with Fast and Furious 6 director Justin Lin, but that's not all. Now we're hearing that the writer's seats are being filled by two new faces... and one of them is Scotty himself, Simon Pegg. 

Deadline is reporting the news that Simon Pegg has been teamed up with Bad Robot writer Doug Jung to co-write the latest draft of Star Trek 3's script. While Pegg is seen primarily as an actor in the public eye, he has quite a bit of experience in the writing department, as he co-wrote the entire Cornetto Trilogy with Edgar Wright, as well as his starring effort Run Fatboy Run. As for Jung, he's fairly new, but has written a script for Bad Robot called Diamond, which may or may not be their adaptation of a Wired article they optioned back in 2009

simon peggHiring Simon Pegg and Doug Jung to write Star Trek 3 is a great idea. With Pegg's background as a sci-fi fan, as well as a comedic scribe of good standing, he's a shoo-in for finessing the banter between the crew and any species they may have contact with. Also, if there's a list of people that can be trusted with a franchise as geeky as Star Trek, then Pegg's name should be right next to Edgar Wright's. In the case of Jung, he's the creator of TNT's defunct cop series, Dark Blue, as well as having credits writing for Banshee and Big Love. With credentials like that, you've basically got the action and procedural aspects of the film covered, with the added bonus of Kirk's alien conquests possibly benefiting from some of that Big Love experience. 

What does this mean for Star Trek 3's production schedule? Well, nothing so far, considering that we don't know if Pegg and Jung are going to do a full fledged re-write, or are just punching up material from the earlier script written by J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay. With a re-write, the script could be turned around in enough time for production to be right on schedule for its release date next summer. However, if the script needs a little more work than anticipated, there could be a release date bump into the Christmas 2016 season. The only real competition that stands in the way of Star Trek 3 in that slot is the first stand-alone Star Wars film, which might have a brand name attached to it, but it could still fall flat on its face. You never know. 

Star Trek 3 is scheduled for a July 8, 2016 launch, but think of how much publicity a true Star Wars vs. Star Trek showdown could bring with a Fall 2016 launch? Just putting that out there. 

SEE ALSO: Neil deGrasse Tyson Tells Us Why 'Star Trek' Is So Much Better Than 'Star Wars' Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/neil-degrasse-tyson-star-trek-2013-5#ixzz3PZCT1WjD

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Johnny Depp's New Movie 'Mortdecai' Is Getting Terrible Reviews

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johnny depp mortdecai

Johnny Depp has a new movie out this weekend, "Mortdecai," and it's sounding like a giant bust.

You may have seen a few TV ads or billboards for the flick like this one featuring Depp as a mustachioed Brit.

mortdecai poster

... or this one with Gwyneth Paltrow also strangely sporting a mustache.mortdecai gywneth paltrowHowever, you probably don't know much else about the film other than actors Paltrow, Olivia Munn, and Ewan McGregor are also along for the ride. 

The film, about an art dealer (Depp) searching for a stolen painting, hasn't screened for many US critics yet, but it's currently tracking low for the weekend. BoxOffice.com is calling for the film to make $8.5 million opening weekendThe Lionsgate picture cost an estimated $60 million.

In other words, aside from "Into the Woods," it's more than likely this will be Depp's fifth box-office bomb in a row.

Here's what critics are saying:

Empire is having fun with puns calling the film "somewhat mortifying": 

Very close to disastrous, there's an unavoidable feeling that Gwyneth Paltrow and co. are having much more fun than you are, what?

The Wrap:

On the heels of “The Lone Ranger” and “Dark Shadows,” it appears that Depp has turned himself into Mike Myers — not the “Austin Powers” Myers, the “Love Guru” Myers. 

Time Out:

As the plot ties itself in ever more uninteresting knots, a nagging question remains: who is ‘Mortdecai’ for? It’s not thrilling enough for the multiplex crowd and not funny enough to work as out-and-out comedy. 

It’s hard to escape the suspicion that the only people sure to enjoy ‘Mortdecai’ are Depp, Paltrow and perhaps Tim Burton and Madonna.

The Telegraph calls the movie "psychotically unfunny" and suggests it could be in early contention for the worst film of the year.

This is comfortably the actor’s worst film since Alice in Wonderland, and even dedicated fans will find their hearts shrivelling up like week-old party balloons at its all-pervading air of clenched desperation.

Digital Spy:

Mortdecai, the film, is neither satire nor spoof, instead getting caught uncomfortably in a place where the butt of the joke is difficult to pinpoint. And it seems the star of the film is hiding as well behind those carefully teased whiskers, apparently having tired of the whole acting thing and decided to act the fool instead.

Variety:

A perky but obstinately unfunny heist caper with a hero irksome enough to make any happily mustachioed man reconsider his life choices.

On the flip side, Forbes's Scott Mendelson is among the few to suggest it's not as terribly awful as everyone is making it out to seem. 

Via Forbes:

significantly less-terrible than expected, to the point where it does indeed reach the level of “not bad.” That may be damning with faint praise, but after an oddly off-putting campaign that highlighted the allegedly “hilarious” lead character, zero buzz going into Friday’s release, and a utter lack of official press screenings, it is with a spring in my step that I inform you that the new Johnny Depp vehicle is… fine?

That's not saying much, but if you're a fan of Depp, who has played numerous iterations of delightfully odd characters over the years, maybe you'll sort of appreciate his performance. We're holding our breath.

Check out a trailer for the film below:

 

SEE ALSO: 25 movies to see this year

AND: Disney bought George Lucas' ideas for the new "Star Wars" trilogy and then scrapped them

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DreamWorks Animation Is Cutting 500 Jobs And Will Only Make 2 Movies Per Year Now

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madagascar

DreamWorks Animation is making some big changes. 

The studio announced Thursday afternoon it will cut around 500 jobs and will reduce the amount of animated pictures it puts out for year

According to the release, DWA will cut the number of films it makes from three to two per year.

The new strategy will involve releasing one original film per year along with a sequel to one of the studio's better known pictures. 

The announcement comes after a string of box-office bombs and writedowns from the studio in the past few years including 2012's "Rise of the Guardians" and this year's "Mr. Peabody & Sherman."

Here's a quick look at the performance of DWA's films over the past two years.

MovieBox Office WorldwideEstimated BudgetWritedown
(if any)
"Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted" (2012)$746.9 million$145 million 
"Rise of the Guardians" (2012)$306.9 million$145 million$87 million
"The Croods" (2013)$587.2 million$135 million 
"Turbo" (2013)$282.6 million$135 million$13 million
"Mr. Peabody & Sherman" (2014)$272.9 million$145 million$57 million
"How to Train Your Dragon 2" (2014)$618.9 million$145 million 
"Penguins of Madagascar" (2014)$312.5 million$132 million 

Earlier this month, DreamWorks Animation announced Bonnie Arnold and Mireille Soria will now lead the animation department as co-presidents.

The two were lead producers on the studio’s successful “How to Train Your Dragon” and “Madagascar” franchises. 

The company’s next film is an original animated feature titled “Home” with the voice talents of Rihanna and Jim Parsons ("The Big Bang Theory"). It will be released in March.

Here's the full release:  

DreamWorks Animation (NASDAQ: DWA) is implementing a new strategic plan to restructure its core feature animation business to ensure the consistent and profitable delivery of the high quality films that audiences have come to expect from the studio.  Following a full review of the business, the company will focus its feature production from three films per year down to two, maximize its creative talent and resources, reduce costs, and drive profitability.

Under the leadership of newly appointed Co-Presidents of Feature Animation Bonnie Arnold and Mireille Soria, the studio's core feature animation production will now focus on six specific movies for the next three years - one original film and one sequel each year - including Kung Fu Panda 3 (March 18, 2016), Trolls (Nov. 4, 2016), Boss Baby (Jan. 13, 2017), The Croods 2 (Dec. 22, 2017), Larrikins (Feb. 16, 2018) and How to Train Your Dragon 3 (June 29, 2018). Captain Underpants, which will be produced outside of the studio's pipeline at a significantly lower cost, is scheduled for release in 2017.  The company's 2015 release, Home, will premiere domestically on March 27.

"The number one priority for DreamWorks Animation's core film business is to deliver consistent creative and financial success," saidDreamWorks Animation Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Katzenberg.  "I am confident that this strategic plan will deliver great films, better box office results, and growing profitability across our complementary businesses."

The overall reduction of DreamWorks Animation's feature production output will result in a loss of approximately 500 jobs across all locations and all divisions of the studio. DreamWorks expects to incur a pre-tax charge of approximately $290 million in connection with the restructuring and related items.  These costs are expected to be incurred primarily in the quarter ended December 31, 2014, with the remainder in 2015 and 2016.  The plan will result in total cash payments of approximately $110 million incurred primarily in 2015.  The restructuring plan is expected to be substantially complete by the end of 2015 and expected to result in annualized pre-tax cost savings of approximately $30 million in 2015, growing to roughly $60 million by 2017.

SEE ALSO: Johnny Depp's new movie is getting terrible reviews

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28 Popular Movies That Are Getting Sequels This Year

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jennifer lawrence hunger games mockingjayIf one thing is certain in Hollywood, it's sequels. 

This year, more than two dozen movie sequels will hit theaters.

Some of these sequels make sense, including "Avengers: Age of Ultron" and "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2." Others seem less justified, like the coming "Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2."

Find out which of your favorite (or least favorite) movies are getting a "Part 2"— or 3, 4, or 5 — this year

"The Woman In Black 2: Angel of Death"

Release Date: Jan. 2
Director: Tom Harper
Stars: Leanne Best, Phoebe Fox, Jeremy Irvine

This sequel was widely panned when it was released in early January. The film undoubtedly suffered from losing the original's leading man, Daniel Radcliffe.



"Taken 3"

Release Date: Jan. 9
Director:
Olivier Megaton
Starring: 
Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen, Forest Whitaker, Maggie Grace

Liam Neeson returns as Bryan Mills. In the third installment of this franchise, no one is literally "taken." Instead, the title of the film takes a darker turn as Mills is framed for murdering his ex-wife (Janssen) and goes on a quest to find her actual killer. Despite poor reviews, the film had one of the biggest January opening weekends.



"Spongebob Squarepants: Sponge Out Of Water"

Release Date: Feb. 6
Director:
Mike Mitchell and Paul Tibbit
Stars:
Tom Kenny ("Spongebob Squarepants"), Antonio Banderas, Seth Green

The sequel takes television's favorite anthropomorphic sponge and throws him onto land in CGI and 3D. Spongebob (voiced by Kenny), goes on a mission to secure a recipe from an evil pirate (Banderas). The previous "Spongebob" movie, a 2D animated adventure, was a hit at the box office; however, that was 10 years ago. 

Unlike the first movie, this movie doesn't feature Alec Baldwin and David Hasselhoff in cameo appearances. However, you can expect an appearance from Slash.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

'Black Sea' Is Easily The Best 2015 Release So Far

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sub2

Broken down to its parts, "Black Sea" sounds like a predictable genre thriller with a kooky twist — it's a heist film, set entirely in a submarine. But by combining elements of these classic genres, director Kevin MacDonald ("The Last King of Scotland") has crafted an efficient and exciting old-school thriller that proves familiarity is nothing to be afraid of.

A laid-off English submarine captain (Jude Law) gets lured by his old buddies to assemble a team of professional submarine operators to find a lost, sunken U-boat filled with millions of dollars of Nazi gold. Since the submarine they'll need to use to accomplish this is Russian, Law assembles a crew of half Brits and half Russians.

As soon as the vessel begins its journey, the two groups of men are at each other's throats. Law says from the start that each man will get an equal share of the bounty, and this doesn't sit well with some crewmembers who deem themselves more essential than others. Why should a homeless teenage boy (recruited by Law at the last minute) get the same amount of money as the hulking Russian who does all the heavy lifting? 

sub1Jude Law is presented as a sort of working-class-hero: In his first dialogue exchange, we learn he's been working on submarines for over 30 years, and that he essentially lost his wife and kid to the job. When the opportunity for "one last big score" comes up, he has no reason not to abandon what little is left of his life and just go for it. 

The majority of "Black Sea" takes place on the submarine itself, and the camera work makes the audience feel just as confined as the men on the boat. These men are far from civilized and all have severe tunnel vision about the mission at hand.

It's not long before the actions of one rogue man put the lives of those onboard and the mission itself in jeopardy, and from that point forward, there's no telling what may happen next. It becomes a matter of life and death rather than a matter of becoming rich. The cinematography is gorgeous in spite of all this ugliness, and there are some particularly chilling shots when some men leave the boat to find the gold.

sub3It's hard not to compare the film to those that inspired it, as Law's descent into madness is reminiscent of the Humphrey Bogart classic "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre." And there's a "company man" character pulling the strings (Scoot McNairy, in his most obnoxious role yet) that feels airlifted out of James Cameron's "Aliens." 

"Black Sea" is an amalgam of submarine thrillers and "one-last-job" heist films that succeeds on all fronts, borrowing ideas we've seen before and executing them so well that they feel new again. In January, a "dump month" utilized by studios to unload their disasters ("Mortdecai,""Strange Magic"), "Black Sea" sticks out like a Russian sub and is easily the best 2015 release thus far.

"Black Sea" is now playing in limited release and will expand wide Friday, Jan. 30. 

SEE ALSO: 'A Most Violent Year' Is A Gripping Take On The American Dream

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Johnny Depp Has His Fifth Box-Office Bomb In A Row

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johnny depp mortdecai

It was not a good weekend for Johnny Depp.

His newest movie, "Mortdecai," flopped at the box office, making just $4.1 million on an estimated $60 million budget.

Analyst predictions for the weekend suggested the film may make closer to $8.5 million.

The Lionsgate movie, featuring Depp as a mustachioed art dealer, received terrible reviews.

Not counting his small cameo in Disney's "Into the Woods,""Mortdecai" marks Depp's fifth consecutive opening-weekend bomb. 

Depp's latest tentpole film, Warner Bros.' sci-fi "Transcendence,"failed to connect with audiences over the summer and made just $23 million domestically after a $10.8 million opening weekend. 

As a result, many have questioned whether Depp still has the the ability to draw in big audiences as a lead man

That isn't the issue — rather, it's the roles he's been taking on as of late.

If his past few movies were for a franchise like "Pirates of the Caribbean" or "Alice in Wonderland," the conversation would be completely different. Both of those are huge money-makers for Disney — the first "Alice" made over $1 billion at theaters — and Depp plays familiar, bizarre characters that he has become known for on screen. 

Here's a look at Depp's latest movie performances:

MovieOpening WeekendDomestic Box OfficeForeign Box OfficeEstimated Budget
"Mortdecai"$4.1 million  $60 million
"Transcendence"$10.9 million$23 million$80 million$100 million
"The Lone Ranger"$29.2 million$89.3 million$171.2 million$215 million
"Dark Shadows"$29.7 million$79.7 million$165.8 million$150 million
"The Rum Diary"$5.1 million$13 million$10.8 million$45 million

In three of the movies listed above, Depp plays a pretty normal-looking guy ("Mortdecai,""Transcendence,""The Rum Diary"). Audiences are used to seeing Depp in bizarre roles. Still, "Dark Shadows" didn't perform as well as analysts thought it would at the box office.

The reason I broke up Depp's movies into domestic vs. foreign box-office grosses instead of just worldwide grosses is to show how much more appeal the actor has overseas. 

While Depp's audience has appeared to fade stateside, his movies still perform very well in other countries. 

Look at how much better "Dark Shadows" and "The Lone Ranger" performed overseas.

Depp's next movies include a few other potential misfires, including "Yoga Hosers," described as a film about "two teenage yoga enthusiasts" who "team up with a man-hunter to battle with an ancient evil presence."

If all else fails, next year should start to turn things around for the actor when a sequel to 2010's "Alice in Wonderland" is released in theaters.

The following year, another "Pirates of the Caribbean" is set for release.

NOW WATCH: Why 'MythBusters' Adam Savage Is Way In To Cosplay

 

SEE ALSO: Johnny Depp's latest movie receives terrible reviews

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6 Crazy Things Revealed In HBO's Explosive New Scientology Documentary 'Going Clear'

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Scientology

Director Alex Gibney's explosive HBO documentary about Scientology, "Going Clear," which is based on Lawrence Wright's best-selling book of the same name, premiered Sunday night at the Sundance Film Festival.

After HBO had 160 lawyers preparing for the doc about the litigious church, the film quickly became the festival's premiere with the most buzz.

 

 

 

After festivalgoers and the press viewed the film for the first time, a few notable tidbits about Scientology came to light.

1. The Church of Scientology allegedly split up Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman.

The Daily Beast's Marlow Stern, who was in attendance, explains:

According to the testimony of Marty Rathbun, formerly the second-highest ranking official in the Church of Scientology who left in 2004, Scientology head David Miscavige was suspicious of Cruise’s second wife [Nicole Kidman], whose father was a renowned psychologist in his native Australia. Scientology is vehemently opposed to psychiatry and psychology, and Rathbun claims that because of Kidman’s father, she was labeled a "Potential Trouble Source" (PTS)...

"I was to facilitate the breakup with Nicole Kidman," Rathbun says in the film.

Rathbun alleges in the film that the Church of Scientology then waged an aggressive campaign to get Cruise to dump Kidman, including having a private investigator wiretap her phone ... Furthermore, Rathbun says the Church of Scientology "re-educated" Cruise's adopted children with Kidman, Connor and Isabella, into turning against their mother so that Cruise could retain custody.

Read the Daily Beast's full review here.

Tom Cruise Nicole Kidman2. John Travolta allegedly stays with the church because it has too much dirt on him and has threatened to make his private info public.

Vulture's Bilge Ebiri writes:

Travolta, it's suggested, is kept in the group because they have mountains and mountains of dirt on him, the result of years of spiritual "auditing" (the process by which Scientologists basically reveal their deepest secrets, which are then cataloged and brought out whenever someone needs some, uh, encouragement, as the Mafia likes to say).

Read Vulture's full review here.

john travolta autograph
3. The church allegedly mistreats its members, in some cases physically abusing them, and threatens and harasses those who leave the faith.

The Hollywood Reporter writes that in the doc "well-known former members paint detailed portraits of how abusive and controlling the organization could and still can be."

4. Church of Scientology membership has apparently dwindled to 50,000 worldwide.

Mashable's Josh Dickey, who saw the film, writes, "It's hard to believe Scientology still retains some 50,000 members in the social age (down from a peak of about 100,000 in the early '90s)."

5.  "Going Clear" estimates Scientology has amassed over $1 billion in tax-free wealth.

"An organization that's managed to retain its tax-exempt status based on its classification as a religion according to the IRS with access to some $3 billion in assets, is still a fearsome beast to contend with," writes The Hollywood Reporter in its review.

"The documentary is a broadside against the controversial religion," Variety adds. "It argues that Scientology exploits its tax exempt status to amass millions of dollars in property and donations, behaving more like a business than a charity."

6. A few more interesting celebrity nuggets from Los Angeles Times writer Amy Kaufman, who was at the screening:

 

 

 

The film received a standing ovation after its Sundance premiere.

 

 

"Going Clear" will air on HBO beginning March 16. 

The Church of Scientology published a full-page ad in The New York Times earlier this month accusing the film of reporting false claims about the controversial religion.

The Scientology ad calls out "Going Clear" director Alex Gibney for supposedly not allowing the organization to respond to claims made in the film.

Specifically, the ad asks whether the documentary is "a Rolling Stone/UVA Redux"— a reference to a now notorious article in the magazine about rape at the University of Virginia.

Former Scientology members hope this film will have the power to force major shifts within the church.

"I hope this movie increases public pressure for the church to change its abusive practices," one former Scientology member told The Times.


NOW WATCH: Men Have Been Putting On Cologne All Wrong

 

 

SEE ALSO: HBO Has 160 Lawyers Preparing For Its New Scientology Documentary

MORE: Here Are 21 Famous Church Of Scientology Members

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'The Interview' Finally Hit Netflix And Twitter Thought It Was A Horrible Movie

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the interview movie posterNetflix users said screw the reviews and streamed “The Interview” in large numbers this weekend. But judging by the reaction on Twitter, many people regretted the decision with more a few describing the film as “horrible.”

A Twitter user named Stryker said that while the Seth Rogen andJames Franco comedy makes some valid critiques of U.S. policy, overall it “was a really horrible movie.”

The comedy, which angered North Korea for its depiction of the country’s leader, hit Netflix Saturday in the United States and Canada. The film’s debut on the streaming giant followed its limited release in 331 independent theaters on Christmas Day, marking the first time a major studio had opened a movie in theaters and offered it online at the same time.

“The Interview” was originally set for wide release, but Sony scrapped that plan after the nation’s biggest theater chains opted out in the wake of terror threats, purportedly from the hackers who shut down the studio in late November. 

the interview kim jon unAs of January 20, “The Interview” had surpassed $40 million from online and on-demand viewings. It’s also made $5.9 million at the box office, raising its total take to $46 million on all platforms. That’s not close to the $90 million that Sony spent making and marketing the comedy, but it’s better than nothing, which the studio was facing when it initially pulled the film.

As for the reviews, the controversial comedy has a relatively weak 52 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes with TheWrap’s Alonso Duralde calling it “meandering and sloppy.”

The criticism on Twitter was just as harsh, with the hashtag #TheInterview trending throughout the weekend. While some folks genuinely liked it, others were bewildered. We’ve compiled some of the most memorable tweets. 

 

SEE ALSO: SETH ROGEN: 'Freedom Has Prevailed!'

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‘American Sniper’ Is Having One Of The Best Box-Office Runs In A Long Time

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american sniper

"American Sniper" had another insanely huge weekend at the box office.

The Clint Eastwood film, starring Bradley Cooper, made another $64 million over the past three days, setting its worldwide box office total at over $247 million after being wide-released in theaters for two weeks.

Not only does that, once again, give the film one of the highest-earning weekends in January, but "American Sniper" just had one of the second-best weekends ever.

This is huge because the types of movies that usually only have second big weekends at the box office usually fall under one of two categories: They're either a comic book movie or sequel. 

Only seven movies have had larger second weekends at the box office:

MovieSecond Weekend at Box OfficeOpening Weekend
8. "American Sniper" (2015)$64.4 million$89.2 million
7. "Spider-Man" (2002)$71.4 million$114.8 million
6. "Shrek 2" (2004)$72.2 million$108 million
5. "Iron Man 3" (2013)$72.5 million$174.1 million
4. "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire" (2013)$74.2 million$158 million
3. "The Dark Knight" (2008)$75.2 million$158.4 million
2. "Avatar" (2009)$75.6 million$77 million
1. "The Avengers" (2012)$103.1 million$207.4 million

All of those movies have one thing in common, they all made over $800 million at the box office.

SEE ALSO: Here's the intense training Bradley Cooper went through to gain 40 pounds of muscle for "American Sniper"

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Emma Watson Will Play Belle In Disney's Live Action "Beauty and the Beast" Movie

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emma watson

Emma Watson will play Belle in a live-action version of Disney's "Beauty and the Beast."

The Wrap first reported the news. Disney has since confirmed the report.

The 24-year-old actress is best known for her role in the "Harry Potter" franchise.

"Beauty and the Beast" will be the latest animated Disney tale to get the live action treatment. The 1991 animated feature won two Oscars including best original song for the film's titular piece.

The Mouse House has had previous success with Angelina Jolie in "Maleficent." That movie, an adaptation of the 1959 classic "Sleeping Beauty," grossed $757 million last year at the box office.

Next year, Disney will release a live-action version of "The Jungle Book" starring Bill Murray and Ben Kingsley.

"Beauty and the Beast" will begin production later this year. Bill Condon ("Dreamgirls") will direct.

SEE ALSO: Emma Watson launches equality initiative during passionate speech at Davos

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This Indie Comedy Is Everything HBO's 'Girls' Wants To Be

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Appropriate Behavior still

It would be easy to dismiss "Appropriate Behavior" as just another indie dramedy showcasing some Brooklynite's petty problems, but the debut feature of writer/director/star Desiree Akhavan ("Girls") has a personal, honest touch that so many similar projects sorely lack. 

The plot is as directionless as Shirin, the film's protagonist, and we simply see her life as it exists before and after a devastating break-up with her girlfriend, Maxine. Shirin identifies as bisexual, depending on who's in the room. She's still closeted to her parents, which she continually blames on the fact that they are Iranian and Iranians don't exactly have a great relationship with the LGBT community. Maxine refers to Shirin as a "sexually confused narcissist."

appropriate behavior posterThe PR campaign for the film flaunts Desiree Akhavan's association with Lena Dunham's polarizing HBO series "Girls" (Desiree is featured in the new season), so comparing the two feels natural. Both "Girls" and "Behavior" function as day-in-the-life snippets of young New York women (with snarky jabs at hipster culture and occasional nudity), but where "Girls" feels oddly specific and hard to relate to if you're not a similarly privleged woman, "Behavior" is more honest, down-to-earth, and focused on actually connecting to the audience. Everyone can relate to Shirin's relationship issues, no matter their sexual orientation or social status.

With her debut feature, Akhavan is trail-blazing uncharted territory, exploring LGBT issues as well as what it's like to be a second-generation immigrant raised in America. She gives a terrific performance as Shirin, which is a relief, since she's in every single scene. It's clear that this is a very personal work for Akhavan — she is Shirin, in the same way that Woody Allen's characters are proxies of himself. The tension drips off the screen during the scenes in which she hides her sexuality from her family, and when she finally confronts her mother about it, the result is so real it hurts.

Most importantly, the movie is hilarious, and the comedy stems from the characters and their interactions rather than cheap gags. Shirin's awkwardness and general confusion leads to tons of laughs, and the Spirit Award-nominated script is full of memorable one-liners. 

Without it's wonderful script and strong, unique voice, "Appropriate Behavior" would have been a drab "Frances Ha,""Girls," or  any other "insert 20something New Yorker in mild peril" clone, but Akhavan's personal touch makes this a stunning debut for the writer/director. She has been hailed as "the next Lena Dunham," but in just 90 minutes she accomplished what Dunham has been trying to capture for four seasons.

"Appropriate Behavior" is currently playing in limited release and is available to stream on video on demand services including iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, and YouTube.

Watch the trailer below:

 

SEE ALSO: "Black Sea" is easily the best movie of 2015 so far

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The Original 'Guardians Of The Galaxy' Script Killed Off A Big Character

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guardians of the galaxy yonduJames Gunn has revealed that the original plan for Guardians Of The Galaxy, and it didn't look too pretty for one specific character. Gunn had planned to to kill off Michael Rooker’s Yondu and had even filmed the scene showing the character's demise. But, at the last minute, the director made the decision to cut Yondu's death out of the film. 

The blockbuster’s writer and director made the revelation during a special Guardians Of The Galaxy Live Commentary/Q&A event that he held on his Facebook page.This was just one of a plethora of revelations that James Gunn made during his vast discussion with the cyber Guardians Of The Galaxy fans who joined in with his viewing. As Guardians Of The Galaxy made its way into its final moments, James Gunn flippantly commented … 

"In the original script (that I wrote) Rocket had a little bomb in this scene. At the end Quill put it in the Orb when he gave it to Yondu. And, as Yondu flew away at the very end, his whole ship exploded."

Can’t remember the precise scene that James Gunn is talking about?

After Peter Quill, Rocket Raccoon, Drax the Destroyer, Gamora and an obliterated Groot destroyed Lee Pace’s Ronan the Accuser, Yondu arrived and got his grips on the orb that he had been following Peter Quill around the galaxy for. Inside it he expected to find an Infinity Stone. Instead he found a troll. Leaving himself open to return for 2017’s Guardians Of The Galaxy 2. And if, as expected, the sequel revolves around the unveiling of Peter Quill’s father then Yondu is destined to feature heavily. 

James Gunn noted that plenty "of people" were upset at him for removing this scene from Guardians of the Galaxy. However I have to admit that I think he made a wise choice editing it out and leaving Yondu aboard his ship without the Infinity Stone but still alive and well. Having Peter Quill murder Yondu would have severely altered the character. It would have turned him from a loveable lead that almost seemed to bumble his way through the tale into a vindictive and calculated killer. And that would have been hard to stomach. Especially moving forward. 

It also means that Guardians Of The Galaxy’s immense ensemble is still intact. Well, for the most part anyway. Sure Ronan the Accuser is dead, but I think we can we all admit that he was probably the weakest part of the film anyway. Sorry Lee Pace. Even though Guardians Of The Galaxy’s immense popularity comes down to a number of factors - which included its perfect blending of both thrilling action and hilarious comedy, and the fact that it emanated a warmth that meant all the family could enjoy the adventure too - its perfect posse of actors was the main reason it thrived. Getting rid of Michael Rooker’s Yondu would have severely altered the sequel’s rhythm. Now he can be introduced once again with consummate ease and it help to immediately remind viewers of the original. 

I don’t know if you can tell, but I’m a big fan of Michael Rooker. Fingers crossed he features prominently in Guardians Of The Galaxy 2 when it rolls around on May 5, 2017. 

SEE ALSO: The Most Complex Makeup In ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ Took More Than 4 Hours And A Shaved Head

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The First Teaser Trailer For The 'Fantastic Four' Reboot Is Here

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There's a "Fantastic Four" reboot coming to theaters this summer and Fox just released the first teaser trailer.

Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Kate Mara, and Jamie Bell star.

"Fantastic Four" is in theaters Aug. 7.

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The Church Of Scientology Created A Twitter Account To Fight Back Against HBO's New Documentary

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Church of Scientology

HBO's explosive new documentary about the Church of Scientology, based on Lawrence Wright's best selling book "Going Clear,"premiered Sunday at the Sundance Film Festival to much buzz.

Tom Cruise Nicole KidmanIn the film, some bombshell, behind-the-scenes information is revealed, like the claim that Nicole Kidman’s phones were tapped at the suggestion of her then-husband Tom Cruise and church head David Miscavige in order to sabotage the celebrity marriage.

While the Alex Gibney-directed documentary received a standing ovation during the Sundance premiere, the Church of Scientology unsurprisingly isn't happy with the film.

According to one PageSix source: "Movie insiders believe some Scientologists may have snuck into the packed theater at Sundance Sunday night and secretly recorded audio of the documentary, which their lawyers are currently poring over."

The litigious church has set up an official Twitter account to hit back against HBO, which worked with 160 lawyers ahead of the film's March 16 premiere.

The Scientologists’ Twitter account is titled Freedom Media Ethics, with the handle @FreedomEthics, and in its bio says it is "taking a resolute stand against the broadcasting and the publishing of false information."

There are only a few posts so far and few followers, but the message is clear — they're not happy:

In the account's first-ever post earlier this month, there is a link to a "Statement Concerning Alex Gibney’s HBO Documentary" on the Scientology site FreedomMag.com.

The statement begins: "More than two years after Alex Gibney, Lawrence Wright and HBO started secretly working on their film glorifying bitter, vengeful apostates expelled as long as three decades ago from the Church, the one-sided result is as dishonest as Gibney’s sources."

The statement continues:

"The Church has documented evidence that those featured in Gibney’s film regurgitating their stale, discredited allegations are admitted perjurers, admitted liars and professional anti-Scientologists whose living depends on the filing of false claims. All have been gone so long from the Church they know nothing of it today. Yet Gibney and HBO stonewalled more than a dozen requests by the Church to offer relevant information about them, with more than 25 individuals with firsthand information eager to speak."

Read the Scientologists' full response to HBO's "Going Clear" here.

Previously, the Church of Scientology published a full-page ad in The New York Times earlier this month accusing the film of reporting false claims about the controversial religion.

alex gibney lawrence wright

The Scientology ad calls out "Going Clear" director Alex Gibney for supposedly not allowing the organization to respond to claims made in the film.

Specifically, the ad asks whether the documentary is "a Rolling Stone/UVA Redux"— a reference to a now notorious article in the magazine about rape at the University of Virginia.

But former Scientology members hope "Going Clear" will have the power to force major shifts within the church.

"I hope this movie increases public pressure for the church to change its abusive practices," one former Scientology member told The Times.

SEE ALSO: 6 Crazy Things Revealed In HBO's Explosive New Scientology Documentary 'Going Clear'

MORE: 21 Famous Church Of Scientology Members

Join the conversation about this story »

20 Actors Who Dramatically Changed Their Looks For Movies

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bradley cooper american sniper

Bradley Cooper recently bulked up to 225 pounds to play US Navy Seal Chris Kyle in "American Sniper." 

His daily regimen included two intense workouts and eating more than 5,000 calories per day.  

He's not the only actor to undergo extreme measures to gain and lose weight for a role. Plenty of stars have endured grueling diets and workouts to be in tip top shape for their roles as superheroes, ballerinas, boxers and more.  

Keertana Sastry and Jennifer Michalski contributed to this story.

Bradley Cooper gained 40 pounds for "American Sniper."

The Oscar-nominated actor told Men's Health he worked with a trainer twice a day to help him gain the weight in 10 weeks.

In the first workout, beginning at 5 a.m., they focused on structural exercises like deadlifts and squats to build a foundation solid enough to hold the extra mass. The second workout, late in the afternoon, was more focused on traditional muscle-building exercises. Cooper needed both types of training to convincingly portray Chris Kyle.



Jake Gyllenhaal looked gaunt after losing 30 pounds for his role in "Nightcrawler."

Gyllenhaal really went all out to get into the mind of his deranged, career-hungry freelancer journalist. 

The actor told Variety he didn't take on any special diet. Instead, he just stopped eating.

“I would try to eat as few calories as possible. I knew if I was hungry that I was in the right spot. Physically, it showed itself, but chemically and mentally, I think it was even a more fascinating journey. It became a struggle for me.”

Gyllenhaal added that he would often go on 15 mile runs from his home to the film's set.

In addition, his co-star Riz Ahmed claimed the star would chew flavored gum to trick his mind into believing he was eating a meal.



Chris Pratt lost 60 pounds in six months for "Guardians of the Galaxy."

Pratt said he ditched beer to take on the role of Peter Quill in Marvel's hit. He also divulged his workout routine with a personal trainer and nutritionist to Men's Fitness.

It consisted of running, swimming, boxing, kickboxing, a triathlon, and consuming 4,000 calories a day.

"I actually lost weight by eating more food, but eating the right food, eating healthy foods, and so when I was done with the movie my body hadn't been in starvation mode," Pratt told People magazine.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Here's Why HBO's New Scientology Documentary Is So Critical Of Tom Cruise

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Tom Cruise

"Going Clear," HBO's explosive new documentary on Scientology, just premiered on Sunday at the Sundance Film Festival, but it's already causing a lot of controversy.

The film, directed by Alex Gibney based on Lawrence Wright's best selling book of the same name, alleges that the religion enforces physical and psychological abuse, among other bombshell reports.

According to Variety's Brent Lang, who saw the film at Sundance, the documentary also "points the finger of blame squarely at two of Scientology’s most famous practitioners, John Travolta and Tom Cruise, and shames them for turning a blind eye to the alleged mistreatments."

alex gibney lawrence wrightLang spoke to filmmaker Alex Gibney, who also did the 2005 Enron documentary "The Smartest Guys in the Room," and "Going Clear" author and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Lawrence Wright, about why Scientology relies so heavily on its celebrity members, like Tom Cruise.

"He’s vital to the church, because he is the most famous Scientologist,"Gibney told Variety of Cruise. "He is their key guy and he is a magnet for people. Very often you’ll ask people what’s Scientology and they’ll say, 'isn’t that the religion with Tom Cruise'? So he’s their poster boy."

But both Gibney and Wright accuse Cruise of turning a blind eye to mistreatment in the church.

Tom CruiseWright tells Variety that the actor "has spent countless hours out on the Sea Org base," where especially harsh punishments are inflicted like "sleeping on the floor on bedrolls with ants crawling around, [people] abused physically, and made to lick the floor or the toilet with their tongue."

"It’s just unbelievable degradation," Wright continues. "If he’s [Cruise] ignorant of that then it’s willful on his part."

Adds Gibney: "The other thing about Cruise is that he’s been the beneficiary of this unbelievably low-paid Sea Org labor. These people are being paid forty cents an hour and they’re tricking out Cruise’s cars."

Wright bluntly states: "We hold people like Tom Cruise and John Travolta and others responsible for not demanding change inside that church."

"By not speaking out," argues Gibney, "it’s a kind of an endorsement and I think that’s why we’re [the documentary] right and properly critical."

But Scientology's involvement with celebrities goes beyond just Tom Cruise and John Travolta. The church's headquarters is based in Hollywood, and actively recruits people in the entertainment industry.

Wright explains to Variety:

This goes back to the founding; when L. Ron Hubbard created the Church of Scientology, he decided to make its headquarters in Hollywood, because he had a very perceptive notion that there is something that all Americans do worship and it’s celebrity and the capital of celebrity is Hollywood. He set out very early to make it a Scientology town.

They always wanted celebrities who could sell Scientology just like the people on the front of the Wheaties box.

Read Wright and Gibney's full interview with Variety here.

"Going Clear," which has 160 lawyers preparing for the litigious Church of Scientology's response, premieres March 16 on HBO. 

Earlier this month, the church published a full-page ad in The New York Times accusing the film of reporting false claims about the controversial religion.

The Scientology ad calls out "Going Clear" director Alex Gibney for supposedly not allowing the organization to respond to claims made in the film.

Specifically, the ad asks whether the documentary is "a Rolling Stone/UVA Redux"— a reference to a now notorious article in the magazine about rape at the University of Virginia.

Former Scientology members hope this film will have the power to force major shifts within the church.

"I hope this movie increases public pressure for the church to change its abusive practices," one former Scientology member told The Times.

SEE ALSO: 6 Crazy Things Revealed In HBO's Explosive New Scientology Documentary 'Going Clear'

MORE: The Church Of Scientology Created A Twitter Account To Fight Back Against HBO's New Documentary

Join the conversation about this story »