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A fan asked Christopher Nolan about the end of 'Inception' and he explained why he'd never tell


Christopher Nolan Tribeca

Christopher Nolan has garnered a reputation for ending his films with mind-boggling twists. 

The one that still seems to perplex people the most is 2010's "Inception."

If you haven't seen the film, there are spoilers ahead.

At the end of "Inception," Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) finally returns home to his kids after spending a long time in the dream world. Cobb carries a little top with him. If the top keeps spinning, that means he is in a dream. If it stops and falls over, that means he is back in reality. The final shot shows the top spinning, but it never reveals whether it falls over. 

Inception Top End GIF

Five years after "Inception" was released in theaters and became a box-office smash, this one question still drives fans crazy.

At a recent Q&A at the Tribeca Film Festival, one audience member asked the director to explain what the ending of "Inception" means.

inception top spinning rotationNolan, who looked like he had heard this question just a few too many times, wouldn't explain the ending, but instead explained why he won't comment on it or the endings to any of his films for that matter. 

He told a story about when his mind-bender "Memento" premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2000.

"We got a very, very excited reaction to it," Nolan said. "Somebody had asked about my interpretation of the ending and I said 'Well, it's all up to the audience but this is what it means to me,' and I gave them in great detail what exactly the ambiguities of the film meant to me," Nolan said. 

The press conference was never recorded, so his "Memento" explanation never got out. However, Jonathan Nolan, Christopher's brother, who wrote the short story on which "Memento" was based, advised him against ever explaining the ending of one of his films again.

MementoAccording to Nolan, his brother told him, "You don't understand, nobody hears that first bit where you say it's really up to the viewers if you then give your interpretation."

"It's the last time I ever opened my mouth," Nolan said.

Christopher Nolan isn't the first filmmaker to be questioned about the ending of something he made years ago. He's in good company with the likes of David Chase, the creator of "The Sopranos," who recently gave an in-depth analysis of the show's ending following nearly 10 years of constant debate and controversy.

the sopranos hboNolan is known for his secrecy, so it is unlikely that we will ever get an explanation like that for "Inception" or his other films.

While he will never offer us a definitive answer (an interview in Wired is the closest he's gotten to giving one), we seem to have his permission to continue arguing over whether or not that top kept spinning.

SEE ALSO: Christopher Nolan says he's most proud of the opening scene in 'The Dark Knight Rises'

SEE ALSO: Christopher Nolan made a bunch of ‘Star Wars’-inspired movies when he was a kid

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Neil deGrasse Tyson Explains The End Of 'Interstellar'

‘The Lego Movie’ end credits took 2 months and thousands of Lego bricks to complete


lego movie final

Stoopid Buddy Stoodios is known best for creating the hilarious stop-motion animated series, “Robot Chicken.” But it also imparted its crafty magic on one of the most popular movies of 2014.

Actor Seth Green and his fellow Stoopid Buddy founders, John Harvatine IV, Matthew Senreich, and Eric Towner, took time out from the numerous projects going on at “Stoodios” to give Business Insider some insight on how they created the eye-popping end credit sequence in “The Lego Movie.”

“They wanted something pretty ambitious,” Green recalls. “Stop-motion without a lot of compositing (combining two or more images).”

To pull this off, Brian Mah of visual studio Alma Mater and Ethan Marak at Stoodios, led the charge, and what they came up with was a less is more approach.

“We wanted to see how few [Lego] bricks we could use to build a train or a bat or a cop car,” said Towner, who added that the creation of the whole credits sequence took two months to complete.

lego movie train

lego movie batlego movie cop“The result instantly felt far more charming,” he said. “You could appreciate the unique details of each individual brick, rather than them getting lost in a mass of fifty pieces.”

This made it possible for the sequences to go from an original estimate of 10,000 Legos being used to 3,000.

The credits show up in different Lego-made layouts as the film's theme song, "Everything is Awesome" by The Lonely Island, plays in the background. Here are a few:

lego taco

lego dragon

lego rainbowAnd then the camera pulls back to display a wide shot of the layouts we've seen with a Lego blocks creation of the words “The Lego Movie” formed before the screen goes black.

lego movieThat final 12-second portion is considered one of the largest and most intricate stop-motion Lego animations ever attempted, according to Stoopid Stoodios.

The sequence took four motion control passes to complete, with three animators working simultaneously to increment hundreds of individual Lego bricks. With an average of four objects moving per set that totals around 10,000 animated increments to create.

“It’s astonishing how much work goes into such a short sequence,” said Senreich. “Animator Benny Zelkowicz had to move 150-plus Lego pieces per frame!”

Here’s how the whole ending came out.


SEE ALSO: It takes about a year to make one season of "Robot Chicken"

AND: Here's what 'The Lego Movie 2' will be about

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: This Scientology documentary made HBO hire 160 lawyers — here's the trailer

Scientology retaliates against filmmaker investigating church by making a documentary about him


Louis Theroux Samir Hussein Getty

Following the sensational release of Alex Gibney’s HBO documentary, “Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief ”  which became the cable network’s most watched premiere in close to a decade  it looks like there’s another film coming out on the controversial religion.

But this time, Scientology is actively striking back.

British documentary filmmaker and broadcaster Louis Theroux, who is known for his funny TV series on off-beat cultural subjects like "America's Most Medicated Kids" and "Twilight of the Porn Stars," is working with the BBC on his first theatrical feature that will focus on Scientology, titled "Stairway to Heaven: Louis Theroux and the Church of Scientology."

It doesn't seem Scientology is pleased.

Thursday, Theroux tweeted that he got some interesting news from Scientology’s lawyers.

But from what Theroux is tweeting, his film is going to be very different from Gibney’s HBO documentary. 

He hasn’t been shy in letting the world know he’s making the film.

And hasn’t worried about the religion knowing he’s at their front door.

Theroux has made a point to let us know he’s not making "Going Clear."

What exactly is Theroux making? Here’s a hint posted by Tony Ortega over at his The Underground Bunker blog. 


Here are excerpts from the above text:

Louis Theroux’s first theatrical feature documentary from the Oscar winning producer of "Searching for Sugar Man" and "Man on Wire"

One of the world’s newest and most mysterious religions, that numbers Tom Cruise among its followers… A scientific-seeming “technology” which, if properly followed, is said to make the able more able…

On the face of it, who wouldn’t be intrigued — even seduced — by this grand rhetoric?

For more than 10 years, Louis Theroux has been in the grip of a personal fascination with Scientology. Now living in Los Angeles in the heart of the world’s largest population of Scientologists, he has decided to immerse himself in what he regards as “the Holy Grail of Stories.”

This is not the first time Scientology will releases materials on a director or reporter before a story comes out the church thinks puts them in a negative light. 

In 2007, leading up to an episode of BBC’s Panorama series focusing on the church, Scientology posted a rant on YouTube by BBC reporter John Sweeney captured during his interview with Scientologist spokesman, Tommy Davis. 

Then leading up to "Going Clear," the church released videos trying to discredit Gibney

But if Theroux's tweet is correct, this will be the first time the church does a documentary on someone examining the church.

Scientology did not respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.

"Stairway to Heaven" currently has no set release date.

SEE ALSO: "SNL" skewered Scientology in this parody recruitment video

Join the conversation about this story »

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

Vin Diesel announces 'Fast and Furious 8' will be released 2017


Vin Diesel Furious 7

It's official!

"Fast and Furious" star Vin Diesel confirmed at Universal's CinemaCon panel, an annual event for theater owners, that the next installment to the franchise is happening.

The currently untitled eighth chapter will be released April 14, 2017.



The seventh film in the franchise, "Furious 7," has now grossed over $1.1 billion worldwide.

It became the fastest film to hit $1 billion, crossing the mark in just 17 days.

Variety reports Diesel told theater owners "It means a lot to me to get your blessing." 

Diesel previously hinted at another installment to the popular franchise during a recent appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" While promoting "Furious 7," he explained he always thinks of these films as trilogies.

The actor said that the addition of Kurt Russell in the seventh movie was to introduce him for a story arc in a future film which would take place in New York.

"So, Kurt Russell came in for this movie ["Furious 7"], but he was really … we really hired him because of a story that follows this that takes place in New York," said Diesel.

SEE ALSO: How Vin Diesel helped save the "Fast and Furious" franchise from going to straight to video

AND: "Fast and Furious 7" is an absolutely ridiculous thrill ride and Paul Walker tribute that fans will love

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Cars fall from the sky in the new 'Furious 7' movie

One of Matt Damon's Harvard professors gave him a small note that completely changed 'Good Will Hunting'


Good Will Hunting Tribeca Panel

The making of "Good Will Hunting" is the stuff of cinematic legend.

That is partially because the script earned writers Ben Affleck and Matt Damon Oscars for best original screenplay and launched them both into stardom. 

But they weren't the only ones to contribute to the classic script.

At a Tribeca Film Festival panel held on Wednesday, moderator Faith Saile brought up that Damon began working on the idea for the script during a playwriting class he took while attending Harvard. Originally, the character of Will Hunting, who Damon ended up playing, was a physics prodigy.

However, Sheldon Glashow, a Nobel Prize winning physicist who teaches at Harvard, told Damon that he should be brilliant at math instead of physics.Matt Damon Good Will HuntingThat may not sound like a big difference, but according to Columbia University physics and mathematics professor Brian Greene, who spoke at the panel about how "Good Will Hunting" portrays math and science, it makes a lot more sense.

He went on to explain why physics wouldn't have worked as well in the context of the film.

"Having some deep insight about the universe, though, typically, it's a group project in the modern era," Greene said. "Doing some mathematical theorem is a singular undertaking very often."

This works well for both the film and the character of Will. After all, Will's genius makes him something of a loner, and the more people want to work with him and help him, the more he pushes away. It just seems like a group project wouldn't benefit him.

Good Will Hunting Matt Damon

Good Will Hunting EquationIt also seems like one of the film's most important moments, in which nobody realizes that it is the janitor who has finished the equation written out on a chalkboard, would have existed without this change.

"You've got this guy who sees a problem on the board and he goes ahead and solves it. It's unlikely someone could look at physics by themselves and come up with a theory of the origin of the universe," Greene said, "it's just less believable."

"Good Will Hunting" would go on to gross $225.9 million worldwide and win two Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor (Robin Williams) and Best Original Screenplay (Affleck, Damon).

SEE ALSO: Christopher Nolan made a bunch of ‘Star Wars’-inspired movies when he was a kid

AND: A fan asked Christopher Nolan about the end of "Inception" and he explained why he'd never tell

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: 'Game of Thrones' superfans caught George R.R. Martin's mistake so he hired them

American Indian actors walk off set of Adam Sandler movie over racially-offensive jokes


adam sandler blended

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — A group of American Indian actors walked off the set of an Adam Sandler movie this week over complaints about stereotypes, offensive names, and scenes they say disrespected Native American religious practices.

Actor Loren Anthony told The Associated Press on Thursday that he and eight others quit the production of the satirical Western "The Ridiculous Six" after producers ignored their concerns about its portrayal of Apache culture and the inappropriate use of props.

Anthony said the script included offensive names for Native American female characters and a scene where a Native American woman urinated while smoking a peace pipe. Another scene used chicken feathers on teepees, he said.

"Right from the get-go, it didn't feel right. But we it let it go," said Anthony, a Navajo actor who started work as an extra on the movie Monday. "Once we found out more about the script, we felt it was totally disrespectful to elders and Native women."

"The Ridiculous Six" is produced by Sandler and Allen Covert and is slated for a Netflix-only release. Production began this month in Santa Fe and elsewhere in northern New Mexico.

The film is a comedy designed to lampoon stereotypes, Netflix said.

"The movie has 'ridiculous' in the title for a reason: because it is ridiculous," a company statement released by Netflix said. "It is a broad satire of Western movies and the stereotypes they popularized, featuring a diverse cast that is not only part of — but in on — the joke."

A spokesman for Sandler's Manchester, New Hampshire-based production company, Happy Madison Productions, didn't immediately return a phone message.

Goldie Tom, another extra who departed the set Wednesday, said producers told the group to leave if they felt offended and that script changes were not up for debate.

"This just shows that Hollywood has not changed at all," Tom said.

She added the production had a number of non-Native American actors portraying American Indians, a long-standing complaint about the movie industry.

The actors said a Native American consultant hired by the production also walked off the set.

The New Mexico Film Office said Thursday the dispute was a First Amendment issue and the office had no say over the movie's content.

"As long as the production meets the requirements in the film credit statute, there is nothing prohibiting them from filming in New Mexico and receiving the rebate," the office said in a statement.

Outgoing Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly lauded the extras' decision.

"Our Native American culture and tradition is no joking matter," Shelly said. "I applaud these Navajo actors for their courage and conviction to walk off the set in protest."

David Hill, 74, a Choctaw actor from Oklahoma who left the set, said he thought the film industry was heading toward better portrayal of American Indians before this experience.

"Over the years, we have seen change. Then this," Hill said. "We told them, 'Our dignity is not for sale.'"

Join the conversation about this story »

There’s a ‘Star Wars’ Easter egg in a lot of Marvel movies


Marvel and Lucasfilm's "Star Wars" franchise are both owned by Disney. Now, they share even more than just a common owner. 

Have you caught the "Star Wars" Easter egg that pops up in a lot of Marvel movies?

In almost every single "Star Wars" movie, somebody loses an arm or a hand

Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) famously loses his hand to Darth Vader, in an iconic scene from "Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back."

Mark Hamill GIF ArmIf you've been watching the latest Phase Two Marvel movies closely, you'll notice a character has been losing an arm — or hand — in each film, too.

Phase Two refers to the second of the three phases of Marvel's Cinematic Universe. Phase Two kicked off in 2013 with "Iron Man 3" and it will end with this summer's "Ant-Man." 

President of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige, a self-proclaimed "Star Wars" fan, confirmed the gag is a homage to a galaxy far, far away during the recent press tour for "Avengers: Age of Ultron." But it didn't start that way.

"So I’m obsessed with 'Star Wars' - and it didn’t start out as intentional, but it became intentional," Feige told Cinemablend. "It sort of happens in every 'Star Wars' movie, but I was sort of looking at it, ‘Okay, is Phase Two our 'Empire Strikes Back'?’ Not really, but tonally things are a little different. Somebody gets their arm cut off in every Phase Two movie. Every single one."

With two more films to go in Phase Two — "Avengers: Age of Ultron" and "Ant-Man"— Feige gave away a bit of a spoiler. Since we've seen "Age of Ultron," we can confirm it definitely happens in that film. 

Here are all the severed arms as they appear in the Marvel Universe so far:

"Iron Man 3" (2013)

Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) loses his arm during his final battle with Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.).

Iron Man 3 Arm GIF

"Thor: The Dark World" (2013) 

Thor lost his hand momentarily when Loki pretended to chop it off in a grand visual illusion.

Thor Arm GIF

 "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" (2014) Winter Soldier Arm GIF

Bucky (Sebastian Stan) is seen losing his arm in a flashback where he falls off a train and is thought to be dead.

"Guardians of the Galaxy" (2014)Guardians of the Galaxy Groot Arm Chop

Groot (Vin Diesel) loses both of his arms during his first encounter with Gamora (Zoe Saldana). Don't worry, they grow back. 

You can see more arm slicing in "Age of Ultron" May 1 and "Ant-Man" July 31.

SEE ALSO: 'Avengers' mastermind Joss Whedon has been writing Marvel scripts since he was 12

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Disney just dropped another 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' trailer — and it's the best one yet

Here's the first photo of Jared Leto as the Joker


DC Comics is currently celebrating the 75th anniversary of Batman's arch-nemesis, the Joker.

What better way to celebrate than by revealing the first official look at the next incarnation of the Clown Prince of Crime?

Director David Ayer shared the first image of Jared Leto as the Joker on Twitter Friday evening. The Oscar-winning actor will play the famed villain in next year's "Suicide Squad" film.

Leto will be the first person to play the role of the Joker since the late Heath Ledger in 2008's "The Dark Knight."

What do you think?

This is different than any iteration of the Joker we've seen before. 

Here are a few ways the character has looked on screen in the past. 

Jack Nicholson went through a long makeup process to show off the Joker's wide grin for Tim Burton's 1989 film "Batman." 

joker batman jack nicholsonOne of the most famous versions of the character is Mark Hamill's (yes, that Hamill) version of the wise-cracking clown in "Batman: The Animated Series." 

harley quinn jokers favor batman the animated seriesThe Joker's best-known for wearing his iconic purple suit and for his bleached-white skin. He looked pretty similar in the "Batman: Arkham" video game series.  

joker batman arkham origins

Heath Ledger brought an entire darker look to the character in Christopher Nolan's 2008 "The Dark Knight," dying his long locks a shade of green. The Joker never looked more ragged, sinister, and chaotic. 

the dark knight joker

In recent years, the Joker character featured in the DC Comics has taken on a similar darker edge.

In the Batman storyline, "Death of the Family," the Joker wore a mask of his own face strapped onto him. It's the most twisted version of the character yet.

death of the family joker

Here's another look at Leto's Joker.

jared leto joker

There's a lot to unpack here.

He's different from any Joker before for a few reasons:

1. He's shirtless
The only instance I can recall seeing the Joker shirtless was during a gag on the animated series where he was wrapped in a towel ready to take a bath.

2. He doesn't have the bleached-white skin
A huge part of the Joker's origin story is that he fell and/or jumped (depending on the story) into a barrel of chemicals that permanently dyed his skin white, made his hair green, and turned his lips ruby red.

3. He's covered in tattoos.
The tattoos covering Leto's body are all iconic symbols representing the Joker. The classic "Ha Ha Ha" writing, which became a big part of marketing "The Dark Knight," the wide grin, and the deck of cards alluding to his calling card. There's a J on his face for Joker, or Mr. J, as his girlfriend Harley affectionately refers to him. Another tattoo on his hand looks like it may be chattering teeth. There's also a skull mask wearing a jester hat. Is he the court jester of death? One more tattoo near his stomach looks like it may say Joker.

It's not clear whether this will be the final look for Leto or if the tattoos may just be to promote the 75th anniversary.

"Suicide Squad" is in theaters will be released August 5, 2016.

SEE ALSO: The first photo teasing the Jared Leto as the Joker

AND: Jared Leto cuts his hair to play the Joker

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Disney just dropped another 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' trailer — and it's the best one yet

Mark Hamill felt forced into returning for 'Star Wars: Episode VII'


mark hamill star wars celebration

During the annual "Star Wars Celebration" event from April 16-19, actor Mark Hamill told a great story of how he first heard about the new "Star Wars" trilogy.

Hamill said he, his wife, and Carrie Fisher were invited to a lunch by George Lucas' people while at a "Star Wars" event.

It struck Hamill as a bit odd. The actor figured it meant something big was going on; however, he never imagined it was another trilogy.

"George had told me specifically, he wasn't doing anything after the prequels," Hamill told the audience. "He said, 'I don't want to be doing these things in my 70s.'"

Hamill's best guess was that they were re-releasing the films in 3D, and Lucas was asking for the original cast to do press. That, or the films were getting another video release.

mark hamill star wars celebrationHe figured that even if they were to do another trilogy someday that it would be about another generation. The films wouldn't need him back as Luke Skywalker. 

"I had a beginning, a middle, [and] an end. My story was finished," he said.

So you could imagine Hamill's surprise when that was exactly the news Lucas told him.

Here's how Hamill said Lucas broke the news, while doing his best impression of the "Star Wars" director:

"Basically, um ... I'm moving on. I'm going to be leaving Lucasfilm and Kathy Kennedy's going to be taking over. And, uh, we're thinking we're gonna do another trilogy." 

At this point in the story, here's Hamill's expression:mark hamill star wars the force awakensHe continues, as Lucas:

"If you don’t want to be in it, we won’t recast. We’ll write you out of it."

Hamill says though he was wearing a poker face like this while receiving the news ...

mark hamill star wars celebration... On the inside, he was thinking, “Whyyyyyyyyy?”

mark hamill star wars 7 reaction“That’s how I knew I was a good actor. On the outside, I was completely placid," Hamill told the crowd. "The truth of the matter is, I was in a state of shock. I thought, 'How could this be?' I couldn't say yes or no, but what was really interesting was later I thought, 'It's not like a choice, it's like ... it was like I was drafted.'"

"Can you imagine if for some reason I said, 'I don't think I want to do it'? I would have all of you surrounding my house like villagers in a Frankenstein picture," the actor half joked. 

"Angry villagers with lightsabers instead of torches," he added. "I'd sort of be like the most hated person in fandom."

mark hamill star wars celebration 2015"'Oh you're too cool for school,'" Hamill playfully continued."You don't want to come back and do 'Episode VII.'"

According to Hamill,  Carrie Fisher, who played his on-screen sister in the franchise, had no problem signing on for more "Star Wars" films. He says she immediately jumped at the offer exclaiming, "I'm in!" However, she also asked if there was a part for her daughter Billie Lourd in the new film.

carrie fisher billie lourd 2011For the record, Lourd will be in "The Force Awakens." While her role has been kept secret, it's believed she'll play a young version of her mother's character Princess Leia.

During the panel, Hamill continued to discuss how he feels about the new film, joking he was originally a tad suspicious of director J.J. Abrams since he worked on the rebooted "Star Trek" films.

However, Hamill spoke fondly about the young director, saying he's receptive of others' ideas on set in addition to calling him "lovable."

"Here's the thing that I love. This film is the first of the 'Star Wars' films that's actually in the hands of someone who grew out of fandom," explained Hamill, referring to Abrams, a self-proclaimed "Star Wars" fan. "So he [Abrams] feels the way you feel in terms of wanting practical effects, real sets."

If you have a chance, check out the entire panel. Hamill's incredibly entertaining as he discusses doing voice over work and his time on set of "Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope" with both Alec Guinness and Yoda puppeteer, Frank Oz.

You can view it here starting at the 9 hour and 34 minute mark. (Yes, you're reading that right.) If you want to skip ahead to the part where Hamill discusses finding out about the new "Star Wars" trilogy, that's at the 10 hour and 5 min mark, here.

SEE ALSO: Mark Hamill didn't know the name of "Star Wars: Episode VII" until he saw it online

AND: George Lucas was convinced "Star Wars" would be a disaster until a phone call in 1977

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Disney just released a new 'Star Wars: Episode VII' trailer and it's incredible

This brilliant sci-fi film is one of the best movies you'll see all year


ex machina

So many science fiction films have tried, and some have succeeded, in creating a unique dystopian vision of the future. Where "Ex Machina" stands out from the rest, however, is in the way that it portrays a future that sometimes seems hellish, but only sometimes feels like a nightmare.

One of the main reasons “Ex Machina” is unique from all futuristic sci-fi films is because it takes place not in a crowded dystopian city, nor a space station, but rather somewhere deep in the wilderness (in reality, the film was shot at a hotel in Norway's Valldal valley).

Caleb (Domhnall Gleeson) stars as a skilled computer coder who wins a chance to spend a week with Nathan (Oscar Isaac), the reclusive CEO of the company Caleb works for. What Caleb doesn’t know is that he’s about to be part of Nathan's pioneering experiment in the future of artificial intelligence.

While most filmmakers would have settled for a long period of exposition early on, Caleb is selected by Nathan and then immediately flown to his estate without much explanation. Story sometimes doesn’t even matter much here, so this film works best if you know as little about the plot as possible. Writer-director Alex Garland is less interested in spoon-feeding the audience information and more interested in exploring the relationship between humans and machines. 

Ex Machina

Ex Machina

The problem with films about robots is that they sometimes get, well, robotic, and leave emotions at the door. “Ex Machina” focuses on its human characters as much as its central robot Ava (Alicia Vikander), who seems to have more of a conscious than the actual people that surround her. 

Unlike other onscreen robots, Ava may have a lot to learn, but she is both intelligent and curious from the start. That is partially what makes her so compelling to watch: she seems to have a lot of knowledge, but no idea how to apply it when trying to act like a human. 

At the film's start, Nathan tells Caleb to conduct a Turing test on Ava to see how much her mind resembles that of a human. As an audience member, you'll forget at times you're watching a machine. If you're into two-fold psychological mind games, then "Ex Machina" is for you.

As the mad, yet brilliant Nathan, Oscar Isaac proves why he’s one of the most sought-after actors in Hollywood today. Living in an isolated mansion filled with expensive toys, artifacts, and people who will always bend to his will, Isaac plays Nathan like Bruce Wayne meets Colonel Kurtz, with a dash of Steve Jobs. (by that i mean) He's a well-read, paranoid man with a lot of money who thinks he is saving the world. 

Ex Machina Oscar IsaacWhile Nathan may be reclusive, he is far from introverted.

Isaac and Gleeson share a consistently entertaining back-and-forth throughout the film. For most of the film, watching the two of them is like watching two friends have a discussion over a couple of beers. Luckily, we can all look forward to Isaac and Gleeson together again later this year in a high profile sci-fi film that you might have heard of: “Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens.”

Ex Machina“Ex Machina” mixes philosophical questions with scientific intrigue. This is the kind of film where knowledge of the Bible and Greek tragedies aren't necessary, but are definitely an added bonus. This is a philosophy lesson that is filled with absurdity, like a hilarious disco scene that comes out of nowhere.

The film feels like a sequel to Spike Jonze’s Oscar-winning “Her,” which is about a man who falls in love with his human-like operating system, and a huge step forward in science-fiction for Hollywood. Rather, “Ex Machina” accurately portrays a robot that is created by us for us. Ava is somebody who could be our friend and blend in with the rest of human society.

This is what makes “Ex Machina” so interesting. This is a world where the humans, and not the robots with limitless capabilities, are the villains. It is an idea that “Chappie” tried (and somewhat failed) to communicate earlier this year. Garland said that he wanted this film to feel like it could take place 10 minutes from now. This whole film feels like an idea Tim Cook might briefly mention during the next iPhone press conference.

ex machina osscar

This is thanks in part to Garland, who, despite never having directed a feature film before, might as well be a seasoned veteran at this point. Switching between glowing red and blue, stunning mountain vistas and claustrophobic white hallways, this is the sort of plunge into madness that would make the likes of Stanley Kubrick proud. 

Anybody who is a fan of "A Clockwork Orange" and "The Shining" will feel right at home with Garland's sense of paranoia and claustrophobia. There are a lot of scenes here that feel like they were put in here just for cinephiles. But just like the philosophy, you don't need to have seen every dystopian film to enjoy this one.

Ex Machina Ava

The world of “Ex Machina” is both minimalist and incredibly detailed and well-thought out. “Ex Machina” works well on its own, but I almost wouldn’t mind seeing a sequel for it. There just seems to be infinite possibilities for where Ava can go from here. 

Ex Machina

The future that is presented in "Ex Machina" can sometimes be a frightening place, but it is also overstuffed with ideas and possibilities. Garland has gone on the record as believing that it is a "good thing" that robots might surpass humans. This explains why he is able to strike a rare balance of being cynical about the selfish nature of people, yet still optimistic about where this planet is heading.

If the creation of Ava is a distinct possibility, then I, for one, welcome our new robot overlords.

Watch the trailer for "Ex Machina" here: 

SEE ALSO: Here's the concept art that inspired the robot from the year's best sci-fi movie

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Al Pacino still thinks Michael Corleone was his most difficult role


godfather al pacino

Al Pacino opened up about one of his most career defining roles. The legendary actor confesses that he still considers playing Michael Corleone, in The Godfather, his most difficult role.

In a recent interview, celebrated actor Al Pacino, who is promoting his newest project An Experience With Al Pacino, got personal with The Guardian. The Academy Award winning Best Actor touched on a wide range of subjects from family to his career and everything in between, revelations of an actor who has truly lived. Perhaps the most interesting career related revelation, however, was the actor’s comments about playing Michael Corleone, particularly of note, how he almost got fired from the part. He had this to say:

Michael Corleone in The Godfather was and still is the most difficult role I’ve played. I didn’t see him as a gangster; I felt his power was his enigmatic quality. Unfortunately the studio couldn’t see that at first and were thinking of firing me. It was during my early career, a major movie with Marlon Brando, and no one other than Francis [Ford Coppola] wanted me for the part.

Francis Ford Coppola’s Academy Award winning film, The Godfatherwas Pacino’s big break into Hollywood, although it was indeed his third film. The critically acclaimed crime drama, which revolutionized movie-making in the gangster genre, was based on the Mario Puzo novel of the same name. Pacino played Michael Corleone, the youngest son of Mafia Don Vito Corleone, who was poised to take over the family business after his older brother, Santino "Sonny" Corleone, is killed and his father is attacked.

The character of Michael Corleone, was a pivotal character in the Corleone family and in the film, which is probably why many big name actors at the time, like Jack Nicholson, Robert Redford, Warren Beatty and Robert De Niro, all tried out for the role. Pacino beat out some serious Hollywood heavyweights for the role, likely because Coppola was impressed with the Pacino’s performance in The Panic in Needle Park, where he played a heroin addict. It was clear to Coppola that the young Pacino could emote and he fought hard to keep him on the project. However, the Scarface actor got the last word. Critics and audiences alike praised Pacino for his performance as Michael Corleone and the actor even scored an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

Though Pacino has claimed Michael Corleone as his most difficult role ever played, among a lengthy resume of intense and developed characters, the actor undoubtedly undertook the role with such strength that it will be remembered for generations to come.   

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'Avengers: Age of Ultron' has already made over $200 million


avengers age of ultron

"Avengers: Age of Ultron" isn't in US theaters until May 1, but the film has already made a lot of money overseas.

Since opening internationally last week, The "Avengers" sequel has already made $201.2 million in 44 markets, and China isn't among those territories. The film will be released there May 12.

The previous film, "Marvel's The Avengers" (2012), made $207.4 million in its stateside opening weekend alone before going on to make over $1.5 billion worldwide. 

Given that the first film made $895 million internationally, "Age of Ultron" could very well make $1 billion overseas alone.

"Ultron" is set to debut even larger when its released domestically May 1. 

Projections have the film opening to $214 million.

That would give the sequel the largest opening weekend ever, breaking the previous record set by "The Avengers" in 2012.

One thing that could hold back the Avengers sequel?

Ahead of its domestic release, the film is receiving less glowing reviews than the original. While the 2012 film has a big 92% rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, a number which is difficult to compete with, the new film currently sits at 78%.

"Avengers: Age of Ultron" opens in the US May 1.

SEE ALSO: "Avengers: Age of Ultron" is great, but it's not better than the original

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The director of Netflix’s next movie plucked his lead actor from the streets of Ghana


Cary Fukunaga Brad Barket Getty

During a talk Thursday at the Tribeca Film Festival between producer James Schamus and director Cary Fukunaga (“True Detective”), the 37-year-old filmmaker gave some insight on his next film, “Beasts of No Nation,” which will be released simultaneously on Netflix and in theaters later this year.  

Specifically, how Fukunaga found his teenage lead actor for the film on the streets of Ghana.

“The lead in ‘Beasts of No Nation’ was essentially a street vendor before we shot the film,” Fukunaga told Schamus and the audience. “[He had] zero film experience, little education…but he became a somewhat professional actor, which was astounding to watch.”

Fukunaga says his unlikely star's name is Abraham Attah, and he is a 14-year-old who plays an 11-year-old child soldier in the film. Abraham's character joins a militant group from an unnamed West African country that is led by a brutal warlord, played by Idris Elba (“Luther”). 

beasts of no nation netflix focus featuresBut Abraham initially had to fight for the role. According to Fukunaga, it was an interesting casting process:

“We gathered a bunch of kids who had potential, about 30 of them, and we did this theater workshop and tried scenes that were in the script, and we would improvise. See if these kids could play a variety of emotions and actions that take place in the story. And the kids are fast learners, they quickly understood that the better they did the longer they stayed [in the running for the role].”

Fukunaga touched on the amazing progression of Abraham as an actor when speaking about the most difficult scene during filming:

“We had a difficult one long take that he had to perform; probably the most intense thing I ever asked him to do in the film. He had six or seven kids around him performing [in the scene], and I watched him become a leader among these kids and make sure they stayed in focus and not f--- up the shot so they didn’t have to do it over again. I gave almost no direction to those kids. Abraham was driving that scene.”

This is not Fukunaga’s first time working with non-actors. In his debut feature, “Sin Nombre,” which looks at Central American gang culture, he also cast non-actors in the lead roles. 

sin nombreSchamus asked the director what his relationship is like with these kids once filming ends, and Fukunaga says it's a fine line:

“There’s a reality that these kids will probably not have a career as an actor, so this experience is a one-time experience. For Abraham, he’s only 14 so we had to get him up to speed in school, so right now we put him into boarding school back in Ghana so he can get up to normal 14 year old academics. By nature of us crossing into these people’s lives you have some responsibility there to make their lives better, but at the same time you’re not adopting a child, by any means.”

"Beasts of No Nation" previosuly sparked controversy over its release plan.

Netflix announced in March that along with streaming the film, it will also release it in theaters in order for it to have an Oscar qualifying run. However, many of the major theater chains have stated that it will not screen the film because it is not adhering to the traditional 90-day delay between theatrical debut and streaming release.

SEE ALSO: 5 deals that prove Netflix wants to be taken seriously in the movie business

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Johnny Depp is transformed in this trailer for Whitey Bulger biopic 'Black Mass'


Warner Bros. released the first trailer for the Whitey Bulger biopic "Black Mass," which stars Johnny Depp as the notorious Boston gangster, who is serving two consecutive life sentences in prison.

Depp looks eerily different in the trailer, thanks to contact lenses that make his eyes blue. The movie is directed by Scott Cooper, whose "Crazy Heart" earned Jeff Bridges an Academy Award for best actor in 2010.

We'll have to wait and see if the same outcome is in the cards for Depp. "Black Mass" hits theaters on September 18, 2015.

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I saw the 'most dangerous movie ever made' starring 100 untamed lions and it was insane


roarAfter the absolute chaos of a film that sets loose over 150 safari animals on the poor cast and crew of “Roar,” one of the lead characters makes a bold claim: “Boy, are they friendly.”

“Roar” is a forgotten 1981 film that follows an enthusiastic zoologist in Africa who turns his land into a sort of safe haven for big cats, protecting them from poachers. Marketed today as a screwball passion project, Drafthouse Films is re-releasing the movie 34 years after it was a financial failure on its initial release.

“Roar” is a family affair with a cast led by director Noel Marshall as the zoologist, and starring his then-wife, "Birds" actress Tippi Hedren, as well as their children. Promotion for the film has been attention-grabbing, highlighting unbelievable behind-the-scenes stories from its tormented 11-year production. As the film’s tagline states: “No animals were harmed in the making of this film. 70 cast and crew members were.”

With so many reported grisly cast and crew injuriessome of which are visible in the movie, I was skeptical that the film could live up to its clever marketing.

To my surprise and satisfaction, it absolutely did.

Before the movie started I asked my friends joining me what they hoped to see in “Roar." I received responses like "blood,""people getting killed," and "people cuddling lions." Miraculously, "Roar" did not disappoint any of my friends, making its PG-rating feel inappropriate, even by today’s standards. 

Every character in “Roar” seems to be in a rush, and for good reason. Forget the script, the story takes a backseat, as these actors have more pressing matters at hand. Dialogue is spouted rapidly, and then abruptly cut off by pouncing lions. Bodies flinch in preparation for a sudden attack and steps are taken gingerly to avoid one. The big cats are difficult to read as they shift between being unsurprisingly aggressive and strangely affectionate (even cute).


Yes, the dialogue is laughable, and the story is goofy. The chase scenes between untamed animals and the cast are, however, filled with tension, as there is a real sense of terror in the eyes of the actors. In other movies, characters are choreographed to run for their lives. In “Roar” people are actually running for their lives.

After the unpredictable 103 minutes ended, I asked my friends for initial reactions and they agreed the movie surpassed their expectations. One of them summed up the movie as follows: “It was basically like they took the cast of ‘The Brady Brunch’, threw them in a house with a 100 lions and attempted to make a film out of it.”

“Roar” is a wholly unique viewing experience, complete with laughter and astonishment. For the amount of time and effort Director Noel Marshall and his family went through, I admire their resilience in bringing “Roar” into existence. It is surreal and oddly compelling to behold such intimate interactions between humans and some of the most feared predators on Earth.

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One of the stars of 'Goodfellas' almost quit right before it started filming


Goodfellas Paulie

It's crazy to think that anybody who starred in "Goodfellas" would ever have wanted to quit. 

However, that was almost the case for Paul Sorvino, who's performance as mob capo Paul "Paulie" Cicero, is perhaps the best-known of his entire career.

At a 25th anniversary celebration of "Goodfellas" at the Tribeca Film Festival over the weekend, Sorvino explained how he almost quit right before filming started. 

"I was quitting after almost four weeks and we were supposed to start three days later and I called my manager and said, 'get me out of this, I can't do it,'" Sorvino said. 

It might be surprising that Sorvino was having second thoughts about the role. His character of Paulie Cicero, based on real life mobster Paul Vario, has a lot in common with Sorvino. They are both middle-aged Italian-American men from New York, as Sorvino acknowledged. However, there was more to playing Cicero than just that.

Goodfellas Tribeca"The real difficulty there was the inner life ... that weird bifurcation of character," Sorvino said. "When they're home, they're family people. When they're out, they're shooting people." 

While the three main characters in "Goodfellas" (Henry Hill, Jimmy Conway, Tommy DeVito) are portrayed as violent sociopaths, Cicero seems the most cautious of them all. After all, he is the only one who stayed away from drugs and won't do criminal transactions over the phone.

Goodfellas PaulieThe actors in the film had screenwriter Nicholas Pileggi (who wrote the book "Wiseguy" on which the film was based) at their disposal to find out what the mobsters were like in real life. De Niro, who played Jimmy Conway, went so far as to find out how Jimmy the Gent held a ketchup bottle.

GoodfellasSorvino ended up changing his mind after one look in the mirror.

He made an intimidating face and realized that he could play this guy. 

"I was going to fix my tie and I saw this guy. And it scared the hell out of me," Sorvino said.

Sorvino might actually be "a poet, an opera singer, a sculptor" and an actor, but he sure made one convincing gangster.

SEE ALSO: Robin Williams spent most of 'Good Will Hunting' reading his lines in different celebrities' voices

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Wall Street thinks 'Star Wars: Episode VII' will make $1.75 billion worldwide


chewbacca harrison ford the force awakens

"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" is months away, but it's one of the most-anticipated movies of the year.

The biggest question is just how much money "Star Wars: Episode VII" will make when the film debuts worldwide this December.

In a recent note to clients, analysts at Citi predict the worldwide box-office estimate for "Episode VII" at $1.75 billion.

That doesn't sound unreasonable given the worldwide appeal of the film. The latest teaser trailer was viewed 88 million times in 24 hours.

The return of the original cast members is an added draw, giving older generations a reason to return to a galaxy far, far away along with newer, younger viewers who will discover the franchise for the first time. 

Previously, Credit Suisse's Michael Senno predicted the film may hit $1.2 billion globally.

Other analysts have pegged it at hitting $2 billion.

On the high end, Entertainment Weekly predicts "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" will go on to be the highest-grossing movie ever with ticket sales of over $3 billion globally.

The highest-grossing films ever are 2009's "Avatar" ($2.7 billion) and 1997's "Titanic" ($2.2 billion).

The latest "Star Wars" film, 2005's "Revenge of the Sith"grossed $848 million worldwide. That film did not see the return of original cast members Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford.

"Star Wars: The Force Awakens" is in theaters December 18, 2015.

SEE ALSO: Awesome photos from the set of the next "Star Wars" movie

AND: Mark Hamill felt forced into returning for "Star Wars: Episode VII"

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Martin Scorsese wasn't allowed back in an Italian restaurant after 'Goodfellas' came out


AP32815591051At the 25th anniversary celebration of "Goodfellas" that closed out the Tribeca Film Festival, the timeless classic received exactly the kind of response one would expect. 

The audience cheered every time a major character first popped up on screen. You could hear other people shouting famous lines ("go home and get your f---ing shinebox!") out as well. 

But apparently, not everybody was as enamored with "Goodfellas" at the beginning. 

Director Martin Scorsese says that audiences hated what they first saw.

"I remember the previews were one of the worst experiences of my life — we had three of them and they were all in California," Scorsese told the crowd in a pre-taped video 

"Goodfellas" is a violent, profanity-laced film that also breaks a lot of conventional cinematic storytelling rules. Perhaps viewers weren't ready for that.

"It seemed that the audience had to be prepared for what it was, but there was a lot of controversy," said Scorsese.

The controversy he refers to is the portrayal of Italian-Americans in the film as gangsters. Apparently, this angered the owner of an Italian restaurant Scorsese and Nicholas Pileggi (author of "Wiseguy," of which the film is based) used to frequent.

"When the film came out, the owner of the restaurant said we're not allowed in anymore because we apparently denigrated a certain ethnic group for the picture ..." Scorsese said.

Joe Pesci Goodfellas

Scorsese himself is Italian-American and grew up in New York's Little Italy. He has dealt with Italian-American identity in several of his other films, including "Mean Streets" and "Raging Bull."

Scorsese isn't the first Italian-American director to receive blowback for portraying the mob on film.

"The Sopranos," created by David Chase, was sued by an Italian-American group for portraying Italians as "born criminals."

The SopranosMeanwhile, the Italian-American Civil Rights League (run by notorious mobster Joseph Colombo) successfully lobbied to prevent"The Godfather," directed by Francis Ford Coppola, from using the word "mafia."

While this controversy never circulated to that level ("Goodfellas" also has Irish and Jewish-Americans as major characters), "Goodfellas" at least showed that Scorsese was aware of prejudice against Italians. 

The below is slightly NSFW for language.


SEE ALSO: One of the stars of 'Goodfellas' almost quit right before it started filming

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Hollywood really thinks we need a 'Robin Hood' movie


Robin Hood Kevin Costner

It's not uncommon for multiple movie studios to have similar, rival projects get made around the same time. "Armageddon" and "Deep Impact," which were both about an asteroid hitting earth, came out in 1998. Two TrumanCapote biopics came out within a year of each other.

However, when it comes to Robin Hood, the tale of the thieving outlaw can't spin out enough stories for Hollywood.

Currently, there are six Robin Hood films in development and another television series.

Warner Brothers recently announced it's developing a Robin Hood movie. In the same week, FreemantleMedia North America acquired the rights to the book series "The Outlaw Chronicles," which it plans to turn into a TV series. 

The amount of Robin Hood films planned seems odd, given that the last Robin Hood movie, simply titled "Robin Hood" was a critically-panned box-office dud back when it came out in 2010. It was a dark, gritty reboot starring Russell Crowe, and was made not long after "Batman Begins" started a trend of darker, grittier blockbusters. Needless to say, "Robin Hood" did not become the franchise Universal was probably hoping it would be. 

Other adaptations of the character haven't gone over well either.

According to Deadline, BBC America co-produced a "Robin Hood" series in 2006, which ran for three seasons. Meanwhile, a planned CW show called "Sherwood" about a female Robin Hood never made it to the air (the last ever news reports on it are from back in December 2012).

This isn't the first time Hollywood has put out competing Robin Hood films. In 1991 Kevin Costner starred in "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" ($390.5 million) while Uma Thurman was featured in 20th Century Fox's "Robin Hood."

Here is a look at the seven upcoming Robin Hood projects:

1. Warner Bros.' Robin Hood

Warners Brothers just announced it was working on its own "Robin Hood" film. So far, details are scarce. It is produced by one of the producers of "The Lego Movie" but as far as we know, this is not Lego Robin Hood.

2. Liongate's "Robin Hood: Origins"

Lionsgate landed this reboot that promises to be dark and gritty. It sounds almost identical to the version made in 2010, and we all know how that worked out. Either the second time is the charm, or this could go the way of "The Amazing Spider-Man 2."

3. Disney's "Nottingham & Hood"

Rather than a re-imagining, Disney is taking a "revisionist" tone with "Nottingham & Hood." They hope to start up a family friendly franchise, and the speculative screenplay apparently has a "Pirates of the Caribbean" tone. This isn't Disney's first try with this story: in 1973, they made the animated classic that starred a cartoon fox as Robin Hood.

4. Sony's "Hood"

Sony is planning a shared universe around Sherwood Forest as well, which they compare to"Fast and Furious" and "Mission: Impossible" franchises. 

5. "Robin Hood and the Prince of Aragon"

"Robin Hood and the Prince of Aragon" is described only as a "vibrant pop-punk retelling." The rest of the details are shrouded in mystery, but a description like that is definetly an interesting way to get attention.

6. "Robin Hood 2058"

Like "Prince of Aragon,""Robin Hood 2058" offers a compelling yet mysterious promise: this one will bring Robin Hood into the future for a sci-fi adventure. The script was penned by Jason Hall, who previously wrote "American Sniper," which grossed $541.2 million worldwide.

7. "Outlaw Chronicles"

It was also recently announced that Robin Hood will now be making his way over to television as well. This one is adapted from a book series called "The Outlaw Chronicles," which is a re-imagined take on the legend. It seems like every one of these takes is a "re-imagining" of sorts. 

SEE ALSO: One of Matt Damon's Harvard professors gave him a small note that completely changed 'Good Will Hunting'

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You'll never visit your grandparents again after watching the creepy trailer for 'The Visit'


This might be one of the scariest movie trailers ever. "The Sixth Sense" and "Signs" director M. Night Shyamalan returns the genre that made him famous with "The Visit." The movie uses the popular "found footage" approach to tell the story of a couple of siblings whose trip to visit their grandparents quickly gets very scary.

Shyamalan took a break from thrillers to take a shot at the action and science-fiction genres with "The Last Airbender" and "After Earth."

Both of those movies bombed with critics, but did serviceable business at the international box office. Now, however, Shyamalan seems ready to get back to what he knows how to do best. For "The Visit," he teamed up with Blumhouse Productions — the red-hot production company behind such hits as "Paranormal Activity,""Insidious" and "The Purge."

If the trailer is any indication, it looks like Shyamalan will finally get back into the good graces of his biggest audience. "The Visit" is due in theaters on September 11, 2015.

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