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'The Monuments Men' Reviews: George Clooney's Delayed Nazi Art Movie Isn't That Great

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george clooney monuments menThe first reviews are out for George Clooney's World War II "Monuments Men" and they're not so great.

The film, based on the book by Robert M. Edsel,  follows George Stout (Clooney) and Lieutenant James J. Rorimer (Matt Damon) as they assemble a rag-tag group of men to save art from being destroyed by Nazis. Basically, it sounds like "Ocean's Eleven" during World War II.

Clooney co-wrote and directed the film that was originally set to debut in December.

When the movie was pushed back until February the actor said it was to avoid the very crowded holiday season and allow for all of its visual effects to be completed 

Other reports claimed Clooney was trying to figure out the tone of the movie. 

Either way, it sounds like film delay wasn't worth the wait. 

"The Monuments Men" opens Friday, February 7.

Here's what to know before seeing the film:

Critics had a lot of issues with the movie. It was "dull" and Clooney didn't set the bar high enough.

monuments men george clooneyVariety:  

"It’s not only the great works of European art that have gone missing in “The Monuments Men”; the spark of writer-director-star George Clooney’s filmmaking is absent, too. … Clooney has transformed a fascinating true-life tale into an exceedingly dull and dreary caper pic cum art-appreciation seminar — a museum-piece movie about museum people."

NY Mag:  

"It’s a graceful, engaging film—I enjoyed it. But it could have been called The Tasteful Dozen. … [George Clooney] plays it so safe. Perhaps fearful of being called exploitative, he doesn’t bring out the tension between timeless masterpieces and the chaos and obscenity of war. He doesn’t even linger on the paintings and sculptures, which seem like fodder, MacGuffins. And he panders to the mainstream audience. ... I can’t predict if there will be a huge audience for The Monuments Men, but in its way it’s a great piece of escapism."

Indiewire says one of its main problems is dividing up the talent on screen:

"It's tragically short on momentum and instead spirals out into a series of rambling, uninvolving subplots where the actors are paired up with someone else and sent to fiddle around in Nazi-occupied Europe." 

… Balaban and Murray are an odd couple sent in search of a priceless piece of Roman Catholic artwork, while Clooney generally tries to figure out what the hell is going on, and Goodman and Dujardin are up to... something. The best, most emotionally gripping subplot involves Damon traveling to a recently freed Paris to try and convince Cate Blanchett, a fastidious member of the rebellion, to spill the beans as to where the art is being secreted away."

IGN goes so far as to suggest it doesn't seem like you're watching a finished version of the film.

"The Monuments Men plays like a first cut, that rough assemblage of footage cobbled together for the filmmakers to see and judge but not the public, leaving one to assume the film simply got away from director George Clooney and his team in the editing room. It's a shame because there's a fine and engaging wartime tale in there somewhere, but not up on the screen."

Despite all that, the performances by the A-list actors are great.

bill murray monuments menRolling Stone:

"Clooney excels as MFAA leader Frank Stokes, a character inspired by George Stout, who was doing art restoration at Harvard's Fogg Museum when duty called. … The bantering between Clooney and Damon gives the film a buoyant lift, but the seriousness of their mission is never in doubt." 

Variety:

"Faring generally better are Murray and Balaban, who foster a nicely understated comic chemistry and seem to have decided to make the most of their underwritten scenes. In one of the only moments of 'The Monuments Men' that strikes a real chord, Murray receives a homemade recording of his grandchildren singing 'Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas ...'" 

Cate Blanchett shines above them all.cate blanchett monuments menIGN:

"Blanchett's fine as Claire Simone, the French woman whose job as a secretary for the Nazis proves key to the Monuments Men's mission. Her character at least has some sense of identity and stakes. A whole movie about her probably would have been as (if not more) compelling that one about the Monuments Men."

 The Hollywood Reporter (THR):

"Blanchett gives the most edge to her role but even her character is held back a bit in her dealings with Damon's upstanding fellow."

The film looks and sounds great with a score from Alexandre Desplat ("The King's Speech"):

Rolling Stone:

"The physical production is exquisite, with cinematographer Phedon Papamichael, an Oscar nominee for Nebraska, shooting on locations in Germany and England that stand in for a whole world at war."

Indiewire:

"The Monuments Men" is gorgeously shot by 'The Descendants' DP Phedon Papamichael with a muted palette that suggests that colors were also rationed during World War II. Desplat's score manages to be both grating and over-the-top but also rousing and beautiful."

Overall consensus: 

If you were expecting "Ocean's Eleven" that's a different heist film. A few added months doesn't seem to do much for the World War II spectacle. However, if you're a fan of Clooney and Damon together and want to see a superb cast of actors share screen time, then check it out. Just know what you're getting yourself into.

Check out a trailer for the film:

SEE ALSO: Philip Seymour Hoffman's five best films

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George Clooney Took Huge Pay Cut For 'Monuments Men,' Says 'Everybody Worked For Crazy Cheap'

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monument men george clooney

"The Monuments Men" may boast an A-list cast that includes George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, and Cate Blanchett, but the film was anything but big budget.

In a new interview with Variety, Clooney  the film's director, co-writer, and star  revealed that majority of the cast took dramatic pay cuts before joining the World War II-era film about a platoon tasked to rescue art masterpieces from Nazi thieves.

"If you pay everybody a full boatload, it's a $150 million film," Clooney told the publication, adding that he still managed to stay under his $70 million budget. "You just can't do it. Everybody worked for super cheap, like crazy cheap."

Clooney compared the pay scale to the "Oceans" franchise:

He says the “Ocean’s Eleven” movies operated under a similar business model, although the actors in the Steven Soderbergh franchise earned roughly a quarter of their normal salary. For “Monuments Men,” they were paid a 10th or a 15th of their going rate, but with a meaningful backend if the movie makes money, Clooney adds.

But Clooney says that a film's budget doesn't really matter, anyhow.

“The problems that you have with a $5 million film are basically the same problems you have with a $70 million one,” Clooney continued. “There are 500 marketing people and money people and insurance people, and you can’t do it without them.”

Amy Pascal, co-chair of Sony Pictures Entertainment, which bankrolled and is distributing "Monuments Men," says that Clooney is "even smarter than you think" and adds that "whenever George comes into the building, he has a fan club."

To read the rest of the interesting Variety interview, click here.

"Monuments Men" opens this Friday to lukewarm reviews.

SEE ALSO: 'The Monuments Men' Reviews: George Clooney's Delayed Nazi Art Movie Isn't That Great

MORE: Jonah Hill Took $60,000 SAG Minimum Pay For 'Wolf Of Wall Street'

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The Most Powerful People In Hollywood At Every Age

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most powerful people in hollywood at ever age

When Kanye West and Kim Kardashian announced the arrival of their baby girl, her name — North West — nearly caused the Internet to explode.

Similarly, no "Star Trek" fan could take their eyes off the Twitter IPO when legendary actor Patrick Stewart rang the opening bell.

Celebrities and their offspring serve as major influencers in all spheres of life: entertainment, business, politics, tech, and fashion.

We rounded up the top actors, directors, producers, studio executives, and industry insiders from just under one year old to 100 years old who will surely make headlines in 2014.

AGE

Daughter of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian

What makes her powerful: Little Nori sparked a media firestorm when she was born, and all of Twitter had an opinion about the name "Kimye" chose for their first child.

The 8-month-old has been pretty absent from the spotlight, but Kardashian did release a photo of her Christmas present: a miniature Lamborghini to match the one her rapper daddy drives.



AGE 2: Blue Ivy Carter

Daughter of Beyoncé and Jay-Z

What makes her powerful: In the lavish style of her parents, Blue Ivy Carter celebrated her second birthday at Miami's exotic Jungle Island.

Beyoncé and Jay-Z rented out the entire wildlife park and zoo for their little girl's big day. That's what happens when you're the daughter of the Queen.



AGE 3: Julian Fuego Thicke

Son of Robin Thicke and Paula Patton

What makes him powerful: The "Blurred Lines" singer says his little tyke keeps his ego in check and inspires his music. Julian plans to follow in his dad's footsteps into entertainment, according to actress-mother Patton, and always requests to accompany Thicke to sound check.

Other powerful three-year-olds: Gideon Scott and Harper Grace, Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka's adopted twins who inspired their own BuzzFeed list.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

5 Reasons 'The LEGO Movie' Is Going To Crush The Box Office This Weekend

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the lego movie

If you have a kid, you're probably taking them to see "The LEGO Movie" this weekend.

That's a good bet since the Warner Bros. film based on the brick toys is expected to have a huge opening.

All of the reviews for the film so far have been overwhelmingly positive. (It currently stands at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.) Box office estimates are tracking the film to bring in $40 million

We were able to see a screening of the movie this weekend filled with families — probably the best audience with which to gauge the film. The kids loved it, the adults seemed to enjoy it, and we had a blast also. 

The movie comes from Phil Lord and Chris Miller — the minds behind the successful "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" and "21 Jump Street" franchises.

"The LEGO Movie" follows Emmet (Chris Pratt) as he tries to stop the evil President Business (Will Ferrell) from destroying the LEGO world with a mysterious weapon named "Kragle." (Spoiler: It's Krazy Glue.)

Warner Bros. is so sure the movie will do well that it already announced plans for a sequel. It's not difficult to see why. This could very well be a lucrative animated franchise for the studio.

Here's why "The LEGO Movie" should crush it this weekend:

1. Appeals to both boys and girls

lego movie castWhile "Frozen" may have sneakily got boys into theater seats with its clever marketing (it's really a girl-power film), "The LEGO Movie" caters to both audiences with a wide range of characters.

Elizabeth Banks offers a strong female lead in the form of tough, no nonsense Wildstyle. Young boys will be taken with the appearance of Batman (Will Arnett) — during a late night appearance earlier this week on David Letterman, Arnett said his kids were already referring to the film as the "Batman: LEGO Movie."

This was probably the smartest move Warner Bros. could ask for given the Caped Crusader's popularity in both video games and Christopher Nolan's "Dark Knight" trilogy.

While Batman's presence is prominent in the film, Chris Pratt ("Parks and Recreation") voices the hero kids will rally behind, Emmet, and Alison Bree ("Community") voices a chipper, upbeat unicorn / cat mix.

2. Not Just A Kiddie Movie

batman spaceman lego movieThe movie contains a mix of new and classic nostalgic LEGOS for an older audience to appreciate. Moviegoers may recognize space-themed LEGO sets they played with from the late '70s and early '80s on screen. Older viewers will also want to look out for humorous one-liners that will go over kid's heads. Arnett makes a few clever asides as Batman.

However, it's the end of the film that will really resonate with adults, bringing up the question of whether LEGOs are toys or collector's items meant for display. (It's a topic that keen eyes will remember was addressed in "Toy Story 2" and works also in this "toy story.")

Major spoiler: In an unexpected twist, the film removes itself from the animated world to reveal that the entire movie is the construct of a young boy's imagination. He sneaks down into the basement of his house to play with his father's (played by Will Ferrell!) elaborate LEGO collection that is permanently held together by Krazy Glue.MAJOR SPOILER 

3. Smart Marketing

batman lego movieTheaters have had giant LEGO replicas of its main characters including the Caped Crusader in movie theaters.

Trailers prominently featured Batman to sell the movie to kids. Warner Bros. also released a clever parody trailer mocking "Man of Steel." Behind-the-scenes teasers had no problem poking fun at the movie itself.

This one from Will Arnett is gold.

Ahead of the movie's release, LEGO familiarized kids with the film's characters by releasing a series of LEGO sets featuring scenes from the film. Separately, the company released 16 minifigures for purchase.

4. Dominance of the LEGO brand

LEGOs have always been a popular toy, not only for the nostalgic factor with parents, but also the educational value in the individual sets.

Since 1997, in addition to selling brick sets, LEGO has put out a successful line of companion video games to popular movie franchises from "Harry Potter" to "Batman" and "Lord of the Rings." The Lego Batman series alone has sold 14.4 million copies as of last year. 

5. Catchy Song

lego movie characters It isn't Oscar-nominated "Let It Go" from "Frozen," but kids will definitely walk out of the theater singing "Everything is Awesome." 

The lyrics aren't groundbreakingEverything is awesome / Everything is cool when you're part of a team / Everything is awesome / When we're living our dream — but they are upbeat, send a positive message that parents will be okay with, and are undeniably infectious.

Parents and older audiences may recognize the simple song from Tegan and Sara featuring The Lonely Island.

Listen to a preview of the song from the opening sequence of the film below. Just seeing the animated world of Legos on screen is, well, awesome.

SEE ALSO: Reviews for George Clooney's delayed "Monuments Men" aren't good

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13 Movies That Bombed In The US But Were Huge Hits Overseas In 2013

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pacific rim

It's no secret Hollywood is becoming more and more dependent on the foreign box office to make a profit on films.

China is currently the largest source of international box office earnings, and by 2018, it's predicted to be the number one source for box-office income. Thus it's no surprise that "Iron man 3" had alternate scenes for Chinese audiences and upcoming sequel "Transformers: Age of Extinction" was filmed in China.

Which films received the biggest boost overseas last year?

We looked at the top 100 grossing movies of 2013 from the biggest studios and narrowed it down to films where the overseas gross accounted for 70% or more of the film’s box-office gross. These films are ordered by increasing dependence on foreign earnings.

Though "Runner, Runner" bombed opening weekend in the US ($7.7 million), it picked up in the foreign markets.

(Source: Box Office Mojo)



Ron Howard's "Rush" was a slow draw domestically. It's international gross helped bring it near $100 million.

(Source: Box Office Mojo)



DreamWorks Animation's snail tale "Turbo" was one of the weakest-performing animated films in the states.

(Source: Box Office Mojo)



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Lindsay Lohan Was Supposed To Play The Villain In 'Mean Girls'

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Lindsay Lohan Mean GirlsLast month, we took a look back at the cast of "Mean Girls" to mark the film's 10-year anniversary this spring.

For the occasion, Vulture has a great read on the casting of the movie with director Mark Waters.

Turns out Lindsay Lohan wasn't supposed to play the sweet, innocent lead of Cady Heron.

Instead, the "Scary Movie 5" actress was originally cast as blonde-haired villain Regina. 

Via Vulture:

"We did a read-through, and we were trying to look for somebody to play the role of Cady, but frankly, we didn't find anyone we liked who felt strong enough to go up against Lindsay." While the studio searched far and wide for a suitable foil to Lohan, Freaky Friday finally hit theaters, "and it was a much bigger hit than we expected it to be," Waters admitted. "Sherry Lansing, who was heading Paramount at the time, told us, 'We have to have Lindsay play the lead in Mean Girls. It's just not going to work having her play the villain, because she now has an audience that won't accept that.'"

In the end, Rachel McAdams ("The Notebook") landed the role. As it turns out, McAdams originally read for Lohan's role but it was decided she was too old — the actress was about 25 at the time — for the role of the high schooler.

You can read the entire Vulture article here.

SEE ALSO: Here's what will happen after the credits in "Captain America 2"

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George Lucas Recounts How Studios Turned Down ‘Star Wars’ In Classic Interview

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carrie fisher mark hamill star wars

With the anticipated release of “Star Wars: Episode VII,” StarWars.com released part of a classic interview with George Lucas. 

In it, Lucas recounts how his “space opera” was a tough sell with United Artists and Universal turning him down. When 20th Century Fox finally said yes, it wasn’t because the studio believed “Star Wars” could be a hit, but rather because the company loved Lucas’ previous film “American Graffiti.” 

Lucas remembers a 20th Century Fox head telling him, "I don't understand this, but I loved ‘American Graffiti,’ and what ever you do is okay with me.”  

Lucas continued that if it wasn’t for Fox, he doesn’t think the pop culture phenomena would have been made.  

“It was crazy — spaceships, and wookies, and robots. It was just unlike anything that had ever been seen before.” 

For the mega fan, it’s a great watch. The director also touches upon writing the scripts, casting, and how production on the $10 million film was a slight nightmare. 

Check out the interview below:

SEE ALSO: Carrie Fisher confirms she'll play Princess Leia in "Star Wars: Episode VII"

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Matt Damon Gave An Eloquent Reddit AMA — Here Are His Best Answers

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Matt Damon reddit AMAWhile on the promotional trail for his upcoming film "The Monuments Men," Matt Damon took some time to stop by Reddit for an AMA (Ask Me Anything) with fans.

The film, which opens Friday, has a huge ensemble cast of stars from George Clooney to Bill Murray, so while a lot of the questions had to do with Damon, there was also a bunch dealing with his co-stars, his friends in Hollywood, and their antics.

While some celebrities answer questions with brief responses, Damon spoke very candidly to fans about roles.

We've compiled some of the best highlights below. You can check out the full AMA here.

What the best prank his "Monuments Men" and "Ocean's 11" co-star, George Clooney ever pulled on him:

"I got these giant fruit baskets in the mail from Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. They had just made jokes at everyone's expense at the Golden Globes that were really funny. George made up stationary with my name on it, and sent a really wounded letter to Tina and Amy saying my feelings were really hurt, how could they do this, etc. So they sent two fruit baskets. One had a letter with an apology. Another said 'If this is part of some Clooney prank, please know that we’re grown-ass comedians, and you have to do a little better to fool us.'"

What he thought of his portrayal in "South Park" creator's "Team America: World Police":

"I thought it was brilliant! I mean, I never understood it, and then I heard an interview with them and they said the puppet came in looking kind of mentally deficient and they didn’t have time to change it, so they just made me someone who could really only say his own name. All the comedy they’re doing is really next-level stuff."

When a fan asked Damon to recall the most challenging time in his life, he gave a very poignant response in which he references Philip Seymour Hoffman who passed away last week.

"Yeah, there are a number of kind of rugged times, particularly in a career like this. Nothing gets given to you, and you have to struggle for everything, and I think those struggles really do define who you are, and it’s really important. I’ve seen parents try to remove those struggles from their kids’ lives, to the detriment of the kid, and it’s something I think about a lot. I can’t make it too easy for my kids because that doesn’t really equip them to handle the world when I’m not around. Anytime you deal with death, anytime in my life on a personal level that I’ve lost someone, that’s always a moment to grieve and feel incredibly thankful that I’m still here and I’m still able to have my family around me. I’m just thinking of that because it’s kind of a s----- week because of Phil. It’s kind of on the brain."

If he's worried that Jimmy Kimmel (who's had a fun rivalry with Damon for years) will show up and ruin his AMA:

"I’m actually Backstage at the Kimmel show. I’m hoping to be on tonight, I’m told I’m going to get on tonight for the first time in 10 years."

The story behind this exchange between Damon and Reason TV, in which Damon defended teachers after his mother has been a life-long educator:

"I spoke to them at a rally for public school teachers a few years ago. My mom’s a professor and she’s become increasingly concerned, as a have a lot of teachers, about the way policy is being designed in this country. It’s being designed by a bunch of people who aren’t teachers. They talk about accountability, but they’re measuring with these standardized tests, which I believe in my heart they will start fading out. It just demonstrably does not work. No Child Left Behind does not work. I’ve always believed that they have to invite teachers into the discussion to help design policy. We would never let business men design warheads, why would you cut out educators when you’re designing education policy? So, one of those libertarian websites was there and they had a plan to attack a question about tenure. Diane Ravitch was there, she’s a huge figure in education and she jumped in and just set them straight about what having tenure meant. It just basically means you have the right to be represented, and have your side of something heard if someone was trying to get rid of you. But in terms of education policy, I think that far too much emphasis has been put on these tests. You’re going to get teachers teaching to the test and you’re not actually giving them the leeway to do their jobs."

His advice on breaking into the movie industry. 

"In terms of advice - it’s tough. The business is growing more accessible because technology is more available to people than when we started you had to shoot on film and it was very hard to get a movie made, and now kids are starting to have access to cameras at a much earlier age. In terms of breaking into the business there’s no set way to do it, you have to somehow make a movie and get it out there. In Ben and my case we wrote a movie because we were struggling to get a job. We wrote jobs for ourselves. We wrote Robin William’s character, we called it the Harvey Keitel part, because with Reservoir Dogs Harvey read his part and liked it, and that how they got funding. So we knew that was that character for us. There were so were so many ways to play that character, we were casting a wide net and just hoping to we caught a big fish, and our agent Patrick, who’s still our agent, forced him to read it and he loved it. He kicked it up to the lit department, and then we had lit agents. So we got lucky, but it’s just looking for creative ways to break in. If you just sit on your hands it’s never gonna happen, its just too competitive. Jobs are available, you have to go make your own."

He gets confused with Mark Wahlberg all the time: 

“I do get confused with Mark Wahlberg a lot, and we just have a deal that whenever we get mistaken for each other we have to be very polite. Can’t give the other a bad name.  

This happened to me yesterday, I was walking down the street with my kids, and this guy screamed “MARK WAHLBERG!” I just kept walking, because I’m not Mark, and he kept screaming “MARK WAHLBERG! I SEE YOU! DON’T WALK AWAY! MARK WAHLBERG! WE KNOW IT’S YOU!” and then he runs up to me and he says, “I love your work!” And then this woman comes up, and says “I love your family, tell your brother I said Hi!” So I said “Yes, I’ll tell Donnie Wahlberg you said Hi.”  

If people are insistent, theres no convincing them I’m not Mark, so I just become him and try to be nice to them. My kids were with me and there’s no easy way to explain that situation to them.” 

On coming up with the monologue about the NSA in "Good Will Hunting”: 

“Well, the first thing to that monologue is it’s safe to say that is the hardest that Ben and I have ever laughed while writing something. We were in our old house in Hollywood, in the basement of this house writing this thing and we were literally in tears because this monologue kept building on itself. We wrote it it one night and kept performing it back and forth, and pissing ourselves laughing.  

You know, I was unaware, as I think everyone was, that they had that capacity. Snowden is literally changing policy. These are conversations we have to have about our security, and civil liberties, and we have to decide what we are willing to accept, and he’s provided a huge service kickstarting that debate.” 

You can watch the monologue below:

 

Damon joked about not landing a role as Robin alongside long-time friend Ben Affleck in the upcoming “Batman / Superman” movie. 

“You are correct. After I didn't get the part, it was really awkward between Ben and I for a while. But I've still got the costume I wore in the audition and am planning on wearing it when Ben and I meet the winners of our fundraiser.”

SEE ALSO: The Funniest Highlights From Will Ferrell's Reddit AmA

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Paul Bettany Cast As Android Vision In 'Avengers: Age Of Ultron'

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vision paul bettany

Paul Bettany will play popular Marvel character Vision in the upcoming "Avengers" sequel.

Variety confirmed a report from The Daily Mail naming Bettany as the human android.

The casting of Bettany gives a giant plot spoiler about "Avengers: Age of Ultron." 

If you're a fan of the Marvel films, you know Bettany had speaking roles in all of the "Iron Man" films and "The Avengers" as Tony Stark's (Robert Downey Jr.) AI device J.A.R.V.I.S.

Potential spoiler:

In the comics, the character Ultron — who will be played by James Spader— creates Vision to use him as a weapon against the Avengers.

"The Avengers: Age of Ultron" hits theaters May 1, 2015.

SEE ALSO: 13 movies that bombed in the US, but were huge hits overseas in 2013

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Here Are The Number Of LEGO Bricks It Took To Make ‘The Lego Movie’

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lego movie

"The Lego Movie" is out this weekend and is expected to make more than $50 million upon opening.

That would give it the largest debut of 2014 so far

If you’re taking the kids to see it this weekend, here’s something to ponder while the opening sequence pans over an elaborately-made virtual Lego world.

There are a total of 3,863,484 unique Lego bricks in the movie.  

According to the film's production notes, many of those bricks were reused to create many of the film's scenes.

However, if you wanted to recreate the entire movie, you would need 15,080,330 Lego pieces.

In addition, a total of 183 different types of Lego minifigures can be seen in the film.lego movieOf course, the movie wasn't made out of physical bricks. 

Instead, production designer Grant Freckelton and his team used virtual bricks through free software LEGO Digital Designer to bring the movie to life.

Here are a few visualizations of the world depicted in the film:lego movielego moviecoffee shop lego movie

SEE ALSO: 5 reasons "The LEGO Movie" is going to dominate the box office

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'The LEGO Movie' Will Easily Demolish George Clooney's 'Monuments Men' At Theaters This Weekend

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batman spaceman lego movie

"The Lego Movie" is out in theaters today and from what everyone is saying the animated picture is going to be huge.

The movie is predicted to open north of $50 millionAs a whole, the film cost Warner Bros. $60 million, relatively low for an animated picture.

Any number above $42 million, would push "The LEGO Movie" past Universal's "Ride Along" ($41.5 million) to give it the largest opening weekend of the year so far.

Currently, "LEGO" is far ahead of the competition in ticket sales. 

Fandango provided us with a break down of ticket sales as of Friday morning. "The Lego Movie" is dominating:

77% "The LEGO Movie"
11% "The Monuments Men"
2% "Vampire Academy"

From the looks of things, it's going to be a rough weekend for The Weinstein Company’s “Vampire Academy.” Projections have it sitting at $6.6 million.

Meanwhile, "Monuments Men" is on track to make $20.5 million. George Clooney's World War II film about a team of men saving art from being destroyed by Nazis cost Sony an estimated $70 million.

We wouldn't be surprised if "The LEGO Movie" has a larger opening weekend.

Yesterday, Fandango announced "The LEGO Movie" is its second largest advance ticket-seller for animated films behind "Toy Story 3" (2010). That film went on to make $110.3 million opening weekend.

"LEGO" has also passed advanced ticket sales for Disney’s “Frozen” and “Monsters University.” "Frozen" debuted to $67.4 million while "Monsters University" had a $82.4 opening weekend.

Currently, the film is sitting at 97% on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, with 96 positive reviews.

the lego movie rotten tomatoesFrom a Fandango survey of more than 1,000 ticket-buyers for “The LEGO Movie":

  • 71% of trailer-watchers can’t get the movie’s ironic theme song, “Everything is Awesome,” out of their heads;
  • 67% of adult ticket-buyers say they are nostalgic for their LEGO toys;
  • 62% of adult ticket buyers says they would consider seeing the movie on a date;
  • 54% picked Morgan Freeman as the ancient wizard Vitruvius as the new character they were most anticipating;
  • 52% said they re-enacted movie scenes with LEGO when they were kids.

SEE ALSO: Why everyone is raving about "The LEGO Movie"

AND: How many LEGOs are in the movie

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You'll Never Guess Which Olympics Movie Is The Best Of All Time

'Vampire Academy' Sucks

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vampire academy

In the spirit of its subject matter, Vampire Academy desperately wants to be a hot mess. Meshing genres, blurring the lines of good taste and injecting a steady stream of bitchiness, it wants to be a zany, ultra modern commentary on both vampire and high school culture, but it has absolutely nothing new or valuable to say about either of those topics. So, it’s just a mess, probably because it lacks even the slightest hint of self-awareness.

Think about anything a film could do wrong. Seriously, anything. Just pick one element. A heavy-handed speech on morality that comes out of nowhere and is delivered by a character that’s not particularly moral? A screenplay filled with CW-like pop culture references that are tired and pointless? A main character who’s accidentally and aggressively unlikeable? Yeah, let’s analyze that last one.

Her name is Rose Hathaway (Zoey Deutch), and she is, without question, one of the most insufferable characters we’ll see on film this year. She hates everything. She complains about everything. She reflects on every situation with obvious and unfunny zingers. She’s a half-human, half-vampire student tasked with protecting classmate and best friend Lissa Dragomir (Lucy Fry). She spends the duration of the movie proving how good she is at that job, but against all odds, she’s even better at torpedoing any momentum Vampire Academy has every time she opens her mouth. So, of course, director Mark Waters asks her to open her trap all the time.

She’s used constantly, at the expense of every single other character, all of whom we don’t get to know very well. Sometime Rose is a narrator. Sometimes she just dominates the plot and the on-screen conversation. She’s a crutch. She’s a mouthpiece to explain, in really overt and melodramatic language, exactly what’s going on. Want to know about the intricate caste and bloodline systems within Vampire Academy that are actually quite interesting? Rose will rob them of their depth with her explanation. Want to know how to feel about a character? Rose will tell you why they suck so much and then offer a few self-surviving, painfully unaware comments about hating high school drama. Death, taxes and dumb Rose Hathaway comments.

If it sounds like I’ve unfairly ganged up on poor Zoey Deutch, you’re right. I have. It’s actually not her fault. She’s a talented young actress who will go on to make far better movies than this. She’s not the reason Rose Hathaway sucks so much. A screenplay that’s painfully unaware of how high schoolers (or human beings) actually behave is partly responsible. A director who seems to have no connection to the material whatsoever is partly responsible. An idiotic tone choice that’s more than exaggeration but less than caricature is partly responsible. A movie this bad is the product of thousands of bad choices.

Vampire Academy has no understanding of its characters. It’s not relatable, genuinely funny or socially progressive. It lacks common sense, momentum and heart. But it has no idea. It fires off jokes like it’s in the middle of a terrible late night monologue. It preaches about high school behavior as if its principal characters don’t embody those same negative qualities. It’s a complete waste of time, talent and energy that’s blissfully unaware of how bad it is.

Director Mark Waters gave us Mean Girls. Screenwriter Daniel Waters gave us Heathers. Years after their initial releases, both of those films are still remembered very fondly. A year from now, Vampire Academy, however, will be completely forgotten. For the sake of everyone involved who is capable of so much more, that’s a good thing.

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Shia LaBeouf Wore A Paper Bag On Head To Movie Premiere

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shia labeouf paper bag

Shia LaBeouf showed up to the premiere of new movie “Nymphomaniac” wearing a paper bag on his head with the words, “I am not famous anymore.” 

The film — about a self-diagnosed sex-obsessed woman — is the first of two movies to be released this year from Lars von Trier starring the actor. 

The “Transformers” star first used the phrase on Twitter after he was accused of and later apologized for plagiarizing a short film. 

Earlier, the star stormed out of a press conference for the film after being asked a question about doing a movie with so many sex scenes. 

According to The Hollywood Reporter, LaBeouf responded with a 1995 quote from French soccer player Eric Cantona:

"When the seagulls follow the trawler, it's because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea. Thank you very much."

SEE ALSO: Shia LaBeouf apologizes for plagiarizing short film

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‘The LEGO Movie’ Has Second Largest February Opening Weekend Ever

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lego movie characters

As predicted, “The LEGO Movie” demolished the box office this weekend. 

The Warner Bros.’ animated film brought in a huge $69.1 million. 

That gives it the second-largest opening weekend in February behind 2004’s “The Passion of the Christ.” 

Since final numbers won’t be available until later this afternoon, that figure should go up slightly. 

The weekend’s other big release, “The Monuments Men” featuring an A-List cast of George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, and Cate Blanchett had a strong debut as well.  

On the other hand, The Weinstein Company’s teen flick “Vampire Academy” fell flat. 

“American Hustle,” “The Wolf of Wall Street,” and Lionsgate bomb “I, Frankenstein” bowed out of the top ten this week. 

Here are this week’s winners and losers in Hollywood: 

10. “Labor Day” featuring Josh Brolin and Kate Winslet rounds out the top ten with $3.2 million.  

9. “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit” fell three spots making $3.6 million. Though the latest movie in the Tom Clancy franchise hasn’t done too well domestically, it picked up overseas to bring in $114 million worldwide. 

8. “The Nut Job” falls short of the other animated releases with $3.8 million. The Open Road Films movie has made $58 million and already has a sequel set in place. 

7. “Vampire Academy” bombed this weekend making $4.1 million. One of the problems here was that there wasn’t anyone recognizable in the marketing. “Modern Family” actress Sarah Hyland is in the film, but I can’t recall seeing a trailer or one sheet poster that made her presence known. 

6. “Lone Survivor” moves down one spot with $5.3 million. The Mark Wahlberg movie has now made $112.6 million at theaters. It hasn’t been released overseas. 

5. Teen flicks haven’t been faring well at theaters. “That Awkward Moment” brings in another $5.5 million in week two. Good thing the movie only cost $8 million to produce. The Zac Efron movie has only made $16.8 million at theaters.  

4. Disney’s “Frozen” falls two spots with $6.9 million this weekend. That was expected with another kid film out this weekend. However, the Disney flick kept a strong hold in week 12. The movie has now made $913 million worldwide and shows no signs of stopping. 

3. “Ride Along” finally comes down from its 3-week reign at the box office making $9.4 million. Kevin Hart’s latest movie has done extremely well for Universal. It’s $107.7 million worldwide haul has made it the top earning movie for the year so far. 

2. “The Monuments Men” performed in line with expectations taking in $22.7 million. The World War II movie directed, written, and starring George Clooney was delayed a few months, costing an estimated $70 million. 

1. “The LEGO Movie” smashed all expectations this weekend with a huge $69.1 million haul. This time last week, analysts believed the film would have a $40 million weekend. By Friday, that number jumped $20 million. Warner Bros. already announced a sequel for the film which has brought in $87 million worldwide.

SEE ALSO: How many LEGO bricks are in "The LEGO Movie"

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Will Smith Will Not Be In The 'Independence Day' Sequel

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will smith independence day

In case you didn't know, Fox is working on a sequel to 1996's "Independence Day." 

However, don't expect to see Will Smith return as the lead. 

Deadline reports Smith has officially turned down working on the film

This shouldn’t be much of a surprise. 

Last summer, Emmerich told The New Daily News they wouldn’t be able to afford Smith because “he’s too expensive.” 

Smith makes an estimated $20 million per film now. 

How will the movie continue without Smith?

Apparently two versions of the film have been worked out in the event Smith couldn’t be a part of it.

Though Smith will be absent, other stars from the original including Randy Quaid, Bill Pullman, and Jeff Goldblum are expected to be in the sequel. 

The first movie was a huge success for Fox, bringing in $817.4 million. 

Roland Emmerich (“White House Down,” “The Day After Tomorrow”) will be returning to direct.

The "Independence Day" sequel is currently set for the July 4 weekend of 2016.

SEE ALSO: "The LEGO Movie" has second largest February Opening Weekend Ever

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'The Lego Movie' Remade Everyone Else's Commercials Out Of Legos, And They Are So Much Better That Way [THE BRIEF]

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Good morning, AdLand. Here's what you need to know today:

The Lego Movie bought an entire commercial break on Britain's ITV and remade several popular British commercials using only Legos. Here's what the ads looked like during the show Dancing on Ice: 

Google took its latest step in pursuit of brand advertisers by announcing a partnership with comScore that will give advertisers and publishers real-time data about who is seeing ads through the platform. This allows publishers and advertisers to tinker with their campaigns in real time, and could help advertisers more successfully reach their target demographics.

New Yorker financial columnist James Surowiecki writes that the internet's endless stream of information is diminishing the power of brands since consumers can now rely on extensive product reviews instead of a brand label to make their choices.

On the flip side, Pizza Hutis now on OKCupid.

Local mobile marketing company PlaceIQraised $15 million in Series C funding.

Advertising industry trade group The 4Asappointed Alison Fahey as chief marketing officer. Fahey has previously worked as both editor-in-chief and executive director of content at Adweek.

AgencySpy reports that TBWA has shifted George Nguyen from his role as managing director of the Toronto office to a new position of chief strategy officer. The publication reports that Jay Betram will serve as full-time president of TBWA Canada.

Analytics firm Datalogixpurchased the shopper marketing company Spire Marketing.

Adweek reports that BBDO is in the running for four big accounts: Wells Fargo, the Legacy anti-tobacco foundation, Papa John's, and CVS.

Previously on Business Insider Advertising:

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'RoboCop' Reviews: Critics Aren't Blown Away By Reboot

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"RoboCop" returns to theaters this week in a big reboot from Sony. 

The first reviews for José Padilha's take on the 1987 film are out and it's not sounding like a must see.

The movie, starring Joel Kinnaman ("The Killing"), Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, and Samuel L. Jackson, has received extremely mixed reviews. While no one says it's the worst film they've ever seen, it's clear the film is certainly far from the best.

The movie is out Wednesday to get a jump on the holiday weekend and is expected to make $26 million this weekend. The film cost Sony an estimated $100 million to bring to the big screen.

Here's what critics are saying about the film:

The Guardian:

“… A deafening, boring action pile-up that is more Call of Duty than RoboCop.”

The Hollywood Reporter (THR): 

"Neither the complete disaster some might have been anticipating nor any kind of cinematic landmark, the 2014 remake of RoboCop is a solid piece of mainstream entertainment that honors the legacy of Paul Verhoeven's 1987 original, and is certainly better than the last attack on a Verhoeven film, 2012's Total Recall. 

What's missing is the original's evil wit, amoral misanthropy and subversive slipperiness ..."

Indiewire

"It's far from an absolute triumph, sure, but it's significantly smarter and sharper than you'd give it credit for going in, with a (mostly) committed cast (mostly) having some fun with it, and an admirable commitment to character and ideas, over and above action and effects. It might not be worth mentioning in the same breath as Verhoeven's original, but it's at least in the same circulatory system. 

" ... [It] displays a lot of bold, smart ideas, interesting cuts (the introduction to Murphy post-explosion is ingenious, and the revelation of his true state genuinely horrifying), and even a couple of inspired shots (watch for the way he frames his hero's reunion with his son, framing out Kinnaman's head to only include the robotic parts of his body)."

The Daily Mail: 

"Fans of Paul Verhoeven’s 1987 film will probably not approve of this robocop having such human emotions, and, Novak (Samuel L. Jackson) apart, the satirical wit of the original is mostly lacking."

gary oldman robocopTime Out New York 

“The film’s most notable weakness is its action sequences: the pace is too frenetic and the camera too shaky to hold the attention. The climax is particularly poor, involving a lot of running, shouting and blasting, then it’s over. But ‘RoboCop’ makes up for this deficiency in other areas. Its dedication to touching on tough questions – about will and self-determination, about drone warfare and necessary force, about the power of the media over public opinion – is admirable, and the script has a certain blunt wit.”

IGN:

“While Padilha and his team are to be admired for bringing the concept up-to-date and addressing very real concerns about drones, robotics, and automated warfare, they’ve taken much of the fun out of the concept, making for a po-faced and ultimately somewhat forgettable Robocop movie.”

Variety:

“The cast in general performs well above the minimum demands of the material. Kinnaman lacks the lithe wryness Peter Weller brought to the 1987 film, but has his own cool authority, while Keaton (perhaps having less fun with the role than the initially cast Hugh Laurie might have done) is a reserved, genuinely off-putting villain, leaving the maniacal business to a ripe Jackie Earle Haley as OmniCorp’s chief militarist. Best in show, handily, is Oldman, whose tender ruefulness as Norton does a good deal of the film’s emotional legwork.”

The best thing we saw a critic say about the film goes to Empire: 

“Throughout, one character refers to the new RoboCop as ‘Tin Man’ and to the film’s credit, it desperately wants to have a heart. Oh, if it only had a brain.”

Watch a trailer for the film:

SEE ALSO: Why everyone is talking about "The LEGO Movie"

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Production For 'Star Wars: Episode VII' To Start In May

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It won't be long until the cinematic Star Wars universe begins to expand.

In target of the film's 2015 release date, Star Wars: Episode VII will be going into production later this year, and HitFix has now reportedly confirmed exactly when that will be.

The site has confirmed with multiple unnamed sources that the next installment of the great sci-fi franchise will be going in front of cameras starting in mid-May of this year and will be shooting until September. It has already been officially announced that they will be shooting at Pinewood Studios in England. But that's only the tip of the iceberg. 

If HitFix's sources are to be believed, then Star Wars: Episode VII is already much further along than any of us think. The site says that "most principal casting on the film is complete," and that "pretty much everyone who could make a return [from the previous films] will make a return," including Billy Dee Williams' Lando Calrissian. The production has been in the casting process for months, so it wouldn't be a complete surprise that they have already found a cast - but it will be strange when Disney and LucasFilm announce the full line-up for the film all in one day. 

This all sounds very logical and reasonable, but of course it's all just rumor until the studios send out a full press release announcing their specific plans. At this stage we know incredibly little about the film, which you might be able to tell from the fact that it still doesn't even have a title. J.J. Abrams is directing based on a script he co-wrote with Empire Strikes Back scribe Lawrence Kasdan, having originally been working from drafts written by Oscar winner Michael Arndt.

In terms of characters, the only one officially set to return is R2-D2, but we don't even know if Kenny Baker will be back in the suit or if it will be completely robotic this time around. It's been reported thatBreaking Bad's Jesse Plemons is the frontrunner for the lead role, but even that only counts as speculation at this point. Abrams has said that he is going out of his way to be extra, super, especially secret about this film, so who knows when we're actually going to be able to separate all of the facts from the constantly flying fictions. 

If there's anything to really gain from this article, it's that we will probably be hearing about who will be starring in Star Wars: Episode VII some time before mid-May. It's definitely much to go on, but it's what we've got at this point. In the meantime, just rest easy and just keep imagining the perfect sequel in your own mind. 

SEE ALSO: George Lucas Recounts How Studios Turned Down ‘Star Wars’ In Classic Interview

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The Trailer For Scarlett Johansson’s Next Movie Shows Her As A Creepy Alien Temptress

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scarlett johansson underneath the skin

Scarlett Johansson will be a man-hunting alien temptress in her next movie, "Under the Skin." A24 just released the full trailer for the movie that debuted at last year's Telluride Film Festival to mostly positive reviews.

The science fiction tale is an adaptation of Michel Faber's 2000 novel, following Johansson as she lures away hitchikers in Scotland. 

"Under the Skin" will have a limited release April 4. 

SEE ALSO: An iPhone with Scarlett Johansson's voice isn't too far-fetched

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