Video Minefield: DVD & Blu-Ray Releases for April 17

Video Minefield: New on DVD & Blu-RayThis Tuesday is light on new home viewing releases, but two noteworthy films (Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol and Shame) do hit store shelves. Some obvious advice: If you like blockbusters, stick with the former; if you like art films that deal with tough subjects, go with the latter. Or do the opposite and risk the consequences of artistic discovery. Click through for capsule reviews from our team.

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Rian Johnson's LOOPER drops September 28.

Trailer Overkill: Taking the Mystique out of Looper

Rian Johnson's LOOPER drops September 28.

Last week, the trailer for Rian Johnson’s (Brick, The Brothers Bloom) highly anticipated new film Looper hit the web. I watched once out of curiosity and it solidified the movie’s place on my personal list of Fall must-sees. I was prepared to not think any more of the trailer — after all, why should I? The purpose of a trailer is to convince you to buy a ticket and this assemblage of Looper did exactly that for me.

But over the next few days, it seemed like my Twitter and Facebook feeds were crowded with nothing but re-posts of said trailer, with friends and colleagues practically analyzing it frame-by-frame. At the very least, some had watched it dozens of times. My big question was: Why? Surely, the trailer is expertly edited enough that it gets your adrenaline pumping as you watch it… But don’t repeat viewings of promotional materials ultimately take away from the experience of watching the movie once it’s out?

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Making Sense of the Digital Conversion

An image from the website for Pennsylvania's Ambler Theater, which needs to raise $100,000 per screen for digital projectors or risks shutting down. This article details why the ongoing digital conversion poses a threat to movie-going.Over the past decade, the movie theater industry has spent millions of dollars converting their traditional 35mm film projectors to digital projectors. Saturday, at the NAB’s Technology Summit on Cinema, it was announced that 50 percent of screens worldwide had made the switch to digital, 70 percent in the United States.

On film blogs, this conversion has largely been derided and smeared — “How can they get rid of 35mm? It’s the best way to watch a movie!” While I understand the sentiment behind this protest, it seems to me that the approach is rather narrow — Hollywood isn’t going to fix the “problem” just because a niche group of purists say it exists. There’s too much money to be saved by going 100 percent digital. What is necessary to actually create positive change is for the everyday moviegoer to join in the fight to keep 35mm alive. Which first requires them to understand what’s at stake.

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Waxman: Joe Eszterhas’ “Jewish Braveheart” script bloody, rousing, Mel Gibson-esque

Mel GibsonOver at The Wrap, Sharon Waxman confirms what should be a surprise to no one: Joe Eszterhas’ script for Mel Gibson, which he had labeled a “Jewish Braveheart,” is relentlessly violent. Did anyone expect something different from the writer of Basic Instinct channeling the director of Braveheart, The Passion of the Christ, Apocalyptco, and a thousand violent girlfriend death fantasies?

The script, which Eszterhas titled M.C.K.B.I., is said by Waxman to be filled with brutal action scenes, grisly imagery, and heroic speechifying aplenty, very much a “Jewish Braveheart.”

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Battleship not set to sink like John Carter

Taylor Kitsch stars in Universal's BATTLESHIP, which drops in the U.S. on May 18.

John Carter star Taylor Kitsch was already the public face of one disasterous film release this year, but if we look to our friends across the ocean, it looks like he won’t be at the forefront of another.

Over the past week, Peter Berg’s Battleship rolled out in 26 international markets, collecting a princely $58 million haul. The film, “based” on the Hasbro board game and starring Kitsch, Liam Neeson, Alexander Skarsgård, and renowned thespian Rihanna, cost a reported $200 million and was predicted to be a cinematic maritime disaster by some analysts.

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Welcome to Critic Speak

Hello, and welcome to

Today’s Internet is so stuffed with film blogs that it was nearly impossible for us to come up with a name that hadn’t been taken — seemingly every clever domain involving the words film, movie, screen, and media was already in operation.

But for as many film blogs as there are, the vast majority seem to provide the exact same information, which is all too frequently dominated by regurgitated press releases from studio publicists. While the landscape is crowded, it is hardly diverse.

This is where we seek to stand out from the pack. While we will post our fair share of news stories, home video release round-ups, and box office predictions, we hope to add our unique perspective to every story — to offer original content that keeps you coming back.

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