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Animation

VOD Spotlight: Growing up means learning to train that dragon

By Elaine Bergstrom Growing up means becoming your own person, moving away from the expectations of parents who, though they love you, may not quite understand what will make you happy. It’s the theme of some of the greatest animated features, such as The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast and How to Train Your Dragon — a film about a teenage Viking short on brawn but long on empathy, with an independent spirit that changes the relationship between Vikings and dragons.

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Comedy

VOD Spotlight: No “Sex” in the U.A.E for “SATC2”

“I wanted to portray a bigger worldview of women because when we opened the first movie in cities like London and Berlin and France and Tokyo, I started to see that this was reaching more than just American women, that women around the world were identifying with these storylines and these issues and these characters,” says director Michael Patrick King on his decision to set Sex and the City 2 in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E. Unfortunately, the film was banned in that conservative country because of its “salacious” content and the word “Sex” in the title. Women there will be able […]

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Action

VOD Spotlight: The very wild West of “Jonah Hex”

Jonah Hex is an action adventure about one man’s personal quest for redemption against the canvas of the battle between good and evil. This theme has been a standard of classic Westerns, but here the story also has a supernatural element and is based on a series of DC Comics. Merging comic book and Western took a good sense of balance. To bring Jonah Hex to life, director Jimmy Hayward and the producers worked to create an original world with one foot in history and the other in fantasy. “As he meanders across the West, through the Southwest, and eventually […]

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Horror

VOD Spotlight: “Lost Boys: The Thirst”

By Elaine Bergstrom Among the legion of vampire films, a few stand out for their perfect blend of comedy and suspense. One of the best was The Lost Boys, a 1987 film that introduced the world to the vampire-hunting Frog brothers, Edgar and Alan. Surprisingly, it took 21 years before the sequel Lost Boys: The Tribe — again featuring Corey Feldman as Edgar Frog — was made. Now Feldman and Jamison Newlander, who played Alan Frog in the first two films, are back in Lost Boys: The Thirst. Here, the pair battle a vampire peddling vampire blood as a designer […]

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Horror

VOD Spotlight: “A Nightmare On Elm Street’s” new and terrifying Freddy

When you sleep and dream, he kills. That’s the premise that has kept plenty of young horror fans awake for days after seeing the 1984 film about Freddy Krueger and his razor-fingered hands. This movie spawned sequels, related films and a TV series. Wes Craven wrote the original A Nightmare on Elm Street after he became inspired by a series of newspaper articles about children who had suffered through a war and died from the power of their recurring nightmares. The initial low-budget film, which starred Robert Englund as Freddy, became an international sensation for New Line Cinema — affectionately […]

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Drama

VOD Spotlight: “Splice” is fiction on the razor’s edge of science

In the science-fiction thriller Splice, two research scientists — a power couple played by Adrien Brody and Sarah Polley — work at splicing genetic components into hybrids in a search for new ways to fight disease. When their financial backers move their research in a different direction, the pair push the limits of their skills and secretly create a new, partially human life form. Director Vincenzo Natali, who devoted years to developing Splice, says of the science behind the story, “The technology is advancing so rapidly, I think it took scientists less time to map the human genome than it […]

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Action

VOD Spotlight: “Iron Man 2” is iron-clad sequel

By Karl J. Paloucek What makes a great action film? A lot more than just a bunch of costly, effects-laden sequences. The best pull together great characters and a compelling plot into which the expected explosive scenes fit seamlessly. In 2008, Robert Downey Jr.’s career got an incredible jolt with Iron Man, as the long-troubled actor met the perfectly fitted part of eccentric inventor and weapons contractor Tony Stark. The film blended wit, glamour, spectacle and a lot of really cool gadgetry into one of the best superhero action films in a decade that’s been full of them.

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Action

VOD Spotlight: “MacGruber” goes from “SNL” stage to big screen

“There’s a certain kind of movie that has no other reason to exist other than it’s funny,” says MacGruber producer Lorne Michaels. “I’ve never been bashful about how much I like that kind of movie. It’s like a confection. When you want it, you want it.” Michaels is also the legendary creator of Saturday Night Live, which was the springboard for the character of MacGruber (Will Forte) several years ago. The mullet-sporting, gadget-savvy action hero became a fan favorite and seemed destined to become a film character too after a successful appearance in a Super Bowl commercial in 2009. “The […]

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Comedy

VOD Spotlight: One good comedy leads to another with “Get Him to the Greek”

By Elaine Bergstrom Russell Brand’s portrayal of rock god Aldous Snow in Forgetting Sarah Marshall made such a strong impression on the film’s director, Nicholas Stoller, that he brought Brand back for an encore performance in Get Him to the Greek. Here Brand experienced life as an out-of-control star. “I’ve been plunged into water for seven hours. I’ve had to hang off a building on a wire, had to mimic having broken bones and been covered in vomit. I’ve been in sexually compromising positions, and I’ve had to take all manner of ‘narcotics.’ I’ve performed live rock ’n’ roll. I’ve […]

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Action

VOD Spotlight: “Robin Hood” — From legend to film

By Elaine Bergstrom The first stories of Robin Hood date to the ninth century. The tales became ballads in the 15th and 16th centuries, and a children’s novel some 400 years later. With the advent of movies and television, the action, romance and nobility of Robin Hood resulted in dozens of films and series. And while another telling of the popular story would certainly attract viewers, Ridley Scott, director of the most recent film adaptation of Robin Hood, chose to look at how the legend may have begun.