In Defense of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice


Imagine the following: a popular movie genre is categorized by smart but formulaic films, enjoyable and entertaining while also going out of their way to explain everything explicitly to the viewer and not engage any level of mystery or metaphysical questions. Another film comes along in this genre and while Read more

The Bachelor 2016: Finale Recap!


  (Written by @JeremyWilson412. For more coverage of this season's The Bachelor, go here) Another season has come and gone, and one thing was clear from start to finish: America loves Ben. Admit it, you love Ben. It doesn’t matter if you are a single girl, a married woman, or a Read more

Ranking the Batman Cinematic Legacy: The 9 Films featuring the Dark Knight


We’re three weeks from the latest cinematic incarnation of Batman, brought to us this time by action film director Zack Snyder. I would be lying if I didn’t express a certain amount of apprehension for “Batman V Superman: The Dawn of Justice.” Snyder is known for his bombastic sense Read more

The Bachelor 2016: Fantasy Suite (I love you!) (Oh, I also love you!)


  (Written by @JeremyWilson412. For more on this season’s The Bachelor, go here… and by here, I mean the link that is embedded in the word “here” used prior to that use of here. If you click on any of the here’s that aren’t in a different color, then you’ll Read more

2016 Oscars Hot Takes


OK…I’m going to try to make this as short and sweet as possible so that I can close the book on the 2016 Academy Awards. A couple quick notes before we dive in: I love Chris Rock but I thought his material was just okay. I both wanted and expected a Read more

Second Annual Groucho Movie Awards


Welcome back, movie nerds! Last year I started a new tradition of hosting my own annual movie awards that I deemed "The Grouchos". This name is obviously meant to be an homage to Groucho Marx, and is doubly fitting because I tend to get snarky when it comes to Read more

Movie Previews

My Top 10 Films of 2015 So Far and My Most Anticipated Ahead

Posted on by Clayton Martin in Entertainment, Featured, Movie Previews, Movie Reviews, Movies | 2 Comments

Star Wars Episode VII

So back in April I did a post previewing the upcoming films coming out in 2015 and I think it’s about time I update the 12 people who read that post. I know you all have been anxiously refreshing the site looking for a new post from me. What I’d like to do to reward your patience is to provide my current top 10 films of 2015 and then spotlight the 10 I’m currently most looking forward to for the rest of the year. Both lists are very much subject to change a lot but this is where I currently stand on things. Read more

Most Anticipated Upcoming Films of 2015

Posted on by Clayton Martin in Entertainment, Featured, Movie Previews, Movies | Leave a comment

2015 Most Anticipated Movies

Alright, so before we dive in, I want to acknowledge that I got a little carried away and there are a lot of movies listed below. I set out on this journey because I had no idea what to expect from the movies in 2015 and finished my research beyond excited for what’s to come. It appears as though we’re in for a great year and I hope that many of these live up to their billing. Most of these dates are locked in, but I’m sure some will change. There is also a section at the bottom for films slated for 2015 that don’t have a release date yet. Read more

On “The Interview” and Creative Freedom

Posted on by Alex Beene in Entertainment, Featured, Movie Previews, Movies | 1 Comment

The_Interview-Poster-Preview The year is 1940. Adolf Hitler is at the zenith of his power. Having conquered multiple European territories and formed multiple international alliances, the German dictator is seen as the most dominant leader in the world.

Charlie Chaplin – Hollywood’s most dominant leader – decides to release a film that pokes fun at Hitler’s rise. Titled “The Great Dictator,” the release was one of the most daring in cinematic history. A comical piece on Hitler during his massive rampage seemed ill-timed, to say the least.

Of course, studio leaders were nervous. They thought this type of film would jeopardize European distribution for not just the Chaplin release, but all films to follow. Hitler and his allies may not look too kindly at the studio system using their personas for humor and put a ban on Hollywood products in general.

Chaplin himself became concerned his production may be put on the shelf if enough entertainment voices were critical of the film hitting theaters. At the height of Hollywood’s panic, Chaplin received a call from then-President Franklin Roosevelt. He assured the legendary filmmaker to have no fear; the film would be distributed. He would see to it. He thought it was a very important project Americans needed to see.

“The Great Dictator” would go on to be a box office smash and boast strong reviews that produced multiple Oscar nominations, including a Best Picture nod. Today, Chaplin’s first all-talking picture is remembered fondly for its courage. Had studios given into their financial and personal cowardice, it may have never been seen by generations of film-goers.

Flash-forward to 2014, and a new film threatening a global power is getting ready to roll. “The Interview,” which takes shots at North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un, hits theaters on Christmas Day.

Well, maybe. Earlier this week, Sony backed away from the release. The New York premiere was canceled, and reports began to surface the studio told movie theater owners it was “up to them” as to whether they would show the film or not in their theaters. screen shot 2014-12-03 at 10.26.10 pmAll of this comes after a fresh threat from hackers who claimed they would carry out “9-11-esque attacks” on theaters who opted to show the film Christmas Day. These same hackers have slowly – and embarrassingly – been releasing personal information from Sony’s servers over the last few weeks in retaliation for the studio’s decision to distributed the James Franco-Seth Rogen collaboration.

Speaking for myself, I will gladly pay money to see “The Interview” in theaters, and I will do so without fear. The real shame here is – unlike in Chaplin’s day – studios have given into fear and are preparing to scratch out most of the impact the film could have had.

Where are the brave studio leaders saying, “We’re not going to give into some sad hackers who want to embarrass us”? Where are public office holders like FDR ensuring the creativity of a group of American filmmakers? Sorry, you just won’t find them.

Yes, we do live in a more global society. It’s a lot easier to attack a company or a country now through digital and viral means than it once was. However, the principles are still the same, aren’t they? At least they should be. This is artistic integrity from a group of our citizens, and instead of standing behind their voices, we’ve got studios and others looking to silence them.

We’ve still got those too scared of terror. We’ve still got those too horrified of offending anyone else, even if it’s fictional satire. The same people who are rarely concerned of their own ramblings online are now worried a film release will ruffle the wrong feathers.

If only Chaplin were still here. Then, perhaps, the team behind “The Interview” would have an entertainment advocate willing to stand with them.

Perspective on the New Ninja Turtles from an Emo Millennial

Posted on by Jonathan Schneck in Entertainment, Featured, Misc. Posts, Movie Previews, Movies | Leave a comment

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Today we are pumped to have a new guest contributor in Jonathan Schneck. Jonathan is the Director of New Media Innovations for the ACLJ/BeHeardProject.  He is the non-touring, semi retired, guitarist for the Grammy Nominated band Relient K. He has a Marketing Degree from Liberty University and lives in Nashville, TN, with his wife and three children. He is also the first contributor to The Wise Guise with a verified Twitter account.

Mr. Bay, sir, do you really have to ‘transform’ everything? Even their faces? I’ll come back to this… Read more

“American Hustle” and “Her” Kick Off 2014 Awards Season with Surprises

Posted on by Alex Beene in Awards Addict, Entertainment, Featured, Movie Previews, Movie Reviews, Movies | Leave a comment

americanhustle

Welcome to another film awards season. I originally ran a site called “Awards Addict” which featured content on the road leading up to the Oscars. This year, I’m happy to say that content will be available at The Wise Guise for your reading pleasure. I know. You’re welcome.

As for those of you wondering about my credentials for covering the Oscar race, I’ve been doing so since 2005. I’ve got a pretty consistent record of knowing what the Academy likes and doesn’t like despite some of the more ludicrous choices we’ve seen grace the stage at the actual event. I’ve also personally been to Academy screenings and have an idea of who the typical Academy member is and what they like.

Now that you have an idea of my background, let’s get into this year’s race. For those of you unfamiliar with how the game is played (and the Oscar race is nothing more than a Hollywood game), the whole season begins with a slew of critic groups announcing their picks to garner buzz for contenders.

For the longest time, the general thought was “Gravity” and “12 Years a Slave” would be the critical darlings attracting the most top honors. But the first two Best Film awards of the season popped that consensus bubble quite rapidly. With the New York Film Critics’ choice of “American Hustle” and the National Board of Review’s stunning support of “Her,” this awards season has already gotten compelling in its infancy.

So what do these two choices ultimately mean?

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Anxiety, the Arts, and Spontaneous Combustion

Posted on by Joseph Williams in Featured, Movie Previews, Movies | Leave a comment

tryingnottoexplode

The Wise Guise is approaching its 500th post. We never dreamed what this site would become when we first launched it in early 2012 and we have no idea what it will be like when we publish the 1,000th post. But we’re thankful for all of our friends and family who have supported and shared our work. We’re also thankful for our brilliant friends who take time from doing big things and write for our site. One of our closest friends, Robert Funke, has written a brilliant script and producing a short film. He’s in the final week of the Kickstarter campaign to fund that movie, Trying Not to Explode.

UPDATE: If you want to read the entire script (SPOILER ALERT), then click here to check it out!

If you love wit and hilarity, then you’ll love my interview with Robert Funke below about the movie, the Kickstarter process, and so much more. After reading his answers to my questions, it inspired me to increase my pledge to the film. It’s going to be something special! Enjoy!

So, what’s the elevator pitch for your film?

Depends on who’s in the elevator.

If it’s perfectly demographically stratified like the bus in SPEED or the waiting room in JOHN Q, I’d say “So there’s this older couple riding the train home one night, and all of a sudden they both spontaneously combust. Nobody knows why. Nobody saw it. But they had a kid, a guy in his 20’s, and he’s not handling it very well.”

If it’s a teenager, I’d be like, “Hey dude, want to see some people blow up?”

But what if I’m in the elevator with a bookish, librarian short? I’d say, “Hi. Love the glasses. Have you read Kevin Wilson? Of course you have, you’re quite bookish. Yes, “The Family Fang” is one of my favorites, too. Anyway, if you’ve read “Blowing Up On The Spot,” you know it’s like nothing else you’ve ever read–funny, tragic, moving, surreal. I’ve always thought it would make a great film. So we’re making a great film out of it.”

If the person in the elevator seems particularly wealthy, my pitch would probably be something like “Please, sir, can I have some of your money?” and if he declined, I would contemplate my abilities as a pickpocket, and then decide ultimately that I just wasn’t going to get much out of that elevator ride and make peace with it.

But really, I think if people read the passage that hooked me, they’ll understand:

“Three years ago, my parents blew up. I don’t know how else to say it. One evening, riding the subway home from an evening out, my parents sat in an empty subway car and spontaneously combusted. A subway guard found them later that night, the upper half of their bodies charred beyond recognition. It was the first recorded double Spontaneous Human Combustion in history, which we unfortunately heard several times over the following weeks…”

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