On "The Interview" and Creative Freedom


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 Read more

Home Alone & Church at Christmas


The Wise Guise has enjoyed presenting high-quality Christmas content since our first year. We've posted old Christmas-themed Facebook notes from yours truly in addition to the infamous 2012 Christmas Movie Smackdown and a Christmas YouTube Hall of Fame. As I write this, I continue my tradition of watching classic TV Read more

SAG, Golden Globe nominations push "Boyhood" out front in Oscar Race


Is “Boyhood” really the frontrunner for Best Picture? Upon release this summer, it certainly felt like a contender. The perfect review scores and strong limited box office seemingly guaranteed that. And yet, the lack of star power in the film made it feel more like a production made for Read more

Sneak Preview: Favorite Films of 2014 So Far


Every year I rank my favorite films of the previous year in January or February. You can find past editions in our archives, including the 2012 edition when I ranked my top 50 movies of the year. Like I said then, and will reiterate now, I need to get Read more

Why WWE was right to fire CM Punk


Fittingly, as we were all giving thanks for the wonderful things in our lives yesterday, former WWE superstar CM Punk interrupted the holiday with a long, rambling podcast as close friend Colt Cabana’s guest. It’s filled with the typical, ego-charged rhetoric from Punk we’ve come to expect. He says he’ll Read more

Rugby: My New Favorite Sport


Last week I experienced the thrill and experience that is the sport of Rugby. Well, the thrill and experience that comes from watching the sport of rugby. Last Saturday, I went to the USA Eagles v New Zealand All Blacks game in Chicago. Packed into a sold out stadium, with Read more

Movie Previews

On “The Interview” and Creative Freedom

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

The Interview Poster Preview On The Interview and Creative Freedom 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 pm On The Interview and Creative FreedomAll 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

1095046 10151755124663088 1761436364 n Perspective on the New Ninja Turtles from an Emo Millennial

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 American Hustle and Her Kick Off 2014 Awards Season with Surprises

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 Anxiety, the Arts, and Spontaneous Combustion

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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Calm Down, Internet: Reports of It’s a Wonderful Life Sequel Likely a Hoax

Posted on by Sutter Vaught in Featured, Movie Previews, Movies | Leave a comment

zuzu and george bailey Calm Down, Internet: Reports of Its a Wonderful Life Sequel Likely a Hoax

[Yesterday, Variety published an article announcing a sequel to “It’s a Wonderful Life.” TIME, USA Today, the LA Times, Huffington Post, and others announced the news. Much of the internet scoffed and scorned the idea. The Wise Guise and friends nearly went into absolute shock. But, ironically, our very own Sutter Vaught (who has argued against It’s a Wonderful Life in the past) did some research that shows all of this news is most likely a big ol’ hoax!]

It should come as no surprise to anyone who has followed the blog during the holiday season that The Wise Guise and friends were sent into a fit bordering on frothy rage at yesterday’s announcement of an up-and-coming sequel to It’s A Wonderful Life.

From the Variety article:

Star Partners and Hummingbird Prods. are collaborating on production of a sequel to Frank Capra’s iconic 1946 movie “It’s a Wonderful Life,” which starred Jimmy Stewart and Donna Reed.

The sequel, titled “It’s a Wonderful Life: The Rest of the Story,” is being financed by Allen J. Schwalb of Star Partners who will also produce along with Bob Farnsworth of Hummingbird. The duo are aiming to get the movie into theaters for the 2015 holiday season.

Karolyn Grimes, who played George Bailey’s daughter “Zuzu” in the original, will return for the “Wonderful Life” sequel as an angel who shows Bailey’s unlikeable grandson (also named George Bailey) how much better off the world would have been had he never been born.

Grimes, of course, bellowed the iconic line “Every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings!” in the original movie, about a troubled family man (Stewart) whose near-suicide on Christmas Eve brings on the intervention of his guardian angel.

Farnsworth and Martha Bolton have written the screenplay.

However, as the Internet, ourselves included, worked itself into a hyperbolic rage over this sacrilege, our very own in-house skeptic, Sutter “Die Hard was better” Vaught put on his old-timey reporter hat and hit the mean streets of Google to ask the tough questions.  What he found may shock you.*

Or not, if you’ve ever heard Dan Aykroyd talk about Ghostbusters 3 and/or have used the Internet more than twice.  Point being, this movie we’re all panicking about?  It ain’t happening.

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Roundtable: It’s a Wonderful Life SEQUEL?!?!?!?!

Posted on by The Wise Guise in Featured, Movie Previews, Movies | Leave a comment

Its A Wonderful Life Roundtable: Its a Wonderful Life SEQUEL?!?!?!?!

It’s the latest sign that the End of the World may be upon us… Paramount announced yesterday that they are green-lighting a sequel to perennial Christmas film, AFI-voted most inspirational film of all time, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” The Wise Guise and friends have some thoughts. Some very strong thoughts and feelings.

Alex: I just posted this online, but Paramount’s doing a sequel to “It’s a Wonderful Life” in 2015. [cries]

Joseph: I saw that. I hoped it was a lie and thought it was a joke. They’re casting the actress who played ZuZu as an angel, who visits George Bailey’s unlikeable grandson to show him how much better off the world would be HAD HE NEVER BEEN BORN! How wonderful is THAT life? Why? They claim that they always wanted to do a sequel, but rejected every script until they got this one. WHAT? They rejected every script because this idea is terrible.

zuzu and george bailey Roundtable: Its a Wonderful Life SEQUEL?!?!?!?!

Clayton: Oh boy.

Joseph: This is gross. This is horrible. So much anger. Never has there been more evidence our current society is much more Pottersville than Bedford Falls…

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