Lexus GS Super Bowl Ad

The wait is over. The bold new face of Lexus is here, and it cannot be contained. Watch Lexus’ first-ever Super Bowl commercial, introducing the all-new 2013 GS and a glimpse of what Lexus has in store for 2012. The 30-second commercial features the 2013 GS as it breaks free from containment, illustrating the company’s move in a new design direction for the brand. The spot also hints at the additional new vehicles Lexus will unveil later in the year, which are waiting in the wings for their turn to burst onto the scene.

“The all-new Lexus GS is showcased in this ad because it’s the first model to feature the new look of Lexus and it’s also the first of nine new or updated models we’ll launch this year,” said Brian Smith, Lexus vice president of marketing. “This spot looks very different than anything Lexus has done before and demonstrates to the 50-million-strong Super Bowl audience that 2012 will be a breakthrough year for Lexus.”

The 30-second commercial is scheduled to air at the end of the first quarter of Super Bowl XLVI. An early look at the commercial can be seen today on Lexus social media channels, including Facebook and YouTube. The new GS series will be a touchdown for Lexus and this very cool Super Bowl ad is a great way to start things up!

  

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Blu Tuesday: Scorpion Jackets, Alien Shape-Shifters and More

There doesn’t seem to be as much thought put into when a movie is released on Blu-ray compared to when it’s released in theaters, because some weeks are a lot better than others when it comes to the number of titles to choose from. Granted, quantity doesn’t necessarily equal quality, but there are several high-profile films out today that, although they’re not all winners, should still find an audience if they haven’t already.

“Drive”

Though I wasn’t that impressed by Nicolas Winding Refn’s previous films, they have an undeniable visual flair and originality that you don’t see very often. “Drive” takes those qualities and applies them to a conventional Hollywood thriller, resulting in a movie that feels much more mainstream without abandoning Refn’s art house sensibilities. The film is as beautifully poetic as it is strikingly violent, while Ryan Gosling has never been better as the soft-spoken yet brutally intense protagonist. For as much attention as the film’s graphic violence has received, however, it’s the opening sequence – an edge-of-your-seat car chase packed with tension so thick you could cut it with a knife – that is undoubtedly the biggest highlight. And when a movie can start so brightly and continue to build on it like “Drive” does (thanks in part to great supporting performances from Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston and Albert Brooks), it’s no wonder why so many people love this film.

Blu-ray Highlight: The single-disc release doesn’t offer as many special features as I would have liked, but there’s an excellent 25-minute interview with director Nicolas Winding Refn that is definitely worth checking out. In addition to discussing the origins of the film (including a funny anecdote about his first meeting with Ryan Gosling), Refn talks in length about securing independent financing, casting the actors and more.

“The Thing”

It’s admirable of Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. to recognize that John Carpenter’s “The Thing” didn’t warrant a remake, but there are so many similarities in this mostly unnecessary prequel to the 1982 cult classic that it feels like a retread anyway. Though fans of Carpenter’s version will undoubtedly get a kick out of some of the Easter Eggs that have been planted throughout (including a potential clue to the mystery surrounding the ending of the original), the 2011 edition doesn’t deliver the same kind of suspense. For a movie that supposedly wants to honor its predecessor, it also fails to adhere to the same set of rules. Perhaps the most annoying difference is that Heijningen’s Thing doesn’t even try to assimilate its prey with any stealth, but rather makes a big scene out of every transformation, presumably to show off its flashy CGI makeover. But for as silly as some of the original film’s old-school effects look today, they’re still creepier than anything this movie throws at you.

Blu-ray Highlight: The U-Control picture-in-picture feature is probably the disc’s best asset, but the audio commentary with director Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. and producer Eric Newman is actually pretty interesting. Along with discussing the more obvious aspects of making the film, the duo reveals some of the other ideas that were never used, including a short-lived plan to have MacReady’s brother as the main protagonist.

“In Time”

As far as science fiction movies go, Andrew Niccol’s “In Time” features one of the more intriguing premises in recent years, which only makes its poor execution that much more disappointing. Although the idea of a future where time is literally money is ripe with potential, Niccol’s heavy-handed sociopolitical message never really gives the film a chance to develop beyond the initial setup. It’s hard to imagine that the movie was greenlit based on an actual script (and not just the idea), because most of the story is spent aimlessly following Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried around a not-so-futuristic city as they get stuck in a monotonous cycle between having too much time and not enough. And for a film about making the most of every second, “In Time” is nothing but a waste of about 6,540 of your own.

Blu-ray Highlight: None. The sole featurette on the disc – a faux-documentary called “The Minutes” that tries to sell the idea that the characters from the movie have agreed to appear on film to discuss the anti-aging gene – is incredibly lame, while the included deleted and extended scenes are small bits that don’t really add anything to the story.

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Toyota Camry is #reinvented

Super Bowl commercials have to do more than just entertain us. You want to make a point that will stick in everyone’s mind, and Toyota has an interesting approach to promote the “reinvented” Toyota Camry. Check out this extended version of their new Super Bowl ad.

  

5 Questions with Sara Paxton of “The Innkeepers”

Sara Paxton is best known for roles in horror flicks like the 2009 remake of “Last House on the Left” and “Shark Night 3D,” as well as comedies such as the teen romance “Sydney White” with Amanda Bynes and “Aquamarine,” in which she starred as a mermaid. The critics have largely been kind, and the admitted fan of Goldie Hawn and distant cousin of star Bill Paxton, whom she has never met, has earned comparisons to Reese Witherspoon. Even so, it was her down to earth, low-key goofiness which drew the attention of writer-director Ti West for “The Innkeepers,” a surprisingly scary blend of classic ghost story horror and contemporary indie comedy. (It opens in select theaters nationwide this Friday after a month-plus run on VOD.)

It turns out that the 23-year-old Ms. Paxton was born to play the world’s cutest nerd/slacker-cum-asthmatic ghost hunter, and she does it extremely well. What attracted West was the very unglam, slightly geeky and goofy nature she exhibits in real life, which somehow seems to fit with the reality that she is, at 23, a highly experienced professional actress whose earliest gigs included contributing child voices to “SpongeBob SquarePants.” (She is also one of the child “singers” of the long-running Nickelodeon cartoon’s theme.)

And so we bring you five questions with every nerd’s dream girl: Sara Paxton.

1. There was apparently a bit of weirdness [probably not actually ghost related] happening around the set of “The Innkeepers” and the movie was somewhat inspired by creepy things that happened on Ti West’s prior film, “The House of the Devil.” What really scares you?

Sara Paxton: I’m a big baby. Ghosts scare me. If I go see a movie with killers who break into your house, that doesn’t scare me. In the moment, I am scared [because] of the suspense in the movie, but when I go home I don’t think about it. I’m not thinking, “That killer’s going to come in.” But after a ghost movie, I’m like [in a scary voice], “The ghosts are everywhere.” People think I’m ridiculous. I kinda am.

2. So you were perfectly cast for this movie! Now, you’ve done a few horror films. You’ve done some, like this and “Shark Night 3D,” that were more in the fun or even silly category. You’ve also done the kind of horror film where, if the audience isn’t actually traumatized when they walk out the door, they don’t feel like they’ve gotten their money’s worth. Would something like “The Innkeepers” actually scare you more than “Last House on the Left”?

SP: Yeah, “The Innkeepers” scared me. I watched it at South by Southwest [SXSW] in the huge theater with everyone else. That was the first time I saw it because Ti wouldn’t let me see anything, which I’m fine with. Yeah, it scared me. It scared me because it’s unlike any scary movie that I’ve ever seen. Normally, when I see a scary movie, even though it does scare me because I’m a big pansy, I know when it’s coming. I’m ready. I wasn’t ready for this, so it really scared me. I wasn’t prepared [even though I was there when it was shot]. The way he puts it together afterwards makes it scary.

3. Both of your parents work in dentistry. [Paxton's mother is a dentist and her father manages the practice.] Can you talk about the importance of teeth in the performing arts?

SP: When I was a little kid, and I would do commercials and stuff, when I started losing my baby teeth, my mother would make me a little fake tooth. I wouldn’t get parts because of it, because casting directors would be mad. “We want real kids with [real teeth].” I never understood that. “I don’t wany to show my gap tooth.” Teeth are important, I guess you need good teeth, although sometimes they want the real deal — gritty characters with gnarly teeth.

4. You’ve said that Claire from “The Innkeepers” is probably the closest character you’ve ever played to yourself. Ti West describes you as “a charming goofball.” Is that easier or harder than playing somebody who’s very different from yourself?

SP: It’s easier. It is, because I don’t have to control it. You know what I think is the hardest thing? Playing sexy. Doing sexy roles and sex scenes — that terrifies me. Because I’m so nervous about it and so self-conscious about it that makes me not-sexy. Because I’m like [does an adorably bad quasi-Mae West impression], “This is me being sexy,” you know what I mean? I’m like “Oh, let’s do it!”…I have problems playing the [bad sexy English accent] “Come hither into my boudoir” kind of scenes. When I get those auditions, I panic.

5. You’ve been working fairly successfully as an actress since you were six. Do you ever fantasize about having a low-pressure, dead-end job like Claire in “The Innkeepers”?

SP: I wouldn’t say I fantasize about it, but some people think my job is a lot more glamorous than it is. I’m not like this big, famous movie star. Not that that’s what my goal is. At times you feel like, “Is this what I’m supposed to be doing? Should I do something else?” Obviously, I don’t because I love what I do, but it’s a hard industry to work in. It’s easy to get discouraged. You feel trampled on sometimes. When you’ve had three auditions, and you waited for them for an hour just to be treated like garbage or something, it gets too sad sometimes. But I think that it’s worth it if you love it, and I do. Just gotta keep pushing forward.

  

Hyundai hits the Super Bowl

Get ready for the Super Bowl commercials! Here’s one from Hyundai that will be airing this year featuring the theme from “Rocky.”

  

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