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Edgar Wright

Rogue Pictures

Right now, the words “Edgar Wright” are synonymous with “not directing Ant-Man.” It’s gotta be tough for the director, not only to have sunk so many years into a film only to end up walking away, but to be bombarded by Peyton Reed this and Peyton Reed that any time he opens an internet browser. At least Wright’s moving on in a healthy fashion. Deadline reports that the English film wonder has decided on his next project. The title? Baby Driver. The details? Practically nonexistant.

Here’s an exhaustive list of what we know so far:

  • Baby Driver will team Wright with producer Nira Park and Working Title Films (this is superb news, as the same pairing brought us Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz and The World’s End).
  • It will probably have nothing to do with Simon Pegg or Nick Frost (they’re busy enough as it is – Frost has a TV show called Mr. Sloane and Pegg has six films in the pipeline).
  • The film will be “a collision of crime, action, music and sound.”

If that’s just a smidge too vague, Baby Driver was described in slightly more detail when Wright first brought it up in 2009. So forget the collision thing and instead consider it “a wild spin on the action and crime genre which will be set in the US.” Actually, as far as rampant speculation goes, Wright wrote a script in 2011 that he described as “kind of like a musical.” So maybe don’t forget the collision thing (at least not the “music and sound” part of it).

But all that pales in comparison to Baby Driver‘s toughest enigma: what the hell is a baby driver?

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Ethan Hawke in PREDESTINATION

Blacklab Entertainment

The concept of time travel is one thing. Entrusting time travel, and the fate of the world, to Ethan Hawke, really seems like quite another. But here we are, with Ethan Hawke: Time Cop keeping us safe from the world’s ills while we sit pretty in whatever linear concept of time and space we think actually exists. How foolish we’ve been this whole time.

Fresh off his oft praised turn as the dadliest of dads in Boyhood, Hawke is trying his hand at sci-fi with Predestination, a film written and directed by Michael and Peter Spierig (his second collaboration with the Spierig Brothers after 2009′s Daybreakers) that answers the questions: is Ethan Hawke the hero we need right now, and is he the one we deserve? The premise for the film, laid out in the first trailer, is simple, but it doesn’t make any of the details any less dazzling. Hawke is a temporal agent, a time traveling arm of the law who leaps back and forth between decades stopping crimes before they are even committed. His main mission is to stop the terroristic reign of the so-called Fizzle Bomber, which if we’re being honest, sounds like a spectacular new rocket-shaped popsicle that you can get from your local ice cream truck.

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TMNT Recycle Dudes

New Line Cinema

Rebooting a franchise can mean a lot of changes to a beloved film property, and that tends to inspire everything from angry Tweets to petitions and boycotts. Just recall all the complaints about the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie at various stages of both rumor and actual production. Fans are wary of there being too many alterations to their favorite heroes in a half shell, and they weren’t having any of that alleged alien race nonsense.

But you know what would really have put pitchforks in their hands aimed at the throat of producer Michael Bay? The lack of a TMNT-centric rap song on the soundtrack. Fortunately, the upcoming movie does have one of those. We can all finally rest easy with this news.

The tune this time is titled “Shell Shocked” and it’s performed by Wiz Khalifa, Juicy J and Ty Dolla $ign with material from Brian Tyler’s score for the film as the melody. You’ll be able to hear it during the end credits of the movie, but you can also download it now via iTunes. Reportedly everyone associated with the song is a huge TMNT fan, and that has nothing to do with publicity spin whatsoever, I’m sure. Wouldn’t want any fans criticizing the idea of a track in the movie being made by people just in it for the cash. After all, how would we otherwise know if one of the rappers wouldn’t have given a damn about the turtles originating from space?

Disappointment could come — at least it has from me — in the fact that “Shell Shocked” doesn’t sound enough like it’s a genuine plot song. Of course, Hollywood is likely wary of these sorts of classic soundtrack staples given how protective they are with plot details, and anyway the TMNT franchise hasn’t had a proper plot song since the first movie’s “Turtle Power.” At least it’s got more relevant references to the characters of the movie than Vanilla Ice‘s “Ninja Rap” off the soundtrack for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze.

While the video is expected to drop next week, you can check out the song itself below followed by a nostalgic appreciation for the TMNT rap songs of the past.

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TIFF

TIFF

We may be within spitting distance of this year’s Comic-Con, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t spend some time getting excited about the next next big event: this September’s Toronto International Film Festival. The festival has now unleashed the first bit of its slate, and it’s already the kind of talent-packed, big name-crammed, jaw-dropping kind of thing we’ve long come to expect from the festival. Honestly? I’m sort of already packing my bags right now, because I don’t want anything slowing down my ability to see a whole mess of these films (even excessively and embarrassingly early preparations).

This announcement includes thirteen Galas and forty-six Special Presentations — just a smidge of the festival’s full slate, really, but the one that’s the most glitzy and recognizable — which includes thirty-seven world premieres and plenty of films we’ve been waiting a long time to see. Eager to see what TIFF has to offer? After the break, take a look at every single film announced today, including twenty-three titles that already have us excited to decamp to Canada in two months.

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Fantasia 2014

Fantasia 2014

Fantasia International Film Festival 2014 runs July 17 to August 6. Follow all of our coverage here.

Beth (Aubrey Plaza) is dead, and her boyfriend Zach (Dane DeHaan) is all torn up about it. Sure they were having troubles and it looked like they might be heading for a split, but now that she’s gone — as in gone gone — he’s finding it difficult to think about anything else as he sinks into his pit of despair. Hoping for company with like-minded people he takes to spending time with Beth’s equally distraught parents, but just a few days later they shut him out of their lives. Distraught and driven for similarly bereft companionship he heads to their house only to glimpse something odd through a window.

Beth is still alive.

Kind of.

She’s returned from the dead, and overcome with joyful confusion her parents are hiding her from the world. Beth’s memory isn’t all that great — she’s really stressed about a test she has tomorrow and has no idea that she’s dead — but Zach isn’t bout to turn his back on this second chance at a struggling relationship. Every couple hits some bumps in the road right? He soon discovers though that some love stories are better off dead.

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Fargo

FX Networks

Aw jeez, we didn’t think that FX’s hit series Fargo was really going to run for just one single season, don’t cha know, but it sure is exciting to hear that we’re getting more of the good stuff, you betcha! (End bad slang usage.) Hot on the heels of some major Emmy nominations — 18 total, the most for any FX series ever — the cable channel has renewed their beloved series, based on the Coen Brothers’ film of the same name, for ten all new episodes. And they really will be all new, thanks to a new setting, a new cast of characters, a new actual cast, and a new crime to follow. But, rest assured, this Fargo promises to still feel like both of its predecessors.

So what does the second season of the series hold for us? Well, probably plenty more winter jackets. But this time, they will be vintage winter jackets.

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RADiUS-TWC

RADiUS-TWC

Welcome back to This Week In Discs!

If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon.

Discs Section: Pick of the Week

BLUE RUIN bluBlue Ruin

Dwight (Macon Blair) is a bit of a loner. He lives in his car, parked on the side of a road near a Delaware beach, and spends his days scrounging for food, collecting cans and reading. A gentle wake-up knock on his car window precedes a disturbing piece of news. The man who killed Dwight’s parents is being released from prison. Single-minded but far from focused, Dwight fills the gas tank, pops the car battery into place and makes a beeline straight into hell.

The setup here is economical, and the rest of the film follows suit, but rather than be a negative that simplicity actually elevates the film above its bigger budgeted, higher profile cousins. A Hollywood version of this tale would complicate things with unnecessary subplots, excessive exposition and time spent highlighting just how bad the bad guy and his henchmen really are. Here we stick with Dwight throughout, and the result is one of the most intimate and affecting revenge films in years. My full review.

[Blu-ray/DVD extras: Commentary, making of, deleted scenes, camera test]

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dwayne johnson in tooth fairy

Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation and Walden Media, LLC.

We’re likely to get the official announcement this weekend at Comic-Con, but the cat is peeking out the bag regarding a DC Comics superhero role for Dwayne Johnson. He hinted in a recent interview with Total Film that he has finally found the character for him, and without naming names he basically revealed that character is Shazam. “Just say the word,” he not-so-cryptically said at the end of the conversation, which is a pretty good giveaway considering Shazam, aka Captain Marvel, becomes his super-powered self when a kid named Billy Batson exclaims the word “Shazam.” He also reverts to his younger self by saying it again. Johnson also noted that his secret role has the powers of Superman, and Shazam certainly has those. In fact, he was believed to be modeled after the more famous DC hero when Captain Marvel debuted in the pages of competitors Fawcett Comics.

Presumably Shazam, a movie already slated for 2016 with Peter Segal (Grudge Match) producing and possibly directing, will be a part of the Justice League mega-franchise that Warner Bros. is building (to be kicked off/continued in 2016 with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice). That could be chalked up to producers truly believing that Johnson is the opposite of kryptonite for troubled franchises — which Justice League has been before even getting off the ground. Shazam has been part of the team at times, yet he’s not one of the core JL characters that we tend to think of as being a member.

It’d be pretty cool if DC and Warners were able to launch a separate series for Shazam simultaneously to Justice League, but we all know that’s not likely. Then again, there was that other DC superhero movie starring a former athlete that came out the same year as a Batman movie. Hopefully Shazam will be a little better than Steel.

Watch Johnson giddily fumble his can of beans to Total Film’s Josh Winning below.

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The Imitation Game

The Weinstein Company

Plink. Plink. Plink. Plink. Plink. What’s that? Oh, just the sound that signals that a serious, dangerous, historical trailer is coming on through (consider it on par with the “brrrrannngghhh” of setting a mood). Plink. Plink. Pllllunk.

The Imitation Game is indeed serious, dangerous, and historical — fortunately for all involved, it also looks pretty good. After years of development back and forth (remember when Leonardo DiCaprio was going to star in this?), Graham Moore‘s Black List script about the life of Alan Turing (“the father of computer science”) is finally an actual movie with a bunch of actual stars and enough street cred to push it into “hey, maybe we need to think about awards or whatever” territory. Cool beans, and maybe it will get kids interested in computer science! It’s a win-win! (Although we wonder what kind of kids will be checking out the historical Benedict Cumberbatch film this fall, but c’est la vie.) The film stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Turing, with Keira Knightley on board as his best pal/early cool coding girl Joan Clarke and Matthew Goode, Charles Dance and Mark Strong around to add some gravitas.

Ready your ears for the plinking, after the break:

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Fantasia 2014

Fantasia 2014

Fantasia International Film Festival 2014 runs July 17 to August 6. Follow all of our coverage here.

Blaire (Shelley Hennig) is online chatting with her boyfriend Mitch (Moses Jacob Storm) while they wait for their other four friends to join. The couple takes a brief stab at cyber-sex before they’re interrupted by the gang, but something isn’t right with their Skype connection. A seventh person is on the call. No one knows who it is, the person isn’t speaking and nothing they do seems to get rid of it. They soon discover the mystery caller’s motive has something to do with the suicide of a girl named Laura Barnes exactly one year ago.

Once the caller starts communicating it’s with death threats, shocking revelations and the seeming control of each person’s computer. Attempts to disconnect or reach outside help are squashed, efforts to delete certain pictures or accounts are made impossible and ultimately the six friends are forced to face just how tenuous their friendships truly are as they come face to face with the guilt of past misdeeds.

Cybernatural uses a similar format to the recently released The Den, but it does so to tell a very different story. We see only what appears on Blaire’s laptop screen, and nothing else, but in those dozens of windows and tabs a tale of cruelty, failed relationships and revenge unfolds. This sounds terrible I know, but you’ll just have to trust me here. It’s a slickly made production that serves to enhance the story as things play out with visuals that are both familiar and foreign to the social media addicts and film lovers in us all.

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summermovieprediction_final

Welcome to the final week of our 2014 Summer Box-Office Challenge!

We’ve been tallying points all summer long, and now it comes down to this. A strong man versus a smart woman. As a reminder, at the end of the contest — next Monday, July the 28th — the three top point-earners will each win a Blu-ray/DVD prize pack! First place will win ten (10) Blu-ray/DVD titles that were released throughout the summer, second place wins five (5) and third place wins two (2).

As we’ve already seen the score can shift noticeably week to week, and with one week left that means anyone within nine points of the top three spots still has a chance of winning. All of the still eligible players are listed below the break. Now let’s look at this past weekend’s results!

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes held onto #1 bringing in another $36.3 million. That’s pretty much an exact 50% drop from opening weekend and a great hold for the critically acclaimed film. Our bonus question resulted in far fewer of you guessing right as Mood Indigo‘s per theater average ($13k) beat out both Wish I Was Here ($7k) and I Origins ($7k). Keep reading to see the new player rankings and the ten who are still in the game.

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Star Wars

This may come as a surprise to you (if, say, you haven’t gone online, spoken to an acquaintance or left the comfy confines of the rock you live under for several days), but another intrepid soul has claimed to have the keys to J.J. Abrams‘s mystery box. The secrets held inside? Significant story chunks from Star Wars: Episode VII.

Earlier today, we referred to this leak as “ridiculous-sounding plot details,” and that’s just about as accurate as accurate could be. But for the sake of blindly trudging into the unknown, let’s take a look at these ridiculous details anyway. Also, if any of this turns out to be legit, it will count as a SPOILER, but it’ll really only spoil the first five minutes or so. Maybe 10.

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Moon Landing in 2001

Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

There’s nothing like the Moon for cinema. It’s been a fascination for fiction from way before motion pictures were invented, but it’s had a very special place in the history of film. From the beginning, at least as early as 1896 when Georges Melies created a lunar-based dream for A Nightmare (watch it here), filmmakers have been portraying our planet’s natural satellite in all kinds of ways. One of the most famous movie images of all time is a silhouetted bicycle in front of a giant full moon, in E.T. The Extra Terrestrial. Even one of the Hollywood studios incorporates a crescent moon in its logo.

One of the reasons the Moon is so interesting for cinema is that for the majority of the art form it was still a relatively unknown thing. Then, 45 years ago today (or yesterday, depending on where you are in the world), man touched ground on its surface and the idea of a journey to the Moon was no longer science fiction. Well, that’s actually dependent on who you ask, as well. Immediately we had hints about the Moon landing being a hoax, or if not totally manufactured then involving some other secret situation — like Apollo 11 really being a mission to investigate crashed Transformers (watch that here). Even after we officially knew there were no Cat-Women on the Moon and that it wasn’t in fact made of cheese, films have still had fun imagining the lunar body for sci-fi and fantasy stories set in the past, present and future.

In honor of the real Moon landing, I’ve selected my seven favorite fictional landings. A few of the following movies were made prior to the summer of 1969, and a few were made since. 

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