Movie News

Bloody Friday

You may have heard about a new Kickstarter project to restore the first feature by Kelly Reichardt, now of Old Joy, Wendy and Lucy, Meek’s Cutoff and Night Moves fame. It’s definitely a good cause to save an old film that might otherwise become lost or damaged, and it’s a relatively safe venture to help because you may trust that you’re not funding something that could wind up terrible. I mean, you might actually think Reichardt’s 1994 debut, which is titled River of Grass, is awful, but you won’t be able to deny it’s historical significance given what she has become. A lot of your favorite filmmakers made lower quality movies in the beginning, and you’d still like to be able to see them if you wanted to. River of Grass isn’t the only film currently with a campaign on Kickstarter. There are at least two other restorations seeking funding from the crowds, and while neither of them have the name recognition of Reichardt’s, they appeal to different audiences and might be just as deserving of a rescue. One is a documentary from 1984 titled Los Sures, which showcases the Brooklyn neighborhood of the title, a small hispanic section of South Williamsburg. The great people at Uniondocs have been working on not just a restoration of the film but also updates, supplementary features, interactive material, related short films and more for a bigger project called Living Los Sures. Finally, there’s the German exploitation film Bloody Friday, which is apparently “infamous,” perhaps because of […]

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Conleth Hill as Varys and Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister

Fresh off about 12 hours of leaked footage from IMAX screenings, HBO has finally released the official version of the Game of Thrones season 5 trailer. It’s an embed from Facebook, so you might want to hit the little full screen button, put on some headphones and crank the volume, because this ride is about to get a little bumpy…

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James Franco in As I Lay Dying

John Steinbeck‘s “In Dubious Battle,” which has never been made into a movie before, is the next classic novel to hit the big screen courtesy of James Franco. The actor-turned-director will star and helm the adaptation, which was scripted by Matt Rager, his collaborator on his two Faulkner features, As I Lay Dying and The Sound and the Fury. Franco has quite an ensemble joining him in front of the camera this time around, too, including Bryan Cranston, Robert Duvall, Ed Harris, Vincent D’Onofrio, Danny McBride and Selena Gomez. McBride is the only one of them he’s directed before (in both Faulkners), and he’s only acted opposite McBride, Gomez and Harris, the last in the upcoming movie The Adderall Diaries.

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Jamie Foxx in Collateral

Remember when we told you to see Frédéric Jardin’s exhilarating thriller Sleepless Night, but then you were all disappointed to learn that it’s a subtitled movie and said you’d wait for the remake? That was a few years ago, and to your credit there was actually a Hollywood version announced immediately following its debut at the Toronto International Film Festival. Well, if you’re growing tired of waiting, you will be glad to hear that the English-language remake is back on track after being dropped by Warner Bros. According to Variety, now the rights are at Open Road, which is happy to announce they’re producing the movie with Jamie Foxx and his Due Date costar Michelle Monaghan in lead roles. Foxx will play the (anti)hero (originally portrayed by Tomer Sisley), a corrupt cop who has to navigate a labyrinthine nightclub where his son is being held hostage by a crime boss. Not that they’d have to keep with same-gender casting, but I assume Monaghan will play the Internal Affairs detective (Lizzie Brocheré in the original) who is trailing and meddling in the dealings of the main character, screwing up a drug exchange that gets the son kidnapped in the first place. Baran bo Odar, who directed another foreign crime thriller we like called The Silence, is taking the helm of the Sleepless Night redo, which was scripted by Andrea Berloff (World Trade Center).

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JOHN WICK

Three of last year’s biggest breakouts are set to work together on your new most anticipated movie of, well, currently forever. Cowboy Ninja Viking doesn’t have a release date yet, so I don’t know how long you’ll need to be patient, but try to contain your excitement. We already knew that rising tentpole star Chris Pratt would be front and center in the adaptation of A.J. Lieberman and Riley Rossmo’s graphic novel  if the right person or persons were at the helm, and now he’s given his approval for the men who will likely direct him: Chad Stahelski and David Leitch. That’s right, the duo who helmed John Wick, which was their feature directorial debut following decades of work as stunt men and second-unit work. According to Variety, they’re in early talks with an offer out, but it’s hard to see this not coming together as perfectly as it sounds. Leitch recently directed second-unit shots for Jurassic World, though it’s unlikely he got to work with Pratt on that gig. He and the actor were also both involved with the anthology comedy Movie 43, albeit on different segments. They’ll finally unite for this.

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Ted 2 Courtroom

A few days ahead of a promised teaser ad airing during the Super Bowl, the first full trailer for Ted 2 has arrived online. The comedy sequel is apparently a courtroom movie, in which the titular talking bear (voiced by writer/director Seth MacFarlane) has to defend his personhood in order to have a child with his new wife (Jessica Barth). So, it’s a civil rights issue film, albeit one that skips over using marriage equality as the obvious parallel. Of course, this is also a Ted movie so it’s not so serious. We begin with the clarification that the bear can’t actually impregnate his beloved, so he recruits his buddy John (Mark Wahlberg) as a sperm surrogate. That gives them an excuse for some slippery semen-based slapstick. I’m guessing in the actual movie, it’s not all off-screen as it is in the ad. And the gross-out scenario probably goes much, much further, too. Joining the cast as Wahlberg’s new love interest, replacing Mila Kunis (a quick knock at “happily ever after” shrugs her departure away) as a lawyer named Samantha L. Jackson, is Amanda Seyfried, plus Morgan Freeman as a civil rights attorney — an interesting actor to see, by the way, just after a joke about Samuel L. Jackson being the black guy in any movie ever — and John Slattery as a legal adversary. Flash Gordon star Sam J. Jones is reportedly coming back for another cameo as “himself,” too.

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Brangelina in Mr and Mrs Smith

It’s not super huge news that Brad Pitt is in negotiations to star in Angelina Jolie‘s third directorial effort, Africa (the real story might be why he has to negotiate to star in his own wife’s movie). They’re both appearing together in her upcoming feature By the Sea, and it makes sense that they’d like to keep working together. But this is Brad and Angelina — Brangelina if anyone’s still calling them that — and a biopic now worth paying attention to. Not just because Jolie will again collaborate with director of photography Roger Deakins, who is currently Oscar-nominated for her second feature as director, Unbroken (but not shooting By the Sea), but because I can’t imagine Pitt playing the guy he’s playing — that’d be paleoanthropologist and conservationist Richard Leakey. The focus of Africa will be on Leakey’s work for the Kenya Wildlife Service, through which he made many enemies while battling the elephant poaching trade. Consider this the pachyderm equivalent of Gorillas in the Mist, maybe, although Leakey was never killed by poachers like Dian Fossey was. However, and I’m sure this has to be part of Jolie’s movie, Leakey did have his legs crushed in an airplane crash that is thought to have been caused by his foes.

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Kevin Spacey as Keyboard Cat

It’s such a good time to celebrate the talents of Kevin Spacey. This month marks the 20th anniversary of the festival premiere of The Usual Suspects, which earned the actor his first Oscar. We recently furthered its accolades by naming it the best movie ever to screen at Sundance. Spacey also just won his first Golden Globe on his eighth try, for his leading role on the series House of Cards. The third season of that show is about to drop on Netflix in a month, too, so that’s exciting. The guy should be on top of the world, getting more prestige gigs like his role as Richard Nixon in the much-anticipated Elvis & Nixon. But instead, today, we’ve received the news, via The Wrap, that he’s going to play a guy who becomes trapped in the body of a cat. Of course this movie will be huge, especially when it hits YouTube. Titled Nine Lives, the comedy will be directed by Barry Sonnenfeld (who proved he can handle talking animals in the Men in Black series) and produced by Luc Besson (who just keeps coming up with crazier ideas every year). The plot is somewhere between Disney live-action family classic and bonkers Charlie Kaufman scenario, as Spacey will play a workaholic businessman who gets in an accident and winds up inside his family’s cat.

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Bridesmaids

It’s been fun coming up with funny women who could or should be in the all-female Ghostbusters sequel/reboot, but now the actual foursome has been announced, and it’s heavy on the Saturday Night Live vets. First up is Melissa McCarthy, never an SNL cast member but one of its favorite hosts of the past few years. We knew she’d be in the movie, even before writer-director Paul Feig acknowledged he’d likely re-team with the actress. She’s the Robert De Niro to his Martin Scorsese. Joining her is fellow Bridesmaids star Kristen Wiig and two current ladies of SNL, recent addition Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon, who has sort of been the Kristen Wiig substitute (yet still brilliantly hilarious all her own). This is a dream cast for some of us. I’m one of them. It makes sense that Feig would look to the late-night sketch comedy show, as it keeps with the original Ghostbusters cast, which was actually supposed to be more SNL heavy than it was. Dan Aykroyd‘s first choices for the main trio were himself, John Belushi and Eddie Murphy. After Belushi died, another SNL cast member, Bill Murray came aboard. Murphy, meanwhile, declined his offer. Harold Ramis and Rick Moranis were both sketch vets, too, but from SCTV. Ernie Hudson, meanwhile, was an odd man out in that regard. As for the other parallel you’d all like to make: let’s not bother trying to determine which new Ghostbuster matches up with which old Ghostbuster, even if there’s one black person in this foursome, just like in the old.

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Chris Pratt in Guardians of the Galaxy 03

It all began with a really great Photoshop of Chris Pratt dressed as Indiana Jones. No, wait, it actually started with the actor’s performance in Guardians of the Galaxy, the opening of which has him aping the opening of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Fans of Pratt thought, “Hmm, he’s sort of doing a bit of Indy meets Han Solo there in that surprisingly awesome movie; perhaps he’s the new Harrison Ford and so let’s get the Internet excited with an image of what he would look like in a Regarding Henry remake.” Just kidding; they exclaimed, “Here’s Pratt as Indy with hat and jacket and whip!!” (specifically “Rahzzah” on Deviant Art) And some websites ran with the idea to the point that others were reporting it as rumor if not truth. Well, now even the trades are on board, because maybe Disney is actually on board. Deadline claims the studio is “eyeing” Pratt for the role once they start making new Indiana Jones movies. That doesn’t mean there’s any deal out to the actor or a greenlight of a production or anything. If the sources are to be believed even, this is all just a matter of Disney saying, “Hmm, he sort of looks perfect as Indy in that fan-made picture — let’s consider it.” But last year, before their Guardians movie was a huge hit and fans were playing with Photoshop, they were all, “Hmm, how about Robert Pattinson for the Indiana Jones franchise?” And before that, they were saying, “Hmm, how about Bradley Cooper for Indy?”

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Chev and Bev

Sometimes you need to let the past be the past and do something original for a change. And sometimes you just need to give us fans what we want. Do we need for Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo to co-star in a TV show that strangely doesn’t have anything to do with the Vacation movie franchise? No. Do we want for the duo, best known together as Clark and Ellen Griswold, to just co-star in a TV show based on the Vacation movie franchise? Yes. At this point, why not? They’ve done so many of those movies, some great and some not, and there’s another sequel/reboot on the way focused on grown-up Rusty and Audrey (Ed Helms and Leslie Mann). They’ve also done commercials as their Vacation characters. A TV show like what ABC has a pilot order for, titled Chev & Bev, is only going to remind us of their iconic pairings. It’s time for Chase and D’Angelo to face the fact that as they enter their twilight years this is what they have to do, forever.

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Boba Fett and Han Solo

One thing I know after seeing Godzilla is Gareth Edwards doesn’t need a good script to deliver a great blockbuster. I don’t think I could even tell you the plot from memory right now, and yet I stand by my opinion that the monster movie reboot was one of the most spectacular and thrilling pieces of cinema released last year. Before that, with Monsters, he wowed me with a tired story recycled from It Happened One Night by throwing in some giant aliens and crafty direction. He could go ahead and make his Star Wars spin-off with no screenplay at all, and I’m sure I’d be happy. But I can’t speak for the rest of the franchise’s fans out there — especially if any overlap with the large group of people who hate what he did with Godzilla – and I certainly can’t speak for Disney and LucasFilm. They need a script, and according to The Hollywood Reporter, they’ve brought in Chris Weitz to deliver.

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Ava DuVernay and David Oyelowo for Selma

We’re huge fans of Selma here at Film School Rejects, in case you didn’t catch that we named it Movie of the Year. We also named its director, Ava DuVernay, Filmmaker of the Year. And while we didn’t choose its Martin Luther King Jr.-portraying star, David Oyelowo, as Performer of the Year, I don’t think he was too far behind Scarlett Johansson. He’s definitely my pick for best actor of 2014, an honor he sadly isn’t even nominated for at the Academy Awards, and someone whose further career I’m excited to follow. Especially now that one of his future projects reunites him with DuVernay again. The pair previously also collaborated on her award-winning 2013 Sundance sensation Middle of Nowhere. The Wrap reports that she will be directing a romantic drama of her own devise set amidst the events of Hurricane Katrina, and he’s set to produce and star.

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Emma Watson in This Is the End

It’s a casting decision as old as time. Emma Watson signed on to play Belle in a live-action “Beauty and the Beast” movie back in 2011. That project was set up at Warner Bros. with Guillermo del Toro attached to direct. Now she’s officially signed on to play Belle in a different live-action “Beauty and the Beast” movie, according to The Wrap. This one is from Disney, part of their plan to remake every one of their animated features with actors in the flesh (and sometimes enhanced by CGI) and being helmed by Bill Condon (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — parts 1 and 2, which concludes a kind of update on the “Beauty and the Beast” narrative). Reportedly the production got del Toro’s blessing to snag his leading lady since the Warner Bros. movie is all but dead now. Watson will now get to reunite, to an extent, with The Perks of Being a Wallflower writer-director Stephen Chbosky, who scripted this take on the classic fairy tale.

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Princess Bride

The deep web is fascinating — the idea that there is something subterranean to a utility we all use for far too many hours a day is thrilling, and Alex Winter has traveled into the romantic drama of that world and emerged with a documentary. On the heels of looking at filesharing in Downloaded, Deep Web explores the online marketplace for drugs known as The Silk Road, as well as the man with the Princess Bride-evoking code name that the government believes was behind it. The trailer for the doc is sexy. Heavy music, bold statements, the questioning of reality in a world designed to obscure identity. All of it seems to capture the organic intrigue that the illegal side of the deep web itself contains. What’s under this rock, and what happens when we lift it up?

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The Jetsons Movie

I’ve wanted a live-action movie of The Jetsons for decades. In the late ’80s, when a lot of my favorite cartoons were heading to the big screen in one form or another, the trend was disappointingly more for animated features, basically extended episodes of what we saw on TV. I recall being a peeved kid. Even though the Masters of the Universe movie was terrible, something I knew at 10 years old, and even though I knew some of these projects couldn’t be worked out in live-action  — DuckTales, in particular (though back then I might not have minded it using costumes a la Howard the Duck) — the futuristic world of The Jetsons seemed perfectly achievable by the end of that decade. After all, it’d have been kind of like Back to the Future Part II without the time travel, and that arrived in 1989. Now, 25 years later, the effects necessary are even more available, but alas Hollywood apparently still can’t figure out how to do it. After years of development on a live-action adaptation (once set to be directed by Robert Rodriguez), Warner Bros. is simply going with another animated movie of The Jetsons. According to Deadline, the studio has hired screenwriter Matt Lieberman for the feature, the style of which is unknown at this point — will they at least round George and family out as computer-generated characters? Lieberman also wrote the upcoming Short Circuit remake and worked on the next Scooby-Doo movie, which will also be animated following a couple (underrated) live-action versions of that Hanna-Barbera property.

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Batkid Begins

Do you remember Batkid? He won our hearts in the fall of 2013 when the Make-a-Wish Foundation granted the five-year-old leukemia survivor his dream of being a costumed crusader for a day. San Francisco became Gotham City, and Miles Scott became “Batkid” while thousands of people, including the mayor and President Obama, helped him to become a hero through staged crime scenarios involving the Penguin and the Riddler and a ceremony where he received the key to the city. Now there’s a crowdfunded documentary about him and his special day called Batkid Begins: The Wish Heard Around the World, and it’s premiering at the Slamdance Film Festival this weekend. On top of that, the production company Submarine has just announced that the documentary will be remade by none other than Julia Roberts. She will produce and star in the dramatic version — not playing the title character, of course (although that’d be sure to get her an Oscar nomination if she pulled it off somehow). Dana Nachman, director of the documentary, will get an executive producer credit on the redo, which will be part of a new banner strictly set up for remakes called Sub/Version. Meanwhile, the doc, which was co-written and produced by Dear Zachary director Kurt Kuenne and features Hans Zimmer and , remains without a distribution deal.

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Chiwetel Ejiofor in Children of Men

Chiwetel Ejiofor was long a popular choice to fill the suit of Marvel’s Black Panther, but that role went to Chadwick Boseman instead. As a possible consolation prize, the Oscar-nominated actor is reportedly close to signing on to another movie in the MCU: Doctor Strange. The Hollywood Reporter has the scoop but little more than the casting, which would reunite him with his 12 Years a Slave co-star Benedict Cumberbatch, who is playing the titular sorcerer superhero. Sources say Ejiofor is definitely not playing the villain and might be the Ancient One, a part previously linked to contenders Morgan Freeman, Bill Nighy and Ken Watanabe. There’s also suggestion that he could take the role of Dr. Strange’s manservant sidekick, Wong, with a change in race from the comics. Would he still be a martial arts master? I don’t see that in Ejiofor. I’ve also seen some fans at least wish for the actor to play Brother Voodoo, a character who took over Strange’s gig as Sorcerer Supreme, though that would be an odd choice so soon.

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Sophie Turner in Game of Thrones

Calling Professor X: I need a mind wipe, stat. It’s going to be difficult to get over the mental images I have of Jean Grey, Cyclops and Storm in movie form. They’ve only really been Famke Janssen, James Marsden and Halle Berry. They have all been portrayed in younger form, too — Jean Grey by Haley Ramm in X-Men: The Last Stand, Cyclops/Scott Summers by Tim Pocock in X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Storm/Ororo Munroe in a deleted scene from the latter — but most fans hate those movies so even if those actors weren’t merely flashback and bit roles, they wouldn’t be employed for featured use of these three characters in their early years. So, instead, we’ve got some more notable young stars cast as the X-trio for the next installment, X-Men: Apocalypse. Game of Thrones redhead Sophie Turner is Jean, Mud and Joe and The Tree of Life’s Tye Sheridan is Scott and recent Aaliyah portrayer Alexandra Shipp (in Lifetime’s Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B) is Ororo. Any complaints that these might as well be called the “X-Babies” should note that they’re aged 18, 18 and 23, respectively, and let’s not forget that Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult and the other new mutants of the prequels were also only around 20 and 21 years old. Of course, they weren’t replacing such major original figures of the franchise as these additions are. 

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SImon Pegg in Star Trek

The Star Trek franchise has a great tradition of seeing its actors become creatively involved behind the camera. Leonard Nimoy got the ball rolling by taking the helm of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and then co-wrote and directed Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and collaborated on the story for Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. In between those latter two, William Shatner co-wrote and directed Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. Later, The Next Generation cast member Jonathan Frakes directed Star Trek: First Contact and Star Trek: Insurrection. Frakes also directed many episodes of The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Voyager. Other cast members who’ve helmed episodes of various incarnations, including Enterprise: Patrick Stewart, LeVar Burton, Avery Brooks, Rene Auberjonois, Roxann Dawson, Michael Dorn, Siddig El Fadil, Gates McFadden, Robert Duncan McNeill, Robert Picardo, Andrew Robinson and Tim Russ. As far as I’m willing to go through everyone’s IMDb credits, I am unaware of any other Star Trek stars scripting installments of the franchise. That makes it more special that Simon Pegg, who plays Scotty in the rebooted movie series, is co-writing the next sequel, Star Trek 3, according to Deadline. 

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published: 02.01.2015
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published: 01.31.2015
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published: 01.30.2015
published: 01.30.2015
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