Movie News

Belle and Book in Beauty and the Beast

If you were a teenager or adjacent to a teenager anytime since 1999, you are likely familiar with writer Stephen Chbosky and his tear-stained book found in the back of many a geometry classroom, “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.” It’s the epitome of teen angst, the coming-of-age story about an introverted boy named Charlie and the events that he goes through — some normally adolescent, some traumatic — during his freshman year of high school. You know, just a great time. The book was adapted into a film by Chbosky in 2012, so if you heard any wailing in the theater next door or saw some disheveled 15 year olds grasping each other by the concession stand, you know what’s up. Now Chbosky (who also wrote Rent) is heading to Disney, where he’ll pen Bill Condon‘s live-action Beauty and the Beast. Sure, it’s a tale as old as time, but in that moment, didn’t you swear that girl from the poor provincial town and the monster prince holding her captive in a mansion full of sentient objects were infinite? The studio’s new vision sees their 1991 Oscar-nominated animated classic directly adapted with music from the Broadway show added. Evan Spiliotopoulos, who penned the recent Hercules (the one with Dwayne Johnson) as well as a number of Disney direct-to-video animated movies, already wrote a draft of the remake, but it’s now up to Chbosky to complete a rewrite.

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Tetris-NES

It’s official: we’ve reached the final frontier of video game adaptations. A Tetris movie is in the works! Threshold Entertainment, the studio behind the two late ’90s Mortal Kombat movies, are teaming with The Tetris Company (a gaming company that deals exclusively in Tetris) to bring us a feature film based on little blocks that fall into a neatly-stacked rectangular pile. Why? Because branding. “Brands are the new stars of Hollywood,” Threshold CEO Larry Kasanoff, told the Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy blog. He’s right, of course. If he wasn’t, we wouldn’t be getting a Marshmallow Peeps movie. Or a View-Master movie (although that one didn’t last song). Or any other toy/game/sumptuous marshmallowy snack treat that has no discernible film-like properties but is being made because people recognize the name. Same goes for Tetris. Kasanoff is quick to assure us that there’s already a story in place that will cleverly take the few recognizable concepts from Tetris — I’m assuming this comes down to three factors, the shapes, the act of sorting the shapes as they fall and the song — and weave them into “a very big, epic sci-fi movie.” With an emphasis on creativity, as Kasanoff argues: “We’re not giving feet to the geometric shapes.” Although there’s something to be said for the “shapes with feet” idea. Think about a low-budget horror pic with giant Tetris pieces sporting obvious guy-in-a-suit legs, crushing horny teenagers to death as they foolishly get stuck in a slow-moving Tetris block pileup. Could be brilliant. But with Tetris, filmmakers […]

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Dwayne Johnson in Get Smart

Because the sky is blue and grass is green and we all have to pay taxes and one day die, Dwayne Johnson is going to fulfill his destiny as an actor and machine-like human by playing a secret agent (a real one, not a silly one as he did in Get Smart). The world’s most lovable former wrestler turned Scorpion King turned adrenaline fueled action star confirmed over Twitter that he’ll be starring in an adaptation of The Janson Directive, a project that’s been in gestation over at Universal for some time. You’ve got competition, Jason Bourne — there’s a new Robert Ludlum-penned mystery man in town. With that tweet, Johnson also confirmed that The Janson Directive is being propelled forward with a script by Akiva Goldsman. It’s promising news when you hear that the Oscar-winning writer of A Beautiful Mind is penning the script; it’s another when you remember that he’s also the writer of A Winter’s Tale. Until the flying horse stops haunting our dreams, we can’t stop talking about it, buddy.

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David Fincher

David Fincher likes his TV. First came his executive producer stint on House of Cards, then that film noir series he’s been bandying about with James Ellroy. And here comes another- Fincher’s just announced that he’ll be doing the director’s version of a TV bingewatch through the entirety of 2015- directing every episode of his planned remake of the BBC conspiracy thriller, Utopia. Please, for yours and everyone else’s sakes, do not confuse the Fincher-approved Utopia (coming to HBO) with the Fox reality series that puts the immense responsibility of building a perfect society in the hands of a group that contains a raw vegan chef, a tantric sex enthusiast and the “Hillbilly MacGuyver” (good luck with that).

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Michelle Yeoh in Crouching Tiger 2

“These are two different experiences, like going to a football game and watching a football game on TV.” Nope. There is no analogy that’s more annoying than the one above, this time spoken by Netflix‘s chief content officer, Ted Sarandos. Watching a movie at home is slightly like watching a live sporting event on TV, but going to the movies is nothing like going to a live sporting event, whatsoever. Not even the most lively, infectious, communally synched audience at a movie theater is a fraction of that of a football stadium crowd. And there’s nothing relating moviegoing to the excitement of being there on game day and being part of a unique moment that isn’t replicable. I can say this as someone who loves the theatrical movie experience and pretty much never goes to football games. If there is anything remotely close, it’d be the difference between attending the world premiere of Veronica Mars at SXSW, with the cast and director present on stage, and seeing the movie at home via VOD. Sarandos was of course making the analogy, as it’s often made, in defense of day-and-date releases, claiming that a video-on-demand option of a movie simultaneous to its theatrical opening isn’t any more of an issue than a TV network broadcasting NFL games as they’re happening. This time it’s because Netflix itself has announced its first day-and-date release, for the sequel Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend. The movie will be available for subscribers to stream on its release […]

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taken_liam_neeson_gun

Above you can enjoy the Taken 3 trailer (or Tak3n, I suppose), the third film in the Taken franchise starring Liam Neeson. This time it’s really really really personal — someone has framed him for murdering his wife (Famke Janssen) and is threatening to take out his daughter (Maggie Grace) as well. So now he is on the run trying to unravel this web of lies while being pursued by what sounds like every law enforcement agency imaginable. It’ll be here in January, directed by Taken 2 helmer Olivier Megaton. Gird. Your. Loins.

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Ben Affleck in Gone Girl

“She’s not above her material. She’s not making fun of these people, even the nosy neighbor. She’s not making fun of even those archetypes. And she’s interesting in that way. I kind of held my breath and waited to read her first draft and I was so emboldened by it. She was not only capable of slaughtering the darling, she took a peculiar pleasure in offing those extensions of her own imagination.”  Bestselling author Gillian Flynn didn’t pull any punches when it came to the script for David Fincher‘s Gone Girl — a script based on her own blockbuster book and her first produced attempt at working in that medium — slicing and dicing and cutting and crafting without prejudice. In fact, even Fincher was stunned by her ability to “off” bits and pieces (and even whole people) from her script, sharing with FilmComment the above quote about Flynn’s interest in keeping things neat for the sake of a good script. This is not a novelist beholden to her own material, and that might be why Fincher and Flynn are teaming up for yet another project — and why the duo is making a claim to be Hollywood’s next big dream team.

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Emma Watson in This is the End

If it wasn’t clear by recent, real life events, Emma Watson has always been, and probably always will be a bonafide badass. Speaking out at the United Nations in the name of gender equality and the fight for feminism is an incredible accomplishment that took guts and candor that many don’t possess. In the world of film, Watson has an undeniable track record of that same, extreme level of confidence and bravado. Girl’s going places and she’s not letting anyone stop her. That was clearly solidified in her childhood when she stepped into the wizarding world of the Harry Potter series and schooled everyone around her for a subsequent eight films. Hermione Granger is lauded as the brainy sidekick of the hero of the saga, a clever witch who does her homework and gets things done in order to help the gang succeed toward their next mission. But as we’ve established, she’s so much more — she’s the brains behind the whole operation, the real one in charge. Does anybody truly think the war could’ve finally been won, and everybody could have had that happy future resolution with their questionable age makeup and Hogwarts-bound children without Hermione Granger?

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Rogue in X-Men

This summer’s latest foray into the X-Men universe, X-Men: Days of Future Past, had a lot to unpack due to a handy (or confusing) time-travel plot line. It allowed the mutants to jump back and forth between two eras: the present day, which is just a terrible place to be a mutant, and the 1970s, which while a lot groovier than modern times, was still the period directly after the events of X-Men: First Class. Read: it wasn’t really a party back then, either. Is there any time when it’s okay to be a mutant? It would be nice to exercise those powers without repercussion at some point.

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Substitute Teacher

Like Key & Peele? Wonderful. You’ll be pleased to hear that as Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele rocket to the upper echelons of stardom, they’re working on at least four different films, plus another season of their hit Comedy Central show. The full list, according to Entertainment Weekly: a Police Academy remake; a collaboration with Judd Apatow; a horror movie entirely without yuks (Key only on that one); and a brand new addition, a feature version of their “Substitute Teacher” sketch. Here’s how “Substitute Teacher” goes: Key plays Mr. Garvey, a straight-arrow drill sergeant of a substitute teacher who spent 20 years teaching in the inner city and isn’t about to take any of your gumption. Only, now he’s teaching in an upper-middle-class, all-white (mostly) high school and entirely unprepared for students that aren’t constantly trying to screw him. Also, 20 years in the inner city have left him incapable of pronouncing the name “Blake.”

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Universal

For most of us, everything we know about hackers comes from the movies. They exist in a couple different variations — the good ones are young, geeky and capable of doing anything, and the evil ones are a little bit older, still geeky and even more capable of doing anything. Michael Mann‘s take on the character was bound to be a little bit different from the norm, but who knew he’d find inspiration in 2001’s Huge Ackman-starrer Swordfish? Blackhat stars Chris Hemsworth as Nicholas Hathoway, a legendary hacker currently serving time for, well, hacking. He’s released early in order to help the feds identify and apprehend a far more dangerous hacker who’s wreaking havoc on the world’s financial infrastructure, but lest you think Hemsworth’s going to be stuck behind a keyboard for the whole movie think again. This hacker is also a field agent with weapons and hand-to-hand combat skills to spare. Check out the first trailer below.

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Rachel McAdams

See? We told you guys to just wait — and, yes, we had to take that advice to heart, too — because, no matter what the addition of Colin Farrell and Vince Vaughn to the True Detective second season roster meant, it didn’t mean that casting was over. Now, well, casting still isn’t over, but it’s getting there, and it’s certainly moving in a very nice direction. Variety reports that, as has been rumored off and on for awhile now, Rachel McAdams has been offered one of four lead roles in the HBO series’ second season. The part will reportedly see McAdams playing “a Monterey sheriff with a troubled past that has led her to a gambling and alcohol addiction.” The part is one of three law enforcement types on the new season — Farrell is on board as one, Taylor Kitsch is still expected to play the other, and Vaughn is set to star as a “career criminal” — and it marks a very important step forward in the realm of complicated female characters on the small screen.

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Harmontown

Community creator Dan Harmon and his former star Chevy Chase don’t exactly have the most cordial phone relationship. Way back in April of 2012, Chase and Harmon tussled big time — and pretty publicly — after Chase left Harmon a voicemail that can only be deemed “scathing.” Fortunately, it looks like the duo have sort of, kind of, maybe reconciled. At the very least, Chase isn’t leaving Harmon voicemails anymore, he’s just sending him single word text messages. Harmon (and his podcast of the same name) is the subject of Neil Berkeley‘s recent documentary Harmontown, which features all sorts of insights into the prickly creator and his beloved shows, and is particularly searing and emotional because it picks up after Harmon was ousted from his own show in 2012.. Oh, and also some prank calls that target Chase. Also those. Take a look:

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20th Century Fox

Think about Frankenstein. You know, the iconic monster tale that has instilled a healthy dose of fear into generations of readers, and then moviegoers, with a myriad of ghoulish phobias. Strange lights up on that hilltop? Definitely a monster coming to life somewhere nearby. Graveyards at night? There’s a looting for sure. Standing anywhere near a pond holding a flower? No thanks. Now take that story, the legend of a mad scientist and his madder assistant crafting together a hulking man made out of spare parts — the ones just laying around a cemetery, like they do — and that monster’s quest to function in everyday society without accidentally murdering anyone, maybe get married to a lady with amazing hair, and just go one day without someone calling him Frankenstein, and think of ways to improve it. More pitchforks? Nah. Make him wear a cute hoodie? Sorry, I, Frankenstein already beat you there. Set the story in modern times and move the action to Los Angeles? Bingo.

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Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye in The Avengers

It’s been at least six hours since our last piece of Marvel movie news, so we have to find something to tide us over. In this case, a wink will do nicely. The wink (two winks, really) in question comes from the upper and lower eyelids of Jeremy Renner, who played Hawkeye in The Avengers, showed up for like half a second in Thor and has otherwise gone unused by the Marvel Universe gods. And according to Renner, that’s just fine; he’d much rather be the “utility guy,” called in whenever a Marvel venture needs another vaguely super dude to add a little interconnectivity. This comes by way of MTV News, who spoke with Renner about his future in the Marvel stable. Just before that line about being a “utility guy” comes this frank declaration: “I’m not scratching or clawing to do a solo movie by any means.” And just after comes two big fat winks, directly after the words “Cap” and “three” enter the conversation.

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John Travolta in Killing Season

There are plenty of films about a variety of dangerous career paths. Firefighters, police officers, paramedics, that one where Ashton Kutcher is a Coast Guard, all branches of the military, construction crews, vigilante superheroes, lifeguards, pilots and conductors, detectives and inspectors, astronauts — they’ve all had their due. But one sector of selfless, high-impact human service has largely been ignored by the film industry: linemen. It doesn’t matter what kind, be it those who lay railroad tracks or those who install and repair electrical, telephone or telegraph wires. They’ve gotten the short end of the stick. With the last film to commemorate their work premiering in 1937 (Slim the Lineman, which starred Henry Fonda), it’s now up to John Travolta and a merry band of brethren that includes Kate Bosworth and Devon Sawa to right this wrongs with Life On The Line. The indie drama, directed by David Hackl (Grizzly) and written by the team of Peter Horton, Primo Brown and Dylan Scott, will follow a crew of “eccentric” electric linemen as they fight the elements and presumably each other.

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King Kennedy Time Travel Book

Netflix, prepare for war. Thanks to this handy Hulu blog post, we know the streaming service has just announced a new event series based on Stephen King‘s “11/22/63.” And we know that Hulu will be partnering with J.J. Abrams and his Bad Robot Productions to make it happen. Then, a few more details from Variety: 11/22/63 will come in the form of nine hour-long episodes, and if it’s successful, Hulu’s willing to pump out future seasons, “event series” moniker be damned. One of King’s more recent works,”11/22/63″ was published in 2011. It follows Jake Epping, an ordinary dude from New England (as is required of every Stephen King protagonist) who’s clued into the existence of a time portal in the back of a diner. He knows that great power often presents itself  alongside great responsibility and uses this newfound power to do the upright thing: destroy Lee Harvey Oswald and wipe the Kennedy assassination from the history books. I’m guessing Hulu is saving “kill Hitler” for that potential second season. This is a very wide step into Netflix’s territory. Right now, they’re in charge of all the world’s streaming TV credibility. They have the product. They have the prestige. They’re making the best use of that “release all content at once, let audiences tear through it too fast like a sack of precious Halloween candy, then let ‘em wait an entire year to do it all over again” business strategy. Netflix could use some competition, and now that Hulu has two ringers (King and Abrams) on its […]

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Pauly Shore Stands Alone

It sounds like a joke: a serious documentary about Pauly Shore‘s late-in-life (and probably late-in-career) struggles, from money to fame to family to love. We’ve seen this before, right? It was called Pauly Shore Is Dead and it’s over ten years old and it was totally, totally fake. Not this time around. Pauly Shore Stands Alone is the film that Shore probably should have made in place of Pauly Shore Is Dead, though it stands to reason that, a decade ago, Shore might not have been nearly as ready to peel back the layers of his life and take a hard look at what he found underneath. (After all, Pauly Shore Is Dead is all about the comedian trying to recapture his life by pretending to be dead, which isn’t exactly a mature response to anything.) This latest doc, directed by Shore (hey, who knows the guy better), had a strong showing at the Downtown Los Angeles Film Festival earlier this year, and Showtime has just picked the film up, ensuring that Shore fans (Shore Things? can we call them that?) can check it out before the year is out. But if you want a taste at what the film is all about, take a peek at its first trailer (via /Film and Deadline), which packs an unexpected emotional punch. Watch Pauly Shore stand alone after the break (and damn if you don’t get a little misty while doing it).

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Peter Dinklage

The Thicket is the adaptation of a crime thriller by the same name from Joe Lansdale, and while it is infinitely badass that Peter Dinklage has, per The Hollywood Reporter, signed on to star as a bounty hunter in the film, it’s just a bit too expected that he’ll be portraying a character named Shorty. Stay close to the source material, of course. But is it possible to take a noted and respected and at times terrifying actor (in the greats of ways) and not condescend to his height. Shorty? Come on. The story, set in East Texas in the early 20th century, centers on a young man who has seen his share of tragedy already. His parents were killed while he’s a young child, leaving he and his sister in the care of their grandparents. His grandmother was killed in a farm accident shortly after his parents died, while his grandpa got murdered by a vicious band of bank robbers. This is where the story picks up. The same menaces who kill his grandfather kidnap his sister, and he enlists actually the best help he could ever hope for in tracking down her assailants and bringing her back. Shorty (Dinklage) is described as a “crafty” bounty hunter, a grave-digging alcoholic and the son of an ex-slave and a prostitute who knows her way around the streets — this guy isn’t messing around here with who he’s hiring, and Shorty is obviously not your normal gun for hire, either.

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Colin Farrell in Miami Vice

If Colin Farrell is really serious with this True Detective business, he’s going to have learn how to shut up (or at least willfully misdirect his audience) sooner rather than later. Farrell has been in the possible casting mix for the critically acclaimed HBO series’ second season since July, and while we’ve heard plenty of rumors as to who else could star in the series, Farrell is the first “confirmed” member of the cast. Well, that’s what Farrell says. The actor told Sunday World’s “The Dub” (uh) that he’s set for the show, reportedly sharing with the outlet: “I’m doing the second series. I’m so excited.” Desperate for more details? Well, too bad, because that’s pretty much all “The Dub” is willing to share unless you’re willing to pay to become a member of their “exclusive club” (is this True Detective cosplay?). Don’t want to shell out actual pounds for that? Neither are we, so here is the full text of the non-exclusive article: “Colin Farrell is the latest Hollywood star to make the move to the small screen, the Sunday World can exclusively reveal. The Dub last night confirmed he’s been cast in HBO’s award-winning True Detective and added: ‘I’m doing the second series. I’m so excited.’ The actor has signed up to star in the series, which has become the hottest new show on television.” We have questions. HBO and creator Nic Pizzolatto have not yet confirmed the news, but if Colin Farrell wants to take up the mantle of “official True Detective news-bearer,” that’s cool, too. […]

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