Movie News

The Professional

It looks like the totally hypothetical Cinematic Teen Hit Girl Club is getting a brand new member. Deadline reports that The Giver star Odeya Rush has signed on to star in Hunter’s Prayer, a Jonathan Mostow-directed action-thriller about “a young girl who teams up with the assassin hired to wipe out her family to find the person responsible.” Oh, a buddy flick! Sam Worthington is already on board to play said assassin, who helps Rush’s Ella “navigate the tangled web of hitmen and thugs on her quest for justice.” And we thought you could just PayPal hitmen money.  Rush now joins a subgenre of films that center on guns, girls and (screw any attempts at alliteration) just plain illegal activities. And yet, said subgenre isn’t nearly as bankable as it once (oh so briefly) was, so why do we keep getting films about gun-toting teens with attitude? (Don’t say, “because it looks cool!”)  

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IndieGoGo

There are things that are spooky and scary and go bump in the night, monsters and demons and specters and whispering voices– the things that haunt your nightmares as a child and give you that foreboding feeling that you’ve tried to get rid of as an adult. And also there’s Iggy Pop. He’s definitely in there somewhere, probably between the boogeyman and saying “Bloody Mary” three times at a slumber party. That sounds about right. The Godfather of Punk, who is no stranger to the film world, has teamed up with Dario Argento to morph into a monster that probably hasn’t crossed most of your minds for some time, given the fact that there have been approximately 8,000 Dracula and Frankenstein adaptations to digest. Argento has launched an Indigogo campaign to turn Iggy Pop into the titular monster of The Sandman – a “Christmas horror” film, which they are careful to remind readers is about the “REAL Sandman” (possibly a pointed reference to a little Neil Gaiman project?)

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Lego Batman

Time to rip off this Band-Aid: The Lego Movie 2 is being postponed. I know how you must feel — take as much time as you need to fume, or sob, or ragepunch a hole through a few fully built LEGO sets. According to The Hollywood Reporter, The Lego Movie 2 is being pushed into some shadowy date beyond 2017, because — and here’s the good news (our anti-Band-Aid) — their priority is now a Lego Batman movie. Feel better?

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The Mortal Instruments

Talk about immortality! (Sorry.) The Hollywood Reporter shares that The Mortal Instruments, Cassandra Clare’s bestselling and beloved YA book franchise (that first started as Harry Potter fan fiction, lest we forget), is bound for the small screen. And, no, you’re not misremembering things here – the series has already made one attempt at adaptation, with last year’s underperforming feature film, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. The Lily Collins-starring feature was originally imagined as a franchise starter, but the film made less than $32m at the American box office (interestingly, the feature did make a grand total of $90.5m with worldwide receipts, but such a take still puts it in the bottom half of YA adaptations). Although there has been some chatter about lensing a second feature, it now appears that these Instruments are pointing in a different direction. Constantin Film, the rights-holding production company, will now revisit the series as a “high-end drama series,” with writer and producer Ed Decter on board as showrunner. 

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little house on the prairie cast

Sometimes TV series adaptations stir up something furious in us, a sudden supercharged desire to destroy the unholy abomination before it taints something we love (ahem, The Equalizer). Other times, they don’t seem like such a bad idea, as is the case with Little House on the Prairie. In our current climate, where people (me) are going around tagging TV adaptations as “unholy abominations” that should probably be purged from society, we could all use a palette cleanser. And there’s none better than Little House, a series as plain, tall and uniformly wholesome as TV could ever be. Or maybe not, because as The Hollywood Reporter has announced, the Little House movie has picked up Sean Durkin as its director. The same Sean Durkin whose only feature credit is Martha Marcy May Marlene, which is also about a quaint little family living out in the wilderness — only Durkin’s version has a few more instances of rape and psychological torture. For those screamingly obvious reasons, he’s an odd pick for Little House, but the last director Sony had lined up for the project was just as bizarre: David Gordon Green, whose indie dramas and freaky comedies with Danny McBride have just as little to do with gentle pioneer families and the soft rustle of the country wind through your prairie bonnet.

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Tomorrowland

If we’re being completely honest, we’ll do just about anything George Clooney says. Last year alone he saved art from the Nazis in The Monuments Men and inspired Sandra Bullock to get her ass back to Earth with a pep talk from the great beyond in Gravity. So when he shows up in this Tomorrowland trailer and asks us to come along with him to “a secret place where nothing is impossible,” we’re so in…

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Final Destination 3 rollercoaster

High school is a rough time for everybody. There’s piles of homework to get done while having a part time job, dealing with your first relationships and broken hearts, trying to nail down that perfect extracurricular record, wondering if you’re cool enough (or punk enough) and that whole deal where a psychopath killer wants to axe you and everyone you know. Ugh, nobody understands teens. This was covered in The Fault in Our Stars, right? Andrew Jay Cohen and Brendan O’Brien, the writing duo who penned Neighbors, are bringing us a teen horror comedy called Thrill Ride, which Cohen will also direct. In the grandest of traditions, a graduating class of truly atrocious teenagers set off for their Senior Night at an amusement park, which their school has generously rented out for the entire night (mine was at Disneyland, where legend has it some kids dropped acid on the Matterhorn and in a later year an intrepid couple got kicked out for having sex inside the Haunted Mansion). Because the first rule of Senior Night is there are no rules, mayhem reigns and the kids have some good ol’ fashioned fun taking advantage of the park with no lines and nobody telling them what to do. Let’s preface this with the note that the school is inhabited by terrible, ruthless monsters, as in it’s being described as a “particularly cruel high school where bullying has become the norm.” Suddenly, the merriment is over and the kids start dying in a spectacular fashion that becomes more […]

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Bryan Cranston in Godzilla

You remember Bryan Cranston, right? White guy, about average height, tendency to shave his head and scowl out meth-related menace from behind a bushy goatee? Since Breaking Bad ended last year, Cranston’s been floating from project to project, picking up a role here and there but nothing truly memorable since his hair grew back and his perma-grimace softened. Cranston’s added another post-Breaking Bad role to his list: The Infiltrator. Like the title implies, Cranston will play a guy who infiltrates. In this case, that guy would be the real-life Robert Mazur, a Customs and Excise agent who went undercover into the highest circles of Columbian drug cartels, specifically the Medellin cartel headed up by Pablo Escobar. So the absolute highest of the high in South American drug circles. Based on Mazur’s autobiography of the same name, The Infiltrator will be helmed by Brad Furman, who’s got a solid working relationship with Cranston after the two did The Lincoln Lawyer together. Ellen Brown Furman will be handling the screenplay.

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Casey Affleck

It’s no secret that Casey Affleck hails from a little town in Massachusetts called Boston. Like his brother (Batman), he’s never been one to be quiet about reaping his hometown pride and defending its honor. So it makes perfect sense that Affleck has signed on to produce and star in Boston Strong, a film chronicling the days following the April 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. Boston Strong, based on the book of the same name by Casey Sherman and Dave Wedge, will be penned by the writers behind The Fighter, Eric Johnson and Paul Tamsay.  Johnson and Tamsay optioned the rights to the story in July 2013 and were undecided on making a film or a television series; in April 2014 there were plans for a miniseries, but that has since fallen through and Boston Strong is back on as a film.

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OJ Trial of the Century

Ryan Murphy, pioneer of the drastically-different-yet-eerily-similar Glee and American Horror Story (they’re both just so cheery), has announced his latest TV venture. And it’s something just as offbeat: a 10-episode TV adaptation of Jeffrey Toobin‘s “The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson,” which will form the first season of his newly minted American Crime Story spin-off series. Which we all saw coming, obviously. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Murphy is recruiting some top courtroom talent for what’s being titled American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson. Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski (screenwriters of The People vs. Larry Flynt) are scripting the first two episodes, while Murphy will direct an unknown amount. The People v. O.J. Simpson, which started off as a Fox miniseries before being shipped over to FX, will focus on the trial — and the hodgepodge of media crazy that followed it — from the perspective of the lawyers. And as you can assume from its American Something Story moniker, the series is an anthology, with each successive season covering a different real-life crime. Presumably others as hotly-debated as the deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Lyle Goldman.

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Robin Hood Men in Tights

The criteria for “does this movie deserve its own expanded universe?” keep on plummeting. Way back in the wilds of 2008, forging an expanded movie-verse required some kind of source material that was already an expanded universe. Marvel Comics and DC Comics properties and precisely nothing else. Then came the Universal Monsterverse, which was okay because the studio had already done it before (starting with 1943’s Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man). Now all you really need for an expanded universe are two things: a general action/adventure theme and more than one character. Does “Robin Hood” fit both? Sure! A “Robin Hood” expanded universe it is, then. The Hollywood Reporter tells us that Sony is currently forking over seven figures ($1m against $2m, which in studio-ese means “$1m now, another $1m if we actually make the movie) for a new take on “Robin Hood” from writers Cory Goodman (Priest) and Jeremy Lott. Entitled Hood, it’s described as tonally similar to the Fast & Furious and Mission: Impossible movies, only set in a world where the fastest vehicles are horses and the coolest spy tech is the old arrow-on-a-string zipline (exasperation aside, an extended ziplining spy sequence could actually be kind of incredible). And of course, Hood was pitched using the words “universe” and “Avengers.”

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The Purge Anarcy 01

In 2013, The Purge introduced us to the whimsical concept of a United States of America with one day every March when anarchy reigns. It’s a respectful, ordered anarchy — don’t get that wrong — where these blessed citizens can take out their frustrations with each other and their society in a government-sanctioned 24 hours of murder and mayhem. All crime, no matter how small or how massively atrocious, is legal and encouraged. There’s really no time like springtime. The film ends with the valuable lesson that maybe you should keep an eye on your impressionable, emotional children during Purge night and at least switch the security system code on them before things start getting out of hand (boundaries, kids — listen to your parents). Then came a second film, The Purge: Anarchy, with the terrors and thrills of the holiday continuing. And now, since our intrepid citizens of the near-future have just a blast on that second Purge night, it makes perfect sense that a third installment is in development. The Purge 3? The Purg3? Let’s go with that.

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Interstellar Tunnel

Starting today, audiences can experience the most immersive “neat marketing thingie” Hollywood has to offer. As a tie-in to Christopher Nolan‘s Interstellar, Paramount and IMAX are shuttling an interactive exhibit to four cities across the country. At whichever population center is closest to you — LA, NYC, Houston or, strangely, Chantilly, Virginia — strap on an Oculus Rift headset and experience some simulated virtual gravity from inside the Endurance, the spaceship from Nolan’s film. An “Oculus Rift,” in case you were looking at those words with the same cocked-head confusion as a dog hearing another dog on TV, is this: virtual reality. Or, at least virtual reality for your face; the Oculus Rift is a boxy, black goggle-like eyepiece that lets you see into a digitally-created world, translating all your head and eye movements so you can look around and see digitally anything you want. Digitally. For the most part, the Oculus is confined to video gaming. Its from-the-neck-up limitations are most easily solved with a mouse and keyboard, although laughably dumb-looking inventions like the virtual reality treadmill and the virtual reality bodysuit pop up every now and then.

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Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike in Gone Girl

The first rule of Gone Girl is you don’t reveal spoilers about Gone Girl. At least not without warning or proper cover for where those spoilers might be found. So, more than most weeks’ editions of Movies to Watch, this one really urges you not to look at the list of titles without having seen the new film in focus. I’m not even tagging the post with any of my selections as keywords. On the other side of the table, there is a possibility that I could spoil some of the movies on the list by including them here. I’ve tried to avoid doing so, and I’ve tried to avoid elaborating on any connections between movies that ruins those I’m recommending, as the assumption is that you haven’t seen the 12 picks (there’s one movie from last year that I wound up eliminating on account of the reason for linking it probably spoils it). Anything really old, though, is fair game. There’s one in particular here that is such a classic that its plot twist is quite common knowledge. This week I’ve kept the recommendations linked by director or actor to a minimum since the theme and plot of the Gillian Flynn adaptation is a more interesting angle than the careers of Ben Affleck, Rosamund Pike and David Fincher. I shouldn’t have to waste slots to tell you to watch Gone Baby Gone, The World’s End or any of the director’s prior, better films, most especially Fight Club and Zodiac. Once again, you should […]

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ABCs of Death 2

“F is for Falling” in this exclusive image from The ABCs of Death 2, which coincidentally hits VOD today, October 2. While reviewing the film at this past month’s Fantastic Fest, our own Rob Hunter called it “a horror anthology that you’ll remember for the right reasons.” So if you are so inclined, you should check it out. And you can, because we live in the future and VOD is awesome. To celebrate the VOD release on 10/2, producers Tim League, Ant Timpson and the international filmmakers behind the highly anticipated horror anthology sequel will be holding a Live Twitter #DeathParty starting at 10:00 PM ET on Thursday (10/2). Join in the conversation and watch 26 new ways to die along with the creators using the hashtag #DeathParty.

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Adam Sandler in Mr Deeds

There’s no doubt that the people over at Netflix love movies, but there’s something that we were all blissfully unaware of until now: they really love Adam Sandler movies. It’s not just that they love the artistic stylings of the man who brought us the likes of Bobby Boucher, Longfellow Deeds and Zohan. It’s that they’re so smitten with Sandler that they’ve struck a deal to develop a “quartet of films” each with him in the starring role. Welcome to the future. Sandler’s Netflix deal (the Sandflixocalypse? the Netlerpocalypse?) brings the site four features all produced under the ever-present Happy Madison banner. The movies will forgo showings in theaters and be featured only on the site, just for Netflix subscribers (and any of the freeloaders with a friends’ passwords). This news comes days after Netflix announced they would be introducing Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend as their next foray into the world of original film programming. That sequel will be available on Netflix and IMAX screens the same day, unlike Sandler’s bypass.

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I Am Legend

Warner Bros has spent the better part of a decade working on getting another I Am Legend off the ground. They’ve tried it all, the “see the origins of the zombie outbreak” prequel, the “screw it, let’s just clone Will Smith and do another one” sequel, everything. There were even zombie elephants involved at one point. But these options required the return of Smith as Robert Neville, and Smith has never been particularly keen on returning to the property (maybe it was the zombie elephants that turned him off). Now, only one option remains: Warners is slamming its fist down on the flashing red “reboot” button, obliterating the old I Am Legend and redoing the film from the ground up. Deadline reports the studio is using A Garden at the End of the World, a spec script from Gary Graham (an Apple Store employee turned screenwriter) as the foundation of a new I Am Legend. Warners was initially developing Garden as a standalone film, but someone along the way realized it bears at least a passing resemblance to Will Smith and plague zombies, so Graham has been tasked with pasting the I Am Legend brand over his old script. The original Garden was supposedly also very similar to The Searchers, only with a vein of sci-fi running throughout.

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Inside Out

Pixar’s Inside Out, coming from Up director Pete Docter in 2015, is all about emotion. In its first teaser trailer, it’s being called a “major emotion picture.” Get it? The tease plays out like a Pixar clip reel, showing off the many emotions we’ve felt over the years for movies like Finding Nemo, A Bug’s Life, Toy Story, Up and the emotional powerhouse that was Wall-E. Pixar is very good at pulling on those heartstrings. Now they’ll take us into the mind of a teenage girl, where as we all know, emotions can be intense. Watch the first trailer. Feel the emotion. Remember all the wonders of Pixar before they introduce their alien-like new characters.

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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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published: 10.30.2014
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published: 10.29.2014
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published: 10.27.2014
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published: 10.24.2014
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