Movie News

David Gordon Green

Former indie auteur David Gordon Green‘s jump to the big time started off with such promise. Let’s take a little time travel trip! 2008′s Pineapple Express caught Seth Rogen and James Franco just as the weirdo lovefest that is their comedic team-up was really taking off (with Freaks & Geeks behind them and The Interview way out in the future, it was kind of the perfect opportunity to see what these two could do — which is be weird and lovable and funny with the best of them). The follow-up wasn’t quite as glorious, as 2011 marked a low point in Green’s humorous output (this is a sentiment expressed with admiration and respect, as my DGG fandom has been well-documented in this space), with both Your Highness and The Sitter performing poorly in the domestic market and, uh, also just not being very good. Things have been looking up, however, thanks to Green’s recent edging back into less slapstick fare, with 2013 seeing the release of both the darkly amusing Prince Avalanche and the just damn dark Joe. Oh, and the major star power behind each film hasn’t hurt — which is probably why Green is just going with it, casting some mega stars for his next slew of features.

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Fred Ward in Remo Williams

Shane Black has become Hollywood’s go-to guy for bringing relevance to the extremely irrelevant. When did anyone talk about Doc Savage before Black got his hands on it? The same goes for Predator. That ingeniously designed Stan Winston beastie had been reduced to TV movie-like blandness after four sequels that no one cared about even a little. Yet now that Black has his sights on the Predator, we’re all, oooooooohh, this has potential! Does Black have the time to rejuvenate all the franchises your dad (or grandpa) is so very fond of? Who cares! Let’s just throw another one on the pile and see what happens. That’s the strategy Sony has apparently taken, as they’ve commissioned The Destroyer from adapting writers Jim Uhls and James Mullaney (one of the many authors of the “Destroyer” book series). Now, according to Deadline, they’re handing that script to Black and instructing him to run with it.

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Starred Up

It’s a point that we should make clear: prison is hard. Really, really hard. And dangerous and scary and terrible. Now let’s watch a film about it! British director David Mackenzie (Perfect Sense, Young Adam) is back at it with Starred Up, a prison drama packed to the rafters with talented dudes, including Jack O’Connell, Ben Mendelsohn, and Rupert Friend. The film puts a little twist on the old prison tale, as O’Connell stars as a teenage dirtbag sent to stay at the exact same facility his own criminal dad (Mendelsohn) lives at. (Insert joke about how you thought your family had issues, guffaw, move on.) The tension doesn’t just come from prison love — though, man, there’s plenty of tension to go around there — but when O’Connell’s Eric starts making some changes that will put him on the straight and narrows. Turns out, dear old dad just might not be taking too kindly to said changes. But before Eric mixes things up, yeah, he does some bad stuff. And now we have a clip of some of them! And, heads up, this lil guy is definitely red-band and very NSFW. There’s blood, okay? Still in? Hit the break.

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Miss Meadows Movie

Earlier this week, we presented a list of actors and actresses who have failed miserably in their attempts at a comeback. For his #1, writer Ashe Cantrell named Katie Holmes, whose latest movie is the critical and box office disappointment The Giver. Maybe we spoke too soon, though; or, maybe we should recognize that all the names on that list still have the potential to eventually find their footing again. The former Mrs. Tom Cruise is only in her late ’30s, and nowadays that doesn’t have to mean anything. We can be reminded of that when Holmes co-stars alongside Helen Mirren in next year’s Woman in Gold. Plus, there’s always the chance that a career-resurrector like Quentin Tarantino will find a special role just for her. He could turn her image upside down by turning her into a gun-toting vigilante. Oh, wait, someone else has already beat QT to the punch there. Filmmaker Karen Leigh Hopkins cast the perky actress as the lead in her new movie Miss Meadows, which has all the makings of cult hit if not a mainstream one. Holmes plays the title character, a small town elementary school teacher who moonlights as a killer of murderers and rapists. She’s Disneyishly sweet, even to the point that she talks to computer-animated birds and squirrels, except of course when she’s packing heat. Going by reviews from this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, the movie may be even weirder than that sounds, but some critics have also sold it as something special. At The […]

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Kill The Expendabelles

The Expendabelles (or ExpendaBelles or ExPenDaBelles or whatever) is a bad idea. Not because a female-led action franchise is a bad idea — no, not that at all — but because the planned plot for the Robert Luketic feature film is so counter-productive to the concept of making an exciting, fresh and original lady-centric action film that it almost verges into parody territory (paritory, for fun). When we first learned what the ostensible Expendables spinoff would be about back in February, it took no time at all to rip it apart. What, you don’t remember? Let’s refresh. According to its official plotline, The Expendabelles is about what happens when: “America’s Navy SEALs are wiped out trying to penetrate the island lair of a deadly despot who has captured one of the world’s top nuclear scientists, [and] it becomes clear that there is no such thing as the right man for the job and that this is a mission so impossible that only women can handle it. The only way in: some of the world’s deadliest female operatives must pose as high-class call-girls shipped in by private plane to satisfy a dictator–and instead save the scientist and the day.” In short terms: fuck this.

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Mark Wahlberg in Age of Extinction

It should be no surprise to anyone that there’s a BP oil spill movie in development. It’s primo subject material in that it hits all the necessary check marks for any “based on a true story” event movie. It’s timely – it was a mere four years ago the Deepwater Horizon oil rig blew, seeping a small ocean of oil into the Gulf. It’s exciting – the spill first stemmed from an explosion, which certainly perked up Hollywood’s ears — if Hollywood is a sucker for one thing, it’s non-fiction violence. Exhibit A through E: Twelve Years a Slave, The Hurt Locker, Titanic, Braveheart and Schindler’s List. It’s just as relevant today as it was in 2010 – did you know that the plugged-up well may still be leaking oil into the Atlantic? Deepwater Horizon already has its director in J.C. Chandor (All is Lost) and screenwriter in Matthew Michael Carnahan (World War Z) and what it’s just gained according to Deadline is a potential star in Mark Wahlberg who’s now in negotiations to play the Deepwater Horizon’s number two manager. The man fought to save lives while everything in his general vicinity was covered in crude oil and also on fire. Classic Wahlberg.

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Sigourney Weaver in Abduction

If you’re going to have someone on your side to protect you from bad guys and guide you through life’s trials and tribulations, there is probably nobody better than Sigourney Weaver to get the job done. But although she’s one of the most badass action stars in film history, she’s leaving the niceties to Liam Neeson this time around. Weaver has signed on to the cast of the children’s fantasy flick A Monster Calls, an adaptation of the brilliant 2011 novel from Patrick Ness that will be directed by Juan Antonio Bayona (The Impossible) and feature Neeson as the title creature. The actress is taking on something a little more frosty in the film, playing grandmother to 13-year-old protagonist Conor, whose life is especially complicated with a double whammy of brutal bullying from classmates at school and his mother’s (Felicity Jones) prognosis of terminal cancer. The teen doesn’t have much of a support system either, just a father (Toby Kebbell) who’s virtually nonexistent — never bothering to check in on his miserable soon – and a terrible relationship with the grandmother. 

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Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson in Captain America The Winter Soldier

The folks at Screen Junkies have done a wonderful job over the years of lampooning some of Hollywood’s biggest and boldest products with their “Honest Trailers,” a parody project that markets movies with their flaws exposed. And as far as we can remember, they have not yet run up against a movie that is impervious to their observations. Until now, that is. Marvel Studios, whether they know it or not, accepted the challenge and delivered a movie in Captain America: The Winter Soldier that is actually, you know, pretty good. About half way through this Honest Trailer entry, the usually sarcastic narrator stops and admits that Cap 2 is an excellent film. Watch for yourself after the break.

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John Cho and Karen Gillan in Selfie

I came very close to shutting off Selfie in the first few minutes. The new sitcom, which debuts on ABC at the end of September, is currently previewing its pilot episode on Hulu, and that could be a mistake. Watching TV on the Internet allows viewers to judge something super quick, and I foresee a lot of others being turned off by the opening scene, which introduces one of the most obnoxious characters ever to hit the small screen — and that includes a lot of awful reality TV stars. But anyone able to get through the first few minutes without closing their browser and throwing their computer out the window will find something genuinely charming and maybe even a little socially important. One episode in, Selfie is far from being a good show, but it has a cultural relevance that’s not unlike The Newsroom. Similar to Aaron Sorkin’s HBO drama, the new sitcom, which was created by Emily Kapnek (a producer on Hung and Parks and Recreation) is founded in a great idea that unfortunately has to work too closely with the very thing it’s derisively commenting on. Here it’s social media addicts who can’t look away from their phones for a moment, and who don’t have any real friends or true social experiences despite their popularity on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Karen Gillan plays such a person, and it’s interesting that this new role is being unleashed the same week that her last series, Doctor Who, is kicking off […]

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Pierce Brosnan in The November Man

It wasn’t until this week that I became aware of The November Man, which opens as early as next Wednesday. Hey, it’s not like I write about movies for a living or anything. But outside of barely paying attention to a commercial for the Pierce Brosnan-led action thriller the other night, I still haven’t given it much thought. I also haven’t heard much buzz or anticipation for the movie, which is directed by Roger Donaldson (reunited with his Dante’s Peak star) and is about an ex-CIA operative who has to take down his former protege while tiptoeing around a compromised agency. Should be interesting to see another evocation of Three Days of the Condor so soon after Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Yet unfortunately it looks more generic than that, like it’s following instead in the footsteps of another movie with the same number in the title: 3 Days to Kill. Today I’ve been made more curious about The November Man, though, thanks to the announcement of a sequel. According to ComingSoon.net, Relativity Studios has already greenlit the follow-up in advance of the first movie hitting theaters. This isn’t that strange considering the prospective film franchise is based on a series of spy novels by Bill Granger. Just think of that author (who died in 2012) as the latest Ian Fleming or Robert Ludlum, especially since the president of production at Relativity is calling this a reinvention of the genre “combining the best elements of James Bond and Jason Bourne while echoing the cool, sleek action movies of the 70s.” […]

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Yoga Hosers

Absolutely terrible title aside, it sure sounds like Kevin Smith‘s next film — no, no, not Tusk, not the one about a guy who tries to turn Justin Long into a walrus, which still sounds like the most demented thing we have to look forward to this year and perhaps ever, but the one after that — could be a whole lot of fun. After all, the film is going to be a family affair and the closest thing that Smith has ever come to a comic book movie. It’s also called Yoga Hosers. Oof. The Hollywood Reporter shares that Smith has enlisted the star power of Johnny Depp for the feature, who will also be bringing along his daughter, Lily-Rose Depp, for a leading role. Convenient, really, considering that Smith has also added his own daughter, Harley Quinn Smith, to the cast. Cute! Nepotism-tastic! Somewhere in between! The younger Depp and Smith are actually the true stars of the feature, as the film “centers on 15-year-old yoga nuts Colleen Collette (Lily-Rose Depp) and Colleen McKenzie (Harley Quinn Smith), who have an after-school job at a Manitoba convenience store called Eh-2-Zed. When an ancient evil rises from beneath Canada’s crust and threatens their big invitation to a Grade 12 party, the Colleens join forces with a legendary man-hunter from Montreal named Guy Lapointe (Depp) to fight for their lives with, according to the producers, ‘all seven Chakras, one Warrior Pose at a time.’” So, they love yoga and they are going to use it to fight an […]

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Screen Media Films

It’s only been ten months since a Stephen King film was playing in theaters, but we’re already just two months away from the next. Once upon a time that year-long wait between adaptations would have seemed crazy– back in the ’80s and early ’90s there were frequently two or three of them in the multiplexes simultaneously – but he hasn’t been nearly as ubiquitous onscreen in the 21st century. There have only been nine feature films based on his work since 2000, and pretty much only one of them is worth a damn. His latest stab at the box-office is A Good Marriage, a film written by King from his own short story. The always fantastic Joan Allen plays a woman who discovers her loving husband (Anthony LaPaglia) may just be a serial killer. There’s no shortage of movies about couples, secrets and the possibility that one of them might be a murderer, but the ones that work best (Presumed Innocent, Jagged Edge) succeed in part because of the mystery and suspense as to whether the person is guilty. The first trailer for A Good Marriage seems uninterested in taking that route. Check out the uninspired trailer below and keep reading to see what other films King has in the adaptation pipeline.

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Twilight Texting in Theaters

Here’s some fun news to read after watching the trailer for Jason Reitman’s latest (see our post from earlier today). And by fun, I’m sure for many of you I should mean infuriating. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Chinese cinemas are testing out a new system for interactive moviegoing where the audience is able to contribute to running commentary of the film on screen. The gimmick involves “bullet screens,” which are named such for the way the messages scroll across the movie, and it’s a concept that’s been around for a while online in Japan and more recently China. The new big screen version, though, can currently be found in 50 theaters in Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou and other cities, specifically at showings of the 3D animated feature The Legend of Qin. Why an animated feature? Because it’s mostly young people who are interested in the danmu craze, as bullet screens are called over there (danmaku in Japan), and because as THR relays from a translated Chinese publication, it’s “for younger viewers who can’t spend five minutes away from their tablet or phone.” That sounds like theater owners are both cashing in on a trend (each text sent to screen costs 10 cents) and perpetuating a new social problem that probably doesn’t need encouragement. This is the same country that, as shown in the new documentary Web Junkie, has enough of an issue with youths being addicted to the Internet that they’ve become the first in the world to label it a clinical disorder. Interestingly enough, the director of The […]

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Men Women and Children

Does Jason Reitman hate texting? From the looks of the first trailer for his Men, Women & Children, that definitely seems to be the case. Reitman’s latest is all about the secrets we keep online and that threaten to leak into the real world — which makes it kind of weird that the film’s marketing is encouraging fans to use the Whisper app to share their secrets, because that sure seems like something that’s pushing precisely what the film is against – with everyone constantly staring at their phones and looking shocked. Not a fan of films that use cute graphics to share texts, emails and pix on the big screen? Oh, you’re going to hate this one. Reitman’s film centers on a loosely connected group of students and their families, though it appears that they are all linked by their mutual sadness and disconnection. Put down your phones. Start living your lives. The Internet is bad. You are watching this trailer on the Internet, which is weird, right? Hmm. Watch the first trailer for Men, Women & Children after the break. You can probably do it on your phone.

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Bradley Cooper in The A-Team

Although Bradley Cooper was not physically onscreen during this summer’s Guardians of the Galaxy as the feisty and volatile Rocket Raccoon, his role voicing the smallest defender of the universe put him squarely on the path to becoming a bonafide action star. That raccoon knew what he was doing around a ray gun. And no, starring in the 2010 reboot of The A-Team definitely does not count. Cooper has never been an actor who has sat idly in his roles, picking parts that run the gamut from comedy, to romance, to drama and satire; it’s a natural progression that transforming into an action star would be next. Warner Bros. has a plan, acquiring the book rights to Mack Bolan, a character created by Don Pendleton, to create a starring vehicle for Cooper. The author chronicled Bolan in 37 novels often referred to as “The Mafia Wars,” but ghostwriters kept him alive in hundred of other serializations over the years. Bolan is a tough as nails anti-terrorist operative who is all-American and bleeds red, white and blue. He’s often in extremely sticky situations, but pulls himself out unscathed — usually with a new romantic conquest at his side at the end of the adventure. Think along the lines if James Bond were from Massachusetts and served as a Green Beret.

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The Jungle Book

There is a down and dirty street fight a-rumblin’ between The Jungle Book and The Jungle Book: Origins. Both are adaptations of Rudyard Kipling‘s classic boy-meets-bear novel “The Jungle Book.” Both are releasing within a year of each other, with the former (backed up by Disney and director Jon Favreau) coming next October, and the latter (WB and Andy Serkis) set to launch next next October. Prepare yourself for at least a solid year of back and forth Three Stooges eye-gouging between the two. Today is the first meeting of finger and soft, unguarded eyeball. The Hollywood Reporter has the first piece of casting for Serkis’ Jungle Book: Origins, and it happens to be really, really stellar casting: Benedict Cumberbatch will play the skulking, boy-hungry tiger Shere Khan. Picture in your mind’s eye, a staggeringly lifelike digital tiger, a la Life of Pi. Except when he opens that fanged maw, a regal Smaug smoothness pours out (probably not as deep in tone as Smaug’s was, but you never know). As he pads about, the slinky English lilt in his voice barely disguises how much he would enjoy disemboweling and consuming us all.

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John Slattery as Howard Stark

For months, the mystery of who would take the reigns from Edgar Wright and direct Ant-Man dominated all coverage of the Marvel flick. But ever since the baton was passed to Peyton Reed, focus has been able to switch back to the good ol’ casting frenzy. Today, Marvel sent out a press release announcing that production has officially started in San Francisco on the much-anticipated film. That in itself is exciting enough news, with Reed also tweeting “LET’S. GET. small.” early this morning. He’s a man with a plan, and it’s on a teensy tiny scale. Good things come in small packages, haven’t you heard? But the press release contained something even more amazing: a barrage of cast members to round out the film’s core ensemble. The new additions are Bobby Cannavale (Boardwalk Empire), Judy Greer (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), Michael Pena (End of Watch), Abby Ryder Fortson (Togetherness), David Dastmalchian (Prisoners), Gregg Turkington (The Comedy), Wood Harris (The Wire), rapper T.I. (Identity Thief) and John Slattery (Mad Men).

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Iron Man Original Suit

Not only is Doctor Strange not going to tell us how Stephen Strange became the Sorcerer Supreme, but starting with that movie, Marvel Studios is done with origin stories altogether. That’s a scoop revealed by Badass Digest’s Devin Faraci while a guest on Meet the Movie Press last week. It’s an unconfirmed piece of information, particularly the broader point about the whole franchise, and of course it doesn’t apply to Ant-Man, which goes into production today, way ahead of the Dr. Strange vehicle. Still, whether true or not, there’s a certain excitement spreading around in fanboy and movie geek circles as a result of the possibility. Origin story movies are apparently a much-hated part of superhero cinema. But why? Because it’s the expected start of any series to set up the character, especially for audiences who aren’t as familiar ahead of time as the geeks are? Too bad, because Hollywood wants to cater to the moviegoers who aren’t also comic book readers, and those moviegoers want to see movies about superheroes, including ones they don’t know a lot about already. What I find odd about the hate thrown at origin story movies is how many of the best and most popular superhero movies are first installments focused on the beginnings of their respective characters. Look at Superman: The Movie, Iron Man, The Avengers (as a team) and I’ll throw in Unbreakable. Sure, there are a lot of number-twos favorited over their first films, including Spider-Man 2, The Dark Knight and Captain America: The Winter […]

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Hateful Eight

Quentin Tarantino‘s righteous fury at those who leaked The Hateful Eight‘s screenplay has abated. The film is no longer spite-cancelled, and it may start shooting as early as early next year (according to /Film, who heard the news on Fox 59, who in turn heard it from Kurt Russell). Tarantino’s heart has swelled so profusely that not only is he going to give us The Hateful Eight, he’s going to give us a trailer next week. /Film, once again, has the scoop, having found mention of a Hateful Eight trailer on the Alberta Film Ratings board, and then also hearing from people working in local multiplexes, who’ve been notified that a minute and 40 seconds of Hateful Eight will run before Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. Then, Deadline wrapped everything up with their own confirmation. However, there is a caveat- in order to see that fateful Hateful Eight tease, you’ve got to pay to see Sin City in theaters. No online release, people. Or, for the realists out there, no online release, except for a shaky phone recording where some guy’s head is blocking half the shot, people.

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Tom and Leo in Inception

Two years ago, we told you about a project teaming up Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy and Tobey Maguire as producers of a drama about animal trafficking for Warner Bros. The film was inspired by Hardy’s friends, former Special Forces operatives who went on to become anti-poaching fighters in South Africa and other nations where the problem ran rampant. Although that project is still in development with Hardy in the lead, Deadline reports the same three have signed with the same studio to produce another film about the same issue, and they may all star in this one. Scripted by Will Staples, so far best known for writing video games and the as-yet-unmade Mission: Impossible 5, the new project will follow a structure somewhat in the vein of Steven Soderbergh’s Traffic, as in it’s taking a multistory approach to the impact of animal poaching. The film will explore the heinous industry from every facet and angle, from the dirty back door dealings that start the whole process, to a glimpse into the life of a poacher — and what could possibly make hunting down and slaying animals for profit a great career choice — to every single minion hanging out in the seedy dark corners of a trade that okays capturing an elephant for its ivory and storming the seas to fish for sharks for their valuable fins.

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