Movie News

Batmobile in Batman vs Superman

The very first thing you notice when you look at the new Batmobile from Batman vs Superman is that it looks fantastically aggressive. It’s a beast. Local police forces looking to oppress their citizens are drooling on unfiled paperwork right now. The second thing you notice about this progressively armored urban assault vehicle is the twin guns where the hood ornament should be. But if Batman doesn’t kill people, what’s the point of it? Flashbangs? Rubber bullets? Will the older, gruffer Batfleck replace Intimidation Mode with live rounds? Obviously, Zack Snyder hasn’t shied away from having Superman snap necks, so maybe the dark knight has finally relented on his one rule after a half century of fighting the same dumb battles. Then again, maybe Batman simply doesn’t understand what death is. R.I.P Doctor Fishy.

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Jonah Hill and Leo DiCaprio in WOWS

We’ve known since February that the fabled Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill bromance first seen in The Wolf of Wall Street would continue into a second film. We’ve also known who that film would be about: Richard Jewell, the security guard who saved the ’96 Olympics from a bomb threat and was wrongfully crucified for it. And now thanks to Deadline, we know who’s interested in directing it (“circling” the project, as they say): Paul Greengrass. Makes sense, given that the script is being handled by Captain Phillips writer Billy Ray. Right now, some outlets are referring to the pic as American Nightmare, but it’s not totally clear if that’s the official title or just something taken from the Vanity Fair expose this is all based off of, “American Nightmare: The Ballad of Richard Jewell.”

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Morgan Freeman Laughing

In casting news that really makes you think about the significance of life on this big blue rock hurtling through space we call our world, Morgan Freeman has signed on for a “juicy role” in Seth MacFarlane‘s much-anticipated sequel to Ted, according to Variety. The aptly named Ted 2 will again be scripted and directed by MacFarlane, who will also return to voice the pesky little teddy bear with the loudest mouth. The details of the plot are scarce for the time being, but Freeman was apparently sought for his role — which makes sense, because if you’re going to attempt to go big you might as well go all the way to the top and fight for someone like Freeman. MacFarlane has been searching for high-profile celebrities to nail down supporting roles and cameos (still uncasted) to join the film and step out of their comfort zone for some gross-out humor and casual conversation with a talking teddy bear. What’s clear at this point is that the actor will play an “iconic” civil rights lawyer who steps into the mix when Ted lands himself in some legal trouble that needs to be resolved. To accompany Freeman, several members of the original cast will return, including Mark Wahlberg and frequent MacFarlane collaborator Patrick Warburton. The former starred as Ted’s best friend and partner in crime, John, who wished for the toy to come to life when he was a child and had the wish fulfilled during a particularly generous falling star. 

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Chris Pine in Stretch

With Joe Carnahan‘s latest film, Stretch, Blumhouse is hoping to do for action what the production company has done for horror: make a project with low risk, high reward. Their movies cost peanuts compared to most major releases. If they make a hit, it’s a major success. If they put out a bomb, nobody is going to the poorhouse. It’s a great business model that’s mostly been used for horror movies. They’ve stepped outside of their wheelhouse every now and then, to mixed results. For example, Catherine Hardwicke’s Plush was a melodramatic rock ‘n’ roll sex thriller that, despite being Hardwicke’s most fun movie in a years, went unnoticed. Hopefully that won’t be the case for Stretch. The film was originally going to be released by Universal back in March, but they dropped the picture two months before its scheduled debut. The studio was unwilling dish out the money necessary to advertise it. Carnahan, to a degree, empathizes with their decision. “To hear $25-40m [to market it], okay, I guess that makes sense,” he told Slashfilm. “I don’t know why we’re still marketing films that way. Do you know what I mean? It seems like that’s the only way. But like for everything you need, you can’t just be ‘it’s only this way.’ But again, I get it. It’s Universal. It’s a studio. They have a way of doing things. I respect that.”

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Zodiac

Please read the following sentence: Look here, sister, start usin’ them getaway sticks or you’ll be takin’ a pill from this roscoe here.* Did that make any earthly sense? Yes? No? Well, either way we’ll be learning the ways of the noirish gentleman (and lady) soon. Hopefully. Because David Fincher and James Ellroy are in talks with HBO to start up a film noir TV series. From the Playlist, we’ve got a scant few details: it’ll be set in Los Angeles and steeped in the same general ’50s backdrop as previous Ellroy works (they cite “L.A. Confidential” as a biggie). And that’s about as far as “scant” gets us. The Playlist stresses that there’s “no deal in place,” but given the talent involved, HBO would be foolish to pass this one up. Fincher’s never made an out-and-out film noir (unless you count a couple of ads for The Gap), but he’s dabbled in things with noir-ish vibes to them. Like Se7en, which was kind of a horror movie and kind of a neo-noir but still had Morgan Freeman in a three-piece suit, trenchcoat and hat. Totally counts in that regard. Ellroy, by comparison, is 100% gumshoe, having written two of the best noirs in recent history: “L.A. Confidential” and “The Black Dahlia.” Also, here’s a salient quote that should be mentioned every time his name comes up — Said by Ellroy, about Ellroy: “declarative and ugly and right there, punching you in the nards.”

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WATER FOR ELEPHANTS

After Reese Witherspoon dyed her hair and stepped into June Carter Cash’s shoes for Walk the Line, it was no longer a secret that she could sing, and sing well. The 2005 biopic that earned her the Oscar for Best Actress is a dark and complicated journey through the singer’s life with Johnny Cash, just as much about their volatile relationship as it is about the music. And though Carter was never someone with a just an ordinary voice, Witherspoon absolutely nailed what made her tick, hitting ever lilt and country twang with ease. Now she’s tackling another giant: legendary jazz singer and songwriter Peggy Lee (who herself received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination). There’s actually no title for the biopic yet — who wants to bet good money that it’s called Fever? — but Witherspoon has actually been circling the project for over four years, during which time it was to be written and directed by the late and great Nora Ephron. When she passed away in 2012, it was assumed that the project wouldn’t be moving forward, but news surfaced from Witherspoon herself that indicates otherwise. The actress revealed during an onstage interview at the Toronto Film Festival last night that Ephron completed her script before her death, and Todd Haynes will now be directing. He is the man to talk to when it comes to original and unconventional music biopics, so this is promising news for getting the project back in the running. Among his larger filmography, Haynes is responsible for the very unauthorized Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story, the fictionalized-but-little-too-real glam-rock […]

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justin-lin-and-michelle-rodriguez-in-furios-si-iute-6-2013--large-picture

We’ve known for a while that True Detective isn’t doing the one-director-per-season thing, because that takes eons longer to film than an average TV show and HBO would very much prefer to run new episodes on a consistent schedule, not whenever a bunch of “time is a flat circle” mystics will it into existence, man. What we haven’t known is which directors will be stepping in to fill the Cary Fukunaga-sized hole left in the series. Until now. Potentially. The Hollywood Reporter names Justin Lin as the first director to be officially courted by HBO. The publication, sporting a stringy ponytail and jamming a penknife into a Lone Star beer can, says he is in talks to direct two episodes of the eight that are coming next season. Probably the first two, but it’s hard to tell amongst the crinkle of metal on metal and THR’s lengthy discussion of how life is memory that’s been locked away and left to rot, and all that remains is something something nihilism, alright alright alright.

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Robert De Niro in Grudge Match

We can never have too many wacky road trip comedies, but they need to involve particular formula to make things extra off-the-wall. Here’s one version: take a no-nonsense youngster — extra points if he’s a millennial completely dependent on technology who doesn’t appreciate how good things are nowadays (a mile uphill in the snow to school, etc., etc.) — and pair him with a zany sex-obsessed octogenarian who just wants to party. And party hard! Where we going? Vegas? Why? Who cares? Such an adventure is set to star Zac Efron and Robert De Niro with a script by John Phillips and direction by frequent Sacha Baron Cohen collaborator Dan Mazer (he’s a writer on Borat, Bruno and The Dictator). The project is going through a bit of an identity crisis at this point — it’s either called Dirty Grandpa or Driving Dick Kelly, depending on which outlet you consult. But the premise is the same no matter the name: Efron will play a very uptight young man with a huge problem: he’s going to marry the wrong woman! He is also tricked into driving his grandfather (De Niro), a retired, recently widowed and — this is important — perverted Army general, down to Florida for spring break. We all know where it goes from there. Spring. Break. Forevahhh. Question: How would Robert De Niro look in a pastel colored balaclava while holding a machine gun? Is there any answer besides amazing?

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Muschietti and Del Toro

Assassin’s Creed and Warcraft are no longer the only two contenders in the category of eminent video game movies that might not suck. A third possibility with some unbelievable muscle has just joined the fray. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Guillermo del Toro protege Andres Muschietti (Mama) has signed on to turn the Playstation 2 game Shadow of the Colossus into a jumbo tentpole for Sony, which includes him overseeing the script being written by Seth Lochhead. For those unfamiliar with the game, it centers around Wander, an adventurer desperate to revive the body of a slain maiden, for some reason (the details are kept intentionally vague). To do so, he must horseback his way across a vast fantasy world, tracking a teeny glint of light reflected from his sword. When he arrives at wherever the light was pointing to, a Godzilla-sized kaiju conveniently unburies itself from the earth. Bringing down the kaiju (or “Colossi,” as they’re called in the game) is the object of the game. You’re one guy with nothing but a horse, a sword and a bow, but the game repeatedly plops you in front of a monster whose toenails are the size of school buses and says, “Kill this, please.” Usually, that involves hanging on to patches of fur and using scales as stepping stones up its body, dodging the beast’s frequent attempts to pluck you off like an ant until you can bury your sword into an unprotected spot on its head.

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Bird People Movie

Bird People is a series of misconnections. After a blissful prologue paying homage to Wings of Desire, Pascale Ferran’s fourth feature listlessly morphs into a bizarre confluence of realism and magicalism. The film is a textbook example of ambition undercut by tonal and pacing inconsistency. Divided into two chapters, Bird People leads with Gary (Josh Charles), a Bay Area businessman ready to “leave everything behind,” as he proclaims. Ridden with anxiety, Gary knows he needs to leave his position at his growing Tech Company, his wife (after 18 years of courtship), his kids, and his current way of life. From one airport hotel to the next, he seems unable to experience joy or happiness.

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Margot Robbie in WOWS

Margot Robbie made audiences know her name in a big way last year as Jordan Belfort’s second, more glamorous (sorry, Cristin Milioti) and gloriously assertive Brooklynite, lingerie-designing wife in The Wolf of Wall Street. Since then, she has been racking up the lead roles. It doesn’t take much more than a nod from Martin Scorsese to let everyone know you’re alright. The Australian actress has a full roster of upcoming projects: she stars opposite Will Smith in the rom-com caper Focus, will appear alongside Michelle Williams and Kristin Scott Thomas in the French WWII flick Suite Française, is exploring a post-apocalyptic landscape with Chris Pine and Chiwetel Ejiofor in Z for Zachariah and swinging onto the big screen as the next Jane to Alexander Skarsgard’s Tarzan. Robbie clearly hasn’t pegged herself down as being a specific kind of actress, and she’s furthering that perception by entering early talks to star in a live-action adaptation of the classic manga “Ghost in the Shell.” DreamWorks will remake the 1995 anime version directed by Mamoru Oshii, something Hollywood has been attempting for the last 20 years, with William Wheeler (The Hoax) penning the script Rupert Sanders (Snow White and the Huntsman) directing. If all works out, this could be her first solo venture.

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Vince Vaughn in Delivery Man

It’s time you asked yourself a tough question: when was the last time you had a genuine interest in seeing a Vince Vaughn movie? I’ll go ahead and start things off myself. Wedding Crashers. And Wedding Crashers was released 10 years ago. At first glance, Vaughn’s newly announced film The Politician looks to continue the trend of Vince Vaughn films the general public has no vested interest in. According to The Hollywood Reporter, he will star as a holder of elected office who’s caught in the act with a couple prostitutes. Rather than stand up and face his own failings, this politician gives a collective “ehhhh, the hell with this” to the nation and goes on the lam. At which point the FBI, the US Marshals and a drug gang all tear after him. But when the news broke, something curious bubbled up around it, just barely noticeable from our current position of general Vince Vaughn apathy: Talk of a Vince Vaughn comeback. It’s not much; only a few outlets are speaking of The Politician in the whispered tones and shifty eyes of “comeback” conversation. Here’s what we’ve got so far: “Maybe Vaughn truly is taking back his career á la Matthew McConaughey.” (Evan Dickson, Collider) “Hopefully that pans out and that starts something of a career comeback for Vaughn.” (Cricket Lee, GeekNation) “This film sounds like it could signal a turnaround in Vaughn’s fading star power.” (Damen Norton, UnrealityTV) “We could see a return to form for the actor.” (Graham McMorrow, JoBlo)

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The Rock in Fast & Furious 6

After months of speculation and giddy, delightful wishes and hopeful tweets from the man himself, Dwayne Johnson has officially revealed his role in the DC Movie Universe via Twitter. (and reported on by Variety). While it’s been known for some time that he would play some part in that evolving franchise, it took time to pinpoint exactly where he would land. He wasn’t to be a villain in Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, he wasn’t to be their Aquaman and he vehemently denied he would be Green Lantern. Instead, he is indeed in a standalone Shazam movie, as he has consistently teased on social media and practically confirmed back in July — but at the time he didn’t divulge whether he would play the title superhero or the villain, Black Adam. You can’t blame the man. Johnson’s a guy of simple tastes. He loves pro wrestling, lifting at the gym, being one of the nicest guys in Hollywood and reading the “Shazam” comic books. So the likelihood that he would play one of the lead roles in Shazam has been big news for his Twitter feed. And today is no different, as he went online to Tweet that we should all “kneel at his feet or get crushed by his boot.”

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ABCs of Death 2

Promising 26 new ways to die, the red band trailer for The ABCs of Death 2 is another hodgepodge of violent imagery and delightful snacking options. It lives up to its NSFW coloration, too. People are shot, stabbed and axed, cheeks are bitten clean through, and one woman performs an homage to either Clockwork Orange or penises in general. It’s another trailer to press play on just as your boss walks by your office/cubicle/fry station.

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Emma Roberts American Horror Story

High school is rough for everyone, but things get a little more complicated when your prestigious all-girl prep school is severely isolated across a frozen landscape and your parents mysteriously fail to pick you up for winter break. No calls or anything. Such is the case for Rose and Kat, the unfortunate teens at the center of Osgood Perkins‘ upcoming film, February. Described as a coming-of-age horror thriller, the film follows Rose and Kat along with a third young woman named Joan — identified as “beautiful and haunted,” always a great yearbook superlative — who starts a journey to come save them. But as she gets closer, Kat starts experiencing terrifying visions, and Rose is only able to silently watch as she becomes possessed by a sinister, unseen energy. Emma Roberts and Kiernan Shipka have just signed on to star in the film, but it’s not clear which two of the trio they’ll be playing. Since their casting was listed together, it seems most likely that they’re playing Rose and Kat, the unhappiest prep schoolers with the most negligent parents and school officials in history. Who leaves a couple students unattended at a giant spooky school without checking to see when their parents are retrieving them first? That’s ground for a solid lawsuit.

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Hallucinaut

The first time I recall Terry Gilliam‘s name being used to sell me on a movie it was City of Lost Children, but that was through a critic blurb making a comparison between the Brazil director and City‘s Jean-Pierre Jeunet and Marc Caro. Prior to that, though, he’d actually lent his name as a presenter for their Delicatessen. I might not have discovered those movies without the endorsement. Later, Gilliam also put his name in a similar manner on Bill Plympton’s Idiots and Angels. As a Gilliam fan, I fell in love with Jeunet’s work immediately, while I’d already been into Plympton and now had more reason to appreciate the animation legend. I don’t know that Gilliam attached his name to anything before, between or after those two — I’m not counting the BBC TV adaptation of the book The Last Machine: Early Cinema and the Birth of the Modern World, because he also appears in the series. He does, however, have two executive producer credits on upcoming movies, a live-action fantasy from Oscar-nominated animators Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski called The White Circus, and an animation-plus-puppetry steampunk feature called 1884: Yesterday’s Future. Now there’s another project we have to look forward to based on Gilliam’s support: Hallucinaut.

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Nicholas Sparks Movies

There’s some obscure (and possibly occult) law that if enough people sob at a movie, their tears will fertilize a new film empire. It’s why James Cameron stopped making regular action movies and started putting out three-hour epics like Titanic and Avatar, all designed around jerking as many tears as possible. This would also explain the alleged reports that Cameron showed up during random screenings of Titanic to dab at people’s tears with a wad of hundreds and chuckle menacingly to himself. Nicholas Sparks did the same thing with The Notebook. He got the requisite number of sobs, and now he’s set for life. Along with this year’s The Best of Me and next year’s The Longest Ride, yet another film based on one of his novels is now in the works. Variety reports Sparks’s novel “The Choice” will be adapted into a feature by Ross Katz, whose new film Adult Beginners premieres next week at the Toronto Film Festival (Katz’s first feature, for anyone curious, is the 2009 HBO movie Taking Chance, in which Kevin Bacon escorts home the body of  fallen soldier). Here’s how Variety describes the novel: “the story of a man and a woman who meet first as neighbors in a small coastal town in North Carolina and end up pursuing a relationship that neither could have foreseen.”

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Carla Juri in Wetlands

Never in my life have I been so engrossed in that which is gross. That’s perhaps my second thought after seeing David Wnendt’s Wetlands at this year’s South by Southwest Film Festival. My first thought: “Ewww…” I wasn’t alone: Nothing at SXSW has topped Wetlands, aka Ewww Is the Warmest Color. — Britt Hayes, Esq. (@MissBrittHayes) March 13, 2014 According to the PR email accompanying this new “pink band” trailer for the film’s theatrical release, Wetlands is “an unapologetically vulgar coming-of-age tale about divorce, first love and anal fissures.” That pretty much sums it up. The story of an eighteen year-old girl named Helen (Carla Juri) who is into skateboarding and rebelling against the tenets of personal hygiene. As she explains in the film’s opening monologue, she’s decided to treat her body like an active science experiment. She’s out to break the glass ceilings of society’s taboos and we’re along for the ride. Just bring your dramamine.

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Lars von Trier in The Five Obstructions

If you were concerned that Lars von Trier had come out of his self-imposed media isolation (since 2011) to share assuredly bizarre news with the world, soothe your worries, because he had Stellan Skarsgard and Nymphomaniac producer Louise Vesth do the dirty work for him. During the Venice Film Festival press conference for Nymphomanic: Vol. II — Director’s Cut, which von Trier declined to attend in person, Vesth shared brief details on the filmmaker’s next project (even cranky artists who aren’t too fond of reporters need to get the word out somehow). Deadline relayed the announcement that von Trier is tackling an “unprecedented” English language TV series with an enormous international cast called The House That Jack Built. According to Vesth, it will be “something you have never seen before and something you will definitely never see again.” While that is completely believable, the plot details aren’t available yet. Von Trier is in the process of writing the series for a 2016 shoot. Although we’ll be waiting a little while before this materializes, the show’s executive producer, Peter Aalbæk Jensen, still urged everyone that “you better hold your breath.” What exactly is von Trier cooking up here? While he’s danced with television before, his best work was back in 1994 when he helmed the brilliant Danish fantasy and horror miniseries The Kingdom. That series, which centers upon a Copenhagen hospital where supernatural happenings occur, was a massive success for the filmmaker. There’s a real possibility, knowing von Trier, that the new series is going to be just as strange and surreal as […]

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Pixar Lava

It’s still nearly a year away, but Pixar wants you to meet the smiling earth pimple who will sing his way into your heart. Lava will play in front of Inside Out in June 2015, and it features two volcanoes in love. If IMDB is to be trusted, it also takes place over millions of years (most likely lived in land-bound, cloud-envying frustration). On its own, the teaser trailer is sweet and lightweight with some excellent time-lapse-aping visuals, but as yet another sign of Pixar’s return to originality and experimentation, it’s also a mountain-sized sigh of relief. Uku (singing in Kuana Torres Kahele‘s unmistakable voice) sings a song that’s essentially “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” with different lyrics that still have the same wishful meaning. He wants someone to wrap his foliage-covered arms around. Check it out for yourself:

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