Ben Kingsley

Marvel is everywhere right now. Everywhere. You can’t take two steps without hearing how Johnny Depp might be Doctor Strange or how the actor who just shared a steamy on-screen romance with Matt Damon will now share a steamy on-screen romance with a few ant farms’ worth of insects or how Abraham Van Helsing will glare and shake his fist menacingly at the Avengers or how Johnny Depp probably won’t be Doctor Strange. Also Michael Pena is up for an Ant-Man role, and that’s neat. But as a wise man once said, when you have access to Sir Ben Kingsley, use Sir Ben Kingsley. That hasn’t been forgotten in all this Marvel mayhem, as the first clip from the one-shot All Hail the King is now available for our viewing consumption. Written and directed by Iron Man 3 screenwriter Drew Pearce, the short stars Kingsley as (and this would be a spoiler, obviously, to those who haven’t seen Iron Man 3) Trevor Slattery, the party-hardy thespian who posed as the Mandarin for the bulk of the film.\

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ENDER

Director Gavin Hood received mass acclaim for his 2005 film, Tsotsi, before moving on to direct Rendition and eventually land the gig for 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine. That comic book adaptation didn’t sit too well with critics or fans, but its shortcomings don’t all fall on the feet of Hood. That production was reportedly plagued with creative differences and had a script constantly in flux, which is likely why Hood says, while discussing his new film, Ender’s Game, how beneficial it is to have a completed script before shooting. His adaptation of Orson Scott Card‘s sci-fi classic centers around a young boy, Ender Wiggin (Asa Butterfield), who literally has the world’s fate placed on his shoulders, and it’s a remarkably faithful adaptation when it comes to the book’s emotion and the finale its fans are familiar with. Hood sat down with us at the film’s press day to discuss the challenges of remaining faithful to Card’s book. Here’s what he had to say:

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ironman3

Given the $1,212,448,523 or so [according to Box Office Mojo] that Iron Man 3 has already made from playing in theaters, chances are it’s a movie that not too many people saw the trailers for and decided they’d just wait to catch it on DVD. No, not only did comic book and action movie geeks go out to see this thing on day one, but in subsequent weeks they dragged their families, their friends, their imaginary girlfriends, and possibly even their elderly neighbors out to take in additional Iron Man screenings, and at this point just about everybody on the planet has already seen it. That doesn’t mean Marvel Studios doesn’t still want you to cough up some extra cash to own it on your home video platform of choice though, so in order to entice Shellhead-heads to head out to their local retailer and pick up their copy of Iron Man 3 when it hits stores on September 24, they’ve leaked a couple of the special features that you’ll be able to find on the discs early. Click through to whet your insatiable appetite for superheroics with a deleted scene and a gag reel.

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Robert Redford Be Natural

If you don’t know who Alice Guy-Blache was, don’t worry. Not even most film studies graduates have heard of her. But they and you and everyone else should learn about this pioneering filmmaker, who is too often left out of the film history books, and fortunately now there’s a documentary in the works to help educate us. This feature film is titled Be Natural, and it already has some major support in the form of executive producer Robert Redford, narrator Jodie Foster and a whole ton of famous faces recruited to talk about what they know (and don’t know) about the first female motion picture director, including Redford, Diablo Cody, Catherine Hardwicke, Julie Taymor, Julie Delpy, Peter Billingsley, Jon Chu, Kevin Macdonald, Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Ben Kingsley. But the doc, which is being helmed by Pamela B. Green and Jarik Van Sluijs (title credits producers/designers for numerous movies, including three of Redford’s own — see their reel here), is in need of additional funding. So it’s up on Kickstarter with a goal of $200K. The money will go to many things, including further research around the world and the discovery and accumulation of old film clips, much of which requires preservation, plus special effects. Yes, special effects, to achieve this: “The film will boast 2D and 3D CGI recreations of the locations, technologies, objects, and settings of Alice’s story.” How awesome will it be for computer animations that put us back at the turn of the 20th century virtually watching […]

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Ford Enders Game

Listen, kids, you thought middle school was rough. You didn’t have Harrison Ford plucking you out of obscurity to yell at you every day about saving the human race from alien destruction. Luckily, the rest of us just get to watch it happen in the adaptation of Orson Scott Card’s beloved Ender’s Game this fall. In the second trailer for the epic space tale, directed by Gavin Hood, just a teensy tiny bit more of the plot is revealed than from the first glimpse. Here’s what we know: decades after a brutal alien war, Ford, Ben Kingsley and Viola Davis are training child super-soldiers like Abigail Breslin and Hailee Steinfeld to do battle once more. But their last hope comes in the form of an exceptionally gifted boy named Ender (Asa Butterfield), who will lead them to victory with his prowess.

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review iron man 3

We can probably all agree that Iron Man 2 is the Green Lantern of this particular franchise in that it just isn’t good. There’s a lot going on and even more characters to keep track of, but none of it congeals into anything remotely compelling or more than slightly entertaining. Well the good news is that Iron Man 3 is a better movie. The bad news is that’s not saying a whole hell of a lot. As befits the third film in a comic book franchise, our hero Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), is finally being forced to look within for his greatest challenge. He became a hero in part one, fought off powerful enemies in part two and is now coming to grips with the toll his superhero lifestyle has incurred. The events in The Avengers have left Stark suffering from PTSD, insomnia and anxiety attacks, and his romance with Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) is on the rocks. Coincidentally enough, his beautiful Malibu mansion is heading the same direction courtesy of two new threats. The Mandarin (Ben Kingsley) is a jihadist of indiscriminate ethnic background with a penchant for blowing up Americans, and Aldrich Killian (Guy Pearce) is a hotshot scientist still smarting from one of Stark’s pranks many years before.

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It’s been no secret that Shane Black’s upcoming entry into the Iron Man franchise has quite a few villains incorporated into its plot. Ben Kingsley is in the film as a shadowy string puller who may or may not be a version of classic Iron Man villain the Mandarin, Guy Pearce is playing the scientist who invents the dangerous and tech-based Extremis virus, and James Badge Dale has been recruited to play a guy named Eric Savin who, in the comics, gets turned into a cyborg named Coldblood. That’s quite a few heads for Tony Stark to bust already, so why is SuperHeroHype reporting that yet another Iron Man character, the Iron Patriot, is also going to be featured in the film? Before any theories can be concocted, first it’s necessary to give a rundown on who exactly the Iron Patriot is. In the comic books, there was recently a storyline where Spider-Man villain Norman Osborn took control of S.H.I.E.L.D. and put together his own dark version of The Avengers, which included Osborn himself wearing a version of Tony Stark’s Iron Man armor that was all painted up like the American flag to give people warm and fuzzy Captain America feelings. It was a nefarious plot that might make for a good superhero movie, if not for the fact that Norman Osborn is a Spider-Man character, the rights of which are still in the clutches of Sony…aren’t they?

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You know James Badge Dale, you just might not know that you know him. The actor has popped up in key supporting roles in films like The Departed, The Conspirator, and Shame, while also appearing in shows like 24, Rescue Me, Rubicon, and The Pacific mini-series, but it looks like Dale is about to rocket into the superhero stratosphere. Deadline Malibu reports that Dale is in talks to play a villain named Savin in Shane Black‘s upcoming Iron Man 3. While Ben Kingsley has been set as the film’s principle villain (though many are still arguing over whether or not he will be The Mandarin), it looks like the film needs another baddie to make Robert Downey Jr.‘s life harder. The outlet provides only the barest of details regarding the character, but over at /Film, Russ Fischer is guessing that he “is likely a version of Lieutenant-Colonel Eric Savin, an Army officer who debuted in Marvel comics pages in the late ’80s and was quickly transformed into a cybernetic mercenary called Coldblood-7. Think of him as something like the Marvel Comics version of RoboCop, at least from the perspective of appearance and physical makeup.” While Savin is a “relatively minor” character, Fischer also note that “he did show up in the Civil War storyline from a few years back…And the idea of an officer turned into a cybernetic killer by defense technology would fit into the rumors that Iron Man 3 features the Extremis/nanotech storyline.” Sounds like Savin just might […]

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If you’ve seen any of the other trailers for Sacha Baron Cohen’s upcoming comedy, The Dictator, then you already know what it’s all about. It mocks the absurdity of modern dictatorships, the ignorance of American jingoism, the douchiness of New York hipsters – and somehow it seems like it’s still going to tell a riches to rags story of personal growth and redemption. But to really get an idea of how far Cohen is going to be willing to go with his comedy, you have to take a look at the film’s newest red band trailer…

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Now that The Avengers is wrapped and ready to premiere, work is moving full speed ahead on the next installment of the Marvel heroes’ saga, Iron Man 3. Though the first two Iron Man movies were made under the watch of Jon Favreau, this one is being put together by director Shane Black (Kiss Kiss Bang Bang), and if there was ever any doubt that he would be able to live up to what Favreau did with the property, the casting he’s been doing is starting to erase it. First off, Black needed a villain, so he went out and got one of the most experienced and acclaimed actors working today, Ben Kingsley, and signed him up. Now he’s in need of someone who looks good in a lab coat, so he’s gone out and gotten one of the most underrated and underutilized actors in Hollywood. According to Variety, Guy Pearce (L.A. Confidential, Memento) will be joining the likes of Kingsley, Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, and Don Cheadle in the Iron Man 3 cast, and he’ll be playing the role of geneticist Aldrich Killian.

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In 2010, Jon Favreau wasn’t out of the Iron Man business yet when he announced that Iron Man 3 had to have The Mandarin. It made sense. After all, it’s the most formidable opponent Tony Stark ever went up against. Plus, there have been small hints and references to the Chinese baddie since the opening of the first film. There hasn’t been an official announcement, but all news has been leading to the obvious: that The Mandarin will be the villain in Shane Black‘s movie. First, it was rumored that Sir Ben Kingsley might be on board to fight Robert Downey Jr.,  according to Variety, The Walt Disney Company China will co-produce alongside Marvel and DMG Entertainment. DMG will oversee the production in China as well as distribution in the country. Is there any doubt at this point that The Mandarin will be the villain? There were some unconfirmed “insider” reports that the production wasn’t looking to The Mandarin, but with China in play, Kingsley as a clear (albeit non-Chinese) choice for a role like this, and the earlier nods within the storyline, either it’s definitely him, or this is a massive head fake from Marvel. Shoe money is on the former.

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Ben Kingsley

Ben Kingsley is in negotiations to play a villain role in Iron Man 3, according to sources familiar with the subject — as passed through the folks at THR. There isn’t much word yet on which villain he may play, but one name being thrown around currently is Iron Man’s number one foe, The Mandarin. It’s a character that was hinted at early on by Iron Man director and Iron Man 3 executive producer Jon Favreau, even going so far as to place the Ten Rings of The Mandarin in the first story. 

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Culture Warrior

The self-reflexive practices of the meta-film take various forms. On the one hand, there’s the legacy of cinephilic directors from Brian De Palma to P. T. Anderson to Robert Rodriguez who shout out to specific films through their in-crowd referencing, or even go so far as to structure entire narratives through tributes to cinema’s past. Then there’s “the wink,” those film’s, like this weekend’s The Muppets, who exercise cheeky humor by breaking the fourth wall and by constant reference to the fact that they are in a heavily constructed film reality. The third category is less common, but perhaps the most interesting. There has been a recent influx of films that don’t use past films to construct present narratives or engage in Brecht-light humor, but have as their central narrative concern the broad developmental history of the medium itself, from practices of filmgoing to particularities of projection, and anything in between. Bertolucci’s The Dreamers is a good example of this mode of meta-filmmaking, but more high-profile films have begin to make this turn, specifically by directors who formerly operated in the first (and perhaps most common) category, like Tarantino with Inglourious Basterds two years ago. Now Martin Scorsese has followed suit with the 3D love letter to early cinema and film preservation that is Hugo.

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It’s hard to overstate just how amazing it is to consider a big-budget, major studio-produced 3D family adventure centered on Georges Méliès. Before now, the work of the early cinematic innovator, whose movies (most famously 1903’s A Trip to the Moon) revolutionized and advanced special effects, has been relegated to film history texts and brief snippets of televised specials. If there’s one filmmaker to make Méliès matter again, to introduce him to a mass audience, it’s Martin Scorsese. After all, the Oscar-winning legend is not just one of the foremost cinematic masters, as a noted film preservationist, he’s among the chief protectors of the long, glorious and frequently threatened legacy of the motion picture. In Hugo, Scorsese transforms the trappings of a 3D holiday picture into a loving tribute to Méliès and the earliest masters of the cinematic dream factory. From the structure of its narrative, to the details of its plot, and the industrialized nature of its majestic visuals, this is a film infused with the joy and wonder of movies. Set amid the glittering magic of Paris in the early 1930s, the film follows 12-year-old orphan Hugo Cabret (Asa Butterfield), who secretly lives in a train station. Hugo, who winds the station’s clocks, dwells inside a labyrinthine interior comprised of enormous grinding gears, rising steam currents, and other elaborate metallic concoctions. Among the latter is a non-functioning automaton brought home by Hugo’s late father (Jude Law), which the young man works on incessantly in the hope that he can bring […]

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The next movie from progressive, freak-people -the-hell-out filmmaker Sacha Baron Cohen will see him playing the deposed dictator of a Middle Eastern country who gets repeatedly horrified with his experiences during a trip to the United States. Larry Charles, the director of both Borat and Bruno, is returning to direct this Cohen joint as well, so you have to imagine that it will retain elements of that attacking an unsuspecting public with a controversial character gimmick that Cohen has relied on for laughs so far. But interacting with Midwestern intellectuals and coercing them into saying ridiculously racist and homophobic things doesn’t seem to be all that this one has to offer, if it goes in that direction at all. Charles and Cohen are looking to fill some key roles with seasoned, recognizable actors, so this may prove to be a much more tightly scripted story than anything we’ve yet seen from the duo. While the hunt for the female lead is still ongoing (with Kristen Wiig, Anna Ferris, and Gillian Jacobs’s names being thrown around as front-runners), one of the other big roles of the film has been filled; and filled by an Oscar winner. Ben Kingsley has signed on to join Cohen and whoever the heck else in this satirical look at power-mad rulers. The details of the story are still unclear, but it is said that Kingsley will be playing one of two Middle Eastern characters. Even though he does some real crap every once in a while, […]

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kevin-reportcard-header

This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr heads to the desert to grade Sex and the City 2 and Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.

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When I thought more and more about it, I realized that Scorsese is one director that doesn’t need 3D to add depth to his visuals.

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kevin-reportcard-header

Kevin Carr sits his chubbiness down weighs in on Shutter Island and the slate of Oscar-nominated short films, in theaters this week.

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Expecting a quality film from Martin Scorsese is like expecting to get wet in the rain. It’s the anticipation of the inevitable with the director who has given us so many excellent cinematic experience, and you wouldn’t be foolish to expect quality here again with Shutter Island.

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princeofpersia-trailer-header

First, the Prince of Persia trailer was leaked. We didn’t move on it. Then, the Prince of Persia trailer dropped in HD, right after FSR’s Editor-in-Chief woke up from a nap. Perfect timing.

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