Craig Gillespie

Walt Disney Pictures

We all know baseball is just a game, but professional baseball is a game with much higher stakes. Million Dollar Arm tells the real life story of struggling sports agent JB Bernstein (Jon Hamm) who finds himself desperately looking for his next big client to keep his new company (and expensive lifestyle) intact. But his promise of changing his clients’ lives may actually come true when he discovers first-time ball players Rinku (Suraj Sharma) and Dinesh (Madur Mittal). After JB and his business partner Aash (Aasif Mandvi) lose a huge client, they find themselves faced with the fact that their dream of launching their own agency may officially be over. But in a move that feels more Don Draper than JB Bernstein, Hamm’s JB comes up with a last minute Hail Mary idea that has him traveling to India to host a contest and hopefully find the next great pitcher. With a million dollars on the line, the try-outs are packed, but the talent is slim and just when JB, Aash and Ray (Alan Arkin as a crotchety, slightly narcoleptic scout) are ready to call it, they discover some actual potential.

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Craig Gillespie’s career as a director has been an interesting one so far. He made the Ryan Gosling-starring indie drama Lars and the Real Girl, which was gutsy, unique, and acclaimed enough that you would think it would have been his first shot fired in a quick and easy takeover of the indie film world. But that’s not the story at all. Lars and the Real Girl wasn’t Gillespie’s debut film that we’re all eagerly awaiting a followup to, it was his second film, and it’s sandwiched in between the mainstream and pretty mediocre fare Mr. Woodcock and Fright Night (you know, the remake). What’s with the strange disparity? And what direction can we expect Gillespie’s career to take in the future? A new report from Variety might give us something of an idea. Apparently the director is in talks to bring to the screen a Black List script (the yearly list of best unproduced screenplays) called Flamingo Thief. Penned by You, Me, and Dupree writer Michael LeSieur and adapted from a novel by Susan Trott, Flamingo Thief tells the story of a lawyer who becomes unhinged after being left by his wife, so he copes by stealing pink flamingo statues out of people’s yards. Despite the fact that his calendar is filled for the immediate future due to his commitments to Anchorman 2 and Three Mississippi, Will Ferrell is attached to star as said litigious thief.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column currently perpetrating a home invasion on yo’ behind. It’s going to tie you up and make you watch while it plays video games in your living room. Also, it will tell you the news… We begin with my favorite thing of the night, the Halloween special episode of Community, “Horror Fiction in Seven Spooky Steps,” yet another brilliant display of the playful and unfathomably intelligent writing behind this show. Something broken down quite nicely in Todd VanDerWerff’s review at The AV Club. And for those of us with simpler tastes, there’s a Community BINGO drinking game now. Coming soon to Reject HQ…

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The production of the upcoming adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith’s “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” has been a bit of a roller coaster ride. There have been questions about the budget, the schedule, who would end up directing, and perhaps most prominently, who would play the female lead Elizabeth. Pretty much every Hollywood “It” girl you can name has been up for the role, and for whatever reason all of them have ended up turning it down. The production has been through Emma Stone, Mia Wasikowska, Scarlett Johansson, and even Natalie Portman, who has a producer’s credit on the thing but won’t star in it. So, take this news with a grain of salt, but Twitch is reporting that another spin around the casting merry-go-round has landed director Craig Gillespie another candidate for Elizabeth. They say that Gossip Girl star Blake Lively is the new choice, and that an offer has been sent her way.

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Updated with correction: We posted this rumor earlier, but according to a representative at Lionsgate that we asked for comment, Gillespie is still on board the project. Regarding the rumor, the representative said, “This is not true. [Gillespie] is still set to direct.” We apologize for the error, but the situation doesn’t at all change Kate’s feelings on the project that can be found below: News from our pals at Twitch reports that director Craig Gillespie has left the troubled film adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith‘s novel, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, that reimagines the Jane Austen classic as a story not just about the emotional battles of Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy, but those battles as set against a countryside overrun with zombies. If Gillespie is off the project, he joins two other directors who previously jumped ship on the film - David O. Russell and Mike White. Besides not having a director, the film is also sorely lacking for a leading lady, with Mila Kunis, Emma Stone, Rooney Mara, and Olivia Wilde all reportedly considered for the role or straight out offered it in the past, with none of them ever signing on. Buzz continues to turn back to Natalie Portman, however, as Portman’s production company is co-producing the project and the actress has an open schedule after the recent birth of her son. As of now, Dominic Cooper is apparently set to play Mr. Darcy, making him the only person with a firm commitment at this point. But, considering the revolving […]

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr flexes his rippling muscles and sets out to live a warrior lifestyle, just like Jason Momoa in Conan the O’Barbarian. But before he can do that, he has to drive a stake through his neighbor’s heart, since he’s certain he lives next door to a vampire. What else could all those sparkles be about? Meanwhile, he sends his kids off to a dangerous 3D, Aroma-Vision mission, hoping they can make it as real spy kids so they can teach him to put on a fake British accent and woo a not-quite-British Anne Hathaway.

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I am likely one of very few critics that sat down to watch Craig Gillespie’s Fright Night having not seen Tom Holland’s 1985 original first, but upon doing so after, feel I’ve unintentionally done myself a great service. Now that I’ve seen it, the original is a great film; Chris Sarandon’s Jerry Dandrige and Roddy McDowall’s Peter Vincent are uniquely them, the tone and pace a perfect example of eighties horror done right – smart and campy all at once. Like most re-makes/re-imaginings, if the original felt good and was a part of my film collage growing up, it would have colored my perception of the new offering by default. This certainly isn’t bad, but it’s not always the best way to approach something new. I am glad then that in putting the cart before the horse, I was able to appreciate and have a good bit of fun with this latest offering.

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I visited the set of the new Fright Night movie last September and wrote about the experience here. That post covers my thoughts on the whole process, but it’s not all I have to report. No siree, while I was there several members of the cast and crew took time out of their clearly busy schedule to chat with the press. Unheard of you say? It’s true! And here are some words to prove it from the likes of Anton Yelchin and director Craig Gillespie! [These are excerpts from group interviews conducted during the set visit.] Be sure to check out all of our Fright Night coverage here.

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I visited the set of the new Fright Night movie last September and wrote about the experience here. That post covers my thoughts on the whole process, but it’s not all I have to report. No siree, while I was there several members of the cast and crew took time out of their clearly busy schedule to chat with the press. Unheard of you say? It’s true! And here are some words to prove it from the likes of Colin Farrell and Imogen Poots! [These are excerpts from group interviews conducted during the set visit.] Be sure to check out all of our Fright Night coverage here.

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It’s September of last year and I’m standing in a hallway at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Albuquerque, New Mexico, cursing at the door to my room. It’s one of those ubiquitous card key locks, and I’m in no mood for a third trek down the long hall, down the glass elevator, and back to the front desk to admit once again that I’m apparently an idiot who can’t open a door. It’s a brilliant start to my Fright Night press visit that I’m only a part of due to a scheduling conflict elsewhere on the FSR team, and when combined with my already cynical view of the whole set visit concept it hardly bodes well for the next few days. I just don’t see the appeal of it all for anyone aside from the studio and the writer. The studio gets some relatively cheap marketing, the writer gets a free trip, free hotel, and a chance to hobnob with the talent, and the readers get… what? Interview quotes that will be repeated on a dozen different web sites? A puff piece about how awesome the final movie is going to be? Clearly, I’m the wrong person for this particular assignment.

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Ah, marketing. It’s a funny, fickle thing. Case in point – today’s new international trailer for Craig Gillespie’s Fright Night remake. This look at the film doesn’t serve so much as a tease for the film, hinting at the blood and fire and really bad driving in the film, but as a full-on greatest hits reel. If 3D ticket prices are getting too high for you, you can skip the film altogether and just watch this trailer on a loop for an hour and a half with your sunglasses on. But if you’re even slightly interested in Gillespie’s take on Tom Holland’s 1985 horror flick, maybe resist. Gillespie, who you doll fetishists out there surely know as the director of Lars and the Real Girl, stars Anton Yelchin as regular kid Charley Brewster, who soon learns that his new next door neighbor (Colin Farrell) is guilty of much more than just hideous, Ed Hardy-heavy fashion choices. He may be a vampire, and not one of those romantic, sparkly ones, an actual vampire who likes to kill. I’ve seen the film, and it’s a fairly good time. Fans of the original will notice a multitude of similar beats within its structure, and Gillespie and screenwriter Marti Noxon are clearly gracious to Holland’s story. But it’s worth the price of admission for David Tennant’s performance as Peter Vincent alone, reshaped to imagine the vampire hunter as a Criss Angel-style magician with no powers, no talents, and a serious aversion to any alcohol […]

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As it turns out, the upcoming Fright Night remake may indeed be awesome. The trailer was impressive and didn’t show anything in particular to be worried about, except for the serious lack of David Tennant. An excuse could be made that they wanted to set up a tone Tennant doesn’t fit, so it makes sense not to include a more comedic character like that. Regardless, a recent clip (via MTV) was just put out on the web, and it’s good. The scene features a nice little moment of Farrell not-so-subtlety warning Yelchin, and it works incredibly well. But one of the few reasons why Fright Night may actually be good is due to some of the solid buzz coming out of the screening MTV just held. I’ve heard from more than a few people that it works pretty well as cool vampire film, and that it’s much better than one might think a Fright Night remake would be. I do hope the film surpasses being more than just another fun horror movie, though.

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Why anticipate a remake of an 80s horror flick? For one, it’s that rare breed of remake where the original has a lot of great material to work with but can still clearly be improved upon. Or at least updated. Still, it was unclear what tone the new Fright Night was going to nail down. Would it have that tinge of comedy that made the original so perfect? Would it get disgusting? Would it be overly influenced by the new string of teen horror that’s hollow and dull? This trailer seems to provide an answer alongside the motorcycle it throws into your car window.

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“Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” was a strange idea for a book. Author Seth Grahame-Smith took a Jane Austen classic about social repression, marriage, estates, and all of that 19th century England stuff that Austen liked to write about, and he infused it with subtle elements of a zombie story. The military encampment outside of town is explained as being there to combat the zombies, character’s already existing actions are explained as being motivated due to zombie bite, etc… When he talked to FSR about the book, he said that it was about 85% original Austen text and 15% his own crazy additions. Needless to say, an idea so radical drew a lot of attention and Grahame-Smith’s book sold a lot of copies. In order to cash in on the craze, he went on to write “Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter”, a similar book that tells the story of Lincoln’s life, but subtly inserts fights with blood sucking fiends at every turn. Both of Grahame-Smith’s books eventually got optioned to become feature films, but Pride and Prejudice and Zombies hit so many snags in pre-production that Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter has all but lapped it, getting a script and a director and a cast before any real motion could be made on Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. But it looks like that is about to change.

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The retread is both retro for being from the 80s and hip for being about vampires, and it just got a strong lead actor.

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Realness is easy to take for granted. One thinks it’s just common sense, but what really makes something “real.”

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