George Nolfi

Sam Jones and Timothy Dalton in Flash Gordon

With Star Wars heading back to theaters, it’s only natural that Flash Gordon follow suit. Ironically, it was the 1930s Flash Gordon serial that was a big influence on George Lucas, whose Star Wars movies then seemed to have an influence on the release of the campy Flash Gordon feature in 1980. This time, though, another adaptation of Alex Raymond’s sci-fi comic strip will be more tied to the Star Trek franchise. According to The Hollywood Reporter, hot new screenwriters J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay, who worked on the next Trek installment, have been hired to script this other reboot. They’re working off a treatment by George Nolfi (The Adjustment Bureau), who’ll be producing with John Davis, of Predator, Waterworld and Norbit fame. That sounds like it’s in decent hands, though maybe hands that are too serious. And a Flash Gordon movie that’s taken seriously is going to be hard to accept unless it is outstanding in a totally new way. Many of us are just too fond of how the last version was done (with some of us also fans of the cheesy serials) to see the appeal in something that’s not at least a little tongue-in-cheek. Plus, Sam Jones’s recent cameo in Ted, with full-on Flash Gordon homage, was only another reminder of the property’s association with the most awesome kind of silliness. 

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With social media infiltrating the minutiae of daily existence, it’s only inevitable that the prevalence of such things would seep into the multiplex. And, of course, movie theaters near you will soon be bombarded with “social media thrillers” that center the dangers of Twitter feeds, Instagram accounts, Facebook profiles, and Google+ circles (kidding about the Google+, sorry, Google!). After all, what’s more terrifying that someone having access to scads of information about you, including (in some cases) your real-time location? And what could be more compelling than such a thriller penned by Black Swan scribe Mark Heyman? We reported on Heyman’s script, called XOXO, over a year ago, and back then we only knew that it was set to center on “the way that social media has altered our interactions. The story is about a young man who meets a girl online, starts up a relationship with her, but then finds her to be not quite what he expected once she starts taking the relationship to strange, stalkery places.” The film will also “incorporate both webcam, documentary elements…and it will create stylized visual sequences to depict the online interactions between the two main characters.” Heyman wrote the script on spec, but it now seems to be tapping right along, with Lionsgate attaching George Nolfi to both direct and help with a rewrite on the project.

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This week, Fat Guy Kevin Carr gets an added dose of tiger’s blood and Adonis DNA to make it through all the movie-watching he endures. He bats about .500 in his screenings, really liking some but struggling through others. After a visit to the wild west of Rango, he finds his fate adjusted by a mysterious fleet of men with stylish hats. Then, he realizes how ugly Number Four really is before staying out all night, drinking with Topher Grace and Teresa Palmer… who looks a lot like Number Six.

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The Adjustment Bureau, loosely adapted from a Philip K. Dick story, takes on one of science fiction’s stock themes. Fans of Lost, for example, or Minority Report or The Matrix will recognize the classic struggle between fate and free will at the heart of the picture, the clash between the universe’s plan for us and our desire to carve out our own destiny. It’s familiar, quasi-religious territory rendered with stylish flair by writer-director George Nolfi and cinematographer John Toll. Set in a Manhattan rife with dapper henchmen in fedoras and swanky buildings with long marble foyers, captured in sweeping camera movements and symmetrical compositions, the film has the look of a production of weighty, spiritual import. Yet that stylistic edge services a love story that starts flat and never gets going. It’s a forced and altogether empty conjoining of two moderately likable, exceedingly bland individuals that inspires none of the deep, transcendent passion required of a narrative so immersed in spirituality.

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George Nolfi‘s directorial debut, The Adjustment Bureau, isn’t exactly extreme sci-fi. While that may disappoint the Phillip K. Dick faithful followers, it’ll most likely be the key element that swoons over those looking for a love story. That’s what The Adjustment Bureau is first and foremost: a love story set in the real world. Besides the main antagonists who are, of course, The Adjustment Bureau, everything is fairly rooted in reality. The bureau represents the only true sci-fi element of the film. Like the best science-fiction, their presence is raises questions about fate and free will. What they do is set up as more of a grey area plan rather than a villainous world-dominating scheme, which is something that seemed important to Nolfi. Here’s what writer-director George Nolfi had to say about reality, style, the charms of John Slattery and his constant use in the film of, “Son of a bitch.”

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Here comes another dour, science fiction infused love story. Alright, so those aren’t exactly running amok these days, are they. Which is perhaps the reason why George Nolfi’s directorial debut The Adjustment Bureau seems so interesting.

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paulgreengrass-bourne

Rumors had been swirling since late last week, and this week Variety has confirmed that director Paul Greengrass is leaving the Bourne franchise. So what is Universal going to do now?

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damon-header

The story, with action, romance and sci-fi overtones, sees Matt Damon playing a politician who falls for a ballerina only to find mysterious forces keeping the two apart. That sounds about right when you add that it is loosely based on the work of Philip K. Dick.

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Jason Bourne: Chasing Down James Bond

Among cinematic super-spies, Jason Bourne is currently the ‘in’ guy, despite the fact that sneaky Brit agent James Bond continues to truck right along, releasing his 22nd installment next month. But Bourne isn’t backing down.

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