John Logan

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With Dexter no longer holding down the fort in the blood and guts department, Showtime has upped the ante and gone straight up horror with Oscar-nominated writer/producer John Logan‘s Penny Dreadful. Logan, writer of Martin Scorsese-directed films The Aviator and Hugo, as well as co-writer of Skyfall, clearly comes with an excellent pedigree, and his foray into the world of television comes with some big screen names. Josh Hartnett (30 Days of Night), Eva Green (Casino Royale), and another Bond alumnus, Timothy Dalton, will star in the alternate reality, Victorian London-era series, where iconic creatures of the night exist and roam the land doing what will most certainly be nefarious and gross things. Check out the show’s first quick teaser:

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Sam Mendes directing Bond

Despite Sam Mendes’ protestations in March that he had made “the very difficult decision” not to return to the Bond franchise, the director and the studios themselves announced today that he is on board to helm Bond 24. Daniel Craig is also set to don his tuxedo once more and play the legendary secret agent.

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Skyfall

Skyfall feels, in many ways, like the last film in Daniel Craig‘s tenure as James Bond. It’s only his third go round as the British secret agent, but he’s already haggard, unshaven and tired of the back-stabbing, gun-toting rat race. When a list of MI6’s undercover agents is stolen (that’s right, it’s the old NOC list chestnut!) Bond and Agent Eve (Naomie Harris) are tasked with recovering it, but the mission goes awry and Bond is left for dead. He’s not, obviously, but he’s enjoying the peaceful anonymity and seaside screws too much to give a damn about anything else. But when MI6 is attacked back in London Bond rises from the dead and returns to duty. He tries to anyway, but injuries, indifference and a battered spirit threaten to keep him on the bench. It’s only when the stakes get personal for him and M (Judi Dench) that he musters the will needed to fight back. But will it be too late? Skyfall is big, beautiful entertainment that delivers the expected action set-pieces but adds truly artistic visuals and multiple odes to Bond films of the past fifty years. It’s never dull, occasionally surprising and unafraid to delve into Bond’s life more than any film since On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Unfortunately (and unnecessarily), all of that comes at the price of gaping plot holes and staggering lapses in logic.

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John Logan

We’ve been anxiously counting down to the release of Skyfall, and luckily for Brian and Kevin, they’ll only need to come up with 104 more entries as we keep the feature going as a countdown to Bond 24. According to MI6, the next Bond will fall back into the two-year release cycle (that was thwarted by legal hijinks after Die Another Day). Filming on the new outing is set for next year with a release sometime in late 2014. That’s pretty good, but the earliest Bonds came out only a year apart. Just sayin’. The site is also reporting that writer John Logan (Gladiator, Rango, Noah) will be returning after crafting the script for Skyfall with Robert Wade and Neal Purvis to take a stab at Bond 24 while flying solo. He’s apparently already completed an outline, and star Daniel Craig is ready to roll as soon as the story is in place, so the momentum is in their favor. Great news. Logan is a talented writer, and Skyfall is being praised from here to eternity. Granted, this also seems to signal that the happy-go-lucky cheese of Bonds past may be dead completely. The updated secret agent has seen some tonal changes that exceed simply sipping a broad market beer, and they’re apparently here to stay. I also wonder how the Brits feel about Americans taking over their longest-standing iconic movie character. Hopefully he’ll be driving on the correct side of the road and calling it “soccer” soon enough.

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Pardon me? In one of those weird twists of Hollywood casting (and crewing?), Variety reports that a well-regarded director (Jon Favreau) is the frontrunner to helm a beloved property (the cinematic adaptation of hit musical Jersey Boys) in a combination that just doesn’t make one goddamn lick of sense. Favs? A musical? Wha-what? While the Iron Man and Iron Man 2 helmer certainly knows how to juggle a lot of big pieces in his productions, I can’t say that I ever thought song-and-dance numbers would be one of them, and I sure as hell can’t say I am sold on this idea. The Tony and Grammy-winning hit musical Jersey Boys (originally produced by Dodger Theatricals, written by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, directed by Des McAnuff, with music by Four Seasons member Bob Gaudio and lyrics by Bob Crewe) was officially announced back in January, with Hugo scribe John Logan set to adapt it. The musical centers on the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, and their incredible rise to fame in the 1960s, and it’s one of those rare “historical” musicals that’s just as much fun for fans of the original group as it is for newbies.

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Oscar 2012 Predictions: Best Adapted Screenplay

While it’s inevitable that one day, perhaps one day soon, the Best Adapted Screenplay category will be jam-packed with reboots and comic book stories and robot superheros flicks, it’s not quite that day just yet. For now, Adapted Screenplay (which, over the years, has also been called Screenplay Adapted From Other Material, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium, and Best Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published) is the refuge of book nerds and theatre wonks. And, also, weirdly enough, sequels (did you know that all sequels are automatically considered adaptations because they must be based on the original story?). This year’s category includes some of the year’s best films (and one I absolutely hated, mainly because I love the original material so much), from a family drama to a kiddie flick for grown-ups, all the way to a political drama and a sports drama and a big, smart spy flick. But, in my mind, there’s just one clear nominee deserving of the award – but do you agree? Read on for the nominations and my predicted winner in red…

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It’s been a year filled with silent screen stars seeking redemption, the 1920s coming alive in Paris, a young boy searching for the first great director, sex addicts in New York City, horses going to war, maids of dishonor, and skulls getting crushed in elevators. Now it’s time to celebrate all of those things and more with the 84th annual Academy Awards. They’ve come a long way since the Hotel Roosevelt in 1929 (although sex addicts have almost always been a fixture). Get to ready to smile, ball your fists with snubbed rage, or be generally unsurprised. Here they are. The 2012 Oscar nominees:

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It’s not often that word of a large-scale adaptation of an existing theatrical property thrills me to my absolute core, but I am willing to forget all the weird Les Miserables Starring Country Pop Star Taylor Swift talk if this next project works out as well as it should. Word about a cinematic adaptation of the Tony and Grammy-winning hit musical Jersey Boys (originally produced by Dodger Theatricals, written by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, directed by Des McAnuff, with music by Four Seasons member Bob Gaudio and lyrics by Bob Crewe) has been brewing for awhile, and it’s such a welcome concept for a film that I might actually be dancing in my chair right now. The musical centers on the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, and their incredible rise to fame in the 1960s, and it’s one of those rare musicals that deserves all the heaping and glittery praise it has received. Dancing in the aisles? Check. Smiling from ear to ear? Drama laced in with a great story and fantastic music? Check, check, check! In case it’s not yet readily apparent, I love this musical. It’s my favorite musical. The way people feel about Les Miz? That’s how I feel about Jersey Boys. So the news that two-time Academy Award-nominated screenwriter John Logan has been picked to adapt the film has excited me so much that I’ve very nearly passed out six times while writing this.

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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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Patti Smith and John Logan are collaborating on a spec script based on Smith’s own memoir, “Just Kids,” an intimate book that chronicled Smith’s relationship with seminal American artist Robert Mapplethorpe. Smith has never written a feature film, but the punk singer has a long history in writing poetry and her own lyrics and the actual book, so she’ll likely do just fine with the material. Logan is an Oscar-winning screenwriter who has big stuff under his belt, like The Aviator and Rango, along with upcoming films Hugo, Bond 23, and Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln. Though the film doesn’t have distribution set up, the star power of the screenwriting pair combined with the National Book Award-winning memoir should make it easy for the film to find a home. And that’s not to mention the fact that a “Just Kids” film is exactly what all the pot-smoking hipsters of the world have likely been whining for while drinking their PBRs on the blackest of Brooklyn nights. It’s a great book to read while you’re waiting for your next game of pick-up dodgeball or whatever. And, for all the hipster digs that may be easy to take at the book, it’s a fairly wonderful examination of both friendship and art.

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Rango is the first animated genre movie I’ve seen that, with no exaggeration, works as well as its live-action counterparts possibly could. Gore Verbinski’s latest is a damn fine western, an entertaining throwback to classic B-pictures that pays clever tribute to its predecessors. Sure, it’s populated by walking/talking lizards, rattlesnakes, and Gila monsters. So what? A lizard suffering from some serious existential torment, Rango (Johnny Depp) knows not who he is or of the world beyond the tank he’s called home and the pseudo-tropical knickknacks he’s made his friends. That changes forever when a karmic car accident finds the good-humored, tropical shirt-baring reptile abandoned in the Mojave Desert, his domicile destroyed forever. Making his way through the treacherous terrain, our hero dodges an enormous falcon, befriends roadkill named Roadkill (Alfred Molina) and is eventually escorted by fiery fellow lizard Beans (Isla Fisher) to the long-forgotten, crumbling town of Dirt.

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MGM’s financial woes did a number on a handful of films that audiences were truly looking forward to, and with The Hobbit coming together so nicely (and yet, mostly without MGM), it seems as if the time is right for the next Bond installment to start heading down the pre-production path again. The Hollywood Reporter has reported in the barest sense possible that Daniel Craig will return as James Bond for the 23rd film, directed by Academy Award winner Sam Mendes, and written by Bond veterans Neal Purvis and Robert Wade alongside Academy Award nominee John Logan. The movie will shoot later this year, and attempt to toast martini glasses on November 9, 2012 for a release in everyone’s neck of the woods. All I can say is, it’s about time. Sam Mendes is an amazing talent, and his version of the spy is sure to be something intimate and heartbreaking. Of course, we’ll be planning a list of our favorite twenty-thirdquels in anticipation.

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Rango

Considering that we post movie news, almost every trailer we can find, and speculate wildly on film casting, we’re all about mystery here at FSR. It’s because we, and the rest of the world, are so awash in information that we long for a movie that comes out of left field and hits us in the face. With a fish. This new teaser trailer for Rango does exactly what it needs to do. It teases.

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Director Kathryn Bigelow took seven years to go from one project (2002’s K-19: The Widowmaker) to another (2009’s The Hurt Locker). And while that isn’t exactly the decade-plus that ex-husband James Cameron took between Titanic and Avatar, it certainly isn’t a little break. So to see her already jumping into another project is surprising…

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published: 12.19.2014
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published: 12.18.2014
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published: 12.17.2014
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