Matt Reeves

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes 06

Warning: Spoilers for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (and all of the Apes films, for that matter) When Battle for the Planet of the Apes ended the franchise’s first cinematic run in 1973, it concluded the series with something of a whimper instead of a bang. While many of the original Apes sequels are enduringly fascinating in their expanding narratives, trenchant topicality and surprisingly bleak endings, they were also assembly line products rushed through production annually, with nearly each successive entry’s budget slashed in half – a series constructed on a model of diminishing returns. Most of the normal creative team were not available for the fifth entry, so The Omega Man’s married screenwriting team of John and Joyce Corrington were hired to helm Battle despite being unfamiliar with the series. After inter- and intra-species conflict, Battle ends with a flash-forward (a bookending device) showing a monument of Caesar (Roddy McDowall) with a tear going down his face as the orangutan Lawgiver (John Huston) tells his story of unifying man and ape. The ending has been criticized then and now for its cloying, unearned sentimentality – perhaps the fatigue of Vietnam made even this call for peace in a “family film” ring false only four short years after John and Yoko urged Americans to give it a chance – and it emotes without ever really saying anything. Is the Caesar statue crying over achieving peace, or with the knowledge that peace is only temporary? Inadvertently or not, the ambivalence of this final moment […]

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Black Hole

If your weekend consisted of checking out Matt Reeves’ wonderful Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and then wrapping yourself in a warm blanket and reminding yourself that Little Caesar is a-okay (for now, and also, that is the baby ape’s name, right?) and just gently rocking for the remainder of Saturday and Sunday, we understand. But perhaps it’s time you emerge from your emotional fog and remember some of the less wrenching parts of the film. Like that time that Alexander (Kodi Smit-McPhee) made friends with Maurice (played by Karin Konoval) by sharing the magic of books, graphic novels, and storytelling. That was nice, right? And also, what was that book? Perhaps there is some subtext buried here. In Reeves’ film, young Alexander forges a tenuous connection with the big-hearted ape Maurice, who exhibits a love for reading and knowledge early in the film, through a book (Maurice, it seems, is teaching the little ones about both the rules that govern their society and how to express them via hand signal and the written word). Despite enduring tremendous hardships in his young life (like the death of his mother, Simian Flu in general, and the dismantling of society as we know it), Alexander is still a regular teen at heart — and that’s reflected in his choice of reading material: Charles Burns‘ “Black Hole.” But what is “Black Hole”? And, wait, is there already a movie about the seminal graphic novel? Sort of.

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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes Reeves

When some actors and directors promote an adaptation or remake they’ll pretend they’ve always been fans of the original movie or the comic. You can generally tell when they’re lying, trying to pander to fans. Thankfully, real die-hard fans often get to be a part of properties that actually mean something to them. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes director, Matt Reeves, is one of those people. Like most kids growing up in the ’80s, the New York-born filmmaker gravitated toward E.T., Close Encounters, and Star Wars. For Reeves, though, those films never held a candle to Planet of the Apes. “That was my obsession. That was my Star Wars,” he tells us over the phone, counting the hours until the film opens this Friday. When it comes to the Apes franchise the original film and, the strangest of the series, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, are his favorites — Reeves is still shaken by the image of the mutated humans removing their faces in the latter film. He also has a deep fondness for the television series which only lasted, to his surprise, three months back in 1974. “I thought for sure it was on for years because it took up so much of my childhood. I had dolls, the records, and these comic books. I was so obsessed with that world.”

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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

Rise of the Planet of the Apes was so impressive it washed the taste of Tim Burton’s failed Apes remake out of our mouths for good. If there was a problem with the 2011 reboot, it was that the humans, while adequate, did not match the screen presence of the real leads of the film: Caesar (Andy Serkis) and his followers. The sequel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, wisely keeps its focus on the apes while also putting enough thought into the humans to make director Matt Reeves‘ movie a consistently thrilling and emotional summer blockbuster. Ten years after the Golden Gate Bridge showdown, the simian flu has killed billions. The Apes, who’ve now built a peaceful community together, even wonder if there are any humans left. Led by their strong leader, Caesar, who’s now a family man, they live by a simple code: apes don’t harm apes. They’ve seen the mistakes made by humans and do not want history to repeat itself. Their way of life is interrupted (as it often is) when people enter the picture. Led by Malcolm (Jason Clarke), a group of humans want to enter Caesar’s territory, hoping to bring power back to San Francisco. Both sides have to work together to make this happen, so naturally, hate and distrust bubble up between the two sides.

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Mr Petrified Forrest

This is another edition of Short Starts, where we present a weekly short film(s) from the start of a filmmaker or actor’s career. Various things can happen to a famous director’s student films. Mostly they wind up hidden from us, sometimes permanently in the case of something intentionally destroyed, other times simply held from being uploaded to YouTube or another video site. It’s not often that a currently successful filmmaker is proud of his or her schoolwork, no matter how much money, passion and talent he or she put into it. That’s a shame, because a lot of these pre-professional shorts (and occasional features) aren’t that bad. Many have won awards, deservedly so. Others helped the student get a foot in the door, which obviously means there was promise there. In very, very rare circumstances, a student film will get distribution, possibly in an altered form. That was the case for Matt Reeves, director of the new sequel Dawn of the Planet of the Apes as well as Cloverfield and Let Me In. Reeves attended the University of Southern California, where he made an award-winning short film titled Mr. Petrified Forrest during the 1991-1992 year. Other now-prominent people who worked on it include J.J. Abrams, who co-produced and composed the scored under the name Jeffrey Abrams and also created a plane crash scene (on his parents’ lawn) that looks like a Max Fischer production of the Lost pilot. Regular Abrams collaborators Bryan Burk and Greg Grunberg were also producers, the latter […]

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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

Perhaps the most intriguing thing about Matt Reeves‘ upcoming Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (DOTPOTA, if you’re feeling saucy) is that the sequel to Rise of the Planet of the Apes jumps ahead a whole decade, presenting an entirely new world that’s been ravaged by a bunch of things: Simian flu, human greed, and unbridled ape power. The first film ended with all hell just breaking loose, so to zip forward into, well, that actual hell, is pretty damn bold. But time jumps don’t necessarily work for everyone, and while we have no doubt that Reeves’ film will fill in the holes in a satisfying manner, sometimes you just want to see a little glimpse of everything that happened in the interim. Turns out, 20th Century Fox knows that, and the studio has teamed up with some young filmmakers to craft three short films that look at life in the Time of Ape at different increments — Year 1, Year 5, and Year 10 (just before Dawn of the Planet of the Apes kicks off). The three shorts, known collectively as Before the Dawn, are all live over at Vice (via /Film), along with a pretty terrifying look at some special apes who live in our own, non-movie world, but you can also check them out after the break. Let’s see what we’ve missed so far:

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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

Following in the political footsteps of the original series (of books and films), Dawn of the Planet of the Apes puts Jason Clarke’s peace-seeking character Malcolm in the middle of a world spoiling for war. It proves that, at the very least, the reboot sequel will make an interesting double feature with Zero Dark Thirty. Meanwhile, the biggest question facing this movie is how well director Matt Reeves and Andy Serkis’ Caesar can keep us engaged when we know the ultimate outcome of the story. Even for those who haven’t seen the original movies, the climax is right there in the title, and it’s my guess that dawn is going to break pretty damned hard. The first full trailer gives us a sniper’s eye view of the coming storm — a band of humans led by Dreyfus (Gary Oldman) has been hobbled for a decade by a man-made virus while a growing group of evolved simians wants to stake its own claim on society. Clarke’s character looks to go all Dances With Wolves (or Avatar) on everyone by touching foreheads with a chimpanzee and understanding his foe. Check it out for yourself:

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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The teaser trailer for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes is one steady breath before the exhalation of war. It’s a free shot of adrenaline provided by director Matt Reeves, who brings his Cloverfield-sized destruction to the world that Heston wrought. Not only does the CGI look uncomfortably real (can Andy Serkis get an Oscar now, please?), the action looks excellent, and Gary Oldman seems to be bringing his usual enthusiasm to what might be the last chance for humanity. Check out the trailer for yourself:

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Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

Yesterday at Comic-Con, 20th Century Fox took the stage early in the afternoon with a massive task at hand: do something people will remember, even after they watch the Marvel Studios presentation in the evening. It took the entire casts of 2 X-Men movies and an aggressive army of talking apes, but they may have done it. The reactions were strong, including a number of attendees citing the scope of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and the intricate nature of the apes’ development of communication. The photo above is the first released photo from the film, showing Caesar (played by Andy Serkis) leading his troops. After the jump, director Matt Reeves talks about what drew him to the project, what direction they took with the story and some chatting with the cast.

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Jason Clarke

Not much is yet known about Matt Reeves’ (Let Me In) follow-up to Rupert Wyatt’s 2011 film, Rise of the Planet of the Apes. We know that it’s going to be called Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, that Andy Serkis is going to be back to do his part in bringing the ape leader Caesar to life, and that it’s supposed to take place somewhere around fifteen years after Caesar’s battle with the authorities on the Golden Gate Bridge. Thanks to a report from THR though, we now know the first name that’s going to be joining Serkis in the film’s cast. According to the trade, rising in popularity actor Jason Clarke has signed on to star in the film. Though Clarke has been getting regular work for coming up on two decades now, it’s been just recently that his film career has really started to get traction. Last year he was not only able to steal some scenes from the wildly charismatic Tom Hardy in John Hillcoat’s Lawless, but he also managed to turn a lot of heads and create a lot of buzz as the CIA agent who interrogates and water boards a prisoner in Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty.

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When word first broke that Rise of the Planet of the Apes director Rupert Wyatt wouldn’t be returning to direct the sequel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, there was a moment of panic. But now that they’ve announced that Let Me In director Matt Reeves has stepped in to take the job, things have calmed down a bit, and it’s become time for work on the sequel to move forward. So, what’s the next step? It seems Fox has decided that it’s taking another pass at the script. While a first draft for the film was written by Rise writers Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver, and a second draft was written for Wyatt by Scott Burns (Contagion), now that Wyatt is off of the picture the studio wants to tweak it once again, this time to tailor it to the strengths of Reeves. In order to get the job done, THR reports that they’ve brought on Mark Bomback, the screenwriter who collaborated with Len Wiseman on Live Free or Die Hard and Total Recall; who wrote Tony Scott’s last film, Unstoppable; and who co-wrote Fox’s upcoming super hero sequel The Wolverine.  Of course, what Bomback knows about tailoring a movie to Matt Reeves’ strengths is something of a mystery, but it should be noted that, given his placement on two big Fox properties, the studio must see him as being something of a golden boy these days.

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Matt Reeves Directing

When it was first announced that 20th Century Fox was making a prequel to Planet of the Apes that would star James Franco and a CG ape, not too many people welcomed the news with a whole lot of optimism. But once Rise of the Planet of the Apes hit theaters, it ended up blowing most everyone who saw it away. Director Rupert Wyatt took a less than appealing idea for a movie and ended up telling the sort of affecting, personal story that tentpole blockbusters rarely end up pulling off. So it was kind of heartbreaking to learn that Wyatt wasn’t going to be returning for the sequel and Fox was looking at a shortlist of directors to replace him. It turns out things might not be as bad as they originally looked though, because ComingSoon is reporting that the studio has found their Dawn of the Planet of the Apes director, and at first glance he appears to be a perfect replacement. The guy is Matt Reeves.

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Matt Reeves Directing

Over at Variety (via FirstShowing), Justin Kroll tweets that that Let Me In and Cloverfield director Matt Reeves is now not directing Warner Bros.’ brand-new Twilight Zone feature film, thanks to those pesky little things known as “scheduling conflicts.” Yet, in the case of Reeves, the director probably did have far too much going on to direct to this new venture. Reeves was tapped for the gig last October, but even back then, the filmmaker had one heck of a full plate. Reeves now has no less than six other projects currently in development that, no doubt, added to the scheduling woes. Those projects include his rumored attachment to direct the Cloverfield sequel, producing an untitled project with Brad Parker and J.J. Abrams, directing This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein, writing and producing The Invisible Woman, directing The Passage, and writing and directing the adaptation of 8 O’Clock in the Morning. Yeah, the guy is pretty busy, yet it’s still too bad he won’t be helming Twilight Zone, as it sure seemed to fit right in Reeves’ wheelhouse.

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Twilight Zone

According to Variety, Matt Reeves‘s Twilight Zone has captured another writer who is no doubt currently wondering why he’s back in Abraham Lincoln’s time and unable to convince anyone of the assassination. Jason Rothenberg wrote the original draft, which was tackled by Anthony Peckham (Sherlock Holmes), and now Joby Harold (All You Need is Kill, Awake) will take an ink-filled stab at it. The most fascinating thing about the Warner Bros. project is the idea that Rod Serling‘s show will essentially be stretched into a feature film. Previous movies based on the iconic television show were serials, and the show itself got paper thin when it tried to fill an hour-long time slot, so two full hours of being in the Zone could be a bigger challenge than most expect. After all, how much clever brow-beating can we handle? The answer to that question lies in watching every episode. Tread carefully, but there’s still hope for this project. Despite Hayden Christensen’s strange take on playing a motionless guy, Awake was a clever little flick (that Harold also directed). With any luck, his talent will be the final polish it needs to get shoved in front of cameras.

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If you would have told me a couple years ago, when I still had the bad taste of Cloverfield in my mouth, that J.J. Abrams’ production company Bad Robot had a new action film in the works, my ears probably wouldn’t have perked up much. But right now I’m still riding off the high of Super 8 and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, so questions of what Bad Robot is up to next are very much on my mind. Talk about a good 2011. Now, this company is famously secretive, so of course not much is know about their new project, but Variety is reporting that Abrams and his partner Bryan Burk, along with Let Me In director Matt Reeves, are set to produce a new action movie that will be directed by Brad Parker, coming from a script by Michael Gilio. Parker has one feature under his belt, The Diary of Lawson Oxford, and he did work with Reeves as a second unit director on Let Me In, but he seems to be a filmmaker that comes from the school of David Fincher. He cut his teeth doing a lot of commercial work and work for MTV, and then he stepped into the film world by doing digital effects for Fight Club back in the late 90s. It sounds to me like he’s learned at the feet of all the right people, so I’m interested to see what he has to offer as the man in charge.

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We continue our journey through a month of frightening, bloody and violent films. For more, check out our 31 Days of Horror homepage. Synopsis: Based on the novel “Let the Right One In” by John Ajvide Lindqvist the film Let Me In is relocated from Sweden to Los Alamos, New Mexico. Owen (Kodi Smit-McPhee) is a friendless boy, a victim of bullies at school. Not a day goes by when he isn’t pushed, shoved, harassed and threatened. With no one to turn to, not a friend, or teacher, not even his parents who are consumed by a bitter divorce, Owen retreats into  violent fantasies of revenge. One night a man (Richard Jenkins) and his daughter Abby (Chloe Moretz) move into the apartment complex and Owen becomes curious about the girl who only comes out at night, sits in the cold with no shoes or coat, but seems untouched by the frigid New Mexico winter. She looks ragged, she smells bad, her hair is lank and her are eyes dull. But even so, Owen is drawn to her. The next time he sees her she’s been transformed, no longer sickly looking, she looks like a pretty little girl. Owen will learn she’s without a doubt different from any girl he’s ever met.

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Matt Reeves has been tapped by Warners to direct their stab at The Twilight Zone which should start shooting next summer. The script comes from Jason Rothenberg – who has one television movie under his belt and a handful of flicks in development. According to Deadline Willoughby, this was a highly sought-after project, courted by many directors they don’t name by name. However, it also sounds like another in-name-only project where Rod Serling‘s series acts as name recognition while the movie is its own sci-fi beast with a similar tone. Of course, there’s already been Twilight Zone: The Movie, but isn’t really a remake. Furthermore, Reeves’s hiring brings up the question of when he’ll work on his other projects, and which will actually get done. Within the past 8 months, his name has been attached to a sequel to Cloverfield, a remake of They Live and a Frankenstein project. No one will admit it, but it seems only reasonable that renewed interest in the program stems directly from our exploration of all the episodes of The Twilight Zone. That’s the only explanation that makes sense.

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Welcome back to Commentary Commentary, your weekly dish of directorial insight and/or, as indicated by last week’s column, shenanigans. This week we’re looking inside the mystery box with director Matt Reeves and uncovering what he has to say about our favorite recent monster movie, Cloverfield. Reeves did this commentary all by his lonesome, but something tells me J.J. Abrams was standing over him with a loaded gun lest Reeves divulge too much information. I’ll be listening intently for any Morse Code warnings or cries for help. Since this commentary track was laid down years ago, and since Matt Reeves has since directed Let Me In – more Morse Code messages. Hmmm – I have a feeling everything turned out okay. So here, in all of its Slusho wonder, is what I learned on the Matt Reeves commentary for Cloverfield. I wonder if there are going to be any Lost secrets. I hope there are Lost secrets. Or Star Trek 2. Okay, wishful thinking is over. Shutting up now.

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Move over Snow White: there’s another literary character on the block looking to get a million film projects made about his trials and tribulations, and his name is Victor Frankenstein. It was just earlier today when we reported (with a surprisingly similar headline) on an adaptation of a Frankenstein-themed novel being put together by Sam Raimi, and now there’s more news about another being made by Summit Entertainment. This Dark Endeavor will be an adaptation of a Kenneth Oppel novel that is fully titled “This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein.” While Raimi’s project explores the friendship between Frankenstein and Percy Bysshe Shelley, Summit’s story is about Frankenstein trying to save the life of his twin brother. In order to do so he must find an old alchemist, hang out with his brother’s main squeeze, and go on a dangerous journey to find the components for the Elixir of Life. There promises to be action, adventure, and a love triangle. Not bad for a book about a doctor. The best news about this project is that Let Me In director Matt Reeves has signed on to direct. When I first heard that Hollywood was remaking Let the Right One In, I spent about ten minutes puking in a trashcan, but Reeves actually did a really good job with it. I went into that film feeling a strong bias against its very existence and came out thinking that it had matched the original in many ways and even surpassed it […]

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What is Movie News After Dark? When it was first being written tonight, it was going to be a very silly column. Then some serious (and seriously awesome) links were found and you were saved from a fate far more ridiculous than usual. We’ll save that for another time. In this moment, on this night, Movie News After Dark presents you with all kinds of interesting things, words and doo-dads. But most of all, there will be fun. Aziz Ansari and Jesse Eisenberg are just around the building, ready to do something that will undoubtedly lead to hilarity in Ruben Fleischer’s 30 Minutes or Less, the film that will combine pizza delivery with the plot concept of Speed. Doesn’t that just make you urgently hungry? This new look is part of a slew of Entertainment Weekly magazine clippings found over at The Playlist.

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