Mike Newell

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It’s okay to admit it: plants can be a little frightening sometimes. I know I’ve jolted awake many a night, questioning if those ferns are still where I left them, or if they’ve slowly been creeping towards me as I slept. Surely you have too, as this is a perfectly normal and rational response to houseplants. Yet for those few who aren’t yet terrified by roots and shrubs, you’re in luck. Deadline reports that the upcoming remake of Day of the Triffids has found its director, and that director is Mike Newell. Newell is a fairly odd choice; he’s most well-known for Four Weddings and a Funeral, which, if I recall correctly, did not contain giant plants that hunted and consumed hapless human prey. Yet Newell also directed Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, in which Harry faced an enchanted hedge maze, so he’s got at least a little experience in this genre. There’s also a horror film or two lurking in the very beginning of Newell’s filmography, so he should be more than capable of handling this one.

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Great Expectations Trailer

Call it “lowered expectations” or a “great mistake” or just answer that titular question with a big “it already happened, and just last month” – but yes, Mike Newell, Helena Bonham Carter, and Ralph Fiennes made a movie and none of you bothered to see it. That’s perhaps a bit hyperbolic as some people saw it, but the odds that you, the one reading this right now, didn’t see it are exceedingly high. And no, I’m not getting high and mighty on this one – even I didn’t see the film, and that’s entirely the point here. It was called (or, well, still is called, I guess) Great Expectations, and no one cared to see it when it finally hit the American box office in November. Guess the high schoolers haven’t hit that part of their syllabus yet. Earlier this year, I examined whether or not the modern box office (or, at the very least, this season’s box office) was in need of both a new Romeo and Juliet and a new Great Expectations. Curiously, I determined that, sure, a new Great Expectations could be okay (bonus – Bonham Carter as Miss Havisham) and that Romeo and Juliet was a nonstarter. That determination was wrong, at least as it applies to audience turnout.

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Great Expectations

Do we need new Romeo and Juliet and Great Expectations film adaptations? In a word – sort of. This fall brings two new film adaptations of classic works of drama and romance and seriously funny character names (Havisham? Come on), just in time for high school students the world over to have a shiny new version of their assigned reading to watch on the big screen (sorry, books). Mike Newell tackles Charles Dickens’ “Great Expectations” with his new take on the enduring novel, a “faithful” adaptation of the 1860 book about terrible, terrible, just terrible people and the havoc that class warfare can wreck on young love, which is set to hit theaters in November. Before that, however, we’ll be getting yet another new Romeo and Juliet film this October, this one by Carlo Carlei, who has reportedly maintained the Renaissance era Verona setting of William Shakespeare’s most famous play, while also jettisoning the traditional dialogue and casting a former Gossip Girl star. But which of these films – if either – is actually necessary?

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Great Expectations

Teens with a book report due pretty soon and Dickensian fans unite and rejoice, for Mike Newell‘s Great Expectations is finally seeing its U.S. release date. The trailer for the costume drama looks every bit like the dreary world Charles Dickens lays out for you in page one of his classic novel, with some much needed color provided by Helena Bonham Carter‘s Miss Havisham – truly the role she was born to play. For those who had to read “Jane Eyre” instead during their study groups, Great Expectations is the story of an orphan named Pip (Jeremy Irvine) who befriends an eccentric dowager named Miss Havisham (Bonham Carter) and falls in love with her beautiful ward Estella (Holliday Grainger); but since Havisham was betrayed by her love long ago (the tattered wedding gown any indication?), she’s trained Estella to hate men and destroy even cuties like young Pip. It’s kind of a shame, because a wealthy mystery benefactor leaves Pip a hefty sum of money to allow him to become a gentleman, so girl is missing out. Though the U.S. trailer has some gorgeous visuals, I wish they would have stuck with more elements of the UK version (which our own Nathan Adams wrote about last year here); having the trailer focus more on character performances feels more compelling. Look at what Bonham Carter can do with crazy. And Ralph Fiennes in the role of escaped convict Magwitch is downright nervewracking. Check out the trailer for yourself here:

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Great Expectations Trailer

Seeing as we already got a version of Charles Dickens’ assigned-to-you-freshman-year-of-high-school classic “Great Expectations” that was adapted by a Harry Potter director (Alfonso Cuarón) back in 1998, some might be under the impression that we don’t need another. But Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire director Mike Newell would beg to differ, so he’s put together his own film version of the much-loved-except-by-high-school-freshmen story, and he’s challenged Cuarón to a secret benefactor showdown. For those of you (us) who slept through your high school English classes, Great Expectations centers on the character of Pip (War Horse’s Jeremy Irvine), a young boy of meager means who nevertheless befriends a creepy old rich lady named Miss Havisham (Helena Bonham Carter), falls in love with her beautiful but twisted young ward Estella (Holliday Grainger), and eventually becomes a young gentleman with a bursting pocketbook and a wealth of potential due to the generosity of an anonymous benefactor (identity withheld). How does this all hash out in regards to Newell’s new film? If its new UK trailer [via Empire] is any indication, it gives Newell the chance to distance himself from the miserable failure that was his last film, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, re-embrace the spooky mood-building that made him a good fit for the Harry Potter franchise, and work with respected actors like Ralph Fiennes, Robbie Coltrane, and Sally Hawkins.

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Great Expectations Trailer

Oh, thank goodness! Today we finally get our first look at a film that most of us have forgotten was even being made (mainly, because it doesn’t need to be)! If nothing else, Mike Newell‘s take on “Great Expectations” exists for one reason – to allow Helena Bonham Carter the role she was born to play, the culmination of every terribly-clad madwoman she’s ever portrayed on screen – Charles Dickens‘ irrepressible Miss Havisham! As ever, Great Expectations focuses on the impoverished orphan Pip (Jeremy Irvine), the convict who changes his life (Ralph Fiennes), the crazed rich lady who also changes his life (Carter, of course), and her wickedly beautiful and wickedly cold niece (Holliday Granger) who inflicts on him the emotional equivalent of a wrecking ball’s best work. The film also features Robbie Coltrane, so it’s possible that such a talented cast will make up for an over-adapted source from a screenwriter who can’t even accurately adapt his own novels to the screen (sorry, David Nicholls, but you missed the boat on One Day in a big way). Check out the film’s first (appropriately overwrought) trailer after the break.

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Culture Warrior

That the final Harry Potter film became the biggest opening weekend of all time seemed only natural and inevitable. Something so monumentally culturally pervasive could have only gone out with a loud bang. After all, it is – as I’ve been repeatedly reminded – the most successful movie franchise of all time, adapted from a series of books whose sales history rivals that of The Holy Bible. Yet unlike some head scratch-inducing huge opening weekends of the more uninspired entries of blockbusting franchises who rival Harry Potter in their monetary intake but not their longevity (Spider-Man 3, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest) and the former reigning champ whose buzz was accompanied by fascination with the untimely death of a star (The Dark Knight), the mass participation in the cultural event that was the release of Deathly Hallows Part 2 won’t likely be rivaled anytime soon. The Harry Potter films simultaneously represent the inevitable logical extent of franchise filmmaking as much as it is exceptional and anomalous in this same regard.

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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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If director Mike Newell were to take a rapper name, it should be ‘Money Shot’ Mike. For over the years, he has been developing the craft of capturing that one moment when the film’s shirtless, sweaty star is in clear focus, slowed to the perfect frame rate so that the audience can marvel in the 60-foot of an action adventure star.

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Walt Disney Pictures has released the second full trailer for the upcoming video game adaptation Prince of Persia, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Gemma Arterton and Sir Ben Kingsley. This new trailer provides a bit of new footage, but mixes it with healthy helpings of previously seen footage. New or old, it all seems to be cut together in a way that makes this film feel exciting, even grand.

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Gemma Arterton and Jake Gyllenhaal stare you down from the land of Persia.

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Orlando Bloom Not Starring in Prince of Persia

We dig rumors just as much as the next site, but over the years we have learned that when something sounds a little too good to be true, it doesn’t hurt to do some fact checking first, even if that means we miss out on breaking a story.

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Love in the Time of Cholera Poster

Love in the Time of Cholera is a gorgeous disaster of a film. The movie is filled with some rich visuals and scenery, but that is about the only good quality that can be said of it.

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We don’t usually report on what’s not happening in the news. However, with word that Michael Bay will not be directing the Prince of Persia adaptation, how could we not report on what’s not happening?

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published: 04.16.2014
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published: 04.16.2014
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published: 04.14.2014
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published: 04.14.2014
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