Thrillers

Yesterday I promised that if we just waited patiently, the remaining questions about Steven Soderbergh’s upcoming movie Side Effects would soon be answered, and a whole new set of questions would probably arise. Oh, how true that was. Before we get into all that, let’s do a brief rundown of the reporting that’s been done on this movie so far. First it was reported that a “psychopharmacology thriller” that Soderbergh was working on called Bitter Pill was getting its funding through a partnership between Annapurna Pictures and Open Road Films, but that the movie would be called Side Effects going forward. Then came news that Annapurna had pulled their funding, possibly based on concerns they had with Blake Lively being cast in the starring role. It was also theorized that the production was looking at a short list of new actresses to take Lively’s place and save the film some face. Finally, the casting rumors looked to be true, because it was announced that Rooney Mara had been chosen to take Lively’s place as the lead. We were then left only with the question of who would come on board to take Annapurna’s place as this movie’s sugar daddy.

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It turns out there’s a Nicolas Cage movie out there that is ready to be watched, but has been sitting on the shelf waiting for distribution. Why there haven’t been alarm bells sounding, protests happening in the streets, and 24/7 coverage from media outlets the entire time this atrocity was occurring is beyond me, but apparently we can all stop (not) panicking. Deadline Lomita is reporting that Cage’s next film, Seeking Justice (once known as The Hungry Rabbit Jumps), has been acquired by Anchor Bay and is set for a U.S. release on March 16th of next year. Let’s all take a moment to silently thank Anchor Bay. (Thanks, Anchor Bay.) News of a new Nic Cage movie is usually reason for celebration enough, no matter what the particulars of the project are, but this time there’s another big reason why I’ve now got Seeking Justice’s release date circled on my calendar with a big red heart. In this Roger Donaldson-directed thriller, Cage plays a mild-mannered teacher whose life changes when his wife is brutally assaulted. While that sounds awfully bleak, the good news here is that January Jones is playing the wife. That’s right, the man who’s never met a chance to overact he didn’t like and the stone-faced creep who’s never experienced a human emotion will be playing a married couple on the big screen. The results should be like a car crash being interrupted by a train wreck all while a woman breast feeds in public: I […]

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Remember back when Steven Soderbergh was going to retire? Yeah, that doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen. Recently the director was all set to make a big screen adaptation of the old TV show The Man From U.N.C.L.E., which was going to be one of his last movies ever; but once casting and budget problems got too out of hand on that project, the director decided to drop it and move on with his life. That sounds like a pretty obvious decision for a man who has said repeatedly in interviews that he’s over the whole filmmaking thing and wants to move on. Why tear your hair out dealing with a movie that just isn’t coming together? But, in comparison, the newest move the director has made makes less sense, given the context of his recent comments. According to THR he has signed on for a new project called The Bitter Pill. This new film will see Soderbergh re-teaming with his The Informant! and Contagion writer Scott Z. Burns, and is said to be a thriller set in the world of psychopharmacology. Little else is known about the project, however.

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When people are talking about the best horror movies of all time, they often use the term “horror classic.” I’m not exactly sure how that’s different from a movie that’s just a “classic,” but I think it’s somehow implying that movies where people get decapitated aren’t as good as serious dramas. I often hear the 1976 version of The Omen referred to as a “horror classic,” so I guess what that means is that it’s really good for a movie where people get decapitated. In 1993 a couple of superstar little kids named Elijah Wood and Macaulay Culkin starred in a movie called The Good Son. It’s never been called either a “classic” or a “horror classic,” but that might be because nobody gets decapitated in it.

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You want big things to happen to your little movie? The secret seems to be to get it in as an entry to TIFF’s Midnight Madness program. The good news just keeps rolling in for films that played at midnight at this year’s festival. First up for a Hollywood remake was director Gareth Evans’s Indonesian SWAT team movie The Raid, which was very nearly just one non-stop action sequence. Then there was news that Adam Wingard’s home invasion horror flick You’re Next was being purchased by Lionsgate and set up for a wide release. And now Midnight Madness hits the hat trick, as THR reports that director Frédéric Jardin’s French thriller Sleepless Night is next in line for an English language remake. Sleepless Night is the story of a dad, a drug deal, dirty cops, a stabbing, a kidnapped son, a big bag of cocaine, and a nightclub all coming together to create chaos. Like The Raid, it’s getting a lot of comparisons to Die Hard because it’s full of action and takes place mostly in one setting.

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Lionsgate is currently shopping a project around the Toronto International Film Festival that is notable for two big reasons, the awesome and sometimes underappreciated duo that they have attached to star. Penthouse North will see Michelle Monaghan playing a haunted photojournalist who is running from a past tragedy by holing herself up in a posh New York penthouse, with Michael Keaton playing a criminal who seeks a hidden fortune that he believes is somewhere in said penthouse. The two will then presumably engage in some sort of cat and mouse shenanigans that eventually see Monaghan’s character having to muster up the resolve to get past her trauma and survive the incident. The film is set to be directed by Joseph Ruben, who hasn’t done much lately, but who made a string of pretty sweet late night cable catches in the mid-’90s, films like Sleeping With the Enemy, The Good Son, and Money Train. And it’s being made from a script penned by Obsessed and Lakeview Terrace writer David Loughery. His movies aren’t guilty pleasures of mine, so I won’t say anything about them. Let’s just focus on the good; Michael Keaton is always amazing to watch, Michelle Monaghan is always a rock. It’s nice to see these two get a chance at starring roles. [THR]

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Now that we’ve all ogled Zoe Saldana’s goodies in the exploitation schlockfest Colombiana, the actress can step off of the publicity circuit and start work on something new. What’s that going to be? I’m glad you asked. According to THR Saldana is moving on a project called Dominion that’s something of a supernatural thriller. It’s about a creature that is a hybrid of an angel and a human, and Saldana seems to be perfect for the role because, well, she’s really pretty. Some might say angelic. It’s coming from a pitch by Dean McCreary and Chester Hastings, a relatively new-on-the-scene writing team who have credits in two upcoming films, one a familiar sounding thriller called You’re My Angel, and the other a film about a video store clerk who worships Sam Raimi called Fanboy. In a first for Saldana, this job will force her to rely on a bit more than her looks and her acting chops. She’s going to have to do some decision making as well, because this time she has a producing credit. It’s always tough to predict exactly what somebody who is being called a producer will be doing, or how much say they will have over a film, but this hints at the fact that the actress is looking to take more control over the projects she’s working on. It looks like after being a part of a couple of blockbuster franchises-to-be in Avatar and Star Trek, Saldana is becoming something of a celebrity. Hopefully […]

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At this point in his career, Danny Boyle has made a good handful of movies that people have really liked. But with his last two features, Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours, he has achieved a level of mainstream attention and critical acclaim that has kicked his profile up a few notches. So while Danny Boyle’s next film has always been a point of interest to me, now it’s kind of a big news story. How does one follow up a few years of unprecedented success making inspirational stories for the mainstream? For Boyle, it’s by going back to his roots and making a darkly toned thriller. Trance will be an art heist film shot in London, and it’s said to be more in line with the ick factor that Boyle’s first few works, Shallow Grave and Trainspotting, had than his recent stuff. This news is fine with me, as Shallow Grave is a film that I see as still working really well as a tension builder and Trainspotting was one of those formative, nuclear bombs of independent cinema that blew my mind and helped usher me into becoming a cinephile. I’ve liked Boyle’s slick take on the heart warmer, but I’m ready to see him use his newfound notoriety to take people someplace creepy.

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mwl-thegame

Wealthy-beyond-belief Nicholas Van Orton (Michael Douglas) is gifted entrance into a strange game by his prodigal brother Conrad (Sean Penn). He goes in for extensive testing, and when he’s told he doesn’t qualify, the game begins in earnest, testing his wits, physical strength and the emotional scarring caused by witnessing his father’s suicide as a child.

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SharkListHeader

If you’re like me, you’ve been glued to Discovery Channel all week checking out all the fantastic shark action. If you need a break though, yet demand more sharks, here are a few films that should keep you from heading to the ocean (or to the deep end of the pool) for a while.

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liamneeson

After riding around in a black-painted panel van, Liam Neeson will hop out, get in a car accident, and wake up to a world that doesn’t know who he is. Sound great right? Only one problem.

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CrookedLake

Survival thriller Surviving Crooked Lake shows a quartet of young girls not sharing jeans, but lugging around a dead body all over creation.

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noyce-jackson-mixedblood

If that title didn’t get your blood boiling, try out my alternate title of “Samuel L. Jackson Continues to Get Work,” and see how that suits you. I don’t know much about this forthcoming flick, but I have a feeling that Detective Disaster Zondi is not going to be a fan of snakes.

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mwl-se7en

This week we celebrate the darker side with one of the best cop movies out there. What’s in the box? What’s in the box?!

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haggis-pourelle

Which French thriller could I be talking about? And which Crash director? Haggis or Cronenberg? That title isn’t very clear at all!

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tellnoone_1

Despite the obvious negativity conveyed in perhaps the worst headline of all time (see above), I actually don’t feel one way or the other about Miramax busting out an English-language version of Tell No One. As long as there are French subtitles.

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One Frightened Night

Every Sunday, Film School Rejects presents a movie that was made before you were born and tells you why should like it. This week, Old Ass Movies Presents: One Frightened Night.

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