World War Z

World War Z Movie

For anyone wishing to see some new footage from World War Z when the big game rolls around, there’ll be no need to switch over from the Puppy Bowl. The new teaser trailer for the Brad Pitt-starring zombie film is sewn together with shots from the previous trailer, a situation which would create a ton of useable jokes if this were a Frankenstein film. Sadly, Marc Forster and company didn’t help us out with that one. At the very least, we know that the people of the world in World War Z have never seen a zombie movie in their lives:

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Reject Recap: The Best of Film School Rejects

This week saw the countdown to the end of the Twilight movies, though we didn’t pay it much attention. Kevin gave us a drinking game to play while watching the whole series in marathon form, but that’s it. Maybe we were all too busy still appreciating the greatness of the latest James Bond — a series that fortunately didn’t conclude after only five installments — or skipping through to wonder about the future, as in whether The Mortal Instruments is the new Twi-like sensation. We did, of course, review the final Twilight Saga film, and we remind and invite you to check out that and other reviews of new releases (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2; Lincoln; Anna Karenina; Price Check) as well as an interview with Anna Karenina director Joe Wright. We also watched a lot of trailer, including new spots for The Host (from Twi-lit author Stephenie Meyer), Oz: The Great and Powerful, The ABCs of Death (Red Band) and, yeah, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. We also saw some short films that readers seem to have enjoyed a lot, including The Sleepover and Dragon Baby. Now, check out our biggest and best stories and original content from the past week after the break.

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It’d be beating a dead horse to gripe about Hollywood’s reliance on sequels, prequels, and adaptations, but not all is right in the world with the recent release of the trailer for the World War Z adaption from star and producer Brad Pitt. I don’t have a problem with Hollywood bringing books and other previously existing media to the screen – hell, I like it most of the time. It’s cool to see a cinematic translation of something you know and enjoy. Therein lies the rub with the World War Z trailer. It doesn’t appear to be a translation of something people know and enjoy. I say “people” and not myself since I actually found World War Z to be a fairly big disappointment, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t hoping for an excellent zombie movie, based however it may be on the failed execution of a great premise. It’s not always wise to judge a movie by its trailer, but from our first look it seems Hollywood has screwed the pooch in the most Hollywood way imaginable.

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World War Z certainly had a bumpy production trip to the big screen. The movie got pushed back six months, had a troubled shoot, and an ending which needed assistance from man who isn’t exactly well-regarded for his endings. Based on this first trailer for the film, some of the more creative troubles are on display. Word was Marc Forster was unsure of what type of zombies he wanted, and the kind he went with go against the gritty, grounded style he’s clearly aiming for. Whenever a horde of CG zombies appear in this trailer, Forster’s “serious” approach falls flat. Nothing can take someone out of a movie more than an all-CG character, but there looks to be plenty of cartoon zombies running amok in World War Z. Check out Brad Pitt running, staring off, and shouting a lot in the full-length trailer for World War Z:

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Normally, we here at FSR wouldn’t be so prone to posting teasers for trailers (you know, commercials for commercials), but when it comes to a project as hotly anticipated (and, let’s face it, as terribly plagued) as Marc Forster‘s World War Z, any fresh peek at new material is worth a look. And, what do you know, it looks like the film (the one about a zombie invasion, just to remind you) is full to bursting with zombies (color us shocked)! Really fast-moving, muddled, not-entirely-scary zombies. And Brad Pitt‘s hair. Don’t forget about Brad Pitt’s hair. Consider this a bit of a dud, but perhaps we’ll get more meat (and blood) out of the film’s imminently-arriving full trailer. The full trailer for World War Z will debut on “Entertainment Tonight” (dun-dun-duna-dun-dun!) this Thursday, but get a first look at what all the fuss has been about after the break.

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What’s most bizarre about Marc Forster‘s Brad Pitt-starring adaptation of Max Brooks‘ novel “World War Z” is not all the bad mojo swirling around the film’s production – including a release date shove and weeks of reshoots with “help” from Damon Lindelof – it’s the fact that a book that looks back on a devastating zombie apocalypse appears to be a film that tracks such a breakout as it’s occurring. Which is probably one of the reasons that the beleaguered production of World War Z is now apparently in need of a new ending for the film. Here’s your ending, guys – the zombies win (and Cuba becomes a super power power and everyone in North Korea is gone and most people are, you know, dead). Not so hard, right? Tell that to Paramount. According to Deadline Copenhagen, while Lindelof “cracked a potential new ending of the film” (we can only assume it included not tying up a bunch of narrative threads and forcing the characters to make a a series of increasingly stupid decisions), it was actually Drew Goddard who did most of the actual new writing (thank heaven for small favors). However, even the involvement of Goddard isn’t enough to get this thing copacetic, because the outlet also reports that the project might need yet another writer to sew it up.

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Remember that reboot of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles franchise that Michael Bay’s Platinum Dunes was making? The one that was just called Ninja Turtles and that spawned a bunch of fan debate when it was said it would re-write the turtles’ origins to make them aliens? Well, if you came down in the camp of those who were dreading a possible bastardization of your beloved childhood icons, the latest developments surrounding the film’s production might have you breathing a sigh of relief. Despite the fact that the film has already done quite a bit of pre-production for its planned shoot in Vancouver, THR is reporting that work has stopped on set and the film’s release date has been moved from December 2013 to May 2014. How long has work on the project been delayed? Some sources are saying ten weeks, but some are saying that they’ve heard the production’s hiatus will be “indefinite.”

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Late last week, the Daily Mail reported that Marc Forster‘s World War Z was set to undergo some massive reshoots in Budapest this fall, with the venerable Baz Bamigboye reporting that the production, wrapped for almost a year, was set to film for a boggling seven additional weeks. And now it looks like things are getting even worse for the Brad Pitt-starring adaptation, because those reshoots will apparently come care of screenwriter Damon Lindelof. The Hollywood Reporter has word that Lindelof has been tapped “to save” the production. He will reportedly focus on the film’s third act – which is deeply hilarious if one considers his apparent inability to really take things past the finish line (yes, I am talking about Prometheus, a film I was fully invested in until its third act, and even LOST and Cowboys & Aliens to varying degrees). The film has already been plagued by potential problems, including the delayed delivery of its first rejiggered script from Matthew Michael Carnahan, who was working off of some drafts by J. Michael Straczynski and the hard fact that World War Z the movie just didn’t sound like “World War Z” the beloved novel by Max Brooks. The main issue – how do you turn a book that’s about a post-zombie outbreak world into a movie about a world in the throes of a zombie outbreak? Oh, and also, how exactly do you focus the action all on one man, even if it is Brad Pitt?

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Although it would be awesome to see zombies literally fighting with the monsters of Monsters, Inc, the battle they’ll be engaged in is purely metaphorical and box office based. According to Aint It Cool, Paramount has pushed World War Z back from its slot in December 2012 to a summer date in 2013. Instead of hitting theaters a week after The Hobbit and a few days before Django Unchained and The Great Gatsby, the Brad Pitt-starring flick will open on June 13, 2013 against Pixar’s Monsters University. Does the move make sense? Sort of. The holiday season is crowded, and more important it’s crowded by the hairy feet and fast-talking Tarantino of movies that some might consider “Geek Properties.” Maybe there was no more room at the inn for the zombie epic. Or perhaps Paramount is punting – making a shrewd move to get the flick out from the pile and into a counter-programming position. At any rate, World War Z remains a movie that no one in the outside world is aware of. With no trailers, and no publicity, the average movie-goer in charge of boosting up ticket sales doesn’t even know they should be expecting it this holiday, so the move doesn’t change all that much. Plus, perhaps it will get them some time to launch some of those things you put on the television to let people know about your existence. Whatever those things are called.

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In the interest of tempering my bile after my last post about Ryan Murphy’s Super Group From Hell, here’s some news that sounds good to my ears. Universal Pictures has picked up Cowboy Ninja Viking, the Image Comic by AJ Lieberman and artist Riley Rossmo, for a cinematic adaptation with Marc Forster at the helm. While I’m not a huge fan of Forster (though I do have a weird soft spot for Stranger Than Fiction), the plot of the film sounds so kickass, and the writing talent behind it so fresh, that the whole thing sounds awesome. The story of Cowboy Ninja Viking is considerably smarter and cooler than that mash-up name might hint at, Deadline Davos reports that “the title character comes from a secret government program to turn schizophrenics into assassins. The protagonist comes through the program with the skill sets of a cowboy, ninja and a viking. While most of the patients involved in the program are sent back to insane asylum after the program went awry in Iraq, he escapes and uses his skills to track down the billionaire who masterminded the program.” What are the skills of a Viking? Skull-crushing? A crazy, skull-crushing ninja who rides horses who is bent on revenge? Sold. So sold.

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Jemaine in Men in Black 3

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a nightly movie news column born exactly one year ago today. And it’s very happy to still be around and well on its way to taking over the planet. It is convinced that it will have a very productive 2012 in that area, especially once humanity’s reign of terror ends later this year. In the mean time, it would like to thank you all for reading. Now enough of that mushy stuff, lets do the news. We begin this evening with an image of biker Jemaine Clement in Men in Black III. He’s playing an alien biker who turns out to be the villain in this time-traveling storyline…. And we wonder why that movie has had so many production problems? Either way, I’ll watch Jemaine Clement eat soap if I have to, as that guy is quite funny.

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It’s already the second day of 2012, which means we’ll all be sober within the next day or two. It also means that we can officially start looking (through blurry eyes) ahead to the future. A future of promise and potential. A future of hope. A future of tingling anticipation that the road stretched out in front of us that leads to the cinema will be paved with gold. Will there be piles of excrement along the way? Of course, but we don’t know how many or how badly they’ll tarnish our yellow-bricked roller coaster ride. All we can see from this far out is the shimmering wonder of movies to come – the vast unknown that looks wonderful (and might just live up to the hype). In past years (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011), we’ve gone with a fairly arbitrary count of 20-30 movies. This year, we decided to prove that there were 52 movies worth prematurely celebrating (even though what we found were many more). That’s one for every week (even if there are some weeks with a few and some weeks with none at all). Regardless of the number, Rob Hunter, Neil Miller, Kate Erbland, Allison Loring, Landon Palmer, Brian Salisbury and Cole Abaius have joined forces to remind us all that there are a lot of great movies to hope for this year. Go grab a calendar and pencil in everything that gets your blood pressure up toward unsafe levels. It’s going to be a busy, flick-filled […]

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Marco Beltrami is one of the most recognizable names in film scoring, and he’s earned that celebrity by scoring 4-8 high profile films every year for the past decade. For the most part, his work ranges from the darkly atmospheric to the engagingly violent, which makes him ideal for horror and for action films where Bruce Willis throws a car at a helicopter. It also makes him a fantastic candidate for World War Z, the zombie film starring Brad Pitt that should see the light of day this year. According to Film Music Reporter, Beltrami has been hired by the production amidst a busy schedule that sees him coming off work for The Woman in Black and looking ahead to A Good Day to Die Hard. It’s a significant pick up, although it’s not surprising considering his track record, although he hasn’t worked a lot with Paramount in the past. Still, Beltrami is rock steady when it comes to these types of scores. Hopefully they’ll make him write while being attacked by brain-hungry monsters (to give it a sense of realism).

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Boiling Point

There are a lot of good things that can be said about Hollywood. It creates tons of jobs, pumps out entertaining movies, makes art widely accessible and helps balance your LDL-HDL cholesterol panel, I’m pretty sure. There is also a ton of bad shit to be said about Hollywood, or else this column couldn’t even exist. Hollywood is many things, but it’s nothing if not extravagantly wasteful. Whether you want to talk about David Fincher’s obsession over every single detail in his movies (details = dollars) or the fact that Jack and Jill cost $79 million to make, probably because Adam Sandler had to be paid twice, once for each ball his comedy is missing these days. There are dozens of ways Hollywood wastes a buck, but the one in the news today is reckless buying of literary properties. You may have heard that Seth Grahame-Smith has sold another of his books to Hollywood. Unholy Night, which releases next year, will be a revisionist take on the story of the three wise men who are now thieves or something. I don’t know, I’ll wait for the movie. Or not, because while Grahame-Smith has sold three of his revisionist novels, not a single one has made it to theaters yet. You probably heard of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies at Lionsgate or Fox’s adaptation of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Heard of them, seen the book covers, but when it comes to seeing any real progress on the films, ha. Never mind. Toss another one of these on the […]

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When Tara Brown, a journalist for 60 Minutes in Australia, asked Brad Pitt how much longer he was going to be acting, he answered flatly, “Three years.” She repeated for confirmation, he confirmed, and when she asked him what he’d do after his acting career was over, he said, “Hell if I know. Hell if I know. I am really enjoying the producing side and development of stories and putting those pieces together. And getting stories to the plate that might have had a tougher time otherwise, so…You know, I have gotten away with a few things in writing and I have been pissed off about a few things. How’s that?” Exclusively producing might not be a bad spot for the veteran, but retiring at 50? It seems like he wants to avoid his twilight years in front of the camera. Maybe he’s tired of it all, maybe he doesn’t want his legacy to shift the way Kirk Douglas’s (and so many others’) did, but no matter the reason, it appears as though getting Brad Pitt to star in your movie might be a limited time offer. Of course, that’s also what Viggo Mortenson said. About 20 times. Three years is a long time to change one’s mind, and announcements like this are all too common. We’re looking at you, Michael Jordan. For now, Pitt will be seen in the forthcoming Cogan’s Trade, World War Z, Voyage of Time, and Twelve Years a Slave. Will they be his last movies […]

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Antonio Banderas and Cats

What is Movie News After Dark? It’s about to get a little strange, that’s what it is… We begin tonight with… yes, a picture of Antonio Banderas and a few cats. This should serve as an official warning that tonight’s entry into the Movie News After Dark series may get a little silly. Mr. Banderas recently participated in a “Cat Premiere” of Puss in Boots at the Paramount Lot in LA. I can haz movie premiere? Si, mis amigos. Si.

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s sorry that it didn’t send flowers. How was it supposed to know that it was your birthday? It’s only a nightly movie news column.. We being this evening with an image of Joss Whedon directing the shit out of The Avengers alongside Cobie Smulders and Samuel L. Jackson. It’s part of a group of images that hit the web this week. In moving images news, reports are now saying that a trailer for The Avengers will drop on Tuesday, October 11. They just had to beat the new iPhone to the punch, didn’t they?!

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What is Movie News After Dark? It’s a wild summer romp disguised as a prestige flick. We toss together some of the news that your brain needs to hold most tightly to for fear of losing it forever. Do you dare know what can’t be unknown? Since it’s going to be a bizarre (fiercely sexual) post tonight, we start off with the innocent pleasure of shoes. Custom painted movie shoes to be specific. For full disclosure, yes, PeregrinePaints over at Etsy is a friend of the site, but who cares? Her stuff is very cool, the work speaks for itself, and you can dictate exactly what you want painted on your kicks. Not a bad deal, especially for the super-fan who can’t understand why Nike hasn’t produced as an official El Topo sneaker yet.

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A few weeks ago I interviewed Bryan Cranston for Breaking Bad, and at the time, he told me something I thought had already been reported: that he won’t be appearing in Marc Forster’s zombie epic, World War Z. IMBD had him listed and it was reported virtually everywhere that Cranston would have a small role in the film. Sadly, those reports are wrong. I talked to the Breaking Bad star a few days before speaking with Forster, so naturally, I asked how that collaborating was going. As Cranston pointed out, it’s not going, and for understandable reasons: “I didn’t work with Marc Forster. I was supposed to, but scheduling got in the way, so I’m not able to. I regretted the omission. I sent him an email, wished him well, and said I was sad it didn’t workout. You know, on some other project we’ll hopefully — will you please tell him I said hello? And tell him the zombies are coming to get him.” Of course I told Marc Foster that the zombies were going to get him — and like Cranston — he was disappointed the actor won’t be a part of the film. It’s a real shame Cranston isn’t in WWZ, because it would have been cool to see him fighting off some brutal, fast-moving zombies.

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People are already ragging on World War Z, a movie over a year away. Adaptation always requires changes, but a book like World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War requires many, many changes. The structure doesn’t lend itself to a big budgeted Hollywood film. Director Marc Forster, clearly, knows this. Instead of making a documentary zombie movie, it’s a Brad Pitt and his family trying to survive movie! That’s not the World War Z fans know — and despite the current popular belief — that’s not the approach Forster is taking. A few weeks ago I spoke with the filmmaker, and his zombie epic was briefly touched upon. The interview was for Machine Gun Preacher, so I didn’t set out to ask about WWZ. But after discussing a few different aesthetics he’s shot and trying to bring smarts to blockbuster filmmaking, his currently filming adaptation naturally came up. Despite the narrative changes we all know about, Forster did set out to capture the spirit of the book, the political spirit:

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