Alright, the final piece of the puzzle has arrived.
Channing Tatum has joined the cast of Steven Soderbergh's action-revenge spy thriller "Knockout" which will star Mixed Martial Arts champion and non-act0r Gina Carano in the lead role of a black ops spy that is betrayed by her team.
Meanwhile, a last minute addition to the cast is in the works. Antonio Banderas is in talks to join the cast playing the head of a Black-ops European unit.
On Thursday, we exclusively revealed that Michael Douglas, Dennis Quaid, Ewan McGregor and Michael Fassbender ("Inglourious Basterds," "Hunger") had all joined the cast in supporting roles.
Tatum will play one of the elite specialists on Carano's team named Aaron — a military gearhead-type who's sent to try and bring her back in once she's been double-crossed and gone rogue; trying to figure out who exactly is setting her up. But there is no love lost between the characters which makes his mission more difficult. But we're told the role is actually relatively small in the scope of things.
While everyone is on the same side initially, "Knockout" features a lot of duplicity, double crosses and even reversals of allegiances. Fassbender plays an untrustworthy teammate, Douglas ultimately proves to be an ally and McGregor, the owner of the Blackwater-type special ops team (and once a romantic interest to the lead) is instrumental in trying to make Carano's character, Mallory Kane take the fall for an incident that goes wrong and involves a murder. Dennis Quaid plays her father.
Tatum might seem like an odd choice with that cast -- initially -- but it's a fight film as much as it is a realistic spy/action film and he obviously has experience in that field. The "G.I. Joe" actor actually relentlessly pursued this project and after working with Kevin MacDonald on "The Eagle of the Ninth," and it appears he's eager to work with strong filmmaking talents.
Anecdotally, "Knockout" went out to several key action male stars, but several of them were not very comfortable in a supporting role where a woman beats them senseless. Tatum will likely shoot his role in two or three weeks and then be whisked off to start production on Dito Montiel's "Son of No One" starring Robert Deniro in March (if everything goes according to plan on that particular project). Montiel directed Tatum in the 2009 film, "Fighting" and "A Guide To Recognizing Your Saints."
David Holmes, the composer behind Soderbergh's "Oceans 11-13" series and "Out Of Sight" will be writing the score. It'll be interesting to see what he comes up with. Spy films aren't exactly known for their funky scores, that is unless he's going for a '70s Bond vibe (which would be pretty fresh).
Soderbergh is currently location scouting as we speak and Turkey is now officially off the locale plan due to poor tax incentives. The film will now be primarily shot in Barcelona, Dublin and New Mexico. The picture is set to start shooting in February and Lionsgate hopes to have the film in theaters for August. That seems fast, but the filmmaker is rather notorious for the speed in which he shoots and edits. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, making this date is definitely feasible.
Alright, the final piece of the puzzle has arrived.
According to ComingSoon, Paramount Pictures have set a tentative release date of June 29th, 2012 for the next installment of J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek" franchise.
Quickly greenlit even before the release of the first film, the sequel was originally targeted for a summer 2011 release but now has jumped a full year, confirming Abrams' comments on the move earlier this week. Could this have anything to do with Abrams collaborator Damon Lindelof working on the last season of their hit T.V. show, "Lost" this year? Lindelof will be joining Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci in writing the new script.
Constant rumors of a return by cult villain Khan, from "Star Trek: The Wrath Of Khan," have been lighting up the Internet since the announcement of the sequel with Abrams stable actor Nestor Carbonell even earmarked as a potential Khan. It's probably waaay too early to even speculate, though Lindelof did tease about the prospects of the sequel late last year.
"One of the things we like to do as storytellers is drop you in the middle of something," the writer told SciFiWire. "And the question that you're asking yourself is: Where am I in relation to the last time I left these guys? Could this be something that predated even, perhaps, some of the adventures that they had in the first movie? Does it happen five years later? Is it happening two seconds later? Who knows? So we're not going to tell you."
"Is there something else that we can do that's a little bit off the beaten path? When you buy your ticket and your popcorn and you go and sit and watch the second movie that we're all working on together, we want to give the audience an experience that feels like it's not a sequel in all the best ways."
"Star Trek" to become the new "Lost"?
Blake Lively will star along side Ryan Reynolds in Martin Campbell's adaptation of DC Comics' "Green Lantern," revealed yesterday to be shooting in 10 weeks.
Lively will play Carol Ferris, the manager of her father's aerospace company who hires Reynold's hot-shot pilot Hal Jordan, subsequently setting him on the path to becoming the Green Lantern, a member of an intergalactic police force whose powers lie within a ring.
In casting Ferris, producers were seeking a slightly older actress -- Keri Russell and Jennifer Garner were rumored to also be in the running -- but 22-year old Lively reportedly won them over with her audition and work in Ben Affleck's upcoming crime-romance "The Town" where she plays a criminal's love interest, a role not dissimilar to the love interest of a superhero.
The film was also previously revealed to have an "Iron Man" like sense of humor, something that would probably suit Lively, a regular on TV dramedy "Gossip Girl," more so than the likes of Russell and Garner. We're not exactly familiar with the source material but marketing wise it looks like a smart choice to cast an it-girl to a B-grade superhero flick. Meanwhile, we'll wait and see if she has real acting chops this September in Affleck's aforementioned sophomore directing gig, but those that saw her in the TIFF film, "The Private Lives of Pippa Lee" -- such as our EIC -- raved about her work (yeah, we were surprised too).
"Green Lantern" is tentatively scheduled for release June 17th, 2011.
So it's been rumored for a long time that Muse, or at least singer/guitarist Matt Bellamy would be scoring Louis Leterrier's remake of "Clash Of The Titans" (I think the Playlist staff is divided on this one, this writer is taking a wait and see approach, but we did include it in our Escapist Anticipated piece). Muse admitted that they were asked to write the soundtrack (or Bellamy admitted that he was), but as /Film very recently pointed out, comments from Bellamy in the National Post (and a few other publications) indicated that he just didn't have the time.
Now that's basically been confirmed. MTV spoke to Leterrier (director of the not-bad, "Incredible Hulk" movie with Edward Norton) and he says he did in fact ask Bellamy to do about "maybe 30 minutes of music," not a full score, but he couldn't find the time in his busy touring schedule. And Craig Armstrong, who scored the 'Hulk,' was always going to be the main composer anyhow. But they've found a replacement for Bellamy in trip-hop outfit Massive Attack, again to probably do around 30 minutes of music.
"Craig Armstrong is still doing the score and I called my friend Neil Davidge from Massive Attack to replace Matt for the areas that Matt was doing. So it'll be Craig Armstrong and Massive Attack, which is pretty exciting."We hope he actually means the full "band" because Davidge is technically only Massive Attack's defacto producer (though he was instrumental in LP4) while members Robert "3D" Del Naja and Grant "Daddy G" Marshall are really the core of the dark and moody electronic based group (Daddy G did depart from the group at one point, but seems to have returned to the fold).
Massive Attack's instrumental music has always been well-suited to soundtrack scores and Del Naja completed the score for "44 Inch Chest" with British moody spacial group The Insects and regular David Lynch composer Angelo Badalamenti sometime last year. They also scored the "Battle In Seattle" and "Trouble the Water." Davidge also scored Paul McGuigan 2009 sci-fi film, "Push."
Armstrong is not necessarily that well-known for some reason, but has been doing soundtrack work for ages (or at least 1996's "Romeo + Juliet") and he's worked with u2's Bono, Evan Dando, Photek, Mogwai, AGF and Steven Lindsay just to name a few musicians. Leterrier says he hopes to work with Bellamy in the future on some other film so it seems like soundtrack work is in his cards some day.
"Clash Of The Titans" stars Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Alexa Davalos and hits theaters March 26.
"Arrested Development" movie not-much-of-a-news item #324234234.
So yes, "Youth In Revolt" hits theaters this weekend and obviously that means its star Michael Cera has been in the press a lot this week. And inevitably the "Arrested Development" movie question has come up quite a bit. But so far, there hasn't been anything very notable said.
However, in this AV Club interview, Cera admits that he kinda was the hold out back in the day and that he was skeptical (or afraid, as he puts it) of ruining the legacy of the original show.
"No, I want to be in the movie. I do. I don’t want to rob anyone. But I love the show. It’s difficult to just say yes to something when… I just had a fear of it taking away from the show. But I got past that, and I’m glad I did, because I really do want to be a part of the movie. I was just afraid. I think that’s okay."It's probably for the best. Tarnish the legacy or not, if Cera somehow decided to not star in the film, surely the obsessive AD fans would have eternally called for his blood and he'd unfortunately be saddled with a snob tag for the rest of his career.
Here's the best advice: just do it Michael. Keep your head down, take the role, give it your all, take the paycheck and hope for the best. Your only other option is so be screamed at in the streets for the rest of your life. No one wants to be booed or given the stink eye from across the block.
So far no final script exists, blah, blah, blah. Coming... eventually...
"Spider-Man 4" has hella script and production problems you say? Director Sam Raimi allegedly hates the script? Other studios smell blood in the water and have moved their release dates up? ("Thor" taking the same May 6, 2011 date, "Pirates of the Caribbean 4" taking the uncomfortably tent-pole-close date of May 20).
Tobey Maguire tries to bring some calm to the proceedings, telling the AP today, "Like anything, it's a process. We're just in the midst of the process. We have a lot of great stuff in terms of story and script. We're just trying to dial it in and get it ready as quickly as possible. Of course, these movies are a very big undertaking and take a lot more time than a drama or something more straightforward."
Apparently Marvel Studios reps declined to comment on the matter (does the AP mean Sony? Weird). Maguire insists that the film will still come out in 2011 (is that an almost certain sign that the May 6 date will now shift as we presume?) and said, "Not only do I have specific ideas [about the story], but the ideas are evolving on the page," he said. "It's all happening right now. It's all sort of coming together. It's very exciting to me. I think the evolution of the character is really exciting, to be rooted in the history of what we've done already and to have a continuity, yet have a progression or evolution."
Alright that sounds like a little bit of spin, but it also sounds fair enough. We'll just have to see where this nets out, but delays may mean they might lose actors like Anne Hathaway, who was rumored to be playing a character called The Vultress.
We just hope they're caring about story and characters first and names later. This thing is big enough already. If you build it, they will come. No need to cram the next 3-4 big villains into the story (like they did with the unsuccessful, "Spider-Man 3"). And John Malkovich is pretty much all but confirmed as the Vulture now and as much as that's perfect, it also sounds kinda like these sorta jokes.
A low-res trailer for "The A-Team" has hit the web and it's even worse than we thought it would be. Based on the TV series about a group of ex-United States Special Army Forces who are on the run from the government for a crime they didn't commit, but who still manage to run an organization dedicated to helping people out, the film version seems to adhere pretty closely to the original, at least on the surface, even recycling a few of the catchphrases. As a cable series, the show was an enjoyable enough distraction, but even it ran out of steam after five seasons and it did have to rely on frequent guest stars to keep things interesting.
We never had high hopes for this film, but the trailer makes the film out to be even dumber than we expected. The filmmakers must've watched that scene in "Live Free Or Die Hard" where Bruce Willis crashes a police car into a helicopter, and thought, "Hey, we can match that." So now we get Faceman, manning a tank that's falling from the sky (hey, it's got parachutes attached, it's fine) and shooting down another plane. We lost a few IQ points watching that. Meanwhile, the rest of the cast seems to be going through the motions in a film that looks like it's going be loud, dumb and no fun. We'll stick with the "Family Guy" version.
Nevertheless if you care, the film stars Bradley Cooper (playing Faceman for those that remember the '80s TV show), Sharlto Copley (of "District 9" playing "Howling Mad" Murdock), Quinton "Rampage" Jackson ('B.A.' Baracus), Jessica Biel and Liam Neeson ("Hannibal" Smith). It hits theaters June 11th.
Update: New trailer now in HD if you want to see it in its full crystal clear stupidity. ;)
This is interesting. New York indie-trio Blonde Redhead — who have really artistically leapt forward in the last few years beyond the basic indie-rock sound — have written the original score to the Dungeons & Dragons documentary, "The Dungeon Masters."
The trailer below reveals Blonde Redhead's participation. Interesting enough, this is probably slightly old news, but probably new to most. Directed by Keven McAlester (the guy behind the Roky Erickson/Thirteen Floor Elevators documentary, "You're Going To Miss Me"), "The Dungeon Master" played the SXSW Film Festival last year and was completed around 2008 according to IMDB.
Update: The film will be released on February 12 exclusively on Amazon VOD. A few New York theatrical dates are being planned, but the film will mostly be a digitally-driven release.
We guess the film is finally getting a release and according to the trailer the film hits sometime in February. For those unfamiliar, the New York-based trio began sounding like an inspired Sonic Youth knock-off, but have grown in recent years to have a fuller, more expansive sound taking cues from folks ranging from Serge Gainsbourg to My Bloody Valentine. Certainly in the recording studio their expressive sound has flourished with aural sophistication and interesting instrumentation. Arguably they've been growing for a long time, but it's really been obvious on their last two records, Misery Is a Butterfly and 23. However, it doesn't really appear like you can hear their work in this trailer (that's definitely not them at the end).
Thanks to Russ at /Film for the head's up. I think he knows how some of us (me) totally adore Blonde Readhead. We'll have to keep an eye on it for that reason alone. But the idea of adult dorks playing D&D is still pretty fascinating.
Posted by Rodrigo Perez at 1:03 PM
The new year is upon us and January, like September, is typically a time for studios to scrape the bottom of the barrel while America recovers from the holidays and watches NFL playoffs. With last year's "Paul Blart: Mall Cop" and "Taken" unexpectedly cleaning up around this time last year, there is renewed interest in the potential of the winter box office. "Avatar" just passed the one billion mark and is now already the second highest grossing film of all time worldwide and several holdovers are also still performing strong, so we don't really see much of the dreck rising above the pack. There are still great films expanding to tide us over through the next cold, difficult weeks.
In Wide Release: Certainly one of the more interesting looking films coming out in the next couple months, Miguel Arteta's "Youth In Revolt" opens today. The coming-of-age comedy stars Michael Cera as Nick, a teenager on a journey to ditch his white trash extended family, hang out with his best friend, and finally lose his virginity. While we have been following the film, and had decent expectations, we caught the adaptation of C.D. Payne's novel and didn't love it, but we didn't hate it either. It's not a bad film though, has its funny moments and is worth a look if you are on the hunt for something a little different this weekend. The critics are mostly on the same page with Rotten Tomatoes giving it a 71% rating with a 64 score from Metacritic.
From directors Michael and Peter Sperig comes the vampire flick "Daybreakers." It has been sitting on the shelf since 2007, even with a solid cast including Ethan Hawke, Willem DaFoe, and Sam Neill. The buzz hasn't been great and the movie landed a spot on our Least Anticipated of 2010. We reviewed the film yesterday and it was worse than bad, it was boring. With vampire fatigue finally beginning to set in, we can't imagine many kids choosing this rather than giving "Avatar" another go. Critics are a little kinder with some praising the shlocky B-movie feel, RT gives it a 62% rating and Metacritic a 61 score.
Also opening wide, Amy Adams and Matthew Goode in the generic looking "Leap Year." Adams has built a very solid career so far avoiding material like this, so we can only hope it isn't a sign of things to come. Unless, y'know, it's a hit. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 19% rating with a 31 score from Metacritic.
In Limited Release: Not too much excitement here either, folks. Another film from our Least Anticipated 2010 feature, director/star Tim Allen's "Crazy on the Outside" hits 74 screens. It hasn't been screened for critics and was cut from wide release, so we're going to stay away from this one for now. The Matthew Broderick starring "Wonderful World" from first-time writer-director Josh Goldin is also out today. The film has a 25% rating from Rotten Tomatoes and a 44 score from Metacritic. Oh, there's also the wacky looking, "Bitch Slap" which B-movie lovers or lesbian action-porn enthusiasts will surely dig, but it has a dismal 33% RT score.
Not a lot of choices. Our thought are see "Youth In Revolt," or stay home and rent.
The trailer for the Ian Dury biopic "Sex & Drugs & Rock 'N Roll" has arrived and it looks intriguing, perhaps even a little more interesting than we initially thought (rock biopics always being a rather risky proposition). We've also found several photos that have been floating around the web from the U.K. press.
For those of you who don't know, Dury was a well known Brit rocker who rose to fame in the '70s with his band, Ian Dury and the Blockheads who helped pave the wave for punk rock. The band scored their biggest hit with 1979's "Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick" but are perhaps better known for coining the phrase "Sex & Drugs & Rock 'N Roll" with their 1977 single.
The flamboyant rocker, who was crippled by polio as a child, refused to let his disability define him, famously writing "Spasticus Autisticus" that showed his disdain for what he thought were patronizing programs aimed at the disabled. Dury lived through the disease but passed away of liver cancer in 2000.
The film is directed by Mat Whitecross ("The Road To Guantanamo") and boasts a stellar lineup that includes Andy Serkis (as Dury) Ray Winstone, Olivia Willliams, Naomie Harris and Mackenzie Crook. Serkis has been earning his fair share of buzz for his portrayal of Dury, but, while we're curious about the film, given how relatively unknown Dury is on this side of the ocean we're not holding our breath for a theatrical release (see the not-released-in-the-U.S. picture"Telstar" and other British rock biopics about seminal, but largely forgotten U.K. music figures).
With sequels for the record-breaking "Avatar" in the works, James Cameron isn't necessarily ready to pull a George Lucas and focus on Pandora for the rest of his life. The director has optioned the rights for soon-to-be-published non-fiction book, "The Last Train From Hiroshima: The Survivors Look Back" with his own cash. Already earning advance critical acclaim, the book takes place over two days and weaves together eyewitness accounts from those who experienced the atomic blasts firsthand. While the rights are in Cameron's hands, its a long way off from going in front of cameras as its currently not set up at any studios.
Christina Ricci has joined Robert Pattinson and Uma Thurman for the period soap opera, "Bel Ami." She will play Clotilde, a friend of Uma Thurman's Madeleine Forestier. Shooting is set to begin next month.
Kat Dennings has joined Josh Lucas for the indie romance "Daydream Nation." The story is about a disaffected high school senior (Dennings) who has an affair with a teacher (probably Lucas), and a relationship with a teenage junkie. Sounds like loads of fun. Shooting starts tomorrow in Vancouver.
Maggie Grace has joined Dwayne Johnson and Billy Bob Thornton in the awful sounding action pic "Faster." Salma Hayek (who needs a new agent) is in talks to join this as well. And we don't care enough about this movie to write any more.
This flew a bit under our radar, but Nick Nolte has become the subject of his own documentary, "Nick Nolte: No Exit." Only slightly less crazy than Gary Busey, Nolte's career has been a combination often great on-screen performances coupled with outlandish off-screen behavior. The talking-head styled doc features the likes of Ben Stiller, Rosanna Arquette and Powers Boothe talking about the actor, while Nolte himself offers his own insights. Here's the trailer:
So determined was Labeouf to win the role of Jacob Moore in Oliver Stone's "Wall Street 2: Money Never Sleeps," four days before he was due to meet Stone, the young actor walked into a brokerage house and invested $20,000. Small price to pay for the role, you say? Think again -- we guess when you're hot, you're hot. "My mother laughs about it all the time. I come from poverty and she was on welfare, and now I'm trading upwards of $300,000."
Labeouf's secret? "You can never go wrong with soybeans," he joked, we think. The actor also revealed he "took and passed the Series 7 test which enables [him] to become a licensed trader." [Film Ink Magazine]
'Green Lantern' Gets Green Light, James Cameron Has The Top Two Highest Grossing Films Of All Time; Matthew Vaughn's 'Kick-Ass' To Open SXSW
Martin Campbell's Ryan Reynolds led "Green Lantern" has finally got the greenlight. Visual effects supervisor Karen Goulekas revealed the news on her blog, a post which has subsequently been deleted, and noted that shooting will begin in 10 weeks. The film is tentatively due for release on June 17, 2011.
"Babel" actress Adriana Barraza has joined the massive cast of Kenneth Branagh's "Thor" which is set to begin shooting next week at Marvel's Manhattan Beach studios. The actress will play an unknown human character and will star alongside Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston, Natalie Portman, Jamie Alexander, Colm Feore, Ray Stevenson, Stuart Townsend, (pause for breath), Tadanobu Asano, Stellan Skarsgard, Idris Elba, Kat Dennings, Rene Russo and Anthony Hopkins.
Matthew Vaughn's "Kick-Ass" will open this year's South By Southwest Film Festival on March 12th. The film, which stars the likes of Aaron Johnson, Christopher Mintz-Plaase, Nicholas Cage, Chloe Moretz and Mark Strong, is scheduled to hit theaters a month later on April 16th.
That sci-fi film with blue people by the director of that boat film has become the 2nd highest grossing film of all time in only its 20th day of release surpassing Peter Jackson's "Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King." The film still has about $735 million to catch up to Cameron's "Titanic" whose record stands at $1,842,879,955. In related news, Cameron has confirmed that a sequel to "Avatar" is being planned -- even though he already announced plans for a sequel three years ago.
Fresh off of earning the writing gig for Ryan Reynold's much-talked about "Deadpool" spin-off, "Zombieland" writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick have been tapped to scribe a sequel to last summer's god-awful "G.I. Joe: The Rise Of Cobra." Come on guys, we figured we'd give you the benefit of the doubt on "Deadpool" but seriously "G.I. Joe"? $$$?
Coming soon to a theaters near you; a David Goyer scribed "Ghost Rider" sequel on 3-D. Producer Mike De Luca has revealed the project -- titled "Ghost Rider: Spirit Of Vengeance" -- is definitely going ahead, will reset the franchise, will take place in Europe, won't see a return from Eva Mendes or director Mark Steven Johnson and could shoot as soon as this year. Excited?
A new trailer for Andrea Arnold's Cannes Jury Prize winning coming-of-age tale "Fish Tank" has found it's way online.
Featuring an electric performance by first timer Katie Jarvis, who was reportedly discovered by a talent scout yelling at a boyfriend across the platform at a train station, the film centers on the violent, foul-mouthed, world-hating but altogether oddly magnetic and sympathetic Mia (Jarvis) whose dysfunctional life is turned upside by the arrival of her mother's boyfriend, Connor, played by one of 2009's biggest success stories Michael Fassbender.
The film premiered at Cannes last year and has worked its way through the global festival circuit with critical acclaim. In fact, it's still on the road featuring at the Palm Springs Film Festival running at the moment.
IFC Films will be releasing "Fish Tank" theatrically on January 15th and On Demand from January 13th.
The Sundance Film Festival website has just unveiled a 'Meet The Artist' video of Christopher Thornton and Mark Ruffalo profiling their upcoming film "Sympathy For Delicious" and also features two clips from the film.
Written by and starring real-life paraplegic Thornton, first-time director Ruffalo reveals that the film is "very personal" in that he took inspiration from "watching his friend Thornton struggle with becoming paralyzed, a lot of that struggle had to do with "why?, 'where does this come from?' and 'how do I place this in the mythology of my life?,' 'how do I make sense of this?"
Sounds like the film will have a deep emotional core at the heart of its supernatural, rock n' roll exterior. There's a clip in the video that features Juliette Lewis and Thornton and, while it's probably out of context, it seems like an early barometer for what we can look forward to. The Sundance page's synopsis describes 'Delicious' as a "gritty, yet fervent, take on the search for meaning amidst tragedy and the redemptive power that is compassion." We're sold. It'll be fascinating alone to see what Thornton brings to what we assume will be a no-holds-barred story in both his writing and acting, which hopefully he can deliver on.
"Dean O'Dwyer is a D.J. named Delicious D," explains Thornton of the plot. "He's had an accident and he's down and out, he's living in his car. He parks near Skid Road to get a free meal off a soup line by a very kind young priest named Father Joe (Ruffalo). And he's been going to healing services or at least one that we know of. And he, in a very bizarre twist of fate, wakes up one day and his hands are hurting and he's able to lay hands and heal people."
"And he basically takes his gift, his god-given gift, and prostitutes it for sex, drugs, rock and roll and fame," adds Ruffalo. The film co-stars the likes of Orlando Bloom, Laura Linney, Noah Emmerich and John Carroll Lynch, who also features in the video, and will feature a score by Canadian orchestral indie rockers, The Besnard Lakes, and music written by Shiny Toy Guns performed by The Mars Volta's Cedric Bixler-Zavala -- who will also act as a vocal stand-in for Bloom's musician character on at least one song.
"Sympathy For Delicious" premieres at Sundance on the 23rd of January.
Imprisoned filmmaker (or at least in house arrest now) Roman Polanski has been in the news quite a bit this week. A hearing in L.A. is set for January 22nd, and the director has been asked to be sentenced in absentia, while the justice ministry of Switzerland said today that they would probably decide this month or next whether to grant a request by the United States to extradite the filmmaker.
His legal issues are obviously ongoing, but in news that has nothing to do with his trial, Summit Entertainment announced that his upcoming political thriller, "The Ghost Writer" starring Ewan McGregor and Pierce Brosnan will receive a February 19 limited release date in the U.S. The film will expand into bigger markets on March 5 and again on March 19. The date makes sense as 'Ghost Writer' is also set to premiere at the Berlin Film Festival which starts February 11.
The film centers on a ghostwriter (McGregor) hired to complete the memoirs of a former British prime minister (Brosnan) and runs into trouble when he uncovers secrets that put his life in jeopardy (it's apparently a fictionalized screed based on Tony Blair). Kim Cattrall, Olivia Williams, Timothy Hutton, Tom Wilkinson and James Belushi co-star.
Here's the full-on synopsis btw:
When a successful British ghostwriter, THE GHOST, agrees to complete the memoirs of former British Prime Minister ADAM LANG, his agent assures him it’s the opportunity of a lifetime. But the project seems doomed from the start—not least because his predecessor on the project, Lang’s long-term aide, died in an unfortunate accident.Obviously it'll be interesting to see how this plays given Polanski's recent issues and or if it will matter. We'll see. Update: Here's an German-language version of the trailer and even a translation from the folks at Cinemablend.
The Ghost flies out to work on the project, in the middle of winter, to an oceanfront house on an island off the U.S. Eastern seaboard. But the day after he arrives, a former British cabinet minister accuses Lang of authorizing the illegal seizure of suspected terrorists and handing them over for torture by the CIA—a war crime. The controversy brings reporters and protesters swarming to the island mansion where Lang is staying with his wife, RUTH, and his personal assistant (and mistress), AMELIA. As The Ghost works, he begins to uncover clues suggesting his predecessor may have stumbled on a dark secret linking Lang to the CIA—and that somehow this information is hidden in the manuscript he left behind. Was Lang in the service of the American intelligence agency while he was prime minister? And was The Ghost’s predecessor murdered because of the appalling truth he uncovered?
Resonating with topical themes, this atmospheric and suspenseful political thriller is a story of deceit and betrayal on every level— sexual, political and literary. In a world in which nothing, and no one, is as it seems, The Ghost quickly discovers that the past can be deadly—and that history is decided by whoever stays alive to write it.
Set in a world overrun with vampires, “Daybreakers” isn’t all that different from the world we live in now. Between the “Twilight” franchise, the phenomenal success of television series “True Blood” and not to mention the upcoming big budget “Dark Shadows” movie by Tim Burton it seems we can't seem to escape blood sucking creatures either.
Written and directed by Peter and Michael Spierig, "Daybreakers" shows the aftermath of a viral outbreak that has caused almost everyone on earth to turn into a vampire.
In this world, when you go to get your coffee, you get an extra shot of blood, not espresso. But the supply of viable humans is dwindling and an evil corporation, led by Sam Neill, is getting desperate. They put it to their chief vampiric hematologist, Ethan Hawke, to find a blood substitute, because if a vampire, who normally looks human (except for fangs and eerie glowing eyes), runs out of blood, they are transformed into huge, bat-like monsters.
Soon enough, after a number of plot contrivances we can hardly remember, Hawke is drafted into the underground human resistance, led by Willem Dafoe’s Elvis, once a vampire and now back to being a human. (The process is quite literally a baptism by fire.) The team sets their sights on bringing down Neill’s evil corporation and exposing to the world that you can, indeed, become human again.
While there’s a certain amount of stylish sheen to the world that the Spierig brothers have created (they were also responsible for the reasonably assured no-budget zombie movie “Undead”), a lot of the potential for original storytelling is squandered in favor of splashy horror set pieces that deliver the goods in terms of gore, but in the fundamentals of rip-snorting escapism fun, fall flat. It borrows from a number of genre films, everything from the nihilistic tone of “Blade Runner” to the old-cars-equals-futuristic mechanized look of “Gattaca.” Yes, it’s inherently watchable. But you’ve seen it all before.
The movie doesn’t make a lick of sense, is at times quite draggy, and at a certain point seems to simply abandoned all originality, instead intent on recycling the plot and story beats of the vastly superior Guillermo del Toro vampire romp “Blade 2,” i.e. more level headed vampires versus monstrous vampires. There are a couple of cool moments towards the end, including a huge melee that’s slowed down to the point that it seems like some Gothic horror tableau. But besides that, the joys to be had in “Daybreakers” are few and fucking far between.
If you want to go to the cinema, wearing your fake fangs and drinking Tru Blood, you might have fun. But even those genre aficionados with the junkiest of taste will be put off by “Daybreakers;” it’s worse than bad – it’s boring. [C-] - Drew Taylor
Exclusive: Ewan McGregor, Dennis Quaid & Michael Douglas (& More) Join Steven Soderbergh's 'Knockout'
When the action spy picture "Knockout" was first announced a few months ago, director Steven Soderbergh promised that the lead star, non-actress/ mixed martial arts champion Gina Carano would be surrounded by a name-recognizable cast of supporting talent and he wasn't kidding.
Sources close to the project have confirmed to us that the principal cast members supporting Carano include Michael Fassbender ("Inglourious Basterds," "Hunger"), Ewan McGregor, Dennis Quaid and Michael Douglas.
However, it looks like the original concept, — a girl from the wrong side of the tracks who is given a second chance to use her skills for constructive purposes — having gone through the gestation/inception stage was eventually rethought and cast aside (both filmmaker and writer felt that it had "been done").
Ultimately, "Knockout" is now more of a revenge action-spy thriller. Essentially it's hell hath no fury like a woman scorned and especially one who kicks serious ass. Double crossed by someone on her own team, Mallory Kane (Carano)— a black ops super soldier — seeks to uncover who has set her up to take the fall for a job that goes bad and involves a murder.
The male actors are all part of Carano's special forces team. Douglas plays a government figure not unlike Chris Cooper or Brian Cox from the 'Bourne' movies. Fassbender and one other actor who has yet to sign-on officially (we've been asked not to say who because it's not 100% confirmed, but the actor is male and a fairly big name; though it's possible scheduling conflicts may prevent him from participating) play members of her commando spy unit, and one of these two plays the central antagonist that betrays Carano's character (this is still being kept under wraps for now). McGregor's role is that of the owner/guy who runs a Blackwater private military company-type group that the female fighting champion is a part of (and apparently many of the males take a beating at the hands of Carano).
And as noted, Carano's Kane character is no longer a girl from the "wrong side of the tracks," she now has a solid background and was raised around military honor and academia. She leaves the military to go to work for a Blackwater-esque company to make better money and then is eventually betrayed by one of her teammates.
Both Douglas and Quaid have worked with Soderbergh before in his Academy Award-winning 2000 film, "Traffic" and Douglas is set to star in the filmmaker's "Liberace" film if that happens according to plan this summer. Fassbender is the quickly rising, in-demand actor that everyone wants to work with (Tarantino, et. al) and the director is certainly one of those people — Fassbender's role was written with the actor in mind.
And Soderbergh has been circling McGregor for some time now. The "Trainspotting" actor was originally pegged to have a role in the 'Ocean's' films, but his commitments to Lucas' "Star Wars" prequels unfortunately precluded his participation.
"Knockout" — it's still officially a working title, but now we're told that people are warming up to the name and that it might eventually stick — was written by Lem Dobbs, the screenwriter behind Soderbergh's "Kafka" and "The Limey" also well-known for his contentious (and hilariously candid) DVD-commentary arguments with the director ("The Limey" commentary is like two friends with the gloves off and an amusing must-listen).
The director has previously said the film will take elements from "La Femme Nikita," the 'Bourne' films, the Bond film "From Russia With Love" and John Boorman's 1967 crime film "Point Blank," starring Lee Marvin (which is known as the slightly arty, thinking man's, tough guy picture). But he's also noted that the action will be distinctly different than the Greengrass vibe evinced in his 'Bourne' films. As reported last year, David Holmes, the composer behind Soderbergh's "Oceans 11-13" series, not to mention the brisk and funky "Out Of Sight" film, will be writing the score.
Soderbergh's deal for "Knockout" through Relativity Media and Lionsgate is a typically unique one for the adventurous filmmaker. He will be paid no upfront fee for directing the film, but eventually will retain full ownership of the film once its released. It's a bold and unprecedented move. Having just finished up his media-saturation play "Tot Mom" in Australia, Soderbergh is now in New Mexico doing scouting for his February production start date expected to shoot there, Ireland and Turkey among other possible locations.
Carano has been training in L.A. for two months and test fight footage has already been shot (she's already accidentally knocked out one stunt coordinator in practice sessions... no, really). Lionsgate is eyeing an August release. Producers on the project include Relativity Media's Ryan Kavanaugh, Soderbergh's longtime cohort Gregory Jacobs, and Tucker Tooley as an executive producer.
And while THR doesn't link to us, we're not above linking those that expand on things no matter what and they have a few more additional details on the characters.
Too Gay Or Too Little Money? 'A Single Man' Actor Thinks Weinsteins Aren't Really Pushing Movie For Oscar
God, we kinda hate to say it because they've had an extremely difficult year, but man The Weinstein Company have really fucked things up this year, or at least they did for Tom Ford's remarkable directorial debut, "A Single Man," a film that topped the Venice Film Festival awards, was one of our favorite films at TIFF and seemed like sure-fire Oscar-bait (it's moving, gorgeous and has tremendous performances by Colin Firth and the rest of the cast).
But as we all know TWC has been in dire financial straits this year which has meant films that didn't have enough Oscar buzz were marginalized with small releases (John Hillcoat's "The Road" which really got the shaft — it was supposed to go wide, but has never been on more than 311 screens in total).
"A Single Man" is essentially about a gay man in mourning devastated by the loss of his longtime partner who suddenly dies in a car accident. Sure, it's gay, but so was "Brokeback Mountain" and look how far that went at Oscar time (and of course, the safer, much-more-banal pic of "Crash" won the Oscar Best picture even though 'Brokeback' won the PGA award).
When posters and trailers hit early this year, many noticed a distinct gay-bias, meaning TWC was trying to essentially hide all the gay elements of the film and sell it more as a straightforward drama about a man dealing with loss. We didn't fret too much because, well, we figured it was early and "A Single Man" was so strong it wouldn't matter come its December release.
Well, awards season is basically over outside the final Oscar nominees and "A Single Man" has generally been ignored outside Colin Firth's stellar performance (and we never cared for him much before, but he blew us away) and Julianne Moore's excellent supporting turn. Vulture recently spoke to "A Single Man" actor Matthew Goode and even he thinks the Weinsteins haven't been doing much to push or promote this film (that again, feels like true and traditional Oscar-bait).
"Nominations wise, I think Colin will get one, and I think that Julianne will for Best Supporting. And I suspect that the screenplay will for Best Adapted. And the cinematography is amazing, and the editing." As for Best Picture, though? "I think it stands alone, but it doesn't seem to be getting a push from the Weinsteins too much."When the posters first came out many remarked that it was weird that Julianne Moore was on it and Matthew Goode was not. He agrees. "That was always a bit weird, isn't it? That's obviously a kind of push towards, 'America won't come and see this if they don't want to see a gay movie.' We shot the film during Prop 8, with all that was going down in California — big irony. It's disappointing. But, hey, if you recruit money and you're gonna make money out of it, far be it from me to get in the way. I'm sure they've done their figures and they know they're going to make X, Y, Z more if they do that. I think it's a bit wicked, but I don't have millions of dollars pumped into it, so I think that's what you have to do."
In all fairness though, Goode's character (not a spoiler don't worry) dies pretty much immediately and is not as big a character in the film as Moore. Sure, his lack of presence means everything to the story and his flashback sequences are powerful, but Moore certainly has much more screentime than he does.
Anyhow, we lament it all, but aren't totally surprised either. TWC has been cash-strapped all year and it's likely that they have much less against the gays and only so much cash to spend for Oscarbaition (though with "Nine" tanking at the box-office and critically, you'd think they'd have some put-aside awards cash for Tom Ford's excellent debut).
Tarantino, Reitman, Bigelow Score DGA Nominations; Is This Your Real Oscar 5 Best Pic Frontrunners? Essentially, Yes
Well, the DGA nods are in and they are pretty much what we were expecting. Jason Reitman, who is quickly solidifying himself as a director with a feel for the pulse of contemporary, middle class America, earns a nod for "Up In The Air". Kathryn Bigelow who is enjoying a renewed career thanks to the excellent "The Hurt Locker" (which is still criminally underseen) earns a nod. Bigelow's ex, James Cameron, gets approval from his colleagues for his technologically ambitious and groundbreaking "Avatar." It's no shocker to find Quentin Tarantino in the group of nominees for his critically acclaimed and fanboy approved, "Inglourious Basterds." The other slot goes to Lee Daniels for his hamfisted direction of "Precious," a film that rests entirely on the shoulders of its capable cast who barely rescued the film from the depths of exploitative ghetto drama porn.
So how do the DGA winners match up come Oscar time? Surprisingly close. The DGA Award for Feature Film has been a near perfect barometer for the Best Director Oscar. Only six times in DGA's history has the winner not gone on to grab a gold statue. Those are some pretty good odds.
Here is the full list of nominees and their teams. It's kind of funny to note that of all the directors, Daniels had the biggest crew of first, second and assistant directors. You would think he directed a three hour, CGI heavy film. But we digress:
"The Hurt Locker"
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Unit Production Manager: Tony Mark
First Assistant Director: David Ticotin
First Assistant Director (Canadian Unit): Lee Cleary
Director: James Cameron
Unit Production Manager: Colin Wilson
First Assistant Director: Josh McLaglen
Second Assistant Director/Additional Unit First Assistant Director: Maria Battle Campbell
"Precious: Based On The Novel 'Push' By Sapphire"
Director: Lee Daniels
Unit Production Manager: Tony Hernandez
First Assistant Director: Chip Signore
Second Assistant Director: Tracey Hinds
Second Second Assistant Director: Michael "Boogie" Pinckney
Additional Unit Production Manager: Patrick D. Gibbons
Additional First Assistant Director: Tom Fatone
Additional Second Assistant Directors: Kim Thompson, Mirashyam Blakeslee
Location Manager: Gregory Routt
"Up In The Air"
Director: Jason Reitman
Unit Production Manager: Michael Beugg
First Assistant Director: Jason Blumenfeld
Second Assistant Director: Sonia Bhalla
Assistant Unit Production Manager: Samson Mucke
Second Second Assistant Director: Joseph Payton
Additional Second Assistant Director: Heather L. Hogan
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Unit Production Manager: Gregor Wilson
Unit Production Manager (Germany): Michael Scheel
First Assistant Director: Carlos Fidel
Second Assistant Director: Miguel Angelo Pate
Second Second Assistant Directors: Jill Moriarty, Tanja Däberitz
Here is your first look at Dennis Quaid doing a good job resembling former president Bill Clinton in the Peter Morgan scribed, Richard Loncraine helmed HBO film, "The Special Relationship."
Firstly, no, the title is not a reference to the Monica Lewinsky affair but rather the relationship between Clinton and U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair, played for the third time by Michael Sheen. The film will span Blair's years between when he first rose to power and was elected to his first election as P.M. with the inclusion of Clinton's infamous affair and the subsequent global media circus that ensued.
Production on 'Special Relationship' has been plagued by talent reshuffling with first Morgan leaving the director's chair -- he was originally slated to make his directorial debut -- followed by the exit of Julianne Moore whose was slated to play Hilary Clinton. Replacing Moore though is Hope Davis whose own resemblance to the former first lady when in make-up justifies Moore's exit. Helen McCroy will also be reprising her role in "The Deal" and 'The Queen" as Cherie Blair.
The film is due to release sometime this year.
More 2010: The Potentially Decent Escapist Entertainment Films (Or Potentially Interesting Indie Ones) Of 2010
It should be no surprise to you by now what type of film we generally cherish (non-pandering intelligent cinema), which ones we typically loathe (lowest common denominator chum meant to plop popcorn munchers in seats) and which ones we treat with suspicion until otherwise verified as something being other than slightly above reproach. And this is mostly that latter category. Contradictory notions aside, we do like to be entertained and if that escapist thrill can come in a smart, engaging package ("District Nine" is probably 2009's best example with "Star Trek" and "Inglourious Basterds" not far behind), we're all for it [ok, the ed. was not a huge of 'Basterds,' so what]. But often we're on the fence, not entirely sure, but willing to give a film a chance. As we said during our Least Anticipated Films of 2009 feature. We were mostly dead-on in our presumptions about the pictures we thought would be worthless (we went about 38 out of 40 pictures correct).
Basically, we're not quite ready to endorse these films wholeheartedly in the off-chance (or mild to strong) chance in case they suck. Don't get it twisted, we're excited about many of them, but we do have some minor reservations about some.
For instance, "Iron Man 2," will hopefully be just as sharp and entertaining as the original, but yes, we have often have some concerns. But here's to hoping they're all fantastic, compelling and smarter than they look. Sometimes we're being too generous by including there here (see the inclusion of "Terminator: Salvation" and "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" in 2009), and sometimes we're nicely surprised (see "500 Days Of Summer" and "Leaves of Grass"), but even last year's picks turned out to be mostly clunkers, so don't say we're being haters for being cautiously skeptical and or optimistic. But as always, we'll be pleased as punch if all these films are great and totally entertaining.