Universal-based Illumination Entertainment will create a 3-D animated feature based on "Flanimals," a children's book series by Ricky Gervais.
Gervais will voice the lead character, and the script will be written by Matt Selman ("The Simpsons").
The four-volume series, illustrated by Rob Steen, encompasses a world inhabited by 50 species of creatures so ugly and misshapen they become cute and endearing. Gervais' character, a pudgy, perspiring purple creature, goes on a mission to change the world. "It will be great to play a short, fat, sweaty loser for a change," Gervais said. "A real stretch."
Illumination founder Chris Meledandri will produce with Courtney Pledger. Gervais will exec produce.
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
20th Century Fox has set Oliver Stone to return as helmer of the sequel to his 1987 hit "Wall Street." Shia LaBeouf is also in the mix for "Wall Street 2."
LaBeouf is negotiating to join Michael Douglas, who won an Oscar for his portrayal of Gordon Gekko in the original pic. The sequel will once again involve a young Wall Street trader, and the recent economic meltdown spurred by rampant greed and corruption will fit prominently into the plot.
Allan Loeb will write the script. Edward R. Pressman is back as producer.
Monday, April 27, 2009
Director: Tony Gilroy
Starring: Clive Owen, Julia Roberts, Tom Wilkinson, Paul Giamatti, Dan Daily
Distributor: Universal Pictures
MPAA: Rated PG-13
With director Tony Gilroy’s critically acclaimed Michael Clayton, it was interesting to see if he could pull off a spy-comedy movie. So and a couple of friends and I decided to check out the movie in theatres when it came out. Read on to see what I thought about the movie.
Ray Koval (Clive Owen) plays an MI6 agent while Julia Roberts plays a CIA agent. After having a rather rough past, the two think up of a "retirement" plan by attempting to sell a secret break-through formula from a pharmaceutical corporation, run by Howard Tully (Tom Wilkinson). All while that’s happening, Richard Garsik (Paul Giamatti) thinks that he’s the one getting that new formula, but the two spies have their own plans.
The plot for this is well… kinda confusing. In some parts I had no clue what in the world was going on. After checking out IMDb, I was surprised to see Gilroy’s name under the director section. But I guess this explained a lot, since Michael Clayton had a fairly complex story also. The movie itself moves through very slowly, with some parts being extremely boring and unnecessary. Not sure why, but I was expecting some action in the movie, but it was all talk to me. You would think that a movie like this would have quite a bit of that ‘suspenseful heist planning’ that usually fits into heist movies. Gilroy attempted to use the same techniques he used for Michael Clayton, but it simply didn’t work for me in this movie. The ending of the movie I thought was the best part; I thought it would be your typical thieves-get-away-company-loses type of ending, but it wasn't and something that I didn't remember seeing before in a movie.
With the movie’s plot being really boring, this is where the movie shines: its cast. Clive Owen and Julia Roberts have the lead roles as spy agents. The two pull off a really fun and interesting bond, bringing their spying knowledge to the relationship. Tom Wilkinson and Paul Giamatti play the angry/hating CEO’s who are willing to do anything to destroy the competition. I also thought the dialogue in the movie was pretty good.
The movie also shines here. Although the picture quality is nothing spectacular, there’s some grain here and there and colors in some scenes felt a little muted. But some of the locations in the movie are what stand out; particularly the scenes in Italy stood out along with the scenes that were filmed in the Bahamas.
There really isn't much to say about the audio in the movie. Since the movie is basically all talk, music isn't really there apart from the occasional suspenseful melodies in various parts of the movie.
Duplicity is one of those movies you expected to be pretty good coming from the director of Michael Clayton, but all it is is a movie with a boring story. If it weren't for the cast, I wouldn't have even considered this movie. The good picture quality showcasing the different aerial shots and places around the world is great, but the audio is also pretty boring and absent.
Universal Pictures will remake the 1983 David Cronenberg-directed thriller "Videodrome," with Ehren Kruger set to write the script and produce with partner Daniel Bobker.
The producers tracked down the rights to Canadian distribution vet Rene Malo, who will be exec producer. Universal distributed the original and had first refusal on a remake, and the studio snapped up the opportunity.
The original "Videodrome" starred James Woods as the head of Civic TV Channel 83, who makes his station relevant by programming "Videodrome," a series that depicts torture and murder that transfixes viewers.
The new picture will modernize the concept, infuse it with the possibilities of nano-technology and blow it up into a large-scale sci-fi action thriller.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Universal Pictures has released the new poster for Brüno, coming to theaters on July 10. Sacha Baron Cohen's gay Austrian supermodel Brüno comes to the big screen with similar hijinks and celebrity interviews as seen on "Da Ali G Show."
Denzel Washington is negotiating to star in drama "Unstoppable," the Tony Scott-directed that 20th Century Fox has on track for a fall production start.
Washington would play an experienced engineer who jumps in a locomotive with a young conductor to chase down a runaway train carrying a cargo of toxic chemicals. Mark Bomback wrote the script, which is loosely inspired by a true event.
Julie Yorn is producing "Unstoppable" with Scott.
The drama would reunite Washington and Scott for their fifth film together. Aside from "Crimson Tide," "Man on Fire" and "Deja Vu," the duo just completed another train-based thriller, "The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3," which Columbia Pictures releases June 12.
Universal Pictures has put the brakes on "Bioshock," the Gore Verbinski-directed live action adaptation of the bestselling Take-Two Interactive video game. The picture was in pre-production, but the studio has halted that effort--and let some production staff go--as Universal and Verbinski figure out a way to make the film at a more reasonable budget.
Sources said that the John Logan-scripted picture was gearing up to shoot in Los Angeles, but that changed when the budget rose to the vicinity of $160 million. Universal and Verbinski are looking at alternatives like shooting in London as a way to pare costs. The plotline takes place in the underwater city Rapture, where a pilot crash-lands near a secret entrance and becomes involved in a power struggle.
Verbinski and sources at the studio say they are determined to make the pic. Indeed, Verbinski (who has also been directing the Paramount animated film "Rango" with Johnny Depp) bowed out of directing a fourth installment of "Pirates of the Caribbean" so that he could direct "Bioshock" and produce under his Blind Wink banner.
All parties vow that "Bioshock" will not become another "Halo," the live action adaptation of the Microsoft game that was going to be turned into a film by Universal and Fox until both studios got cold feet and cancelled the deal over budget fears.
Universal acquired "Bioshock" in a multi-million dollar deal from Take-Two.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
IESB has learned that 20th Century Fox and Robert Rodriguez (Spy Kids, Sin City) are giving Predator a facelift in a new film entitled Predators.
In a news conference today at Texas-based Troublemaker Studios where Rodriguez was on hand for the signing of a new state film incentive. Rodriguez talked to the audience of press members and revealed his upcoming film slate.
"I'm going to be able to shoot my upcoming Machete here, a sci-fi action film called Nervewrackers, a re-boot of the Predator series called Predators, and a couple of smaller movies called Sin City 2 and The Jetsons."
If you recall, Rodriguez penned a Predator 3 script some time ago that was discarded because it was "too big."
The Mirage Group has given the green light for development of a live-action major motion picture focusing on the origins of the iconic Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, targeted for release in 2011.
Announcement of the latest (fifth) big screen version of the crime-fighting "heroes in a half-shell" comes on the day the Turtles kick off their 25th anniversary national "Shell-ebration" in New York City with multiple events that include the honor of lighting the Empire State Building in 'turtle green' and a unique outdoor presentation of their beloved first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film at the Tribeca Film Festival "Drive-In".
Mirage is partnering with producers Scott Mednick (300, 10,000 BC) and Galen Walker (who produced the recent CGI TMNT release) to create this live-action film. Peter Laird, Gary Richardson, Frederick Fierst, Eric Crown and Napoleon Smith III will serve as executive producers of the film, which is based on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles characters created by Laird and Kevin Eastman. Mednick and Walker will serve as producers. The project is being funded through Lightbox Productions, LLC.
Mednick has begun reaching out to writers and directors and is already in discussion with several high-profile actors interested in portraying Turtles characters they loved as kids.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Empire magazine has debuted the first official photo of Mel Gibson in director Martin Campbell's Edge of Darkness.
Gibson plays a veteran cop whose only grown-up child (Bojana Novakovic) is murdered on the steps of his home. The cop unearths his daughter's secret life and discovers a world of corporate cover-ups and government collusion. Ray Winstone, Danny Huston, Shawn Roberts, Frank Grillo and Gbenga Akinnagbe co-star.
Edge of Darkness is due out late in 2009.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
State of Play
Director: Kevin Macdonald
Starring: Russell Crowe, Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Helen Mirren, Robin Wright Penn
Distributor: Universal Pictures
MPAA: Rated PG-13
State of Play is a film adaptation of the critically acclaimed 6-part British television serial of the same name written by Paul Abbott. The series first aired on BBC in 2003 and has since become a big hit in the UK. Abbott was reluctant to sell the film rights to State of Play, fearing that a compressed movie version wouldn't have worked. He changed his mind and sold the rights to Paramount Pictures in May 2004. Before the deal could be finalised, the project fell apart and Universal Pictures stepped in with director Kevin Macdonald (The Last King of Scotland) attached to direct. Brad Pitt signed on to play Cal McAffrey with Edward Norton set to play Congressman Stephen Collins. Before filming began, Pitt dropped out because of script rewrites and demanded that the studio delay the movie until after the 2007 Writers Guild of America strike so a new script could be formed. The move would have delayed the movie over a year, but Universal was reluctant to wait that long. Since Pitt dropped out, the film was delayed until Universal could find a replacement which eventually went to Russell Crowe. The delay caused by Pitt, interrupted Edward Norton's filming schedule because he was also filming another movie at the time. Norton asked the studio if he could be replaced and Universal worked out a deal where he was traded for actor Ben Affleck. With everything finally set and ready, the movie began filming sometime in 2008.
A petty thief is gunned down in an alley and a Congressman's assistant falls in front of a subway - two seemingly unrelated deaths. But not to wisecracking, brash newspaper reporter Cal McAffrey (Russell Crowe) who spies a conspiracy waiting to be uncovered. With a turbulent past connected to Congressman Stephen Collins (Ben Affleck) and the aid of ambitious young rookie writer Della Frye (Rachel McAdams), Cal begins uprooting clues that lead him to a corporate cover-up full of insiders, informants, and assassins. But as he draws closer to the truth, the relentless journalist must decide if it's worth risking his life and selling his soul to get the ultimate story.
Seeing as how I wasn't able to catch the BBC version of State of Play, I cant compare the two to see how close they are. With that said, I found the film version to be pretty great. The story is refreshing and kind of complex at times. Its one of those movies were you kind of have to pay close attention to whats going on or else you will probably get lost. Its subjects of journalism and politics is really interesting and its really fascinating to see how news gets around. The dialogue is nice and snazzy without being too serious. You eventually go on to love and hate some of these wonderful characters. Each one of them is pretty intriguing in their own right ways. This is a political thriller at heart so people expecting big action scenes are going to be disappointed. Theirs hardly any action going on and its simply dialogue driven. This doesn't matter to me because the trailer and TV spots never indicated that this film was going to be anything less than a dialogue film. The only problem I found with the film is that it feels like a bunch of really cool ideas mashed together. What I mean by this is that the film can feel ambitious at times and seems like it has too much going for it. I understand that the task of trying to fit a 6-part TV series into roughly a 2 and a half hour film, can be tedious, and quite difficult. I think the writers did as much as they can in fitting the main concept of the BBC series into the film version. Still, with enough twists and turns, I think the story turned out pretty good and was simply entertaining. The ending did feel alittle rushed and partly unexplained, but I thought it kind of left on a creative tone.
Russell Crowe plays as the main protagonist of the film, Cal McCaffrey. I'm somewhat of a Crowe fan because I think hes just about great in almost every film hes been in. I wasn't too fond of him in Body of Lies, but I think hes great here. He makes the character very believable and very likable. It also helps that Crowe just simply overshadows everyone in the film. He gets the most screen time and the film plays it like hes the only person on the case. It would have been interesting to see Brad Pitt play this role, but I still think Crowe was a fine replacement. Ben Affleck plays the supporting role of Stephen Collins. I don't really follow Affleck these days. I mean I don't hate the guy, but I haven't really seen him in much movies lately. He has been getting alittle tiring and un-creative in terms of the characters hes played. I think he was pretty alright in State of Play. I didn't find his performance all that special, but It also wasn't that bad. I think he was the right figure to pay Collins, but his emotional scenes could have used some work. Rachel McAdams plays as Della Frye and she too is great in her role. I enjoy McAdams in almost any role shes in because shes so fun to watch. Her character was not only sexy, but also charming and precise. I do wish we knew alittle more about the character she plays, but I enjoyed her performance in this film. We also have Helen Mirren playing the rigorous Cameron Lynne. Mirren is just as great as ever and always seems to please me in her unique roles. Shes very talented and definitely knows how to act. Theirs no complaints from me here because I thought her character was just awesome.
The visual look of State of Play is generally good, but it does come with some faults. The film's source is in good shape and doesn't contain too much film grain. The image does show some grain here and their, but I think this was the directors intent to make the film much more realistic. Colors were mostly muted to go with the story. The image never seems to blush at you with vibrancy, but instead goes with the natural gritty look of a good thriller. This doesn't really bother me since a colorful image probably wouldn't have went well with the political story the film was trying to tell. Black levels are pretty solid though out the film, but they do tend to look alittle hazy in some of the darker scenes. Flesh tones seem natural and simplistic. Not too warm, but also not too artificial looking. Detail is a mixed bag on most parts. The early scene in the beginning of the film that shows the murder, looks really good especially when close up. Than the later scenes tend to look somewhat soft and lack detail. The level of detail seems to be inconstant and never really on the same page. At times, the image can tend to look great, but than their are also those times where it seems too soft for a new release film like this.
The soundtrack in State of Play is slightly above average. The original music is done by Alex Heffes who also composed music for Touching the Void and The Last King of Scotland, both of which directed by Kevin Macdonald. Heffes definitely seems to know what hes doing and his score never seems to get in the way of the dialogue which is extremely important in a dialogue driven film like this. His score is engaging and is well used in many scenes. The film does tend to feel like its relying too much on its one score rather than exploiting other sound. The bass in State of Play isn't something to brag about. Its spread pretty nicely, but does tend to focus more on the front. Since the film is heavily dialogue driven, theirs hardly much for the bass to be used for. Still, the film does sound generally good for a thriller and I wouldn't expect it to sound any better for a film of this type.
State of Play is an effective, smart and compelling thriller. I haven't seen the popular BBC version, but I really enjoyed this film. I thought the story was fascinating, but also somewhat hard to follow. Its one of those movies where you kind of have to watch it twice to fully capture most of the story kind of like Watchmen. It also feels like it has too much going for it, yet it tries to squeeze every little detail within the time allotted. Still, the film features some strong acting along with a good amount of twists that make the story much more forgivable. The cast is mostly great with all of them having some interesting characters. The visual look of the film is very much natural looking, but tends to have inconstant detail. The soundtrack is effective and very much in tack with the dialogue. Its engaging and creates some thrilling moments when a twist is about to be revealed. I can recommend this film to those looking for a great thriller based on the subjects of journalism and politics. Your going to have to pay close attention to fully appreciate the story, but its worth it. Its a must for those adults looking for a crime thriller.
Monday, April 20, 2009
USA Today has published the first photo of Russell Crowe in director Ridley Scott's Robin Hood. Opening in theaters on May 14, 2010, the Universal action-drama co-stars Cate Blanchett, Vanessa Redgrave, Mark Strong, Scott Grimes, Kevin Durand, Alan Doyle, Oscar Isaacs, Lea Seydoux and William Hurt.
Russell Crowe plays Robin of Loxley in an origin story of Robin Hood that hews close to historical facts of the period. Abandoned as a child, he finds community with the common people of Nottingham. Robin's abandonment and trust issues hamper his ability to fall in love. He meets his match in Marian (Cate Blanchett), a strong, independent woman.
Earlier this month, director Michael Bay received the Vanguard Award for Excellence in Filmmaking at the 30th Annual ShoWest, and after accepting the award, Bay gave the exhibitors in attendance a special treat by sharing the first never-before-seen footage from his upcoming sequel Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.
Now, you can see that footage for yourself as Mr. Bay has graciously posted it to his own official site MichaelBay.com for everyone else to enjoy. It starts with a 90-second clip of Sam telling Bumblebee that he's going off to college and then a quickly-cut montage showing many of the robots we'll be seeing in the sequel.
UPDATE: Looks like Paramount has removed the video for some reason. I'll try to post it as soon as it becomes available.
MTV has debuted a two-minute clip from director Shane Acker's 9, opening in theaters on September 9th.
The film features the voices of Elijah Wood, Jennifer Connelly, Crispin Glover, Martin Landau, Christopher Plummer and John C. Reilly. The animated fantasy epic is a feature-length expansion of Acker's short film of the same name. Produced by Tim Burton (Edward Scissorhands, Sweeney Todd), Timur Bekmambetov (Wanted), and Jim Lemley, the surreal tale takes place in a world parallel to our own, a post-apocalyptic fantasy in which a band of courageous rag dolls battles for the survival of civilization.
Friday, April 17, 2009
Evan Spiliotopoulos, co-writer of "Pooh's Heffalump Movie" and its DVD Halloween spinoff, has been hired to write Universal's action sequel "Wanted 2," based on a story by Chris Morgan. Like the original 2008 film, the in-development sequel is based on the comic series created by Mark Millar and J.G. Jones.
Marc E. Platt and Jim Lemley are producing with Timur Bekmambetov, who directed the first film and is attached to helm the sequel. Universal production exec Jeff Kirschenbaum will oversee the project for the studio.
Morgan co-wrote the first film with Michael Brandt and Derek Haas. "Wanted," which starred Angelina Jolie and James McAvoy, grossed $339 million worldwide.
Spiliotopoulos most recently adapted the Dave Roman graphic novel "Agnes Quill: An Anthology of Mystery" for Paramount. He also has "The Last Call" in development at Universal.
We’ve known for a while that Peter Jackson and Guillermo Del Toro’s eagerly-awaited adaptation of the Lord Of The Rings prequel, The Hobbit, would comprise two movies, due in December 2011 and 2012. But the make-up of those two movies has been up for debate… until now.
We spoke exclusively to both Del Toro and Jackson for our birthday issue, and they told us the latest, which is…
“We’ve decided to have The Hobbit span the two movies, including the White Council and the comings and goings of Gandalf to Dol Guldur,” says Del Toro.
“We decided it would be a mistake to try to cram everything into one movie,” adds Jackson. “The essential brief was to do The Hobbit, and it allows us to make The Hobbit in a little more style, if you like, of the [LOTR] trilogy.”
So there you go. The second film will not, as had previously been suggested, a film that will bridge the 60-year gap between The Hobbit and the start of Fellowship Of The Ring.
Sofia Coppola is checking into a new hotel for her next project.
The writer-director who shot her "Lost in Translation" at the Park Hyatt in Tokyo, practically making a character out of the antiseptic structure, will set her next film at the iconic Chateau Marmont in Hollywood.
Stephen Dorff and Elle Fanning will star in the Focus Features dramedy "Somewhere," which Coppola penned.
Story centers on a bad-boy actor stumbling through a life of excess at the Chateau Marmont. With an unexpected visit from his 11-year-old daughter, he is forced to reexamine his life.
Project reunites Coppola with the film company with which she made the critical darling and box office hit "Lost in Translation."
"'Lost in Translation' remains among Focus' most beloved movies, so we have long looked forward to making another picture with Sofia," Focus CEO James Schamus said. "'Somewhere' will have all the witty, moving and empathetic qualities that characterize all her work."
Film will lense in L.A. and Italy in June and July.
Despite rumours that Bruno, Sacha Baron Cohen’s new comedy, might be awarded an NC-17 – the kiss of death, box office-wise – in the States, we can all relax: the film has officially been given an R.
It’s believed that Bruno, a fake documentary in which Cohen plays a super-gay Austrian fashion journalist who travels across the States, causing mayhem and provoking outrage wherever he goes, was re-edited and resubmitted to the MPAA, the joyless bar stewards who wanted to give it an NC-17 in the first place. That would have meant that many cinema chains would have refused to show the film, and many newspapers wouldn't have carried advertising for it.
Now, though, the movie can be seen by pretty much anyone under the age of 17 in the States, as long as they’re accompanied by a guardian. Which means, given the hype surrounding Bruno, that the way is clear for it to match and possibly even exceed the cash raked in by Cohen’s last movie, Borat. And good for him.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Warner Bros. Pictures has provided ComingSoon.net with the new trailer for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. The anticipated sixth installment hits conventional and IMAX theaters on July 15.
Voldemort is tightening his grip on both the Muggle and wizarding worlds and Hogwarts is no longer the safe haven it once was. Harry suspects that dangers may even lie within the castle, but Dumbledore is more intent upon preparing him for the final battle that he knows is fast approaching. Together they work to find the key to unlock Voldemort's defenses and, to this end, Dumbledore recruits his old friend and colleague, the well-connected and unsuspecting bon vivant Professor Horace Slughorn, whom he believes holds crucial information. Meanwhile, the students are under attack from a very different adversary as teenage hormones rage across the ramparts. Harry finds himself more and more drawn to Ginny, but so is Dean Thomas. And Lavender Brown has decided that Ron is the one for her, only she hadn’t counted on Romilda Vane's chocolates! And then there's Hermione, simpering with jealously but determined not to show her feelings. As romance blossoms, one student remains aloof. He is determined to make his mark, albeit a dark one. Love is in the air, but tragedy lies ahead and Hogwarts may never be the same again.
Fast & Furious
Director: Justin Lin
Starring: Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster, Michelle Rodriguez, John Ortiz
Distributor: Universal Pictures
MPAA: Rated PG-13
Universal wanted a fresh cast and crew for Tokyo Drift because the previous film, 2 Fast 2 Furious, wasn't what fans and critics really wanted. This wasn't necessarily a smart move because while Tokyo Drift became the better film compared to 2 Fast 2 Furious, it also angered fans who were looking to see their favorite cast members from the previous film, return. So Universal had to go back to the drawing board and really think about what they want to do with this series seeing as how its become one of their most successful and entertaining franchises. What better to do than bring back Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, Jordana Brewster and Michelle Rodriguez alongside Tokyo Drift director, Justin Lin. This was a bold move for Universal since these actors haven't been together since the original which was 8 years ago. Luckily, it payed off because Fast & Furious broke records with an estimated $71 million weekend gross becoming the highest grossing film in the month of April. Not only that, but the film beat the first, second and third films opening weekend numbers and even out grossed what Tokyo Drift made in its entire domestic run ($63.7 million).
When a crime brings them back to L.A., fugitive ex-con Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) reignites his feud with agent Brian O'Connor (Paul Walker). But as they are forced to confront a shared enemy, Dom and Brian must give in to an uncertain new trust if they hope to outmaneuver him. And from convoy heists to precision tunnel crawls across international lines, two men will find the best way to get revenge: push the limits of what's possible behind the wheel.
Even though Fast & Furious was filmed after Tokyo Drift, its actually a prequel to Tokyo Drift. The plot in Fast & Furious is pretty thin. What I mean by thin is that it isn't fleshed out as it was in Tokyo Drift and its hardly original. A major character dies and we have another character trying to find out who was behind it. Its pretty simple and doesn't really have a whole lot of layers to it. If you were expecting a strong story, than you will be disappointed. Why in the blue hell would anyone be watching these movies if they were expecting a great story? That's not what these films are and people come to see these movies simply for the hot cars and sexy chicks. I enjoyed the humor that the film kept that the previous films all had. The film does have alot of character development and its mostly trough out the film. We learn more about Dom and what happened to him after the first film. Yes, we still have cheesy dialogue that has now become a custom thing in these films. Its definitely not as bad as the dialogue in 2 Fast 2 Furious, but its still cheesy. I liked how the film made some references to the previous movies and also made a reference to Tokyo Drift which is technically the sequel to this film in terms of story. I also really enjoyed the racing scenes which to me felt much more intense than the previous films. The tunnel scene near the end is almost breathtaking in a way. Director Justin Lin really knows how to shoot some awesome action scenes and it definitely shows. We also get sexy chicks that have also become a custom thing in these films.
Vin Diesel returns as the hard hitting Dominic Toretto and he does a fairly good job in his role. I enjoyed Diesel's character in the first film and always thought how much of a bad-ass he is. Its really nice to see him return to the series that once made him famous. His Dominic Toretto is as aggressive as ever and still wins his races the way he always does. Paul Walker also returns as the undercover agent who knows how to race when needed, Brian O'Conner. Its also nice to see his character return and play the part that also made him a star. His character is much more mature now and isn't the goofball we have come to expect. Jordana Brewster reprises her role as Mia Toretto and shes as good as she was before. I really like Brewster and think shes one of the hottest girls around even though her acting ain't all that great. She does a pretty good job in her role and delivers whats needed. We also have the the sexy action star Michelle Rodriguez returning as Letty. Even though her role isn't as big as some of the other cast members in the film, she was still a fine addition to an already cool cast. John Ortiz plays as the headmaster, Campos. His lines are particularly cheesy and make him look less of a bad guy than he already his. Hes still a good actor and does his thing here, but just don't expect much from him.
The visual look of Fast & Furious stays pretty much in line with the previous installments in the series. The first 3 films were already pretty much demo material on the DVD format. Fast & Furious benefits from a clean source considering its practically knew to theaters. I didn't notice much in terms of film grain and the image always stayed smooth through out its runtime. Colors were pretty much as vibrant as they can be. The contrast did seem alittle hot at times, but I think this was done particularly by the weather at the time of its filming. While they aren't as colorful as 2 Fast 2 Furious or as brightly lit like Tokyo Drift, they still have a distinctive look that makes them special. Black levels are strong and really dark the way it should be. The night scenes still manage to look great despite the hard lighting. Flesh tones were spot on perfect and their wasn't a time where the characters looked out of place. Detail was fantastic and revealed a good amount of dimension in the picture. Some of the CGI effects did tend to look alittle ugly near the end, but close up shots looked incredible.
The soundtrack in Fast & Furious is just as snazzy as the previous films. While its not as music oriented or as fresh as Tokyo Drift, it still reminds you of that feeling you get when your watching one of these movies. The original music is done by Brian Tyler who also scored the last entry in the series, Tokyo Drift. The soundtrack is mostly mixed with some rap/ R&B. Its perfectly suitable for a high octane action flick like this and fans of the series shouldn't be disappointed. While the sound in all the Fast and the Furious films were good, its in the bass department where its true power shines. The bass is nothing, but spectacular. Its strong and packs quite a punch. The theater was rocking loud. It was dynamically spread out and didn't just feel front heavy like most action films these days. The previous films in the series were all reference material when it came to the sound department. I'm sure when this bad boy hits DVD/Blu Ray later this year, it will sound just as rocking if not better than its predecessors.
I honestly wasn't expecting this film to live up to the previous films especially the first, but damn was I pleased when I left the theater. Not only was it better than the last two entry in the series, but it was on par with the first film. While I still think the first film was the best, Fast & Furious definitely comes as close as it gets. Its the true sequel to the first in alot of ways, but also a fun high octane thrill ride. The story is still predictable and cheesy, but I appreciate that their was more character development in this film than the previous ones. The car scenes are awesome and still kept me on the edge of my seat. The cast was generally favorable and its nice to see most of the original gang back. The visual look of the movie was great with a good amount of detail everywhere. The soundtrack was on par with past films and is definitely reference material once it hits DVD/Blu Ray. I can recommend this to those looking for a good popcorn flick. Its far from perfect and somewhat over the top, but its still mindless fun. Fans of the series will be pleased and I'm more then stoked for another one.
Thursday, April 09, 2009
Universal Pictures has debuted the new international trailer for Michael Mann's Public Enemies.
Opening in theaters on July 1st, the Michael Mann-directed action-thriller is the story of legendary Depression-era outlaw John Dillinger (Depp)—the charismatic bank robber whose lightning raids made him the number one target of J. Edgar Hoover's fledgling FBI and its top agent, Melvin Purvis (Bale), and a folk hero to much of the downtrodden public.
Wednesday, April 08, 2009
The teaser trailer for Mike Judge's (Office Space) new comedy, Extract, is now online.
Opening on September 4, the film stars Jason Bateman, Mila Kunis, Kristen Wiig, J.K. Simmons and Ben Affleck. It centers on a flower extract factory owner (Bateman) who's dealing with workplace problems and a streak of bad luck, including his wife's affair with a gigolo.
Sony will adapt the popular PlayStation 2 title "Shadow of the Colossus" into a bigscreen actioner, with Justin Marks penning the screenplay and Kevin Misher in negotiations to produce.
"Colossus," which bowed exclusively on the PlayStation 2 in 2005, revolves around a man named Wander who must travel across a cursed wasteland and defeat 16 creatures, known as the colossi, in order to restore the life of a girl.
Project, which proved a big seller for PlayStation 2 and was produced internally by Sony Computer Entertainment, will build upon the videogame's fantasy setting of a solitary world with few characters other than the 16 enemies.
Misher will produce through his Misher Films shingle.
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
After spending the better part of the last six years directing the "Pirates of the Caribbean" trilogy, which grossed $2.6 billion worldwide, Gore Verbinski has informed Disney and producer Jerry Bruckheimer that he will not helm a fourth installment that's expected to set sail in 2010 with Johnny Depp back as Captain Jack Sparrow.
Sequel is in development but not yet greenlit. It's unknown how Verbinski's ankling will affect the pic's schedule.
Verbinski will instead focus on other projects that include "Bioshock," a Universal Pictures adaptation of the bestselling videogame that has a John Logan script and is likely to be Verbinski's next film as a director.
"I had a fantastic time bringing 'Pirates' to life, and I am eternally grateful to Jerry, Johnny and the rest of the creative and production team," Verbinski said. "I'm looking forward to all of us crossing paths again in the future."
Verbinski's U-based Blind Wink Prods. is developing several other potential directing vehicles, including "Clue," a live-action murder mystery based on the Hasbro board game, and a drama based on a Wall Street Journal article about the online fantasy role-playing world and its debilitating impact on the real lives of players. Steven Knight (Eastern Promises) is penning the latter.
Monday, April 06, 2009
Yahoo! Movies has revealed this second poster for Spike Jonze's adaptation of Maurice Sendak's classic book Where the Wild Things Are. Opening in theaters on October 16, the Warner Bros. adventure film features Catherine Keener, Max Records, Mark Ruffalo, Lauren Ambrose, James Gandolfini, Catherine O'Hara and Forest Whitaker.
Jackie Earle Haley is moving to Elm Street, signing to star as iconic killer Freddy Krueger in New Line and Platinum Dunes’ relaunch of “A Nightmare on Elm Street.”
Platinum Dunes partners Michael Bay, Brad Fuller and Andrew Form are producing with John Ricard co-producing. Samuel Bayer will direct from Wesley Strick’s script, with lensing set to begin next month in Chicago.
New Line decided last year to relaunch the movie series centered on the iconic killer, who haunts the dreams of teenagers and kills them in their sleep. Krueger was played by Robert Englund in the 1984 original, spawning nine films and two TV series in what was New Line’s most lucrative franchise until “The Lord of the Rings.”
The relaunch comes on the heels of New Line and Platinum Dunes’ rebirth of another horror franchise, “Friday the 13th,” which has grossed $65 million domestically since its launch on Friday, Feb. 13.
Haley starred in “Watchmen” as Rorshach and will next be seen alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in Phoenix Pictures’ “Shutter Island,” directed by Martin Scorsese.
Friday, April 03, 2009
Paul Weitz (American Pie, In Good Company) is in talks to direct "Little Fockers," the third installment of the Universal Pictures and Tribeca Prods. franchise.
Jane Rosenthal and Jay Roach are producing, and the studio will begin production in July. John Hamburg is rewriting a script originated by Larry Stuckey.
Robert De Niro, Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Teri Polo and Blythe Danner are so far set to reprise.
Studio has been looking hard for the right director to replace Roach, who helmed "Meet the Parents" and "Meet the Fockers," films that turned in a combined worldwide gross just north of $820 million. It briefly appeared that Pete Segal would get the job (Daily Variety, March 20).
Dealmaking is about to begin with Weitz, whose plan is to move directly from "Fockers" into directing "Another Bullshit Night in Suck City," an adaptation of the Nick Flynn book that Weitz scripted. Focus Features has picked up the project, which will star De Niro and Casey Affleck. The pic has been a passion project for Weitz.
Thursday, April 02, 2009
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Director: Gavin Hood
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Danny Huston, Ryan Reynolds, Taylor Kitsch
Distributor: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
MPAA: Rated PG-13
This is a review for the film footage that was leaked earlier this week. The footage I saw was essentially done expect for a few special effects being finalized. I will update this review once the film hits theaters. X3 wasn't as bad as some say. Sure it wasn't as great and coherent as X-Men and X-Men 2, but it was still entertaining. Fast forward to X-Men Origins: Wolverine, a film that's essentially a spin-off of the Marvel X-Men character, Wolverine. Twentieth Century-Fox had just finished the X-Men trilogy off with the third film and wanted to continue the series more further simply because it made them a boat load of money at the box office. This wasn't easy to do because alot of the characters from X3 had been killed off so Fox had to find another way to cash in on the X-Men property. They thought they can focus on Wolverine simply because the Marvel character had such an interesting and somewhat long back story. Not only that, but Hugh Jackman who played the famous character in the previous X-Men installments, was interested in reprising the role that made him famous.
Leading up to the events of X-Men, X-Men Origins: Wolverine tells the story of Wolverine’s (Hugh Jackman) epically violent and romantic past, his complex relationship with Victor Creed (Liev Schreiber), and the ominous Weapon X program run by William Stryker (Danny Huston). Along the way, Wolverine encounters many mutants, both familiar and new, including surprise appearances by several legends of the X-Men universe.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine is a prequel to the first X-Men film and focuses more on the character of Wolverine. While we do get to see what Wolverine's past was like, these sequences don't last long. Most if not all of Wolverine's back story is mostly told in the beginning as part of the intro credits. Honestly, X-Men Origins: Wolverine feels like a bad edited film. The film never seems to stay coherent with its story and just simply feels like a bunch of ideas smashed together. Sure we get some awesome action scenes here and their that really shows us Wolverine's true aggressive nature, but even these scenes cant help a bad movie from not being bad. On top of that, the dialogue in the film seems really off by X-Men standards. They are really cheesy and simply just don't go well with Wolverine's aggressive look. Ill admit that character development here is better than it was in X-Men 3, but the characters we have in this film just aren't worth giving a damn. Yes, we get the awesome Marvel character Deadpool, but even he isn't worth caring about. His character in this film doesn't resemble his comic book counter part and also has one of the worst build ups I have seen in some time. It reminded me of the awful build up for Phoenix in X-Men 3 which didn't live up to expectations. Yes we do get more mutants such as the long awaited Gambit along with a younger Scott Summers/Cyclops, but they aren't worth caring about. Not only that, but most of them seem awfully weak compared to everyone else in the film. The ending is also a mixed bag and honestly, takes the easy Hollywood way out. I do like that we get a surprise cameo by a special mutant at the end, but even that feels as if it never happened since this is a prequel to the first X-Men film.
Hugh Jackman reprises the role that made him famous, Logan/Wolverine. He gives a solid performance as the character, but since his lines are mostly cheesy, they don't come off good. I once read that Jackman was going for a more violent and darker Wolverine for this film, but what we have here is hardly anything I would call dark. We have Liev Schreiber playing as Victor Creed/Sabretooth. Tyler Mane who played the character in the first X-Men movie wanted to come back for this film, but the director felt he needed a more younger and creepy looking Sabretooth. Schreiber does the best he can, but with bad dialogue, his character feels rather one dimensional and hardly as cool as he was in the comics. Danny Huston plays as William Stryker and he does a fairly good job at it. Brian Cox played the character in X2 and wanted to return using CGI to make him look younger the same way it helped Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen in the opening flashback of X-Men 3, but that didn't work out. I kind of liked Huston's performance as Stryker and enjoyed the edgy tone he brought to the character. Ryan Reynolds steps in the shoes of Wade Wilson/Deadpool. Reynolds does tend to talk alot and annoy the rest of the cast like Deadpool would, but his later scenes as Deadpool are so unfufilling and nothing like the Marvel character we all know and love. We also have Taylor Kitsch playing as Remy LeBeau/Gambit. Kitsch played this character to whatever the script required for him to do, but his impersonation of Gambit is really lame. I don't remember Gambit being so bad at fighting and hardly using his techniques the right way.
I will update this section when the film hits theaters because the footage I saw was still in final stages of production. The special effects weren't as nearly done as they could have been, but the rest of the film was basically completed. The visual look of X-Men Origins: Wolverine is probably the films only advantage over the previous X-Men films. Being the newest one released compared to the previous three X-Men films, Origins: Wolverine benefits from a cleaner film source. I didn't notice any film grain and everything seemed as smooth as it can be. Colors seemed natural and didn't get in the way of my experience. The film doesn't come off as eye popping or colorful as other superhero movies, but I thought the colors were in the right place. Black levels were also pretty strong and held up pretty well in some of the darker scenes. Flesh tones seemed more natural and slightly muted. Detail was definitely on the strong side which shouldn't come off as a surprise considering its a new release. Close up shots looked really good with alot of detail exhibiting on the screen.
I will also update this section when the film hits theaters because the footage I saw was still in final stages of production. The films score wasn't in place and other stock music was used instead. The films bass on the other was in tact and it simply blew me away. Considering that the film is an action movie at heart, it shouldn't come off as a surprise that the film does have some aggressive bass usage. Every gun shot and explosion was loud and clear as it could possibly be. Dynamics were spread out pretty evenly and it didn't seem like most of the work was coming only from the front. While I'm sure the film will rock even harder in theaters, what I saw was still pretty damn fantastic. X-Men Origins: Wolverine definitely kicks it a up notch in the bass department and It should sound even more better on Blu Ray once it streets later this year.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine could have learned a thing or two from the previous X-Men films and become something special. Instead, the film focuses somewhat on Wolverine's interesting past, but also makes him an action hero. The story is a mixed bag and really ends in a lame Hollywood way. The dialogue is bad and never seems to take these characters seriously. Deadpool fans will be severely disappointed with what the film has made him into. While the film can be fun at times simply because you get to see Wolverine kick alot of ass, these moments cant save the film from all these issues. The cast seems to work for the most part and I enjoyed most of their work, but the dialogue really makes it hard for you to care about their acting. The visual look of the movie is great and features a really good amount of detail. The film also has a very strong amount of bass and packs quite a punch. I cant really recommend this film because it has alot of problems. Even if your a fan of the series, I would probably wait for the DVD/Blu Ray release so you can give it a rent. Compared to the other X-Men films, in my opinion I would rank X-Men Origins: Wolverine as the worst in the series.
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
At the Sony Pictures presentation of their upcoming summer line-up, Sony President of Worldwide Distribution Rory Bruer mentioned in passing the previously announced Spider-Man 4 from Sam Raimi and the long-rumored Ghostbusters 3, but the biggest surprise was that Sony plans to go back and make a third "Men in Black" movie as well.
This was the first announcement that Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones might be back together again, although no further details were given in terms of how far along they are in development, whether there's a script in the works or whether indeed, it will be joining Spider-Man 4 in Sony's summer of 2011.
Mads Mikkelsen and Alexa Davalos are boarding Clash of the Titans, the Greek-god epic being directed by Louis Leterrier at Warner Bros. Pictures.
Sam Worthington is toplining as Perseus, who is put on a quest to save a princess and defeat Hades, the god of hell. Gemma Arterton is Io, who is instrumental in bringing the winged horse Pegasus to Perseus.
Mikkelsen is playing Draco, a skilled fighter and leader of the Praetorian Guard that accompanies Perseus. Davalos is Andromeda, the captured princess.
Legendary is co-producing and co-financing the film, which is set to begin shooting in the U.K. at the end of April. Matt Manfredi and Phil Hay wrote the script.