Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon to Star in Limited Series BIG LITTLE LIES from David E. Kelley

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It’s no secret that the “limited series” (ie. a fancy new word for miniseries) is now one of the most popular trends in television.  Telling a close-ended story over a short amount of episodes not only allows the material to remain creatively fresh and satisfying, but the relatively short time commitment allows for bigger actors to make the move to TV.  True Detective did it, Fargo did it, and now a pair of high-profile actresses are taking the limited series dive.  Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon are poised to lead a limited series adaptation of Liane Moriarty’s book Big Little Lies with veteran TV producer David E. Kelley set to pen the script.  More after the jump.

Exclusive BY THE GUN Clip: Ben Barnes Is a Made Man

by     Posted 14 minutes ago

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We have an exclusive By the Gun clip to premiere.  Ben Barnes stars as a mafia criminal whose life spirals out of control once he becomes a made man: “With Nick’s girlfriend (Leighton Meester), family, and friend’s lives at risk, he is faced with a difficult decision; continue to pursue his criminal ambitions or concentrate on the ones he loves.”

Hit the jump to watch the By the Gun clip.  Harvey Keitel, Toby Jones, Slaine, Kenny Wormald, Paul Ben-Victor, and Jay Giannone also star.  Directed by James Mottern, By the Gun opens December 5.

Ridley Scott Says He Won’t Direct BLADE RUNNER 2 But It Starts Shooting in 2015; Harrison Ford Appears in the Third Act

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For a filmmaker of 76 years of age, Ridley Scott is showing no signs of slowing down.  He just shot Prometheus, The Counselor, and this December’s Biblical epic Exodus: Gods and Kings in quick succession, and while he’s prepping the sci-fi thriller The Martian to start production early next year, he’s also still talking about sequels to Prometheus and Blade Runner.  It’s the latter that he addresses today, revealing that while he won’t be directing Blade Runner 2, it is poised to begin production next year.  That’s somewhat surprising news given that we haven’t heard anything about a replacement director being set, but Scott now says he’ll only be involved in the picture as a producer.  However, he also let slip how Harrison Ford fits into the film’s story.  More after the jump.

HORRIBLE BOSSES 2 Review

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While 2011′s Horrible Bosses doesn’t hold up quite as well as I had hoped it would, the chemistry between leads Jason Bateman, Charlie Day, and Jason Sudeikis is still a lot of fun.  Watching the three actors bounce off each other is electric as they bicker and argue like foul-mouthed children.  Comedy sequels are always tough, but Horrible Bosses 2 makes the wise decision to shake things up not only in terms of avoiding a rehash of the first film’s plot, but also changing the tone of the comedy and the trio’s dynamic.  Although the movie falters at the end, Horrible Bosses 2 feels surprisingly fresh while never losing what made the original work so well.

PENGUINS OF MADAGASCAR Review

by     Posted 56 minutes ago

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Can scene-stealers carry a movie?  Or do some characters only work best in small doses?  Even though they don’t have big-name voice actors, the espionage-minded penguins from the Madagascar franchise have consistently been more appealing than the central characters.  They almost feel like they’re more for the adults in the audience and the kids can have the slapstick and fart jokes.  Now Skipper (Tom McGrath), Kowalski (Chris Miller), Rico (Conrad Vernon), and Private (Christopher Knights) have taken center stage, and their spin-off, Penguins of Madagascar, easily surpasses the first two Madagascar films (I didn’t even bother with the third) through its rapid-fire wit, cuteness, and offbeat jokes that will amuse kids and adults alike.

Book to Screen: THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1 Is Better than the Book

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If you’ve read the third book of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games trilogy, you’re well aware that Mockingjay has problems and is undoubtedly the most difficult book of the series to bring to screen.  Whereas The Hunger Games and Catching Fire had the benefit of following the clear-cut chain of events involved in the Hunger Games, Mockingjay is more of a free-for-all.  Katniss is holed up in District 13, the Hunger Games are a thing of the past and now it’s just about the rebels trying to figure out how to get an edge on President Snow and the Capitol.  There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that narrative, but for folks who’ve enjoyed the spectacle and structure of the Hunger Games, Mockingjay could be a serious adjustment.

The same is true of the first half of Francis Lawrence’s big screen rendition, but it’s an adjustment worth making.  Minus the familiar faces and settings, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 bears little resemblance to its predecessors, but Lawrence and co. made a number of changes that make the film version far more accessible than the book.  [Please Note: This article contains spoilers for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1, but there is no discussion of what’s to come in Part 2.]

Mondo Unveils PULP FICTION Poster for Timed Black Friday Sale; Variants to be Signed by Quentin Tarantino

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Black Friday is just a few days away now.  Better start prepping so you can take advantage of the best deals out there, like Mondo’s Black Friday sale for example.  Beginning on Friday, November 28th and wrapping up on 11:59PM CT on Monday, November 1st, you’ll have the opportunity to purchase a stunning new Pulp Fiction poster by Laurent Durieux for $60 as part of a timed sale (no beating the rush, they’ll sell as many as they sell) and then Mondo will donate 10% of the proceeds to the Sally Menke Fellowship.  Cue the salesman voice.  But wait!  There’s more!

Mondo also plans to announce the online sale information for a variant print at a future date, which will be signed by Pulp Fiction director Quentin Tarantino.  Mondo is donating 100% of the variant proceeds to the Sally Menke Fellowship.  Hit the jump for more on Mondo’s Black Friday plans and to check out that new Pulp Fiction print and variant.

Sherlock and Watson Get Dapper for 2015′s SHERLOCK Christmas Special

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When Sherlock returns for its Christmas Special in 2015, Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Watson (Martin Freeman) will be squaring off against Moriarty (Andrew Scott), but that doesn’t mean they can’t look snappy while doing it.  The BBC has released an image of the crime-solving duo donning some 19th century threads, and while this looks like a promo image, the BBC’s Twitter account confirms that this is how they’ll appear in the special.  Sherlock doesn’t do dream sequences, so I’m intrigued as to why Sherlock and Watson are wearing some period garb.  Unfortunately, the answer is a long ways off.

Hit the jump to check out the Sherlock Christmas Special image along with a shot of the read-through script.

Jason Bateman Talks HORRIBLE BOSSES 2, THE FAMILY FANG, What He Learned Directing BAD WORDS, IPO MAN, and More

by     Posted 3 hours ago

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Sean AndersHorrible Bosses 2 opens tomorrow with Jason BatemanCharlie Day, and Jason Sudeikis reprising their roles from the first film.  This time around they decide to be their own bosses by setting out on their own entrepreneurial venture.  When a slick investor (Christoph Waltz) steals their idea, they decide to kidnap his son (Chris Pine) and hold him for ransom.  Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Spacey, and Jamie Foxx all return for the sequel.  While Horrible Bosses 2 isn’t going to win any awards, I’ll admit that I laughed a lot mostly from the great chemistry between Bateman, Day and Sudeikis.  For more on the film, watch some clips, the trailer, or here’s all our previous coverage.

At the recent Los Angeles press day I landed an exclusive interview with Jason Bateman.  He talked about not wanting to make a “stinky sequel,” what it was like on set working with Sudeikis and Day, if he likes to check out the movie while it’s in the editing room, how it’s going on his second feature, The Family Fang, his hope it will premiere at Telluride, working with Shawn Levy on This is Where I Leave You, the status of IPO Man, what he learned directing Bad Words that he wants to apply on future projects, and a lot more.  Hit the jump for what he had to say.

2015 Independent Spirit Award Nominations Announced; BIRDMAN Leads with Six Including Best Feature, Best Director, and Best Actor

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The 2015 Independent Spirit Award nominations have been announced, and Alejandro G. Iñárritu‘s Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) leads the pack with six nominations including Best Feature, Best Director, Best Cinematography (Emmanuel Lubezki), Best Male Lead (Michael Keaton), Best Supporting Female (Emma Stone), and Best Supporting Male (Edward Norton).  Boyhood, Nightcrawler, and Selma weren’t far behind with each picture racking up five nominations.

I like the Independent Spirit Awards because they can shine a light on films I think deserve more attention.  This year, they’ve brought some well-deserved attention to Blue Ruin, Obvious Child, The Guest, and Force Majeure.  Hit the jump for the full list of nominees.  Winners will be announced on February 21, 2015.

Hop in Some Gyroballs in 4 New JURASSIC WORLD Images Featuring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Nick Robinson, and Ty Simpkins

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Along with today’s first Jurassic World trailer, Universal Pictures has also released four new images from the upcoming sequel.  The movie takes place 22 years after Jurassic Park and is set on a fully functional park on Isla Nublar.  The folks running Jurassic World think genetically modified dinosaurs are a good idea, and so naturally bad things happen.  These images show off one of the film’s new doohickeys, a gyroball (not the official name, but I don’t know what else to call it), which looks like it tumbled out of Oblivion and got a paintjob.

Hit the jump to check out the new Jurassic World images.  The film opens in 3D on June 12, 2015, and stars Chris PrattBryce Dallas Howard, Nick Robinson, Ty Simpkins, Vincent D’OnofrioIrrfan Khan, Jake Johnson, Omar Sy, and Judy Greer.

Director Gabe Polsky Talks RED ARMY, How the Cold War Influenced Hockey, the Russian Five, and Werner Herzog’s Role as Executive Producer

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Gabe Polsky’s new film Red Army (check out Matt’s review) is an exhilarating documentary about the Cold War on ice and how an incredibly oppressive system produced one of the greatest teams in sports history:  the Red Army Hockey Team of the late 70’s and 80’s.  The story is told from the perspective of its former captain and star defenseman, Slava Fetisov, who was at the center of an extraordinarily talented group of players – Sergei Marakov, Vladimir Krutov, Igor Larionov and Alexei Kasatonov – known as the Russian Five.  Fetisov’s impressive career took him from national hero to political enemy to Russian Minister of Sport under Vladimir Putin.

In an exclusive interview, Polsky spoke about using hockey as a window into a larger personal and political story, what inspired him to structure his documentary around the legendary Red Army Hockey Team and one of its greatest players, why Fetisov was an interesting interview subject, the challenge of finding the right archival clips to give people a sense of the place and setting, the visionary Anatoli Tarasov and what distinguished the Soviet style of play from that of North America, Werner Herzog’s role as executive producer, the impact of hockey on Polsky’s life and its influence on him as a filmmaker, and his upcoming projects.  Check out our interview after the jump.

First PAN Trailer Reveals Joe Wright’s Reimagining of the Classic Story Featuring Hugh Jackman

by     Posted 4 hours ago

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Warner Bros. has released the first Pan trailer for director Joe Wright’s (Hanna) reimagining of the classic J.M. Barrie story Peter Pan.  The film finds newcomer Levi Miller’s young Pan, along with other young wartime orphans, being kidnapped by the men of the dreaded pirate Blackbeard (Hugh Jackman), thus beginning a series of adventures in Neverland that shape the boy into the hero known to generations as Peter Pan.  I think Wright is a talented director, but it looks like he made a prequel to Hook. I couldn’t help but laugh at the part in the trailer when kids from the Oliver Twist Home for Orphan Boys are abducted onto a flying ship.  “What happened to Peter?”  “He was kidnapped by Cirque du Soleil.”

Check out the first Pan trailer after the jump.  The film also stars Garrett Hedlund as Hook, Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily, Amanda Seyfried as Mary, as well as Adeel Akhtar, Jack Charles, Taejoo Na, Nonso Anozie, Kathy Burke, Kurt Egyiawan, Lewis Macdougall, and Leni ZieglmeierPan opens in theaters on July 17, 2015.

Rumor: Lucasfilm Planning STAR WARS REBELS Follow-Up Animated Series Set During the Timeline of the New STAR WARS Film Trilogy

by     Posted 4 hours ago

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We discussed the risks of shared universes and making long-term plans a bit yesterday, but when it comes to a well-established and iconic property like Star Wars, there’s really no other way to do it.  We’ve got a lot coming from the franchise on the film front, but apparently Disney and Lucasfilm are also making big plans in the TV realm as well.  Disney XD has only aired seven of 16 episodes of Star Wars Rebels thus far, but it’s being reported that Lucasfilm already knows how the show will end and also knows what series they’ll do when Rebels wraps up.

Hit the jump for more on Star Wars Rebels as well as a possible new cartoon that will be set during the timeline of the new films.

First JURASSIC WORLD Trailer Starring Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard Has Huge Dinosaurs and a Fully Operational Theme Park

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Universal has released the first Jurassic World trailer online.  The movie takes place 22 years after Jurassic Park and is set on a fully functional park on Isla Nublar.  My initial thoughts are… “please God don’t let that be the final CG render.”  I love the concepts at play here, I love the fact that there are paying customers at the park.  I love action hero Chris Pratt and icy Bryce Dallas Howard.  As far as the effects, it’s par for the course to issue a trailer using incomplete renders since these big blockbusters are typically worked on up until the very day they have to be delivered for prints and DCPs to be struck.  So I’m going to go ahead and say I’m still optimistic here.

Hit the jump to check out the Jurassic World trailer, and click here to peruse through the viral site for more background on the film’s story.  The film also stars Nick Robinson, Ty Simpkins, Vincent D’OnofrioIrrfan Khan, Jake Johnson, Omar Sy, and Judy GreerJurassic World opens in theaters on June 12, 2015.

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