PETE’S DRAGON Has Cast Oona Lawrence in the Title Role of Director David Lowery’s Live Action Remake

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Ain’t Them Bodies Saints director David Lowery (who has been on this new project for a year) has finally found the titular Pete for his Pete’s Dragon remake.  Oona Lawrence (Boardwalk Empire, Fort Bliss) will now play the title role.  Lowery, who is now confirmed to direct after initially being attached as a writer, shared script duties on the picture with Tony Halbrooks. Considering how night-and-day different this material is from Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, it will be interesting to see what Lowery comes up with.

The new Pete’s Dragon will not be a musical, but will borrow elements from the original, which centered on a young orphan who flees his abusive parents and befriends a dragon that often turns invisible.  This new version will also be live-action with a CGI dragon.  Watch the trailer after the jump.

Matthew McConaughey Splashes Down in Another New INTERSTELLAR Poster

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Paramount Pictures continues its marketing campaign for Christopher Nolan’s highly anticipated new film by unveiling yet another new Interstellar poster—the fourth such one-sheet of the week.  While the first two posters were a diptych of sorts, showing Matthew McConaughey on an ice planet and back on Earth, respectively, the third poster focused on space at large.  This fourth and presumably final poster (of this week, at least) sees McConaughey trekking through yet another uncharted planet, knee-deep in a liquid substance (water?) while the gorgeous heavens paint the sky above him.  I’m wary of seeing too much footage from the film before it hits theaters, so if Paramount wants to just continue releasing posters that tease the epic scope and locations of the film without getting into plot, that would be fine by me.

Take a look at the new Interstellar poster after the jump.  The film opens in 2D and IMAX on November 7th and also stars Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, Casey Affleck, Michael Caine, David Oyelowo, Wes Bently, John Lithgow, Ellen Burstyn, Topher Grace, David Gyasi, Mackenzie Foy, Bill Irwin, Timothee Chalamet, and Matt Damon.

Simon Pegg and Director Peter Chelsom Talk HECTOR AND THE SEARCH FOR HAPPINESS, Script Changes, Guerilla-Style Filmmaking, TIFF, and More

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Now playing in limited release in North America is director Peter Chelsom’s dramedy Hector and the Search for Happiness.  Based on the book of the same name by François Lelord, the film stars Simon Pegg as Hector, an eccentric psychiatrist who’s going nowhere and whose patients aren’t getting any happier.  One day, he musters up the courage to set out on a quest to find out if happiness really exists.  Led by a great performance by Pegg, the film’s definitely worth checking out.  The film also stars Rosamund Pike, Christopher Plummer, Toni Collette, Stellan Skarsgard, and Jean Reno.  For more on Hector and the Search for Happiness, click here to watch the trailer, and here’s all our previous coverage.

Recently I landed an exclusive video interview with Simon Pegg and Peter Chelsom.  During our wide-ranging conversation, we talked about how they came to work together, how Pegg’s childhlike curiosity made him perfect to play Hector, the guerilla-style filmmaking they employed for some of the scenes, script changes, deleted scenes, future projects like Star Trek 3 and Mission Impossible: 5, and so much more.  Hit the jump to watch.

CBS Orders SUPERGIRL TV Show from ARROW Producer Greg Berlanti

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The Supergirl TV show is officially a “go”.  We heard a couple of weeks ago that Arrow and The Flash executive producer Greg Berlanti was developing a possible TV series based on the DC comics heroine, and now Deadline reports that CBS has given a big series commitment to Supergirl.  The drama will be written by Berlanti and Ali Adler (The New Normal, No Ordinary Family), with Adler also acting as an executive producer on the series.  Apparently CBS’ straight-to-series commitment is bigger than the one Fox recently gave to the upcoming Gotham, which is a prequel of sorts to the Batman storyline.  This continues the expansion of comic book adaptation fever into the TV world, which is becoming more and more crowded with small screen iterations of famous superheroes.  More on Supergirl after the jump.

Check out Two Clips from Yann Demange’s Exhilarating ’71 Starring Jack O’Connell

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Two ’71 clips have gone online, and they both do a great job at highlighting director Yann Demange‘s ability to build tension and create thrilling action.  The film is set in Belfast in 1971 and centers on a young British soldier (Jack O’Connell) that’s been abandoned by his unit following a riot.  Trapped behind enemy lines, he’s unable to tell friend from foe, and we follow as he tries to find his way home while the locals battle for supremacy.  These clips showcase the lead-up to the riot and O’Connell’s character, Private Gary Hook, on the run from Irish nationalists.  From these two brief clips, you can tell that Demange is a serious talent, and big things could be ahead for him if this movie is even a modest hit.

Hit the jump for the ’71 clips, click here for my review from TIFF, and click here for Steve’s interview with O’Connell from the Berlin Film Festival.  ’71 opens in the U.K. on October 10th; no U.S. release date has been announced.

THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU Review

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[This is a re-post of my This Is Where I Leave You review from the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.  The film opens in theaters nationwide today.]

Life is what happens when you’re busy making plans, or so the saying goes.  There are some trite phrases that, while clichéd, kind of ring true, and in the case of This Is Where I Leave You, director Shawn Levy’s adaptation of the Jonathan Tropper novel of the same name, the Altman family has certainly seen better days.  The patriarch’s dying wish was to have his entire family sit shiva for seven days to mourn his death, and when the Altman clan reunites to fulfill his request, old wounds are opened, past relationships are rekindled, and all are reminded that this isn’t exactly how they envisioned their lives turning out.  Buoyed by a stellar ensemble and a standout performance from Adam Driver, Levy mostly succeeds in bringing Tropper’s novel to the screen with plenty of humor, heart, and sentiment.  While Levy goes overboard with the schmaltz here and there and a couple of the storylines are undercooked, the film’s mix of sincerity and biting humor is ultimately a swell combination.

Terry Gilliam Talks THE ZERO THEOREM, Working With Christoph Waltz, the End of the Universe, and Armageddonist Republicans

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Terry Gilliam‘s new film The Zero Theorem touches on a lot of his established aesthetic signposts while exploring new thematic ground with its questions about the universe and how we all wait for permission for the wrong things. The film stars Christoph Waltz as Qohen Leth, a computer hacker who searches for the meaning of life while being distracted by Management, a shadowy figure from an Orwellian corporation.  Melanie ThierryTilda Swinton, and David Thewlis also star.

I recently hopped on the phone with Gilliam to talk all things The Zero Theorem, his reaction to the film’s philosophy as well his take on why people do what they do without thinking ahead.  Be sure to check out the trailer and hit the jump for my Terry Gilliam interview.

Michelle Monaghan Talks FORT BLISS, Working With Director Claudia Myers, the Experience of TRUE DETECTIVE, Adam Sandler’s PIXELS, and More

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In the indie drama Fort Bliss, U.S. Army medic and single mother Maggie Swann (Michelle Monaghan) struggles to find her place in her five-year-old son’s life, after returning home from an extended tour of duty in Afghanistan.  When news of another deployment threatens the tentative bond she’s formed with her son, she’s forced to find a way to reconcile her duties as a mother with her obligations as a soldier.  Written, directed and produced by Claudia Myers, the film also stars Ron Livingston, Manolo Cardona, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Pablo Schreiber and Dash Mihok.

During this exclusive phone interview with Collider, actress Michelle Monaghan talked about how she got involved with Fort Bliss, why she found the story so compelling, how intense the experience was, and how putting on the uniform really affected the way she carried herself.  She also talked about her experience on True Detective, and how excited she is about Pixels, with Adam Sandler, Peter Dinklage and Josh Gad.  Check out what she had to say after the jump.

New FINAL FANTASY XV Trailer Promises the Game Is Coming Some Day Eventually

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It’s been over a year since Square-Enix released a trailer for Final Fantasy XV, a game that has been in development for so long, that it has changed its title (it was originally titled Final Fantasy Versus XIII), directors, and its console generation.  Square-Enix started working on it in May 2006.  I’m aware that video games take a while to make, but over eight years is a little on the long side.  Square-Enix knows it, and in a new trailer they released at this year’s Tokyo Game Show, they made light of the game’s long development process.  They also made light of the fact that this Final Fantasy, like many of the Final Fantasy games, is going to look very, very pretty.  Also from what I can discern from the trailer plot-wise, Final Fantasy continues to be a catchier title than Royalty n’ Crystals.

Hit the jump to check out the new Final Fantasy XV trailer.  There’s currently no release date (shocker), but a demo will be included with Final Fantasy Type-0 HD when it’s released on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 in March.

GODZILLA Screenwriter Max Borenstein Returning to Pen the Sequel

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It wasn’t a huge surprise when Legendary Pictures announced Godzilla 2 at Comic-Con.  Godzilla had a huge opening weekend, and it recently crossed $200 million domestic.  What was nice about the Comic-Con announcement was that it revealed three monsters that would be taking on Godzilla: Rodan, Mothra, and King Ghidorah.  According to Deadline, Max Borenstein, who wrote the first movie, is being brought back for the sequel, so he’s probably got a good handle on how to wrangle these three classic monsters against Godzilla.

Also, as we reported a few days ago, Borenstein is handling the script on the King Kong reboot Skull Island starring Tom Hiddleston and directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts (The Kings of Summer).  I’m not going to hold up Godzilla as a masterwork of character and story, but it’s great as a Godzilla movie, and it’s good to know that Legendary is sticking with a guy who knows not only his genre, but also his franchises.  Godzilla 2 opens June 8, 2018.

THE ZERO THEOREM Review

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The Zero Theorem is director Terry Gilliam-squared.  The sci-fi film features all of his trademarks—unhinged characters, oppressive societies, canted angles and zooms, colorful settings—and then pushes them to a level that would border on self-parody if Gilliam wasn’t already a self-deprecating person.  There’s something fearless inside the Zero Theorem in that the movie tries to wear its brain on its sleeve, which is good because there’s more pontificating than genuine romance.  The movie will inevitably invite comparisons to Gilliam’s masterpiece Brazil, but The Zero Theorem struggles to solve its own problem, namely, turning all of its subtext into text.

TUSK Review

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For most of his career, Kevin Smith freely admitted that screenwriting—particularly dialogue—was his strong suit, but he wasn’t a tremendous director. In my review of Red State, I noted that visually, the movie was miles ahead of anything Smith had ever done, but it was hamstrung by a scattershot tone and shoddy screenwriting that was too reliant on juvenile humor. Although his follow-up, Tusk, keeps the same commendable visuals as Red State, Smith’s talent as a screenwriter has greatly declined as he descends into self-parody with conversations and monologues that go on endlessly but rarely advance the story or provide insight into the characters. Instead, his greatest passion is for his grotesque monster, a creature that looks more silly than disturbing.

Frederik Bond Departs OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN Sequel LONDON HAS FALLEN Due to Creative Differences

by     Posted 15 hours ago

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Director Frederik Bond (Charlie Countryman) signed on to direct the Olympus Has Fallen sequel London Has Fallen just one month ago.  It was not meant to be.  Bond left the project six weeks before shooting is scheduled to begin.  A Millennium spokesperson told Heat Vision that Bond departed due to creative difference, although the split is reportedly “amicable.”

London Has Fallen has an unusual schedule to accommodate star Gerard Butler‘s current engagement shooting Geostorm.  The plan is to shoot for a month with Morgan Freeman, Aaron Eckhart, Angela Bassett and Melissa Leo starting in October, then pick back up with Butler on board in April.  Producer Mark Gill and Butler are looking at candidates and hope to find a new director in the next 72 hours, so it seems they are determined to maintain that schedule.

FARGO Showrunner Noah Hawley Scripting One of the Universal Monster Movies

by     Posted 15 hours ago

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Next to True Detective, FX’s miniseries adaptation of Fargo was one of the year’s biggest surprises in the TV realm.  The prospect of anyone touching the Coen brothers masterpiece was unthinkable, but Noah Hawley—who wrote all 10 episodes—crafted a unique take on the material that caught on with critics and audiences alike.  While he’s no doubt very busy putting together the second season of the show (which will feature a new cast, story, and setting), Hawley has understandably caught the eye of Hollywood, and buried in a report on Sony optioning his novel Before the Fall is the news that Hawley is also scripting one of Universal’s upcoming monster movies.  More after the jump.

Liam Neeson Talks A WALK AMONG THE TOMBSTONES, Collaborating with Scott Frank, and More

by     Posted 17 hours ago

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Opening this weekend is director Scott Frank‘s crime thriller A Walk Among the Tombstones.  The film stars Liam Neeson as a troubled ex-cop who investigates the kidnapping of a heroin drug lord’s wife, teaming up with a heroin trafficker (Dan Stevens) and his brother to hunt down the men responsible for the crime.  Unlike his Taken role where Neeson is nearly impossible to pin down, A Walk Among the Tombstones takes place in the real world, where the characters need to use their brains and not rely on an endless supply of bullets to get the job done.  Frank has a number of great credits as a screenwriter (Minority ReportOut of Sight), and he did great work directing The Lookout.  I’m happy to say I really enjoyed A Walk Among the Tombstones and definitely recommend checking it out this weekend.

During my video interview with Liam Neeson he talked about why he wanted to be part of A Walk Among the Tombstones, how his character can’t kick everyone’s ass like inTaken, how he collaborated with Scott Frank on the character, and more.  Hit the jump to watch.

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