The Weinstein Company has released the first trailer for director Lee Daniels’ (Precious, The Paperboy) historical drama The Butler. Based on a true story, the film stars Forrest Whitaker as Cecil Gaines, a butler who served at the White House from 1952 to 1986. The trailer plays up the film’s awards prospects as we see a flash of famous faces playing the many notable persons who walked the halls of the White House throughout this period (Alan Rickman is particularly striking as President Reagan), and that’s balanced with an overview of Gaines’ life in a racially tense America. While the film certainly looks like it has the potential to be powerful, cautious optimism is key whenever Lee Daniels is involved.
Hit the jump to watch the debut trailer. The film also stars Oprah Winfrey, David Oyelowo, Mariah Carey, John Cusack, Jane Fonda, Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard, Minka Kelly, Lenny Kravitz, Melissa Leo, James Marsden, Alex Pettyfer, Vanessa Redgrave, Liev Schreiber, and Robin Williams. The Butler opens on October 18th.
[With A Good Day to Die Hard set to open this Thursday, we'll be taking a look back at the first four Die Hard movies. These reviews will contain spoilers since the movies have been out for years.]
When I hear the words “best action movie”, I immediately think of Die Hard. No other film even comes close. It is pure action removed from sci-fi or any other genre. Even though there were plenty of blockbuster action movies in the 1980s, Die Hard is unique in how it constantly puts its hero at a massive disadvantage. To the extent that a blockbuster will allow, John McClane (Bruce Willis) is the everyman. Schwarzenegger and Stallone were the physically imposing heroes, but Willis brought a scrappy quality to McClane even though the character’s actions verged on superhuman. Although he’s very hard to kill, McClane is both the reluctant hero and the ideal 1980s American hero. From its unforgettable protagonist, Die Hard took on an identity that made it distinct and enduring.
A retro poster for the remake of Gambit has gone online. The update was written by Joel and Ethan Coen and stars Colin Firth as a London art dealer who enlists a Texas Rodeo Queen (Cameron Diaz) to help him con the richest man in England (Alan Rickman). The original 1966 film, which starred Michael Caine, Shirley MacLaine, and Herbert Lom, is a must-see, and while it sets a high bar, I’m still excited to see what the remake has to offer. At the very least, it’s got a nice poster that recalls the original without copying it.
Hit the jump to check out the poster. Gambit opens in the U.K. on November 21st, and will hit the U.S. in early 2013.
Though we got out first look at some footage from the film just yesterday, the first full trailer for Gambit has now landed online. The pic is a remake of the 1966 film starring Michael Caine as a cat burglar who recruits a showgirl (Shirley MacLaine) to help him heist a priceless antiquity. The update was written by Joel and Ethan Coen and stars Colin Firth as a London art dealer who enlists a Texas Rodeo Queen (Cameron Diaz) to help him con the richest man in England. The trailer makes the film look like a lot of fun, and the Coen brothers’ touch is quite evident. The goofiness is reminiscent of Raising Arizona, and Alan Rickman is delightfully eccentric as the target of the con. Performance-driven comedies are few and far between these days, and Gambit appears to be a breath of fresh air.
Hit the jump to check out the trailer. Directed by Michael Hoffman, the film also stars Stanley Tucci and Cloris Leachman. Gambit will be released on November 21st in the UK and sometime in early 2013 in the US.
Michael Hoffman‘s remake of Gambit needs to stop being pushed back so I can see it. In the original 1966 film, a cat burglar (Michael Caine) recruits a showgirl (Shirley MacLaine) to help him heist a priceless antiquity. The remake was written by Joel and Ethan Coen, and stars Colin Firth and Cameron Diaz, and was originally due out in the U.S. this year, but was pushed back to winter 2013. However, as we saw from recent posters (that ripped off the tagline from Bowfinger), it will still hit theaters in the UK this November. A portion of the trailer has landed online, and it looks like a lot of fun, although the Caine character is “a London art dealer who enlists a Texas Rodeo Queen (Diaz) in a scheme to con the richest man in England (Alan Rickman).” Although this is only a brief glimpse, I like what I’m seeing, and hopefully we’ll get a full trailer in the near future.
Hit the jump to check out the partial trailer, and if you haven’t seen the original, be sure to track it down.
Director Lee Daniels is currently at work on his period drama The Butler, and some images of his star-studded cast taking on famous historical figures are starting to trickle out. The film tells the true story of Eugene Allen, a butler who served at the White House from 1952 to 1986. Forest Whitaker plays Allen, Oprah Winfrey is set as his wife, and David Oyelowo will star as Allen’s son. Butler has cast a number of familiar faces to play the notable persons who walk the halls of the White House throughout this period, and now we have our first look at Alan Rickman and Jane Fonda as First Couple Ronald and Nancy Reagan. I wasn’t quite sure how Rickman would physically pull off Reagan, but the resemblance here is striking.
Hit the jump to take a look at not only Rickman and Fonda alongside Daniels, but also Winfrey and co-star Lenny Kravitz in old-age makeup. Click here to see James Marsden and Minka Kelly as John and Jackie Kennedy.
Let’s round up some posters, shall we?
- Sinister, a horror film from writer/director Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose) and starring Ethan Hawke, Juliet Rylance, Vincent D’Onofrio and Clare Foley, opens October 5th.
- Hotel Transylvania, featuring the voices of Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Kevin James, David Spade and Steve Buscemi, opens September 28th.
- Rust and Bone, the mystery/drama from director Jacques Audiard (A Prophet) that stars Marion Cotillard (The Dark Knight Rises) and Matthias Schoenaerts (Bullhead), opens November 23rd.
- Gambit, which Michael Hoffman (One Fine Day) directs from a Coen Brothers script, stars Alan Rickman, Colin Firth and Cameron Diaz. Gambit opens next year.
Hit the jump to see all the posters and synopses.
Some easy on the eyes casting additions today. Here they are at a glance:
- Malin Akerman (Watchmen) will star as “Blondie” front-woman, Debbie Harry in director Randall Miller’s indie, CBGB.
- Emily Browning (Sucker Punch) is in talks to join Plush, a psychic story from director Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight).
- Ahna O’Reilly (The Help) will star opposite Ashton Kutcher in the Steve Jobs indie picture, Jobs, from director Joshua Michael Stern (Swing Vote).
Hit the jump for more on each film.
Two bits of casting news today for some lovely leading ladies (although only one of the roles is actually a lead). Here are the headlines:
- Mia Wasikowska (Alice in Wonderland) is set to join Tracks for director John Curran (The Painted Veil). The Australian-set picture is based on Robyn Davidson’s trek across the heart of the island continent.
- Minka Kelly (Friday Night Lights) will join Precious director Lee Daniels‘ historical drama, The Butler, based on the life of Eugene Allen, who served on the White House staff from 1952 to 1986.
Hit the jump for more.
We’ve got a couple of casting stories to share this evening. First up, Harry Potter thesp Alan Rickman has landed the lead role in the biopic CBGB. Variety reports that Rickman will play New York City’s famed nightclub owner Hilly Kristal in the film, with Randall Miller (Bottle Shock) set to direct. The film will plot the real-life story of Kristal’s CBGB club and how it impacted the underground music scene with artists like the Talking Heads, the Ramones, and Blondie. The script was written by Miller and Jody Savin, and the two wrote the role of Kristal with Rickman in mind.
Miller was supposed to first shoot the Dennis Wilson biopic The Drummer, but that film has been pushed back to the fall. Rickman is a stellar actor, and we recently learned that Rickman may be playing President Ronald Reagan in Lee Daniels’ historical drama The Butler. CBGB will start filming this summer. Hit the jump for casting news concerning the fifth entry in the Die Hard franchise.
Director Lee Daniels’ historical drama The Butler is shaping up to be one of the more exciting projects on the horizon. The film tells the true story of Eugene Allen, a butler who served at the White House from 1952 to 1986. Daniels is casting a slew of stars to take small roles as the famous men and women who come through the White House over the years, with Forest Whitaker, David Oyelowo, and Oprah Winfrey set as the three leads.
Jane Fonda and John Cusack are already onboard, apparently in the roles of Nancy Reagan and President Richard Nixon, and now a number of high profile actors are circling the project as the rights are poised to go up for sale at the Cannes Film Festival next week. Hit the jump to see who else is looking to take on the roles of some historical figures.
CBS Films has done a bit of release date shuffling for two of their upcoming releases. First up, director Michael Hoffman’s remake of the 1966 caper comedy Gambit has been moved up from January 11th, 2013 to October 12th of this year (per Box Office Mojo). Cameron Diaz and Colin Firth star as partners in a con to sell a fake Monet painting, and the film has a script by Joel and Ethan Coen. Given the caliber of talent involved, the January date was always a bit of a puzzler. The film will now square off against Ben Affleck’s stellar looking period thriller Argo and the Kevin James “comedy” Here Comes the Boom. Hit the jump for more, including release date news concerning The Grudge director Takashi Shimizu’s airplane thriller 7500.
Warner Brothers did what they could to drag it out, but after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, the Harry Potter franchise is finally closed. Perhaps not for good – author J.K. Rowling has got her new Potter-centric website, and she may get bored and write another adventure in that universe. But no matter if it comes back or not, for performers Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint Potter will be part of their legacy. They spent ten years playing Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley. And no matter what they do, they are as stuck to this as Sean Connery is to James Bond. Continued after the jump.
Splitting J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was a risky proposition from a narrative standpoint. Financially, it was an unsurprising move, but if you have one movie that’s all slow, methodical character development and the second movie that’s all fast-paced action, then each movie could be monotonous because they’ve lost the other half of their story. Both parts of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows managed to avoid that problem. The first part, while mostly centered on wandering and quiet moments, still managed to work in humor and thrilling set pieces. By contrast, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 is an almost non-stop epic battle that still finds time for the character development and deeply moving moments the series became known for. It is the grandest of all of the Harry Potter films in scope, in action, and in heartbreak.
For the majority of the Harry Potter series, Severus Snape is simply a bully. There are brief hints as to why he particularly hates Harry, but nothing so revelatory as to change your perception of the character until the final book in the series. While Alan Rickman has always played the role with great relish, the final movie finally provides him with a new side to play for Snape and he does it brilliantly. Rickman and director David Yates basically have five minutes to make you reevaluate your opinion of Snape and they pull it off. There’s a lot to love about Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, and Alan Rickman’s performance is near the top of the list.
Warner Bros. has release a new featurette about Snape and it shows plenty of footage that’s not in the trailer. Watch at your own caution. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2 opens in 3D this Friday. Look for my full review tomorrow.