First STRANGE MAGIC Trailer Reveals George Lucas’ New Animated Film

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With the ever-present nature of the internet, it’s rare nowadays that a movie can somewhat blindside you with its existence.  But that’s just what happened recently when Disney announced not only that an animated feature from Lucasfilm called Strange Magic exists, but that it’s coming out in a little over two months.  The film is based on a story by George Lucas, and today the Strange Magic trailer was released, giving us our first look at some footage.  Though the animation is impressive in some respects, the whole thing feels really dated.  There’s a heavy reliance on widely known pop songs, a trend that was all the range during the time of Shrek—over a decade ago.  The fairy tale revolves around a world filled with goblins and elves and is inspired by A Midsummer Night’s Dream and it might yet drum up some interest from a (very) young crowd of kids, but I have a feeling parents aren’t going to be crazy about this one.

Check out the Strange Magic trailer for yourself after the jump.  Directed by Gary Rydstrom (Lifted), the voice cast includes Alan Cumming, Evan Rachel Wood, Kristin Chenoweth, Maya Rudolph, Sam Palladio, Meredeth Anne Bull, Alfred Molina, Elijah Kelley, Bob Einstein, and Peter StormareStrange Magic opens in theaters on January 23rd.

Andy Serkis Suggests the PLANET OF THE APES Series May Span Four of Five Films

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Back in 2011, Rise of the Planet of the Apes opened with $54.8 million and went on to accumulate $481.8 million at the worldwide box office.  It made sense that Fox would want to move forward with two more films.  However, after Dawn of the Planet of the Apes kicked off its run with $72.6 million and took in a whopping $708 million worldwide, it seems as though a trilogy might not be enough anymore.

During a recent interview, Andy Serkis suggested that there’s a chance the series might not be capped at three films.  How many could there be?  Hit the jump to find out more.

THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES: Check Out the Music Video for Billy Boyd’s “The Last Goodbye”

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Billy Boyd may not be getting any face time in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, but a music video for his end credits song “The Last Goodbye” just hit the web and not only does it include Boyd’s performance, but select clips from all six Middle-earth films as well.  Even as someone who hasn’t been particularly enthusiastic about the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies, the piece is still a beautiful send off that makes me look back and appreciate the time I got to spend with these characters.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies doesn’t hit theaters until December 17th, but the soundtrack with “The Last Goodbye” will be available on December 9th.

New FIFTY SHADES OF GREY TV Spot Continues to Promise Sweet, Kinky Love

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Universal has released a new Fifty Shades of Grey TV spot.  Based on novel by E.L. James (which began as Twilight fan fiction), the story revolves around Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) and her introduction to a whole new world of sexual discovery and risqué activities in the hands of billionaire Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan).  The ads for this movie are so bizarre in how they seem to be selling the film as “Come watch softcore porn this Valentine’s Day in a public theater, but you don’t have to feel guilty because really it’s about love.”  I’ve heard far more than I wanted to about book (link not-safe-for-work or life), but the word “love” has never come up.  It’s erotica.  It’s best-selling erotica, but erotica nonetheless.

Hit the jump to watch the new Fifty Shades of Grey TV spot.  The film opens February 14, 2015, and also stars Marcia Gay Harden, Jennifer Ehle, Max Martini, Luke Grimes, Rita Ora, Eloise Mumford, Dylan Neal, Victor Rasuk, and Callum Keith Rennie.

Warren Ellis’ Comic Series GLOBAL FREQUENCY to Get another Shot at TV with Fox Ordering a Pilot from Producer Jerry Bruckheimer

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Warren Ellis is one of my favorite comic book authors, and his short-lived WildStorm comic series Global Frequency could make for a great TV series.  The title refers to 1,001 people working for an independent, covert organization.  Each of these members has a highly specialized skill, a special phone, and in a time of crisis, the organization’s leader Miranda Zero and dispatcher Aleph will call and send this person on a mission.  You have two interesting female characters as the regulars and from there you can cast guest stars to essentially be a weekly lead.  That’s not to say an adaptation is an easy slam dunk.  Producer Mark Burnett (Survivor) prepped a pilot in 2005 with John Rogers (Leverage) spearheading creative development, and it leaked online.  Warner Bros. was unhappy with the leak and canceled the project as a result.

Now Global Frequency is getting another shot at television with Fox ordering a pilot from producer Jerry Bruckheimer.  Hit the jump for more.

SCANDAL Recap: “Where the Sun Don’t Shine”

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Last week on Twitter, Kerry Washington promised that Scandal‘s holiday-break finale would be “bananas.”  “Where the Sun Don’t Shine,” though, was also a kind of recap of the entire season so far, boiled down into one hour.  There were some twists and turns and some dancing, and a good set up for the next half of this season, but was it completely bananas?  Hit the jump for why “I’m marrying a whore, but at least I know what I’m paying for.”

Composer Alexandre Desplat Talks THE IMITATION GAME, Coming to the Project Late, Finding Continuity in His Scores, His Love of Conducting, and More

by     Posted 11 hours ago

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Six-time Academy Award Nominee Alexandre Desplat is a remarkably versatile composer with a distinct voice who has collaborated with some of the world’s top filmmakers.  His films this year range from Wes Anderson’s The Grand Hotel Budapest, to George Clooney’s The Monuments Men, the blockbuster action thriller Godzilla, Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken and Morten Tyldum’s The Imitation Game.  Desplat’s compelling score for the Alan Turing biopic starring Benedict Cumberbatch features lots of keyboards, clarinets, and fast arpeggios which support the pacing of the film and capture the story’s thrilling intensity and the humanity of characters who are racing against time to crack the Nazi’s Enigma code during WWII.

In an exclusive interview, Desplat discussed his collaboration with Tyldum, the tight schedule he was under to deliver the film, how he created themes that resonated with the storyline of a film that has an extremely complex structure consisting of many flashbacks and flashforwards, his themes for Alan Turing and his friend Christopher, how he strives to find a sense of continuity when he scores a film, why the chronology of music is important, why he finds each collaboration with a director a new adventure even when they’ve worked together before, and his upcoming projects including Suffragette.  Check out the interview after the jump.

PIFFF Day 1: Three Promising Debuts in TIME LAPSE, HOUSEBOUND, and NIGHTCRAWLER

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The first day of the Paris International Fantastic Film Festival kicked off with a cult classic and three first-time feature films that are a promising debut for their respective directors: Time Lapse, Housebound and Nightcrawler kept the audience on the edge of their seats, while Wes Craven‘s A Nightmare on Elm Street, programmed in the Retro category, still manages to scare us witless for 90 minutes some 30 years after its release.

Hit the jump for my reviews.

GRACEPOINT Recap: “Episode Eight”

by     Posted 14 hours ago

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Hmmm.  In my enthusiasm over “Episode Seven’s” big departure from Broadchurch, I might have overestimated Gracepoint‘s decision to really strike out on its own.  “Episode Eight” was more or less a kind of reset, and the kind that made “Episode Seven” look largely like wheel-spinning.  Nothing much was revealed in this new episode, either, which seems to suggest that the two-episode expansion from the original series may not ultimately yield any different results.  Hit the jump for why I’m running hot and cold about this series.

Martin Freeman Joins THE TALIBAN SHUFFLE; Bryce Dallas Howard in Talks for PETE’S DRAGON; Matt Smith to Star in PATIENT ZERO

by     Posted 14 hours ago

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A few pieces of casting to report:

  • Martin Freeman is in talks to join Tina Fey and Margot Robbie in The Taliban Shuffle, a black comedy set in Kabul.  Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (Crazy Stupid Love) will direct the adaptation of Kim Barker’s memoir.
  • Bryce Dallas Howard is in talks to join the cast of Pete’s DragonOakes Fegley, Oona Lawrence, and Robert Redford also star in the picture directed by David Lowery (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints).
  • Matt Smith will star opposite Natalie Dormer in pandemic thriller Patient Zero, directed by Stefan Ruzowitzky (Deadfall).

More on each project after the jump.

Director Francis Lawrence Talks THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – Part 1, Deleted Scenes, the Lack of IMAX, the Batman vs. Superman Logo in I AM LEGEND, and More

by     Posted 15 hours ago

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Opening this weekend is director Francis Lawrence’s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1.  In the next installment, we find Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) at the forefront of the rebellion in District 13 while Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and Johanna (Jena Malone) are held captive in the Capitol.  Unlike the last two films which focused on surviving the games, Mockingjay – Part 1 is about the rebellion spreading throughout Panem and the way both sides play the media to gain the upper hand.  It’s an extremely well done movie and fans of the franchise will not be disappointed.  Joining the cast are Cressida (Natalie Dormer), Boggs (Mahershala Ali), Pollux (Elden Henson), Messalla (Evan Ross), and Castor (Wes Chatham) alongside Liam HemsworthWoody HarrelsonJulianne MoorePhilip Seymour Hoffman, Elizabeth BanksSam Claflin, and Donald Sutherland.

A few days ago in New York City I landed a great video interview with Francis Lawrence.  During our extended conversation he talked about editing Mockingjay – Part 1, deciding the right place to end the film, deleted scenes, the possibility of linking up Part 1 and 2 for a marathon-style fan screening, why he didn’t use IMAX on Mockingjay, the status of Mockingjay – Part 2, and so much more.  In addition, Lawrence talked about the Batman vs. Superman Easter egg in I Am Legend and how the logo is very close to what WB is using for Batman v Superman, if he has has any interest in doing another comic book movie, and more.  Hit the jump to watch.

Josh Boone Now Says THE STAND Will Be Four Movies With a Cast The Will “Blow People’s Minds”

by     Posted 16 hours ago

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Wow.  Sometimes I hate the way films are tailored for the global marketplace (i.e. Transformers: Age of Extinction), and sometimes I’m okay with it.  Today is one of the days I’m okay with it. Writer/director Josh Boone (The Fault in our Stars) has announced that his adaptation of The Stand will now be four movies.  Why?  Because Warner Bros. wanted to have a product with enough set pieces to satisfy the international market without skimping on character.

While there’s still no cast in place, this is incredibly exciting news for anyone in favor of bold, creative decisions.  This isn’t a plug-and-play scenario like The Hobbit, it’s a little bit risker than that.  But damn do I hope it pays off.  Hit the jump for more on The Stand turning into four movies.

New PITCH PERFECT 2 Images Feature Familiar Faces and New Additions

by     Posted 17 hours ago

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Earlier this morning, Universal released the first trailer for the upcoming musical comedy Pitch Perfect 2 and it was kind of fantastic.  The follow-up looks to be every bit as fun and surprising as the first film, and it has Elizabeth Banks in the director’s chair to boot.  Continuing on with today’s festivities, Universal has released a batch of new Pitch Perfect 2 images from the film, which reveal what Adam Devine’s Bumper has been up to since the first movie (hanging with Joe Lo Truglio, of course) and also give us a look at the Barden Bellas’ new addition Hailee Steinfeld.  I’d go so far as to say that the first movie was the most entertaining movie I saw in theaters in 2012, so I’m fairly excited for this one.

Check out the new Pitch Perfect 2 images after the jump.  The film also stars Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Skylar Astin, Anna Camp, Brittany Snow, Alexis Knapp, Ester Dean, Hana Mae Lee, John Michael Higgins, and Katey SegalPitch Perfect 2 opens in theaters on May 15, 2015.

Watch the GAME OF THRONES Telltale Game Trailer

by     Posted 18 hours ago

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The folks over at Telltale Games first came to my attention when I saw people raving about their The Walking Dead game, as many were saying it expertly blended an emotional, character-driven story with solid gameplay.  They may indeed get the same results with their upcoming take on HBO’s Game of Thrones, and the first Game of Thrones Telltale Game trailer has been released online to give fans a brief tease of what we might expect (complete with Lena Headey voiceover).  The game series is being touted as a six-part episodic adventure, with the story revolving around a noble family from the north of Westeros called House Forrester.  They are caught up in the events surrounding the War of Five Kings, and the player will take on the role of different House Forrester members and determine their fate based on the choices he or she makes.

Check out the first Game of Thrones Telltale Game trailer after the jump.

Not Dead Yet: BOND 24 and TWIN PEAKS Season 3 Will Be Shot on Film

by     Posted 18 hours ago

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The number of wide releases this year that were shot on film amounts to but a handful, and despite heavy advocacy from filmmakers like Christopher Nolan and J.J. Abrams, the format has become an outlier in contrast to the near-universal use of digital.  Digital is not inherently a bad format, and some filmmakers like David Fincher are able to take full advantage of the opportunities it provides, but the fear is that the choice over whether a director can shoot on film or digital may be disappearing.  That could very well be the case in the near future, but today some relief arrived in the form of news that two highly anticipated upcoming projects will be shooting on film, keeping the format alive for a bit longer: Bond 24 and the new season of Twin Peaks.  More after the jump.

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