A new How to Train Your Dragon 2 clip has been released online, and it should bring to mind another recent fantasy franchise. The long-awaited DreamWorks Animation sequel picks up five years after the events of the first film, as Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and Toothless are exploring new territories while the rest of their friends are enjoying dragon races. During one of Hiccup and Toothless’ journeys, they discover a secret ice cave, hundreds of new wild dragons, and the mysterious Dragon Rider. This new clip provides a look at the aforementioned dragon races, as the main characters take part in a Quidditch-esque game that involves picking up sheep and dropping them into baskets. It highlights the film’s great sense of humor, gorgeously colorful animation, and soaring score, making the wait for its release that much harder.
Hit the jump to watch the new How to Train Your Dragon 2 clip and to check out a batch of new high-resolution images. The film also features the voices of Cate Blanchett, Gerard Butler, Kit Harington, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, T.J. Miller, Djimon Hounsou, and Kristen Wiig. How to Train Your Dragon 2 will premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May and opens in theaters everywhere on June 13th.
HBO has released a new, full-length The Normal Heart trailer for director Ryan Murphy’s (Glee, American Horror Story) adaptation of the Tony Award-winning Larry Kramer stage play. The film follows the HIV/AIDS crisis in New York City in the early 1980s, and it looks at the nation’s sexual politics as gay activists and their allies in the medical community fought to expose the truth about the burgeoning epidemic to a city and nation in denial. Though Murphy is a bit hit and miss (his last two films were Running with Scissors and Eat, Pray, Love), I’m encouraged by The Normal Heart’s stellar ensemble cast and the fact that Kramer penned the screenplay. Mark Ruffalo and Taylor Kitsch, in particular, look to be standouts, and the tone feels reminiscent of the heartwrenching documentary How to Survive a Plague, in which Kramer plays an integral role.
Hit the jump to watch the full-length The Normal Heart trailer. The film also stars Matt Bomer, Jim Parsons, Alfred Molina, Jonathan Groff, Denis O’Hare, Corey Stoll, and Julia Roberts. The Normal Heart premieres on HBO Sunday, May 25th at 9pm ET/PT.
Thursday evening’s TV ratings are in. Here’s a brief look at the highlights:
- The season five finale of NBC’s Community saw a slight ratings uptick, rising 11% from last week’s series low 0.9 rating to a 1.0 rating in the 18-49 demo and scoring 2.9 million viewers. It barely edged out Parks and Recreation for the night, but that’s still far from a “solid” ratings performance. And yet, a sixth season renewal is actually looking pretty likely since it would put the series in a lucrative position for syndication. If NBC doesn’t renew Community and “Basic Sandwich” ends up being the series finale, we’ll all just have to assume a giant asteroid destroyed all life on earth. It is canon, after all.
- Over on ABC, Scandal closed out its buzzworthy third season with a 3.4 rating and 10.45 million viewers, rising 13% from last week and marking the show’s highest rated season finale yet. A fitting end to what’s been a breakout season for the Shonda Rhimes soap.
Hit the jump for the rest of the TV ratings report for Thursday, April 17th, including Parks and Recreation, Parenthood, The Vampire Diaries, and more.
We’ve got a few casting stories to attend to this evening. Briefly:
- Chris Pine is in talks to lead Disney’s coast guard drama The Finest Hours, which now has a new director in Craig Gillespie (Lars and the Real Girl).
- Michael B. Jordan is attached to lead the action thriller Men Who Kill, which is being developed as a star vehicle for the actor at 20th Century Fox.
- X-Men: First Class actor Caleb Landry Jones is in talks to join director Roland Emmerich’s gay rights drama Stonewall.
Hit the jump for much more on the aforementioned casting.
Though we still have no definitive word on what Steven Spielberg’s next project will be, the filmmaker is adding another incredibly promising project to his potential slate. Variety reports that Spielberg plans to direct and produce the religious drama The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara for The Weinstein Company and DreamWorks, and he has enlisted his Lincoln and Munich scribe—not to mention Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright—Tony Kushner to pen the script. Based on the non-fiction book by David Kertzer, the story concerns an Italian Jew who, in 1858, was forcibly removed from his parents at the age of six by authorities of the Papal States and raised as a Catholic. He later became a priest in the Augustinian order, but the ordeal set off an international controversy.
Though the religious pic certainly sounds like fascinating material for Spielberg and Kushner, Edgardo Mortara will not be Spielberg’s next project. He has now narrowed his Lincoln follow-up down to two choices, one of which is a sci-fi epic and the other a battle of leaders set against the backdrop of the Spanish conquistadors’ interaction with the Aztec peoples. Hit the jump for much more on where we stand with regards to Spielberg’s next film.
A director has been chosen for the horror sequel Sinister 2. Scott Derrickson (The Exorcism of Emily Rose) co-wrote and directed the first film, which revolved around a true crime writer (Ethan Hawke) who moves his family into the home where a family was previously murdered, only to stumble across Super 8 footage depicting the murders of said family and numerous others. Though Derrickson returned to co-write the sequel with Sinister co-writer C. Robert Cargill, he opted to step back and let another filmmaker take the helm, and he announced on Twitter this evening that Citadel director Ciaran Foy will be taking the reigns of Sinister 2. Hit the jump for more.
Warner Bros. has released the first Jersey Boys trailer and poster for director Clint Eastwood’s adaptation of the popular stage musical. The film tells the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, chronicling the group’s rise in the 1960s with such hits as “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry” and “Walk Like a Man” and subsequent troubles that came with their success. I was a bit surprised to see that the pic maintains the direct address from the stage musical, with the various characters speaking into the camera to move the story along, but it could be an interesting addition to what’s essentially a rags-to-riches-to-troubles biopic of the Four Seasons. On the stage, the story is a lot of fun and almost plays like a musical version of Goodfellas, so it certainly has strong potential. My main hesitation is Eastwood, whose dreary aesthetic and tone don’t particularly scream “movie musical.” But he’s an avid music fan and a musician himself, so maybe he’ll surprise us with this one.
Hit the jump to watch the Jersey Boys trailer and to check out the pic’s debut poster. The film stars John Lloyd Young, Erich Bergen, Vincent Piazza, Michael Lomenda, and Christopher Walken. Jersey Boys opens in theaters on June 20th.
We’re less than a month away from new episodes of Louie, and in anticipation of the debut, FX has released the first clip from season four to tide fans over. It’s a brief teaser of what’s sure to be a fantastic batch of episodes, but what’s particularly exciting about this clip is that it reveals a guest presence by the great Charles Grodin. He plays Louis C.K.’s doctor in the clip, and the less said about what transpires the better. We know essentially nothing about what season four of Louie entails, but the writer/director/star/executive producer has excelled in previous episodes with delivering stories that are unexpected, hilarious, dramatic, and at times very dark. Grodin is surely one of many familiar faces that will pop up throughout the new season, as season three’s excellent guest stars ranged from Jerry Seinfeld to Parker Posey to David Lynch.
Hit the jump to watch the new Louie clip. Season four of the series debuts on FX May 5th with back-to-back-episodes, and the network will air the entire season in two-episode chunks through June 16th.
Though a new iteration of Space Jam featuring Lebron James turned out to be a silly rumor (probably for the best), the “classic” 1996 film has been resurrected in live-read form. A reading of the screenplay recently took place, and the folks at Funny or Die were there to record the entire event. The eclectic group of participants ranged from comedians like Nick Kroll, Paul Scheer, and Ben Schwartz to voice talents like Seth Green and Ralph Garman, and even Boy Meets World’s Danielle Fishel was thrown in for good measure. Of course someone had to fill Michael Jordan’s shoes, and who better than Los Angeles Clippers star (and University of Oklahoma alum—Boomer Sooner) Blake Griffin? Additionally, teammate DeAndre Jordan also participated, debuting a mean Charles Barkley impression.
Hit the jump to watch the very funny highlights from the Space Jam live-read event.
TV ratings for Wednesday, April 16th are in. Here’s a brief rundown:
- The CW’s Arrow fell 13% from last week’s 0.8 rating to a 0.7 rating in the 18-49 demo and scored 2.36 million total viewers. That rating ties the show’s series low, which it previous hit in early March. Read Dave’s recap of last night’s episode here.
- Elsewhere on The CW, new drama series The 100 saw a rise of 20% to a 0.6 rating and 2.02 million viewers, improving on last week’s series low 0.5 rating.
- Over on ABC, the new comedy series Mixology was even with last week’s 1.2 rating and garnered 3.7 million viewers.
Terrence Malick might just be the most elusive filmmaker working today. He hasn’t given a proper interview in years, and hasn’t been officially photographed in even longer. Despite all of this, though, he’s become impossibly prolific. There was a 20-year gap between Days of Heaven and The Thin Red Line, but in the past decade he has shot five full features. After completing production on 2012’s To the Wonder, Malick began back-to-back shoots on two upcoming films—one untitled, and one called Knight of Cups. A massive amount of actors shot scenes for both movies, but since Malick’s process involves filming days of footage and then shaping the film in the editing room, there’s no telling which actors will make the final cut.
One such actor who worked on Malick’s Knight of Cups is Antonio Banderas, and when we recently spoke with Banderas in anticipation of the action sequel The Expendables 3, he provided some fascinating insight into Malick’s filming process, going on to reveal that he thinks he’s made the final cut of Knight of Cups. Hit the jump to read on.
The final installment in Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit trilogy may be getting a title change. When the J.R.R. Tolkein adaptation was initially planned (and shot) as two films, the title of the final installment was The Hobbit: There and Back Again. When Jackson decided to expand the adaptation to three films, he dubbed the second film The Desolation of Smaug but maintained the There and Back Again subtitle for the third feature. Well now it appears that New Line Cinema has registered the title The Hobbit: Into the Fire, signaling a possible title change for The Hobbit 3. More after the jump.
Disney has released a batch of new high-resolution Maleficent images from director Robert Stromberg’s upcoming fantasy-adventure film. The pic tells the story of how the titular Sleeping Beauty villain turned antagonist, as Angelina Jolie plays a woman whose betrayal sets off a drive of revenge and a fierce desire to protect the moors over which she presides. As we get closer to the pic’s release date, more and more visual effects shots are being completed. Thus far this looks to be a very VFX-heavy outing, and these new Maleficent images give us a look at some of the CGI creatures—both big and small—that populate the fantasy tentpole.
Hit the jump to check out the new Maleficent images. The film also stars Elle Fanning, Sharlto Copley, Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, and Lesley Manville. Maleficent opens in 2D and 3D on May 30th.
The first The Green Inferno trailer has arrived. The film marks Hostel filmmaker Eli Roth’s first directorial effort in six years and revolves around a group of American student activists who travel to the Amazon and are taken hostage by cannibals. This trailer doesn’t get too deep into the plot, but it does evoke a rather unnerving tone as one of the characters finds herself, well, in a bind. The film screened at the Toronto International Film Festival last year and drew strong reactions from the audience, with many noting that they physically couldn’t stomach some of the scenes. In short, expect Eli Roth’s signature level of gore applied to the practice of cannibalism.
Hit the jump to watch The Green Inferno trailer and click here to watch Steve’s video interview with Roth from TIFF. The film stars Lorenza Isso, Ariel Levy, Daryl Sabara, and Kirby Bliss Blanton. The Green Inferno opens in theaters on September 15th.
An unexpected Marvel crossover is happening, though it’s not the kind everyone’s been hoping for. It has been confirmed that a clip from X-Men: Days of Future Past will be play after the credits roll on The Amazing Spider-Man 2. This is not only weird because previews of upcoming movies usually come before the film and not after, but because X-Men and Spider-Man are owned by separate studios. Yes, they’re both Marvel comics properties, but Fox retains the rights to all X-Men characters while Sony is in control of all things Spidey. This has been the principal hurdle preventing possible crossovers between the Spider-Man/X-Men/Avengers universes, since the practicality of any “team-up” film would necessitate a split of profits between major studios.
Hit the jump for more on this odd move, and what it could mean for the future. [Update: A full explanation regarding why Sony agreed to promote Fox's Days of Future Past for free has surfaced. Details after the jump.]