Watch Batman vs. Darth Vader in Fight to the Death in New SUPER POWER BEAT DOWN Episode

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Machinima’s “Super Power Beat Down” series knows its audience.  They pit popular fictional characters against each other in fights to the death (like Superman vs. Thor or Captain America vs. Master Chief) and let viewers vote on the outcome.  Then the SPBD team writes, choreographs, and films the fight scene with solid production values.

The latest fight is Batman vs. Darth Vader.  Batman lands on the Death Star demanding the release of Superman (apparently hostage) and Vader decides to deal with the breach himself.  This was my first experience with the series, and it was surprisingly brutal.  Hit the jump to watch.

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

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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.

First THE WATER DIVINER Clips: Russell Crowe Searches for His Sons in Feature Directorial Debut

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The first clips from The Water Diviner are now online.  Russell Crowe‘s feature directorial debut is set four years after the World War I Battle of Gallipoli in Turkey.  Crowe also stars as an Australian farmer who travels to Istanbul to discover the fate of his sons, reported missing in action, where he enters into a relationship with a beautiful Tukish hotel owner (Olga Kurylenko).  The first clip highlights a sense of adventures, while the second clip connects to the emotional throughline of a determined father.

Hit the jump to watch the Water Diviner clips.  Ryan Corr, Jai Courtney, Yilmaz Erdogan, Cem Yilmaz, and Steve Bastoni also star.  The Water Diviner opens in Australian and New Zealand December 26.

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

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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.

Paul Greengrass Attached to Direct 1984 Adaptation

by     Posted 8 days ago


Paul Greengrass is attached to direct an adaptation of George Orwell‘s classic novel, 1984.  Published in 1949, the story is set in a dystopian future run by a tyrannical government with omnipresent surveillance capabilities: “Big Brother is watching you.”  According to Deadline, Scott Rudin (Captain Phillips) and Gina Rosenblum will produce.  James Graham will write the script.

I love the book and can’t wait to see what Greengrass does with the material.  Greengrass is a natural fit for 1984 with his demonstrated skepticism of the powers that be.  The timing is right for another 1984 adaptation, given the current political climate surrounding surveillance.  I bet the filmmakers will reconfigure the setting so it’s in the future, but it would be interesting if they instead opted for a more literal adaptation with an alternate-timeline 1984.  Read the book synopsis after the jump.

Sony Drops Steve Jobs Biopic Scripted by Aaron Sorkin; Universal Likely to Acquire Project

by     Posted 8 days ago


Aaron Sorkin‘s Steve Jobs biopic script has attracted a lot of attention from the likes of David Fincher, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christian Bale, Seth Rogen, Jessica Chastain, and most recently Michael Fassbender.  Yet even with Oscar winner Danny Boyle on board to direct, Sony apparently had too much trouble trying to get the project off the ground. In a surprising development, Sony has ceased development put the project into turnaround.

Sony briefly shopped the project around and immediately found a buyer in Universal.  More after the jump.

Melissa McCarthy to Play Tinker Bell in Comedy-Adventure; Shawn Levy to Direct from Nicholas Stoller Script

by     Posted 8 days ago


Melissa McCarthy is set to play Tinker Bell in a comedy-adventure directed by Shawn Levy.  According to Deadline, Levy came up with the idea and developed the premise with McCarthy.  They sold the pitch to Fox and Nicholas Stoller will write the script.  The report doesn’t make it explicit, but I assume for now this is a live-action project.

McCarthy, Levy, and Stoller make for an interesting collection of comedic minds.  Fox presumably loves the successful Night at the Museum movies that Levy delivered, with another sequel coming in December.  I bet on the Tinker Bell movie resembling the Night at the Museum tone.  McCarthy is as good as you can get these days for that kind of broad comedy, and the typically R-rated Stoller showed a deft family touch on the new Muppet movie screenplays.  There is enough reason for hope that I am curious to learn more about Levy’s take on Tinker Bell.

Summit Courts Tom Cruise to Play Sean Connery Mentor Role in HIGHLANDER Reboot

by     Posted 8 days ago


Summit has been developing a Highlander reboot for years now but there were a few bumps in the road.  Last year, the studio hired visual effects artist Cedric Nicolas-Troyan to make Highlander his feature directorial debut.  Now Summit has set their sights on their dream casting centerpiece: Tom CruiseThe Wrap reports the studio is courting Cruise to play the mentor role that Sean Connery took on in the 1986 film.  Cruise is busy shooting crazy stunts for Mission: Impossible 5, so it’s unclear if the in-demand actor is interested.  A Cruise representative is direct that the actor is “far from talks” for Highlander: “He is offered tons of projects.”  At the very least, this suggests Summit has higher aspirations for the property than I would have guessed.  If they do land Cruise, I picture the rest of the casting falling into place sooner than later so Summit can rachet up the development process.

Art Marcum, Matt Holloway, and Melissa Rosenberg contributed to the Highlander script.  Neal H. Moritz, Peter Davis, and Justin Lin will produce.  More after the jump.

New FIFTY SHADES OF GREY Trailer: “Say I Did Stay, What Would Happen?”

by     Posted 14 days ago


Universal aired a new Fifty Shades of Grey trailer tonight during Scandal.  Based on the E.L. James book, the story is told through the eyes of Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) as she becomes involved with young entrepreneur and BDSM enthusiast Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan).  By now, you should know whether or not this movie is for you.  If it is, hit the jump to watch the new Fifty Shades of Grey trailer.

Marcia Gay Harden, Jennifer Ehle, Max Martini, Luke Grimes, Rita Ora, Eloise Mumford, Dylan Neal, Victor Rasuk, and Callum Keith Rennie also star.  Directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson (Nowhere Boy), Fifty Shades of Grey opens on February 13, 2015.

First PAUL BLART: MALL COP 2 Trailer: Kevin James Heads to Las Vegas for Security Guard Expo

by     Posted 14 days ago


Sony has released the first Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 trailer.  Kevin James returns as the titular security guard, en route to Las Vegas to attend the Security Guard Expo: “While at the convention, he inadvertently discovers a heist—and it’s up to Blart to apprehend the criminals.”  In Vegas, Blart swallows a fly, Segways into a car, gets slapped by a peacock, and sprints into a glass door, among other slapstick gags.  Credit where credit is due though: I found one genuine laugh in the trailer.

Hit the jump to watch Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 trailer.  Raini Rodriguez, Eduardo Verástegui, Daniella Alonso, Neal McDonough, and David Henrie also star in the sequel directed by Andy Fickman (Parental Guidance).  Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 opens April 17, 2015.

Michael Shannon and Kevin Spacey Are ELVIS & NIXON; Rooney Mara and Ben Mendelsohn Lead BLACKBIRD; Chris Cooper to Play J.D. Salinger

by     Posted 22 days ago


A few casting items:

  • Michael Shannon and Kevin Spacey will play Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon, respectively, in Elvis & NixonLiza Johnson (Hateship Loveship) will direct the account of a December 1970 White House meeting between the two.
  • Rooney Mara and Ben Mendelsohn will star in Blackbird, adapted from the play by David HarrowerBlackbird is the feature directorial debut of Benedict Andrews.
  • Chris Cooper will play J.D. Salinger in Coming Through the Rye, the feature directorial debut of Jim SadwithAlex Wolff and Stefania Owen star as two teenagers who seek out Salinger in 1969.

More on each project after the jump.

Henry Cavill Is STRATTON; Nicole Kidman in Talks for THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES Remake; Lili Taylor and Barry Pepper Join THE MAZE RUNNER Sequel

by     Posted 24 days ago


A few pieces of casting to report:

  • Henry Cavill will star in the action-thriller Stratton, adapted from the book series by Duncan Falconer about British spy John Stratton.
  • Nicole Kidman is in negotiations to replace Gwyneth Paltrow in The Secret in Their EyesJulia Roberts and Chiwetel Ejiofor co-star in the remake, directed by Billy Ray (Breach).
  • Lili Taylor and Barry Pepper join the cast of The Maze Runner Chapter II: The Scorch TrialsDylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, and Patricia Clarkson are set to reprise their roles in the sequel directed by Wes Ball.

Hit the jump for more on each project.

Hans Zimmer Recruits Junkie XL for Batman Help on BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE Score

by     Posted 24 days ago


We learned earlier this year that Hans Zimmer planned to follow up his work on Man of Steel and reunite with director Zack Snyder for the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice score.  However, Zimmer admitted the unique challenge created “a bit of a problem in [his] head,” as he had to figure out how to approach the new Batman without repeating his work on the Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy.

Zimmer has revealed his solution: He will take care of Superman and recruited Junkie XL to take over Batman duty.  More after the jump.

First MINIONS Trailer and Images Highlight the DESPICABLE ME Creatures’ Origin Story

by     Posted 24 days ago

minions trailer

Universal has released the first Minions trailer and images.  The 3-minute trailer covers a lot of ground, from the Minions apparent origin rising out of the sea to serve a T. rex, to the arrival of three Minions in 1968 New York to find the most despicable master: “The trio embarks upon a thrilling journey that ultimately leads them to their next potential master, Scarlet Overkill (Sandra Bullock), the world’s first-ever female super-villain.”  Like many, I am a sucker for the little yellow creatures—I got a kick out of the short clip that dives into the Minion mythology.

Hit the jump for the Minions trailer and images.  The voice cast also features Jon Hamm.  Directed by Pierre Coffin and Kyle Balda, Minions opens July 10, 2015.

See the Note Sent to STAR WARS: EPISODE VII Cast and Crew on Their Last Day

by     Posted 25 days ago


J.J. Abrams, Kathleen Kennedy, and Bryan Burke sent a note to the “extraordinary cast and crew” of Star Wars: Episode VII to commemorate the end of production.  The motivation:

“How lovely it would be if you had, in addition to your name on the screen, some actual, real, tangible proof that you were part of it!  Here, then, is that proof.”

Hit the jump to read the note.  John BoyegaDaisy RidleyHarrison FordAdam DriverMark HamillCarrie FisherLupita Nyong’o, Oscar IsaacDomhnall GleesonAndy Serkis, and Gwendoline Christie star.  Star Wars: Episode VII opens December 18, 2015.

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