LEIGH WHANNELL Talks THE MULE, Writing a Crime Film With Angus Sampson, Evolving as a Performer, and INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 3

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I’ve been a big proponent of The Mule since I saw it at SXSW.  Which is funny to me, since I had to be dragged almost kicking and screaming into seeing it by one of the film’s publicists.  Despite my fondness for Leigh Whannell (who co-wrote and has a major part in the film) and Angus Sampson (who co-wrote with Whannell, stars and co-directs), I’m just not that into scatological humor, which is what I thought the film was almost entirely going to consist of.

I was wrong.  All of the stomach churning elements you’ve heard about are there, but there’s an incredibly solid movie around them in every way that never pushes the gross-out throttle beyond what the story organically allows.  This is an effective crime film that works very well as both a comedy and a drama and you should seek it out.  I recently hopped on the phone with Whannell to talk about all of this as well as get an update on Insidious: Chapter 3.  Hit the jump for my interview with Leigh Whannell about The Mule.  Directed by Sampson and Tony Mahoney the film also stars Hugo Weaving,  Ewen LeslieGeoff MorrellGeorgina HaigNoni Hazlehurst and John Noble.  You can find the film in Theaters, on VOD and on iTunes (link here) now.

CONSTANTINE Recap: “Danse Vaudou”

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Tonight’s spooky episode of NBC’s Constantine was a straight-up ghost story wrapped in a voodoo presentation.  Although “Danse Vaudou” didn’t do a whole lot to advance the season’s storyline (until the last few seconds, at least), it did have plenty of scares and style to spare.  It had the staples of urban legends – a deceased hitchhiker, a femme fatale, a love lost too soon – elevated by not only the tales of the loved ones they left behind, but by the clashing magical styles of Constantine and Papa Midnite.  While the hour didn’t have quite the heart-tugging moments of last week’s effort, it was still an enjoyable installment in what has become my surprise show of the season.

Hit the jump for our Constantine recap.

RED KNOT Trailer With Olivia Thirlby and Vincent Kartheiser; Film Finally Set For Release Next Month

by     Posted 7 hours ago

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More Olivia Thirlby is always a good thing.  She’s one of our best actresses and we need a lot more of her on the silver, and smaller, screen. Same with Vincent Kartheiser, who we don’t see enough outside of weasel roles (Mad Men) or villainous archetypes (In Time), both of which he plays rather well.  He’s not completely out of those woods in this Red Knot trailer, but perhaps the circumstances in the film will add a few layers of nuance to his eternally wandering eye.  The film was shot by director Scott Cohen over five years ago, but is now being readied for release.  And it looks gorgeous.

Hit the jump for the Red Knot trailer and a few words from Thirlby on the movie’s production.  The film also stars Billy Campbell and opens at IFC in New York on December 5th.

THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1 – What Did You Think?

by     Posted 9 hours ago

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The time has come.  What’s bound to be the highest earner of 2014 is now in theaters.  As someone who’s very familiar with Suzanne Collins’ source material and has read Mockingjay quite a few times, I’ve been well aware that The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 was going to be the biggest challenge of the film franchise.  Yes, the book has problems, but even if the scribes behind the Mockingjay movies fix them – and I think they did fix quite a few – the fact that Mockingjay – Part 1 is such a departure from the original two films could still be a problem for many.

You can catch Matt’s full review of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 right here, but we’d also like to know what you think about the movie, too.  Did you like the change of tone and pace?  Did it leave you eager to see Mockingjay – Part 2?  Sound off in the comments after the jump.

Channing Tatum to Direct FORGIVE ME, LEONARD PEACOCK Adaptation

by     Posted 9 hours ago

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Get ready for Channing Tatum, Director.  The prolific actor/producer has been enjoying some very deserved rave reviews recently for his performance in the drama Foxcatcher, and now it looks as though he’s ready to take his career to the next level with directing.  Tatum is attached to co-direct an adaptation of Silver Linings Playbook author Matthew Quick’s YA book Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock for The Weinstein Company.  Tatum will be directing the picture with his producing partner Reid Carolin, with whom he developed Magic Mike and its upcoming sequel Magic Mike XXL.  More on this interesting directorial debut after the jump. 

DALLAS BUYERS CLUB Director Jean-Marc Vallée to Helm Amy Adams in Janis Joplin Biopic

by     Posted 9 hours ago

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The Jackie Jorp Jomp Janis Joplin biopic has a new director.  Lee Daniels had been attached to helm a film about the Queen of Rock ‘N Roll for a few years with Amy Adams attached to star, but it now appears that Daniels is no longer involved in the project, as Dallas Buyers Club and Wild director Jean-Marc Vallée is set to make the untitled biopic his next project with Adams still attached to star and sing all of Joplin’s songs herself.  Vallée is also bringing new writers onto the project as well, as his Oscar-nominated Dallas Buyers Club scribes Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack are due to perform a rewrite of the draft originally written by Ron and Theresa Kounin-Terry.  More after the jump.

Bennett Miller Talks FOXCATCHER, His 4 Hour and 15 Minute First Cut, Collaborating with Megan Ellison, Shooting on Film, His Editing Process, and More

by     Posted 10 hours ago

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Now playing in limited release is one of my favorite films of 2014: director Bennett Miller’s (Moneyball, Capote) Foxcatcher.  With career best performances and phenomenal direction, the film tells the true story of Olympic Wrestling Champion brothers Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum) and Dave Schultz (Mark Ruffalo), and their troubled relationship with eccentric millionaire John du Pont (Steve Carell).  The film also stars Sienna MillerVanessa Redgrave, and Anthony Michael Hall.  For more on Foxcatcher, watch the trailer, read Matt’s review, or click here for all our previous coverage.

At the recent Los Angeles press day I landed an exclusive interview with Bennett Miller.  He talked about the long editing process, how his first cut was over four hours, shooting on film, producer Megan Ellison (who deserves a huge thank you from all of us for supporting films like this) and the way she likes to collaborate, and a lot more.  Hit the jump to either read or listen to what he had to say.

THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – PART 1 Earns $17 Million from Thursday Showings; Can It Hit $150 Million?

by     Posted 11 hours ago

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Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 is off to a fairly strong, if a tad underwhelming, start at the box office.  The film took in an estimated $17 million from Thursday night showings, which is actually short of its previous two entries.  The first Hunger Games took in $19.7 million from midnight-only showings in 2012 and ended up with a $152.5 million opening weekend, while last year’s Catching Fire earned a whopping $25 million from Thursday night showings on the same weekend last year, going on to gross $158 million for the weekend.  While experts have been predicting a massive opening weekend for the highly anticipated (and also well-crafted) Mockingjay – Part 1, these Thursday numbers have some wondering if it might miss the $150 million mark.  More after the jump.

Mahershala Ali Talks THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY – Part 1, The Film’s Commentary on War and Propaganda, HOUSE OF CARDS, KICKS, and More

by     Posted 11 hours ago

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Now playing in theaters 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 HoffmanElizabeth BanksSam Claflin, and Donald Sutherland.

Last weekend in New York City I landed an exclusive video interview with Mahershala Ali.  During our extended conversation he talked about the process of making Mockingjay, working with director Francis Lawrence and fleshing out his character, the film’s commentary on war and propaganda, how he got into acting, the way he likes to work, House of Cards and keeping the show’s secrets under wrapsKicks (which he describes as “Goonies meets Boyz n the Hood,” and more.  Hit the jump to watch.

Brenton Thwaites in Talks to Join PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES

by     Posted 11 hours ago

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A fresh face has been added to the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, which is now over a decade old believe it or not.  A couple of weeks ago, we got word that a number of young actors were in the running to join Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales in the coveted new role of Henry, a British soldier.  The shortlist included The Fault in Our Stars standout Ansel Elgort, The Giver star Brenton Thwaites and others, but now it appears that the victor has been selected: Thwaites.  The 25-year-old Australian actor had two high-profile roles this year with Maleficent and the dystopian adaptation The Giver, in addition to the sci-fi indie The Signal, and now he’s in talks to join one of the most popular franchises around.  More after the jump.

Mark Gatiss Talks SHERLOCK Season 4 and the Return of Moriarty

by     Posted 11 hours ago

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It’s almost cruel to report on Sherlock season 4 and the upcoming special when they’re so far away.  As we previously reported, a Sherlock “Christmas Special” is due out in December 2015, and it will be followed by three new episodes.  Filming on the special is set to begin in January with filming on season four happening later in the year, and the show’s co-creator Mark Gatiss told Britain’s Radio Times that “you can always expect tragedy as well as adventure,” although I’d say each season is fairly short on tragedy until the finale.

But fans of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s novels may already sense where the tragedy in season four might come in.  Hit the jump for more, but be warned that if you’re unfamiliar with the books, and/or if you don’t want to know about the return of Moriarty (Andrew Scott), there are spoilers ahead.

FX and FXX Announce January Premiere Dates for ARCHER, IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY, JUSTIFIED, THE AMERICANS, and New Series MAN SEEKING WOMAN

by     Posted 12 hours ago

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FX and FXX have announced a slew of January premiere dates for both returning and new series.  Briefly:

  • Archer Season 6 begins on Thursday, January 8th at 10pm ET/PT on FX.
  • The 10th season of  It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia kicks off on Wednesday, January 14th at 10pm on FXX, followed by the comedy series premiere Man Seeking Woman at 10:30pm, starring Jay Baruchel.
  • Justified returns for its sixth and final season on Tuesday, January 20th at 10pm on FX.
  • The third season of the excellent drama series The Americans begins on Wednesday, January 28th on FX.
  • The final three episodes of American Horror Story: Freak Show will also air in January on FX, culminating in the season finale on January 21st.

More on each series after the jump.

First PENNY DREADFUL Season 2 Image Featuring Eva Green and Josh Hartnett; Vanessa and Ethan to Form a “Deeper Bond” This Season

by     Posted 12 hours ago

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We’ve still got a while to go until Penny Dreadful returns, but Showtime just unveiled the very first image as well as a few additional details regarding what Vanessa (Eva Green), Ethan (Josh Hartnett) and the rest of the gang are up to in the new season.  Despite Vanessa’s little fling with Dorian Gray (Reeve Carney), it’s always seemed likely that she and Ethan would eventually get together and the new image and plot information do suggest that it could happen.  There’s no guarantee that this “deeper bond” means romance, but it does seem like a safe bet.

Hit the jump to check out the first Penny Dreadful season 2 image and to catch the new story details as well.

Thursday TV Ratings: HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER Winter Finale Rises; BIG BANG THEORY Slips

by     Posted 13 hours ago

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TV ratings for Thursday, November 20th are in.  Here’s a brief rundown:

  • ABC’s winter finale of the buzzworthy How to Get Away with Murder rose two tenths to a 3.1 rating in the 18-49 demo and scored 9.81 million viewers.  Elsewhere in Shondaland, Grey’s Anatomy matched last week’s 2.4 rating and scored 8.28 million viewers, while Scandal (read Allison’s recap here) dipped a tenth to a 3.1 rating and garnered 10.02 million viewers.
  • Over on CBS, The Big Bang Theory dropped half a ratings point to a 4.0 and raked in 14.65 million viewers, easily still besting everything else on TV.  Mom ticked up a tenth to a 2.7 rating and garnered 10.64 million viewers, Two and a Half Men rose two tenths to a 2.3 rating and scored8.97 million viewers, and Elementary matched last week’s series low 1.0 rating and garnered 6.41 million viewers.
  • Fox’s Bones matched last week’s 1.3 rating and garnered 5.24 million viewers, and Gracepoint (read Allison’s recap here) was also even with its last episode, notching a 0.8 rating and 3.21 million viewers.
  • The CW’s The Vampire Diaries ticked up a tenth to a 0.8 rating and scored 1.67 million viewers, while Reign matched last week’s 0.4 rating and scored 1.15 million viewers.

CHEAP THRILLS’ E.L. Katz Set to Direct YOU’LL BE THE DEATH OF ME for Lionsgate

by     Posted 13 hours ago

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Don’t know who E.L. Katz is?  It’s probably because you haven’t seen the movie Cheap Thrills and if that’s the case, you’re missing out on one of the best horror movies of the year.  The film didn’t get much of a theatrical run, but apparently someone noticed Katz is top-notch talent because he just scored a new directing gig, a comedy thriller called You’ll Be the Death of Me.

Lionsgate and Mandeville Films are behind the endeavor with Two Night Stand’s Mark Hammer set to pen the script.  Hit the jump for more on You’ll Be the Death of Me and to check out what Katz is capable of.

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