James Franco, Martin Freeman, and Amy Adams Set as SNL Hosts for December

by     Posted 9 minutes ago

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NBC has announced the next three hosts of Saturday Night Live for the month of December, and they’re mighty promising.  James Franco will kick things off on December 6th with his third appearance as host, accompanied by musical guest Nicki Minaj.  Franco is well-versed in SNL lore having directed the incredibly fascinating documentary Saturday Night, which provided a first-ever behind-the-scenes look at the weeklong process of making an episode.  The actor will of course be promoting his upcoming comedy The Interview in which he stars opposite Seth Rogen, so a Rogen cameo on the episode seems likely.  More after the jump.

12 YEARS A SLAVE Director Steve McQueen to Helm Heist Thriller Based off 1980s British TV Miniseries WIDOWS

by     Posted 37 minutes ago

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A couple days ago, we reported that 12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen would be doing a film based on the life of activist Paul Robeson.  It sounded right up McQueen’s alley: It’s a passion project he now has the clout to push forward, it’s about an activist (like his debut feature Hunger), and it deals with racial conflict in America.  McQueen had even done an art instillation in 2012, End Credits, dedicated to Robeson.  It all made sense.

Here’s what makes somewhat less sense: McQueen’s next movie is a heist thriller.  Hit the jump for more.

AMERICAN HORROR STORY: FREAK SHOW Recap: “Test of Strength”

by     Posted 51 minutes ago

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Dell (Michael Chiklis) needed some time in the spotlight and in American Horror Story: Freak Show episode 7 he finally gets it, but it doesn’t do him much good at all.  The show’s been playing the same game with the character since the moment he arrived at Elsa’s Cabinet of Curiosities.  Dell does terrible things, but then we get a quick glimpse of him looking sad and remorseful and are expected to believe the guy’s got a heart.  No more.  Dell wasn’t really in a position to carry an episode to begin with, but he gets away with it because the characters around him are so strong that his effect on them still has great value.  But, when it comes to Dell as an individual, at this point, he’s a lost cause.  There’s just no coming back from what he does at the end of “Test of Strength.”  The writers might as well stop playing the back-and-forth game and just turn him into a full-blown villain.

New INTO THE WOODS Featurette Shows off Meryl Streep Singing “Stay with Me”

by     Posted 1 hour ago

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Fun fact: Meryl Streep has been nominated for an Oscar five times in the last seven years.  Combine her extraordinary acting ability with the pedigree of Into the Woods, and she could easily lock up yet another nod (which would make it her 18th Oscar nomination over the course of her career; that’s what happens when you’re a national treasure).  A new featurette for the upcoming musical further pushes her awards chances as Stephen Sondheim, who wrote the music and lyrics, praises her ability “to find colors in lyric.”  This featurette shows some of Streep singing “Stay with Me”, and it’s a beautiful rendition.  I hope the rest of the film is worthy of her immense talent.

Hit the jump to check out the new Into the Woods featurette.  The film opens December 25th, and also stars Emily Blunt, James Corden, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine, Lucy Punch, Christine Baranski, Tracy Ullman, Lilla Crawford, Daniel Huttlestone, Tammy Blanchard, Billy Magnussen, Mackenzie Mauzy, and Johnny Depp.

The Paris International Fantastic Film Festival 2014 Kicks Off with Takashi Miike’s THE MOLE SONG: UNDERCOVER AGENT REIJI

by     Posted 1 hour ago

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In a theater near the famous Opéra Garnier, the 4th annual Paris International Fantastic Film Festival opened Tuesday night with a screening of the Japanese yakuza film, The Mole Song: Undercover Agent ReijiTakashi Miike‘s psychedelic cinematic feast announced the many hues of this year’s selection – and in a rather explosive manner.

Miike has turned a classic infiltration plot into a top gear Technicolor action flick that borders on parody.  Reiji Kikukawa is basically a failed cop.  Maybe because he’s still a virgin.  Or simply because he’s not cut out for catching criminals.  He’s fired yet undergoes some bizarre tests to become a mole — an undercover agent.  After one of these tests where he rides naked on the hood of a car he is dropped off in the most dangerous Japanese yakuza clan, or Mafia.  No one in the force believes he’ll make it out alive, yet despite his clumsiness and lack of skills, he finds his niche … or is it luck?  And the result is a visual hyperbole.  Hit the jump for more.

First Look at Patrick Stewart in GREEN ROOM, the New Film from BLUE RUIN Director Jeremy Saulnier

by     Posted 2 hours ago

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Jeremy Saulnier‘s Blue Ruin is one of the best films of 2014 you probably haven’t seen (but if you have Netflix Instant, you can watch it now!).  It’s a unique spin on the revenge genre, and once you see it, you’ll likely be amped to see Saulnier’s next film, the upcoming thriller Green Room.  The story revolves around a young punk rock band that find themselves trapped in a secluded venue after stumbling upon a horrific act of violence, fighting for their lives against a gang of white power skinheads intent on eliminating all witnesses.  Patrick Stewart stars as Darcy Banker, an unflinching and industrial leader of a ferocious white supremacist fiefdom based in the Pacific Northwest.

You can check out the image after the jump, and be sure that we’re definitely going to be keeping this film on our radar, not only because of Saulnier and Stewart, but also because the excellent cast includes Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, Alia Shawkat, Joe Cole, Callum Turner, Mark Webber, Kai Lennox, Eric Edelstein, and the return of Blue Ruin star Macon Blair.

Ridley Scott Plans to Deliver a “Fresher Form of Alien” in PROMETHEUS 2

by     Posted 3 hours ago

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About two months ago, Ridley Scott offered a Prometheus 2 update confirming that the script was being written, that he had “15 drafts evolving” and also that the iconic Xenomorphs will not be part of the sequel.  He noted that “there’s only so much snarling you can do” and that it’s time to do something more interesting, but left it at that.  However, in a more recent interview, Scott gives up a little more information and it teases the direction he could be going in with aliens in the sequel.

Hit the jump to find out what Noomi Rapace’s Elizabeth Shaw could encounter in Prometheus 2.

Katey Sagal Talks SONS OF ANARCHY, The Show’s Satisfying Conclusion, The Challenges of Playing Gemma, THE BASTARD EXECUTIONER, and More

by     Posted 3 hours ago

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After seven seasons, the hit FX drama series Sons of Anarchy will have finished its run, bloodier, more intense and more heart-breaking than ever.  Until then, fans of the show will be on the edge of their seats, wondering just who will make it out alive.

During this recent interview to discuss the end of the popular TV show, actress Katey Sagal (who plays Gemma Teller) talked about the biggest challenges in playing this character, what she’ll miss most about the show, what she’s most excited for fans to see from the final episodes, that she thinks fans will find the series’ conclusion very satisfying, what she kept from the set, the legacy that Sons of Anarchy has left on the world of television, already moving on to other work, and that she will definitely be involved with The Bastard Executioner, which her husband (and Sons of Anarchy creator) Kurt Sutter is developing for FX.  Check out what she had to say after the jump, and be aware that there are some spoilers.

Mike Nichols, Legendary Director of THE GRADUATE, THE BIRDCAGE, and More, Has Died at Age 83

by     Posted 3 hours ago

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Incredibly sad news this morning as legendary director Mike Nichols has died at the age of 83.  ABC reported the news that Nichols died suddenly last night.  Nichols was a creative powerhouse throughout his career as his character-centric work could cut to the bone but without ever feeling petty or childish even when his characters were behaving that way (which they had a tendency to do).  When the Production Code was shaking in the mid 1960s, his feature directing debut Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? knocked it over and cleared the way for more mature language, themes, and other topics that had been stifled for decades.  The Graduate, which is one of my all-time favorite movies, was a key movie in the changing of the guard from Old Hollywood to New Hollywood, and I could do a series of articles on how its place in film history and lasting impact.  It’s an incredible film made even more remarkable by the fact that it was only Nichols’ second movie.

PITCH PERFECT 2 Trailer: The Barden Bellas Take on the World Championships of A Cappella

by     Posted 4 hours ago

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Universal Pictures just released the very first Pitch Perfect 2 trailer and it looks as though the musical comedy sequel could be another big winner.  Not only did the first film turn out to be a surprise hit and claim over $113 million at the worldwide box office, but it also helped Anna Kendrick‘s rendition of “Cups” hit #6 on the Billboard Hot 100 and wound up amassing such an enthusiastic following that Universal decided to bring the original film back to theaters in sing-along format.  As someone who’s watched Pitch Perfect time and time again, there’s a lot riding on the sequel and based on this first look at the film, actress/producer-turned-first time feature director Elizabeth Banks may have nailed it.

Forget the national college a cappella competition.  In Pitch Perfect 2 it’s all about the world championship of a cappella.  We’ve got familiar songs and faces, “Cups” is still quite catchy and the Bellas are as charming and amusing as ever, but it looks as though Banks and co. are going bigger in every respect and based on how this trailer plays, it could work exceptionally well.  Hit the jump to check out the Pitch Perfect 2 trailer for yourself.  The film also stars Rebel Wilson, Brittany SnowSkylar AstinHailee SteinfeldAnna CampKatey SegalAdam Devine and of course Banks as well.  Pitch Perfect 2 opens in theaters on May 15, 2015.

Paul Greengrass Attached to Direct 1984 Adaptation

by     Posted 14 hours ago

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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 15 hours ago

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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 16 hours ago

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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 16 hours ago

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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.

ARROW Recap: “Draw Back Your Bow”

by     Posted 17 hours ago

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Happy Valentine’s Day!  Wait, what?  Oh it’s November, nevermind.  Tonight’s episode of Arrow was a bit of a one-off episode that introduced the obsessed archer character Carrie Cutter, aka Cupid (Amy Gumenick).  Though she was the night’s main antagonist, she was in good company with a plentiful amount of DC Easter eggs for fans to spot, everything from nods to somewhat obscure locations, to potential future villains, all the way up to a big reveal of a newly introduced villain to the show, right at the episode’s close.  Though “Draw Back Your Bow” didn’t leave us with any massive cliffhangers as we await the Arrow/The Flash crossover, it did a nice job of pleasing fans of the show’s comicbook origins and its relationships of ever-increasing drama.

Hit the jump for our Arrow recap.

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