Rumor: STAR WARS Sequels to “Redefine Longform Storytelling”; Will Integrate Cartoons, Books, Comics

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By the time Star Wars: Episode VII opens next December, I feel like I’ll know everything about it.  That’s not to criticize the film itself; that’s just the nature of the online reporting, especially when you cover every trailer, TV spot, Vine, Instagram, Twitpic, and social media technology yet to be invented.  However, with where the Star Wars universe is headed, there may be too much to cover.  The entire expanded universe canon has been “scrapped” (I don’t know if you can say something was discarded when it was never seriously considered by its originator), and Star Wars is starting afresh.  But the sequels may be more than a way of launching new tie-ins.  Lucasfilm might be trying to legitimately make these tie-ins a rewarding part of the Star Wars experience.

Hit the jump for more on the plans for the Star Wars sequels, spin-offs, and more.

LOVE IS STRANGE Review

by     Posted 2 hours ago

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[This is a re-post of my review from the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.  Love Is Strange opens today in limited release.]

“Write what you know,” is a common piece of writing advice. I don’t know how much of Ira SachsLove Is Strange is autobiographical, but it feels true to life. Boring, boring life. Because the film feels true to life, it also feels like one of the most self-indulgent films I’ve ever seen. Sachs is completely oblivious to what its audience would find remotely interesting or even emotionally relatable. The director takes his central relationship, one featuring great chemistry between Alfred Molina and John Lithgow, and completely undermines it with a hypocritical narrative. Not content to ruin his picture’s strongest asset, Sachs also drags his movie down with worthless side-plots and then tries to give his picture the illusion of depth and emotion with cheap tricks and unearned sentiment.

TRUE DETECTIVE Season 2 to Be Slightly Less Dark; New Season Will Use 3 or 4 Directors

by     Posted 2 hours ago

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Although True Detective was a show that plumbed the depths of time, death, futility, and other fun topics, I never considered it a downer show.  Russ’ misanthropic observations were always balanced out by Marty’s reactions and the sheer charisma of McConaughey’s performance.  Saying “Time is a flat circle,” is more fun in a Texas drawl.

But since True Detective is an anthology, season two will be a whole new ballgame.  According to Variety, HBO programming president Michael Lombardo told the audience at the Guardian International Television Festival in Edinburgh that the new season “won’t be quite as dark as the first.”  But then he added, “It’s still dark. [Creator, writer, and executive producer Nic Pizzolatto] explores the darkness in people’s souls. … It’s not as dark, but it’s not a light ride. Nic likes looking into the crevices of the soul.”  Hit the jump for more.

Chloe Moretz Talks IF I STAY, Working with Director R.J. Cutler, Her Love of BOYHOOD, THE FIFTH WAVE, and More

by     Posted 11 hours ago

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Opening this weekend is director R.J. Cutler’s adaptation of Gayle Forman’s If I Stay.  The movie stars Chloe Moretz as Mia Hall, a talented young musician who balances her aspirations of attending the Juilliard School with the budding romance of her devoted boyfriend Adam, played by Jamie Blackley. A tragic event puts those earthly concerns behind her as Mia must decide whether to fight for her life with Adam by her side, or give in to her new condition.  The film also stars Mireille EnosJoshua LeonardLiana LiberatoAisha Hinds, and Stacy Keach.  For more on If I Stay, watch these clips, check out over 40 images, or click here for all our previous coverage.

At the recent Los Angeles press day I landed an exclusive video interview with Chloe Moretz.  She talked about wanting to make a movie that girls her age could go see with their families, what it was like working with R.J. Cutler and what he brought to the material, the focus on music on set, her love of Boyhood and desire to see Guardians of the Galaxy, future projects like The Equalizer, Laggies, Dark Places, The Fifth Wave, and more.  Hit the jump to watch.

Jim Caviezel Talks WHEN THE GAME STANDS TALL, His Passion For Filmmaking and Why He’ll Never Direct An Episode Of PERSON OF INTEREST

by     Posted 14 hours ago

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Within a few moments of interviewing Jim Caviezel, it’s apparent immediately how much the actor loves talking about film.  Not just acting or his eclectic resume or any role in particular – but other facets of the process: lighting, directing, cinematography… Caviezel has made a career of playing quiet and introspective characters; but in person he is naturally gregarious and prone to go off any number of tangents – be it his affinity for directing or his relationship with WWII POW Louis Zamperini.  Perhaps it’s that naturally convivial nature that imbues his subtle roles with unforeseen depth.  In When the Game Stands Tall, Caviezel plays to type as the introverted Bob Ladouceur – the coach who led the De La Salle Spartans on the longest winning streak in high-school football.  It’s another quietly powerful performance for Caviezel, much of the film’s success dependent on his ability to convey a multitude of emotions with nary a word. Caviezel, as always, is more than up for the challenge.

In the following interview with the actor, he talks about the difficulties of portraying a living person, his passion for directing, what films he would like to make himself one day and why he’ll probably never direct an episode of his TV series Person Of Interest. For the full interview, hit the jump.

Book to Screen: Why THE GIVER Movie Is Nothing Like Lois Lowry’s Novel

by     Posted 14 hours ago

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I’ve covered a lot of young adult book-to-film adaptations over the years, and I’ve always made a point of assessing the film as a standalone entity when writing a formal review – but this is not a formal review.  Initially, this piece was intended to be a rather straightforward book/film comparison, but considering Phillip Noyce’s The Giver bears almost no resemblance to Lois Lowry’s award-winning and beloved source material and suffers severely for it, all there is to discuss are differences and the problems they cause.

Hit the jump to read about what the film version of The Giver did different – or rather, did wrong.  [This article contains spoilers for both the book and the movie.] 

Adam Scott Tries to Tell a CRYSTAL SKULL Joke in Extended PARKS AND RECREATION Season 6 Gag Reel

by     Posted 16 hours ago

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One of the keys to the success of NBC’s excellent Parks and Recreation is the fact that it is wholly evident that the cast (and characters) genuinely enjoy each other’s company.  This is especially clear in the just-released Parks and Recreation Season 6 gag reel, which offers nearly 10-minutes of outtakes ranging from Jim O’Heir (aka Jerry aka Larry) blowing a take, Adam Scott fumbling over the telling of an Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull joke, and Aziz Ansari and Retta serenading a straight-faced Nick Offerman.  The video is a whole lot of fun and just one more reminder of how much I’ll miss this show when it concludes its upcoming seventh and final season.

Hit the jump to watch the Parks and Recreation Season 6 gag reel.  The show returns to NBC in early 2015 for a final stretch of 13 episodes.

First SELMA Images Reveal David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr.; Plus New Images from INTO THE WOODS and BIG HERO 6

by     Posted 16 hours ago

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Paramount Pictures has released the first Selma images from director Ava DuVernay’s upcoming Martin Luther King, Jr. biopic.  David Oyelowo takes on the role of Dr. King in the film, which recounts the epic, dangerous, and terrifying civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama that resulted in President Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  It’s a story that’s both inspiring and heartbreaking, as it evokes humanity at its best and worst.  Oyelowo is joined in the cast by Carmen Ejogo, Tom Wilkinson, Andre Holland, Omar J. Dorsey, Tessa Thompson, Tim Roth, Wendell Pierce, and Colman Domingo.  The film will open in limited release on Christmas Day before expanding nationwide on January 9, 2015.

Hit the jump to check out the first Selma images, along with new images from the Disney musical Into the Woods and Disney’s animated comic book adaptation Big Hero 6.

IN FEAR Director Jeremy Lovering to Helm Haunted Hotel Film THE BRINGING

by     Posted 17 hours ago

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Sony Pictures’ horror film The Bringing looked like an incredibly promising project earlier this year when Drive director Nicolas Winding Refn entered negotiations to take the helm.  Unfortunately, he subsequently left the project, but now Deadline reports that the studio is forging ahead with Jeremy Lovering now in talks to direct.  The idea for the film was spurred by the strange death of a woman at the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles who was found in the water tanks.  Video surfaced of the woman acting erratically in the hotel elevator, and the Cecil has been home to a number of suicides over the years.  The script by Brandon and Philip Murphy revolves around a man investigating a strange death at the hotel who finds himself stumbling into a nightmare.

Lovering helmed the Sherlock Season 3 opener “The Empty Hearse” as well as the 2013 horror film In Fear.  I haven’t seen the latter, but his work on Sherlock was certainly swell.  If Refn saw something in The Bringing, hopefully Lovering can turn out a successful haunted house movie.

ST. VINCENT Images Show Off Bill Murray’s Unusual Babysitting Techniques

by     Posted 18 hours ago

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Theodore Melfi’s feature directorial debut, St. Vincent, is just about two weeks away from making its world premiere at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.  We’ve already got a trailer and a small handful of images, but now there’s three more stills from the film to go along with them.

St. Vincent features Bill Murray as Vincent, Maggie (Melissa McCarthy) and Oliver’s (Jaeden Lieberher) retired neighbor with a drinking problem, bad attitude and no money in his bank account.  When Maggie gets stuck working long hours, she lets Vincent watch Oliver while she’s gone, giving him a chance to make a quick buck.  Hit the jump to check out those new stills to get a sense of what babysitting means to Vincent.  The film also stars Chris O’Dowd and Naomi Watts.  It’s set to screen at TIFF on September 5th and will begin its theatrical run on October 14th.

Exclusive: Jennifer Lawrence in Talks to Join Quentin Tarantino’s THE HATEFUL EIGHT

by     Posted 18 hours ago

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Jennifer Lawrence is at a point in her career where she can do almost anything she wants short of saying, “I’m Batman now. Take a hike, Affleck.”  Thankfully, she continues to be smart about the projects she takes.  She has two blockbuster franchises, and she’s found a strong collaborator in David O. Russell.  But now there’s another big filmmaker who might work with the talented actress, and one who’s a far cry from her previous directors.

We’re hearing that Lawrence is in talks to team up with Quentin Tarantino for his upcoming film, The Hateful Eight.  Hit the jump for more.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt Provides SANDMAN Update; Says He’s Working on the Script with Neil Gaiman and David S. Goyer

by     Posted 18 hours ago

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Between his hitRECord series, burgeoning directorial career, and flourishing acting career, Joseph Gordon-Levitt has proven himself to be an excellent multi-tasker.  He recently wrapped the starring role in director Robert Zemeckis’ 3D drama The Walk, but he’s also still very much developing an adaptation of the beloved Neil Gaiman comic Sandman.  Gordon-Levitt is attached to produce and direct the film based on a pitch by Man of Steel screenwriter David S. Goyer, and last we heard How I Live Now scribe Jack Thorne had been tapped to pen the script.

While Gordon-Levitt is plenty busy with his various other projects, he recently provided a status update on Sandman, saying he and his team are still working on putting together the script.  Read what he had to say after the jump.

Steven Spielberg Developing MINORITY REPORT TV Series with GODZILLA Writer

by     Posted 20 hours ago

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Steven Spielberg is no stranger to the television landscape, but for one of his upcoming small screen projects it appears that he’s keen on mining one of his own properties.  Spielberg is developing a Minority Report TV series based on his Tom Cruise-fronted 2002 sci-fi thriller of the same name, per The Wrap.  As you well know, Minority Report was based on a Philip K. Dick short story that revolved around the PreCrime unit, which specialized in preventing crimes before they happened using a trio of “precogs” that could see the future.  Sounds like a pretty solid premise for a weekly TV series, no?  More after the jump.

SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR Review

by     Posted 20 hours ago

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In 2005, Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller‘s Sin City was an interesting novelty.  The directors were able to transfer Miller’s visually distinct comics to the screen through the heavy use of CGI.  Not adapt; transfer.  The comic was used as a storyboard, and the directors filled in the gaps by casting a bunch of recognizable actors to play the roles.  For people who argue that adaptations should never stray from the source material, 2005′s Sin City was perfect.  Although the novelty has run its course, Rodriguez and Miller are back nine years later with Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, but the visual panache now feels like a crutch while also diminishing any authentic noir vibe the movie occasionally tries to convey.  Although the sequel is occasionally enjoyable thanks to the actors who are in on the exaggerated tone, the film feels like it was made by a couple of teenagers who mistake whores for dames, sadists for toughs guys, and style for charm.

New WHITE BIRD IN A BLIZZARD Trailer: Shailene Woodley Tackles Raging Hormones and a Missing Mother

by     Posted 20 hours ago

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Magnolia Pictures has released a new White Bird in a Blizzard trailer for director Gregg Araki’s (Kaboom) sexually charged drama.  Based on the Laura Kasichke novel of the same name, the story takes place in the 1980s and stars Shailene Woodley as a young woman relishing her newfound sexuality whose life is upended when her beautiful, enigmatic mother (Eva Green) suddenly goes missing.  Green has made a habit lately of turning in regularly scene-stealing work, and it appears that she tackles another slightly unhinged character here while Woodley displays her swell ability to lay out her emotions onscreen.

Hit the jump to watch the new White Bird in a Blizzard trailer.  The film also stars Christopher MeloniGabourey SidibeThomas Jane, and Angela Basset.  White Bird in a Blizzard will be released on iTunes and VOD on September 25th and in theaters on October 24th.

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