THE GIVER Review

by     Posted 77 days ago

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Trends come and go in Hollywood with varying degrees of success, and one of the genres that appears to be “in” at the moment is the YA adaptation—specifically films with a dystopian bent.  The Hunger Games and Divergent both dealt with young protagonists rebelling against oppressive, authoritarian governments, and while at first glance The Giver may look like a simple cash-in on the trend, the source material predates the current dystopian craze by over a decade.  The road to a feature film adaptation of Lois Lowry’s novel has been long, but it now finally makes it to the screen with producer Jeff Bridges taking on the titular role.  However, though the film is surprisingly deft at handling some of the deeper questions raised by the book and boasts a pair of strong lead performances, the adaptation fails to flesh out other aspects of the story, resulting in a rather mixed bag.

New THE GIVER Trailer: Meryl Streep Rules in Black and White

by     Posted 148 days ago

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The Weinstein Company has released a new The Giver trailer for director Philip Noyce’s (Salt) adaptation of the beloved Lois Lowry book.  The sci-fi thriller takes place in a utopian society where all memories of the past reside with a sage figure known as “The Giver”.  Jeff Bridges plays the titular character and Brenton Thwaites (Maleficent) plays a young boy who has been selected to be the new Giver.  This is the first trailer to actually make the film stand out from the similarly themed Hunger Games and Divergent franchises (which is ironic, since Lowry’s source material predates both), as it appears that Noyce is keeping the black and white aesthetic from the book—at least at the beginning of the film.  The clip also gets a boost from Clint Mansell’s Requiem for a Dream score, but overall I’m now a bit more interested in seeing what Noyce has put together.

Hit the jump to watch the new The Giver trailer.  The film also stars Meryl Streep, Alexander Skarsgard, Katie Holmes, Taylor Swift, Cameron Monaghan, and Odeya RushThe Giver opens in theaters on August 15th.

THE GIVER Character Posters and Images Featuring Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, and Taylor Swift

by     Posted 160 days ago

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The Weinstein Company has released a slew of The Giver posters and images from director Philip Noyce’s adaptation of the Lois Lowry novel.  The story takes place in a utopian society where all memories of the past reside with a sage figure known as “The Giver”.  Jeff Bridges plays the titular character and Brenton Thwaites (Maleficent) plays a young boy who has been selected to be the new Giver.  These character posters introduce the main cast, which also includes Meryl Streep, Alexander SkarsgardKatie Holmes, and a brunette Taylor Swift.  I still don’t have a solid hold on what Noyce’s take on the material entails, but I imagine the film will become more clear as we approach the release date.

Hit the jump to check out the The Giver posters and images.  The film also stars Cameron Monaghan and Odeya RushThe Giver opens in theaters on August 15th.

First Trailer for THE GIVER Starring Jeff Bridges, Meryl Streep, and Brenton Thwaites

by     Posted 225 days ago

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The Weinstein Company has released the first trailer for director Phillip Noyce’s (Salt) adaptation of the Lois Lowry novel The Giver.  The story takes place in a utopian society where all memories of the past reside with a sage figure known as “The Giver”.  Jeff Bridges plays the titular character and Brenton Thwaites (Maleficent) plays a young boy who has been selected to be the new Giver.  This trailer really wants the movie to look more like The Hunger Games and Divergent even though Lowry’s novel 21-year-old book won the Newbery Medal.  It makes sense that they’re trying to sell the dystopian angle even though I’d like to see more of Bridges.

Hit the jump to watch the trailer.  The film also stars Meryl Streep, Alexander Skarsgard, Katie Holmes, Cameron Monaghan, and Taylor SwiftThe Giver opens August 15th.

Warner Bros. Sets July 1, 2016 Release Date for David Yates’ TARZAN 3D

by     Posted 261 days ago

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Warner Bros. has staked out a July 1, 2016 release date for its big-budget adaptation of Tarzan, in 3D no less.  The film has been in development for over a year and at one point was put on hold due to budget concerns, but it’s been picking up steam once again over the past few months.  David Yates is onboard to direct, making this his first feature since helming the final four Harry Potter films back-to-back, and True Blood actor Alexander Skarsgard is set in the titular role as Tarzan.  Margot Robbie—who shined as the female lead in The Wolf of Wall Street—will make the leap to franchise films playing Jane, and Samuel L. Jackson and Christoph Waltz are confirmed to co-star.

Currently, Independence Day 2 is also scheduled to open on that 4th of July weekend in 2016 alongside the Angry Birds movie, but either ID4 or Tarzan will likely shift to another weekend to avoid cannibalizing each other.  With this new date for Tarzan, 2016 is shaping up to be a big year for Warner Bros., as the studio will also launch Batman vs. Superman in May.  Read the full press release for Tarzan after the jump.

Kristen Wiig and Alexander Skarsgard Join THE DIARY OF A TEENAGE GIRL; Jeffrey Dean Morgan Set for DESIERTO; Rebel Wilson Joins HE’S F-ING PERFECT

by     Posted 293 days ago

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Here’s today’s latest casting news:

Hit the jump for more on each casting announcement.

DISCONNECT Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 1 year, 7 days ago

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The sad fact that contemporary technology has crippled human communication, intimacy, and privacy is nothing new.  While Henry Alex Rubin‘s film Disconnect doesn’t provide any revelatory insight on this subject, it is a realistic drama that strongly reflects one thing society doesn’t want to admit: no matter how tech savvy and sophisticated we think our gizmos make us, mankind will always be a race of hopeless suckers.  Predictable but never disengaging, Disconnect stars Jason Bateman, Andrea Riseborough, Max Thieriot, and Alexander Skarsgard.  More on Lionsgate’s Disconnect Blu-ray after the jump.

Alexander Skarsgard and Jamie Dornan Eyed to Replace Charlie Hunnam in FIFTY SHADES OF GREY; New Scribe Hired for Rewrites

by     Posted 1 year, 16 days ago

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Universal and Focus Features’ adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey is moving closer towards an August 2014 release date, but there are still many pieces of the puzzle to complete before filming can begin.  Director Sam Taylor-Johnson (Nowhere Boy) lost her leading man in Charlie Hunnam over the weekend as the actor opted to depart the project, and now the search is on for a replacement.  THR reports that Alexander Skarsgard (True Blood) and The Fall star Jamie Dornan are among the list of possible replacements, and the studio is also revisiting its previous list of candidates that includes Theo James (Divergent) and Christian Cooke (Magic City), though Garrett Hedlund is out of contention due to scheduling issues.

Hit the jump for more, including news regarding script rewrites.

2 Alternate Endings to THE EAST Starring Brit Marling and Alexander Skarsgard

by     Posted 1 year, 43 days ago

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The East is now available on Blu-ray and DVD, and it’s a damn fine thriller that you should consider checking out.  The film stars Brit Marling (who co-wrote the script with director Zal Batmanglij) as an undercover operative for an elite private intelligence firm who infiltrates a domestic terrorist organization in order to protect her corporate clientele.  Once she starts living as part of the anarchist collective, though, she finds that her loyalties aren’t as solid as she believed them to be and becomes conflicted when she starts falling for the charismatic leader (Alexander Skarsgard).  It’s interesting that both of these endings were filmed considering they’re so drastically different.  The final scene in the finished film is a blending of the two tones, and I think it works slightly better than these alternates endings.  However, they’re still worth watching to see what might have been.

Hit the jump to check out the alternate endings, and click here to go buy The East on Blu-ray/DVD.

The Seventh Season of TRUE BLOOD Will Be Its Last

by     Posted 1 year, 57 days ago

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True Blood has had an interesting year.  Before this last summer’s season (the show’s sixth), it shed creator and showrunner Alan Ball and took on a new direction with Brian Buckner at the helm.  Though many fans found the season polarizing, the show made it clear that it was washing away many sins of the past, culling its overstocked cast, and making a commitment to grounding the story back where it all began — Bon Temps — and focusing on humans versus supernaturals.  Whatever people thought of the season, the bottom line is that they still showed up.  True Blood remains a big draw for HBO, yet they announced today that the series’ upcoming seventh season will be its last.  Hit the jump for more.

Meryl Streep, Alexander Skarsgard and Cameron Monaghan Join Jeff Bridges and Brenton Thwaites in THE GIVER; Marisa Tomei Joins LOVE IS STRANGE

by     Posted 1 year, 85 days ago

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Here’s today’s latest casting news:

Hit the jump for more on both films. 

TRUE BLOOD Renewed for Season 7

by     Posted 1 year, 107 days ago

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HBO has renewed the soapy vampire drama series True Blood for a seventh season.  The show is currently halfway through its 10-episode sixth season, and while ratings have been slightly down compared to years past, the show remains as nutty (and uneven) as ever.  The series went through a bit of a change this year as creator Alan Ball stepped down as showrunner following season five, handing the reins over to new showrunner Mark Hudis—who himself was replaced halfway through production by current showrunner Brian Buckner, who will remain onboard for season seven.  Nevertheless, Vampire Bill and the gang will return for another season next summer.  To catch up on our recaps of season six thus far, click here.

Alexander Skarsgard Talks THE EAST, TRUE BLOOD Season 6, Matt and Ross Duffer’s HIDDEN, and More

by     Posted 1 year, 147 days ago

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Now playing in limited rlease is director/co-writer Zal Batmanglij’s (Sound of My Voice) fantastic eco-terrorist thriller The EastBrit Marling co-wrote the script with Batmanglij and stars as an undercover operative for an elite private intelligence firm who infiltrates a domestic terrorist organization in order to protect her corporate clientele.  Once she starts living as part of the anarchist collective, though, she finds that her loyalties aren’t as solid as she believed them to be and becomes conflicted when she starts falling for the charismatic leader (Alexander Skarsgard).  The impressive ensemble cast also includes Ellen Page, Patricia Clarkson, and Julia Ormond, and you can click here to watch the trailer and here is Matt’s review.

During my recent interview with Skarsgard, he talked about making The East, his reaction to reading the script for the first time, what it was like working on a quick schedule, how much changed during production, his preparation process, and more.  In addition, he also talked about the upcoming season of True Blood, Matt and Ross Duffer’s Hidden and how it was the most difficult role he’s played, and whether any more of his family are getting ready to enter Hollywood.  Hit the jump for more.

THE EAST Review

by     Posted 1 year, 152 days ago

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[This is a re-post of my review from the 2013 Sundance Film Festival.  The East opens today in limited release.]

The undercover thriller is a familiar genre, but it rarely reaches its full potential. For a setting where betrayal and shifting sympathies are central to the plot, most of these stories only provide the semblance of a grey area. Yes, the terrorist is planning to destroy the western seaboard, but his kid died ten years ago, so he’s not all bad. This is an easy road to nominal dramatic conflict while still keeping the audience firmly supporting the hero. With their new film The East, director Zal Batmanglij and co-writer Brit Marling have played the undercover thriller to near-perfection by forcing the audience to sit uncomfortably as we wonder who should deserve our sympathies. Playing to the conventions of the genre stops The East from holding any major surprises, but Batmanglij and his strong cast always keep us riveted as we become as conflicted as the film’s protagonist.

5 Exclusive Images from THE EAST Starring Alexander Skarsgard, Ellen Page and Brit Marling

by     Posted 1 year, 153 days ago

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Opening this weekend is writer-director Zal Batmanglij’s The East, an espionage thriller starring Brit Marling - the film’s co-writer – in the lead.  The story centers on a former FBI agent who becomes a private intelligence operative tasked with protecting top-tier corporate clients, but soon questions her loyalties after infiltrating an anarchist group.

We’ve got five exclusive images from both behind the scenes and from the movie itself to share with you today.  Be sure to check out Steve’s extended video interview with Marling hereclick here to read Matt’s review, and click here to read Adam’s interview with Batmanglij and Marling.  The film also stars Alexander SkarsgardEllen PagePatricia ClarksonJulia OrmondShiloh Fernandez and Jason Ritter.  Hit the jump for the new images.

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