Langston Hughes conceived of Black Nativity in the 1960s as a euphoric stage musical version of the birth of Jesus with a black cast. The show is still regularly performed as written, but writer/director Kasi Lemmons (Talk to Me) chose to add material to create a more traditional narrative throughline for the feature adaptation. In the movie, a single Baltimore mother (Jennifer Hudson) sends her son Langston (newcomer Jacob Latimore) to stay with her estranged parents (Forest Whitaker and Angela Bassett) in New York City during the holidays. While there, Langston falls asleep in the Chistmas Eve sermon and dreams of a “Times Square Bethlehem.” Latimore says the songbook has something for everyone: “The music is just like the music nowadays. Some R&B, soulful gospel and a little rap before I go through my spiritual journey.”
To give you an idea of the tone: Mary J. Blige, sporting electrified blonde curls, plays a mysterious guardian angel character named “Platinum Fro.” That alone should compel you to check out the first images from Black Nativity after the jump.
The nationwide expansion of Harmony Korine‘s Spring Breakers meant that I had the opportunity to catch the film last night at my local theater. We’ll talk a more specifically about our coverage of the film after the jump. For now, I’d like to make a futile attempt at encapsulating my feelings on the pic in the next few sentences. There’s a lot to like about Breakers whether it be the performances (James Franco‘s especially), the music, the slick editing and use of foreshadowing, etc. Nevertheless, for me this isn’t a movie that I “liked” as much as it’s one I respect. It’s beautiful, surreal, challenging, abhorrent, and vapid all at the same time. In other words, it’s art.
I could go on for days about the pic but that’s not why we’re here. In this week’s Top 5 we’ll take a look at our Breakers coverage, some Transformers 4 plot details, Olympus Has Fallen interviews with Gerard Butler and Antoine Fuqua just to name a few, a new trailer and poster for Star Trek Into Darkness, and The Croods interviews with Nicolas Cage and more. As is standard, a brief recap and link to each awaits after the jump.
Opening this weekend is director Antoine Fuqua’s (Training Day) White House actioner Olympus Has Fallen. The film stars Gerard Butler as a disgraced Secret Service agent called back to duty when terrorists take over the White House and capture the President (Aaron Eckhart). The film also stars Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett, Ashley Judd, Melissa Leo, Robert Forster, Dylan McDermott, Radha Mitchell, Cole Hauser, and Rick Yune. If you’ve been waiting for Butler to return to action, you’re going to be very happy watching Olympus Has Fallen. Not only is the film a hard R for graphic violence, it features Butler kicking ass in some great action set pieces. Watch some clips here.
During the recent New York City press junket, I got to speak with Eckhart and Bassett. We talked about how the film is a hard R realistic take on what could actually happen to the White House, the way they prepared for their roles, the great cast, and more. In addition, I also got updates on I, Frankenstein and Black Nativity. Hit the jump to watch.
FilmDistrict has released ten new clips from director Antoine Fuqua’s (Shooter) upcoming White House actioner Olympus Has Fallen. The film stars Gerard Butler as a disgraced Secret Service agent called back to duty when terrorists take over the White House and capture the President (Aaron Eckhart).
Hit the jump to check out the clips, and click here for over 25 high-resolution images from the pic. The film also stars Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett, Ashley Judd, Melissa Leo, Robert Forster, Dylan McDermott, Radha Mitchell, Cole Hauser, and Rick Yune. Olympus Has Fallen opens on March 22nd.
FilmDistrict has released a batch of new high-resolution images from director Antoine Fuqua’s (Training Day) White House actioner Olympus Has Fallen. The film stars Gerard Butler as a disgraced Secret Service agent called back to duty when terrorists take over the White House and capture the President (Aaron Eckhart). The pic is one of two similarly-plotted action films that take place in and around the White House that will hit theaters this year, with the other being Roland Emmerich’s White House Down. Thus far, this film looks like it has a slightly larger scope than Down, but we’ve yet to see a full trailer for the latter.
Hit the jump to take a look at the images. The film also stars Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett, Ashley Judd, Melissa Leo, Robert Forster, Dylan McDermott, Radha Mitchell, Cole Hauser, and Rick Yune. Olympus Has Fallen opens on March 22nd.
Three new posters have been released for Antoine Fuqua’s action film Olympus Has Fallen. The film stars Gerard Butler, who plays a disgraced Secret Service agent called back to duty when terrorists take over the White House and capture the President (Aaron Eckhart). Olympus Has Fallen will be the first of two “agent-saves-captured-White-House” action flicks this year, and I’m putting my money on Roland Emmerich‘s movie, White House Down because Emmerich knows you have to go big, go dumb, and go fun, or go home. Then again, last year I bet on Snow White and the Huntsman over Mirror Mirror for the Snow White movies, and the latter turned out to be the better film.
Hit the jump to check out posters for supporting cast members Angela Bassett, Dylan McDermott, and Rick Yune. Click on the respective links for the character posters for Butler, Eckhart, and Morgan Freeman. Olympus Has Fallen opens March 22nd.
The first trailer for Antoine Fuqua’s Olympus Has Fallen is now available online. In the first of two White House-centric action flicks this year, Fuqua strikes hard and fast to bring down the President of the United States and the symbolic building of his power. At the same time, he establishes a great foundation for the protagonist’s heroic arc, which makes for a welcome return to action for star Gerard Butler. There’s a bit of Expendables-style flair and over-the-top effects that are more in line with what we can expect from Roland Emmerich’s White House Down, but Fuqua’s pedigree of bringing out the truth in his characters gives me faith that this will be more than just “Die Hard meets Air Force One on steroids.”
Starring Aaron Eckhart, Ashley Judd, Morgan Freeman, Dylan McDermott and Angela Bassett, Olympus Has Fallen opens on March 22nd. Hit the jump to check out the first trailer and poster.
Here’s a look at the latest casting news:
- Chandler Riggs (The Walking Dead) and Joel Courtney (Super 8) are set to topline the Stephen King adaptation, Mercy, directed by Peter Cornwell (The Haunting in Connecticut) and also starring Frances O’Connor (A.I. Artificial Intelligence).
- Angela Bassett (Malcom X) will join writer/director Gregg Araki’s White Bird in a Blizzard, which also stars Shailene Woodley (The Descendants), Gabourey Sidibe (Precious), Christopher Meloni (Law & Order: SVU), Eva Green (Casino Royale), Shiloh Fernandez (Red Riding Hood) and Mark Indelicato (Ugly Betty).
- Marianne Jean-Baptiste (Without a Trace) has joined director Doug Liman’s All You Need is Kill, starring Tom Cruise, Emily Blunt and Bill Paxton.
Hit the jump for more details on each casting.
It looks like Antoine Fuqua’s Olympus Has Fallen will get a chance to take down the White House before Roland Emmerich’s White House Down as it is now slated to open first by about three months. Starring Gerard Butler as a disgraced Secret Service agent called back to duty when terrorists take over the White House, Olympus Has Fallen will star Aaron Eckhart as the President in Peril. (Emmerich’s film stars Channing Tatum as the heroic Secret Service agent with Jamie Foxx playing the President.)
Olympus Has Fallen also stars Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett, Robert Forster, Cole Hauser, Ashley Judd, Melissa Leo, Dylan McDermott, Radha Mitchell and Rick Yune and will open April 5th, 2013. Hit the jump to read the press release.
Although Kasi Lemmons’ musical Black Nativity was scheduled to start production in New York this October, Fox Searchlight has put the picture on hold due to difficulty landing a male lead. The picture is based off of a Langston Hughes play that re-imagines traditional Christmas carols in a gospel style. Black Nativity was set to center on a young black teen who spends Christmas with the grandparents he’s never met: “Through his grandfather’s Christmas Eve sermon and a stylized, dream-sequence retelling of the classic Nativity story, he learns about the importance of faith and family.” What’s strange about this news is that Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls) and Oscar nominee Angela Bassett (What’s Love Got to Do With It) are already set in supporting roles, yet top talent like Samuel L. Jackson and Laurence Fishburne have passed. More on this after the jump. [Update: We've updated this story with new information, which you can find after the jump.]
Writer/director Kasi Lemmons (Talk to Me) is developing a feature adaptation of the Broadway musical Black Nativity at Fox Searchlight. If all goes according to plan, Lemmons will do so with a trio of Oscar-nominated talents. Variety reports Samuel L. Jackson, Angela Bassett, and Jennifer Hudson are in talks to join the project. The gospel musical follows a young black teen who spends Christmas with the grandparents he’s never met: “Through his grandfather’s Christmas Eve sermon and a stylized, dream-sequence retelling of the classic Nativity story, he learns about the importance of faith and family.” Jackson and Bassett would play the grandparents, and Variety suggests Jackson will “likely play multiple characters during the Nativity sequence.” Hudson is making a deal for the role of the single mother who sends the boy to the grandparents.
Hit the jump for a clip from a recent performance of the Langston Hughes musical.
Some brief casting notes for you here with more details after the jump:
- Angela Bassett (Malcolm X) is set to join Gerard Butler (300) and Aaron Eckhart (The Dark Knight) in Antoine Fuqua’s Presidential thriller, Olympus Has Fallen.
- Derek Luke (Antwone Fisher) will star opposite Paula Patton (Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol) in Baggage Claim, from writer/director/producer David Talbert.
- Robert Baker (Out of Time) and Brian Howe (The Pursuit of Happyness) are the most recent additions to the cast of Atom Egoyan’s Devil’s Knot, based on the true life saga of the West Memphis Three.
Hit the jump for more on each picture.
Director Martin Campbell’s Green Lantern exists in a time when rainbow bridges aren’t laughed at and secret agent mutants enhance the drama, which is why the newest entry in DC Comics’ long lineage of films feels like a regression. The talent amassed for this origin story can understandably excite onlookers, but the end result won’t make many want to come back for more. A disjointed plot that may alienate audience members instead of pull them in is a bad start to Warner Brothers franchise kick-starter hopeful. The real shame is that Ryan Reynolds is a natural choice for Hal Jordan, and the rest of the cast exude similar confidence, but the material they are working with hinders the film from ever lifting off the ground. Even Campbell seems to be unwilling to commit to the material. Short, choppy, and overpopulated with CG and not enough heart, this is one comic book film you might want to skip this summer. Hit the jump for my full review.
The wait is almost over. Warner Bros. has released 8 new clips from director Martin Campbell’s Green Lantern, which hits theaters in less than two weeks. Based on the comic book, the film tells the story of Hal Jordan (Reynolds), the first human ever to join the intergalactic peacekeeping Green Lantern Corps. From all the recent trailers that have been released, and the huge batch of high resolution stills showing off finished visual effects, the film looks like it’s going to be pretty fantastic.
Hit the jump to watch the clips. The film stars Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong, Angela Bassett, and Tim Robbins. Green Lantern will be released in 3D on June 17th.
Warner Bros. has released a slew of images from their upcoming superhero flick Green Lantern. Some of the images are new, while a few of them we’ve seen before, but they all reflect finished visual-effects. Also included in the batch are a few official set images featuring director Martin Campbell. The film stars Ryan Reynolds, Blake Lively, Peter Sarsgaard, Mark Strong, Angela Bassett, and Tim Robbins, and tells the story of Hal Jordan (Reynolds), the first human ever to join the intergalactic peacekeeping Green Lantern Corps.
Hit the jump to check out the images. Green Lantern opens in 3D on June 17th.