ANIMAL KINGDOM Director David Michôd to Adapt Military Drama THE OPERATORS as a Star Vehicle for Brad Pitt

by     Posted 2 days ago

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David Michôd‘s feature directorial debut, Animal Kingdom, was a searing piece of filmmaking, and I’m excited for his follow-up, The Rover, which opens this year.  According to Deadline, Michôd is now turning his attention to adapting Michael Hastings‘ book, The Operators.  Brad Pitt is attached to produce, and may also star.  Per Deadline, the book chronicles “the rise and fall of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the commanding general of international and U.S. forces in Afghanistan. It portrays the backrooms and politics behind the war, and the high-stake maneuvers and the political firestorm that shook the country.”  Judging by the book’s synopsis, the story seems to focus more on the day-to-day operations of McChrystal’s time in Afghanistan rather than zeroing in on just the Rolling Stone article or even McChrystal’s involvement in covering up the circumstances surrounding Pat Tillman’s death.

Hit the jump for the synopsis of Michael Hastings’ The Operators.

Brad Pitt Can’t Get Enough of World War II Movies; Might Star in Untitled WWII Film from EASTERN PROMISES Screenwriter

by     Posted 15 days ago

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I’d be curious to find out if Brad Pitt has a particular connection to World War II because he might be starring in a third film that takes place in that setting.  In 2010, he starred in Inglourious Basterds; this year, he’ll be leading David Ayer‘s WWII tank film Fury; and now he might have an untitled romantic thriller in the cards.  According to Deadline, Pitt is circling an untitled WWII movie written by Steven Knight (Eastern Promises).  Additionally, Deadline is hearing “it’s serious and that a big director will be set with an eye toward starting production early next year.”

Keep in mind that Pitt is always in demand, which means he has the power to be very selective in his projects.  He’s being eyed for Go Like Hell, he could do Pontius Pilate, and then the big one is a sequel to World War Z, which is the most likely contender since he’s also a producer on that film.  It will be interesting to see what he takes as his follow-up to Fury, which opens on November 14th.

Full List of Oscar Presenters Announced; Includes Daniel Day-Lewis, Brad Pitt, Jennifer Lawrence, Anna Kendrick, and Michael B. Jordan

by     Posted 51 days ago

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After a slow roll-out of announcements that began a few weeks ago, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has unveiled the full list of presenters for the upcoming 86th Academy Awards ceremony.  As expected, there are plenty of previous winners poised to make appearances, including all four of last year’s acting winners (Daniel Day-Lewis, Jennifer Lawrence, Christoph Waltz, and Anne Hathaway), as well as some members of “young Hollywood” to appeal to the younger viewers (Anna Kendrick, Michael B. Jordan, Emma Watson, Zac Efron, Channing Tatum).  On the “legends” side of things, we can also look forward to seeing presentations from Sidney Poitier and Bill Murray.

Hit the jump to take a look at the full list of presenters, and if you missed our latest Oscar-themed episode of our podcast The Collision, click here.  The Oscars will air on ABC this Sunday, March 2nd.

GO LIKE HELL Wants Brad Pitt to Star with Tom Cruise

by     Posted 119 days ago

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If director Joseph Kosinski (Oblivion) and 20th Century Fox have their way, Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise could be reunited on screen for the first time since 1994′s Interview with a Vampire.  Cruise is already set to reunite with Kosinski, but the call is out to Pitt to star in the car-racing drama, Go Like Hell.  The picture is based on the A.J. Baime book, “Go Like Hell: Ford, Ferrari and Their Battle for Speed and Glory at Le Mans“.  Hit the jump for more.

Director David Ayer Shares New Images from the Set of WWII Tank Film FURY Starring Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, and Jon Bernthal

by     Posted 124 days ago

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Production continues in London on director David Ayer’s WWII tank film Fury, and the filmmaker has been sharing an image from the set for each day of filming.  The story takes place in 1945 as the Nazi regime is in collapse and revolves around the five-man crew of an American tank called “Fury” that battles a desperate German army.  Ayer’s original screenplay sparked a bidding war among studios earlier this year, and Jon Bernthal recently described the film as “one of the darkest war movies ever made.”  Brad Pitt leads a cast that includes Bernthal, Shia LaBeouf, Michael Pena, and Logan Lerman, and all can be glimpsed in this new collection of set images, which also includes looks at how Ayer is filming the tank battle sequences.

Hit the jump to check out the images.  Fury opens November 14, 2014.

THE IMPOSSIBLE Director Juan Antonio Bayona to Helm WORLD WAR Z Sequel

by     Posted 127 days ago

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Paramount is forging ahead with plans for a sequel to this summer’s zombie tentpole World War Z, and the first order of business is finding a new director.  Due to the contentious and trouble-laden production process, WWZ helmer Marc Forster wasn’t keen on returning to direct a potential follow-up.  When the film defied expectations and had Brad Pitt’s biggest opening weekend of his career, soaring to $540 million worldwide, Paramount started making moves on a follow-up.  Now the studio has settled on a new director to take the helm of the franchise, attaching The Impossible director Juan Antonio Bayona to oversee the development of World War Z 2.  Hit the jump for more.

THE COUNSELOR Review

by     Posted 174 days ago

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In his crime thriller No Country for Old Men, author Cormac McCarthy’s prose is taut, tense, and doesn’t waste a word.  Unfortunately, his literary style doesn’t translate well to his script for The Counselor or Ridley Scott’s direction.  The film is ostensibly in the same vein as an unforgiving, ruthless crime flick where greedy people get in over their heads, innocents get caught in the crossfire, and only the most ruthless thrive.  This vibrancy fades in and out through the picture, but it’s usually overshadowed by forced, awkward monologues that cut the tension in favor indulgent pontification and dime store philosophy.

WORLD WAR Z Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 183 days ago

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Plagued by production troubles, rumored tension between star Brad Pitt and director Marc Forster, and expensive reshoots that entirely reworked the final 45 minutes of the film, World War Z opened this summer with a very large target on its back.  The final result, however, was far from a disaster.  Though many anticipated a major box office bomb from Paramount, World War Z was actually a rather effective summer tentpole whose intensity caught on with audiences to the tune of $540 million worldwide.  With a potential sequel on the way, the film is now available on home video.  Hit the jump for my review of World War Z on Blu-ray.

Director Marc Forster Out for WORLD WAR Z Sequel

by     Posted 195 days ago

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Although it went on to be a worldwide hit raking in over half-a-billion dollars, World War Z saw a heavy dose of skepticism and internal creative strife during its production.  While the successful box office helped pave the way for a sequel, director Marc Forster will not be involved with the film.  Star Brad Pitt, who produced the film through his Plan B Entertainment company, is moving forward with production on the sequel, although it’s still in early planning stages.  There was no explicit reason given for Forster’s departure, but perhaps the director did not want a repeat of the behind-the-scenes tribulations he experienced during the first film.  Hit the jump for more.

New TV Spot for 12 YEARS A SLAVE Ramps Up the Intensity

by     Posted 195 days ago

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Fox Searchlight has released a new TV spot for director Steve McQueen’s (Shame) incredible drama 12 Years a Slave.  The true story is based on Solomon Northup’s autobiography of the same name, and stars Chiwetel Ejiofor (Children of Men) as Northup, an educated and married black man living in New York in 1841.  Northup was approached by two men about a job offer in Washington D.C., but when he showed up he was kidnapped and forced into slavery for over a decade.  I caught the film at TIFF and it is not only one of the best films I’ve seen all year, but also one of the most emotional moviegoing experiences I’ve had period.  This TV spot is heavy on intensity, but it’s not really indicative of the film’s pace.  McQueen offers an unflinching, terrifying look at slavery in a straightforward manner that captures the reality of the situation without smoothing out the edges or glamorizing the story with flashy editing.

Hit the jump to watch the TV spot, click here for Matt’s review, and click here for my rundown of its awards chances.  The film also stars Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong’OBenedict CumberbatchPaul GiamattiQuvenzhane WallisSarah PaulsonPaul DanoScoot McNairyGarrett DillahuntAlfre WoodardDwight Henry, Michael K. Williams, and Brad Pitt.  12 Years a Slave opens in limited release on October 18th before expanding in the following weeks.

Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Pena, and Jon Bernthal Sit on a Tank in First FURY Image

by     Posted 210 days ago

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Writer/director David Ayer has been tweeting pictures from the set of his World War II tank movie, Fury.  Mostly behind-the-scenes stuff, but tonight’s offering is our first official look at the cast in costume.  Brad Pitt, Shia LaBeouf, Logan Lerman, Michael Pena, and Jon Bernthal sit casually atop a tank which, according to a scribble of white paint across the tank gun barrel, is called “Fury.”  Pitt plays Wardaddy, an Army sergeant who leads the five-man crew of the Fury into a dangerous mission behind eneymy lines: “Outnumbered and outgunned, Wardaddy and his men face overwhelming odds in their heroic attempts to strike at the heart of Nazi Germany.”

Fury is scheduled for release on November 14, 2014.  See the image after the jump.

TIFF 2013: 12 YEARS A SLAVE Review

by     Posted 218 days ago

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It’s easy to draw the lines regarding slavery in America as “good” and “evil” where the enslavers were evil and everyone else was good.  When the issue of slavery culminated in the Civil War, the battle lines were drawn between the “good” north and the “evil” south.  As long as we know someone else is to blame for the evil in the world, then we remove all culpability from ourselves.  With unflinching, heart-wrenching honesty, Steve McQueen’s adaptation of Solomon Northrup’s memoir 12 Years a Slave shows that the issue of slavery wasn’t as simple as black-and-white.  There were shades of grey regarding slavery even among slaves.  The evil of slavery isn’t in question, and McQueen shows it in all its ugliness.  He shows slavery to the point of how it not only wears away a person’s body, but also their identity and even their soul.  The exploration in 12 Years a Slave is into the culpability of all men and women, free and slave, in this unquestionable evil.

New Images and Poster for Ridley Scott’s THE COUNSELOR Featuring Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Javier Bardem, Cameron Diaz and Penelope Cruz

by     Posted 224 days ago

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A new batch of images and a fresh poster for Ridley Scott’s The Counselor have landed.  While each of the images features stars Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender, Cameron Diaz, and Javier Bardem in their own standalone poses, the new poster frames them altogether.  Perhaps this is intended to establish each of the characters as having strong personalities; or perhaps it’s just a good way to satisfy the actors’ egos.  Either way, Scott has a talented cast who has the benefit of Cormac McCarthy’s tense script to work from, one that centers on a lawyer (Fassbender) who gets in over his head in a drug trafficking attempt gone awry.

Also starring Dean Norris, Rosie Perez, John Leguizamo, Natalie Dormer, and Goran Visnjic,  The Counselor opens on October 25th.  Hit the jump to see the new images and poster.

First Featurette for Steve McQueen’s 12 YEARS A SLAVE Starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, and Brad Pitt

by     Posted 225 days ago

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Steve McQueen‘s 12 Years a Slave received massive acclaimed when it premiered at the Telluride Film Festival, and now the first featurette for the film has been released.  The true story is based on Solomon Northup’s autobiography of the same name, and stars Chiwetel Ejiofor (Children of Men) as Northup, an educated and married black man living in New York in 1841.  Northup was approached by two men about a job offer in Washington D.C., but when he showed up he was kidnapped and forced into slavery for over a decade.  The featurette contains plenty of new footage, and listened to the interviews, it looks like they’ve stayed pretty close to the source material.  I read the book earlier this year, and found it to be revelatory and emotional, and I couldn’t understand why it’s not on middle school reading lists alongside Uncle Tom’s Cabin.  It’s a powerful story, and it looks like it will be a powerful movie.

Hit the jump to watch the featurette.  The film also stars Michael Fassbender, Benedict CumberbatchPaul GiamattiQuvenzhane WallisSarah PaulsonPaul DanoScoot McNairyGarrett DillahuntAlfre WoodardDwight Henry, Michael K. Williams, and Brad Pitt12 Years a Slave will play at the Toronto International Film Festival before opening on October 18th.

New Trailer for Ridley Scott’s THE COUNSELOR Starring Michael Fassbender, Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem, and Brad Pitt

by     Posted 252 days ago

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A new full-length trailer for director Ridley Scott’s upcoming drama The Counselor has been released online.  The script by Cormac McCarthy (author of The Road and No Country for Old Men) centers on an attorney (Michael Fassbender) who teams with Reiner (Javier Bardem) to sell $20 million worth of cocaine.  I had heard the script described as a film comprised of all the strange parts from No Country, and judging by this new trailer that appears to be a fairly accurate description.  There’s plenty of darkness to go around, but also a healthy amount of odd and offbeat moments that make the pic feel fresh.  Though Scott has been a bit hit-and-miss in recent years, it’s hard to imagine The Counselor being disappointing with that cast and McCarthy onboard.

Hit the jump to watch the clips.  The film also stars Penelope Cruz, Cameron Diaz, Brad Pitt, Dean Norris, Rosie Perez, John Leguizamo, Natalie Dormer, and Goran VisnjicThe Counselor opens on October 25th.

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