THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES Review

by     Posted 5 days ago

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At one point in The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, Dwalin (Graham McTavish) tells a greedy, paranoid Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage), “You are lesser now than you have ever been.”  The same could be said to director and co-writer Peter Jackson and the conclusion of his prequel trilogy.  In an interview with EW earlier this year, Jackson stressed that it was important to keep cutting back to main characters during the action scenes, “otherwise the audience gets battle fatigue.”  He should have taken his own advice as this trilogy is clearly spent and left with almost nothing but hollow spectacle, hypocrisy, poor characterization, and at times becoming an outright embarrassment.  If The Lord of the Rings trilogy is one of cinema’s best, then Battle of the Five Armies cements The Hobbit trilogy as one of its most disappointing.

New CINDERELLA International Trailer Features More Magic, Spectacle

by     Posted 5 days ago

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Disney has released a new international trailer for director Kenneth Branagh’s live-action Cinderella, this time with considerably more magic.  The film finds Downton Abbey alum Lily James filling the titular role, while Cate Blanchett takes on the part of the evil stepmother and Game of ThronesRichard Madden (The King of the North!) plays Prince Charming.  The first trailer wasn’t particularly encouraging as it simply looked like a scene-by-scene recreation of the animated film, but this new international trailer shows the spectacle and wonder that Branagh brings to the story in live-action form.  I’d still really like to see the version that Mark Romanek was planning, but I imagine the audience for this kind of big, sweeping, romantic iteration will be quite large.

Check out the new Cinderella trailer after the jump.  The film also stars Helena Bonham CarterHayley Atwell Stellan SkarsgardHoliday GraingerNonso Anozie and Sophie McSheraCinderella opens in theaters on March 13, 2015.

First KNIGHT OF CUPS Trailer Reveals Terrence Malick’s Hollywood-Set Drama Starring Christian Bale

by     Posted 6 days ago

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If you’re a fan of Terrence Malick, today is a very good day.  Earlier we learned that one of Malick’s films that he shot in 2012, Knight of Cups, is poised to debut at the Berlin Film Festival in February followed by a theatrical release later in 2015, and now the first Knight of Cups trailer has landed online.  The poetic, lyrical nature of Malick is on full display here, but this looks to be a much more hypnotic and chaotic film than his subdued, Oklahoma-set To the WonderChristian Bale leads a stellar cast that includes Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman, Antonio Banderas, and Brian Dennehy, and the Hollywood-set story marks a pretty major change of location for Malick, whose past two features have followed the lives of people living in the south/Midwest.  And it goes without saying that Emmanuel Lubezki’s cinematography is simply spectacular.  The slot for my most anticipated film of 2015 has now been filled.

Check out the first Knight of Cups trailer after the jump.  The film also stars Isabel Lucas, Imogen Poots, Wes Bentley, Freida Pinto, Teresa Palmer, Armin Mueller-Stahl, and the voice of Ben Kingsley and will be released in theaters sometime next year.

Terrence Malick’s KNIGHT OF CUPS to Premiere at Berlin Film Festival

by     Posted 6 days ago

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And just like that, we have a new Terrence Malick film set to debut in 2015.  The notoriously private director shot two films back-to-back in 2012, Knight of Cups and a currently untitled feature that was previously named Lawless, but given the fact that Malick spends years in the editing room, there was no telling when we’d see either of them.  After rumors of a 2014 debut turned out to be false, we now have official confirmation on when at least one of them will be released, as the Berlin Film Festival announced its initial lineup today and Knight of Cups is on the roster.  A number of actors shot roles for the film, but the Berlin description confirms that at least Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, and Natalie Portman made the final cut.  More on Knight of Cups after the jump.

New CINDERELLA Posters Reveal the Good, the Magical, and the Wicked; Plus New Posters for INHERENT VICE and BIG EYES

by     Posted 18 days ago

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A variety of new movie posters have been unveiled.  Briefly:

  • Cinderella – A collection of Cinderella posters from director Kenneth Branagh’s live-action take on the fairy tale highlight the principal characters from the Disney film, including Cate Blanchett, Lily James, and Helena Bonham Carter.  The film opens in theaters on March 13, 2015
  • Inherent Vice – An incredible new banner for Paul Thomas Anderson’s adaptation of the Thomas Pynchon novel paints the principal characters in “The Last Supper” fashion, with Joaquin Phoenix taking center stage of course.  The film opens in limited release on December 12th and expands on January 9th.
  • Big Eyes – A new international poster for Tim Burton’s drama about the artist couple Walter and Margaret Keane, played by Christoph Waltz and Amy Adams, highlights a rather ugly perspective on the fllm’s central conflict.  The drama opens on December 25th.

Check out the aforementioned posters after the jump.

THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES Celebrates Last Trip To Middle Earth With Five Empire Magazine Covers

by     Posted 26 days ago

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With the The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies on the way in just a few short weeks, the marketing push is in full effect.  And we’ve got five new images from the film that come courtesy of a few magazine covers from Empire.  This installment of the film looks identical to the prior two, and these images don’t do anything to change that, but if you’re a fan of the movie they’re well worth checking out.

Hit the jump for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies images.  The film stars Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Benedict Cumberbatch, Stephen Fry, Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Ken Stott, James Nesbitt, and Orlando Bloom.  The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies opens in theaters on December 17th.

New CINDERELLA Trailer, Poster, and Images: Disney Classic Comes to Live-Action with Lily James, Richard Madden, and Cate Blanchett

by     Posted 32 days ago

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Disney has released a new Cinderella trailer and poster along with new images for director Kenneth Branagh’s live-action iteration of the classic story.  The movie is the traditional rags-to-riches story we know with a few twists like Cinderella (Lily James) meeting the prince (Richard Madden) before knowing he’s a prince, and the fairy godmother (Helena Bonham Carter) appearing in the guise of an old, beggar woman.  But the nefarious evil stepmother (Cate Blanchett) and wicked stepsisters (Sophie McShera and Holliday Granger) are still in place.  It looks like Branagh has stayed incredibly faithful to the 1950 Disney animated film, and this trailer is basically a condensed, live-action version of that entire movie.  I guess if you’re more into flesh-and-blood actors combined with lots of CG, then this will be the Cinderella for you.

Hit the jump to watch the new Cinderella trailer, poster, and images.  The film also stars Nonso AnozieDerek Jacobi, and Stellan Skarsgard, and opens in theaters on March 13, 2015.

New Full-Length THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES Trailer Teases Massive Spectacle, Big Emotion

by     Posted 45 days ago

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Warner Bros. has released a new The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies trailer for the final chapter in Peter Jackson‘s Hobbit trilogy.  The film concludes the Hobbit saga as five armies descend upon the Lonely Mountain in order to claim its now unguarded treasure, and it also acts as as prelude to Jackson’s other J.R.R. Tolkein trilogy, The Lord of the Rings.  With the release a little over a month away and the final visual effects shots coming in, this trailer goes big on the spectacle.  This thing looks absolutely massive, but there’s a strong focus on emotion and hot tempers as well, as Thorin’s desire to reclaim his people’s mountain trumps anything that stands in his way.  And yet, I still can’t shake how much CG is involved.  The film is at least 60% animated feature, and the all-CG creatures aren’t threatening in the least (one looks like a giant baby).  My hope is that the live-action character work is strong enough to overcome the “fake” feeling, but seeing as how most of the film takes place during the titular epic battle, I’m not exactly holding my breath.

Check out the The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies trailer after the jump.  The film stars Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Benedict Cumberbatch, Stephen Fry, Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Ken Stott, James Nesbitt, and Orlando BloomThe Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies opens in theaters on December 17th.

The Onslaught of THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES Posters and Banners Continues

by     Posted 67 days ago

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Have you had enough of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies posters and banners yet?  Of course not!  Science shows that unless a movie has at least 23 posters, it will drastically underperform at the box office.  Thankfully, in addition to all of the other posters Warner Bros. has recently released for the movie, we now have three more posters along with three banners.  With this many posters and banners, how can you not see this movie?

Hit the jump to check out the new posters and banners.  The film stars Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Richard Armitage, Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Orlando Bloom, and Luke Evans with Benedict Cumberbatch as the voice of Smaug.  The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies opens in 2D, 3D, HFR 3D, and IMAX 3D on December 17th.

The Films of David Fincher: THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON

by     Posted 84 days ago

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[With the upcoming release of his new film Gone Girl, I’m taking a look back at the work of director David Fincher.  These articles contain spoilers.]

Across his filmography, David Fincher’s work has been noted as dark, foreboding, chilly, cynical, cutting, and irreverent.  The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a striking anomaly in his filmography as the allure of the project makes some sense, but the execution is a lush, unabashed romance bubbling with mawkish sentiment.  The movie is graceful, beautiful, poetic, and yet oddly distant.  The whole production feels gilded as Fincher made a deeply moving film out of a fairly terrible script.  The most curious thing about The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is how it manages to be a tearjerker despite its craven desire to elicit emotion from a director who rejects sentimentality.

Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Naomie Harris, and More Join Andy Serkis’ JUNGLE BOOK: ORIGINS

by     Posted 123 days ago

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Director Jon Favreau is already in production on his nearly entirely CG-animated The Jungle Book for Disney, but Warner Bros. has now filled out the cast for its own adaptation of the Rudyard Kipling story.  Andy Serkis directs the terribly titled Jungle Book: Origins, and fresh off the news that Benedict Cumberbatch will be voicing Shere Khan, THR reports that Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Naomie Harris, Tom Hollander, Eddie Marsan, and Peter Mullan have joined the cast.  Moreover, Bad Words star Rohan Chand has been selected to fill the live-action role of Mowgli.  The film will be a mix of motion-capture, CG animation, and live-action with Serkis also set to star as Baloo.

Hit the jump to find out who the aforementioned actors will be playing in Jungle Book: Origins.

Comic-Con: Peter Jackson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Andy Serkis, Evangeline Lilly, Cate Blanchett and Orlando Bloom Talk THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES

by     Posted 143 days ago

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From Academy Award-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies is the third in a trilogy of films that bring the masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien, to life.  It is an epic conclusion to the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, Thorin Oakenshield and the Company of Dwarves, who have reclaimed their homeland from the Dragon Smaug, but have unwittingly unleashed a deadly force into the world.  And there are even greater dangers ahead, as darkness converges on their escalating conflict, and the races of Dwarves, Elves and Men must either unite or be destroyed while the future of Middle-earth hangs in the balance.

While at Comic-Con for a presentation in Hall H, Peter Jackson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Andy Serkis, Evangeline Lilly, Cate Blanchett and Orlando Bloom spoke to press at a conference, in which they talked about why the title of the third film changed, the progression of the tone, from the first film to this one, perfecting the voices of Smaug and Gollum, the creation of Tauriel, the experience of revisiting characters from The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and how long it might be before any of the films get remade.  Peter Jackson also talked about why The Silmarillion will probably never get adapted for film, and how he feels about a new King Kong film.  Check out what they had to say after the jump.

THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES Trailer and Poster: Peter Jackson’s Trilogy Concludes in Epic Fashion

by     Posted 146 days ago

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Warner Bros. has released the first The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies trailer for the final chapter in Peter Jackson‘s Hobbit trilogy.  This is the trailer they showed us at Comic-Con on Saturday, and it’s interesting to see how the prequel trilogy is trying to pull into The Lord of the Rings by using “The Steward of Gondor”, which was sung by Pippin (Billy Boyd) in The Return of the King.  The song still works here because it’s sad and somber, but the line that sticks with me from this trailer is when Thorin asks his company, “Will you follow me one last time?”  It’s a line that’s really directed towards the audience, but there’s a weariness to it that’s surprising.  It’s almost like saying, “Well, we’ve already come this far.  May as well finish it out.”

Check out the The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies trailer and new poster after the jump, and click here to read our full Comic-Con panel recap.  The film stars Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage, Evangeline Lilly, Lee Pace, Luke Evans, Benedict Cumberbatch, Stephen Fry, Cate Blanchett, Ian Holm, Christopher Lee, Hugo Weaving, Ken Stott, James Nesbitt, and Orlando BloomThe Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies opens in theaters on December 17th.

Scarlett Johansson and Jonah Hill in Talks for HAIL CAESAR!; Robert Redford and Cate Blanchett to Lead TRUTH; John Goodman Joins VALENCIA

by     Posted 165 days ago

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We’ve got a few casting stories to attend to this afternoon.  Briefly:

  • Scarlett Johansson and Jonah Hill are in talks to join the cast of the Coen brothers’ next film Hail, Caesar!.
  • Robert Redford and Cate Blanchett will play Dan Rather and Mary Mapes, respectively, in Truth.
  • John Goodman is in talks to star in the low-budget thriller Valencia, from Bad Robot.

Hit the jump for more details on the aforementioned casting.

THE LIFE AQUATIC WITH STEVE ZISSOU and RED RIVER Criterion Blu-ray Reviews

by     Posted 189 days ago

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The Criterion Collection has issued both The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and Red River recently, and though the two would seemingly have little in common, it turns out there are a number of parallels.  Both films begin with the main character losing someone close to them in a way that drives the narrative, both follow a driven and arrogant man who needs to see the error of his ways, both deal with great adventure, both deal with a father/son relationship, and both conclude with the main character coming face to face with their supposed enemy, only to realize violence may not be the answer.  Bill Murray and Owen Wilson star in the Aquatic for Wes Anderson, while John Wayne and Montgomery Clift star in Red River for Howard Hawks.  My review of both The Life Aquatic on Blu-ray and Red River follows after the jump. 

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