Blumhouse Productions (Insidious, Sinister, Paranormal Activity, The Purge) has become known for micro-budget horror films that go gangbusters at the box office. With Dark Skies, Blumhouse combined their well-honed approach to horror with a sci-fi twist, namely a threat from extraterrestrial beings. While it’s certainly not the biggest money-maker for the production company, Dark Skies might be my favorite of their films so far. Not only does it feature an exceptional cast in Keri Russell, Josh Hamilton, Dakota Goyo, Annie Thurman and J.K Simmons, but writer-director Scott Stewart combines the best of Steven Spielberg’s family-centric films with a hint of Stanley Kubrick’s psychological horror. Now that Dark Skies is available on Blu-ray, you can check it out for yourself. Hit the jump for my Blu-ray review.
Blumhouse Productions, the company behind the Paranormal Activity series, Insidious and Sinister takes a turn away from demonic possession and ghost stories, but keeps the haunted family dynamic in writer/director Scott Stewart’s Dark Skies. The psychological thriller focuses on the Barrett family, whose peaceful suburban home begins to play host to strange and terrifying events that seem to only be happening to them. While Dark Skies would have benefited from more secretive marketing that would keep the force behind these events an actual mystery, there are still some tense moments and disturbing scares to be found. The most interesting facet of the film is not the external menace, but the unexpected subtext of the growing pains of adolescence. Hit the jump for my review.
We have some new TV spots to share with you from the following films:
- Dead Man Down – Director Niels Arden Oplev’s crime thriller starring Colin Farrell and Noomi Rapace as an unlikely pair out for revenge against a mob boss. Dead Man Down, also starring Dominic Cooper and Terrence Howard, opens March 8th.
- Dark Skies – Writer/director Scott Charles Stewart’s sci-fi thriller starring Keri Russell and Josh Hamilton as struggling parents whose limits are tested when strange events start happening to their family. Also starring Dakota Goyo and J.K. Simmons, Dark Skies opens February 22nd.
Hit the jump to watch the TV spots.
A trailer for the sci-fi thriller Dark Skies has just been released. The movie centers on a family who become the victims of disturbing supernatural events that wreak havoc on their bodies and minds. The trailer bills itself as being from the producers of Paranormal Activity and Insidious, and these producers force us to ask: “Is any suburban, middle-class home truly safe?” Even though I hadn’t been paying much attention to this movie, it looks like there’s some genuinely creepy stuff in this flick, and it would almost keep me guessing if the malevolent force was ghosts or aliens if the title hadn’t given it away.
Hit the jump to check out the trailer. The film stars Keri Russell, Josh Hamilton, Dakota Goyo, Kadan Rockett, and J.K. Simmons. Dark Skies opens February 22, 2013.
A new character featurette has gone online for director Peter Ramsey’s Rise of the Guardians. This one centers on the movie’s version of the Easter Bunny, an Australian anthropomorph named Bunnymund and voiced by Hugh Jackman. The featurette is narrated by Alec Baldwin, who also lends his voice to North, the film’s version of Santa Claus. If you missed it yesterday, there’s also a character featurette on Chris Pine’s Jack Frost.
Rise of the Guardians also features the voices of Isla Fisher, Jude Law and Dakota Goyo. It opens on November 21st. Hit the jump to see the new featurette for Rise of the Guardians.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with a formula picture, the problem is with filmmakers not investing in the formula. There’s just too many big budget movies these days – like the Pirates or Transformers films – where the characters and what they do don’t make sense, and it’s near impossible to care about anything that happens to them. So it’s strange that director Shawn Levy managed to make a formula picture right. Best known for the sub-par Night at the Museum films, Levy came across as a hack. But Real Steel knows exactly what it’s doing and works you over. Hugh Jackman stars as a washed up boxer trying to make his living fighting with robots. Enter his abandoned son (Dakota Goyo) and a special robot that might be able to take them to the top. Our review of Real Steel on Blu-ray follows after the jump.
Real Steel is a true underdog tale that combines the grand spectacle of robot boxing with the grounded story of three abandoned beings – a father, a son, and a discarded robot – who, together, have the chance to become real heroes. In 2020, boxing fans have become bored with watching human beings fight each other, so the sport has evolved to the point where robots pummel each other to the death. Washed up, former heavyweight Charlie Kenton (Hugh Jackman) begrudgingly teams up with his long-abandoned son (Dakota Goyo) to turn a junkyard robot into the champ they believe he can be.
At the film’s press day, director Shawn Levy talked about the challenge of getting the robots to work, the decision behind not giving his star robot Atom a face, why he feels he is able to direct kids so easily, creating his own version of the year 2020, the Simul-Cam B technology used to shoot the film, and his personal philosophy for directing. Check out what he had to say after the jump.
The greatest achievement in Shawn Levy’s Real Steel is building the world of robot boxing. The term “robot boxing” sounds incredibly stupid when you hear it and flashes of Rock ‘Em, Sock ‘Em Robots and the failed TV show Battlebots come to mind. But Levy does a tremendous job for showing not just the hi-tech wonder of the World Boxing Organization (WBO), but he takes us to the back-alleys, run-down theme parks, and country fairs where a punching robot and its owner can make some cash and win some glory. Paired with well-choreographed fights that wisely make heavy use of animatronics and practical effects, Real Steel almost has an unbeatable combination. But the clunky storytelling and awful performance from child actor Dakota Goyo stop the movie from landing a knock-out punch (I promise I’ll try to keep the boxing puns to a minimum).
It’s Memorial Day, which means it’s likely to be a slow news day, and so that’s why the international poster for Shawn Levy’s Real Steel is getting its own article. It’s a big improvement over the domestic teaser poster, which showcased the robot Camelfist Magee (probably not the robot’s real name, but it should be). For those unfamiliar with the movie, it’s about a former boxer (Hugh Jackman) who becomes a promoter for the hot new sport: robot boxing (I have trouble believing this would bypass Foxy Boxing, but whatever). The former boxer reunites with his estranged son (Dakota Goyo) and together they build a new robot and try to take him to the championship. Emotional uplift possibly ensues.
Hit the jump to check out the poster. The film also stars Anthony Mackie, Hope Davis, Kevin Durand, and Evangeline Lilly. Real Steel opens October 7th.
DreamWorks has released a new trailer for Shawn Levy’s Real Steel. The film stars Hugh Jackman as a washed-up boxer who reconnects with his estranged son (Dakota Goyo, who played Lil’ Thor in Thor) as they build and train a fighting robot to fight in the World Robot Boxing championship. I’m trying to cast aside cynicism on this project, but I can’t get past Levy. His films tend to be lowest common denominator family fare and judging by this trailer, it doesn’t look like Real Steel is going to break that trend. It looks too saccharine to be fun and too silly to be taken seriously. Hopefully I’m wrong and I’ll finally like one of the guy’s films because he’s certainly not going away anytime soon. It’s worth mentioning that Steven Spielberg was heavily involved in the project and fought to keep the project at DreamWorks when the studio broke away from Paramount.
Hit the jump to check out the trailer. Click here to check out Steve’s visit to the editing bay. He thinks the film is going to be good. Based on what I’ve seen (and granted, he’s seen more of the movie than I have), I beg to differ. Real Steel also stars Anthony Mackie, Hope Davis, Kevin Durand, and Evangeline Lilly. The film opens October 7th.
The first trailer for Shawn Levy’s Real Steel has leaked onto the net and you can check it out after the jump. Originally the trailer was going to premiere on ESPN tonight, but as is often the case, it leaked early. As you might have just seen, I visited the editing room of Real Steel earlier this week and saw about ten minutes of the film and interviewed Levy. I learned that none of the effects in the teaser are final, and the footage you’re about to watch only skims the surface in terms of story and what the movie is about.
I’ll be honest, I think the teaser is decent, but not a home-run. I say this because after watching ten minutes of footage, there is a lot more to Real Steel than what’s in this teaser and I really think this film is going to surprise audiences when it gets released in October, 2011. Hit the jump to check it out for yourself and make sure to read my edit bay visit!
When I first heard that director Shawn Levy was making a robot boxing movie, I’ll admit to thinking it sounded like a really stupid idea. After all, the guy who made Pink Panther and the Night at the Museum movies taking on robot boxing? Um…no thanks. But after sitting in the editing room the other day with Levy and having him show me (along with a few other reporters) about ten minutes of the movie, consider me ready to enter the ring to fight alongside Hugh Jackman.
While I’ll explain what the movie is about and have a lot more details about what I learned after the jump, I want to immediately talk about something that absolutely floored me during the presentation.
Like all of you, when I watch a movie, I can tell when an effect is done by computers and when it’s real. Meaning, when it’s been done practically. However, for the first time in my life, I saw some footage that made me lose track of what was real and what was created in a computer. I had to pick my jaw off the floor after watching it. And Levy told us it was only 80% completed. Hit the jump for more:
The first image from director Shawn Levy’s Real Steel has been released via USA Today. While the movie only started principal photography earlier today, Touchstone Pictures decided to stay ahead of any leaks by releasing the first image of Hugh Jackman and a robot today. And you know what…it’s a very smart move as this image looks great. Disney has also released the official synopsis:
A gritty, white-knuckle, action ride set in the near-future, where the sport of boxing has gone hi-tech, “Real Steel” stars Hugh Jackman as Charlie Kenton, a washed-up fighter who lost his chance at a title when 2000-pound, 8-foot-tall steel robots took over the ring. Now nothing but a small-time promoter, Charlie earns just enough money piecing together low-end bots from scrap metal to get from one underground boxing venue to the next. When Charlie hits rock bottom, he reluctantly teams up with his estranged son Max (Dakota Goyo) to build and train a championship contender. As the stakes in the brutal, no-holds-barred arena are raised, Charlie and Max, against all odds, get one last shot at a comeback.
UPDATE: Disney has sent over a high-resolution uncropped version of the image which let’s us see the head of the robot. Also, the robot is called Noisy Boy. More after the jump:
Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker) and Evangeline Lilly (Lost) have joined the cast of Shawn Levy’s robot-boxing drama Real Steel. The film centers on a former boxer (Hugh Jackman) who reunites with his estranged son (Dakota Goyo) to train a robot for the robot boxing championship once the world decides that it finds fighting more entertaining when done by robots instead of humans. Presumably, the film takes place in an alternate reality where BattleBots was the most successful show of all-time.
According to Variety, Mackie will play a boxing promoter while Lilly will play a friend of Jackman’s character. Shooting is set to begin this June and the film has penciled in November 18, 2011 as its release date.
We have two pieces of child actor casting to report tonight. First, Deadline says that Chloe Moretz (Kick-Ass) and Asa Butterfield (The Boy in the Striped Pajamas) have been cast in Martin Scorsese’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Butterfield will play the title character who is an orphan/clock keeper/thief who lives in a train station. Moretz will play opposite Butterfield as Isabelle, “an eccentric girl and the owner of a small toy booth in the train station.” Moretz and Butterfield will star alongside Sacha Baron Cohen and Ben Kingsley, whose casting we reported on earlier today.
Meanwhile, THR reports that 11-year-old Dakota Goyo (Resurrecting the Champ) will star with Hugh Jackman in Shawn Levy’s Real Steel. The film is set in the future where robots have replaced humans as boxers. Goyo’s character is described as “a street-smart, tough, charming kid with a hard, untrusting outer shell which hides a warm enthusiastic spirit beneath.” Don’t worry. The activation of your gag-reflex at this description is completely normal.