David Oyelowo and Ava DuVernay Talk SELMA, Bringing Martin Luther King Jr. To Life On Screen, Their Most Memorable Scene, and More

by     Posted 5 days ago

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Selma is a beautifully designed film that not only hits you emotionally in the gut, but also makes you feel for the humanity that the Civil Rights movement was fighting for.  While Martin Luther King Jr. was just a man, he spoke for and to people willing to defy intimidation, face economic retaliation, and endure arrests and beatings, all in hopes of provoking a transformative confrontation that would give African Americans the basic rights that they so desperately wanted and deserved.  Expertly directed by Ava DuVernay, the film stars David Oyelowo (in an award-worthy performance as Dr. King), Carmen Ejogo, Tom Wilkinson, Tim Roth, Oprah Winfrey, Andre Holland, Common, Giovanni Ribisi, Tessa Thompson, Dylan Baker, Alessandro Nivola and Omar Dorsey.

During a roundtable interview at the film’s press day, actor David Oyelowo and director Ava DuVernay talked about taking on someone so very well known, never hesitating in showing the violence and aggression that took place, the challenges of making Martin Luther King Jr. human, casting actors who best fit around David Oyelowo, making the dream to play Dr. King a reality, the most memorable scene they experienced together, what the prep work was like, having some of the real people around, and the flavor that being in the real locations added to the film.  Check out what they had to say after the jump.

KONG: SKULL ISLAND Adds J.K. Simmons; Steven Spielberg’s THE BFG Finds Its Lead In Newcomer Ruby Barnhill; David Oyelowo Moves Into AMERICANAH

by     Posted 5 days ago

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We’ve got three new casting stories worthy of your attention. In short:

  • J.K. Simmons (Whiplash) will now appear alongside Tom Hiddleston in director Jordan Vogt-Roberts‘ recently retitled Kong: Skull Island.
  • Steven Spielberg‘s upcoming Roald Dahl adaptation The BFG has cast newcomer Ruby Barnhill in the lead role.
  • David Oyelowo (Selma) will join Lupita Nyong’o in Americanah for Brad Pitt‘s production company Plan B.

Hit the jump for more details on this casting news.

THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL and BIRDMAN Lead Critics Choice Awards Nominations

by     Posted 6 days ago

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Individual critics groups are starting to weigh in with their picks for the very best of the year, and now the largest group of critics has unveiled its list of nominees for the 20th Critics Choice Movie Awards.  Made up of members of the Broadcast Film Critics Association, the Critics Choice Awards recognize films and performances from all genres, with separate categories for Comedy, Action, etc.  Leading the pack in terms of quantity is Birdman with 13 nominations, followed by The Grand Budapest Hotel which raked in 11 nominations including Ralph Fiennes for Best Actor.  The brilliant Selma also fared well with 6 nods overall, and Unbroken rebounded a bit after being shut out of SAG and the Golden Globes with 6 nominations.  Additionally, you’ll find plenty of love for Guardians of the Galaxy and Edge of Tomorrow in the Action categories.

Check out the full list of nominees after the jump.  The 2015 Critics Choice Movie Awards will be telecast live on A&E on January 15th.

Jessica Chastain Demands Respect in First A MOST VIOLENT YEAR Clip

by     Posted 38 days ago

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A24 Films has released the first A Most Violent Year clip from writer/director J.C. Chandor’s (All Is Lost) upcoming crime drama.  The film is set in New York in 1981 and revolves around “an American immigrant (Oscar Isaac) and his wife (Jessica Chastain) trying to expand their business as violence and corruption threaten to destroy all they have built.”  This new clip, in no uncertain terms, serves to highlight Chastain’s performance in light of Best Supporting Actress consideration, as she explains to the District Attorney (played by David Oyelowo) how she and her husband must be respected.  This is absolutely one of my most anticipated films of the year, and response from its premiere at AFI Fest was incredibly positive, with many noting that Chandor once again uses a very specific story to draw parallels to what’s going on in our world today.

Check out the first A Most Violent Year clip after the jump.  The film also stars Alessandro Nivola and Albert BrooksA Most Violent Year opens in limited release on December 31st before expanding in January 2015.

Potential Oscar Contenders AMERICAN SNIPER and SELMA to Premiere at AFI Fest Tomorrow

by     Posted 41 days ago

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Two big question marks in this year’s Oscar race will be illuminated tomorrow.  AFI Fest had been touting a “secret sneak peek” screening on Tuesday, November 11th as part of its festivities, and today they announced that the film will indeed be Clint Eastwood’s military drama American Sniper.  While Eastwood’s been hit-and-miss as of late (more miss than hit, to be frank), American Sniper has been a passion project for star/producer Bradley Cooper, who plays Chris Kyle, a Navy SEAL who served four tours in Iraq and became the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history.  The excellent first trailer hinted that Eastwood might be digging into some of the larger issues surrounding Kyle’s reputation, and we’ll find out if it’s a return to form tomorrow night.

Additionally, the Martin Luther King Jr.-centric Civil Rights drama Selma was initially slated to screen half an hour of footage tomorrow, but after the overwhelmingly positive response to the debut trailer, the decision has been made to show the entire film.  More on both American Sniper and Selma after the jump.

SELMA Trailer and Poster Offer a Commendably Visceral Take on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Civil Rights March

by     Posted 45 days ago

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Paramount Pictures has released the first trailer for Selma, director Ava DuVernay’s upcoming Martin Luther King, Jr. biopic.  David Oyelowo takes on the role of Dr. King in the film, which recounts the epic, dangerous, and terrifying civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama that resulted in President Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  One of the things I love about this trailer is that it actually shows the insane amount of danger these people were in and the incredible stakes they where facing.  Too many films have downplayed the brutality of the racist masses of the south during this period, and I’m glad this one seems to finally be shirking that timidity off.

Oyelowo is joined in the cast by Carmen EjogoTom WilkinsonAndre HollandOmar J. DorseyTessa ThompsonTim RothWendell Pierce, and Colman Domingo.  The film will open in limited release on Christmas Day before expanding nationwide on January 9, 2015.  Hit the jump to check out the trailer and take a voter eligibility test.  You’ll feel hope and more than a little bit of rage at the same time. 

Full-Length A MOST VIOLENT YEAR Trailer: Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain Expand Their Empire in 1981 New York

by     Posted 48 days ago

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A24 Films has released the full-length A Most Violent Year trailer for director J.C. Chandor‘s (All Is Lost) upcoming crime drama ahead of the film’s AFI Fest debut.  The film is set in New York in 1981 and revolves around “an American immigrant (Oscar Isaac) and his wife (Jessica Chastain) trying to expand their business as violence and corruption threaten to destroy all they have built.”  This looks to be very much a crime drama in the vein of The Sopranos, in that the focus is more on how the business impacts the family rather than the crime business itself.  Chandor has been a talent to watch since his debut feature Margin Call, and after seeing him shift gears so dramatically with All Is Lost, I’m really curious to see what he has up his sleeve with this new film.  Additionally, Isaac and Chastain are two of the best actors working today, so the prospect of seeming them lead a character-centric crime drama such as this is highly enticing.  Can’t wait for this one.

Watch the new A Most Violent Year trailer after the jump.  The film also stars Albert Brooks, David Oyelowo, and Alessandro Nivola and opens in NY and LA on December 31st before expanding in January 2015.

Check out Six More INTERSTELLAR Images; Film Will Be Christopher Nolan’s Longest Yet

by     Posted 87 days ago

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Yesterday, we saw six new Interstellar images, and today we have six more.  The movie stars Matthew McConaughey and involves a team of explorers who come across a wormhole to “surpass the limitations on human space travel and conquer the vast distances involved in an interstellar voyage.”  These images come from Empire’s iPad edition, and remind us that McConaughey and Anne Hathaway‘s characters aren’t the only astronauts in the movie.

Hit the jump to check out the Interstellar images and learn about the movie’s runtime.  The film opens in 2D and IMAX on November 7th, and also stars Jessica ChastainCasey AffleckMichael Caine, David OyelowoWes BentleyJohn LithgowEllen BurstynTopher GraceDavid GyasiMackenzie FoyBill IrwinTimothée Chalamet and Matt Damon.

First SELMA Images Reveal David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr.; Plus New Images from INTO THE WOODS and BIG HERO 6

by     Posted 122 days ago

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Paramount Pictures has released the first Selma images from director Ava DuVernay’s upcoming Martin Luther King, Jr. biopic.  David Oyelowo takes on the role of Dr. King in the film, which recounts the epic, dangerous, and terrifying civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama that resulted in President Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  It’s a story that’s both inspiring and heartbreaking, as it evokes humanity at its best and worst.  Oyelowo is joined in the cast by Carmen Ejogo, Tom Wilkinson, Andre Holland, Omar J. Dorsey, Tessa Thompson, Tim Roth, Wendell Pierce, and Colman Domingo.  The film will open in limited release on Christmas Day before expanding nationwide on January 9, 2015.

Hit the jump to check out the first Selma images, along with new images from the Disney musical Into the Woods and Disney’s animated comic book adaptation Big Hero 6.

STAR WARS REBELS Debuts New Clips and Trailer at Comic-Con

by     Posted 149 days ago

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Last night marked the Star Wars Rebels presentation at the Gaslamp 15 during the San Diego Comic-Con during which several new clips and a new trailer debuted.  All three clips continue in the aesthetic that we’ve seen from the show so far.  So if you dug last week’s trailer, you’ll dig these.  I’m sort of surprised that this series seems to have much more narrative consistency than the prequels

The show premieres on Disney XD in the fall and also features the voices of Vanessa Marshall, David Oyelowo and Steven Jay Blum. If you’d like to catch what the show’s bringing to Comic-Con, the “Heroes of Stars Wars Rebels” panel will take place on Thursday, July 24th with executive producers Dave Filoni and Simon Kinberg as well as Prinze Jr., Marshall, Blum, Gray and Tiya Sircar.  Hit the jump for the new Star Wars Rebels Comic-Con Clips.

STAR WARS REBELS Extended Trailer; Exclusive Preview Screening Planned for Comic-Con

by     Posted 152 days ago

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The team behind Star Wars Rebels is giving up just a little more material before their panel and that preview screening at San Diego Comic-Con.  In addition to the footage we got in that full trailer back in May, this extended version adds a message from Obi-Wan Kenobi revealing that the Jedi Order and the Republic have fallen.  However, that’s when a 14-year-old con artist named Ezra (voiced by Taylor Gray) gets to step up.  Not only does he have a flair for stealing from the Empire, but he’s also got the ability to tap into the Force without even knowing it. Check out what happens when Ezra teams up with Kanan (Freddie Prinze Jr.) and the rest of the crew aboard The Ghost in the Star Wars Rebels extended trailer after the jump.  The show premieres on Disney XD in the fall and also features the voices of Vanessa Marshall, David Oyelowo and Steven Jay Blum.

New STAR WARS REBELS Featurette Focuses on Villain Agent Kallus and His Voice Actor David Oyelowo

by     Posted 164 days ago

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Disney has released a new Star Wars Rebels featurette focusing on one of the animated series’ villains, Agent Kallus.  As the featurette explains, he’s a “Rebel Hunter” in the Imperial Security Bureau (ISB), and organization similar to the FBI and military police.  As his voice actor David Oyelowo (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) explains, Kallus’ job is to make sure everyone stays loyal.  This featurette provides a reveal of some of Oyelowo’s voice acting, and he sounds really good.  I never saw Star Wars: The Clone Wars, but I think Star Wars Rebels has the potential to be a good show in its right even though I don’t know how it will compare to the beloved Cartoon Network series.

Hit the jump to check out the Star Wars Rebels featurette.  The show premieres this fall with a one-hour telecast on Disney Channel, followed by the full series on Disney XD.

“Why Cookie Rocket?” Looking Back at RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

by     Posted 165 days ago

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[With Dawn of the Planet of the Apes opening on Friday, July 11th, I'm taking a look back at the Planet of the Apes movie franchise. These reviews contain spoilers.]

The Planet of the Apes movies have always been interested with time.  The original movie opens with Taylor (Charlton Heston) explaining that his spaceship’s mission isn’t to explore the galaxy, but to use Einstein’s Law of Relativity to leave Earth and return in the distant future where it might not be such a shithole (Taylor was disappointed).  From there, Beneath carried the torch to extinction, Escape traveled back in time, Conquest took a twenty-year jump to begin the downfall of humans, and Battle has a prologue and epilogue that take place in 2670 AD.  So it’s fitting that the series’ reboot, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, would restart the clock to unload the baggage of the previous movies rather than throwing us back into the middle of the madhouse.  While it didn’t carry the heavy commentary of the original saga, Rise took a new path by putting a strong focus on family and bringing a level of spectacle far beyond what any Apes film had done before.

New Trailer for Christopher Nolan’s INTERSTELLAR Starring Matthew McConaughey

by     Posted 219 days ago

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Paramount Pictures has released a new Interstellar trailer for director Christopher Nolan’s upcoming sci-fi drama.  The film stars Matthew McConaughey and revolves around a group of explorers who make use of a newly discovered wormhole “to surpass the limitations on human space travel and conquer the vast distances involved in an interstellar voyage.”  Even though I know most of the visual effects are still in development, I’m surprised at how much focus was on the emotional side of the film.  Like production designer Nathan Crawley said, this is really a father-daughter story, and I like the emphasis on the emotion.  But there’s also a darkness in here that the characters aren’t just leaving Earth for the sake of exploration; they’re leaving Earth because it’s a lost cause.

Hit the jump to watch the new Interstellar trailer.  The film also stars Anne HathawayJessica ChastainCasey AffleckMichael Caine, David OyelowoWes BentleyJohn LithgowEllen BurstynTopher GraceDavid GyasiMackenzie FoyBill IrwinTimothée Chalamet, and Matt Damon.  Interstellar opens November 7th.

Kristen Stewart Joins STILL ALICE; David Oyelowo Joins A MOST VIOLENT YEAR; Ron Perlman and Chris Colfer Lend Voices to ROBODOG; and More

by     Posted 327 days ago

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Here’s today’s latest casting news:

  • David Oyelowo (Jack Reacher) will join A Most Violent Year, director J.C. Chandor’s new film which recently replaced Javier Bardem with Oscar Isaac starring opposite Jessica Chastain.
  • Matthias Schoenaerts (Rust and Bone) will lead Galveston, an adaptation of the 2010 novel from Nic Pizzolatto to be directed by Janus Metz.
  • Kristen Stewart (The Twilight Saga) has joined Still Alice along with Alec Baldwin (30 Rock) and Kate Bosworth (Superman Returns).  Based on the Lisa Genova novel of the same name, Still Alice stars Julianne Moore and is directed by Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland.
  • Chris Colfer (Glee) and Ron Perlman (Pacific Rim) will lend their voices to Robodog, Marza Animation Planet Inc.’s first original 3D CG animated film which will be directed by the Oscar-nominated Henry F. Anderson III (Stuart Little).

Hit the jump for more on each project.

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