Lying somewhat quietly between two of David Fincher‘s most beloved works is The Game (1997) starring Michael Douglas. Although it failed to reach the level of critical and box office success enjoyed by Seven (1995) or the cult classic status of Fight Club (1999), after watching its Criterion Collection DVD release this past week I came away thinking that it may actually be one of Fincher’s best directorial efforts. Working from a script by John Brancato and Michael Ferris (2/3 of the writing trio that helped bring you the 2004 Catwoman screenplay that you enjoyed so much), Fincher’s cold/muted color palette, striking visual style, and fantastic pacing help elevate the interesting, albeit occasionally absurd, screenplay to another level. The result is a haunting work that expertly sets up and tears down the callous, calculated world of corporate wealth by forcing Douglas’ Ebenezer Scrooge archetype to see the shell of a life he has outside of his work and possessions. The Game may go off the rails at times, but with Fincher’s steady hand guiding the story it does so in all the extremely dark, right ways.
My Fincher recommendation aside, I should mention that the Top 5 will take a quick week hiatus to allow me to travel next weekend. In the meantime, this week’s installment highlights the Star Wars: Episode VII casting news involving Adam Driver, the new trailer for director Gareth Edwards‘ Godzilla, a review and interviews for Non-Stop, worlds colliding as Brendan’s Cinemath meets Adam’s Oscar Beat, and our Veronica Mars set visit coverage. As you’ve come to expect, a brief recap and link to each of the above can be found after the jump.
It’s tough enough to film even a fraction of a movie in an airplane. Director Jaume Collet-Serra and producer Joel Silver, however, opted to take on a script that would have them shooting on a plane for 99% of the movie, and with some intense combat sequences taking place in the close quarters nonetheless.
In their fourth collaboration (following House of Wax, Orphan, and Unknown), Collet-Serra and Silver bring us Non-Stop, the story of Bill Marks (Liam Neeson), an air marshal who starts getting threatening text messages while his flight is in the middle of the trip from New York to London, completely isolated over the Atlantic Ocean. With Non-Stop due in theaters on Friday, February 28th, Collet-Serra and Silver hit the New York press circuit to sit down for a press conference. Catch what they had to say about reuniting with Neeson, what it took to shoot a fight scene in the airplane bathroom, the challenge of integrating modern technology into the film, and more after the jump.
With films like Die Hard, Lethal Weapon, Predator, The Matrix and many, many more to his name, if anyone can produce an action film that takes place in the confines of an airplane, it’s Joel Silver. His latest producorial endeavor is Jaume Collet-Serra’s Non-Stop. It features Liam Neeson as Bill Marks, an air marshal who receives anonymous text messages during a transatlantic flight, demanding that he either fork over $150 million or lose a passenger every 20 minutes.
With Non-Stop due for a February 28th release, Collider got the chance to talk to Silver about the challenges of the production. Even after losing a truck full of cameras to Hurricane Sandy, they still managed to pull everything together, building an entire airplane outfitted with ceilings perfect for Neeson’s height and tracks that adhered to Collet-Serra’s shot selection, and selecting roughly 200 extras to portray the other passengers for the entirety of the shoot. Check out the details of what Silver had to say about all of that, the rights payment he believes he’s owed for the use of the airline Oceanic in Lost, his horror thriller Home Invasion, the status of his Escape from New York remake and more after the jump.
It’s been nearly a year since news broke that Joel Silver’s Silver Pictures and Studio Canal snatched up the rights to John Carpenter’s Escape from New York after New Line’s claim to them lapsed, but announcements regarding Snake Plissken’s return to the big screen just about ended there. However, while talking to Silver in New York City about his upcoming release, Non-Stop, he offered Collider an update on the status of the project and a clearer sense of how he’s going to turn the film into a trilogy. Hit the jump for more.
Though he was reported as being in talks as recently as November of last year, Tom Hardy (The Dark Knight Rises) will indeed star in The Outsider. In an interesting twist on the tale, director Takashi Miike (Ichi the Killer) is in talks to direct what would be his English-language debut. Based on an original idea by John Linson and scripted by Andrew Baldwin, The Outsider will be produced in part by Joel Silver and his banner, Silver Pictures. The independently-financed film, previously set up at Warner Bros., is “set in post-World War II Japan, chronicling the life of a former American G.I. who becomes part of the Japanese Yakuza.” According to Deadline, it will begin shooting in Japan early next year.
Yet another remake is in the works, and this time it’s an update of a John Hughes classic. Universal is planning a redo of Hughes’ 1985 sci-fi comedy Weird Science, and they’ve tapped 21 Jump Street, Project X, and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World screenwriter Michael Bacall to write the screenplay. Joel Silver—who produced the original—is onboard to produce what is being planned as an edgier R-rated comedy akin to Jump Street and The Hangover.
The original stars Anthony Michael Hall and Ilan Mitchell-Smith as two high school nerds who are inspired by Frankenstein to create the perfect woman using their computer. Once they start interacting with the beautiful creation, played by Kelly LeBrock, they come to realize that she’s much more than a sex object. Hit the jump for more.
John Carpenter’s 1981 post-apocalyptic thriller Escape from New York is the latest property to get a face-lift. The original starred Kurt Russell as Snake Plissken, an eye-patching wearing, bank-robbing convict tasked with venturing into the maximum security prison that has become Manhattan in order to rescue the President (Donald Pleasence) and gain his freedom. A reboot was attempted a few years ago but New Line let the rights lapse. Now, Joel Silver’s Silver Pictures and Studio Canal are teaming up to bring a new look (and a new face) to the franchise with plans of an origin story and eventual trilogy. Hit the jump for more.
Director Pierre Morel is looking to helm yet another action-thriller. Heat Vision reports that the Taken director is in talks to direct the thriller adaptation of Jean-Patrick Manchette’s novel Prone Gunman. Penned by Peter Travis (Dredd), the film will star Sean Penn as an international operative who is betrayed by his organization and led on a cat-and-mouse chase across Europe. Joel Silver is producing, and the pic is being set up as a potential action franchise for the Oscar-winning Penn.
Production is looking to begin this spring in several European locations. Morel has experience in turning veteran actors into action stars, as Taken launched Liam Neeson into a career that’s now full of action thrillers. Hit the jump to read a synopsis of the novel.
Producer Joel Silver and his production company Silver Pictures has picked up Rich Wilkes‘ spec script Straight Edge. According to THR, the action flick is set in Los Angeles and “revolves around a heist gone wrong and follows a slew of colorful characters, ranging from corrupt cops to Southland gang members.” Those who have read the script says it harkens back to Silver’s earlier films, 48 Hours, Lethal Weapon, and Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang. To draw comparisons to two Shane Black is a high bar, especially for a writer whose previous credits include Airheads and xXx. Wilkes also has some unproduced scripts to his name including a draft of Iron Fist for Marvel and an adaptation of the Motley Crue biography, The Dirt.
Silver is in the process of packaging Straight Edge with a filmmaker and cast before taking it to Universal (where he has a distribution deal) or another studio. Silver Pictures is also behind the recently-wrapped Liam Neeson flick Non-Stop, and is the studio behind the upcoming action flicks Prone Gunman and The Outsider, and the period crime thriller Sanctuary.
Last week, Steve attended the American Film Market (AFM) and was able to bring back some first images, posters, and synopses for a handful of upcoming projects. One such film happens to be the Liam Neeson-fronted action thriller Non-Stop, for which we now have the first detailed synopsis. The story takes place during an international flight on which Neeson is an Air Mashal. His character begins to receive a series of text messages from someone who threatens to kill a passenger every 20 minutes until $150 million is transferred into a secret account.
Neeson reunites with Unknown director Jaume Collet-Serra for the pic, which is described as a mix of a mystery, actioner, and a Hitchcockian thriller. Moreover, Collet-Serra has assembled a surprisingly top-notch cast that includes Julianne Moore, Scoot McNairy, and Michelle Dockery. Hit the jump to read the full synopsis, which includes more detail.
Opening this weekend is director Olivier Megaton‘s Taken 2. In the sequel, Liam Neeson’s character unwisely takes his family on a European vacation, only to find himself and his wife (Famke Janssen) taken hostage by the family members of the henchmen that Neeson brutally murdered in the first film. The film also stars Maggie Grace and Rade Serbedzija. For more on the film, here’s four clips and all our previous coverage.
Last week in New York City I got to sit down with Neeson for an exclusive interview. We talked about whether he was hesitant to do a sequel, what it was like to film in Istanbul, whether the script changed during production, and more. In addition, we also talked about what it was like to host Saturday Night Live, how he was unclear regarding the nature of his role in The Dark Knight Rises or if he’d even make the final cut, whether he’ll work again with Joe Carnahan and if he knows anything about Mark Millar‘s Nemesis. He also talked playing an air marshal in director Jaume Collet-Serra‘s upcoming action film Non-Stop, which is being produced by Joel Silver. Hit the jump to watch.
After the surprise hit of the military thriller Act of Valor earlier this year, director Mike McCoy is set to go once more into the breach with Line of Sight. The Warner Bros. picture and Joel Silver production centers on an elite commando unit tasked with transporting sensitive cargo amidst an impending global threat. The twist on this tale is that it will be told from a point of view similar to a first-person shooter. Perhaps that’s why Peter O’Brien, who wrote the video game Halo: Reach, was brought in to polish up the F. Scott Frazier spec script. Heat Vision also reports that Ben Affleck was previously attached to direct, but left the picture, which allowed the Bandito Brothers director to step in.
Merely a few weeks out from the start of filming, production has been halted on the revenge drama Motor City. The film, from director Albert Hughes (The Book of Eli), has had a rather rocky development, with a number of actors (Dominic Cooper, Jake Gyllenhaal, Jeremy Renner) flirting with the lead only to subsequently drop out. Gerard Butler was finally set in the starring role of a felon who, after being released from prison, begins tracking down the men who framed him, with Adrien Brody onboard as the villain and Mickey Rourke in a supporting role. Filming was set to commence on September 17th, but the crew has now been told to go home due to some complex issues that have arisen behind the scenes. Hit the jump for more details.
It looks like audiences had better things to do than go to the movies this weekend, as only one feature managed to earn over $10 million at the box office. That distinction went to The Expendables 2, which claimed its second weekend on top with a meager $13.5 million. Holdovers made up the remainder of the top five while a mixed bag of new releases struggled over late-summer scraps.
||The Expendables 2
||The Bourne Legacy
||The Dark Knight Rises
||Odd Life of Timothy Green
||2016 Obama’s America
||Hit and Run
The long-in-development feature film adaptation of the DC Comic Lobo now has new life. Deadline reports that Journey 2: The Mysterious Island director Brad Peyton has been set by Warner Bros. to rewrite and direct an adaptation of the alien bounty hunter character. Guy Ritchie was previously attached to direct the project, but subsequently fell out. The character is an anti-hero who was created by Roger Slifer and Keith Giffen “as an indictment of the Punisher, Wolverine, hero prototype” but ironically became popular for his violent tendencies.
One could see Guy Ritchie making a fairly entertaining adaptation of the character, but choosing the guy who made Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore to direct is just baffling. It’s slightly possible that his take could be just as raw and edgy as the comic calls for, but I’m doubtful. Whatever the case, WB must have taken a liking to Peyton’s pitch as he’ll be handling a rewrite of the script himself. First up, though, Peyton has a third installment of the Journey franchise to direct.