TOP 5: GONE GIRL Trailer, DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES Set Visit, TRANSCENDENCE, THE EXPENDABLES 3 Set Visit, Zack Snyder Talks BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN

by     Posted 4 days ago

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I’ve used this space on a few occasions to profess my love for ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 documentary series and today’s opening paragraph will get a similar treatment. Director Zak Levitt‘s aptly titled Bad Boys debuted this past Thursday night and, even as someone who grew up adoring the Chicago Bulls, I loved almost every second of it (even with his Detroit roots, I could have lived without the Kid Rock narration). The film focuses on the years of Detroit Pistons basketball known as “The Bad Boys Era”, which included back-to-back NBA Championships for the franchise in ’89 and ’90. As is often the case with 30 for 30 films, Levitt does a nice job of framing the Pistons’ iconic run within a societal context; in this case, the 1967 Detroit riot. In doing this, the pic not only offers a fascinating perspective of the team itself but also great insight into what their trademark physical style of play meant to a city still reeling from the effects of the riot. Less important, but an added plus nonetheless, is the fact that I’m now buzzing with nostalgia for the SNES game Bill Laimbeer’s Combat Basketball.

My broken record praise of 30 for 30 aside, this week’s Top 5 highlights the first trailer for David Fincher‘s Gone Girl, Steve’s Dawn of the Planet of the Apes set visit, Transcendence interviews and Matt’s review, Steve’s The Expendables 3 set visit, and Zack Snyder discussing Batman vs. Superman costumes and more. Do the right thing and keep reading for a brief recap and link to each of the above.

TRANSCENDENCE Review

by     Posted 6 days ago

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Much like its digitized main character, Transcendence has a cold, distant personality that might understand how humans act but can’t comprehend how they feel.  It’s not too difficult to explore the dangers of a man being consumed by technology.  That story goes all the way back to the tale of Icarus.  It may feel relevant due to our investment in the Internet and the distance we create every day by putting our lives online rather than forging real personal connections, but Wally Pfister‘s directorial debut sticks to a path where other films have gone before.  The movie still asks worthwhile questions, but they’re never elevated beyond dorm-room level philosophy.  Additionally, these questions overshadow the characters, who are reduced to pieces of a conversation we’ve already had before.

Johnny Depp, Director Wally Pfister and Writer Jack Paglen Talk TRANSCENDENCE, Artificial Intelligence, the Frankenstein Archetype, BLACK MASS, and More

by     Posted 6 days ago

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In the directorial debut of Academy Award-winning cinematographer Wally Pfister, Transcendence tells the story of Dr. Will Caster (Johnny Depp), the most prominent researcher in the field of Artificial Intelligence, whose controversial work has made him the prime target of anti-technology extremists.  When tragedy strikes, Will’s wife, Evelyn (Rebecca Hall), takes drastic measures that have unimaginable consequences.

During a conference at the film’s press day, actor Johnny Depp, director Wally Pfister and screenwriter Jack Paglen talked about Artificial Intelligence and technology, the presence of the Frankenstein archetype, making this film with a first-time director with a script from a first-time screenwriter, whether Will Caster is a bad guy, whether there’s a line you shouldn’t cross, even if it’s for love, and the poetic imagery of the film.  Depp also talked about why he wanted to take on James “Whitey” Bulger for the upcoming feature film Black Mass.  Check out what they had to say after the jump.

Watch 7 Clips and 13 Minutes of Behind-the-Scenes Footage from TRANSCENDENCE

by     Posted 17 days ago

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With Wally Pfister’s upcoming directorial debut Transcendence opening April 18th, Warner Bros. has provided us with seven clips and thirteen minutes of behind-the-scenes footage from the making of the movie.  The film revolves around a group of scientists trying to build the first self-aware supercomputer, and when lead researcher Dr. Will Caster (Johnny Depp) becomes the target of anti-technology extremists, he unexpectedly becomes a participant in his own transcendence.  Pfister has done excellent work as a cinematographer in recent years with films like The Dark Knight, Inception, and Moneyball, but the big question is can he make the leap to the director’s chair.  So far the marketing materials have promised Transcendence is a smart, sci-fi-tinged thriller, and I’m very curious what audiences are going to think.

Hit the jump to watch the clips and behind-the-scenes footage.  The film also stars Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany, Kate Mara, Morgan Freeman, Cole Hauser, and Clifton Collins Jr.

Johnny Depp Explores the World of Artificial Intelligence in New Featurette for TRANSCENDENCE

by     Posted 27 days ago

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Warner Bros. has released a new featurette for director Wally Pfister’s sci-fi film Transcendence.  The pic deals with the issues surrounding the reality of artificial intelligence, as Johnny Depp plays a scientist who becomes the subject of his work when his consciousness is uploaded into a supercomputer.  Instead of offering a look behind the scenes, this featurette mainly focuses on clearly explaining the plot to those that might still be confused regarding the nature of Transcendence.  The film continues to look interesting, but I’m starting to worry that the amount of footage that’s been released has given away the entire main arc of the story.  Regardless, it’s nice to see Depp in a role that doesn’t hide him behind elaborate makeup effects, and there are certainly some big ideas to be explored with the central premise.

Hit the jump to watch the featurette, and click here for 35 high-resolution images.  The film also stars Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany, Kate Mara, Morgan Freeman, Cole Hauser, and Clifton Collins Jr.  Transcendence opens in traditional theaters and IMAX on April 18th.

35 New Images from TRANSCENDENCE Featuring Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany, Morgan Freeman, and Kate Mara

by     Posted 28 days ago

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Warner Bros. has released a batch of high-resolution images from Wally Pfister’s upcoming directorial debut Transcendence.  The film revolves around a group of scientists trying to build the first self-aware supercomputer, and when lead researcher Dr. Will Caster (Johnny Depp) becomes the target of anti-technology extremists, he unexpectedly becomes a participant in his own transcendence.  Pfister has done excellent work as a cinematographer in recent years with films like The Dark Knight, Inception, and Moneyball, but I’m eager to see how he fares in the director’s chair.  The marketing materials have promised that Transcendence is a smart, sci-fi-tinged thriller, and so far this looks to be a strong debut feature from Pfister.

Hit the jump to check out the new high-resolution images.  The film also stars Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany, Kate Mara, Morgan Freeman, Cole Hauser, and Clifton Collins Jr.  Transcendence opens in traditional theaters and IMAX on April 18th.

6 New Images from Wally Pfister’s TRANSCENDENCE Starring Johnny Depp, Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, and Paul Bettany [UPDATED]

by     Posted 41 days ago

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Warner Bros. has released six new images from Wally Pfister’s upcoming sci-fi thriller, Transcendence.  The film revolves around a group of scientists trying to build the first self-aware supercomputer, and when lead researcher Dr. Will Caster (Johnny Depp) becomes the target of anti-technology extremists, he unexpectedly becomes a participant in his own transcendence.  These images focus primarily on Rebecca Hall and Paul Bettany, who play two of Will’s fellow researchers, and as we’ve seen from the trailer, they have conflicting viewpoints on turning their co-worker into a computer.

Hit the jump to check out the images.  The film also stars Kate Mara, Cillian MurphyClifton Collins, Jr., and Morgan FreemanTranscendence opens in 2D and IMAX on April 18th. [Update: We've added a new featurette after the jump.]

Director Scott Cooper Talks Working with Johnny Depp on the Whitey Bulger Biopic BLACK MASS

by     Posted 57 days ago

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The powerful, intense and gripping family drama Out of the Furnace, from writer/director Scott Cooper, will be available on Blu-ray/DVD on March 11th.  Collider spoke to him about the release and got some great insight on his process, how he works with actors and what he wanted to achieve with that film, and we will run that portion of the interview closer to when it’s due out.  In the meantime, we also spoke to him about his next project, which he’s currently prepping, and wanted to share what he had to say about that.

Black Mass will tell the true story of James “Whitey” Bulger and what placed him on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted List, and it will star Johnny Depp in the lead role.  During the exclusive phone interview, Scott Cooper talked about getting to the root of the psychology and behavior, how he’s doing endless amounts of research, that he’s working from an already existing script that he’s personalizing and trying to make more humanistic, why the compelling nature of the story appealed to him, and that he’s already deep into collaborating with Johnny Depp, who he sees as one of the best actors in American screen history.  Check out what he had to say after the jump.

TOP 5: ROBOCOP, TRANSCENDENCE, Paramount to Release Darren Aronofsky’s Cut of NOAH, TAMMY, JODOROWSKY’S DUNE Trailer

by     Posted 67 days ago

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The best thing I can say about director Jose Padilha‘s RoboCop remake is that, for better or worse, it tries to do its own thing. It makes an honest attempt at updating the scathing social critique of the original to fit within our immediate corporate and political landscape and I respect it for that. The most condemning thing I can say about the film is that I found it painfully boring. Aside from the original music playing over the opening title card and watching Samuel L. Jackson‘s spot-on depiction of the pure theater that cable television sells as honest political discourse, I rarely mustered so much as a grin throughout the film’s 108 minutes. To be fair, I don’t envy anyone who is tasked with making a PG-13 reimagining of Paul Verhoeven‘s subversive classic. It’s like Verhoeven was allowed to work with a sledgehammer and Padilha was asked to make due with a Q-tip. It was never a fair fight to begin with.

Opening thoughts aside, we’ll talk more about the RoboCop remake in this week’s Top 5 including an official review and interviews for the film. We’ll also cover the new trailer for Wally Pfister‘s directorial debut Transcendence, Paramount’s decision to release Darren Aronofsky‘s cut of Noah to theaters, the first trailer for Melissa McCarthy‘s Tammy, and a trailer for the excellent looking doc Jodorowsky’s Dune. As is so often the case, a brief recap and link to each of the above can be found after the jump.

New Trailer for TRANSCENDENCE Starring Johnny Depp, Paul Bettany, and Rebecca Hall

by     Posted 71 days ago

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Warner Bros. has released a new trailer for Wally Pfister‘s directorial debut Transcendence.  The sci-fi film stars Johnny Depp as Dr. Will Caster, a researcher at the forefront of Artificial Intelligence science who becomes intimately entwined with his research after an attack by the anti-technology terrorist group, R.I.F.T.  Whereas the first trailer was a quick rundown of the film’s premise, this second trailer shows things down a bit to give us a good look at what Pfister has put together.  The pic looks like a tense and trippy science-fiction thriller almost in the vein of Videodrome, and I’m very curious to see to what extent Pfister explores the larger implications of tech-growth in our digital age.  My only qualm with this trailer is that it looks like it might be giving away too much of the story, but hopefully Pfister is keeping further surprises under wraps.

Hit the jump to watch the trailer.  The film also stars Paul BettanyRebecca HallKate MaraCillian MurphyClifton Collins Jr., and Morgan Freeman.  Transcendence opens in 2D and IMAX on April 17th.

Johnny Depp Confirmed to Star as Whitey Bulger in BLACK MASS; Tom Hardy in Talks to Co-Star

by     Posted 75 days ago

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Last year, Johnny Depp was attached to star in Black Mass, a biopic about the notorious gangster Whitey Bulger.  However, Depp dropped out because he reportedly wouldn’t reduce his salary, and the project went into stasis although Barry Levinson remained in the director’s chair and Joel Edgerton was still on board to co-star as John Connolly, an FBI agent and childhood pal of Bulger.  That combination ultimately fell apart, but last month Out of the Furnace director Scott Cooper signed on, and Depp started circling the project again.  Today, Deadline confirms that Depp has returned to play Bulger, and now talks are underway with Tom Hardy to play Connolly.

Hit the jump for more.  The script is by Mark Mallouk, who adapted the 2001 Dick Lehr/Gerald O’Neill New York Times bestseller Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between The FBI and The Irish Mob.  Production begins in May.

TOP 5: 2014 Oscar Nods, ANT-MAN and DOCTOR STRANGE, JACK RYAN, DOOMED! THE UNTOLD STORY OF ROGER CORMAN’S “THE FANTASTIC FOUR”, Sundance 2014

by     Posted 95 days ago

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Every so often a film comes along that plays pitch perfect to your sensibilities and hits you with such pinpoint accuracy that it reaffirms your love of the medium. That’s what Spike Jonze‘s Her did for me last weekend. It’s the type of movie I wish I had the talent to make and, at the same time, one that I’m thankful anyone had the talent and passion to make. It’s a film that says so much about our desire to connect, to love and to feel loved, that evaluating it piece by piece (acting, editing, sound, cinematography, mise-en-scène, etc.) almost cheapens its value as a whole. Above all, though, it refuses to be just one thing and therein lies its greatest achievement. It’s comedy soaked in melancholy, drama with hints of playfulness, quirk wrapped in genuine romance, and heartbreaking sincerity set within the most plastic of relationships. Her is an instant classic.

In case my subtlety has left you uncertain about my feelings on Her, feel free to e-mail me at colliderjason@gmail.com and I’ll try to be more on the nose about how damn great it is. In the meantime, this week’s Top 5 features the newly announced 2014 Oscar nominations, Marvel casting news/rumors regarding Ant-Man and Doctor Strange, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit interviews with Chris Pine and more, the trailer for the seemingly interesting doc DOOMED! The Untold Story of Roger Corman’s “The Fantastic Four”, and all of our Sundance 2014 coverage to date. Click on to find a brief recap and link to each of the above.

THE LONE RANGER Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 98 days ago

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The abject failure of The Lone Ranger produced its share of schadenfreude, particularly among people weary of star Johnny Depp and the kind of summer movie hubris that the western reboot seemed to embody in every frame. It was too bloated, too unwieldy, too full of itself and its own overblown event status to merit forgiveness. Audiences stayed away in droves, and not without good reason. There’s a lot here that just doesn’t work. And yet in a season dominated by grim, downbeat, unyieldingly bleak blockbusters, it brought an undeniable sense of fun that most critics completely overlooked. I’m not prepared to go all Tarantino on it, but I will say it shows signs of life that definitely merit a second look. Hit the jump for my full review of The Lone Ranger on Blu-ray.

OUT OF THE FURNACE Director Scott Cooper in Talks to Helm Whitey Bulger Film BLACK MASS; Johnny Depp May Return

by     Posted 99 days ago

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The Whitey Bulger drama Black Mass is materializing once again.  The project was gearing up to begin production with Barry Levinson directing, Johnny Depp playing Bulger, and Joel Edgerton in a supporting role, but it fell apart when Depp departed over a salary dispute.  Now the film is heating back up again, this time with Crazy Heart director Scott Cooper in talks to take the helm.  Cooper most recently directed the dark drama Out of the Furnace, and the story of Bulger—a ruthless Boston crime kingpin who topped the FBI’s Most Wanted before turning informant to get rid of his competition—seems right up Cooper’s alley.  Moreover, Deadline adds that talks have rekindled with Depp to return to the role of Bulger.

Depp is currently shooting the comedy Mortedcai and will be shooting Pirates of the Caribbean 5 and Alice in Wonderland 2 later this year.  As for Cooper, he was most recently working on an adaptation of The Stand with Warner Bros., but he subsequently left the project over creative differences.

Rumor: Marvel and Johnny Depp Met About DOCTOR STRANGE [Updated]

by     Posted 100 days ago

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Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige says a Doctor Strange movie is “next up” for the post-2015 Marvel releases.  While Marvel may have definite plans for Doctor Strange (and all their releases through 2021), they haven’t announced any to us, so we must subsist on Strange rumors.

Tonight’s rumor: Latino Review reports Marvel has had a meeting with Johnny Depp to take on the title role.  The report doesn’t bother to mention that time Latino Review reported Marvel’s desire to cast Joseph Gordon-Levitt.  So feel free to imagine Depp as Doctor Strange, and note the flexibility at the studio in purportedly considering Gordon-Levitt (32) and Depp (50), but don’t count on it.  Wait for more concrete details.  They will come.  Hit the jump for a brief bio of the Marvel character. [Update: Variety confirms that Depp is being considered for the role, but discussions have yet to take place and the actor may not even have room in his schedule for the Marvel pic.]

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