The story of the Forty-seven Ronin is well known in Japan, and has been since the historical event occurred early in the 18th century. It’s not nearly as common knowledge on these shores, but that’s something that Carl Rinsch’s 47 Ronin adaptation looked to change. Keanu Reeves stars in this tale that reimagines the factual story of revenge, honor, and loyalty as one set within a world rich with the fantastical elements of Japanese folklore. In its theatrical release, 47 Ronin was a box office dud, never coming close to making its reported $175 million budget back. Perhaps it was simply a case of the wrong movie at the wrong time. Since the quality of the production is surprisingly high, 47 Ronin might find new life on home video. Hit the jump for my 47 Ronin Blu-ray review.
A pair of interesting projects have suffered significant setbacks in the past couple of days. First up, the long-in-the-works biopic of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury has lost its director. Deadline reports that Dexter Fletcher has departed the project over “creative differences,” just as it looked like the film was finally moving forward with an eye towards a summer production start-date. Ben Whishaw (Skyfall) remains attached to star as Mercury for GK Films and Sony, but this is just the latest in a number of problems that have plagued the film. Sacha Baron Cohen was long attached to play Mercury before subsequently dropping out over, you guessed it, “creative differences” with the Queen band members.
Hit the jump for more, including news regarding the uncertain future of the promising sci-fi film Passengers.
We have a few release date announcements to attend to this evening. Briefly:
- Ride Along 2 – Universal has dated the action-comedy sequel for January 15, 2016, almost exactly two years after the release of the first film. Ice Cube and Kevin Hart star.
- The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel 2 – Fox Searchlight has set a March 6, 2015 release date for this unlikely follow-up. The entire original cast, including Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, and Maggie Smith, return.
- What If – Previously titled The F Word, this excellent relationship comedy starring Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan will arrive on August 1, 2014.
- Tracks – The Weinstein Company has dated the Mia Wasikowska-fronted adventure drama for May 23, 2014.
- Passengers – This promising sci-fi thriller set to star Keanu Reeves and Rachel McAdams was dated for April 3, 2015, but The Weinstein Company has unfortunately pulled it off the schedule.
Hit the jump for more on the aforementioned films.
We live in a box office climate dominated by sequels, reboots, and remakes. A known property is a much safer bet for a studio than an original film, and even when one original idea somehow makes it through the pipeline and proves to be a massive success (eg. Inception), it’s singled out as an anomaly rather than incentive to generate more original properties. As such, the major studios are always on the hunt for ways to reboot or extend franchises, and if a new report is to be believed, one such property destined for a kickstart just might be a new trilogy of The Matrix films. Hit the jump to read on.
Universal has released a new clip from the action film 47 Ronin. The story stars Keanu Reeves and centers on a troupe of banished samurai who long to restore their honor and find vengeance against the treacherous Lord Kira (played by Tadanobu Asano) who was responsible for the death of their master. The clip illustrates that the heroes will be fighting beasts rather than men, but the beasts are so hard to buy because the CGI looks so crummy. I can understand needing CGI for big set pieces, but this is a mano-a-mano fight, and it looks like Reeves is fighting a cartoon character rather than a flesh-and-blood creature.
Hit the jump to watch the clip. Click on the respective links for Steve’s set visit and interviews with Reeves, co-star Hiroyuki Sanada, costume designer Penny Rose, and director Carl Rinsch. The film also stars Rinko Kikuchi, Kou Shibasaki, and Jin Akanishi. 47 Ronin opens in 3D on December 25th.
Although I hate to naysay, I’ve gone on record several times with my lack of excitement for the upcoming RoboCop remake (here’s one example although I’m sure there are more). This past week MGM and Sony released the new trailer for the film and while I think the cast has the potential to be great, in general the movie just keeps digging itself into a bigger hole with every bit of new footage that I see. Whereas Paul Verhoeven‘s original was laced with social critique that was often ahead of its time if not at least skillfully deployed, this latest trailer goes out of its way to show that it too has something to say about social issues with on the nose references to the idea of using American resources to promote peace abroad rather than at home and the invasive nature of corporate marketing/branding. You keep up with current affairs, we get it. Speaking of marketing, probably my biggest beef with this latest cut comes in its final seconds when it shows RoboCop making a grandiose landing that essentially says “You guys liked the Iron Man movies, right?! You should definitely check this out then because it has a guy in a futuristic suit too!”. Thanks but no thanks, MGM and Sony.
Now that I’ve levied more criticism on a 2:30 trailer than is likely fair, let’s move on to something more positive. This week’s Top 5 features Thor: The Dark World interviews with Tom Hiddleston and more, Dallas Buyers Club interviews with the likes of Jared Leto, the news that Marvel will bring live-action series to Netflix featuring Daredevil and others, a recap of Steve’s 47 Ronin set visit, and a farewell to the once massive video rental chain, Blockbuster Video. If I haven’t lost you yet, a brief recap and link to each of the above can be found after the jump.
I’ll admit to being a big fan of Keanu Reeves. Like most of you, I grew up watching his movies: Bill & Ted, Point Break, Speed, The Matrix, My Own Private Idaho, Constantine, Dracula, and so many others. So when I was invited to London to visit the set of 47 Ronin with a few other online reporters, I was very excited. Thankfully, what I saw looked very cool. The level of detail on the costumes, massive practical sets, and in every other behind-the-scenes detail made me think director Carl Rinsch was bringing something to life that has never been done. I’m genuinely excited to see the finished film on Christmas Day.
During a break in filming, Reeves sat down with me and my fellow online reporters for an interview. He talked about why he wanted to be in the film, learning Japanese, his character, how the project changed along the way, filming in 3D, training for the action, and so much more. Hit the jump for what he had to say.
Opening this weekend in limited release is Keanu Reeves’ directorial debut Man of Tai Chi. Set it modern day China, the pic follows the journey of a young martial artist (Tiger Hu Chen) whose unmatched Tai Chi skills land him in a highly lucrative underworld fight club run by an unsavory businessman (Reeves) dead set on corrupting him. Loaded with great fight scenes by the legendary Yuen Woo-Ping, Reeves’ directorial debut is a winner and I’m looking forward to what he does next. For more on the film, read Matt’s review or watch the trailer here.
At this year’s Toronto International Film Festival I landed an exclusive video interview with Reeves. While I thought about posting it sooner, I wanted to wait until his film was going to be in theaters. During the interview he talked about how the project came together, what it was like to make a movie in China where the government has script control, his thoughts on directing again, deleted scenes, what he collects, 47 Ronin, Passengers, whether he’ll ever attend Point Break Live, what he’s looking to do in the future, and more. Hit the jump to watch.
Universal Pictures has released a new trailer, posters, and images for the action flick, 47 Ronin. The story stars Keanu Reeves and centers on a troupe of banished samurai who long to restore their honor and find vengeance against the treacherous Lord Kira (played by Tadanobu Asano) who was responsible for the death of their master. This new trailer does a better job of laying out the story as well as showing off more of the finished special effects, but it still doesn’t do anything for me. The protagonist’s revenge seems miniscule compared to the special effects extravaganza surrounding him. I want to hold out hope for this movie, but this new trailer isn’t giving me much to go on.
Hit the jump to check out the trailer, poster, and images. The film also stars Rinko Kikuchi, Hiroyuki Sanada, Kou Shibasaki, and Jin Akanishi. 47 Ronin opens in 3D on December 25th.
Universal has released the Japanese trailer and a couple posters for 47 Ronin. The story stars Keanu Reeves and centers on a troupe of banished samurai who long to restore their honor and find vengeance against the treacherous Lord Kira (played by Tadanobu Asano) who was responsible for the death of their master. There’s a little bit in the way of new footage, but they’re trying to keep it as simple as possible: outcast samurai looks for redemption, fights cloth dragon. I’ll add that every time I hear the line “Your life belongs to us,” my mind immediately snaps back to Reeve’s line in Man of Tai Chi, “You owe me a life!” Buy stock in lives.
Hit the jump to check out the trailer and posters. The film also stars Rinko Kikuchi, Hiroyuki Sanada, Kou Shibasaki, and Jin Aksanishi. 47 Ronin opens in 3D on December 25th.
Universal Pictures has released a new trailer for director Carl Rinsch’s upcoming epic 47 Ronin, proving that The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug isn’t this year’s only holiday film with a giant dragon. The story stars Keanu Reeves and centers on a troupe of banished samurai who long to restore their honor and find vengeance against the treacherous Lord Kira (played by Tadanobu Asano) who was responsible for the death of their master. Like the previous trailers, this one again showcases the film’s fantastical, CG-filled samurai world, but it still remains to be seen if the pic’s story is compelling enough to get audiences invested.
Hit the jump to watch the UK trailer. The film also stars Rinko Kikuchi, Hiroyuki Sanada, Kou Shibasaki, and Jin Aksanishi. 47 Ronin opens in 3D on December 25th.
The first shot of Keanu Reeves’ martial-arts film Man of Tai Chi is of two guys punching each other, so it’s off to a good start. Reeves’ directorial debut isn’t an homage or reinvention of the genre. It sticks fairly close to the essentials, which are fighting followed by more fighting. The threadbare plot is serviceable enough, but the main event is the fights, and they’re impressive. With his first feature, Reeves shows he has the directing chops to pull off some exciting fisticuffs. However, the movie raises the question of whether or not he’s aware that the plot incriminates the audience, and the audience may also wonder if Reeves’ performance is intentionally campy or playing into negative perceptions of the famous actor.
A new trailer and poster for Keanu Reeves’ directorial debut Man of Tai Chi focuses on the fights; it’s a good thing, too, because roughly 40 minutes of the 105-minute runtime is devoted to the 18 fighting sequences. Reeves stars as the head of a lucrative and highly illegal underground fight club, who finds a new contender in a “pure-hearted man of Tai Chi”, played by Tiger Chen. The dialogue is a bit stilted and the trailer doesn’t show anything we haven’t really seen before in martial arts films, but it’ll be fun to see Reeves play the bad guy and find out if he really knows his Kung Fu.
Man of Tai Chi will be available on iTunes starting September 27th and will open in theaters November 1st. Hit the jump to watch the new trailer and check out the new poster.
A new international trailer has been released for the upcoming action-adventure film, 47 Ronin. The story stars Keanu Reeves and centers on a troupe of banished samurai who long to restore their honor and find vengeance against the treacherous Lord Kira (played by Tadanobu Asano) who was responsible for the death of their master. It’s a classic tale, but blockbuster retelling throws in giant monsters, and they’re featured in this new trailer. Sadly, I remain unconvinced. They can flow and leave smoke/ribbon trails, but the design isn’t memorable and in the case of the gent above, the effects are underwhelming. At least Rinko Kikuchi looks like she’s having a good time.
Hit the jump to check out the trailer. The film also stars Hiroyuki Sanada, Kou Shibasaki, and Jin Aksanishi. 47 Ronin opens in 3D on December 25th.
A new international trailer for Universal’s upcoming tentpole 47 Ronin has landed online. The Carl Rinsch-directed film stars Keanu Reeves and centers on a troupe of banished samurai who long to restore their honor and find vengeance against the treacherous Lord Kira (played by Tadanobu Asano) who was responsible for the death of their master. This Japanese trailer is considerably shorter than the domestic cut, but we do see a few bits of new footage and the focus is on Hiroyuki Sanada’s character rather than Reeves’. I’m still not entirely convinced that this isn’t just a bloated samurai riff on 300, but at the very least the film’s near-$200 million budget looks to be all on the screen.
Hit the jump to watch the new trailer. The film also stars Rinko Kikuchi, Kou Shibasaki, and Jin Aksanishi. 47 Ronin opens in 3D on December 25th.