I finally got the chance to check out Thor: The Dark World earlier this week and while I didn’t enjoy it as much as I did its 2011 predecessor, I had a good time with the movie and want to take a few lines here to share my impressions. First and foremost, it’s funny. As you might expect, Kat Dennings is great as Darcy. That said, it’s odd to label her as the comic relief given all of the levity provided by other characters throughout the film when she is nowhere to be found. Also, as you’re probably even more inclined to expect, Tom Hiddleston is fantastic as Loki and chews up virtually every second of screen time that he’s allotted. On the other hand, what the film had in humor it lacked in drama, conflict, tension, and/or just answers in general. Who are the Dark Elves and why do they insist on everyone living in darkness? What is the Aether and why is it a death sentence for some and a source of all-encompassing power for others? It’s like I walked into the movie 15 minutes late although I’m sure I was seated in time and watched the entire thing. In other words, see Thor: The Dark World for the 112 minute escape that it is and you should be fine. Expect to come out of it with some idea of how and why everything happened outside of just pure coincidence and you’re setting yourself up for frustration.
My one paragraph review aside, this week’s Top 5 includes the first trailers for Darren Aronofsky‘s Noah, our visit to the set of Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, a series of Super Mario Bros. short films that you may love or that may leave you scratching your head, the first teaser trailer for Disney’s Maleficent, and the uplifting story of BatKid fighting crime in San Francisco. As is routine, a brief recap and link to each of the above can be found after the jump.
Disney has released the first teaser trailer for Maleficent. Directed by Robert Stromberg, the film is a reimagining of the classic Sleeping Beauty story told from the villain’s point of view. Angelina Jolie plays Maleficent, a beautiful, pure-hearted young woman who becomes the protector of her village when an invading army threatens its harmony. Following a brutal betrayal, Maleficent becomes bent on revenge and her pure heart begins to turn to stone, paving the way for the story that plays out in Sleeping Beauty. This first trailer is very much a teaser in that we only get quick glimpses of Jolie as the titular character, with the focus actually turning to Elle Fanning as the young Aurora. It’s very clear from this trailer that the film will be in the vein of Disney’s other CG-heavy fantasy pics Alice in Wonderland and Oz the Great and Powerful (Stromberg served as production designer on both), but I’m interested to see how the arc of Jolie’s character plays out.
Hit the jump to watch the trailer and to check out some new images. The film also stars Sharlto Copley, Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, Miranda Richardson, Juno Temple, and Lesley Manville. Maleficent opens in theaters on May 30, 2014.
Disney has released the first poster for the upcoming Sleeping Beauty redo Maleficent, and it’s fittingly all about Angelina Jolie’s titular character. The film tells the Sleeping Beauty story from the point of view of the villain, and it’s the first in a string of live-action adaptations of classic Disney stories set to hit theaters over the next few years (it will be followed by Cinderella and Cruella). The first trailer will be released online this Wednesday, November 13th at 9am EST, so we’ll have a good idea of what to expect at that time. Robert Stromberg, the Oscar-winning production designer of Alice in Wonderland and Avatar, makes his feature directorial debut on the film.
Hit the jump to take a closer look at the poster, and check back here tomorrow morning to watch the trailer. The film also stars Sharlto Copley, Elle Fanning, Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, and Leslie Manville. Maleficent opens on May 30, 2014.
Disney’s Maleficent is poised to kick off a series of live-action adaptations of the studio’s classic cartoons (to be followed by Cinderella and Cruella), but it appears that the studio still has some tweaking to do on the Sleeping Beauty redo. Robert Stromberg, who won two Oscars as the production designer of Avatar and Alice in Wonderland, makes his directorial debut on Maleficent, which finds Angelina Jolie playing the title role. The pic tells the Sleeping Beauty story from the point of view of the villain, and it’s a pretty major film on which to cut one’s teeth as a feature film director.
The Mouse House is going back to do some reshoots in order to rework the film’s opening scenes, and though Stromberg will be directing, Disney is bringing in The Blind Side and The Alamo director John Lee Hancock to oversee the additional filming. Hit the jump for more.
Disney has made a couple of significant release date shifts in its upcoming calendar, one of which could mean that 2014 will pass entirely without a new Pixar movie. Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur, which just recently saw director Bob Peterson removed from the project, has been moved off its May 30, 2014 date and pushed over a year and a half to November 25, 2015. This is a massive change and, barring another move from Pixar, could mean that 2014 will be the first year since 2005 without a new Pixar movie. This isn’t an altogether surprising move, since The Good Dinosaur only just lost its director this summer with only nine months to go before the film’s planned release. The pic still doesn’t have a firm replacement director, but now Pixar can comfortably move forward without the stress and rush of getting TGD into theaters in a matter of months.
Hit the jump for more release date shift news, including Finding Dory and Maleficent. [Update: Disney has also announced that The Fifth Estate will now open on October 18th wide and the sports drama McFarland has been dated for November 21, 2014.]
At last weekend’s D23, I landed a video interview with Maleficent director Robert Stromberg. While this is Stromberg’s first time behind the camera, he’s no stranger to big-budget Hollywood movies. He’s served as production designer on films like Avatar, Alice in Wonderland (he won the Academy Award for Art Direction on both films), and most recently worked on Disney’s Oz the Great and Powerful. Maleficent tells “the untold story of Disney’s most beloved villain” and stars Angelina Jolie as the title character with Sharlto Copley, Elle Fanning, and Sam Riley in supporting roles.
During the interview Stromberg talked about what he learned from Sam Raimi, James Cameron, and other directors, how he got involved in the project, the tone, when he knew he wanted to be a director, and a lot more. Hit the jump to watch.
Disney wrapped its live-action presentation at the D23 convention earlier today, and shortly after the panel ended the studio unveiled title treatments for some of its upcoming films. Briefly:
- Tomorrowland – Directed by Brad Bird and written by Bird and Damon Lindelof, this secretive film stars George Clooney as an unspecified inventor. Hugh Laurie, Britt Robertson, Raffey Cassidy, and Thomas Robinson also star, and the “action-packed adventure” hits theaters on December 12, 2014.
- Maleficent – A reimagining of the classic Sleeping Beauty story told from the villain’s point of view. Angelina Jolie stars as the title character for director Robert Stromberg. Sharlto Copley, Elle Fanning, and Sam Riley also star, and the film opens on July 2, 2014.
- Muppets Most Wanted – The James Bobin-directed sequel stars Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey, and Ty Burrell and opens in theaters on March 21, 2014.
- Saving Mr. Banks – Director John Lee Hancock’s film tells the true story behind the making of Mary Poppins as Tom Hanks portrays Walt Disney and Emma Thompson plays Poppins author P.L. Travers. The film opens wide this coming December 20th.
Hit the jump to check out the logos and click here to catch up on all of our D23 coverage thus far.
From director Sam Raimi, Oz the Great and Powerful imagines the origins of the wizard that was first brought to life in author L. Frank Baum’s book The Wizard of Oz, in a fantastical adventure that utilizes 3D to enhance what is truly an awe-inspiring movie-going experience. When small-time circus magician Oscar Diggs (James Franco) is unexpectedly carried from Kansas to the vibrantly beautiful Land of Oz in a tornado, he soon meets three witches – Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams) – who are unsure about whether he truly is the great wizard that they’ve been expecting. In one of the biggest tales of fake it ‘til you make it, Oscar must use his magical skill and a little ingenuity to help good triumph over evil.
At the film’s press day, Collider got the opportunity to speak with producer Joe Roth during both the press conference and a 1-on-1 interview about how this project came about, his prior experience with the original The Wizard of Oz film, how involved he was in shaping which Baum tales they would blend together to tell this origin story, how important it was to center the film around a flawed hero, why Sam Raimi was the right director, assembling this talented cast, and the most challenging aspects of such a big production. He also talked about the high-risk and high-reward involved in taking on such iconic characters (he’s done it with Oz, Alice in Wonderland and Snow White), their spin on the Sleeping Beauty story for Maleficent and how crucial the casting of Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning was, how they’re approaching the Alice in Wonderland sequel, and that he hopes to go into production on a very low-budget movie based on the book Heaven is for Real in the summer. Check out what he had to say after the jump.
Disney has announced a slew of release date changes. Briefly:
Hit the jump for more details, including the confirmation of George Clooney in 1952 and Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean 5. [Update: Brad Bird has now stated via Twitter that 3D has not been discussed for 1952, so Disney's press release may have been mistaken. This doesn't mean the film absolutely won't be in 3D, just that Bird hasn't OK'd it yet.]
Little Birds is an indie drama that follows 15-year-old Lily (Juno Temple) and her best friend Alison (Kay Panabaker), who live in a rundown trailer park on the shores of the Salton Sea. When they meet a trio of visiting street kids, Lily’s rebelliousness kicks in and she convinces Alison to follow the boys to Los Angeles, but once there, they quickly fall into the boys’ world of scams and petty crime. While Lily is determined to stay and make it work, her actions threaten to tear apart her friendship with Alison. Written and directed by Elgin James, the film also stars Leslie Mann, Kate Bosworth, Kyle Gallner and Neal McDonough.
At the film’s press day, actress Juno Temple spoke to Collider for this exclusive interview about what attracted her to the script and character, learning that the writer/director wanted her for either of the lead roles, how much she enjoyed working with co-star Kay Panabaker, what it was like to spend time in the Salton Sea, and why she’s more comfortable with sexuality in film than violence. She also talked about the appeal of big studio movies versus smaller indies, what attracted her to the role of a fairy named Thistletwit in Maleficent (starring Angelina Jolie in the title role), which she starts shooting soon, and the experience of working with director Christopher Nolan on The Dark Knight Rises. Check out what she had to say after the jump.
We’ve got a couple of casting stories concerning relative newcomers to share this afternoon. First up, Disney announced today that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s daughter Vivienne will appear in a minor role in the big-budget fantasy pic Maleficent. Jolie stars in the film as the titular Disney villain, and the film focuses on “the events that hardened Maleficent’s heart and drove her to curse the baby, Aurora. Vivienne will be playing the child version of Princess Aurora, as Elle Fanning stars as the older version of the heroine. Vivienne turned four years old this past July.
Hit the jump for casting news concerning Charlotte Riley, who was a contender for the Catwoman role in The Dark Knight Rises.
The black and white, stop-motion animated 3D film Frankenweenie, from director Tim Burton and based on the ideas in his 1984 live-action short, is a tale about a boy and his beloved dog. After unexpectedly losing Sparky, young Victor (voiced by Charlie Tahan) sews him back together and harnesses the power of science to bring his best friend back to life, but quickly faces unintended and sometimes monstrous consequences for his actions. The voice cast also includes Catherine O’Hara, Martin Short, Martin Landau, Atticus Shaffer and Winona Ryder. Here’s the recent trailer. Frankenweenie hits theaters October 5, 2012.
Last week I got to sit down with producer Don Hahn at Comic-Con. During our wide ranging interview we talked about making Frankenweenie, if it was tough to get the studio on board, if the current popularity of The Nightmare Before Christmas helped get the film made, and more. In addition, with Hahn producing Maleficent starring Angelina Jolie, we talked about how that’s been going, what Easter Eggs people should look for at Disneyland and Disney World, what he collects, and a lot more. Hit the jump to watch.
A few set photos from the Steve Jobs biopic jOBS have surfaced, giving us a look at Ashton Kutcher doing his best “Steve Jobs on acid” impression. The Apple visionary made no secret of his past experimentation with LSD, and it appears that director Joshua Michael Stern’s indie biopic has at least one scene in which Kutcher’s Jobs goes tripping in a field. Noah Wyle did a hell of a job portraying Jobs and tackling his fascination with LSD in the TV movie Pirates of Silicon Valley, so Kutcher has his work cut out for him.
Additionally, a couple more images of Angelina Jolie in character in Disney’s Maleficent have surfaced. The story centers on the Sleeping Beauty villain and “reveals the events that hardened her heart and drove her to curse the baby, Aurora.” Yesterday some set photos landed online that gave us a look at Jolie performing some flying stunts, but this batch is much less death-defying. Hit the jump to check out the set photos from both jOBS and Maleficent. [Update: We've removed the unofficial images.]
Disney wisely released the first image of Angelina Jolie in character for the Sleeping Beauty re-imagining Maleficent merely one day before the first set photos surfaced, and now some new set photos have landed online that give us a look at Jolie in stunt mode. The film tells “the untold story of Disney’s most beloved villain” and “reveals the events that hardened her heart and drove her to curse the baby, Aurora.” I’m not really sure why Maleficent is getting her britches in a twist because she looks to be having a damn good time flying around and being evil in this batch of images. We also get a look at a small band of soldiers on horses that’s a tad reminiscent of Snow White and the Huntsman.
Hit the jump to check out the set photos. Directed by Robert Stromberg, the film also stars Sharlto Copley, Elle Fanning, Sam Riley, Imelda Staunton, Miranda Richardson, Juno Temple, and Lesley Manville. Maleficent opens in 3D on March 14th, 2014. [Update: We've removed the unofficial images.]
A mere 24 hours after the first official photo of Angelina Jolie as Disney villainess Maleficent first came to light, a few shots from the film’s set have surfaced. In them we see Jolie, in her sorceress costume, chatting with crew members and milling around with some of her horned brethren.
Disney has described the film as “the untold story of Disney’s most beloved villain, Maleficent, from the 1959 classic Sleeping Beauty. The film reveals the events that hardened her heart and drove her to curse the baby, Aurora.” For more on the project as well as the pics, hit the jump.