PRISONERS Review

by     Posted 209 days ago

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[This is a re-post of my review from the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.  Prisoners opens tomorrow.]

There’s enough symbolism and religious themes to give Prisoners some weight. There’s enough curiosity to keep its mystery intriguing. Director Denis Villeneuve does slightly more than expected to keep us interested in its segregated storyline where one hand provides the mystery and the other hand provides some semblance. In between is a film that’s far longer than it needs to be but is supported by Roger Deakins’ striking cinematography and a great cast with a standout performance from Hugh Jackman.

TIFF 2013: PRISONERS Review

by     Posted 221 days ago

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There’s enough symbolism and religious themes to give Prisoners some weight.  There’s enough curiosity to keep its mystery intriguing.  Director Denis Villeneuve does slightly more than expected to keep us interested in its segregated storyline where one hand provides the mystery and the other hand provides some semblance.  In between is a film that’s far longer than it needs to be but is supported by Roger Deakins’ striking cinematography and a great cast with a standout performance from Hugh Jackman.

Jennifer Connelly and Anthony Mackie Set for Paul Bettany’s SHELTER; Maria Bello Joins Disney’s MCFARLAND

by     Posted 238 days ago

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Paul Bettany is looking to make his directorial debut with a couple of familiar faces.  It was announced today that Jennifer Connelly (Bettany’s wife) and Anthony Mackie will lead Shelter, which the A Beautiful Mind actor will direct from a script that he wrote.  Plot details are unavailable at the moment, but Bettany will be producing the pic alongside Voltage Pictures and BiFrost Pictures.  He most recently wrapped Transcendence opposite Johnny Depp, while Connelly will next be seen in Darren Aronofsky’s Noah.  As for Mackie, he plays Falcon in Marvel’s upcoming Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Additionally, Maria Bello has been added to the cast of Disney’s sports drama McFarland.  The film stars Kevin Costner and centers on the champion track team of the predominantly-Hispanic California town of McFarland, which overcomes social and physical challenges during their meets in the 1980s.  Per Deadline, Bello will play the wife of Costner’s coach character.  Whale Rider director Niko Caro is onboard to helm.

New Trailer for PRISONERS Starring Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal

by     Posted 293 days ago

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Warner Bros. has released a new trailer for director Denis Villeneuve’s (Incendies) dramatic thriller Prisoners.  The film stars Hugh Jackman as a working-class father in Pennsylvania who sets out to track down the man he believes is responsible for kidnapping his daughter and her friend. Along the way, he runs up against the big city detective (Jake Gyllenhaal) assigned to the case.  While I was worried that the first trailer gave away the entire film, this new trailer hints that there’s much more to the pic than meets the eye.  The real grab for me, though, is the character-driven story and intense performances from Jackman and Gyllenhaal, not to mention cinematographer Roger Deakins’ gorgeous camera work.  Really, really looking forward to this one.

Hit the jump to watch the new trailer.  The film also stars Paul DanoMaria BelloTerrence Howard, and Viola Davis.  Prisoners opens September 20th.

First Trailer and Poster for PRISONERS Starring Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal

by     Posted 321 days ago

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The first trailer has been released for Denis Villeneuve’s (Incendies) dramatic thriller Prisoners.  The film stars Hugh Jackman as a working-class father in Pennsylvania who sets out to track down the man he believes is responsible for kidnapping his daughter and her friend. Along the way, he runs up against the big city detective (Jake Gyllenhaal) assigned to the case.  The film certainly appears to do justice to a dramatic telling of a parent’s worst nightmare, but it goes further than that, asking to what lengths a person would go to in order to return their children home safely.  Unfortunately, as is the case with many recent trailers, too much of the story is given away too soon.

Hit the jump to check out the trailer.  The film also stars Paul Dano, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard, and Viola DavisPrisoners opens September 20th.

Tom Hardy Eyed for Elton John Biopic ROCKETMAN; Lucas Till, Maria Bello, and Tom Everett Scott Set for STRINGS

by     Posted 322 days ago

We’ve got a couple of casting stories to share today.  First up, an unlikely actor is being eyed to topline the Elton John biopic Rocketman.  Commercials helmer Michael Gracey was tapped to direct the film this past March, and HitFix now reports that the project is out to Tom Hardy to take on the life of John in the film.  The pic is described as a “radically different” kind of biopic, as the story is told in a non-linear, hyper-visual manner complete with choreographed sequences set to John’s songs.  Hardy does not have an offer to star nor is he in formal negotiations, but apparently the Dark Knight Rises actor is being considered for the lead role.  Hardy has a knack for disappearing into all kinds of difference characters, and I would absolutely love to see him transform into Elton John for the unique-sounding Rocketman.

Hit the jump for casting news concerning the indie drama Strings.

First Trailer for GROWN UPS 2 Starring Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, and Kevin James

by     Posted 1 year, 14 days ago

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Columbia Pictures has released the first trailer for director Dennis Dugan’s comedy sequel Grown Ups 2.  I hate myself for saying this, but I actually got a few chuckles out of the trailer.  After you get past the deer piss, there are a couple of ridiculous cameos from Shaquille O’Neal and Andy Samberg that are nice throwbacks to the zany Adam Sandler movies of old.  There’s also a nice flip on the “hot girl car trouble” scene from the first film.  And believe it or not, this might be a role that Lautner was Taylor-made for (sorry).

Hit the jump to watch the trailer.  The film stars also Kevin James, Chris Rock, David Spade, Salma Hayek, Maria Bello, Maya Rudolph, Nick Swardson and Patrick SchwarzeneggerGrown Ups 2 opens on July 12th.

Production Begins on Denis Villeneuve’s Thriller PRISONERS, Starring Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal

by     Posted 1 year, 55 days ago

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Alcon Entertainment and Warner Bros. have announced the start of production of director Denis Villeneuve’s (Incedies) dramatic thriller Prisoners.  The film stars Hugh Jackman as a working-class Boston father who sets out to track down the man he believes is responsible for kidnapping his daughter and her friend. Along the way, he runs up against the big city detective (Jake Gyllenhaal) assigned to the case.  Filming is underway in Georgia, with an impressive supporting cast that includes Paul Dano, Maria Bello, Terrence Howard, and Viola Davis.

The screenplay was written by Aaron Guzikowski (Contraband), and Mark Wahlberg is onboard as one of the film’s executive producers.  Moreover, genius cinematographer Roger Deakins (Skyfall, No Country for Old Men) is handling the camera work.  Hit the jump to read the full press release.  Prisoners opens on September 20th of this year.

Rosario Dawson Joins QUEEN OF THE NIGHT, Frank Grillo and Maria Bello Board James Wan Thriller, Plus Casting Updates on MAN OF STEEL and FREEZER

by     Posted 1 year, 83 days ago

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Check out the latest casting news below:

  • Rosario Dawson (Sin City) will join Queen of the Night, the Atom Egoyan thriller that stars Ryan Reynolds, Scott Speedman and Mireille Enos.
  • Frank Grillo (The Grey) and Maria Bello (A History of Violence) will star in a James Wan-presented thriller, possibly titled House of Horror, to be directed by Will Canon (Brotherhood).
  • Peter Facinelli (The Twilight Saga) and Yuliya Snigir (A Good Day to Die Hard) join the cast of Freezer, an action/thriller directed by Mikael Salomon and starring Dylan McDermott.
  • Richard Cetrone and Revard Dufresne, who each had stunt/small roles in Sucker Punch, will fill out the villainous contingent of Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel presumably as General Zod’s henchmen.

Hit the jump for more on each casting announcement.

Maria Bello Confirmed to Star in Untitled ‘James Wan Presents’ Thriller

by     Posted 1 year, 153 days ago

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Maria Bello has been set as the female lead in an upcoming untitled thriller produced by Insidious and Saw director James Wan.  The Untitled ‘James Wan Presents’ Thriller (previously referred to as House of Horror) takes place during the aftermath of a horrific massacre of five college students who were brutally murdered inside an abandoned home.  Bello will play the police department’s psychologist who, after interviewing one of the survivors, learns that the students were amateur ghost hunters who stumbled across “something truly terrifying” inside the house.

We previously heard that Bello was eyeing the role, but today Dimension Films confirmed the casting with a press release.  The project is based on an idea by Wan and was scripted by Max La Bella.  Wan will produce alongside Lee Clay (Beautiful Boy), with Will Cannon (Brotherhood) set to direct.  Production is slated to begin January 2013 in Baton Rouge.  Hit the jump to read the full press release.

Maria Bello and Adrien Brody Join Paul Haggis’ THIRD PERSON; Woody Harrelson and Martin Sheen to Star in 9/11 Film SEPTEMBER MORN

by     Posted 1 year, 180 days ago

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Writer/director Paul Haggis (Crash) has made a couple of last minute casting additions to his next project, Third PersonMaria Bello and Adrien Brody are the latest to join a cast that now includes Liam Neeson, Olivia Wilde, James Franco, Kim Basinger, Mila Kunis, and Moran Atias.  In the vein of Haggis’ Oscar-winning 2004 drama Crash, the film follows three intersecting stories set in Paris, New York, and Rome, “with each storyline following a different stage of a love relationship from the beginning, middle, and the end.”

Variety’s report doesn’t provide details on Bello’s character, but Brody plays the love interest of Atias.  We also know that Neeson and Wilde play a journalist and a gossip columnist, respectively, in the New York storyline.  Production begins this week in Rome.  Hit the jump for casting news concerning the 9/11 drama September Morn.

Taylor Lautner Joins Adam Sandler in GROWN UPS 2

by     Posted 2 years, 11 days ago

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Twilight’s Taylor Lautner has apparently outgrown vampires and is now interested in comedies.  Enter Adam Sandler’s first-ever sequel, Grown Ups 2.  Lautner is reportedly in negotiations to star opposite Sandler in a role that would allow him to go “toe-to-toe” with the veteran comedian.  Details are in short order at the moment, but reports specify this only as a “fun” role for Lautner, who is looking for another big movie to hang on to. Since The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 will be closing out the franchise when it hits theaters November 16th, and even with the lackluster box office response to Lautner’s Abduction, the young star might just strike gold in Grown Ups 2. The original film about a reunion of childhood friends grossed over $160 million domestically. Hit the jump for more on the sequel.

Horror Round-Up: Maria Bello Eyeing HOUSE OF HORROR; Keri Russell in Talks for DARK SKIES

by     Posted 2 years, 11 days ago

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We’ve got a couple of horror-related casting stories to share today.  First up, Bloody Disgusting reports that Maria Bello is in talks to star in House of Horror.  Produced by James Wan (Insidious), the story centers on a lead detective and a police psychologist who question a suspect following the brutal murder of five college students.  Should she sign on, Bello would take the psychologist role.  Xavier Gens (The Divide) was previously attached to direct, but he’s no longer involved with the project.  The report doesn’t specify the structure of the film, but I’m assuming it’s not just two people talking to a suspect for 90 minutes.  Producers are currently looking for a new director to sign on.  Bello recently starred in the NBC drama Prime Suspect, but the series was not picked up for a second season due to low ratings.

Hit the jump for casting news concerning the sci-fi horror pic Dark Skies.

NBC Shuts Down Production of PRIME SUSPECT

by     Posted 2 years, 152 days ago

Well it lasted longer than some other canceled shows, but now NBC has pulled the plug on their freshman crime drama Prime Suspect. Deadline reports the network told cast and crew yesterday that they were shutting down production around the same time their midseason schedule went out without mentioning the series (though the bigger problem is the exclusion of Community). Though some insiders are saying the show technically isn’t canceled (hypothetically it could still be picked up for another season), but no more episodes will be produced after the 13th installment finishes shooting, and this season is officially over. Sorry Maria Bello. Better luck next time.

Jay Mohr Joins NBC’s New Police Drama PRIME SUSPECT

by     Posted 2 years, 236 days ago

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The series doesn’t even premiere until September 22nd on NBC, but EW already has word on a great guest star for Prime Suspect that could turn into a recurring role. Apparently comedian, film and sitcom star Jay Mohr will appear in this first season of the new police drama as New York City assistant district attorney John Bullock, a man considered good at his job, though not exactly on the same page as Jane Timoney (Maria Bello). Part of me is hoping this character will have the same kind of energy and intensity as his turn in Jerry Maguire, but that remains to be seen. Either way, he’s definitely a welcome addition to the series which looks like it could be one of the more solid debuts this fall, and a potentially great new crime drama. For your convenience we’ve included the extended preview for Prime Suspect after the jump.

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