ESCOBAR: PARADISE LOST Review | TIFF 2014

by     Posted 77 days ago

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Did you know Pablo Escobar was a bad guy?  It’s true!  He was a powerful, charismatic drug lord who won the love of the people with charitable acts, but he was also a ruthless murderer because that comes with the job description.  Andrea Di Stefano’s Escobar: Paradise Lost is painfully predictable as it latches onto Escobar’s reputation to tell a bland, generic thriller that wastes the talent of its lead actors.  Di Stefano does flirt with the notion of turning a blind eye to evil, but it’s buried in unbearable melodrama and pretentious religious imagery coupled with a slightly racist undertone of how a first-world guy could get caught up in third-world problems.  As for Escobar, we learn he had an odd sense of fashion.

ESCOBAR: PARADISE LOST International Trailer with Benicio del Toro and Josh Hutcherson

by     Posted 81 days ago

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Imagine finding the girl of your dreams and then finding out that she’s actually the world’s most notorious Colombian drug lord’s niece.  That’s exactly what happens to Josh Hutcherson’s character in Andrea Di Stefano’s feature directorial debut, Escobar: Paradise Lost.  Hutcherson leads as Nick, a guy who travels to Columbia with his brother (Brady Corbet) and winds up falling for a girl named Maria (Claudia Traisac).  All is well until Maria reveals who her uncle is – Pablo Escobar (Benicio del Toro).

The film isn’t due to follow up its Telluride Film Festival screening at TIFF until Thursday, September 11th, but we do have a brand new Escobar: Paradise Lost international trailer to share.  Hit the jump to check it out.

New Images from BOYCHOIR, THE CONNECTION, ESCOBAR: PARADISE LOST, and THE FORGER

by     Posted 103 days ago

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Earlier today, the Toronto International Film Festival announced new additions to their Galas and Special Presentations programs. Among the films with new images and synopses are:

  • Boychoir (Directed by François Girard) starring Dustin Hoffman, Kathy Bates, Josh Lucas, Kevin McHale, Eddie Izzard, Debra Winger, and Garrett Wareing
  • The Connection (Directed by Cédric Jimenez) starring Jean Dujardin, Gilles Lellouche, Céline Sallette, and Benoît Magimel.
  • Escobar: Paradise Lost (Directed by Andrea Di Stefano) starring Benicio del Toro, Josh Hutcherson, and Claudia Traisac.
  • The Forger (Directed by Philip Martin) starring John Travolta, Christopher Plummer, Tye Sheridan, Jennifer Ehle, Marcus Thomas, Anson Mount, Abigail Spencer, and Travis Wade.

Hit the jump to check out the images and synopses. The 2014 Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 4 – 14th.

TIFF 2014 Adds Tom McCarthy’s THE COBBLER, Michael Hazanavicius’ THE SEARCH, Sophie Barthes’ MADAME BOVARY, and More

by     Posted 103 days ago

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As if the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival wasn’t already crowded with must-see films, TIFF has now sent out a press released announcing the addition of 24 films to their Galas and Special Presentations lineup.  Sundance premieres Infinitely Polar Bear and Laggies will be coming to Toronto as will Cannes’ debuts such as Olivier Assayas’ Clouds of Sils Maria as well as The Search, the new film from The Artist director Michael Hazanavicius.  Among the world premieres, I’m incredibly excited for Tom McCarthy’s new film, The Cobbler and Sophie Barthes’ adaptation of Madame Bovary.  As for movies that probably won’t be entering the Oscar-race but could still be highly entertaining, there’s Henry Hobson’s debut Maggie, which stars Arnold Schwarzenegger as a Midwestern farmer who stays by his daughter’s side as she starts turning into a zombie.

Hit the jump for the full list of new additions.  The 2014 Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 4 – 14th.

Benicio del Toro Talks GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, Playing the Collector, His Marvel Contract, INHERENT VICE, PARADISE LOST, and More

by     Posted 117 days ago

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Opening this weekend is director James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy.  As most of you know, the story follows five intergalactic misfits—Peter Quill aka Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), and Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper)—as they set out to protect a powerful and mysterious orb from the villainous Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace).  Loaded with great performances, an extremely funny script, and some fantastic action sequences, Guardians of the Galaxy should be a big hit with moviegoers and it helps to explain why Marvel was so quick to announce that a sequel is coming July 28, 2017.

At the recent Los Angeles press day, I landed an exclusive video interview with Benicio del Toro, who plays The Collector.   He talked about how he got involved in the Marvel universe, his contract with the studio, how the look of the Collector came together, upcoming films Inherent Vice and Paradise Lost, and more.  Hit the jump to watch.

New PARADISE LOST Teaser Trailer Featuring Benicio Del Toro as Pablo Escobar

by     Posted 131 days ago

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We posted that very first look at Benicio Del Toro as the notorious drug lord, Pablo Escobar, in Andrea di Stefano’s feature directorial debut, well over a year ago, but the Paradise Lost teaser trailer is finally here.  The film stars Josh Hutcherson as Nick, who, while on a trip to Colombia to visit his brother, meets and falls for a beautiful local named Maria (Claudia Traisac). The thing is, Maria is actually Pablo Escobar’s niece.

For a mere 30-second teaser, this thing is pretty powerful.  It puts the focus on establishing Escobar and offering a sense of what he’s capable of, but Hutcherson’s character still serves as a strong anchor who helps you tap into the intensity of the piece.  When del Toro warns, “No one escapes Pablo Escobar,” you believe him and, therefore, feel for poor Nick as well.  Hit the jump to check out the teaser for yourself.

First Look at Benicio Del Toro as Pablo Escobar in PARADISE LOST

by     Posted 1 year, 144 days ago

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We previously reported that Benicio Del Toro would be playing Pablo Escobar in Andrea di Stefano’s Paradise Lost, which isn’t quite a Pablo Escobar biopic.  The movie stars Josh Hutcherson as a “young surfer who visits his brother in Colombia and falls madly in love with a beautiful local girl called Maria” but finds out that her uncle is Escobar (cue sad trumpet).  Stefano has compared Paradise Lost to The Last King of Scotland, and today we have the first image from the Stefano’s film along with some behind-the-scene video.  The video is dubbed in French, but for non-French-speakers like myself, you can still get an idea from the visuals.  I’m more interested in the tone because even though Stefano may compare his movie to Last King of Scotland, the premise for Paradise Lost sounds like it could just as easily fit into a wacky sitcom.

Hit the jump to check out the image and video.  Filming on Paradise Lost recently wrapped.

Josh Hutcherson to Star Opposite Benicio Del Toro in Pablo Escobar Drama PARADISE LOST; Jackie Chan Says He’ll Be in EXPENDABLES 3

by     Posted 1 year, 340 days ago

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We’ve got a couple of casting stories to share this evening.  First up, The Hunger Games star Josh Hutcherson is in negotiations to star opposite Benicio Del Toro in the Pablo Escobar drama Paradise Lost.  Per Deadline, Hutcherson will play the lead character of Nick, “a young Irish surfer who visits his brother in Colombia” where he meets the love of his life and her uncle Pablo.  Actor Andrea Di Stefano (Life of Pi) is making his directorial debut on the project, with production set to get underway in March in Panama.  Hutcherson is currently filming the sequel The Hunger Games: Catching Fire in Hawaii.

Hit the jump for news concerning Jackie Chan joining the cast of The Expendables 3.

Benicio del Toro to Play Pablo Escobar in PARADISE LOST; Scoot McNairy Joins THE ROVER and FRANK; REACH ME Cast Led by Berenger, Stallone, Sedgwick

by     Posted 2 years, 7 days ago

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A few casting notices:

  • Benicio del Toro is in final negotiations to play Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar in Paradise Lost, which is not exactly a Pablo Escobar biopic.
  • Scoot McNairy booked two roles.  He will star opposite Michael Fassbender in Frank, and joins Guy Pearce and Robert Pattinson in The Rover.
  • The full cast list for Reach Me features Tom Berenger, Kevin Connolly, Thomas Jane, Sylvester Stallone, Kyra Sedgwick, Kelsey Grammer, Nelly, Terry Crews, Ryan Kwanten, and more.

Details on each project after the jump.

Legendary Pictures Scraps Alex Proyas’ PARADISE LOST Starring Bradley Cooper

by     Posted 2 years, 287 days ago

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In the climate of budget conscious studios hesitant to gamble money on anything that doesn’t have a “2” in the title, more and more ambitious projects are having trouble crossing the finish line. Universal passed on Guillermo del Toro’s At the Mountains of Madness, Ron Howard and Brian Grazer are struggling to get their blended, multi-part film/TV adaptation of The Dark Tower off the ground, and most recently we saw Warner Bros. put their fantasy pic Arthur & Lancelot on hold in order to work out budget issues.

Now you can add Paradise Lost to the list of blue balled titles, as Legendary has pulled the plug. The ambitious adaptation of John Milton’s classic epic poem was to begin shooting in January, but Legendary decided in December to push production back in order to reduce the budget. Now the studio has scrapped the project all together. Hit the jump for more, including why Legendary backed out.

Bradley Cooper and Co-Director Brian Klugman Talk THE WORDS, TRON: LEGACY, PARADISE LOST, THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES, and More at Sundance

by     Posted 2 years, 293 days ago

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One of the best films I saw at this year’s Sundance Film Festival was writer-director Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal‘s first feature, The Words. The film stars Bradley Cooper as a writer who, after discovering an extraordinary lost manuscript, passes the work off as his own and receives overwhelming critical acclaim.  Jeremy Irons plays the man who originally wrote the manuscript, and the film weaves multiple narratives to tell the story.  The Words also stars Zoe Saldana, Dennis Quaid, Olivia Wilde, Ben Barnes, and JK Simmons.  CBS Films bought the film after its first screening and they plan to release it later this year.  It’s definitely a film you should be excited to see.  For more on The Words, here’s Matt’s review.

Shortly after seeing the film, I did an extended interview with Bradley Cooper and co-writer-director Brian Klugman.  We talked about being at Sundance, how the project came together and how it changed along the way, deleted scenes, how the two of them became friends (they’ve known each other for decades), karaoke, film versus digital, and a lot more.  In addition, Klugman talked about his early draft of Tron: Legacy, and Cooper talked about what it was like to work on director Derek Cianfrance‘s The Place Beyond the Pines, and the status of Paradise Lost (it’s hopefully filming this June).  Hit the jump to watch.

Legendary Delays Production on PARADISE LOST to Reduce Budget

by     Posted 2 years, 346 days ago

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We were just starting to get excited about Paradise LostNeat concept art.  A solid cast in Benjamin Walker, Bradley Cooper, Casey Affleck, and Dijmon HounsouA great pitch from director Alex Proyas:

“It’s not just armies battling in an epic war. This is an adventure about the origins of good and evil after Lucifer’s rebellion gets him cast out of Heaven and leads to a struggle with his brother archangel over the soul of mankind, starting with Adam and Eve.”

Alas, we must wait to see the adaptation of John Milton’s classic work come to fruition.  It was announced tonight that Legendary Pictures is putting plans for a January start date on hold, because all the cool elements of this project add up to too much money.  Details after the jump.

Callan McAuliffe Talks THE GREAT GATSBY and PARADISE LOST

by     Posted 2 years, 360 days ago

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Emerging as one of Hollywood most sought-after young actors, 16-year-old Aussie Callan McAuliffe is currently preparing to start his work as Young Jay Gatsby in Baz Luhrmann’s 3D telling of the classic American story The Great Gatsby, due out in theaters on Christmas Day 2012, amidst sword fighting training, martial arts and ballet work for his role as archangel Uriel in Paradise Lost, adapted from the epic Biblical poem and shooting in January 2012 for a scheduled 2013 release.

During this recent exclusive phone interview with Collider, from Australia where he is going to shoot both films, Callan McAuliffe talked about what appealed to him about both projects, some changes in The Great Gatsby that could surprise audiences but that he thinks they will appreciate, that even though he’s playing a younger version of Leonardo DiCaprio he doesn’t think he looks like him at all, and what he thinks the 3D will add to the experience for audiences. He also talked about how he’s relying on director Alex Proyas’ vision for Paradise Lost when it comes to playing an archangel, that he’s looking forward to his scenes with Djimon Hounsou, and how he’d like to model his character after Johnny Depp, playing more alternative types of characters. Check out what he had to say after the jump:

Casting Call: Rufus Sewell Joins PARADISE LOST; Keira Knightley in Talks to Star as Effie Gray in UNTOUCHED

by     Posted 3 years, 16 days ago

We’ve got a couple of casting stories to report this afternoon. First up, Rufus Sewell (The Tourist) has joined the cast of Alex Proyas’s big-budget adaptation of John Milton’s Paradise Lost. Legendary Pictures announced that Sewell will take on the role of Sammael opposite Bradley Cooper as Lucifer and Benjamin Walker as Michael. This isn’t Sewell’s first film for Proyas, as he previously starred in the director’s 1998 sci-fi film Dark City. For those unfamiliar, Paradise Lost centers on the battle between the two archangels when the banished Lucifer takes on the forces of Heaven. The 3D pic will feature epic action that includes “aerial warfare”. The cast for the film also includes Casey Affleck as the angel Gabriel and Dijmon Hounsou as the Angel of Death, Camilla Belle as Eve, Sam Reid as Raphael, Callan McAuliffe as Uriel, and Dominic Purcell as Moloch. Paradise Lost is being eyed for a 2013 release.

Hit the jump for the casting news of Keira Knightley in the competing Effie Gray film Untouched.

Tyler Perry Casts Kim Kardashian in THE MARRIAGE COUNSELOR; Sam Reid Joins PARADISE LOST

by     Posted 3 years, 32 days ago

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I am a Tyler Perry apologist around these parts, an admirer of his work ethic and devout fanbase.  However, I have a hard time defending his latest casting choice.  Perry has cast Kim Kardashian in The Marriage Counselor, an adaptation of Perry’s tenth play, which began touring in 2008.  The story centers on an Ivy League-educated marriage counselor whose marriage starts to fall apart when her husband’s parents move in: “The marriage counselor, Judith, stops practicing what she preaches when she rekindles a relationship with an old college flame.”  According to THR, Kardashian will play Judith’s co-worker.  I don’t see any other casting for The Marriage Counselor, but production is scheduled for late October on Perry’s lucky 13th collaboration with Lionsgate.

Hit the jump for news on Sam Reid‘s role in Paradise Lost.

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