Now available on VOD and in select theaters is Drafthouse Films’ dark thriller/comedy Cheap Thrills starring Pat Healy, Ethan Embry, David Koechner, and Sara Paxton. I watched the film last night and, while not for the faint of heart or stomach, I can’t recommend it enough. At its core, Thrills works from a single question: how far would you go to be able to provide for yourself and/or your family? It uses precision pacing, confident direction from E.L. Katz, and solid performances across the board to explore this question, all while gradually rising to a crescendo that feels both inevitable and wildly inventive. Offhand I can’t think of a film that blends the thrilling and the disgusting, excitement and repulsion, in a more entertaining way than Cheap Thrills. Regardless of whether you want to or not (and I don’t think you will), this is a movie you won’t soon forget.
In addition to talking a bit more about Cheap Thrills with Matt’s review and a couple of interviews, this week’s Top 5 also highlights our set visit coverage for Godzilla, Matt’s review of Divergent plus interviews with Shailene Woodley and more, the final trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man 2, and Muppets Most Wanted interviews with Tina Fey among others. Read on for a brief recap and link to everything I mention above.
With Muppets Most Wanted opening next weekend, I recently landed an exclusive video interview with producer Todd Lieberman. During the interview he talked about the first time he heard they’d get to make a sequel, the process of developing the sequel and the urgency to get a story together, the cameos and the process of organizing them, his thoughts on Muppets TV specials or possibly a Muppets series, filming in London, his thoughts on getting the Muppets in LEGO form, how he came to be producing Insurgent (the sequel to Divergent), and a lot more.
In the sequel, the gang is on a successful tour in Europe but gets into trouble when Kermit gets mistaken for his jewel-heisting doppelganger, Constantine. The film stars Ricky Gervais, Ty Burrell, and Tina Fey, and features a ton of celebrity cameos. For more on the film, watch 20 minutes of behind-the-scenes footage, or check out all our previous coverage which features TV spots, clips, interviews, and more. Muppets Most Wanted opens March 21.
Available via Netflix Watch Instantly as of late December, last weekend I finally got the chance to check out writer/director Joe Swanberg‘s romantic comedy Drinking Buddies. I should disclaim that it’s near impossible for me to be objective when talking about Swanberg given that he’s a fellow Southern Illinois University alum and few things make me prouder than a Saluki film student enjoying success in the industry. That out of the way, I enjoyed the heck out of Drinking Buddies. Much has been made of the film’s stellar cast and I won’t try and dispute those claims at all. As someone who has never watched a minute of Fox’s New Girl, I loved Jake Johnson‘s turn in the pic and I bought he and Olivia Wilde‘s romantic chemistry hook, line, and sinker. As for Anna Kendrick and Ron Livingston? Lets just say that I love each of them in almost everything and this is no exception. All in all, Buddies is a funny, sweet, realistic teetering on the verge of understated look at the universal concept of being just friends.
Instant stream recommendations aside, this week’s Top 5 includes our Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit set visit coverage, the first look at the Marvel One-Shot All Hail the King starring Ben Kingsley, a set visit recap for Muppets Most Wanted, some villain rumors surrounding Batman vs. Superman, and Adam’s latest installment of Oscar Beat that breaks down the guild nods and what they could mean for Oscar season. Like you might expect, a brief recap and link to each of the above can be found after the jump.
While it’s always great to talk to the actors on a movie set, they’re usually pretty guarded about revealing the plot. Enter the filmmakers. While producer Todd Lieberman didn’t reveal any of the twists and turns of The Muppets sequel, Muppets Most Wanted, during a group interview last year, he did provide a lot of information. Here are a few highlights:
- Muppets Most Wanted picks up where The Muppets left off, though it goes in a completely different direction.
- On the cameo appearances in the film, Lieberman said: “We filled it with some pretty amazing people, from Oscar winners to Grammy winners to really recognizable actors. I think it’s going to be an insane spread of some very talented people.”
- There will be a couple of Muppet characters in this film that weren’t in The Muppets.
- Lieberman said there will be a wedding in this film, though he refused to confirm which characters it involves.
In addition to what I already mentioned, Lieberman talked about casting Ricky Gervais, the quality of the script, the musical numbers, filming in Europe, the famous landmarks that are in the film, and a lot more. Hit the jump for what he had to say.
One of the many films Disney promoted at D23 was director James Bobin’s sequel Muppets Most Wanted. In the follow-up, the gang is on a successful tour in Europe but gets into trouble when Kermit is mistaken for his jewel-heisting doppelganger, Constantine. Ricky Gervais plays Constantine’s sidekick, Tina Fey plays a Russian prison guard, and Ty Burrell plays an Interpol agent. For more on the film, here’s the first teaser trailer and Dave’s recap of the D23 panel.
Shortly after the panel, I landed a video interview with producer Todd Lieberman. He talked about how the sequel came together, the writing process, the songs, Ricky Gervais’ past as a singer in the 1980s, the cameos, upcoming projects, and more. Hit the jump to watch.
Fresh off the rather large opening weekend for Sam Raimi’s fantasy pic Oz the Great and Powerful, Disney is ready to put a new spin on yet another classic story. Deadline reports that screenwriter Joe Ahearne, who most recently wrote Danny Boyle’s upcoming psychological thriller Trance, has been tapped to pen the script for a live-action reimagining of Beauty and the Beast called The Beast. This seemingly sets off yet another Snow White-esque race between two fairy tale-themed pics, as Warner Bros. has long been developing a new take on Beauty and the Beast with Guillermo del Toro directing and Emma Watson set to star. Hit the jump for more on Disney’s latest move towards world domination.
One of my favorite films of last year was director James Bobin‘s The Muppets. Not only was the film a huge commercial hit grossing almost $160 million worldwide, The Muppets averaged an amazing 96% on Rotten Tomatoes and also won the Academy Award for Best Original Song (Bret McKenzie‘s “Man or Muppet”). While it might have been a while before Disney decided to release a further Muppets movie, the new film’s success led the studio to greenlight the sequel quickly and it currently has a December 20, 2013 release date (via IMDb). As we’ve previously reported:
With the release date almost a year away, I figured filming must be starting soon. I was right. The other night I attended a Lionsgate/Summit holiday party where I ran into Muppet producer Todd Lieberman (he produced The Muppets with David Hoberman) and he gave me an update on the sequel. Hit the jump for more.
The Top Cow comic series The Darkness is getting the big screen treatment. Sources tell us that Regency is nearing a deal to obtain the feature film rights to the comic with producers David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman (The Fighter, The Muppets). Moreover, Total Recall director and “godfather” of the Underworld series Len Wiseman would produce the film. Mandeville’s David Manpearl will also be involved and Top Cow’s Marc Silvestri and Matt Hawkins will be Executive Producing.
Created by David Wohl, Marc Silvestri, and Garth Ennis, the mythologically dense comic first appeared in 1996 and centers on an ageless power called “The Darkness.” The primordial force has been at war with its equal and opposite, The Angelus, since creation, and takes root in male hosts. Awakened at the host’s 21st birthday, The Darkness allows its host to create and control anything he desires, including sentient beings. Hit the jump for more.
With The Muppets now playing, all week I’ve been posting exclusive video interviews with the cast and filmmakers. The past week I posted my conversations with Amy Adams, Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy, Jason Segel and Walter, director James Bobin, co-screenwriter Nicholas Stoller, and today I’ve got producers David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman. But before getting to the interview, as I’ve said all week, I absolutely loved The Muppets. It’s one of my favorite films of the year and it not only made me laugh, it also made me cry. If you were nervous about the movie…don’t be. It’s a huge home run.
During the interview, Hoberman and Lieberman talked about their reaction to seeing the finished film for the first time, the test screening process, Kermit’s song “Pictures of My Head,” the newest Muppet Walter, and the possibility that The Muppets might return to TV. In addition, with Hoberman and Lieberman having produced The Fighter and involved in other projects, I asked the status of a sequel, what’s up with Warm Bodies, and the movie adaptation of Phineas and Ferb. Hit the jump to watch.
Earlier today, I had the chance to talk with The Muppets producers David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman. The full interview will be up the week of release (November 18), but I wanted to pass along what the producing team had to say about a few of their upcoming projects like the sequel to The Fighter, director Jonathan Levine’s (50/50) Warm Bodies, and Phineas and Ferb, which they are adapting as their first live-action/animated feature film. Lieberman confirmed last week’s news that Toy Story 3 writer Michael Arndt worked on the draft from series creators Swampy Marsh and Dan Povenmire, which bodes well for the project.
For those that want to see a Fighter sequel, which would explore the Micky Ward and Arturo Gatti fights, Hoberman and Lieberman tell me that “Wahlberg’s in training mode again,” but no one has been hired to write a script. Which means it’s still on the far off horizon. They also talked about the tricky tonal balance in Warm Bodies. Hit the jump for what they had to say on all three projects.
Disney has acquired the life rights to the inspirational story of celebrity DJ Casey Connor. Variety reports that Disney has snatched up the rights for Mandeville Films to produce. Before you write this off as a silly DJ movie, Connor’s story is actually pretty moving. The 17-year-old promising singer and dancer put her career aspirations aside to take care of her 12-year-old sister following their parents’ death. Connor ended up accelerating her high school education so she could run their mother’s daycare out of their Brooklyn home in order to pay off nearly $80,000 in debt.
After a chance encounter with a talent manager, Connor landed some high profile DJ gigs in New York that in turn lead to even higher profile gigs in Los Angeles where she found herself spinning for the likes of Kanye West, Britney Spears and Madonna. Her in-demand status at fashion shows, film premieres, and clubs allowed her to finance her sister’s college studies at Loyola Marymount where she graduated with honors in 2010. The 8 Mile-esque project will be produced by David Hoberman and Todd Lieberman.
Last summer at Comic-Con, Mandeville Films and Top Cow Productions closed a deal to produce a feature film adaptation of the Top Cow comic book Crosshair. According to the press release, “Crosshair follows a former CIA assassin turned suburban superdad who faces his most dangerous enemy ever – himself. Justin Weller learns that he has 48 hours until a suppressed program in his brain will turn him into an unstoppable killing machine aimed at the President of the United States. Weller races against the clock to uncover and reverse the source of his trigger.”
Since that original press announcement, movement on the Crosshair film had been at a standstill. However, I’ve just heard that Summit Entertainment is now in final talks to acquire the film rights and a new writer named Morgan Foehl is going to handle scripting duties. Todd Lieberman and David Hoberman (they produced The Fighter and The Muppets) will still be producing.
As I write this, no contracts have been signed. But I’m hearing a deal is imminent. More as we hear it. For more on the project, read our story from last summer.
A few days ago I sat down with producers Todd Lieberman and David Hoberman to talk about director David O. Russell’s The Fighter. With the film being one of my favorite’s of 2010, I was curious how the project got put together. During the interview, Lieberman and Hoberman told me some great behind the scenes stories about who was originally going to star in the film and how Darren Aronofsky was at one point attached to direct. While I would have loved to have seen his version of the film, I think we can all agree O. Russell did a pretty amazing job and that’s probably why the film is nominated for seven Oscars.
In addition to the behind the scenes stories, we talked about why the Gatti-Ward trilogy of fights didn’t make it into the film, are they thinking about making a sequel to show those fights, how did Paramount get involved, why did they keep the film under wraps for so long, did they ever think the film would be nominated for Best Picture, and a lot more. Hit the jump to watch the interview (it’s been time indexed so you can watch the part’s that interest you).
Every once in awhile a movie comes out of left field and completely floors you. Usually this happens at a film festival, because no one has seen the movie before its first screening and you walk in ready for anything. But it’s rare for this to happen when you’re talking about a big Hollywood release. The reason is by the time it’s ready to be seen, there is usually a lot of advance buzz letting you know one way or the other if the film works. But for some reason, when it comes to David O. Russell’s The Fighter, which is based on the true story of boxers Dicky and Micky Ecklund, people around town have been oddly silent.
But with The Fighter getting ready to be released December 10th in select cities and on the 17th everywhere, Paramount has started showing the movie and I can tell you it’s one of the best films you’ll see this year. Filled with award caliber performances from every cast member and great direction from David O. Russell, The Fighter has come out of nowhere to completely shake up my top ten of the year. Also, while all the acting is incredible (even Mark Wahlberg), Christian Bale rips through the film like a tornado and he’s easily the front runner to win an Oscar. More after the jump – including 3 movie clips and 19 images from the film.
Just when you think Disney’s Muppets movie has a great cast of key players and cameos, they go and add more to the mix. Among the new names are Alan Arkin, Billy Crystal…and Jean-Claude Van Damme?
Last week, we got our first look at the film, followed by the news of nine actors, including John Krasinski, Paul Rudd, and Ed Helms, joining the cast (although we later discovered that Jane Lynch was not attached to the film). Then, yesterday, more set photos came along showing Amy Adams and Jason Segel smiling it up with the new muppet, Walter. Hit the jump to find out what these new roles will be, as well as the other’s previously announced.