New BLACKHAT Trailer and Images Have Chris Hemsworth Going around the Globe to Stop Cybercrime in Michael Mann’s New Thriller

by     Posted 36 days ago

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Legendary and Universal have released the first trailer for Michael Mann‘s new film, BlackhatChris Hemsworth plays “a furloughed convict and his American and Chinese partners as they hunt a high-level cybercrime network,” and that brief logline is really all I can tell you after watching this trailer, which seems startling schizophrenic.  There are crime aspects, but there’s also globe-trotting action spectacle along with “serious” commentary on our digitally interconnected world.  I like how it’s trying to be scary about how “vulnerable” we all are even though that’s just life.  I’m really hoping this movie is more than sensationalism, and Mann has delivered something that’s on par with the thoughtful crime films we’ve seen from him in the past.

Hit the jump to check out the Blackhat trailer along with 10 new images.  The film opens January 16, 2015, and also stars Viola Davis, Tang Wei, and Wang Leehom.

Fall Pilot Review: HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER

by     Posted 36 days ago

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Shonda Rhimes has just become a triple-threat on ABC, getting her own 3-hour block of television; How to Get Away with Murder, created by ShondaLand writer Peter Nowalk, will air after Rhimes’ series Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal.  And for fans of Scandal in particular, there’s a lot about How to Get Away with Murder that feels familiar, though in a good way.  Plus, there’s Viola Davis as another strong, complicated (though not angry!) black woman at the heart of the series.  Hit the jump for whether the show deserves a spot on your DV-R, or should even be watched — gasp — live!

Over 12 New GET ON UP Images Show James Brown Coming to Life

by     Posted 102 days ago

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Universal Pictures has released several new images for Get on Up, the James Brown biopic directed by Tate Taylor (The Help).  42 star Chadwick Boseman plays the Godfather of Soul in the film.  I’m not sure what kind of role there is for these kinds of films in the post Walk Hard universe.  Ever since that parody so thoroughly nailed the biopic genre the standard structure for these things has become so transparent.  It could very well be that this movie breaks out of the rather constraining narrative box, though most of the elements I’ve seen don’t indicate that it will.

Still, it could be a nice treat for Brown fans and the new images look handsome enough.  Brown didn’t live a boring life by any means, so I’m sure hitting those required bases will provide some kind of enjoyment.  The film also stars Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Nelsan Ellis, Lennie James, Tika Sumpter, Jill Scott, and Dan Aykroyd.  It opens on August 1st.  Check out the trailer if you missed it.  Hit the jump for the new Get on Up images.

THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ELEANOR RIGBY Trailer: Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy Lead an Unconventional Love Story

by     Posted 126 days ago

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The Weinstein Company has released the first The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby trailer for writer/director Ned Benson’s ambitious love story drama.  The film focuses on the entirety of a relationship between two people, played by Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy.  As glimpsed in this trailer, the film was actually crafted as two separate movies: Her and Him.  One told the story from Chastain’s point of view, and the other from McAvoy’s point of view, but then Benson cut together an omniscient version (titled Them), which is the one that will be released first theatrically.  I’m curious to see if the pic works in this single feature version, but this trailer is certainly an excellent start.  The tone is romantic without overdoing it, and the chemistry between Chastain and McAvoy looks swell.  The Weinstein Company plans to release Her and Him in limited release shortly after this initial version opens, so I’m looking forward to experiencing all three versions.

Hit the jump to watch the Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby trailer.  The film also stars Bill Hader, Viola Davis, William Hurt, Ciaran Hinds, Isabelle Huppert, and Jess WeixlerThe Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby opens in theaters on September 26th.

Chadwick Boseman Is James Brown in New GET ON UP Trailer [Updated with Poster]

by     Posted 164 days ago

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Universal Pictures has released a new Get on Up trailer for director Tate Taylor’s (The Help) James Brown biopic.  42 star Chadwick Boseman tackles the role of the Godfather of Soul as the film tells the story of how Brown went from an impoverished child to one of the most popular recording artists of all time.  The film still doesn’t look like it brings anything new to the cradle-to-grave biopic genre, and I can’t help but think of Walk Hard when seeing all the familiar tropes on display.  That said, Taylor has assembled a rather talented group of actors to bring Brown’s story to life and Boseman feels comfortable in the lead, so hopefully there’s more to the finished film.

Hit the jump to watch the new Get on Up trailer.  The film also stars Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Nelsan Ellis, Lennie James, Tika Sumpter, Jill Scott, and Dan Aykroyd.  Get on Up opens August 1st. [Update: Universal has released the first poster, which is included after the jump as well.]

First Trailers for New ABC Series HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER, AMERICAN CRIME, SELFIE, BLACK-ISH, and More

by     Posted 171 days ago

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Fresh off unveiling its 2014-15 schedule this morning, ABC has released trailers for some of its upcoming new series.  Briefly:

  • How to Get Away with Murder – The legal drama from creator Shonda Rhimes stars Viola Davis as a seductive professor who gets entangled with law students from her class.
  • American Crime – A gritty drama from creator John Ridley (12 Years a Slave) about how an attack on a young couple shakes up racial tensions throughout the country.  Felicity Huffman and Timothy Hutton star.
  • Galavant – A midseason musical comedy fairy tale with songs by composer Alan Menken.
  • Forever – A new drama starring Ioan Gruffudd as an immortal medical examiner trying to uncover the secret to his power.
  • Secrets and Lies – A drama starring Ryan Phillippe as a good Samaritan-turned murder suspect, also starring Juliette Lewis.
  • Black-ish – A new comedy starring Anthony Anderson, from executive producer Larry Wilmore.
  • Selfie – A loose comedic adaptation of My Fair Lady starring Karen Gillan as a social media-obsessed woman who asks a marketing guru (John Cho) to help make her over.

Hit the jump to watch the trailers for these and other shows, and click here to see ABC’s full schedule.

ABC Renews ONCE UPON A TIME, RESURRECTION, SCANDAL, and More; Orders HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER and Others to Series

by     Posted 176 days ago

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It’s ABC’s turn to get in on the renewal/pilot order fun, as the network has renewed three dramas and ordered a few others to series.  Briefly:

  • ABC has renewed the drama series Scandal (duh), Modern Family (more duh), Once Upon a Time, Grey’s Anatomy, Castle, Revenge, The Goldbergs, The Middle, and freshman show Resurrection to return next season.
  • The network has also ordered three new dramas to series: the Viola Davis-fronted legal thriller How to Get Away with Murder from creator Shonda Rhimes, the racially charged American Crime from 12 Years a Slave scribe John Ridley, and the alien-invasion show The Whispers from executive producer Steven Spielberg.
  • On the comedy side, the pilots for Anthony Anderson’s Black-ish, the Karen Gillan-fronted Selfie, the romantic comedy Manhattan Love Story, and creator Dan Fogelman’s (The Neighbors) musical fairy tale Galavant have been ordered to series.

Hit the jump for synopsis and casting info for the new series.

ENDER’S GAME Blu-ray Review

by     Posted 191 days ago

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If you’re looking for a film that deserves a second chance, Ender’s Game will certainly fit the bill. It came and went without much fanfare last fall, another adaptation of a beloved teen novel that failed to catch fire the way the producers clearly hoped it would. It was further burdened by homophobic comments made by the novel’s author Orson Scott Card, which the filmmakers were quick to disavow to no avail. Ender’s Game came and went with nary a hiccup, which sadly overshadowed the fact that – in and of itself – it’s actually rather terrific. Hit the jump for my full Ender’s Game Blu-ray review.

First Trailer and New Images for James Brown Biopic GET ON UP Starring Chadwick Boseman

by     Posted 232 days ago

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Universal has released the first trailer and some new images from director Tate Taylor‘s (The HelpJames Brown biopic Get on Up.  Cradle-to-grave biopics have a tendency to turn stale rather quickly and they almost all drone on for far too long, but this trailer markets Get on Up as a colorful, high-energy look at Brown’s life, inhabited by actor Chadwick Boseman.  In between all the funk and celebration is a strong dramatic undercurrent focusing on Brown’s mother (played by Viola Davis), and these kinds of scenes are where Taylor excelled in his debut feature The Help.  Boseman did a swell job playing Jackie Robinson in last year’s 42, so I’m interested to see how the actor inhabits the larger-than-life Brown.

Hit the jump to watch the trailer and to check out the images.  Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Nelsan Ellis, Lennie James, Tika Sumpter, Jill Scott, and Dan Aykroyd co-star.  Get on Up opens August 1st.

TOP 5: ENDER’S GAME, First Trailer for X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST, 12 YEARS A SLAVE, THE WOLF OF WALL STREET, A Detailed History of GHOSTBUSTERS

by     Posted 363 days ago

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With Halloween 2013 now a few days behind us, I may be a little late to the punch on this recommendation. Still yet, every October I find myself liking 1995′s Halloween: The Curse of Michael Myers more and more. Directed by Joe Chappelle (who would later go on to direct episodes of The Wire and Fringe among others) and written by Daniel Farrands (a long-time fan of the franchise who, at the time, had little produced work under his belt), the film is notorious for its troubled production and its “Producers Cut” which features nearly 45 minutes of alternate footage, including a different ending. Watching it as a kid I remember it being the Halloween film that made me fear Michael Myers. To date, I still feel like the pic features the killer at his most ruthless (just try looking at doing the laundry the same way after watching). Rewatching it as an adult, I admire Farrands’ script for exploring the forces at work behind Michael’s madness. Even with October 31st, 2014 a distant 363 days away, I encourage Halloween fans to watch or revisit The Curse of Michael Myers this next week and see how your feelings towards the film stack up against my own.

Mid-90′s horror recommendations aside, this week’s Top 5 includes Ender’s Game interviews with Asa Butterfield and more, the excellent first trailer for X-Men: Days of Future Past, a slew of interviews for 12 Years a Slave, a new trailer for The Wolf of Wall Street, and a detailed history of the Ghostbusters movies, comics, cartoons, and merch. In what should come as no surprise, a brief recap and link to each of the above can be found after the jump.

ENDER’S GAME Review

by     Posted 1 year ago

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Orson Scott Card‘s 1985 novel, Ender’s Game, is shockingly ahead of its time.  It predicted the wide-spread adoption of e-mail and the Internet, the use of drone warfare, and the connection between video games and players causing an emotional disconnect between war and action.  The book can also be a bit of a chore because of how much time it takes to describe kids shooting freeze guns behind boxes.  Gavin Hood‘s adaptation makes the action come alive, but more importantly, he never forgets the compelling protagonist or the relevant social commentary from Card’s 28-year-old book.  The mind games and weariness might fade into the background, but the intensity of the action and performances make the story not just immediate, but exhilarating.

Viola Davis Talks ENDER’S GAME and Working With Michael Mann on CYBER

by     Posted 1 year, 1 day ago

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It’s rare when a big budget studio film tackles weighty and controversial issues. The bigger the budget, the more the film must appeal to a mass audience (or so the thinking goes). It’s the typical four-quadrant-attempting-to-please-everyone-but-actually-pleasing-no-one bullshit. Ender’s Game is the rare exception: a film with an immense multi-million dollar price tag that’s also willing to tackle difficult socio-political issues. Viola Davis (The Help) co-stars as Major Gwen Anderson, the moral conscience of the picture, diametrically opposed to Harrison Ford’s gruff “by any means necessary” counterpart Colonel Graff. The two spend the majority of Ender’s Game getting into heated debates over the implication of using children during war, the applicability of morality during wartime and the often blood-soaked cost of creating a ‘utopia’. Weighty issues for a film ostensibly about children blowing up alien spaceships.

In the following interview with Viola Davis, the actress discusses the weighty implications of Ender’s Game, where she draws from to create characters and the differences in starring in big budget versus low budget sci-fi. Davis also touched upon her time working on the upcoming Michael Mann film Cyber, which she described as “the biggest ride of her life.” For the full interview, hit the jump.  Ender’s Game opens this Friday in theaters.

PRISONERS Review

by     Posted 1 year, 42 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 1 year, 54 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.

42 Star Chadwick Boseman to Play James Brown in Biopic; Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, and Nelsan Ellis Eyed for Supporting Roles

by     Posted 1 year, 66 days ago

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Producer Brian Grazer has been trying to make a James Brown biopic for over a decade.  Tate Taylor (The Help) signed on to direct and produce late last year, and Mick Jagger came to produce and lend his music cred, but there was no obvious candidate to play the Godfather of Soul.  One black actor surfaced in the last year and proved he could carry a period biopic: Chadwick Boseman.  Boseman played Jackie Robinson in 42, which premiered in April to solid reviews and went on to gross nearly $100 million domestic.  Variety reports Boseman was identified as the top choice weeks ago, but Universal and Imagine Entertainment needed to sort out the budget before an offer could be made.  Now, Boseman is Brown.

Another report suggests Taylor is eying a few members from the Help cast—Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Nelsan Ellis—for supporting roles.  More after the jump.

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