This week in Blu-ray/DVD recommendations I confidently offer up writer/director Maggie Carey‘s The To Do List for your consideration. Starring Aubrey Plaza, Johnny Simmons, Bill Hader, and many more, The To Do List delivers consistent laughs and, at times, an all too realistic depiction of the awkwardness of “first times”. As an added bonus, I imagine viewers who grew up in the 90′s will appreciate the fashion and accessory induced nostalgia the film provides (the sound of a Trapper Keeper ripping open is music to my ears). Moreover, having a story like this told from a female perspective is refreshing to say the least. I don’t want to oversell it as being a comedic game-changer but The To Do List is a solid feature debut for Carey and Plaza is excellent as the overachieving lead who approaches sexual experience the only way she knows how: like it’s a class final that’s worth 75% of your overall grade.
Home entertainment recommendations aside, this week’s Top 5 highlights the first trailer for director Marc Webb‘s The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Out of the Furnace interviews with Christian Bale and more, Gal Gadot landing the role of Wonder Woman in Batman vs. Superman, Sundance 2014 announcing its competition lineup along with a slew of first/new images from many of the entries, and the possibility of X-Men: Apocalypse hitting theaters in May 2016. For more, check out a brief recap and link to each of the above after the jump.
Opening this weekend is writer/director Scott Cooper’s (Crazy Heart) drama Out of the Furnace. Shot entirely on location in and around Braddock, Pennsylvania, the film stars Christian Bale as an ex-con steel worker who seeks vengeance when his brother (Casey Affleck) disappears after getting involved with a local crime ring. Out of the Furnace also stars Woody Harrelson, Zoe Saldana, Sam Shepard, Willem Dafoe and Forest Whitaker. For more on the film, watch the trailer or read all our previous coverage.
At the recent Los Angeles press day, I landed an exclusive interview with Zoe Saldana. She talked about how she got involved in the project, what it was like to work with the amazing cast (specifically Bale), how she’s changed as an actor, changes on set, J.J. Abrams not directing Star Trek 3, working with James Gunn on Guardians of the Galaxy, having to do four to five hours of makeup every day, and much more. Hit the jump for what she had to say.
The 2014 Sundance Film Festival In Competition lineup has been unveiled, and along with it some first-look images and synopses have been released. After the jump, find the images and synopses for the following films that will screen as part of the U.S. Competition category:
- Hellion – Written and directed by Kat Candler; starring Aaron Paul, Juliette Lewis, Josh Wiggins, Deke Garner, Jonny Mars, and Walt Roberts.
- Infinitely Polar Bear – Written and directed by Maya Forbes; starring Mark Ruffalo, Zoe Saldana, Imogene Wolodarsky, and Ashley Aufderheide.
- Jamie Marks Is Dead – Written and directed by Carter Smith; starring Cameron Monaghan, Noah Silver, Morgan Saylor, Judy Greer, Madisen Beaty, and Liv Tyler.
- Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter – Directed by David Zellner; starring Rinko Kikuchi.
Hit the jump to check out the images and synopses. The 2014 Sundance Film Festival runs January 16 – 26th.
Acclaimed writer and director Scott Cooper has long been drawn to the personal stories of people living on the margins of society. His new film, Out of the Furnace, takes audiences on a tragic yet inspiring journey into the heart of a fading American Dream where fate, family and loyalty drive an ordinary man to take heroic measures to fight for those he loves. Opening in theaters on December 6th, the film was shot entirely on location in and around Braddock, Pennsylvania and features an impressive cast that includes Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, Zoe Saldana, Sam Shepard, Willem Dafoe and Forest Whitaker.
At the film’s recent press day, Bale, Affleck, Harrelson, Saldana and Cooper revealed what appealed to them about the story and its characters, how shooting on location helped inform their performances, why it’s important to be cool and calm when playing an intense character, how trust is essential when a high level of physicality is involved, what Bale and Affleck did to create an authentic chemistry between their characters, what it was like for Cooper to bring the story to life with such a talented group of actors, and why he feels it’s important to be true to yourself and to your artistic world view. Hit the jump to read the interview.
New high-resolution images from a trio of upcoming releases have landed online. Briefly:
- The Amazing Spider-Man 2 – A new image from director Marc Webb’s superhero sequel features Jamie Foxx’s villain pre-transformation, along with hi-res versions of a couple of previously released photos. The film opens in 3D on May 2, 2014.
- Out of the Furnace – A large batch of new hi-res images from director Scott Cooper’s (Crazy Heart) upcoming drama, starring Christian Bale as an ex-con who goes searching for his missing brother (Casey Affleck). The film opens on December 6th.
- Grudge Match – A few new images from the Robert De Niro/Sylvester Stallone comedy, which revolves around a rematch between two old, bitter boxing rivals. The film opens on Christmas Day.
Hit the jump to take a look at the images.
Four new images have been released for Scott Cooper’s drama Out of the Furnace. The film stars Christian Bale as an ex-con steel worker who seeks vengeance when his brother (Casey Affleck) disappears after getting involved with a local crime ring. The pic seems to be flying under the radar when it comes to awards prognostication. Perhaps that’s because of early buzz amongst Oscar bloggers (where’s Adam when you need him?!) or because the plot doesn’t reach for something as lofty as other contenders even thought it looks like a compelling character drama. Perhaps its awards fortunes will change when it premieres at AFI Fest later this month.
Hit the jump to check out the images. The film also stars Zoe Saldana, Woody Harrelson, Willem Dafoe, Sam Shepard, and Forest Whitaker. Out of the Furnace opens in theaters December 6th.
We’ve got a few brief casting stories for you this afternoon. First up, Sigourney Weaver has joined the cast of Neill Blomkamp’s sci-fi comedy, Chappie. The film tells the story of a robot (voiced by Sharlto Copley) imbued with artificial intelligence who is stolen by two local gangsters who want to use him for their own nefarious purposes. The movie stars Hugh Jackman and Dev Patel. Variety has no details on Weaver’s character, but she’s a welcome addition to any cast. Weaver is currently busy re-teaming with Ridley Scott for the biblical epic, Exodus.
Hit the jump for Judy Greer being in talks to join Jason Reitman‘s next film, Men, Women & Childen; and Ewan McGregor and Zoe Saldana looking to Kill the Trumpet Player in Don Cheadle‘s Miles Davis movie.
A few casting notices tonight:
- Blake Lively and Ellen Burstyn signed on to lead the romantic drama The Age of Adaline about a young woman who stops aging after a near-fatal accident.
- Craig Roberts will take a supporting role in 22 Jump Street. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum go undercover at college in the sequel.
- Speaking of the Jump Street star, Channing Tatum joins the voice cast of the Guillermo del Toro-produced cartoon Book of Life along with Zoe Saldana, Diego Luna, Christina Applegate, Ice Cube, and many more.
More on each project after the jump.
Relativity Media has released a new trailer for director Scott Cooper’s (Crazy Heart) upcoming drama Out of the Furnace, and the film looks fantastic. The pic stars Christian Bale as an ex-con steel worker who seeks vengeance when his brother (Casey Affleck) disappears after getting involved with a local crime ring. This new trailer has a stronger focus on Woody Harrelson’s character, who promises to be a rather menacing force in the film. The performances look great all around, and like the first trailer, this new look teases a character-focused story with a strong thematic undercurrent of redemption and family told through the lens of America’s working class. No wonder the pic landed on our Most Anticipated list of fall films.
Hit the jump to watch the new trailer. The film also stars Zoe Saldana, Willem Dafoe, Sam Shepard, and Forest Whitaker. Out of the Furnace opens in theaters December 6th.
AFI Fest was put in bit of a bind last week when the disappointing news broke that Sony Pictures Classic was opting to push director Bennett Miller’s excellent-looking drama Foxcatcher to 2014. The film had been poised to be AFI Fest’s centerpiece premiere film, and so the festival organizers were no doubt left scrambling to find a replacement. In Foxcatcher’s stead, AFI Fest announced today that director Scott Cooper’s (Crazy Heart) new film Out of the Furnace will now make its world premiere at the festival. The promising pic stars Christian Bale as an ex-con steel worker who seeks vengeance when his brother (Casey Affleck) disappears after getting involved with a local crime ring. Additionally, Nebraska and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty have been added to the AFI Fest slate.
Hit the jump to check out some new images from Out of the Furnace. The film also stars Woody Harrelson, Zoe Saldana, Willem Dafoe, Forest Whitaker, and Sam Shepard and opens in theaters on December 6th.
There’s no prequel to Blood Ties, but perhaps there should be. It could provide a reason to give a damn about the characters. We could see the development of their conflict, the tension between brothers and the brothers’ tension with their lovers. Instead, Guillaume Canet’s film hits the ground stumbling as the disjointed picture jumps between characters seemingly at random, and never spends enough time to make us care, or wastes time showing just how shallow these horrible people really are. Coated in the veneer of a throwback crime drama, Blood Ties is an insult to its genre, its cast, and its audience.
Having left production in London to make an appearance in Hall H at Comic-Con, cast members Chris Pratt (“Peter Quill”/”Star-Lord”), Zoe Saldana (“Gamora”), Benicio Del Toro (“The Collector”), Dave Bautista (“Drax the Destroyer”), Karen Gillan (“Nebula”), Michael Rooker (“Yondu”), Lee Pace (“Ronan the Accuser”) and Djimon Hounsou (“Korath”) joined director/writer James Gunn (Slither, Super) to talk to the press about the otherworldly Guardians of the Galaxy that’s more anti-hero than hero.
During the interview, Gunn talked about the basic moral premise of the film, when he might announce further casting, the tone they’re going for, working with such a big budget, and the connection between the Guardians and the rest of the Marvel universe, while the cast talked about stepping into these high-profile roles, the extent of the training, and their favorite aspects of their characters. Check out what they had to say after the jump.
While the official Comic-Con schedule listed Marvel’s panel as centering on Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, we knew from experience to expect a few surprises. As such, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige was greeted with great applause when he introduced director James Gunn and the entire main cast of Guardians of the Galaxy earlier today in Hall H, all of whom flew in from the London set just to appear on the panel. While filming only just got underway two weeks ago, fans were treated to the excellent debut of some footage from the pic, while Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, David Bautista, Benicio Del Toro, Lee Pace, Djimon Hounsou, Karen Gillan, and Michael Rooker teased what to expect from the film.
Hit the jump to read my full recap of the Guardians of the Galaxy Comic-Con panel.
Relativity Media has released the first trailer for director Scott Cooper‘s (Crazy Heart) drama Out of the Furnace. The promising pic stars Christian Bale as an ex-con steel worker who seeks vengeance when his brother (Casey Affleck) disappears after getting involved with a local crime ring. Backed by Pearl Jam‘s “Release,” this trailer is heavy on mood and atmosphere, promising some intense performances from the entire cast, including a sinister turn from Woody Harrelson. As a huge fan of Crazy Heart I was already looking forward to this one quite a bit, but this trailer is stellar. In addition to what looks to be a pretty involving thriller, Cooper looks to be tackling issues of the working class alongside themes of redemption and family, solidifying this as one of my most anticipated films of 2013.
Hit the jump to watch the trailer and to check out some high-resolution images. The film stars Sam Shepard, Zoe Saldana, and Forest Whitaker. Out of the Furnace opens in limited release on November 27th and expands wide on December 6th.
Just a couple of days ago, we got our first look at Crazy Heart director Scott Cooper’s upcoming gritty drama Out of the Furnace by way of some debut images. Now even more images from the film have been released online, along with an official poster. The promising pic stars Christian Bale as an ex-con steel worker who seeks vengeance when his brother (Casey Affleck) disappears after getting involved with a local crime ring. Cooper notes that the film is about the plight of the working class and deals with themes of justice, retribution and courage, and as a big fan of Crazy Heart I’ve been looking forward to this one for quite some time. Hopefully a trailer surfaces soon.
Hit the jump to check out the new images and poster. The film also stars Zoe Saldana, Sam Shepard, Willem Dafoe, and Forest Whitaker. Out of the Furnace opens in limited release on November 27th.