FX Renews THE STRAIN for Season 2; The Virus Will Spread in Summer 2015

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There were rumors that The Strain got the go-ahead for a second season, but now FX has made it official, running with the appropriate press release title, “The Strain to Spread Though the Summer Of 2015.”  For anyone who hasn’t given the show a shot just yet, I highly recommend it.  We’ve seen six episodes of season 1 thus far and while I can’t say every moment rocks high quality writing, performances and believable behavior, there’s no denying that it’s still a blast to watch.

No spoilers here, but the show kicks off with a plane landing at JFK.  It touches down safe and sound, but when there isn’t a single peep from the pilot, crew or any of the passengers after, the CDC is called in to investigate what is dubbed a “dead airplane.”  But the thing is, the passengers aren’t dead.  They start waking up and that’s when crazy things start going down.  Hit the jump for more on The Strain season 2 renewal.

AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D. Hires Adrianne Palicki to Guest Star as Bobbi Morse a.k.a Mockingbird

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After the incredibly disappointing first season of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. the series is returning with a new gameplan: guest stars, guest stars, and guest stars.  Kyle MacLachlan is playing Skye’s father; Lucy Lawless is playing veteran S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Isabelle Hartley; and Reed Diamond is playing Hydra baddie Daniel Whitehall (a.k.a Kraken).  THR is now reporting that Adrianne Palicki will be making an appearance this season as Bobbi Morse, a.k.a. Mockingbird.  According to THR, Morse “will appear in the fifth episode of the Marvel procedural with the potential to return; the episode will find her popping in perhaps not as an ally to Coulson (Clark Gregg) and his team.”  While Palicki is a likable presence, her casting and the casting of other guest stars doesn’t address the show’s larger problem like the bad writing, dull main characters, and crummy special effects.  Hopefully, season two is where Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. comes into its own instead of being that TV thing Marvel does.

Hit the jump for the Comic-Con video where agents Billy Koenig and Sam Koenig (Patton Oswalt and Patton Oswalt) teased the appearance of Morse in the new season.

Jessica Alba, Josh Brolin, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Eva Green, Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller Talk SIN CITY: A DAME TO KILL FOR

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Nearly a decade after the first film, co-directors Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller have reunited to bring the visually stunning Sin City graphic novels back to the screen for Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.  In a town where murderers reign and the desperate want vengeance, their paths cross at the famous Kadie’s Club Pecos, where Nancy Callahan (Jessica Alba) still dances while mourning the loss of her love, John Hartigan (Bruce Willis).  With Marv (Mickey Rourke) in the center of the carnage, a cocky young gambler named Johnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) takes on the villainous Senator Roark (Powers Boothe), and Dwight McCarthy (Josh Brolin) is battles with the woman of his dreams and nightmares, Ava Lord (Eva Green).

During a conference at the film’s press day, actors Jessica Alba, Josh Brolin, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Eva Green talked about living in Sin City, with this dialogue and these extremes, going into the mind of Frank Miller, trickiest scenes, playing a Rodriguez bad-ass, the motives of the women in Sin City, working in Austin at Troublemaker Studios, working with Christopher Lloyd, feeling comfortable with Nancy’s swagger, the sex and sexuality of the story, and why Nancy is a stripper who never actually takes her clothes off.  Also there, Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller discussed getting even closer to the comics this time around, what the 3D added, the process of lighting the film, what their collaboration has meant to each other, and how they’d like to go into production on a third film, right away.  Check out what they had to say after the jump.

Benedict Cumberbatch to Voice Shere Khan in Andy Serkis’ JUNGLE BOOK: ORIGINS

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Jon Favreau’s version of The Jungle Book for Disney already has Neel Sethi, Lupita Nyong’oIdris ElbaScarlett Johansson, Sir Ben Kingsley, Christopher Walken and Giancarlo Esposito on board and is barreling towards an October 9, 2015 debut, but now Andy Serkis’ rendition for Warner Bros., which is now titled Jungle Book: Origins, is making some moves, too.

Serkis’ Jungle Book just locked its very first star, Benedict Cumberbatch.  He’ll voice the film’s villain, Shere Khan, a tiger who’d rather not have any humans in his territory at all.  Hit the jump for more on Cumberbatch’s casting.  Jungle Book: Origins is set for an October 21, 2016 debut.

Disney XD Sets Dates for 1-Hour Movie STAR WARS REBELS: SPARK OF REBELLION and the STAR WARS REBELS Series Premiere

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Disney XD has announced their multi-platform rollout for their new animated series, Star Wars RebelsDeadline reports that the one-hour debut, Star Wars Rebels: Spark of Rebellion will premiere on September 29th on WatchDisneyXD.com and the Watch Disney XD app.  Spark of Rebellion will then make its global TV broadcast on various Disney channels on October 3rd at 9pm (U.S).  Finally, the animated series will have its premiere on Disney XD at October 13th at 9pm (U.S.).  “The series will air in 34 languages across 163 countries in over 400 million households,” according to Disney.

It’s a huge rollout for the show, which takes place between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope, but it’s important to remember that The Clone Wars set a high bar with young fans of animated Star Wars, and now they’ll need to be convinced that Star Wars Rebels is a worthy successor.  Hit the jump to check out the trailer.

Adam Driver Highlights the Importance of Keeping STAR WARS: EPISODE VII Grounded

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When you’ve got a story that takes place in space and involves distant planets, lightsabers, epic battles and an abundance of alien creatures, “grounded” is probably not the first word you’d think to use to describe it, but for Star Wars: Episode VII star, Adam Driver, it’s those relatable, universal themes that make the Star Wars franchise a standout.

Even though the web’s been flooded with Star Wars: Episode VII talk lately, there’s been little to nothing from the stars of the upcoming installment – until now.  Hit the jump to read what Driver had to say about what makes the Star Wars films so special.

First ANT-MAN Image Features Paul Rudd Brooding by the San Francisco Bay

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Yesterday, Marvel sent out a press release announcing the start of filming on Peyton Reed‘s Ant-Man.  Today, the first Ant-Man image has gone online, and it features thief-turned-hero Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) standing out by the Golden Gate Bridge.  Specifically, he’s at Fort Point, which is where Scottie “rescued” Madeleine in Vertigo, so there’s some fun movie trivia for you.  I’d be surprised if Hitchcock’s classic had anything to do with Reed’s movie, but it’s certainly a lovely, scenic viewpoint.  I have no idea where in the movie this could take place, but probably not near the conclusion unless Marvel is going for their first bummer ending.

Hit the jump to check out the Ant-Man image.  The film also stars Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Corey Stoll, Bobby Cannavale, Michael Peña, Abby Ryder Fortson, Judy Greer, David Dastmalchian, Wood Harris, Gregg Turkington, T.I., and John SlatteryAnt-Man opens July 17, 2015.

First ’71 Trailer: Jack O’Connell Tries to Find His Way Home

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One of the best films I saw at last year’s Berlin Film Festival was ’71, which is the feature directorial debut of Yann Demange (whose credits include some high-profile and acclaimed British television series like Top Boy, Criminal Justice, Secret Diary of a Call Girl).  The film is set in Belfast in 1971 and it’s about a young British soldier (Jack O’Connell) that’s accidentally abandoned by his unit following a riot.  Trapped behind enemy lines, he’s unable to tell friend from foe, and we follow as he tries to find his way home, while the locals battle for supremacy.  One of the reasons the film is so powerful is that it doesn’t portray any character or side in absolutes.  Each person we meet along the way has depth, and Demange doesn’t pull any punches when depicting the violence of the times.

With ’71 doesn’t yet have a release date in America, the film opens in the U.K. on October 10th and the first trailer has landed online.  What’s great about the ‘71 trailer is that it sells you on the story and action without ruining any of the twists and turns.  Hit the jump to check it out.

Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright Working Together on New Movie

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It would be shocking if Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright never worked together on a movie following The World’s End, and thankfully, the two will continue their creative partnership.  On a recent interview with BBC Music 6, Pegg announced that he and Wright were pursuing a new project.  “Edgar and I were having a conversation the other day about it, and it has a title and everything. We’re kind of into a creative cycle now…” said Pegg.  “We’ve all got different things [going] on and we know we have to get those things done. The coming-together thing is without question on the table and will happen when we can do it.”

Hit the jump for more.

TIFF 2014 Adds James Franco’s THE SOUND AND THE FURY, ST. VINCENT Starring Bill Murray, Conversations with Denzel Washington, Robert Duvall and More

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The 2014 Toronto International Film Festival lineup is complete!  With the event now just a little over two weeks away, the Discovery Program, the Kids Program and additional selections for other festival sections have been announced.  James Franco’s The Sound and the Fury will have its North American premiere and the Bill Murray-starrer, St. Vincent, will get a world premiere in the Special Presentations section, ’71 featuring Jack O’Connell will play in the Discovery Program and Martin Scorsese’s The 50 Year Argument will screen in the Mavericks Program, just to name a few.

On top of that, Mavericks is now also loaded with iconic talent set to take part in discussions including Denzel Washington, Antoine Fuqua, Juliette Binoche, Robert Duvall and more.  Hit the jump to check out all of the new additions to the TIFF lineup.

R.I.P. Don Pardo, the Voice of SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, Dead at 96

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When Saturday Night Live returns for its new season, it will have lost one of its most distinctive aspects.  The show has cycled through dozens and dozens of cast members, but (with the exception of the 1981-82 season) there was always one voice to introduce them: Don Pardo.  That voice is gone now.  According to an NBC spokesman [via THR], Pardo passed away in his sleep yesterday.

Although Pardo made a rousing impact on Saturday Night Live, he left an indelible mark as an announcer through his entire career.  He began to make a name for himself in the business as he worked as a game show announced for Winner Take All, Three on a Match, Call My Bluff, Jackpot, The Price is Right, and Jeopardy.  Pardo was already a 31-year veteran at NBC when Lorne Michaels hired him to be the announcer for SNL.  Pardo wanted to retire in 2004, but he was offered a lifetime contract.  “I found out that only two people [at NBC] had ever had lifetime contracts,” Pardo said, “Bob Hope and me.”  In 2010, Pardo became the first announcer to be inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame.  TV has truly lost an unforgettable voice and a legend of the industry.  Our deepest condolences go out to Mr. Pardo’s family and friends.

MEN, WOMEN & CHILDREN Trailer: Adam Sandler, Jennifer Garner, Ansel Elgort and More Have Internet Issues in Jason Reitman’s New Drama

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Our very first look at Jason Reitman’s latest is here and based on the tone of the trailer, Men, Women & Children could be one of his darker, most somber films yet.  In fact, I don’t think there’s a single smile in this entire thing.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but when you fall for laugh-heavy films like Juno and Young Adult (and also manage to forget that Labor Day even exists), this feels like quite the switch.  This is only a teaser trailer so it’s impossible to pass much judgment, but Reitman could have the performances to support it, with The Fault in Our Star’s Ansel Elgort being a standout here.  The piece also doesn’t offer up any concrete story details, but from the official synopsis and Chad Kulten’s source material, we know that Men, Women & Children will focus on high school students and their parents, and how their relationships, self-image and quality of life are affected by the internet.

Hit the jump to watch the Men, Women & Children trailer.  The film also stars Adam SandlerRosemarie DeWittJennifer GarnerJudy GreerKaitlyn DeverDean NorrisJ.K. Simmons, Timothée ChalametOlivia Crocicchia and Emma Thompson.  Men, Women & Children will have its world premiere at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival and opens in limited release on October 3rd.

Dwayne Johnson Confirms He Will Play Either Shazam or Black Adam in DC Comics Adaptation

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Dwayne Johnson often teases fans with hints of his ongoing talks with DC Comics to bring one of their characters to life.  We are zeroing in on who exactly he will play, but Johnson makes it sound as though even he doesn’t know yet.  According to USA Today, Johnson confirmed he will join a DC Comics adaptation but has not decided between hero Shazam and villain Black Adam.  Whichever role he takes on, Johnson promised, “I am putting my heart and soul and my bones into this role.”

Warner Bros. was rumored to have tentatively scheduled a Shazam movie for 2016—shortly after the release of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice—so all may be revealed soon enough.  More on Shazam and Black Adam after the break.

SundanceTV Renews RECTIFY Season 3 to Air in 2015

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SundanceTV has renewed Rectify for a third season that will likely air in 2015.  Deadline hears that Rectify season 3 will be comprised of six episodes, just like the first season.  The season 2 run ends after ten episodes this Thursday.

I finally caught up with Rectify on Netflix just before season 2 premiered in June.  It’s the best viewing decision I made this summer.  The series is hauntingly beautiful.  I am very happy Ray McKinnon has been granted at least six more hours to continue the story of the Holden/Talbot clan.  More immediately, I am dying to see how he wraps up season 2 this week.

Bradley Cooper to Star in MACK BOLAN Movie; Todd Phillips to Direct Action Novel Adaptation

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Author Don Pendleton introduced Mack Bolan (aka The Executioner) in 1969.  Pendleton wrote 37 Mack Bolan novels, sold the rights in 1980, and ghostwriters have produced over 600 books in the ongoing series.  Over the years, many of Hollywood’s burliest leading men have angled to play the Vietnam veteran who fights against international terrorism, including Steve McQueen, Sylvester Stallone, Clint Eastwood, and Vin Diesel.  But a film adaptation has remained elusive.

Writer Shane Salerno (Savages) is scripting a new attempt, and Warner Bros. has just acquired the Mack Bolan movie rights as a star vehicle for Bradley Cooper.  Cooper’s Hangover director Todd Phillips is on board to helm the adaptation.  More after the jump.

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