Sunday, 29 September 2013

New featurette dives into the post-conversion process for the 3D IMAX release of The Wizard Of Oz

On 15 August, 1939, The Wizard Of Oz held its red carpet premiere at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. Last week, in celebration of the film's upcoming 75th anniversary, a completely remastered 3D IMAX version of the film premiered at what is now the TCL Chinese Theatre to open the largest IMAX auditorium in the world.

The Wizard Of Oz is the oldest film to ever be converted to 3D and IMAX 3D, but restoring a film that is 75 years old was no easy feat. The Warner Bros restoration team spent approximately 16 months working with Prime Focus on the 3D conversion – with more than 1,000 people working together to deliver the best possible IMAX 3D version of ultimate family classic.

Take a look at the IMAX Behind The Frame featurette which features IMAX's Lorne Orleans who oversaw the digital re-mastering of the film and Ned Price, Chief Preservation Officer over at Warner Bros., who has been a part of the restoration efforts of The Wizard Of Oz for nearly 25 years.

"The film has a kind of theatricality, a hand-made quality, that makes it quite charming and beautiful," Price says, giving praise to the production crew that made the film, explaining that their primary goal was to best serve the original work, not to alter it.

Price also goes on to explain why they chose to give The Wizard Of Oz the IMAX treatment. "The film was originally released in movie palaces; it was intended to be seen on a large screen. Unfortunately, theatres have downsized since its original release, and IMAX is giving that large screen experience," he says, going on to mention home viewing and mobile devices, environments in which films are screened under less-than-ideal conditions. "Since everybody knows the film so well, the added advantage is, we get to see more into the film itself. The original craftsmen who worked on the film did their job so well it stands up to the tightest scrutiny."

It's certainly more informative than a lot of promotional puff pieces out there and there are some interesting tidbits here too. Especially for the incredible make-up. Details such as the burlap texture of the scarecrow's face and the freckles on Dorothy's nose are just two examples of the fine detail the process was able to capture.

The Wizard Of Oz: A 3D IMAX Experience is currently on limited release and The Wizard Of Oz: 75th Anniversary Edition 3D Blu-Ray will be available in October.

Star Wars: Episode VII news roundup

Until cameras actually start rolling (and to be honest, probably even then), word on J.J. Abrams' Star Wars: Episode VII will be a confusing melange of brief official announcements, whispered web rumours, half truths and the sort of tittle-tattle that even the Mos Eisley faithful would scorn. But as the flood gates of speculation start spilling onto the web, we'll do our best keep you posted of all things official. You'll find no rumour mongering here. Move along!

The famously reticent Abrams sat down briefly with Entertainment Weekly recently and actually discussed something about his plans for the film. Even if he was somewhat vague. Surprised?

Asked which of the original films best reflects what he's aiming for in terms of the new one, Abrams dodged. "It's impossible for me to say because it's going to be an evolving thing. I would say we are working really hard to make a movie that feels as emotional and authentic and exciting as possible. Whatever your favourite Star Wars movie is and how to compare it is really sort of subjective."

He did, at least, have a little more to say when questioned about how he wants the film to feel to fans: "I remember reading a thing somewhere, someone wrote about just wanting the new film to feel real; to feel authentic. I remember I felt that way when I was 11 years old when I saw the first one. As much of a fairy tale as it was, it felt real. And to me, that is exactly right."

Let's hope Abrams can capture some of that magic when cameras start rolling on Star Wars: Episode VII in London early 2014.

New one sheet for Jason Reitman's Labor Day

Jason Reitman's (Up In The Air) latest film Labor Day, which makes its UK bow at the London Film Festival next month, has a brand new one sheet featuring its three leads, Kate Winslet (Revolutionary Road), Josh Brolin (Gangster Squad) and 14 year-old Gattlin Griffith (Changeling). 

Josh Brolin's character is a runaway convict who has thrown himself on the mercy of Kate Winslet's depressed single mom and her young son Henry (Griffith). 

But is Brolin's character the caring soul he appears to be? He is a convicted murderer, after all, and it takes a pretty big leap of faith by Adele (Winslet) to trust him enough to bring him into their lives.

The film is Reitman's own adaptation of Joyce Maynard's 2009 novel, which focuses on Adele and her son. On a day out, the pair picks up Brolin's mysterious roamer, Frank. While in hiding, he teaches the boy some important life lessons across a five day Labor Day weekend.

Labor Day debuts at the London Film Festival on 14 October before getting a UK release in February 2014.

"First rule of magic: always be the smartest person in the room."

The joy of a really good magic trick is not in the genuine belief that someone has made, for example, the Statue Of Liberty disappear, but in knowing that they have outsmarted you in a way so fiendish and unfathomable that all you can do is applaud and gawp. It's the reason why we ask ourselves, "How did they do that?" Because we know there is a rational explanation, it's just our simple non-illusionist brains are incapable of finding it. Now You See Me forgets this important part of the deal and so ends a fun show with a big puff of smoke and a reveal that induces groans not gasps.

The set-up is arguably Ocean's Eleven with street magicians (only there are four of them). A close-up prestidigitator (Jesse Eisenberg), a mind reader (Woody Harrelson), an escape artist (Isla Fisher) and a pickpocket with aspirations (Dave Franco), are brought together by a mysterious benefactor and given an apparently limitless budget to put on spectacular magic shows which they use to first rob a bank and then a person, in plain sight. The cops, in particular prickly FBI agent Dylan Rhodes (Mark Ruffalo), can bring them in but ultimately can't make it stick because you can't arrest someone for immoral wizardry. The fun is both in the elaborate razzle-dazzle of the set pieces and the simple explanations of how they were done, thanks to Thaddeus Bradley (Morgan Freeman), a professional trick debunker whom the cops bring onto the case. 

For a long stretch it's a giddy eye-popping ride. Magicians as criminals is a marvellous conceit and Louis Leterrier (Clash Of The Titans) gets a great deal of entertainment out of it, enjoying all the toys and revelling in the fact he can throw in an extended fight scene involving disappearing tricks and playing cards as weapons, and all the time have the sequence make perfect sense. It also doesn't hurt that it's played out by a cast with very different, entirely complementary skills. The main four are an unusual combination but one that sparks. More of their snappy interaction as the plot progresses would not have gone amiss. Their characters seemingly getting lost in their own story.

Yet as any magic show must, it builds to a big crescendo and promises to go beyond anything you could possibly imagine. In a sense it does, but only because its two big reveals are alternately completely improbable and a cheat of its own rules. There is no prestige. The flowers up its sleeve have wilted and the rabbit in its hat has died. You'll like it (not a lot).

New Thor: The Dark World character one sheets and featurette

As the marketing blitz for Thor: The Dark World takes the next level, Marvel have released their latest character one sheets featuring the favourite son of Asgard, human lady love Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and Dark Elf Malekith (Christopher Eccleston). We also have a new featurette with Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Tom Hiddleston (Loki) and co talking about what Asgard will be up against. And yes, there's a lot of the trailer interspersed here, so you may have seen most of the footage already.

Set one year after Avengers, Chris Hemsworth's Thor is back on Earth to defend us all against the deadly forces of Malkeith (Christopher Eccleston), leader of an ancient race known as the Dark Elves of Svartalfheim. We also see our hammered hero finally reunited with astrophysicist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), not to mention paying a visit to his disgraced brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) for a helping hand.

Thor: The Dark World also stars Idris Elba (American Gangster, Prometheus), Anthony Hopkins (Hitchcock), Stellan Skarsgård (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo), Ray Stevenson (The Three Musketeers), Zachary Levi (Chuck), Jaime Alexander (The Last Stand), Kat Dennings (2 Broke Girls), Rene Russo (The Thomas Crown Affair), Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (The Thing) and Tadanobu Asano (Battleship).

Thor: The Dark World hits cinemas on 30 October.

Marvel considering Agent Carter TV series

Back in July we revealed details of the latest Marvel short (or One Shot), Agent Carter. A fun packed 15 minute vehicle for Hayley Atwell's vivacious yet formidable wartime agent, Peggy Carter, last seen shedding a tear as Steve Rogers disappeared off her radar at the end of Joe Johnston's Captain America: The First Avenger.

The reaction to Agent Carter getting her own One Shot (which appears as an Iron Man 3 Blu-ray exclusive) has been overwhelmingly positive. So positive, in fact, that the company and Co-President Louis D'Esposito in particular (who has directed and overseen the shorts) announced plans for more One Shot films built around Hayley Atwell's popular character.

"What we've discussed is that there are going to be more Peggy Carter stories that we need to tell," D'Esposito told Collider. "She is wildly popular. Hayley loves it, and we love it. What we'll do and how we'll do it has not been determined yet, but those discussions have started. It's in our consciousness that we need to tell another Peggy Carter story, somehow. Yet to be figured out yet, though."

Things have moved on since then, with Deadline reporting that discussions are currently under way for an Agent Carter TV series.

Naturally, Marvel is keeping quiet on the matter, refusing to disclose information or even corroborate the story until it's ready to say either way, but the story goes that the concept is at least being considered, with the plot continuing Peggy's life after the Agent Carter One Shot and showing her as a crusading secret agent.

No deals have been struck and no creative team is in place yet, although it seems that writers are being considered. A bigger question is whether the in-demand Atwell would want to come back and play Peggy on a regular basis. We'll have to wait and see on that front, though we'd be happy to watch a weekly dose of Peggy kicking butt and taking names.

Saturday, 28 September 2013

First official still for Brad Pitt tank thriller Fury

Right now, End Of Watch (2012) director David Ayer is in the film making trenches, putting Brad Pitt (Inglourious Basterds), Logan Lerman (The Perks Of Being A Wallflower), Shia LaBeouf (Lawless) and more through their paces for World War II tank thriller Fury. Already posting images from the set via his Twitter account, but now we have our first official still of the leads sitting on the titular tank.

Pitt stars as an Army sergeant named Wardaddy (we're guessing not his actual name), commanding a five-man beast of a vehicle fighting through Germany as the Nazi regime collapses in 1945. Despite its leadership crumbling, the Wehrmacht continues to be a huge threat, and the crew of the tank face some serious challenges.

Ayer is determined to make this one feel authentic, so we're sure the cast will have plenty of buddy war stories to share once they've served their time. Michael Peña (End Of Watch), Scott Eastwood (Gran Torino) and Jon Bernthal (The Ghost) are also among the cast, with Ayer directing his own script and taking aim at a 14 November 2014 release in the US. Whilst there's no word on when Fury will make it over here as yet, we're guess an early 2015 release.

Samuel L. Jackson prepares your stay in Hotel Oldboy

Heralding the arrival of the film's website, this collection of images and a brand new teaser checks us into Hotel Oldboy, setting for Spike Lee's (Inside Man) ambitious remake of Chan-wook Park's brutal Oldboy (2003). As viewers of the original film will know, this is certainly not somewhere you would want to stay. Especially not for twenty years.

First we have a clip in which Samuel Jackson prepares our stay with some tasty take-out and opiates. He even does our blood soaked laundry while laying out some of the ground rules.

Then we have some of the hotel's promotional material, promising great views, learning opportunities, room service, maid service, professional staff, and comprehensive security.

Lee's take on the Manga cult classic, sees advertising executive Joe Doucett (Josh Brolin) imprisoned for reasons he can't fathom, locked away in solitary confinement for 20 years and then just as mysteriously released to seek vengeance against those he thinks are responsible. Who is telling the truth? And who will survive?

Lee certainly seems to have cooked up a stylish, moody film here – the big challenge will be in standing up to Chan-Wook's original. With Samuel L. Jackson (Django Unchained), Elizabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene), Michael Imperioli (The Lovely Bones), Sharlto Copley (District 9) and Lance Reddick (White House Down) in the cast, Oldboy will be out on 6 December.

New red band trailer for Machete Kills

Head chopping. Groin hacking. Skull slicing. Machine gun jubblies. Mel Gibson in a cape. There's no end of insanity in this latest red band trailer for Robert Rodriguez' ultra violent Machete Kills.

This latest instalment sees Machete called back into action by the President of the United States to deal with the threat of Mel Gibson's (Edge Of Darkness) Luther Voz and the weapon of mass destruction he has pointed at Washington.

The women in Machete’s life get a fair bit of screen time in the trailer too, with Amber Heard (The Rum Diary) as Miss San Antonio, Michelle Rodriguez (Avatar) once again donning the eye patch, and Lady Gaga making one hell of an entrance. The male cast also includes Oscar nominee Demian Bichir (Savages), Edward James Olmos (Dexter) and William Sadler (Iron Man 3).

Machete Kills hits US screens on 11 October and should follow here soon after.

Emily Ratajkowski joins David Fincher's Gone Girl

Last seen wiggling around Robin Thicke wearing little more than a smile in his Blurred Lines video, British born model Emily Ratajkowski's next job sees her fully dressed (mostly) and causing problems for Ben Affleck in David Fincher's adaptation of Gone Girl. 

Ratajkowski will play Andie, a college student who's having an affair with Affleck's Nick Dunne. Of course, he's married to Rosamund Pike's Amy Dunne, and when Amy goes missing the affair begins to look like a motive for Nick to murder his wife.

The film also features Neil Patrick Harris (How I Met Your Mother) as Amy's high school boyfriend Desi, Tyler Perry (I Can Do Bad All By Myself) as his defence attorney and Kim Dickens (The Blind Side) and Patrick Fugit (We Bought A Zoo) as police detectives. Big screen newcomer Carrie Coon plays Nick's twin sister (even though she's almost ten years younger than Affleck, clearly close enough in Hollywood terms). 

Gillian Flynn adapted the screenplay from her own novel, and shooting starts this autumn. Look out for Gone Girl sometime late next year.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Ben Affleck's Batman will be 'seasoned'

Last weeks big studio gathering with investors at the Bank Of America already brought us news of Star Wars: Origins, but Disney wasn't the only monolith on the stage. Warner Bros were also present, represented by CEO Kevin Tsujihara, who dropped a few more hints about what we can expect from Ben Affleck's Batman in the Man Of Steel follow-up.

Affleck's portrayal of the Caped Crusader will be "tired, weary and seasoned" having been doing the superhero thing "for a while" says Tsujihara. This ties neatly with the story that Josh Brolin was initially approached for the role, and with director Zack Snyder's own original announcement that Affleck's will be "a layered portrayal of a man who is older and wiser than Clark Kent and bears the scars of a seasoned crime fighter". While the film won't be a direct adaptation of The Dark Knight Returns, Frank Miller's grizzled, beaten-up, worn-in Batman is clearly an influence.

Of the absurd casting controversy, Tsujihara allows only that the response from fans has been "passionate" – a testament, he says, to Batman's enduring appeal. He also insists, however, that Affleck is "perfect for the vision Zack has for that character". He also told investors that, despite not reaching the magic billion, Warners "could not be happier" with Man Of Steel's worldwide box office haul of $660m. "It's the perfect springboard for Batman and Superman," he said, telling everyone to prime themselves for further big announcements in the near future.

Batman Vs. Superman, or whatever it ends up being called, is scheduled for a crowded marketplace slot in summer 2015, with a US release date already set for 17 July that year.

Star Wars spin-offs to be origin stories

Disney's chief financial officer Jay Rasulo gave his presentation to an investor conference at the Bank Of America last week. While much of it – as you'd expect given the context – was the usual dispiriting marketing speak about branding, merchandising and licensing opportunities, there was also one small but significant piece of news about the upcoming Star Wars films. We've known for some time that standalone films about key supporting characters are in development alongside the trilogy, beginning with Star Wars Episode VII. Now Rasulo reveals that those standalone films are to be origin stories.

Reaffirming that we can expect a Star Wars film every year from 2015 on, Rasulo's wording (only paraphrased by Variety) was that Disney will be alternating a trilogy film and "an origin story" annually. If you were an investor, it would be reassuring to know that this strategy sits alongside two Marvel offerings, a Disney animation, and one or two Pixars.

Following The Lone Ranger debacle he says that budgets for each year's "one or two, maybe three" tent pole Disney live action originals will likely be capped in future. But "of all our worries," he promises, "Star Wars is not one of them".

"The sky's the limit," says Rasulo of Star Wars. "There's incredible flexibility. It's an unbelievable palette to create from." And while he's talking there about licensing programmes that will "broker deals around the world" and encompass toys, "housewares" and huge new undertakings in Disney's theme parks, he does take a moment to insist that "the overall strategy is to put out a great film first".

Fox's own attempts at an origins franchise collapsed at the first hurdle with X-Men Origins: Wolverine in 2009. But with Star Wars veteran Lawrence Kasdan and producer Simon Kinberg developing their own spin-off franchise, Disney clearly has confidence in the plan.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

First RoboCop reboot one sheet goes online

We've already had a pretty good look at the new model RoboCop (Joel Kinnaman) thanks to the trailer which arrived a few weeks ago. Now we get the chance to get up close and impersonal with the cyborg copper in this latest poster.

Director José Padilha's (Elite Squad) new take on the tale of man meeting machine for law enforcement purposes is set in 2028, at a time when multinational conglomerate OmniCorp is looking to expand its reach beyond supplying army drones and military robots for overseas conflicts.

The company, led by Michael Keaton's greedy CEO, sees a prime opportunity when dedicated undercover cop Alex Murphy is critically injured in a bomb blast outside his home. Slotting him into a cyborg frame, they figure he'll be the first of many, a boon to their shareholders and a chance to control the police force. Something they counted without Murphy's human side trying to overcome his technological trappings.

Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight Rises), Jackie Earle Haley (Watchmen), Abbie Cornish (Limitless), Jay Baruchel (Cosmopolis), Jennifer Ehle (Zero Dark Thirty) and Michael K. Williams (Boardwalk Empire) all crop up in the film, which has targeted a February 7 release over here.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

New trailer arrives for Richard Ayoade's The Double

Following its launch at this years Toronto International Film Festival, Richard Ayoade's second directorial feature, The Double, is winging its way to the big screen.

The one-time IT Crowd man and publishing Svengali Dean Lerner in Garth Marenghi's Darkplace wowed us all with his terrific debut Submarine (2010), and after a brief stay stateside to join Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and co in The Watch (2012), he's back behind the camera with a film inspired by Fyodor Dostoevsky's 1846 novella, The Double.

While many of its finer details are still under wraps, we do know that it tells the story of an insignificant man (Jesse Eisenberg) whose driven almost to a breakdown by the appearance of his doppelganger. We also know that Ayoade intends it to reflect on loneliness and our inherent need to love and be loved.

Judging by the trailer, it's a less whimsical work than Submarine, setting its protagonist's fraying psyche in the kind of claustrophobic and bureaucratic world so beloved of Charlie Kaufman films.

Appearing alongside Eisenberg (The Social Network) are Mia Wasikowska (Alice In Wonderland), Wallace Shawn (Toy Story), Rade Šerbedžija (Taken 2), James Fox (Sherlock Holmes) and Yasmin Paige (Submarine).

The Double lands with us in 2014.

"Haven't you heard? We're gettin' the band back together!"

Getting back together with a group of mates to relive a notoriously brilliant event from your past can be a tricky thing.

A predicament that weighs heavily on the central characters of Edgar Wright's The World's End, a bunch of former school friends corralled into returning to their much maligned home town to complete a pub crawl that bettered them in their teenage years.

The analogy could also be applied to the film itself, which comes loaded with expectation as the long awaited closer of the unofficial Three Flavours Cornetto trilogy from Spaced cohorts Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.

Following the universally adored rom-zom-com Shaun Of The Dead (2004) and bombastic cop actioner Hot Fuzz (2007) is no small task, but The World's End lives up to its predecessors by refusing to simply paraphrase their best bits into a greatest hits montage. Whilst a couple of sight gags and a few familiar faces will remind fans that this is part of a bigger body of work, the palpable sense of nostalgia comes from within the story itself.

Most recently seen supporting Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011) and battling Benedict Cumberbatch in Star Trek Into Darkness, Pegg (Gary King) starts this, his next film, in the austere setting of a counselling session. And if you think that's brave, just wait until you get to the end of The World's End. Here is a movie that may be big budget, but has clearly avoided being plotted by committee, test-carded to within an inch of its life, or had the helpful input of anyone from accounts.

How we get from start to that finish is rather more familiar, albeit far too peppered with twists to be properly discussed here. Safe to say, there are bar room brawls, smart musical interludes and movie references galore. The Thing (1982), The Stepford Wives (1975) and Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1978) to name but a few. In between the bravura bookends (each narrated separately by Pegg and Frost, in a neat individualisation of their friendship), the filmmakers stick very close to the formula that worked so well for them in Shaun Of The Dead and Hot Fuzz. This time their thematic skewered vision is aimed at the science fiction genre instead of horror or action, but the result is the same delicious mix of the delirious ramshackle and wonderfully whimsical. And who didn't want a Ford Granada when they were a kid?

It certainly feels like a final finale for the gang, building in scale from its predecessors, if losing some of their emotional beats in the process. The World's End absolutely delivers on its premise and nearly does on its promise. It is very much the movie you were expecting, if not quite the one you could have hoped for.

In this summer in particular, it is undoubtedly refreshing to watch an entire movie and not see someone or something being smashed into a skyscraper. Still, it's impossible to ignore the fact that some of the films USP has been slyly pinched from under it by the unexpected arrival of the similarly titled and sometimes similarly plotted This Is The End. Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg may favour outlandish masturbation monologues over subtle interplay, but often the two separate stories intersect, at once highlighting the English/American divide in comedic sensibility and emphasising their shared influences.

The World's End's problem is more that it starts slowly. The elongated preamble may well all make sense come the final reel, but when you're sat watching the first, it feels a little flat. The plot needs our heroes to come to life to really kick into gear, which they thankfully do wonderfully, Gary freed from his institutional digs, Frost (Andy Knightley) dragged out of his dreary office, and Martin Freeman (Oliver Chamberlain), Paddy Considine (Steven Prince) and Eddie Marsan (Peter Page) conned along for the journey. Once we join them in the back seat of that aforementioned Granada, tape player belting out The Soup Dragons, the ride can properly be enjoyed.

Frost has never looked better. Mainly because in this movie he looks like Rosamund Pike (Sam Chamberlain). In striving for a different riff on the familiar easy dynamic between Pegg and Frost, those lovely intimate moments between the two have been sacrificed for something more interesting. And so it is that the real relationship gold to be found in The World's End lies between Pegg and Pike's old flame. With a shared history of romps in the disabled toilets as teens, theirs is a reunion that starts off awkward but softens into genuine feeling. Bombarded with drunken declarations from our heroes, she is a beleaguered joy.

Other highlights include a genius pub fight in which Pegg's Gary tries, Buster Keaton-style, to at once do battle and not spill his pint, a hilarious recurring gag about Marsan's wife Vanessa, and the trio's typically spot-on observations on the idiocy of the male ego. Not to mention the continued digs at the 'Starbucking' of society reaching a crescendo with a terrific sight gag about the dreary trend towards chain pubs polluting the planet.

Reminiscent of The Army Of Darkness (1992), Wright, Pegg and Frost's swan song is pumped full of the same DNA but has a divergent tone that may best shine with repeated viewings. Like the nugget of pure chocolate you get at the bottom of the cornet, this is a fittingly satisfying end to the Cornetto trilogy. We'll drink to that.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

New Gravity trailer flies in

Warner Bros. Pictures has unleashed their latest trailer for Alfonso Cuarón's (Y Tu Mamá También, Children Of Men) Gravity, which promises more of the beautiful orbital vistas and heart-thumping tension we’ve come to know and love from previous promos.

Gravity finds George Clooney (The Descendants) as veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky, a witty, solid space jockey on his last flight before he hangs up his space suit. During the mission he keeps a eye on nervy Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock), up for her first time to conduct experiments and work on the Hubble telescope. Whilst she’s not dealing with it so well, Kowalsky is the calm voice of reason and encouragement.

And he'll need to be, because tragedy strikes while they're out on an otherwise routine spacewalk and their shuttle is destroyed in a random accident. The pair soon finds themselves suddenly very much alone, tethered only to each other and floating off into the inky depths. There's no radio contact with Earth, and as panic sets in, they have to find a way to survive.

Cuarón first eyed Robert Downey Jr. and Angelina Jolie for the lead roles, but Jolie turned the project down in September 2010, followed by Natalie Portman, who also decided against making it, leading Bullock to take the part. Downey Jr. left the film in October 2010 due to scheduling conflicts, and Clooney took over the role in December that year.

With Basher Savage (World War Z) and, if recent reports are to believed, Ed Harris (Apollo 13) on board as the voice of Mission Control, Gravity sees Cuarón playing on a scale that swings from the grand to the intimate with what looks to be an astonishingly beautiful movie.

Gravity will be in UK cinemas on 8 November.

"Dead or alive, you're coming with me!"

Columbia Pictures (Sony) and MGM have just released their first trailer for José Padilha's (Elite Squad) Robocop.

The team behind the new RoboCop reboot know they have a fight on their hands. There's a struggle to be fought against those who think a remake of the 1987 Paul Verhoeven classic is unnecessary and who are waiting, perhaps, to be convinced it will work.

The year is the year is 2028 and multinational conglomerate OmniCorp is at the centre of robot technology. Overseas, their drones have been used by the military for years, meaning billions for OmniCorp's bottom line. Now OmniCorp wants to bring their controversial technology to the home front, and they see a golden opportunity to do it.

When Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) – a loving husband, father and good cop doing his best to stem the tide of crime and corruption in Detroit – is critically injured in the line of duty, OmniCorp sees their chance for a part-man, part-robot police officer. OmniCorp envisions a RoboCop in every city and even more billions for their shareholders, but they never counted on one thing: there is still a man inside the machine pursuing justice.

With his updated look and topical themes about drones and the cost of humanity in war, director José Padilha and his cast, including Kinnaman (The Girl With The Dragon Taoo), Gary Oldman (The Dark Knight Rises), Michael Keaton (White Noise), Samuel L. Jackson (Django Unchained), Abbie Cornish (Limitless), Jay Baruchel (Cosmopolis) and Michael K. Williams (Boardwalk Empire), might have a shot at overcoming their detractors.

RoboCop will be out in the UK on 7 February.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

New trailer hits for Jean-Pierre Jeunet's The Young And Prodigious Spivet

Here is the latest trailer and one sheet for Jean-Pierre Jeunet's (Amélie) English-language 3D adaption of Reif Larson's debut novel, The Selected Works Of T.S. Spivet.

The story follows 12 year old inventor T.S. Spivet (Kyle Catlett), who embarks on a cross-country adventure from Montana to Washington D.C., after he wins a contest at the Smithsonian Institute. During his journey he learns life lessons from the eccentric characters he meets along the way.

The trailer captures Jeunet's hallmark stunning visualisation, reminiscent of both Amélie (2001) and Micmacs (2009) with the descriptions and realisation of the leading characters, it also looks to have the same mix of heart and humour.

The film also stars Niamh Wilson (Hemlock Grove), Helena Bonham Carter (Great Expectations), Callum Keith Rennie (Memento) and Judy Davis (To Rome With Love).

The Young and Prodigious Spivet opens in France on 16 October, and will likely be released in the US sometime in 2014 with a UK release sure to follow.

Scarlett Johansson seduces in first teaser trailer for Under The Skin

Film4 have just released their first teaser trailer for Jonathan Glazer's (Sexy Beast) Under The Skin, starring Scarlett Johansson as the mysterious and seductive alien, Isserley.

Based on the science fiction novel of the same name by Michel Faber, it sees Johansson as a human-like alien sent to Earth to prey on unwary hitchhikers in Scotland. Her job is to drug them and send them back to her race, who mutilate and fatten the victims ready to be feasted upon, though in the film version it may not be as simple as that. It is not, it's safe to say, the feel-good hit of the autumn. Filed under 'Darkly Satirical', it touches on political themes around big business, intensive farming and environmental decay. It also reflects on more personal questions such as sexual identity, humanity, snobbery and mercy.

The cryptic clip does little to even identify that main narrative, instead crafting a creepy and disorienting montage of random events and head-scratching imagery.

"You don't want to wake up, do you?" Scarlett asks in the opening moments of the trailer.

Under The Skin also features some unique film making techniques in an attempt to make the onscreen interactions feel more genuine. One scene in particular involved Scarlett driving around Scotland in a van outfitted with hidden cameras, luring actual non-actor males into the vehicle. It was only afterwards that participants were notified of the fact that they were on a movie shoot.

"The key thing for me – the way I understood it would work – was to shoot her in disguise and use the idea of dropping her into the world and shooting her in a way, with the hidden cameras, that wasn't calling attention to itself, so we are really photographing behaviour," Glazer told the Los Angeles Times.

It's part of the director's overall effort to place the viewer in the shoes of this mysterious alien with little narrative context to muddy the experience.

"The core of the story that I was clearly interested in was her journey – and looking at our world as an alien planet through her eyes," Glazer noted.

Currently doing the rounds at the Venice Film Festival, you can expect a UK release early next year.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Official casting announced for Fifty Shades Of Grey

Universal Pictures have today announced their casting for Sam Taylor-Johnson's adaption of Fifty Shades Of Grey, with Britain's Charlie Hunnam (Pacific Rim) and US actress Dakota Johnson (The Social Network) having landed the coveted lead roles in the erotic thriller.

Author E L James first revealed the news on her Twitter page, ending months of speculation over who would play Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele.

The author called Hunnam "gorgeous and talented" and Johnson "lovely" as she revealed their joint casting to the world.

Published in 2011, Fifty Shades Of Grey sees the young and virginal college student, Anastasia, fall headlong for the charms of 27 year old billionaire, Christian Grey, after interviewing him for her college newspaper. Having lost her virginity to Christian, he asks her to sign a non-disclosure agreement and a contract that keeps their relationship purely sexual, defining their relationship as one of dominance and submission.

Here is the official press release from Universal: 

Dakota Johnson will star as Anastasia Steele, the lead female character in Universal Pictures and Focus Features' highly anticipated film adaptation of Fifty Shades Of Grey, it was announced today. The film, which will be released by Focus Features on August 1, 2014 in North America, is being directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson and produced by Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti alongside E L James, the author of the #1 bestselling book on which the film is based. The screenplay is by Kelly Marcel. The announcement about Ms. Johnson's casting in Fifty Shades Of Grey was made today by Ms. James.

Ms. Johnson's first notable screen role was in the multi-Academy Award-winning 2010 feature The Social Network, on which Mr. De Luca and Mr. Brunetti were producers. Her subsequent movies include the upcoming feature Need For Speed, 21 Jump Street, and Universal Pictures' The Five-Year Engagement. She also starred as Kate in the Fox Network comedy series Ben And Kate, which aired during the 2012-2013 season. Ms. Johnson is currently shooting the feature film Cymbeline.

Charlie Hunnam will star as Christian Grey, the lead male character in Universal Pictures and Focus Features' highly anticipated film adaptation of Fifty Shades Of Grey, it was announced today. He joins Dakota Johnson, who will star opposite him as Anastasia Steele. The film, which will be released by Focus Features on August 1, 2014 in North America, is being directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson and produced by Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti alongside E L James, the author of the #1 bestselling book on which the film is based. The screenplay is by Kelly Marcel. The announcement about Mr. Hunnam’s casting in Fifty Shades Of Grey was made today by Ms. James.

Mr. Hunnam currently stars as a regular on the critically acclaimed FX series Sons Of Anarchy. His feature film credits include Pacific Rim, Children Of Men, Cold Mountain, and Nicholas Nickleby.

Fifty Shades Of Grey has become a global phenomenon and the trilogy has been translated in 50 languages worldwide since its release. To date, the Fifty Shades trilogy has sold over 70 million copies worldwide in e-book and print, making it one of the fastest-selling book series ever.

Universal and Focus acquired the rights to the three books in the Fifty Shades Of Grey trilogy in March 2012. Focus Features will market and distribute the first film in partnership with Universal.

Fifty Shades Of Grey follows the relationship of 27-year-old billionaire Christian Grey and college student Anastasia Steele. Subsequent novels in the series, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed, explore the couple's deepening relationship. For more information please see the official Fifty Shades Of Grey Facebook page:

Fifty Shades Of Grey is set to spank into cinemas 1 August next year.