Friday, 31 October 2014

Warner Bros set for I Am Legend reboot

In the years since the disappointing post-apocalyptic thriller I Am Legend (2007), Warner Bros have been trying to find a way to fashion a franchise from the film. They have, over the years, considered a potential prequel and a seemingly impossible sequel. Now, though, it appears the studio is ready to abandon finding a way for Will Smith to return and has come up with a plan to craft a fresh reboot.

According to Deadline, Warner Bros have retrieved Gary Graham's spec script A Garden At The End Of The World from storage, where it has been sitting since the company bought it back in April. Graham, an Apple store worker turned scriptwriter, concocted what was at the time described as a science fiction take on The Searchers (1956), which apparently contains enough similarities to Richard Matheson's original I Am Legend story that the studio has now engaged him to re-work the screenplay. It will become a new take on the tale of scientist Robert Neville and his fight to survive in a world where a virus has killed most of humanity and turned a small number of survivors into, essentially, vampires.

The advantage of rebooting the concept means that essentially there is no need to consider Smith's participation, plus continuing sequels can flow happily provided that no-one decides to follow the route of the 2007 film and kill off Neville. Although of course if he lives, you move ever further away from Matheson's original.

Given the chequered history of attempts to keep the Legend machine rolling, we'll have wait and see if this latest effort pans out. As always, watch this space.

New character one sheets for Mortdecai arrive online

Lionsgate have recently released this batch of mustachioed character one sheets for David Koepp's (Premium Rush) Mortdecai, starring Johnny Depp (The Lone Ranger) as the titular art dealer and part-time rogue.

Based on the beloved novels by Kyril Bonfiglioli – namely Don't Point That Thing At Me, After You With A Pistol, Something Nasty In The Woodshed and The Great Moustache Mystery – Mortdecai is a right royal romp of the highest order. Depp's titular aristocratic art dealer is thrown into a deadly world of raging Russians, lethal terrorists and MI5 agents, with only his wife (Gwyneth Paltrow) and a vast reserve of bonhomie to fall back on, including his manservant Jock (Paul Bettany).

The quality of the books (and indeed the characters) has attracted some rather big names in the shape of Jeff Goldblum (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Ewan McGregor (The Impossible) and Olivia Munn (Magic Mike). The film is directed by David Koepp – whose most recent writing credits include Premium Rush (2012) and this years Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit – while writing duties in this instance is relative newcomer Eric Aronson.

Mortdecai is set for a 6 February 2015 release.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Fresh new trailer for Interstellar arrives online.

Warner Bros have recently released their latest trailer for Christopher Nolan's (The Dark Knight Rises) Interstellar.

Interstellar finds mankind at a tough crossroads. The Earth, overcrowded, polluted and natural resources exhausted, is dying and unless we find somewhere else to live, the human race will perish with it. So despite a serious lack of funds and manpower, NASA and a group of scientists come up with a daring plan – to exploit wormhole travel and find fresh habitable planets.

Picked to lead this dangerous expedition is Cooper (Matthew McConaughey), a talented engineer and former pilot who realises he may have to sacrifice precious time with his family in order to save us all. It's not an easy decision, but soon Cooper's off amongst the stars as the weather worsens back home.

Interstellar sees McConaughey and Caine alongside Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty), Anne Hathaway (Les Misérables), Wes Bentley (The Hunger Games), Casey Affleck (Gone Baby Gone), Michael Caine (Inception), David Oyelowo (Jack Reacher), Topher Grace (Predators), Mackenzie Foy (The Conjuring), John Lithgow (Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes) and Ellen Burstyn (W.), and will hit UK cinemas on 7 November.

First stills of Bradley Cooper in American Sniper arrive online

American Sniper has been something of a passion project for Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook). He initially had Steven Spielberg attached to direct, but when the Lincoln (2012) director passed, Clint Eastwood (J. Edgar) took on the project. The film is set for release here early next year and the first images have recently arrived via USA Today.

Jason Hall (Paranoia) has adapted Navy SEAL Chris Kyle's book, subtitled The Autobiography Of The Most Lethal Sniper In US Military, which recorded Kyle's career as a Texas born shooter who notched the highest number of recorded kills for an American. But his dedication to his sights and his SEAL mates has an impact on his relationship with his wife (Sienna Miller). And in a tragic twist, Kyle was killed at a shooting range by the traumatised fellow veteran who he and a friend were helping post-military service.

"Thank God I got to talk to him once on the phone,'' Cooper told USA Today. "It was a very quick conversation. But I did tell him how serious I was about making this movie. And he should just know that whatever fears he had about Hollywood, to just put them aside and trust me. That I was going to do everything I could to tell this story."

According to the actor/producer, this was an important job. "I had to do right by him and his family, there was really no choice," he says. "You're sitting across the dining room table talking to this person's father and mother. And his children and wife are there. And he's passed away. Knowing that they are putting all of their stories in your hands and the responsibly of that, it's actually unique."

American Sniper arrives in the US on Christmas Day and arrives here in the UK on 16 January.

"However bad life may seem, while there is life, there is hope."

Universal Pictures have just released their latest trailer and new one sheets for James Marsh's (Shadow Dancer) Theory Of Everything, which looks at the early life and career of Stephen Hawking.

While Benedict Cumberbatch technically beat him to the punch in BBC drama Hawking (2004), it is Eddie Redmayne (Les Miserables) who is garnering the best reviews of his career to date and awards chatter with his performance as Stephen Hawking in The Theory Of Everything.
The story follows Hawking (Redmayne) through his formative years, from his first studies and his marriage to Jane Wilde (Felicity Jones) after meeting at Cambridge. When his world was rocked with the first diagnosis of Motor Neuron Disease, they pledge to stay together, even as Hawking throws himself into his work, studying the farthest reaches of time as he explores the origins of the universe.
As his health deteriorates, he and Jane fight the disease as a team, and he manages to successfully complete his thesis. And of course, we know the success he has in later life...

This looks to be an emotionally powerful performance from Redmayne and, given the subject matter, we shouldn't be surprised to see his name mentioned come next years awards season.

Man On Wire (2008) director James Marsh called the shots on this one, based on a script by Anthony McCarten (Death Of A Superhero). With Charlie Cox (Stardust), Emily Watson (The Book Thief), Simon McBurney (Tinker Taylor Soldier Spy) and David Thewlis (War Horse) also in the cast, The Theory Of Everything is due to have its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, which kicks off on 4 September, before heading to the UK on 1 January.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Jacob Lofland set for Maze Runner sequel

With 20th Century Fox going full speed ahead on their sequel to The Maze Runner following the first film's success at the US box office, director Wes Ball is already gathering together the cast. He recently hired Aidan Gillen (Game Of Thrones) to play a villain in Maze Runner: Scorch Trials and he now has young Mud (2012) actor Jacob Lofland aboard.

With Dylan O'Brien, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Kaya Scodelario and some of the other main cast from the original reprising their roles, the new film will find those young men and woman on the run and fighting for survival in a world that has been devastated by solar flares and a raging virus.

Lofland will play Aris Jones, who the Gladers meet in the outside world. They learn of his connection to the maze and its builders – it turns out that he was the sole male in Group B, an otherwise all female group who have been through a similar ordeal to our heroes from last time. Upping the gender balance a little, Rosa Salazar (Epic) also joined the film to play Brenda, a member of that group who helps O'Brien's Thomas when he faces a new challenge.

With T.S. Nowlin providing the script again, Ball is gearing up to shoot the sequel soon ready for a 18 September release in the States and here. Lofland, who appeared in Sundance Film Festival favourite Little Accidents, is currently working on TV miniseries Texas Rising.

The Maze Runner is out now.

"Is that meant to humble me? Because it will not!"

20th Century Fox have recently released their latest trailer for Ridley Scott's (Prometheus) biblical epic Exodus: Gods And Kings.

Exodus: Gods And Kings is a retelling of the story of Moses, with Christian Bale (The Dark Knight Rises) as the prophet and exodus leader.

Tradition has it Moses was rescued as a baby, discovered in bulrushes along the banks of the River Nile, abandoned by a desperate mother when the then-Pharaoh ordered the murder of male newborns among his Hebrew slaves. Found by the Pharaoh's daughter, he was raised with the royals, alongside the future Pharaoh Rhamses II (Joel Edgerton). But a burning bush speaking with the voice of his people's god convinced Moses to lead the Israelite slaves to freedom, leading to the parting of the Red Sea and a 40 year trek through the desert to the Promised Land. Rhamses, of course, has no intention of releasing his largely slave workforce, and the stage is set for an epic showdown.

The 1956 Cecil B. De Mille film, The Ten Commandments, is one of the main reasons that people talk about epics being on "a Biblical scale", and this looks be similarly huge in scope. Scott has opted for old school scale on this one, constructing massive sets for his Egyptian story, which pumps up the story to match the ambition of the designs.

With Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad), Sigourney Weaver (Avatar), Ben Kingsley (Hugo), John Turturro (The Good Shepherd), Ben Mendelsohn (Killing Them Softly), Hiam Abbass (The Visitor) and Indira Varma (Rome) among the eclectic cast, Exodus: Gods And Kings will hit UK cinemas on December 26.

New Mr. Fantastic Miles Teller discusses Fantastic Four

Miles Teller (The Spectacular Now) has recently been sharing some insights into Josh Trank's (Chronicle) The Fantastic Four reboot, namely that it will be "different in every way" from the previous incarnations.

"The tone of this film is completely different," stresses the new Reed Richards/Mr. Fantastic to Vulture when comparing this to Fantastic Four (2005) and its sequel, Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer (2007). "I think that [a more grounded approach] is what people are into. You're dealing with these characters, but you're making them real people in how they exist day-to-day. People wanted it to be taken more seriously than the kind of Dick Tracy, kitschy, overly comic-book world." There will be no "Michael Chiklis in a big Styrofoam thing", Teller says.

"It's a big summer," he points out of the superhero superhighway that is summer 2015. "There's a tonne of movies out there, so if people have an appetite for it, they'll see a couple, and if not, maybe they'll just see one."

Fantastic Four will certainly vie with some big tentpoles for that audience – the films opening weekend sets it against Magic Mike XXL, a comparative minnow in that particular pond, but Ant-Man, Terminator: Genisys and Jurassic World will all arrive in multiplexes within a month of its release.

Currently in post-production, The Fantastic Four also stars Jamie Bell (The Adventures Of Tintin), Michael B. Jordan (Chronicle), Kate Mara (127 Hours), Toby Kebbell (War Horse), Tim Blake Nelson (Lincoln) and Reg E. Cathey (The Machinist), and is set for a release on 18 June next year.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Netflix to simultaneously release Crouching Tiger 2

If you've read our previous post of the future of streaming services, you'll know that many are set to become major movie players. News now arrives via Deadline that Netflix is set to take its first steps into a much larger world, partnering up with The Weinstein Company to release martial arts sequel Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend on it's streaming service the same day it hits US cinemas next year.

Of course, premiering films via digital services is nothing new – indie movies have been tapping that well for a while. But the impact is more in the size of the film and the debate over release windows. There is already some controversy about the move, according to Variety, with a couple of cinema chains across the pond refusing to offer screens for the release.

The movie itself, now in production under the direction of Woo-Ping Yuen (True Legend), adapts the fifth book of Wang Du Lu's Crane-Iron pentaology, originally called Silver Vase, Iron Knight (the original Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon drew from the fourth tome). Michelle Yeoh is back as Yu Shu Lien, with Donnie Yen (Ip Man) as Silent Wolf. 

With a script by John Fusco (The Forbidden Kingdom), the cameras are rolling now in New Zealand. The schedule calls for Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend to arrive on 28 August, 2015 in the US simultaneously on screens big and small. This is just one of the movies Netflix has a hand in, with the company continuing its push into original content for both movies and TV.

Whether it arrives in UK cinemas and the British arm of Netflix at the same time remains to be seen – but it's certainly an interesting development.

Are streaming services set to become major film studios?

Back in 2000, former rental giants Blockbuster passed up the chance to buy a fledgling movie subscription concern based in small-town California for $50 million. It was a catastrophic error. These days Blockbuster barely exists, while Netflix is a global on-demand viewing platform with north of 50 million subscribers. To put it another way, that's one customer for every dollar Blockbuster didn't spend. Riding the quickly shifting industry wave from postal DVD rentals to online streaming, Netflix has now moved into production, reviving Arrested Development, creating Orange Is The New Black, Marco Polo and the Wachowskis' Sense8, reimagining the BBC's House of Cards, and entering into business with Marvel for four interconnected series centred on Marvel's Iron Fist, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones and Daredevil.

"We're now at the scale where we can economically create original content, and we'll continue to grow our slate," asserts Netflix's Head of Corporate Communications Cliff Edwards. His bullishness is understandable. Netflix has made the transition to fully fledged production house almost as quickly as Paramount or Universal did back in 1912. "With each original, we learn more about what our members want [and] about how to produce and promote effectively," adds the PR chief.

But Netflix is not the only game in town. HBO – owned by Time Warner and producer/provider of hugely popular series like Game Of Thrones and True Detective – currently works on a similar subscriber only basis. It also boasts an on-demand service, HBO Go, although HBO adds programming according to weekly broadcast schedules rather than en masse like Netflix. This is helping keep subscription takings high and enabling the cable network to augment its already enviable library with new shows like The Leftovers and Olive Kitteridge.

- HBO's True Detective

Amazon, meanwhile, is flirting with producing multiple pilot episodes for streaming online, which will be picked up (or not) according to audience reaction. All the preview screenings in the world couldn't deliver major Hollywood studios this kind of pre-testing. Hulu, meanwhile, offers American viewers a mix of its own original content (Seth Meyers' The Awesomes and BBC co-production The Wrong Mans included) and access to programmes that have already been tried and tested overseas. Britain's Rev and Line Of Duty sit alongside Israel's Prisoners Of War (the inspiration for Homeland) in its library. Also crowding the party are web giants Yahoo, which recently unveiled plans for four original shows, and Microsoft, which has plans to make programmes to show on Xbox platforms and via mobile devices.

There's no question who the bolter in the pack is, though. "Netflix is nearing device ubiquity", says Edwards, "meaning that if it's got a screen and can connect to the internet you should be able to watch Netflix on it. In terms of technology development, Netflix is based in California's Silicon Valley instead of Hollywood for a reason. At heart, it's a company teeming with engineers who are looking for ways to innovate."

So what does that innovation look like and where will the future lead? Perhaps surprisingly, given the ubiquity of handheld, mobile and tablet devices, the majority of the two billion hours of Netflix content streamed globally every month is still delivered via traditional TV sets, albeit through apps on internet connected Smart TVs, DVD and Blu-ray players and gaming consoles. But can this kind of on-demand model eventually replace broadcast television altogether? "It's a bit of an apple and oranges comparison," cautions Edwards. "Nearly every household in the UK has a television, and the broadcast industry has developed over decades to get to the size it is today." Online streaming providers are still relatively new, but their reach is growing and, with it, their budgets and ambition.

Netflix's recent European expansion is another big step from an enterprise that began in a California garage 17 years ago. Recently Netflix took on pay TV giants Canal+ and Sky Deutschland by launching on their home soil of France and Germany respectively. Both have their own SVOD (subscription video on demand) services; both have already slashed subscription prices as a countermeasure.

- Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright in Netflix's House Of Cards.

If traditional broadcasters' palms are sweaty, the big movie studios might soon share the sensation. September also sees Netflix launch its first theatrically released feature – a documentary looking at the equally groundbreaking topic of 3D printing called Print The Legend – and it could be the start of the network's foray into filmmaking. Movies are certainly on the agenda, although in what size and shape, Netflix has yet to decide. "On the movie side, I'd keep my mind wide open to what those films would be and what they would look like," cautions chief content officer Ted Sarandos. But the appeal of film production is obvious, especially when you consider the licensing fees – $1.355 billion in the first quarter of 2013 alone – that Netflix pays film studios to host their movies.

Netflix is probably right to approach feature filmmaking with a degree of caution. Others have tried and failed to elbow in on the big studios' turf in the past, although few have had its reach, clout or rapport with established directors. That talent drain to television – David Fincher (The Social Network) and Steven Soderbergh (Contagion) have led the charge – should also concern Hollywood. When some of your most distinctive voices are taking their talents elsewhere, there may be a problem with the medium. This doesn't mean Fincher will be making straight-to-television films, but the stigma has already disappeared sufficiently for it to be a viable option. "There are movies I'd like to make that cost between $15 million and $30 million," he recently told Empire. "If Netflix said, 'We'd love to see what you'd do with this...', I'd devise them for home theatre." And if those directors build relationships with Netflix, HBO or Amazon and then get a great idea for a cinema feature, why wouldn't they take these streaming giants back to cinema with them?

And given that the studios sometimes use a cinema release as a sort of loss-leader to push a film into the public's consciousness, relying on home entertainment and ancillary rights over the long term to push them into profit, it might begin to seem economically advantageous for streaming services to follow that example and launch their biggest and riskiest projects in the cinema. That goes even if they want to launch a TV show – ABC launched the very expensive Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. off the back of parent company Walt Disney Pictures' huge cinema success with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so if Amazon or Netflix wanted to launch a big, ambitious science fiction series or fantasy epic, it might pay to lure in those new customers with a worldwide cinema launch of the first instalment. To date, the rise of these streaming services has been meteoric and seem unlikely to limit their ambitions any time soon.

New trailer and one sheet for Horrible Bosses 2 arrives online

Warner Bros recently released their latest trailer and one sheet for Sean Anders' (Sex Drive) Horrible Bosses 2.

They might not be any smarter this time around, but the Horrible Bosses trio of Nick (Jason Bateman), Kurt (Jason Sudeikis) and Dale (Charlie Day) are back for more attempts to make their lives better in the sequel to the 2011 comedy.

This time around, the boys are looking to leave behind their roles as cogs in the corporate machine and seize their own destinies by launching a business. Unfortunately for them, they run afoul of dodgy, scheming businessman Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained), who screws them over and laughs all the way to the bank (via the golf course).

But instead of cutting their losses, they decide to consult Dean 'Motherf*cker' Jones (Jamie Foxx) once more and make a plan to kidnap the swindler's son (Chris Pine) for ransom. What they don't realise is that he's considerably meaner than his father and crazier than all of them put together.

With Anders calling the shots this time, having written the script with regular producing partner John Morris (We're The Millers), Horrible Bosses 2 also sees the return of Jennifer Aniston's sex-addicted Julia and Kevin Spacey's sarcastic Dave.

Horrible Bosses 2 arrives here on November 28.

Tetris film in development

The list of brand mining films in development shows no signs of slowing with the The Wall Street Journal announcing this week that Nintendo classic Tetris is set to make it's journey to the big screen via Threshold Entertainment.

The game, first unleashed upon the world in 1984 by Soviet computer game designer Alexey Pajitnov and perhaps made most famous by Nintendo's Game Boy, is looking to become the next potential (block)buster. Sorry!

It may sound a little ridiculous given the seemingly limited narrative opportunities, yet CEO Larry Kasanoff tells the Wall Street Journal that his company has big plans for the idea, including a story already in place that has yet to be revealed. "This isn't a movie with a bunch of lines running around the page," he says. "We're not giving feet to the geometric shapes."

And his ambitions are bigger than one film. "Brands are the new stars of Hollywood," he says. "We have a story behind Tetris which makes it a much more imaginative thing. We certainly have the canvas for location-based entertainment based on the epicness."

Tetris: The Theme Park, anyone? There are no studios, writers or directors attached yet, so we'll have to wait and see if this becomes the next Lego Movie or labours in limbo alongside Asteroids. All involved will no doubt be hoping that Adam Sandler's (Grown Ups) latest, Pixels, gets the nostalgia juices flowing ready for this one.

"When you realise you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible."

- Scene from Walt Disney's Robin Hood (1973)

Popcorn or pants? just got married.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

New look at Oscar Isaac in A Most Violent Year

The richly talented J.C. Chandor's latest feature film, A Most Violent Year, takes him back onto terra firma after the oceanic All Is Lost (2013), and back to Manhattan, the scene of his excellent debut Margin Call (2011). This one is set a few blocks from Wall Street's snake pits in the world of big oil, and A24 Films have released their latest still featuring the films protagonist Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac) and his wife (Jessica Chastain) in action.

Unspooling a story that takes place during the summer of 1981 when the city's crime has risen to extreme levels, A Most Violent Year pitches its superb cast into a murky milieu that encompasses corruption, crime and murder. Isaac's (Inside Llewyn Davis) crude dude is an immigrant who has to navigate these perilous waters with all the canniness and savvy at his disposal. But the dangerous streets of the big city cause more and more problems, and Morales finds that his ethics are malleable as he fights to keep his company going with the aid of his equally tough wife, Anna (Jessica Chastain). As the year progresses, their tactics become less scrupulous and the authorities start to take an interest...

As Tony Montana showed us, for every great crime empire that starts out this way, another ends in a career limiting hail of bullets. The film's first teaser trailer doesn't give much away to suggest that Morales will fare the same, but don't bet on him being voted into high office either. Along for the ride in supporting roles are Albert Brooks (Drive), David Oyelowo (Jack Reacher), Alessandro Nivola (American Hustle) and Catalina Sandino Moreno (Maria Full Of Grace).

The film makes its US bow on 31 December before a UK release on 23 January, a release that positions it right into the midst of awards season. Don't be surprised to see Chandor adding to his Margin Call Oscar acclaim with another Best Original Screenplay nomination.

New trailer and one sheet for Inherent Vice arrives online

Warner Bros have recently released their first trailer and one sheet for Paul Thomas Anderson's (There Will Be Blood) Inherent Vice.

Adapted from Thomas Pynchon's 2009 novel, the film follows private eye Doc Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix), whose life is disrupted by the appearance of his ex-old lady from out of nowhere. She brings a tale of her current billionaire land developer boyfriend whom she just happens to be in love with, and a plot by his wife and her boyfriend to kidnap that billionaire and throw him in an asylum.

Set at the tail end of the psychedelic 1960s with paranoia running rampant, Doc soon finds himself wrapped up in a tale of surfers, hustlers, dopers and rockers, a murderous loan shark, LAPD Detectives, a tenor sax player working undercover, and a mysterious entity known as the Golden Fang.

Featuring a stellar cast that also includes Reese Witherspoon (Walk The Line), Josh Brolin (Gangster Squad), Owen Wilson (Midnight In Paris), Jena Malone (Sucker Punch), Martin Short (Mars Attacks) and Benicio Del Toro (Traffic), Inherent Vice premiered at the New York Film Festival on last week, although UK audiences will have to wait until 30 January next year.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Emma Watson set for Colonia

Since her time at Hogwarts and the wizarding world of Harry Potter came to an end, Emma Watson has largely played small parts in ensemble movies and, of course, giving inspiring speeches as a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador on gender equality. But she is slowly moving back towards lead roles again and has just signed to star in Colonia alongside Daniel Brühl (Rush).

German director Florian Gallenberger (City Of War: The Story Of John Rabe) is putting the fact based film together based on his own script. Colonia follows a young couple called Lena and Daniel (Watson and Brühl) who become mixed up in the 1973 Chilean military coup. When Daniel is abducted by General Pinochet's secret police and carted off to a mysterious area in the south known as the Colonia Dignidad, Lena kicks off a quest to track him down.

Though the man in charge of the Colonia, Paul Schafer, describes it as a charitable religious mission, it is in fact in the grip of a cult – and Lena joins up so she can try to find Daniel.

Watson was last seen in Noah and has just worked on Alejandro Amenábar's (The Others) psychological thriller Regression with Ethan Hawke (Before Sunset). Brühl will next be seen in Michael Winterbottom's (The Killer Inside Me) The Face Of An Angel, which screens at the London Film Festival month. He's also worked on Woman In Gold and is shooting John Wells' (The Company men) untitled culinary comedy alongside Bradley Cooper (American Hustle).

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Listen to Lorde's new single from The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1

Like many young adult adaptations, the Hunger Games films pride themselves on boasting soundtracks with a decent crop of artists providing catchy tunes. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 is no exception, with Lorde offering up Yellow Flicker Beat online.

The track is certainly catchy and seems to capture Katniss' (Jennifer Lawrence) spirit perfectly, though there's no indication of how it factors into the film (most likely during the end credits).

Adapted by Danny Strong, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Parts 1 & 2 make up the third and fourth instalments of heroine Katniss Everdeen's journey as she leads the districts of Panem in a rebellion against the tyrannical and corrupt Capitol. As the war that will determine the fate of Panem escalates, Katniss must decide for herself whom she can trust and what needs to be done, with everything she cares for in the balance.

The final two instalments have been filming back to back once again under the direction of Lawrence, who is now guiding the movies through post-production.

With Lawrence back as Katniss and surrounded by fellow franchise veterans Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Sam Claflin, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Woody Harrelson plus franchise newcomers Lily Rabe (American Horror Story), Robert Knepper (R.I.P.D.), Natalie Dormer (The Counselor), Gwendoline Christie (Game Of Thrones) and Julianne Moore (Crazy, Stupid, Love.), The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 flies into cinemas on 21 November, followed by Part 2 on 20 November 2015.

New TV spots for Interstellar arrive online

Warner Bros have just released their first batch of TV spots for Christopher Nolan's (The Dark Knight Rises) Interstellar.

Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) is a trained pilot, technician and engineer, but his technical skills are more or less irrelevant in a world that's running low on food and fuel. Thank goodness, then, for Michael Caine's (Harry Brown) visionary, who has a plan to send a team of specialists into the unknown reaches of space in order to find new residence for the human race – and he needs Cooper to make the trip. With two young children at home, it's not an easy decision, but soon Cooper's off amongst the stars as the weather worsens back home.

Interstellar sees McConaughey and Caine alongside Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty), Anne Hathaway (Les Misérables), Wes Bentley (The Hunger Games), Casey Affleck (Gone Baby Gone), Michael Caine (Inception), David Oyelowo (Jack Reacher), Topher Grace (Predators), Mackenzie Foy (The Conjuring), John Lithgow (Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes) and Ellen Burstyn (W.), and will hit UK cinemas on 7 November.

First trailer for Stretch arrives online

Universal Pictures have just released their first trailer for Joe Carnahan's (The Grey) Stretch.

Stretch has not enjoyed the easiest route to the screen since it was completed earlier this year. Originally shot for a low $5 million thanks to the involvement of the team at Blumhouse Productions, Carnahan's latest effort was removed from the theatrical distribution list by Universal Pictures and is premiering via digital download. Which is something of a shame, because it looks like the director has cooked up a gonzo treat.

Patrick Wilson (The Conjuring) stars as limo driver Kevin, a man seriously down on his luck. His girlfriend is cheating on him and decides to end their relationship whilst in the middle of sex, he's sick of the entitled, annoying celebrities and business types he shuttles around, not to mention being $6,000 in the red thanks to a gambling problem. The problem being that he always loses.

So he's desperate for a high paying gig, and when he's informed that a billionaire is looking for a driver willing to go the extra mile (and not just on the road), he takes the job. But that's when things get really strange...

With Chris Pine (Star Trek), Jessica Alba (Sin City), James Badge Dale (World War Z), Brooklyn Decker (Battleship), Ed Helms (The Hangover), Ray Liotta (Smokin' Aces), Norman Reedus (The Walking Dead) and even David Hasselhoff (Knight Rider) in the cast, Stretch launched on iTunes and Amazon last week and arrives on VOD 14 October in the US, with no word on a UK release date as yet.

Babak Najafi set to direct London Has Fallen

Despite initial positive momentum following the sleeper success of Olympus Has Fallen (2013), sequel London Has Fallen stumbled recently when director Fredrik Bond (Charlie Countryman) left the project. Things are set to get back on track, however, with news that Easy Money II: Hard To Kill's (2012) Babak Najafi has recently signed to direct.

With Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Angela Bassett, Radha Mitchell and Morgan Freeman returning as Secret Service agent Mike Banning, US President Benjamin Asher, Secret Service Director Lynn Jacobs, Leah Banning and Speaker Trumbull respectively, the sequel's plot will see the characters heading to London to attend the funeral of the British Prime Minister.

World leaders from far and wide are in attendance, but it turns out that it's all a dastardly scheme to get them all in one place for a mass assassination and a seismic change to the world order. Only Banning, the President and a distrustful MI6 agent can put a stop to the madness.

Najafi, who scored at the Berlin Film Festival in 2010 with his debut film Sebbe, has also worked on action packed US TV drama Banshee, and is set to launch into major studio filmmaking with this one. Najafi will oversee a shoot that will split into parts two in order to accommodate Butler's work on Geostorm.

Leonardo DiCaprio adopts American Wolf

Though the publishing deal only went through last month, and the book itself is yet to be written, The Hollywood Reporter have recently announced that Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf Of Wall Street) is set to produce American Wolf. Through his Appian Way banner, Dicaprio will adapt a film version of the story, which chronicles the life and death of Yellowstone National Park's famous canis lupus O-Six.

832F, nicknamed O-Six by fans for the year she was born, and touted by some as the most famous wild animal in the world, was part of a Yellowstone programme with researchers tracking her movements. The most studied wolf in the park, the alpha female led her own pack in the Lamar Valley and had been observed in unprecedented detail both by scientists and tourists. She was shot (legally) by a hunter in December 2010, causing an international outcry and calls for new regulations.

Nate Blakeslee is set to write the book about the affair. A senior editor at Texas Monthly, he'd been following O-Six and the conservation movement around her. His angle will be on the success of that movement, and on the identity of the guilty hunter, who has never been named. Is he pitching the story as a murder mystery? That remains to be seen.

DiCaprio snapped up the rights in cahoots with Warner Bros' Kevin McCormick (Gangster Squad), beating, among others, Robert Zemeckis (Flight) in the auction.

Since the book is yet to be written, however, it'll be a while before we see this one. The publishing rights were bought for a seven figure sum by Crown in the US and Knopf in Canada, but no publication date has been set as yet.

Friday, 10 October 2014

First image from science fiction romance Equals arrives online

The Hollywood Reporter have recently released the first image from Drake Doremus' (Like Crazy) science fiction romance Equals, starring Kristen Stewart (On The Road) and Nicholas Hoult (Warm Bodies) as the two star crossed lovers.

The official Equals synopsis gives us a future where feelings are a thing of the past and a new breed of humans (the Equals of the title) live in emotionless harmony. When a disease starts activating emotions in some subjects, they find themselves disappeared by the ruling regime. And when Silas (Hoult) becomes infected and realises Nia (Stewart) has emotions too, they join forces to go on the run.

If that all sounds vaguely familiar it's because Equals is an updated young adult take on George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four. Hoult's character is the Winston Smith role, with Stewart his Julia (Winston's thought-crime co-conspirator) and, we'd make a guess, Guy Pearce (The Hurt Locker) as the Inner Party's O'Brien, or version thereof.

With Nathan Parker (Moon) on screenwriting duty and Ridley Scott (Prometheus) among the many producers, Equals is due for release sometime next year.

Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight set to shoot in Colorado

Winning out over the western landscapes of Utah and Wyoming, the state of Colorado has secured the deal to welcome Quentin Tarantino's (Django Unchained) Hateful Eight. They tempted the production with a $5m incentive package that will, permits approving, see Tarantino filming on a 900-acre ranch near Telluride. Fittingly, it's the biggest film to hit the state since True Grit in 1969.

News of the revived Western was officially announced at this years Comic Con, when Tarantino personally confirmed that he will be directing The Hateful Eight after all. "Yeah... we're going to be doing The Hateful Eight".

As if further confirmation were needed, producer Harvey Weistein has announced last week that The Hateful Eight will commence shooting in January – all in glorious 65mm. Weinstein, renewing his long acquaintance with the writer/director, is promising to pull out all the stops for the post-Civil War Western and afford it "the widest 70mm release for over 20 years".

Said Harvey and Bob Weinstein in a statement: "We are incredibly excited to begin production on The Hateful Eight, as we know this picture will be as innovative, brash and of course fun as all Quentin projects prior. There is, quite simply, no other filmmaker like him, and we are as proud as ever to continue this partnership that started over 20 years ago."

There are very few details out there yet – unless you're one of the people to have read the leaked draft that had Tarantino threatening to abandon the film – but the winter shoot does present the intriguing prospect of a snowbound Western, of which John Ford's The Searchers (1956) and Robert Altman's McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971) are both fine examples.

What we do know is that its marketing campaign has already swung into effect – quite possibly the quickest in Hollywood history – with a bloody new one sheet released and teaser trailer attached to Robert Rodriguez' latest, Sin City: A Dame To Kill For.

Neither of which flaunts the cast that Tarantino has assembled to top-line his tale of bounty hunters caught up in a bloody plot while seeking shelter from the storm. Tarantino regulars Kurt Russell (Death Proof), Tim Roth (Pulp Fiction), Michael Madsen (Kill Bill), Bruce Dern (Django Unchained), Walton Goggins (Django Unchained) and Samuel L. Jackson (Django Unchained) are all on board.

The Hateful Eight will arrive with us in 2015.

"Life was given to us a billion years ago. What have we done with it?"

It's during the first half of Lucy that you are reminded why you used to love Luc Besson (Léon). Not bothering with the rigours of set-up, we meet Lucy (Scarlett Johansson), a party hard student doing a last lap of Taiwan before shipping back to real life. To be honest, she comes across somewhat slutty – bottle blonde hair, hooker skirt and a week long boyfriend (Asbæk) who most certainly isn't a keeper. Johansson, milking the contrast with the enhanced slick chick Lucy to come, plays the pre-transformation girl as likably wide-eyed and vulnerable, with just a hint of native savvy.

Cajoled into delivering a suspect suitcase (how many innocent drop-offs include a handcuff?) to a Taiwanese syndicate, it takes all but a few slick cuts before Lucy is up to her pretty neck in luridly tattooed gangsters with a bag of CPH4 – the latest in designer drugs heading for Europe's club scene, albeit one that has bypassed the trial stage – sewn into her stomach lining.

Amid the film's ready supply of nonsensical science is the news that CPH4 is some kind of atomic powered growth formula that, in quantum amounts, kickstarts the development of all the bones in a foetus. When the bag splits, in a flurry of CGI fireworks, the cosmic cocaine smashes into Lucy's cerebral cortex, upgrading her from pitiful human levels of ten per cent brain usage towards a literally mind blowing 100 per cent capacity. In other words, upgrading Lucy from victim of male brutality into superhuman Lady Vengeance (2005).

For a blissful while, the film lands on a hyper cool fusion of superhero action and exotic thriller, with Besson mounting a series of divinely amoral sequences of lethal Lucy going about her brainiac makeover. Apart from taking out a penthouse of snarling hoods, this includes breaking into a hospital and forcing a doctor to remove the remaining CPH4 without anaesthetic while she uses his cell phone to call home.

Swatting henchman like bugs and able to mind read through a maelstrom of data, Johansson certainly makes colossal cognitive capacity look more fun than say Limitless (2011) or Transcendence's power grabs. Showing Lucy's experience from inside and out, trees pulse, drugs napalm neural networks and phone calls stream like rain.

Meanwhile, leading brain specialist Professor Norman (Morgan Freeman) expounds on the limits of the human brain and what might lie beyond – by 50 per cent capacity the laws of physics become your playthings. Apparently.

Then, as intelligent as Lucy becomes, the film crosses into the utterly ridiculous. From that welcome self-homage to the sleek early Besson of Le Femme Nikita (1990) and Léon (1994), via the ultraviolet revenge tragedies of Chan-wook Park (Oldboy star Choi Min-sik makes a suitably heinous kingpin), it freewheels into the quasi-philosophical science fiction balderdash of The Matrix (1999) as Lucy starts jacking into some higher state of consciousness – like Samantha from Her (2013) – and what was once fun and sexy becomes silly and pompous, consuming the stylish action in lumps of matter tormenting CGI. By the time Lucy is vaulting through time and space, things take on the metaphysical musing of Terrence Malick (The Tree Of Life), grandly pixel painting the Big Bang and the dawn of life on Earth. The last thing anyone wants is for this nonsense to actually mean something.

What keeps us watching, however, is the always scintillating star turn from Johansson, perfectly capturing the psychological plunge from foolish waif into a luscious lipped, steely eyed femme fatale, moving beyond the constraints of morality, desire, fear and frailty into superhuman levels of pouting.

Ultimately though, what begins as a thrilling pastiche of comic book formula, gets bogged down in its own scientific twaddle and by the end not even Johansson's compulsively watchable heroin can rescue this mind bending mess.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Two new one sheets for Extraterrestrial arrive online

Signature Entertainment have just released two new one sheets for Colin Minihan's (Grave Encounters) Extraterrestrial.

The film focuses on Brittany Allen's (Dead Before Dawn 3D) April, in a funk since her parents' divorce, who is dragged to the woodland cabin where she spent many childhood summers. But for once it's not rednecks, monsters, demons or government experiments that she and her friends have to worry about. This time it's what crashes in the woods near the cabin from the sky, setting off a major struggle for survival.

Freddie Stroma (Pitch Perfect) also stars as April's boyfriend, and features Gil Bellows (The House At The End Of The Street) and Michael Ironside (The Machinist) among the more senior cast members.

Extraterrestrial will hit UK screens on 29 October.

Aidan Gillen set for Scorch Trials' villain role

Regularly seen plotting and planning as Petyr 'Littlefinger' Baelish on Game Of Thrones, Aidan Gillen is now looking to bring his honed talent for malignant schemes to the Maze Runner universe. News arrives via The Hollywood Reporter that he has signed on to play a villain named Janson in Maze Runner: Scorch Trials.

20th Century Fox was already developing the film, based on Maze author James Dashner's second book, even before the first launched successfully at the US box office last month. It's now full steam ahead for returning director Wes Ball, with shooting scheduled to kick off this month.

Any further discussion of course ventures into spoiler territory, so those who haven't read the books should think about avoiding the following paragraph.

Maze Runner: Scorch Trials picks up what happens after Thomas (Dylan O'Brien) and the other survivors of the Glade and its surrounding maze go on the run on an Earth that has been ravaged by solar flares. Gillen's Janson – also known as Rat-Man – is one of their biggest foes and is likely to be seen in the film (or films) adaption of the final book, The Death Cure.

Gillen was last seen on the big screen in John Michael McDonagh's (The Guard) Calvary, and is in the thriller Still. He's also worked on a comedy called You're Ugly Too and will of course be back on our TV screens when Game Of Thrones returns next year.

Guy Pearce set for Genius

It would appear theatre director Michael Grandage doesn't think he has enough award bothering actors in his debut film despite the presence of Colin Firth (The King's Speech), Jude Law (The Talented Mr. Ripley), Nicole Kidman (The Hours) and Laura Linney (The Savages). News arrives via Deadline that he has just added a couple more, with Guy Pearce (The Hurt Locker) and Dominic West (The Hour) set to join Genius.

With Skyfall's (2012) John Logan providing the script based on A. Scott Berg's biography, Genius recounts the true story of the relationship between legendary writer Thomas Wolfe (Law) and his talented editor Max Perkins (Firth). Kidman is set to play costume designer Aline Bernstein, who had a passionate, four-year relationship with Wolfe, while Linney will be Louise, Perkins' wife.

Pearce and West are signed on to be two more literary giants who worked with Perkins – F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway. With his cast falling into place, Grandage plans to start shooting the film this month at Shepperton and on location in the UK. If the result is half as good as his theatre work, it will certainly be one to watch out for.

Pearce, recently on screen in David Michôd's (Animal Kingdom) The Rover, will be seen in futuristic love story Equals as well as dramas Holding The Man and Results. West is part of the cast for Pride and is currently recording a voice for Pixar's Finding Dory.

First trailer and one sheets for Tak3n arrive online

20th Century Fox have just released their first trailer and one sheets for Olivier Megaton's (Columbiana) Tak3n, the third outing for Liam Neeson's ex-CIA operative Bryan Mill's and his particular set of skills.

In this one, Bryan (Liam Neeson) starts happy, in a good place with daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) and closer than ever to reconciling with ex-wife Lenore (Famke Janssen). But then something terrible happens – Lenore is taken away for good and Bryan is the prime suspect in her murder.

Pursued by the CIA, the FBI and the police (which certainly seems like a lot of manpower to us), across Los Angeles, he goes on the run to track down the real killers and introduce them to his particular brand of vengeful, rage-driven justice. At the same time, he also has to protect Kim from the same psychos.

With Forest Whitaker (The Last King Of Scotland), Sam Spruell (The Hurt Locker), Dougray Scott (My Week With Marilyn), Andrew Howard (Limitless), and Taken regulars Jon Grie and Leland Order all aboard, the sequel will land in the UK on 8 January.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

New trailer and quad poster for Extraterrestrial arrives online

Signature Entertainment have just released their latest trailer and UK quad poster for Colin Minihan's (Grave Encounters) Extraterrestrial.

The film focuses on Brittany Allen's (Dead Before Dawn 3D) April, in a funk since her parents' divorce, who is dragged to the woodland cabin where she spent many childhood summers. But for once it's not rednecks, monsters, demons or government experiments that she and her friends have to worry about. This time it's what crashes in the woods near the cabin from the sky, setting off a major struggle for survival.

Freddie Stroma (Pitch Perfect) also stars as April's boyfriend, and features Gil Bellows (The House At The End Of The Street) and Michael Ironside (The Machinist) among the more senior cast members.

Extraterrestrial will hit UK screens on 29 October.

New quad poster for Nightcrawler arrives online

Open Road Films have just released their latest quad poster for Dan Gilroy's directorial debut Nightcrawler.

It takes brass to affix the label 'a modern masterpiece' to a film that isn't even out yet, but Nightcrawler is a movie that's drawing superlatives like its star Jake Gyllenhaal (Prisoners) once drew magazine cover spots. As you can see from the film's new UK poster, Gyllenhaal has shed those boyish good looks for a role that sees him stalking the streets as a sort of Travis Bickle for the viral video world.

With Real Steel (2011) and The Bourne Legacy (2012) writer Dan Gilroy turning director for this one, Gyllenhaal plays Lou Bloom, a young man in desperate need of employment. After several rejections, he stumbles upon the fast paced dark world of Los Angeles freelance crime journalism.

Setting himself up as an independent contractor, he's soon cranking up the police scanner and speeding around the seedy streets to beat the cops and other reporters to crime scenes. After a few lucky breaks, he catches the eye of TV newsgathering veteran Nina (Rene Russo), who spots a potential new source of content. But soon Lou is blurring the line between reporting the story and becoming it...

With Bill Paxton (Edge Of Tomorrow), Riz Ahmed (Ill Manors), Ann Cusack (Stigmata), Kevin Rahm (Alfie) and Michael Hyatt (Like Crazy) among the cast, Nightcrawler arrives in the UK on 17 October and the States just in time for Halloween on 31 October.

New TV spot and character one sheets for Dumb And Dumber To arrive online

Universal Pictures have just released a new TV spot and Luc Besson's (Léon) Lucy spoofing character one sheets for Dumb And Dumber To, which sees the Farrelly brothers bringing the adult Lloyd Christmas (Jim Carrey) and Harry Dunne (Jeff Daniels) back to our screens for the first time in 20 years.

Picking up the story two decades on, we're re-introduced to Harry and Lloyd via the most ill-advised but committed prank Lloyd has ever conceived. After that, it's straight onto the plot, with Harry learning he has a grown up daughter and the pair setting off to find her. Naturally, they soon find themselves in the middle of various idiotic, and potentially life-threatening situations.

From the looks of this, the new film promises more of what people loved about the original – sheer stupidity and the willingness of Carrey and Daniels to throw themselves headlong into whatever happens. If anything, it's almost more refreshing given that they're both much further along in their careers.

With Peter and Bobby Farrelly back behind the camera and Laurie Holden (The Walking Dead), Kathleen Turner (The Virgin Suicides), Brady Bluhm (Dumb And Dumber), Rob Riggle (21 Jump Street), Steve Tom (Seven Pounds) and Rachel Melvin (Boo) all in front of it, Dumb And Dumber To will pratfall its way into UK cinemas on 19 December. Happy (Lloyd) Christmas!

New one sheet for Birdman swoops online

Fox Searchlight Pictures have just released their latest one sheet for Alejandro González Iñárritu's (Babel) highly anticipated Birdman (Or The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance).

Michael Keaton (Robocop) stars as Riggan Thomson, a struggling thespian haunted by his days playing the iconic crusader Birdman. His movie star days are well behind him, and now he's trying to retain his sanity as he deals with troublesome actors, his weird family, his demanding producer and his own ego. The first bit certainly shouldn't be a stretch for Keaton, but we hope that the rest of the set-up is a little further from his own life.

While Iñárritu has made a career out of dealing with more sombre films, Birdman isn't a wacky comedy, but a conflicted look at one man trying to succeed despite himself. In addition, rumour has it that cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki (Gravity) has worked with Iñárritu to make Birdman appear as one continuous take, from beginning to end. A trick that could well earn Lubezki his second Academy Award®.

The director has also gathered Emma Stone (The Amazing Spider-Man), Edward Norton (The Grand Budapest Hotel), Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover), Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone), Andrea Riseborough (Oblivion) and Naomi Watts (The Impossible) for the film, which reaches the US on 17 October before winging its way over here on 2 January 2015.

"I know where I came from, but where do all you zombies come from?"

Sony Pictures have just released their latest trailer for Michael and Pater Spierig's (Daybreakers) Predestination.

Arguably the austere man's Wachowkis siblings (Cloud Atlas), Michael and Peter Spierig are science fiction oriented brothers with a new action thriller Predestination that promises to duck and weave through the fabric of time. Ethan Hawke (The Purge) is the headliner but the real star of the show looks like Australian actress Sarah Snook (Sleeping Beauty) as a mysterious time traveller.
Hawke, who is reuniting with the pair after 2010 misfire Daybreakers, plays a temporal agent who travels through the decades, solving crimes before they're committed. Runs the official synopsis:

"In mid-'70s New York, a man in a fedora slips into an office building's boiler room, carrying a mysterious briefcase. He uncovers a bomb, and is attacked while struggling to deactivate it. He succeeds – almost. Horribly disfigured, he's transported to his agency's headquarters where he receives a new face. He's a temporal agent, travelling back and forth through time, altering history, and his assignment – thwart the mass murder perpetrated by the so-called 'Fizzle Bomber' – continues. New face, new place. Now he's undercover as a bartender. He falls into conversation with a tough yet androgynous customer. There's something off about the guy, who offers to enlighten the agent with 'the best story you ever heard'."

It's based on All You Zombies, a short story by American science fiction doyen Robert Heinlein, and promises plot machinations that will pop your corn for you. Could be another one for the Primer (2004) and Looper (2012) almanac of time-travel charts.

Predestination has been out on the festival circuit for some months already, and gets its official release on 5 December.

"This isn't about money. This isn't about politics. I can target anyone, anything, anywhere."

Universal pictures have just released their first trailer for Michael Man's latest techno thriller, Blackhat.

Chris Hemsworth (Thor) stars as Nicholas Hathaway, a furloughed hacker convict recruited by a mixed team of American and Chinese law enforcement officials as they hunt down a high level cyber crime network across the world between Chicago, Los Angeles, Hong Kong and Jakarta.
Though the network initially seems to be intent on damaging financial institutions, Hemsworth and co quickly discover that the stakes are much, much higher than that.

While the trailer certainly showcases Mann's trademark style and promises plenty of action, the casting of Hemsworth as an MIT educated computer genius seems as much at odds as Hugh Jackman's (The Wolverine) role was in Swordfish (2001).

With Viola Davis (Prisoners), John Ortiz (Fast & Furious 6), Holt McCallany (Gangster Squad), Spencer Garrett (Yes Man), Archie Kao (The Hills Have Eyes 2) and Wei Tang (Lust, Caution) also in the cast, Blackhat (which is a term used for an illegal hacker) is out here on 20 February next year.

New trailer for Big Hero 6 arrives online

Walt Disney Pictures and Marvel have just released their latest trailer for Don Hall (Winnie The Pooh) and Chris Williams' (Bolt) Big Hero 6.

Big Hero 6 is set in the slightly futuristic, vaguely fantastical city of San Fransokyo. Our hero is Hiro Hamada, an inventor and creator of squashy robot Baymax, who serves as both his sidekick and best pal. But when their home town comes under threat from a strange masked villain, Hiro must team up with a group of like-minded fellow wannabe warriors, who use their technical skills to create battle suits with different abilities. And even then, they might be in over their heads...

Despite the film's Marvel routes, co-director Don Hall is keen to explain that is a very different outing to the Marvel Cinematic Universe we've become familiar with: "When we first started, we didn't know how all this was going to go. But in our first meeting with Marvel, when John picked Big Hero 6, Marvel was super encouraging to not tie it to their mythology at all. It was like, 'Create your own universe, create your own characters, and don't worry about anything else.'

"I love the Marvel Universe and the mythology of the Marvel Universe [but] if I had to be cognizant of all of that stuff during the course of this movie my brain would have exploded. There was enough in this movie with the new team and this world we've created, it was plenty. As much as I love the Marvel Universe, I'm glad that we chose to create our own thing."

With Ryan Potter (Supah Ninjas), Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire), Freddie Highmore (Bates Motel), Samuel L. Jackson (Django Unchained), T.J. Miller (Coverfield), Jamie Chung (Sucker Punch), Scott Adsit (We're The Millers), Alan Tudyk (Knocked Up), Genesis Rodriguez (Man On A Ledge), Maya Rudolph (Bridesmaids), Daniel Henney (The Last Stand), Damon Wayans Jr. (The Other Guys) and James Cromwell (The Artist), Big Hero 6 is out in the US on 7 November with a UK release set for January 30 next year.

New trailer and one sheet for Jupiter Ascending arrives online

Warner Bros have just released their latest trailer and one sheet for the Wachowski siblings (Cloud Atlas) delayed, Jupiter Ascending.

Audiences worried when the announcement came that the Wachowskis' latest science fiction epic would be moving back to next February. While we'll have to wait a little longer to see if those fears were warranted, this latest trailer certainly offers some encouraging spectacle.

Jupiter Jones (Mila Kunis) was born under a night sky, with signs predicting that she was destined for great things. Now grown, Jupiter dreams of the stars but wakes up to the cold reality of a job cleaning other people's houses and an endless run of bad breaks. Only when Caine (Channing Tatum), a genetically engineered ex-military hunter, arrives on Earth to track her down does Jupiter begin to glimpse the fate that has been waiting for her all long. Her genetic signature marks her as next in line for an extraordinary inheritance that could alter the balance of the cosmos.

Arguably your average mind twisting stuff from Lana and Andy Wachowski, then. The trailer is a stylish blend of high space opera, the expected action from the pair and even some fairy tale elements with Tatum and Kunis joined by Sean Bean (Mirror Mirror), Eddie Redmayne (My Week With Marilyn), Douglas Booth (Romeo And Juliet), Tuppence Middleton (Trance), Doona Bae (Cloud Atlas), James Darcy (Hitchcock) and Tim Piggott-Smith (Red 2).

Jupiter Ascending will land in our cinemas on 6 February.

New trailer for The Babadook creeps online

Entertainment One Films have just released their latest trailer for Jennifer Kent's acclaimed Australian horror The Babadook.

No matter how much children want a comforting tale to send them off to slumber land, we know that some of the best children's bedtime material is chock full of terrifying creatures and closet lurking terrors just waiting for the moment to strike. It's a base fear exploited by the Australian director in The Babadook.
"I wanted the audience to feel like there was a pair of hands around their necks from the very first frame, getting tighter and tighter," explains Kent. Judging by the early word, she's managed not only that but caught the eye of Hollywood in the process

Kent turned to Kickstarter to scrounge up the funds to make the story of Amelia (Essie Davis), a widow whose husband died six years before, leaving her to struggle with her difficult 6 year-old son Samuel (Noah Wiseman). Samuel's behaviour is at least partly down to the sinister monster he believes is coming to kill them both, who appears in his dreams. When a disturbing storybook called The Babadook turns up at their house, Samuel becomes convinced that the Babadook is the creature he’s been dreaming about, and his hallucinations spiral out of control. But then Amelia begins to see glimpses of a sinister presence all around her, and begins to wonder if the thing Samuel has been warning her about may be real.

The Babadook will strike our cinemas on 24 October.

New X-Men viral websites arrive online

With X-Men: Days Of Future Past due to arrive on Blu-ray next month and the details for X-Men: Apocalypse beginning to crystallise, the marketeers at 20th Century Fox have capitalised on the moment to launched a new series of viral websites for the mutant franchise online. Take a look for yourself and prepare to try to unravel the mysteries of, the Tandem Initiative and M-Underground.

Tandem is advertising itself as a scientific think tank, which, according to its spiel, was "founded to help explore a new and growing generation: the genetically gifted." The site offers mutants a chance to submit their stories and win free genotyping analysis, which makes us think they're almost certainly up to no good.

It's a view shared by M-Underground, whose stated ambitions include "to expose those who wish to create a rift between humans and the genetically gifted. We will not let our world be torn apart with misinformation. The only 'mutant threat' is that which threatens mutants." It looks like the two sides in this particular conflict are still very far apart.

These latest sites will almost certainly expand as Apocalypse draws closer. The new X-Men film has just locked in Bryan Singer to direct, with the plot set in the 1980s and the X-Men: First Class (2011) team fighting a brand new/ancient threat, the powerful mutant Apocalypse. The movie is scheduled to arrive on 19 May 2016.

Liam Neeson set to appear in Ted 2

Liam Neeson clearly enjoyed his experience working with Seth MacFarlane on A Million Ways To Die In The West, even if the box office figures suggest that few moviegoers shared that enthusiasm. The Taken (2008) tough guy is appearing in MacFarlane's latest, comedy sequel Ted 2, as announced by the writer/director himself via his Twitter page.

Neeson is not alone in joining the film. Hitfix has learned that Mad Men's John Slattery is aboard in an equally unspecified capacity. Whether the pair are key members of the cast or simply popping up for cameos remains to be seen – given the scattershot style of MacFarlane's works, it could be either.

Ted 2 follows up the misadventures of the potty-mouthed toy bear (MacFarlane back on voice duty) who was brought to life by a wish from John Bennett (Mark Wahlberg). Few details have emerged about the plot this time, but it may see Ted getting into some legal difficulty, which is hardly surprising given his behaviour.

Morgan Freeman (The Dark Knight Rises) was recently confirmed as co-starring, along with Ted veterans Patrick Warburton and Jessica Barth, and newcomers Amanda Seyfried (Les Misérables), Michael Dorn (Star Trek: The Next Generation) and Richard Schiff (Man Of Steel). The sequel will be hoping to match the original's box office success and hits UK screens on 10 July next year.

Natalie Dormer finds Patient Zero

Natalie Dormer can usually found scheming in the likes of Game Of Thrones and Elementary, but she'll be playing a more selfless hero next in Screen Gems' new high concept thriller Patient Zero.

Dormer has locked in the lead for the film, which Stefan Ruzowitzky (Deadfall) is directing from a script written by Mike Le. Patient Zero finds a massive global pandemic triggering the evolution of a new species. A form of rabies causes the infected to turn into predators, with their own language and a lust for violence.

From the sounds of the description, Dormer will be a preternaturally gifted human survivor on the devastated Earth, who can speak the mutants' new language and is leading a hunt for the original source of the infection – the patient zero of the title – and from there, a cure.

It certainly sounds like Screen Gems is trying to kick off another disease based action franchise along the lines of Resident Evil (2002) and World War Z (2013), though perhaps with a little more drama in between the set pieces this time.

Meanwhile, Dormer will be back on the big screen in The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1, which lands here on 20 November, and is currently onscreen in Lone Scherfig's (An Education) The Riot Club.

Patrick Wilson set for Bone Tomahawk

Things are certainly changing behind the scenes of the developing horror Western Bone Tomahawk. While Kurt Russell (Death Proof) remains in the lead, Patrick Wilson (The Conjuring) and Matthew Fox (World War Z) are now on board to fill out the cast.

The new actors replace Timothy Olyphant (The Crazies) and Peter Sarsgaard (Jarhead), who had been set to star previously. Meanwhile the rights to the film are once again up for grabs.

S. Craig Zahler (Asylum Blackout) wrote the script and will direct the film, which sees four men trying to rescue captives from a band of cannibalistic troglodytes who live on the fringes of civilisation.

Wilson is set to play Arthur O'Dwyer, an ambitious cowboy whose rise to the rank of foreman on a cattle driving team is shattered by an accident. Fox will be John Brooder, a smooth sharpshooter who headed to the frontier because the ability to put bullets in people lets him channel his darker impulses.

They join Russell, Richard Jenkins (Jack Reacher) and, assuming she's still involved, Jennifer Carpenter (Dexter) in the film, which should be shooting as soon as the details are worked out.