Thursday, 30 April 2015

New trailer and one sheets for Jurassic World arrive online

Universal Pictures have recently released their latest trailer and one sheets for Colin Trevorrow's (Safety Not Guaranteed) Jurassic World.

The star this time – beyond Chris Pratt (Guardians Of The Galaxy) – is Jurassic Park's (and Jurassic World's) big new draw, the Indominus Rex, a genetically modified creature with enhanced intelligence and a big appetite. As Pratt's behavioural researcher Owen is quick to point out, messing with dinosaur DNA is not a policy likely to reap major benefits.

Jurassic World is set years after Steven Spielberg's original film, at a time when Jurassic Park is a fully functioning attraction on Isla Nublar. In fact, it does its job so well that dinosaurs are almost commonplace. The corporate types who run the Park have been pushing for bigger, better and more imposing creatures, and we can't help but figure that's when the running and screaming begins.

Bryce Dallas Howard (The Help), meanwhile, will be one of the team involved in the place. Omar Sy (Micmacs), Vincent D'Onofrio (Escape Plan), Irrfan Khan (Life Of Pi), Jake Johnson (21 Jump Street), Judy Greer (Carrie), B.D. Wong (Jurassic Park), Katie McGrath (Merlin) and Lauren Lapkus (Are You Here) also show up in Jurassic World, which arrives in cinemas on 12 June.

"Do you bleed? You will."

Warner Bros have recently released their first trailer and one sheets for Zack Snyder's Man Of Steel (2013) follow-up Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice.

Acting quickly to counter what has been seen as a negative reaction – albeit to a poor quality pirated phone version – to his first promo, Zack Snyder tweeted the official version of the trailer, cheekily referencing its unofficial online debut with hash tags that included #NotBlurry and #NotPirated.

But the style and tone of the trailer remains as dark and foreboding, with an initial voiceover of various people concerned about the effect that Superman has had and might have on planet Earth and its inhabitants. There is a somewhat natural worry that this powerful alien could be a massive threat to the world.

And it's clearly a concern that Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) definitely appears to share initially. We also hear Jeremy Irons' (Beautiful Creatures) Alfred talking about the feelings of rage and powerlessness that can turn good men cruel. Finally, a tiny peek at the conflict that fuels this film, as Bruce breaks out his wonderful toys (the new Batmobile makes an appearance) and confronts Superman (Henry Cavill). "Do you bleed?" asks Batman, the eyes of his armour glowing white in a shot familiar to anyone who saw the footage from last year's Comic Con. "You will..."

It remains to be seen if the whole movie commits to the bleak feeling of this teaser. We will know for sure when Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice arrives in cinemas 25 March next year.

Matthew Vaughn in talks to direct Flash Gordon

With Kingsman: The Secret Service doing great business at the box office ($392 million and counting worldwide), Matthew Vaughn is busy looking for his next film. And according to The Hollywood Reporter, that might just mean a reunion with 20th Century Fox for the company's new take on Flash Gordon.

The last time Flash approached our news radar, it was last month, with Sam Jones – star of Mike Hodges' Flash Gordon (1980) – talking up the idea that this new movie will actually be a sequel to Mike Hodges' effort.

Nothing official has been released about the new project as yet, but what we do know is that the story will once more be based on Alex Raymond's iconic space adventure hero, and the current script is by Bad Robot's J.D. Payne and Patrick McKay, who wrote initial drafts for Star Trek 3 and crafted the Flash material from a treatment by producer George Nolfi (The Adjustment Bureau). However, it is likely that Vaughn would want to take his own crack at the screenplay, possibly with regular collaborator Jane Goldman.

Flash Gordon feels like something Vaughn could really do well – blending, should he so choose, the campier elements of the 1980s outing with his own sensibility. We will have to wait and see if the deal works out, after all this isn't the first time Flash has been headed back to our screens, only to tangle with the nightmares of development hell.

With several other movies bubbling away at various stages, Vaughn's current gig is as a producer, overseeing work on Dexter Fletcher's (Sunshine On Leith) Eddie The Eagle and has a credit on Josh Trank's (Chronicle) Fantastic Four, which lands here on 6 August.

Chris Pratt attached to star in The Real McCoy

Given that he is arguably the main draw (the human one, at least) for their massive summer hope in Colin Trevorrow's (Safety Not Guaranteed) Jurassic World, it's perhaps not that surprising that Universal Pictures would want hire Chris Pratt (Guardians Of The Galaxy) for another big action project. The studio have acted quickly to snap up a pitch that could potentially star the actor, The Real McCoy. 

Bill Dubuque, who wrote The Judge (2014), worked on the idea based on a suggestion from producer Tom McNulty (The Spectacular Now), with the pair teaming up to sell Pratt on the concept. According to The Hollywood Reporter, it tells the story of real life bootlegger Bill McCoy, who became the inspiration for the phrase "the real McCoy" referring to his unsullied liquor. McCoy himself was ironically a non-drinker who prided himself on never having to pay protection money to anyone, criminal or otherwise, as he smuggled alcohol during Prohibition in the United States. A character based on the man featured in hit HBO series Boardwalk Empire.

Universal Pictures were so eager to grab the pitch that they outbid Warner Bros, slapping $1.5 million on the table and bringing a planned round of pitch meetings to a swift close.

Pratt will next be seen in the aforementioned Jurassic World, which stomps into our cinemas on 12 June. He is about to start work on Antoine Fuqua's (The Equalizer) new The Magnificent Seven and is also attached to Cowboy Ninja Viking. Not to mention Guardians Of The Galaxy 2, which arrives here on 28 April 2017.

Patty Jenkins now set for Wonder Woman

Within days of Breaking Bad veteran director Michelle MacLaren departing Wonder Woman over creative differences, news arrives via The Hollywood Reporter that Warner Bros have hired Patty Jenkins (Monster) to take her place.

Jenkins was famously the first director hired to handle Thor: The Dark World (2013), but despite her enthusiasm for the project, never quite saw eye to eye with Marvel and was ultimately replaced by Alan Taylor.

Gal Gadot (Fast & Furious 6) is playing the title character, making her first appearance in Zack Snyder's Man Of Steel (2013) follow-up Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice next year, before the Wonder Woman standalone adventure arrives in 2017. Jason Fuchs (Ice Age: Continental Drift) is writing the script for the film, with MacLaren collaborating while she was in development.

After helping Charlize Theron to an Academy Award® win with Monster (2003), Jenkins has largely worked in TV, kicking off The Killing with its pilot and directing episodes of shows as varied as Arrested Development and Entourage. With luck, this will be her chance to return to cinema in a big way.

Paul Haggis set for The Last Of The Tribe

Writer, director and producer Paul Haggis (In the Valley Of Elah ) currently has at least half a dozen projects percolating in some form or other, but there is apparently room for one more. News has arrived via Deadline that he is now in talks to direct Last Of The Tribe, a jungle drama based on the book by Monte Reel.

Washington Post reporter Reel's source is a non-fiction account of the events surrounding attempts to commercially exploit the Brazilian Amazon. The law states that if even one indigent is still living in any given piece of land, it must be preserved. One such was found in 1996, and investigations turned up the sinister revelation that the entire rest of his tribe had probably been murdered by corporate interests, and that his own life was obviously in danger for the same reasons.

Mark Bailey, co-writer of the documentary Last Days In Vietnam (2014), penned the adaptation, and the film is being set up independently with Doug Liman (Edge Of Tomorrow) among the producers. Haggis has yet to sign on the line, so clearly there is much to be worked out. But if you want to give yourself a primer while you wait, Reel's book is published by Scribner.

Michael Mann set for new Ferrari biopic

Just when Robert De Niro (Heat) and the producers behind Ferrari were thinking they might have the track to themselves when it comes to biopics of car racing legend Enzo Ferrari, news arrives via Variety that Michael Mann (Public Enemies) has become the latest surprise contender on the grid.

Mann is now attached to guide a competing, as yet untitled biopic about Ferrari, who redefined the high-powered Italian sports car and was partly responsible for kick-starting Formula 1 racing. Mann has taken two existing treatments, one by Troy Kennedy Martin (The Italian Job) and another from David Rayfield (Out Of Africa) and combined them into one script. Everything is based on Brock Yates' 1991 book Enzo Ferrari: The Man, The Cars, The Races.

"Mann is very passionate about this project and people are interested," enthuses producer and Cecchi Gori Media boss Niels Juul. He has some financiers already making promises and will be touting more rights deals at this years Cannes film market. With luck, Mann should be sending cars speeding around tracks next year.

It will certainly be a relief for Juul's company, which has been trying to get the project off the starting grid for years, with one version in 2004 combining Al Pacino (Heat) as Ferrari and Sydney Pollack (The Interpreter) directing, but ultimately stalling when Pollack died in 2008. Of course, there is still the De Niro version to think about, but that is still in search of a director, while Mann will need to lock in someone to play the motoring genius.

Gugu Mbatha-Raw set for Beauty And The Beast

The cast for Walt Disney Pictures' new, live action take on Beauty And The Beast continues to grow in interesting ways. News has arrived via Variety that Gugu Mbatha-Raw, who played a very different Belle in the eponymous drama last year, has been cast as Plumette.

In the 1991 cartoon version, Plumette is the Beast's maid, who, thanks to the dark curse that befalls everyone in his castle, is turned into a feather duster. How the character will be brought to life on screen for Condon's new version remains to be seen, though we figure the computer generated effects teams will be busy.

This take on the tale already boasts a great ensemble, with Emma Watson (The Perks Of Being A Wallflower) aboard to play Belle, Dan Stevens (The Guest) as the Beast, Luke Evans (Dracula Untold) as Gaston, Josh Gad (Love & Other Drugs) as Le Fou, Emma Thompson (Saving Mr. Banks) as Mrs. Potts, Kevin Kline (The Last Of Robin Hood) as Belle's father Maurice and Tony Award winner Audra McDonald as Garderobe. Condon is working from a script by The Perks Of Being A Wallflower's (2012) Stephen Chbosky.

The cameras will be cranking this May at Shepperton Studios, with the movie targeting a 17 March 2017 release in the States and over here. Mbatha-Raw, last seen in The Wachowski's (Cloud Atlas) Jupiter Ascending, is currently at work opposite Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club) in Gary Ross' (The Hunger Games) The Free State Of Jones.

New trailer for Results arrives online

Magnolia Pictures have recently released their first trailer for Andrew Bujalski's (Mutual Appreciation) Results.

The Results stars Kevin Corrigan as the freshly rich but also divorced and utterly miserable Danny who seeks out a personal trainer with the goal of being able to "take a punch". Visiting the local gym, he crosses paths with self-styled guru and gym owner Trevor (Guy Pearce), and the irresistibly acerbic trainer Kat (Cobie Smulders), who already have something of a connection, though neither is quite sure what it means.

Soon, though, the three strike up a tense, strange, and dynamic relationship. With Constance Zimmer (Chaos Theory), Anthony Michael Hall (Foxcatcher) and Brooklyn Decker (Stretch) in the cast, Results got some great reviews at The Sundance Film Festival and will be in UK cinemas on 19 May.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Ed Helms and Chevy Chase in new snapshot for Vacation

Should the news have passed you by, the Griswolds are packing up the car up and heading to our screens for a new Vacation. In development since at least 2009, the new film finally shot last autumn, and while we wait for the first trailer, here is the first family snapshot of Ed Helms (The Hangover), Christina Applegate (Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues), alongside Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo and brood.

John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein are making their joint directorial debut with the film, which finds the grown up Rusty Griswold (Helms) taking his wife (Applegate) and his children on a cross-country trip to replicate the one his father took years ago. The plan is to end up at Walley World. Leslie Mann (This Is 40) is set to play Rusty's sister Audrey, while Chris Hemsworth (Thor) will be her husband Stone.

Chase and D'Angelo's reprisal of their original roles is expected to be little more than a cameo appearance, but at least there is now photographic evidence that they were on set.

Keegan-Michael Key (Let's Be Cops) and Regina Hall (Scary Movie) are also among the cast as an annoyingly perfect couple the new Griswolds meet along their journey.

Vacation is currently in post-production and is out in the UK on 15 November.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Emmanuelle Bercot’s La Tête Haute set to open Cannes 2015

It seems somewhat fitting that this year's Cannes Film Festival, which is already celebrating Ingrid Bergman, should select the first film by a female director to open the festival in 28 years. News arrives via Variety that Emmanuelle Bercot's Standing Tall (La Tête Haute) is set to be that film.

While the films in the main selection categories for the festival have yet to be announced, we do know that La Tête Haute will have its premiere on opening day, 13 May, and arrives in French cinemas the same day. It is also the first time in a few years that a high-profile release hasn't taken the opening night slot, following such recent examples as Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby (2013) and Woody Allen's Midnight In Paris (2011).

Standing Tall stars Catherine Deneuve (Persepolis), Benoît Magimel (The Piano Teacher), Sara Forestier (Perfume: The Story Of A Murderer) and Rod Paradot in the story of juvenile delinquent Malony, following his upbringing from childhood to adulthood, as a children's judge and social worker try to save him.

"It is a clear reflection of our desire to see the festival start with a different piece, which is both bold and moving," says festival general delegate Thierry Frémaux. "Emmanuelle Bercot's film makes important statements about contemporary society, in keeping with modern cinema. It focuses on universal social issues, making it a perfect fit for the global audience at Cannes."

The festival runs from 13-24 May.

Emma Stone may sing for love in La La Land

There was a time when it looked liked Whiplash (2014) director Damien Chazelle would be reuniting with that film's star, Miles Teller, and working with Emma Watson (The Perks Of Being A Wallflower) on his new musical La La Land. But with Teller out and Watson at work on Bill Condon's (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn) Beauty And The Beast, new arrives via The Wrap that Chazelle is instead looking at securing Emma Stone (The Help) for one of the lead roles.

And though he has recently tried to score Academy Award® winner Eddie Redmayne (The Theory Of Everything) to co-star with her, it seems likely that Redmayne will be playing Newt Scamander in the Harry Potter series prequel Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, therefore knocking him out of the running. According to The Wrap, Chazelle is now looking at a possible Gangster Squad (2013) reunion, with Ryan Gosling his current choice as leading man. There is no indication that Gosling is anywhere close to making a deal yet.

La La Land follows two dreamers looking to find fame in Los Angeles, who meet and discover a love connection. There is aspiring actress Mia (Stone) who is lonely and trying to fit in to a confusing new city, and cocky, charismatic jazz pianist Sebastian, who learns that juggling a relationship and art in the unforgiving City of Angels is no easy task.

Music will also play a big part of the movie, with Chazelle making a statement describing his intent: "I'd like to make a contemporary musical about LA, starting with the LA we know but slowly building to a vision of the city as romantic metropolis – one that is actually worthy of the dreams it inspires. I'd like to make a musical about the way LA's peculiar rhythms can push its residents to the edge of their emotions – be they hope, desperation or love."

Stone will next be seen in Woody Allen's (Blue Jasmine) Irrational Man and Cameron Crowe's (Almost Famous) Aloha, which will be out in the UK on 4 September.

New one sheet for Man Up arrives online

StudioCanal have just released their first one sheet for Ben Palmer's (The Inbetweeners Movie) Man Up.

Let's face it, dating can be a tough, pitiless, painful, heart breaking, terrifying, apocalyptically awful experience that leaves your soul shrivelled and your emotions put through a blender. Simon Pegg's (Star Trek Into Darkness) new romantic comedy, Man Up, eschews all the modern dating paraphernalia – Tinder, Happn – and takes the more old-fashioned route to romance – a blind date and a case of mistaken identity.

Written by Tess Morris (The Love Punch) and directed by Ben Palmer, Man Up follows thirtysomething Nancy (Lake Bell), sick of the frustrations of dating and the endless pointless set ups provided by her friends. But in a weird circumstance, she meets divorcee Jack (Simon Pegg), who mistakes her for his blind date. Deciding to take a chance, Nancy goes along with it, and what follows is a chaotic night of drinking, dancing, bowling and what both of them see is a real connection. But then the truth comes out, and it threatens to ruin everything. Can they overcome that one tiny obstacle that stands in the way of happiness?

With the likes of Rory Kinnear (Sktfall), Olivia Williams (Hyde Park On Hudson), Sharon Horgan (Imagine Me & You), Ken Stott (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey), Ophelia Lovibond (No Strings Attached) and Stephen Campbell Moore (The Bank Job) also on board for this one, Man Up will be out in UK cinemas on 29 May.

New US trailer for When Marnie Was There arrives online

Studio Ghibli have just released their US trailer for Hiromasa Yonebayashi's (The Secret World Of Arrietty) When Marnie Was There.

Japanese animation legend Hayao Miyazaki retired in 2013 and Studio Ghibli announced last year a "restructuring" and "hiatus". It's still not quite clear what that all means, and it seems incredible to think that this could possibly mean the end of the world-renowned, much adored animation house. But if it is going to be a good while before a revived Ghibli present their next masterpiece, they are at least leaving us on a high note with Hiromasa Yonebayashi's When Marnie Was There.

The story involves a girl sent one summer from her foster home in the city one to a quiet town by the sea in Hokkaido. Feeling somewhat isolated as an outsider, she is pleased to encounter new new bestie Marnie, who lives in the spooky old Marsh House. But there are questions – their friendship has to remain a secret, and Marnie can't move far from the mansion...

Purists who prefer their Ghibli films in the original Japanese with subtitles will note that the latest trailer is the now-traditional all-star American dubbed version. The English language voices on this occasion come courtesy of Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit), Kathy Bates (About Schmidt), Ellen Burstyn (Requiem For A Dream), John C. Reilly (Guardians Of The Galaxy), Kiernan Shipka (Mad Men), Geena Davis (Stuart Little), Catherine O'Hara (Beetlejuice), Raini Rodriguez (Girl in Progress) and Vanessa Williams (Ugly Betty).

Like Howl's Moving Castle (2004) and The Secret World Of Arrietty (2010), When Marnie Was There is based on a western source. In this case the 1967 novel by Joan G. Robinson. The film is out in the US on 22 May, but has yet to receive a UK release date.

"Never surrender. Never give up the fight."

Pathe UK have just released their first teaser trailer for Sarah Gavron's (Brick Lane) Suffragette.

The general election is in full swing here in the UK, so it seems the right time to look back at a much more vital and impassioned part of political history, the Suffragette movement.

Boasting quite the cast – Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady), Carey Mulligan (Never Let Me Go), Helen Bonham Carter (The Kings Speech), Romola Garai (Amazing Grace), Anne-Marie Duff (The Last Station), Brendan Gleeson (In Bruges) and Ben Whishaw (Skyfall) among them – Suffragette follows the struggles of suffragette leader Emmeline Pankhurst (Streep) and the campaigners around her, who lead an early feminist movement to get equality in voting at a time when women were considered ill-mannered to vote.

While their cause was just, it was also not an easy thing to try to turn the giant iceberg that was British politics at the time. The personal cost was great, but the results speak for themselves.

The new teaser simply offers a quick look at this point, but with that cast and pedigree it could be a serious awards contender. With a script by Abi Morgan (The Iron Lady), Suffragette will be out in the UK on 30 October.

New TV spot for San Andreas arrives online

Warner Bros have recently released their first TV spot for Brad Peyton's (Journey 2: The Mysterious Island) San Andreas.

In the new disaster thriller, Dwayne Johnson (Fast & Furious 6) is Ray, a talented rescue pilot who is cut off from his daughter Blake (Alexandra Daddario) when The Big One, the mother (nature) of all earthquakes hits California. With the City of Angels and much of southern California's coastline in shambles, Ray teams up with his ex-wife Emma (Carla Gugino) to rescue their child, who is stuck in San Francisco. But if Paul Giamatti's (Saving Mr. Banks) expert is to be believed, the situation may be even worse than he suspects. "It all goes down. The damage, destruction, the loss of lives," Johnson tells USA Today. "Everything that you know on the West Coast doesn't see tomorrow."

As for the actor, he learned a new perspective and got some new found respect for the power of the planet. "Now we have multiple earthquake kits at home. And when you realise the magnitude of this, you go home grateful for the days you have," he says. "It gives you a different perspective. It makes you stop and think that there's no beating Mother Nature. She's the toughest mama around."

With Brad Peyton going full Roland Emmerich (2012) this time, expect chaos, shouting and lots of computer generated destruction. San Andreas will be out here on 29 May.

Andrew Lesnie: Lord Of The Rings cinematographer dies aged 59

Andrew Lesnie, Academy Award® winning cinematographer of the Lord Of The Rings films, has died aged 59.

According to reports, the Sydneysider suffered a heart attack on Monday. "We have been advised of the sudden death of Andrew," said a spokesman from the Australian Cinematographers Society, adding that the family would issue an official statement in due course.

Born in New South Wales in 1956, two decades before the emergence of the Australian film industry, Lesnie studied film and television in his home city before launching his career as a camera assistant for the ABC, Australia's equivalent of the BBC. From there he would go on to refine his skills across a variety of media, including short films, music videos, documentaries and commercials.

But it will be for his work on feature films that Lesnie will be best remembered, and specifically his work with Peter Jackson across both the Lord Of The Rings and Hobbit trilogies. The New Zealander, an admirer of his work on Babe (1995) and its sequel, spotted an approach – a shared sensibility – in Lesnie's work that he felt perfect for the unique demands of Lord Of The Rings' mix of location and green screen work. "I'd never worked with him or even met him before," said Jackson, "but he'd shot the Babe films and I thought they looked amazing, the way he'd used backlight and the sun and natural light to create a very magical effect," explained Jackson in 2004. "And Babe had that larger-than-life feel about it that I wanted."

"So when we began looking for DPs in early 1999, I first decided to get either an Australian or New Zealand DP as they'd be used to the way we make films," Jackson added. "Every country is slightly different in that way, and I immediately thought of Andrew."

That special collaboration helped Lesnie score the Achievement in Cinematography Oscar in 2001 for his work on The Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring. In between his J.R.R. Tolkien adaptations he also built an impressive body of work, specialising in lighting films that combined computer generated imagery and real world environments like I Am Legend (2007), The Last Airbender (2010) and Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes (2011).

Russell Crowe, who turned to Lesnie to shoot his directorial debut feature The Water Diviner (2014), led tributes via Twitter.

Film critic Harry Knowles, who got to know Lesnie on the set of Lord Of The Rings, also paid tribute, recalling his "many great memories with that man".

"In the 14 days I was on set of the original LOTR shoot, I swear I never saw Andrew Lesnie not smiling huge and making others feel the same," Knowles Tweeted.

"Andrew Lesnie and Peter Jackson would giggle behind the camera together like the most mischievous pair of movie masters that I've seen."

Billy Elliot (2000) star Jamie Bell, who worked with the cinematographer on King Kong (2005), added: "Andrew Lesnie was a treat to work with. I am blown away by all he achieved. He'll be missed greatly. RIP."

Peter Jackson, meanwhile, posted this touching tribute via his Facebook page:

Being an only child, I grew up wondering what it would be like to have a brother. It wasn't until today, in trying to deal with the terrible news of Andrew's passing, that I came to realise how much he had become that person for me – someone I could intrinsically love and trust – which I know now means someone who is up for all the good and the bad. Andrew was an irreplaceable part of my family and I am in total disbelief that I'll never again hear his infectious laugh, nor benefit from his quiet wisdom, or enjoy his generous praise. Andrew created unforgettable, beautiful images on screen, and he did this time and again, because he only ever served what he believed in – he was his own artist, separate from me, but always working generously to make what we were trying to create together better. On set we developed an ability to work together using a minimum of words – a rare meeting of minds. I will always remember turning up, countless times, at five in the morning – all those quiet moments I had with him when I could step on to set and know he was there – unfazed, ready, listening, interested, more importantly – ready to catch me if I faltered. He always had my back. The more anxious I became, the more calm he would be. A solid rock in the unpredictable world we both chose to work in. After 17 years and 8 movies together, the loss of Andrew is very hard to bear. 
My heart goes out to Jack and Sam, of whom he was enormously proud and to Marce, who gave him so much happiness. 
Dearest Andrew, you never sought nor wanted praise – you never needed to hear how good you were, you only ever cared about doing great work and respecting the work of others. But on behalf of all those who were lucky enough to collaborate with you, love you and in turn, respect your mastery of story, of light and of cinema magic – you are one of the great cinematographers of our time. 
Rest in Peace, my friend. 

Our thoughts go out to his friends and family.

Monday, 27 April 2015

New one sheet for Pan arrives online

Warner Bros have recently released their latest one sheet for Joe Wright's (Atonement) Pan.

Directed by Joe Wright, Pan aims to put a new spin on J.M. Barrie's classic tale, exploring how Neverland's most famous young resident came to be. In this version, Peter (Levi Miller) is a boy in an orphanage abandoned by his mother, who has nevertheless left a note saying she hopes to come and reunite with him – somewhat cryptically, in this world or another.

But before that can happen, our hero is indeed whisked off to another world, kidnapped by the dreaded pirate Blackbeard (Hugh Jackman). Put to work in the mines, he meets a charming, cocky rogue named James Hook and the pair escape, only to land in the clutches of the local natives, led by Tiger Lily (Rooney Mara). And that's just the start of Peter's adventures.

With Amanda Seyfried (Les Misérables), Jack Charles (Mystery Road), Tae-joo Na (The Kick), Nonso Anozie (The Grey), Kathy Burke (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), Kurt Egyiawan (Skyfall), Lewis MacDougall and Leni Zieglmeier also aboard, Pan is set to swoop in to our cinemas on 17 July.

New trailer and one sheet for Love & Mercy arrives online

Lionsgate have recently released their latest trailer and one sheet for Bill Pohlad's Love & Mercy.

Brian Wilson turned out a fair number of iconic musical moments in his career, especially during his Beach Boys days. But, like so many other talented artistic types, there was a lot more to him lurking beneath the legend.

Prolific producer-turned director Bill Pohlad called the shots for this one, working from a script by Michael A. Lerner (Deadlines) and Oren Moverman (I'm Not There). Love & Mercy charts two periods in Wilson's life, his younger days (played by Paul Dano) where we see him at his creative peak, and during difficult times post-nervous breakdown (played by John Cusack).

The movie aims to show both sides of his nature and his attitude to the fame and fortune that came along with his talents – both the good and the bad – plus his attempts to work through them with controversial therapist Eugene Landy (Paul Giamatti).

With Elizabeth Banks (The Hunger Games), Jake Abel (The Lovely Bones), Kenny Wormald (Footloose) and Dee Wallace (E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial) among the cast, Love & Mercy premiered at this years Toronto Film Festival and heads to American screens on 5 June. The film has yet to find a UK distributor.

New still for Creed arrives online

There have been a couple of stills released for Ryan Coogler's Rocky spin-off Creed, but this is our first proper look at Rocky himself, Sylvester Stallone, training Michael B. Jordan's (Fruitvale Station) Creed in the boxing ring.

Written by Coogler and Aaron Covington, Creed follows the exploits of Adonis Creed (Jordan), the son of Apollo, who was pummelled to death at the bloody hands of Dolph Lundgren's Ivan Drago in Rocky IV (1985). While Adonis never knew his father, he feels the fire of the boxer coursing through his veins and heads to Philadelphia to seek out Rocky Balboa (Stallone).

Hoping that Rocky will train him, Adonis battles through the older fighter's insistence that he is out of the game, and Rocky sees the strength and determination of his fierce rival and, later, closest friend in the young man. Reluctantly agreeing to help him out, he pushes Adonis towards a shot at a title, but is facing his own battles...

With Tessa Thompson (Selma), Phylicia Rashad (Frankie & Alice), Graham McTavish (The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey) and professional boxer Tony Bellew in the cast, Creed is due to arrive in cinemas 25 November.

New trailer and character one sheets for The Connection arrives online

Picture house Entertainment have recently released their latest trailer and character one sheets for Cédric Jimenez's (Aux yeux de tous) The Connection.

Since his Academy Award® win for The Artist (2011), Jean Dujardin hasn't become as ubiquitous in Hollywood movies as we might have expected. Perhaps he simply found himself pigeoned holed and offered unappetising roles, or maybe he was happy to stay local and moonlight in the likes of The Wolf Of Wall Street (2013) and The Monuments Men (2014). Either way, he will be back on our screens soon in the taut Gallic policier The Connection.

There is certainly a hint of Mesrine's (2008) stylised moodiness in there, underlined by the presence of Gilles Lellouche (Point Blank) as the Fernando Rey to Dujardin's Gene Hackman. Lellouche is Neapolitan heroin trafficker Tony Zampa, Dujardin is Pierre Michel, the Marseilles magistrate trying to bring him down.

It's the same tense terrain – and the same real life case – that was tapped by John Frankenheimer's The French Connection II (1975). The infamous 'French Connection' narc network, through which heroin flowed from Turkey to the US, via the bustling docks of Marseilles. Judging by the trailer, director Cédric Jimenez has built his true life thriller around a Neil McCauley/Vincent Hanna dynamic of crusading lawman and pragmatic villain going head-to-head in the glare of the Mediterranean sun.

Catch The Connection in UK cinemas from 29 May.

New promo banners for Mad Max: Fury Road arrive online

Warner Bros have recently released as series of promo banners for George Miller's post-apocalyptic adventure Mad Max: Fury Road.

The Mad Max reboot – which finds Tom Hardy (Lawless) taking over the iconic role from Gibson for a new interpretation – promises a return to the stark, post-apocalyptic wasteland where society has long since broken down and lawlessness rules.

But in this world of blood, fire and death there are two rebels who might just be able to restore order. Max is still seeking peace of mind after the deaths of his wife and child, and now battles bad guys wherever he finds them. Then there is Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron), a shaven-headed woman of action who is trying to survive a long, gruelling trip across the desert to reach her homeland. Along the way, we'll be treated to what Miller has described as one long chase scene, full of action and madness. Arguably the very foundations for a Mad Max outing.

Nicholas Hoult (Warm Bodies), Riley Keough (The Runaways), Zoë Kravitz (X-Men: First Class), Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (Transformers: Dark Of The Moon), Hugh Keays-Byrne (Sleeping Beauty), Nathan Jones (Conan The Barbarian), Abbey Lee Kershaw and Courtney Eaton all feature in the madness.

Thanks to the film now appearing Out Of Competition at this year Cannes Film Festival, we will be seeing the film a day earlier than planned, with Mad Max: Fury Road now arriving in UK cinemas from 14 May.

Olivia Munn set for X-Men: Apocalypse

Bryan Singer has recently announced via his Instagram account that Olivia Munn (Mortdecai) is set to play Psylocke in his X-Men: Days Of Future Past (2014) follow-up X-Men: Apocalypse.

Also known as Elizabeth 'Betsy' Braddock, Psylocke in the comics is the child of James Braddock Sr., who came from the alternate dimension Otherworld and fathered three kids. Elizabeth suffered an early trauma when she was blinded and nearly killed by a villain, before being given artificial eyes. Her powers include telekinesis, particularly focusing that energy into a "psychic knife" to use on adversaries, plus impressive martial arts skills. How much of her Marvel backstory will be filtered into the movie is something that we will have to wait and see.

Her casting comes just days after it was announced that EastEnders' Ben Hardy is set to play Angel in the film.

With a script from X-Men: Days Of Future Past's (2014) Simon Kinberg plus Singer stalwarts Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris (X-Men 2), X-Men: Apocalypse is set in the 1980s and finds Xavier (James McAvoy), Magneto (Michael Fassbender), Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) and Beast (Nicholas Hoult) facing off against massively powerful mutant Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) alongside younger versions of Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), Scott 'Cyclops' Summers (Tye Sheridan), Ororo 'Storm' Munroe (Alexandra Shipp), Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee) and Jubilee (Lana Condor).

Rose Byrne (X-Men: First Class) is back as Moira MacTaggert, and there will be appearances from Hugh Jackman's Wolverine and, reportedly, the older Magneto, played as usual by Ian McKellen.

X-Men: Apocalypse is due out on 19 May 2016.

New behind the scenes stills for Star Wars: The Force Awakens arrive online

Many of you have no doubt watched the latest trailer for J.J. Abrams' (Star Trek Into Darkness) Star Wars: The Force Awakens more times than you would care to admit, but the new trailer wasn't our only look at events on the desert planet Jakku (not Tatooine).

During the kickoff of the 2015 Star Wars Celebration with Disney and Lucasfilm in Anaheim last week, director J.J. Abrams also released a fresh batch of behind the scenes stills, offering up a closer look at the movie's three main characters – John Boyega's (Attack The Block) Finn, Daisy Ridley's Rey (Silent Witness) and Oscar Isaac's (Inside Llewyn Davis) Poe Damron – the new practical effect droid BB-8, and the process of making movies set in a galaxy far, far away.

Written by Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan (Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes), the film stars Star Wars veterans Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Kenny Baker, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, and new saga arrivals John Boyega, Daisy Ridley, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver (Girls), Andy Serkis (Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes), Domhnall Gleeson (About Time), Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years A Slave), Gwendoline Christie (Game Of Thrones), Max von Sydow (Shutter Island), Christina Chong (W.E.), Crystal Clarke and Pip Anderson.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens arrives on 18 December.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Michelle MacLaren departs Wonder Woman

We were understandably delighted back in November when Michelle MacLaren – a director who has delivered excellent episodes of Breaking Bad, Game Of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Better Call Saul and more – was hired by Warner Bros to tackle Wonder Woman. You can understand our disappointment, then, as word arrives via The Hollywood Reporter that MacLaren is no longer making the movie.

As usual when this kind of news breaks, the studio has circled the wagons, releasing only a standard statement: "Given creative differences, Warner Bros and Michelle MacLaren have decided not to move forward with plans to develop and direct Wonder Woman together."

The standalone film, which is still in development and taking aim at a 2017 release date, will star Gal Gadot (Fast & Furious 6) and, given his casting as Steve Trevor, a love interest of hers from the comics in Suicide Squad, looked destined to potentially also feature Scott Eastwood (Fury). MacLaren was also working on the story alongside Jason Fuchs (Ice Age: Continental Drift).

Warner Bros will now have to scramble to find a replacement, a similar situation to when Patty Jenkins (Monster) was signed to direct Thor: The Dark World (2013), but dropped out over disagreements on the vision for the film, with Alan Taylor (one of MacLaren's fellow Game Of Thrones directors) finally taking over.

The Wonder Woman solo film is set for 23 June 2017 release in the US.

Jemaine Clement set for BFG

Having entered the post production phase on his latest, Cold War thriller Bridge Of Spies, Steven Spielberg (Lincoln) is now splitting his time between finishing that and gearing up to make Roald Dahl adaptation The BFG. Now he has Jemaine Clement (What We Do In The Shadows), Penelope Wilton (Match Point) and Rebecca Hall (The Prestige) to the cast.

And they're not the only new additions, as Michael Adamthwaite (Sucker Punch), Daniel Bacon (50/50), Chris Gibbs (The Samaritan), Adam Godley (Charlie And The Chocolate Factory), Jonathan Holmes (Nightwatching), Paul Moniz de Sa (The Killing) and Ólafur Ólafsson (The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty) have all been hired to join Mark Rylance's (Anonymous) titular character, newcomer Ruby Barnhill as young heroine Sophie and Bill Hader (Superbad), who is playing one of the less charming giants. While most of the other roles remain cloaked in mystery we do know that Wilton will be the Queen and Hall her maid.

For those of you not familiar with the story, The BFG tells of the world's only friendly giant and his friendship with young Sophie. He makes it his mission to collect good dreams and gift them to children while destroying nightmares and keeping his nasty fellow gigantic brethren from eating "human beans".

Spielberg's take on Dahl's classic tale has been adapted by E.T. (1982) screenwriter Melissa Mathison, with Mark Rylance (Anonymous) starring as the title character and ten-year-old newcomer Ruby Barnhill hired in December to play Sophie. Hader will, as mentioned, be one of the less than friendly giants. The new film will be shooting this year, ready for a 22 July 2016 release.

"In more than 40 years of making movies, I have been on the producing end of a number of films for The Walt Disney Company, but never as a director," says Spielberg. "It is a special joy to be in the director's chair as we start The BFG, alongside my long-time friends and film collaborators Kathy Kennedy, who introduced me to this project, Frank Marshall and Melissa Mathison. Together with them and Disney, there are many reasons why I am so excited about this joint venture." The cameras are starting to roll now in Vancouver and the film will be out on 22 July 2016.