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Rumor: AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR Will Shoot Next Year

Posted on 02 December 2014 by Rich Drees

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Currently director Joss Whedon busily keeps working on finishing the anticipated The Avengers: Age Of Ultron for its May 1, 2015 release, with him bringing some of cast back to London’s Pinewood Studios next month for some reshoots that are supposed to add some extra oomph to the film’s action sequences. But a rumor is starting to circulate that although the Avengers installment after Age Of Ultron, the two-part Infinity War, isn’t scheduled for release until 2018 and 2019, it may be in front of the cameras as early as the end of 2015.

The news comes from the UK’s Daily Mail tabloid, so the usual disclaimers about the veracity if this rumor are in effect.

Both Avengers films began production approximately a year before their release, so shooting approximately two-and-a-half years before the release seems excessive, even if there is an inordinate amount of visual effects needed to be completed for the film.

There’s no reasoning given in the report, but I suppose that if true, this could be a move to allow some actors – specifically Robert Downey Jr and Chris Evans – to wrap up all of their current contractual obligations to the Marvel Cinematic Universe quickly so that they can move on to other projects. Also, if I may be a bit indelicate here, this cast is not getting any younger and by the time of the release of the first part of Infinity War Robert Downey Jr. will be 53 and have been playing Tony Stark/Iron Man for a decade and even with the truckloads of money that Marvel is probably dumping into his front yard on a weekly basis, he may be anxious to spend his time on something else.

Of course, this could all turn out to be so much hot air. A late next year shoot would mean that the screenplay would have to be being written right now and presumably the studio has a director locked in. However, we’ve not heard any word of a screenwriter or director being hired, not even in the rumor mill. We’ll see how this pans out.

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New York Film Critics Name BOYHOOD Best Film Of 2014

Posted on 01 December 2014 by Rich Drees

Boyhood

As the end of the year fast approaches, so too do the number of critics groups that release their best of the year awards. Traditionally, this is kicked off by the New York Film Critics Association and the group has just announced their list of the best in cinema for 2014. Richard Linklater’s Boyhood turns out to be the only film on the list to garner multiple awards – Best Film, Director and Support Actress (Patricia Arquette). Will other critics and awards organizations agree? We’ll see as the season rolls on.

Here’s the complete list of NYFCA winners –

Best Film: Boyhood
Best Director: Richard Linklater (Boyhood)
Best Actor: Timothy Spall (Mr. Turner)
Best Actress: Marion Cotillard (The Immigrant and Two Days, One Night)
Best Supporting Actor: J.K. Simmons (Whiplash)
Best Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette (Boyhood)
Best Foreign-Language Film: Ida (Poland, directed by Pawel Pawlikowski)
Best Animated Film: The LEGO Movie (directed by Phil Lord & Christopher Miller)
Best First Film: The Babadook (directed by Jennifer Kent)
Best Non-Fiction Film (Documentary): Citizenfour (directed by Laura Poitras)
Best Screenplay: The Grand Budapest Hotel (writer Wes Anderson)
Best Cinematography: Darius Khondji (The Immigrant)
Special Award: Adrienne Mencia

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Del Toro’s JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK Script Turned In

Posted on 01 December 2014 by Rich Drees

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When movie studio executives take a break for a holiday, they still wind up doing a bit of work. And one thing that executives at Warner Brothers may have been doing over this Thanksgiving weekend is reading the screenplay for director Guillermo del Toro’s planned DC Comics movie that would explore the publisher’s more supernatural and mystical characters. Forbes is reporting that del Toro has just finished and submitted the screenplay – titled Dark Universe, though from what little we’ve heard it sounds similar in tone to DC’s current Justice League Dark comic series – right before the Thanksgiving holiday and is hoping to hear something back as early as this week.

And there are a number of things that would argue towards Warners letting del Toro do this film. First, he’s just rolling off his biggest hit ever with 2013’s Pacific Rim and there’s a solid fanbase anxious for more from the director. The TV series Constantine has been getting solid ratings for NBC and the only thing that has kept the network from giving the show a full 22-episode season is that it has too many hour-long dramas ready to go for the mid-season and they had to make the room on their schedule somehow. But people are familiar and responding well to the character, so it would make sense that the studio would want to try and capitalize on that. And even though del Toro stated he would be open to using TV Constantine Matt Ryan, Warners has shown that they don’t have any compunctions in recasting their superheroes if they’ve already appeared in a television incarnation.

If the film does go forward, it should be interesting to see how it merges, if at all, with the studio’s already announced plans for a shared universe based on DC Comics superheroes. Their already announced schedule, which runs through 2020, is rather light in terms of the supernatural superheroes that the company owns, with only Wonder Woman, whose origins are tied to the Greek gods, being represented on the schedule.

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Here’s Some STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS Parody Trailers

Posted on 01 December 2014 by Rich Drees

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Well, that didn’t take long…

The Star Wars: The Force Awakens teaser trailer, which contains our first look at a new Star Wars film in nearly a decade broke all sorts of viewing records when it was released just this past Friday. And it may have broken a few records in how quickly parody trailers have hit the `net.

Perhaps the best one out there right now is this one that plays off of director JJ Abrams’ enchant for lensflare in his two Star Trek films. While the joke is kind of old by now, the look that the person who did this achieves is such a contrast to the “used universe” concept we’ve come to expect from Star Wars that it makes an interesting visual dichotomy.

This one claims to be a re-edit of the trailer by George Lucas but it actually functions as a good series of blackout gags for most of the short segments that make up the actual trailer.

This one sticks a bit closer to its premise that Lucasfilm parent company Disney might have a few suggestions for additions in to the film.

There’s even a couple out there that retell the trailer in Legos. This is probably the best of that bunch.

And of course, Red Letter Media’s Mr. Plinkett, who made himself a YouTube star with his epic dissections of the Star Wars prequel trilogy, can’t help but chime in on the trailer as well. This one is a bit Not Safe For Work.

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Here’s A Leaked Unfinished Trailer For TED 2

Posted on 01 December 2014 by Rich Drees

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Looks like Sony wasn’t the only studio to have something leaked over the weekend as someone has posted an unfinished trailer for Universal’s Ted 2. While the trailer does give away a bit of what the plot to the sequel to the 2012 comedy hit will be about, it is also interesting in that many shots featuring the living teddy bear (voiced by director and co-screenwriter Seth MacFarlane) are in various forms of completion. It’s an interesting behind-the-scenes peek. Enjoy it before the Universal lawyers get it pulled down.

Ted 2 hits theaters on June 26, 2015.

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Sony Pictures Hacked, Several Upcoming Films Released Online; North Korea Responsible?

Posted on 01 December 2014 by Rich Drees

SonyLogoAt the beginning of last week, the network servers at Sony Pictures came under an attack from a hacker group that identified itself as Gardians Of Peace or #GOP that incapacitated the studio’s Culver City, New York and international offices. The studio had been tight-lipped about the breach, releasing a statement to Deadline that “We are investigating an IT matter.” It was an IT problem that all but ground the company to a halt for nearly two days. A picture of the message that greeted Sony employees when they tried to log onto their system has made its way online (via business2community.com).

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At first it was unclear as to what the hackers meant by releasing “Secret and top secret” data that Sony would not want shown to the world. But then this past weekend, several digital screener files of upcoming Sony films, complete with studio watermark, suddenly appeared on various file sharing networks. Among the titles are October’s World War Two drama Fury and their modernization of the Broadway musical Annie, set for release on December 19.

At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be any real motive behind the attack. (Though would it be too much to hope that one of their demands was that Sony give the film rights to Spider-Man back to Marvel?)  The hackers’ message does note that Sony had been previously warned, though there has been no been no reporting of any previous hacks of Sony’s systems.

One interesting theory as to the reason behind the attacks have been forward by Re/Code, who are reporting from an unnamed source that the studio is investigating the possibility of a link between the hack and the North Korean government. Last week, an anonymous spokesperson for the despotic regime once again voiced displeasure over the fact that Sony was releasing The Interview, a comedy starring Seth Rogen and James Franco which centers on an assassination attempt on North Korean’s ruler Kim Jong-Un.

Sony and outside security consultants are actively exploring the theory that the hack may have been carried out by third parties operating out of China on North Korea’s behalf. The sources stress that a link to North Korea hasn’t been confirmed, but has not been ruled out, either.

The idea that North Korea would be behind the attack on Sony is not as far fetched as you may think. The government is believed to have been behind a cyberattack on two South Korean television stations and that country’s financial system last year.

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North Korea Complains Some More About THE INTERVIEW

Posted on 28 November 2014 by Rich Drees

Interview

With just a few weeks to go before the release of Seth Rogen and James Franco’s new comedy The Interview, the government of North Korea has decided to release another statement condemning the film’s plot centered on an assassination attempt on the country’s leader Kim Jong Un.

In a statement on the government-controlled website Uriminzokkiri (via Hollywood Reporter), an anonymous government official blasted the film and its stars.

The cheekiness to show this conspiracy movie, which is comprised of utter distortions of the truth and absurd imaginations, is an evil act of provocation against our highly dignified republic and an insult against our righteous people… The trashy filmmakers, who, won over by a few dollars thrown to them by conspirators, have compromised the dignity and conscience of filmmaking and dared to produce and direct such a film. They must be subject to our stern punishment… How pitiful the U.S. is, desperately scrambling to tear down the authority of our republic that grows mightier by the day, with a shabby movie, now that no pressure or threat has worked.

Suffice it to say that totalitarian regimes like the one that runs North Korea are never really known for their senses of humor and in the past the government of North Korea has denounced The Interview as an act of war. This is not the first time that a leader of that country has been lampooned in a film though. Team America: World Police portrayed Kim Jong Un’s father Kim Jung-Il as a cockroach-like alien in a human robot body who moped around his castle sing songs about how lonely, or is that “ronry”, he was. At the time, there was no protest from North Korea.

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Our First Look At STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS

Posted on 28 November 2014 by Rich Drees

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Without any ado whatsoever, here is the highly anticipated first teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. My thoughts below.

Wow! Lots to be excited about, none more so than it really looks like director J J Abrams and his team have captured the look and feel of the Star Wars universe in the best possible ways, even expanding on so many things, including the new style X-wing fighters, with Oscar Isaac at the stick of one, and the laser cross-guard or quillons on that mysterious, hooded figure’s lightsaber. Not too crazy about that beachball `droid. According to some rumors, it belongs to Daisy Ridley’s character so we’ll probably be seeing a lot of it, but it can’t be any worse than Jar-Jar, right? Right?

And not only are we getting our first look at the new film, we’re also getting our first listen at what composer John Williams has in store for us.

I have to admit that I am somewhat emotional over seeing this, all goosbumps up and down my arms. I am an original generation Star Wars fan, just eight years old when the first film, long before it was A New Hope, hit theaters. Star Wars had always been a part of my life and when Revenge Of The Sith nearly a decade ago, with George Lucas’s assertion that this would be the last cinematic installment of the franchise, it really felt like a door was closing on something that had always been part of the fabric of me and my friends’ interests. Sure, we’ve known for over a year now that this was in the works, but there’s a distinct difference between knowing something and seeing it with one’s own eyes. And one look at the Millennium Falcon in all her majesty, swooping through the sky evading laser blasts from TIE fighters is the real confirmation that Star Wars is back.

“There ha been an awakening… Have you felt it?”

With this trailer we most certainly have.

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Netflix’s Comings And Goings For December

Posted on 28 November 2014 by Rich Drees

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If you’ve been meaning to catch up with such films as 1941, RoboCop 2 or Young Sherlock Holmes via Netflix streaming, you might want to get on that this Thanksgiving weekend, as they are just three of the films that will no longer be available through the service come Monday December 1st. Don’t worry though, as there are plenty of new films that will be appearing on Netflix over the course of the month. Here’s the list of what will be new and leaving-

Available 12/1
A Knight’s Tale (2001)
Almost Famous (2000)
American Beauty (1999)
Bewitched (2005)
Jewtopia (2012)
Knights of Badassdom (2014)
Madison (2005)
Out of the Clear Blue Sky (2012)
Out of Time (2003)
The Out-of-Towners (1999)
Troop Beverly Hills (1989)

Available 12/3
Oculus (2014)
Son of God (2014)

Available 12/6
Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues Super-sized version (2013)
Ava & Lala (2014)

Available 12/9
I Am Ali (2014)
Drive Hard (2014)

Available 12/10
A Haunted House 2 (2014)

Available 12/11
The Village (2004)
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

Available 12/13
Don’t Blink (2014)

Available 12/15
Jake Squared (2014)

Available 12/18
Ragnarok (2014)

Available 12/20
Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones Extended Edition (2014)

Available 12/22
Dark Skies (2013)
Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion (1997)

Available 12/23
The Trip to Italy (2014)

Available 12/24
Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return (2014)

Available 12/25
Good People (2014)

Available 12/27
Child of God (2014)
Labor Day (2013)

Available 12/28
Behaving Badly (2014)
I, Frankenstein (2014)

Available 12/30
Last Weekend (2014)

Here is the list of films that will be no longer available for streaming as of December 1st –

1941 (1979)
The Apostle (1997)
Audrey Rose (1977)
The Believers (1987)
Better than Chocolate (1999)
Blood & Chocolate (2007)
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (2008)
Chaplin (1992)
The Choirboys (1977)
The Cockeyed Cowboys of Calico County (1970)
Coffee and Cigarettes (2003)
The Cold Light of Day (1996)
The Constant Gardener (2005)
Count Yorga, Vampire (1970)
Cry-Baby (1990)
Dirty Dancing (1987)
Double Indemnity (1944)
En la Cama (2005)
Event Horizon (1997)
Eye for an Eye (1996)
Fairy Tale: A True Story (1997)
First Knight (1995)
Five Easy Pieces (1970)
Foreign Student (1994)
Free Men (2011)
Funny Lady (1975)
The Ghost and Mrs Muir (1947)
The Girl from Petrovka (1974)
Going Berserk (1983)
The Great Waldo Pepper (1975)
House of Voices (2004)
How to Frame a Figg (1971)
I’m Not Rappaport (1996)
Imagining Argentina (2003)
Invaders from Mars (1986)
Ishtar (1987)
Joe Gould’s Secret (2000)
Joe Kidd (1972)
Johnny Mnemonic (1995)
Killer at Large (2008)
King of the Hill (1993)
Lonely Hearts (2006)
Magic Trip (2011)
Magicians (2007)
Mission: Impossible III (2006)
Minnie and Moskowitz (1971)
Monkey Shines (1988)
Mr. Mom (1983)
‘night Mother (1986)
Night of the Creeps (1986)
An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)
Opal Dream (2006)
The Other Side of the Mountain (1975)
The Other Side of the Mountain, Part 2 (1978)
Our City Dreams (2008)
The Paper Chase (1973)
Paradise Alley (1978)
The Parole Officer (2001)
The Pirates of Penzance (1983)
Prairie Love (2011)
The Presidio (1988)
The Promise (1979)
The Proposition (1998)
Reds (1981)
The Return of Count Yorga (1971)
RoboCop 2 (1990)
School Ties (1992)
The Sci-Fi Boys (2006)
The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988)
Spice World (1998)
Star Trek: Generations (1994)
Swashbuckler (1976)
The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
They Might Be Giants (1971)
The Untouchables (1987)
The Vampire Lovers (1970)
Walker (1987)
Year of the Horse: Neil Young & Crazy Horse Live (1997)
Young Sherlock Holmes (1985)

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Looking Back at The First Six STAR WARS Films’ Teaser Trailers

Posted on 28 November 2014 by Rich Drees

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As we wait for the Star Wars: The Force Awakens teaser trailer to be rolled out later today, let’s take a look back at the first teaser trailers for all six previous Star Wars films. Spanning nearly three decades, it is interesting to see how the art of cutting a trailer has changed over time.

With phrases like “.. A boy, a girl and a universe” and “… a billion years in the making,” I dare say that the teaser for the first film shows that Twentieth Century Fox’s marketing department had absolutely no idea what it was trying to sell to people. Though to be fair, the trailer was probably put together while the film was still being edited, a time when it very famously did not have quite the pace and tone that we associate with it now. The Empire Strikes Back‘s teaser is notable for its abundant use of production art and photographs. There’s not an actual moving image from the film in the whole one minute, twenty-six second run time. Also, there’s no “Episode V.” Meanwhile, Return Of The Jedi‘s first teaser is still using the film’s original Revenge Of The Jedi title.

Of the prequel trilogies, I would say that the teaser for Attack Of The Clones stands out the most for its stylistic use of just the iconic sound of Darth Vader’s breathing apparatus and very little else over images from the film. Running a close second would be the teaser for Revenge Of The Sith thanks to the use of Alec Guiness’s dialogue from the first Star Wars film recounting Darth Vader’s backstory (from “a certain point of view” of course.”)

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