Movie News/Independent Highlight

This week will see a number of indie projects open on select screens across the country. We mentioned the Kristen Stewart (Twilight, Snow White and the Huntsmen) drama Equals opening this Friday, about a couple who falls in love as the result of a disease in a futuristic utopia that is devoid of feeling and emotion, and the tension it causes between them and their society. Co-starring with Stewart is Nicholas Hoult (Mad Max: Fury Road, X-Men: Apocalypse), who are led by director Drake Doremus (Like Crazy, Breathe In).

Also opening on the indie circuit this week is a new animated movie called Phantom Boy, which takes place in the 1940s-50s and follows a young boy with superpowers who helps a wheelchair-bound policeman in his efforts to take down a notorious mob boss. The film comes from Oscar-nominated filmmakers Loup Felicioli & Alain Gagnol (A Cat in Paris) and stars French actors Edouard Baer (Chicken with Plums), Jean-Pierre Marielle (Coup de torchon, The DaVinci Code), and Audrey Tautou (A Very Long Engagement, Amelie).

Finally on the indie film circuit for this week is a new comedy called Undrafted from writer/director/actor Joseph Mazzello (Jurassic Park, The Social Network). Mazzello co-stars alongside lead actors Tyler Hoechlin (Road to Perdition, Hall Pass) and Chace Crawford (The Covenant, What To Expect When You’re Expecting) about a group of ragtag teammates who head out to play a regular game of baseball, but end up in the most important game of their lives. James Beluchi (K-9, According To Jim) also appears in the supporting cast.

In other news, Daniel Radcliffe (Victor Frankenstein, Swiss Army Man) is continuing his post-Harry Potter career with a new hard-hitting drama titled Imperium, in which he plays an undercover FBI agent attempting to expose and take down a white supremacist radical terrorist group. The film is “inspired” by true events and co-stars Oscar-nominee Toni Collette (Little Miss Sunshine, The 6th Sense) and Burn Gorman (Layer Cake, The Dark Knight Rises). The trailer doesn’t make me all too excited about Radcliffe’s performance, but it’s good to see an actor step outside his comfort zone and take on something new.

Universal is also in talks to recruit Javier Bardem (No Country For Old Men, Skyfall) to complete their monster-movie reboot from the earliest days of corporate motion pictures, according to Variety. So far Tom Cruise (Top Gun, Mission Impossible), Johnny Depp (Alice in Wonderland, Black Mass), and Russell Crowe (LA Confidential, Gladiator) have all agreed to take roles in the monster universe movies, with filming on The Mummy with Tom Cruise already wrapped up and expected for release next summer. Crowe will be appearing as Dr. Jekyl and Johnny Depp as the Invisible Man, so I guess that leaves the Dracula and Frankenstein roles to be filled by Bardem and another a-lister, whoever that turns out to be. We’ll be bringing you more updates on this as the year progresses.

Finally, a new trailer was released this week for writer/director Damien Chazelle‘s upcoming drama La La Land. The film stars Ryan Gosling (Drive, The Place Beyond the Pines) and Emma Stone (The Help, Birdman) in their third on-screen appearance together, after Crazy Stupid Love (2011) and Gangster Squad (2013). This will be Chazelle’s latest feature since Whiplash earned him an Oscar-nomination in 2014, and by the looks of the trailer, I think it will be a very artfully crafted romance film, but definitely one worth seeing.

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