The 67th Berlin Film Festival, better known as Berlinale, kicks off each year shortly after the Sundance Film Festival ends, and continues with an impressive line-up of independent films, ranging from comedy to drama and even science fiction. This year the festival closed with the premiere of James Mangold‘s R-rated comic entry Logan, which will see the last outing of Hugh Jackman as the immortal and tormented Wolverine, opposite Patrick Stewart reprising the role of Professor Charles Xavier. In addition, director Danny Boyle‘s long-anticipated follow-up to Trainspotting also debuted at the festival, and saw the original cast return for a look at how the characters are dealing with the realities of life 20-years after the drug-induced original. The festival also played host to a solid line-up of independent films. Unfortunately we’re not able to afford the trip (or take the time off) to make it to Berlin for the 10-day celebration, so this all based on reviews and speculation, but here are just a few noteworthy entries we figured were worth mentioning… Continue reading →
A new trailer has just been released for the new X-Men sequel/independent-stand-alone feature Logan, once again starring Hugh Jackman (Les Miserables, Prisoners) as the Wolverine. This may very well be Jackson’s last outing with the character. Logan appears to take place in a distant, grim-looking future, where his mutation is failing and he plays guardian for Charles Xavier, now suffering from Alzheimers Disease. While the two cope with the loss of the mutants and the X-Men, Wolverine must battle a corporate conglomerate whose only goal seems to be to destroy the world. Just as the two mutants reach the verge of losing hope, they discover a young girl, or clone, who possesses Logan’s same gift of regeneration, and who may very-well-be their only hope of defeating Essex.
Patrick Stewart reprises his role as Charles Xavier, joining Jackman under the direction of The Wolverine director James Mangold (Walk the Line, 3:10 to Yuma). Mangold assisted in writing the project with screenwriters David James Kelly and Michael Green (Alien: Covenant, Blade Runner 2049), both newcomers to the X-Men movie universe. Boyd Holbrook (Milk, Gone Girl), Stephan Merchant (Hall Pass, The Big Bang Theory), Richard E. Grant (Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Corpse Bride), and Dafne Keen (The Refugees) all appear in the supporting cast. Sadly, no other familiar faces in terms of X-Men or mutants in general are expected to be seen in the film. Continue reading →
This week’s Memorable Movie Moment takes us back to director John Sturges‘ 1963 war-era classic, The Great Escape. Set in a POW camp in Nazi Germany, the film follows the true story of a group of Allied prisoners who sought to accomplish the biggest jail break ever conceived, scattering more than 200 Allied troops across the country in an effort to divert Nazi war efforts on finding and re-capturing the escaped soldiers. The Great Escape is famous for a number of reasons. It featured an all-star cast including Steve McQueen (The Cincinnati Kid, The Sand Pebbles), James Garner (The Rockford Files, The Notebook), Richard Attenborough (Jurassic Park, Elizabeth), Charles Bronson (Once Upon A Time In The West, Death Wish), Donald Pleasance (Halloween, Escape From New York), and James Coburn (The Muppet Movie, In Like Flint), several of which were actual POWs with the Allied Forces during World War II. It also set and broke a number of on-screen records, ranging from the scale of the production (an entire replica of a real-life German POW camp was built in which to shoot the film) to the impressive array of stunts. Continue reading →
A modern big screen adaptation of Herman Melville’s epic adventure Moby Dick titled In The Heart of the Sea is opening in theaters this Friday, December 11th. Written for the screen by Charles Leavitt (K-PAX, Blood Diamond) and writing team Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Jurassic World), the film takes the classic tale, based on a real-life maritime disaster in the West Pacific in 1820, to new heights, utilizing stunning visual effects to show the initial series of confrontations leading up to the whale’s sinking of the Essex and the aftermath the crew had to endure in the open sea, with no ship, no food, and no fresh water. While trying to survive, the crew members begin to question both the morality of their trade and the value of life, as captain and first mate collide on their efforts to either survive, or kill the vengeance-driven whale. Continue reading →
October may have slowed down in terms of big releases as we came closer to Halloween, but with November comes a new month of big releases, and this week will see no shortage of such films this Friday. The first new release on the list is the upcoming modern rework of Snoopy, Charlie Brown, and their gang of Peanuts, appropriately titled The Peanuts Movie. Coming Twentieth Century Fox and Blue Sky Animation, and from Horton Hears A Who and Ice Age: Continental Drift director Steve Martino, the new movie finds everyone’s favorite underdog Charlie Brown and his best pal Snoopy in an all new adventure, as Charlie tries to make a good impression on the new girl moving in next door, and Snoopy continues in his quest to shoot the Red Baron out of the sky. Continue reading →
From left to right: actors Brad Pitt, Christian Bale, and Ryan Gosling will co-star in The Big Short.
Writer/director Adam McKay just released news that his upcoming project, The Big Short, has been given a release date for Christmas Day 2015. The release is expected to be held at the conclusion of the Los Angeles AFI Film Festival, but I’m pretty sure a nationwide release will be happening later on in 2016. The film is based on Michael Lewis’ novel of the same name, which focuses on a group of guys who made millions when they bet against the collateralized debt obligation bubble after predicting the economic crash of 2008. Making up the all-star cast are actors Brad Pitt (Inglorious Basterds, Fury), Christian Bale (The Dark Knight, Out of the Furnace), Karen Gillan (Doctor Who, Guardians of the Galaxy), Ryan Gosling (Drive, The Place Beyond the Pines), Steve Carell (The 40-Year Old Virgin, Little Miss Sunshine), Marisa Tomei (My Cousin Vinny, The Lincoln Lawyer), and Melissa Leo (The Fighter, Prisoners). Selena Gomez will also be appearing in the movie as one of the supporting characters. Director McKay co-wrote the script with screenwriter Charles Randolph (The Life of David Gale, The Interpreter). We’ll keep an eye out for a new trailer, which should be coming soon.
Filmmaker Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, The Equalizer) is currently working on principle photography for his upcoming remake of the classic 1960 western The Magnificent Seven. The original film was directed by legendary director John Sturges (The Great Escape, Joe Kidd) and featured an all-star cast that included Yul Brynner (The Ten Commandments), Eli Wallach (The Good The Bad and the Ugly), Steve McQueen (Bullitt), Charles Bronson (Death Wish), Robert Vaughn (Julius Caesar), Brad Dexter (Run Silent Run Deep), and James Coburn (Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid). Composer Elmer Bernstein received an Oscar-nomination for Best Musical Score (Drama/Comedy) for his work on the picture, and the film was selected for the National Film Registry by the National Film Preservation Board in 2013. Continue reading →
Even though word of X-Men: Apocalypse was released well before we saw the latest X-Men installation, Days of Future Past, hit theaters this summer, word on whether or not director Bryan Singer would stay on to do Apocalypse was still not clear. Singer directed Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Ian McKellen, and Patrick Stewart in the original X-Men blockbuster in 1999, and stayed on to direct X2: X-Men United in 2002, but his involvement with the franchise had since then been nonexistent until he finally returned with the original cast to direct Days of Future Past this year, and according to recent news reports, he has also agreed to stay on and direct Apocalypse as well. Days of Future Past not only included Singer’s original cast, but also the cast of X-Men: First Class, which explored the origins or the relationship between Charles Xavier and Eric Lehnsherr as they formed the group of original X-Men and included such big names as James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and Jennifer Lawrence. Although the plot details are not set in stone at this point, judging by the preliminary cast listings, I think it’s safe to say that we won’t see as much of the original cast this time, with the exception of Hugh Jackman, who will appear on film as the Wolverine for the seventh time. Singer is currently working on the script for Apocalypse with X2 writers Dan Harris and Mike Dougherty, as well as writer Simon Kinberg, and the movie is already set for release on May 27, 2016, so we should be getting more news coming out soon. Stay tuned.
Fresh off his run as the villainous Electro in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Jamie Foxx is moving on to future projects, and he may be stepping back into the biographical spectrum. Recent news reports that Foxx is now set to portray heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson in a new biopic from screenwriter Terence Winter. The film has yet to be picked up by a major studio, but you can bet producer Rick Yorn is working hard on finding a buyer with both an actor and writer already in place. We also don’t know what the scope of the film will be, whether it will focus on Tyson’s early life, his fame period in the 1980s or his fall from the top and prison sentence in the 1990s for a rape conviction. Regardless of the specific plot details, Jamie Foxx seems an appropriate choice for the role. Not only did he receive critical acclaim for his portrayal of Ray Charles in 2004, he has also tackled several sports projects, including Any Given Sunday with Al Pacino and the Muhammad Ali biopic Ali with Will Smith. If all goes well it could turn out to be a pretty great movie. We’ll keep our ears open for more news.
Of all the biopics that have been made over the years, from Ray Charles to Johnny Cash to Steve Jobs, nobody can really remember a note-worthy depiction of the life of Elvis Presley. While Elvis’ life has been covered by several Hollywood directors over the years, a film in the stylings of Walk the Line or Ray has yet to be made for the King of Rock n Roll, but that will hopefully be changing very soon. Director Baz Luhrmann (Romeo + Juliet, The Great Gatsby) will be directing a new project based on Presley’s life for Warner Bros. studios from a script by Kelly Marcel (Saving Mr. Banks, Fifty Shades of Grey), but we still don’t know what the main focus of the movie will be. Hopefully we will see the early days of Elvis and his impact on American culture and the music industry and then a steady transition over the years to his orchestra-backing days in the 1970s before his untimely death. As is the case with many musical biopics like Ray and Walk The Line, which seem to focus on the musician’s struggle with drugs from an underlying personal demon, Elvis had plenty to cope with himself, including the death of his identical twin brother at birth and his relationship with manager Colonel Tom Parker, so Luhrmann and Marcel should have plenty of material to work with, so we’ll see what they come up with.