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Quentin Tarantino’s ‘The Hateful Eight’ Opening This Christmas Day

Now that the Star Wars bubble has burst, it’s time to look forward to this week’s Christmas Day releases. The first up is one we’ve been waiting for since last Christmas, when a version of the script was leaked and writer/director Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction, Django Unchained) was urged to file a lawsuit over the incident. The Hateful Eight is the eighth writing/directing project from Tarantino and is another Western outing that takes place in post-Civil War Wyoming, where a group of bounty hunters are forced to seek shelter from a blizzard, only to find themselves in a game of betrayal and deception. This time out, Tarantino’s stylistic approach to filmmaking will be backed by a full score from Oscar-winning composer Ennio Morricone, whose last Western-film score went to 1975’s A Genius, Two Friends, and an Idiot, but he is more famously known in the Western genre for his contributions to films like A Fistful of Dollars (1964), The Good The Bad and the Ugly (1966), and Once Upon A Time in the West (1968). Starring in the new film are actors Jennifer Jason Leigh (Road to Perdition, The Machinist), Channing Tatum (22 Jump Street, Foxcatcher), Kurt Russell (Stargate, Death Proof), Walton Goggins (Predators, Sons of Anarchy), Zoe Bell (Grindhouse, Oblivion), and Oscar-nominee Bruce Dern (Monster, Nebraska), along with Tarantino regulars Samuel L. Jackson (Basic, The Avengers), Tim Roth (Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction), and Michael Madsen (Free Willy, Kill Bill Vol. 2). The film will be getting a limited release in theaters this Christmas Day, owing to Tarantino’s decision to present the film on 70mm projection screens before the nationwide expansion on January 16th. If a theater near you is showing this one on Christmas Day I would definitely give it some consideration; anything Tarantino is always great, and throw Morricone into the mix and probably got one of the best Westerns that’s hit the big screen in a while, so enjoy!

Director Luc Besson Announces New Pablo Escobar Biopic With Javier Bardem And Penelope Cruz

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French filmmaker Luc Besson.

Director Luc Besson (The 5th Element, Taken) recently announced at the Cannes Film Festival that his production company, EuropaCorp, is currently working on developing a new Pablo Escobar biopic with Oscar-winners Javier Bardem (No Country For Old Men, Skyfall) and Penelope Cruz (Blow, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides). Titled Escobar, the screenplay will be based on the book Loving Pablo, Hating Escobar by author Virginia Vallejo, but the movie is still extremely early in production (which is not really a bad thing considering Benicio Del Toro’s Escobar: Paradise Lost is still awaiting worldwide release) and Besson will not be directly involved with this project himself. He is currently in the process of getting Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets off the ground while also serving as producer on Warrior’s Gate (2015) and The Lake (2016), so writing and directing duties for Escobar are expected to fall on Fernando Leon Aranoa (A Perfect Day, Familia). Stay tuned for more news.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Will Not Re-Cast Hoffman

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Following the unexpected death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, many questions were thrown up in the air regarding how the film studios were going to approach the remaining two-part production on the third Hunger Games film, Mockingjay. Lionsgate has now released a statement saying that Hoffman’s role as Plutarch Heavensbee will not be replaced because the actor had actually already completed his work on both projects, which are still set for release this and the following November, 2014 and 2015. While Hoffman had mostly wrapped up work on these two films, his second directorial film, Ezekiel Moss, which is still in pre-production and which had just cast Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams in the lead roles, is now in a standstill mode until the film can be distributed or the producers can figure out how next to approach it. We’ll keep an eye out for more news on the project.