Writer, director, and lead actor Nate Parker (The Great Debaters, Red Tails)’s The Birth of a Nation is now playing in theaters across the country, but not in the light the young filmmaker was hoping for. The film struggled to reach $7 million in domestic box office sales in its opening weekend. Several factors could have contributed to the surprising low, but the most likely cause of the low turn out is Parker’s 1999 rape allegations during his time at Penn State. Although Parker was exonerated, news that his alleged victim committed suicide in 2012 and his handling of the case back in 1999 have caused a great controversy that has women’s rights and sexual assault advocate groups shouting boycott all across the country.
While Parker’s film may be controversial in its own right, the original Birth of a Nation, which was a silent movie released in 1915, was just as controversial, if not more so. The original Birth of a Nation is remembered for its blatantly racial undertones and simultaneous impressive contributions to filmmaking. Continue reading →
The first trailer for the upcoming Tupac Shakur biopic All Eyez On Me is now available online. Co-written by Ed Gonzalez (Creating a Convincing Cop Story, Street Kings 2: Motor City) and Jeremy Haft (Grizzly Mountain, Empire), the film chronicles Tupac’s life from his childhood to the night of him untimely and highly controversial death that coincided with the murder of rival rapper Notorious B.I.G. six months later. Starring in the lead as Shakur is Demetrius Shipp Jr., who is making his debut appearance. Appearing in the supporting cast are The Walking Dead co-stars Danai Gurira (Mother of George, The Visitor), and Lauren Cohan (The Boy, Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice), as well as Kat Graham (Addicted, The Vampire Diaries), and Jamal Woolard as Biggie Smalls/Notorious. You might recognize Woolard from a previous biopic; the actor also portrayed Biggie in the 2009 biopic Notorious from director George Tillman Jr. All Eyez On Me is expected in theaters this November 11th, but we’ll definitely be seeing some additional trailers coming out soon. Enjoy the new trailer here on MADE.
Last year, producer-turned-writer/director Marc Abraham (Air Force One, Children of Men) debuted his new biographical drama, I Saw The Light, at the Toronto International Film Festival. The film is a portrayal of the life of country music singer/songwriter Hank Williams Jr., and was adapted by Abraham from the book Hank Williams: The Biography by authors Colin Escott, George Merritt, and William MacEwen. Starring as Williams is actor Tom Hiddleston (Midnight in Paris, The Avengers), appearing alongside co-stars Elizabeth Olsen (Godzilla, Avengers: Age of Ultron), David Krumholtz (Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle, This Is The End), Bradley Whitford (Scent of a Woman, Saving Mr. Banks), and Cherry Jones (Signs, The Village). Although the film has not been well received by critics, fans have praised the performances of both Hiddleston, and Elizabeth Olsen as his first wife Audrey Mae. Some movie-goers will be able to see it in theaters this weekend, but the trailer is available here on MADE. Check your local listings for showings this Friday.
With the summer movie calendar quickly drawing near, new trailers are starting to fill up television spots and the pre-feature trailers at the movie theaters in abundance. One such trailer is the second for the highly-anticipated Captain America: Civil War, which will open on big screens on May 6th, 2016. The new movie follows the story-line established with Avengers 2, Iron Man 3, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, this time finding the Avengers split between leading members Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans) and Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), who disagree over new sanctions that the government wishes to install in order to monitor the team of heros and “prevent any further widespread damage or casualties” as a result of their efforts. As expected, the movie is loaded with the all-star cast of familiar faces, including Scarlett Johansson (Lucy, Hail! Caesar) and Jeremy Renner (American Hustle, The Bourne Legacy). Continue reading →
Netflix has slowly been upping its game in the home entertainment circuit ever since House of Cards became nearly as popular as HBO’s Game of Thrones. Now they are stepping up once again, this time with a sequel to 2000’s four-time Oscar winning epic Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, expected to be available on Netflix this February. The new film is subtitled The Green Legend and, like the original, is based on an original novel by author Du Lu Wang. Returning from the original film is actress Michelle Yeoh (Tomorrow Never Dies, Memoirs of a Geisha), who leads a whole new cast that features Donnie Yen (Blade 2, Hero), Harry Shum Jr. (Glee, White Frog), Jason Scott Lee (The Jungle Book, Balls of Fury), Eugenia Yuan (The Drummer, Shanghai Hotel), and Juju Chan (Unconditional Love, Fist of the Dragon) in a screenplay by John Fusco (Young Guns, Hidalgo). The first trailer, which is featured above, was just released this week. I’m not really sure what they had in mind with the techno version of CCR’s Bad Moon Rising playing in the back drop, but the visual effects and fight-scene choreography look pretty awesome. We’ll keep you posted on upcoming details.
After much anticipation and even more promotional hype, the NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton is now playing in theaters nationwide. Directed by F. Gary Gray (Friday, The Italian Job) and penned by screenwriters Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff (World Trade Center), Straight Outta Compton chronicles the rise of the iconic rap group NWA during the mid-1980s. The group’s songs of hardship and racial prejudice in the streets of Compton prompted a national awareness to the ongoing issues still fueled by racial divides between the law and the streets, and revolutionized the hip hop genre for generations to come. Starring in the film as the members of NWA are O’Shea Jackson Jr. (as his father, Ice Cube), Corey Hawkins (Iron Man 3, Non-Stop) as Dr. Dre, Jason Mitchell (Contraband, Broken City) as Eazy-E, Neil Brown Jr. (Fast & Furious, Battle Los Angeles) as DJ Yella, and Aldis Hodge (Die Hard With A Vengeance, The East) as MC Ren. Oscar-nominee Paul Giamatti (Lady in the Water, 12 Years A Slave) also appears in the film as NWA manager Jerry Heller. Reviews have been mixed thus far: some have expressed that the story is exaggerated at points, while other truths have been completely omitted from the story. But one thing that all the critics seem to agree on are the actors’ performances. As with any film adaptation of a real-life story, the plot will tend to focus on the perspective of certain members and not touch upon others, but I’m hoping, for the most part, that this will be a fairly accurate representation of the true account. Original members Dr. Dre and Ice Cube served as producers on the project. So if you don’t have any plans this weekend (and even if you do), I would make a point of seeing this one on the big screen. It’s bound to be the biggest movie release this summer. Enjoy!
This weekend you can see a new documentary from award-winning documentarians Robert Gordon (The Blues, Johnny Cash’s America) and Morgan Neville (The Cool School, Twenty Feet From Stardom) titled Best of Enemies. The film chronicles a series of debates held between liberal thinker Gore Vidal and conservative William F. Buckley Jr. in 1968. Intended to be a public commentary on the political and social issues of the day, the two ended up unintentionally changing modern media format from informed delivery of fact to exaggeration and speculation. Providing interviews for the film are the debaters, themselves, as well as Kelsey Grammer (X-Men: The Last Stand, Boss), John Lithgow (Shrek, Interstellar), Dick Cavett (The Dick Cavett Show, Forrest Gump), Noam Chomsky (The Oil Factor: Behind the War on Terror, The U.S. Vs. John Lennon), and Matt Tyrnauer (Valentino: The Last Emperor). The film received a nomination at the Sundance Film Festival for the Grand Jury Prize and also earned high remarks at this year’s Montclair Film Festival. Watch the trailer here on MADE, the film will be open on big screens Friday, July 31st.
Warner Bros. Pictures has taken a potential new direction with their upcoming Pinocchio production with star Robert Downey Jr. (The Avengers, The Judge). Downey has been attached to the project for several years now, with various names like Ben Stiller being tossed around to direct. But now Warner Bros. is turning to Oscar-nominated filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood, The Master) to re-write the current script by Michael Mitnick with the aim at possibly directing as well. Paul Thomas Anderson writing a Pinocchio script is already pretty surprising, but given his impressive catalogue of work this may turn out to be a really great move! As far as the story goes, Downey is expected to appear as Geppetto, the woodworker who makes a boy puppet that miraculously comes to life, who sets out on a journey to reunite with his lost puppet. Nothing is confirmed yet, but let’s hope this one comes together. Stay tuned for more news.
At last we have the first big blockbuster release for 2015. Avengers: Age of Ultron is now playing in theaters nationwide, and with the huge success the film saw during its European release two weeks ago, it should be an even bigger hit here in the US. Robert Downey Jr (Good Night and Good Luck, The Judge), Chris Evans (Captain America: The First Avenger, Unstoppable), Scarlett Johansson (Lost in Translation, The Spirit), Chris Hemsworth (Thor: The Dark World, Rush), Mark Ruffalo (Shutter Island, Now You See Me), Jeremy Renner (The Bourne Legacy, American Hustle), and Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction, Django: Unchained) are all back to reprise their roles as the Avengers, with Golden Globe nominee James Spader (The Blacklist, Lincoln) providing the voice of Ultron. Oscar-nominated writer/director Joss Whedon (Toy Story, The Avengers) also returned to lead the project. Here’s the trailer one more time, now go see it on the big screen!!
The follow-up to 2012’s Avengers (excluding solo projects we’ve seen released in-between like Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Iron Man 3) is coming to theaters this May 1st. Reuniting for the film are actors Robert Downey Jr. (The Soloist, The Judge), Scarlett Johansson (We Bought A Zoo, Lucy), Chris Hemsworth (Thor: The Dark World, Rush), Chris Evans (Fantastic Four, Snowpiercer), Mark Ruffalo (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Shutter Island), and Jeremy Renner (The Bourne Legacy, American Hustle) as the Avengers, who this time out must join forces against the evil Ultron, who emerges with the intent of carrying out his destructive plans over planet Earth. Also back to write the script and direct the film is Oscar-nominee Joss Whedon (Toy Story, The Cabin in the Woods), as well as supporting cast members Samuel L. Jackson (Pulp Fiction, Snakes on a Plane), Cobie Smulders (Delivery Man, The Lego Movie), Tom Hiddleston (War Horse, Thor: The Dark World), and Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass 2, Godzilla). You can see the trailer here on MADE; the original Avengers movie grossed more than $200 million in the opening weekend, so we’ll be sure to watch if this sequel can break that record.