For those die hard fans of the Star Wars film series, May 4th is always a special occasion. It was on May 25th, 1977 that A New Hope, the first ever Star Wars film from writer/director George Lucas made its theatrical debut. The event marked the beginning of a new phenomenon in modern cinema, and changed the way movies were made and even thought of from then on. Drawing from inspiration from early space adventure serials, George Lucas envisioned a modern space epic using classic themes and archetypes that would forever change the movie-going experience. His company, Industrial Lights and Magic, which would go on to create Pixar Animation in the 1990s, created new methods for special effects that gave movie-goers an experience never before seen on film. To celebrate this special fan day, here is the latest trailer for the next installation in the film series, The Last Jedi, which will feature original actors Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher as Luke and Leia Skywalker, along with new vets Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Issac, Adam Driver, and Domhnall Gleeson. Enjoy, and May the Fourth Be With You!
*Update – this article originally stated that A New Hope was released on May 4th, 1977, hence part of the reasoning behind “May-the-Fourth Day.” A New Hope actually hit theaters on May 25th of that year, just in time for Memorial Day Weekend. My apologies for the inaccuracy!
In light of the untimely death of Carrie Fisher, movie-makers at Disney and Lucasfilm are beginning to look to Princess Leia’s future. Although Fisher has reportedly finished filming all of her scenes for the upcoming Episode VIII release this December, Leia was expected to play a much more significant part in Episode IX, which is slated for a December 2019 release. The over-arching storyline for the upcoming films included a reunion between Leia and Luke Skywalker, as well as a confrontation between Leia and Kylo Ren, who killed his father, Harrison Ford‘s Han Solo, in Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Now with Fisher gone, the fate of the character has yet to be fully realized. Continue reading →
Australian director Garth Davis’ debut feature film Lion is now playing in theaters. Based on Saroo Brierley‘s memoir A Long Way Home, the film chronicles Brierley’s 25-year journey to reunite with his family in India after being separated from them at a young age. The film has received mostly positive reviews after premiering at the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals earlier in 2016, and with award season coming up, it’s expected to earn a certain amount of recognition. Dev Patel stars as Brierley, a role similar to that he portrayed in the 2008 coming-home drama Slumdog Millionaire. Needless to say some critics have come down on the actor for his choice of playing such a similar role, but the direction of Davis is said to be outstanding, presenting an admirable, and touching drama of family and tribulation. Appearing in the supporting cast are actors Rooney Mara (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Carol), David Wehham (The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, 300), and Nicole Kidman (The Hours, Cold Mountain). Screenwriter Luke Davies (Candy, Life) adapted the script from Saroo and Larry Buttrose, and the film is distributed by the Weinstein Company. Check your local listings for showtimes near you, and be sure to catch this one in theaters while you can!
Two big blockbuster releases are opening on big-screens nationwide today. The first is the new biographical drama by director Oliver Stone (Platoon, Any Given Sunday) called Snowden, obviously about NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Inception, The Dark Knight Rises) stars in the role as Snowden, with Shailene Woodley (Divergent, The Descendants), Melissa Leo (The Fighter, Prisoners), Zachary Quinto (Margin Call, Star Trek Beyond), and Tom Wilkinson (The Patriot, Michael Clayton) appearing in the supporting cast. The film was adapted by Stone from two books: The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man by Luke Harding and Time of the Octopus by Anatoly Kucherena. Stone has a habit of putting his own theory in his historical films, but he is definitely a worthy director, and Levitt a solid actor, so this one will probably be worth your time, especially if the rain persists! Continue reading →
After hearing about this project months ago and getting no more than an image of Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Inception, The Dark Knight Rises) in costume as a military recruit, we finally have an official trailer for the upcoming drama Snowden from writer/director Oliver Stone (Platoon, Any Given Sunday). The film is based on two books, one called The Time of the Octopus by Anatoly Kucherena and the other simply titled The Snowden Files by author Luke Harding (who also wrote the book WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy that inspired the similarly themed 2013 flick The Fifth Estate). Snowden tells the story of infamous whistleblower Edward Snowden, from his time as an armed forces recruit all the way to his efforts to bring the National Security Administration’s practice of tracking individual cell phones for the sake of security into question. Screenwriter Kieran Fitzgerald (The Ballad of Esequiel Hernández, The Homesman) co-adapted the script with Stone (although I can’t speak as to how accurate the material is). Continue reading →
We wanted to give it a little time so that nothing would be spoiled for anybody, but if anyone is reading this that hasn’t seen Star Wars: The Force Awakens yet, I suggest you either stop reading or be prepared for plot spoilers! To begin with, this was easily the best Star Wars film since Return of the Jedi was released in 1983. Director J.J. Abrams (Super 8, Star Trek: Into Darkness) brought legitimate filmmaking back to the series with this film, which looks more like old-fashioned Star Wars than anything we saw come from George Lucas in the early 2000s. His stylistic approach to filmmaking was the perfect merging of special effects and on-set principle photography, made better with the appearance of props and effects that appeared in the original film, such as the targeting view attached to the gun in the Millennium Falcon. The screenplay, written by Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi writer Lawrence Kasdan (Raiders of the Lost Arc, The Bodyguard), was also much better in terms of actual dialogue on the part of the actors, but the overall story imitated that of Jurassic World earlier this year, in the sense that it read almost as a mirror image of the original Star Wars in 1977, with the updated story-line in play, of course. Abrams also did a great job of resurrecting the original Star Wars universe by bringing back a lot of the old designs and symbols representing the Rebel Alliance and the Imperial Star Fleet. I also have no complaints regarding the new lineup of actors. Daisy Ridley and John Boyega had a perfect chemistry between them, and Oscar Isaac did great as the Resistance pilot Poe Dameron. Adam Driver, however, as both the bad guy AND Han Solo and Leia’s son, was not necessarily bad, he was simply miscast, and Abrams didn’t do him any favors by taking off his helmet and showing his face. And if you are wondering about Luke Skywalker, he was pretty much absent the entire movie. He literally showed up for a few seconds at the very end, having evidently pulled a “Yoda” and gone into hiding after Han’s son decided to pull an “Anakin” and join the Dark Side. Needless to say we won’t really know what Luke’s deal is until the next movie in 2017, which will coincide with the 40th anniversary of the original release in 1977. All in all, it was a great movie and gave us some glimpses into the upcoming films and how the characters will continue to develop. Some stories were closed, but many more were opened, and now we have to wait another two years to find out what happens next. Stay tuned.
Will Smith‘s next big screen outing, a drama by the name of Concussion, will be opening in theaters this Christmas Day. This time around the Independence Day and Pursuit of Happiness star takes on the role of Dr. Bennet Omalu, a neuropathologist who first discovered CTE, a brain injury related to playing football, and sought to expose the truth behind the condition, despite the efforts of the multi-million dollar corporation that is the NFL trying to keep him silent. Director Peter Landesman (Parkland, Kill the Messenger) worked with author Jean Marie-Laskas to adapt the screenplay from her GQ article Game Brain, which is based on Dr. Omalu’s life and work. Starring in the film are actors Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Beyond the Lights, Jupiter Ascending), Bitsie Tulloch (The Artist, Parkland), Stephen Moyer (Priest, True Blood), Alec Baldwin (30 Rock, The Departed), Luke Wilson (Legally Blonde, Old School), and Albert Brooks (Drive, A Most Violent Year). Check out the trailer here on MADE. We’ll be bringing further news and reminders as we get closer to the Holidays. Enjoy!
Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Edward Snowden in upcoming Oliver Stone biopic Snowden (2015).
Director Oliver Stone has presented some pretty controversial biographical films in his career, JFK, Nixon, and W. just to name a few. His latest project, again simply titled Snowden, about NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is now filming with actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Inception, The Dark Knight Rises) in the lead role. More specifically, the plot follows Snowden from his time in the US Army in 2004 to his groundbreaking interview in Hong Kong with documentarian Laura Poitras (whose documentary film, Citizenfour, about that very interview, just won an Oscar for Best Documentary), during which he exposed top-secret NSA documents before fleeing to Russia for asylum. The script comes from two primary sources: author Luke Harding’s The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man and Anatoly Kucherena’s Time of the Octopus (Kucherena is Snowden’s Russian attorney), which were adapted for the film by Stone and screenwriter Kieran Fitzgerald. Included in the supporting cast are actors Shailene Woodley (Divergent, The Fault in our Stars), Scott Eastwood (Texas Chainsaw 3D, Fury), Nicholas Cage (Face-Off, Matchstick Men), Timothy Olyphant (Live Free or Die Hard, Justified), Zachary Quinto (American Horror Story, Star Trek Into Darkness), and Tom Wilkinson (Michael Clayton, The Exorcism of Emily Rose). The film is scheduled for release Christmas Day 2015. Stay tuned for more news.
A new film on the life of Edward Snowden, the infamous whistleblower who leaked highly-classified documents from the National Security Agency to the press, is in the works from historical (yet controversial) director Oliver Stone (Platoon, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps). Stone and screenwriter Kieren Fitzgerald (The Ballad of Esequiel Hernandez, The Homesman) are expected to adapt the script from author Luke Harding‘s The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man, and Anatoly Kucherena‘s (Snowden’s Russian lawyer) upcoming memoir Time of the Octopus. Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Inception, The Dark Knight Rises) is expected to take the lead role in the film, and recent news has actress Shailene Woodley (White Bird in a Blizzard, The Fault in our Stars) joining the cast in the role of Snowden’s girlfriend. The most recent film to be released on the Snowden controversy was the documentary film from Laura Poitras and Glen Greenwald, Citizenfour, which featured footage and material from Poitras’ interview with Snowden in Hong Kong. Stone’s new film is expected in theaters sometime in 2016, so we’ll keep an eye out for more news.
Even though Twilight pretty much ruined vampires for the modern generation of movie-goers, Universal Studios seems to have a pretty cool reboot project in mind that may help to bring the classic lore of monsters like Frankenstein and the Wolfman back to the big screen. Dracula Untold will be hitting theaters this October 10th and will be the first major motion-picture from up-and-coming director Gary Shore. The film stars Luke Evans as the young Vlad Tepes, who looks to protect his kingdom and his family from opposing military threat by making a deal with a supernatural being to give him the power to defeat his enemies. This, of course, comes at a high price, as Vlad finds himself becoming a spectre of that dark world, slipping slowly away from his genuine humanity. It had been rumored that this would be the first in a series of reboots from Universal as the studio looks to revive it’s classic monster-movie line up, which includes Frankenstein, The Wolfman, The Mummy, and the original Dracula with Bela Lugosi released in 1931. These rumors were recently confirmed by Dracula Untold‘s producer Alissa Phillips, who spoke with reporters from HeyUGuys at the UK premier this week, and the next project on the list will be The Mummy, which will be directed by longtime producer Alex Kurtzman. Personally this doesn’t really excite me. The Mummy has already been remade and spawned a whole series of terrible sequels, and the same goes for Frankenstein and The Wolfman, both which, by-the-way, have had remake projects released in the last 5 years, first The Wolfman with Hugo Weaving in 2010 and then I, Frankenstein with Aaron Eckhart earlier this year. It’s really getting irritating to see how little originality is coming out of Hollywood these days, but then I’ve been saying that for years now, so I guess nothing ever changes.