The new futuristic A.I. film from director Neill Blomkamp (District 9, Elysium) titled Chappie is opening in theaters this March 6th, but next month, movie-goers will get to see a different kind of A.I. story that doesn’t necessarily involve revolution or all-out-war between man and machine. The new film is titled Ex Machina and comes from a script by film writer/director Alex Garland (The Beach, 28 Days Later), who also directed. Ex Machina follows the story of a young programmer, Caleb, who wins a week vacation to the company-CEO’s private mountain retreat only to find his reason for being there is to take part in an experiment involving A.I. encased in a robot resembling a beautiful human-woman. Sounds a bit reminiscent of Her with Joaquin Phoenix and Scarlett Johansson back in 2013, but this time we’re dealing with an actual robot that not only brings an erie human quality to the film, but also allows for the great special-effect sequences you can see in the trailer. Starring in the film are actors Alicia Vikander (A Royal Affair, The Fifth Estate), Domhnall Gleeson (About Time, Unbroken), and Golden Globe-nominee Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis, A Most Violent Year). This one really looks like it will be worth the watch, so definitely consider adding it to your must-see list; in the meantime you can check out the new trailer here on MADE. The film is scheduled for release April 10, 2015.
Oscar-nominated writer/director Neill Blomkamp‘s upcoming sci-fi thriller Chappie will be opening in theaters this March 6th, and if you are at all familiar with his work on District 9 and Elysium, I would definitely put this one in your calendar. Starring Hugh Jackman (The Wolverine, Les Miserables) and Sigourney Weaver (Alien, Avatar), the film takes place in a future where the police-force is run by robotic-officers who use brute force against the citizens. Things take a turn, however, when Chappie is captured and reprogrammed to have independent thought, posing a threat to the established order, who begin attempts to ensure Chappie is the last of his kind. Blomkamp co-wrote the project with screenwriter Terri Tatchell (Adicolor Yellow, District 9). Check out the trailer now available on MADE.
Last week we told you about the upcoming Whitey Bulger biopic, entitled Black Mass, which was originally being developed by director Barry Levinson with Johnny Depp set to take the leading role. Depp, however, fell away from the project after Levinson also departed, leaving Universal Studios a gangster film with great potential, but no lead, and no director. Recently, however, Out of the Furnace director Scott Cooper has been in talks with Universal to take over for Levinson, and with Cooper signing on to helm the film, Depp has come back to the project with renewed interest and has now confirmed with Deadline Hollywood that he has signed a deal to take the lead role, with Tom Hardy in early talks to take the supporting role of FBI agent John Connolly. The story of Bulger and his rise to criminal power and subsequent fall from grace was actually the inspiration for Martin Scorsese’s Academy Award winning Boston crime-drama The Departed (2006), which won the Best Picture and Best Director Oscar and earned Leonardo DiCaprio a Golden Globe for Best Actor and Mark Wahlberg the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. The script for Black Mass is being adapted by Mark Mallouk from the novel Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between The FBI and The Irish Mob by Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill, and the film is expected to be in production by May of this year.
Director Scott Cooper just recently released his violence-driven drama Out of the Furnace with Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, and Zoe Saldana, and Woody Harrelson, and is now turning his directing efforts at another crime-drama based on the life of Boston crime lord Whitney Bulger. The project is titled Black Mass and is based on the book Black Mass: The Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob by Boston Globe reporters Dick Lehr and Gerald O’Neill. The story they tell of Bulger is one of violence and betrayal, as the former kingpin decides to give information to the FBI in order to take down a competing Mafia family, only to be double crossed and prosecuted for his crimes, along with John Connolly, a member of the FBI believed to be the reason it took the agency so long to finally take down Bulger. Johnny Depp was originally involved with the project with director Barry Levinson, but since then he has backed out and the script has been given to Cooper for rewriting. Depp may still be interested in doing the film, but that is still unclear at this point, so we’ll have to wait for Cooper to get the final screenplay completed before we really know who will be filling in the roles. Stay tuned for more information on this one.
Hugh Jackman has really proved himself a dynamic actor these last few years. His role as Jean Valjean in 2012’s Les Miserables was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, and his willingness to take on challenging and dramatic films like The Fountain (2006) and Prisoners (in theaters now) has made him one of Hollywood’s most popular actors. With another Wolverine sequel in the bag and another X-Men movie coming out next summer, Jackman never seems to stop. He has now said that he will be taking a role in Neill Blomkamp’s next movie, a comedy entitled Chappie. Taking place in Johannesburg, South Africa, Chappie is the story of a robot who is stolen by a couple of gangsters in order to do their dirty work for them.
Following the release of Elysium back in August, Blomkamp was considering a possible sequel to District 9 as his next project; while there are no reports of that being totally out of the question, Chappie will take the director’s futuristic themes in a different direction, focusing instead on humorous scenarios and situations rather than serious and dramatic events regarding politics and the class system. Jackman may only have a small part in the film which will be shooting into next year, but with Blomkamp behind the camera I don’t think we have to worry about disappointment. Both players are highly experienced in their work, so let’s just give Blomkamp the well-deserved chance to try his talents at comedy that he deserves. Hopefully it pays off!
It’s been a while since we’ve seen Bryce Dallas Howard grace the screen with her talents. Her last major film appearances were The Help, and 50/50, which both came out in 2011 (admittedly I only saw 50/50, which was pretty good). Howard first got noticed on the big screen with filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan in The Village (2004) and Lady in the Water (2006). Although Shyamalan seems to take a lot of shit for his films these days, Howard delivered an excellent performance as the blind Ivy Walker, whose father (William Hurt) and several others had completely removed themselves and an entire generation from modern society. Howard has since maintained a pretty low profile in order to start a family, but now the actress is in talks to return to the big screen in director Colin Trevorrow’s upcoming thriller Jurassic World. The film is still in the very early stages of production and Howard is the first name we’ve heard regarding the cast, but it may be one of the major roles in the film. I’m sure Howard will make a good fit for the movie, but I’m still waiting to hear if Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum will be reprising their roles. We’ll have to wait to see who else joins the cast.
Elysium opened this weekend to $30.5 million for the three day stretch. It beat out Jennifer Aniston’s We’re The Millers, as well as Disney’s Planes, and Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters. Elysium is the first release for writer/director Neill Blokamp since 2009, when he received critical acclaim for the sci-fi drama District 9, which pulled in $37 million in it’s opening weekend debut. Like District 9, Elysium has already drawn heavy attention from critics for its reflections on social class structures and the so-called “left-wing agenda,” but that didn’t stop District 9 from scoring big with audiences and becoming an unexpected hit in Hollywood. Elysium also has the celebrity pull that District 9 was lacking, starring two Oscar winners, Matt Damon and Jodie Foster, in the leading roles. The only concern for Elysium now is that it came in somewhat short for a movie with a budget of $115 million, so Sony may be pretty anxious to see the worldwide release results. I have high hopes for this movie though; Blokamp is both a great writer and director, and if Elysium is anything close to District 9, audiences are sure to be in for a big surprise.
With Elysium coming closer to its August release date, it seems writer/director Neill Blomkamp has turned part of his focus to his next project, District 10. District 9 was a surprise hit in 2009 as well as Blomkamp’s first feature-length film as director. Blomkamp is also working on a film called Chappie which is set to come out sometime next year. That hasn’t, however, stopped him from writing a potential draft for District 10, which according to recent reports consists of 18 pages. Blomkamp will most likely be more fixed on his more pressing projects, but it would be really cool to see a sequel for District 9 get the green-light. If you haven’t seen it you should definitely check it out, then go see Elysium when it comes out next month! You can find the trailer on the MADE-Movies page.
Check out director Neill Blokamp’s latest film, Elysium, due out this fall and starring Matt Damon and Jodie Foster. This is Blomkamp’s first film since District 9 (2009), which he also wrote and directed. Be sure to keep an eye out for Elysium late August.