WARNING – SPOILERS!!! Pac Man, Back to the Future, and Blade Runner are only a few titles that make up the 1980s cinematic nostalgia trip in Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One, now playing in theaters. Based on the novel by Ernest Cline, Ready Player One follows a young man named Wade Watts who lives in a dystopian United States in 2045. Humanity, as Wade knows it, is plagued by a failing economic system, an ominous corporate-governing body, and a tainted outdoor environment, all the result of an energy crisis caused by global warming, corporate greed, and the depletion of Earth’s fossil fuels. Since the real-world is no longer a pleasant place to spend your time, Wade, like most people, spends his days in the OASIS, an interactive virtual reality comprised of games and puzzles from every video game, movie, book, or television show made primarily between 1980 and 1990, although there are a few exceptions. The OASIS is the mind-child of James Halliday (obviously Cline’s own doppelganger) who, prior to his death, left a hidden Easter Egg inside the OASIS that, if found, provides the winner with his massive fortune and control of the corporation running the OASIS, and that’s where Wade’s (or Parzival as he is named in the OASIS) story begins. Continue reading →
A new documentary from the collaborative team of writer/director Dave LaMattina (Brownstones To Red Dirt, Kei) and co-director Chad N. Walker (Kei, We Must Go) is coming this May. The film is titled I Am Big Bird: The Carroll Spinney Story, and follows the life of Carroll Spinney, who has appeared on Sesame Street as both Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch since 1969. Lending interviews to the footage include puppeteers Frank Oz (Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back, Muppets Treasure Island), and Sesame Street “muppeteers” Jim Henson, Sonia Manzano, Emilio Delgado, and Jerry Nelson, among others. I Am Big Bird first premiered last May at the Montclair and Seattle International Film festivals, and will be showing on screens in New York City this May 6th. We’ll keep an eye out for a nationwide release date.
The new film from Andy and Lana Wachowski, Jupiter Ascending, is now playing in theaters nationwide. Starring Mila Kunis (Ted, Oz:The Great and Powerful), Channing Tatum (21 Jump Street, White House Down), Sean Bean (The Lord of the Rings:The Fellowship of the Ring, Game of Thrones), and Oscar-nominee Eddie Redmayne (Les Miserables, The Theory of Everything), the film follows Jupiter (Kunis), a young woman living in Earth’s distant future who is the unknowing heir of a powerful cosmic dynasty and must travel into space with warrior Caine (Tatum) in order to stop an evil tyrant (Redmayne) from claiming her birthright. Directors Andy and Lana Wachowski (The Matrix Trilogy) co-wrote the screenplay for the film (which is rumored to have been more than 600 pages long), which was originally scheduled for a June 2014 release, but considering the scale of the film and the necessity for minute detail in the special effects department, the film was pushed back to a February 2015 release. While the Wachowski’s made history with their groundbreaking special-effects work in The Matrix, some movie-goers who have already seen Jupiter warned me to watch it on a standard screen, and not necessarily in 3D, owing to the fact that the movie is so heavily reliant on blue-screen backdrops and digital effects. Anyway, you can watch the trailer here on MADE, and if you’re a fan of the Wachowski’s filmmaking, definitely make an effort to check it out.
Director Sam Raimi, who directed James Franco last year in Oz: The Great and Powerful, is currently involved in several different projects, including a video game adaptation of The Last of Us, and a reboot of The Grudge (which we all wish he wouldn’t do), but he may also be helming a new drama from writers Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson. The project is called The Outpost and is based on Jack Tapper’s non-fiction novel The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor, which follows a group of 53 U.S. troops at a base in Eastern Afghanistan that was ambushed by more than 400 Taliban members. The small battle lasted an entire day and resulted in two of the U.S. troops receiving Medals of Honor, the first time since the Vietnam era that two soldiers from the same battle received the honor. Now Raimi is looking to produce a feature film about the incident and possibly direct it as well. Tamasy and Johnson received critical acclaim for The Fighter in 2010 with Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale, but this new project is still in very early pre-production and no word on who would be leading the cast has been released. We’ll keep an eye out for more news.