The new drama from director Simon Curtis (Five Days, My Week With Marilyn), Woman in Gold, is now playing in theaters. Starring Academy Award-winner Helen Mirren (The Queen, Hitchcock) and Ryan Reynolds (Waiting, Safe House), the film follows the story of Maria Altman (Mirren), a Jewish woman who seeks to regain her family’s lost artwork that was stolen by the Nazi party in World War II with the help of her lawyer Randol Schoenberg (Reynolds). The film is based on the memoirs of Altman and Schoenberg and was adapted for film by screenwriter Alexi Kaye Campbell (Possession, Planespotting). Included in the supporting cast are actors Daniel Bruhl (The Bourne Ultimatum, Inglorious Bastards), Katie Holmes (Phone Booth, Batman Begins), Tatiana Maslany (Eastern Promises, Heartland), Max Irons (Being Julia, Red Riding Hood), and Jonathan Pryce (Tomorrow Never Dies, Pirates of the Caribbean). The announcement for the film came around the same time as The Monuments Men was released in theaters in February 2014, so I’m sure there will be comparisons made between the two, but definitely give it a chance nonetheless.
Director David Koepp (Secret Window, Premium Rush) will see his latest film Mortdecai open in theaters this January 23rd. Starring Johnny Depp (Pirates of the Caribbean, Alice in Wonderland) as the title character, the movie is based on a series of novels by author Kyril Bonfiglioli titled Don’t Point That Thing At Me, following the fictional character Charlie Mortdecai. Portrayed as a comical, yet psychotic anti-hero in the novel, the movie follows Mortdecai as he searches for a stolen painting believed to contain the key to a lost Nazi bank account. Gwyneth Paltrow (Seven, Iron Man), Ewen McGregor (Big Fish, The Men Who Stare At Goats) and Paul Bettany (The DaVinci Code, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World) also star in the movie, which was adapted by screenwriter Eric Aronson (On The Line). Check out the trailer here on MADE, and I would at least consider giving this one a shot on the big screen. The novels received critical acclaim when they were released back in the 1970s, and the supporting cast seems strong enough to not have to rely entirely on Johnny Depp for the duration of the movie, but I leave the choice to you.
Variety recently reported that actor Djimon Hounsou (Gladiator, Blood Diamond) is set to join the cast of the upcoming King Arthur movie Knights of the Roundtable: King Arthur. The film is expected to be the first in a series of six films that depict the story of Arthur, with a cast that will be lead by Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy, Pacific Rim), Astrid Burges-Frisbey (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, I Origins) as Guinevere, and Jude Law (Enemy at the Gates, Sherlock Holmes) as the primary antagonist. Guy Ritchie (Snatch, RocknRolla) will direct the film from a screenplay by Joby Harold (Awake, Edge of Tomorrow). Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow Pictures will distribute the movie, which is expected to hit theaters in 2016.
The third and final installment in Peter Jackson‘s new film trilogy The Hobbit is scheduled to open in theaters this December 17th. Subtitled The Battle of the Five Armies, the movie will close out the over-extended film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien‘s pre-Lord of the Rings adventure that follows the hobbit Bilbo Baggins after he is recruited by the wizard, Gandalf, to assist Thorin and his band of dwarfs in reclaiming a lost treasure from the ancient dragon Smaug. The first two installments were subtitled An Unexpected Journey and The Desolation of Smaug, and brought back from Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy actors Ian McKellen (Gandalf-X2: X-Men United, The Da Vinci Code), Cate Blanchett (Galadriel-The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Elizabeth: The Golden Age), Orlando Bloom (Legolas-Pirates of the Caribbean, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring), Christopher Lee (Saruman-Sleepy Hollow, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith), Hugo Weaving (Elrond-The Matrix, V for Vendetta), and Ian Holm (older Bilbo-Alien, The Fifth Element). Jackson adapted the screenplay for The Hobbit movies with returning Lord of the Rings collaborators Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, and writer/director Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy). Some cinemas will be playing all three Hobbit films this holiday season to celebrate the Battle of the Five Armies release, and there are rumors flying around all over the web that a teaser trailer for J.J. Abrams upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be played during the previews for The Hobbit. So if you are a fan of Jackson or Tolkien by all means go and catch the final film on the big screen this holiday season. You can watch the trailer right here on MADE.
Javier Bardem seems to be gaining a reputation in Hollywood as the go-to movie villain. His portrayal of bounty hunter Anton Chigurh in No Country For Old Men won him an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in 2008, and he also brought the most originality to a James Bond villain in Skyfall (2012) than audiences have seen since perhaps Robert Davi portrayed drug-lord Franz Sanchez in License To Kill (1989) opposite Timothy Dalton. But now there is word from The Wrap that Bardem may be taking the villain role in the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, which will once again star Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow and Keith Richards as Jack’s father Captain Teague. Actors Geoffrey Rush and Orlando Bloom are also rumored to be returning to the franchise as Captain Barbosa and Will Turner, although this has not been officially confirmed. Bardem would be playing the ghost pirate Captain Brand, who is seeking a supernatural object that will aid him in his quest to get revenge on Sparrow for killing his brother. The new movie will be directed by Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg and is expected to begin filming this coming February in Australia (apparently after some reported incentives from the Australian government) and has received a new release date from Disney for July 7, 2017. That is still a very long way away, and even now Pirates of the Caribbean seems like a distant memory of the early 2000s, but maybe Disney will actually pull something decent out of their ever-growing well. I guess we’ll find out in a few years’ time.
With The Expendables 3 now in theaters, many are wondering what the next step will be for the all-star cast of should-be-retired muscle heads, and it may include some help from everybody’s favorite martial artist! Jackie Chan had been approached to make an appearance in Expendables 2 and 3, but due to scheduling conflicts he was not able to get the days off required to shoot his scenes for the films. But Sylvester Stallone seems pretty set on getting Chan involved in the next installment, which means we have another Expendables to look forward to (lucky us?). Anyway, The Expendables is not the only sequel that Chan has been approached to make either. Apparently there are still efforts coming out of New Line Cinema for Chan to reunite with Chris Tucker for Rush Hour 4, but Chan is not very interested in a fourth movie. He is currently working on an upcoming project titled Skip Trace with co-star Sean William Scott (American Pie, Road Trip) from director Renny Harlin about an American gambler who teams up with a Hong Kong detective in a face-off against a Chinese gang-lord. Personally I agree with Chan about a fourth Rush Hour sequel. We all saw what happened with Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. After that catastrophe I think leaving well-enough alone is a perfectly acceptable option for a lot of Hollywood projects right now. But if they’re going to go and make a fourth Expendables, Jackie Chan might as well be in it…they already have every other old man in Hollywood making appearances in those movies anyway, one more wouldn’t hurt right?
Even though Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides failed to deliver a genuinely interesting story compared with its predecessors, it still made Disney enough money to move forward with a fifth installment in the series that started back in 2003 with Curse of the Black Pearl. This means that audiences will get to see Johnny Depp reprise his iconic role at least one more time, while giving the writers the chance to send Captain Sparrow out on a solid note. The film has now been given an official release date of July 7, 2017, the same date that also saw the release of Curse of the Black Pearl and Dead Man’s Chest in 2003 and 2006, respectively. Disney was originally anticipating an additional two films to follow each other after Tides was released (just like Dead Man’s Chest set up the plot for At World’s End) but thus far only the fifth installment is in pre-production and an official title is still to be determined. On Stranger Tides directors Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg will both return to direct the new project. Stay tuned!
So it’s official. After more than a year of speculation, a series reboot of Beverly Hills Cop is finally moving forward and has been given a theatrical release date of March 25, 2016. The film will feature original star Eddie Murphy in his leading role and will be directed by Brett Ratner (Rush Hour, Red Dragon) from a screenplay by Josh Applebaum and Andre Nemec. A reboot for the Beverly Hills Cop franchise has been planned for several years now, and Paramount will finally release the film with Jerry Bruckheimer (Pirates of the Caribbean, National Treasure) in the producer’s chair, but there is no word yet on how the plot will play out, especially with Murphy returning to reprise his role of Axel Foley.
Hans Zimmer has composed some of the most memorable film scores in Hollywood, working on projects that include The Lion King, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Dark Knight, Inception, Black Hawk Down, The DaVinci Code, Face/Off, I Am Sam, and Gladiator to name just a few. The composer is also currently working on director Chris Nolan’s upcoming space-epic, Interstellar, which is set to come out later this year, but his next project may be a return to the comic-book genre with Zack Snyder’s upcoming sequel to Man of Steel, which is still only known as Batman vs. Superman. The project is scheduled to be released sometime in 2016, but Zimmer is still not positive he will want to work on the new project, especially given his past work with Nolan and the Batman character in The Dark Knight series, but he has not officially ruled it out yet either. One can understand his hesitation: it would be a huge responsibility to compose a score that brings new themes to a character that you have already spent a great deal of time with. That being said, the Oscar winner, given his talent and track record, would undoubtedly be a great contribution to the new film, which Zimmer hopes will be totally separate from Nolan’s trilogy. Let’s hope that he decides to take the job!
Actor Kevin Costner has a decent amount of experience in the western genre. His breakthrough directorial project, Dances With Wolves, earned him an Oscar for Best Director, Best Picture, and Best Actor in a Lead Role in 1991. Costner also teamed up with veteran actor Robert Duvall for Open Range (2003), which was a fairly popular movie among modern westerns but failed to reach the acclaim Costner had received for Wolves a decade earlier. Since Open Range, movies in the western genre have been few and far between. Re-makes like 3:10 To Yuma and True Grit have really dominated the scene for the last few years, with a few exceptions like Django Unchained, The Missing, and No Country For Old Men keeping western films credible as important reflections on American history. Costner is now preparing to revisit the western genre with a trilogy of films that he hopes to release within a 12 month timeframe. There is no news thus far on what the films would be about or who would star in them along Costner, but we’ll first have to find out if any of the production companies will agree to budget a modern western trilogy, especially after the failure that was The Lone Ranger with Johnny Depp. Modern sagas like Star Wars, Spider-Man, and Pirates of the Caribbean not only have the star power to make money for the film industry, they also have special effects and 3D appeal for audiences, as opposed to the low-budget stories laid out in western films. That being said, it would be cool to see a new western epic hit the big screen, especially since Quentin Tarantino backed out of his latest western after it was leaked on the internet. We’ll have to wait and see what happens.