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Noteworthy Entries From This Year’s Berlin Film Festival

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The 67th Berlin Film Festival, better known as Berlinale, kicks off each year shortly after the Sundance Film Festival ends, and continues with an impressive line-up of independent films, ranging from comedy to drama and even science fiction. This year the festival closed with the premiere of James Mangold‘s R-rated comic entry Logan, which will see the last outing of Hugh Jackman as the immortal and tormented Wolverine, opposite Patrick Stewart reprising the role of Professor Charles Xavier. In addition, director Danny Boyle‘s long-anticipated follow-up to Trainspotting also debuted at the festival, and saw the original cast return for a look at how the characters are dealing with the realities of life 20-years after the drug-induced original. The festival also played host to a solid line-up of independent films. Unfortunately we’re not able to afford the trip (or take the time off) to make it to Berlin for the 10-day celebration, so this all based on reviews and speculation, but here are just a few noteworthy entries we figured were worth mentioning… Continue reading

New ‘Star Wars: Rogue One’ Trailer Available Now

This holiday season will see another Star Wars film dominating the release schedule. Unlike last year’s Star Wars: Episode 7 – The Force Awakens, whose fan anticipation was the highest since Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace in 1999, Rogue One has already been plagued by script rewrites and unscheduled reshoots. This was in part owing to the lack of direct relevance to any of the original series characters, but also to fan polls that suggested disappointment with earlier plot lines. Nevertheless, production has pushed on and the second trailer for the new film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was just released this week. Rogue One is based on a story by John Knoll (Star Wars: Episode 6 – Return of the Jedi, Avatar) and Gary Whitta (The Book of Eli, After Earth), which was adapted to a script by Chris Weitz (About a Boy, The Golden Compass) and Tony Gilroy (The Bourne Ultimatum, House of Cards) about the Rebel Alliance’s plan to steal the plans to the Death Star, laying the grounds for the epic trilogy that follows with Star Wars: Episode 4 – A New Hope (1977). Director Gareth Edwards (In the Shadow of the Moon, Godzilla) helmed the project with actors Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything, The Amazing Spider-Man), Mads Mikkelsen (The Hunt, Casino Royale), Riz Ahmed (Nightcrawler, Jason Bourne), Ben Mendelsohn (The Dark Knight Rises, The Place Beyond the Pines), Alan Tudyk (I Robot, Dodgeball), and Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland, Lee Daniel’s The Butler). Oscar nominee James Earl Jones (Field of Dreams, The Lion King) is also returning to provide the voice of Darth Vader, whose presence in the film will likely hold the biggest intrigue for fans of the series. Check out the new trailer right here on MADE, and enjoy the weekend!

Alden Ehrenreich To Star As Young Han Solo in New Spin-Off Installment

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According to Deadline, actor Alden Ehrenreich (Blue Jasmine, Hail Caesar!) has officially signed on to star as young Captain Han Solo in the upcoming Star Wars spin-off from Walt Disney Pictures. Ehrenreich beat out a number of A-list names for the role, including Miles Teller, Dave Franco, Jack Reynor, Scott Eastwood, and Emory Cohen. As with all upcoming releases from Disney/Lucasfilm, no actual details have been released on the plot, and no news about supporting cast members is yet available. The script will be written by Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan and his son Jon Kasdan (In the Land of Women, The First Time). Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (21 Jump Street, The Lego Movie) are expected to direct the feature. We’ll be bringing you further news as it emerges. If you can’t wait for a new space movie to see, check out the third installment in the new Star Trek series, Beyond, starring Chris Pine (Unstoppable, Into the Woods) and Zachary Quinto (Tallulah, Snowden). Enjoy the weekend!

New Documentary ‘Elstree 1976’ Opening In Limited Theaters This Friday

In the wake of one of the most highly anticipated sequels ever made (Star Wars: The Force Awakens…duh!) comes a new documentary from writer/video documentarian Jon Spira (Suityman, Anyone Can Play Guitar) called Elstree 1976. The film is an assemblage of archive footage and interviews with extras who were present on the set of the original Star Wars film, Episode IV: A New Hope (although, at the time, it was simply titled Star Wars) in 1976. The film features the actors reminiscing about their personal memories against the backdrop of archival footage, and about how being in the film forever affected their lives and careers. Actors including David Prowse (A Clockwork Orange, Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi), who starred as Darth Vader in the original film trilogy (although Vader was voiced by James Earl Jones (Field of Dreams, The Lion King)), Garrick Hagon (Mission Impossible, Spy Game), who starred as Biggs in the originals, and Angus MacInnes (Witness, Captain Phillips), who starred as the Gold group squadron leader, all make appearances in the film. If this one is in a theater near you, I would definitely consider checking it out this weekend. Watch the trailer here on MADE.

New Teaser Trailer For ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ Available Now

A new trailer is available for Disney’s first installment in their Star Wars spoof series Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, which is expected in theaters December 2016. Directed by Gareth Edwards (In The Shadow of the Moon, Godzilla) and written by Chris Weitz (About A Boy, The Golden Compass), John Knoll (Avatar, Star Wars: Episode 6 – Return of the Jedi), and Gary Whitta (The Book of Eli, After Earth), the film follows members of the Rebel Alliance in an isolated attempt to steal the plans to the Death Star. Starring in the film are actors Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything, The Amazing Spider-Man 2), Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale, The Hunt), Alan Tudyk (Tucker and Dale Vs Evil, Transformers: Dark of the Moon), Donnie Yen (Blade 2, Ip Man), Ben Mendelsohn (The Dark Knight Rises, The Place Beyond the Pines), and Forest Whitaker (The Last King of Scotland, Lee Daniels’ The Butler). Also in theaters this weekend is the new first-person action-flick Hardcore Henry. Enjoy your weekend!

MADE Review – Star Wars: The Force Awakens

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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.

‘Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens’ Now Playing In Theaters Nationwide

After months and months of anticipation, fans can finally rejoice! As of today, Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens is now playing in theaters nationwide, and if you haven’t already secured a ticket, you might have to wait at least a week or two before braving the storm of people waiting in line out the door. Director JJ Abrams (Mission Impossible 3, Super 8) took leave of his Star Trek obligations in order to direct the film, which reunites original stars Mark Hamill (Commander Hamilton, Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back), Harrison Ford (Blade Runner, Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Arc), and Carrie Fisher (Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, The Blues Brothers) with an all new generation of actors, led by Daisy Ridley (Blue Season, Scrawl), John Boyega (Junkhearts, Imperial Dreams), Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis, A Most Violent Year), Domhnall Gleeson (Unbroken, Ex Machina), Adam Driver (While We’re Young, This Is Where I Leave You), and Andy Serkis (The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey). The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi Oscar-winning screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan (The Big Chill, The Accidental Tourist) worked on the new project’s script with director Abrams and fellow Oscar-winner Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine, Toy Story 3), about a new threat to peace and justice in the galaxy that occurs 30 years after the events of Return of the Jedi concluded. Little more needs be said; all I ask is that you not be an asshole and spoil the plot for everybody in ear-shot of your conversations! Enjoy.

New Full Length Trailer For ‘Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens’ Now Available

With the release date for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens drawing ever nearer, fans and movie-buffs alike are jumping for joy with the release of the new full-length trailer. Written by director J.J. Abrams (Armageddon, Super 8) and Oscar-winning screenwriters Lawrence Kasdan (Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back) and Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine, Toy Story 3), the film picks up 30 years after the fall of the Galactic Empire in Return of the Jedi (1983) and finds the heros of the Rebellion facing a new evil that has risen again. Starring in the film are original Star Wars actors Mark Hamill (Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Kingsman: The Secret Service), Carrie Fisher (The Blues Brothers, When Harry Met Sally), Harrison Ford (Blade Runner, The Temple of Doom), Peter Mayhew (A New Hope, Revenge of the Sith) as Chewbacca, Kenny Baker (The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones) as R2D2, and Anthony Daniels (Droids, I Bought A Vampire Motorcycle) as C-3P0, who will be joining a new generation of actors including Domhnall Gleeson (Unbroken, Ex Machina), Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis, A Most Violent Year), Gwendoline Christie (The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay), Daisy Ridley (Blue Season, Scrawl), Andy Serkis (The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Rise of the Planet of the Apes), Adam Driver (What If, This Is Where I Leave You), and John Boyega (Junkhearts, Imperial Dreams). The movie is due out in theaters this December 18th. Enjoy the new trailer!

Actor Tommy Lee Jones Joins Matt Damon In Cast Of Upcoming ‘Bourne’ Sequel

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Oscar-winner Tommy Lee Jones will be joining Matt Damon in the upcoming fifth installment in the ‘Jason Bourne’ series, thus far only titled Bourne 5. Captain Phillips and Bourne Ultimatum director Paul Greengrass will be returning to helm the project, which will also star series veteran Julia Stiles (The Bourne Supremacy, Silver Linings Playbook), Viggo Mortensen (The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, Hidalgo), and Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina, The Man from U.N.C.L.E.). Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass will be writing the film along with returning Bourne screenwriter Christopher Rouse (The Italian Job, The Bourne Ultimatum), but no details regarding the plot are known at this time. Producer Frank Marshall (Indiana Jones-Raiders of the Lost Ark, Back to the Future) will produce with Jeffery Weiner under Captivate Entertainment. Stay tuned for more news!

News Of Casting For Upcoming ‘Bourne 5’ With Veteran Actor Matt Damon

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Director Paul Greengrass (left) collaborating with Matt Damon (right).

Matt Damon (Good Will Hunting, The Departed) stole the screen as Jason Bourne in the fast-paced spy series from author Robert Ludlum that began with The Bourne Identity in 2002 and ended (for Damon) with The Bourne Ultimatum in 2007. After that Jeremy Renner (The Avengers, American Hustle) stepped in to portray a new character in the Bourne-universe for director Tony Gilroy in The Bourne Legacy, which received mixed reviews from both critics and fans. But now Damon and Bourne Ultimatum director Paul Greengrass (United 93, Captain Phillips) are both returning to the series for a fifth installment, thus far only known as Bourne 5. Julia Stiles (The Omen, Silver Linings Playbook) will also be returning for the new movie, joining new-comers Alicia Vikander (The Fifth Estate, Ex Machina) and Viggo Mortensen (The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, A History of Violence) as the new villain. Details for the new story are not yet available, and further casting news is likely still forthcoming, so we’ll keep you posted with further updates.