Four-time Oscar-nominee Ethan Hawke (Training Day, Boyhood) will be on the big screen again this month with a limited release of his biographical-documentary Seymour: An Introduction. The film was first seen at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2014 and then at the New York Film Festival in the United States, and now will see a limited public theatrical release on Friday, March 13th. Musician/piano-teacher Seymour Bernstein, who left his career as a concert-pianist to become a teacher, is the focus of this documentary as he shares stories and insights from his life with director Hawke. This is Ethan Hawke’s first directing project since The Hottest State in 2006, a movie he adapted from his own novel of the same name following a young actor trying to make his name in New York City while coping with his relationship with his singer/songwriter girlfriend. Be sure to check for theaters in your area that may be showing Seymour this Friday.
Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games (2012).
The Hunger Games film franchise will be wrapping up this November with Mockingjay-Part 2, and for the first time in the whole series, movie-goers will be able to see it in IMAX 3D. While the first two installments, The Hunger Games and Catching Fire saw release on IMAX screens, last year’s Mockingjay-Part 1 was not released on IMAX or 3D, at least not in the United States. Audiences in China, however, were able to see Mockingjay-Part 1 in 3D, and since the response was so positive, Lionsgate has decided to release Part 2 in 3D as well, so director Francis Lawrence has added another task to his post-production checklist, according to Lawrence the new format will only help to improve the quality of the movie, but I guess it will be up to the fans to decide whether or not it improves upon the earlier films or not. Mockingjay-Part 2 opens in theaters this November 20th, and stars Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle), Josh Hutcherson (Bridge To Terabithia, Escobar: Paradise Lost), Liam Hemsworth (Empire State, Paranoia), Philip Seymour Hoffman (Capote, A Most Wanted Man), and Woody Harrelson (No Country For Old Men, Zombieland).
The latest project from acclaimed writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood, The Master) is opening in theaters this Friday, January 9th, and I think it will probably be one of the better releases since Interstellar back in November, give-or-take a few exceptions. Adapted by Anderson from the novel by Thomas Pynchon, the film follows outlandish private investigator Larry “Doc” Sportello across 1970s Los Angeles as he investigates the death of his ex-girlfriend. Joaquin Phoenix (Signs, Walk The Line) and Josh Brolin (No Country For Old Men, Men In Black 3) are leading the cast that also includes Owen Wilson, Reese Witherspoon, Martin Short, and Benicio Del Toro. Anderson’s last film, The Master, received three Academy Award nominations and three Golden Globe nominations, all for Best Actor (Joaquin Phoenix), Best Supporting Actor (Philip Seymour Hoffman), and Best Supporting Actress (Amy Adams), and before that, There Will Be Blood won two Oscars in 2008 for Best Actor (Daniel Day Lewis) and Best Cinematography (Robert Elswit), so needless to say, this director knows what he’s doing. Check out the trailer here on MADE, then seriously consider seeing this one on the big screen.
Stepping away from all of the crazy comic-movie news we’ve been following lately, we now have more news about another upcoming sequel from the longest-running franchise in film history. Wrestler-turned-actor Dave Bautista raised a few impressed eyebrows with his role in this summer’s Guardians of the Galaxy, so much so that Eon Productions Ltd. has approached him about playing the villain in the upcoming James Bond film with Daniel Craig. Bautista will be up for the role of the henchman Hinx, who will reportedly be a combination of past Bond villains Jaws (portrayed by Richard Kiel in The Spy Who Loved Me opposite Roger Moore) and Oddjob (portrayed by Harold Sakata opposite Sean Connery in Goldfinger). There is also news that the actress joining the film will be Lea Seydoux (Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Inglorious Bastards), who joins the ever growing list of “Bond Girls” that includes Ursula Andress, Jane Seymour, Maud Adams, Tanya Roberts, Carey Lowell, Famke Janssen, Teri Hatcher, Denise Richards, Halle Berry, Rosamund Pike, and Eva Green. She and Bautista join the cast that also includes Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, and Ben Whishaw. The film is set to be released in theaters in November 2015, so filming with returning Skyfall director Sam Mendes will be getting underway very soon. Stay tuned for more news.
We recently heard that Universal would be picking up production on Fast & Furious 7 this Spring, after the project was put on pause for several months following the unexpected death of Paul Walker. According to a source at the New York Daily News, director James Wan will be using a combination of CGI and hired body doubles to bring Walker back to the screen; actors will stand in Walker’s place and play the role for the camera, and then Walker’s face will be superimposed on the double’s face in post-production. This technique was also recently announced as being used in the latest Hunger Games installment, Mockingjay, following the death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman last month. Fast & Furious 7 still has a couple of months of filming on the schedule before the film can be ready for the editing room, and the release date has been pushed back to April, 2015. Let’s hope it turns out an appropriate homage to Walker’s life and work. It may well be the last Fast & Furious we see hit the big screen.
Last week we learned of the tragic and unexpected death of Academy Award winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. The actor was found dead in New York City from an apparent drug overdose, leaving Hollywood with one less talent for the screen, and leaving an unfinished blockbuster incomplete before his untimely passing. Since the news hit Hollywood, the filmmakers behind The Hunger Games film trilogy have been planning out how to complete the last installment in the film series, Mockingjay. Lionsgate Films released a statement last week saying that it would not be necessary to recast Hoffman since the actor had already completed a majority of his scenes for the movie, but there is still one important scene left to be filmed, and the filmmakers have decided to digitally recreate the actor on screen. This will be done not only with computer graphics and voice modification techniques, but also by using camera angles that focus on the other characters present in the scene, and not so heavily focused on Hoffman. While I hope the endeavor proves successful, let’s hope Hollywood doesn’t do what they’re best at and begin a new wave of deceased actors starring in modern day movies. Deceased music icons like Tupac and Jim Morrison are already being brought back to life for concert tours via modern holograms, and that’s already pushing it.
Following the unexpected death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, many questions were thrown up in the air regarding how the film studios were going to approach the remaining two-part production on the third Hunger Games film, Mockingjay. Lionsgate has now released a statement saying that Hoffman’s role as Plutarch Heavensbee will not be replaced because the actor had actually already completed his work on both projects, which are still set for release this and the following November, 2014 and 2015. While Hoffman had mostly wrapped up work on these two films, his second directorial film, Ezekiel Moss, which is still in pre-production and which had just cast Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams in the lead roles, is now in a standstill mode until the film can be distributed or the producers can figure out how next to approach it. We’ll keep an eye out for more news on the project.
Yesterday the film industry was struck by another terrible tragedy. Just two months following the sudden death of Paul Walker, Oscar winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman was found dead in his apartment in New York City yesterday from what is believed to be a drug overdose. The 46 year old actor leaves behind a legacy of characters including a spoiled prep student in Scent of a Woman, a mistrusted priest in Doubt, the Rock n Roll critic Lester Bangs in Almost Famous, the smart yet energetic clown Dusty in Twister, and the troubled writer Truman Capote in Bennett Miller’s oscar-winning biopic. Hoffman won an Oscar and Golden Globe for his portrayal of Truman Capote in 2006, and has been nominated for a total of four Oscars and four Globes for his roles in Doubt, Charlie Wilson’s War, The Savages, and his most recent picture, The Master in 2012. The actor has also played parts in Punch-Drunk Love, The Big Lebowski, Patch Adams, Along Came Polly, and Mission: Impossible 3. His most recent projects included two selections at this years Sundance Festival: A Most Wanted Man and God’s Pocket. The actor also played a part in the latest installment of The Hunger Games series, Catching Fire. The role is expected to be a part of the third film, so along with several other in-development roles Hoffman was expected to take, the studios/filmmakers will have to find other actors to take his place. Hoffman is succeeded by his three children, Cooper, Tallulah, and Willa with longtime girlfriend Mimi O’Donnell. Hoffman’s contribution to film, as well as his personal talent and admiration for his art will truly be missed in the future.
The Catcher in the Rye has had its fair share of time in the spot light. The book by author J.D. Salinger has experienced years of censorship and controversy relating to its counter-culture sex, smoke and drink subject matter and use of adult language. It has also been the “inspiration” of several assassinations and assassination attempts, including Rebecca Schaeffer, Ronald Reagan and John Lennon. This September, however, author J.D. Salinger will be the focus of the new documentary film entitled Salinger, directed by Shane Salerno. The film features appearances and commentaries by Philip Seymour Hoffman, Edward Norton, Martin Sheen and Gore Vidal. The movie is set for release on September 6th.