This week will see a number of indie projects open on select screens across the country. We mentioned the Kristen Stewart (Twilight, Snow White and the Huntsmen) drama Equals opening this Friday, about a couple who falls in love as the result of a disease in a futuristic utopia that is devoid of feeling and emotion, and the tension it causes between them and their society. Co-starring with Stewart is Nicholas Hoult (Mad Max: Fury Road, X-Men: Apocalypse), who are led by director Drake Doremus (Like Crazy, Breathe In).
Also opening on the indie circuit this week is a new animated movie called Phantom Boy, which takes place in the 1940s-50s and follows a young boy with superpowers who helps a wheelchair-bound policeman in his efforts to take down a notorious mob boss. The film comes from Oscar-nominated filmmakers Loup Felicioli & Alain Gagnol (A Cat in Paris) and stars French actors Edouard Baer (Chicken with Plums), Jean-Pierre Marielle (Coup de torchon, The DaVinci Code), and Audrey Tautou (A Very Long Engagement, Amelie).
Writer/director Woody Allen (Annie Hall, Manhattan) has had a pretty solid streak since Midnight in Paris and Blue Jasmine both won Oscar awards. His latest project is a dramatic comedy following a young Bronx native who moves to 1930s Hollywood to follow his successful uncle, who is a Hollywood agent. Instead, he falls in love with his uncle’s secretary and upon returning to New York, becomes engulfed in the high-society night club scene in Manhattan. The film features an all-star cast, including Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network, Zombieland), Kristen Stewart (Twilight, Snow White and the Huntsman), Steve Carell (Foxcatcher, The Big Short), and Blake Lively (The Town, The Age of Adaline). Continue reading →
Several limited releases will be available in select theaters this week.
1. The Benefactor
First on the list is a new drama titled The Benefactor with Richard Gere (Unfaithful, Chicago), Dakota Fanning (War of the Worlds, The Twilight Saga: New Moon), and Theo James (Underworld: Awakening, Insurgent) about a philanthropist who construes the lives of young couples in an attempt to relive his past. This will be the first feature-length film by writer/director Andrew Renzi (Karaoke!, Fishtail), who is also lined up to write an upcoming biographical film on Janis Joplin. Continue reading →
With Star Wars: The Force Awakens opening in theaters nationwide tomorrow, you can expect movie theaters to be jam-packed this weekend with old and new generation fans alike. There are, however, a number of smaller, independent projects coming out this weekend that we like to take the time to shine the spotlight on. The first is a new war drama titled Son of Saul (originally Saul fia) from writer/director Laszlo Nemes (The Counterpart, The Gentlemen Takes His Leave), which received excellent recognition at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. Taking place in the Nazi concentration camp, Auschwitz, in 1944, the film follows a prisoner who attempts to find redemption by saving a boy he adopts as his son from the furnaces of the camp that he has been forced to subject many of his own people to. Starring in the film are actors Geza Rohrig, Levente Molnar (Morgen, Our Big Time), Urs Rechn (Eight Miles High, The King’s Surrender), and Todd Charmont (The Last of the Mohicans, Strangers). Continue reading →
Filmmaker Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, The Equalizer) is currently working on principle photography for his upcoming remake of the classic 1960 western The Magnificent Seven. The original film was directed by legendary director John Sturges (The Great Escape, Joe Kidd) and featured an all-star cast that included Yul Brynner (The Ten Commandments), Eli Wallach (The Good The Bad and the Ugly), Steve McQueen (Bullitt), Charles Bronson (Death Wish), Robert Vaughn (Julius Caesar), Brad Dexter (Run Silent Run Deep), and James Coburn (Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid). Composer Elmer Bernstein received an Oscar-nomination for Best Musical Score (Drama/Comedy) for his work on the picture, and the film was selected for the National Film Registry by the National Film Preservation Board in 2013. Continue reading →
Leonard Nimoy as Spock in the original Star Trek television series.
Actor Leonard Nimoy, who portrayed Spock in the original Star Trek television series in the 1960s, died this week at the age of 83 in Los Angeles. Nimoy began his career as a regular guest on popular TV shows in the 1950s and early 60s, including The Untouchables, Get Smart, and The Twilight Zone. His breakthrough role came when he was noticed on an episode of The Lieutenant, which earned him the role of Spock in Star Trek, which he would be bound to for the rest of his life. Nimoy portrayed the character of Spock virtually for the rest of his career; he starred in the original TV series and the motion-picture series, even directing the third and fourth films, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. The actor was also an avid photographer and studied at UCLA, later publishing several controversial photography collections titled The Shekhina Project and another called The Full Body Project. His final acting role was as scientist William Bell on the Fox-network drama Fringe, but he also made a special appearance in director J.J. Abrams‘ 2009 re-boot film Star Trek, and again in Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013). Nimoy leaves behind his wife Susan and his son and daughter Adam and Julie; may he rest in peace.
It seems I spoke too soon when I said I hadn’t heard of any upcoming independent Wonder Woman project in the midst of all the crazy Avengers and Justice League news that has been coming out from Marvel and DC Comics. Apparently there is a solo movie featuring Wonder Woman is in the works from Warner Bros. studios that will feature Gal Gadot carrying her role over from Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), and that project has already been given a release date of June 23, 2017. While Batman Vs. Superman is obviously already in the works with director Zack Snyder, the studio is quite not looking to Snyder to direct this independent project. Instead they are on the hunt for a female director to take on the film, and some names already being tossed around the grapevine (specifically from Forbes Magazine) include Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty), Catherine Hardwicke (Lords of Dogtown, Twilight), Julie Taymor (Titus, Across The Universe), Michelle MacLaren (Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones), and Tricia Brock (Killer Diller, The Walking Dead). While a decision has yet to be made on the matter of directing, the screenplay is already being worked out by writers Michael Goldenberg (Contact, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix), Matthew Jennison, William M. Marston (Wonder Woman-1979), and Brent Strickland. Gadot is the only confirmed cast member at this point. Stay tuned for more news.
Even though Twilight pretty much ruined vampires for the modern generation of movie-goers, Universal Studios seems to have a pretty cool reboot project in mind that may help to bring the classic lore of monsters like Frankenstein and the Wolfman back to the big screen. Dracula Untold will be hitting theaters this October 10th and will be the first major motion-picture from up-and-coming director Gary Shore. The film stars Luke Evans as the young Vlad Tepes, who looks to protect his kingdom and his family from opposing military threat by making a deal with a supernatural being to give him the power to defeat his enemies. This, of course, comes at a high price, as Vlad finds himself becoming a spectre of that dark world, slipping slowly away from his genuine humanity. It had been rumored that this would be the first in a series of reboots from Universal as the studio looks to revive it’s classic monster-movie line up, which includes Frankenstein, The Wolfman, The Mummy, and the original Dracula with Bela Lugosi released in 1931. These rumors were recently confirmed by Dracula Untold‘s producer Alissa Phillips, who spoke with reporters from HeyUGuys at the UK premier this week, and the next project on the list will be The Mummy, which will be directed by longtime producer Alex Kurtzman. Personally this doesn’t really excite me. The Mummy has already been remade and spawned a whole series of terrible sequels, and the same goes for Frankenstein and The Wolfman, both which, by-the-way, have had remake projects released in the last 5 years, first The Wolfman with Hugo Weaving in 2010 and then I, Frankenstein with Aaron Eckhart earlier this year. It’s really getting irritating to see how little originality is coming out of Hollywood these days, but then I’ve been saying that for years now, so I guess nothing ever changes.
With a title that’s been around since the 1960s and has always inferred a sense of eerie happenings and strange phenomenon, fans may not be too eager to see another movie revolving around the realm of The Twilight Zone. Nevertheless a director has finally been chosen to take on the Warner Bros. project that has been waiting for a director since last year. Joseph Kosinski, whose credits include Tron: Legacy and Oblivion, is reportedly in talks with Warner to direct the film. Leonardo DeCaprio, who is currently starring and co-producing the upcoming Scorsese flick The Wolf of Wall Street, and Jennifer Davisson Killoran are producing the film, which is still far from gaining momentum as far as actual shooting is concerned, but which may become a priority with a director now attached to it. There are no details related to the plot, but there are rumors that the new movie would stand on its own as a strange science-fiction film and have no connection to the original series accept in name only. We’ll have to wait and see what happens once the whole cast and crew is finalized, but it seems Leonardo DeCaprio rarely gets behind a project that will be entertaining if nothing else.