After six years of production, research, and documentation, filmmaker Laura Poitras‘s personal look at the minds behind Wikileaks, a documentary called Risk, is now playing in theaters. Risk is not so much an investigation into Wikileaks, itself. Rather, Poitras walks the audience through a series of character studies surrounding the organizations’ founders and chief players, specifically Julian Assange and Jacob Applebaum. Early on in her investigation, the filmmaker views the acts of Assange and Applebaum as courageous and heroic. Over the course of her six-year endeavor, however, her work and personal life became irreversibly interlaced with Wikileaks. She went to Applebaum (whom she has had a personal relationship with) for advice on how to handle information provided by a top secret informant, who we now know was former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. She also co-founded the Freedom of the Press Foundation to raise money for Wikileaks, an organization that she goes back and forth with in terms of legal journalism and moralistic integrity, which she explores in the new documentary. Continue reading →
For those die hard fans of the Star Wars film series, May 4th is always a special occasion. It was on May 25th, 1977 that A New Hope, the first ever Star Wars film from writer/director George Lucas made its theatrical debut. The event marked the beginning of a new phenomenon in modern cinema, and changed the way movies were made and even thought of from then on. Drawing from inspiration from early space adventure serials, George Lucas envisioned a modern space epic using classic themes and archetypes that would forever change the movie-going experience. His company, Industrial Lights and Magic, which would go on to create Pixar Animation in the 1990s, created new methods for special effects that gave movie-goers an experience never before seen on film. To celebrate this special fan day, here is the latest trailer for the next installation in the film series, The Last Jedi, which will feature original actors Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher as Luke and Leia Skywalker, along with new vets Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Issac, Adam Driver, and Domhnall Gleeson. Enjoy, and May the Fourth Be With You!
*Update – this article originally stated that A New Hope was released on May 4th, 1977, hence part of the reasoning behind “May-the-Fourth Day.” A New Hope actually hit theaters on May 25th of that year, just in time for Memorial Day Weekend. My apologies for the inaccuracy!
In light of the untimely death of Carrie Fisher, movie-makers at Disney and Lucasfilm are beginning to look to Princess Leia’s future. Although Fisher has reportedly finished filming all of her scenes for the upcoming Episode VIII release this December, Leia was expected to play a much more significant part in Episode IX, which is slated for a December 2019 release. The over-arching storyline for the upcoming films included a reunion between Leia and Luke Skywalker, as well as a confrontation between Leia and Kylo Ren, who killed his father, Harrison Ford‘s Han Solo, in Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Now with Fisher gone, the fate of the character has yet to be fully realized. Continue reading →
This year, writer, director, and producer Ridley Scott (Gladiator, Hannibal) will see two of his most famous films back on big screens nationwide in the form of the new sequels Alien: Covenant and Blade Runner 2049. The original films Alien (1979) and Blade Runner (1982) are two of Scott’s most renowned films, and this year, movie-goers will get the chance to see modernized takes on both films, which have developed huge followings over the years.
Scott personally got back behind the camera to direct Alien: Covenant. Serving as both a sequel to Prometheus (2012) and a prequel to the original Alien, Alien: Covenant follows the crew of the colony ship Covenant as they discover a seemingly unknown paradise in deep space. As they begin to explore, however, they quickly uncover a dark and dangerous world, inhabited only by David, the synthetic survivor from the Prometheus expedition, who forces the crew to attempt a fast, and daring escape. Continue reading →
Like last Christmas, and likely the next four, five, six, or even seven still to come, Star Wars fandom is again dominating the box office. The first Star Wars prequel, Rogue One, opened in theaters worldwide this weekend, earning an impressive $290.5 million in box office ticket sales. Disney, who now owns the Star Wars franchise, initially predicted a $120-150 million take for the North American market, which ended up at $155 million. The worldwide box office haul does exclude China, which won’t see Rogue One in theaters until after the New Year. China, incidentally, is the second-largest market in movie ticket sales, so the grand total will likely reach into the $300 million range with ease. As impressive as the opening weekend was, Rogue One failed to break the box-office record set by last year’s Star Wars Episode 7 – The Force Awakens, which took home $248 million in its opening weekend. Still, the success of Rogue One demonstrates the potential for future Star Wars spinoffs Disney has, and will likely soon have in the making. Fans are already looking forward to next year’s Star Wars Episode 8, and a Han Solo origins story is still in the works for 2018. Needless to say, Star Wars fans will be getting their fix for years to come if Disney keeps up at this rate. And with $290 million world box office hauls, why wouldn’t they make more? The trailer for Rogue One is available here on MADE. If you get a chance, be sure to see it on the big screen this holiday season. Enjoy!
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!
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!
Producer Harvey Weinstein of the Weinstein Company has pushed back national release of his long anticipated drama Tulip Fever, based on the popular novel by Deborah Moggach, to a February 2017 release. The film has already seen several release delays; it was filmed back in 2014 and has since made no debuts at any of the film festival circuits or limited releases here in the States or elsewhere. Now, however, Weinstein seems to have settled on a post-Valentine’s Day release, going up against God Particle from producer J.J. Abrams (Star Trek, Star Wars: The Force Awakens) and Sleepless with Jaimie Fox (Ray, Collateral) and Michelle Monaghan (Gone Baby Gone, True Detective). Starring Oscar winners Alicia Vikander (El Machina, The Danish Girl) and Christoph Waltz (Inglorious Basterds, Django Unchained), the film follows an artist who falls for a married woman he is hired to paint in portrait in the midst of the tulip frenzy of 17th century Amsterdam. Continue reading →
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.
Although starring in one of the most successful film franchises of all time hasn’t always been great for acting careers (with the exception of Harrison Ford), that doesn’t seem to be the case with The Force Awakens star Daisy Ridley. The young actress has just signed on to star in a new drama called The Lost Wife, a remake of the Israeli film Kolma. The Force Awakens and Star Trek director J.J. Abrams will be producing the project for Marielle Heller (A Walk Among the Tombstones, The Diary of a Teenage Girl), who will direct the film. Unlike many of her co-stars, who signed on for follow-up projects once it was announced they would be appearing in Star Wars, Ridley held off on contractual obligations until after the first film was already released in theaters. She is currently filming the second installment in the new Star Wars trilogy, which is being headed by director Rian Johnson (The Brothers Bloom, Looper). The Lost Wife is based on the book by Alyson Richman about a young couple in pre-World War II Prague who fall in love and are remorsefully separated when the Nazi’s invade the country in 1939. The script was adapted by Marc Klein (Serendipity, A Good Year), and the producers are aiming to show the film at Cannes before it opens to worldwide audiences. We’ll keep you posted for further updates.