The past seven days

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Fantastic Four - Teaser

We finally have our first glimpse at Josh Trank's adaptation of Fantastic Four. Despite the movie opening this year we haven't seen anything about the film before now except for a selfie from the cast the night filming wrapped.

The trailer reveals our cast (Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan, and Jamie Bell) as they become physically mutated and transformed after a visit to an alternate universe. While we don't get a glimpse at Toby Kebbell's version of Dr. Doom, we do hear his voice for the first time.

Fantastic Four hits theaters on August 7th in 3D.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Emma Watson to play Belle in Beauty and the Beast

We have already had recent live-action adaptations of various Disney princesses, but we now have confirmation that the next princess to receive the live treatment is Belle from Beauty and the Beast. Harry Potter alum Emma Watson confirmed via Facebook that she has officially been cast to portray the well-read princess in an upcoming live adaptation.

Watson wrote:
"I'm finally able to tell you... that I will be playing Belle in Disney's new live-action Beauty and the Beast! It was such a big part of my growing up, it almost feels surreal that I'll get to dance to 'Be Our Guest' and sing 'Something There.' My six year old self is on the ceiling - heart bursting. Time to start some singing lessons. I can't wait for you to see it. Emma xx"

Beauty and the Beast is set to be directed by Bill Condon and production is expected to start later this year.  I haven't been a big fan of the live-action adaptations so far, but I think Emma Watson is a rather phenomenal choice for Belle. She looks the part so let's hope she can act the part, too. I think she's really moved past Harry Potter and I'm excited to see what she can do here.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Luke Evans exits The Crow reboot

Thank you, Jesus.

Dracula Untold star Luke Evans has officially dropped out of the planned reboot of The Crow to pursue other projects. Director Corin Hardy and Relativity Media now has to find a new lead actor once again.
Originally Tom Hiddleston was a favorite contender for the role and the first director set for this film departed shortly after Evans was cast. As a result there was not a release date or even a production starting date announced, so it's not really a surprise that Evans has now exited. Well, that and the fact that Dracula Untold looked, and apparently was, horrendous.

The role of Eric Draven was originally played by Brandon Lee back in 1994. Lee was accidentally killed on set during filming and the film reached cult status after its release. I personally think they should take this as a hint and not reboot The Crow, but that's why I don't work in Hollywood. Hopefully they find someone decent or manage to cast Hiddleston.

Kaya Scodelario joins Pirates of the Caribbean 5

Skins alum and recent star of The Maze Runner, Kaya Scodelario, has joined Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales as the main female lead. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer announced the casting of the British actress via Twitter. She joins returning cast member, Johnny Depp, and Pirates newcomers Javier Bardem and Brenton Thwaites.

Scodelario is fairly unknown to me as I didn't see The Maze Runner and I didn't watch Skins, but it will be interesting to see what she brings to the table and what exactly her role is. Pre-production is already moving along in Australia and Disney hopes to have this installment released in 2017.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Which Fifty Shades scene was ultimately cut?

It's not an understatement to say that all of Fifty Shades of Grey was controversial, but among all of the scenes in the book there is one that director Sam Taylor-Johnson chose to omit from the film adaptation. No, it's not Ana's first encounter with Christian at the hardware store or their first night in Christian's "Red Room of Pain." The scene that we will not see is pretty small, but it did even gross out some readers.

Taylor-Johnson stated that the bit where Christian removes Ana's tampon so they could have sex was omitted from the film. According to her the situation wasn't even discussed among the writers and the actors. It was just left out entirely. She also did hint that the sexual situations, although still a part of the film, were ultimately toned down. Early drafts of the script were rewritten because the team wanted to maintain a balance between the story and connection of the characters and their sexuality so the sexual overtones weren't overpowering the entire film.

In other words, they had to do something to maintain an R-rating. Sorry guys.

Rumor: Batman to appear in Suicide Squad

Warner Bros. upcoming super-villain party, Suicide Squad, might be adding another cast member to the mix. Rumor has it that Ben Affleck will appear in the film as Batman and it will act as a setup to his own solo movie.

Forbes reported the rumor stating that Batman will appear "in the flesh" and the scene will most likely be shared with The Joker (Jared Leto). Also hinted is that this acts as a precursor for a future solo Batman movie featuring The Joker, and potentially Harley Quinn, as the villains.
Warner Bros. hasn't given a date or even a major hint about a solo Batman movie, but there are more rumors that the inevitable Batman film will be based off Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns.

Suicide Squad opens in theaters on August 5, 2016.

Who's up for Gareth Edwards' Star Wars?

Pre-production on Gareth Edwards' Star Wars spin-off is now underway as The Force Awakens is now fully in post-production and casting rumors are starting to surface already. Rumor has it that Rooney Mara, Felicity Jones, and Tatiana Maslany are in various testing stages for the female lead.

You might recognize Maslany from the BBC America hit series, Orphan Black. I personally have never seen this show but I do know who she is. Felicity Jones is fresh off an Oscar nomination for her role in The Theory of Everything and was absolutely fantastic alongside Anton Yelchin in Like Crazy. Finally, Rooney Mara is by far the most famous choice as she is also an Oscar nominee (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) and led the way in the reboot of A Nightmare on Elm Street. She's also appeared in The Social Network, Her, Side Effects, and will appear as Tiger Lily in Pan.
According to the rumor, the frontrunner is currently Felicity Jones but there could potentially be scheduling conflicts because she is set to film Inferno this spring/summer, but we should all take excitement that this film seems to be female driven. Female characters have never been a strong part of the Star Wars films (yes, even with the love stricken Leia Organa) so if we have an actual female led film it should be exciting. It would be even better with a great actress leading the way.

This will all happen rather soon as Edwards' Star Wars film is set for a December 16, 2016 release. We will also get two more spin-off films from Rian Johnson (December 2017) and Josh Trank (likely 2018).

Click to enlarge photo. From left: Rooney Mara, Felicity Jones, and Tatiana Maslany

Monday, January 19, 2015

Deadpool set to begin filming in March

20th Century Fox has been sitting on this project since before X-Men Origins: Wolverine showed up and pretty much failed to meet every possible expectation anyone had. As a result, Deadpool was shelved and was pretty much thought to be dead until Comic-Con International last year. Some old test footage leaked and (yada yada yada) Fox greenlit the project. We now have even more confirmation that this is actually happening as the studio has set a filming date and location.

Deadpool, starring Ryan Reynolds, will start filming in Vancouver in March of this year. Vancouver is not only Reynolds' hometown but it is a big film hub for Fox. X-Men: Days of Future Past was even filmed there back in 2013. Tim Miller is attached to direct the film that is set for a February 12, 2016 release.
I still think that Guardians of the Galaxy had a lot to do with this as it proved that audiences were open to a superhero film not 100% grounded in reality. It also showed that we were willing to laugh a bit and be silly with our heroes. With that said, the reason that Fox never moved forward with Deadpool was because they weren't sure there was a wide market for it outside of the existing fanbase. I think the success Marvel has had with Guardians and their upcoming gamble on Ant-Man, Fox finally decided to take the plunge. There is no confirmation on whether they will stay completely true to the character and go for an R-rating, but even if it goes PG-13 I'm sure we will get an unrated version on DVD/Blu-Ray. 

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Kristen Stewart wants in on the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Since Twilight came to an end in 2012, Kristen Stewart has changed her career path a bit. Granted she did also get caught cheating on one of the most famous actors in Hollywood with a married man, but after her massive franchise ended she decided to take a year off and has now begun to resurface in a series of more independent releases. She's appeared in the military drama, Camp X-Ray, and has also appeared in Clouds of Sils Maria and Still Alice and will appear in Anesthesia, Equals, and American Ultra this year. It didn't work out in her favor, but there were even some people who said she might have gained an Oscar nomination for her work in the latter. In addition to her career picking back up she recently stated that she has her eye on another potential franchise universe.

In recent interviews for Still Alice, Stewart mentioned that she has a lot of interest in joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe. She expressed specific interest in joining the Captain America arc and reiterated that despite the Twilight fiasco she wouldn't be opposed to joining another franchise. In her own words:
"I love watching those movies. I would love to show people that I can do more than just be ‘Kristen Stewart’ in a different movie, in a different circumstance… I’m sure I could get on board with Captain America, you know what I mean?… It would just have to be the right thing."

Now... despite the hatred Stewart gets she shouldn't be underestimated at all. There is no denying her work in the Twilight franchise was atrocious, but that's what happens when you cast teenagers in a film and then trap them into a franchise. If you watch her in more independent roles, like Welcome to the Rileys, she can be quite fantastic. She also shined very brightly in Adventureland, Camp X-Ray, and The Runaways. I'm not saying I'm necessarily rooting for Kristen Stewart to be part of the MCU, but depending on the role I don't think she would do a terrible job. I think she's grown enough as an individual and as an actress to know better than to repeat Bella Swan.

What says you guys? Are you open to Stewart potentially entering the MCU at some point or is it a big, fat no?

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen done with X-Men?

Sad news: Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen might be done with X-Men. Since the pair returned to X-Men: Days of Future Past it was assumed we might see another appearance from the original Professor X and Magneto in X-Men: Apocalypse. However, Patrick Stewart stated in a recent interview that due to the timeline of the film it didn't seem like they would be returning.

Seeing that Apocalypse is looking at casting younger versions of characters such as Cyclops and Jean Grey this isn't necessarily a surprise. We will see James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, and most likely Nicholas Hoult return for Apocalypse and I'm not sure how much time travel/parallel universe stuff it will have. Rumor had it in the past week or so that Tye Sheridan was testing for Cyclops and Saoirse Ronan and Sophie Turner were testing for Jean. There was even a rumor that Chloe Grace Moretz might enter the project as well. The point? I don't know if there will be much use for the original cast in this film or any future films.

Maybe it's time McKellen and Stewart move on from the X-Men universe.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Fifty Shades of Grey breaks Fandango records

It seems that a surprisingly large amount of people want to see Fifty Shades of Grey in public. The erotic film, which still is a month away, has become the highest selling R-rated film in Fandango history. It has also somehow become the 4th most anticipated film of 2015 according to Fandango users.
Fifty Shades of Grey has beaten the previous record holder, Sex and the City 2, and has also beaten The Hangover II and The Hangover III. Fandango Chief Correspondent Dave Karger has said it's on track to be the fastest selling R-rated film of all time.

The film, based on E.L. James' novel, follows a young college student named Anastasia Steele who enters a world of sexual discovery and exploration at the hands of a BDSM obsessed billionaire named Christian Grey. It is set for release on February 13th.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

2015 Oscar Nominations

I will start this off by saying I'm not too happy with these nominations. I think the Academy made quite a few mistakes this year and I'm not that excited.
Now that I got that out, here are the nominees for the 2015 Academy Awards. They were announced this morning and gave frontrunner status to both Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel as they each gained 9 nominations. Tune in on February 22nd to see Neil Patrick Harris host the 87th annual event in Los Angeles.

Best Picture

American Sniper
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
The Theory of Everything

Best Director

Wes Anderson - The Grand Budapest Hotel
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu - Birdman
Richard Linklater - Boyhood
Bennett Miller - Foxcatcher
Morten Tyldum  - The Imitation Game

Best Actor

Steve Carrell - Foxcatcher
Bradley Cooper - American Sniper
Benedict Cumberbatch - The Imitation Game
Michael Keaton - Birdman
Eddie Redmayne - The Theory of Everything

Best Actress

Marion Cotillard - Two Days, One Night
Felicity Jones - The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore - Still Alice
Rosamund Pike - Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon - Wild

Best Supporting Actor

Robert Duvall - The Judge
Ethan Hawke - Boyhood
Edward Norton - Birdman
Mark Ruffalo - Foxcatcher
J.K. Simmons - Whiplash

Best Supporting Actress

Patricia Arquette - Boyhood
Laura Dern - Wild
Kiera Knightly - The Imitation Game
Emma Stone - Birdman
Meryl Streep - Into the Woods

Best Adapted Screenplay

Jason Hall - American Sniper
Graham Moore - The Imitation Game
Paul Thomas Anderson - Inherent Vice
Anthony McCarten - The Theory of Everything
Damien Chazelle - Whiplash

Best Original Screenplay

Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Armando Bo - Birdman
Richard Linklater - Boyhood
E. Max Frye, Dan Futterman - Foxcatcher
Wes Anderson, Hugo Guinness - The Grand Budapest Hotel
Dan Gilroy - Nightcrawler

Best Foreign Language Film

Ida (Poland)
Leviathan (Russia)
Tangerines (Estonia)
Timbuktu (Mauritania)
Wild Tales (Argentina)

Best Documentary Feature

Finding Vivian Maier
Last Days in Vietnam
The Salt of the Earth

Best Animated Feature

Big Hero 6
The Boxtrolls
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Song of the Sea
The Tale of Princess Kaguya

Best Original Score 

Alexandre Desplat - The Grand Budapest Hotel
Alexandre Desplat - The Imitation Game
Hans Zimmer - Interstellar
Gary Yershon - Mr. Turner
Johan Johannsson - The Theory of Everything

Best Original Song

"Lost Stars" - Begin Again
"Grateful" - Beyond the Lights
"I'm Not Gonna Miss You" - Glen Campbell: I'll Be Me
"Everything is Awesome" - The Lego Movie
"Glory" - Selma

Best Production Design

The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
Into the Woods
Mr. Turner

Best Cinematography

The Grand Budapest Hotel
Mr. Turner

Best Film Editing

American Sniper
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

The Grand Budapest Hotel
Guardians of the Galaxy

Best Costume Design

The Grand Budapest Hotel
Inherent Vice
Into the Woods
Mr. Turner

Best Visual Effects

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Guardians of the Galaxy
X-Men: Days of Future Past

Best Sound Editing

American Sniper
The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies

Best Sound Mixing

American Sniper

Best Animated Short

The Bigger Picture
The Damn Keeper
Me and My Moulton
Single Life

Best Live-Action Short

Boogalo and Graham
Butter Lamp
The Phone Call

Best Documentary Short Subject

Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1
Our Curse
The Reaper
White Earth

Now let's discuss some of these snubs...
First of all, I don't know what the Academy had against David Fincher this year, but they omitted Gone Girl from quite a few categories it belongs in. I would have nominated it for Best Picture as well as nominating Gillian Flynn for Best Adapted Screenplay and Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross for Best Original Score. They won a statue for their Social Network score and the score for Gone Girl is even better. I don't understand it at all.
Moving onto probably the biggest shock is The Lego Movie not being nominated for Best Animated Feature. There is no rhyme or reason to why this was omitted from the category. The animation was seamless, different, and very well put together. The movie itself had a great plot, great writing, and the voice cast was spot on. Big mistake.
I don't personally have much to say on this one because I haven't seen Nightcrawler, but most people out there are upset that Jake Gyllenhaal was not nominated for Best Actor. Some are upset over David Oyelowo not being nominated for Selma, too.

I also will acknowledge a lot of Oscar predictions people had were incorrect. The Fault in Our Stars got absolutely no recognition and many thought it would get Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Actress (Shailene Woodley). Other predictions that didn't pan out included Jennifer Anniston for Best Actress in Cake, Kristen Stewart for Supporting Actress in Still Alice, Nightcrawler gaining more nominations than it did, Selma gaining more nominations than it did, and Big Eyes being nominated for anything.

Not excited about this year at all.

Tom Hardy exits Suicide Squad

This was bound to happen at least once. It seems like with every major project these days there is a casting issue at some point. We learned today that Tom Hardy has dropped out of the upcoming Suicide Squad film. Hardy was set to play the team's military trained leader, Rick Flagg. His reps are citing scheduling problems and overlaps are to blame as he will soon begin press for Mad Max: Fury Road and filming on The Revenant is running long.

However, rumor has it that Warner Bros. has approached Oscar-nominee Jake Gyllenhaal to replace Hardy as Flagg. There is no confirmation on any replacement just yet, and it seems that Viola Davis still isn't 100% attached either, so I would expect things might continue to change with this film. Suicide Squad is currently set to open August 5, 2016 and also stars (as of right now) Jared Leto, Margot Robbie, Jai Courtney, Cara Delevinge, and Will Smith.

It's a bummer, but I always thought Hardy was an odd choice seeing that he's already played a DC villain and is very well recognized as such. I was a bit surprised he was chosen in the first place.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

James Cameron delays Avatar sequels

Despite a pretty lackluster fanbase, and bad reviews on everything but the visual effects, we are set to get three sequels to James Cameron's 2009 film, Avatar. We were supposed to be getting these sequels in 2016, 2017, and 2018 but Cameron has pushed each back a year.

Cameron and his visual effects supervisor, Joe Letteri, felt that a 2016 was too ambitious seeing that filming hasn't even started yet. The visual effects alone will take months and months to complete, but other issues were happening with the scripts. Cameron and his writing team are writing the sequels simultaneously and were supposed to have finished them by now, but they have hit a snag and need more time to complete the writing.

So there you have it. If you were somehow interested in these sequels you will have to wait a little bit longer. Another thing that no one is mentioning that I thought of was the upcoming Avatar Land at Disney's Animal Kingdom in Florida. If I remember correctly they were hoping for that to be completed by 2017 so with Avatar 2 receiving a delay would put it right at the opening of the new area. Marketing much?

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Film version of Wicked targets a 2016 release

Into the Woods producer, Marc Platt, was recently asked about his involvement with a film adaptation of the Broadway smash, Wicked. Platt didn't really give too many details other than the film is currently in the works and that the target release is sometime in 2016.

Wicked is most commonly known as the "untold story of the witches of Oz." The Wicked Witch of the West was known as Elphaba, a student who dreamed of working alongside The Wizard. The musical debuted on Broadway back in 2003 and is still in circulation around the country (it's even going to be in Denver this spring). The original Broadway run served as another stepping stone for Idina Menzel as she played Elphaba alongside Kristin Chenoweth who played her sister, Glinda. Wicked has also won Tony Awards for Best Costume Design and Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical (Idina Menzel).

Universal has been sitting on a film adaptation of this musical for quite sometime and it seems that the studios have been testing the market for these types of films. Les Miserables, starring Hugh Jackman and Anne Hathaway, was a very big success as it gained both Oscar nominations and wins. Into the Woods has been fairly successful so far and has gained Golden Globe nominations. We have also seen success for films like Pitch Perfect, The Muppets, Rock of Ages, and Annie.
Many have speculated whether Menzel and Chenoweth would be approached to reprise the roles of Elphaba and Glinda, but there have been whispers that they are too old for the roles at this point.

If they don't move quickly a 2016 release is very unlikely, but I would bet that we will see Wicked at least by 2017.

The Purge franchise skipping a 2015 release

It seems Universal has decided against making The Purge an annual event. The studio released a statement that the next installment of The Purge won't appear until July 1, 2016. That puts it just before the Fourth of July so they will have a chance to make some decent money at the box office.

The Purge began back in 2013 and introduced us into the near future where the United States has created an annual "purge" where all crimes are legal for a 12-hour period. Those choosing to purge can rape, murder, stalk, hurt, burglarize, and more during the night to whomever they choose. The films have spawned Halloween Horror Nights mazes at Universal Studios parks as well as a road tour last summer.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Michael Keaton in talks for Kong: Skull Island

A new King Kong origins story is set to open in 2017 and Universal is already shopping around for stars to appear in the film. Still high on very positive reviews of Birdman, the studio has approached Michael Keaton to star. He will join previously announced cast members, Tom Hiddleston and J.K. Simmons.

There is no info on what Keaton's role would involve, but I'm sure information on Kong: Skull Island will continuously reveal itself. 

Fifty Shades of Grey receives an R-rating

After much speculation and rumors that a final cut of Fifty Shades of Grey would receive an NC-17 rating, you can all take a breath because the MPAA has officially given the film an R-rating.

The description for the rating includes "strong sexual content including unusual behavior, dialogue, and graphic nudity." Most people, including myself, have wondered how the film could possibly do EL James' book proper justice by not having an NC-17 rating but it seems they either did enough convincing editing or omitted certain events entirely to achieve the R-rating. Personally, I am sure they will release an extended cut with deleted scenes and whatnot on Blu-Ray. If it performs well they might even do a limited theater engagement with a more explicit cut of the film.

Either way, we will get a chance to see for ourselves on February 13th.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Scarlett Johansson to star in Ghost in the Shell

Dreamworks' live action adaptation of Ghost in the Shell has found its leading lady. Action alum Scarlett Johansson has signed onto the film. It is a live adaptation of the popular Japanese Anime that follows a member of a covert ops group that specializes in tech-based crime.

Snow White and the Huntsman director, Rupert Sanders, is on board to direct and the script has been written by Bill Wheeler. There is no set date on exactly when this is going to get rolling, but Paramount is apparently exploring options to co-finance the project. With Johansson confirmed I don't think they will have a problem.