Feb 28, 2013

New trailer for "Oblivion" starring Tom Cruise

This is the best looking upcoming film I've seen in a long time, full of beautiful juxtapositions between the ultra clean hi tech elements and the fecundity of a ruined planet earth. This trailer brings back a bunch of images from the previous trailers but also adds a slew of previously unseen imagery.

"Oblivion" with Tom Cruise and Morgan Freeman hits theaters April 19th and is on my short list of things to see this spring.

"The Hobbit: There and Back Again" release pushed back

Warner Brothers has announced that the release date of the third and final installment in Peter Jackson's "Hobbit" trilogy has been pushed back from July 18, 2014 to December 17, 2014. The move is not a big shock considering all of Jackson's previous Tolkien adaptations have releases in mid December. The real surprise (for me anyway) was that they considered a July release at all.

The first  movie in the trilogy has recovered from a somewhat sluggish start and is closing in a billion dollars at the worldwide box office. Sure that includes ticket premiums but a billion dollars is still a billion dollars. The second film "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug" is set for release this December.

Trailer for "The Conjuring"

Don't go in the basement don't go in the basement don't go in the basement don't go in the basement don't go in the basement don't go in the basement...

They never listen to me.

Director James Wan's "The Conjuring" starring Lili Taylor and Patrick Wilson opens July 19th.

Feb 27, 2013

Noomi Rapace talks Prometheus sequel

A lot of people - myself included - left the theater after viewing "Prometheus" intrigued but nursing some bruised expectations. On the one hand the film looked amazing, on the other there were more inexplicable characters than Carter has Little Liver Pills. On the one hand the film was dense with religious imagery and implications and was at the very least thought provoking, on the other hand watching Noomi's character run the extraterrestrial obstacle course minutes after having her mid-section sliced wide open and stapled shut meant some of those thoughts were "wtf?".

Still, I believe that it was a film just a few character/situation rewrites away from being the film of the year and I'm more than willing to give Ridley another crack at it. Stories of a pending sequel have been bouncing around for months and now Noomi Rapace chimes in with her take on the state of "Prometheus 2". (Question: if the original film was named after a space ship that was destroyed at the end of the movie, do you drop "Prometheus" from the sequel's title altogether? And if so, what would you call it? Just wondering.)

Here's some of what Ms Rapace had to say in a conversation with theplaylist.

Regarding the script: “They’re working on the script. I met Ridley in London a couple of weeks ago. I would love to work with him again and I know that he would like to do another one. It’s just like we need to find the right story. I hope we will.”

Regarding her experience working on the film: “I love working with Ridley. It was pure joy. It was really hard work sometimes. My body was a complete mess – I had bruises and cuts and emotionally I was a bit slammed. But being in his world and his universe was such an amazing experience... if we do a second one, there are a lot of things to explore in there and to continue. I would love to do it.”

Feb 26, 2013

Teaser for crowd-funded sci-fi short "Henri"

The scope and quality of crowd-funded films has been growing by leaps and bounds in the past couple of years and "Henri" is the latest proof of that statement. Funded largely through a Kickstarter campaign and taking 2 years to complete the film is now available to stream or purchase through the official site.

The story follows the travails of a spaceship whose computer gets lonely after the human crew die. In search of a more complete existence said computer (Henri) builds himself a body in an interesting twist on the Frankenstein story. Here's the teaser.

The top 10 movies for the weekend of February 22 - February 24, 2013

1) Identity Thief $14 Million
2) Snitch $13.1 Million
3) Escape From Planet Earth $10.6 Million
4) Safe Haven $10.4 Million
5) A Good Day to Die Hard $10.1 Million
6) Dark Skies $8.1 Million
7) Silver Linings Playbook $5.7 Million
8) Warm Bodies $4.8 Million
9) Beautiful Creatures $3.6 Million
10) Side Effects $3.3 Million

The number one movie a year ago this week was Relativity's "Act of Valor" which debuted in the top spot with a $24.4 million take.

(Green indicates new release)

Feb 24, 2013

2013 Academy Award winners

No runaway winner emerged from tonight's Academy Awards which is maybe a bit surprising considering that Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" had received 12 nominations and Ang Lee's "Life of Pi" had received 11. In the end "Lincoln" walked away with 2 statues and "Life of Pi" with 4 while "Argo" walked away with the Best Picture Oscar. Here's a complete list of the major awards.

Best Picture

Best Director
Ang Lee - "Life of Pi"

Best Actor
Daniel Day Lewis - "Lincoln"

Best Actress
Jennifer Lawrence - "Silver Linings Playbook"

Best Supporting Actor
Christoph Waltz - "Django Unchained"

Best Supporting Actress
Anne Hathaway - "Les Misérables"

Best Original Screenplay
Quentin Tarantino - "Django Unchained"

Best Adapted Screenplay
Chris Terrio - "Argo"

Best Foreign Language Film

Best Animated Short Film
John Kahrs - "Paperman"

Best Live-Action Short Film
Shawn Christensen - "Curfew"

Best Documentary Short
Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine - "Inocente"

Best Documentary Feature
Malik Bendjelloul and Simon Chinn - "Searching for Sugar Man"

Best Animated Feature

Best Cinematography
Claudio Miranda - "Life of Pi"

Best Visual Effects
Bill Westenhofer, Guillaume Rocheron, Erik-Jan De Boer, and Donald R. Elliott - "Life of Pi".

Best Film Editing
William Goldenberg - "Argo"

Best Production Design
Rick Carter and Jim Erickson - "Lincoln"

Best Original Score
Mychael Danna - "Life of Pi"

Best Original Song
Adele and Paul Epworth - "Skyfall"

Best Sound Mixing
Andy Nelson, Mark Paterson and Simon Hayes - "Les Misérables"

Best Sound Editing
Paul N.J. Ottosson - "Zero Dark Thirty
Per Hallberg and Karen Baker Landers - "Skyfall"

Best Costume Design
Jacqueline Durran - "Anna Karenina"

Best Makeup & Hairstyling
Lisa Westcott and Julie Dartnell - "Les Misérables

Feb 23, 2013

Ben Kingsley is the Mandarin in poster for Iron Man 3

69 year old Ben Kingsley conjures up some serious badnificence (I made a new word!) in this poster for the upcoming "Iron Man 3".

30 years after playing Gandhi it seems the much-heralded actor has finally reached the anti-pole of that iconic portrayal.

"Simon Killer" is a bad boy

Simon is a typical American college student wandering the streets of Paris looking for... something. He's lonely and seems more than a bit confused and he'll find what he thinks is love in the arms of one of the City of Light's ladies of the night. Things go decidedly down hill from there.

"Simon Killer" starring Brady Corbet and directed by Antonio Campos hits IFC on April 5th.

"Jack Reacher" to get sequel?

Though it had the bad luck of opening just after the appalling events in Newtown Ct which in all likelihood impacted its domestic numbers, "Jack Reacher" was a qualified success overseas bringing in approximately $125 million on the international market. Add that to the $79 million it wound up making stateside and you've actually got a small-scale (by contemporary Hollywood standards) financial success.

According to deadline those numbers are apparently enough to get tongues wagging in Tinseltown about a sequel. No word at this point on whether or not Tom Cruse will return.

Tom Cruise in "Jack Reacher"

Feb 21, 2013

Halle Berry is on a mission in "The Call"

Part "Phone Booth" part "Silence of the Lambs", Brad Anderson's "The Call" stars Halle Berry as a 911 operator who gets way too involved with the plight of one of her callers. Also starring Abigail Breslin, Morris Chestnut and Michael Imperioli the film opens March 15th.

Feb 20, 2013

New "Star Trek Into Darkness" featurette is all about action

This new featurette includes some incredible footage from the film along with the obligatory sound bites from the participants. Normally when an actor is promoting a film you can take what they say about it with a grain of salt, but in this case the superlatives Chris Pine and Co. are bandying about seem spot on.

In my mind there's a lot more at stake now for Mr Abrams than there was before it was announced he was now the dark lord of the sci-fi galaxy - helming both "Trek" and "Wars". If he blows it with this film the weight of fanboy fury and discontent regarding his stewardship of Episode 7 will descend upon him like the Enterprise into San Francisco Bay. So I for one am keeping my fingers crossed that he delivers.

"Star Trek Into Darkness" opens May 17th.

Feb 19, 2013

Wesley Snipes is back in first trailer for "Gallowwalkers"

It's great to see Snipes back on the big screen in whatever form which is why this trailer makes our cut - in spite of questionable production values and a story that seems like it could use a serious re-write. But sometimes your gonna stumble when your re-learning how to walk. Onward and upward Wesley.

"Gallowwalkers" does not yet have a US release date but we'll keep our eyes open for it.

Off the beaten track trailer of the day - "Elefante"

Exactly why the protagonist is transforming into a pachyderm is left unsaid in this bizarro trailer from film student Pablo Larcuen. I only hope the film becomes available in some form down the line so I can find out for myself.

The top 10 movies for the weekend of February 15 - February 17, 2013

1) A Good Day to Die Hard $24.8 Million
2) Identity Thief $23.6 Million
3) Safe Haven $21.4 Million
4) Escape From Planet Earth $15.9 Million
5) Warm Bodies $8.8 Million
6) Beautiful Creatures $7.5 Million
7) Side Effects $6.2 Million
8) Silver Linings Playbook $6 Million
9) Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters $3.5 Million
10) Zero Dark Thirty $3 Million

The number one movie a year ago this week was Universal's "Safe House" which took over the top spot with $23.6 million after debuting the previous week at #2.

(Green indicates new release)

Feb 17, 2013

First look at Josh Brolin in "Sin City 2"

In the original "Sin City" Clive Owen played Dwight McCarthy, one of several bad boys in the movie with a soft spot for the ladies. It was mentioned during that film that McCarthy had fled the law after being accused of murder and had himself a whole lotta facial reconstruction before returning to the moldering city in the basin. With that in mind we now fast forward to the present where production on "Sin City: A Dame to Kill For" is well under way with Josh Brolin depicting a younger, pre-plastic surgery McCarthy and now we have our first images of Brolin as tweeted by director Robert Rodriguez himself. The first is a still from a green screen shoot and shows Brolin alongside Rodriguez who is undoubtedly advising him how to keep that bucket o' bolts on the road. The second image shows what that shoot may yield once post production has had its way with the raw images.

"Sin City: A Dame to Kill For" is due in theaters October 4th.

Harrison Ford returning for "Episode 7"?

Latino Review is reporting that Harrison Ford has signed on to appear in "Star Wars: Episode VII". While this by itself doesn't mean it's absolutely going to happen it's an interesting scoop and, if true, points toward possible storylines for Episode VII. It may delve into Han's own post-ROTJ experiences or it may delve into the lives of his and Leia's children.

Also, if Ford is indeed returning does that mean we'll soon have similar news regarding Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher? After all, including the aging Ford/Hamill/Fisher into VII's story would not only be a nice way to pay tribute to those original stars but also provide a mechanism to once-and-for-all wrap up the whole Luke/Leia/Solo narrative and move on with the franchise; something more than a few execs at the Mouse are probably anxious to do.

Feb 14, 2013

New trailer for "Oblivion" with Tom Cruise

"We won the war, but lost the planet." Tom Cruise is living the life of a drone repairman on a post-human earth when he discovers everything he knows is wrong. Sounds like Monty Python but looks a lot like the clean sci-fi of "Minority Report", which was actually a really good movie. We'll see. Morgan Freeman co-stars.

"Oblivion" opens April 19th.

Red Band trailer for Danny Boyle's "Trance"

Full of his hyper-realistic mixture of fierce brutality and sensuous indulgence Danny Boyle's "Trance" looks like another unforgettable night at the movies from the director of "Slumdog Millionaire". Rosario Dawson and Vincent Cassell co-star alongside James McAvoy in this tale of an art thief who forgets where he stashed a priceless work by Goya. Given the fact that Mr Boyle has obviously learned a lot from the Spanish master no one should be surprised that one of his paintings forms the center of the story. Can't wait.

This trailer is Not Safe For Work given the brief nudity and potentially unsettling imagery. You have been warned.

"Trance" hits US theaters on April 5th.

Feb 13, 2013

Trailer for "The Numbers Station" with John Cusack

A numbers station is a CIA location from which coded orders are sent out to operatives. Malin Akerman stars as an agency employee at just such a place who, with John Cusack's help, must fend off intruders.

Though it looks pretty good the film does not have a US release date as of this writing.

Feb 12, 2013

The top 10 movies for the weekend of February 8 - February 10, 2013

1) Identity Thief $34.5 Million
2) Warm Bodies $11.3 Million
3) Side Effects $9.3 Million
4) Silver Linings Playbook $6.4 Million
5) Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters $5.7 Million
6) Mama $4.2 Million
7) Zero Dark Thirty $4 Million
8) Argo $2.37 Million
9) Django Unchained $2.30 Million
10) Bullet to the Head $2 Million

The number one movie a year ago this week was Screen Gems' "The Vow" which debuted in the top spot with $41 million.

(Green indicates new release)

Feb 11, 2013

Christian Slater's latest B-movie has a trailer

To say that Christian Slater has had one of the more interesting careers in recent Hollywood history would be, I believe, something of an understatement. He's gone from certifiable big name - co-starring beside Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise in "Interview with the Vampire" - to Captain B-Movie; recently appearing in such immortal works as "Dawn Rider", "El Gringo" and "Freaky Deaky" (try finding box office numbers on any of those titles). It would be interesting to find out exactly whose toes he stepped on in Tinseltown to be cast so far afield from the main action that's for sure (TV doesn't count).

That said Mr Slater is back in his latest straight-to-video effort called "Stranded". While it's tempting to speculate that it's a film about his current career predicament, it is in fact a low budget "Alien" wannabe that, truth be told, doesn't look half bad. So, because I kind of miss seeing the guy on the big screen and since this looks like at least some effort went into it I'm presenting for your enjoyment the one and only trailer from "Stranded".

Feb 9, 2013

"Parker" - 2013 - movie review

Jason Statham's Parker is a thief who along with a half dozen or so graduates of clown college hold up the Ohio State Fair. We see early on that Parker is no ordinary bad guy however as he calms a petrified security guard and helps a little girl win a stuffed animal.

In the aftermath of the State Fair heist (which nets a nifty $1 million) his crew proposes he join them in an even bigger heist, one that would require him to use his share of the million dollars they just stole as "seed money". He declines. They apply the pressure but he holds his ground. The others attack in an exciting sequence that ends with Parker left for dead at the side of the road and the bleeding conspirators speeding away in their badly damaged SUV.

Our antihero is rescued from the roadside by a family of down to earth midwestern types who pick him up and bring him to the hospital where he escapes just in time to avoid the police - called to the scene to investigate the stranger with gunshot wounds. He steals an ambulance that's tripped out with everything he needs to recover and he, well, recovers. Once he's feeling better he turns directly down Bloodshed Lane.

He tracks the crew (which, to make things more interesting, we're told has organized crime connections) to Palm Beach Florida where they're planning to pull off that bigger heist mentioned earlier and where Jennifer Lopez's down and out real estate agent Leslie Rodgers is waiting to join the narrative. Parker suspects that the clowns have or will use their money from the State Fair job to purchase a house in the area where they can lay low before and after their big score so he employs Leslie to show him around and talk about the local market under the guise of being an interested buyer. She does a little checking on him in her free time and discovers he's not what he seems, though by that time she's already unwittingly revealed where the nasty clowns are living.

The rest, as they say, is payback.

The Parker of this movie is an awful lot like Frank the Transporter: meticulous, conscientious, basically good, principled and always, always cool as an ice cube regardless of the number of guns pointed at his head or the number of thugs ready to slice and dice him. Hell, even the name - Parker - has driving connotations and that's okay because using the Transporter films as an action template is not such a bad idea. They're cool, they move along, they're brimming with first rate action, usually have a pretty hot babe riding shotgun and they don't make you think too much.

"Parker" succeeds in just about every Transporter area with the possible exception of the hot babe. But I'm not going to quibble about Mama Lopez as she looks very respectable for someone her age. I've always thought that she was a better actor than singer or TV personality anyway and she does nothing here to dispell that notion.

Nick Nolte also has a fairly large part in the film, essentially playing the John Voight character from "Heat". It's good to see him back on the horse though its clear he needs to talk to JLo about which anti-aging cream she uses and get a few boxes of it.

Verdict: ☆☆☆  (out of 5)

Feb 8, 2013

New trailer for "Oz: The Great and Powerful"

From Disney: Reluctantly drawn into the epic problems facing the Land of Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar (James Franco) must find out who is good and who is evil before it is too late. Putting his magical arts to use through illusion, ingenuity-and even a bit of wizardry-Oscar transforms himself not only into the great and powerful Wizard of Oz but into a better man as well.

Sam Raimi's newest opens March 8th and also stars Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams and Rachel Weisz.

New TV spot for "Dead Man Down"

The film stars Noomi Rapace and Colin Farrell and is directed by Niels Arden Oplev who helmed the original "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo". The story centers around a woman (NR) who coerces a guy (CF) into helping her kill someone she apparently doesn't like very much (that would be Terrence Howard's character in the film). Looks stylish and bloody. Can't wait.

"Dead Man Down" opens March 8th.

Back to square one for "Justice League"

Warner Brothers has reportedly taken the Will Beall script and sent it to the circular file, which may mean a page one rewrite or may mean an indefinite shelving of the whole superhero enterprise. According to badassdigest the studio was unable to attract a director for the project due to the poor quality of the script, so they've tossed it. Warners had earlier announced their desire to have a JL flick in theaters in 2015 but that date now seems likely to change.

Feb 7, 2013

Off the beaten track trailer of the day - "Big Ass Spider"

What do you get when to you take LA and add scads of hot babes, a gaggle of incompetent investigators and one big ass spider? Well, "Big Ass Spider" of course. You can just never have enough giant monsters loose in the big city for me.

"Skyfall" moves past "The Dark Knight Rises" at global box office

The feel-good story that is "Skyfall" just keeps on giving. Already at more than $300 million at the domestic box office and $1 billion at the global box office Bond 23 has now moved past last year's Batman blockbuster "The Dark Knight Rises" into 7th place on the all-time list and is zeroing in on $1.1 billion. What's even more remarkable is that Skyfall has done it the old-fashioned way; without the 3D ticket premium so pervasive today. That means in terms of attendance Sam Mendes' film rose past the Dark Knight several weeks ago, which is pretty unbelievable for a James Bond movie. Congratulations to everyone involved.

Director Sam Mendes, the cast and producers of "Skyfall"

Feb 6, 2013

Full trailer for "Fast and Furious 6"

Torreto (Vin Diesel) and the gang have come a long way from drag racing on the local strip evidenced by this trailer for the newest installment in the F&F franchise. In it they've moved to Europe where they're taking on one of the world's baddest, darkest and best equipped super-criminal enterprises lead by Zeus himself, Luke Evans. While I'm not buying the premise for a second it looks like it could be a lot of pure escapist fun anyway. Have a look.


"Fast and Furious 6" opens May 24th.

Disney confirms spin-off "Star Wars" films

The "Star Wars" news just keeps on coming with today's tidbit taking something of a surreal turn. The long arm of "The Avengers" it seems has reached into the offices of the Mouse as evidenced by Disney chairman Bob Iger's announcement today (watch it below) confirming speculation that the studio will be producing "stand-alone" films based on popular Star Wars characters.

With DC comics ready to emulate Marvel's incredible success with their character universe it now becomes clear that Disney's plan all along has been to copy that template as well using the stand-alones to compliment and lay groundwork for collective films that will be released every three years, starting (theoretically) in 2015. But the question of just who will be receiving the Iron Man/Thor/Captain America treatment remains an open one at this time.

Here is Iger talking to CNBC.

Feb 5, 2013

New images from "Pacific Rim"

Anticipation is building for the June 12th release of Guillermo del Toro's "Pacific Rim". Part Godzilla/part Transformers the film could be considered just multiplex filler material for lazy summer weekends but the footage released so far hints at something far more substantial. USA today has now released some new images from the film and while I always prefer my motion picture previews to have motion these images do a pretty good job of filling the void until the next trailer is ready.

The top 10 movies for the weekend of February 1 - February 3, 2013

1) Warm Bodies $19.8 Million
2) Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters $9.4 Million
3) Silver Linings Playbook $7.7 Million
4) Mama $6.5 Million
5) Zero Dark Thirty $5.1 Million
6) Bullet to the Head $4.5 Million
7) Parker $3.3 Million
8) Django Unchained $3 Million
9) Les Miserables $2.4 Million
10) Lincoln $2.4 Million

The number one movie a year ago this week was Fox's "Chronicle" which debuted in the top spot with a $22 million take.

(Green indicates new release)

Feb 4, 2013

"Star Trek Into Darkness" Super Bowl teaser

This is probably my favorite of yesterday's Super Bowl spots (no offense to Iron Man). Benedict Cumberbatch gets his Khan on baby! Yeah!

"Star Trek Into Darkness" opens May 17th.

"Iron Man 3" - extended look Super Bowl ad

In case you missed it yesterday here is the Iron Man ad that appeared during the Super Bowl. Actually this is an extended version of the Super Bowl spot, which is even better because there's lots of previously unseen footage. Enjoy.

"Iron Man 3" opens May 3rd.

Feb 1, 2013

International trailer for Neil Jordan's "Byzantium"

Starring Gemma Arterton, Saoirse Ronan and Sam Riley, Neil Jordan's second vampire flick "Byzantium" tells the tale of 2 women with no apparent origin and one big secret who drift into run-down resort town. They settle into the local hotel ("Byzantium" of the title) and set about the business of doing what the undead do.

As of this writing the film doesn't have a US release date. But we'll keep an eye on it.

Superbowl trailer for "World War Z"

This 30 second trailer recycles a lot of shots from the longer trailer but includes a couple of new shots. Don't blink or you'll miss them though. Brad Pitt stars as a UN researcher in this Marc Foster film.

I'm not a zombie fan for the most part but this looks pretty cool I must admit and I'll be there on June 20th when it hits theaters.