Aug 30, 2013

Harrison Ford and Ahnuld on the set of Expendables 3

Principal photography is officially underway in Bulgaria (Yes, Bulgaria) for the 3rd part of Sylvester Stallone's action franchise. The Governator snapped this photo of himself, director Patrick Hughes and Harrison Ford on the set during the first day of filming and posted it to his instagram account yesterday.

He should have plenty of other photo ops coming up with  Jason Statham, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Randy Couture, Terry Crews, Antonio Banderas, Mel Gibson and Wesley Snipes also on board.

"Expendables 3" opens August 15, 2014.

Aug 29, 2013

Matt Damon joining Nolan's "Interstellar"

Matt Damon's a busy guy. He's got "Elysium" in theaters, is in negotiations to return as Jason Bourne and now according to the playlist he's signed on for a part in Christopher Nolan's currently-in-production "Interstellar". No word on what his part entails though it's being called a "small, undisclosed" part.

I hope for his sake and the sake of the rest of the top-notch cast Nolan has enlisted for "Interstellar" that this effort doesn't drown in its own heaviosity the way "Inception" did.

A new clip from "Riddick"

Riddick faces off against one seriously gnarly alien and must save his CG puppy from depixelation in this clip from the 3rd installment in Vin Diesel's other franchise.

"Riddick" hits theaters September 6th.

"47 Ronin" starring Keanu Reeves - International trailer

Mr Reeves has been pretty quiet the past few years but he's about to try and reclaim his place in contemporary Hollywood with this big budget action film. Le blurb...

Keanu Reeves makes an explosive return to action-adventure in 47 Ronin. After a treacherous warlord kills their master and banishes their kind, 47 leaderless samurai vow to seek vengeance and restore honor to their people. Driven from their homes and dispersed across the land, this band of Ronin must seek the help of Kai (Reeves)--a half-breed they once rejected--as they fight their way across a savage world of mythic beasts, shape-shifting witchcraft and wondrous terrors.

As this exiled, enslaved outcast becomes their most deadly weapon, he will transform into the hero who inspires this band of outnumbered rebels to seize eternity.

"47 Ronin" will attempt to seize eternity on Christmas day.

Aug 27, 2013

The top 10 movies for the weekend of August 23 - August 25, 2013

1) The Butler $16.5 Million
2) We're the Millers $13 Million
3) The Mortal Instruments $9.3 Million
4) The World's End $8.7 Million
5) Planes $8.5 Million
6) You're Next $7 Million
7) Elysium $6.9 Million
8) Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters $5.2 Million
9) Kick Ass 2 $4.3 Million
10) Blue Jasmine $3.9 Million

The number one movie a year ago this week was Liongate's "Expendables 2" which held on to the top spot for a second week with $13.4 million in ticket sales.

(Green indicates new release)

Matt Damon in talks to return as Jason Bourne

Twitch is reporting that Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass are in negotiations to return to the Bourne franchise. With Damon stating repeatedly that he'd only consider doing another Bourne film if Greengrass is directing its no surprise to hear the studio is talking to both simultaneously.

Where this will leave Jeremy Renner is anyone's guess but I suppose if you're Universal it's good to have options going forward.

Aug 25, 2013

Slew of new images from "Thor: The Dark World"

We thought we'd take advantage of a slow month for movie news by skipping out of town for a few days but we're back now and ready to go. First up is a baker's dozen of new pics from "Thor: The Dark World" that Empire posted recently. Malekith is front and center in this batch of photos and he looks appropriately creepy and dangerous but he's not the only one making an appearance. We also see the big guy and his brother Loki along with several other returnees from the original film; including Stellan Skarsgard looking fetching in the latest academic-wear out of jolly old Oxford.

See the entire set over at empireonline.

Aug 23, 2013

Ben Affleck as Batman? Really?

OPINION: At the risk of generating a flurry of correspondences whose main argument is what a "hater" I am I have just one thing to say about the announcement that Ben Affleck will be playing Batman opposite Henry Cavill's Superman: I hate this idea.

That's not to say I hate Mr Affleck. I've never met the guy and for all I know he's a champion human being. I also really liked "The Town" and congratulate Benjamin on developing into a top-notch director. However, Ben Affleck as Batman is one of the worst, if not the worst, casting decision since Sophia Coppola in "Godfather Part III". Affleck simply doesn't possess the complex, alternately charming/menacing persona the part requires. When he's trying to look tough he looks like he's trying to look tough and he never seems all the comfy around the ladies either; a big problem if you're trying to portray a billionaire playboy.

No Ben Affleck should continue to cultivate his directing career and DC et al should announce it was all a really early (or really late) April fool's joke and that they'll have an actual announcement next month or something. Then everyone can go back to looking forward to the upcoming Batman/Superman movie instead of erasing it from their 'must see' list for 2015.

Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat it.

Aug 22, 2013

Poster for Terry Gilliam's " The Zero Theorum"

"An eccentric and reclusive computer genius plagued with existential angst works on a mysterious project aimed at discovering the purpose of existence—or the lack thereof—once and for all."

Starring Christoph Waltz, Mélanie Thierry, David Thewlis, Peter Stormare, Tilda Swinton, Ben Whishaw and Matt Damon "The Zero Theorum" is set to debut in Europe at the end of 2013, though there is no  theatrical release date for the US at this time.

Aug 21, 2013

New UK trailer for Ridley Scott's "The Counselor"

When this project was being talked about a year or so ago I must admit I didn't give it much thought. It seemed like little more than a weigh station for Scott on the road to some other higher-priority project like the Prometheus or Blade Runner sequels. As footage has gradually leaked out though it seems clearer and clearer that this not a practice round before the big tournament. This is the real deal. The Cormac McCarthy story is one of an LA lawyer deciding to dip his toe into the drug biz to make a quick score like his parents might have done in the 60s. But its not the 60s and the people running the business in SoCal these days are not the hippie couple down the block but very, very nasty, conniving, unforgiving bastards with little (if any) fear of anyone or anything.

Featuring Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, Brad Pitt and Cameron Diaz (in a rare serious role) "The Counselor" is quickly moving up my list of must see films for this fall.

"The Counselor" opens October 25th.

Aug 20, 2013

The top 10 movies for the weekend of August 16 - August 18, 2013

1) The Butler $24.6 Million
2) We're the Millers $17.9 Million
3) Elysium $13.6 Million
4) Planes $13.38 Million
5) Kick-ass 2 $13.33 Million
6) Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters $8.7 Million
7) Jobs $6.7 Million
8) 2 Guns $5.8 Million
9) The Smurfs 2 $4.7 Million
10) The Wolverine $4.5 Million

The number one movie a year ago this week was Liongate's "Expendables 2" which debuted in the top spot to the tune of $28.5 million in ticket sales.

(Green indicates new release)

Aug 18, 2013

Ten best Robert DeNiro films

On the occasion of his 70th birthday I've put together a list of what I consider to be the iconic actor's 10 best films. It should be no surprise that most of these come from the first 25 years of his career, before he began to see films mostly as a way to raise captial to invest in Manhattan real estate. In spite of the fact that all the films on this list were released in the previous century the man himself is still here and working furiously and who knows? He might pull one more rabbit out of his hat before he throws in the towel.

1) Raging Bull - 1980 - A frightening, brutal, thrilling portrayal of a life lived in blood.

2) The Godfather Part II - 1974 - Picked up the baton from Brando and nearly matched him stride for stride.

3) The King of Comedy - 1982 - Just f***ing creepy.

4) Heat - 1995 - In spite of having to play off the woefully miscast Amy Brenneman De Niro manages to bring weight and pathos to the role of a big-time thief trying desperately to get out before time overtakes him.

5) Taxi Driver - 1976 - You lookin' at me?

6) Meet The Parents - 2000 - Not just one of De Niro's best but one of the best adult comedies of the past 20 years.

7) Analyze This - 1999 - In which he found the perfect comedic fodder in his own career and the perfect comedic foil in Billy Crystal.

8) Goodfellas - 1990 - De Niro captures the desperate edge of an outsider navigating his way through the belly of the mob beast.

9) Ronin - 1998 - In this much overlooked effort De Niro turns what could have been a paycheck film into a mid-career highlight. One of the few films he carries by strength of presence rather than quality of performance.

10) Brazil - 1985 - An unexpected bit part in this darkest of comedies pointed the way to a future 2-track career, though no one could have guessed it at the time.

That's it. My list of Robert De Niro's 10 best. Happy Birthday Mr D!

Aug 15, 2013

"Thor 2" Now with more Loki

"You must be truly desperate to be adding scenes at this late date."
Upset with the news that Loki wouldn't be appearing in "Avengers: Age of Ultron"? Despairing over the fact that "Thor: The Dark World" might be your last chance ever to see Tom Hiddleston's wonderfully infuriating god of mischief work his two-faced magic? Well the good folks at Marvel - ever with their ear to the pulse of the fanbase - have heard the mournful wails rippling across the cybersphere and decided to up the Loki quotient in The Dark World. Says director Alan Taylor in an interview with Collider:

"We're doing full scenes, scenes that were not in the movie before. We're adding scenes, creating scenes, writing scenes for the first time... We realized how well Loki was working in the movie, and we wanted to do more with him. So it was that kind of thing, it was like, 'Oh, we could do this, we could jam this in here because he's such a wonderful guy to watch do his stuff.'"

So step away from the ledge Loki fans or you'll miss all the added arrogance, sarcasm, bitterness and jealousy-driven duplicity that makes him so much fun to hate.

New trailer for "300: Rise of an Empire"

This new trailer doesn't cover a lot of new ground but there's less of Eva Green's massive forehead and more of Lena Headey in it; which can only be a good thing. Noam Murro directs.

"300: Rise of an Empire" opens March 7, 2014.

Aug 14, 2013

Trailer for John Turturro's "Fading Gigolo"

John Turturro writes and directs and stars alongside Woody Allen and Sharon Stone. Allen's character is a bookstore owner down on his financial luck who decides pimpin' out his buds might be a way to balance the books. He enlists the help of his friend Turturro who reluctantly agrees to be turned out and zany hijinx ensue. It actually looks pretty funny. Check it out.

"Fading Gigolo" doesn't have a release date as of this writing but we'll keep our eyes open.

Aug 13, 2013

Off the beaten track trailer of the day - "Rabbit Woman" (Mujer Conejo)

Let's say you're shooting a film about a Chinese lady who lives in Argentina and has to flee Buenos Aires to avoid being targeted by a Triad. Said young lady winds up in the pampas and must now deal with an infestation of mutant bunnies. Let's say funds dry up before you complete your picture (though I can't imagine why that would happen). What do you do? My guess is that you animate whatever is left. Nobody'll notice anyway.

The top 10 movies for the weekend of August 9 - August 11, 2013

1) Elysium $29.8 Million
2) We're the Millers $26.4 Million
3) Planes $22.2 Million
4) Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters $14.4 Million
5) 2 Guns $11.2 Million
6) The Smurfs 2 $9.3 Million
7) The Wolverine $8 Million
8) The Conjuring $6.6 Million
9) Despicable Me 2 $5.9 Million
10) Grown Ups 2 $3.6 Million

The number one movie a year ago this week was Universal's "The Bourne Legacy" which debuted in the top spot with a $35.7 million weekend take.

(Green indicates new release)

Aug 10, 2013

RIP: Karen Black

Karen Black was a constant presence on movie screen from the late 60's through the early 80's. Her first big role was in Dennis Hopper's seminal counterculture film "Easy Rider". She followed that up with starring roles in, among other films, "Five Easy Pieces" opposite Jack Nicholson (for which she received an Oscar nomination) and a few years later in Robert Altman's sweeping treatise on an America in transition; "Nashville".

She kept busy over the past two decades working in TV and on numerous short films and low budget independents but there was a time when Karen Black was the epitome of the sultry Hollywood star, every bit the equal of contemporaries like Faye Dunaway.

Karen Black was 74.

Aug 8, 2013

New trailer for Ridley Scott's "The Counselor"

What I've always loved about Ridley Scott's work is that he doesn't pull any punches in his depiction of the real world as a sprawling, overbuilt mess where the have's revel in their "have-ness" and spend their time playing unethical, dangerous power games while the have-nots are either their errand boys or simply collateral damage. "The Counselor" seems to carry on that tradition beautifully. I hope the actual film lives up to the trailers 'cause the trailers look amazing.

"The Counselor" starring Michael Fassbender, Javier Bardem, Brad Pitt, Penelope Cruz and Cameron Diaz hits theaters this October 25th.

Aug 7, 2013

New trailer for "Thor: The Dark World"

Where the first full trailer was more or less earthbound this one makes a welcome return to Asgard (where it's apparently pile-on-Loki Day). I'm glad to see Tom Hiddleston's character front and center here since it was announced recently that he will not be part of "The Avengers: Age of Ultron". Idras Elba also makes his first Thor 2 appearance, albeit briefly. Beyond that this trailer has a lot more 'umph' than the last and overall doesn't seem nearly as disconnected from the first film as the previous trailer did. Enjoy.

"Thor: The Dark World" hits theaters November 8th.

Aug 6, 2013

The top 10 movies for the weekend of August 2 - August 4, 2013

1) 2 Guns $27 Million
2) The Wolverine $21.3 Million
3) The Smurfs 2 $17.5 Million
4) The Conjuring $13 Million
5) Despicable Me 2 $10.1 Million
6) Grown Ups 2 $7.9 Million
7) Turbo $6.2 Million
8) Red 2 $5.5 Million
9) The Heat $4.6 Million
10) Pacific Rim $4.4 Million

The number one movie a year ago this week was Warner Brother's "The Dark Knight Rises" which held on to the top spot for a 3rd consecutive week with $35.7 million in box office receipts.

(Green indicates new release)

Aug 5, 2013

"Pacific Rim" continues to find life overseas

Though its domestic total should come to rest right around the $100 million mark - which isn't causing anyone at Warners to dance in the street - "Pacific Rim"s performance overseas is raising eyebrows and turning those domestic frowns around. In its first 5 days in communist China Guillermo del Toro's Kaiju epic pulled in a whopping $45 million which helped to bring its international total to a cool $200 million. Considering it still has to open in Spain, Brazil and Japan (and that it's run in China has just begun) "Pacific Rim" could wind up turning a tidy profit before its theatrical run is over. In fact it should ultimately be a very tidy profit when you consider TV rights and DVD sales as well.

New trailer for "Riddick"

Vin Diesel returns as Riddick in this much-welcome throwback to "Pitch Black" that keeps the badassery up front at the expense of all the intergalactic politicking that made "The Chronicles of Riddick" such a bore.

"Riddick" opens September 6th.

Aug 2, 2013

Whedon clarifies the whole Thanos/Avengers 2 thing; sort of

Thanos appearing for no apparent reason at the end of "The Avengers"
After implying at the end of "The Avengers" that we'd be seeing Thanos as the bad guy in "Avengers 2" Marvel threw a wrench into the expectations of Thanos fans last month by announcing that the sequel would be titled: "The Avengers: Age of Ultron". Ultron? I don't remember seeing him in any teaser footage? What happened to Thanos?

Well, Whedon has apparently heard some of the kvetching his sequel title generated because in an interview with TotalFilm he addresses it: “We have to stay grounded. It’s part of what makes the Marvel universe click – their relationship to the real world. It’s science-fiction, and Thanos is not out of the mix, but Thanos was never meant to be the next villain.”

It's your movie and you can do what you want, but don't blame fans for the expectations you set in motion Joss.

New poster for "Thor: The Dark World"

This new poster looks promising though personally I'm just hoping this film isn't too much of a letdown following as it does in the footsteps of the amazing Kenneth Branagh directed original.

"Thor: The Dark World" is due in US theaters November 8th.

New trailer for "Machete Kills"

"Machete kills! That's what he does!" What he don't do is texting and botox. But if he did he wouldn't be so damned loveable.

Mel Gibson, Jessica Alba, Charlie Sheen and more join Machete on his bloody adventure opening October 11th.

Get ready for the "Avatar" quadrilogy

Seems like only yesterday word was leaking out that James Cameron had hired Josh Friedman to help him finish the script for "Avatar 2". That's because it was! Now we have official word from the king of the world himself that he's not only hired Friedman, but Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver (Rise of the Planet of the Apes), and Shane Salerno (Savages) as well. That's a lot of writers. But that's not all folks. No. Not by a long shot. Because in announcing that he'd hired the aforementioned writers Cameron also let slip that there will be not 2 but 3 sequels to his box office champion. Here's part of his announcement:

“Building upon the world we created with Avatar has been a rare and incredibly rewarding experience... In writing the new films, I’ve come to realize that Avatar’s world, story and characters have become even richer than I anticipated, and it became apparent that two films would not be enough to capture everything I wanted to put on screen. And to help me continue to expand this universe, I’m pleased to bring aboard Amanda, Rick, Shane and Josh — all writers I’ve long admired -­ to join me in completing the films screenplays.”

If there's a downside to this whole thing it's that he's also officially pushed back the release date of Avatar 2 to December 2016 and that's a loooooonnnngg way off yet. So enjoy the news about the extra film Avatar fans but get on with your life because it's going to be a while before we see Pandora on the big screen again.

Aug 1, 2013

"Pacific Rim" storms the Pacific rim box office

Box office numbers from the States have been lackluster at best for Guillermo del Toro's superb Kaiju film but that may not wind up meaning much if Wednesday's opening in communist China is any indication. GDT's film pulled in a tidy $9 million on its opening night in the land of the unelected, a new all-time high for Warner's in the territory. And with openings still looming in northern Europe as well as in Brazil and Japan and the overseas box office already at $140 million the film may actually wind up turning a small profit and perhaps even trigger a sequel. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

"Avatar 2" has a new writer

James Cameron has been working on his "Avatar" sequels almost since the original film was released waaaayyy back in 2009 and now TheWrap is reporting that he's signed on Josh Friedman to take a stab at the screenplay for "A2". Whether that means Friedman will be expected to take a completely fresh look at the project or simply do some polishing up is unknown at this time. Neither Cameron nor his producer/bud Jon Landau are saying anything.

Friedman's previous credits include working on Cameron's established characters for the TV series "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles" and working with Steven Spielberg on his 2005 film "War of the Worlds". In theory the films are supposed to begin shooting early next year but I'm not holding my breath.

Zhake Sooley spies a new writer on the horizon