Film Friday: This Week's Movie News and New Trailers

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  • Publish Date: December 20, 2013

This is the final Film Friday column of 2013. Weekly updates will resume on January 10, 2014. In the interim, visit our Film Awards Scorecard for the latest awards-related news.

Transcendence teasers

A full trailer will premiere later today (at 4:35pm PST) on the film’s website, but for now, here are two teasers for Transcendence, the directorial debut from Wally Pfister, Christopher Nolan's go-to cinematographer (Inception, The Dark Knight, et al). The first teaser is narrated by Johnny Depp, who stars in the film as Dr. Will Caster, an artificial intelligence researcher and the target of anti-technology extremists. Morgan Freeman, who also stars in the film alongside Rebecca Hall (playing Depp’s wife), Paul Bettany, Kate Mara, Ciliian Murphy, and Clifton Collins Jr., narrates the second. Transcendence opens on April 17, 2014.

And speaking of Christopher Nolan ...

When Christopher Nolan releases a teaser for a new film, it’s genuinely a teaser, not two minutes of plot revelations mixed with the film’s best moments. Little is known about the plot of his next film, Interstellar, other than the basics: it involves a group of space explorers traveling through a wormhole. Rumors have been circulating that it also deals with climate change and the death of all crops except corn. Whatever the final film ends up being about, it will star Matthew McConaughey, who provides the narration to the trailer, as well as Jessica Chastain, Michael Caine, Anne Hathaway, Matt Damon, Casey Affleck, Bill Irwin, Ellen Burstyn, John Lithgow, Wes Bentley, Mackenzie Foy, Topher Grace, and David Oyelowo. With his regular director of photography Pfister off directing Transcendence, Nolan worked with Hoyte Van Hoytema, who has been drawing acclaim for his work on Her. See Nolan’s first post-Dark Knight feature when it comes to theaters on November 7, 2014.

Meet the cast of The Grand Budapest Hotel

The Grand Budapest Hotel, Wes Anderson’s follow-up to Moonrise Kingdom, will premiere at the Berlin Film Festival a month before opening in the U.S. on March 7, 2014. Until then, choice appetizers like the beautiful holiday motion poster or this new cast of characters trailer will have to satisfy. The story of a concierge, his trusted lobby boy and a valuable painting stars ... well, just watch the trailer.

Two looks at 22 Jump Street

Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who have The LEGO Movie coming out February 7, 2014, return to direct this sequel to the critically and financially (over $200 million worldwide) successful 21 Jump Street. Also returning are stars Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill as Jenko and Schmidt, the plot (which moves from high school to college), and supporting players Ice Cube, Nick Offerman, Rob Riggle, and Dave Franco. Despite all the recycling, expect plenty of laughs when 22 Jump Street hits theaters June 13, 2014.

A single look at The Double

Submarine director Richard Ayoade’s The Double received mostly good reviews when it premiered in Toronto this year. It stars Jesse Eisenberg as Simon, a timid, isolated man whose life is thrown out of balance with the arrival of a new co-worker, James (also Eisenberg), who is both Simon's physical double and his opposite otherwise—confident, charismatic and good with women. Magnolia Pictures will release the film sometime in 2014. Until then, here’s a teaser.

The damn dirty Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer

The surprise critical and financial (over $480 million worldwide) success of Rupert Wyatt’s Rise of the Planet of the Apes guaranteed a sequel would be made, but Wyatt decided not to direct it. So in steps Matt Reeves, whose previous directorial efforts, Cloverfield and Let Me In, indicate a pretty good fit for Caesar’s (a returning Andy Serkis) battle against a band of human survivors. While James Franco won’t be back, the cast includes newcomers Jason Clarke, Gary Oldman, Keri Russell, and Kodi Smit-McPhee. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes opens in 2D and 3D theaters on July 11, 2014.

Kevin Costner has just 3 Days to Kill

Kevin Costner goes all Liam Neeson with laughs in this action comedy directed by McG (This Means War) from a script by Luc Besson and Adi Hasak. Costner plays an international spy whose boss (Amber Heard) is not too happy when he decides to retire in order to spend more time with his wife (Connie Nielsen) and daughter (Hailee Steinfeld), so she makes him an offer: kill for three days, and he gets to live. 3 Days to Kill hits theaters February 21, 2014.

The Expendables whistle while they work

The Expendables was a big success domestically and internationally, but The Expendables 2 made its killing overseas, making almost three times the domestic gross internationally. So, not only will there be The Expendables 3, but it will feature a big international cast: Sylvester Stallone, Jason Statham, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, Randy Couture, Kellan Lutz, Ronda Rousey, Antonio Banderas, Robert Davi, Kelsey Grammer, Wesley Snipes, and Harrison Ford (taking Bruce Willis’ place). This time, the team faces off against a villain by the name of Conrad Stonebanks, played by Mel Gibson (maybe this franchise and Machete should just merge). Directed by Patrick Hughes (Red Hill) and written by Sylvester Stallone and the Olympus Has Fallen team of Creighton Rothenberger & Katrin Benedikt, The Expendables 3 comes to theaters on August 15, 2014.

Comic book casting: Ant-Man and more

It seems, as of now, that a year will not pass without multiple comic book movies hitting the big screen. But along with the major franchises, there could be some surprises, such as the two films making announcements this week. After The Wrap reported it on Wednesday, Marvel confirmed that Paul Rudd would play Ant-Man for director Edgar Wright (The World’s End). Marvel's Kevin Feige commented, "We knew early on that we had found the right person in Paul. When he not only agreed to do it but became as enthusiastic as any actor we'd ever met with about doing the work, we knew we'd found the right guy. We couldn't be more excited for our audiences to see what he's going to do to bring Ant-Man to life." Earlier in the week, Deadline reported that Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Don Jon) would produce (with the possibility to direct and star) an adaptation of Neil Gaiman's Sandman for Warner Bros., working from a David Goyer script. Lastly and most tenuously, Variety reports that Joaquin Phoenix is wanted for the villain role in the Man of Steel sequel, which is being re-written by Chris Terio (Argo), according to THR.

The Other Woman

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau has a way with playing the scoundrel, whether it’s in another world (Game of Thrones) or in a Norwegian thriller (Headhunters). So why not try it in an American rom-com? In The Other Woman, he plays a serial cheater who gets his comeuppance at the hands of his wife (Leslie Mann) and two of his mistresses (Cameron Diaz and Kate Upton). Directed by Nick Cassavetes (The Notebook, My Sister’s Keeper) from a script by Melissa Stack and featuring Nicki Minaj and Taylor Kinney, The Other Woman opens April 25, 2014.

Another look at Neighbors

In Neighbors, Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne play a young couple with a newborn baby whose lives are suddenly turned upside-down—not by the baby, but by the fraternity that moves in next door. Zac Efron plays the leader of the fraternity while Dave Franco, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Hannibal Buress, Lisa Kudrow, Jake Johnson, Craig Roberts, Ike Barinholtz, and Jason Mantzoukas all have supporting roles. Look for the Nicholas Stoller- (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, The Five-Year Engagement) directed comedy in theaters beginning May 9, 2014.

Sandler & Barrymore, together again

Remember when Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore made the The Wedding Singer? It was pretty funny, right? How about 50 First Dates? Well, that was 1998 and 2004. In 2014, they are together again, this time as single parents who have a horrible first date only to end up together with their families on an African vacation. Frank Coraci, whose first hit was The Wedding Singer, directs from a script by Ivan Menchell and Clare Sera, and the supporting cast includes Wendi McLendon-Covey, Kevin Nealon, Jessica Lowe, Terry Crews, and Dan Patrick. Blended comes to theaters May 23, 2014.

Ride Along

With a sequel already in the works, Universal must be confident that Kevin Hart and Ice Cube make a pretty appealing pair in Ride Along. Hart plays a security guard with hopes of marrying Ice Cube’s sister, but to prove he’s worthy, Cube takes Hart on his own version of a training day. Look for the Tim Story- (Think Like a Man) directed film in theaters beginning January 17, 2014.

How To Train Your Dragon 2

This sequel to How to Train Your Dragon finds Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and Toothless happily charting new territories when they discover a secret ice cave with hundreds of wild dragons being cared for by the Dragon Rider (Cate Blanchett). Learning of a new threat, Hiccup and Toothless must fight to save dragons and mankind. The voices of Gerard Butler, America Ferrera, Craig Ferguson, Jonah Hill, T.J. Miller, Kristen Wiig, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse return, as does director Dean DeBlois. How to Train Your Dragon 2 flies into theaters June 13, 2014.

Journey to the West

Fans of Stephen Chow’s Kung Fu Hustle, Shaolin Soccer (and to a lesser extent CJ7) will be happy to know he’s back (behind the camera at least) with Journey to the West. Loosely based on a classic tale from Chinese literature, the story follows a young demon hunter as he conquers various monsters and demons in whatever goofy way he can. Look for it on VOD and in select theaters beginning March 7, 2014.

Elijah Wood, piano man

In Eugenio Mira’s Grand Piano, Elijah Wood is Tom Selznick, a talented pianist who stopped performing in public because of stage fright. Well, this isn’t going to help. In a packed theater, ready to perform for the first time in years, Tom finds a message written on the score: “Play one wrong note and you die.” With that threat and a sniper’s red dot following his every move, Tom must find a way to survive John Cusack’s master plan. This isn’t Grosse Pointe Blank; this is real! Early reviews have been pretty good, so look for Grand Piano on VOD beginning January 30, 2014 or in theaters on March 7th.

Quick notes: Rumors, release dates, casting news and more

  • The uncut, director-approved version of Nymphomaniac Part 1 will premiere at the Berlin Film Festival. Until then, check out reviews of Part One and Part Two of the four-hour film. - Variety
  • Tom Cruise could pair up with his Interview with a Vampire co-star, Brad Pitt, in Go Like Hell, the story of the Ford versus Ferrari rivalry at the 1966 Le Mans race. - THR
  • Hugh Jackman is in talks to play Blackbeard in the Joe Wright-directed Pan. Javier Bardem passed on the role. - Variety
  • It’s a Clarke-fest. Emilia Clarke will play Sarah Connor, and Jason Clarke will play her son, John Connor, in Alan Taylor’s Terminator: Genesis. - Deadline
  • Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael B. Jordan, Cate Blanchett, and Christoph Waltz will star in John Hillcoat’s Triple Nine. - The Wrap
  • Sofia Coppola will co-script (with Andrew Durham) an adaptation of Alysia Abbott’s Fairyland: A Memoir of My Father. - Deadline
  • Divergent director Neil Burger will not return to direct the sequel, Insurgent, coming to theaters March 20, 2015. - Variety
  • Josh Gad will star in a movie based on the TV series Gilligan’s Island. - Deadline
  • David Dobkin (Wedding Crashers) will direct the untitled Hugh Hefner biopic written by Peter Morgan (Rush). - Variety

Comments (3)

  • TheQuietGamer  

    A lot of good looking comedies here. Blended, Ride Along, and Neighbors are right up my alley. How to Train Your Dragon 2 looks amazing as far as animation goes, and I hope it lives up to the first. Grand Piano looks fantastic. Not sure what to think about Paul Rudd as Ant Man. Guess I'll have to wait to see how he's going to do.

  • LamontRaymond  

    Transcendence looks like the second coming of the highly crappy Lawnmower Man. Sure, the cast is great and the look is cool, but the concept? I'm sure its metascore will be low yellow or red. If I have to look at Depp's reconstructed face for more than 5 mins of the movie, I'll vomit.

  • MarcDoyle  

    Triple Nine has a solid cast. That Blended trailer? Rough..... 21 Jump Street was a let-down, but 22 the college version looks like it might be a better fit for the boys.

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