Your first look at The Raid 2
Writer-director Gareth Evans’ sequel to The Raid: Redemption premiered ay Sundance this week, earning very good reviews (look for more details in our festival wrap-up on Monday). The film picks up hours after the original, with Rama (Iko Uwais) going undercover to expose the criminal underworld and protect his family. Critics agree that the action scenes are even more amazing this time out; it’s only the success of the more complex story that remains debatable. The Raid 2 hits theaters March 28th.
Tarantino will not make The Hateful Eight
Thanks to a public leak of the screenplay by an unnamed talent agent, Quentin Tarantino told Deadline’s Mike Fleming Jr. that he will not film his planned western project The Hateful Eight, stating, “I’m very, very depressed. I finished a script, a first draft, and I didn’t mean to shoot it until next winter, a year from now. I gave it to six people, and apparently it’s gotten out today.” Tarantino shared the script with Reggie Hudlin, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, and Bruce Dern. He absolved the first two, but, according to the story, it might have been Dern’s agent who passed it on (though CAA denies this). Tarantino says he’ll publish the script, but it has now made its way online (revealing that the film would have been shot in 70mm). Luckily, he has another idea for his next project: “I wasn’t going to shoot the Western until next winter, and I have been full of piss and vinegar about the other one. So now I’ll do that one.” The Wrap speculates that it could be a prison movie “of sorts” and that Tarantino has “immersed himself in the details of the Robert Blake case.” Let's hope no one leaks his next script.
Canet's Blood Ties is finally headed to the U.S.
One of the disappointments of last year’s Cannes Film Festival was Guillaume Canet’s Blood Ties. The film came into the festival with an impressive cast (Clive Owen, Billy Crudup, Mila Kunis, Marion Cotillard, Matthias Schoenaerts, Zoe Saldana, and James Caan) and a director with one international success already under his belt (Tell No One), but left with poor reviews. The U.S. release is reportedly a shorter cut than the one seen in Cannes, so maybe this 1970s family crime drama, a remake of Les liens du sang (Rivals), a French film starring Canet, will earn better reviews when it hits theaters and VOD on March 21st.
The first trailer for festival favorite Blue Ruin
Blue Ruin follows Dwight (Macon Blair), a homeless man, as his quest for revenge becomes bloodier and more out of control with each action he takes. Writer-director Jeremy Saulnier’s second feature won the FIPRESCI International Critics Prize at Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight and the good buzz continued in Toronto last fall and at the Sundance Film Festival this week, so keep an eye out for Blue Ruin when it come to theaters and VOD on April 25th.
Welcome to Van Damme’s Jungle
Jean-Claude Van Damme has been an action star, a straight-to-video star, and now, it seems, a star making a comeback. Many critics think he’s the best part of Enemies Closer (in theaters today), and, in his second 2014 release, Welcome to the Jungle, he gets to focus on his comedic talents more than his ability to do the splits. JCVD plays Storm Rothchild, a former Marine who leads a corporate retreat that spirals out of control. Rob Meltzer directs from a script by Jeff Kaufman, while Adam Brody, Rob Huebel, Kristen Schaal, Megan Boone and Dennis Haysbert star. Look for it in select theaters beginning February 7th.
Another look at Jason Bateman’s Bad Words
Jason Bateman makes his feature directorial debut with this story of a 40-year-old (Bateman) with a photographic memory who competes at a spelling bee (thanks to a loophole in the rules) and makes it all the way to nationals, where he forms an unlikely bond with a 10-year-old fellow competitor (Rohan Chand). Backed by solid early reviews and a supporting cast that includes Kathryn Hahn, Allison Janney, and Philip Baker Hall, Bad Words open in select theaters March 21, 2014.
300: The slow-motion Rise of an Empire
The latest trailer for the sequel to 300 features Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” as well as the requisite amount of slow-motion, clanging steel, blood, sweat, and flesh. Based on the Frank Miller graphic novel Xerxes, 300: Rise of an Empire takes the battle to the seas as Greek general Themistokles (Sullivan Stapleton) battles Xerxes and Artemisia (Eva Green), leader of the Persian navy. Lena Headey returns as Queen Gorgo, and Rodrigo Santoro is back as Xerxes. But Zack Snyder is in the producer’s chair while Noam Murro (Smart People) takes over directing duties. Look for it in 2D, 3D, and IMAX theaters beginning March 7, 2014.
Kinnaman returns for more Easy Money
In Easy Money: Hard to Kill, a sequel to Easy Money, Joel Kinnaman’s JW gets out of prison, only to find out it’s hard to escape his criminal past. This age-old story is directed by Babak Najafi, who takes over for Daniel Espinosa. Easy Money: Hard to Kill comes to theaters and VOD on February 14th, though a third film in the series, Easy Money: Life Deluxe, does not have a U.S. release date yet.
Better Living Through Chemistry
Sam Rockwell stars as a pharmacist who gets mixed up with one of his clients, a blonde Olivia Wilde, in this feature debut written and directed by Geoff Moore and David Posamentier. The supporting cast includes Michelle Monaghan, Ray Liotta, Ben Schwartz, Ken Howard, and Jane Fonda. Better Living Through Chemistry comes to select theaters on March 14th.
This week's Episode VII update
The script for Star Wars: Episode VII is done, according to J.J. Abrams, who told The Wrap, “We’re working really hard and we’ve got our script and we’re in deep prep.” He also confirmed that Jesse Plemons is one of the actors they have talked to, and that the film will not be shot in IMAX, just on good old regular film. In other Star Wars-related news, Latino Review started a rumor about a possible Star Wars Pixar movie. Sure, they’re both Disney properties, but don’t look for details anytime soon.
Diego Luna is known for his roles in Y Tu Mama También and Milk, but his second feature as director is a biopic of civil rights leader Cesar Chavez that stars Michael Peña in the lead role. America Ferrera, Rosario Dawson, Gabriel Mann, and John Malkovich have supporting roles. Cesar Chavez will play at the Berlin Film Festival before opening in select theaters in the U.S. on March 28th.
The Bag Man
Writer-director David Grovic gets the benefit of having John Cusack and Robert De Niro in his feature debut, but it doesn’t look like he’s asking them to do anything they haven’t done before. De Niro plays a crime boss who asks Cusack to retrieve a bag for him (and to never look inside it). Not surprisingly, Cusack’s task doesn’t go smoothly, especially when Rebecca Da Costa’s Rivka enters the picture. The Bag Man opens in select theaters on February 28th.
Quick notes: Rumors, release dates, casting news and more
- Grace of Monaco, starring Nicole Kidman, will open the Cannes Film Festival. This news comes as a surprise, since days earlier the film was pulled from its planned U.S. release date. - Variety
- As they did for The Social Network and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross will score David Fincher’s adaptation of Gone Girl.
- Bruce Willis will star with Ambyr Childers in Vice, written by Andre Fabrizio and Jeremy Passmore. - Heat Vision
- Salma Hayek and Vincent Cassel will star in Gomorrah director Matteo Garrone’s The Tale of Tales, an English-language period fantasy. - Variety
- Sacha Baron Cohen is in talks to play a villain opposite Johnny Depp and Mia Wasikowska in the Alice and Wonderland sequel, Through the Looking Glass. - Variety
- Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street) will join Chris Pine and Chiwetel Ejiofor in Z for Zachariah, and is in talks to play Jane in David Yates‘ Tarzan. - Heat Vision & The Wrap
- Joe Carnahan’s Stretch, starring Patrick Wilson, Chris Pine, Jessica Alba, Brooklyn Decker, Ed Helms, and Ray Liotta, will not be theatrically released by Universal. The already completed film was originally set to open nationwide in March. - THR
- Garrett Hedlund has been offered the role of Hook (the young man that will become Captain Hook) in Pan, the Joe Wright directed origin story of Peter Pan. - Deadline
- Penelope Cruz will star in ma ma for director Julio Medem (Sex and Lucia). - THR
- Mick Jagger wants to adapt the Oscar-nominated documentary 20 Feet From Stardom into a Broadway musical and a TV series. - THR
- Gal Gadot’s contract to play Wonder Woman is a three-picture deal that includes the Man of Steel sequel, a Justice League movie, and a solo Wonder Woman film. - Variety
- Sarah Paulson has joined Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara in Todd Haynes’ Carol (one of our Most Anticipated Movies of 2014). - Variety
- Daniel Espinosa (Safe House, the upcoming Robocop) is the early favorite to direct the big-screen adaptation of Assassin’s Creed. - Twitch
- Daniel Radcliffe will star in director Douglas McGrath’s Brooklyn Bridge as an engineer who oversees the construction of the famous bridge after his father dies. - Variety
- Emile Hirsch has joined Asa Butterfield, Hailee Steinfeld, and Ethan Hawke in Ten Thousand Saints from American Splendor directors Bob Pulcini and Shari Berman.- Variety
- Robert Zemeckis wants to direct a 3D feature film based on the life of Philippe Petit, the subject of the award-winning documentary Man on Wire, and he wants Joseph Gordon-Levitt to star. - Twitch & Deadline
- Ben Kingsley will play an Egyptian pharaoh in Night at the Museum 3. - Variety
- Mike Newell will direct an adaptation of the sci-fi novel The Day of the Triffids, about mankind’s battle against alien plants. The book already served as the basis for a 1962 film and a 2009 miniseries. - Deadline
- John Boyega (Attack the Block) will play Jesse Owens in Race, director Stephen Hopkins’ biopic on the iconic Olympic athlete. - Variety