Spike Lee, hammer in hand, takes on Oldboy
When Quentin Tarantino’s jury handed the Grand Prix to Park Chan-wook’s Oldboy 74 at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival, no one would have expected that Spike Lee would be making an English-language remake nine years later. For this adaptation, writer Mark Protosevich (I Am Legend) has returned to the manga series by Garon Tsuchiya and Nobuaki Minegishi (on which the first film was based), and from the looks of it (in the red-band trailer below), Lee has sprinkled his vision with a few references to the original film. The basic plot is intact. After being held captive for 20 years, Joe Doucett (Josh Brolin) is set free, so he begins his quest to discover who imprisoned him and why. Fans can fill in the rest, but for those who still want to be surprised, look for Oldboy in theaters October 25th.
Christian Bale: Out of the Furnace, into the fire
It has been almost four years since Scott Cooper’s Crazy Heart 83 earned Jeff Bridges an Academy Award for his lead performance, but Cooper is finally back behind the camera with Out of the Furnace. Christian Bale stars as Russel Baze, a steel worker with a terminally ill father and a brother, Rodney (Casey Affleck), just released from prison. When Rodney goes missing and the police fail to follow through, Bale takes matters into his own hands, leading him to a seriously bad dude played by Woody Harrelson. The strong supporting cast includes Zoe Saldana, Forest Whitaker, Sam Shepard, and Willem Dafoe. Out of the Furnace opens in limited release on November 27th.
The phrase "Oscar bait" was created for films like Saving Mr. Banks: a movie about the making of a beloved movie, filled with an impressive cast, helmed by a director with a reputation for crowd-pleasing fare. The story is of Walt Disney’s attempt to charm P.L. Travers, the author of Mary Poppins, into selling him the rights to her book. The cast includes Tom Hanks as Walt Disney and Emma Thompson as Travers, with supporting players Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman, Bradley Whitford, B.J. Novak, and Colin Farrell. The director is John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side 53). Saving Mr. Banks comes to theaters on December 13th.
Another look at Wong Kar-Wai’s The Grandmaster
Much like the first trailer, this latest look at The Grandmaster has plenty of voiceover and no subtitles, but Wong Kar-Wai’s beautiful images are still there. This loose telling of the story of Ip Man, the master who eventually trained Bruce Lee, stars Tony Leung and Zhang Ziyi. See it in theaters beginning August 23rd.
Mandela: The Long Walk to Freedom
Idris Elba, who can be seen this weekend in Pacific Rim, stars as Nelson Mandela in this biopic based on Mandela’s autobiography chronicling his childhood, his 27 years in prison, and his triumph in ending apartheid and becoming the first black president of South Africa. Naomie Harris plays his wife, Winnie Mandela, and Justin Chadwick (The Other Boleyn Girl 50) directs. Look for it in theaters November 29th.
Another Lindsay Lohan trainwreck, this time on the big screen
The Canyons has not lacked for pre-release hype, apparently taking an any publicity is good publicity approach. Casting Lindsay Lohan (as a troubled actress, no less) in anything nowadays seems like a stunt. Add to that the casting of James Deen (as her filmmaker boyfriend), the most popular male adult film star working right now, and the stories write themselves. Add in the controversial Bret Easton Ellis, the author of American Psycho and Less Than Zero (the second-best book about Los Angeles, according to L.A. Weekly) and the ego and filmography of director Paul Schrader (writer of Taxi Driver, director of Affliction and Auto Focus) and you have enough big, clashing personalities to probably make a more interesting film than The Canyons. Is the new film any good? Early reports have not been kind. But will it be so bad that it’s entertaining anyway? That might be the most important question for Midnight Movie programmers. See The Canyons in theaters or on iTunes beginning August 2nd, or watch the NSFW red-band trailer below.
Jeff Bridges trains the Seventh Son
With an original release date in October now pushed back to January 17, 2014, signs are not good for Seventh Son, an adaptation of Joseph Delaney’s Spook’s Apprentice (titled Revenge of the Witch in the U.S.). Jeff Bridges stars as Master Gregory, a knight who must train Ben Barnes’ Tom Ward, the seventh son of a seventh son, to help him in his battle against Mother Malkin (Julianne Moore), a witch with a grudge against humanity. Sergey Bodrov, who directed the well regarded Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Kahn 74, has a strong supporting cast that includes Alicia Vikander (A Royal Affair), Djimon Hounsou, Olivia Williams, Kit Harrington (Game of Thrones), Antje Traue (Faora in Man of Steel) and plenty of CG monsters.
Trailers for two Sundance films coming to theaters in August
When it premiered at Sundance, Austenland received lukewarm reviews, but this romantic comedy from Jerusha Hess (co-writer of Napoleon Dynamite with her husband Jared Hess) about a Jane Austen fanatic who decides to vacation at an Austen-themed resort has its charms, especially in the casting of Keri Russell in the lead and Bret McKenzie and Jennifer Coolidge in supporting roles. Look for it in select theaters August 16th.
Early reviews were not as kind for Liz W. Garcia’s debut film, The Lifeguard. Kristen Bell stars as a 29-year-old woman who returns to her parents' home and her old job as a lifeguard, only to get involved with a local high schooler. See it On Demand or on iTunes beginning July 30th, or wait to see it on the big screen August 30th.
Hell Baby goes NSFW
This new red-band trailer for Thomas Lennon’s and Robert Ben Garant’s feature directorial debut tries to entice with more curse words, nudity, and drug humor, but this horror parody about a couple (Rob Corddry and Leslie Bibb) who move into an old New Orleans mansion only to discover that it’s haunted looks DOA despite the film's wealth of comedic talent (Keegan Michael Key, Paul Scheer, Rob Huebel, Michael Ian Black, Riki Lindhome and Kumail Nanjiani). Hell Baby hits iTunes on July 25th before a limited theatrical bow September 6th.
Rowan Athale’s first feature tells the story of Harvey Miller (Attack the Block’s Luke Treadaway), who, after being released from prison for a crime he didn’t commit, recruits his three best friends to enact revenge on the drug dealer that got him incarcerated. That drug dealer is played by the menacing Neil Maskell (Kill List) and other supporting players include Timothy Spall, Iwan Rheon (Game of Thrones) and Matther Lewis (Harry Potter’s Neville Longbottom). Look for Wasteland in select theaters July 26th.
James McAvoy is filthy
James McAvoy stars as a Scottish police officer more likely to break the law than enforce it in this adaptation of Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh’s Filth. The stylized, boundary-pushing film also features Jim Broadbent, Eddie Marsan, Jamie Bell, and Imogen Poots. The film will hit U.K. theaters on September 27th, but a U.S release date has not been set. Until then, enjoy these two minutes of Mr. McAvoy behaving badly.
The Best Man Holiday
1999’s The Best Man was a modest success launching the careers of writer-director Malcolm D. Lee, who directed Scary Movie 5, and cast members Taye Diggs, Harold Perrineau, Terrence Howard, Nia Long, Morris Chestnut, Sanaa Lathan, Regina Hall, Monica Calhoun and Melissa De Sousa. The Best Man Holiday picks up 14 years later as they reunite around Christmas. See it in theaters on November 15th.
Quick notes: Rumors, release dates, casting news and more
- It’s finally official: Sam Mendes will direct Bond 24, which will open in the U.S. on November 6, 2015.
- Ben Affleck is in talks to star in David Fincher’s adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s best-seller, Gone Girl. Natalie Portman, Charlize Theron, and Emily Blunt are reportedly being considered to star opposite Affleck. - Deadline & The Wrap
- Dev Patel is in talks to star in Neill Blomkamp's Elysium follow-up Chappie, based on his short Tetra Vaal. - THR
- James Cameron still plans to make Battle Angel after he completes the Avatar sequels. - The Film Stage
- Alicia Vikander (A Royal Affair) is attached to star with Matthias Schoenaerts (Rust And Bone) in Justin Chadwick’s adaptation of Deborah Moggach’s novel Tulip Fever. - Daily Mail
- Rooney Mara and Martin Sheen will star in Stephen Daldry's adaptation of Andy Mulligan’s 2010 novel Trash, the story of three street kids scrounging out a living by picking through waste at a city dump. - Deadline
- Michael K. Williams (The Wire, Boardwalk Empire) will play drug dealer “Freeway” Rick Ross opposite Jeremy Renner, Rosemarie DeWitt, and Paz Vega, in Kill the Messenger, the story of the CIA’s connection to the Contras and crack cocaine. - The Wrap
- Stellan Skarsgard is in talks to join Lily James, Richard Madden, Cate Blanchett, and Helena Bonham Carter in Kenneth Branagh’s live-action Cinderella. - Heat Vision
- Producers Lati Grobman and Christa Campbell (Texas Chainsaw 3D) are now working on a remake of George A. Romero’s 1985 classic Day of the Dead. - L.A. Times
- Johnny Depp will re-team with his Secret Window director David Koepp in Mortdecai, an adaptation of Kyril Bonfiglioli's comic novel The Great Mortdecai Moustache Mystery. - The Wrap
- Award-winning documentarian Errol Morris will take another crack at narrative filmmaking with the thriller Holland, Michigan. - Deadline
- Sharlto Copley will star in Hardcore, a POV action film directed by Ilya Naishuller, who made his name with this (NSFW) video. - The Wrap
- Ava DuVernay, who earned the Best Directing award at Sundance for Middle of Nowhere, will direct David Oyelowo in the Martin Luther King Jr. drama, Selma. - Deadline
- Jason Clarke is in talks to join Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Paddy Considine, and Phillip Seymour Hoffman in Daniel Espinosa’s adaptation of Tom Rob Smith’s novel Child 44. - Heat Vision
- Juno Temple will star with Carey Mulligan in Thomas Vinterberg’s adaptation of Far From the Madding Crowd. - Daily Mail