Let Soderbergh infect you with Contagion
With Haywire, his action thriller about a black ops soldier (Gina Carano) seeking revenge against her former team, now delayed until 2012, Steven Soderbergh will only have one film coming to theaters in 2011: Contagion. The upcoming thriller looks at the rush to contain a virus outbreak by a team of CDC doctors. The all-star cast includes Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow (who looks like she might be patient zero), Kate Winslet, Marion Cotillard, Laurence Fishburne, Jude Law, Bryan Cranston, John Hawkes and more. Scott Z. Burns (The Informant! and The Bourne Ultimatum) wrote the film, which hits theaters September 9.
A first look at the second Sherlock Holmes
After the success of the first Sherlock Holmes film starring Robert Downey Jr. (almost $525 million worldwide), a sequel was inevitable, and director Guy Ritchie looks to be tapping into the same vein of stylized action and buddy comedy for Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows. Jude Law returns as Dr. Watson, as does Rachel McAdams as Irene Adler (though in a much smaller role) while new faces include Noomi Rapace as gypsy named Sim, Stephen Fry as Mycroft Holmes, Sherlock’s brilliant brother, and Jared Harris as Holmes’ arch-nemesis, Professor Moriarty. Check it out when it hits theaters December 16.
The first trailer for John Carter
Taylor Kitsch (Friday Night Lights) stars as John Carter, a Civil War vet who finds himself waking up on Mars, in this adaptation of A Princess of Mars, the first story in Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Barsoom series. Burroughs, who’s probably best known for creating Tarzan, wrote 11 stories about John Carter and his adventures on Barsoom (Mars). Director Andrew Stanton makes his live action debut after directing Pixar’s Finding Nemo and WALL-E. Lynn Collins (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) plays princess Dejah Thoris, who seeks Carter’s help, while Willem Dafoe plays Tars Tarkas, a fierce Martian warrior who aids Carter in his fight. The rest of the strong cast includes Thomas Haden Church, Mark Strong, Samantha Morton, Bryan Cranston, Ciaran Hinds, Dominic West, and Polly Walker. John Carter hits theaters March 9, 2012.
The same old Thing? Check out the first trailer
Is it a prequel? Yes. Is it a remake? Sure looks like it. Director Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. takes on the difficult task of both paying homage to John Carpenter’s 1982 horror classic The Thing while also telling the origin story of the group of Norwegian scientists who make a discovery at an Antarctica research site that they probably wish they never would have found. The duo of Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) and Joel Edgerton (Animal Kingdom) seem to be filling the shoes of Kurt Russell, while the rest of the film, set before Russell arrives, seems to play out much like the original. The cast also includes Danish actor Ulrich Thomsen (In a Better World) and Lost’s Mr. Eko, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje. The Thing comes to theaters October 14.
A first look at Martin Scorsese’s Hugo
Hugo is based on the Brian Selznick book The Invention of Hugo Cabret, the first novel to win the Caldecott Medal typically given to a children’s picture book. For his adaptation, Martin Scorsese makes his first foray into the world of 3D filmmaking to tell the story of an orphan, played by Asa Butterfield (The Boy in the Striped Pajamas), who lives in a Paris train station and, with the help of a young girl played by Chloe Moretz (Kick-Ass), hopes to unravel the mystery of an automaton left by his father. The book was inspired by filmmaker George Méliès and his collection of automata (mechanical, wind-up figures), and Ben Kingsley plays a variation on Me lies in the film, while Emily Mortimer, Jude Law, Christopher Lee, and a bumbling Sacha Baron Cohen fill out the cast. John Logan (The Aviator, Gladiator) wrote the screenplay. Look for Hugo in 2D and 3D theaters beginning November 23.
Come, come Mr. Bond ...
It is surely good news for all James Bond fans when the Daily Mail reports that Naomie Harris is in final negotiations to bring back Miss Moneypenny and join Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Javier Bardem and Ralph Fiennes in Bond 23. Yes, Moneypenny is back for the first time since 2002’s Die Another Day, in which she was played by Samantha Bond, but did you see those last two names? Javier Bardem and Ralph Fiennes haven’t been confirmed, but reporter Baz Bamigboye is saying it’s a done deal. What roles will they play? We’ll have to wait and see, but Sam Mendes seems to be putting together a very interesting cast.
Adam Sandler is Jack ... and Jill
At this point in his career it seems everyone has formed an opinion about a new Adam Sandler comedy before it even comes out. Critics will bash it. People will go see it. It will make over a $100 million, and he’ll release another one the next year. Sandler's latest is Jack and Jill, in which he plays twins. Yes, the sight of Adam Sandler in drag is supposed to carry this movie. Dennis Dugan, the director of previous Sandler-starring films I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, You Don’t Mess with the Zohan, Grown Ups, and last year’s Just Go With It, is behind the camera for this one as well. Joining Sandler are Katie Holmes as his wife, and Al Pacino as Al Pacino. If this film doesn’t work for you, don’t worry; Sandler’s next, and supposedly raunchier, comedy, I Hate You, Dad, with Andy Samberg, Susan Sarandon, James Caan and Leighton Meester, will be out in 2012. In the meantime, check out Jack and Jill in theaters November 11.
Spike Lee’s Mookie and Oldboy
A new Spike Lee Joint was announced this week when Spike Lee tweeted the beginning of production for his new film, Red Hook Summer, the story of a guy from Atlanta spending the summer in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn. But what caused more of a stir was the Blackfilm.com report that Lee would also return to acting and reprise his role of Mookie from Do the Right Thing. Lee last played Mookie 22 years ago. Red Hook Summer will be his first narrative feature since 2008’s disappointing Miracle at St. Anna, but he won’t have to wait too long to follow it up because Lee was also officially announced as the director of the American remake of Park Chan-wook’s Oldboy, the story of a man who seeks revenge after being imprisoned for 15 years. The original film won the Grand Jury prize at the 2004 Cannes film festival. Mark Protosevich (Thor, I Am Legend) wrote the adaptation, and Twitch reports that Josh Brolin is wanted for the lead role. If you haven’t seen the original, go check it out; just be aware that it’s a very rough ride.
A new international trailer for Spielberg’s Tintin
Martin Scorsese is not the only major filmmaker releasing a 3D family film this fall. Steven Spielberg’s motion-capture adaptation of the beloved comic book series The Adventures of Tintin is not only his first 3D work but also his first journey into a full performance-capture film, and each trailer has improved upon the last. This newest look reveals the film to be a rollicking adventure across the globe. Jamie Bell plays Tintin, and Andy Serkis’ Captain Haddock is featured prominently in this trailer. The cast also includes Simon Pegg and Nick Frost as Thompson and Thomson and Daniel Craig as Red Rackham. The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn hits theaters December 23.
Two Sundance 2011 successes get official trailers
Vera Farmiga’s directorial debut Higher Ground received solid reviews when it premiered at Sundance this year, and now the first official trailer has arrived. Farmiga stars as a woman struggling with her faith in an evangelical Christian community. Indie acting stalwarts John Hawkes, Joshua Leonard, and Bill Irwin co-star. The film is based on This Dark World: A Story of Faith Found and Lost by Carolyn Briggs, who also wrote the screenplay along with Tim Metcalfe (Kalifornia). Higher Ground will get a limited release beginning August 26.
Another Sundance success was Steve James’ documentary, The Interrupters. James is best known for Hoop Dreams, his 1994 documentary of the struggles of Arthur Agee and William Gates, two black high schoolers who hope to become professional basketball players. His latest looks at three Violence Interrupters from the Chicago group CeaseFire, which is dedicated to stopping the violence that plagues their community. The film follows three individuals, one the daughter of a well-known former gang leader, during a particularly violent year. The Interrupters will get a limited release beginning August 29.
Julian Schnabel & Johnny Depp, together again?
Though many consider Miral a misstep, Julian Schnabel is still considered one of the more interesting directors working today, a reputation earned by his first three films: Basquiat, Before Night Falls, and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. This week, The Playlist reports that Schnabel plans to make In the Hand of Dante with Johnny Depp in the lead role. The bad news? It won’t happen for a few years. Depp previously worked with Schnabel in Before Night Falls, playing the memorable dual roles of the prison smuggler Bon Bon and a military Lieutenant. Depp was also slated to star in The Diving Bell and the Butterfly before he had to pull out due to scheduling conflicts. In the Hand of Dante is a novel by Nick Tosches that revolves around Dante’s The Divine Comedy. In one storyline, set in 14th century Sicily, Dante is struggling to finish his masterwork, then in 2001 a fictionalized Tosches is a Dante scholar who gets involved with black market traders trying to authenticate what is possibly Dante’s original manuscript. Hopefully, they can team up and make this happen after a couple more Pirates movies.
Two animated releases from Aardman Studios
Aardman Animations is best known for the stop-motion work of Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit and Chicken Run, but this year they will release their first 3D computer animated film, Arthur Christmas, which will be followed in 2012 by a return to stop-motion in the form of The Pirates! Band of Misfits. Arthur Christmas is the story of Santa’s two sons, Arthur (voiced by James McAvoy) and Steve (voiced by Hugh Laurie), and their very different approaches toward Christmas. Jim Broadbent, Imelda Staunton and Bill Nighy also lend their voice talent. The Pirates! Band of Misfits has Hugh Grant in his first animated role as the Pirate Captain who dreams of beating his bitter rivals Black Bellamy (voiced by Jeremy Piven) and Cutlass Liz (voiced by Salma Hayek) and winning the Pirate of the Year Award. Arthur Christmas comes to theaters November 23, and The Pirates! Band of Misfits is scheduled for release March 30, 2012.
A new trailer for Gus Van Sant’s Restless
Gus Van Sant’s Restless went relatively unnoticed at Cannes this year and early buzz has been weak, but that didn’t stop Sony Pictures Classics from picking it up for release. The film stars Dennis Hopper’s son Henry as a boy who has an imaginary Japanese fighter pilot as a friend and frequents the funerals of people he doesn’t know. At one of these funerals, he meets Mia Wasikowska’s Annabel, who is terminally ill. The latest trailer, highlighting the relationship between the two stars and aided by music that echoes Terrence Malick’s Badlands, is the most convincing case to see the film yet. Restless comes to theaters September 16.
Sean Penn goes goth in This Must Be the Place
When it played in competition at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Paolo Sorrentino’s (Il Divo) This Must Be the Place got mixed reviews. indieWIRE called it a “godawful mess” while Variety embraced the film’s special mix of “warmth, humanity, and respect.” The latest trailer might make a case for both views, but hopefully it gets picked up for a U.S. release. It’s slated to open in France on August 24 as well as in other European countries in the fall. Sean Penn stars as the Robert Smith-looking Cheyenne, a famous rock star who sets off on a journey of discovery after his father’s death.
Kristen Wiig’s passion project
Following the success of Bridesmaids, Kristen Wiig has set up a new project, Imogene, which she will star in and executive produce. THR reports that the story “centers on a moderately successful New York playwright who fakes a suicide attempt in order to win back her ex-boyfriend, only to [end up] under the custody of her mother, a gambler.” The film will be directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, the team behind American Splendor, the less successful The Extra Man, and HBO’s Cinema Verite. The screenplay is by Michelle Morgan (Middle of Nowhere). Production should begin August 8, so expect casting announcements soon.
Quick notes: Rumors, release dates, casting news and more
- Ever wonder what a day in the life of Pixar head John Lasseter is like? Check out this documentary to find out.
- Chris Hemsworth will play British Formula One driver James Hunt in Ron Howard’s next film, the Peter Morgan-scripted Rush. - Deadline
- Ray Stevenson (Thor) will play the villain Firefly opposite Channing Tatum and Dwayne Johnson in G.I. Joe 2: Cobra Strikes. - THR
- Arnold Schwarzenegger will star in Last Stand, the English-language debut of director Kim-Jee Woon, about the sheriff of a border town battling the leader of a drug cartel - Deadline
- Michael Fassbender will star in Brendan Gleeson’s directorial debut, an adaptation of Irish author Flann O’Brien’s heralded 1939 novel At Swim-Two-Birds. He joins Gabriel Byrne, Colin Farrell, and Cillian Murphy. - ScreenDaily
- Elizabeth Banks has joined the gigantic cast of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. - ComingSoon.net
- Michael Chiklis will play the villain to Jason Statham in Parker, to be directed by Taylor Hackford (Ray) and based on the character from the Richard Stark (Donald E. Westlake) novels. -Deadline
- Ed Norton is in talks to play the villain opposite Jeremy Renner in The Bourne Legacy - Heat Vision
- John Cusack will star alongside Matthew McConaughey and Zac Efron in Lee Daniels’ The Paperboy. - Variety
- Looks like there will be a new Evil Dead film. It will star Bruce Campbell (how could it not), but Sam Raimi won’t be directing. Fede Alvarez will, and Diablo Cody is punching up the script - Bloody Disgusting & Heat Vision
- The latest Underworld movie has been titled Underworld: Awakening, and it will hit screens January 20, 2012.
- The George Clooney-Alexander Payne collaboration, The Descendants, has been moved up to a Thanksgiving release on November 23, 2011
- Sex and Zen 3D: Extreme Ecstasy, China’s box office record-breaking 3D film, will get a U.S. release August 12, 2011.
- Paz de la Huerta is naked and bloody in this poster for the new horror film, Nurse 3D - Movieline or anywhere on the internet.