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

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  • Publish Date: June 14, 2013

The first full trailer for sci-fi thriller Elysium

Writer/director Neill Blomkamp has created another unique world for this follow-up to his 2009 politically charged sci-fi film District 9 81. The year is 2154. The wealthy have moved to a pristine space station called Elysium, leaving the rest of humanity to fight for survival on a ruined Earth. One of those trying to scrape by is Matt Damon’s Max de Costa, an ex-con who finds himself in need of a special medical procedure after a factory accident. Unfortunately, those procedures are only available on Elysium, so he decides to go through a dangerous experiment to transform himself into someone capable of breaking into the well-guarded space station. Trying to stop him are Jodie Foster as the space station's head official, and District 9 lead Sharlto Copley as Kruger, her hired gun. Alice Braga, Diego Luna, William Fichtner, and Wagner Moura also have supporting roles. Elysium hits theaters August 9th.

Hobbit 2: dragon boogaloo

The second of Peter Jackson’s three-part, 3D, 48fps expansion of The Hobbit continues the story of Bilbo Baggins (Martin Freeman), Thorin Oakenshield (Richard Armitage), and Gandalf (Ian McKellen) as they fight to reclaim the Dwarf Kingdom of Erebor. Standing in their way is the dragon Smaug (motion capture and voice by Benedict Cumberbatch). Revealed in this first trailer is the return of Orlando Bloom as Legolas, as well as newcomers Lee Pace as Thranduil, Evangeline Lilly as Tauriel, Luke Evans as Bard The Bowman, Stephen Fry as Master of Lake Town, and Mikael Persbrandt as the shapeshifting Beorn. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug opens nationwide on December 13th.

300+1: Slo-mo on the seas

Zack Snyder is in the producer’s chair while Noam Murro (Smart People 57) takes over directing duties for 300: Rise of an Empire, the delayed sequel to 300 51. Based on the Frank Miller graphic novel Xerxes, the new film 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. Look for 300: Rise of an Empire in 2D, 3D, and IMAX theaters beginning March 7, 2014.

In a World ...

Actress Lake Bell (Childrens Hospital, Boston Legal) makes her feature writing and directing debut with this comedic tale of a struggling vocal coach who breaks into the voice-over biz. When it premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, the film earned Bell the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award and very good reviews for her lead performance. The cast also includes Fred Melamed (A Serious Man) as her father, Ken Marino as her competition, and supporting players Demetri Martin, Tig Notaro, Nick Offerman, Rob Corddry, Michaela Watkins, and Geena Davis. In a World... comes to select theaters on August 9th.

Not without my daughter ... oh, and the president

Explosions, light comedy, and a child in distress. It’s the modern action formula taken to the extreme by director Roland Emmerich (Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow, 2012). So why not have a trailer that is just as excessive? In four minutes, this new trailer for White House Down covers what happens in the 137-minute (!) movie. (Yes, Emmerich's new film is 17 minutes longer than Olympus Has Fallen.) Basically, Channing Tatum is a war vet with a cute daughter and high hopes of protecting the president, played by Jamie Foxx, and thanks to a heavily armed paramilitary group he gets a chance to prove his worth. See the rest of White House Down in theaters beginning June 28th.

One more look at The Wolverine

Fans of Hugh Jackman’s five film portrayal of Logan/Wolverine just want the sixth to be better than the 2009 solo outing X-Men Origins: Wolverine 40. Director James Mangold (3:10 to Yuma, Knight and Day) hopes to revive Logan’s story by following Chris Claremont and Frank Miller’s comic book arc, which takes him in Japan. Getting a little extra screen time in this international trailer is Viper (Svetlana Khodchenkova) and the Silver Samurai (Will Yun Lee). The Wolverine opens July 26th.

Game far from over

With Assassin’s Creed starring Michael Fassbender coming to theaters May 22, 2015, Need for Speed starring Aaron Paul hitting March 14, 2014 (see early footage here), Tom Hardy starring in a Splinter Cell adaptation and a Tomb Raider reboot in the works, the report from Variety that Michael Bay plans to develop Ubisoft’s Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon series should come as no surprise, but Ubisoft is not stopping there. Variety also reports that Watch Dogs, Far Cry, and Rabbids will also become films. Translating video games to the big screen has proven to be difficult, to say the least, but maybe this new crop of films will figure out the secret formula to cross-platform billions.

The Frozen Ground

The story of serial killer Robert Hansen is gruesome. Between 1980 and 1983 he murdered 20 women, but, luckily, one woman, Cindy Paulson, got away. The Frozen Ground looks at the struggle to bring Hansen to justice. Nicolas Cage plays an Alaskan detective on the case, and Vanessa Hudgens plays Paulson. John Cusack portrays Hansen, and Scott Walker makes his directorial debut. Look for it on VOD and in limited release beginning August 23rd.

Alan Partridge is in this trailer

Steve Coogan stars in Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, in which he reprises one of his most beloved characters (originating on radio and TV) for the big screen. The North Norfolk Radio host gets caught in the middle of a siege when fellow D.J. Pat (Colm Meaney) takes the station hostage after being fired. The British comedy does not yet have a U.S. release date, but you can watch the trailer below.

Three more without U.S. release dates

Another British story but of a completely different tone is Downfall director Oliver Hirschbiegel’s Diana. Starring Naomi Watts as Princess Diana, the film focuses on the last two years of her life.

Coming from South Korean director Bong Joon-ho (Mother, The Host) is Snowpiercer, an adaptation of a French graphic novel (Le Transperceneige) in which humanity takes refuge on a train that remains in perpetual motion after a new Ice Age destroys the planet. However, all is not well on the train, as the underclass plan a revolt against the upperclass. The impressive cast includes Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, Octavia Spencer, John Hurt, Jamie Bell, Alison Pill, Ed Harris, Ewen Bremner, and Kang-ho Song.

Keanu Reeves directs and plays the villain in Man of Tai Chi. Tiger Hu Chen (Reeves' martial arts trainer on the Matrix films) also stars as a Tai Chi master who enters the world of underground fighting. The great Yuen Wo-Ping provides the fight choreography.

Computer Chess: Now a major motion picture

Writer/director Andrew Bujalski’s last film was 2009’s Beeswax 70, his third shot on 16mm, but for his latest he used 1980s-era video equipment to lend a realistic period feel to a story of a weekend chess tournament that pits man against machine. Computer Chess divided critics when it premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, but it will come to select theaters beginning July 17th.

Salinger: The man, the author, the documentary

The reclusive author J.D. Salinger has fascinated many people, either because of his work, his disappearance from public life, or both. Director Shane Salerno channeled his interest into making a documentary about the man. Salinger features interviews with more than 100 of Salinger’s colleagues, friends, and admirers, as well as never before seen film footage, photographs and documents. See the doc in select theaters beginning September 6th.

Children by the million sing for Alex Chilton

Looking for a new band to listen to this summer? Why not an old one? Let Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me introduce you to an incredibly influential and under-heard band as it traces the story of Big Star and songwriters Alex Chilton and Chris Bell using interviews with band members Jody Stephens and Andy Hummel and a host of famous and not so famous admirers. Look for the documentary in limited release beginning July 3rd.

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

  • Director Zack Snyder and writer David Goyer will return for the sequel to Man of Steel. - Deadline
  • A sequel to the surprise hit The Purge is in development. - Variety
  • G.I. Joe 3 is happening, and Jon M. Chu will direct. - Deadline
  • Warner Bros. will not back the planned Dumb and Dumber sequel, so the Farrelly brothers will shop it to other studios. - THR
  • Mel Gibson will play the main villain in The Expendables 3. - Showbiz 411
  • Owen Wilson will star alongside Jim Carrey in the now-untitled comedy formerly known as Loomis Fargo. - Deadline
  • Aaron Taylor-Jonhson (Kick-Ass) is the favorite to play Quicksilver in The Avengers 2. - The Wrap
  • Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara will star in the comedy Don’t Mess with Texas. - Deadline
  • Christoph Waltz will star in True Crimes as Polish writer Krystian Bala, who was convicted of murder in 2007. - THR
  • Leonardo DiCaprio will play Rasputin, but it won’t be anytime soon. Jason Hall (American Sniper) still needs to write the script. - Deadline
  • Josh Gad will hire Kevin Hart to be his best man in an upcoming untitled comedy. - THR
  • Ed Helms has joined Patrick Wilson and Chris Pine in Joe Carnahan’s limousine-set thriller, Stretch. - Variety
  • Donald Glover and Evan Peters will join Mark Duplass and Olivia Wilde in the horror thriller Reawakening from Jiro Dreams of Sushi director David Gelb. - The Wrap
  • Fox hopes the Choose Your Own Adventure books will become a “a cross-platform four-quadrant action-adventure franchise.” If you agree, turn to page 36. If you have no interest in seeing anything of the sort, turn to page 71. - THR
  • Krysten Ritter will star alongside Christoph Waltz and Amy Adams in Tim Burton’s Big Eyes. - Deadline
  • It looks like Paramount will make Terminator 5 and Arnold Schwarzenegger will reprise his role. - The Wrap & Coming Soon
  • Sandra Bullock is in talks to play Miss Hannigan in the Will Smith and Jay-Z produced remake of Annie that stars Jamie Foxx and Quvenzhané Wallis. - THR
  • Chris Tucker will star in Second Honeymoon, the story of a couple who return to the site of their honeymoon in an attempt to reignite their marriage. - THR
  • Tom Hanks will team up with Tom Tykwer (Cloud Atlas) once more to adapt Dave Eggers' novel Hologram For the King. - Variety
  • Tracey Ullman is in talks to join Meryl Streep, Johnny Depp, and Chris Pine in the fairytale musical Into the Woods, which was just given a December 25, 2014 release date. - THR
  • Joseph Morgan (The Vampire Diaries) will star with Walton Goggins, Ron Perlman and Nicole Badaan in Ross Clarke’s adaptation of Craig Clevenger's cult novel Dermaphoria. - Heat Vision
  • Eddie Redmayne (Les Miserables) will play Stephen Hawking in Theory of Everything for director James Marsh. - Deadline
  • Fred Armisen (SNL, Portlandia) will star in director Terry Zwigoff’s comeback film, a comedy about an innocent man sentenced to house arrest in his parents' home. - The Wrap
  • Chris Columbus will direct and Adam Sandler will star in a remake of the Korean supernatural comedy Hello Ghost. - THR
  • Idris Elba is in talks to play an operative named Dupont opposite Sean Penn and Javier Bardem in Pierre Morel’s Gunman. - Heat Vision
  • Christina Hendricks will star in Measure of a Man based on Robert Lipsyte’s 1970s-set young-adult novel One Fat Summer. - Deadline
  • Liam Hemsworth has joined Armie Hammer, John Malkovich, Ben Kingsley, Michael Sheen, and Teresa Palmer in the cast of the thriller Cut Bank. - THR

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