Opening this weekend
New trailers and updates for upcoming films
Big Hero 6: Marvel gets animated
The first animated movie to come from Disney’s union with Marvel Comics is Big Hero 6, the story of robotics genius Hiro Hamada and his creation, Baymax (both are featured in this teaser). They team up with Hiro’s brother, Tadashi, and their friends—Go Go Tamago, Wasabi, Honey Lemon and Fred—to uncover a mysterious plot in the metropolis of San Fransokyo. Directed by Don Hall (Winnie the Pooh) and Chris Williams (Bolt) and featuring the voices of T.J. Miller, Maya Rudolph, and Jamie Chung, Big Hero 6 comes to theaters on November 7th.
Kingsman: The Secret Service
When Matthew Vaughn stepped away from directing X-Men: First Class, many wondered what he had lined up. It didn’t take too long to find out that he planned to adapt Mark Millar’s comic book series The Secret Service. It all made sense considering Millar’s role at Fox as a consultant and Vaughn’s success with re-energizing the X-Men franchise. With X-Men: Days of Future Past now in theaters, the first trailer for the newly titled Kingsman: The Secret Service has dropped as well. Colin Firth stars as a veteran spy of the Kingsman organization who recruits newcomer Taron Egerton into the agency’s training program. Mark Strong, Michael Caine, and Samuel L. Jackson lend support in this October 24th release.
A dramatic side of Steve Carell in Cannes hit Foxcatcher
Sometimes, when a film is pushed out of a crowded awards-season slot, it’s a bad sign. This does not seem to be the case for Foxcatcher, director Bennett Miller’s take on the strange true story of multi-millionaire John du Pont (Steve Carell) and his relationship with gold medal wrestlers Dave (Mark Ruffalo) and Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum). Originally scheduled to be released last December, the film instead premiered in Cannes this week to excellent reviews and will head to theaters on November 14th ... in plenty of time for this year's awards season.
Speaking of Cannes, look for reviews for all of the notable films screening at this year's festival this Monday in our Cannes Film Festival Roundup.
A second look at Guardians of the Galaxy
The sameness of recent comic book movies has many fans hoping that Guardians of the Galaxy will loosen up what has become a stale formula, and this latest trailer hints that it might do just that. Sure, it looks like there is another epic, effects-driven final battle, but there’s also some clever dialogue and a talking raccoon adjusting his crotch. That would be Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper), and he’s joined by Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), the tree-like Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), and Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) to form a unique team of superheroes. James Gunn (Slither, Super) directs from a script he co-wrote with Nicole Perlman. The story revolves around a mysterious orb coveted by the evil Ronan (Lee Pace), though the more important story is whether the film can provide some late summer laughs and thrills when it opens on August 1st.
Christmas in July?
The latest dramedy from prolific writer-director-actor Joe Swanberg is Happy Christmas, a look at what happens when the irresponsible Jenny (Anna Kendrick) moves in with her brother (Swanberg), his wife (Melanie Lynskey), and their two-year-old son. Swanberg’s second collaboration with Kendrick (the first was last year’s Drinking Buddies) earned solid reviews when it premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. With Lena Dunham and Mark Webber in supporting roles, Happy Christmas comes to VOD on June 26th and theaters on July 25th.
Woody Allen's Magic in the Moonlight
The release of a Woody Allen film has been an annual event since 1982 (and he didn’t take too many years off between 1966 and 1981). This year’s offering is set in the 1920s and stars Colin Firth as an Englishman brought to the South of France to debunk a spiritualist played by Emma Stone. Marcia Gay Harden, Hamish Linklater, Eileen Atkins, and Jackie Weaver also star. Look for Magic in the Moonlight in select theaters beginning July 25th.
Life of Crime
When it premiered at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival, this adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s novel The Switch earned positive reviews and an extra bit of fascination from film nerds for the performances of Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) and John Hawkes as young Ordell Robbie and Louis Gara, characters originally portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson and Robert De Niro in Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown (which itself was based on another Elmore Leonard novel, Rum Punch). Here, Ordell and Louis kidnap Margaret “Mickey” Dawson (Jennifer Aniston), the wife of corrupt real estate developer Frank Dawson (Tim Robbins), with the hopes of extorting money from him. Unfortunately for the kidnappers, Frank has a mistress (Isla Fisher), so he’s in no hurry to get his wife back. Life of Crime opens on August 29th.
Michel Gondry's Mood Indigo is finally heading to the States
Michel Gondry’s latest has taken over a year to reach American theaters despite the international recognition of its leads, Audrey Tautou and Romain Duris. The eclectic filmmaker (The Green Hornet, The We and the I, and Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy?) looks to be channeling the whimsical nature of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The Science of Sleep with this adaptation of Boris Vian’s novel that follows Colin (Duris) and Chloe (Tautou) as they fall in love, discover Chloe’s illness (she has a water lily growing in her lungs) and try everything to save her life (including surrounding her with flowers at all times). Look for Mood Indigo in select theaters beginning July 18th.
Celebrate Roger Ebert's life, itself
Steve James (Hoop Dreams, The Interrupters) directs this look at the life of Roger Ebert. Based on his best-selling memoir, Life Itself jumps back and forth in time to paint a portrait of one of the world’s best known film critics, from his early days at the Chicago Sun-Times, to his on- and off-air relationship with fellow critic Gene Siskel, to his battles with alcoholism and cancer. Look for Life Itself on demand and in theaters beginning July 4th.
When writer-director Kat Candler’s debut feature premiered at Sundance this year, both Aaron Paul and newcomer Josh Wiggins earned praise for their portrayals of Hollis Wilson, a grieving, alcoholic father, and Jacob, his troubled son, but the film as a whole didn’t work for most critics. Juliette Lewis plays Jacob’s aunt, who takes custody of him and his little brother Wes (Deke Garner), while Hollis struggles to clean up his act. Hellion hits select theaters and VOD on June 13th.
Written and directed by Aaron Katz (Cold Weather) and Martha Stephens (Pilgrim Song), Land Ho! follows two ex-brothers-in-law, Mitch (Earl Lynn Nelson) and Colin (Paul Eenhoorn), as they vacation in Iceland together. Good early reviews make this one to look out for when it opens in select theaters on July 11th.
Wish I Was Here
Zach Braff returns to directing with this story of Aidan Bloom (Braff), an actor, father, and husband struggling with financial woes, a dying father (Mandy Patinkin), and an irresponsible brother (Josh Gad) while trying to home school his two kids (Joey King and Pierce Gagnon). Kate Hudson plays his hardworking and forgiving wife. Perhaps the public will also be forgiving of Braff, considering the backlash from the Kickstarter campaign and the dwindling regard for Braff’s first directorial effort, Garden State. Poor early reviews out of Sundance are another concern, but Wish I Was Here opens in select theaters on July 18th.
Wrinkles: time for some strip bingo?
Based on Paco Roca's comic of the same title, which won the 2008 Spanish National Comic Prize), this 2D animated feature portrays the friendship between Emilio and Miguel, two elderly gentlemen trying to live their final days to the fullest while stuck in a retirement home. Directed and co-written by Ignacio Ferreras, the film won Best Animated Feature and Best Screenplay at the 2012 Goya Awards. Featuring the voices of Martin Sheen, George Coe and Matthew Modine, Wrinkles comes to select theaters on July 4th.
Star Wars wants you (and Gareth Edwards)
This week StarWars.com revealed that Godzilla director Gareth Edwards will helm a Star Wars stand-alone film written by Gary Whitta (Book of Eli) that is due out on December 16, 2016. Edwards said, “Ever since I saw Star Wars I knew exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life -- join the Rebel Alliance! I could not be more excited and honored to go on this mission with Lucasfilm.” In addition, J.J. Abrams sent a video out from the set of Star Wars: Episode VII requesting a little help. Check it out below.
In brief ...
- The Man of Steel sequel has officially (and unfortunately?) been titled Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
- This Dawn of the Planet of the Apes video is evidence of how far performance capture has evolved.
- Alfonso Cuarón is in talks to direct J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter spin-off Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. - Nikki Finke
- Pierre Morel’s spy-thriller The Gunman, starring Sean Penn, Idris Elba, Javier Bardem and Ray Winstone, will open on February 20, 2015.
- Joel and Ethan Coen will write a draft of the Cold War story of lawyer James Donovan and his efforts to release U-2 spy plane pilot Gary Powers from Russia. Steven Spielberg is set to direct the project with Tom Hanks attached to star as Donovan. - THR
- Meanwhile, the Coen brothers’ next directorial effort, Hail Caesar, will be set in 1950s Hollywood and center on a studio fixer and what he does to protect the era’s stars. - Deadline
- Kristen Wiig has joined Zach Galifianakis and Owen Wilson in Jared Hess’s untitled bank heist comedy. - THR
- Mike Flanagan (Oculus) will direct an adaptation of Stephen King’s Gerald’s Game. - Deadline
- Juliette Lewis and Molly Ringwald have joined Jon M. Chu’s Jem and the Holograms movie. - Deadline & THR
- Channing Tatum told GQ that Steven Soderbergh will serve as cinematographer and editor on Magic Mike XXL.
- This week’s least surprising news: a Godzilla sequel is in the works. - Deadline
- Greg McLean (Wolf Creek 2) will direct the thriller Jungle based on Yossi Ghinsberg’s memoir Lost in the Jungle. - Variety
- Adam Scott and Benedict Cumberbatch have joined Johnny Depp, Joel Edgerton, Dakota Johnson, Juno Temple, and Jesse Plemons in Scott Cooper’s Whitey Bulger drama Black Mass. - THR
- Renny Harlin will direct Jackie Chan, Sean William Scott, and Fan Bingbing in the action-comedy Skiptrace. - Deadline
- Robert Redford is in talks to play evangelical minister Oral Roberts in Jonathan Demme’s Come Sunday. - THR