Opening this weekend
New trailers and updates for upcoming films
Denzel is The Equalizer
Denzel Washington reunites with his Training Day director, Antoine Fuqua, for this adaptation of the 1980s television drama starring Edward Woodward as Robert McCall, aka The Equalizer. Washington’s McCall is a former black ops agent who faked his death but comes out of retirement to help a girl played by Chloë Grace Moretz. She’s involved with the Russian mob, so McCall introduces himself. The script is by Richard Wenk (The Mechanic), and the supporting cast includes Melissa Leo, Martin Csokas, and Bill Pullman. The Equalizer arrives in theaters on September 26th.
A Walk Among the Tombstones
Liam Neeson stars as private investigator Matthew Scudder in this adaptation of Lawrence Block‘s novel A Walk Among the Tombstones by writer-director Scott Frank. Frank’s feature debut was the very solid but under-seen crime thriller The Lookout, and he’s staying in that genre here. The grim story begins with Neeson’s Scudder being asked by a heroin trafficker, played by Downton Abbey's Dan Stevens, to hunt down the men who killed his wife, and from the looks of the trailer, it only gets darker from there. Look for Neeson in his latest ass-kicking, equalizing role in theaters beginning September 19th.
Marvel won’t let Edgar Wright make Ant-Man a good film
Ant-Man will soon be under new management. Director Edgar Wright (The World’s End) and Marvel parted ways late last Friday (a well-timed attempt to bury the news in the rush of Memorial Day Weekend) with a simple press release: “Marvel and Edgar Wright jointly announced today that the studio and director have parted ways on ANT-MAN due to differences in their vision of the film. The decision to move on is amicable and does not impact the release date on July 17, 2015. A new director will be announced shortly.”
While rumors surfaced today that Rawson Marshall Thurber (We’re the Millers), Adam McKay (Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues) and Ruben Fleischer (Gangster Squad, Zombieland) are among a group of directors meeting with the studio about taking over the film, Latino Review confirmed that Wright's departure stemmed from a disagreement about script changes. The original script was written by Wright and Joe Cornish. Marvel came back with notes and the team revised to try to find a compromise, but those changes didn’t make Marvel happy, so the screenplay was handed off to two other writers. When this new script was presented to Wright, he read it and walked.
Unfortunately, it seems that the cast of Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Patrick Wilson, and Corey Stoll cannot leave the project. In the last week, two directors that have a relationship with Marvel, Joss Whedon and James Gunn, added their takes to the situation. How much does this dim your excitement for Ant-Man?
Kill the Messenger (or just watch the trailer)
Jeremy Renner stars as Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Gary Webb in this true story of the CIA’s targeting of Webb after he published an article about their role in the crack cocaine problem in California. Michael Cuesta (Roadie, but better known for his TV work on Homeland and Dexter) directs from Peter Landesman’s (Parkland) script based on two books, Dark Alliance: The CIA, The Contras, And The Crack Cocaine Explosion, by Gary Webb, and Nick Schou’s Kill The Messenger: How The CIA’s Crack-Cocaine Controversy Destroyed Journalist Gary Webb. The impressive supporting cast includes Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Oliver Platt, Michael K. Williams, Paz Vega, Andy Garcia, Michael Sheen, Tim Blake Nelson, Ray Liotta, Rosemarie DeWitt, Barry Pepper, and Robert Patrick. Kill the Messenger opens in limited release on October 10th before expanding in the following weeks.
This Is Where I Leave You
When their father dies, four siblings (Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, Adam Driver, Corey Stoll) return to their childhood home to sit shiva with their mother (Jane Fonda). This is the premise for Shawn Levy’s follow-up to The Internship. Jonathan Tropper adapted his own novel for the film, and the script has attracted an impressive cast beyond the central family, including Rose Byrne, Connie Britton, Kathryn Hahn, Timothy Olyphant, Abigail Spencer, and Ben Schwartz. Look for This Is Where I Leave You in theaters beginning September 12th.
Coogan and Brydon take a Trip to Italy
Director Michael Winterbottom and stars Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon return for this sequel to The Trip. This time, the two actors and friends set off for Italy, where they find more wonderful food, scenery, and opportunities to test each other’s impersonation skills. Yes, Michael Caine was in The Italian Job, so expect a reprise of that popular bit from the original Trip, as well as visits to Pompeii and the homes of the Romantic poets. The Trip to Italy opens in select theaters on August 15th.
What if The F Word had a new title and a new trailer?
Originally titled The “F” Word, What If stars Daniel Radcliffe as Allan, a medical school dropout who forms a friendship with Zoe Kazan’s Chantry. She has a longtime boyfriend played by Rafe Spall, but Allan has a roommate (Adam Driver) who really likes nachos. Directed by Michael Dowse (Goon, Take Me Home Tonight), What If received good reviews when it premiered at TIFF last year. Look for it in theaters on August 1st.
Snowpiercer: Know your place
Here’s a second trailer for Bong Joon-ho’s adaptation of the French graphic novel Le Transperceneige, in which humanity takes refuge on a train that remains in perpetual motion after a new Ice Age wipes out most life on the planet. American audiences will indeed get to see the original cut of the film starring Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, Octavia Spencer, John Hurt, Jamie Bell, Alison Pill, Ed Harris, Ewen Bremner, and Kang-ho Song, but as part of the agreement to keep the director’s cut, Snowpiercer will head to only a limited number of theaters on June 27th.
The Congress: Being Robin Wright
Director Ari Folman (Waltz with Bashir) mixes live-action and animation in The Congress, a loose adaptation of Stanislaw Lem’s novel The Futurological Congress. Robin Wright plays “Robin Wright” in a fictional future Hollywood where she makes a deal to have her digital self controlled by Miramount Studios with no restrictions. This lucrative deal that allows her to care for her son (Kodi Smit-McPhee). With a strong cast that includes Harvey Keitel, Danny Houston, Jon Hamm, and Paul Giamatti, The Congress earned both raves and more lukewarm responses when it premiered at Cannes in 2013. Look for it in select theaters beginning August 29th.
Dinosaur 13: Wait, there were already 12 of these films?
One of the best-reviewed documentaries at this year’s Sundance Film Festival was Dinosaur 13. The film follows the story of "Sue," the remains of a T. Rex discovered in 1990 by paleontologist Peter Larson and his team from the Black Hills Institute. Using Larson’s book, Rex Appeal: The Amazing Story of Sue, the Dinosaur That Changed Science, the Law and My Life, as a jumping-off point, the doc covers the 10-year battle between the U.S. government, museums, Native American tribes, and competing paleontologists for the rights to Sue. Directed by Todd Douglas Millde, Dinosaur 13 comes to VOD and a few theaters beginning August 15th.
Dia De Los Muertos now translates to The Book of Life
With the voices of Diego Luna, Zoe Saldana, and Channing Tatum, animated film The Book of Life tells the story of Manolo, who must return to the land of the living to see his beloved again. Produced by Guillermo del Toro and based on stories and imagery from the Mexican holiday Dia De Los Muertos (Day of the Dead, the original title), Jorge R. Gutierrez’s feature debut opens on October 17th.
More "found footage" sci-fi in Earth to Echo
Dave Green makes his feature directorial debut with this found-footage take on E.T. The Extra Terrestrial. The script by Henry Gayden follows four friends (Teo Halm, Brian "Astro" Bradley, Reese Hartwig, and Ella Linnea Wahlestedt) as they film their discovery of an alien they dub Echo. Earth to Echo opens on July 2nd.
The sun will come out tomorrow (but the movie? Not until December)
With Jay-Z and Will Smith as producers, the latest film adaptation of the hit Broadway musical Annie updates the story to present-day New York, where Jamie Foxx plays Will Stacks (instead of Daddy Warbucks), a wealthy mayoral candidate. Quvenzhané Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild) stars as Annie, while Cameron Diaz plays Miss Hannigan. Rose Byrne steps into the role of Grace Farrell (who is now a VP instead of a secretary) and Bobby Cannavale plays Stack’s campaign advisor. Will Gluck (Easy A) directs from a screenplay he co-wrote with Aline Brosh McKenna (We Bought a Zoo) and Emma Thompson. Look for Annie on the big screen beginning December 19th.
In brief ...
- Luc Besson’s Lucy will open on July 25th, two weeks earlier than its original release date of August 8th.
- July 18th is the new opening date for Sex Tape, starring Cameron Diaz and Jason Segel.
- Sausage Party, a raunchy animated comedy featuring the voices of Seth Rogen (who also co-wrote the film), Jonah Hill, Kristen Wiig, and many others, will open on June 3, 2016.
- Quentin Tarantino will begin shooting his once-aborted project The Hateful Eight in Wyoming this November. Rumors suggest that the cast from the April live-read, including Bruce Dern, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Madsen, and Kurt Russell, will star in the film as well. - Showbiz 411
- Steven Knight, writer-director of Locke, will write the sequel to World War Z. - Variety
- A sequel is in the works for the surprise 2002 hit My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Nia Vardalos has written the script and will once again star opposite John Corbett. - THR
- Ziad Doueiri (The Attack) will direct Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, a script by Michael Werwie about the relationship between serial killer Ted Bundy and his girlfriend. - Variety
- Johnny Depp is in talks to play magician Harry Houdini in director Dean Parisot’s (RED 2) The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America's First Superhero. - THR
- Olivier Assayas has cast Robert De Niro, Rachel Weisz, and Robert Pattinson in his heist film Idol’s Eye. - Deadline & Variety
- James Mangold, the man who brought Johnny Cash’s life story to the big screen, could do the same for Joe Namath. - THR
- Rhys Ifans will play Zanik Hightopp, the Mad Hatter’s father, opposite a returning Johnny Depp, Mia Wasikowska and Helena Bonham Carter in director James Bobin’s sequel to Alice in Wonderland. - The Wrap
- Karen Gillan has joined Ethan Hawke, John Travolta, and Taissa Farmiga in Ti West’s “revenge western” (which pretty much just makes it a western) In A Valley of Violence. - Deadline
- Anthony and Joe Russo are attached to write and direct an adaptation of Mark Greaney’s spy novel The Gray Man - Variety
- Does anyone want to see a reboot of Stargate by the same guys (Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin) who made the first one? How about a Cliffhanger remake? - Variety & Deadline
- Director Colin Trevorrow gives /Film some plot details from Jurassic World.