Steven Soderbergh’s swan song?
Side Effects is the second collaboration between screenwriter Scott Z. Burns (Contagion 70) and director Steven Soderbergh, and it might end up being known as Soderbergh’s last feature film, if he carries through on his threats of retirement. (He still has a Liberace biopic headed to HBO next year.) The film stars Rooney Mara, in her first post-Dragon Tattoo role, as Emily Hawkins, a woman who resorts to medication to curb her anxiety about her husband’s imminent release from prison. Judging from the trailer, and the title of the film, those meds might need to go through another round of testing at the FDA. Channing Tatum makes it three for three with the director, while Jude Law, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Vinessa Shaw round out the cast. Look for it in theaters beginning February 8, 2013.
Z is for zombies
The troubled production of World War Z has been the attention-grabbing story (instead of “Brad Pitt stars in a zombie movie based on a best-selling novel”), but that’s the way it goes in Hollywood when your movie requires rewrites and reshoots. It might not matter in the end (remember all the negativity surrounding Men in Black III), but until the film reaches the theaters and has success, the story won’t go away. At least the first footage from the film looks exciting (damn, those zombies can move!), even if it seems like a major departure from Max Brooks’ novel about the aftermath of a zombie pandemic. Pitt stars as a U.N. employee asked to leave his family and fight the spread of zombies, while Mireille Enos (The Killing), Bryan Cranston, Matthew Fox, James Badge Dale, and David Morse play supporting roles for director Marc Forster (Quantum of Solace 58, Machine Gun Preacher 43). Run for your life (or to theaters) beginning June 21, 2013.
Disturbance in the force: This week in Episode VII rumors
It did’t take long for the rumor mill to start churning after the announcement of Star Wars Episode VII last week. First up was Collider with a report that Matthew Vaughn, who recently stepped away from directing the sequel to X-Men: First Class 65, was in talks with Lucasfilm to direct Episode VII. This rumor seemed to fade away rather quickly as Heat Vision’s Borys Kit reported that it wasn’t true, and then Fox consultant/comic book writer Mark Millar told CBR that Vaughn exited the X-Men sequel so they could fast track an adaptation of Secret Service before imitators hit the screen. So Vaughn isn’t completely ruled out, but it seems unlikely he’ll direct Episode VII. Celebuzz was next to start a potential director rumor by reporting that Colin Trevorrow, director of Safety Not Guaranteed 72, had early discussions with Lucasfilm. There was no confirmation by either party, but word is that Lucas enjoyed the director’s feature debut. As far as casting goes, Harrison Ford, according to EW, and Carrie Fisher, according to TMZ, are both open to coming back for Episode VII if needed, and someone who might know if they are needed is Michael Arndt. In the one substantiated rumor of the week, Vulture reported that the Toy Story 3 92 and Little Miss Sunshine 80 writer had turned in a 40-50 page treatment for the film and is likely to at least be one of the writers of the final script. In addition, Disney will send the treatment to Steven Spielberg (who will not direct it), J.J. Abrams, and Brad Bird to gauge their interest. Deadline backed up the report adding that the treatment was for all three films and that Arndt would begin writing Episode VII next year. Sounds good to us. Now if they could only get Brad Bird to agree to direct as suggested in the video below (wait, shouldn’t those be Metascores?).
Arnold’s Last Stand
With a couple of one-liners and plenty of action—think guns, bullets, explosions, car chases, and fist fights—Arnold Schwarzenegger is back in his element in The Last Stand, the former California governor's first starring role in a decade. He plays the sheriff of a small border town and is the only thing standing between drug kingpin Eduardo Noriega and his return to Mexico. To fight Noriega’s henchmen (led by Peter Stormare), Arnold enlists the help of Luis Guzman, Johnny Knoxville, and Jaimie Alexander. Forest Whitaker, Genesis Rodriguez, Harry Dean Stanton, and Zach Gilford round out the cast for director Kim Ji-woon (I Saw the Devil 67), who makes his English-language debut. The Last Stand hits theaters January 18, 2013.
Les Miserables looks magnifique
The latest international trailer for Tom Hooper’s musical adaptation of Les Miserables gives an idea of the epic scope the director is going for with his follow-up to The King’s Speech 88. The voices of the majority of the cast are on display as the story of Jean Valjean’s redemption plays out against the backdrop of French history, climaxing in the June Rebellion of 1832. With a cast that includes Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, Russell Crowe as his nemesis, Inspector Javert, Anne Hathaway as Fantine, Amanda Seyfried as Cosette, Samantha Barks as Éponine, Eddie Redmayne as Marius, and Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter as the Thénardiers, award nominations are expected, but prepare for a long sit in the theater: the nearly three hour long film opens December 25th.
West of Memphis
Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh produced this documentary about the West Memphis Three which premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Three excellent documentaries (Paradise Lost: The Child Murders at Robin Hills, Paradise Lost 2: Revelations, and Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory 85) have already been made on the subject, but the fascinating story of Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley Jr. can support another look. Amy Berg (Deliver Us from Evil 86) directs. West of Memphis will be in limited release beginning December 25th.
Aliens try to Escape from Planet Earth
When alien astronaut Scorch Supernova is captured during a mission on Earth, his brainy but much less brawny brother Gary must leave his family behind and travel across the galaxy to mount a rescue. What does he find there? Slurpees cause headaches, and Area 51 is an alien prison-factory for new technology. Brendan Fraser voices Scorch and Rob Corddry voices Gary in this feature animation debut for director Cal Brunker. Supporting voice actors include James Gandolfini, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jessica Alba, Jane Lynch, Paul Reubens, and Craig Robinson. Escape from Planet Earth opens February 14, 2013.
Another red-band look at Movie 43
Producer Peter Farrelly has brought together plenty of talent for his comedy omnibus film, Movie 43, so hopefully more sketches will hit than miss. To get a taste for how far the film will go for a laugh, watch the clip below, in which Jason Sudeikis helps his buddy Justin Long get through his date with Kristen Bell. Movie 43 brings the funny to theaters beginning January 25, 2013.
Hitchcock featurette and international trailer
Early buzz for Sacha Gervasi’s Hitchcock has been pretty good. The film, an adaptation of Stephen Rebello’s book, Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho, has Anthony Hopkins in the title role, Helen Mirren as the director's wife Alma, Scarlett Johansson as Janet Leigh, James D’Arcy as Anthony Perkins, and Jessica Biel as Vera Miles, but as the new featurette and international trailer suggest, it’s as much about the relationship between Hitchcock and his wife as it is about the filming of Psycho. Hitchcock comes to theaters on November 23rd.
One last look at Lincoln
Steven Spielberg’s critically acclaimed Lincoln, starring Daniel Day-Lewis as the 16th President of the United States, comes to theaters in New York and Los Angeles today, but for those waiting until next week (or next year, depending on where you live), here’s one more look at what will surely be one of the awards contenders at the end of the year.
Dinosaurs invade your space
This trailer for Jurassic Park 3D plays like a greatest hits album where all the best cuts are by Jeff Goldblum, but we’re not complaining. Coming to theaters on April 5, 2013, almost 20 years after its initial release, will be the 3D-converted version of Steven Spielberg’s effects-laden mega-hit. Prepare to stare T Rex in the eye.
Save tonight for Save the Date
If you don’t want to wait until December 14th, or you don’t think the film will ever play in a theater near you, then watch Save the Date now. It hit VOD (iTunes, Amazon) yesterday, and the romantic comedy starring Lizzy Caplan and Alison Brie as sisters working through their different feelings towards commitment has already earned some positive reviews (as this new trailer suggests).
Finally, a look at Wong Kar-Wai’s The Grandmasters
Unless you understand spoken or written Chinese dialects, you probably won’t understand what’s going on in this trailer for Wong Kar-Wai’s The Grandmasters, but does it really matter when the visuals are this spectacular? Probably not. What we do know is that Tony Leung stars as the legendary martial arts master Ip Man in this long-in-the-works biopic co-starring Zhang Ziyi. It hits theaters in China on December 18th, but its U.S. release date is still unknown.
Mark is awesome; Transformers 4 will be ...
Two weeks ago, Michael Bay denied an internet rumor that Mark Wahlberg would star in Transformers 4. This week, Bay made it official that Wahlberg would in fact star in Transformers 4. How quickly things change: “Mark is awesome. We had a blast working on Pain and Gain and I’m so fired up to be back working with him. An actor of his caliber is the perfect guy to re-invigorate the franchise and carry on the Transformers’ legacy.” Was it all an elaborate ruse to bring more attention to Pain and Gain, their true-life action comedy about “personal trainers in 1990s Miami who, in pursuit of the American Dream, get caught up in a criminal enterprise that goes horribly wrong?” Well we just mentioned it again. What about the rumor that Transformers 4 would have a female lead? Maybe the model that Bay casts will be a co-lead. Filming begins spring 2013 for the June 27, 2014 release while Pain and Gain hits theaters April 26, 2013.
Quick notes: Rumors, release dates, casting news and more
- The development of Top Gun 2 has ended with the passing of director Tony Scott, but Top Gun 3D could be in theaters, including IMAX, as early as February. - The New York Times
- Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel will officially be post-converted to 3D as well as 2D IMAX.
- Kristen Stewart could play the less-experienced con artist opposite veteran Ben Affleck in Focus, written and directed by the Crazy, Stupid, Love team of Glenn Ficarra and John Requa. - Variety
- David Yates, who directed the last four Harry Potter films, will helm a new version of Tarzan, and Henry Cavill, Charlie Hunnam, Alexander Skarsgard, and Tom Hardy are all in the running to star. - Vulture
- Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig will star as brother and sister alongside Luke Wilson in indie comedy The Skeleton Twins. - Variety
- Justin Lin (Fast Five) will direct the sci-fi thriller Hibernation. - THR
- Kim Basinger will come between Robert De Niro and Sylvester Stallone in Grudge Match. - Variety
- Allison Janney and Philip Baker Hall have joined Jason Bateman’s directorial debut, the spelling bee comedy Bad Words. - The Wrap
- Jude Law, Naomi Watts, and Robert Pattinson will star in Werner Herzog’s Queen of the Desert, the story of Gertrude Bell, a key figure in the formation of the Middle East. - Deadline
- Jeff Goldblum revealed to KPCC that he will be in Wes Anderson’s next film, The Grand Budapest Hotel. (The Playlist)
- In what might be the oddest news of the week, John Cusack is developing a film about right-wing pundit Rush Limbaugh in which he would star as the controversial radio personality. - THR
- Viola Davis will join Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano, Hugh Jackman, and Melissa Leo in Denis Villeneuve’s Incendies follow-up, Prisoners. - The Wrap
- Imogen Poots will star opposite Zac Efron in the romantic comedy Are We Officially Dating?. - Deadline
- Shawn Levy will replace Adam Shankman as director on This Is Where I Leave You, the adaptation of Jonathan Tropper’s comedic novel. - Variety
- Jared Leto is the latest to join Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner in The Dallas Buyer’s Club. - THR
- Chronicle writer Max Landis will make his directorial debut with Me Him Her, his self-described “totally insane” story of three 20-somethings exploring their sexuality in “the weirdest, most surreal way possible.” - Variety
- Alex Proyas will direct Amped, an adaptation of the latest novel from Daniel H. Wilson, whose Robopocalypse will be directed by Steven Spielberg. - THR
- Dominic Cooper will join Aaron Paul and Imogen Poots in Scott Waugh’s Need for Speed adaptation. - Variety
- Dwayne Johnson will play Hercules for director Brett Ratner. - Deadline
- Philip Noyce (Salt) is in talks to direct Jeff Bridges in an adaptation of the young adult novel The Giver. - Variety
- Tim Robbins will direct and star alongside Dark Shadows co-stars Michele Pfeiffer and Chloe Moretz in Man Under, a dysfunctional family comedy. - Variety
- McG will direct a film about the private L.A. magic club the Magic Castle. - THR
- Paul Thomas Anderson would “like to make a film like Airplane.” - Moviehole