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

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  • Publish Date: October 21, 2011

A second look at George Clooney in The Descendants

Even though it debuted to mixed reviews on the fall film festival circuit, Alexander Payne’s first feature since 2004’s Sideways 94 has an early Metascore of 82. Based on Kaui Hart Hemmings’ book, The Descendants stars George Clooney as Matt King, a wealthy land owner struggling with the discovery of his wife’s affair after she’s injured in a boating accident and with his attempt to reconnect with his daughters (Shailene Woodley and Amara Mille) after years of being “the back-up parent.” See it in theaters beginning November 18.

The first trailer for Chronicle

What would you do if you acquired superpowers when you were a teenager? Chronicle investigates this question in a story about three friends, played by Michael B. Jordan (Friday Night Lights), Alex Russell and Dane DeHaan, who stumble upon a strange substance that gives them special abilities. As their power develops they must decide to use it for good or evil. Josh Trank makes his feature directing debut from a script by Max Landis. Shot in a faux-documentary style, Chronicle comes to theaters February 3, 2012.

Zhang Yimou gets serious in The Flowers of War

Zhang Yimou’s film career spans more than 20 years and includes films like Ju Do and Raise the Red Lantern, Hero 84 and House of Flying Daggers 89, and 2010’s odd Blood Simple remake A Woman, a Gun and a Noodle Shop 57. His latest, and China’s official entry for this year’s foreign language Oscar, is The Flowers of War, in which Christian Bale plays an American attempting to save lives during the 1937 Nanking Massacre. The film is based on Yan Geling’s novel The 13 Women of Nanjing about prostitutes who took the place of female university students selected to become “escorts” to the invading Japanese soldiers. It is believed that more than 20,000 women were raped and killed during the six-week occupation of the city. A U.S. release date has not been set.

Carey Mulligan to work with Coens and Spike Jonze?

She has Drive 79 in theaters, Shame with Michael Fassbender coming in December, and she’s playing Daisy Buchanan opposite Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire in Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of The Great Gatsby next year. Now, Variety reports that Carey Mulligan has been cast in the Coen brothers' Inside Llewyn Davis (opposite her Drive co-star Oscar Isaac) as well as an untitled Spike Jonze film starring Joaquin Phoenix and written by Charlie Kaufman. It’s possible that Mulligan will be asked to sing again considering Inside Llewyn Davis is a look at the 1960s folk music scene in New York City. Her rendition of New York, New York in Shame has already been mentioned by critics as a pivotal scene in that movie, and she also sang on the album Belle and Sebastian Write About Love 75. Less is known about the Spike Jonze/Charlie Kaufman project, but those two have already collaborated on Being John Malkovich 90 and Adaptation 83, so draw your own conclusions. Speaking of Jonze, you can watch the director's latest short film, Mourir Auprès de Toi, at Nowness.

A second trailer for Spielberg's The Adventures of Tintin

With the film opening internationally beginning on October 26, early reviews have begun to appear for Steven Spielberg’s animated film The Adventures of Tintin. The trades seem to like it; The Hollywood Reporter calls it a “good ol’ fashioned adventure flick,” while Variety agrees, claiming it’s a “whiz-bang thrill ride.” U.K. publications The Guardian and The Telegraph are less enthusiastic, admitting the film has some success with action set pieces but finding the 3D performance-capture characters lacking in vitality. American moviegoers will have to wait until December 21 to decide for themselves. For more Tintin coverage, check out THR’s interview with Spielberg and producer Peter Jackson as well as a new featurette over at HitFix.

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows in super slo-mo

After the box office success of 2009’s Sherlock Holmes 57 starring Robert Downey Jr., 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 a 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.

A red-band trailer for A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas

One film has already dubbed itself the “Feel Bad Movie of Christmas,” and even though it comes out November 4, A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas might want to tag itself “The Christmas Movie Only Some of the Family Can Enjoy.” The new red-band trailer reveals that the comedy will gleefully push the limits of good taste. Taking place six years after their Escape from Guantanamo Bay 57, Harold and Kumar’s Christmas adventure begins when they burn down Harold’s father-in-law’s prize Christmas tree. Yes, Harold is married, but for fans of the series, it doesn’t look like much else has changed (well, except for NPH being alive).

Matt Damon to direct?

THR reports that Matt Damon will follow in the footsteps of best bud Ben Affleck and direct his first feature film. Damon wrote the script for the untitled team with John Krasinski, and both will star in the project. There are few details about the plot, though THR indicates “the story centers on a salesman (Damon) who arrives in a small town only to have his life changed.” Not much to go on. CinemaBlend guesses at what Damon might bring to the director’s chair, but this is early in the process and, with both actors busy with other projects (Damon is shooting Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium and then Soderbergh’s Liberace biopic Behind the Candelabra, while Krasinski continues to star in NBC's The Office), who knows when cameras will begin to roll.

Dogtooth director returns with Alps

Director Giorgos Lanthimos provoked a slew of different reactions with last year’s Dogtooth 73 and, judging from early reviews, he’ll do the same with his follow-up, Alps. The film centers on a group of people who attempt to help the grieving process of their clients by standing in for their deceased loved ones. The trailer of the film shows that the strange concept leads to more absurd humor, odd dancing, and moments of violence from the unique director. A U.S. release is expected in the spring of 2012.

Piranha 3DD teaser

While its release has been delayed until sometime in 2012, that didn’t stop Dimension films from teasing its “sequel” to Piranha 3D 53 at Spike TV’s Scream Awards. Christopher Lloyd and Ving Rhames (now with special legs) return for a second shot at those pesky piranhas, and they are joined this time by Katrina Bowden, Gary Busey, David Koechner, David Hasselhoff and many scantily clad coeds. Who will survive? You’ll have to wait and see, but in the meantime enjoy this teaser to Piranha 3DD.

Assassin’s Creed coming to the big screen

Ubisoft’s popular gaming series that began in 2007 with Assassin’s Creed and has since spawned Assassin’s Creed II, Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood , and the upcoming Assassin’s Creed: Revelations, will begin the long process of being transformed into a movie at Sony. Variety reports that Sony Pictures is in final negotiations to turn the game series into a “major tentpole at megaplexes.” Disney turned another Ubisoft product, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, into the disappointing (critically and monetarily) Jake Gyllenhaal-starring Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time 50. Will Sony have more success with Assassin’s Creed?

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

  • Steven Soderbergh has been looking for George Clooney’s replacement since the actor had to leave his adaptation of The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and now it looks like Bradley Cooper could be taking over the lead role. - Variety
  • Liam Hemsworth, who recently wrapped playing Gale in The Hunger Games, will star in the time-travel love story Timeless for Phillip Noyce (Salt). - Moviehole
  • Director Tran Anh Hung’s (Vertical Ray of the Sun) adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s novel Norwegian Wood will finally hit U.S. screens in January 2012. - Anne Thompson
  • Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Tobey Maguire, Joel Edgerton, and Isla Fisher will be released December 25, 2012, the same date Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained (also starring Leonardo DiCaprio) plans on hitting theaters. Anyone up for a Leo double bill?
  • Matt Reeves (Let Me In) will direct a big screen adaptation of the TV show The Twilight Zone. - Deadline
  • Aaron Eckhart will play Beach Boys drummer Dennis WIlson in Randy Miller’s (Bottle Shock) independent biopic titled, succinctly enough, The Drummer. - Variety
  • Keanu Reeves will make his directorial debut with Man of Tai Chi, a kung fu flick in which he will also star opposite Tiger Hu Chen, who was a stuntman on Keanu’s Matrix sequels. - Screen Daily
  • After he directs the Wolverine sequel, James Mangold (Knight and Day) will helm a remake of the Icelandic thriller City State about the intersecting lives of a police woman, a revenge-minded mechanic, a drug kingpin, and a corrupt officer set against a war for control of the Icelandic drug trade. - Deadline
  • Johnny Knoxville, Forest Whitaker, and Harry Dean Stanton have joined the currently in-production Arnold Schwarzenegger comeback film The Last Stand. /Film has the official press release.
  • Even though he’s busy shooting Robert Redford’s The Company You Keep and getting beat up outside of a bar, Shia LaBeouf still has time to book a new film. In A Giant, LaBeouf will play a 20-foot-tall man-child who forms a bond with a girl who returns home after a series of bad relationships. Gil Kenan (Monster House) will direct from his own script. - Variety
  • Rumored weeks ago but now confirmed, Anne Hathaway will play Fantine opposite Russell Crowe and Hugh Jackman in Tom Hopper’s musical adaptation of Les Miserables. - Deadline
  • Channing Tatum could play Olympic wrestler Dave Schultz opposite Steve Carell in Bennett Miller’s Moneyball follow-up, Foxcatcher, the story of John du Pont. - 24 Frames
  • John Cusack and Johnny Knoxville will star in the Rio-set comedy Carnaval. “Cusack will play a sports scout sent to Rio de Janeiro...to recruit the world’s best soccer player with the promise that if he signs the star, he will inherit the agency. Knoxville plays his best friend, a musician who tags along and has an affair with a woman who turns out to be the player’s girlfriend, derailing the signing mission.” - THR
  • It looks like a live-action version of Akira will be made after all. Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) will direct, and Garrett Hedlund (Tron: Legacy) is the front-runner to star. - Variety
  • The Wachowskis will follow Cloud Atlas with an original sci-fi epic currently titled Jupiter Ascending. - Deadline
  • The awards season has begun! (Yes, we know it's only October.) The 21st Gotham Independent Film Awards announced their nominations Thursday and included among the best picture nominees were Beginners, The Descendants, Meek’s Cutoff, Take Shelter, and Tree of Life. Check out all the nominations here; winners will be announced on November 28.
  • If you’re a horror fan, go vote for the 26th film in the ABC’s of Death, a collection of short films from famous directors and one unknown.
  • A six-minute prologue to The Dark Knight Rises will play before IMAX screenings of Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, which opens December 16. Does this make the extra bucks for IMAX admission worth it? - /Film
  • While David Fincher revealed this week in Vogue that he thinks, “Salander should be like E.T.” and that Scarlett Johansson had a “great audition” for the role but unfortunately for her, people “can’t wait for her to take her clothes off,” the viral internet campaign continued for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo with two more hidden websites.  FirstShowing breaks it down.

Comments (1)

  • MarcDoyle  

    The Alps trailer makes it look like a must-see, and that Piranha 3DD trailer... the definition of gratuitous - but sure, I'll probably see that too. Chronicle looks like it will start out well, but it'll probably descend into cliche territory with the absolute power corrupting...well, you know. And Harold & Kumar? I'm sure I'll check it out, but damn, the critics aren't going to like that sucker. The red band trailer, as Keith says, certainly pushes the limits of good taste -and what's funny. But we'll see!

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