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

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  • Publish Date: September 9, 2011

A first look at The Big Year

David Frankel (The Devil Wears Prada 62, Marley & Me 53) directs Steve Martin, Jack Black, and Owen Wilson in this story about three birdwatchers who deal with the current crises in their lives by competing in an annual birding event. The film, an adaptation of Mark Obmascik’s book The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature, and Fowl Obsession, also has a strong supporting cast that includes Rashida Jones, Tim Blake Nelson, Jim Parsons, Anjelica Houston, Joel McHale, and many more. The Big Year comes to theaters October 14.

A Lars von Trier update, and a trailer for Melancholia

It’s been another exciting week in the life of Lars von Trier. THR reports that, while in Berlin for a retrospective of his films, von Trier continued to answers questions about his
Cannes comments, saying “I think history shows that we are all Nazis somewhere ...” and, always the provocateur, spoke about his next film Nymphomaniac, saying, I'm talking to all the ladies I knew when I was young, who are now 50 and 60, and if you take a woman of 50 or 60 who has been sexually active, they will talk for hours. And this is fantastic, it's a pleasure and I smile all the way, and that's why I want to extend the research time. You have no idea how dirty the female mind is!” Reports also surfaced this week that Stellan Skarsgard and Willem Dafoe had been approached by the director to star in the new film. Skarsgard, who worked with von Trier on Breaking the Waves 76, told Eonline, "Lars called me and said, 'Stellan, my next film will be a porno film, and I want you to play the lead in it,'" he said, laughing. "But then he said, 'You will not get to f--k.'" Until that film comes together, check out the U.S. trailer for Melancholia, von Trier’s examination of depression and the end of the world that won Kirsten Dunst the Best Actress prize at Cannes. The film comes to theaters November 11.

Human Centipede II teaser trailer (and be grateful it's only a teaser)

Another provocateur—though certainly not on the same artistic level—is director Tom Six. His 2009 horror film The Human Centipede 33 wormed its way into pop culture with even South Park using it to satirize Apple with the Human Centipad. This year, he’s back with The Human Centipede II (Full Sequence), and it’s already been banned in the UK. The psycho at the center of the new film is Martin, a character who is inspired by viewing the original film on DVD to make his own human centipede out of 12 people. Human Centipede II will premiere at Fantastic Fest in two weeks and IFC Midnight will bring it to theaters later in the year.

Two epic novels get great casts

A pair of high profile directors will take on two classic novels in the upcoming year. Joe Wright, whose latest film was the modern tale Hanna 65, will return to the classics along with Keira Knightley, Jude Law, and Aaron Johnson for the Tom Stoppard-scripted adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. This is by no means unfamiliar territory for the director, who previously helmed adaptations of Pride & Prejudice 82 and Atonement 85 starring Knightley. Kelly Macdonald, Emily Watson, and Olivia Williams will also have roles in the new film, set in 19th-century Russia; read the full press release here.

Like Anna Karenina, Victor Hugo’s novel Les Misérables has been adapted in many forms and many times, but maybe most successfully as a musical. Now, director Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech 88) plans to bring the musical adaptation to the big screen, and he’s pursuing some major stars to help him. THR reports that Russell Crowe is in talks to star opposite Hugh Jackman in a film version that will hit theaters on December 7, 2012. Crowe would play Javert, the police inspector who ruthlessly pursues Jackman’s Jean Valjean, and Helena Bonham Carter is also being considered for the role of the evil and greedy Madame Thénardier.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, featurette

Tomas Alfredson’s adaptation of John le Carré’s novel Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is already receiving good reviews at the fall festivals, so anticipation for its December 9 release seems warranted. Until then, satiate any desire for Cold War spy shenanigans with this featurette. The incredibly deep cast includes Gary Oldman as George Smiley, Thomas Hardy, Colin Firth, John Hurt, Mark Strong, Cirian Hinds, Toby Jones, Stephen Graham, and Benedict Cumberbatch.

A clip from Shame and an interview with director Steve McQueen

Another film earning praise on the fall festival circuit is Shame. The film reunites director Steve McQueen and star Michael Fassbender, who previously teamed up to tell the story of Bobby Sands in Hunger 82. Their latest looks at sex addiction through Fassbender’s Brandon and how his life is thrown off-kilter when his sister, played by Carey Mulligan, moves into his apartment. It could be tricky to find a distributor willing to take a chance on such a sexually explicit film, but the drama could get picked up soon on the strength of the festival buzz and the film’s two rising stars. Fassbender is in the midst of shooting Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, and Mulligan has Drive coming out next week, is filming The Great Gatsby with Baz Luhrmann, and, according to THR, intends to re-team with her Drive director, Nicolas Winding Refn, in his sexual thriller, I Walk with the Dead. In the meantime, check out what Shame's director and star have to say about the difficult film as well as a short clip that provides a good glimpse into the style of the film.

An early look at George Clooney in The Descendants

The Playlist has an early clip from Alexander Payne’s first directorial effort in seven years, The Descendants, based on a novel by Kaui Hart Hemmings. The film chronicles the troubles of Matt King, played by George Clooney, a wealthy man trying to re-connect with his daughters after his wife is injured in a boating accident and he discovers she was having an affair. In the clip below, Clooney meets his eldest daughter’s (Shailene Woodley) boyfriend, Sid (Nick Krause). The tone seems consistent with Payne’s earlier work, and early reviews have been solid. The Descendants will now be released on November 18, five days earlier than originally planned.

The Expendables 2: Is bigger always better?

While they had cameos in The Expendables 45, it seems that Bruce Willis and Arnold Schwarzenegger will have much bigger roles in the sequel. Deadline reports the casting of the two stars, calling the roles “substantial,” but has no further details. Simon West (The Mechanic 49) will take over directing duties from Sylvester Stallone and, while rumors are flying around that Jean-Claude Van Damme and Chuck Norris will be joining the film as well (the LA Times goes so far as to list them in the cast), nothing has been confirmed yet. We can only hope ...

A clip from the The Thing

This prequel to John Carpenter’s 1982 classic finds Mary Elizabeth Winstead traveling to Antarctica to investigate the discovery of an alien species by a team of Norwegian scientists. The film also stars Joel Edgerton (Warrior) as the crew’s helicopter pilot, and in the scene below, you’ll see Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Lost’s Mr. Eko) checking out their discovery. The Thing is directed by first-time feature director Matthijs van Heijningen. See it in theaters October 14.

Watch the animated short Ormie before it becomes a feature film

Variety reports that the award-winning short film Ormie will be turned into a feature. The short, about a cookie-obsessed pig, has earned honors at festivals in Savannah, Palm Springs, and Seattle. Check out the the short below; it might remind you of Pixar’s Knick Knack, the story of a snowman stuck in a snow globe (which, if you haven’t seen, you should also check out).

Mel Gibson to produce and maybe direct a Jewish hero epic

If you read the headline, you’re probably thinking, “seriously?”. Yes, 24 Frames is reporting that alleged anti-Semite Mel Gibson is “developing a film for Warner Bros. about the life of Judah Maccabee, the [Jewish] warrior whose ancient victory is celebrated by Hanukkah.” To make the story even better, Joe Eszterhas will write the script. There’s no need to review Gibson's recent public problems or his success with religious subject matter (almost $612 million worldwide for The Passion of the Christ 47) and while Eszterhas is still best known as the writer of Basic Instinct 34 and Showgirls 16, he did receive “the Emanuel Foundation's Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995 for his writings about the Holocaust in Hungary,” though this project is still a head scratcher. Thoughts?

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

  • As reported in Deadline and elsewhere, Eddie Murphy has been selected by producer Brett Ratner to host the Oscars, and it sounds like Billy Crystal will also be heavily involved in the ceremony, which airs on February 26, 2012. The Los Angeles Times' Patrick Goldstein, for one, thinks Murphy is a poor choice.
  • Check out the first poster for Jason Reitman’s next film, Young Adult, starring Charlize Theron and written by Diablo Cody. - THR
  • Here are four posters for A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas.
  • Chris Tucker is considering roles in both David O. Russell’s The Silver Linings Playbook and the Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn, Jonah Hill comedy Neighborhood Watch. - Variety
  • Steven Soderbergh’s Magic Mike added two more to its cast this week -- Wendi McLendon-Covey (Bridesmaids) and Adam Rodriguez (CSI: Miami). - THR & Deadline
  • Anthony Hopkins is in final talks to play a former doctor now working for the FBI who uses his psychic powers to hunt down a serial killer in Solace. - Variety
  • Seth Grahame-Smith, the writer of the novels Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, as well as the upcoming Tim Burton adaptation of Dark Shadows, will, along with his producing partner, David Katzenberg, work on a sequel to Tim Burton’s 1988 film Beetlejuice. - Deadline
  • John Scheinfeld (Who Is Harry Nilsson (And Why Is Everybody Talkin’ About Him?)) will direct Fame and Fortune, an Elvis biopic based on the book Elvis: Still Taking Care of Business, written by Presley’s former bodyguard Sonny West and Marshall Terrill. The goal is to release the film in 2012, which marks the 35th anniversary of Elvis’s death. So who should play Elvis? - THR
  • Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, who teamed up to write Ed Wood and The People vs. Larry Flynt, will try to create a script based on the board game Monopoly, and, yes, Ridley Scott is still attached to direct. - Heat Vision
  • Peter Stormare is in negotiations to star opposite Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Last Stand. He will play a war veteran working for the drug cartel leader who wants to kill the small town sheriff played by Schwarzenegger. - Variety
  • You Betcha, Nick Broomfield’s documentary on Sarah Palin, will be released in New York and Los Angeles on September 30 before expanding to more cities. - THR
  • Scott Z. Burns, the writer of Contagion, will write and direct a “new psychological thriller set in the world of pharmaceuticals, called The Side Effects.” - The Playlist
  • While doing some press for Take Shelter, Michael Shannon spoke to MTV and Moviefone about playing General Zod and the motion capture suit he’ll be wearing in Man of Steel.
  • Gwyneth Paltrow and Joely Richardson will join Mark Ruffalo and Tim Robbins in the recovering sex addict story Thanks for Sharing, the directorial debut of Stuart Blumberg, the writer of The Kids Are All Right. - Variety
  • Before David Fincher’s version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo hits theaters December 21, you can re-watch the Swedish films starring Noomi Rapace in a 9-hour extended trilogy coming to Blu-ray and DVD November 22. - The Playlist
  • M. Night Shyamalan’s One Thousand A.E., starring Will Smith and his son Jaden, will be released on June 7, 2013.
  • Wanderlust, the David Wain-directed comedy starring Paul Rudd and Jennifer Aniston, has been bumped from an October 7 release date to February 24, 2012.
  • Marion Cotillard will star in Rust and Bone, director Jacques Audiard’s follow-up to A Prophet. - Variety
  • With War Horse and The Adventures of Tin Tin: The Secret of the Unicorn coming out this December, and his biopic Lincoln expected in theaters December 2012, Steven Spielberg might want to take a break; instead, THR reports that Fox and Dreamworks have set a July 3, 2013 release date for Spielberg’s adaptation of Daniel H. Wilson’s book Robopocalypse.
  • John Malkovich is in final talks to join Jonathan Levine’s adaptation of Warm Bodies, about the friendship between a zombie and the girlfriend of one of his victims. Malkovich will play General Grigio, who's obsessed with the destruction of the zombie threat. - Variety
  • William Tell 3D will reunite Brendan Fraser with his Journey to the Center of the Earth director, Eric Brevig. - Deadline
  • Laika, the animation studio behind Coraline, will adapt Colin Meloy’s (the lead singer of The Decemberists) young adult fantasy novel Wildwood. - Variety
  • Joseph Ruben (The Forgotten) will direct Michelle Monaghan as a photo-journalist hiding from the world in her New York penthouse and MIchael Keaton as “smooth but sadistic criminal looking for a hidden fortune” in Penthouse North - THR
  • Hayley Bennett (The Haunting of Molly Hartley) is the frontrunner to star opposite Christian Bale in Terrence Malick’s next film. - Variety
  • David Twohy (Pitch Black, The Chronicles of Riddick) will write and direct an art heist film titled The Leonardo Job. - ComingSoon.net
  • Danny DeVito will return to directing with an adaptation of the young adult novel The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. Morgan Freeman and Pierce Brosnan have already been cast as the two adult leads. - THR
  • James McTeigue (Ninja Assassin) will direct Ness/Capone which “puts a new spin on the epic battle between Eliot Ness and Al Capone during the Prohibition Era 1920s.” - Deadline
  • Ron Howard is attached to direct 364, the story of a man who has superpowers only one day a year. - Deadline
  • Charlie Sheen will star opposite Jason Schwartzman in Roman Coppola’s A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charlie Swan III about “a successful graphic designer whose fame, money and charm have made him irresistible to women until his girlfriend breaks up with him sending his life into a downward spiral.” - Variety
  • Whit Stillman (Metropolitan, the upcoming Damsels in Distress) still wants to make "Dancing Mood, about young people in the Kingston, Jamaica, church music scene in 1962 through '66.” - Variety

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