Bikinis and big booties, y’all!
Disney stars in bikinis, brandishing guns. James Franco with cornrows and a wicked grill. It all adds up to girls gone wild, Harmony Korine-style. The provocative director of Julien Donkey-Boy 52 and Trash Humpers 33 is back with another visually stunning film that looks to be his most mainstream movie yet. Ashley Benson, Vanessa Hudgens, Rachel Korine, and Selena Gomez star as best friends looking for adventure in the Florida sun. Early reviews from festival screenings were a bit mixed, but that’s typical for Korine’s films. Check out Spring Breakers when it opens in select theaters on March 22nd before expanding the following week.
RED 2, geriatric boogaloo
2010‘s RED 61, directed by Robert Schwentke, was a surprise success for Summit, making almost $200 million worldwide, so the sequel system started churning and produced this story about Frank Moses (Bruce Willis) and his motley, aging crew getting back together again, this time in Europe. Mary-Louise Parker, John Malkovich, Helen Mirren, and Brian Cox return, as do the original film’s screenwriters, Erich and Jon Hoeber. Director Dean Parisot (Galaxy Quest 70) takes over for Schwentke (who’s busy with R.I.P.D.), and he’s brought along new cast members Anthony Hopkins, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Byung Hun Lee, and Neal McDonough. RED 2 hits theaters August 2nd.
Ramin Bahrani’s At Any Price
Ramin Bahrani has enjoyed the praise of critics for each of his first three films (Man Push Cart 71, Chop Shop 83, and Goodbye Solo 89), so expectations were high for his latest, an Iowa farm-set drama about a family’s struggles with each other and the American Dream, starring Dennis Quaid and Zac Efron as father and son, the first “known” actors to work with Bahrani. Unfortunately, At Any Price did not impress critics as much as his previous films when it premiered at festivals last fall, but Sony Pictures Classics still picked it up and will release it on April 26.
Halle Berry makes a bad call
It might be an understatement to say Halle Berry’s career has slipped a bit since she won an Oscar for Monster’s Ball 69, and The Call, a thriller about a 911 operator’s attempt to save a kidnapped girl, doesn’t look like a career resuscitator. Director Brad Anderson has had some previous success in the thriller genre with Transsiberian 72 and The Machinist 61, but his last film Vanishing on 7th Street 50 was a disappointment. The cast is solid with Abigail Breslin playing the teenager in crisis and supporting turns by Morris Chestnut and Michael Imperioli. Look for The Call in theaters beginning March 15th.
The first full trailer for Jeff Nichols’ Mud
When it premiered at Cannes last year, Mud, Jeff Nichols’ follow-up to Take Shelter 85, received a lukewarm response, but maybe the bar was set too high by his previous film. This story of 14-year-old Ellis and his best friend Neckbone helping a fugitive named Mud reunite with Juniper, the love of his life, has a strong cast with Matthew McConaughey in the lead role, Tye Sheridan and Jacob Lofland as the boys, Reese Witherspoon as Juniper, and supporting players Sam Shepard, Michael Shannon, Sarah Paulson, Ray McKinnon, and Joe Don Baker. See if the work as a whole lives up to the promise of the cast and Nichols‘ previous films when it hits theaters on April 26th.
Rise of the planet of the dinosaurs
Universal pictures announced this week that Jurassic Park IV will be coming to theaters on June 13, 2014. Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver (Rise of the Planet of the Apes 68) will write the script. Deadline adds that the film will be shot in 3D, and that, currently, Steven Spielberg will only be a producer despite the recent delay to Robopocalypse. It was July 18, 2001 when Jurassic Park III 42 premiered, and by that point, audiences and critics were tiring of the franchise, resulting in the lowest-grossing, worst-reviewed movie of the series. Is a new generation ready for dinosaurs run amok?
The Brass Teapot pays off
Michael Angarano and Juno Temple play a couple who find a money-making teapot in this debut feature from director Ramaa Mosley. As with any magic teapot, there is a catch: for the teapot to produce dollar bills, someone near it must experience pain. Supporting the two leads are Alexis Bledel, Alia Shawkat, Bobby Moynihan, and Matt Walsh. Look for The Brass Teapot on demand beginning February 28th and in theaters April 5th.
A first look at Emperor
Tommy Lee Jones is General Douglas MacArthur and Matthew Fox plays General Bonner Fellers in this dramatization of Operation Blacklist in which Fellers was tasked with clearing Emperor Hirohito’s name during America’s occupation of post-war Japan. Feller’s investigation is complicated by his search for Aya (Eriko Hatsune), a Japanese exchange student he met prior to the war. Peter Webber (Girl with a Pearl Earring 72, Hannibal Rising 35) directs Emperor, which is slated for theatrical release on March 8.
A quick glimpse inside the mind of Charles Swan III
Here’s a quick teaser for Roman Coppola’s new feature, his first as writer/director since 2002‘s CQ 56. The film stars Charlie Sheen as a self-absorbed playboy whose life spins out of control after his girlfriend (Katheryn Winnick) breaks up with him. Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman, on loan from Coppola’s occasional writing partner Wes Anderson, play supporting roles, as do Patricia Arquette, Aubrey Plaza, Dermot Mulroney, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III is available on demand already and will be in theaters February 8th.
A new trailer for The End of Love
Actor Marc Webb (Scott Pilgrim vs. The World) brought his passion project to Sundance last year, and The End of Love will finally be available on demand on January 21st and in a few theaters on March 1st. The semi-autobiographical story about a single dad trying to raise his two-year-old son (played by Webber’s actual son) stars Webb as well as Shannyn Sossamon, Amanda Seyfried, Jason Ritter, Jocelin Donahue, Michael Cera, and Aubrey Plaza.
Happy People, cold weather
Coming to select theaters next week is Happy People: A Year in the Taiga, another in a long line of impressive documentaries from director Werner Herzog. This time, he takes audiences to Siberia's Taiga—specifically, the small village of Bakhtia—where he follows a trapper over the course of a year. Herzog re-edited Russian filmmaker Dmitry Vasyukov’s original four-hour cut, adding his own unique narration to a film that should please fans of Grizzly Man 87, Encounters at the End of the World 80, and Cave of Forgotten Dreams 86.
A third (but still cryptic) trailer for Upstream Color
One of the most anticipated films of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival is Shane Carruth’s Upstream Color. This week, a third, more extensive trailer hit the internet, but that doesn’t mean everything (or anything) is now clear about the enigmatic film. The writer, director, editor, and star of Primer 68, the Grand Jury Prize-winner at Sundance 2004, also revealed to the L.A. Times that we will be distributing the film through his own company, erbp, and that he has another film in the works, The Modern Ocean, that he plans on shooting this summer. Look for Upstream Color in select theaters beginning April 5th.
The Iceman cometh
Michael Shannon plays one of the more disturbing characters of his impressive career in this true story of contract killer Richard Kuklinski. Known as the Iceman, Kuklinski is thought to have killed over a hundred people while maintaining a seemingly normal home life. Winona Ryder plays his wife, and Ray Liotta shows up as Roy DeMeo, a member of the Gambino crime family who employed Kuklinski. Chris Evans, James Franco, and Robert Davi also appear in supporting roles. Director Ariel Vromen co-wrote the screenplay with Morgan Land, basing it on the book The Iceman: The True Story of a Cold-Blooded Killer by Anthony Bruno. The Iceman hits theaters May 3rd.
Yorgos Lanthimos considers The Lobster
Dogtooth 73 and Alps 69 director Yorgos Lanthimos has another intriguing idea for his next film. Flix reports that the Greek director is at Rotterdam's Cinemart to secure the funding for his next feature, The Lobster. Here’s the plot synopsis: "An unconventional love story set in a dystopian near future where single people, according to the rules of the Town, are arrested and transferred to the Hotel. There they are obliged to find a matching mate in 45 days. If they fail, they are transformed into an animal of their choosing and released into the woods. A desperate Man escapes from the Hotel to the Woods where the Loners live and there he falls in love, although it’s against their rules." The film will be his third consecutive collaboration with screenwriter Efthymis Filippou. The director also shared his thoughts on what the film will explore: "The Lobster is a story about love, without being a conventional love story. It observes the ways and reasons certain people come together to form couples, while others don’t. It is a story about the terrifying effects of solitude, the fear of dying alone, the fear of living alone and, above all, the fear of living with someone. Forcing ourselves to like someone is one kind of suffering; trying to find someone we really like is a different sort of suffering. The Lobster tries to discover synonyms for love in words such as fear, norms, deadlines, matching, synchronicity, naivety, prosperity and lies."
Quick notes: Rumors, release dates, casting news and more
- Brad Bird's 1952, starring George Clooney and written by Damon Lindelof, will be released on December 19, 2014. Despite some reports, it will not be in 3D (at least not yet).
- Pirates Of The Caribbean 5 is officially set to hit theaters on July 10, 2015. Johnny Depp will return as Captain Jack Sparrow.
- Alfonso Cuarón's Gravity, a major 3D special effects undertaking starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock, will finally be released on October 4, 2013.
- This week Marvel announced that both Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain America: The Winter Soldier will be released in 3D, surprising no one.
- Brett Ratner’s version of the graphic novel Hercules: The Thracian Wars, starring Dwayne Johnson in the title role, will hit theaters on August 8, 2014. - THR
- Machete Kills, Robert Rodriguez’s sequel to 2010’s Machete, will come to theaters on September 13th.
- Louis C.K. is in talks to join Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Renner and Amy Adams in David O. Russell’s next (currently untitled) film about the FBI’s late 1970s/early '80s Abscam sting operation. - THR
- Bradley Cooper will produce and star in Dark Invasion, an adaptation of an upcoming book by Howard Blum. The true story is set in 1915 and concerns the NYPD Captain Tom Tunney’s hunt for German spies. - Deadline
- Anne Hathaway will star in an updated version of William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. Abi Morgan (Shame, The Iron Lady) will write the script, which will take place in mid-20th century Italy. - The Wrap
- A Die Hard marathon will take place at select theaters on February 13th, culminating in a showing of the new fifth movie in the series, A Good Day To Die Hard, which this week was rated “R.” - /Film
- Emma Stone is in talks to star in Guillermo del Toro's gothic haunted house pic, Crimson Peak. - Variety
- Trey Parker and Matt Stone have formed their own production studio, and they have named it Important Studios. Here’s why: “Having worked with several different studios over the years, we came to realize that our favorite people in the world are ourselves.” - N.Y. Times
- Who doesn’t want to see a remake of Ben-Hur? - Deadline
- Kid Cudi will join Aaron Paul, Dominic Cooper and Imogen Poots in Need for Speed. - Heat Vision
- Homer’s The Odyssey set in space? Sure, why not. - Deadline
- Timur Bekmambetov will direct Heatseekers, which will “center on an ex-military pilot who takes on a group of aerial pirates.” - Heat Vision
- Who wants to see Hot Tub Time Machine 2? (Hint: Not John Cusack.) - Heat Vision
- Al Pacino will play late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno in the Brian De Palma biopic, Happy Valley. Their previous collaborations have produced Scarface and Carlito’s Way. - Deadline
- A Gremlins reboot is in the works. - Vulture
- Liam Neeson and director Jaume Collet-Serra will team up for a third time (Unknown and the upcoming Non-Stop being the first two) on Run All Night, the story of a mob hitman who finds himself on the run and trying to protect his family from his less-than-understanding boss. - Deadline
- Paul Dano will play Beach Boys leader Brian Wilson in Love & Mercy for writer Oren Moverman (The Messenger, Rampart) and director Bill Pohlad. - THR
- James Franco will star in and direct Beautiful People, a biopic of the charismatic '60s playboy and visionary hairstylist Jay Sebring, who was one of the victims (along with his former lover Sharon Tate) of the Charles Manson family. - Deadline
- James Ponsoldt, the director of Smashed and the upcoming Spectacular Now, has been tapped to write and direct the adaptation of the YA novel Pure, the first book in a planned trilogy by Julianna Baggott. - Heat Vision
- Ray Liotta, Juno Temple, and Jeremy Piven have joined the cast of Robert Rodriguez’s Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. - The Playlist
- Check out (or download if you like), an illustrated version of the Moonrise Kingdom script.