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

  • Publish Date: September 23, 2011
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A first look at Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar

Leonardo DiCaprio stars as FBI director J. Edgar Hoover in this biopic directed by Clint Eastwood and written by Dustin Lance Black (Milk 84). If that doesn’t sound like Oscar bait, what does? Oh, right: DiCaprio is also sporting an accent for the role. Armie Hammer plays Hoover’s deputy and rumored lover Clyde Tolson, while Naomi Watts plays Helen Gandy, Hoover’s secretary of fifty-four years, and Judi Dench plays Hoover's mother. Other supporting players include Ed Westwick, Lea Thompson, Dermot Mulroney, Stephen Root, and Jeffrey Donovan. Eastwood’s last directorial effort was the underwhelming Hereafter 56, but maybe directing a story with historical underpinnings as he did with four of his last six films (Invictus 74, Changeling 63, Letters from Iwo Jima 89, Flags of Our Fathers 79) will return him to the good graces of critics and filmgoers. J. Edgar comes to theaters November 9.

The extended trailer for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Is it the most anticipated film of the coming months? Well, maybe the most anticipated remake (or shall we call it a re-adaptation). The story is well known by the millions of people who read the books and saw the Swedish films, but this is The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo through David Fincher’s eyes. Rooney Mara tries to make the role of Lisbeth Salander her own after Noomi Rapace’s portrayal vaulted her into international stardom (and roles in Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows and Ridley Scott’s Prometheus). Daniel Craig plays investigative reporter Mikael Blomkvist, and the strong supporting cast includes Christopher Plummer, Stellan Skarsgard, Robin Wright, Steven Berkoff, Joel Kinnaman, and Goran Visnjic. The adaptation of Stieg Larsson’s book was penned by Steven Zaillian, who’s probably best known for adapting Schindler’s List 93, but also recently worked on the Moneyball 87 script with Aaron Sorkin. The score comes from Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, the Oscar-winning composers for Fincher's The Social Network. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo hits theaters December 21.

The first trailer for The Grey

Director Joe Carnahan re-teams with his The A-Team 47 star Liam Neeson in this thriller about a group of oil-rig roughnecks who, after their plane crashes in the Alaskan wilderness, struggle to survive harsh weather and a hungry pack of wolves. Included in the stranded crew are Dermot Mulroney, James Badge Dale (Rubicon), and Frank Grillo (Warrior). Carnahan wrote the screenplay with Ian Mackenzie Jeffers (Death Sentence 36). Filmed on location during a chilly Canadian winter, The Grey might not do much to warm you up when it comes to theaters January 27, 2012.

Sam Worthington is a Man on a Ledge

In this crime thriller from Danish director Asger Leth, whose previous feature was the documentary Ghosts of Cité Soleil 64, Sam Worthington stars as an ex-cop now fugitive who proclaims his innocence while perched on the ledge of a New York City building. Elizabeth Banks plays the NYPD negotiator sent to talk him down while Ed Harris looks like he’s having fun chewing some scenery as a sketchy businessman. Jamie Bell, Anthony Mackie, Ed Burns, Genesis Rodriguez, and Kyra Sedgwick also star. Look for Man on a Ledge in theaters January 13, 2012.

Big Miracle is a whale of a tale

People love feel-good stories about marine mammals based on true events. This week, Dolphin Tale 65 comes to theaters, and February 3, 2012 will welcome the save-the-whales story Big Miracle. This ripped-from-the-headlines tale centers on three gray whales and the small Alaskan town that comes together to help save them. John Krasinski plays a local reporter who rallies support to save the whales with the help of his ex-girlfriend (and Greenpeace volunteer), played by Drew Barrymore. Supporting their effort are Kristen Bell, Ted Danson, Stephen Root, Tim Blake Nelson, James LeGros, Rob Riggle, Vinessa Shaw and Dermot Mulroney (making his third appearance in this week’s Film Friday). Ken Kwapis (He’s Just Not That Into You 47) directs.

Malick and Bale on a date in Austin

Any news, no matter how vague, of Terrence Malick filming will most likely get reported, especially if there are pictures of the director in action. The Film Stage has a collection of photos showing Malick and Christian Bale filming all around the Austin City Limits music festival. It seems that Bale got a few days off from The Dark Knight Rises to steal some shots at performances from Coldplay, Bright Eyes, and Pretty Lights. Actress Haley Bennett, rumored to be the front runner to join Bale in the untitled film, was also spotted. Do we know anything more about the project? Not really, but from all the images available, The Playlist speculates, “If we were to take a random, wild stab in the dark, perhaps Bale is playing a mentor to Bennett who plays an up-and-coming musician? Again, just a wild guess. Hell, this may not be music centered movie at all.” That pretty much sums up the elusiveness of a Terrence Malick project, but it’s something to look forward to.

Jackie Chan revisits 1911

Jackie Chan directs and stars in this historical epic about the founding of the Republic of China. Chan plays Huang Xing, who, along with Sun Yat-sen (played by Winston Chao), was one of the leaders of the revolutionary groups fighting the Qing Dynasty represented by Empress Dowager Longyu, played by Joan Chen. After the revolution, Huang Xing became the commander-in-chief of the first army of the Republic of China. Chan also produced the picture, and his co-director is Li Zhang, the DP for John Woo’s Red Cliff, another Chinese epic. 1911 is scheduled for release in American theaters on October 7.

Urbanized trailer

Gary Hustwit, the director of two very interesting documentaries about our relationship to manufactured objects (Objectified) and typography (Helvetica) and the people behind the design of those everyday things turns his eye on another design subject in Urbanized: the city. In the film, Hustwit “looks at the issues and strategies behind urban design and features some of the world’s foremost architects, planners, policymakers, builders, and thinkers.” A limited theatrical run begins at the IFC Center in New York on October 28. For a list of people featured in the doc as well as screening announcements for other cities, check out the film’s website.

Red-band trailer for The Thing

This prequel to John Carpenter’s 1982 classic (which itself was based on the story Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell Jr, also the source for the Howard Hawks/Christian Nyby film The Thing from Another World) 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. The red-band trailer provides a peek at the monster in action and a little tease of the gore viewers can expect when The Thing, directed by first-time feature director Matthijs van Heijningen, hits theaters October 14.

Trailers for two TIFF participants

The Toronto International Film Festival wrapped up on Sunday and two films that screened at the festival and were picked up for distribution had teaser trailers released this week. The Deep Blue Sea stars Rachel Weisz and Tom Hiddleston (Loki in Thor) in an adaptation of Terence Rattigan’s 1950’s play about adultery (previously made into a film in 1955 starring Vivien Leigh and Kenneth More). Terence Davies (The House of Mirth 78) directs.

Another adaptation of an oft-adapted source is Andrea Arnold’s (Fish Tank 81) daring adaptation of Emily Bronte’s novel Wuthering Heights, which many critics praised for its strong visuals (presented here in their intended ratio). Check out the first trailer below.

Details emerge for Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln

While talking to The Orlando Sentinel (thanks to The Film Stage), Steven Spielberg reveled that his Lincoln biopic will focus on “the last four months of Abraham Lincoln’s life.” The film, written by Tony Kushner and based on the Doris Kearns Goodwin book Team of Rivals, stars Daniel Day Lewis as Lincoln, Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln, David Strathairn as William Seward, Tommy Lee Jones as Thaddeus Stevens, as well as John Hawkes, James Spader, Lee Pace, Bruce McGill, Hal Holbrook, Tim Blake Nelson and Walton Goggins. Spielberg will be filming in Richmond because “a lot of the buildings there, government buildings, look like Washington looked back during the Civil War,” and also stated, “The movie will be purposely coming out AFTER next year’s election. I didn’t want it to become political fodder.” Deadline also announced one more addition to the cast: Jackie Earle Haley will play Alexander Stephens, vice president of the Confederate States during the Civil War.

Nicolas Cage seeks Justice

The often reliable Roger Donaldson (The Bank Job 69, Thirteen Days 67) directs this vigilante thriller starring Nicolas Cage, Guy Pearce, and January Jones, but the film still has not acquired distribution in the U.S. This trailer, which premiered in The Sun, might explain why. Cage stars as the husband to the assault Jones who employs the services of Pearce’s shady vigilante group in exchange for a future “favor.” Cage comes to find out that murder is never free. Having gone through the titles The Hungry Rabbit Jumps, Seeking Justice, and now Justice, the film will come out in the U.K. November 16.

The first trailer for The Lie

Joshua Leonard, probably best known for acting in the indie films Humpday and Higher Ground, steps behind the camera to direct his first feature film, The Lie, an adaptation of T.C. Boyle’s short story by Leonard and three additional writers. The story revolves around Leonard’s decision to tell his boss that his young daughter has died, so he can get a day off of work. Before he knows it, the lie has taken on a life of its own. Jess Weixler (Teeth) plays his wife. The film premiered at Sundance this year to generally solid reviews, but no release date has been set.

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

  • Joel Schumacher’s home-invasion thriller Trespass, starring Nicolas Cage and Nicole Kidman as husband and wife, will hit theaters October 14, just prior to its November 1 DVD release.
  • The long-shelved A Thousand Words, starring Eddie Murphy as a man who can only say a thousand more words before he dies, will now be released on March 23, 2012. It was filmed back in 2008.
  • Josh Gad, currently starring on Broadway in The Book of Mormon, will join Mark Ruffalo, Tim Robbins, Gwyneth Paltrow and Joely Richardson in Thanks for Sharing, a sex addiction dramedy from the writer of The Kids Are All Right, Stuart Blumberg. - Variety
  • Aki Kaurismaekis’ festival hit, Le Havre, will be released October 21 in New York and Los Angeles. - The Playlist
  • Liam Hemsworth is the latest (and youngest) slice of beefcake to join The Expendables 2. - Variety
  • John Singleton might not be the only one interested in directing a biopic on N.W.A. produced by Ice Cube. Vulture reports that Craig Brewer, F. Gary Gray, and Peter Berg are also in the running.
  • Jeremy Renner is attached to star in an adaptation of J. North Conway’s book King of Heists: The Sensational Bank Robbery of 1878 That Shocked America. - Deadline
  • That was fast. Last week we showed you the trailer for The Raid; this week, Screen Gems is in negotiations to do a remake. - Heat Vision
  • Ang Lee’s adaptation of Yann Martel’s 2001 book Life of Pi will be shot in 3D. - 24 Frames
  • While talking to MTV, Seth Rogen revealed that Jonah Hill, Craig Robinson, Danny McBride, and James Franco would be joining himself and Jay Baruchel in Jay & Seth Versus the Apocalypse.
  • A new version of Scarface is in development. - Deadline
  • After the announcement last week that Robert Zemeckis would return to live action filmmaking with Flight, starring Denzel Washington, this week finds two more actors added to the cast: Denzel’s Devil in a Blue Dress co-star Don Cheadle, and Bruce Greenwood. - Moviehole
  • Patty Jenkins, who directed Charlize Theron to an Oscar win in Monster, is in the running to direct Thor 2. - Deadline
  • Richard Jenkins has joined Tom Cruise and Rosamund Pike in Christopher McQuarrie’s adaptation of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novel One Shot. - Variety
  • Ghostbusters will return to theaters on three Thursdays in October (13th, 20th, 27th) - /Film
  • Casey Affleck will play the angel Gabriel and Camilla Belle is the favorite to play Eve in Alex Proyas‘ Paradise Lost. - Variety & Deadline
  • Dare to look at the Human Centipede 2 Full Sequence poster. - /Film

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