Opening this weekend
New trailers and updates for upcoming films
One of this fall's Top Five movies?
One of the surprises from the Toronto International Film Festival this year was Top Five, from writer-director-star Chris Rock. The filmed earned some of the best reviews of the festival, and Paramount won a bidding war, landing the film for around $12.5 million. In this 24-hour look at a star comedian trying to get his life and career in order, Rock’s Andre Allen tries to balance his reality star fiancée (Gabrielle Union), his agent (Kevin Hart) and a New York Times reporter (Rosario Dawson) assigned to write a story about him. The incredible cast also includes Cedric the Entertainer, Tracy Morgan, Ben Vereen, JB Smoove, Sherri Shepherd, Anders Holm, Romany Malco, Michael Che, and Jay Pharaoh, while Jerry Seinfeld, Whoopi Goldberg, and Adam Sandler play versions of themselves in cameos. Top Five opens in a few cities on December 5th before expanding nationwide on December 12th.
The full official trailer for likely Oscar contender Foxcatcher
After being pushed from its December release last year—and after an excellent reception at the Cannes Film Festival in May, where Bennett Miller won the Best Director prize—Foxcatcher will finally open in theaters on November 14th. This story of the strange relationship between eccentric millionaire John du Pont (Steve Carell) and Olympic wrestling champions Mark (Channing Tatum) and Dave Schultz (Mark Ruffalo) will be a major contender during awards seasons, with all three actors in the running for nominations.
Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken aims to inspire
Angelina Jolie’s second feature as director is another film expected to be an awards contender. Based on Laura Hillenbrand’s book, Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, Unbroken stars Jack O’Connell (Starred Up) as Louis Zamperini, who was the youngest Olympian (at 19) to qualify for the 5000 meters. He set the collegiate mile record before enlisting in the Air Force and becoming a bombardier in 1941, and in 1942, was one of three survivors of a B-24 crash. And that's only the beginning of his incredible story. With supporting turns by Garrett Hedlund, Domhnall Gleeson, Jai Courtney, and Luke Treadaway, Unbroken opens on December 25th.
Katniss returns to District 12
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1 opens on November 21st, so expect a few more glimpses at the third film in The Hunger Games series (and first of a two-part finale) over the coming weeks. This week, the voices of Philip Seymour Hoffman as Plutarch Heavensbee and Julianne Moore as District 13 President Alma Coin lead Katniss back to District 12, where she is greeted by the voice of Lorde. Good luck Katniss; we’re all counting on you.
Ron Howard's whale of a tale
After collaborating on Rush, director Ron Howard and star Chris Hemsworth are back together, but this time the mode of transport is a boat, not a car. Set in the winter of 1820, their latest tells the story of the New England whaling ship Essex and the whale attack that would serve as the real-life inspiration for Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick. Hemsworth stars as Owen Chase, the veteran first mate of the Essex, and Benjamin Walker, Cillian Murphy, Ben Whishaw, Tom Holland, Brendan Gleeson, and Jordi Molla make up the rest of the cast. Heart of the Sea, based on Nathaniel Philbrick’s book of the same name, comes to theaters March 13, 2015.
Save the date(s)
This week, Warner Bros. announced their major film releases through 2020. As expected, most of the films are adaptations of DC Comics. In 2016, March release Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will be followed by Suicide Squad on August 5th. David Ayer will direct Suicide Squad, and Heat Vision reports that Will Smith, Tom Hardy, Ryan Gosling and Margot Robbie are all circling roles. The next year will bring Wonder Woman to the big screen in her first solo outing on June 23rd, 2017, while the first part of the Zack Snyder-directed Justice League will hit on November 10, 2017. The Flash, starring Ezra Miller, will open on March 23, 2018, and Aquaman, with Jason Momoa in the lead, will be released on July 27, 2018. In 2019, Snyder will deliver Justice League Part Two on June 14th, but before that, on April 5th, Dwayne Johnson will appear as Black Adam in Shazam. Two more solo films will follow in 2020, with Cyborg starring Ray Fisher on April 3rd, and a reboot of Green Lantern coming June 19th. For those looking for solo films for Batman and Superman, don’t worry; those are coming as well. In addition to the DC Comics announcements, Warner Bros. also revealed that J.K. Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will be a trilogy with the second and third films coming in 2018 and 2020 after the first installment lands on November 18, 2016.
Andrei Zvyagintsev’s follow-up to Elena earned some of the best reviews of the Cannes Film Festival (yes, that’s a 99 you see) and picked up the festival's best screenplay award. Set in a small town in Northwest Russia, the story follows Kolya, an auto mechanic struggling to hold onto his house and business despite the maneuvering of the town’s mayor. Despite being critical of Russia’s government, Leviathan was that country's official submission for the best foreign language film Oscar in a record-breaking year of 83 submissions from around the world. Look for it in select theaters beginning December 31st.
A Merry Friggin’ Christmas
Robin Williams plays Joel McHale’s dad in this dysfunctional family Christmas tale that follows McHale’s Boyd Mitchler as he tries to retrieve his son’s Christmas presents before sunrise. Along for the eight-hour journey is Williams' Mitch and Boyd’s younger brother, Nelson, played by Clark Duke. Directed by Tristram Shapeero, making his feature film debut after a lengthy career in television (with credits including Absolutely Fabulous, Peep Show, Community, and Parks and Recreation), A Merry Friggin’ Christmas also stars Lauren Graham, Oliver Platt, Tim Heidecker, and Wendi McLendon-Covey. Look for it in theaters beginning November 7th.
By the Gun
In By the Gun, Nick Tortano (Ben Barnes), an ambitious criminal from the streets of Boston, finally proves himself to the boss of the Italian Mafia (Harvey Keitel), but once he becomes a made man, Nick's loyalty is tested when he meets Ali Matazano (Leighton Meester), the girl of his dreams. Will Nick choose his current “family” or the possibility of a new one in this second feature from Trucker director James Mottern? Find out on VOD/iTunes or in theaters beginning December 5th.
Katie Holmes is Miss Meadows
Miss Meadows stars Katie Holmes as an elementary school teacher who moonlights as a vigilante. Written and directed by Karen Leigh Hopkins, the film’s tone looks to be all over the place, but it’s good to see James Badge Dale as something other than a supporting character in an action blockbuster. Miss Meadows opens in select theaters on November 14th.
Dying of the Light
Coming to VOD and theaters December 5th is Dying of the Light, starring Nicolas Cage, directed by Paul Schrader, and executive produced by Nicolas Winding Refn. At one point in time, a Schrader/Cage combo would have been something to get excited about. (Now? Probably not.) The film follows veteran CIA agent Evan Lake (Nicolas Cage) as he goes rogue (and battles dementia) in order to hunt down a terrorist (Alexander Karim). Aiding Lake in his search is his protégé, played by Anton Yelchin. Currently, Schrader is protesting the film, saying final cut was taken away from him, but his name is still on it. His statement on his Facebook page is accompanied by pictures of himself, Cage, Yelchin, and Refn wearing “non-disparagement” T-shirts.
Citizenfour, Laura Poitras’ documentary on Edward Snowden, hits select theaters next Friday. Early reviews have been excellent.
Sion Sono’s Why Don’t You Play in Hell? comes to select theaters on November 7th. Here’s a look at the film about a film crew caught between warring yakuza clans.
The Penguins of Madagascar comes to theaters November 26th, but you can watch the first four minutes below. Yes, that’s Werner Herzog narrating.
Warwick Davis will be in Star Wars: Episode VII, and he’s very excited.
News and notes
- LEGO Batman, voiced by Will Arnett, will get his own spin-off movie. - Heat Vision
- Christian Bale is in talks to play Steve Jobs in an adaptation of Walter Isaacson's biography from director Danny Boyle and writer Aaron Sorkin. - THR
- Robert Downey Jr.‘s Tony Stark will play a key role in Captain America 3. - Variety
- Javier Bardem is in early negotiations to play the villain in Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. TheWrap
- Dave Bautista will play Hinx, the main henchman who will battle Daniel Craig, in Bond 24. - Latino Review
- Lizzy Caplan is in talks to play the new female lead in Now You See Me 2. Isla Fischer is unavailable to reprise her role due to her pregnancy. - TheWrap
- Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) is in talks to play Esther, a slave Jack Huston’s Ben Hur falls in love with, and Pedro Pascal (Oberyn Martell on Game of Thrones) is being considered for the role of Pontius Pilate in Timur Bekmambetov remake of the 1959 Charlton Heston film. - THR
- Jackie Earle Haley has joined returning cast members Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Melissa Leo, Angela Bassett, and Radha Mitchell in London Has Fallen. - TheWrap
- Rob McElhenney (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) will make his feature directing debut with the family action-adventure film Figment. - Deadline
- Joe Dirt 2 will be the first made-for-digital sequel to a theatrical release when it premieres on Crackle.
- Robert Redford is in talks to join Ain’t Them Bodies Saints director David Lowery’s new take on Pete’s Dragon. - THR
- Shawn Levy is in talks to develop and direct a feature based on the video game Minecraft. - Deadline
- Joseph Kosinski (Oblivion) will leave the future for the past and direct The Trials of White Boy Rick, the story of an undercover drug informant in 1980s Detroit. - THR
- Neil Patrick Harris will host the Oscars on February 22, 2015. - Variety
- Sean Durkin (Martha Marcy May Marlene) is in talks to direct Sony's adaptation of Little House on the Prairie. - THR
- Deadline reports that with Margot Robbie interested in Suicide Squad, a $10 million offer has been given to Scarlett Johansson for the live-action Ghost in the Shell.