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    R.I.P. Wes Craven (1939 - 2015)

    I don't usually write about the passing of Hollywood folks, but in this case, it seemed warranted.

    Director Wes Craven - widely known for his horror classics (notably A Nightmare on Elm Street and the Scream films) - died yesterday at the age of 76.

    Craven - whose last feature-film was the underrated Scream 4 - had been battling brain caner.

    Despite his penchant for knowing how to scare filmgoers, the man was actually known to be nothing but a nice, gentle guy who people loved working with. Believe it or not, he was actually a college professor before getting into movies. How about that?

    While the director was deemed an icon in the horror film industry, he actually made a well-received dramatic film in 1999 starring Meryl Streep called Music of the Heart, which earned the actress an Academy Award nomination.

    Obviously speaking though, Craven's lasting legacy will live on through his horror films, including the original The Hills Have Eyes and The Last House on the Left, among many others.

    Maybe now is a good time for me to finally get through all of A Nightmare on Elm Street.

    Thanks Wes.


    Eddie Murphy; Oprah & More Join Mike Epps in Richard Pryor BioPic


    In news that isn't super heroes or Star Wars box office, it appears that Mike Epps (yes, the Mike Epps from Resident Evil: Apocalypse) will be joined by Eddie Murphy, Oprah, and Kate Hudson on the long gestating Richard Pryor biography from Lee Daniels, which will start filming in March.

    Murphy, who recieved critical acclaim with his dramatic works in films like Dreamgirls will be playing Pryor's father, with Oprah as Pryor's brothel owning mother. Hudson will play Pryor's widow, Jennifer. 

    Deadline has reported:

     The script is by Bill Condon and Daniels’Empire collaborator Danny Strong, and Bruce Cohen and Jennifer Lee Pryor are deeply involved in the process as producers. There are compelling storylines that will create interest in this film beyond Pryor’s barrier-breaking accomplishments on the standup stage, on TV and in the movies with his politically charged, blue humor. 

    Pryor was a star of the film and stage up until his passing in 2005. The picture begins filming in March, and I'm gonna go ahead and assume this might be a heavy awards-contendor when the time comes...


    Matt Damon Hints at 'Bourne 5' Plot

    Next year we get the long-desired return of Matt Damon as Jason Bourne; his last outing coming in 2007's trilogy bookend, The Bourne Ultimatum.

    It wasn't always a given the actor would return to his most famous role, especially since the last film closed the character's arc out so well. On top of that though, Damon always insisted he'd only do it if Paul Greengrass came back to direct as well, having done a magnificent job with both The Bourne Supremacy and Ultimatum (Doug Liman directed the first film, The Bourne Identity).

    While Universal tried to keep the franchise alive in 2012 with the semi-sequel, The Bourne Legacy starring Jeremy Renner as a new character, the reception was lukewarm at best with all hopes that Damon would come back. Low and behold last fall, it was announced he would reprise the role with Greengrass back behind the camera too.

    Fast forward to next week, filming it set to begin in Greece, yet still nothing is known about the plot. However, Damon recently chatted about the film and gave some insight into what it's about:

    “We always looked at those movies as really about the Bush presidency, and so we kind of had to wait for the world to change. What does the character have to say?"

    “Without giving too much of it away, it’s Bourne through an austerity-riddled Europe and in a post-Snowden world. It seems like enough has changed, you know? There are all these kinds of arguments about spying and civil liberties and the nature of democracy.”

    Damon lastly added that the film begins in Greece - "the birth of democracy" - and ends in Las Vegas - "the most grotesque incarnation of..." - but ended his sentence with a laugh.

    So what does this all mean? Well, it's not surprising the new film will represent a change in the global political landscape. The first film began in a post-9/11 world and ended a year before Bush left office in 2008 so it'll be interesting to see where Bourne exists a near decade later.

    With all that said, I'm just excited this film is happening. I absolutely love, love, love the Bourne trilogy as the series basically took me through high school and into college. The films were more than just action/spy thrillers. They had heart, and you always felt the raw emotion in each film. This is definitely my most anticipated movie of 2016, by far.

    Also starring the returning Julia Stiles, with new additions Alicia Viklander and Tommy Lee Jones, the currently untitled Bourne 5 hits theaters July 15th, 2016 (hey, that's my birthday).

    Source: BuzzFeed


    'Project Greenlight' is Back; Trailer Released

    Even though this is technically a television show, it is about filmmaking so I figure it can go in the MOVIES section.

    If you had HBO back in the early 2000s, you may remember a documentary series produced by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck called Project Greenlight. It basically centered on giving a first-time filmmaker an opportunity to make a movie and watch as they go through the trials and tribulations of taking on a feature film.

    The first season actually began way back in 2001 and resulted in the little seen comedy/drama, Stolen Summer. The second season came back in 2003, when then little known actor Shia LaBeouf starred in The Battle of Shaker Heights. Also a comedy/drama and also seen by very few. Finally, we had 2005, when the show moved to Bravo Network and resulted in the horror film, Feast. While this also was seen by very few, it did spawn two sequels so it was certainly more of a success than previous years.

    Now, after over a decade, Project Greenlight is back, not only with HBO but with Matt Damon and Ben Affleck too. The trailer for the upcoming season has been released and while they are once again making what looks to be a comedy/drama, the director this season looks to be a little more demanding and hands-on than previous seasons (asking to rewrite the entire script before shooting will do that).

    Anyway, see for yourself below.

    Project Greenlight premeires Sunday, September 13th at 10pm on HBO.

    Source: HBO


    2nd Trailer for 'The Martian' Debuts

    If I haven't expressed how excited I am for The Martian, well, I am. I loved the book, I love everything I've seen from the film thus far (literally as if the book has come to life), and now 20th Century Fox has released the 2nd trailer for the film, which you can view below.

    As you can see, the newest trailer gives a little bit more insight into the plot compared to the first trailer while also showing off what look to be stunning visuals. Say what you will about Ridley Scott, but the man knows how to create art on screen, and I really like how everything looks very realistic and practical. I know they shot the Mars scenes in Southern Jordan and worked very closely with NASA to keep all the space related aspects of the film accurate as well. Let's just hope they took Drew Goddard's apparent 'amazing' script and executed wonderfully.

    Also in terms of casting, Matt Damon really does look spot on as Mark Watney, the humor especially. I really can't think of any other actor who would have worked for this role, especially when they have to be on screen by themselves for such long periods of time.

    Anyway, enough of my babbling, here's the trailer:

    During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive. Millions of miles away, NASA and a team of international scientists work tirelessly to bring “the Martian” home, while his crewmates concurrently plot a daring, if not impossible, rescue mission. As these stories of incredible bravery unfold, the world comes together to root for Watney’s safe return. Based on a best-selling novel.

    The Martian, directed by Ridley Scott from a script by Drew Goddard, stars Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Michael Pena, Kate Mara, Sean Bean, Sebastian Stan, Donald Glover, and Chiwetel Ejiofor. It will have it's world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September and release in theaters everywhere October 2nd.

    Source: 20th Century Fox


    First Poster for Disney's Live-Action 'The Jungle Book'

    Falling in line with Disney's recent live-action remakes of their beloved animated properties come The Jungle Book, the adaptation of Ruyard Kipling's story about a boy named Mowgli who is raised in the jungle by wolves and goes on a journey of self-discovery when he comes to the civilized world.

    Jon Favreau (Iron Man) is directing, newcomer Neel Sethi is starring as Mowgli, and the voice cast for all those beloved animal characters ranges from Bill Murray, to Idris Elba, to Scarlett Johansson, to even Christopher Walken.

    With Disney's big D23 event this weekend, we have our first look at the teaser poster for the film, which you can see below.

    It looks pretty well-done, as if the animated film really has come to life. I'm just curious how they're going to mix live-action with CGI, as we have seen many examples recently (Avengers: Age of Ultron the biggest culprit) where excessive special effects in a film can really take you out of the moviegoing experience.

    The Jungle Book opens in theater April 15th, 2016 and expect the first trailer to be released in the next coming months.

    Source: Disney


    Colin Trevorrow to Direct 'Star Wars: Episode IX'

    If you didn't know, Disney is having their big D23 event this weekend (their version of Comic Con) and have dropped some major announcements for many of their properties, including (not surprisingly) Stars Wars.

    With J.J. Abrams helming the first installment of the new trilogy this December (Star Wars: The Force Awakens) and Rian Johnson taking on the second (Star Wars: Episode VIII) due out in May 2017, we now have an official announcement of who will be closing things out with Star Wars: Episode IX in 2019: Colin Trevorrow.

    Yes, the man who co-wrote and directed what has now become the 3rd highest grossing film of all-time with Jurassic World, will be leading the way with the final installment.

    While I don't think Trevorrow is a bad filmmaker by any means, he's a bit of a letdown compared to Abrams and Johnson. Don't get me wrong, I really liked Jurassic World and thought it was very good, but it didn't 'Wow' me to think, "This guy's a hell of a filmmaker."

    Anyway, Disney and Lucasfilm seem pretty high on him as they released an official press release (which you can read below), and I'll just state this two cents in regards to Star Wars:

    I'll be the first to admit, I'm not the biggest fan. I've seen the original trilogy, and while I merely just liked them (I grew up with Terminator, Die Hard, and Rocky), I understand why this franchise is so important to so many people.

    With Disney and Kathleen Kennedy now in full control of Lucasfilm (seriously, thank God), I think what they're doing with this franchise is groundbreaking and will certainly dominate the film industry for years to come.

    Again, while I'm not the biggest fan, it's people like me who will still undoubtedly go to the theater to check out what amazing things they're coming up with, and that's what counts.

    ANAHEIM, CALIF. (August 15, 2015)—Today at D23, Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn announced that writer-director Colin Trevorrow will direct Star Wars: Episode IX, which is set for release in 2019. 

    While production won’t begin for a few years, Trevorrow is heading to Lucasfilm this year to begin working with artists and his fellow Star Wars directors. “Colin is someone I’ve been interested in working with ever since I saw ‘Safety Not Guaranteed,’” says Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy. “The power of that film paired with the enormous success of ‘Jurassic World’ speaks volumes about his abilities both as a storyteller and skilled filmmaker. We are thrilled to have such an incredible talent as Colin join our family and step into the Star Wars universe.” 

    Trevorrow states, “This is not a job or an assignment. It is a seat at a campfire, surrounded by an extraordinary group of storytellers, filmmakers, artists and craftspeople. We’ve been charged with telling new stories for a younger generation because they deserve what we all had—a mythology to call their own. We will do this by channeling something George Lucas instilled in all of us: boundless creativity, pure invention and hope.” 

    Star Wars: Episode IX will conclude the third trilogy of Star Wars movies that begins with Star Wars: The Force Awakens on December 18, 2015.

    Source: Disney/Lucasfilm


    Leonardo DiCaprio Will Be Your 'Devil' In the White City.


    Coming hot off of his new film The Revenant it appears DiCaprio will go from revenge to murderer as The Hollywood Reporter is stating the TITANIC and Great Gatsby actor will team with Martin Scorcese yet again for the long awaited adaptation of the non-fiction best seller, The Devil in the White City.

     The feature adaptation of Devil in the White City is back at Paramount, with Leonardo DiCapriohaving enlisted his frequent collaborator Martin Scorsese to help make his passion project into a reality.

    Paramount, after having acquired and let go of the project twice before, has scooped up the project, with DiCaprio on board to star, Scorsese to direct and Billy Ray to write the script, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.

    The Erik Larson novel takes place in 1893 at the World's Fair, and follows the architect of the White City itself, Daniel H. Burnham, and the bloodthirsty Dr. H.H. Holmes who lured victims with his charm to his murder castle, a macabre and twisted monument to depravity in a world on the edge of the millennium. 

    Graham Moore is penning the script, fresh off his Oscar win for The Imitation Game. 


    Steven Spielberg Courting Gene Wilder for 'Ready Player One'?

    I don't usually do two entries in a row about the same project, but this seemed like an exception to make.

    With news coming last week that Warner Bros. had set a release date of December 15th, 2017 for the film adaptation of Ernest Cline's Ready Player One with Steven Spielberg directing, we now we have word of what legendary actor might be getting persuaded to come out of retirement to come onboard.

    None other than Gene Wilder himself is rumored to be taking or has already taken a meeting with Spielberg about an upcoming film of his.

    While it's speculated the project could be a voice role in the animated adaptation of Ronald Dahl's famed children book, The BFG, that movie's not only due out in less than a year but the full voice cast is already set. I would imagine the bulk of the work has already been recorded, which leads us to Ready Player One...

    It seems fitting that for a book described as "Willy Wonka meets The Matrix", Mr. Wilder could in-fact be getting courted to play the vital role of James Halliday, the creator of the virtual universe of OASIS and the man who sets off a global search to find his hidden fortune from beyond the grave.

    Now this is all pure speculation and the original story is nothing more than an unconfirmed rumor, but damn, if this is any hint of what Spielberg is aiming for, we might be in store for something pretty special.

    We'll keep you posted on any more news about this project. Sound off with your comments below though. Would you like to see Gene Wilder - Willa Wonka himself (sorry Johnny Depp) - back on the big screen, in a Steven Spielberg movie nonetheless?

    Source: AICN


    'Ready Player One' Set for December 15th, 2017; Steven Spielberg To Direct

    Warner Bros. Pictures, Village Roadshow and DreamWorks Studios have set a December 15th, 2017 release date for Ready Player One, to be directed by none other than Steven Spielberg himself. The film is an adaptation of Ernest Cline's novel of the same name about a not-too-distant future where virtual reality is valued by society above the real world.

    It is still somewhat surprising that this project is moving forward, especially with Spielberg still attached. You see, Ready Player One centers on a teenager named Wade Watts who, throughout his short life, has grown up with OASIS, a virtual utopia that humans can enter to escape the real world. Basically, a video game that anyone and everyone around the globe can play at any time. Watts - along with many, many others - is set on finding the creator of the virtual reality's fortune, hidden somewhere inside the utopia. This utopia is littered everywhere in 80s pop culture, from video games, to movies, to TV shows, to books because the creator was obsessed with the decade. Or in other words for a film, a licensing nightmare.

    In order to make the film work, these references to 80s culture need to be in there, and you can't just put them in like that. Money needs to be paid to whomever owns the rights to...whatever it is your referencing in order to allow it in the film.

    For movies specifically, the ones that are referenced a lot in the book (which, by the way, if you haven't figured out by now, I'm currently reading) are The Goonies, Back to the Future, Gremlins and even E.T. I believe is in there too. Getting the rights to use footage and even mentioning these films on screen can be extremely costly, that is, unless you're Steven Spielberg. That's where the big guy comes in.

    Spielberg, in terms of 80s pop culture, basically defined the decade. Go back and look at many of the great films from that time and I bet you he's involved in nearly every single one. You know who produced The Goonies? Spielberg. Back to the Future? Spielberg. Gremlins? You guessed it, Spielberg. A special mention for Poltergeist? Spielberg (though it's widely believed he ghost directed that thing too). Oh and I probably don't need to tell you who created E.T.

    By having Spielberg on as director, it gives the project ease and availability in using these films for reference. The man running the show is also the key to make this book come alive. In short, the studio and all involved better hope Spielberg doesn't drop out of this thing, otherwise it'll be tough to still move forward with any other director (well, maybe other than Robert Zemeckis).

    The book has been adapted by Zak Penn for the screen. Not exactly a name that brings confidence to mind (X-Men: The Last Stand anyone?) but with Spielberg behind the camera, it can be great.

    Dan Fellman, the president Warner Bros. domestic distribution, had this to say regarding the December 2017 release date:

    “Any film from Steven Spielberg is an event film, so it felt right to date this thrilling new project from one of our greatest filmmakers for the holiday season."

    Very true, but let's just hope that doesn't change.

    Source: Variety

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