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    Roger Deakins to Shoot 'Blade Runner 2'

    If its an impossible task to get people excited about a sequel to a movie that's 33 years old, the makers behind Blade Runner 2 are giving it their best shot.

    With Harrison Ford already signed-on to return, original director Ridley Scott executive producing as well as coming up with the story along with original writer Hampton Fancher (who co-write the script), Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners) directing and Ryan Gosling in-talk to co-star, we now get news that 12-time Academy Award nominee Roger Deakins will serve as the film's cinematographer.

    If you have no clue who Roger Deakins is or what a cinematographer does, I suggest you go watch either SkyfallThe Shawshank Redemption or pretty much any Coen Brothers movie.  When you see how beautiful those films look in terms of lighting and shadows, that's what Roger Deakins does (his best work is widely regarded as The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford).  He's a master in terms of making a shot for a film look gorgeous and it's pretty much why he's regarded as the greatest cinematographer of all time (oh, and he's coincidentally never actually won an Academy Award, just lost 12 times).

    Deakins has previously worked with director Villeneuve on both 2013's Prisoners and this year's Sicario, but it seemed like a long-shot the 65 year-old would want to work on a sequel to a film that came out back in 1982.  I guess he does.

    Read below for the official press release on Deakins joining the film, which is set to start shooting next summer for a likely 2017-2018 release.

    Twelve-time Academy Award-nominated cinematographer Roger Deakins will join director Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners, Incendies) on Alcon Entertainment’s sequel to BLADE RUNNER, it was announced by Alcon co-founders and co-CEO’s Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson.

    Deakins, who will be presented with the Pierre Angénieux Excellens in Cinematography Award at the Cannes Film Festival on May 22 reteams with Villeneuve on what will be their third feature collaboration, having previously worked together on Alcon’s Prisoners, starring Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal as well as Villeneuve’s upcoming film Sicario, a drug-trafficking drama starring Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin and Benicio Del Toro from Black Label Media, which is in Competition at the Cannes Film Festival.

    Deakins received his latest Academy Award nomination this year for his work on Angelina Jolie’s Unbroken. He was previously nominated for Joel and Ethan Coen’s Fargo, The Man Who Wasn’t There, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, No Country for Old Men and True Grit; Frank Darabont’s The Shawshank Redemption; Martin Scorsese’s Kundun; Andrew Dominik’s The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford; Stephen Daldry’s The Reader, which he shared with Chris Menges; and, more recently, Prisoners and Sam Mendes’ Skyfall.

    Film is scheduled to start principal photography in summer of 2016. Hampton Fancher (co-writer of the original) and Michael Green have written the original screenplay based on an idea by Fancher and Ridley Scott. The story takes place several decades after the conclusion of the 1982 original. Harrison Ford will reprise his role as Rick Deckard.

    Villeneuve previously worked with Kosove and Johnson as the director of Alcon’s critically acclaimed Prisoners.

    Kosove and Johnson state: “Roger is an extraordinary talent and we are very excited that Denis and Roger have chosen to continue their collaboration in bringing the sequel to BLADE RUNNER to the big screen.”

    Alcon Entertainment acquired the film, television and ancillary franchise rights to BLADE RUNNER in 2011 from producer Bud Yorkin to produce prequels and sequels to the iconic science-fiction thriller. Yorkin will serve as a producer on the sequel along with Kosove and Johnson. Cynthia Sikes Yorkin will also produce.

    Frank Giustra and Tim Gamble, CEO’s of Thunderbird Films, will serve as executive producers. Ridley Scott will also executive produce.

    Among its many distinctions, BLADE RUNNER has been singled out as one of the greatest movies of all time by innumerable polls and media outlets, and overwhelmingly as the greatest science-fiction film of all time by a majority of genre publications.

    Released by Warner Bros., BLADE RUNNER was adapted by Hampton Fancher and David Peoples from Philip K. Dick’s novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” and was directed by Ridley Scott following his landmark Alien.” The film was nominated for two Academy Awards (Best Visual Effects, and Best Art Direction).

    BLADE RUNNER was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” The film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry in 1993 and is frequently taught in university courses. In 2007, it was named the 2nd most visually influential film of all time by the Visual Effects Society.

    Source: Alcon Entertainment


    'Beverly Hills Cop 4' Pulled from Release Date

    It seems that March 25th, 2016 release for Beverly Hills Cop 4 was too good to be true.

    Paramount has pulled the film from next year's scheduled release date but the film still remains in active development with Eddie Murphy attached as well as director Brett Ratner (Rush Hour) and producer Jerry Bruckheimer (Pirates of the Carribbean).

    The studio had announced a year ago that the film would hit theaters in 2016 but it seems slow progress has been made on the project since then to go along with 'executive changes' for the company over the past year as well.

    It certainly doesn't help that Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice is to open that same day next year, so it sounds like the studio made a smart move in avoiding going head-to-head with that monster.

    There is also apparently script issues, which Murphy himself admitted early this year to Rolling Stone magazine, citing the fact he wouldn't do the film unless it was worth the effort:

    “They[‘re] still trying to get that script right.  I’m not doing a ‘Beverly Hills Cop’ unless they have a really incredible script.  I’ve read a couple things that look like they can make some paper, but I’m not doing a shitty movie just to make some paper.  The shit got to be right.”

    Last we heard, the script was being written by Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec (Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) which was said to bring Axel Foley back to Detroit during the 'coldest winter on record'.  It's unknown if this plot will still be used but we can only hope they come up with a worthy story to bring back the character after 1994's poorly received Beverly Hills Cop 3.

    Source: The Wrap, Rolling Stone


    Editorial: What Ghost in the Shell/Death Note Could Spell for Hollywood


    When the general public thinks of anime, they think of blue haired teenage girls, talking cats, massive sex-appeal and fan service, and giant swords wielded by men with spikey and unimaginably vivid hair.
    With Dreamworks set on releasing the Scarlett Johanson-lead, Rupert Sanders-helmed  Ghost in the Shell for April 2017, and the recent news of Adam Wingard signing on to finally bring the long gestating Death Note to life, things could potentially be changing for the comic-book movie dominated landscape of Hollywood. 

    To state that anime has had a rough-spot landing landing in megaplexes  is an understatement. Looking back at the critically panned disaster that was 2007's Dragonball: Evolution to both ASTRO BOY and Speed Racer it's clear to see none of these launched a significant franchise, or even made a mark on Hollywood history. Despite the latter being as close to a live-action animation as possible, Speed Racer only mustered up about $93 million worldwide off a large investment of $120 million from Warner Brothers. 
    Most recently, Tom Cruise starred in Edge of Tomorrow which opened to rave reviews, yet only made 27% of it's budget back stateside. 

    Other notable projects that never made it were Neon Genesis Evangelion, one of the most critically praised corner-stones of anime itself, and AKIRA. Evangelion first hit the news in 2003, and then later some gorgeous concept art from WETA Studios (Fresh off of Lord of the Rings) surfaced showing some fairly dramatic name changes from the source material. Obviously something like Evangelion which involves the brutal murder and blood-bath of "angels" against human-mechanical constructs set against some intricate Christian symbolism would be a tough sell anyway.
    AKIRA is another WB project that, despite several attempted launches, never made it off the ground. The closest it got was in roughly 2012; but WB still has those rights.

    Recently, Sony has also dipped their toes in the water and nabbed ROBOTECH from Warner Brothers with  Gianni Nunnari and The Immortals' Mark Canton producing and screenwriter Michael Gordon writing the script.

    So what has changed? Or rather- what will change?
    Like the current landscape of big-budget release, which are currently young adult and cape-driven affairs, it took some time to perfect. Sure there were the X-Men, Spiderman, and Batman and Superman franchises (which all took very deep quality dips depending on who you ask); but there was also things like Catwoman, Ghost Rider, Daredevil, Fantastic Four, and many other pitfalls that some studios (and actors) would soon like to forget. It wasn't until The Dark Knight and Iron Man's one-two punch in the summer of 2008 re-ignited the superhero phenomena. 
    That same fact could very well find it's way to anime, with Death Note likely to hit screens sometime in 2017-18 assuming everything goes according to plan, and be out with Ghost in the Shell, which brings the WB/Disney battle to a new media. 

    One key thing that there is to consider in this bold new climate is the fanboys, and general audiences, willingness to accept new and foreign concepts. Looking at the giant-robot smash-a-thon Pacific Rim which eventually became a decent money maker at $400 million and was heavily dipped in "anime culture", or even Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy which of course became a major hit at almost $800 million, and involved a talking tree, a talking raccoon, a green alien woman, and a tattooed space criminal fighting against a giant purple space-Hitler. 

    Also in the past these films had moved as far away from their Japanese roots as possible it seemed; but with things like Big Hero 6 and The Wolverine, it would seem maybe turning Japanese might not be such a wild idea, not to mention the anime-infused Saturday night block that makes Cartoon Network's Adult Swim trend on a weekly basis across social networks. With the "nerd culture" becoming a socially accepted norm in society, it of course wouldn't be too long before anime followed the same cultural notes super-heroes and videogames have, especially with Attack on Titan, Deadman Wonderland, and many more. 
    A recent report from March of this year even showed that manga sales in the United States have conctinued to rise, compiled by Anime News Network:

    ICv2 is estimating continued growth in manga sales based on statements from Viz Media senior director of sales and marketing Kevin Hamric and an overall 17.7% growth in comic sales.


    Overall, the company's top selling series for 2014 were Naruto,PokémonOne PieceBleachDeath NoteBlue Exorcist,Dragon BallAll You Need Is KillFullmetal Alchemist, andStudio Ghibli books.

    It will, eventually, all come down to what people want to see, and judging by Scarlett Johanson's sudden rise as an action starlet with 2014's LUCY, a sexually-infused cyber-thriller with her headlining probably would be a safe bet for success. Death Note many years ago would have been a stranger sell, with it's almost maniacal protagonist wielding a demon-infused notebook; but if there's one thing that Dexter, Hannibal, Bates Motel, and Loki from The Avengers have taught us, as well as the similar character of Sherlock on the BBC, it's that people do love a psychopath. 

    So once again, it's down to the wire. Warner Brothers certainy will have the bigger guns behind them, and more mature franchise pedigree (Lord of the Rings, DC Comics, Harry Potter); but it's hard to underestimnate Disney's ability to sell anything. 
    If Death Note and Ghost in the Shell become runaway hits, would WB finally move on AKIRA? Would the interested in Evangelion come back? Could a network like HBO, which already has it's own manga-drama MONSTER inproduction, pick up something like Full Metal Alchemist? It could be a bold new world.

    Only time will tell though...


    DEATH NOTE Finally Comes to Life with 'GUEST' Director 


    It's been far too long since news of the American adaptation of Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata acclaimed manga Death Note ran across headlines; but The Hollywood Reporter nabbed the exclusive this afternoon that Adam Wingard, who helmed The Guest and You're Next would be tackling the picture for Warner Brothers studios.

    Roy LeeDan LinJason Hoffs and Masi Oka are producing the project, which was previously adapted as movie in its home country of Japan, spawning a sequel.

    The story centers on a student who discovers a supernatural notebook that allows him to kill anyone by writing the victim's name, who then decides to cleanse the world of whom he deems evil. As the student is tracked by a reclusive police officer, a cat-and-mouse game ensues

    Shane Black was previously attached to direct before moving on to remake Predator for some reason.

    Death Note was adapted into a Japanese live-action saga in 2006 and 2008, with a spinoff for the "antagonist", L: Change the World.
    The anime series is associated with being one of the major power-houses that brought anime to American shores in the mid 2000's along with "Bleach", "Naruto", and "Full Metal Alchemist".

    The film will join Dreamwork's Ghost in the Shell as the waters are tested for what could be the next race for "Comic Book Movie" gold with anime and manga.  


    Prepare to Get 50 SHADES DARKER; Author's Husband Pens Script


    The sequel-gears are finally, slowly, in motion for Universal Studios 50 Shades of Grey sequel, 50 Shades Darker (or so we assume the title will remain) as author of the novel, E.L. James, has enlisted her husband Niall Leonard to pen the script for the next chapter in Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele's dark and erotic drama.

     Niall is an outstanding writer in his own right, with multiple established credits, and we are lucky to have him join Team Fifty," says producer Michael De Luca in a statement to THR.

    James, whose real name is Erika Leonard, has been credited with keeping a strong amount of creative control when it comes to Universal's adaptations of her books. On the first film, she clashed with director Sam Taylor-Johnson about many aspects of the film, including the ending. Neither Taylor-Johnson nor screenwriter Kelly Marcel are returning for the sequel.

    50 Shades of Grey opened to lack-luster reviews this past Valentine's Day; but made close to $600 million off it's meager $40 million budget. 
    The film, which sky-rocketed Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan to the league of "more money" negotiations for the sequel, had some known issues with Sam Taylor-Johnson departing from further entries along with screenwriter Kelly Marcel.

    Does this slow start mean that Universal will miss another strategic Valentine's Day weekend for the sequel in 2016, or will we be seeing the next shade of Grey in 2017?  

    50 Shades of Grey releases May 8 on Bluray and DVD.  


    "Jurassic World" Official Trailer #2 Featuring Chris Pratt

    Twenty-two years after the events of Jurassic Park, Isla Nublar now features a fully functioning dinosaur theme park, Jurassic World, as originally envisioned by John Hammond.

    Bill Pullman, Judd Hirsch Return for 'Independence Day 2'

    If you didn't already know, next summer we're finally getting the long-awaited sequel to 1996's blockbuster smash, Independence Day.

    The film has become an American classic to watch during 4th of July weekend with demand and interest in a sequel having ebbed and flowed for nearly two decades.

    We already knew the filmmakers behind the original (Roland Emmerich directing/co-writing, Dean Devlin co-writing) were back with Jeff Goldblum, Vivica A. Fox and Brent Spiner returning to join new castmembers Liam Hemsworth, Jeff Usher, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Joey King and Travis Tope.

    We now know too - via director Roland Emmerich's Twitter account - that Bill Pullman (who's 4th of July speech in the original still kick ass) along with Judd Hirsch are back for the sequel as well.

    If you're reading this and wondering why something seems off as if there's someone missing, you're right on the money.  Will Smith is not returning.  They tried, they really did, but he was just not interested.  Sorry folks.

    While little is known about the plot for the sequel, it's rumored to take place 20 years after the first movie with supposed 'alien reinforcements' trying to invade earth after their 1996 team was unsuccessful.

    Independence Day 2 is set for release June 24th, 2016.

    Source: Twitter - Roland Emmerich


    New Poster For "The Walk" - Every Dream Begins With A Single Step

    The Walk is the true story of a young dreamer, Philippe Petit, and a band of unlikely recruits who together achieve the impossible: an illegal wire walk in the immense void between the World Trade Center towers. With little more than nerve and blind ambition, Petit and his ragtag crew overcome daunting physical obstacles, betrayals, countless close calls and overwhelming odds to beat the system and execute their mad plan.

    Two New "Jurassic World" Posters

    Steven Spielberg returns to executive produce the long-awaited next installment of his groundbreaking Jurassic Park series, Jurassic World. Colin Trevorrow directs the epic action-adventure based on the novel “Jurassic Park” by Michael Crichton. The screenplay is by Rick Jaffa & Amanda Silver and Trevorrow & Derek Connolly. Frank Marshall and Patrick Crowley join the team as producers.


    A Recommendation: Go See 'Furious 7'

    I don't usually recommend to readers of this site to go see a movie - I think the only time I ever did was for Warrior back in 2011 - because I'm not a film critic nor should anyone be told what they should or should not see.

    But in the case of Furious 7, I'm willing to make another exception.

    I get if you're not a fan of the series and have no interest in seeing a 7th installment of a franchise built on fast cars, crazy stunts and constant butt shots of scantily clad women.  But for Furious 7, it's much more than just another entry into the franchise.  It's a touching tribute to the late Paul Walker who died midway through the filming of this movie back in November 2013.

    I saw the film last night, and while it's not the best in the franchise (that title still belongs to Fast Five), it's an entertaining, exhilarating popcorn flick with some very moving dramatic weight in saying goodbye to Paul Walker's Brian O'Conner character.

    I'm not going to spoil the last 5 minutes of the film, but to say I didn't get choked up seeing what the filmmakers did to honor their fallen star would be an understatement.  It was a touching sendoff that can speak to anyone about losing someone you love.

    While they may no longer be there, they are always with you wherever you go.

    Go see Furious 7, now playing in theaters everywhere.

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