Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Wednewsday 29th August

Image of the Week: another image from The Hobbit team has been unveiled to keep us ticking over. Only four months to go! The latest image depicts Thorin with Orc-slaying sword Orcrist.

Good News: ABC have requested a pilot for a potential S.H.I.E.L.D television series, chronicling the adventures of the secret organisation that bring the Avengers together. Joss Whedon will be overseeing the series and has a pretty good record at producing critically-acclaimed television. With this intended as a long-running TV series, don't expect any A-listers to sign on, although hopefully Clark Gregg will reprise his role as Agent Phil Coulson if the series explores the origins of the organisation.

Rumour Mill: Greek film website, Flix, has started a rumour that the third addition in the Before Sunrise/Before Sunset series directed by Richard Linklater has secretly begun filming in Greece. Linklater and his two romantic leads, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, have all supposedly been spotted in the area. And the timing is right. There were nine years between Sunrise and Sunset and another nine years would bring us to 2013. Whether fact or fabrication, it is enough to give hope to fans of the cult romantic series.

Thor News: more casting updates have been announced for Thor: The Dark World. Kat Dennings is back as wise-cracking Darcy and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Lost's Mr Eko!) has signed on as Algrim the Strong, one of the Dark Elves ruled by Christopher Ecclestone's villainous Malekith.

Trailer News: Butter is a contender for Surprise Hit of the Year and it's easy to see why after watching the trailer below, which gives us a feel for its all-star cast, political satire (it is US election year, after all) and irreverent comedy.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Wednewsday 22nd August

Good News: Jim Carrey has been approached to play Colonel Stars in Kick-Ass 2. Carrey would be the latest additional to the ever-growing cast which currently features Aaron Johnson, Chloe Moretz, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, John Leguizamo and Donald Faison. Colonel Stars, who rallies the superhero misfits against Red Mist, would be a small role for Carrey but expect some scene-stealing over-acting.

Bad News: Warner Brothers has bailed on Ron Howard's proposal to turn Stephen King's magnum opus The Dark Tower series into a film franchise. This will come as a shock to fans. Things had been looking up for the franchise, especially after Russell Crowe had been named as primary protagonist Roland Deschain. But without Warner's backing, this has once again sunk into development hell.

Mad News: writer Dutch Southern has been hired by ridiculously-named production company 1984 Private Defence Contractors to write a female equivalent to the Expendables. Like the Expendables, this would be totally mental and solely created for the purpose of wish fulfilment casting. But think of the possibilities: Sigourney Weaver, Uma Thurman, Linda Hamilton, Michelle Yeoh, Milla Jovovich, Michelle Rodriguez, Pam Grier... Bring it on.

Sad News: Tony Scott committed suicide on Sunday by jumping off a bridge in California. Read my thoughts and celebration of Scott's career here.

Trailer News: Arnie is well and truly back with Expendables 2 already in cinemas and Last Stand and The Tomb due out next year. The trailer for Last Stand has already hit the web. Click below to see Arnie as a bad-ass sheriff trying to protect his town against a drive-through drug cartel.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Tony Scott RIP

Veteran director Tony Scott committed suicide last night by jumping off a bridge in California.

Little is known about the circumstances surrounding his death, although a source has told ABC that Scott had inoperable brain cancer.

Scott's passing is a huge blow to cinema. Scott was an incredibly hard-working director, knocking out a vast array of films in a career spanning four decades. Scott also founded his own style of directing action, utilising a frenetic hand-held camera style which has been adopted by the likes of Michael Bay and parodied by Edgar Wright in Hot Fuzz, whom many regard as a love letter to Scott's work.

Scott was unashamedly an audience's director, a crowd-pleaser, a mainstream entertainer. His brother, Ridley, may have won over the critics with Alien, Blade Runner and Gladiator but Tony Scott gave us guilty pleasures which are every bit as memorable: Top Gun, Days of Thunder, Beverley Hills Cop 2 and that was just the eighties.

Scott went onto bigger budgets, bigger stars and bigger box office takings in the nineties and beyond, worked with an unbeatable list of Hollywood's finest: Robert Redford (Spy Games), Robert de Niro (The Fan), Christopher Walken (True Romance), Gene Hackman (Crimson Tide), Will Smith (Enemy of the State), Denzel Washington (Man on Fire) and John Travolta (The Taking of Pelham 123).

Scott famously stayed loyal to his collaborators, often returning to the same actors, supporting actors and composers over and over again. Indeed, the musical scores of Hans Zimmer and Harry Gregson-Williams are as synonymous with Scott's films as his gritty camera-work and chaotic action scenes.

Aside from directing, Scott tried his hand at producing with his old brother Ridley. Together they produced the A-Team reboot and hit TV shows The Good Wife and Numb3rs.

And what's more, Scott directed a George Michael music video back in the eighties. Awesome.

Scott has been survived by his wife and two children and of course his brother Ridley. The world of cinema has united in sending their thoughts to Scott's family in this difficult time.

On a personal note, I will remember Tony Scott as director of True Romance: one of the greatest films I have ever seen (and seen and seen again). Scott took a Quentin Tarantino script and turned it into a super-cool, hyper-violent, ever-memorable and utterly convincing love story between a geek and a call girl. 

The appeal of the material and Scott's reputation as director attracted a hugely-enviable ensemble cast of big names, such as Gary Oldman, Samuel L Jackson, Brad Pitt, Val Kilmer and James Gandolfini, many of which only show up for one scene and a handful of lines. And the infamous cantaloupe scene between Dennis Hopper and Christopher Walken remains a master-class in cinematic deliverance: atmospheric directing, sublime writing and two phenomenal performances. 

And Scott's ultimate contribution to True Romance? He changed the ending. Clarence was originally set to die in Tarantino's script but Scott didn't want to end his film on such a flat note. After all, his hero had been through hell. He deserved to live happily ever after with his true love and his baby. It's the ending that audiences needed and deserved. And after the change had been made, even Tarantino agreed that it was a good move. And that right there is the trademark of a good director: Tony Scott understood his audience. He trusted his instincts and he delivered time and time again.

Tony Scott will be missed.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Wednewsday 8th August

Good News: Joss Whedon is back for Avengers 2. His superb handling of Marvel Avengers Assemble and its daunting ensemble led to its global box office gross of over $1.5 billion dollars. Best of all, with Whedon holding both the camera and the pen, we can expect the sequel to explore new territory, rather than just focus on battling another space baddie across a major American city. Expect it to arrive no earlier than summer 2015.

Bad News: Dan Akroyd has confirmed that Bill Murray will not be back for Ghostbusters 3. Then again, this is probably be a good career move for Bill. Does anybody even want this three-quel?

Mad News: Ridley Scott and 20th Century Fox are storming ahead with a Prometheus sequel. Audiences didn't need Prometheus and they certainly don't need Prometheus 2. Can't they just bring Alien back to the bigscreen?

Sad News: British actor Bob Hoskins has been diagnosed with Parkinson's and will retire from acting. This is terribly sad news but at least he will leave a legacy of great performances, ranging from The Long Good Friday, Mona Lisa, Hook, TV's The Street and the ever-popular Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Trailer News: the self-stylised sort-of-sequel to Judd Apatow's Knocked-Up now has a trailer. Titled This Is 40, it will be a comedy about reaching middle-age focusing on Leslie Mann and Paul Rudd's characters from Knocked Up. Judging from the trailer below, expect sharp observational writing and lots of familiar faces.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Wednewsday 1st August

Good News: after the rumours last week, Peter Jackson has now confirmed that The Hobbit films will indeed become a trilogy. Jackson explained that there was so much potential for expansion due to the untapped material in Tolkein's appendices that he couldn't say no. And let's be honest: we're not going to say no either. There are no details regarding the third film's release date or its title or where the splits will occur. But more time in Middle-Earth can only be cause for celebration. Roll on December! Let's get this trilogy underway!

Bad News: Rush Hour 4 is happening. Producer Arthur Sarkissian has said: "I’m trying to do it closer to how I did Rush Hour 1, more down to earth, more gritty, introduce two new characters and make it real." So it looks like it will go ahead even without Chan and Tucker, who are unlikely to sign on for a fourth outing anyway. And without them, who is going to bother buying a ticket?

Mad News: Warner Brothers are considering a prequel to The Shining, mostly to cash-in on the success of Rodney Ascher's successful Sundance documentary, Room 237, which was a film about The Shining. However, the prequel seems like a bizarre move. Stephen King himself is currently working on a sequel to The Shining called Doctor Sleep so if Warner Brothers want to cash-in then they might as well wait and make the sequel instead of a prequel.

Poster News: Robert Rodriguez's unnecessary Machete sequel, titled Machete Kills, will feature a singer called La Chameleon. And who will be playing her? None other than Lady Gaga. Two words: stunt casting.

Trailer News: the full Skyfall trailer has been released offering our first glimpse of Ben Wishaw's Q and Javier Barden's bleach-blonde villain Silva. It looks stunning and may even trump Casino Royale.