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George Lucas rides off into the sunset on a song, and with a whole lot of love as Strange Magic marks the final film he developed for Lucasfilm before selling his company to Disney. Inspired by Shakespeare's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream', Strange Magic is a motion capture, CGI musical about the unlikely romance of a faerie princess (Evan Rachel Wood) and the grizzled Bog King (Alan Cumming).
A departure from his previous work, this new fantasy adventure is a frame to frame musical, with popular songs driving the love themed plot. Lucas admits he has been writing Strange Magic for over fifteen years. As Star Wars was mainly meant for boys, Strange Magic is his opus for girls. And it Teaches a much different lesson than traditional, patriarchal fables.
Exclusive: It’s tempting to say that Alessandro Nivola lives a charmed life, and that might be true if he weren’t working so hard. He’s Zelig in plain sight: At this moment in time you can see him in Selma as Justice Department civil rights lawyer John Doar, who would become the lead prosecutor in the government’s case against the murders of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner. And you can see him on the other side of the mirror, as a mobbed-up oil distributor and bete noir of Oscar Isaacs in A Most Violent Year. He played another nemesis, FBI agent Anthony Amado, on the trail of Bradley Cooper in American Hustle. And he’s still batting it around with Cooper, but now on Broadway, where he plays Frederick Treves, the humanistic doctor who rescues Cooper’s John Merrick – Aka the Elephant Man – from life in a freak show booth. »
- Jeremy Gerard
Viewers saw the wild, wild West get a high-tech twist in 1973’s Westworld, the late Michael Crichton’s directorial debut that takes place in an adult amusement park populated by androids. Next year HBO is bringing us back to the park with their series reimagining of Crichton’s cautionary technology tale, and now the first photo of Ed Harris as the villainous Man in Black has been released.
EW unveiled the first image of Ed Harris as The Man in Black, a character described as “the distillation of pure villainy into one man.” Last month, a photo of Ingrid Bolsø Berdal’s character taking aim with a rifle was also released.
“A dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the future of sin”, Westworld is a drama series comprised of one-hour episodes that will premiere on HBO in 2015. The show is executive produced, written, and directed by Jonathan Nolan »
- Derek Anderson
Thanks to Entertainment Weekly, we’ve got a new image from HBO’s upcoming Westworld TV adaptation, featuring Ed Harris as The Man in Black, a character described as “the distillation of pure villainy into one man”…
Based on Michael Crichton’s 1973 film of the same name, Westworld is produced by Jonathan Nolan (The Dark Knight), Lisa Joy (Burn Notice) and J.J. Abrams (Star Trek), and will see Harris joined in the cast by the likes of Anthony Hopkins (Thor: The Dark World), James Marsden (X-Men), Ingrid Bolso Berdal (Hercules), Eddie Rouse (American Gangster), Demetrius Grosse (Justified), Kyle Bornheimer (Bachelorette), Currie Graham (Murder in the First), Lena Georgas (Ray Donovan), Steven Ogg (Grand Theft Auto V), Timothy Lee DePriest (With the Angels), Evan Rachel Wood (True Blood), Jeffrey Wright (The Hunger Game: Mockingjay), Rodrigo Santoro (300: Rise of an Empire), Shannon Woodward (Raising Hope), Angela Sarafyan (The Immigrant), and Simon Quarterman »
- Gary Collinson
Given the people behind the cameras – producers Jonah Nolan, Lisa Joy, J.J. Abrams and Bryan Burk, and some of those who will appear before them (Anthony Hopkins, James Marsden and Evan Rachel Wood to name but three), it’s hardly surprising that HBO would push the new version of Westworld into series production as quickly as it did. With a new image of Ed Harris from the show online, Entertainment Weekly has talked to Nolan and Joy about their vision for the show.This being a co-production of a Nolan and Abrams, they’re careful not to give away too much. But they do explain the appeal of taking on a concept originated by Michael “Jurassic Park” Crichton four decades ago. “What you feel in the film is there’s this larger world that he barely has time to explore. It leaves you breathless. Westworld goes from one fucking massive idea to the next, »
The Iraq War saga “American Sniper” soared like a superhero movie at the box office, with a $64.3 million second weekend in wide release that would make any caped crusader proud.
The Clint Eastwood-directed telling of the tough return home by Navy Seal Chris Kyle, played in the movie by Bradley Cooper, continued its electrifying run with the best second weekend ever by an R-rated movie. In the process, “American Sniper” hit the $200 million mark in domestic grosses just 10 days after earning nominations for Best Picture, »
- Todd Cunningham
“American Sniper” intensified its stunning and record-breaking box-office barrage with another $18.3 million on Friday. The tale of a top U.S. marksman coming home a changed man again blew past analysts’ projections and is heading for a three-day haul of more than $60 million, which would be easily the best second weekend in January ever.
- Todd Cunningham
Here's what you already know: HBO's upcoming Westworld is an adaptation of the 1973 film written and directed by visionary author Michael Crichton. Like the author's best-known work, Jurassic Park, it's about a theme park where rather unique attractions (in Westworld's case, lifelike androids) break from their assigned roles and kill the guests. HBO's series version is from Interstellar and The Dark Knight co-writer Jonathan Nolan (brother of director Christopher) and Lisa Joy (Burn Notice), along with mega-producer J.J. Abrams and Jerry Weintraub and Bryan Burk. It boasts an impressive cast led by Anthony Hopkins (in his first TV series regular role), James Marsden, »
- James Hibberd
The first Lucasfilm movie announced by Disney after the acquisition was Star Wars: The Force Awakens. But the first Lucasfilm feature released by Disney is this weekend’s Strange Magic. First conceived by George Lucas over a decade ago, the animated musical delves into a fantasy world populated by lovelorn elves, feisty fairies, and embittered goblins. During […]
- Angie Han
You might not know who Gary Rydstrom is, but you've certainly heard him before. This is a man whose pioneering sound work has won him seven (!) Academy Awards and brought to life groundbreaking technological advancements like the first film presented in DTS sound ("Jurassic Park") and re-crafting sound mixes in 5.1 surround (after his breakthrough work on "Terminator 2: Judgment Day," he and James Cameron created a new multi-channel mix for the original "Terminator"). He's also directed a pair of Pixar short films ("Lifted" and "Hawaiian Vacation") and overseen the English language dubs of four Studio Ghibli movies ("Tales from Earthsea," "From Up on Poppy Hill," "Arrietty," and last year's Oscar-nominated masterpiece "The Wind Rises"). In short: he's kind of the coolest dude around.
And this weekend he adds another accomplishment to his already unfathomably long list, when his debut feature film "Strange Magic" debuts in theaters nationwide. This bizarre, George Lucas-produced animated fairy tale, »
- Drew Taylor
Every now and then, I find myself suddenly and unexpectedly angry at George Lucas, but not for reasons that have anything to do with "Star Wars." There has been a refrain we've heard from him over and over during the past couple of decades, where he talks about returning to his roots and making experimental films that could never exist inside the studio system, movies that aren't created to be commercial product, but that come from a very personal place. And over and over, those comments lead nowhere and nothing happens. I'd love to see him do it, though. I have a huge fondness for "Thx-1138," Lucas's first feature film, which evolved out of a student film he made. I take Lucas at his word that commercial filmmaking was never meant to be the complete detour it became after "American Graffiti" and "Star Wars" both blew up into mega-hits, »
- Drew McWeeny
On its way to box office supremacy and Christmas season ubiquity, Disney’s Frozen left a lot of pretenders in its dust. With the exception of Studio Ghibli’s The Wind Rises, 2013’s animated scene was defined by better-than-expected sequels, but not much else outside the sweep of Frozen‘s popularity vortex. 2014, by contrast, saw studios separate the House of Mouse putting their best foot forward, with creative successes from the aforementioned Ghibli, Aardman Animation, Dreamworks, and the house that Lego built, Animal Logic. As a showcase for the breadth of styles and narratives available, 2014 was a stellar year for animation. Strange Magic, the first animated feature of 2015, suggests such a trend ended with the calendar year.
- Sam Woolf
Have you ever landed a job because of Twitter? Alan Cumming has. The advances in technology are rapidly changing the way we live our lives and, in the case of actors, earn their next paychecks. As Cumming told me during an interview for George Lucas. fairytale musical endeavor, neither he nor his Strange Magic co-star Evan Rachel Wood landed their roles through practical means. There wasn.t a traditional audition. They hadn.t prepared any songs to sing for the father of Star Wars. Instead, it was thanks to social media that their involvement came to pass. As Wood said, it was clips of her online that brought her to the attention of the movie.s producers, while Cumming had a similar experience. Their co-star Elijah Kelley, however, wasn.t as fruitful in this department, and he underwent a more straight-forward process. What.s more impressive, though, is Cumming.s »
Johnny Depp and Jennifer Lopez, two stars whose best box box office days appear behind them, will try to bounce back in new movies opening Friday. But with the record-breaking reigning champ “American Sniper” turning into a cultural phenomenon, they may have picked the wrong weekend.
Lopez is featured in Universal Pictures’ R-rated erotic thriller “The Boy Next Door” as a high school teacher who becomes the object of a young neighbor’s obsession after a one-night stand. Rob Cohen directs and Ryan Guzman, »
- Todd Cunningham
If you’ve ever longed for a movie with all the insistent life lessons of a Disney fairy tale, the tacky visual excesses of digital-era George Lucas, and enough glorified karaoke covers to fill half a season of “Glee,” then you may want to treat yourself to the altogether perplexing animated brew that is “Strange Magic.” Everyone else can just imagine a CG cartoon mash-up of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Arthur and the Invisibles” and “American Idol” populated by extras from the Mos Eisley Cantina, and they’ll pretty much get the idea. An insipid byproduct of the Disney-Lucasfilm merger that looks to attract a fraction (if that) of the audience for this year’s “Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens,” this noisy, unappealing children’s fantasy fails to distinguish itself among January’s many, many reasons to steer clear of the multiplex.
Lucas is credited here »
- Justin Chang
Rubber-faced characters and a seemingly ceaseless parade of repurposed pop ditties combine to make what might be the worst animated feature Disney has ever released
Well, now we know what a Las Vegas show designed for eight-year-olds would look like.
The advance marketing on producer George Lucas’ “Strange Magic” suggested a retread of the not-all-that-memorable 2013 cartoon “Epic.” And yes, this fairies-versus-bugs story does recall that earlier film, but “Magic” also ladles in unwieldy dollops of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” “Moulin Rouge!” and a particularly long and excruciating episode of “American Idol.”
See Video: Sing Along With the First Trailer »
- Alonso Duralde
Like any decent trick, "Strange Magic" came about as a bit of a surprise. Instead of the usual multi-year lead-up of most animated film releases, the release announcement for this film came as a bit of a shock when its beans were spilled last November.
The project is directed by Gary Rydstrom, a sound designer and editor credited with the majority of the most popular live-action and animated films ever made, from "Toy Story" to "Titanic," with the "Star Wars" prequels, "Jurassic Park," and "Saving Private Ryan" under his belt. He has 17 Oscar nominations (with seven wins), yet this is the first time he's credited as the director of a film.
The story is credited to Rydstrom's boss at Skywalker Sound, the one and only George Lucas. This is a straight-up fairy tale, complete with dark forests, goblins, elves and the like.
Oh, dear. Are you going to be some Lucas fanboy about this? »
- Jason Gorber
Strange Magic is a new animated musical from Lucasfilm, sprung from the mind of George Lucas over 15 years ago when he decided to make a movie that would appeal mostly to young girls. In the film, Evan Rachel Wood plays Marianne, a carefree fairy who unwittingly crosses into the land of the goblins, inciting unexpected results. Alan Cumming plays The Bog King, the leader of the dreaded goblins who actually turns out (surprise, surprise) to have a soft heart and a knack for singing. I »
- Eric Walkuski
“Strange Magic,” a new animated film from Lucasfilm Ltd., is a fairy tale—but not your average fairy tale. It’s a madcap musical with a princess who has sworn off love, a vulnerable villain, a slightly nutty Sugar Plum Fairy, a tenacious and big-hearted elf, a mischievous imp, and a knight who is no Prince Charming.
“Strange Magic” welcomes an extraordinary roster of voice talent, including Alan Cumming (CBS’ “The Good Wife,” Broadway’s “Cabaret”) as Bog King, Evan Rachel Wood (“The Ides of March“) as feisty fairy Marianne, Elijah Kelley (“Hairspray,” “Lee Daniels’The Butler”) as lovelorn elf Sunny, newcomer Meredith Anne Bull as Marianne’s lovesick sister Dawn, »
- Michelle McCue
See Also: Watch the trailer for Strange Magic here
Strange Magic is a madcap fairy tale musical inspired by A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Popular songs from the past six decades help tell the tale of a colorful cast of goblins, elves, fairies and imps, and their hilarious misadventures sparked by the battle over a powerful potion.
Strange Magic is directed by Gary Rydstrom (Toy Story Toons: Hawaiian Vacation) and features a voice cast that includes Alan Cumming (The Good Wife), Evan Rachel Wood (The Wrestler), Kristin Chenoweth (Rio 2), Maya Rudolph (Big Hero 6), Sam Palladio (Nashville), Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2), Elijah Kelley (Hairspray), Bob Einstein (Curb Your Enthusiasm), Peter Stormare (Arrow) and newcomer Meredith Anne Bull. »
- Gary Collinson
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