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It’s been two months since the first teaser for “Trainspotting 2” hit the web, so naturally it was time for an update on Danny Boyle’s first ever sequel. The Guardian posted the exclusive footage of the film’s latest teaser Monday, showing the original cast of Renton (Ewan McGregor), Spud (Ewen Bremner), Sick Boy (Jonny Lee Miller) and Begbie (Robert Carlyle) in their familiar spots on the same train platform where they stood 20 years ago.
“It’s like 20 years later, and it’s the same actors,” Boyle told press at the New York Film Festival last year. “It’s 20 years later in a friendship. Irvine Welsh is involved as one of the partners on the film. We’ve set up a partnership amongst us all and he’s one of the partners. »
- Graham Winfrey
James + Semaj is a column where James Franco talks to his reverse self, Semaj, about new films. Rather than a conventional review, it is place where James and Semaj can muse about ideas that the films provoke. James loves going to the movies and talking about them. But a one-sided take on a movie, in print, might be misconstrued as a review. As someone in the industry it could be detrimental to James’s career if he were to review his peers, because unlike the book industry—where writers review other writer’s books—the film industry is highly collaborative, and a bad review of a peer could create problems. So, assume that James (and Semaj) love all these films. What they’re interested in talking about is all the ways the films inspire them, and make them think. James is me, and Semaj is the other side of me. »
- James Franco
Smith is currently writing The Undertaker, which is about a former Ira man living quietly in a remote part of Nova Scotia, Canada. While he is ashamed of his violent past but he is forced to take on one last job - killing a paedophile priest who works at the Vatican.
Backing for the project is set to come from London-based Catalyst Global Media, which will produce alongside Dan Films.
The $15m film is being put together as a co-production and is set to shoot in Canada, Northern Ireland and Italy.
- email@example.com (Geoffrey Macnab)
Over the weekend, director Steven Spielberg's new film The Bfg hit theaters, an adaptation of Roald Dahl's beloved novel, debuting in fourth place at the box office with $19.5 million. Since this adaptation was filmed with a whopping $140 million budget, it seems unlikely that the film will turn a profit, barring a big surge both domestically and globally. The director isn't wasting any time getting back to work, with word surfacing this weekend that the filmmaker has already completed the first week of production on his next film, Ready Player One.
The news comes from the Twitter account of screenwriter Zak Penn, who adapted Ready Player One with author Ernest Cline. The writer also thanked Ernest Cline for the "assist in Oology." For those who aren't familiar with the original book, Oology is a branch of ornithology that centers on bird nesting and breeding habits. In the novel, Oology »
Two major sci-fi films from acclaimed filmmakers are now at opposite ends of production it would seem.
First up, screenwriter Zak Penn has confirmed on Twitter that the Steven Spielberg-directed film adaptation of Ernest Cline's best-selling 2011 sci-fi novel "Ready Player One" has just wrapped its first week of production.
Tye Sheridan stars in the film as a teenager in a virtual utopia who tries to solve puzzles inspired by the creator of this world with the promise of fortune at the end.
The film, the direct follow-up to last year's "Star Wars: The Force Awakens," began production back in April and is slated for release December 2017. »
- Garth Franklin
A couple of weeks ago we brought you some comic book faithful concept art for Apocalypse from this year’s X-Men: Apocalypse [see here], and now we have a look at some more unused designs for Oscar Isaac’s villain, with Jared Krichevsky sharing the following artwork to Twitter showing En Sabah Nur with and without a space helmet…
Following the critically acclaimed global smash hit X-Men: Days of Future Past, director Bryan Singer returns with X-men: Apocalypse. Since the dawn of civilization, he was worshipped as a god. Apocalypse, the first and most powerful mutant from Marvel’s X-Men universe, amassed the powers of many other mutants, becoming immortal and invincible. Upon awakening after thousands of years, he is disillusioned with the world as he finds it and recruits a team of powerful mutants, including a disheartened Magneto (Michael Fassbender), to cleanse mankind and create a new world order, over which he will reign. »
- Gary Collinson
X-Men: Apocalypse may have been out for over a month in most markets, but Japan has to wait until August for the latest chapter in 20th Century Fox’s mutant superhero series.
A new trailer for the Japanese release has arrived online today, and while you may be tempted to skip if if you’ve already seen the movie, this one features a guest appearance from Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool, who pops up for a ‘post-credit’ sequence where the Merc with a Mouth highlights five things you may have missed. Take a look here…
See Also: Unused X-Men: Apocalypse concept art for Cyclops, Mystique and En Sabah Nur
- Gary Collinson
According to Deadline, actress Hannah John-Kamen has been recruited by director Steven Spielberg to join the cast of Ready Player One. While Warner Bros. has yet to officially revealed the role she’ll be playing, some have speculated that she could end up portraying the character of Helen Harris from Ernest Cline’s 2011 book on which the film is based.
John-Kamen appeared in two recent episodes of Game of Thrones as Ornela, a Dosh Khaleen member, and plays the lead role in SyFy’s series Killjoys. Her other acting credits include smaller parts in the first season of Happy Valley and Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
The casting announcement comes a month before production on the movie begins in London and a little less than two years ahead of its March 30th, 2018 release date.
- Justin Cook
Steven Spielberg’s next project in the pipeline is the long-awaited adaptation of Ernie Cline’s Ready Player One that’s been steadily accruing cast members over the last month. Today brings word of yet another addition to the ensemble, in the shape of Killjoys actress Hannah John-Kamen.
John-Kamen climbs aboard the movie in an as-yet undisclosed role alongside a bumper crop of acting talent that includes Tye Sheridan, Olivia Cooke, Ben Mendelsohn, T.J. Miller, Simon Pegg and Mark Rylance. A relative unknown at this point, the actress is gathering a resume of solid screen credits that features an episode of the upcoming Black Mirror season 3 and a stint as a Dothraki widow in Game of Thrones.
As for the movie itself, Spielberg’s taking on an ambitious storyline that takes place in the year 2044 when people rarely live in the real world, instead choosing to plug into a virtual reality matrix called Oasis. »
- Gem Seddon
Deadline is reporting that Steven Spielberg's upcoming film adaptation of the Ernest Cline dystopian sci-fi novel Ready Player One has added 26-year-old British actress Hannah John-Kamen in a key role. Details on her part were not given, but if you've read the novel, it shouldn't be too hard to decipher who she's likely playing. John-Kamen is best known for her lead role on the Syfy series Killjoys where she plays an interplanetary bounty hunter. She also most recently appeared in two episodes of HBO's hit fantasy drama Game of Thrones as Ornela, a Dothraki widow that befriended Daenerys during her brief stay with the Dosh khaleen. Her other credits include Black Mirror and she also had a small role as a First Order officer in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. She joins a cast headlined by up-and-comers Tye Sheridan (X-Men: Apocalypse) and Olivia Cooke (Me And Earl And The Dying Girl »
While his next film is due out in a couple of weeks (The Bfg), the next project on director Steven Spielberg’s docket after that is already being covetously anticipated by fans. How could the filmmaker of Close Encounters and Jurassic Park returning to the realm of sci-fi and fantasy not be? His big screen take on Ernest Cline's Ready Player One is not due out until March 30th 2018 but is already gaining traction with every casting announcement.
On that note, Deadline has now revealed that British actress Hannah John-Kamen of the Syfy show Killjoys (as well as the sixth season of Game of Thrones) has landed a major part in the upcoming blockbuster.
Exclusive: British actress Hannah John-Kamen, who stars in the Syfy series Killjoys, just landed one of the coveted few roles in Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One for Warner Bros. The project is set to begin production next month in London. Tye Sheridan stars with female lead Olivia Cooke and Ben Mendelsohn. The movie, based on the popular sci-fi novel by Ernest Cline, is scheduled for release March 30, 2018. The book, whose story takes place in a virtual world, was… »
Some new artwork has surfaced online for this year’s X-Men: Apocalypse, showing unused costume designs for Tye Sheridan’s Cyclops and Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique by Joshua James Shaw, as well as Jerad Marantz’s concept design’s for Oscar Isaac’s Apocalypse. Check them out here and let us know your thoughts on the designs in the comments below…
Following the critically acclaimed global smash hit X-Men: Days of Future Past, director Bryan Singer returns with X-men: Apocalypse. Since the dawn of civilization, he was worshipped as a god. Apocalypse, the first and most powerful mutant from Marvel’s X-Men universe, amassed the powers of many other mutants, becoming immortal and invincible. Upon awakening after thousands of years, he is disillusioned with the world as he finds it and recruits a team of powerful mutants, including a disheartened Magneto (Michael Fassbender), to cleanse mankind and create a new world order, »
- Gary Collinson
The conclusion of X-Men: Apocalypse saw the team uniting for a training exercise in the Danger Room, sporting some outfits that were a lot more comic accurate than any we'd seen in the franchise previously. As it turns out, we could have seen some even more comic-accurate costumes, as revealed in new concept art posted by Joshua James Shaw. The designs feature diffferent looks for Cyclops and Mystique. The first Scott Summers pic shows an outfit that's incredibly reminiscent of the character's 90's look, while the second is a lot more streamlined with blue highlights. Mystique is shown in a white and grey bodysuit that pays homage to her classic dress. Jennifer Lawrence's face is superimposed on to the concept, while Cyclops bears no resemblance to actor Tye Sheridan, which probably indicates these images were done before casting was complete. Do you like these looks better than what we got in the film? »
It may not have set the domestic box office alight, with just $146.1 million to date, but thanks to strong international performance X-Men: Apocalypse has now crossed the $500 million mark worldwide, becoming only the third X-Men movie to do so.
The Bryan Singer-directed sequel pushed its cumulative gross to $510.1 million this weekend, with 72% of that figure coming from the international markets. However, it remains some distance behind franchise leader Deadpool, which has earned $780.5 million this year, along with Singer’s previous offering X-Men: Days of Future Past, which grossed $747.9 million back in 2014.
Following the critically acclaimed global smash hit X-Men: Days of Future Past, director Bryan Singer returns with X-men: Apocalypse. Since the dawn of civilization, he was worshipped as a god. Apocalypse, the first and most powerful mutant from Marvel’s X-Men universe, amassed the powers of many other mutants, »
- Gary Collinson
Having spoiled Hugh Jackman’s cameo in the final trailer for X-Men: Apocalypse, we now have a behind-the-scenes look at the Weapon X scene from the mutant superhero sequel courtesy of director Bryan Singer, who has shared a brief video featuring the Wolverine in action.
See Also: X-Men: Apocalypse featurette details the creation of the Quicksilver scene
A little behind the scenes. The hardest working and kindest actor in all of Hollywood, #HughJackman #Wolverine #XMen #XMenApocalypse
A video posted by Bryan Singer (@bryanjaysinger) on Jun 13, 2016 at 11:58pm Pdt
Following the critically acclaimed global smash hit X-Men: Days of Future Past, director Bryan Singer returns with X-men: Apocalypse. Since the dawn of civilization, he was worshipped as a god. Apocalypse, the first and most powerful mutant from Marvel’s X-Men universe, amassed the powers of many other mutants, becoming immortal and invincible. Upon awakening after thousands of years, he is »
- Gary Collinson
We check out the John Travolta films that have been bypassing cinemas over the past few years...
In the days leading up to writing this article, which will cover a recent period in which he’s made a bunch of films that have quickly drifted to DVD or VOD, I had to stop and ask myself a genuine question: how do I actually feel about John Travolta?
The answer that rose from the depths of my coal-black, hell-bound soul was weirdly surprising. Brushing aside his personal life – which is not worth getting into here – I found I had nothing but good feelings surrounding his work as an actor.
I grew up with Carrie, Grease, Look Who’s Talking and perhaps his best film, Brian De Palma’s Blow Out. I also grew up with some of his clunkers, like the Look Who’s Talking sequels and 80s concept comedy The Experts. He’s been acting since before I was born, so he’s always been in the background of my pop culture landscape – working solidly for more than 40 years.
Over those decades, his catalogue has defied explanation. He seems to unapologetically pick whatever he feels moved to be a part of regardless of criticism and, goddamn it, there’s something inherently admirable about that. Unlike, say, Bruce Willis, he doesn’t seem happy with doing just a couple of days work on a shoot in a smaller part; more often he will choose to be the star, or at least have equal-ish screen time – even if the project isn’t boasting a huge budget or a big name director. When Pulp Fiction thrust him back into the mainstream, he was still picking up stuff like Phenomenon and Michael in the following years.
I can confidently say that I’ve never seen the man actively 'phone in' a performance and even when he’s overcooked it, there’s usually a decent reason. I mean, if you find yourself on the set of Face/Off going up against The Cage, you’re gonna need to fight fire with fire. Even in Battlefield Earth, he was at least trying.
But in the last half decade we’ve found ourselves in a deeper Travolta trough than we’ve ever been in before. His films aren’t quite cutting the mustard in the industry like they used to and, after a run of flops that have seen him drift back into television with an impressive turn as Robert Shapiro in The People V. O.J. Simpson, I find myself wondering 'will Travolta ever be big business again?'
So, I took a look at four of the films that Travolta’s worked on in the last few years - each of which has effectively gone straight to DVD (save for a few days in a cinema) - to see if anything’s slipped under our radar that needs a boost…
The Forger (2014)
Rotten Tomatoes Score – 7% IMDb Rating – 5.7/10
In The Forger, John Travolta is a man serving a prison sentence who makes a call to get out of it early so he can spend more time with his dying son. In exchange for help with bribing the judge to release him early, John’s expected to help forge a Monet for his erstwhile crime boss, played by Hell On Wheels’ Anson Mount.
As the film casually flits between the forge/heist story and the bonding relationship between John and his son, it’s a testament to director Philip Martin - who comes from a TV background where he’s learnt his trade by helping to bring Prime Suspect and Wallander crime stories to life – that it isn’t a complete disaster. In someone else’s hands, it very well could have been.
Instead, The Forger has a delicate touch and a lot of the shots are interesting and unexpected without being jarring. It flows very smoothly and there’s an undercurrent of genuine love stemming from Travolta’s performance. After losing his own son, making a film about losing a son might have been cathartic and definitely quite close to the bone. I don’t want to read too much into Travolta’s choices, because that way madness lies, but it does really come across as though he cared about this one.
The Forger’s family scenes - with Travolta’s son Tye Sheridan and father Christopher Plummer - play really well, and while the tone of these scenes doesn’t gel with the heist elements of the plot, there’s good stuff here.
Overall, there’s not quite enough substance to sail the whole thing smoothly down the river, but it’s not bad by any stretch and the reviews have been a little harsh on what is actually a perfectly average film. No, you won’t watch it again, but neither will you probably regret watching it in the first place.
Criminal Activities (2015)
Rotten Tomatoes Score – 47% IMDb Rating – 5.8/10
Hoo boy, that title. That’s the worst title. I can’t imagine anyone involved could have wanted it. It’s maybe the most generic title I’ve ever seen. It’s so bad that even when I picked up the DVD, looked at the cover and saw that Michael Pitt (Hannibal, Boardwalk Empire) and Dan Stevens (The Guest, The Guest, The Guest) were Travolta’s co-stars in this, I still felt like I was drowning in the beigeness of it.
The film itself - Jackie Earle Haley's directorial debut - is an unfortunate mess. The plot, such as it is, involves Michael, Dan and the rest of the lads from their childhood gang borrowing money from a mob boss (Travolta) to invest in some sure-fire stocks that immediately collapse, leaving them out of pocket and in John’s. To pay off the debt, he wants them to kidnap a guy, because that guy’s friend kidnapped someone else. It’s convoluted and makes little sense, due to the fact that there’s a big twist coming at the end which will clarify most, if not all of it.
The actors are doing wayyy too much in the film - directed by an actor who clearly wants the actors to have room to act - and therein lies the fundamental problem. Apart from a great turn by Edi Gathegi (Gone Baby Gone, X-Men: First Class, Crank) it’s impossible to point a finger at anyone else in the cast and say 'yep, you, good job' because there’s just too much going on.
The twist is actually decent, but everything leading up to it is a headache. Working on a low budget, most of the scenes are dialogue-heavy, arduous and reliant on excessive coverage – so what you end up with is a film where a load of dudes sit in a room together and shout and swear at each other a lot. I wanted to take that final twist aside, buy it a drink, hug it, and reassure it that it deserved better.
I’m afraid to say there’s not much here to recommend, which is ironic given that it’s had the most positive reviews of the bunch.
I Am Wrath (2016)
Rotten Tomatoes Score – 13% IMDb Rating – 5.2/10
I Am Wrath is the worst film of these four by a long chalk.
Here, John stars as a man who decides payback is needed when his wife (Rebecca de Mornay) is killed before his eyes. That’s really all there is, plot-wise. See, it turns out he’s a man with a very particular set of skills and yada yada yada off he goes.
The script - written by Paul 'nope, nothing you’ve heard of' Sloan - is so very, very bad. I am going to tell you how bad it is, so you don’t think I’m just whistlin’ Dixie here:
During his wife’s funeral, John tells the priest that he’s an atheist after the priest gives him a bible in his time of need. Later, Travolta flings this bible across the room angrily. He then stops, pulls a full Joey Tribbiani 'smell-the-fart', slowly approaches the discarded bible, picks it up and reads a line about wrath with the dumbest revelatory expression on his face as the music builds. He sees this as a sign that he should become wrath, despite his earlier insistence that he thinks religion is total garbage.
Later, when asked who he is, Travolta looks determinedly into a mirror and says “I am wrath” – he said the name of the movie you guys! Holy shit. Honestly, I could not believe how hackneyed the whole thing was, not to mention bizarre - the film regularly abandons its serious 'violence begets violence' tone whenever John’s Bff Christopher Meloni turns up, suddenly becoming a jokey buddy comedy.
This was hard to get through. Please avoid it at all costs, for there is nothing here to keep you warm at night.
Killing Season (2013)
Rotten Tomatoes Score – 11% IMDb Rating – 5.4/10
De Niro and Travolta – together at last?
Well, the opening sequence gives us a bit of background on the reason we’re all here. Something bad happened during the Bosnian War that will bring our two main dudes together for some serious vengeance. The sequence is sepia, because past, and ohhhhh god, here comes the present…
It’s at this point that we discover that John is going to attempt an Eastern European accent. It is Not Good. It is not John Malkovich in Rounders, but it is Not Good and we are stuck with it for the duration.
His facial hair during this first scene is also completely ridiculous. I can’t adequately describe how bonkers it is, but try to imagine a werewolf that can only grow stubble carefully shaving a circle into its face. It’s a relief to find that they decided to tone this down for the rest of the film - he looks more like he’s wearing a black chinstrap from then on.
Despite the accent and the questionable chin beard, it’s a lot easier to buy Travolta as a man on a mission of vengeance during Killing Season than it was during I Am Wrath. He’s obviously jazzed to be working with De Niro and he’s knuckled down to bounce off him, keeping it low-key and making an effort not to overdo it.
As a result of this equilibrium, we also get a glimpse of a pre-Meet The Parents De Niro - which is very much welcomed, sweet lord - and the two men head into the second act ready to take each other on, hunt each other down and resolve those Bosnian sins of the past in the most violent way possible.
The script - by proposed Tomb Raider reboot scribe Evan Daugherty - occasionally stumbles, but is solid enough. The direction is fine. It’s fine. It’s probably Mark Steven Johnson’s best film (but when his other major films are Daredevil and Ghost Rider, that’s not exactly a gush) and as the two leads hunt and trap each other, a lot of Predator love oozes out of the frame. Unfortunately, this is not Predator, but you could do worse on an evening than to sit through this instead (if you don’t own Predator).
…Oh my god you guys. We should totally watch Predator right now.
Until next time, and until the next rebirth of Mr Travolta, I bid you adieu.
Next time: the straight to DVD movies of John Cusack
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See related Bruce Willis: examining his recent straight-to-dvd movies DVD & Bluray Feature Movies Kirsten Howard John Travolta 14 Jun 2016 - 05:16 The Forger I Am Wrath Criminal Activities Killing Season »
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So X-Men: Apocalypse hasn’t lit the world on fire. Sitting in the awkward place between commercially and critically beloved (Captain America: Civil War) and commercially and critically disappointing (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice), Apocalypse was lost in the superhero shuffle, being neither good nor great. ‘X-Meh’, as Slash Film’s review so succinctly put it.
But no fear, Captain Hindsight is here! Oli reckons he knows how the overstuffed, underdeveloped plot and characters of X-Men: Apocalypse could have been better served: split the film in two, a la the final Hunger Games and Harry Potter movies…
This is an extract from the Flickering Myth Podcast #28 (1st June, 2016). Subscribe on iTunes.
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Listen to the Flickering Myth Podcast on Soundcloud, follow us on Stitcher or subscribe to us on iTunes. »
- Oli Davis
The film is based on the real-life of the Granite Mountain Hotshots, “an elite group of 20 firefighters who courageously battled one of the deadliest wildfires in history to save the homes and lives of other Arizonians. Nineteen of the men died heroes on that hill when the wind changed and fire engulfed them from all sides.”
In addition to Ben Hardy, it’s also being reported that Andie MacDowell (Cedar Cove) and Alex Russell (Chronicle) have signed on to appear, with the trio joining a stellar A-list cast that includes Josh Brolin (Sicario), Jeff Bridges (Kingsman: The Golden Circle), Jennifer Connolly (Shelter), Miles Teller (Whiplash), Taylor Kitsch »
- Scott J. Davis
Prince would have turned 58 today, so in honor of his birthday W magazine recruited several A-list celebrities to cover some of the legendary singer's famous songs. Kit Harington, Ethan Hawke, Cindy Crawford, Chris Evans, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Rami Malek, Elle Fanning, Nate Parker, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Tye Sheridan, Melissa Benoist and Anya Taylor-Joy all perform their favorite Prince songs, each giving his or her own twist on the tunes. Most kick of the video by reading Prince's iconic lyrics, but by the end of the video some of the stars belt out his songs like they're starring in their own rock concert. We're looking at you, Evans. The results are nothing short of adorable. Game of Thrones star »
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