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Newswire: Grant Gustin speeds his way into a new political drama

33 minutes ago

TV’s Flash, Grant Gustin, has lined up one of his first film roles, with Deadline reporting that the former Glee star will be lending his talents to a new political drama, titled The Last Full Measure. Starring McU veteran Sebastian “Bucky” Stan, the film centers on a group of lawyers and former soldiers fighting the political elite in order to get a posthumous Medal Of Honor for Gustin’s character, Airman First Class William H. Pitsenbarger.

Fittingly, given Gustin’s day job, Pitsenbarger was basically a real-life superhero, serving in Vietnam in the Air Force’s prestigious Pararescueman program—i.e., the guys who drop out of helicopters into active combat zones, evacuating wounded soldiers and saving lives. Pitsenbarger died in 1966, after ordering a damaged chopper crew to leave him in an active war zone so that he could provide medical care and support to a crew of ...

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- William Hughes

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Coming Distractions: Trailer for Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Sequel has a villain scarier than climate change

2 hours ago

Some superhero movies are only as good as their villain, and though Al Gore may not wear a cape, his new movie sure has a great villain in the form of a lumpy demagogue named Donald Trump. He’s a very spooky character who seems almost cartoonishly narcissistic and willfully ignorant, and this trailer for An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth To Power basically casts him as a Satan-like figure who can somehow convince people to act against their interests just by screaming and acting like an idiot. Unfortunately, this Trump guy isn’t really a cartoon villain, he’s a real-life villain, and he’s going to do whatever he can to turn this planet into a burning hunk of ash unless people stand up to him and continue to keep a spotlight on the horrible things he does.

So yes, Al Gore can be a little dull and a little »

- Sam Barsanti

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Newswire: Robert Rodriguez to direct movie based on Uglydoll toys

6 hours ago

Just a few days after signing on to direct a remake of John Carpenter’s Escape From New York, Robert Rodriguez has also decided to direct an animated movie based on the Uglydoll line of children’s toys. That’s according to Variety, which says the movie will be Rodriguez’s first animated project and that it even has a release date already penciled in for May 10, 2019. We don’t have any details about the film other than that, but it will presumably be a weird and stylish kids’ movie like Rodriguez’s Spy Kids series, but with the added benefit of being based on a pre-existing toy (just like Trolls and The Lego Movie).

As for the Uglydoll toys themselves, they’re primarily plush monsters with pointy teeth and big, cartoony eyes. The idea is that they look kind of creepy, which helps teach kids to appreciate ...

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- Sam Barsanti

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Newswire: R.I.P. Darlene Cates, Gilbert’s mom in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape

6 hours ago

Darlene Cates, the actress who played the housebound mother in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, has died. Cates’ daughter announced her death on Facebook earlier today, saying the actress went “peacefully in her sleep” on Sunday morning. She was 69.

Cates’ breakout role in Grape came after she appeared on an episode of Sally Jessy Raphael titled “Too Heavy To Leave Their House.” On the show, Cates talked about how being morbidly obese impacted her livelihood, openly discussing how a pelvic infection caused her to gain 150 pounds. Gilbert Grape author and screenwriter Peter Hedges caught Cates on the show, and knew she’d be perfect for the role of the mostly housebound Bonnie Grape.

As Cates later told the Dallas Morning News, she thought the role would help her both address her own insecurities—she once said she had a fantasy about being “able to go to the mall ...

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- Marah Eakin

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Newswire: Updated: Warner Bros. lures fans into the sewer with new It photos, teaser

8 hours ago

The Dark Tower isn’t the only upcoming Stephen King adaptation that’s got people nervous. There’s also the movie adaptation of It, the novel and then the TV miniseries that instilled coulrophobia in a generation’s worth of precocious readers. It’s been a bumpy road for the remake, first losing director Cary Fukunaga (who has since been replaced by Mama director Andrés Muschietti) and then releasing an image of Pennywise the Clown (Bill Skarsgård) peeking out of a sewer pipe that the internet rightly took as a Photoshop challenge.

Now, USA Today has floated some new images from the film, giving us our first good glimpse at the Loser’s Club—played here by Jaeden Lieberher, Jeremy Ray Taylor, Finn Wolfhard, Wyatt Oleff, Chosen Jacobs, Jack Dylan Grazer, and Sophia Lillis—and re-casting Pennywise in a more sinister light. Of the amorphous terror, Muschietti says: “It’s »

- Katie Rife

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Great Job, Internet!: This Twitter account isolates the beauty of horror cinema

8 hours ago

Horror’s popular, but it’s too often treated as a cinematic curiosity, with analysis of its aesthetic qualities ignored in favor of exploiting its scare quotient. What’s ironic is that cinematography is integral to a good scare, and perhaps we’re too freaked to properly appreciate the technique that helped elevate the moment.

Aesthetic Horror, a new Twitter account, is working to change that by isolating frames from iconic horror movies as a means of capturing the indelible. The captured images are not just striking to see on their own—they also take on an added weight in the memory of whichever scare it helps forecast. And even if you don’t know the movie, the images conjure their own kind of contextless horror.

A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) pic.twitter.com/lgPqw8LFMl

— Aesthetic Horror (@AestheticHorror) December 22, 2016

Child’s Play (1988) pic.twitter.com/NqL3E9pLf6 ...

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- Randall Colburn

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Newswire: You won’t find any tombs or raiding in our first look at the new Tomb Raider

9 hours ago

Not much is going on in the first images Warner Bros. released of Alicia Vikander assuming the role of Lara Croft in Tomb Raider, but in all three of them she appears looking both tough and vaguely concerned. This is certainly a less explicitly sexualized version of the video-game character than Angelina Jolie’s take; sure, she dons the typical action heroine tank top, but it mostly covers her midriff, and she’s substituted short-shorts for long, sensible pants.

(Photo: Warner Bros.) (Photo: Warner Bros.)

“I think people can identify with her for lots of different reasons, but for me I very much see her as a model for many young women,” Vikander said in an email to Vanity Fair, where the images debuted. “She’s trying to carve out her place in the world and connect her future with her past. She also has a fantastic mix of traits »

- Esther Zuckerman

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Watch This: My Bodyguard offers a nostalgic postcard of Chicago’s North Side

9 hours ago

Watch This offers movie recommendations inspired by new releases or premieres. Since it’s Chicago Week here at The A.V. Club, we’re looking back on some essential Chicago movies, set (and often filmed) in the Windy City.

My Bodyguard (1980)

My Bodyguard has slipped under the radar since its 1980 debut, but it’s the kind of film that appears timeless, decades later. Frankly, in today’s fervent “anti-bullying” educational landscape, it should be dusted off and submitted as required viewing for middle-schoolers. Tony Bill’s directorial debut features floppy-haired Chris Makepeace as new kid Clifford, who quickly gets tormented by a gang of thugs at his Chicago high school. The thugs are led by Moody, played by an astonishing Matt Dillon, simultaneously menacing and charming at all of 16 years old. Clifford gets the idea to hire the school’s biggest kid, Ricky Linderman (Adam Baldwin), to ...

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- Gwen Ihnat

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Newswire: Valerian will hold up to multiple viewings, Luc Besson promises

9 hours ago

Luc Besson believes his upcoming film, Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets, will be fodder for obsessive rewatching. “I’m sorry, you can’t watch the film once. It’s impossible,” he told reporters at a breakfast in New York Monday. ”You have to go twice.” The assertion makes sense; chat even briefly with Besson, and you’ll hear about how dedicated he was to fully crafting a world based on the French comics he grew up reading.

Besson explained that he had 6,000 drawings that he would show to his actors when they were shooting something on blue screen. “So I feed them with the world,” he said. “Every time they go to a world, they know exactly everything.” He also compiled a tome about the history of the space station Alpha, the actual city of a thousand planets that is threatened in the movie, requiring ...

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- Esther Zuckerman

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Great Job, Internet!: Read This: The man who wrote Groundhog Day is living it

9 hours ago

Just weeks before the opening of the new Broadway musical Groundhog Dog, Vulture has a very sweet profile of Danny Rubin, the original Groundhog Day screenwriter who is bringing this new stage version to life, too. It’s a story that could be tinged with bitterness; Groundhog Day is basically Rubin’s one claim to fame, and he has struggled to work within the Hollywood system after its success. Instead, Rubin comes across as affable, eccentric, and content with his rather odd career path.

Australian comedian Tim Minchin, who wrote the music and lyrics to Groundhog Day: The Musical, describes Rubin as “an incredibly gentle, sensitive guy, too good for the world he ended up in, too pure in his desire to write interesting things for Hollywood.” Indeed, Vulture’s profile is full of stories about Rubin refusing to play nice with the Hollywood execs who courted him after »

- Caroline Siede

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Great Job, Internet!: Read This: Uwe Boll now runs a popular restaurant, still thinks he’s a genius

9 hours ago

Uwe Boll, the controversial director responsible for Postal, Blubberella, BloodRayne, and Tara Reid playing a scientist, is one of the most prolific living directors of this century, having directed and self-produced 30 films in his short career. Still, he’ll always be remembered, according to this Vanity Fair profile, as “the Donald Trump of directors, a brutish bully inclined to lash out against his detractors.” Boll is notorious for having gone after his critics, the culmination of which was the event “Raging Boll,” during which the beefy auteur literally beat the shit out of his attackers in a boxing ring (a 17-year-old victim apparently pissed blood afterward).

It’s hard to feel anything but scorn for someone such as Boll, but Vanity Fair’s profile effectively peels back the layers, depicting a man who’s driven by intense artistic impulses despite not quite having the patience or tact to make ...

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- Randall Colburn

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Great Job, Internet!: Watch actors perform side by side with their real-life counterparts

10 hours ago

It’s always impressive seeing an actor assume the role of a real, well-known person, which always prompts the follow-up question of how accurate their portrayal was. Natalie Portman’s eerie ethereality in Jackie, for example, has been praised for its striking similarity to the former first lady, and we’ve previously seen movies graded for historical accuracy. (Selma got highest marks there.)

This video essay from Vugar Efendi, who has made a habit of putting together simple video essays via edits and juxtapositions that let the films speak for themselves, places real-life footage against their filmic portrayals. From La Vie En Rose to The Fighter to Catch Me If You Can, it lets the viewer decide how well the cinematic recreations pair up with the moments they’re based on.

Jackie, once again, comes out looking great, while Oliver Stone’s recreations of the assassination of Lee Harvey Oswald »

- Clayton Purdom

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Coming Distractions: Casey Affleck gets sheet faced in the trailer for A Ghost Story

11 hours ago

Based on the premise alone, A Ghost Story, the new film from Ain’t Them Bodies Saints and Pete’s Dragon director David Lowery, sounds kind of...silly? Or at least the image of Casey Affleck wearing a literal sheet over his head like one of the kids in It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown sounds silly. But our film editor A.A. Dowd saw A Ghost Story at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, and calls the film “a sneakily ambitious meditation on life after death, the endurance of romantic connection, and the value we place on the spaces we occupy.”

Affleck stars as a man known only as C, who comes back to haunt the home he used to share with his widow, M (Rooney Mara), after his untimely and sudden death. Unable to communicate with his beloved, C watches helplessly as M grieves and eventually moves »

- Katie Rife

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Newswire: At least some people have seen footage of The Dark Tower

13 hours ago

Though we got a look at a poster last week, actual footage of the Stephen King adaptation The Dark Tower has been elusive. However, according to reports out of exhibitor convention CinemaCon, at least some people have now gotten a glimpse at at Nikolaj Arcel’s movie starring Idris Elba and Matthew McConaughey.

If you want a full breakdown of just what was shown, The Hollywood Reporter and io9 have that on hand. They describe Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor) being troubled by his dreams, Roland Deschain (Elba) displaying his gun skills, and the Man in Black (McConaughey) being generally threatening. According to io9, the material Sony debuted “looked like a huge amalgamation of all of Stephen King’s books with plenty of original story worked in.” Largely, the reaction was positive:

The Dark Tower has a truly epic feel. Solid visuals. Action is handled well and there are King nods »

- Esther Zuckerman

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Newswire: Baby Driver to speed into theaters 6 weeks early

13 hours ago

Those of us who were left salivating by the hype over Edgar Wright’s new movie Baby Driver at SXSW have something to celebrate this morning: Entertainment Weekly reports that this baby will arrive prematurely. The film’s release date has been moved up six weeks to June 28, as Sony Pictures announced at its CinemaCon presentation in Las Vegas. That’s a real vote of confidence from Sony executives, who seem to be banking on the film being a summer sleeper hit by debuting it just before the all-important Fourth of July release window, where it’ll go up against Transformers: The Last Knight, Despicable Me 3, The House, and Amityville: The Awakening. (Spider-Man: Homecoming debuts the following week.)

Baby Driver stars Ansel Elgort as the eponymous Baby, who relies on the beats perpetually thumping through his earbuds to propel his work as a getaway driver. Jon Hamm and ...

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- Katie Rife

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Coming Distractions: You’re invited to Spider-Man: Homecoming in new trailer

14 hours ago

Sony has been selling Spider-Man: Homecoming as a coming-of-age tale focusing on young Peter Parker’s attempts to balance high school life with having superpowers, but the newly released trailer for the film has just a tad more action than you’d see in your average John Hughes movie. Sure, we open with Peter (Tom Holland) testing out his new powers, crashing pool parties and hanging out with his pal Ned (Jacob Batalon) like a normal high school kid. But do normal high school kids have one-on-one meetings with Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.)? No, no they do not.

Normal high schoolers don’t have archnemeses either, but there’s Michael Keaton’s The Vulture, blowing up cruise ships and forcing Spidey to show off his parkour skills. The action in the trailer is quite literally high-flying, culminating in Spider-Man and The Vulture facing off on a plane high above »

- Katie Rife

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Movie Review: Karl Marx City uncovers a dark mystery from the files of the East German secret police

22 hours ago

In the hours before his suicide in 1999, Petra Epperlein’s father washed his car, burned his personal papers, and mailed his daughter a cryptic note along with a postcard she had sent him some years earlier. The death seemed to come out of nowhere for Epperlein and her two brothers; their father had been a prototypical mustachioed, hard-working family man who labored to give his children the best life he could in their corner of East Germany. But there was the matter of the mysterious blackmail threat that arrived at their home not long after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, and the fact that their father had been able to get his sons out of military training thanks to what had been described as a favor from a friend. In the years since his suicide, a suspicion has bugged the family: Did their father, in fact, work with »

- Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

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For Our Consideration: Chicago’s crime of the century has inspired 4 movies—so far

22 hours ago

Decades before the O.J. Simpson case, there was already a “crime of the century” for the 1900s. Now nearly a century old, the case still has a long-standing impact, not just where it happened (Chicago) but in our culture overall: Multiple movies have been made about it, with such actors as Dean Stockwell and Ryan Gosling playing one of the culprits in question. Even if you’re not sure who, exactly, these names belong to, you’re likely familiar with the phrase “Leopold and Loeb.”

Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb were two beyond-gifted teenagers in the high-class neighborhood of Kenwood (where the Obamas have a home), near Hyde Park on the South Side of Chicago. Both had graduated from college before the age of 20. In 1924, 18-year-old Loeb was in graduate school, and 19-year-old Leopold was in law school. Studying the works of Nietzsche, the pair decided to ...

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- Gwen Ihnat

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Newswire: Paul Greengrass to direct Eliot Ness biopic based on a graphic novel

27 March 2017 6:47 PM, PDT

Though The Untouchables has seemed like the definitive Eliot Ness movie for a few decades, Paul Greengrass is stepping up to direct a new Eliot Ness movie for a new generation. Titled Ness, the movie will be based on Brian Michael Bendis and Marc Andreyko’s graphic novel Torso, which chronicled Ness’ attempt to capture a torso-chopping serial killer in Cleveland in the years after bringing down Al Capone. The screenplay is being written by La Confidential’s Brian Helgeland, who also worked on Greengrass’ The Bourne Supremacy.

This comes from Deadline, which says that the studio (Paramount Pictures) is hoping to turn this into a franchise. If that’s the case, subsequent movies will probably have to be prequels, since the most famous thing Eliot Ness ever did wasn’t catching this torso killer. There’s also no casting information yet, but Matt Damon is definitely waiting by his »

- Sam Barsanti

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Coming Distractions: Nicole Kidman is Queen Of The Desert in this trailer for the Werner Herzog film

27 March 2017 5:46 PM, PDT

Sand can be pretty divisive. It’s coarse, rough, irritating, and it gets everywhere, but in this trailer for Queen Of The Desert, sand is greatly preferable to a stuffy life in England. The film stars Nicole Kidman as Gertrude Bell, a writer, archaeologist, explorer, and political operative who played a crucial role in forming the borders of modern-day Iraq. The film also features James Franco, Damian Lewis, and Robert Pattinson—who happens to be playing a young version of T.E. Lawrence, another person famous for his love of the desert—and it was written and directed by Werner Herzog.

The film has been sitting on various shelves for a while now, with the last trailer coming out over a year ago. Now it has a proper release date, and fans of Herzog, Kidman, and sand will be able to see it in theaters and on-demand services on April ...

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- Sam Barsanti

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