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Earlier this month, production began on Universal's The Mummy reboot, which will be the first full-fledged adventure in Universal's monster universe. We got our first glimpse at this unique world in a post credit sequence for 2014's Dracula Untold, where Luke Evans' title character is transported to present day. But, aside from The Mummy, we don't know which project is next in this sprawling universe. One of the movies being included is Van Helsing, and today we have some new details from writer Eric Heisserer.
Eric Heisserer came aboard to write the script alongside The Mummy writer Jon Spaihts back in November, but the project still doesn't have a director yet and there is very little we know about the story. Eric Heisserer recently spoke with Hitfix, while promoting the new thriller Lights Out, which he co-wrote, where he revealed that this version of Van Helsing was inspired by another iconic character. »
Universal is currently in the middle of trying to launch a cinematic universe centered around their famous movie monsters. The Mummy reboot starring Tom Cruise is currently filming and they have plans for a slew of other movies that will connect together at some point down the line. The studio isn't messing around in terms of going after top notch talent for these projects, and they may be about to nab another Oscar winner for a big role.
Variety is reporting that No Country For Old Men and Skyfall star Javier Bardem is in talks to take the lead in Universal Monsters' Frankenstein for their new monsters cinematic universe, through it isn't known if he is playing Dr. Frankenstein or Frankenstein's monster. The report is very unclear as to how far along these talks are, and they didn't name any specific sources, so it is hard to know if this »
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Bardem is in early discussions to portray Frankenstein in Universal’s new monsters universe. It’s not yet known if Bardem would play Dr. Frankenstein or the scientist’s resurrected monster, but we’ll keep Daily Dead readers updated on further details.
THR also reveals that a standalone Frankenstein film—other than the Bride of Frankenstein movie that’s in the works—isn’t exactly around the corner. Since Bardem is in talks to play the iconic character in the overall rebooted Universal Monsters cinematic universe rather than a Frankenstein film, the actor would likely first appear in another monster’s movie before getting his name on the marquee.
Filming is nearly finished on The Mummy, »
- Derek Anderson
The A-list cast roster for these Universal Monster reboots just keep growing. Today’s addition: Oscar-winning actor Javier Bardem. The Skyfall star is “in talks” to play “Frankenstein” in the studio’s planned Marvel Cinematic Universe-style series of films, according to Variety, though the trade doesn’t specify whether the role in question is that of Dr. Victor Frankenstein -- the man who creates the flat-topped monster originally played by Boris Karloff -- or the creature himself. My guess would be the latter, given that the Monster is the more iconic role. Karloff’s performance is by far the most-remembered element of the original movies. Variety also isn’t clear which film in the interconnected franchise Frankenstein/The Monster would first appear in, citing unnamed “sources” who claim the character(s) will show up in a non-Frankenstein film prior to toplining their own movie (Bride of Frankenstein is currently »
- Chris Eggertsen
Like just about every other franchise, “The Mummy” is in the process of being rebooted as part of a shared universe. Tom Cruise is headlining the new series, which differs from the Brendan Fraser–led trilogy in that it’s set in the present day, with Sofia Boutella as the eponymous monster. Set photos from the film’s shoot in London reveal an early look at her version of the character.
Boutella, who previously appeared in “Kingsman: The Secret Service” and will next be seen in this month’s “Star Trek Beyond,” is preceded by the likes of Boris Karloff, Tom Tyler and Arnold Vosloo. Annabelle Wallis, Jake Johnson, Marwan Kenzari, Courtney B. Vance and Russell Crowe all star in the film as well, with Crowe as Dr. Jekyll — part of »
- Michael Nordine
Women suffrage movie 'Mothers of Men': Dorothy Davenport becomes a judge and later State Governor in socially conscious thriller about U.S. women's voting rights. Women suffrage movie 'Mothers of Men': Will women's right to vote lead to the destruction of The American Family? Directed by and featuring the now all but forgotten Willis Robards, Mothers of Men – about women suffrage and political power – was a fast-paced, 64-minute buried treasure screened at the 2016 San Francisco Silent Film Festival, held June 2–5. I thoroughly enjoyed being taken back in time by this 1917 socially conscious drama that dares to ask the question: “What will happen to the nation if all women have the right to vote?” One newspaper editor insists that women suffrage would mean the destruction of The Family. Women, after all, just did not have the capacity for making objective decisions due to their emotional composition. It »
- Danny Fortune
The legend goes that back in the 1800’s, author Mary Shelley was traveling with her future husband, Percy Shelley, in Europe; and they, along with fellow writers Lord Byron and John Polidori, decided to have a competition to see who… Continue Reading →
- Debi Moore
We're celebrating 50 brilliant UK independent bookshops. If your favourite is missing, please add it to the list below...
In Neil Gaiman’s preface to Shelf Life: Fantastic Stories Celebrating Bookstores, he describes four bookshops from his childhood. One was a travelling school shop, one a local store staffed by a helpful hippy where he’d pick up 25p Tom Disch novels, another was a bus ride away and owned by a Grinch who’d glower at schoolchildren customers, and the last was a now-defunct Soho sci-fi and fantasy treasure trove. Four individual shops run by booksellers with distinct personalities and idiosyncratic tastes. All of which made Gaiman what he is.
That’s the joy of independent bookshops. Their personalities shape those of the people who visit them. They’re not homogenous. Their stock tends to reflect their passions rather than the year's best-performing unit-shifters. And their »
Shock looks at two classic films that examine the horrors of impoverished childhood and misunderstood faith. Actor Charles Laughton’s only directorial outing was the phenomenal The Night of the Hunter (1955); a hybrid of horror and noir complete with the terrifying and terrific Robert Mitchum aping Karloff’s Frankenstein monster in one electrifying scene. The…
The post The Horrors of Faith and Childhood in Night Of The Hunter and Whistle Down The Wind appeared first on Shock Till You Drop. »
- Chris Alexander
Article by Jim Batts, Dana Jung, Michael Haffner, Sam Moffitt, and Tom Stockman
Peter Cushing, born on this day in 1913, was one of the most respected and important actors in the horror and fantasy film genres. To his many fans, the British star, who died in 1994, was known as ‘The Gentle Man of Horror’ and is recognized for his work with Hammer Films which began in the late 1950’s, but he had numerous memorable roles outside of Hammer. A topnotch actor who was able to deliver superb performances on a consistent basis, Peter Cushing also had range. He could play both the hero and the villain with ease.
Here, according to We Are Movie Geeks, are Peter Cushing’s ten best roles:
During the 1960s, Amicus Studios had a knack for borrowing from the pool of Hammer Studios actors and filmmakers to make their own Hammer-inspired films. While »
- Movie Geeks
So apparently live-action adaptations of Disney classics are the new big thing. Or at least, the House of Mouse is trying very hard to make it the new big thing. From my perspective, it seems like it hasn’t quite caught on yet, since I recall Cinderella not making a massive splash. Still, their Alice in Wonderland movie made a fair amount at the box office, so I suppose the train rolls on. The latest of Disney’s back catalogue to go three-dimensional is Beauty and the Beast, courtesy of director Bill Condon, a director with a surprisingly varied filmography. There’s Gods and Monsters, his film about the late life of Frankenstein director James Whale, and more recently Mr Holmes, which was in many respects the same film but with Ian McKellan playing an elderly Sherlock Holmes and no hunky gardener. And then there’s the time he directed one of the Candyman sequels, »
- Thomas O'Connor
Cannes — “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” breakout John Boyega and “Diary of a Teenage Girl” star Bel Powley made their debut at Cannes last night, receiving this year’s Chopard Trophy from from the hands of Juliette Binoche and Variety Vice President and Executive Editor Steven Gaydos.
The pair, who had never met, said they immediately clicked, and it showed when they started joshing around at the cocktail, which gathered high-profile guests, including Cannes President Pierre Lescure; Cannes jury members Kirsten Dunst, Mads Mikkelsen and Laszlo Nemes; Chopard’s Caroline Scheufele; and producer Elizabeth Karlsen. The duo sat down with Variety following the ceremony to talk about their blossoming careers.
Variety: So it’s your first time in Cannes and you got here 12 hours ago. Have you had any interesting encounters?
Boyega: We met each other and that’s already great! Our paths have always crossed, but we’ve never had an official conversation. »
- Elsa Keslassy
The legendary story of Roger Corman’s 1963 thriller The Terror is one for the books. It was directed by Five directors (including Corman, Jack Nicholson and Francis Ford Coppola just to name a few) and was made in a leftover set from Corman’s previous film, The Haunted Place. It’s definitely one for the books.
Thanks to the gang over at The Film Detective, the infamous film will be released on May 31st, in a brand new digitally restored Bluray, made from 35mm archival elements and featuring some pretty nifty artwork to go along with it.
In 18th century France, Lt. Andre Duvalier (three-time Academy Award-winner Jack Nicholson, The Departed, As Good As It Gets, A Few Good Men, The Shining), an officer in Napoleon’s army, has been separated from his regiment. Wandering near the coast, he spies a young woman (Sandra Knight, Frankenstein’s Daughter, Blood Bath) and calls out to her. »
- Jerry Smith
Our series on remakes continues with a movie which is ironic because it’s about a man who can’t be seen but in reality, it’s actually the movie which shouldn’t be seen. This week, Cinelinx looks at The Hollow Man (2000).
The Hollow Man is a modern reimaging of the oft-copied Invisible Man story, first brought to the screen by Universal Studios in 1933. The story is based on H. G. Wells' famous science fiction novel “The Invisible Man”, published in 1897, which told the tale of a scientist who develops an invisibility serum and uses himself as a test subject, becoming both invisible and dangerously insane.
The 1933 classic The Invisible Man, which was part of Universal Studios cluster of successful horror film franchises, was directed by James Whale, who also directed Frankenstein and the Bride of Frankenstein. The 1933 version has an impressive 100% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It was selected »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Rob Young)
Second Chance, the Fox channel’s adaptation of Mary Shelley’s classic Frankenstein had, it would be fair to say, a somewhat turbulent production. With the number of episodes reduced from thirteen to eleven before the show even premiered and two late-in-the-day changes from original title The Frankenstein Code, it seemed as if Fox had early reservations about the direction and potential of the project. And the general reaction to Second Chance’s initial few episodes seemingly justified the scepticism. After the first two outings brought in poor numbers, the series was unceremoniously shunted to the infamous ‘Friday Night Death Slot’. The critics weren’t much kinder either, with the overarching feeling being the show lacked in originality, wasn’t particularly exciting and should have been better thought out both in concept and execution.
But despite under-par reviews and unimpressive ratings, there are a number of elements contained in Second Chance that shine through; a few ideas that really work well, engage viewers (the few there are) and display a promise suggesting that with a few tweaks and alterations, this monster could really have come to life. A second season has been ruled out by Fox, and here's why that's a shame.
As Second Chance begins, Jimmy Pritchard is a seventy-five year old man, living in disgrace after losing his job as Sheriff due to being found guilty of malpractice, or as he’d put it, “getting the job done”. Pensioner Jimmy has a penchant for booze and hookers and suffers a strained relationship with his straight-laced FBI agent son, Duval, who resents him due to his prioritisation of work over family and his maverick way of keeping law and order. When Jimmy finds intruders in his son’s home, he’s callously murdered, with the death being framed as suicide. Luckily, the old-timer has a rare genetic precursor and his body is recovered by the reclusive, billionaire genius Otto Goodwin to be the subject of his quest to reanimate a human being into an ‘ideal version’ of their younger self, complete with superhuman capabilities.
That’s more or less where the Frankenstein influence ends and it’s easy to see why the original ‘The Frankenstein Code’ moniker didn’t stick, as Second Chance very quickly reveals itself to be, essentially, a police procedural drama. Once the dust settles on Pritchard’s resurrection, the bulk of the series chronicles the now thirty-five year old solving crimes with his son as they struggle to repair their relationship along the way. The other primary source of plot concerns Otto and his twin Mary, the duo responsible for bringing Jimmy back from the dead. As Mary struggles with terminal cancer, the pair strives to understand the morality behind their breakthrough and begin to develop their own relationships with the ex-Sheriff, both working and personal.
Even its most staunch supporters would struggle to deny that Second Chance has several fundamental flaws, perhaps the most significant of which being the show’s ‘short term’ planning approach. The first episode, for example, is enjoyable enough with intriguing mysteries to keep its audience interested until the end and a magnetising protagonist, however all of the episode’s questions and plot points are neatly tied up and resolved by the end credits, leaving absolutely nothing to hook viewers into returning next week. This approach is highly frustrating, particularly as the ‘who were the intruders that murdered Jimmy?’ mystery could have easily been a season-long arc that motivated the lead character throughout the story, rather than being a cut and dry case contained to episode one.
This trend continues throughout the series’ run with Second Chance adopting a ‘crime of the week’ format and the few long-term story arcs that are introduced are largely restricted to family disputes and domestic tension. There is a welcome exception to this rule however, with the final trio of episodes coming together to deliver a quite stunning finale brimming with suspense and action and it just goes to show that when multi-episode narratives are utilised, Second Chance could really take off.
Other problems with the show include the formulaic and predictable nature of many stories, with Jimmy usually saving the day at the last second despite his son asking him to stop interfering in his cases. The writing itself doesn’t fare much better, with the show’s initial batch of scripts offering very little wit or emotive clout, often feeling very ‘by the numbers’ and without wanting to name names, some of the acting is not what you’d expect from a mainstream production.
As we said however, there are redeeming features present, not least of which is the fantastically grounded performance by lead actor Rob Kazinsky. Aside from memorable turns in Pacific Rim and True Blood, British viewers may best remember Rob for his time in Eastenders playing Sean Slater but the Sussex-born actor has been less prominent in the last two years. As such, it’s good to see the promising talent take on a meaty role such as this, and Kazinsky delivers a very affecting performance as Jimmy Pritchard. Never losing sight of the fact his character is actually a pensioner, the acting is layered with maturity and wisdom and his American accent is flawless. Part detective action-hero, part failed family-man and part seriously confused about not being dead, Kazinsky is an ideal leading man and it’s no exaggeration to say that there are times when his charisma carries the show.
There’s also an argument to be made that whilst Second Chance’s melding together of Frankenstein, cop show and family woes doesn’t quite work together as a cohesive narrative, the series does succeed when considered primarily as a detective-based crime drama with a slight, undead, twist. The featured cases may not have the delicate intricacy of Sherlock or inspire amateur sofa-sleuthing as feverishly as the CSI franchise but each episode’s felony hooks viewers in, keeping bums on seats until the bad guys are behind bars and Pritchard is safely back in his regeneration tank.
The developing relationship between the ex-corpse and his son Duval manages to bring at least a modicum of freshness to the table, and the way Second Chance handles Duval coming to terms with the revival of his father is more or less spot-on. If Pritchard’s son had accepted the news too easily the show would’ve looked foolish and naive, but drag the storyline on for too long and Duval’s reluctance to believe something the audience already knows to be true would have become infuriating. It’s a delicate balance but Second Chance doesn’t over or under-sell the unique scenario the characters find themselves in and ensures the exchanges feel believable without overcooking the conflict.
Unfortunately, however, this doesn’t fix the plot-hole of why Duval doesn’t recognise his 35 year-old father. Otto does offer a flimsy 'it’s the best version of him' explanation, hinting that Jimmy would have looked different when he was originally in his thirties but it’s a feeble attempt to paper over the fact that most sons would recognise their dad as a younger adult.
As alluded to previously, the series’ rigid formula and predictability does become an issue but any potential drop in interest is offset by scripts that improve dramatically as the show progresses, after a shaky few initial offerings. Gwendolyn M. Parker’s work on fourth outing Admissions, for instance, showcases Jimmy and Duval at their horn-locking best and the crime at the centre of the story is genuinely surprising in places. There’s even a hilarious scene involving Jimmy Pritchard’s family and an Ouija board. Despite being a season highlight however, Admissions does suffer from the same issues Second Chance is guilty of as a whole, namely the inductive leaps our detective protagonists sometimes resort to in order to wrap up their case inside the forty minutes running time. The occasionally too obvious and definitely too frequent plot devices provided by the Lookinglass company also irk as the series goes on.
Thankfully Lookinglass don’t just provide a variety of ‘get out of jail’ cards for the show’s writers, they’re also responsible from bringing the magnificent Arthur to life. Arthur is a seemingly omnipotent A.I. created by Otto Goodwin with a charmingly loveable personality, similar to A Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy’s Marvin but without the physical form and crippling depression. He also is a perfect example of Second Chance’s excellent design work, especially when it comes to the more futuristic technology on display. It really helps sell the show’s more fantastical concepts and builds a believable setting.
And it isn’t only the cinematography that triumphs, the direction and music also impress. The work behind the camera is always solid, noticeably altering to suit Second Chance’s two distinct areas of drama. The crime segments are nice and choppy, lingering on important visual clues for added impact but deliberately obscuring other elements to ramp up the tension, however the Lookinglass scenes take a more serene and streamlined approach. The series’ soundtrack also offers moments of inspiration with John Paesano’s subtle score often punctuated by modern pop tracks such as Gram Rabbit’s piano-led They’re Watching which appears over scenes of a brutal axe murder. The juxtaposition is funnier than it should be.
Realistically, if you’re the type of person to only watch a select few television shows a year, Second Chance isn’t going to be (and probably shouldn’t be) one of them. But for those who gobble up series like a surprise tub of Ben and Jerry’s you forgot was in the freezer, this spin on the Frankenstein story is a decent police procedural with a science fiction twist that isn’t quite as hopeless as the reviews and ratings would have you believe. Indeed, it could be said that Second Chance is a victim of the golden age of television we’re currently experiencing. With fantastic shows appearing continuously on mainstream and cable channels as well as streaming sites and on-demand services, projects like Second Chance receive a negative reception not because they are lacking in quality but because they don’t hold up to the abundance of excellent programming currently available at the touch of a button. Second Chance may not be a great show, but it’s certainly a good one and its lone season deserves to find the viewership that is undoubtedly out there for it somewhere.
See related How Moffat’s Jekyll anticipated Doctor Who & Sherlock The Frankenstein Chronicles episode 1 review: A World Without God 25 upcoming Us TV shows: sci-fi, fantasy, horror, thrillers 50 upcoming comic book TV shows, and when to expect them TV Feature Craig Elvy Second Chance 15 Jun 2016 - 06:00 Fox Robert Kazinsky Craig Elvy »
Tony Black on whether the Universal Monsters will deliver the next big cinematic franchise…
You all remember The Mummy, right? Brendan Fraser doing his best Harrison Ford impression while Arnold Vosloo pranced around in a gold nappy trying to hide his broad South African brogue. Rather good, wasn’t it? You may be surprised to learn it came out in 1999. Some readers of this may not have been born then! The Mummy Returns followed in 2001 and then The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor in 2008 (but we don’t talk about that), with a Dwayne Johnson-starring The Scorpion King spin-off wedged in between. Had these films all came out a decade later, chances are they would have been much more of a cinematic universe, which of course are hot stuff these days thanks to Marvel’s successes in the superhero genre. Universal Pictures got into the act last year »
- Tony Black
Lee Gambin’s “Secretly Scary” column continues to look at non-horror films that are secretly horror films! “Bunch of screwballs! Spoiling the town!” -David And Lisa By the early sixties, traditional gothic horror that audiences thrilled to, bench-marked by films such as Todd Browning’s Dracula and James Whale’s Frankenstein and Bride Of Frankenstein, featured movie…
The post Secretly Scary: 1962’s David And Lisa appeared first on Shock Till You Drop. »
- Chris Alexander
The company will be the exclusive international distributor of Roh Live Cinema for the Opera’s 2016/17 season.
Picturehouse Entertainment and the Royal Opera House (Roh) have struck a deal to make the former the exclusive international distributor of Roh Live Cinema content in 2016/17.
The distribution arm of UK exhibitor Picturehouse will handle sales and marketing for the season, which will feature 12 live broadcasts including six operas and six ballets.
The 16/17 Roh programme includes 2016 Olivier Award winner Woolf Works, inspired by the writings of Virginia Woolf, Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet The Nutcracker, and the return of the company’s first ever production on its Covent Garden stage, The Sleeping Beauty.
Beamed live from the Royal Opera House Covent Garden stage, Roh Live productions have previously travelled to territories including the Us, Spain, Italy, Germany, Japan and Australia.
Sophie Okonedo shines in a drama about a lawyer with a police spy in her bed, but Marcella and Vinyl should be nicked for crimes against originality
Undercover (BBC1) | iPlayer
Marcella (ITV) | ITV Hub
Workers or Shirkers? Ian Hislop’s Victorian Benefits (BBC2) | iPlayer
The first episode of Undercover, scripted by Peter Moffat, was determined to be harrowing. Sophie Okonedo, as lawyer Maya, sped down a Louisiana highway in a bid to halt the execution of a condemned man (Dennis Haysbert) she had been fighting to save. The execution is horrifically botched, leaving the prisoner in a vegetative state that could only be described as the Us penal system meets Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.
Okonedo and Lester are superb at conveying their separate hells of vocational conflict and festering lies
I wonder if any character in Vinyl can snort coke without reacting as if they've been shot up the nose with a crossbow? »
- Barbara Ellen
Portrayed by the legendary Boris Karloff, the iconic creature from Universal’s Frankenstein (1931) now has its own figure from Mezco. The figure comes with film and character-specific wardrobe, portraits, attachable left and right hands / forearms, and will ship between Sept. – Oct. 2016.
From Mezco: “Perhaps the most iconic movie monster of all time, Frankenstein first terrified audiences in 1931. Portrayed by legendary actor Boris Karloff as a terrifying yet misunderstood and tormented creature, Universal’s Frankenstein monster has gripped moviegoer’s imaginations ever since.
Cobbled together from corpses stolen from graves and the scaffold — reanimated by lightning — Frankenstein terrorized a small village while seeking vengeance on his creator.
Meticulously developed to capture the terrifying look of the iconic creature and outfitted on a One:12 Collective body, the figure’s detailing is incredible; the final product captures the look and spirit of the character as he appeared in the legendary film.
The One: »
- Tamika Jones
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