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50 to 1
Directed by Jim Wilson
Imagine, if you will, a horse race that starts and finishes in a blink of an eye. We see your choice winner bucking behind the starting gate. His chances of winning are slim to none, fifty to one in fact. You may not know anything about the horse, but you like the sound of his name on the program, and figure you can make some nice cash from a long shot. The gate opens and your horse bellows out the door. Immediately cut to the first bend and he is trailing behind the team. Now, immediately cut to the last and he strides to the finish line by a large margin. Victory is yours, but to what fulfillment? Sure you’re happy that your horse won, and heck, you might have made a serious winning. You probably »
- Christopher Clemente
Reported over at Deadline, Villard said, “The book is an extraordinary example of Frank Herbert’s brilliant writing, and it is something I’ve always wanted to turn into a film. I remember the rights being unavailable when I first pursued the Soul Catcher project in the ’80s, but as my producing career developed I never forgot the powerful effect the story had on me.”
The Frank Herbert Estate have given their full support towards Villard – after he negotiated with them for a year – in his pursuit in bringing Soul Catcher to the screen. Dimitri Villard is now looking to secure a director who can steer the character-driven story in the right direction; Villard has already added »
Frank Herbert’s most famous work of fiction Dune is the topic of this week’s 1984 look back series. Showing uncanny timing news has reached us that another of the author’s works has just been optioned. The story in question is Soul Catcher, a story that was first published in 1972.
Surprsingly although Herbert has the accolade for having written the best-selling science fiction novel ever, Dune remains his only work to be transformed into celluloid. That might have some to do with the reception the Dune film received, with director Lynch distancing himself from the project (read all about it in our feature). Before his death in 1986 Herbert had written dozens of stories including several Dune sequels.
Soul Catcher appears to have a rather strange and interesting plot. A militant Native American student seeking vengeance for his people kidnaps the teenage son of a Us politician. The pair then »
- Kat Smith
Exclusive: Four decades after Dune scribe Frank Herbert published his acclaimed 1972 novel Soul Catcher, the book has been optioned for the big screen by producer Dimitri Villard. The Flight Of he Navigator and Once Bitten producer first pursued the Herbert tome during the 1980s but tabled his film career to run music company ArtistDirect until last year. Now he’s returning to the screen biz with Soul Catcher, about a militant Native American student who kidnaps the 13-year-old white son of a U.S. politician, intending to sacrifice the child for vengeance against wrongs committed against his people. As the captor and the captive flee from hunters across the Pacific Northwest, they form a bond that throws the planned act into question.
- Jen Yamato
This weekend, Megan Fox plays April O’Neil in Paramount’s “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” but she’s not the first actress to portray the character. In 1990, Judith Hoag originated the role of the intrepid reporter who befriends the pizza-loving heroes, although she almost turned down the part. “When I first heard of it, I thought it was a horror film,” Hoag recalls on a recent telephone call with Variety. “‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ is such a strange name. I wasn’t into the comic books at all.”
Hoag, 22 at the time, was in the middle of shooting the Robin Williams comedy “Cadillac Man,” and her schedule prevented her from committing to “Ninja Turtles.” Then the producers were able to make it work, and Hoag had to fly from New York to Wilmington, North Carolina, on the weekends for production. “People would be wondering where I would racing off to on a Friday, »
- Ramin Setoodeh
Kevin Costner admits he has many qualities, and fortunately one of them is persistence. The two-time Academy Award winner (Best Picture and Best Director for “Dances with Wolves”) spoke openly about the challenges of getting his film “Black and White” made on Saturday at the National Association of Black Journalists (Nabj) Convention in Boston. “I just thought it was an interesting movie … I can't speak for why . I know a lot of people want to make these big, giant movies and I understand … But I thought this movie is just as valid as those movies. So that's why I »
- Anita Bennett
With the awards season on the horizon, now is as good a time as any to look back on the movies that won favor with the Academy. Earlier this year, a supercut emerged highlighting the Best Picture Oscar winners of the 2000s, and now video editor Miguel Branco has turned his eye to the 1990s, with a fresh video celebrating the movies that defined a decade. And indeed, the 1990s seemed to mostly be defined by the epic drama, with "Dances With Wolves," "Braveheart, "Schindler's List" and "The English Patient" taking home Oscar gold. But the Academy took chances too, honoring Jonathan Demme's horror "Silence Of The Lambs," Clint Eastwood's western "Unforgiven" and Sam Mendes' "American Beauty" as well. Take a look a the full video below, and let us know if these winners still stand the test of time, or if you would have chosen differently. »
- Kevin Jagernauth
It is hard to believe that Forrest Gump is twenty years old. In fact, it is quite disturbing for me to think that Silence Of The Lambs and Dances With Wolves are even older. In fact, some of the most iconic movies from the 1990s will be celebrating their 20th and 25th anniversaries in the next few years, making all of us in our thirties feel really f*cking old. »
- Alex Maidy
Bonnie Arnold has had some career. As the latest film she's produced, How To Train Your Dragon 2, arrives in UK cinemas, she chatted to us about the movie, about the big problems making the first, and her earlier days helping to bring Dances With Wolves to light. And she didn't touch a drop of her tea while telling us all of this...
Digging into your background, from what I can tell you started as a writer? Can you fill in some of the blanks there?
Well, it wasn't really a writer as such. I studied journalism, but I actually started in publicity. I did unit publicity writing, so that's how I started really. Really it was in film, film production stuff. But I was writing press releases, »
We watch films to escape the tediousness of everyday life. The stress of the commute, your partner’s nagging, or T-Mobile calling you up notifying you of an overdue bill are all made instantly better by allowing yourself to escape into the world of a movie, with a fictitious group of characters who each have their own problems which we can laugh at.
Of course, we know what we’re watching isn’t real, but since those early days when bards would regale a court with songs of knights and dragons, humanity has been able to switch off and allow ourselves to believe that the narrative we’re presented with is akin to reality.
We may have been able to allow ourselves to prevent the nagging bite of reality from ruining a piece of good fiction, but this doesn’t mean that the escape from the real world which »
- Sam Heard
You’ve heard of the ‘McConaissance’. Well now another movie star considered past his best makes a high profile return to the big screen, as Kevin Costner toplines kinetic thriller 3 Days To Kill.
Though associated with a sequence of megabuck flops, Costner has been one of Hollywood’s true risk takers. It paid off in Oscars for Dances With Wolves (1990), where he did everything except sing the theme tune. Roles in hits such as The Bodyguard (1992) followed. But after Clint Eastwood’s A Perfect World (1993) came Waterworld. Throwing money at a sea-based knock-off of Mad Max was never going to set the box office alight, more give it a drenching. The Postman (1997) actually had Costner singing the theme tune and that failure appeared to round off his career as a big leading man. Yet the movies never forgot about Kev and in recent years he’s been rediscovered, with prestigious »
- Steve Palace
Leading up to the 2014 NFL Kickoff, Lionsgate will release the thrilling sports drama, Draft Day, on Digital HD beginning August 19, on Video On Demand and Pay-Per-View August 29 and on Blu-ray Combo Pack (plus DVD and Digital HD) and DVD (plus Digital) on September 2. Starring sports movie icon and Academy Award winner Kevin Costner (Best Picture and Best Director, Dances with Wolves, 1990; Bull Durham, Field of Dreams), written by Rajiv Joseph & Scott Rothman, and directed by legendary director Ivan Reitman, the film was made in exclusive partnership with the NFL, allowing unprecedented access to the actual 2013 NFL Draft, an event drawing higher ratings than the playoffs for baseball, basketball and hockey.
Featuring an all-star cast including Jennifer Garner (Dallas Buyers Club), Denis Leary (The Amazing Spider-Man), Frank Langella (Superman Returns), Sam Elliott (The Big Lebowski), Sean Combs (Monster's Ball), Terry Crews (The Expendables franchise), Houston Texans running back Arian Foster (feature »
When Michael Haffner reviewed Draft Day here at We Are Movie Geeks, he wrote: “A sign of a good sports film is if the audience enthusiastically cheers during a film like a crowd at a live sporting event. That’s exactly what happened when I went to see Ivan Reitman’s Draft Day. The theater was into every second as the film counted down the minutes to the big event.” (Read the rest of Michael’s review Here)
Leading up to the 2014 NFL Kickoff, Lionsgate will release the thrilling sports drama, Draft Day, on Digital HD beginning August 19, on Video On Demand and Pay-Per-View August 29 and on Blu-ray Combo Pack (plus DVD and Digital HD) and DVD (plus Digital) on September 2. Starring sports movie icon and Academy Award® winner Kevin Costner (Best Picture and Best Director, Dances with Wolves, 1990; Bull Durham, Field of Dreams), written by Rajiv Joseph & Scott Rothman, »
- Tom Stockman
Kevin Costner is back on the big screen this week in action-thriller 3 Days to Kill. It's not a classic Costner film by any stretch (he's essentially playing Liam Neeson in Taken), but the film is arriving right in the middle of a career revival for the actor who headlined big hits two decades ago. With Man of Steel, Draft Day, Jack Ryan and 3 Days all under his belt over the last 12 months, we're experiencing something of a Costnaissance (to swipe a term coined for Matthew McConaughey).
As a screen star Costner was never blessed with dynamic range or the ability to transform himself like a Daniel Day-Lewis can, but what he can deliver is a performance of earnestness and honesty that connects with an audience. He is frequently the glue that holds a film together, a movie star with the everyman appeal of someone like James Stewart. If anything, Costner »
Many moviegoers consider the world of film as a reprieve from their current existing realities. This is rather interesting because in looking to escape the everyday realities for a fantasized slice of reality in cinema might seem quite redundant for some folks. However, the realities that are portrayed on the big screen are varied so whatever life experiences are depicted we may not have quite lived that particular episode therefore making it intriguing and fresh for our entertaining curiosities.
Films, when capturing a fragrance of reality through triumph and tragedy, are usually armed with a special messaging about the human condition through sacrifice, self-discovery, suffering and of course social awareness. In It’s About the Message: The Top 10 Oscar-winning Socially Aware Films we will take a look at Academy Award-winning movies that dared to examine the spirit about being socially aware–through inspiration and insidiousness (or both simultaneously)–and put »
- Frank Ochieng
Directed by Robert Stromberg.
A vindictive fairy is driven to curse an infant princess only to realize the child may be the only one who can restore peace.
God we’ve missed you Angelina. In an acting time-out as she focused on her family and humanitarian work, as well as directing two films (2011’s In The Land of Blood and Honey, still to receive a UK release, and this year’s Unbroken), Jolie has finally brought her superlative talents back to the acting ring with the kind of role she was born to play: a live-action Disney villain in Maleficent.
Like Tim Burton’s lacklustre Alice in Wonderland retelling/quasi-sequel, Maleficent is written by Linda Woolverton, entrusted with turning another jewel in the Disney collection on its head. Where Burton’s film »
- Scott Davis
Watch_Dogs suffers from the ‘Avatar’ problem. Avatar was a pretty exciting movie that pushed the envelope in terms of technology and facial capture animation, but did things and told a story audiences had seen a thousand times before, be it in Dances with Wolves, Pocahontas, or Fern Gully: The Last Rainforest.
This relates to Watch_Dogs in the sense that like Avatar it’s a Frankenstein of elements from all kinds of different sources stitched together to form something resembling a whole. It’s simple really, nab the open world from Grand Theft Auto, the stealth mechanics of Splinter Cell, toss in hacking puzzles and a spritz of assorted mini-games, polish it up with a little liquid gold, and you got yourself a fundamentally enjoyable game even if everything Watch_Dogs does has been seen and done before.
Through this Watch_Dogs becomes enjoyable on a strange meta level, »
- Paul J Meekin
The story of 2009 Kentucky Derby standout Mine That Bird follows in the hoofprints of other equine heroes, but while the saga of “Seabiscuit” was suffused in Americana, and “Secretariat” leaned on the success of a pioneering woman in the sport, “50 to 1” has less grandiose ideas: It’s more of a bawdy buddy movie about the horse’s trainer, Chip Woolley, and owner, Mark Allen (who exec produced), with a bit of slapstick thrown in. Call it “Smokey and the Bird,” if you will, and keep the cliches coming, barkeep. Odds for success at the box office are a bit longer than the title is offering.
Still, the fact-based film’s timing is excellent (though the events it chronicles are perhaps a bit too recent to mask the ending), with its official opening scant days after the running of the upcoming Preakness, where Kentucky Derby winner California Chrome has a shot »
- Bill Edelstein
Following in the political footsteps of the original series (of books and films), Dawn of the Planet of the Apes puts Jason Clarke’s peace-seeking character Malcolm in the middle of a world spoiling for war. It proves that, at the very least, the reboot sequel will make an interesting double feature with Zero Dark Thirty. Meanwhile, the biggest question facing this movie is how well director Matt Reeves and Andy Serkis’ Caesar can keep us engaged when we know the ultimate outcome of the story. Even for those who haven’t seen the original movies, the climax is right there in the title, and it’s my guess that dawn is going to break pretty damned hard. The first full trailer gives us a sniper’s eye view of the coming storm — a band of humans led by Dreyfus (Gary Oldman) has been hobbled for a decade by a man-made virus while a growing group of »
- Scott Beggs
What’s new, what’s hot, and what you may have missed, now available to stream.
streaming now, before it’s on dvd
The Monuments Men: as jaunty as Jean Dujardin’s beret, but in a sincere, old-fashioned kind of way; could almost have been rediscovered from the 1940s [my review] [at Amazon Instant Video] Whitewash: nowhere near as blackly funny as it wants to be, but Thomas Haden Church is strangely compelling as a man befuddled by the vagaries of fate [my review] [at Amazon Instant Video]
new to Prime
recent films new to stream
1976: Hunt vs. Lauda: as with the semifictionalized Rush, this documentary look at the first superstars of Formula One is gripping even if you couldn’t care less about racing [my review] [at Netflix] The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology: hugely entertaining documentary look at how culture shapes our attitudes, »
- MaryAnn Johanson
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