15 items from 2014
A month ago, the news that Hollywood is actually working on a Minecraft movie would have been cause for chortling. “A movie adaptation of Minecraft?” we would’ve scoffed, sipping our highballs and dipping our breadrolls into a carafe filled with Beluga caviar. “Goodness, how silly! There’s no story to Minecraft! It’s just lots of blocks you use to build things!” This was before the release of The Lego Movie, which took the whole “blocks-used-to-build-things” concept and turned it into a pretty freaking good movie.
So, for the moment, it’s possible to be optimistic. As reported by Deadline, »
- Darren Franich
Won’t someone save cable news? It’s not just that ratings are down across the board for the Big Three 24-hour networks — although 2013 was unquestionably a bad year for everyone. Far more damaging, I think, is the fact that cable news as an aesthetic — as a compelling method for exploring the important topics of our modern era — has entered what feels like a late-decadent period. The typical news anchor on CNN or MSNBC or Fox News floats across a set built out of touchscreen walls and occasional chat-friendly desks: It’s like all of cable news takes place in »
- Darren Franich
Cinema history has a few great double-up years: 12-month periods in which a classic filmmaker had not one but two great films. Mel Brooks may be the most notorious, releasing two of the best comedies of all time in 1974 (“Blazing Saddles” & “Young Frankenstein”) and Steven Spielberg has arguably done it a few times, inarguably in 1993 (“Jurassic Park” & “Schindler’s List”) and he would double-up again in 2002 (“Minority Report” & “Catch Me If You Can”) and 2011 (“Tintin” & “War Horse”).
One of the most-often forgotten double-up years was Alfred Hitchcock’s first year as an American filmmaker — 1940, which saw the premiere of “Rebecca” in April and “Foreign Correspondent” in August. The former has been a Criterion inductee for years and the latter joins the most important club in Blu-ray/DVD history this week in a finely-transferred and wonderfully accompanied release.
“Rebecca” has the higher historical pedigree, largely because it’s less dry »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Adam Fendelman)
It’s time to spot the dead people again in “The Second Sight”, a Thai horror with a not exactly original premise following a man cursed with the ability to see ghosts, in this case a lawyer who can also visualise karma. Shot in 3D, the film was directed by Pornchai Hongrattanaporn, usually known for comedies such as “Bangkok Loco” and “Princess Tukky Sells Frogs”. The lawyer in question is Jate (Pong Nawat Kulrattanarak), an attorney who since childhood has been able to see ghosts and to foretell the ways in which people will die, a talent which helps him in his work but which he understandably hides from those around him. Things get complicated when he lands his latest case, a fatal car crash on a bridge involving a rich young spoiled brat of a girl called Kaew (Mild Wiraporn Jiravechsoontornkul) that left several dead. Though everyone else believes Kaew guilty, »
- James Mudge
Stars: Joel Kinnaman, Douglas Urbanski, Abbie Cornish, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Jackie Earle Haley, Michael K. Williams, Jennifer Ehle, Jay Baruchel, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Samuel L. Jackson, Aimee Garcia | Written by Joshua Zetumer | Directed by Jose Padilha
Remakes eh? They’re not going away are they? I’m not going to proselytize in favour or against them; as long as punters keep lining up to see the same stories retold every decade or so with younger actors and fancier graphics then studios are going to keep making them. They’re safe bets. But there’s a difference between remaking and sanitising. Paul Verhoeven’s eighties original RoboCop is a scuzzy, violent piece of work and all the better for it. The moment the BBFC’s 12a certificate appears on screen for the 2014 version, it’s hard to not to feel just a little bit disappointed. Of course, you can get away »
- Jack Kirby
Boyega, 21, starred in 2011’s Brit cult hit “Attack the Block,” which grossed $4 million in the U.K., and recently made a splash at Sundance as the star of “Imperial Dreams,” in which he plays an ex-con and aspiring writer trying to turn his life around. He just signed on to play Jesse Owens in “Race,” which is being sold at Berlin.
The actor, from a tough part of South London, says he could relate to the universal story of “Dreams,” which is set in and around the Imperial Gardens housing project in South Los Angeles. “The culture is different, the language and the accent,” he notes. But it helped that producer Jonathan Schwartz and director Malik Vitthal gave him four weeks before filming to prep in the neighborhood, where he was embraced by residents.
Discovering His Identity
Boyega says he stumbled into acting because he loved »
- Carole Horst
Siri, meet Scarlett.
Hollywood has always shown the way to the future. It’s a little known fact that, for decades, the bigscreen inspired many forward-looking technologies long before their day. (The reverse has also been true: Steven Spielberg asked his way around Silicon Valley to find out where technology was likely to be in 50 years prior to filming “Minority Report.”)
My line of business was no exception to this trend. Siri was seriously influenced by Stanley Kubrick’s Hal 9000 character in “2001: A Space Odyssey” as well as the talking computers from “Star Trek” and Kitt from “Knight Rider.” I’ll bet David Hasselhoff is using Siri right now.
Of course it’s easier to create a character straight from the imagination than it is to piece together state of the art technologies. I wondered, watching Spike Jonze’s new movie “Her,” is that possible to build right now? »
- Dag Kittlaus
Gamers have been waiting too long for a truly great movie based on a video game, and many are hoping that Ubisoft Motion Pictures’ upcoming Assassin’s Creed adaptation will be able to start a new trend. Michael Fassbender is set to produce and star in the movie, the script for which was penned by playwright Michael Lesslie with rewrites by Minority Report screenwriter Scott Frank.
It’s not yet known for sure who Fassbender will be playing (he’s not a bad fit for the protagonist of Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag), but details will likely become clearer soon as distributor Twentieth Century Fox has set an August 2015 release date - which means that filming should ideally begin ...
- H. Shaw-Williams
Browse our gallery of sexy saviors, then vote for the hottest!
They save the day, they get the girl, and they do it all while looking oh-so good. HollywoodLife.com is taking some time to salute the hottest big-screen action heroes — in honor of Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit opening in theaters this weekend — and we think we’ve put together a pretty solid list of guys, if we do say so ourselves. So get those clicking fingers ready, then dive into our gallery of today’s hottest action movie stars.
Here’s our action-movie top 10, presented in alphabetical order:
Take Our Poll
Matt Damon in the Bourne movies
The Rock in the Fast and the Furious movies
- Hollywood Life Staff
With the end of the season in sight, this week’s episode of American Horror Story: Coven sees things starting to get a little more bloody, along with a few familiar faces reappearing (what’s new?). The witches still face the threat of witch hunters but with their numbers dropping after Misty’s entrapment and Nan’s murder it seems like the uniting power between them is fading.
It is during the funeral held for Nan at the beginning of the episode entitled ‘Protect the Coven’ that we see two old faces again, as Queenie arrives with Madame Lalaurie in tow, head firmly fixed on her body. The surprise of both of them being alive seems lost on the rest of the witches and Kyle, who actually makes an appearance this episode, though it was great to see Kathy Bates »
- Gary Collinson
The best movie culture writing from around the internet-o-sphere. There will be a quiz later. Just leave a tab open for us, will ya? “Lena Dunham’s body reveals the naked truth about our distorted values” — Emily Shire at The Week provides a level-headed, yet blunt, observation about how we deal with on-screen nudity. Great reading for the most overthought TV show of all time. “Why Her Will Dominate Ui Design Even More Than Minority Report” — Kyle Vanhemert at Wired pushes a few buttons in an exploration of design. One thing’s for certain: we get our science from science-fiction. “G.B.F.” — Andrew Lapin at The Dissolve reviews a movie you probably haven’t heard of while scoffing at its ridiculously opaque MPAA rating. “The Legend of Hercules By the Numbers” — Few studies are as important as this one from Amos Barshad at Grantland. All movies should be judged by how many flying, screaming »
- Scott Beggs
One of two Harry Houdini projects in the works, Columbia Pictures' upcoming take is set for a rewrite by Chronicle scribe Max Landis, Deadline reports. First announced in 2011 , this version was initially drafted by Minority Report 's Scott Frank and is now said to feature an H.P. Lovecraft influence. Houdini, the iconic stage magician and escape artist, is also set to be the focus of a Summit Entertainment biopic based on the book "The Secret Life of Houdini: The Making of America's First Superhero." Columbia's take appears to be a more fictional approach and is said to follow the magician as he tries to expose a spiritualist as a fraud. Landis, the son of director John Landis, is also responsible for the script to the upcoming Paul McGuigan take on »
In the 1970s and 80s, Walter Hill established his reputation as one the most distinctive action-movie directors Hollywood has produced, an exponent of lyrical violence in the class of Sam Peckinpah, for whom he scripted The Getaway. His first six movies – Hard Times, The Driver, The Warriors, The Long Riders, Southern Comfort, 48 Hrs – all terse, lean, unsentimental, were commercial and critical successes and are now classics. His seventh, Streets of Fire, lost money and went down badly with Us critics, possibly because many of them thought it resembled The Warriors too closely and because there were no stars apart from former child actress Diane Lane. It's now something of a cult classic that anticipated the current fashion for films based on graphic novels.
The film, Hill has said, is "by design, comic strip in orientation, mock-epic in structure, movie-heroic in acting style, operatic in visual style, »
- Philip French
Spike Jonze‘s Her hasn’t even hit wide release yet, but everyone has been talking about its futurist concepts for months. And not only talking about them, but desiring them. It used to be that we had to dream about flying cars and hoverboards as being decades away, but in the past ten years smart science fiction has given us more plausible tech and production design. Minority Report‘s promise of touch screens and personalized ads came rather quickly, and now our impatient culture will demand the stuff seen in Her immediately. We’ve already got some fashions inspired by the film, but how about the artificial intelligence? And more importantly, the artificial intelligence boyfriends and girlfriends? Well, that may not be right around the corner. It might not even be possible at all, at least not to the degree it’s seen in Her (I’m skeptical about full AI ever existing). But this generation »
- Christopher Campbell
The proposed new adaptation of Robert Heinlen's sci-fi novel "Starship Troopers" is apparently moving ahead.
"Thor" and "X-Men: First Class" scribe Zack Stentz was recently asked how the film's script is progressing and what sort of tone it would have. He responded it will be "less a satire & more an actual adaptation of the Heinlein novel. An Officer & a Gentleman in power armor." Stentz previously compared the new version's tone with that of "Minority Report".
Heinlein's novel, first published in 1959, was politically controversial for its time. It, and the previous 1997 film, followed a futuristic military unit as they progress from recruit to infantry to ranking officers against the backdrop of an interstellar war between mankind and a giant arachnoid species.
However, Paul Verhoeven's film took a completely different approach to the patriotic and pro-militarism material - turning his adaptation into a satirical action film that heavily sent up fascism. »
- Garth Franklin
15 items from 2014
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