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Why Movies Need Directors Like Phil Lord and Chris Miller More Than Ever

21 June 2017 11:07 AM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

A few days ago, my colleague Owen Gleiberman wrote a scathing essay questioning whether Colin Trevorrow was the right choice to direct “Star Wars: Episode IX,” suggesting that the “Jurassic World” helmer’s in-between indie, “The Book of Henry,” is such an abomination we have reason to think he could ruin the franchise that has already weathered the likes of Gungans and Ewoks.

It was a tough essay, so much so that I genuinely feared Trevorrow’s job could be in danger. And then a funny thing happened. “Star Wars” producer Kathleen Kennedy fired the directors on a completely different “Star Wars” movie, axing Phil Lord and Christopher Miller from the Han Solo project. What!?!?

The universe needs directors like Lord and Miller more than ever these days — and not just the “Star Wars” universe, mind you, but the multiverse of cinematic storytelling in general. Lord and Miller represent that rarest of breeds: directors with a fresh and unique vision, backed by the nerve to stand up for what they believe in.

Related

Star Wars’ Han Solo Spinoff: Lord & Miller Fired After Clashing With Kathleen Kennedy (Exclusive)

Just look at their track record: After starting their careers as TV writers (they created the MTV cartoon series “Clone High” and wrote for “How I Met Your Mother”), the duo made their feature directorial debut with “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs,” a wildly imaginative reinvention of a 32-page children’s book that heralded them as bold, outside-the-box comedy storytellers.

Then they made the jump to live-action, bringing their trademark brand of hip, pop-savvy self-awareness to the feature-length “21 Jump Street” remake. Few animation directors have survived the leap from animation to live-action (just consider the likes of “John Carter” and “Monster Trucks”), but Lord and Miller took to the new medium like naturals (technically, they had experience from their TV writing days — and I remember hearing stories that they’d actually taken a break from “Cloudy” to write an episode of “How I Met Your Mother” just so they wouldn’t lose their Writers Guild insurance benefits, but that’s another story about animators don’t enjoy the same protection in this industry).

“21 Jump Street” took the concept of a tired old ’80s TV show — two baby-faced cops go undercover as high-school students — and rebooted it with a playful twist, turning the ludicrous setup into one giant joke. Then came “The Lego Movie,” in which they cracked one of the weirdest assignments in 21st-century filmmaking — bring the popular line of kids toys to life — in a wholly original way, embracing the fact that Legos had spawned an almost cult-like sub-genre of fan films (to capitalize on the trend, the Lego company had even released a “MovieMaker Set” in 2000, complete with stop-motion camera and Steven Spielberg-styled minifigure) to make the ultimate wisecracking meta-movie.

After that string of successes, Lord and Miller had become two of the hottest names in town, able to pick their projects. But like so many directors of their generation — children of the ’70s whose love of cinema had been inspired by George Lucas’ game-changing space opera, what they wanted was to make a “Star Wars” movie. For a moment, that seemed possible, since the producers were hiring indie directors like Rian Johnson (“Brick”) and Gareth Edwards (“Monsters”) to helm these tentpoles.

On paper, Lord and Miller’s irreverent sensibility seemed like a perfect match for Han Solo, the franchise’s most sardonic character. One has to assume that it was precisely that take Kathy Kennedy and the “Star Wars” producers wanted when they hired the duo. But this is where modern critics, columnists and the fan community at large fail to understand a fundamental change that is happening at the blockbuster level in Hollywood: These directors are not being chosen to put their personal stamp on these movies. They are being hired to do the opposite, to suppress their identity and act grateful while the producers make all the key creative decisions.

Want to know why Trevorrow was picked to direct “Jurassic World” when his only previous credit was a nifty little sci-fi indie called “Safety Not Guaranteed”? It’s because he plays well with others, willing to follow exec producer Steven Spielberg’s lead when necessary. Going in to the assignment, Trevorrow had no experience directing complicated action sequences or overseeing massive-budget special effects. He didn’t need it, because those aspects of the movie were delegated to seasoned heads of department, while Trevorrow focused on what he does best: handling the interpersonal chemistry between the lead characters. (Personally, I hold Trevorrow responsible for the decision to film Bryce Dallas Howard running in high heels, but not the turducken-like gag where a giant CG monosaur rises up to swallow the pterodactyl that’s eating Bryce’s assistant. Surely someone else oversaw that nearly-all-digital sequence.)

Independent schlock producer Roger Corman memorably observed that in the post-“Jaws,” post-“Star Wars” era, the A movies have become the B movies, and the B movies have become the A movies — which is another way of saying that today, instead of taking risks on smart original movies for grown-up sensibilities (say, tony literary adaptations and films based on acclaimed Broadway plays), the studios are investing most of their resources into comic-book movies and the equivalent of cliffhanger serials (from Tarzan to Indiana Jones).

To Corman’s equation I would add the following corollary: On today’s tentpoles, the director’s job is to take orders, while producers and other pros are called in to oversee the complicated practical and CG sequences that ultimately define these movies. It’s an extension of the old second-unit model, wherein experienced stunt and action-scene professionals handled the logistics of car chases and exotic location work — except that now, such spectacular sequences are the most important part of effects-driven movies. Meanwhile, the one ingredient the producers can’t fake or figure out on their own is the human drama, which is the reason that directors of Sundance films keep getting handed huge Hollywood movies: to deliver the chemistry that will make audiences care about all those big set pieces.

How times have changed: In the 1980s, the only one who would make a movie like “Fantastic Four” was Corman, which he did for peanuts, whereas two years ago, Fox dumped more than $125 million into the same property. And the director they picked? Josh Trank, whose only previous feature had been the low-budget “Chronicle.” Let’s not forget that Trank ankled his own “Star Wars” spinoff, which I suspect had everything to do with realizing what happens when forced to relinquish control of a project in which he’s listed as the in-title-only director.

Back in the ’60s, a group of French critics writing for Cahiers du Cinéma coined what has come to be known as “the auteur theory,” a relatively quaint idea that the director (as opposed the screenwriter, star or some other creative contributor) is the “author” of a film. In the half-century since, critics everywhere have fallen for this fantastical notion that directors have creative autonomy over the movies they make — when in fact, as often as not, that simply isn’t the case.

The auteur theory makes for a convenient myth, of course, and one that lazy critics have long perpetuated, because it’s much to difficult to give credit where it’s due when confronted with the already-cooked soufflé of a finished movie. Critics aren’t allowed into the kitchen, after all, and though countless chefs (or heads of department, to clarify the metaphor) contribute to any given film production, it’s virtually impossible to identify who was really responsible for the choices that make the film what it is.

How much of “Citizen Kane’s” creative genius can be attributed to cinematographer Gregg Toland? Would “Jaws” or “Star Wars” have been even half as effective without composer John Williams? Did editor Ralph Rosenblum save “Annie Hall”? And most relevant to the discussion at hand: Is it correct to think of “Rebecca” as an Alfred Hitchcock movie (he directed it, after all), or does the result more thoroughly reflect the hand of producer David O. Selznick?

This is all complicated by the fact that an entire class of filmmakers — the so-called “film-school generation” — seized upon the auteur theory, turning it into something of a self-fulfilling prophecy, as the likes of Coppola, Scorsese, Spielberg, Lucas and so on left their signature on the movies they made. Meanwhile, the Cahiers critics (several of whom went on to become directors, among them Jean-Luc Godard and François Truffaut) were protected by a uniquely French copyright law dating back to the 18th century, known as the “droit d’auteur,” which entitled them to final cut (a privilege precious few Hollywood directors have).

But these remain the exception, not the rule. In the case of the “Jurassic Park” and “Star Wars” franchises, the director is decidedly not the auteur. To the extent that a single vision forms the creative identity of these films, it’s almost always the producer we should hold responsible. To understand that, we need only look back to the original “Star Wars” sequel, “The Empire Strikes Back,” a movie “directed” by Irvin Kershner, but every bit George Lucas’ brainchild (he reportedly hand-picked Kershner for his strength with character development). The same goes for Richard Marquand on “Return of the Jedi.”

This shouldn’t be a scandalous revelation. It just doesn’t fit with the self-aggrandizing narrative that many directors have chosen for themselves. Yes, the 1989 “Batman” is without question “a Tim Burton movie”: Burton has such an incredibly distinctive aesthetic, and the personality to push it through a system that’s virtually designed to thwart such originality. But when it comes to the incredibly successful “X-Men” franchise, there’s no question that producer (and “Superman” director) Richard Donner deserves as much credit as those first two films’ director, Bryan Singer. Simply put, that franchise owes its personality to both of their involvement.

But when it comes to “Jurassic World,” that movie probably wouldn’t look much different in the hands of someone other than Trevorrow. And the same can almost certainly be said for the “Star Wars” movie he’s been hired to direct, because in both cases, it’s the producers who are steering the ship. When the stakes are this high, it would be downright reckless to give complete autonomy to relatively unproven directors.

That’s increasingly the case in Hollywood these days. Director Dave Green (who’d made a tiny Amblin-style movie called “Earth to Echo”) went through it on a franchise project produced by Michael Bay. He was tapped to helm “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows,” only to discover that he had no autonomy. Granted, Green was still wet behind the ears and had no experience with a nine-digit budget or big union crew. But that wasn’t the job, because Bay never expected him to handle everything. Instead, the producer pulled in more experienced professionals to oversee much of the action and visual effects, while Green followed orders and worked his magic with the actors.

You can bet Tom Cruise’s paycheck that the same thing happened on “The Mummy,” in which Alex Kurtzman is listed as director, but the producer-star was reportedly calling most of the shots. How appropriate that a Universal monster movie reboot should be the victim of what amounts to a kind of creative Frankenstein effect.

Likewise, Marvel has had more success (both financially and artistically) forcing directors to conform to an inflexible set of aesthetic guidelines than it did when art-house “auteur” Ang Lee experimented with his own ideas on 2003’s “Hulk.” And though Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón is celebrated for the personal touch he brought to the Harry Potter franchise, it was relatively malleable British TV director David Yates whom writer-producer J.K. Rowling approved to direct four more films in the series.

So where does that leave us with “Star Wars”? On one hand, it’s perfectly understandable that the producers would want Trevorrow to direct Episode IX, since he’s already demonstrated his capacity to play along with the producers. Meanwhile, it’s disheartening — but not altogether surprising — that a directorial duo as gifted as Lord and Miller have been fired from the Han Solo film, since they’ve been known to fight for the creative integrity of their vision.

But it’s a loss to the “Star Wars” world, since Lord and Miller’s previous credits demonstrate the kind of unique take they might have brought to the franchise. Warner Bros. trusted the duo enough on “The Lego Movie” to let them poke fun at Batman — arguably the studio’s most precious IP, previously rendered oh-so-serious in the Christopher Nolan trilogy. Lord and Miller’s minifigure Dark Knight was a brooding egomaniac and the funniest thing about that film, so much so that Warners ran with it, producing a spinoff that stretched the joke to feature length.

Sony Pictures Animation (where Lord and Miller made “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs”) was similarly enthusiastic about their input on Spider-Man, greenlighting the pair’s high-attitude idea for an animated movie centered around Miles Morales, the Black Hispanic superhero who took over web-slinging duties after Peter Parker’s death. Though they’re not directing, the script is said to bear their fingerprints — which it seems is exactly what Kennedy and company don’t want on the Han Solo project.

With any luck, Lord and Miller will see the “Star Wars” setback as the opportunity that it is: Rather than being forced to color within the lines of a controlling producer’s vision, they can potentially explore the more individual (dare I say, “auteurist”?) instinct they so clearly possess on a less-protected property. Heck, maybe Sony’s Spider-Man project will be the one to benefit. Or perhaps they’ll be in the enviable position of pitching an original movie. Not all directors have such a strong or clear sense of vision that they can be trusted to exert it over a massive studio tentpole, but Lord and Miller are among the few actively reshaping the comedy landscape. Now is their moment, although as Han Solo would say, “Great, kid. Don’t get cocky.”

Related stories'Star Wars' Han Solo Spinoff: Lord & Miller Firing Is Latest in Long Line of Director Exits'Star Wars' Han Solo Spinoff: Lord & Miller Fired After Clashing With Kathleen Kennedy (Exclusive)'Star Wars' Han Solo Film Loses Directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller »

- Peter Debruge

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Production starts on the Godzilla sequel, Full Cast list and Synopsis revealed

20 June 2017 5:27 AM, PDT | HeyUGuys.co.uk | See recent HeyUGuys news »

Author: Zehra Phelan

Holy Monsters! With production officially underway in Atlanta, Georgia on Godzilla King of the Monsters, a full cast list and synopsis has been revealed for the follow-up to the 2014 outing in which Gareth Edwards took the helm.

Although Edwards was lined up to direct the sequel, which now falls into the Kong, Godzilla monster universe after last year’s arrival of Kong: Skull Island, he gave up his throne to Michael Dougherty to pursue other projects.

Within the newly revealed synopsis, we are given an insight to the monsters we can expect to see this time around. Currently, the confirmed list of Monsters to be featured are Rodan, Mothra and Ghidorah! Three of Toho’s most iconic Kaiju have been secured by Warner Brothers and Legendary Pictures to star in the follow-up and will do battle with their revised Hollywood Godzilla which debuted in Gareth Edwards’ 2014 blockbuster. »

- Zehra Phelan

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Godzilla 2 Recruits Silicon Valley Star Thomas Middleditch

31 May 2017 1:56 PM, PDT | MovieWeb | See recent MovieWeb news »

Silicon Valley star Thomas Middleditch is joining Warner Bros.' Godzilla: King of Monsters. Yesterday it was announced that Adam Wingard is set to direct 2020's Godzilla Vs. Kong. Now King of Monsters, the movie that leads up to Godzilla Vs. King Kong, has added Middleditch to the growing cast as Variety reports. It is unclear what director Michael Dougherty (Krampus) and writer Zach Shields (Krampus) plan to do with the iconic monster, but it will definitely be a lot of destruction and an epic battle with other creatures vying for the title of King (or Queen). It has been confirmed that Legendary will bring Rodan, Mothra, and King Ghiodorah in for the melee.

Middleditch can also be heard as one of the voices in Captain Underpants, which comes out this weekend, and seen alongside Keanu Reeves in the upcoming Replicas. Middleditch did have a microscopic role in Kong: Skull Island »

- MovieWeb

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'Godzilla vs. Kong' Nabs Director of 'You're Next' and 'Blair Witch'

31 May 2017 12:00 PM, PDT | Movies.com | See recent Movies.com news »

When Gareth Edwards was hired to direct a new version of Godzilla, he had only one indie movie under his belt as a director. Sure, it was titled Monsters and it revolved around alien creatures of monstrous size, but it was far more ethereal and thoughtful than might be expected.  Likewise, the rebooted Godzilla (2014) was less about the titular giant monster and more an examination of the dangerous world that gave birth to him. It too was filled with haunting scenes that teased the potential horrors that awaited mankind. Small wonder that Edwards was then tapped to direct the gritty Rogue One: A Star Wars Story. Meanwhile, Legendary Entertainment began a new partnership with Warner Bros. that resulted in the release of Kong: Skull Island earlier this year. Directed...

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- Peter Martin

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Newswire: Thomas Middleditch to play some sort of endearing nerd in the Godzilla sequel

31 May 2017 11:39 AM, PDT | avclub.com | See recent The AV Club news »

According to Variety, Silicon Valley star Thomas Middleditch has signed on to director Michael Dougherty’s Godzilla: King Of Monsters, the sequel to Gareth Edwards’ 2014 Godzilla revival. Middleditch will be joining previously announced cast members Charles Dance, Aisha Hinds, Vera Farmiga, Kyle Chandler, and Millie Bobby Brown, as well as Ken Watanabe, who is the only actor returning from the previous movie. We don’t know anything about the character Middleditch will be playing, but considering who he is and the kind of roles he plays, it seems safe to assume that he’ll be some kind of scientist or computer nerd with special insight into how the humans can stop Godzilla (or any other monsters who might be appearing in this movie).

Interestingly, Variety notes that Middleditch had a “small cameo” in Kong: Skull Island, providing the voice of a character who never appeared onscreen, so maybe that »

- Sam Barsanti

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'Silicon Valley' Star Thomas Middleditch Joins 'Godzilla' Sequel

31 May 2017 10:54 AM, PDT | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

Silicon Valley star Thomas Middleditch is joining Warner Bros.' Godzilla: King of Monsters.

Plot details are being kept under wraps, but Godzilla's nuclear family will be played by Vera FarmigaStranger Things breakout Millie Bobbie Brown and Kyle Chandler, who will star as a scientist.  

O’Shea Jackson Jr. is also set for the Legendary project from Krampus director Michael Dougherty.

Warners has dated the monster movie sequel — a follow-up to Gareth Edwards' 2014 reboot, which earned $529.1 million worldwide — for March 22, 2019. The studio's blockbuster crossover, Godzilla vs. Kong, is set for a May 29, 2020 release. (On Tuesday, <a href="http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/godzilla-kong-finds-director-adam-wingard-1008773" »

- Mia Galuppo

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The Guest Director Adam Wingard To Helm Godzilla Vs. Kong

30 May 2017 5:38 PM, PDT | We Got This Covered | See recent We Got This Covered news »

One of the horror genre’s most promising talents, Adam Wingard, has been chosen to direct Godzilla vs. Kong, which Warner Bros. and Legendary are currently prepping ahead of its 2020 release. As you no doubt know, the film will be part of the studios’ new cinematic universe, one that began in 2014 with Godzilla and continued earlier this year with Kong: Skull Island.

We don’t have too many details on how the titular characters will cross paths just yet, and with Godzilla: King of Monsters (the next chapter in this franchise) not looking to stomp into theatres until March 22nd, 2019, it may be a while before we learn more. What we can tell you, though, is that Legendary and WB have put together a writers room for Godzilla vs. Kong, which is being headed up by Terry Rossio, who’ll work alongside scribes such as Cat Vasko, Jack Paglen, »

- Matt Joseph

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Godzilla 2 Will Have Old School Practical Monster Effects

23 May 2017 12:40 PM, PDT | MovieWeb | See recent MovieWeb news »

Godzilla 2 is finally shooting this summer after several years of impatient waiting. Gareth Edwards' 2014 Godzilla divided fans, but it was successful at the box office and revived the franchise. It looks like director Mike Dougherty, who is taking over for the next installment, is looking to make some fans of the old-school Godzilla movies very happy. How, you may ask? Well, he is going to include some practical monster effects in Godzilla: King of Monsters.

Mike Dougherty took to his Twitter recently to answer some fan questions about the upcoming Godzilla sequel. Today, a fan asked with only a glimmer of hope if he was planning on including any practical monster effects in Godzilla 2. Dougherty didn't give a long-winded response, but he simply said, "yes." That is more than enough because now we know we will get to see some actual, physical creatures in Godzilla: King of Monsters, »

- MovieWeb

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‘Game of Thrones’ Spin-Offs: Of the Four Options, There’s Already an Obvious Winner

4 May 2017 1:58 PM, PDT | Indiewire Television | See recent Indiewire Television news »

That HBO is working on a “Game of Thrones” spin-off is no surprise. That they’re working on four separate spin-offs in order to find the right fit to follow up the Emmy-winning original, well, that’s a little surprising. But there’s no surprise when it comes to choosing the best option.

On paper, the choice is clear. The premium cable giant is waiting to read all the scripts before making a decision on which to pursue, but let’s see if you can figure it out based solely on who’s writing the four contenders. Your multiple choice quiz begins…now!

Read More: ‘Game of Thrones’ Spin-Offs: HBO Developing Four Different Stories Set in Different Time Periods

A) Max Borenstein

Most recent project: “Kong: Skull Island,” which Borenstein penned alongside Dan Gilroy and Derek Connolly.

TV Experience: “Minority Report,” the short-lived Fox adaptation of Steven Spielberg’s film, »

- Ben Travers

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‘Game of Thrones’ Spin-Offs: Of the Four Options, There’s Already an Obvious Winner

4 May 2017 1:58 PM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

That HBO is working on a “Game of Thrones” spin-off is no surprise. That they’re working on four separate spin-offs in order to find the right fit to follow up the Emmy-winning original, well, that’s a little surprising. But there’s no surprise when it comes to choosing the best option.

On paper, the choice is clear. The premium cable giant is waiting to read all the scripts before making a decision on which to pursue, but let’s see if you can figure it out based solely on who’s writing the four contenders. Your multiple choice quiz begins…now!

Read More: ‘Game of Thrones’ Spin-Offs: HBO Developing Four Different Stories Set in Different Time Periods

A) Max Borenstein

Most recent project: “Kong: Skull Island,” which Borenstein penned alongside Dan Gilroy and Derek Connolly.

TV Experience: “Minority Report,” the short-lived Fox adaptation of Steven Spielberg’s film, »

- Ben Travers

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Funko unveils new Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Pop! Vinyl figures

4 May 2017 1:15 PM, PDT | Flickeringmyth | See recent Flickeringmyth news »

Funko has revealed its second wave of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Pop! Movies vinyl figures which includes Galen Erso, Young Jyn Erso, Weeteef Cyubee and a Death Star Droid along with a new series of Star Wars Classic Galactic Plushies and Mystery Minis; check them out below…

Our Star Wars Rogue One Pop! line would not be complete without these latest additions! This series features the father-daughter pair Galen Erso and Young Jyn Erso!

A member of the Partisans and ally of Jyn Erso, Weeteef Cyubee! Also, a Death Star Droid! Coming this Summer!

Another amazing wave of Galactic Plushies have arrived! These 7-8” high-quality plushies include more Star Wars favorites! This wave features Wicket, R2D2, Yoda, Luke Skywalker and a classic Storm Trooper! These adorable Galactic Plushies are a perfect fit for your home or office! Take them with you on the go! Add them to your collection this Summer! »

- Amie Cranswick

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Skull Island Director Doesn't Want to Do Godzilla Vs Kong

24 April 2017 7:10 PM, PDT | MovieWeb | See recent MovieWeb news »

Last month, Warner Bros. released the epic blockbuster Kong: Skull Island, which not only explored the home island of the iconic King Kong, but also set up an expanded universe that connects to the studio's 2014 hit Godzilla. While Michael Dougherty has come aboard to direct Godzilla: King of Monsters (March 22, 2019), the follow-up Godzilla vs. Kong (May 29, 2020) doesn't have a director, but it seems that Kong: Skull Island director Jordan Vogt-Roberts is not interested in making another monster movie.

When Kong: Skull Island opened last month, it was a hit with critics, with a 77% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and with fans alike, earning $163.9 million domestically and $559 million worldwide from an $185 million budget. During a chat with Screen Junkies News, director Jordan Vogt-Roberts was asked if he would like to take the helm for the follow-up Godzilla vs. Kong, but the filmmaker stated that he was done with monster movies. »

- MovieWeb

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Free Fire Director Ben Wheatley Doesn’t Think Big Studios Would Have Him Direct A Superhero Film Any Time Soon

19 April 2017 11:43 AM, PDT | LRMonline.com | See recent LRM Online news »

For better or worse, there’s been an undeniable trend in Hollywood for relatively new talents to be put behind the helm of big budget franchises. It happened with Colin Trevorrow when he went to work on Jurassic World following his work on Safety Not Guaranteed, it happened with Gareth Edwards when he went to work on Godzilla after Monsters, and of course, we can’t forget Josh Trank helming the Fantastic Four film after taking on Chronicle.

The mentality behind that is that if a filmmaker can make a film for a smaller budget, so long as the storytelling is sound, they can also helm a much bigger film. Of course, studios like Marvel are also careful to surround the relatively inexperienced director with masters of their own crafts, so that they don’t flounder under the weight of the visual effects. It’s not a bad strategy, and »

- Joseph Medina

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Newswire: Underground’s Aisha Hinds joins Godzilla: King Of Monsters

18 April 2017 1:29 PM, PDT | avclub.com | See recent The AV Club news »

Aisha Hinds is currently holding things down on two network dramas: She plays Harriet Tubman on Wgn America’s Underground, and she’s costarring in Fox’s Shots Fired. Though the shows are set hundreds of years apart, they both deal in weighty subject matter—the former is a historical thriller set in the antebellum South, while the second tackles police violence and the systemic racism that leads to it. Hinds not only juggles both series, she gives breakout performances in them. But she’s going to take a break from profoundly relevant dramas to chase monsters with Stranger ThingsMillie Bobby Brown. Deadline reports Hinds has joined the cast of Godzilla: King Of Monsters, a follow-up to Gareth Edwards’ 2014 film starring Bryan Cranston. Michael Dougherty is directing the sequel, which also stars Vera Farmiga, O’Shea Jackson Jr., Kyle Chandler, and Ken Watanabe. Hinds’ role is unknown, but »

- Danette Chavez

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was originally conceived as an idea for TV

9 April 2017 1:25 AM, PDT | Flickeringmyth | See recent Flickeringmyth news »

During an interview with Comic Book Resources to promote the home entertainment release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Ilm’s John Knoll has revealed that he originally conceived the idea as a potential pitch for an episode of Star Wars: Underworld, the live-action Star Wars TV project that was in development at Lucasfilm following the release of the Prequel Trilogy.

“The first inklings of trying to tell that story happened in Summer 2003 when we were shooting on Episode III in Sydney. I had heard that Lucasfilm was developing stories for a potential live action TV series, and they were active in story development at the time. That was kind of intriguing, and I started thinking about, ‘What would be a fun thing to do as a one-hour episode as a live action Star Wars TV show?’ One thought was, ‘What about a Mission Impossible-style break-in into the most »

- Amie Cranswick

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Chirrut and Baze joins Previews’ Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Egg Attack action figure line

7 April 2017 4:30 AM, PDT | Flickeringmyth | See recent Flickeringmyth news »

Diamond Comic Distributors and Beast Kingdom have revealed two new additions to their line of Previews Exclusive Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Egg Attack Action Figures which includes Donnie Yen’s Chirrut Imwe and Jiang Wen’s Baze Mablus; take a look at the official promotional images here…

Fans can pick up both members of the now iconic duo from Rogue One, both of whom aided Jyn Erso and fought to secure the Death Star plans for the Rebel Alliance. With the likeness of superstar Donnie Yen, this elaborate Chirrut action figure features professional coating and a moveable eye design that fully depicts the enchanting assertive look present by the character. Accompanying Chirrut is his ever-present guardian Baze. Featuring a domineering temperament and a one-piece uniform made of real fabrics, Baze is ready to wage war against the Empire with the Rebels.

From Lucasfilm comes the first of the Star Wars standalone films, »

- Amie Cranswick

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‘Rogue One’ Director Gareth Edwards on Avoiding Hollywood’s Addiction to Numbing Visual Effects

5 April 2017 1:51 PM, PDT | Indiewire | See recent Indiewire news »

Gareth Edwards grew up dreaming he would follow in the footsteps of his hero Steven Spielberg: He’d go to film school and make a short that would gain him entry into Hollywood.

“That never happened because my short film was rubbish,” said Edwards, who was guest on IndieWire’s Filmmaker Toolkit.

Beyond his film being bad, Edwards realized the competition to be a director had multiplied since Spielberg had started out and it took more than a good short to get a foot in the door in Hollywood. Edwards’ first short, which he made with a his computer animator roommate, was one of the first student works ever to mix CGI with live action. The experience opened Edwards’ eyes to the computer as being the future of filmmaking and he now saw his path to Hollywood could be to make his own films from home, doing the editing and effects himself. »

- Chris O'Falt

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Exclusive ‘Aftermath’ interview with actor Scoot McNairy

5 April 2017 2:00 AM, PDT | The Hollywood News | See recent The Hollywood News news »

Photo Credit: Collin Stark

Scoot McNairy first came to the attention of  most cinephiles with his turn in Monsters. The film, directed by Gareth Edwards, also saw McNairy star alongside his wife, the equally talented Whitney Able. Now he stars this week’s new cinema release, Aftermath.

The film is inspired by a real life plane crash that occurred over Überlingen as a result of a mid-air collision. In Aftermath, Scoot plays Jake, an air traffic controller who finds himself scapegoated for the accident. It’s an incredibly powerful film which also features Arnold SchwarzeneggerMaggie GraceKevin Zegers and Glenn Morshower. We caught up with Scoot ahead of the release to find out how he approached the project, where we will see him next, and what it’s like working with an icon like Arnie.

The first film I remember seeing you in was Monsters, which is fantastic. You »

- Kat Hughes

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Rogue One Cast and Crew Talk Star Wars Secrets at Ilm

1 April 2017 10:32 AM, PDT | MovieWeb | See recent MovieWeb news »

Star Wars fans can now enjoy Rogue One from the comforts of their couch as the first-ever Star Wars Story hit VOD last month before coming to Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and On-Demand on April 4. To celebrate, Ryan J. Downey headed to Ilm to meet up with some of the team behind this thrilling sci-fi adventure to explore new secrets and learn more details about the making of the latest Star Wars movie.

On hand to discuss this latest entry in the official Star Wars cinematic canon were Rogue One star Alan Tudyk, who plays K-2So in the movie, along with VFX Supervisor John Knoll, who created the story, and Animation Supervisor Hal Hickel. You can watch them discuss the movie at length in the exclusive video below.

Lucasfilm's Rogue One has definitely established its place within the Star Wars universe and the hearts of moviegoers, becoming »

- MovieWeb

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Could Life Continue? Screenwriter Rhett Reese Has Sequel Ideas

28 March 2017 6:12 PM, PDT | We Got This Covered | See recent We Got This Covered news »

After a tepid critical reaction (see our review here) and a mediocre opening weekend, don’t count on Life getting a sequel anytime soon. In some ways, the film’s mild failure is a shame – it’s increasingly rare to see original ideas getting the blockbuster treatment, yet perhaps Life‘s janky mashup of The Thing and Alien isn’t that original anyway. Regardless, screenwriters Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese have been discussing their ideas for a second outing.

As those who’ve seen it will know, Life does not exactly end happily. It’s rare to see a film conclude on such a mean hearted note, but you can’t help but wonder what’s going to happen once Calvin has outsmarted the hapless astronauts. Given how effortlessly it eradicated life aboard the International Space Station, you presume that its mere arrival is going to cause major problems on Earth. »

- David James

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