Director McG’s most recent theatrical release was This Means War – a romantic comedy mashed together with a spy action vehicle – whereas Luc Besson’s best-known work of late has been the Taken movies; a series of father/daughter dramas explored by way of a Euro-thriller template (with political overtones), which Besson co-wrote and produced.
Maybe it’s appropriate then that McG and Besson’s upcoming collaboration, 3 Days to Kill, looks and feels like a mashup of elements from their most recent projects. The film stars Kevin Costner – fresh off playing a more complex Jonathan ‘Pa’ Kent in this year’s Superman movie reboot Man of Steel – as Ethan Runner, an international spy who must perform two dangerous (well, in a manner of speaking) assignments: carry out his final mission – tracking down the world’s most wanted terrorist – and look after his estranged teen daughter (Hailee Steinfeld), while his ex-wife (Connie Nielsen) is out of town.
As the 3 Days to Kill trailer establishes, the script from Besson and Adi Hasak (From Paris with Love) gives Runner additional motivation: he may only have a few days left to live, unless he successfully pulls off that coveted ‘one last job’ for the government. Rounding out the ensemble is Amber Heard (Machete Kills), as Runner’s coworker, who provides him with the necessary medical supplement to keep himself alive – for now, anyway.
Besides the components derived from previous action B-movies – like the screen story that even features a Crank-style twist - the 3 Days to Kill trailer footage makes the film look more like an McG action/comedy that a Besson creation. Consider, for example, the running joke where Costner attempts to balance his crazy professional lifestyle with being a normal father; that’s par the course for the director behind the Charlie’s Angels movies and This Means War - less so with Besson’s more off-beat and quirky humor.
Indeed, Besson’s movies – good and bad – generally have a more satirical vibe and/or darkly comical jabs at social/political humor (see: The Family), whereas 3 Days to Kill seems more like a blend of intentionally over the top action with a sitcom center. That might just be a bit of misdirection for marketing purposes – though if not, the pairing of award-winner Costner and Steinfeld (who has continued to impress this year in Romeo and Juliet and Ender’s Game) may be enough to sell the whole thing… maybe.
Sandy Schaefer blogs at Screen Rant.
It’s not every day you get the news that Matt Damon will be playing your father.
Louis Rorimer, who lives in Shaker Heights, Ohio, recently got the chance to see his father’s World War II adventures portrayed on the big screen when the film “The Monuments Men,” starring George Clooney (who also directed) and Damon, was released on Feb. 7. “Monuments” tells the story of a group of men who team up during World War II to save works of art that were taken by the Nazis.
The film also stars Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Hugh Bonneville, Bill Balaban, and Cate Blanchett.
Rorimer’s father James was the basis for Damon’s character James Granger. James Rorimer worked as a curator for the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s medieval collection before the war (he would rise to the position of museum director during the 1950s) and, as depicted in the film, traveled to Paris to try to learn the whereabouts of works of art from Claire Simone (named Rose Valland in real life), a Frenchwoman who had observed the Nazis' movements. James Rorimer later wrote a book titled "Survival: The Salvage and Protection of Art in War" about his time during World War II.
Rorimer said his father’s activities during the war were often discussed in the family. “I probably knew about it before I was born, practically,” he said. When Robert M. Edsel, author of the book “The Monuments Men” on which the movie is based, discovered the story of the group, his sister Annie was able to give Edsel letters that James Rorimer had written during the war. (James Rorimer had died in 1966.)
Then came the news that Edsel’s book would be adapted into a movie. Rorimer said it wasn’t a surprise – he had assumed Edsel’s plans for getting the story out there would include trying for a film adaptation – but it was fun to learn about nonetheless. “I was very excited,” he said.
He was also pleased to hear that Damon would be the one portraying his father when he found out that the actor had attended Harvard University as James Rorimer had (though Damon did not graduate.) “There was a certain symmetry to the fact that someone who walked the same corridors would be playing my father,” he said.
He, his sister, his wife, and his two children were able to attend the film’s premiere and got the chance to walk the red carpet, though he said the experience was somewhat confusing if you aren’t a star and didn’t need to stop for photos and interviews. “It was kind of hard to figure out what you're supposed to do,” he said.
But while at the premiere, Rorimer had the chance to speak with Damon briefly, and he said he was impressed with both Damon’s performance and the actor himself. “He clearly understood the character of my father and what he was playing,” Rorimer said. “He made some very complimentary comments about what a great guy my father was… The character as a whole was a great reflection of my father – [the] integrity, seriousness.”
After seeing the film, Rorimer said he believes the message of the film is grounded in both the past and the present. An important part of it, he said, is the artwork that has still not been returned to its original owners even now. “[The message is] honoring these individuals for what they did and making the world aware of what's unfinished,” Rorimer said.
He’s now seen the movie twice and said he liked it even better the second time. One part of the movie not based in fact? The running gag of James Granger’s terrible French, which is mocked by Claire. “He was very good with all the European languages,” he said of his father. "[But] it was a fun joke.”
Is Nicole Scherzinger leaving the UK version of “The X Factor”?
The UK iteration of “Factor” first aired in 2004 and Scherzinger, the lead singer of The Pussycat Dolls, came aboard as a judge in 2012. But now Scherzinger wants to concentrate more on her music, according to the Press Association.
“Factor” creator Simon Cowell, who served as a judge on the recently canceled US version of the show, recently announced that he’ll be returning to the UK panel for this year’s new season. He had served as a judge on the show from its first season in 2004 to 2010 but then departed to become a judge on the US version, which debuted in 2011.
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Singer Cheryl Cole served as a judge on “Factor” from 2008 to 2010 and Cowell recently told BANG Showbiz that she could come back for the upcoming season.
“To be fair to Cheryl, it hasn't been about the money with her,” he said. “It's about whether she wants to do it and whether she can handle the pressure, so I'm not quite sure yet… She had her poker face on.”
“Factor” judge Gary Barlow, who came on the show in 2011 following Cowell’s departure, will not be returning, according to the Press Association. The rest of the judging panel for the 2013 season consisted of manager Louis Walsh and reality star Sharon Osbourne. It is unknown whether Walsh will return.
Fox recently announced that the American version of “Factor” was being canceled after three seasons and many judge shake-ups.
Scherzinger was also a member of the group Eden’s Crush; her group the Pussycat Dolls broke up in 2009. Scherzinger released a solo album, “Killer Love,” in 2011.
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It’s been seven years since Veronica Mars – the neo-noir teen girl detective TV series – unceremoniously went off the air, and the lack of closure for fans eventually led to the massive Kickstarter success of the Veronica Mars movie. With the movie’s release just three months away, the question is – will it be worth the wait?
Though we’ve previously seen a Comic-Con trailer, a featurette, and a clip from the film, the most recently released trailer (above) is the first theatrical trailer – and one with quite a bit of new footage.
The footage covers the familiar beats of the film’s plot: nearly nine years have passed (in the world of the film) since the series finale, and in that time, Veronica Mars (Kristen Bell) has long since left her private detective life behind and graduated from Columbia Law School in NYC. She’s dating Piz (Chris Lowell), the lovable loser from season 3 that she was dating at the series’ end, and is looking for a job as a lawyer when news breaks that her old flame, Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring), has been charged for the murder of his pop star girlfriend.
One thing leads to another and Logan (as he is wont to do) calls Veronica to ask for her investigative assistance, prompting her to return to her hometown of Neptune to help him out. Fortunately for the viewers, her high school reunion just happens to be taking place at the same time, which means we get to see all our old friends – Wallace (Percy Daggs III), Weevil (Francis Capra), Mac (Tina Majorino), Dick (Ryan Hansen), and the rest – together again for a semi-organic reason.
Of course, in terms of plot information, this is all old news. Thankfully, there’s plenty of new information to suss out in the trailer as well. On the romance front – Piz claims he’s nervous to have Veronica meet his parents. This would seem to indicate that Piz and Veronica have only recently started dating again, because if they’ve been dating since the end of the series – again, nine years in the world of the film – it would be really strange if Veronica has never met his parents.
On the suspense front – Veronica tells her dad (Enrico Colantoni) that she’s stumbled onto something “big” in her investigation of Logan’s girlfriend’s murder. This would seem to suggest that the “case” of the film is more than just a murder mystery; perhaps there’s even something conspiratorial going on.
Despite the trailer being geared toward the general audience (title cards like “She had the perfect job, the perfect man, and the perfect chance…to throw it all away” probably won’t appeal to the die hards), there are nonetheless a lot of excellent teasers to keep Veronica Mars fans intrigued. Still, the question remains – will this film be worth the seven-year wait? What say you, Screen Ranters? Does the trailer give you cause to hope?
Ben Moore blogs at Screen Rant.
There was a question of whether Menzel or singer Demi Lovato, who performed the single version of “Let It Go,” would perform the song at the Oscars ceremony if the song was performed at all, but Menzel will indeed be belting the tune on March 2, said ABC.
“It’s really happening,” Menzel herself tweeted. “I’m singing on the Oscars! Surreal. Thank u frozen family and Oscar producers for this incredible opportunity.”
The actress portrays Elsa, the heir to the throne of Arendelle who can create and control snow and ice. The movie is based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale “The Snow Queen” and co-stars Kristen Bell as Elsa’s sister Anna, “Glee” actor Jonathan Groff as mountain resident Kristoff, and Josh Gad as Olaf, a snowman.
“Frozen” is also nominated for the Best Animated Feature Oscar this year in addition to Best Original Song for "Let It Go."
The Disney animated musical has become a smash hit at the box office, grossing more than $368 million domestically so far, according to the website Box Office Mojo. The movie was also mostly a critical success, currently holding a score of 74 out of 100 on the review aggregator site Metacritic, and the film’s songs have also been well-received, with the movie’s soundtrack becoming the first to top the Billboard 200 for four weeks (non-consecutively) since the “Bad Boys II” soundtrack in 2003.
Menzel was part of the original Broadway cast of the musical “Rent” and starred in the original Broadway version of “Wicked,” in which she portrayed Elphaba, the young girl who would become Oz’s Wicked Witch of the West. Menzel won a Best Actress Tony for that role. She is currently set to return to Broadway for the musical “If/Then,” which will premiere on March 27 after previews.
'Downton Abbey' actress Jessica Brown Findlay, Colin Farrell star in 'Winter's Tale' – check out the trailer (+video)
In 1916 New York, former mechanic Peter Lake has fallen on hard times. Forced to work as a burglar for a criminal syndicate, Lake breaks into an upper-class home – only to encounter a strange, ethereal woman with whom he falls in love.
Little does Peter know that his paramour has been marked for death by demonic forces led by the ruthless gangster Pearly Soames. Peter’s desire to save her kicks off an era-spanning quest in the upcoming romantic fantasy, Winter’s Tale, which has released a new trailer in the run-up to its theatrical release.
This newest preview for Winter’s Tale doesn’t contain much in the way of astonishingly new material, instead opting to streamline the information shared in the film’s first trailer. The preview does expand on the exact role of Pearly Soames (Russell Crowe) in the proceedings, but soft-pedals the film’s supernatural elements until the midway point of the trailer.
Such an approach could indicate Warner Bros.’ uncertainty with how to present the movie’s strange material. Based on the 1983 novel by Mark Helprin, Winter’s Tale is a curious mixture of period drama, romantic melodrama, magical realism, and full-on surrealistic fantasy. If the trailers for the film are uncomfortable with tackling all of these elements, will the film itself be able to encompass them fully?
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Few television comedies are as beloved as Seinfeld. The series – which ran from 1989 to 1998 – is still widely considered one of the best written shows ever conceived, and fans are still clamoring for more, despite the 2009 pseudo-reunion that took place on HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm, which stars Seinfeld co-creator Larry David.
Recent word that David and Seinfeld were working on a “secret project” got the rumor mill swirling again about a potential extension of the Seinfeld brand, but few details were disclosed, leaving the mystery very much under wraps. However, new insight into exactly what the duo has been up to may give Seinfeld fans a reason to break out the Festivus pole once again.
Seinfeld recently appeared on WFAN‘s Boomer and Carton radio show in New York, and the hosts questioned him at great lengths about a photo (see below) of the comedian and Seinfeld co-star Jason Alexander in front of Tom’s Restaurant, the real-life Manhattan eatery that served as the exterior for the show’s Monk’s Café. Seinfeld confirmed that the project was not a Super Bowl commercial nor an episode of his web series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee but also said it is a “secret project.”
The show’s hosts managed to convince Seinfeld to play a game of 20 questions over the project, and here’s what we’ve learned. The filmed “secret project” runs over one minute in length and features Alexander reprising his role of George Costanza, with other Seinfeld characters having a part of it as well. David is also involved but does not appear either onscreen or as voice talent (meaning that he’s not returning as the voice of New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner). Other locations are involved, but Jerry’s apartment from the show is not one of them, Seinfeld confirmed. Whatever the project is, he said that it’s probably a “one and done” affair and that fans should be seeing it “very, very soon.”
Seinfeld fans may be scratching their heads to figure out exactly what this project could be, but based on the details Seinfeld provided (as well as his mention that Alexander was not surprised to receive the call), there is one most likely scenario. On the DVD box set for the show’s final season, Seinfeld mentioned that he and Alexander discussed filming one final scene at the coffee shop, which would take place after the gang completed the prison sentence they were charged with in the series finale and has since mentioned that it could still happen. Fans may remember that Jerry and his friends were only sentenced to one year behind bars, but if Seinfeld and David have finally scripted this coda to their series, the fact that 16 years have passed since that episode aired could punctuate the comedy of how traumatic life in prison was.
This possibility would satisfy all of the criteria Seinfeld disclosed and could perhaps lend a bit more closure to a series finale that some feel was anti-climactic. This is all purely speculation at this point, but fans would probably jump at the chance to see Seinfeld and company back in character, even if it’s likely to be a one-time opportunity.
Robert Yaniz Jr. blogs at Screen Rant.
If the past two seasons are anything to go by, the likelihood of there being some out-of-left-field revelation to wrap up the surprisingly unfussy and yet still imprecise season of American Horror Story: Coven seemed pretty high. That says a great deal about the horror anthology that Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk have created. Even after twelve episodes of Coven and its specific differences from season 1 and Asylum, the expectations for mind-bending lunacy are about as strong as the expectation for lax adherence to the already slipshod set of conventions the third season used to define its horror niche.
And yet, unlike the previous two seasons, Coven had been imparted with a specific goal, a clear destination for the narrative and its characters to arrive at come the season finale. This straightforward approach had its advantages and disadvantages in terms of how the story of Miss Robichaux’s Academy and its ever-dwindling student base would conclude. For one thing, this idea of there being a road map or particular destination in mind gave the season a much-needed sense of urgency and a prescribed finality to the plot – which, in and of itself, actually felt like a new approach to the series.
Conversely, that destination wound up feeling like a limitation on the expansiveness of the journey between point A and point B. Once it was established that Jessica Lange’s Fiona Goode would be losing her witch-y powers and her life so that a new supreme could rise and take hold of the coven she so selfishly allowed to weaken and decline into near ruin, the middle points of the season (i.e., episodes 2-12, with some exceptions, of course) were shackled by the very end the series was headed toward.
That meant there was time for some twiddling of the thumbs, and for a series so enamored with it’s own kitchen-sink style of storytelling, that could spell trouble. Instead, Coven may just go down as the season with the most to say about the world outside its specific storyline. But with a storyline that included witches, voodoo priestesses, various flavors of maniacal mothers, a guard-dog constructed from a bus full of dead frat boys, sax-playing serial killers, and a secret society of witch hunters, did its message get lost in the din of so many view points?
Overall, it seems that the answer to that question is: yes. But that’s only in terms of there being some kind of weight or purpose behind the message that goes beyond merely pointing out certain societal issues. Other than that, the message was predictably overt, and, in keeping with past seasons, the necessity of social commentary often times felt more than a little tacked-on. There were plenty of powerful examples of what Coven was trying to convey in terms of those who have been marginalized for their gender, race, or sexual preference, but more often than not, that message was lost in the shuffle of too many voices fighting amongst one another.
Perhaps that was the point: to demonstrate how, in the desperate struggle to have one’s voice heard, those in the minority may be willing to stifle others in a similar position in order to increase the likelihood of being heard. The thing is, like everything else, that point (if it even was the point) wound up being obfuscated by all the broad strokes with regard to symbolism and characterization. In the end, much of what Coven seemed to be alluding to wound up, as a result of its muddled presentation, feeling too reductive to result in anything approaching empowerment.
Case in point: Within the framework of ‘The Seven Wonders,’ there is no mention of the marginalization felt by Queenie inside Miss Robichaux’s Academy, nor was there any hint that a lasting impression was made by Marie Laveau or Delphine LaLaurie – they were simply forgotten, banished to the nether realm to endlessly play out a gruesome scene of torture befitting their earthly transgressions.
Marie and Delphine certainly got their due comeuppance and that end was gratifying in the same ironic manner the idea of Fiona spending an eternity with the Axeman and his endless supply of catfish and crude entendres was. But it felt as though the episode just folded Queenie’s issues into the larger context of the season without reconciling her arc as a character – which ended with Coven treating her and her troubles as something of a construct, rather than an individual with specific needs that maybe have gone unfulfilled.
This is indicative of the broad strokes the show uses that typically result in certain story elements being ignored, in order to achieve a specific intent. It often produces inconsistencies wherein the show doesn’t play by its own rules – which may actually be fair, considering said rules haven’t been explicitly established. But having rules and forcing the narrative to play within those limitations usually make the story stronger, rather than leave certain situations as nothing more than head-scratchers or hurried attempts to settle the one plot that’s working.
Instead, the audience is left with too many questions like: Why does Madison not turn into a ghost like Spalding, Nan, or the Axeman? Or why, after demonstrating tremendous power, would Madison succumb to an enraged FrankenKyle? Not to mention lingering thoughts about Queenie’s encounter with the Minotaur, and Zoe’s lethal intimacy that have all been brushed away, never to be spoken of again.
Still, those points aside, ‘The Seven Wonders’ – if taken as a single episode, intent on delivering the one promise the season had alluded to from the beginning – is a fairly entertaining way to send the Coven on its merry way. To a certain degree, it’s interesting that Coven wound up focusing on Sarah Paulson’s character – or at least, in looking back over the episodes, that the story could be perceived as focusing on her. That’s a nice trick for the season to have pulled off, as it offers an incentive for a second viewing, wherein the audiences tries to pinpoint specific moments that may have insinuated Cordelia’s rise to becoming the next supreme.
In the end, American Horror Story: Coven managed to deliver on at least one plot point with some sort of dramatic weight. But with so many conversations the show clearly saw as significant being left unanswered, it seems Coven was regrettably content to simply point to problems without wanting to have a deeper discussion of why they persist, what real change might entail, and, more importantly, what it might possibly mean.
Kevin Yeoman blogs at Screen Rant.
For those who still hadn’t quite figured out how to train their dragons by the end of 2010′s animated instructional video How to Train Your Dragon, help is at hand with the upcoming sequel How to Train Your Dragon 2. Picking up five years after Hiccup, the heir to the throne of Berk, created peace between humans and dragons in his village, the sequel follows the further adventures of Hiccup as he and Toothless take to the air and go exploring.
In addition to the returning cast – including Jay Baruchel as Hiccup, Gerard Butler as Stoick the Vast and Kristen Wiig as Ruffnut – How to Train Your Dragon 2 also stars some new voices, including Djimon Hounsou (Guardians of the Galaxy) as a dragon hunter, Drago Bludvist, and Oscar-winner Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine) as a dragon protector, Valka.
An interview with writer and director Dean DeBlois in USA Today has spilt some more details on Blanchett’s character, starting with the fact that Valka was written specifically with Blanchett in mind. Valka is to the dragons what Dian Fossey was to gorillas: working as a vigilante who frees them from traps and helps them to hide from mankind.
In fact, she has come to prefer their company, according to DeBlois:
“[Valka has been] living with the animals and learning to communicate with them in non-verbal ways and becoming much like a dragon herself. Her years of isolation and dealing with nothing but dragons and being very sympathetic to them has made her very distrusting of humans.”
The article also includes a first look at Valka, shown comforting a Hobblegrunt called Gruff. Valka’s favorite dragon is called Cloudjumper, and has mannerisms very close to that of an owl. He also has a second set of wings that can spread out and become an -wing, which should look very cool in the flying sequences.
According to DeBlois, Hiccup sees Valka as a kind of guru due to her close relationship with the dragons, but their views differ on how best to bridge the gap between humans and dragons. Specifically, Hiccup believes that the two species can peacefully coexist while Valka believes that the bridges should be thoroughly burned and then taken apart with a hammer just to be safe:
“[Hiccup] both admires her but sees her as what his life could be like taken to the extreme… Valka’s life is not only learning about all (the dragons’) secrets and ways and living among them, but also playing among them. That’s part of what she can show Hiccup, things he’s never known about dragon behavior.”
How to Train Your Dragon was a big hit when it came out, not only because of the breathtaking animation but also because of how endearing the characters were – both human and not-so-human. Boasting the benefits of having the same director and writer as the previous film, signs are already good that How to Train Your Dragon 2 will be a worthy follow-up.
H. Shaw-Williams blogs at Screen Rant.
A decade ago, when moviegoers were jumping back and forth between X-Men, Spider-Man and Fantastic Four films – before Marvel Studios even existed as a self-financed production house – Marvel Comics fans were eagerly awaiting the chance to see the towering Sentinel robots from the X-Men books appear on screen. These lethal, mechanical beasts are a nightmare for mutantkind, designed with the sole purpose of tracking, capturing and/or killing mutants globally – they are the frightening symbol of anti-mutant hysteria.
Since anti-mutant sentiment has been a running theme through the entirety of the X-Men film franchise, it’s shocking that it’s taken seven movies to finally see them in action on screen – not counting the Danger Room cameo of a Sentinel’s busted head appearing in the intro of X-Men: The Last Stand. The X-Men were training to battle Sentinels in this summer we’re finally going to see that training pay off.
When X-Men: Days of Future Past made a buzzworthy appearance at Comic-Con last summer, with Twentieth Century Fox and director Bryan Singer bringing the film’s entire cast onstage together, they teased the big show with clever viral marketing with a display honoring Bolivar Trask (creator of the Sentinels) along with some fake protesters. Whether you’re pro-mutant or anti-mutant, it was hard to avoid the Sentinel head on display. It was the head of the first Sentinel units put into the field, beginning in 1973 – Mark I units that stand two to three times taller than an average person. These units even served on President Richard Nixon’s protective detail.
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In the 40 years since, many advancements have been made by their creators at Trask Industries and in the near future the massive Mark Xs have scoured the planet, hunting the last surviving mutants. It’s been a long wait, but the Mark X design has finally been revealed as part of Empire Magazine’s exclusive set of 25 X-Men: Days of Future Past character covers.
It’s very alien in nature, almost organic-like in its design. Could it be leading to a possible introduction of Nimrod, the more advanced futuristic Sentinel created by Sentinels?
What are your thoughts on the iconic Sentinel design and does it compare to the Sentinels frequently seen in the comics and cartoons?
Rob Keyes blogs at Screen Rant.
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